To Change Your Life Change Yourself

There is no truer saying than, If you keep doing the same things you will keep getting the same results. The end or the beginning of a year is always a great time of year to reflect and review if there is anything you need to do to change your life, and if you feel tempted to use the excuse that you don’t have time be aware that that choice does not value you. Reflection is something you can do prior to going to sleep, while you exercise or drive your car. It’s not something that you need to have a lot of time for, just a regular quiet time.

A client I once worked with said, ‘I can’t understand why my life works sometimes and at other times it doesn’t matter what I do, or how hard I work, nothing seems to work out for me. I am positive. I watch my thoughts. I watch my words. I’m not perfect but most of the time I’m congruent.’ Congruence in this instance means that your thoughts, words and actions support your life choices.

What really frustrated this woman was her boss who made so much money when he was a negative, inconsiderate man. My client said, ‘I don’t want to take his success away from him. I don’t want his life. I just want to understand why someone like him who is always talking poor, who treats people badly, who does no work on himself, can prosper, while I, who work so hard at being the best me I can, struggle. Where is the justice in that?’

Most people believe at some level that if they are good they should be rewarded but life doesn’t work on a reward system. The laws of the universe work the same for everyone, there is no judgement as to who is worthy and who is not. Instead of focusing on what she wanted to create my client focused on resentment towards her boss, a touch of envy, and the frustration she felt that she did not have the resources to live her life the way she wanted.

Every single thing in life is energy. If someone who is in a bad mood walks into a room, you can feel it. If a couple who just had an argument go out with you, you can generally feel the tension between them, just as a happy optimistic person can brighten another person’s day. Even when you put on a good front people unconsciously pick up on your energy.

Emotions such as anger or sadness can be positive or negative, feeling sad is a transitory emotion and can be healing, but it’s hard to find the positive in emotions such as frustration, envy and resentment unless you use them to change you.

To change your life observe your emotions over a couple of days, look at what triggers your downward spirals or causes you to feel stressed, it is very easy to gloss over, or bury emotions which we find unacceptable.

Look at what is missing in your life to cause you to feel this way then take responsibility for fulfilling that need. Now I am fully aware that some of your desires may be beyond your reach right now, but it is amazing how things can change when you choose to believe that you can have what you want. At first it is just a choice, but support that choice with your thoughts, words, emotions and actions then opportunities will come your way to help you turn that choice into a reality.

It may seem easy for me to say those words but I know it’s true. When I lived on the poverty line when my children were young, I dreamed of a better future. When I rented a nice home, I dreamed of owning my own home. When I owned my first home I dreamed of living in a beautiful area by the sea. All of those dreams came true. Those dreams did not come from dissatisfaction, I was very grateful for what I had, they came from a desire for a greater level of comfort, ease and beauty and through actively choosing those things for myself I became a bigger, better person.

If you find yourself feeling resentful because other people have more than you do, look at what you can do to improve your situation. Make a conscious choice to check in on how you are really feeling regularly. When you live in a flowing energy state you flow with life, you do the best you can, you take responsibility and you actively work towards your goals in a relaxed way. And, often when you do this, synchronicity occurs, and you draw people and opportunities to you.

If you want to change your life – change yourself.

The Forgiveness/Prosperity Connection

Resentment is an emotion which sometimes challenges me, so as a way to prevent myself from feeling this way I decided to go on a forgiveness diet. This means that whenever I notice myself feeling impatient, annoyed or irritated the first thing I do is forgive the other person and myself. Several times throughout the day I am mindful of the emotions I’m experiencing, particularly those ones that are so fleeting I often don’t notice them, and whenever I catch myself feeling even the tiniest bit resentful I forgive.

The last thing I do before sleep is write in my gratitude journal three things I am grateful for and then I forgive anyone who has ever annoyed me, past and present. One morning I woke in the middle of a dream about an incident that had happened a long time ago with a co-worker and I was surprised at how angry I felt. This wasn’t someone I socialised with outside of work, and she didn’t do anything that terrible to me, but obviously her actions made me angrier than I acknowledged at the time, so I started forgiving people I had employed, or worked with and I was surprised at how many little grievances I had held onto.

Now I think most people know that forgiveness is something that benefits us and there are countless studies to prove this. During one university study 71 volunteers were asked to remember a past hurt, and as they did this their blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension increased, when the same group forgave the people who had hurt them their blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension returned to normal. However, what most studies don’t show is the connection between forgiveness and struggle, or a person’s inability to achieve goals.

