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Being OK with Being Alone

In this article we will focus on what we can do when ALONE, what good comes from being ALONE – how we think affects our life

We all will come to a point when we find ourselves ALONE. Some of us reading this have experienced life altering changes that end with us being ALONE.  Others of us have always been more ALONE than with others.  What can we do to understand how being ALONE is not only OK but it’s a good place as we learn about ourselves?

Have you experienced something that changed your life to being more ALONE?  There have been several times in my life that I found myself ALONE.  When my first marriage ended and I became a single mom, those shared custody weekends when my daughter was with her dad, I was ALONE for the first time.  Really ALONE!  With the advice of trusted friends and a mentor I took the time to evaluate my life, my motivations and beliefs.  This was one of the first times I thought about and learned about myself instead of just cruising on auto-pilot.

Are you able to see some benefits of being ALONE?  When I think back to that first time of being ALONE I remember thinking – yahoo, I can eat cereal for supper!  I have complete control of the remote, I can go to bed when I desire and I don’t have to change out of my pajamas today if I don’t want to.  Simple pleasures.  What are some of the benefits you are experiencing or have experienced from being ALONE?

How has being ALONE changed your life?  Are you more independent?  Do you find yourself being more introspective?  Do you have time to be reflective about your life?  If not, I highly recommend you find a mentor, counselor, friend or Life Coach to guide you in this introspection journey.  This is one of the things I love to do with folks as a Life Coach.  You can reach me by simply going to the Speak To Me page

When we find ourselves ALONE we can now – take time for introspection – what is that?  Taking time to reflect on our souls, our thoughts, what we value, our beliefs and our influences.

Our society does not put much stock in taking time to really look at ourselves, to reflect on what our beliefs are for ourselves….NOT just agreeing with others or joining “a group” mentality – but really taking ALONE time to search our heart, soul and mind.  For those who have a  belief in Jesus, we have an added bonus of having the written word of our faith to reflect on, to get to know, to memorize and put in our hearts.  This time of being ALONE lets us put things in perspective, aligning our priorities with our beliefs.

Corrie ten Boom, who lived through the atrocities of WW 11 writes, “I remember moments during WW 11 when suddenly there was an immediate threat to our lives during an air raid or in prison.  At that moment you saw everything from God’s point of view, and it gave you a totally different perspective, because you touched death and therefore eternity.  You saw that small things were small and big things were big.  You would see everything in the right proportions.”

How many of us take the time to look at things and put them in the right perspective or realign our priorities/values?  When we have ALONE time we are gifted with time to do this.

What are some questions you might ask yourself that would help you decide what your priorities, values, or beliefs are?   How about trying a couple of these questions:

What do I believe to be truth?

How does (any of my actions or thoughts) fit into that truth?

What do I feel important things/people/beliefs are?

What do I value?  Do I live what I value?

How much energy and focus do I give things that do NOT fit into my values?

How do I filter my thoughts when I am ALONE ?  Do I go through memories or events or relationships looking for the positive in those OR do I focus on the negative?

When we are ALONE we can take the proper time to reflect on these thoughts…..run them through the filter of our beliefs.  If we are linked in our thoughts to our belief system we have those filters written for us.

As a Christian I have Philippians 4:8 for a filter – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

 What is your filter?  How do you let thoughts come into your head and make their way to your heart?  This is an important step as you evaluate, discover, realize, question, decide what you believe.  As a general rule – how we ACT comes directly from how we THINK.  When we have the ALONE time to think, question, reflect and prioritize we are able to ACT out of those beliefs.

One of the beautiful thoughts I believe for myself and others – “It’s NOT too late to change”.  If after reflecting a little, you don’t like what you are realizing about yourself, how you are living out or NOT living out your priorities, values and more ….maybe that is a reason you are ALONE – change it!!  How you might ask?  Again, with your mentor, counselor, friend or Life Coach you can see the possibilities and get started on a path of living a more positive, meaningful and productive life.  Feel free to reach out at the Speak To Me  page.

Research tells us that being a positive, optimistic person can influence areas of our life such as:

Overall health and well-being

Mortality and longevity

Infections

Greater achievement and performance

Greater ability to meet goals – and to set goals

Clinical issues like depression and anxiety

Relationship success and satisfaction

Stress and recovery from illness

After you have taken the time to reflect during your ALONE time, do you find yourself on the positive or negative side of things?  Do you have HOPE in the future or do you dread the future?  Are the people around you more positive or lean towards the negative?  How you see things and who you associate with, effects your positive or negative thoughts.  I’m not suggesting that positive thinking helps everything become awesome, however, we know again through research that, optimism and positive thinking can change your life.

If you have the choice – do you enjoy spending time with negative thoughts or positive thoughts?  Why?  Do you think OTHERS want to spend time with negative or positive people?

For a start, look at these tips to become more positive – even an optimist.

