What to do when you're not understood

We want to be understood. Being understood feels good and in an indirect way it affirms us. This is also the fuel that ego wants to keep being right.

What do we do when we feel misunderstood or someone just seems to not “get it”?

Ungrip - let go and accept that they aren’t in the same mind space that you are in. Forgive them immediately for the lack of understanding (this doesn’t necessarily happen out loud) and then let it go.

Courageously love them anyway, or at least be kind. Don’t insist that they understand. Allow them to be in a different place.


Ask for acceptance and the space to be where you are, even though they don’t get it.

Give what you are asking for and what you want.

Trust that if they need to understand, one day they will. The timing is unimportant if we trust that we all are on our “right” path to personal and spiritual development. What one person gets for a lesson, another might not need or be ready for. And it doesn’t really matter.

What matters is that we treat one another with respect and love, kindness and acceptance – the path of the heart. These things are highly underrated and more important and comforting than understanding.

Leave a comment if you'd like and share with a friend who might like some inspiration to live courageously and with an open heart!  

Scream, Smile and Exhale Your Way to a More Satisfying Career by Mary Foley

There’s a trend happening with many of my mentoring clients that goes something like this:

“I’m soooo dissatisfied with my current career! I desperately want to make a change but I feel overwhelmed, scared and unsure how to start! Ugh.”

Ever thought that way about your career? Feeling that way now? It’s not a fun place to be.  You no longer enjoy what you do every day. In fact, you dread it. Your schedule is packed with activities that drain you. You feel scattered and pulled in multiple directions.  You feel stuck in a rut and you beat yourself up for not doing more about it.

Stop, just stop! Do this right now instead: scream, exhale and smile your way to a more satisfying career. Perhaps not the advice you expected, but it works.

SCREAM! Not at work, not at clients and not at your spouse or kids. But in the car, in the shower, or on a run. Let out your frustration. Feel the pain and be oddly gratefully for it because without it you would continue to put up with an unfulfilling, meaningless career. Screaming is validating. In one big loud sound you’re saying, “This career stinks and my life is worth more than this!”

Not long ago, I had a conversation with Sheila (not her real name) who likely had just finished screaming. She wanted to talk with me about her deep career discontent and what to do about it. The first several minutes she vented without taking a breath. When she suddenly realized what was happening she apologized. There wasn’t any need. She needed a safe place to say exactly how she was feeling. 

EXHALE. Take a deep breath and push out all the air in your lungs. Feel the ahhhhh. Now your emotions aren’t preventing your brain from helping you. Now is the time to take a moment to shift from what you don’t want to what you do.

 Ask yourself “What’s my ideal position?” or “Who is my ideal client?”

Let any and everything flow into your mind. Write it down. Add to it, remove parts, tweak it.

And, if you have a doubting, critical voice like Sheila had rolling around inside your head who asks “How are you going to do that?” or “You don’t have enough time or money to make that happen!” tell it to just SHUT UP. In fact, I suggested to Sheila to talk back to that voice and say, “Well, of course I don’t know how I’m going to do this yet! I’m not at that point yet, but when I am, I will figure it out.”

SMILE! When you fill your mind with thoughts of a better career, you can’t help but get happier. Your current career won’t hold you back or define you. To keep that curved grin, start to take the next practical steps to move from where you are to where you want to be. Action is energizing and contagious!

For example, Sheila’s response to her ideal career included three related fields, but she needed to get more specific and narrow her focus. I suggested two practical steps she could immediately take. The first was to be a bit of an online busy body searching for articles and websites that gave information about what each field entailed. The second was to do 3 -5 informational interviews with people who already had a career in each field. If she didn’t know of anyone in those fields she could ask friend and family if they did, as well tap into her LinkedIn connections.

Can you scream, exhale, and smile your way to a new, more satisfying career in 2015?  Oh yeah, you got this!

About Mary                

Mary Foley believes that energizing careers and events don't just happen – they are engineered.  That's why she has combined her engineering education, passion for inspiring professional women and two decades of live program experience to help women invigorate their careers and to help meeting planners power up the live events and communities that professional women crave. 

