A Coaching Journey – Pt. 11

It has been said that life is what happens when you are making plans.

As I complete session #9 on my coaching journey with Marielle Gauthier, life has definitely been happening to me. When I discovered that I had been thinking of it as “intervening”, I spoke with Marielle about it. After all, some of the recent curve balls had been moments to savour. After speaking with her and reflecting on my attitude, I realized that life will always be intervening. It does for all of us. In fact, that is part of what coaching is all about – learning to take life to the maximum whatever the circumstances in order to achieve what our thoughts can conceive.

Taking that revelation to heart, I looked back on what I have accomplished on this coaching journey. So far, I have created vision maps, widened the cracks in my procrastination wall, and taken baby steps toward bringing in some income (look back at my previous guest blogs to find more information on some of these goals). Although I am not always on track, I know that I schedule more, get to bed earlier, continue to take care of my body because it houses the dreams and visions of my mind. If I slip up, I just go at it again.

Even more importantly, I am replacing unhelpful habits with new habits. These have provided the tools for me to handle life’s “intrusions”, recognize that they will always be with me, and turn them into the joyful moments they are meant to be (or handle the difficulties that may come my way). I remind myself to celebrate and enjoy.

In my last blog, I stated emphatically that I CAN do this. This time around, I realize that I AM doing this. My life is definitely changing for the better – slowly, incrementally – but it IS happening. My attitude is changing. I am grasping opportunity with both hands. I remain committed the process and to living my best life.

 

 

 

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About the Author:

The above entry is part of a guest blog series titled “A Coaching Journey” written by my friend, client, and talented writer, Linda Epstein. She has graciously agreed to write on her experience with the coaching process as she navigates it, to give a first-hand view of what the journey is like. Visit weekly to find out more!

 

Read the rest of “A Coaching Journey” by clicking below:

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10

 

Are You Living In Purpose?

gotpurposeDo you know what your calling in life is? How are you making a difference in the world? In other words do you know what your purpose is? If you do not, then how can you authentically lead from who you are – your core purpose?

Perhaps you have had an opportunity to participate in the creation of your organization’s mission statement but have you ever thought of developing your own personal mission or purpose statement?

Developing and living your purpose statement are very powerful and important actions you can take in order to be in control of your life and lead from your authentic self.

According to Bill George, author of Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value, your core purpose will act as your “true north” that will keep your career and life decisions in harmony with your authentic talents, values and meaningful contribution.

Living in purpose means that you are driven by something internally rather than allowing external influences to hinder you from living your life more clearly.

 

Purpose is not:

  • a goal to be set
  • something we create or
  • a great idea we come up with.

 

Purpose is:

  • something we discover inside ourselves
  • our role in life
  • what we have been prepared to express.

 

According to Stephen Covey, a mission statement is developed with a focus on:

  • what you want to be (character)
  • what you want to do (contributions and achievements) and
  • the values or principles upon which your ‘being’ and ‘doing’ are based

 

Discovering your purpose and developing a purpose statement requires you to do some introspective thinking about your priorities in a deep way. To do this, you may want to reflect on some of the following questions:

  • What is my life about?
  • What do I want from my life?
  • What do I stand for / believe in?
  • Whom do I value?
  • What is my reason for being?
  • What is important to me in my life?
  • What will I contribute to the people in my life?
  • What are my talents?
  • At the end of my life, what do I want to have accomplished?
  • What do I believe in?

 

So how will you make a difference in all aspects of your life? How will your gifts and strengths serve something bigger than yourself? How are you expressing your internal sense of purpose in all of the many different roles and life circumstances? As a leader, how are you showing up?

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

Marielle’s new group coaching program, Up Your Game! Propel Your Career or Business to the Next Level will help you get clear on your values, strengths, vision, mission and much more to propel your career to the next level.

 

 

Marielle Gauthier, owner and principal of Redworks Communications, is a certified Results coach and is accredited as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) by the International Coaching Federation. 

To receive updates about Marielle’s coaching program, training and webinars or for more information on coaching services contact Marielle at (306) 955-3205, marielle@redworkscoaching.com or visit www.redworkscoaching.com. She is based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Are Your Core Values in Action?

core-values[1]Our personal values are deeply held beliefs of what is truly important in our lives. They are the guiding principles that form the foundation of our personal standards and guide our decisions and behaviours in our day to day lives as individuals and leaders.

Each of us has his/her own personal set of core values that are usually instilled in us at a very early age. Influencers include our parents and family, friends, peers, teachers, coaches, religious leaders, education, and our own life experiences.

