Category Archives: Newsletter

MVP: My Sabbatical Debrief

I’m back from a fabulous one month sabbatical and a not-so-fun month of re-entry getting back in the game. The last newsletter I wrote told you of my intentions, so I thought I would take the MVP section to report back on the results. If you do not follow our blog you missed the whole story – subscribe now so you don’t miss a thing.

My travels took me to New York City for a business trip as a prefunk to my time in Italy and Southern Germany. The trip was adventurous, refreshing, and simply delightful. There was also some serious drama.

Intentional Trip

I thought hard before embarking on this adventure about my intention. It was not a vacation, it was a sabbatical, a time of purposeful rest and rejuvenation. As I thought, prayed and listened for what was the intention I got the word Trust. That seemed a little simple. I feel that is what I do all the time, what I teach all the time, and what I am working on all the time. I thought, well I guess that is what I need on this trip and indeed it was where I ended up growing for sure!

Word of the Decade

So here is the irony. When I decided to get back into my blogging rhythm I looked to see what week I left off on in the Clarity book challenge. Week 30. “Okay I gotta get back into this so maybe this will help inspire me.” As I opened the book, there it was – the chapter I wrote encouraging everyone to come up with a word for the decade. And for those who have it and have read it – yep – there it was staring back at me. My intentional word for 10 years was TRUST! Can you believe that?

What you didn’t see on Facebook

It was so fun to have so many of you follow my trip daily on Facebook; here is the skinny on my trip. Continue reading


Finally, after four years, my fruit trees have produced results! It’s as if the recession that hit the economy had also walloped my orchard. Now, with a wonderfully abundant crop of fruit, I have been able to restock my freezer, share with my neighbors, and eat to my heart’s content. Way better than the four apples and eight peaches I harvested the year before!

Now I must prune.

Here is the conundrum in business and in life. After a time of fruitfulness, results, and profitability, you must prune. And it hurts.

Prior to this year, I never bothered to prune my fruit trees. I just cut down the “suckers” and cut off the “runners” and walked away. Now that I have seen what they can do, I want more. What will it take to have more fruit next year?

The same question can apply to your business. If you want better results in 2013, you need to re-evaluate operations now. The question is, how?

The Down Side of Bush Whacking

Yes, pruning can be painful. But it’s essential to future growth. Here’s what I’ve discovered. To get the results I want, I have to invest. My time, money, and energy.

The worst thing you can do is to just cut to cut because that’s what your peers are doing. To hack away at the PNL because you have to produce profit now! You’ll end up doing what I did on Saturday. Not good.

There was an overgrown bush in my flower garden. I got in there just to thin it out a bit. Well, I had no vision, and I certainly didn’t seek counsel, except in a veiled self-reassuring question to my mom, “Don’t you think I should trim that overgrown bush down a bit?” So with my long green pruner in hand, I started “trimming” and I whacked off one wrong branch too quickly. Long story short, I had to cut the entire bush down to the base. I just hope I didn’t kill it and it will come back in the spring.

That’s what happens without vision and expertise.

If you’re dealing with something that’s valuable, you can’t be an amateur about it. My fruit producers are precious to me. So I need to hire someone who knows and loves trees so much that they have vision for their future. Someone who with knowledge, wisdom and experience can make each cut confidently and carefully in the spirit of long-term growth, sustainability, and, yes, fruitful results.

Now, I am not saying every budget line should NOT be evaluated. In fact as we roll into Q4 I would recommend it! What I am saying is you need vision first.

Yet as leaders we Google how to “prune” and off we go. And of course, we are either too cheap to get help (that’s me), or we are to prideful and think we can figure it out (that’s me too).

What’s the price of this strategy? Unlike my bush whacking, the cuts you make affect people — a lot of them. And nine months from now, you get only half the fruit you could have gotten had you invested.

The Core of the Issue

No doubt about it. The season of pruning, whether in our personal and business worlds, is awkward, isn’t it? Most of us avoid it. But if you don’t intentionally prune, then life and circumstances will force you to do it. Then when we do end up doing it, we make a mess of things when we try to do it alone.

