Be in the Flow – Follow Your Path!

Posts tagged ‘life coaching’

How and Why to Forgive

How and Why to Forgive

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi

Forgiveness is something you can do whether the person you forgive is alive or not. Forgiveness is more about healing your heart than it is about the other person. And why should you forgive those who have harmed you? As Ann Landers often said, “hate is like an acid. It damages the vessel in which it is stored.” Below is a powerful story of forgiveness.

There are many stories of World War II Holocaust survivors who have been able to forgive their captors and tormentors. Here is one of those stories. It is the story of Corrie Ten Boom. Her family hid their Jewish neighbors in their home, were caught and sent to a concentration camp. She was the only survivor. After the war she traveled throughout Germany, giving talks on forgiveness. On one of those talks she came face-to-face with one of her cruel prison guards.

“I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt. I was face-to-face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze.

“ ‘You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,’ he was saying, ‘I was a guard there.’ No, he did not remember me.

“ ‘But since that time,’ he went on, ‘I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’

“And I stood there—I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven—and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place—could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

“It could not have been many seconds that he stood there—hand held out—but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

“For I had to do it—I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’

“I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.

“And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’

“And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.“

‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’

“For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then”.

 

Steps to Forgiveness

  1. Realize that the hatred you feel harms you and not your enemy. Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for it to kill your enemy.
  2. Stop being the victim. The best revenge is to live a successful and happy life. Surviving the harm caused by another person has made you stronger.
  3. Make a list of the strengths you have gained from the negative experience.
  4. Think about the kind and selfless people who have helped you in your time of need and what example they set for you.
  5. Give yourself time to heal. Nurture yourself.
  6. Writing down your negative experience may help – get it out of your head and onto paper.
  7. Stop telling your negative story. Negativity is depressing.
  8. Wish your enemy well. This creates cognitive dissonance and eventually it can neutralize your feelings about the other person.

 

Additional Resource

For additional information on the forgiveness process and the benefits to the forgiver check out the book “Forgiveness is a Choice – A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope” by Robert Enright.

 

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How to be ‘In the Zone’

How to be ‘In the Zone’

Being ‘in the zone’ is characterized by complete absorption in what one is doing. Other words for that state of complete absorption are ‘in the flow’, ‘being in the present’, ‘in the moment’, ‘on a roll’, ‘in the groove’, ‘on fire’, ‘in tune’, and ‘centered’.

I used to get in the zone when photographing events. One time I was photographing a kids’ soccer game and two boys collided in mid-air while going after the ball. A parent standing near me asked if I got that shot. I explained that often my finger works independent of my consciousness, so I might have gotten the shot. Sure enough when I reviewed the pictures that night, I got the shot perfectly as the two boys vied for the ball in mid-air. So I know how to be in the flow. But how do you get in the flow on purpose.

You hear about an athlete being in the zone. You also hear about a writer who talks about the words just pouring out of him and onto the page. So it can happen in athletics as well as in intellectual pursuits.

First of all, there is no flow in new activities. Flow happens when you’re not even trying, when you’re just doing it without consciously trying. That doesn’t happen until you’ve put in hundreds if not thousands of hours of practice. Flow kicks in when the subconscious takes over from the conscious mind. Other ways to get in the flow may be through meditation or through visualization.

I recently attended an educational session by two World champions of public speaking. They described the journey of public speaking as follows: in the beginning of your speaking career you are self-conscious and worried about your performance. Once you have some speaking engagements under your belt, you are no longer self-conscious and you worry about your message coming across. Lastly, when you have done quite a bit of public speaking you will enter a phase where you are in tune with your audience. You will have totally internalized your speech and it comes out with every idea in the right sequence and not memorized. Mark Twain called it “rehearsed spontaneity”. He would say, ‘It usually takes me three weeks to prepare a good spontaneous performance.’

So – how do you find this elusive flow? There are several things you can do.

