Tag Archives: Coaching

Dreams Come True–It Can Happen To You

The year 2010 was a rough one for me.  I was working at a job I loved with a boss I loved, but he was planning on retiring soon, and his replacement was nothing like my current boss.  Also, in early spring my dad at age 90 got sick, and my two sisters and I flew to Phoenix, Arizona to spend some time with him, and access his health.  While there, my dad had a mini-stroke, and lived only three more weeks after that.

The day I was to fly home, I sat in my dad’s hospital room, knowing it might be the last time I see him alive.  I had a 5:00 pm flight out of Phoenix, which would get me home at a decent hour that I could be into work easily the next morning.  Arriving to my gate at the airport a couple hours ahead of my flight, I found that people at the gate were grumbling, and something was wrong.  The gate agent announce that the plane was ready, but they didn’t have a crew to fly out, and we would have a 4 to 5 hour delay. Many people were distraught, and I was one of them.  I couldn’t believe I would be sitting in an airport for the next 4 to 5 hours while my dad is dying in a hospital bed down the road.  The gate agent turned to me and asked why I was so distraught.  I told her about my dad, and she proceeded to give me two vouchers that paid for a shuttle to take me back to the hospital, and to return to the airport.  I arrived to his room.  All the local family had already gone home.  Dad was in and out of awareness, but I let him know I was there with him. He seemed to acknowledge that, and I just sat with him for those hours.  My great boss sent me back to Arizona a couple weeks later.  He was British, and stated that when his mother died, he was not able to go across the pond to be IMG_0162with her.  He wanted me to see my dad again—he even told me to go and not even count it as vacation time.  Just go see my dad.  I will be forever grateful to the kind generosity of my boss, Richard Walker.

When my dad passed away, we went to Phoenix for a “local” funeral service, and then he was shipped back to St. Louis for a 2ndfuneral service and interment with my mom at the National Cemetery at Jefferson Barracks. The day of my dad’s St. Louis funeral was also the same day as my boss, Richard’s, retirement.  I ran by the office to wish him well, and then left for my time of funeral and family.

Coming back to a new boss, who I wasn’t especially excited about, and who I knew wasn’t excited about me, was really difficult.  My PhD Physicist boss was the type who “knew everything” and Human Resources to him was a fluff job.  He even told me that the MBA degree was a nothing degree—and he knew that was my degree.  My new tenure under a new boss was a downhill slide from the beginning.  Since this is not a story about him and our challenges, I will just leave it there.

Early in that year, a business colleague stopped by my office and told me that her company was sponsoring a speaker named John O’Leary, to speak at the local community college to business people in the area. She asked me to attend, and said that his story was 3:19:16inspirational.  I reluctantly agreed.  There was probably only about 30 folks in attendance at this meeting.  This was early in John’s speaking career, and he now speaks to groups of thousands across the world.

John’s story was inspirational, and he asked us who we would be “Jack” for in our lives.  His story has to do with being burned 99% of his body at age 9, and Jack Buck, the Cardinals Baseball Broadcaster came to see him in the hospital, and the small things Jack did for him (small to Jack) were huge things to John that encouraged him to recover and heal.

John’s business was fairly new at the time, and as part of his business, he had a coaching program attached to that.  As I was looking at his website a few days later, I saw the information about the coaching.  I didn’t know quite what it was, but I was curious.  I was now an orphan, and also felt orphaned at work.  I was slightly over 60 years old, and I didn’t have a retirement plan, nor did I know what I wanted to do the day after the next.  I had no plan.  I felt stuck.  I was extremely sad, and I didn’t see much of a future.  So, I pressed the button that requested more information, and I received a call from some guy named Grant in Toronto, Canada.  Grant was the coach that worked for John’s organization, and he explained coaching to me, and what it would cost (choke-choke), and I said okay, let’s do it.

Taking this step shifted everything in my life.  I now had a person who I spoke with on the phone in a one on one session looking at what I wanted my life to be.  The problem was, I had no idea what I wanted my life to be. I just knew that my days were numbered with my new boss, I was single and lonely, I had no idea how on earth I could retire or if I should even retire in the following years.

