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September, 2013

Jessica’s Story

JESSICA

Words of Wisdom and Encouragement From the Dating Trenches & Beyond

 

When I first met Jessica, I really didn’t think we would be a good fit for coaching. I liked her, but she had this businesslike air about her that I am not familiar or especially comfortable with. I mean, I sign off on all my professional correspondence with words like “hugs” or “warmest regards.” We laugh about it now, but when I hugged her at the end of our first session—I’m a big hugger—she embraced me stiffly and patted me a couple of times on the back as if she was trying to console me.

You can make an appointment with Lisa Shield by clicking here

Flash forward two years and I am happy to say that Jessica continued coaching with me, and the results have been amazing. The experience of working together has been as rewarding for me as it has been for her. She holds a huge place in my heart and I have tremendous respect for her. Jessica took everything we talking about in our sessions and pushed herself as much as any client I’ve ever worked with. I am so impressed at how far she’s come and how deep her transformation has been. As you read this interview, pay particular attention to what Jessica says about how she used the dating process to let go of control and learn how to become more vulnerable. She is the true embodiment of what I call Naked Dating®.

 

So, I know you met someone you really like! I’m thrilled for you. How’s it going so far?

Well, I recently went home to Hawaii and Mike joined me for four of the ten days I was there. Lisa, it was his idea to come! While we were there, we had an intense talk about where we want to be in two years. I told him, “I would like for us to be married with kids.” We’ve only been dating four months, but we needed to have this conversation because it’s what I want and I don’t want to waste time with someone who isn’t on the same page as me. It was really hard for me to be this honest with him. When we first met, we talked about wanting kids and a family in a couple of years, but we’d never talked about doing it together.

 

The next day was very uncomfortable. After having a conversation this intense, I think two people need time to think things over. But because we were in Hawaii together, we didn’t have the space to breathe and digest what we’d talked about.

 

The good news is that the trip to Hawaii definitely brought us closer. Despite how dysfunctional my family is, I realized they’re pretty great. Mike was able to meet my parents and see where I came from.

 

I truly don’t know what the future holds, but I’ve surrendered control over my life and my desire to be a mother. If that is what’s meant to be, then it will be. I struggle sometimes with not knowing how this relationship will play out, but I know that all I can do is enjoy it and let it unfold.

 

Wow, that’s quite a transition from where you were when you first came to see me for coaching. Do you remember what your first session was like?

Oh my god! I was so closed off, tensed up and defensive, but I knew I needed help. I remember that I wasn’t receptive to what you had to say, but I also knew that I needed to stay open to hearing it. I made myself come back and listen to you. It was hard, but it’s always hard to take a good look at oneself.

 

What was the biggest change you feel you made through coaching?

I learned that I didn’t have to push people away to spare myself any pain. You showed me how to take down my walls and become softer and more vulnerable. I didn’t know how to speak to men in a way that was inviting and would draw them to me. You taught me a whole new language. I was always afraid to get emotionally naked because I was afraid that other people would think I was weak, but when you showed me how to get emotionally naked, it changed everything. Everyone found me more attractive, not just men—people at work, my friends and my family.

 

I remember you telling me that your boss noticed a change in you and gave you a raise.

My boss is older than I am and very walled off. When I stopped taking things personally and stopped competing with her, she noticed a change and became warm and tender towards me. Then one day, out of the blue, she called me into her office and gave me a big raise. It was like the universe telling me that I was doing something right.

 

Wow!  So, Naked Dating® works on bosses, too!  But it isn’t just that you’re able to show vulnerability, I notice that your voice is actually softer.

It’s funny you should say that. When I was home, I noticed how shrill my mom’s voice is. I told her that she needed to pay attention to her tone of voice because it puts people on edge around her. You once told me that my voice sounded anxious and that I needed to slow down because the anxiety in my voice would set men on edge. Right after our session, I went on a date. It felt deliberate, but I focused on slowing down. It worked, but more than anything, what really made my voice slower and kinder is that my ego has diminished. I’m not as controlling as I used to be. Coaching with you helped me change from the inside.

 

I know that we had one very difficult session where we talked about losing some weight. Can you talk a little bit about that?

