Category Archives: Life Journey

Women In Transition — A Growth Opportunity

You are trying to get back on your feet after a painful divorce. You are planning to retire and are contemplating how to spend your time in retirement. You are grieving the loss of a spouse or a child. You want to quit an unfulfilling job to pursue work that is more in alignment with your values and passions. You are recovering from an illness and know that you need to make significant life changes in order to live a healthy life. But, how can you get through the challenges of these periods that seem so daunting?

Life transitions are times of change whether by choice or circumstance. Typically they are periods in your life when you feel uncertain, perhaps disconnected from yourself, and sometimes stuck because it’s scary to go from a familiar way of being into something new and unknown. However, transitions are also times of opportunity to create new awareness about what really matters to you, your choices for forward movement, and possible steps to take to get to a better place.

Times of transition are often accompanied by swings of emotion — fear, overwhelm, excitement, depression. It is not uncommon to get hung up in negative emotions, to complain about how long transitions last and how lost you are, to feel frustrated with a lack of mental clarity and, to be stuck.

Many people in transition will isolate themselves from others. They mistakenly believe they have to find their way on their or that getting help from others means they are weak. Going it alone only prolongs this uncomfortable state of being. Also, in isolation you are more likely to become wedded to inaccurate perceptions and limiting beliefs because there is no one to question them or offer alternative ways of thinking and doing.

One way to navigate through transitions more quickly with fewer stuck points is to hire a coach. A coach can help you reconnect with yourself, identify your options for forward movement, help you develop a plan of action, and provide emotional support as you find your way into a new segment of your life journey.

Are you in transition? If so, make this time of transition a productive period of growth and personal development by hiring a coach to walk with you as you find your way through uncertain and unsettled times to a better place. I offer a FREE 30-60 minute Back on Track phone coaching session so you can experience the benefits of being coached. Schedule your frees session now!

9 Elements of Success: Positive Focus

The Law of Attraction states that what you focus on you attract. A friend once told me, “You are 

Look for the positive, the gifts in every circumstance!

Look for the positive, the gifts in every circumstance!

addicted to your misery.” That’s one of those statements that at the time felt like a slap in the face. However, it gave me pause and the opportunity to look at my behavior to see if what she was saying was really true. She was right! At that time I did invest much energy and time focused on problems, losses and negative thoughts. As long as my focus was negative, I made little progress moving forward to a better place.

Why was I so wedded to negative thoughts and a negative focus? Looking back at my history I realized that I was raised by parents who had lived through the trauma of WWII and focused on problems and spoke of the malevolent universe. I grew up listening to news which was skewed to the negative because trauma, violence, and wrongs are more dramatic and attract more viewers. Essentially I was programed to focus on the negative. I knew no other way to be.

It was only after my husband and I were in a serious motorcycle accident, when I sought help for anxiety and fear about my husband dying, that I became aware that there is another way. I was advised to do a gratitude list every night, listing five things I was grateful for. Recording gratitudes and affirmations each night became part of my bedtime routine.

I faithfully kept that journal for at least three years. The result? I unconsciously re-programed my brain. No longer did I automatically go to negative thoughts and judgments about myself, my circumstances and others. I noticed that I was looking for the good in every experience, looking for solutions instead of wallowing in the drama of the problems. With that new focus, I was able to better manage my feelings, even difficult feelings like sadness, hurt and anger. I was able to experience more moments of joy. I felt empowered and was able to handle my life more effectively.

Neuroscience teaches that change is not possible in the presence of negative emotional attractors. Change can only happen in the presence of positive emotional attractors. Believing that there is a solution to a problem you encounter is a positive emotional attractor. Trusting that there are lessons and gifts that exist even in the most difficult situations, and looking for those gems can shift a negative situation into an opportunity for growth, empowerment and change. And, remember the Law of Attraction? It teaches that positive thoughts and feelings attract more positive into your life. Negative thoughts and feelings attract more negative into your life in the form of challenges and obstacles.

Make looking for good, lessons and gifts your focus in every situation and you will empower yourself to keep growing and making changes that will make life an exciting, positive adventure. It’s your choice. Make it positive!

9 Steps to Success: Keep the Big Goal In Mind

business challenge concept

Are your decisions and actions on target with your big goal?

