Sprint or Marathon? Some Tips for the Winding Road

When running a sprint, you need both an initial burst of power and sustained speed. You can blow out with everything you’ve got, and pour it on all the way. But if you try to do that with a marathon, you’ll burn up everything you have in the first hour and will be left without the juice to make it to the finish line.

So it is with life. More of a marathon than a sprint, right?

You’re in it to finish, with a bit of glory, a narrative of flourishing, and your trophy (re: legacy) at the end. A legacy of love – accomplishment – purpose. So it’s time to leave behind the mentality of sprinters, and embrace the mindset of a marathoner.

You don’t go straight from 0-50, from the couch to the race. Preparing for a marathon is to  think of your goals as a kind of graceful step ladder– you put your foot You don’t go straight from 0-50, from the couch to the raceon the first step, and find the second, and move at a thoughtful pace — feel comfortable, then move on. Prepare, warm up, practice, measure — it’s a gradual process. Do you expect yourself to be perfect straight out of the gate? To be able to ‘do it all’ immediately?

To continue the metaphor, let’s consider the strategies that marathoners use..

Link with others who will encourage you when the going gets tough.

Pace yourself.

Be aware of your limits and plan accordingly.

Practice gradually upping your tempo to increase your capacity, slowly over time.

Make sure you take time to Rest and Recover.

I think our expectations of ourselves is to push, pour it on, and go at life like it is a sprint. When the reality is, that kind of tactic will cost you the race.

Change your outlook, and you can cross the finish line with your resilient spirit flying high.

 

Your Mind – Set to Dial Up or Down?

Last Tuesday, I was enjoying coffee with a friend as she described 2 business owners, members of her Master Mind Group, who owned the same kind of businesses-Home Health Care Agencies. She was wondering aloud why one of them was successful and the other was not.

The Home Health Care industry is the type of business that is never closed – clients have needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The people they serve need frequent contact. But not only that, the providers they hire to do the hands on work also have their own challenges — cars that break down on the way to work, sick children that keep them home, etc… But missing work can’t be an option.

These two business owners did constant problem solving. One rolled up his sleeves and met his challenges, open to creatively figure out solutions. The other one became overwhelmed with client needs, angry with his employees, complaining about the system, and eventually closed his doors. Same business, different outcome. What specifically was different? The two business owners had a different approach. And it stemmed from their unique mindset.

What is mindset? Here is my definition, “A fixed mental attitude or disposition that pre-determines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations.”

Do you see problems and react to them? Or do you see challenges and respond to them?

She rolled down the window, and let it go…

The Tyranny of the Couch

Carolyn was driving along a quiet stretch of highway, daydreaming, when an intriguing idea formed in her consciousness. The idea was exciting. Tempting at first. But then made her anxious. Nope. She opened her window and let it go.

After returning home she quickly was knee deep in work. Some weeks later, coming home from work late one night, the idea popped up again, and held her attention. She pushed it away. It didn’t seem do-able. And, if she followed through, it would definitely mess with her orderly life. For what? Following her idea into territory with no guarantees. She couldn’t have it. She pushed it away again.

(I’ve talked to lots of ‘Carolyn’s’ with this dilemma. Good people. With great ideas — but following closely behind are the questions, the doubt, the possible impact and upheaval. Work, time and energy.)

The couch is so cozy, I think I’ll stay right here, thank you very much. THE idea — to end something– leave an uninspiring job or dying relationship. Or fresh beginnings– a new adventure, a new career, look for a new romance, take a year off to pursue a dream … the variables are endless. The common denominator, something new is calling you.

How do you know when to listen?

1. It’s an idea that resonates. Does your heart expand when you think about it? Do you feel a sense of relief? Check in closely with how you feel.

2. The idea is persistent. It keeps appearing in one way or another.

3. It is precisely the thing that might shake up ‘your orderly life’. It makes you a bit anxious, somewhat afraid, leads you to doubt yourself. All of this is necessary TO GET YOUR ATTENTION.

