Friday, March 30, 2012

Enough “shoulds” already?

“When does the good stuff in life come?” I’ve had women ask me. “I’ve spent my life doing what I needed to do. Now I’m ready for the joy.”

Has your life been filled with “shoulds”? Have you always been responsible? There is nothing wrong with being a responsible adult, with doing what needs to be done. But sometimes you just need to let up a bit—and find ways to bring joy and exuberance into your life.

For what do you yearn? Can you name that deep longing within you?

I invite you to spend time thinking about these life questions. If they don’t pertain to you, consider yourself blessed. If they do, reflect. Journal. Ponder. Talk with others. Start a conversation with others in the Comment box below.

First, think about your desires and longings. Then create your action plan, one small step at a time, to get you from here to there.

I’d love to help you find the “good stuff.” Contact me for a no-obligation, complimentary strategy session today. Let’s get you on your way so you can reach your dreams. It’s time to fly!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Need a self-confidence boost?

I had a client who wanted desperately to make a career change. She yearned to discover her passion. But first, she admitted, she needed work on her self-confidence.

We started with affirmations she could give herself. We moved to her finding the courage to ask those closest to her for affirmation. I encouraged her to write down the affirmations she received from others in a special journal. (I once was encouraged to keep a “Value Journal” in which I recorded the good things others said about me as a reminder to me of my value to others. I still use it occasionally today.)

With help from your friends
It’s true that you can hear several compliments and then hear one criticism or “gotcha”—and what sticks in your mind will be the “gotcha.” So I encouraged my client to really pay attention to the affirmations, write them down, and go back and re-read them whenever she needed the reminder.

Affirmations may feel fake to you at first, whether you give them to yourself or ask others to be forthcoming with them. But there is nothing wrong with “faking it until you make it.” There is nothing wrong with asking others to notice when you excel and to say something about it. You are also doing them a favor by asking them to notice positive things (rather than focusing on negatives).

What is your experience with affirmations? How have they helped you? Do you have tips to share on boosting self-confidence? Please do so in the Comment box below.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2 limiting beliefs about grief

Last night I facilitated the final of a five-session class on grief and loss in my congregation. The pastors had hoped for large numbers of participants and offered several sessions, of which mine was one. However, the turnout was lower than hoped.

Why? Several members told the pastors that they didn’t want to talk about that depressing subject. Some said they hadn’t experienced the death of anyone close to them so didn’t have any grief to discuss.

This was a reminder to me that we carry some limiting beliefs about grief and loss:

1) Grief is a depressing topic.
2) Grief is only about death.

Loss takes many forms
While grief and loss aren’t something we long for and readily embrace, they are a regular part of our lives. You experience loss in many ways: loss of friends, loss of community when you move, loss of job, loss of ability as you age, loss of lifestyle and some amount of freedom when you have children, loss of health with a diagnosis of illness, and many more. Even when you have chosen something (such as a move to another community, a new position or retirement), you experience the loss of some things in your life at the same time as you embrace the new. Saying hello to something generally entails saying goodbye to other things.

Talking about your loss and grief does not have to be depressing. It is, in fact, healthy. It is in facing the loss that you can move through and beyond it. In confronting it, you can do the necessary letting go that allows for new life and moving on.

I like the title of a book I read years ago: Talking About Death Won’t Kill You by Virginia Morris. The book made the argument for honesty and openness, for facing our fears about death and loss.

If you have trouble reaching for your dreams, I invite you to see whether you have some unresolved grief that needs tending. Face it. Grieve. Let go. Prepare to fly! And please contact me if you’d like to discuss grief and loss issues.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

You in relationships

Not so many decades ago, many people viewed marriage or that primary relationship in your life as completing you. It was thought that once you found that significant other, you would be complete—as though you were only a partial person on your own.

I remember hearing that as I grew into adulthood. I don’t hear it so much anymore. I hope that idea is dead and gone. You aren’t a puzzle with missing pieces. You are whole and complete.

Do relationships sometimes (we hope it’s often!) bring out the best in you? They certainly can do so. Can those people closest to you encourage and support you in ways that give you strength and energy to grow and become all you were meant to be? Absolutely.