You put it in a very nice way, but it was still very hard to hear. I had been going on dates, working on myself, and meeting a lot of nice men, but none of the ones I liked were asking me out on a second date. You said, “Jessica, if you knew that your weight was the one thing that was still preventing you from attracting the kind of partner you want, would you do everything in your power to change it?” As much as I didn’t like hearing this, you were right. It was getting in my way, and I had to face it. My mom is petite and, when I was growing up, she gave me a very hard time about my weight. I guess I just wanted to believe that if a man really loved me he would accept me the way I am. The sad thing is that if I lived anywhere but LA I would have been considered thin, but in this town 20 pounds makes a huge difference.

 

Ironically, when I had that fling with the young guy, it made me so anxious that I wound up losing 10 pounds. But the biggest change was when I decided to deal with my drinking. Learning how to get emotionally naked with others also meant getting naked with myself, and I began to see that I had a drinking problem. I went see an addiction counselor, stopped drinking, and I lost another 10 pounds. After I lost the weight, guys stated reaching out to me on Facebook, and some of the guys at work started calling me “Skinny.” Who wouldn’t love all that validation? Mike is very physically attracted to me!  He even tells me that he fantasizes about when I’m not around J

 

One of the incredible things about coaching with you is that you were willing to do whatever it took to find love. Not everyone is that courageous. I know that it’s a big deal to transition from being single to being in a relationship. What was that journey like for you?  

In 2013 there are a lot of modern women who celebrate being single. I was one of them. It was hard for me to stop putting so much importance on my career and let go of my independence. I was very self-absorbed and, even though I said I wanted a relationship, I really didn’t know how to create space in my life for a man.

 

One thing you helped me see is that even though I looked and dressed like a girl, I was emasculating men. I wanted them to feel empowered around me, but without even knowing it, I was doing everything I could to upstage and outdo them. You said that men don’t want to compete with women, especially when it comes to their careers. No wonder they weren’t lining up to marry me! What I loved about working with you is that you showed me I could be strong and independent and still be soft and feminine. I used to think that I needed a man who was stronger than me but now I know how to make a man feel strong around me.

 

One of the hardest things for women is giving up control. I know that you made a great deal of progress in this area. Can you share your experience?

I was afraid to put myself out there.  I mean what if I really tried and I didn’t meet anyone? I was anxious and overthinking everything. You gave me a different way to think about dating. Instead of focusing on meeting “The One” you explained how I could use the dating process to learn about men and what they want and need from a woman. Once I understood how I could use my experiences to grow, I was able to enjoy the process. All that control created so much anxiety for me. The minute I truly and honestly let go—it was on May 1st—I knew I was in a great place! I truly felt that I loved myself. I stopped trying to control my dating life and I started trusting that it would happen.  You won’t believe this but my first date with Mike was on May 14th, just two weeks later!

 

Wow!  That really is amazing!

I know!  You kept telling me that finding love is all about letting go of control and believing in your heart that it will happen. I got it intellectually, but doing it is another thing entirely. It’s hard to say just how I got there, but one day I got it and I just decided to stop trying to control everything… and I mean EVERYTHING.

 

I know I can’t control Mike. It’s his choice to love and care for me, or not. I want this to work more than anything, but I’m can’t control him. I know when he needs space and distance, and I give it to him. In one of our sessions, you explained me him that men need their space and independence, and I am fine giving him that. I was hanging onto everything for dear life, but when people’s needs are met, their reaction towards you is amazing. He gets what he wants and I get what I want. It’s all so simple, once you get it!

You can make an appointment with Lisa Shield by clicking here

You really did a 180. It’s like talking to a different person.

I am a different person. I used to think that traditional male/female roles were demeaning to women, but now I see how empowering it is to be a woman and to be vulnerable. I so appreciate how you were able to walk me through that process. I was telling my friend Jen that, as I became more vulnerable, I opened up to what I really want in a partner, not the superficial crap I thought I wanted before like a fancy car and a big house. Mike has the money for all those things, but he doesn’t care about them. He’s not flashy and he doesn’t care how other people see him. He’s sincere and nerdy, which is ultimately what I wanted. In the end, when I got naked, I attracted someone with the qualities I wanted.  I’d like to think that those are the qualities I exuded, as well… like attracting like. That’s made me happiest.

 

What would you tell people who are considering hiring a dating coach?

Just be open to one session. You have nothing to lose. My first step was being open to seeing Lisa. I knew deep inside that there were things I needed to change, and I was willing to do anything. Sometimes it sucked. It’s never easy to take an honest look at yourself, but it’s worth it in the end.

 

I don’t know what the future holds. All I know is that I’m in a really wonderful relationship with a wonderful man. We’ll see how things go. We are both contenders for marriage. I really want it, but I know I have no control over my destiny.

 

I just wish everyone the best. I know that there are times when this journey will feel like a terrible struggle and you will feel like you’re in a desolate place. That’s when you need to keep your heart open and trust the universe. As long as you keep working on yourself, it will happen. Hope is great, but it won’t happen without the self work. You have to be willing to change yourself. You have to be willing to admit fault. No one wants to think that they might have to change themselves, because you have to admit that you’re wrong. It’s too scary for a lot of people to go there, but you have to if you truly want it.

You can make an appointment with Lisa Shield by clicking here

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Your Girlfriend’s Advice

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5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Your Girlfriend’s Advice

My client, Lily, came extremely close to ruining her relationship with Jasper when she listened to the advice of a well-intentioned friend. One night Lily was lamenting to Sophia that she didn’t know for sure if Jasper was attracted to her. It was way past midnight and Sophia prodded her sweet friend to text Jasper and say she was coming right over. “I dare you,” Sophia said, egging her on. Lily had always felt shy and reserved when it came to men. Maybe Sophia was right—it wouldn’t hurt to be more forthright. Playing the good girl hadn’t gotten her anywhere.  Lily picked up her phone, hesitated for a moment, then wrote the text and hit the send button before she got cold feet again. In a matter of second her phone buzzed. “Don’t come over. In bed. Early day tomorrow.” It seemed that Jasper was a gentleman. The next day he told Lily that he felt she was sending him mixed messages, playing a good girl one minute and a tease the next.

 

At our session the following day, she sat in one of my big brown leather chairs as tears streamed down her cheeks. She felt humiliated and stupid for what she’d done. She really cared about Jasper and didn’t know what to say to make things okay. When her tears stopped and she was able to laugh a little, I showed her how to clean up the mess. We wrote Jasper a text where she took complete responsibility for what she’d done without making excuses for what she’d done.

 

Have you ever had a friend like Sophia who encouraged you to do something you later regretted when it came to men?  Our girlfriends love and support us unconditionally, but often their advice is the exact opposite of what we need to do if you are going to have an emotionally naked relationship with a man.  Let’s look at 5 reasons why listening to your girlfriend’s advice might be hazardous to health of your romantic relationship.

1.     Your girlfriends will support your insanity no matter what. 

Girlfriends are valuable because they love you unconditionally; however, that also means they might support your bad decisions.  Your best friend might accompany you to drive-by your crushes house to see if he’s alone, or sit with you while you stalk his ex-girlfriend’s Facebook page.  They’re your friends for a reason: because they support you no matter what. As a Naked Dater, when your crazy begins to show, you need to find friends who will tell you, “No!”

 2.    Your girlfriends probably aren’t in solid relationships themselves.  

People love to give advice, but it’s almost impossible to get good relationship advice from girlfriends who are not in healthy, emotionally naked relationships themselves, or in relationships at all. If you are going to take advice from a girlfriend, look at her relationship or lack of one and ask yourself if this is someone who is really in a position to be giving advice. If not, speak to a friend who is in a solid relationship you admire. The only people who are truly qualified to give others advice on relationships are those who are living breathing examples of what do.

3.    Your girlfriends might encourage you to play games.  This never works.

I always say that if you play games, you’ll attract a game player.  The point of Naked Dating® is to become more open, honest, and ready for love so you can attract a partner who is in a similar place. Every time you play hard to get, pretend you don’t care, or try to make someone jealous, you are not being emotionally naked and you will push love away. As a Naked Dater you want to look for female role models who encourage you to be real and let down your guard.

 4.    Your single girlfriends might be jealous of your new relationship.

Have you ever had a friend who was jealous of your new relationship? Sometimes girlfriends become envious of the time you’re spending with your partner, especially if they haven’t been in a relationship in awhile. This jealousy might affect their ability to be objective and give advice that is genuinely supportive. They might make you feel guilty for spending too much time with your new guy or say that they don’t think he’s good for you. You want to have compassion for your single friends while they adjust to your new schedule, but you also don’t want to hook in to their fear and negativity.

