Archive for Coaching

Encouraging Children to be Selfish – It’s Not What you Think

Woke up thinking about all the words we use that have “self” in it –  myself – yourself – ourselves – but how we don’t really consider what “self” means. In the worlds of #selfdevelopment, #selfawareness, and #selfdiscovery, etc… yes – “self” is a well-known construct, but for so many of us busy being moms and dads, not so much.

In fact, growing up (both for me and my kids), being “selfish” was a strong negative.

“Don’t be selfish”. 

Even now it evokes feelings of shame and images of head-hanging and shoulder-slumping.

“Share your toys; don’t be selfish”.

“That’s not nice Rachel; give your sister the bigger piece”.

Then we grow up and find ourselves struggling with buried feelings and trapped emotions, and learn in coaching or therapy that focusing on “the self” is valuable, even necessary.

You know – “…happiness is an inside job” and all the other inspirational quotes and book titles.

Well, which is it?

Don’t be selfish or Be Self-ish?

If Instagram is any indication, it’s the latter. I, and thousands (even millions!!), tag without hesitation – #selfcare, #selflove, #knowyourself, #trueself .

Having woken up immersed in #selftalk was no doubt related to my recent conversation with my older daughter Rachel, now 26. She was 2 years 7 months when her younger sister Alana was born, and she did not want to share me. I often retell the anecdote of how she clearly communicated this sentiment.

Home from the hospital just minutes before, I gently rocked Alana for the first time in the “baby’s room”. Rachel looked first at Alana, then at me, and then without a word, resolutely slapped me.

I laugh now, but I didn’t then. In fact, I’m sure I said something like, “that’s not nice Rachel” or “don’t hit Mommy”.

Or perhaps I somewhat appreciated her predicament and said something more empathetic like, “ Don’t worry Rachel; Mommy has enough love for both of her girls”. I wonder now if this was the first of the many times I denied her feelings to make my self more comfortable. I’m confident it was close to the first time I communicated to her that angry feelings directed towards her sister were bad.

How many times in the course of a childhood did I deny her feelings?

I have always been a fairly conscientious mother, sensitive to both of my daughters’ emotional needs, but I know I yelled “Rachel don’t be selfish” and “Rachel don’t be mean” each time she acted out her deep desire not to share me with her little sister.

Over the last few weeks, Rachel and I have been talking about the feelings of sadness with which she struggles. Always the mommy, I try to comfort her and help her to figure it out.

“Do you feel depressed?” “Do you think it could be PMS?”

But her words, “I’m sorry I’m not fun to be around” – “I’m stupid” – revealed to me a young child, hurt and disappointed in herself.

As an experienced mother and a transformation coach, I encouraged her to connect to the parts of herself she likes the most. As her tears streamed down her face, she grunted a “but I don’t want to” grunt.

I was doing it again.

I was denying her the time she needed to feel her disappointment. To be self-ish.

My instinct to try and make her feel better gets in the way of what she really needs; to feel her feelings without judgment from me or anyone else. 

Being connected to your feelings is everything. If your children are young, help them connect with their feelings by acknowledging and noticing it for them – “Rachel, I see you have big feelings towards Alana”. 

The key is to refrain from judgment in both your tone and your choice of words.

Then encourage them to choose the words that best describe how they feel (i.e. don’t say “I see you’re very angry”). Most importantly, let them know it’s so good for them to feel their feelings; that this is called “knowing their SELF”, and it’s so healthy. Suggest an activity such has drawing or dancing to allow the feelings to be expressed so that they can be set free afterwards.

If your children aren’t young, say they’re 26, it’s still not too late to encourage them to feel their feelings. Chances are it will take some time, because by then, they’ve learned to bury those feelings their well-intentioned mothers talked them out of.

If you trust yourself the Universe will trust you!

The Universe is truly amazing and the power of connection and energy continues to blow my mind!

Once again this is another perfect example of the Universe working its Power and Magic and collectively gathering women who have the intention and purpose of living in truth and teaching others how to do the same by sharing their stories and their vulnerability!

When I was invited to be part of this book, I immediately knew intuitively the right publisher had found me and I trusted from the first email!

I had put the intention out in the universe about a year prior and it’s not by chance the opportunity showed up when it did!

I knew I would meet other authors and that they would be sharing their stories but I had know idea who!

When it was revealed who all my co-authors were I was blown away at the alignment the purpose and the power at all of these beautiful powerful women all uniquely different but energetically a strong similar vibration and intention!