What is most important to you? What do you really want? What’s the big picture you are trying to achieve with your efforts? It’s so easy to lose sight of the big picture by getting caught up in the minutia of day to day tasks, demands and responsibilities. You can very easily slip into passively reacting to whatever is in front of you instead of deliberately making choices in the direction you really want to go. Many people never pause long enough to figure out what is most important to them.

Over the years I’ve put time and attention into creating awareness of my big goal. So far I’ve come up with this: to live a simple, peaceful, life that feeds my heart with deep connection with others, time in nature, opportunities to express my creativity, opportunities to travel to places I really want to go like Alaska and the British Isles, opportunities to have new, fun adventures, and opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others.

When I get lost in the busyness of day to day living I remind myself of my big goal, what’s most important. When I have choices to make about  work I will do or activities I will participate in, I refer back to my big goal. Will  the work or activity that I’m contemplating feed my heart? Will it add unnecessary stress or will it be an exciting learning adventure? Will I be honoring my big goal by any choice I make? Like self-knowledge, my big goal is my compass, a reference point for decision-making and taking action.

For example, last year Bob and I committed to going to the Albequerque Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico with a good friend. That decision was in alignment with my big goals of pursuing opportunities to travel and having new adventures. The challenge was figuring out how to fund the trip. After considering various options, I decided to offer pet sitting in our home to earn the extra cash. I chose petsitting because I LOVE dogs and the adventure of working with dogs. Being with dogs could feed my heart as well as my pocketbook! It was a good fit with my big goal.

What will you do to determine your big goal? Coaching is a great way to pause, create space and get support to develop awareness about your big goal, that which is most important to you. Remember, it probably won’t magically appear without some deliberate focus and effort. But the quality of your life could depend on it!

9 Elements of Success: Self-Knowledge

Future VisionA person who has good self-knowledge knows what matters most to them, their strengths, their challenge areas, their values and needs, what they hate, what they love, where they shine and where they struggle. How well do you know yourself? 

In our busy, busy, stimulation-filled world with so many demands and distractions it can be a real challenge to turn your focus to yourself. Why bother with self-knowledge? Why add more to your overflowing to-do list? 

Self-knowledge is your compass, your guide for making informed decisions and good choices. When you are out of touch with what you want, need and value, you become vulnerable to reacting to whatever presents itself in your life. For example, I was scheduling presentations about office organizing because it was a subject matter that decision-makers in corporations and companies were seeking and willing to pay for. I hated doing speeches about office organizing, and consequently dreaded doing those speeches. I consequently did not speak as well to those audiences. 

When I examined my dislike for office organizing speeches and how I speak in business settings I realized I have no real interest in and passion for sharing information about office organizing.  I also became aware that I’m not a big fan of speaking in businesses  because many people in attendance are not there voluntarily. Rather, they attend because they are expected to be there. They come to those seminars feeling unmotivated, uninterested, and/or distracted by other things they need to do. People with those characteristics don’t make good audiences, the kind that respond to speech content with interest and enthusiasm and motivate me to do my best speaking.

Once I became clear about my dislike for doing office organizing presentations and how my speaking is affected by the energy and interest of audiences, I was able to cease scheduling speeches on that topic and spend my marketing and speaking efforts to attract and schedule topics and audiences that are a good fit for me. I now enjoy ALL the speaking I do. 

Self-knowledge is a way to create self-acceptance. When you are clear about your interests, passions, strengths and challenge areas you are then in a position to accept what you cannot change instead of trying to be interested in things that don’t interest you or be good at things that you’ll never be good at. 

I have great difficulty working with numbers. Because I don’t have a natural aptitude in that area, I am easily overwhelmed when dealing with numbers. I also noticed that I was spending inordinate amounts of time when I would be paying bills and balancing my books. 

When I accepted that working with numbers is very difficult, overwhelming, and uncomfortable for me, and an area of activity that always left me feeling incompetent, I was in a better position to seek support with paying my bills and keeping my books instead of beating my head up against the same brick wall over and over again. I accepted that it’s in my best interest to get help to do tasks involving numbers. No longer did I waste time trying to be competent in an area where I cannot be competent. And, no longer did I beat myself up for not measuring up in that area.

Self-knowledge helps you set realistic expectations.

