The Coach’s Alphabet (vol. II): M = Momentum

M = Momentum

As human beings we are prone to obey Newton’s 1st Law of Motion: “An object at rest remains at rest and an object in motion remains in motion unless acted upon by an external force.” Despite our conscious intentions (and New Year resolutions), human beings are designed to resist change. Our acceptance of status-quo is less a matter of failed will-power and more a principal of physics. This is why so many life changes are instigated through external crisis such as the loss of a job, the break-up of a relationship, or the diagnosis of a disease. But there can be another way!

As a Life and Executive Coach, I work with individuals and organizations to proactively create a vision, design a structure, and provide consistent accountability to first define and then achieve success. We work (and play) together to breakthrough existing conditions and habitual patterns that are no longer productive, exhilarating, or aligned with who they are and what they want. Through a blend of reflection and action, we infuse the individual moments of life with the energy and attitude to build a momentum of purposeful proactivity and productivity (and play).

Momentum in life consists of two parts,

(1) An initial impetus (positive or negative) that provides enough force to stimulate change and

(2) The ongoing drive that enables you to increase speed and alter direction if you choose.

As the adage goes, life is a journey not a destination.

The question is, “Who is driving the bus?”

When wanting to foster momentum in your life it is less about motivation and more about inspiration.

I suggest rather than focusing on a specific goal or outcome, nurture a consistent theme or value…a thru-line that provides consistency in a world that often feels like it is made up of fragmented bits and competing demands. That way, regardless of what external or negative forces try to derail you, your momentum will continue to flourish.

  • If you feel that you are a passenger being driven in a direction that provides you little opportunity, wonder, or passion, ask yourself, “How long am I willing to stay on this path?”
  • If you are no longer satisfied waiting for some outward circumstance to force you to detour, it is time to re-route yourself.
  • Call a friend, join a group, take a class, or consult a coach to help you stir-up status-quo and create positive momentum.
  • At the very least, review the values explored through past entries of The Coach’ Alphabet, select one that resonates with you, and identify how you can honor it.

That simple first step of inviting a value such as: integrity, choicefun, simplicity, or celebration into your life can initiate the momentum that will energize your outlook and accelerate your dreams.

Wishing you much momentum and meaning,

Ps – If you would like a complimentary MOMENTUM MAKEOVER (aka: a 30-min sample coaching session via phone), please contact me at Stacey@theCoach4you.com to set up a time.

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The Coach’s Alphabet (vol. II): K = Kickoff

fullsizeoutput_5d50K = KICK-OFF

THE COACH’S ALPHABET is a tool to explore your values and thus your attitudes and emotions one letter at time, from A = ACCOUNTABILITY thru Z = ZEAL. It is a great structure except when arriving at a letter like K that lends itself to a limited number of options. In Volume One I wrote about the value of KNOWING, which seems to leave only KINDNESS for Volume Two, but that concept has been covered thru the recent values of BENEVOLENCE, GENEROSITY, and HOSPITALITY. As we are still in the first quarter of the New Year some of us might be vulnerable to some-post resolution regret if not despair. In an effort to revive that ‘fresh start momentum,’ I’m utilizing some poetic license and choosing K for KICK-OFF. Although it might not be a value, KICK-OFF does represent the value of new beginnings, the ENERGY of starting a new game, the OPPORTUNITY to cross a new threshold, and the chance to set the pace, tone, and intention as we move towards our goal.

To be honest, I know very little about football, but my understanding is that a KICK-OFF happens at the start of a game, when the ball is first put into play and goes from being static to being projected forward with great acceleration and purpose. Then, once a goal is made or points are scored, another KICK-OFF takes place – sending the ball back in the opposite direction and requiring you and your team to chase it down, tackle your opponents, and move it yard-by-yard and down-by-down back towards your goal.

In football, as in life, we can get frustrated when overpowered or outsmarted by our opponents, when we find ourselves sidelined by someone else’s bad calls or worse, our own bad choses. Yet, we understand the back-and-forth nature required to progress towards a win, we appreciate and accept the need to alternate between offense and defense, and we often find it exhilarating when the game is so well matched it leads into overtime.

Whether we win or lose on or off the field depends on our ability to muster the ENERGY, resilience, and PASSION to KICK-OFF as many times as necessary. It also relies on our having the perception, patience, and judgment to receive the KICK-OFF coming in our direction and either hold our ground, or if all the stars align, run ahead without distraction for 90 yards and make the touchdown.

Each football team is made up smaller teams–specialized groups each with unique talents and functions. As 2017 is still in its ‘kick-off’ phase, it’s not too late to:

  • Clarify your goals,
  • Identify your special talents and functions,
  • Gather a team around you to fill in the gaps and cover your ***,
  • Create a strategy to successfully move forward past obstacles and towards your end zone, &
  • Kick as hard as you can.

If you are curious to experience how a coach can help you kick-off the year with a clear vision and effective game plan, please contact me via stacey@theCoach4you.com. I’ll be rooting for you!

StaceySignature

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The Coach’s Alphabet (vol I): J = Joy

What cfullsizeoutput_5d5fomes to mind when you contemplate joy? Do you reflect upon personal moments where you experienced great delight? Do you fantasize about specific milestone events that are still yet to come? Are you reminded of a time when you were stopped in your tracks by a beautiful landscape, when you were captivated by a work of art or tickled upon hearing a child’s laughter?

Possibly, you think of The Joy of Cooking, Joy to the World, Joyrides, Joysticks, or one of America’s comic treasures – Joy Behar? Or maybe you’ve never contemplated it at all.

fullsizeoutput_eafJoy is deeper than pleasure… it is a level of affect that manifests itself in a more tangible emotion than happiness. Joy is an energy that transcends the rational mind to spark the soul. It simultaneously stimulates while providing a sense of contentment and gratitude in the moment.

Jovial – the spirit of good-fellowship and hearty humor*

Observant – to be perceptive, alert and attentive

Yearning – a deep, earnest, and tender longing

Joy often arises spontaneously; however I believe consciously inviting it into our lives by pondering its meaning and manifestations will make it more accessible. In the profound words of Auntie Mame, “Life is a banquet, and some poor suckers are starving.

I suggest taking a few moments to answer the five reflective questions below. Don’t over think them, just respond with your initial thoughts, feelings, and images and who knows, maybe you won’t have to wait so long to enjoy the banquet.

  1. What delights you?
  2. What was a time when you felt joyful, confident and carefree? What were elements of that time and place that encouraged that feeling?
  3. What is the relationship between joy and fear, concern and loss?
  4. What are external symptoms of your internal joy?
  5. Every day this week, do something that brings you joy.

* The word jovial comes from Jove, another name for the Roman god Jupiter, King of the gods who ruled over the sky. He was the focus of more holiday celebrations than any other deity and is the source of the exclamation “By Jove!”

To read past columns on THE ABC’S OF COACHING (Accountability, Balance, Choice, Discovery, Fun, Grace, Humor, Integrity, etc.) go to: http://thecoach4you.com/diablogue/

Wishing you much joy!

StaceySignature

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The Coach’s Alphabet (vol. II): I = Intentionality

Doodle Letter IPastor, educator, and author Francis Chan said, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” How often are you on autopilot, functioning from a place of habit rather than choice, being reactive rather than pro-active? I am not going to lie, taking responsibility for your thoughts, actions, and impact is not easy…but it can be simple, as simple as asking yourself, “What do I want, and are my emotions, efforts, and energy supporting those desires?”

Many of my clients suffer from a lack of purpose and absence of meaning. One of the reasons this occurs is that we often feel that purpose and meaning ‘should’ naturally reveal themselves to us, when in fact, they require proactively making conscious choices and taking strategic action.

Mindfulness has become such a powerful buzzword that it graced the cover of TIME magazine in January of 2014. Defined as “giving your attention fully to what you are doing,” mindfulness is definitely an important tool to increase the value of your actions. I even lead seminars on Mindful Leadership & Living, but if those actions on which you focus are not intentionally aligned with your goals and values, then they won’t necessarily help you have the impact you want, or experience the sense of purpose you crave. By determining what is important to you and what outcome you want to achieve, you will not only create a “structure for success” that will help you achieve your goals, you will be more likely to find stimulation and satisfaction in the process.

