The Power of Reflective Circles and How They’ve Changed Me

By | Reflections From My Quest | No Comments

September 9, 2017

I grew up the youngest of three sisters and have memories of sitting at the dinner table with my chin in my hands watching and listening to them talk. My oldest sister is very articulate and my middle sister so humorous. Between the two of them, I didn’t feel like I had anything worthwhile to add.

About fifteen years ago, I sat in my “Adult Reflection Circle” at Alternatives in Action where I worked and mentioned that I struggled with sharing what was on my mind.  I felt confident I could express myself in writing, but when it came to speaking, I hesitated. A member of the circle said, “That’s amazing to hear. Because when you get ready to talk, I lean in to hear more. I know I’m going to hear something powerful. You’re one of the most articulate people I know.”

That moment, when someone in the circle could see me in ways I couldn’t see myself, changed me. I began opening my mouth to speak more often, imagining that I had something someone might need to hear.

About ten years ago, my husband and I faced news that our oldest son Ryan, then a toddler, wasn’t developing typically and needed intensive intervention. I was angry, afraid and depleted. I reached out to some friends who had started their own personal reflection circle and said “I need in.” For the next five years, that circle supported and championed me, gave me the space to cry, laugh, and commit to action that was instrumental in Ryan thriving today.

In the year before launching Mother’s Quest, circles changed me again. I joined a Power Circle through Emerging Women, and shared out loud for the first time my vision for Mother’s Quest. The women in the circle reflected back the value in my ideas and the passion they saw in me to make it happen. Months later, I created my own “Founder’s Circle,” and convened a meeting to lay out my plans. The women, in the group asked me amazing questions,  clarified my thinking, and helped me develop a strategy. They also let me test out my ideas for a Mother’s Quest Circle and allowed me to witness the connection among mothers possible through my vision.

Mother’s Quest Circles – A Signature Experience to Spark Your E.P.I.C. Life

In every example, being part of a circle helped me become a bigger, more confident version of myself and gave me support to get clear and connected to my goals so I could take more effective action. As a CTI-trained coach and facilitator of reflective circles in the non-profit field for over 10 years, I’ve seen this same transformative experience happen again and again for those sitting in the circle.

That’s why, when I launched Mother’s Quest, I knew that Circles would be my signature coaching offer, the key vehicle for helping mothers live their version of a more E.P.I.C. life.

I’m so honored and excited to launch the first Mother’s Quest Circle Pilot, beginning this fall in the Bay Area, for an intimate group of women who are ready to take intentional, purposeful action in their lives and want to do it “in community” instead of alone.

We’ll meet in person for two hour sessions that will include the weaving in of coach skills training, personal introspection and sharing, and group coaching/reflection. Each member of the group will commit to one bold action step that they will complete before the end of our four month cycle. And, I’ll also offer one one-on-one coaching session at the time that feels most pivotal for each participant. Along the way, we’ll build close relationships, hold one another accountable to our aspirations, and help one another see the greatness in ourselves, as mothers and also as leaders with a unique impact to make.

Next Steps – Apply Today!

The first review of applications begins September 10th, but I’ll continue to spread the word, reach out and answer questions until I find the right diverse group of like-minded mothers on a quest. Please take a look at the link for for more information and apply today if it feels like what YOU need to more fully live your E.P.I.C. life. Email me at julie@mothersquest.com if you have any questions I can answer. Not right for you, but may be for someone else? Please help spread the word.

Mother’s Quest Circle

I’m so grateful for the power of circles in my life and look forward to witnessing all the ways that being part of a Mother’s Quest Circle becomes a transformative experience for the women who say “yes” to this unique opportunity.

Seize the day, love your people, honor your gifts,

Julie

P.S. Plans are under way for a virtual circle. Follow the links to add your name to a wait list and be the first to know when applications open.

 

Women Podcasters in Solidarity

By | Reflections From My Quest | No Comments

August 12, 2017

On this day, a year ago, I learned that my childhood friend Leslie Rabinovitz Fischer passed away in the night after a three year battle with pancreatic cancer.

I sat down that morning to reflect on the lessons Leslie gave me about how to live my life and wrote the words that became the mantra that closes every Mother’s Quest Podcast Episode, “Seize the day, love your people, honor your gifts.”

I also wrote that there is no time for “bullshit.” There’s nothing like seeing your friend face mortality to put things in perspective.

