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Who vs. How

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Who do you need to be in order to make your dreams happen? 

I journal on this question a lot.

When we ask ourselves, “how?!”, our brain tends to freak out. Mine does for sure. It zeroes in on every little detail I’m going to get wrong. Then I start to climb the energy-sucking mountain of self criticism until I’m at the summit, exhausted, and wishing I had never had the silly idea or dream in the first place.

My problem – I get stuck in the energy of HOW. When my brain doesn’t know HOW – it panics. It thinks it should know how. And it begins the cycle of self-destruction because I didn’t give it step-by-step instructions to get from A to Z.

So *how* (joke fully intended) do I get into the right energy to go after my dreams? What is the right ‘energy’ anyways?

Shift to WHO

If your dreams or ideas seem overwhelming, you’re in the right spot.

We’re often taught to focus on the HOW.

But I’m going to ask you to focus on the WHO.

Who do you need to be in order to take the very next step towards accomplishing your goals? 

Do you need to feel confident? Believe in yourself? Do you need to light a fire under your ass?

When we focus on the who, our entire energy shifts from the small details to the really important stuff, which is our energy behind the project.

Our energy matters. Ask yourself how it feels to be in total belief behind a project. Now ask yourself how it feels to not believe in it. Which scenario feels better? Which energy would allow you to get more creative?

Nothing kills a project faster than disbelief

The energy of HOW is complicated. It needs details. It needs a game plan. It needs actionable steps. And when we’re first starting out, we may not have all of those items in place quite yet.

But we are really clever.

In fact, we are so clever, that if we trick our brain into thinking we do have the plan, we do have the solution – it’ll relax, and get really creative coming up with those details and that plan.

When you believe you have the answers, you allow yourself permission to come up with them.

Or at the very least, a handful of solutions to try out in order to get some feedback.

That is where the energy of WHO comes in handy.

Who you need to be in order to achieve your dreams, goals or ideas – is someone that believes they can do it, even if they don’t know how.

Who you need to be is someone that believes in themselves enough to know that you can come up with the answers, or allow your brain to have fun getting really clever brainstorming.

I believe you know exactly what to do next. You just need a little kick to see that you’re the exact person for the job.


Need help cultivating this belief? I help my coaching clients uncover their belief and discover just how awesome they truly are. Head on over to my coaching page to learn more or to book a free consult to discuss. 


You Need this Feel Good Journal Prompt

As a musician, I often spend time focusing on all the areas that I can improve. Harmony, counterpoint, singing, writing, listening… the list could go on all day long. It’s easy for me to overthink it and start bashing myself for all the things I’m not doing.

Sound familiar? If this is you too, keep reading.

I recently came across a mind-blowing-thought-process-transformation and wanted to share it with you. If you find yourself struggling or going down a thought-spiral, I challenge you to interrupt it by asking: how am I good at_______?

“How am I good at……?”

The goal is to help you focus on what you’re doing right *before* going after what needs to improve (and how you’re going to do that.)

This allows you to view the area of focus under a positive light first, which will likely help you not be so hard on yourself or prevent you from slipping into an emotional-“I suck”-themed-spiral. (We’ve all been there.)

When we change our thought environment from “I suck. I don’t know what to do” to “I’m good at these things. And I can work on these things” we unlock the floodgates of our own inspiration and almost *magically* know exactly what we need to work on to improve. This process can help you go from feeling stuck and bashing yourself to feeling empowered and crystal clear on what to work on next.

All you need to do is take a moment and reflect on:

How am I good at (fill in the blank)?

You can create a list, free write, brainstorm- it all counts as long as you’re doing the work.

If you need ideas, try journaling on:

How am I good at…..

  • Musicianship
  • Practicing
  • Showing up
  • Promoting myself
  • Creating content
  • Gigging
  • Recognizing my thought spiral (this one is huge for me!)
  • Having a good practice session
  • Networking
  • Meeting people
  • Sharing my music business
  • Enjoying music
  • +whatever else you need!

I highly encourage you give this a try. You need this feel good surge of emotions. You truly do!

If this resonates with you – this is one of my coaching tools that I share in my coaching program. If you’re ready to elevate your mindset even more – then I know you’re ready for a free coaching consult to see if coaching is right for you! Schedule a free zero-pressure consult call with me today, and see if you’re ready to make this investment into becoming your best self. 


Tool credits go to: My life coach Jamie Reynolds and life coach guru Stacy Boehman!

You’re Not Going to be Discovered as an Artist

I still carry this giddy, larger than life hope that one day I’ll be “discovered” as a music composer. That someone will find my old works in a trash can and think “these are brilliant! We must find the person who made these”. They’ll find me at my day job completely unrelated to music, and rescue me to live the life I’ve always dreamed of…

It’s a hope that I’ve curated over many years of my life. Exposure to movies like August Rush & Raise Your Voice, shows like Lizzie McGuire and Hannah Montana, YouTube videos of musical child sensations and reality contests like American Idol and the Voice…. (did I just point out how much of a 90’s kid I am?!) … all left me dreaming like I’m one step away from the fame and fortune that I’ll “humbly shy away from being worthy of.” (Because you know, that’s what you do in that kind of movie plot.)