001 My dreamsI won’t go into all that we did in coaching, but one day on the phone Grant asked me what my dreams were.  Dreams?  Really? Who dreams at 60 years old?  There is nothing left to dream about, and anyway, my dreams didn’t turn out as I expected, so why dream?  Grant wasn’t satisfied with that answer, and he kept pushing me toward thinking of things outside the box.  I blurted out, “It would be beyond cool if I could meet Marcus Buckingham.” Marcus Buckingham is a business author and the leader of the “Strengths” movement—to put it simply, is that we need to help grow our employees’ strengths rather than focus to fix their weaknesses. Their weaknesses need to be managed, but they will always be their weaknesses.  We achieve and excel when we are given the ability to continue to grow and use what we are best at doing.  I loved that idea.  Buckingham had a lot of data behind his statements to show business growth when that happened, and more satisfied employees.

Back to my dreams . . . Grant told me to come up with crazy things on the top of my head that I think would be really cool.  I accepted the assignment, and that evening at home started making a list as I sat in my living room watching TV.

Fast forward to September of 2019.  Okay, actually, fast forward to yesterday.  I am on my computer looking for something unrelated, and in my files I see a spreadsheet labeled, “It Would Be Beyond Cool If.”  There was the spreadsheet I had done in June of 2010. As I looked at those things that I blurted out on the spreadsheet—whatever popped into my head—like personal brainstorming, I was shocked to see what I wrote.

If you want some encouragement in your life.  If you think you cannot have dreams.  If you think you are too old to do anything more, stop right there.  That is what I thought in June of 2010.  But, to my surprise was how many of these “crazy” things I mentioned (and I only call them crazy because I thought they were crazy ideas), had actually happened in these last nine years.

This is my top twenty laundry list of “dreams” that I thought was just that, dreams.  So, here goes the replies to “It would be beyond cool if”:

  1. I went on a fun cruise and had a good time – I had never been on a cruise, but in January 2015, Dennis and I took a western Caribbean cruise and had a wonderful time.
  2. 001 walkersI had a boyfriend – Ha! I didn’t get a boyfriend, I got a husband! That was unexpected!
  3. I lived in another state – last year Dennis and I started living in Arizona for the winter, and this coming year it will be our permanent home.
  4. I could play the piano – just to let you know, not all dreams come true. I do not have the talent for that, and that will probably never happen!
  5. I had tickets to a Cardinal ball game and could go with a friend – Let’s see, I have been to games with Dennis, and I have been to Cardinals spring training games in Florida with my friend, Kim, and after marrying Dennis, with him and my son and grandson. Done!
  6. I could dance – my two left feet says I still have two left feet—Dennis says we should just dance to the left, but I am not yet comfortable with that.
  7. I have good friends I could go hiking with – Dennis and I have hiked in Florida, Missouri, and extensively in Arizona.
  8. I wrote a best-selling book – if I knew what I could write about, maybe that could happen, but I love writing this blog, which is something my coach suggested back then, and I laughed him off. Who knew?
  9. I am a motivational speaker – yeah, that hasn’t happened either.
  10. I bake all I want, eat it, and not gain a pound – that most definitely is dreaming—not happening!001 pool
  11. I have an inground swimming pool – I acquired one when I married Dennis.
  12. I had friends to party with at a lake – Our Missouri home is on a small lake and we have entertained hundreds of family and friends.
  13. I could buy all new furniture – where this came from I don’t know, but our home in Arizona is furnished with all brand new furniture.
  14. I could buy my dream house – we selected a home in Arizona to be built, and selected all the furnishings to become my dream home.
  15. I could do whatever I wanted – Being retired, that is pretty much my life!
  16. I was in a sitcom – this one makes me laugh. My life with Dennis is like a sitcom.  We are goofy as can be and we laugh a lot, and I am sure people who know us think we are part of a sitcom!
  17. I would get a flower delivery – no problem anymore. My husband is good at that.
  18. I won an unlimited shopping spree to Crate and Barrel – this one really struck me as funny. I loved that store back then, and had a few things from there.  Our home is Arizona is almost completely furnished with their furniture and also the majority of my kitchen (dishes, flatware, etc.)
  19. I dated a guy who would cook for me – Hahaha! If I want to die, I can let Dennis cook for me.  He is a terrible cook, but everything else about him makes it okay that he doesn’t cook!001 run
  20. I could run a marathon – I never did a marathon but in 2011, I was looking for a 5k to run, but instead, flew to Arizona, where I ran with my cousin in the Pat Tillman Run which is actually 4.2 miles long—a bit longer than a 5k. With my new artificial hip, I don’t think I want to test that out.