When I worked as a financial planner one of the things I noticed in clients who had money issues was that they were often resentful. Resentment is at the top of my list for emotions that prevent people from being prosperous. Resentment is an unattractive emotion and if you doubt this just try to capture in your mind an image of a resentful person. Notice their body language, their tightened features? Do they look happy to you? Would you offer them a job? Would you want to spend time with them?

Even when we suppress our emotions so they aren’t as obvious to others they can still impact our financial situation because resentment and trust don’t co-exist very well, and we need to trust ourselves at the very least, if we want to prosper.

Now an interesting thing has happened since I started forgiving others and that is  enrolments in the courses I run have increased at a time of year when they normally decrease. Not only that I feel more loving and so incredibly peaceful. I am finding it easier to extend love to all people. My daily practice as I walk into my office is to imagine love encompassing the room and everyone who comes in contact with us. That includes people who study with us, send us an email, read this blog, or even just looks up my web page. Not only does forgiveness increase your capacity to attract prosperity, it makes you feel good about you and allows you to experience more joy.

The dictionary defines forgiveness as ‘letting go of resentment’, and that is true, but I like to think of forgiveness as taking back my power to be all that I can be.

 

Finding Your Calling

We spend a great deal of our lives stumbling around in the dark complaining, worrying, blaming or avoiding then something happens that sheds a light, and if we are open and willing, we have an awakening that leads us to our calling.

When I was ten years old I prayed for a baby, even at that young age I knew I was meant to be a mother. If I couldn’t have had children I would have adopted, fostered or even started an orphanage in an impoverished nation. My calling was that strong. As an adult I knew I wanted to write. Initially my desire came from a need for recognition, but I also had a very strong desire to share what I had learnt with others. Now I write in my mind every day. It’s something I love doing and I can’t help but write, and I would continue to write even if no-one read my work.

We don’t just have one calling, we have multiple callings which we are called to act upon at different life stages. A calling can also be called life purpose, or vocation. It is something that your soul is calling you to do and until you follow that calling you may feel dissatisfied, as if there is something missing.

Some people expect that when they discover their calling they will be happy, that everything in their life will work, but that isn’t necessarily so. Knowing your calling is one thing, acting on it is another. When you follow your calling you develop strengths that enable you to share your gifts with others. Along the way there will be lessons to be learnt and fears that need to be faced as well as joy, fulfilment and a feeling that you are exactly where you are meant to be, doing exactly what you are meant to do. A calling is always about growing to your full potential and it always supports you to evolve.

You are either moving towards or away from your calling

I once worked with a client who had recently retired and she was feeling lost and directionless. This feeling always precedes an awakening. She had a project that she was working on that had the potential to make her a substantial amount of money, the problem was it didn’t fulfil her, and she didn’t really need the money. As we talked I became aware that up until this time in her life most of her happiness had been derived from her achievements, mostly work related. While achievement can be a way of following your heart, it is generally ego driven. There comes a time when, if we are to grow spiritually, we need to leave our egos behind. I encouraged this woman to let go of her need for achievement and to focus on what made her happy in other ways and to build new strengths.

We get signs to awaken all of the time. These come in the form of problems, tragedy, personal crises. Most people miss these signs because they engage in habits that keep them stuck such as, complaining, worrying, blaming or avoiding. Life is always guiding you to grow and develop your gifts, if you are willing to take up the challenge.

My first awakening occurred when my son died when he was 5, I was 33. I knew that there was nothing I could do to change what happened so I made a commitment to make a difference with my life, to do what he would have done if he had lived, as well as what I was called to do. I have never regretted that choice – it changed my life.

When we ignore our calling we often feel unhappy, confused, or more stressed. Sometimes our personalities change. For about 20 years I was in love with a beautiful man who had so much potential. As life challenges came his way he blamed, abdicated responsibility and avoided anything he didn’t want to face. He eventually became someone I didn’t even like and didn’t want to spend any time with. It’s unfortunate that I have seen so many people, who I once liked or admired go down this path as well.

If you have been searching for your calling, but still don’t know what it is, ask yourself what are you resisting. We resist our calling when we are afraid. You may still be an ethical, nice person who on the outside seems okay, but if you are observant, you will notice the little changes that are occurring within you. You may not laugh as much, you may struggle with your moods, you may experience health, relationship, work or financial problems. You may have become more cynical or lost your joy.

