“I’m the strong one, I’m not nervous; I’m as tough as the crust of the Earth is.”
That’s the perfectionist’s dream, isn’t it? To get it right every time, to hold it all together, to need almost nothing.
But there’s a shadow side. I know because I’ve lived it, and because of what readers write to me: “I try so hard to do everything right and not screw up. Caroline, do you know how exhausting that is? I think you do; that’s why I’m writing to you.”
They’re right; I do know. I know how exhausting it is to be “the responsible one”, and I also know how it feels like an imperative.
It’s been your survival strategy for years, hasn’t it? Just keep going, keep fixing and saving and staying up late to get it all done. Keep on meeting others’ expectations, filling out those Valentine’s for your toddler’s class while putting aside your own creative time.
That’s what a good person does, right?
But of course this is exhausting. Secretly you yearn to take a break and do nothing. The problem is, when you actually get some time to yourself, slowing down and resting feels wildly uncomfortable. Taking the pressure off triggers big-time anxiety.
You’re just being lazy! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
That’s so selfish! Who do you think you are just laying around?
You have to take care of other people! You have responsibilities!
So instead of getting much-needed rest, you take on another huge project, and the cycle starts all over again. Once more, you’re holding yourself to impossible standards, burning out under the weight of obligations and perfectionism.
“Under the surface, I feel berserk as a tightrope walker in a three-ring circus.
Who am I if I can’t carry it all?”
On some deep level, you believe that this is how your life is supposed to be. So you keep going past the breaking point. You keep going until you simply can’t anymore. And that’s terrifying, because who are you if you’re not the strong one?
Is This You?
- You’re strong, smart, capable … and you’re tired and secretly suffering. You don’t let most people see how bad you feel.
- You have this pressing desire to go inward, to figure out why you keep repeating the same patterns even though you don’t want to.
- You feel like it’s time to finally heal the part of you that’s been suffering and scared ever since you can remember.
- You’re less interested in productivity and outer work, and more interested in inner healing work.
If so, I get it. Me too.
I had my first anxiety attack in the first grade. When my teacher returned my paper with See Me written in red ink instead of the usual Excellent, I felt such paralyzing fear that I almost couldn’t breathe.
It wasn’t until years later that I wondered: Why, at six years old, was I so terrified of failure? How did I acquire this near-primal need to be perfect?
The answer is complicated. Some of it goes back to family of origin dysfunction, my younger brother’s autism diagnosis, and how I took on the role of the Golden Child. Some of it goes back to the cultic church of childhood where I worked very hard to earn God’s favor.
Growing up, I won awards and accolades and fought against failure with everything I had. When my brother started getting violent, I held it together in public, then hyperventilated and cut myself in private.
When I got into a serious car accident on the way to high school, I insisted on going right to class afterward. (Trauma? What trauma? I’m fine!)
I showed up as a problem-solver, yet in my secret heart, I feared that I WAS the problem. What’s wrong with you? was the shaming mantra in my mind, appearing at the slightest sign of weakness.
I believed that trying harder would save me, when in truth it kept me stuck. I tried to reason my way out of deep fear, and it simply didn’t work.
The thing that did help – the thing that saved me, really – was learning to bring love to the parts of myself that were hurting and terrified. Doing deep inner work helped me to shift the patterns I learned from abusive relationships.
Instead of carrying around a bunch of old pain and wasting a ton of energy, I learned how to heal. And it made all the difference.
Along the way, I wrote the book I needed: You Don’t Owe Anyone: Free Yourself from the Weight of Expectations (Broadleaf Books, 2021).
Can you imagine what YOUR life would be like if you lived like you don’t owe anyone? If you set yourself free from the weight of expectations?
“If I could shake the crushing weight of expectations
Would that free some room up for joy? Or relaxation, or simple pleasure?”
You can have that.
You can have joy, relaxation, and simple pleasure.
You can have a sense of ease and freedom.
You can take the pressure off and enjoy just being human.
How do I know? Because I see it happen every day in coaching.
As a coach, I help smart, capable people who are high-functioning but secretly suffering. I help people who are really good at doing what they’re “supposed to” do, start doing what they’re MEANT to do.
