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?

Can you do me a favor? Could you please tweet or share this on facebook if you got some value? The buttons are below.  Thanks!

New to this newsletter? Sign up here to get free tips, motivation and inspiration, So You Can Succeed and Thrive!  (BTW – you can unsubscribe anytime.The link to do that is at the bottom of the page.)

WANT TO SHARE THIS WITH A FRIEND? Feel free to forward this article. The link for that is below.

Are you ready to commit to upping your game, make significant change and transform your challenges into gold? It’s free to get started!  Get access here

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

 

New here? Sign up to get free tips, motivation and inspiration, So You Can Succeed and Thrive!

Are you ready to commit to upping your game, make significant change and transform your challenges into gold? It’s free to get started! Get access here

Send yourself a little Chocolat’

“One taste is all it takes…..”  Chocolat’, a classic movie, follows Juliette Binoche as she opens a chocolate shop in a conservative town full of bitter, sad and lonely people. Juliette stirs a little kindness and nurture into the chocolate pot, and soon, everyone is changed. You know the human value of kindness towards others. Now, flip the mirror. How compassionate are you toward yourself? Are you kinder to strangers?

Are you one of those people who avoids the notion altogether? This is a dangerous idea.

-If compassion doesn't include yourself it is incomplete.-

Compassion shown to yourself makes a difference in whether you survive and thrive. Studies prove that it’s not what you face in life, but how you relate to yourself when the going gets tough. (Do you think of yourself as your own ally or as deficient?) This perception determines your ability to cope successfully. Do you expect yourself to do it all, and then beat yourself up when you fall short? I’m betting you do.

Aaron told himself to stay strong, maintain being a ‘tough guy’ during his divorce. He believed that hiding his feelings and not admitting to how much pain he was in, was what would get him through. But instead, it kept him stuck, feeling miserable, and angry. He saw compassion for himself as a weakness.

Is your reluctance to extend kindness to yourself based on the premise that it will make you weak? Do you resist thoughtfulness toward yourself because you feel it will undermine motivation to push forward?

Your best friend comes to you and shares how overwhelmed she is. She is having trouble coping with everything she has to do.  Would you say, “What’s wrong with you? You loser. Suck it up and get busy!”

You wouldn’t talk to a friend like that. But you might talk to yourself that way. The pain caused by self judgement is significant. “I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not ________ enough.” Studies now prove that self compassion is a far more effective method for personal motivation than self punishment.

In our work together, I help my clients learn how to move from self judgement to self acceptance. And that is the beginning of tremendous growth and accomplishment.

What does self compassion look like?

Self compassion is caring for yourself and accepting your feelings, struggles and pain.

Acknowledge that (this moment, challenge, transition) is hard. Don’t push it away, but ‘be’ with that. Say “This is hard. I’m doing the best I can.” Then, stick with me here, close your eyes and send yourself love. (If you’re feeling awkward, that’s resistance. Try it anyway.) Imagine a shower of love pouring down. Some call this grace. Let this good feeling flow through you. Self compassion builds your capacity for love, wisdom, courage and generosity toward yourself and for others. It’s not weakness or laziness to send some kindness to yourself. It is smart.

Enjoy this article? Get free updates, inspiration and more! Sign up here…..

 Are you ready to commit to upping your game, make significant change and transform challenges into gold? Click here to get started!

(This article inspired by “The Five Myths of Self Compassion” by Kristin Neff, PhD. Published on the website Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life. September 30, 2015.)
Chocolat’ is a 2000 movie directed by Lasse Halltrom, starring Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench and Alfred Molina.

Multi Tasking Between Summer and Fall

Smell it in the air? The aroma of autumn. And with it, transition. We switch from summer activities to fall chores. From vacation mode to work mode. In the morning do you reach for your wool sweater, but by afternoon are you stripping to your tee shirt?  I’ve been hearing conversations that remark on the difficulties of bringing focus back. To changes begun in June and then stalled by July — before August vacations, summer pleasures, and houseguests being shown around town. Is this where you are too?

Honeycomb (2)

This reminded me of research being done on multi tasking and the brain. Turns out multi tasking is largely a myth. We are incapable of doing 2 things at once that require executive functions (the same part of the brain). But we are good at switching back and forth. When switching to a new task, we have to pause, then commit.

The pause is what the first weeks of September are about. This is your chance to use the breathing space between summer mode and the autumn seasonal shift to re-focus. To make the transition easier, follow these suggestions:

1. Take a moment and review your goals from spring. Are these still important to you? Are there any you want to let go of?

2. Where are your interests being drawn now?

3. What ‘energy drainers’ are you noticing? Have there been changes these last 8 months that need attending to?

4. What would you determine are your major challenges? Are you ready to tackle them?

September ushers in days of higher energy that can galvanize development. The distinct shift in the season can give you renewed purpose and focus. Opportunity awaits.

Enjoy this article? Get free updates, inspiration and more! Sign up here…..

Are you ready to commit to upping your game, make significant change and transform challenges into gold? Click here to get started!

Your Vacation Begins Here

 “Run out onto the dock and look up at the tree to the north!”, some strangers called to us from their boat on Pine Lake. We did as we were told. We were astounded to see a huge bald eagle surveying the lake and forest. A beautiful moment in a beautiful getaway weekend. Do you have plans this summer for vacation? A few days away enjoying the company of family or friends? Lying on the beach for a week? Spending a month in the north woods hiking?

A recent article in the ‘Science of Us’ column in New York Magazine outlined a philosophy I adopted years ago, inspired by my friend Michelle Snyder. She once said, “I’ve decided to put my money into creating experiences, not into things.” I began by letting go of ’stuff’, becoming more aware of what I bought, and being deliberate about where I did put my money. One of those ‘deliberately important experiences’ was vacation and travel.

We all know the relaxation value of vacations. Getting away, leaving all the demands of daily life behind — housework, paying bills, mowing the lawn, going to work. A chance to re-charge. But there is another very important, hidden value to vacations too.

Dr. Amit Kumar does research on the relationship between money and happiness, specifically the distinction between experiential and material purchases (that is, money spent on doing—e.g., on vacations and concerts—versus money spent on having—e.g., on clothing and gadgets). As he described in the magazine article, he “investigates how experiential purchases promote enhanced anticipatory pleasure, provide hedonic benefits through utility derived from storytelling, and also have downstream consequences in terms of fostering social connectedness and prosocial behavior.”

In essence what Dr. Kumar says the research shows is that an experience, like that of a vacation, lasts much longer than the week bookended by weekends scheduled on your calendar. You anticipate and imagine beforehand, and then later on when you have returned you can reminisce and share stories with others. You get to re-live the landscape of your time away from it all because it is stored in your memory bank. Even if the vacation was a disaster, you still receive some benefits and pleasure from the re-telling around the office cooler, the social connectedness and prosocial behavior that Dr. Kumar was talking about. The whole spectrum of experience is richer than the purchase of an expensive gadget.

A vacation is not simply a concrete period of time of leisure, but rather something you will talk and think about  for years after the fact. Even though the vacation can seem fleeting —  vacations seem to come and go in a flash — you are creating a long term adventure that can last a lifetime. And the benefits can be satisfying even if the airline loses your luggage. Bon voyage!

If you would like to sign up to get regular helpful tips and inspiration, to live your life to succeed and thrive!  click here.

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

Get more of what you want, faster. Check out coaching here.

A RADICAL IDEA

-Where there is love, there is life-  --As you read these words, I’m wondering how they will make you feel. Curious? Mystified? Uncomfortable? Nauseated? I love a good juicy coaching question, and this one is sure to provoke some response.

“What would love do now?”

I’m sure you’ve noticed, there is a lot of strife in the world. Some of it in our own backyard. This friction is all caused by ‘other people’. These ‘other people’ could be family members, close friends, bosses, co – workers, neighbors, any member of your community that you have to interact with. Relationships can be fraught with tension, disappointment, sadness, angst. Someone in your circle has wounded you with a snide comment. Or your boss just unleashed a bucket of ugliness on you. Has your teenage child disappointed you? A neighbor who is an irritant? Relationships are a messy business and we all have been involved in some kind of strained relationship. What do you do when emotions run high?

Step outside the tense space for a few moments and hit the pause button. Draw an imaginary circle around yourself. Breathe. The inside of this circle contains you and your experience. Extend compassion toward yourself.

1. Ask the question, “What would love do now?” Love in this case is an action word, a verb, and the first course of action is to love yourself. Go ahead. Even if it feels weird.  Would loving yourself be finding a new job? Would love be telling you to get some help to cope with that teenager? Would love direct you to take a compassionate stand for yourself? Get a massage?