Carolyn was not a lazy person (she worried that she was). What was going on for her was an internal narrative that didn’t align with who she really was. She was in conflict with herself, and not completely aware of it. Will she be lured to the comfort of the couch and stay put? Or will she do the work necessary to create a bigger, better version of her life story.

Come on adventurers, put your boots on and let’s go!

Do you think “Not good enough”? and “I need to fix my flaws”?

Does your barbell have “not good enough’ on one end, and ‘fix my flaws’ on the other?

There’s body building. Then there’s this…

Sometimes we get caught up with forcing ourselves to get stronger in weak areas. Noble and worthwhile ambitions. But you will never be passionate here, and it won’t hold your focus. By investing in your strengths, this can be a powerful source for success.

It must be the educator and designer in me, but I love creating learning tools. Here is an easy three step process to concentrate on your most powerful areas. You can use this knowledge to elevate your success.

 

A little homework:

 

  1. Grab yourself an iced tea, relax in your lawn chair in the back yard and make a list. Take stock of your strengths. Answer these questions:
  • “In what areas of life do I feel naturally strong?”
  • “What am I already good at?”
  • “Given that this is a strength, what’s the next level of development with that?”

 

  1. Next, make a list of two to three goals, and the resources that are available to you right now.

 

  1. Then, weave these two lists together, do this in narrative form. This is positively reinforcing what you already have, instead of focusing on what you don’t have, or are striving to get.

 

Sarah’s Example:

Strengths:

  • I make rapid, easy connections with people
  • I have a large network
  • I have infectious positivity
  • I have great communication skills

 

Goals                                                                        

  1. Develop a part time marketing biz;

     With an eye toward taking it full time

  1. Develop a wider network, outside local area
  2. Health goals – start a regular work out routine

Resources

  1. Connections within Professional Business Community
  2. Use national platform I’m already a part of
  3. Connect within network with a health goal partner or workout buddy

 

Her Narrative

I view my strengths as being my soft skills – because I genuinely like people and am an extrovert, I make rapid, easy connections. Because of this, I have a large network. I have been blessed with infectious positivity, and tend to view the world as a friendly place.

 

Because my goal is to develop a part time marketing business, I will need to use my large network of people to begin getting the word out and start creating clients. I know I’ll have to throw the net wider if I’m going to make it a full time business. I realize now I could take on a leadership role with the state chapter of the professional business community that I am now a member of locally. My connections there will be great resources.

 

I realize now that my strengths as a people person might help with my health goals too. I will commit to connect with people who can support me with diet and regular exercise. A personal trainer or workout buddy?

 

P.S.  If you are curious about what your strengths might be, the University of Pennsylvania has a survey you can take. You’ll need to register. ( Look for QUESTIONNAIRES. They offer many surveys, the strengths survey is called VIA Survey of Character Strengths. There is also a shorter version available, Brief Strengths test.) https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/

Onward and Upward!

 

 

 

 

He Stared at the List. Then, an Awakening

Action: Energy + Momentum = Results

I was meeting with a client last Wednesday who is working on a change in career direction. This guy (I’ll call him Kyle) is very goals driven. As we have worked together, Kyle has researched, interviewed authorities, and collected data. He keeps a notebook of ideas with goals attached and a calendar with deadlines in the notebook. He looks at the notebook everyday. He had gotten to the stage of exploring 3 distinct career paths, and couldn’t decide. Which path should he explore?

Which path should he take?

I saw his notebook as a very ‘brain centric’ tool. Kyle definitely had that part covered. My work as a coach is to coach the whole person, head and heart. It was time to check in with Kyle’s heart. Which career direction did he feel the most passion and interest for? As we explored this conversation for a while, he realized that he was most excited for one path! (I saw his eyes light up). We found out that he had resisted that choice because:

1. It was the scariest. The learning curve was longer and the outcome unknown. The other two options would have been easy. Kyle already knew how to do them. And bingo, that was the reason they were on the list!