Enter: Progress on Purpose
Progress On Purpose is a 9-month private coaching program for people who are ready to give themselves permission to LIVE.
In this one-on-one coaching program, we help you to heal on all levels of self: body, mind, heart, and spirit.
With Progress On Purpose, you’ll learn how to …
- Find a true sense of confidence and alignment with every decision you make
- Trust yourself and maintain healthy boundaries, even when you feel guilt
- Move past perfectionism (aka fear) and take empowered action
- Prioritize rest without guilt or shame
- Finally do what lights you up!
All the while, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a safe, loving space that frees you up to access your deeper feelings, hopes, and dreams. We’ll walk this road together, and you’ll be amazed by how much that makes a difference.
Progress On Purpose is a 9 month program that includes:
Two hour-long private coaching sessions per month (18 calls total, with recordings available)
You’ll change old patterns, connect to your true self, and chart a course for a life you love
Ongoing email support between sessions, plus customized monthly pocket coaching
You’ll stay on track with your inner work and feel supported every step of the way
Admission to three hour-long Insight Intensives, online gatherings for private clients only
You’ll come away with the exact aha moment you needed for your journey, and connect with kindred spirits too
There are two ways to come into Progress on Purpose. Financing through is available.
Typically $9776; now a one-time payment of $8776. (Choosing pay in full gives you a full month of coaching for free; you save $1097 over month-to-month.)
Typically nine monthly payments of $1222; now nine monthly payments of $1097.
Let’s Get Started
Spaces are limited and admission is by invitation only.
Click here to schedule a Clarity Call to see if it’s a mutual fit for us to work together.
Still have questions? Email me directly.
Yours in possibility,
(Lyrics quoted from “Surface Pressure” by Lin-manuel Miranda for the film Encanto.)
Coaching Client Success Stories
“I think of myself as a highly self-sufficient person, always used to solving my problems on my own, working on myself to be better, perform better, and live better.
At one point though, when things became unbearably hard and confusing, I did not see a way out and felt paralyzed to take any action for fear of failing, I came to realize what a struggle it is to solve everything on my own and not asking for help. I finally reached out to Caroline and I am simply amazed by how much better I feel now and how much better my life is going.
Her seemingly inexhaustible set of tools combined with her ability to make me feel completely safe has given me the courage to explore long-buried emotional issues and resolve them. With her help and gentle guidance, I have given myself permission to finally look at what I want and go for it. All of this in a structured way, with a clear vision and clear next steps.
Life gives you what you need and what you can bear. With Caroline by my side, I feel my self-development has taken on a much quicker pace, as life consistently confronts me with new possibilities for great insights and self-improvement – and she is there to help me embody and live these insights.
I know I am finally on my path. Not the one I thought I needed to be on, not the one I took on half-heartedly because it was expected of me; but really, truly my path. And I have new-found strength and newly learned skills to walk this path and finally enjoy the process.”
“I found Caroline by listening to her audiobook narration of You Don’t Owe Anyone. The book spoke to me, and I’m so glad I was able to do coaching. First and foremost, I reached out to Caroline because I needed to stop exhibiting codependent behavior in my relationships. I’ve been equipped to do that, and so much more. In the course of working with Caroline, I discovered my Enneagram type, and I’m practicing new self-coaching tools on a daily basis. Having conversations that put me outside of my comfort zone feels hard, but I trust that I can do it. (As I told Caroline, “If you, my Enneagram One sister, could do it, so can I!”) I realize that I have a track record of authentic conversations and it’s giving me greater faith in myself. I resigned as the “general manager” of the world, and am experiencing inner freedom and letting myself laugh and be playful. What a relief!”
“As a coaching client who’s done this work with Caroline for a bit over a year, and has worked with other coaches for years prior to finding Caroline … a lot of coaches offer the ‘express pass’ to changing your internal experience from the ground up. Caroline is literally the only one who actually delivers on that promise.
Imagine a cross between the grandma from Moana, uncle Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and that one friend who never judges you and is always in your corner—that’s Caroline. Lots of coaches and courses focus on improving external circumstances so that you can finally feel better, but Caroline focuses on the internal criticism, self-sabotage, people-pleasing, and deep-rooted trauma that weighs us all down. She gently guides you home to your truest self.