You at your best
How can you enhance your chances of relationships that support you in becoming your best self? How can you develop healthy relationships?

Whether it’s in your friendships or in a primary relationship, you can do things to create an atmosphere of honesty and trust. You can be as real and authentic as possible—and encourage that in others. You can be supportive and ask for support and affirmation from those closest to you in return.

You don’t complete each other. But you can definitely help bring out the best in each other. And think of the joy you’ll feel—and the joy you’ll spread all around you when you live with such healthy and life-giving relationships.

Contact me if you want to discuss creating healthier relationships.

Monday, March 26, 2012

3 myths about self-image

If you have a self-image problem, you’re among friends. I venture to say that most, if not all, of us have dealt with self-image issues. And many of us find it a recurring theme in our lives. Let’s bust three of the myths.

1) You either have a good self-image or you don’t. That absolutely is not true. You can change your self-image. It is not something with which you’re born, such as the color of your eyes. Your self-image is formed in many ways, from messages you receive from those close to you as well as the community and society around you—and it can be changed by messages you give yourself. Developing a healthy self-image may not be easy, but one step at a time, it can be done.
2) As a woman, your self-image is dependent on weight and dress size. No again! In fact, haven’t you known some large women who dress beautifully, exude self-confidence, have an inner glow and display a disarmingly inviting self-image? I have. I love seeing it. It’s always a reminder to me that a healthy self-image is an inside job. It really isn’t about how we look on the outside. It’s a choice we can make. To which messages will we listen—the positive ones or the negative?
3) Self-confidence is only for extroverts. This myth says that introverts will never be accepted in the same way extroverts are in our society. Since you have the ability through self-talk to give yourself messages about how acceptable you are, you do not have to rely on what society admires or reveres. If you’re an extrovert, you might be thinking about the self-image issues you face—the same as your introverted sisters! It doesn’t matter. How we see ourselves is what really matters. Our worth is not dependent on the opinions of others.

You can think of lots of excuses for your poor self-image, many reasons it developed. But the truth is, you don’t have to live with low self-esteem. There is another, more joyful and powerful way to live! Sign up now for my monthly ezine (on the right). And contact me today for a no-obligation, complimentary strategy session to see how you can live in that more joyful place with the inner glow of a healthy self-image.

Friday, March 23, 2012

It’s up to you

Several years ago I was in a workplace that felt toxic and negative. Some coworkers didn’t speak; some grunted when greeted, and lots of whispering occurred between a few. It was with dismay that I realized that I was becoming a person I really didn’t want to be because of it. I liked what I was doing and didn’t necessarily want to change jobs, though.

That situation offered me some choices. I could continue to become as negative and unfriendly as some of those around me. I could change how I responded to them and be the positive person I had thought myself to be. Or I could look for a new job.

Somewhere I saw a list of mantras to repeat throughout the day. Several spoke to me, and I copied some of them onto the back of old business cards and carried them in my purse so I could pull them out whenever I needed inspiration during the day. One really sticks out in my mind, though:

“I will live out of my own container of love and compassion, regardless of others’ actions.”

Attitude change
I cannot tell you how much that mantra meant to me—or how often during the day I pulled that card out of my purse as a reminder. Eventually, it became much more automatic, and I didn’t need the reminder. When I came to the office each morning, I said “Good morning” to everyone and went about my day in a positive, happy manner. I felt much better, and some of my coworkers responded in kind. I needed that change in attitude. I needed to realize that I could exert my personal power to respond to coworkers in the way I wanted—not as they did.

What attitude change might you need to make today? Where in your life do you need to claim your personal power? What change can you make that will be good for you and just might create a more positive climate around you?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What’s your passion?

Several of my current clients face career questions. They’re not sure where their passions lie.

You might spend years doing something for which you’re qualified—or for which you might have trained in college. You do what needs to be done. You develop skills in certain areas. You are good at what you do. You may even like doing it. But you may have lost touch along the way with what really energizes and excites you. What would make you jump out of bed each morning? What gets you juiced and jazzed?

If you aren’t sure, you’re in good company.

Don’t despair, though. It’s never too late to change, to make choices that will incorporate your passion into your life in some way—if not as a career, then as a hobby or volunteer work.