  1. Find the right environment. May be if you are writing, you have a desk with flowers on it, or you have a favorite spot out in nature. If you are an athlete, you may do best on the ‘home court’ advantage. Your special space helps you get into the zone.
  2. Time of day. I once had a coaching client who could best give her complete focus to our sessions at 6 am. While that wasn’t my favorite time to work, it made such a big difference in her receptivity and ultimately her success that it was worth getting out of bed for.
  3. Music. There are many types of music that can help you get into the flow, music that tunes out distractions or helps while pursuing intellectual pursuits or while meditating. Experiment and see what works for you.
  4. Focus with intensity. In order to get into flow you have to be doing something you do well and love doing. You focus intensely and your subconscious takes over.
  5. Emotions. You can’t get into the flow when you’re anxious or afraid. On the other hand when you are passionate about something you have a greater chance of slipping into the zone.
  6. Mindfulness. It is a state of paying attention to the present. When you are mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance without judgment. Mindfulness means living in the moment.

Training your mind to intensely focus on a task is a key skill for excelling at anything. Being in the flow makes peak performance possible.

 

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Fear of Public Speaking? No Problem

Fear of Public Speaking? No Problem

An estimated 75% of all people experience some degree of anxiety or nervousness when public speaking. Symptoms can be either physical or verbal. The physical symptoms can include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, increased perspiration, stiffening of neck and upper back muscles, and dry mouth. Physical symptoms have been found to be reduced with a category of medications called beta-blockers.

Verbal symptoms can include a tense voice, a quivering voice, and vocalized pauses such as ahs and ums, which tend to comfort anxious speakers. If untreated, public speaking anxiety can cause serious detrimental effects on people, as it may prevent them from accomplishing their career goals – whether it is having to make presentations at work or in college. So – what to do?

Help is available. There are numerous public speaking classes at local community colleges. There are public speaking courses held by Dale Carnegie Training. I feel that one of the best options is Toastmasters: http://www.toastmasters.org Toastmasters is a large organization that is organized into speaking clubs all over the world. Clubs often have around 20 members, and the members take turns giving short (5-7 minute) speeches and take on different roles to run the meeting. Each speaker has a chance to receive a short feedback session from another member of the club. The speeches are organized to practice various speaking skills. For example one speech may focus on how to organize your speech, whereas another speech project focuses on vocal variety. One speech focuses on gestures, while another focuses on using humor while speaking. After the first 10 speeches you receive recognition for your accomplishment. You will be surprised by how much you have learned and how much more at ease you are preparing a talk and speaking in front of a group.

To find a Toastmasters club near your home or your work go to http://reports.toastmasters.org/findaclub/

Enter your zip code and you’ll be surprised how many clubs exist in your area. If you can’t find a club that is convenient for you, you can contact your Toastmasters district and they can find someone who will help you start a club.

 

Next Steps

Find two or more Toastmasters clubs that fit your schedule. Contact them and go as a guest to one of their meetings. Some clubs are smaller and that gives you the opportunity to give more speeches more quickly and even step up to take on a leadership role. Other clubs are larger and you will speak less often but you will have the opportunity to learn from more senior members as they give their speeches and you will have more time to prepare each speech you give. Once you have visited the clubs, join the one you liked best and begin your Toastmasters journey.

By the way, there are also speech contests, district wide training and a conference. Take advantage of these opportunities to learn and grow.

 

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How to Eat Healthy

How to eat healthy

The USDA periodically updates what healthy Americans should eat. USDA stands for United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA administers programs that provide services to farmers. So it is not some health and wellness or medical organization that tells us what we should eat, but instead an organization that supports farmers. In addition there is heavy involvement of lobbyists who support the various branches of agriculture and the food industry. So who won the lobbying wars?

 

USDA My Plate

USDA My Plate

Take a look at the “My Plate”. I’d say the dairy industry won this round’s top lobbying award. Dairy is protein, but instead of sharing nearly a quarter of the plate with fish, red meat, poultry, and legumes, Dairy gets its own section. And this is in spite of the many people who are lactose intolerant for whom dairy is not a healthy choice at all.