And the craziest things happen! You end up being kind to yourself (even if you’ve spent a lifetime being your own harshest critic), you end up doing more of the things you truly want to do (instead of pushing those wishes down because they’re not “practical”), you end up being brave enough to actually leave when a relationship or job is killing you (instead of staying because it’s the responsible thing to do).
She’s nothing short of pure magic, and I am constantly blown away by her attentiveness and extraordinary level of support. I’ve worked with other coaches whose services were really only worth 1/10 of what they charged. Caroline’s coaching is worth 10 times the investment, if not more. If you’re even vaguely considering working with her, DO IT! She’s a genius and she’ll turn your life around.”
“I just cannot express to you how wonderful it is to be working with you! I had so many insights even before working with you, and I feel so held and supported. You are modeling for me how I want to be with my own clients. I feel like I’ve made so much progress just today, leaps and bounds beyond what I’ve done up to now.
Before I came to you, I struggled with big financial challenges. I was doing meaningful work with my clients but running myself into the ground, over-accommodating everyone else’s needs before mine. I struggled to see how I could live my vision of a peaceful life with lots of quality time for solitude, writing, and connection with my husband, and still pay our bills.
And while it’s still a work in progress, the way I relate to money has shifted significantly. My financial anxiety no longer keeps me up at night. Through working with you I came to realize that I have a huge fear of making others uncomfortable, and that fear has been making my decisions for me, especially financial ones. I have now confidently raised my rates in my own business, and doubled my monthly income! I’m also creating new income streams that feel much easier and freer – and much more fun! – than the old ones did. I’m owning my skills and talents, and I’m no longer selling myself so short.
I’ve done a lot in a short time, but it hasn’t felt oppressive. Rather, it’s such a joy to work with you. My husband and I went to a grocery store about 45 minutes away from home one evening to get some things we can’t get locally. On the way there and back, I was sharing with him various words of wisdom from you, and he was impressed. It’s wonderful not only that he believes in me, but he can also see the value in how you’re helping me. That’s gold!
Thank you for all of your help. I am so grateful for the way you’ve been able to seamlessly handle my personal goals and growth, while also honoring and digging into my psychological past. It’s a really beautiful combination and exactly what I was looking for when I first signed up to work with you. That ability is so powerful and allows me to be myself when I’m with you.”
“Since coaching with Caroline, I feel more motivated to push through the hard things in my work. I’m in the process of a big creative project; it feels risky, but rather than staying in resistance and avoidance, I’m making progress. I’m in a safe space to do the work and be messy.
My conversations with Caroline have given me some really tangible mind-frames with which I can more honestly approach my work with my whole self.
For example, the exercises where I had conversations with different aspects of myself gave me some much needed language to live with and honor my whole self, including parts of me that I previously only saw as a burden.
I’m learning to move through my procrastination and dive into parts of my work that I’m less familiar with. I feel like I’m on a clear path when it comes to my work. As I clear more and more things out of the way, I have the strength and courage to keep going.”
“I have to say that since our coaching sessions, I am not feeling guilty, so I do what I want and pass on what I don’t. I have also changed delivery of some messages that might have incurred anger from others – and if they get angry, well – eventually we will work it out or we won’t. Not worrying about it. And I am free to do whatever I want – mostly when I want.
My relationship with my sister is much better now. I don’t feel compelled to help her get her life together. She’s actually reached out to me and I was able to see her for a short time and I feel like we’re in a better place. The resource you shared changed my entire perspective and allowed me to limit the amount of interaction when needed.
And getting in touch with my inner child and realizing how long I have needed to release the misplaced responsibility was beyond helpful!
I am so glad that the anxiety that had me in a constant stronghold has now been released! Is life perfect? Nope. Is there stress? Yep. Are there still tears of grief in the aftermath of my husband’s death, and learning to live alone for the first time in my life? Absolutely.
But I can’t thank you enough for the tools you’ve given me to make my life better! The things that used to take me to anxiety land, no longer have the same power over me. I feel so much more in control of my life!”
“We’ve had such a great call once again. I can’t believe the progress I feel each time – the aha moments and breathing space that’s created in coaching.
