How to be a Happy Law Mom

When I was a Big Law lawyer with two young children, I hit a wall.

I knew that I had to make a change, but I didn’t know what to do or how to do it.  

I know I wasn’t alone in my struggle. Because by the time you get to be a lawyer and a mom, you usually have a lot of reasons to stay where you are.

Your brain says: “How could you possibly make a move when your family is relying on you?”

Your heart says: “I want to be with my family! That’s the reason I became a mom in the first place.”

Many people in this situation feel like they have to give up something that they love. 

It could be their work, a good salary, time with loved ones, or even their own health.  

But that feels TERRIBLE. Nobody wants to give up these things. 

What if you didn’t have to? 

  • What if you could practice law working reasonable or (gasp!) part-time hours and still be well-regarded in your field? 
  • What if you could be present with your family AND still make the money you want to make? 
  • What if you could even have time for yourself? 

I figured out how to do that in my law practice for years before I decided to teach other women how to do it, too.

My clients are: 

  • doing work that works with their motherhood
  • getting paid well
  • finding what they love to do
  • working less
  • becoming happier than ever.

There are very specific skills that you need to do all of that. They don’t teach these skills in law school — but they should.

The Happy Law Mom coaching program will teach you these skills.

It’s the program that I wish I had had as a Law Mom trying to figure it out.

If you want to get happier but don’t know how, let’s talk

In a single call, we’ll look at your particular circumstances, skills, and work situation. I’ll show you exactly what skills you need to get unstuck and get happy.

It’s totally FREE but spaces are limited. Click here to schedule yours.

Let’s make 2021 your best year yet!

Cheers,

Charise

How to stay calm and productive during the election, the pandemic, and the rest of 2020

Having a hard time being productive at work? Checking your phone every 3 minutes? This year has brought more collective challenges than any year in recent memory. Challenges require a little extra work, but they’re not insurmountable if you stay calm and focused.

Here’s how.   

Soothe Your Limbic System

Uncertainty coupled with newsfeeds designed to provoke fear is the perfect recipe for a limbic highjack, where your lower brain goes into flight/fight/freeze and your adrenal glands release loads of stress hormones into your system so that you can run like hell. This is great when you see a rattlesnake in the grass. This is not great when you’re glued to your desk trying to finish a brief.

To return to productivity, soothe your limbic system like you would soothe a scared child.

You can do that intentionally by grounding yourself where you are. Feel the weight of your body in the chair. Feel the weight of your feet on the floor. Feel the weight of your hands on your lap. Notice how you’re breathing and how you’re safe in this moment. When you focus on this moment in time and establish for yourself the idea that you’re safe, the limbic system will chill out and the part of your brain responsible for executive function (i.e. getting work done) will come back online. 

Focus on What’s Working

Our brains evolved to have a bias for the negative, which means that our brains are constantly scanning for what could go wrong. There is uncertainty over something that people care about deeply right now, so it’s likely that your brain is on high alert.

The problem with this negativity bias is that it blinds us from what’s actually working. And there is a LOT that’s working right now, despite the challenges.

There are thousands of dedicated people who are working to ensure that every vote is counted. Millions of people go to work each day to make a contribution to something larger than themselves and to solve important problems. We have an incredible amount of resources, information, and knowledge at our fingertips. The sun continues to rise and set.

What’s working in your life right now? If you’re reading this, something is working right. Start with the beat of your own heart.

This isn’t to say that if something’s not working, you shouldn’t fix it. But the quickest way to fix something is NOT to get overwhelmed by what’s not working. That usually causes people to give up before they even begin. The quickest way to get what you want is to look for what IS working, build momentum, and create more of that.

Ask Yourself Productive Questions

Once you’ve calmed down and focused on what’s working, you’re much better positioned to be productive. To increase your productivity even more, directing your brain to where you want it to go by asking productive questions. Here are some examples: 

  • What’s the best way I can contribute right now? 
  • What the most important thing that I can do right now? 
  • How can I break this task down into manageable pieces?
  • How can I get this done AND stay informed of the news?  (The answer my brain gives me to this question is: “Set a 5-minute timer at the top of the hour to check the news – and then get back to work.” You might try it for yourself.) 

Productive questions lead you straight into productive action and put you back in charge of your mind – instead of letting your newsfeed be in charge of you. 

Control YOUR Results

Very few of us individually has much control over the outcome of the current election. But ALL of us have 100% control of OUR OWN results right now.

We can’t control what other people do, but we can control how we respond, what we do or don’t do, and what results we create for ourselves.

We control where to direct our focus: it might be work projects, advocacy, or creating a peaceful home for our families.

You get to decide what result you want to create in this circumstance, regardless of the outcome of the election.

And when you focus on THAT, your creative mind will go to work to find solutions, take action, and create what you want. 

If you need help with this, let’s talk. I help Lawyer Moms and other busy professionals to create exactly what they want at work and at home. 

Are you feeling empty?

When I had my second child, I found that my life as a Lawyer Mom was simultaneously too full and too empty.

There were too many demands on my time and energy but there wasn’t enough time and space for things that brought me joy, fulfillment, and inner peace.  

I had checked all the boxes. The job, the house, the family. But something was missing that left me asking: Is this all there is? Is this what I worked so hard for?

This feeling of emptiness drove me to buy (thank you, Amazon Prime) and eat (Halo Top ice cream anyone?) and zone out (I’m looking at you, Facebook). Yet I remained unfulfilled and stuck. It was like trying to live on candy bars: too many empty calories, not enough nutrition. 

The Root Cause

After accumulating more stuff and wasting more time, I realized that what I was doing wasn’t working. I would need to try a different approach.

Determined to find something that would actually work, I tried a lot of things that didn’t. Finally, I figured out what was really happening.

My overstretched schedule was the direct result of trying to live up to external demands. I was measuring my life against a fictional version of what life is “supposed to” look like as a “Perfect Mother,” “Good Wife,” or “Tireless Advocate.” 

On the other hand, the feeling of emptiness came from ignoring my internal needs and desires. It came from not doing what brought me joy, restored my energy, and made me feel fully human (rather than part robot). 

The Remedy 

The remedy for this is simple: Defining and living your purpose. And doing less of everything else. 

Purpose connected me to something larger than myself. It gave me a true north, a compass for my life. 

Once I determined that my purpose was to help other Lawyer Moms become happier in their lives and careers while also being present, loving, and creative in my own life, everything else fell into place.  

I began to life a life of my own design, rather than what everyone else thought my life should look like. 

I determined what belonged in my life and what didn’t.  

It allowed me to be enriched by my life, rather than drained by it. 

You deserve more than emptiness. 

No one teaches us to do this in school. Employers don’t teach this is training programs. It’s something that we have to ourselves. To make the conscious decision to stop what’s not working and try something new. 

If you’re feeling like your life is both too full and too empty, I can help. Send an email to contact@livegrowbloom.com with 3 days/times that work for you and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours to set up a time for a free Breakthrough Call to help you determine what needs to change in your life for you to create lasting fulfillment. 

Lawyer Moms have said these calls are “amazing,” “brilliant,” and “life changing.” I’d love to show you how you can have more of what you want and less of what you don’t. 

Honoring Her Legacy

Millions are mourning the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

For many women, particularly Lawyer Moms, her loss feels akin to losing a beloved grandmother or aunt.

She paved the way and then made it easier for us to follow. 

She wanted to see other women thriving, pursuing—and achieving—happiness. 

RBG fought hard to make the system more equal for women. 

And because of her work, we can do ours. 

If you’re feeling like RBG’s death is the last straw in a year that’s been full of challenges and strife, you’re not alone. 

But letting the current circumstances get you down is not likely to serve you or anyone else. 

Here is what I recommend you do instead. 

Be Kind to Yourself 

When faced with challenging circumstances, what’s required is exquisite self-care. 

This doesn’t mean eating a pint of ice cream or drinking a bottle of wine. It means asking yourself what you need that would truly nourish and restore you. 

Write down the answers to these questions: 

  • What do I need right now? 
  • What does my body need? 
  • What does my mind need? 
  • What does my heart need? 
  • What does my spirit need? 

And then give yourself what you need. Kindly, gently, with love and compassion.

Honor Her Legacy by Your Own Pursuit of Happiness

Women in general (and Lawyer Moms in particular) can honor her legacy every day by thriving in their lives and careers

She worked hard to make sure we had opportunities. 

She refused to live by other people’s expectations of her and instead blazed her own path.

For those who want to honor her work, we can do so by pursuing our own happiness at work and as moms.

This does not have to mean working yourself to the bone.

It might even mean stepping back in your practice, if that’s what you want.

The point is that we have the freedom to choose what we want to do and then create it.

Even now.

Your happiness matters. 

Your dreams matter.  

It would make RBG proud to see women choosing to thrive and living our very best lives. 

We were made for this. 

XO,

Charise

How to Get Happier in Your Career

Finding work that I enjoyed was a huge struggle for me. You could say that I tried everything in the book. Books, personality tests, strengths tests, workshops, different kinds of coaching.

Some worked and but a lot didn’t. Here’s how I finally found career happiness and how you can do it, too.

Look Within

When I was in school one of the biggest overarching messages that we learned was that “the right answer” was always outside of us. It might come from our teachers, our parents, or our textbooks, but it was always something out there that we needed to download into our brains.

We often carry that habit of looking out there with us in our professional lives. But when we look to others for career guidance, we often end up in jobs that make us feel empty, unsatisfied, or miserable. Other peoples’ dreams can be your nightmare.

The only way to find lasting career happiness is to begin within. You’ve got to look at what energizes and engages you, what matters to you. This is deeply personal and no one can answer these questions for you. If the answer is “I don’t know,” it usually means that you’ve lost touch with yourself. (This is a real thing and it has real consequences.)

If you don’t know who you are and what matters to you, put that at the top of your priority list. Otherwise, time will pass and you’ll end up feeling like a robot. That would be a shame because there IS work that would energize you, mean something to you, and help others too. You should be doing it.

It wasn’t until I decided to make decisions about what was most important to me that I began to get happier in my work.

Long before I left my firm job to become a coach, I began making changes to live in alignment with my top values and priorities. I used my inner compass as a guide, rather than well-meaning but ill-fitting advice from others.

It made all the difference.

Let Go of the Guilt

When I was trying to figure out what to do, I had a lot of judgment going on in my head about my desire for something different:
• I have way more than so many people, I should just be grateful.
• I’ve got a great team. Why can’t that be enough?
• Most people don’t like their jobs, why can’t I just accept where I’m at? 
• What if try something new and it doesn’t work out?

But when you feel unhappy at work and then you feel guilty for it, you only spin your wheels even more. And what good does that do? None whatsoever.

Here’s the truth. Your happiness matters. People who are happy at work make a bigger impact both in the work itself and on the people around them.
If you’re unhappy, you can’t serve your clients at your highest level. When your brain is mired in negativity, it’s low on creativity, enthusiasm, and problem-solving. You also deprive the people in your life of a happy version of you. The happy parent, partner, family member, and friend that you want to be.

Try this reframe: If you’re feeling stuck or unhappy at work, it’s actually your duty to get unstuck. You doing this not only for yourself and your family, but also for the people you want to serve. They’re waiting for you.

There’s Not a “Right” Way – But There Is A Way

When I was stuck in my career rut, I wasted a lot of time thinking that I had to find the “right” way out. The one single career path that would be perfect for me. But nothing felt like the “right” path, so I just stayed stuck.

Because I stayed stuck, I would sometimes start to wonder if I would ever find a way out. Maybe there was NO path. Maybe I would never find happiness in my career! (Cue internal panic.)

Neither of these thoughts served me. I know now that there’s more than one path that leads to career happiness. Believing that I had to get it “right” only slowed my progress.

Likewise, believing that you’ll never find a way out makes you more entrenched. Even if it takes time to figure it out, you will save yourself years of unhappiness if you begin NOW. The only thing that’s required is a simple decision: I WILL get there. Because once you make that decision and follow up with consistent action, you will.

Find the Root Cause

When solving for career unhappiness, you’ve got to identify the exact root cause. There’s no other way to get a permanent solution.

Case in point: serial job changers. When I work with clients who change jobs every few years but are still miserable, there are always deeper issues at play. They’ve usually tried everything. A new boss, a new firm, a new team, a new role, or a new practice area. When those changes don’t create lasting happiness, there’s always an underlying reason.

