Life Coaching Articles

A Season of Growth: What are you cultivating?

growth-covid-19
Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

We have entered Spring, a season of physical growth. Trees are budding, perennials are emerging and chicks, ducklings and all sorts of animals are entering this world to begin their own journeys. Planet Earth is in full swing of its annual rebirth.

As creatures of this planet, we are also experiencing this growth. Daunted with the task of navigating COVID-19, our spring awakening is different this year than those of the past. It is asking more of us and calling us to grow and evolve to deal with these challenging times.

We often think we are in control, that life is secure. And when events like COVID-19 occur, we feel we no longer have that control. That loss of control can cause us to feel worry, fear, frustration, depression, desperation and anxiety. That mental warfare then floods into the other areas of our life. Our concentration at work suffers, our ability to lovingly connect with family and friends disintegrates, and our capacity to access peace of mind dissipates at a rapid-fire pace. Sit for a moment and think about how that impacts your life, how fear shapes your choices and the results those choices create.

There is so much uncertainty about the upcoming weeks and months. But the truth of the matter is that we never had control to begin with. God has the ultimate control. We could have the best economy and suddenly lose our job. We could have a healthy family and unfortunately lose a loved one. At any time and in any moment, we could experience an unexpected hardship. We are never fully in control and the moment we embrace the truth that God holds all the cards, we can then access emotional and spiritual peace to help us transition any period of life – no matter what our perceived level of control may be.

When we face a crisis but have faith as an ally, our response and experience is vastly different. We are able to grow the fruits of faith which are, but not limited to: Peace, grace and CERTAINTY (Yes! Certainty that God will lead us through whatever is thrown our way). Think about how that impacts your emotional and spiritual well-being. With peace of mind, we are then able to create joy, meaningful experiences, clarity, motivation and love – all things that positively impact every area of our lives and the lives of those we touch.

In Hebrews 11:1, faith is defined as “…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It is trusting in an outcome without knowledge of the who, what, when, where, how and why. When we place this faith in man (whether that is ourselves, another or an organization), we may be let down. Man is fallible and can only see limited possibilities. But when we place this faith in God, the one who is all-knowing, all-loving and infinite in possibility, we set ourselves up for greater outcomes.

There are three tenets of faith to truly live it: patience, courage and trust. Patience in God’s timing, courage to act (or not depending on what He is calling you to in a given moment) and trust in His guidance. Right now, and without a doubt, we are challenged this Springtime to grow our trust – trust in God, trust in His plan and trust in His guidance. We are to trust that we will emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially survive the weeks that lie ahead and if we don’t survive it in the way we anticipated, that we trust God will lead us to our next chapter and provide new blessings in our lives, perhaps even bringing greater joy than we previously knew possible.

My hope is that you experience a growth in faith this Spring. Should you allow trust to infiltrate your heart, you will see the fruits of faith develop right in front of your eyes. Peace, clarity, joy, loving impact, a new way of life, a new way to create growth that reaches out and positively impacts everyone you love.

Jennifer Hale: Doing Good Deeds for The Greater Good

Greater Good, Jennifer Hale

I haven’t written an interview in quite awhile but I was so inspired to do so because the person within it is so inspiring to me. It’s not so much what she says but what she actually does. This woman reaches others with her big heart, graceful words and kind spirit to create real change in our community. And we are so lucky to have her. I’d like you to please join me in learning about the fascinating Jennifer Hale and her experience as Community Leader and Advocate.

Tell me about The Greater Good of Northeast Indiana (NEI).

The Greater Good of NEI concept started out of a need that I saw in the community to help bring more awareness to the activity in the nonprofits and to help engage our community at large. Over the past two years, it has grown from a Facebook page promoting various nonprofit events/needs, to presenting multiple community events and developing partnerships with Input Fort Wayne and Current Fort Wayne which help to spread the mission of supporting our nonprofits. 

What drives you? What’s your ‘why’ behind your work?

