I took the amazing adventure of investing in a coaching program to help me reach some new professional goals, and I was completely shocked at how much I gained in return of the investment . This program had a huge ROI on my confidence, clarity and belief in myself.
I created my Aspire for More Senior Living Coach platform based on the experience I had with my own investment. I believe this type of support will change the industry in amazing ways.
My goal is to add value to our industry, the leaders and the residents we serve. But sometimes we stand in the way of ourselves and we need to remember how amazing we are.
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Hi, and welcome to a new episode of the aspire for more with Erin podcast. Thank you for being here. I know your time is valuable. And I respect it So I wanted to dive in and get a little vulnerable and really talk about. The journey that I'm on, how it started, how I'm progressing through it and what things have changed my life. I am actually launching a new program and it's called embrace the suck. And it's aimed at the new leaders inside of a community or a regional director role, or even if you've been in your executive director or current leadership role for a while, and you're just struggling and you need that. Breath of fresh air, that spark back in, figuring out what is your purpose inside the community and your role, and how can you get back to how passionate you once were about it? And I have pillars that I believe are the roadmap to success. I believe that you have to believe, A- you have to believe in your product B- you have to believe in yourself and know the transformations that you give your residents and what you want for yourself and what you can give to your associates. Connection, confidence. consistency, leadership. These are all the pillars that will lead you to success. What I believe has led to my success. And the communities that I've been able to turn around from very low occupancy to extremely high occupancy and about 18 months or less, I say that in it makes me feel. Cringy a little bit, but I do believe that we have to honor our experience, both the good and the bad we have to be able to speak about the good in ourselves so we can believe the good in ourselves. For a long time. I thought. The worst about me and I never looked at. What I had actually accomplished. and that was an internal struggle that I had always worked in the mindset that I was never enough and that I had to work harder in it I had to achieve more in order to be accepted. And that's exhausting. It's exhausting. And I think that we need to get away from that. I needed to get away from that mindset. And I didn't really know how. Honestly, I had. Tried really hard. And I was making strides, but I wasn't making them quick enough to avoid. The implosion. I guess of Erin. But what I did. How I invested in myself. Changed my life and I believe put me on a new course. for this new vision that I have for me and the way that I want to add value to people's lives. I have always. Added value to people's lives. That's been my mission. It has been. my life force, the purpose of my life is to add value to people's lives. I did that in the way of adding value to elderly people. They were my passion and I wanted to be. They're superhero. The family superhero, the resident superhero. Then that turned into wanting to be the associate superhero. But the one thing I didn't do was be my own. I knew I had the ability to carry the load. And if you've ever watched in Encanto, the Disney movie, I don't know, can't remember her name, but the sister who is the strong girl that everybody put their load on. I identify with that character so much. Because that's who I was. That's who I forced myself to be. And I'm just here to tell you, we can't always do that. We can't continue that pace. We can't continue that amount of pressure all the time. one of the things that I failed at the most was balance! I just figured I could do it all. And I did do it all. of course with the help of a lot of different people, but at the expense of me. My mental health and relationships, both personally and professionally. So I'm here to talk about all the good and all the bad how to. Change that for everybody. Cause I feel like there are certain things missing inside of our industry. that maybe were once they're in the past, that are not there anymore. And I believe we can get it back and I believe that's the element of coaching. When I first started my career. I was greeted by the most gracious, couple of women who really trained me and, was able to bring in a sales specialist. I started my management role out as a sales and marketing director. And I had this. This amazing. Support system. That really invested in me. This company really invested in me. And I believe they gave me the foundation that I needed to create the success that I did. And they allowed me to be me throughout the process. They allowed me to love on my people to, to use that as an advantage and to really harness the authenticity of my passion. For this group of people. And even in the next community that I went to, I had a group of women who really invested in the regulatory side of me and the policy and procedures side of me that the first company did not. And those two. Experiences in my life combined to make the most amazing foundation of success. For me. But those were really the only two experiences that I had of coaching. All the other experiences were basically just management. And oversight Which is what a regional director or home office should be, but there