  1. Optimistic thinking is NOT the same as being in denial.  Denial says that everything is FINE.  We all know, that is far from the case sometimes.  Optimism embraces reality and says that although things might be really bad today, they will get better eventually and will work out.
  2. Optimism and faith are much related. Faith says that although I might not get, or did not get, the outcome that I desire, God is God, He still loves me and whatever He is doing will be for my good.
  3. When bad things happen check ourselves for our interpretation of the events. Optimists see a bad occurrence or event as not meaning something about THEM ,“I’m a loser.”  Instead positive thinkers see it as a bad outcome that is based on factors besides themselves, like timing, random circumstances….etc. – they do not see it as something to be generalized but something specific – “That meeting didn’t turn out” RATHER than – “ALL meetings I go to will never work out”.  AND they do not see bad outcomes as something that will be the outcome always.
  4. Optimism comes from taking little steps and achieving success in small increments….then you believe for the future. Do NOT say – “I’m going to have the biggest garden this summer.” But rather – “I’m going to enjoy the seeds I’m planting in this container this Summer.” When you set realistic goals, you are doing growth, one little step at a time.
  5. Do not let your past say discouraging things to you. What did you learn and change from that experience.  Many people who are very successful had a LOT of failure first.  Ask for forgiveness if necessary, change the behavior, learn from it and move on.
  6. Optimism or Positive thinking can be learned! To change and become positive surround yourself with positive things, books, your bible, people that believe in you.  You cannot learn positive thinking from pessimists….they only know negative thoughts.  Find people, resources – a place of worship that helps you in your quest to be more positive!  If you need help, please contact me by going to the Speak To Me  page.

Thanks to Women of Faith  for some of the Positive Tips.

Do you think changing is possible?  Have you been around people who are positive?  How did that make you feel?  Did their positivity rub off on you?  What did you think about those people when you left the situation?

Have you been around those who have a negative filter for life?  How did that make you feel?  Did their negativity rub off on your and how you were thinking/acting?  What did you think about that experience when you left those folks?

We/you have the opportunity to change from a negative thinking person – if that is how you look at the world, to a positive – more optimistic person.  The choice is yours.  If you desire a change, or want to discover your values, beliefs and purpose and want help, please contact me by completing the Speak To Me  page.  I would enjoy working with you.  Feel free to leave a comment or your thoughts on this article.  We do reserve the right to edit comments before publishing.

Our next article will be discussing ALONE vs LONELY.  Until then, have a blessed day and take some time to discover a bit about yourself!

 

 

 

 

What?  It’s a new year?  Let’s work together to do something different!

Have you noticed there have been a lot of lists for starting something in the new year?  Lists that tell you…..what to do, when to do it, why you do it……10  steps to a better _____, the first 3 things to do to have a better____, what your spouse needs from you, what you need from your job…..and many more.  Are your inboxes filled, newsfeeds rolling with ideas, tweets, retweets, posts, reposts and on and on.  Have you found yourself asking – But what to work on first?  What area to focus on?  What is going to be the best for you?  Who is going to do it with me?  Should I do it all alone? And then finding yourself yelling, “STOP, I can’t make up my mind, so I’m not going to do any of it!” You are not alone.

What I love about this time of year is the strong intention we all have to make an improvement.  Whether that improvement is in our physical, spiritual, mental, relationships or emotional areas of life, we want to have “it” be better or at least different than it is now.  I’ve heard from some that the options are too many, the work is too hard or the project is JUST TOO BIG.  So, they just won’t do any of it!  Why even try? They tell me, I will be doing the same thing over and over again without getting any different results.  Well, that may be true if we continue to start but not finish, if we don’t have anyone to help us along the way, or if we have started to work on something that really doesn’t fit with our values, life or situation.

If this sounds familiar maybe you need a little guidance.  I would welcome the chance to explore what you want to change, improve or stop doing.  Over this past year I have been privileged to coach people in many different areas of life.  We’ve worked through job changes, job loss and career changes.  I’ve been able to coach couples to learn new communication skills and practices to deepen their relationship.  Several are working through past belief’s that have held them hostage to ways of behavior that are not honoring who they are or who they desire to be.  Others have felt a nudge to do something in their life, but had difficulty clarifying that “something”, together we worked through finding their gifts, values and what they have been called to do.  It’s been an exciting year of growth, discovery, challenges and changes!  Are you ready?  I would be honored to coach you through changes, improvements, challenges and new discoveries, let’s do this together. Let’s make 2015 different!   Please go to the Speak To Me page and we’ll start together.  We can work together in person, by phone, through SKYPE, individually, as a couple or even as a group.  The first step is to reach out!

Blessings to you on this new year!

When the Outside looks Good…but…What is in the Inside?

We recently took a walk in our favorite local park.  We were saddened to see that the BIG oak tree had fallen and lay cut in pieces to be taken away.  This tree, by our semi-scientific calculations, was over 250 years old.  What we loved about this tree is it stood so majestically at the bottom a hill flanked by benches for storytelling time, waving its beautiful branches in the wind.  But, as we investigated a bit, the core of the tree was rotted away.  Hmmm, without the tree being down and cut, we would not have seen the rotted inside.  There were probably signs previous to it falling, like branches falling off more frequently, maybe some insects running up and down its bark, or a large number of acorns being produced in the last year….which we learned from a tree “guy” is a sign that the tree is in distress.  Whatever the little signs might have been we missed them and were surprised to find this majestic oak tree down.