Mary began sharing career advice after her 10-year career at AOL - when AOL was cool - where she started as an $8 an hour customer service rep and rose to become the company’s first head of corporate training.   Known for her uncommon insights, candidness and humor, Mary is an author, featured blogger on WorkingMother.com, video maven, lively presenter, engaging facilitator, and event engineer.  For more, go to maryfoley.com.

Energize your career!  Sign up for my weekly energy blast and get your FREE video “Muster Your Mojo, Market Your Value” here.

Thank you Mary for sharing your wisdom and voice here at Live Your Inner Power! 

Surrender and you will receive – really? That’s a surprise ☺

What are your big stressors?

Time - it's the top complaint I hear from stressed women! Relationships - women orient their lives to relationships, of course this is big stuff for us! Love and the desire for good loving - who doesn't want this if we don't have it? 

It's time to surrender...

Do you connect the word surrender with loss? I did for a long time. I have learned, gratefully, that surrender means gain in so many ways. Let me give you some examples ~

When I surrender to my need for self-care, I replenish my energy to give easily and freely.

surrender-difficult relationship
surrender to love

If you are struggling with anxiety, stress or fatigue, my guess is that mastering the art of surrendering could become your great healing agent.

If you looking for relief from anxiety, stress or fatigue, I am here to help you live your inner power and find that relief.  

What is your great stress? Did you like this blog? I'd love to hear from you :)

Surrendering to a Difficult Relationship and Finding Comfort

We mistakenly believe that relationships that are difficult are not worthy of our attention or time.

Or worse, we obsess over what to do but do nothing but think it over, and over and over. 

And at some point leaving a relationship may be the wisest decision. But leaving prematurely means you might miss an opportunity to really grow and gain essential wisdom. 

My suggestion is first to surrender to the difficult relationship. Because it let's you know what you really want, and own it.

So how do you know what to do about a difficult relationship? Surrendering can be taken in steps ~

1. Identify why you began the relationship. Be clear and precise about what you were seeking in it.

2. Assess what you want from it now. Be clear and be precise.

3. Ask for what you want. Be clear in your communication. If you are clear in yourself, you will be clear in your communication. If you are not clear in yourself, go back to step 2. 

4. Get an answer from the "other" about whether they are willing or interested to have and give, what it is you want to receive and offer, in this relay-tionship. Remember it's about both of you, it's about a back and forth. The dynamics change when BOTH people want change.

5. When the relationship is causing difficult feelings to come up for you, take time to know what the feelings are and what your expectations behind the feelings are.

6. Do your shadow work! When you are bothered by a quality in someone, ask yourself "how does this quality live in me?"

7. Trust your heart to move through the process honestly and authentically. Without authenticity you suffer and others do too.

What you want matters. If you don't claim it forthrightly, it often goes underground and makes life messy. It's courageous to own what you want.

What stops you from saying what you want in a relationship? Share that right here  and we can support you to grow in any difficult relationship you are experiencing.

Want an Aha Moment?

Who doesn't love a great aha moment? When I have one, I think of it as a rearranging of my inner architecture, a way to open inside to new insights, opportunities and positive change.  I had ah aha recently while training with my coach. A vulnerable area in my life and within my being is my voice. I have always been horrified at the thought of being the center of attention. Inwardly I shrink when all eyes are on me and I can get flustered and nervous. Depending on how rampant the energy is running through me, hiding seems like a great idea. People are often surprised when I reveal this because apparently many just see my calm, cool and collected exterior and think I am all confidence and comfort. Not so much.

At Rachael Jayne and Datta Groover's Awaken Your Impact conference we were doing shadow work. We were all instructed to think of a quality that others exhibit that we physically react to, and not in a good way. The kind of experience when we can become judgmental or resistant to the truth of the experience. Immediately I thought of being around people who just talk about themselves and exhibit no interest in those around them. It's especially irritating when they go on and on and it seems as though it wouldn't matter if you were standing there or someone else was occupying your space.

