Tools for Personal Growth

Be The Friend You Wish You Had

My eldest daughter moved away to college last fall. I tried not to give her too much advice—I’m navigating that tricky space between being a caregiver and being a cheerleader as my child moves from adolescence into adulthood. But I did give her one piece advice that has been really important to me over the years:

Be the friend you wish you had.

This concept is based on the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated. It’s so simple, yet so hard for some to embody. Some of us long for rich, meaningful, deep friendships, but we struggle to make it happen.

If you are someone who finds friendship hard to come by, here are a few tips for building true friendships.

  1. Initiate. Are you waiting for someone to invite you to lunch or out to do something? Be the change you long for. Invite them! Someone has to get the ball rolling. Don’t sit around waiting for someone else to take the first step. Pick up the phone, send a text, reach out.
  2. Listen. I can’t overestimate the importance of being a good listener in friendship. My best friendships are ones where we trade off listening to one another. Sometimes I do most of the talking, and sometimes I do most of the listening. If you want to be a good friend, cultivate the skill of being a good listener. (If this is something you struggle with, here is a “cheat sheet” for becoming a better listener from Harvard Business Review.)
  3. Give Advice Sparingly (and ask first!) This kind of goes along with being a good listener, but try to resist doling out unsolicited advice or feeling like you need to be your friend’s problem solver. Often times, people just want a sounding board. But if you do feel the need to offer advice, get permission first. “Is this something you’d like some input on, or did you just want to process?” is a good question to ask.
  4. Maintain confidence. A strong friendship demands trust, and nothing breaks trust faster than repeating something that was shared with you to someone else. Even if the person did not explicitly say “don’t tell anyone, but…” err on the side of caution and maintain your friend’s privacy. Be someone people know they can entrust their most vulnerable selves to.
  5. Reciprocate. While I advocate for initiating in friendship, it’s also important that a friendship be mutual and reciprocal. Be mindful of who is doing most of the initiating. If it’s always you, and the other person never reciprocates, they might not be as interested in close friendship as you are. Move on.
  6. Make time. Relationships take time! Block out time in your weekend for plans with a friend. Share an article you think they might find interesting or shoot them a text asking about something you discussed last time you spoke. “How did it go with ____?” tells them you were listening and that you care about them.
  7. Be intentional. Friendship, like any relationship, requires maintenance. Being a good friend requires intention and consistency.

To have a good friend is to have a real gift, indeed. While friendship certainly comes more easily to some than others, these tips can help you foster deeper friendships and be the friend you wish you had!

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Christy Tennant Krispin is a Whole Life Coach helping clients live more intentionally in alignment with their goals and values across all spheres of life. Schedule a free consultation with Christy here.

Tools for Personal Growth

What Does a Life Coach Do?

What does a life coach do? It’s a question that many people have asked at some point in their lives, and ever since I began my career in coaching, it’s a question I have faced many times.

It can be hard to find the right words to describe the role of a life coach, but recently, while I was on a long road trip with my family, it occurred to be that a life coach is basically a GPS app for your career, relationships, or personal development in general. Like a GPS device, a coach helps you figure out where you are now, where you want to be, and what specific steps you need to take to get there.

Sometimes, I’ll be talking with someone about coaching, and they will say, “So it’s like… counseling?” It’s a fair question, but it’s important to make the clear distinction that coaching is not the same thing as counseling. A life coach is different from a therapist or counselor, because they do not diagnose clients or treat mental health conditions.

A therapist might help someone who has anxiety, but a life coach will help someone who wants to quit smoking or who wants to improve their relationships with their children or spouse by identifying what they want and how they’re going to get there.

A therapist will listen to what you say and help you sort out your emotional responses; a life coach will help you take action on what you want and need, based on the information that comes out of that conversation.

A good way to think about it is that a counselor listens, while a coach, well, coaches. A counselor helps you look back and process things from your past that are affecting your life in the present. A coach helps you identify where you are, where you want to be, and how you’re going to get there. Both are supportive, caring professionals who want to see you succeed; the main difference is that a counselor helps you work through why you may feel stuck, while coaches focus on helping clients move forward toward the future they envision for themselves.

If you are interested in seeing whether working with a coach would be helpful for you, I’d love to chat! Set up a free Initial Coaching Conversation starting here.

There is still time to register for tomorrow’s webinar, “Putting Technology in its Place!” Click the image below for more information and to sign up.

Tools for Personal Growth

How to Get Better at Saying “No”

Saying “no” is really hard for some people, especially those of us who are bent toward connections. We fear that when we say “no,” we might disappoint someone. Or we might miss out on a cool opportunity. Or we might burn a bridge.

But the ability to say “no” is an invaluable asset. It contributes to better boundaries, better time management, and better mental health.

