Tag Archives: coaching

The Power of Perspectives

One of the things that’s been incredibly useful about coach training is understanding the power of choosing the perspective that you will take regarding a specific situation or set of facts. We really can choose to see the glass half full or half empty… or we can banish the glass entirely and replace it with an overflowing bucket. The choice is ours.

I’ve had a couple of hard weeks at work and have been in a bit of a funk post toe surgery.  I’ve decided to call that place “Wallow.” Wallow was a cold and dark place full of self-pity and self-inflicted misery. There was no exercise, no progress on important goals, and everything just felt more difficult than it needed to be. It wasn’t depression, I just felt mired in mud.

Yesterday I decided that Wallow wasn’t serving me very well. So I waged an eviction and decided to shift to the perspective of “Half Full.” Nothing actually changed in my life. The facts were still the same. But Half Full looked at the same set of facts and chose to see them differently – my toe was starting to heal, I really hadn’t gained any weight from not exercising, a huge project at work was behind me, the weather was improving, and my schedule in the next two weeks would give the freedom to begin making progress again.

That was a helpful change of perspective which put me in a better frame of mind, but it still wasn’t moving me forward. So with the help of friend from my coaching class, I moved to a new perspective we called “Running Free.” And I came up with 30 specific things that I’m going to do in the next 2 weeks to begin reclaiming my time, making progress again on the things that matter to me, and asking for support along the way–which I often don’t like to do. Some of these are small and some are pretty big.  But I’m excited to be moving in a positive direction again.  Also helpful is the fact that I’m accountable. The list is written down and it has been shared. I’ve got eight of them done and my list next to my computer as a reminder. I’ve promised to update her next weekend — and then the weekend after that.  Gotta get busy — time’s a-wastin’!

Running Free is lighter, brighter and full of possibility. I’m not actually running again and won’t be for a while, but I’m not going to sit around and feel sorry for myself because of it.  I’ve chosen a different path.

Is there a place in your life where you’re stuck or wallowing?  What new perspective might you find?

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Stinkin’ Thinkin’

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Worrying. Ruminating. Cogitating. Analyzing. Considering. Mulling. Noodling. Pondering. Reflecting. Scrutinizing. Contemplating. Deliberating. Speculating. Wow… we’ve thought up a lot of words for thinking!

Those of who are thinkers tend to pride ourselves on that trait. We look at things from all sides before acting.  We’re careful and thoughtful. Our thinking serves us well… we think. But thinking can easily cross the line into overthinking, especially when it comes to relationships with family, friends and colleagues.

I’m aware of my tendency toward overthinking and my ability to create problems that weren’t there in the first place. I can fill in the white space of silence with a complex story of my own imagining, when the reality is often far more simple or just plain different from what my brain invented. That’s because my story comes from my own perspective on how the facts of a given situation fit together.

I can see this so clearly with people who I am coaching. They invent explanations for behavior that fit their perception of reality. They believe that others have intentionally disrespected them, undermined them, or are purposefully testing boundaries. And they have completely and utterly persuaded themselves of the certainty of their rightness through a series of conversations that have occurred completely in their heads.

Sometimes insight can be found by stepping into a different perspective on a given situation. Simply asking “could there be another explanation that is consistent with the facts that might be true here?” or “why would a reasonable and rational person do what this person is doing?” can bring about a change in our conclusions and can begin to transform a challenging relationship. Even better is when we can have the courage to get out of our own all-knowing heads and have an honest conversation about the situation with the person that is driving us crazy. By inviting them to tell their story from their perspective, we may discover new truths about ourselves.

Next time you find yourself overthinking and lost in wondering about the past or the future —  “why did that happen?” or “what does it mean?” — try to let go of speculation and pull yourself into the present. What will you do today to let go of your stinkin’ thinkin’ and have the courage to step into a different perspective?

My 3 Words for 2013

In his blog, Chris Brogan challenges readers to come up with 3 words for the New Year — words that will define your values and experiences in the coming year —  your bigger story.  I’ve been noodling on this a bit this week and have finally settled on my 3 words.  I’ll be blogging more about why I’ve chosen these and what they mean for me in the coming year, but for today, here they are:

  • Courage
  • Possibility
  • Play

The first two came easily, but I spent some time on the last one which duked it out for for a couple of days with Worthiness.   Since one of my goals in the coming year is to do a better job listening to my instincts rather than over thinking things, I went with my gut on this one.  So Play it is.

How about you?  What are YOUR three words for 2013?

A 3,500 Mile Journey

Exactly five years ago on a snowy trip to Portland, Maine, I got honest with myself about the state of my health and fitness and began an amazing life-changing adventure that encompassed weight loss, taking up running, and so much more.

Since then, I’ve logged more than 3500 miles of running. I’ve run morning, noon and night. Through snow and heat. On vacation and during my hardest months at work. I’ve run 6 miles down Oregon’s Mt. Hood in a raging thunderstorm at 4:30 am, and I’ve run on a deserted beach in Costa Rica at dawn. I’ve run in at least 17 states from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon.  I’ve had fabulous runs, crappy runs, and lots of just plain average runs. I’ve had to struggle to get out some days, but have never regretted doing so.