If I have an idea that I can’t shake, I have to try to run with it. It might fail gloriously, exceed expectations, or land somewhere in between, but I’ve always believed in simply trying. When it comes to the Greater Good concept, the more I took time to listen to people active within nonprofits and in the community at large, it became more and more apparent that this was a ‘need’ to fill a gap. The task itself is daunting most days, because I want to run a marathon but can only get a mile done, but its growing and that’s what keeps me going. My ‘why’ is really just trying to leave this world a little better than when I found it. I have three kids who know how passionate I am about giving back and if I can pass on anything to them it is to be an active member of any community that they are a part of – not just for the benefit of themselves, but for the benefit of others.

How do you maintain your drive with life’s ups and downs?

I’ve learned that we can do all things with faith and grace! It is a really hard lesson to learn – REALLY hard. I often used to take situations in to my own hands to achieve the results that I thought that I wanted, but I have learned to be more open and have received countless more opportunities with a shift in heart and mind. And give myself plenty of grace. I am my hardest critic and have had my own share of depression and anxiety, so when I feel like I’m not enough or doing enough, I step back, take a breath and learn to be grateful for where I am at.

What all are you in involved in at this current moment?

This year I’m structuring the business side of the organization and formalizing as a Benefit Corporation in Indiana. It’s really exciting because this is a relatively new corporate structure in Indiana, but has been gaining really positive traction on a national arena.

We’re also working on community partnerships that will bring awareness and support to Postpartum Depression and maternal mental health both of which have astonishingly high rates with little to no positive action surrounding it. It should go without saying that maternal health is critical in any healthy societal structure, so again, the need for awareness is real and I’m working on bringing more conversations to the forefront in our own community. 

With a new born, how do you make time to network, run The Greater Good and manage your family?

It’s amazing how open people are to meet with me and a baby! I try to use good judgement on when and where it is appropriate, but part of where I am in my life is being a mom first and foremost and so having to share that with people at times is part of this season of life. I am grateful to have support to watch the baby as needed and while the older kiddos are at school, but I really believe that as moms we become highly specialized at multi-tasking, so I rely a lot on that super power most days.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Martin Luther King and Princess Diana were big influences for me when I was growing up. I couldn’t read enough about their own missions to create critical change in the world during their own lives. Consistently though, my most direct inspiration is my own mom. She’s 75 years old and volunteers weekly with the homeless. As long as I can remember she cheers on the underdog and had a servant leader’s heart before the concept even existed. She is led by her faith and I’m really just a product of her passion for helping others in God’s image.

What has been your biggest challenge in your goals as a community game changer?

There’s so much that I want to do and it feels like there is so little time to accomplish it. That’s where I have to give myself some grace. Every step forward is a small success building towards the bigger picture. 

For anyone aspiring to step into an active role within their community, what advice do you have for them? What should their first step be?

First find out what you are passionate about, for example – women’s issues / children’s causes / homelessness / animals etc. There are so many organizations in our community that fight daily for those who are under served, so first find out where your heart is and watch the rest unfold. You can follow organizations on Facebook or just ask me through The Greater Good page ( 🙂 ) Then, take a step! If you have time to volunteer but no funds to donate, give some of your time. If you have funds to donate but no time, give some of your funds. That’s always been my own baseline when it comes to giving back. What I have learned is that any little bit helps – do not hesitate by how much or how little you may be able to give – just always give first with love and see where it leads.

Faith + Work: What Does It All Mean?

faith+work

I recently attended a new program here in Fort Wayne called “Faith + Work” where the focus is on living our faith in the actual work we do. There were people of all demographics in the room, wide eyed and ready to learn even at 6:30am. Tony Opliger, Pastor and headline presenter, shared one distinctive message – Our work is meant to create three things: Order, Beauty and Abundance. Then through a panel like discussion, James Khan, Owner of Proximo, Hoppy Gnome and Bakerstreet, and Charles Threets, Dishwasher and Preacher, explained beautifully how they live their faith in their work, although very different roles.

