Coaching Resource of the Week:
Outsourcing Your Coaching Business Tasks
Kate Ashton has been our Virtual Assistant for over the past year and is a phenomenal resource for your coaching business! Kate is a Dubsado Client Relationship Management Automation Strategist who helps coaches and creatives automate the back ends of businesses so that her clients have the capacity to take on many more clients and make more money!
Kate has a limited number of spots open to help you setup your CRM automation at this time.
Learn more about how Kate can help your business grow here:
You can reach out to Kate here:
This week is a follow up from last week's resource. Last week we linked to 13 activities that increase emotional intelligence.
This week I've shared a link to 17 Emotional Intelligence Tests and Assessments.
Coaching Resource of the Week:
17 Emotional Intelligence Tests and Assessments
As the name suggests, emotional intelligence tests and assessments are attempts to build, develop, and maintain one’s emotional intelligence, often called EI or EQ for Emotional Quotient.
Read More Here
When Coronavirus hit, coaches were already set up to continue to serve as the need for support expanded.
With the changes the world is experiencing with Coronavirus, it seems like becoming a certified coach is the way to go! Coaches work virtually with individuals, groups and/or teams making career agility easier and accessible.
Let's face it. My team and I here at the Institute for Integrative Coach Training love coaching. Like a lot! We know coaches are a part of the solution. Coaches are shaping the future for the better. We know the world is craving the level of positive reinforcement that coaching offers!
So you would think we would be cheering on anyone who wanted to go for training. Unfortunately, we are dealing with times that became quickly precarious.
Therefore, let's be completely honest. No, entering the coaching field when there is a pandemic is only great for some people and let's look at why.
If you are considering training right now, you want to feel confident that you will expand upon your professional agility and be able to expand your services virtually!
If you are completely new to running a business online, or contracting private clients then right now may not be the best time to dive in. This is because learning new skills is one thing, but learning new skills and how to launch a business online is an entire learning curve in and of itself. If you are in this category, we suggest waiting to start training when you are in a space to learn both coaching skills and online marketing skills. Expect a two-year process.
If however, you are:
· Adding coaching skills to expand a current client base
· Becoming a coach to expand your virtual reach, agility, and acuity
· Already familiar with marketing online
· Business savvy, or, have adequate access to online marketing support
Then, yes, hands down right now is an excellent time to go back to school and gain adaptability to a market that is moving online!
For example, our classes have all been moved to virtual as a result of the pandemic. (If you are already working from home, virtual classes are a great way to enhance your services or up-level your career!)
During a pandemic, people don't stop needing support so our coaching services and skillsets are very valuable. Coaching virtually opens up a lot of doors to access clients across the globe.
If you have been considering becoming a coach for some time now and right now you would benefit from expanding your reach, we would love to be on your success team. Our students deeply value being a part of the solution to a world that needs them!
Classes are already rolling and new classes start May 5th!
Learn more, or sign up: www.integrativecoachtraining.com/training.html
As the name suggests, emotional intelligence activities and exercises are attempts to build, develop, and maintain one’s emotional intelligence, often called EI or EQ for Emotional Quotient.
I came across these excellent EQ resources to use with clients.
Coaching Resource of the Week:
13 Emotional Intelligence Activities & Exercises
Read More Here
Have you ever worked somewhere where you loved what you did, but you couldn't stand your boss?
I have! Twice as a matter of fact.
My first experience with having a less than ideal boss was working for a cafe in my 20's. I loved the amazing food they sold, the interesting people who showed up each day and my fun loving my co-workers. I loved the regulars that came in and learning all about their lives. I loved meeting people who would visit us from all over the world.
Yet, the owners kept insisting on using their ownership power to make decisions that flew in the face of success of their own company and against the success of the employees they hired.
One day we were just about to open. One of the owners accidentally left the door unlocked. A customer that didn't notice the "open hours sign" in the window walked right in and was ready to order.
The owner briskly, rudely and firmly said, "You need to leave. We do not open until 9 am!" The woman was flabbergasted. She made a rude remark back and needless to say didn't return when we opened.
