2018 – Your Year to Make a Difference

The new year is a time of reflection for many. I’ve become more aware and engaged in reflection since becoming a life coach. Awareness has offered me not only the knowledge to set and achieve new goals, it has given me the knowledge to reflect back and appreciate all that I’ve accomplished and experienced (good and bad) in the previous year. Something I will admit that I was lacking in years prior.

Over the past couple of days of reflection, two very obvious messages appeared; the message on the front of this card from a friend and former client, and this bookmark that was part of the card my husband gave me for my 50th birthday this year. 

I haven’t nailed down my vision board for 2018 like I normally do January 1st but I do know that as I embark on a new chapter in 2018 I feel more aligned to my calling in life than I have in a long time. I’ve felt it for many months now, however it took re-reading these messages for it to land with me.

I do make a difference. I haven’t owned that. I’ve often brushed it off and dismissed it. However, after reflecting on a question that a coaching friend posed to her clients in her Facebook group “What have I learned about myself this year?” (Thank you Lisa Bobyak) it hit me, it is who I am and one of the gifts I have been given. As we learn in coach training when dealing with our saboteur (or internal demons) we are challenged to ask “Who am I not to?” We learn that you don’t serve others by not living fully.

So, this year I ask you to listen to that voice in you that nudges and whispers…and take those seemingly baby steps toward your passion. Piece by piece, week by week, month by month and year by year, life provides you with adventures and your purpose…IF you listen with curiosity and are brave enough to take those tiny, and often scary steps.

One of my very best friends lives by the motto: “Impact one person every day.” Be true to yourself and listen…you do make a difference.

Crap Happens

For insurance purposes...translates to "in case you fall in."

For insurance purposes…….translates to “in case you fall in.” ~ Sara K. 

First of all, I can’t believe it has been months since I’ve written a blog. Life has been full, fun, crazy and just plain busy and while I’ve thought about writing often, I just haven’t taken the time to capture the moments in words. Some of the events in my life over the past few months are far more worthy of reflection in words (i.e. my college graduation and my daughter’s wedding are just two examples), however for some reason, this photo makes me laugh and inspired me to write, so I’m rolling with it.

A few weeks ago, I learned to drive our pontoon. While I’ve driven it out on the lake, my husband had always navigated it out of the shallow bay as well as park it next to the dock upon return. This summer, I decided that I wanted to learn how to drive it, primarily so that girlfriends and I could go out and have some quiet girl time (water is also a great coaching venue) and just enjoy the beautiful Minnesota summer.

Well, wouldn’t you know, this happened on outing #2. As my friend Sara and I prepared to depart the bay with our snacks, beverages and floaties for a mid-week outing, the motor died. While strange, I started it again…and it quickly died. Sara looked over the back of the pontoon, and stated “There is something white wrapped around the motor.” By this time, I’m thinking to myself “WTF” and I got up to check it out and realized something was definitely not right.

By this time, we are floating in-between our dock and the neighbors dock with no motor. Granted it is a shallow bay and not very big or far between the two docks but still, you feel helpless when you are floating there…in a big floating contraption that you really can’t control and knowing (from a previous outing) that the bottom of the bay drops off fast and is very mucky.

After weighing our options, we both pulled and tugged and managed to get the large piece of carpeting (apparently it fell off the neighbors dock last summer and they failed to take the time to dig it out) we still had a large amount of carpet string wrapped around the prop.

I had made a call to my husband (thank God for cell phones and that my husband’s office is 10 minutes from our cabin) and during all of this, another neighbor quickly came over with a knife (I had managed to lasso the dock and get us back) and cut the remaining string off by the time my husband and son arrived.

I considered not going out after that, however it was a beautiful day and I was determined to be independent and get out there…and we did. We stayed out for hours and enjoyed the water, sun and life. It turned out to be an absolutely perfect afternoon.

My lesson for that day? Crap happens. It’s life. Sometimes you just gotta cut through the strings and put your motor back in the water. The most beautiful, perfect day might just be on the other side of the lake.

