Kelley Kosow is the author of The Integrity Advantage, a motivational speaker, and the Chief Executive Officer of the highly acclaimed Ford Institute.

She continues the legacy of the New York Times bestselling author and thought leader, the late Debbie Ford, and leads the development and teachings of The Ford Institute’s transformational...

Kelley Kosow is the author of The Integrity Advantage, a motivational speaker, and the Chief Executive Officer of the highly acclaimed Ford Institute.

She continues the legacy of the New York Times bestselling author and thought leader, the late Debbie Ford, and leads the development and teachings of The Ford Institute’s transformational programs to thousands of people across the globe. Known as a “kick-ass coach” to high-level executives, change makers, and celebrities committed to personal transformation, Kelley blends her quick wit, laser sharp insight, and relentless compassion to help people upgrade their lives on a cellular level. Throughout her impressive career as a successful lawyer turned personal growth super star, she has been featured in Oprah Magazine as someone who could “Dream it, Do it,” as well as In Style, People, Working Mother, Latina, NY Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and LA Times. Kelley has also appeared on “The Balancing Act” and Better.tv.

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Are You Finally Fed Up With Being Fed Up?

fedup Are You Finally Fed Up With Being Fed Up?

Are you…
Sick of feeling stuck?
Tired of talking about change that never seems to happen?
Frustrated with feeling like you are never enough?

Week after week I hear stories from people who just can't seem to get out of their own way. They are still talking about the same twenty pounds, caught in the same cash crisis, trying to find their passion, and searching for their soulmate. Although their excuses and rationalizations about why nothing is changing in their lives have evolved and become more elaborate, their actual life circumstances have not! Many desperately try to convince themselves that at some point something will happen that will serve as the catalyst for real change. Yet underneath their wishful thinking lies a sense of sadness, resignation, frustration, and fear. Unfortunately, they have lost trust in themselves and the benevolence of the Universe. They have forgotten what Glinda said to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, "You had the power all along."

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Healing the Dis-ease of Entitlement

entitlement Healing the Dis-ease of Entitlement

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the concept of entitlement -- that feeling so many of us have that we are owed something, that we have rights or deserve something to be the way we think it should be. Think of the times you have thought or had someone say to you:

  • I deserve to be treated a certain way, given certain things, or taken care of in a particular manner, because I am your child, parent, or friend.”
  • You owe me because I was there for you.”
  • The Universe should reward or repay me because I am a ‘good person.’”

 

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Life Can Be Easy - The Choice is Yours!

easybutton Life Can Be Easy - The Choice is Yours!

Do you remember when one of the big office supply stores developed the big red "Easy” button as a reminder to "keep things easy at work"? Years ago, one of my fellow staff members at The Ford Institute started bringing a big red "Easy" button to all of the in-person workshops and trainings we did. He would keep it out at the staff table at the back of the workshop room. It was actually a perfect reminder for all of us that an invitation for transformation exists in every moment and it can happen in an instant if we choose to open up and receive the invitation. Unfortunately, most people don't recognize the miracles that are always dancing right in front of them as well as their innate power and ability to shift what they are experiencing in each and every moment.

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Tips For Overcoming Overcommitment & Overwhelm

work-is-making-her-miserable-picture-id1064567962 Tips For Overcoming Overcommitment & Overwhelm

Do you get anxious thinking about your “to-do” list?

Do you constantly wonder how you’re going to possibly get everything done?

Are you exhausted, feeling it’s your job to take care of everyone and everything?

 

The other day I was talking to a group of women. Some had high power jobs, some worked part-time, and some not at all. There were single moms, working moms, stay-at-home moms, grandmoms, and women whose children are older but are now taking care of their moms. Although their circumstances differed, one of the issues they all had in common was feeling overcommitted and overwhelmed. As they shared how they try to manage their lives, striving to find a sense of calm while juggling their obligations, tasks, and to-do lists, it became apparent that their tendency to multi-task was not only the source of their exhaustion but also a form self-sabotage. They all agreed that something needed to shift but questioned how. Below are three tips for overcoming overcommitment and overwhelm.

