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Looking for a way to feel better?  SERVE someone else!

Have you thought about why you feel so much better when you are serving someone else?  Have you ever felt the warm “fuzzy’s” after blessing someone with a favor or kind deed?  Have you found yourself the recipient of someone else’s gift of serving?  What is it that they have?  Why do they seem happier and/or healthier?  It has been studied and proven that when we are serving others, giving, caring, doing for another…not only is the recipient blessed but we feel better too!

Do you realize it’s not just the way we think that is impacted by serving, it’s physical and emotional too!  Several studies have found that not only does serving others cause mood improvements but it has health benefits as well.  Giving helps you overcome stress – your body releases a hormone called oxytocin, which helps you buffer stress while increasing social trust and tranquility – the “compassion hormone” as it has been labeled helps limit exposure to the stress hormone cortisol, says Stephanie Brown from Stony Brook University, New York.  Stacey Curnow, creator of Midwife for Your Life, says about experiencing a release of oxytocin, “It’s a self-perpetuating cycle! After a positive exchange, more oxytocin is released and we are even more likely to reach out and interact with others in a cooperative and nurturing manner.”

Other studies have found that those who serve live longer. A study by Elizabeth Lightfoot, PhD at the University Of Minnesota School Of Social work, showed that seniors who gave 100 hours or more annually lived 22 percent longer than seniors who did not serve others.  And one of the beautiful findings is that it’s not just seniors or adults, but young children, even toddlers.  A study by Aknin, Hamlin and Dunn: Giving Leads to Happiness in Young Children, found that given a choice toddlers are happier when they share with others, even if it is at a cost to themselves.  WOW!!

Additional health benefits are pain relief, lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety and discomfort.   If you want to manage your pain serve others dealing with the same or similar pain.  A study done by Paul Arnstein, PhD, specialist in pain relief at Massachusetts General Hospital found when people suffering with chronic pain helped others with the same ailment, they reported feeling less discomfort themselves and recognized the positive effect they had on others in the same situation.  Which then gave them a greater sense of purpose.  I know this is true from personal experience in the MS world.  A group of 20 and sometimes more of us who battle MS work out together at a gym.  We all come with differing levels of physical ability, we raise the level of JOY in the room simply by cheering each other on and/or challenging each other to try new things.  It’s amazing and very heartwarming!  Each of us are improving our health by increasing our stamina, challenging our bodies to do more AND having fun being supported by each other.  We have a group of dedicated volunteers that come weekly to record our progress, encourage and challenge us.  Ask any of those volunteers why they serve – you get an answer of how they are inspired and motivated by those they are serving.

Another study in the journal of Psychology and Aging found adults over the age of 50 who reported volunteering at least 200 hours in the past year were 40 percent less likely than nonvolunteers to have developed hypertension four years later!  Researchers believe that the stress-reducing effects of being both active and altruistic helped the volunteer’s lower blood pressure. And we find from another source that, raising our oxytocin hormone level limits our exposure to the stress hormone cortisol, from Stephanie Brown, PhD Stony Brook University, New York.

What do we do with all of this? How can we impact our health and mood?  I firmly believe we look for opportunities to SERVE!  To help us remember, give a few more reasons and a couple of simple suggestions, let’s look at serving this way.

SERVE

S – Simply Smile at others.  Anyone can do it and it’s contagious!  Go ahead, give it a try next time you are at the grocery store, in your neighborhood or at church.  Simply Smile and see what happens.  Serving can be THAT easy!

E – Excite others and invite them to serve with you.  If you are getting all the health benefits of lower blood pressure, higher levels of the “compassion hormone” and living longer….invite others to experience the same with you!

R – Renew your HEALTH by serving – Have a chronic issue?  Find a group or organization that serves others like you and SERVE them.  It could be as easy as a phone call checking in with them, leading a group, doing a visit, running errands….but whatever you do for others, you will be surprised how that makes YOU feel healthier – like mentioned earlier….you can step out of your pain, anxiety or mild depression by serving others living with the same issue.

V – Volunteer – Give of your time, talent or resources and just wait to see the results!  If it’s a cause you believe in, you will reap the benefits we’ve listed earlier and others as well!  If you don’t believe results from research, then do your own!  Take time to find an organization, ask at your church, research on-line or stop by a Community Center and see what they need.  Can you fit that need?  Give it a little time and if you are volunteering out of caring – NOT obligation – you will reap the health benefits listed and help others!!

E – Even financial contributions make us feel better.   Remember after 911, the tsunami in Japan, or any big catastrophe that has a way to contribute financially– even anonymously?  People JUMPED at the chance, the mood in the country was of charity.  I would bet your oxytocin hormone level would elevate!  A study done at the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School found that employees who spent a greater portion of bonuses they had received on others or made charitable donations with it reported greater happiness than those who spent more of the bonus on themselves.  Give it a try!

If you are thinking that you would like to find your niche or to discover what it is you are meant to do, I would enjoy working with you!  You can simply go to the  Speak To Me  page and contact me.  We can together help you clarify your values, discover your strengths/gifts and guide you on the road to pursuing your purpose!

I would LOVE to hear your serving stories and how it not only benefited those you served, but how your health has improved.  Please share your story in the comments section.

Until next time, be blessed and BE a blessing!

 

 

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”

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!

