What do you Need to Succeed?

Posts tagged ‘coaching’

Silence Breaks the Heart

sticks and stones

Be careful of how you use your words.  Words can make or break relationships.  I specialize in helping couples communicate their needs effectively and respectfully.  I’d love to share this with you! Please contact me through my website CoachinThroughChaos.com Motivation, Achievement and Recovery Coaching.  Dr. Colleen Mullen, Psy.,D., LMFT. Psychotherapy, Marital and Relationship Counseling and Life Coaching in San Diego.


This Girl Here Finished a Half Marathon!!! Woo-Hoo!!

me with ctc cap before raceBack in November I completed the Destination Races Temecula Half Marathon at the South Coast Winery.  As my friends who are active half and full marathon participants have called it, it was my “first” half marathon.  I, however, have not decided if I will put myself through that again!  I have such mixed emotions about it.  I learned a couple of really cool things about myself through this experience.  But first, Ill tell you a bit about the experience…..

I signed up for this race with a friend who I wanted to run a race with a few years ago, but a ligament injury got in the way.  My friend went on to run that particular race and has since completed several half marathons.  Last March, she basically said, “Colleen, you keep talking about wanting to run a Half, here’s one in Temecula – let’s sign up!” So, we did, and I began training.  My friend actually had to cancel herself out of the race soon after signing up when she realized she would be out of the state at a family function that day.  I decided to go it alone and just try to complete this personal goal I’ve had for a few years.

I’ve been running for many many years, but never more than about 4 miles with the exception of one 10K (6m) race a few years ago.  I found a training guide online and began following it.  I did really well for the first few months.  On my 44th birthday in August, I ran 8.4 miles around Mission Bay.  As a side note, I have a tradition of going for a powerful run on my birthday – it doesn’t always have to be long, but I like to do some sort of local destination run – I started on my 40th birthday, so it felt great to run this far on my 44th!! I was on FIRE!

But then…..I took a series of trips to visit family and for work training.  I was away at least one week of Aug, Sept, and Oct.  This threw my training off.  It was no one’s fault but my own.  I didn’t run nearly as much as I should have during these months.  In fact, my birthday run remained my farthest run until the actual day of the race. Because my training was not up to par, I decided 3 weeks before the race to really put it into full gear – and I did, but actually did some temporary damage by doing too much too soon.  I set 6 miles as my shortest runs and within the first 10 days of heavy training again, I found I had some severe metatarsal pain. I sought out the advice of a couple of personal trainer pals and the result was that I was not going to run until the race.  The thinking was that since I know I can do at least the 8.4 miles, if I take care of my body, I should be able to get through the race the next week.

Well, the couple of days before the race, I found myself extremely anxious- I’m not usually an anxious person, so, I focused on positive intentions of completing the race – that was the intention – I let go of needing to complete it within a certain time or even holding myself to running the entire course – I just wanted to complete it – period. Well, I did complete it.  I set a personal record of running 10 miles without stopping.  Oh, but wait! I bet you’re thinking – “Uh, Colleen, a Half Marathon is 13.1 miles, not 10!” Right you are! But first things first – I RAN 10 MILES!!!! HOLY COW! OK…and then the metatarsal pain kicked in so badly I had to walk the next 2 miles.  Those were pretty slow miles – I had to keep stopping to stretch the bottom of my feet to lessen the pain.  Then, at the beginning of mile `12, I thought, “I got this! I can run the last 1.1 miles!” Well, my mind was definitely fighting against my body – I tried to jog and realized I was so dehydrated that my calves started to seize and cramp, so I was left to walk to the finish line.  Ah well – crossing the finish line did happen, but the screaming rock star I envisioned myself to be in my fantasies wasn’t there.  The scream was more of a cry of relief when I saw my husband standing there waiting for me.   I remember just grabbing his shoulders and crying – there were definitely tears of pride and joy in there, mixed with ones of fear because my body never really felt the way it did for about the past hour.   There was a party going on at the winery.  People looked happy.  There was live music.  Lots of racers were walking around with their complimentary wine and goodie bags.  Me?  I collapsed on the ground and hoped no one would step on me while I tried to talk my body into calming down! It eventually did and about 20 minutes after I finished the race, I requested that we just pick up our belongings at the hotel and head on home because I wanted to go to bed…no after-race party for me!…lol..After dealing with a few hours of severe dehydration, my body was quite fine and I was quite proud of my accomplishment 🙂

Here’s what I learned about the experience:

1.  There’s no such thing as drinking too much water! (Seriously!)

2.  For as much as I didn’t gracefully run across the finish line as I dreamed of, I still hit a very significant personal best of running the 10 miles.

3.  I was able to let go of needing to finish by a certain time or needing to run the entire race.  I always hold myself to very high standards.  I can be very self-critical.  In this case, the needs of my body over-ruled whatever I wanted to put it through to meet my goal – and that was OK. If I want to do this again in the future (notice I said do, not try) I will definitely be prepared to train more consistently – that lesson was definitely learned!

4.  Before the race, I would say, “I’m training for my first half marathon” rather than “I’m training for a half marathon” – like this was just the beginning…lol….I think for now, I’m good with just one – that is something new for me –  my competitive nature usually forces my hand in these situations, but I’m going to sit with this accomplishment for now and enjoy it for what it is before I move on to the next 🙂


Colleen Mullen, Psy.D., LMFT

Ever consider dating someone like yourself?

