Learn How to Set Your Boundaries + A Free Boundaries Cheat Sheet!

Ok…. wait. Don’t close the page. I know boundaries can be a scary word to a lot of people. We hear about the importance of putting boundaries in place… Then for some reason or another we don’t follow through with it. Why does even thinking of boundaries frighten so many of us?

It may be because some of us like to identify ourselves as “givers” or “nice people” who would do anything for anyone. This isn’t bad, but when we give to the point of being drained or we give to others till our cups are empty, then we get to a point where we start to feel bitter about it.  This can happen so slowly that we don’t even realize it is happening, until you realize… 

You avoid certain friends because you don’t have the energy.

You start isolating yourself from others because you’re drained.

You dread Monday morning and count down the hours till Friday afternoon.

Sound familiar?

Just say no

In our society, we are taught that we need to give selflessly to be liked. At the same time, we are taught that if we say “no”, or set boundaries, it’s selfish and rude. When you’re everything to everyone, it’s exhausting! That is why so many of us give until we burn out. We become apathetic and give out of obligation instead of desire. This is a very soul sucking place to be! The thought of saying no to friends and family, the mere mention of taking time for yourself rather than being selfish is overwhelming, especially if we have dedicated our lives to being everything to everyone. I call it a “giving addict.” We feel that we will be seen as selfish, friends will abandon us and that we are not good enough. The negative dialogue takes over. We muster the strength and continue to give more and more and betray ourselves more and more.

How I recovered as a giving addict

Hindsight is 20/20! I was like this with my family and friends, but especially with my career. Often I chose to allow my work to dictate my life. I would leave my work cell on and respond to clients’ calls in the evenings and on the weekends. There would be days where I would realize when I got home that I hadn’t eaten or taken a break all day. But I continued to do it again the next day. My ego would say “my clients need me…I have to be there for them. What kind of worker am I if I’m not available?” Most evenings I would be so exhausted, I would crash on the couch trying to recuperate, and weekends were a write-off, I was too worn out to do anything. I needed to recharge!

My wakeup call came too late! When my husband passed, I started to see all the things I had missed out on. He always wanted to do things on the weekend…. take little excursions, go camping, socialize with friends and family or go on dates. I was always too tired and burned out from my work that the thought of having fun… just seemed like more work!

I missed these opportunities and special times with my husband because I was not able to set boundaries around work. I learned and I now know how important boundaries are!

Not only did I lose out, I also robbed my clients of the chance to figure things out on their own. I stole from them the opportunity to grow and learn. So really it was a lose-lose! Now I have boundaries in place, I take care of myself, I honour my feelings and I do things because I want to, rather than feeling obligated to (most of the time) and I have people in my life that support those boundaries!

You can have this too!

All it takes is total honesty with yourself about what you will and will not accept. You need to feel good about putting boundaries in place. This is definitely a process. Our culture has deeply ingrained the need to please in us. It takes awareness, patience and a lot of self-love to get through to the other side of a boundary-friendly life. When you do start moving in this direction, you’ll be rewarded! You will regain energy, love yourself more, and people will offer more support than you envisioned! Sounds good, right?

The first step is awareness. Recognize where in your life you need boundaries. Where do you give too much of yourself? Listen to your internal voice and determine whether you feel motivated by “should do” or “have to do”. If you feel heavy and dreadful, then these are good clues that you need boundaries in place. There are some things in life that we choose to do because they need to be done, (i.e. laundry or dishes for me). These become the exceptions to your boundary rules.

Ready to take that first step?

Get with yourself and recognize where you are betraying yourself and giving out of obligation or guilt Start valuing yourself and get ready to set some boundaries.

Get TSW Life Coaching’s free printable boundaries cheat sheet here!

 

How to embrace the grief cycle and move forward.

The bad news is that the grief cycle is a natural process that we must all go through when we suffer a loss.

The word “loss” is even subjective. Too often we are scared to admit that there is some grieving that has to take place, which we may reserve for when someone dies. But loss applies to many aspects of our lives. It can be felt when we lose a job, lose a relationship or lose our state of health and of course when we actually lose a loved one. Whatever the loss is, the grief cycle is present. It is well documented that grief has stages. We can go through the stages moving backward and forward throughout them, depending on what we are processing at the time. The following are some tips that you can use to help you in the grief cycle so that it doesn’t consume you.

No regrets!

When my husband passed, this was one of the great pieces of wisdom that was passed on to me. When we live with regrets, the shoulda, coulda and wouldas, we get stuck in a cycle of self abuse and grief. Not fun! Saying “no regrets” reminds us that we are all imperfect, we are all learning constantly and we all make mistakes. Give yourself a break and recognize that your “mistakes” are actually just opportunities to learn. Yes, there are things that you could have done differently, recognize and acknowledge them. But you also have to recognize you can’t go back and change them but you can learn from them and move on.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is huge! We need to come to a place where we can forgive not only the others involved, but also ourselves. When I start to really get entrenched in the grief cycle, especially the anger stage, I remind myself that forgiveness is what I need. It is important to honour the stage that you are in but recognize that it’s not healthy to stay stuck in it. Forgive yourself for having angry thoughts and realize that it is natural. Forgive the other person for their part and note you both were doing the best with what you had at the time. If you are struggling with this one I find it helpful to keep repeating to myself “I forgive myself for ….” and “I forgive (name) for ….”.