Knowing where you shine and where you struggle can help you know set realistic expectations for performance and productivity. For example, if you have ADHD and understand the challenges of time management, activation, organizing and emotion management that are associated with that neurobiological disorder, you will know expecting yourself easily engage in paper intensive and boring tasks is not realistic. Given your brain wiring it’s doubtful that even with great effort you will be able to engage in those activities with minimal resistance.

Self-knowledge informs you of where you need support.

Knowing your areas of struggle, disinterest, and/or resistance will make it possible to identify when it’s best to stop spinning your wheels in procrastination by seeking outside help.

I hate cleaning the house. 

Making time for house cleaning was very difficult given my complicated schedule and overloaded to-do list. If I finally did it, I felt resentful and angry. If I didn’t do it I’d be irritable and distracted by the accumulating dust and dirt. Plus, it really wasn’t the best use of my time with other higher priorities like running my business and spending quality time with family and friends.

With that information I knew that if I continued to clean my house I’d die of exhaustion and/or have no time for what really matters to me: building and running a successful business that helps people get unstuck and moving; enjoying deep connection and supporting family and friends; and creating space for self-reflection, self-care and self-awareness.

Self-knowledge is a way to step into your own shoes, to ground yourself to face any circumstance that comes your way.

Life constantly throws curve balls. It’s quite common to become ungrounded and off balance when you experience an unexpected hit or life turn, like finding out you have an illness, learning of an unexpected expense or being informed that a parent is struggling and in need of services and assistance. To expect anything different is not realistic. 

When you are aware of your gifts, strengths, and previous history of successes despite struggle, you can better manage your fear by reminding yourself that you are capable of either handling any challenge or of seeking support to find solutions to problems.

I have been involved in coordinating care for my mother who has Alzheimer’s. Her physical and mental challenges can amp up at any time. Before I became conscious of how I can call on my strengths of organizing, self-soothing, problem-solving with love as a guide, using my determination to effect changes on her behalf, and recognizing my choices in the moment, any new challenge could knock my sideways, sending me into feelings of overwhelm and depression.

One day when I was once again disconnected from myself, from my strengths and my awareness of choice, a wise friend reminded me that I don’t have to go down with Mom when she’s struggling, that going down is a choice. Now knowing that I am capable of making choices to calm myself, I more quickly handle uncomfortable feelings that surface when a new problem emerges. I am better able to call on resources that can restore my equilibrium and get me back on track.

Self-knowledge is a resource at your disposal that makes navigating life a more purposeful, smoother ride. How well do you know yourself? Are there areas of self-awareness that are blocked or limited that if expanded would arm you to move forward in your life with more confidence and competence?

If you know there is room for exploration in this element of success, coaching could be just the support you need to develop greater self-knowledge so you can get unstuck and more effectively navigate through the uneven waters of life to a create an empowered life that fits. If you want a partner to help you develop greater self-knowledge, email me to schedule a 30 minute free consolation to discuss this possibility. 

Self-knowledge is the foundation that makes all change possible.

3 Tips to a Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2014 message greeting written on heart shape blackboard against a pink background.The last day of 2013. What a perfect time to review the last year and set your intentions for the new year! It’s an opportunity make some decisions and internal commitments about what you want to accomplish and experience in the new year in your personal and/or professional life. Does considering that type of thinking and planning send you into overwhelm? Here are three suggestions to help you find your way.

  • Choose a guiding theme or message for the year. This year my guiding them is, “feed your heart.” Recently while being coached I came to the realization that when I feed my heart I have fun, feel most alive, and experience joy. Last year was so heavy with family obligations and hard work that I really long for more fun and joy in the coming year. Feeding my heart with experiences of deep connection, creating beauty, spending time in nature, spending time with dogs, and enjoying music is the way for me to get that. 
  • Choose an area for personal or professional growth and learning. One of the best ways to feel alive and excited about life is to be engaged in learning something new, particularly something that is in alignment with your values, needs and your guiding theme. My areas of learning and growth for 2014 will be in further developing my coaching skills and in some type of art endeavor. 
  • Make a decision to get unstuck in at least one area of your life and make it so. Perhaps you’re stuck in a pattern of overeating when stressed. Perhaps your physical environment is cluttered and keeps you stuck in indecision and in an inability to take action on your own behalf. For years my automatic has been work, work, work. My drug of choice is work. I’ve been somewhat clueless and mostly unsuccessful in efforts to play, lighten up and have fun. Because I have no been successful at achieving more balance between work and fun/play on my own, I’m seeking support from a coach specifically to address my own self-care.  Our goal is to increase my awareness about the nature of my challenge and about how to shift from being a compulsive doer to being a more balanced, playful person. 

Following through on any one of the above steps could be challenging. How will you keep them in the forefront of your mind as you drift back into the current of daily life post holidays?

Partnering with a coach is a great way to identify your goals for 2014, to keep them in your awareness, and make steady progress to accomplish them. If you want 2014 to be your best year yet, I hope you’ll call me to discuss the possibility of working with me as your coach (804-730-4991). I’m offering a $50 discount off three 30 minute micro-coaching sessions until January 31 ($150 reduced to $100). Consider coaching to launch yourself into the new year with intention and purpose.

Clutter: A Sad Statement or An Opportunity

iStock_000001562904XSmall“Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place.” Donna Chnupa

When life is particularly challenging, isn’t it pretty normal to question whether you’ve done something wrong? Or wonder, “Why me?” I remember feeling that way when my first marriage was falling apart and I felt so shattered. What I couldn’t see at that time is that everything was as it should be. The pain of betrayal was the catalyst I needed to shift my attention from taking care of others to getting to know and understand myself. It was the beginning of a spiritual journey that eventually led to healing old wounds, developing a new, strong sense of self, new work, new love, self-employment and clarity about what really matters to me.

Bill Harris in Thresholds of the Mind writes of chaos and reorganization as a natural process of healing and growth. According to him, “Chaos is an essential part of the growth process, and should be welcomed rather than resisted. It represents the death of the old and the birth of the new.”

It takes a shake up of the old ways of thinking, doing, and being to reorganize at a higher level. So often that shift happens in the process of enduring difficult times. You hate where you are in the moment, but if you keep moving forward without taking the easy way out (alcohol, drugs, over-spending, other addictions), you will end up in a better place personally and professionally.

What if you could look at the chaos of your clutter as an opportunity that if faced and reorganized could take you to a better place personally and professionally? Would you be more motivated to deal with it or seek help to deal with it? You have a choice of seeing clutter as a sad statement about you, your value and worth, or as an opportunity to reorganize at a higher level.

Life: A Journey, Not a Destination

When I was growing up I was taught that the way to do life was to work from goal to goal, ever advancing yourself to make more money. I worked that way for about 37 years before I discovered that I was on the wrong path. Money doesn’t float my boat. Yes, it’s a necessity for survival in our world, but it’s a commodity, a tool, not an end in itself. How sad that we’ve come to define life success in terms of our net worth rather than our true contribution to humanity–the quality of our character and our efforts toward a greater good.

We value achievement and financial success over integrity, making a difference and loving behavior. How sad and limiting.

I’ve not been a financial “success.” I have been successful in many other ways, but not for success sake. I’ve been on a journey, guided to evolve from a clueless soul in need of love to a strong wise woman who can love and be loved, who walks through this world guided by the intention to be a loving source of energy in all encounters.

I have goals and accomplish many of them. But my goals are just steps on a path that is my life, my journey. I don’t figure everything out before taking action. I’ve learned that it’s more important to just take the next right step. When I do, what I need to know is revealed to me. By doing things that way I rarely stay hung up in indecision for long.

Don’t get me wrong. Life has not been a piece of cake for me. I’ve not wandered easily from step to step. But, even in those difficult moments of uncertainly when clarity seems impossible, if I wait and remain aware of all that is going on around me and in me, the answers come. Living life this way has made my life more of an interesting adventure than an arduous journey.

Would I like to generate more money from my business? You bet! Does my success as a human being depend on it? No way! As long as I am learning and growing and moving forward with a curious, loving attitude in everything I do, I am a success.

The Disaster Speech and How I Handled It

I’ve been told that whatever can go wrong when doing a speech will go wrong at some point in your career. Of course, I like to think I’m different, or perhaps that I’ll be the lucky one and escape some of those challenges. If I just prepare well enough, everything will be OK.