2. Then, secondly, the most radical part of this action “what would love do now” is directing that action toward the person contributing to this stress or tension. Release the need to engage with this tension. Love would ask you to see that person as separate from you. Outside the container of your own experience. They have their own personal perspective that directs their behavior. They are not ‘doing to you’, but acting out of their own experience of the world, separate from your experience. Love might ask you to have a sit down talk with your boss, empathic, non judgmental, asking for their point of view. Love might ask you to send a card to your sister simply stating your warm wishes to her. You get the picture.

3. Then, release these loving actions. Because people respond from their own experience, and you are not in control of that. They may accept what you say or do, or push it away. That is not your business or about you. But because you are separate, you don’t have a need to control their response. There is tremendous freedom in this.

So pause and ask yourself “What would love do now?” And begin with yourself.

Curious about what coaching is? Check it out here.

 Get free inspiration delivered to your inbox here.

Planting Happiness in the Mud

“Last November, I had been moving that bag of tulip bulbs for weeks, shifting them here, setting them there. They were giving me the evil eye.”
In our coaching conversations, I like to begin our time together with clients sharing “What went well” in the last couple of weeks — ‘What are your wins, victories or good news’. A paper bag glowing with the evil eye? I couldn’t wait to hear how that was good news!

“I had brought that bag of bulbs home with me a month ago, and it was dawning on me that they were not going to get planted, and what a waste that would be. I’d feel badly about a project that didn’t happen. The flower bulbs would rot. Shame would set in.

It was a dark, cold November night when I decided that would not be the case. I parked my car in the yard, turned on the lights, and planted 100 tulip bulbs. I didn’t know what wild haphazard

Garden Before
Garden Before

flower garden was going to appear in the spring. I was muddy and exhausted, and felt a little crazy when I finished. But in the morning, I felt victorious. And now, it’s May, and I get to look at this!” We looked admiringly at the pictures again. I asked a coaching question, “What did you learn from this
experience?”

She said, “The thing that puts me off a thing, is thinking it has to be perfect. Perfect conditions, perfect timing, perfect me. What I learned is, just do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. The ‘doing’ is enough. That, and delayed   gratification is wonderful,when it’s a long row of tulips in my yard.”

In sharing the story with me, I saw a shift in her, midway through the telling. She understood then, that this story was meaningful to her. It had a difference. An adventure and version of herself she doesn’t usually acknowledge. I think stories are powerful. The ones we tell to ourself and the ones we relate to others about ourself, they reveal our deepest beliefs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Garden After
Garden After

If you enjoyed this post, and you wish to subscribe to weekly good news click here.

Please. Stop Being an Adult

SPEND A few hours with children, and you’ll learn how to be a Grown Up

For all the training, education and professional development that we adults engage in, sometimes we forget the most essential lessons. I don’t have the privilege often enough of being in the company of kids. When I am, I am reminded of how difficult I make life for myself. Here is what I learned from hanging out with some spunky pre-schoolers.

1. Stop not being in the moment. 

I took a walk around the block with one of our little sweethearts. Moment by moment, his eyes and mind would capture interesting bumps in the sidewalk, a bumble bee hanging out with the begonias, a mysterious lock thrown into the bushes, and a hidden brick pathway. His delight and joy forced me to stop my own mind from racing into the future, worrying about problems that couldn’t be solved by thinking, creating mental to-do lists, manufacturing anxiety. This is what I learned: I spend too much time in unproductive worry. By letting go of that, I make room for contentment –which promotes a feeling of well being, which in turn is productive. A deeply philosophical education as taught by a 3 year old. So, take a moment, breathe in. What do you notice right here, right now?Screenshot 2015-05-04 15.01.25

2. Everyone just wants to be heard and understood.

Our little guy would get very sad and cry when his Dad would leave for work in the morning. Because he didn’t have the language for his feelings, emotion came out through tears. His tears said what he had no words for — my world is unpredictable and I’m having trouble dealing with it. I have those moments too, do you? When is the last time you encountered a cranky co-worker, cashier, or family member or random person in traffic and wondered, “What is up with her today!” or “Gosh he is such a jerk!” If you really stop to think about it, you have no idea what led to that outburst. We’re all human, we’ve all gone through difficult break ups, job loss, sickness — the world is an unpredictable, scary place.  Bottom line: Learning the language to communicate feelings is an important skill. Acknowledging those emotions makes us feel better, and helps us handle anything that comes our way. We’re all connected, every human deserving of compassion.