The next instruction was to consider how this shadow piece held a gift for us in the way we want to grow or develop our business. Speaking on stage and inspiring others has been a long-buried dream that I recently have allowed myself to own. As I consider this dream and the way I want to impact others positively and deeply, I realize I must become comfortable with getting up and talking about myself and being able to sustain that activity in an authentic, take-charge kind of way. I must embody that shadow quality that so irritates me in others.

Sure I will want to connect with who is in front of me. Yes, I will care that they are interested in what I have to say. But some people in the audience may receive me just as I am receiving others when I feel frustrated or offended by their behavior. They may look at me and say, "who does she think she is standing there and talking about herself?" And I need to get okay with this if I am going to speaking to groups and serve in this way.

I think about the inspirational speakers who have dramatically touched my life. They did so because they abandoned their inner critic for the moment. They let go and openly expressed the great feelings and thoughts they had. This inspired me to change and grow and claim more of me!

authenticpowerradiatesIt's time for me to step up and step out of my comfort zone. To grow into the next version of me who wants to help others claim their gifts and use them to make this world more loving, more harmonious, more uplifting for everyone.

Going after a life-changing aha may mean looking at what you most resist - the last thing you might want to do. Enjoy an aha moment right now ... take a few minutes to ask yourself - what is the quality in others that really bothers me? How might this hold a gift for me? I'd love to hear your aha's :)

Here is a video of the man who first ignited my interest in becoming a speaker - enjoy! His name is Leo Buscaglia: as I listen to him today I realize he touched me because what he speaks also comes from my heart.


"Grow or Go" - Laurel's "Fight or Flight" System

Your fight or flight instinct keeps you safe. It's one of the inherent inner mechanisms of human intelligence. It works like this. If you perceive you are in danger, either fight or flee the situation to survive. It' a basic inner mechanism to promote life. Living in America and growing up in a nonviolent household, I didn't much need my fight or flight. Unfortunately though, it still kicked in. As a child when I wasn't getting the attention I needed or wanted, I often made myself and my needs invisible (took flight so to speak) so that I didn't feel like I was contributing any further stress or burden to our home. That instinct can still kick in today given the right set of circumstance.

Knowing your versions and patterns of how fight or flight shows up for you begins the change process. These patterns can do you disservice as well as to those we live in relationship with if you are not aware of them. Fighting and fleeing keeps unhealthy patterns entrenched, perpetuating more unhappiness and stress.This is where my more evolved system comes in!

When I am in a situation where I am repeating any behavior that I don't feel good about, I now call on my more evolved fight or flight mechanism - I call it my "grow or go" system. With this self-created system, I call myself to rise to the occasion and determine  how I need to grow in the current situation in my life.


Whatever stress is occurring, I consider the stress to be for my benefit rather than for my demise. I see it as my need to grow in ways I have not yet stretched and evolved, or to consciously and gracefully move along my path and leave the situation - to go. If I am not contributing positively, then my presence is not needed. It's a choice I hold myself accountable to on a daily basis. When I don't live up to contributing positively or moving on, I feel disappointed in me.

So how would you institute they "grow or go" system in your life? Try these steps.

1. Decide you will see stress as an indicator of growth and opportunity rather than a problem.

2. Ask yourself what behavior or attitude you are contributing that keeps the stress or tension a part of the circumstances.

3. Take a time out and determine how you want the situation to be, what changes you want.

4. Contribute in a new way, in line with what you want and your values.

5. Move on from the situation when you believe you have contributed all that you can in a positive way.

This system helps you improve your skills in beginnings and endings. It allows you to own your truth and your wants. It teaches you how to be responsible of your life and how you are contributing to the world around you. It promotes growth instead of stagnancy.

The next time you sense yourself in "fight or flight", see if you can institute the new "grow or go" system and alleviate the chronic stress patterns in your life.



How often do you swear? Do you judge others?

Are you using your voice wisely and effectively? If you knew that you were creating your current reality through the words that you utter each moment, would you pay closer attention to what escapes your lips? The more I learn and pay attention to my own personal speaking habits, I become aware of the great power many of us misuse or ignore. Your voice is a powerful instrument of creative force, as is mine. I am working diligently to put mine to the best use I can. My life continually feels more positive and I feel stronger because I challenge myself this way.