2. Secondly, he was waiting for ‘other people’ to give him permission to proceed. After contacting a training and certification organization, he had received little direction, and that had not been helpful. Prompting Kyle to hang out in limbo and WAIT.

As a coach, I know any action will yield energy, momentum and a result. I encouraged him to get right into action. He had the power within himself to begin. He didn’t need to wait. He decided to jump in.

Kyle called me later to say he was excited AND nervous. Perfect!


P.S. Like what I do? One of the biggest compliments you can give is to share my work with friends! Feel free to forward articles and links to your people; I promise to take good care of them. Thank you for supporting me in any way that feels good.

He actually thought worry was productive

As I sat across the cafe table from Mark, I could see anxiety lines on his forehead. I noticed he had his coffee cup in a death grip, when he began catching me up on the last two weeks of progress toward his goal of starting a business. From my side of the table, it sounded like he was right on track. We had made a checklist, and he was right on target with that. He had plenty of financial reserves to provide a nice cushion. What could be wrong?

From Mark’s perspective, his worry was productive. He kept painting ‘what if’ scenarios. I quickly saw that he had shifted his focus from ‘enthusiastic anticipation’ to ‘what might go wrong’. Watching the circling drain, he was sure things were going to go wrong, and then, his plans would be down the toilet. He was absorbed in trying to prevent trouble, when there was no evidence of trouble. It was all about his focus.

Been here? Energetically moving toward what you want ( a new goal, a loving relationship, a new venture, a healthy lifestyle program) You’re diligently carrying on, when, it all begins to look like a nightmare. Where did all the good feelings go? The excitement? Like Mark, worry, doom and gloom move in to threaten your world? And you stop. How do you move through sluggish pea soup to get back to your original intention?

What happened to Mark is called “Failure Impact Predictions”, and when that happens, stress skyrockets. Mark’s mind shifted from happy to wary, as a method of protecting himself from disappointment. (He was unaware of this pattern).  But at what cost!

What I did with Mark, and what you can do when this happens to you, is to shift your focus. To do that, ask yourself these questions (and write down the answers) :

  1. Remind yourself about what progress you HAVE made.
  2. What kind of energy do you have for this goal? What would increase the energy?
  3. What resources can you tap into to move ahead?
  4. Who could help you with this goal
  5. Accomplishing the new goal will bring change. How can you support this change?

Awareness, and reconnecting to his goal made a difference in Mark’s outlook. His fingers relaxed around that coffee cup. The sparkle came back into his eyes. Relief!

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.

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.

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.

Spring itself is an invitation. In northern climates, we watched with anticipation as the temperature climbed and dormant gray turned to vibrant green. A season that is fresh, renewed. Depending on where you live, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, spring is a time for sped up growth. Spring is also a season of invitation. Invitations to graduations and weddings — cultural rituals that mark the beginning of something new, something different. If you are invited to the celebration, you are invited to be a part of the meaning of this important transitional moment. What does it mean for you?

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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“Deborah challenges me

to identify barriers and confront obstacles so I am more productive and aligned with my deepest goals. Her insights along my journey are invaluable.”

Rosemary Collins, Business Owner

“Deborah is an energetic, engaging and skillful listener.

“Deborah is an energetic, engaging and skillful listener who is always fully present when we meet. She challenges me to confront obstacles and identify barriers in my practice so that I am more productive and aligned with my deepest goals. Her insights along my journey are invaluable.” ”

Amy | Project Manager at the University of Michigan and Professional Artist

“Deborah listens carefully to my short-term and long-term goals

and sets a course of strategy including time-tables to carry out my plans and keep it within a structure and focus.”

Nancy Wolfe | Educator, Professional Artist

“She challenges me to recognize my worth

I love Debbie! She is kind, insightful and honest. She challenges me to recognize my worth, identify obstacles and pursue my goals. She treats me as if I am already the person I hope to be. She is a rare find and a joy!”

Heather Suffron, Business Owner and aspiring ESL Specialist