Essence (What makes you “you?”)

essence

Road Trip! The destination for this week is “Essence.” We each have something unique to offer. This core of your being is essential to your purpose in life.

Spend one day with any facade stripped away. Be the REAL you without any care as to what others expect.

When things are hectic and stressful, what brings you back to center?

This week, do something to learn more about your gifts and talents. Read a book, start a journal or take a class.

Let us know in the comments where you’ve gone and what you’ve discovered about yourself.

Joy

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Road Trip! The destination for this week is “Joy.” Quite simply, this is why we’re alive; to create and receive as much joy as possible.

How can you bring joy and happiness to someone else?

This week, focus on activities that are fun and that make you feel happy and fulfilled.

Make a list of positives: your best qualities, things going well in your life, and all of your dreams. Realize, with joy, all the greatness you possess.

Let us know in the comments where you’ve gone and what you’ve discovered about yourself.

Breakthrough

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Road Trip! The destination for this week is “Breakthrough.” We each have the potential for greatness, we just need to break through anything that’s blocking us.

What positive actions can you take this week to move towards a life-long goal?

Having difficulties communicating with someone? Break through the static by really listening to them.

What negative attitudes do you have towards yourself? This week, break through one of these limiting beliefs by acknowledging your talents.

Let us know in the comments where you’ve gone and what you’ve discovered about yourself.

Protection

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Road Trip! The destination for this week is “Protection.” We each need a safe place to retreat and we can also be a haven for others.

Create a special, comfortable place in your home where you can sit and let the cares of the day disappear.

What are some steps you can take to more genuinely reflect your values, protecting your true self?

How can you offer strength to and best serve those you care about?

Let us know in the comments where you’ve gone and what you’ve discovered about yourself.

Discipline

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Road Trip! The destination for this week is “Discipline.” To balance your free, open nature there are times when you need to focus.

How disciplined are you in your life? Where might more focus improve your work, relationships or health?

Be succinct in your speech and complete your tasks efficiently and with purpose.

This week, pay particular attention to details. What did you notice that would normally go ignored?

Let us know in the comments where you’ve gone and what you’ve discovered about yourself.

You can make your relationships flourish!

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My chapter of the International Coach Federation, of which I’m currently President, just held their annual educational retreat called FLOURISH! The educational content was focused around how we can truly flourish as coaches. Of course, as coaches, our ability to be our best reflects right back to our clients. How can we best serve them and help them achieve true greatness and, well, flourish?

Of all of the sessions, the one that stuck with me the most was about how the trusting relationship built between coach and client creates this “sweet spot” in which roadblocks fade away and clients can see the road before them more clearly. (I’m a metaphoric coach…it seems to work its way into everything.) We know from experience though that building trust takes time but there are a few things that can be done to help it along:

Know and accept who you are. It’s difficult trusting others when you don’t know and trust yourself. If you’re constantly questioning your place in the relationship and trying to make space for yourself then there won’t be room for anyone else.

Accept the other person for who they are. If you’re always trying to reimage someone else, you’re basically saying to yourself that they’re somehow not good enough. You won’t trust them and they’ll also sense the nonacceptance which will prevent them from accepting themselves.

Be honest and truthful. This should be a “no brainer” but if someone learns you’re not being truthful, that trust is destroyed. Prevent that from ever happening by always being truthful. Even an uncomfortable truth will always turn out better for you than holding something back.

Know that everyone has incredible value and purpose. You are worthy of the trust of others and that holds for them too.

Keeping these in mind in any interaction, whether with a family member, colleague, coach or client, will help you develop that trusting relationship and allow you and that connection to flourish.

Photo credit: Napafloma-Photographe / Foter / CC BY

Just Do It!

OK, he’s maybe a little……intense? But he’s right. What are you waiting for?! I love this video. It sums up the entire idea of coaching in about a minute.

Set Boundaries with your Employer

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I just read a post on a very respected time management blog about checking into your work email on Sunday to be more productive. Um, NO!

You work hard at showing your value to your employer and you want to be there for others but you also need some boundaries. If you start responding to your work emails on Sunday, over time the boss will start to wonder why you don’t bother on Saturday. Then Friday night. Suddenly, you’re on 24/7 call when you never signed up for that gig.