Our Backyard Friends and the Uniqueness of YOU

We are blessed to have undeveloped park land behind our home.  This brings the opportunity for a LOT of wildlife in our backyard!  Birds, deer, coyote, butterflies, squirrels, snakes, possum and one sighting of a mink to name a few!  My hubby, Brian, has been feeding the birds for years with several types of feeders.  We enjoy the visits from many types of birds throughout the seasons.  We live in SE Wisconsin, it seems we can experience several seasons within a few days.

This Spring we have been blessed with new sightings and the return of old feathered friends.  Today we have three pair of Cardinals – their song is beautiful and the flash of red as the males fly in and out of the big pine tree is amazing.  Not sure if we have four or five couples of House Finches who travel with their mate everywhere – feeders, oranges on the table, grape jelly dish on the feeder pole, birdbath for a cool drink – together always, the male with his red head and the female with her brown stripes.  We have been blessed to have two sets of Baltimore Orioles, who are brilliant orange with black and one Orchard Oriole, who is brick red with black, this season.  They visit us at the feeders often flying from one to the other with their beaks full of jelly and nectar.  The hummingbirds flit from our two feeders and this year we added a swing for their (our) enjoyment, they take a quick drink then fly to the top of our neighbors crab apple tree – apparently to be the top bird in the yard.  Grosbeaks, Robins, Sparrows, Blackbirds, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves and others, fly in, eat, drink, and I think socialize! With the back door and windows open the sounds are calming, refreshing and mesmerizing.  Some days I turn the rocking chair to face the backyard to relax and observe.

What I’ve noticed this year, different from years past, are several deviations from the norm in our wildlife friends.  Whether by injury or design, we have some unique, special looking wildlife friends.  The first to come and visit was our squirrel friend who lost his tail from an encounter with the large Cooper Hawk.  We thoroughly enjoy his antics as he bounces in the yard doing all the normal squirrel things, but with a different twist and purpose in his movements. We noticed last week we have a female House Finch that lost an eye.  She and her mate come to the feeders, birdbath and extra fruit treats regularly, they are now teaching their young ones how to feed themselves.  A lovely sight of loyalty and parenting with a few adaptations to help her with her tasks.  The third anomaly we noticed is a female Cardinal without any feathers on her head.  She looks like she has a black leather hat on, she too just goes about the business of feeding and caring for herself, her mate and little one.

As I reflect on our wildlife friends, I think how does this apply to me?  To US?  Each of us are created uniquely, with gifts, personalities, preferences and appearances different from anyone else.  We are created in the image of God Genesis 1:27.   Some of us have lost sight of our beauty and our uniqueness.  We carry scars, loss, and disappointments around with us, not seeing the beauty and opportunity to use our unique experiences to better our world and the people around us!   Like the nature friends in our backyard it might take some adaptations or support from others for you to see your unique qualities.  I encourage you to look at your scars, reflect on your challenges, remember and celebrate your experiences to see what you can learn.  Ask yourself how you can use that awareness for the betterment of yourself, your family, all those around you and beyond!  You have a purpose, you are gifted, a unique creation that can make a difference in the world!   “Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.”  Benjamin E. Mays

I found this to be true in my own life.  In the Fall of 2007 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis  What sounded like a death sentence has become one of the best ways for me to connect with others.  I changed the name Multiple Sclerosis to More Special, because I am!  With a few adaptations, support from my family and friends I can see how MS is a unique blessing in my life.   I make opportunities to hike, work, learn, discover, create & play daily, which I know encourages others.  No matter your history or your present situation, you can find your purpose and bless others through your uniqueness!

Do you want to find out more about YOU and how you can make a difference?  Swing by the Speak To Me page and complete the simple form then I will connect with you.  Let’s see how we can work together to guide you in your new awareness, to clarify your unique gifts, set goals to find and put into action your purpose!

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

Ugh, I’m Just Spinning My Wheels!!

Have you felt that way?   Do you wonder why you are so busy but not fulfilled?   I know that feeling!   In my past I was doing so much, busy all the time, but I was not making a difference.   One of my values is, trying to make a difference, I was not living in my purpose.

What would you say are your values?   Community involvement, relationships, career advancement, money, adventure, helping others…?   Everyone values something!   Our values are how we prioritize our time, energy, resources… our values help define our purpose.

If you were to describe yourself and your values, would the things you spend your time and energy on, line up with your description?   Are your values part of your everyday life?   Do you filter your decisions throughout the day or set goals for next week, month, year, and beyond through your values? Do your values help you set your priorities?   Are your values driving your life’s purpose?
When your values are aligned with your thoughts, how you are spending your time, your energy, and resources, your life is good, in balance – on purpose!   When your time, energy, resources and thoughts are not aligning with your values, there is something just not right!   Life is not running on all cylinders – priorities are all messed up – we don’t feel like we are fulfilled.
Not sure if you are living your values?   Here is a simple exercise; take a look at your calendar – do the appointments you have set line up with what you value?   Or are the hours you have in a day consumed by other things?   What is taking your time and energy?   Now open your online bank statement or open your checkbook register – do you spend your resources based on your values?

When I first did this exercise years ago, it was enlightening to see that, no, I was NOT spending my time, energy or resources on things that were important to me.   No wonder I was feeling out of sorts!   I did some work to clarify my values, get more in line with them.    After that work, I was able to understand and clarify my life’s purpose – Helping others reach their highest potential through equipping, developing, leading and encouraging!  Wow, what a difference clarification made in my life! Life is good!
If you would like to learn more about clarifying your values, setting and achieving goals or finding your life’s purpose, why not contact me and give Life Coaching a try?   Simply go to my Speak To Me page and fill out the  form.   Let’s set up your free 15 minute session to discuss how we can move forward together.

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