Should I Stay or Should I Go? Use Discernment in Your Marriage.

Discernment is defined as the ability to judge well.  This is a beautiful and simple definition of an elegant term. It is clear and precise. It is impossible to be confused about what it means to use discernment with a definition like this. However, when your marriage or partnership is on the rocks, you will feel anything but clear and precise about the unspoken decisions you need to make.

A million questions invade your conscious and subconscious thoughts.  Do I stay and fight for my marriage? Do I walk away and cut my losses? Is she/ he the one? Why did I marry him anyway?   Is this normal?  What if I die alone?  How will I manage on my own?  Can we work this out?  Would counseling help?  Why doesn’t he love me? How did we end up like this?  Am I worthy of more?  Do I deserve this?  Why didn’t anyone tell me this would be so hard?   I could go on and on but you get the point. 

During the day you are exhausted yet, at night, you are unable to sleep.  Concentration is nearly impossible, your thoughts are racing, your head hurts, and you have not eaten well in weeks. Your relationship has taken a very sharp left turn. Maybe you saw it coming or maybe it hit you out of the blue. Either way, it is extremely difficult and painful.  Your heart literally hurts. You now fully understand the term ‘heartache’.

There have been some indicators along the way that you and your partner are heading into difficult terrain.  Perhaps fighting has increased, or worse yet, you stop talking and now rely on the silent treatment.  Perhaps you attempt to spend as much time out of the home as possible to avoid conflict.  Maybe you have started sleeping in separate bedrooms and spending more time at the gym under the false pretense that you need to ‘find yourself’.  Maybe you have started stashing some cash aside ‘just in case’.  

How did we get here?

Preceding these red flags, you have probably noticed that your marriage was more like living with a messy, distant, roommate than a soulmate.  You may have noticed that when you are actually speaking to your spouse, you are only pointing out his flaws. Or, perhaps, she is only fixated on your quirks and annoying habits; those very things that once attracted her to you. Compliments, laughter, gentle touch, and inside jokes are long gone.  You and your spouse barely know each other anymore. And, worse yet, you barely know yourself.

The question still remains. Do I stay or do I go? You will wonder if separation is your only option. Back to discernment; the ability to judge well. How do you make a judgment on such a complex subject?

Discernment calls us to take a step back. It begs us to pause; breathe; reflect.  Discernment is not fast, impulsive, nor greedy. Discernment is slow, thoughtful, and knowing. Discernment requires a deep reflection of self.  To do this, consider some of the questions below. Sit in quiet contemplation. Journal, write, pray. Talk to trusted friends and wise mentors. Read books. Sit some more. Do not react to every emotion.  Be proactive.  Consider these powerful questions for a long while. There is no award for hastiness. Be intentional, curious, and open-minded. This is how you begin to discern if you should stay or go.

  • What are my values?
  • What are my dreams?
  • What do I stand for and what I am willing to sacrifice for my beliefs?
  • Who am I?
  • Am I safe here and what is safety to me?
  • What are my flaws?
  • What are my boundaries and what is totally unacceptable behavior from myself or others?
  • Where am I not seeing clearly?
  • Where am I seeing clearly but ignoring my intuition?
  • What is my contribution to this current predicament? 
  • Where could I extend mercy instead of judgement?
  • What can I do to repair myself and my relationship?
  • Is there an opportunity for me to forgive, make amends, or correct a past wrong? 
  • Am I willing to extend forgiveness to my partner?
  • What am I willing to change for the good of my marriage and family?
  • Does this decision align with my culture, my family, and my faith? Does this matter to me?
  • What will I gain by leaving?
  • What will I gain by staying?
  • Am I showing respect?  Am I respected?
  • How can I see this differently?
  • What will I lose by going? 
  • How is this relationship impacting my physical health, mental health & spiritual life?
  • What am I to learn from this?
  • Am I repeating a pattern of maladaptive behavior?
  • Is fear or love driving my decision?
  • What is love and how I do express and receive it?
  • What can I do today to make a change for the better?
Who Am I?

This is how we use discernment when we are faced with the agonizing decision about divorce. After we aimlessly throw money and worry at the problem; after we have endured countless sleepless nights; after we ruin our credit by spending frivolously; after we chase external happiness, we must lean into this dilemma. This is an internal dilemma which requires the mind, body, heart, and soul to work in unison. When we are finally ready to face our reality and even accept where we are on this journey of life, then, and only then, can we move towards discernment.

It is my hope that you treat this decision with the care and consideration it deserves. While divorce rates are lowering in the US, they are still astonishingly high. Research indicates there are many negative impacts of divorce on our children and our own physical health and mental wellbeing.  But yet, still, we divorce.

This March, make a decision to seek discernment.  Research indicates that January, March, and August are amongst the top months when we seek divorce.  The holidays are over, nothing has improved, and your credit card debt is mounting. Valentine’s Day was a joke and you cannot bear to face another hopeless anniversary. This particular March, March 2020, we are also faced with a failing economy, travel bans, and job losses due to COVID-19. Stress is high. If your partnership was already being tested, this environment could easily push to react hastily.   

Lean into discernment. Hit Pause. Get to know yourself again. This decision can wait until you have a crystal clear, objective, perspective on the situation.  Seek guidance from those you trust. Learn to trust yourself again, too.

As a caveat, I want to directly and very clearly speak to those of you involved in abusive relationships. Abuse can be emotional, physical, or sexual; and it is never okay. Being manipulated, physically struck, restricted in your movements, isolated from friends, threatened (whether carried out or not), and forced into sexual relationships against your deepest desires is abuse. If this resonates with you, I understand that you are scared, alone, and feeling hopeless.  Please reach out to any of the resources listed in the footnotes to get access to the help you need.   When you are involved in an abusive relationship, time is of the essence. While self-reflection and discernment will be part of your healing journey, your safety is the top priority.

If you think this cannot possibly be you, just know that accoring to RAINN, nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime and, on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. It could very easily be you. Or someone you know could be suffering in silence.

Carrie Mead, MS
Curiosity Life Coaching

If something written here resonates with you or strikes a deep emotion (negative or positive), you can reach out to me. I would be happy to guide you through the steps necessary to live a value-aligned life, even in the face of a failing marriage. I can teach you how to trust yourself, become more mindful, more peaceful, and more loving in the face of adversity. I can empower you to care for yourself without guilt, shame, or anxiety. Schedule your free consultation today.  

Carrie Mead, MS is a Professional Life Coach, Psychotherapist, and Reiki practitioner based in Maryland. Carrie created Curiosity Life Coaching to help men and women successfully navigate major life transitions such as retirement, divorce, career changes, and loss. Carrie provides guidance, support and empowering exercises to help her clients redefine and enact on their life’s mission following a major life transition. Connecting authentically and compassionately forms the basis of all of Carrie’s personal and professional relationships. Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from McDaniel College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Gettysburg College. Learn more by visiting www.curiositylifecoaching.com

Footnotes and Resources for Intimate Partner Abuse

www.thehotline.org

https://vawnet.org/

http://www.breakthecycle.org/

www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Navigating the Seasons of Life

Using the seasons as a guide when you are in the midst of a major life transition

Carrie Mead, MS
Transitions Coach
Carroll County, MD, USA

At times, life is tough and at times, it is absolutely perfect.  Have you ever noticed the ebb and flow of the seasons of your own life?  There are times the stars align and everything you desire comes into fruition- a pay increase, a new romance, the perfect puppy… all at once.  You sit back and wonder how you got so lucky. You bask in the sunlight and abundance that life has afforded you. You keep working hard and enjoying the ride. You have great work ethic and your friends know that they can count on you.  Life is good. 

As a Seasons of Change coach, we refer to this time as the season of summer. Summer may last for months, or it may be a fleeting moment, but when we are experiencing the joy of summer there is no doubt that we are loved, supported, and capable of great things.  However, no season lasts forever.  Life is fluid and everchanging. You may be blissfully unaware that change is coming while you are enjoying the summer sun. However, if you are a person prone to anxiety, you may miss the joy of summer as you worry about the foreboding change that you just know is lurking around the corner (even though you have no evidence of such change). You may even miss the harvest you created due to these anxious, intrusive thoughts.  Either way, whether you are enjoying your summer or worrying about when it will end, change is coming. It always does.

Change is not inherently bad or scary.  Change can be exciting and wonderful.  Welcoming a new baby into your life, getting married, or finally retiring are often changes that are much anticipated, planned for, and joyful. But what happens when you do not experience the overwhelming happiness with this positive change that you thought you would?  You might be very confused by this counter-intuitive feeling and you may wonder what’s wrong with yourself.  Nothing’s wrong, you are just are just in the midst of a major life transition and your world is changing. No big deal. Right? 