wasn't like this personal approach of what do we want? What is success to you? How do we get that? It was basically just a, here you are. Go succeed. And that's, that's probably the majority of industries I've only really ever worked inside of the senior living industry. I'm not knocking anyone or any company. It's just, if you want high performing associates. Then you've got to give them an opportunity. To know that they're valued. And the coaching aspect of leadership. We'll bring the value. When I left the community and when I left my last community, I was broken. I was broken. I was broken on the inside. I was tired. I had really given it everything I had and I had really pushed past the point of healthy physically and mentally. we went from 67% to a 100% in a year, in one month after our COVID experience and I pushed myself and probably my team really hard to achieve that. And I, I think I just broke. My husband was traveling and so I had the bulk of responsibility at home and the bulk of the responsibility inside the community. And there was a transition going on with a lot of my team members and I just found I couldn't move forward anymore. And so here I was like, what am I going to do now? I have this opportunity to heal me. To really figure out what the root of the problem is. So I can be better. I don't want to beat myself up anymore. I don't want to have unrealistic expectations. I don't want to feel resentful about things anymore. I want to be healthy, want to be at peace? And I want to continue to add value to people. But I need to add value to me.'cause I've been adding value to everybody, but me. And I haven't been given value to me. And so that was my journey. And so I thought start a podcast because I love talking and I love talking to people and it's an easy way to add value. But the thing is I don't know anything about a podcast. So I needed help. And I needed help with a lot of different things that I didn't know. That I needed to know. There were a lot of people saying that they could help. But I saw this one particular lady and something drew me to her and she was actually a coach who helped life coaches. Become a business. But what I liked about her was her creativity, which I, of course am not creative. And, or that was a thought that I had and the way that she, I felt when she was talking and I just felt like I wanted a little bit of her flare. So I signed up. For her program. Because I wanted a little bit of her artistic flair. I signed up not knowing a really what life coaching was, honestly. Not knowing anything about myself from an entrepreneurial standpoint, I just wanted to make a podcast and educate people and support people. And, make a difference in the world. That was really my goal. And I just needed to know how to do that. I was just really confused and broken. And I just felt like. Being a part of something again, could help me fix that. Through that process I realized that entrepreneurs and executive directors are really a lot alike. We have a lot of the same responsibility. We're held accountable for the amount of money that we make per month. We're held accountable for our staffing. We're held accountable for the revenue. We're held accountable for the expenses. We are entrepreneurs. The difference is we just don't have the control. We have all the responsibility of entrepreneurship, but none of the control, which is a fascinating place to be. Really, if you think about it. I learned that I was more of an entrepreneur than I thought. That's the reason why I asked so many questions. That's probably the reason why I drove people crazy because I really wanted to know how things work. I am a, I need to know how things work at the very bottom. So then I can build them up to the top, which is a good thing. If people perceive it that way, because a lot of people don't perceive it that way, but I like to know how everything works. So I can build on top of that foundation. I realized how much support I was lacking. And how much I probably was the reason. For lacking that support. The idea of vulnerability is something that I love. I played really big inside my community. I was very vulnerable with my families. I was very vulnerable in the sales and marketing process. I allowed vulnerability to happen. I held space for those family members and those residents that came to me with vulnerable concerns with vulnerable compliments. And I just really embraced people who were going through the traumatic decision of having to move a loved one into a senior living community. But. I wasn't very good at being vulnerable inside of a corporate setting, and actually I was quite the opposite. I kept people away, 10 foot pole. One of the things that I did was I compared myself a lot to a lot of people. And really comparison is the thief of joy. Really, like it is, especially when you look back at a perspective, like I have. I watched how some people were celebrated and some people were ignored. And I watched how somebody could be at the top of the mountain one month and then not even work there the next month, like all of that scared me. And so therefore I played very small inside of a corporate setting, and yet I played very big inside the community because the communities where I felt at home. And so through this coaching program, I realized I was two people. And that's exhausting. And I'm sure that people were very confused. Who exactly is the true Erin because I was one way inside the community and another way inside of the home office. But the truth is who I am, is who I am inside that community. I love hard. I give so much and I