And when it doesn’t happen – no one approaches you after singing that fantastic acoustic set at the bar, or after that community choir concert, or after that video you were finally brave enough to share – there’s this feeling of “well damn, I must be failing if I can’t get any love from an agent that doesn’t exist.” And you throw in the towel until the feeling strikes you again.

Well of course no one “discovered” you because that’s not how it works!

All of the artists, singers, composers, writers, and influencers I know all have one thing in common: they didn’t wait around to be discovered – they went out and made their own path.

They didn’t play hoping for someone to discover them (ok maybe our ego is always wanting this and that’s ok and for another blog post) but rather they played for the sake of their art. They played to share their vibration and spark inside.

And that is really where the magic happens. You won’t be discovered playing it safe, taking risks every couple of months when you work up the courage to. You’ll be discovered when you curate this amazing belief in yourself and the courage to show up as often as you can and gain that experience you need to grow!

Anyone successful will tell you it wasn’t magic. Rather, they found a way against all odds stacked against them, all criticism that said they can’t do it, all the shit-that-life-throws-at-you-when-you-decide-to-become-an-artist and they said “I’m going to do this anyway and make my own path.”

Ok, maybe not those exact words, but you catch my drift.

They forged ahead and did it anyway. They curated belief in their life and showed up consistently and constantly – which allowed a tribe of like minded fans to find them.

So let me light a fire under your ass and say this:

No one is going to discover you as an artist.

Not in the easy, free of failure way you think they will.

You will get discovered when you make waves. When you make your art and shout it from the rooftops. “I made this!! Check it out!” And you do so with such fire and passion and light that people want to feel that vibe and check it out for themselves!

You will get discovered when you fail over and over and over again. And pick yourself up from those failures and try again. Learn from what is working and what isn’t. Over and over until you perfect this recipe in your head and this dream in your heart.

You will get discovered when you decide wholeheartedly that even though the work of promoting and sharing totally sucks, you will show up to do it anyway.

You will make art or music or a craft so brilliant and so awesome that it does get noticed, and you attract your tribe of like minded souls to your wave of energy.

You can get yourself on the map. You can get seen and “discovered” by your audience, make sales or whatever your mission is. It takes just takes hard work and the courage to grow from a mountain of failure.

Belief doesn’t have to be just something for someone else in the movies! You can curate it right now in your life. I know this because I’ve done it in my own life and felt the amazing joy of finding my tribe.

I’m a life coach that can help you curate your own magic, confidence and courage it takes to show up for yourself and live your best life. You know, the one Lizzie McGuire gets at the end of the movie.

When you’re ready to start stacking that mountain of failures so you can start living your dream, I’m here to hold space for you to grow along the way. Schedule a consult call with me today and you’ll see if this is the extra bump you need on your journey.

You are soooo ready to be “discovered.”

Book Your Free Consult Call Today

The 5 Day Self Care Challenge

Downloadable pdf of the 5 Day Self Care Challenge

The 5 Day Self Care Challenge

We know that we matter. But we’re not always good at putting ourselves first.

Why is that?

We are conditioned to place others first.


  • Not make a fuss about our experiences
  • To downplay our troubles and anxiety

We idolize:

  • People that place their families first (often a role for women)
  • People that place their careers first (often a role for men)

We often don’t:

  • take time for ourselves unless we’re so sick we can’t function
  • Rest until we are at our breaking point
  • take time to check in with our emotions and process them on a daily basis
  • Eat and nourish our bodies with good for us foods
  • Give our bodies the exercise it needs
  • Give our mind the tools it needs to thrive

What happens:

  • We have anxiety and depression we feel ashamed to talk about
  • We keep putting our needs on the back burner
  • We prioritize our fear to please and take care of others first
  • We feel burnt-out
  • We snap at our loved ones for silly things
  • We mindlessly scroll social media to distract and cope

We often fall into the trap:

  • Thinking that self care must involve beauty related treatments
  • Thinking that self care must involve spending money on yourself

We make excuses NOT to take care of ourselves:

  • I don’t have the time
  • I don’t have the money
  • I don’t need it

But you do.

You need self care.

Say it out loud with me, “I need self care.”

You need time to replenish yourself. Be that your body, your mind, or your spirit (or all three!). You need this time to take address your needs and slow down and be alive.

You need this, you need this, you need this.

Self care doesn’t have to cost money you don’t have and it certainly doesn’t need to be this crazy time-suck from your day.

You can practice self care in as little as 60 seconds every day, or when you remember to.

A minute of self care daily can help you get through stressful situations.

5 minutes of self care daily can improve your mood.

20 minutes or self care can improve your quality of life.

20+ minutes can help you move mountains.

I’m serious!

The 5 day challenge

Before we can make a 30 day, 60 day, or lifelong commitment, it’s important to break it down in to a bite sized, doable chunk. Something you can easily master and feel good about. This will help you build the confidence to keep going, pick it back up when you forget, and make it part of your daily ritual.

