Intellectual Wellness

Intellectual Wellness

What comes to mind when you think of Intellectual Wellness? When we are children our brains are constantly taking in new information, problem-solving, and stretching.  As we age, many of us fall into comfortable patterns. Perhaps we’ve been doing the “same” work for 10, 15 or even 30 years now with little variety or need to take on new skills? 

Intellectual Wellness is all about recognizing your creative abilities and expanding  your knowledge and skills – whatever the area! Diminishing the importance of Intellectual Wellness is one component that often leads to that feeling of “playing small”.  When we know we have gifts and talents to share with the world, but man, the fears of “not enough” or perfectionism block us from confidently sharing. When we stop growing mentally, it can lead to lack of energy and atrophy in other areas. 

So, what’s the best way to combat this downfall? How do we spark more interest in this dimension of wellness?

Curiosity. Simple. Raw. Curiosity… for anything! And everything!

When I partner with coaching clients who rate their Intellectual Wellness at an 8, 9, or 10 (on a 1-10 scale) very often they have a couple of things in common.

  • They embrace their love of learning.

  • They read.

  • They recognize mental stimulation as an enhancement to their lives and overall wellness.

  • They have a hobby that is challenging and allows space for creativity  (i.e: dance lessons, playing a musical instrument, tinkering with technology, taking up a new language, cooking classes). 

The benefits of a hobby like that is two-fold. They are creating new neuropathways by trying something new AND they’re experiencing the benefits of single-focus on an enjoyable pastime.  Often, this is when people experience that sense of “flow”.  Have you experienced that before? That feeling you get when you engage with something for hours and not count the minutes?  For me, it’s volleyball. I’ve loved it from a young age and can play for hours. I’m completely immersed in the physical and mental challenge and simple fun of the game. 

On the flip-side, multi-tasking is a great way to kill your sense of Intellectual Wellness and growth.  When we do that, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.  We’re relying on our brain to jump between two (or 5!) different tasks and the energy is taxing.  As a result, we give up easier and we don’t feel productive.  We’re exasperated that it wasn’t as fun as we remember when we were young.
This is the perfect opportunity to take on the habits of a child!

  • Turn your cell phone off.

  • Allow yourself some S P A C E, (get bored).

  • Let go of expectations that something “should” be a certain way.

  • Embrace the process of learning. 

We humans crave challenge! My challenge to you… what’s one way you can support your Intellectual Wellness this week? Brush the dust off that book on your nightstand…order that “How to build a computer for dummies”…explore Coursera… dig out that old instrument… The options as endless! Have fun!
You may be surprised that taking care of your health in this way – Intellectual Wellness – overflows to other dimensions and your greater sense of well-being.

To Your Wellness,

Celebrating 3 Years!


Three years ago today I launched Lumina Advocacy & Coaching. This anniversary almost passed me by without fanfare...but I believe in taking time to celebrate. To celebrate is to acknowledge. And man, there is so much to acknowledge about launching a business!

Reflecting on my journey as an entrepreneur, I remember the decision to launch a business was riddled with much stress and tears. It meant leaving my beloved Twin Cities. It meant saying “farewell” to friends who had turned into family after living in Minnesota for almost 9 years. It meant confronting the fears and limiting beliefs such as,

“I’m not smart enough to start a business.”
“Where will I find clients?”
“I don’t know anything about running a business.”
And, “What if I don’t know all the answers” (Ha! of course I never will).

Those questions pointed to a larger issue.  I was playing small….in my work, in my relationships, and in what I thought I was capable of. This internal dialogue felt heavy and near impossible to move toward what I was passionate about.  

So, I asked for help! I worked through all of those questions (and hundreds more) with a Business/Life Coach who held up the mirror to help me see and build on the many things I had going for me, rather than magnify what I perceived as deficits. I started deciphering truth from untruths and put action steps to my dreams.  I am forever grateful to Sara Lebens who beautifully supported me during that time and for the way our journeys intertwined. 

 Moving to Kansas and deciding to launch was a risk. Let me tell you, that’sexactly why I needed to do it. 

Because the greater risk was in staying…

Perhaps you’ve experienced this before, the pain of playing small? Have you had that tug on your heart to step more into the gifts and talents you’ve been given? Have you desired to expand outward with all the best parts of yourself to serve your loved ones? Do the fears loom large? Was it hard to see the light?

I was stuck there, and it felt crappy. I had a choice: stay, feel crappy, and continue to get by, or jump.  In early 2016 I realized I could no longer operate by shrinking my dreams, shrinking my talents, and putting a glass-ceiling on what I thought I was capable of.