A question I like to ask my clients is, “By saying ‘yes’ to that, what are you saying ‘no’ to?” When we consider that we have limited resources of time and energy, we realize that we need to be selective about what we say “yes” to. There are only so many hours in the day, and if we aren’t intentional about our commitments, we can find ourselves spending our limited resources in places that don’t really matter to us, without anything left for the things that do matter.

With that, here are five tips for getting better at saying “no.”

1. Identify Your Priorities and Filter Requests Through Them

Two things happened in 2021 that helped me reprioritize my life in 2022. First, my dad was diagnosed with a “rare and aggressive” cancer called angiosarcoma. And second, my eldest daughter graduated from high school.

Both of these events served as wake-up call. In them, I realized that I won’t have my dad or my kids here forever. This season of life, with my mom and dad living down the road and my kids living in my house, are just that—a season. And as I did my year-end assessment and prepared for 2022, I recognized that I needed to make some changes in order to make the most of my time with my parents and my children while I can.

These priorities—time with my parents and my kids—have shaped many of the decisions I’ve made, and they have freed me to say “no” to things that would displace them from my schedule. Identifying your priorities can do the same for you.

2. Design Your Schedule Around Your Priorities

When you clearly identify and define your priorities, you can filter decisions through them, bringing clarity to when it’s appropriate to say “no.”

Time with my parents when my kids are there is very different from time with them alone, so I created a work schedule that allows me to spend time with them every Friday while the kids are in school. I go to the gym and, on my way home, stop in at their house. Mom makes coffee and often has something freshly baked, and we sit in the kitchen and talk for an hour or so. It has become a highlight of my week. Saying “no” to certain work opportunities, which would involve less flexibility and require me to work on Fridays, has allowed me to say “yes” to spending quality time with my parents each week.

Likewise, wanting to be with my kids more has helped me say “no” to things that take me away from them on a regular basis. They are in school Monday-Friday for seven hours, so I really only have between five-six waking hours with them each day. During those hours, we have extracurriculars, homework, piano practice, household contributions, play dates, and things like meals and showers. When you really think about it, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for meaningful conversations or going out for “special time.”

By blocking out my working hours, evenings with my kids, and Friday mornings with my parents, I am invariably saying “no” to “calendar creep” — less important opportunities that would take me from what matters most to me in this season of life.

3. Resist Trying to Squeeze Things In

“I already have plans” is a perfectly acceptable reason to say no to something. Never mind the fact that your plans are to go to bed early, clean out a closet, or take a walk. Some people think if they don’t have a “legitimate” conflict, they need to try to squeeze things in, saying things like, “I can make that work.”

I encourage people to remove “I can make that work” from their vocabulary. Instead of squeezing things in, pursue a schedule that contains white space, and protect that white space as if your life depended on it! We can all use a bit more breathing room, and white space allows for that.

4. Give Someone Else the Ball

I’ve always been someone who had a high capacity for leadership and service, which naturally meant that I had positions of leadership in just about everything I was involved with, and I volunteered every time a need arose. But just because you can lead something doesn’t mean you should. Once I became more selective about the commitments I made, I made room for others to lead and serve. And it felt great.

Some people have no problem saying no, and God bless ’em! But for the rest of us, it’s a skill that takes honing. While we may indeed disappoint someone, or we may in fact miss out on a cool opportunity every now and then, I’ve learned that as we get better at saying no, we experience more fruitfulness in the areas where we have said an intentional “yes,” leading to a life marked by flourishing rather than frustration.


Christy Tennant Krispin is a Whole Life Coach helping clients live more intentionally in alignment with their goals and values across all spheres of life. Schedule a free consultation with Christy here.

Photo by cottonbro on

technology, Tools for Personal Growth

Putting Technology in its Place (Upcoming Webinar!)

I am so excited to host “Putting Technology In Its Place” twice this month!

This webinar is aimed at helping you establish and maintain healthy tech habits in 2023. Over the past year, as I have worked with clients of all ages and backgrounds, a theme that has come up with many folks has been the effect of technology and digital media on our quality of life.

Don’t get me wrong: I love what technology and digital media makes possible! I’m an avid user of apps and streaming services. I appreciate how these things help me be more productive, connected, and entertained!

But left unchecked, there is a shadow side to technology as well. Relationships, job performance, mental health, and sleep are all affected by having an unboundaried, unintentional approach to social media and digital engagement.

In this webinar, I will address the why behind our use of digital technology, and then offer eight practices you can begin implementing immediately to develop healthy boundaries and put technology in its proper place!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023 – 12:00 PM (EST)


Tuesday, January 31 – 8:00 PM (EST)

Putting Technology in it’s Place (January 24, 2023 – 12:00 PM EST)

A recording of the webinar will be available after the event for all who register! If you are unable to join live, you can access the recording later.


