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Category: NEXT: An Empowerment Series

Attorney and life coach Susan Koenig guides, supports, and inspires you on the journey of creating a life you love.

Category: NEXT: An Empowerment Series

Attorney and life coach Susan Koenig guides, supports, and inspires you on the journey of creating a life you love.

Sibling Situations

I stood excitedly waiting for Mom to hand me the phone. On an expensive “long distance” call, I could only talk a couple of minutes. Tom’s brilliance and hard work in high school had earned him a trip to a distant city to receive a science award, and this was his one call home. Tom was my big brother and my hero. Later that year, Tom boarded a bus headed from Nebraska to Michigan State University on a scholarship and leaving behind our mother who was broken hearted that she didn’t have a dime to give him. Neither our parents
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Your Stop Doing List

“What action have you taken?” “None,” I replied. Being an attorney, I had the evidence in my defense prepared. My sister was in the hospital.             I was busy grading mid-term exams.             I had a deadline on a big writing project. That was just the start. I continued to justify how I had spent my time since my last call with my coach. How I had a board meeting for the bar association, how I took my 80 year old mother shopping, how I led a meditation for a faith community. My coach was quiet as I carried on
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Goal Getter Meets Dream Diminisher

Carmen is my tailor. She transforms my thrift store finds into perfectly fitted favorites. She lets me stop in without an appointment and turns things around in a matter of days. I’m a loyal if infrequent customer of many years. Carmen is a no nonsense business woman.  “When do you want it, lady?” she asks directly in her noticeable accent. Her small shop has two dressing rooms. There is a glass jar for tips at the counter where a window opens into a room with clothing hanging on one wall and large bright spools of thread on the other. An
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Double Dose

Dave needs his knee replaced. Jan is getting chemo. Sharon just got home from the hospital with three diagnoses. Frank is healing from shoulder surgery. Gay’s cancer is spreading. Mary’s meds are keeping her up at night. Too many to count are anxious or depressed or both. Many people I love most live each day with a significant health challenges. I’m one of the lucky ones. I am the oldest person in my office but still get nominated as one of the healthiest. I’ve been given good enough genes, escaped terrible toxins, and avoided enough sports such that so far
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Rest Relax Reflect Repeat

“Go to bed, Suzy,” he said. It was not a command, but more like a kind instruction given to an impaired person in need of direction. My late husband would say this phrase to me at the end of a day when my fatigue and its accompanying grumpiness were obvious yet I was oblivious. John was lived with cancer for many years, and he’d become an expert at paying attention to one’s body. He was one of many wise teachers, coaches, and doctors who have invited me to notice and attend to what my mind, body, and spirit need. My
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Pick a Road, Walk a Path

“The path of least resistance,” he answered. I felt a barely detectable bristle of judgment. I had asked my friend how he chose a particular career path. To his response I thought: He must not have that much ambition. He probably likes to stay where it’s comfortable. I’ll bet he’s missed out on a lot of life. I stepped on to the well-worn path of being wrong. My friend had a brilliant career, was dedicated to his community, and beloved by his family. In the story I told about my own life achievements was my claim to taking the road
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Perfect Failure 4.0

The height of my academic failure arrived mid-way through a semester of political science. Due to my performance, it was prudent that I drop the class. This required a personal visit to the professor known more for his rigor than his relationships with struggling students. I could feel the shame as I waited my turn outside his small windowless office. This was the first and only conversation we would have. I hoped it would be brief. I told him my name and that I needed to drop his class. I could not raise my grade up enough by the end
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Light Bulb Enlightenment

How many tries does it take to change a light bulb? If it’s me, about ten. When a light went out in my home office, I reasoned that the two remaining bulbs in the chandelier were enough. When it went dark in my parlor, I rationalized that the sun from the skylight was enough. When the bedroom light was spent, I used the bedside lamps. When the overhead light in my bathroom ended, I eked along with my morning make up routine adjusting my magnifying mirror to new angles. My home was built in 1898. I love the tall ceilings
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Out of My League

When I saw “Portland Marathon” on the back of her shirt I knew I’d made a mistake. Six weeks earlier I’d signed up to stretch beyond my comfort zone doing something I’d never done before. I would complete a 5 mile run. I put my plan in place. My first obstacle was verified in the headlines, “Spring Fails to Start in the Midwest.” What is ordinarily a season of cool mornings and evenings was instead a series of shivering rains, sleet, and snow. Luckily, I previously planned a week on the beach with friends. I pledged a daily run. The
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Locked Out Love

I pulled on the door handle but it was locked. I walked to the other side. Locked, too. I look inside. My small red purse with keys inside sat next to my bag of frozen fish and yellow May Day tulips. I felt the ache in my gut at once. I was going to have to ask for help, and I was to blame. Someone was about be inconvenienced because of my carelessness or stupidity. Once in a pre-Uber era, my car battery died and I walked for miles in my party clothes in the middle of the night rather
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