This challenge is simple: practice self care for consecutive 5 days.

There are just 3 items to check off before you get started:

  1. Select your start day.
  2. Select the amount of time you’d like to try. With crazy schedules, there is no time demand – this part is entirely up to you. If the idea of 20 minutes of self care is just too much – that’s ok! I have dozens of ideas for self care that will add 5 minutes or less to your crazy day. I know how hard it can be to get started, and I don’t believe you need to punish yourself for not having more time.
  3. Tell someone! We are social creatures that thrive on accountability and support from others! This is also crucial if you are a primary care giver and will need to delegate something in order to take this time for yourself. Telling someone can also open a conversation about support or excite someone in your life to try this with you! And we can all benefit from some self love!

Now that you’re fired up to do this challenge, let’s talk about self care!

Self Care

My definition of self care is time spent giving back to your mind, body or soul.

The activities for self care are endless. If it brings you joy, gives back to your mental health, physical health or spiritual health – then I’d wager it could be called self care.

The only exception I like to make to this is rigorous exercise. While I’m all about a good cardio session – strenuous exercise usually depletes the body and creates a need to give back so that you can recover and grow stronger. Therefore, I think it’s equally as important to engage in some self care stretches after your session, fuel your body with a snack, or take a conscious moment to reflect on how good you feel (or all 3!)

I’ve made a list of some of my favorite ideas for self care below, but you are 100% allowed to take this list and make it your own. In fact, I encourage you to spend some time thinking about what you need in your day to make a positive impact. What can you do that takes 5 minutes or less to have a better day? 10 minutes? 20 minutes?

Here are my favorite self care ideas, based on how much time you have:

60 seconds to 20 minutes (life is crazy and it’s ok, we’ve all been there!)

  • Deep belly breathing
  • EFT (Emotional Freedom technique) aka Tapping
  • Being present in the moment through your senses (notice 3 things with each sense – 3 things you can see, hear, touch, smell or taste (if applicable)).
  • A healthy snack (good fuel for your body!)
  • A quick stretch
  • Journaling
  • Meditation (guided or free)
  • Smelling your favorite essential oils
  • Place your feet in grass (opens your root chakra and helps you feel grounded)

Around 20 minutes or more

  • Soak your feet in warm water
  • Take a bath/soak in epsom salt
  • Self-guided foot massage
  • Foam rolling – self myofascial release
  • Semi-supine from the Alexander technique
  • Journaling
  • Yoga
  • Meditation (guided or free)
  • Engaging with your favorite hobby
  • Reading (not scrolling on social media)
  • Journey into nature – walk or ride depending on your abilities

Set Yourself up for Success

As with any challenge, it’s helpful to craft a plan that’s easy to execute. Once you know your start date, write down the self care activity or activities you’d like to try.

A sample 5 day challenge could look like this:

  • Monday – 5 minutes of deep belly breathing
  • Tuesday – 5 minutes of being present in the moment through the 5 senses 
  • Wednesday – 20 minute epsom salt bath
  • Thursday – 10 minutes of journaling
  • Friday – 2 minutes of meditation

When you know what is on the agenda, it’ll make it easier for you to do the activity.

You won’t be scrambling for supplies if you need them, or worse yet, let that be an excuse not to do it for that day.

Now that you know the basics, have a few ideas in your head and have picked your start date- you are ready to do the challenge!

I am so excited for you to start this journey and I hope it’s one you’ll come back to again and again in the future.

I 100% believe in you to complete this and I remind you that you are absolutely worthy of this fantastic 5 day challenge.

Don’t be afraid to share on social media! It’s something positive to add to your feed #the5dayselfcarechallenge

Belief is a muscle

I was 28 years old when I learned that belief is a muscle. And that up until then my belief in myself was a very weak one.

Who else grew up in western America? Where music is a hobby and not a career? Where hard work is valued only if you have the monetary digs to show for it? Because if you don’t have money, then you’re failing, no matter how hard you work…

This toxic mindset gave birth to my favorite practice – hating myself for becoming an artist. Hating the fact that my degrees couldn’t bring me the wealth and accolades no matter how hard I worked. Hating society for hating me. Hating everyone else for having it figured out.

Ok, I don’t hate anyone. But back then I was sure jealous. Jealous that my clothes were full of holes while others spent a casual $300 a month on new things without thinking twice.

I swear I have a point to this rant – bear with me.

I was full of hate and jealous and rage and sadness because ….. I didn’t believe in myself.

I didn’t believe in my ability to make a living. To earn enough to take care of myself. And do all the things like save for retirement, pay for health insurance, afford a decent phone, find clothes that fit, pay for a car…

I didn’t believe I had a place in society. A place in this world of doctors and lawyers and entrepreneurs and go-getters. I didn’t believe I was allowed to belong.

But now I do.

I have this radical idea – belief in myself. Belief in my ability to provide for myself and not feel like a dejected burden.

Belief in my ability as an artist. Belief in my ability to figure it out in my own way. Belief in my own wild and weird and quirky journey.

Radical belief that I am worthy of choosing this different path. Worthy of having my cake, working hard for that damn cake, and eating it to.

Belief is a muscle. It’s inside of you. It’s waiting to be awakened and shown how to get stronger. It’s waiting to be trained and flexed and shown off to the world.

28 years wasn’t a bad time frame to learn this in. And whether it’s 17 or 88 for you – the present is the best time for compassion and love and this radical thing I like to call – belief.

If you are struggling to believe in yourself – it is absolutely something you can learn. I’m a life coach that would love to help you on this journey of yours. Schedule a no-pressure free call with me today and let’s talk about radically believing in you.

Why you feel like you’re constantly f***ing it all up as an artist

Photo by Tadas Mikuckis on Unsplash


Raise your hand if you feel like you’ve been f***ing up your career as an artist.

Maybe it’s on occasion, maybe it’s constantly (like me), but something I’ve noticed across the board for us musicians and artists and creative types – we constantly feel like we’re not reaching our full potential and therefore screwing it all up.

The notoriety, the accolades, the prestigious placement at the school of our dreams, the career we thought we’d have vs the career we’re currently “stuck with until we can figure it out”, the lack of commissions we’d hope we’d have by now, the sheer confusion of networking in a pandemic-stricken world…

It’s a lot to process.

And as if all of that wasn’t quite enough, I’m going to take it a step further and argue – we were destined to fail from the start.

1.) Career Services

For anyone that’s pursued a degree in a college of performing arts – music, art, dance, etc – what were your career fairs like?

You may be laughing as you read this thinking, “what career fairs?? Lol”

And that’s how it was for me.

I value the musical education I received at my university but they didn’t do sh*t as far as helping me prep to be a musician in the real world. Every career fair was for every other college within the university system. I naively checked for music opportunities at every single one but it was always a huge no.

At most I received a hearty laugh from booths at the job fairs when I told them my degree, “Well when you wanna get serious about your life, look us up, lol.”

On the converse, my peers in the sciences, and world of health and finance had ample help and opportunity from the university to get a job – and many had interviews at the university with prospect companies before they even graduated.

And you may be thinking, well duh, what career opportunities does a music composer even have? Of course there wasn’t a career fair for musicians! Get a life you liberal snowflake!

But also, what the hell? Why is it that we look at artists in a different light? As if we don’t consume the radio, music, concerts shows, magazines, news, and entertainment around us. I don’t blame the U of M in particular for the lack of help they give to musicians. I blame the view of the arts in general by western society. I blame the mindset of, “f*** you if you want to be an artist. Go figure out your own damn path. Make your own damn way.”

So (1) you probably feel like your failing because your peers had more opportunities available than you, and you didn’t just know instinctively how to go out and make your own way. How dare you not know what you don’t know.

2.) Rent money

When I was 23 I noticed my first gray hair. I was trying to figure out how to gain quality employment and pay for my rent. And groceries. And my cell phone bill. And clothes when they started getting holes in them. And a little fun here and there.

I had a f*** of a time trying to find work when I graduated college. I ended up working multiple part time jobs because full time opportunities were hard to come by – especially since I was overqualified with a bachelors degree.

The age old adage of “go to school for a good job and good life” is no longer a universal standard. In many cases,

Education = (debt + possible opportunity) x (high cost of living)*

*I’ll let you do the research on the notion that millennials are the first generation to be poorer than their parents…

And for artists who enter the workforce with a bachelors degree or higher, it becomes damn near impossible to find work that pays you well enough to pay back your loans, afford a place to live, buy yourself the necessities and dare to have a little fun every now and then.

So (2) we further feel like we’ve f***ed things up because we struggle with finding the opportunities or jobs we thought we would – and our student loans were much higher than previous generations could fathom.

Oh and also, have you ever tried to pay rent with a minimum wage job? I wasn’t kidding when I said I got my first gray hair at age 23.

3.) Art = Hobby

On top of selecting the “wrong” path for a stable career and falling short of the expectation that we’d get a decent job right out of college, we had the audacity to want to make a career out of being creative…..

In the eyes of where I grew up – Western American Society – art and music are really just considered hobbies.

Anything outside the box is a failure, and you deserve what you get for not having a high paying job.

Ok maybe it’s not that explicit, but when you’re 26 with a masters degree and you’ve been turned down by your 28th job application for an entry level admin assistant position because you’re now over qualified- you sure as sh*t feel like a damn failure for wanting to be a music composer and have a life too.

So this brings me to my 3rd point – you’re f***ing it all up because you didn’t conform, and a failure for not seeing flawless success within the system constantly screaming at you to ‘just get a job’.

(How dare you aspire for more!!)

4.) Music Composer Smackdown

Ok now I’m just having fun with these headers.

On top of all of this, one of the only ways I knew of (back in the day) to earn money and network as a music composer was to apply for composition competitions and hope that I’d win.