So I jumped! I leaned into the risk. I decided that I was going to be okay with discomfort. I shifted my mindset from “I’m not smart enough” to, “I am enough” and, “What can I learn today?”

What a wild ride it has been! I can honestly say I have loved every minute of it.Today, 3 years later...

I am so grateful for all the learning
I am so grateful to my amazing community of support encouraging me onward.
I am so grateful to have challenges that bring me energy.
I am so grateful to embrace what is “new” and “different”.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to explore and decide the healthiest path for me, my business, and my clients.

I am so grateful to live a life that feels BIG.

It’s a life built on my strengths, built on my passions, and designed with wellness in all areas of my life in mind.

Lumina means, “to bring light to”.  It’s a reminder to myself to share my light with others, as well as a calling to support others in finding their light.  Partnering with clients and witnessing breakthrough moments is the greatest gift of being a coach.  For as many people are on this earth, there are that many ways to live BIG.  My aim is to continue partnering with men and women to confront the ways they’re playing small and design a life that embodies what “living BIG” means for them.

Thank you for being a part of my journey and celebrating with me!

Financial Wellness

How is your relationship with money?

Is that a difficult question to answer or fairly easy to describe? Are you feeling icky just having a question about money proposed? Do you feel embarrassment creeping up in relation to certain spending habits?

The third Dimension of Wellness is Financial Wellness. Financial Wellness encompasses your current and future financial satisfaction. Perhaps you haven’t thought about the flow of money in and out of your life as a relationship? Or, pondered how money -- the surplus, the lack thereof, and everything in between -- is a huge component of your financial wellness, but it’s not the only aspect to consider. 

For instance, a 40 year-old doctor could be earning $20,000 per month, paying all of her bills and meeting all of her material needs, yet she does not feel financially well or satisfied.

An 80 year-old retiree could be living with a more modest $2,000 per month income, yet feel incredibly well financially. 

What’s the difference?
It comes down to how they are living out their values.

In coaching partnerships, we often land at this intersection of how values lay the foundation within each dimension of wellness. When you’re making decisions from a place of integrity, you will feel more at peace in your life. When you operate with clarity in regards to what success looks like for you and your financial goals, then you will feel more at peace in your life. This is regardless of what the dollar amounts in your bank accounts add up to! 

If your values are unknown. Or, they’re known, but belittled or left to the wayside as you’re making choices regarding your financial wellness, it’s very possible something feels out of balance.  You are the expert on you. Coaching partnerships give you the space to be curious about your experience and start making decisions that are more aligned with your values. You do that, and I guarantee your sense of satisfaction in regards to Financial Wellness will increase.

When we come back to what we can control - which is actually loads of things when it comes to making financial decisions – we are able to influence where we want to go. 

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Taylor Richardson with Engage Advisors about money management. As someone who interacts daily with clients to help them align their wealth goals with their income and expenses, he has great advice for approaching what can be a difficult topic to discuss. One of the first exercises he conducts with a new client is an Expense Audit that often ends up being an eye-opening experience in uncovering the client’s relationship with money. Some of his clients have called it a “gut check” for how their spending now impacts their future financial options and satisfaction.

It’s no surprise that it’s vitally important to paint a realistic picture of financial NEEDS versus WANTS. Yet, how often do we try to skim over the nitty-gritty details rather than stare our money-spending-habits right in the face?  Taylor tactfully facilitates further exploration and decision-making processes around non-negotiable expenses and other categories. This can be a simple, yet profound, exercise for those curious about their spending habits and the effect it will have on their future. 

Our relationship with money is not one-way – a gimme, gimme, gimme.  The way we purchase items that support us, find opportunities to share generously with our families, friends, and communities, and create safety nets for The Unknown, it all influences our Emotional Wellness.

If you’re currently in a financial situation that you find stressful or unsatisfying, I invite you to spend some time evaluating your relationship with money. 

  • Have you mentally put a glass ceiling on what you can earn?

  • Do you have negative energy to air out surrounding how you have historically felt treated by money?

  • Perhaps the ways in which you were shown to manage money early in life were not best practices to follow?

Jen Sincero dives into money management practices in her best-selling book, You Are a Badass. In the chapter, Money, Your New Best Friend, she reminds us that, “Money is not only a blessing, it is a responsibility.” With that responsibility, there are infinite ways to attract money and the financial abundance you seek.