 

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Cutting The Cords Of Family Dysfunction

dysfunction Cutting The Cords Of Family Dysfunction

Day after day, I have people who come to me because they feel stuck in their relationships. Although their circumstances may be unique, their themes are common. They:

  • Become masters at avoiding or denying what’s really going on in their relationships or household,
  • Numb out with food, alcohol, or work so they don’t have to feel their pain or resignation,
  • Pacify their partners because they don’t want to upset them and deal with their wrath,
  • Tolerate situations that are intolerable, unhealthy, or just soul-crushing,
  • Stay in the relationship because they have fear of leaving and the unknown.

 

They desperately want support in breaking free from their non-serving patterns and behaviors and are ready to do the work necessary to create a shift.

Although initially most think they are doing the work for themselves, which they are, they soon realize that their commitment to change is much bigger than they are. They realize that the dysfunctional patterns which they are exhibiting, experiencing, and enduring in their relationships and household have been in their family for generations and will more than likely remain in their family for generations to come unless someone has the courage and desire to cut the cords of dysfunction that are woven into the fabric of the family.

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Creating Your Perfect Day

three-happy-best-girlfriends-in-glasses-making-selfie-on-smartphone-picture-id949431390 Creating Your Perfect Day

Can you believe that it's already August?

Have you gotten around to doing all the things that you said you would do this summer?

Have you had that “perfect” summer day?

I am big believer in creating perfect days! Although it tends to happen more when I am on vacation or weekends, a few times a month I religiously wake up and declare “Let’s have a perfect day.”

Now I know that some people tend to shudder at the word “perfect” since being a perfectionist or trying to get things “perfect” has caused them pain or utter exhaustion. So, when I talk about a “perfect day,” it is not about some ideal of perfection or creating a day with moments that look picture perfect on Instagram. It’s about creating a day that is perfect for you and the people partaking in your perfect day.

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Step Out Of Your Outdated Definition of Self!

proud-woman-pointing-herself-in-the-street-picture-id1135088054 Step Out Of Your Outdated Definition of Self!

Have you ever told yourself “That’s not me!” “I’m not the type of person who would…” or “Not in a million years would I…”?

Day after day, I hear stories from people who are certain about who they are, how they will react to situations, and what is or isn’t in their realm of possibilities.

They tell themselves things like:

 

  • I will never...get divorced, get married again, date someone ten years older or younger than myself.

 

  • There is no way I could...sing karaoke, speak in public, live anywhere but NYC, travel by myself, jump out of a plane.

 

  • It’s not important to me or I don’t care about…having a child, getting involved with politics, making money.

 

  • I could never... set a boundary, be selfish, lazy, or cheap, act spoiled, be friends with that person, emotionally survive the loss of a loved one.

 

But then something happens and boom - they are confronted with an opportunity or some situation that challenges their belief system. They are challenged with giving up control and being vulnerable. They are faced with letting go of the safety of the self they have known and defined themselves to be. They are tested with the dilemma of remaining in or breaking free from their self-imposed box.


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3 Keys To Emotional Independence

emotionalindependence 3 Keys To Emotional Independence

Happy Independence Day - the day we celebrate our “unalienable rights” to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and freedom! Now of course there are many ways to achieve living life to the fullest, feeling liberated, and attaining happiness, but I can promise you that if you truly want to let freedom ring, then you must foster emotional independence.   Emotional independence is being able to stand in your power, and to make choices based on what is in your highest versus as a reaction to external circumstances. And the crazy thing is, that even though “unalienable rights” are defined as those that cannot be surrendered, transferred, given away to, or revoked by another, the fact is that most of us give away our power when it comes to emotional independence and let outside sources rob of us our joy, equilibrium, internal knowing, and sense of self.

So, if your day, mood, or reactions are being controlled by: 

  • the way your butt and thighs look in your jeans,
  • whether a person you are dating asks you out for Saturday night or texts you the day after you slept together,
  • a disagreement you’ve had with a family member,
  • someone else’s opinion of you, or
  • your desire to numb out and avoid dealing with certain situations,

then chances are you need some support in fostering emotional independence.




Here are 3 tips to aid you on your path to true freedom.

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Are You Having Fun Yet?

Havingfun Are You Having Fun Yet?

