Connection and relationships are our non-stop direct flight to satisfaction and fulfillment. The most important connection and practice we will have with this skill is the relationship we build with ourselves and our Higher Power. Unfortunately we weren’t born with little instruction books titled ‘101 ways to survive with humans’. But it’s more than surviving, its being so committed to ourselves and others that we allow depth. Because we ultimately want the magic. We want this precious journey to be filled to the brim with magic!
No matter how skilled we are at relating to other human beings, we will, at some point, come to a fork in the road. Numerous times with ourselves we get to that pivotal fork in the road where we will either do the uncomfortable thing that will lead us to be happy joyous and free, OR not do the uncomfortable thing and stay the same thus getting the same. When we do not face those uncomfortable moments with our most authentic selves we get lost in our insecurities and fears. What if I fail? What if they reject me?
My biggest lessons have come from failing and rejection; it’s a vital part of the game. I fall – then brush my knees off, ask for help, learn a few new coping skills and keep it moving. The discomfort is the very thing that stimulates my curiosity to research or dig down deep inside. The very pieces that trigger doubt inside of me encourage the work that delivers the magic and let’s face it, life deserves magic. Only when I remember that WE ALL have our old stories that create self-doubt, I am than able to connect to others human to human; With all my ugly and beautiful pieces and I can show up with empathy and hold space for others.
Interestingly enough when I am willing to be authentic and vulnerable it invites that same from my loved ones, and that my beauties, IS intimacy. And when I am able to express the crazy that comes along with my “old story” to the people I love, I am using that old garbage as a building block to connection, not as a barrier. As I mentioned before connection is the highway to fulfillment, and, well, God, really if that’s your jam. When we push through our fears and stand in front of someone in our own, terrified, authenticity we allow others to make space for us. It serves us to share ourselves because we are not only honoring our truth, but we are delightfully inviting others to be authentically present, too.
As a coach, mentor, friend, and general bearer of light, I’ve taken a long introspective journey investing time and energy to understand myself and others. What I have found is people (myself included) LOVE structural blueprints. Some sort of tangible easy to access reminders on how to be more awesome. We thrive off practice and science backs up the benefit of using tools over and over in order to develop our brain.
No matter what ends we must meet in order to flourish in 2017, here are some self-care tips we can implement in order to stay at our best:
Say Affirmations: We have all heard about affirmations. You don’t have to talk to yourself every morning but the way we view ourselves shapes absolutely everything else. Say affirmations daily, write them out, and repeat them over and over, all day long. “I am so capable” “I attract wealth and business” “I eat healthy with ease” “I am a love magnet” Recognize when the old sayings come up and call them bullshit and correct them with your affirmation.
Whatever affirmations fit best for you, use the hell out of em’. Especially if they feel incredibly untrue and or uncomfortable. Find strength in the challenge and continue to use them until they change your beliefs about yourself – Until someone can say, “You are so capable” and you respond, “YAAASSS I am, thank you!”
Use a Solid Planner: At Stellar Life coaching we are breaking in the New Year with intentional
planners to get us organized. We are using a Panda planner for scheduling business, setting and tracking goals, affirmations, and accountability. A planner can help you compartmentalize all the glorious things you are attracting and learning daily, while also giving you a canvas to drum up new ideas and visions.
Exercise: Get moving!! Commit to any type of movement. 15 minutes in the morning stretching. Walk the dog further than you usually do. Get a trainer. Join a yoga studio. Lift weights. Ride bikes. Find a walking club. Whatever it is, move your beautiful body.
Clean Your Environment: Create an environment that is pleasing to you. Whether it’s purging old clothing, painting an old wall yellow, creating meditation area. Make your home and office a sanctuary. You deserve a peaceful, clean space to create and evolve.
Build a Tribe: Support is the key to success! I would feel a lot different about myself if I wasn’t
constantly motivated by the powerful women around me. Find people who are successful, have purpose, speak your language, and most importantly are willing to rise up and THRIVE with you!