This morning, a year later, I woke up to devastating news again. News about white supremacists marching in Virginia with torches and Nazi salutes.

My experience losing Leslie, and the messages that have become mantras, inspire me to move past my own “bullshit” today and into action…past my own limiting beliefs that I can’t really make a difference, that if I speak out in any way I’ll just say the wrong thing or do more harm, that I can’t handle the harsh judgement (on either side) from being visible on an issue like racism and police brutality.

Many may have seen posts from me in previous months, or listened to my conversation on the podcast with Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin about an initiative I’m working on to raise awareness and funds related to Black Lives Matter.

The initiative is not perfectly planned yet. I’m still trying to find guests for my podcast, speakers for my bay area event, and to find a fiscal sponsor for the Mother’s Quest Giving Fund. And, I haven’t officially invited other women podcasters to pledge to be a part.

But, what I’m waking up to this morning, with my memory of Leslie’s life lessons and the horrific news of yesterday, is there’s no time to wait. It will never be perfect. And, I want to be part of some positive action today in response to yesterday’s ugliness.

If you are a women podcaster (or live show host) with a platform and want to be part of the initiative, “Women Podcasters in Solidarity,” visit www.mothersquest.com/solidarity to sign up.

I envision this as a twice-yearly initiative for social justice with the first focus being on the Black Lives Matter Movement and raising awareness about racism. If you pledge to be involved, you would commit to doing a podcast episode on this subject between September and mid-November. There are additional optional pledges you could make which include inviting listeners to contribute to a related cause and talking to the children in your life about these issues in a developmentally appropriate way. In December, I’ll assemble a list of what was accomplished with links to all the episodes and spread the word about our collective impact.

If you’re a mother working on the frontlines of this issue and you’re open to helping to educate and raise awareness OR a mother who wants to learn, message me and sign up at www.mothersquest.com for email updates.

Appreciate any help spreading the word…

“Seize the day, honor your gifts, love your people.” And, expand that definition of what “your people” really means.

With love,

Julie

The Other Side of Resistance…Launching my Coaching Programs

By | Reflections From My Quest | No Comments

I just came out the other side of an internal battle and wanted to share it here and invite any thoughts from your own experience…

I’ve been dragging my feet on “launching” my coaching programs for Mother’s Quest after getting my LLC in September and a successful podcast launch in December.

At the end of the day, I think it’s fear, of success and failure, in equal measure.

So, when I went to write a post to invite mothers on a quest of their own for a coffee chat/discovery session, I still had some uncertainty.

At first, my post started “I’m getting ready to launch my coaching programs…”

Then, I caught myself and changed it to “I’m ready to launch…”

Even then, there was this distance in my language between the preparation for and the doing of. I could feel it. And I just got tired of it. The pain of staying in this stuck place just felt so much greater than the discomfort of diving in.

So, without hesitation, I changed the language to “I’m launching…” (like literally right this moment) and felt a wave of relief. An opening to new possibility and to the connection and impact I know are on the other side of this resistance I’ve been clinging to.

Even now, looking at the words, I’m certain there is another layer I could peel and I fully commit to shedding more.

What about you? Have you had a similar experience? Are you sitting in resistance right now? Where might you choose yourself and your gifts and cut through in this very moment?

Share in the comments. Would ❤️ to hear and learn…

And…if you are on the threshold of something important and need a coach and champion in your corner to support you, challenge you, and help hold you accountable to your aspirations, I’d love for you to be one of the five I’m holding space for a free discovery call with this week. Just email me and we’ll set up a time.

It’s time to bring my gifts, and all I’ve been learning from my journey and the Podcast, to others mothers on a quest, and ready to invest, in a truly E.P.I.C. life.

xoxo,

Julie

P.S. If you don’t need coaching, but know someone who might…I’d love if you hit forward and shared this invitation with a friend

Mother on a Quest: Mia Sutton

By | Mother on a Quest, Reflections From My Quest, Uncategorized | One Comment

Mia Sutton is a Jane of all trades. Wife, mother, writer, avid reader, Editorial Manager for Holl & Lane Magazine, and now the host of the (upcoming) Body of Hope podcast which aims to give a voice to survivors of sexual trauma. Mia is a graduate of George Mason University and spent many years working in local, state, and federal government in the higher education, administration, and human resources fields. She lives in Virginia with her husband and 2 sons.

