Sunday, October 28, 2007

Focus and Move Forward

There are times in life when the universe speaks to you directly and clearly. I've been experiencing a week where there are so many cause and effect occurrences that it is almost eerie. Let me explain.

I am the type of person who has many interests in life. The problem comes when I want to pursue many or all of them at once. It sounds something like this: “It would be neat to volunteer for this organization; the health club called and asked me to start teaching yoga; I want to take this specialized training in my field; I long to be really involved with my kids, and I want to be super-wife!” This may sound familiar to fellow over-achievers out there. Even if this doesn't exactly represent your personality, read on.

The universe is in order. Over the past week I have witnessed several direct correlations between saying “YES” and saying “NO” and what energetic influences it has. Here's an example:

Before the weekend I got a last minute invitation to take a fitness teacher certification that would take both Saturday and Sunday, all day. I was most interested because working out is right up there with breathing for me. I love it! (That may sound strange to some of you, but stick with me).
I could see myself leading classes, being in great shape, and motivating other people to commit to their health goals. But when I sat with the decision of taking the class (and giving up both weekend days) or working on my life coaching Web site, I listened to my intuitive voice and decided that forwarding my life coaching career was more important.

As soon as I declined the invitation for the fitness training, my Web designer called and said she had an opening on Saturday to work on my Web site. It is nearly impossible to get this kind of time with her because she has four kids, three of them under 3! But it worked out and we got about 80% of the site completed. None of that would have happened if I would have been sweating in the gym that entire day.

The coincidences continued throughout the week. As I got invited to teach yoga at two local clubs, I went through the same gyrations, and decided to continue to focus on my life coaching. Each time I said, “no,” within an hour, I got a phone call from a potential client or from someone who wanted to publish one of my life coaching articles in the local newspaper. The universe was very clearly saying, “You are supported in your quest to become a life coach. Focus and move forward.”

I now have a sign posted on my wall that says, “The more time, energy and brain space I devote to anything besides life coaching, only dilutes and delays me.” It has been tested several times this week, but each time I say NO, the universe says YES and my coaching career moves forward.

The universe is speaking to you if you slow down and listen. My question to you is this, “What are you saying NO to and where is your focus?”

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What's the Temperature of the Water?

I ran into someone the other day and he started to talk about a life change he had recently undergone. He explained how he never realized how much strain he had been under until he changed jobs.

Looking back he saw how his work schedule had imposed on his ability to be present for his family, which ultimately resulted in a divorce. His previous work schedule had nearly consumed him and threatened everything that was important in his life.

Now that he had moved on, he could see where he had been stuck and said he regretted not having made the change sooner. Why don’t we change when everything around us is screaming – “GET OUT!”?

I told him the story of the frog in the pot. If you try to put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will immediately jump out. If, however, you put the frog into a pot of water and slowly turn up the heat, the frog gets used to it. Once it realizes it is boiling, it can’t jump out because it is either incapacitated or dead. We don’t take charge and make changes because we don’t pause long enough to realize that the temperature is rising and it’s getting hot!

How often do you check in with your inner voice? What is the temperature of the water in your life? What are you tolerating in the important areas of your life – Career, Spirituality, Recreation, Romance, Health, Living Space, Family, Finances? We get SO busy that our alert systems shut down. The battery dies…and so do we, slowly.

Life Coaching is a great place to notice the temperature of the water you swim in every day. Are you treading water, swimming laps, gliding underwater, sinking or boiling? In this analogy, perhaps coaching can be seen as a life raft in the middle of the ocean of life. Coaching pulls you out of the water long enough to breathe, reflect, rest, and decide what’s next.

By simply noticing where you are, you've taken the first step and can make some powerful choices to move your life forward. Right now, make a commitment to yourself – it may be a very small step -- to move forward. The real question is, if you continued to actively make small steps forward, where would you be in a week? A month? A year?

Coaching Challenge: Draw a circle and divide it into eight even pieces. Label the wedges: Career, Spirituality, Recreation, Romance, Health, Living Space, Family, Finances. The center of the circle is 1 and the outside edge of the circle is a 10. Rank your satisfaction in each area of your life with a 1 meaning least satisfied and a 10 meaning completely satisfied. Then draw a straight or curved line between the dots to create a new outer edge. What does your wheel look like now? Does your wheel look like a flat tire? If this was a real wheel, would the ride be smooth or bumpy?

This is a quick way to gauge the temperature of your life’s water and determine which areas are “hot.” In the areas that you ranked as low, imagine what an 8, 9 or even a 10 would be like? How would the wheel (your life) look and feel then?

Whether you compare it to a frog, water, a boat or a wheel, it truly is your life – your one and only -- and you are the one experiencing it. Take a minute to get into the life coaching boat and notice how hot the water really is. Now the important question, “What are you going to do about it?”