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4 Things to Do When Life Gets in Front of Your Ambitions



life gets in the way

Life happens. Usually at the most inopportune time. Years ago, a long-time client of mine came to me with some tough problems. In the past year, she had lost her job and was considering a new path in the healthcare space that would be more fulfilling to her personally.

At the same time, her husband asked for a divorce leaving her and their two children without much financial support. Then she discovered that her mother was terminally ill, and while her mother had help with doctor appointments and treatments, my client still wanted to be with her mother as much as possible, even if just for emotional support. That’s a lot for one person to handle.

Her biggest question, however, was about timing. How could she continue to look for the type of work she loved, even pursuing additional certifications to make her a qualified candidate, while still answering to the demands that have temporarily forced her off course?

We’ve all been there. Maybe not this bad, but we’ve all been challenged at the most inconvenient times to us.

Here are four tips that will help get you through the valley between those peaks.

1. Look at a bridge as an opportunity

There’s no shame in knowing that you’re going through a difficult period and that you have to do what needs to be done in order to survive. Sometimes it means selling your house and moving back in with your family, putting your children in a different school, or taking on jobs that you thought you would never return to. But these options put money in your pocket. And that’s the point. A bridge lets you go from one opportunity to the next without too much hardship.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

2. Set hard priorities

For my client, insurance, childcare and income were much more important to her in the short-term than finding that perfect job right away. Because she knew exactly what she needed in the short-term, she was able to take an entry-level administrative job at a large community hospital to satisfy those needs while always keeping her eye on the future.

3. Make a plan

When developing a career strategy with my clients, I always suggest a three-year or five-year plan, and then dive into the smaller three-month and six-month goals. It gives the client a nice vision of what could be, as well as realistic goals for how to get there.

It doesn’t need to be ambitious either. If you’re just starting out, sit down and take stock of where you were a year ago, where you are today and how much farther you need to go in the next three years to shape your five-year plan. Are you behind or ahead of where you thought you would be by now?

Then ask yourself why. For my client, staying at her job for a year meant she would qualify for some certifications and training that would help move her into her desired career. Even though it took her longer, this was something she was more than willing to do.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein

4. Be forgiving often

This is about forgiving yourself, especially when you don’t want to get out of bed, don’t want to have that difficult conversation, don’t want to sign those papers or show up for what you know will be more bad news. Spend time outdoors and breath.

Spend time with your children or your pets (or both). Go for long walks in nature. Do anything that will help restore your balance. Find a trusted friend or professional that will listen to you, but most of all, don’t be hard on yourself. If you couldn’t handle it, you wouldn’t be going through it, and having that mindset actually puts you in a position of power.

For my client, eventually she met someone new, she spent quality time with her mother before her passing, and she is now a registered nurse. Being a leader is not what you do; it’s who you are. Sometimes who you are has to be very strong.

What did you do when life got tough? How did you recover from it? Leave your thoughts below!

Christina Holloway is a management and strategy consultant, speaker, and leadership coach. She brings 20+ years experience working with visionary clients who want to restart their careers and pursue new goals. As the founder of a small independent consulting company, she spent the last 15 years working with large multi-national businesses, and now leverages that experience to educate, inspire and empower female executives and emerging leaders to develop their skills in effective leadership. To learn more about Christina's work, click here.



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The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

Balancing is for your checkbook, gymnastics, and nutrition; not for your people’s work/life ratio.



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Balance…it requires an equal distribution of value between two or more subjects to maintain steady composure and equitable proportionality. (more…)

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How to Find the Courage to Start New

Change is scary, but it’s a normal part of life.



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It’s 2023, a new year, new you, right? But how do we start over? How do we make the changes in our lives that we crave so much to see?  (more…)

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Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.



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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma



Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.


Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:


1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.


2. Persistent Pain

Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.

4. A strong need for control

It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
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