Thursday, July 18, 2013

Life's a Teeter Totter - the Conundrum of Life/Work Balance

I clearly remember as a child riding the teeter totter with my best friend.  Because she was smaller, I spent most of my time hitting the ground and pushing hard with my legs to get “up there”.  What I recall most vividly was the emotion attached to the experience.  I felt embarrassed, self-conscious, inferior and even jealous.
As children we imprint our experiences emotionally as we perceive them at that time.  We create a story.  Our stories influence our future experiences and perceptions about life.  We can become victims of these lies and the thoughts about how life should be.

Truth is, life’s a Teeter Totter and you can expend a lot of energy just trying to keep the balance.  Trying is hard work. 
There are many great resources for time management and what to “do” to create life/work balance.  But, you know how quickly “to do” lists can evaporate!

 It’s more about being than doing. 
First of all, I don’t like the slash in Life/Work.  When balance occurs on the inside there’s not that division.

Fundamental to quality of life and balance, there are 2 levels:

·         The underlying quality of life

·         The day-to-day experience of life.
I asked a former client what balance meant to him.  He replied, “Balance is when you no longer have to compensate in any one part of your life to make up for the dissatisfaction in another part.”
Don’t waste another day struggling.  Take action now to begin the journey.

An exercise to get you started:

Ø  Grab a piece of paper and write down your Values – as many as you can think of.
Ø  Where in your life are those values being violated, by you or others?
Ø  How does that feel?
Ø  Now, using 2 columns, write what you can say No to and what you can say Yes to, keeping in mind being true to your values.  Now, commit.

Enjoy your summer days,


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Life Perspectives

When I was doing my certification training with the Coaches Training Institute, we were a “pod” of 9 people from various parts of the world.  It was a very intense 6 months.  We were warned that at some point we would experience the DIP – that sinking feeling that it was all too much and perhaps we weren’t good enough.  Also, life tends to happen whether or not you have the time or energy to deal with it.  We became a support group for each other.  Part of the learning was to be coached ourselves and taken to the deepest levels of resistance.
We had the privilege of being coached by extremely knowledgeable and brilliant supervisors from other countries.  One of my supervisors was a coach in London, England.  I asked her what her specialty was and she replied that she coaches “survivors of torture”.  I felt a stab in my heart.  I asked how she coped in that arena.  She then said that she only did it 2 days a week and that it did indeed bring up memories.  I knew then that she, too, was a survivor.
It was in that moment that I experienced a huge shift.  I could feel it in my body, heart and mind. 

Although we may never personally know such grief and pain, it doesn’t mean that our suffering and adversity is not very real and that it deeply affects how we show up in the world.  But it pointed out to me three important things:

Ø  We can all, with help and support, survive almost anything because the human spirit has that capacity.

Ø  We can never really know what another person has suffered or is now suffering and therefore we don’t have the right to judge.

Ø  We are not meant to travel this life journey alone – we all need someone to who can show us the greatness within.
My perspectives changed that day and I could hear, feel and absorb this woman’s incredible strength and courage.  Essentially, we’re all survivors.

What would it mean in your life to tap into your innate strengths, core values and courage to live the life that is truly your own?  Don’t wait for when you think you have “time”.  A coach can help you put the past to rest, unload your stress and move forward.  You owe it to yourself to take the first step.
Pema Chodron: This Lousy World


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Phantom Flight AC8956 from TO:

  Thursday, May 2nd, I was scheduled to arrive in Fredericton from Toronto at 5:14 pm.  Due to system problems, the flight was delayed and therefore didn’t arrive until 7 pm.  This caused a major kafuffle at the Fredericton International Airport.
Myfriend, who arrived at 5 pm to meet my flight, was told by 3 airport personnel that there was no flight expected from TO.  And, as you may know, you can’t phone them and get information.
When we arrived, the staff was so surprised!  There wasn’t a taxi in sight.  Even the concierge was totally caught off guard.  There’s no flight from Toronto scheduled, he said.  He called the taxis and by 7:30, several arrived.
Now, folks, this is a daily flight from Toronto.
And, to knock this totally out of the realm of reason, I heard the boarding call to those passengers who were checked in and waiting for this very same non-existent, unscheduled plane to make the flight back to Toronto.
Hello, is anybody home?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What the heck is Life Coaching?

The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines Coaching as: “Partnering with clients, customers, colleagues or employees, in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
World-renowned coach and author, Michael Neill (Genius Catalyst) gives a concise, but impactful, definition: “Life Coaching is the art and science of awakening human potential.”
In the coaching process, we deem the client to be naturally Creative, Resourceful and Whole. In other words, he/she does not need “fixing”. Rather, the client has within them all that they need to achieve fulfillment, clarity and success in their lives.
The relationship between coach and client is an equal and powerful alliance based on trust and safety that allows the client to experience a journey of self-discovery. In this process, he/she can tap into their strengths and talents, de-clutter the mind, release stress, deepen the learning and move forward.
Recent studies in neuroscience support the fact that we can retrain our brain, at any age, and learn to change how we perceive fear and shift to a place of more clarity and peace. We can burn new neuro-pathways in the brain by changing our thoughts and beliefs about how we experience the world around us.
Choosing a trained and certified life coach insures that the coach has completed intense and specific education and has had the benefit of working with experienced master mentor coaches.
Life Coaching is an incredibly positive and life-affirming experience, rather than one that is about fixing what’s wrong. Coaching increases confidence and clarity and helps to identify and remove obstacles to success. Coaching also enhances communication with others and improves relationships in both our personal and business lives.
Personal Coaches help clients soar!
Take the first step today! 
Michael Neill: The Myth of Happiness

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Commitment and Courage

Just to remind you, the 12 C’s to help your children to survive in this “mean” world are:  Consciousness; Core Values; Communication; Comfort Zones; Challenge; Consideration; Consequences; Curiosity; Creativity; Compassion; Courage and Commitment.