My teaching to others is “Trusting your Intuition!”, and you can’t teach something until you have a strong practice with yourself first.

I am joyful at the trusting on this project! I don’t believe there are any coincidences and it is obvious and clear here, the energy behind this collaboration is for the greater good to inspire and raise the vibration of consciousness through sharing our own vulnerability and personal journeys!

Let your intuition always be in alignment with your truth and it will never guide you wrong!

With much love and gratitude,
Anne Marie

5 Steps to Increasing Your Confidence

Ever feel like everyone you know has more confidence than you do?  You feel like you could crawl underneath the door and it’s not even open?

You are not the only one my friend. People all over the world has some confidence issues.  Whether it’s to talk to someone you want to go out with, reach out for friendship, develop business relationships, networking, or doing what you need to do to increase business. So, what do we do to increase our confidence?

Here are 5 things you can do today to increase your confidence:

  1. Posture – your posture tells the world a whole lot about you and your confidence. Remember your Mother telling you to sit straight and walk with your shoulders back.  Think of a person who walks in the room with their shoulders back, head held high and a smile on their face.  Now, think of a person who comes in the room with their shoulders rounded, head down and not smiling.  Which one looks more confident?  You are correct, the first one.  So, start with posture.
  2. Stop thinking of yourself so much. Sounds a bit harsh, but the more focus you have on yourself the more self conscious you will be.  Focus on the person you are talking with, be in the moment and be interested in the other person.
  3. Write out questions. If you are shy and don’t know what to say to people memorize some questions when the conversation goes to a stand still.  Especially if you are on a date and you are getting to know each other.
  4. Be yourself. You are unique and wonderfully made.  People want to know you not someone you think they want to know.  Don’t compare yourself to others.
  5. If it doesn’t come naturally to you at first, you will need to practice until you are comfortable.  Practice being around people.  Practice all the steps.

Whether you have some confidence or none, you can use these steps to increase your confidence.  There are so many more things you can do to increase your confidence, such as mindset and how you talk to yourself.  Give me a call for your complimentary discovery session to see how we can work together to increase your confidence.

About Karen

While reconstructing her life after divorce, she lost her 17-year-old daughter in a car accident.  Her life felt like it stopped, and she struggled and fought to get out of the darkness.  Although the two very stressful situations are very different she realized there were similar processes to recovery.

Karen is passionate about sharing her journey and step by step system to help others reclaiming their lives after the death of a loved one and divorce with POWER, CONFIDENCE & JOY so people can create joy and happiness once again.  She is now making her teachings available online.

Create Energy Now


Are you the parent of an HSP?

Does your child meet any of these traits?
– Startles easily
– Learns better from gentle correction (versus harsh punishment)
– Uses big words for their age
– Has a clever sense of humor
– Doesn’t do big changes well
– Asks lots of questions
– Is a perfectionist
– Is quite intuitive, seems to read your mind
– Is very sensitive to pain
– Is bothered by noisy places
– Feels things deeply

Highly Sensitive People are born with highly sensitive nervous systems that allow them to grasp subtle changes in energy – in both emotional and physical environments.  This makes them become overwhelmed by the emotional distress of others or in highly stimulating environments.

They have wrongly been labeled as hyper-sensitive and often asked why they can’t just be like everybody else – but they most definitely are not.  As they represent a mere 15% of the population.  So from an early age, they can develop self-confidence issues if they don’t learn to see their sensitivity as a gift.

Since children create a sense of self worth during their early formative years, it is important for parents of HSPs to realize their child needs more help creating self-confidence than the “average” child.

Parents can offer this help by:
1. Offering encouragement – so they know they are supported for who they are
2. Allowing your child to feel their feelings – teaching them how to manage them
3. Showing them their sensitivity is a strength – through perspective shifts
4. Validating your child’s experience – by not discounting what they feel
5. Honor your child’s ability to pick up subtle energy – intuitive training

I empower Highly Sensitive Children between the ages of 7-13 to embrace their sensitivity as a gift so they develop sustaining self-confidence.

My coaching practice is unique because I teach both intellectual and intuitive skills to foster self-confidence.  The Wisdom curriculum teaches children how to use the power of their minds and the power of their thoughts to create self-confidence, and my Reap program teaches them how to reclaim their personal power by tapping into their intuition for daily guidance.  Thus learning to turn obstacles into growth opportunities.