Finding your calling isn’t something that usually happens overnight, although it can, if you are open. It’s a journey that you can start at any time, you don’t need to wait for a wake up call.

Step 1. Look at the challenges you face, these are signs

By identifying your challenges you can then choose values that will help you grow.

For the past couple of years life has been telling me to value myself, so the value I chose to work with is respect, especially self-respect. Anything I give to myself I always extend to others. Life has also been encouraging me to be patient. As I act upon these values I find I react less, and other people’s moods don’t spoil my day. I am calmer and I know this is who I need to be to spread my message of hope and joy.

A calling is never about getting or achievement, it is always about growing and giving.

Step 2. Be mindful

Mindfulness is a tool that supports us to manage stress. It can also help us identify our needs, what makes us happy and what takes us off track.

Focus on being courageous, willing and accepting and look for ways to actively demonstrate these traits every single day. Ask for guidance as to what you are meant to do. A calling doesn’t have to be around a career, but it will always be around giving. Callings come in all shapes and sizes and can change at different life stages.

On a typical day take three minutes to walk around the room or space that you are in. Do this without any particular goal in mind. Just walk wherever attracts your attention.

When your three minutes is up write down where your mind went during that time.  Did you:

Have thoughts about the past?
Think about the future or jobs you have to do?
Replay a conversation you had with someone?
Focus on how frustrated you feel?
Look for a solution to a problem?
Criticise yourself?

This exercise gives you an idea of where your attention is placed throughout the day and the many different things that distract you from being present. What can you do to ensure that your attention is on things that bring joy to your life?

Step 3. Look for positive way to bring more joy into your daily life

The more joyful you are, the easier it becomes to recognise your individual calling. Actively seek ways to do something that brings joy, it doesn’t matter how simple it is, it is all about how that action makes you feel.

One day you will notice that you didn’t find your calling – your calling found you.

 

 

The Power in Being Vulnerable

As a child I cried a lot. I cried when I was hurt, scared, sad, if I saw an animal or person injured or suffering. Crying wasn’t a trait that was admired in my family. I was told to toughen up, that I was too sensitive and so I learnt to shut down, to close my tender heart and bury my feelings. There was even a period in my life of around 20 years where I incapable of crying, even when my son died.

I used to think that the biggest obstacle that stood between people and their dreams was their negative thinking. I now know that it is having a closed heart. So how do you recognise a closed heart?

We often confuse sensitivity with being reactive. If you have a tendency to be jealous and fly off the handle when your partner looks at another woman, that is not being sensitive. If you withdraw when anyone says something that hurts you, that too is a reactive pattern. My Dad thought that his ability to block out unpleasant emotions was a strength, it’s wasn’t. The problem with any behaviour that protects us from feeling our emotions is that it can too easily become habitual. When you shut down emotionally on a regular basis you stop listening to your heart and you don’t even know that your heart is closed.

You can’t armour yourself against pain or sadness, they are a part of the fabric of life just as you can’t make another person love you, or prevent yourself from feeling hurt if they don’t. When you close your heart, even with selective people, you are virtually saying to yourself, “I am not okay the way I am”.

Throughout my life I have experienced rejection, sadness and betrayal and with every painful experience I closed my heart just a little more. I became selective as to who I let in, and the people I felt safest with were my children. It took another personal crisis before I reached the point of letting go and opening my heart.

It took a long time for me to realise that there is nothing wrong with being sensitive. There is nothing wrong with being vulnerable. There is nothing wrong with setting boundaries with people you love. I never thought that setting boundaries was a problem for me, and it wasn’t with people in general, but it was with people I loved. Being vlunerable enables you to live when an open heart and there is a lot to be gained from that.

Until we fully allow our hearts to open, to be vulnerable, we cannot fully experience love. Author and speaker Brene Brown, who is best known for her work on vulnerability, says, “Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves”.

 

What’s Your Compelling Reason?

Not knowing how to achieve big goals is what stops so many people from even trying to achieve their dream.  But the fact is that most successful people have no idea how they are going to create their dreams when they first start out, they just have a very strong desire that motivates and keeps them going when things don’t work out.

When I bought my first home the prospect of taking on a large mortgage terrified me.  Tying myself down financially went against everything the freedom lover in me hated, but my desire for stability outweighed my fears, and that was my compelling reason which provided me with the courage to step outside my comfort zone.

