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How To Get Your S**t Together When You Feel Overwhelmed

How To Get Your S**t Together When You Feel Overwhelmed

Re-Set and Re-Focus

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your life? Like you have so much to do and you’re always busy, but also like you’re not actually getting things done? This is incredibly stressful, and yet so many people are struggling with it: Especially conscientious, hardworking and responsible types. Many of my life coaching clients meet this description, yet here’s a a surprising thing: Ironically, even though they are the ones who are often viewed by others as being the MOST competent and productive, many secretly feel on the inside like they are failing.

How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

In our life coaching sessions I hear words like, “spiraling,” “drowning,” and “completely overwhelmed.” These amazing people are pushing themselves to exhaustion, feeling mentally and emotionally depleted, and continuing to heap more and more on themselves. Because it is not literally possible to do it all, they feel like they’re dropping balls in every direction. Their anxiety builds, their stress levels spike, and they start to feel out of control.

How about you? Can you relate?

This is SUCH a common experience, especially for slightly perfectionistic superstars. If this is a familiar feeling for you too, you’ve probably also tried the standard advice for getting it together: Making lists! Scheduling things! Organizing your home differently! Decluttering!

So why do you still feel crazed?

It’s because the issue is not actually about what you’re doing, and it never was. It’s about how you’re thinking and feeling about what you’re doing. Once you learn how to manage your thoughts and feelings differently, stress fades, calm control comes back, and things get done.

Getting “More Organized” Isn’t Going to Cut It

While this sounds easy, the struggle to do a hard reset on your approach to life and so that you can feel calm, centered, in control and genuinely productive is a real one. As a therapist, life coach (and human being who struggles with the same things) I’ve learned over the years that the path to real and lasting change is not about the latest productivity hack or organizational system, but rather a personal growth process that puts you back in contact with your authentic self — and then changes the relationship that you have with yourself. (Really!)

At the start of our work together, my hard-driving clients often have not yet come to terms with the fact that they are actually mortals like the rest of us, and that there are limits to what they can do. They are trying to do it all, often comparing themselves to others, and feeling like they’re doing nothing well. Things sometimes do start slipping though the cracks. People work faster, harder and more. They try new systems. But the harder they work, the less they get done.

Hardcore perfectionists hate hearing this, but it’s my duty as a therapist and life coach who is devoted to your wellbeing to say this anyway. The answer is not figuring out some “hack” to stuff more stuff into less time, or clone yourself: It’s about learning how to approach life (and yourself) in a more intentional, compassionate, reality-based, and mindful way.

Or not, and slide into the predictable consequences.

Burnout Is Real (And Awful)

Sometimes, if you don’t catch yourself soon enough, and keep pushing and working and going, you can develop a full-fledged case of burnout. Think about it this way: If overwhelm is the waterslide burnout is the pool that you land into at the end of the ride. If you don’t make a change — a real, lasting change that attends to the core issues of chronic stress and overwhelm — burnout is the final destination.

Real, clinical burnout is an experience akin to depression: People feel apathetic, they have no motivation, and feel exhausted even thinking about tackling the “to dos.” Then things start piling up for real, and the process of digging out needs to happen on every level: Physically, mentally, emotionally, AND in terms of all of the stuff that still needs to get done.

It takes a long time to bounce back from burnout. Better not to go there at all, honestly. By listening to what your emotional guidance system is telling you and taking your feelings of overwhelm and stress seriously, you can get back on track before you slide into burnout.

How to Get Your S**t Together, and Back In Control

“Okay Lisa,” you’re probably thinking, “Sure, sounds good. But how exactly do you propose that I do everything I need to do (so much!) and also stay balanced, calm and healthy?”

I’m here for you: Because so many people struggle with this, I’ve devoted a whole podcast episode to sharing my top tips for how to understand WHY you feel overwhelmed (knowledge is power) and then walking it back into a state of calm, focused control. Join me on this episode, to learn about:

  • What types of core belief and approaches to life lead to feelings of overwhelm
  • How perfectionism and over achievement is correlated with being LESS successful
  • How stress leads to anxiety (and too much anxiety leads to paralysis)
  • The type of mindset that helps you do more (and feel happier at the same time)
  • How to recognize when you’re spiraling into burnout and how to stop it
  • How to do a “hard reset” on overwhelm
  • How to get reconnected to your true values, goals and priorities
  • What to focus on first if you’re spiraling
  • Strategies to help you identify and focus on what is truly important (and say buh-bye to the rest)
  • Surprising tips and tricks to relax your body and mind, and enter a state of focused productivity

All for YOU, on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

xoxo, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

PS: I mentioned a number of resources in this program. Here are some links:

 

 

 

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How to Get Your S**t Together When You Feel Overwhelmed

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Enjoy This Episode?

