Live and Lead For Impact Podcast with Kirsten E Ross

EP 126: 6 Quick Questions to Help You Capture Time and Decrease Stress

EP 126: 6 Quick Questions to Help You Capture Time and Decrease Stress


Do you have some lingering relationships … …tear you down….cause grief…..have baggage…..long histories…

……these relationships can and DO zap our energy, steal our joy, drum up false beliefs about ourselves, and sometimes even stand in the way of achieving our dreams.

Yes, addressing relationship stuff can feel overwhelming, but often remedies are simpler than you’d think if you know how to define the right fix. That’s why I’ve designed the Relationship Renovation Roadmap  I can’t wait to show you how!

Go to to check it out!

I think it’s pretty safe to assume that, if you are working to make an impact, life is busy!  You are almost certainly juggling, coordinating and prioritizing life, relationships, self-care, hiccups, money-making endeavors, impact activities, if the two are not intertwined, and then all of the extra activities that surround any and all of the above.

Most of us would probably say, “life is busy, but good!”

While you are increasing your bandwidth, however, it is so important to minimize stress.  Busy and energized is great but stress takes the energy to a negative place.  Overwhelm is never good and stress takes a toll on our impact, our bodies and our lives.

I always say, you can live that way for a sprint, but not a marathon!

Here are 6 quick questions.  Answer them and then take action to move from overwhelm to calm – or at least calmer!

  1. What can you stop doing?

Are there rules that you live with in your house because you grew up that way?  Your mom made you do it so now you have to?  Rules about laundry, making the bed, dinners and more…..sit back and start fresh. Can you relax some rules you have for you?

I still remember the dinner I made when my boys were little……”Oh mom!  You are the BEST cook!  You should have your own cooking show!”  My fancily cooked cuisine?
Tomato soup and grilled cheese – I think it’s safe to say they were easily wowed –

I’ve been a huge fan of my crock pot for years and Dump Recipes are amazing.  Drop the contents in a freezer bag, throw it in the freezer standing up.  Pull it out to place it in the crock pot first thing in the morning.  Fire up the rice cooker for a side and the meal is ready to go!

Remember…..I’ve always done this….does not have to lock you in for a lifetime.

Also consider, What committees are you on?  What volunteering are you doing?

How much time are you spending on social media or watching junk tv?  Now, I have nothing against either and I’m not saying you must stop it all – but, let’s get real, either can become time suckers.  Netflix couldn’t make it any easier to binge watch for hours.  And scrolling social media for a few moments can turn into hours without any thought.

Take a look at your time with fresh eyes and let nothing be off limits. Keep track for a week or so.  If you have an iPhone, check the stats they now provide for how you’re spending time on you phone.

What will you stop doing?


Where can you lower expectations?

There are different seasons of life.  Did you create some expectations for yourself, your home, your family that made great sense during a calmer time?

Making your impact or maneuvering through any busy time of life with some amount of peace requires recalibrating expectations to better fit the time.

I still remember when, as a single mom, I had to lower my expectations for our pool. I’d always been proud of how sparkly blue I could keep it.  Well, once the full complement of responsibilities fell on me as a single who hadn’t downsized the home it was no longer realistic to keep the pool that way.  There are only so many hours in a day and some things had to give – Good enough had to be good enough.

Where are you holding tight to unrealistic expectations that are not a fit for your circumstance?  Are they causing extra pressure, stress and discouragement?  Give yourself relief by adjusting where you must.

What can you outsource?

Make a list of the activities you don’t like to do or aren’t good at and farm out what you can.

I’m not just talking about hired help.  Is there anyone in your household who could take on additional duties?  Do you have kids old enough to start doing or chores, or, if doing some, can they take on more?  Now….I get it, this may also plop you back into the question above….where can you lower expectations?  Are you one of those, it has to be done exactly how I want it or it will drive me nuts people?  If so…lowering expectations and learning to live with good enough or different is fine may need to be part of your solution.

And then what CAN you hire out or trade for?