Specific: don’t just lose weight, or write your book. Identify a more specific goal with milestones. Example: I will change my relationship with food and exercise. Specifically:
Find out how I like to move my body. I will try every class I can think of or find within 10 miles of my house or office until I find something I enjoy and would want to do again.
Try experimenting with new foods twice a week: Week 1 Avocado and Quinoa Week 2 Blueberries and Kale Week 3 Tofu and Yogurt etc.
Measurable: Don’t leave all of your effort and energy to be measured by the scale! I will know I have
achieved my goal or reached a milestone when I:
Can get into my butt jeans from 2008.
Can take the stairs without being winded.
Attainable/Achievable: This is where most people lose the battle. Changing a habit, good or bad habit, is difficult and requires a lot of self-control… You may need to lose 50 lbs. fast for that wedding in March, however, if you have health issues, or if you just a had a child, got laid off, your relationship is on the rocks. or some other life event that acts as a stressor – you will not have the cognitive power required to take on that goal. Consider who you are, your lifestyle, what your current situation is, your support system, how much sleep you get, how much extra time you ACTUALLY have… Acknowledge it and accept progress over perfection.
Realistic: Close your eyes and imagine waking up tomorrow, next week, or for the next 6 months, without your morning bagel, smoking, or coffee, Can you see it? If not, then that is not the goal for you. Realistic, means you may want it, you might even need it… BUT if you
cannot see it being a REAL thing in your own imagination – then refine it until it is realistic for you.
Time Bound: Put specific deadlines and or due dates in place so you can track your progress and adjust your own expectations or plan accordingly. Maybe even get an accountability partner to check in with.
Intrinsic/Internal: Choose goals that are intrinsically motivating… Meaning you find joy in doing it. Maybe you don’t know what that is for you (yet), make the goal to find it. Internal goals are not measured with a rigid measuring stick. It is not about making the weight so you can squeeze into the bridesmaid dress, rather it is about loving yourself and learning how to use self-care to feel and live better. In other words, set a goal that is what you want, not what you MUST do or what your parents/partner or anyone else says you should do.
Enthusiastic! Close your eyes, shut off the voice that says you won’t do it or you can’t do it. Imagine
everything that can go right does, it is December 2017 and you achieved your goal! How do you feel? How is your life different? How is your relationship/work/body/daily routine different? If that feeling gets you pumped and exhilarated, then you have the right goal.
Happy Goal Smashing!
Stellar Life Coaching
A higher expectation to be happy for the holidays begins earlier every year and runs rampant through the Western Holiday Season. It’s a lot of pressure. With the prescribed annual cheer come the stresses of obligatory family engagements, retail shopping madness, and an almost embarrassing amount of sugary calorie consumption. Everyone wants to be happy, and there are as many ways to get there as people. If the swiftly-approaching holidays have you overwhelmed by the idea of getting and staying happy: Relax. Breathe. You’re not alone. “Well-being is just like ‘weather’… in its structure: no single measure defines it…but several things contribute to it,” says the founder of Positive Psychology and author of Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, Martin E. P. Seligman. Breaking down a large, ambiguous goal of “Happiness” into smaller, more manageable actions can help anybody to create well-being. These To-Do’s can be practiced one at a time, all at once, or set aside for later use, after the pumpkin pie tin has been licked clean. When and where you start is exactly the right time and place. Yes, it’s a high ideal, but as Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Here are some actions toward getting and staying “Happy,” for the holidays and beyond.
DO Gratitude. Begin a daily Gratitude List. Hey, Oprah does it! A cheap notepad and pen can do the trick, or make a pact with a friend to text a daily list of 3 things for which each of you are grateful. If you have such a friend, there’s at least one item on the gratitude list to check off! If that fuels the desire to express more Gratitude, take time to thank someone, or a group of people, who helped you during the year. Write a Thank You card or say it face-to-face, if appropriate. Maybe choose someone you think doesn’t hear “Thank You” very often–a spouse, sibling, cousin, the apartment complex maintenance crew, or the janitorial staff at work or school. This practice will have you thanking yourself.
DO Affection, Hugs and Smiles. It sounds elementary, but according to leading family therapist, Virginia Satir, “We need to get 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance, and 12 hugs a day for growth.” This is not a suggestion to go hugging or touching complete strangers without
their consent! Respecting others’ personal space will make you friends and possibly keep you out of a holding cell–ask first, please! Researchers have discovered that hugs flood our bodies with Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Endorphins–the “happy hormones.” Another simple, less touchy, way to experience a reduction of stress hormones is to smile. Genuine or created by a pen held horizontally between the teeth, our bodies respond the same way with “a rise in feel-good brain chemicals…and lower blood pressure,” according to bestselling author Lisa Collier Cool. No matter what time of year, a smile is like a hug for your face!
DO Ask for Help. No one can know everything, nor does any person do everything by themselves. When we ask for help, it gives another person an opportunity to be of service, which “can brighten someone else’s day,” says Pat Lynch, Ph.D., President of Business Alignment Strategies, Inc. Especially during the holidays, we take on too many projects, tasks or responsibilities. It’s time to acknowledge that we’re all bound by a 24-hour day, and allow ourselves to have limits. The two-step process is simple and difficult: Ask for Help, then Receive it. After conquering the risk of asking, we have to let the person complete the task however they choose, and then say “thank you”–yes, Gratitude again–for their time and effort.
DO Savor the Moments. And the pie. The hustle and bustle is so intense this time of year, everyone rushing around–presumably to be able to slow down and enjoy some later moment. But “the present moment is all you ever have,” reminds Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now. Certain things can only be seen from October to December, like that one house with the beautiful decorations, a perfect crisp sunset, the mixture of family football cheers and post-meal snores, or that cashier, at the end of their 8-hour shift, who is still smiling at every single customer. When we pause to take pleasure in an ordinary moment, it becomes extraordinary. Similarly, you may find that one savored bite of pie tastes better than a whole piece, consumed quickly.
DO Eat, Sleep, & Care for Your Self. There’s a simple acronym to find out what kind of Self-Care you need: HALT, which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Nothing will eat at your sanity
faster than feeling one or a combination of these things. During the holidays, the need to practice Self-Care grows faster than a line on Black Friday! Some people struggle with this, fearing it makes them selfish. It doesn’t. As the saying goes, “We can’t give to others what we don’t have.” Between agreeing to entertain visitors, working overtime that removes you from friends and family, and enduring that third pack of aisle-blocking, carol-singing holiday cheerleaders–when all you needed was a bottle of cold remedy and a box of tissues–some healthy food, good rest, and time to yourself can prepare you for whatever is next. You know, New Year’s!
DO Practice Compassion. “Responding with kindness and understanding…when we’re struggling with feelings of inadequacy, despair, confusion, and other forms of stress…is Self-Compassion,”
says compassion-based psychotherapy specialist, Christopher Germer, PhD. This kind of Self-Care is incredibly contagious and has helped people to forgive themselves, which blossoms into helping others without judgment. Fortunately, this is the one time of year when good will and kind acts seem to be everywhere. Everyone has something to offer another person, whether it’s time, money, food, shelter, resources, or soothing, empowering words. Whether it’s forgiving yourself a little or a lot, or finding a local shelter, pantry or other charity that helps groups of people in need, remember that you have something to give; and give what you can. Mother Teresa said, “not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Do Acceptance. “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance,” says Dr. Nathaniel Branden. We (our brains) are wired for judgment leading to self-protection, which is why this may be the hardest practice of all. David Amodio, Ph.D., associate prof. of Psychology & Neural Science at NYU says, “[part of our brain] is snap-judgment central…at some point in time, these knee-jerk biases ensured our survival… and still kicks into high gear today, vigilantly detecting Us versus Them, treating Them as a threat.” Generally, people are nicer during the holidays but, let’s face it: groups act crazier than people! Shopping can be a prime-time spectacle of selfishness and human flaws; and some family gatherings make the mall feel like an island retreat! If you find yourself in a sea of people, buzzing themselves into a mob–over the last discounted sock caddy or the biggest turkey leg–try to simply observe, as if it were around you, but not inside. Even if, only once, you can think, “I accept the flaws of others. If I must interact, I will breathe and respond slowly, with Compassion, but I will not react. I acknowledge, accept and move on,” Do It! It may not change the behavior around you, but it can lower your blood pressure and make you sane enough to create more Us and less Them.
