Finding Fulfillment

Eve’s Journey-- Going for the Big Dream and Making It Real

I’ve just completed a 7-month journey of writing and editing my forthcoming e-book, Success with Soul-- Loving Your Livelihood, Living in Balance!  Now it’s in the hands of the layout people, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they will do to make it attractive and irresistible to read when it goes public in October.

I had no idea that writing a relatively short book based on my work experiences as a career transitions coach and somatic therapist helping people make positive changes in their careers and lives would be such a rich and demanding process. I’d written blog posts for several years on the value of doing work you love and living authentically, but writing a book about these topics was like navigating the ocean where before I’d been paddling in a pond. 

In writing a book, I realized I was now sharing the whole scope of my professional and personal discoveries about what makes work and life compelling and alive. 

Have you ever chosen to manifest a BIG dream you’ve really longed to make vibrantly alive for yourself, such as finding work or an avocation you love, having a child, creating a piece of art or writing, claiming a new path for healthy living, or in some way changing your life to serve a larger purpose? Then you know what an extraordinary experience it is to see the distant outline of your dream fill in, and become closer and more real, with each action step you take towards its fulfillment.

What is the impetus for taking a big leap forward in life (which is what writing my book feels like to me)? In my case, I sense it’s about widening my community in the world and taking my place more purposefully within it. With the publication of my book, I look forward to greater and more innovative possibilities for engaging with people embarking on inner and outer journeys towards positive change.

What is your impetus for taking a big leap forward and making a change that really matters to you . . . THIS YEAR? . . . NOW?

How to Do a Major Life Change-- Hold the Largest Possible Vision!

How do you know when it’s time for a major career or other life change?  Sometimes you’re in a situation where a new opportunity presents itself, and you may be highly motivated to go for it.  Sometimes an incident happens that radically alters your life, and you have to decide how to face this change.  Or you may have a growing awareness of dissatisfaction and lack of interest in what you’ve been doing for years.

     The one sure thing is that change is upon you, and your choice becomes how to envision its possibilities.  In my own life, and in those of my coaching clients, what I’ve noticed is that holding the largest possible vision of their potential at a change point can be a great catalyst for the most rewarding transitions.  Not all visions have to be earthshaking in their dimensions.  But they do have to shake you up and sometimes rock your foundations.

     I remember my own career transition from a nonprofit program director to a somatic therapist.  The shift happened at a slow-simmering pace, partly because-- as I realize now-- my original vision for myself was so small.  With no support in creating this transition, I only imagined that I could go on to work at other, larger organizations-- not that I could radically alter my career path!  It was only after experiencing a sinking sensation in my belly after each new interview at other, larger nonprofits that I realized I didn’t want to manage programs at all.  I wanted to do direct personal development work using the body-based techniques that I had found so inspiring and helpful for myself.

     For me, it was a gigantic leap into a career vision that I didn’t even believe was possible, because it was so entirely different from anything I’d ever done before.  But it challenged and caught my interest!  And it came true, with support from my new mentors, within a year.

     Then there are people like super-athlete, Grant Korgan, who became paralyzed from the waist down in a snowboard-mobile accident.  It must have been devastating to experience such a blow to his body, but Korgan’s statement (New York Times, 1/29/12) was:  "I feel like everything happens for us, not to us.  You can decide what you want, that you choose the direction you want to go. That's been the key for me, focusing on what I want, regardless of circumstances.”

     In Korgan’s case, his dream was to trek to the South Pole in Antarctica-- and two years after his accident, he did it, with a great team of supporters, including his wife and two friends who were trekking experts.  That was a huge vision, even if he’d been an athlete in the best physical shape possible, who could move on his own power.  But he did it, thanks to his determination, intensive physical therapy, engagement with his trekking friends in planning and logistics, and constant spiritual affirmation of the value of achieving his goal.

     "I used affirmations to keep me moving forward," Korgan said. "I began silently saying to myself, 'I am strong, I am healthy, I am healed, and I am working toward my goal of reaching the South Pole.' I eventually began to say these statements aloud and my teammates would often join me. Then, I said to myself daily, 'Although my body has been broken in the past, my spirit never can be. I am unbreakable.' 

