Nov
08

People come to me because they want something to change in their life.  That “something” could be a change in their work situation (a better working environment, achieve greater fulfillment…) or  a change in their overall life (more quality time with their family, better communication with their colleagues…). 

In the years I have been helping clients through changes like these, I have found three essentials that are critical elements to help move from the idea of change to taking action around change: Clarity, Confidence and Courage. 

Clarity – Part I 

What Do You Want?

If you don’t know what you want, it’s pretty hard to take a step forward.  You know you want “something” to change, but may not even be sure what that “something” is.   From my clients, I will often hear things like:

“I want to be happy, more fulfilled, better balance….”

“I am very clear about what I don’t want, what is dissatisfying or frustrating….”

Both of these are great places to start, and still more clarity is needed to understand what each of these areas mean to you, what they may look like, feel like?  You know you have “enough” clarity when you can see the beginning of a path, the glimmer of a direction, enough to see the next step.

Whether you have a glimmer or full clarity, your next step is to “anchor” this clarity so it feel real before you get to Clarity part 2

Confidence

How much do you believe in yourself? Believe that what you want is possible for you, that you have what it takes to make it a reality?  When you believe that what you want is possible to have/be/do, you are much more likely to commit to it, and often find the resources to make it happen more effortlessly than you may think. When you do not believe something is possible for you, you often won’t even try.  Not feeling very confidant right now?  What if I told you that you can be more confident in a matter of minutes?  You have gotten pretty far in life already using your unique combination of strengths, qualities and skills.  When you think about the clarity that is taking shape, imagine how you will use what you already have to get what you want.

William James said ““Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” 

Want a boost to your confidence?  Take courageous actions

Courage

So often, I hear people say “when I am more confident in…I will then move forward with….”  What happens?  Often nothing.  Courage is the ability to take action with the confidence you already have, while venturing into some unknown.  Those courageous actions build your confidence even further. A courageous action is something that takes you out of your comfort zone. These actions can be small steps or giant leaps.  You choose.

You also do not need full clarity to begin taking courageous action.  A glimmer of clarity can illuminate your next step.  When you take that step with courage (and with the confidence you find within you) it will lead you to greater clarity, greater confidence and your next step.

Martin Luther King said “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step in faith.” 

Clarity – Part II

How Will You Get There?

Notice I included this section last.  So many of my clients want to know the How as soon as there is a glimmer of clarity.  What I have found is that the HOW is best discovered/considered after the “what” is clear and compellingafter you have discovered the confidence already there within you and after you have begun taking some courageous steps.

If you start to think about the HOW too early, before there is real clarity and stronger confidence, you run the risk of letting go of many ideas and wind up back at square one.

As you may be noticing, Clarity, Confidence and Courage is not a linear process.  You are not finished with one before moving on to the other.  They work in tandem, building off of each otherstrengthening each other.  These elements can also show up in various ways and at various times throughout your change process.

Here is one example of how these elements were expressed in a client I worked with: 

A client and I had worked together through his transition from one role/one industry to a higher level role in new industry.  We worked together on helping him gain Clarity of where he wanted to be and how to focus his marketing efforts in his job search to go after this new role/industry.  He landed the job he wanted and excitedly got started.  A few months in, he started questioning his choice, you see this new environment was vastly different than his old one.  New set of expectations, new pace, new everything.  For a moment (or two) he began questioning his Confidence – could he succeed and excel in this new environment?  He realized that he needed the Courage to step out of the comfort of the old model into this new one.  The Courage to test out new ways of showing up, to confidently use his strengths to work in this new space.

If you are struggling with any of these areas, contact me for a free consultation to discuss what is going on for you and learn how I can help you to gain greater clarity, confidence and courage as you embark on your change.

 

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Oct
04
Have you ever noticed the words you use when you are describing your present circumstance, your life, or your career pursuits?

Do you ever hear yourself say any of the following (or something similar):

  • My job search is so hard
  • I will never get new clients/business
  • My life is such a struggle
  • I hate my job

Which words have the most emotional impact on you as you read those statements?  What happens to your behavior when you hear these words?

