Clear the Clutter

Clear the Clutter

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to move into a new home and take nothing, or at least very little, with you?  I have and that’s prompted by my desire to live clutter free.  The less clutter I have, the less stressed I feel.  It’s just that simple for me.  A clutter free space truly makes me happy.

If you came to my house, you’d see several books about decluttering, organizing, and keeping only those things that spark joy.  I love to clear things out and organize spaces because the payoff for me is truly a sense of peacefulness and clarity.  You might think that I have a home that is completely clear of clutter since this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and yet that isn’t true.  Some rooms stay clutter free much of the time, and others manage to get out of control occasionally. Why is that?  Probably because the spaces that get out of control are less visible like spare bedrooms, closets, the basement or the infrequently used dining room table.

Clutter is most likely to build up when life gets busier than normal and I don’t make the time for a regular practice.  Before I know it, I have an overwhelming decluttering job to tackle.  Clearing the clutter works best when I make it a part of my routine around the house, like getting the dirty dishes into the dish washer, vacuuming or doing laundry.  Clutter can make me feel distracted, overwhelmed, and raises my stress level, even if it’s in very subtle ways.  I know that when I declutter, even in the smallest ways, I have quite the opposite reaction.  I feel happy, honestly almost giddy at times when the things piling up on the kitchen table, or thrown haphazardly in a closet are straightened up.  Years ago, I worked for a large financial institution and a few close colleagues would joke with me that they knew when I was working on a project that was very challenging when they saw me standing in front of my desk with a very focused look, throwing papers away, and clearing off my desk with a passion.   I seemed to do that when I really needed to focus intently on a difficult task.  Taking a few minutes to clear my desk off completely, and get rid of things that weren’t needed allowed me to clear my mind and concentrate on the one priority I had without being weighed down by the distractions sitting on my desk.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Marie Kondo and her books on tidying up.  Kondo states that to successfully declutter, we should ask if each item in our home “sparks joy”, and if it does not truly spark joy, to thank it for being in our life and let it go.  I have found that the “spark joy” test to be very profound.  You may think that there are lots of things that you need in your home that do not spark joy, but you still need them.  At first, I thought that too, and then realized that even small things like my favorite knives in the kitchen, my amazing vacuum, or fluffy towels in the bathroom can spark joy.    If you’d like to check out Marie Kondo in action with some of her clients, you may enjoy her Netflix series called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.  Her practice promotes taking everything out of closets, drawers, etc. all at one time and item by item deciding whether they are worthy of keeping.  If you can manage that, you’ll soon be on your way to being 100% clutter free.  However, I use a combination of ideas that work for me, some pieces of her practice as well as tips and tricks from other sources that work well.

Getting started can be the toughest part of decluttering.  It helps to have a clear vision of your clutter free space.  What’s that look like and how will that make you feel?  Once you have some clarity around your motivation for decluttering, here are a few ideas to help you get started.

First, get a bag for trash and a box for donations.  Set a timer on your phone for 20 minutes.  Go room to room finding things that can either be thrown away or donated and fill that bag and box.  You may be amazed at the progress you’ll have in just 20 minutes.  And, there is nothing magical about the timeframe – do it for 10 minutes or 45 minutes, whatever works for you.  Just keep it simple and manageable.  Then, celebrate that success by throwing out the trash and putting the donation box in your car to deliver to your local charity.  This small step will start some momentum for you, and you’ll feel good about doing a bit more.

Start small – perhaps you clean out the spice cabinet, throwing out the expired items and organizing the remaining bottles, all in one place.  And, think about the decluttering based on categories, for example, books, gift wrap/bags and cards,  files, cleaning supplies, seasonal decorations.  These things may be scattered in several rooms and when you gather them all into one space, it’s easier to create a good space for them and find them easily when you need them.  Having one place to look for each type of item can reduce stress, and eliminate the need to purchase things that you already have somewhere!  Once you have tackled a few smaller tasks, you’ll most likely have the energy and enthusiasm to declutter larger areas for longer periods of time.

Imagine clearing out clutter to bring more joy and peace into your life.  Visualizing that may make the work of clearing your clutter feel more purposeful and impactful.  On Wednesday, July 29th Wholistic Woman Retreats will be hosting a virtual event called Clear the Clutter.  As one of the partner coaches at WWR, I’ll be facilitiating the event and talking about clearing out what I call life clutter.  We’ll talk about more than the clutter in our physical spaces.  We’ll also consider the emotional, mental and spiritual life clutter that could be holding us back or making us feel stuck. You’ll create a customized plan for yourself that will help you to design a life that is peaceful and full of joy. I hope you will join us on July 29!