We miss out on much of life when we allow status quo to take the place of strategic focus, when we let our unconscious response subvert conscious choice, and when involuntary reactions take the place of purposeful actions. Look at your daily routines and habits and evaluate which ones have become patterns you blindly follow, expectations you habitually reinforce, or rules you feel compelled to abide. I encourage you to set an intention for your experience and create moments that you provide you optimal outcomes and enjoyment. First answer the question; what values do you want to honor, and then align your choices with those values. That way you will not only find purpose in what you do, but also meaning in whom you are being.

Intentionally yours,
StaceySignature
PS – Author Adam Gopnik observed that there is a difference between getting older and growing. The former is an automatic and unconscious process, while the latter is a conscious intention to learn and evolve—always remember, the choice is yours.

PPS – If you want some support creating a structure of success to intentionally live your values and achieve your goals, please contact me for a complimentary sample phone session (stacey@theCoach4you.com).

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The Coach’s Alphabet (vol. II): H = Hospitality

Doodle HLike many values I’ve written about in the past 33 installments of The Coach’s Alphabet of Values vol I & II, hospitality embodies many other values such as: welcoming, kindness, generosity, attention, safety, compassion, friendship, care, and service. Hospitality is such a significant and impactful value that I spent 4+ years researching it for my doctoral dissertation –The Psychology of Hospitality: Creating Welcoming and Inclusive Environments. That effort resulted in a 273 paper that examined hospitality from the perspective of mythology, theology, philosophy, literature, science, technology, politics, and commerce. Since I try to limit these blog posts to 600 words, I will sum up my findings by summarizing that hospitality is the mutual expectation and reciprocal responsibility to be nice, act honorably, and be willing to extend oneself on behalf of another.

Previously, hospitality was understood to be a sacred obligation and social mandate with which every citizen was expected to generously offer and graciously receive. However, it seems that we have taken the primary duty of hospitality out of the home, workplace, and community, and outsourced it to the tourism and food industries where the onus is on paid professionals motivated to enhance customer satisfaction in order to generate a favorable Yelp review.

We have commoditized, commercialized, and according to George Ritzer, McDonaldized* hospitality, contributing to the “disenchantment, homogenization, and dehumanization” of society. Hostility, which shares the same root word, is the opposite of hospitality and has become much more prevalent in today’s day-to-day interactions than in the past. A narcissistic and entitled attitude of “me first” is evident in the popularity of reality television and the level of discourse amongst political leaders and pundits on both sides of the aisle. Not only hostility is hostility being marketed as entertainment, but as an acceptable tone for standard communication and acceptable strategy to distinguish oneself from the crowd.

Doodle Guest House 2014Now that so much of society is leaning towards the hostile side of the spectrum, I assert that the way to stand out from the crowd is to embrace and enact hospitality – seeing, hearing, and compassionately responding to others, making sure their needs are met, and creating situations in which they can best feel comfortable and achieve success. The 13th Century Sufi Poet Rumi** wrote a poem titled, Guest House (see full poem below) in which humanity is expressed by the ability and willingness to open ourselves to unexpected visitors, release that which we previously contained, and welcome whatever arrives. These are not easy tasks, but they can be simple. When you feel the shadow of hostility creeping in, shine a light on it and like all shadows it will magically disappear.

I find it intriguing that one of the longest running and most successful advertising campaigns in America is for a Motel 6. Featuring a folksy spokesperson using his real name, each ad ends with, “I’m Tom Bodett for Motel 6 and we’ll leave the light on for you.” As a coach I not only get to shine a light on people’s values, ambitions, and opportunities, but to help them re-ignite an inner light so that they will be more capable and willing to be kind, generous, and hospitable to those around them, as well as themselves. You don’t need a coaching certification, a motel chain, or even a house or dinner guest to take on the role of a host, you just need the desire to turn the light of hospitality on for others and yourself.

Hospitably yours,

StaceySignature

 

 

* The McDonaldization of Hospitality by George Ritzer (1993)

** The Guest House by Rumi
This being human is a guesthouse;
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all.
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture.
Still treat each guest honourably.
She may be clearing you out for some new delight
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them all at the door laughing and invite them in
Be grateful for whatever comes
Because each has been sent as
A guide from beyond!

