Do You Feel Unmotivated and a Little Depressed or Stuck? Try This in the Next Seven Days, Episode 156 – January 2nd to 6th – sign-up

5-Day Free Challenge For Moms Who Want To Get Out of A Rut – Wake Up Mom!

Let’s Take Inventory Of What You Are Truly Capable Of + Uncover Your Ultimate Next Life Adventure!

Join this LIVE masterclass on January 2nd-6th at 1pm CDT to:

  • Take an inventory of the biggest wins you’ve had
  • Uncover the skills you may have forgotten and can design your adventure around
  • Discover fascinating adventures that will help you leap out of bed
  • What stories would you want to tell your grandkids eventually? We’ll discuss your “why”
  • Learn about role models that can help motivate you
  • Hear about my personal outrageous adventures and how they have affected my mental wellness
  • Ask me anything

*You can ask me questions in the comments during the LIVE session. I love LIVE participation in this masterclass because tailoring the conversation makes it relevant to those who attend and it keeps me on my feet which is exhilarating!

SHARE this episode with a mom who enjoys reading nonfiction and/or is writing her own. 

How do you go from unmotivated and a little depressed or stuck to feeling high on life—so much so that you inspire others and ultimately get totally unstuck…or at least motivated enough to wash your hair? (Anyone else feel like sometimes they need a pep rally just to feel up to washing their hair? My curls get extra tangled, I have my own issues….)

My life is an adventure. I’ve been called atrevida enough times to know that I match its definition: daring. Are you? Do you want to be more daring? Let me explain: Daring/adventurous, to me, is not the Fear Factor variety. Nor is it the kind that involves traveling based on where I can stretch my travel points or seeing places that are Instagram-worthy. It’s always been, for me, about learning what lights me up like a Christmas tree. ’Tis the season.

Here’s a good pre-mom version of what an adventure looks like to me: the day I set out to create my own independent study during grad school. I’ll admit this was a nerdy adventure. In 2009, I visited China and we went as deep as Inner Mongolia. That trip was cool, but it wasn’t all my doing; it was a group thing. But it inspired me to create a big, independent project, in exchange for college credit, to figure out the sweet spot between localizing vs. leveraging global capabilities as a marketer, challenging myself to talk to decision-makers in China, France, and other places I might one day work. No one told me to make my business school experience harder, nor was this topic in the curriculum. It was simply my way of creating a capstone of sorts to business school; I knew I’d head for motherhood shortly thereafter. This was me “getting it in.” The fact that I had to talk to some of my interview subjects at midnight to get their perspective on the matter wasn’t a drawback to the experience. This was an incredible story that I’d get to independently create and own entirely in a way that was thrilling.

You’d think my adventurous antics might stop when I became a quasi stay-at-home mom, but no. My FOMO for those adventures was so bad that I figured, why not launch a business, to keep up my wild and wacky side? Think about it: Whom were my kids going to mirror? I wanted them to have a zest for life and live an interesting one. So I retained my adventurous spirit, even during motherhood. It was too important to my mental health.

My mom has been battling a mental illness called manic depression since 1984—a situation I hope won’t befall me. So I actively steer clear of depression via my adventures—they Bubble Wrap my sanity. Are you currently in a rut and willing to do anything to get out? So many of us moms feel this way, and the dynamics that make society move care little about providing solutions. My perspective is to seek ways that don’t involve overly relying on synthetic and sometimes toxic options. (I’ve seen firsthand how carelessly some medications are prescribed; imagine losing your mom for one year—wondering why she can’t speak coherently for 365 days—only to uncover that she was on too many meds the whole time.) To spare you from experimenting with psychopharmaceuticals (if you don’t truly have to), I have this to offer. If you want to get yourself up and have something to look forward to, even while being a mom, then give yourself the gift of adventure. You too can learn how to create, own, and experience a moment or set of them that will make for a great story! Here’s a breakdown of how to ideate your own comeback so that washing your hair won’t feel so daunting anymore.

Step 1: Create your adventure.

Brainstorming ideas is usually not the challenge. The challenge is knowing which idea will light you up.

So many options exist for your adventure, including physical, mental, creative, or spiritual avenues. Some girlfriends run marathons, and for some of them it can be so motivating that they will run for hours without music in their earbuds. I don’t run myself, so going a great distance in the outside world without music is akin to psychological torture—for me. This would not light me up. Yet, the idea of putting copies of my book in one of civilization’s first libraries in Alexandria, Egypt, lights me up so much that I could power an entire school district. Is anyone telling me to pull off this stunt? No! Yet, that goal motivates me more than any income I could collect from the book (one I’m self-publishing, due to be released on Mother’s Day 2023, about moms who dare). What is it that might make you proud or give you this feeling of holy shit, did I just do that? YEAHHHHHHHHH! Uncover an adventure that will make you naturally high. Also, pay attention to what you envy. If I’ve ever felt envious about what someone was doing, it’s usually been a sign to look into that as my next adventure. I saw a former actress talking about writing a book and I was like hell, no—I need to write my own book! Who knows if she had a ghostwriter, but listening to her talk about shitting in a vortex got my attention. What are people doing out there that make you a bit jelly?