There’s an endless list.  If you don’t have money to outsource, perhaps you can trade some services.  If you do outsource, be intentional with the time you capture.
Lawn and landscaping?
Driving Kids
Clerical Activities
Basic accounting duties
Marketing and Social Media
Emails and Schedules
How will you capture your list? 

The written or typed lists are essential!  If you don’t get it out the list sits in your head.  If it sits in your head you have to keep rehearsing it to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything.  I know you are laughing right now because you’ve done it or are doing it now!

Rehearsing a list makes you less productive in the moment and stressed.  Your mind will think that there is an endless number of tasks.  And you will be afraid of forgetting something.  It will also rob you of sleep.  Lying in bed when your mind is supposed to be quiet is the prime time for rehearsal.  Get it out of your head and on paper into a digital format!
How can you chunk down large projects?

Good from a practical standpoint.  You can only do so much at once anyway. Unless your life is different from most, you’ll never get large projects done if you tell yourself you need a solid week of uninterrupted time.  BUT….you can finish pieces of a project 15, 30 or 90 minutes at a time.

Chunking down makes it easier to fill in fragments of time with pieces of your priorities list.  Apps like Toodledo will even help you sift to find tasks by time.

Chunking down also helps you focus only on what’s next.  This is really helpful!  I used to feel the full weight of a project until it was all done.  That added way too much stress.  In a large project there is going to be an order to tasks.  If you’re on step 3 but worrying a feeling the weight of step 20 as if it’s gotta happen now, you’re increasing your stress exponentially.  I know from personal experience. I had to learn to chunk it down AND put the later tasks to the side in my mind.  Look at what’s in front of me now not what’s coming.

What should be prioritized first? Knowing what you need to get done is step one.  Step 2 is prioritizing it all to fit into the time you have in a way that gets it done on time.  Use your time with intention.

When I’m prioritizing I pay attention to my energy.  I know that my most creative time is earlier in the day so prioritize tasks that require more focus into earlier time slots.

I also consider what’s happening in the world.  You won’t see me at a Costco on the weekend. I can go there during slower times so choose to do that instead.

I hope these questions will help you capture some productive time.  I can’t wait to see the impact you make with the new found time!

Still struggling with difficult relationships?

Head over to


Wishing you a life of joy, balance, passion & purpose!

EP 108: Social Media – Recommendations to Minimize Regret

Episode 108: Social Media:  Recommendations to Minimize Regret

Click To Download Your Free Sliding Into Self Care: Super Simple Strategies for Crazy Busy Lives

In the last episode, I talked about making things LOOK a certain way rather than having things BE a certain way. 


It all began with my trip to a wonderful destination where our condo was designed for an initial great presentation over the practicality of actually living there for a time. 


That concept also definitely leaves me thinking about what social media can do around this same concept.


How many people can scroll through their feed to say, “Yes, these posts definitely mirror my actual life!”


My guess is….No One!  And, the truth is, they really shouldn’t. 


Sure, you can share a bit about a health scare, or perhaps a quick quip about some unfortunate circumstance. 


But, social media isn’t really the place to air all of life’s challenges, missteps, snafus.


The problem is that, as we scroll through other’s feeds we can forget that this is just a snapshot, a small, mostly positive sampling of another’s life. 


We live in a world filled with happy, smiling faces on FaceBook and can sometimes forget that those images do not represent a person’s whole life.  Most share just the best, brightest happiest moments…. Some of those moments can be very fleeting, no longer than it took to capture the smiling faces for a post then back to unhappy, grumbling, fighting and more. 


So, to be our best selves we must stop comparing our full lives to the happy, window-in-time moments depicted on social media.  Doing that will, of course, leave us feeling like everyone else is living happier more exciting lives. 


These comparisons do NOT serve us!


My first recommendation is Avoid Social Media Comparisons


Here are a few more recommendations to avoid regret as you swirl through the virtual world of social media.  Used well, social media can add value, but, forget what you’re dealing with and you can add plenty of frustration to your real life.



Avoid Debates:  The reality is that, on social media, Ideas and opinions are shared AT people.  Sharing here will rarely mirror an actual conversation like you might be able to have in real life.  On social media it’s more about showcasing your use of “smart” words, sticking to the far side of a spectrum of opinion and driving an idea home vs. actually seeking to understand another person’s point of view.


