“The world lives in a state of under-emotion and distraction that keeps us numb to the fact that we have a purpose and value that far exceeds what we’ve been taught to believe.”

– Erika Black

“Wake up from your sleep. Climb out of your coffins, Christ will show you the light!” Ephesians 5:14, The Message

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“Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. Love is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both ask and receive from God. On this love the engine of marriage is run; being in love was the explosion that started it.”
– CS Lewis
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Communication Breakdowns and Breakthroughs

CommunicationEveryone is different.  We have different personalities and different ways of processing information.  But one thing is certain: communication is vital to every relationship that we are in.

  • Parent-Child
  • Significant Other
  • Friends/Siblings
  • Co-workers

You name it, our communication skills, or lack thereof, can make or break every one of our relationships.

So, what’s the rub?


    Think about it.  Who do you think about more than anyone else?  Yourself.  If we’re honest and really observe our thoughts, we see that we concentrate on what we are doing or going to do or what we want, etc. way more than we focus on anyone else.  We try to keep everything under our control, to figure everything out, managing tasks and relationships so that they go smoothly.  Then we can cross tasks off our list in methodical order, enjoy harmony and love in our relationships and feel accomplished and loved.  Nothing wrong with that, it’s human nature.  It’s not to say that we don’t care about others, but our own thoughts, feelings and actions have the number one spot in our minds.
  2. In a conflict, we ACT LIKE ADVERSARIES, forgetting that we are on the same team
    It’s like you and I are sitting on either side of a table and we have a delicious pie in the middle.  If things are going smoothly, we expect to share the pie sweetly and generously.  But if we are in a conflict, we start digging into the pie, afraid that we won’t get our fair share.  Instead of serving each other and expecting to be cared for, we loose our trust in the other person and start behaving like adversaries instead of team mates.
    When the other person is talking we make mental notes about points we want to address, what we will say in response to those points and how we can defend and explain ourselves.  This lack of listening skill is what leads us to interrupt the other person, further proving to them that we are not paying attention to what they are trying to express.
    We make assumptions without figuring out why the other person said or did what they said or did.  This is HUGE!  I’ve seen entire relationships crumble because both parties were unwilling to be the one to ask for clarity about what the other person meant.  Instead, in one particular case, they both made assumptions about the other’s lack of communication, they both were wrong and the relationship ended in sadness and heartbreak all around.  Even in the painful wreckage, they were still too proud to reach out to each other.


These are scenarios that I have witnessed myself and are great examples of what can go wrong when trying to communicate.

  • A Parent and a Teenage Child – the teenage child barely communicates with the parent, never wants to do anything with the parent and only speaks to them when spoken to.  The parent complains about the insubordination and poor attitude of the child.The backstory: the child has tried to question the parent in the past by sharing their questions, feelings and point of view and the parent responded by matter-of-factly defending themselves and explaining why they did what they did.  The child was quiet and walked away.We can see why the parent defended and explained themselves, but what really happened?  The child did not get the message that they were valued or that their questions and feelings were cared about or heard.  They felt shut down by the matter-of-fact response of the parent and drew away from communicating all together.
  • Significant Others – this is a personal account from my own relationship.  I was on hold on the phone, my boyfriend walked in and I offered to make him something to eat, a loving act of service.  He told me that he would do it himself.  I offered again, noting my culinary prowess.  He firmly told me that he would do it himself.  I assumed he was rejecting me, that hurt my feelings and I left the room, sulking.  He assumed that I was upset because I didn’t get my way and concluded that I was acting like a baby.What Really Happened: my boyfriend saw that I was on the phone, thought it may be an important call and didn’t want to bother me.  In short, a loving gesture.  If I would have asked for clarification I would’ve seen his good intention and would have appreciated his gesture instead of feeling hurt and rejected.  I may have said something like, “Hey, that didn’t feel good.  What did you mean?” or “What’s going on?”His assumption was incorrect about why I was sulking also.  If he would’ve reached out for clarification, he would’ve understood that it was not that I wanted my way, but I felt rejected by his response.  He may have said something like, “Hey, what’s going on?  It feels like you are just wanting your way.  What’s really going on here?”

    The whole issue could have been avoided without either of us getting hurt or angry.