     Remember that your vision is the culmination of the desire of your true self to blossom and be revealed in the world through the energy of your body and your spirit.  Below are some tips to remind you how to begin this experience of opening to a dream, a new career, or another life direction you most desire:

     1) Hold the largest vision possible for yourself-- one that captures who you really are and what you really want now!  If you’re limiting your vision to only what you know and have done already, you may feel a sense of constriction or lack of energy in your body.  Let your vision grow until you feel expansion through your whole self, body and spirit.

     2) If you can’t hold this vision all by yourself (and most people find it challenging to do at first), find the right kind of support to help you do so.  Sometimes you may need to bring in new people who aren’t so invested in your past career or experiences and who are open to new possibilities for you-- new friends, a mentor in this new direction, a life coach, etc.

     3) Use affirmations such as Grant Korgan’s (above) that tap into your inner power to go forward.  You do not have to know that a particular outcome will happen.  All you have to do is hold the space for belief within yourself that it can.

Can You Hear Your Body Talk at Work?

Today I’ll be offering free coaching sessions for non-profit professionals at the Craigslist Boot Camp at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco.  This event is designed to inspire, nourish, and support people whose work directly benefits our communities-- and I’m really looking forward to being part of it as one of 50 volunteer coaches from the Coaches Training Institute (CTI).

As part of my coaching there, I’ll also invite the Boot Camp participants I work with to honor and listen to what their bodies are saying to them.  I distinctly remember a photo a colleague took of me hard at work in our non-profit office many years ago.  Now, after my training in somatics (body awareness), I can clearly see the rigidity of my back-- leaning tensely forward over my desk and locked into itself-- that went with my shallow breathing as I strained all my awareness into my work.

Over the years, as a somatic therapist giving stress-management workshops, I’ve seen that type of body posture often in professionals from other non-profits, software companies, schools, and business firms.  The message so clearly embodied is:  “Work is hard.  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, 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-- and can help you learn to access the energy and aliveness you need in order to find fulfillment in what you do and how you are in the world.

For me, it took a change of profession (into my own businesses of somatic therapy and coaching), plus meditation, yoga, and qi gong 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.

This is the experience I’ve seen replicated with the many people I’ve worked with through their career and life transitions over the years.  Listen to your body talk-- at work and in all the other areas of your life.  Listen to the wisdom of your body self, and just breathe into it. 

SPECIAL OFFER ON BODY-ENERGY EXPERIENCING SESSIONS WITH EVE!

         Are you . . .

  • Experiencing a difficult career transition?        
  • Feeling stuck in your work or relationships?        
  • Feeling stressed, tense, not physically fit, energeticallydepleted?
  • Finding little time for family, self-care, creativity or enjoyment? 

For over twenty years, I’ve offered a unique approach to personal and professional transitions using conscious touch called Body-Energy Experiencing that has helped many people transform patterns of physical distress into new ways of living that are energized, healthy, and authentic.  Experiencing your body and its energy lets you re-connect with your own sense of purpose-- and go forward more effortlessly towards your professional and personal goals.

 I’d like to invite you to feel the value of Body-Energy Experiencing by offering you two very special rates good through June 30th-

• One 75-minute session for $75

• Three 60-minute sessions for $180

You can do these sessions in person at my office in El Cerrito (near Berkeley), California, or from anywhere in the world via Skype.

NOTE:  This offer is for people who have not yet tried Body-Energy Experiencing with me. 

The Power of Change-- and What Makes It Successful

Like many people, I’ve been following the uprising in Egypt over the past couple of weeks with hope and amazement.  To have a groundswell of people from all sectors of society coming together as peacefully as possible to call for a government responsive to people’s needs is an enormous expression of frustration with years of repression.  As a life coach, it’s fascinating to see on this large a scale, important coaching principles come to life-- to have a vision, claim your own life, acknowledge and move past your fears, be called forth into a new way of interacting, and step forward into your dream.  In Egypt, the protesting population are doing all of this-- or learning to do so.

On another change front, I recently participated in one of a series of interviews with professionals in law, financial planning, career coaching, health and fitness, etc.,  facilitated by my coaching colleague, Edi Spanier-- called Divorce by Design-- for the benefit of women in the process of divorce.  Divorce is a huge life experience that is often fraught with emotional and financial misery.  However, going through a divorce is also a time when many women learn to take charge of their lives, decide what’s really important to them, and learn new skills to make this possible.

