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Archive for May, 2011

I was leafing through some boxes and came across files from when I taught grade one. I really loved teaching that grade because they had so very many aha moments that I got to share.

In the beginning though there was a lot (oh boy was there a lot) of learning about how school worked. Routines, rules, how to get ready to learn and things like this.

Often the “work” wasn’t the point and one of the fun things we did was picture search. The instructions were simple. Look at a picture and circle the things that are wrong in the picture.

Looking at the picture I quickly saw a bear buttering his toast with a spoon, a fox upside down on a swing and car on top of what looks to be the garage.

Interesting isn’t it? Right from tiny tots we begin to look for what’s wrong. We are also taught there is one right way. The way everyone else does it is the way it should be done.

No wonder we struggle to follow our own path. Should we be surprised that children do bad things to fit in? Are we really shocked to find people judging themselves harshly?

What’s really wrong with buttering your toast with a spoon if that’s your thing?

Perhaps we ought to stop worrying so much about finding and fixing every little wrong and instead start coloring what’s right in our picture.

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The truth is not “out there” (where is “out there” anyway?).

The truth is right here, staring you in the face waiting for you to make eye contact.

What truth? The truth of you.

There is no greater step to living and creating a life you love than understanding and accepting the truth of you.

Stop lying to yourself by skirting issues, fudging your own thoughts and beliefs and ignoring what really is.

Embracing this sounds lovely doesn’t it? Ha! It’s really tough at first believe me. No joke, find support because it can be an exercise in frustration, worry and annoyance at times.

A very practical example of this can come from your finances. Living in your truth means living within your means. Very few of us do this. We buy things we can’t afford and then struggle against debt. We have a need for immediate gratification. We want it now not when we’ve saved enough!

Now I’m not talking emergency things like fixing the busted tire on your car so you can get to work but things like expensive dining out, new TV’s when the old one works fine but is four inches smaller or so much groceries that you end up throwing half out!

Get it?

Works the same with relationships, careers, children and even hobbies.

Your emotional state reflects your truth. Imagine how much happier and less stressed you’d be if you had much less debt? If your relationships were honest and full of integrity?

My advice? Start listening to your voice of reason as often times it really isn’t reason talking at all. Question where you stand and get firm on your core value system.

Start those baby steps to living honestly and soon you’ll be living a life you love created by you, for you!

Where can you begin to (or have begun already to) embrace living in your truth?

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This past weekend I succumbed to a spring cold.  I made it through the winter with barely a sniffle and here I am with the sun finally shining feeling miserable.

I’ll live, but I also wanted to whine a bit.  Enter in a very good friend of mine.  She is the epitome of the eternal  pessimist and loves to tease me about my stance on looking for the silver lining or the opportunity.  She comes to my life as someone who can challenge what I say so that I have to look even deeper into my own beliefs and yet she doesn’t do this in a judgmental way.  She also is annoyingly content and happy in her life but that’s another post for another day. 

The point is she smirked. Okay we were on the phone, but I am telling you I could HEAR her smirking when she teased me with the comment “so where’s the good in this cold you have?” 

Ouch. 

At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to say about that. I tried to say that it kept me at home so I was getting caught up on lots of chores and stuff around the house.  (Yes, I was reaching I’ll admit it!).  So my very lovely friend said “oh I see, wonderful that your feeling miserable allows you to do laundry and vacuum. Yes, I can see the good in it now”.  More smirking!

Double ouch

So we laughed it off and continued talking for a bit.  Still, after we got off the phone I couldn’t help but continue to consider what she said.  I do truly believe that every situation has something good to see in it.  Something we can learn, something that happens that creates an opportunity.  What the heck was the lesson in a crappy old, sniffing and achy cold?

It wasn’t until hours later after rolling it over and over in my head I had to crack a smile and laugh.  Believe me I had struggled to find the nugget of good in this weekend’s feelings of yuckiness to little avail.  I mean I tried.  The best I could come up with is it’s a forced break. One that I often forget I need. The only problem with that was I wasn’t so sick that I couldn’t do stuff so that didn’t work either. And there I was laying in bed still thinking it over and I realized the irony.  My friend was the lesson.  The lesson is I need to realize that sometimes a cold is really just a cold; no more, no less.  Trying to make something out of nothing is essentially fruitless.

So now I get to explain to my friend that SHE carried the lesson on this one.  She challenges me and my thoughts often so this should be interesting.  

You do see the crazy irony in this right?

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Put down those goals!

Oh I bet you never, EVER, in a million years, thought you’d heard ME say some thing like that did you?

Say what now??

After all, what’s my favourite saying?  “If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know if you get there?”  I know, I know..I’ve said it a bazillion times and I still believe that to be the heart of my coaching focus. 