5.    Your girlfriends can only tell you what they would do if they were in your shoes. 

When most people give advice, they tell you what they would do if they were in your situation, but they’re not you. Only you know the dynamic between you and someone you’re seeing.  Trust your gut, be open and honest, and when you do need outside help, try seeking the advice of a dating and relationship coach. A coach has the tools and skills to help you get clear about what you need in a relationship. Your best friend might want to date a rocket scientist, while you might be perfectly happy dating a zookeeper. The important thing is to find someone who understands what matters most to you and can support you in creating your dream.

 

After taking my advice, I got the following email from Lily: Thanks so much! You brought me back to earth for sure! My friends literally give me the WORST possible advice… I think their tricks are what has gotten me into this situation in the first place:/. They are all about games, and Jasper isn’t that guy!

 

You can make an appointment with Lisa Shield at: http://www.genbook.com/bookings/slot/reservation/30105083?bookingSourceId=1000

More Tools for Your Naked Dating® Toolkit

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In my last blog, I talked about how, despite the fact that Internet dating is fraught with challenges, you have a choice in what you get from the experience. You can go out on one boring date after another and become increasingly hopeless about ever finding The One, or you can see every email, phone conversation and date as an chance to learn more about yourself and the opposite sex. Many of the skills that will make you a successful dater—being kind, compassionate, open-minded, open-hearted, non-reactive, interested in what others have to share and open to sharing about yourself—will also make you a better life partner.

When most clients first come to me for coaching, they think that they’re ready for a relationship, but they’re not. They might be ready to start dating and learning how to open their hearts to let another person in, but they are not ready to be in the kind of passionate, playful, unconditionally loving relationships they say they want. Remember, having a successful life partnership means that you no longer get to have it your way all the time. When you are a couple, you must make room in your life and in your heart for another person. This usually isn’t an easy transition for most singles to make.

I love online dating because it’s where you’ll get the most dates and have the most opportunities to stretch and grow. While you’re out there, you want to practice developing the skills that will make you a better dater and partner. In my last blog, I talked about becoming a positive spin-doctor so you can stay optimistic in the face of all those Internet dating challenges. Let’s look at some other skills you can hone while navigating the wacky world of cyber dating.

  1. Becoming a “quality” person. Choose a quality in yourself that you would like to develop such as: playfulness, compassion, kindness, trust, sensuality, generosity, vulnerability, etc. Now, set an intention to use it in everything you do. If you chose playfulness, write emails that are short and silly. Add some funny, offbeat lines to your profile. When someone you like stops emailing, send a quirky message asking if he or she was kidnapped by wild pygmies and offer an escape plan. When I was dating, I wanted to become more playful, so I wrote a nonsensical profile that began: “My niece thinks I’m funny, my nephew things I’m pretty, and Milo the puppy doesn’t have an opinion because he’s too young and he can’t talk yet.” I don’t know what it meant, but it caught the attention of the right guy who wrote in his profile that he was looking for a woman with a “twisted sense of humor.”

  1. Becoming true to your goal. One of the most difficult things to do in dating—and in life—is to learn how to stop pushing for what you want. There is a saying that rejection is protection. If someone rejects you it’s because he or she isn’t right for you. If the other person isn’t responding in the way you want, you need to let go and move on. Learn to let go with love and respect. You want to learn how to do this without anger or blame. No one owes you anything. It is up to you to keep dating and moving towards your goals and dreams. Learn to trust the universe and keep reminding yourself that there is someone out there for you. It took me two years and nearly 100 first dates before I met my husband! In the end, you need to find someone who is ready for a relationship here and now, not next week or a year from now. Right now.

  1. Becoming the real deal. A lot of people misrepresent themselves online. They lie about their age, height or body type. It’s a shame that we feel we aren’t good enough. Every time you distort the truth to get what you want, you actually push it away. Try to be as real as you can be and see what happens. You will get more responses from people who are actually viable candidates for you. Have the guts to stand in your own truth and see what happens. I now it’s hard when other people are lying about these things, but I urge you to have the guts to stand in your truth and see what happens.