Commitment goes beyond thoughts, ideas, strategic plans and verbal declarations.  Commitment is about action, goal-setting and measurable results.  It also, perhaps more importantly, embodies our commitments and promises to others.  A child learns at a very early age whether or not the adults in his/her life follow through on their promises. Learning to trust the people closest to him/her is essential to strong emotional development. Each broken promise leaves a tiny scar on the heart.  As parents, it’s vital that we provide a safe place for our children where they can depend on us for follow-through and support.  In the “mean” world nothing is for certain.  It’s our obligation to be “responsible” in order that they learn to be the same.  Without actions nothing will happen or change.

Courage is so big I hardly know what to say.  What I do know is that there isn’t enough of it in the world.  Courage is Heart. I’m not referring here to the great acts of the noble and famous.  I’m referring to the everyday acts of honouring your values, accepting responsibility for your actions and errors and simply having the courage to be who you really are even when it seems contradictory to what others expect. 

The peaceful Warrior is not without fear.  He/she acknowledges the fears and limitations.  He stands strong and confident in his core values. The true warrior embodies Integrity (the integration of values and principles).  She is armed to face the foes, yet have compassion for them.  He’s prepared to move through fear to create a better, kinder, more peaceful world.

  “Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name.”    Robert Louis Stevenson

Are the young people in your life ready to take on the “mean” world?

And, hey, don’t forget to sprinkle it all with lots of Chuckles!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Compassion: The Greatest Gift and #10 of the 12 "C's"

Just imagine what the world would be like if all mankind were kind, compassionate and accepting.  For the Dalai Lama, compassion is the greatest of all character traits.  We were born to be gentle and loving.
True compassion embodies responsibility and action.

I’ve faced adversity and great challenges many times in my life and felt drained and empty.  When I would ask the universe (God) for help, the answer was always the same: go out and be there for someone else.  Sometimes I would have to dig really deep inside myself to find the energy.  What I noticed was that, in doing so, I was lifted up, raised above my own struggles.
So what exactly is compassion? 

Compassion is, first of all, empathy – the ability to step into another’s shoes.  Empathy connects us to all of mankind in the understanding that we are all one. One person’s suffering is hurting us all.  By embracing empathy we accept our responsibility to take action for the good of all. Compassion honours and respects others and their individuality.
It can seem sometimes that the world is a cold and scary place.  It can appear that no one really cares about others.  There’s widespread fear, anger, jealousy, suspicion and negativity.  Feelings of low self-esteem and alienation are epidemic. We hunger for opportunities to feel connected. 

“True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason.  Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively.”  Dalai Lama
Where does compassion come from?

We are born to be both the givers and receivers of compassion.  It must be nurtured from birth.  And, as we grow up, we must see and feel it in action, starting at home within the family.  Without that experience, a child cannot know the joy, fulfillment and safety of this deep connection.  What happens in the formative years is crucial.  A child can feel and exhibit empathy before the age of two. 

Being compassionate does not mean “fixing”, controlling or even giving advice.  That is your self-serving EGO at work.  What all of us long for is to be heard and to be understood, and included.  There is no shortage of “advice” out there.   The action that’s most important is that of being present to others. When you are truly present, your Ego, your judgments and your attachments to outcome are absent.  In the short video, the Dalai Lama describes unbiased compassion.   

  “The true expression of non-violence is compassion.”

Monday, December 17, 2012

The 8th & 9th "C's": Curiosity & Creativity are Soul Mates

There’s such beauty and wonder in observing the natural curiosity of babies and toddlers!  I feel lifted up and very aware of a greater power.  We were all born with the gifts of joy, laughter, curiosity and, yes, creativity (imagination). 

If we’re really lucky, the “outer-world” won’t beat it out of us entirely by the time we reach adulthood.

Add a bit of scepticism, but nurture the natural curiosity of childhood.  Be that child.  If you can do that, you’ll have a better chance of nurturing curiosity and passion in your kids.

From Curiosity flows Creativity.  The possibilities are limitless.  As young parents, we didn’t have much money for toys.  It’s amazing what little ones can do with a box, pots & pans, sheets and towels!  As young entrepreneurs without money, we created a unique and successful business from curiosity, ideas, ideals, imagination and passion. 

It’s possible to add great value to the experiences of others and in the world from the gifts we’re given at birth.

Christmas is a marvelous time for celebrating and nurturing the gifts from our Creator.  If the Christmas season is one of sadness for you, reach out to someone else who could use a lift. 

Merry Christmas - Sharon