Often in the middle of divergent opinions is a thought that makes a lot of sense.  But social media debates don’t move people towards compromise.  Instead sharing there continues to highlight and stretch our differences.  I do believe it is playing a large role in dividing us……We are all quite similar actually, I just think that communicating on social media helps us forget that as we focus on our differences.



Keep Your Digital Commitments:  We have become lax with our invitations and time commitments.  Where we used to use a mailed invite, many now use a tag on social media, an email or a text to announce a party or event. As a result, invitations all feel looser and less important.  People wait to reply while comparing other options, don’t reply at all, or say they’ll come but just skip it if something else comes up or they don’t feel like going when the event rolls around. 


Digital commitments don’t carry the same weight as the formal invites we used in the past.  It can lead to hurt feelings and a wedge in what might be important relationships.  So, my recommendation is… LEAST keep your digital commitments. If some of us continue to do this maybe we can help slow the deterioration of commitment to invites.


Don’t Let Social Media Replace Real Interaction:  Social media definitely increases your circle of casual acquaintances.  However, we sometimes spend less time in actual connection with those we’d normally see or talk to.  Social Media interaction doesn’t count!  The problem is that we feel like we know about the kid’s concert or the trip to Florida and there is less motivation to meet up or talk to catch up.


Our closer relationships can then diminish down to meet the relationships that we haven’t invested in at all, where most of our up-keep happens online.  Now we are missing real connection and getting only the made-for-mass-viewing version of a close one’s life.  This is not the same and can lead to feelings of isolation.


Make the extra effort to stay in connection to those most important to you.

So, can social media play a key role in our world today?  Sure!


You can

Share an idea, concept or more in-mass

Find others with similar interests

Reach out in support groups for encouragement

Share about public events, new business offerings, etc……


And, it is nice that we can stay a bit engaged in the lives of those we’d otherwise have zero contact with. 


Yes, social media has a place in our world  Just use with caution and keep the recommendations I’ve shared in mind to minimize your regret and avoid the frustration that social media can ignite.


Click To Download Your Free Sliding Into Self Care: Super Simple Strategies for Crazy Busy Lives

EP 107: Living Right or Just Looking Good

Episode 107: Living Right or Just Looking Good?

Click To Receive Your Busting Fear: Jumping out of Limbo Land PDF Download!

Recently we had the chance to travel to a warm destination. It was awesome!

When we walked into the condo where we’d spend a week, we were amazed! It was beautiful, open, and spacious, with an awesome view!

But then……as we moved through our normal living activities we found that there had been little focus on functionality in the space.

There were only a couple of small drawers in our bedroom and no room for a suitcase, making it impossible to have organized access to our clothes. The bathroom had no place to hang towels or tuck away toiletries. Furniture in the living space looked nice but was not comfortable…….

And the list goes on……

The space was definitely designed for presentation over practicality.

Now….I certainly did not let ANY of this spoil our time away!

But….it got me thinking about a number of clients I’ve worked with and…just people I’ve run across through life, who put that same emphasis on looking good over actually living right.

A life filled with fabrication and dysfunction over real fruit.

Zig Ziglar, a popular motivational speaker, said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

Talking about what you’ll do or, worse, pretending to do what you’ve said is NOT the same as taking real action and never will be.

Don’t let fear stop you from real action.

Zig also said, “With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide.”

And he’s right! Fear can stop you from action but then you may have to live with the new fear of hiding what is true.

Working to make things look a certain way over actually making it so through work is exhausting and a waste of effort! Trying to track words you’ve said without truth, failing to follow through on commitments. Fear, hiding, and guilt that accompany all of these will steal your focus.

Getting others to believe things are different does not make it so! And lies you tell yourself can keep you stuck in what you desire to change.

My clients leave each coaching session with a list of action items they’ve committed to take that will move them towards their desired goals. As we review the list from a previous week I must rely on self-reporting. Did they do what they promised?

Most of the time my clients are honest, but, at times, it quickly becomes clear that they are working to impress me with fabricated success over what they’ve really achieved. And I have to call them out.

