coaching

Finding Strength In Our Struggles

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It can be difficult to watch people struggle, especially someone we love and care about. Our first response is likely to want to fix or save them.

 

However, consider the following:

 

    • In our struggles are lessons. If we rescue others (or wait for rescue), they (we) can miss the lesson that is waiting for them (us). That lesson may keep them (us) from making the same mistake over again.

 

    • When we practice taking responsibility for our lives, we learn that we are strong and resilient as we come out on the other side. We not only rob someone of that feeling of accomplishment when we rush to rescue, we keep them from building their self-confidence.

 

    • We are not the Happiness Police. It is not our job to make sure everyone around us is happy.
      Sometimes we need to be unhappy or angry or frustrated or …insert feeling here…  Sometimes we need to let others be in and work through their stuff.

 

    • Rescuing creates dependence.  Are we afraid if this person becomes independent they won’t need us anymore? Do we get our self-worth from taking care of them? We need to address our motives when creating this dynamic in a relationship.

 

    • Rescuing and trying to fix sends the message that they are not capable of taking care of themselves.

 

What CAN we do?

 

Let them know that they are not alone and the door is open if, and when, they need support. It’s up to them to walk through that door, it’s not our job to carry them through.

 

Allow them to practice asking for what they need rather than trying to figure it out for them. Be empathetic, listen and try not to “fix” their problem.

Coutesy of Fabquote.co

Courtesy of Fabquote.co

 

What if YOU are struggling?

 

 

Ask yourself, “What do I need to process these thoughts and emotions?”  Then practice reaching out to someone who is “holding the door open” and make a request for support.

 

It’s amazing what happens when we are given the space to feel how we feel with no judgement.

 

I’m reminded of the story about a butterfly. (Take a moment to read Paulo Coehlo’s version of the story below)

 

If we want to fly, we must first be willing to struggle out of our cocoon.

 

What’s harder, sometimes, is we must allow others to do the same.

 

The Lesson of the Butterfly
December 10, 2007
By Paulo Coelho

A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still.

The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.

The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shrivelled wings, incapable of flight.

What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings.

Sometimes, a little extra effort is precisely what prepares us for the next obstacle to be faced. Anyone who refuses to make that effort, or gets the wrong sort of help, is left unprepared to fight the next battle and never manages to fly off to their destiny.

(Adapted from a story sent in by Sonaira D’Avila)

Beginning to breakthrough my fear of self-promotion at the Women Of Focus Trade Show, March, 2016

Beginning to breakthrough my fear of self-promotion at the Women Of Focus Trade Show, March, 2016

Without my precious food to numb me,  I recently came face to face with the

thoughts and beliefs that could keep my business stuck.

Specifically, my thoughts and judgments about marketing, selling and

promoting myself and my business.

I resist promoting myself because I’m afraid I’ll be

perceived as arrogant, manipulative or self-serving.

However, if I don’t promote myself then I will either not be in

business very long or I’ll only reach a small number of people.

“… pay attention when you want

to eat a box of Oreos,

drink a bottle of wine or

whatever your drug of choice is.”

What can I (we) do with these thoughts and beliefs rather

than divert them with food, wine or keeping crazy busy?

I chose to look deeper rather than going for the distraction and found

there was a message for me.

Below are 4 steps you can use when you’re stuck:

1. Notice your negative or limiting thoughts and beliefs.

If it’s hard to recognize your thoughts, check in with how you’re

feeling then back track to find the thought that created it.

Your thoughts create how you feel.

Use your feelings as signposts to point to what’s going on

in your head. And definitely pay attention when you want to eat

a box of Oreos, drink a bottle of wine or whatever your drug of choice is.

My limiting beliefs were:

“I can’t promote myself or my business because people will see

me as arrogant, manipulative or pushy. They’ll get angry and not want

to have anything to do with me.”

“When we carry negative thoughts, fear

and limiting beliefs from childhood,

we aren’t able to be who we truly are.”