Another time the owners decided to use all paper to-go cups for the full espresso menu instead of their cozy ceramic cups. Now, keep in mind, this cafe was a health food cafe, so the majority of regulars cared about their health but also about the environment. Of course we received ample complaints.
We also had to field complaints about how nice it was to sit and read with a ceramic mug to keep your hands warm. We received ample requests to bring back the cozy ceramic mugs.
Despite the complaints and loss of customers, the owners insisted that ceramic mugs took away the heat and paper cups kept the heat longer. Head scratching! I thought they would say something more business-like, like we save money by not having to pay someone to wash more dishes. Paper cups keep the heat longer? I'm sorry, but I don't buy it.
Then another day the owners decided that we would become a restaurant instead of a cafe... like tomorrow. None of us had any training, but we showed up and were expected to be a restaurant and run fully streamlined as a restaurant. The owners also didn't show up that day, so those of us scheduled had to face the fire of irate customers and confused employees. The few tips we received were pity tips.
These are just a few examples of very poor leadership skills. But the interesting fact is that despite the owner's craziness, I stayed putting up with them for almost 4 years because I loved what I did.
Today's resource talks about this very thing. If you have a client, a friend or if you feel stuck, I hope this helps inspire.
Coaching Perspective of the Week:
How to Deal with a Toxic Boss
with Simon Sinek
People don't quit jobs, they quit bosses.
But what can you do if you have a toxic boss and you want to stay at your job?
I came across this really fun and inspiring video on developing virtual leadership presence!
If you are doing videos or playing with your online presence, I hope you enjoy the excellent advice of Natalie Sayer.
Coaching Resource of the Week:
Your Virtual Video Presence
by Natalie Sayer
Given how much business is transacted virtually, how are you minding your virtual leadership presence? This video provides three areas to monitor so you will keep the focus on your message.
A few years back I had the honor of meeting Dr. Mark Pirtle and his amazing wife Lynda. They are pioneering a self-awareness approach so that people may have more positive life experiences, get in touch with their personal power and experience stress-relief through the human capacity for self-awareness.
Professional integrative coaches look for three milestones in our client's process. Each milestone leads to the next. Just like each transformation leads to the next.
The first milestone is self-awareness.
As a coach, when we actively observe our clients engaging in their own self-awareness, then we know they have made it to milestone number one.
Some examples: The client says, "Oh my gosh, I thought I was angry but I now see underneath the surface is deep sorrow." Or, "Wow, when I said I was 100% committed to my success I felt a twinge in my stomach. Interesting!" These are indicative milestone #1 has been reached.
Self-awareness is milestone #1 because until you reach self-awareness, you can't reach the other two milestones. Yikes!
However, once self-awareness is intact then milestone #2 begins to naturally surface.
The second milestone is self-generation. Self-generation is occurring when we use our self-awareness to formulate new ideas and new ways of thinking.
Ex: I ask my client, "When you notice that is really going on for you, what do you want to do?" Then the client generates ideas that are aligned with their truth. This is a very important milestone because it means they have ownership. When ownership is fostered, follow-through is increased through intrinsic importance.
Once we see a client actively and consistently self-generating, then milestone #3 becomes possible!
The last milestone is the ability to sustain success long-term.
It takes a journey of self-awareness, into self-generation that produces the capacity to sustain success in the long run.
It is like buoyancy. Once you have the first two milestones in place, this gives you enough buoyancy to get you through tough times and sustain.
This week's resource is about milestone #1, self-awareness. But not just any kind of self-awareness... skillful awareness.
I hope you resonate with Mark's teachings. He is another exemplary example of how many rich resources we have available to us and our clients.
Coaching Resource of the Week
Coaching Resource of the Week:
Hiring a Coach
Coaching was literally the best investment I have ever made in my life. Being trained in coaching was the next best investment. Being coached expanded my capacity for the better. Being a coach changed my heart, career potential and life forever.
Tracking my own progress went something like this:
I now get to go to bed at night proud of what I do and proud of my profession.
I see clients gaining confidence, growing professionally, getting promotions, becoming heart-felt communicators that inspire people. I feel humbled and honored to be a part of their life's unfolding.
