Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Are your N.Y. resolutions dead?

Did you make any New Year resolutions this year? Do you still remember them? How are you doing in keeping them?

It’s been two months since you made them—if you did. If you are keeping them, kudos to you!

If you aren’t, I hope you aren’t beating yourself up for that.

Here’s a better idea: Decide whether there are any parts of those resolutions that you still care deeply about. Choose one or two things to make as goals for the coming months. Chunk those goals down into manageable action steps.

Remember, keep it simple. And above all, do not beat yourself up. Guilt and shame aren’t very good motivators. Better to just make S.M.A.R.T. goals about which you really care—things for which you really long.

S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Be very specific and be very realistic. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure. And be sure these are things you want—not what someone else says you need!

Pin up your action plan in a place where you’ll see it each day. And remember to revise the plan when it doesn’t seem workable. Share your thoughts with us, along with any tips you’ve discovered along the way.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A balancing act

If you know anything about finances, you’re aware that whatever ratio of stocks, bonds and cash you choose for your portfolio, you’ll need to continue monitoring it and making changes to maintain the balance you want.

Life is like that, too, isn’t it? If you long for balance in your life, you first need to determine how you really want your life to look. For what do you most yearn? Are you longing for more time with your loved ones? Do you desire more you-time, more time for self-care?

It helps to draw a circle and divide it into pie pieces that represent the various aspects of your life that take your time: career, family, social life, exercise, faith life, whatever other parts of life you wish to include. You might consider how much time each area now receives and how much time you’d like to give.

Once you make your choices and make the changes necessary to reach your goals, you’ll realize that tweaks are necessary from time to time as “life happens.” A situation will arise that will demand more time in one area or another. Just like a financial portfolio, your wheel of life will need rebalancing.

Take time today to make choices. Don’t let your life manage you. As best you can, manage your life by making conscious and intentional choices about how you spend your time and energy. Doesn’t it just energize you to even think about taking some control over your life that way?

What else needs attention so you can be the amazing woman you were meant to be? Go for it!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Love your Inner Critic

What does your Inner Critic sound like? I’m sure you know the sound of her voice—and you probably know exactly what she will say in any given situation. Or have you silenced her?

Years ago I was told that I needed to “kill off” or get rid of my Inner Critic. Sounded pretty violent to me. But then one day I read that, instead of getting rid of her, I should get to know her. Find out what she’s all about. What does she want? Why does she do what she does?

As I got to know mine better, I discovered that she worried about me and wanted to protect me from a variety of things. I realized that what she really needed was to be loved and heard. Imagine that! Hmmmm, same thing I want and need. So now, when I hear her voice, I simply remind her that I love her and that I need for her to just chill out. I tell her that I’ll be just fine. And I listen to her to see whether there really is something I need to hear.

From critic to ally
Wondering how you “talk to” your Inner Critic? Some guided meditations will help you access her. But one easy way is to journal with both hands. Use your dominant hand for your voice and your non-dominant hand for your Inner Critic’s voice. Although it can be a challenge to read what you write with your non-dominant hand, this works—and you’ll be surprised what comes up. When you write with your non-dominant hand, you bypass your conscious mind and release information of which you weren’t aware.

Get acquainted today with your Inner Critic. She just might turn out to be your ally. Turn the negative self-talk into positive affirmations that will help you become the woman you were meant to be!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Come apart - before you come apart

It’s Friday and tonight I’m going to a women’s retreat. I always love women’s retreats. I get energized, I laugh a lot so I come home healthier, I learn new things, and I am filled with gratitude for each woman there and what she brings to the event. I know this year’s retreat will offer me that—and more.

Do you have opportunities for retreats or getaways? No doubt you have a stress-filled life just as do most women. It’s important to devise an entire tool kit of things you can do to reduce your stress and add more fun to your life. It’s good self-care. And it’s good that you come apart (get away from your daily routine) before you (literally) come apart!

What do you do for yourself to reduce stress? What constitutes playtime for you and how often do you get it? Do you have some women’s groups to which you belong—groups that support you and fuel you?

If you do, that’s great. Keep it up. If you don’t, and you think it is something that could really be a resource in your tool kit, find a group now. Or create one. It can be a book group, a study group, a play group, a knitting group, or a dining-out group. Be creative. Discover the healing properties of women’s support systems. And learn about the synergy that occurs when women gather.

