Transformational Change

Creative Use of Coaching Structure for Successful Change

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How can the creative use of coaching structures help you develop the professional and personal changes you really want?  

Life coaching is fundamentally a dynamic conversational structure— a co-creation between the coach and client to bring forth the new ideas, images, and perspectives that will best serve the client in creating transformative career and life changes.  From the beginning, I as the coach set up a special structure for effective change-making by creating a safe "container" between myself and my clients to help them go farther and deeper in exploring new possibilities and directions.

This "container" is the invisible structure that holds the energy and flow of the coaching conversation—while the coaching conversation itself is the structure that's heard and felt, and moves the client forward.  As I build safety and trust into the coaching "container," clients feel more grounded and more able to participate fully in the coaching exploration about what they really want to achieve.  

Using powerful, stimulating questions and imagery, I expand the conversation to help clients develop the big picture of what they really want, which can sometimes feel scary as well as exciting.  When they are clear about their new choices and direction, the coach can then re-shape the structure of the conversation to help them focus on choosing actions and timelines to manifest their dreams and goals.

Brian, a retired teacher, was struggling to complete the book he was writing based on The Remembrances of Times Past by Marcel Proust.  Brian had recently had a birthday and commented that he felt old, but that this next year for him was supposed to be one of "energy and change." Sensing that he was feeling discouraged about how his life was going because of the lack of progress with his book, I re-phrased this as "a year of energy and transformation." Then I asked him, "What's in the cocoon that wants to come out?"  

"Good question!" exclaimed Brian, and his face brightened. Then he described the image that came to him of a chick pecking its way out of an egg shell, emerging cautiously but gaining energy by moving.  "The egg is transformed into a chicken with its own distinctive internal structure," he said.  "By its own efforts, it's hatched from the limited external structure of the egg shell.  It's free to move and make sounds!"  With his energy opened by a resonant image, Brian felt ready to re-focus and create a plan for moving on and completing his book.

In this case, the structure of the 20-minute coaching conversation expanded with a powerful question that both acknowledged Brian's feeling stuck with his book and his life— and offered "cocoon" as an image of potentiality for transformative change.  As Brian connected with this image, he was able to take it further and create a new opening to go forward with his book. The structure of our conversation then shifted to a more straightforward planning mode with action steps, a timetable, and a method of accountability.

What I've found is that using creative structuring with coaching conversations supports people in getting out of stuckness and into successful outcomes.  This can help you—

  • Transform unsatisfying ways of working into heart-centered livelihood that feels successful and purposeful to you

  • Create more time and energy (life balance) for living with fulfillment and purpose

  • Shift gears into retirement in ways that feel deeply satisfying to you

  • Create more effortless, personalized, and authentic marketing outreach for solopreneurs

  • Learn how to have more effective coaching conversations with clients (mentor coaching)

What is the conversation you're longing to have?

Using the Wisdom-Energy of Your Body to Create Positive Change #2

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Have you ever thought that you've been holding back your professional aspirations or your creative potential?  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to connect with the deep, untapped well of possibilities within yourself, and let it flow? This deep inner well is your life energy, and you can draw from this rich resource by learning to pay attention to what you're sensing in your body.

Sound compelling to you?  If so, I hope you'll join me for my new webinar, "Using the Wisdom-Energy of Your Body to Create Positive Change," that's happening on Wednesday, October 25th, from 12 - 1 PM PDT /3 - 4 PM EDT/ 8 - 9 PM CST/ 9 - 10 PM CEST.  This webinar is part of the series, "The Heart of Being Human," sponsored by Living Forward, LLC. Register for this webinar by clicking here.

Gregg Levoy, human potential speaker and author, describes a striking example of a woman who intuitively understood the deeper meaning and limitations of what it meant to her to live with obesity.  She came up to him after he gave a public talk and asked, out of the blue, “You know why I’m so fat?  It’s because I have so many stories inside me that I’m not writing down.”

As Levoy noted in his book, Callings— Finding and Following an Authentic Life:  “This woman knew that her condition meant something and what it meant . . . She seemed to understand that within her body all the records of her rejected desires, deflected dreams, and frustrated creativity were piled up and pushing out from inside….