On the other hand, sometimes uninvited change shows up in our life.  Perhaps we receive a life-changing health diagnosis as we are training for our next marathon or our company announces a merger which will involve major lay-offs just after we received an awesome promotion. These types of transitions are thrust upon us, often at warp speed.  Instantly, we are overcome by fear and we try desperately to keep things exactly as they have always been. It seems like only a minute ago we were enjoying our feast and now the crop is gone and we are left unprepared, scared, and alone.  Following the Seasons of Change model, we call this the season of fall.  As you might expect, fall comes into our life when things change.  Just as the summer’s warmth and sunshine is always followed by falling leaves and squirrels collecting nuts, so to in our lives, does this metaphor exist.

When faced with an unexpected or unwelcome change we may rush to restore balance in our life. We may jump at the first new job opportunity after getting laid-off or rush into a new relationship as soon as our divorce papers are signed. We may sell our home and move to a new city to start afresh or we may busy ourselves with our friends’ problems, binge-watching movies, and never-ending happy hours to avoid being alone with our thoughts.   When we throw ourselves into endless activity, we are trying to avoid our feelings about the situation.  We are trying to pass the time until those feelings and thoughts magically disappear.  Of course, this is a fruitless attempt at avoiding pain but it’s an understandable and natural human response.  We are conditioned to work hard, at all costs, and we are certainly not usually encouraged to take time and space away from productivity to ‘find ourselves’. 

The truth is this, as we enter a time of change, there is no going back.  Things will be different as we move forward. Again, different is not bad, it is just different.  If you can make that distinction in your mindset and your internal chatter, you will feel calmer. If you continue to ruminate on how bad things are and how they will never, ever, get better, you certainly will feel worse. Test it out. See what you think! I would advise you to decide how you’d like to feel first (peaceful, calm, confident would be my choices) and then set your internal chatter to create those feelings.

When you come to accept that the season of summer is over, for now, at least for this one aspect of your life, you can also come to accept that fall has arrived. Accepting that that you are in the midst of a change is the first step. Sometimes, just acknowledging and accepting that you are entering a transitionary  phase is enough to move you on to your next season. As you probably guessed, you are heading into winter, whether you like it or not. Change is coming. It always does.

In my experience as a professional life coach, this is the season that most people fear and it tends to be the time when people reach out for my wisdom, guidance, and support.  Many people have tried wintering alone, and feel stuck and hopeless. Others have gone through tough transitions in their life before and they know what they need based on past experience. If you have previously and successfully navigated a winter season, it’s possible that this next season will be milder and shorter than your first winter. However, every transition is different and you, as a person, are evolving and changing too. Perhaps this time around you have more support from your friends and an abundance of financial resources, or, perhaps you have gotten divorced and lost your job in the same year. 

Although life is complicated, there is always a silver lining. Despite the fact that many winters are long and dark, you can grow, develop, and learn so much about yourself in this season… if you do the inner-work.  What that means and how to do it will depend on a number of things. Suffice to say that this is why many clients reach out to professionals, like me, in this dark time.  Remember, winter is not all doom and gloom. Think of the season of winter as a time to rejuvenate, restore, and refocus on yourself. Allow yourself to stay in bed a little longer or say no to social events that seem draining rather than nourishing.  If you have brain-fog, difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation, and a desire to stay home in quiet contemplation, you’re most likely in the depths of winter.  That’s okay.  Spring always follows winter so you won’t be here forever. Stay the course, glean insights about yourself, and give yourself what you need in this tender time. Change is coming. It always does.

You will know that spring is near because you will start to feel the wrestling of the desire for increased activity. You might feel slightly more alert and you may even crave more human connection that you did last season.  Think of a hibernating bear; no one knocks on his den door to tell him to wake up. He intuitively knows it’s time to begin moving his limbs. He’s rested well and as he comes back into consciousness, he starts to desire things that he has forgotten about like food and sunshine.  You too, will sense winter morphing into spring. It may take you by surprise or you may have been eagerly awaiting this day. Either way, wake-up slowly and come into the light again… in your own time.  This transformation is not a time for making big decisions nor committing to  a new business venture nor entering a new marriage. It’s a time for testing the waters and experimenting. It’s a time for creativity, fertility, and reemergence.  This is the time when the clouds start lift and hope returns to your life. It’s also the time to look at your progress. How far have you come since your summer turned into fall and your fall into winter?  Reflect on what you have learned in the process of change and marvel at how strong you have become.  Take notice if you even feel like the same person you were last summer?

Whatever transition you went through, you have navigated it well, thus far. The journey is not over yet but you are getting closer to your next season. Life is definitely different than it was last summer. Maybe you are now a single working mother, or maybe you have just moved across the country for you dream job but you had to leave behind friends and family, or maybe you have come to learn how to handle a challenging health condition.  You have made progress and you have nourished yourself to get this far. 

