Authentic is the Opposite of Codependent

Posted Tuesday, December 04, 2012



Did you grow up in a dysfunctional family? Me too.

One thing that I think is true for all of us—we never completely drop the roles that we developed in order to effectively give and get love, how to feel safe, how to make people love us. We learn what is OK to say, what our parents want from us, and how to feel good.

I for one played the role of the "hero" or "rescuer" for much of my life. When I saw someone in need—well it was my job to make sure that I met their need.

Eventually, this doesn't work. The role I created to make sure I got my needs met in the end wasn't going to be able to help others. As soon as I stopped getting what I needed, I had to either pick another codependent role or another person from whom to get my needs met. I did both of those things with lots of consequences.

How do we stop living in our codependence? How do we choose to create something different for our life?  Read More »

"Say The Thing That Will Get You Fired" Guest Post by Bonita Richter

Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I sat across from him, and told him a story about some of my deepest fears as a coach. He listened intently, his soft, light blue eyes gazing into mine, seeing right through into my soul. I asked him if I should have done more. Could I have helped more?

Was I supposed to have spoken out loud the words that were swirling around my brain? I wanted to say them so badly. But, I didn’t want to say the wrong thing, in the wrong way. I didn’t want to hurt her. So, I kept quiet, murmured words of support, knowing I danced (not so delicately) around the true matter.

How do I say what I wanted to say without hurting? How do I tell her the victim story she is so attached to is a lie? Not that something bad didn’t happen to her. But, it continues, to some degree, because she allows it. She clings to it. I want to tell her it is time to release this story, this way of being. Yet, she is so deeply attached.

As coaches, we’ve all had a client that clings to their disempowering stories or beliefs. Or, for one reason or another, they didn’t do the work, didn’t get the results they were seeking; went AWOL, disappeared without a trace; didn’t respond to our calls and emails, our reaching out to help.

We know it’s not us. The type of client I am talking about has some deep stuff going on inside them that’s difficult to break through, no matter how earnest our efforts. I know in my heart of hearts this is my truth.

But, the question remains; is there more I could have done?  Read More »

F*** the Garden or I Scare People

Posted Friday, May 25, 2012


I don't know Einat. Never had a conversation with her. Wouldn't be able to tell you a thing about her. But I saw her. I felt her. I wrote a poem about her. 

You see, we're trying something new over at The Poet's Way. We thought it would be a powerful way for the community to interact if we asked whoever wanted to—to put up 10 words that describe themselves. No other instructions. Just 10 words. 

Einat jumped in. She put up her ten words:  Standing still cause if I move I'd feel. (Actually 8 words) So,  I saw what I saw in those words. I wrote a poem.  Read More »

Who Makes You Happy?

Posted Friday, May 11, 2012


About a year ago—my second marriage came to an end. Somewhat suddenly with circumstances that make most people gasp. However, this is not a story about the ending. This is a story about the beginning.

You see—my former wife and I became engaged to be married in DC during the summer of 2006. It was a fairy tale engagement. I showed up at her work on a early Friday afternoon and swept her away in a limo to the airport. We made our way to the bed and breakfast in DC where I pulled out all the stops to make her feel like a princess: rose petals, wine, a concert, clothing, a picnic in our favorite park with huge waterfalls, and of course a poem expressing my desire to be with her. Forever.

Last week I was in DC. I've told you that I love it there.

My cousin took me for a hike and I had no idea where I was going. It soon became clear after we arrived that we were at the park where I had asked my former wife to marry me. My first thought: "Ughh—I don't need this—maybe we should go somewhere else." My second thought: "I wonder what the universe wants to teach me today. In this place. With so much emotion. This should be fascinating."

I chose to stay. Boy am I glad that I did.   Read More »

Then He Said, "I Don't Know How To Be Alone."

Posted Thursday, April 26, 2012



You could hear a pin drop. The once lively discussion that the group of us were having moved to reality and we all sat with his words.

There was no judgement. We ALL knew exactly what he was talking about.

You see, there is real life going on all around us and somewhere along the way we were taught that avoiding truth and avoiding our feelings will keep us safe. Really? Do you feel safe? Do you feel at ease?

This is a big deal. There are people in intense pain at every turn. We self-medicate with TV, with food, with alcohol, and prescription drugs. We also do it in more outwardly "healthy" ways like exercise and work.

I feel deeply for my friend. He doesn't want to be alone. He's willing to endure misery in order to ensure that he doesn't have to be alone. At least he has the courage to admit it. To admit that it's his choice—he knows that it's a fool's bargain—but it's his bargain and the only one he knows how to make right now. We've all been there. I would venture to guess that we are all there right now—one way or another.

So what do we do now?   Read More »

Turning 40 Authentically

Posted Tuesday, October 04, 2011



It's 9 days ago. I'm lying face down on a tattoo parlor table. The pain is beyond what I imagined. It's not stopping. I tell myself it will be over soon. Soon is taking quite a while. Each branch of the tree has to be traced and filled in. The leaves need to be added--each leaf another needle. Eventually, I embrace the pain. I stop cringing. I lean into it. It becomes the metaphor for why I'm here--1000 miles from home, alone, getting a tattoo of a tree on my back.