If this sounds of interest to you, please contact me for a free consultation at

Self-Confidence Traps and How to Overcome

Many of us have developed a habit that we are completely unaware of – Conditional Confidence.  Because of a lack in self-esteem, we find ourselves only being confident in familiar situations.  Instead of learning to develop self-esteem from the inside out, we’ve taught ourselves to gain confidence from sources outside of ourselves.  So we then only put ourselves in situations in which we know we can succeed because we’ve been there before.  Sound familiar?

​Well, this need not be so!  When you learn how to believe in yourself and in your power to make things happen, it enables you to step through fear and uncertainty and reach your full potential.

So how do we leap from the known to the unknown?  First we have to identify the traps we’ve become prey to & then​ use mindset skills to move past them.

​There are three traps that keep us from developing sustaining self-confidence:

1. Fear of the Unknown
We all get nervous when we do something for the first time and it’s supposed to feel unsettling!  Not because you will fail but because you haven’t developed neural pathways yet.  Your brain is like a map and the neural pathways are like the roads.  When you are trying something for the first time, a “road” hasn’t been built yet but the more you try it, then the “road” gets built and each time it gets easier!

So how do we settle our nerves before that neural pathway has been made?  We can use visualization.  Visualization is when we imagine ourselves in the future having already achieved our goals.  You see, your mind does not know the difference between reality and imagination.  So when you visualize, you actually go ahead and start building that neural pathway!

2. Self-Doubt
When we play it safe because we are unsure of our abilities due to our lack of knowledge or experience, we limit ourselves from reaching our full potential. And each time we do this, we create more self-doubt.

We can overcome this habit with the use of affirmations.  Affirmations are statements you make to yourself that communicate positive messages about what you want.  So we shift our self-talk from “I Can’t” to “I Can!” and in the process, we build a trusty new neural pathway!

3. Failure or Disappointment
When we have failed at something or had a different outcome than we anticipated, we often make the decision not to try again so we’re not hurt again.  When we do this, we are allowing a failure or disappointment to define who you are but this label is not you.  It was just something that happened outside of you.  But when we learn how to separate ourselves from an experience, we no longer allow that experience to define us.

​One of my favorite techniques for overcoming failure or disappointment is Put It In A Box.  In this exercise, you literally do just that!  You right down the experience in a brief description and draw a box around it.  Then toss it to the side.  Next, describe out loud the facts of what happened – not your emotions.  Seek then to learn from it and often that means reaching out and asking for someone’s opinion or help.  Take action based upon what you’ve learned, make a plan to fix/solve/prevent it and as Elsa sings….Let It Go!

I hope this was of service to you!
Much love,

Do More to SOAR!

Being a Multipotentialite

Hello, my name is Anita and I am a multipotentialite. How I love the sound of that word! Career coach, Emilie Wapnick, gives an illuminating discussion in her Ted Talk back in 2015. She defines multipotentialites as those who develop a range of interests, passions and careers over a lifetime. Watching her talk, I had a eureka moment realizing that word fit me to a T.

In my own words, what it means is this…

I am eclectic by God’s design, gifted in multiple areas, and creative in the work that I do. My formal education includes a BS in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh, a Specialized Technology Degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and an MS in Education from Capella University. Along the spectrum of my life, I became a research scientist, a learning and development specialist, a home school teacher, a strategic planner, an event planner, an instructional designer, a program manager, a diversity and inclusion leader, an entrepreneur, a website designer, a life coach and a writer.

I co-authored my first anthology back in 2014, Motherhood Dreams and Success: You can Have It All. Empower Your Life is my second anthology project and I’m working on a solo project, a spiritual memoir, due to be released later this year.

All of this has occurred over the course of my lifetime through three places of professional employment (the University of Pittsburgh for 8 years and two pharmaceutical companies for 25 years combined); through network marketing; and through volunteering with nonprofits and community-based organizations.

At the heart of it all is a strong belief in continuous improvement through learning and personal development. I believe in making today better than yesterday, this year better than the last, and even this decade better than the last. My personal growth and development is the result of three innate characteristics.

  • Strong faith, trust and belief in God
  • An undying love for reading, writing and learning
  • Passion for investing in people

So the question is this…

Are YOU a multipotentialite? In my view, the answer is heck yeah—though, you may not believe me! It’s all because the human family has creative potential beyond measure as a function of God’s design. We were made in His image. Having said that, I also believe in whole brain thinking versus split brain thinking, an expression of the domination or negation of one brain part over another.

