Category Archives: Life Coaching

You are in your process of development, but have you included those around you?

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 12.37.01 PMYour work, their problem?

Just as you are adapting to your new self, so are those around you. They have known you in a certain context and some will need time to adapt.  I say some because there will be those people who support you completely in what you are doing. There will be others who are pretty much indifferent but with whom you can maintain the same relationships.

However, there will be some people in your life who will have a harder time with your change.

Your work and dedication has brought about positive results in your life; however, for others, it can bring up insecurities about how they live their own lives. They see you doing the hard work that they have neglected and may resent you for it. This resentment will most likely not come in the form of them telling you directly but rather in increased distance (either emotional or physical), difficult or awkward conversations, anger and perhaps even envy or jealousy.

The importance of being inclusive

These interactions are part of your environment (the elephant’s path) and if not handled properly, strongly negative ones can and will halt your progress.   In some cases, your root activity (or the time investment needed) will spark dialogue, questions and even criticisms. In other cases, the final product that you are becoming will be a sticking point for people.   Regardless if their interactions with you are extremely positive, neutral and/or what you perceive as negative, the questioning, looks and sometimes odd comments are most likely coming from a place of love and not resistance.

Therefore, just as you have been treating yourself with kindness, patience and honesty, the same has to be applied to those around you. The old adage of “do unto others…” needs to become your guiding light as you continue with your personal development, educate those around you and keep your elephant path clear.

How you would like to be seen, treated and accepted is exactly how you need to show up to others.

The power of including others

The easy thing to do would be to ignore them, give in to them, be defensive, angry and perhaps even end the relationship. This is a reaction. But all of your hard work has taught you to be with difficult situations (and this includes people) and it is here that you can now choose a beneficial response that not only helps you but heals and maintains your relationship.

As we mentioned in Chapter Seven, you are moving to the future and building upon the great person that you already are rather than tearing yourself down and reinventing yourself. This involves bringing those in your life with you.   It may feel like more work in the beginning, but in the long run it is very fruitful to have those closest to you be a part of one of your life’s greatest achievements.

Sadly, this can be easier said than done at times.

There will be people who will make your life very difficult and will refuse to accept what it is that you are doing.  Therefore, it is important to recognize that you are unable to control what they do, and only capable of controlling how you show up to them and of choosing a beneficial response (rather than a hurtful reaction).

The following questions may to help ground you in the process:

  • Am I basing my reaction on what I know or what I think? (There is a big difference. Make sure that you are operating from a place of truth with evidence rather than your own thoughts and invented scenarios.)
  • Am I looking for acceptance? Does it matter that they don’t accept me?
  • Do I accept them as they are?
  • Do I exhibit the behaviors and attitudes towards them that I would like them to show towards me?
  • Do I (or could I) include them in my root activity or supporting behaviors?
  • Do I show them that I am making time for them despite my change and personal development?
  • My efforts as of late have been completely inwards.  Am I being self-centered?
  • Can I show them the attention that they perhaps feel has been taken away?
  • Am I taking myself too seriously all of the time?

For you

Personal development does not happen on an island.  As you move through it, are you balancing your life or simply making it more imbalanced?

If you enjoyed this post, it is an excerpt from the final chapter of my new book, Creating your personal change: how to do it everyday and thrive”.  You can order it on Amazon.  Enjoy.

The importance and misnaming of “failure”

The work of improvement

When I was in high school, I played the trombone. I know, I know, how cool was I?  I was never very good at it but I did play for several years in both the jazz and concert bands.  I tried playing the guitar a few years ago as well, but I’ve come to the realization that music is not my thing.  I’m not saying that I could not have been much better, but it was just the work involved was more that I was willing to put in.

So I made a choice.

I was talking about my experiences with music to a yoga student this weekend who was learning how to stand on her head in a pose called, yes you guessed it, headstand (sirsasana).  She is at the point of learning how to balance on her head with her feet just a little off the floor.  Her next step is to straighten her legs and go into the full pose.

However, like most people, it scares her in the beginning.  To help her confront her fear, I stood behind her to prevent her from rolling forward and encouraged her to straighten her legs and come into the full pose.  She did it reluctantly, it was wobbly and didn’t’ last long. In the end she gave into her apprehensions and brought her feet back down to the mat in a hurried thud.

So why did I get her to do it?