The amazing thing about coaching to me is that it is the process itself that yields results.
What it takes to succeed is surprisingly simple!
If we show up willing to stretch and grow then we will get results we seek. If we show up resistant, then coaching will not work well. Simple.
Coaching is perfect when we are ready and willing to grow.
This is the other reason free sessions, or free consultations, offered by coaches are so powerful. They help us gauge if coaching is a good fit for where we are at in life.
Today I invite you to look at all the amazing ways coaches are showing up in the world to help people with everyday issues and move into their excellence.
If you are interested in hiring your own coach, here is a directory of professional coaches to get you started: https://www.integrativecoachtraining.com/directory.html
"Coaching is the number two growth industry right behind IT (Information Technology) jobs, and it's the number one home-based profession."
– Starts Up Magazine
“I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities".
- Bob Nardelli , CEO of Home Depot
"Executives and HR managers know coaching is the most potent tool for inducing lasting personal change."
- Ivy Business Journal
I once had a boss that gave everyone unlimited time off.
What?! Yep! Unlimited.
The caveat? We had to get our work done, and maintain excellence.
To be honest, at first I was skeptical. It turned out to be wonderful!
Not only did I feel very loyal to the organization, I ensured my work was completed in advance and was always above par. It was an excellent morale boost and helped everyone feel trusted and honored.
Furthermore, I found that people didn’t take it for granted, as some employees feared when it was first introduced. People loved being honored and trusted and worked harder to ensure they did a great job in exchange for the time off. Brilliant!
People also didn't over abuse it. We were all aware that the policy could be changed if it was causing problems. So, we only took time off when it mattered and deeply appreciated the flexibility.
This concept of more time off leading to rejuvenation got its roots in Japan and Europe. Europe values quality of life over quantity of actions.
Perhaps the US could learn from this? While we overwork, overdo and burn out, other people are casually enjoying life and success in a more relaxed way. Interesting.
I say it is time we focus on quality of life! #worksmarter
Enjoy today's article on balancing time!
Coaching Resource of the Week:
Microsoft experimented with a 4-day workweek, and productivity jumped by 40%!
An experiment that involved reducing the workweek by one day led to a 40% boost in productivity in a Microsoft subsidiary in Japan. Read all about it here:
Today we are going to dive into life's messy side. Fun stuff!
A client of mine showed up to her session scratching her head at a conundrum.
When she first came to see me, she felt unsure of herself, unclear about her goals and paralyzed by fear.
Over a period of months, coaching helped her completely shift her life experience.
To start, she became self-aware. She began to see her limiting beliefs, previous blind-spots and catch her re-activities.
This new self-awareness led to clarity. Clarity opened her eyes to her next steps, her ideal goals and dispelling the fears.
In essence, she became more masterful. Wonderful, the evidence was clear! Coaching was moving mountains in her life.
Here is the kicker. She came to this session and said, "I've made so much progress, but why is life still messy?" She had a boss that was giving her a hard time. Her husband was facing a family issue. Her dog had to go to the vet.
Over the years, I've come to notice an underlying assumption. Somewhere along life's path, the message was embedded "If I strive to be my best, life will then be perfect."
I don't believe anyone consciously believes this, but over the years of coaching and having experienced this personally as well, this seems to be a common underlying theme people face.
I notice it surface when they reach the point in their growth where they are living empowered each and every day and yet... life is still messy, so they scratch their heads.
The truth is that life is not about mastery. Life is about being masterful. This is also called responsiveness.
Last year, I woke up one day and thought, "Wow. My life feels perfect. I feel at peace, I have an amazing relationship, my kids are safe and happy, my work is meaningful and I have my health."
And then I walked outside to a huge bee swarm that had moved in overnight. And then later that month I found out one of my mentors had stage four cancer. And then the dryer broke down.
And... I had the inner resources to respond to each of these. Coaching doesn't make life perfect, but it makes life doable and even profound.
Amidst all of the messy, I had a clear heart. I was able to see the interesting beauty in the bees that chose our home as they migrated.
I was able to create space to prioritize and care-take my mentor each day until her passing. I shared so many meaningful moments because my heart was clear about being of service.