    Oh, this is not for the faint of heart, it goes against our grain, but is vital for good relationships!  You may be miffed at that person now, but some clarity can change things quickly.  If you are in this relationship, I assume that you love the other person.  If you truly love them, then you have made a commitment to care about them – their feelings, their fears, their opinions, their desires and their pains.  Here’s what you do: remind yourself how valuable the other person is to you and how much you care about them, then ask yourself how you can show them love and care in this moment.  In other words, make a conscious effort to take your focus off yourself and your agenda and put your focus on loving them.
  2. Make a commitment to BE ON THE SAME TEAM
    If you are in a relationship, a spirit of cooperation, mutual respect and love is imperative.  You and your partner have the goal of having a great relationship.  That means you work together with one another’s strengths and weaknesses, devise strategies, have each other’s backs and give it your all to win the relationship game.  You must not fight against each other but for each other and the relationship!
    When someone else is talking, put your mental note pad aside and really hear what the other person has to say.  Every soul on the planet has the basic need to be listened to and cared for.  Give your loved ones this consideration.  When they are finished, don’t run to explain your point right away, but let them know that you heard what they said and that it is important to you.  Even thank them for expressing it.  When we know that we are listened to, loved and cared for we have a strong sense of wellbeing, we can take the gloves off and have a loving, problem-solving dialog.  And, at the end of the day, isn’t that a gift of love that you really want to give to your loved one – a strong sense of well-being, love and security?
  4. CLARIFY what the other person really said and don’t make assumptions!
    Again, before you snap and end up in an angry or tearful outburst, stop and kindly ask the other person what they mean.  Don’t assume they are out to hurt you.  When something pushes one of your buttons, stop and ask.  You can say something like, “When you just said you were going to make your own meal, I felt rejected, like you were telling me you didn’t like my cooking or something.  What’s really going on?  What did you intend for me to hear?”  That is taking responsibility for your own feelings and letting your loved one know how you interpreted what they said, giving them a chance to correct the message.


It takes some awareness and self-control, but if you can learn these principals and implement them, you will certainly enjoy more harmonious and loving relationships in every area of your life.

Think about this: an opponent that is selfish, doesn’t listen and makes assumptions without getting the facts straight.  Not the kind of person you would even want to be associated with, right?  Let’s not be that person to our loved ones.

Instead, let’s be a great team member!  Think about this: a teammate who has your back, cares about what you think and feel, really listens to you and reflects back to you what you said so they can completely understand what you are communicating to them.  That is the kind of person that we want in our lives, in our families, in our friendships, in our work places, in our world.

Let’s do this!  More love, more understanding, more compassion, more forgiveness – we all WIN.  We can change the world, or at least our corner of it.  We can for sure have better relationships!

Please contact me for a free coaching session if you need to talk this through.  513-646-0767.  youcanpullittogether@gmail.com

Blessings to you as you implement these principals!
Love, Erika

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  – Ghandi


Posted in My Thoughts

3 Steps To Lasting Change In The New Year!

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 12.09.20 PMWe have all made resolutions, but how has that worked out for you?  We really want to change this or that and are all fired up until we blow it, lose our motivation or just don’t take the steps necessary to make the change happen.  We need to figure out how to implement the changes that we want to make so that we can increasingly learn to live our lives the way we truly want to live them!

  1. Set Your Intention
    You will never know where you want to go if you don’t create a map.  Be specific and comprehensive.  Think about what you want in your life in 6 months to 2 years from now.  Do this as if money doesn’t matter and no detail is silly.  Consider all the areas of your life: Your Spiritual Practices, Your Social Life (friends, family, activities), Your Health & Wellness, Your Finances and Your Profession.  Write down your authentic desires.  Take some time with this.  Have fun, daydream and use your imagination.  Get in touch with your true self, the one that God created, that you were when you were a child and didn’t know how to be shoved into a role.  Create a vision board or audio record yourself reading your vision out loud.  Put this in front of you every morning to remind yourself who you are and where you are going.
  2. Lay Your Foundation
    96% of our behavior is determined by our subconscious brain!  Your subconscious is like your internal GPS system.  If it is out of calibration, you will not be able to follow through on the things you consciously want to do.  It is imperative that we retrain our subconscious to work for us.

    The very first layer of your foundation is your self-esteem.  We need to start treating ourselves as we would another person – better yet, a baby or a puppy.  We look in the mirror all the time, checking out our appearance, but do we ever really see ourselves?  EXERCISE: once a day look in the mirror and look into your own eyes as though you were looking at someone else.  Practice talking to yourself.  Tell yourself “I love you”.  This sounds hokey, I know, but it is extremely powerful.  Listen to what your inner self has to say without judgement and give yourself grace, acceptance and love.  Partner up with your true, God-created self.  This is the you that’s dying to get out and LIVE!  Time for a ‘Get Out Of Jail’ card.

    The second layer of your foundation is a brain washing, literally.  We need to wash out the lies, fears and disabling beliefs that have been holding us back and replace them with empowering truths and beliefs.  Do this by making sure to look at your intentional vision every day (do this morning and night for maximum results) and by reading inspiring things, hanging out with positive people, and limiting your exposure to time and soul sucking people and activities.  Spend your time creating your life instead of numbing yourself though it with social media, TV, mood altering substances, etc.

  3. Create Your Plan
    Get out your calendar and intentionally block out the time that you will devote to these changes.  Think through what steps you will need to take to get you to your goals and ink them in.  If you don’t hit a particular mark, reschedule it.  This is a guideline, not a straitjacket.  Every night before you go to bed, look at your next days plan so that you can be mentally prepared for it.  Revisit it again in the morning before you start your day.  Pray, meditate and ask God to partner with you to accomplish your goals and intentions for that day with joy, purpose and, most importantly, love.

If you truly follow these simple steps you can make the changes that last and live the lives that you dream!  Please let me know if I can assist you in any way along your journey!

Have a Blessed and Joyous New Year!

Love, Erika

Posted in My Thoughts


“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”
– Christopher Reeve

Posted in Quotes

Morning Rituals Are Important

“Waking up, of course, is what it’s all about.  I mean, it’s about being awake.  But there’s waking up and then there’s waking up.  So, you can wake up and drag yourself around….. (or instead) Get quiet, drop in and attend.”

– John Kabat-Zinn

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3 Simple Steps To Changing Your Life!

Thrive2Yes, that’s right – you can change your life with 3 simple steps.  These steps are not hard, but they do require time, intention and implementation – ahhh, therein lies the disconnect.  Can’t I take a pill or something?  Everyone wants an easy way out; to find the key that unlocks the proverbial door.  Look at the tabloids in the checkout line – observe all the articles about miracle diets and quick weight loss secrets year after year after year.  Don’t you think that if it were that easy, there would be no overweight people?  It’s not a matter of knowing what to do – everyone knows that you have to consume fewer calories and exercise to lose weight – it’s a matter of doing it.  What’s the problem then, no backbone?  No, and please, please, please do not beat yourself up like that!  It’s that 96% of our behaviour is controlled by our subconscious mind.  So, if consciously we want to change and our subconscious is out of whack, we’re screwed and have 4% of conscious control battling the large and in charge 96%.  But here’s what I know for sure: if you are really ready to make some changes and follow these simple steps, you can experience a transformation bringing your subconscious mind in line with your conscious will and actually make the changes that you want to make, ending up with a life that you are inspired by and can’t wait to participate in!

We all want to make a difference and have some fun along the way, so let’s get started!  We only have one life after all.

    Really think about what you want to have in your life – the spirituality, people, activities, money, health and profession that you really want.  Don’t think small.  Leave your negativity at the door.  I mean bring your WILDEST hopes and dreams to this step; God put them there for a reason.  This is a fun activity.  You get to create your life; the life of your dreams!  So, dream big, brainstorm and imagine.  Create a vision board, go on an authentic exploration and find out what truly speaks to your soul.  Music, architecture, certain people, professions, colors or styles, etc.  What do you want on your bucket list?  Write all this down on paper and be specific in these 5 categories:
    People and Activities
    Money and Finances
    Health and Fitness
    Be sure to use verbiage that is present tense, even if it is not yet true.  For example: instead of saying ‘I will try to…”, say “I am” or “I have”.  The subconscious brain doesn’t understand ‘try’ and is confused by dates and tenses.  Once you get your vision in written form, I encourage you to audio and/or video record yourself making these statements.  Listen to this every day.  You will be retraining your subconscious brain and increasing your skill at living life.  Think about any hobby you may have, like bowling.  How does a bowler get better at bowling?  They work at it, they bowl and, when they see something that isn’t really working for them, they tweak it.  Let’s be like the bowler, only with our lives.  Let’s get excellent at living our lives!  Getting intentional and putting your Vision in front of you every day will start the transformation!  I also strongly suggest that you partner up with a friend or coach that can encourage you and keep you on track.
    In order to retrain your subconscious you have to change the things you do on a daily basis.  You may have to exclude or limit activities that are waste your time and drain you of energy like, watching TV, playing video games, social media, etc.  The truth is, where you spend your time and money directs your life!  A football coach conducts practice for their team on a daily basis.  They have a goal of winning a championship, but it is what they do with their team in practice every day that makes it possible for the team to win the championship.  In order to win your championship, you will want to establish new daily activities or practices such as:
    Listening to or reading your Vision
    Prayer & Meditation
    Reading inspiring literature
    Working on your Vision Board
    The more good, positive, healthy, engaged activities you put into your life, the more your subconscious will shift.  Prayer and meditation as well as listening to your Vision every morning will remind you who you are, who you were created to be, what you stand for and where you are going.  This is KEY.  Do not slip into your day without connecting to God and your higher purpose!
    Go for it.  Make a fearless plan and start with Step 1.  Then, just do the next step, then the next.  You can always readjust as you go along, the important thing is to use your new purpose and inspiration to get started and keep going.  You’ll be amazed!  Just like the old Mickey Rooney/Keenan Wynn song says, “Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking across the floor.  Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking out the door.”

It’s true.  The only thing holding you back are subconscious lies like: you aren’t good enough, you can’t do it, you don’t know what to do so why bother, etc.  These limiting lies need to be blown up and replaced with empowering truths.  Please do yourself and the world the honor of transforming.  Because, when you do, you will be living with joy, intention and purpose and the world will benefit from all of the love and joy that you bring into it!

Be sure to contact me  and tell me how these steps have helped you move forward toward a life you love!  I LOVE you all and I believe in you!  You can do this, YOU can Pull It Together!  Coach Erika

Posted in My Thoughts

Making It Count

“Don’t count the days, make the days COUNT.”
– Muhammad Ali

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“It may look like you’ve been buried, but if you’re still breathing – you’ve been planted!  Get ready, you’re about to BLOOM!”

– Khama Anku

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“Most people miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

– Thomas Edison

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