Swim around the Rocks

 

 

 

Habits can be helpful or they can be so automatic that we forget to reflect if we could improve or change a process to make it easier.

What makes us push through the toughest possible path because it is what we have always done? What stops us from trying a different path to see if it might be easier?

I had a dream last night. I love swimming. It feels good, improves my mood and gives my brain a rest while my body gets a great workout.

In my dream the pool was full and in each lane people were just floating in small boats taking up all the space. If I attempted to swim with the boats, I would hit my head, have to stay underwater or just get pushed around by the boats. Even when I asked nicely, the people in the boats were not willing to move for me. So my dream self decided if I wanted to swim I would have to give up on the pool and just go swim in the air.

Dreams are magic. What I discovered was how fun and easy it was to swim in the air. Why had I not tried this before?

If you find yourself pushing through obstacles, consider how you might go around them. How could you avoid the obstacles and make life easier? Is there a path or new idea you could try? Play the “what if” game. What if this might work?

What if someone else has a good idea? How could I make this process easier?

What patterns do you have that might be improved by trying something completely different? In my dream I was free to explore unheard of possibilities. In real life you will benefit by thinking as if anything were possible. Surprise yourself by taking a different path and see what you learn.

 

Make Happiness Top Priority

 

thumb_img_0793_1024What would change in your life if you decided make happiness your top priority?

Edwin Edebiri, thinks that happiness needs to be our default position and has declared himself the Chief Happiness Officer. Listen to his Ted- ex talk here. Happiness as a Default Position
He speaks to a core belief that happiness is a state you deserve to enjoy and everyone can find happiness. I agree that happiness is a state of mind that improves when you pay attention to what does make you happy. What I like about his talk is the idea that self-compassion or the ability to forgive your self is a key component to happiness.
I pulled a few ideas that appealed to me from his talk.

How to make Happiness your priority in life
1. Decide to be happy
2. Smile more and learn to laugh at yourself
3. Create a gratitude list, include what makes you happy
4. Create a list of all the things that make you unhappy and seek solutions
5. Eliminate some things that that contribute to unhappiness
6. Be active and make healthy choices for self care
7. Create a dream list and take actions towards your dreams
8. Play
Is it really that easy to become happier?

There is research that supports that idea of happiness linked to attitude and your focus on need satisfying goals. Remember that these are goals that nourish and support you, not just achievement goals.
Goals that nourish you can be long-term projects that you work on over time. Happiness comes from taking good care of your self in small ways.

What makes me happy?
I have small things that make me happy: hearing a bird sing, riding my bike instead of driving to the store, connecting with people on a summer walk, swimming and a quiet start to the day drinking tea. Consider the small things that you find pleasure in. What does make you feel good? It can be an activity or something you view or appreciate. When you pause at the end of every day and create a gratitude list, it gives you a reason to be happy. In hectic times the only thing we really can control is our attitude.

Look at the ideas above and find what fits your needs. Try one or two of them and see what happens.  Really it can be that easy to enjoy happy moments.
Need some other ways to check your happiness level? Schedule a call with Coach Gwen

Words can be used as Weapons

Words can be used as weapons

Words can be used to shame, blamarchere, humiliate, hurt, discourage and intimidate.

Words used as weapons can create emotional distress even when the intentions are careless instead of deliberate. Words can be thrown out in anger or frustration. Words can be used in a deliberate pattern of verbal abuse. I think we fail to recognize the effect of verbal abuse on our physical and emotional health. We have been told to toughen up and ignore hurt feelings, that we are too sensitive and cannot take a joke.

 

In reality your response or understanding of the intended meaning of words is what counts. If you think you have been insulted or ridiculed: then you have been. Trust your internal instinct on how the words were intended.

Suzette Haden Elgin reminds us, “ That verbal violence is a toxic menace. The majority of illnesses and disorders that develop in the workplace have emotional stress as their direct or indirect cause.” (1.)

Words can be carefully crafted as a verbal attack. Elgin describes here how

to recognize the “Verbal Attack Pattern”.

“The most reliable clue you have to verbal abuse is to listen to how different words are stressed in the spoken sentence. Listen for odd or abnormal emphasis to be placed on words spoken.”

