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You Have a GPS For Your Life

You have a GPS for your life

2014APR10carGPSWhat is a GPS? It is a Global Positioning System. The GPS in your car or the handheld device is actually a receiver. It receives signals from the GPS satellites and therefore knows exactly where you are. When you enter a destination into your GPS, it also knows where it is, and you can make steady progress towards that destination. Without entering a destination your car still drives. We all have destinations where we need no GPS – the GPS is in our head. We know how to get to work and the destinations for the various errands we frequently run. And we have destinations where we don’t know how to get there and without a GPS we get lost or need to ask for directions. So how can you apply the GPS concept to your life?

One area where these concepts can be applied is your finances. Many people have no idea how much they spend each month. They may simply charge their purchases on their credit card – having little idea how to stop and how to get out of debt. The first step in applying the concepts of the GPS is to figure out how much debt they have and what they spend their money on, in other words: what is their current location and which direction are they facing. The next step is to determine a destination: for example to have no credit card debt. Having no credit card debt may be a long distance goal. A more immediate goal may be to live within their means: having a budget and spending no more money than they bring in each month. This may require taking a careful look at every expenditure and determining what they will live without.

Another destination could be wanting to be married by a certain date. This too requires taking stock of your current location. Are you single and unattached? What kind of person are you looking for and are you the type of person they would be looking for? Then there are the actions to take on this journey. May be you want someone you can share a hobby with, so it is important to hang out where people share that hobby. May be you want someone in the same career field and a professional association is the place to look. There are also many online dating sites that help with finding a compatible partner. But it is also important to become the kind of person your ideal partner is looking for. That may require giving up some bad habits or getting fit.

Other destinations can be to save money for a new car, a house, a vacation fund, or to set money aside for the children’s college, or a retirement fund. All of these require determining where you are now, where you want to go and how long you have to get there. Having big financial goals may require going to college to be able to get a better job that pays well enough to allow the savings or lifestyle you want to achieve. It may require doing without some things to achieve bigger financial goals down the road.

 

Next Steps:

Are you living your life without a destination? May be you want to move to another state or travel around the world. May be it’s time to make a bucket list of things you want to do, see and have before you die. It all starts with an assessment of where you are now and what your destination is. Otherwise you may wake up one day and realize that life has passed you by and it is too late to achieve the things you want to achieve. That would be a shame. You have a GPS for your life. Start entering some destinations.

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

Embrace Change

Embrace Change

It is that time of year: the drabness of winter gives way to spring; our nesting instinct kicks into high gear and we start our annual ritual of spring cleaning; The housing market churns and people start looking for new homes; senioritis, like an epidemic, hits students ready to graduate from high school, college seniors and their parents worry about the job market and if students will be able to find that first real job. May be there are changes in your job as well; a new supervisor; a job transfer or layoff; new rules in the office.

Change is everywhere we look. How do we deal with it – and how do we do it effectively? Let’s first look at what doesn’t help. We can dig our heals in and pretend we can stop the changes. We can yearn for what was and keep a blind eye to what is or will be.

What other options do we have? How do we embrace change?

Change is really only there for us to grow. When everything stays the same, many people get comfortable with the status quo. Change allows us to embrace something new, something we might have otherwise not even considered. Change brings opportunity to try new things.

Let’s take inspiration from the following quotes:

  • If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. (unknown)
  • To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. (Winston Churchill)
  • Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. (James Baldwin)
  • It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. (Alan Cohen)

Step by step:

Psychologist Kurt Lewin came up with this model of change that can be adapted to the individual.

Start with a period of “unfreezing”. This is a time to look at the status quo as well as the changes that are upon you. What does the change involve? How is it different from what you do or have today? What do you like and dislike about the change? What do you like and dislike about what you have now? What opportunities does the change present? What can you learn from the change? Can you be a pioneer or change agent and be perceived as a leader instead of an obstructionist?

Step two in Kurt Lewin’s model of change is the “transition” period. This is where the change is implemented and the bugs are worked out. This can take some time. For example, if you are moving to a new house you have to get the current house ready for sale; you have to pack; you have to find a new home; you have to unpack and settle into the new home. There are many other little details that have to be attended to, before you can get comfortable in your new home. Similarly other transitions require many transition steps before you can settle into a new routine.

Step three is “refreeze”. Once you get the changes under control, it is time to establish new routines and new ways of doing things. It is time to settle into the new life.

Next Steps:

Rather than waiting for change to force itself on you, take a critical look at your life and determine where a change is in order. If your relationship with your spouse could be better, schedule a frank talk or suggest counseling; if you hate your commute, consider moving closer; if you hate your job, may be it is time to consider a change. Be proactive. Embrace change!

