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

Four Tips to Increase Gratitude

Four Tips to Increase Gratitude

Four Tips to Increase Gratitude

Have you ever had a day where you ran from one activity to the next, barely having time to catch your breath? It’s on days like these that I tend to lose sight of the small things that bless my life. I may miss a kind look, word of encouragement, or the beauty of the world around me.

At this time of year, we focus on gratitude and giving thanks for the big and small blessings that surround us. In the busy-ness of daily life, it’s easy to be distracted. Here are four tips to develop a gratitude practice.

Gratitude Tips for Busy People:

1- Prime the Pump – Priming is the cognitive state which increases sensitivity to certain stimuli. For example, it can cause you to see a certain type of car on the road more frequently after you buy one yourself. When you are intentionally grateful you prime your mind to see reality through a filter of thankfulness and abundance. The more you do it, the more you’ll feel it. Develop your ‘gratitude muscle’ by noticing things every day for which you are grateful.

2 – Play a Gratitude Game – Take a few minutes to reflect appreciatively each day. Whether you do it before bed, or over your morning coffee, or as you’re driving, notice 3 things that are right and good. Consider including yourself on the list. Say it out loud, or write it down, in this format: “I am grateful for __________because________.” Knowing why you are grateful expands and deepens the experience, bringing it more fully into your heart.

3 – Give to Get More Abundance – When we give our time, attention, or money we are using our resources for the benefit of others. Something magical happens for both the giver and the receiver when we share. It becomes a powerful force of positive energy. Until we give, it is only a potential source of power. It is through giving that you are able to realize the full power and extent of the gifts in your life and the true nature of abundance. When we recognize that we have enough to share we are making a statement to the universe that we are living abundantly, and we shift our hearts to a place of generosity. This circle of good energy expands every time we give.

4 – Being Grateful Even in Hard Situations – For many of us this is the most challenging step of all. Let’s face it, learning to apply gratitude around the unpleasant, negative and painful situations in our lives is difficult. The key lies in realizing that we don’t have to be grateful for the event, person, or thing itself but rather in the learning that occurred from it. Notice how you are growing, or what opportunities are opening up for you as a result of the experience to shift to a more positive perspective.

Most of us were taught to say “thank you” as children. We know those two simple words can have a powerful impact, smoothing out the rough edges of our interpersonal interactions. “Thank You” can become so much more when we develop a practice of mindful gratitude.  It has been said to be the most powerful form of prayer and is the simplest way to shift our energy from negative to positive. Try it today. Being grateful-on-purpose will help you see the abundance in your life on a regular basis.

 

Today’s author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is a strengths-based executive 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

What is Coaching?

What is Coaching?

What is Coaching?

The dictionary defines a life coach as a person who counsels and encourages clients on matters having to do with careers or personal challenges. It is a profession that is uniquely different from consulting, mentoring, therapy, or counseling.

A coach skillfully meets clients where they are and guides them forward, identifying and acting on specific personal and professional goals. Clients may choose to focus on a wide range of topics, some of which are inter-personal skills, relationships, work/life balance, work transitions (such as entering, shifting, or exiting a career)…or life transitions such as empty-nesting, re-entering the workforce, retirement, and much more.

The goal is greater self-awareness so that the client can make the best choices for her/himself. In the coaching conversation we identify what is going on right now, what your obstacles or challenges might be, and choose a course of action to move forward. Coaching always includes action steps and your coach becomes an accountability partner to ensure that you do what you say that you want to do; and if you don’t, then the coach helps you learn why that is.

Many coaching clients are healthy, successful people who might feel a bit stuck, or who want to make a significant change in their lives. They want the support of their own personal coach to shift out of their head and get into action.

The Wholistic Coaching Coalition is a cadre of coaches with a variety of specialties ranging from personal, executive, financial, health, parenting, and leadership development. Our goal is to help people continually evolve into their best selves through personal and professional development activities and programs.

At our ‘Be You’ Evening Retreats certified professional life and business coaches facilitate programs that teach tools and strategies that help women more consistently be their best.

Our unique programs have a coach-approach where we ask powerful questions to help you discover what is best for you! We listen and accept you as you are while encouraging you to grow more into the person you want to be.

 

 

Today’s author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is a strengths-based executive 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

What’s Your Love Language?

What’s Your Love Language?

What’s Your Love Language?

What’s your love language? What fills your cup and makes you feel loved? Coaches Carol, Laura, and Kelye explore the five love languages and how to use them personally and professionally in this ninth podcast episode. Play in your browser with the media player below or click “WWR Coaches Discuss Love Languages”.

WWR Coaches Discuss Love Languages

Be Loved, My Beloved!

Be Loved, My Beloved!

Be Loved, My Beloved!

What does it feel like to be loved?

Take a moment and think about a time when someone special (maybe a family member, friend or significant other) did something…or said something… that filled your love tank to the brim.

Was it…a hug, a thoughtful gift, an act of service, quality time spent together, or spoken words that filled you up?

When we combine the two words ‘be loved’ it turns into beloved. Does anything change for you as you put the two together?

It does for me. My One Word this year happens to be Beloved. As I have reflected on this word for many months now I’ve noticed two dimensions to it.

The first dimension in inward; it’s about being loved; learning to receive love and to be treasured by another. This year I’ve noticed the many ways that others show, or tell, me how much I mean to them. With this awareness I’m letting more love in and have sometimes found myself overwhelmed and speechless by the expression of genuine caring that others have conveyed to me.

