Emotional Awareness and Resilience Coach, Author, and Speaker

Lou’s Bio

As an Emotional Awareness coach, author, and speaker, Lou’s mission is to help people of all ages understand and gain ownership over their emotions, so they can live the life they choose.

Through his personal experience, having successfully completed a multitude of endurance athletic events over the past decade, including the Boston Marathon, Ironman, and ultramarathons, as well his study of eastern medicine and philosophy Lou has developed tools for building mental and emotional tools that have the ability to benefit anyone looking to bring their best selves to every situation.

Beyond his own practice, Lou transformed his knowledge into an accessible methods and tools that anyone can use in their own life. Through his presentations, workshops, as well as individual and group coaching Lou helps students, parents, mentors, caregivers, teachers, athletes and leaders gain ownership of their choices by knowing how to use their emotions in a way that serves their goals.

Not all Emotions are Pretty… but all Have a Purpose

I’m sitting, crammed into the front row with a plethora of other parents, waiting anxiously for our children to appear.  We are at a concert to hear our kids play their instruments, sing their songs in choirs — basically do their best at putting themselves ‘on the line’ in an uncertain environment.  It takes enormous courage, and seeing kids (anyone really) deal with their fear, anxiety, and self judgement and find their courage to perform anything is always all inspiring to me.

As parents, all we can do is wait.  Wait and hope. We want our children to create the most beautiful sounds. To have perfect performances.  Performances that are everything they wanted for themselves. Hit all the cords perfectly. Hear loud ovations that follow them all the way to the car afterwards.

My daughter has finished.  She sang her heart out. Now I’m watching a conductor introduce a piece of music.  The song is called Pandora. Before he starts he says…

“It isn’t a pretty piece of music.  It’s not supposed to be. But It sure is a lot of fun to play.”
– David Powelson, Conductor

His words catch me off guard.  What does that even mean?, I think.  In my mind I always thought music had to be beautiful.  Pleasant. It’s there to make me feel good, right? Why else would anyone make it?  What other purpose could it possibly serve? Then it hits me…

Not everything of substance feels good.  

Music creates a feeling within the listener that helps them understand what the song is about.  It may be meant to convey a sense of sadness or outrage. But in essence, that outrage may very well be what is needed for a better understanding of the music as a whole.  I can’t help but to think that this is what a great deal of our uncomfortable emotions do for us – convey vital information to us that we need in order to understand and excel in the situations that we choose… or perhaps find ourselves in.

Growth is not always comfortable or pretty.  Uncomfortable emotions are palpable in our children as they stretch and grow with their fear and anxiety radiating through them as they perform.  But those emotions serve a purpose for them. For anyone trying to grow. Fear, anxiety, and uncertainty matter. In the right dose they are catalysts, promoting growth and resilience.  They bring about a full weighted focus to try hard and achieve the outcome we’re looking for. When that outcome is reached, usually our more comfortable feelings greet us at the door as a reward for our efforts.  But whether catalyst or reward, all of our emotions are required for our best performance of our own personal symphony, regardless of the chosen arena.

What arena have you stepped into that has hit a strong chord within you? Where uncomfortable emotions have helped you rather than hindered you and allowed for you to stretch in your current area of growth?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Nothing Beats Consistency

Consistency means that every single day, without fail, you act in pursuit of your goal. You may miss a day, because, let’s face it, life happens, but consistency means that when you miss you are doubly motivated to get back at it the next day. You are defined by what you do. You are what you do. That’s the kind of consistency that I’m talking about.

Talent is great. Luck is nice. Trying is really important. Connections can help. But the only thing that truly leads you to success is consistency.

Is that kind of consistency normal? Do most people have that? Most of the people that you see who are the ‘top of their field’, whether they are athletes, actors, business people, are not the most talented at what they do. They may not have had the best luck (in fact, many of them have had some truly tough luck!). And most didn’t have any connections to help them get their ‘break’. There are better athletes, actors, and business people than those we see in the media. It’s 100% true. Because there is always unrealized talent. But, without consistent effort – putting in the time day in and day out in pursuit of your goal – all the talent in the world won’t enable you to succeed.

What you do when you are not on stage matters more than what you do when you are in front of the lights with everybody watching! The more you put in that consistent effort, the more you will succeed, and nothing can stop you. Not somebody’s opinion. Not other people’s beliefs. Not even the barriers or failures you encounter.

Consistency does not guarantee perfect results. You just have to look at the batting averages of hall-of-fame baseball players to realize that!  But nothing can stop you if you put in consistent effort with 100% belief in what you are doing.

Put on your blinders. Because, I guarantee you, if you are truly focused only on the one thing you are trying to do, and you have that consistent effort, no matter what happens you’re not going to be judging yourself against others. You’re not even going to be seeing what other have or are doing. Not if you are fully invested in what you are doing. That is the kind of consistent effort that will always outperform any of the luck, any of the connections, any of the talent that you see outside of yourself. And the great thing is – you will never see those things outside of yourself if you are only focused on the task at hand!

So, what does that mean, to only focus on the task at hand? Does that mean you have an easy pass to success? You’re just going to sail on in and everything will be perfect? Does that mean you won’t have emotional ups and downs? That things won’t hit you and you’ll get disappointed, frustrated, angry, or self-doubt?

No, of course not.

You are going to have moments of struggle and doubt. Of course you are. Everybody has those moments. So, how can you bring yourself back to center when those moments arise so you can maintain your consistency? What are the tools you use to help you recognize what it was that pulled you off center and triggered the emotions you are feeling? How do you know what it is you want to feel? What tools do you use to move yourself quickly beyond what you are feeling, to refocusing on what you want to feel and so you can get back to what you are doing?

It may take 5, 10, even 30 minutes when you first begin to practice re-centering yourself. But eventually, you will be able to do it in the space of a breath. In the time it takes you to inhale, you will be able to assess the situation and the emotions you are feeling, and what it is that you want to feel, so that by the time you exhale you will be ready to take the necessary actions to get back to how you want to feel.

Emotional resilience isn’t a special skill.  You don’t need a particular talent or fancy methods. It starts with being able to identify your emotions, and being willing to acknowledge them, think about what you want feel, and then take action. When you pursue these steps with consistency you will succeed. And consistently building your emotional resiliency will help you achieve the life you want.

What tools or methods do you use to help regain your center when something throws your emotions off course? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Emotional Resilience – Don’t Play Small

I’m sitting in a green room, getting ready to deliver my keynote speech on emotional resilience at a University. Honestly, 5 minutes ago I didn’t even know what a green room was. I mean I’ve seen TV shows where people were getting ready in green rooms before going on stage, like the Johnny Carson Show (okay, just think Jimmy Fallon now 😊). Stars, or important people, sit in a room covered with flowers, chocolates, letters from adoring fans, waiting to be announced. Once they are announced, they strut out onto the stage to loud cheers. They give a cool hand wave, saying humbly, “please, you’re too kind. Sit, please.”

Then there’s me in my green room: no flowers or food. Definitely no adoring fan letters. Just lights around a big mirror, which is freaking me out. I stare in the mirror and try to psych myself up for my speech.

At best I figure I will be speaking to maybe 30-40 people. A keynote for a University’s ‘Wellness Week’ wouldn’t likely draw more people than that, right? What I was really thinking was that I didn’t warrant more people than that. That, if I down-played the whole situation and made it small enough in my head I wouldn’t be so anxious. That way, if it didn’t go well (or perfectly) I could write it off as not a big deal.

Just go out and be professional, I thought, staring at my reflection. Keep your energy close to the vest. Stick to your script, don’t give big energy, DO NOT be yourself…and you’ll be fine. Don’t deviate like you do. Spontaneity must be avoided at all costs. Imagine what would happen if you couldn’t get back to your point! Just make yourself and your presentation well…presentable.

There’s a name for this kind of armor. This kind of getting yourself emotionally prepared for any chance of things not going well and buffering feelings of fear, disappointment, or vulnerability by giving the bare minimum of yourself, and it’s not called emotional resilience.

It’s called playing small.

It’s true, when we are playing small, we are emotionally armoring up. We don’t leave ourselves open for attack from others or ourselves. We are fairly well protected from disappointment, embarrassment, failure, and all the emotional ‘uglies’ (uncomfortable feelings). But there’s another side of that coin. When we keep our emotional armor on, we lose a great opportunity for real, authentic connection with others. We stifle our creativity and authenticity when we let our fears of being exposed as being less than perfect (as if perfect was ever an option) rule us.

Emotional resilience isn’t about having it all figured out, only feeling positive emotions all the time or keeping a stiff upper lip. It’s not a game where the person who shows or gives the least amount of themselves wins. It’s not about always presenting with a plastic grin. It’s not a popularity contest that you win by putting forth emotional ‘rays of sunshine’ at all times, while holding all of your uncomfortable emotions inside only to take them out on yourself or others at a later date.

Emotional resilience is about being brave enough to feel your uncomfortable feelings. Squaring up and being ok with being human. Identifying anger, greed, hatred, sadness, fatigue, disappointment, pettiness, fear, and whatever else you’ve got in your emotional pockets and acknowledging them. Owning them as yours. Not taking them out on others or avoiding them by playing small.

When we avoid our uncomfortable emotions, or avoid situations where they might come up, we are no longer governing our choices. Instead, our fear, anxiety, and embarrassment end up, by default, deciding what we can or will try. We may live a safe life, but it’s a half-life at best.

Alright, I hear the announcer getting everyone ready for my entrance. I’m excited and nervous. I remind myself that I know my message and this topic like the back of my hand. Like the front of my hand too come to think of it. I know it like this because it’s in me. I breathe this. It’s my faith, my church. These people didn’t hire me for a book report on emotional resilience, they hired me because of who I am and the way I present this knowledge to others so they can actually use it for themselves. My God, my message tonight isn’t “I will be perfect,” it’s “I will try.”

I’m sure I’ll stumble over myself a few times, but being ok with that is the only way I know to be whole-heartedly myself. The only perfection I will find out on that stage tonight is in my effort, not hiding from my emotions and minimizing myself. I can live with that.

What people are saying

  • “I was having real difficulty, not just creating a relationship with my son and daughter,
    but being able to
    parent him without getting caught in my anger all the time.
    After being in Lou’s workshop, I definitely feel more in control
    of my emotions and actions at work, with my kids, everywhere.“

    – Educator and mother of two

  • “Lou is able to take things that most of us feel and have difficulty expressing and give words to them. He makes what we’re feeling accessible to us through humor and great story telling.”

    – Social Worker, mother of three

  • “Lou is one of those special peopl who gets kids AND adults.  You see it in his coaching cross-country as well as his books and workshops.  His compassionate treatment of children and adults alike as we learn to help each other grow in emotional awareness and skills is so needed today, so centering and enlivening.  Thank you Lou for all you are and what you do with it!”

    Sally Kendall, MT and Intructor