In both these situations, there are people who have reached the point where enough is enough, and a separation from a habitual way of life is vital in order to live with aliveness and fulfillment into the future.  So what can we learn from both these situations?  What makes for change that is powerful and effective?  In my personal and professional experience, a transition to a new reality that is transformative and lasting, not reactive and limited, needs to include the following:

* A vision of where you want to go

* A plan for getting there

* Willingness to take certain risks and be open to new possibilities

* Support (therapy, coaching, family, community) that validates your vision, your feelings, your needs, and your learning-- and help you take appropriate action

* Understanding what resources you require and how to find them

* Patience with and commitment to a change process that doesn’t always seem clear or possible, and may end up looking different from what you expected

Finally, a truly successful, lasting change is the result of a transition in which the vision (desired career, new way of living, a new form of government) you have held and created for yourself is fully in alignment with the person you really are.  Change that fulfills you is part of a journey in which you are committing to a fuller, richer way of being and living-- and trusting that this is possible for you.

Connection and Intention - Why They Really Matter

Those of you who’ve been reading my blog over the past month know that I’m a great fan of the Oscar-nominated film, The King’s Speech, for its rich character interaction and development, plus the fantastic, dedicated coaching experience throughout!  I saw this movie for a second time, and was part of the repeat crowd afterwards still wowed by the performances of Colin Firth as Prince Bertie/King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as voice coach Lionel Logue.  This film is the journey of two unlikely partners in healing/transformation who, through this challenging process, also become friends.

A few days ago, when I saw another Oscar-nominated film, The Social Network, I was stunned at the contrast between these two movies.  Both involved characters who had major goals they met during the course of the films, and both explored the value of friendship in meeting these goals.  Viscerally, The King’s Speech filled me with warmth and a glow throughout my body-- while The Social Network left me with a headache and a chilled feeling inside.  (I know, I know, I’m out of synch here-- even though Facebook is very much part of my life now-- with the majority of viewers who resonated to this film.)

What made the difference?  I believe it’s about invoking the power of positive intention in the work we do.  Whether we’re creating revolutionary products or helping people make transformative changes in their lives, feeling fulfilled by our work depends on more than being first or making a fortune.  Fulfillment is also about deepening and sharing your commitment to connection with living beings, with life, in the course of doing what you love to do.

            I sense that in The King’s Speech Lionel’s intention of helping the king learn to live out his personal and professional mission (communicating clearly to the people in the British Empire) succeeded because of the caring connection that evolved between the two men during the coaching experience.  In The Social Network, however, Mark Zuckerberg’s intention in developing Facebook was to use his intellectual brilliance to get even with all those whom he felt looked down on him.

Working with this kind of limiting intention, it’s not surprising that Zuckerberg had only one friend, and by the end of the movie, none at all.  What was it worth to him that he’d developed the social online tool of the decade and became the world’s youngest billionaire?  At the end, we see him waiting, alone and unhappy, to see if his former girlfriend, whom he’d alienated, will become a Facebook “friend” with him. 

            As a career and life coach, I wonder what it would be like to work with Mark Zuckerberg as my client.  Now that Facebook is launched and his fortune made, what would be an area he’d like to change in his life at this time?  Might he wish to develop the gifts of friendship and intimacy?  What would he need to claim in himself to do that?

Satisfaction in Action-- Slow Down and Feel the Sunshine!

I was struck the other day by something I read in a New York Times obituary of Joan Sutherland, the luminous singer of Italian bel canto opera.  She not only had a powerful voice of incredible range, she achieved great dramatic intensity in part by giving equal attention to each note of an aria, singing each one fully.  She didn’t gloss over them in an effort to make something happen.  She savored each note, and in doing so, brought her audience with her into a deep, timeless place of incomparable beauty.

             In the work I do as a coach-- guiding people to make choices that will let them move in the direction they really want to go-- I’m informed by my many years of work as a body therapist to help them slow down and pay attention, with each step forward, to what they’re feeling in their bodies and their spirit.  The process of change is so much more than making leaps from here to there.  It’s about the way your whole being is involved in feeling, learning, expressing, and connecting with what is real and true for you. 

             You can easily enter into this experience by closing your eyes and envisioning a change that you’d like to make 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 really making a meaningful change.  Notice whether there’s any 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 your vision of change?  What is the level of energy you’re feeling now? 

            It’s really quite amazing how much useful information you can sense about a decision you need to take or a change you want to make by taking time to go deeper into yourself during a time of transition-- rather than just running forward.  In fact, time expands and opens possibilities for you when you stop rushing and pay attention to what’s inside you, to the sound of each note resonating, and to the feel of sunshine on your shoulder.  When you really feel the depth of what you’re wanting for yourself, then you know, with confidence and clarity, what you have to do-- and the way opens before you with astounding ease.  Then the actions you take will lead you to much greater career and life satisfaction.

                         Join in the Discussion!

 • When have you stopped running forward and let yourself experience inside the feeling of making a change? 

• What is it to slow down?  What are you afraid will happen to your life if you do?  What has been a positive experience you’ve had in slowing down?

• What has been a deeply satisfying change you’ve consciously made in your life?  Why was this change so satisfying?

Career Transitions to Expand Your Life and Spirit!

Today as I was briskly walking around the waterfront, letting the lively bay breezes freshen my mind, I thought about people I’d worked with or heard about recently who’ve made or plan to make career changes for the pure joy of doing work that gladdens their hearts.  Some of these people have advanced degrees and experience in engineering and software technologies, and are seeking new ways to express themselves through work that is more people-oriented and calls on a very different range of personal and professional skills.

             One man I talked with about coaching, for example, wants to get out of a profession that is computer- and profit-driven, and instead work directly with people.  He has many areas of interest, from science to sports.  The main thing that’s important for him now is being actively involved in helping young people do things they really want to do-- and spending way less time at his computer monitor.  He’s now exploring working for a non-profit whose mission resonates with his new career goals.

             I also was recently contacted by a classmate of mine from Stanford University who’s helping organize a class panel for our upcoming reunion on “having second [career] chances”.  One of the people she was delighted by who’ll be on the panel had been a realtor for many years, and recently began living out his dream of being a blacksmith!  Why does a person go from selling houses to blacksmithing?  What’s his drive to do this?  Apparently, it satisfies a long-time creative yearning in himself.  He may well be making a good living at this, too (more news after the reunion!). 

            The drive to find work that deeply satisfies the needs of a person’s spirit can be so powerful that it blows right through the old messages of “you can’t” or “that’s not what you’re trained to do” or “you won’t be able to make a living at that.”  Time and again I’ve seen that if you’re intelligent and able in one career path, you can harness your intelligence, abilities, AND, most potently, your desire, into another career direction that’s energizing and rewarding to you.  If, also, you wish to make a positive difference in the world, one of the best ways to start is by loving the work you do and sharing the aliveness it brings you with others. 

            For those of you who are interested in exploring career transitions as a way to expand your life and spirit, I invite you to join me for my upcoming free tele-class, “Career & Life Transitions-- Am I in One?  What Do I Do Now?” on Wednesday, October 6th.  For further information and to register, please go to http://www.kailaslifecoaching.com/?id=presentations

                   Join in the Discussion! 

  • What is it like to feel alive in your spirit through your work? 
  • Have you been through a career transition that had a positive outcome for you? 
  • What changed in your life?  What did you have to overcome?  Why was it worth it?

Finding Soul in Career Transitions

Today I spent some time reading from a favorite book of mine, Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore.  Moore-- a psychotherapist, writer, and former Catholic monk-- claims that “fulfilling work, rewarding relationships, personal power, and relief from symptoms [physical and emotional] are all gifts of the soul.” 

          Since most of my work is with people seeking fulfilling work and/or lives balanced by rewarding relationships and well-being, his words stir me with a sense of wanting to know more about being soulful.  When we say something has soul, like joyous music, we mean that it grabs our spirit and sings out to us.  When something feels soulless, like certain work environments, on the other hand, we have a feeling of deadness or lack of energy in its presence.  Soul is a feeling of life and vibrancy that we can feel within from our experiences and relationships in the world.  Soul is real and tangible, and it deeply affects our ability to feel satisfied with the lives that we create for ourselves. 

            In coaching, this sense of energy and vitality is crucial as a guideline to choosing new directions for work, relationships, or generally how to live.  As Moore says, “[Care of the soul] is not to make life problem-free, but to give ordinary life the depth and value that come with soulfulness . . . It has to do with cultivating a richly expressive and meaningful life at home and in society.”  Almost invariably, my clients seeking new career directions are, underneath that, asking for work that has meaning for them and adds to their sense of purpose in their lives overall. 

            For example, Moore suggests a radically alternative way to exploring whether your career options have enough to engage you in an ongoing way.  He suggests asking the following questions about the “soul benefits” of particular jobs: 

  • What is the spirit of this workplace?
  • Will I be treated as a person?
  • Is there a feeling of community?
  • Do people here love their work?
  • Is what we are doing and producing worthy of my commitment and long hours? 

            I’ve worked and talked with many people who’ve come to realize that in their quest for satisfying jobs and careers, they’re really looking for what will make them feel alive and empowered in the significant amount of time and energy they’d need to spend working.  An architect wants to build and manage a jazz club and restaurant.  A former engineer has become an emergency medical technician.  A former government employee is planning actual and virtual city tours to offer as part of his retirement.  The connective feature among them all is clearly the desire to live and work with soul! 

Please Join in the Conversation! 

  • What are some “gifts of the soul” that you’ve experienced in your life?
  •  What would you risk to find work with soul?
  • How can you bring soul to a current career transition?

You Can Always Change Your Mind

Most of the people I see for coaching want to make changes that seem enormous to them, and therefore almost impossible to imagine accomplishing.  And yet, there is a drive, a dream, a desire inside them pushing to be heard and acknowledged.  So they come for the support coaching offers in opening the dream.

            Which is great!  But one of the big, often-unacknowledged steps in manifesting new, large desires, is exploring your attitudes towards how you live your life-- the habits you acquired that keep you stuck and unable to move forward. 

            The coaching exercise, “Perspectives,” is often used to help people explore different choices or options they can make.  However, I also use it to support clients in investigating the nature of certain attitudes or habits. 

            For example, Matt, a soft-spoken man in his 40’s who wants to set up a family-run business after years feeling stultified as a corporate manager, wanted to explore his attitude towards “working outside the box.”  The perspectives he chose to “inhabit” were “The Critic,” “Mountain Climber,” “10-Year-Old,” and “Dolphin.”  As I guided him through each perspective, I encouraged him to stand in different places, close his eyes, breathe, feel the sensations in his body, and visualize his internal energy level and “environment.” 

            Exploring each perspective in this way guided him to choose the perspective of “Dolphin” for its playful feeling combined with a purposeful way of interaction with its pod or family for the good of all.  He was amazed at how he could really feel the contracted body sensations of his internal “critical” attitude about working outside a corporate structure-- as well as the expansive sensation in his breathing and belly with “Dolphin.” 

            He realized that his new “Dolphin” attitude gave him energy for taking action on his dream, though he was scared of working outside the relative haven of the corporate “box.”  The “Dolphin” perspective supported both the purposefulness he feels in his commitment to his family, and felt good, physically and emotionally-- excellent intuitive reasons for his new choice!

                              JOIN IN THE CONVERSATION!

What’s your attitude towards making a change you really want in your work or lifestyle?

Does this attitude support your going forward and making this change?

What’s an image that helps you get unstuck from an attitude that’s no longer helpful to you?

Knowing What Is Fulfilling to You to Make Compelling Changes!

Recently, I’ve been considering a very important tool in life coaching called “Values,” which helps people become aware of what makes their lives meaningful and fulfilling.  Values are personal reflectors of what really matter to each of us-- and have nothing to do with family or social mores.  Values are intuitive and heart-centered-- not head-based or what we’ve been taught is the “right” way to work, relate, and live.  Values can be anything that give richness and worth to what we do and how we are.  “Beauty,” “Integrity,” “Nature,” “Family,” “Authenticity,” “Relaxation,” and an infinity of others can all be values, depending on who we are.

             That’s why understanding your values is such a vital beginning step in the coaching process.  They are guide posts to what you really care about.  Without exploring them fully, you are likely to feel disappointed in the actions and decisions you make, whether around your career, your family, or personal development.  As you become conscious of what is really important to you, the changes you make are much more likely to be satisfying in any and all areas of your life.

             In my upcoming, 2-part tele-class, “Coaching 101-- How to Make Career & Life Changes That Matter!”, I’ll be helping participants focus on what they find fulfilling as a foundation for making choices about career and personal transitions.  For more information, please click on this link-- http://www.kailaslifecoaching.com/?id=classes_presentations#current

             If you have any questions, please contact me at eve@kailaslifecoaching.com.

             PLEASE SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES--

  • What are some of your values?
  • Why do they matter to you?
  • What can you not live without in your life?