What if I were to just change a few words in each statement:

  • My job search is easy
  • often get new clients/business
  • My life can be amazing
  • My job is a great fit

What is the emotional impact when you read these statements?  Now you might be thinking – but some of these are just not true!

If that is the case in your world, here is another alternative to these statements:

  • My job search is tiring
  • sometimes get new clients/business
  • My life can be challenging
  • My job is not a great fit

What is the emotional impact now? What may be different in your behavior?

What if I were to keep going, using these last statements and changing several words:

  • I am adding new strategies to my job search to make it more interesting
  • am doing more of what already works to attract clients/business
  • Many areas of my life are full and rewarding 
  • I am creating a new role here based on what is a good fit

Now how do you feel?  Notice how the focus changed with the addition of these new words?  What might be different with your behavior as you read these statements?

The words you use, whether out loud as you discuss your life with others, or inside as you mull things over in your mind can have a profound impact on your mood and behavior.  When you use words that are empowering, energizing, inspiring – it often lifts your mood, and elevates you to action.  When you use words that are limiting, deflating or doubtful – it often plummets your mood and decreases your action.

An Exercise for you…

  • Notice your own words and how you feel after using them.  If you are not sure (not noticing), ask a trusted friend/family member to notice and tell you what word(s) they hear you say often, then ask you how you just felt when you said them.
  • Notice if there are 1-3 words that you often use to describe things that cause negative emotions, and decide what you would like to replace them with.
  • Tip:  Think about how you behave when you use these limiting words, and how you would like to behave.  Which words help you to behave that way?
  • Practice the new word(s) and notice the impact they have on your life.

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Sep
07

As I sit by the window looking out at the teaming rain, my thoughts have turned to the idea of “enough”.

You see, today I am thrilled that it is raining hard for we have been without Enough rain the last few weeks. So little, in fact, that we have not had to mow our lawn in almost 3 weeks! That is unheard of during summer in NC. My beautiful fig tree is suffering and plants are wilting from thirst all around me. So, with this rain, I am imagining the earth’s rejoicing and drinking it in, just as I am!

However, if it were to keep raining like this for a few days, not only would it be too much for me, but also too much for the ground, grass and plants. How much is Enough rain? That may be able to be defined in some scientific way, determining how much rain plants, grass and trees need to be healthy and grow before drowning. When it comes to our own lives, however, we often struggle to define Enough.

How much is Enough money?

How much is Enough down time?

How much is Enough work?

How much is good Enough?

What happens when we can’t answer these questions?

When we are not able to define Enough, we often lose sight of how much we DO have and instead focus our attention on what we have NOT done yet, how much we are MISSING, or how far away we BELIEVE we are toward our goals.

Enough is a measure. It can be a measure of progress, of effort, of the outcomes we have achieved. We can then strive to do, be or have more than enough AND because we know how much Enough is, we can also allow ourselves to bask in the bounty we have for a minute, a month or a lifetime.

What would it feel like to you if you knew you

Had enough?

Were enough?

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Aug
02

Have you ever had those moments when you were just not sure of your next step on your life or career path?  When I have those moments (which are quite often), I use Inspired Action.

Inspired Action, to me, is when you allow inspiration to show you the way toward your next choice or goal.  There is no trying or forcing an idea to come to you.  There is not even any research or digging to find an answer.  There is only inspiration.

Inspiration from what you are already reading (in books, magazines and on the web), what you are already watching (videos, Netflix), what you are already talking about (with colleagues, family and friends).

Inspired action can come from your internal sense of “readiness” for something new, some next step on your journey.  You may have heard the term “when the student is ready the teacher will appear”

Here is an example of how I personally have used inspired action.

Several years ago I was on a break from my volunteer board work having just come off a board role of 5 years with a women’s business group.  When I began to have the “itch” to join another board, I had no idea which one.  I did some research, attended some things but nothing felt right.

I chose to stop “trying” to find the next thing and just waited for inspiration to hit.  One day I received an email from a coaching colleague I had not seen in a while inviting me to the next event the group she belonged to was having, just to catch up with her.  When I arrived (it was the Coach Federation Raleigh chapter Cutting Edge Conversation event), I felt immediately “at home” with these people in the room and energized by the conversation we were having.