A similar controversy surrounded the previous food pyramid. For instance, the pyramid recommended two to three servings from the protein-rich group, but this was intended to be a maximum. The pyramid recommended two to four fruit servings, but this was intended to be the minimum. The previous food pyramid and the “My Plate” also say nothing about drinking water, which is important for good health.

 

Let’s look at food pyramids/eating guidelines from other cultures.

mediterranean food pyramidThe Mediterranean Diet Pyramid was created in conjunction with the World Health Organization. It, for example, relegates red meat into the ‘eat monthly’ category. It also shows the importance of drinking water and daily physical exercise. Note also that potatoes are grouped in with the grains/starches category, not under vegetables.

 

 

 

 

 

2014MAY15 JapanesePyramid

The Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top also shows the importance of water and exercise. It shows grains as the most consumed food, and fruits and dairy the least consumed with 2 servings each.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014MAY15 EssensPyramideThe German Food Pyramid starts with lots of liquids; next are 5 portions of fruits and vegetables; then 5 portions of grains and potatoes; Milk and milk products daily; meat, sausage and eggs in moderation; fish regularly; high quality oils and fats; and avoid foods and drinks high in sugar and fats.

 

 

Clearly there are commonalities between the food guidelines, but there are also important differences. The Mediterranean and German food Pyramids are the only ones that point out to avoid sweets and other sugar-laden foods and drinks, whereas “My Plate” does not distinguish sugar-laden donuts and muffins from whole grain breads.

There are many other food pyramids and eating guidelines from other countries. There are also eating guidelines for specific dietary needs such as vegetarians, vegans and diabetics.

Among others I also found some humorous food pyramids. One German Food Pyramid consisted of Bratwurst, Pretzel, Beer, and eat all other foods sparingly!

Compare the eating guidelines to notice common themes and do your best to eat a healthy diet. Eat a variety of foods to get lots of nutrients and keep the portion sizes small, so as not to overeat.

 

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Learn to develop and trust your intuition

Learn to develop and trust to your intuition

Once I was looking for a specific book. I was working downtown Chicago and wanted to pick up the book after work. I called a bookstore near my office. While they were checking their inventory on the computer, suddenly a vision popped into my head of a large bookshelf in the store with the book I was looking for in the top right corner. When the store clerk came back on the phone she said that they were out of the book. The vision of this bookshelf was so vivid, that I decided to stop by the bookstore anyways. I found the bookshelf and lo and behold the book was exactly where I had seen it in my vision.

Intuition doesn’t always come as a vision. It may come as a persistent or fleeting thought, a gut feel, goose bumps, or in a variety of other modalities. Learning to get in touch with this intuition is your first step.

So why bother with your intuition? Here are a couple of very successful people who have followed their intuition and what they have to say about it.

In the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson “Steve said that ‘intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work.’ You can see that intuitive sense in Jobs’ incredible ability to foresee – and then design – what users will want next. The iPhone is a great example.

Steve Jobs’ personal intuition helped the company to reinvent itself across many different product lines. Isaacson named seven industries that Jobs revolutionized or re-imagined over his career: personal computers, animated movies, music, telephones, tablet computing, digital publishing and retail stores.”

2014MAY08 Einstein quoteAnother person who felt the importance of intuition is Albert Einstein. One of his famous quotes is, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Psychology Today states, “For Einstein, insight did not come from logic or mathematics. It came, as it does for artists, from intuition and inspiration. As he told one friend, “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing absolute knowledge.” Elaborating, he added, “All great achievements of science must start from intuitive knowledge. I believe in intuition and inspiration…. At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason.””

The New Jersey Institute of Technology states “ In a study conducted by Professor John Mihalasky of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, it was found that CEOs who performed best in tests of intuition also tended to be the ones with the highest profit growth in a space of 5 years in their respective businesses.”

Next Steps

So how do we tap into this intuition and how do we distinguish it from experiences? One way is to enroll in the Silva Mind Control Training. http://www.silvaintuitionsystem.com/products I don’t get anything from recommending this link. I have taken the Silva training and have found it helpful.

In the meanwhile what else can you do?

