Coaching in a Nutshell

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

Tag: dreams

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.

This Is Your Game Piece

I recently returned from an amazing retreat led by the brilliant John Kehoe, the world’s foremost expert on the power of the mind and the subconscious.  John is the author of Mind Power (now called Mind Power Into the 21st Century), the #1 bestseller celebrating its 25th anniversary that sold over 2 million copies.

One of the things John talked about was that our body is our game piece.  Bottom line:  If your body isn’t healthy, it makes it more difficult to be in the game.

The problem is that most of us don’t pay much attention to our body until it protests in pain or breaks down in some way.

You know that the mind-body relationship is real and powerful.  Your mind (your thoughts, perceptions, beliefs and attitudes) have a profound effect on your body.

But, don’t forget that your body has a powerful effect on your mind.  Have you ever been cranky because you haven’t gotten enough sleep?  Impatient when you were hungry?  Has intense pain ever brought your life to a halt?  Have you ever felt more energetic, happier, calmer or thought more clearly after a good workout?

It really is simple.  Eat well.  Sleep enough.  Get your body moving.  Drink lots of water. Relax.  Ignore any one of these and your body will eventually speak up.  Ignore it for too long and your body might start yelling at you.  Are you listening?

Let’s take sleep.  We are among the most sleep-deprived people in the world.  It affects our mood, our relationships, our behavior at work, our alertness, our thinking, our health, our energy and our ability to deal well with everyday life.  So, if you’re tired, you just might want to take your exhaustion a little more seriously.  And then do something about it.

Just as we have to love ourselves first before we can truly love others, true listening starts within. Listening to what our game piece, our body, needs to keep us in the game.

Last week I said that you would be able to register for my upcoming Coaching In A Nutshell group coaching program this week.  I’m still working with my team to get all the nuts and bolts of my coaching program in place.  I’ll open up registration as soon as it’s ready so it will be a smooth and easy process for you.  I appreciate your patience.  I really want you to join me so that I can help you get to where you want to go in your life.  I’ll let you in on a few details of the program:

  • You Get TWO Live Group Coaching Calls with Me Each Month
  • Each Call is 90 Minutes
  • You Have the Opportunity to Ask Any and All Questions About Getting Unstuck, Finding Balance, Fulfilling Your Heart’s Desires, Goals and Visions, Dealing with Conflict AND…Get the Answers Specific to Your Situation
  • You Can Learn from Others in the Group As They Get Answers to Questions That May Not Have Occurred to You

There will be more including a bonus…

I recently left my part-time work as a family and couples therapist so I have some openings for private clients who would like to do more intensive one-on-one work with me.  I work in person and on the phone and on Skype.  If you would prefer to work with me privately, please contact me at Anne@CoachingInANutshell.com.

Rock the Boat!

In the 1974 song “Rock the Boat” by the group Hues Corporation, someone in the background is singing “Don’t rock the boat, baby” and “Don’t tip the boat over”.  That voice in the background is like your inner critic telling you to be careful and not rock the boat.  It’s too dangerous.  Something bad might happen.  If you rock the boat, you’ll tip it over and wind up in the water.  It will be your fault.  People will get upset.  Who knows what the fallout will be.  It’s too scary.

Well, I say:  ROCK THAT BOAT THAT IS YOUR LIFE!!!

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” T.S. Eliot

The dictionary definition of “Rock the boat” is “to disturb a situation that is otherwise stable and satisfactory”.  In the report card of your life will you be happy with a satisfactory?  Or are you aiming for a life that is OUTSTANDING??? 

So, I will leave you with some questions:

  • How could you rock your boat?  And what would that mean to you?
  • What are you afraid might happen if you rock your boat?
  • When you’re 90 years old and sitting in your rocking chair will you regret not having rocked your boat?  (Rocking your chair won’t be the same thing, I guarantee it…)
  • Who wouldn’t like it if you rocked the boat?
  • What do you think about people who rock the boat?

