The Journey of a Million Steps

Musings on International Women’s Day: I was looking for something in my computer this morning, and came across this article that I  wrote (when I lived in New Brunswick) for the Telegraph Journal’s International Women’s Day Supplement.  It still seems relevant a decade or so later……….

We’ve come a long way….. and isn’t it wonderful to be a woman in the 21st Century – in North America at least (I wish I could say that for all parts of the world).  We ARE on a roll! Our journey was charted by others before us, and we are blessed to walk the path that the pioneers of women’s rights laid down for us almost a century ago.

Today we celebrate the achievements and contributions of scores of women who have fought for active participation and equality in society and passed that on to us. And for those of us with the good fortune to have achieved it? What now is our role?

Are we meant to be leaders on the world stage? In Politics? Law? Education? Social Policy? Medicine? The Arts? Some, yes. Are we meant to raise the next generation to solve the world’s ills? A noble calling. Are we supposed to carry on the heritage of sacrificing ourselves in service of others? Some would say, service yes; sacrifice no.

Or is our task to discover our purpose in life, learn how to give full expression to it, and make a difference for every person we meet?

The specific answer is different for each one of us.

What is the same, however, is this. Our role – that we have inherited from the pioneers and from our mothers and grandmothers – demands that we choose to become our best selves, that we choose to embrace life fully, and that we choose a path of meaning for ourselves and contribution to others.

With understanding, connection to our heart and gut, and commitment to our purpose, each of us can make the difference we want to make in our lives, our community and the world.

We owe it to those who walked before us, to everyone who comes after, and most of all, to ourselves.

Gremlin! You Mean You Lied To Me All This Time?

You see, I’ve had this Gremlin for a companion, lo, these many years. He tells me I’m not creative. I’m many other wonderful things, but I’m not creative! AND I BELIEVED HIM!! I admit it, I did.

I spent years taking coaching training programs and courses, certifications, a leadership program, and had several wonderful coaches who encouraged me in every way possible to dump that Gremlin. And many friends who have told me ”what do you mean, you’re not creative!?? That’s clearly not true, look at this, that and the other thing you created!”

But did I believe them? You guessed right.

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Better than Resolutions?

Behind every New Year’s resolution, resolutely made, and all too frequently broken, are a host of good intentions! What propels us to resolve to make these resolutions, year after year? Why are they so hard to keep?

We make them because there’s something seductive about the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new. We are drawn into musings on our perceived failings or weaknesses, and at the same time inspired to be a more perfect person in the future.

Yes, the freshness and promise of the coming year! We so want to make amends. The changes we truly want to incorporate into our lives dangle tantalizingly in front of our eyes. We know we can do it!

So we resolve. To quit smoking, to be kinder to people, to be more organized at work, to clean out the basement, to exercise, to socialize with friends more often, to keep in touch more frequently with those who have moved away, to speak our mind forthrightly, to contribute to those less fortunate, and on and on. And some of us–succeed in keeping some of our resolutions.

Unfortunately, for most of us, a month or two down the road, many of the actions we started out doing with such determination and promise, have fizzled out and are soon forgotten. Our resolutions are once again in the realm of good intentions.

What happened? When you think about it, a resolution sounds so final. It implies completion, finality, a “done deed”. But the reality of making successful, lasting change is that it requires more than a promise, a prayer, and a post-it note on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror.

There must be, and there is, another way to become the best we know we can be.

That way requires courage, planning, wrestling with internal demons, inspiration, support, and championing! It requires encouragement from a partner, devoted friend or coach, when we are straying from the path, and also when we progress in small ways towards the goal. And celebration when we get there!

Resolutions are often lonely battles with ourselves. It’s tough to change habits, behaviours, and ways of being, all on our own. Getting help along the way can make the difference between an unfulfilled resolution – and one successfully carried out!

So don’t give up on the desire to change, to grow, to be your best self! Look to a supportive spouse, sibling, offspring, friend, and/or personal coach who is devoted to your winning that war with yourself. They can make the difference between a resolution and a reward!

Remembering the Wisdom of the Body

As part of promoting a tele-training that I am co-leading with Marlena Field, founder of Body-Centered Coaching. I wrote a blogpost for Marlena’s website, and I am sharing it here as well as I’m sure it’s food for thought and reflection for all ……

…. Since I first took Marlena’s tele-trainings years ago, and more recently her legacy program to become a Certified Body-Centered Coach, I have become increasingly grateful that I can coach my clients in this way.  It is heartwarming to witness the response from my clients on the impact body-centered coaching has for them.

My aha today is that coaching clients to access the wisdom in their bodies is inherently wise in itself!  When you think about it, why would we ever coach without including the body? Or as I like to say: the rest of the body (because the head is part of the body too).