Please Rate, Review and Share The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Self Care Is Not Selfish

Self Care Is Not Selfish

Your Needs Matter Too

A Self Care Checklist to Take Care of You

I’m sure you’ve heard the airline phrase, “Before assisting others with their oxygen mask, please first secure your own.” It’s a trite metaphor, but it’s true: You can help others more effectively if you take care to secure yourself first. 

I bet that you are meeting the needs of everyone. You are always thinking about the needs of your kids, partner, job, or other important people and aspects of your busy, hectic life. But what do YOU need? 

Self Care is Not Selfish

You may balk at the idea of taking the time to engage in self-care due to the care of others, your career, and the general busyness of your life. It might feel selfish or self-indulgent to focus your time and energy on just yourself. The trouble is that you will become depleted if you do not first take care of yourself. You’ll start to experience the common symptoms of burnout that the lack of self-care creates.

Signs You Need To Take Better Care of YOU

When strong, competent people like yourself focus their energy on other people for weeks, months, or years at a time without considering what THEY need… it’s not pretty. What commonly happens is that eventually, there is a “break down” that may reveal itself in:

  • Feeling angry and resentful towards the ones you love
  • Unidentifiable “depression
  • Irritability
  • Stress-related insomnia
  • Apathy (feeling like you just don’t care), and
  • Flu-like symptoms. (Yes, chronic stress and lack of mental, emotional and physical restoration can impact your immune system in very real ways).

Deep, Radical Self Care

As a life coach and therapist who has worked with individuals struggling to care for themselves, I see the pattern: Hustle – Burnout – Anxiety – Repeat. 

This often feels like a perpetual cycle of stress and martyrdom, struggling to stay above the throngs of demands and needs of others that you lose sight of what you need – self-care and self-love.

You may be thinking, “Yeah, I’ve heard this before.” If you’re anything like my other clients, you’ve read the self-care blogs, and listened to the podcasts. You might have even adapted your diet and exercise to a “stress-free” plan of some sort. 

But superficially skimming over self-care is not enough. To give yourself the kind of rest and restoration you require (notice I just used the word require), taking care of yourself needs to be a priority. Perhaps as much of a priority as taking care of everyone else.

I’d like you to consider the possibility that taking care of yourself may even be MORE essential than immediately meeting the needs of everyone else.

Radical, I know. This may make more sense to you if you understand what I see in my role as a therapist and life coach about the importance of self-care and why you need it to survive. 

The Benefits of Self Care

To feel balanced and to be the best version of you, (whether you’re a parent, partner, friend, employee, boss, etc.) you must stop neglecting yourself. 

Self-care has many benefits both for you AND the people who depend on you:

  • Refreshes you
  • Increases your ability to feel empathy for others
  • Makes you more patient 
  • Helps you be more focused
  • Helps you work harder
  • Helps you offer kindness and support to others from a position of strength. 

Especially with my millennial life coaching clients, I often hear: “These are my hustle years, I’ll eventually have time for self-care and relaxing, but now is not the time.”

I see you: You are working so hard to do everything, be everything, in the hopes that life will eventually smooth itself out. However, this way of living is harmful to your health, goals, and relationships. 

What’s the point of “making it” if, by the time you arrive, you’re a bitter, exhausted, physically and emotionally unwell person with no meaningful relationships? Yikes!

Quick, One-Question Self-Care Quiz: Do you ever feel like you are working so vigorously yet not moving forward in any capacity?

If your answer is “yes” this is a crucial sign that you are neglecting self-care. 

Successful careers, lasting relationships, and personal happiness all hinge on your ability to properly take care of yourself and your needs (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually).

You are worth the effort to take care of your mind, body, and soul. You are wonderful, unique, and filled with so much potential that you owe it to yourself to look out for your body, to protect your mind, and to nurture your emotions. Yes, “emotional self-care” is just as important as any other type of self-care — sometimes more so!

A Self-Care Checklist For the Overwhelmed and Overworked

There is no one right way to practice self-care. Self-care looks and feels different from person to person. For some, getting away for an entire day of self-focus and pampering is a great way to reset and refocus. However, if this is not realistic for you, I get it. Self-care is not necessarily about going above and beyond to “treat-yo-self” but to incorporate a lifestyle of self-care that is sustainable.