Levoy also knew something about staying unconnected with his untapped well of possibilities.  Earlier in his life he was a journalist, and continued to work for a particular newspaper until way after his spirit or his life energy was ready to move on.  It was as if he'd just been waiting for something to nudge him away from his secure paycheck, and free him to do the writing and teaching about creativity and authenticity that was calling to him.  

And then he was fired. To me, it's as if a mouse had slowly been gnawing away at the rope that had Levoy bound to a way of working and expressing himself that no longer made sense to something deep in his vitals. 

But you don't need to wait.

You can learn to be more pro-active in recognizing the signals from your body's energy— and encourage that deep well of possibilities within you to flow. You can learn to slow down, breathe more fully, and pay attention to the wisdom-energy ofyour body.  You can learn to feel what engages your energy and what limits it. As you learn what lifts your energy, you'll be able to feel what choices will lead to positive outcomes in making the professional and creative changes you desire. 

If this interests you, I invite you to join me for my webinar on this topic on Wednesday, October 25th, from 12 - 1 PM Pacific Time.  I look forward to sharing this new experience with you!

Facing and Transforming the Fear of Change— New Webinar, March 22, 2017

Most of you receiving this message know that I'm a certified life coach who works extensively with people who are creating heart-centered career and life-balance changes to live fully and well. To do this successfully, it's vital to understand not only what calls you forward, but also the ways in which fear holds you back from making the changes you need to work and live with fulfillment and satisfaction.

As Tara Brach, PhD— therapist, international meditation instructor, and author of Radical Acceptance— says, "When we live with fear, we spend our time and energy defending our life rather than living it fully."          

Are you spending too much of your time feeling stuck and just defending your life?  Learning to recognize your fear of change will help you clear your mind and your energy so you can develop the life you truly want to live. 

Fear of change is a way of staying small and limited in your outlook and your actions. Becoming aware of the impact of this fear, however, is the first step towards moving forward and creating transformative change from your heart.

If you're feeling stuck and want to make new changes that matter to you, I invite you to join me for my webinar, "Facing and Transforming the Fear of Change," on Wed., March 22, 2017, at 4 PM PDT/7 PM EDT.  This webinar is part of the series, "Being Human," sponsored by Living Forward, LLC.

For more information and to register for this webinar, please click here.

Go for the Hallowe'en Spirit to Create the Change You Really Want!

Do you feel stuck as a consequence of earlier choices you've made? Do you feel there's little possibility for change in your life?

If so, try asking yourself the following question from The Art of Possibility by Benjamin and Rosamund Zander—

What assumption am I making
That I'm not aware I'm making
That gives me what I see?

What is your current assumption about the possibility for positive change in your life?

In what way can you change this assumption so that creating positive change becomes possible?

When I grew up in the United States, Hallowe'en as a child was a wonderful time.  We could become all sorts of magical creatures— and go out on a dark night, knocking on spooky-looking doors and wondering whether there were witches or ghosts hiding behind tall shrubbery. Friends might be unrecognizable, and normally silent streets were alive with the sounds of swishing fabric, excited whispers, and eerie hoots and cries. A sheet became the flapping of a ghost, a stick covered in aluminum foil a wand, an old oak tree part of a haunted forest.

In other words, the Hallowe'en world we were in made it less possible to make verifiable assumptions about who was whom or what was what. That was a big part of the thrill of that holiday— being caught off guard and entering into the mysterious realm of unknown potential. So our world expanded from that of daily life— that is, what could be seen and what was expected— to a different place where possibilities were legion and being out of the box the norm.

I see Halloween as a vivid and spacious metaphor for the creative and often unsettling experience of making transitions to positive changes in our lives. As The Art of Possibility states, "The frames our minds create define— and confine— what we perceive to be possible. Every problem, every dilemma, every dead end we find ourselves facing in life, only appears unsolvable inside a particular frame or point of view. Enlarge the box, or create another frame around the data, and the problems vanish, while new opportunities appear."

Consider the Hallowe'en spirit from a child's experience. My older great godson, Edgar, age 4, from Sweden, celebrated his first Hallowe'en at my California home this year.  He and his family had to leave earlier than the traditional date of October 31st, so we just changed the date. We didn't have other homes for him to go trick or treating, so we created a Hallowe'en world in the backyard with flapping ghosts, entangling spider webs, and special stations where he solved puzzles to collect his treats.

Fortunately, Edgar is the kind of person who says "Yes!" to almost every new choice for action that he encounters, and he wanted to do Hallowe'en as a pirate. And here's where the challenge lay—to be a full-fledged pirate, he needed a boat, he decided. A BIG pirate boat. As the organizer, I felt some dismay and possibly at a dead end. Would we have to find a kayak and haul it home? Would he demand black sails, as well? But it was unthinkable that we could refuse him his legitimate desire as a pirate to have the boat he required.

And then The Art of Possibility came through with another very appropriate question—What might I now invent, That I haven't yet invented, That would give me other      choices?

Finally, I recalled a cardboard box sitting in the garage. But it wasn't BIG. And I couldn't think how it would move with him in it. Fortunately, his father found some rope and taped it around the box. We pasted pirate pictures on it and presented it to Edgar with a flourish as his BIG BOAT. To my unmitigated relief, he was fully able to step into a fun, imaginative framework that allowed the rather small box to become a BIG BOAT. He sat in the box, which moved smoothly over the ground as the volunteer pirate crew pulled him wherever he ordered.

So what can we learn from this Hallowe'en experience about positive change-making?

1) Challenge your assumption that a new choice is not possible (it's going to be hard to find a BIG boat for a young pirate in a limited amount of time for a modest price)

2) Create a new framework that's more open to possibilities (I can make this work, somehow—borrow a kayak? or hmm, how about a cardboard box?)

3) Be ready to say "Yes" and try out a new possibility, even if it's not exactly the solution you imagined (thank you, Edgar, for being ready to accept on trial a box with a rope as your pirate ship)

4) Turn a new choice into a new lifestyle (yes, I can accept a cardboard box with a rope around it as my pirate ship, IF it includes a crew to pull me around wherever I want)

Whatever your challenge around creating a positive change in your life may be, learn to check out your assumption that's getting in your way. Then you can re-frame your situation into one with more spaciousness and potential to lead you toward the change you truly desire.

Successful Choice-Making— Taking the Path Not (Usually) Taken

Reading Malcolm Gladwell's book, David and Goliath— Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, I was struck by his statement that "a choice may not be between a best option and a second-best option . . . [but] a choice between two very different options, each with its own strengths and drawbacks." I realize that Gladwell neatly stated a situation that I often encounter with coaching in career transitions.

Making a choice in such an important area of one's life as a career change is usually the outcome of a considerable amount of thought, research, conversations, and soul-searching. Quite often, it feels like such a big leap that a usual decision is to go for a similar position in a larger organization or head a different division within the same corporation, probably for a larger salary and more perks.

That was certainly my line of direction, following my resignation from a small, education-based non-profit group. As I saw it, all my skills only translated into director positions at other, larger nonprofits. Yet, each time I went for an interview at such an organization, I felt a sinking in my belly and a dramatic drop in energy. If I could have coached myself then, I would have had myself pay attention to that drop in energy. What did that have to say about my next career choice? What options might I have that I hadn't yet considered? What did I really want to be doing? How did my work reflect the kind of person I really am and the qualities I value?

As Gladwell writes in David and Goliath, "the same qualities that appear to give [certain choices] strength are often the sources of great weakness." For example, my mindset about developing my career led me to the initial decision that I obviously needed to grow my current skill set to make a higher salary and to be seen as a skilled professional in an area in which I'd worked for almost a decade. But the strengths that I had in this area were leading me to a choice that didn't feel right to me, that was energy-draining and "a source of great weakness." And yet, I kept pushing myself in that direction, trying to convince myself that I had no other options.

Then I had an epiphany! As I wrote in my book, Success with Soul— Loving Your Livelihood, Living in Balance, on the spur of the moment, I went to the movie Dirty Dancing "a film that just blew me away with the sheer energy and enthusiasm of its performers! Entrained by the passion of that free-spirited dancing, I felt my energy soar to another level altogether. Considering my career direction again after seeing this film, I realized I intended to do something radically different. I was going to explore the possibility of becoming a somatic therapist."

