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.

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

Have Courage and Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late

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I attended a memorial service over the weekend. It was very informal being a casual gathering of friends and family. It had an “open mic” format where, through the course of the evening, anyone could step up to the microphone and offer a few words about the departed. A few family members gave their stories early on and then things waned as an awkward silence set in. Eventually, everyone went back to chatting quietly at their individual tables.

After about 30 minutes, a very tiny, timid and teary-eyed woman approached the microphone. In a quiet, but still very audible voice, she started by saying that she was ashamed to be at the service. She went on to explain that she was the departed’s half-sister. (A few gasps went out indicating this wasn’t a widely known relative.) She had never been a large part of this person’s life but, now that she had heard some of the stories, she was begging to hear more. She encouraged others to come up and say just a few words about her sister so that she could learn more about what she had missed from not being more involved in this person’s life.

I thought two things; what guts that took and how this was a classic “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” moment.

We all lost someone over the past week—Maya Angelou. Her insight into courage opened the eyes of many to their full potential.

One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.

I’m sure this woman shows courage in other aspects of her life too but I wonder what kept her from connecting with her sister more deeply when it was something she obviously wanted. I think her initial statement gives a clue. Our fear of rejection and shame often holds us back from pursuing things we want. It isn’t until the need or desire for what we want exceeds the fear that we can pursue our dreams.

If there’s something you’re striving for, whether it’s a personal change or a mended relationship, envision the pleasure of having met your goal and consider the risk of delaying in your pursuit. Put the negative self-talk and the idea of shame aside and have courage. You can succeed but you’ll never know for sure until you try. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

Photo credit: Madame Eleonora / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Feel Like You’re Not Being Supported?

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In coaching conversations around relationships, I often hear the phrase “My (spouse, partner, family, etc.) doesn’t support me.” We want to feel like we can rely on others and that they have our back. Whether it is a simple task or a big life decision, we want to feel like those around us will support us. When someone feels that they are not being supported that often originates from one of three places.

Others are supporting you and you just don’t recognize it.
Everything that happens around us is seen through the lens of our perception. Your family may be supporting you, or believe that they are, and you simply aren’t seeing it. You might be overlooking their efforts or they aren’t registering because of feelings of low worth or poor self-esteem. To counteract this, look at people’s intent as well as their actions. Also, have a very clear (and reasonable) vision for yourself of what it means for others to be supportive.

You haven’t really asked for their support.
You can’t hold a grudge against someone if they didn’t know you were counting on them. Once you have a clear vision of what you’d like from others, you have to ask them. Don’t assume that they’ll know or intuitively pick-up on what you need right now. For example, let’s say you’re starting a new business venture and you really need time to work on a business plan. Instead of getting angry that your spouse isn’t seeing that you need quiet time and isn’t helping keep the kids busy, have a conversation. First, explain what you’re doing and why it’s important to you. Next, be reasonable and specific in stating your needs. “I really need an hour a day for the next week to work on this project. Can you keep the kids busy between 7 and 8 each night so I can work on this please?” (Or whatever works best for the both of you.) The more specific you are in expressing how you would like to be supported, the better the results. Be aware of need creep though. Don’t tell your partner you need X then assume they’ll know that now includes Y and Z too.

You’re really looking for approval and not support.
There’a a difference between support and agreement. A partner can be quite willing to support you in some endeavor but not have full buy-in or agreement. Are you actually looking for someone else’s approval instead of their support? When you make a choice, it has to be based on your own wisdom and experience which is unique from anyone else. Someone else’s experience may not allow them to reach your same decision. You need to understand that your decision is yours to make and you can’t rely on the approval of others. Trying to force someone to agree with you to gain their approval will be both fruitless and frustrating and can greatly strain a relationship.

The people that love you and care about you really do want to be there for you. It’s important that you let them know exactly what you need. If you’re surrounded by people that really don’t care to support you then realize you can’t make them. Draw up your internal strength and courage and forge ahead in your decision—and maybe add some new people to your life that share your vision.

Photo credit: FUNKYAH / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Your Change is About You

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We all need to change at points in our lives. Some changes are more urgent than others.

I work with a lot of individuals that realize their health and well-being are suffering because of choices they have made and they need to make some changes, They may even have reached a point on their own where they have developed a plan of action. They often become stuck at this point though and have a difficult time moving forward.

Some of the more common roadblocks are fear (of failure and success) and feelings of being unworthy of the positive outcome. Often, “it’s too hard” comes up but that’s really just an expression of lack of confidence. The self-imposed obstacle that will most quickly bring about a challenge from me, however, is “It’s too late for me to change.” I’m learning this argument is often raised when there is another person involved. Sometimes people are afraid that their change will alienate their spouse or partner and make them feel left behind. Others feel they need and don’t have their full support.

If you have a spouse or partner that isn’t as supportive as you’d like, here are a few pointers:

  • Clearly explain how the change you’re pursuing will make your life better. Convey how that will positively impact the relationship too.
  • Explain that you’d really like their support and how they can best provide it.
  • Invite them to join you to make the change together, if it makes sense. If they want to join you, great, but you’re not expecting or demanding any change of them.
  • Involve them as much as possible if they’re not participating with you. For example, ask them to hold you accountable for your diet, workout, etc.
  • Celebrate small milestones and goals together.
  • If this is something for which they truly can’t provide their support, then acknowledge that but ask them to at least respect your desires and not detract from your efforts. Find someone that can provide support but make sure that this person isn’t someone your partner would find threatening.
  • Should your partner ever resort to sabotaging your efforts, then consider taking a serious look at the relationship.

The most obvious solution is to work on the change together. If you both smoke, quit together. If you both want to get in shape, workout and improve your diet together. Of course, you can’t force someone else to change. Trying that can cause a rift in the relationship. You also can’t make your success dependent on their level of participation. If you’re making a positive change for yourself, then you’re the only one that can be truly accountable for your success.

Photo credit: jef safi \ ‘pictosophizing / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND