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Posts tagged ‘life coaching’

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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