Internal Preparation

How do you internally prepare for a challenging experience?

Getting ready for something you want to do really well in (think: exams, interviews, presentations, etc.) can cause an internal storm of shallow breaths, clammy armpits, and a gut that won’t stop turning somersaults. Remember the last time you felt that?

This week I took an oral exam for the Coaches Training Institute's coach certification program. It wasn’t about regurgitating technical terms. I had to prove I could be a professional coach by coaching the examiner. Gulp. With more than 135 hours of coaching during the last year and passing the written exam, logic told me that I was ready. But I sure didn’t feel like it on the inside. I was feeling all those internal storm sensations I talked about above. Now that the storm has passed, here’s what I noticed.

By the time we get to the challenging event, we’ve done as much intellectual prep as possible. Right? That’s not the hard part. The tricky part is believing (on the inside!) that we know the material, with our emotions and body in-synch so we can shine.

To prepare for my 9 am exam, I stuck to my normal morning routine of coffee, journaling, and oatmeal. Then, I added some yoga, breathing, stretching, a wee bit of Qi Gong, and lots of internal pep talks. I reminded myself of how I wanted to show up for the exam with the personal characteristics that would serve me best such as listening, focusing, and being curious. I could hear my coach’s voice reminding me, “Breathe, so your brain gets plenty of oxygen to function!”

Throughout this entire process, the shallow breathing, clammy armpits, and gut somersaults crept in. However, the prep work made them more of a passing rain shower than a full-on storm. I felt great at 9 am and ready to take my exam. After it was over, I felt really good about how I performed.

Phew…satisfied sigh of relief.

What will you do to prepare your whole self for the next challenge?

Oh, and remember to CELEBRATE!

In the spirit of knowing ourselves,


P.S. Would you like to know more about what I do?

I help individuals who want to step up into new leadership roles and yet are struggling on the inside to become that new leader on the outside.

I help small to medium sized organizations who want to create a cohesive environment and are struggling to get everyone on the same page and moving forward.

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Clutter Outside = Clutter Inside

Having a clear mind and a clear space allows you to think and act with purpose.
— Erika Oppenheimer

It's the very first day of 2015. Woohoo! Is your nest ready to incubate your dreams into fledgling actions?

My mom says, “Organization is the key to happiness!” Okay, that may be a bit over-zealous, but I've found that when my physical space is too cluttered, my thoughts become jumbled and chaotic. Like a heavy fog settling over a mountain peak, the mess obscures my thoughts.

Disclaimer: My son says he learned his "stop & drop" method from me so I may be extra talented in creating piles of stuff.

I’m not suggesting a perfectly organized life from your desk to your junk drawer. That would be over-the-top. I’m suggesting that you know when the clutter is out of control, when it’s distracting, when you can’t find anything, or when it’s an eyesore for you. That kind of clutter has a way of creeping from the outside into your inner world, and causing disruptive static when you try to tune into your inner voice. 

After I organize or clean-up something that has been bugging me, I feel more at peace and ready to dive into projects with my full, wholehearted attention. 


Take a baby step. For 15 minutes, organize or clean-up something. For example, separate everything from a pile based on whatever makes sense to you such as, making a separate stack for each room, file, or container and then putting it all away. 

Write in your journal or visually represent your thoughts to these prompts:

These 5 words describe how I feel about the notion of organizing or cleaning...

While I was cleaning/organizing, I felt...

Now that I'm finished, I feel...