“Men are afraid to rock the boat in which they hope to drift safely through life’s currents, when, actually, the boat is stuck on a sandbar. They would be better off to rock the boat and try to shake it loose, or, better still, jump in the water and swim for the shore.”   Thomas Szasz

Are you ready to rock your boat?  I have received many requests to offer a group coaching program, so I have cleared some time on my schedule beginning this fall.  Stay tuned for more details.

And now, for your listening pleasure and, for some of us, a trip down memory lane, is “Rock the Boat” by Hues Corporation:  http://youtu.be/dndAXxqJbc0

If Life Is A Banquet…

“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.”  Rosalind Russell

Are you starving at the banquet table of your life?

What does “Life is a banquet” mean to you?  I think of a massive table stretching off into the horizon with endless possibilities…

Your life banquet – what does it look like?  Are you sitting in the same spot meal after meal/day after day or tasting from only one side of the table?  Are you eating the same meat and potatoes or tofu and beans or spaghetti and meatballs or peanut butter and jam again and again and wondering why you’re bored, frustrated, lonely or unhappy?

Or have you shaken things up lately?  Gotten out of your comfort zone and explored the smorgasbord at the rest of the table?

If not,

HERE’S WHAT‘S HOLDING YOU BACK:

Feeling comfortable can feel so great.  In the moment.  It feels so safe.  No failure.  No anxiety.  No self-doubt.  No uncertainty.  No effort.  No criticism or judgment from you or anyone else.

But too much comfort and safety is boring and deadens the heart, mind and soul.

Ask yourself when you have felt the best in your life, the happiest, the most energetic and the most fulfilled.  I bet it was when you stretched yourself, stepped outside your comfort zone even though you might have felt a little fear (or a lot).  I’m right, aren’t I?

We let our excuses and fears become solid blocks to doing what our hearts and spirits yearn for instead of just doing it (thanks, Nike, for reminding us).  It’s too hot, cold, early, late, difficult, long, complex, scary, unknown… or I’m too young, old, overweight, skinny, uncoordinated, fast, slow, weak, imperfect… or not a good enough cook, artist, speaker, writer, teacher, parent, partner, coach, leader…

And then we wonder why our lives aren’t brilliant diamonds of joy and fulfillment.

I CHALLENGE YOU:

This summer

Do one thing

A week

That scares the

H… out of you

Then pay attention to how you feel and what happens in your life.

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

–Bob Proctor

Don’t Let Anyone Push Your Buttons!

Scenario:

You’re having a heated discussion with someone close to you.  You’re upset by something they said.  Do you:

  1. Get defensive?
  2. Get even?
  3. Escalate things?

Those are common reactions when the heat is on and we’re engaged in conflict and wanting to be right, save face or win the argument.

But there is a 4th, more powerful option.  Do nothing.  In the heat of the moment when someone is trying to push your buttons, don’t say anything.  Let the ball drop.  Right at the feet of the person who is hurling rude, nasty, hurtful, unkind, untrue or disrespectful words at you.  And walk away.

That’s what I call the Echo Effect™.  (OK, it’s not really trademarked.  It just makes it look more official…)

The Echo Effect is not responding when someone says something that upsets you.  Not saying anything. Nada. Rien. Niente.

Instead you let their words echo in the space between you.  There’s enormous power in silence.  And they’re left with what they just said reverberating in their heads.  Instead of focusing on what you just said and responding to that.  And right then and there, the interaction will change.

In all the relationship work I do, whether it’s with couples, adult siblings, mothers and daughters or friends, I tell people that their best bet when the temperature starts to rise between them is to disengage.  Because nothing good ever happens (or is said) when conflict is escalating.

My incredibly wise Mother would tell me, when I was much younger and upset about something one of my siblings said or did, “You be smarter” – meaning “Don’t say anything.  Just walk away.”

We play a lot of verbal tennis in our relationships.  Someone says something and we (usually immediately) respond.  This goes back and forth a few times because we don’t want to let them have the last word or win the argument.  (What does it really mean to win or lose an argument anyway?)  So we lob something back at them and then they toss something back at us.  When does it stop?  When we realize that our inner two-year-olds are really running the show?