4 Reasons Why A Girl’s Trip is Good For Your Health

4 Reasons Why A Girl’s Trip is Good For Your Health

When was the last time you got your friends together for a girl’s trip? Intentionally setting aside time to spend with girlfriends is worth the time and expense. Plus, there are countless health benefits that come with booking a vacation!

Let’s dive into four specific reasons why a girl’s trip is good for your health.

1. It gives you something to look forward to

Did you know that simply planning a trip can increase your happiness? A 2010 study showed that the participants felt most happy before their vacation! Imagine the pleasure you would experience if you set a date on the calendar for a girl’s trip. You and your friends would have a ton of fun things to discuss: where to go, what hotel to book, which restaurants to try — and so on! 

Take your excitement to the next level by setting up a countdown on your phone. Treat yourself to something new, such as a stylish passport case, fashionable (but comfortable) shoes, or a satisfying book

2. Female friendships are good for the soul

Psychologist Breanna Jayne Sada says, “Female friends [are] great for your self-esteem. A good female friend won’t fat-shame you or let you fat-shame yourself, they will tell you why you deserve that promotion or why your partner should treat you better. After walking away from a conversation with a good female friend you should feel confident and supported.”

While you might get plenty of social interaction with a spouse or coworkers, there’s something special about female friendships. Many women are empathetic and affirming, and can offer loving advice or join you in a good-for-the-soul laugh fest. A girl’s trip is a worthy investment in nurturing your friendships!

3. Time away increases creativity

Do you ever feel like you can’t escape the monotony of your routine? It’s hard to get creative juices when you’re in a rut. Vacation is the ultimate way to get unstuck! Breaking from your routine allows your mind and body to work in new ways. You might find yourself coming home with new ideas and perspectives.

Take advantage of the change in your schedule to try something new. Need ideas? Try meditation, journaling, or getting out in nature. Or learn a new skill! Cooking classes, dance classes, and language classes are all fun ways to get out of your comfort zone and be immersed in a different culture.

4. A girls trip promotes adult play

A girl’s trip is the perfect opportunity to engage in some good old-fashioned fun! Adult play has a ton of health benefits. It has the power to lower stress, increase brain function, help create stronger connections, and leave you feeling more energetic!

Go for a group hike! Sign up for a paint and wine class! Hunker down for a night of board games and jigsaw puzzles! Or, consider going “old school.” Think of activities you and your friends enjoyed as kids or young adults, and partake in those same activities while on your trip.

Are you ready to get away with girlfriends? Join us for a long weekend in sunny Sedona, Arizona! You’ll enjoy plenty of opportunities for connection, creativity, and play. Click here for more details and to register!

Team Coaching vs Group Coaching: Is There a Difference?

Team Coaching vs Group Coaching: Is There a Difference?

Have you heard of group coaching? (Or, are you interested in learning more about group coaching?) If so, you might be wondering what the difference is between group coaching and team coaching. There are many similarities between the two. Both types of coaching involve a facilitator working with a set of individuals. In both cases, individuals are looking to grow professionally through increasing leadership skills, learning ways to effectively communicate, and more. 

But, there is a key difference between group coaching and team coaching. First, let’s define what each type of coaching entails.

What is Group Coaching?

In a group coaching setting, people who have a common interest gather together to work on individual goals. Each person has the opportunity to share his or her goals, and is held accountable by other members of the group. While a facilitator guides the conversation, members of the group are encouraged to share their perspectives and experiences. Thus, peer learning is accomplished.

Benefits of Group Coaching

Group Discussion

Do you ever feel stuck? You might be approaching your issue from the wrong angle or mindset. Group coaching provides a platform for each individual person to receive input from the rest of the group. Plus, you might be an expert on a subject that another individual needs help with!

Accountability

Never underestimate the power of accountability! With group coaching, both the facilitator and fellow group members will check in to see how you’re moving forward towards meeting your goals. While you will note your progress at each meeting, you also have the opportunity to create check-ins outside of the structured group meeting. That brings me to…

Mutually beneficial relationships

You might find yourself in a group with another person who has a similar goal to yours. You could be in a similar line of business. Regardless of the reason why, you’ll likely find yourself connecting with one or more members of your group. If this happens, look for ways to meet up outside of the group coaching setting. 