More recently taking on the accreditation process for my life coach training program so overwhelmed me I felt like running away.  I hate complying just because a Government official says I have to.  I hated having to fit my course into a structure that would meet Government criteria, when it worked perfectly well the way it was.  I hated having to change the wording in some instances to fit a criteria which I think is stupid.  Added to that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing at first.  My desire to make a difference though was my compelling reason and it was greater than the obstacles I faced.  So, I broke the tasks down and kept telling myself that I am intelligent person and that I can work it out.

I did the eight day training and assessment course and found the other people doing the course were so helpful.  Often when I didn’t know what I was doing I would take my questions to the class and someone else would tell me just what I needed to know.  I asked for help and so many of the lovely coaches that I’ve trained gave me their support. I focused on one very tiny element at a time, figuring that if I got one part right, I’d be able to work out the next step, and I did.

Although the accreditation process went against my essential nature I chose to comply because of the longer term benefit.  Now I am so glad I did it and I feel so proud of myself and as a result of working on the course intensively for four months, it turned out better than it originally was.

Don’t limit yourself because you don’t know how.  Not knowing and feeling afraid often tells you that you are on the right path.  Find a compelling reason and start, just remember that progress is often associated with discomfort but discomfort is only temporary, whereas the rewards of following your heart are long lasting.

How Life Coaching Changes Lives

It was two weeks before Christmas when I received a phone call from Rebecca who said, “I have had two warnings at work and I am about to lose my job. I need life coaching to save my job and I have one week.”

Now as a coach I am confident about my abilities but I must admit this request felt like a tall order as I had no prior knowledge of Rebecca or her work situation. However, I love a challenge so I scheduled a coaching session and in one session was able to help her see what took her off track at work and what she needed to do to save her job.

Two months later Rebecca’s employer commented on the change in her and how well she was doing. Nearly three years later she is still in the same job and has coached other staff members, who found themselves in the same position, on how to turn their situation around. That’s the benefit of coaching.

A lot of people misunderstand what life coaching is and feel it is another form of counselling, or giving advice, it is neither. Although coaching is about finding a solution, this is often not the real goal. The real goal is supporting a client to view the world through different filters, when we do this a shift occurs that can change a person’s life.

When we focus on giving advice our intention is to get the client from “A” to “B”, and we don’t hear what people are really saying. Listening is such a great skill and I must admit it wasn’t one I had when I first started coaching. I came from an advisory background and I gave way too much advice in the early days. When we really listen, not only do people feel valued, we hear the clues they drop in their everyday conversation, about their limiting beliefs, rules or habits. These are what people need to become aware of, and in many instances change, if they want to create a more fulfilling life.

Another skill a good life coach has is the ability to ask questions. We know ourselves better than anyone else and we know the solution to our problems, the right questions bring solutions to our conscious awareness. A coach can also introduce a different alternative that a client may not have thought of themselves.

The Heart Process coaching model, which my school teaches, has three core elements that form the foundation of all the coaching we do.

Three elements of life coaching

  1. For change to occur there often needs to be a shift in perception. We listen for clues that indicate where a client has gone off track. Then through questioning we support clients to clear the obstacles that prevent them from being who they want to be and living the life they want to live.
  2. We teach life skills. Not all life coaching is about teaching life skills but without conscious knowledge of self and how to be the best person you can be it’s very easy to be influenced by the world around you. We show people how to become a centre of influence. Self knowledge enables us to expand our horizons, create harmony in our relationships and allow more into our lives.
  3. We support clients through the process of change by helping them create strategies to achieve their goal.

Whether you are a coach, or a person being coached, life coaching changes lives. In the 20 years since we started hearing about life coaching in the mainstream media it has become one of the world’s fastest growing industries and although the ICF say they expected to see a levelling off by now, it is not happening.

I urge you to consider coaching. Coaching can help you:

Feel safe. The great benefit of coaching is that you have a non-judgemental friend by your side who wants to see you succeed.

Feel heard. Many of us don’t feel heard and a life coach hears what you really say and can help you gain clarity as to what is most important.

Go further than you will go alone. It doesn’t matter if your goals are personal or professional it is proven that we achieve more when we have the support of a coach by our side.

Celebrate your successes. We need to acknowledge our successes and we need to celebrate them and that is something your coach will be more than happy to do with you.

Becoming a life coach is one of the best choices I have ever made because not only do I get to work with people who value my contribution, helping others keeps me on track in my own life.