We all get stuck, most especially when life throws us in situations we never expected. The key to all of that is to keep on moving forward. Thriving day-by-day, Elizabeth Miner shares her journey. As a single mother of two at such a young age, she has endured through the struggles and persevered to becoming the successful businesswoman and coach that she is now. She shares some great values in life that we could apply to ours and gives a range of advice, from handling limiting beliefs to taking that leap towards your goals. As someone who has been through a lot, Elizabeth’s life-skill and coaching is one that will not only help us go through life’s roller coasters but find meaning in those to become better.
I’ve got Elizabeth Miner. She is somebody originally from Boston, Massachusetts and now living in Panama. Her whole motto in life is, “Thrive this day.” We go through this whole journey of hers. When she grew up, she ended up getting pregnant at a very early age. She had two kids. She didn’t have a college education, and literally needed to like dig her way out of all this. She did, and she went on to work for Apple for many years. For the last six years she is helping others build a happy, healthy and thriving lifestyle that’s what she does. As always, remember to go to my website MarkPattisonNFL.com and you can see the Instagram or Facebook social buttons that are there. You can find out what I’m doing. Please go and rate and review on iTunes.
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A Life Of Thriving with Coach Elizabeth Miner
In this episode, I’ve got an amazing woman named Elizabeth Miner. How are you doing?
I’m doing fantastic. Thank you.
You’re coming all the way from Panama?
From Panama, not Panama City the Florida town. I’m in Panama, the country.
How did you end up in Panama?
That’s a surprise to me as well. I am a bit of a Gypsy and that was the next step. It had all the things I needed. It had good internet and I’m an internet digital nomad. It had a beach and warm weather and it was affordable and I decided I’d try that.
You came from the East Coast?
I was in San Jose, California at the time. I am from Boston. I’m a Boston girl.
I want to jump into this, Thrive This Day, live in abundance. Tell me what that is all about.
Thrive This Day is the name of my company and it’s my take on carpe diem. I grew up with a mom who was sick from the time I was a little girl. I learned early on that our tomorrows are not guaranteed. It gave me a different perspective, especially with this being in my formative years on how to live my life. I’m a little bit of a risk taker. I’m a little bit of an outside-the-box gal because tomorrow is not guaranteed, so thrive in the day.
How old were you when your mom was going through her illness and what illness did she have?
She had three bouts of cancer that she battled, one bout of bacterial meningitis that was a six-month recovery process. Then cancer took her, but she battled cancer off and on for about twenty years. I was seven when she started and it was the same time that my father left the house. We went from a standard two-parent family house to a no-parent family house because she was in and out of treatments and stuff and facing death. She had stage three when she found it. Back in the ‘70s, it was synonymous with death. Nobody expected her to survive it and so we learned about that. She survived that and then three more and one other catastrophic illness. Then she finally went down in the last twenty some odd years later.Our tomorrows are not guaranteed. Thrive this day and live in abundance. Click To Tweet
Was the trigger then for you her illness and her surviving it that gave you this gypsy attitude about not looking back and living in the moment and going forward?
Yes, very much so. I understood that, “Why wait? Now is good.” I tell my sister that all the time, “Now is a good time to try that.” A lot of people wait for tomorrow and tomorrow is not guaranteed for you. I’m more of, “Let’s try this.” That’s why I ended up in Panama because Panama sounds good. “Why not now? I’ve never been to Panama. Why don’t I live there for a little while?”
You are a Thrive coach. You help others get to where they want to be, fulfill all their dreams, be all you can be, right?
Yes, that is my goal.
I don’t want to minimize this because your mother obviously was a dear soul and she survived all these different illnesses that she had, including obviously cancer. Are there things in your life that you’ve been able to learn beyond that that dig into your ability to guide and coach others?
I grew up with uncertainty as a base, so that was very common for me. I never looked for the common way. I ended up as a mom at nineteen, a single mom at twenty, and armed with a high school diploma I decided that I was going to do what not what people expected of me. People had a certain expectation with a teenage mom. I decided that wasn’t going to be for me, that wasn’t going to be my path. I had tons and tons of obstacles. Nonetheless, limiting beliefs, a number of people around me thinking I wasn’t going to make something out of myself. My path to overcoming all those obstacles is what gave me a lot of the background that I use when I’m coaching other people. I learned all different goal programs because I was looking to get out of poverty. I was raising my child from below the poverty line. I went through all obstacles and challenges to get above that.