Self-care can look like:

Your Self-Care is All About YOU

There is no standard recipe for self-care, as everyone’s needs are different. But you can use the self-care checklist I outlined above as a daily reminder of what you can incorporate into your life to take care of you. 

Having a daily self-care checklist does not need to (nor should it) add more things that feel burdensome or tiring. The point is to look for things that help you feel rested, lighter, and cared for. 

Here’s a self-care challenge for you: Commit to practicing self-care, in some form or fashion, every day. This can mean just spending a few extra minutes in the morning doing a breathing technique or trying out a new recipe at dinner time, or even saying “no” (gracefully) and building new boundaries where needed.

Whatever your self-care routine may look like, stick to it. You’re worth it!

Kindly,
Josephine Marin M.S., MFTC

P.S. Do you have some (practical) self-care tips or suggestions to share? Leave a comment below and let me know what you are doing to practice self-care today!

Josephine Marin M.S., MFTC is a warm, kind, and direct therapist and couples counselor who specializes in communication, compassion and connection. She can help you reach your goals and create positive change in yourself and your relationships.

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Living in a Beautiful State

Living in a Beautiful State

Step Out Of Turmoil, and Into Tranquility

Do you ruminate? Think about things that happened in the past? Worry about what could happen in the future? Feel irritated with other people? Or struggle with the anxiety of comparing yourself with others? (Lisa looks left, right, and slowly raises hand). 

We’re all human, and part of the human experience is being in possession of a powerful brain. A brain that thinks thoughts, remembers things, envisions possible outcomes for your future, harbors core beliefs, and passes judgment over all that comes before it. That is what brains do.

Brains are useful: We rely on our brains to plan, create, make decisions, and solve problems, and keep ourselves out of trouble. However, some of the byproducts of all this brain activity can lead to unintended consequences.

Thinking about the future can lead to feelings of anxiety.

Thinking about the past can lead to feelings of regret or shame.

Believing untrue “rules” can lead you to beat yourself up mercilessly when you “fail.”

Passing judgment can close you off to connection with others.

Remembering hurtful things from your past can impact the way you live in the present.

Pros and cons, right?

A Transformational Level of Consciousness is Within Reach

A cornerstone of evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy is developing the ability to gain awareness of what is going on in your own head and learning how to shift it away from unhelpful thought patterns and into better feeling thoughts. Mindfulness skills have been shown to help with everything from your emotional health to your physical health. It’s also known that developing core skills to calm yourself down and shift your mood-state are fundamental to authentic inner health and happiness. We also know from the field of neuroscience that our brains are plastic, in that they change — physiologically — in response to our volitional thought patterns and behaviors. There are decades of science to support this.

But these ideas are not new. The mere decades that CBT, and evidence-based mindfulness practices have been investigated and championed by shrinky-types like me are but a drop in the bucket compared to the thousands of years that ancient contemplative, healing, and consciousness-enhancing practices have been around. In fact, much of what we know to work in modern psychology is fundamentally based on very, very old concepts that have their roots in deep, spiritual practices of indigenous peoples around the globe.. (As I write this I can feel the imagined presence of Carl Jung, looking over my shoulder and nodding in agreement).

All this to say: There are many alternatives to being at the mercy of your mercurial mind. Learning how to mindfully and with intention get in control of your inner experience can help you break free from anxiety and worry, rise above stress, attain profound levels of empathy and connection with others, and feel happier and more joyful in the process.

But how? How do we rise above the churning of our minds and our egos, to enter into a state of compassion and connection? Well, my guest on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast is Preethaji, a philosopher, mystic, the author of The Four Sacred Secrets and the co-founder of the international school of self-development, the O & O Academy based in India.

Preethaji and her husband and partner Krishnaji have taught thousands of people how to use ancient contemplative practices to expand their consciousness, embrace radical compassion, release attachment to the ego, and enter a state of unity that transcends the exhausting machinations of the mind. She’s joining me to share how you, too can learn how to live your life in a “beautiful state” of healing and growth.

Listen to this episode as Preethaji and I discuss:

  • How to liberate yourself from a state of suffering
  • How to find clarity and purpose within
  • How to intentionally shift into a state of love, peace and calm
  • How to feel more connected to others, to the universe, and to yourself
  • How to transform your most important relationships through love and compassion

We’re digging deep, discussing how to mindfully heal old wounds, release self-limiting old beliefs, and taking responsibility for the way you show up in the world.

