Be in the Flow – Follow Your Path!

Posts tagged ‘goal setting’

From Surviving to Thriving

From Surviving to Thriving

The first year of a transition is hardly a time for thriving. The first year after a divorce, the first year after the loss of a loved one, the first year after getting married or having a first child, the first year after a move or losing a job or retiring – these are all times of adjusting to a new reality. When we are hit with a major transition, we come into a time of instability. We may resort to surviving and making it from day-to-day until we get our bearings and relate to our new situations.

Let’s look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

2014APR17 Maslow_hierarchy_of_needs

When we are faced with a new reality we want to make sure the basic needs are met. Let’s take the reality of a divorce. The first year after divorce there are lots of changes for the woman: the family home may have to be sold; if she was not working she may need to reenter the workforce; childcare changes become necessary, moving to a new neighborhood may affect friends and school for the kids; the reduction of living on one income effects what the family can afford. It is easy to see how a divorce is a difficult transition. How about the opposite side of the coin – getting married. Here a myriad of decisions that were previously made alone that are now needing to be shared. Many marriages don’t make it through the first year: especially decisions about money provide much struggle: how much to save, what expenses are necessary and what can be done without. Many people come from different financial backgrounds and have different ideas about money management. All of these expectations have to be resolved or they will slowly fester.

I once worked for a company that said in their new employee orientation: Don’t quit in the first 6 months of your new job. It will get easier after that. So, regardless of the transition, there is a time of readjustment. Realize it and trust that it will get easier. But for it to get easier, we have to work at it. If it is a new job, we have to learn what is expected of us. If it is a new marriage we have to learn to work out our differences and disagreements. If it is a divorce, we have to adjust to the new reality.

Once the basic needs are attended to – the Physiological and Security needs on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – we can then address our higher level of needs and begin to thrive. We can begin to build new relationships and nurture existing relationships, which may have taken a back seat while we were building our new base. Self-esteem may come from a job or from volunteer work, contributing to the greater good. Lastly we become aware of our personal growth and we seek out opportunities to grow. This is when we make changes in our lives and we truly soar.

Jack Canfield (author of “The Success Principles” and “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books) has this to say about thriving: “Greater self-esteem produces greater success, and greater success produces more high self-esteem, so it keeps on spiraling up.”

 

Next Steps:

In order to produce greater self-esteem you need to produce success. One way to do that is to hire a coach who can help you with goal setting and achieving those goals. That success will feel great and you can build on that success with higher self-esteem.

 

Contact me:

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

 

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

How to Become Absolutely Determined

How to Become Absolutely Determined

I recently came across a keynote speech by Art Mortell on YouTube. It is definitely worth watching. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9X5HycEtWA

In the video one of the points Art makes is how relentless a three year old can be about getting something they want. Somewhere as we’ve gone through life we have lost that absolute determination to go after what we want. How do we get it back?

 

Decide

First of all, we have to decide what we want. This can’t be a vague inclination, or something we sort of want – only if the stars line up right. It has to be something that we want from the bottom of our hearts, something that we are willing to go after – no matter what.

 

Have a Partner

Once we have decided on what we want, it is best to have someone with whom we can do it together. For example if you have decided to exercise, you will be more likely to go when you know someone is waiting to go with you.

 

Be Accountable

Next best is to have an accountability partner. For years I had an accountability partner. Every night we each wrote down the top goals we wanted to achieve the next day. Then in the morning we had a brief phone call to commit to each other what we wanted to get done. We also briefly reviewed what we did and did not accomplish from our list of the previous day. This was more than a TO DO list. It included steps towards bigger and long-term goals.

 

Break it Into Steps

In order to make progress towards big or long-term goals, we need to break the goals down into manageable steps. If I want to exercise more I might say I want to swim three times per week for an hour and I’ll do that on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then I put these steps on my list for those days. When I break it down to exactly what, how much, and which days I will take those steps, it is easy to see whether I did or did not exercise as I had committed.

 

Don’t Give Up

We all make decisions to do something and then don’t follow through. When you have absolutely determined that you are going to achieve a goal, you may fail for a day, but you don’t stay down. You renew your resolve and get back on track towards your goal.

  

Remind Yourself Of a Past Success

When you come to a difficult step, remind yourself of a past success. You have been in difficult situations before and have pushed through. Remind yourself how you felt when you succeeded with a difficult task. It will renew your resolve to keep going.

 

Keep a Graph

Find a way to keep a graph of your progress and display it where you see it daily. Looking at the progress you are making is inspiring.