What does this have to do with anything but an old oak tree falling?  I think it has a lot of similarities to how we are at times.  We put on a good front when inside we are crying out for something.  Others may look great on the outside but suffer from disease.  Or we look great, strong and powerful on the outside but inside we are feeling empty, lonely or depressed.  What can be done to prevent our insides from “rotting” away and causing us to fall from the discord inside of us?  If we are not feeling well or feeling like something just isn’t right, we can go to a doctor.  They have been gifted with wisdom and have access to many tools to look inside to see what might be wrong.  When we get a diagnosis, we can then start the treatment to get better, from the inside out!  We have friends who recently lost someone special in their life, he ignored signs of something being wrong and finally when the symptoms became debilitating he went to a doctor.  “The cancer is too advanced, there is nothing we can do.  I’m sorry,” was the diagnosis.  How terribly sad for all involved.

I know from my own experience that something was wrong with my body several years ago.  That strange numbness and tingling was on my left side and now going to the right side.  MRI’s were ordered and when we saw the lesions on my spine and in my brain we knew we were dealing with MS.  Treatment with medication, eating well and exercising, I feel healthier than I ever have before.  We found the issue and we have made plans to address it.  In the next article, we will deal with times when the inside is good, but the outside doesn’t perform or look as good…..another topic completely…stay tuned.

What about those of us who are crying on the inside.  Eventually your outside will show what is on the inside.  No it won’t Chris, I’ve hidden it for years, you might be thinking.  I have to disagree with you.  When we fake health, whether that be physical, emotional or spiritual it WILL come out!  Maybe we try to cover it up with alcohol, keeping our relationships at surface level, or we have practices of coping we do in private.  Whatever we are doing to hide it, cover it up or push it to the back of our mind, it is making us sick – rotting on the inside.  What can be done?  Plenty!  If you are ready to change, heal and live a fuller life!  You can visit a counselor who can work with you to discover the root of your inside trouble and help you heal.  You can seek out a recovery group that can help you address the issues you are covering up with other things.  You can reach out to someone that you trust who can walk with you on this journey of healing from the inside out.  The important step is to start!

Okay, you might be saying, Chris I am healthy, I have a good life, but I do sometimes feel like there is more to life, I’m just not sure what or if it’s just silly for me to think that way.  I’m not really rotting on the inside, but I do feel like there is something missing.  There are some things you too can do!  If you are feeling unfulfilled in your job, relationships, marriage, or spiritual life, there are things you can do to help you find the missing piece or pieces.  Are you in a job that fits with your values or do you struggle every day as you prepare for going to work with questions or worse – dread?  Do the people in your life share your beliefs and values?  Are they helping you grow?  Have you helped them grow?  Are you deepening your understanding of what you believe spiritually? Are you living out what you are learning?  Would others be able to acknowledge what you believe by the way you behave?  There are things you can do to become healthier on the inside, how you can find those missing pieces and how you can live a more purposeful fulfilled life.  Find someone you trust and open up to them about your concerns of feeling empty.  Search for guidance from a coworker, leader in your church, family member or friend you trust.  You can also receive guidance from a counselor or Life Coach.  I would be honored to talk with you about your desired next step or help you discover your next step, simply go to the Speak To Me page and we can connect.  Together we can discover, grow and develop your purpose.  You will bless yourself and those around you!  Whatever you choose to do, I ask you to DO SOMETHING.  Your inside and your outside can match, your life can be driven by your purpose and values…..a fulfilled life!

If you are aware of someone who would benefit from this article please feel free to pass it along and/or share.

 

Ahhh, Enough! Part 3 of 3

Our journey through the word Enough has taken us from our past (Part 1) – what we did or what they said….was enough. To ENOUGH (Part 2) – or desire to make a change, stop a behavior, set boundaries. And now, we’ll chat about Ahhhh, Enough, (Part 3) our thoughts and actions on having, being, and our abundance of “Enough”. Or some may use the words, contentment, happy, filled, peace or satisfied.

Our culture encourages us to constantly crave MORE – to Have more, Be more, Attain more, Buy more…and the list goes on. What I feel when I’m focusing on culture is that I always NEED more. Whether we are trying to get “ahead” in our jobs, paying our mounting bills, buying more stuff, moving to a bigger home…all of it is feeding the feeling that we will we never have “enough”. That is a vicious cycle and it wears us out!

What if together we looked around at all we have and made a decision to have an attitude, thought or feeling of “Enough”? What would that be like? What comes to my mind is a sigh of relief and thankfulness. That’s a feeling I desire to have. How about you?