Next, it was our turn, the audience. We were asked and challenged to discuss among ourselves “Where are the opportunities in your work for you to create order, beauty and abundance?” Naturally, we all gave completely different answers. The CEO talked about working with his board and relationship management, the consultant had a different answer altogether and the writer shared the story of Jesus and the 7 loaves and 2 fish and correlated that to our work.

Once it was my turn to answer, I have to admit – I was a bit jumbled. I have three main jobs: “Stay-at-home Mom”, very part-time “Reporting Analyst” and even more part-time “Life Coach”. But with this chaotic mess, I had the blessing of being able to compare how I live each of these, why I live them that way and what works versus what doesn’t in terms of creating order, beauty and abundance. This comparison helped me realize three factors play a part in creating each of the outcomes in my work: Be God-centered. Be intentional. And be confident in your skills and talents.

For example:

  • As a Mom, most days I’m so overwhelmed that I throw my hands in the air and take a very reactive approach. There is no intention and thus, no order. I bring God into it, but definitely not consistently. And let me tell you – comparison robs me of using my special skills and talents as a Mom. Some days, I’m so busy trying to be what I think I should be rather than using the gifts and talents God has given me to truly impact my kids in a profound way.
  • As a Reporting Analyst, I have the skills and I LOVE creating the order which results in gorgeous clarity on our Income Statements and thus, this creates abundant outcomes for our board. As a bonus, it challenges my brain in a way I enjoy. But God has not included in this work which makes me beg the question – what potential am I, my co-workers and the organization at whole most definitely missing out on?
  • As a Life Coach, well this takes a back seat to everything else. It typically receives my focus when I have ‘extra’ time. Yet, this is the one area where I am extremely God-centered and let Him drive the ship. I wonder, what would this path look like if I was intentional about making it a bigger priority and I put more confidence in my gifts and talents? I bet it would be completely different and the impact would be that much more substantial.

I’m grateful I woke up early for this program. It truly is just what I needed to refocus my work – both why and how I do it. It was profound hearing the stories through the lenses of various individuals. And we all disseminated the content of the program in different, but very tangible ways; it met each one of us exactly where we are.

So now I want you to join the conversation. How can you create order, beauty and abundance in your work? And in your life? Do you include God? Are you intentional in your work? Are you confidently using your gifts and talents? What others factors do you find important in supporting the creation of meaning in your work?

Share your insights and thoughts the section below.

12 Great Questions for 12 Months of Real Change

12 great questions; new years

The start of each year is a chance for a fresh beginning. However, we typically begin strong and dwindle as the weeks go on. This time, let’s stay in movement throughout the year by asking ourselves these 12 great questions periodically (daily, weekly or monthly) to help us create maximum change for 2020. Click here for a printer friendly version. Happy New Year!

1. Create DIRECTION

How can I create more space in my life for God and his guidance?

By creating space and time for God, we can more easily hear his voice and create clarity around our goals and direction. How can you create more space in your life for God’s direction?

2. Create MEANINGFUL RESULTS

What has God been calling me to change about myself (or life) that I’ve been resisting?

God always wants the best for us and he knows which goals and choices will bring us joy, meaning and fulfillment. What change have you been resisting? It’s the surest path to creating joy in your life.

3. Create ACCOMPLISHMENT

If I could achieve 1 major goal this year, what would it be?

Often times, we come up with several goals to accomplish each year which diverts our focus; it can become very overwhelming which may cause us to quit. Choose 1 goal and do it well.

4. Create ACTION

What are 2 steps I can take this week to move me closer to my dream?

Pick 2 actionable items this week and choose two more the week after that and so on. I love the quote by St. Francis of Assisi “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” What can you start doing now?

5. Create MOMENTUM

What distractions can I remove from my life to keep me driving forward?

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. Message Alerts. Need I say more? The mediums that interrupt you are what break your focus and drive towards your goals. What can you remove from your life?

6. Create RESILIENCY

How can I respond differently to disappointment?

Our flow in life is all about how we respond. Many things that happen to you are out of your control, but you get to decide how it impacts you. How can you respond to maintain a gentle flow towards success?

7. Create JOY

If I could have 3 fun experiences this year, what would they be?