Step 2: Own your adventure.

These past 11 years, coaching marketers into corporate roles, I have noticed that working for someone else can feel like being in a position where you lack control of your daytime hours. This feeling, like you are someone else’s bitch, is not foreign to stay-at-home moms and business owners. It’s a spectrum. I feel like I can go to the gym in the middle of my day as a stay-at-home-mom who is also writing a book and relaunching her business. However, my morning routine with my three sons could start my day in an optimistic way or take me down after a hair-pulling set of experiences just getting them out the door to school. I can’t control which way that goes. Sure, I can meditate, but I also can’t let a horrific turn of events right before a podcast interview taint my 45-minute conversation. Stay-at-home moms without businesses have revealed to me that they too feel their life is not their own. What if your three kids want to partake in three different afterschool activities in three different parts of the neighborhood? Who has to work out those logistics and execute them? Mom does. And what about the mom who wants to launch a podcast but doesn’t have a soundproof room or an off button for her colicky newborn? She has to work her ambitions around her babe. All of this is to say: Having something to call your own, that you can call the shots on like you are some kind of master of the universe (or She-Ra, in our case), will give you a new lease on life. Owning something and feeling in control of what it can look like will add vibrance to your daily schleppings.

Step 3: Live your adventure.

Imagine you’ve decided to write a book but quickly realize this activity is lonelier than motherhood. But what could be lonelier than motherhood? you ask. Yes, living a writer’s life can feel even more Han Solo-esque. However, you can run your adventure as you’ve seen others run theirs. You can opt to seclude yourself in an office or at the kitchen table to get your word count in. Somewhat like the movie Inception, you can create an adventure inside an adventure.

Why not reconfigure how to write on a daily basis? When I lived in Sydney there was this one moment when I felt like I’d arrived as a writer: I was sitting on the rooftop of the Australia Museum of Modern Art, overlooking the Sydney Opera House, as I typed one of my book chapters. My avo on toast was tasteless, but the view made up for it. I was higher in my mind than I was, literally, on that rooftop. You get to run your adventure however you wish, but a great way to get back into the flow of life, feel excited, and motivate yourself naturally is to switch up how you proceed through your own adventures.

Back in my business school days, the adventure I thought I was on was creating this independent project, but embedded inside of that quest was me thrilling myself by speaking to world-class marketers at all hours of the day. Looking back, perhaps I was unconsciously preparing for those sleepless nights we know too well as moms.

I’m always seeking my next adventure. I like my identity as an atrevida, hence my daring ways. So imagine this: What if you became a mom who dares too? Perhaps a mom who dared to write a book, run a marathon, take a storytelling class, take a sailing class, launch a business, or exhibit in an art show. So many dares, so little time. You can sprinkle them in on a quarterly basis or as needed. The world challenges us. Our kids challenge us. All of those challenges sometimes make us feel powerless. Yet, we are not powerless. My adventures now, as a mom, have been the experiences that have helped me remember that I can help myself feel better. These adventures have juiced me—even today. I want the same for you.

Your turn: What sort of dares would take you out of a rut?

Similar Episodes:

Q&A Tuesday – How Can Writing Improve Your Self-Esteem, Self-Love, or Self-Care For A Mom?, Episode 154

Find Your Purpose Besides Being A Mom (This Is An Open Call For 50 Moms To Become Beta Readers Too), Episode 148


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Find the Unimaginable Wellness Newsletter on Substack where we can engage and tease out the insights shared during this week’s episode. I’d love to hear what you think about this week’s wellness + writing + mothering topic. See you there:

Grab a Free Chapter of My Personal Development Book for Moms entitled: Mom Needs A Lift: Stop Self-Doubt, Uncover What Lights You Up, And Imagine Yourself Going For It!

Go to if you would like some answers tackling these questions: So how can you get back to that time when you were free, fun, and energized? What if your kid/s hold the key to this? How can you start your journey from feeling zapped to uncapped in your own level of playfulness? It’s time you uncover just how under your nose the answers to these questions are! Grab the chapter here: and tonight you can use the ideas presented in this quick read. 

Meanwhile, check out what moms like you have to say about this chapter and my upcoming book overall! Get your free chapter today! Don’t you want to feel alive again? Do you know who raises happy kids? Happy moms. So here is what other moms have to say…

This book is about getting in touch with your creative, playful, imaginative side. The part of yourself that perhaps felt freer before you became a parent before you chose your identity and had a lot of responsibilities weighing you down. In helping you get in touch with your more playful, creative self, it not only helps you on a path toward greater happiness and fulfillment, but it also helps you to feel more fulfilled as a parent. – Mom/Librarian

The words: imagination, play, and fun are not the usual things we as mothers think of when wondering how to get a grip back on our career and I believe it provides a really fresh take and lots of food for thought for mothers reading it. I think that the tone is so energetic and fresh that it is why I would pick it up. – Mom/Positive Psychology Coach

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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