Posts Tagged ‘self improvement’

I hear a lot of new clients or friends who get upset when I talk about being in control of your own life.  Like, really upset.

In fact, one person very recently called me out on it pretty harshly.  I’m okay with that.  I’ve found the blessing in this. When someone calls you out on your beliefs it can cause you to really look deeply at them and in this case bring about a strengthening of them and a deeper understanding.

The problem is one I totally get …because they are right.  Completely right.  You see, they were upset because I said that people create their life with their actions and thoughts.  This person slammed down the point that life happens and we can’t control what others do to us and around us.  “Look all the people who lost their houses, jobs and had their life crumble” He said.  “You’re blaming THEM?” 

Ouch. He was angry at me with righteous indignation on his part with the understanding that he had.  I kind of admired him for that actually.  A real stand-up guy if you think about it.

However, there was a part of this idea that he was missing

While he was totally right – we can’t often control the experiences we have in life.  We might lose our job and income through no fault of our own.  Accidents happen (tell me about it!) that can destroy our life as we know it, and so on.  However, we can control how we experience those circumstances.  We ultimately choose our reactions.  Oh sure sometimes we have immediate reactions that are based more on baser emotions, but we can calm ourselves or feed that fire.

I know people who allow petty annoyances to create a huge amount of chaos in their life.  I also know people who have had great tragedy befall them who have chosen to create something positive out of it. 

You can choose to let life happen TO you, or you can take the controls and begin to create a life that reflects who you are and who you want to be.

So let me be clear here.  You may not be able to control WHAT experiences you have in life – but you can control HOW you experience them. 

In this coming New Year I want you to consider that. This is a fresh year that can allow us a perfect time to begin to make shifts to bring about a happier, more vibrant life.  Will you join me in taking the controls back in your life?  I think it’s time we all understand we are responsible for our own happiness and quite capable of creating it.



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In the post Do This Instead I mentioned 5 things to consider when you think about how to improve your life, mindset and disposition.

“He who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts.”
~Samuel Johnson

The five things discussed were;

  1. Metacognition
  2. Be curious
  3. Living from Wonder
  4. Persist
  5. Laugh from your belly

A pretty good list if you ask me.  In fact I think a number of the comments agreed.  Good news! I have a few more to share with you.

Before I do that however, I want to mention that in no way do I suggest you should or could go ahead and simply change all of these to perfect your life over night.  Goodness..that’s just crazy talk!  What I suggest is you take a look at these and imagine where you could open up to possibilities of change or growth in your life.  Pick one to focus on and go from there.

You can make goals (yup even SMART goals) around each of these to give yourself some focus and purpose.  You spent a life time establishing habits, you can’t expect to simply exchange them for new ones in one fell swoop.  If you need some help there…let me know at info@rivendllcoaching.com !

With no further ado:

1. Learn to listen.  Yes, yes I know. Most of us have perfectly decent ears that work but in all truth most of us suck as good listeners.  Being a good listener takes focus and practice. We should strive first to understand before we worry about being understood.  It takes a fair bit of mental energy devoted to another person’s thoughts and ideas to be a good and empathetic listener. 

2. Take Responsible Risks.   Remember when I told you for one month I was going to say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that came my way..even if it was a bit scary?  Well in that yes month I did take some personal risks and it really paid off.  However, they were responsible risks.  I mean let’s face facts; if you had suggested I jump off a bridge I’d probably have said no anyway. It wouldn’t be a responsible risk.  There is a difference.  Being adventuresome doesn’t mean being stupid.  Take the level of comfort and competence you already have to the edge and see what awaits you.

3. Think about it upside down.  Now if you can stand on your head and think about things go ahead; please enjoy the view. I, however, will simply use this expression to mean that you need to be flexible in your thinking and practice seeing things from a different perspective.  Innovation comes from trying a novel idea.  When you generate options and alternatives you let go of your obsession with a specific outcome and might just end up with something pretty freakin amazing.   So, practice asking yourself  “what else is possible here?”

4. Live from Compassion.  Seriously, if you didn’t know I’d put this on in the list you haven’t followed me very long.  When you  make choices and decisions with compassion as the base for them life is kinder, gentler, more peaceful and much more loving.  Keep in mind that having compassion in mind in the way you treat yourself is also important.  You are, after all, setting a precedent for how others act towards you.  You want to get rid of a lot of crap and negativity in your life…this is a perfect place to start.

5. Remain open to Continuous Learning.  There is no time in the human condition that we should be done with learning.  There is so much to understand, explore and be thrilled by.  When you stop learning and entertaining new ideas and ways of seeing things…it is there that you cease to live and simply exist.  Accept that there is much we don’t know, much we can learn and go out to find it.  Throw your pride and need to be ‘right’ out the window and become open and aware that ‘you do not know’ and this is perfectly okay.  This will stop you from fighting  life’s lessons and instead bring peaceful acceptance of all that life offers you.

