What's Your Tipping Point?

So? What is it?

 

I can still remember when I hit my tipping point. It was the fall of 2013 and I was wrapping up a one on one meeting with my boss. I mentioned to her that I was "bored again". How she responded ended up being a catalyst that changed my entire world. She said- if it's any consolation, I've known you for 13 years and you always come out of this. 

 

As I left her office I thought - I always come out of this. And then it hit me like a slap in the face - I've been doing this for 13 years! Okay, maybe not the entire 13 years, however, I definitely had found that more often than not I would finish some project or challenge and then sink back into boredom.

 

Christmas came and went and I was back in my boss's office and nothing had changed for me, I felt bored and stuck - this is when I decided - it is time for me to own this. I left her office and made a life changing call. I hired a coach. Fast forward to now and here I sit, typing this blog, looking out into my sunny backyard and absolutely loving my life. 

 

Is it all puppies and flowers? Heck no! However, I am living my fulfilled life, on my terms. Did it happen overnight? Absolutely not. I worked with a coach for close to eight months and it wasn't until the fall of 2014 when I had a moment at work that again, changed my life. I contacted my coach about it and that's when the seed to become a coach myself was firmly planted. I began my official journey in January 2015.

 

What is my point? Sometimes, in order to get clarity, you need an outsider's perspective. Someone who has absolutely no emotional investment in your outcome yet someone who believes in and supports you 100%.

 

My tipping point took almost 13 years! I get that it takes time to decide that enough is enough. I want you to know, that when you decide that you've had enough and you're ready...I'm here.

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The Gift of the "Blunder"!

Blunder.  Just the sound of the word conjures up some interesting pictures in my mind.  It sounds awkward and yet a little humorous to me. It suggests failing but sounds a little kinder. When I looked it up I wasn't a fan of the actual definition that mentions being stupid and clumsy.  Clumsy maybe, stupid..yikes.  I am smiling as I write this - for the third time!  I inadvertently deleted my first draft - how ironic is that - note to self- do not discard your changes - blunder one for the day! Then I quickly wrote my second draft and headed out to the gym.  While I was at the gym, I mentioned to a couple of my classmates that I had made a major blunder and was writing a blog post about it.  I was actually surprised by their response. You made a blunder?  They were genuinely surprised that I actually F@#*d up! Right then I knew I had to edit this again and most definitely post it. 

I am feeling much more light-hearted about this post now.  Funny how a perspective can change, and in such a short time. When I first typed my post,  I had a whole different reason for doing it - I was reflecting on a recent, painful blunder I made and wanted to share my learning.  Now I realize, it is not even about the specific blunder but the fact that we all make blunders and no one is exempt. For me, yet again, the huge lesson when it comes to making blunders is the common theme of "haste".  Hastily made decisions in situations where I react vs take the time to respond.  I know that reacting definitely has a place - like in life and death situations however, let's face it, how often are we "reacting" to situations that are not "life threatening" rather than taking a moment to pause, take a breath and maybe, literally, a step back?

After the initial sting of the blunder wore off, I took some time to reflect on just what was it that had me react the way I did.   I noticed that there is a definite theme for me when I blunder. I immediately make it about me - apparently a human thing to do - and then I  lose my bigger picture perspective. Then, there is an element of haste, which inevitably results in some sort of humiliation or embarrassment - again that element of making it about me.  I absolutely know that all of the situations would have gone differently had I taken a moment to regroup before responding.  That's the gift of 20/20 hindsight.  The other gift of hindsight is to actually learn from it and move on.  The trick, I am learning, is to bounce back as quickly as I can and take the learning with me.  

My recent blunder caused me to miss a unique opportunity however, at the time, I didn't see it. Next time I make a blunder, yes, I said next time because if I am going to keep moving forward, blunders are inevitable, I will take a moment to broaden the frame I am giving the situation and look for the opportunities that may be there when I do that.  How about you?  What could you learn from your blunders?

 

Stuck in a Rut?

Stuck in a rut? How's that working out for you? Whether we want to admit it or not, sometimes staying "stuck" is exactly what we want to do. No judgement here! Been there, done that and yes, sometimes still visit the old "ruts". What's different for me now? I can recognize when I am travelling down that path again and ask myself some tough questions including - what are you choosing to do, or not to do right now? Ouch! I have a choice and quite frankly, sometimes I am happy to stay cozy and stuck.