Oh yes – our brains are wonderful sources of information.  But they are only one part of the wonder that is us.  Some suggest that we have several brains – our heart and our gut, in addition to our head, have knowledge for us.   However, the body centered coaching approach tells us that we also have valuable information in our muscles, our organs, our fibers –  in all of our being.   When we coach clients to solve their issues by accessing their wisdom wherever it is in their body, they experience new insights, relief, wonder, new possibilities, freedom, joy.

I recently coached a client who was struggling with which direction to take his career.  He was in the fortunate position of having several options at the same time and for each there were attractive pros and a few cons.   He was drawn by the ‘pros’ of them all and didn’t know which to pursue or which to let go of.
This client was in the midst of an MBA program, so my assumption and experience of him was that he lives primarily in his head, and wondered how he would respond to body-centered coaching.  But I realized I couldn’t help him in the traditional decision-making way of just examining pros and cons.

So with his permission to experiment, we visited each of those possibilities to see what information his whole body had for him (not necessarily to make a decision at this point).  During the coaching I thought the responses he articulated were somewhat head-based, and was concerned that he wasn’t getting it!  But when the coaching was over, he exclaimed:  “Wow! That was really insightful!  I now know which options are not right for me at all! Thank you!”

Yes, it is good to always remember that there is wisdom in body centered coaching, wherever it resides, and however it is expressed.

Spring at Last

For a girl who grew up in the cold cold winters of Winnipeg, Manitoba (35-40 below Celsius (or Fahrenheit – it’s all the same at that temperature) for 3-4 months or more, you’d think I would be the last one to complain about all the snow and cold we’ve experienced in eastern Canada this winter.

But no, I seem to have forgotten that ‘it’s just winter in Canada”, and have been longing for it to be over for many many weeks now. And lo and behold, on the last day of March, it’s well above zero, the snow is melting, the roads are dry, and we were able to go for a long walk without a biting wind whipping across our foreheads.

Such joy to smell the freshness in the air, and anticipate leaves on the trees, birds singing, children’s voices playing in the yards (the ones that aren’t glued to their electronics that is), and neighbours stopping to say hello.

Only last week a family of deer were foraging in our snow-covered backyard for something to eat – and chose some morsels from my flower garden. I didn’t have the heart to scare them away, though I did notice they were plenty plump. Must have scavenged a lot of gardens.

Soon the crocuses will peek out, the rest of the perennials will follow in due course, and spring will be in full bloom.

At this time of year, I always feel re-energized and newly inspired to do more of what I love to do in life.

What do you notice when Spring comes calling? What’s in the air for you?

A New Year’s Wish

Last week I read a great blogpost by a coach who recounted that instead of creating resolutions, she chooses three words that represent what she would like to bring into her life in the coming year.    That’s a good idea, I thought.  And up popped my three words from that intuitive place in me.  They were:  Health, Wealth and Joy.  That’s what I am intending for the coming year.   (‘wealth’ standing not so much for money but for a steady stream of awesome clients who light up my life).

What I liked about this idea was that it was so easy to call up the words, and that they are not laden with ‘must do’.  Not that there is anything wrong with ‘doing’… it’s just the ‘must’ that seems to burden me, being that I am a kind of go-with-the-flow person. Well, that’s another topic.    By the way, apologies for not giving proper credit to whomever it was that gave me this idea, as my recall has left me in the dust of last year.

A question for you:

What 3 words would you like to be the focus of your intentions for the next 12 months?

Until they pop up for you,  I wish you mine. May good health, wealth (however you define it), and much joy be yours in the year ahead.

Gratitude, Felt and Expressed

Yesterday afternoon I was close to the center of the city where I live – Kingston, Ontario –  on a very cold and crisp day– when I noticed a huge dark cloud in the sky.  I recall thinking, ‘that’s odd’, as it was lightly snowing, and then saw a huge flame in the center of the cloud.

Not normally a gawker, I found myself driving towards the fire to see where it was coming from, and then turned a corner to see what you all saw on tv or twitter. – a massive fire on our main street in town, a crane extending out of the fire and cloud of smoke, and a small, dark figure at the end of the crane. I heard a large bang, and decided it would be prudent to leave the area, went home and followed the dramatic story there.

This morning I am grateful for the firefighters, the military rescue team, the police, and all who managed this frightening incident with calm and skill.  I am grateful no one was killed or seriously injured. I am sad for those whose homes or businesses were affected.

I wish the crane operator a gentle recovery from what must have been a terrifying experience.

As I sit here in my comfortable family room with the fire on, I am reminded how grateful I am for every day of life.