Here are a few simple habits you can practice. Experiment and see if anything changes as a result of these new patterns.

* Stop swearing (take at least a 3 week time out). Believe it or not, most people feel at least a little guilt whenever a swear is uttered. Swearing is a random statement of displeasure in the moment, but an indirect version of what you really mean to say. You lose an inner power connection when you swear, and often some credibility. Use specific words to describe your experience more accurately instead.

* Give voice to your gratitude and seek to increase your awareness of the good of your life. You raise your vibration to elevate the positive in your life every time you express appreciation. You attract more positive connections when you express gratitude. Pause and be sure to feel gratitude in your heart and in your energy. Go beyond the words and into the feeling.

* Notice how often you judge others and life. Whatever you are doing now is simply a habit. Most of the time, if you are judging others, you are habitually judging yourself. Judging wears away at self-acceptance and self-worth and this is deeply connected to experiencing the fulfillment we seek. Relentlessly seek to silence your inner judge and hold back judgmental thoughts and words. Withholding judgement challenges you to focus on what you want to create and cultivate instead of focusing on the lack of the experience. 


Those are three powerful practices that can transform your life for the better. I still strive toward more consistency in all these habits, noticing the positive results, the way I feel stronger, more centered, more grounded, more influential, and happier.

If you live in the Richmond area and want to work on elevating your own inner strength, join me on Saturday, September 20th for an intensive workshop to grow your skills and awareness to Find Your Courageous Voice and Be Heard Now!

Vulnerable Leadership

My most valuable lessons in leadership came through my involvement as a founder and leader at the Women's Center for Wellness, now re-birthed as Authentic Women Circle. It was here that I came to understand that each one of us has our own best advice sacredly held within. I learned how to be a part of forming a safe container for others to come into direct communion with that inner wisdom. It was in these circles that I received and expanded some of my greatest training as a Life Coach. I witnessed again and again the truth that we all have equally important thoughts and ideas to share, that I need not have answers to anyone's life problems but my own. Life is a journey to grow and learn, to evolve into our highest potential through working our way through our individual life challenges as gracefully as possible. Circle

Here are some of my lofty, yet practical intentions when I lead.

* I let go of what may be occupying my mind and allow myself to release into the experience presented. (Meditation is some of the best self-training for this)

* I stay centered in myself to be keyed into what I hear, feel and see, and simply reflect that back. (Again mediation is a power tool)

* If intuitively I sense something of a deeper nature, I share this. (Oops yet again meditation hones this skill too)

* I share honestly from my own experience and perspective.

* I refrain from analyzing and evaluating, but rather approach every encounter as a "what is happening right now?" that is important and worthy of deeper understanding as a teaching tool for both myself and whoever I am with.

If you are growing your leadership skills, I invite you to try on my practices and see how they feel and how they impact whatever experience you are in. I'd love to hear how you do with it!

The Magic of Listening by Kelly McCoy

I was sitting in the small sunroom on the back of our 1960s ranch this past month. The sun was warm, but the snow had piled up above the seats of our backyard furniture, and I was reminded sadly that the sights and sounds of summer were still far away. I took a breath and looked around the snow-covered yard. I was surprised by what sounded like the chirping of a bird. I couldn't see the little creature and almost couldn't believe my ears, but he or she was definitely there, sharing a short, familiar song.Image 1 In that moment, the power of listening was palpable. It delivered an unexpected gift on that cold winter day, like it does almost every time I am reminded to truly listen. From the time we are infants, we are taught to talk, to form words and speak up for ourselves. However, I can't remember ever being taught to listen. We're instructed not to speak out of turn and not to speak too loudly. During dinners out when our daughters were little, we coined the phrase, "Use your restaurant voice" to help them remember their manners. I think of myself as a good mother, specifically because my daughters have grown up to be kind, smart, funny and engaging. However, I look back and realize I taught them how to "be quiet" when appropriate, but I never taught them how to listen. Perhaps that is because I wasn't taught about the importance of truly listening until I was in my forties.

