Coaching in a Nutshell

Are you ready to wake up and create the life that you want?

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This Question Could Change Your Life

This question could change your life:

“Is this the best use of my time right now?” It’s a slight twist of Brian Tracy’s quote “What is the most valuable use of my time right now?”

I prefer “Is this the best use of my time right now?” because it gets to the heart of the matter. Ask yourself that question and you’ll focus on what you’re actually doing at this moment RIGHT NOW. Then ask yourself “Does this really matter to me? Is this adding to my life in any way?”

I have the question “Is this the best use of my time right now?” on my computer. Every time I read it, I wake up in the moment.

It makes me accountable – to myself and to what matters to me. To what I want to create, to my priorities and to how I want to live my life.

It’s so easy to waste precious moments and fritter away time. Wasn’t it July just a few days ago?

Don’t be fooled. This isn’t about becoming more of a workaholic or a relentless do-er. Fun, rest, play, relaxation and daydreaming are not time wasters. They are critical to your mental, physical, psychological and spiritual health.

“Is this the best use of my time right now?” is meant to wake you up from the slumber that steals the minutes, hours and days of your life.

It’s for you if you have ever said that you had to “kill time” while waiting for someone or something. Kill time???

“Is this the best use of my time right now?” Ask yourself that question at least three times a day.

But especially when you’re:

  • Gossiping
  • Obsessing about what someone said or did
  • Regretting something you said or did
  • Judging someone(s)
  • Worrying
  • Avoiding something that you know has to be done
  • Complaining
  • Criticizing someone(s)
  • Procrastinating
  • Spending too much time on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram (Pick your social media addiction)
  • Shopping
  • Playing video or computer games
  • Watching television

Wait – before you get upset with me. Of course television and video games can be fun, relaxing and educational. And a certain amount of shopping is a necessity.

This isn’t about my judgment of what is or isn’t a good use of your time. This is your life. How you spend your gift of time is your choice. But you know when you’re wasting time. Your inner voice tells you even if you don’t heed its warnings.

Anything can be a poor use of your time if it’s excessive or distracts you from your priorities and what’s really meaningful to you. Taking into account your commitments, intentions, goals, passions and desires.

I used to exercise to avoid studying in graduate school. I know people who cleaned their homes instead of studying. (Ok, that one totally escapes me…)

Both exercising and cleaning are good and necessary for a healthy life. The question is “Is this the best use of my time RIGHT NOW?”

Happy Thanksgiving to my compatriots in Canada. No matter where you live, what are you thankful for and what will you do with your cache of 10,080 minutes this week?

With great warmth,

Anne

Do You Really Want to Own These?

I talk with my clients – a lot – about their use of the word “my” when they’re talking about their problems.  They often say “My anxiety”, “My depression”, “My aching back”, “My cancer”, “My asthma”, “My anger”, “My failure”, “My low energy”, “My struggle”, “My problem”, etc.  (Fill in the blank with your own.)

You might be thinking, “Oh, Anne.  You’re making a big deal out of nothing.  This is just semantics.  They’re only words.”

Really?  How often do you get upset with other people for the words they use when they’re talking to you?  Taking offense at what they say and assuming all sorts of negative things?

Do you really believe that your body and soul aren’t listening to you?  That the words you’re using aren’t leaving an imprint?

Your body and spirit are listening to you and responding to the meaning and energy of the words you use when you talk to yourself.

Saying “my heart attack”, “my fear of public speaking” might leave a more subtle imprint than saying “I look awful today.  My hair’s a mess and I’m out of shape”.  However as you repeat it again and again the imprint becomes more enduring.

Another thing: possessive pronouns such as “my” show ownership.  Why would you want to own anxiety or depression or a backache or failure or a heart attack?

If it’s yours, it’s internal.  It belongs to you or it’s in you.  When it resides inside you, it can be more difficult to separate your self from the issue or problem and therefore harder to deal with.  When it’s part of who you are and how you see yourself, when you identify with it, how can you change that?