Joy and fun are just as important as our goals. What would be fun for you to experience this year? What will keep you light, airy and excited about life?

8. Create SELF-LOVE

What is one habit or ritual I can employ to allow personal care in my life?

Often times, we forget to take care of ourselves. If you find you experience burn out, how can you better take care of yourself on a consistent basis?

9. Create FREEDOM

What beliefs or perspectives can I change to give myself inner peace?

Negative beliefs about ourselves or others creates deep inner turmoil and impede our ability to live a joyful existence. Where do you find yourself upset with yourself or others? What is your belief or perspective in that area and how can you change it?

10. Create LOVE

How can I be more present to those around me?

The people we care deeply for need us. How can you turn off the noise in your brain or temporarily set aside your work and interests so that you can give more of yourself to those around you?

11. Create RELATIONSHIP

How do I want to show up for others?

How do you want others to experience you? As confident? Loving? Generous? Kind? Challenge yourself to be this way regardless of the way others treat you.

12. Create RELIEF

How can I use my gifts and talents to help others more generously?

God has given you so many extraordinary talents and gifts. We all need to check in from time to time and ask ourselves if we are comparing ourselves or trying to be like others to fit in or be liked. God needs you to be YOU for others. What special gifts and talents make you unique and special?

Peace in 3 Steps This Holiday Season

peace in 3 steps

Family relationships can be tough. With the holiday season upon us, we often long for the picturesque family gathering where everyone gets along, feels included and creates lasting memories. So it can be rather difficult when this just isn’t our reality. We may want healed and renewed family relationships, but that doesn’t mean it is a shared goal amongst everyone involved. As a result, we may feel emotional pain, robbing us of our peace and joy.

However, we are not powerless. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 We are not victims. We can create joy and peace in 3 steps right now, even in the midst of derision within our own families.

ACCEPTANCE

The first step is acceptance. Accept the situation as it is. We cannot change others and we definitely cannot make them love, like or value us. They may never even try. The sooner we accept the way things are, the faster we will find peace and perhaps be able to enjoy our family holidays.

EXPECTATIONS

Don’t expect anything good or bad from your less than satisfactory family relationships. Inaccurately expecting good results creates pain when we discover we are wrong. And expecting poor family interactions sets us up to be defensive from the get go. Both situations steal our peace and rob us of our joy.  

SELF-WORTH

When we feel that members of our family don’t love, like or value us, we may begin to believe their opinion. Let me tell you – their opinion doesn’t matter. The only opinion that matters is GOD’S. And God created you as whole and complete. Who you are, every minute detail God created, is beautiful, capable, loving, creative, unique, kind, valuable, likeable, generous, needed and a gift. Your self-worth lies in God’s perspective, only. He is perfect and His creation – you, me and everyone – is perfect. No one is excluded.

Let this holiday season be different than those of the past. With these 3 steps, you can create contentment which leads to peace and joy. Let your light shine and allow God’s love to flow through you so that you may bring a little joy to everyone you pass over the next several weeks. You and God’s mission for your life are too important to let family dynamics keep you from anything less. 

Want to quit?

Here are 3 Steps to Persevere and Keep Going

want to quit
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Often times in life or during the achievement of our goals, we hit a lull and want to quit. No matter what we do, we can’t seem to make traction. It could be that we aren’t seeing the results we wanted or worse, we are actually moving BACKWARDS. As a result, we may pick up bad habits that move us closer and closer to quitting and throw our dreams away.

But, as the great Joseph P Kennedy once said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” So what do you want to do? Get tough and get going? Or do you want to quit? If you would like to follow JFK’s lead, here are 3 tips to stay the course and keep moving forward even when it gets tough.

Get Rid of the Noise.

Our brains can have a lot of disruptive thoughts that inevitably make us want to quit and go down another road. These disruptive thoughts stem from inaccurate perception of our current reality. We get a result, or lack thereof, and we create a perception of this result. That perception then filters to our feelings which then creates action or inaction towards or away from our goals.

