Working Mothers' ezine ~Create the Life You Want to Live~
May 2007

Greetings,

Happy Mother's Day! Take a moment for yourself and check out my new website for working mothers: www.workingmotherscoach.com. Also, note the launch of the Working Mothers' Balance ProgramĀ© - 90 days, one goal - under the workshops tab.

In in-depth interviews I recently conducted with 25 executive mothers across the U.S., they cited guilt as their number one challenge. Guilt that they have to leave their kids to go to work, guilt that going to work sometimes feels like a welcome break from their kids and guilt when they have to leave work early to pick up their kids.

Whether it's guilt related to being a working parent or guilt related to something else in your life, this month's article provides practical coaching solutions to help you better manage your guilt.

To your health, happiness and success,
Amber

In this Issue
  • How to Manage Guilt So It Doesn't Manage You
  • Success Stories
  • Thank You

  • How to Manage Guilt So It Doesn't Manage You

    You've been there - you know the feeling. It's that nagging sense that you've done something wrong, unfair or otherwise inadequate and you can't stop beating yourself up about it. It may be part of all our lives but guilt doesn't have to run anyone's life.

    When was the last time you felt guilty? Perhaps it was when you didn't spend enough time with your family or friends. Or when you left work early or burned the kids' dinner.

    If you're a parent who works outside the home, you're probably all too familiar with these feelings of coming up short and not being the parent or professional you want to be. You may find that there's not enough time in the day to do everything perfectly and that something always has to give. This tug of war can be extremely challenging.

    In in-depth interviews I recently conducted with 25 executive mothers across the U.S., they cited guilt as their number one challenge. Guilt that they have to leave their kids to go to work, guilt that going to work sometimes feels like a welcome break from their kids and guilt when they have to leave work early to pick up their kids.

    Whether it's guilt related to being a working parent or guilt related to something else in your life, guilt is a self-limiting, self-sabotaging thought that holds you back from where you are now to where you want to be. Guilt, fear, worry and doubt are the biggest, most common self-limiting thoughts or beliefs. They often disguise themselves as your good, old, familiar friends that have kept you comfortable and safe. As long as you've listened to them, you've been OK.

    As much as guilt, fear, worry and doubt may have served you or kept you safe in the past, they may have also prevented you from finding a more rewarding job or taking that much deserved vacation. Or, they may have simply diverted your energy away from more important, meaningful things.

    The first step in managing these negative thoughts is noticing when they rear their ugly heads.

    The next time you're feeling guilty, take out a piece of paper and a pen and write down everything that comes to mind. If you get really curious about what happens when you feel guilty, you will learn more about your relationship to guilt and, as a result, be better able to manage guilt.

    Below are some questions to ask yourself:

    When did you start to feel guilty?
    What happened right before you started to feel guilty?
    How does guilt show up in your body?
    How does guilt serve you?
    What is the cost of feeling guilty?
    What else do you notice?

    Greater awareness of negative thoughts leads to better management of negative thoughts. Once you're aware of when, why and how you feel guilty, you'll be better able to manage guilt.

    The next step is to have an honest conversation with yourself. Did you do the best you could, given the situation? If the answer is yes, then you can work on giving yourself permission to let go of that guilt. If the answer is no, then you can come up with a plan to do better next time. Once you have your plan, it's time to give yourself permission to let go of that guilt.

    Easier said then done, right? Check back for an upcoming article on how to let go of perfection. Whether it's passing up overtime or weekend work to spend some extra time with your kids, living with a less than sparkling clean house or cooking simpler dinners, you probably have more choices than you think. It's just a matter of planning instead of automatically scheduling yours, and your family's, lives away.

    So, the next time you're feeling guilty, instead of cascading down the guilt spiral, simply notice the guilt and ask yourself some honest questions. Then, you can make an intentional choice about what to do next. You can't control negative thoughts but you can choose what you want to do about them. Isn't choice a beautiful thing?



    Amber Rosenberg is a professional life coach who helps working mothers manage their guilt and stress levels so they can enjoy more balance between kids, work, marriage, and personal time. She is a contributor to the book 'Inspiration to Realization', with a chapter on "How to Manage Your Love Hate Relationship with Time", a popular speaker, and a writer for Know Yourself Magazine. She also has 11 years marketing and PR experience for Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. To sign-up for a complimentary coaching consultation, order a signed copy of her book or sign-up for the Working Mothers' FREE monthly e-zine, go to www.pacificlifecoach.com


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    Success Stories:

    "Before working with Amber, I felt like I was constantly playing catch-up at home and at work. I was stressed out and exhausted and felt like I didn't have enough of myself to give. Through coaching, I've learned how to re-define my roles of mother, manager and wife and am enjoying what it feels like to be successful again."
    - Jessica Montel, director of marketing, mother of three

    "Amber's coaching has helped me to feel more in control of my time. I learned to focus on the things I absolutely have to do and how to say "no" or delegate for everything else. I'm getting more done in less time and am able to spend more quality time with my family."
    - Layla Adams, sales executive, mother of one



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    I'm a contributing author to the women's self-help book "Inspiration to Realization."
    Reviewed by Entrepreneur Magazine as 'summer's best bets for women', My chapter is called: 'How to Manage Your Love/Hate Relationship with Time'.

    Other chapters focus on: how to say 'no' without feeling guilty; tools to discover your secret weapon against stress; how to turn your small business into a brand-name success and much more.

    "The collective wisdom in this book is a critical resource for women who want to bring joy and fulfillment into their lives...every day."
    -- Ruth King, Author, The Ugly Truth about Small Business


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