Well, I recently

had an experience that humbled me. It was as if the Universe was letting me get a real taste of what can go wrong on the day of a speech. First, I showed up at the wrong location. I thought I knew where I was going. I went to the Commonwealth Club instead of the Colony Club! Who knew that there were two clubs in Richmond, Virginia whose names begin with a C! Fortunately the woman who had arranged for me to speak was available by cell phone. And, lucky for me, the Colony Club was only three blocks up on the same street! Whew! I was able to correct that mistake pretty quickly!

Once I got to the Colony Club and parked, I was unsure if I was in the right parking area. If I was wrong, my car would be towed. I decided to be safe rather than sorry. When I went to back up, there was a van parked behind me, preventing me from moving my car. The owner of the car was nowhere to be seen! Ahhhhh!!!! I decided to take my chances and left my car where it was.

When I got into the building I was dismayed to find I would be speaking in a ballroom in the basement. It is very difficult to make basements feel comfortable because they are under ground, usually have insufficient natural light and have the lowest energy in a building. The room proved to be as dismal as I could have imagined. Wall paper and carpeting, no matter how luxurious, just cannot make up for a lack of windows! And, the ceiling may have been a bit lower than normal because it felt like it was pressing down on me. Add to that several enormous columns that blocked my view of some of the participants. And, of course those participants couldn’t see me either! Not an ideal environment for making a speech.

“Oh, well,” I thought, “At least the people are very nice,” and I began setting up for my speech. First I discovered that the extension cord that had been provided for me would not accommodate my three prong plug. I had accidentally left my extension cord home with supplies I’d organized for a workshop I’m doing this weekend. That problem was quickly solved when I realized that I actually had a cord in my bag that would work. Great!

Then I couldn’t get my computer to talk to my projector. I’d set up my equipment many times with no trouble, but this particular day I had difficulty figuring out how to connect all the parts. It may have been that the light in the space was just dim enough to shut down the part of my brain that I need for technology challenges, especially since I am no technology whiz! Finally the woman in charge suggested that I shut down my computer and start over. Good idea! When I began to shut it down it magically began projecting my slides! Yeah! However, I still couldn’t get the remote to connect. The nice woman offered to advance my slides for me. I agreed to that and then remembered that I did have another remote that came with the projector. It worked! I was good to go!

When it came time to speak I stood up and took the microphone. To my surprise and dismay its cord was too short to reach all the way to where I needed to stand close to my computer. Wonderful! No problem, I’d just speak from the spot where the cord ended. Unfortunately the remote only worked when it was very close to the computer. So, there I was speaking into the microphone and then stretching my body to make the remote advance my slides. Because I was unfamiliar with that remote it took me some time to understand that it was slow to advance the slides. Over and over again I thought it hadn’t gotten the signal to advance and pushed the button again. Then it advanced two slides. Back and forth I went with the slides. What a fiasco!

I’m sure it looked like a comedy routine to the participants! What was I doing while all these challenges were occurring? I was thinking, “They told me that whatever can go wrong when speaking will go wrong. I guess this is what they meant!” And, I kept solving the problems right in front of me and kept on speaking. I kept acting professionally, making light of the challenges and moving forward despite the string of obstacles even though I just wanted to scream or pack my bags and call it a day. Fortunately I know my material well enough that I was able to do a good job delivering the content when the correct slide was on the screen. And, fortunately I was speaking to an audience of incredibly kind, patient and understanding people.

I was so glad when I finished that speech. I felt like I’d run a marathon! And, I’d pulled it off without losing my cool or throwing in the towel. It was like finishing a final exam. I had no hopes for an A on that exam. A passing grade would do. Much to my surprise a number of people came up to ask me questions and bought my book. I thought to myself, “I must have gotten my information across despite the comedy routine and delays!” And, the evaluation forms were all positive. Not one person commented on the comedy of errors they’d witnessed. What a miracle! What a learning experience for me!

So, the next time you run into obstacles on your path, I recommend that you remember that you just have to solve the next problem in front of you. Had I begun judging myself for my mistakes or allowed myself to ruminate about what the participants must be thinking of me, I could not have kept moving forward. Those thoughts would have shut down my creative energy and stopped me in my tracks. Instead, I kept problem solving. And, I kept thinking, “I can do this. I just have to finish this speech. What I’m doing is important and must be done.”