Archive for the ‘Getting in Action’ Category

I am working with a client (she has given me permission to write about this) who noticed that her heart felt tight…like a little ball.  I asked her what it looked like in there…was there a color, a texture, a shape.  Nothing came to mind immediately, but when we next met she told me that she had seen what it was.  It was a flower in bud form.  Tightly closed.  She said that she then began visualizing that flower opening, right there in her chest until it was in full bloom.  Multi-layered, open, flexible…and beautiful.  She said every time she feels that familiar tightness, she sees the flower and imagines it opening.  That visualization prompts her to breathe and feel a little better.  Instead of having to think about what is making her heart tight, she just goes right to the flower.

My client’s experience made me think about something that is bugging me.  Kind of present, kind of not.  Not really something I have control over.  I asked myself what this thing would look like if it separated from me and I got a clear vision of a butterfly.  I wondered whether it might be a big strong bird, but no, it was definitely a butterfly.  So, I decided to let it go in our garden.  I know it will be there when/if I need it, but for now it’s flitting from flower to flower and taking care of itself.  And I’m a little freer.

I get a daily email from The Universe…really a British guy who is in my general line of work.  I signed up for it a long time ago, and I’ve thought of unsubscribing many times because I hardly ever read the notes.  But sometimes I do and they really resonate with me.  That was this case this morning.

What if you’re already doing everything right, even though you’re not sure?

And the surprises along the way have only sped things up, even though it felt like they slowed you down?

And all that you want is now barreling towards you, even though you can’t see it?

I’ve been doing a lot of mental gymnastics lately about what I need to do to build my coaching practice, whether I’m doing enough, is it sustainable, etc. etc.  Somehow my note from The Universe snapped me into a different perspective.  It was kind of like seeing something that has been there the whole time, but that I sometimes lose focus of.   Maybe I am doing enough, and maybe there are things coming that I just can’t see right now.  And that is comforting.   And maybe it’s okay to just be today, without coming up with the revolutionary thing that will change everything.  Maybe…

It’s Thanksgiving week, so I suppose a post on gratitude is in order.  And A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day by John Tierney in today’s New York Times makes my job really easy.

Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.

What’s not to like?!  The article looks at what gratitude is, suggests ways to integrate gratitude into your life, and presents some findings that show expressing gratitude will make you happier.

Without making a conscious decision to bring more gratitude in my life, I’ve noticed over the past years that I am a lot more grateful.  I think it may have started with death, maybe illness, maybe age.

And in order to keep it real, I’ve been playing a game with myself for a while that keeps me remembering to be grateful or consider a different perspective.  Every time (not really every time, but a lot) I have a complaint or think something negative, I make myself come up with a counter statement of gratitude.   Okay, an example.  If I’m feeling old and achy, I say I’m grateful that my body can still exercise regularly.  If the wrinkle between my brow is looking particularly deep, I express gratitude that I can still see the wrinkle!   If my child wants me to lie with him again at bed time, inevitably meaning I’ll fall asleep and not read my novel, I’m grateful that he still wants to lie with me.  And on and on.  I can still be annoyed with the aches and pains, the wrinkles and the lack of time for myself, but I can also keep them in perspective, and for whatever reason that keeps me feeling better.

Be grateful, be thankful and have a lovely Thanksgiving if you celebrate it!

I like routine and habit as much as the next person, but I had one of those moments last week when I was reminded of how great it can be to do something out of my mold.  How that can bring the unexpected.

I was planning to go to a fundraiser for a friend’s women’s theater group, 3 Girls Theatre.  It was across town and parking was sure to be a nightmare.  I was feeling really tired and if the friend I was planning to go with had given me the out, I would happily have stayed at home and read my novel.  But it was one of those extremely rare warm San Francisco evenings, so when she said, Let’s ride bikes!  I couldn’t really find a reason to say no.  I’m too tired sounded lame.  There are too many hills sounded lame too.

So off we went.  Two middle-aged women (Oh god, did I really say that? Is that really what we are?!) in party clothes, wearing bike helmets and crossing San Francisco.  Only one giant hill.  We arrived at the party a bit sweaty, but we decided to call it glowing.  We stayed long past the official end of the party and then we climbed back on our bikes and started the ride home.  It was still warm out and even though we both had plans the next night, my friend declared that this was too nice a night not to stop somewhere on the way home.  So, we did.

We sat at an outdoor table at Zuni’s on Market Street.  We had our picture taken by the guy sitting next to us.  That after he first took a couple of himself…phone facing the wrong way!  We all had a great laugh over that and I still smile when I think about it.

It was just one of those unexpected nights when you feel like life is very special and you wonder why you don’t step out of the mold more often.  Why don’t you?  Why don’t I?

 

Lots of people ask me these days if I am a career coach or if I know one.  I’ve been tempted to add career coach to my site because in fact, nearly all of my clients have come to me about something related to their careers.   And it seems that’s what people are looking for these days.

But I hesitate to change things because I consider career to come under the banner of life coaching.  And the way I support people looking for a job or career change is the same way I support them in other things.  I’m not as a consultant with a specific plan for how someone should look for a job.  I come at it from the perspective that a career/job should fit into a client’s whole life and so the client, not me, has to be an integral part of designing a search strategy.

So what do I do?

  • I’m there to listen;
  • Offer different perspectives…it’s sometimes hard to remember that there are different ways of looking at situations;
  • Hold the client accountable for what she says she’ll do (no, not that!);
  • Push him to step out of his comfort zone if it might mean getting what he really wants (not that, either!);
  • Be a cheerleader…not with pom poms, but someone who sees your potential reminds you of that.

And my clients keep getting jobs…good jobs despite the dire economic reports about hiring.  So, yes, I’m a career coach, a parenting coach, a relationship coach, a get-your-ass-in-gear coach…a life coach.