The need for work-life balance is a real thing. Your employer pays you a check but they’re not the one your kids need to tuck them in at night or your significant other looks to for attention. You also need time to evolve to be the genuine and unique person you’re meant to be. You need time to write, paint, read, create, dream; whatever else you’re meant to do that isn’t part of your day job.

Make sure you and your boss are on the same page as to what’s expected of you outside of normal work hours. If it isn’t spelled out explicitly in your job description, have a frank discussion with them. If you have personal commitments outside of work (and yes, you’re allowed to have a life outside of work) make sure your employer is well aware of your schedule.

If your explanation carries no weight, you always have a choice.

I know of a very successful executive that had been with their organization for years. Towards the end of their career, with a number of years behind them to have shown their worth and commitment to the organization, they needed to adjust their schedule to care for an ailing spouse. They had a new, up-and-coming boss that started questioning their commitment. The new boss couldn’t understand how the employee’s spouse was more important than the organization. Really?! At this point you have to question the direction in which the organization is going when the fundamental concept of family no longer has meaning. This individual made the right choice. They left to live their life.

I’m seeing an alarming trend with my coaching clients where “work” and “life” are one in the same. It seems trite but ask yourself this question; are you living to work or working to live? Working through prioritization exercises and communication tactics, I help people live their purposeful and authentic life. It’s something to which everyone is entitled and it all starts with setting those boundaries at work.

Photo credit: Trois Têtes (TT) / Foter / CC BY-NC

How NOT to be a B**** at Work

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I work with a lot of women in high-powered positions. A common theme that comes out in our coaching sessions is that they’re afraid of coming off as a bitch in the workplace.

It’s an unfortunate reality. Women that are intelligent, driven and have high expectations are often seen as bossy or bitchy in the workplace. It’s amazing that similar individuals that happen to have a Y-chromosome are seen as a powerhouse. I’ve found this to be particularly acute in the high-tech industry where female leaders are rare and the front-line male employees tend to be somewhat socially uncomfortable in their relationships with women. These are broad generalizations but they’ve proven themselves out over the course of time.

Working with these female leaders, I’ve come to respect their dedication and empathize with their frustration. What keeps them from being treated like their male counterparts?

Through the successful outcomes my female execs have reached, I think I may have discovered the key. The secret to not being the bitch at work is to stop THINKING of yourself as a bitch.

This is going to sound over-simplified, but it seems to actually work. Once my clients change their frame of reference from “I’m afraid of being a bitch” (you project what you think) to “I’m a confident, capable and driven individual, just like any of my male counterparts,” magical things start to happen. I don’t know if there’s some actual re-wiring that takes place in their brain but their outward demeanor changes. Instead of being seen as searching for approval or demanding respect for their authority, they simply take charge and get the job done. Their subordinates seem to notice the difference and respond accordingly. I’ve seen really desperate situations get turned around almost overnight with a change in perspective by the female leader.

If you’re a woman responsible for leading unresponsive males, how have you handled the situation? How have you taken the lead without being seen as a “bitch?”

Photo credit: le temple du chemisier / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Use Your Gifts

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It’s not uncommon to receive a gift so special that you’re actually afraid to use it. Maybe it’s a fancy spa set with really nice bath salts or a box of expensive cigars. You think “I’ll save it for a special occasion” or “I don’t want to go through it all, I want to make it last” so the gift sits there in the jar or box waiting for a time that you feel is appropriately noteworthy to enjoy it.

My question is, what are you waiting for? What happens if you run out of time and never get the chance to enjoy the gift? Would the idea of saving it for a “special” occasion seem like a good idea at that point?

I’m enjoying such a gift as I write this and I’m thinking that it might be easier if we make every moment special so we can enjoy our gifts all the time. Or is it the other way around? Every moment becomes special as we enjoy our gifts?

So, I started talking about holiday gifts. Go back and read the title of this post. This is actually a thinly veiled attempt to get you to think about something else with a coming new year. Wait for it….got it? What’s stopping you from using ALL your gifts right now?

Photo credit: Tamurello / IWoman / CC BY-NC-SA