As a Life Coach, I have the opportunity to help my clients gain awareness about their relationship with money and its connectedness with their own wellbeing. Here are a few ideas for how you can begin to reflect on your relationship with money and start planning (and even saving!) for your future:

 Get Detailed

  • On what you want to save for your older years.

  • On what you need right now to cover your expenses. 

    The power of clarity in this dimension cannot be stressed enough.
    (And you don’t have to go it alone! If you need an Investment Expert of Financial Advisor I’d love to connect you.)

    Conduct an Expense Audit

  • Where is your money really going?

  • Do those categories – and the percentages of each – align with your goals?

  • Perhaps it’s time to visit the chopping block: Identify a reoccurring expense to cut out? Minimize a subscription barely used? Choose to eat out for lunch fewer times per week? 

    Identify and Define Your Values

  • If you’d like resources in defining yours – request here – and I’d be happy to email you the comprehensive list I utilize with clients to gather awareness.

    Do what you need to, to interact with money in a way that protects, honors, and supports you living your absolutely amazing life. You’ve got this.

Environmental Wellness

Raise your hand if you made your bed this morning!?
Raise your hand if you have space on your desk for your coffee and know what all of those papers are for!?
….raise your hand if neither of those are true but you made it to work in one piece…? =)

I could go on and on quizzing you about the different spaces in our lives…but really the heart of what I want to emphasize is the importance of


Last month, we learned about Emotional Wellness. That dimension can often be right up in our faces telling us we’re feeling elated or disappointed and everything in between. Environmental wellness is a bit more subtle - but just as groundbreaking and life changing - to be in control of. Maybe you’re doing so much work to find that balance for your emotional health, but if you’ve hit a plateau, then it’s very likely your space is not set up in a way to support your breakthrough to another level of health. 

So what’s this all about? Perhaps it sounds so obvious, but it’s about making your best effort to set up your environments to work FOR you…not against you.

“Whatever is going on in your life good or bad – mimics or mirrors how you’re living in your space.” Robyn Stevens

When we think about how much time we spend in our homes and offices, and how easily we take on the energy of our environments, it’s a wonder this isn’t more top of mind! Think about when you walk into a stadium for a big game – the energy excites you and gets you pumped for the competition about to begin.  Or why is it that we’re so attracted to luxurious spa experiences? When we are welcomed in to the inviting décor and plush amenities it immediately oozes serenity.   

You have the opportunity to create a space that supports you. This is within your control! Let me say that again…. It is within your control - and it is critical to your balance and wellness – to ensure that your environments support you.

Does it seem far-fetched that by taking responsibility – for instance removing clutter in your bedroom or office – could completely change the trajectory of your life? It’s certainly worth taking a closer look! I know when I first set up my home office a few months back my productivity and mental clarity sky rocketed after I took the time to put everything in its proper place and donate or throw away unnecessary items.  I could go to my desk….and actually work, rather than be mentally pulled in several directions before I even made my first call. If you want more insight and motivation on the practice of simplicity, check out the book Essentialism by Greg Mckeown. Total kick in the pants to design the life that really works, for you.

We all know what the hardest part is…choosing to do it. Taking that first step. Once you start it, it’s energizing!  Recently, a family member of mine spent a couple hours organizing his closet and found things he didn’t know he had; items that are treasures to him but because it was disorganized, he didn’t even know they were there. These touchstones of the past reminded him of wonderful times…for example a card from his wife, or a picture of his children when they were young. If the closet had stayed disorganized, they might as well have not been there. He also discarded broken or outdated items he would never use and were simply taking up room.

When he was done organizing, he experienced the welcome relief of walking into a space that brings joy. Knowing things are where they “should” be – where HE decided where to be placed that would most support his wellness.

The space is being utilized to its maximum, and it’s a beautiful thing.  That one small shift will bring energy day-after-day because it’s a space he goes to day-after-day. 

Imagine your life like a phone battery.  So many things around us deplete our energy. Now, this closet, and the way he’s organized it is FOR him. It supports his day and wellness so a little less energy is depleted, and he has more energy and attention to the other things that fill his day.  Allow your environment to not be an energy drain, but to boost up your clarity, energy, and positivity.

If you need advice on where to start.

Here are the recommendations from Feng Shui expert Robyn Stevens

1)   Remove clutter (leads to mental clutter)

2)   Get rid of or fix broken items (you are whole and well and deserve to be surrounded by items that reflect that)

3)  Remove past items with a negative history (these could be keeping you in the past and a barrier to welcoming opportunities that are more aligned with your wellness)

I love how Robyn describes, “I used to be the messy person… I don’t live there anymore – but visit occasionally.”