At the end of the meeting, the colleague that had invited me announced to the group that they were seeking volunteers to join their board.  I knew this was no coincidence and took the inspired action to make this new commitment.  What is interesting about this is that I had attended events from this group in the past, but never felt the desire to join the group, this time was different.

How to take Inspired Action

  • Let go of trying to find answers
  • Live your life, doing things you already enjoy
  • Notice when something catches your attention, sparks your interest or gets you thinking.
  • Pay attention to ease – often inspired action feels easy, sort of like a “no brainer”
  • Take Action.  Once inspiration hits, take a small step forward (or a giant leap).  Depending on what has inspired you, your step may be to have that conversation, research that career OR it could be a full commitment (like my joining the ICF board)

What if inspiration not coming?  You can give it a nudge by

  • Having more conversations.  Invite a friend over you have not seen in a while, throw a party, or attend an event you have been meaning to
  • Start researching something you have had your eye on and see where it leads you
  • Read something out of the ordinary for you.  Could be a book someone recommended, a different magazine at your dentist office, or a blog someone recommended
  • Overall – get out of your comfort zone.  Doing, being and experiencing something slightly (or greatly) different than your norm.

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Jul
12

A few years ago my word for the year was JOY. I thought about what brought me joy each day and chose activities each day (big and small) that brought more joy into my life. Today as I was walking I realized how much that meant to my days and decided to bring it back.

For me, JOY is a different feeling than gratitude (my topic last month). Joy is like a bubbling up of gleeful energy, an effervescent feeling. Like the bubbles in champagne.

This leads me to thinking about the word ENJOY. I hear this word a lot when talking with my clients about what they want in their career. They will say something like “I want a career I can enjoy” or “I want to enjoy my work every day”.

I then ask the question “what do you enjoy”? And I may hear something like “things that make me happy” See where this is going? Words like “enjoy” and “happy” are vague and do not lead you to choices or action.

If you heard yourself in this example, start to notice your JOYful moments. The more you know specifically what brings you joy, you can then incorporate that into your conversations and choices about what you want for your life and work.

Joy can come from smaller moments – for me….playing with my neighbor’s cute kittens she is fostering, laughing at a funny video or accomplishing a home project.

What are the smaller joyful moments in your days?

Joy can come from bigger/deeper moments or experiences – for me…..seeing my nephews grow into amazing young men, my niece graduate from high school and begin to embark on her next journey, witnessing transformation in the clients I serve or stepping in to a commitment I have made to myself.

What are the bigger/deeper joyful experiences in your life?

When you seek/focus on Joy each day, it helps frame your choices, actions and perspective about your days.   And your days are your life.

What if, each day you asked yourself two questions?

What will I choose to do that will bring me joy today?

What activity or experience brought me joy today?

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Jun
07

Gratitude is a practice that helps you bring greater joy and happiness into your life even when (and especially when) you are not feeling so happy or joyful.

Gratitude is not pretending that everything is great, it’s not masking the bad with good – it IS finding what is good and great right now – no matter what else is going on. Event better is when you take it a step further and find the gratitude IN the events/circumstances that are not going well for you right now.

  • Are you not getting any responses to your job search efforts (or marketing efforts if you are a business owner)? What CAN you be grateful for about/within that situation?
  • Are you feeling uncomfortable/unhappy in your current job/career? What DO you feel grateful for in your career/job?

Be specific in your gratitude

Instead of saying “I’m grateful to be alive, have some savings, etc”, what if you said something like

  • “I’m grateful that I am focused and resourceful in my job search”
  • “I’m grateful for all the people that I’ve been talking with who have offered me information and advice”
  • I’m grateful for the opportunities I am applying for as they help me refine my search”

Instead of saying “I’m grateful to have a job”, what about something like

  • “I’m grateful that the work I do with….. brings me great satisfaction because…….”
  • “I’m grateful that my colleague _____ was so helpful with ______ yesterday”
  • I’m grateful for my contribution to ______ because it allowed me to _________”

Willing to experiment with this for 30 days?