I'm here because my friends loved me and believed in me and sent me to a world class leadership program. I'm alone because I must be, and I'm getting a tree on my back because the tree is the symbol of my true life.

Beauty and pain are inextricably linked. Authenticity--what my new tattoo represents--is not possible without pain.

So, many years ago I set clear intentions for my life:  I want my insides to match my outsides. I want to be real. I want to live authentically. I knew at the time that this was not an easy task. I knew it would cost me things to live out those intentions. Mostly I knew that I would have to drastically change for those intentions to turn into reality.

Today--I turn 40.

  Read More »

Your Life Story is Made Up!

Posted Thursday, September 08, 2011


I know, I know…you were there and I wasn't so how can I say that your stories are made up. Easy. All of our stories are made up. 

I'm not saying the facts or details aren't true—I'm just saying that when you tell yourself that story today—YOU make up the meaning and give it the power to influence your life. Someone else who went through the exact experience might have a completely different story. 

Let me illustrate. So the biggest story of my life got flipped on its head recently.  I come from a big family. I have a total of eight siblings. However, when I was five years old, my parents divorced and my mother quickly remarried and moved to Germany with her new husband. I was one of the youngest and was raised by my father and stepmother with almost no contact with my mother. 

So my story went something like this: "My life was ruined when my mom left me." I believed that I was abandoned by the one person that I needed most in the world. This story had HUGE consequences on how I showed up in the world—both good and bad.  Read More »

Perception is Everything...ummm Not Really

Posted Thursday, July 28, 2011



So, Canal Street. If you don't know about it, you haven't done much shopping in New York City. If you have, you know exactly what types of watches, purses, and electronics are available here. All fake, all illegal, but some of them very convincing fakes.

Here's the problem though—once you buy it—you know it's fake. You know that when you walk into a room with your gorgeous Prada or stylish Rolex, you are really only wearing $50 worth of merchandise—not the $5000 that the real thing might cost.

Do you get the same satisfaction that you would have gotten by the compliments and noticings that might go on? Do you feel happy about your wealth? Do you feel like you belong with the other people in the room with actual Rolexes?
  Read More »

What Are You Fighting For?

Posted Thursday, July 21, 2011



I saw the new Harry Potter movie tonight with my teenage daughter. A must see. Really.

I know this happens in real life too—but there is just something about movies where you get to see people living out of their true selves—really experiencing their fear but deciding to face it and do what they must do for those that they love.

It makes me think of Braveheart—another story of good and evil with betrayal, death of a hero, and freedom winning in the end.

I was asked who I admired the other day. Living or dead. Real or fictional. The first name that hit me was William Wallace. I tried to push it out to come up with a "better" name but my sub conscience wouldn't have it—William Wallace was the choice. Then came the follow-up questions: what is it that you admire? What are the specific traits. What inspires you about this person? What resonates with you?

Try this yourself with someone you admire, my answers are below:   Read More »

Bin Laden is Dead! Now What Symbol in YOUR Life Needs to Die?

Posted Monday, May 02, 2011



So, like most of us--I woke up this Monday morning to the news that the man at the top of the US Government's MOST WANTED list is dead. Killed in a raid by Navy Seals in Pakistan.

I listened to the coverage on the radio, read the newspapers, and scoured the internet. I was struck over and over by tremendous emotion that people were feeling about the event. The jubilation in knowing he's dead and in some cases joy that brought grown men to tears. What is it about one man that could create such powerful reactions. I won't pretend to know the depth and breadth of it all but I do have some ideas about it.

Primarily, Osama Bin Laden is a symbol. He is a symbol of the specific brand of hatred he subscribed to towards America and the monstrous actions he planned, funded, and implemented on citizens all over the world. He is a symbol of many of our fears. He is a symbol of much of what we don't understand about the middle east. He is a symbol that reminds us of that horrific day nearly ten years ago when we watched people dying.

For me, Osama is a powerful symbol of a messed up world where violence trumps kindness at nearly every turn.

The entire thing got me thinking though. It got me thinking about the fact that the power of Osama Bin Laden's symbolism was much greater than any power that he really had. The man has been on the run for almost a decade with certainly some positional power in a feared organization but I'm having a hard time thinking of something powerful that he did in the last nine years. In terms of personal freedom--prisoners in US jails have more freedom than he had.

So here's the coaching question that has me pondering what this means to me and you:

What symbol in your life have you given way more power than it really has? What story are you telling yourself about the importance of something that simply isn't true?   Read More »



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November 4, 2016--Crossing the Continental Divide (Both Literally and Metaphorically)


May 13, 2016-Are You Embracing Your Goo?

April 6, 2016--Micromanagement is Good Management


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