Contact me:

Schedule a complimentary coaching consultation. See what changes for the better I can help you with. Call now: 847-913-3900.

Live an Inspired Life

Live an Inspired Life

Don’t lose hope. When the sun goes down, the stars come out.
Unknown

Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

Ships in harbor are safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
John Shedd

I am thankful for the difficult people in my life. They have shown me exactly who I don’t want to be.
Unknown

If we are not a little bit uncomfortable every day, we’re not growing. All the good stuff is outside our comfort zone.
Jack Canfield

We go about our daily lives. Most of what we do is on automatic pilot. Is there room for inspiration in your life? As Jack Canfield says, the good stuff is outside our comfort zone. Sometimes it is just outside of our automatic zone. So how do we create an inspired life? An inspired life is one where we live on purpose, living intentionally. An inspired life has meaning. It is getting out of our automatic life, starting to do something every day, that is different from what we do normally. Here is how I was introduced to the power of living intentionally.

Many years ago I attended a workshop. After every break the workshop leader asked us to gather our belongings and move to a different seat. Not just one seat over, but to a different part of the room. For me it was the beginning of getting unstuck from the way I always did things. After the workshop I started to implement little changes into my life on purpose.

One example is when back then I took a train to work. On purpose I started to get on in different train cars. Through that little change I found there was a small group of people playing bridge in one of the cars. First I watched, then I was a substitute when they only had three players, later I became a regular. That became a very enjoyable train ride.

While talking I came to find out that one of the bridge players was Robert Goldsborough, author of the Nero Wolfe murder mysteries. When his next book came out, I read it. I liked it so well I read other books he published. It gave me many, many hours of enjoyment. All that just from taking a small conscious step to get on a different train car than the one I had always gotten on.

Since then I have taken many conscious steps to do something different – with many happy results. Sometimes it’s as simple as beginning to brush my teeth on the opposite side of my mouth than what I do normally; or putting my pants on with the opposite leg first. These steps in themselves are insignificant but they get me doing things consciously. When you are consciously doing things differently you will start to experience new and happy circumstances – like my discovery of the bridge-playing group. So – get in the habit of living life on purpose and get a little inspiration into your life.

Contact me:

Schedule a complimentary coaching consultation. See what inspiration we can create for you. Call now: 847-913-3900.

20 Coaching Questions to help you GROW

20 Coaching Questions to help you GROW

As a life coach I ask many questions that are intended to help you get clarity about your life, your goals and direction. Here are some questions that provide food for thought. Write down your answers and see how it clarifies your thinking. They will help you GROW.

GOAL

What is a goal you want to achieve?

Why do you want that?

How much of that goal can you achieve in the next 12 months?

REALITY

Where are you now relative to your goal?

Is the goal realistic?

Is the time frame doable?

Who are the supportive people in your life?

What do you need in order to get started?

How will you get that?

OPPORTUNITIES

What can you do now?

How can you break your goal into achievable steps?

How much time can you set aside each day/week to work on your goal?

Who will help you?

What choices do you have?

WRAP-UP

What is holding you back and how can you overcome it?

What needs to happen before you can take the first/next step?

What is in the way and how will you deal with it?

Are there unsupportive people in your life?

How can you neutralize the negative impact of unsupportive people?

What action will you commit to?

Next Step:

Most people don’t have goals. Of the small minority of people who have goals, few write them down. Even fewer work meticulously towards achieving them. Rarely can someone achieve goals without the support of others. Many successful people, just like successful athletes, have a coach, who can push and stretch them to live their best life. Get a coach to support you on your journey towards your goals.

Contact me:

To determine if Edith is the right coach for you, schedule a complimentary coaching consultation. Call her now at 847-913-3900.

Align yourself with self-love

Align yourself with self-love

We are busy. We do all the things that need to get done: for work, around the house, maintaining the cars, do, do, do. Then we are asked to volunteer: at church, at the kids’ school, … When is it our turn: meditate, take a walk, curl up with a good book? The answer is never. Others look to us to see how we treat ourselves. If we are apologetic about taking time out for ourselves, others will be more than happy to pile on the requests and expectations. It is said if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person. And so it is. A busy person is more often willing to say yes to yet another task and is less likely to think of themselves and the downtime they so desperately need. They go, go, go until the body steps in and says enough. Then they come down with a cold or some other ailment to slow them down. Even then, there is little rest for the weary. Got to power through it and get everything done on that do to list.