By the time I ended up my corporate career, I was a Senior International Corporate Paralegal at the most iconic company in the world. I made paths where there weren’t, I created job titles and job descriptions and presented them to companies and said, “I think you want to hire me for this.” They went, “Maybe I do.” I built my path and learned a lot along the way by doing that and all the things that showed up gave me resilience and processes that seemed to help other people. Now, I use those to help them.
You said you’re twenty and you’ve got these two little itty-bitties. How did you support that? You’re a single mom. You don’t sound like you had a lot of help from anybody else. How did you manage that and what were you doing?
I am tenacious if nothing else, that was one part of it, but I made a decision. One of the secrets to goal-setting is you don’t always have to have a clear vision of where you want to go. You have to know where you don’t want to be and that’s all I had at that time. I moved around and I’ve always worked. Most of my adult life, I’ve always worked at least three jobs and tried to make ends meet and build and learn and grow and continue to add value. I’ve been able to do that. I built a career on that. On the side towards the end of my corporate career, I started coaching other people to do the same.
Is there a moment where that kicked in? I’m sticking to when you’re nineteen and twenty, but sometimes it takes an event or something. Maybe you’re clicking along for a couple years and finally you’re just fed up, you throw your hands up in the air and you go, “I’m not doing this anymore,” and you’re going to figure out that path. You’re going to set those goals. Did that happen for you or as this was happening, as you’re having baby number one, and then baby number two at a young age, this is where it clicked in because there so much that you had to take on all at one time and pay the bills?
The baby number one was kick in the pants and I probably wouldn’t have been as tenacious for my own self, but certainly needing to support somebody else. Having a daughter at that, I wanted to show her what was possible. I’m a bit of a rebel and the fact that everybody was betting against me was motivating for me. I started to move through the path. There were various times where I had different obstacles that I would come up against and I would find a different way and learn a different goal-setting.
I finally got my big break. I got into corporate and I got in as a receptionist. I had a high school diploma as I said, no job skills. I kept applying for more jobs because the reception job was my foot in the door. The HR department would kindly say, “Elizabeth, you’re not qualified. Elizabeth, you don’t have the skills.” Finally, I was doing enough side work in the company that somebody came by and needed a skill that I had. I filled in for them and then I did it one more time and then they came by a third time and I said, “The company needs this and I have the skill.”
There is no job that has it so I drafted up a job description. I updated my resume with a focus towards that and I walked up to the Director of Telecommunications and knocked on his door and I said, “I think you guys could benefit from this job. There is a value that could be added and this is how it could be added and I’m the right candidate. I’d like to apply for this job.” Weeks later, I’ve got a nice little promotion and a brand-new job title that was created for the company. I have the stubbornness to not wait for the path to come to me. If there is not a way, I will make a way because I’m not having where I’m at. Those types of things happened a couple of times in my life where I couldn’t find a way, so I created one.
It sounds like you are totally relentless.
I’m pretty tenacious.
I’m here at the house of Jim Mora, my best friend. I remember when we were 23 years old, we’re all playing football at the University of Washington and he and I were graduating. I was very fortunate to be drafted by the Raiders and Jim had sent his resume out to all the 32 teams or so that were out there. 31 of them sent letters back saying, “No, thank you,” except for one, San Diego Chargers. He went down and all he did is do the copies on the copier and grab the coffee and the water and everything else and ultimately wound its way up and into the coaching profession. When you have that can-do attitude, you’ll do whatever it takes and stayed there the longest and learn the most and create value for yourself within that organization, great things can happen.
That’s absolutely the truth. I think that that’s not been given enough credo in and teaching people.
In this day and age of instant gratification, I know a lot of students with their iPhones and everything else it’s this, “Now, now, now.” If it doesn’t happen then they move on and they’re scatterbrained and having that real human connection, that one on one versus communicating through texting, is stupid. My daughter and Jim’s daughter graduated in the School of Communications at Annenberg. It’s very prestigious and great and the speaker was Oprah. She was giving her nine tips of inspiration and what they can do and they should sit on their phone right during dinner. It’s that point where you start to communicate and go back and forth and have that moment with your family and others. It’s interesting the way that we choose to communicate and not that kids aren’t relentless because they are, but it’s a different way and more than instant gratification. How many years did you have to go through to get to where you wanted, that special position?