If you are serious about finding a partner, online dating is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for being in a relationship. Be open, be honest, and move on gracefully when you need to.  Don’t let yourself get dragged down. You are in control of your experience- make it fun! It’s great practice for when the real deal comes along.

Make the first step to finding the one, schedule an appointment with Lisa Shield today

How to Approach Online Dating Like a “Naked” Dater

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It’s no secret: online dating can be a drag.  Some people start communicating and stop without explanation, some ask for your phone number and then never call, some even suggest a date and don’t follow through. There are myths that all the men online are commitmentphobes looking for sex and all the women are foreigners looking for husbands. And have you heard of the “New Math?”  Add three inches and deduct 5 years, because everyone knows that many online daters lie about their weight, height, and age, amongst other things.

It’s hard not to get discouraged when so many things can and sometimes do go wrong, but don’t let yourself get dragged down! I encourage you to look at Internet dating in a whole new way.  “How would I do that?” you might ask.  Well, I developed a strategy called Naked Dating®Naked Daters figure that as long as they have to go out on all these dates, they might as well use them to their advantage and work on their relationship goals while they’re out there!

Of course, Naked Daters didn’t always think this way.  When most of my clients first came to me for coaching, they weren’t all that happy when I suggested that, just because they wanted to be in a relationship, it didn’t mean that they were ready for one.  At least not the deeply committed, wildly passionate, emotionally naked relationships they were describing to me.

Going from single to a relationship is an adjustment.  When you’re single, you don’t have to ask anyone if you can buy that new TV, or move to a new city for that great job opportunity.  You can do as you please!  But things change radically when you’re in a relationship.  Having a successful partnership, requires you to make your partner’s needs, wants, and desires as important to you as your own.  This isn’t an easy shift to make after being single.

Here is where Internet dating proves useful. As a Naked Dater, I encourage you to see every email exchange, every phone call, and every date as an opportunity to practice getting emotionally naked and opening up your heart.  This way when the right person does appear, you will be ready to step into the relationship of your dreams.

There are many different skills you can hone while dating online.  In my next blog post I will talk about a variety of different ways you can use the online dating process to challenge yourself, but for now I don’t want to bore you to tears. So, today we will focus on one very important skill: How to become a positive spin-doctor.

If you are going to stay online long enough to find the right partner, it helps to learn how to put a positive spin on your experiences. To do this, you need to stop listening to your inner “Frenemy”—the voice of judgment and fear—and start listening to your Naked Dater—the voice of compassion and love.  You could also say that the Frenemy is your inner critic and the Naked Dater your Higher Self. Let me show you the difference between listening to The Frenemy and listening to the Naked Dater.

Let’s say it’s a Friday night and you are waiting for your hot date to show up—but he never comes. The Frenemy might say, “You are not good enough. There isn’t anyone out there for you. Who are you kidding? This will never work.”  The Naked Dater would think, “This person’s behavior shows that he isn’t ready for a relationship. His profile says he is looking for a life partner, but his behavior is saying something else. You showed up and did the best you could. It’s best to move on.”

The wonderful thing about mastering the art of being a positive spin-doctor is that this skill will come in very handy once you’re in a relationship. My husband is often so tired at the end of a day that he will close his eyes right in the middle of a conversation with me. I will be talking and he will close his eyes, even if I am saying something deeply important! If I wasn’t well versed in being a positive spin-doctor, if I hadn’t learned this lesson from Internet dating, I might become upset and feel that he was being rude. But I know better.

They way I feel in every moment depends on the stories I make up about what’s happening to me and around me. I can tell myself that what I was saying was stupid (and feel sorry for myself), or I can put a positive spin on it by telling myself my husband works hard and that he’s just tired (and feel better about what happened). You get to spin your dating stories any way you want to, so why not practice making them positive? Mastering this skill while you date is guaranteed to radically improve your online dating experience, but most of all, it will help you sustain the romance you are working so hard to find. When you are able to see the positive in every moment, you will stop being so reactive to every silly thing your partner says and does. Ultimately, isn’t this what we’re looking for?

For more helpful skills to practice while Online Dating, stay tuned….

Make the first step to finding the one, schedule an appointment with Lisa Shield today

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