I was able to bounce back with laughter at the dryer and just shake my head before jerry-rigging it to work again.
Through it all, I kept my heart.
Before coaching, I would have been more like a puddle on the floor feeling overwhelmed by life's messiness.
It is a very different way to experience life's messiness... empowered to respond to stress, living aligned with one's core values and embracing what matters.
Today's lesson is about life's messiness being ironically "good" news and "bad" news.
Can you relate?
Coaching skills help us stay neutral so we can respond in the moment. We help our clients stay neutral, see a bigger picture and respond to their life circumstances in empowered ways.
People come to coaching because they desire deep down to be apart of the solution in life.
So, what brings you to coaching? Are you interested in sharpening your skills, increasing your outreach and growing, or are you interested in being a full-time coach?
Whatever it is that is calling you, I support you in following it.
Ready to leave a profound impact on people's lives?
Join the world of coaching!
We are now accepting applications for our Spring Coaching Certification Program!
Apply here: https://www.integrativecoachtraining.com/training.html
Classes begin March 4th. Submit your application by February 15th!
Feel free to call, or text, to schedule a time to learn more about the integrative difference.
I was discussing leadership with my husband. He made the observation that there are so many personality types that it can make leadership a challenge.
I agree. We are born into the world with personality tendencies (nature). Then we have our parents that contribute our formative experiences (nature). Then we add another layer of life experiences and our first woundings that shape us and form defense mechanisms.
As humans, we have many layers.
Yet, I learned from one of my mentors and coaches, Karen Cappello, that we can listen to someone beneath the layers and through their values. Wow!
This level of listening is powerful and takes us beyond words. It is what sets masterful coaches apart from normal coaches.
When I have someone come to me with a complaint about something being unfair, I can hear that underneath the surface, they value fairness and perhaps integrity.
When someone comes to me venting about a fight they had with a family member, I can hear that that underneath the surface, they value respect and perhaps understanding.
The truth is that yes, there are so many personalities and a variety of forms a personality can take. Yet, there is a deeper truth about human beings that exists beneath the layers of nature and nature. This is the human heart and we all have one.
The heart is that internal compass, it is where our truth is felt and the metaphorical home to our human spirit.
When we speak to someone at a heart level, and have a heart-to-heart, the personality defenses soften and people open up.
This is true of all humans, regardless of personality type. In masterful leadership, just like masterful coaching, when you speak to the heart, and from the heart, you inspire people to open up and blossom.
The poet Rumi is one of my favorites for inspirational quotes that take people from hardship to their heart.
I've posted some of Rumi's best quotes for you to ponder, or use with your clients.
Coaching Resource of the Week:
35 Quotes From The Great Persian Poet Rumi That Will Inspire You To The Core
I am sure you have noticed.
Now more than ever, people are feeling more stuck, burnt out, frustrated and disconnected. Many times people are facing both home and work stress.
I am sure you have also noticed that people are starting to feel more and more doubtful that true change is possible.
Each and every one of us are facing some heavyweight issues in modern society. Whether we want to talk about it, or not, this is the first time that we are now globally facing large-scale impact together.
We also live in a time when we are bombarded with over-complicated tax forms, global warming debates (“It is real!” “It is fake!” “It is real!” “It is fake!”), politics meant to protect the greater good losing clout to the richest lobbyist, corporations not batting an eyelash for environmental impact or people's well-being, and eating meals feeling unsure if the genetically modified foods we now consume are contributing to the skyrocketing food allergies or cancer. Not small stuff.
Head scratching. Heart sinking. Our nervous systems are on overload.
Yet, here is the thing… most people turn to bad habits to cope with these stressors. We turn to media addiction, to food, to overworking, to worrying, to fighting with loved ones or avoiding and checking out altogether.
Krishna Murti once said something that powerfully relates to the modern-day human experience. He said, “It is not a sign of health to be well adjusted to a sick society.”
In essence, there is a better way!
Of course, we are feeling burnt out, disconnected and tired. Yay, we invented virtual reality, but what about using our human intelligence to solve actual problems? What a concept.