Are you interested in becoming part of a coaching group? Small groups of women gather (in person or by phone) for a set period of time around a specific topic or issue. This becomes a safe place to share, learn and grow. Let me know in the Comment box if you are interested in such a group experience—and what topics you might like to explore.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Without butterflies...few flowers"

Yesterday I told you about a book I really love. It’s illustrated like a children’s book but definitely is a book for adults who want to be what they were meant to be. The book is Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus. The word on Facebook is that there just might be a movie made of it. I hope so.

I certainly recommend you read the book yourself. It’s thoughtful and inspirational. And you’ll fall in love with the artwork as I did.

Yesterday I told you one passage I especially like. Here’s another of my favorite parts:

“Butterfly—that word,” she thought. “Tell me, sir, what is a butterfly?”

“It’s what you are meant to become. It flies with beautiful wings and joins the earth to heaven. It drinks only nectar from the flowers and carries the seeds of love from one flower to another.”

“Without butterflies, the world would soon have few flowers.”

Indeed. The world would soon have few flowers.

How are you carrying the seeds of love? How are you becoming all you were meant to be? What sort of transformations have you made in your life that call to mind the caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly process? Are you that beautiful butterfly you were meant to be?

Please share your comments with us. I’d love to hear your answers to those questions.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ready to fly?

A few months ago I rediscovered a book I had read and enjoyed years ago: Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus. As the author says, it’s a “tale of a caterpillar who has trouble becoming what he really is.”

Sound familiar? Do you ever have trouble accepting who you really are? Or doing what it takes to use the gifts you were given and become all you were meant to be?

Here’s one of my favorite parts in that book:

“How does one become a butterfly?” she asked pensively.

“You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”

“You mean to die?” asked Yellow, remembering the three who fell out of the sky.

“Yes and No,” he answered. “What looks like you will die but what’s really you will still live. Life is changed, not taken away. Isn’t that different from those who die without ever becoming butterflies?”

Ready, set, go
So—are you at a point of change, feeling like a caterpillar who just might need some cocoon time before you transform into that beautiful butterfly you were meant to be? What dreams, yearnings, longings are as yet unfulfilled for you? What will it take to reach them?

Get ready to soar! Imagine your life as a butterfly. Your view is so much larger, so much more beautiful when you’re in the air than when you’re a caterpillar crawling along the ground.

Sign up for my three free gifts to see whether you are ready. And then let go. Let go of the old. Do the inner work to prepare for the new (cocoon time). Take whatever time you need to make the necessary changes. Then get ready to fly!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The smile returned

Today is a dear friend’s birthday. Many years ago, she went through a difficult divorce. She and I enjoyed many good times together during our newly single years (once we’d worked through the pain of divorce). And then she got a second chance at love—and remarried.

Sadly, just two years ago her beloved second husband died. I remember vividly the time I saw her just six months or so after his death. She was pale, losing weight and just a shadow of the vibrant, positive friend I loved so dearly.

But when I saw her last fall, I saw my friend again! She had light in her eyes, her smile had returned; and I knew she had turned a corner. She had done her grief work and tended to her loss. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t miss her husband every day. It means that she’s accepted that her life is different now, and she’s beginning to move on.

Work through losses
Have you had a loss recently? Death of someone you love? Illness? Loss of agility or mobility? Job loss? Or perhaps you’ve experienced a broken friendship.

Loss comes in many forms. No matter what kind of loss you experience, be sure you tend to the pain of it. Feel the pain. The disappointments. The separation. Cry. Journal. Talk it out. Draw. Dance it out. Find a support group in which to share your feelings.

Do whatever will help you grieve, let go and move on. And one day, you’ll notice that the birds are singing again. That the sun is shining again. And just like my friend, you will again have a sparkle in your eyes and your smile will return.

For help doing your grief work, I invite you to connect with me for a no-obligation, sample consultation.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Women and group energy

Tonight my monthly women’s book club, Chapter One, gathers to talk about our most recent book read. Sometimes when life has seemed too busy or stressful, I’ve thought about dropping out of the group.

But when I think about my life without this wonderful group of bright, wise and funny women, I don’t want to be without the energy I find there. I also love the sharing we do about the book and about our lives.