When it’s outside of you and not owned by you, not a part of you, it is something that is not a personal failure or permanently dwelling in your being.  So you can look at it more objectively, often with less emotional baggage, and deal with it more effectively.

Maybe if you said “My depression” once and never said it again, it might not be a problem.  But you’re saying it again and again and again as you talk to yourself and others.  And your body and soul are hearing, “This problem is part of us.  It’s who we are.”

What’s the alternative?  Use “the”  or “this” instead of “my”.  “This anxiety”, “the depression”, “the heart attack”, “the asthma”, “this anger”, “the failure”, “the debt”, “the low energy”, “this struggle”, “the conflict”.

This is not about abdicating responsibility for dealing with whatever is going on in your life or playing cutesy games with yourself.  This is about taking responsibility for how you perceive things, what you tell yourself about them and recognizing how that affects you.

Try this.  Say this out loud:

My fear of public speaking prevents me from getting promoted at work.

This fear of public speaking prevents me from getting promoted at work.

I can’t walk very far today because of my arthritis in my knee.

I can’t walk very far today because of the arthritis in my knee.  (Yes, it’s your knee.)

By the way, of course you definitely want to say my great idea, my wonderful life, my healthy body, my fabulous cooking, my sense of adventure, my beautiful skin, etc.  Absolutely acknowledge and own everything that is positive, life-affirming and magnificent about you.

I’m really happy to be back pounding away at my keyboard and chatting with you.  My sincerest apologies because it has been a while since I have connected with you.  A couple of things in my life have demanded my full-on attention and focus this summer.  I’ll talk about them in an upcoming newsletter.

I have missed our conversations so, as always, let me know how you’re doing and what you need to get your autumn off to a vibrant, fulfilling start.  And, yes, they’re conversations because so many of you take the time to give me your feedback.  I really appreciate it.

Here is Jim Carrey delivering the commencement speech to the Maharishi University of Management’s graduating class of 2014.  He says some really insightful things:

With great warmth,

Stop Trying to Get Rid of These

Stop trying to get rid of your problems without discovering their source.

Many of your crises are wake-up calls telling you that it’s time to pay attention to something in you or your life that needs healing.

Think about your biggest concerns right now.

Your health?  What message might this health issue be giving you?

  • Too much stress?
  • Not eating well?
  • Working too hard and not playing enough in your life?

Your relationship?  What could this relationship problem be trying to tell you?

  • Are you doing all the giving?
  • Repeating an old pattern?
  • Allowing someone to treat you disrespectfully?
  • Afraid of being vulnerable?

Most of the time we just want to get rid of the obstacles in our lives, so we look for the fastest, easiest solution that will make them go away.  It makes sense.  Who wants to struggle or feel pain?

The problem is that we often look for the answer outside ourselves, ignoring the huge red flag that our inner voice is frantically waving in our faces saying “Hello???  Look in here.  This is where your power lies.”

Where in your life is your soul begging you to wake up and pay attention?

“No more words.  Hear only the voice within.”  Rumi

With great warmth,

What to do, what to do

Decisions.  Decisions.  Do you ever feel paralyzed when making a decision?

Too many voices with too many opinions and the problem is that they’re (mostly) inside your own head?

Which voice do you listen to?

  • The inner bully beating you up for poor decisions you made in the past?
  • The inner scaredy cat wanting you to be careful and stay safe?
  • What you think other people want, expect or need?
  • What you believe other people would approve of or think is right?

Or your inner torch that’s there to light the way for you on YOUR journey? 

You don’t trust yourself.  What if you’re wrong?  What if you make a mistake or fail?  You have made poor decisions in the past (welcome to the human race…).

You can’t hear your inner GPS.  You have submerged or ignored that voice of wisdom and guidance for so long that it’s drowning in the cacophony of voices inside and outside.

I finally realized that, whenever I regretted a decision, it was because I had allowed my head to choose (or more accurately, boss me around).  It usually sounds like this:  “You really should do this because blah, blah, blah…”

I’m learning.

