Archive for the ‘motivational’ Category

I started a Gratitude Journal a long time ago.  When I was very consistent with it, it felt very helpful to list out what I was grateful for and lifted my mood.  That practice fell away until late 2017 when I was a participant in a coaching course* where one of our assignments was to write what is GOOD, about ourselves, our lives, our days.

While similar in scope, asking the question What is Good seemed to open up something in me that asking what I am grateful for did not.  It brought to mind so many more things, the little things about each person, each day, each moment.  For me, Gratitude is a bigger picture, more of a sweeping overview.  What is Good seems simpler, more freeing, easier.

When you look for what is Good, you start to notice more of what is Good.  At first, it was challenging to list as many things as I could about what is Good about myself, much easier to list those things about others that I like/love.  Part of the assignment was to list what is Good about those in our lives that we struggle with.  That one was much more challenging!

However…when I really sat down to do that, it allowed me to see other people in their humanity, separate from their behavior that I may object to.  I also started noticing that there was really no one in my life that I truly struggled with or did not like – when I separated the behavior from the person.  So freeing to see that!

So….if you are so inclined to test this out yourself, here are some questions you can ask yourself (helpful if you journal your answers)
For each of these following three questions, your list can include personality, qualities, strengths, skills, behaviors, attitude, actions, etc  See if you can list at least 25 things for each.

1.What is Good about you?
2.What is Good about those in your life that you like/love?
3.What is Good about those you struggle with?

For the next three questions, include activities, people, places, experiences, accomplishments, etc
1.What is Good about your life as a whole?
2.What is Good about your past?
3.What was Good about today/yesterday?

If you want to learn more about this, here are two great resources.  I will be focusing my next several newsletters on topics similar to these that also came from the following resources:

Jackie Kelm – Jackie led the Appreciative Engagement Coaching model course I just completed where this practice came from – if you are not a coach, you can still benefit from her resources to help you live a more joyful life)

Rich Hanson – Hardwiring Happiness – The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence

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It’s that time of year again, time to choose your “one word” for 2018

Your “one word” becomes your intention (what you will do), it gives you a lens to look at life through, and make choices around.  Having “one word” to remember keeps it simple and easy.  You can then create your new years goals around your word.

My “one word” for 2018?  ALLOW

Why “Allow”?  For me, allow represents my easing up on myself, letting go of force toward goals and instead have a better sense of expansiveness and limitlessness.


Opportunities to show up that I might not have thought of
Insight to come in my personal and professional life
Experiences that are fun and new
Well being to be present in my life
For You
Choose a word that evokes something positive in you, a feeling you are craving.  Your word will feel good (no “shoulds” please) and be one that is a good fit for where you are in your life right now and where you would like to be.

Need some examples?

Playful, Play

Update:  I actually have TWO WORDS this year!  The second is RADIANCE – as it makes me feel warmth and energy whenever I think of or say it.

Would love for you to share your “one word” with me!
Happy New Year!

You can share your word, find others who have chosen the same word, and see a list of words to inspire you

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In this busy time of year, what if you were to pause for a few moments and rejoice in the good thingsthat you have experienced this year?

  • Stopping to recognize how far you have come is a powerful motivator to keep moving forward
  • Reflecting on what you accomplished, however large or small, gives you a sense of pride and can serve as a confidence boost
  • Reviewing what went well helps you decide what you may want to add more of, or reduce in the new year
  • Your year in review can also help you clarify your 2018 goals and focus, seeing how and where they fit into the bigger picture of, and importance in your life.

How do you conduct your year in review?

To get started, grab a journal, a notebook or your computer

You can look at your life as a whole or conduct a separate review for different areas of your life including Career, relationships, family, recreation, finances, personal development, etc  –asking the same questions of each

Here are some Questions for you to get started:

  1. What did you accomplish, achieve or experience this year?
  2. For each of these, ask the following questions
  • What was most important about each (most meaningful or most valuable)?
  • Why were they most important?
  • What worked really well in each area?
  • Why do you think that was?  (Especially think about what YOU did/brought to the experience that enabled it to work so well)
 What is most important for 2018?
  1. What do you want?  To achieve? To experience? To Do?
  2. What overall feeling/emotions would you like to bring with you into 2018 to help make it an amazing year for you?
  3. Why those feelings/emotions?  What is most important about them?
  4. In a few sentences or paragraphs, write your VISION for the year with that feeling/emotion in mind – imagining what your year could look or be like if you were to carry that feeling with you day to day

Happy Holidays!

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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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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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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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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!



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!



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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 “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!