It’s like trying to treat an infection with Tylenol. You can dull the pain but it’s going to continue to fester until you identify the real issue and treat it the right medicine.

One of my clients had been feeling miserable for years, even though he had tried lots of different jobs. He really liked his company, his boss, and his team. So why was he unhappy? We did some digging and discovered exactly what was troubling him about his current role. He also discovered that he wanted to feel more purposeful in his life and he had been relying on his career to provide that.

Once he understood the root causes of his unhappiness, the solutions became obvious. He was able to pivot his role at work after having a few simple conversations. He also made the decision to be more purposeful in how he spent his time, both at work and at home. Once we were able to get to the root cause, he reported enjoying his work and his life more than he had in years and having more energy. Years of struggle evaporated within a few months.

Those results are typical. That’s why causal coaching is so useful. It gets to the root cause, which is usually hidden in the blind spots that you yourself can’t see.

You don’t have to struggle for years. You can fast-track your career happiness identifying the real issues right away. If you’re struggling with getting happier at work, I invite you to schedule a free call with me. You’ll walk away with clarity and a personalized plan to help you get exactly what you want. You can send me an email at contact@livegrowbloom.com and let me know what’s going on for you.

How to Make Everything Easier as a Working Mom

I’ve noticed a pattern in the working moms that I coach. They have a voice in their heads that tells them exactly what they have to do to be the “Perfect Mom.” At the same time, another voice tells them how to be the “Perfect Professional”.

These two voices are often at odds with each other, which makes many women feel stuck and even defeated. There’s no way to win. 

But these two voices have something in common. They both stem from patriarchal ideas about what a woman’s life should look like. 

The motherhood voice tells us that we need to: 

  • attend to everyone else’s needs and desires before our own; 
  • always be available; 
  • always be present, engaged, and energetic with our kids; 
  • make homemade organic everything from scratch; 
  • always keep our kids entertained with super-educational, creative activities, playdates, and experiences;
  • be strong and take care of everything on our own; 
  • have a Pinterest-worthy home; and 
  • live an Instagram-worthy life. 

The voice opining about career tells us that we need to:

  • work harder; 
  • go above and beyond; 
  • always be available; 
  • say “yes” to everything;
  • aspire to perfection; 
  • second-guess and triple-check our work before showing it to others; 
  • seek external validation before we can feel good about ourselves; and
  • never fail. 

Both voices tout perfection and convince us that we’re not doing enough. And both voices make life as a working mom unbearable. 

This Is Not Working

I’m not going to discuss the number of women of women who are suffering with this. It’s 92% if you want a stat, but that’s not what matters.

What matters is: why are we still having this conversation?

The reason is that we’re buying into patriarchy and it’s ruining our lives. 

The Truth

The truth is that you can have an amazing career that you love AND be a loving, present mom to your kids. If you’re having thoughts that you can’t have both, recognize that that’s a line we’ve been fed, too. 

It’s obvious that the problem is not going to go away or take care of itself. The current crisis has made that abundantly clear. The mental and emotional health of working moms is not good. This impacts our families as well. 

It’s time to take back control of your mind—and your life.

This is exactly what I teach working moms to do in my 1-to-1 coaching program, Motherhood 2.0TM

If you’re ready to get off the hamster wheel and start loving your life again, I can help. 

The first step is to apply for a free call. We’ll talk about what you want for your career and your life. We’ll look at your current challenges and we’ll look at how you can finally get unstuck and shine as you are meant to shine. You can request your free call here.  

What Moms Can Do Now

My heart is heavy with the injustice and cruelty that we in the United States are witnessing. 

Sometimes we don’t know what to say and so we don’t say anything.

Now is not the time to stay silent.  

It’s time to stand with those demanding justice through peaceful protest. 

It’s time to look at what we can do. 

In the world, in our communities, and in our families. 

As mothers, we have the vitally important role of cultivating the beliefs of the next generation.

Let’s plant the seeds of equality, love, understanding, tolerance, and anti-racism in the minds and hearts of our children.  

It begins with us. 

In our homes and in our hearts. 

Much love,
Charise  

How to Make Your Own Health a Top Priority

As working moms, we often forget to take care of ourselves.

I hear all the time from moms that they don’t have time for sleep, healthy food, or exercise.