I know that I am not alone and neither are you by the way! It is the way we humans are. Sometimes it is just easier and more "comfortable" to stay stuck in something we don't like - a career, a relationship, a body - you get the drift - than it is to do something about it. There is something familiar and safe about staying where we are. We know it and what to expect, even if it is not good.

I have noticed a pattern emerge with "almost" clients and sometimes with clients, friends, gym buddies, family etc. They think they want different, they ask for different and then when the potential for "different" shows up, they run and hide. I get it! Different takes work! When we are on the cusp of deciding to change something, all of our alarm bells are triggered and we feel safer if we just stay where we are. Even if where we are is uncomfortable and we know we deserve better. But oh... when you have the courage to decide that YES, I want different and I am afraid (probably the number one reason why we stay stuck) and I'm going to do it anyway, then that is where the real magic can happen.

The good news is, you do not have to do it alone. That's where having a coach on your side can make all of the difference for you. Having someone to believe in you and support you as you take on what may seem like an insurmountable challenge can be the difference between making the change or running and hiding. So what's it going to be? Stuck and existing or not settling and living!

 

Get Clear. Get Confident. Get Going!

"This life is more than just a read through" - red hot chili peppers

 I love music and I love quotes and I definitely love music that has meaningful quotes like the one above. "This life is more than just a read through" RHCP.  What comes to mind when you read this?  For me it is loud and clear, this is not a practice run we are on, this is the real deal here.  One kick at the can, take your best shot...you get the picture.  Yet...so many people live their life exactly like that, that it is a rehearsal for the "big event".  They will do this or that, when, this or that...they will take that vacation when the kids are bigger, they will follow their passion for art when they are retired, they will, they will, they will....

And life continues to happen like it always does.  The clock keeps tracking time and the days/weeks/months/years continue to pass.  Is it time to give your head a shake?  What exactly are you waiting for? 

One thing I have learned, is there is no "right" time to do anything.  You make plans and the universe will have a different plan for you.  I remember when I decided to pursue my coaching certification.  I knew that I would eventually leave the comfort of my corporate job and my husband and I started planning financially for this to become a reality.  I was about to begin my certification when I was told that my corporate position was being eliminated.  Suddenly, it was no longer up for debate.  This dream of mine was going to become a reality.  I always describe it like this - I was on the airplane with my parachute on waiting to jump and then, I was given a push - and here I am!  Thankful and grateful because truth be told, I might still be on that airplane waiting to jump had I not been given that serendipitous push.  Then again, knowing me, probably not!

What are you hesitating to do?  What is your dream?  Believe it or not, we are limited mostly by our attitude and how we look at things.  What is one thing you could do right now to move you one step closer to that "thing" you've been putting off "until..."?  Do that.  If you don't know the first step to take, hire a coach!  We're pretty good at helping our clients see the opportunities that are lurking just outside of their consciousness...its kind of what we do. 

Get Clear. Get Confident. Get Going! 

Yes! You really did just say that!

When I am asked what value a coach gives to a client the first thing that comes to mind for me is this - no one listens to you like a good coach does.  Yes, there are a multitude of things that a coach offers their client however, the number one thing (in my opinion) is the level of listening they offer the client.  By level, I mean, not the typical listening level we usually experience in a conversation - the kind where the "listener" is just waiting for the "speaker" to stop talking so they can chime in and tell them their story, that is, if they haven't already interrupted to get it in!  I'm sure you know what I am talking about - you've got a migraine, they know someone who had a brain tumor; you want to go to Tahiti and they've been to Bali.  Yes, you may say, it is a way to connect and it certainly is however, it is not what a coach is paid to do.

A coach hears what the client is saying and NOT saying.  A coach hears the repeated messages that a client sends through the course of a single and often, over multiple conversations and this is something that a client simply cannot do for themselves.  A coach is able to bring information to the client's awareness - it is the client's information, just information that they were not consciously aware of.  This information often leads to surprising discoveries for the client.  That is where the value lies.  A coach listens without emotion or any investment in the outcome of the coaching for the client.  When I say emotion, I am referring to the fact that when a spouse, sibling, best friend, parent etc. listens to you, they cannot do so without some sort of emotional investment or agenda, it is human nature.  A coach is listening to you, for you. and without an emotional agenda or investment.  That's why we don't coach our family and close friends!

