My Blog

Perseverance or Punishment?

One of the values that many of us hold is perseverance, which is defined as steadfastness in doing something despite delay or difficulty in achieving success. This is a value that can be very beneficial in life, but is there a point where it can move from being a positive to a punishment?   When we value perseverance, we don’t give up, we challenge ourselves to stick with something when it is not easy, we push through the difficulties to achieve success. This is positive, right? We all know someone, or maybe we are the one, who keeps trying and doesn’t give up. I know people who have stuck with a job, despite not feeling they are achieving things, they tell themselves things like “It will get better, keep going! You will achieve success.” And others who are in relationships that are less than they desire and, same thing, they tell themselves “Just keep going, keep trying it will work out.” This optimistic, loyal attitude can get you far in life for sure, so what could possibly be the down side of it? The other side of perseverance could be struggle, settling, pushing and conflict. That is not so positive. It sounds more like a punishment than a value. So the question is, when does perseverance move from a positive to a punishment? In my experience, it all comes down to the motivation and the reasons for the steadfastness.   Let’s look closer at the two examples above. First, the job. Sure, you are challenging yourself to stick with the job you are being loyal to the organization. You are possibly learning, growing new skills, you are being a good employee, you are contributing, you are employed doing something that you are passionate about (maybe not all the time), but most mornings you are happy to go to work. The flip side of this if you are settling for something that doesn’t excite you and stresses you out and the rewards of achievement are not coming, but you continue to stick with it because you are employed.  Both of these descriptions are two sides of a coin. And the difference is the motivation behind your perseverance. So, are you telling yourself “Just stick with it because you want to learn and grow”? Or “Just stick with this because you should be able to do this, you should be better than this”? Are you staying at the job because you want to be loyal or because you are scared people will judge you for leaving? Are you persevering because you are excited about the challenge or are you doing it because you are a failure if you don’t? The energy and self-talk behind the two are very different. If you are staying in the job because you are a failure if you leave, you should be doing better, people will judge you and you have to because it is a job, then guess what? Your perseverance has turned into a punishment. I am sure you can recognize this person in your work place. They are the ones who look completely unhappy and they seem to be carrying a thousand-pound weight and they most likely are pretty negative! Yuck! If this is what is keeping you in your job it’s time for some serious self-evaluation! On the other hand, if you are truly persevering then you are excited about the challenge, committed to figuring things out, you are challenged and enjoy your work and the thought of future achievements excites and inspires you. If this is the case, you are in a good space you and your value of perseverance is serving you well! Looking at the relationship example, I am sure you can all recall a couple you have known who you think should not be in a relationship, or maybe that’s you! Same thing as above, if you are staying in that relationship because it’s important to you and you truly love this person and want to grow together, then great! It’s your perseverance that will help you make it through the difficult times. If, on the other hand, you are staying in the relationship because there may not be anyone else out there, or being in an ok or crappy relationship is better than being single, or you should be able to work things out, then you are punishing yourself!   Unfortunately, most times when our perseverance is a punishment, it takes us leaving the situation to realize that we were not really as happy as we thought. I have heard countless times “as soon as I left and was away from the situation for a little while I realized the toll (the job or relationship) was taking on my life. I feel healthier, less stressed out and just around all happier.” I have said those exact words myself! So, if you are wondering if your value of perseverance is actually a punishment ask yourself “Why am I persevering?” The answer you get will tell you! If you are sticking with it because of fear, or self-judgement then it’s no longer perseverance, it’s punishment. If you do find you are punishing yourself, leaving the situation doesn’t have to be the only outcome, sometimes all you need is a change in perspective and you will switch your punishment to perseverance.

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Why Everyone Deserves a Coach!

What I gained from coaching is beyond my wildest expectations. If you have read my story then you know that I looked into coaching after my life was turned upside down after my husband passed away. When I first signed up for the coaching course, I never expected or could have imagined how it would change my life. I went into it with the desire to support others, but I never realized how much it would have, and continues to, support me on my journey. I can’t say it enough, I think everyone deserves a coach! I don’t say this because I think everyone is broken, rather I believe we all have areas of our lives where we are not shining our brightest! It may not be that drastic and you may not necessarily be suffering, but why have fried bologna when you can have filet mignon?! What I mean by this is I see a lot of people surviving in this life, settling for a good life when they could have a fabulous one. And this has been my experience with coaching. It took the complete upheaval of my life to help me find the courage and the strength to decide I wanted and deserved a fabulous life. Until you have experienced it, and I recommend you do, it is hard to explain how coaching changes your life, but it does! When I first was coached, I went into it thinking “I am self-aware”, “After years of working in the human services, I have a lot of skills”, and “Short of magically returning my life to my level of happiness before my husband passed, there is not a lot that can change”. Boy, was I wrong! First of all, I couldn’t even fathom that my level of happiness could be higher, much higher! Second, the journey that coaching has taken me on is one that is challenging, eye opening and so rewarding. I couldn’t even imagine I would be where I am now and my journey is not over! Every time I get coached I learn more, grow more and gain a better understanding of myself and how I show up in my life! I know this may sound all ‘sunshine and roses’, but trust me there are storm clouds. What I have gained from coaching is a way to handle those difficult times with strength, trust and the ability to listen to my inner wisdom, that guides me always! I have learned that I am fully capable of handling what life has to throw at me. This does not mean that I live it all the time, but how I used to cope compared to how I cope now is totally different. In the past, if a storm cloud rolled in I would go into my head and catastrophize the whole thing, I would over think to the point of obsessing at times. Sound familiar? Even after the storm had passed I was still thinking and recycling through fear, shame and thoughts of how I should have or could have done better and then I would ruminate on this for a while, sometimes weeks! Then, when another storm cloud showed up on the horizon I would go into hyper drive trying to control the situation and reliving the last storm cloud, in mind and body. Holy anxiety producing! This is a stark difference to how I handle storm clouds now. I am now able to enjoy the day until the cloud comes, rather than living in fear it may appear and being vigilant about checking the horizon for it! So when they appear – and they do still appear –  that is life. I take a deep breath, brave the storm and trust that it will pass. I use the skills I have gained to weather the storm, and at times find myself enjoying the show. Once it has passed, and it always does, I can be grateful to the storm for all it provided; clearing out the old, shining the light on potential areas of growth, and providing much needed sustenance to blossoming seeds. Now, I want to be perfectly transparent. There are still times when fear and old patterns show up. They have been there for years and they were in place for a very real (perceived) reason. The difference is, now with the skills I have gained, if I do fall into old patterns I can recognize and adjust so they are not nearly as paralyzing as before and don’t last nearly as long. When I feel really stuck then I reach out to my coach for further support. Based on my experience, this is why I believe everyone deserves a coach! Everyone deserves to realize their potential and everyone deserves to fully shine! You don’t have to be in dire straits to reach out for support from a coach, instead you simply have to have the curiosity to get to know yourself intimately and have a desire to take your life from good to fabulous! I wish I would have realized the power of coaching much earlier in my life, as who knows where I would be now. I am just grateful that I have the support and skills to live my life to the fullest!

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3 Ways to Increase your Confidence, Right Now!

