New Here?

Posted March 21st, 2019

I’m Lael. I’m so glad you’re here.

If this is your first time to time to SheChanges, lean in close, sister, and I’ll share with you all the ways this space can nourish your soul!

It’s just me, Lael.

I’ve been in business for over 13 years, and all that time it’s just been me and my hugely creative and entrepreneurial spirit over here behind the curtain of SheChanges. If you call, email or reach out to me over social media, I’m the one you’ll be reaching. Directly.

If you want to know why that is, feel free to dig a little deeper and read more about my story and background.

I love the directness and intimacy of my business—whether it’s working with one-on-one with my clients or with a large audience, you’ll often hear me say, “It’s just us chickens in here”, because I believe in keeping it real and am not one for formalities or putting on fancy aires. If you ever visit my office (affectionately referred to as my “pirate ship”), you’ll see there’s a sign when you enter that reads, “We kick off our shoes here”, which is both a literal and a figurative invitation to all who visit.

There is also wall with five phrases on it in silver—you can see it behind my shoulder in this photo of me—that help to inspire and frame how we show up to SheChanges, be it me, you or the two of us together.

We keep it real here.
We trust deeply here.
We are brave here.
We figure it out here.
We go for it here.

My work has been described many ways over the years, but there are some key words and phrases that consistently appear in people’s experience of me—electric, light a fire, inspiring, no bullshit, get to the heart of it, put into words, call me on my excuses, make sense of chaos, refreshing, feel gotten, challenge my thoughts, insightful, safe—like I can say anything, luminous, exuberant, unapologetic.

Read that list and you will get sense of my personality and who I am, sure, but you’ll also get a sense of how I show up and why people seek me out—or don’t.

And speaking of that, let’s talk about how you might interact with me and my business, shall we? You and I will find our own way to dance if we’re meant to intersect, but here’s a look at three of the most common approaches:

The Audience Experience —Inspiration, Validation + Fresh Perspective

A number of people meet me for the first time at SheSpeaks because their friend insisted they come to this annual event—and then they wonder how it is it took them so long to find me because they feel immediately at home. Still others will have read my first book (my second book will be out Fall 2019!) blog posts or Instagram stories and feel like they know me or that we have a relationship when, in fact, we’ve never met. I take all of this as high praise and a deep honor. Ripple effects excite me to no end and I never tire of hearing about of them, even if you and I will never actually meet in person.

One-on-One Work —Getting Unstuck + Creating Movement

Lael Couper JepsonI work nationally with a select group of women for one-on-one sessions. I say “select” because I’m not everybody’s cup of tea and I only see these clients on Wednesdays and Thursdays of each week, so space is limited. My clients and I are very intentional and deliberate about seeking each other out and there is often a crackerjack referral or serendipity at work to make that happen. The timing and fit for this work has to feel just right to both of us, as neither my clients nor I are big fans of wasting time or lilly-dipping around. Many of my one-on-one clients are senior corporate leaders—and are either looking to unleash themselves more fully (and move up) or to ditch the game and move out (we call this jumping ship). I also have clients who left the traditional track to start their own business and want to show up to that endeavor in bigger and bolder ways. Whether they are inside an organization, have their own business or are reconfiguring all that in the context of having a life change, all of my clients possess an huge entrepreneurial spirit and are hungry for more, even if they are busy and full as is. This one-on-one work I do with women has been called a lot of different things over the years, but it’s really a delicious mashup of coaching, consulting, storytelling and midwifery for badasses I’ve honed over the years. A sample session with me is the best way to see if we’re meant to do some of this work together.

Finding Your People—Small Groups + Kindred-Spirit Community

Whether people start by engaging directly with me in one-on-one work and then make their way out to all the other work I do, or if their initial introduction to me is through audience participation, many of them often make their way here because they’re hungry for more—be it inspiration, validation or connection with people who feel like they just GET them immediately—without explanation, apology or a lot of preamble. Keep in mind, most people who are drawn to me are seeking to create change for themselves (and our world), so a lot of times they are hungry to commune with other brave souls so they don’t feel so alone…”out there” or crazy. If this is where you are, check out some of the women’s circles I do either in person or over the phone. Because I work nationally, and a lot of my clients and community are not local to Portland, Maine, my focus over will be growing my on-line offerings over the next year to expand my ability to connect with them, so stay tuned for more on that.

Okay then! There’s a little flyby of the land of SheChanges! Feel free to check out my Frequently Asked Questions page if you want to get a bit more intel, or just have a look around! What’s mine is yours, woman, so welcome!

Lael

The Top Five Things My Clients Hear Me Say

Posted March 20th, 2019

So often I hear from my clients: “I heard you talking on my shoulder, Lael…”

They share this with me long after we’ve hung up the phone or parted ways. I wasn’t remotely in their proximity, and yet I was—on their shoulder, it seems.

This used to make me cringe, like I was somehow predictable or (worse) haranguing, like a banshee—one of those female spirits who howls about the house wailing of impending doom.