When we started, I was feeling so frustrated by a lack of results in solopreneurship. Since we started working together, I discovered a totally different path forward. To my own surprise, I decided to acquire a magazine!
The opportunity I manifested lines up with so much of what I actually want. In this business, I can be creative, speak to the audiences I want, make an impact, make an income, and make connections. In fact, I’m preparing to lead my first live retreat now.
I have a growing sense of identity and security in what I do. I am sharing my truth and serving others, and what I do lights me up.
It’s so meaningful to me that I feel very seen and heard by you, Caroline, in all of the details I share. No matter how disjointed or random, you pull them together with such insight.
Your listening style of coaching and supporting me is a great fit, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year holds.
The space you create and the support you offer has helped me feel much more confident, seen, heard, and courageous, both personally and in my business ventures. I trust you implicitly. So much gratitude.”
“Caroline is just incredible. I’m really grateful for her support, encouragement, and coaching.
In the course of our work together, I’ve been making some long-awaited changes, including asking for (and receiving) extended time away from the office, handling difficult interactions more effectively, and gaining clarity about what is and isn’t mine to handle.
I appreciate Caroline’s focus, questioning and thought-starters – and for mirroring back so clearly what is most helpful right now. Each week I look forward to sharing back my learning. I’m healing and getting to how I want to feel.”
“I started coaching because I wanted to learn how to be present and really enjoy my life. Rather than rushing around in go-go-go mode, I’m learning better prioritize what’s important and not stress over what’s not. I’m saying Hell Yeah to things that feel energizing, and No Thanks to what doesn’t.
Through coaching I’ve seen myself finish what I start, and not worry about things being perfect. I’m also more decisive; it feels good to make my own choices, and even to do nothing. I love having a sense of accomplishment, and can honestly say my relationships are thriving (with myself, my husband, my kids, and my friends).
Caroline is very organized and focused and always brings up the most applicable exercise or article for me or us to work on based on our discussion. She has been a calming presence in my life and I look forward to our sessions. I appreciate having the time with her to look at what’s going on with me, and I can truly say I am feeling very confident and relaxed as a result of this relationship.”
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with Caroline. When I started coaching, I had a hard time doing anything that wasn’t ‘productive’. I was struggling with negative spirals, and something had to give. I was constantly in service of my family’s needs, asking, ‘Where is the life I have lost in living?’ But since, I’ve started to find it again.
I’ve been able to connect with what is true for me, who I am, and what I want. Specifically, I’ve been able to do nothing for more than 15 minutes (something I didn’t think I could do!). I’ve also resumed art therapy just for joy, and I sat down and read fiction – for the first time in years. I’m starting to imagine new possibilities where I couldn’t see any before.
The tools Caroline has taught me have been so valuable, but what I value even more highly is her ability to be a vulnerable yet strong guide.
It’s a gift to work with her. She’s given me so much input and loving care on my journey. I have learnt so much about myself and the wider view of the world through her.
The time she has spent on her own journey has truly lightened the pathway for those that follow. It is a treasure to have had Caroline give space for me to be seen and held. What she does matters.”
“Prior to working with Caroline, I had not done coaching before, nor did I understand what it entailed. As a person that is very other focused, I’m a great listener, always willing to volunteer and help others, so having dedicated time for someone to listen to me, my ideas and to help me, has been a new and pleasant experience for me.
I found out quickly that Caroline is talented at hearing what’s below the surface and deftly getting to the root of what I needed to focus on. I appreciate that she imparts a mix of research, links from authors, psychologists and other ‘wise’ people, and personal anecdotes from her own life as guides to use on my journey. I’ve come away with many insights and tools to turn to in moments of challenge and doubt in my projects and in life, the best of which is self-compassion.
Through the coaching process with Caroline, I’ve come to appreciate my gifts, hone in on what my “heart-work” is, and have gained the confidence to start making strides towards that work.”
“I’m so glad I worked with Caroline; I’ve learned so much from coaching. Since we worked together I’ve leaned heavily on 2 main daily self talking tracks that started with her: 1) I can rest unashamedly; it doesn’t all need to be done today, and 2) ”So what” if I do it wrong, I can learn as I go.
Neither is comfortable, but armed with these mini mantras (and a lot of other stuff), I contributed to a book! I got my feet wet, so to speak. I’m getting experience and learning the language of the book world, which will support me in writing my own book.