Not only did I feel like a pile of garbage because I was struggling with everything else I mentioned, I felt that if I didn’t apply for competitions I was f***ing up my chance to “get noticed” and build my portfolio as an artist.

When I could afford to, I’d shell out $50 I didn’t have to enter a competition that I likely wouldn’t win.

And each time applied and got rejected, I felt like an even bigger failure.

So point number 4, you’re f***ing it all up because you’re not winning accolades and prizes from music competitions. (Why did you chose to do this music thing again?)

It’s all a wild journey

Lastly, I just want to tell you that you’re not fucking it all up. You’re not.

You’re hella courageous for following your dreams, and even daring to have them. The world needs more artists, and America needs to normalize the artist’s journey. It starts with you, me, us, talking about it and changing it for the next generation.

Because even though I’ve lived through each and every one of these mind sets, my dream to be a music composer refuses to die. I don’t see it as a race against time or a competition against my friends. This is my own funky, wild, weird journey – and I’m here for every second of it. I will make this dream work in the only way I know how: figuring it out one piece at a time.

That said, I supremely enjoy ‘failing’ in every sense of the word. I have too many hobbies to count, and I love this insane journey I’m on.

I’m here to help you push past these feelings of failure too. If you can relate to any one of these and are feeling that sh*tty “stuck” feeling, hit me up for a free consult call. I’d love to see if I could help you live your best life on your own wild journey.


Why it’s ok not to push yourself too hard during exercise – and how you’re actually still benefiting from it

I was diagnosed with covid in November of 2020 and my life has never been the same since. I was 28 at the time of my diagnosis, physically fit and otherwise a very healthy individual. An avid fitness junkie, I cycled through Beachbody programs and was working out an average of 5+ days a week.

I pushed myself constantly.

I loved the high of endorphins after a hard workout. I loved seeing the results of my efforts and I used to thrive knowing that the harder I pushed, the faster I got stronger.

My COVID diagnosis changed everything and as I write this 4 months later – I’m not able to push myself like I used to. And it’s way harder on me mentally than I thought it would be, so I’m sharing what I’ve learned.

Built to move

Our bodies are amazing machines and every body is unique in its ability to move.

Every joint and muscle and bone was built to uniquely support us and in a lot of cases they really actually love to move.

When we exercise, we release endorphins which give us that feel-good high that keeps us coming back for more and more. It can decrease anxiety and depression and help us feel our best. Our heart gets a workout and our muscles get a chance to rebuild and become stronger. We get to explore the mind-body-connection and get out of our heads for a little bit and just move.

After sitting through dozens of zoom calls, this sounds amazing right?

So why does it hurt so bad?

Ok, I know I just made working out sound magical. But there are some side effects.

Muscles soreness and fatigue are no joke.

Depending on how hard you push (and we’ll come back to this idea in a moment) your body will need time to recover. You may experience, soreness, fatigue, and aches as your body works to repair and recover. Simple tasks become so much harder than they were the day or days before. Every movement reminds you of what you did the day or days before.

It’s all part of the process, and is usually something that will sort itself out in a few days time.

Vital, Damnit

But, depending on how hard you push, you may do more harm than good. Especially if you are recovering from an illness, or have a unique physical condition.

In any case, I believe it’s vital to listen to what your body is telling you.

Vital I tell y’a!

I’ve had more than a few moments with COVID where I’ve pushed too hard with exercise thinking it’ll help me get stronger faster – only to end up in agony needing several days to recover from my stupidity.

The thing is, my body knew when to quit, I was just too stubborn to listen.

“But my body….is telling me yes.”

There’s a fine line between your mind telling you to stop and your body telling you to stop. Often our mind cries wolf first, because it’s not always fun to do the work. Anyone that’s spent time exercising knows that it’s ok to push past the mind telling you to stop – but it’s not ok to push past your body telling you to stop.

Listen to the signs, and if you are recovering from COVID, or any other illness, or physical condition – listen very closely. It’s so important to keep yourself well and take care of your sore muscles and joints as you recover.

Can you push too hard?

I don’t think it’s always necessary to go balls to the wall to get the results you want in fitness. And it’s certainly not sustainable for the average person at the very least. If you workout a few days a week doing something you love, I think you’ll be amazed at the benefits. 

Early on in my fitness journey I tried the “bootcamp” approach to working out. You know the mentality – pushing yourself to go all out several days a week – and shaming yourself when you can’t meet the seemingly impossible goal. It totally failed for me, and left feeling ashamed and like I “wasn’t cut out for this lifestyle, I should just stop.”

Over time I learned that if I could show up when I could, I was better off than if I didn’t show up at all. This actually worked wonders for me. I found exercise that I liked to do and actually felt encouraged to show up more because it felt so good to do so.

Most recently, I learned to push myself through the mental struggle of exercise. Past the “f*** this I want to quit” during cardio mentality.- I saw great improvement in my fitness levels and it encouraged me to try harder for every workout. Then Covid hit, and it obliterated my ability to not only show up during the first few months, but now it has effected my ability to push my body like I used to be able too.

