What’s Luck Got To Do With It?

Luck Dragon! By KMH

Create your own luck!

March is dedicated to Luck. Often people seek out a coach because they need help navigating through tough times, transition or need help getting going. In these times what we most want is … an opportunity.  This opportunity can come to people in many different ways, some of them seemingly out-of-the blue, or by sheer luck!

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
Milton Berle

For me luck can also be serendipity, synchronicity or chance, and this is how Wikipedia defines them:

Luck or fortuity is good or bad fortune in life caused by accident or chance, and attributed by some to reasons of faith or superstition, which happens beyond a person’s control.

Serendipity denotes the property of making fortunate discoveries while looking for something unrelated, or the occurrence of such a discovery during such a search.

Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events, that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, that are observed to occur together in a meaningful manner.

I find all of these phenomenons fascinating and relevant to coaching because they seem to happen with more frequency when one is in alignment with a path they feel certainly and passionate about.

This week I encourage you to think about the opportunities you’d like to have, and the chances you’d like to be given that would make a difference in your life. There is a lot to be said for the so-called happenstance occurrences in life and what one reads into them.

“Serendipity smiles upon people who have a more relaxed approach to life…. Once they’ve pinpointed the ultimate destination, they believe there are many different ways to get there. This requires openness to life’s surprising twists and turns as well as cognitive and behavioral flexibility.”
Rebecca Webber

This month we will explore how to create luck, and how to feel like a lucky person.

QUESTIONS FOR THE WEEK:

Do you believe in luck? When were times in your life when things just fell into place? Do you believe you can create luck?

 

Building a Love Affair Part 2!!

Emergence by KMH

We have to learn to be our own best friends because
we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies.
~Roderick Thorp, Rainbow Drive

My premise for writing about building a love affair with yourself is to help you discover and practice unconditional love. Loving yourself or anyone else is not a singular act. You don’t love yourself or another and never practice that love. It is a state of being in which you see yourself fully – all the things you love about yourself and your shortcomings – and choose to be forgiving and kind and committed to doing your best everyday – every moment.

The things we hate about ourselves
aren’t more real than things we like about ourselves.
~Ellen Goodman

OK… on with the wheel!

Health: How is your health? This one can be hard to look at because, well, it relates directly to our mortality. Without a baseline of general health it is difficult to focus on anything else. Even if you are a healthy person; health is something to be maintained, and like everything else is an ongoing work in progress. What are you doing to get back in shape or maintain your health? Is there anything you are avoiding taking care of? What do you consider healthy? Taking care of yourself can be a hard habit to get into but it is absolutely worth your time and energy.

Recently I saw on a health show a woman talking about ways to motivate yourself to exercise; she had an idea I really liked. She suggested downloading books you really want to read on an iPod (or CD) and only listening to it when you work out. This motivates you to keep working out if you want to hear more of the story.

Money: Money issues can be just as hard to look at as health issues; in fact they are pretty closely linked considering the stress financial issues can create. How do you think about money? How do you manage money? Do you save money? Do you feel you deserve money? If you won the lottery, what would you do with it?

Many times have I fantasized about winning the lottery!! But here’s the thing, I know that I will do all the things I want to whether I win the lottery or not. I use it as a tool to dream big and think about all the things I would do. But I also look at my life, my future and my needs seriously and put a plan together that is responsible, sensible, and long term.

Physical environment: Does your physical environment provide the basic needs? Do you have a place a place for quite, for creativity for work and to concentrate? Does it reflect your personality? Do you feel safe? Our physical environments often reflect us, and on the flip side our environment can help to bring out particular characteristics. Physical environments include your home, city, state and car. Look around at your environment, anything need a cleaning, remake or to go to Goodwill?

For example as a little girl I loved the paint chips at the paint store!! I loved collecting all the fantastic colors; it was so amazing to see them all together. I had no idea what I would do with them, and it didn’t matter because having them and seeing them made me very happy! As an adult I find it very satisfying to decorate my house and to create different environments with color.

Family: Some people have a family that is supportive others have a family that they would like to be as far away form as possible. But either way your family is where you come from. No matter how great or bad family life is – or was – we all have roots that we are recovering from. We all grew up with values that we learned, behaviors that we emulate and as adults we learn which values are truly important to us and worth keeping and which ones we outgrow for values that are more in alignment with our lives. What are the values you learned? What values are still important to you? Which belief systems have you out grown? Which beliefs do you still need to evaluate closer?

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.
~Author Unknown

Significant Other: Since this category is very important but not focused totally on you let’s use it to list the things that you really love about your relationship.

This may all sound like too much work, an exhausting endeavor. But the love you build begins to fill your life with more; more energy, more compassion, more patience and more love. Maybe you have experienced moments of this, when everything seems to be in place, just right and easy. Jung calls it serendipity. I love this feeling and I had to come to the realization that more often than not I experience it in moments and waves not as a permanent state of being – which I would guess is what is called enlightenment.