2. Once you realize your negative thoughts or limiting beliefs, ask yourself,
“Who is this coming from?” and “What is the message it has for me?”

My beliefs came from this scared little girl inside of me. A little girl who,

when she dared to be who she was, was often met with disdain and the question,

“Who do you think you are?” and with statements like “You’re stupid,” 

“You’re ugly,” or “You’re a girl so you don’t count.”

My inner little girl came away feeling like the world was against her

and had to “be a good girl” and not standout in any way. This was

the part of me that was afraid to shine because it had been

met with pain in the past.

The message she had for me, was that she wanted to be accepted

for who she was and she wanted to come out and play.

3. Ask yourself, “What do I need?”

When we carry negative thoughts, fear and limiting beliefs

from childhood, we aren’t able to be who we truly are.

There was a part of me that wanted to come out and play but

every time it tried, I pushed it down by telling myself not

to get “too big for my britches.” 

I wound up feeling like I betrayed myself.

What I need in these moments, is a shot of reassurance

along with a large dose of self-love and non-judgment.

I need to be more worried about taking care of myself and less worried

about what others think.

Photo credit: H.Armstrong Roberts/Getty Images

Photo credit: H.Armstrong Roberts/Getty Images

4. Give yourself what you need.

It’s not enough to ask yourself what you need. You actually have to

give yourself permission to have it.

That little girl is part of me. It’s the part that wants to have fun and play.

It’s also the part that has been trying to protect me from being hurt

AND the part that has been keeping me stuck.

I need to give this part of me love, acceptance and reassurance

that we can handle anything life throws at us.

Then trust myself, relax and enjoy the ride!

Lather, rinse, repeat! This is a constant process of bumping up against

our fear, negative thoughts and limiting beliefs.

We are never finished.

When I choose not to numb or distract myself with food,

I open myself up

to fun, joy and endless possibilities.

What negative thoughts, fear and limiting beliefs are ready for you to transform?

 

Uncomfortably Numb

My Favorite Novocaine

My Favorite Novocaine

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to a client, “Feelings aren’t right or wrong, they just want to be expressed…”

I’ve wasted so much time numbing myself with food because I didn’t want to deal with certain thoughts and emotions.

I use food to help me relax and even celebrate making it through the day. It’s as if it helps me take a deep breath and relax.

Of course, I know better.

When I am in my “I can eat anything I want whenever I want” mode, it isn’t long before I’m numbing my anger, shame, sadness, frustration, boredom, overwhelm etc… and packing on the LB’s.

Then I use even more food to try and feel better. It’s a set up for disaster.

The thing about numbing emotions is that we can’t pick and choose which ones to numb.

When we numb one emotion, we numb them all.

We numb our emotions with drugs, alcohol, food, shopping or today’s most popular numbing activity, being crazy-busy.

In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown says, “…research taught me that there’s no such thing as selective emotional numbing. There is a full spectrum of human emotions and when we numb the dark, we numb the light… We can’t make a list of all of the “bad” emotions and say, “I’m going to numb these” and then make a list of the positive emotions and say, “I’m going to fully engage in these!”

When I numb myself with food, alcohol or busyness, I feel like my world is painted gray.

It’s hard to get out of bed in the morning. I don’t really enjoy what I’m eating because if everything I eat is special then nothing is special. Do you get what I mean?

As soon I stopped using food to numb my feelings and dull my thoughts, I began to feel and hear everything that I didn’t want to deal with. It was uncomfortable but I survived.

I started by not judging myself. I began meditating again so I could practice separating who I know myself to be from the thoughts in my head.

Choosing to run away from my thoughts and feelings, comes at a cost.

India Arie’s song, Break The Shell, talks about this. She says, “life’s gonna hurt but it’s meant to be felt…” because “we have a choice to live or truly be alive…”

In order to truly be alive, I have to break the shell that I put up to keep the pain away.

Lat Saturday night, we went to a dinner party and the food was amazing! I ate everything I wanted, even a bite of the homemade ooey-gooey, chocolatey, butter and sugar-filled Paula Deen brownies that our hostess made.