Where to start? It’s been my experience that you need to start in an area most leaders are weak at. You have to celebrate (and taste if you will) the fruit of your labors. Then you will have more courage to contemplate the VISION for the upcoming year.

To give you a sample of where to start pruning, begin to ask yourself a series of questions. (If you’re reading this for your personal life, just change the wording!)

  • What is the core purpose and value of this business?
  • What unique value does it add to the customer?
  • In your company, what/who produces the best results and why ?
  • Where are you not getting maximum ROI?
  • What areas are you settling for good vs. going for great?
  • What are three things that worked for you in the past that need to be re-examined for the future?

How do you prune? Get back to the core of who you are and why you are here. Revisit your values and strategic life plan. Mostly, you need to ask for help from your team, your family and your coach. What are your blinds pots? Where are you settling for a few dozen peaches when there are hundreds available to you.

This is the time to invest in your leadership, your team and your business. It’s time to evaluate, prune, and plan for 2013. Most of you know that pruning is stage 5 in our coaching process. Putting The Process into book form has been on my to-do list forever — as I continue to prune my own life, I will get the dang book written one day.

In the meanwhile, I would love to help you in any way I can. Let me know how I can serve you and your team as you prepare for the fruitfulness of 2013.

Your Coach,


As the gardener, by severe pruning, forces the sap of the tree into one or two vigorous limbs, so should you stop off your miscellaneous activity and concentrate your force on one or a few points. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Often he who does too much does too little. – Italian Proverb

Prune – prune businesses, products, activities, people. Do it annually. – Donald Rumsfeld

Measure a thousand times and cut once. – Turkish Proverb

Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives. – Anthony Robbins

Want more quotes? Subscribe to our True Life Daily Inspiration!

New: The Next Level DVD

What’s the next-best thing to meeting with Master Coach Shandel in person?

The Next Level DVD!

If you’ve taken the Personal Engagement & Motivation, DISC (Behavior), and/or EQ assessment from True Life Coaching, The Next Level DVD is for you.

In it, Shandel unpacks each assessment and what the results mean for the motivator, behavioral, and EQ types. This is a great refresher for those who have attended the in-person sessions and an invaluable resource for those who can’t attend one.

Get the DVD


My family’s annual camping trip to Bucks Lake, CA was the 4th of July weekend. It was awesome! In addition to swimming, hiking, and lots of sleeping, I relaxed in the warm sunshine on my parents’ boat and read six books!

A highlight was a five-mile hike to a beautiful vista point overlooking our campsite and the smaller Thompson Lake. A friend of my mom, who had done the walk many times, told her about it and gave her directions. So off we went.


Near the top, my mom stopped to rest. I offered to scout the trail ahead. Of course, there was a fork in the road. So I ran down each way, and based on the direction and worn path, guessed we should go to the right. When Mom caught up I told her my plan and she interrupted me saying, “Oh look there’s a marker, Terry said at the top to just follow the rock markers.”

Well, that was the first I had heard of the markers, and yes I had a “high D” moment of exasperation. Without that knowledge I would have led us down the wrong path and who knows where we would have ended up. Luckily, stacked rocks indeed marked the remainder of the trail. We were on the right path.

I found it ironic that the markers for “the right path” were rocks perfectly balanced on top of each other. They just sat there serving their purpose. I couldn’t help to draw out the parallel, as I had come to the lake to be refreshed — to get back into “balance.”

The experience crystalized something I’d been thinking about for a while. I don’t believe that balance should be utopia, the Holy Grail, the chief end in life. Here I am a life coach and I don’t think people should be obsessed with balance.


That sounds heretical, doesn’t it? Everyone knows that we need to keep balance in our lives, or there’s heck to pay, right? Here’s what I mean. When people are seeking balance, I think they are searching for something more. I think they are looking for what those rocks had: purpose. Their balance enabled them to be markers.

Mom and I felt relief every time we saw those markers on the trail because they saved us hours of wandering. Many times we had to go searching to make sure we were not on the wrong path (and a few times we were). By showing the way, by fulfilling their purpose, they brought us joy and helped us accomplish what we came to do.

