Helping Teens and Young Adults Increase Confidence, Improve Grades and Gain Clarity About Who They Are and What They Want To Do With Their Lives

Welcome to my site!  As a Life Coach for teens and young adults, my mission is to instill the youth of today with the knowledge that any obstacle they face can be overcome and that life is well worth living.  It is no secret that young adults today are dealing with a great deal of stress.  My role, as I see it, is to give our teens specific strategies to cope with that stress as well as the shame, fear and disappointment that it is often accompanied by.  By helping them recognize their strengths and identify harmful thought patterns or limiting beliefs, the young adults I work with gain clarity about who they are, how they learn, what they value and who they want to be.

Feel free to look around and sign up for my monthly newsletter, Creating Connection.

Learn more by sending an email to: Maggie@thelifecoachforteens.com or calling (503) 544-4044.


 

 

Posted in Announcement | Leave a comment

These Glasses Make Me Look Fat

Written by Maggie Steele

Published in Miabella Magazine

With the media focusing most of their attention on celebrities and how they look, it is hardly surprising that the rest of us are becoming more and more concerned about our appearance as well.  In the United States today, it is estimated that one in 200 women suffer from anorexia and that approximately 8 million Americans have some type of eating disorder.   Dieting is becoming the norm for girls as young as ten while teens and adults are now turning to energy drinks and plastic surgery in order to make themselves look pretty.  Altering our appearance by losing weight or enhancing our breast size will not, however, make the problem go away.  At its core, the problem is not how we look but ultimately, how we feel, and no surgical procedure or extreme diet is able to fix that.

The way we feel about how we look is largely due to the overwhelming amount of media coverage on celebrities.  Let’s face it.  We are bombarded with commercials, magazines, and billboards that show youthful, flawless, perfect women day in and day out.  Young, hip, fresh-faced celebrities are put on pedestals and praised for their slender figures and polished looks while others are mocked and ridiculed for having gained a few pounds.  The media has made their message very clear: youthful, tiny frames with blemish-free complexions are attractive and everything else is not.  Of course, then, it is frustrating when we get home and take a look in the mirror.  Our real life reflection is hardly as glamorous and our confidence drops to zero.

The truth is that while these images seem real, they are far from reality.  Each image has been carefully altered and photo shopped to perfection.  We then see the finished product and think to ourselves, “Wow!  It is possible to look like that!” only to see our own reflection and end up feeling lousy about what we see.  While we are all aware of the fact that these images may have been doctored, there is a part of us that wants desperately to look like them.  As a result, we strive to emulate these flawless goddesses and when we fall short, our self-esteem crumbles and we end up feeling even worse than before.

Unfortunately, the society we live in today is often more focused on the physical appearance rather than the personality or ethics of an individual.   It is no wonder then, that many young women are basing their self-worth on how they look and not on who they are.  We look at one another, comparing our noses, hips, and hair silently wishing we had something that the other person has, never once considering that the very same person we consider to be perfect is thinking the very same thing about us!  The comparison game is a dangerous game to play and will inevitably end in heartache and frustration, causing more harm than good.

While you may struggle with insecurities and your need to compare yourself to others may seem draining and overwhelming at times, don’t think that it will always be this way.  There is a way to put those useless thoughts on a shelf and focus on more productive, uplifting things instead!    The first and possibly most important thing to do is to recognize the voice inside your head that does the comparing.  You know who I mean right?  That annoying voice that ends up telling you you’re ugly, pudgy, or worse.  Now you may think to yourself, “What? I don’t talk that way to myself,” but I urge you to listen.  Some of you may be shocked when you hear some of the hateful things you are telling yourself on a regular basis.

A great way to hear that negative inner voice is to stand in front of a mirror and quiet your thoughts for a moment.  Be patient and listen for that little voice that picks you a part.  It might be difficult to recognize at first, but once you are able to hear the negative thought, it will disappear almost instantly. The key here is to recognize the negative thought so often that it becomes a reflex every time you hear it.  You will likely start to notice that some of the things you tell yourself are so mean that if a friend of yours told you the same, you would probably want nothing to do with them.  Think about that!  You are allowing your own inner voice to berate and humiliate you on a daily basis, but if a friend told you the same, you would never put up with it.  Well, don’t put up with it now!