As always, we’re also tackling some of YOUR questions. Specifically, on behalf of a couple of listeners I asked Preethaji to speak about how to apply her ideas if:

  1. You’re in a relationship with someone but while YOU are committed to working on yourself, practicing emotional regulation, self awareness, cultivating compassion, and intentionally working to cultivate growth and unconditional love… your partner is not.
  2. What to do if you’re currently feeling trapped in adverse life circumstances in order to feel peace in the present from within even if you’re going through a really hard time.

Mindfulness Tools to Change Your Life

In this episode Preethaji very generously shared some specific techniques for calming down and entering a meditative state. Get access to the full (free!) Soul Sync Meditation at pkconsciousness.com. For even more support in beefing up your meditation skills you’re invited to take their free 7 day training at The Breathing Room. 

I really enjoyed speaking with Preethaji, and I hope you get as much out of listening to this episode as I did in making it for you!

Your fellow traveler,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

PS: In case you want more Preethaji in your life (hey, who doesn’t?) check out her amazing TEDTalk, where she walks you through some of her breathing exercises as well as a classic story to help you cultivate a beautiful state of mindfulness in YOUR life.

 

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Living in a Beautiful State

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Enjoy the Podcast?

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Developing Self-Esteem: One Thought at a Time

Developing Self-Esteem: One Thought at a Time

Do You Know How Awesome You Are?

Hey, let’s try something. Can you name 3 things that you LOVE about yourself? 

You don’t have to grab a piece of paper or pull up your Notes app. Just take a moment, close your eyes, and answer that question for yourself in your mind.

How did it feel to do that?

Now think about how easy it is for you to describe the wonderful things about someone else in your life. Someone you love, admire, or even only know superficially. For many people, it is a little more complicated to do that for themselves

Some people can rattle off a long list of their best qualities and accomplishments. Some can confidently name a few. I was working with a client recently who felt extremely uncomfortable identifying even one. 

When I asked her to do this exercise, she puzzled over it for a while before settling on one. But then came a flood of uncertainty, and she began to doubt whether it was true or not. She tried a few more times but ultimately she gave up on the entire exercise, feeling frustrated and disingenuous. 

This was someone who is highly intelligent, extremely kind, a hard worker, and truly lovely inside and out. She struggled with perfectionism in her work, insecurity in her relationships, and a lot of anxiety. We worked together to tackle those issues, and found that ultimately they all stemmed from her low self-esteem.

Recognize Your Narratives

The narratives we construct about ourselves are informed by our early experiences, our caregivers, our teachers, our friends, the media, and society at large. As we grow up, we are constantly bombarded with messages and belief systems about the world around us, and we quickly learn to internalize them. Recognize that some of the thoughts you have about yourself are part of deeper, more subconscious narratives you hold, and may not actually be the whole truth. 

For example, if you’re in the dating world, you may be experiencing various forms of rejection on a regular basis. A bad date can lead to thoughts like, “I acted like an idiot!”, “I can’t believe I said that, I’m so stupid!”, “I’m ugly!”. It’s important to recognize that thoughts like these are your brain cherry-picking through all the potential thoughts you could have about that situation in order to feed into those constructed narratives that you hold about yourself. In this case, it may be a deeper narrative of “I’m not loveable”.

Reflecting, journaling, and doing growth work through therapy or coaching are some ways to learn to recognize these thought patterns and the deeper narratives you are holding on to. They are usually so ingrained and instinctual that we have to make a real effort to even notice that they are present. 

Learn How to Thought-Stop

Thought-stopping is a CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) technique that I teach many of my clients who struggle with anxiety. Once you have done the work of recognizing the untrue or harmful narratives you hold about yourself, the goal is to learn to stop the thoughts that feed them further. 

I like to describe this as a muscle: Just as you need to continually do strength training work to keep your biceps strong, you need to strengthen your thought-stopping muscle in order for it to be effective. 

The basic idea is to bring more awareness to those moments when you have an unhelpful or harmful thought, like “I’m an idiot!”, and quickly perform a stopping exercise. This can be simply saying “Stop!” to yourself, or even a physical action like snapping a rubber band on your wrist. The goal is to develop awareness of the thought patterns, and to stop the tendency of letting harmful thoughts spiral into anxiety or continue to feed that unhelpful narrative. 

I like to think of thought-stopping as a protective measure to keep that harmful self-narrative from cementing further. It’s good practice to develop more awareness of your thought patterns and to feel more in control of your thoughts and anxiety. However, to develop self-esteem, we also have to do some deeper work to challenge these narratives we hold about ourselves.

