Are You Holding Back?

You’re successful. You’ve worked hard, been rewarded for your hard work, met challenges and sought out greater opportunities. And then, some new ‘thing’ just rises up and stumps you.

Sunshine was spilling through the window, but Sarah ‘s mood was perplexed. She was an ambitious professional. Hardworking. With many successes to testify to this hard work. But today, her normally positive attitude was hard to sustain.  She had set some new goals for herself, but just couldn’t get excited about them.

As we talked about her new plans, it became clear that she was holding something back. A part of her wasn’t ‘all in’ and she didn’t know why.

After some deeper conversations, where I probed and asked lots of questions, Sarah began to realize that there was some icky unfinished business related to what she was trying to do. As we talked, she began to understand that emotions around events in the past (which she thought were in the past) were interfering with her passion to fully embrace what she was trying to do in the present. 

Together, we developed some homework assignments, aimed at examining fully what was going on. Greater understanding leads to empowered action. Released from the entangled morass of undealt with emotions, she felt renewed energy. And in our next coaching session, Sarah saw a way to make something positive from it, to clear away the unfinished business. Funny how this happens, but she felt excited about what she wanted to do right now.

If you feel like you’re holding back, ask yourself, “What is interfering with my enthusiasm for what I want?” It’s a great question to get you started.


 

We Create Our Own Reality

Autumn, glorious season. Gorgeous colors, harvest tables, cool crisp air. Autumn, all shifting shadows, early darkness, shedding trees. When life might be disheartening. When your heart might go thud. Autumn, the paradoxical season.

It helps to look up. To notice the beautiful full moon. To breathe in the air that smells like crimson leaves. To ease someone’s burden. To make a new decision. To grab onto new, fresh, energy.

To look for opportunity in the cracks.

As songwriter genius Leonard Cohen penned, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

Reality sometimes thrusts unwelcome craters into your plans. But the experience itself, you create.as-songwriter-genius-leonard-cohen-penned-there-is-a-crack-in-everything-thats-how-the-light-gets-in Your joy. Your sorrows. Your ups. Your downs. And everything in between. The choices you made that have led you to the spot you are standing in right now. In that way, you have complete control. What will you do next? Take action? Make a renewed commitment? Make some new music?

Wisdom from India.Arie.

“Shadows make you whole.

A life without pain is a wolf in sheep’s clothing

If you listen to its lessons, you’ll find the gold

You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself

Life’s going to hurt but it’s made to be felt

A bird cannot fly until it breaks the shell

There’s no such thing as perfect. We’re all doing the best that we can.

We have a choice to live ….. or be truly alive!

You’ll be stuck on the ground until you 

finally

break

the shell.”

(Paraphrased lyrics from Break the Shell, by India.Arie)

Because you created your life thus far, you have everything you need within you to create the love filled life of your dreams right now. Take the next step. What will that be? Look for opportunity in the cracks.

Learning to Run, Fall AND LAUGH

Learning to run, fall AND LAUGH

Forgive me. I am obsessed with some beautiful people  (my little sweethearts). I just learned an important lesson from one of them (the one that can’t talk yet, but has plenty to say). My daughter sent me a video of our sweetie taking her first steps. I watched it over and over (here’s where the obsession set in) I couldn’t get enough. She lives 625 miles away, so you see why I’ve watched the video 47 times already. Here’s what she taught me…….

She’s never walked before, and yet is delighted to be learning something new. She’s not worried about the mechanics of the job, or the fact that she doesn’t know everything. She just goes!

She’s not afraid, she doesn’t hang back. She’s not thinking, ‘what if I fall and get hurt? The threat of risk does not deter her.

So she’s walking, unsteady, like babies walk, rocking left to right, making it across the room. Then, she trips and falls. She falls, and laughs. She lets out a little giggle. She falls without shame. Without embarrassment. 

That’s the kind of spirit I want to have. To embrace new experiences with delight. To let go of anxiety and just go. To not hang back because of ‘risk’. To take chances and fail without shame. Are you with me?

But wait. Do you know too much of life to go with enthusiasm? Have you accepted that there is a choice between childish innocence and adult sense? You’ve learned to be cautious, to question, to put excitement on the shelf in the garage. Well, I’m here to tell you that happiness and bravery are part of your DNA. You might have to move a few things around to find it, but you’ve got it. Try it on again. Let yourself set a new course, learn a new skill, fall in love, start a business, quit your job, travel to the Galapagos. Say yes and go.

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.

Ready to Take Action?

(For the last several weeks, I have been sharing some tips gleaned from many years of working with people who are motivated to grow through challenge. Week One was Getting to Yes. Week Two, answered the question “You’ve Said Yes, Now What?” Today, the last in this series is all about Action.)