But happily, I came to appreciate that my clients meant this to be a compliment—suggesting we were energetically connected and communicating, even as we were literally apart.

Over the years, I’ve collected some of their favorites “Lael-isms” (as they call them), and made note of what happened next—how these particular phrases or questions I used with them inspired their actions. I share them with you here today as a thank you for entrusting me with your email address and a warm welcome to the SheChanges insider arena. May these inspire you—or someone else you know—to kindle your fire and take action.

Have at it, Sister—I’m an open book.

#1  I don’t know, but …you want to find out?

The people I work with don’t want to be told what to do, and don’t really want advice or permission from me. What they want is movement. Actually, what they want is what comes AFTER movement—new or different perspectives, insights and inspired ideas, confidence, and the sure-footedness that only experience on the open road can bring. Of course there is fear and doubt and worry—that’s natural, and I remind my clients of this. But you know what is at the crux of it? Anticipation of what happens next. That’s what causes us to stop in our tracks and go to our heads—far, far away from the desire in our hearts urging us along.

Here’s what helps:

  • Plug back into your spirit of adventure—your wild child who was born for the open road. Create a playlist that was made with her in mind, and transports you to a time in your life when you felt most free, spirited, and unencumbered (for what it’s worth, Steppenwolf Born to be Wild is always a hot pick of mine, as is We’ve Got The Beat by the Go-Go’s and The Devil Went Down To Georgia by The Charlie Daniel’s Band). Whatever it is, cue that music up, roll the windows down and take the long way home. Remember who you are.
  • Think of one symbolic action that would put you on the road to finding out what comes next—maybe it’s buying a domain name, maybe it’s revising your resume, or maybe it’s registering for a half marathon. You know what it is. If you don’t, think of something that scares the shit out of you and move toward it in your mind’s eye. Call or text your most bold and crazy badass friend (yea, THAT one), and tell her you’re going to do something totally WILD today and that you need her to hold you accountable by asking you about it tomorrow. Lay it down, sister, and enlist a witness so you’re not alone. Courage magnifies when you have an audience.

#2  We’re all just make this shit up.

So true, but how quickly we forget when scrolling through the InstaFace feeds and comparing ourselves to others, right? I get it. I fall for it, too. In those moments when we’re feeling most vulnerable and wanting something that feels so out of our reach or overwhelming, it’s seductive to tell that familiar story: Everybody else has it all figured out…what’s my problem!? You don’t have a problem, my friend, you have a feeling—and that feeling is fear, which is natural and to be expected (you noticing a pattern already?).

Here’s what helps:

  • Brainstorm yourself outta that box you’re thinking in. Whatever your age, create THAT many possibilities of what you could do to take action. Write at the top: What If… with a bold sharpie marker and number it (in my case that would be 50…) Start with batshit crazy stuff that makes you laugh and feels like it has absolutely nothing to do with anything. The idea here is to not take yourself so seriously—inspiration doesn’t like to squeeze into cracks, so give it lots of room to roam and see where it takes you.
  • Adopt a spirit of play and color outside the lines. No seriously, think kindergarten art class. Find a wall in your life and take everything off of it—make it your blank canvas. Go hog wild and paint blackboard paint so you can draw right on the wall, or get one of those big butcher paper rolls of paper and tape it up near the ceiling and let it drop down. Grab a handful of markers (bonus points for scented ones!) and start jotting shit down that you’ve got swirling around in your head—ideas, desires, opportunities, what breaks your heart, unmet needs you see in our world, crazy schemes your haven’t given voice to, or things that keep finding you that are compelling.  Capture it all and let it be unfinished, like you. Live with it, let it speak to you, and respond back to it with your marker. Imagine you are co-creating with some unseen force, and go where it takes you.

#3  It’s just us chickens in here.

There are those moments when my clients lean in, look over their shoulders to make sure no one is listening, and then proceed to tell me what’s really in their heart of hearts. I love those moments, I do, because they feel intimate—like I get to witness something new being uttered into the light of day for the first time. That’s when I’ll often use this phrase, to underscore the sacredness of this moment—almost like it’s a confession (side note: I’m not a christian, but I’ve worked with enough of them to realize how much shit can get kicked up when desire comes riding into town.)

Here’s what helps:

  • Connect your desire with service. Sometimes the best place to begin is by asking yourself what breaks your heart, and then see how that informs your desire to make a change or go after some new idea your conjuring. If it’s more money you want, ask yourself what you would do with that additional money. If it’s more time, freedom, responsibility, visibility, or opportunity…listen to what’s in your heart of hearts. From where I sit with women, our deepest desires are often connected to a greater good that will benefit us all.
  • Write a short story. No seriously—write a story in the third person to crack open this egg of desire and get a closer look at this person you are becoming. Help her to unfurl and unfold herself before you so you can see her. Begin quite simply with: There once was a woman who… and watch where your pen leads you. Every time you get stuck or lose steam, get more curious—and THEN what happened? Write her into being, and your will move yourself into doing.