Listening is, perhaps, the most important thing we can ever teach. It is medicine, pure and simple. I learned this through a women's center in Milford, Massachusetts, starting in 1999. I continue to share the magic of this message today with women in Maine at an organization called Authentic Women Circle, which is the legacy of that Massachusetts group.

There is so much noise in our world today capable of drowning out the sound of one human voice. The exchanges on television, radio and online are rushed and filled with cross talk like never before. The media "experts" give advice and their perspective on every topic imaginable. Everyone is talking and few actually pay attention. Sometimes it appears that the only people who listen are those who are paid to do so. The art of listening, true listening with rapt attention and an open heart, is in danger of extinction.

I come from a long lineage of talkers. Sometimes it appeared that he or she who spoke loudest in my family must be the smartest. Cross talk at family gatherings was an Olympic sport. If you could be the last talker standing, then your point must be truth.

My father was a charismatic orator, giving sales pitches, business keynotes and team-inspiring pep talks that won him loyal followers. However, as I got older, I realized that his true genius was in listening at key moments, like when I had a disagreement with a friend at school or when I struggled with the news from my obstetrician that my baby might have a birth defect. Even as he carefully consumed the news that my sister was dying, he didn't try to fix anything; he simply asked clarifying questions and listened completely to the answers. Through the lens of my more recent experience, I now think that perhaps it wasn't his words that earned him fans in family affairs and business, but rather his ability to sit and listen without interruption when there was a challenge or issue at hand. When he listened, he really listened.

In hopes that you can capture the magic in your own life, I offer you here a short introduction to the art of listening. While these points seem so simple, I ask you to observe yourself and those around you to see how often they are employed and how embracing them makes a huge difference in communication, relationships and stress levels.


Complete listening requires that one person speak at a time. Simple enough, right? Do a little exercise over the next 24 hours and watch (or listen) to how many times people are talking at the same time as each other. We so want to agree with a friend that we finish her sentence. We want our colleague to know we understand what he is explaining so we interrupt with, "I totally agree." We want a child to correct an action, so before he or she completes another sentence, we offer, "Eh, eh, eh, let's try to do it this way." I'm guilty of all of these at one time or another.

Sounds harmless, right? We have good intentions. We mean no harm. We politely offer our thought or correction. Yet, every time we cut someone off, interrupt their thought, we are saying that our thoughts and words are more valid than what they have to say.

True listening doesn't anticipate the next word. It is patient. True listening allows the speaker to totally complete the thought before commenting or answering.

True listening requires that we pay complete attention. We think we are super human and we can peel a potato, send a text or wash the car while completely listening. It's virtually impossible. We can multi-task, for sure, and in today's world moving at its extraordinary pace, we may think that we have to, but we will not be doing any of the tasks fully. When someone is communicating something they feel is important, we need to put down the phone, shut off the computer, stop dicing the onion and completely listen. What a gift we give another person when we do this. This very act of focusing on the speaker makes him or her feel worthy. It's magical what real listening can do.

The art of listening also requires that we allow the speaker to own the story. We've been taught to commiserate, empathize, agree. "I had that happen to me. I know how you feel. Here's what I did." However, none of us share the exact same experience. None of us has actually experienced that person's situation in the exact same way they did. The magic of listening happens when we pay complete attention and let the speaker know we are there for them. We let them speak.

This is hard for me even now, after years of understanding the benefits of true listening. I've been trained since I was young to offer help, empathy, kindness. I want the other person to know they are not alone. Yet, the most powerful exchanges come from showing your concern by asking the speaker a question. "How do you think you might proceed?" or "What would you like to happen next?" When you ask a gentle question like this, you show the speaker that she has the answers. You help validate her feelings and let her know that she is worthy.

As I write this, I can think of several times recently when I have not followed these guidelines when communicating with a family member or client and, in hindsight, the communication could have been more successful if I had. We are so trained to share our opinion, give advice, jump in to agree. As a result, this simple, yet powerful prescription for the art of listening is often forgotten.