When you begin to see the cycles of life it takes tremendous pressure off of you to meet some impossible task of being perfect. BE PATIENT, see that just because you have a powerful insight and make positive change does not mean you won’t revisit hard places.

Going through these nine categories can often bring up difficult feelings, judgments and old issues you thought were gone. Give yourself the permission to feel whatever comes up; and let it go.

Never dull your shine for somebody else.
~Tyra Banks

 

Building a Love Affair – Part 1

The Mosaic of you... by KMH Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

A love affair with yourself, what would it look like? A relationship of any kind with anyone is made up of so many things, but often a few things stand out.  The way they smile at you, how they hold your hand, their laugh, or their eyes. Also attributes that you don’t think you have so you see it in them: their self confidence, humor, ability to see the bright side of a situation or being strong in places you feel doubtful. Discover these things about yourself; if you’re having a hard time ask some trusted friends about the things they love about you; anything to start to see the wonderful things about yourself.

When the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, it may be that they take better care of it there.  ~Cecil Selig

As I have said before the categories on the Wheel of Life can be an amazing tool for self-knowledge, self-improvement, building self-love and ultimately a basic start of a map to a fulfilling life. I’m going to go through each category and give you some questions to get the flow going. Play with this – take your time;

Time is of absolutely no consequence when you are doing the healing work directed toward inner growth.
~ Iyanla Vanzant

 

Fun and Recreation: Can you remember what you really liked doing as a child, in high school, in college?  Can you remember the things that made you lose track of time? Can you recall activities that you looked forward to? What are some things that you’d like to do in your life now but keep making excuses to not do? Nothing here is insignificant, all of these memories are clues to things that bring you joy.

I used to love to make mix tapes on my stereo, and rearrange my room. I would shut the door and spend hours doing this. Now as an adult I still love music and I try to make time to make mixes for friends and family, and I still rearrange things in my house! It’s my form of creativity and giving myself important time.

 

Friends: Who are your close friends right now? Do your friends support you unconditionally? Do you make time to do things with your friends? Are you open to making new friends? Do you participate in a girls/guys night? Does your significant other know your friends?

I don’t have a huge amount of friends and an average amount of acquaintances but I do have a very small group of very close friends that I would trust with my life. I don’t spend the kind of time I’d like to with them so recently I’ve decided to start a book club. Who knows who will join, not important; it’s the act of creating time to spend with people I like.

I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it; friends make life a lot more fun.
~ Charles R. Swindoll

Growth and Development: What do you do for yourself that promotes personal growth and personal development? When was the last time you read a good book? Took a continuing education class, attended a workshop, tended a flower or vegetable garden?  Personal development is so important, it is your way of continuing to support yourself and continuing to discover new and wonderful things about yourself.

I have wanted to be more involved with photography for longer that I’d like to admit. So this summer I am going to finally take a photography class at the community college. Sometimes it is hard to find time to do these kinds of things, but I promise you it is time worth spending on yourself.

Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie
which we ascribe to heaven.
~William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well

Career: This is another good one to go back to your youngest years. What did you want to be “when you grew up”, back in elementary school, high school and college? Were there classes, topics or activities you loved?  Is there information you’re particularly good at (like remembering names, numbers, formulas, associations, or being exceptional organized, creative or motivating)? And  – like the fun and recreation category – is there something you like doing that you lose track of time doing? We spend a lot of our life working don’t you feel it’s something you should enjoy?

For example, I can remember a class in college that we were supposed to pick something we really loved doing and then try to turn it into a career. So many people had very specific things like cooking, math, graphic design, helping people (i.e. a doctor)… I picked talking! I was embarrassed actually because it seemed to general a quality and frankly not very creative and I really had no idea how to make it into a career (neither did anyone else in the class). But now as a coach and a mediator it is more than obvious that I use that skill every day and in very important ways to accomplish my job, and I love it.

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”
– Dale Carnegie

Everyday is another opportunity to grow, to love yourself and others more.  We forget how precious life is, with so much going on in our lives. Our stress grows and we feel out of control and we think that by getting love from others, we will feel more love for ourselves, but this is backwards, only through loving our selves will we get all the love we will ever need from those around us.

Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.
~ Jimmy Buffett

 

NEXT WEEK:
Building a Love Affair Part 2

 

Love is in the Air!

What lies behind us and what lies before us
are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

by KMH

You are amazing!!

Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror.
~Byron Katie

Every person in your life could tell you how amazing you are – everyday, but it won’t matter if you don’t feel that way about yourself.

