The Wheel of Life – How to Live and Plan with Intention

The Wheel of Life is a tool we use in coaching to help us help you make thoughtful decisions about your life. All too often, there’s an interruption (coronavirus?) and we suddenly realize we aren’t happy. The reason can be simple, “I just lost my job” or complex, “I don’t need more money, my partner is amazing, but I just don’t feel very happy, and I can’t remember the last time I did.”

It turns out one of the secrets to living your best life is to live with intention.

A great place to start is a personal inventory. Re-create the Wheel of Life on a piece of paper and start to rate your satisfaction in the different areas (grab the wheel here). You might need to break down an area into subgroups (for example, you might break relationships down into intimate, kids, parents, etc.).

Start focusing on the areas that need work.

Immediately, you can start to fix the things that are broken right now. Are there small changes you can make? Is it time to reprioritize? If you’re struggling with determining what to do, check in with your values. Often values change over time – they don’t necessarily go away – but they can dial back to accommodate other values at different times in your lives.

For example, we often value independence when we first enter the workforce. That’s a solid lifelong value. But after about ten years of focusing on that value, we realize it’s not enough. If anything, we want less independence and more affiliation. That’s how values can flex as your mature.

Now visualize what you want in the future.

You can decide if the future is in five months or five years. That’s up to you. But as you think about what you want, you might want to once again check-in with your values. Maybe now caring for your parents is a high value, or owning a home, or having a child. It might be climate change or civil rights. Whatever motivates you is yours and important. Aligning your future with your values makes this exercise easier.

This is also when folks can tap the help of a coach. We go to school to learn that techniques that will help you discover your path. We don’t tell you what to do. Based on our life experience, we might offer suggestions, but we always ask first. You finding your path is essential. It must be based on what works for you. If you’re feeling stuck, you might need to do a little personal exploration first. I use a tool called the Energy Leadership Index (ELI) to help clients get focused.

The Life Coach Pod might offer inspiration.

Visit my YouTube channel or listen to the podcast. My aim is to provide a myriad of guests from all walks to life to inspire, encourage and support anyone looking to live their best life with intention.

ELI Assessment 50% off

Energy Leadership Index – Why It Can Be A Life-Changing Assessment

Ever wonder why you get stuck sometimes? Do you struggle to find the darn silver lining when things aren’t going well? Do you know you’re capable of more, but you have no idea how to get things moving?

The Energy Leadership Index (ELI) can help you learn why.

The good news is you’re not alone. We all experience these feelings and blocks, and we all have different strategies for attacking them. Lord knows it’s happened to me, and now that I have a paradigm for understanding what is going on, I’m better able to shift my energy and deal with things from a more positive, more open point of view.

Manifesting change doesn’t have to be complicated.

The power of the Energy Leadership Index (ELI) assessment is what it reveals about you. Research shows the higher a person’s E-Factor (E for energy), the more life satisfaction a person experiences (read the study). The assessment determines your E-Factor and then provides insight into what is supporting or not supporting that number.

The assessment evaluates how you “show up” in the world when you’re in the zone and when you’re experiencing stress. It measures the core energy you tap to manage yourself throughout the day.

Core energy draws from six dimensions of human experience: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, social, and environmental—each of which may support or obstruct the flow of energy through our bodies and minds at any given moment. Read more.

When you take the assessment, you’ll discover how you’re coping, leading, and managing yourself as you move through the day. Together, we’ll develop your path for personal development to increase your life satisfaction.

An ELI assessment provides meaningful insight.

The ELI assessment is a valuable component of an effective coaching relationship, and I like to start here for anyone who wants to understand themselves and their energy. I am committed to providing enough information to allow you to pursue self-development on your own. If you’d like to continue with coaching, I’d be privileged to be your coach.

Getting started

I conduct the assessment throughout four one-hour appointments. The cost is $500. That cost covers my time, analysis, a report, and the pass-through cost of the test (provided via IPEC).