It then became clear to me that I'd been considering this possibility at a subterranean level for some time, ever since I'd had my first glowing experience of what this kind of alternative healing could offer. However, I'd kept rejecting it, since I knew I didn't have the skills required, and even questioned the value of moving into a (literally) hands-on profession. As I wrote, "Nothing in my upbringing, education, or work experience had prepared me for the professional path I was claiming." Based on this particular analysis, I kept rejecting out of hand the possibility that I could or should learn the necessary skills to make such a career leap.

However, I kept feeling the energy and drive to do this kind of work— and follow the path not (usually) taken. Seeing Dirty Dancing simply pushed me over that precipice into this new path. No doubt, too, I was inspired by seeing the drive of the heroine of the film (who also planned to be a doctor) to learn working-class-style sexy dancing. She and I were both becoming Gladwell's "underdog" and "outlier," simply by paying attention to our new callings, and learning that "The fact of being an underdog can change people in ways that we often fail to appreciate: it can open doors and create opportunities and educate and enlighten and make possible what might otherwise have seemed unthinkable."

If you're experiencing a sense of delight about following a choice you once passed by, or one you've just discovered, remember that this can be a wonderful way to "open doors and create opportunities" for yourself now! If I can be of any assistance as a professional "change advisor" in supporting your momentum in finding and claiming your new choice, I'm always glad to be a resource for you.

The World Series and Beyond-- If You Can’t Trust Your Gut, Get a Coach!

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt that no matter how much you did you simply couldn’t change the outcome so that you felt alive and purposeful?  Sometimes it takes someone else with the experience and ability to see your potential to help you break out of an inner prison and live out your true purpose.

Read on and consider what the San Francisco Giants’ baseball team manager, Bruce Bochy, did for Travis Ishikawa to build his confidence and motivation to the point of hitting the winning home run that’s sending the Giants to the ultimate baseball competition, the World Series.

“For all the wives or parents who might be trying to convince a baseball player to grow up and abandon his dream, Travis Ishikawa just ruined things. In this most unlikely of post season runs [for the San Francisco Giants], the moment belonged to the most unlikely player of all. A 31-year-old journeyman who had considered abandoning the game just months ago.”--Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/17/14

A journeyman, in baseball speak, is a player who’s been around, maybe playing more in the minor leagues than the major leagues, not accepted as a primary player on a major league team, at least, not for long. (Think Robert Redford in the film, The Natural.) What fascinates me most about the Giants is the back stories of its players and in particular, now, Ishikawa, age 31 (starting to get old for baseball) and how he was even on the team that day at all.  Earlier this year, Ishikawa was talking with his wife, wondering if his dream of playing baseball for a major league team was over and he should try some other line of work.

Then last Thursday, the Giants won a crucial, nail-biting game against the St. Louis Cardinals due to Ishikawa’s towering home run during the last inning, sending the Giants on to the World Series!

What made Ishikawa break on through to the other side?   There were many factors.  One, certainly, was that he kept patiently practicing throughout his time of self-doubt.  However, a huge break for him was that the Giants’ head manager, Bochy, saw untapped potential in Ishikawa that he himself didn’t see, mentored his development over the first few months, and backed him at a critical moment in that final game when he might have been pulled out for letting the other team score.

All of which led to Ishikawa being at bat and making a vital home run just when it was needed most. “‘I’ve got to thank Bochy, Ishikawa said, “He knows what he’s doing. I trust his gut.”

That’s the important thing-- when you’re feeling stuck and finding it hard to trust your own gut, it’s vital to have someone at your back who sees and trusts what you can really do-- and helps motivate you to do it. That’s a big part of why and how coaching works-- beyond baseball-- for people who who need support in building their self-confidence and achieving the successful outcomes they really want!

Embracing and Transforming the Fear of Change

When you think of change, what images and feelings come to mind?  Do you think of bare branches of the plum tree in winter bursting into pink blossom at the first warmth of spring? Do you remember the feeling of pure excitement running through your whole body the day you moved on campus and began a new life as a university student-- or traveled overseas for the first time-- or when you got your first acting break replacing the star performer in a major play?