I don’t see this as a setback any more, but rather a chance to share my story and hopefully encourage others with what I’ve learned.

I’ve seen dramatic improvements in my own fitness since COVID. Even doing just 10 minutes a day a few days a week. I’ve modified moves to meet my level of fitness and I’ve felt myself get so much stronger! Even without pushing myself too hard at all. The timeline is a little slower, but I’m enjoying the journey and focusing on how I feel every step of the way.

Speaking of feelings….

So let’s recap:

  • If your considering exercise or feel trapped in that all or nothing mentality:
  • It’s ok to just “show up” and not push yourself too hard during a workout.
  • Your body still reaps all the benefits of exercise and movement, and you still get to enjoy exploring the mind body connection.
  • You are still growing and improving as long as you are trying.
  • Your body knows when it’s time to quit – listen closely to that. (Your mind will likely tell you to stop immediately, so it’s vital to listen to your body instead.)

Hope things helps you on your journey! As always I’m wishing you the very best. And if you wanna talk wellness or need some 1:1 encouragement, head over to my coaching page and lets chat.

What COVID-19 Taught me about Exercise

I got COVID-19 in November of 2020, when it peaked in Montana.

On November 19th, life was normal. I went to work, completed a grueling 1 hour workout, drank a protein shake and felt fine.

November 20th, I could hardly function I was so achy, and by 9am I left work and went to bed.

I was hit somewhat hard by COVID. I wasn’t hospitalized, but I wasn’t exactly ok either. Aches, chills, a mild fever, a deep cough, breathlessness, complete lost of taste and smell, brain fog and extreme fatigue lasted about 20 days, and I returned to work in a gradual fashion – starting with half days for my first 8 days back before I had the strength to last a full day at my desk job. I wasn’t perfect by day 21, but the major effects subsided. I was left with fatigue, joint pain, occasional breathlessness, brain fog, and lasting taste and smell damage – but I was able to return to work at the very least.

I was devastated to become so physically ill from this sickness.

Working out is a huge part of how I physically process stress in my body (a good cardio session, weights and yoga are my jam!) It’s how I learned to process my emotions, produce those feel good endorphins and keep my body feeling amazing.

I lost that completely with COVID, and in that first 80 days I struggled immensely to return to working out. I tried 10 min barre videos, 10 minutes of yoga, mild weights, mild cardio and all of it (and I mean f***ing all of it) took a massive toll of my body and it’s recovery.

The first time I tried yoga I could hardly move for the next 2 days. Same with barre, same with weights. I was devastated. And stressed. And worn out. And fatigued. And the list goes on and on.

I was desperate to get back into a routine but COVID had other lessons for me and my body.

So here’s what I learned from COVID and I hope it’s something you can learn from as well:

1.) You need to take care of your body.

For a fitness junkie this should’ve been a no brainer, but before COVID I wasn’t actually always listening to what I needed. I took my body’s ability to recover for granted and didn’t always give my muscles and joints the care they deserved.

Before COVID, I’d just push my sore muscles so I could keep getting stronger.

But when I tried that after COVID, I found that not only would they hurt worse, they weren’t able to recover like they used to.

So I foam rolled (self myofascial release), took epsom salt baths, bought essential oils to rub on them (shoutout to Deep Blue), and really allowed myself to rest in between workouts. It worked wonders and to be honest, felt amazing. Self care has become a new part of my routine and a tool in my toolbox to help relieve stress.

2.) It’s not always a good idea to push yourself.

I thought that if I pushed harder I’d recover faster. It’s not uncommon to hear the advice, “the harder you push the stronger you’ll get.”

Never have I ever experienced such a deep version of the opposite. The harder I pushed, the harder I hurt. The harder the recovery was. I didn’t make any progress when I pushed myself and in fact, I ended up setting myself back a few times from pushing too hard and then having to wait twice as long to recover.

The biggest lesson I learned and can hope to share is your body knows when it’s time to quit. You have the power to override this mentally, and there’s a time and place when it’s ok to do so. But there is a time and place when it’s horrible to do so, and recovering from an illness falls into that category.

COVID long haulers – there’s a time and place to push your limits and your body will tell you when it is ready to do so. And also your doctor can help you with this. Even though I was struggling with fatigue, my doc green lighted me to keep going and encouraged me to push along – at my own pace.

3.) Modify, Modify, Modify.

The last major lesson I learned from COVID is to f***ing modify harder workout moves until your strong enough to do them properly. I cannot stress this enough, hence the cursing. 

This is also another no brainer – but I struggled with it too. I never realized how much my ego equated perfection with success. I felt like an impostor if I did a workout and modified – had I even really done the workout if I couldn’t do it perfectly??? Did push-ups on my knees even count??

Oh man.

COVID taught me that there is glory in modifying a move to your abilities. You can gain so much strength by just showing up and doing what you can. I think people often turn away from fitness because they think, “I can’t do what they do!”

Well of course you can’t, you’re just starting out. And believe it or not everyone else started somewhere too. They just have a little more time and effort under their belt, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t start somewhere and make progress too.