When was the last time you felt heard in this way?  What would the value be for you? Get curious.  Sometimes just one coaching session (depending on the client's particular requirements) is enough to bring clarity and awareness to a client.  Just imagine how great that would feel!  How would getting clear on a particular situation or perhaps a problem where you feel there is only one choice feel?  Consider it a gift to yourself to find out.  You have nothing to lose and potentially so much to gain.

Do you "deserve" to get what you want?

When you don't know what you want, it is like being in a fog or trying to shoot an arrow in the dark - there is no target and even if there was you would not be able to see it to hit it.

What could be worse than that?  How about knowing what you want and then doing nothing about it? Or, knowing what you want and putting it on hold until "the time is right"?  Or maybe the most crippling - knowing what you want and not feeling like you deserve to have it?

One thing I continue to learn as I move through my journey as a coach is this - clients often come knowing what they want or at least knowing what they don't want.  Through the coaching process, the client will usually land on something that resonates for them.  Great news you may think...that's half the battle and yes, in many ways it is.  Yet what often gets in the way is the belief that for some reason they do not deserve to - be fit and healthy; have the partner of their dreams; live in the home they want; have the fulfilling career they dream of...the list goes on.

And sadly, until this fundamental mind block is removed, the client will remain stuck - stuck with knowing what they want and not standing in their power to believe that what they want is both possible for them and something they deserve.   

This personally resonated for me when I took the plunge and left my corporate job and pursued my dream of being a coach.  I had the courage to leave my job, knew what I wanted and went full force to get it.  Fast forward several months and still new in my business and I questioned myself, what's holding me back?  The resounding answer was believing that I deserve to be successful.  As I reflected on the question I thought "Of course I deserve to be successful! Who leaves their job, pursues a dream and then settles for being unsuccessful?  That is just (excuse my language) plain dumb!"  Until I had that realization, I was allowing myself to settle for what was and not pursuing the huge possibilities that exist for me.  Changing my self limiting belief changed my attitude and my approach to my business - I do deserve the success I have!

I share this as I know that so many of us hold ourselves back by believing that we don't deserve what we desire.  So here is my request for you - ask yourself - what is stopping me from pursing what I want?  Get curious. Be compassionate. Then make a decision. Believe you deserve it and then notice what changes for you!

 

Tapping into Stress & Turning it into a Gift

We are half way through February and the first quarter of 2017! A little scary when you think about it. How are you doing? Really, how are you doing? Right back into the thick of things? Do you remember that break you had in December? You did have a break in December, right? Too many questions, yet, if you are like many people, you are back in the blur of life again. While that is amazing for some of you, for others it feels like you have been picked up like a house in a tornado in Kansas but without the knowledge of having the red shoes.

Stress is a part of our everyday lives. That's a fact and we need some stress in our lives. It's when we're on overload and can't seem to function that we could use a hand. The key is finding the level of stress that works for you, not against you.

The interesting thing is, if you take some time to investigate, you may find that rather than trying to "deal" with the stress you can actually tap in to and utilize it as a strength..no kidding. Kind of like having your own pair of red shoes. Intriguing isn't it!

Sound like something you can use? I am running a two hour workshop on Saturday February 25th, 2017 at 1pm in Mississauga. A couple of spots are left and since its Valentine's Day I am offering it for $50 (regular price $75) if you contact me by noon February 15th,

 

 

Why thinking is useful!

When was the last time you were stimulated enough by something to actually want to sit down and consciously take some time to think about it? 

I am guessing that you are not alone if you cannot remember when the last time you did this was. Thinking time is underrated and under utilized and unfortunately, we often go through our days in auto pilot doing what we do and ultimately, getting what we get.

Why do I mention this or even think it is worth writing about?

I create and deliver unique workshops and the primary outcome of success for the participant is - are they walking away thinking?  This is my measure of success - getting participants to have a new way to look at something, whether it is a personal thing or a work thing doesn't really matter. There is no line in our brain between these things.  We are people first.