Allow spring to be the time when you intentionally and thoughtfully try out new ideas. Reintroduce yourself to the world.  Plants reintroduce themselves each spring and they are a welcome reminder that spring always comes no matter how dark the winter was.  No one forgets the beauty of the first yellow daffodil against the brown terrain nor do they forget the hypnotic scent of striking purple hyacinth.  Everyone is happy to see their beauty again and your friends and family will be happy to greet you into their community once more.  Don’t get too comfortable here because as you begin show yourself to the world, things are changing. They always do. 

At some point you will realize you feel relaxed, confident, secure again.  Life has a new vibrancy and appeal that has been missing for a long time. You have finally found your groove and you feeling excited to share yourself with others again.  You have a sense that your foundation is strong and you know that you are resourceful enough to navigate any passing storms. You feel grounded in the knowledge that you are stronger than you ever thought and no matter how the world may try to knock you down, you are confident that you will rise again.  You know that you won’t just come back as a spruced-up version of your old- self. You will come back from these challenges alert, empowered, focused and compassionate. You will come back evolved and new.

If nothing else, you have learned to love yourself through each season. You have found a new respect for your abilities and your limitations. Maybe you rediscovered your faith or made a new friend a long the way. Maybe you found out that you are actually quite good at writing poetry or maybe you learned to meditate.  Whatever your learned along the way will serve you well this summer and for next fall.   Whatever happens this summer, don’t forget to celebrate your success. Don’t dismiss the arduous challenges you have overcome and certainly don’t try to move the goal post on yourself as you are about the cross the finish line.  Summer is a season to embrace and celebrate.  Enjoy it because things are changing.  They always do.  

If you are in the process of weathering a storm, anticipating a change, or stuck in long dark winter, reach out to me.  I can act as your guide through the tumultuous times you are facing. Together we will establish a roadmap for your journey. We will calm the inner fires that feel chaotic both internally and externally. We will use the seasons to guide us through these changes and you will emerge through the process with a new sense of purpose and appreciation of yourself and your journey. When you get to your destination, we will celebrate your success.

Set-up a free consultation by clicking here

Carrie Mead, MS is a Professional Life Coach and Reiki practitioner based in Maryland. Carrie created Curiosity Life Coaching to help men and women successfully navigate major life transitions such as retirement, divorce, career changes, and loss. Carrie provides guidance, support, and empowering exercises to help her clients redefine and enact on their life’s mission following a major life transition. Connecting authentically and compassionately forms the basis of all of Carrie’s personal and professional relationships. Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from McDaniel College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Gettysburg College. Learn more by visiting www.curiositylifecoaching.com

Divorce Day

Carrie Mead, MS
Curiosity Life Coaching
Baltimore, MD

If you are currently in a troubled marriage, you may have typed the term “divorce” into your internet browser recently. If so, you are not alone.  According to media outlets like the New York Times [1] and the London Evening Standard [2], search terms such as “how do I get divorced” peak and trend at various points throughout the year.  It is no surprise that early January, or the first Monday back to work in January to be exact, is one of the most popular days to search for answers about the legalities and formalities of getting divorced. Another time this term peaks is March. Most experts surmise that by March, people have gathered their information and made their decisions on whether or not to begin a divorce proceeding. 

As a life coach who specializes in helping people navigate major life transitions, I often encounter people in the depths of despair.  Maybe the couple has just experienced an infidelity or perhaps the kids have finally left home and they are now experiencing the full discord of their rocky marriage, or, maybe one partner has prioritized his or her career over the needs of their spouse. Whatever the reason, people reach out to professionals, like me, in these trying times. Most people navigating a negative life change like divorce, separation, or the ending of a life-partnership need support, guidance, and clarity during this very tumultuous time. 

I approach helping my clients through this by helping them build a roadmap of where they have been and where they are going. I also assist my clients in acknowledging and accepting that the future will be different than the past. That’s not good or bad; it just is.

As a certified Seasons of Change Coach, I use the analogy of four seasons to help guide my clients through this change.  Everyone knows that the season of summer feels abundant, bright, and hopeful. And many people have experienced the despair, pain, and darkness of a long, cold winter.  Most often, however, I encounter people in the season of fall. Fall is when things begin to change.

