Compassion, Space, Grace, Self-Care & HUMOR

Compassion, Space, Grace, Self-Care & HUMOR

COMPASSION

Kristen Neff has defined self-compassion as being composed of three main components–self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

She says self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?

Instead of mercilessly judging or criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings-after all, whoever said you were supposed to be perfect?

Please practice cultivating gentle, loving-kindness towards yourself as a way of being more self-compassionate.

SPACE

 A continuous area of expanse, which is free, available or unoccupied.

There have been times in my life I needed some space. A weekend getaway, walk through the woods, riding in the car playing my favorite tunes or just to being in a room all by myself.

Who remembers the Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella 1965 song that went like this…In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be. There is such freedom in that chair.

When was the last time you allowed yourself some space?

GRACE

Is the spiritual freedom that arises from living in harmony with yourself, others, and with the entire world. ~Unknown

A virtue coming from God.

Mercy, pardon, favor, privilege, kindness, courtesy, approval, dignity, temporary exemption, honor, beauty, elegance, harmony, charm and divine love.

My 2019 One Word is Grace. I believe grace allows for our Wholistic heart, body, mind, and spirit to all be in full alignment bringing JOY to the world and all those in it.

What does Grace mean to you?

SELF-CARE

The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular, during periods of stress.

I would like to share a blog that I think is well written. I credit Tracie Nichols with these wise words:

Recently I saw a social media post about self-care steps someone was taking after coming through an intense few weeks inviting folks to talk about the way they were taking care of themselves.

Not surprisingly, an impressive list of messages, nature rambles, spiritual experiences and the like followed.

What was surprising to me was the mixed set of reactions I felt when reading them.

There was my usual surge of “go you!” appreciation for people truly caring for themselves. I also felt exhausted and overwhelmed at the thought of trying to attempt any of these truly beautiful self-care practices myself. And then came an ache of aloneness and an alarming pulse of shame. (Shame?)

You see, my life right now is a storm of worry and off the charts stress. There are hard, hard things happening for 2 people I love. 2 people who are inextricably woven into the fabric of my daily life. People for whom I have a foot and a heart in the role of caretaker.

I’ll pause here to let you (deeply kind, so very compassionate and caring folks) no I’m OK. I know you’re all wise in the ways of healing and self-love and I’m not asking you to do the labor of offering advice (with a gentle appreciation for any who had that impulse). I simply offer this snapshot of my life to give you a bit of context So what I’m saying next about self-care makes sense.

Since a lot of my work centers around helping people Cultivate resilience, my aversion reactions to this post gave me this ghostly sense of being an outsider in a space I typically call home.

That pulse of shame? She’s there because “I know this stuff and I should be doing better.” which is hogwash, of course. But As I am sure you know when our resilience is stretched rice paper thin, that’s when our inner monsters stage their coup.

Hello, monsters…  Nope. You don’t get to take over ‘t get to take over…

So right now…

~because it’s all very intense and utterly beyond my control
~because it’s swampy with all the feelings, especially grief
~because my time isn’t my own – or doesn’t feel as if it is
~because the weight of this is bringing me to my knees – sometimes literally
~because massages and painting classes and long walks and silent retreats feel mythical. Unreachable. A climb up Everest in flip flops. 

…my version of self-care looks like

  • Remembering to eat.
  • Breathing a quiet “yes!” when it’s veggies rather than donuts.
  • Wearing the softest, most comfy clothes I own.
  • Embracing unplanned naps.
  • Stopping by a park for 10 minutes between transportation runs, rolling down the windows and breathing. Getting out of the car optional. Walking optional.
  • Wrapping my hands around a warm Cup of tea. Breathing.
  • Letting plans – for my business and life – go dormant for a bit.
  • Holding schedules – for my business and life – gently and loosely.
  • Whispering “I love you. You’ve got this.“ when I catch a glimpse of myself in random reflective surfaces.
  • Kindness and patience when none of these work.
  • Kindness when the patience fails.
  • Retroactive kindness when the kindness fails.

So, here’s my invitation to you this time: take a moment to notice the state of your resilience. And, if it feels nurture nourishing, whisper “I love you. You’ve got this.” when you catch a glimpse of yourself in random reflective surfaces. Saver how that feels. Build yourself a sweet well of self-love to draw on when life gets hard.

HUMOR

The quality of being amusing, comical or funny.

Humor is the gift we give ourselves but one that takes a little bit of work. We must look for the humor in every situation and use it to gain perspective, reduce stress and make others laugh and smile. When was the last time you had a good belly laugh?