Through it all I’ve met friends from all across the country who share this passion for running, traveling and adventure-seeking. I’ve run fifty races including dozens of 5ks and 10ks, 12 half marathons, one marathon, and the Hood to Coast Relay. And I’m working my way toward a goal of running a half marathon in each of the 50 states.

It’s been a grand adventure. As Bart Yasso says “never limit where running can take you” – and for me, that’s been both a physical and a mental thing. Running has taken me to new destinations, but also to a new place mentally.

I’ve gained confidence that I can do anything that I put my mind to doing. I’ve learned that even after a lifetime of couchdom, I can get fit, and stay fit for the long haul. I’ve struggled to get faster and also learned to be satisfied with what I can do. I’ve inspired friends to take up running and celebrated their accomplishments (frequently over post-race pancakes!), become a certified running coach, and started my own coaching business, Run To Your Life.

Almost five years ago I sweated and struggled through my first minutes of the Couch to 5K program. I was miserable and it was hard, but I had decided that I needed to start to exercise regularly  if I was going to lose weight and keep it off. That first mile was – without a doubt – the hardest mile I’ve ever done. And I only wish I had started sooner.

For anyone contemplating taking up running in the New Year, don’t even give it a second thought – and as Bart says:  never limit where running can take you!

The Why Behind Your Want

Are you making a New Year resolution?  Or simply wanting to do something differently in the coming year?  You know that if you’re going to be successful, you need to maintain your motivation day after day, and week after week. That takes commitment. It’s not going to be enough to say “I want to lose 10 pounds” or “I want to start exercising” or “I want to launch my new business” unless you really get in touch with the WHY behind your want.  What’s the motivation that will keep you going when the going gets tough, you have a bad day, or your “resolution” fails? We’ve all got different motivations… and getting in touch with them is key to making lasting lifestyle change.

Here’s what motivates me:

Power: When I’m taking care of myself, I feel strong, powerful, and capable of doing just about anything. I can quiet the negative voices in my head that try to sabotage me. I bring a positive outlook to life, rather than complaining or feeling like a victim. I feel more aware and alive – controlling my destiny and not just reacting to what happens. From this place of power, I can choose to continue to grow and to learn.

Goals:  Having a goal that I’m working toward helps keep everything else in perspective. I am less bothered by the “little things” – annoyances that might creep into my day — when I am taking care of the things that are important to me. When I have short and long-term goals, I always have something new to discover or a reason to celebrate. I have my head up — looking out toward the horizon rather than at all the little bumps in the asphalt.

Health: Health is a huge motivator, especially as we add years. I know that because I have lost weight and gotten fit I am healthier than I was a decade ago.  That’s more than just a feeling; it is supported by objective data from the doctor’s office. I am hopeful that good health today will add quality of life in future years.

Inspiration: It feels great when other people tell me that I have motivated them to exercise or lose weight. I realize that I can be a positive force for good and that others can learn from what I am doing for myself.

Seeing Results: I love it when the scale “rewards” my efforts. Even though it’s still the same “me” in the mirror, my brain reports that I look better when I’m headed in the right direction.

Energy and Speed: I have much more energy when I’m on track and don’t just drag myself through the day. I also know that on average, each pound lost means 2 seconds off my per mile race pace. I love setting PRs in my races and I love the satisfaction of getting faster even as I get older.

Your list most likely isn’t the same as mine, it’s unique to you.  But having it – and writing it down somewhere that you can see it and remind yourself — will be helpful to you as you set on your journey of making meaningful changes in your life.

So… what motivates YOU?  What are the whys behind your wants?

I. Am. Enough.

“I am enough.”

A friend wrote these words in an email to me this week and they really resonated. By coincidence, I’m also in the middle of reading “Daring Greatly” by Dr. Brene Brown and she spends several chapters discussing the voices that we carry with us that consistently suggest that we are not enough. Parents, spouses, siblings, bosses… and most of all, that persistent and relenting Inner Critic.

How much time do we spend waste debating whether we are enough? Comparing. Coming up short. Doubting and criticizing ourselves. The holiday season is riddled with opportunities for self-doubt. Did I cook a good enough dinner? Did I buy a good enough gift? Do I have a good enough job? How does my level of success… my house… my spouse measure up to that of my siblings or friends? Am I who my parents wanted me to be? Am I a good enough parent?  Am I thin enough or attractive enough?

Brown writes, “We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want and don’t have, and how much everyone else has, needs and wants.  What makes this constant assessing and comparing so self-defeating is that we are often comparing our lives, our marriages, our families and our communities to unattainable, media-driven vision of perfection, or we’re holding up our reality against our own fictional account of how great someone else has it.”  And in our comparisons, we are almost never enough.

This holiday season, I challenge you to notice when that tendency to compare is creeping into you life.  Banish that voice and stand with confidence in the present, giving yourself the gift of acceptance. In this moment, right now, right here, you ARE enough. Whoever you are, wherever you are, and however much you have.

Really. You are.