It’s possible you have planning your separation for a long time and you are entering into this change with open eyes and a carefully planned approach. But for many people, the talk of divorce comes in with an element of surprise and savagery about it.  Although you knew your marriage was troubled, you thought you could work it out. But no number of weekends away together or time huddled around your computer avoiding conversation with your spouse could help. You are here, in this very dark and scary new territory, contemplating yourself as a single working mother or a weekend dad without a plan of how to move forward. You are stuck.  This was not part of your life plan.

I hear you and I understand the grief, anger, sadness, fear, anxiety, and panic that comes along with this major life transition.  Asking for help from friends, family, and a professional are imperative at this time.  Divorce is extremely draining- it drains your energy, your time, your joy, and your finances.  It is a daunting task to undertake emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually.  Not to mention the impact it makes on your children and your pets. You barely have the energy to brush your teeth, let alone help your kids with their math homework or take your dog for a walk.

As your coach, I will guide you through the process and keep you motivated, centered, and calm when the waters become rocky. I will also help you live a value-aligned, purposeful life as you transition and transform into this next phase of life. I will teach you how to navigate the transition from fall to winter, winter to spring, and spring to summer.  Navigating each season fully and in proper order is essential to creating healthy, sustainable change in your life.  As much as we would love to move from fall to spring without ever experiencing the blustery cold winds, dark nights, and black ice of winter, we simply cannot.  We must journey through each season of our life just as we travel the seasons outside.  Preparation, understanding, and acceptance of each season and its purpose is key to coming into the full beauty of summer that awaits you.

Are you curious about coaching? Would you like to know more about my approach? Feel free to set-up a free consultation by clicking here. In this call we will discover if we are good fit for each other. Let’s talk!

One final note. Divorce is really difficult. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or some other significant mental illness due to this event, it’s understandable. Please reach out to a professional mental health counselor or psychotherapist to get the support you need. You can conect to someone in your area by using Psychology Today. You can also also access the Suicide Prevention Hotline or Crisis Text Line 24/7 from the USA.

Carrie Mead, MS is a Professional Life Coach, Psychotherapist, and Reiki practitioner based in Maryland. Carrie created Curiosity Life Coaching to help men and women successfully navigate major life transitions such as retirement, divorce, career changes, and loss. Carrie provides guidance, support, and empowering exercises to help her clients redefine and enact on their life’s mission following a major life transition. Connecting authentically and compassionately forms the basis of all of Carrie’s personal and professional relationships. Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from McDaniel College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Gettysburg College. Learn more by visiting www.curiositylifecoaching.com


[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/04/style/january-divorce-month.html

[2] https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/divorce-day-2020-january-split-relationship-marriage-a4327181.html

Strategic Decision Making Skills

Have you ever had a difficult time making a decision? Perhaps you have rushed into a decision and then regretted it either instantly or months later. Maybe you are so indecisive that decisions simply never get made and you are left feeling stuck in your situation. Maybe you have made decisions that were in direct conflict with your long-term goals or vision for your life. With the countless decisions you have made in your life, have you ever stopped and wondered how these past decisions have impacted the trajectory of your life?

In our busy lives, decisions are made at rapid speed and they are often made without adequate thought and consideration of the consequences. How many times have you made an important decision while multi-tasking or, worse yet, when you were tired, hungry or emotional? I will be writing on more on this topic soon. Suffice to say, I am quite certain that if you have made decisions under these conditions then the results were less than stellar.

On the other hand, your decision-making skills may lean away from impulsive towards indecisive. Wavering minds have a tendency towards uncertainty, anxiety and self-doubt. If you are inclined towards indecisiveness, you probably spend countless hours lost in a barrage of ‘what ‘if’’ thinking that ultimately leaves you feeling anxious, depressed, tired, stuck and hopeless.  

No matter which is your dominant decision-making style, chances are, you have made some good decisions in your life and you have made some poor ones as well.  Have you ever stopped to consider the circumstances that lead to those good decisions or bad decisions? By exploring your past, you have rich and valuable information for your future. 

Below is an exercise that you can use for the purpose of self-discovery. As always, when setting off on a journey, you want to be prepared. This is as true for today’s journey as it would be for setting off on a road trip across the country. Preparation for today’s journey of self-discovery should include setting aside ample time for completing the exercise, being well rested and comfortable in your setting and being prepared to take notes. To get the most of out of this experience, you will also need to set aside time in a few days for reflection on the experience. 

Step 1: Start with free writing. Just jot down all those thoughts swirling around your mind, whatever they are. Those ‘things’ that if left unattended will distract you from being present in this moment. Once that list is complete, put it aside knowing that it will be there for you when you are done. Give thanks for the time are you taking for yourself and quiet your mind.