 

Make It Fun

If possible find a way to make a game out of achieving your goal or each incremental step.

 

Carrots and Sticks

Reward yourself and celebrate your successes. Sometimes it can be helpful to have a “punishment”. I know someone who would require himself to do a 3 A.M. walk if he did not complete the step he committed to for that day. Since he did not want to get up in the middle of the night to go for a walk, he had a high incentive to set reasonable and achievable goals and to get them done.

 

Be Honest

If you find yourself not following through on your steps, take a serious look at your goal. Is it really something you want? How badly do you want it? Is it a goal somebody has set for you? If it is an expectation from a spouse, parent or somebody else, you may need to be honest with yourself and others. If it is not a goal you are wholeheartedly committed to, it may be best to admit the truth.

 

Visualize the Goal

Visualize your goal as if you have already achieved it. This creates tension in the present to pull you towards that future.

 

Next Steps

Do some soul searching. If you have given up on some goals, decide if they are something you really want to achieve. Think of goals you really, really want. Then pick one. Think of small steps you can take towards achieving it. If you have failed before, ask yourself why failing was more important than succeeding and how you can overcome the failures next time.

 

Contact me: 

To determine if coaching can help you achieve your goals, schedule a free coaching consultation. Call Edith at 847.913.3900. 

How to Beat Procrastination

 

How to Beat Procrastination 

Procrastination is the leisure time we build into our day when we don’t have enough leisure time.

Is that true for you?

Let’s look at some of the reasons we procrastinate:

1. Lack of How To

When we don’t know how to do a task or don’t know how to get started, and don’t have someone to ask, we tend to put the task off.

2. Overwhelm

The task is so big we don’t know where to get started and there is no end in sight, there is so much to do.

3. Stress

Stress can be a trigger for procrastination. We procrastinate when we can least afford it.

4. Lack of time management

Spending time on non-essential tasks can be a form of ongoing procrastination, until we are face to face with a deadline.

5. Perfectionism

It is easy to procrastinate when we know that the end result of our work is never good enough.

6. Lack of Goals

Very few people live their life on purpose. Most people go through the motions of what needs to be done day in and day out.

 

What can you do in each of these situations?

1. Lack of How To

First of all decide if there is a resource that can help you get started. It could be a book, a person whom you can ask for help, or searching for answers on the internet. Other times the best course of action is to get started. Set aside 30 minutes and try to figure out something to get you started. Get started with breaking the job into bite-size tasks and then tackling these one at a time.

2. Overwhelm

If a task is too big, the first thing is to break it down into smaller chunks. If there is just too much to do, write down all that needs to be done. Cross out the tasks that you can do without. Delegate tasks that someone else can do. Prioritize the most important tasks, knowing that some lower priority tasks may not get done. Sometimes you can negotiate for extra time.

3. Stress

When you feel the stress getting to you, take a relaxation break. Take some deep breaths; meditate for 3-5 minutes; get up and take a short 5 minute walk; listen to a piece of music. Rather than letting the stress get to you and pushing forward, a short break may be the answer.

4. Time Management

One way to manage time is to manage priorities. Eliminate non-essential tasks. Work on the most important tasks first. Another form of time management is to break large tasks into blocks and spread them over time. For example taxes need to be filed every year. Instead of waiting until April to get the taxes done, spend time every month to organize your tax receipts and bank statements, so that the task is small when the taxes need to be filed.

Write down all your tasks and divide them into 4 categories:

  •      Important and urgent
  •      Important and not urgent
  •      Not important and urgent
  •      Not important and not urgent

Then eliminate as many of the not important and not urgent tasks as possible.

Regularly work on important tasks while they are not yet urgent. This eliminates a great deal of stress in your life by preventing urgent tasks in your life.

5. Perfectionism

This is a tough one to overcome. Often this trait was encouraged from early on – like getting all A’s on your report card. One way to tackle this is to allow yourself trial runs or in case of a document – a first draft – or even just the first few paragraphs. With practice you can loosen the grip of perfectionism.

6. Lack of Goals

Goals give your life direction. Take time out to dream about your life 1, 5, 10 or even 20 years into the future. Think about where you’d like to live, who you’d like to be sharing your life with, and what you’d like to have. Then build tasks into your schedule that will get you closer to your dreams. Those tasks are important motivators to keep you going with everything you need to get done.

 

Next Steps

Recognizing how you spend your day and what needs to change can be a real challenge to do alone.

Consider keeping a time log for a couple of weeks and reach out for help to implement changes to the way you live your life. Remember to build regular leisure activities into your days and weeks. It replenishes your energy to keep going.