So how do I know?
Many ways exist to discover your passion. Several books have been written about it, too. One that I often recommend to clients is Whistle While You Work: Heeding Your Life’s Calling by Richard J. Leider and David A. Shapiro. This book includes a delightful exercise to help you discover the gifts you naturally give to others and those you enjoy giving and using.

One other method I recommend is to reflect (and journal) on what you loved doing in childhood, when you were uninhibited and not yet loaded down with lots of life’s “shoulds.” What did you love to do? In what activities were you totally absorbed and lost? And conversely, what did you absolutely despise doing? What are the common threads running through those activities? Often this can tell you something about yourself. For example, after I lost my job I did this exercise. I discovered that being a nurturer and an encourager as well as being imaginative and creative wove a thread through everything on my childhood list. That ultimately led to my decision to become a life coach, something I realized I’d been doing informally much of my life—something I absolutely love doing.

Start paying attention today and discover your passion(s). If you want help doing so, please contact me. I would be honored to help you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Al fresco dining—in March

Where I live in Illinois, it’s unseasonably warm right now. I actually had lunch with friends today— outdoors! Typically at this time of year, we could still have snow on the ground (albeit, the ugly gray/black remainders of a previous storm) and would still be wearing winter coats. We most definitely would not be dining al fresco. Instead, my rhododendron are in full bloom, my trees and shrubs are budding, my grape hyacinths are gorgeous and my hydrangea bush already is greening up.

New life. Don’t you love it? Each spring it’s new all over again. The thrill erupts within just as surely as the buds and flowers bursting forth outside.

Where in your life do you experience this same sense of new life, transformation, greening?

New beginnings
Or don’t you? Perhaps you’re longing for new beginnings, yearning for that transformation that occurs in the caterpillar/cocoon/butterfly process. What’s waiting to be born in you right now? What dreams are calling you?

If you are just where you want to be right now, that’s awesome! Please share with us what that’s like and how you got there.

If you yearn for something new in your life, please share that with us, too. And take a small step today to move toward that new life waiting to be born in you. Don’t wait. Let your beautiful butterfly emerge from the cocoon—and soar! Create the climate for new life. Contact me if you want a partner in letting your inner butterfly soar.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring cleaning

Today is officially the first day of spring. When I grew up, and even in the early years of my marriage, that signaled the time for spring cleaning. Just as did my mother, I tore every room, every drawer, every closet apart and cleaned it out. I got rid of things. I organized what was there. I washed and dusted and cleaned. I keep a clean home now, but I don’t get quite that crazy anymore!

However, this makes me think of inner clutter as well as the external clutter of our lives. Is it time for you to let go of some things that are holding you back? Do you have so much old baggage that you can’t move forward with something you really want to do?

This is a good time to take the pulse of your life. Are you where you want to be? Is there something more you want to be or do? Make choices today that will get you where you want to be. Let go of attitudes, fears, old griefs and losses, things that shrink your world and your choices.

Clean inside and out
I have a good friend whose business is decluttering homes (or offices) and organizing them. She tells me that when she helps people clean out, toss and organize, her clients report that they feel lighter inside, too.

If a good spring cleaning helps you begin the process of inner decluttering, dive in. It just may be the start you need. And if you need help letting go and moving toward the good things you so yearn for, I invite you to contact me for a complimentary strategy session.

Happy spring!

Monday, March 19, 2012

What? Take time to play?

Do you take time to play? Or did you grow to adulthood (as I did), thinking that play was only for children? That life is a very serious affair?

Let’s get rid of that notion right now. Play and fun—those things aren’t just for children anymore. And, yes, life is serious … but it doesn’t have to be all the time!

Have you experienced times of pure fun and noticed how much better you felt afterward? There is absolutely nothing like laughing until you feel your sides will split. There’s nothing like losing yourself in something that really has no productive purpose. It’s good to remember that we’re human beings, not human doings. We don’t always have to be productive!