Schedule an assessment today by calling or texting me at 831.239.6496. Have questions, shoot me a message. I look forward to working with you.

Team Building Featuring Improv

Laughter is the best medicine. It relaxes people while elevating their confidence. I have used humor with my teams for years. This team building workshop introduces concepts from improvisation to improve communication and relationships among the team members. From accepting the offer to thinking on your feet to staying aligned, improv provides relevant skills that bring a team together.

Click here for a PDF. 

Jennifer Carole Team Building featuring Improv


Sales Leadership Workshop

I’ve worked with sales nearly all of my career. I’ve done this workshop with great results and sales folks have said it is one of the better workshops they’ve attended. Self-awareness is not necessarily a core skill for salespeople, but after this workshop, they understand themselves and their impact on others. This leads to better teamwork, better customer focus and improved overall energy which is critical for resilience and risk-taking.

Click here for a PDF. 

Coaching Case Study: Finances After the Divorce

David was married when he was 25. He and his wife waited a few years and then had two kids. All was going well until it wasn’t. I met David after his divorce and provided coaching to help him gain control of his finances and adapt to a post-divorce financial outlook he hadn’t expected. This kind of change is a common reason folks hire a life coach.

Clarifying the problem

David was suddenly responsible for making alimony and child support payments, while still feeling responsible for adding to the kids’ college fund. He’d been so busy working, he left his wife in charge of the money until now. He had no idea where to start.

Setting reasonable goals

In coaching, setting goals is an important part of the process. David’s goal was to understand how manage his money in a way that supported his long-term commitments – college for the kids – while still planning for his retirement that is about 25 years away.

Using coaching to get it done, started with clarifying his values around money and his kids. It was clear he wasn’t about to leave them behind; despite the divorce, he was committed to his plan to provide money for college for both.

We also un-covered his retirement dreams. Much different now that he was divorced, he could still imagine a scenario where he would get remarried and spend his “golden years” with a partner. He wanted to make sure he had a home to live in that wasn’t mortgaged so he’d have money for some travel.

Finding his truth

During our discussions, it turned out the real reason David didn’t want to manage the marriage money is that he was afraid he would make a mistake and potentially lose money because he really didn’t know how to invest. In fact, his fear kept him from learning about interest rates and saving benefits and other things like how to invest in the stock market. As we dug into that fear, he discovered he’d inadvertently learned several bad behaviors from his father who did lose money.

We worked to peel back the layers to discover he truly did want to learn more about money, but he needed to be free of the anxiety attached to it. That revelation was key to removing the stigma he’d attached to it and from there, he proceeded on a path of learning about different investing strategies – and other tools he had access to through his job – and he was able to build a plan for the long term.

Holding David accountable

Because David was inclined to shy away from money at first, building in accountability was key. It was when we realized he kept avoiding some of his homework, that we were able to uncover the messages he’d had from his father. After that, David always took away a weekly assignment and by the end of our time together, he’d mapped out a financial plan that he felt comfortable with today and he knew he could change over time.

Coaching provided him with a safe place to address an issue that was driving him nuts. Once we figured out why it was so hard (his dad), his energy shifted and caught fire. While the amount of money he made didn’t change, his relationship with money did and suddenly money wasn’t a bad thing; it was something that could help his meet his commitments and realize his dreams. Managing his finances after divorce was no longer a challenge.

Don’t let your fears hold you back. Give coaching a try. At least try a complimentary consultation to see if coaching is right for you. It’s free and easy.

Top Ten Reasons You Could Use a Life Coach

I know, I know, sometimes even I giggle when I see the term “life coach”. It is kinda funny. And that’s okay. Until I went through the training, even I didn’t understand the value of a coach. I did understand the mission, but man, has life gotten so hard, we need coaches? Well, yes.

Think of coaches as being a lot like a personal trainer.

Using your goals, your motivation, and your priorities, coaches use our ability to help you create a plan that works for you. We clarify, question, and hold you accountable for the change, but the change is truly owned by you. Still not sure? Let’s see how others have used coaches.

You might need a coach to:

1 Improve or change your career – you like what you do but you know you can do more. More in a way that helps you earn more or manage your time better or change the arc of your career. Having someone help you clarify what you truly want and how to make it happen is huge. This is often something your company will pay for (but know, regardless of who pays, your sessions are 100% confidential, nothing is shared with anyone else but you).

2 Restore work-life balance – time management and seeking opportunities for happiness is a common problem. We’ll work to align your priorities with your values and then identify ways to change your schedule to accommodate the things you value most.

3 Change how you parent – so often parents are working and going fast and sometimes miss the little things that kids crave. Those cravings change with age and being tuned-in to a communication style that allows for them to have a voice and influence the family can be powerful. It doesn’t matter how old your kids are, being aligned with them can fundamentally improve your relationship.

4 Increase satisfaction in your relationship(s) – if you’re struggling in your marriage, romantic relationship, with your parents or co-workers, looking at your communication style and how you interact can release new strategies for being heard. We work to help you get what you want from your relationships.

5 Get a grip on finances – often one person in a relationship handles the money. That can leave the other with no idea how money is prioritized, used and invested. Or young adults leave home without any real understanding of how money works and they struggle to figure out how to match priorities with spending. I can help you establish a plan that aligns with your goals.

6 Move through a transition – a new job, a new home, a new baby, a new relationship or even the loss of someone important, any time there’s a significant transition, it’s easy to feel lost as part of the process. We’ll work to establish your priorities so that you protect what matters most to you as you move through the change.

7 Plan for a long-term goal – from buying a home to planning a dream vacation to paying for college, reaching a long-term goal requires planning. We’ll break it down into manageable steps, so you see progress and feel motivated to keep working toward your goal.

8 Have someone hold you accountable – this works how you need it to work. Need to report back weekly on how you’ve done during the week; all good. Want to send photos as you make progress so there’s proof of your work; done. How accountability works best for you is a secret sauce of coaching. We’ll work together to make sure you don’t feel burdened, but you do feel responsible.

9 Add someone to your team (personal advocate) – maybe one of the hardest parts of adulting is being expected to do everything by yourself. That’s nuts. We know things are easier to do with support. With a coach, you’ll have someone on your side that’s 100% behind you. It’s maybe been one of the most frequent “wow” moments clients have. There’s another whole brain there to help figure things out.

10 Align your life with your values – this one has been incredibly important to me. After DeAngelo was caught, I felt like I needed to do more with my life. I wanted to align my work with my value around helping others succeed. That’s how I decided to become a life coach. Sometimes life is so noisy and busy, we get sidetracked. If you’re feeling that way, we’ll work together to re-clarify your values and then identify ways to start living them in daily life.

I don’t need a coach right now, but boy, I sure know someone who does.

Oh, I have a list of friends who I think could use a coach. In fact, my daughter, who’s just 20, is a great candidate. She is sometimes overwhelmed at what it takes to be an adult and then her priorities get messed up and she ends up forgetting to do something important because she thinks it was essential. It’s perfectly okay to refer someone.

It’s even okay to pay for someone else. But please know, it doesn’t matter who pays, the client being coached is entitled to confidentiality. The best example here is a parent, paying for a child – even a minor – will not have access to the things discussed during coaching unless the client chooses to share. If your minor child wants you to attend coaching with her or him, that’s fine, a coaching session can have more than one person. We’ll discuss the rules of engagement before we begin.

Still not sure? That’s easy. Schedule a complimentary consultation.

Honestly, you owe it to yourself to meet me and see if we are a match. We’ll have the meeting on Zoom (preferred) video conferencing. We can also use just the phone if you’re video-phobic! But the video makes it rather nice and I love seeing your facial expressions!

Here’s How Therapy Can Help (From a Non-Therapist)

OMG it took everything I had to get myself out the door to visit Bill and Kimberly Harticon and their family on Sunday. I was so depressed and so just dead inside and I didn’t want to be with people. I could barely move myself forward. But I knew I had to go. As it turns out sitting on the beach with their wonderful family was just the right medicine but I cannot emphasize enough how hard it was to get out that door.

The detox from court this week proved to be more thanI expected. There’s always a little ripple in my existence after spending time in Sacramento, but for some reason this time really triggered me. Maybe it’s because I wrote the lie-detector blogs. Maybe it’s because I took Katie with me. Or maybe spending time with more survivors ended up making things even more real for me – but I had one of the worst nightmares ever early Saturday morning. The kind that drops a shadow over you and lasts all day. In fact, so bad that when I walked back into my bedroom on Saturday night, I didn’t want to go to bed!

I slept like crap both Friday and Saturday nights and moved to the couch early Sunday morning because I could not shake off the crazy thoughts. With two kittens, the minute the sun comes up, they start moving and it was only their parkour insanity that distracted me enough for a few hours sleep on Sunday morning (if you watch that link, the guys from The Office absolutely replicate what is happening in my house with these kittens). I really wanted to go see Bill and Kimberly and the kids, but how in the world would I do it? Thankfully, I managed to get myself to New Brighton beach and spent a lovely afternoon with them and their family (amazing kids bytheway). It was the therapy I needed.

People ask: would I benefit from therapy and how?

As I have moved through this space called post-arrest, I’ve received a lot of questions about how or why someone might want to get therapy. Since I’m from the land of fruit and nuts (California), you know I’ve been to therapy. Let me see if I can answer this in a way that’s helpful and also provides a way for you to “shop” for the help you might need.

It’s not easy to find the right person.
This is freaking true. I think I saw as many as six people before I found the right person for me. As far as I was concerned, the right person had to be smart and have an outstanding bullshit detector. That’s because my denial was so strong, I didn’t even realize it was in my way for like two years. In fact I remember the shift on the day I quit fighting the process and finally let go. I’m not sure what the secret is to finding the right person, but if you feel like you could go back (even if you hated it) you’re probably on the right track.

The process is only as good as you want it to be.
Think about it. All a therapist knows is what you tell them. If you aren’t forthcoming (and even have in your mind what you want to change), it’s going to be rough going. For me, I wanted to get my shit together so I’d be a good parent. I really struggled to love myself and I knew if I couldn’t love me, it would be hard to love a kid in a healthy way. It can be the simplest statement: I’m tired of being afraid; I want people to take me seriously; I have unexplained rage; I don’t seem to exist; I do all the emotional work for my whole family. You get the idea. Figure out how to state your pain and state it. The work comes from being honest about why that pain exists. And it is work.

You don’t have to go it alone.
A lot of the benefits I gained from therapy were done in “group”. There were about seven of us and we’d agree to meet as a group – with our therapist – for about a year. The session was about to hours long and each person got a chance to talk every week. The upside of group therapy is that you don’t have to do all the work. I often benefited from someone else’s work just by watching and listening. I really liked group and I think it’s actually a little faster than individual therapy. Individual usually lasts about 50 minutes and in my experience, it takes a good 20 minutes to start getting productive. But it’s private and personal and better if you need to talk about something you simply can’t do in front of anyone else.

It should have homework.
Change won’t happen just because you want it to. Homework is critical. A good therapist will usually give you assignments that can help you observe your own behavior, try new behaviors or even stop yourself from doing bad behaviors (like exercises to slow down anxiety or putting a serving of food in a bowl if binge eating is your thing). It doesn’t have to be big or hard but it does help create change. If you aren’t getting homework, ask for some. At a minimum, Dr. Jen will tell you to journal.

You’ll need a refractory period after your session.
When I went to group, it was on a Thursday. Thankfully I would go home to Seinfeld, Fraiser and ER. I would not take phone calls. I had a Diet Coke and popcorn for dinner and I would just decompress. The last thing you’ll want is people yapping at you – or even worse – asking “how was therapy?”. I hate those people. It’s none-ya, as in none of your business! I strong recommend sharing insights after some contemplation. You discovered your insight when you were vulnerable. Others don’t know what it took for you to figure things out. Sharing without context or the space for conversation could undermine your progress. Pace yourself and tell nosy-Nellie’s to go away.