 

Contact me:

To determine if coaching can help you achieve your goals, schedule a free coaching consultation. Call Edith at 847.913.3900. 

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.

Fear – Gratitude for your Fears?

Fear – Gratitude for your Fears?

How do you deal with fear?

Today’s Theme: Fear

You are afraid. Feel it.
What are you afraid of? How does that protect you? How does it get in your way? Does it stop you from acting? Do you have any phobias? Are there thoughts that keep you paralyzed, tasks or people you avoid at all cost? Things you get angry about?

The book “The Gift of Fear” was very enlightening to me. I started to see fear from a new perspective. In one example they had interviewed rape and abduction survivors. Pretty universally, the women had a “creepy feeling” about that “nice stranger” who helped them with carrying their groceries and insisted on bringing them into the apartment or car, …. But they ignored that feeling. And they got hurt – life-alteringly.

So – first of all – fear is your friend.

Story – Sink or Swim

My sincere thanks to Fran for suggesting that I share her story.

My very dear friend Fran is a swimmer! Now! She just said it the other day. I think it’s the first time I’ve heard her say that. She was elated when she said it. And I am elated for her.

See – for the first 1/2 century of her life Fran had wanted to learn to swim. She took lessons. She made sure her kids had lessons and learned to swim. She, on the other hand, became more and more frustrated and afraid of the water. When they taught her to float, she would sink. She also has curvature of the spine and it affects how she feels her legs and how they respond differently from what she thinks she feels. She was right to fear the water. It was not a safe environment for her. There was a lot to overcome.

For probably the first ten years of our friendship I didn’t even know that Fran wanted to learn to swim. Then one day we talked about my daughter and I being featured on the NBC Weekend Today Show for the 35th anniversary of Title IX: mother and daughter – swimmer and diver, both on university teams. I shared with Fran how I taught my kids to swim very early. My youngest could already swim under water when he was still using a pacifier. When I’ve taught swimming, I’ve always gravitated to the most difficult and fearful students. —- So we, Fran and I, hatched a plan.

And the rest is history. Today, and for the rest of her life, Fran is a swimmer! She loves to swim!

Call to Action and Why This Matters

Do you have a deep desire? Is fear stopping you from attaining something you truly want? May be, like Fran, you have tried and tried, and failed and failed, and almost given up? Don’t give up. Keep looking for the right kind of help. You can do it!

For Fran swimming is now her favorite exercise. It doesn’t feel like a workout. It feels like play and she loves it. Here is how she got there:

1. Get help you trust: She needed an expert whom she trusted. Someone who cared and had only her best interest at heart. She was frustrated with her lack of progress once we started her lessons. But I knew she was on the right path and let her know that.
2. Feel Safe: She progressed very slowly at first to make her feel safe in the water: using float belts, going only in as deep as she felt she could risk it, clinging to the wall. I was standing right beside her all the time. There was no judgment, only encouragement.
3. Get Curious: Start playing, get curious, moving and feeling the resistance of the water, how it affected her movements. Differences of moving on land and in water: learning and feeling, playful curiosity.
4. Courage: As she got more comfortable over a period of months, she was able to get in the water without me. It took great courage the first time she went to the pool without me. She told the lifeguard to watch out for her in case she got into trouble. She was afraid and yet she knew she was now safe enough to take that next step.
5. Persistence: As time went on, Fran found other teachers. Many were able to help her progress in different ways. Some didn’t work out.
6. Confidence: She developed the confidence to keep going and the knowing that she could learn to swim – despite setbacks.
7. Repeat: Along the way there were other fear hurdles to overcome. Other things to do to feel safe, get curious, and courageous steps to take.

What would you like to be able to do? Who can help you get started – safely?

Taking it Farther

• We respond in different ways to fear:

  • Try to ignore it – may be at our own peril
  • Fight: get angry (hiding fear behind anger is very common)
  • Flight: run away from it, avoid it
  • Freeze: paralyzed with fear; fading into the woodwork; being a wall flower; being invisible; lack of action; procrastination; indecisiveness

What’s your preferred way of dealing with fear?

• Realize that fear has kept you safe from real or perceived harm. Fear is your friend.
Learn about fear. One of the books I recommend: “The Gift of Fear”.

• Get very clear on something you really want. Going beyond fear, shifting from fear to curiosity, are “muscles” that take time to develop. Start with something small or something you have a deep desire to achieve. Having a deep desire will help you through the times when you want to give up.

• Whatever you want to achieve, do it with someone, get support from someone who cares deeply about you and wants you to succeed.