What gives then?

I have a couple of points about goals that I think are far too often being overlooked.  I’ve noticed this with articles I’ve read, clients and friends at different times and in different areas. We perhaps are focussing too much on the act of goal setting, the how-to’s and not enough on the purpose of goals.  Keep in mind they are a TOOL we use to assist us, not a ruler over us.

Here goes.

  • Stop treating your goals like they are a bible.  Your goals are meant to provide you with a map, not be written in stone as unalterable and forever.  Take a look at a map..go on. Here’s one for you.   See that..LOTS of ways to get where you going. In fact, taking a detour can be a huge blessing.  Most often it seems the detours are when we learn the most about ourselves and find new ways to grow. Don’t be afraid to chart your path and change it as you need to. If you goals and steps are stressing you out, causing you to be frustrated or stuck..then do something else. These should not be the cause of more anquish..they should help guide you to getting unstuck .
  • Be flexible with them. Sometimes opportunity comes your way that you never expected or thought of. Don’t jump on ignoring it because it doesn’t fit with your plan. Perhaps it does more than you think.  Or perhaps it is a hint from the universe that you have more to offer than even you knew.  Example? I love coaching one on one and in my coaching groups. LOVE IT.  Recently an opportunity to speak (not a workshop) to a group came my way.  This wasn’t in my plan and I actually was going to say no because I am pretty busy.  Thankfully a friend pointed out all the opportunities I would be missing and that she thought I’d be amazing and could reach many people.  So I did it.  And you know what? I’m now beginning to speak to groups and even as a tele-seminar; and I feel like I’ve found a really exciting place to share my message.  I feel so uplifted even thinking about it!
  • Setting goals does not require you to take a vow of forever.  Things change.  You change.  So should your goals.  There is nothing wrong with this when it needs to happen.  This is different from simply changing your goals because you don’t know what you want.  It’s accepting that it’s okay to adjust your sails when the wind changes.  Do not feel bad about this or continue on with something that isn’t serving you anymore because you said you wanted it.  Today your goal may be to buy a house, but next year you may discover your goals are to travel before settling down.  So what? Do what you need to do and accept that what you need to do can also change
  • Putting a goal aside for now does not equate giving it up forever.  See the above example.  Does deciding to put off buying a house mean that this person has to erase it from the list? Nope. The plan for saving up the cash might change, the area you wanted to buy in might change or even become unknown.  That doesn’t mean you have to give up on it. 
  • It’s okay to admit one day, that it isn’t what you thought you wanted.  Or even that you still want it but it isn’t your path.  A personal example of this comes from when I was in high school. I had planned on becoming a veterinarian.  I decided the smart thing to do was volunteer at a clinic to get experience.  After a few days I had to admit it wasn’t for me.  I couldn’t deal with the clients and their idea of care.  The animals I could handle, the pain and even the grief at end of life.  It was the callousness of some people, that  I couldn’t handle.  I had to admit it wasn’t for me.  So I turned my sites elsewhere and found a way to still work with animals, but in a way that limited my contact to care givers who cared! (Dog training and my own pet care business..oh the energy of youth lol).
  • Goals should come from your value system and fit into it as well.  Trying to work around this is what gets us into trouble, causes stress and friction.  Values first, goals after.

 

Goals are a way to motivate yourself, to help focus your efforts. 

They are not meant to be your ruling body. 

 Own them, don’t allow them to own you.

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We move through our days and often miss out on how much what we do and say matter. It’s interesting to me to notice that it seems like it’s the little things that really matter and can make a huge difference in our life. Small things can change a day, change an attitude and even change a life. Don’t get me wrong really big things like a loss of a loved one or getting that promotion can make changes too but those I think are more expected and directly observable.

These small things I am talking about can be a positive like having someone offer a hand, hold a door, remark on enjoying your company, or just a simple genuine smile. These can really uplift your spirits. There are also really hurtful things such as being overlooked again and again, dismissive remarks, cruel comments, or even physical things. Even when a comment or action isn’t planned to be one or the either the impact is still felt.

We can crush another’s spirit with just a sentence that is off-handed and unthinking. We can move people to passionate responses or open their eyes with well-chosen phrases. The point is you DO matter. What you say, do or act like matters. Even if you are not aware of the impact you are having; the fact that you are simply moving through this world sends out ripples and waves that lap up against others. There is a saying that says we ought to be kinder than necessary because everyone is fighting their own personal battles. Be kinder than you have to be. That’s when your ripples being the good kind of changes; and that is why you matter.

I was sent a story that I’ve included below via email a long time ago but can never bring myself to delete it. It is a powerful tale of why it matters to be kinder than you have to be. In fact it still moves me even though I’ve read it dozens of times. I have no idea who wrote it despite my best efforts to find out, but it is worth sharing. I’d love to hear if you have anything similar to share. As they say the proof is in the pudding!