Have you noticed that when women gather, there’s often a dynamic that energizes and uplifts those who are part of it? Do you have women’s groups of which you’re a part? What has been your experience?

Before long, I would love to put together some group coaching opportunities. Why? Because there are times when women just need the company of other women to learn and grow.

Individual coaching is most appropriate for certain times and issues you face. But at other times, you might gain from the synergy that builds when a small group of women gather to talk about a specific topic.

I’d love to hear from you. Are you interested in group coaching? What topics interest you? (For some ideas, see the Articles page of my website.) Then please add your ideas in the Comments box for this article. Thank you!

Friday, February 17, 2012

New exercise guidelines

I remember not so many years ago being told that we needed to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Any less than that really didn’t do much, we were told.

Now health gurus seem to have devised new “rules” for exercising, telling us that it’s important just to get moving. So, they say now, even 10 minutes a day will help you lose weight, maintain weight, stay healthy or whatever it is you are undertaking. It’s all about getting started! Something is better than nothing.

That’s good news, isn’t it? I do 30 minutes a day on the treadmill, 10 minutes or more of yoga stretches and several resistance band exercises. But on days when that doesn’t fit into my schedule for one reason or another, I don’t have to feel guilty. Or beat myself up.

Small steps add up
The same is true when you work on any of your life issues. Take, for example, wanting to create better balance in your life. Perhaps when you look at how out-of-control your life feels right now, the idea of better balance seems like a climb up Mount Everest to you! However, if you break that large goal into small, achievable steps, it isn’t so daunting. It feels more possible, more within reach, doesn’t it? You don’t climb a mountain in one large step. You don’t change habits and lifestyle that way either.

As you think about where you are now in life and where you’d like to be, make a goal. Then break that into bite-sized pieces. Dreams, longings and yearnings are possible and achievable then. If you would like help doing that, please contact me for an absolutely no-obligation, complimentary sample session. Or even just for a short conversation about your goals.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Help! What do I tune out?

Today the news is full of a congressional hearing at which an all-male panel discussed religious freedom and women’s access to reproductive health care. No women allowed to speak. I don’t know where you stand on the entire issue. I know where my heart lies. But that isn’t my point today.

What it raises for me today is the idea that there is so much going on in the world around us that can raise our stress level. We are surrounded by heavy-duty issues. And we hear loud voices screaming at each other over a chasm that widens and deepens by the day. Incivility runs rampant. Disrespect is everywhere.

Out-of-control stress
I don’t know about you—but it all increases my stress level. A lot. As I’m all about reducing my stress these days, I’ve been thinking about how I make choices about where to “spend” my energy. What action shall I take (or not take)? What do I tune out? And on what do I choose to spend time and energy? We know that whatever we focus on becomes larger, so making wise choices that are right for us is essential.

I believe in advocacy, in speaking out for causes in which I believe. I don’t believe in simply being passive about what happens in my world. But I am learning to make intentional choices. I am learning the value of the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

In these challenging times, you need to be especially mindful of your stress levels and of what things absolutely need your attention and which do not. I invite you to pay attention to your choices today. There is nothing wrong with speaking out, with being political, with working for causes, with taking stands. Just be sure you make a choice that’s right for you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The gifts of partnership

Ever find yourself telling someone else about your plans or goals because you know you’ll stick to them if someone else knows?

It’s called “accountability.” And it’s pretty powerful. I know that when I tell my fiancĂ© or one of my friends that I’m starting an exercise program, I will be asked about it. Somehow it’s easier to wiggle out if I’ve only committed in my own mind!

It’s one of the benefits of a coaching relationship. I’ve had several clients tell me that being accountable to me helps keep them on track with what they want to do.

Reaching dreams: How energizing!
The real benefit of that benefit, of course, is that when you do stay on track, you reach the goals for which you’ve been working. You realize dreams. You achieve goals. Your yearnings become live and real. Just writing these words energizes me. Can’t you feel the energy when you imagine yourself setting goals and reaching them?

Picture the caterpillar that has just been transformed in the cocoon and is now emerging as a beautiful butterfly. Imagine that feeling—at long last—of soaring and being what it truly was meant to be.

You too can soar! You can be that butterfly, ready to reach new heights. Let me know today if you would like an exploratory conversation and a no-obligation, complimentary consultation.

