LifeCoaching Blog

Drop The Stories, Empower Your Goals
Jennifer Silverstein
April 6, 2018

BTF Coaches recently held a 3-day retreat where our attendees were encouraged to bring a life-change project they had been struggling to achieve.  We suggested this project be something that would have a significant positive impact on their lives.

Everyone was excited to share their empowerment goal we call it with one another. During the first phase, we focused on WHY this goal was important for them.  If we don't know our WHY, it's impossible to stay committed to anything for very long.  It was awesome to watch and listened as they gained powerful insights into what has been holding them back from achieving significant progress. A major "ah ha" happened when they discovered their limiting stories, and how these stories they've been living with have been contributing to their "stuckness."  

Achieving lasting change can be an elusive and often frustrating endeavor.  One thing we know from doing our own personal work and education, and from working with others is that we unconsciously live in stories of our own making.  These stories keep us living in a rerun of our lives.  Until we become aware of our stories and how they relate to the life-change goals we are trying to make, little sustainable progress can be made.

There are many different approaches to achieving goals and making life changes.  There is the willful "Just Do It" or "Just Don't Do It" method which may be helpful in certain situations, but it doesn't work for everything all the time.  And then there's the "learn new skills, gain new knowledge" approach which has merit, provided the changes you're trying to make requires you learn something you didn't know before.  But, when it comes to making a change that you earnestly want to make, yet haven't been able to achieve despite all your effort and know-how that may require an adaptive approach.  This is where the BTF Discovery process can be extremely illuminating and powerful.

During our coaching sessions and 3-day retreats, we take our clients through an inquiry and discovery process designed to help them clarify their life change initiative and solidify why this is important.  Then we guide them through an experience that gives them a felt-sense of the freedom and liberation they will experience when they move from their "current state" of being and towards their "desired future state". Through this discovery process, they uncover their limiting stories and how these stories have unbeknownst to them, been keeping them from making the very change they have been trying to make.  This is the great "Ah ha" moment.

Here's the real stickler when attempting to make a significant life change, knowing what to do and why is not merely enough.  We all know a great many things, but that doesn't necessarily mean we put that knowledge into action.  For example, we know what it means to eat a healthy diet, and why a good night's sleep is important, we understand that exercising three to five times a week is good for us, but do we do it consistently?  Many of us do, but many more do not.  Why is that?

A great research study which examined these phenomena was done by Harvard professors' and creators of the Immunity to Change approach, Dr. Robert Keegan, and Dr. Lisa Lahey.  They did a longitudinal study of heart patients who were told by their physicians that if they wanted to live they would need to take heart medicine daily, change their diet, exercise, and so on.  What they found was that only 1 out of 7 actually did what their doctors prescribed.  These were people who sincerely wanted to live, and had all the information they needed to make wise choices about their health, yet they chose not to follow their doctor’s orders.

In order to make the shift from knowing and doing to being, it requires more than knowing what to do or modifying one's behaviors, it requires a transformation of attitudes, beliefs, hearts, and minds.  When these internal shifts are made in a supportive environment, within a community of kindred spirits, one can most definitely achieve significant life-lasting changes.  I have witnessed profound changes in people and the quality of their lives as a result.  This is precisely why I have chosen to make this my life's work.

Suffering From Summer Burnout? Why Not Re-Treat Yourself?
Jennifer Silverstein
August 16, 2017

If you’re like most women (or men) I work with you’ve spent the last 2+ months juggling kids schedules whether it be carpools to summer camp, playdates or childcare.  You've done all amidst your own work, houseguests, and family vacations.  Honestly…when was the last time you did something nurturing for yourself? 

The fact is if we don’t take care of ourselves we become depleted, burned out, and downright cranky. Hopefully by now, you can see the summer sunset on the horizon making way for a breath of air just around the corner. This is a fleeting moment – so don’t miss it. 

Take action now and start planning how you can grab a little R & R before the next flurry of activity begins. It’s in those small gaps in time where seeds get planted that provide our sustenance.  

Here are three things you can do to help you replenish and recharge: 

1. Schedule a massage NOW (better yet, schedule THREE, 4 weeks apart).  Muscular movement such as breathing, exercise and massage help to detoxifying your body from stored stress – literally moving the stress out of the body through the lymphatic system.

2. Take-up a new physical exercise, i.e. yoga, hiking, dance – something you enjoy doing that gets your body moving.  Burnout comes from too much stress and not enough rest.  Excessive emotions build up and get trapped in the body. The best way to expel these trapped emotions is through motion.  E-motion – energy in motion.