Yes, of course everyone needs a good mix of professional and personal efforts, of work and rest. We all know it’s a constant battle to protect the restful personal and family time as a priority. No one gets kudos and raises for being rested and energized in their personal life.

But think about those people you know who are living with purpose — those who look balanced but actually are so passionate about their values and purpose they are everything but “balanced.” They’re over the top in one area of their life. Why? Because they have fully integrated their values into their being and intentionally living those values out moment-by-moment, day-by-day. They are engaged. They are talking about their passion all the time and can lose themselves in their sense of being.


I’m like that. Everyday, I live with purpose, and my clients know it. They know I am as solid as a rock and able to guide them as they journey to their next level.

At the same time, I get out of sync because I let fear get to me and lose sight of who I am and what I am about. (That’s why I have my own coach!) I get out of balance. I need some markers to get me back on the right path.

Back on the hike above Bucks Lake, there was one point where we were very confused as to which way to go. We went back and forth wasting a lot of time and energy guessing. Then I saw a pile of stones, and at the same time glanced down the path 100 yards. I got it. Down there was a marker, and here was a pile of what used to be one. Now it was a heap of useless stones.

That’s how I can get sometimes. All it takes is for a mean person to kick me, or an unexpected windstorm to knock me over. I lose my bearings and collapse into a pile.

The good news is it’s simple to repair. Note I didn’t say easy. You just remember who you are, what your purpose is and get some help to get back on track. That’s what I did for that sorry little pile. I bent down and stacked the rocks and carefully balanced them on top of each other restoring their usefulness. Yes, they were balanced, but that wasn’t the goal. Instantly they were back in action fulfilling their purpose.

I invite you to evaluate if you’re on “the right track” and seeking balance in your life so that you can fulfill your purpose. Let me know what you think here.


By the way, I was able to find such joy and healing in my restful week, that I am taking a four-week sabbatical to Europe. Totally unplugged! Isn’t that crazy and amazing! I am aiming for clarity and focusing on what is next for me. It is my desire that my creativity find a new level in living out my purpose. It’s risky, but exciting.

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I venture off  July 27 – August 23. And please refer me business when I return so I won’t kick myself for going! LOL! I will have plenty of wisdom and insights to share with you along the way on upon my return.

Your coach for clarity,

QUOTES to inspire your purpose

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it. - Siddhārtha Gautama

Accept yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your truths, and know what tools you have to fulfill your purpose. - Steve Maraboli

What am I living for and what am I dying for are the same question. – Margaret Atwood

“ I’m not unhappy,” he said. “Only people with no purpose are unhappy. I’ve got a purpose.” - Cassandra Clare

Do you like quotes? Get our daily quote of the day for free- here

Register Now for Fall Workshops!

We have 2 great opportunities to share with you! In this edition’s MVP article you heard about our upcoming INSPIRE Your Brand workshop! Get ready to:

I.N.S.P.I.R.E. Your Brand

In the series we will: 

Ignite Your Journey

Navigate Your Values

Solidify Your Vision

Pinpoint Your Purpose

Invest Your Strengths

Reach Your Audience

Evaluate Your Plan

Contact us for more details at Check out more details here or on our Workshops page.


Our second opportunity invites you to take your life to the NEXT LEVEL in our Life 301 Workshop!  

During the workshop you will:

  • Accomplish one important goal, and set the stage to accomplish more.
  • Discover the chargers and drainers of your personal Life BatteryTM.
  • Gain personal insight by utilizing left brain tools to ignite right brain clarity.
  • Create lifetime habits that will improve your life, your career, and your relationships.

Check out more information at our Workshops page.

MVP Award: Debra Trappen

It is a great joy for me to introduce the latest member of the True Life Coaching team. Debra Trappen participated in one of my first Life 301 classes when it launched as “Be YOU in 2002.” She has modeled living the principles ever since. 