I took a bite and savored it. Did I want more?

Hell yes! But I knew that another bite was not going to taste as good as that first bite.

I have a ways to go before I reach my goal but I’m learning that overcoming my issue with food and my weight (and any other issue) starts with looking at what’s going on inside of me, not judging it.  Then I can give myself permission to feel it all.

What is your favorite way to numb yourself?  What is it you’re not allowing yourself to feel?

Follow Your Bliss & Enjoy The Journey

Me following my bliss in Rome 2007

Following my bliss in Rome 2007

I recently received a Facebook friend request from a woman I had met through networking when I first became a coach. I hadn’t spoken to her in a couple of years and I was excited to connect.

The next thought that ran through my head was to invite her to like my business Facebook page. Suddenly I felt a wave of embarrassment mixed with shame and guilt. You see, I am not real consistent with posting on Facebook, particularly on my business page.

I go in waves of posting memes, quotes, thoughts etc.on Facebook and Twitter because the “experts” say that my business needs to have a social media presence.  I’m sure it’s true because people a lot smarter than me say it’s true.

I believe what I offer makes a difference in people’s lives and the reason I’m posting is because I want to help or inspire someone.

But frankly, I suck at it. And to be perfectly honest, there are times when I hate it. I feel disingenuous when I’m simply trying to find something to post just to say I posted.

This year my intention is to “follow my bliss and enjoy the journey.”

“Follow your bliss” is a shorter version of the quote by Joseph Campbell “follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

According to the Joseph Campbell Foundation website:

“Joseph Campbell was a life-long student and teacher of the human spirit and mythology… individuals who searched within themselves and their societies to identify the need about which they were passionate. He called this burning need that they sought to fulfill their bliss..”

Coaching is my bliss. I love being a space of trust, authenticity and acceptance not only with my clients but with my family, friends, even strangers.

I try to bring that to my relationship with myself although that has proven to be quite a challenge especially when it comes to my weight and food. (More on that on that at a later time)

The definition of bliss is perfect happiness; great joy: a state of spiritual blessedness, typically reached after death.

Bliss in Sardinia

Sardinia 2006

My intention for 2016 of “follow my bliss and enjoy the journey” was born from wanting to experience great joy now. Not when my business was successful, the kids were happy and my husband and I were retired and traveling the world or after I die.

I’ve spent too many years chasing my bliss and being miserable.

I’m tired of receiving emails touting the formula that will bring a million dollars.  I have spent way too much time and money on plans, strategies and coaches who promised me if I did what they said to do, I would make tons of money.

None of these fit with my values and integrity and all I ended up with was regret and an even emptier bank account.

Well, not true. I also got a valuable lesson:  Listen to and do what feels right for me. Do not rely on someone or something outside of me for answers.

Don’t be surprised if you see intermittent posts from me on Facebook, Twitter or even this blog. And know that when I do post it will be because I’m following my bliss and enjoying every step!

What is your bliss? Let me know, post a comment and let’s keep in touch!

Does Everyone Need A Coach?

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During a recent conversation with a coach, I was asked if I thought that coaches should have a coach.  I told her all the reasons why, in my opinion, it was a necessity for coaches to be coached.

Then she asked me if I thought everyone should have a coach. I told her that I believed that if someone was happy and fulfilled with their life then they didn’t really need a coach.

She did not like that answer.

She stated that she believed everyone should have a coach. That everyone could stand to work on their health, their career, their relationships, some aspect of their life.

This point of view can be typical of a new coach who is trying to save the world one person at a time.  Or a coach who is frustrated that their coaching practice is not growing as fast as they would like. (Been there, done that)

While I believe that everyone could benefit from a coach, I do not believe that everyone should be coached.

Coaching is about trying to figure out what’s stopping you from achieving what you want in life. Then it’s about getting into action so you generate results; lasting results.

Coaching does not work unless the client is willing to do the work and it requires commitment.