I have worked very hard for many, many years to get to know each step of the way.
How many years were you in that job?
The first job, I was in there for ten years and I did different positions throughout the company, constantly finding a different space to add value and get a little promotion here and a little promotion there. I walked out of there starting as a receptionist and ending as a paralegal. Over the course of ten years, I was able to move around and gain a skill by adding value to both myself and to the company.
How many years in the path were you with these organizations, your corporate world life, until you decided to punt and go, “I’m going to turn into this gypsy become a life coach?”
The life coaching started about six, seven years ago at this point and that was being done alongside my corporate career for quite some time. I always recommend to people who are starting businesses don’t quit your day job while you’re doing this, build it alongside. I was doing those two things. I was in the corporate world for about twenty plus years and I never fit in entirely, but I could play the game and I was good at what I did. It allowed me to raise my children, put them both through college and get my financial goals met. As soon as my financial goals had been met and I was looking at where I was in the corporate field, I thought, “I’m not thrilled about continuing down this road.” I decided to take the leap, but I had been coaching for about five years at the time. I had been doing that alongside building my business. It was growing, it was doing well. I was able to say, “I’m done with the corporate thing I think I can make a go for this.”
Your kids are now what age?
My daughter is 30 and my son is 25. I started young.One of the secrets of goal-setting is not having to have a clear vision of where you want to go, but knowing where you don’t want to be. Click To Tweet
I was going to say you look young. You’re well on your way and you make the leap. Do you leap from Boston at the time or do you leap from California?
I was in California at the time. I had already moved my business from Boston to California when I moved to there and I was working for three years in California. I was curious if my Boston clients would follow me and they ended up following me through video conferencing and such so I could maintain my Boston clients. When I moved to California, I then revamped my business outs there and I started to work with clients out in the California area. I also ended up working with a couple of shelters in the area, helping people move out of poverty into possibility. I wanted to pay it forward what I had learned.
Were you donating your time? Obviously, they didn’t have the funds to pay you.
I worked with shelters and I did some donations and then some shelters actually hired me to work with their clients as an add-on business, as an add-on opportunity for their clients as they were moving out of poverty so that they could get a solid head start on actually staying out of poverty once they got out. Those were some of the things that I started to do while I was in California and then I was able to take those clients with me when I left and moved to Panama. I have clients now all around the world, in the Caribbean, Canada, United States and Mexico.
What is the number one problem that you see? People come to you because of what and why?
Limiting beliefs. Everybody tells themselves they can’t do what they want to do. I can imagine you might get that in what you’re doing with all these summiting of these mountains that, “Are you crazy to think you can do this?” People have a tendency to downplay what they’re capable of and they’re quick to tell me all the reasons why they can’t have what they want. When we start to explore those, they start to fall away and they’re like, “Maybe I can do this.” We start to build plans about where do you want to be, where are you now, and let’s build a plan that gets you there and that’s been my favorite activity.
Why do you think that is? Why do you think people have limiting beliefs?
Society is great help for that. We oftentimes get downtrodden. Especially those working and living in poverty. I often see these people who assume this is their lot in life and so they look around and they go, “I can’t have that house. I can’t afford it.” “What would it take for you to afford it?” “I’d have to have a job. I don’t have a job.” “Why can we get you a job? What would you like to do? What would you want to be? How would you want to live?” We start to uncover what they are afraid to dream for anymore because they’ve been told they’re second class. They’ve been told that can’t have it, they’re poor people and there’ll be poor people.
Oprah was the speaker at my daughter’s graduation and so she had all these wise words of wisdom right to give to all the students. It was very interesting in one of the things she was talking about is turn off the news and negative voices and turn those with positive voices and limiting input and the type of news that’s constantly coming at you with negativity. When did you write the book, The Flip Side of Failure? What is that all about?