Challenge, Re-Frame, and Practice Self-Compassion

While thought-stopping is a great practice to have in your toolbox for managing anxiety and spiraling self-criticism, we also want to make a deliberate effort to challenge some of those harmful narratives we hold about ourselves. Taking time and space to really look at what we think about ourselves, where it comes from, and how to re-frame some of those beliefs with more compassion is a vital part of building self-esteem. 

For example, with the dating situation, listing the ways in which you are a desirable partner and truly allowing yourself to look at where you tend to dismiss the positives and highlight the negatives. A supportive therapist or coach can be a helpful person to do this with, because we often find it hard to recognize when we are being unfair on ourselves or engaging in black-and-white thinking.

If you’ve read this far, you are probably someone who is looking to boost their self-esteem and are ready to make some changes in your life. One actionable tip I have for you may be one you’ve heard before: talk to yourself as you would talk to a close friend who is going through something difficult. 

Would you be harsh or overly critical with this friend when they make mistakes? When someone says something rude to them on a date? When someone talks down to them at work? When they are feeling anxious or fearful of tackling a challenge in their life? Just as you are capable of being a kind, compassionate and supportive friend, you are capable of developing your own self-esteem and gaining more success and happiness in so many more areas of your life.

Remember that exercise we started with? Try incorporating it into your life as a 5 minute practice. Maybe in the evening, before you go to bed, as a way to wind down and reflect. Or maybe in a 5 minute break in the middle of your busy day, when you’ve been on the go and have already had a thousand thoughts that you have not yet brought awareness to. Take a few minutes to breathe, check in on your thoughts, reframe anything that you need to, and remind yourself that you are trying your best, and you are worthy. 

Developing self-esteem is not easy. It takes a lot of energy, patience, perseverance, and support to be able to do some of the work I’ve laid out here. But it can be hugely gratifying to be able to live with less self-doubt, less anxiety, more purpose, more confidence, and a stronger sense of how kickass you are!

All the best, 
Sharmishtha Gupta, Ed.M., M.A.

Sharmishtha Gupta, Ed.M, M.A., is a warm, validating counselor and coach who can help you uncover your strengths, get clear about who you are, heal your spirit, and attain the highest and best in yourself and your relationships.

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How to Find Your Purpose in Life

How to Find Your Purpose in Life

Living Intentionally

In addition to my role as a therapist and life coach here at Growing Self, I absolutely love hearing your questions and answering them on The Love, Happiness and Success Blog and Podcast. Late summer is a transformational season, and  I know that many people are asking themselves hard questions about who they are, and what they want to do with their lives. I know this for a fact, actually, because lately we’ve had listeners of the blog and podcast reaching out with specific questions like:

“How do you find your purpose in life?”

“What to do when you feel you have no purpose in life?”

“I want to find a meaningful job/direction in my life, but I don’t know how to work out what that would be!”

“I would like to know more about how to know your on the right path. And not making decisions out of fear.”

“I want to feel alive and excited about life again but I’m so used to isolating and hiding/numbing out. How do I find happiness? Nothing’s bad but nothings great- it’s all just kind of blah.”

How do you find your calling/purpose?” 

These are big questions, but important ones. If you too have been looking for clarity and direction about your life’s purpose, your career, or who you fundamentally are as a person (and how to create the life you want) today I have a treat for you!

Embracing Your Power + Finding Your Purpose

On today’s episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, I’m talking all about how to not JUST find your purpose and highest calling, but how to start living your life with self-awareness and intention. Specifically, we’re discussing:

  • Why your ultimate purpose in life is bigger than your career
  • How to fully embrace the amount of power you already have to design the life you want
  • How to uncover the unconscious beliefs and messages that have been leading to life circumstances you don’t want
  • Targeted questions to help you get clear about what your truth is
  • The importance of deliberately living in congruence with your highest and best
  • How to develop self-awareness and mindfulness strategies that will allow you to take control of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors
  • How living intentionally and in congruence with your values leads to authentic happiness

If you have been feeling stuck lately and are struggling to find clarity and direction in life, I hope you listen to this episode.

With love and respect,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Ps: One of the strategies I offered on this episode involves thinking about times that you experience “flow” and using that as a clue to where your passions and talents lie. What are your “flow moments?” Share with us!

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

How to Find Your Purpose in Life

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Fruit & Flowers, Inside Decides”

Enjoy This Episode?

Please Rate, Review, and Share The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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