Caroline’s coaching was instrumental, and her freedom, courage, and peaceful, caring influence goes SO far beyond her.”
“You have been the catalyst of change in my life, Caroline, and I am thankful for you every day. I am so honored to work with you and have you listen to me and help me get unstuck. I have grown so much!
Yesterday I took a very real step towards being a writer and cultivating my ideas and organizing my time in a system I create. I wouldn’t have had the daring to take this step a month ago.
My growth is opening the floodgates of creativity and I dare to believe in possibilities now. I’m writing in my novel every day and it feels amazing. I’m more excited than ever and I see so many possibilities that never existed for me before when I was in my limited world.
It is no coincidence I am coaching with you. I was led to you for this very work and we are doing an amazing job together. Thank you for the beautiful space you give me.
You have a knack for meeting me wherever I am and leading me to unravel whatever it is that is holding me stuck. Somehow you hone in on the important things and let the rest flow by and I end up feeling like a superstar for working through it. The feeling of not feeling stuck anymore is such a relief. Energy is flowing again, I’m light and joyous, my essence can come through again.
And every time I think, “This; this moment is worth the cost of the whole program. If this is the only breakthrough I have the whole time I’m happy with this.”
“This has been transformative. I knew as soon as I started coaching with Caroline that this was exactly where I needed to be.
I came to coaching because I wanted to start fully living my life’s purpose and living in my heart, where anything’s possible. As an entrepreneur, I sensed that it was time for me to start playing bigger, to create a solid foundation for my growing business and thereby help others rise.
Progress On Purpose has been a godsend, helping me to stand in my power and really embrace who I am. Now I can say, ‘Look at what I’ve done for myself, I didn’t let gremlins hold me back.’
This is your calling, Caroline. You have found your soul’s work. Thank you. I am so grateful.”
“You’re real. You’re authentic. These are the things I feel since we first started communicating. It’s what draws me to you, brings me back, and what challenges me. I need to be equally as authentic in my actions to you.
Thank you for your challenges. Thank you for your patience and expertise. You capture my thoughts and interpret them precisely and with uncanny understanding of what I’m feeling or wanting to explain.
I greatly look forward to our continued journey.”
“From the start, I was excited to work with Caroline. It meant taking a big step towards feeling like I’m worth the investment, and I’m glad I did.
I’m happy to report that with coaching, I’m building confidence and calm. For example, when Caroline and I started working together I was anxious about speaking in public, but soon I volunteered to be put on the hot seat on a Zoom call, and I didn’t even feel nervous! I know the difference was in the way I prepared.
Now, I’m continuing to build confidence and step away from the fear of there not being enough in my life. I am practicing prioritizing my needs and letting other things go, which is so freeing. I look forward to our coaching calls and to continued progress.”
“For so long, I was giving too much to others, showing up for them without maintaining the connection with myself. I’d been a caretaker since I was a kid, and I struggled with the need to be needed and the fear of abandonment. It was an exhausting way to live!
Since working with Caroline, I’m learning to maintain the connection to myself, to figure out what I need and be in service of that. I’m creating space, and being refilled by doing things I want to do.
For example, I recently noticed myself ending a phone call with, “Okay, well, I need to get my day underway.” I hadn’t planned on saying that, but it was the truth. My truth! I wasn’t in any way perturbed. Just stating a fact to a friend.
Caroline gave me the physical, mental, and emotional tools I needed to acknowledge my own feelings and needs. I’ve learned a lot from her, and really appreciate the quality of her listening. Now, I’m reclaiming both my time and my identity.”
“My life has been needing exactly this. Before I started coaching, I could see that my giving often crossed the line of over-functioning. I did for others what they needed to do for themselves for their own growth … I have not had any bearings for how to judge where to act and where not to. Like “I am selfish” if I am not meeting the wants of others and meeting my own.
Since doing coaching with Caroline, my awareness is much greater! I feel like something big is changing inside me. I’m learning how to be kind to myself, and also react with kindness to others who are of the same worth, on the same difficult journey.