The second step is to embrace your unique qualities and write them down in a journal or notebook.  What are your strengths?  What are you proud of?  What is your favorite color at the moment? Or do you have many?  What is something you really enjoy doing?  What are you grateful for?  What qualities do you possess that make you you?   Have fun with the questions and come up with some of your own.  By focusing on who you are and perhaps, who you would like to become, you will start to feel more comfortable in your skin and your self-esteem will increase significantly.

The third step is one that may take some serious focus.  Make it a point to listen to your inner voice when you’re flipping through a magazine or watching a movie.  What kind of things are you telling yourself?  Are you comparing yourself to a celebrity?  If so, recognize the comment and let it go.  No need to berate yourself or judge yourself for being cruel.  Just notice the comment and let it go.  This exercise will have a huge impact on your self-esteem in the long run.   Practice it enough and you will soon be doing it without even thinking, squashing that negative chatter before it has a chance to effect you.

Lastly, when you pass by someone in the mall and you hear yourself say, “I wish I had her body,” or “She’s so pretty, why can’t I look like that?,” think about what she might be thinking as she walks by you.  Wish her a fabulous day and celebrate the fact that you are not wasting your energy on feeling bad about yourself.  Instead, you are using your energy to wish someone a better day and feeling grateful for what you have.

At the end of the day, we all have insecurities and there are moments when we feel bad about the way we look.  It is okay to feel bad from time to time, but feeling bad on a daily basis will cause you more pain and grief in the end.  Why waste your energy feeling down when you have so many things to celebrate?  It might feel like you’re all alone but remember that pretty much everyone in your social circle is struggling with their insecurities too.  Help each other by focusing on the unique, remarkable qualities that make you, you.  Point out strengths that you see in each other and character traits you respect and admire.  Who you are reveals so much more than a reflection in a mirror, so focus on becoming the person you want to be and less on worrying about what others see.

Copyright © 2013 by Maggie Steele

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What happens in a coaching session?

A coaching session can be done in person, on the phone, or via Skype. A typical session runs about 45 minutes and begins with a powerful question that allows you to focus on what your objective is for the session. For example, there may be a pressing problem that is causing you anxiety or there could be a decision that seems impossible to make. I use listening and questioning techniques to help you realize exactly what it is that you want, and together we discover what the next step or steps should be. We then set specific and measurable goals together which you will be held accountable for. The relationship between you and your life coach is one built on trust. I will encourage you to explore how to make positive changes in your life, while helping you to stay focused on your goals. A good coaching experience needs 100% commitment from both you and your coach, so that the goals set together are accomplished each week, helping you move forward toward the life you dream of.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Check out the BACK TO SCHOOL issue on sale now!

Miabella is a lifestyle and fashion magazine encouraging young women to maintain a positive self-image. Launched in August 2012.  Our Back To School issue is now available at Barnes and Nobles and other newsstands.  Life Coach for Teens and Young Adults, Maggie Steele, writes for Miabella and her latest article “Getting Through Being New” is featured in the most recent issue on sale now.

Posted in Announcement, College Bound Teens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Internal Dilemma

Written by Kayla Mager

I was bullied from the time I was in elementary school, but I never really took it seriously or even understood what bullying was until middle school. Looking back on it now, it is pretty obvious why I did not see what happened as bullying.

The media always portrays bullying as stuffing nerds with big glasses into lockers or into flushing toilets. It is always much bigger people physically picking on someone much smaller and incapable of defending themselves and never were the two people considered “friends”. Since I was not personally being shoved face first into a toilet myself and my bullies were my best friends, I took a long time to come around to my abuse. In that time, I internalized a lot of it and blamed myself for their criticism and constant insults. I was nearly 13 and my hair was not long enough, I did not wear makeup, I still watched cartoons and why was I not into MTV and celebrities? I figured that there must be something wrong with me. This feeling of inadequacy was all made worse by the fact that I hit puberty later than most.