I wrote that a couple years ago while I was in California. I had tried all different goal programs while I was moving through my journey. I found that so many of them failed in one area, that they didn’t always give you a complete thing. Your smart goal is great, but all it gives you is a great goal statement. It doesn’t tell you what to do after you have your goal statement. Stephen Covey and all those people have these great goal programs, but they’re all missing a piece. Through trial and error, through my ability to move from one place to the next, I tried all these different goal programs. I found that this piece of this one worked, that piece of that one worked and if I put the two together, they worked well. I took the best of all the greats that I had studied over the course of my life and put together the goal program that actually worked for me and I started using it with my clients and I started teaching to it and I would give goal workshops and I would help people move on their path for their goals and it worked for not only me, but them too. Then I started to write the book so that’s what the book is about and built on.
Somebody is stuck. I’ve been stuck. The question is how do you get unstuck?
There are a lot of things that go into that because there are a lot of different reasons why people get stuck. There are a number of times that people plateau. When they reach a plateau and whether it’s in a weight goal or a physical goal or a career goal, they plateau. If people plateau for too long without somebody coming through to help reinvigorate them, then they give up because it drops off because they’re not seeing any progress. The other thing I see is people get stuck because they get overwhelmed with the height of their goal. I’m a big one for great, huge and audacious goals. I’m huge with that. I love that but sometimes they’re so big that people get overwhelmed. I don’t know about you but when I get overwhelmed, I shut down. I stop doing stuff and most other people do as well.
It’s a matter of helping them break that down a little further. You eat an elephant one bite at a time. You can get to the whole elephant, but it’s only going to be one bite at a time. It’s helping them break these things down. I’m not wanting to say make your goal smaller, just make the steps smaller. I work with that and drift. Drift is what happens a lot for people. They start off with this great idea and they forget to calculate in that they got the PTA meeting. They’ve got junior soccer practice. They got all these other things that they thought they were going to go to the gym for one hour a day every day for a week, but they forgot they have a life too. One day goes by and two days go by and then life goes in and you go back to your patterns. It’s a matter of calculating in and planning properly to achieve your goals by taking into consideration your entire life.
One of the things I was fortunate to have is this amazing college coach. At the time when I went to the University of Washington, I didn’t know and I don’t think anybody knew that this guy would turn out to be a Hall of Fame coach because it was too early in his career. We went to many Rose Bowls and National Championships and all kinds of amazing things. One of the key things that he had done early on is he had taken John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. Essentially what that is 25 different blocks on team and individual goals, ultimately to get you to the pinnacle of whatever you’re trying to achieve.
This has served me well in my life because when I went to the University of Washington as a young freshman, I didn’t have a clue what was going on in terms of what it took to be at that level. We know we’re probably talking about apples and oranges in terms of some of your clientele, but it gave me the foundation of when you start a business and that it’s these micro steps that you were talking about. Staying focused on the goal. Something that I do, I have right now that I put up in my bathroom.
Every day I look at it because I’m looking at the mirror and I’m looking at right next to it. I call it my vision board. I’ve got two vision boards. I’ve got that written down the goal of what I’m trying to accomplish, with all these different things I have going on. Then on my refrigerator, I’ve got all these different visual images of things to constantly remind me of things that I’ve either accomplished already and things that I’m still trying to go get in front of me. It’s that constant reminder and then what are those daily things that I can do to get to that end goal has served me well in a lot of things I’ve done.People get stuck because they become overwhelmed with the height of their goal. Click To Tweet
You call it something else I’m forgetting, but basically it’s noise and so when you have all that noise and all that junk going through your head, you can’t think and you get your words overwhelmed by life, and your brain can’t function and process where to go next and it’s that classic. “You’re so far in the forest, you can’t see the trees.” A lot of times these things come from clutter in your life that you need to clear out and to somehow or another get clear so that you can see forward.
Clarity is one of the biggest things. I oftentimes have clients do a perfect day exercise, and I do this with CEOs and I do this with people moving out of poverty. When I asked them in a session, “What does your perfect day look like?” I usually get a very blank look and they don’t know. I said, “We’re going to have a difficult time getting you there if we have no idea what it looks like. If you don’t know, I can’t help you. Let’s start to look at what is it that you want in your life that you don’t have or maybe you do and you want to enhance it or it’s great and you want to protect it. Let’s look at those things and start building your life around your values and your desires.”
What would be the number one strategy or do you have a bunch that you normally start off with? You may have said what it is like, what’s your perfect day and then you start there. Is that your starting point?