Happy Summer! The season of relaxation, vacations, warm weather, and FUN! But after teaching hundreds of programs and working with thousands of people, I know that the reality is most people have a hard time having fun!   We have a hard time putting their to-do lists down, kicking back, and prioritizing our need to just have fun.   And when it comes to comparing our level of satisfaction as well as the time and effort we put into having fun, especially when compared to other areas of their life, having fun generally ranks last on the list.

Can you relate?

So, even though we are all so quick to say “Have Fun!” and it feels like it should be a relatively easy task to do, then why is it so damn difficult for so many of us to just…have fun? What is it that gets in our way? And, what can we do to increase our capacity to enjoy?

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Igniting the Fire of Your Inner Desire

uncontrolled-energy-picture-id474675205 Igniting the Fire of Your Inner Desire

I am always in awe of people who start with a passing conversation or idea and then actually make it happen! Many of us have a great thought or a brainstorm yet it never gets off the ground or comes to fruition. So when it comes to creating something from nothing, doing something you have never done before, or putting yourself out there in a whole new way, what drives those who do versus those who just think or talk about it? What have they tapped into inside themselves that fuels their fire and carries their commitment?

Answer? Desire!

Desire is the most important catalyst for bringing about radical change.

It is the spark that ignites the flame of your soul and illuminates your innate creativity, passion, and vision. It is the impulse that seeds your ambition and sources your energy to share your unique talents with the world. It is fuel that has you go through whatever tests, training, or development necessary to be all that you can be.

In its purest form, desire drives you to let go of the safety of your status-quo. It makes you want something so badly that you are willing to do whatever it takes in order to manifest your dreams. Yet generally desire does not come without a long list of doubts! And for many of us it is our fear, insecurity, or doubt that has derailed the pursuit of our desires.

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How to Live Beyond Your Limits

lifeline How to Live Beyond Your Limits

“We’re not the cause, we’re the effect.” - Nipsey Hussle

I am always in awe of the divine design of life. A true believer in the philosophy that “there are no coincidences,” I am always fascinated by the people who cross my path. Whether it be someone I am standing next to in a long line or the person who sits next to me at seminar, workshop, or dinner party, I am always curious as to what the connection will be and why we are crossing each other’s path at that moment in time. This is especially true when I travel – I am always intrigued to see who will be in the seat next to me and why.

About nine months ago, I was flying from Miami to Los Angeles. Trained to get on the plane as early as you can to get that overhead space, I was all settled in and just waiting for my flying partner to appear. A man in his thirties wearing big gold with diamonds chains finally came and claimed the seat next to me. As he got comfortable in his window seat, I realized that many of the people walking by seemed to know and pay homage to him with a high-five, thumbs-up, or some sort of gesture of recognition and respect. Now totally curious as to who he was, I decided to ask. He humbly and gracefully explained that he was a rapper. Later he shared that his name was Nipsey Hussle.

Admittedly, I had no idea who he was. However, being someone who works with so many people who feel stuck, cannot get out of their own way, or remain the victim of their past or some life situation, I am always in awe of the people who manage to move past their stories of victimization - “Oh woe is me” or “life is unfair” - and manifest huge success. Wanting to learn more about who he was and what had driven him, we chatted for a while. He shared about where he had come from, his family, his work ethic, his different business ventures, and all that he was doing to give back to the community. Reflecting on all he had created, he said that what really struck him is that one day he woke up and found that he had “crossed that imaginary line.

My conversation with Nipsey has stuck with me. The fact is, whether we realize it or not, most of us have this imaginary (or, for some people, very vivid), line of what we think is possible. We have stories filled with limiting beliefs about what we think we can achieve or manifest in our lifetime. Think of the times you have told yourself that you can’t do, have, or achieve something because of your age, background, physical appearance, finances, education, or life circumstances.

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Stop Covering Your Butt!

fashion-model-picture-id93275379 Stop Covering Your Butt!

When I recently attended a bootcamp class at my gym, I noticed this adorable twenty-something standing next to me. Although I have seen her before, I have never talked to her. Truth is, she generally works out every morning at 6 AM, whereas I stumble in at 7 AM. I have in the past overheard some of her conversations. They generally revolve around what she is eating and her asking advice from others since she is “starving herself and not losing any more weight.” Having been in that situation for a huge portion of my life, I have had tremendous empathy for her. Although part of me wanted to jump right in and save her, I could hear my three daughters (who are also in their twenties) in my head saying, “Mom, don’t be scary!” So beyond complimenting her whenever I could and was appropriate, I kept my scary-self quiet.

But on this day, my mind was on overdrive, stunned by the news that continues to come out of the growing number of reports of sexual assault and harassment as part of the #MeToo movement and of the women (and men) whom were silenced by the shadow of shame and frozen by fear.

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Does Your Heart Need Healing?

iStock-932331618 Does Your Heart Need Healing?

I have led The Shadow Process Workshop around the country. In this workshop, as in so many of our other programs and workshops, there were people who were in pain because they:

  • Could not decide on the direction of their marriage

  • Were still struggling with hurt they’ve carried since childhood as a result of a critical, cruel, or absent parent

  • Were still carrying around the betrayal of a love that didn’t last


These people, our amazing workshop participants, were a mirror of the hurt that most of us are carrying around in our hearts as a result of some unhealed or unresolved relationships.

Although many people come into our lives with the best of intentions, whether through birth or happenstance, many relationships feel like they go from sacred to sour.

The fact is that every relationship is a sacred relationship -- especially our closest relationships. Think of what an honor it is to have someone open their heart to you or to be invited into someone’s home or even in this day and age to be included in a private group text. Any time we are being invited to be in relationship with someone it truly is a privilege and a profound responsibility.

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You Are Not Your Shame

woman-depressed-and-alone-picture-id680693460 You Are Not Your Shame

Whenever I have the privilege of leading transformational workshops, I am always in awe of what an honor it is to be invited into people’s lives and have them share so openly about their past as well as the honest and raw feelings they have about themselves and their lives. I expect to feel the same sense of awe and privilege at my upcoming workshop ‘The Body Shadow: From Self-Loathing to Self-Loving’ hosted by Omega in June 2019. Of course, we are also seeing so much of this in today’s culture – people, especially women, coming forward and sharing about the assaults, attacks, abuse, and secrets that they have not wanted, been able, or felt ready to share.



Although I am always very mindful of never assuming I know or can even comprehend what someone else feels, since I never want to diminish someone else’s pain by comparing or making sweeping assumptions or generalizations, I think it is fair to say that most of us have endured situations that felt off, wrong, or were just downright soul-crushing. And, in order to deal with or manage the pain or to just do what we need to do to get by and function, we learned to manage it, push it down, remain silent, numb ourselves, or stay busy and try to forget about it.

Although all of our stories are personal and unique, whether it comes from what we are seeing in the news, the #MeToo movement, how we feel about our bodies, or the stories I hear from the people I have the privilege of working with, I am always so present to the insidiousness of the shame we all carry.

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From Loathing to Loving: A New Relationship With Your Body

portrait-happy-smiling-woman-picture-id1059426320 From Loathing to Loving: A New Relationship With Your Body

As we transition to warmer months, you’ve probably started to notice that bodies and skin are showing up everywhere. If you tune into daytime TV talk shows, you’ll start to see bikini fashion shows. On the bestseller list, diet books are on the rise. Gyms are full as people keep their beach bodies in shape. And dietitians are offering discounts to reach your summer body.

It’s no surprise that this time of year can stir up a lot of shadows — the emotions, beliefs, habits, and patterns stored deep inside the psyche that dictate our relationships with our bodies. It’s prevalent in every program and workshop I do. Person after person shares the depths to which they have struggled with body issues and the years they have hated their bodies and thus themselves.

Personally, I’ve struggled with my weight and body image from a young age. The quality of my day used to be determined by the number on the scale. I would only feel worthy of being loved by myself or others if I looked a certain way. I had grown up with the belief that it was not okay to eat so in my book, food was the enemy. I made my body my enemy!

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Break Free From The Shadows That Drive Your Parenting

kelley7kosow Break Free From The Shadows That Drive Your Parenting

These past few weeks, I like many of you have been shocked, rocked, and somewhat horrified by the college admissions scandal in which parents paid a college consultant to falsify their children’s records, bribe test administrators and college coaches, and cheat on entrance exams so that their children could gain admission to elite universities.

Although I in no way condone what these parents did, I do have empathy for any child who is being told directly or indirectly that who they are is not good enough to take a college exam or to apply to college on their own merits. Although it is easy to judge these parents who are accused of committing a crime, our personal growth does not come by judging others. Our evolution comes by using the situation to take a deeper look inside of ourselves - asking ourselves questions such as “How we are like the people we judge?” and “How can we learn from this situation?”

Being a perfectionist/overachiever, there is no question that, in the name of “wanting what was best for my children,” I helped them, pushed them, and tried to steer them in directions which I believed would lead to their “success.” Whether it was bringing them the homework they forgot at home so they wouldn’t get an incomplete mark, proofreading an essay, or, when they were young, doing their art projects for them.

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Start Taking Control of Your Life Today!

Blog-031219-Generic Start Taking Control of Your Life Today!

For as long as I can remember I have been the ultimate overachiever. Starting in elementary school, it was like a badge of honor for me to study longer and harder than any of my classmates. Although my workaholic tendencies produced a lot of achievements and success, they also came with a cost. I can’t tell you the number of invitations I turned down, the time hanging out with friends I missed out on, and the added pressure I imposed on myself.

Have you ever wondered about what your driving force is? 

Have you ever wondered about what keeps you from manifesting and actually experiencing that which you say you want? 

Have you ever wondered about what keeps you from letting go, even when you know something or someone no longer serves your highest vision for your life?

What’s Really Controlling Your Life?

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STOP…Looking for Permission!

Blog-022619-Generic-Header

Day after day I work with people who, when facing some issue, question, change, or decision, feel overcome by uncertainty and are paralyzed by the possibility of “making a mistake.” Despite having an inkling of how they want to handle the situation at hand, they don’t trust it. Instead of going with their gut and following their inner impulse, they look for confirmation from others and spend time and/or money:

  • seeking counsel from therapists and coaches,
  • polling friends and sometimes even strangers to see what they should do, and
  • having sessions with astrologers, psychics, and intuitives to find out what is in the stars or what their chart says.

Basically, they are looking for permission to follow their truth!

Now, it is normal to feel scared or insecure when faced with living our truth. We worry about how our truth will not only affect ourselves but others as well. Not wanting to be seen as selfish, mean, unreliable, or narcissistic, we question whether we have the right to pursue our passion, heed the messages of our heart, or break out of the box of what has been. As a result, we: 

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Breaking Out Of The Cage of Fear!

Blog-012919-Header-Generic

On a daily basis I encounter people who are frozen in fear. 

  • They want to date but fear getting hurt. 
  • They long to quit their day job to pursue their passion but fear failure. 
  • They yearn for connection but fear rejection.
  • They want to speak and live their truth, try something different, ask for a raise at work, take the next step in their relationship, go to a movie by themselves, or try a new exercise class but their fear of being embarrassed, what other people might think, judgment, or just plain not being good enough keeps them clinging to their comfort zone, unable to embrace or navigate change.
 
No matter the situation or area of their life,
they remain captive under a dark cloud of always desiring and never doing.
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What Are You Consciously Walking Toward?

walkingisle What Are You Consciously Walking Toward?

I hope you are feeling energized by the possibilities of 2019!  As you may or may not know, I am getting married in 2019! It seems hard to wrap my head around, but after 15 years of being single, I will be “walking down the aisle.”  Planning a wedding as a 58-year-old bride has been interesting, especially when I compare it to the experience I had as a 28-year-old one:

  • Salespeople and vendors tend to do a double-take when they realize that it is me and not one of my 20-something year old daughters who is the bride. 

  • Instead of feeling compelled to follow protocol or formalities, you quickly realize that you are in a situation where “no rules apply.”


And the biggest and most profound difference is that this time the most important aspect of the whole event is the walk down the aisle and the person and life I am walking toward. And here’s what I truly find so fascinating. Even though I thought I was I pretty aware person, this imagery of walking down the aisle has provided a huge breakthrough in terms of all aspects of my life and being truly cognizant and conscious about what and whom I am walking toward.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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