Of course, we are frustrated at work. Aren’t you tired of seeing the ways a manager could improve and then scratch your head when they do the opposite?
Of course, we crave more! We know deep down that what is missing is living a life more integrated, healthy and attuned to a life purpose. Fulfillment comes from being a part of something bigger than us, being a part of a solution and leaving the world better than how we found it.
Furthermore, linear thinking creates linear solutions. Linear solutions, produce more linear outcomes. The time for linear problem solving has come to an end. It is no longer working. We are living in a time when all aspects of the whole need to be considered in order to produce truly successful solutions.
This is equally true globally as well as in our personal day-to-day lives. Whether you feel called to help global initiatives transform, or to help empower single-mothers to gain financial footing after a hardship, everyone benefits from an integrative framework.
We call this type of problem-solving, Integrative Intelligence™.
You can make a huge difference in people's lives when you help them integrate their potentials.
You are also not alone in feeling the weight of a world that is in need of new approaches and feeling called to be apart of the solution. We do too.
Your valuable insights on what is missing, and what isn’t working, can be turned into a catalyst for a positive future and leave other’s grateful to have crossed paths with you.
You can use your life to turn around and help people turn their lives and work into happy and meaningful endeavors.
You can put your own experiences, education, and wisdom towards empowering others.
Consider this… it doesn’t matter how long a room has been dark, all it takes is one light to illuminate it.
You can be that light for others. We show you how.
If you feel called to play a bigger role as a positive solution in people’s lives, then we invite you to learn more about the profound ways that coaching is positively shaping people’s lives and work.
Coaching Resource of the Week:
The Heart of Self-Worth
An Interview with Sandy Hogan
By Laurel Elders
If you work with the Enneagram, you will love today's hilarious video!
It reminds me of the power of human ingenuity to make light of what we go through. We are all in this crazy adventure called life together. Let's enjoy the ride...
The Enneagram Rhapsody
https://youtu.be/BQnmM2XzLjk or click on the video below.
Two days left for Early-Bird Full Certification Rate! Apply Two Here:
Feel free to call, or text, to schedule a time to learn more about the integrative difference.
This week we are looking at a great article on the power of coaching. Many highly successful people love coaching. Here are some quotes:
Oprah: “I remember the very first time we had a life coach on the show. She shared with our audience a list and, literally, in the audience women booed her when she said put yourself at the top of that list. [What she meant was] put yourself at the top of the list and nurture yourself, honor yourself, stop the crazy mind chatter in your head that tells you all the time that you’re not good enough.”
Bill Gates: “Everyone needs a coach. We all need people to give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
Start working with a life coach today. Start here: https://www.integrativecoachtraining.com/hire-a-coach.html
Successful Professionals Hire a Life Coach
Can you guess what Oprah, Serena Williams, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hugh Jackman, and Bill Gates all have in common? Aside from being some of the most successful names the world over, these celebrities have all worked with– and exalted– the services of a life coach.
Read more here:
I love it when science backs up what ancient spiritual traditions have been teaching for thousands of years! We are seeing more and more of this in neuroscience and quantum physics research.
Today is a client resource on choosing gratitude and how it shapes the brain. Enjoy!
I also wanted to say Thank You for a great year!! The school will be closed Dec. 15th - January 5th for the Holiday Season. I have enjoyed all of your comments and thoughts on the topics we've explored together. Thank you for being a reader and I look forward to the New Year with you!
Happy Holiday Season everyone!
Coaching Tip of the Week:
Gratitude Rewires Your Brain To Be Happier:
Read More Here
Have you ever attempted random acts of kindness?
Two weeks ago I came across a GoFundMe page. I read about this young couple's challenge with cancer. I had never met them, but I decided to donate anyway in hopes that my small contribution to their large medical bill dept would be of some relief. And, if enough people do the same, their medical bills would be taken care of so that they can focus on healing the cancer, or preparing for goodbyes.
We all add up and it does take a village. Even though our definition of village is shifting, as society emphasizes technology, we still make an impact.
Today's resource is a reminder to pay it forward.
Coaching Story of the Week:
Bookstore employee writes this on Facebook after “little old lady”
shocks everyone at the register.