Would love to hear from you as you share what it was like to practice gratitude

How grateful are you?

Take this Gratitude quiz to find out!

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/quizzes/take_quiz/6

 

 

May
04
My story of career change…
Some of you may know my story of how I transitioned my career, but may not know what went into my decision and how I made my way in my new career.When I was a Career Counselor, I played a very specific role in helping college students and recent grads figure out their career path and helped them to get their first job.  Yes, a big focus of the work I do now is still related to Career Development and Job Search – what changed in a big way is How I do that, Who I do that with and the scope of What I do with each client.

How did I discover all of that? It started with Taking Inventory
I started noticing that the tasks that gave me the most energy included the one on one connection with individuals I was helping, especially when I was able to see the same student on an ongoing basis.  At the time, as Associate Director, I was in a leadership role that took me away from the 1-1 interactions.  I wanted to bring that 1-1 focus back.I wanted to expand.  The nature of my work at the University was very specific to career and did not allow much expansion into the personal lives of those I served.  I understood that the whole person is the one seeking help, and I wanted to be able to address ALL areas of one’s life as it pertains to career and beyond.

So…I started exploring what type of work I could do that allowed a bigger picture focus while remaining engaged 1-1 with clients.  I started doing some research and having conversations with people and that is when I discovered Coaching.

Once I had a better idea of where I was going, I Took a Big Leap
When I discovered Coaching as a career choice, for me to fully dive in and be in the type of role I wanted, it meant starting my own business.  Oh Boy!  I had never even thought of myself as a business owner!  I knew nothing about business; I was terrified of “selling myself” and even being visible to the public.  I knew this was a big leap and started thinking ….. “If I Could do this, how would I” Starting from that place helped me create solutions and actions around my concerns and fears.  I also knew a strength of mine is Learning – and boy did I use that one in a big way!
To make this new idea be very real for me, it was time for my Commitment Step
I made several commitment steps throughout my transition.  The first was enrolling in a training program to become a coach; the second (at around the same time) was hiring my own coach.  Both were financial investments, something my frugal self does not take lightly. J   To make these financial commitments was really a commitment to myself – to my path, my growth.Once I committed, it allowed me to ride the ups and downs, twists and turns that are part of change and transition.  And I had many…. Some days I wondered “what am I doing, I don’t know how to…..”  then other days I was so excited by all the possibilities and positive feelings I had while doing the work.  I soon realized that there will Always be ups and downs and need to Trust.  Trust myself and my abilities and Trust the process.

In my 12 years as a coach and business owner,  I Re-evaluate constantly
I look at what is working, what is not; what I love doing, what I’m ready to let go of; what new projects I want to create and what I want to change.  Formally I do this at the end of every year. Informally I do it whenever it is needed or insight strikes.I hope my sharing some of my story helps you to take your own inventory, big leaps, commitment steps and evaluation.  We get one life and my hope is for everyone to be living his or hers to the fullest!

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Apr
13

If you have ever done any home renovations (large or small) you probably have experienced some form of the following.  As you are reading this, imagine how the same process can apply to your life/career “construction”.

You have a feeling that something needs to change.  Maybe you are unhappy with how something flows, or the way your space makes you feel, or some things just feel old and outdated.

  1. You then begin to imagine what you want.  Sometimes that takes a while.  You may have an idea of what feeling you want to have but cannot put into words or pictures yet
  2. So you mull it over, seek inspiration from magazines, Pinterest, or other people
  3. Now you are beginning to create your visionand so are ready to take action
  4. You start with deconstruction, decluttering or discarding what you no longer like/want
  5. As you begin shopping for materials, you may find that your vision is beyond your budget or you can’t find what you want
  6. Some of you may stop here – though if step 5 has already occurred, you may feel stuck/concerned.  Others may forge ahead anyway thinking you’ll figure it out as you go
  7. Next comes the redesign, construction, changes and additions
  8. Often, what you actually create does not exactly match your vision, but if you are able to capture the overall feeling you were trying to achieve, you are “complete” (for now anyway…. )

Your process may include additional steps, or maybe you tackle each step in a different order.