So with this as a backdrop to the approaching holiday time – Christmas for those who celebrate it – a respite for those who don’t – let us all be grateful for the good in our lives and radiate that feeling to those around us and to the world.

I wish you all the best of the season, and a warm and wonderful introduction to the new year before us.

Perfectionism vs. Professionalism

I admit it.  I am a recovering perfectionist.  I thought I had conquered my worst tendencies to over-do whatever I’m working on.  But then I tackled the E-course I referred to in my last blogpost.

Writing it in the first place turned out to be the easy part.  Once I actually sat down and wrote it, that is.  Getting it in the shape I am comfortable with – both in what it offers, and the technology of getting it on my website and into an email marketing system – was easier said than done.

The thing is, besides being a perfectionist – a not always admirable quality – I also have a high value of professionalism.  Whatever I do in my work has to meet my own high standards of what is acceptable.  Another way I could say this, I guess, is that I care (that sounds nicer).

Anyway, thanks to the skill and extraordinary patience of two people – Dan Johnston, who edited and sharpened my copy, and Julien Feyen, who designed the banner for the e-course, and led me through most of the technical work required to publish it (translation – did it for me) – IT’S DONE!

So – for those of you who are already receiving my newsletter – Tips, Trends & Tidbits for Developing Leaders – and would like to receive my E-course – 9 Savvy Steps to Success in Career and Life, please let me know by email (marcia@oneononecoaching.com) and I will begin the process that signs you up (you will receive a confirmation email and once you have clicked on the confirmation link, the course will be forwarded to you).

Or if you prefer, just go to my home page – www.oneononecoaching.com – and subscribe through the form you see there.

It just occurred to me.  I should have entitled this: Perfectionism + Professionalism = Pride.  The good kind of pride.  The pride of accomplishment.

On that note, here are some questions for your reflection:

  • What values of yours most matter in the work you are doing?
  • What qualities get in the way of honouring those values?
  • How do you reconcile what you want to make happen with what gets in the way?

Happy to receive any comments on the above you might wish to share.

Moving Past Blocks to Creativity and Productivity

I’ve had a remarkable year (well, 11 months to be accurate).  I’m only realizing it now.

Besides coaching many wonderful clients this past year, I’ve been on a learning and discovery journey as I engaged in and completed Marlena Field’s Legacy Program in Body Mind Spirit Coaching.  I know my clients – and hopefully my family and friends as well – will be the beneficiaries of all that I have absorbed and integrated from that experience.

I started a newsletter – Tips, Trends & Tidbits: For Developing Leaders – which I have been publishing faithfully almost every month (though once only in the summer and once in the early fall). I discovered that I do enjoy putting that out to the world.

And now I have designed and written an e-course called ”9 Savvy Steps to Success in Career and Life” that I am going to make available free on my website (and if you are already receiving my newsletter, I will make available to you as well).

It feels SO good to be creative and productive.  It feels great to get past the blocks that kept me from expressing myself in this way all these years.  (The exceptions are my website which I mostly wrote myself, and this blog, which although I started it several years ago, have only written in sporadically or in spurts).

I’ll let you know when my e-course is ready to roll.

So…. does anything resonate for you in this post?  Are you being blocked from expressing yourself creatively?   Or has it always flowed for you?  Or have you been blocked but moved past it?  How did you do that?

I’d love to hear your answers… or your curious questions.

Connecting in 2013

This morning I came across an interesting statistic – namely a report of a survey saying that 60 percent of employees use a mobile device for work, with an anticipated increase in number of devices per employee.   The post on the website Smart Data Collective, suggests that the number of devices will rise from 2.3 per employee in 2012 to 2.8 in 2014.

Well, seems I’m ahead of the trend, having this week made an indulgent purchase – an Apple iPad Mini!   I have used a desktop iMac in my office for several years, have an iPhone to carry with me, and a Macbook Air to use in the family room in the mornings and evenings, and have resisted the tablet until now – but the mini was way too attractive to ignore for a travelling companion – especially with the Logitech keyboard doubling as a cover.  So now I have, count ‘em, FOUR devices, all beautifully integrated courtesy of iCloud!

So what does this have to do with Coaching HeartTalk?  (It’s not meant to be a plug for Apple, though I do love Apple products and service – can’t help myself).  It’s more about the fact that I coach from my heart, and anything that helps me do that, is worth the investment.  My ‘toys’ as I like to call them, help me connect with my work, my ‘people’, my life.

Do I use them to the exclusion of human contact?  I like to think not, because I am all about connection with others – though one (including me) does have to be vigilant about the attachment to the device when others are nearby.

So some questions:  How does technology entice you?  How does it help or hinder your ability to connect from your heart with what matters to you and the people you care about?

I would love to know your thoughts.