This week we are continuing the theme of looking at what your clients may be up against in their life.
Today we explore depression and anxiety. But aren't those therapy issues? Sometimes, yes, when either is showing up because of past trauma or abuse.
Yet, sometimes anxiety comes from fear and depression comes from lack of alignment with our Truest Self. When I faced my truth, through coaching, both faded for me naturally.
I've seen so many clients and friends experience depression or anxiety only because they are out of touch with something important to them, or true for them.
This is where integrative coaching comes in. As coaches, we help our clients locate their truth, values and their needs so that they can illuminate a new path to take action to meet those needs and lead a fulfilled life.
Coaching Video of the Week:
This Could be Why You're Depressed and Anxious
In this moving talk, journalist Johann Hari shares fresh insights on the causes of depression and anxiety from experts around the world -- as well as some exciting emerging solutions. "If you're depressed or anxious, you're not weak and you're not crazy -- you're a human being with unmet needs," Hari says.
Last week we looked at culture and how it may be impacting our client's view of themselves, their abilities, fulfillment and even self-worth.
This week we take a look at the buzz-word "privilege".
I saw a video of a race. Everyone started at the same line to race to the end. Then the referee instructed things like: "OK before we begin, I want everyone who had a free college education to take two large steps forward." Those that qualified did so. He kept adding to the list of privilege before the race even began. There were some people that barely had a race to run because they were already so close to the finish line before any running was done, because of the life they were born into. The question is: How fair is this race? (view the full 4 min. video below)
Take a look below at some of the challenges your clients may be up against when it comes to geography and gender, brought to you by Bill & Melinda Gates.
Coaching Resource of the Week:
How Geography And Gender Stack The Deck
(For Or Against) You
Let's continue our exploration of fulfillment... what happens when our culture, or lack thereof, shapes our relationship to life or blocks us from the feelings of fulfillment we seek?
I say "lack thereof" when it comes to culture because I grew up feeling as if my culture was nothing more than Walmart intentionally putting family-run businesses out of business and materialistic holidays.
I was originally born and raised in a small town in Southwestern CO. In CO my best moments of fulfillment came from the mountain streams and chasing butterflies. In the big city of Tucson, AZ I felt isolated and alone. CO had a culture of ease and outdoor life. AZ had a culture of... well, I wasn't sure besides the big city Targets and McDonald's peppered all over the place.
I now see culture much differently. I still live in Tucson but have grown beyond the material city pollution. Besides the hundred cookie-cutter big box companies, each location is rich with culture if you seek it out. Different places, different things.
Traditional culture can be sought out, like visiting Peru to experience the rich foods and traditions cherished by the people. Other cultures we are born into existence over time and have just come to be without much well thought out intention behind them. These unintended cultures have created myths.
What happens when our culture has default settings, myths, that keep us stuck? This week's resources takes a closer look at this side of culture. Is any of this impacting your client's life? Most likely.
Coaching Video of the Week
Cultural influence, cultural myths and connecting fully to your life:
This week we are exploring the distinction between "happiness" and "fulfillment". Simon Sinek notes that happiness comes and goes. Yet, fulfillment stays with us.
In coaching, we are helping our clients seek fulfillment and not just happiness.
Personally, I feel happy when the stars align, yet fulfilled when I live a life aligned with my values and accomplish what I set out to accomplish. How about you?
I hope you enjoy today's resource!
Watch Simon Sinek as he discusses how happiness comes and goes,
but fulfillment lasts:
My friend and mentor, Sandy Hogan, spoke to me about how to best handle missed opportunities when we do not listen to our calling and "wake up one day to realize the bus has left the station and I'm not on it." These are called regrets. The following is her advice on dealing with these regrets.
The Steps to Dealing with Regrets
By Sandy Hogan
#1 - "There is a benefit to regret. You won't let it happen again. Disappointment helps the ego to understand the value of your gifts to life." In other words, you are disappointed because you care and value what passed.
#2 - "The clearer you are, the more willing you will be to take the step." As we examine our disappointment, we become more clear what we value.