If you’re ready for action, I will help you set and meet your goals. I will be your accountability partner. I will help you discover your next steps and best solutions. I will encourage and support you in your choices. Click on the Contact link and let’s move you toward your goals.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lovable--no matter what

Although I’m engaged now, I’ve spent many Valentine’s Days as a single. Most of those years, I didn’t mind. I had a life I really loved, filled with friends, my kids and grandkids, my job and lots of activities.

I’ll be honest: There were times, though, when all the Valentine’s Day ads and the bouquets of roses on colleagues’ desks got to me.

Have you been there? Or perhaps you’re there now.

Let me remind you right here and right now: No matter whether you’re single or in a relationship, you are lovable! Yesterday we talked about self-love, and that’s where it all begins. When you love yourself, you always have someone around who loves you! And when you love yourself, you’re that much better able to love others. It’s difficult to love someone when your cup is empty. And when you love others, it comes back to you!

What can you do today?
If you don’t have any plans with a special someone today, here are some ideas for you: Take the day off work as a wellness or spa day; treat yourself. Do something to relax: a long soak in a bubble bath—or some time on the mat doing your favorite yoga positions. Write yourself a love note; list the things you really love about yourself. Create Valentine’s Day baskets for people you know who are going through a rough patch. Gather your girlfriends for a pizza and movie night. You get the idea.

There are so many ways to make today a special day—and to remember that you are lovable, no matter what!

Happy Valentine’s Day, you amazing woman, you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love is a gift

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Some say it’s only a Hallmark day or a day for candy companies and florists. Others say it’s only a day for lovers. So for singles who want to be with someone special, it can be a miserable day. Still others say it’s ridiculous to just have one day that’s about love. We should tell people we love them every day.

Yes, we should. And we should tell ourselves that we love ourselves, too.

I know, I know, we women have not learned to do that well. Actually, most people on the planet probably haven’t.

What would self-love look like?

Accept no less
It would mean believing in yourself—even when others around you don’t encourage or affirm you. It would mean respecting yourself—and not doing things that aren’t in line with your values or who you are. It would mean speaking up for yourself, not accepting put-downs or slurs. Educator, speaker and author Parker Palmer says, “No punishment anyone might inflict on us could possibly be worse than the punishment we inflict on ourselves by conspiring in our own diminishment.” I so agree.

Self-love means loving yourself in that unconditional way you love your partner, your children, your very best friends, or others who are important and essential in your life. You deserve that same love, too.

It means you love your body and care for it. Feed it good foods that delight the senses and keep you healthy. Surround yourself with people who love and support you. If at all possible, choose a workplace that maintains respect for who you are.

What else do you do to show you love yourself? Please share it in the Comments section.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What story do you tell?

Ever found yourself stuck in a rut? Saying the same old negative things over and over?

Me, too. Been there and done that. I don’t like it very much. And I’m not proud to say I’ve done it. Truth be told, I probably will spend time in a rut sometime again, too. I hope it’s only a short visit, though!

A book I read two years ago made a deep impression on me: I Will Not Die an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Purpose and Passion by Dawna Markova. Among other pearls of wisdom, the author talks about two ways we can tell our stories. We can tell them as “rut stories”—they are just what the word implies. They’re stories that numb us, that are not life-giving, that frame our experiences in the most negative of ways.

I grew up on a farm and I remember country roads after heavy spring rains: filled with deep ruts in which one could easily get stuck, and in which spinning the tires only dug us down further. Those roads were a bit frightening to me as a young driver, I recall.

Life-giving stories
Then there are the “river stories”—those that are life-giving, that flow, that move us forward. Picture a river flowing, and even when a large tree or object falls into it, the river finds a way around so it can keep on flowing. That’s what rivers do: flow and move forward.

For example, I can tell the story of my divorce as my/our failure to sustain a marriage relationship (and that is true). Or I can tell it as the huge turning-point in my life that it really turned out to be. Devastating as it was, it taught me lessons I could not have gained any other way. And arriving on the other side of that experience has been incredibly life-giving. Through all that, I’ve discovered my life’s passion and more joy that I knew was possible!

It’s a choice: rut or river. I’m trying to tell more river stories these days. What about you?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"I am a possibility"

When my three sons were young, they sang a catchy song in vacation Bible school that went like this: “I am a promise, I am a possibility. I am a promise with a capital ‘P.’ I am a great big bundle of potentiality.”