About today’s author: Kat Middleton is an Empowerment Coach who is passionate about her work and advocates for authentic wholehearted living both personally and professionally. She is a Certified Professional Coach and Occupational Therapy Practitioner who loves working with people holistically; helping others to help themselves see things through new filters. Kat joined the Wholistic Woman community in September of 2017. She is very excited to learn, grow, and have much fun with this AMAZING group of women. Kat is available for private one-on-one coaching as well as group workshops, seminars, and speaking events.

The Power of Group Coaching

The Power of Group Coaching

Brené Brown says “True belonging doesn’t require that we change who we are; it requires that we be who we are.”

Group coaching allows you to be who you are in a group of like-minded people–the ones who are faced with similar challenges and goals. As a participant, you become part of a dynamic form of learning, where you will help others while receiving the support and encouragement from professional coaches and your fellow group members.

Here are some of the powerful benefits of group coaching:

  1. Shared wisdom: Group coaching provides an opportunity to discuss your dreams and goals with similar people and share ideas. It also provides an opportunity to learn from the insights and contributions of others. The learning that occurs in a group from listening to other members’ stories, ideas and concerns provide an insightful mirror for your growth.
  2. Accountability: Group coaching brings an element of accountability to others. This is an awesome motivator when you come to each session to discuss your progress and achievement of goals and the barriers to achievement with others who are empathetic and supportive. You receive constructive feedback from multiple sources, which enriches your own development. Group coaching holds you accountable while still giving you time and space to reflect.
  3. Opportunity to build authentic friendships: Group coaching allows you to make new connections and form authentic friendships with others. It gives you an opportunity, and confidence to explore ways to enrich personal connections. It enhances your own compassion, empathy. By listening to others’ stories, you gain an understanding of your own unique story.
  4. Increase your motivation: This type of coaching is a great motivator. Women often feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Knowing you have the support from other participants as well as from professional coaches will offer the encouragement you need. It builds confidence, and motivates you to keep going with reaching your goals!
  5. Finding your Tribe: By getting to know other group members on a personal level and developing trust with them, you will belong to a group, growing your network of relationships that enrich your life. This type of bonding amongst group members who offer mutual support can act as a powerful catalyst for change.
  6. Affordability: maybe private coaching is out of your financial comfort zone. Group coaching is an affordable option, where you will experience the power of coaching at a fraction of the cost!

At Wholistic Woman Retreats, we like to meet you where you are and offer you opportunities for personal and professional growth. We hope you will consider our group coaching offers as an opportunity to enhance your life while forming new relationships with like-minded women.

As a wealth coach, Jane combines decades of financial services experience with a degree in social work and psychology to bring positive financial change to her client’s lives.

Be Resilient – A Life Design Accessory

Be Resilient – A Life Design Accessory

Do you ever wake up and plan to accomplish a lot, only to find yourself completely exhausted midway through the day?  Some days feel like we are in the midst of a whirlwind and I am sure I am not the only one that feels that I could dial up the healthy choices when those days occur.  For me, that usually means that I need to get on a track that feels more balanced and calmer.  At those times, we often think about improving our nutrition or carving out more time for an exercise routine, which are great ideas and bring a long term payoff.

However, have you ever considered a resilience makeover?  What do I mean by that?  When I think of the word resilience, I think about the ability to bounce back from all that life throws at us.  What’s a makeover?  Well, have you ever had a makeover of a room in your home?  It might involve hanging a beautiful new picture, or just simply rearranging your furniture.  The purpose of any kind of makeover is to refresh and bring you a new sense of joy… A resilience makeover is similar to a makeover in one of the rooms of your home.  The room is probably fairly functional as it is, but it could use some new life breathed into it!   Typically a makeover doesn’t have to take much time or money but quickly changes the way you feel about that room.

The same could be true with a resilience makeover.  We can redesign our lives the same way we redesign our homes.  And, resilience is what I like to refer to as a life accessory.  Just like great artwork or fun throw pillows are accessories in a room of your home, resilience is an accessory that makes life easier, more fulfilling, and joyful.  And, I think we are all always on the search for anything that brings those things our way!

You may already feel that you are a pretty resilient person. Perhaps you have been through a tough health scare, the death of a loved one, issues surrounding your children, marriage, or job that have caused you to be tested and stretched.  And, perhaps you have come through those very difficult situations, rising about the challenges to return back to normal again.  That is the traditional definition of resilience.  Webster defines resilience as the “ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”.  Think of someone you know who is really resilient, and my guess is that you will think of someone who has gracefully come through an experience that has been fairly life-changing.

I’ve always considered myself to be a resilient person.  My friend Patrice once told me that she admires that I don’t get stuck in the muck.  That was her way of saying that she feels that I don’t tend to allow life’s challenges to make me feel stuck for too long.  However, after reading Bonnie St. James’ and Allen P. Haines’ book, Micro-Resilience, I came to realize that resilience is a muscle we can build every moment of every day, not just in times of life’s greatest challenges.  In fact, the word “micro” refers to small changes, small shifts in our behavior.   And, the book proposes that even very small changes can make a huge difference in one’s focus and energy throughout each day.

If you are like me, there are days that I just don’t feel that I am effectively focusing on the things I want to get done, or lack the energy to do all the things on that to do list.  In fact, some days, I start out feeling motivated and then something happens that takes the wind out of my sails, and it’s challenging to get that ball rolling again.  Sound familiar at all?  The concept of micro-resilience addresses this exact issue.

Micro-resilience strategies are easy techniques that can assist you in recovering more quickly from the seemingly small challenges that inevitably come our way throughout each day.  Daily small challenges may seem insignificant individually, like a dishwasher that breaks unexpectedly, or the frustration of sitting in traffic as you barely make your appointment on time. However these small things can add up over the day causing us to feel completely exhausted, asking ourselves, why am I so tired right now? It’s just a  “normal” day today.

If this sounds familiar, you may find yourself ready to tackle a resilience makeover!  On Wednesday, May 29th, I’ll be facilitating our Be Resilient event.  I’ll be sharing several quick, practical science-based strategies which, when used, can immediately combat the daily energy drains that zap your energy and leave you feeling exhausted.   We’ll discuss strategies to avoid mental exhaustion, and increase your brain’s effectiveness, including the use of laser focus rather than multitasking.  We’ll talk about tips to combat worry and anxiety, and techniques for embracing more positivity.  We’ll talk about ways to refuel and refresh your body for peak performance, and we’ll touch on renewing your spirit by tapping into your purpose and a state of “flow”, a concept made popular by author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book entitled, Flow.

I have been trying out many of the 21 different strategies outlined in the book Micro-Resilience over this past year and can tell you confidently, that they are improving my ability to tap into a high level of energy and focus each day.  Each day gives me new opportunities to fine tune my new approaches, and I have been enjoying the journey. I look forward to sharing more about these powerful strategies with you on Wednesday, May 29 so you might begin a resilience makeover of your own!

Today’s blog was written by WWR Partner Coach, Donna Kettell.  Donna is a certified professional coach (CPC) and a master practitioner in energy leadership (ELI-MP). Her certifications were earned through The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), which is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

Be Washed; Girl, Wash Your Face

Be Washed; Girl, Wash Your Face

As an Occupational Therapy Professional, one of the many things we do every day is to help people with their activities of daily living. Things like grooming, bathing, and dressing.

In the upcoming BE WASHED Event, as your Evening Coach, I will be helping you in another activity of daily living…the area of your thinking.

Imagine if you will, that voice that sometimes sits on your shoulder. Is it whispering words of TRUTH and LOVE or FEAR and LIES?

We will begin the evening retreat by exploring the book, Girl; Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Here, we will learn to STOP believing the lies about who we are so we can HONOR and become who we were meant to be our true authentic selves.

Have you ever found yourself saying things like “I’ll start that diet tomorrow.” Then several pounds up on the scale you hear yourself repeating those same words weeks later? Me too! I can’t tell you the number of times I have started my diet tomorrow, Monday, or the first of the New Year. Or how about…I’m going to take that spin class at the Y, or I’ll start walking around the block every day from now on.

WELLLLLLLLLLLL Lies, all lies we tell ourselves. We like to talk about all the things we are going to do, learn about the things we are going to do, but somehow, we never get around to DOING all the things we say we are going to do. Ugh! Can anyone out there relate?

Many of us can. The Be Washed event will expose more of the most common lies we tell ourselves and offer new strategies to help us be honest with ourselves about what we are blowing off.

The second half of the event we will be taking a look at the book Change your Mind, and Your Life Will Follow by Karen Casey. Her book showcases 12 principles that guide us towards LOVE. Who out there doesn’t need more of that?

Thirty years ago Karen Casey wandered into a support group and learned there was only one thing she could change—herself! The result of this change was so profound she dedicated much of her life to teaching others about it.