But I recently got a sobering reminder that health is EVERYTHING.

What happened was that I got sick.

Like never before.

My symptoms came on quickly, without warning.

At 11:00 am I was feeling fine, outside with my son. By 1:00 pm, I was completely incapacitated.

I was able to talk with a doctor online and start taking medication within a few hours.

I spent the rest of the day in bed with fever and chills.

Thankfully, the next day I woke up feeling better.

Sometimes, even if we take care of ourselves, we still get sick. That’s what happened to me.

But there is so much that we CAN control that we often don’t, because we don’t think we have time.

The sleep, the exercise, the healthy food.

Here’s what stood out to me when I was sick: I literally couldn’t take care of anyone else.

I couldn’t make dinner for my kids.

I couldn’t work.

I couldn’t do ANYTHING.

When you go through something like this, you realize that you don’t have time to NOT take care of yourself.

There IS a way to find time for your own health as a working mom.

There is always a way. Because without it, there is nothing else.

You don’t have to wait until you have a health emergency.

If you’re a working mom who struggles with trying to fit in your own health while juggling career and kids, let’s chat.

We’ll talk about all the things you want—including amazing heath. We’ll talk about what’s keeping you from getting them. And we’ll create a plan to help you get what you want. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s FREE.

Have a beautiful rest of the week.

XO,
Charise

What I Believe

I believe that every working mom can have the life and career that she wants.

There are no pre-requisites.

It’s not just for certain personality types.

It’s not just for the ones lucky enough to have a certain kind of spouse or children.

It is available for any woman.

I believe it because I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

Here are some other things I believe:

We can change the direction of our lives at any time.

What we want matters.

Staying stuck, exhausted, and drained is a choice that costs us dearly.

Life is more fun, easy, and enjoyable when we’re choosing where we want to go on purpose.

Moms deserve to be happy in their work and in their personal lives.

It takes 5 steps to get there.

Five steps have the power to change your life.

In my Free Masterclass, I’ll tell you what they are.

You can watch it here.

Have a beautiful week.

XO,

Charise

Working Moms: 10 Ways to Stay Calm During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Here we are, in the midst of a pandemic and national emergency, with many schools closed for weeks to come.  What is a working mom to do?  Here are ten ways to stay calm.

  1. Take exquisite care of yourself.  As moms, we set the tone for our families. We need to be at our strongest and healthiest right now to lead them through this situation.  That means that our physical health needs to be a top priority.  This is an opportunity to start healthy habits that you might have been neglecting.   
    • Sleep is paramount.  Without it, your immune system gets weakened so make every effort to get enough. 
    • Healthy food is the next priority.  Sugar suppresses your immune system, so consider avoiding it. Choose fruits, veggies, and whole foods, instead.  Frozen fruits and veggies have tons of nutrients, so stock up your freezer with them. Homemade soups freeze well and are healthy, so make some big batches now to have on hand. 
    • Exercise is also key. You can take walks outside with the kids, go bike riding, or do a workout video at home, but make sure you get some movement. Note: Public health experts are advising parents to keep kids away from public playgrounds, so walks outside are a great way for kids to get exercise, too. 
  2. Empower yourself with calming tools.  Your mental health impacts your physical heath and requires attention and care.  If you feel anxious or panicky, it means that your sympathetic nervous system has taken over. The good news is that you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system to calm you down. Here are some techniques that you can try both for yourself and with your kids: 
    • Breathing exercises.  Set a timer for one minute. Breathe in for five seconds and breathe out for five seconds. Repeat until the timer goes off or until you feel calmer. 
    • Meditation.  Set a time for five or ten minutes and focus on watching your breath.  Your mind will wander and when you catch that happening, redirect it back to your breath.  There are also lots of guided meditations for kids on YouTube, if you want to practice with them. 
    • Feeling gravity.  Set a time for one minute. Notice the weight of your body against your chair or the floor and feel the pull of gravity on your body.  This is an excellent way to ground yourself.  
    • Movement.  Movement can help to discharge nervous energy.  Put on some music (or not) and let your body express how you feel right now.  Dance, stretch, throw punches, whatever.  Kids love this, too, so put on some music and have a dance party.  Yoga is also a great way to focus on being in your body.  Again, lots of kids yoga videos are available online. 
  3. Set limits on the news you consume.   There’s a difference between staying informed and getting overwhelmed.  Our brains are great at scanning for what’s startling and right now the news is startling.  It can be tempting to stay glued to the newsfeed, which can lead to anxiety and panic.  That’s not a great state from which to lead your family through this situation. 

    You can stay informed without losing your calm by limiting how much news you consume.  Decide when you want to read the news, set a timer (15 minutes or so), and turn to something else when the timer goes off.  You don’t have to read every article that people send you. Put your phone away and focus on doing something you enjoy.  Doing something fun or pleasurable will override your brain’s quest for more news. Make a pot of tea, listen to music you love, take a walk outside.  And turn off all non-urgent notifications on your phone, so you can stay unplugged. 
  4. Trust yourself.  Our mama bear intuition knows how to keep our families safe. But we’re sometimes hesitant to follow it because of what others might think.  Now is not the time for people pleasing.  It’s the time to trust yourself. That might mean that you decline invitations for play dates.  It might mean that you keep your kids home from school even if your schools haven’t closed yet.  It might mean your kids or others get mad at you, but you can handle that when you’re grounded by what feels right to you.  Trust that you have everything you need to get through this, because you do.  
  5. Focus on service.  Mr. Rogers’ mother told him to look for helpers during a crisis because they would always be there.  It’s a comforting message for both children and adults. We can also be the helpers, even from the confines of our homes, by stepping into a mindset of service. We can call and check in with people who might be vulnerable to COVID-19. We can order groceries for people who can’t go out.  Our kids can make cards and pictures for grandparents that we can send via email or text.  We can order gift cards online from local restaurants or shops that we’d like to support, to use later or as gifts.  We can give donate money to local foodbanks and charities that help those in need.  We can also write to leaders in our communities to encourage measures that would help.  Service prompts us to stop worrying, which isn’t useful. It also prompts us to take compassionate and creative action, which is very useful. In doing so, we help others and ourselves. 
  6. Prioritize.  This new reality requires that we focus on what matters.  There may not be enough time to get everything done, but there is time for the most important things.  What is most important for you at work this week?  What’s most important at home?  (As mentioned above, taking care of yourself should be at the top of the list.)  Write your priorities down, focus on those tasks, and you’ll find that there is time for what’s most important. 
  7. Plan.  If your brain tells you that you don’t know what you’re going to do, remember that you can figure out a plan.  Using the priorities your wrote down, decide your daily and weekly routines with the kids and at work.  Schedule the most important things early in the day and week, to make sure that they get done.  Have a family meeting to ask for input about the plan and set clear expectations.  Once a plan is in place, honor it the best you can.  Having a basic plan provides order, predictability, and structure, which kids crave.  Your leadership during the next few days will set the tone for the coming weeks.
  8. Play.  None of us wants this situation to continue. But while it’s here, we can use it to get a much-needed break from the daily grind.  Use the extra time at home to do something that restores your energy and uplifts your spirit.  Play with your kids, read a good book, make homemade bread, listen to music, or whatever you enjoy.  Play elevates your mood and keeps you feeling good, so it’s important both for you and your kids.    
  9. Get outdoors. If the weather allows, make time to be outdoors as much as you can during the coming weeks.  Spending time in nature reduces stress hormones like cortisol. It also provides a great way to get plenty of movement without getting close to other people.  Doing so allows us to see that the life is still happening all around us.  Yes, the situation is serious and requires us to do what we can to “flatten the curve”. But if you get outside, you’ll notice the sky isn’t falling. We can each do our part and make it through this. 
  10. Turn inward.  This situation provides us the chance to step back and reevaluate what’s working and what isn’t.  Is your employer being inflexible?  Perhaps you should start thinking about another job or career.  Feeling exhausted by daily life and finding this situation to be too much to handle? It’s time to pause and reflect on what you want for your life.  When you pause and turn inward, you realize that you can steer your life in any direction you choose.  If something isn’t working, there’s no better time than now to realize that so you can start charting a new course.  

If you need personalized help with your specific situation, I’m here for you. This week, I’m offering a limited number of Mom Crisis consult calls.  You can offload your concerns and burdens, and get some help through this crisis.  Click here to schedule your free call.  

XO,

Charise