The Story of Kyle

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.” I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes.

My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!” There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes.

We hung all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him. And my friends thought the same of him. Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Damn boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.

Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than me and all the girls loved him! Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks,” he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. “Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach… but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.” I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. “Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.”

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it’s depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions; with one small gesture you can change a person’s life.
For better or for worse, we all impact one another in some way.

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This week has a few really great finds that I hope will inspire you. Keep in mind that even if something isn’t up your alley perhaps you might know someone who would love to hear about it. Go ahead..share away!

1. The Novelette A totally new concept in women’s fiction for the web. This site is for writes and readers and lovers of writing. This is a beautiful site with lots to check out. Except where it is noted otherwise, the novelettes and other fiction on this site are written by L B Gschwandtner. As of the writing of this post, the author is also hosting a writing contest!

2. Livestream . You can live stream video here for an event or class you might be hosting. I think it might also be super to create a channel for wedding toasts or birthdays for the people who live far away. There is a free plan which seems fairly generous. As well there are paid plans that offer much more in terms of video quality and gets rid of ads.

3. SlickDeals. If you are an avid shopper you will love this site. It’s a forum based site where users share amazing deals on items. You can search the site (top right) to find specific things you might be looking for or just browse the latest finds. This is one to check often as coupon codes or deals can be time sensitive.

Don’t forget to submit your great tips and finds!

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We are very good at wearing masks in our society.  I am not.  Never have been really.  I suppose I should be grateful in a way but at the same time I know I will never be able to play poker and win! I have NO poker face at all.  I try to stand in my truth.

“Stand in your truth”.

I heard this saying years ago via Suze Orman.  I love her.  She is so candid and truthful, not to mention has a way of sending her message so that it gets to your heart. Now she is really focused on issues related to money and our relationship with it.  I however think we can take that phrase and apply it to our lives as a whole philosophy to live by. I am quite visual so often picture this like you are stepping into a lamplight or spot light.  It is your truth and your light to stand in and it brings a warmth and light to your life, but only you can step into it.

What does it mean? 

  • It means taking off the masks we wear.
  • It means we stop worrying what others think. 
  • Refusing to pretend to be anyone or anywhere we are not. 
  • It means being honest with ourselves and others and finding strength in that honesty. 
  • It means having those tough conversations.

One of the comments that struck me to start considering the fact that we need to stand in our truth in our lives wholly and not just about money is one Suze made talking about children and how they tend to have a sense of entitlement when we give them an allowance..for not doing anything.  The comment was that they are part of the home and should help take care of it.  Talk about standing in truth! Instead, give them the opportunity to do extra things to earn money (like raking leaves or shovelling snow etc.) that is beyond the day-to-day. 

There are other ways we can begin to stand in our truth as well and this connects back to our value system so beautifully. 

    • You’ve been making strides to be a healthier person but you’ve slipped and had pizza and donuts?  Okay. You can beat yourself up, wail moan and gnash your teeth about it and then just give up the whole thing because clearly you can’t handle this.  Or you can stand in that truth. You made a mistake.  Admit you had a weak moment and that you struggle.  Now pick yourself up and move on, making sure the next meal you have is a healthy one. 
    • Financially things have been tough since you had your hours cut back at work.  It’s easy to ignore the warning signs, let bills fester and not face the mounting debt.  Time to take a breath and stand in that truth.  You have a lot to deal with, make a plan, cut back, get a second job..whatever.  But pretending everything is fine when it isn’t only makes them grow in strength. 
    • Looking for a home? Sure the bank will lend you $400,000 but realistically this will make things tight. Stand in the truth of this and realize that you may not have to spend that much to have a happy home.  Look deeper at why you need a big house with all the fancy trappings right in the city.  Are you buying to impress others? Imagine how much less stressed you would be if you have breathing room in your mortgage.  The truth is what we can buy and what we can afford are often very different. 
    • You adjust your values system so that you can more easily fit in with what you perceive society wants you to be like.  This causes you stress and upset and yet you push away the warning signs of what the problem is.  Time to stand in your truth.  What do you value?  Career over Family?  There is nothing wrong with this but the movies and society would have you believe it so. However, this truth will be best served up early before you have children to worry about and a spouse who is wondering why you won’t start a family ‘just yet’. 

    It can be hard sometimes because we want to appear successful and pleasing to other people.  We have the whole ideal of ‘keeping up with the Jones’ still kicking around.

There is a real peace and serenity that comes from this raw honesty with yourself.  It takes strength and sometimes I think the hardest truth is the one we admit to ourselves but it also gives you strength.

What truth do you need to move into?

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