Putting Technology in it’s Place (January 31, 2023 – 8:00 PM EST)

A one-hour webinar on establishing and maintaining healthy tech habits in 2023 + access to a recording of the event afterward.


A recording of the webinar will be available after the event for all who register! If you are unable to join live, you can access the recording at a time that suits you.

Make 2023 the year you put technology in its place!

Tools for Personal Growth

5 Tips for Putting Technology in its Place at Night

Do you struggle with nighttime tech use? Do you find it hard to wake up in the morning, because you stayed on your smartphone or tablet into the wee hours of the night?

What may seem like harmless scrolling is actually robbing many people of precious hours of sleep, leading to irritability, trouble with concentration, a weakened immune system, and health risks, like high blood pressure, weight gain, and an increased risk of diabetes.

Not to mention being chronically late to work or school!

No one means to be at the mercy of their devices. We convince ourselves that we can stop anytime we want. We tell ourselves, “I’ll just check Instagram once more real quick,” and an hour later, we’re still scrolling. Then, suddenly, it’s 1 AM, and we’ll be lucky if we can get five and a half hours of sleep before the alarm goes off.

If you are someone who struggles to maintain healthy boundaries when it comes to tech use at night, here are some things I have found helpful in placing boundaries around nighttime tech use and putting technology in its proper place.

  1. Get an alarm clock. You remember those, right? All they do is tell time, or perhaps they have a radio as well. If you don’t still have one, get one and put it beside your bed. This way you do not need to rely on your device to wake you up in the morning. You also don’t need to pick up your phone to check the time in the middle of the night.
  2. Create a charging station at least fifteen feet away from your bed. It could be in the hallway, a closet, or even a drawer on the other side of the room. It just has to be far enough away that you have to physically get up from your bed to access your device.
  3. Create friction around accessing your apps after your pre-determined end time. First, decide on a time you will be done with your device for the night. Set an alarm for fifteen minutes before that time, and when the timer goes off, put your device on the charging station you’ve established. (If this is the only phone you have, and you’re concerned people won’t be able to reach you on the off chance you get a call, put the ringer at full volume. If someone needs to reach you in the middle of the night, you’ll hear it.) Next, create additional friction by turning on Downtime, App Limits, and/or Focus. These are great tools on Apple devices (I’m sure non-Apple devices have their own versions) that allow you to set an intention around tech and place boundaries of access and time around your app use.
  4. Identify what’s behind your nighttime tech use. Are you bored? Keep a book or some magazines beside your bed to look at as your brain begins to shut down for the night. Lonely? Keep some pens and notecards beside your bed and write a letter to someone you care about before turning off the light. Mind racing and struggling to “turn off your brain at night?” Keep a yoga mat beside your bed and do a short series of breathing exercises and stretches before climbing into bed.
  5. Involve another person. Tell someone you trust about your struggle with tech use at night. Many of our struggles lose power when we bring them into the light by acknowledging them aloud. If loneliness is behind your tech use at night, perhaps you could even end your day with a short phone call with a friend.

Technology is a great thing. I’m grateful for how many aspects of my life are more convenient and streamlined because of the apps I use on a day-to-day basis. But technology can have a way of taking over. These steps can help put technology in its place—and give you a good night’s rest.


Christy Tennant Krispin is a Whole Life Coach helping clients live more intentionally in alignment with their goals and values across all spheres of life. Schedule a free consultation with Christy here.

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Used by permission.

Tools for Personal Growth

Prioritizing Under Pressure

Part of being a good leader, whether of many or just in your own home, is being able to manage effectively and make decisions when under pressure. But not everyone realizes that prioritizing under pressure is a skill that can be developed. As a professional businesswoman and homemaker, I know this well.

Recently, I had one of those days.

You know the ones: To Do List a mile long. Looming deadlines. Last-minute “emergencies.” A client meeting in the middle of the day. A birthday dinner to prepare and presents to wrap. Not to mention I was flying cross-country with my husband and four of our five children the following day, and I had not yet packed for anyone.

That morning, I woke up and felt the panic slowly beginning to creep in. How am I going to get it all done before we leave tomorrow? Everything felt urgent and important, but the truth was, I wasn’t going to get “it all” done. That would have been impossible.

But there were some things that I had to get done, because they were time-sensitive and important. As I felt my chest tighten, my mood darken, and my thoughts starting to spiral, I turned to a tool I use with clients who are struggling to prioritize tasks when under pressure, a framework based on something called “The Eisenhower Matrix.”

Dwight Eisenhower was a man who carried a lot of responsibilities, first as a U.S. Army General, Allied Forces Commander during WWII, and NATO Commander after that, and then as the 34th President of the United States. In other words, the man knew how to get stuff done. Making decisions and prioritizing tasks while under immense, life-and-death pressure was a skill he developed and systematized in order to help others develop this skill as well.