What is Team Coaching?

Like group coaching, team coaching involves increasing the professional development skills of participants involved. However, instead of working on individual goals, participants work together to set goals and make decisions. This is a great option for workplace teams who have undergone a change in leadership or who are still getting to know one another. In a team coaching setting, each person’s individual skill set is seen as a valuable and vital part of the team’s success. 

Which Type of Coaching is Right For Me?

Are you looking to meet goals you’ve established for yourself as an individual? Would you like to receive input and accountability from other people? If so, give group coaching a try.

Are you part of a team of coworkers or managers who would benefit from establishing shared goals? The success of team coaching is based on each person working together.

Still not sure if group coaching is right for you? We’d love to help!

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Our next group coaching session will discuss how strengths and money relate to one another. Financial Coach Jane Helm and Executive Coach Carol deLaski will lead a small group of women in exploring and applying two powerful tools, Money Personality and Strengths Finder. Learn more and register here!

The Money Story: A Journey of Awareness

The Money Story: A Journey of Awareness

Have you ever thought about writing your autobiography? Chances are, it sounds daunting! To recapture your life and all that’s happened may take quite a bit of time and energy. Who would you write it this for? Documenting your life experiences would be an interesting read for your family and could serve to pass down some wisdom you have gleaned through your lifetime.

Your Money Story is a piece of each chapter of your life. It is uniquely yours, as there are no two stories that are identical. Although writing your story may feel as daunting as an autobiography, it can be broken down into specific chapters, that when pieced together, can impart some important clues around how your beliefs are driving your emotions around money. Even more interesting, how these are affecting your behavior with money.

Having written my own Money Story, I can attest to many “aha moments” that have given me insight into “why I do what I do” with money. As I have been working on my story for several years, I have learned that by documenting each chapter I have been peeling back layers of messages and emotions that hadn’t been leading to the behavior I knew I wanted to embrace.

We’ve all been given sage advice as to the best ways to manage our money, such as “spend less than you make,” or “pay off your credit card every month.” But turning this guidance into action steps is a struggle for many of us. In my past, I would beat myself up for the decisions I made, because I knew better…

I knew that spending more than I was making wouldn’t turn out well. I knew that my increasing credit card debt was going to lead to more worry, stress, and guilt. I kept asking myself, “what’s wrong with you?”

As it turns out, nothing was wrong with me! The unhealthy money habits were a result of a disconnect I had with my money story: mixed messaging, misguided perceptions, anger, and fear around money made for a perfect blend of a looming disaster. I hit rock bottom twenty- five years ago. I was broke and broken-not able to muster up the energy to tackle the enormity of my situation.  The isolation was the frosting on the cake of my situation and carried my mindset to an all-time low.

It wasn’t until I started digging deep into my story that I could start my own journey to financial confidence. By unraveling my perceptions, and getting curious about my emotions I began to understand my behavior with money. Little by little I began making different types of decisions that were based on the emotional outcome I so desired, using that emotion as a guidepost in my everyday spending decisions. I was in the early stages of changing my goal from paying off a HUGE amount of debt to making decisions that would result in building my confidence.

I have written my Money Story! Each time I reflect on it I have new insights to incorporate into the story, leveraging my awareness of some behavioral blind spots, or messaging that can linger for decades.  The transformation that I have experienced is a big part of why I founded my financial coaching business. I believe that everyone deserves clarity around their money behavior that can lead to a life of stress- free money management. Using our money story as a tool to build awareness, along with a plan to leverage the numbers we are working with can lead to a truly holistic approach to money management.

Brad Klontz, author of “Mind Over Money,” and founder of Yourmentalwealth.com, states, “Recognizing that our financial habits make sense given our history and the beliefs we internalized about money allows us to reflect on our financial mistakes with compassion and grace.”

By authoring your money story, you will triumph over the habits that are holding you back from reaching your financial goals, and give yourself the compassion and grace that will allow you to get un-stuck. Get ready for the next chapter of your Money Story to finally be told from the perspective of confidence!

Connectedness

Connectedness

“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” ~ Brené Brown

Yes!!!  This!!!  Connectedness!!!  I need this, you need this, the world needs this!!!  