Tell us a little about your childhood and the impact your mother had on shaping you…

I am an only child, and I spent a lot of my childhood holed up in my room reading books and writing stories in my journal. My parents divorced when I was 3 years old and I lived primarily with my mother and step-father, though I had (and still have) a very close relationship with my father. My relationship with my mother is complicated. To say the least. But she has made a couple of impacts on my life. 1) She is a hard worker. She will be 62 years young this year and she still works as many hours as she did when I was little; maybe even more since my step-father passed away a few years ago. She has never shied away from difficult situations or from doing what needs to be done. And I admire that. 2) She was what you would call a helicopter parent, often doing and speaking for me before I had a chance to do for myself. And I personally think that affected me negatively as I grew up and found myself in situations where I needed to navigate my own path.  I’ve tried very hard with my boys to give them the freedom to be who they are without trying to micro-manage every aspect of their lives. It’s a balance, for sure.

What has been a “spark moment” or “moments” that set you on your path?

A huge spark moment for me was becoming a part of the Holl & Lane Magazine team. Sarah Hartley, who is the creator, designer, and Editor in Chief of Holl & Lane, has created this amazingly beautiful, open, honest, loving community where women can come together and share their life experiences and know that they are not alone. I am so honored to work with her and the H&L team. The trust that people have in us to share their stories completely blows me away. H&L has shared stories on miscarriage, infertility, mental health, body image, love, loss, self-care, and so much more. And being surrounded by the truth and beauty of those stories every day inspired me to share my own and to no longer be afraid or ashamed of being honest.

What is your passion and purpose (the “P” in EPIC)?

My passion and my purpose is to bring awareness and openness to the subject of sexual trauma. It is one that often makes people very uncomfortable, but I truly believe that it’s something that needs to be discussed. I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and it is something that I tried to avoid dealing with for most of my life, even though the damage it caused was tremendous. I felt ashamed and unworthy and unlovable for many years. But it wasn’t my fault. And I think that message needs to be etched into the minds and souls of every survivor. So, in creating the podcast, I hope to not only give a voice to survivors of sexual trauma, but also to share a shining message of hope – that what happened to you doesn’t define you.

What is one of your favorite things to do, related to one of the E.P.I.C. guideposts?

My favorite thing to do is related to the E in E.P.I.C. My family and I are avid movie-watchers and love nothing more than to be at home with a giant bowl of popcorn watching a funny movie together. It might not be fancy, but that time together is so precious to me. Plus, movies always offer teachable moments that give me the opportunity to bring those up with my kids.

What are you currently reading or listening to for inspiration?

I’m currently reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’ve heard from many people that there are parallels between the book and today’s political/social climate, so I’m very interested to find out more. But generally, I read a lot of poetry. Words are everything to me – and poetry is like fine art for the soul.

What is one message or affirmation you tell yourself to ground you on your quest?

“I am stronger than I know.” Meaning that no matter what life throws at me, I can get through it. The obstacles might seem insurmountable, but instead of giving up, I remind myself that there’s always a way.

In one word, what are you seeking most right now on your Quest?

Healing.

What challenge or offering would you like to share with the Mother’s Quest Community?

I would like to encourage the Mother’s Quest Community to fully embrace authenticity. There are so many times that we put on a smile when we’re not smiling inside, or tell people that we’re fine when we’re not. And I think it’s OK to be real, it’s OK to let people know that you make mistakes or you’re struggling just like everyone else. You never know who might be out there going through the exact same thing you are and just needed you to speak up so that they could say, “me, too.”

So, I challenge the MQ Community to share 1 thing (with a friend or loved one, or on social media, or wherever) that is 100% real. No sugar-coating. Just let it all out. And then see how you feel afterwards. It always leaves me feeling lighter and often leads to some really meaningful discussions.

And then if you feel the need for more honest conversations about the trials and triumphs of life, sign up to receive a FREE mini-issue of Holl & Lane Magazine here: http://www.hollandlanemag.com/signup/

 

Do you want to share how you are living your truly E.P.I.C. life? Be featured on the weekly Mother on a Quest series by sending in your story here – http://mothersquest.com/mother-on-a-quest-application/

Is this soul-fueled invitation right for you?

By | Reflections From My Quest | One Comment

April 12, 2017

When I decided a year ago this week I was ready to live what I now call my E.P.I.C. life, and turn a long-held dream for Mother’s Quest into a reality, I had so many questions.

