My Last Blog Post

Hello friends,

I’m posting my last blog post from WordPress. Our company has moved over to SquareSpace and the blog feature is now up and running! To keep your subscription to receive my blogs to your inbox, head over here and enter your email.

I’m writing now about an epiphany about how my judgment and criticism of my husband and kids was a sincere effort to help them NOT be judged or criticized. Uh…..Gulp. Have you ever criticized a loved one in a an effort to “help” them? 

Oh boy. It’s gonna get real.

Hope to see you on the new platform!

xo Rachel


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How Coaching Creates Professional Dreams-Come-True

How Coaching Creates Professional Dreams-Come-True

Slowly, a series of blogs have been developing. This is #3. Humble, sincere, and hard-working professionals don’t usually stand first in line saying “ME! ME!” Write a blog on me!” After some time, Jessica finally said yes. Some of my favorite people don’t realize the magnitude of their talents and the subsequent impact they make…

Meet Jessica.

Who are you and what do you do?


Finding Your Way or Making Your Move? Five Big Questions to ask Yourself

Finding Your Way or Making Your Move? Five Big Questions to ask Yourself

Similar to the conundrum of which came first, the chicken or the egg, comes finding your way or making your move.

In a recent interview I did with Stacy Feil, ICFH president, I shared that there were many things in my life that I actively pursued. While coaching wasn’t one of them, it was exactly where I wanted to be but didn’t know it.

Coaching pursued me.

In this case, I found my way, but I wasn’t pursuing it. These are the most meaningful types of connections, in my opinion, and like J.R.R. Tolkin said, “Not all who wander are lost.”

Making a move, on the other hand, is being the one who is doing the pursuing, like a degree, a mate, or an outcome.

One thing that’s helpful in getting clarity whether you’re finding your way or making your move, is to reflect through big questions. When processing through questions, any that don’t feel settled or absolute will continue to hang out in your subconscious as unfinished business, and your mind will still work on answering them. 

This process opens you up to possibilities.

Asking big questions, invites unique answers. Here are five to consider.


How a Principal Became Fearless through Coaching

How a Principal Became Fearless through Coaching

Stacey is an amazing––and humble––leader. I knew she received a big honor from The Board of Directors of the Kansas Association of Elementary School Principals (KAESP) in 2020 as a District AND National Distinguished Principal Award. She didn’t include this in her original answers, but I wanted to acknowledge it. She is the kind of leader you feel privileged to work for and with, and the kind of person you feel honored to know.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

I just celebrated my 31st anniversary with my high school sweetheart, and I’m celebrating 31 years as an educator––the last eight as pre-k through middle school principal. I’m a very family-oriented person and we enjoy doing life together with our children, grandchild, and parents––who all live close to us. 
2. What problem did you face before working in a coaching relationship?
At times I’ve lacked confidence both personally and professionally. Ongoing professional development and opportunities for self-awareness have always been important to me because I desire to be a strong leader who assists others in reaching their full potential.
3. How did you hear about coaching?
I first heard about coaching through Twitter. I began to follow INspired Leadership and signed up for the Friday emails. I knew immediately that my values aligned with the coaching offered and this relationship would be a great match. 
4. Why did you commit to the process? 
I am always seeking growth and I knew I’d be receiving high level leadership. I value the INspired Leadership philosophy, both individually and for groups, so I was committed to investing my time into areas of growth and self-reflection.
5. What results did you achieve through the coaching program?
The small group allowed me to be more vulnerable and to share my heart and experiences. I have a renewed level of confidence in my leadership and my personal life. The 7th level leader accepts, trusts the process, and is present in the moment, and I’m improving in these areas daily.
6. What do you have going on that you’d like to be recognized for, that you’re proud of, or feel confident and excited about?
My staff recently gave me a shirt recently that read “She is Fearless.” Up to just a few years ago I wouldn’t have worn it with the belief if was true. My own growth, as well as individual and group coaching, led me to embrace this about myself. I really do feel fearless.
I have several new opportunities available to me in the near future and my growing leadership skills will allow me to be more powerful with my intentions. I know that confidence is not aligned with accomplishments, but it’s a state that comes with trusting myself, and knowing that I can handle whatever comes my way!  
Reflect: On a scale of 1-10, how confident do you feel about your leadership abilities?
Journal: To score myself just one point higher, I’d…


Rachel is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through International Coaching Federation (ICF) for INspired Leadership at ESSDACK. She helps professionals master self-leadership. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling, holds her two children close to her heart, and believes everyone holds their own keys to success. Contact her.