People are like stained-glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.
~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Be your own light! Just like when you are falling in love with someone think of all the things that make you smile… about yourself. What are you proud of? What have you accomplished in your life that you worked hard for? What are qualities about yourself that you really like? What do you like, what movies, books, music, colors, seasons, foods, cities, activities…. The list goes on and on.

You are an interesting person, you have layers and complexities and a personal history that is unique and amazing. The thing is is that love of others and yourself has to be rekindled and kept fresh. Without exploring new things one gets board, this is human nature.

“Love doesn’t just sit there, like stone; it has to be made, like bread,
remade all the time, made new.
~Ursula K. Le Guin

Here is the hard part about the loving yourself…you have to love all of you including the parts that you are embarrassed by, ashamed of and terrified about. You do this for others, it’s what true friends are, people who care about and accept all of you. They stick out with you when you’re at your worst, they take care of you when you’re sick or down and they tell you they love you when you feel at your most unlovable. Why? Because they care about you and the depth of your friendship offers them something valuable that all of the other stuff is worth dealing with.

BE THIS TO YOURSELF. You are worth it.  Most of the time we judge ourselves by much harsher standards than anyone else, be forgiving, no one is perfect. I read a great statement on the refrigerator of one of my clients:

“I admit that I made a mistake.
I ask that all effects of that mistake be undone for all time.”
Anonymous

We ALL live sloppy, hard, challenging lives, and ALWAYS will mixed in with all the good stuff. A great life is not and will never be without its mistakes and mess-ups…accept it. The sooner you do the sooner you will have taken unnecessary pressure off yourself.

We also tend to compare ourselves to people around us whom we think are better than us. There will always be people who excel at things we want to be great at as well as people whom we do better then. Comparison only leads to disappointment.

It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.
~Sally Field

You deserve to have peace of mind, a heart full of love and a bright future. We all do. And we will get it by embarking on this journey of loving ourselves and therefore loving others.  Use the process to build compassion, forgiveness and open-mindedness. In a time fraught with turbulence, violence and uncertainty be a rock for yourself, you will inspire others to do the same.

“It is a given of life that nothing is permanently and finally satisfying. Despite this fact, many of us believe that somewhere there is a person that will be permanently satisfying. With mindfulness we find a pleasing balance between surrendering to the given of the fundamental un-satisfactoriness of life while at the same time maximizing our opportunity for contentment.”
~David Richo – Author of How to be an Adult in Relationship

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
How can you create a love affair with yourself?

 

LOVE…yourself!!!

Temple of Athena, Greece by Kelly M. Hill

As a tribute to Valentine’s Day this month I am going to blog about love –  that is loving yourself.  Without this core state of being regarding yourself – attaining your wildest dreams is….impossible!

Much like the statue above, we must be our strongest support.

We have all heard at one point or another that we cannot love another without first loving ourselves. But what does that mean? My own journey to loving myself has started with what I consider the hardest step – accepting myself.

“The certain test of sanity is if you can accept life whole, as it is.”
Lao-Tzu

What does this have to do with coaching? Let’s go back to one main focus of coaching – turning potential into achievement. Loving yourself and knowing what you want and feel you deserve out of life are directly related to what you want to and can achieve. And as you accept yourself more fully and get honest with your needs your vision of the best possible life becomes clearer and more fully in your grasp.

How you feel about yourself is ultimately reflected back to you in every part of your life; other relationships, career, self image, friends, opportunities… everything.

For many of us it can be very painful and frightening to really look at ourselves, our beliefs about life and love.  It is hard to accept what we see and to realize that we may need to change and unlearn some things; because they don’t really serve us in a positive way. After so many years of certain kinds of behavior the prospect of change and growth can be terrifying. I know it has been for me.

Notice the difference between what happens when a man says to himself “I have failed three times,” and what happens when he says, “I am a failure.”
S.I. Hayakawa – United States Senator 1977 – 1983 Psychologist and semanticist

You can do ANYTHING you put your heart and mind to. There are millions and millions of stories of people over-coming and changing and accomplishing things at all ages and abilities. Most of these stories start with a person who loves themselves and believes that they CAN achieve what they most want and cherish. Saying you can do anything does not mean you can fly without wings; it means that if you are sincere in your efforts to accomplish something you truly desire and you have a plan to do it… you can and will.

“The truth is, we all do the best we can do until we are stronger, wiser, willing and ready to do better.”
Iyanla Vanzant author of In the Meantime

Each of us is unique by definition: no one else has lived our lives, experienced our challenges and adventures or was raised in our situations – therefore we are uniquely suited to achieve the life we want with our hearts. Although unique means one-of-a-kind I think of it like snowflakes – they all look pretty similar yet there are still no two alike.