We are now joining forces to offer a new workshop to help individuals discover and ignite their personal brand. Our main focus is on organizations who desire to invest in their people to make a mark as “intrapreneurs” and get their message out. In addition, we will equip individuals with workshops for 10 “entrepreneurs” called INSPIRE Your Brand.  In fact, we launch the first one September 5th and it’s already filling up! I hope you join us!  Now, with tremendous honor and excitement I give you Debra…


It was 2002.  I had recently moved to Seattle and was introduced to Shandel through a mutual friend, Carol Olsby.  Of course, Shandel and I immediately clicked.  I recall her telling me about her new company vision and exciting workshop she was building – and I could not sign up fast enough to be in the her “Be You” class.  I learned so much about myself, my journey, and my tolerations in that series… and continue to carry those lessons with me!

I went on to start a thriving career in the Real Estate industry… starting as an agent, moving into recruiting and training, pioneering my organization into the new social media era… and working my way up the proverbial ladder to become the Chief Experience Officer.  Leading my company and our amazing team of “entrepreneur” agent/brokers through the last 7 years in this tumultuous time of feast and famine has been an experience I will treasure forever.  So many lessons learned, solid connections created, and monumental success achieved…

Then, just weeks ago, I did it.  I decided to take a leap of Faith and, with the support of my amazing husband, strike out on my own… Ready to pursue my passion, tap into my talents and to live my purpose! WHAT. AN. EXHILARATING. EXPERIENCE.  My focus is uncovering and nurturing the entrepreneur in all of us.  Your objective may be to jump into today’s workforce for the first time, launch a business, change careers, or experience more success in the corporate world (aka: intrapreneurs!)… and I guide you to focus on what defines and elevates YOU and your organization.  Enhancing the vital emotional connection and authentic communication that is expected and required in the social media age is a new, fairly untapped concept and I am excited to be partnering with those who are ready to take it ON!  My experience in and knowledge of today’s technology and social platforms is infused throughout partnering with clients on nurturing their brand, building relationships, strengthening brand perception and recognition, and ultimately generating revenue growth!

Throughout the last 10 years, Shandel and I have kept in close touch.  Taking walks, bartering skills (LOVE this about us!), referring business/connections, coaching through change, sharing our passion for our Faith and karaoke… and visioning HOW we could partner our skills together.  Well, I have always said “Vision creates clarity!” and now, 10 years after our first introduction, Shandel and I are finally becoming Strategic Partners!!   Starting in September we will be launching workshops and conferences that combine our passions, tools and resources into a POWER PACKED Branding Series.  Check out the details on the TLC Workshops page.

I look forward to this new journey with Shandel… and can’t wait to see YOU in one of our workshops or at an event VERY soon!  If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me on any of my social channels here:



You can read more about Debra here.

Once You Find Your Purpose, Run Your Race

Do you know your purpose? Everyone wants to know the answer to this question. Don’t you? Leaders must seek the answer to have any lasting legacy.

My purpose is to help other people find their purpose.

To get a clear and true understanding of my purpose took a lot of time and revisions. Then, once I was finally able to articulate it, my purpose seemed so, well, plain.

I think that is why so many people miss their purpose. It’s right there before them. Yet they keep looking for something with a bigger headline. Cure Cancer! World Peace! No, your purpose statement should be simple, so clear that it might seem boring. However, living your purpose is anything but boring, it is the essence of life.

Purpose is always about helping others or being in service to another. It’s being of use for others as only you were designed to be. Like this Starbucks cup in my hand. It was created for a purpose. In this case, to hold a warm beverage.

All sorts of other wonderful things happen as a result of the cup fulfilling its purpose, though. My hands are warmed as I hold it; I am refreshed when I drink it; other people want one when they see it.

Discovering Your Life-Race

Once you discover your purpose, the next question is, how will you go about fulfilling it? Think of it as putting legs on your purpose.

I refer to it as your life-race. What race are you to run? This is so important that I write about it in my book, Clarity: Focusing on What Matters, and I teach it in our Life 301 workshop.

Years ago, I used to wish I was a runner mainly because it is convenient and all my friends run marathons. Alas, poor ole’ Shandel kept ending up with twisted ankles, shin-splints, and daily icing of hurt body parts.

That is until one day, a wise physical therapist told me I didn’t have a runner’s body, I had a swimmer’s body. Well, swimming isn’t convenient for a girl like me. From the hair issue to the travel dilemma, it is a pain! Still, if I am going to train to do something, I might want to consider focusing on swimming, don’t ‘cha think?