I was mocked by my friends for not being girly and adult like them.                                          I was mocked by boys for being a scrawny, unsexy kid.                                                                  I was mocked by my teachers for being a bookworm know-it-all.

I could not help but think: how could all those people be wrong? Ultimately I came to the conclusion that they were right and I tried to change myself to both stop the bullying and to fit in with my seemingly adult classmates. I grew my hair, wore makeup, wore form-fitting clothes…but despite all this change in appearance I could not stop myself from participating heavily in my classes and playing Pokémon at recess.

At first, the reaction to my makeover was pleasant. I was given compliments all around by teachers and students alike. However, it did not last, as my habits did not change with my new look. Nice clothes only masked my problem it seemed. What people seemed to dislike was the internal. I then asked myself: how can you change yourself as a person?

My conclusion: you cannot.

And you should not.

Three years of thinking that those around me held all the cards and finally I came out the other end knowing that they had no right to judge me and abuse me emotionally. However it still hurts even a decade later. I still constant have to fight against the mental twitch that reminds me of all the things they told me during that time in my life. It is not easy and I wish that I had been taught this and avoided such a serious blow to my self-esteem.

Bullying is not just about physical toughness. As crazy and cliché as it sounds, it is about not letting other people dictate how you should feel. It should not make you want to change yourself to avoid bullying. There will always be bullies out there who will mock you for what you wear, what you think, what you like. You cannot placate everyone you meet; even then pleasing them gives them only gives them exactly what they want which is power and control over you. You do not have to recite the tired rhymes of “Sticks and Stones”, but ask yourself this the next time you are bullied: why should you take what they think to heart?

Punishing bullies for their crimes and teaching them the error of their ways are both important, but at the end of the day, the only person you are responsible for is yourself. Take care of the internal and remind yourself that you and only you get to decide what kind of person you are.

 

Kayla Mager is a senior majoring in English at Northern Arizona University.  She lives in Nevada, but will be going abroad in the Fall before moving on to pursue her Master’s degree.

Posted in Announcement, Communication, Confidence | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

8 Reasons Why Coaching Teens is So Important

1. It gives teens the tools and specific techniques to manage stress and cope with intense emotions.

2. It helps teens establish and recognize core values that will help them make better decisions.

3. It helps teens build confidence so that they are able to set and accomplish goals.

4. It helps teens overcome their fears and limiting beliefs so that they have the courage to pursue their dreams.

5. It helps teens form and strengthen their identity so that they are more comfortable in their skin and less susceptible to peer pressure.

6. It gives teens an opportunity to vent all of their frustrations and worries without feeling judged.

7. It helps teens pinpoint their passion and purpose in life while giving them a better sense of direction.

8. It introduces teens to responsibility and accountability, providing a safe environment for them to learn the impact their choices have on their life.

Posted in Confidence | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Find Your Passion

written by Maggie Steele

While many of us are blessed with the innate understanding of why we were put on this Earth, the vast majority of  us are left grasping at ideas and notions of what it is we are meant to do with our lives.   We listen to our parents, our friends, and our teachers, thinking that theyare able to tell us exactly what to do.  And while those close to us may certainly have good intentions, the truth is that no one knows you better than yourself.

Many of my clients come to me, thinking that I, too, will be able to pinpoint exactly what it is that will make them happy and can tell them what they should do with the precious time they have been given.  They soon discover, however, that a coach is not there to give you the answers but instead, there to shine a light on the answers that are already there. The very key these young adults so desperately seek, has actually been with them the whole time.

Of course, it would be naive to say that once you find that passion, you’re all set!  Our wants gradually change and our needs slowly shift as we develop and mature throughout our lives.    The passion and zeal we have for something at 18 may not be as strong at 25 and the burning desire we have to do something else at 34 may not leave us fully satisfied at 67.  The beauty of life is that we are constantly evolving and with each transformation, our passion can change and our purpose can grow even greater.