I had not looked at these since they were written in 2010.  What a surprise to see what I thought were crazy impossible things, happened to me, and for me!  Why did I doubt that good things could continue to happen?  Have you ever written down your crazy dreams?  You might just want to do that—tuck it away somewhere, and years later, take a look.  I do have to say that none of this happens magically, but my attitude toward life changed, and moving forward actually fulfilled my dreams.Jeremiah

 

 

 

 

Who’s Crawling In Your Brain?

What do you do when you are lacking confidence?  We all have times we feel unworthy, lack the confidence to step outside our comfort zone to do something new, different, or challenging.  I couldn’t figure out what was holding me back.  Why did I know I could do something, and yet some little small voice was speaking in my head that I couldn’t, or I didn’t deserve more, or I wasn’t smart enough, or not enough of something.  You know those little voices we listen to when we know we shouldn’t?  Those little voices that are the negative feelings we have?  Now, just to make sure we are on the same page, I am not talking about audible voices.  I am talking about the seeds of doubt we have from time to time.  

A few years ago I was working with a life coach.  It was an eye-opening experience.  A coach is not a counselor.  They don’t diagnose and try to fix a person.  A coach is also not a consultant.  They don’t listen to what someone is dealing with, and then come up with a plan for them.  A coach knows that the person whom with they are working really knows the answers, but they need some help unlocking the door.  The coach asks powerful questions that makes one really think through and discover their own answers.

I was working with my coach on some areas in which I wanted to be more effective, but something was holding me back.  Fear!  Yeah, fear, but what did I have to fear?  I gave excuses that I couldn’t do something, and the coach asked me who was saying that to me.  Who was saying that to me?  Well, let me think . . . and I named someone who had a long time ago told me negative things, and my coach said, “____________ is telling you that now?”  Well, no, that person wasn’t even in my life any longer, so why was I saying that?  

That began my journey of those little voices that speak in our brains that says we not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not whatever enough.  One of the coaching exercises we did was naming those little voices.  It sounds odd, but it was pretty amazing.  Some people call them “gremlins,” some use the term “saboteurs.”  I personally like the name “saboteurs” because those thoughts were sabotaging my efforts. At first I didn’t understand what the coach was trying to get me to do.  As we talked about it, I realized I could name these saboteurs, and doing so made me realize that it was ludicrous, silly, and non-existent.  It was playing old tapes in my head that may have been there for years, and never questioning them—just letting them whisper in my ear.

I’m going to share with you who the saboteurs were that I discovered doing this exercise.  It might help you in figuring yours.  Once you can name them, even describe what they look like (be creative), you can realize that they are pretty silly, and wonder why we even listen to them.  That day I identified four saboteurs.  Here they are:

00 worm1, The Worm – The Worm burrows through my brain telling me I don’t deserve any of my heart’s desires, I am not good, I am lazy, I am everything negative and will never be, no matter what I do, deserving of anything good in my life. He brings me to my lowest, makes me feel unworthy and alone. I named him the “worm” because what he does is slimy and yet sneaky–how those thought slither through my brain. This “worm” would work its way around my brain when I was in the midst of something difficult at work, and yet I knew better.  I knew I was capable.

2.  The Church Lady – She is the most conservative lady on earth. She reminds me of all the people who will say bad things about me, how ungodly I must be, how even God 00 church ladydoesn’t like me, how so many things in my life were wrong so I just have to live only with consequences.  It is so easy to judge ourselves harshly and sometimes in ways that God doesn’t judge.  Yet, when we confess our sins to God, he forgives them.  He doesn’t bring them up again.  In fact, Psalm 103:12 says, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”  What does that mean?  When God forgives us, it is forgiven.  It is removed as far away as the east is from the west.  That’s to infinity!  So, if God can forgive me, who do I think I am that I cannot forgive me?  So, I can silence the Church Lady by reminding myself of that verse.  God loves me, He forgives me, he doesn’t bring it up into my face over and over.  He has let it go.  No need to punish myself.