Just imagine a world where we all felt connected to ourselves and to others.  Really… pause for a moment and imagine how your life and the world would be if we all had a deep sense of love and belonging.  Can you picture it!?!  What do you see?

What I see is a world where people feel safe to say that they are afraid and need help. What I see is a world where interdependence is everywhere and no one feels alone.  What I see is a world where we meet people where they are without needing them to be different.  What I see is a world where we know and understand that our differences are what bring beauty and color and variety to life, and more than tolerate differences, we embrace them.  Yes, you may say I’m a dreamer, but that is what I see.

One of the things I absolutely love about the Wholistic Woman Retreats Community is that we strive to create a safe space where you will feel connected.  We hold monthly events and encourage membership in our community in hopes that the women who come on a regular basis will get to know one another and will feel like they belong.  

Emma Seppälä, Ph.D, Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and the author of The Happiness Track (HarperOne, 2016)  notes one landmark study that showed that lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.  Who knew!?!

She goes on to report that research around strong social connection shows that it:

  • leads to a 50% increased chance of longevity
  • strengthens your immune system
  • helps you recover from disease faster
  • lowers levels of anxiety and depression

Moreover, studies also show that people who feel connected to others have higher self-esteem, greater empathy for others, are more trusting and cooperative and, as a consequence, others are more open to trusting and cooperating with them. In other words, social connectedness generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well-being.

If you are a woman in the Frederick Area and are looking for more connectedness, we might be exactly what you are looking for.  Check out this impromptu video I made about our upcoming August 2019 event being held in partnership with The Frederick County Chamber of Commerce’s  Women in Business Committee…

Click Here to watch the video

Here are the 2 links you will need if you are interested in joining us for this event:

In the meantime, there are lots of ways you can connect with us so please spend some time perusing our website if you’d like more information 🙂

And please, share your thoughts with us!  We love learning from you!  

Wholeheartedly,

~ Laura  

Today’s author: Laura Hall, CPC, CDWF: As a certified professional coach since 2009, Laura Hall, Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator has been helping people just like you make changes in both their personal and professional lives.  Laura can be reached via email at laurahallcoach@me.com or feel free to visit her website HallCoaching.com

A Wholistic Approach to One Word

A Wholistic Approach to One Word

A Wholistic Approach to One Word

Are you familiar with the practice of using One Word for the year?

Many find this tool more helpful than New Year’s resolutions which can fall by the wayside within a few weeks or months. The idea is that your One Word guides and teaches you throughout the course of a full year. Based on the easy-to-read book, One Word that will Change your Life, by Gordon, Britton, and Page, the practice is simple yet highly impactful. Now in my 7th year using the One Word practice, I have decided to take a Wholistic approach to the practice. This means I will consider my One Word through the four perspectives of wholeness; heart, mind, body, and spirit.

Allow me to explain this approach using my one word from last year as an example.

My word for 2018 was Beloved and it has taught me a great deal in the past 12 months. I like to reflect on the lessons learned before I move on to another word for the New Year.

Heart: As you might imagine, the word Beloved was relatively easy to experience on a heart level. I paid close attention to the inward and outward dimensions of it. Inward meant noticing what it feels like to be someone’s Beloved; to be the recipient of their love and attention. Outward meant noticing what it feels like to show others that they are Beloved to me. 2018 was a significant year as I married my longtime sweetheart, Greg. I had the opportunity to give and receive love in new ways as I committed the rest of my life to this Beloved man and to our blended families. In addition, the year offered significant lessons as I walked, (and continue to walk) a journey through the diagnosis of a terminal illness with a Beloved brother-in-law and sister. This word taught me anew not to take the people I love for granted. You can read more about these heart lessons in Be Loved, My Beloved. 

Mind: When I thought about the word Beloved, I immediately went to the dictionary to learn its official definition. Webster’s tells us that it means ‘dearly loved, or dear to the heart’. No surprise there. I am aware who is dear to my heart, as I imagine you are, too. However, I cannot help but wonder how well I express that ‘dearness’ to those who are Beloved to me. Like many, I often get caught up in the busyness of life and focus on completing the tasks that make up my work and life activities. I believe that what we focus on grows, so when I focus on accomplishing tasks, I must admit that I get a lot done and feel satisfaction from my efforts. However, something is lost when I allow myself to focus solely on my ‘to-do list’. I lose the being part of me. I have learned this year to focus more on being with those I love. I have prioritized quality time with those dear to me and have built a wealth of joyful memories as a result of that prioritization. I still get my work and life tasks done, but there is a better balance now as I try to make sure those who are dear to me know just how much I treasure them.