So when we hit a static point in our goals or business, we may create inaccurate perceptions such as “This isn’t working”, “Something isn’t right”, “Why am I wasting my time?”, “Maybe I should be doing something else?”, “It’s just not going to happen for me”, “I guess this was a silly dream, after all”, “I just want to quit”. Should we believe these perceptions, we will inevitably stop following our dream.

When we hear these thoughts enter our minds, it’s time to ask ourselves “Is this really true?” And secondly, “what are new perception that will empower and encourage me?” Some could be “What is God teaching me right now?”, “How can I do things differently?” or “Do I really want to quit?” If you’re having trouble coming up with new perceptions, a good friend or coach are helpful assets.

Stop Comparing Yourself.

And I’m going to say it again – STOP IT! Comparing our results to others or comparing our results to our expectations of what we think the results should be will create a discouraging downward cycle and will make us want to quit. When we do side by side comparisons, we see a clear view of where we aren’t and where we want to be. This can move us into self-loathing, self-pity, discouragement and a slew of other weighty feelings that cloud our clarity and halt our traction. So when you feel the comparison bug bite, remind yourself that you are on your own journey, no someone else’s, and give yourself grace and compassion to move through this period.

Stay Close to God.

Talk with God and allow Him to guide you. When we hit a wall or take steps back, it’s time to discern whether this is a lesson God is teaching us or if He truly is guiding us down another path. Focusing on His guidance allows us to ignore our perceptions of our current reality and instead refocus on what God is calling us towards. Does it matter if it appears we are failing when God is guiding us? Nope. Because following God’s call leads us to achievement of our God-given goals, even when it appears as failure.

Did this article help you? Let us know and leave a comment below!

How To Stay On God’s Path for Your Life

how to stay on god's path for your life
Photo by Mark Duffel on Unsplash

Comparison. I said it. That horrible word! Comparison is our own worst enemy and for a couple reasons. For starters, it can make us absolutely miserable as we try to measure up to the person (or idea of a person) that we are comparing ourselves to. And secondly, it diverts our focus from our true goals, from becoming the person God created us to be. So let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was this wonderful human that God created. He created her to be confident and developed her to be patient and wait on His timing. He made her so that she wanted for nothing (material), was grateful for everything she was given and was focused on following her calling, essentially to become the best version of herself. Because she was happy and content, she was vibrant and nothing stopped her.

But then it all changed. Life happened. She started to notice that others were moving past her in their careers. Friends accumulated more wealth and had the financial security she wanted. Those around her spent more time and money on things like personal care, clothing and cars. Many in her circle were freshly married and beginning their families. She started to feel less than. She was lagging behind her peers. And soon her goals moved away from becoming the best version of herself in God’s eyes and closer to the best version of herself in her eyes of comparison.

So she started to lose herself and what truly mattered. She no longer had meaningful relationships. The meaning in her interactions with friends, family and strangers was lost. She was too busy making sure she was good enough to the comparison she built in her mind. This then affected her confidence, caused her to swim towards the sea of depression and eventually throw away her God-given goals altogether. She thought that if only she could be what she decided was good enough, then she would be happy. But that’s not the answer.

We lose ourselves when we have our eyes focused on the things of this world. And we find ourselves again when we focus on God above. Take time to answer these questions.

What does He want for you?

Who does He want you to be – for yourself and for others?

What does He want you focusing on day in and day out?

Let’s just boil it down. What would bring you the most JOY?

Only you can answer these questions for yourself. But if you find the comparison bug biting hard, try changing your focus. Look less at where you are compared to others and focus more on following God’s call for your life.

The #1 Secret Killer of Confidence

There are many things we can do to hurt our confidence – negative self-talk, surrounding ourselves with those who put us down or quite simply, living with the fear of what others think about us. But there is only one secret killer of confidence. And it’s something many of us aren’t even aware of and we do it without realizing the consequences. So what is it? That deadly vapor seeping into our confidence and our lives? That killer of confidence is when we lose integrity with the commitments we make with ourselves i.e. we do what we tell ourselves we will do.