Confidence is something I think we all struggle with at times. I know I do! This can be especially true if your confidence has been shaken from one of the 5Ds. We all have our areas of our lives where our confidence is low. I know there are areas of my life where I show up and am extremely confident and there are other areas where my confidence leaves much to be desired, and it takes effort on my part to increase it. Here are three strategies that you can use right now, to increase your confidence! 1. Body Language Our bodies send our messages to others and to ourselves. In fact, 55% of communication is communicated through body language. That means no matter the words we are using, if our bodies are communicating something different that is the message that is being received. Some simple tricks to show that you are confident are making eye contact, standing tall and smiling. When we stand tall, look people in the eyes and smile it sends the message to the other person you are confident. This is also true of the message you are sending to yourself. Think back to the last time you were feeling less than confident. I am willing to bet you were doing one or more of these – your shoulders were slumped, your gaze was looking down, and your face was probably neutral or sad looking. When we carry this energy, we send the message to ourselves and others we are not confident. Give it a try right now, sitting where you are slouch your shoulders, stare at the ground and frown. Notice how you feel! Now lift your shoulders, lift your head and smile. Notice the shift in energy and thoughts now! See the difference, so even when we are feeling less than confident try changing your body, something this simple can lift your confidence! 2. Own your feelings! In my opinion, one of the most victimizing things is when we don’t own our feelings. I can relate when I catch myself saying things like “this person makes me angry” or “that situation makes me sad”.  Look at the language! I am blaming my feelings on the situation or the person! Now I understand that the other person’s actions were upsetting but when we say someone makes us feel a certain way, this puts us in a no-win situation. First, if someone literally made you feel something that means that you are powerless to change it, you had no choice is that the case? No. We have a choice, no one can make you feel anything. Think about it, we are choosing to react to something the other person has done or said; they didn’t make us feel that way, that’s impossible. It is as if I were to tell you to be angry right now, are you going to be angry? If someone could make us feel a certain way, then that is saying they control us and we are simply a puppet of their will. Is that the case?! Second, when we blame our emotions on another or on a situation, that leaves us helpless to change them. If I say it is someone’s fault, then that means I can’t change it! If they made me angry, that implies they are the ones who must fix it. This totally leaves you out of situation. On the other hand, if we own our feelings “I feel angry because (so and so) did (something)”, I am owning the feelings and now have the power to choose whether to stay in the emotion or not. I am taking responsibility for myself, and that is empowering. This may just seem like semantics, but it is a change in thinking. It is a shift from being a victim to owning our emotions and recognizing we have a choice, and when we can do that we are more confident!   3. Listen to your self-talk! What messages are you sending to yourself? Are you critical or are you compassionate? When you make a mistake (and we all do), do you tell yourself “Good try, I’ll get it next time” or do you beat yourself up with critical judgmental statements like “I should have known better” “I always screw things up”? When you look in the mirror do you say “Hi beautiful” or do you scrutinize yourself “Oh I have bags under my eyes” or “Oh look at those wrinkles”? If you are like most of us we are extremely hard on ourselves and we like to beat ourselves up. Most times the messages we send ourselves are self-defeating and honestly quite nasty. How can we be confident when we are beating ourselves up? I know for me, I am my own worst critic! When you notice you are being critical towards yourself, give yourself some love, show yourself compassion and change those messages. It can be that simple! When you catch yourself saying something negative, change it! Send yourself a positive self-affirming, self-promoting statement. When practicing this, be patient with yourself. Our brains are hardwired to notice the negative and we have been participating in this type of self-talk for many years. Give it time, it will come! If you start practicing these three simple steps right now to build your confidence, you should start to notice a difference. I know the more I practice, the more my confidence increases and that is an amazing feeling. Of course, at first it may feel like you are just going through the motions, but practice makes perfect. You are most likely trying to change patterns that have been in place for years!

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Choosing Gratititude

It is well documented that having an attitude of gratitude is an essential component to living a positive life. I completely agree with this and I have experienced the power of choosing gratitude, however difficult it feels at time.   Creating a gratitude practice can be hard especially when you are completely entrenched in the grieving process. Before my husband passed I was aware of the importance of creating a practice of gratitude, although to be honest struggled to keep up with a daily practice. It was kind of like flossing, I knew it was important but I wasn’t suffering because I didn’t do it, so it kind of fell by the wayside. When my husband passed, I found myself in the depths of grief and having (no surprise) some really bad days where I was just existing. This was difficult for me as I have always been a ‘look on the brighter side, PollyAnna Sunshine’ (as my husband used to call me) because I could always find the positive. This was my biggest challenge now… I was struggling to find the positive. There were bad days, days when I didn’t want to get up and felt like a walking zombie. And these are the days that I realized I NEEDED to work towards finding something positive, the first step was gratitude. So I started a daily (well mostly) practice of gratitude. Each night, I would challenge myself to come up with at least 5 things that I was grateful for that day. Some days it was a big struggle I would think and think and think about things to be grateful for and ended up with simple things like “I am grateful for sunshine”. I also found that some nights I would be repeating some of the same things as I did the night before. But I persevered and tried not to judge myself, the important thing was that I was doing it! The more I practiced, the easier it got. I started noticing I was incorporating gratitude into my everyday thoughts. I would start to notice and vocally recognize things that were happening that I was grateful for while they were happening. The more I noticed it the more they seemed to appear! It was like when I opened up to gratitude all of a sudden I could see the many things I have to be grateful for. This alone was huge, suddenly my world seemed less dark. I then started turning the practice towards difficult situations and seeing what I could be grateful for in that situation. Wow, what a difference that makes! What an amazingly powerful change when I could switch my perceptions. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of a situation I was now looking for what I could be grateful for. This change in thinking allowed (and continues to allow) me to weather life’s trials and tribulations a little easier.   I am now at a place where I can see both sides of the coin, I now can say I am so grateful for my experiences, good and bad. For me this such an empowering place to be. I don’t feel like a victim of life’s offerings, my perceptions have changed, I can see there is a bigger picture and I feel that life supports me. I think it’s important to add: Being grateful does not mean that I am happy with every circumstance that happens in my life, there are still crappy things that happen, that I am upset about and I don’t just push these aside, but now I can take a more balanced view of them and instead of seeing just the negative I see how I can be grateful for some aspect of that event. It’s truly remarkable the transformation that I recognize in my thinking; all from a small practice of listing 5 things to be grateful for each evening! I guess it is like any other skill it just takes practice and repetition to train your brain. And in my opinion this is so worth the effort. The power of gratitude has been a blessing to me. I encourage you to try this one simple thing and see the world of difference it can make in your life, I would love to hear about it!

