Your Path to a Life You Love: Identify and Remove Hidden Barriers
Why is it that strategies to fix the obvious challenges often don’t work? It’s usually because they don’t get at what’s really going on beneath the surface.
Have you recently figured out, or are you again grappling with, what it means to be autistic? Or AuDHD, neurodiverse, sensory diverse, or highly sensitive, etc.?
(Formal diagnosis, self-identification, and questioning are all valid.)
Do you want to find new ways to live and work
that don’t compromise who you are?
Of course not.
You’re not asking for the Moon. You simply want get things done and have nice friends and feel good about yourself.
That is the minimum basic that is due every person on this earth, and that has been denied to you because our society treats everyone as if they should want the same things, get them in the same way, and feel the same about it all.
They think that if you don’t, there’s something wrong with you.
I think you have something amazing inside precisely because you operate differently, experience things differently, and yes, because you’ve been through a lot of crap.
I think you can have access to your amazing gifts, insight, and powers only when you let go of the B.S. that has been foisted on you by society your whole life, and let your thoughts, creativity, and imagination free.
I think this isn’t a pipe dream. I know this is real.
I’m living it.
Let me guess, you’ve tried anxiety management techniques, medication, therapy, self-help books, and you’ve done a lot of personal growth work, and bits and pieces of that have been positive, but you still feel uncomfortable. Like you don’t belong. Like an outsider looking in.
And no one gets that except other autistics/HSPs/introverts/etc online, but their rants (and yours) aren’t actually making anything better.
Those things, by the way, often don’t work because they are steeped in the same cultural assumptions about what is “right” or “normal” that got you to the point where you needed their help.
Society hasn’t been teaching you how to make the best possible life for yourself.
In fact, I’ll bet the people around you spent a lot of time and effort trying to teach you to just fit in.
“Don’t rock the boat,” they said. “Get with the program.” “Go with the flow.” “The nail that sticks out gets hammered.” And other gems designed to teach you to conform so that you weren’t a “problem.”
When you did a school assignment in a different way than the teacher expected, did you get in trouble for it, even though you got the right answers?
When you had a hard time leaving the house and your adults hurried you out the door anyway, did you learn not to bother complaining, arguing, or speaking up for yourself?
When you were overly stressed and it came out as anger or a meltdown, were you were treated as the problem, the fragile one, or the one everyone walked on eggshells around?
Were you so scared of upsetting anyone around you that you did whatever they said, no matter the personal cost?
And when you did something the way they expected, did they say “good job,” or “well done,” or “I’m so proud of you”?
Or did they ignore it, but at least they left you alone?
Did you work hard for their approval and feel good when you got it? And try even harder to be “good” and do things “right”?
There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s how we’re wired as humans. And that wiring has consequences.
Let me guess. In all these small and big moments, you got the message that what you needed wasn’t relevant, wasn’t appropriate, or was a problem.
That asking wouldn’t do any good anyway.
That what you needed wasn’t worth taking the time or effort to understand, let alone accommodate.
Have others ignored your needs for so long that you’ve stopped noticing them too?
I believe that deep down inside you know what you need and what works for you, but that you have been taught to ignore, disregard, and discredit your instincts as part of fitting into a society that does not fit you well.
In those moments, ‘different’ felt bad. And when you faked it, pretended, put on a mask—acted like other people did—then they didn’t treat you differently, and that felt safe.
Has it gotten to the point that faking now feels even worse than being different?
Do you want to stop faking who you are?
Now here’s the hard question:
Have you been faking it for so long that it’s hard to tell what’s you and what’s the mask?
I’ve been there. It took me a long time to haphazardly figure out how to figure out what I really want and need, like and dislike, how I think best and work best, and how I socialize and play most naturally.
Which started with noticing that I didn’t know enough about these things. I knew some, and I have no doubt you do too. That’s a good place to start.
