Our Wholistic Woman Story

Our Wholistic Woman Story

Wholistic Woman Retreats Celebrates 10 Years of:

  • Wholistic growth – heart, mind, body, and spirit
  • Teamwork
  • Loving and learning together
  • Laughter and joy
  • Overcoming fears and a few tears
  • Encouragement and Celebration
  • Wholeness

My heart is warmed as I look back over the last 10 years of women’s retreats that we have created and led. I tend to be a forward thinker so a recent walk down memory lane, looking at photographs from our past retreats, left quite an impact on me. It stirred similar emotions as those I experience when I look at pictures of my children in their various ages and stages. I exclaimed over how much development has occurred while simultaneously fondly remembering the moments that led to such growth.

It’s good to see how far we’ve come as a community, and as individuals. Since pictures tell the story so well we will be sharing photos and memories over the next 10 weeks. We hope you will enjoy the memories with us as you see the smiles, hugs, and positive energy that flows from the faces of the women who participated in our retreats. Perhaps you will see your own face among them. We encourage you to share your memories of experiences with us over the years.

Our Story – 10 years in the making…

My most important lifelong lesson has been learning how to recognize, trust, and act upon the nudges God sends my way. The creation of Wholistic Woman Retreats has taught me more about listening to the nudges God places on my heart, the seeds He plants in my mind, and the stirring of His call within my spirit.

Our story began with a dream

As so often happens, the dream started well before any action occurred. The seeds of a retreat idea were planted in my heart about 10 years before WWR ever took shape. It began when I joined the Family Life Committee at my church and helped with the coordination of many family retreats at West River Retreat Center on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Many friendships were formed through those retreats, and an especially important one was with a young woman on the committee named Pat. 

Some friends lift you up and help you to be all that you are called to be. Pat has been such a friend for me. When I went to life coaching school, Pat volunteered to be my ‘guinea pig’ and allowed me to practice my coaching skills with her. As I did so, I shared a dream that was stirring in my heart. It was a dream to take what we had done for the church and offer it to women in our area. At that time, I was going through a difficult phase of my life and divorce was on the horizon.  As my hopes for a happy marriage ended, I entered a valley of grief and looked fearfully ahead at the prospect of raising my two young sons as a single mother. I felt lost and alone in this disappointing and confusing time. I responded to an inner nudge and began to reach out to try new things, lift my spirits, and make new friends. I reconnected with yoga, meditated, and explored spiritual practices that expanded my perspective, just to name a few. Feeling isolated, I even started to a side jewelry business in the evenings to get out and socialize with other women. In these years, I often felt overwhelmed and overloaded and realized that many other women felt the same way, whether they were single mothers or not. It seemed to be a universal female experience. My gift of empathy led me to deeply care about the challenges that I saw in the women around me, and which I recognized within myself.   

I wanted to give those struggling women a break. The memory of the rejuvenating benefits of those family retreats resurfaced. I recognize that when we get away from the day-to-day grind we can truly rest, reflect, gain new perspectives, learn skills to manage better, and feel recharged. Once filled we return to our family commitments, jobs, and activities with renewed energy.

My early retreat ideas were of a physical place where women could gather to enjoy coffee, connect with one another, perhaps take a yoga class, or learn new life skills while their children were well-cared for. I envisioned a coffee shop/retreat center that would provide a haven for stressed out young mothers, empty nesters, and women searching for something yet to be defined. I visited various locations and my faithful friend Pat would sit in my car, sometimes in the pouring rain, while we talked about what was possible.

The dream, however, took an important directional change when my cousin asked a significant question one day. He asked, “Do you want to own property or be a coach?” I quickly knew the answer. My gifts are clearly designed for coaching. I’m a teacher, listener, encourager, planner, and cheerleader at heart. I’m grateful for my cousin’s question because it steered me away from the responsibilities of commercial property ownership and directed me towards leading retreats. Little did I know that it would also mean leading a retreat team.

At the core of my dream was the desire to support, encourage, and pamper women like myself, who give a lot to their families, friends, community, and careers. Women who needed a break, and a chance to refill their ever-depleting tanks. My strategic strength kicked in and expanded the vision to include massages, body work options and even shopping. I also wanted to offer learning opportunities where they could discover strategies to improve and more consistently be their best…however they defined it.