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Clients are asked to question and challenge their fear, self-judgements and limiting beliefs. It can be uncomfortable and scary as they step outside their comfort zone.

Many clients come to me because they are feeling stuck and hopeless and are tired of it. They are ready to jump in and do what they have to to transform their lives.

I have transformed my life from a woman who was terrified of social situations to someone who now relishes walking into a room full of strangers.

The fear is still there but now when I’m doing something outside my comfort zone, it turns into excitement.

Coaching is not something you have to do. You are the only one who can decide if and when you are ready.  You can only change your life if you are open and willing to commit to it.

Is now the time?
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I have written a free 17 page e-book entitled, “What Is Coaching?”

In it, you will learn the difference between coaching, consulting and counseling, what training and certification a coach needs and the difference between a life coach, health coach, business coach etc. and more.

This book will not only help you decide whether coaching is right for you but gives you tips on how to find the right coach for you.

To receive your free PDF, simply enter your name and email address below.


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Women Inspiring Change Retreat

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*THIS RETREAT IS SOLD OUT! IF YOU DIDN’T MAKE IT TO THIS ONE, CHECK BACK FOR WHEN THE NEXT REGISTRATION OPENS UP.*

Join us on August 23rd, for this full-day retreat designed to help you learn how to live your best life! We will explore ways to shift our common belief that taking care of ourselves is selfish. We will uncover what is truly in the way of you making positive changes in your life.
Come and learn how to take good care of your greatest asset, you.

Located on 135-acres, the beautiful and serene Chapin Mill Retreat Center will thrill your senses and ignite your imagination.

During this day long retreat, you will:

  • be led through exercises designed to uncover what’s keeping you from making lasting positive change
  • discover who you really are and how to use this to create transformative change
  • learn and practice yoga asana (movement) appropriate for everybody, and pranayama (intentional breath work) in order to manage stress and harness optimal energy
  • explore stillness and deep relaxation to refresh and revitalize yourself
  • uncover what foods are keeping you addicted and hijacking your weight loss efforts
  • get tips on how improving your digestion can lead to weight loss and increased energy
  • learn how to make smoothies and juices that taste great, are easy to make and can easily be incorporated into your daily routine

Imagine a safe and welcoming place where you can get your questions answered and learn simple, effective ways to create a body and life you will love! You will also be served a delicious and nutritious breakfast, lunch and filling snacks throughout the day. Enjoy superfood smoothies (demos and recipes just for you), delightful salads, yummy detox juices, homemade almond cherry bliss protein bars and other great snacks to keep you fueled all day.
Our Retreat facilitators are:
Linda Heeler, Professional Certified Coach, Meet Linda
Christine Porter, Certified Health + Wellness Coach, Meet Christine
Mary Aman, Master Yoga Instructor, Meet Mary
These women will bring their talents and expertise to guide you as you begin your journey toward positive change in your life.
Cost for this day long retreat is $247
Registration closes on August 18th.
To register, go to PeaceAndPear.com

Be Selfish!

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How many times have you said, I’ll take care of myself after I make sure everyone else is taken care of? Sounds familiar, right?

Problem is, there usually isn’t anything left and we end up worn out and stressed out.

If you’ve done any flying, you know that the flight attendants tell those who are traveling with children, that in case of loss of pressure, oxygen masks will fall from the ceiling. We are instructed to put on our oxygen mask first, then help the children (and others) with theirs.

They know that we will likely run out of oxygen before we can help too many if we don’t take care of ourselves first.

It is selfish NOT to put on our mask first. We aren’t any good to anyone if we are lying passed out on the floor.

This brings up a point I hear a lot from women. They feel “selfish” if they spend any time or money on themselves.

The word selfish means “lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.”

I assert that it is selfish for us to NOT take care of ourselves.

But what does being selfish look like? We have to trust that we will not go off the rails, say the heck with everyone else and end up “lacking consideration for others.”

I am not saying that you should put ALL of your needs in front of others. I am saying that there needs to be a mix.

For example, I knew a woman who could not afford to hire a sitter so she could go for a run or out to lunch with friends. So she scheduled time for herself  when her husband could watch the kids. She also found another woman who was in the same boat and they took turns watching each others kids so they could each have some time to themselves.

We need to take the stigma out of taking care of ourselves not only for us but for our daughters. If they see us harried and exhausted then they will likely follow in our footsteps or feel guilty if they decide to take care of themselves.

The message they are getting is that in order to be a good worker, mother or wife they must sacrifice themselves and their well being.

I don’t know about you but that scares me! I want my daughter to do and be better than me but the main thing is I want her to be happy, not exhausted!

If we all took a few minutes to be “selfish” each day, we could lower our stress and increase our health and well being.

Take a look at how you are feeling. Are you refreshed and engaged and looking forward to the day? Or are you exhausted and just getting by?

What needs aren’t being met? Do you need more sleep? To eat better food? More exercise? Time in nature or to read?

Commit right now to giving yourself something that you have not been allowing yourself and see how you show up afterward. I bet you are happier.

Imagine the impact that will have not only on you but on your relationships with our co-workers, families and friends. Don’t you deserve that?

Ready to take charge of your life? Join me for a retreat designed to help you learn how to live your best life! We will explore ways to shift our common belief that taking care of ourselves is selfish. We will uncover what is truly in the way of you making positive changes in your life. 

Come and learn how to take good care of your greatest asset, you.

Enjoy this all-day retreat on August 23rd, 2015 at the beautiful and serene Chapin Mills Retreat Center. Located in Batavia, NY on 135-acres, this country retreat center will thrill your senses and ignite your imagination. 

For more information and to register go to www.PeaceAndPear.com.

 

 

The Secret To Happiness? Be Sad

Inside-Out-Q&A-Joy-Sadness

I hear  people saying that in order to be happy, we just need to do positive affirmations and let go of negativity. I say the exact opposite.

In order to be happy, be sad. Let me explain.

The new movie Inside Out is geared towards children but I think it’s a movie everyone should see, adults included.

Without giving too much away, the movie focuses on a little girl named Reilly and how she deals with her emotions. There are characters that represent the emotions of joy, sadness, disgust, anger and fear.

In the beginning of the movie, each time Sadness tries to take over, Joy is there to push her away.

I did this for years.

I tried everything to make sadness go away because I thought something was wrong with me if I wasn’t happy all the time. I tried pushing it down, denying it, resisting it. I tried talking myself out of it by doing positive affirmations.

You’ve heard the saying “What we resist, persists?”  That is exactly what happened.

Before I knew it, I wasn’t just sad, I was depressed.

There were times when I felt like a deep dark hole was opening up and swallowing me. All I wanted to do was check out of life and sleep.

Then, after a while, I would begin to feel better and come out of it. (Those who have that hole swallow them up and don’t come out,  need to seek professional help)

When we resist feeling any emotion, it causes a reaction.

Shame and vulnerability researcher, Brené Brown, compiled data that showed we cannot numb one emotion without numbing all of our emotions.

Basically, by not allowing ourselves to feel and process our sadness, we are not able to experience true joy.

In our society, it often seems unacceptable to express sadness. We can feel we need to put on a happy face and act like we’ve got it all together.

When we do that, our sadness festers and ends up coming out in other ways. It can manifest itself as depression, illness or destructive behavior such as addiction.

Or we could have an outburst and explode when we have reached our limit.

However, by acknowledging and experiencing our emotions and talking to an empathetic person, we will find that sadness or any emotion leaves as fast as it came.

This is what happened to little Reilly. Once she allowed herself to talk to her parents about her sadness, it opened the door to true connection as well as letting Joy once again be a part of her life.

The real lesson here is that emotions are not right or wrong, good or bad. They just are. We all have them and all they simply want is to be expressed.

What about those positive affirmations? It is unhealthy and unrealistic to expect ourselves to be happy all the time. If we allow ourselves to feel our emotions, then we can use positive affirmations or gratitude to reconnect with hope and faith.  That way we won’t end up wallowing in negativity.