Any of the research and materials/books investigated on contentment or this feeling of “Ahhhh, enough” concludes this is something we all seek. Why do we find ourselves longing for contentment but not achieving it? If we listen to the wrong things, if we look longingly at other people’s stuff or if we are not living the passion/purpose/values we have in our hearts, it will be a tough road, but the great news, with a few changes in our focus…… it is possible! We can arrive at the destination of “ahhhh, enough”. How you may ask is that possible? By changing our attitude, clarifying what is valuable, finding our purpose and being grateful for what we have. It’s a choice we make to let go, change what we can and be grateful for all we have that will lead us on the journey to contentment. Is this a journey you would like some guidance with? My passion is to help guide people in this journey! You can contact me by going to the Speak To Me page.

You are unique so whatever steps you take are unique to your situation, your beliefs and values. What is the same for all of us is making a choice to see our lives, as unique as they are, through a grateful heart. Have you ever taken the time to write down all you are grateful for? I suggest you stop reading right now, grab a piece of paper or a notebook and list ALL you are grateful for. Ready? GO!

Was that a tough assignment for you or is the tough part to stop writing your grateful list? If you are not able to stop writing, you are one of the people that have reached….Ahhhh, enough! You understand contentment and you can probably relate to the words of the Apostle Paul, written in a letter to the church in Philippi. Philippians 4:11b – 13 I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. If you are content with all you have that is a blessing and a gift! With your abundance you probably find it easy to give to others, to encourage them in their quest for contentment. Way to go!!

If on the other hand, writing what you are grateful for was difficult, what may be the issue? Our thoughts – When we focus on what we don’t have, on what is wrong or what is lacking in our lives our heart and mind will become negative, anxious, worried and as shown in this small assignment, ungrateful. Our lives may feel like we are running on a wheel in the hamster cage – always running but never really going anywhere. We find ourselves tired, unfulfilled, crabby, jealous, envious and disappointed in ourselves and others. I believe if we stop and turn our thoughts to focusing on what we DO have, what is right, and how grateful we are with our abundance our minds and hearts will follow and life will look different! We will become content, we will experience, “ahhh, enough”!

As in parts 1 & 2 in this series, I will share a little about myself and why I know “ahh, enough” is possible! It was almost 7 years ago, when I was in the group I mentioned in Part 2 where life change was happening, I was getting healthier in so many ways, losing a bunch of weight and getting fit. I was riding my bicycle in my neighborhood when I rode right into a tree. Yep, right into the trunk of a very old, very large & very hard tree. After looking around to make sure no one was watching, I realized I was bleeding from scrapes on my leg and arm, but thankful my helmet saved me from banging my head, but ouch…..my pride was hurt!! How does anyone run into a TREE?! After several days of limping, losing sensation on my left side, going to my chiropractor and being encouraged to see my doctor and a MRI – the diagnosis was MS. WHAT?!?! I was clumsy and hit a tree, I’m getting healthier than I ever have been, how could I have a chronic disease? After several additional MRI’s, neurologist appts it was confirmed, I have Multiple Sclerosis. It took a few weeks of shock, self-pity, screaming, crying and more for me to realize I had a choice to make. I could operate out of negativity OR I could find a way to think of my situation differently. Not an easy choice, but one that was necessary for me to live my life abundantly! First were the prayers…..if I have MS then help me use it to help others. Second, I changed the name of MS to More Special. After all, one of the reasons sclerosis happens is over-achieving T-Cells. I also changed the type of MS I have from Relapsing Remitting to Relaxing and Renewing More Special. A small change in thinking but it made a HUGE impact on how I moved forward as a woman who lives with MS. I try daily to focus on being content with life, with what I am able to do for others, on what I have been blessed with and how I can share that with others. I know you can too! I would enjoy the opportunity to work with you as you achieve, “Ahhhh, enough” in your life. You can connect with me by going to the Speak To Me page.

If you have reflected on what tapes or movies play inside your mind for you and you have turned those around to realizing what you did, what they did was what they knew, accept it for what it is…..thank them for what you learned and move on?! If you shouted ENOUGH and took steps to set up new boundaries, remove yourself from a situation or relationship, learned a new behavior and/or moved forward to set goals to become a person with a purpose and now you are ready to experience more “ahhh, enough”. GOOD FOR YOU!!

You may need some guidance with these steps of realizing “enough”, you may desire to talk with a counselor, trusted friend, family member or Life Coach. You can reach me by going to the Speak To Me page. Together we can work towards your “Enough!”

If this series of articles helped, encouraged or challenged you, I invite you to leave a comment and/or share this with others who may be interested. If there is a topic you would like me to address in the future please leave that information as well.

Thank you for taking the time to visit and read! Blessings!

Following are some additional quotes on “Ahhh, enough” or contentment.

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. – Oprah Winfrey

It is right to be contented with what we have, never with what we are. – James Mackintosh

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer

Watch your manner of speech if you wish to develop a peaceful state of mind. Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful. – Norman Vincent Peale

The very fact that we long for the change we do is a sign that we are meant to have it. Our very dissatisfaction with our weaknesses and struggles points to the reality that continuing to live in them is not our destiny. – Stasi Eldredge

ENOUGH!! Part 2 of 3

Have you thought, ENOUGH?  Ever wanted to say, ENOUGH!?  Have you SHOUTED, ENOUGH!!?  These thoughts, words, cries, shouts, prayers, self-talk conversations and real conversations are the focus for this part article 2 of 3 on ENOUGH.   In the first article we talked about how we ARE enough!  Rewinding our tapes, extending forgiveness, learning from our past and being grateful.  This article will focus on ENOUGH, when we realize what behaviors, situations, practices, habits, thoughts, relationships and more…..have to STOP!!!