As my dream continued to evolve in my mind and heart, I started speaking about it to others besides my friend Pat. I was encouraged when women would say to me, when you have your retreat, I want to come. My heart was touched even more when, occasionally, some women would say, when you do your retreat, I want to help. Those statements were water that sprouted the seeds within me and from which this organization ultimately grew.

The story takes shape

In the fall of 2009 I went for coffee with a new friend, Jeanette Eleff, who was a fellow coach and entrepreneur. She was curious to hear more about my dream of doing retreats and she asked great questions to help me give voice to my vision. In the end, she summarized with, “Carol, I can tell that you’re a mover and a shaker. I want to help you do this retreat.” My response indicated the self-doubt I was feeling, “Really? Do you mean that?” You see, my top strengths lie in relationship-building. I’m better at connecting with people and thoughts than with actually making a dream become a reality. I have found that I need people around me who activate me into action. Without Jeanette’s prompt, I might still be thinking about my vision to this day. Her reply of “Yes, I certainly do mean it” changed my life and, as a consequence, touched many, many other lives.

Jeanette and I met throughout the fall to plan a day retreat for women which would be held the following spring. As we planned, I mentioned that several women had offered their help once the dream was in motion. We agreed to invite those women to a planning meeting. So, on a January day in 2010, I lit a cozy fire, poured cups of hot tea, and sat in a circle with five women who shared the heartfelt call to lead a retreat. Jeanette and I welcomed Kelye, Laura, Sandie and Lisa into our circle and in doing so the Wholistic Coaching Coalition took shape. In three short months we planned and held what would be the first of many wonderful retreats to nurture women’s personal and professional development. 

To be clear, we didn’t plan to start a retreat organization. We simply planned a retreat. We agreed on the core principal that it would be wholistic – and purposefully spelled it with a ‘W’ to remind us of our intention to provide programs focused on the whole women – her body, heart, mind, and spirit.  The first retreat was held in the Catoctin Mountains at a beautiful lodge known as ThorpeWood. We invited practitioners to offer their services, thus providing an element of pampering and education about alternative bodywork – acupuncture, reiki, massage, chiropractic and more rounded out a day of reflection, learning new life skills, good food, laughter, and mutual support. Forty-five women joined us for this day retreat in the woods. For me, it was a dream come true as I walked among them, felt their energy, and saw their glowing faces. It felt amazing to pour into others and to have our offerings received with such appreciation. We were providing a gentle, soaking rain of love onto the thirsty soil of these women’s lives…and in doing so we blessed our own lives.

Some dreams are too big to do alone.

At the closing session of the first retreat, I reflected that I couldn’t have done it without the team of women who showed up and offered their assistance. I still believe that today, 10 years later. Some visions require a team to make them a reality. My dream took flight with Jeanette’s spark of encouragement and the subsequent team that formed. We co-created something that was wonderfully enriching for women. Through this, I’ve learned that I thrive when I am interdependent with others whose talents complement mine. My developer and woo strengths expanded to initiate partnerships with other coaches and business partners. My dream became a shared vision, and we went on to hold many kinds of retreats over the past 10 years. Day retreats, overnight retreats, evening retreats, and most recently a long-desired destination retreat to Sedona, AZ. Each retreat provided a platform for founding and partner coaches to teach their area of expertise and to provide the attendees with new resources, tools, and strategies for personal and professional development.

We believe that each program attracted the women who were meant to be there. Each one attracted the sponsors who felt led to support us, allowing us to offer enhancements that would not have been possible without them. Expanding from our home base of Frederick Md, we have held retreats in Virginia, Pennsylvania, other parts of Maryland, and now Sedona, AZ. Over the years, a wonderful community of women as formed. We refer to them as women-on-the-grow. They are busy women who know how important it is to take time to recharge. Retreats are key to sustaining their well-being and to continuing their lifelong development. Some of these women have stayed with us for a season of their lives, others came for just a single event, and still others have stayed connected to us throughout our ten-year journey. We have welcomed and cared for them all.

Our belief is one of attraction.

We believe that the women who are meant to attend our programs will arrive right on time. Personally, I believe God is nudging and/or calling them to us. I trust that they know within themselves which of our coaches and partners they are meant to connect with and to follow. 

As coaches, we are skillful at meeting each woman where she is and accepting her for how she is. We practice non-judgment with open minds and hearts. We give encouragement and celebrate progress. We believe in life-long learning and personal growth. We teach tips and strategies to expand self-awareness which ultimately leads to more choices. With increased awareness we can decide if we want to continue what we are doing or if we want to make changes, either slight or major shifts. We offer an environment of love and support. Women soak up knowledge and deepen the roots of their own spirit in our midst. Hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits grow stronger and more confident in this rich soil.

This beautiful organization has been a dream come true. 

I celebrate our 10 years of living, loving, and growing together.

I celebrate the original team, and the subsequent team which evolved as some women moved on and others joined us on this journey.

I celebrate the many coaches (both founders and partner coaches) who have contributed their unique voices and expertise to our community.

I celebrate the alliance partners who offered their expertise providing necessary business skills to support the smooth operation of this impactful organization. 

Most of all, I celebrate the women – in all their stages of life – who have attended our programs.

I am profoundly grateful for the growth I have been honored to witness. Thank you for being part of my life lesson as I continue to learn about following God’s nudges and the calling He stirs within my heart. My soul bows to each of yours in gratitude for being on the journey together…then – now – and in the days ahead.

Soulful Sedona Destination Retreat October 7-10, 2021

Soulful Sedona Destination Retreat October 7-10, 2021

Soulful Sedona Destination Retreat

October 7 - 10, 2021

Explore and Grow with us in Red Rock Country!

 

Join the Wholistic Coaches on a journey to reconnect with your Wise Self in beautiful, soulful Sedona, Arizona. Create deeper connections with like-minded and adventurous women as you:

Step into deeper peace and find new ways to understand and accept yourself wholistically ~ heart, mind, body, and spirit…

Discover mindsets that unleash your full potential, making your life one that inspires yourself and others…

Identify what’s been holding you back and get unstuck. Learn how to navigate towards the more genuine you to experience greater joy and passion…

Learn to love all that you are and let go of what you are not…

Know more deeply what it means to be your authentic self. Discover who she is and how to empower her to shine.

Savor and take a Soulful Sedona attitude home with you to stay fully present and peaceful when the stress of juggling work, family, and personal activities reoccurs…

Enjoy a unique getaway full of fun and adventure simultaneously supported by the grace and wisdom of a very special Wholistic team led by your personal, skillful coaches Kelye and Carol.

FAQ:

Retreat Details

What are the retreat highlights?

Your registration for the Soulful Sedona Retreat includes:

  • Welcome reception featuring Southwest appetizers and signature prickly pear margarita
  • Pink Jeep tour with picnic lunch
  • Vortex Hike guided by an expert local naturalist, with picnic lunch
  • Coaching conversations with Carol and Kelye
  • Sparkling sunset toasts
  • Special local dinner on Saturday night
  • Wholistic journal/pen set to capture your experiences

 

What is the retreat agenda?

We are working hard to create an agenda that will give you the best experience in Sedona! In the meantime, please take a look at our agenda from last year to give you an idea of what we had in store.

Thursday 

Welcome Reception  

Friday 

Rise & Shine Program with Coaches 

Pink Jeep Tour of Sedona and surrounding area with picnic lunch

Afternoon Free Time (suggested activities):

  • Sedona Rouge Spa
  • Discover Tlaquepaque – Sedona’s shopping and art destination
  • Chapel of the Holy Cross – chapel rises 200 hundred feet above ground surface between red rock formations, great architectures             and Sedona views

Sunset with Wholistic Coaches – Calm your mind and spirit

Saturday

Rise and Shine program with coaches 

Morning Bell Rock Vortex Guided Hike and picnic lunch
Led by expert Guide Feather who will teach about the plant-life, geology, history, and Native American influences for 2-3 hours; Village of Oak Creek; 4-mile roundtrip

  Afternoon Free Time (suggested activities):