6. Choose to have found your bliss.  Right here, right now is all we really have.  Yesterday is the past and is gone, tomorrow is an unfulfilled promise.  Today is it, this very moment.  Please lovelies…don’t waste it. There is happiness, joy and love to be found even in the worst of circumstance;  if only you will open your eyes and heart to it.  You have to choose to see it.  The more bliss you choose to focus on, the more you will find.  It’s the Law of Attraction lovelies..and it works.

Let me know what you think of these six habits and the first five. 
Which ones jump out at you?  Made you think?  Disagree with me on any?
What are you going to work  on…and how?

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I am going to bet you know someone like my friend..umm..let’s call him Jack (not his real name).  Jack is a good guy over all but he does have some quirks that sort of drive me batty. 

Oops, not this Jack

The first one of course is the BEST one (yes…that IS sarcasm.  Excellent job.)  Jack will literally tell you that he is awesome..often. 

He actually once told me while I was studying for my Coaching Certification the he doesn’t need to worry about personal growth because…go on, I know you want to guess first… yup! Because he’s already good.  He actually told me with a straight face, that he doesn’t need any.  By any he means growth.  I pointed out that need and want are two very different things and Jack just laughed.

Oh Jack!

As I said, Jack is a decent guy overall but he’s missing out on a few skills that would make him live a much happier life.  He just doesn’t want to admit it.  Arrogance isn’t a pretty trait, nor is it a helpful one.  However, empathy is (hint Jack!).

Either way, it got me to thinking about what makes up a good set of skills for a healthy mindset and disposition.  I am not so much concerned with what will not help you along in life because to be honest I think there are more than enough articles on that if you are so inclined.  One things that frustrated me as a teacher and an adult is there are so many ‘do nots’ but so few ‘do this instead’. 

Without alternative, positive suggestions we leave people in a lurch with nowhere to go.  That’s a crappy way to coach I think so I started working on what aspects of ourselves we should be strengthening. 

What do you think of the first 5?

1. Metacognition.  Or more simply put, becoming aware of your own thoughts, feelings, actions and effects on others.   I like to also refer to it as taking the time to think about what your thinking.  After all your thoughts make up who you are and create your life.

2. Be Curious.  Start by asking questions to your self about how do you know that?  Being curious will start taking apart the layers of ‘stuff’ others have given you and begin to expose your truer, inner light.  Posing questions will bring you further into exploring depth rather than accepting what you hear as truth.  This will allow you to also change your thinking.  Too often we just accept what is around us as ‘the way it is’ but it isn’t the way it necessarily has to be now is it?

3. Living from Wonder.  This goes along nicely with #2 because when you are in awe of life, the world and all its glorious complexities it’s much easier to become intrigued by it. Real living involves participating not just sitting by the sidelines watching.  Enjoy the mysteries presented to you and delight in trying to figure them out. 

4. Persist.  There is a saying I saw not long ago that says something along the lines of “if you are tired of starting over; stop quitting”.  I see this so often in many aspects of my life.  So many people suffer a misstep, setback or failure and throw their hands up and let go of the whole idea or dream.   We need to really practice becoming focussed and believe it is wise to continue even in the face of difficulties.  Not to say their isn’t a time to let things go but I think that many jump too quickly to that end.

5. Laugh with your belly This one is mainly for the adults.  Kids already have this one down!  Really, if you need to get a handle on this idea that we need to laugh more, and let go of this rigid, fancy-pants ideal of how we should act then find an 8-year-old.  When you find them, put them in charge of the fun for a while.  You’ll get it! Life is full of the unexpected, of whimsical joys; let them in!  Let them fill your soul up because otherwise, what is the point? 

Next post will share a few more but I’d love to hear your thoughts on these five. 

  • Which do you think is the most important?
  • Which one do you feel you need to work on?

Many warm blessings;




PS. Don’t forget to RSVP for the Coffee with Soul tele seminar!  First seminar is coming up soon and we’re starting off with a bang!

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I don’t know that I’d call this post a ‘rant’ persay…but it’s up there!

So. You want to give me the old line about how you want ‘Peace on Earth’ for the New Year do you? 


Interesting. Okay so how are you going to go about getting that

Yes, yes I’m being a bit obnoxious here but you know it kind of irks me that people spout this old line as if they really DO want this to happen yet DO NOTHING about it. It doesn’t work that way.

So what do most people say when I start this line of questioning?  They tell me that they are only one person and can’t make the whole world peaceful.  Oh. I see…you think one person can’t fix everything so why bother fixing anything?  Oh goodness…how many of us are waiting for someone else to take care of this?

Too many!

In fact, I see this kind of nonsense all over the place.  Here’s the thing about that kind of thinking. It’s self-serving and full of BS.  Sorry but it’s true.