Do Connect, All Year. Any of these tasks can be practiced any time. The truth is, you don’t have
to celebrate ANY holiday to share a meal with someone who is hungry, smile at a stranger, or give time to a family in need; and many families are in need beyond the holiday season. Dr. Brené Brown defines Connection as, “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” Connection and Well-Being can begin at, and extend beyond, the holidays.
Best of Luck. ‘Tis the Season!
Kendra Davies, PCC
Owner and Coach
Stellar Life Coaching
“Realistic Marketing Strategies for Life Coaches in Central Florida, By Successful Life Coaches in Central Florida”
When I decided to become a life coach I also decided to start a business… BUT the business part was not my primary interest. When I started all my focus was on honing my skills as a coach: communicating effectively, overcoming client blocks, applications for positive psychology, yoga and meditation… All of which did make me a better coach. I received multiple testimonials, I got published in a few articles, I got asked to speak a few times. Most importantly, for the first time in my life I absolutely LOVED what I was doing- I believed I had found my calling. I was lucky in my first year because I had some start-up money. So, I had a big office; I had attended marketing seminars with coaches claiming six figure incomes from all over the world. I hired a PR and marketing firm. Still, at the end of my first year I almost had to close my business because, while I might have been a great coach, I wasn’t getting enough clients to pay my bills. 15 clients in 12 months. My son was 1 year old, my savings was depleted, and all I knew was that I could not go back to working for someone else, or do anything else.
In the end, I had no choice but to close my office. My first year was the biggest financial loss of my career. I thought I had done everything I was supposed to do. I got the office, I got the technology, I got certified four different ways; I paid the people I was supposed to pay to make my business grow and I had nothing to show for it. My phone hadn’t rung in months. Then one day I got a call and that feeling I get when I click with a potential client happened. It was like electricity. We chatted for less than 15 minutes and scheduled a consultation and since I had no office so we planned to meet at a local coffee shop. I realized with that one call that I could not under any circumstances give up on my business. Business being the key word. I learned, while I was completely mortified to meet a client at a café, my new client didn’t care at all. Which proved to me that I had focused so much on making sure it looked like a “coaching practice”, and that I felt secure in saying “I am a life coach” that I completely neglected the business side of my business.
That is when I started to understand what it meant to market my practice. I started to work on an authentic brand. Since I could no longer afford to pay anyone else to market my business I got honest with myself about what I was and was not willing to do. I wrote my own content. I became willing to look at my insecurities about marketing and how it had held me back. I developed the resolve to keep doing whatever I could do with the little budget that I had. I threw away the measuring stick and stopped comparing my business to others. I was real, it was uncertain, but eventually I got out of Starbucks. Each year since I have doubled my income from the year before. Four years later, Stellar Life Coaching is a successful coaching practice. I have hired a second coach and we get between 2-7 new leads every month. I have done this with a minimal or, at times, no budget.
A few years back I worked with the Mental Health Counselors of Central Florida, and I saw how much local therapists supported each other. They got together every month and talked about techniques, marketing ideas, but most of all they supported each other through referrals. Despite there being some thousands of life coaches in Central Florida – there is no group like this for life coaches.
My goal with THRIVE! is simple: Realistic marketing strategies for life coaches in Central Florida, by successful coaches in Central Florida.
So, if you are a coach or an aspiring coach, regardless of your budget, or where you are in the process of starting your business. Please join us, and let your passion for supporting others AND your business THRIVE! In order to provide customized strategies for each participant there are only 10 seats available – Reserve yours today!