Silly is good
Even at my age, I love swinging. I love spending time at a zoo—and sometimes imagining that the animals are watching me as much as I am watching them. I love playing “tea party” with my granddaughters. My 11-year-old granddaughter and I have so much fun telling stories. One of us will start a story and will break off, sometimes even in mid-sentence, and let the other one continue. Then that person continues the story and passes the baton to the other again. Back and forth we go. Oh, the crazy, imaginary stories we can create that way. We laugh till we’re nearly sick. But do we have fun! Olivia often says, “Oh, Grandma Sonia, you’re so silly.” But she says it with such love, and I take it as a total compliment!

What do you do that’s fun? Do you schedule play time? Maybe you should. Make today the day you begin to live with more happiness, joy, fun and play in your life. Let’s stop taking ourselves so seriously all the time. See if it doesn’t add better balance to your life.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Remember to breathe

"Remember to breathe,” he told me. At the time I thought it was a silly thing to say. Of course, I remember to breathe. Don’t we just do that automatically? Why would I have to “remember”?

That was more than a decade ago. I have since learned how important our breathing is to living well. That sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But I’m talking here about breathing deeply.

Have you ever found yourself so tense and anxious that your breathing was extremely shallow? You just can’t seem to get your breath. When your life gets chaotic and overly busy, or when you’re filled with fear and anxiety, it’s common to take shallow breaths. And I’ve heard it said that “shallow breathing makes for shallow living.” How deeply we breathe really does affect us emotionally and physically. When we breathe deeply, we are able to fire on all cylinders (a phrase that means “working at full strength” and “operating as powerfully and effectively as possible”).

Try it now
I invite you to stop for a moment now. Inhale as slowly and deeply as you can, allowing your tummy to expand. Hold it a few seconds. Slowly exhale, making sure to get out as much air as you can. Repeat this several times. How does that feel? Doesn’t that open you up inside?

I find it helpful to take time in a busy day to do a few deep-breathing exercises. Sometimes I add a mantra. For example, as I inhale deeply, I might say, “I breathe in peace;” and as I exhale, I say, “I breathe out fears.”

See if this doesn’t make a difference as you try to live more in joy and less out of fear. Give your body all the air it needs.

As my former colleague said, “Remember to breathe!”

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What fills you with joy?

I’m spending a few days in Phoenix with my youngest son, my daughter-in-law and my two youngest grandchildren. Two things especially come to my awareness: I am so energized by connection (with family and friends)—and I am completely joy-filled when I am with my precious grandchildren. I love snuggling with them, reading to them, playing games, drawing, acting silly and “loving on them,” as my daughter-in-law says. All that and more. My Inner Child comes out to play when I’m with my grandchildren. And when I’m connected, and spending time with those I love, my heart is open. Wide open. Ready to embrace others, to embrace new experiences. I’m just at my best.

What about you? What fills you with joy? Opens up your heart? Energizes you? When are you at your best?

If you aren’t sure, try paying attention. One way to do that is at the end of each day, answer two questions (writing this down will help you see patterns): What gave me energy today? What sucked energy out of me today? (Or you can substitute the word “joy” for “energy” if you like.)

After you have done this for several days or weeks, you will see new things about yourself. Some patterns will emerge. Your self-awareness will increase. And you can make choices about how you spend your days.

I’d love to hear what you’re noticing. If you’re willing, share with us in the Comment box below.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happiness is a choice

Before my flight to Phoenix this morning, I had to maneuver my way through the security lines at O’Hare Airport in Chicago. This is never one of my favorite things to do. The lines are nearly always long and longer. And sometimes the agents are crabby and bossy. The other people in line? Some of them are crabby and pushy, too.

Today was different, however. The woman examining my license and my ticket was friendly and smiled at those who came to her desk. That in turn made me relax a bit more about the whole process. I found myself passing on the kindness, letting someone step in front of me when they appeared in much more of a hurry than I was (I had allowed enough extra time before my flight). I was more courteous and friendly to everyone around me.

What a difference it makes when we are positive and happy. It does have a ripple effect, doesn’t it? And it bounces right back to us again. I’m sure the security agent received positive responses in return.

Can you always be happy and positive? Of course not. There are times of trauma and grief when you just need to honor those experiences and stay with the grief or fear you feel. And are there times when you could make the choice to be positive and when it might not only make you feel better about your life, but it would light up someone else’s day? I’m sure there are.