  •   Sedona Rouge Spa
  •   Discover Tlaquepaque – Sedona’s shopping and art destination
  •   Explore Boynton Canyon Trail or Cathedral Rock Vortexes

Sunset with Wholistic Coaches

Sunday 

  Sedona Retreat Farewell ~ coach debrief ~ travel home

I've never traveled with a coach. What will that be like?
Our certified coaches are present to support your development and exploration during this destination retreat. All coaches will be involved daily to meet you where you are and provide a safe space for your growth and enjoyment of this experience.
Who will I meet?
The Founding Coaches and their team of experts will share their gifts, expertise and tangible takeaways to empower you to move forward and create more of what you desire.

The team includes your boutique hotel staff, your Pink Jeep tour guides, our vortex guide Feather, and others who are ready to make this a fabulous experience.

Will I have free time?
 Yes! Sedona surprises and awakens the soul so we have carefully avoided over planning your experience.

Here are some great ideas to enjoy each afternoon on your own or with other retreat attendees.

  • Pamper yourself with local spa treatments.
  • Discover Tlaquepaque Village – Sedona’s shopping and art destination.
  • Explore the surrounding countryside and hike additional vortexes.
  • Visit Chapel of the Holy Cross – rising 200 feet above red rock formations.
  • and so much more…

 

Cost

What does the retreat cost?

Special early-bird pricing for your Sedona getaway: $975 (ends June 5, 2021)
Regular pricing: $1075 (after June 5, 2021 – registration ends August 5, 2021)

Are there payment options?

Payment plans are available through August 5, 2021. 
To participate in a payment plan check that option when completing your registration.
We will calculate the payment amount based on the number of months between your registration date and the payment deadline of August 5, 2021.
You will receive a monthly invoice which you can remit through PayPal, a credit or debit card.

Do you give refunds?

The retreat fee is refundable before 8/5/21. Should you need to cancel after that date you may transfer your registration to someone else. Contact our wholistic community support team for assistance in transferring your retreat registration and call A Sunset Chateau directly to cancel your reservation.

 

Flight & Accommodations

How do I get there?
Flagstaff Airport is the closest small commercial airport, just a 45 minute scenic drive from Sedona.

Phoenix International Airport is a lovely 2 hour drive from Sedona.

We recommend that you book your flight with Southwest Airlines (typically $450)

Low cost shuttle service may be offered, if requested. If you choose to rent a car the cost is typically $150.

What hotel do you recommend?
A special block of rooms has been reserved for us at the boutique Sunset Chateau B&B. Visit their website and call their hospitality staff directly to reserve your room at 928-282-2644. They’re expecting your call!

What can you tell me about the hotel?

A Sunset Chateau is nestled on a gorgeous hillside with panoramic views of Sedona’s world-famous red rocks. Experience artistically decorated luxury suites with uniquely curated art & furnishings. All of their spacious suites include modern conveniences and thoughtful touches to make you feel more at home including organic bath amenities, complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, and comfortable furnishings.

There are many places to unwind and enjoy the view, whether from your patio, in the lush gardens, or by the salt-water pool and jacuzzi. A wonderful made-to-order breakfast is included each morning in the dining room.

Can I cancel my room if something comes up?

To book your room, you will be required to pay for your first night’s stay. If you need to cancel, you would get a full refund if your cancellation is before 8/5/21. Call A Sunset Chateau directly if you need to cancel.

Register Now!

Only $975
 

Gratitude Circle – November 14

Gratitude Circle – November 14

Gratitude Circle & Brunch

November 15, 2020

Celebrate & Savor with us at this special capstone event of 2020!!

What would it be like for you to slow down and focus on what’s right?

Would you like to savor and celebrate the good?

2020 had been a tough year…more than ever we need to be appreciative.

Gratitude is a practice that

    • opens your heart,
    • relaxes your body,
    • eases your mind from worry, and
    • lifts your spirit

It brings positivity and love to the front of your awareness.

We want to practice gratitude with you.

Each year we gather in November to express our appreciation for our growth as women, and as a caring community.

This year has been unlike any other in history, causing incredible stress, fatigue, and loss for many.