That’s oftentimes my starting point. I coach business clients and I do life coaching. With the life coaching client, usually I start at the perfect day because they’ll come to me and they’ll say they want to work on something and when we start to move into it, I realized that’s not exactly what they’re there for. They couldn’t put words around it so we go back to the perfect day so we can start out and figure out what’s that missing piece that they’re looking for. I had somebody come in and she’s like, “I’m retired and I don’t feel like I’m doing it right.” I thought, “That’s rather odd, how do you not retire right?” As we started to talk at that and uncover it, she realized she’d lost her purpose. It wasn’t that she’s not retiring right, but she was in need of a new touchstone and a new purpose. We started to explore that and the first thing she said is, “I can’t go back to work.” I said, “Who said you have to go back to work? That wasn’t going to be my suggestion. What can you do?” She’s like, “What can I do? I don’t know. I don’t even know what I’d like to do.” Then we started off with her perfect day. We back ended into it.
To me at least, the bit of the irony of this whole thing is that typically when people come to the point where they say, “I need a life coach,” they processed in their mind whether either on the treadmill or the driving on the way to work or wherever that, “This sucks. I don’t like it. I wish I was in Hawaii surfing.” They covered it and played that out, but then when you pin it on them of trying to get them to describe what that perfect day will look like, they freeze. Which is interesting to me.
It’s fascinating to me. When I start to read through it with them, they wake up and they have coffee with their spouse or their significant other and they actually work out. “When was the last time you work out?” “It’s been years.” “We can add that to your daily routine. You could have your perfect day. Why haven’t you been working out?” “I really haven’t thought about it until you asked me what my perfect day was.” “Let’s go. Let’s go get that back.” There’s a lot of things. There’s a lot of life coaches out there that use all these graphs and these charts and these quizzes and all that stuff. I don’t use any of that. I have the conversation and I find that I get so much more when I use the conversation. I start to ask a few questions and they start to think about a few things differently. All of a sudden, things come out that they didn’t even know were there.
I have had a lot of people, with my mountain climbing and playing professionally and in college, they come to me and say, “I need help with my diet.” They want to train or do something. You said something about people being in ruts and how difficult it is to get out of those. I am not clinical and I have not taken classes on this, this is just my intuition because this has affected me which is it is far too easy to quit than to keep going if you don’t start with a super strong why. You said this perfectly, the reason why we have New Year’s Resolutions is we make them, then we break them, then we make them again because you didn’t do what you said you were going to do. Trying to get people past that threshold, whether they’re digging in and no matter what they’re going to get up at 5:30 or 6:00 or 7:00 or after work to go to work out or start eating better and not be tempted by the easy path and rather go to through the road less travelled, is really difficult for so many people. It’s difficult for me. If you are not driven by that super-duper strong why, it’s just going to repeat and you get into a rut and you don’t go forward in the right way.
Once you hit the rut and history repeats, you start to get down on yourself. I have had so many people say, “Goal coach. That’s cute. Goals don’t work.” They do, let’s look at your process. The why is super strong. When somebody has done their perfect day, “Why is as important?” Then we get, “I want to lose weight because my doctor says I have to.” I have a pilot I was working with and he came to me and said, “My doctor said I have to lose weight.” I was like, “Okay.” He’s like, “I’m going to have to eat rabbit food and you have to get me running.” I’m like, “I don’t have to do anything.” I said, “Why do you have to lose weight?” He’s like, “Because the doctor said.” I said, “What’s going to happen if you don’t?” He’s like, “The doctor said I’m going to die.” I said, “Okay. Why is that important?” He’s like, “I don’t want to die.” I said, “Why not?” He said, “What do you mean why not?”
Then we went down that road and he said, “I got things to do.” “What kind of things do you have to do?” Then we got down to some serious stuff. I said, “Do you think that’s going to be more compelling for you to eat your rabbit food and choose an exercise routine that you will enjoy? You don’t have to run because I run, you have to do something you’re going to show up to do.” Getting to that why, I had a baby at nineteen, that’s a compelling why. I had to get my act into gear so that I can teach her this is how a productive member of society lives. This is what you do and you show up for your responsibilities.Don’t make your goals smaller, make the steps smaller. Click To Tweet
What a great role model for your kids that you’ve gone from where you were to where you are now. Really just thriving in life and teaching other people the strategies and anybody doesn’t have to be pinned down to their certain circumstance. Your pilot story was fascinating to me because you would think that you either die, you’re gone, the lights are out, or you figure it out and you do these strategies to move forward and why that would even be debatable is crazy.