Much of the time, you and I can make a choice: a choice to be positive or to be negative. Which will it be today?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Let life flow

My March 9 blog talked about moving out of your head and down into your heart and the rest of your body. I had an experience more than two years ago where, during meditation, my head felt very heavy and I felt as though there were also something constricting it. Through journaling, I realized that my head was tired of “carrying” all my big life transition questions (brought on by being Reduced In Force from my job of 22 years). My head wanted some help: Call in the rest of the troops (my heart and the rest of my body)!!

As I journaled and lived with those thoughts and all my life questions, this is what came to me:

• Let life flow. Don’t fight it.
• Be open. See what comes.
Feel the feelings. Do not feed them (with food—do you ever do that???)!
• Give my head a break. Open up to my entire body.
• Accept what is.
• Enjoy what is!
• Look ahead. Quit looking back.
• Quit trying to control or force life into a predetermined path.

What’s on your mind these days? What’s next for you? Tune in to your inner self and see what you discover. You’ll feel so powerful accessing your inner truths and wisdom.

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Live the questions"

So many people are totally discouraged with their careers or with where they are in life. How about you? Do you like where you are now? Are you (mostly) happy with your life? If you are content, enjoy this time of your life. If you are truly intoxicated with life, rejoice. You really are blessed.

If you aren’t, what would you like to change? Perhaps you would just like to tweak a few things in your life to make it work better for you. Or are you looking for major change? Perhaps you’re asking some of the big life questions. Maybe you’re even ready for new dreams.

Embrace change
I encourage you to not be afraid of the change. Embrace it. Don’t back away from the questions. Rather do as poet Rainer Maria Rilke advised and “live the questions.” In his Letters to a Young Poet, he wrote, “… have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. … Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

Take the time you need to “live the questions.” Engage whatever help you need in doing so. Explore resources and options. Create space in your life to let the questions float around inside and around you. This is a process, not unlike the caterpillar/cocoon/butterfly transformation. Let it unfold. Contact me if you’d like a no-obligation, complimentary strategy session to discuss this.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ever get stuck in your head?

Depending on our cultural and ethnic background, some of us operate more from our heads than our hearts or bodies. Does that ever happen to you? Do you ever think an issue to death—almost to the point of your head hurting?

I come from a northern European background, so I grew up with a lot of stoicism. We didn’t express our feelings quite as readily as what I imagine southern Europeans do. I often envy them that trait.

Mind you, stoicism has its place. But I prefer to be in touch with my emotions. I want to know what is deep down in my gut: What am I feeling? I want to know what’s in my heart. How about you?

Living below the neck
How exactly do you get out of your head and down into your heart and into your body?

Some things that help me do that are: art (either observing it or creating it), handwork and crafts, something physical such as dance or exercise (a walk in the woods can really awaken my senses) and anything that helps me FEEL more and THINK less. You might lose yourself in cooking and that can be a creative way to get out of your mind. Or you might find yoga a good way to get into your body. Meditation is helpful for many people. Try out different things and see what works for you. Tell us in the Comment section what is helping you.

Practice some exuberance in your life. How long has it been since you jumped up and down in joy? Since you laughed and couldn’t stop? Practice getting out of your head today. You might just find you feel more positive—ready to solve whatever has been on your mind lately!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What do I want to be when I grow up?

So many of my clients (of all ages) ask this question. And it is a good question. In some ways, I hope it’s one I never stop asking. It’s a question filled with hope and possibility. It speaks of dreams.

And, as we know, we don’t so much keep dreams alive as dreams keep us alive!

Asking this question doesn’t necessarily mean a career change. It can have as much to do with how we want to be in this world as it does with what vocation or career we want. It’s a question that can work at several levels.

What’s your purpose?
A few years ago, after I lost a job in a workplace where I’d been for 22 years, I had many questions: Who am I now? What’s my purpose? What do I want to be when I grow up? And more.

The one about purpose felt foundational to me, so I spent a lot of time with that. I looked back to childhood to see what I had enjoyed then. I asked others who knew me what they saw in me. I reflected on jobs I’d held, whether paid or volunteer, and what I had enjoyed about those things. I began to see a theme—I was an encourager. I loved mentoring, affirming, encouraging, helping others to reach their highest potential. I had done that in so many ways through the years, in my journalism career, in management positions, in volunteer activities and with my children and grandchildren. So my work as a life coach fit perfectly!

Author Dawna Markova says in I Will Not Die An Unlived Life that “there’s no such thing as finding one’s purpose. It’s about creating the conditions, for six months or six minutes, where your purpose can find you.” She adds, “It’s not about asking what is the meaning of life, but rather asking what your life means.”

Create some space today so your purpose can find you! And if you already know it, celebrate that. Renew your commitment to living it out. Feel the passion. Feel the energy when you are fulfilling your purpose! And, if you’re willing, please share with us your journey to find it; do so in the comment box below.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shhhhhhh...Are You Drowning in Sound?

We are surrounded with dozens and dozens of media messages every day. Loud, persistent messages. Messages that drown out our inner wisdom.

How can we ever expect to hear our own voices when we’re surrounded with this din? How can we access our inner wisdom when we can’t hear ourselves think?

Silence really is golden
I invite you to create time and space for some quiet in your life. Find a spot in your home that’s comfortable and inviting. And quiet! Make time (even if you have to pencil it into your too-full appointment book) for yourself.

Have no agenda other than to be silent and listen. Do you realize that those two words have the same letters? They’re just in a different order. How connected those words are! We can’t possibly really listen unless we are silent.

Perhaps you’ll want to simply do deep breathing, using a mantra such as: Breathe in, saying, “I breathe in peace”—and breathe out, saying, “I breathe out stress.” Or whatever words work for you to get calm and quiet your mind and body.

Or you may like to journal and write (or draw) what thoughts and feelings emerge as you go silent.

Let thoughts pass through
As external thoughts enter your mind, don’t worry about blocking them. Simply let them pass through and let them go. If it helps you to quietly say a word, such as “calm” or “love,” to draw your attention back inside, do that whenever you get distracted.

Just that process of sitting quietly for a few minutes each day or several times a week will be good for your spirit (and your body). And you might be surprised what you’ll learn when you listen for your own inner wisdom! There’s a deep well inside us; we just don’t often go silent and listen to see what’s there.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Wake Up, Show Up!"

Author Joyce Rupp in her book The Cup of Our Life gives four reminders for those who use her book. These reminders work well as you face life issues and answer life questions, too. In fact, they are just good for life in general!
Wake up! Be aware.
Show up! Be there.
Shake up! Be willing to rearrange your inner viewpoint.
Start up! Get moving.

How might your life be different today if you followed those four admonitions? Would it help you discover transformation at the end of some crossroad of change you’re currently experiencing—rather than just the grief of change?

When something changes in your life and you aren’t sure which way to go, it’s easy to get stuck in the loss and grief. I’ve certainly been there and done that. That is not to say that you should ignore the loss when you face change-points. Definitely name the losses and grieve them. And then move on.

Start with paying attention
Rupp’s reminders work no matter where you are in your transition or transformation process. You really do begin with awareness. Pay attention. What has happened? What is happening? Where are you now? And where do you want to be? How will you get there?

Once you have an awareness of the issue, be present with it. Live with it. Hold it. Don’t be afraid of it.

Examine your beliefs, views and attitudes about what’s going on. Are they old messages? Perhaps from childhood—or from another relationship or life experience? They may no longer hold true. Some never were true, but we heard them so often that they seemed true. You may just need a new belief or viewpoint. Bust some myths that no longer work.

Set an action plan. Break the plan into bite-sized pieces. And get moving. You will feel so energized and powerful when you make a choice and start moving! If you would like help in working this through, I invite you to contact me for a no-obligation, complimentary strategy session.

Monday, March 5, 2012

What's Your Energy Source?

Ever since I began seeing change and transformation through the lens of the caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly developmental process, I have learned so much about butterflies. I am constantly struck by how many life lessons they offer.

Recently I read a quote from author and speaker Laurie Beth Jones: “… I was amazed to learn that butterflies have to spread their wings in the morning sunshine because the scales on their wings are actually solar cells. Without that source of energy, they cannot fly.”

What’s your source of energy? Have you thought about it before? There are different ways to think about that question. One is to reflect on what you see as your ultimate source of power and energy, whether that be God, the Universe or some other Higher Power. Whatever that source is, how do you tap into it? What happens when you don’t have that connection?

