What Happens in the Space Between Yes and No

Stories: True or False?

Every single person on this planet, interprets the world from their own learned perspective. Actual circumstances are far less important than how you interpret them. Some researchers believe that external events are responsible for as little as 10 percent of our feelings and well being. It is our internal, emotional codebook that informs our thinking and actions. This is why ‘Re-framing’ is so important in coaching. The stories we tell ourselves are what influence our mood and behavior.

So, what does this mean for you. Maybe a reference point?

Actual circumstances are fall less important than what you believe about them.

Janet was a middle aged woman. She had a very interesting life. In addition to being a wife and Mom, she was an amazing gardener. She was having fun. For awhile now she had been experimenting with making delicious chutneys, jams and homemade ketchup with her garden produce, with several more recipes she was still tinkering with. Last summer she began selling her jars at the Farmer’s Market. They were a hit! So much so, that Janet had been approached by Mark, a local entrepreneur who wanted to help Janet sell her products in regional specialty markets. Janet’s next move? She withdrew from the Farmer’s Market and quit selling. But after making this decision she got depressed. She blamed Mark.

As you can guess, Janet changed course because of the invitation to grow her business. Janet had not thought of herself as a business, until Mark identified her as such. In her mind, having your own business meant being overwhelmed, neglecting your family and constant financial headaches. The opposite of fun. This was the anecdotal evidence she had gathered and kept as truth. And she did not want that!

And why did she get depressed? She really loved developing recipes, sharing her products, growing customer relationships and making money. Her sadness was mourning the loss of this. And to her way of thinking, Mark had brought that about.

If Janet decided to try again, and tested her assumptions, she could reframe the story she told herself. The dialogue might go something like this.

Is it really true that I HAVE to be overwhelmed? Or could I do business differently?
Is it necessary for me to neglect my family? Or are there ways to integrate my family life into my business life?
Do I have to accept as gospel that turning my hobby into a business will be constant financial headaches? Or could I have a balanced strategic plan.

If you feel yourself stalling, circling or avoiding, check in with these questions:

  • What is the story I am telling myself about this?
  • Is this story true?
  • What is the ‘Re-frame’?

Opportunity Knocked. She Wanted to Run In the Opposite Direction

Daria was stuck in a big decision. She was waffling about a job offer she’d gotten in Seattle. Her initial reaction 2 days ago had been one of excitement. The job was a good match, for a company on her A list. And Seattle? She loved the city! But something had happened in the two days since she had been offered the job. A mental paralysis had settled in. And she was now swimming in a funk of indecision. With a yes or no deadline looming, she called me and we met over coffee to discuss what had happened.

How do you go from over the moon excitement to the basement of doom in two days? Worry. Daria started to list all the ways this was going to be hard. She would have to find a place to live. She would have to learn a new job. She would have to build new friendships. Learn a new city. Start all over. This was freaking her out, and the anticipatory worry had overwhelmed her.

“Daria, all of these things are true. It will be hard. Moving to the other side of the country won’t be easy. But one thing I know about you is you learn quickly, are resourceful, and have great energy. Do you think all of these worries will still be true in six months?” Daria looked at me, and slowly shook her head, no. “Will you have learned the city by then?” “Well, yes.” “Will you have learned your new job?” “I’ll be on the way.” With each question, I could see her mood shift. Lighten.

Daria had gotten stuck in the space where she realized the magnitude of the undertaking. Where things were going to be hard work. But she had not moved through the process. She had forgotten to stay connected to her dream,and to her strengths. It’s like staring at your feet when you’re trying to stand tall and walk, it’s impossible to do. You have to lift your eyes and look at the distant horizon. Where will you be in six months if you say yes to a new opportunity? If I know you, you’re not afraid of the hard work of growing into your potential.

What Can a Fresh Box of Crayons Tell You?

Remember how the sight of a fresh box of crayons in September signaled the excitement of a new school year?  The glimmer cool of a newly minted notebook? A new backpack stocked with school supplies? Did they represent renewed purpose after a hot summer? Knowing wonder — new classes, new friends, and the thrill of diving into a new school year?


Seeing the yellow bus on the road and the first glimpse of gold colored leaves reminded me of the school year thrill. The promise of widening horizons, learning
new concepts and tackling absorbing projects  (yes I was a nerdy kid) — all part of the autumn experience.
Yet, it didn’t end with graduation. We’ve been learning all along. What’s the next thing you want to explore?