3.  The Professor – The professor is busy telling me how stupid I am, that I cannot remember things, that I pretend to be accomplished, that I have everyone fooled, I am a 00 professorfraud, I just got lucky getting the jobs I got. Everyone really knows how stupid I am and therefore I do not deserve respect.  I was not a great student.  I really struggled being a student.  I think it has something to do with my independent stubbornness.  I’m not a fan of being told what to do and when to do it.  So, sitting in a classroom, and being told to read so many pages, etc. was difficult for me.  On the other hand, I did do what was required of me.  I graduated from high school.  I graduated from college. I even attained a Masters degree—they don’t just give those away if one hasn’t worked.  I also have several professional certifications.  But back in high school, my counselor told me I was not college material.  Even though I successfully completed all this schooling, I think I was allowing her voice to whisper in my ear.  No more!

4.  Rico Suave’ –  This was possibly the loudest of all my saboteurs.  Rico was all men. His looks changed all the time because all men look different. He told me what men like–and 00 Rico Suaveit was definitely not me!  He said I was not pretty enough, not sexy enough, talked too much, not attractive enough, too fat, just no man would want me on his arm or anywhere else.  I felt I had failed in two marriages.  I was damaged goods.  No one could love me or trust me.  I sure didn’t know how to flirt—it’s wonder I had married twice!  I had no confidence in my ability to meet someone who would even consider me a possibility as a significant other.  When I worked with this, I had to really figure out what I was doing.  I knew what I wanted in a mate.  I had a clear criteria by then.  My coach encouraged me to stop listening to this silliness, and just get out there and see if I could find such a person.  I went to the internet and signed up for a dating site.  I had a lot, and I mean a lot of first dates.  Except this time it was different.  I was the one who refused the 2nd date.  I had my criteria, and if I could tell up front this man did not meet the majority of my list, it was a “no thank you.”  I quit thinking it was me that kept this from happening.  It was now me having control of me and what I needed.  I also didn’t take anyone who wasn’t interested as a personal affront.  We all have different taste, and if I’m not their cup of tea, that’s okay.

I learned how to silence these crazy saboteurs.  For me, I had to get to my “God Spot.”  My 00andrea“God Spot” was term I made up in a coaching session where I was searching for a new perspective to a problem.  This term popped out of my mouth, and I realized that it was what I needed.  I needed to feel I was in a “spot” where I felt God’s unconditional love for me.  Because I am feeling this unconditional love, I can use all the gifts, skills, personality, whatever necessary that God has given me, and I don’t have to feel 2nd class, and I can impact others lives.  There is much gratitude when I am in this spot.  I can say to myself, “I know my stuff.  I am enough.”  As I am doing that, being in the light of my “God Spot,” I feel that light narrowing and literally becoming the laser light that hits the saboteur and zaps it, and it shrivels and dies.  And I am free, free to feel the love in this light, free to know that I know my stuff, free to know that I have an opportunity to make an impact, and that I am magnificent as God created me—not second best—because God doesn’t create junk!

When I first started writing my blog last year, that worm wanted to pop up and tell me what a silly idea this was.  I silenced it.  That doesn’t mean I don’t worry about my writing.  I want to connect with people.  I want people to know they are not alone in their struggles.  I want to spread love and joy, and share my life, so you can feel free to live yours and share your life.  I can’t let that worm stop me from writing my blog.  So, I silence that worm and continue writing.  I hope this all made some sense to you. 

What are those voices that rattle around your brain when you are not feeling at the top of your game?  Maybe you should think about it, name them, and when you do, it’s pretty easy to let them go!

title

 

What Does Your Future Look Like?