Be the type of person you want to meet

So often, people complain about perpetual dating problems.  They discuss all the times they go out “with the wrong guy (or girl)”.  They talk about all the things they thought they saw in that person, or recall “feeling so comfortable” with them.  Yes, there is something to be said about feeling comfortable with someone early in the dating relationship, but more often I have seen the benefit of “being the person you want to meet”.  This means if you want someone “outdoorsy”, “successful”, “emotionally stable” or “family oriented”, you will be living your life in that way as well!  When you participate in your life the way you want a potential mate to, then you will more likely meet someone with those qualities.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Do not focus your intentions on what you no longer want in your relationship.  Focus on what you want!   When all your thoughts and actions are focused on what you want, you will find that you don’t have to think about what you don’t want, because it will no longer feel comfortable.

For instance , let’s say you’re a woman who keeps dating men with “great potential” but at the time you meet them, they are struggling to hold a job.  You reflect back to yourself after dating him for 6 months, how you can’t believe you’ve gotten involved with yet another man who needs you to prop him up emotionally or financially in life.  You feel frustrated – as if these types of men are your destiny.  On the other hand, maybe you’re a guy who keeps dating women with a lot of drama in their lives. You think to yourself,”How did I find myself int his situation again? Every time I call her, there is more drama going on! I totally didn’t want to date drama queens anymore!”  Both of you have probably said to yourselves, “What’s wrong with me that I keep attracting exactly the people I don’t want?!”

If you’ve been struggling in this area, I have a 30 day intention exercise for you:

Just for 30 days focus your intentions on what qualities you want in a partner – then….each morning take a 5 minute meditation on telling yourself that you are living your life with those qualities.  You essentially will be “acting as if’ you are the partner you want.  It will sound something like this:  “I am a confident, active, funny, family-oriented person”.  (you will, of course insert whatever qualities you want). As you adopt your mindset of focusing on what you want, when you run into someone who raises your red flags, it will no longer feel tolerable and you will find it much easier to say, “You know, I’m sure you have some really good qualities, but I just don’t think we’re going to be a great match, good luck to you”.


Colleen Mullen, Psy.D., LMFT

My ESPN Radio post! Listen here! :)

HI! Here is the audio playback and some pics from my ESPN Radio Interview talking a bit about what I do and a few quick tips on how to emotionally survive a bankruptcy! Im on for the entire hour, but my segment starts right around 26:30min in. Thanks for listening! 🙂


ESPN Radio Selfiecolleen on ESPNespn logoESPN with hosts

How will you build your happy cage?

A lot of talk in recovery work deals with “building a positive (& sober) support network” and there is a concept called “re-joyment” – essentially it’s teaching addicts in recovery how to have a good time or recognize fun when they experience it.  When people have been addicted to substances, they are used to such dopamine overloads in their mind, that when life returns to “normal” and they don’t have such stimulation, it can sometimes be difficult for one to recognize a sense of what “joy” or “fun” feels like. When I have taught Drug & Alcohol Counseling courses, I used an example of the football game: Very often addicts/alcoholics were used to supporting their teams through  hours-long tailgating with lots of alcohol (which also increases the brains release of dopamine) & alcohol throughout the game.  When they are sober, they have to “re-learn” how to participate at a game & what exactly they are feeling.  People DO go to football games without drinking AND they may even tailgate without alcohol, but for the alcoholic in recovery, this is a new concept to them.  This is why the positive support network has been a positive part of recovery.

The article linked below provides new support for the positive supportive environment & it’s role in helping addicts stay clean.  It reminded me of the expression: “Happy Wife, Happy Life” 🙂 Researchers found that when rats who were previously addicted to drug-infused water and isolative environments, they got addicted, but when they gave them the same water paired with other rats they could interact with, even after being “addicted”, they were ale to stop drinking the drug-infused water.  The article notes that in a preliminary study with combat veterans, when they were addicted overseas in combat, they could more easily leave the addiction behind when they were back home in happier environments.  The article posits that, like the rats who did better in more hospitable cage environments, we humans can design our cages (or support networks) in happier ways that could lead to more positive outcomes for a person’s recovery from addiction.

This post was inspired by someone dear to me who is trying to learn about their own venture into addiction and how to stay sober and I just want to publicly note how thrilled to know she is surviving and learning through her sobriety 🙂


Please like & share as you see fit!

If you would like more information on addiction resources or counseling/coaching support, please contact me through my website at CoachingThroughChaos.com

What seems impossible to you?

it always seems impossible until its doneThe range of variability in what one views as impossible never ceases to amaze me! From house chores to bungee jumping – it’s all relative to the individual.  What seems impossible to you? Planning on taking on an “impossible” task this weekend, or sometime soon?

Don’t forget to laugh!

Good-humor-is-a-tonic-for-mind-and-body.-It-is-the-best-antidote-for-anxiety-and-depression.-It-is-a-business-assetHumor is one of our best resilient traits.  This means not only being able to laugh at ourselves, but also being able to find humor in seemingly untenable situations.  We know that when people can laugh during difficult times, they are able to rebound from them easier and healthier – Yes – even when your ill, humor helps you stay healthier longer, or recover faster when that is possible.  So…when your stressed, don’t forget to laugh a little.