 


That yellow bus inspired me to design a “Back to School”program. Why should kids have all the fun?!! I love offering freebies — so I came up with a 14 day program that is the equivalent of your own backpack full of new school supplies.

This program will help you:

  • Start a new project or determine a new direction.

When you sign up you’ll get:

  1. Fun and insightful exercises

  2. Weekly inspirational e-mails

  3. Two telephone coaching sessions

  4. With the bonus of my “Speed Bumps: What’s Slowing You Down” assessment

All this only if you sign up by October 1. There are only 10 spots available, so don’t wait to get started! Sign up here

 


Burnell was our school bus driver. I loved school, but it was so hard to get out to the bus on time. We lived in the country on a farm. With seven of us getting ready in the morning, from senior on down to a first grader, mornings were a race. Mom helped us find shoes, pestered us to sit down to eat a hot breakfast (she insisted that we had to eat something hot for breakfast), signed permission slips and yelled up the stairs that it was time. to. GO. Still, we didn’t all make it out there on time. So we had this agreement. Who ever was ready first would begin walking out as the bus approached. Then the next would walk out there. Then the next. So it was a long parade of McNeilly kids. Burnell would stretch the bus door open, wait patiently, laugh at us and always make some wisecrack.
I loved school.

Princess Knocked Me Out

I had so much to learn……..

A summer spent bagging groceries at McNeilly’s Market earned my half of a Welsh Pony/Quarter horse mix named Princess. She was beautiful and a dream come true for me the summer I turned twelve. She had just arrived, and was grazing in a small corral when I decided I would grab an apple and give her a special treat. I climbed over the fence and ran toward her, coming from behind. Wrong move. I got soundly kicked, and lay flattened, unable to breathe, the wind knocked out of me.

It was a long time before I had the courage to go near that horse. I now understood Princess was an animal to be feared.

Personal upheaval can feel like that. One of my clients is going through a contentious divorce, and another works for a large company that is being acquired by another large company. The similarities here are that both clients feel a loss of control about a future that is constantly changing and unknowable. How do you navigate these choppy waters? How do you cross the field without getting trampled by the bull?

Develop your strengths and understand yourself within the situation. By working on these two things, major change feels less like upheaval and more like evolution

 

At twelve, I had so much to learn. About horses, and everything else. The beginning of my 4b807df6-7b93-4682-a81c-98860d91aaeaunderstanding came when my Dad noticed I hadn’t taken our horse out for a ride yet. “You’ve got to ride her Deb. I know you’re afraid. By now you’ve learned never to come up to a horse from behind. You were right though, let her get to know you by bringing her treats. Then saddle her up and take her out, no excuses. Or else you’ll always be afraid. And you don’t want that.” Know your strengths, understand yourself and the situation. I pulled on my big girl boots, found my courage, and went for the ride of my life.

After You Say Yes, Then What?

If you read last week’s article (Are You Being Invited?),  we talked about the power of YES. Affirm the bold stirring from within that urges you to create something new  — Is it time for a job change?……. Feel like you can’t get organized?…… Is a relationship not working?….. Worried about the prospect of the empty nest?.… Or  that other adult rite of passage, retirement. Whatever it is, you decide it’s time to acknowledge the dissatisfaction that’s been sitting in the pit of your stomach. This itch just has to be scratched.  No more tolerating. The time is now. YES. It’s time to set an intention for new. I promised I would share what to do after you scratch that itch —  the next steps to change, this week…..

Phase Two is all about gaining clarity specific to what that change IS. What it looks like. And that depends on where you want to end up. To get there, answer a few questions for yourself.

Take 15 minutes or so, and do a little stream of consciousness writing. If you don’t know what that is, drop me a line and we’ll work together.

  1. First question to answer — “What’s the issue?”  What niggling thing keeps you awake at night? What do you complain about most with people you trust? Does this question ring true for you — “I feel that time is running out for ___?”
  1. “Imagine that you have what you want.” What do you see? Stream of consciousness again. Let your imagination soar, describe your deepest wishes. If there were no obstacles, what would you do? Tap into that place and let yourself dream.
  1. Next, answer for yourself — “What is standing in the way of getting what you want?” Is it other people? Is it financial worries? Is it loyalty to someone or something else? Is it inertia? List all of those roadblocks.