Or does the word “change” bring back the sweaty palms and pounding heart of your first deep-sea dive-- or your first day at a new school in a new town as a child-- or when you knew deep inside that you were no longer satisfied with a way of working you’d done mostof your adult life?

As Mark Gerzon, author, Coming into Our Own, says, “If it feels safe, it’s probably not the right path, but if it scares you, it probably is.”  Fear that the thought of change evokes in you isn’t a reason in itself to turn back from a change that calls you.  Fear is just as often sitting right by the door you need to enter (possibly disguised as a snarling demon!) to bring new energy and satisfaction into your life at this particular time.

Are you afraid of the crack in the shell of your life?  Or are you eagerly peering through this new opening to a life with more expansive and fulfilling possibilities?

Whatever your perspective on change, one sure thing is that it will keep happening and keep knocking at your door.  The question is, will you embrace it and see what it offers?  Or will you turn away, vulnerable and fearful, from from this calling, trying to keep yourself small and untouched?

Here’s a body-mind awareness exercise that can help you ground yourself and clear your mind when you are going through or contemplating change:

  • Sit or lie comfortably, close your eyes, and take several deep, full breaths in and out.  Visualize a change that’s happening or that you’d like to have happen in your work or any other part of your life.
  • Notice what happens to your breathing, whether it gets faster or almost shuts down as you take in the implications of making a really powerful change.  
  • Notice where there’s tension or opening in your belly, your chest, your throat, your neck, or behind your eyes.   
  • What are the messages from your body that feel connected to what is changing in your life?  What is the level of energy you’re feeling now?
  • What is the first step you plan to take towards meeting or making the new change in your life?  What is the support you need?

The urge towards change, which is natural and inevitable, can be surfed like a wave in a new way, to a new destination.  Change can also be mindfully observed and simply allowed to happen, as when turning leaves feel their hold on the tree loosen before floating down to their next incarnation on the earth.

Remember that embracing the process of change, including any fears that arise, can be the key first step in creating a happier, more rewarding way of working, living, and being.

Be Your Own Leader-- Career Fulfillment and Body-Energy Wisdom

Recently, I participated in a dynamic presentation, “Body, Brain and Behavior,” with Amanda Blake, founder, Embright (www.embright.org), author, Your Body Is Your Brain, at a meeting of the ICF San Francisco Bay Area Coaches.  Being there in the warm camaraderie of my coaching colleagues, I was also coming back to my somatic therapy roots where body sensing and knowing takes center stage as the lens from which to view our professional and personal development.

I was particularly interested in something Amanda said: “Embodied leadership requires accessing the primal power of body energy.”  With her, we practiced body posture and stances conveying the emotional state of uncertainty and low self-esteem.  We then stepped into postures reflecting a memory of a time when we felt very confident about something we had done.

As you can imagine, the way we felt and looked to each other when we felt confident was so much more open and present to the situation at hand, more comfortable in our minds and bodies, and more connected energetically to cues from others.

In my work what I’ve noticed is that if you want to be your own leader in transforming the way you work, relate, and create in the world, it’s vital to be able to check in and feel your body’s cues.  The way you’re holding yourself in your body matters, as well as what you sense about your energy level whenever you’re at critical choice points.  Which choice makes you feel alive and fulfilled?  Which choice makes you feel low energy and not interested?   As the leader of your own life, what is your intuitive sense as to which direction to step into now?

I’m wondering if the excerpt below from my new ebook, Success with Soul-- Loving Your Livelihood, Living in Balance, from the chapter, “Using the Wisdom-Energy of Your Body,” sounds familiar to you:

I remember distinctly a photo a colleague took of me while I was hard at work in our non-profit office many years ago.  Now, after my training in somatics (body awareness), I can clearly see my head and neck pressing forward, the tightness of the muscles around my eyes and neck, and the rigidity of my back.  I can feel the strain of working like that, my body leaning tensely forward over my desk, locked into itself. I can sense again the tightness of my shallow breathing as I strained all my awareness into the work at hand.  No wonder I used to get so many tension headaches back then!

Over many years of giving stress-management classes, I’ve seen that type of body posture often in professionals from non-profits, tech corporations, schools, and businesses.  The message so clearly embodied is:  “Work is hard and demanding.  It takes all my energy and leaves none for breathing and feeling.  I will myself to focus only on my work and not my well-being, unless maybe there’s time for that later (and there probably won’t be).”