What does this matter?  Well, after 20 plus years in the corporate world, I cannot begin to tell you how many different team building events, motivational speakers, experts in whatever the flavour of the month/quarter/year. the company was subscribing to, that I  the pleasure of being exposed to. I do not say that with sarcasm.  I am the exception that loved hearing new ideas, learning new concepts from:  what my "colour" told me and my colleagues about how I thought: why laughter was important: how to set goals etc. etc.  The one that probably had the biggest impact on me was working with my strengths...that was a pivotal  moment for me and literally shifted my career and life.  It was one of those things that actually made me think - differently.

While most of my colleagues grumbled about the time these things took away from their day or how it didn't apply to them, I was walking away, always, with at least one nugget to put in my tool kit. However, I was the exception. I don't blame my colleagues for the reaction they had.  After years and years they had noticed a pattern - flavour of the month/quarter/year - insert speaker/training/workshop etc. - walk away and ZERO follow up to embed the training etc.  What a shame, what a lost opportunity.  Colleagues, rightfully, became jaded. They were investing their time in their development that ultimately would be a distant memory in a month or so.  They were not stimulated to think.

This is where my workshops are different!  I run a series of three workshops (check our my website for more details www.steppingstonecoaching.ca) that provide a way to get people to think differently about how they approach things - whether at work or in life.  I offer them with enough space in between for thought and close enough for participants to keep the interest and momentum.

In addition, I can customize a workshop to what you are looking for in your organization.

Here's what I can pretty much guarantee:  you have never experienced anything like this, you will walk away with at least one different perspective on how to approach a previous situation and you will be thinking.  And...your employees will be left curious and wanting more. Period.

Want different? Do different!

 

Simple way to exit 2016 and enter 2017 with intention.

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end". Semisonic

I love quoting this line from a song from my past. Sometimes in order to move on , we must leave something behind.

As this is the last day of 2016 I thought I would share an exercise on setting intentions that I did this morning. Simple yet thought provoking and insightful. Feel free to grab a piece of paper and something to write with if you wish.

The key here is to NOT think too much - the first thing that pops into your mind is there for a reason. Get curious about it and don't judge it or try to make sense of it. Just notice it.

First - think of something you would like to leave behind from 2016 - it could be a relationship, a habit, a feeling etc.

Then, think of something you would like to keep from this past year -again could be a feeling, relationship, perhaps a new and useful habit.

Finally, think of something you would like to add or have more of in 2017.

I am intrigued by what came up for me and still mulling it over. That is the point - to get you thinking.

I wish you a Happy New Year and Happy New Beginnings!

Is it time for a change?

It's December already and the year is wrapping up - no pun intended for those of you who enjoy the Christmas Season!  When you look back on the year are you happy with how it turned out?  Did you meet those goals that you set?  Do you even remember those goals you set!?

Change is a funny thing and change is exactly what you are looking for when you are setting a goal.  You want something different, whether it is to start something new, stop something old or to tweak something, goals are all about change.  Usually that "something" is some sort of behaviour or habit that gets in our way of achieving our ultimate goal.

Funny thing is, if you are not crystal clear on what you want, you will not meet your goal.  Let me repeat that.  Unless you are crystal clear on what you want, you will not meet your goal. Sounds harsh and it is true.  

There are a few things I have noticed about people who are able to make and sustain a change and they are:  

  • They are very clear on what they want and it is very specific - it is so specific that they are able to visualize it.
  • They don't go after every single thing in their life at once.  
  • They have an awareness and willingness to make the change.
  • They have a positive mindset and a belief in themselves that what they want is possible.
  • The intention for the change is a positive one versus one motivated by pain.
  • They take the time to check in with themselves to see where they're at on a regular basis and they ask themselves "how am I doing?" and "what's different now?".
  • They are grateful for progress and patient and flexible - they don't let one little set back discourage them.
  • They are patient and compassionate with themselves and the change they are looking for.
  • They get support for the change - for example, they work with a coach; friend or some other sort of accountability partner or community.
  • They know that small consistent changes lead to big results.
  • They go back to the visualization of their goal whenever they need to and that provides motivation and reminds them of their intention.

If change is on your plan for 2017 I would love to have a conversation with you - 15 minutes with absolutely no obligation Contact me.  Just a chat about why working with me will provide you with a really good chance of meeting your goals for 2017.