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Do you need to catch your breath? Take the Quiz!

Self-Care Toolkit by Steve Austin

Since recovering from the worst day of my life, I’ve mapped out the exact methods I’ve used to create lasting change in my own life. That’s why I’m excited to announce my brand-new weekly self-help podcast, “Catching Your Breath.”

Changing my life hasn’t been easy – nothing worth doing is ever that easy. But learning to silence my inner-critic, practice self-care, and cultivate a courageous life of vulnerability has transformed me from the inside out.

I know these methods work in creating a life of substance, depth, peace, and intention. You can do practical, actionable things to build a life of calm right now. It’s not just a dream – you can map it out and quickly feel the waters of inner peace wash over your soul.

You can actually go to right now and click on the podcast link at the top of the page to listen to the intro episode right now, plus a bonus episode on dealing with holiday stress. The first official episode airs January 1st. I hope you’re as excited as I am!

So, why the change?

In a word: clarity.

As I went through the process of writing Catching Your Breath, I slowly but surely became as clear as I’ve ever been on who I am, what I believe, and what I want to do with my life.

The short and sweet of it is this: I’m a human. I believe all people matter. And I want to spend my life helping others embrace the sacred journey from chaos to calm.

The previous podcast was a little confusing for folks because we covered everything from general self-help tips to politics to religion and abuse and spirituality to meditation and Bible study and everything in between.

I think people weren’t quite sure what to expect.

So, with the launch of “Catching Your Breath: The Podcast,” you can expect 30-minute episodes, laser-focused on self-help, self-compassion, and self-care. I’m going to take the principles from the book and make them as practical and action-oriented as possible for people just like you. I’m also going to be creating a weekly action guide for each episode: a free download you can take and apply to your own individual situation in the form of journals, worksheets, and checklists.

If you’re living an extraordinary, ordinary life, I am going to teach you how to cultivate calm in everything you do. Think of it as a weekly breath of fresh air.

How does that sound?

If you’re ready to shift your thought processes and begin the journey from chaos to calm, I’d love for you to join me.

You can subscribe here.

Here’s what I can tell you right now: the process of transforming yourself is going to take time. Don’t rush it. The sacred journey from chaos to calm doesn’t happen overnight. You need to reinforce positive messages within yourself, and you have to do it frequently.

Over time, the positive thoughts will take center stage and push the negative ones out, or at least, make them show up less often. It’s all about learning to retrain your brain.

Don’t get discouraged if you revert to your old ways when you’re first starting out with changes like this. Remember, you’ve been thinking and living this way, probably your whole life. This negativity and the destructive thoughts have been ingrained in you for a long, long time.

Breaking habits like this will take time. It’s not impossible. But changing habits takes some effort on your part. No magic habit-changing pill will suddenly turn you into a positive person who looks for the silver lining in every scenario you face.

You just keep doing the hard work and keep an open mind. Better days are coming, friend. Don’t be afraid of the changes.

The life you’ve imagined is possible. I’d love to be your guide on that journey. Subscribe to “Catching Your Breath: The Podcast,” today. See ya there!

Catching Your Breath Podcast
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When you’re tired of all the fighting.

My strongest desire of all? To belong.
“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great…” -Maya Angelou
(from Braving the Wilderness, by Brene Brown)

The Worst Kind of Hangover

When I started writing Catching Your Breath, I knew I’d have to get really honest. No pretense. No masks. Strip it all away and get nekkid.

So I did.

And since the book released in October, I’ve had what Brene Brown would call a “vulnerability hangover.” So, I’ve been pretty quiet about my personal life lately, choosing to focus on creating courses and self-help topics, rather than the deep things that roll around in my soul on a regular basis.

It’s safer that way, I say to myself.

Just market yourself as the expert.

You won’t offend as many people if you’re not so personal.

You’ll ostracize yourself less.

Give the personal stuff a rest - you deserve a break.

As a result, I’ve been avoiding my emotions. I do it really well.

I’ve chosen to listen to and encourage others in their pain and confusion and sense of being “stuck,” while ignoring my own needs and watching my soul wither in the process. Pouring myself out, and wondering why my cup feels constantly empty. One friend calls it "compassion fatigue."

The emotions bubble up, and I swallow them back down and move forward.

Keep writing. Put your ass back in that chair and get to work, mister.