“Our work then is to become the healthiest possible version of who we uniquely are.”
David Richo – Author of How to be an Adult in Relationship

Who is the healthiest possible version of you? Let’s put that into context with our categories of life we discussed earlier; fun and recreation, career, health, money, physical environment, family, friends, significant other, growth and development. Picture yourself in these categories and what you’d look like functioning at your best. Most of us have a “how it is supposed to look” going on, and every thought, intention and action is aligned to get us to that. BUT where are you right now? Can you see your fears and fantasies and expose the truth of where you are?

This week I encourage you to examine and explore the beliefs you hold about yourself, where you are, are “supposed to be” and how you show yourself love.

Show yourself love every day. Look yourself in the eye in the mirror and tell yourself that you love yourself. Do not waiver in that love and take inspiration from this wonderful poem!

Invictus – By William Ernest Henley, Poet

Out of the night that covers me,
black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
for my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
my head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
looms but the Horror of the shade,
and yet the menace of the years
finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
how charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

What is the healthiest version of you?

You deserve fulfillment!!

Sunrise in Hua HIn Thailand

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else.”
– Anonymous

If you don’t have a clear picture of what you are working towards, chances are you won’t get there. Here is a way to start, consider the following categories (in no particular order): Fun and recreation, career, health, money, physical environment, family, friends, significant other, growth and development. Do you feel great about all of them, are there ones that need some attention, have you forgotten what some of them are? As a coach I ask that my clients get very clear about ALL of these categories because it allows you to have a clear and detailed picture of your life right now, and where you want it to go; the first steps of your map. Although you may have certain categories that you’d like to focus on or that seem more urgent – they are all important when it comes to your over-all quality of life and ability to be fulfilled.

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”
Robert Schuller – Pastor

This is a chance to dream big AND to live big! As you contemplate and really think about these categories you should be thinking not about what you would settle for but what you’d like life to look like if money and time were of no concern. Doing this gets you out of the limits we normally set on ourselves.

Get detailed, very detailed, the more detail the better. Not just that you’d like to go back to school and become a teacher but that you’d like to teach Contemporary History at Santa Fe high to seniors. Not that you’d like to lose 15 – 150 pounds, but that you’d like to feel better walking up the stairs, fit into your favorite red dress and eat without thinking about it ending up on your thighs.

The details give you direction and motivation and clues to building a plan to reach your goals, to be fulfilled. This is just one tool; but it’s a fun one! Think big, take your time, and let yourself sit with each category for a few hours, days – a week. Then write it down.

While you are thinking about all of this – be aware of the voice that tells you to not be ridiculous, that you don’t deserve that or that you are crazy for ever thinking that. This voice is something we all hear and have to deal with. Don’t worry about it. Just keep dreaming big and aiming high, we’ll get to that voice later.

In the meantime I’d like to share one of my favorite poems; I hope you find it as inspiring as I do.

The Journey – by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt and old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations –
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.

QUESTION FOR THE WEEK:
Are you ready to have the life you want? Are you starting to see a clear picture of it?

 

Fulfillment


Catching a Star

What is Fulfillment?

As defined by Webster’s dictionary (or whatever dictionary my Mac uses on the dashboard) fulfillment is: satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character. The achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted.

For me this definition implies that fulfillment is not an absolute or permanent state of being but rather that it is developed and maintained, and achieved – again and again over time.

One major goal of coaching is to help people live a fulfilled life. Self fulfillment is self-actualization.

To be in a state of fulfillment requires that we know with some degree of clarity what we really want. Knowing want we want requires that we have an understanding of our deepest needs and values.  What we deeply want is not material objects but rather; what is the dominant state of being that we would like to live in; contentment, peace of mind, hope, enthusiasm?

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is in reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”
Margret Young – Popular singer and comedienne in the 1920’s

Although self-actualization was originally coined by Kurt Goldstein an organismic theorist in the 1930’s it was brought to the main stream public by Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  As defined by Maslow; self-actualization is

“…the desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for him [the individual] to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.”

There were also characteristics that stood out to Maslow that seem to be part of the make-up of people who achieved actualization: the ability to embrace reality and facts rather than denying truth, spontaneity, being ‘focused on problems outside themselves’. They ‘can accept their own human nature in the stoic style, with all its shortcomings’, similarly acceptant of others. They generally lack prejudice, are independent, have a tendency to form few but deep friendships. They have a “philosophical” sense of humor, a tendency to resist outside pressures and a general transcendence of the environment rather than “coping” with it.

Now this is not to say that if you do not have these characteristics that you cannot achieve self-actualization but that these can be seen as a road map to fulfillment.

Coaches have developed a multitude of tools that help one to hone in on what parts of the map need to be filled in, understood and fleshed out in order to be on your path to fulfillment. We will explore some of these tools next week.

This is a process that is about the ability to recognize and develop parts of ourselves which allow us to make the best of a situation and see ourselves through to the life we want to live.

“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Walt Disney

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
What is it you most want? What are your deepest needs and values?