BTW…I have to give photo credit to Sara. She was sure to capture the moment “for insurance purposes” only to later share the only reason she took the picture was because if I fell in she wanted to be sure to capture it. You just gotta love those real friends in life. 🙂

 

 

What’s Next?

Question MarkI just counted. I graduate from college in three months – ninety days to be exact. 90 days!

For me, this is a big deal. That is actually an understatement. It is a HUGE deal! Those of you that know me, know how much I enjoy college. I enjoy every aspect, the learning, my classmates, the professors, the campus. Everything. It has just been one amazing experience for me and I’ve loved every minute (if you don’t count Spanish class).

In hindsight, I can’t believe how afraid I was to go back to college and that it took me 25 years to go back and finish, but life happened and that’s another blog.  I’m almost done and while I’m excited about wrapping up this chapter in my life, in all honesty, I’m also entering a new phase and this one feels so uncertain.

For the past couple of months, I’ve spent countless hours asking myself what’s next? I’ve been waiting for some profound message to come to me in this glorious, bright white light experience.  I’ve been coached. I’ve played mind games with myself. I gave myself time, the month of December thinking it (the message or ah-ha) would come, it didn’t. I decided that I’d give myself until I graduate, yet that doesn’t seem right either.

I assisted at a CTI (Coaches Training Institute) training in early January. It was during a conversation that weekend that once again, the subject came up. During the course of one of my conversations it finally clicked that perhaps what’s next won’t come to me because it hasn’t been created yet or, in other words, it’s just not time for me to know!

There are so many options. There are so many things I would love to do, to try. I love coaching, I have an interest in marketing, I enjoy people. I enjoy fitness. I’ve had several friends say to me, “you would be good at a lot of things!”

So, I’ve finally decided to sit back, relax and enjoy this time. I have three months of school left. Enjoy it. I work part-time for an awesome chiropractor that has taught me so much. I have a beautiful daughter getting married in 7 months. I have a lot going on and a lot to look forward to. Life is full.

What’s next? I don’t know….and for now, I’ve finally accepted that is all I need to know.

Take a Deep Breath!

Take a deep breath! I learned this week (again) that stress is often self-imposed and often unnecessary.

Yes, you can say that while some stress is good and is needed to move us forward in life or create awareness around a potentially dangerous situation most often stress has negative connotations. It is often self-imposed and not needed to the extent we allow it into our lives. This was the case for me this week.

Recently, while trying to install Office 2016 on my new computer I ran into some challenges. The first being how to find a phone number to actually talk to a person. After some creative maneuvering and number punching I ended up on the line with a helpdesk guy that I could barely understand. My initial though was ‘oh, great’ but at that time I had hopes that my issue would be a quick five-minute conversation and I would be able to move on to my homework assignment that was due to be submitted in Word format (required) in less than three hours.

I quickly realized this was not going to be a quick conversation and immediately felt my stress level rise. I didn’t have time to deal with language barriers on top of the stress of knowing I had to research my topic prior to submitting the assignment. I took a deep breath and tried to speak clearly as I once again repeated the 26-digit code to the guy on the other end.

After several attempts, we eventually got my code to work and the install process started. As this happened, he politely stated, “Please excuse my silence while the install on your computer processes. This process should take about 45 minutes.” I just about jumped through the computer screen! 45 minutes—what!!???!!! I don’t have 45 minutes I thought to myself, but I quickly realized what choice did I have, so I took a deep breath and stared at my computer screen.

Soon the helpdesk guy came back on the phone (I wish I could remember his name) with the most calming, collected voice that I have heard in a long time. “What country are you in and what time is where you are at?” he asked me. I told him the United States and that it was 2:34 p.m. He responded with, “It is 2:34 a.m. where I am. I work until 11 a.m.”