#3 - "Allow yourself to grieve dreams unfulfilled. Grieving and remorse may also act as a reset and adjust the calling in a more appropriate way that is in alignment with current resources. For example, I could have been a tightrope walker in my 20s. I'm now a tightrope walker between aging and saging in my 60s."
#4 - "Nature never wastes anything if you don't hear the doorbell the fist time, spirit will come around and next time ring it twice. Spirit doesn't give up. We do."
#5 - "Examine your commitment levels." Maybe you were not ready to commit yet. What might you need to say no to in the future, in order to say yes to something greater?
#6 - "To relaunch your hope, answer what is immediate today. See your life as a gift today."
Reflecting on Sandy's wisdom reminds me of how powerful it is to place the mind in allegiance to the heart. Many people live in their head and then wonder why they worry. Well if the answers are in the heart, of course life would feel worrisome, we are looking in the wrong place for our answers.
What is your heart calling you to do?
What will it take to follow it?
We've spent the last two weeks on our calling. We covered the Top 10 Reason's People Don't Answer Their Calling and then The 7 Steps to Answering Your Calling. This week we look at the question: What if I feel called but I'm apprehensive? How do I know I'm truly being called to something greater?
These are questions many of us grapple with. I hope today this exploration sheds light on your truth.
As my friend and mentor Sandy puts it, "Develop your hearing-aids". Below, I've captured Sandy's advice and further reflections for our Answering Your True Calling series.
Sandy's advice on Answering Your True Calling:
"Listening to the small callings is an invitation for hearing the bigger calling. Listening to the small along the way, in day to day life, prepares the path and grows our faith so that by the time the bigger calling shows up we are ready."
"Not all callings are paid. You may feel called to clean up the neighborhood you live in, or start a community garden." You may feel called to pay for the elderly woman's groceries in front of you. Not every calling, is a calling for fame and fortune. The most unfortunate missed callings are the one's that show up daily and are the simplest to fulfill.
"What is at stake by not listening? What is the worse thing that could happen?" What if you took a risk to find out? What if it became an adventure or you became a detective following the clues of your life more closely to see where they lead you? Sandy asks us to reflect further, "How much does your personal comfort prevent you from answering?"
"What if I feel called, but fear it is the wrong number?" Sandy notes this as a common fear and then adds, "First, there is no wrong number. What seems like a dead-end or an off-putting idea, or conflicting ideas ruminating... are all indicative of the true calling that will emerge when it is ready." Again, listening to the promptings you feel now, paves the path for your future.
"To access your calling consider who in life you admire? Then look at what qualities they embody. You may feel impressed by Maya Angelo, so look at the qualities she embodies. Strive to embody the qualities of Maya Angelo versus trying to measure your life against Maya Angelo. These qualities are a reflection of your calling. Be careful to not be called into a persona. A true calling is authentic to you."
I believe we are all called to something greater. When we don't listen, we feel it. It becomes the empty feeling in the heart. Then we attempt to cover that empty feeling up with ice-cream, TV, other people's ideals, texting, etc. etc.
The question to look at is, "To what is calling me?" To explore this, I invite you to keep a "Calling Journal" for one month.
After asking Sandy last week about the top 10 reasons that people do not follow their calling, I asked her, "What advice do you have to overcome these?"
Sandy said, "Even in the Bible it talks about the time in each boy and girl's life when it is time to give up childhood and cleave to their spouse. This message goes beyond growing up to get married. Metaphorically it alludes to us growing up and maturing through cleaving to something greater than ourselves."
She continued, "What are the conditions in your life that get you to say "yes", "no", or "maybe" to that which is greater than you?" In other words, what is it you need to take that next step to the next chapter?
Below are The 7 Steps To Answering the Call so that if your calling is calling you don't hang up the phone!
#1 - If you are called, the means will show up. This requires trust. Trust in yourself and then extending faith to the bigger picture that is unfolding in front of you. Participation is your choice. Make it a game of "choose your own adventure" and see what happens when you follow it!
#2- We each have a patch of grass to attend to in our lifetime. Many people get lost in the fear before starting, or give up too soon. Know that you have a patch a grass. Will you tend to it? Or, sometimes we judge other people's mission and avoid our own. Tree huggers are often made fun of. Yet, thank goodness they exist because without them, we wouldn't have clean air. Every person's purpose is unique contribution to the health of the whole system, including yours. This leads to #3.