It encourages me that even at the advanced age of 59 I have learned so much about love. Over the past 8 years I have fallen in love, nurtured that love through highs and lows, and moved into a committed relationship with my recent marriage to my longtime sweetheart, Greg. I have learned that you’re never too old to fall in love. I’ve also learned that committed loving relationships take work. Falling in love may be easy but staying in love takes intentional effort. Having tools like our strengths, values, and love languages equips us to understand one another better. I have learned what it means to be treasured by a very special man. That lesson about being his beloved continues each day.

The second dimension is outward; it’s noticing who is beloved to me and how I show the depth of that emotion. I’ve always been a caring person who easily expresses love to others, however, I’ve learned even more lessons about the nature of love this past year. A beloved brother-in-law received a dire health diagnosis last fall. This shocked him and set him, and all who love him, on edge. Suddenly we no longer had a seemingly endless supply of days to spend together stretching over many years ahead. An unclear timeline was placed on us as doctors attempted to set new expectations based upon their knowledge of his illness. Reordering of priorities occurred immediately. Suddenly each day, each moment together had a heightened sense of love. We treasure each laugh, each smile and hug. We know our time is limited and so we make sure that we express love more frequently and clearly. Anticipated loss has opened a walkway to what really matters in life.

Why does it take a frightening diagnosis for us to show someone we love them? What is it about limited time that makes us suddenly appreciate the people we hold dear? Why don’t we do it every day?

Perhaps like you, I’m fortunate to have many people in my life that I love and who love me in return. I don’t want to waste a single day, missing opportunities to show that love…and to show it in ways that they ‘get it’.

The question then becomes, how do we know the most impactful way to give love to those who are important to us…so that it’s well received?

Like many, I tend to assume that others experience love the same way that I do. Because of that tendency, I show love and appreciation in the ways that make the most sense to me. Sometimes my caring expressions fall short, though, and are misinterpreted because the other person speaks a different language.

Dr. Gary Chapman, in his popular books writes of five love languages (also known as appreciation languages in the work place). The premise is straightforward. We each have a love, or appreciation, tank inside of us that needs to be refilled as we give to others. When the tank gets too low we may feel grouchy, needy, and perhaps even desperate for refueling. Just as we need to refill our car’s gas tank to keep it going, we need to know when our love tank is low and in need of refilling.

So, what fills you up? Dr. Chapman, in his many years as a counselor, has identified these primary love, or appreciation, languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Quality Time

Apparently, I am not alone in the tendency to express love and appreciation in my own language, which frequently differs from the language of my loved ones. Miscommunication and confusion can occur when the other person doesn’t respond to my expression of appreciation the way that I thought s/he would. It can leave me wondering what’s wrong. I now recognize that I need to speak another language; their appreciation language instead of my own.

You may have heard it said that love is a choice. Sometimes the choice to love is easy and at other times it can be challenging. Using someone’s love/appreciation language is a choice as well. It helps us to be more effective in our relationships.

Common wisdom tells us that humans have an inner drive to be loved and accepted; to belong. It has been said that we’re all searching for love. Gaining a deeper understanding of our personal need for love and appreciation puts us in the driver’s seat to be more intentional about getting those needs met. I believe that knowing what makes you feel loved is a very important element of self-awareness.

In my leadership coaching practice, I focus on developing the strengths of my clients. Research shows that when a person is able to use their natural talents in their work and personal life they are more fulfilled, positive, motivated, and engaged in their life. The same is true when we honor our core values. Lives based on our unique values and strengths evoke a deep satisfaction within us.

I believe our love language has a similar ability to create deep fulfillment. When we learn what makes us feel loved, we more quickly recognize and welcome it. Such knowledge helps us ask for what we need – which increases the likelihood that we will get what we need.

In addition, knowing the love language of the people near and dear to us is like having a set of keys. We know what unlocks the door to their hearts and that allows us to show our love to them in the most impactful ways possible.

Ancient wisdom tells us that love is life’s most precious gift. It is the most important emotion we will experience in our time on earth. Learning how to do it well is a worthy endeavor; whether that’s with a romantic partner, a family member, or a friend. Wholistically, it includes learning to love and accept ourselves, and the God of our understanding, as well as others.

Taking time to show appreciation to those close to me may seem obvious yet I’ve found that I can drift into taking those relationships for granted. I don’t want to do that.

Beyond those people closest to my heart there is a larger circle where I also want to show appreciation. I can use my strengths, values, and knowledge of love languages to express my caring to co-workers, community members, and even strangers that I meet in my daily life.

The choice to show love…appreciation…and caring to another is the most important business that I’m in.

In closing, who do you want to show love to today…and how will you do it?

Feel free to comment or email me with your observations and successes!

An Invitation: As Jack Nicholson said to Diane Keaton in the popular movie, Something’s Gotta Give, You are a woman to love!” If you want to learn more about applying the five languages of love and appreciation, please join me for an interactive Be Loved Evening Retreat on Aug 29 from 5:30-7:30 pm. Click here for details and registration.

Today’s author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is a strengths-based executive 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

Read more by Carol deLaski: Finding Love Again

References:

  • The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman;
  • The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul White.

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

Have you ever felt lost? Have you ever had an experience you just couldn’t explain? Coaches Carol, Laura, and Kelye talk about Carol’s book Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith in this fifth podcast episode. Play in your browser with the media player below or click “WWR Coaches Discuss Lost and Found”.

WWR Coaches Discuss Lost and Found