This year especially, we need to support one another and learn from our challenging experiences.

    • How have you grown?
    • Who has walked this year’s journey with you?
    • What do you want to remember and continue to practice?

Wholistic Women Retreats + Academy wants to celebrate the good with you.

We are also continuing to celebrate helping women grow, personally and professionally.

We hope you will join us in acknowledging each of our blessings.

This year we will safely gather in-person at ThorpeWood , a beautiful mountain lodge in Thurmont, Md for our Gratitude Circle & Brunch.

We will maintain social distance, sanitize, and wear masks per the CDC guidelines. The staff at ThorpeWood are taking every precaution to keep their guests safe.

A delicious brunch, catered by Renaissance Chef, will include:

  • Your Choice of Scrambled Egg Casseroles:
    • Wild Mushroom & Monterey Jack Cheese
    • Ham & Cheddar Cheese
  • Roasted Root Vegetables
  • Autumn Salad
  • Yogurt Parfaits
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Mini Muffins and Breakfast Breads
  • Coffee, tea, juices
  • Mimosa Bar

Treat yourself to this magical time away ~ enjoy a scenic drive through beautiful fall colors ~ a yummy brunch ~ time to reflect and share what you’re grateful for this past year.

We invite you to join us for this special time of connection, appreciation, and a celebration of Wholistic Growth.

Let the positive energy that gratitude provides bless and support you.

This event is open to all. Come solo or bring a friend!

Register Now!

  • Price: $40.00
  • $0.00
Location: Thorpewood12805-A Mink Farm Rd. Thurmont, MD
Time: 12:30–3:30 pm

What Makes a Woman Strong and Resilient?

What Makes a Woman Strong and Resilient?

This is the Year of the Woman when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. At the risk of dating myself I have the Helen Reddy song, ‘I am Woman’ going through my head…

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
’cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

CHORUS
Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman…

You can probably tell that these lyrics are referring to more than just physical strength. In addition to sheer stamina, what other attributes contribute to a woman’s overall, wholistic strength? What makes her resilient and capable of bouncing back from adversity? The answers will vary for each of us, but let’s look for commonalities.

What makes women strong and are we truly invincible?

To begin with…let’s think about the word strong and understand what we mean by wholistic strength. These are the qualities that make you the unique woman you are. They show up in the way you think and feel as well as in your physical and spiritual activities.

I wonder if you’re similar to me and can more readily identify the strengths of your friends and colleagues than you can for yourself. It’s easier for me to state what I treasure and appreciate about others, but much harder to ascertain that about myself.

Yet like our unique thumbprints, I believe that we each have our own individual ‘soul-prints’ that comprises our strengths, weaknesses, core values, and beliefs. God gave us each an individual design which we continue to develop through our life experiences, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Over the years, a certain degree of humility has kept me quiet about my natural talents. I’ve learned, though, that I need to identify these strengths and talents in order to gain confidence and to be aware of my blind spots, i.e. the areas that I don’t understand well about myself. If I’m unclear about my talents, how can I effectively manage them? It’s necessary to know what my God-given talents are in order to optimally use them for good. I will never be perfect, but being dedicated to lifelong learning helps me to continually evolve into a better version of myself.

I have been on a journey of greater self-awareness about my strengths for the past 7 years. Each day holds new opportunities for me to learn more about myself and how I manage my talents. I fine-tune how I use my gifts based on feedback that I receive.

Did you ever play the Hot and Cold game as a child? It’s almost like a verbal Hide and Seek. One person is the Seeker and leaves the room while the group quietly identifies an object to be found. When the Seeker returns to the room, she searches for the object based on guidance from the group. The group members, however, may only say ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ when directing the seeker. As the seeker moves farther away from the object the group says “cold, colder, cold”. As she moves closer to the chosen object the group encourages her with “warm, warmer, warm” and shouts “hot” when she touches it. There is delight on both sides when the Seeker finds what she is looking for. This simple childhood game is a great example of the need to give and receive feedback. We can be lost and off-course without it and waste unnecessary time going in the wrong direction. With a little help from our friends, we can more easily find our way.