I believe the importance of complete listening is one of the most important lessons I have learned (and continue to learn) in my life. It changes everything. When you truly listen, it takes away the burden of always having to have the answer. We don't have the answer for another person. We never will. Only they have the answer. By offering questions, you show that you have been listening and that you want to help. That is enough.

Complete listening also gives the speaker the power to find the right answer. Our listening and questioning helps to assure the speaker that he or she is valuable, smart and can find the answer that will work for them.

By emptying your mind of your own thoughts and distractions, you open yourself to truly connecting with the speaker on a different level. I find that when I really do this, and give myself over to being totally present with the speaker, it is not only a gift for him or her; it is a gift for me. What a pleasure to receive their thoughts without trying to change them, analyze them or create an answer.


The exchange is just a little bit like having all of the sounds around wash over us, and then experiencing the unexpected. The sweet song of that little winter bird. True listening makes magic happen.

Woman and Emotion

I am an emotionally sensitive creature, as are many of us. My being naturally attunes emotionally to its environment. It is an effortless and organic experience. Before I knew that this was one of my best assets, particularly as a therapist and Life Coach, it felt like a curse. Over the course of the first three decades of my life, I gathered a mess of emotional energy in me. Hours of unresolved emotional encounters with others, hours of picking up on others emotions without any validation and therefore with my own distress added to that energy, and hours of feeling disturbed about the way life was being lived around me - here is a sampling of the emotional energy that was stored within my being, waiting for expression and healing. Roots_Of_Emotion_by_Dimentichisi

I found, and continue to find, that expression and healing. Talented healers, deep friendships, intimate connections, honest communication and on-going expression through writing and talking, all have helped me be where I am today. Where I am today is content to be a woman with intense emotions. What a relief.

Now I invest my working life into making space for other women, and occasionally men, to own their emotions and understand the strength and compassion that comes along with the emotional package. Many women come to me in a mess of emotion and confusion, not knowing how to process and make sense out of their histories and the scenarios they find themselves in today. We find that sense as we sort through the emotional content and find the wisdom that lies within it all - after the emotion has been released.

Here is some of what I know about woman and emotion -

* Like water, emotion is meant to flow, to move and create more energy. When it is blocked it becomes like ice, freezing us, causes great pain and bitterness for self and those around us.

* We learn the skill of working with emotions from women. (Although men are beginning to demonstrate that they can develop this skill, but I find it rare) We learn from other women who understand the depth of power that resides within the lifetime work of living fully in our female bodies, moving and utilizing well the full range of emotional energy with which we have been gifted. To find a woman with this skill set is also rare.

* It is difficult to trust your heart when you are relating from a broken heart that needs healing. Many of us suffer with broken hearts from childhood, from unhealthy relationships and from being emotionally sensitive without the proper support. We may have made numerous attempts to find love and trust in relationships that further break the heart and undermine our trust in self through poor choice. The answers will come through finding self-love and trust first - the trusting relationships follow. Time by one’s self – out of relationship with a significant other - holds incredible potential.

* Sacred space is essential to heal from a broken heart. This means a space in which whoever we are with is source of healing and compassion, knows the art of holding space for another while emotion passes, and can encourage appropriate re-evaluation in order to find the wisdom that lies within the broken heart. These are specific skills that not every "friend" possesses.

*Woman is her strongest self when she feels fully in her body and at ease, balanced and flowing in emotion, clear in thinking and able to express herself, and spiritually connected.

So how do we become our strongest selves? The equation above gives the formula. The responsibility to take ownership of the journey to get there is each woman’s choice.

Are you fully in your body and at ease there?

Do you feel emotionally balanced – and know how to return there when you are not?

Do you feel clear in your thinking and able to express yourself?

Do you feel spiritually connected?

As we collectively learn these skills and develop confidence in our best selves, we become a source of healing and inspiration. I am so honored to be a part of the process of helping women, and occasionally, men with the dance of emotion. If you are struggling with emotions, finding a trusted and unbiased other for help is the wise path. The proper help can be life changing!