Examples: If you really cared about your health–you would get off the couch and start exercising

What is so difficult about eating healthy? It is so simple any one could do it.

In both these examples the attacker is not interested in your answer.

These words are not used to encourage or support. A verbal attack is meant to injure, blame or shame. You don’t have to apologize or explain when under attack. Here are some short ideas about how to defuse a verbal attack.

The attack will include a bait: Some part of the sentence will attack you personally and expect you to defend against that part of the sentence.

Your best defense is to recognize that attack pattern and ignore the bait.

Instead keep your voice calm and address the situation at hand or agree with something that has been said.

All words spoken are not absolute truths. Just by understanding and recognizing a verbal attack can help you reduce its impact or power to inflict pain. It saddens me to realize how often we accept criticism as our fault without questioning the intention behind the words spoken to us. My hope is to raise awareness of the words we hear and speak. That we focus on how to communicate with sensitivity to others and learn to defuse or deflect words used as weapons. I have gathered many tools and skills over the years as a martial arts instructor and teacher of verbal self-defense. I hope this blog gives you some new ideas and would be happy to discuss your specific situations with a coaching call. Schedule a call with Coach Gwen

Elgin, S. (2000). The gentle art of verbal self-defense at work. Paramus, NJ. : Prentice Hall Press

 

 

How to Save Time

take your seat

 

Would you like to have an extra hour in every day? How would it feel to have plenty of time every day? We all have the same amount of time. We all get to decide how we spend it every day. In reading articles about time management: I found two main areas of focus. One was how to create systems and shortcuts to be more efficient with your time on daily tasks. The second idea was to make deliberate choices on how you spend your time in a way that reflects on what is important to you.

I think the easy logical path is to plan ahead, creates systems, get rid of clutter and make specific to do lists to manage your time. This is frequently the first choice for traditional time management. Best ideas for this area include:

Plan your weekly menus. You will save time and money at the grocery store. This helps you avoid extra trips to the store and you have healthy snacks and lunch stuff ready to go every day.

Cook in batches. Make enough food for leftovers and to freeze for another week.

This gives you an easy healthy option for a busy day.

Get rid of clutter. It is easier to focus when your physical area is clear. No clutter makes it easy to find things, you spend less time searching, moving piles around or repeatedly sorting through things.

 

 

The other time management choice is to stop and examine how you are spending your time.

Here are some questions to help you clarify where you want to spend your time.

  • Are you spending your time on high value activity?
  • Do you find joy in your daily routine?
  • Are there things you want to stop doing or get rid of?
  • Are there areas that that you want to spend more time in?

Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” The choice is yours. You can learn to catch yourself before things catch and entangle you. Try to apply mindfulness — intentional and nonjudgmental consideration — to everything you do, say, and think, before you blindly react.

Instead of keeping an ongoing list of things we should do or need to do. Stop and reflect on what things you want to do that enrich your life and nourish you. Turn your to do list into a “what matters most list”.

Need more ideas on your specific needs around time?

Schedule a call with Coach Gwen

Why I flunked Meditation

I know the value of slowing down, deep breathing and allowing yourself to focus inward with meditation. It gives your brain a rest.  Meditation has physiological benefits of lowering your heart rate and improving your blood pressure. Meditation can be a powerful tool to reduce stress. So ,why do I have trouble meditating? I can only answer that sitting still for periods of time without doing something is difficult for me. I can sit and read, I can sit and make out lists or review my projects for the week. I can sit and have conversations or interact with friends. I can even sit and watch birds or the weather outside- for a little while.

I do have one visualization play list that I use at night. This is a short meditation that I listen to laying down just before going to sleep. This sequence seems to be very effective in signaling my brain that the day is done now I  drift off to sleep. Many times I don’t hear the end of the program.

I firmly believe that finding quiet time to allow your mind to be calm is necessary for refreshing your brain and restoring calm to your overall well being. Sitting still is just not calming for me. I have decided that meditation for me needs to be movement focused.

When my mind is working overtime- I need to move. I walk, I swim, I bike, I stretch, I move. To give my brain a rest, I use physical movement that allows me time to focus on the pure joy of  some type of activity.  I have had great bursts of creativity while swimming. I can let ideas flow while I am physically focused on breathing in the water. I refresh and soak up the energy of nature while hiking in the woods. Even just 10 minutes of gentle stretching or yoga help me end the day with a calm peaceful feeling.