Stay plugged in
My energy source is God. And for me that means a relationship. If we’re not connected, I’m the one who has disconnected. It takes time and intention on my part to keep that relationship alive—for me to stay plugged in. You may have a different source that powers and empowers your life. It’s important that you know what it takes to build and sustain your energy so you can soar like the beautiful butterfly you were created to be!

Another way of looking at your energy source is to think about your personality type. Are you an introvert or an extrovert on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment profiles? It’s not about whether you like being with people. It’s about your energy source. Do you go inside yourself and find energy in solitude (introvert)? Or do you get energized through social interaction and the outer world (extrovert)? Often it’s some type of balance between the two. It’s helpful to know where on the continuum you fall so that you can stay energized and not get totally depleted.

Think about your energy source. Work with it. Stay plugged in. See how joyful and powerful you feel when you’re energized. Are you ready to spread your wings and soar?

Friday, March 2, 2012

What Is Working in Your Life?

When you try to find a solution to something in your life—or try to answer one of those large life questions—do you sometimes feel as though you’re walking through quicksand to do so?

Author Dawna Markova says in her book I Will Not Die An Unlived Life that we should build on what is working for us. What specific gifts have you been given? What’s your best style of working things out? It may be very different from my style. That’s OK. You will have much more energy—and, therefore, better solutions—if you go with your own flow, your own style. Go with what has worked and what is working.

What’s the ‘body feel’ of success?
And don’t concentrate on your limitations. Think back to a time when you successfully solved a problem or answered one of your big questions. Get in touch with that success—and ride the wave of energy that comes from it. Markova asks us, “What does fulfillment feel like in your body, and what does the story you tell reveal about what’s really important to you?”

One of my clients has been trying, pretty much unsuccessfully, to divide his days as an entrepreneur into small chunks of time. Two hours for this project, two hours for that, 45 minutes for something else. He feels as though he’s slogging through mud pulling a wagonload behind him. We talked about his personality type and realized that he is the type of person who gets totally lost in a project or a pursuit. He’s the type who can completely lose track of time once he’s set on finding a solution. We realized that his time management attempts were not working with his natural style. Now, when it’s possible, instead of divvying up his days, he’s dividing his week into time chunks: Monday on this project, Tuesday on that one, etc. There will be times when that won’t work perfectly. But he’s happier going with his natural flow. And he’s much more productive.

What’s working for you? If you want help finding your own flow, I invite you to contact me for a no-obligation, complimentary strategy session. Click here to see available dates and times.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

3 Things to Tell Your Inner Child

We’ve talked about your Inner Critic. What about your Inner Child? Do you know her?

Inside us we are all the ages we’ve ever been. Among them, of course, is that little girl who is so innocent, perhaps a bit scared or shy—or perhaps she’s confident and joyful, totally uninhibited. Describe the little girl inside you. What does she need?

While some needs are unique to us and to our Inner Child, there are some basics she needs. Our Inner Child needs to hear from us:

1) You are loved. Reassure her that no matter how she feels or acts, you love her. No matter how she was loved (or not loved) when she was little, you can assure her that you love her. Unconditionally. Always. I first realized that I had this little girl inside when I was in counseling to deal with some difficult workplace issues. I learned so much from this little one, including what she needed from me. Now when I’m stressed and feeling unlovable for one reason or another, I can touch my heart and remind my Inner Child that I do love her and that she’s very lovable.
2) You are safe. Your Inner Child may have learned from someone (a parent, relative or teacher) that she couldn’t completely trust others. She will need to know that you protect her, no matter what, and that you will always keep her safe. She needs to be able to trust that you will not make fun of her or put her down.
3) You are heard. Listen to your Inner Child. She can tell you what you need when you aren’t even sure yourself. For example, I came to realize just how deeply important social connection is for me when I heard my Inner Child’s memories of grade school and the pain when she was on the outside of third-grade girl cliques. Knowing the effect of her experiences helps me make wiser choices when I face times of rejection—or when I experience the adult version of female cliques.

What experiences have you had with your Inner Child? Or is this all new for you? Are you willing to share with us? Add your comments below.