Jen had gotten this far. Years of frustration collided and she knew she had had enough. She had to do something different. Time for a change.

She worked to define what that meant. But how to make that happen? I’ll share the strategies that Jen and I employed to move her from passion into purpose. I think they might work for you too.

Do something. Now. And Later.  

Jen and I had done research together, and she was now clear on what she wanted. I then coached her through a series of questions to help clear her mind as to what next steps she should take.

What three steps can you take to make this desire a reality right now?  When I asked Jen this question, she looked into space for a few moments, and then, bingo! She knew what to do first! Small steps or large, it is good to get right into it, plant your feet firmly in the doing. This energizes you and builds momentum. Finish those three steps, and then ask yourself, what’s the next best thing to do? Then do it.

What strengths or resources could you tap into to overcome any obstacles that might arise? Roadblocks will arise, it is inevitable. You will be stopped by them, unless you’ve already identified what strengths and resources you could call on to get you through. For Jen, she called on the resource of coaching to get things to happen faster. What resources do youhave to call upon? Make a list of your resources and strengths. It helps to affirm your positive attributes when things get hard.

What is your confidence level on a scale of 1-10 that you will accomplish your goals? This is key. Is your confidence below a 10? What would it take to get to a 10? If you don’t have confidence in yourself in regards to this project, have confidence in your potential.)

As your Coach, my job is to ask a lot of questions. They’re not questions to satisfy my own curiosity, but questions to help you build understanding and grow into your own spectacular potential. So here’s my next question. What’s next for you?

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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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From Adversity to Applause

“What were your top three challenges of the last six months?”  This is the question I ask in my Quick Start strategy sessions.

“What were your top accomplishments over the last six months?”,  is the second question I ask.

More often than not the answers to these two questions are, amazingly, the same. 

Periods of loss, challenge, suffering, and failure can be powerful catalysts for personal growth and transformation. “It is often through suffering that we develop inner strength, from loss that we increase our understanding, and from overcoming struggles that we come to discover our own strength and resilience.”  (excerpt from Wired to Create)

“Adverse events can force us to re-examine our beliefs and life projects, and therein lie their power and creative potential. After the experience of adversity, the mind is actively dismantling old belief systems that no longer hold up and creating new structures of meaning and identity. ”

How do you move from the intensity of a challenging period into one of positive transformation?

To move from Adversity to Applause:

1. Take notes. Acknowledge that this was difficult. Whatever you were faced with, give yourself credit for surviving it. With the simple act of writing down what was hard and what you learned from it, you move the experience from a weight around your shoulders to a place of empowered resilience.

2. To make meaning of difficult experiences, resolve to let go of bitterness. Bitterness lives within powerlessness, and you are not a powerless person.

3. Applaud your strength. Life is messy, painful, full of potholes. You found a way through. Give yourself credit for getting to this next, higher place. Bravo!

Note: Excerpts from “Wired to Create” by Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., and Carolyn Gregoire.

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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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Is it time to clear the air?

I work with people who want to develop in their careers, or move through divorce not reduced but expansively, or who want to meet challenges and thrive instead of hide or fight change. In essence,to live a full meaningful life. In every arena, because of the complexity of we humans, being in relationship with others can sometimes be ‘difficult”. To succeed and thrive means to meet those relationships with complete presence.


 

It’s Time to Clear the Air

We’ve all been there. It’s time to have that ‘talk’. Things have come to a head, and you’ve decided that you can’t ignore it any longer. So gather your courage, pull on your boots and be an adult.

But where to begin? Here are some thoughts.Untitled design

First and foremost. You cannot make anyone talk through an issue. The only thing you can do is offer a safe place for dialogue to happen. How do you create a ’safe’ place? By acknowledging that this might be difficult. That you care enough about improving the relationship to work on it. Own up to the fact that you may have contributed to ’the problem’ (whatever it may be). By offering this, you validate everyone’s feelings. Next, be ready to do a lot of listening, if the other party feels like opening up. Another thing to remember, this is a process. The initial conversation may just open the door a crack to honesty.

Which brings us to the next important feature of any relationship — their feelings are theirs, not yours. Your actions are yours. That is what you need to own. Let them know you care about improving things, and are willing to hear, regardless of what they are feeling. Your goal is not to make their feelings go away. It is simply to witness them and stand by the relationship.

Accept that some things may not be resolved. Again, you don’t have control over the thoughts or actions of others. But knowing that this is a process free’s you to lead the way and set the tone, because good things can happen. If not now, then somewhere down the road. By being open and receptive, you hold the key to the opportunity for deeper relationships, which are vital to a rich and abundant life. The life you are committed to having.

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