I hired a coach 2011. I did it on a whim, and it turned out to be a very impactful decision. My coach sat in Toronto, Canada. I met with him weekly on the telephone. I didn’t need him in the room to get the coaching. In fact, I sometimes think that having the coach in the room could be distracting. I had no idea what he looked like. I just knew his voice.

One of the tools we used is called the Wheel of Life. It covers several areas of our lives and we give a score according to our satisfaction with that area, with 10 being the highest and 0 the lowest. These areas were spokes on a wheel, and the 0 was the center of the wheel, with 10 being the outer rim. When we were complete, we would draw a line from score to score. Obviously, we weren’t 10’s on everything, so our circle became lopsided—the wheel was no longer round. That gave us insight on areas we may be coached in to help our wheel smooth out and roll.

One day after a coaching session, I sat down and wrote what a score of 10 would look like in my life. I discovered this document the other day. Here is my list and  what my life looks like six years later.

Physical Environment
00House6 years ago – My physical environment will look similar to what it is today. It will be comfortable as my current home is. My hope and dream is to live by water–pond, lake, river, ocean–don’t really care. I want my living environment to be calm and peaceful, full of joy and laughter.
Today – When I wrote this I had no idea where I would be living just two years later. My home today is bigger than the home I had then, but it is equally comfortable—and it is on water—I have a small lake in the back yard and an in-ground swimming pool. I live in the country in a neighborhood where the properties are large and wooded. It is calm and peaceful here. Our large home is perfectly designed for us to entertain folks. We have had many gatherings, inviting friends and family to enjoy each other and the peaceful atmosphere of our place. This home is full of joy and laughter.

Spiritual
6 years ago – My spiritual life will have me continually in my “God Spot” where I know how much I am loved and cherished by the creator of the universe, and nothing or no one can harm me. I may go in and out of the “cave” but it will be for learning and reflecting.
Today – The term “God Spot” is a term I made up in one of my coaching sessions when I tried to describe my best place to be—knowing even in my hardest challenges, if I remained in my “God Spot” I would remember in spite of these challenges, that God loved me unconditionally, and nothing could harm me. The “cave” reference is when I am questioning so I may not feel the warmth of the “God Spot”, but sometimes I need to be in a quiet place to reflect and learn. This is still big in my life today.

00LearningPersonal Growth
6 years ago – I want to be a life-long learner. I want to continue learning more to expand my personal horizons, and to continue my ability to affect and impact others.
Today – Just because I am older and retired, doesn’t mean I cannot learn. I am a horrible student in the fact I don’t like homework. I am a creative sort, so I love learning with my style. Since that was written, I have made quilts, continue to write so I get better at it. I have traveled a lot and seen many places and learned a lot of history behind them.

Significant Others/Romance
6 years ago – Once I figure this all out, I think I would like to be in a loving and fun committed relationship. The ideal is to find that special someone who I spend the rest of my life with, but I am open to a strong significant relationship without marriage.
Today – I don’t know why this is such a surprise to me. I was really hoping for a strong significant relationship, but what I got was that special person with whom I get to spend the rest of my life.  I, in a million years, didn’t think that was really a possibility. I had to put myself out there to date, It was frustrating and challenging, but it did happen, and I am extremely grateful for my wonderful husband of 4 years.

Friends and Family
6 years ago – I will have a balance when it comes to friends and family. It will be relationships that I can rely on for help and support, both ways. No one sided friendships and relationships.
Today – I have had many one-sided relationships in the past. You know those where you have to make all the initiatives to have the friend—you do the phone calling, you make the plans, you are there in their needs, but they don’t do any of these things for you. It is never a perfect 50/50 balance, but I have relationships with those who can also give and take, not just take.

