Did you ever think life was going to be like this?
It was all supposed to work out. You’d go to school, get a job, find the love of your life, build a home, start a family, enjoy a successful career, and live happily ever after.
Then life intervened.
One thing after another…
Crisis after crisis…
You couldn’t get your feet back under you before the next wave hit.
And it’s not just you.
MANY of us are going through the exact same thing.
Which is what inspired life coach Rachell Kitchen to help women through life transitions.
Those moments where everything comes crashing down and you have to rebuild and you don’t know how.
In this week’s YBTV interview, Rachell shares the startling trajectory of modern life. The linear life is dead, she says, and in its place is a series of transition points marked by disruption.
She offers practical tools to navigate those unexpected changes and a pep talk to anyone who feels like they can’t cope and it’s all too much.
She teaches you how to spot your “gremlin,” your critical inner voice, and take back charge of your life.
What You’ll Learn
“There was a time in my 40s when I woke up, looked in the mirror, [and] I didn’t recognize myself. I definitely didn’t like who I saw.”
Rachell Kitchen had gone through a difficult two years.
She’d been blindsided by a brutal betrayal that ultimately led to divorce. Her father had been murdered. Her mother and mother-in-law were both diagnosed with cancer. She was going through empty nest. “Sprinkle in a few breast cancer scares of my own,” she says, “and I literally was a hot mess.”
What made matters worse were the negative thoughts playing on repeat.
“My gremlin—that voice in my head—was running the show,” she says.
“It was large and in charge, and … my self-esteem had taken a complete nose dive. That inner critical negative voice … kept me playing small and didn’t allow me to reach my full potential and create a life that I wanted and that I deserved.”
When Midlife Comes Crashing Down
Sometimes it feels like midlife is crisis after crisis.
You’ve spent decades working to build a life you can be proud of… and it all falls apart in an instant.
What is it about midlife?
Why do our lives crash down around our ears right when we most deserve to sit back and take a break?
When Rachell was going through coaching school, she learned the principle that the only constant is change.
“It’s truer now more than it ever has been,” she says. “We are going through transitions more frequently than ever before, but the tools that we use to navigate those transitions haven’t kept pace with our current and modern contemporary life.”
In his book Life Is In The Transitions, Dr. Bruce Feiler discusses 52 different types of disrupters, sources of conflict or stress. He says that we experience three dozen disruptors over the course of our lives.
That equates to a disruptor, or some type of transition, every 12 to 18 months.
Does your life feel this?
Most of the time, these disruptors are minor and don’t alter the course of our lives. But sometimes they build up into what Rachell calls lifequakes, with one disruptor piled on top of another until you can’t see the way ahead anymore.
The skills you relied on to get you to here are no longer helping. You need a major upgrade in your toolkit, and Rachell has some ideas.
Strategies to Deal With Life Transitions
“For some of us, especially as high achievers, we want to just grind it out and push right through,” she says. “That does not work. Now, it may work for a time, where you can white-knuckle it through, but that’s really just putting the Band-Aid on it, because that’s not sustainable.”
Instead she recommends starting with acceptance.
“We need to identify our emotions and lean into that,” she says. “Don’t let them see you cry? Don’t let them see you sweat? That’s nonsense.”
Then she suggests ritualizing the change.
Mark it in some way. Some people throw a divorce party or do a cleansing ritual. Others get a tattoo.
Next, it’s time to reassess your values.
“When we go through transition, sometimes our values change, or some values [become] more important than others,” Rachell says. Navigating change is easier when you know your values and can stand in your values.
Your life has changed so much. You can’t go back. What it is you really want now? What do you want to create moving forward? You may not know just yet. You can try out new things and see how they feel.
This is a process you don’t want to go through alone.
“How many times do we just think we’ve got to just suck it up and not tell anybody [because] we think we’re going to be judged?” Rachell asks. “No. Surround yourself with a community, with a tribe that you trust.”
“And then once you have done all that, and have a clear idea of where it is you want to go on the other side of that change, then you can launch it. You can unveil the new you.”
Navigating Change is Up to You
Notice the difference between Rachell’s advice and the usual advice we get when we’re navigating change, like, “Hang in there, it’ll get better,” or, “Just think positive.”
Making your life better isn’t a matter of hanging tight and waiting it out. It requires active participation from you.
And positive thinking can keep you from facing the truth about what you’re going through.
“No amount of affirmations on your mirror or positive thinking is going to NOT make you feel the way that you’re feeling about a certain thing,” Rachell says.
“The only way you’re going to do that is to acknowledge that feeling [and] surround yourself with people and community that can validate what you’re feeling.”
Your Inner Gremlin
But there’s a barrier in the way of creating the new life you desire.
It’s the voice inside your head.
That little voice inside your head can be “loud and obnoxious, or maybe it’s just a tiny whisper. And it might be saying something like, ‘Oh, I’m not smart enough to make X Y Z happen. Oh, I’m not experienced enough to get that ideal job. Well, I don’t deserve happiness because fill-in-the-blank‘ … or whatever set of buzzwords that the menace in your mind is stringing together, that keeps you from the success you want and deserve.”
“That type of self-destructive talk and mind chatter,” she continues, is “your energy-sucking gremlin.”
Your gremlin sabotages you by convincing you there’s no point in trying; you’ll never achieve your dreams.
Most of the time, you don’t even question what it says, even when there’s no evidence to back it up.
“Your gremlin has a way of keeping you in [your] comfort zone,” Rachell says. “Now, it is well-meaning, because it wants to keep you safe, but that is displaced. You don’t need that anymore.”
Tackling Your Gremlin
Rachell offers a five-week program to take back your life and rewire your brain for confidence, focus, and taking action.
It’s broken down into 5 steps.
In the first step, Rachell introduces the concept of ANTs. “Not the ants that crawl around and ruin our picnics or our barbecues,” she says, but Automatic Negative Thoughts. You look at where those thoughts are coming from and why you’re saying the things you’re saying.
Then you take a closer look at your own gremlin, “because your gremlin is different from mine and the next person’s.” You find out how your gremlin uses your own unique vulnerabilities against you.
Next is self-connection and acceptance, so you can start to make more conscious choices to move through the transition.
The fourth step is about facing down your gremlin and doubting your doubts, and the final step is putting together a personalized strategy to stop that negative chatter in its tracks.
If you want to learn more about how to spot your gremlin and see through its tricks, then join Rachell on her book launch!
Take Charge of Your Life is a book about women overcoming self-doubt to create successful lives and careers that fulfill them.
Rachell shares raw, honest, and empowering stories from real women who have rumbled with the menace in their minds and won.
“Moving through any life transition is going to require you to get outside of your comfort zone,” Rachell concludes, “and here’s the truth of it:
“Outside of your comfort zone is that fear zone, and when you step out of your comfort zone and into the fear zone, it’s going to take some courage, but you have it. You already have everything you need to do that. And it’s going to take courage – why? Because that’s your gremlin’s domain…
“But you can learn to doubt your doubts. You can learn to spot those messages and put the tools in your toolbox so that you can effectively navigate anything that comes your way. You’ve got it!”
Rachell is a life and transition coach, speaker, and international bestselling author. She holds an Associate Certified Coach credential from the International Coach Federation and trained with the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. She offers unique transformative programs to help women get clarity on what their gremlin is and how to control it so that it no longer controls them, their career, or their life. Find out how you can work with Rachell.