Therapy has gimmicks that work.
Some of the gimmicks used on me with good results: confrontation. This one is classic because it’s simply a “I call bullshit” moment. As you peel back the layers of the onion on this one, denial is typically called out and defenses can start being chipped away. Another is reframing. This was huge for me. When I thought I was so awful people said I killed my dad, it wasn’t until it was reframed for me that I let myself off the hook. My dad treated me so badly I would have had justification to be that angry (not kill him but be that mad at him). Reframing is powerful and you can use it to help your friends. All you have to do is put the problem in a different light. Suddenly it’s easier to understand and process. One more is compassion. This isn’t about someone having it for you, it’s about having it for yourself. Easing up on the negative self-talk and unrealistic expectations that are working like a trap to keep you from moving forward. There are many more techniques used during therapy, I’m sure the internets can tell you about them. The point is, a good therapist will use them and you will make progress as a result.

It takes time.
I took roughly seven years. I could have done it way faster but I fought it for at least two. Then, after my pivot, I kind of loved it. I ended up working on things I didn’t expect to and it helped me a lot at work as well. How long it takes is really up to you. My main point is, don’t let time be a deciding factor. If it’s about money, figure that out with the therapist. You can establish a progress plan and remove money as a worry.

It’s totally worth it. 
I am a believer. The process works. The benefits include reducing depression, anxiety, self-doubt, learning about boundaries (where you begin and end), and learning coping strategies that can last a lifetime. I’m happy to answer questions if you leave a comment. I know getting help can seem scary and expensive, but the investment is worth it. And you’ll find once you’re feeling like you’ve got things figured out, you’ll make a much better friend and supporter for others because you’ll be able to practice what you’ve learned.

As for me. The sunshine helped. Telling Bill and Kim I was struggling helped a lot. I didn’t even have to go into specifics. Being reassured they had zero expectations of me helped me feel safe. Spending time with the kids made me feel relaxed. Knowing I could manage to push through when I wanted to quit, helped me get a good night’s sleep and today has been 100% better.

When Someone Else’s Trauma Triggers Yours

It has been a really tough week. Not so much practically, but emotionally. I realized this morning, in a private moment, that I feel like a rock in a tumbler. My body hasn’t been working right (leg not working right for the third straight month so walking and standing has been challenging), I’m not in a work routine, and what used to be just a feature in my life – the murders – is now a full-blown daily reality. Even the people I talk to frequently has changed. I used to go into work and see my awesome team and now, nope. I’m excited to see where things are leading, but damn, the tumble is tough.

My politics are obvious. Just get on Twitter for three minutes and I’m outed (@jcarole). But that’s for Twitter and other places, I don’t want to be political here. That said, this still might feel political, but it’s not my intention. I am truly focused on one thing right now: trauma. As defined by Webster, trauma is aan injury (such as a wound) to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agent, ba disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury and can emotional upset.

Not to blow your mind, but 5% of Americans, at any point in time, are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) thanks to trauma. If you look at that number, it’s not fixed. Today you could be fine and then something awful happens and you get to walk through the trauma door and have your go at PTSD – meaning, it’s 5% at any point in time but in fact many more people experience it over a lifetime. I have. 


Arresting DeAngelo awoke feelings, memories and questions for all of us.

Michelle Cruz (Shelly), Debbie Domingo and I are a squad. Survivor Sisters who share this weird window on the Golden State Killer and the horrors he caused. We often share things with each other on Twitter; both publicly and in private. Early this week Shelly tweeted at me publicly with a question. It was so honest and direct. Little did shoe know know this was going to make me think all week long.