Subconsciously or consciously, our core values impact every aspect of our lives. If you truly know what you stand for and what you value, you will be more focused and able to make decisions more quickly, and with clear direction. If you don’t know what your values are or if they are ambiguous, you will struggle in making decisions in your life.

Our values are in action through our personal and work behaviours, decision making, contributions, and interpersonal interactions.

Do you know what you stand for as a person and as a leader? Have you thought about what is truly important to you?

Kevin Cashman, author of Leadership From the Inside Out,  says that many of us could automatically recite a list that would include family, working hard, making a difference, serving others, etc. But are they really your most important values? Or, have you blindly adopted them from your family, organization or the latest business book? Cashman states that:

…our authentic values and sense of meaning are deeper than this. Authentic values are forged in the traumas and privileges of our unique life story.

In other words, what is important to you is based on the lessons from your life experiences.

What are the top five values from your unique life story? What is truly important to you based on your life lessons? What gives you the greatest meaning in life or work?

Once you know your top three to five core values, think about how you are expressing them in the various areas of your life:

  • In your personal life with family?
  • Friends?
  • Intimate relationships?
  • In the community?
  • At work?

How will you make your core values a more present part of your daily life? What will you do to put your values in action every day at home and at work?

“Your beliefs become your strengths. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” –Mahatma Ghandi

Marielle’s new group coaching program, Up Your Game! will help you get clear on your values, strengths, vision, mission and much more to propel your career to the next level.

 

 

Marielle Gauthier, owner and principal of Redworks Communications, is a certified Results coach and is accredited as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) by the International Coaching Federation. 

To receive updates about our coaching programs, training and webinars or for more information on our coaching services contact Marielle at (306) 955-3205, marielle@redworkscoaching.com or visit www.redworkscoaching.com. She is based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

A Coaching Journey – Pt. 10

This past week, I hit a wall. Some may call it “brain freeze”. Others may call it “overwhelm”. All I know is that I felt lost, confused and frustrated. My schedule was overloaded, and I wanted so much to make giant strides towards the changes that I have been working on with Marielle that I simply hit a wall.

When I discussed the issue with my physical trainer, Matt Jodouin, from Fortitude Fitness (see Blog #1), and with my life coach, Marielle Gauthier, from Redworks, both helped me step back and take a look at what I was doing and how I might get back on track. Earlier bedtimes will lead to better sleep patterns and strengthen my ability to handle obstacles (I’m traditionally a night owl). Continuing my scheduling (one of the “almost there” habits that saved me during this time), and becoming even more specific in what I plan to do during those blocks of time, might help me handle the overwhelm that I was feeling. And recognizing that there will be times that my progress will slow or even reverse. After all, I am changing, in some cases, habits that I have hung onto for decades. I need to just remain committed and that wall will crumble. Eventually, the new habits will become second nature, and the changes will be there.

In fact, both Matt and Marielle helped me step back and observe myself in light of the work that I have been doing. They helped me ask myself if things had indeed changed since I began this “self-work”. The answer is a resounding, “YES!”. Has it been worth it? Again, a resounding, “Yes!”.

Ultimately, after having processed my last session with Marielle, and having given myself a shake, I realized that my biggest insight is that, it may take some time, but I CAN do this…and I will.

 

 

 

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About the Author:

The above entry is part of a guest blog series titled “A Coaching Journey” written by my friend, client, and talented writer, Linda Epstein. She has graciously agreed to write on her experience with the coaching process as she navigates it, to give a first-hand view of what the journey is like. Visit weekly to find out more!

 

Read the rest of “A Coaching Journey” by clicking below:

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9

 

 

 

 

A Coaching Journey – Pt. 9

These days, I am experiencing a seismic shift in slow motion.

When I began this coaching journey, I told Marielle that I was not a list maker, not a habitual scheduler, and that it might be tough to get me there. She just smiled as if to say, “We’ll see where it goes.”

Well, I now schedule pretty much on a daily basis – in some cases with specific times or blocks of times; in some cases, putting just a “to do” not on the date. The schedule keeps me somewhat honest, and helps me chip away at the many, varied parts of my life that need attention. Oh, I still struggle with that schedule, and often have arrows that “carry over” my scheduled plans; but those are becoming fewer as I work to improve my habits.

They also recently afforded me the opportunity to step away from the schedule entirely for a day to handle a personal issue, without guilt, because I knew that I could reschedule. Flexibility has been key to my needs from the start. Who knew that scheduling would give that to me?

I have also been doing a lot of visioning within the coaching program surrounding what I really want out of life. Not that I didn’t do this before, but I kept it mostly in my head. Writing it down has made it more concrete for me.

It’s kind of like a GPS: When you turn it on, its first instruction is to enter your destination. To get anywhere in life, you need to know where you want to go. If you don’t know what you want, how can you make it happen?

A vision statement is something like that. It encircles your own unique purpose and sets you on the pathway. And if you dream big, it takes you to the next level. It spurs you to action. At least, that is what I am hoping…

 

 

 

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About the Author:

The above entry is part of a guest blog series titled “A Coaching Journey” written by my friend, client, and talented writer, Linda Epstein. She has graciously agreed to write on her experience with the coaching process as she navigates it, to give a first-hand view of what the journey is like. Visit weekly to find out more!

 

Read the rest of “A Coaching Journey” by clicking below:

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6Part 7Part 8

 

A Coaching Journey – Pt. 8

I am a woman of thoughts, words and deeds; a woman who loves the flexibility of retirement, yet is resistant to change; a woman who likes to mull things over before going full throttle. I’m not even sure if Marielle realizes how much she has helped me merge these disparate parts of me into a hopeful, not quite there yet, me.

After our first phone session, midway through the coaching program, I rebelled. I eschewed the schedule for the swamp of abandonment, doing little more than spending time with friends (not even realizing that I was working on my “relationship goal”). I went to bed late – a bad habit that I thought I had conquered – and chastised myself for backsliding.

Then, Sunday happened. I slept in; showered off the muck of the past two days; had brunch; and set to work on my scheduler. The brand new week brought fresh perspective and opportunity. It was a chance clear my head and to start with a clean slate, to celebrate the giant steps that I had viewed as baby steps, and to contemplate the new path I was about to take with, perhaps, my most feared goal – the one that attacked my essence and, perhaps, my freedom.

I had been avoiding the “working for money” issue because it seemed to step on the toes of that freedom, seemed a “must do” rather than a “desired goal”. The goal was about much more than reducing my debt to reduce my stress (my “shine statement” – see Guest Blog #3). It was about using my strengths, passions and interests to create a better me.

Marielle helped me see that the debt I had incurred by building an addition onto my home when income was scarce, was actually an investment in my future. It fulfilled a pre-program goal of aging-in-place – a goal that would also benefit my children. Instead of recoiling at what working for money might do to the other areas of my life, I began to see that it was up to me to make that investment grow and flourish.

With a small change in words and thought, I was able to remove the stress of “debt” that had been hanging over me. It left me free to nurture those passions and interests and to merge my strengths into avenues of opportunity.

After a breather that allowed me to think my way through the fog, I can now thank Marielle for recognizing how words can change perspectives (at least for me), and for chipping away at my resistance. I can now go into next steps – mapping out a life plan that will use my essence to accomplish my goals – ready to turn challenge into opportunity.

 

 

 

 

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About the Author:

The above entry is part of a guest blog series titled “A Coaching Journey” written by my friend, client, and talented writer, Linda Epstein. She has graciously agreed to write on her experience with the coaching process as she navigates it, to give a first-hand view of what the journey is like. Visit weekly to find out more!

 

Read the rest of “A Coaching Journey” by clicking below:

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6Part 7

A Coaching Journey – Pt. 7

Working with Marielle on my Strategies for the past while, it somehow didn’t occur to me that I would have to act on them – that that is what “action” is. Well, now I’m looking at my strategies for my organizational goals and realizing that the first one is looking long and hard at myself through a Personal Assessment and answering certain questions that I placed on the list (with Marielle’s encouragement)

So, why is organization important to me? Why does my lack of organization bother me, and how does it impact me? How did I get to a state in which I feel disorganized when so much of my work life centred on being organized (and/or doing the organizing)? What will help kick-start me so that I can achieve my goal?

I think I would truly love to live in a dream world, in which I wake up in the morning and the house is magically spotless, papers are all filed, and projects are laid out ready for next steps, with “to do” lists magically prioritized. All I have to do is follow up. Unfortunately, that is not my reality.

I don’t love cleaning. Papers are my nemesis, piling up continuously, hidden when guests are coming (important papers with recyclables), only to disappear from view for many moons (I am an “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” personality). I am keenly aware of my projects as I am commitment-driven, but I often procrastinate in moving these forward (see Blog #6) and end up working on these at the last minute.

The stress that my approach causes hangs over me, even as I try to ignore it. It freezes me in place, so that I don’t get things done. I avoid, ignore, or chip away half-heartedly. It stops me from experiencing the full joy that I want out of life. A new approach is called for.

So what will kick-start me toward that new approach? First of all, a self-reminder that I am an organizer; that I have done this before and can do it again; and a commitment to myself to do better. I have already said that I am commitment oriented, but I have found that little tips, tricks and cues help motivate me. With exercise, it is the Fitbit and a commitment to my trainer. With organization, it turns out that it is “reality scheduling “ – scheduling for how my life is now and including “organization” into the mix. And, to keep me honest but not overwhelmed, it is my little kitchen timer, which can be set for 15 or 30 minute intervals, so that I can attack, rather than chip away, and really get things done.

It is a habit that I am still working on. But I feel optimistic that I can and will do it…and as it becomes habit, I will celebrate my victory!

 

 

 

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About the Author:

The above entry is part of a guest blog series titled “A Coaching Journey” written by my friend, client, and talented writer, Linda Epstein. She has graciously agreed to write on her experience with the coaching process as she navigates it, to give a first-hand view of what the journey is like. Visit weekly to find out more!

 

Read the rest of “A Coaching Journey” by clicking below:

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6

Marielle’s Book Club

Feel_the_Fear_book _coverI (Marielle Gauthier) am a voracious reader and always have a few books on the go with a fiction, personal development and resource books. I started  thinking about particular books that really helped to change my life. I thought it might be a good idea for me to revisit some of those books and share these with you. In fact, I have decided that I will give away a gently used copy of the book that I will feature. Please see below how you can enter your name for a chance to win the book.

The first book I want to share with you is “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” by Susan Jeffers. I read this book in the mid-90s and thumbing through it a few days ago, it has a lot of great tools that I am going to revisit such as the “How to make a no-lose decision” and the “Ten-step process to stop the negative chatterbox in your brain.”

When I think about this book – it really is the concept of the book that resonates with me. When I feel fear rearing its ugly head, I ask myself now what exactly am I fearful of? I know now (with my study of neuroscience based coaching) that most of the time the fear and/or anxiety comes when things are unknown or our brain perceives a situation as a ‘threat.’ This uncertainly causes a flight or fight reaction or “amygdala hijack” in our brain. To keep that reaction from occurring or occurring at a deeper level, it’s important to ask yourself what exactly are your afraid of? When you start to do that kind of thinking then you can start to take control of the feelings of fear and start to think clearer.

To enter your name for a chance to win this book, all you have to do is:

1. Like Redworks Coaching on Facebook
2. Share the status that brought you to this page
3. Tell us if you have read this book and the impact it made on you OR
4. Tell us about a book that did make an impact on your life and share what the impact was.

What the Chilkoot Trail Taught Me about Leadership – Pt. 3

EPSON MFP imageThe first day on the trail – August 2006.
We had spent the night at the Dyea campground just south of the Chilkoot trailhead. I was very excited and a little anxious about starting the hike and consequently didn’t sleep very well. I tossed and turned, going through all of my lists in my head, wondering if we had everything we needed for our journey. I also wondered would I be able to do this? Would we be able to do this?
I was also thinking about all of the unknowns: What would the paths be like? Would any parts of the hike be washed out? Would we have to hike through creeks and rivers? …

As it turned out my two travelling companions – Lucille, my youngest sister and her friend Michelle – had not slept very well either.

After a huge breakfast prepared by my brother-in-law, we did our final checks, going through our itemized list for the umpteenth time. “Food – check; Tent – check; sleeping bag – check, first aid kit – check.” Ready!
It was quite an amazing feeling to be at the trail head just 1 km North of Dyea – this historical spot where thousands of gold-hungry miners had also stood over 100 years before us.