Clear your mind: Focus on your breathing and allow your mind and body to relax more with each breath. You might even try counting down from 10 to 1 and allow yourself to relax more with each count. Once your mind is clearer, you can then access your intuition.

Meditate: Clearing your mind of repetitive thoughts and worries will make it easier to listen to your intuition. Find a meditative technique you are comfortable using and practice.

Listen to your gut: There’s a reason it’s called a “gut feeling”. Many times, a decision that you “know” is wrong makes you feel discomfort in your stomach area.

Keep an intuition journal: spend some time writing out the intuition that you have like “I have a feelings that…” or “My intuition tells me that…” If there are any sensations associated with your intuition, such as a vision, or physical discomfort, be sure to record it. Looking back in your journal, see how often you are right. As you learn more about how to recognize your intuition, and you see it leading you in the right direction, your confidence will grow and so will your intuitive power.

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From Inner Critic to Inner Wisdom

From Inner Critic to Inner Wisdom

ImageAll of us have self-sabotaging inner voices that hold us back. The job of this saboteur, inner critic or gremlin is to keep us safe, to keep us within our comfort zone. Therefore, when we contemplate doing something new, the saboteur wakes up to keep us in line. It’s no wonder that when we contemplate taking bold steps forward, we encounter the inner critic. This inner critic can come in a variety of voices and we can have an entire committee. These voices can be those of our parents, teachers, siblings, neighbors or other relatives.

For example I know of a man who struggled to become truly successful in his career. His father had often criticized him and told him that he would never amount to anything. Only after his father passed away did this man become successful. But we don’t have to wait to become successful or move forward with our goals and dreams.

One way to deal with our inner critic(s) is to describe him. What does s/he sound like? What is the voice saying? How would you describe this voice? May be you can even describe the person of the inner critic. This all helps to identify the voice of the inner critic as separate from you. Once you realize that the inner critic is separate from you, you can decide who is boss. You can appreciate the inner critic for trying to keep you safe and within your comfort zone and then boldly move ahead towards your goals and plans anyways.

Another way to silence that inner critic or negative self-talk is to turn to a positive voice. May be you can think of a person who is or was a positive and supportive influence, may be you can think of someone famous whose wisdom you admire. May be you make up a person with the positive supporting qualities you wish you could turn to for guidance. Then, when you want to take bold steps forward, in your imagination you ask this supportive person what you should do. Try it! You might be surprised by the outcome. With practice you can silence the inner critic’s voice more and more often and follow your internal wisdom.

Contact me: 

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

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On Leadership

On Leadership

What does it take to be a leader?

Leaders aren’t born that way. Over time they acquire and cultivate skills that make them stand out as someone who is ready for a leadership role.

2014APR24 2right woman climbing ladder Forging relationships. You can work hard as an individual contributor. That will get you noticed, but eventually you will need to learn to work in cooperation with others. Your success depends on how well you work with others as a team.

Be a team player. As a leader you depend on a team of people to get things done. But not only that: you are part of a team of leaders, where cooperation between teams becomes essential. How well you work with cross-functional teams becomes important.

Customer service. Not all customers are easy to please. Knowing how to effectively diffuse difficult customers is an important skill. Knowing how to make a customer feel welcome is another. Here is an example. As treasurer for a not-for-profit I handled a very small checking account. When I took on that role I needed to change the signature cards. I met with the branch manager of the bank and he also introduced me to an assistant. After that initial meeting, every time I walked into that branch office of the bank he and his assistant greeted me by name. That made a big impression on me.

 Communicate.  It is your responsibility to communicate with your direct chain of command. Let them know of your interest to take on greater responsibilities and your readiness as a leader. In larger organizations the Human Resources Department may also be an ally in letting you know of opportunities as they become available.

Networking.  Make acquaintances in other departments of your company. Meet over coffee or lunch with people you don’t have a chance to work with. Learn about what they do. You never know when an opportunity opens up where you need a contact in that department. Or you could become the go-to person for that contact in your department.

Energy. Identify what gives you an energetic boost during the day and what drains you. Are there tasks or people who lift you up and others who will suck the wind out of your sails? It is important to manage your energy, so you can produce top quality results.