For some reason the words and the tune came to mind the other day. I don’t know why. And that doesn’t matter.

What I love is that it made me think again of all the possibilities I have before me. Life is full of choices. True, we sometimes have to tend to the “shoulds” in life. There is much we have to do. But there are also many crossroads in life that offer us choices.

Are you doing what you really love to do? Are you fully the woman you want to be—the one you were meant to be? What are the desires and dreams yet unfulfilled? What deep longings and life questions are still out there for you? For what do you most yearn?

Are you doing what you love?
If you’re not doing what you love, why not? Is there one step you can take today that would bring you closer to becoming that “possibility” the song talks about?

Promise. Possibility. Potentiality. Don’t you love those words? Just saying them energizes me. Can you feel the juice as you say them? Let them draw images to your mind. Then make a promise to yourself to take at least one step this week to be the amazing woman you were meant to be. Make an action plan today to become that possibility!

If you haven’t already, I invite you to sign up for my weekly ezine and for my three free gifts: “10 Signs of Caterpillar Energy: I’m Ready for Change!,” “Cocoon Energy: Preparing for Transition,” and “Butterfly Energy: I Feel So Light and Beautiful.”

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How did you love your body today?

What, you ask. Did you say love my body?! Yes, I did.

We women have received many media messages about our bodies. Mostly, we come to believe that we simply don’t measure up (no matter how fit we are or what size we wear).

What if you loved your body and treated it well? Stop a moment and think about all your body has done for you: carrying you from place to place, walking, dancing, perhaps birthing and carrying babies, holding and rocking them, and so much more. Think, too, of how you have treated it. Have you pushed it to its limits, perhaps operating on little or no sleep at times, maybe filling it with unhealthy food and doing so in a hurry so you could get on with your day? Have you starved it with dieting, trying to be what the fashion magazines told you to be?

Coach Christine Arylo (www.madlyinlovewithme.com) says that your body is your temple. She invites you to “transform your relationship with your body to one full of unconditional love and respect.” Ah, what a wonderful invitation.

How different would your life be if you loved your body, if you saw it as a temple, if you treated it well and fed it good things? Why not start today? Put a post-it note on your mirror as a daily reminder.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What holds you back?

Have you ever had a dream that, when you began to let it unfold and you put legs on it, you heard lots of inner voices? Critical voices. Questioning voices. And you realized they weren’t the voices of others; they were your voice. Your Inner Critic (sometimes called your inner saboteur). Often when you really dream big, the voices kick into overdrive! “Why do you think you can do that?” “You don’t have enough experience.” On and on, the voices pile on.

What are the limiting beliefs you harbor about yourself? Can you pull them out, one at a time, and examine them? Look these beliefs straight in the eye. Confront them. Let them go. Replace them.

Find the fear
Behind those voices, some type of fear exists. It’s good to drill down to learn what’s really holding you back. Fear of failure—or of success? Of criticism? Of not being loved?

Several years ago I applied and interviewed for the top management position in my workplace. My Inner Critic got right to work on me. When I had a “conversation” with her (my method of conversation is journaling, but you may have another one), I learned that she was really trying to protect me. She was aware of the criticism (sadly, especially from other women) I got when I broke a glass ceiling to assume the managing editor position, and she knew it would be hard on me to experience more of that. I’m an extremely relational person; and I’ll be honest, those criticisms did sting. That didn’t stop me from doing my job and enjoying it—and I soon tuned out the criticisms (and proved my critics wrong). But my Inner Critic was protecting me. I assured her that I would be fine, and she didn’t need to hold me back. I was ready for whatever happened.

Take a look at those limiting beliefs and those voices. Deal with them. Let them go—or reframe them. It’s time for you to soar!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ever feel selfish?

One of my clients told me that she felt selfish for wanting to take time to focus on her life—to stop and re-evaluate what she’s done, where she’s headed, what gifts she has, what dreams she carries, and what she should do next with her life.

My first reaction was, “No, no, no, that’s not at all selfish.” I didn’t say that … because where she is, is where she is. But I did invite her to consider the alternative—continuing her journey with no thought to what fit or didn’t fit for her anymore.