How do we cope? As I tumble through all the changes happening in my life right now, I am having to cope. I haven’t really thought about it in that way until Shelly’s question. I think we are all so used to “soldiering on” that we don’t realize we actually need to stop a minute and figure out a game plan for coping. What Shelly didn’t ask – but was maybe thinking – is how the hell are you keeping your shit together when the killer has been caught, a book has been written that’s not making us all that happy, information is dripping out and it’s not answering our real questions and there’s so much pain that’s been re-triggered for all of us?

Add to this unexpected “other things” for all of us – including missed work days for those employed who want to watch the hearings, travel expenses for people who want to come to court and therapy costs for anyone who needs help. There’s also the responsibility of new relationships that maybe didn’t exist before April 25th. Folks, it’s a hot mess.

Personally, I’m finding there’s a lot really good happening, but I am an eternal optimist and that’s my jam: making lemonade out of lemons. And yet, I too have some dark days and feel the weight of the trauma as it drifts in like fog along the shore. Sometimes it’s just a wisp and other times it’s heavy, thick and blocks the light. I suspect I am not alone.

Watching or helping people going through trauma can trigger secondary trauma.

So now the “trying not to be political part” that made this week extra tough. Watching the kids being separated from their families at the border was more than I could handle. When I heard the tape of the kids crying for their parents, I was done. It doesn’t matter if it was real or not, if you’re a parent, you know that sound and it makes you want to rush to the aid of the child. Then tell me they’ve taken babies away from parents and I’m done. It threw me into a funk.

The reason this matters is seeing someone else go through trauma can cause trauma. Take that in. It’s important. I’m going to go out on a limb here and believe 99% of the folks who choose to read this blog, have empathy. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t give a crap about what I write. It’s a trait I see in the “true crime” crowd that makes it one of the most attractive group of humans I’ve ever encountered. I believe it’s because true crime folks have either experienced a traumatic event or love someone who has. There’s a generosity that comes with that empathy that makes space for people being different and allows everyone to “process” in their own way. I don’t experience true crime folks as being judgmental or exclusionary – with one exception. True crime folks fucking hate criminals.

Of course I love that part. But I’m distracted. Let me get back on track. Here’s the point.

People who are touching trauma – survivors, supporters, friends, family – need to make time for self care.

I know self-care sounds like some damn thing we’d say in California while we eat our avocado toast before our hot yoga class (I have not tried yoga, I’ve only tried room-temperature yoga and my body wasn’t having it. I have not yet tried avocado toast – I’ve been way too busy rearranging my chakras!). But it’s not a California exclusive. It’s something care providers and advocates stand behind and it’s important. It’s like what they tell you on the plane: put your mask on first before you help your child. If you pass out first, you can’t help anyone. Goodness knows all we have is each other and we need to be strong.

After this tough week, I needed to do some self care. The first was to take a mini-blog break. I had to step away for just a bit so I could come back. I care so much about my new friends – the survivors – and the community that surrounds us. There is really good information online about self care. Some of these things aren’t hard to do and they can be healing. I’d love to know what you do to take care of yourself. Please leave a comment – or tweet – if you’re willing to share. Here’s my little list adapted to my lame leg and lack of extra money.

Turn off noise. I know I’m extroverted but that only works well when I’m energized. When I’m not, noise depletes me.

Go outside. My preference is moving water but flowers and fresh air will do the trick. Especially if there are good smells.

Smile. Yes, like an idiot. Even if there’s nothing to smile about. I force my face to smile because it has at least seven health benefits. (If Katie, my kid, catches me doing this, she won’t hesitate to tell me I look like an idiot. This triggers a real smile and my work here is done.)

Do something tactile. I mess with my cats. I crochet. I go outside and pull weeds or deadhead my roses and geraniums.

Talk to a friend. Family members can sometimes drag you into places you don’t want to go if you’re not doing well. But if you have the right friends, they can be a boost. Or join us on Twitter. There’s a good group online that always seem to offer encouragement and hope. The best part, if you get a troll, you can block them. It’s oddly satisfying.

Here’s to lifting the fog and healing ourselves and the people we care about. The trauma and feelings will come and go but how we chose to deal with the trauma is something we can control.