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The Coach’s Alphabet (vol. II): G = Generosity

Doodle G Earlier this year I completed my doctoral dissertation on The Psychology of Hospitality: Creating Welcoming and Inclusive Environments. Throughout the 273-page document I explore hospitality through its ancient origins in Greek myth and tradition, its cultural and theological significance, its commercialization through the tourism industry, its diminishing role in society and the workplace, and its resurgence via the sharing economy. During my research I examined many values at the core of hospitality and how the lack of those values is making the world we live in feel increasingly hostile. In this column I want to reflect upon one of those primary values, that of generosity. Generosity is not only the proactive act of giving, but also the refraining from smallness of mind or meanness of character. Generosity is not only manifested through the acts we do for others, but the attitudes we direct towards ourselves. I believe one of the greatest compliments someone can bestow upon someone else is that they have a generous spirit; it implies kindness, compassion, patience, integrity, and engagement.

Give someone, (including yourself), the benefit of your time, attention, and doubt. Be generous with your empathy and forgiveness, your judgment and curiosity, and your expectations and appreciation. One thing I have learned in my many years of studying human behavior…it is rational for human beings to act in a manner that can be construed as irrational. solitudeThat being said, when someone (including yourself) acts in a way different from how you think they “should,” when they divert from the path that you thought you were both following, or give a response that deviates from the script in your head—be generous. Be willing to provide sufficient time, space, and acceptance for things to play out, for emotions to be felt, and for growth to take place.

If you are curious to explore what life might be like if you set aside the time and space to nurture your own generous nature, please contact me for a complimentary 30-minute phone session (Stacey@theCoach4you.com). You deserve it!

Generously yours,StaceySignature (aka: theCoach4you)

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The Coach’s Alphabet (vol. II): F = Fun

Doodle FIs it really worth reading a column on how FUN can make our lives more FUN? It seems like a no-brainer, yet, our schedules are so filled with maintaining our businesses, homes, health, and families, that we can go days, weeks or sometimes months without any real sense of play or deep satisfying pleasure. But FUN is not a frivolous luxury. According to British psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott (1896-1971), integrating FUN and play in our adult lives is necessary to relieve the strain that exists between the external “real” world and the internal world of our unconscious, both of which influence our day-to-day reality.

FUN is one of the best and easiest ways to breakthrough status quo and experience yourself at your intellectual and creative best. It leads to new perspectives, refreshed attitudes, and a sense of energy and joy that ultimately attracts more energy and joy.

To help you move from theory to action remember this acrostic: Focus, Unique, Nostalgic

  • Focus – Focus on what is fun for you. What activities bring out your playful nature? Do you like passive activities like listening to live music or watching the sunset? Or do you thrive on the energy of playing tennis or creating an art project?
  • Unique – Children seem to be more inclined to have fun because they exist in a natural state of curiosity where so much is new and wanting to be discovered. What activities have you always wanted to try, or skills you’ve always wanted to learn? Even if the process is physically challenging or mentally taxing, putting yourself in this state of “beginner’s mind” can be exhilarating. It can also help you check something off your bucket list. (To read more about Beginner’s Mind, click here.)
  • Nostalgic – Taking the opposite approach to trying something unique is to engage in an activity that you used to love but haven’t done in awhile. Did you previously play in a band, on a softball team, or just love to build sandcastles on the beach or draw pictures on the edges of your notebook? These are all things that you can make happen without much effort.

IMG_5190Maybe you don’t have time or stamina to take a class, put a band together, or join a sports league—but, you could attend a lecture, go to a karaoke night, gather friends in the park for a game of Frisbee golf, or just take silly pictures with your dog. Don’t let the “all or nothing” attitude that serves you well in other areas of your life work against you when it comes to FUN, because you might just end up with nothing.

Be creative and be conscious about having FUN. And if you still feel too overwhelmed with all that is on your plate and can’t contemplate adding something new, then pick something that is already on your TO DO list and ask yourself, “How can I make it more fun?” Need some ideas… contact me at Stacey@theCoach4you.com and I guarantee we will find ways to FUNify your life!

Smiles,

StaceySignature

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