Is this the life you lead? Is this the life you want to lead? What would it take to slow down and build in a commitment to yourself to give yourself some downtime? Downtime comes in many shades. It might mean an extra hour of sleep, or a mid-afternoon nap on a weekend. It could be curling up with a good book in front of the fireplace for a couple of hours. It might mean taking 15 minutes a day to start your day with prayer or meditation. It might mean at the end of the day writing in a gratitude journal. Or it might mean making time each week for a hobby or something artistic or creative.

For something more luxurious take a nice warm bubble bath, light some scented candles and have a glass of wine and may be a book. Or go get a massage.

The important thing is to schedule time for self-love. It may be challenging at first, but with practice it can become a way of life. First you train yourself, then you teach others how you want to be treated. Make your self-love time sacred, keeping your commitment to love yourself above all.

Next Step:

Decide what self-loving act you would like to do first. Then schedule it into your calendar as a firm commitment this week. Let others know that you will be unavailable during that time. Start small so you can feel successful when you have given yourself this act of self-love.

If you want more ideas on acts of self-love, here is a website with more ideas: http://www.abundancetapestry.com/70-ways-for-self-care/

 

Contact me: 

To determine if coaching with Edith can help you achieve a better life balance, schedule a complimentary coaching consultation. Call her now at 847-913-3900.

How to Set and Achieve S.M.A.R.T. Goals

How to Set and Achieve S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Setting and achieving goals is not easy. Setting SMART goals is even more challenging. But the satisfaction is great when goals are achieved. The best way to achieve your goals is to set SMART and SMARTER goals.

Let start with what is not a goal:

  • You wish you had more money.
  • You want to lose some weight.
  • You wish your spouse would treat you better.
  • You wish your kids got better grades in school.

Now let’s look at what a SMART goal is.

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Action-Based

R – Realistic

T – Timely

Jack Canfield (author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books) likes to tell the story where in one of his workshops he talks about goals. Invariably someone says they want to have more money. Jack responds, “If I give you a dollar you will have more money. Will you be satisfied?” Of course the answer is NO. So the first step to setting a SMART goal is to specify a precise amount. For example you may want a goal of having $2,400 in a savings account by July 1st, in order to go on a vacation with your family. This goal is specific (S); it is measurable (M) because you can look at the bank balance on July 1st to see if you met your goal; and it has an end date. It is timely (T).

To add Action-Based (A) to your goal you can specify that you will make a deposit $600 on the 15th of the month for the next four months (March through June) into your savings account.

Now the question is whether or not this action based goal is realistic (R). How can you save money on your current expenditures to free up $600 for the next four months? If you normally spend your entire paycheck, this may not be realistic. If on the other hand you usually have some money left over at the end of the month, you may be able to do with a little belt tightening and make your vacation a reality.

Maybe you can only save $200 per month. That means you will have $800 by July 1st. Maybe that’s enough for a vacation over a long weekend. After that you can save for an entire year ($200 x 12 = $2400) and go on your trip next year.

So here is what that SMART goal looks like:

I will put $200 per month into a savings account from July 15 of this year until June of next year to save $2400 and take my family on a vacation.

Now there is one more step you can take. How about a SMARTER goal? The E and R stand for

E – Enjoyable

R – Review

Your goal is already (E) enjoyable since the planned family vacation is a trip you are looking forward to.

Lastly, often when you have a goal there is something along the way that can derail your best intentions.  For example you may have an unexpected expense. Maybe shortly after you start on your goal your washing machine breaks and a replacement costs $400. You have some choices you have to make. You can abandon your goal because it is just too hard. You can defer buying a new washing machine for a year and use a Laundromat. You can replace the washing machine and not put the $200 aside for 2 months. Then you cut out more expenses and make more sacrifices and save $240 per months for the next ten months, so you can go on your vacation as planned. Maybe you can do something to earn a little extra money. Reviewing (R) your goal monthly is an important step to achieving your goal.

Example of a SMARTER goal in action

A number of years ago I decided that I wanted to earn money from my photography. I bought my first semi-professional camera in January. There was a lot to learn about that camera. By mid-year I had sold my first photo to a newspaper for $50. I was then offered a position as a freelance photographer for that newspaper and had several assignments that year. My first goal was to earn $2,000 the next year from my photography. I thought that would be an easy goal to achieve. Meanwhile I was still learning how to use my first professional camera I had purchased. By mid-year I had earned about $500 from occasional newspaper assignments. It was time to review (R) my goal. I recommitted to my goal of earning $2,000 that year. First, I asked for more assignments from the newspaper I was already working for. When that wasn’t possible, I approached other newspapers and even started to learn about wedding photography. By the end of the year, I had made and even exceeded my goal.

Next Step:

If you have never set a SMART or SMARTER goal, start small. Choose a goal that you think you can easily achieve. The important thing is just to start practicing setting and achieving goals. Make sure the goal statement fulfills all the letters in SMARTER.

Contact me:

 

To determine if coaching can help you achieve your goals, schedule a complimentary coaching consultation. During this coaching consultation you will experience coaching and at the end of the call, if it is a good fit, you will be given the opportunity to continue the coaching relationship. Call Edith at 847.913.3900 now to schedule your first session.

Forgiveness – Freeing and Comforting

Forgiveness – Freeing and Comforting

I’ve heard a lot about the importance of forgiveness. You probably have too. But what I heard this past week about a benefit of forgiveness, I had never heard before. And it might change – well – everything.

Story: The effect of forgiving your bullies

A friend shared with me his experience of breaking through and being able to forgive some bullies who had given him a very hard time in middle school. He said he found the experience of forgiving them freeing and comforting. I said I could understand the freeing part, but could he tell me more about how it was comforting to him.

To me his insight was nothing short of remarkable. He said that after being able to truly forgive the cruelties he had endured, he felt that life has opened up to him in a whole new way. If he could forgive that, something he thought he might never be able to forgive, then what else could he do that he thought he couldn’t do. — This one experience may make a huge difference on how he lives the rest of his life and what he believes is possible for him.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

Think of every grudge and negativity you hold onto, every injury you haven’t been able to get over, every injustice you have endured, and situations that make you angry or exhausted – as pebbles in your backpack. And that backpack is on your back all the time. —- How fast can you run? How fast can you move forward? How agile are you? How well do you sleep at night? How quickly can you adjust to changes in your life’s direction – all while carrying that heavy backpack?

Isn’t it time to lighten your load – at least a little?

1. Free yourself from some of the pebbles in your backpack. There are probably some easy ones you can do on your own – starting now. Here is one suggestion on how to get started.

  • Choose a time and place where you can be uninterrupted and at peace: a beautiful setting in nature or a quiet nook in your home, or ….
  • If you like, add some pleasing and calming music.
  • Sit down with a pad of paper or just your thoughts. Imagine putting down the backpack next to you and opening it up.
  • Pick out a small pebble and examine it. Feel it and experience what old hurt it might represent. Writing may help this process.
  • Decide whether to hang onto it or to let it go.
  • If you decide that you are done with that old hurt, drop the pebble or throw it far away.
  • If you decide you are not done with it, that you might still need it to keep distance between you and the other person whom it involves, then put it back in your backpack. You can always take it out again later.
  • Look for other pebbles that you might be done with.
  • Rest and be grateful for your accomplishments. Every pebble you remove is one less you have to carry – for the rest of your life.
  • Each time you let go of a pebble, you strengthen your forgiveness muscle. It’ll allow you to do bigger pebbles and rocks over time. My friend had been working on his forgiveness muscle for a long time before he was able to let go and forgive those bullies, and he didn’t do it alone. Be patient and gentle with yourself.

2. Know that there is also another backpack of pebbles that you carry. It contains all the pebbles of the times when you have been hurtful to others. The process of acknowledging your wrongdoing and forgiving yourself is similar. In addition you may need to make amends, ask for forgiveness, and find a better way to interact with that person if they are still in your life. You may need to set boundaries. Whether or not the other person forgives you does not matter. All you can do is your part. They have to deal with their own backpacks.

3. Find comfort in your growth and your ability to do things – things, which you couldn’t do before. Know that each time you do something you couldn’t do before, it may carry over into other aspects of your life. Now other things may become easier as well. Think of it as training to lead the full life of your dreams.

Taking it Farther:

In my experience you will get to a point where the pebbles and rocks are just too big to handle without the expertise and tools of a trained person: a coach, a therapist, a counselor, an energy healer. I regularly work with people who help me empty my backpack. Whatever modalities you choose, find those that work for the problem you are trying to heal. Sometimes a combination works best. A hammer works best with a nail, a saw solves a different problem, but you cannot build a house with only one tool. – Now, forward this to your friends.

If you feel ready, share this tip with the people in your life with whom you are ready to throw away the pebbles between you.

Contact me:

Want help? I’m here for you. Tired of struggling? Get relief! Get coached to help you get unstuck and take your life to the next level – starting now! Ready to get started? Call Edith at 847.913.3900

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