The end goal can’t be about impressing me for a moment. I’m not going to judge or push for any agenda that is mine. Faking forward momentum doesn’t affect me.

And fabricated looks don’t last.

So, ask yourself, do you want to create impact for the long haul or just look good for a moment or two?

Living and leading for impact requires integrity…..So, be real with yourself and others.

Make sure your words and commitments match actions. And, where they don’t, clean it up!

Some Simple Little Things to Ponder from What I Shared Today:

1. Be real. Pretending to be something that you are not does not move you closer to who you want to be, but real change does!

2. You only achieve what you actually achieve, not what you or others believe you achieve.

3. Lying zaps energy and shifts focus. Why live in a way that ignites fear, worry, overwhelm, confusion and more lies?

4. Getting others to believe your lies does not prove bad things about them, but it does say a lot about you.

What are you really working towards? Do you want things to LOOK a certain way or would you prefer them to BE a certain way?

Integrity is a key foundation to living and leading for impact. End of story.

Fear can sometimes limit integrity. I’ve got a free download below to help you bust your fear…

Click To Receive Your Busting Fear: Jumping out of Limbo Land PDF Download!

EP 106: Dare You To Move – 3 Keys To Jumping Out Of Limbo Land

DTD Episode 106 Show Notes
I Dare You To Move!

Click To Receive Your Busting Fear: Jumping out of Limbo Land PDF Download!

I don’t know about you but there have certainly been a few times in my life when I have felt stuck……and I mean really stuck!  …….knowing my current circumstance was not the right fit but unable to make the next necessary step.

Even when the choice is right It can be hard to walk from the known to the unknown…..particularly when that move is huge!

It’s been almost 15 years but I still remember the feeling I had while waiting on ME to start the process of getting out of an abusive marriage…………..

It was such a journey to get to the point of KNOWING that I could not be who I was made to be….make my unique impact in this world…….in that marriage…..and there I sat……

I was beaten down from walking on eggshells for years….had physical reactions to fear that ignited whenever I was yelled at……..had been told I was a failure and a sham……screamed at for having to have surgery that required time for recovery……No matter how hard I tried to avoid the wrath there was always something I hadn’t done or something I hadn’t done right….it didn’t even need to make sense……If the spew had to happen he could always find a why……like the time he walked into the kitchen to scream at me for never doing the dishes while my hands were dripping with water over the sink as I DID the dishes.

Over years the abuse had morphed me……. Applying normal relationship strategies to what was not normal didn’t make a dent….I thought I was negotiating or accommodating like a normal couple would without realizing I was the only one making any change….. the slow, methodical metamorphosis I made to make a marriage that wasn’t working work…..I was the proverbial frog in the water and couldn’t feel the heat.

I had spent years trying to make the marriage right……doing all I knew to do to fix it…trying what was in my control..…….I still remember exactly where I was when I had that final ah ha moment….. ….My “punishments” never fit my “crimes.”  AND…..This relationship is what it is and I can NOT do anything to make it better…..I need to put the full focus of my creativity and energy towards getting out.

Soon after that epiphany moment I launched my coaching business….an important step that could provide both the money to support myself and two young boys and the flexibility I’d need to help all of us heal……And I’d be able to use my unique gifts – I could be who I was made to be!

Thankfully, my business took off quickly……and yet, there I sat… My boys were suffering, I could not be all of me……..And I was STILL unable to take that last final step………to file the paperwork that would distinguish the flame of hope and cement the end of that marriage.

It’s where I first used the term Limbo Land.  It’s such an uncomfortable place.  You know that you aren’t in the right place but feel uncertain about where to go next …..Or….know the direction but fear the unknowns that accompany the big step.

I felt paralyzed.  The visual I had for the moment was standing at the edge of a forest with an expansive, open field in front of me.  To leave the comfort of the known I just had to take that first step into the big, open unknown where the possibility of making my impact lived.

One my boys’ counselors’ knew what I needed to do…..and knew that I was stuck….  He suggested I listen to the song….Dare You To Move by Switchfoot.

Just a couple of the lines…..

The tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be………I Dare You to Move

That song became my anthem!  I listened to it over and over.

And happily, was soon able to make that important big step away from what I knew wasn’t working towards a life that could.

Since my big step almost 15 years ago I’ve had the privilege of walking beside others taking their professional or personal big steps….whether it was big career moves, having tough conversations, transforming relationships or transitioning away, working towards health.

Here are 3 strategies that have helped ease the tension of transition for me and many others

1. Focus on the First Step

    Take it all one step at a time. You don’t have to decide your entire future to take the first step.  I often ask clients to put secondary decisions on hold.  By tabling them for now you can focus on just that next small step rather than being overwhelmed by many.  And guessing at a future you aren’t certain of isn’t best use of your time anyway.I still remember a client who negotiated me into her severance package.  It was a scary time for her but also exciting as she created a future aligned with her dreams.  She was exploring the idea of moving from the for-profit world to non-profit.  Her first inclination was to figure out where she wanted to work while she still struggled with the initial idea.  Through coaching I had her back off from that future choice to focus first on that next step….Was non-profit for her?  We did some exploration and when that decision came back with a yes we moved forward to determining what ignited her passion more specifically.  By taking it one step at a time she was able to avoid a lot of the fear and overwhelm that can come with a big move.

2. The Decision isn’t Final

      If things work out horribly or aren’t what they seem –just tweak your choice……The path this one decision takes you on is not the end all be all and perfection should not be the goal. The truth is, sometimes you can’t know more about the outcomes until you just start.A few years ago I was part of a small team that launched a ministry for single moms.  We had done the basic work of designing our initial service offerings and some felt we should ponder and do more research before we launched.My immediate response, “Research cannot give us more facts about reality.  Only experience can do that.  The truth is, there will probably be even more trip-ups than what we anticipate from here. We’ll never be perfectly ready.  With action we’ll get answers to questions we haven’t even thought of yet. Let’s just launch to see what we learn and tweak from there.”  And that’s what we did!We launched, we learned and we made changes from there.

Remember – you don’t have to define ANYTHING as a failure!  Every misstep, every snafu, is a chance to learn, grow and redirect.

Ultimately the change you experience creates a moment in time.  There will be opportunities to make more choices along the way

3. Get Real About Your Fear:

    Often we sit with a generalized fear of the unknown. Making the fear of the future concrete can help.  I like to take my clients through a little exercise called, “What’s the worst that could happen?”  Get specific!While you may assume that asking this question would drive us down an anxiety-inducing path, that actually has never been the case.  As a matter of fact, we almost always end up with plenty of laughter.  When we define the fears there is either a ridiculously low probability they would actually happen OR…. are easily overcome.  At times the “what if” scenarios are actually better than the current circumstance.  So, yes….we laugh!What we find is that The generalized fear is almost always worse than the individual things you identify if you make it specific.  And, you soon realize that most of what you imagine won’t happen and, that if it did, you’d actually be fine.  There would be options, you’ve made it through worse already…

Using these 3 strategies usually removes the main barriers to making the first big step and, in my experience, has always lead to good things….for me and my clients.

I mean, look what I’ve accomplished since I filed those divorce papers:  I’ve impacted thousands of lives through speaking, writing, coaching and podcasting, raised 2 amazing boys to adulthood and into college, am remarried to an amazing man….were there missteps and new choices to make along the way?  Absolutely!  And I’m pretty sure there will be more to come…

But…. the more I move towards success the more I equip myself with the courage and confidence to take bigger, bolder action!  And the same goes for you!

So, what has you stuck in limbo land?  I Dare You To Move!

Click To Receive The Busting Fear: Jumping out of Limbo Land PDF Download!

Head to my podcast site where I’ve got a tool to help you implement these 3 key strategies.

Submit your current personal or professional challenge….

EP 105: Maintain Motivation For Maximum Impact

Live and Lead For Impact Episode 105 Show Notes
Maintain Motivation For Maximum Impact

Click To Download Your Free Sliding Into Self Care: Super Simple Strategies for Crazy Busy Lives

Once you awaken to your desire to make a difference it is tough to quiet the internal push towards action.

What does it mean to make an impact? The dictionary definition is to have an effect; influence, alter. The force exerted by a new idea, technology, concept, ideology.

So, anything that shifts the course of another.

At times it can feel like my impact isn’t enough…I want to be doing more…..helping more….serving more….I know for me, as each new year or birthday rolls around I feel it even more….time’s a-wasting….let’s DO THIS!

However, feeling this desire too much can leave you feeling frustrated or disappointed. And I don’t know about you, but, for me, when I’m feeling discouraged I am not living to create my best impact.

So, how do you keep motivation at a high and discouragement at bay as you work to create your unique difference?

Here are 3 keys to Maintaining Motivation for Maximum Impact:

1. Don’t minimize what you have accomplished. The truth is, we often don’t realize the full impact our words and actions have. When you are feeling low, quickly picture the ripple even a very small pebble can make in a lake. That one small act sends an ever-expanding motion through the water beyond where your eyes can see! The same is happening in your life whether you realize it or not! So, rather than assume you’re moving to slow, picture that ripple!

A few years ago, I got to see how one short conversation I’d had expanded to many. It was really awesome and has been a vision I’ve carried with me since to help me keep going when I needed it.

I was with a group of women and one offered up a thank you to a second woman in the room. She said, “I need to thank you for sharing that morning car routine with me. It has really made a difference for me and my son! I have been so much more intentional each day as I drive him to school! Turning off the radio and picking a topic has helped me capture those few moments for us. We’ve had a great conversation during that 10 minutes every morning since! I ended up sharing the idea with 4 other women that I work with and we’re all using our drive time for cool conversations now.”

The thing is….I was the one who had shared the idea with the women she was thanking! It was sooo exciting to think about my quick little conversation moving across people and impacting other families!

I also get to see my expanding impact quite often when I’m coaching leaders in a business. I’ll start to hear phrases or concepts I’ve shared during coaching sessions from employees I’ve never met. I know that those I’m coaching are sharing with their teams. It’s really rewarding!

Your actions are making a difference beyond what you see! Know that to your core! It will help you maintain the momentum you need.

2. Avoid Comparisons: At times I can hear about Oprah building an orphanage for girls or watch her show as it’s broadcast to millions and start to feel insignificant. And I’ve heard her speak at one of her huge events. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve left feeling deflated. I want to be making an impact like that!! I would love to watch my words and actions travel that far, touch that many lives!

If I continue to compare with that frame of reference, however, I can slow my progress. There is little benefit in comparisons that create jealousy or disappointment. I might not be making Oprah-level change right now but I’m still making an important impact! And…..if I keep moving, you never know what will happen!

And the same goes for you! Keep focusing words and actions on the impact you wish to make. Each step creates an impact!

3. Impact Can Happen in Any Role: Maybe you say you are “JUST” a volunteer, or JUST a mom or dad. Don’t do that! You don’t have to be the executive director of a non-profit, start a ministry or head up a huge company to make an impact in this world!

I look at the impact I’ve made being “just” a mom to my two boys as they struggled through tough health challenges. I’ve watched other warrior moms in support groups for these illnesses do the same! We fight, scratch and claw to get resources for our kids in our schools and as we search to find health practitioners who can help us heal our kids. We research, read, learn and re-design aspects of our lives to work towards wellness.

Yes, as “Just” a mom, I’ve made an impact! Even beyond helping my kids heal, I’ve made an impact by working hard to raise two respectful boys.

Your impact may be in a role you have already or a role you add on. You might make your impact as a business owner or parent but it could also be serving as a volunteer.

We were all put on this earth to make an impact!

