Be in the Flow – Follow Your Path!

Archive for June, 2011

Summer Fun Times – and a Time to Reflect

Summer Fun Times – and a Time to Reflect

Do you have special plans this summer? What are they?
It’s the season of vacations, travel, letting your hair down, fun with the kids, lazy days at the beach, or rollercoaster rides. It is a time to recharge your personal batteries, a time to reflect, and a time to do the things you’ve put off all year or even for a lifetime. It’s also a time for celebrations: Independence Day, families and friends getting together, picnics.

What does your style of fun say about you?

At the end of fun times, how do you feel? Satisfied or relieved; content or upset, or ….

Or are you working hard and believe that fun just doesn’t belong on your calendar?

If you are willing, share your thoughts, privately to me, with a friend, or publicly comment on my blog.

Story: Round Trip: Chicago to California

2 boys racing down a sand dune

2 boys racing down a sand dune

When my kids were young, we took a five-week car trip from Chicago to California and back. Five weeks of togetherness in a VW Weekender: van by day, camper by night. All throughout we listened to great books on tape, learning “How to Eat fried Worms” and other great stories. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Eat_Fried_Worms It was a trip of much fun, contentment, exploration and learning, with the destination of visiting relatives at our half way mark. Along the way we saw dinosaur bones, petrified forests, wildflowers blooming in the desert, some of the biggest trees in the world: the sequoia trees. We also had many less memorable moments of good times, stopping at parks, eating ice cream by sucking it out of the bottom of the cone and managing Chinese food with chopsticks. Then there were the large dunes, where my son “ate dirt”. He and his brother climbed a big sand dune and then ran down as fast as possible, eventually crashing and rolling down. When he reached the bottom he was laughing hard and he had sand everywhere: from his eyelashes and between his teeth to between his toes. Great memories!

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

We make plans and then life happens. Or we don’t make plans. A five-week trip with three young children in a minivan takes some planning. The memories will always warm my heart. Life doesn’t always go the way we want and undoubtedly there will be disappointments and plans and goals that don’t come to fruition. On the other hand, the things we plan and that come together for us, those are the ones that make life worthwhile.

So —- I encourage you to make some plans: big ones and little ones. Reconnect with a friend; spend some time with your kids or grandkids if you have them; enjoy reading a great books in a favorite location; plan a trip or an adventure; make a list of 20 things you enjoy doing that are free. Examples are: go for a walk in a beautiful park or neighborhood. Find out if a nearby museum has a day when admission is free. Go see the 4th of July fireworks. Talk to a friend. If there is a river or lake nearby, go fishing or just enjoy the calming influence of the water. Go to your public library and check out some great books, audiotapes, and movies. Watch the movies with friends. Have a picnic in a park or spread a blanket on the floor and have a picnic in the comfort of your own home. Above all: have fun and create happy memories. Pick a bunch of yellow dandelions and have the bright color liven up your room. Take a photo to remind you later.

What free things do you enjoy doing? Let’s use the comments to create a BIG list of ideas for free summer fun.

Taking it Farther:

Make a list of free or inexpensive things you like doing and that you can sprinkle into your days. It’ll brighten up your days to know you have fun things planned. Make time (1/2 hour or more) to do them several days per week.

Plan something bigger: a vacation, a trip, a cottage by the beach or in the mountains, a skill you’ve always wanted to learn, something that is meaningful and heart warming to you. Something you’ve always wanted to do. On a regular basis set aside some time to research it, plan it, and take action towards it, including how to set aside some money monthly to build the fund to do it.

I have heard it said, that there are no impossible goals, only impossible timeframes.

Above all: have some goals, live life, be happy, and have fun!

Contact me:

If this was helpful and you want more, I’m here for you. Call to schedule coaching and start moving towards having the life you choose. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

Good Habits – Bad Habits. Are You Sure?

Good Habits – Bad Habits.  Are you sure?

Good Habits: Work hard, Play hard. Lead by example.
Bad Habits: Alcohol is bad for you. Banish procrastination.

We all have beliefs about what are good habits and what are bad habits. My grandfather said that eating an egg or two a day was good for you. Today people are concerned about the cholesterol in eggs. They used to have prohibition in the United States because alcohol was surely an evil thing. Now you’re supposed to drink a glass of red wine per day for your health.

In the end, what was once a good habit may now be a bad habit: spanking children for example.

So, may I suggest that we are raised to believe certain behaviors are good or bad. So we believe. Yet we keep doing what we are doing. May be there is some benefit to what we are doing, our “bad habits” actually serve a purpose. If you could imagine that your bad habits are in some way perfect for you – what purpose do they serve? Finding the good in a bad habit might just be the trick.

Story: Good Luck – Bad Luck. Who’s to know?

Here is a brief portion of a story I’ve heard many times and told in many different ways. You may have heard it too.

In the olden days, a farmer was plowing his field. One day his son, who had been gone for a long time, returned home. The father was glad to see him and invited all the neighbors to celebrate the homecoming. The neighbors said, “Now that you are getting older, it’s sure good luck that your son has returned home and can help out with the farm.” The old farmer replied, “Good luck, bad luck, who’s to know.” The neighbors just shook their heads.

It wasn’t long that the son broke his leg. Again the neighbors commented, “That is surely bad luck.” The old farmer just replied, “Good luck, bad luck, who’s to know.”

Next, they heard that a recruiter for the king was coming to take away all able-bodied young men for the king’s army, since the king was getting ready to fight a war. The farmer’s son was left behind because of the broken leg. The neighbors again commented, “What good luck that was.” The old farmer just replied, “Good luck, bad luck, who’s to know.”

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

Have you ever made a list of all your good habits and another list of all your bad habits? Try it. Which list is longer?

Are there any pairs like the following?
Good Habit: work hard —- Bad Habit: procrastinate
Good Habit: Act as if you have your life all together —- Bad Habit: Get drunk on a Friday night

The source of the bad habit might be the good habit. If you work hard and don’t allow yourself to relax and enjoy, then just maybe, the only way for you to relax is to procrastinate. When you ease up on the good habit and find a better balance in your life, the procrastination may disappear as well. If you look like you have it all together, there is a point when you can’t keep up the façade. Getting drunk allows you to forget it all for a little while.

So, if trying to change a bad habit hasn’t worked for you, try changing a good habit. Find a better balance and see how it affects your bad habit.

Taking it Farther:

1. Identify a habit you would like to change
2. Determine what you want to change it to
3. Decide if you can commit to doing this for 90 days
4. If you can’t commit to 90 days, pick something you can succeed at. Start small and be successful.
5. After 30 days, evaluate. If you are satisfied, then recommit. Otherwise make adjustments.

I recommend focusing on one habit at a time. Give it three months to live into your new habit in a way that works for you. It may not seem like a lot, but at four habits per year, you will have twenty improved habits in five years. I guarantee it; your life will be different!

Contact me:

If this was helpful and you want more, I’m here for you. Call to schedule coaching and start living the life you choose. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

Good Grief! Is Grief Good for You?

Good Grief! Is Grief good for you?

Are you de-pressed? If unresolved grief is weighing you down, you might be “pressed down” by the weight of it. If the memories are a constant in your life (you think about it at least weekly), your life might be held in place like a boat with an anchor.

So what is grief?

Grief is deep distress at the loss of something valued or necessary, something taken from you without your agreement.

We can grieve the loss of people in our lives. We can also grieve the loss of a job, loss of a sense of feeling secure when incurring a major financial blow, losing the comfortable and familiar when moving, or the loss of our health. We may also grieve the loss of a belief: losing trust after a confidence or commitment was not kept, a broken promise. If grief stays unresolved, we add to our burden of grief that we carry around with us. It weighs us down or de-presses us.

Therefore, resolving grief and bringing closure will free us up, will give us room for more energy and joy in our lives.

Story: Resolve your differences – regularly

I was recently shown photos from a funeral. One of the photos showed two sisters who attended the funeral ceremony of their mother. The expressions on their faces were very different. One face was stricken with grief – the other was at peace.

Here is what I was told. One of the sisters spent time with her mother as her mother’s health was failing. They talked things out. When the mother passed away, there was a sense of peace and closure. Things were resolved. Her mother was no longer suffering in ill-health and in pain. Old emotional wounds had been healed.

The other sister had a lot of unresolved anger and grief. She and her mother didn’t speak. That daughter couldn’t bring herself to visit her mother in the final couple of years or even call her. Old grudges and anger and disagreements were never dealt with. Now that sister has deep lines of grief forming on her face. She is suffering.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

To heal unresolved grief means that you need to bring closure to something you may have had no control over, something that is left unresolved. You didn’t choose the timing. You had unfinished business. You don’t know how to resolve the unfinished business. The other person isn’t there to resolve it, or you feel unable to take steps towards resolution. How can you move on?

First of all, recognize that unresolved grief weighs you down. To lighten the load is to be able to live life more fully. It’s like putting down a backpack filled with rocks. You can move more freely without it, run faster, have more fun, and feel unencumbered.

Secondly, get clear on where you have unresolved grief. Did you feel that a friend has betrayed your confidence? Was a promise broken? Did your job evaporate despite your best efforts and commitment to the company where you worked? Did a relationship end? Did you lose your nest egg in the recent financial upheaval?

Thirdly, where is the judgment? Do you blame yourself for making poor choices or do you blame others: your boss, the economy, your partner, your friend?

Sometimes when we become clear on what grief we are holding onto, it will start to release all on its own. Clarity can bring a certain amount of healing.

Next, welcoming grief into our life is a big step for many. We have been taught to suppress our emotions, or at least the “negative” emotions. We are supposed to be strong and not show our vulnerabilities. This may be even harder for many men than for women. So go easy on yourself. How? Set aside some time when you are undisturbed and in a comfortable place. Think of an area of your life where you feel you have unresolved grief. Try to feel it fully. Welcome it into your consciousness. Then ask yourself if you could let go of this unresolved grief and when. Repeat the questions until you feel done or feel a sense of peace. This particular line of questioning is inspired by materials from “The Sedona Method”. For more information go to http://www.sedona.com/

Taking it Farther:

There are many ways to deal with grief. Aurora Winter uses a series of questions starting with, “If you had known that your spouse was going to die young, would you have still chosen to be with them?” For many the realization that they cherish the time they did have, releases much of the grief. In her book, “From Heartbreak to Happiness” she chronicles her own story.

There are many resources to help you process your grief. Healing grief through regular healthy communication is probably best, when that option is still available. I can help you bring closure.

Contact me:

If this was helpful and you want more, I’m here for you.  Call to schedule coaching and start living the life you choose. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

You Have a Graduate. Congratulations! —- Now What?

You Have a Graduate. Congratulations! —- Now What?

Are you the parent, relative or friend of someone who is graduating? Or may be you are finally getting that long coveted degree? Now what?

What are the options and how viable are they for you or that someone you care about? Do you have helpful ideas or inspiring experiences you would like to share? Share them by leaving a comment. Or feel free to send them to me with the subject line “Graduate”.

Here is a short list of ideas of what to do next:
• Do nothing
• Get more education
• If you already have a job, ask for a raise
• Get a job or a better job
• Go into the armed services
• Become a consultant
• Be unemployed
• Depend on someone else to support you
• Do a gap year: volunteer or see the world
• Volunteer
• Get an Internship
• Start a business

The bottom line is that you have been learning to do something. Hopefully it has prepared you for something you want to do. Now you need to shift gears from being a learner to someone who applies all that knowledge and skill to help others. And get paid for it.

There used to be a couple simple steps to making that transition.

• In the olden days, you became an apprentice.
• In the more modern era of educational choices, you got an education, created a resume, and got a job.
• A small number of people start companies.
• An even smaller number of people start companies that become successful.

In today’s job seeker climate of higher unemployment and job uncertainty, and with all the available technology, starting a small, home-based business is becoming a more tempting alternative.

Story: Drop out of college, get $100,000

“Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and one of the first investors in Facebook, is proposing a controversial path toward more rapid innovation. His Thiel Foundation announced that it was giving 24 people under 20 $100,000 fellowships to drop out of school for two years to start their own companies.” Read more here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/05/25/136646918/paypal-co-founder-hands-out-100-000-fellowships-to-not-go-to-college

This is an interesting debate. I think that a college degree has long been seen as the ticket to a better life. Getting a degree from the “right” school has been viewed as the ticket into the elite clubs. Was it true? Is it true now? What do you think?

I have read that education was invented to create a “conveyor belt” approach to creating qualified people to work in the factories of the industrial revolution. Kids were filled up with knowledge they would need to know to fill a job in a factory. In the process these young people were also sorted to find the obedient ones who willingly sat through whatever information they were taught and would make excellent candidates for the mindless repetitive work of a conveyor belt or assembly line. But that was a long time ago. Education has morphed. Or has it?

Education for the most part treats learners as empty vessels to be filled up with information. At the other end of the spectrum are the homeschooling stars that have been given the freedom to discover their passion early in life and were encouraged to pursue it. They love learning and are more likely to become lifelong learners. People like homeschooling superstar Evan O’Dorney, the 2011 winner of the prestigious “Intel Science Talent Search” $100,000 award. http://www.societyforscience.org/STS and http://blog.drwile.com/?p=5140

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

My feeling is that in education we have it backwards. Instead of learning first and then figuring out what to do with it, we need to start with the end in mind.

Spending a large sum of money to go to college with the hopes of figuring it out later, could become a burdensome financial obligation with uncertain outcomes and potentially a decade long debt to repay. Trying to figure out where the jobs are going to be when you graduate, or betting on “safe careers” or respectable careers like doctor or lawyer or scientist aren’t necessarily going to work either.

Think of all the computer people who thought theirs was a safe well-paying job, who have had their jobs outsourced to India and other countries. Now they have job skills that are fading fast, on top of that may be they never liked the work in the first place. Ouch.

Let’s use the analogy of the car GPS. If you don’t know where you are going, chances are slim that you will get to your destination. If, on the other hand, your car has a GPS and you put in your desired destination, then the car’s guidance system will help you get there. I think education should be approached in the same way. Figure out where you want to go in your career, then figure out the best educational options to get you there. Here is what I suggest.

Prioritize your goals.
1. If you need to pay your bills so you can eat, by all means look for a job now. Get educated on what it takes to find a job in today’s job market. There are many resources: the library, internet searches, Job ministries at your local church or synagogue, job circles and educational programs at community colleges, the unemployment office. Lots of people are there who want to help you succeed.
2. If you have time, get clear on what you love to do, your interests and strengths. Who are you and what makes you tick? Connect with people who do what you might want to do. Volunteer, do an internship, or get a job in a field where you can observe people who do what you might want to do. Do some informational interviewing to find out what those people love and hate about their work. Get educated about the field you want to work in. Nowadays, whether you are looking for a job or building a business, people want to work with people who are good at what they do AND who love doing what they do.
3. Have a clear vision of where you want to go. Every road has construction zones and detours. Every job has its tedious and unpleasant sides. If you don’t have a compelling vision of where you are going and why you are going there, you’re more likely to get derailed or give up.

Taking it Farther:

If you are like most people, you have been taught to sit still, be obedient, turn in your homework on time, and get either stickers and smiley faces for good behavior or the dreaded red marker all over your papers to let you know that you are not measuring up. Somebody else decided if you are good enough or not.

Isn’t it time to decide for yourself that you are good enough and exactly what you are good at? I believe that every one of us has the potential to make a valuable contribution. What might yours be?

Contact me:

If this was helpful and you want more, I’m here for you. Call to schedule coaching and start living the life you choose. Call Edith at 847.913.3900. You can also reach me at Edith@esCoach.com.

%d bloggers like this: