How To Eliminate Your “Have To’s”

                        How To Eliminate Your “Have to’s”


Is it true? Do you really have to? Good question, not so easy answer.

 When I notice that my stomach is in knots and I feel shackled all over, I take it as a message to myself. Obviously something is wrong. Why do I feel like weights and chains are holding me down? The answer usually lies in the feeling state that takes over when I have to do something I don’t want to do; I’m fighting my world. 

So let’s look at that. What happens when you feel the weight of “having” to do something on your to do list?  For me, it’s driving the kids around, or should I say chauffeuring them. I should wear a hat! My daughter has to be dropped off at school for rehearsal at 6:00pm and then picked up again at 9:00 pm while my son has to be picked up at 5:00 pm from basketball and dropped off to his science fair at 7:00 pm and make sure I get everyone dinner and clothes washed for the next day… Oh wait I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s just stick to the driving part.

First tip; take each item on your list separately to avoid overwhelm. It’s like doing a jigsaw puzzle. It’s no good staring at the two thousand pieces strewn about your table and randomly taking stabs at finding pieces that fit. Separate the end pieces  and then sort by size or color etc. so it falls into a system.

 The key is to change perspective from I have to, to I choose to. Here is how I go about it; it’s called the 4 B’s. I put each “to do” to the test. This seriously works.

Bag it. Barter it. Better it. Batch it.

Can I bag it? Not really.  I would feel really bad if they were waiting in the cold or had to hitch hike. Sometimes my “to do” can be stopped right then and there. I really don’t have to make two dozen cookies from scratch for my son’s homeroom. I can grab them from a bakery instead. But if I can’t…

Can I barter it? Maybe. I’ve traded coaching to a college student for driving my daughter home. Or, I’ve struck a deal with another parent to take turns carpooling.  I like to take advantage of this one. But let’s say I can’t…

Can I better it?  This is where the buck stops. If I couldn’t bag it or barter it, how do I better it? Tip: give myself a reward.  I could listen to a book on tape while I drive and sit in the parking lot waiting. I like this approach, especially if it’s a guilty pleasure book. Tip: Think about the end result and how it will make me feel. In this circumstance, I think about imagining the time when they are both in college, I have no idea of where they are and would give anything for a phone call asking me to pick them up. I usually ending up teary as they get in the car and I’m so grateful to be their mother I could squeeze them. They are on to me now. “You’re doing that projecting into college thing again, aren’t you mom?”

 Can I batch it?  Batching works well for social networking and email, or even house cleaning. Don’t keep the computer on all day and feel the need to check and answer emails at all times. Batch your responses into morning and evening. Don’t clean the whole house up all at once. Batch the cleaning responsibilities into categories. Floors one day, dusting the other… while you listen to your favorite music… and sing!

Any tool, which helps to bring more joy and less stress, is a good tool. What’s on your to do list?

Xo Liz. – Life coaching. Transforming confusion into clarity. LIZKEIFER.COM



Your unique genius

                                                   Your unique genius


Often the one thing we most want to hide from the world is what brings us our unique genius.

I always tell this to my acting students. Your flaws are a gold mind. Your flaws are what make people feel connected to one another. You can’t love a character, or even love to hate a character, if you can’t relate to them somehow, even if it’s a teeny, tiny point of shared humanity; a crooked smile or a soft heart.

Bearing this in mind, my new intention for 2014 is to embrace my “faults.”

I have recently been certified as a Martha Beck Life Coach. I spent this past year in training with some brilliant minds and hearts from all over the world. I find myself surrounded by PHD’s and professional therapists all seeking to learn this form of helping people to move beyond a normal level of functioning (what is normal anyway?) and into a full, joyful, meaningful life.

So, what I bring to the table is different. I’m an actor. I’m a director. I can spot thoughts, which motivate behavior a mile a way. I’m trained to identify intentions, actions and all those things, which make people suffer or make people soar, and I’m trained to get to them quickly. How else could I have survived thirty years in soap operas processing sixty pages of dialogue a day!

But I’m different.  This scared me at first; I don’t have the “lingo”…at all. In fact I stutter, stammer and sometimes find myself in a messy, albeit enthusiastic, metaphor that I can’t get out of. I come from acting academies, not academia. I still think of my office as my dressing room! I cant help but approach each client like I would if I were directing them in a film, I go through all the mental warm ups which allow me to clear my mind and be present so I can listen.  I’m curious, non-judgmental, and I’m passionate about getting to the specifics, the root of the issue at hand.

So, when I found myself trying to be and sound like some of the other coach trainees, I thought, “what am I doing?” “ This is not who I am or what I want. Stick to what you know.”

And so I did, and so I am.

And, the very quality I felt I needed to disguise and muddy, is the one that is drawing my clients towards me.


So now I ask myself; what’s perfect about not being perfect?


Happy New Year!

Discover what makes you shine –  Liz  xo




Talking heads

Talking Heads

The worst crime an actor can commit is to be a talking head. This is one of my pet peeves as an acting coach. What is a talking head you ask? When an actor does not know what he is saying or why he is saying it. He/she is just saying lines, completely disconnected from their body.

“If I were a director looking at your audition tape, I would have fast forwarded after the first two lines. You might as well be a floating head.” Okay, so maybe I’m not that hard on them… ahem, but I wish I had a penny for every time I preached about insisting on knowing the specific, organic reason why you are saying a line or performing an action. If you don’t know why, don’t say the line. Insist on asking WHY until you do! If it’s not in the script, make it up. Anything but mindlessly saying lines without any real connection to the truth. Because guess what? If you don’t know why or what you are saying, neither does the audience.

The same goes for real life, folks.

Once again, I find that my approach to life coaching is complimented by and directly related to coaching actors. Only now, I am listening to that deep whisper from within that is yearning to deal with “real life.” It’s the same process but why stop with a pretend character that only lasts as long as the performance? Why not use all these insights and techniques to get to the truth of your essential self, that self who existed with all entitlement when we were very young? Why not figure out when that truth became masked and muddied.

How often have you found yourself as a talking head in your own life? You wake up and wonder how you got there? When did being fake and false become so easy?   Seriously, I think I spent an entire decade as a talking head. It wasn’t pretty and it didn’t get me very far, but it did give me perspective.

Just like an actor, dissecting a character, we all have to play detective in our own lives. It’s hard to have long-term goals in life if we don’t have a clue as to our purpose, our intention for walking into a room or pursuing a career. It’s what I call purposeful living.

Living in that space where “your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Frederick Buechner.

Discover what makes you shine –

Xo Liz.