genuinely want people to be happy and feel safe, seen and heard inside my community. I never felt safe to do that inside of a corporate setting. And there were reasons for that and I think that this coaching program helped me dive into find out why. And I don't know if I would have ever found out. Why. Inside of a corporate setting. And then I understand that reason really held me back from what my true potential would be. But my true potential is limited because I can't travel. Henceforth at the Aspire for More brand, and my coaching program. Because I have done the work. I have a lot to offer. And having a coach do that, to bring that realization to me. Changed everything. It changed everything. And when I look back at my career, Those same type of influences were there at the beginning. And they're not necessarily present now for everyone inside of the senior living industry. And I feel like that is what we're missing. And one of the reasons why the turnover is so high, especially in your first six months. I learned as an entrepreneur in my first six months, just how treacherous it is in the mind games that we play with ourselves and the comparisons. Like how many times are we comparing ourselves to somebody who has been in the business for five years? I do it on the daily. And I have to remind myself that you cannot do that, Erin. You are in your first year. And you have to do that for yourself when you're a new executive director. One time. A very wise man said to me, We compare up. So when we compare up. We don't give ourselves credit. For where we actually are. if I'm going to compare myself to somebody who's been doing this for 10 years, I'm going to think poorly about myself. Comparing: A- can be healthy, but mainly it's not. And especially who we compare ourselves to. And if we compare, do we lose sight of really who we are. Because there is no other Erin Thompson. There is no other, you. And if you can't bring your most authentic gifts, And have confidence in them. Then you will not be able to live your highest potential. You have something to offer! Where we get lost is that fear of rejection. And I have faced so much rejection inside my senior living career. It is fascinating to me, micro rejections, macro rejections. Every single one of them have taught me valuable lessons in life and really have led me to a place that I am a happier, healthier version of me. And the number one sentence that I put now with any type of rejection is they were not assigned to my destiny. My value is not determined by someone else. My value is determined by me. I know who I am. I know what I have to offer. And I am for a specific group people. I do not want to be where I am not wanted. One of the, rejections that I feel like I learned the most from. Was when a friend of mine was promoted. And we went from being peers to she being my regional director. And that took my breath away. That one did that one. That one took my breath away. And. It was a powerful lesson for me because. Society and probably everybody's first inclination, I know for me, because of the biggest fear of my life is rejection. That took so much for me. To be happy for her. there's a quote about how we as women should straighten each other's crown up instead of yanking it off and throwing it on the floor. And it took me, I would say. And, A couple days a week, maybe to where I was able to think through all of my thoughts about that and rationalize and let's rationalize. Let's think about things here, Erin, you cannot travel. You have small children, you have a special needs child. You're your life is not going to allow you to do the traveling that a regional director needs. She's great. She has strengths that you do not, you thrive in this type of setting. all these things and really ultimately it turned out to be one of the best things for me. And the way that she supported me through the COVID situation, and then the way that she and I got to actually bond and support each other was to me a very valuable gift. But had I not been able to work through. Those feelings then I would not have been able to receive the gift that rejection was for me. And that is a mindset shift. That's a reframing that's me being aware. feelings and facts. Because the feelings hurt, but the facts were this was not the job for you. And it was never going to be the job for you. there is more. There is more, you were made for more, there will be more. And actually, there was more, and there was so much growth inside that rejection that I'm so thankful for. And when we look back at our life with perspective. How many times did a door shut and then this window opened that led to a whole new version of who you are. And you're so happy for that. And so when we're like in the moment, We just have to feel it right. We have to embrace that suck and to really move through, move forward in the pain and learn from it. Cause when we learn from it, it can be our biggest gain in our life where loss actually turns to gain. One of the other big ideas that I gathered from this coaching program that I was in. Was this powerful group coaching. And I believe this is actually a place where the senior living industry misses the mark. Big time. In this group coaching program, I had one-on-one coaching. I had mindset coaching and I had group coaching. Now going into this program, I had no idea what any of that was. But I was open to anything at that point. And so I did it. Now I have never been a part of a sorority. I have, I've been part of a team. I am an athlete. So growing up, being part of a team, having a coach, all those things