It’s interesting, but it wasn’t compelling enough because it wasn’t the first time he told me, his doctor said if he didn’t lose weight, he was going to die. That’s not compelling enough. “Your doctor says you’re going to die and?” Once we got to, “I have this to.” “Do you want to complete that or not?” “No. I have to complete that.” “What are we going to do now?” “I’m going to figure out what I need to do to exercise properly. I’m going to change my diet.” “Okay.” “This is what I won’t do and this is what I will do.” He is like, “I’m not going to chop vegetables all day.” I was like, “That’s okay. We’ve got food services. We’ve got all sorts of things we can setup for you. Don’t worry about thing but let’s figure out what you are willing to do and what you aren’t but let’s understand why you need to do this, why you want to do this. That’s the thing that will get him out of bed.
How do you keep learning?
I’m constantly taking in information. I’m constantly reading. I’m constantly going to seminars and picking up. I learn from my clients each and every day, each and every one. I just came out of teaching a workshop called Living Your Inspired Life in LA. The feedback I get from my clients while we’re in the middle of that workshop and the stories that they share, that all is very, very telling and it helps me learn what works for others. It helps me learn how this is impacting their lives.
Do you have an example of that? You literally came from the seminar. I’m sure your mind is full of wonderful things. Just give me one little nugget. We all want to be inspired by our life. I’ve gone through my struggle and I was stuck for a long time and through a lot of different strategies, through the Pyramid of Success, I was able to pull myself out of it and get a heady goal. I’m still six years into it and I’m getting closer I’m still not there.
You’re almost there. You only have two left.
Three. I’ve been on five of the world’s tallest mountains and I was pushed back on Denali. I have to go back and redo that.
There you go. We’ll just think of my little nod to the Universe that you’ll already have that third one done.
Is there anything that you can relate to some inspiration of the day?
I’m constantly inspired by the fact that people are still minimizing and what their powers are and how little they think that they’re capable of doing. Oftentimes, when I share my story, I see light bulbs go off and they’re like, “When I came in here I thought this was crazy and then I hear you, you want to buy an island. I’m not so crazy anymore and maybe this is possible.” To watch people actually come across with what is possible for them and it took a day, it took a day of some excavation work and some brushing off the dust of what society says you must do and what norms of society predict for us and show us is the path.
Go to school, get a degree, go get a job, work hard, go to retirement, and then you’ll relax in retirement. I took a year of my retirement in my 30s because who knows if I’m ever going to retire? At this point, I probably won’t ever retire but it was one of those things that my tomorrows are not guaranteed. They don’t do geriatric scuba diving classes. I’m going to do this while I can and then I’ll come back and I’ll work some more because why not?
You’ve applied this in your own life. That’s the bottom line. I think so often when people relate to stories, it’s one of you’re doing that, me too. I’m talking about, “I’ve suffered myself and here I am.” You expose yourself and in more than anything is you share your story like that and you open your heart up and people can identify with that. I think it is a much quicker path towards where you want to be in your own life whatever that thing is.
If people can identify and see that I’ve gotten to where I got from where I was, they’re like, “Maybe I can do that too.” That’s the best thing in the world.
It sounds like you’re living a life of abundance. Here you are in Panama and you said you may want to move from there down to Columbia?
Columbia looks like the next stop for me although my father doesn’t know yet.
What’s dad going to say?
My dad is going to shake his head. He never knows what to do with me.
Columbia sounds like a fun place and it sounds like also it’s not nearly as dangerous as it used to be. Where can people find you?
The book The Flip Side of Failure, where can they find that?
Amazon in either print or eBook.
You are certainly global. You’ve got clients everywhere. You’re moving from one country to the next and you’re here in LA.
I’m here in LA and soon to be in San Jose for a speaking engagement next.
Hopefully, this will serve as inspiration and a compass for other people as they move forward because everybody in their life doesn’t matter I think what part of it is at some point in time we all get stuck. We all need people to come into our lives and help, guide us out. Thank so you much for sharing your story and thank you for coming on the show.
My absolute pleasure and it’s been an honor to be here and to meet you.