Click To Download Your Free Sliding Into Self Care: Super Simple Strategies for Crazy Busy Lives

EP 104: Podcast Relaunch! From Defeat the Drama at Word to Live and Lead for Impact

DTD Episode #104 – Podcast Relaunch – The Return Show Notes
From Defeat the Drama at Work to Live and Lead for Impact

Click To Download Your Free Sliding Into Self Care: Super Simple Strategies for Crazy Busy Lives

Episode #104 – The Return Show Notes

From Defeat the Drama at Work to Live and Lead for Impact

What I’ve been Up to in the last 3 years
My recent Reflect – Refuel and Re-Evaluate

Shift in Focus for the Podcast and Why – For now let me tell you – it’s all about serving you better and was sparked by my Re-evaluation work

What I’ve been Up to in the last 3 years

For the last 3 plus years I have placed a focus on my two boy who had been struggling with major health challenges. They both began suffering from different autoimmune disorders at the same time! At some point I will explore what shared variables could have caused that to happen!

Let me just say, it was a crazy, busy, overwhelming, scary, frustrated, heartbreaking, sometimes celebratory time.

My oldest son was diagnosed with HSP immediately after symptoms started while my youngest was already suffering the symptoms of PANS, but was undiagnosed. It took a full year to learn what was impacting his health and the road back to health has been long!

I’ve been doing advocacy and awareness work since so let me give you a brief description so you can learn a little bit and also get a very small sense about what we were dealing with.

With HSP the body’s immune system attacks all the small blood vessels. It is VERY painful!

Small blood vessels line the entire digestive tract and are in all of the major organs. For my son this meant that he had terrible pain in his stomach as it contracted and squeezed. He ultimately went into kidney failure, causing his hands and feet to swell to the point that his skin was splitting, his blood pressure skyrocketed and he had blood in his urine. His liver was also enlarged. The
first signs were red dots on his ankles and feet, which began to move up his legs. They call it a rash, but it’s actually broken blood vessels. Thankfully, he was diagnosed right away and began treatment that started with a hospital stay in Orlando where we were on vacation, and lasted for months.

PANS is short for Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome. Sounds like a terrible disorder…AND….it is! The body’s immune system attacks the brain, causing inflammation. This creates what looks and feels like OCD, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, sleep disorders, tics, ADD, brain fog and more.

Children regress with handwriting and often are not able to function in school. They struggle tremendously or are unable to participate in school at all. And,
accurate diagnosis often takes a long time or doesn’t happen at all. It took a year for us to get a diagnosis and made recovery more challenging.

Symptoms show up out of nowhere overnight or in a moment and continue. In our case it was overnight. He woke me before school to share that he hadn’t slept all night and had anxiety through the roof. He was suddenly completely confused at school and unable to understand anything the teachers were saying.

He would not leave his bedroom and had weird eating habits.

He began losing weight. Traditional treatments that can positively impact psychiatric issues generally do little or nothing as they are not caused by chemical imbalance but by inflammation.

That was our experience. And, as my son begged me to find help so he could feel better and be back to himself again, we struggled to find anything that could help.

I re-prioritized my life immediately during this period and so, pressed pause on my podcast.

I continued work with coaching clients and did some speaking, but my kids and their health definitely took center stage. To give you a small feel, in one year I drove approximately 3,000 miles taking my kids to appointments. Stop and think for a minute about the fear, worry, time, logistical challenges and money involved in that many appointments.

And, as I’ve said, I also began spending time speaking and advocating for my kids personally with the school and health professionals and also for others. The CDC estimates that 1 in 200 kids will be impacted by PANS or PANDAS each year and yet many health practitioners and education professionals are not knowledgeable or even aware.

My Reflect – Re-Fuel and Re-Evaulation

I dubbed the summer of 2018 My Summer of Self Care. I focused on me and took time to Reflect, Re-Fuel and Re-Evaluate.

Reflect: We moved fast and furious through 3 years and there was rarely time to think or process what we were going through. It was always just Do – Do – Do. It seemed like we moved from one challenge to the next. So, I took time to just think and remember and feel the feelings that I passed over during the many experiences we’d had. There wasn’t time to sit and let feelings flow.

I was too busy and focused on research and trying the next thing. I needed to revisit what we’d been through and cry and take time to feel what was tucked away. I needed to let a lot of it out.

And, I always try to focus on the positive so had definitely celebrated small victories and looked for silver linings. But, now I needed time to grieve. I took time for that this summer too. I grieved high school years that weren’t what we’d planned. Time lost. Memories not made. There were no school dances or basketball games. He barely left his room for a few years. I grieved or the college life that isn’t what we’d expected.

Refuel: I was completely depleted! There was nothing left for me or anyone else. I could NOT be my best self without a focus on me. I secured down time and used it to just BE, spend time in nature, be quiet, paddle board, water walk. I took actual time off. Normally I celebrate my ability to work from anywhere while blending vacation and some scaled back work. The only true down time I’ve had in YEARS prior to this was my week-long honeymoon in Mexico. We left our
electronics back home!!

I also used some of the self-care suggestions from this .pdf I created. Click on the link to get your own download! It has a lot of ideas!!

My Summer of Self Care – Sliding into Self Care – Super Simple Strategies for Crazy Busy Lives

Re-Evaluate: During that quiet time came some contemplation and I began to re-evaluate:

My Team – All of my relationships from friendships, professional, those I serve and more.

discovered many of my relationships were very one-sided or based on what I could do vs. who I was. I needed to build my Team Kirsten – those who could help fuel me so that I get back to supporting others.

My Time – How should I spend my time -

My Targets – expand – include all of me – to support and encourage all of you.

Out of that re-evaluation came a shift in focus for my podcast. not really a shift, actually, an expansion.

New Podcast Introduction – Summarizes it all…

You were born with individual strengths and a unique purpose. Don’t let fears, false beliefs, or life’s happenings diminish your influence! 

It’s time to Live and Lead for Impact!

Host, Kirsten Ross, expert of transformation, will help you Defeat the Drama and Overcome the Trauma that can stop you in your tracks. You’ll gain focus, find confidence, and take bold action…. Unleash passionate, purposeful you!
Let’s Go!!

I realized that to brand my podcast as Defeat the Drama at Work had me feeling fragmented………I kept bumping up against this wall at the edge of business topics with more that I really wanted to share but didn’t feel like I could and still remain consistent to the brand.

Over the past few years I began to feel more and more fragmented as some of my advocacy work took me in different directions with my speaking as well. It was then difficult to feel fully authentic when I spoke on leadership topics.
I just wanted to be all of me! It started to feel like an identity crisis…….

I’ve always had this call to action or wiring to share what I learn to help others. It goes all the way back to high school. As a result, I live my life on 2 tracks all at once. I live and learn as life happens. However, at the same time, I am also constantly looking objectively at my life and organizing what I’m learning with a plan to share what I’m learning to help others. The wiring has me planning that way and then my innate ability to simplify challenging topics helps me turn it into shareable information.

My podcast’s focus on work alone was what had me feeling fractured.
I’ll say that I’ve been blessed to have had many experiences throughout life that provide me the opportunity to share from a rich collection of life experiences.

I actually recently joked with a friend as she marveled at the wealth of life experiences I’ve had, “Well, I’m really hoping God is satisfied with the material I’m now armed with”….I was kind of joking but kind of not!

So…….The strategies I share with others have been used by many of my clients but also by me. Ironically, whenever I start with a new coaching client, one of the first things I share is this, “You are who you are in your life and in your work so we can work on either and we’ll impact both.” 

I immediately give license to my clients to be a whole human being SOOOOOO……Why on earth have I been limiting my ability to be whole too and share from my plethora of both work and life experiences? Ultimately, my goal is to help others make a positive impact and I don’t care where it happens! I believe to the depths of my core that we are each put on this earth with a unique purpose and wonderful gifts to share with others. Too often fears, false beliefs and the happenings of life stop us from fulfilling that purpose and we rob the world of us.

With this new title and focus I get to be all of me and can also help all of you! Don’t rob the world of you!! I want to help you defeat the drama and overcome the trauma that can block you!

Live and Lead for Impact is about making your difference in this world as all of you from the many different roles that you play. The reality is that you can make a difference as a leader, parent, community member, volunteer, an employee or something else entirely I want to help you make your important impact. Thank you for listening and I look forward to helping you and hearing about your journey to impact!

Click To Download Your Free Sliding Into Self Care: Super Simple Strategies for Crazy Busy Lives