We each have a role in guiding one another towards success. How? By giving positive feedback to reinforce behaviors that are working well. You do that when you let others know what you appreciate about them. It’s also crucial to let them know when their actions aren’t working well. Without feedback, we don’t know what to change. Effective delivery of feedback is a key leadership competency. You practice it every day whether you’re aware of it or not.

I enjoy teaching that our strengths have a light and a dark side. The light side is when they are working well and getting the results that we want. The dark side is when they are not working well. They are overwhelming others, or us, with too much of a good thing. I like to think of each of my top strengths as having a dial where I can turn them up or down to calibrate the desired impact that I want in different situations. With conscious observation, I can then notice when I need to use more or less of my strengths.

For example, my top strength according to Gallup’s Strength Finder assessment is empathy. That means I tend to lead with my heart, follow my intuition, and sense other’s emotions with ease. Simply put, I care a lot. It serves me well when I am connecting with others. I’ve been told that I’m a good listener and people can sense that I genuinely care. It can overwhelm me, though, when I am bombarded by negativity on the news or when I feel powerless to help improve a hurting person or situation. My empathy can also overwhelm others when I’m being too sensitive and trying to connect on a level that they may not be ready or willing to do so.

Empathy is only one of my strengths and I could tell you much more that I’ve learned about dialing it up and down. That’s another article! I have nine more strengths in my top ten and each one provides a wealth of information for me as a leader, a family member, and a friend. The truth is I will always be learning more about my strengths because each day provides new opportunities and configurations of people, situations, and experiences for learning. Knowing and owning my strengths gives me a powerful tool to better understand and use my unique thumbprint and God-given design for good.

Resilient women know how to use their strengths effectively and apply them wholistically throughout all areas of their life.

Are we invincible? What about weakness?

Unlike the superwoman in the song ‘I am Woman,’ this woman is not invincible.

It’s important to not only understand what makes us strong but also to examine areas of weakness. What do you do when you’re in the dark side of your strengths? One option is to turn it down and turn up a different strength. When my empathy is on overload, I know I need to re-calibrate by dialing up my strategic thinking strengths. My head balances my heart when it’s on overload. What else can we do?

Personally, when I get to the end of my own abilities (which is every day) I lean into my faith. I believe in a God and higher power who is supremely capable. In fact, I believe it is part of the divine design for us to hit our limits so that we will reach out for help. We aren’t meant to be all-powerful and all capable. We are meant to be in relationship with others – to need them – and to be needed. That’s the human balance.

In my book, Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith, I share my perspective that relationships are a beautiful kaleidoscope made up of many triangles. I picture each of my relationships as a triangle with God at the top and myself and the other person making up the other two points. As we each grow our relationship with God, the bond between the two of us grows stronger.

I also believe the Good Book which frequently says, “when you are weak, I am strong.” It reminds me of God’s promise to be present and provide His strength when I reach the end of my limits. It encourages me and reminds me that I am never alone. I don’t have to be strong and have it altogether all the time. I am designed to be imperfect and in need of help, both divine and human.

I can be a strong woman…and a weak woman at the same time. I can be good at some things and not good at other things. I can embrace my talents and relax in knowing that I am a work in progress, always learning more about how to effectively use those talents.

With that knowledge, I can sing “I am woman, hear me roar! I am woman watch me soar” into the realm of God’s love and guidance.

Resilient women know their limits and lean on their support team when needed. They are connected and know how to give and receive help.

What is your unique Strengths story?

We each have a story to tell about our individual qualities and how we use them. How have they contributed to your own resilience? What have you learned over the years about the light and dark sides of your strengths? When do your talents work best? When do they overwhelm you? What strategies do you have to address areas of weakness? What do you do when you reach your limit?

I invite you to discuss these questions and explore your strengths and resilience story with me at Discover & Own Your Strengths Evening Retreat on March 25th from 5:30-7:30 pm. I hope to see you there!

Feeling Stronger and More Confident About Your Money

Feeling Stronger and More Confident About Your Money

Are you satisfied with your relationship with money?

Many of us would say that we’d like to be more confident with our finances, yet we don’t know how to gain that confidence.

Experts recognize that we each have a money personality which guides our unique approach to managing our finances. Our money personality develops through observation of others and education. For many of us, the most impactful lessons are learned the hard way, through real-life experiences. The good news is that we can change our money personality if it’s not serving us well.

Like anything that we want to change, we first need to assess where we currently are. With honest self-awareness, we can then choose thoughts and behaviors that we want to modify to achieve different results.

Some of us think of money in terms of status, believing that our net-worth equals our self-worth. Others tend to worship money and engage in wishfully thinking that if we had more, our problems would be solved. Some of us tend to avoid money matters entirely and still, others vigilantly guard and protect their money.

You may have been each of these at some point in your life or find that you’re a combination of them now. I’m curious to know what it would be like to apply our unique strengths to mold our money personality into a form that consistently serves us well.  I have been experimenting with this idea, using myself as a test subject, to see what I could learn.

Using Gallup’s Strengths Finder assessment, I learned that my leadership style is one of relationship building. In short, I’m a people person and my natural approach to leading is through connection with others. When I look at how my leadership style impacts my approach to money, I can easily see times when it works well and times when it doesn’t.

For example, in my shopping, I choose to support local businesses over big box stores whenever I can, even if it’s inconvenient. I believe that it’s important to encourage entrepreneurs and small business owners and do my part by spending my dollars with them. My Developer, Empathy, and Belief strengths feel fulfilled when I purposefully shop local. The dark side of those same strengths appears when I purchase something that I really don’t want or need in order to be supportive.

I good-naturedly recall a delightful trip through the NY wine country with my husband and another couple. We spontaneously stopped into a cider works distillery to taste their products. We were their only guests and received the owner’s full attention as the four of us respectfully tasted each cider sample. In the end, we agreed that we were not fans. As the three of them politely thanked the owners and started to leave, my heart took over and I grabbed a bottle of cherry cider to purchase from the grateful proprietor. I received plenty of ribbing afterward from my friends and the bottle sat in our cupboard for over a year before I finally gave it away to someone who would appreciate it. My heart led the way into that sympathy-buy. I can laugh about it now, but I wonder how many times I let my relationship strengths lead the way financially, and if that serves me well. Does my concern for others supersede practical purchasing decisions?

Another strength in my top 5 is Positivity. It serves me well in having a fundamentally positive outlook on life, including my finances, however, at times it may not work to my benefit. How often do I charge an item to my credit card thinking (positively), I’ll pay that off when the bill comes in? Only I don’t. And the balance increases when I do that repeatedly. My positivity could sabotage my financial goals if I don’t catch myself and ‘dial it differently’. You may wonder what I mean by dialing it differently.

I like to picture my top 5 strengths as individual pots on a stove, each with a dial ranging from 1 to 10. When my positivity is too high, I can turn it down and turn up another strength that would get the results I’m after. In the above situation, I could dial up my Strategic strength and ask myself important questions such as Will this purchase get me closer or further away from my financial goals? Will I honestly pay this charge off when the bill comes in? Do I really need this item? By turning down my overly optimistic tendency and balancing it with my thoughtful planning strength I can then make a well-formulated purchasing decision. My heart-centered leadership style can be effectively managed by increasing my other top strengths.

I’m curious to learn more about the ways my individual strengths and leadership style impacts my spending and saving. Increasing my knowledge will help me be more conscious of my default tendencies. I can then contribute those insights to the conversations that my husband and I have about our financial decisions. Knowing his strengths and leadership style will further help us to understand ourselves better and fine tune our joint money matters.

Gallup has organized their list of 34 strengths into four leadership styles: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking. I’m delighted to partner with Financial Coach Jane Helm to learn more about the ways in which our strengths impact our money personalities. Ladies, if you’d like to learn more, you’re invited to join Jane and me for an evening retreat entitled Be Prosperous on June 26 from 5:30-7:30 pm. Learn details about this Wholistic Woman Retreat program here.

Grow more confident about your relationship with money with us!

Today’s author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is a strengths-based executive leadership coach who guides individuals and businesses to be their best. For more information about her coaching services, and her book Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith, visit www.caroldelaski.com or email her at carol@caroldelaski.com