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Note to self: You’ve got this!

It has been a year since I had a life changing experience. Well, let’s face it, the last 2 1/2 years have been life changing but this change was of my own choosing and so empowering! What I am talking about here is the day I cliff dived in Hawaii! Now, for some of you this would seem simple-not scary at all, and for others this would seem quite crazy. I think I sat somewhere in the middle. I would sway from one side to the other, depending on what was going through my head. No matter what side you lay on, fear is associated with doing it. So why I chose to do it was exactly that. I had felt after my husband’s sudden passing; my life was now a life surrounded with fear and feelings of overwhelm and helplessness. Fortunately, I have a lot of tools in my toolkit to help so the feelings didn’t often take me over and would pass like waves, some bigger than others. Nevertheless, I had a strong desire inside me to mark the beginning of my new life with something big, something almost ceremonial. Enter cliff diving! Not sure where the thought came from but once it was planted, there was no stopping me. I was determined I had to do it! We arrived at the beach in Hawaii and I looked at the cliff. It looked BIG! It looked intimidating! I stood there for a moment questioning my decision – Do I really need to do this? Is there some other ceremony I can do to signify my new life? I battled with myself for a few moments but the answer was quite clear to me – I did not want to live in the shadow of fear! This ceremony was my way of taking some power back, power that I had given away to fear. I NEEDED to do this no matter how scary. So, I headed across the beach determined I was going to jump! I came up to the black lava rocks that I needed to climb to get to the top. This was step one of my journey. As I stood at the bottom of the rocks, the self doubt flooded in. “You are not a mountain goat you can’t climb this”, said my inner critic. “You are not strong enough to make up to the top!” And so continued the various other fear driven comments. I thanked it for trying to protect me and started to climb. First step – difficult, second step – difficult, third, fourth and fifth – getting easier… Suddenly, I was half way up! I took a break and looked down. There I was, half way up I had accomplished so much already. I had faced my inner demons and I felt as though I was climbing to my freedom. My mom who was watching me later told me “You scaled those rocks like a mountain goat!” I continued the rest of the way up the cliff. Then I hit a roadblock…literally! I had climbed the wrong side, all the other cliff divers swam out and climbed from the opposite side, whoops! I was standing at the top of the cliff just meters from where I could jump, I was so close I couldn’t give up now! To go back down the way, I came seemed defeating, so I needed to find a new path. This became very symbolic for the journey I had been on since my husband passed the road through his illness and the growth we both experienced while he was ill. It was both difficult and rewarding. Like that path, I could NOT go back, that was not an option! So, I pushed forward, down the other side of the cliff back to the ocean and found another way to scale the rocks. Mission accomplished!  Well half of it, the entire time I felt the scariest part would be getting up to the top of the cliff. I am not afraid of water and I had been off diving boards before, plus I am not really afraid of heights so when I got to the top I felt like YES, I did it! Now the easy part!  Boy was I wrong!!! There I was, standing at the top of the cliff literally shaking! I tried all the tools I had to calm the fear: deep breathing, positive self talk… all of them, but nothing was working. My heart was pounding, my hands were shaking, I was in full on fear. Primal fear.  As I looked down over the edge of the cliff, the only though in my head was HOLY SHIT! As I stood there frozen in fear, watching all the other cliff divers, I said to myself “You have been through hell these last couple of years, this is just a cliff! You’ve got this!” All of sudden I became my own cheerleader! Plus, some of the other cliff divers started cheering me on, they were championing me! Looking back on it now, it was amazing that these complete strangers supported me for no other reason than the fact that I was a person struggling!   So with the encouragement of my cheering squad, the determination to move forward and the realization that going backwards was not an option for me, I took my place on the edge of the rock. Shaking like a leaf, butterflies in my stomach I found the strength inside me that I needed to take the step off the rock… to take the plunge. Now I would like to say that I went with grace but what came out of my mouth was “HOOOLLLLY SHIT!” I hit the water and it was the most liberating experience I have had. I looked up to see my cheering squad screaming congratulating messages. But what was more important was the internal feeling of complete empowerment, complete freedom and strength, I had done it. I

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Short Positive Quotes

7 Short Quotes that Get You Through Tough Times I have compiled a list of seven quotes that I re-read when I am going through tough times. Being that there are so many inspirational people out there who have great things to say, it is difficult to choose only seven quotes, but here they are: This quote really speaks to me! When we are at our ‘rock bottom’ we have a choice: rebuild or stay there! This is true both literally and figuratively. It seems that when I am on a bumpy journey in life, I know that something beautiful is coming. So if you are on a difficult road, hang in there! The destination will be beautiful. This reminds me that I can handle life whatever obstacles may come my way. We all have the wisdom and strength to get through! When I read this, I am reminded that we all have the skills and wisdom to cope with everything that life has in store for us. I am reminded that there is always tomorrow.  Sometimes all we need is a new day to get a new perspective. So simple but so true! Challenge motivates us to make changes and sometimes we need to be shaken up to get things moving. Take a look back on your life. The biggest changes you made may have been some of the biggest challenges to get through. This is my quote and it so keeps me grounded. When things seem unmanageable or overwhelming, it is a great reminder to listen to my wisdom and I will make it through. These are just seven of my faves! I hope you find them as inspirational as I do and you find one or more that speaks to you! I am always looking for great inspirational quotes, I would love to hear some of your favorites!

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Three Ways to Love Yourself After Divorce

Going through a divorce is a life changing event! It requires a complete rebuild of your life and the emotional toll can be overwhelming at times. No matter what the specific circumstances of your divorce, one thing you don’t need is to get caught up in self-abusive practices that prolong your suffering and make a difficult situation even worse! Here are three ways you can love yourself after your divorce. Acknowledge your feelings One of the worst things you can do is bury your feelings, this just leads to prolonging your suffering. Embracing your feelings can be scary, but trust me the alternative is worse. A divorce will bring on a flood of emotions, your life has been turned upside down and there is bound to be anger, frustration, hurt, fear overwhelm and numerous other emotions. If we do not embrace these, they are sure to get louder, stronger and more debilitating! SO how do you embrace your emotions? An easy way to start is by simply naming them when they come up. For example, when you start to feel anger, name it “I am feeling angry”. By acknowledging the feeling, it has less power. In fact, emotions only physically last only 90 seconds in our bodies (Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey). This may seem unreal, but what keeps the emotion lasting longer are the stories that we tell ourselves and the messages we send that keep fueling the fire! Acknowledge the feeling without judgement, take a couple deep breaths and let the emotion pass. If you find that you are struggling to let the emotions pass, remember this is a skill like any other – it takes practice! If you are feeling overwhelmed with your emotions or are really struggling with letting them pass, consult a professional for assistance. Forgiveness Forgiveness is HUGE! If we get caught in an internal dialogue where we shame and blame ourselves, we are going down a path of self- destruction. In these types of situations our inner critic is bound to show up saying things such as “you didn’t…”, “you should have…”, “this is all your fault”, “you deserve this” and on and on it goes. Getting caught in this, is helpful for no one! Practicing forgiveness is a powerful tool that you can use to keep your inner critic in check. We all make mistakes, we all wish that we could have done something differently. This is a part of being human, but beating yourself up for it won’t change the past. Forgive yourself, you are human! Along with the forgiveness piece is recognizing that you also have the capacity to learn and grow from these “mistakes”. Identify the lesson you have learned, forgive yourself and move on. It can be as simple as that! Practice self-compassion You are suffering, it is difficult, you need and deserve your own care and compassion! Think about it, if you have ever helped a friend through a difficult time – did you expect them to just get over it? Did you expect them to suck it up and move on? Of course not! You were there to support them and you deserve this compassion too! Come up with some ways that you can nurture yourself. Make a list of activities that bring you joy and vow to yourself to schedule them into your routine. Come up with a practice that suits you as a way of showing care and concern for yourself. Maybe it’s words of compassion stated during meditation time or writing yourself uplifting notes of support and love. Whatever it may be, create a practice that helps you cultivate a sense of compassion for yourself. These tools by no means take away the hardship of a divorce, there will be struggles, it will get difficult at times, but using these tools can make those times a little easier. Using these will help you stay in a stronger state of mind so that you can face it like a warrior. This is one chapter in your life, it doesn’t have to be the whole story! You are in the process of writing your next chapter and, as the author, you can make it however you want it to be!

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A lost job is a won opportunity.

Have you been downsized, lost your job? Understandably, this can be an incredibly difficult time. Most of us spend a large portion of our day and energy on our careers. For most people our careers are more than just a paycheque; our social networks, our personal identity and a sense of pride are all tied to our careers. That is why when we are downsized there is a real sense of loss. When you are downsized the internal demons can rear their ugly heads, questioning our abilities and strengths. Our egos bombard us with abusive language of “you are not good enough”, “you screwed up”, “you failed”. This can be relentless and unless we get a hold of that internal dialogue we can get stuck in a cycle of self-abuse and negativity. If we can get a handle on this, and can start looking at the picture from a more balanced perspective, we can open the door to seeing this upset as an opening to something new and better. From a more balanced perspective we can start to see that maybe it was not as perfect as we once thought! Now that you have some time away, you may start to recognize your life was unbalanced. You were giving too much of yourself to your work and neglecting yourself, your friends, your family. Maybe you notice that you were not being valued in your position, or that you were being underutilized and not given the opportunity to let your strengths shine. Maybe you notice that you were not being your authentic self in that environment or you were suppressing parts of yourself or your values to fit in. This recently happened to a client of mine once she had some time away she quickly realized how much her job had been affecting her in all areas of her life. Her physical and mental health, her relationships and overall wellness were being negatively affected by the position that she held. She didn’t realize when she was in the position, the stress and pressure crept up gradually and it wasn’t till she was out of the situation that she had the space to realize how unhealthy it was for her. Whatever you are noticing you now have an opportunity to make some changes.   You have been given an opportunity to really look at what you want for your future.  Start asking yourself “what is it I really want”? You may realize that you have lost passion for your chosen profession and want to try something new. Maybe you realize that you have had enough of earning for someone else and want to be an entrepreneur. Or maybe you decide that you love your profession and that you just need to find a new company that fits with your values. Whatever the realization, you have been given the opportunity to create career that fits you. Saying all this, I understand finances can be a necessity and you may not have the means to take the time to explore what it is you really want, you just need a job to pay the bills, I get this. You can still seize this opportunity explore what you really want, while finding something to cover the bills for now! In my world of contract positions, I have often experienced losing my job because of lost funding and each time it was devastating. I had put my heart and soul into creating something only for it to lose funding. I mourned for myself and the clients. I, too, heard the inner criticism and would beat myself up: “Had I done more, we would have got the funding”. I would play the shoulda, coulda, woulda game for a while. Once I went through the emotions and got my inner critic under control, I was ready to look forward. After going through this a couple of times, I realized that the more I focused on these unfortunate situations, I was missing out on the opportunity to really experience what was being opened for me. In every instance, what waited for me around the corner was another exciting chapter. A friend of mine has recently gone through a downsizing. As soon as the initial shock wore off and she was able to tame the internal demons, she started to recognize that she had been given an opportunity. She had been given the gift of time! At first, she started taking that time to explore what she really valued. Through this process, she recognized that she had another passion, she was excited about health and wellness and helping others to achieve their personal wellness goals. This was a big change from what she was doing before, but she took the leap of faith and invested in herself and is now working towards a new career which excites her. It is amazing to watch her go through her inspirational journey! She could have got stuck in self-abuse, adopted a negative perspective and just rushed out to get any job but rather, she took her downsizing as an opportunity to grow and really listen to her inner wisdom and now she is working towards a new career that she loves. As difficult as it can be to go through a downsizing, you can choose to change your perspective and see this as an opportunity to grow and create a life that truly excites you!

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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!

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What is a life coach? All The Answers You Need

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. 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. 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!

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