Have you ever walked away from one of those emotional tennis games and felt terrible because you had gotten so caught up in the ridiculous dynamic?  Or because in the heat of the moment you said something that you later regretted?

I worked with a woman, Sally, whose husband, Mark, constantly accused her of being interested in and involved with other men.  (Names have been changed.)  Sally tried everything from getting angry to defending herself to assuring him that she was only interested in him.

We talked about the Echo Effect and that Mark would continue his behavior as long as she gave him something to debate so he didn’t have to think about what he was saying. Sally decided to stop responding to his accusations.  After a while, Mark stopped accusing her.  He finally listened to what he was saying and realized how ridiculous it was.

The Echo Effect is not about playing games, controlling or manipulating anyone.  It’s about standing in your own power and not letting other people’s “stuff” control you.  It doesn’t mean you can’t respond if you choose to.  It’s about not reacting in the moment when the heat is on.

Don’t be fooled.  The Echo Effect is simple but it’s not always easy to not react when someone is pushing our buttons.

The next time someone says something that gets your blood boiling or hurts your feelings, heed my Mother’s wise counsel:  You be smarter.  Take a deep breath, don’t say a word, stand there (or walk away) and see what happens.  And let me know how it worked for you.  I bet you’ll feel pretty good about yourself.

The Top Two Problems in Your Relationships

Problem #1:  You are right and he/she (your husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, friend, teacher, student or anyone you are in relationship with) is wrong.

It sounds like this to others:

“I know what I’m talking about.”  “The way I see the world is the way it actually is.”

“However the way you see the world is impractical, absurd, ridiculous, idiotic, unreasonable, irrational, crazy and/or illogical.”

What other people hear is:

“My perspectives, beliefs and opinions are right and your perspectives, beliefs and opinions are wrong.  I am the holder of the truth.”

In other words, “I’m right.  You’re wrong.”

It feels like this:

“I’m going to shame you and make you feel stupid for seeing things the way you do.  How could anyone who is smart, confident, successful, a winner, empathic, good at what they do, a thinking person, a caring person, a good teacher, architect, mother, father, sister, brother, CEO, (fill in the blank) think the way you do or say something like that?

This is what they’re not telling you:

“When I was growing up I was criticized for things I said or did and that made me feel stupid, like a failure and ashamed.  On a subconscious level now I always have to be right so I can be sure that I won’t be criticized or feel stupid or that I have failed.  If you don’t agree with me, that means that one of us has to be wrong.  Because I always have to be right, I vote for you.  You must be wrong.  And I’m going to do to you what I hated being done to me, which is that I’m going to criticize you or put you down for being wrong and make you feel small.”

Others see the world through different eyes than you based on their experiences, history, family life, personality, values, intelligence (of which there are many kinds) and gender.

And those different eyes lead to different perceptions and perspectives about the world which lead to different beliefs about life, people and situations.  In many situations, there is not just one truth.  Our differences is what makes life exciting and fascinating.  And takes us out of our comfort zone.

I believe that there is another reason that we have to be right.  Our brain is programmed for survival.  To be wrong is to risk being dead.  Our brain cannot allow us to be wrong because it taps into our deepest fears of not being capable of surviving.  And that really scares us.

Most of us would rather be right than happy.  Right than loving.  Right than connected.  Right than kind (not to be confused with nice).

And when we make people wrong, what happens?  They get defensive.  Or shut down.  They share less and aren’t as willing to be vulnerable.  Who wants to get up close and personal with someone who criticizes us, puts us down and thinks we’re less than?  Over time, intimacy and connection are sacrificed at the altar of rightness (aka “the truth”).

I don’t believe that most of us consciously or maliciously try to make other people wrong.  And that’s the problem.  We do it subconsciously so it’s critical to wake up and become aware of how we treat others.  Only then can we choose to change it.

Clients are always telling me that they want to improve their communication with the important people in their lives.  Start here.   It’s not about either-or.  Either I’m right or you’re right.  It’s about both-and.  Both you and I have a perspective and a) in most circumstances both are likely valid and b) does it really matter who is right?