It is important to push into the unknown and struggle  Going up into a tipsy headstand and then coming frantically down is essential to not only define your current limits but to also push them.  Pushing to the point of “what you can’t do”  shows you things about yourself that you didn’t’ know.

When I played that trombone and would try a piece of music much too difficult for myself, it made what I could play that much easier.  It also allowed me to see how to jump from where I was to a next phase.

Pushing is an event, and not a life style

With all of that said, there is a time to push and a time to refine.  You can’t push out of your limits everyday, and it is important that you honor where you are and enjoy your current abilities. But, moving from one step to the next will require you to redefine what you can do and change what you think you can’t.

Time to push yourself

If you apply this to your personal development, think of what you can push yourself into.

Think of what seems impossible and try it.

Could you try:

  • not smoking for 24 hours?
  • not drinking for a week?
  • running 5 out of next 7 days?
  • reading 2 hours everyday?
  • not getting mad tomorrow at work?

You might not reach the goal, but it doesn’t matter.  What ever you try will expand your limits and show you that you can achieve more than you are currently doing.   When you think of it this way, there is no way you can fail.

If you have a challenge that you are wanting to try, try it with a coach.  I hold up your vision and help support you when you want to quit.  There is no end point other than keeping it going for as long as you can.  That is where a powerful coaching/client relationship can take you to your next level.  Get in touch today

It is not too late. In fact, the time is now

Whatever your challenges are in life, it is important to not only remember but believe that it is never too late to start overcoming them.  In the field of personal development, many people are shy to start because they assume that they are either too far gone or the work that think they need to do to start seeing results is insurmountable.

Both are assumptions that need not exist but I understand why they do.

Here’s why.

1.  Ruts are comfortable.

Ruts are comfortable because they are predicable and familiar.  We take solace in knowing what we are getting despite it being negative rather than a risk on something positive.  This is why it is important to realize that a deep and meaningful project of personal development needs to go slowly yet steadily.

You won’t instantly be out of the rut, but you will start to lift your head up and begin to peer over the edges with the smallest and simplest of efforts.  You don’t need to give up your comfort entirely in the beginning so think of it as like dipping your toe into the water before you jump in.

Before you know it, you’ve got your whole lower half in.

2.  This is too much work. 

You will put in work and lots of it, but it is gradual.   You will slowly start learning new skills, techniques and aspects of yourself that the work you do on a daily basis will be broken down into manageable chunks.  It is also important to realize that you don’t not reach an endpoint to start receiving the benefits of your work.  In fact, you will start to see dramatic improvements very early on.

The idea that you have to work and work in order to get to the summit before you get any benefits is not the way it works.  Just by starting and showing up on a daily basis, the benefits will be obvious.

As 2012 comes to a close, take time to reflect on the year and ask yourself “What did I do for myself that I’m very happy with?  What would I like to start improving upon in 2013?”  C0ntact me today and let’s grow your personal development ideas together.

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The deafening noise of what doesn’t exist

The volume of my thoughts

I’ll admit that my mind has gotten noisy as of late.  Despite the yoga and meditation, I’m becoming a victim of my run away mind.  This large life change has brought out the voice in my head that tells me:

  • I can’t do this
  • I’m an idiot
  • Everybody else is more qualified or better or smarter or..
  • I’m ruining my life
  • This is too much all at once

When I drive my motorbike around in Laos (a country with very poor trauma health care), I’m starting to assume that I’ll be in the back of a make shift Tuk-Tuk ambulance after a horrible accident involving a street dog and 10 year old driving another motorcycle.  And then of course since my passport is being processed right now in the capital city of Vientiane, I’ll bleed out on the table because they can’t Medi-vac me out to Thailand without my papers.

Or if I invest a great deal of my hard earned money into a business here, I’ll lose it all. And then of course, I’ll be broke, homeless and without my passport (because for some reason it will still be being processed), I’ll be forced to either live on the streets here in Laos or make a boarder crossing into Thailand commando style.

All pretty reasonable right?  If this happens to you, then you are definitely not alone.

Here is how I deal with it.

Learning not to listen

When I spend time analyzing the thoughts that get me riled up and out of my skin, most (if not all) are invented scenarios.  What I project into the future is usually a worst case scenario that is not based on any real evidence.  Or I dwell in the past thinking about what I should have done differently and/or  done more or less of.

Despite being invented, invisible and unrealistic, they are powerful.  They can crowd my brain, ruin the present moment and have me living in an alternate world that is made up of my imagination.