Many of us want to tackle our shared spaces first where people see. But actually, tackling spaces in the bedroom that you utilize the most are going to give you the most bang for you buck. Your nightstand, for instance, is a great place to start, today.  Discard, clean, organize, and create the space that works for you. You’ve got this.

Emotional Wellness

Welcome 2019! It’s wonderful to meet you! You with your fading holiday music, dimming twinkle lights, (typically) slick roads, and (typically) brutally cold temperatures. (What’s up 55 & sunshine KC?!) It’s a delight… truly!  If we didn’t have winter to chill our bones, we may not embrace and appreciate the blessed warmth of summer. But this month’s topic isn’t the weather… It’s your heart. It’s your mind. It’s your feelings – it’s the combination of all of it. 


I’m just going to toss it out there like it ain’t no big thing.  The very first Lumina Newsletter; we’re starting out with a doozy….

Emotional Wellness = Coping effectively with life and
creating satisfying relationships.

I’m going to take you through a brief exercise of awareness I’ve learned and am borrowing from my friends over at Vision Pursue (Check them out! )

Take a second to check-in with yourself about what you’re experiencing emotionally right. Now.  What are you feeling?  Maybe you have a big meeting later today that’s producing some anxiety? Or you are beside-yourself-giddy about a new client you just landed? Simply notice your current experience. Close your eyes if you need to; bring awareness to your body.  Next, we will SEE.

SEE = Separate. Embrace. Evaluate.

The first step is to Separate from the emotion. You’ve brought awareness to the surface and you’re noticing an emotion.  Now what exactly are you feeling? Could one emotion be stealing the show or is there a combination of several? If you’re at a loss, here’s a bank that may help:

Elated, frustrated, grouchy, giddy, pleased, anxious, hurt, disappointed, content,
peaceful, ashamed, overwhelmed, hopeful, lonely, aggressive, interested….

When you experience something your mind automatically gives it meaning or an emotion – our minds are so powerful! But, “…you are not your emotions any more than you are the pain you feel from a cut on your hand.” (JM)

Label, observe, and describe the emotion.

Can you notice where it’s located in your body? Does it feel like anything, physically?  Calling out and separating from the emotion in this way gives you space to question and embrace.  You’re acknowledging the reality of this present moment as it is. And getting honest with yourself about how you really feel.

…I hope I haven’t lost you yet because the next step is SUPER important.


If you’re resisting the reality of this emotion, then you’re not going to be able to do anything about it or choose the next right step. Because…’re resisting.  Your energy is aimed towards trying to prevent something that is already happening, which attaches you to the emotion rather than letting it move through you. This may not seem like a big deal for emotions typically deemed as “positive” such as the high you feel when your workday is complete on a Friday. But that can influence your reaction on Sunday evening when you know you’re headed back to work soon. You’ve attached to that high, so the low may feel lower.

Emotional awareness and wellness has so much to do with living in the present. Now that you’ve named the emotion – open your heart, take a deep breath and FULLY welcome the emotion. I’m not kidding here – even if you’ve deemed it as “negative” take that baby in.

It can help to physically shape your body in an open-hearted posture. Roll your shoulders back, spread your arms like wings, raise your eyes to the sky, and take deep breaths while you welcome and ACCEPT this emotion…this space…this very moment.  BEAUTIFUL.

So, you’re clear on what you’re experiencing.  You’ve honored the space. You’ve embraced the moment.  What’s next?


What can I control? Is there something I need to let go of? Someone to apologize to? Someone to reach out to for clarification? Perhaps no response is needed other than getting back to the present moment. Ask yourself , “What will honor me in this situation?”

Check-in with your integrity.  Check-in with your boundaries.

So many of us are not taught how to decipher, understand, embrace, and live out our emotions.  We get stuck in them. We stuff things down – sometimes waaaayyy down because it feels way too scary, way too vulnerable, we’re way too busy so we tell ourselves we’ll “deal with it later”, or we’re so focused on getting to that daggum pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that we distract ourselves from experiencing this moment, right here. All we ever have anyway.

GET CURIOUS about what you feel in a day.  Then really feel it.
Then do what you need to, to protect, honor and live your absolutely amazing life.

Awareness Review and SEE concepts borrowed and reprinted with permission from Vision Pursue, Jon McGraw.