Recognize yourself?  When did you last stop to check in with yourself at work or at other times during your day, inhale and exhale slowly and deeply, and actually feel the sensations in your body?  For it is in this way that your body speaks to you, through sensations-- warmth, cold, tension, openness, flexibility, depletion.

This is how you can learn to access the energy and aliveness you need to find fulfillment in what you do and how you are in the world.  Otherwise, though your career choices, for example, may look good on your resume, they may feel unsatisfying and disconnected from a sense of purpose and vitality in your life.

For me, it took a change of profession (into my own businesses of somatic therapy and coaching), plus yoga, Qi Gong, and meditation, to learn that I could stay present with both my work and conscious opening in my body.  In fact, when I stay pliable and open by breathing and moving with awareness during working hours, I notice that my mind focuses more easily, my interactions with people flow, and I feel better, physically and emotionally, at the end of the day.

It is my deepest wish that what I offer in these emailings to you and in my book may be of support to you in making the heart-centered personal and professional changes you most desire now.  If I can offer further assistance, please let me know.

Living out Your Authenticity and Aliveness: Interview with Suzanne Ness, Certified Life Coach and Creator, MobileCoach app

In my ebook, Success with Soul-- Loving Your Livelihood, Living in Balance, I put a lot of focus on the rewards of learning to work and live from your own center, from being, in fact, the person you really are.  In the chapter on authenticity, I say:  “Think of people you know whom you enjoy being around because they love being who they are and doing what they do.  Because they work, relate, and engage with full aliveness, with every cell of their body.  Because they shine with the joy of living and working with purpose.”

That’s why I’m introducing you now to my colleague and friend, Suzanne Ness, certified coach, speaker, corporate trainer, business owner, and online adjunct professor of management from Chicago, Illinois.  Suzanne and I went through the certification program at the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) in 2007, supporting each other then through now in the different phases of our career development.  I can always be sure with Suzanne that she will be excited about new coaching techniques, new plans, and anything I’d like to try out with her.  She is a real ally in all matters of growing, evolving, andt transforming from what is to what is even better!               

So Suzanne and I decided we wanted to share with those of you on our respective email lists our most recent projects.  I’m sharing with you news of Suzanne’s MobileCoach app-- (itunes) http://mobilecoachapp.com/-- while she shares with her email group some information about my ebook.

And now, here’s Suzanne, in her own words:

Hello!  This is such a special opportunity to “meet” all of you who have been attracted to the work of my colleague, Eve Siegel.  Eve and I really enjoy supporting each other as we expand our professional coaching by creating new learning tools and experiences to share with people wanting to create positive, heart-centered career and life changes.

As for me, I love what I do in every area of my life.  I’ve created a way of living that allows me choice and freedom with my time, a way to be flexible and available for my children when necessary, and a chance to do work that inspires me and others to pursue learning, personal growth, and transformation.

I think my greatest gift is my passion for learning and helping others get excited about what is possible in their lives.  I’m good at creating a safe place where people feel empowered to try new things, take chances, and work through the challenges of making changes that are the most meaningful.  As the saying goes in coaching, “no one engages a coach in order to stay the same or to stay in the same place.”  I partner with my clients to help them stand in the “discomfort zone” long enough to allow change to happen.

I have great curiosity and drive for adventure.  I eagerly try new things, take chances, and encourage my clients to do the same.  I am driven by a desire to learn all I can and to help others notice and recognize their own authentic self and the greatness that exists inside everyone.  I often say that I get to witness miracles every day-- when people reach goals they didn’t think possible, or begin embracing something or someone in a new way, it changes everything for them and that is awesome to watch.

I came up with the idea of MobileCoach while I was training for my first half-marathon run.  I had some clients then who would check in for our scheduled calls, but only seemed to need 20 minutes with me, though they had scheduled and paid for an hour.  I realized that it was the accountability that mattered to them, and that there were people who would benefit from a self-guided tool that allowed them more freedom and flexibility to work through.  I was also using a daily training tool to help me train for the half-marathon.  I put the two ideas together, and MobileCoach was born!