Step 2: Create two lists. One list will consist of the ‘good’ decisions you have made in recent memory. A good decision may have led a good night’s sleep, an awesome date with your spouse, paying off a debt early or saying no to someone or something unsavory. The other list will consist of all those ‘bad’ decisions you have made. Those decisions which moved you out of alignment with your goals. This list may include decisions which catapulted you further into debt or added 10lbs to your waist line or ended a healthy romantic relationship.

Step 3: Review these lists. What immediately comes to mind as you read and re-read them? Jot these intuitive thoughts down. If they do not make sense now, they might later. Remember, as part of your preparation, you are setting aside time to reflect on this experience later this week. Never dismiss your intuition.  Do you see patterns of behaviors that repeat themselves overtly or covertly as you reflect and review? Whatever your reaction, it’s important to honor and acknowledge it.  

Step 4: Now you are ready to delve into just one experience from each list. Start with whichever list you prefer and remember to take notes! Begin by recalling what was going on at the time you made this particular decision. Were you focused and thoughtful or were you rushed, harried or impulsive? Were you well-rested and clear minded or were you tired and pushed for time? Did you consult with someone you trusted before making this decision or did you trust only yourself? Did you listen to your intuition or did you ignore it? Were there red flags you chose to ignore? Did you consider how this decision aligned with your long and short-term goals? Were you multi-tasking or day dreaming at the time you made your choice or were you fully present in the moment? Carefully consider these questions as they will provide you with personal insight and a chance for transformation and growth.

Step 5: Now that you’ve recalled this experience, reflect on the end result and consequences of your decision. Were you surprised by the results? Did things happen as you planned? Did you get the result you were hoping for or did you miss the target? What advice could you offer your younger-self about this topic knowing all that you do now? What did you do well in this decision-making process? Has the impact of this decision been less or more than you anticipated?  Sometimes the most surprising thing that we learn is that you spend entirely too much time worrying about the wrong thing! Complete this exercise again choosing one event from your other list.

Step 6: Lastly, think about a decision you need to make now or in the near future. How can you apply the information you gleaned from this experience to your current situation? Do you have a new perspective on this situation? Do you have new insight about your decision-making patterns? Do you have a new skill or tool to use that you didn’t before? Is your intuition crying out to be heard or is fear’s voice the loudest? Is there a friend or mentor you can reach out to for advice?  Has anything shifted?

Wherever you are at this moment with your pending decision, take time to care for yourself by delaying your choice until you have slept well. Yes, you heard me, sleep first, decide later. Neuroscience and sleep research make it clear that decisions are best made after a good night’s sleep.  The simple reason is that during sleep the brain eliminates distractions from the day by filtering out the ‘useless’ information and stimuli you received during the day to make room for the important information to emerge. Just think of all the colors, sounds, and images you experience as you scroll through social media for a few minutes. Our brains are constantly processing this information and storing it until we sleep when these stimuli can be filtered, filed or let go. This clearing process, which happens during deep non-REM sleep, allows the important information of the day to come forth. Following a good sleep, you will often have a fresh perspective that biologically could not have existed the previous day. (For more on the importance of quality sleep I highly recommend the movie “Sleepless in America” by National Geographic and the National Institute of Health. The entire movie is available for free on Youtube or DVD from your local library).

One reason why people like you seek the support of a life coach is to learn effective decision-making skills. Poor decision-making skills adds immeasurable stress to your life and ultimately robs you of the peace you deserve. If any of the above scenarios resonate with you, life coaching can help. As your coach, I will come along aside you to offer space, time, fresh perspectives, empowerment trainings, brainstorming exercises and guidance as you determine if your current patterns of thoughts and behaviors are aligning you with your goals or moving you away from your desired outcomes. 

Decision-making skills can be learned and re-learned. They are teachable, adaptable and extremely important in your adult life. As a life coach and mental health therapist, I have borne witness to the impact a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ decision has on the trajectory of one’s life countless times. 

It is my greatest desire to assist you in making conscious, intentional and healthy choices for your life.  Want to know more about the benefits of life coaching, click below. I will be happy to offer you a complimentary first session so that you can experience the power of life coaching first-hand. You can reach me, Carrie C. Mead, by email at: curiositylifecoaching@gmail.com or at LinkedIn.

Carrie C. Mead, MS

Professional Life Coach

Certified Seasons of Change Coach

The benefits of hiring a professional life coach

We all go through periods of time when we could benefit from some wise, objective, and thoughtful support to reach our goals.  Friends and family can be great for offering advice, but life coaching isn’t about advice-giving.  Life coaching is about empowering you to identify your desires, set your intentions and then, of course, achieve your goals.  