It’s about the company. Are you a company person? In the end it’s about what’s good for the company. Are you someone who is aware of the overall picture of the industry and how the company can do well and how your contribution matters?

Be connected. Belong to a professional organization to know what’s going on in other companies. Represent your company well. Take on a leadership role.

Volunteer. Volunteering in a professional organization gives you opportunities to learn and practice leadership skills.

Strengthen your leadership skills and don’t be surprised if others notice.

 

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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

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.

In Pursuit of Happiness

In Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness is not something we chase; it is not something we can buy. Happiness is a state of mind and it comes from within, but it is influenced by our environment.

The country of Bhutan measures Gross National Happiness (GNH) the way we measure Gross National Product (GNP).

Bhutan’s Centre for Bhutan Studies developed a sophisticated survey instrument to measure the population’s general level of well-being or happiness. The four pillars of GNH are

  • the promotion of sustainable development,
  • preservation and promotion of cultural values,
  • conservation of the natural environment, and
  • establishment of good governance.

The Centre for Bhutan Studies further defined these four pillars with greater specificity into eight general contributors to happiness—

  • physical, mental and spiritual health;
  • time-balance;
  • social and community vitality;
  • cultural vitality;
  • education;
  • living standards;
  • good governance; and
  • ecological vitality

These eight contributors to happiness are solidly based upon the empirical research literature of happiness, positive psychology and well-being.

Measuring Happiness

So – how can we measure happiness? And more importantly – how can we increase our happiness?

At its simplest form we can rate our happiness from 1 to 10 on these categories:

  • Health – physical
  • Health – mental/emotional
  • Spirituality/religion
  • Work – Life balance
  • Relationships – significant other
  • Relationships – family
  • Relationships – friends and social network
  • Finances
  • Physical environment – home and neighborhood
  • Access to nature

Once you see in which categories you are happiest and in which you are less happy, you can decide which category you would like to improve.

Increasing Happiness

Be Grateful: First of all we can increase our happiness by being grateful. It’s easy to forget just how good we have it. The practice of being grateful can help us focus on the many good things we have. Take a small notebook and at the end of each day write down at least five things you are grateful for. These can be things like having a roof over your head, a nice meal, having money to pay your bills, a conversation with a friend, a nice and sunny day.

Celebrate: Next, make a habit of celebrating accomplishments – large and small. It is easy to check off tasks off a to do list, and move from one thing to another. After completing a small task, celebrate by giving yourself a short break, may be do a little happiness dance. Just watch a football player after a touchdown. You get the idea. When a major project is done, be sure to recognize and reward yourself and other team members.

Change: Now take a category that you would like to improve. Let’s take relationships for example. Evaluate your friends – which uplift you and which drag you down. May be it’s time for a heart to heart talk; may be it is time to let a friendship end. People change over time, may be you are no longer into the bar scene, but your friends are. If nothing else holds the friendship together, then maybe it’s time to let it go. Make room for new friends that share your other interests.

Share Happiness: Lastly, get in the habit of sharing the happiness of others. For example if you are playing a game and the other person wins, congratulate them on a game well played or on their good luck.  When you win, accept congratulations graciously.

Contact me:

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

Do You Have Co-dependent Traits? How That Matters

Do You Have Co-dependent Traits? How That Matters

The level of independence and inter-dependence you have achieved so far may directly affect your happiness and success in the world.

Do we all have co-dependent traits? As children we grow up depending on adult care-takers. Being dependent is what we know best. As we grow up we may become co-dependent. We may fight against dependence by becoming fiercely independent. That can be very lonely. Don’t stop there. The next step in the evolution towards healthy relationships is inter-dependence. My belief is that inter-dependence is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, where healthy and happy relationships exist.

If you struggle with relationships, you are not alone. All humans start out being dependent. In fact other mammals and birds do too. At some point they have to learn to become independent. We even say when our children leave home that the parents are “empty nesters”. There are other living creatures, fish for example, which are born independent and on their own from birth.