MobileCoach is a 28-day guided tool for setting goals and making meaningful change.  Each “day” offers a different activity, exercise, or inquiry designed to help move a client forward.  It includes video, inspirational quotes, and even downloadable worksheets and articles, all designed to support someone through a change process.  As with all products, it is constantly evolving and improving.

This app has helped people make difficult choices such as getting medical tests done or starting a new hobby or business venture.  It is not a replacement for coaching; it is an enhancement or start for someone who is ready to begin making meaningful changes.  The tools and exercises were created out of my own experience as a coach and through my process of growing and stretching myself.  Right now it is only available through iTunes.  However, I am in the process of making it available for Android within the next year.

In the meantime, here are 3 of my favorite tips for creating a more fulfilling (or authentic, creative) way to work and live:

1) Identify what you love to do.  Then begin creating your life around what you want, based on what you love to do.  Surround yourself with things that represent what it is you love.

2) Find an activity that stretches you- for me it is running.  I was never a runner, but for the last 4 years, I’ve been running in events that keep me focused, require discipline, and scare me just a little…

3) Reach out and make meaningful connections with other human beings, be it friends, family, an intimate partner, or colleagues.  Share your dreams with them and have them partner with you in pursuing a life you love-- and encourage them to do the same.

You can contact Suzanne at suzanne@livingforwardllc.comor 815-608-0252
(web) www.livingforwardllc.com          (itunes) http://mobilecoachapp.com/

Loving Your Work, Working with Love

I’ve always admired and enjoyed being around people who love their work, particularly if they delight in inspiring others to grow and express their true potential.  So in honor of Valentine's Day, I’d like to offer a special valentine to someone who loved his work and worked with love to foster the joy of learning and transformation in others.

My high school English teacher, Warren Wilde, was absolutely passionate about exploring the wonders of literature with his students.  He was young, balding, and a brand-new teacher when he was hired by Los Altos High School in California.  As we students waited outside the room on the first day for our teacher to show up, we caught sight of a slight, balding man who seemed very nervous, constantly popping peppermint lifesavers (since he couldn’t smoke on the school grounds).  We watched him silently, thinking, what have they given us this year?

Within fifteen minutes, however, he was fully in charge of our skeptical honors English class, positing intriguing questions and listening intently to our responses.  There was no condescension in his manner of teaching, only a genuine interest in taking us deeply into new aspects of our lives through a growing understanding of a wide variety of literature.

We found out, too, that he could be challenging, daring us to broaden our unexamined acceptance of social norms and take risks with our thinking, our discussion, and our writing.  He was skeptical of platitudes, political dogma, fuzzy thinking, and going strictly by the rules.

In addition, he invited controversy as a way of heightening dialogue, for example, with the bomb shelter exercise.  This supposed that a nuclear emergency was about to happen and that each of us had a bomb shelter that would accommodate four people at maximum.  However, each of us were part of a group of four friends or family members; one of us would not be able to stay with the rest in the shelter.  How would we decide who to leave outside to face the nuclear blast?  How did we experience such a chilling process of choosing?

A number of us students were wrung out over this choice, and our parents were concerned.  But Mr. Wilde held firm and said we’d have to learn to consider the consequences of our choices and actions in life.  Later, I understood that this was a theme that ran through the literature that we learned to explore in depth with him.

As a person from a small town in Idaho, he found his calling working in a milieu that allowed him to live out his personal and professional dreams.  As I wrote in my book (Success with Soul-- Loving Your Livelihood, Living in Balance), of Paul Child, husband to famed chef, Julia Child:  “He was willing, over and over, to take risks, try new things, and most of all, fully appreciate and engage with whatever opportunities came his way.”  And so did Mr. Wilde, who introduced us to opera, which he loved, and later in his career, organized trips for his students to Europe to hear opera in its native lands.

When he died, in a tragic accident, ten years after his arrival at our high school, his memorial service was attended by a swarm of bereaved students from each year he’d taught.

What can we learn from being in the presence of a person who has the ability and confidence to inspire the transformation of our ways of thinking, feeling, and acting into truer, more authentic ways of relating and acting in the world?  For me, it has been about helping to empower others in similar ways through my own work and my relationships with others.

What about for you?