This is your work for the next week. To dig deep. Imagine that you are flying high. Make a note of all the stuff in the way. That’s it. Next week, Last Step, we’ll make the plan.

 

Are You Being Invited?

You open your mailbox. There is an envelope announcing an invitation. You open it with anticipation…….

The message of the invitation works like a magnet, pulling you toward your next destination.

Each new season is an invitation. In northern climates, we watch with anticipation as the temperature climbs or falls, as dormant gray turns to vibrant green becomes crimson then snow. A new season is fresh, a change. Each season is an invitation to growth.

Other invitations – to graduations, weddings, cultural rituals, that mark the beginning of something new, something different. You are invited to be a part of the meaning of an important transitional moment.

The definition of invitation, in the larger sense, is to say yes or no to a call. The call can come from within yourself, acting as your own messenger, inviting you to ……? Explore new territory? Change up your job? Resolve a relationship? Fill a gap? “Invitation: a situation or action that tempts someone to do something or make a particular outcome likely.” Do you feel a nudge to explore and stretch yourself? An invitation like this doesn’t accept the limits of the status quo. It’s the open door encouraging you to leave ’stuck’ in the rear view mirror.

I’m continuously inspired by the power of yes. Sean said yes. He wanted work that he felt passionate about. Saying yes to coaching, gave him encouragement. Saying yes to the possibility of something better around his career and by extension his life, gave him a new attitude. Responding to the attraction of “abundant possibility” gave Sean more energy for the work of change. The message of the invitation works like a magnet, pulling you toward your next destination. The first step is saying yes. I’ll be sharing the next few simple steps to abundant living in the next couple of weeks. I’ll see you there!


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Through, Out and Up!

“How wonderful that you are a ladder for others.” (Lady Rosamond, Downton Abbey). I was working, with the television going in the background. When I heard those words, that sentence took on a pulse.


An unromantic metaphor, the ladder. Useful, efficient, practical. Providing a ladder for others. Climbing the ladder yourself?Copy of Copy of Copy of Deborah Campbell + Coachdeborahcampbellcoach@gmail.com

A quick google search expanded the picture. Ladders have histories, inventors and dozens of designs specific to each peculiar task. Three legged ladders for fruit tree picking. Hook and chain ladders for emergency rescue. Christmastree ladders for divers climbing back on ship with flippers on their feet. Even a fish ladder, an after thought created to help fish maintain their travels up river to spawn regardless of the interruption of man made dams and mills.

“Mistakes are merely steps up the ladder.” Emil Zatopek

If you could be intentional about conjuring up your own scalable structure, what would it look like? The one you build for yourself? The one you build for others?

You may be afraid of heights, but if you keep your eyes only on the next step, you’ll arrive at a higher destination.

There are times when people in general experience dramatically challenging episodes of ‘life’ — a loved one is sick, job turnover, relationship blow up. Let me stretch this metaphor a bit more, and ask you — what kind of ladder can you design that would lift you (or that volunteer opportunity you care about), through, out and up? Play with me here. You are the inventor of this symbolic ladder. As designer and builder, what features do you want? What will yours look like?

To get you started try this

 

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The Secret Behind Every Decision

“I think I’m depressed” Tom (not his real name) said quietly over his coffee cup. Indeed, he looked sad. I urged him to tell me what was going on. As the story unfolded, Tom said that he was having trouble feeling good about his decisions. He blamed poor decision-making on his lack of a big bank account and a more prestigious career. His father, mother and sister were all very accomplished people. He was sure there was something wrong with him, that he couldn’t do the same.

The Secret Behind Every Decision

Tom’s story included the fact that he was a good Dad to two daughters. His marriage had broken up when the girls were young. From the tenor of his story, I had a feeling that Tom had not made poor decisions. But that his values shaped his behavior and choices, values he wasn’t aware of. I knew that if I could help Tom discover what values drove his past decisions, he would feel a lot better about himself, and that would inform all future decisions.

Values are the principles that you live your life by. Too often, we are unable to identify what is really important for us. We don’t live our lives in alignment with our values, and then wonder why we feel unbalanced or things aren’t working. To honor your values means to create and live your life in such a way that there is nothing in the way of living them. This leads to a life lived with integrity.