My clients often ask me how to distinguish between their inner compass and all the other voices.  Get present.  Get quiet.  Breathe.  Go within.  Think about your choices.  Your inner wisdom will resonate somehow and somewhere in your body.

Like everything else, it takes practise and experience.  To hear your wise voice and to listen to its guidance.

Be courageous.  And bold.  Oh, how those two qualities will change your life.

Which inner voice do you listen to?

Decisions.  Decisions.  Do you ever feel paralyzed when making a decision?

Too many voices with too many opinions and the problem is that they’re (mostly) inside your own head?

Which voice do you listen to?

  • The inner bully beating you up for poor decisions you made in the past?
  • The inner scaredy cat wanting you to be careful and stay safe?
  • What you think other people want, expect or need?
  • What you believe other people would approve of or think is right?

Or your inner torch that’s there to light the way for you on YOUR journey? 

You don’t trust yourself.  What if you’re wrong?  What if you make a mistake or fail?  You have made poor decisions in the past (welcome to the human race…).

You can’t hear your inner GPS.  You have submerged or ignored that voice of wisdom and guidance for so long that it’s drowning in the cacophony of voices inside and outside.

I finally realized that, whenever I regretted a decision, it was because I had allowed my head to choose (or more accurately, boss me around).  It usually sounds like this:  “You really should do this because blah, blah, blah…”

I’m learning.

My clients often ask me how to distinguish between their inner compass and all the other voices.  Get present.  Get quiet.  Breathe.  Go within.  Think about your choices.  Your inner wisdom will resonate somehow and somewhere in your body.

Like everything else, it takes practise and experience.  To hear your wise voice and to listen to its guidance.

Be courageous.  And bold.  Oh, how those two qualities will change your life.

Anger: Why and What to Do About It

I promised in my last article that I would talk about why anger is the forbidden emotion and what to do about it.

I really struggled with this newsletter. I have an ocean of things to say about why we fear anger – our own and others – and how to deal with it. But we’re all busy and bombarded with an impossible amount of information. Do this, don’t do that. Think this, eat that, breathe like this, exercise this much and on and on.

So I kept this fairly short. I’ll expand on it in future newsletters. I hope it’s helpful.

Why do we fear our own anger?

  • Many of us weren’t allowed to get angry when we were younger (“Don’t you get angry with me, young man/woman.”)
  • Who listened to you if you were upset? Were you able to give your anger a voice?
  • Who taught you that it was ok to be mad and how to deal with it?
  • When you’re angry now, who is willing to listen to you without judging you?

Why do we fear other people’s anger?

  • For many people, other people’s anger was a scary, damaging experience when they were growing up.
  • Did people express their anger respectfully when you were younger (and now) or did (do) you get blasted, shamed, blamed or abused?
  • If someone we care about is angry with us, we feel that we have failed or made a mistake.
  • We believe that they don’t care and we don’t matter.
  • If we don’t have a solid sense of ourselves, other people’s anger unseats us. It pulls us out of our center and we lose ourselves.

Let’s face it. We don’t like conflict. It’s often painful because we don’t know how to deal with it really well.

We don’t know how to have a difference of opinion or perspective, how to be disappointed or frustrated or sad or mad and stay connected with the people we care about.

How to deal with it? What’s really important is that you actually feel your anger. Be aware of it, feel it in your body, allow it. Give it a voice if you can.

We live in a culture that avoids dealing with anger at all costs. (Dealing with it is not dumping it on someone else or being reactive.) And the costs are huge in terms of your health and your relationships.

We stifle our strong, negative feelings because we don’t know what to with them. They’re too big, too scary and we don’t know where they come from or what they mean. We certainly don’t want to be seen as negative so we hide our own truth even from ourselves and then wonder why we feel lost. Without a compass to guide us on our journey.

The problem is that, when you put the lid on your negative feelings, you also put the lid on your positive feelings. Block your anger and your joy soon follows. Remember that what I’m talking about here is your awareness and experience of your feelings, not what you do with them.

Remember that you can’t control anyone else’s behavior. (I know that you know that. It’s my job to remind you. We forget what we know when our emotions are high.) So, if you do nothing else, stay in control of yourself. Your thoughts, your behavior, your inner experience.