3. Watch out for dog poop!

Little kids have dog poop radar. Unfortunately, I forget to look out. I was jogging along in the grass while our little beauty rode her bike. By the time we got back to the house and kicked our shoes off, there was a powerful doggie odor coming from me, and the kids were the first to notice. I hadn’t been paying attention to where I was going and I’d walked right into it! I started to get irritated with the irresponsible pet owners in the neighborhood. But the kids started laughing, then showed me where the hose was, and laughed some more. Pretty soon I saw the joke too.

Screenshot 2015-05-04 15.06.12

My takeaway: Walking down the path of life, you’re going to step in a lot of doo doo. But don’t fret, just clean it up, and laugh it off.

4. Sometimes you need to let go of ‘THE PLAN’.

I’m a good one for coming up with ‘projects’, then getting frustrated when they don’t go according to prescription. Being with children is the best antidote to rigid thinking. Just try to plan out exactly how things should go with young ones.  We were making a birthday cake in the kitchen, each kid had a job. One would pour the milk in. One would wash the strawberries. I knew just how to do it. But pretty soon, the kids were getting ‘creative’ and next were eating strawberries behind my back. My first thought was ‘This cake is never going to get made!’ that thought was quickly followed by “We are having fun in the kitchen, making memories”.

I’ve had the same experience at large events with adults. I create an agenda, I know how everything should go, what experience everyone should have.  And then, people don’t behave according to my plan. I get upset and defeated. Everyone ends up cranky, complaining or quitting. This is what I have learned: When I lay out all the materials, design an open/safe/fun environment,  empower all participants, AND THEN LET GO, magic can happen. People need to be free to have their own experience.

Give yourself permission to be a kid sometimes. Full of wonder, full of surprises, full of laughter, full of curiosity. And magic can happen. 


If you would like to find out more about working with me , Find out how here.

If you found this post helpful, sign up for my free e-zine. Articles designed to be Positive Practical and Inspired to help you Succeed and Thrive! Click Here 

Tips to a New Mindset in 10 Seconds

Re-Framing the Picture: Spring Back to Optimism

The sun was gloriously spilling through my kitchen window this week, with the Vernal Equinox, the angle of light announced that winter was passing and spring was slipping in. I was sipping my morning coffee, drinking in the sunshine. Sitting with this glow, my eyes began to see all the new dirt that had accumulated. The blizzards left grit on the windows.The cobwebs I hadn’t been able to see in the gloom of winter. My good mood began to fade, and within seconds I had shifted my viewpoint from the hope of spring to ‘when am I going to find time to clean?’ From drinking in the sunshine to slipping down the muddy slope of anxiety and ill-humor. Yes, I am a human being, and that’s what I do. How about you?

This is a simple example, but it has larger implications. Because of this: It is what is at work underneath the slipping down (that’s how I envision it) that is important to reflect on. What are the beliefs you have hidden there (not immediately obvious to you)? Those hidden beliefs are what are at work, deflating your positive desires …….

A thought might come up in your mind, “I want to take that class that sounds so interesting.” Then, the next thought, “But I can’t, the kids need me to make dinner for them.” bursting the hope. ‘What’s underneath that? “No one else can do it, I’m the only one. I come last.”

OR

“It’s time I took that trip to Hawaii I’ve always wanted to take.” Next thought, “But I can’t, Mom’s going through some stuff, and may need care soon, I can’t leave now.” What’s underneath that? “I won’t be a responsible daughter if I take care of myself.” You get the picture. A slipping down, from hope to gloom in a swift moment.

Here is what you can do instead.
1. Pay attention — be aware of your thinking.
2. Ask yourself, ‘Is this really true?”
3. Dig deeper — what are my beliefs below the surface?
4. Give yourself permission to return to the positive — to honor your desires.
5. Know you are human, and give yourself credit.

Practice the process. And let love and joy slide in.

If you found this post helpful, sign up for a free e-zine. Articles designed to help you stay Positive Practical and Inspired to help you Succeed and Thrive!