Tag Archives: boundaries

9 Elements of Success: Self-Care — Graduate Level

Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and getting enough sleep are the foundation of a iStock_000002038361Smallsolid self-care plan. Without them, your physical body won’t operate optimally which in turn affects your mental and emotional health. With that foundation in place you can expand your self-care in ways that feed you on many levels and motivate you to be an advocate for yourself and your well-being.

Following are some of my favorite ways to broaden and deepen your self-care plan:

  • Have realistic expectations of what it possible. You only have 24 hours in a day and you only have a portion of that time in which you have access to good brain power. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in that time. Otherwise, you set yourself up to constantly fall short of your expectations.
  • Make time to refuel. Pausing to take a break, relaxing and having fun are essential to refill your gas tank. Disengaging from work and deliberately stopping to rest your body and brain will make it possible for you to maintain good health, good relationships, access creativity, and work more efficiently and effectively. Running on empty for the sake of feeling in control of your “to do” list over time will make it impossible to be your best self. It will make all aspects of your life more difficult.
  • Control what you can. You can control your behavior, thoughts and attitudes, but you cannot control others. Trying to change the behavior of others is an exercise in futility that causes stress, angst and conflict in yourself and your relationships.
  • Look for the good, the positive in yourself, every person and every situation. With a commitment to a positive focus, you empower yourself to be part of solutions, not problems. Real change is only possible in the presence of positive emotional attractors.
  • Stop negative self-talk, the critical voice in your head. Negative thoughts pollute your thinking and make emotion management difficult. Replace them with curiosity about your behavior and appreciation of your strengths. Curiosity leads to self-awareness and the possibility of making different choices. Criticism keeps you small, ashamed and disempowered. Curiosity about your behavior and acknowledgement of your strengths lay the foundation for positive change.
  • Spend time with supportive, like-minded positive people. Their energy affects your energy.
  • Seek support from other people and groups when you feel overwhelmed, lost or off track from your positive focus and your goals.
  • Avoid spending much time in the presence of people who are toxic and negatively focused. Their energy affects your energy.
  • Maintain healthy boundaries. When a person has healthy boundaries they make careful choices about the commitments they make, taking into consideration their time, interests and availability. They know they cannot be all things to all people. They know how to say no to tasks that aren’t theirs to do and tasks they don’t want to do. People with healthy boundaries let other people solve their own problems. They offer support, but don’t take the problems of others as their own to fix.
  • Make decisions that take your needs into consideration. Be sure to include yourself in the equation. Consider what is best for you given your current reality, commitments, interests, and values. This is especially difficult for women who have been culturally programmed to put the needs of others before their own needs. Is it any wonder that many women are so tired, angry and resentful? Those are the consequences of not insuring that your own needs are met on a regular basis.
  • Maintain an organized home and/or office. The condition of your living and working spaces affects your energy, your ability to think clearly, your attitude and your productivity. Clutter creates negative energy and distractions that block good decision-making, getting things done, and maintaining a positive focus and good attitude. It engenders feelings of overwhelm, fatigue and hopelessness.
  • Develop a positive practice, an activity that feeds you with positive feelings and inspiration that helps you stay grounded and centered in the positive. This could include  yoga, meditation, journaling, spend in nature, daily spiritual reading, Tai Chi, walking your dogs, getting massages.

I could go on and on. There are so many possibilities for self-care. I’d love to hear about some of your favorite ways to take care of yourself. There is no absolute right way to do self-care. I liken it to a construction project, one that is on-going. Have fun assembling the pieces of your self-care plan! It’s a prerequisite to good health, good relationships and a good life!

9 Elements of Success

Green treeSuccess isn’t a yes/no, right/wrong achievement. It can’t be attained by hard work alone. Many people operating from the “just work harder” school of thought have tried and failed. So, what really is necessary to achieve success in any endeavor you undertake?

My own life journey and my coach training have helped me get conscious about nine distinct elements of success. I share them as the beginning of an on-going conversation I plan to have with you in future blog posts.

  1. Self-knowledge: know your passions, your strengths, your needs and values, the areas where you struggle, what you avoid.
  2. Keep the big goal top of mind: identify what matters most and keep it conscious as you navigate through your days.
  3. Positive focus: look for the good in every experience, even challenging ones. What you focus on you attract more of.
  4. Self-care: good sleep, regular exercise, good hydration, good nutrition create the conditions for the best brain power, the best attitudes.
  5. Good boundaries: learn to say no, avoid taking on too much, giving too much to others to your own detriment.
  6. Continuous learning: look for the lessons. Learn from every situation, especially challenging ones.
  7. Support: get help in areas where you struggle, areas you hate, areas you avoid.
  8. Letting go: do your part and let go. You are responsible for the effort, not the outcome.
  9. Balance: avoid extremes — all work, no play; all play, no work. Avoid black and white thinking and engaging. Go for gray. Find a balance. 

Working with these elements is part of the program I offer coaching clients. They can become the building blocks for consciously living an empowered life of your choosing. Instead of just floating down the river of life at the whim and mercy of events and those around you, consider these elements to be strong trees on the bank of the river. They can help shape your perspectives and guide your thoughts and feelings to personal and professional success.

In upcoming blog posts I will be writing about each of these elements in more detail. Stay tuned!

Boundaries & Productivity

Today I coached a woman who began our session saying, “It’s been a wild week. I’ve really been spinning.” I typically hear reports of spinning from clients who have ADHD. Since I’m fairly certain this client does not have that brain based challenge, I was curious about her spinning. Was the catalyst of her spinning thoughts and feelings on the inside or was she spinning in reaction to things happening on the outside, happening with people or events in her life.

When I asked her to describe her spinning, when it started, how she experienced it, it was revealed that the spinning began when she’d gotten drawn into the drama of several family members, people who led chaotic lives filled with challenges of their own making. Her intention had been to be a source of support, but in the process she was adversely affected by their unpredictable behaviors and unintentional disregard of her needs and schedule. She began in spin in anxiety, lost sight of her goals, and lost a whole day that could have been spent getting important tasks done.

My client values being responsible and keeping her word. When caught up trying to meet the needs of others who don’t share the same values, she lost her center and begin to spin in response to their spinning. Together we identified a need to set clear boundaries with family members, letting them know under what conditions she is willing to help and saying no to requests that will disrupt her life and could send her spinning again.

What my client sacrificed when reacting to the needs and chaotic conditions of loved ones was her own ability to stay grounded and be productive. She lost a day of work and her peace of mind. How is your productivity being affected by the chaotic lives of others? What boundaries do you need to set?