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My Mom, My First Life Coach

Happy Mother’s Day Everyone! (one day late). I hope that you are taking some time to celebrate the wonderful women in your life. This week I was thinking about my Mom and appreciating the gifts she has given me over my lifetime, and then it hit me …

My Mom was my first life coach!

She was the first person who created a safe space for me to be all of me. She showed me that life was full of learning and that learning could be FUN! She saw my greatness when all I could see were my limitations. She nudged me out of my comfort zone, giving me opportunities to try things she had a hunch I would love. Most of all she loved me with out reservation or conditions.

Thanks Mom for giving me the best foundation for my life and my career!

Who was your first life coach?
What would a partnership with a coach give you today?

Call me and let’s get to work!

Living With Possibility

The blank page…
The pristinely white fresh layer of snow…
A new year…

Aren’t these vivid, tangible metaphors inspiring? I get to write my own story, make my own path, and set my personal intentions.

What DO I want?

Sometimes the prospect of endless possibility is paralyzing. It is so big, so wide open that it overwhelms me. I don’t know where to start. I am frozen, not empowered!

And then I take a deep breath and come home, home to my heart.

Today, I am surprised to discover that my heart is brimming with joy and satisfaction. I had no idea how full it is. I feel the heart to heart connection to those I love and those that love me! As I linger here, I can feel the swirling juice of life course though my whole body. I see faces, recall sweet moments, sink deeper into that ever present pool of love.

Wow … who knew? I have been so caught up in the hubbub of activity, I lost track of simply being. Now I know what I want for today. I want to carry this delightful heart-filling joy with me as I go on through my day – coaching my clients, prepping for my class, cooking dinner, connecting with my husband and children. Coming home to my heart, I can carry my being into the doing of the day.

How are you living with possibility today?

Wrapping Up The Year

Now that we are almost done wrapping the presents, I have started to think about wrapping up the year.  Most people have some kind of ritual or tradition of saying farewell to the year. During December, I offer my clients the opportunity to recap this year using The YAHOO/BOO HOO/AH-HAH list. (Try saying that 3 times fast.)

Under the YAHOO, we look at accomplishments, what you are most proud of, and any other items to celebrate; BOO HOO – goals not achieved, regrets, disappointments and any sad moments; AH-HAHs – key learnings or lessons this year offered.

Then my clients create a personal ritual for closing out the year.  Once that is complete, we tackle setting intentions for the next year.

How will you wrap up 2009?

New Holiday Tradition: Looking Forward to the Obstacles

We had a delightful Thanksgiving sleeping in, enjoying the outdoors, and of course, EATING! We especially relished our new holiday tradition: a post-dinner obstacle course in which family and friends gather in the basement and devise a course incorporating physical challenges such as leaping over couches (see photo of my son, James) crawling under tables and jumping rope; feats of manual dexterity (dropping bamboo skewers into a small glass); and tests of memory (how many times do I rock in the chair?)

Young and old look forward to the “race.”  My children start planning for it long before the adults plan the dinner menu. Everyone is engaged, whether by running the course, being a timer or commentator, or cheerleading.

Of course, this tradition got me thinking…

In planning our post dinner fun, everyone looks forward to creating a challenging set of obstacles and seeing how each person masters those challenges.  How could we bring that excited anticipation to the challenges and obstacles in our own lives?  Who enthusiastically cheers us on when we stumble?

Of course, part of the fun of the event is the competition. We are racing against the clock and each other but there is never a clear winner.  The goal seems to be to do your best and have fun at the same time.  What if we approached our lives with the same friendly competition and intention to do our best?

One more thing that adds to the delight: Nobody gets bent out of shape about the impromptu changes that happen as we run the course (like one of the spectators deliberately stepping into someone’s path). We laugh and admire the contestant’s ability to adapt on the fly.  How can we playfully handle the unexpected in our lives?

We are already making plans for next year. Would you like to join us?

Mary

Calgon Take Me Away!

It is the middle of the night.  The moon is shining bright.  I can’t sleep tight.
My mind is full and it isn’t visions of sugar plums dancing inside of my head. It is that never ending TO DO list caving in on me:

  • Buy Groceries
  • Send Holiday cards
  • Balance the books
  • Deadlines this week
  • Piles of email
  • Kids’ homework
  • OMG – I forgot to get my blog ready for tomorrow!

“CALGON TAKE ME AWAY!”  ;-D

I think I need a retreat.  Thank goodness my FREE Teleclass this week features the delightful, down-to-earth Retreat Coach, Michelle Burns. She is going to lead us in a mini-retreat to reconnect, get grounded, and BREATH.  There is still time to register HERE.  Michelle is absolutely passionate about this crucial tool for success.   I am happily anticipating this hour of playful reflection and conversation.  Hope you can join the fun and respite.

Fierce Kindness

Last week, KINDNESS was the theme at the yoga studio where I take classes – Good Life Yoga. We dedicate our practice each day to kindness and each time we moved into a pose, there was an offering of kindness – to ourselves, to the people in our life, or to the world. At one point, as we were struggling a bit with downward facing dog, our amazing and wise teacher, Amber, encouraged us to be fiercely kind. No wishy washy Midwestern nicey-nice energy to come into the pose but full power, all organic muscle energy working towards kindness (and holding the pose).

Whoa – what an interesting and challenging combination. What does it mean to be fiercely kind? It is easy for me to imagine and practice being fiercely protective or fiercely loyal. But I never considered fierce kindness.

What would be possible if I brought fierce intensity to being kind?

What would the world be like if we all took a stand to be deeply and intensely kind at some point each day?

I think I found my growing edge for this week. How about you? How will you experiment with fierce kindness?

Staying Calm in the Midst of the H1N1 Storm

The sickness season is upon us here in the Midwest. Companies are dealing with a higher number of absentee workers; plenty of students are missing school due to illness.
Fear and anxiety about H1N1 (aka Swine Flu) is running rampant in my community.  It is the talk of the parents on the soccer field, the coworkers around the water cooler, and the people in line at the grocery store.

I don’t hear much in the media or in casual conversation that helps to promote calm and courage in the face of the predicament that this virus has created.

What is keeping you calm?  I hate to admit it but I find myself coming back to 2 trite clichés…

BE PREPARED:  Have a back up plan for work and childcare.  Make sure the food shelves at home are well stocked. Fill the medicine cabinet with an extra supply of pain relievers and fever reducers.

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER:  All the prevention tips I read boil down to things that my mother has been telling me for years!  Does this sound familiar to you?
•    Wash your hands often
•    Keep your hands off your face — Don’t put your fingers in your nose or mouth
•    Cover your sneeze and cough
•    Take your vitamins
•    Gargle twice a day with warm salt water or Listerine ®
•    Drink warm liquids (Chicken Soup anyone?)
•    Get plenty of sleep
•    Blow (or clean out) your nose at least once a day
•    If you get sick – STAY HOME!

How are you keeping a cool head this season?

Listening Inward

You know how you keep certain go-to ingredients stocked in your pantry or fridge? With three active children, milk, bread and peanut butter are always on my list!

From a coaching perspective, feeding our growing edge is easier when we have a handy supply of “life skills.” My list includes:
• Being present
• Asking for help
• Dreaming
• Playing
• Luxuriating

Today’s focus: Listening
LISTENING TO YOURSELF is the first skill to develop for your success. The easiest way to begin is to turn your attention to your mind. Because of the gift of imagination, our mind is the host of our dreams, our hopes, and our visions for the future. There are so many fabulous resources here! It’s important to access them—but first you have to quiet down to listen past the everyday inner “chatter” of to-do lists, errands, work meetings, kids’ schedules and the interesting thing you heard on NPR!

When you pause to tune in to your busy mind, you may also discover that monster that lurks in the land of your mind – The Gremlin! According to my friend Rick Carson, the Gremlin is that narrator in your head who wants to make you miserable!
WOW! There is so much to learn here. When was the last time you stopped to take note of all the busy happenings in that brainy brain of yours? What is in that marvelous mind that feeds your growing edge? Or stops it?!

Listening is such a biggie, you will be reading more about it here at The Growing Edge!
Next time – LISTENING TO YOUR HEART. Stay tuned!

The Paradox of Accountability in Coaching

In my 15 years of experience, I’ve found that most of my clients come to coaching knowing there is opportunity for growth in their lives, but being uncertain how to make the most of it. They are completely capable of moving toward growth on their own, but they hire a coach because it streamlines and speeds up the process. Holding clients accountable to follow through on what they say they want is a big part of a coach’s role.

For example, in every coaching conversation, the client decides what specific steps they will take to move toward their goals. A client who is focusing on improving her physical fitness might commit to joining a fitness club, finding a running partner, and keeping a food journal. She agrees to report back during our next call what steps she did take and what she learned. Such external accountability works—good leaders use it all the time to motivate others to productivity.

Still, sometimes people don’t do everything on their list, and sometimes they do nothing on their list. Some might call that failure. I call it INFORMATION!

Surprised?

In fact, it might sound like a paradox, but more learning comes out of what doesn’t work. In other words, failure is an essential part of the formula for success. Think of it as fodder for the compost pile. Compost takes our peelings, our castoffs, what we can’t use and turns it into rich soil. You might say failure feeds our growing edge. What are you willing to fail at today?

Introducing ‘The Growing Edge(SM)’

My clients are smart. They’ve achieved personal and professional success. They’re leaders, whether formally or informally. They’re usually quite self-aware. Many lead lives that serve the greater good.

So why do these smart, accomplished leaders hire me as a coach?
It has to do with what I call the growing edge, which is simply when circumstances in life move us towards new awareness and new action. Maybe it’s entering a new life stage, embracing a new business opportunity, a shifting personal relationship, or something painful such as illness or an intimate death. These particular opportunities call us to pay attention and then act with intention. A good coach helps you to learn from your own life, then launch you into meaningful action.

Exploring this territory has long been my passion. That’s why I’ve chosen The Growing Edge (SM) as a theme for my work and why I’m paying attention to my own growing edge.
Example: My professional goal is raise the bar in my coaching career. I am opening the door to new clients who are poised to take major personal or professional leaps and prepared to engage premium-level coaching support as they do so. Sounds straightforward, but even promoting myself through this blog means facing, in a public way, my own doubts, excuses and gremlins:

•    “I’ve never done this before!”
•    “I hate to disappoint people.”
•    “Can I keep this content fresh?”
•    “What if readers don’t like it?”

Are you chuckling right now? Sound familiar?
Coaching is the way to make the most of  these risks and challenges. My life’s purpose is to help you tend your growing edge. Ready? Call me to see how we can work together.