Archive for the ‘personal and professional development’ Category

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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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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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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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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Jan
10

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

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 2017?  Inspired
In full disclosure (if you may recall from my January newsletter) my word for the year started out to be Embrace, but when I sat with that word for a few days, it just did not do much for me.  So I changed it.

How will  “Inspire” show up in my life this coming year?

As I seek new opportunities to…

  • get engaged in my community
  • choose fun things to do as I celebrate turning 50 this year
  • embark on new creative projects

I will discover these opportunities through Inspiration by what I see, experience, learn, hear, etc.  I will then take Inspired action!

We continued our new yearly tradition of having a new years brunch with some friends where sitting around a big circle, together we each shared our “one word” for the year.  Here is the word cloud that resulted from that:

word-of-the-year-2017

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?Peace
Fun
Experimentation
Playful, Play
Nurturing
Giving
Steady
Bold
Live
Trust

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

Resource
http://oneword365.com
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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Dec
14
Your 2016 Year in Review

Before rushing into the new year, what if you celebrated what you have completed, achieved and learned this year?

Why?

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 (and what didn’t) 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 2017 goals and focus, seeing how and where they fit into the bigger picture of 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 – Why did these things matter so much to you?
3 – What did you learn from this?
4 – What worked really well?  What didn’t?
5 – What would you like to do/be now because of this?
As you capture your answers to these questions, additional questions will come up.  Continue this process until you have a snapshot of 2016 as well as a foundation for what you would like to achieve in 2017.

If you find that it’s hard to remember all that you accomplished this year, begin your new year by doing your own month in review, and by the end of next year, your year in review will be almost complete!

Wishing you a 2017 filled with clarity, confidence and courage for all you want to be and do.

Nov
10

While I do not usually use the word “normal” (is there truly such a thing?) In this context I’m using it to describe what is often seen or patterns I notice in the many clients I have served over the years.

When going through a transition of any kind (especially one the will take you out of your comfort zone), our minds bring up lots of juicy messages like

I don’t have….
I’m too old….
I can’t….
What if……

I often refer to Transition as a roller coaster ride.
Some moments you are more clear, focused, taking action
Some moments you are more confused, unfocused, taking no action
When my clients realize that their experience is a natural (“normal”) part of the rhythms of transition it seems to take some of the edge/pressure off. They can then let go of the chatter in their head that sounds like:

Why is this happening?
What’s wrong with me?
This must mean…

With an already emotional experience of transition, any amount lifted can be beneficial.

The roller coaster of transition can sound like:

UP – I’m feeling more clear about my direction and goals
DOWN – I’m more confused than I was yesterday

UP – I’m feeling exited about this new idea I am considering
DOWN – Just when I started getting excited about this idea, I started thinking ….. and it deflated me

UP – I’m experiencing great progress with….
DOWN – This will be too hard

UP – I’ve built some great momentum around….
DOWN – Why am I not/ I did not do my homework – what I said I would

So you see, this “ride” of transition is a “normal” part of the process of change you are choosing to take. Rest assured that you are not alone!

When you can learn to enjoy the ride, and embrace the waves of excitement and terror you may feel along the way, your experience can be quite exhilirating!

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Sep
15
The spirit of the upcoming Coach Federation conference got me thinking about the conscious conversations we have…with ourselves.

To me, a conscious conversation is one where you sit down, with no distractions, and ask yourself some important questions that make you pause, focus and think deeply.

These questions bring up what you want your conscious mind to be curious about, unravel or understand.  These questions also tap into a deeper part of you – your intuitive mind, the part that is vulnerable.

Some examples of questions you can ask yourself

  • where am I holding back?
  • what am I ignoring?
  • what am I holding onto that no longer serves me?
  • how do I want to grow or expand?
How to have this conscious conversation with yourself
  • answer your questions truthfully and vulnerably
  • you can do this in your head, out loud or in writing
A client of mine had this type of conversation with himself and realized that a career path he was considering was on his list for the wrong reasons (for him).  His reasons were that he “could” do it (easier transition) and he “should” do it (more money).  When he realized this, he chose to let it go, to remove this option.  When he did that, it felt as if a big weight was lifted.  That allowed him to shift his focus to the career paths he felt were more aligned with what he truly wants in his life right now.
Notice what shifts for you when you have these types of conversations with yourself.

Are you having new insights, greater clarity, some relief?

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