First, a caution or actually a WARNING for some of you.  In relationships we may come to a crossroad because of another’s actions towards us.  If you are experiencing physical, emotional pain or injury at the hands of someone else…..GET HELP!  There are crisis hotlines, the police, and other agencies to help you.  Here is one resource, National Domestic Violence Hotline – 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233). Find other resources to help you in your community at a doctor’s office, the library, online, phone books…..please do it, make the call, your life is valuable and you are worth it!  Cry from the mountaintops – ENOUGH!

For others, your situation may not be at that critical intersection, however, you have been feeling the need to say ENOUGH to your friend, spouse, sibling, child, family member, co-worker, boss, subordinate, another person or yourself.  Say it with me now, ENOUGH!  You are the only one who can take charge and stop receiving those behaviors from others or exhibiting those behaviors yourself.

What behaviors you might be asking?  Any behavior that is hurting you, conversations that belittle you or cause you to feel “less than”, situations that cause pain to others, behaviors that are not aligned with your values, unhealthy choices, all can stop.  While the time we have accepted that behavior, those words, jokes, sarcasm, and actions has been the norm in our past, it does not mean it has to stay that way.  ENOUGH!  Today is the first day of the rest of your life, so the saying goes.

It’s time to ask yourself a few questions.  If I desire to feel worthy does that type of behavior move my thoughts and/or actions towards my desire of feeling worthy or does it move me away from feeling valuable?  Does the behavior of that person, myself or those people help guide me toward positive goals and outcomes or not?  Is that person’s or my behavior something I want as a part of my legacy?  Do I want to pass that behavior, habit, those words, that action along to others in my life?

For some of us, we really don’t know.  Our lives have been in this pattern for so long, we don’t have a clue how it could be different.  Where do we start?  Do you desire to make a change?  Your values, beliefs, goals, past, purpose, relationships can be investigated, examined, and reviewed. You can put boundaries in place to put your life in control.  You CAN do this, you are worthy – it’s time to scream ENOUGH!!!

If this is something that you would like assistance doing, you can reach out to a counselor, trusted friend, family member or like myself, a Life Coach.  Here is the link to the Speak To Me page to connect with me. The power is yours, the desire to change, set boundaries, and improve is yours.  If what you feel right now about your situation is a desire to be different, a step is necessary.  This is exciting, scary, thrilling yet unsettling.  Change is like that.  When you take the first step you are empowering yourself to make a difference in your life.  Powerful!

For a quick example, going from our first article in this series, I described an ongoing issue with body image.  When I realized tapes were playing that tangled me in behaviors that resulted in a large size, poor health, low energy and other issues, I said ENOUGH!  I participated in a group that was starting about health issues – changing behaviors to better our health and lose weight.  I had tried several previously but this was different!  This study group had us look at why we did things, what was our motivation and held us accountable to the behaviors we desired to change.  This group I believe, saved my life.  It certainly changed my life!!  After months of participation, behavioral, emotional, spiritual and physical changes with accountability I was able to shed many pounds, take up new activities, have additional energy and bottom line?  I really liked who I was becoming!  It’s a process, there have been some setbacks that I have chosen with my own behaviors and other dynamics that happened.  I am comfortable with me, I am enough.  I continue to look for ways to better my health – in all areas, physical, emotional, spiritually and behavioral.  This is a journey and I am excited about the journey.

What would your life look like if you shouted ENOUGH and took steps to either set up new boundaries, remove yourself from a situation or relationship, learned a new behavior and/or moved forward to set goals to become a person with a purpose?  How would that affect your day to day life?  How do you see that possibility playing out in your life?  I am excited for you to take a step, shout ENOUGH and see a different way!  If this sounds like a process you would like to embark on, please go to the  Speak To Me page and let’s see if we can work together!

As in the previous article here are a few quotes that will encourage you as you shout ENOUGH!

Maintaining healthy friendships is hard to do. People can be fickle, and a small dose of “craziness” can send a friendship spiraling. In spite of our faults—and we all have them—we need each other. We all have our quirks and foibles, and heaven knows we want tolerance. So why not give some of that tolerance to others? This does not mean that you tolerate wrongdoing, hurtful behavior and flagrant boundary violations. But you must show the same patience and kindness you expect in return.  Scripture says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).  Henry Cloud

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. – Theodore Roosevelt

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. – Maya Angelou

Those who are at war with others are not at peace with themselves. – William Hazlitt

You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems, but by confronting them courageously. You will find peace not in denial, but in victory. – J. Donald Walters

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

On the path to wellness and wholeness, there are many gates to close.  Closing the gate means not leaving loose ends hanging.  Steve Arteburn

The closing of a door can bring blessed privacy and comfort—the opening terror. Conversely, the closing of a door can be a sad and final thing—the opening a wonderfully joyous moment. – Andy Rooney

Sometimes you only get one chance to rewrite the qualities of the character you played in a person’s life story. Always take it. Never let the world read the wrong version of you. – Unknown

Why? If it doesn’t feel right – Change! My epiphany

Why did I leave a job I loved?  Why did I move to Milwaukee?  Why did I open my heart to Brian?  Why did I leave all that I have known for over 50 years?  Why did I move away from my grown daughter and extended family?  Why did I become a life coach?  Why indeed!