I hope that I have given you some ideas to use when get  stuck or feel like you failed at something. Instead of giving up, turn it around.  Coaching is all about you finding the unique path that works for you. Just like meditation- there is no one coaching program that fits all- each coaching session is based on what works best for you.

Are you a critic or a coach?

I have had clients who feel or believe that pushing themselves harder is the best way to get good results. They strive for perfection and are overly critical of the outcomes even when it appears that they are successful. I recently read a good description of this pattern in Leaders Playbook* by Reldan Nadler. Nadler asks if you are on your side or on your case?

Here are the consequences of being your own worst critic

  • You are never satisfied with your performance-which leads to low self confidence
  • You are disappointed in the outcomes which leads to feeling unhappy and miserable
  • You unconsciously –  treat others the same way you treat yourself- being very picky, negative and never satisfied

All of those results lead to a frustrating cycle with no end in sight. Consider how you could instead focus on learning and ongoing improvement acting as you own coach.

What are the indications that you are acting as your own coach instead of a critic?

A coach would focus on what you learned from the day along with your results. How could you improve is important but not the only factor. A coach is encouraging and challenging expecting your best effort to be something to be celebrated.  A coach expects you to reflect monitor and adjust your actions to keep moving towards your expected goal. As  a coach here are some questions to ask yourself that will develop the habit of ongoing learning.

  • What did I learn today?
  • What did I accomplish today?
  • Where could I improve ?
  • What to I want to focus my efforts on next?

Start by just being aware of how you talk to yourself through the day. Are you realistic or overly critical about your actions?

Check that your expectations and goals are realistic.  Be your own coach instead of a critic.  See how that impacts your feelings and ability to recover and move forward.

 

Inner-Critic

* Nadler, R. (2007). Leaders Playbook- how to apply emotional intelligence keys to great leadership. Santa Barbara: Psyccess Press

Focus your mind on what you want

What your mind focuses on grows. Simple yet very true statement. Think about what is most important to you in life and that area expands. I have multiple lines of business. When I take more jobs in physical therapy- I have a regular paycheck and a planned out schedule.
What happens to my coaching practice? It slows down. So by saying yes to one area, I am letting another area decline. Last year, I purposely limited physical therapy jobs. Guess what? I doubled my coaching practice- just by paying more attention to it. What areas are you passionate about? Can you find them in your current work? Consider how you can do more of those high value things that bring you joy and keep you fully engaged? Look at how you spend your time. Focus on how to feel good about your time spent at the end of a day or week. What areas of life need more of your time and attention? The beginning of the year we all have great intentions on healthy eating and more exercise. Then what happens? Good intentions for positive change get lost within a busy hectic schedule. Consider what is important to you as you make your choices on where and how to spend your time. Small daily actions can quickly give you a sense of accomplishment that keep you moving towards what is near and dear to your heart. These daily or routine habits form the foundation of making larger positive changes.
What actions could you take on a regular basis that would make a difference in your life right now? Nourish yourself by finding and completing those small actions that support your area of passion. Remember when you focus on what you have accomplished – that feeds a positive attitude which supports your confidence that you can accomplish what ever you set out to do.
If you need some support- consider using a journal or finding a coach.
Here is a link to my journal site

You can get a free on line journal to support your own personal growth and development. Using a journal is a great way to focus and sort your thoughts on what you want.

Ideas -listen, learn and grow

If you want your life to change- consider ideas plus inspiration. That concept comes from Jim Rohn. He was a motivation speaker who used stories to create ideas and inspire other people to take action. So where do good ideas come from? First you have to listen. Listen to yourself, listen to others and be open to new information. Good ideas are everywhere if you are looking and listening. Slow down to give yourself time to think. My favorite time of day is early morning before any activity – just sitting with a cup of tea and thinking about what is planned for the day. Set your goal to learn one thing every day. Challenge your brain every day. Absorb what you learn and than apply it to your unique situation. What you focus on grows. I want to keep my brain active and growing- what about you?