The framework he used is exactly what I turned to that day. I didn’t have to look it up; I have used this so many times that I could just imagine the grid in my mind and quickly categorize every task accordingly. And it was just what I needed to help me focus, prioritize, and regain a sense of peace in the midst of the storm of stress that was swirling around me.

Here’s how it works:

First, do a quick assessment of the tasks and decisions before you. Ask yourself, “Is this urgent? Is it important?” Depending on how you answer those questions, quickly do one of the following:

DO IT NOW. If the task is both urgent (i.e. time-sensitive) and important (i.e. necessary), buckle down and do it now. Because of our trip the next day, tasks like cleaning out the car and packing the kids’ and my suitcases were both urgent and necessary. So was the client meeting and running to the grocery store for more cat and dog food and a birthday cake for Dad. I got to it and did those tasks that day.

PLAN TO DO IT LATER. I keep a document in my Notes app on my phone, and anything that can be done later goes on that list. If the task is important and necessary, but can wait, it goes on that list. I then block out time on my calendar for those tasks. The particular day in question, I had bank deposits to process, invoices to log, a blog to write, a letter to write, copious amounts of reading for my current seminary class, and some other things that were demanding my attention. The bank deposit can happen today, but I can log the invoices, write the blog and letter, and those other things later. Once I put those tasks on my “Later List,” I could move on from them for now.

DELEGATE WHERE POSSIBLE. One of the things I wanted to do before we left town for a week was to get my Christmas tree out to the curb before all of the needles dropped in my living room. But just the thought of taking time to remove the ornaments and get them packed up with everything else I had going on felt overwhelming. So I asked my son to remove all of the ornaments from the tree. Soon, without being asked, my older daughter began taking down the lights and garland from our staircase bannister, and the younger kids followed her lead and started pitching in to help as well. Within an hour, the Christmas decorations were mostly packed up and the tree was on the curb. A task that had felt overwhelming earlier that day was finished.

ELIMINATE ANYTHING THAT IS NOT IMPORTANT AND URGENT. Just delete it from your radar. Poof! On the day I’m describing, I eliminated cleaning the house (why do we always feel the need to clean our house top to bottom before going on vacation?!) and baking a cake for my dad (I bought one instead, but displayed it on my fancy cake stand. It was beautiful and delicious and no one cared that it wasn’t made from scratch!)

We may not be leading an army or the free world, but each of us is fighting our own battles every day. Whether we are running a company, a department, a church, or a household (or some combination of these), we face the challenge of knowing what to do when and how without losing our minds or operating from a place of stress, when we are more likely to drop balls or make poor decisions.

Getting to know the Eisenhower Matrix adds a tool to our toolbox and helps us develop a skill that every high-capacity leader must have: the skill of prioritizing under pressure.

Tools for Personal Growth

How Do You Plan to Flourish in 2023?

This image represents a popular tool used in personal development to help identify areas for potential growth. This tool goes by many names, but I call it a “Life Alignment Wheel,” and I love using it with my clients to help them get a baseline before we begin working together. Aiming to raise my client’s awareness, I invite them to think through each area of life and ask the question, “How am I doing here?”

It may or may not come as a surprise that many of my clients come to me because, in their words, “I just want to be happy.” Many people know that something is “off” in their lives, but they can’t quite put their finger on why. The Wheel can help!

As you think through each area, you will begin with a general sense of things. For example, you may look at Physical Health and say, initially, “I need to get in better shape,” or look at Finances and say, “My finances are a mess. I don’t even know where to begin.” Believe it or not, that’s a great place to start! Once you have identified where you want to grow and improve, you are ready to utilize coaching to help you design each specific step in getting there.

The end of the year is a great time to go through the Life Alignment Wheel and get a clear picture of where you would like to grow in the new year. There are many images out there to help you do this, often called “Wheel of Life” or “Coaching Wheel,” but this is one I made to reflect my understanding of which areas of life need to be brought into alignment on a regular basis in order to feel a sense of holistic flourishing.

I’d like to invite you to take some time today or tomorrow as we wrap up 2022 and think through each area. Click here for a free printable PDF.

The way it works is that you shade in how strong you feel in each area. If you feel really good about a particular category, color it in. If you know you want to improve or grow in an area, shade it in accordance with that sense you have.

Don’t be surprised if doing this exercise evokes strong emotions. It is very common for people to experience some surprisingly big feelings when they begin to come to terms with their life. I have had clients begin to cry as they became more aware of things after having ignored or denied certain aspects of their lives.

It may be hard to look at, but it will be impossible to begin to make the changes you want to make if you don’t.

Start the new year with a clear sense of where you want to go in the next twelve months! If your life is perfect just as it is, this is not the tool for you. But if you feel like there are areas you would like to grow in, the Life Alignment Wheel can help.

Cheers to having a new year filled with joy, meaning, purpose, and fulfillment!