I often hear people describe themselves as creative or analytical by virtual of split-brain thinking instead of creative and analytical by virtual of the brain as a fully integrated system. We were designed to be whole brain thinkers with parts of the brain working in concert with one another to produce a unique melody that becomes your life.

And the bottom line is this…

Life is too good a gift to not live fully. You are an amazing human being with potential beyond measure. However, you must tap into that potential in order to expend it kinetically. Life is continuous learning and discovery, growing and changing. How well you navigate it all determines how high you soar. My mission is to help you do more to soar!

Anita D Russell


Triggers, Projection, and There’s Momma!

When my partner (in this video) gets triggered, some memory and associated emotion has been stimulated and adrenaline floods his system.  Until the chemical recedes there is no point in attempting to reason, defend, explain or say a thing.  He has drifted into a trance bringing some snippet of history forward into the present situation.  In his reactive emotional state he is convinced that he is right or that his point of view is correct.  He projects his skewed perception into the scenario and instantly I have turned into a version of his mother.  It is not worth it to attempt to resolve ANYTHING when someone is triggered.  Chances are you will fuel the fire no matter what you say.  Save your breath and energy.

An example of this happened in my office.  I asked a couple if there were any broken agreements between them which had not been addressed.  The husband said in a very quiet and neutral tone that his wife had agreed to pay a bill, but hadn’t followed through.  He had been worrying about it but had not brought it up.  The wife flushed, turned to me, and in an angry tone shouted, “See how he treats me?!  This is what I have been talking about!  See how critical he is?!  Did you hear how rude and demanding he is?  He does not consider my schedule or how much I HAVE TO DO!” She was shrill at this point.  “I can’t believe how mean he is!”   My jaw surely must have dropped.  The husband sat quietly hanging his head. I looked at her enraged face and said gently, “what you are experiencing actually didn’t just happen.  Your husband was quite soft-spoken bringing up the bill.”   She was aghast, and fortunately believed me.  We had a quick talk about projection right then.

Yesterday, an elderly woman approached me on the sidewalk near an ATM.  She indignantly stated that I was demonstrating “improper etiquette.” How is that?  I asked curiously.  She informed me that I was standing on the wrong side of the machine.  You should be on the left; she declared and shook her head.  “That is the proper position, if you don’t mind me saying so!”  Hmm…I mumbled, glancing at the line of people behind me.  She stood glaring with a clenched jaw.  Was she going to smack me with her giant blue purse?  I didn’t respond, and she walked on.  I was thinking, holy crap, imagine being organized inside yourself to be outraged about some stranger standing on the left of an ATM.  She was clearly triggered.

We can learn to not only recognize when our bodies begin to signal a trigger, but to release these old emotional habits and snippets of memory.  We can grow our awareness and learn to pay attention to our body’s messages before we open our mouths and wreak havoc.  For starters, here’s what to do:

  1. When you feel the first signal, pause and see what is actually happening in your body.  What do you notice?  Heat rising, constriction in your chest, belly tightness, sweaty palms, heart pounding, tension in your jaw?  Pause and feel what is there.  Keep your mouth closed.
  2. Take a few deep breaths.  Are these sensations familiar?  Get curious and wonder about it.  What story is forming in your mind?  What thoughts are occurring?  Slow down and check it out!  Once you engage in your internal story, no need will be met and nothing will be resolved.
  3. Do you feel adamantly correct about your point of view?  A big key that you are projecting is that you are convinced that you are right and the other person is wrong.  You can learn to recognize your own triggers and do something about it before the flow of adrenaline drop kicks you into your past.

With awareness and practice you can pause, breathe, and come back to presence without a big upset.  Those neuropathways of reactivity begin to atrophy.  And then what used to trigger you no longer has any pull. The trigger is gone completely.  Responding, instead of reacting, feels so much better, and is a far more fun!

Morgan Sontag, MS, Break Free to an extraordinary life coach, psychotherapist, educator, trainer, catalyst, and Hendricks Institute: Transformational Leaders Program graduate, employs cutting-edge approaches to assist folks in expanding their capacity for joy. Dissolving negative mental patterns: criticizing, defending, denying, withholding, etc., which prevent full self-expression is a Morgan specialty.  Weaving quick-witted humor and fun, Morgan helps open stuck places, unleashing freedom, joy, and hidden potential. “Resolving issues does not have to be hard!” she says.   Daily doses of tear-streaming laughter, surprises, meeting people, theatre, traveling and learning as much as possible keeps life fresh and enlivening for Morgan.

Contact info: Morgan Sontag, MS

Break Free Therapy and Coaching