It is natural for the mind to wander. That is what it does.  However, when I get overly hooked or unable to bring my mind back, that is when I know I’m spending more time with invented scenarios than with my actual reality.

In school, teachers spend so much time trying to teach people how to listen, but I think it is time that we start teaching people what is worth listening to from others and themselves.

Things may go wrong for me in the future and they have certainly gone wrong in the past.  “Things” have a habit of doing that. But wrapping my brain around all of the thoughts in my head of “what ifs” and “maybes” is much more damaging than any one thing going wrong.

The work of being present

The work I’m doing personally is to silence the voices that talk nonsense and worst case scenarios and work on being stronger in holding to reality.  In other words, valuing what is actually going on right now.

Routine dulls your ability to grow and be introspective whereas change makes you question everything.  That is what is great and scary about it.

What doesn’t exist can get loud and make what is real very quiet, or at least hidden in the background.  Reality never goes away, but it does take effort to hear it. You can’t turn the volume up on reality, but you can turn off the noise from what doesn’t exist.


What is currently stressing you and is it real?  Is where you mind takes you accurate?  What would change if you could let your invented thoughts go? I’d love to take this conversation to another level with you, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Are you just used to fear?

When fear is needed

Interesting question isn’t it?

If you are operating from a place of fear to most things in your life, then you are not alone.

Think about it.  How much of what we do is in fear of the consequences if we don’t do it?

There are some consequences that warrant a healthy amount of fear.  We don’t risk or mock fear when:

  • driving down a busy road in fear of hurting ourselves or others
  • we respect our marriage vows or commitment to our loved ones out of respect, love and compassion
  • we try our best to be healthy so we can avoid that nightmare scenario of being admitted to a hospital and never coming out.

Too much fear

But what about the rest of the time?  How much of our healthy fear gets turned into unhealthy fear?  How often do we go to worst case scenarios and react from a place of an invented “what if” rather than actually looking at our situation with an honest lens.

A good example has been happening to me as of late.  Since making this move, I’ve gone from the challenge placed in front of me to worst case scenarios.  There are times in the day that I operate from pure reaction.  In the beginning, we needed to take care of some survival issues like visas, jobs and housing.  I needed to move quickly on somethings and avoid some potentially unpleasant consequences (not being able to stay in the country, living in a guest house for months and not having basic income to cover our costs here).

But now that all of that is taken care of, that mindset of needing to get things done or have things happen “or else” mentality, has been hard to put to bed.  I don’t have reasons to white knuckle or invent worries about what may happen, but out of habit I am.

I get hooked with a task that needs doing and then I go all the way with my brain to what could happen if I don’t get this right.

The fear of worst case scenarios

I’ve had very few worst case scenarios in my life. In fact, I think zero.  I’ve been in hard times but when in the situation, I’ve risen up to it:

  • I’ve been stuck in the middle of Zambia for 3 days with no way out and figured it out.  Looking back, I’m not sure how, but things look different when you are in the situation.
  • I had 5000 dollars stolen from my Colombian bank account via a debit card fraud.  Terrible I know, but I dealt with it.
  • My dad died from cancer and we never really had a good relationship.  But in the situation, he and I did the best we could.
  • I lost 50% of the vision in my right eye for 3 months.  It is back now and I took the steps to correct it.

In the situation you dread rather than thinking about it

The truth of the matter is that the dread and fear we project to what could possibly happen is a lot worse than the situation.  When the situation presents itself, something that right now sounds horrible, we step up.

Everything changes including what you think you can do.

There is a time for fear but there is also a time to trust that you can deal with whatever comes your way.  I guarantee hard times will come your way.  Living in fear of them does very little to prevent them.  People die, accidents happen, and sometimes you are just in the wrong place at the wrong time despite your best intentions.

Things will change no matter how much we want them to stay the same or go in a certain direction.

Pema Chodron in her new book “Living beautifully with uncertainty and change” put it perfectly when she wrote:

When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into it’s dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment

The big lesson I’m learning is that how we show up to actual challenges is where the hard work and energy needs to be rather than thinking about the fear and your potential failure.

Life coaching helps you get out of invented scenarios (the voice of your saboteur) and create a more accurate view of your situation.  It also reminds you of (and in some cases shows you) your strengths and takes the focus off your fixation with your weaknesses.


What fear is driving you? Is it real?  In a past circumstance that looking back seems terrible, how did you handle it?  You made it through something once, so what is stopping you from doing it again?

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