Body: I was surprised at what I found when I looked at my word Beloved from a physical perspective. Similar to what I learned from the heart and mind dimensions, I noticed that it had to do with taking people for granted. In this case, however, it was my own health and well-being that I took for granted. I tend to assume that my body will function how I need it to each day. It isn’t until I get sick or injure myself that I realize just how precious a healthy body is. I am in awe of the physical design and intricate systems of the human body. I consider my body a gift from my Creator. I see that gift as a Temple and feel a responsibility to maintain my health in optimal condition so that I can be (and do) all that I am called to be and do. Early in 2018, I was motivated to treat my body very well as I prepared for our wedding. During the first half of the year, I was a healthy eater, exercised more than ever before, got plenty of sleep, and generally practiced excellent self-care. After the wedding, however, I took a break from those good habits and I am still trying to get back to them 6 months later. I admit that self-care can be hard for me. I’ve had a lifelong tendency to focus on others more than on myself. According to Gallup’s Strengths Finder, my leadership style is ‘Relationship Building’ and I agree completely.  I love people; whether at work or at play I am fascinated by human interactions. This year I added a new tool to my personal development with the Enneagram assessment, an ancient typology of nine interconnected personality types. According to the assessment, I am a 2, which is known as The Helper. It confirmed yet again that I am hardwired to focus on others. I am designed this way. My word Beloved, when focused inward, reminds me to incorporate self-care with the care of others. It is absolutely necessary to take care of my body and health in order to be the giver that I am designed to be.

Spirit: To be honest, I was somewhat uncomfortable when the word Beloved first resonated with me early in 2018. It is not a word that I use in everyday speech, so it felt a bit awkward. My use of it was infrequent and, even then, it was in written form. It is a word that I usually see in my favorite Good Book, so I have thought of it as a spiritual word. I can almost hear God’s voice saying, “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” It felt like too grand of a word for me. It was a word to describe the Son of God, not Carol Sue. But because the One Word practice comes from God/Spirit I felt compelled to pursue it this past year. I delighted in highlighting Beloved whenever it appeared in my daily devotionals. Unlike my other yearly theme words, this word has not appeared very often in conversations, on posters or coffee mugs or in songs, but it has appeared often in my devotional readings. There has been a wonderful spiritual connection whenever I have read the word Beloved because I can almost hear God saying it…and that brings me joy. I have also been reminded that one of the names for the Holy Spirit is The Helper. This reminder encourages me to trust that there is a Force greater than I which helps those in need. I can relax and not spread myself so thin by quickly swooping in with assistance. I prayerfully ask the Spirit to guide me every day in offering my help. I have learned that spiritually guided help is much more effective and less exhausting in the long run. I use the prayer that I wrote in my book, Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith, each day to orient and ground me:

Dear God, be personal and present with me today; Be my best friend. Help me see how you are guiding and providing for me; Holy Spirit, You lead. Continue to heal my heart swiftly and silently so that I can be all that you created me to be; Make me whole. Amen.

As I ask God to guide me each day, I embrace in a trusting relationship with my Creator. I feel connected and sense when my actions are in alignment with the Spirit.

I share this example of a Wholistic Approach to One Word because I find that it adds a deeper dimension to my yearly word practice. I encourage you to try it as well. If you are new to the One Word practice, I suggest that you read the book mentioned above and find a Stretch Team to discuss your word with throughout the year.

Women in the surrounding Frederick area are invited to join me for an evening retreat about the Wholistic Approach to One Word on January 30th from 5:30-7:30 pm. Click here for more details and registration information.

A second invitation is to join a One Word Coaching Group offered by the Wholistic Coaching Coalition. These small groups are open to women and men and will meet conveniently via Zoom calls in February and March to get you off to a great start with your One Word for 2019. Click here for more details.

Feel free to comment here with your thoughts and questions.

Today’s author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is a strengths-based executive leadership coach who guides individuals and businesses to be their best. For more information about her coaching services, and her book Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith, visit www.caroldelaski.com or email her at carol@caroldelaski.com