Honour your feelings

The grief cycle is a whirlwind of emotions. One minute you could be laughing at memories, the next crying and feeling overwhelmed. Honour this! You are entitled to your feelings no matter how rapidly they may change or not. It’s important to recognize them and give them space to move through you. Oftentimes we get so fearful of them consuming us that we push the emotions aside and, like a child throwing a tantrum, they are sure to get louder and stronger if we ignore them. One thing I do is acknowledge the feeling. If  I am feeling angry, then I take a deep breath and breathe into the feeling and eventually it passes. I make sure to really feel into it.  Lastly, I honour the fact that it is a natural feeling and that I am completely normal for having it. This process allows me to honour the feeling so that it doesn’t consume me and my thoughts.

Be grateful!

This one can be difficult when we are in a place of suffering, but I believe there is always something to be grateful for, no matter how small. Personally speaking, after my husband passed, I have been so grateful for so many great things that have happened, not to mention being grateful for having him in my life, no matter how short a time frame that was. I often find myself appreciating certain characteristics about him and all the memories that I hold so dear. Showing gratitude is something that can bring me out of the darkest funks!

Recognize your strength!

You are strong, you are coping and you are doing your best! I know when I was going through the loss people would always comment “You are so strong,” however my internal dialogue was “I am not, I’m barely functioning.” Looking back now I was and I continue to be strong, we all are! Some days the strength is just getting out of bed, sometimes the strength shows up as moving forward. Either way, it takes strength to survive and just show up in life. Recognize this. You are a warrior!

Keeping these things in mind will help you move through the grief rather than getting stuck in it! The grief cycle is one of those things that is unique to everyone; we process it in our own time, in our own way and that is completely normal. So remember –  be kind to yourself, honour the process you are going through and recognize you are strong just for showing up!

What is a life coach? All The Answers You Need

What is a life coach

What is a life coach? All The Answers You Need

Life coaching is one of the new hot terms that is floating around out there. If you have found yourself hearing the words “life coach” and wondering what is a life coach, you’re not alone. It’s meaning can be a bit of a mystery and that is because it is so relatively new and growing momentum. Here’s the answer, along with a few other details that may arise when you wonder, ‘what is a life coach?’

A Life Coach is Not Your Boss

When I tell people that I am a life coach, especially people who know me professionally, I get the response: “You will be great at that, there are a lot of people out there who need to be told what to do.” I then must correct them, because a life coach is not there to tell you what to do in your life. Why would somebody else presume to know what you need in your life better than you?! True coaching doesn’t tell you what to do. Rather coaches listen for your wisdom to come shining through.

What wisdom?  That’s why I’m here!

In the coaching relationship, a trusted, nonjudgmental space is created for you to speak your heart. During that conversation, the coach notices body language, listens for patterns, beliefs and perceptions. They then feed the information that they are noticing back. They help you tap into the wisdom of your body and mind. There is an underlying belief in coaching that you are a unique individual who innately knows what you need. In this relationship, you are asked powerful questions that can help you really get to a deeper understanding of yourself. This process is so powerful because few of us are truly heard. It is immensely powerful to be truly heard and hear your wisdom being fed back to you. This is where true change is possible. You are not getting advice or being told how to fix things, you are finding out what you feel you really need.

What is a life coach

So why can’t I do it on my own?

When we are in our own heads, it is difficult to truly hear ourselves. Our wisdom is hidden beneath self-judgement, shame, blame and judgement. All of these cloud us from really hearing what our says. Think of your intuition metaphorically as a pebble dropping into the ocean. It is a small ripple in a big space. It takes someone who truly listens for that ripple and teases it out from the surrounding waves. If you have ever practiced mindfulness or meditation, then you are aware that our minds are constantly going. That is why it can be difficult to hear that intuitive message. In the coaching relationship, your coach will help you tune into that intuitive sense to really tap into the wisdom that we hold in our heads and our bodies, and will provide you with the tools that can help you tune into it on your own.

 

So, what is a life coach, like a friend?

A coach may listen to you like a friend but they are trained to listen past the words and really notice and hear what is being said. Also, unlike a friend, a coach has no attachment to a result. Think about it, if you were talking to your best friend about moving across the country, they would have personal feelings and reservations because they care about you and, although they want what is best for you, they don’t want you to move away. A coach has no attachment to the outcome. They truly are a clean slate who is just listening to hear the wisdom and asking the powerful questions to help you get the clarity you are looking for.

Is it like therapy?

Therapy and coaching are very different. Although both listen, a therapist and a life coach  play different roles. Coaching is focused on action and accountability; it is forward looking. Therapy, on the other hand, focuses on fixing emotional hurts stemming from the past. Generally, in therapy the end goal is feeling better, although this generally happens in coaching too. In coaching, you will also have actionable outcomes related to the issue. Coaching does not focus on healing the past. Rather, it notices if past beliefs, patterns or perceptions are affecting your current situation and gives you the tools to change the things that aren’t working. There is an important place for therapy in emotional healing, but if you are looking more at the present and into the future, coaching would probably be a better fit.

What is a life coach

All the answers you need!

What I have learned from both being coached and coaching is that we truly do have an inner knowing. When I get coached, I am always pleasantly surprised at the wisdom that comes flooding out of me, especially when I have been wrestling with something for a while on my own. Suddenly in a session – BOOM! Everything I have been struggling with comes flooding out- it really is remarkable! Our minds and bodies know exactly what we need. We just need to tune in to hear the message and really learn to trust ourselves. So all the answers you need… are inside of you! You just need the tools and the skills to be able to hear the message and motivation to move forward. That is where coaching comes in. Your curiosity brought you to this blog. Take it a step further and book your free consult to get a better understanding of the benefits of coaching.

Trust Yourself, you have the Strength and Wisdom!

Want success? Add these 5 things to your 2017 resolutions list.

Resolutions List Inspirational Image

The  New Year has begun, and like me, you probably have a few goals on your resolutions list for 2017. On New Years Eve, you vowed to yourself this year you are going to follow through, just like the beginning of every year.

While that’s a great spirit to have, most of us get caught up with life and find it hard to follow through on our resolutions. Then, we start on a self-destructive pattern of failing, beating ourselves up, failing more and a lot more negative self-talk that makes us lose complete site of our resolutions list.

This year, you can have success with your resolution by starting off right, with 5 must-have things for setting your resolution!

1.Set a clear goal!

Make sure the goal is clear by answering ‘what is it that you really want?’ Ask yourself some clarifying questions:

  • What will this change do to enhance my life?
  • What does it look like, feel like to have achieved the goal?
  • What changes will I need to make to achieve this goal?

Really let yourself day dream about what this resolution will mean for you and your life. For example, if losing weight is your resolution, write down how much, by when and what size or other characteristics you want to be. Envision what losing weight looks like to you and paint a vivid mental image of what your goal will feel and look like.

Resolutions List Step By Step

2. Take it one step at a time!

Now that you have a clear picture of what you want, figure out the steps on how to achieve it. Make sure you have actionable steps that you can reach. A lot of the time we rush in and push ourselves to hard at the beginning and then end up giving up on our goal because it’s too overwhelming.

In January every year, the gym is packed.  New members flood in the first week, then slowly start dropping off.  It usually takes about three weeks until the crowds start thinning. If you start slow and reasonable, you will have more success. Instead of throwing yourself into a 1hour-7 day a week workout schedule, try building up to it. The first week go 2 times, then increase to 3, etc. Whatever it is that you have planned for yourself, break it down into manageable steps.

3.Reward yourself!

With your resolutions list broken down into manageable steps, use these steps to acknowledge your achievements.  Too often we are so focused on the end goal that we forget to congratulate ourselves on the steps we have taken towards that goal.

If we don’t recognize our achievements who will? There are many ways to recognize and congratulate yourself on your  success, big or small! You can:

  • Keep an achievement journal
  • Write yourself post-its with your successes
  • Share achievements with a friend
  • Congratulate yourself in the mirror.

I think we all fall short on this one a lot of the time, but it is one of the most important things! Be your own cheerleader!

Resolutions List Fireworks

4.Reevaluate your resolutions list regularly!

Along with recognizing your achievements it’s important to have an honest check in with yourself about your goals. Ask yourself:

  • Are these steps working for me?
  • Is this still important to me?
  • Is there something more that I want to add to this goal?

Life is ever changing, so make sure your goals are as dynamic as you are. If something in life has changed, which it inevitably will, adjust to continue to reach your goal. Maybe you have had success and need to set the goal post even further. Schedule a time every couple weeks to evaluate your goal and your progress, then readjust what is not working. Take the time to give yourself an honest check in!

5. Try kindness!

The way we treat ourselves is often way worse than how we would ever treat another. We judge, criticize, shame and blame ourselves. The negative self-talk is a detriment to achieving our goals. Many of us feel that if we are kind to ourselves, we won’t be motivated. We feel that if we give ourselves positive caring words of encouragement then we will just become idle. We have this belief that beating ourselves up will push us to excel.

Think about it have you ever had a boss who was hypercritical and found fault in everything you do… Did you feel motivated? Would you ever try to encourage a child to learn something new by criticizing and degrading them? Of course not, so we shouldn’t do it to ourselves. Try kindness and see what happens!

Whatever you are aiming for in 2017, these 5 steps can help you achieve the goals on your resolutions list. I use them all the time when I am working towards something and find them essential to success. Best of luck to you in reaching your resolutions!

Let’s make 2017 an epic year!