I believe I am in the right spot for my life at this very moment.  I am a Life Coach who longs to guide people to clarify their values, discover their unique gifts and lead a more purposeful life.  I am a “retired” pastor who continues to volunteer and develop leaders.  I am a Milwaukee resident following my heart to marry the best husband!  I am a trailblazer and willing to try new things.  I appreciate all I have learned from others in my past and my past experiences.  I am a Gramma who treasures time with the kids and the “little’s” YAHOO for Skype!  I love my MN family and friends.

Why the confession?  It was revealed to me on Wednesday, November 12th how blessed I am, how I live a rich life, how God created me with unique gifts that help others and how I am not doing the best I can.  Not a “shame on you” or a “you are wasting time” kind of truth.  A question really of “what are you putting in the way that is a stumbling block to sharing what you were created to do?”  After some thought and asking for guidance, my passion is not to become a Life Coach to be rich and famous, I became a Life Coach to assist others in clarifying their values, finding their unique passions and setting goals to lead a purposeful life!  What is in the way of that happening?  I believe it has to do with how I look at my coaching practice.  Is it a career?  Yes.  Is Life Coaching a type of ministry to help guide others to be the very best they can be?  Yes.  Is my Life Coaching practice assessable to those who desire to clarify their values, discover their uniqueness and enjoy a more purposeful life?  Maybe, but not assessable to those with real life financial constraints and/or concerns.  The awesome folks I know in the MS community who live in a reality of crazy high medical expenses, a Life Coach is an extra that is not in the budget, no matter how much they are desired.  Single parents, which I was for over 20 years, may be hard pressed to afford such a perceived extra luxury, no matter how much a Life Coach would help to enrich their life and their children’s lives.  A family who is struggling to purchase the groceries, pay the mortgage or general living expenses, but who know a Life Coach would help their family dynamics with communication and goal setting.  These are the people I long to coach!  One of the stumbling blocks I believe is the higher financial cost.  If I lower that barrier, I believe people who are desiring to grow, change, enrich and explore their lives to lead a more purposeful life will have a better opportunity to seek out my coaching.

Today I am announcing a dramatic change in my fee structure. Discovering gifts and passions, accountability, setting and tracking goals toward a more purposeful life will take time.  There are several package options to work with me as your Life Coach.

Package #1 – Five hour long sessions that can be in person, Skype or phone, where we will clarify values, set goals, identify your passions and help you be accountable in your growth towards a more purposeful life.  These 5 sessions will be scheduled in a 10 week period.  Also included are 3 (up to 15 minute) email or phone support during the coaching period $150

Package #2 – Five 45 minute walks with 15 minute wrap up sessions.  Walk in nature to reconnect with creation, or walk in a public location to clear your mind and focus on what steps you want to take to reach your goals.  These sessions will be in person, will have level terrain with paths, roads or indoors.  These 5 sessions will be scheduled in a 10 week period.  Also included are 3 (up to 15 minute) email or phone support during the coaching period $150

Package #3 – Six  1 hour sessions for Couples – one or two sessions with individual and four or five with couple together to work on values, communication, relationship and goals for couple to pursue their family life purpose.  Can be in person, Skype or phone.  These 6 sessions will be scheduled in a 3 month period.  Also included are 4 (up to 15 minute) email or phone support during the 3 month coaching period $180

Package for returning clients – Three 1 hour sessions – can be in person, Skype or by phone.  Sessions will be to reconnect with the goals you had set and steps you took in our first set of sessions then focus on new goals from the new habits you formed, accountability and celebrating your movement forward in pursuing your life’s purpose.  These 3 sessions will be scheduled in a 2 month period.  Also included are 2 (up to 15 minute) email or phone support during the coaching period $80

1 hour sessions – $40 hr. schedule at least one week in advance.

All coaching packages come with a money back guarantee.  A refund, if requested, will be given after your first session.  A pro-rated refund will be given for any unused sessions at the $40 hr. rate any time after your second session.  You may discontinue your coaching package at any time during the process.

Thank you for reading this post.  I hope this shows how all of us get chances to change, grow and start new in areas of our lives.  If you are interested in working with me as your Life Coach, please go to the Speak To Me page and complete the simple form.

Close the drapes, the relatives are coming!

Okay, that might be a bit over the top, but sometimes we may feel that way when we are going into a family gathering or interaction.  EVERY family has an issue or two!  What separates the enjoyable from the not so enjoyable is our reactions to the interactions.  “Oh but Chris, you have NO IDEA what my family is like”.  While I do not know the specifics of your family, I do know that when people are involved it can potentially get messy!  There are different personalities involved, different views, different filters being used, even a shared event can have different meanings to 2 people who are experiencing the same event!   If that is not a recipe for confusion!!!

I continue to learn about family dynamics and how each member plays a role.  No matter if your family is large or small, if there is more than you……you experience family dynamics.  How you deal with conflict, change, plans, relationships, careers, marriage, birthdays, and holidays is influenced by the experiences you had in your family.  The good news is, even if your experience was not the most positive or nurturing, you can make a change in the way you think about your past and how you apply that to your present/future!  “There is no how it is, only how it is for you.”  Tim Brownson.  When you look back at experiences or patterns, you can pull a learning or teaching out of each experience.  Decide which of those patterns you want to keep, and which you want to change.  We can learn from every interaction.  What you decide to do with that learning is what we’ll talk about here.

At times, we look back, remember the behaviors and we blame others or continue those patterns into our present lives.  Then we curse our parents, siblings, other family members or friends for making us this way.  When in reality YOU have a choice to make, you can stay in the thought/behavior pattern you are in or you can make a choice to learn, change, acquire new skills and even thank those from your past.  Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  Research shows that patterns we experience growing up can be patterns we adopt unless we chose to change those patterns.

How did your family handle conflict in the past?  How do you handle it now?  Do you find yourself repeating patterns you don’t like or want to do anymore?  CHANGE!  If you grew up in a home where conflict was handled poorly or not at all, that does not mean you have to deal with conflict in the same way.  Talk to others in your life that you see handle conflict in a healthy way, what are some tips or thoughts they are willing to share?  Does that fit for you?  Check out books that deal with the pattern you want to change.  I highly recommend, Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, a life changing book.  Or if you had an abusive upbringing, consider going to counseling.  Heal, accept and learn from those experiences and if desired, CHANGE the pattern!!    If your mom or dad yelled or they were not present, you can thank them for teaching you how you will speak gently to your family and friends, how you will live in the moment each day that you can be present with family/friends.

How was planning done in your past?  Was there a plan in place for say, family vacations?  Or maybe you had micro managed plans for everything.  What do you enjoy?  What works for you?  Can you see a pattern that is not what you want?  Change it!  If you enjoy planning, but the thought of planning something as big as a vacation is overwhelming, start small.  Plan an afternoon adventure, a trip to a museum or train ride to a city close by for a day trip.  Whatever you plan, do it the way you want to plan.  After your outing, debrief with those involved or just by yourself.  What worked?  What would you change?  What would you do again next time?  Then, plan something a little bigger.  You’ll get the pleasure of doing what you’ve planned and you will learn another pattern of planning!

Physical activity – if your family was not physically active or if your family was super active, what do you want your activity level to be?  Healthy is a good beginning point!  Try a class at a gym or Park and Rec department.  Grab your spouse, kids or friends and go for a walk, bike ride, or anything that gets you up and moving.  If running marathon’s or Iron Man competition is not your thing…..don’t do it!   If the thought of running a 5K or training to run a marathon is something that excites you….DO IT!!  Do you have a cause you support?  Check their website to see if there is a run/walk/ride in the near future.  Sign up, train and go for it!  Or sign up to help in other ways that support those physically participating.

Some of us grew up in environments that were encouraging of our uniqueness while others grew up where we were compared to or expected to be like someone else.  It’ time to find the encouragement to be the very best YOU you can be!  You are a unique individual with passions, talents and gifts that are uniquely yours, no matter what you’re your family background is.    What are you doing to use your gifts and talents? What patterns do you want to break or do you want to grow?  Need some guidance for the first/next step?  If you have serious issues that need help in sorting out, go to professional counseling.  If you are desiring to make a change, have a resolve to be the unique individual you are and are motivated to try something new, give life coaching a try.  I would like the opportunity to work with you.  I’d like to celebrate your uniqueness and help guide you to reach your highest potential!  Simply go to the Speak To Me page and complete the form.

Here’s to being all that each of us can be!!  “On the day you were born, the world grew by one life with big purpose and much to be done.” Marianne Richmond, Hooray for You! A Celebration of “You-ness”

Mistakes: opportunity or problem

Mistakes, I’ve made several, we have all made mistakes at one time or another.   Mistakes are so “normal” that songs are written about them.  Here are a few I’m aware of:

Queen – We are the Champions –“And bad mistakes I’ve made a few I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face”

Bob Marley – Mistakes – “I made a mistake, yes, I did, yes, I did”

Smokey Robinson – Oh Baby, Baby – “Mistakes, I know I’ve made a few.  But I’m only human.  You’ve made mistakes too”

If we all make mistakes, do we all react to the outcome the same way?  Do we all change whatever behavior or choices we’ve made to NOT make the same mistake again?   In my life I’ll admit mistakes have been repeated.  Meaning I didn’t learn the first time around, OR, I didn’t stop to find out how my behavior influenced the situations where mistakes occurred.  Do you ever find yourself in a different situation but with the same mistakes being made?  You are not alone and you can change!

Mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow.  Mistakes and the situations they bring are new chances for us to take a different approach!  In this article we’ll focus on dating relationships.  A man or woman find what they believe to be their “perfect” dating partner.  The excitement and anticipation build for this new potential relationship.  However, like their previous dating relationships in a few weeks or months….BAM….”it” happens again!  The “it”, can be different for everyone, but why “it” keeps happening is the same.  If you have not dealt with the “it” from your last relationship, stopped to discover your part in the situation and learned a new way to act/think – you WILL repeat “it”!

Have you thought or have you heard others say, “Why does this always happen to me?” or “Why do all the men/women I date end up doing the same thing as my last date?”  Stop!  It’s time to investigate what is happening, deal with your findings, change your thoughts/behavior patterns and head in a new direction!  How do we do that?! Here are several options.  You could ask a close friend to be honest with you and tell you what they see as a pattern.  You can ask a family member for advice. You can seek out a Life Coach – someone that will help you sort out what is happening, think of other ways to think/act, set a plan in place, hold you accountable and guide you to reach your highest potential.  I would enjoy the opportunity to talk with you to see if we would be a good fit for a Life Coach relationship.  Simply go to the Speak To Me page, fill out the brief form and we’ll be in contact!  One of my favorite quotes of Albert Einstein is “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  Let’s see what I can do to help you have different results!

We have focused here on the dating relationship but this applies to all areas of your life, marriage, job, family, church, work and more.  If you find yourself living with consequences of past or present mistakes, or if you are thinking it will never change, let’s work together.  We will sort through the situation, learn different responses, new thought processes and set a plan in place to change your focus from mistakes are problems to opportunities for growth!!  Go to the Speak To Me page, complete the form and we can talk about what steps to take next!  Here’s to changing mistakes into growth opportunities!

Change is………….

We experience change every day, change is a constant in life. The weather changes, seasons change, the moon’s phases change, people change and so do we. At times we feel we are “forced” to change through circumstances, whether they are our own doing or things we feel are “out of our control”. Depending on how we think we can look at change as opportunity to grow, a blessing or even a new opportunity in our life. It’s what we DO with change that impacts our life. We can be proactive, choosing to make changes that help us grow, taking actions that fit our values to better our lives, OR, we can choose to let circumstances dictate our lives. After living in a mindset of “just letting things happen” and moving to value driven changes in my life, I know where I want to be!

Several years ago I was invited to join a group that was doing a weight loss study. Mind you, I was large, I outweighed many NFL offensive line players. I knew I would always be a big girl and that was confirmed by the generations of large folks in my family. Why try to make a change, I’m predestined to be big….that’s how it’s been, the cards I was dealt. The new group started, I was so sure it would not work, I did not purchase the study materials until 3 weeks into the session. By week 6, I did start to lose weight, I was changing the way I thought – why I ate, how I cooked, and purchased food! I actually started to set goals and each goal that I achieved I set a new one. It was a LOT of change but it was GREAT! I was able to be more active, I felt better, others were inspired and joined me and we all succeeded. That step to join the group changed the way I thought about food, physical activity and more, even today! I’m still learning, still looking at ways to change my eating and exercise habits and hopefully, still inspiring others to lead a healthier lifestyle. I had no idea I valued the ability to be more active or that I valued helping others achieve their goals. What an exciting new opportunity!

In their book, Change Is Good…You Go First, Mac Anderson & Tom Feltenstein remark – “Change can be a wonderful gift. In fact, it is the key that unlocks the doors to growth and excitement in any organization.” I would add, change is a wonderful gift in each of our lives especially when we believe that changes do make life better, and can help us be more aligned with our values.

Are you thinking of making a change in your lifestyle, family time, personal time or even in your career….how does that make you feel? Does the possibility give you a feeling of excitement? Or, when you think of making a change does it bring up more questions, more angst or even dread? If the latter is the case, the changes you are preparing to make may not be in alignment with your values.

Changes you make that are aligned with your values will most likely succeed. However, if you are making a change that is not in alignment with your values, that will be a struggle. Are you more inclined to make a change that fits your values? More importantly, do you know your values? If you were to sit down and write your top 3 values could you do it? Again, if you are making a change that is not in alignment with what you value, it probably won’t be a change that you are able to keep or even want to keep!

Defining your values will help you make positive changes, will help you in everyday decisions AND it will help you be more intentional in life which will help you find your purpose! I would enjoy working with you to explore, identify and define your values. Your thoughts, changes, goals, life and purpose will be more enjoyable, clear and successful.

Please go to the Speak To Me page, complete the easy form and let’s see how working together will impact your life!

Testimonial – Chris is a genuinely warm and caring person

Chris is a genuinely warm and caring person who you can be honest and open with, without the fear of being judged. She is a natural guide to anyone that is contemplating a change in their life, needs direction or counsel on finding out what their gifts are (according to her we all have them), or just to help navigate through life with some clarity of purpose. I could not recommend a better Life Coach than Chris Wegner.       Julie M

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