Whether you are an entrepreneur, a working mother, a college student, a highly respected expert in your professional arena or just starting your adult life, life coaching can be beneficial to your personal and professional development.  Although many niches exist within the realm of life coaching, all coaches have one common goal and that is to help you, the client, set and achieve your goals.  This is why I feel so strongly that everyone can benefit from professional life coaching.   

Maybe as you read this, it occurs to you that you don’t have a clear goal or sense of direction for your life.  What a great realization!  Life coaching can assist you in getting clear on your values, your purpose and your passions. Through this process, undoubtably, goals will arise and hopefully excitement will arise about the possibilities for your future.

If your interest is piqued, here are some brief exercises of self-discovery to help you hone into the aspects of your life that are flowing in the right direction and where you need to direct extra attention. Make time for yourself to sit quietly and thoughtfully with the questions below. Have some materials nearby for taking notes; I prefer pen and paper, but you may prefer taking notes on a computer or dictating thoughts into your phone. No matter the method, it’s important to take notes! 

Do not rush the process, self- discovery and intentional inquiry take time. These exercises are designed to get you off auto-pilot and back into your present life. If you enter this exercise with an open and curious mind, you will have a lot of fun and discover something unknown about yourself.  

  1. When is the last time you experienced overwhelming joy? What were you doing? Who were you with? What surprised you by your joyous reaction? Describe this time in detail in your notes and replay it in your mind as if it were happening now.  Engage your five senses. What do you see, hear, smell, feel and taste as you recall this memory?  What stands out about this memory or experience?
  • How and when do you know when you are in the flow of life?  What are the signals you receive internally (i.e. sensations in your body, physical health, dreams or thoughts in your mind) and externally (i.e. how do you engage with others and how do they respond to you)? How can you create more of this in your life? Is there a specific action, thought or way of being that might help you create this experience again, no matter what’s going on around you?
  • Reflect on just one major area of your life such as your profession, your finances, your romantic relationship or your spiritual practice.  Is this area of your life as fulfilling and abundant as you want it to be? Are you dedicating time and energy to this area?  If so, how?  Be specific. Does this area of your life bring you joy, pride and a sense of fulfillment? Or does this area leave you with a sense of dread, regret or fear?  Are you possibly ignoring this area of your life simply because you don’t how to move forward or are you over-focused on this successful area of life while ignoring less appealing aspects of your life? Be honest with yourself. Describe your thoughts, feelings and intentions around this subject.  At a later time, you can repeat this exercise with another focus.

As you have worked through these teachings, reflect on what you have learned.  Have common themes or patterns arisen? If so, are these patterns facilitating your growth or impeding you?  Reflection is a process, so pay attention to what arises for your in the coming days and weeks as you continue to think through these self-discovery lessons.  

The experience of receiving life coaching is a way to discover unknown aspects (aka, Shadow work) of ourselves, and, perhaps most importantly, make changes in our lives so that we are truly living the life we desire.  Without action steps, the self-discovery is somewhat inefficient. What good is it to understand all aspects of ourselves- known and unknown; light and dark; positive and negative- but then do nothing to make adjustments accordingly? Taking action and bridging the gap between where you are today and where you want to be is a key component of life coaching. With this in mind, a professionally trained life coach will assist you in creating and executing a strategy for your life.

Again, the benefits of creating the plan or new years resolution without follow-through are quite limited.  I believe all of us have had ‘great plans’ that never materialized. This is a common human experience. With a life coach by your side, you are sure to take to those action steps. Think of your life coach as your accountability partner.  This means that as you create your plans and make commitments to the steps of your plan, your coach will hold you responsible for taking the steps. That doesn’t mean you must complete each step exactly as planned, but it does mean that you will explore, adjust and refocus if you find you are unable or unwilling to stay on task.  This is a fundamental part of the process of coaching. And, all the while, you are supported by your coach.

Are you intrigued? Do you want to know more? Are you ready to get started? Set-up a free consultation by clicking here.

I would be happy to answer any questions you have or to offer you a free phone consultation to assess if I would be the right professional life coach for you.   As with all healing professions, not every coach is right for every client nor is every client right for every coach.   This free consultation will help us find out if we’re a good fit for one another. I look forward to hearing from you when the time is right.

You can reach me,  Carrie C. Mead, by email at: curiositylifecoaching@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook @curiositylifecoaching, Instagram @curiositylifecoachandreiki or the web at: www.curiositylifecoaching.com.