A huge lesson was learned that day. I was doing the popular, convenient, cheap thing — and it was not my thing. My race to win was a swim meet, not a marathon. The same is true with our lives. We were made to do and be something specific and spectacular. An individualized life race that is ours and that we were made to figure out, train hard, compete diligently, and win in the end. Think about your gifts, talents, strengths, and opportunities.

Are you doing life like everyone else around you, with no sense of the WHY? Are you working 80 hours a week, with no satisfaction? Or is there a deep driving purpose behind all of it that is truly and uniquely you?

What life-race are you to run? Let’s put it all together.

How Deep the Impact?

My race is to coach leaders. Here is how it works out in my world. If my purpose is to help others find their purpose, then the most impactful route I can take is to coach leaders who will pass the wisdom, skills, and tools down to their sphere of influence.  If I help five leaders find their purpose and run their life-race, and they each influence and lead five others to do the same — that is a good ROI on my time, talent and treasure. Thus, I am running my race by coaching leaders to find their purpose. What about you?

The race analogy can morph with time, while your purpose never does. My Starbucks cup originally designed to hold coffee, can hold green tea, chai tea, or hot chocolate. My body that won swim meets as a kid now swims laps (well, should be at least!) to keep me healthy and strong. In my 20s, I helped teenagers find their purpose; in my 30s I helped entrepreneurs; and in my 40s I am helping leaders of leaders. 

I influence thousands of leaders where my mom concentrated on one: me. So who has the more purposeful life? If I got married and had a child tomorrow, I would be helping future generations by being a stay-at-home mom and raising my kids to live with purpose, as my mom did.  It’s not about how big the reach; it’s about how deep the impact.

Think about what matters for a minute. What if you are missing the one person you were put on earth to help? You must get in touch with your values, what motivates you to action and then stand up and stand strong for what you believe in!

Purpose is finding out the reason you are here on earth. The answer will be to be of service to another. The solution will be to figure out your specific niche of a life-race and to run it … and win!

If not now, when?

New DVD and Personal Branding Workshop


We are excited to announce our new DVD! The Next Level Discovery Course consists of an informative debrief of the TTI Talent Insights assessment. Shandel Slaten walks you through this powerful personal report via DVD (or online version if you prefer) as you follow along in a 30+ page workbook. It is a tool every person needs to bring greater understanding to your unique style, personal purpose and individual way you communicate with others!

What motivates you to take action? What drives your behavior? 
And why is it so important to get answers to these questions?
In The Next Level, Master Certified Coach, Shandel Slaten tackles these questions in a fast-paced, humorous style. She addresses:
  • Why you do what you do
  • Why understanding that is so important for business and personal relationships
  • How to understand and optimize your strengths
  • How your fears hold you back (and what to do about it!)
  • How you can be free to enjoy a life of thrilling purpose
Part One – Motivators  - (Personal Engagement and Motivation Assessment)
Learn how the passions, desires, and drivers motivate you to action and are the keys to embracing your purpose in life. 
Part Two – Behaviors  - (DISC assessment)
Understand how you communicate and how you can use your natural behaviors to go after what you want in life.
Part Three  - Communication Tips
Shandel gives an introduction to the TTI Emotional Quotient (EQ) Assessment and the steps to develop your emotional intelligence.
It’s impossible to watch this without gaining deeper insight into the unique talents, strengths, and styles of yourself and those you interact with on a day-to-day basis.
Introductory Special - includes the TTI Talent Insight Report and an additional 20% off


Do you ever wonder why certain people achieve amazing success while others, with the same characteristics and competencies, don’t?

The answer is likely the lack of focus on their Personal Brand!

We all have a personal brand – join us as we coach you on WHY you need to focus on sustaining a strong personal brand in order to be a successful – no matter what business you are in today.

Our PERSONAL BRANDING WORKSHOP is designed to help you identify and communicate the strengths and passion you bring to the world. Email to hold your spot.

See Debra’s passion manifested in this short video excerpt from the Women’s Leadership Summit.