One person can most certainly make a difference.  In fact, sometimes one person can start something that can change the world; or the world of one other person.

So I was challenged on this, as I’m sure a few of you are getting ready to do in the comments below (and please do!).  The challenge was “how can I, by  myself create world peace?”  (okay, there was a bit of “don’t I watch the news or anything?” thrown in there too but let’s keep this civil ).  Maybe you can’t, but you can begin the process by creating peace within your own heart and soul, within your family and from there it will spread out and start creating postitive change.

Think about this.  If you raise 2 children to be kind, compassionate and forward thinkers, you have put two more ambassadors out into the world.  If they each touch some lives and make a difference they spread the movement.  Geesh, if they each raise two children the same way…now you have 6 right?  C’mon you remember exponential growth. 

The time you spend offering those who are struggling a hand up might make the difference in the lives of more than just that one person.  Not only do others watch and see what you are doing and hopefully become inspired to do the same but that one person affects others lives as well. 

You know that old saying about ripples in a pond?  Well the pebble that started it all never really gets to see how far they go does it?   But the ripples are still there and go on affecting all that they also touch.

If you step up and live in the truth of peace and compassion even when it’s hard you will inspire others to do the same.  You give strength to those who are fearful of living their truth.  The lives you touch are made better.  For one person (or many) you might show a kindness that changes everything for them.  Their world suddenly becomes different. 

How is this not healing the world?

So please, don’t tell me some tired old line about what you want for others.  Instead show the world that you can make a difference.  Change your world.  Make some ripples in the pond that you live in!  What you think is tiny might be a game changer for someone else.  Start the movement where you stand today.  Peace on Earth might not come for the whole world just yet, but it can begin with you. 

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I know I’m always talking about the fact that you have options and opportunity all around you.  The kicker is taking a moment to stop and look around so that you can notice them.

One simple action is just asking yourself what can I DO today?  This is a great way to help move yourself forward when you are feeling stuck in just about all situations. There is always something that you can do; even if it is a tiny little step.

Sounds easy but in real life practice it can seem a bit overwhelming when you first start taking control of your life.  I am here to help! Follow the steps below to get a head start on designing your own fabulous life.

Step One : Go on a grab 5 post it notes.  No post-its around? No problem..any paper will do.  While you’re gathering that up grab a pen, pencil or my favourite…coloured crayons!

Step Two:  Get a coffee (and bring me one too if you don’t mind!). This step is where you start thinking so get yourself ready by taking a few deep centering breaths.

Step Three: On the first post-it write the following  “This week, to improve my mind I will…”    Of course you won’t bother writing the ‘…’ but instead finish it.  Something attainable, something that is meaningful.  Need an example or two?  DONE! 

  • this week, to improve my mind I will read an article related to my profession.
  • this week, to improve my mind I will listen to an audio book rather than music at the gym.
  • this week to improve my  mind I will Like Rivendell’s Fan Page (ha!)

Step Four : On post-it note #2 finish the sentence “This week, to improve my health I will…”

  • skip having soda Monday, Wednesday and Friday at work
  • take an apple with me so I won’t be tempted to buy sweets
  • take the stairs instead of the elevator

Step Five:  On post-it note #3 finish the sentence “This week to improve my relationship with __________, I will…”

  • my husband, I will tell him one thing I appreciate about him each morning
  • my daughter, I will practice asking open-ended questions
  • a co-worker, I will try to learn three things about them personally

Step Six:  On post-it note #4 finish the sentence “This week to move forward in my _____________ skills, I will…”

  • organizational skills, I will buy a filing cabinet
  • cooking skills, I will watch some online videos
  • typing skills, I will spend 10 mins a day practicing via a program on the computer

Step Seven:  On post-it note #5 finish the sentence “This week to improve my mindset I am going to repeat the affirmation…”

  • I have a wonderful job that fulfils me on many levels
  • I am ready and willing to release the past, now
  • I choose to make positive healthy choices for myself

Step Eight: Read these over a few times. Now post them where you can see them, a lot.

Step Nine: Put in your appointment book, or your phone a reminder to check in with yourself about mid-week.  

Step Ten: The most important of them all.  CHOOSE to actually do what you said you were going to.  In fact, to really motivate you I DARE you to post your 5 finished sentences below.  That’s right. Put those 5 little things out there into the universe and see that magic comes of it.  Having an accountability partner is also a great way to keep yourself motivated.  


  • These sentences are not written in stone.  Use your own, adjust as needed. 
  • Keep things simple. Don’t expect to write that entire e-book in a week. Maybe just an outline this week.  Can’t imagine hitting the gym 3-4 times a week yet? Okay..why not make the goal once and grab a buddy to make it fun?  
  • If you find you are still having trouble taking the steps, simplify.  Find support.  No where have I heard that we were meant to go through this life alone.
  • Remember, you are worth the effort and the energy. Show yourself some love!

Make it a great week!

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