Let’s take a look at some traits in each of the dependence categories:

1. DEPENDENCE: one who relies on another
In their books, Dr Cloud and Dr Townsend talk about three types of dependence of adult children on their parents:
• As a source of things they need
• As a guardian to protect them from the world and their own immaturity
• As a manager to oversee that they get everything done responsibly
In this type of relationship individuals cannot function or survive apart from one another. The parent may be fostering the dependence for their own co-dependent needs.
2. CO-DEPENDENCE: a psychologically unhealthy relationship in which one person perpetuates another’s addiction or harmful behavior.
• Need to be needed by people they can rescue
• Will do anything to avoid feeling abandoned
• Avoid asserting themselves
• Poor communication skills (avoid confronting and resolving issues)
• Chronic anger
• Problems with boundaries
• Dishonesty
• Trying to make a relationship work with someone who isn’t interested
• Feeling like they are “the strong one” and superior – to combat their own low self-esteem
These patterns of behavior are often learned and passed on from one generation to the next. A family with an addicted person (alcoholic, dry-drunk, drug addict, workaholic, …) may replicate similar behavior patterns in the next generation.
3. INDEPENDENCE: self governing
• Free from control by others
• Self reliant, not looking for support (financial or other care) from others
• Not looking to others for one’s opinions or guidance on conduct
• Financially independent – not having to work for others for a living
• Freedom of choice
4. INTER-DEPENDENCE: combines independence with devotion to a larger group (like family or community) or cooperation on a common goal.
• A dynamic of being mutually and physically responsible to, and sharing a common set of principles with others.
• All participants are emotionally, economically, ecologically and/or morally self-reliant while at the same time responsible to each other.
Interdependent relationships are those that depend on two or more cooperative autonomous participants.

Story: From Financial Dependence to Helping Others

“A person who is an under earner is unequivocally co-dependent” says Barbara Stanny in her book “Secrets of Six-Figure Women”. Ms Stanny is the daughter of Richard Bloch, co-founder of H&R Block, a tax preparation and personal finance company. She tells her story of always having plenty of money when she grew up. According to her, she had a large trust fund and her Dad didn’t teach her about money – because she’d never have to worry about it. When Barbara got married she turned the management of her trust fund over to her husband. Only much too late did she find out that her husband had a gambling problem and she found herself penniless and in debt, owing over a million dollars in back taxes.

Her Dad was unwilling to rescue her, so she had to learn how to earn and manage money. She now teaches what she has learned to others.

Why Create Inter-dependent Relationships?

Issues with money are one of the places where your relationship challenges show up. Another is whether you feel safe in your relationships to bring up difficult issues, be heard, and move towards resolution. Secrecy and too much independence, or enmeshment and too little independence are both problematic. Moving towards healthy inter-dependence provides much satisfaction in relationships.

Healthy inter-dependent relationships have as a foundation that each person is ok the way they are and is willing to grow. It involves being honest and kind and addressing and resolving issues that arise.

Finding people with whom you can create healthy inter-dependent relationships requires the ability to be discerning, being able to see self and others clearly, to go into relationships with eyes wide open. As we heal childhood wounds (you don’t have to have had severe childhood difficulties to have wounds), we can see ourselves more and more clearly – without the distortion filter of wounds. “Wound distortion filters” allow ourselves to be victimized by others and therefore limit our ability to trust ourselves. That is because each filter covers something that we can’t reconcile and therefore we have created a blind spot.

In “Family Dynamics of Recovery”, Peggy Ferguson, PhD. states that “Healthy interaction with others involves a change from being responsible for others, to being responsible to them.” Another way of saying that we are accountable to one another.

Dependent people want to be taken care of. Independent people want to do it all themselves. Co-dependent people trust those who are untrustworthy, depend on undependable people, love people who are unavailable; they keep repeating the cycle of being a victim. Inter-dependent people choose their relationships wisely and find themselves developing healthy mutually satisfying relationships. They have a commitment to the relationship and see the need for positive changes to grow and prosper in their relationships. There is respect, intimacy, deep connection, good boundaries, and healthy communication.

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your relationships and heal some of your challenges, call me to learn how coaching can help. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

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