Health
00BeforeAfter6 years ago – I will be physically fit, no trouble moving or getting up and down, and continue to be medication-free. My nutrition and exercise and fitness will all be very positive.
Today – I was surprised when I saw this one six years later. I am still medication free, with the exception of trying to get rid of dry eyes. I have no health issues, but in the past my nutrition, exercise and fitness were on and off, but mostly non-existent. That really changed over a year ago. I lost 60 lbs, and started moving. My goal is 10,000 active steps. Almost daily I walk my neighborhood of 3 miles. I do this regardless of the weather. I have done this in almost 100 degree weather, and I have done it in freezing weather. I hydrate well before going out, and fortunately, in the summer, I walk into the front door and out of the back door directly into the swimming pool. I am not a great swimmer, but I swim a few laps anyway. My new love is my Apple watch, which is water resistant, so it counts my lap swimming (a great motivation for me)! My nutrition has also changed. I share meals with my husband at restaurants, and I make the “bad stuff’ on rare occasions if we are having guests. The leftovers either go home with them, or into the freezer for the next set of guests. I don’t feel deprived that way, but I don’t let that food linger in the house calling my name!

Money
money6 years ago – if my retirement could feel as good financially as I am now, that would be a big ten. It should not take the same salary as I now have. I do not want to worry if I will have enough money to do the things I enjoy doing, and to be debt free.
Today – Money was a real issue when I was a single mom. I had none! By the time I retired, I was earning an excellent paycheck, but the fear of retiring with no paycheck was scary. A couple years before I retired, I put aside a fair portion of my income to see if I could live on less. I realized that I could do so comfortably. I do not get into debt, and I have enjoyed life. Yes, being married has helped this, but I did prepare to do it alone if I had to.

Career
6 years ago – This is the hard one for me. What is a ten? I don’t really know. I am thinking its being a consultant. Inspiring others to greatness. Don’t know where, don’t know how.
Today – I had no plan to retire when I wrote this. I was in a job I loved, but working for a new boss I didn’t love. I knew he didn’t like me from the day he took the role, and I knew I needed to move on. So, the job ended for me at the time I met my husband. I continued looking for a new position, but it just wasn’t happening. My relationship with my future husband was growing. I am now married to him and retired. That has not changed my desire to inspire others to greatness. I work as a Human Resources Consultant and a Life Coach on occasion. I also write this blog. Hopefully, they are all ways to inspire others to be more than they think they can be.

So, why is coaching helpful? As a coaching client, I am able to move forward at a faster pace than I am able to on my on. Yes, I probably could get to all of this on my own, but a coach walked beside me, encouraged me to go out on a limb and do things that I was afraid to try. My coach encouraged every idea I had, and gave me the space to act on it.

decideWe have self-limiting beliefs. “I cannot do this because ___________.” You fill in the blank. We limit ourselves so often. We are afraid to go out on a limb. We know what we need to do next, but something in our head tells us to stop. Coaching can help walk along, encourage, support, and help knock down those self-imposed barriers to whatever it is we want to accomplish.

For those of you who are wondering, what is a coach:

  • A coach does not tell people how to get to their goals (that’s a consultant).
  • A coach does not try to figure out what happened in the past that has them stuck (that’s a counselor).
  • Coaches know their clients have the answers inside of themselves.
  • What coaches do is ask the powerful questions that cause the client to think beyond where they are.
  • A coach will help you get past your self limiting beliefs. They will encourage you to go the direction your were afraid to go.
    • We are our own worst enemies. We have self-limiting beliefs. “I can’t do that because . . . I’m too old, I’m too young, I’m not smart enough, I’m not popular enough, I’m not _____ (you fill in the blank).
    • A coach will walk beside you, even if you decide that is not, after all where you want to go.
  • The coach does not set the agenda—the client does—it never works to tell someone what or how to do something—it has to be authentic to the person. The coach helps them discover a way to overcome what they thought were overwhelming obstacles.

Because of this great coaching experience, I chose to go through coach training. It was an intensive training program. It was every other weekend for 5 weekends, starting on a Friday at 1:00 pm, and ending on a Sunday at 5:00 pm. I attended these classes in Chicago. It was a nice get-away. There were approximately 20 in the class. We coached and challenged each other at our training sessions practicing what we were learning. I am a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) with The Coaches Training Institute, and received my ACC (Associate Certified Coach) certification with the International Coach Federation (ICF).

What I like about becoming a coach is that I don’t have to know all the answers. I just need to know how to ask the questions so you can find your answers.

What are you wanting to accomplish that leaves you stuck in fear or doubt? What are some of the tools you need to move forward?

Would you like a free sample session

or more information about coaching?

Let me know.

00stopping