#4  You’re not crazy…and you’re not alone.

Crazy and alone are two of the most frequent words my clients use to describe themselves—and they are generally used in the same sentence, resulting in a one-two punch of vulnerability. Crazy is the preferred weapon fear uses to eradicate any desire or dream that doesn’t fit within conventional wisdom or rational thought, and feeling alone is a natural consequence of that because (say it with me…) “Everyone else doesn’t seem to have a problem…why can’t you be like everyone else?” But the thing is, I don’t work with Everyone Else, I work with people like you who are hungry to step outside the box, color outside the lines, and move beyond the way things are.

Here’s what helps:

  • Build an alter to your soul. You don’t need religion for this one, but you do need an intention to hold space for something that matters to you. This is a way to bring reverence and ritual to something that might seem heretical. Grab a small table, a sun-lit corner, or even the back of your closet door and clear it off. Gather symbols, artifacts, place holders—even colored stickie notes with words written on them—and assemble them on or near your alter. For the next two weeks, continue to add to it and use this as your focal point for prayer, meditation or holding counsel with your dream to have it feel more real and tangible. Feed your alter, and you will ignite your soul to take inspired action.
  • Shop for inspiration through admiration. I am constantly asking my clients who they admire, because I hold the belief that who you admire is who you are. Like attracts like. So start looking around for examples of who has what you’d like, even if it has you feel like you’re being envious—jealously is just a form of longing in disguise. Make a list of those people that are doing what you aim to do, possess qualities you wish to embody more, and are living the life you are hungry to live. Take notes, get specific, and see if you can gather these people up energetically as sort of an entourage for your soul.

#5  Gracefulness is a tall order in transition.

I’m really loud in times of transition—and I do this for my living. I throw epic fits, I swear a lot, I moan and kvetch, and I talk to myself…constantly. Yea, I’m a barrel of monkeys in transition, not Sophia Loren. I forget to eat and shower. I let the dishes and the laundry pile up. It suits me, and you know why? Change is messy work, so I find it oddly soothing if my outer surroundings match my inner landscape—at least for a while. Making space means letting go—of expectations, right/wrong, control, other’s opinions/reactions, and what is comfortable and familiar. I don’t know about you, but I don’t do that without making a fair amount of noise. Same goes for my clients. Think of a woman having a baby. Think of when a loved one dies. Think of moving into a new apartment or job. Messy, not graceful or elegant.

Here’s what helps:

  • Write yourself a permission slip. Give yourself a Get Out Of Jail Free card to release yourself from yesterday’s standards. Stand firmly by your brave self, and speak on behalf of her as an ally—what do you need to let go of, move beyond or allow yourself during this messy stretch of road? Write that shit down, Sister, seal it with a kiss, and put it somewhere sacred like an alter or inside your pillow case. Be your own fierce wing woman to help land your F-18 fighter jet safely on that airplane carrier floating in the middle of your ocean.
  • Create some new operating instructions. Your old rules of engagement with regard to self-care, compassion and expectations are most likely going to take a beating or come up woefully short in times of transition, so it’s best to lay down some new rules and guidelines since the game has changed. Let it be known: there’s a new sheriff in town. In my own life, I call this “Lael Code” and it has stuff on it like “make messy art”,  “get dirty” and “take the roof off” (I have a Jeep, but you get what I mean). Put another way, this might be your measures of success—what you will celebrate—so decide this in advance and nail it to your tree.

Under Lael’s guidance (a perfect cocktail of masterful)

Posted March 1st, 2012

Lael’s constant quest at reframing topics of discussion

Posted March 1st, 2012

The combination of Lael’s genuine enthusiasm

Posted March 1st, 2012

Lael creates heart-opening

Posted March 1st, 2012

Lael is so genuine…

Posted February 27th, 2012

Lael’s strategic insight and questioning…

Posted February 27th, 2012

Home

Posted January 20th, 2012

Partnering with women to create change

Can you imagine what our world would be like if women could bring their full gifts to bear?

If we are blazing trails now, can you even imagine what would be possible if more of us created from a place of….freedom? Without the need to explain, apologize, justify, get permission, negotiate or twist ourselves into a pretzel at every blessed turn in the road?

My name is Lael, and I want to live in that world sooner than later.

And that, my friend, is why I created SheChanges. It’s all about change powered by women—individually and collectively—to lead us toward that future.

I help women to move forward on their own terms and in their own way—boldly, unapologetically, and with a great deal of intention.

My work is designed to support badass women like you in finding the crack in the matrix, a wrinkle in time, and your very own platform 9 3/4 to help inspire and move you—and then all of us—to action. Not by becoming someone you’re not—but by embodying more of who you already are. Naturally.

If you’ve found your way here, rest assured you’re no longer alone. You’re in really good company, actually.

So welcome aboard, woman. Let’s ride.