I understand I don’t have to be hurt by others’ struggles. I get to measure myself by my own integrity and help others feel love as they do so. I don’t have to be hurt by what others want from me. I feel that when I show “little me” she is loved and treasured, it adds strength to my grown up self watching out for herself.”
“I had no intention of signing on with a coach. But I loved those emails you sent, and I signed up for a Clarity Call. It is a pleasure working with you as my coach; my life has been changing for the better literally by leaps and bounds since our sessions have begun, and I am so grateful!”
“I’m so happy that I made the commitment to coaching because even though there are times when I think, ‘How am I ever going to get there?’, I know I’ve made progress, which I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own. It is happening, and I am moving in the right direction. The biggest change has been my own thinking, and I think that’s the most important thing. That’s where it all starts.”
“This is SO helpful, I can’t even tell you. When it comes to a life coach, it’s important to feel like the coach can understand without judging, which you do, Caroline. I needed somebody who could transcend the typical “judge and shame” process. When I first saw some of your videos, I thought that you were a very compassionate and wise person, and that you could understand a little bit of my weirdness.
Coaching with you has helped me stay focused on my creative goals, and since we’ve started working together I’ve grown as a performer. I’m moving forward with my art, demonstrating my commitment with action, and having amazing rehearsals for my upcoming show.”
“Working with you as my coach, I definitely feel lighter. Now somebody is helping me to understand my burden and lessen it too; it makes a big difference.”
“Caroline is the coach I didn’t know I was missing. She’s able to get to the heart of an issue that’s creating roadblocks in my progress towards my goals – and not just the ‘Here’s the steps: 1. …, 2. …, 3. …’ but also working on old beliefs and adjusting mindsets.
You can tell she genuinely cares about her clients and enjoys helping them unpack the mental/emotional/physical stumbling blocks so they can turn them into stepping stones to reach their goals. Caroline, thank you for meeting me where I was, the firm but gentle guidance forward, and for cheering me to my goals.”
“Thank you for your guidance today, Caroline! It’s amazing how much I can learn from you in such a short amount of time. You’ve helped me get set up to launch my new coaching business. We’ve worked through the practical pieces, and you’ve helped me overcome the resistance that says I can’t do it.
Now, I’m ready to help others reach their goals in a fun and positive way, to help them feel special. I’m creating my own path and independence, and it’s exciting. I’m so glad I took a deep breath…didn’t overthink it…and just jumped!!!”
“When I started coaching with Caroline, I wondered if it was safer to just stay on my corporate job that was robbing me of joy. Instead, Caroline helped me to overcome my limiting beliefs and step into a new life as a Pilates and Fitness Instructor and Holistic Health Coach. (In fact, I just signed my first VIP health coaching client!)
It’s my goal to do an incredible job and serve my clients way beyond their expectations … which is something that Caroline has modeled for me. She goes above and beyond to help me succeed.”
“I wanted to work with Caroline so that I could start getting things done in a timely manner, without the procrastination I have been plagued with for years. Though I’d read about all the tricks, often I couldn’t force myself to do the simplest task. Now, that’s changing. I’m getting bigger projects done – decluttering my home and office, and planning for retirement.
Caroline has helped me change my old pattern of indecision, and it’s a pleasure to work with her. I see how much is possible for me, and I look forward to the future. I’m already at the point I never thought I would be, and I’m feeling better about it than I ever thought I would.”
“I always look forward to calls with you, Caroline; I get so much out of our sessions. When you appear it’s like talking to an old wise friend, and you have helped me so much. You are very gifted!
You’re helping me to get free from old trauma patterns, and to shine my light personally and professionally. Deep gratitude to you for your steadfast guidance and insight along this journey!”
Praise From Fellow Professional Coaches
“In engaging Caroline’s services, what I found was a consummate professional with a depth of compassion, the ability to problem-solve respectfully, effective strategies and a rock star work ethic that dovetailed perfectly with the needs of my own growing business and client base.
Working with her is a dream and she will go to the mat for both her clients and mine. She is conscientious, smart, sensitive and highly attuned to what it takes to break through procrastination. You are in excellent hands with her! …. You can trust Caroline completely and if you are coachable, you will get the results you want.”
“THANK YOU for all the love and care you took to support your [PACE Private] group. You are an amazing coach and they were very blessed to have your support.”