Looking for a “gifted” coach?


Did you know that emotional coaching is a highly effective way to reach gifted children? Not only that, but parent coaching can provide parents of gifted children with the insight they need to meet the needs of their gifted kiddos.

When I started working with families of gifted children nearly 2 decades ago, I became increasingly aware that teachers, parents, and students all needed more resources and more support than was available. That is a large part of the reason why I wrote Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students and 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids.  

As the years went on, I realized that the books weren’t enough. I could do more to support our gifted population and those that serve them. My consulting and coaching business grew from that desire. Now I am a regular speaker at school districts and other venues. My audience includes parents, educators, and students. Topics include the social-emotional needs of gifted students, understanding the role of temperament and using social-emotional learning competencies to coach gifted children. Speaking events can be presentation or workshop style.

In addition to my speaking events, I also provide coaching for gifted children and their parents. Different from counseling or therapy, the coaching I provide is centered on understanding giftedness and how to maximize potential through empowerment and embracing the positive aspects of giftedness while managing some of the difficulties. I work with clients on goal-setting, specific strategies to address areas of concern, and other skills to help them fulfill their goals.

If you or your organization would like more information about speaking opportunities or coaching, please contact me through my website by clicking HERE.

For 2016, I will be looking for more ways to support the gifted community, as well as anyone living an intense life. If you have ideas about what you’d like to see from me, please leave me a comment and let me know.

Thank you for the ways you supported gifted individuals.

It’s a New Day…


As I’ve mentioned previously, I changed jobs almost 2 months ago. This change has done more than enable me to pursue my passions in new ways, it has freed up my creative self. As a result, I have been working on several very neglected areas in my life ranging from my physical health, to goal-setting habits, to my writer’s life. It’s an exciting and productive time. I am so thankful for the sudden infusion of creative energy and commitment.

One of the by-products of my rekindled passion for writing and my coaching work has been opening my online store. This is something I’ve thought about doing for many years – ever since I started using a Square reader I guess. Well, I finally did it.

Currently my store includes signed copies of my nonfiction work, available at the special pricing I reserve for my speaking events. I am not certain how long I will be offering these prices, so if you think you might like a signed copy of my books I’d order them soon.

In addition to the online store, I am working on a new logo and new website/blog designs – all things that will be coming soon. Also, I will be putting out information on my coaching business as well.

Thank you for coming with me on this ride. It is exciting, overwhelming, and fun!

What things are you working on?

When High Performance Standards Hinders Forward Progress


One of the hallmark characteristics of gifted children and adults is an incredibly high-performance standard. While this is a fabulous thing, and the very thing that can propel many gifted individuals to excel, it can also be the thing that causes complete and utter stagnation.

For me, it is often the latter. Especially if I can’t reconcile WHY I’m struggling or not performing at the level I expect.

I’m a hard worker. I take pride in my ability to assimilate information, learn new things and improve in the various fields I approach. With my creative self, however, I struggle. I work hard at the craft of writing. And I get great feedback from writers, editors, and the industry. That doesn’t mean my books are performing where I’d like them to be. Or that I am able to produce at a similar rate as that of many of my high-performing author friends.

And therein lies the rub.

I struggle to accept that hard work and improved craft isn’t enough to bring success in creative endeavors. There is a huge, intangible part. There is luck. And I can’t “work” my way into that piece.

For the last several months, the dissonance created by this intangible element of the writing business has resulted in a complete standstill for me. I haven’t been able to produce my fiction work. Every time I attempt it, I stare blankly at my computer, eventually writing and deleting too many words to count until I finally do something else (usually that means finding a nonfiction project to jump into). For a while I decided that maybe fiction wasn’t in the cards for me anymore.

And then I stopped. I changed my focus and decided it was time to quiet the noise and recognize the truth of what was going on…

My high-performance standards had morphed into the paralyzing procrastination that many gifted individuals wrestle face. It was time to try something different. Focus on the action I could take and “let go” of the things that were out of my control.

So, I chose a new approach – a few different projects to work on and a different way to push past my demons.

This morning, for the first time in a long time, I woke refreshed and ready to tackle my fiction-writing world. I drew up a plan and my mind raced. I feel excited.

I feel ready.

Time to act. Time to write. Time to move forward.

Have you ever gone through something similar? What did you do to move forward?

Making a Change


As some of you may know, I left my job as a school psychologist after 18 years earlier this month. It’s been a surreal transition to a consulting job, working with school districts. Although much of the skills I used in my former role come into play, I am now traveling across the state to work with a variety of districts. It is work I deeply enjoy. And, it is somewhat freeing to my time and my creativity. My stress levels are reduced as I am able to focus now on the things I love to do most – coaching, consulting, problem-solving. I can let go of the things that bothered me in my previous position.

A dream job.

That isn’t the only change I’ve made recently. As the job frees up my creativity and time, I am now able to expand some of my parenting and child coaching practices and increase the time I give to writing and book events. I’ve added a few clients, began giving book chats again and started a few new proposals for upcoming books. It’s a time of deep productivity. You can check out my website to know more about my events, or contact me directly to ask about presenting at your function or inquire about coaching.

As my time fills with more of the things I love to do and my mind frees, I realize just how blocked I’ve been. Has that ever happened to you? Have you become blocked to your own goals by the goals of others or the obligations on your plate? I’m sure that it has. As a creative, intense, and gifted adult, I pay a steep price when I am blocked. It impacts my ability to sleep, my physical and emotional shelves, and even my faith. I do not make major changes easily (part of it is a loyalty thing). But as I become more in touch with my authentic self, I understand my need to live from a place of “flow” and authenticity.

If you are finding that you are out of sync with your goals or your own happiness, maybe it is time to contemplate making a change and pulling yourself into alignment. You’ll be thankful you did!

New Look, New Clarity


Hi everyone. I am happy to say I am finally BACK. No really…

BACK

After a very long hiatus and intermittent posting, I am finally back to blogging. As you can see, I spruced things up a bit. I have also decided to get back to my central purpose – talking about all things intense, gifted, and creative.

Those of you who have been around for a while know that I am dedicated to helping gifted individuals understand and appreciate their unique intensities. I write books and articles on the topic, frequently speak to groups of parents, educators, and kids about this topic, and work to help gifted individuals embrace all that they are.

This blog is a piece of that journey.

I will be posting 1-3 times a week on subjects related to giftedness that I find interesting. Additionally, I have decided to comb the interwebz for interesting articles that I think will benefit gifted children and adults, as well as educators and parents. I’ll post links regularly on my Intense Life Facebook page. If you aren’t following that page, take a second to hop over and do that. My goal is to recap the best of those links every few weeks over here as well.

I hope that you join me as I revive this blog. And bring your friends. I’ve missed our wonderful conversations and am excited to get back to that.

As I prepare new posts, I have a question for you – what topics would you like to see here on An Intense Life?

Thanks everyone!

Merry Christmas, From My Family to Yours…


 
Merry Christmas! I will be taking the next week off and trying
my hardest to stay off-line, not only to spend time with my family but also to
finish a couple of projects that need to be done before the new year. Before I
leave I wanted to share one of my favorite Christmas stories with all of you. Let
this story inspire you and bring light into your world between now and the New
Year.
 
As some of you may know, my mother was a minister. My
favorite time of year to watch her at the pulpit was Christmas. Mom loved
Christmas — everything about Christmas. Trimming the tree, caroling, and the sermons
she would share throughout the season. Her favorite, however, was the candle-lighting
service held Christmas Eve at our church. My mother did not create the service –
that was done prior to her becoming the faith leader at the church. But she did
take the service to a special place, treating it as though it was the sacrament
of communion. Indeed this service was a communion in light. Simple, elegant,
and inspirational.
 
About 5 years or so before she died, I asked my mom to share
the service with me so that I, in my home or wherever I am, could celebrate the
way I remembered celebrating as a child. Now many churches do candle-lighting
services of one form or another. What I loved about this one was the colors she
used for each candle and for the symbolism she presented through the service.
It’s that symbolism that I want to share with you today.
 
My mom believed deeply in the story of the Nativity, holding
each member of that sacred scene in a position of honor. What you see below is
a representation of how she viewed each character and what they symbolized in
the story of the Nativity.
 
Candles were set up on an altar with a tall, white taper in
the center to represent the Christ.
To the left were three smaller tapers as follows — red to
represent Mary and the purity of her divine love; yellow to represent Joseph
and the highest of divine wisdom; blue to represent the shepherds and the
innocence of a child. To the right of the tall white taper were another group
of three smaller tapers — green to represent Melchior, the first of the three
wise men. His was the gift of gold to represent the prosperity of spirit; orange
to represent Gaspar, the second wise man. His gift was frankincense to
represent the purest and deepest devotion; the last candle was purple to
represent Balthazar the last of the wise men. He gave myrrh and the candle represents
the gift of healing.
 