I’m amazed at how much faster I’ve been able to grow and gain strength back by simply dialing it down, doing what I can do and allowing that to be enough.

Celebrating where I’m at

COVID hasn’t been an easy hurdle to face, but it really has taught me some amazing lessons.

I’m thankful I’m recovering and am able to move the way I am nearly 120 days later. I’m thankful for the lessons in patience, self care, and modification. I truly think this illness made me a better person. 

Now if only I could get my full smell back…

Never be Afraid to Write a Bad Piece

Never be afraid to write a bad piece.

I was 19 when I heard these words, spoken by my freshman composition professor, Charles Nichols.

I was in the early stages of learning composition – feeling completely overwhelmed by collegiate academic composition, while barely grasping theory and harmony myself.

I remember feeling so nervous my hands would go numb. Whenever I shared my sketches in comp 1 I would shake as I handed over my sheet to be played for the class and critiqued.

Back then, I let the criticism roast me alive, but I’ve since grown and learned to grow from it. And if you need any help with this – I’m here for you.

Peeking back through my memories I’ve noticed there were some nuggets of wisdom in those days – and this is one of my favorites.

Writing or creating is such a powerful experience that I think we should all be proud of ourselves when we find the courage to do it. While technique and expression of your vision can be refined, the act itself is absolutely beautiful and something I believe we can use more of in our lives. I personally love seeing what my friends and family and colleagues create. While it might not always be something that radiates with me, I know I’m better off for being in the presence of it.

So I share this wisdom with you. Please remember when you start to hate the piece your working on –

“To never be afraid to write a bad piece. We are all better off in the presence of your art and in the light of your being.”

Trusting Your Artistic Instinct

“We are all born as creators.”

I read about this concept in Liz Gilbert’s, Big Magic – and it’s been churning in my brain since.

For most of my life, I believed without question in the magic of this idea. That my artist endeavors as a child were the perfect fuel to drive a career in creativity. I thought that everyone was capable of a creative career so long as they worked hard and believed.

I believed this up until I went to university for music composition. There, criticism attacked my creative soul more times than I’m proud to admit. Eventually, my belief in the magic shattered to the notion that only a select few are born as creators and the rest of us just really suck at it (myself included.)

Back in those days, I couldn’t yet decipher what each comment was telling me. I couldn’t tell if someone was critiquing my technique or my instincts as an artist. Therefore, I allowed all the criticism I received to crush my belief in my artistic instincts. And therefore sabotage my efforts in composition going forward.

It took me years to undo this damage and form a clear understanding of criticism. I now have that same magical belief that yes, we are all born as creators. I just now also believe that it is imperative to understand criticism to master and strengthen this belief.

The truth is, criticism is essential for artists to grow. And while we usually learn over time how to accept/welcome criticism in reference to honing our technique, we seldom discuss how to handle criticism directed towards our artistic instincts.

In this article I’ll discuss how criticism shows up for both craft and instinct, and some tips for keeping your artistic instincts safe and ready to use.

The Importance of Craft

Musical craft is the development of technical musical skills combined with the knowledge of contextual considerations that incorporate things such as the history of performance practice, compositional etiquette, repertoire, regional importance, etc, etc.

Artists receive a lot of criticism aimed at our craft/technique. For composers this might look like criticism/prompted exploration on things like your own performance practice, orchestration choices for compositions, use of form, and technical considerations/demands for compostiions, etc. For performers this is more closely tied to your instrument (or voice) and what you are performing.

As a young musician, I used to take this criticism straight to the heart. My ego shed tears every time I learned something I felt I should have known. (But my instincts guided me to this!) However, the truth is that your instincts usually don’t know right off the bat how to translate what’s in your head into a polished, clear, historically-minded performance/piece.

This is where your honing your musical craft comes into play.

Bias vs. Technique

I learned a major lesson in my undergrad, which was understanding the difference between what my gut was telling me, vs. what technique could help me with. The feeling of, “but my instinct said this was fine!” that many young musicians grapple with.

Like any 19-year-old in music, freshly-converted-from-the-sciences, I thought that music instruction was riddled with opinions and bias and therefore not rooted in fact. That any criticism was criticism directed at my heart, and that I should therefore take any negative criticism personally. Oh was I wrong.

I’d have thoughts like, “Someone doesn’t like the Bb I’m singing? Oh, well it must be subjective! I like it and I think it’s fine!!”

The problem with that mode of thinking is that it leaves zero room for developing your skills as a musician. As a science minded individual, I came from the school of thought that there are universally understood concepts and anything that strays beyond them is flawed, or a personal attack. 1 gram of water is always equal to 1 gram of water, and anything more or less just means you have your facts wrong.

So when I heard comments that came after my technique, I thought these comments were directly coming after my artistic vision. In theory, singing a Bb should be a consistent, one-size-fits-all experience, but in reality, music is soooo much more nuanced than that.

There are many technical considerations that simply don’t exist or equate to anything in the sciences. And with each of these considerations comes the chance for mastery of this part of the craft. For example, as a singer, I’d hear criticism that challenged me like this all the time:

How are you supporting your breathe? How is your posture? What is the text of the Bb? How are you conveying the text within your voice and on your face? What is the drama of the poem? What level are you as a singer? Are you waiting for your vibrato to develop? Are you waiting for your voice to mature? Are you singing freely and without tension in the tongue, cheeks, face, back, neck, body? Why are you singing the song? Does the audience understand what you are trying to sing?

You get the idea.

As a nerd fresh from engineering, you can see where I ran into some trouble as these two worlds collided. I mean for my science minded folks, can you imagine that sh** in chem lab?? Your head would explode. Why this Bunsen burner? What is the historical significance? How are you conveying your intent for the experiment as you light the flame? You gotta be kidding me!!

Craft and technique are so so so important. And way less subjective than you think! Developing musical craft allows you to translate the artistic vision in your head to share with the world. It is absolutely imperative you keep an open mind for criticism as a chance to learn and grow as an artist.

When you receive comments or criticism that focus on these concepts – listen to them. Consider them to their fullest. Examine carefully what is being said to you and why – it may very well help you learn something that will help you down the road!

So you’ve just had your crash course in defining craft and the criticism thereof, but what is artistic instinct?

To draw on Liz, this is where the magic happens.

Artistic Instinct

Artistic instinct is that creative, often unexplainable, magical force that is driving you to compose music, or draw a picture, or sing a masterpiece in your shower. It’s that feeling you had as a kid that allowed you to create from your heart in art class and not give a **** about what anyone else thought about it.

Artistic instinct is that gut feeling guiding you to sing something that speaks to your heart, or write a work that expresses an idea or larger emotion.

The really crappy part is that for many of us, somewhere in the tragedy of adulthood we lose touch with that instinct along the way. Mine was crushed by my limited understanding of criticism. Maybe yours was crushed by an authority figure that wanted you to get a steady job and told you to ‘stop daydreaming and enter the real world.”

Either way, we have a chance to reconnect with it and protect it moving forward.

Reconnecting to Your Instinct

Your gut will lead you as you work on whatever it is you are creating. The trick is to get out of your own way and let the magic happen!

Ok, I know I just made it sound super easy, but the reality is it is simple, not easy.

The internet is riddled with resources to help you connect with your intuition, but for me, I practice a few things when I get stuck:

1.) Meditation
When I have one million thoughts racing through my head, it can be hard to hear the one guiding me through my work. When this happens, I practice a few minutes of meditating to clear my mind and allow those one million thoughts to pass through. Then I can hone in and focus on the one that matters in the moment.

2. Affirmation
I love a good affirmation! I use them all the time to help lift me up when I’m caught in a negative spiral. Some of my favorite affirmations look like:

I trust in my artistic instinct to guide the way.

I believe in myself to finish this work.

I am capable of creative solutions.

3. Lean into your craft!
When you get completely stuck on a project, it’s ok to lean on your experience to get you through the work!

For a compositional project this might look like this, “Past musical practices would dictate and ending like this” or “I have these options from this point that would keep the piece cohesive.”

My point is – you were born as a creator and deep down you know.

Protecting Your Pearls

Undoubtedly, if you are a musician/artist or creator, you will receive criticism from someone who wants to give their two cents on how they think your work should go. These are the jerks that want to finish your composition with their ending and threaten your voice as you continue through your work.

I’m going to say this super loud for the people in the back:

Comments that attack your vision are not ok.


You don’t have to listen to them.

At the U of M I had peers and educators that misguidedly attacked my visions all the damn time. It was exhausting and lead me into a permanent state of confusion with zero confidence in my instinct and abilities. I was so ill prepared for handling this criticism and coping with it that it brewed deep seated doubt that nearly ended my compositional career.

It took me years to undo the confusion and fear and doubt plaguing every thought process and idea for my compositions. So much so that I still haven’t fully recovered to start my compositional career. (But I believe that I will fully recover this confidence someday!).

Closing thoughts

The best educators I’ve encountered will give you the tools to hone your vision, not replace or destroy it. They will help you refine your technique and give you tools to shape your visions in the future.

We can grow and fail as we explore our artistic visions. As artists, we have total freedom! Trust your choices and allow them to play out. You were made for this!

You were born a creator!

A Bad Piece

One last piece of advice –

A professor of mine famously used to say, “Don’t be afraid to write a bad piece!”

Sometimes trusting in your instincts will lead you to create something you later despise or laugh at years later as you look back and think, “Oh no!”. The most important thing to learn is to trust yourself while creating the work. Remember: the work itself literally never has to be played or seen again.

But it is valuable all the more because of what you learned from it.

No one will give you permission to use your instincts to the fullest. You will receive mountains of criticism along the way. It’s up to you to learn to trust your artistic instincts and refine them using your crafted skills. But I know you are up for the task, you are much stronger and more enlightened than I was.

Keep writing & keep creating my friends. The world needs your light.