felt very normal and actually very refreshing for me. And what I realized. The idea of having a group of women like-minded. Trying to achieve the same goal. On a call. Going over some of the hurdles in their lives at the time of we're all trying to create a business. We're all trying to create a podcast. We're all trying to create something. Listening. To what they are going through, especially the people who were maybe two months ahead of me or three months ahead of me. Listening to them talk. I realized for like the first time. Oh my God, there are people out there. Who are just like me. Who think like me who put so much pressure on themselves, like me, who talk to themselves like me? Like I thought that I was the only one. How naive am I? That had that kind of pressure. But big companies who have 10 communities or 12 communities, or even four communities have the ability to get like-minded people on a call and talk about the realness of what's going on. But we don't do that. Instead we get on the calls. We can talk about our ins and our outs and the goals and the objections and our finances, but we don't get on a call and talk about. How are you, really? How are you overcoming this hurdle? How are you in making sure that your associates add value. How do I add value to you? Or do we even have a call where all I do is add value to you? Not fluff. Not fluff. But real value. I have not been a part of a call like that inside of the senior living industry. I believe the impact of that group cohort. Like-minded call. The impact that it had on me was life-changing. Why? I got to see when I was ready to have the next step, what it was going to be like. I got to formulate failure as being a part of the process instead of absolute death! Failure was absolute death. Like I'm a people pleaser, a reformed people, pleaser. I literally thought that failing was the worst thing that could happen to me when actually through this coaching program, I was able to reframe that into a fact that actually, if I fail, I learn. And it released the pressure of failure off of me. And I, it became a Rite of passage for me. I learned that. C-, C+, B+ work is okay. Because you don't know what A+ work yet is, but you can only know what A+ work is. If you make C- work and learn from it. Get better. That was a powerful lesson in itself, Just having the ability to be on a call. With people trying to do the same thing. And not view them as competitors. Is valuable. I learned the mindset of abundance and scarcity. And if you look at it from a senior living standpoint, we're about three, what? Three years away from the silver tsunami that could be coming our way. We know that there will be enough for everybody. We know that. So there should be no scarcity mindset. What I believe the industry needs, is to come together. And to support each other in this senior living healthcare that COVID to me has turned into war. like COVID literally to me was war What do soldiers need? They need each other, they need teamwork. they need to know that they people have their back. that there's somebody who has their six or whatever the terminology is. the Navy seals and all special forces embrace the suck. And if I'm comparing senior living in healthcare, And all the demands that we have on our ourselves, especially through COVID to war. Why can't we have the same comradery that the soldiers do that the Navy does that the Marines do, Instead, we feel like we're competitors and we can't talk to each other. And our companies don't give us the support. Of having a group chat. I believe. And if we could talk about our goals and what's holding us back and what's best practices. Then I think that we would see a huge difference in the success of our executive directors, the tenure, the turnover, all the things. I think that we could, if we could feel more support and less pressure. And feel seen and not alone. I think that we could see a difference for sure. The group. Cohort itself. Made me feel, loved. And I opened up. And I talked about hard things and I learned that people will support you. And I learned that my vulnerability helped somebody else. And their vulnerability helped me. And that is power. That's truly power. the fourth major components that in my coaching program that helped me. That I will put in my own program is the mindset calls. And I've touched on this briefly, but, I think it's easy to talk about mindset these days and a lot of us can think woo, whatever. And I know that I certainly used to be one of them that felt like I don't have time. To sit and talk about my feelings. I don't have time to. Talk about my mindset. that was such a foreign concept to me that I did not know how powerful it was. But when you get a real dose of understanding that voice in your head is not true. You get this kind of awakening moment. I Always believed the voice in my head. I always believed it. I've always had it. I did not understand that it did not serve me. I didn't understand that I did not understand that the constant fight that I was having. Was what was really killing me. It wasn't anybody else? It wasn't the community. It was me fighting me. Because I was more than my mind let me think. I did deserve more. And when somebody treated me a certain way I initially agreed. And then I had to fight my way back to say no. It's just this constant wrestling match inside my head. And when I realized is that if we don't talk about that stuff, or if we don't change. The sentences to, I'm not good at this too. Maybe I'm not good at this yet. Or the power of the word should like all the things that I should have done