Carrie Mead, MS
Curiosity Life Coaching
Baltimore, MD

Do I need a life coach or a therapist?

Carrie Mead, MS
Transitions Life Coach
Curiosity Life Coaching

As a psychotherapist and life coach, people always ask me the difference between my two roles. People are always curious about what I do. They are also want to know how to discern what they need. Basically, is  their problem coachable or therapeutic in nature?

So, with this blog, I want to address frequently asked questions about the differences between psychotherapy and life coaching. It’s not uncommon for people to confuse these two professions and to be sure, similarities do exist. However, these professions are not interchangeable. These waters can become even murkier as many counselors, like me, are practicing as both licensed counselors and life coaches. However, when you a hire a coach with a Masters in Counseling, like me, you can rest assured that the foundation of our work together is rooted in my innate understanding of the human psyche.

It’s important to note that as a potential client, you are not expected to know exactly what you need. As a trained professional, I am here to guide you to the right service based on your needs, capabilities, and desires. That is where my expertise comes in. In any event, it’s still important to be an informed consumer so I have laid out this simple bullet points to help guide you through the decision making process.

differences between counseling and coaching

  • Coaching sessions are focused on the agenda set by client
  • Coaching is action oriented and results driven
  • Coaching takes place in the here and now, not in the past
  • Coaching assumes that you are resilient, strong, capable and healthy
  • Coaching focuses on aligning your strengths with your stated goals
  • Coaching assumes that you are the expert of your own life purpose
  • Coaching is a collaborative process
  • Coaching is credentialed in many different ways by many governing bodies but in reality, no certification or credential is required to call oneself a coach
  • Coaching can take place by phone, video or in person across the USA or worldwide

VS

  • Therapy is process oriented
  • Therapy focuses on emotions, behaviors and thoughts and the root of these feelings
  • Therapy helps the client relate current situations to past traumas or learned experiences
  • Therapy assesses for and diagnoses mental health disorders
  • Therapy provides treatement for mental health disorders
  • Therapists are trained at the Masters Level and are required to be licensed by their state in almost every state in the USA. Each state has their own regulation and reqirements, all are rigourous to ensure client safety
  • Therapy is often considered “medically necessary” and is covered by health insurance
  • Therapy is a medical model which is governed by the laws of HIPAA
  • Therapy can only take place in person or by secure video; most therapy laws prohibit the use of many technologies
  • The therapist is often considered the expert within the relationship
  • The practice of therapy or counseling is regulated by the state board in each state across the USA. A therapist may only practice or do counseling with a client who is located in the state in which the therapist is licensed.

similarities between counseling and coaching:

  • Both professions require specialized trainings, certifications, course work, internships and in-vivo field practice
  • Both professions have the same inherent goal of assisting clients create fulfilling lives
  • Both coaches and therapists are highly trained, empathetic, and intelligent
  • Both professions recognize and honor that each person is different and that there is no ‘one size fits all’ recipe for healing and success
  • Both professions adhere to ethical guidelines which foster safety within the relationship

It’s the job of the coach to help you, the client, understand these differences so that you choose the appropriate service for your needs. As the consumer, you are entitled to understand what coaching is, and is not, so that you can knowledgeably enter the coaching contract. In traditional psychotherapy, we would make this part of the informed consent process. A thorough initial phone call or video call should include: establishing rapport, assessing your readiness for coaching and explaining the limitations of coaching.

It’s my belief that both coaching and therapy are vital and helpful services for many people. There is no ‘better’ or ‘less than’ helping profession. It’s actually this diversity which allows us to have access to the services we need most at a particular time in life.

If you would like to explore the possibility of life coaching or counselling with me, please set up an appointment here. I provide mental health therapy in the state of Maryland only and you can find out more about my counseling philosophy here.

Carrie Mead, MS is a Professional Life Coach, Psychotherapist, and Reiki practitioner based in Maryland. Carrie created Curiosity Life Coaching to help men and women successfully navigate major life transitions such as retirement, divorce, career changes, and loss. Carrie provides guidance, support and empowering exercises to help her clients redefine and enact on their life’s mission following a major life transition. Connecting authentically and compassionately forms the basis of all of Carrie’s personal and professional relationships. Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from McDaniel College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Gettysburg College. Learn more by visiting www.curiositylifecoaching.com

“Just as the boat is guided to shore by careful planning, following the map and visualizing the light house, we too must have these tools to reach our goals. Without preparation, planning and a vision of the future we are just afloat in the sea at the mercy of the winds”

Carrie Mead, MS, LCPC
Curiosity Life Coaching