EPSON MFP imageWe signed into the registration log, took some photos, said our goodbyes to my sister’s partner and her two-year-old daughter, Sophie, exclaiming that we would see them in five days, and started our trek.
We hiked through spectacular scenery of the Pacific northwest coastal forest in Alaska. Dense stands of alder, cottonwood, aspen, and spruce trees with mosses and ferns, at their feet. Amidst the rugged northern wilderness, we saw historical artefacts that told the story of the Klondike Gold Rush.
We crossed narrow swinging bridges made out of wood and cabling; we hiked over gravel paths with exposed roots, and up and down slippery and muddy natural “rock stairs” more than likely carved out by the thousands of Stampeders throughout the Gold Rush and of course our contemporary counterparts.
It was these natural rock stairs where I encountered trouble early on in the hike. Some of these steps were more than a foot high and the one trekking pole that I had brought with me broke, so I was not able to use it for support when going down. Stepping down the stairs without support caused me to overextend my right knee to the point of injuring it.
Our original itinerary for the day was to stay at Pleasant Camp – 16.9 km (10.5 miles) from the trailhead. When we arrived, however, it was relatively early. We checked in with one another and decided that, since we still had some energy and light, we would hike another three kilometres to the next camp, called Sheep Camp.
This was probably a mistake for me to hike the extra three kms, but I let my ego decide what was best for me. If my fellow hikers wanted to keep going, then I had to keep up. After walking a total of 18.9 km (11.8 miles) for an elevation of almost 1000 feet with a 25 pound pack (see blog #2), my legs were very shaky and knees were quite sore. Unfortunately, my right knee was also starting to swell. This was not a good sign. This first part of the trail was supposed to be relatively easy compared to the next day. We were planning to hike what was expected to be the most difficult part of the trail – the scales and the summit.
I needed to act fast to stop the swelling, so I took a couple of Ibuprofen and soaked my knees in the river (yes it was very cold) with eyes looking out for hungry bears.

Despite the injury, it had been a glorious day – an exhilarating hike in this majestic coastal forest –the natural environment was so green, lush, exposed, and raw. My body also felt raw and I collapsed into my sleeping bag and slept soundly.

EPSON MFP imageSo what did I learn?

• Sometimes it’s better to stick to the plan – the plan had been made with lots of thinking and there were good reasons why we made that plan.

• Do a check-in with yourself and be honest about how you’re feeling. Don’t allow your ego to push you into doing something you might not be ready for or want to do. Telling others you don’t want to, can’t or would rather not do something is not a sign of weakness. It’s an opportunity for dialogue. If I had been honest with myself and not let my ego make the decision, I am quite sure my travelling companions would have been fine with not going to the next camp. I would not have pushed myself beyond my physical limits that day and I would have had more time to rest.

• Don’t let fear of the unknown rush the experience. I remember wanting to push forward so badly so that we could get on with it and climb the summit! Looking back and thinking about this, I now think that this was because I did not know what we were going to encounter. This fear made me want to rush through it.

A Coaching Journey – Pt. 6

Rather than work on the strategic plans for Goals 1 and 2, Marielle and I decided to take a sledge hammer to that wall that seemed to have been building up – especially since my retirement – and blocking me in several areas of my life: P-R-O-C-R-A-S-T-I-N-A-T-I-O-N. At least, if we could create some cracks in it, the light may be able to come in.

It would seem an easy task. “Just do it,” some of you will say. “Take 15 minutes every day for each task and gradually increase that,” I hear others of you shout. “Schedule, schedule, schedule,” cry others.

Well, I know the remedies as well as the next person. It’s just that I find excuses, do end runs, or just plain ignore what has to be done until the last minute.

It’s not that I don’t meet my deadlines or meet my commitments. In fact, as we talked through the issue, it was quite obvious that commitment was a big motivator in my life and that, once I said I would do something, I stuck to my guns – even if it meant staying up until 3:00 a.m. to do it.

By procrastinating, I was creating unnecessary stress in my life, and in fact, removing some of the freedom that I had been so jealously guarding. And I had to remember that I had overcome walls in the past. Most certainly, I could do it again.

So, even though I had already done some work on scheduling, I committed to creating a workable schedule and to build toward following it. I have two new schedules now: one that outlines a day without outside commitments (only self-imposed ones), and that even includes TV and social networking time; and one that looks at my weekly set commitments, and works my other goals and commitments around those set plans.

The cracks in that wall are beginning to show and the light is beginning to shine through. I’m not there yet. Not everything gets done. But I’m working on it – baby steps. And I’m sure that I’ll get there eventually.

 

 

 

IMG_1837About the Author:

The above entry is part of a guest blog series titled “A Coaching Journey” written by my friend, client, and talented writer, Linda Epstein. She has graciously agreed to write on her experience with the coaching process as she navigates it, to give a first-hand view of what the journey is like. Visit weekly to find out more!

Read the rest of “A Coaching Journey” by clicking below:

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 – Part 5

Have you heard about my NEW Up Your Game Coaching Program? If you’re ready to propel your career or business to the next level, this program is for you! Click Here to learn more.