I purchased this “Create” journal and began capturing all my thoughts. And, one thing I wrote down I knew with certainty. I didn’t want to do it alone. I would need guides to help light my way.

A few months in, I found one of my most powerful guides in Amber Lilyestrom. A mother on a quest herself, Amber had a unique vision for supporting women like me to create their online ventures, a Soul-Fueled CEO Academy with a unique blend of business, branding, and life strategy and coaching.

In the last six months, as I laid a foundation for Mother’s Quest –filed for an LLC, created my branding and a website, grew a facebook group community, and launched and completed the first season of a podcast, the wise counsel from Amber, and the tight-knit community she built within the Academy, have guided me every step of the way.

Though I joined mid-year, I deep-dived into so much that the Academy had to offer: monthly coaching calls (which I always left with greater clarity and connection) guest expert offerings, access to Amber’s private heart-felt and honest facebook live shares, and a community where I could post my questions any time of the day and find the answers I needed.

My decision to join Amber’s Academy has been a saving grace during many uncertain moments. I’m so grateful I joined the Academy and have it as a forever home to provide guidance and support.

And, beginning next week, I will join a new cohort in completing ten soul-fueled modules that I’ve seen bring profound clarity and movement to other members of the Academy. I know I’ve only scratched the surface of all I can learn from Amber.

SOUL-FUELED MOTHER’S QUEST BONUS

As an affiliate of Amber’s program, I’m excited to invite women from the Mother’s Quest community, who could also benefit from a forever home to support their ventures, an opportunity to join the Academy and benefit from the value and support that it provides. Take a look here and see if the Academy fills your unmet needs as it did mine.

If the Academy is right for you and you decide to join through Mother’s Quest, a percentage of your fees will help Mother’s Quest continue to grow, and will also connect you to a Mother’s Quest bonus:

-One hour-long one-on-on coaching session with me to delve deeper into your E.P.I.C. life in whichever way would be most helpful to you.

-Three one hour facilitated “Mother’s Quest Reflection Circles”, via Zoom, with a group of no more than ten mothers on a quest like yourself. We’ll do one within the first few months of the Academy launch, one mid-way through and another closer to the end, to set intentions and gather learnings for connecting our experience as mothers and entrepreneurs. (note: need a minimum of six women to sign up for this part of the bonus)

There are a maximum of ten spots available for this bonus And, if you are one of the ten that this feels right for, I would be excited and honored to be alongside you on this journey.
NEXT STEPS

If you’re creating something of your own and don’t want to do it alone, take some time on Amber’s page to learn more about what she offers, post any questions in the Mother’s Quest page or group (where Amber is also a member), and/or message or email me with your thoughts. If you want the Mother’s Quest bonuses, make sure to let me know so you can sign up through the affiliate link.

I’ll also be doing a facebook live with Amber this week to talk about my experience and will post the link in these comments here.

Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on this last year, all the growth that has come, and the ways in which the Soul-Fueled CEO Academy has helped me along the way.

I join the live round of the Academy’s modules next week and I’m excited to see what new transformation is around the corner. Hope you’ll be right there with me!

xoxo,

Julie

P.S. If you haven’t yet listened to my interview with Amber on the Mother’s Quest Podcast, you can find it here and it would be a great way to learn more about her and hear her words of wisdom

How did I do that?

By | Reflections From My Quest | No Comments

I was on vacation last week! Woo hoo! ?

Such great timing to take an exhale after season one of the podcast and have some time to really connect with myself and my family.

One highlight from the trip was watching Jacob swim for the first time without his swim instructor next to him or a swim vest.

He went in without the vest to see if he could do it “just one time,” but after making it to the other side of the pool with ease, he said out loud “How did I do that?”

I love how he really witnessed and took in, with delight, his accomplishment. He then proceeded to swim that way for the next hour.

On the other side of uncertainty was a newfound confidence, joy and pride.

I realize I felt similarly when I wrote my post to you Sunday morning reflecting on the season. I scrolled through all the 18 episodes and thought “How did I do that?”

This has me curious about you. What have you accomplished recently that stopped you in your tracks to pause, acknowledge your growth and celebrate?

Or, what are you dreaming about or gearing up to do that has you feeling uncertain? And, how might I or someone in the Mother’s Quest Group help?

I would love if you took a minute to share in the comments…

Love,