#3 - If we all attended to our own calling, the world, the planet, work environments and even taxes could all be positive. Humans have sorely overcomplicated human life. We don't need a science report to prove this, we just need to go fill out a tax form. This over-complication need not be. I firmly believe that if we each step into our life purpose we would not be seeing such unnecessary over-complications. Your life's work will be a gift to many.
#4 - Go within so you don't go without. This is a more advanced spiritual key to life. Each of us has an inner guide. It calls us to take that next step, talk to that person, or to do something differently. When we are out of touch with this element of ourselves, we are losing out. In such a fast paced world, many people are disconnected from themselves. Us coaches experience this almost daily. As we provide the space for people to reconnect with their passion and purpose and take concrete steps to bring their gifts to life, they experience their life in a whole new way. Furthermore, the coaching space is often the only time a client may have taken to go within to learn what they are truly capable of. We just aren't taught how to do this growing up. You can start by creating a practice of listening to your intuition.
#5 - The inner-game, leads to outward-gain. When you follow your calling, it is paramount importance to clear the fears. Fear blocks us from what's possible. Keep in mind this simple Sufi teaching anytime fear comes knocking. "Fear is only half of a message. It tells us what we do not want. Your heart has the other half of the message - of what you do want." If you feel fear, thank it for what it is telling you that you don't want. You can even create a plan to avoid something negative happening. For example: If I have a keynote speech and I don't want to be laughed at, I'm going to prepare way in advance. Then, the important part. What is it you do want? Identifying this is important. It will enable you to take steps in the right direction.
#6 - Start small. One step at a time. In the rock climbing world, we have a saying, "Start off slow... go, go, go! Start off fast and you just won't last." What is one simple thing you can do to follow what is calling you? Big or small. It need not be a huge feat. It may just be one phone call, or one gift to a stranger. Listen to call ... let it guide you.
#7 - Get mentored. There is no reason to go it alone, or re-invent the wheel. Finding a mentor may feel daunting because we are no longer raised in a society that has elders to guide us as we mature, or to develop our potentials and wisdoms. We now have more olders than elders to be here for us. The good news is that coaching is the next phase in personal evolution, the new elder of our times. In coaching, the coach takes us into learning to our Highest-Self; the you without the fears, defenses or self-doubts. The confident, strong, powerful, wise You. No other modality does this. Seek out a coach, or community mentor, that resonates with you and be amazed how much farther you will get!
By Sandy Hogan
Reflections by Laurel Elders
#1 - "I am afraid to give up security."
#2 - "Why me? If I can do this, so can anyone."
#3 - "This has already been done before. Why do it again?"
#4 - "Who would pay me for this?"
#5 - "What a ridiculous thought."
#6 - "If (fill in the blanks) were no object, then I would do it."
#7 - "I'm too busy."
#8 - "I don't have the means to make this happen?"
#9 - "How can I sustain my energy if I head in a new direction?"
#10 - "The last time I listened to my heart, I got burned."
Do any of these stop you in your tracks?
Which one has the most grip?
Have you noticed the common thread above? Fear. Worry. Doubt. When we experience a negative emotion, remember that negative connotes "absence of". Something is missing.
What do you need to follow you're calling? What is calling you that you are brushing aside? What will it take for you to face your calling?
For me, it was "I'm too busy." Yet, the truth was, all I needed to do was rework my priorities. And now 7 years later, the school is here. I felt called in 2009. It took me 19 months to answer. 19 months! I argued, doubted, ignored. But the calling wouldn't give up. (read the full story here)
Sandy says, "The good thing is that our calling doesn't give up on us. But, we often give up on it."
Is there any area you've given up? The good news is that it is never too late.
The above are a list of great questions to reflect upon, so that you can get clear and own your life!
Next week we will look at the flip side.. what to do when you feel stuck from following you're calling. For now, reflect on the questions above.
By Laurel Elders, PCC
IICT Founder / Senior Faculty