So what happens when someone else makes a commitment to us and doesn’t follow through? We learn to no longer rely on them and we no longer trust them. Our confidence in them dwindles. And it’s the same for us. When we don’t follow our word or do what we promised to ourselves, we lose our confidence in ourselves. We then start the negative self-talk (even on a subconscious level) “I’m a failure.” “I can’t do this.” “Why am I the only one that can’t get it together?” And those words and mindset start an entirely new problem that negatively impacts our outlook in every facet of our lives.

There may be several reasons why we lose integrity with ourselves or why we can’t follow through with our goals. But, the main reason may be our expectations of exactly what we can achieve in the current season in our lives. When we set goals, we can make them SMART to have the best outcome possible. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive. In this case, we are focusing on Realistic. But here is where we can get into trouble. Alone, each goal in and of itself may be realistic and easy to achieve. However, with all of our goals combined, we can set too much on our plates and thereby, set ourselves up for failure and the death of our confidence.

Goal setting is an art. So learn to take each goal and make it SMART and then assess all of the goals together. Is it Realistic to work towards all of your goals simultaneously? When pulled together, do they appear overwhelming? Review them each week. Where did you do well? Where could you have done better? And perhaps – where are they unrealistic? Revise. Reset. Start again.

It’s Time to Live Free

We aren’t truly free until we relinquish it all over to God. I invite you, today, to give it up. Give up the hurt, the resentment, the pain, the veil that covers you creating a fraction of the life you could be experiencing. No one ever said it would be easy, but if you allow it – God will take it from you so you can live free.

Click the links concurrently for a guided meditation so you may have the opportunity to let go and start living today.

 

How to Survive the Family Holidays | Tis the Season

Family Holidays | Coaching Tips | Molly RomanIt’s that time of year that brings the best out of family members – Holiday Season. Many of us find this time of year particularly stressful. We are forced to be around those that we choose not to be year round. And perhaps that’s the real problem. We avoid talking with one another all year which means we forgo the opportunity for meaningful experiences with one another and thus the chance at reconciliation. The family holidays become miserable.

Instead, we wait. We wait for that turkey to show his face once more and maybe we even hope for the best. But everything is just as it was last year. There may have been time between the prior holiday, but there wasn’t quantity of interactions, new experiences and conversation to change the outcome.

When searching for a fitting photo, I found it interesting that ‘turkeys fighting’ also appear as turkeys embracing one another. Isn’t that often how it feels? “I love you, but I am SO MAD at you right now!!” We DO love our families, but when we maintain a cool relationship throughout the year, the same feelings we had last Thanksgiving creep up again this year.

So without much further ado, here are a few tips to mentally prepare you for the holidays.

1. Prior to seeing family, focus on which aspects about them you are grateful for! Yes! The point of the holiday – gratitude! What good memories do you have with them? What makes this person great (even if it isn’t currently shown to you)?

2. Remember that it isn’t about you. Don’t take it personally. The way someone treats us is always about them. We are all responsible for our choices and how we respond and react to others. How someone responds to us is about them. Further reading: The Four Agreements. This book will change your life.

3. If the environment is particularly toxic, determine upfront how long you will attend the gathering. 2 hours? 3? Stay for dinner and bounce? Come up with a plan up front so you are in control of you, so you aren’t subject to another’s timeline.

4. If celebrating with beer, wine or liquor, this isn’t the time to have that conversation where you tell someone how they’ve hurt you, why they annoy you, what they could do differently. Wait until after the holidays.

5. When someone says or does something that stings you, keep smiling, politely leave the conversation and talk to someone that values you. Which leads me to #6.

6. Focus on those that treat you with respect rather than trying to prove your value to those who don’t see it. Create great experiences with those that love you!

Finally, if you are in an environment where everyone treats you poorly, sit this one out. Have a Friendsgiving. There is nothing more powerful than treating yourself the way you deserve to show others what respecting you means. Actions speak louder than words. Do it politely, of course. And if you need some inspiration, Elisa, from the Verge of Greatness Project, shared her story (and results) with us here.

 

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