3. Sign-up for a retreat! Retreats give you a chance to deliberately slow-down.  A retreat forces you to take your focus off of other people and the external demands of life, and intentionally focus on YOU! Then, when you return your attention outward again you’ll be nourished – with greater sense of clarity, better able to focus on those things that matter to you most.

Back to Freedom Life Coaching and Retreats is producing a new genre of retreats.  During our Life Coaching Retreats participants have a chance to explore more deeply what really matters to them, and why! Through our coaching work we have found that people desperately need a safe space where they can unplug and unwind, intentionally taking time out from their daily lives to reflect on what is most important to them.   

We create a safe environment within a small group setting for transformational experiences to take place. Participants bond and build a community establishing long-lasting relationships. This support network provides accountability once everyone has gone back to their work-a-day lives. Our guests returns to their lives feeling and greater sense of renewal, invigoration and inspiration towards their lives and what matters most. 

Our next retreat is a Women’s Retreat on the Mendocino Coast, November 3 thru November 5. For more information, email us at

An Old Narrative Was Still Running My Life
Kate Flanagan
April 2, 2017

Several years ago, I fell into a deep depression, not something new to me but more severe than past occasions. I couldn’t understand why, after well-over two decades of sobriety and intensive personal growth work, I was unable to shake my depression. 

After countless hours of research and investigation, I came to understand that I was co-dependent and at my deepest level, an Empath. I wasn’t living my true life—I was unconsciously letting my life choices be influenced by others. I was attracting people into my life that were not enhancing my higher good. At the time of my initial research, all I knew was that something was preventing me from experiencing peace and contentment in my emotional life. I made a commitment to get to the bottom of my discontentment and worked intensely with several life coaches to uncover what was causing my depression. 

Over time, I came to understand that my issues could not be solved cognitively. I had to work through these issues, with a coach at both an emotional and deeply physical level. There appeared to be no logic to the process, but I trusted it anyway and broke through in a huge way to an incredible freedom. It came down to exposing my core belief systems, which had been with me since childhood. Over time, I’ve learned a different way to look at the world and to change my own narrative. This new life-vision has enabled me to live joyfully and authentically.

My continued passion for this approach-to-living has exploded because, through it, my own life has been fundamentally transformed. I feel compelled to share these tools with others because they worked for me. To that end, I went back to school and became a Certified Professional Life Coach and Retreat Leader. I work a lot with people suffering from addiction, co-dependency and narcissistic abuse.

So, the exciting news is my partner and I will be facilitating weekend "Back to Freedom" retreats in a peaceful and safe environment at beautiful locations around the country. You can expect to work hard and smart at these retreats—and have a whole lot of fun! You'll learn and experience the same methods that have enabled me to live peacefully in joy and freedom every day.

Invest in yourself—it's never too late to start enjoying life. I am 61 and thank goodness I took a friend’s advice... to take a step towards uncovering the jewel inside myself. I am at peace today. And who doesn’t want that? 

I Never Felt Comfortable in My Own Skin
Jennifer Silverstein
April 1, 2017

As a child and into early adulthood, I never felt comfortable in my own skin. My life was driven by fear and anxiety. The only time I felt connected to my body was through physical activity. Teachers and doctors labeled me with ADHD and suggested I be medicated. Thankfully, my mother instead helped me find creative outlets in gymnastics, dance and the circus!

In my early 20’s, I reached out for a life-line because life had become too painful and my coping mechanisms had stopped working. I began my journey into emotional growth and development. Through self-reflective practices, I came to understand that I suffered from a dis-ease and dis-connection of the body, mind, and spirit. Now, with over 25 years of sobriety and transformational work, my life-purpose continues to evolve. One of my greatest joys is that I am now that life-line for others by sharing my experience and hope.

In 2007, I launched my consulting business, spearheading a women’s professional networking group in Sonoma and Marin counties. Since then, I’ve worked with inspired entrepreneurs and emerging leaders, helping them to turn their passions into their livelihoods. I've come to realize that most of us have the knowledge and skills to do our jobs, but are held back by limiting belief systems, a lack of clarity, and an inability to sustain focus.

I became a Certified Life Coach to help my clients shift their mindset and remove blocks that get in the way of achieving true satisfaction and fulfillment in their lives and careers. My work involves developing people and businesses, helping entrepreneurs increase their effectiveness in creating profitable and satisfying businesses that reflect their true life purpose.