The compass that sets your course are your core values. Those core values direct all of your life choices and every aspect of your behavior. Core values are defined by you. They are:

  • Something that is regarded as important.
  • Standards of behavior.
  • Beliefs, ideals.
  • Guidelines of worth.
  • Principles that guide conduct.
  • Seen as intrinsically desirable, valuable.

Values are easily squashed by needs, shoulds and problems.

Needs. ..Shoulds. ..Tolerations. ..Unresolved matters. ..Addictions… Irresponsibility. Stress… Fantasies. ..Roles. ..Money. …Obligation/Duty……..

Until this list is handled, values orientation is difficult to do, because most people have values and needs confused. Their needs are so great that they overshadow their values. This circumstance makes living a values based life and setting values based goals unsustainable. A Values based life brings fulfillment.

Some examples of values: Accomplishment, Discipline, Social Recognition, Spirituality, Taking risks, Tradition, Wealth, Creativity.

Tom did a values assessment with me, and discovered that family and responsibility were much stronger values for him than affluence. Tom had been comparing himself to others and in his mind he hadn’t measured up. A man with a prestigious career and a big bank account was the role he imagined he was supposed to play. For Tom, the discovery that he had made the choice to work at jobs that would be best for his family, jobs that allowed him to be the kind of Dad he wanted to be, brought him great relief. That knowledge paved the way to making peace with the past, feeling satisfaction for the present, and empowered about the future.

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This can’t be what abundance looks like

“I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars.” Augustine (Og) Mandino

“Crap, the timing couldn’t be worse!”
That’s me talking. To my friend Monique.

I was dramatically sharing about events unfolding in July. It was dawning on me that I had major upheaval on my calendar, all of it invited by me, although not all of it within my control. Family, travel, moving, business expansion, major reorganization. All of it poised and scheduled to happen in the same two-week period in July. Screenshot 2015-07-01 20.39.04

As I was spilling ’the timing couldn’t be worse’ to my patient friend, I next blurted out, “I guess this is what abundance looks like!” Darn. Truth, Told.

Had I really expected that my life would unfold perfectly and exponentially? If I do this, then I do that, then my blessings multiply very neatly and orderly. Yes, I guess I had expected that. But this life is messier, AND more abundant than even my imagination could cook up. After the “I guess this is what abundance looks like” revelation, I more calmly realized that this was ALL GOOD.

There are few absolutes. Every blessing can have a dark side. Every negative can yield a positive. It depends on your perspective. I’m really good at helping my clients look at their strengths. We build bridges over what to them look like valleys of despair. While my present circumstance in no way describes a story of hardship, I had slipped into ‘negative thinking’. And that mindset had caused me stress for a full week. Then I flipped the story in my head. “I love the darkness for it shows me the stars.” Do you have a story that could use a different perspective? One that is causing you stress? I’ll bet you can tally up an affirmative side to your problem. That’s where you can begin to build something more useful to you than stress. Tweak this formula:

Your challenge (acknowledge here): _________________
Silver lining: (Think, then make a list) ________________
In this silver lining list, where do you see opportunity? _________________________
Plant your feet there.

If you need help looking at your silver linings, I’m here.

With love,
Deborah

You Are Leaving a Mark

We were in a tight embrace, the three of us hugging, holding on tight. We were together to celebrate the upcoming birth of a new baby, and each of us were delighted to be together and share a beautiful moment.Screenshot 2015-06-10 11.11.03

We became friends on the job some years back. We were doing good work together, mentoring and supporting people with barriers to employment. The impact of that experience shaped us. We have gone on to different jobs, in greater capacities, but have continued with the aim of empowering others.

As I reflected on this, the image of a footprint came into my mind. We were each making an impact. With our support for one another, and with the love poured forth into our work and relationships, we were leaving an imprint on our communities of encouragement. You too are leaving a mark. What kind of mark is it?

Financial planners talk about building monetary legacies. This is a different kind of currency, a legacy of impact. What does creating a legacy of impact mean to you? With your own unique definition of what that might look like. Go ahead, start building on it. What’s the first step?

“Yesterday is a cancelled check. Today is cash on the line. Tomorrow is a promissory note.” — Hank Stram

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