kept me in a very, small minded in thinking, because I never gave myself credit nor did I ever give myself grace about things. I literally thought the worst of me and yet I fought to be the best of me. It's exhausting just talking about it, but that's how I spent honestly. the majority of my life. And if we could. Have somebody to where we can sit down and who really understood senior living like really understood senior living and talk about, that's not true. Listen to the way that you're talking to yourself right now. Listen. That's not true. Listen to how, what you're saying and how mean that is. And would you talk about so-and-so that way? These are all powerful exercises. That the majority of us need. And I believe we get communities and yourselves to quicker success. And the last thing is I had somebody who believed in me before I believed in myself. And I had forgotten what that was like. I had forgotten what. Belief. Does to somebody. And that belief eventually. Led to my belief in me. And that's power. That's why I believe belief is the number one thing that you, as a leader needs and the community needs. Do you believe in you. Do you know what success is to you? Does your team believe? They are worth it. Do you know, the transformations that you give. Your residents. And do you believe that's possible for everybody? Do you believe that you will succeed? These are questions that you may not get asked all the time. But are a vital component of success. Even knowing your own definition of success. I never knew my definition of success. My definition of success, I knew I needed to be at a hundred percent. I knew I needed to do this. I knew I needed to do that. But over the last few years of my career, I wasn't living in my definition of success. Mine. And I constantly felt like I was failing. Even though by all standards, was succeeding. So now everything I do, I define success. Everything I do. What is success for me? With this experience. And that is empowerment. People hold no control over you. When, you know what your definition of success is because if somebody else gets this, that's great, but that's not what I want. It's not what I want, even though society may tell me, or maybe my growth plan has maybe that should be something that I want, but it isn't. therefore I'm happy because that's not what I want. That's not my definition of success. And when you know your definition of success, You are empowered to be you. Uninfluenced by anything else. And that is true power. So I feel like. That is my journey to find coaching my realizations through coaching. And why I want you to be a part of my coaching program. Because it's life-changing. No, we're not going to talk about policies and procedures, and we're not going to talk about state regs. We're going to talk about you were going to talk about your associates, your families and the relationships that you have, how to build trust, have for you to know what success is for you to know what the success is for your families and for you to meet those needs. Because we've got five. People that we have to keep happy that are equally as important. We got the residents, the families, the associates, the home office, and then the people doing your surveys who wrote the rules. per state. If any one of those get off track things can crumble and fall apart. But you're in control of three of them. You're in control of your families, your residents. And, your associates, you have every day responsibilities and controls of how you can keep things balanced. You're not in control of what home office does or the things that they change or who becomes your next regional or. all that kind of stuff. You have to ride with that and you have to adapt with that, but you are in control of your everyday presence, your everyday consistencies, your everyday, everything. With those first three: residents, families, and, associates. And that just happens to be what I was really good at. And so I have a lot of experience and a lot of things to offer in that situation. To help you find the balance because there is no balance, there's an art of balance. And, there's ways to understand when you can't necessarily cut out early or take off or whatever, but then there are times where you can and that's where you make up and make the balance a little bit more balanced. And the coaching aspect is what you need. It's what you need to succeed. Everything that you do in your first six months, we'll set you up for the rest of your career. I promise. And then what you do the next six months to maybe course correct what you did the first six months. We'll set you up again. It's all about time. It's all about understanding. The element of time and how things do not happen overnight. And I know that this was a lot, and I hope that you found value in that. And I hope that you find value in investing in you because when you invest in your own skills, Your own mindset, the sky's the limit. You cannot wait for your company to do it for you because That's not what we do. We take care of the people who live inside of our community. and the home office and the corporate world is not necessarily set up to be the coach to be, the trainer, to be the person to hold that space for you and to give you that nuance support. Sometimes you have to do that for yourself. And let me tell you. It will be the best thing you ever did for yourself. And you will come out from the program changed, confident and able to handle the craziness of senior living a little bit better. I hope this really helped you. And I hope to see you in my program. Embrace the Suck.