What emotion are you currently not allowing yourself to experience? Who is your go-to person when you need empathy?

If you are open to it, practice allowing difficult feelings, share with an empathy buddy and see what happens. I bet you’ll be amazed at how much happier you will be when you allow your emotions to just be.

Stop The Drama

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How many times have you let yourself be taken advantage of or sucked into someone else’s drama just because you didn’t want to come off as cold or worse, the “b” word?

This was the case with a client who was wondering how to deal with someone in their life who was being self-destructive. She stated that her friend was not only hurting themselves but those around them.  Many of their family and friends had gotten so irritated or resentful with how her friend was behaving they stopped having contact with them.

My client didn’t want that to happen to her but she could feel the irritation and resentment beginning to creep in. She did not want to lose the friendship they had built over the years but she also knew she needed to honor herself.

There are two things we can do so that we don’t feel taken advantage of and get sucked into other people’s drama.

  1. Put a “hedge of protection” around you. In order to not take on the other person’s emotions or negativity, putting up this barrier protects us. But we also have to make it so that our love and compassion can pass through the hedge to them. This is not a physical barrier of any kind it is simply a mental awareness that if we are down in the muck and mire with them then we are no good to anyone.
  2.  Surrender. This does not mean to give up. It means hand them over to their higher power. They are on their path and we are not responsible for the choices they make. Don’t try to change them. If someone is a danger to themselves or others, then by all means, contact the authorities, get them professional help.  However, it is not your job to “fix” someone else’s life. You are there to love and support them if they want it but be sure they are driving their life, not you.

A few years ago, I had a friend who often wouldn’t show up when we had made plans. I loved her and I knew this was not her but this was  her pattern. Connection was something she struggled with.

This pattern led other people in her life to get angry and stop contacting her. I could feel that beginning with me as well. I realized I could not change her so I knew I had to be the one to change.

I told her that I was not going to show up for any meeting with her unless she confirmed with me the day before. A few times we had a date planned and when I didn’t hear from her, I simply sent her a text telling her that I would not be there and that when she wanted to try again, just let me know.

Because of this, I was able to let go of my resentment and not feel taken advantage of. I chose to honor myself as well as my friend. We now have a great relationship and she lets me know when she can’t make our coffee dates.

What relationships have left you feeling resentful, taken advantage of or gotten sucked into the drama?  Right now, how can you practice surrendering and putting up your hedge of protection with those people?

 

What To Do When Inspiration Has Left The Building

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I usually feel inspired when it comes to writing something for my blog. Normally, I have something to say.

Not last week.

I kept waiting for inspiration to hit and although I had a number of ideas, nothing really felt right.

In the past, I would have forced myself to sit down and just write something. (Just look at some of my early blog posts, eek!)

My practice now is, if something doesn’t feel right then I don’t do it.

I mentioned to my brilliant daughter that I was struggling with this and she immediately said, “Mom, write about that.”

She went on to say that she was feeling much the same way. And I had a client that day who said she was also feeling that way.

When I inquired about what was going on with them, this is what I learned.

 

  • We are women who get things done but when we feel like we need a break from “doing,” we can get scared.  Our thoughts might go to worrying that we will be seen as lazy, lose our job & end up a bag lady. Or that our business is going to fail if we don’t make a blog post. Or some other made up story.

 

  • We need to remember that “this too shall pass.”  We can either fight it and force ourselves to do those things we think we “should” or we can give ourselves permission to wait for inspiration.

I did the latter.

Instead of forcing myself to sit at the computer and write a blog, I spent my time contemplating a retreat I’m putting together. I got my business finances in order. I was even inspired to rewrite my website text, finally! (I’ve been waiting for that inspiration to hit for a while)

If we give ourselves permission to be exactly where we are with no judgement, then it creates the space for inspiration to flow once again.

What is it that you’re not really feeling right now? Give yourself permission to be right where you are and see what opens up.

Let me know what happens.