What if you could measure leadership and culture? Ask our team how: INspired Leadership Website

How a Graphic Designer Gained Confidence through Coaching

How a Graphic Designer Gained Confidence through Coaching

I recently inquired with some clients about their interested to be featured in a blog. I’m thankful this creative designer said yes. Her growth has been tremendous. It’s inspiring to watch a talented person embrace the value of their talent and contribution. Imposter syndrome can be a doozy. (I’m also partial to her name.) 🙂
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Rachel Knowles, and I am a creative with 15 years Graphic Design experience. My current career role is Marketing Manager for a local Southwest Kansas agricultural company. 
2. What problem did you face before working in a coaching relationship?
I struggled with confidence in my work and how others viewed my contributions and my competency. 
3. How did you hear about coaching?
I have a college friend who does coaches in California, and I’ve watched him share inspiring things and recommend ways to work towards bigger goals. So, he planted the seed, but I was convinced to pursue coaching when I experienced a particularly frustrating moment at work. When I started trying to figure out how to find a local coach, I asked a few people, one of them being SheStrength with Anna Woods Fitness. She specifically directed me to INspired Leadership.
4. Why did you commit to the process?
I committed to the process because I felt heard and experienced helpful feedback without being made to feel foolish. I knew I needed something to change…I needed to learn something more to help make me a better employee and person. I was given groundwork for a process (Processing Catabolic Energy) that would guide me through my internal dialogue whenever I hit a snag with work, or even my personal life. The ability to always go back to that process, and your gentle guidance as I learned, felt like the perfect fit. Some days I needed more than a gentle nudge, but it never felt like you were judging me. 
5. What results did you achieve through the coaching experience?
When I take the time to work the process, I can ground myself before spiraling out of control. I have a better ability to identify the internal dialogue, emotion, cause, and response which gives me the chance to choose how to lead myself. When I take the time to lead myself, I can lead and respond better to those around me. The confidence from that, and from better understanding my value as an employee, has been the biggest benefit in working with a coach. I can trust that the work I do is good, and in turn, others see that competency as well. 
6. What do you have going on that you’d like to be recognized for, that you’re proud of, or feel confident and excited about?
I won a local logo design contest for one of my favorite places: the Wright Park Zoo in Dodge City, KS. My son and I visit there often, and are excited to see the goals they are working towards to create an excellent educational space for the local community. 
One of the favorite things about my job with EGE Products is getting out into the fields when equipment is running and snapping pics. When it’s time to develop new marketing materials (see brochure cover), instead of picking through stock photos, I have accurate photos pertaining to our market, and we can put a name to the driver/operator. I work for innovative folks, and I appreciate the opportunity to develop and use a variety of my skills and talents as I build our marketing program. 


Reflect: External goals go hand-in-hand with internal energy. How much energy do you spend worrying about what others think? 

Journal: The value I know I contribute to those around me includes…


Rachel is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through International Coaching Federation (ICF) for INspired Leadership at ESSDACK. She helps professionals get where they want to be, faster. Contact her.

What if you could measure leadership and culture? Ask our team how: INspired Leadership Website


Just how Big are the “Little Things”?

Just how Big are the “Little Things”?

Kelly Turcotte, my team member, is contributing to the blog! Enjoy her story!

Sometimes people come into your life for a moment, a day, or a lifetime. It matters not the time they spend with you but how they impacted your life in that time.   ––Unknown

We all hear (and say it) at times, “It’s the little things that count.” But when you do little things for others, is it by intention or accident?
Anabolic leadership is all about intention. Knowing yourself and knowing the gifts you possess to build up, unify, and connect with others are ways you can be intentional about the little things.
My daughter recently competed in a track meet and her first race was the first of the meet. It’s a race she’s been making progress on and seeing improved times with the work she is putting in during practices. Well, she won! It was great to see her finish strong and in control. When she came over to me I was eager to hug her and congratulate her on the payoff for all her hard work, but she wasn’t concerned with her win at all. The man who was the starter for the race met her at the finish line, told her good job and handed her the spent cap from his gun. He said it was a memento for her to keep. This “little thing” had her face lit up like a parent can only hope to witness. She thought it was the coolest thing she’d ever received in competition. She had a great day of competing and received more caps from this man.  


Can you trust the process?

I stole it.

It was a sign dangling by a single pushpin to a bulletin board outside a classroom in college. Even though stealing wasn’t even close to my normal activity, I *knew* that sign was for me.

It portrayed a giant footprint that read, “You know it’s the hand of God when you end up where you did not plan on going.”

Walking those halls in 2000, I wondered how I got there. To that college. In that town. With that athletic scholarship. How did this happen? It was so good.

I remembered that sign again in 2014 when I trudged slowly to the front of the church to speak to family and friends gathered for my dad’s funeral. It was difficult. And it was also good.

It led me to the path of coaching. (more…)

What’s True? How You Frame the World Determines What You See.

What’s True? How You Frame the World Determines What You See.

This was originally posted in 2017, but I’ve told the story twice in the last week and decided to resurrect it for such a time as this.


For the last year we’ve been dog owners, and every night, whoever is the last one upstairs puts the dog in his kennel for the night. Every time my daughter puts him to bed, she comes downstairs to her own bed feeling badly.

“Aw…Zip looked so sad,” she laments, “his tail stopped wagging and he looked at me with big sad eyes.”

“How do you know he’s sad, babe? Maybe he’s relieved to be going to bed?”

“No, he’s sad,” she assures me, “I can tell by the way he walks in and lays down and looks at me.”

My daughter and I have very different views of bedtime. I love an evening routine and an early bedtime hour. I get to unwind, embrace the completion of a day well spent, and cozy up to the warmth radiating from my husband next to me.

My daughter doesn’t like to go to bed. She doesn’t like the dark, doesn’t fall asleep quickly, and doesn’t want to sleep alone.

So when we take our dog to his bed each night, I think I’m doing him a favor…and my daughter thinks she’s hurting his feelings.

So what’s going on here?

If someone gave me a comfy, dark and quiet place as respite for the day, I’m happy….so I see our dog as happy. If someone gave my daughter the same, she feels sad…so she sees our dog as sad.

So is the dog sad, or is he happy? What is the truth?

This is what my 8-year-daughter asked me to which I replied, “I guess we’ll have to ask the dog.”

Clearly, it depends on who you ask.

How you and I frame the world – what we believe, value, how we see ourselves and how we think the world works – is what we project onto the world.

We see things as we are.

  • If we hold a belief of brokenness and a need for fixing or saving, the world will start putting forth people or circumstances that appear to need fixed or saved.
  • If there’s an underlying belief that worth is attached to performance, then the world will look full of others who are succeeding exceptionally well.
  • If it’s about injustice, lo and behold the world will spit out offenders before our eyes.

The brain is designed to focus in on whatever it’s looking for, so becoming aware of inner thoughts and perceptions, and focusing on the facts, helps uncover the truth there.

People often recognize and call out things in others and in circumstances that they are ourselves, whether it’s the truth or not.

If projecting our inner state onto our pets happens, think about what we may be projecting onto our children, parents. Onto our students, teachers. Onto our employees, bosses. Onto our neighbors, friends.

When awareness becomes everyday practice we can get out of our own way and…

  1. See things with new eyes
  2. Ask neutral and powerful questions to understand
  3. Get a clearer picture of what’s true

Up for a challenge? For a designated time, pay attention to what you see and talk about. Listen for your filter. What keeps coming up?

Ask yourself:

  • Why am I pointing this out?
  • What about this matters to me?
  • Where am I projecting what I believe instead of being open to what really is?

Awareness has the power to change our wellbeing, and the more well we each become, the more the collective world heals for our children, students, co-workers, and friends.

Reflect: What emotion do you see in the picture of the dog?

Does raising awareness interest you? Consider joining a small professional coaching group, inquire about an ELI assessment, or start an individual coaching relationship.

Rachel is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through International Coaching Federation (ICF) for INspired Leadership at ESSDACK. She helps professionals get out of their own way. Contact her.

What if you could measure leadership and culture? Ask our team how: INspired Leadership Website