My job, as I see it, is to help young adults discover that particular thing that invigorates them, understand how that passion connects with their purpose, and then  help them recognize the limiting beliefs and fears that can hold them back from realizing their dreams.  And while many have come to me feeling lost and overwhelmed by the countless choices and possibilities that lay before them, the truth remains that every single one of us has a unique gift and an undeniable spark that ignites when we are being true to our hearts and living our soul’s purpose.

So how do you find your passion or rekindle that spark you think may have gone out?  One of the first things you can do is to create a list of things that make you smile.  Sit by yourself, close your eyes, and wait until you can’t help but smile.  Sometimes the things we want to make us smile just don’t have the ability to do so and that is okay.  Try not to judge your thoughts and focus solely on the ones that make your cheeks puff out and your eyes start to crinkle.

Once you have your list, continue to add on to it on a daily basis.  Recognize the things that make you smile throughout your day.  Maybe it’s the smell of your coffee or the quirky personality of a teacher.  Maybe it’s a memory of a raucous party or a challenging game of chess.  Recognize these precious moments that fill you with warmth and make you feel good.  The key to finding your passion lies in the simplicity of this exercise.  Pay attention to what makes you smile and things you never knew about yourself or had perhaps forgotten, will quickly start to surface.

Look at your list, pinpoint the feelings that accompany some of these things and ask yourself powerful questions.  Dig deep and get to the root of the feeling.  Questions like these can be very helpful and can guide you toward your purpose: “What is it about  ­­­­_______ that makes me feel free?” “What is it about __________ that I enjoy?”  “If  __________ makes me feel __________ what else will make me feel _____?”  “What would be possible if I woke up everyday feeling ______?”

Don’t worry so much about the answers to your questions.  Instead, focus on being authentic and honest with yourself.  Get to know yourself and the things that make you feel good.  Finding your passion and purpose doesn’t have to be a daunting task.  It can actually be a hilarious and thrilling process if you let it.  Jot down the things that make you smile, discover the things that make you tick, define your purpose and make today be the day you start living with intention.

Copyright © 2013 by Maggie Steele.  All rights reserved.

 

Posted in Make it Happen | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creating Something from Nothing

Written by Maggie Steele

Although we all have dreams and aspirations, the  idea of creating something from nothing may leave us feeling utterly confused and completely inept.  You might suddenly feel anxious due to the countless possibilities, or equally petrified that starting from nothing will be a thankless, insurmountable task. As exciting as it may sound to build your dreams and shape your life into what you want, the truth is that many people will not even try.

Creating something from nothing does not need to be a frightening experience.  In fact, it can actually be exhilarating and a lot of fun!  Start out with a blank piece of paper (maybe even choose a colored piece of paper that makes you happy).  Get some markers and start writing out some things that you would have or do in your ideal life.  Let go of judgments if they pop up.  Be wary of thoughts like, “Yeah, but that’s not realistic,” or “There’s no way I could ever..” Let yourself go crazy and allow your heart to speak.  Be honest with yourself and write down exactly what you would have or do in your ideal life.

Once you’ve covered the paper with all of these fabulous parts of your ideal life, look at them and decide which ones can be accomplished in the coming year.  Which of these can you have by December 2013?

Get out another piece of paper and write down one of the things you are able to have in your life by then end of 2013.  Look at it and visualize your life with this item or activity in your life.  How do you feel?  What would be possible? Write down some adjectives next to the goal that describe how you feel when this dream has been realized.  Underneath the goal, write down what you can do today to kick-start this dream. Next, write down what you can do tomorrow.

For example, if your dream is to be a teacher, you would then write some adjectives that describe how you would feel if you were, in fact, a teacher.  Fulfilled, stoked, relieved, useful, grateful.

What can I do today? I can look up after school programs in need of instructors in my city.

What can I do tomorrow? I can look into university programs online so that I can get my bachelor’s degree in education.

When it comes to creating something from nothing, it is easy to hear the voice of fear and allow it to determine our life path for us.  Excuses come up that seem far too real to ignore.  “I have no experience.”  “I’m too young.”  “I’m too old.” “It would take too long.”  “It would cost too much.” The voice bellows in our ears and keeps us from realizing our dreams.