I’ve been in that place myself. Have you? I won’t forget my inner struggles following my divorce—when I first began to think about what I wanted and what I should do next. I had spent so many years thinking about what my husband and children wanted and needed, and what others in my life and in my community needed. And I really had no idea what I wanted.

Guilt—and feeling selfish
Furthermore, I felt extremely selfish (and guilty) for taking time to focus on my wants and needs—on my hopes and dreams. It’s easy for us as women to hear that message: Put others first. Put your own needs on the back burner. After all, that’s more “feminine,” we’ve perhaps been told.

I needed time—and the help of others—to work through that guilt, and dump it. How grateful I am that I took the time to struggle with that feeling—and that I moved ahead to express my hopes and dreams. A side benefit: My three sons also benefited from me focusing on my wants and needs; that meant they had a mother who was happy and fulfilled, a mother who served as an even better role model for them.

What words of wisdom do you have for women who feel guilty or selfish for tending to their own needs and nourishing their own dreams? I’d love to hear your experiences and ideas in the Comment box below.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fill 'er up - with courage

Today I had tea with a dear friend, who is launching a business for the first time in her life. We talked about all the details that need attention when one is an entrepreneur. I shared some of my experiences in setting up my life coaching practice—as well as things I had learned from operating an advertising and marketing business many years ago. She shared some steps she’s taking to jump into this career that’s been a dream for years.

My friend and I encouraged each other in our enterprises and also talked openly about obstacles we saw. We shared the excitement and the passion we felt about our chosen paths, and we threw out ideas for facing the obstacles.

Isn’t it fun to have family and friends with whom we can share our joys and our fears? And isn’t it wonderful to encourage each other on the journey?

Encourage or discourage
Some time ago I heard a sermon in which the pastor described the two words “encourage” and “discourage.” She said that when we encourage someone, we put courage into them. When we discourage another person, we take courage out of them.

What strong images that provokes! Can’t you just picture pouring courage into someone? And siphoning courage out of them?

Take time today to encourage someone in your life. Picture yourself filling that person up with courage. Doesn’t that feel great?

And when others encourage you, accept it graciously. Take it in. Absorb it. Remember it. Feel yourself filling up with courage!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sad? Jazzed? Be real.

I recently received an e-newsletter from an author and speaker I’ve followed for years. In it she admitted to feeling sad in the past few weeks. She had several reasons for her sadness.

What really struck me was that this woman was willing to let herself dwell in that place for a while, knowing that she needed to be with what was real and true for her. Her e-newsletter was permission-giving for those of us who read it, too: She invited us to see our emotional states as part of the ebb and flow of life. She encouraged us to stop and feel—to be human, to rest and reflect.

What are you feeling right now? Are you totally juiced and jazzed? Or are you sad or discouraged? Whatever you feel, it’s OK. Stay with it. Feel it. Draw it. Journal it. Dance with it. Cry with it. Do whatever will help you be human. Do whatever will help you move on—when you are ready to move on. But whatever you do, be real about your feelings. Don’t ignore them. They contain important clues about what’s going on in your life. Be authentic. It’s OK.

Contact me for a no-obligation, complimentary telephone consultation if that would help you face whatever you’re feeling right now.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

One myth about loss

“I don’t need to grieve this. I didn’t lose my job. I chose to take early retirement,” my client said.

I gently reminded her that, even when we choose something, we can experience loss. We lose other things. Every “hello” has at least one “goodbye” in its back pocket, I’ve heard it said. So true.

I invite you to not overlook the smaller losses of life—or those that are embedded within a larger loss but which might be less obvious. When you lose your job, for example, you lose income, status, your routine, work colleagues, future hopes for that job, sometimes self-confidence, perhaps some meaning in your life, and a plethora of other things, some unique to your own situation and some common to all who lose jobs.

Not just death
Take time to grieve them all. At the very least, name each one and think about it. Then let go—and move on.

Remember, death isn’t the only loss worth grieving. All losses are important to us and need our attention. Paying attention to loss and grief keeps us cleared out so we are free to live a positive, joyful life.

I invite you to remember that our hearts make no distinction between voluntary loss or loss that’s forced upon us. Loss is loss, no matter how it comes to us.

I wrote a grief and loss resource for a women’s organization last year that might be helpful as you think about this subject. You can access and download “The Faces of Grief” at: http://bit.ly/xuc10W.