Here’s some clues that you’re masking, faking, camouflaging, or pretending more than you may realize. Are you:
When you work in ways that match how your brain/body functions best, it takes soooo much less energy, lowers anxiety and stress, so there is less to complain about, and you feel better about yourself, so you’re easier to be around and everything starts working better. It’s a win-win-win-times-a-million.
Is this what you want? It is possible.
It starts with figuring out what’s you and what’s the mask. I can help.
I can help you figure out how to make your life better. That includes:
Along the way, you will make small, incremental changes In your daily life that that let you function better and add up to noticeable and sustainable improvements throughout all areas of your life.
Where do you want to start?
These are great places to start making your life better.
And yet, sometimes it doesn’t feel like there are any better options because you’re so used to the way things are that it’s hard to imagine it being different. And everything everyone suggests seems impossible or unreasonable or doomed to failure.
But what if you had a non-judgmental and creative space to explore why those things don’t work?
With someone who won’t tease you about the things that bother you, or complain about the way you think, or laugh at how you solve problems? What would change then?
Could you come up with new ideas yourself? Could you brainstorm new options better?
I believe that you have the answers deep inside, I help by asking powerful questions.
I know how to figure this out. I’ll guide you along the way, so you don’t have to feel lost and alone in the deep dark woods, confused and struggling to find the right path.
And I’ll help you clear away the doubts, fears, and worries that are holding you back.
So you can blaze your own trail to a better life.
This better life is the product of a lot of small steps that build up over time.
Wherever you are in your own personal journey, is perfect. You don’t need to be further along than you are right now, no matter how old you are or what other people might think. Your journey is yours, not anyone else’s.
Where will you go next?
*I’ve been super picky about what training, courses, and education I subject myself to, since so much is built on models that are part of old systems I want to move away from.
I offer personalized life coaching based on Martha Beck’s Wayfinder model (how to find your best life), informed by my own autistic experiences and what works best for my clients.
I’ll adapt to what you need, want, and find helpful.
I guide, offer, invite, but never demand or “make” you do anything.
We’ll talk together over Zoom, with camera on or off, and sessions usually last an hour.
Most people get the best, most lasting results when we meet regularly: weekly, twice a month (most common), or sometimes monthly. Some people prefer an occasional session here or there. It’s up to you, based on your needs and situation.
It generally works best to bring a particular issue that you’re struggling with. Something you want to be better.
From there I will ask powerful questions to help you find the things that you’ve been taught to believe about yourself, that have been hurting you and holding you back.
We will gently and compassionately question them to find out what parts are true and what parts are social conditioning that you don’t need anymore.
As you unlearn each ableist belief, each bit of conditioning from your family, teachers, society, etc., new options for addressing that specific issue will emerge.
And often there are ripples that will spread throughout your life to help in other areas as well.
This is the process of making your whole life better, one little bit at a time.
We want this to go well, right? To reinforce positive experiences that will lead to an upward spiral of things getting better?
Here are the three things that my other clients have found set them up for success.
Are you willing to invest your time, energy, and finances in trying a different approach?
Is this the right time to start?
(Whatever that means for you.)
Don’t worry, you don’t need to wait for that magical moment when all the stars align.
Is individual coaching the best option at this point in your Journey?
(Group and self-guided options are coming out soon.
Sign up for my newsletter if you want info on those.)
If this isn’t a good fit, no worries. But…
Before you dive in, see if you feel comfortable with me
and ask any questions you have about working together.
One free session is my gift to you.
When you’re ready to jump into coaching,
pick your payment/scheduling preference:
*I offer a limited number of sliding scale client spots. This is an expression of my desire for justice and accessibility. I’ve relied on others being flexible with their pricing when I was un- and underemployed, and am thrilled that I can now pay it forward.
My sliding scale involves no bargaining, no paperwork, and no shame. If you’re ready to do the deep work that will help you get to a place in life where you will have more options, and finances are the only thing holding you back, please ask!
I’m also open to trades if your skills match my needs:
You probably won’t completely unmask, cheerfully chit-chat with strangers, or be all done with burnout. It’s too soon for that. Waaay too soon.
You’ll probably feel more openness inside, making it easier to get through the day and face the ordinary things you have to do. And you’ll probably begin to imagine that things could get even better.
When you’re trying to make a decision, I can help you process your thoughts, feelings, and reactions, and stimulate self-reflection. I have tools and techniques that can help you deal with the anxiety of uncertainty, or of what might happen. I’ll ask questions that help you consider options in a new way, or generate new options.
But I won’t decide for you. And I won’t push you into a decision.
Because what I think would be best may not be what would work best for you. My perspective is not your perspective. And you’re the one who is going to have to live with the decision. So I won’t tell you what to do or make it for you.
I fundamentally believe that you know what is best for you, even if you don’t have access to that information right now. What I help you do is access and use that information well.
Ummm…I don’t like goals. (Well, sort of.)
I don’t engage in the kind of goal setting and accountability that further the coercive systems and mentality of our society that I want to break away from.
If you have goals that you would like to work on, I can help support you do to do that, but I’m not going to create them for you and I’m not going to get on your case about why you didn’t do it or why you chose to do something else.
But a lot of what I do is exploring with you, as an equal partner, the things in your life that you’re trying to make better. To look really deeply at what’s getting in the way of what you want—what about the current situation is not working for you—without comparison or judgment.
Again, I can’t, and won’t try to, “make” you do anything. You are in charge of yourself.
And to answer your question, no. I don’t assign homework.
I find that “homework,” or “assignments” tend to create more stress than positive outcomes.
If you’re reflective between sessions, and feel inspired to something personal-growth-ish, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s great, too. Sometimes not doing is exactly what you need.
Part of our work together is in dismantling the oppressive “shoulds” that we’ve been conditioned to believe are the only way to get anywhere in life (but have they been working for you so far?).
You know deep down what works for you and what doesn’t, and it’s my job to help you get in touch with your own inner wisdom and trust yourself.
To put that another way, I’m not in charge of you; I’m here to support you as you direct your own progress.
The one-size-fits-all-model doesn’t even work for t-shirts, never mind the complexities of human—especially neurodivergent—experience. And many of us have other intersecting, marginalized identities that inform what we need.
Even if we started by planning out everything in advance, tailored for you, you would discover new things about yourself each time, so the original plan would quickly become irrelevant and create stress.
So everything is customized to you. There is enough predictability in how sessions work to reduce stress, and you get to choose the topics (I can help if you want), but our sessions will evolve naturally from one to the next.
I care deeply about consent, partnership, and empowering your personal sovereignty.
I won’t always know that a topic will be tender, so when I do misstep, I hope you will be able to say something like, “I don’t want to go there,” and I will say “Okay, thank you for telling me that,” and move on, no questions asked.
For some people, speaking up for yourself is hard. Really hard. (I’ve been there.) This can be a chance to try it without shame or pushback or any negative repercussions.
Fortunately, this isn’t therapy, and I am not a trained therapist. We may gently, briefly, recognize that there is a history that caused some old wounds, because pretending that anxieties exist without a cause won’t give you the results you’re looking for.
But we won’t linger there or unpack all of the parts of it the way a good therapist would. (By the way, depending on your situation, it can be very helpful during this process to work with a therapist who is a good fit for you.)
What we will do together is something closer to recognizing that, for example, a girl made fun of you when you were five and that was painful, and you told yourself that she made fun of you because you weren’t OK the way you were, and that painful thought became deeply rooted. We’ll look at that thought and how it affected you, not so much the original experience.
Therapy or counseling is best suited to working through issues from your past, including traumas and the psychological results of years of autistic gaslighting, etc.
Life coaching, at least the way I do it, takes those into account and treats them with compassion and care, but doesn’t get deeply into them. It focuses rather on making a better present and future for yourself.
To put it another way, therapy is like medicine for your mental health. Coaching is like vitamins and yoga, for when your mental health is reasonably stable and you want to make improvements to your life.
Some of my clients find it helpful to engage with both.
If you’re seriously considering doing this, that tells me you’re seriously interested, but it still might be scary. Here’s the thing. There are two kinds of scary: panic-scary and exciting-scary.
If you think about doing this and your gut clenches or your chest tightens and your shoulders, jaw, hands, or toes clench up and it gets hard to breathe, that’s panic-scary, and that’s your body telling you that this is not the right choice for you, or not the right time.
But if you think about doing this and your gut gets fluttery and your heart starts racing and you’re starting to think about things that you could do if this were to work, you’re probably experiencing exciting-scary. That’s the kind where taking the leap will probably work out well.
If you’ve tried everything (else), that tells me you really, really want a better life. It also tells me that those other things didn’t really get to the root of what’s been holding you back, which is the focus of my work.
Trying to work toward goals without removing the barriers that get in their way is like trying to push a car up a hill with the brakes on. It’s so much easier to take off the brakes, turn on the car, and drive up.
I’ll be up front with you. This work can be uncomfortable sometimes, because it means bringing up some things you don’t like to think about (for very good reasons). But I’ll be with you every step of the way, and will never push too hard. We’ll keep it gentle, and safe, and I will listen to you the whole way through.
If you’re ready to do this work (with support) it can be powerfully transformative.
All sessions are via Zoom, so it doesn’t matter where in the world you are.
Sessions are scheduled for 60 mins, but we’ll finish when it feels complete, which may be a few minutes more or less.
Don’t worry, this won’t be another big thing for you to do.
And since I never give homework, you don’t have to fret about that for days. 😉
It’s useful to have some idea of what you want to talk about, or get out of the session, but if you’re not sure, I can help and we always come up with something worth getting into (usually pretty easily).
If you want to prepare more for sessions, try asking yourself what you want to be different at the end of our time together? It may be understanding something, a new perspective, figuring out what’s really going on underneath a particular situation, why you’re reacting a certain way, or what’s holding you back from something.
Meeting regularly often produces the best results, especially at the beginning, to get some momentum going.
A lot of my clients like meeting every other week. Some like weekly, but that can feel kind of intense.
Some people prefer monthly or just once in a while as needed, especially after they’ve been doing this with me for a while and are getting better at continuing it themselves.
It’s really up to you and what you find works best. I don’t require any commitment, so we can modify the pace at any time, as often as needed.
If money is tight, or stuff on your calendar produces anxiety, or you don’t want to agree to too much, it might be easier to manage one at a time.
If executive functioning is a scarcer resource, the package might be easier, as you only have to checkout once. You can even schedule all six right then (but you don’t have to).
You can try just one session, or a few, and stop anytime. If this is not a good fit for you, or you got great results in a few sessions (great!) and are happy to move on, that’s fine.
I don’t make contracts, or require commitments, or hold anyone to promises.
I do require payment upfront for any sessions you schedule (invoicing is a nightmare), but you never have to schedule more than you want, and can reschedule if needed.
Life comes up and sometimes you can’t make it. If this happens once in a great while, I don’t have a problem with it.
If this starts happening more often, we’ll talk about what is happening. Maybe something is getting in the way, stressing you out, or executive function is interfering. If you want to continue, we’ll talk about strategies to help.
Absolutely. Some of my clients identify as:
Email me or schedule your free clarity session and let’s see if we’re a good fit.
You’re not the only one. I offer professional consultations for therapists, counselors, educators, and other professionals who want to get better at creating positive working relationships with their autistic clients.
Click here for more info.
Schedule a free Clarity Session to meet and make sure we’re a great fit.
I get it. It’s OK to take a while getting comfortable with me. Or not.
In the meantime, take a look around.
No worries. I’m not a good fit for everyone, and that’s OK.
And if now’s not the right time, that’s OK too.
You’re still welcome to lurk, and to all my freebies.