When people tell me that they want to learn to communicate better, I often think that what they mean is that they want to become better at persuading others of the truth of their perspective.  What I suggest is that they become better at listening.  Remember we were given two ears but only one mouth…

The next time you disagree with someone about something, what would it be like to really listen to their perspective and think about the issue from their point of view?  To not make them wrong?  Even if you think that their perspective or opinion is ridiculous or silly or unbelievable or childish?  What would it be like to discuss it or just say something like “I see it differently” instead of “No, this is the way it is”?

What is coming up for you now when I make these suggestions?  Whatever it is will give you more information about what pushes your need to be right.  Follow those clues.

What would happen if you risked real communication, more intimacy and connection?  Spend the next couple of weeks becoming aware of how often you need to be right.  Then ask yourself what you really want in your relationships.  Being right or truly connecting? You just might be in for a surprise.

Problem #2?  We’ll talk about that next time.  (C’mon, you didn’t expect me to share it all with you right now, did you?  Don’t you have your hands full just becoming aware of when, how and with whom your need to be right rears its self-right-eous head?)

Your Life is A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

And there are two payoffs:  1) You live safely in your comfort zone.  And 2) You get to be right.

Your mind is so powerful that your beliefs usually become self-fulfilling prophecies  – your predictions about what will happen in your life.  How does that happen?

Your perceptions about people and life and your beliefs about what’s possible for you and what you deserve drive your behavior.  Your behavior creates certain outcomes in your life and responses from others.  Those outcomes and responses are often exactly what you believed would happen.

It’s really a very simple and straightforward equation:

You believe something → You take action on that belief → Your outcomes are a result of your actions → Your outcomes generally confirm your beliefs.

So you say, “I knew that would happen”.  That’s your self-fulfilling prophecy.  And when it happens again and again – that’s your life.

Here’s an example:  I have two clients, Ellen and Lorraine (not their real names).  Both of them are engineers and were recently let go when their companies downsized.

Ellen believes that it will be extremely difficult – if not impossible – to get a good job as an engineer because the economy is bad and people are struggling to find good jobs.  (This is her prophecy.)  So what does she do?  Ellen’s belief directly affects her behavior so she puts out little effort, isn’t persistent and doesn’t follow-up which leads to no job.  Her belief (that she won’t find a job) becomes a prophecy which she fulfills by her behavior (little effort, no follow-up or persistence).

Lorraine, on the other hand, looks around and sees that there are lots of people who are finding jobs, making money and enjoying their lives.  She believes that she will find a great job as an engineer doing the kind of work she loves.  Because of her belief that she will find a job (her prophecy), Lorraine is persistent and works really hard to find work as an engineer (her behavior).  And of course she is successful and finds a great job (her self-fulfilling prophecy).

I am not suggesting that we create everything in our lives by our beliefs.  That is up to you to decide.  I know that our subconscious is immensely powerful and that our beliefs (our prophecies) about how things will turn out are often correct.  But it’s not magic.  It’s how our beliefs and perceptions affect what we do in our lives and our relationships and the outcomes we get as a result.

What would you do differently if you believed differently and how might that change your results and your life?

Are you willing to try something?  Pick a situation in which you’re not happy with the results you have been getting.  What are your beliefs about that situation?  What action do you usually take?  What is the typical outcome?  Then ask yourself what would happen to your results if you changed your beliefs and then did something different?  Or, if you’re really brave, just do something different in spite of your beliefs.

Step outside of your comfort zone.  Change your belief (your prophecy).  Change your behavior. See what happens. Different beliefs→ different behavior→ different results???

Let me know……

Something new:  I love speaking with people who have great ideas about how to live an extraordinary life so I will be starting an ongoing interview series.  Twice a month I will interview interesting and inspiring people who are challenging us to live boldly and courageously.  Most of the interviews will be only 30 to 40 minutes so you can find time to listen in your busy life.

Our first interview, on Valentine’s Day, is with a Los Angeles Matchmaker who will talk about how to have more love in your life.  I’ll send you all the details next weekend about the live interview and the replay.

Talk to you next weekend.  I hope you’ll join me on this next leg of our journey together.

Get Out Of There Before You Suffocate

Your comfort zone.

It will choke the life out of you.  But your fearful mind will feel better if you stay in your comfort zone because you’ll be safe.  Maybe not happy or fulfilled or excited about your life or contributing or involved.  Safe and comfortable, which is all your fearful mind cares about.  Because its first concern is your survival.  Not your happiness, your joy or whether your life is meaningful.

But your soul, your life force, your inner spirit – whatever you want to call that inner flame that feeds on love, purpose, growth, passion and joy – gets most of its fuel outside of your comfort zone.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”  Neale Donald Walsch

We are at the dawn of a new year.  Start from here.  Wherever you are.  And walk boldly towards possibility and opportunity.

Do you know why we so desperately hang onto safety?  Why we’re afraid to venture outside our comfort zone?  We’re afraid that we won’t be able to handle whatever comes our way.  And that we might fail.

So we cling to safety.  And shrivel up inside.

“… and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  Anais Nin

I am declaring 2013 the year of sailing outside of our comfort zones.  Not forcing or pushing or struggling or slogging or striving or fighting.  Those are painful and create inner resistance.

Sailing.  Get ready for some rough waters, big tides and strong winds where you’ll learn how to navigate this journey of your life to the destinations of your dreams.  And, as any experienced sailor knows, get ready, too, for those magic days of calm waters, sunny skies and perfect, warm winds where everything just flows.

Can you imagine what your life will be like if you get out of your comfort zone again and again in 2013?  As I ask my clients (and myself), are you willing to try something new and see it as an experiment without judging or needing to be guaranteed of the outcome?

Have a wonderful New Year filled with love, joy, excellent health and the courage to sail outside your comfort zone.  As always, THANK YOU for taking the time to read this newsletter and for sharing your comments and your experiences with me.

I look forward to offering you more opportunities and getting to know you better in 2013.  Let’s navigate these uncharted waters together.

What is holding you back from living your dreams?

In my last newsletter, I talked about how the #1 regret of people who are dying is that they didn’t have the courage to live a life that was true to themselves.

What might be holding you back from living your dreams?

Can you relate to any of these?  You:

  • Don’t know what you want
  • Are afraid of other people’s disapproval
  • Don’t take what you want seriously
  • Don’t know how to create what you want
  • Don’t have the time or energy for your dreams
  • Aren’t sure whether it will really make you happy
  • Are terrified that you will fail
  • Don’t believe that you can have what you want

Those are all important and can definitely sabotage you but I believe that the #1 reason that you don’t go after your dreams is:

YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

This shows up in at least two ways:

1.

You don’t believe in your ability to successfully create what you want. You’re not sure what steps to take or even where to start.

2.

You don’t believe in your ability to handle whatever shows up for you. In other words, you’re terrified to take the risk of going after what you want because you don’t know what will happen (who gets a guarantee?) and whether you’ll be able to cope with it.

If you really believe in yourself then you know that you could (and would) step up and deal with the outcomes of your actions. If you really believe in yourself then you know that you would (and could) do everything possible and never give up on living your one and only life being true to the only one who matters. (Guess who.)

But that fearful mind of yours keeps asking you what you’ll do if you fail or if people don’t like what you’re doing or won’t pay you or whatever terrifying scenarios your mind can concoct for you.

Here’s what should terrify you:

Dying with your song, gifts, talents, dreams, hopes, desires and vision unsung and unfulfilled inside you.

Here’s a wonderful quote from the President of the Republic of Liberia who is the first elected female Head of State in Africa, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, speaking at Harvard University’s 360th Commencement Ceremony:

“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”

Believe in yourself. It trumps terror every time.

If you’d like some help believing in yourself or making your dreams come true, email me at Anne@CoachingInANutshell.com and we can set up a time to talk.

If there’s something I can help you with, click this link (https://coachinginanutshell.com/askanne.html) to submit a question.