In this candle-lighting service, parishioners were asked to
pick a candle and light it from any (or many) of the seven candles focusing on
those attributes that you wanted to work on and pray on in the upcoming year.
 
I always remember this service as setting the tone for my
new year. Music was played, usually by one of the harpist from the LA
Philharmonic who just happened to be parishioners. It was a breathtaking
service and when mom gave me permission to replicate that service in our home a
guaranteed that one of my favorite traditions would continue.
 
Now that my children are growing up and beginning to leave
the home, I know the time will come when I can pass this tradition on to them.
 
It is my hope that if the symbolic meaning of the Nativity
and what this candle-lighting service can truly represent has meaning to you
that you share it. Replicate it for yourselves and hold the meaning of
Christmas and the season of light in your heart.
 
Blessings to you and your family. May you all have a happy
and healthy New Year.

 

I have exciting things to bring to you in 2015 including six
new books before we hit summer! Until then, enjoy all that this season has to
bring.
 

Lots of covers, lots of excitement…


Hi everyone! Happy Wednesday. I, for one, can’t wait the week to be over. My oldest is home from college in three short days and I couldn’t be more excited. But that isn’t what this blog post is about.

It’s about my shiny new cover. Elana Johnson is helping me out with a cover reveal for my next book, Indie and Proud. But as I was prepping for that post, I realized that isn’t the only cover I have ready to share. I have COVER-S. That’s right, covers plural. Three to be exact.

 
CHECK THEM OUT!

INDIE AND PROUD

You did it! You achieved your dream of writing and publishing your book. You should be happy. Instead you feel trapped in an ever-changing publishing race, stressed over the never-ending to-do list, and frustrated with yourself for continuing to doubt your talents, despite achieving your goals.


Face it, being a creative is difficult, and achieving some measure of success in the business doesn’t make you immune to your own fears and doubts. If anything, your achievements have added even more pressures. Indie and Proud shines a light on those fears and pressures, providing tools to deal with your frustrations and embrace your passions again.


Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses everyday examples and stories from writers and other artists to help artists find and maintain their balance in the exciting world of independent publishing. With specific strategies to address self-doubt, underlying fears, and the truly intense nature of being creative, Indie and Proud is a must read for anyone ready to embrace everything it means to be Indie.

Coming February 2, 2015

RAISING THE SHY CHILD: A Parent’s Guide To Social Anxiety

The fear of being judged by others in social activities is a common human experience, especially during childhood. But when the fear becomes all-consuming, it can disrupt daily functioning and the development of social competency. Raising the Shy Child: A Parent’s Guide to Social Anxiety takes a fresh look at social anxiety disorder, coupling the latest in research trends with evidence-based strategies and real-world stories to untangle the complexities of this disorder. Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses a combination of real-world examples and stories from adults and children with social anxiety disorder to show parents and educators how to help children find a path through their fear and into social competence. With specific strategies to address school refusal, bullying, and identity issues, Raising the Shy Child is a must-read resource for anyone dedicated to enhancing the lives of children.

Coming March 1, 2015 from Prufrock Press

I’M NOT JUST GIFTED:
Social-Emotional Curriculum for Guiding Gifted Students

What does it mean to be a successful person? What traits and characteristics define successful people? Why do gifted children, in particular, need a strong affective curricula in order to maximize their potential? These questions and more are explored in this guide to helping gifted children in grades 4-7 as they navigate the complicated social and emotional aspects of their lives. This curriculum is designed to help gifted children explore their giftedness, develop resiliency, manage their intensities, face adversities and tough situations, and cultivate their talents and passions. Including lesson plans, worksheets, and connections to Common Core State Standards, I’m Not Just Gifted is the practical guide necessary for anyone serving and working with gifted children.

Coming May 15, 2015 from Prufrock Press
I don’t know about you, but I am so freakin excited! I am also planning a few fiction releases – so I will be sharing that information soon…ish….
Until next time, what books are you excited for???

OOhhh….look what’s coming…


Happy Holidays everyone! I can’t believe 2014 is nearly over. And with the new year starting, comes all sorts of excitement. New books, new dreams, new goals. All very exciting.

One of my New Year’s goals is to be around the blog a bit more. But, that can’t happen until I finish up this month and enjoy time with my family.

As I head back into my writing cave and prepare for a CRAZY SIX MONTHS filled with releases and more, I wanted to share some exciting news…

My next nonfiction book, and the first one being released in 2015, INDIE AND PROUD is available for preorder NOW. You’ll be seeing the cover blitz around the web this week, along with a few other cool things.

So what’s the book about? Check it out:

You did it!
You achieved your dream of writing and publishing your book. You should be happy. Instead you feel
trapped in an ever-changing publishing race, stressed over the never-ending
to-do list, and frustrated with yourself for continuing to doubt your talents,
despite achieving your goals.

Face it, being a creative is difficult, and achieving some measure of success in the business
doesn’t make you immune to your own fears and doubts. If anything, your
achievements have added even more pressures. Indie and Proud shines a light on those fears and pressures,
providing tools to deal with your frustrations and embrace your passions again.

Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses everyday examples and stories
from writers and other artists to help artists find and maintain their balance
in the exciting world of independent publishing. With specific strategies to
address self-doubt, underlying fears, and the truly intense nature of being
creative, Indie and Proud is a must
read for anyone ready to embrace everything it means to be Indie.

Check out the early praise:
“The information Christine
has to share is both brilliant and essential for every indie author. She covers
the practical subjects we want to know as well all the things no one wants to
talk about; the stress, the doubts and the emotional rollercoasters that we as
artists struggle with. Christine will help you deal with it all so you can hold
onto your job and love it.”
 – Devri Walls, author of The Solus Series
“I am an indie author, and proud of it. But
give me five minutes, and I might not feel quite as confident about it. That’s
why I’m very grateful for the class, Indie and Proud, that I took from
Christine Fonseca. In her class I learned that fear is a part of every day,
every new and challenging thing–I can either let the fear disable me, or let
it be the driving force to enable me. I’m excited for the book Indie and Proud
because it’ll be like having that amazing and inspiring class in my pocket
every day. I want to be indie and proud all the time–Ms. Fonseca’s book is my
new favorite reminder that yes, I really can do this!
– Ali Cross,
award-winning author of the Become series

This book is the first of many that bridges my coaching and self-help book life with my life as a writer. And yes, it means I’ll be opening up my coaching practice to include writers looking to bring more balance to their lives, as well as my other areas of specialty. But more on that later…

For now, I want to celebrate and say THANK YOU for all of the support over the years.  I’ve decided to give everyone who preorders some very special bonus material – a workbook companion to the novel that highlights and expands on all of the special lessons in the book. This is ONLY available to preorders and will be taken down just after the book releases in February.

So, get your book today.
 

No, I didn’t abandon the site…


Well, it has been TOO LONG since I have been here. Actually, I have a load of things in the works for this site. I want to get back to my roots of writing about the needs of the gifted. Lots of reasons for this, which I will fill you in on over the next few weeks.

For now – this is what I’ve been doing in November:

Yep, I was writing. I wanted to finish TWO novels this month. I was on track for the first week. But the day job is so insanely busy, it is just not possible for me to get this done! SO….Here I am, very thankful to have made it past the 60K mark and completing NaNo.

Next up – getting back to life with everything else.

Hope you are all fab and I will be back. I miss you guys!

Wherein I talk openly about the creative mind…


Hi all –

In light of the news about Robin Williams on Monday, I wanted to write a post that has been years in the making really. And a rare one that I decided to post on both of my sites...

Robin Williams’ death angered me in many ways, something that made me take pause. I wasn’t angry because of the tragedy of it all, but because another creative genius felt there was no way out. And more, I was angry because while his death started a much needed conversation about mental health issues and the stigma attached to those battling with a mental illness, it did not start even a ripple of the conversation I wish it had. Robin Williams was not ONLY and individual who had battled both depression and addiction, he was a genius. His very being meant he was intense.

So much of the conversations in these last days has attributed the creative genius to the mental illness, as though they always go together. But they don’t. The intensity DOES. And as a society, we don’t accept that intensity without also thinking in the back of our heads that there MUST be a mental illness piece.

How do I know this? It’s been my reality for ever.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a very intense, creative person. I am a divergent thinker, a gifted adult, and prone to strong emotions. When I create, be it books, music or choreography (yes, I composed concertos as a child and conducted string orchestras and music camp. I was also a theater-dance minor in school and dabbled in choreography), I see/hear the finished product in my head long before the first word/note/move existed. Like many famous artists, everything existed in my head in perfection. My job was simply to find a way to purge it from my thoughts and get it out for the world to see.

And therein was the problem.

Once the world could see it, it was scrutinized, criticized, commented on. Teachers when I was 8 told me I was crazy for believing I could get a random group of 7 and 8-year-olds together and do a Shakespeare play (think Little Rascals does Macbeth), but that didn’t keep me from wanting to try. When I recreated a South Pacific coral reef to scale in 7th grade as part of a project that advocated for the preservation of our oceans, my teacher thought me extreme. When I came up with a theory about the relationship between political cartoons and their influence on political culture of the 1700 and 1800s in high school, my US History teacher told me I I could never prove my ideas and I should just write a term paper of something–anything–else.

Such was my life growing up.

By the end of High School I learned just how strange and divergent I was. More, I learned that none of that was a “good” thing. Nerds and Geeks weren’t cool back then. Everything that was important to me, that made me “me”, was weird to the rest of the world. And being weird was definitely NOT celebrated.

I thought in pictures, and usually had five or more thoughts going on at once. To me, in my head, multiple realities were the norm. I couldn’t understand that other people didn’t conceptualize multi-dimensional thinking as I did. I lived in a profoundly lonely world, one in which I wasn’t accepted except by my mother (gifted in her own right) and an occasional friend.

So I cultivated new interests, ones that were more mundane. I got into fashion, modeling, and the like. I developed an eating disorder and my own intensities channeled themselves into much more destructive thinking. It would be easy to think of me as mentally ill. After all, I had developed a mental illness. But that wasn’t me. Not fully. It was a means to an end, a way to belong. And it worked in the short term. I had friends, but very few knew “me”. Heck, I barely knew me.

I was called overly dramatic, a drama queen, etc – all in response to my very extreme emotions. I don’t blame people for saying it really; from their perspective it was true. I was extreme and intense. I still am. And yes, I still lose friends because of it.

In college, my world imploded as my eating disorder spun out of control and I had to admit the problem. I sought help and got better. A lot better.

On the surface.

It wasn’t until many years later, after a load of therapy, maturity and a few personal crises that forced me to self-examine, that I learned the truth about who I was and why I acted the way I did. I learned what it meant to be gifted, to be intense.

See, I never thought of myself as smart, despite the “proof” in IQ tests, the GT label, etc. And no one ever explained to me that being smart, being gifted, MEANT asynchronous development. It meant I’d struggle with EQ, at least when I was younger. Most importantly, it meant that I was – I am – intense.

Why am I writing this crazy long post? It isn’t to brag, garnish sympathy, or anything else. It’s to talk, openly and honestly and what being gifted and creative has meant to me.

There is an intensity with which I approach life. This intensity DOES NOT mean I am crazy. It doesn’t mean I need to be fixed. When I say I need a break, when I speak openly about my intensity, I’m not looking for someone out there to “fix” me like I am a problem. I just want someone to know I’m at my limit and I need a break.

When I struggle socially, or I come off aloof, please know it isn’t intentional. My brain works fast – very fast. And sometimes, I get lost in it. That doesn’t mean I am uncaring or uninterested. In fact, the opposite is likely more true. I desperately care and I am profoundly interested. I am just somewhat lousy at showing in.

And when I get down, REALLY DOWN, I am seldom depressed. I am just overwhelmed by life and its emotions.

This is NOT TO SAY that other creative, gifted people aren’t depressed. Gifted people do get depressed.

I am lucky. I have done a TON of work in the field of giftedness, learning why I feel existential depression as often as I do, why I approach the world as I do, why I am so intense. I really think it is BECAUSE of this that I have significantly improved my EQ and learned what my personal “normal” is. I have also learned when I need to ask for help – when I am overwhelmed beyond all ability to cope. More importantly, I’ve learned how to receive help from others, even when they aren’t really able to relate.

So, this is me. And it is many other gifted individuals. We are not broken in our intensities. But we do

need acceptance, even when we seem crazy. And if we do actually break, because it can certainly happen (especially when we receive the constant message that we are crazy because of our intensities, or when we fail to connect socially because there are so few who “get us”), we need acceptance even more.

And we need the world, our family, our friends, our therapists, etc to understand that our baseline – our “normal” – is DIFFERENT from everyone else. If you force us into your version of “normal”, or medicate us to some random definition of  “normal”, we still are not “normal” from our perspective, and we will reject your version of help.

Sometimes with deadly consequences.

Gifted creatives are blessed with passions that burn brighter than the sun. And sometimes we get burned in the wake of our own intensities.