Be careful of the assumptions you’re making about why someone else is saying or doing something – or angry with you. Your thoughts and assumptions are making you angry – or scaring you. How do you know that what you’re believing is true? Check it out. Be careful of the stories your inner bully tells you.

Deal with the tyrant in your head that has a negative, fearful perspective about most things. Ask yourself what buttons are being pushed. We often get angry when someone has said or done something that has hurt us and we’re not even aware that we’re hurt. Anger can feel more powerful than feeling hurt and vulnerable.

Always go back to your thoughts, beliefs and perceptions. Check in with your interpretations about what’s going on.

Remember that your feelings are messages. Don’t get so caught up in the drama of the feeling or your reaction that you miss the message.

When it comes to other people’s anger, try to hear what the other person is really saying underneath their words. Did you say or do something that hurt them? Is it a difference of perception or their expectations or rules?

Are you willing to hear them out and stay aware of what’s coming up for you so that you don’t get unseated from your core? Can you talk about it with each other without blaming, shaming or being nasty? (If not, take a time out.)

What I see again and again is that most of us wonder whether we’re good enough, lovable and acceptable. We react to how other people treat us because we use that as a barometer of whether they care and whether we matter.

The bottom line? Compassion. For yourself and for them.

As Plato said: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

 

The Forbidden Emotion

Anger.

We’ll ignore it, submerge it, eat it away, project it onto someone else, pretend that we don’t feel it (“What?  Me angry?”) or use an infinite number of ways to avoid being aware or owning that we’re angry.

Is it ok for you to feel angry?  Or do you, like so many people, struggle with allowing yourself to feel angry and express it to others?

Let’s be really clear about one thing here.  Anger is a feeling.  That’s all it is.  Our judgments about anger being wrong or bad or negative or dangerous or scary are based on our past experience of anger (our own or other people’s) or what we were taught about anger growing up.

Some “facts” about feelings:

  • Feelings just are.  They aren’t good or bad, negative or positive.  They might, however, be desirable or undesirable.
  • If you’re breathing, you’re feeling.
  • Feelings are messages.  That’s it.  It’s your soul asking you to pay attention.  Something is going on and your spirit is saying:  “Wake up.  You need to notice this.”
  • Your thoughts create your feelings.  So if you’re not feeling very good take a look at what you’re thinking.  I can guarantee that you’re not thinking very good either.
  • Feelings are not a guide to action.  Meaning that feeling angry is not a license to act out.  There’s a huge difference between responding and reacting when you’re angry.

Anger is a feeling and you’re barking up the wrong tree if you try to control your feelings.  What you can control is your “stinking thinking”.  Your unruly, wildly imaginative, critical, negative, judgmental mind.  What the Buddhists call the monkey mind.

So what are the thoughts that ignite the smoldering or raging fires of anger?

Our rules.  About how people should behave and how things should be.  What everyone else should do in every situation from the trivial and mundane (how to squeeze the toothpaste tube, should the toilet seat be left up or down) to the profound and significant (whether to have children and how to raise them, how to express love).

The problem?  We’re not even aware that we have rules.  We just assume that it’s obvious how people should behave.  We also don’t allow other people to have rules and shoulds that are different than ours.  (And if they do, they’re wrong anyway.)  We just assume that our way is common knowledge because, of course, it’s right, appropriate, obvious, the “way”.

Generally, when you get angry, it’s because someone has violated one of your rules and hasn’t lived up to your expectations of what they should or shouldn’t have done.  And you believe that they should have known better because that’s what anyone of sound mind should have done in that situation.

Anytime you have a should, you have a rule.

Look at some of the times that you have gotten angry recently.  What were your shoulds, rules, expectations that someone didn’t live up to?

The next time someone is angry at you, ask yourself what their expectations were.  What should or rule of theirs did you violate?

Want less anger and more inner peace?  Stop imposing your rules on everyone else.  Who made you CEO of the Universe?  Everyone you know has different experiences, values and perceptions so their shoulds and rules are often different than yours.

Hear this:  Neither one of you is right or wrong.  Just different.  

(By the way, I’m not talking about things such as harming others and running red lights.  Some agreed-upon rules are laws because certain agreements are necessary for people to live together in a civilized society.)

Next newsletter we’ll talk about why anger is the forbidden emotion and how to deal with it in yourself and others.

In the meantime, one of the most powerful ways I have found to deal with any emotion is tapping or EFT.  Ten years ago I was really skeptical about EFT and thought it was a bunch of woo woo.  Then I decided to give it a try.  Tapping has produced powerful shifts for my clients and in my own life.

The Sixth Annual Tapping World Summit is taking place starting February 24th.  Here are two pre-event videos:

Wayne Dyer and how he dealt with his bitterness and rage towards his father: http://thetappingsolution.com/cmd.php?Clk=5208380

Dr. Lissa Rankin and why some of her supposedly “healthiest” clients (those who were exercising, eating well, meditating, etc) were getting sick, and the big “Aha!” moment she had about what was causing it all: http://thetappingsolution.com/cmd.php?Clk=5208374

I hope you take a few minutes to watch these videos.  Tune into the 10 day Tapping World Summit which begins on February 24th.  Your trust in me is everything so know that I only recommend things to you that I really believe in.  I recommend this event every year because I really believe in the power of tapping.  Let me know what you think.

What You Want Instead of…

“Most people are not going after what they want. Even some of the most serious goal seekers and goal setters – they’re going after what they think they can get.”    Bob Proctor

What will drive you this year?  What you want or what you think you can get?  Are you limiting yourself because you think you might not be able to get what you want or that you don’t deserve it?

What are you allowing to hold you back at the doorway to your dream life?  What you think you should do according to other people’s expectations or needs?  Your fear of failure, of not being ready yet, of not being perfect or good enough?

Or are you really hearing and paying attention to what your heart and soul are longing for?  And then believing – or even better knowing – that you can create that?

Happy New Year to you, Anne!  I wish you every blessing and abundance in 2014.

Thank you for taking valuable time out of your day to read my newsletters and I love and appreciate your thoughts, comments and questions.  Keep them coming!  I’m honored to have you in this community and to be a part of your world.  Please continue to let me know what you need and how I can help you create what your heart and soul are longing for.

Quick question.  For webinars, online workshops and interviews that I will be offering this year, what time of day works best for you?

1)  Morning? 

2)  Afternoon? 

3)  Evening? 

  • Pacific time?
  • Mountain time?
  • Eastern time?

Please comment below and let me know what’s best for you.

Thank you!

The #1 Cause of Stress in Your Life

The #1 cause of stress in your life:

  • Your significant other?
  • Your work/your boss?
  • Too much to do?
  • Money?
  • Your teenagers/parents/inlaws?
  • Whether you should go on the all fruit, no fruit, no carbs, low carb, only carbs, no gluten, low gluten or who cares diet and does that mean that I can’t have wine?

No, the #1 cause of stress in your life is your mind.

Your tries-to-scare-the-pants-off-you and tells-you-that-you’re-never-good-enough fearful, critical mind.  It can’t help it.  That’s its job.  The problem is that your mind is too good at its job.

Our mind’s purpose is to help us survive.  That’s Mother Nature’s priority for us – the survival of the human species (in spite of our best efforts otherwise).  Your mind doesn’t really care if you have fun in your life.  Survival.  Period.

Your mind is expert at scaring you by conjuring up all sorts of problems and issues and worst-case scenarios and criticizing you for the decisions you make and the things you say and do.  Just in case.  To keep you in line so that you don’t do something that might jeopardize your safety.

Add to that the belief that it matters what other people think of you and your life and you have the recipe for an unhealthy, nasty-tasting, indigestible stress pie.

No, no – it’s not the things outside of us that stress us for the most part.  It’s what we tell ourselves about those things.  It’s believing that we can’t cope.  Otherwise we would relax, live more in the moment and deal with things as they show up.

When you’re upset or stressed your body is being bombarded with a cascade of hormones and chemicals to help you fight or flee that saber-toothed tiger that is ready to pounce on you, threatening your life.

But wait a minute – there is no saber-toothed tiger.

  • It’s a traffic jam
  • Or a conflict with someone
  • Or too many things to do
  • Or not succeeding at something
  • Or getting outside your comfort zone

Not a life-or-death situation.

But your body doesn’t know that.  It was given its marching orders from a part of the brain which responded to the all-hands-on-deck-there’s-danger-ahead alarm that your mind issued.

So your body has, in essence, used a cannon to shoot a flea.

It’s all about your perceptions and how you see things.  Which is why you often don’t stress about the same things as others.  Want proof?  Remember when you told a friend or family member who was stressed about something to “Just relax.  It’s no big deal”. (C’mon, you know that’s not helpful.)  That’s because your thoughts about the situation were different than theirs, so it wasn’t stressful for you.

Your interpretation of a situation.  Thoughts.  All thoughts.

But, it doesn’t have to be like that.

Da, da, da, da!  Anne to the rescue!

(Ok, my hair isn’t blonde but I love the cape and the shoes…)

Mark your calendars.  December 4th.  Limited to 20 people.  Me and you.  A crazy low price.  (Wait and see.) 

Shattering your personal myths about stress and putting you in control.  What would it be like to really enjoy the holiday season this year instead of needing a holiday after the holidays?

I’m just putting the finishing touches on it.  Details next week.

I Dare You to Do This Differently

Are you hard on yourself?  Do you align with your inner critic and attack and berate yourself when you’re not perfect or haven’t met your expectations for yourself?

Really aren’t there enough expectations, demands, judgments, timelines, criticisms, harshnesses, stresses, opinions, critiques and comments about who you are, what you do and how you do it?  Without you adding to the cacophony of external, judgmental voices?

It’s really interesting if we think about it.  We worry incessantly about what other people think about us.  Why?  Because we judge ourselves harshly so we’re forced to look outside ourselves for approval and to feel that we’re OK.

The craziest part is that we’re looking for acceptance, kindheartedness, compassion, caring, approval, validation, understanding and acknowledgment from people who often don’t give those gifts to themselves.

Confession:  I’m hard on myself, too, sometimes.  But not as often anymore.

I used to berate myself with abandon.  And ridiculously, it felt almost virtuous.  I thought I was being a warrior by being hard on myself.  Keeping myself accountable.  Being tough on myself so that I would be more focused and successful.

I finally realized that, when I was hard on myself, my soul had no room to breathe.  I had locked myself in the cage of my expectations and shoulds.  A cage without the oxygen of my heart and inner wisdom.

I decided to wake up.  Being hard on myself wasn’t making me more effective, motivated or successful.  And it didn’t feel good.  (Always a sign to wake up and pay attention.)

My inner warrior isn’t about turning everything into a struggling battle and hauling myself over the coals for not being perfect.  The only response to a constant battle is exhaustion.

My true inner warrior is my creative force, not a fighter.  My North star encouraging me to persevere, to hold my vision and walk the path to my dreams and especially to support and believe in myself NO MATTER WHAT.

My warrior pays attention to what I’m doing right instead of focusing on when and where I’ve missed the mark or veered off the path.  She appreciates and celebrates my victories, my courage and my learning.

If you’re spending your precious time being hard on yourself, you’re going to stumble in the weeds of discouragement, frustration and impatience.  Try travelling a different path.

When you hear (or feel) yourself shooting those arrows of heartlessness at your soul, try an experiment.  Instead of jumping on the train of ancient, ineffective habits and getting taken for the same old ride, write down what you’ve done well, your successes and what you’ve learned.

Stepping outside your comfort zone in the outside world is a piece of cake compared to moving beyond your inner comfort zone of old, familiar behaviors.  If being hard on yourself is automatic and habitual for you, I challenge you to do it differently.  And see what happens.  Self-compassion takes courage.

It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada this weekend.  What are you grateful for?  Can you add yourself to the list?

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