This might be a strange way to describe it, but my soul feels sad. Sort of like the grape that’s been left too long in the noonday sun without access to whatever gives it life and fullness, and all that’s left is a wrinkly raisin.

And who really likes raisins?

I’m not in a dark place. I’m mentally well. I’m healthy. I’m happier than ever in the roles that matter most in my life: husband and daddy. What I’m struggling with is my lack of feeling connected to a larger community. My friend Stephanie says the desire to belong is innate, and she’s right: I’m feeling like I don’t belong. And that makes me sad.

“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great…” -Maya Angelou

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Living in the middle is a real struggle.

The natural question that follows is, in the middle of what?

It feels like being in the middle of everything, and nothing. It’s a feeling of being “stuck”. Of fitting everywhere and nowhere all at once.

I feel in the middle politically (socially liberal AF, but fiscally conservative). One part of me is incredibly passionate about social justice and matters of equality. And the other part of me is so sick of the fighting and protests and all the yelling.

There’s a side of me that wants to shut down all my extracurriculars, work my predictable 9-5 job, pay my bills, and be left alone. No more sharing. No more trying to help. No more believing that I might have something to say. But there’s another side of me with a real desire to lead and encourage.

My strongest desire of all? To belong.

My strongest desire of all? To belong.
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God Stuff

Theologically, I’m in the middle of not knowing. One the one hand, I’m desperate to believe in the Eternal Something that is greater than me. And on the other hand, I don’t want to debate theology. I’d really LOVE to belong to a small group of some kind, but I’m so scared of getting involved because we live in a time when everyone feels the need to poke holes in your perspective and try to “save” you. I'm not looking for that.

I just want to belong somewhere, just as I am, Billy Graham.

I’d really like to go to a Christmas Eve Candlelight service this year, but I’d like for no one to assume that it means I believe in a virgin birth or worship White Jesus. I’d love to sing, “O Holy Night” and embrace the beauty of Advent. But if it’s just for the sake of nostalgia, is that okay?

I miss the days when Brennan Manning's Ragamuffin Gospel was tangible and as refreshing as a glass of sweet iced tea. I could sense God with me all the time, even in the midst of the mess. And as much as I’d love for my spiritual life to feel that sweet and simple again, right now it doesn’t.

I know in the deepest part of my being that I’m still loved by God (whatever that means), that I am the beloved. I think my problem is that I get stuck in my head way too often, and don’t allow myself to live from the center of my heart. I really struggle to just let my mind rest. It’s not easy for me to let my spirit breathe. I’m always trying to figure out the formula. (And what if there isn’t a formula at all?)

I think this could be the greatest gift of a safe community: the invitation to get out of our own heads and live from a place of love. But people are scary!

Oy, the struggle is real.

Finding myself in the middle - more hungry for kindness than to be proven right - is a really lonely place. All around me, everyone is taking sides. Fighting for their particular thing, and many of them are just and worthy fights. But I don’t see many people being willing to simply stand in the middle, choosing to listen to the angry ones as well as the wounded ones. Yet that’s precisely the place where I feel called: to respect and embrace the humanity of everyone.

This shit is not easy.

I don’t want to fight anymore. I’m exhausted from all the ways we’re told to care about every single thing. I’m tired of every ant hill being turned into somebody’s mountain. I’m bone tired from all the demonizing of “the other.” My soul is weary because I genuinely believe there is no “other,” just a thousand different faces, born of the same Source. That we all belong.

 There is no “other,” just a thousand different faces, born of the same Source. We all belong.

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All We Need is Love

I also don’t want to have to prove myself to you. I don’t need my theology or politics to be right. I also don’t have a desire to prove you wrong. There was a season when I wanted to fight, but these days I just want to love and be loved in return. I want to sit around the table and break bread and drink grape juice (or pizza with Jack and Coke) and embrace our shared humanity. I want to look you in the eyes and find our common ground. I want to love people til it hurts, but I’m not sure where I belong right now. I don’t know what to do with that.

Isn’t a sense of belonging central to our humanity? In the most tribal parts of our brains and heritage, don’t we desperately need the assurance that we belong somewhere? Is there a place, community, or shared conversation, for those of us who land in the middle?

In this wobbly, uncertain season of my life, what I’d love more than anything is to belong to a community where safety, empathy, and kindness are the foundation of everything that happens, where we have honest conversations around the issues that really matter. And sometimes we just sit and rest in the knowledge that every little thing is gonna be alright.

I’d love to have access to regular doses of honesty, stillness, and a community that embraces one another exactly as we are. No “man” with all the answers. Just friends who sit around on couches or at coffee shops or bars and listen. Listen with the goal of learning, not converting. Listen from a place of curious compassion. Listen so we can love better. Listen because we genuinely care about the soul of another. Listen, because we’re sick of all the talking points. Listen because everything and everyone belongs. Just listen.

I’d like to land there - softly, quietly - without a lot of fanfare. And just be welcomed, gently.

I don’t know where I fit. But could I sit next to you?

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6 Tips for Starting Over

6 Tips for Starting Over – Rather watch instead of read? Click the video below!

Before we ever move into the New Year, we have to let go of our yesterdays.

Letting go of anything can be painful. You may need to let go of a person or an idea that you’ve held on to for years, but now know that they’re negative forces in your life and you must let go or suffer consequences.

Before you take action to rid yourself of yesterday’s baggage, you must be willing to accept the changes that your new beginning will bring. You need to open up to the possibilities that lie ahead and not hang on to the bad memories and actions of the past.

You may be letting go of some bad habits in your life such as unhealthy eating, smoking or saying goodbye to a job that no longer holds a bright future for you. Intellectually, you may know that you have to let go in order to experience progress, but actually taking action is difficult.

When you’re finding it hard to let go of negative areas of your life and make way for new beginnings, here are a few tips that might help:

  1. Accept the past. Whatever you’ve done or been in the past is history. Only until you accept that past can you let go of it and set yourself free to move on to a better future.

  2. Take action by meditating. Meditation may not seem like action, but when you meditate, your brain is working overtime to bring clarity and focus to your life.

  3. Set your goals for the future. Nothing helps get rid of the past like looking toward the future. Align your goals with the life’s purpose you see for yourself.

  4. Don’t think of yourself as a victim of the past. Terrible things may have happened in your past, but when you continue to see yourself as a victim, you’re hanging on to yesterday rather than letting tomorrow guide you down a path of new and better beginnings.

  5. View past mistakes as opportunities. The horrific mistakes you’ve made in the past can be a springboard for making you a better person.

  6. Visualize yourself as the person you want to be. No matter how you want to change from what you were in the past, you’ve got to let go of that old image to begin creating the one you desire.

Believe in yourself and that you can let go of all of yesterday’s regrets and mistakes and make the future brighter. You’re only given this one life, so treat each day as if it was a gift. Unwrap it carefully and with excitement.

This is the kind of thing I’m doing in my 12 Days of Giveaways.

Today’s giveaway is an additional 8 Steps to Starting Over. It’s a brand-new PDF that will help you make 2019 your best year yet.

There are 11 more days of giveaways, so don’t forget to sign up right now. The link is in the description for this video, plus I’m putting it in the comments below. Sign up for FREE, transformative self-help content, right in your inbox!

Click here to sign up –

And don’t forget that my Catching Your Breath Academy sale ends tonight. If you sign up for the annual plan before midnight tonight, CST, you’ll save an additional $40 off the already discounted price.

What is the Catching Your Breath Academy?

As a VIP subscriber, you will gain access to my exclusive courses. Each month, you’ll receive a new self-guided course, based on proven self-help principles.

As a reader of my blog or books, you will now receive added content that only VIP members can see. And can I tell you something? You are going to LOVE these transformative and easy-to-digest courses!

You get…


As a subscriber, you gain immediate access to the Catching Your Breath Community on Facebook. Each new member shares an introductory post to build a sense of belonging.


As a member of the Catching Your Breath Community, you’ll have access to other members who are actively working to create calm and success in their personal life. The potential for new friendships and powerful partnerships is unlimited!


Each month, I’ll host a live video in the Catching Your Breath Community, where you can ask questions and have a chance to be coached by me on a topic you’re passionate about. Just imagine the power of someone watching your progress and being personally invested in your success.


In addition to the community, accountability, and coaching, you’ll receive five exclusive self-help articles each Monday, written by me, focused on the current month’s topic.

How it Works:

Members receive approximately 25 lessons per month (1 per day, Monday – Friday). You also have access to community, accountability, and coaching via the Catching Your Breath Community on Facebook.

Sign up for the Catching Your Breath Academy by clicking right here.

Before we ever move into the New Year, we have to let go of yesterday. #catchingyourbreath

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