Although it may seem difficult at first, push these thoughts aside and focus on the simple task at hand.  Put all of your attention on the one thing that you resolved to do today and make that your sole mission. Give it everything you’ve got.  After you have accomplished the goal of the day, give yourself a high five, tell someone what you’ve done, and bring your attention to the excuse again.

Hear the words clearly so that you can write them down.  What is it that is keeping you from achieving this dream? What is one of the main excuses that keeps you from being fulfilled?  Get a separate piece of paper and write out the excuse word for word.  Look at it.  Really take in the words on the page.  Once you have done that, rewrite the excuse and change it into an affirmation.  For example, if the excuse is something like,  “I don’t have enough money to pursue my dream.” Change it to something like, “I trust that money will come as I stay true to my heart and pursue my dreams.”

This might seem scary at first, for you are walking into unknown territory.  You have always listened to this voice and obeyed its every command.  This time, you are ignoring it and in doing so, taking a path never traveled before.  What will happen?  Will I fail?  New fears and new excuses are bound to come up.  Focus on the feeling associated with having your dream and exchange each new excuse with a positive affirmation.

Creating something from nothing does not have to be overwhelming.  It can actually be quite an invigorating and thrilling experience!  Life goes by  quickly.  If you risk nothing and succumb to your inner fear, letting all of your excuses lead the way, there is a very real possibility that you will live to regret it.  Instead, embrace the idea of a blank canvas, play with the different colors, and paint the life you dream of!

Copyright © 2013 by Maggie Steele

Posted in Make it Happen | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Friends Start to Change

Karina and Casey had been best friends since they first met in the second grade.  In fact, the two girls were so close that people would often think they were sisters.  Now it seemed that Karina was not just losing a friend, but a member of her very own family.

The two girls had been tight as ever at the end of eighth grade but their friendship didn’t seem to be enduring the social challenges and complicated situations of freshman year.  Casey was suddenly less interested in hanging out with Karina and more interested in becoming friends with the other, more popular girls.  Casey had also developed breasts and was getting a lot more attention from the boys in their class than she had the year before.  Karina, on the other hand, was still stick thin and considered to be flat and boyish.

To make matters worse, lately, Casey was completely ignoring Karina.  The two of them hardly even made eye contact in the hallways.  It was clear that the friendship was disintegrating into nothing and that Casey’s new friends were her priority; not Karina.

We are constantly changing as we grow up and that process continues throughout adulthood.  Sometimes the people we had gotten along with in middle school don’t enjoy the same things that we do in high school.  Other times, some sort of event pulls us apart or puts tension on the friendship.  It’s not easy to lose a friend and it’s especially difficult if you’ve known and cared about that person for a long time.  If you feel like Karina does, here are a few things you can do:

–> Acknowledge that you and your best friend have grown apart.  Sometimes it’s difficult to do, but if you’re the only one trying to salvage the relationship, you’ll end up being even more hurt in the long run.

–> Seek out new friends who share your interests and values.  It can be a challenge to meet new people and make new friends, but if you step out of your comfort zone and are friendly, you’ll end up attracting like-minded people who value your friendship.

–> Join a club or take part in an activity outside of school.  You’ll meet new people and it will help you focus on something fun instead of dwelling on the uncomfortable situation at school.

–> Remember that this is temporary and it will soon pass.  Your feelings will eventually subside and you’ll end up in a much better place.  Picture yourself a few months down the road with new, loyal, fantastic friends and before you know it, you’ll be hanging out with new friends that are awesome!

Copyright © 2012 by Maggie Steele

Posted in Communication, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Check Out Miabella Magazine’s Premiere Issue!

Maggie Steele is writing for a new magazine for teens and young adults!  Check out the September issue of Miabella magazine at your nearest Barnes and Nobles.

Learn more about our mission and where to purchase the mag at the website below.

Miabellamagazine.com!

Posted in Announcement | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment