I start every one of my health and life coaching sessions by asking my client “What’s Going Well?” It’s so interesting to witness the struggle that many people have with this in the beginning. As humans our brains easily focus on what’s NOT going well and actually compress or shrink around our difficulties and challenges. For the first few sessions I often have to keep gently reminding my client that we will have time to talk about challenges and obstacles but first I’d really like them to take a breath and just talk about what’s going well. And it can be about anything! It doesn’t have to be specifically about action steps from our last session or something directly related to our work together. I say, just tell me anything that feels like it’s going well. What’s in your favor? After a few times of this practice, inevitably we start our session and my client says “I bet you want me to start with what’s going well!” and they proceed to tell me any little thing that made their week a good one. When that happens, I know we’ve already made huge progress because we created a new healthy habit that goes a long way.

What has become more and more interesting to me is how often we use our failures and struggles to try and motivate ourselves to make a change. Many New Year’s Resolutions are based on what needs to be different because we aren’t happy with some aspect of our lives or even ourselves. Sound familiar?

That’s not to say that learning from our mistakes or wanting to make ourselves better isn’t a very important part of our growth and evolution. But once we make the decision to move forward and change a habit or do something positive for ourselves in any way – relationships, career, health – if we keep using the negative association for inspiration it is most likely going to become an uphill battle. We lose our mojo because we are just reminding ourselves of something that we DON’T like in order to stay positive and that’s actually very confusing to the Universe.

When we allow ourselves to pay attention to what’s going well, we give ourselves permission to see our lives and our experience in the world in a much bigger way. In my yoga classes I often talk about the poses like this. When we struggle with a particular pose and feel we can’t do it, it’s always interesting to try and broaden your awareness and see how many aspects of the pose you are actually doing really well. You’re always doing SOMETHING with ease even though another element may be eluding you in the moment.

The exercise of beginning with “What’s Going Well” creates a currency of sorts. I call it currency because it actually buys us back our own positive energy and fuel to help us do the things that require a little more effort. When we take the time to look at the things in our lives that are actually happening with ease, the places that we are receiving love and nourishment and where we are already succeeding, we fill our tank (and inner bank) with more of what we need to keep ourselves moving in the right direction. We are reminded that we CAN do the things that we want to do and that we have succeeded at many things before and will again!

I have used this practice many times myself. I find that it really helps when I am feeling overwhelmed with all of the things I think I need to be doing in order to be a better coach or teacher, or a better entrepreneur, or even just to shine brightly. The practice of taking a breath and reminding myself of What’s Going Well always stops the critter brain in its tracks and allows me to see things through a fresh lens. I invite you to try this little gem of practice and see how great it feels to tap into your ease and what you’re already attracting in order to keep on moving in the right direction which is always to Feel Your Best.

Originally published at staceybrassrussell.com


  • Stacey Brass-Russell


    Stacey Brass-Russell Wellness

    Stacey Brass-Russell is a professional Career and Life Coach, Actress, Singer, Yoga Instructor, Speaker and Educator. She received her Health, Life and Transformational Coaching Method Certifications from Health Coach Institute.  Having taught yoga for more than 15 years, she holds E-RYT 500 (Experienced Registered Yoga teacher) and YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider) certifications with the Yoga Alliance. In 2010, Stacey co-founded Yogamaya Yoga Studio in New York City, where she created curriculums and programming for over twenty 200 and 300 Hour Teacher Trainings. These have been highly praised and gained her a reputation as a “teacher’s teacher” in the yoga community. Performing for over 30 years, Stacey earned her Actor’s Equity card at the age of 10 when she was cast in the original production of Annie on Broadway. After attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she went on to appear in numerous productions and national tours, including the 1989 Broadway revival of Fiddler on The Roof and original works at The Public Theatre and The Old Globe. She has appeared on Law & Order: SVU as well as in numerous TV commercials and voiceovers. Stacey resides in New York City with her psychoanalyst husband Christopher and 2 cats, Ella and Charmaine. She is a passionate home cook, an avid theatre goer, and a poetry reader—and she still has her two best friends from elementary school.