There are also the seemingly “irrational fears”. — There is so much more I could share with you.

Contact me

Want more help? I’m here for you. Tired of holding yourself back? Get support. Call to get yourself into a coaching program. Have questions? Call to get answers. Edith at 847.913.3900

Focus and Rebounding: focus where you want to go

Are you pointed in the direction you want to go?

So often we try to figure out what we are doing wrong. Analyze every mistake. Try to improve. Become better spouses, friends, parents, co-workers, …. Do a better job – at everything. Your focus is on your mistakes, your shortcomings.

Have you heard the adage: “Where you focus, there you go”? If that is true, then where you’re headed is to more mistakes and shortcomings. Try changing your focus.

Story: Practice what you don’t yet know how to do – often

I decided to take up a new hobby: dancing on wheels. Well, for starters, staying on my roller skates and not falling is an intermediate goal. In order to learn balance you have to practice things that get you out of balance. So my instructor, Roger, said something brilliant recently: don’t focus on your mistakes. Analyzing your mistakes just gets you more of them. The only mistake you have made is that you haven’t done 5,000 of them yet. Practice more. Focus on what you are supposed to do. When you get one right you’ll feel it. It feels good. Over time you’ll get more of them right.

I tried to take that to heart and practice it. Practicing what Roger just taught us about turning and going forwards and backwards on my skates, I observed my mind. If I focused on what I did wrong and stopped to analyze, I didn’t practice as much. If I kept doing it again while still focusing on my last mistake, I started to lose my balance even worse.

Then I used an old trick I learned while playing Volleyball in college: When someone on my team made a mistake during intercollegiate matches, we’d say, “shake it off”. In other words, chances are the other team is going to exploit your state of mind. If you made a mistake and are still focused on it, you are more likely to miss the next ball that comes to you as well. “Shake it off”, reminded us to focus on the next ball coming at us and be fully present for the next chance to get it right: score a point or prevent the other team from scoring a point. How quickly we were each able to REBOUND mentally from a mistake often determined whether we won or lost a game. How quickly can you rebound from a “mistake” and refocus on your goal or next task?

Call to Action and Why This Matters

What does it take to achieve mastery in an area of life? The number I have heard is 10,000 hours. It takes 10,000 hours to be a true master, 1,000 hours to be good at something and 100 hours to get basic proficiency. So taking action is the most important step towards mastery. But there is a catch: not all hours are created equally. You can do the same things over and over or you can be open to new ideas, try new things, learn and grow. In order to grow and find the best ways of doing things, you need to find what works and what doesn’t. Make mistakes, get messy, and eliminate what doesn’t work. Keep practicing. Keep doing it ‘til you have some aha’s and you’ll get to a new level. Get a teacher. Get a coach. Read a book. Talk to a friend or mentor. Bring in new ideas to try. Ask someone who has successfully done what you want to achieve. Observe what others do. Then try it yourself. JUST DO SOMETHING. REGULARLY.

Choose a goal to focus on. Something you really want and are willing to take action to move forward with. Block out time on you calendar, regular time to take actions towards your goal. Example: I decided to write these weekly tips every Thursday from 8-10am. During the week I make notes of ideas for my next tip. Wednesday night I decide what I will write about. Thursday morning I write. In the afternoon I review, edit, fine tune. By evening I create the newsletter and send it out. Your turn: What goal do you choose to focus on?

Taking it Farther

• Choose a BIG dream. Something you really want. Not something you think you should have. Not something that your spouse or your parents or neighbors say you should have. Not something you think you can achieve fairly easily. Choose a goal that is audacious, that get’s you excited to get out of bed in the morning. One that is worth living for. One that is years in the future.
• Decide what you can do THIS YEAR to move closer to that goal.
• Decide what you can do over the next 90 days to move closer to that goal.
• Create action steps for the next 30 days and put aside time on your calendar to get them done.
• Every time you take one of the actions, pat yourself on the back. Yeah! You are moving closer to your dream. Every time you miss, don’t beat yourself up, but decide to recommit to taking that next action step and by when.

Robert Kiyosaki, the author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” says in one of his books that it took him 10 years to learn to be a successful entrepreneur, the next 10 years were about making a LOT of money, the next 10 years after that were about giving back and doing good with the money.

May your goals be worth trading your life for.

And what’s your favorite charity?

Contact me

Want more help? I’m here for you. Tired of holding yourself back? Get relief! Call to schedule some coaching sessions. Have questions? Call to get answers. Edith at 847.913.3900

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