I am not sure why, but that statement alone made me shift to a state of empathy. I thought to myself, “This poor guy is working all night so I can get my damn computer to work.’ I took a deep breath and he proceeded to ask me if I would like to see images of the town he was living in in India. Since I knew I wasn’t going anywhere (he had remotely accessed my computer and I had to stay at it or the download would be terminated) I said ‘Sure’. He immediately opened a new tab and typed into Google the name of the town he was in. Beautiful images of pink colored palaces came up and he proceeded to share some history behind them and his country.

My love of learning was sparked and he had my full attention as I asked him question after question. He opened another tab on my computer and shared with me images of his hometown and the stories behind the king’s palace in the town where he grew up and is sharing tidbits of trivia that go with it.

About this time, my download was completed and it was time to finish the install. I felt a moment of sadness as I realized that this interaction was going to soon be over.

My impatient American personality kicked in and I immediately switched back to a focused and determined mode. After the install, I finished my homework and submitted it with over an hour to spare.

As I took a deep breath I realized that all of the stress I had placed on myself was unnecessary. Yes, I had to get the assignment done, and under normal conditions I wouldn’t have waited that long to do it but due to other scheduling conflicts, family obligations, internet and technology issues, it was the situation I was in and in the end it all worked out just fine.

Hopefully the next time I’m stressed and feeling rushed, I’ll remember this situation and take a deep breath and remember the guy in India who taught me to take a deep breath and live in the moment no matter how stressful it might feel.

Be Unique. Be You.

Be Unique

Be Unique

Be Yourself. Stand Out. Be Unique.
These words have evolved to be the theme for me for this weekend.

These past few months have been filled with life experiences. Travel for both work and pleasure. Great new adventures and experiences too numerous to mention. At times crazy, at times, joyous and everything in between. Just a lot of life with very little time to reflect.

I’m a firm believer in life presents opportunities just when you need them. A couple weeks ago an email popped in that called to me. Nothing crazy, just an evening hearing one of my former CTI trainers talk about his book and leadership tool (technique) called Playing Your Bigger Game. Even though there was a part of me that knew I would be tired on a Friday night, I wanted to do it. I haven’t spent much time with other coaches lately nor have I been coaching as much as I would like, so it was a selfish calling to re-energize and spend time with like-minded people and re-energize myself.

So, that is exactly what I did. One thing about the training I received as a life coach, while I still can’t coach myself, (other than some crazy self-talk) it has created for me an increased awareness around taking care of myself emotionally. I spent the evening interacting, engaging and re-charging my batteries and re-establishing my perspective. It was exactly what I needed for myself and exactly where I needed to be in that moment in time. Just like the rest of life, all of the answers didn’t magically appear to me Friday night, however it was life’s way of saying you are off track and need to re-evaluate soon!

This morning I awoke to a beautiful blue sky and decided to do my run immediately. On my way home at the very end of my run while cooling down and walking, a yellow ditch flower caught my eye. Its sunny yellow face was looking straight up at me as I wiped the sweat from my eyes from my run. There was no reason I should have noticed it. But I stopped and soon realized it was starting right at me. I paused and thought to myself, wow, this is pretty. It’s different. I’ve never seen one like it before.

Thinking to myself how pretty it was and different I tried to find others like it in the ditch. I soon realized it was a one of a kind. Unique. Different. Beautiful. One of a kind. Doing its own unique thing in the world.

All of a sudden it hit me. This is exactly the same message that was the foundational message of Rick’s presentation on Friday evening. We are each unique and different and each called to do what we are passionate about. It’s our life, our reason for existence and there is a good chance we may stand alone like this beautiful flower did. There may not be others like it or you to stand next to you, but life will provide what you need to grow and bloom and if you do your own thing, and do it well, your beauty will shine through and eventually you will be noticed and certainly enjoy your own confidence of presenting to the world your uniqueness.

As I write this I still don’t fully know what my next thing is, but I do know that flower pulled me back to knowing that being different and unique does carry a beauty with it that rivals no other and that is okay.