Today I had an AHA Moment! You know, one of those moments when it all clicks. One of those moments where you suddenly see things so clearly that everything makes perfect sense. Yes – one of those moments! This, of course, was immediately followed by a WTF moment, where I asked myself why I hadn’t seen that before. Duh Jenifer!!!!

I have had quite a few AHA moments the last couple years and I am absolutely overjoyed by them. In fact, I live for them. The hard part is that you don’t know when they are going to come and they can’t be forced. So I attend a lot of conferences, webinars, tele seminars, etc. and I read a lot of books, and boy do I mean a lot. Sometimes I can get so consumed by the inner need to learn and grow that I have to schedule time for me just to chillax.

For those of you who don’t know me; I am super passionate about helping teens and young adults to live a happy, healthy and authentic life. I teach classes and workshops, I speak at the local schools, I put on group programs, and I provide one-on-one coaching with them. And I absolutely love every minute of it! I do these with adults as well, actually quite frequently but the feeling I get from the adult classes is very different then how I feel when I work with younger people (more on that later).

This morning I hosted a webinar for our “Wanna Know Wednesday” series. In case you have never heard of “Wanna Know Wednesday’s”, let me fill you in. “Wanna Know Wednesday’s” is a weekly webinar where we answer questions that we most often receive. Being a health coach I get a ton of questions everywhere I go. Usually its people wanting a quick answer on how to solve whatever problem they are facing at the moment. Kind of like a doctor…”Hey doc, I got this pain in my neck. What do you think it is?” This is often difficult to answer on the spot without knowing more about the background of the individual. Of course, there is some basic information that I am happy to share if I can, but I often need more than a few minutes on the topic. These webinars are a way to help give people the guidance they need without them feeling short changed because I gave them a short answer.

Today’s topic was “Teens & Drug Use: Why more teens use drugs in the summer months and what you can do about it”. I chose this topic for a couple of reasons. One reason is that I get a lot of questions about how to help stop teens from using drugs. The second reason I chose this topic is because an article we wrote on our blog last summer is the 2nd most popular post of all time on our site (in case you are wondering, the number #1 post is about Tim Bradley, the vegan boxer – go figure). And the third, and most important, reason I chose this topic is that as I stated before I am really enthusiastic about showing teens that there IS a better way. That means growing their connection with their parents, and helping parents connect with their teens is an important element of what I do.

I am no stranger to talking about teens and drugs. I do it all the time; albeit it is usually in front of groups of teens. This was geared towards adults and it was a live webinar where participants could ask questions. Kind of out of my box, but not too far. I thought about canceling, but knew I needed to power through. I’ve been in the self-help space long enough to know that if you are feeling scared about something it usually is a good thing. And since I have been so busy the last few weeks, I haven’t had time to really prepare for the talk, again a good thing. Less stress! The morning of arrives and I start to sit down and prep for the call. I have plenty of time and know what I want to touch on, so this is no biggie. I got this! Except for one thing… story. See this part always get a little tricky. How much do I share? The line between how much is enough and how much is too much can make things a bit difficult.  I always share at least a tad of my story when I give talks, because I feel like it helps people relate. And so far I haven’t had to give a talk about a topic that I don’t relate to in some way, but I always struggle with which details are important to help get the point across. I seem to stress less about this when I am speaking with teens especially after reading Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Quick detour – If you haven’t read Daring Greatly or heard Brene Brown speak, you should do so immediately (after you finish reading this blog of course ☺). She is one of my all time favorite authors and speakers. I swear she wrote her books about me.

Back to this morning – I decide not to focus on the “story” issue and figure I will know what feels right as I am going through the webinar. That is the approach I normally take and it seems to work for me. I must admit that during the webinar, I fumbled a bit when it came to my story. Actually the call was kind of awkward overall. Not one of my shining moments but could have been worse and a learning experience none the less. After the call, I hop in the shower and BAM it hits me! The AHA moment, you ask? Nope – the shame spiral! My gremlins start in; you sounded like a complete dummy. These parents probably thought you were an idiot. They aren’t going to let you within 10 feet of their kids and they most definitely will start unsubscribing from you site. And why should they let you near their kids? Who do you think you are that you think can even talk on these topics? You aren’t a trained psychologist. Yes, you are a certified health counselor and you are trained in the biochemical response to drugs, but does that give you enough credibility to speak on this topic? Just because you have been through the partying, the drinking, and drug use as a teen doesn’t mean you are an expert. You know….you haven’t been the perfect parent yourself. DUMB! DUMB MOVE JEN!

Hmmm – I think to myself. Okay inner critic, I’ve heard enough! Thanks for sharing but I’m not sure I like your tone ☺. My next series of thoughts were about how I should stick to teaching teens and how I enjoy that much more. And then BAM it hits me! The AHA moment, you ask? YES – the AHA moment (we’re finally at that point of the story)! My inner voice starts in, in a much gentler, kinder voice…You like teaching teens because it’s safe! They can relate to you and you know that. They aren’t going to judge you if you don’t have the long list of credentials. They don’t care if you are a doctor or a scientist or whatever you think you need to be; they only care about not being bored. Make it interesting and you know that they will pay attention. But adults…that’s a whole other beast. There are some judgemental folks out there. You should know, you used to be one of them. Yes, I own it! I was pretty judgemental years ago. I’m sure I will probably hear from some of those judgmental folks after I post this article. And yes maybe a few of them were on the call. But that’s ok, my inner voice continues. This is probably part of the reason you always feel calm speaking to teens but angst before speaking to adults. But you do have something to bring to the table. You do know about this stuff. You did go to school for it. You did live through it and came out the other side, and yes you did raise a teenager who didn’t go through the extreme downs that you did. So give your self a break. And give your self some credit! Wait…oh brother. Not again-really? Again, it all comes down to self acceptance and self-love! Ugh! I hate that it always comes down to that! Note to self – must work on that self-love sh*t and maybe just maybe, doing webinars for adults won’t cause a shame spiral! But then again….it won’t cause an AHA moment either!

When have some of your AHA moments come to you? I would love to hear from you!