As a kid, anytime I sat down to take a test I would freeze up and struggle to recall information that I readily knew just hours before. It felt like someone was sitting on my chest and my brain was in a lockbox but I didn’t have the key. I couldn’t think clearly. I was wracked with indecision. Doubt was my unwelcome companion and I’d have to will myself to choose an answer for each question one by one. For years, I believed I was stupid because I suffered from test anxiety

Now I know I was experiencing a patterned…

I recently gave a talk on the Neuroscience of Conversation to a group of job seekers who are all currently unemployed. As part of the presentation, I encouraged everyone to reflect on the negative patterns they have experienced in the job search process. Not surprisingly, freeze was the most common patterned threat response experienced.

There were so many situations in the process that trigger a freeze response. From not hearing back about a job application. To being asked an unexpected question in an interview. …

Many clients come to me when they’re experiencing a disconnect between who they strive to be and how they’re showing up.

Take Lisa for example. She was a high achiever, who had recently been promoted. She prided herself on being a people-centered manager and a determined problem solver. Yet the stress of her new position, coupled with some personal struggles, caused her to “lose it” every time there was a proverbial fire at work.

Whenever anyone came to her with, what they felt was, an urgent problem, she would panic. Her tone of voice became aggressive. Her comments were abrasive…

Growing up with a father that’s bipolar and a recovering alcoholic, I learned a lot about living with big emotions and wrestling inner demons.

Mine’s the Dad that drops you off at school, waits until you’re 20 feet away then embarrassingly yells from the car, “Arrrrrrriiiiiiiiaaannnnaaaa, I loooovvvve you!”

He has a larger-than-life presence. And a fiery temper. He was often tinkering with some project around the house — the tractor, the chipper shredder, the log splitter, etc. …

Many of my clients only used their journals for taking notes during talks, while reading books, or participating in workshops before we started working together. Because they rarely used them for reflection, intention setting, prioritizing, or planning, they didn’t identify as someone who journals.

Yet, I have found that notetaking is a strong gateway practice to journaling.

While writing things down improves retention. REAL learning occurs when we are changed. And the way we take notes, or more specifically reflect on the application of new ideas, accelerates our learning.

This was one of the nuances that made the EntrepreNerds business…

I was driving back from a training where I tried something new, and I kept fixating on the thing that went wrong. For over an hour, it was eating away at me. And the more I thought about it, the worse I felt.

I convinced myself I was a failure. That I was terrible at my job. I wondered if I should just give up. I wanted to crawl in a hole and hide from the world. Everything else felt completely heavy and impossible.

I had felt this way before. It was a familiar feeling. …

I was recently working with a coaching client who was reconnecting with lost parts of herself. Pieces she had stuffed down and alienated years ago in order to fit in and be a “good” daughter, student and person.

This work turned out to be an integral part of claiming her agency. Of answering the quintessential questions, who am I? What do I stand for? What kind of leader do I want to be? What impact do I want to have on the world? Then, showing up accordingly.

Such discoveries began with acknowledging a disconnect. She had been fitting a mold…

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Journaling has become increasingly popular in the last 10 years thanks to Ryder Carrol for introducing the world to his techniques, which he calls Bullet Journaling.

There are Facebook groups, Pinterest boards and assorted fan clubs that share their favorite Bullet Journaling spreads and tips. These artful designs both inspire and intimidate people — as things that appear “Pinterest perfect” often do.

I’ve worked with a number of clients who have confided in me their own personal struggles with journaling as a result of comparing themselves with these quite lofty expectations.

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It was mid-morning and I was bustling around the house while my toddler ambled about when five large pieces of metal were thrown from the apartment two stories above us.

In that moment, I lost it. This had been a problem for years, people thinking it was ok to toss things off their balconies, right above the main entrance to the building. But this was the first time someone was throwing something so obviously dangerous.

What if my toddler had run outside at that very moment and been hit in the…

Daylight savings is one of my least favorite times of the year. I find it a hard adjustment to make. It’s not just because we lose an hour. It’s due to the fact that I’m typically fatigued for at least a few days after it happens.

For me, fatigue is a harbinger. With it comes feelings of self-doubt, insecurity and imposter syndrome.

When I’m tired everything feels harder. I don’t have the reserves I’m accustomed to and as a result, little things cause a disproportionately large upset with my equilibrium.

One of the benefits of journaling is that I now…

Ariana Friedlander

Ariana Friedlander, MPA, is an organizational anthropologist, a leadership development expert and an author. She’s certified in Conversational Intelligence.

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