I’m Toni McLellan, a coach, storyteller, and creative spirit. I love helping people connect to themselves so they can lead fulfilling lives and pursue their biggest dreams.
A brief personal bio: I’m happily married to a great guy and we are raising three sons together in an a super-cute small town northwest of Chicago. My mom and brother (who has Down Syndrome) also live with us, along with our three pet birds (two of whom talk). It’s a full life with lots of laughter, laundry, and menu planning. We love taking our popup camper on the road with our boys.
As far as my work goes, I was a freelance writer for over a decade. Before that, held a string of jobs that reflected what I thought was expected of me rather than what I really wanted to do. Before that, I went to law school, because it felt easier to buy into the starving artist myth than to put myself out there as a writer and photographer.
When I found myself feeling stuck and frustrated with freelance writing, I hired a business coach to help me be a more efficient and successful writer. I also read up on human motivation, how to make habits stick, and what makes creative and happily successful people tick. I also found inspiration in fellow creatives, friends, and family who lifted my spirits and cheered me on.
It turned out what I needed to do wasn’t to be a more efficient and successful writer, but to make a career shift running retreats for creative people, and coaching found me along the way. People kept coming to me for insight and help on everything from starting a creative business to setting boundaries with a pushy coworker. I talked several experienced coaches and realized that this was a fantastic fit. I took a coaching training program and steadily grew my client base. I love working one-on-one with people, and also teaching and speaking at events.
I know what it’s like to be lost in life and work, despite having dreams and desires that I couldn’t seem to bring to life. I used to be overweight, in pain and out of shape, broke as a joke, and deeply unhappy. I’m talking, “passive aggressive, ‘why me? ‘must be nice,’ gossipy, judgmental, snarky, cynical, victim/combatant” unhappy. I used to worry all the time and let that overrule most of my everyday decisions. I let perfectionism cripple me, creating a vicious cycle of procrastination and self-criticism. The less I got done, the more I silently beat myself up for not doing the things that I said I wanted to do.
Here’s the thing: I also know what it’s like to thrive, to feel connected to Source and my highest self and to let my decisions flow from that inner knowing. To create things that bring me joy — stories and images and retreats and workshops. I now move and nourish my body joyfully and play outdoors as often as possible. I am more present both in my work and for my family and my man.
My life isn’t perfect, but here’s a secret: Nobody’s life is perfect. But every day, I feel grateful for what is and hopeful for what will be, and I practice going with the flow and trusting that I can handle whatever comes.
I can help you connect with what you most want, too. To build a bridge between the life you have now and the life you know you were meant to live, and I will walk with you for as far as you need support and cheer you on the whole time. Take a look around this site and get in touch to ask questions or just to introduce yourself and say hi.