And, at any point in your process you may think “what was I thinking, this is overwhelming!”

I share this with you to introduce the idea that any transition is a process.

  • It will be exciting and overwhelming
  • It will be confusing and clear
  • It will be messy before it is beautiful

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Mar
08

So many of those I work with bring up confidence at one time or another as something they want to increase or build.

What is confidence?

Confidence is a sense believing in your own judgment and decisions. Confidence is accepting who you are – your strengths as well as weaknesses. It is a feeling of positivity and empowerment. I believe we all have it within us to be incredibly confident – in fact, I’ll bet you already ARE confident in one or more areas of your life or in certain situations.

What is it about those experiences/situations or moments that brings out your confidence?

Confidence can show up on the outside (in our choices, behaviors and words we use) and on the inside (in our thoughts, beliefs, perspective, assumptions…)

Here is what others might hear: Your voice is clear and strong, you admit when you don’t know something, you ask questions to learn and share when asked to, you say thank you when complemented. Your words are positive (and not timid or self deprecating)

Here is what it may look like on the outside: you enter a room with your head held high and engage others in eye contact. You have a genuine smile on your face. You engage in conversation and connect with others.

Here is what might be going on inside: you believe in yourself and your limitless possibilities. Yes, you still have an “inner critic” judging you occasionally, but you know better and use those negative messages to fuel and challenge you instead of stopping you. You focus on your accomplishments (large or small) as evidence of what works – and you continue to build on that. You feel strong; knowing that there is nothing you can’t handle, learn or overcome.

How do you develop confidence?

Yes, it may seem that some people are born confident, but I believe that anyone can develop theirs. Here are some strategies for doing just that.

  1. Stretch out of your comfort zone as often as possible – daily if you can. This could be as simple as taking a new route to/from work or as big as trying something you have been fearful of.
  2. Know, then capitalize on your strengths – when we focus on building our strengths, it gives us a feeling of control and empowerment!
  3. Remember the moments when you are/have been confident – what were you thinking or believing about yourself?
  4. Be true to yourself and live your values – when your choices in life/career match what matters most to you, they feel “right”.
  5. Celebrate your achievements – small and large, every step of the way, instead of focusing on what you have not accomplished yet.
  6. Treat yourself as you want others to treat you – being kind to yourself shows that you value yourself. When you value who you are, confidence builds.

Feb
07
 “Life begins at the end of our comfort zone” Wayne Dyer
When I read that quote, it reminded of a moment in 2003 when my husband and I had decided we were ready to totally change our lives, leave our comfortable life in New York for another city/state (at that time still unknown).

In that moment, in my minds eye, I saw myself sitting in my favorite cozy chair in a sunny corner of my living room, curled up with my cat and a good book, gazing out the window at “life outside”.  In that moment, I accepted that to truly live this next chapter of my life, I would need to leave my comfort zone and venture out into the world, to explore, meet, talk, engage, experiment, and experience if we were to decide where our new home would be, and what our new careers would be.  But boy did I love that cozy corner!

Totally shifting my life was a huge stretch for me.  As scary as it was, it was also exhilarating and liberating!  Since then, I consistently stretch out of my comfort zone.  Sometimes very eagerly, sometimes more hesitantly, but always reminding myself of how good that stretch feels!
Think about the word STRETCH.  When you stretch your body, it does not radically change, but the subtle movement of your limbs and muscles frees up your body, allows it to move easier, feel lighter, stronger.  That is what I believe stretching does for our “whole being”.  We are still here, yet we are often wiser, more confident, stronger, more resilient after we stretch.  New life is often breathed into us.
What will stretch you?
Want inspiration?

A client mentioned a blog she has been following which inspired her to stretch.  It’s called 100 days without fear.

Those ideas too scary? (some certainly were for me).  Then choose something that is slightly out of your comfort zone.  Something you truly want to do, yet hold back or hesitate on.

Whether small steps or large leaps, stretching can feel wonderful!

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