I, like Karen, believe if we change our minds, our lives WILL follow. I want to use the opportunity I have as an Occupational Therapy Professional and a Coach to help others grow in this area of thought. Let’s face it; it truly is an activity of daily living.

Let’s think better, do better and feel better. What do you say?

Hope to see you there!

About today’s author: Kat Middleton is an Empowerment Coach who is passionate about her work and advocates for authentic wholehearted living both personally and professionally. She is a Certified Professional Coach and Occupational Therapy Practitioner who loves working with people holistically; helping others to help themselves see things through new filters. Kat joined the Wholistic Woman community in September of 2017. She is very excited to learn, grow, and have much fun with this AMAZING group of women. Kat is available for private one-on-one coaching as well as group workshops, seminars, and speaking events.

Feedback… What the Work of Brené Brown Has Taught Me

Feedback… What the Work of Brené Brown Has Taught Me

feedback noun

Feed · back | \ ˈfēd-ˌbak\
Definition of feedback
1a: the transmission of evaluative or corrective information about an action, event, or process to the original or controlling source

I am currently reading Brené Brown‘s latest book, Dare to Lead, for the second time, and I am in the section where she is talking about feedback and the two sides of it…giving and receiving.

This got me thinking about myself and where I am in regards to how I give and receive both positive and negative feedback.

What I know is true for me, and I believe is true for most of us, is that positive feedback is easier all the way around. There are a couple of things thought that I think we should watch out for when it comes to positive feedback.

First, I think sometimes we just don’t take the time to give it. We assume people know they are doing a good job and that we appreciate them.  I admit I am guilty of this at times. If you’re like me in this situation, I encourage you to make a point to express your gratitude and appreciation to others. Every time I do this, I know both parties involved walk away feeling better then we had the moment before. It feels awesome to be either on the receiving or giving end of positive feedback.

The other struggle I see with positive feedback, however, happens on the receiving side. So many of us are uncomfortable being praised so we downplay it or brush it aside. Again, I admit I struggle with this and over the past several years have been practicing saying thank you and receiving positive feedback with gratitude and grace.

Negative feedback is another story.…both the receiving and the giving make me extremely uncomfortable!  So, this is what I want to focus on today.

One of the things I love about Brené Brown’s work is that she looks for ways to make it teachable. In one of her earlier books, Daring Greatly, she developed a 10 step feedback readiness checklist.  The checklist looks like this…

I know I’m ready to give feedback when:

  1. I’m ready to sit next to you rather than across from you.
  2. I’m willing to put the problem in front of us rather than between us (or sliding it toward you).
  3. I’m ready to listen, ask questions, and accept that I may not fully understand the issues.
  4. I’m ready to acknowledge what you do well instead of just picking apart your mistakes.
  5. I recognize your strengths and how you can use them to address your challenges.
  6. I can hold you accountable without shaming or blaming.
  7. I’m open to owning my part.
  8. I can genuinely thank someone for their efforts rather than just criticizing them for their failings.
  9. I can talk about how resolving these challenges will lead to growth and opportunity.
  10. I can model the vulnerability and openness that I expect to see from you.

Don’t you just love this!  It’s a tool you can sit down with and run through prior to what might feel like a difficult conversation.  I’ve been working with this since I first came across it in 2012 and it has been a game changer.

In daring greatly, it was this sentence that stood out to me: “We have to be able to take feedback – regardless of how it’s delivered – and apply it productively. We have to do this for a simple reason: mastery requires feedback. I don’t care what we’re trying to master – and whether we are trying to develop greatness or proficiency – it always requires feedback.“

I want you to pause for a moment and think about a time you received hard to hear feedback… How was it delivered?… how did you receive it?

I know for me before I began my homework on self-discovery and self-reflection, my default tendency was to become defensive and to use blame as a form of offloading. I would feel the discomfort of the situation and instead of being able to sit in the discomfort and to really listen to the feedback, I would immediately start explaining why I had acted in the manner I had. I would also look for reasons to justify my behavior.  When I looked at these reasons closely I was able to see my behavior as what it was… blaming someone else.  When I saw this video I immediately saw myself in it…Take a moment to look at this video and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. This could be me talking…

This is not who I want to be! I want to be someone who can receive feedback, regardless of how it delivered, with open-mindedness. So, the big question is how do we do this?

For me, it boils down to how I am feeling about my own self-worth. When I am feeling enough, I am able to listen without my ego getting in the way.  I want to be better every day, and feedback is a way to make that happen. When my self worth is intact I am able to take the information in without labeling it as good or bad and mindfully decide which pieces of the feedback are going to help me become a better version of me. Some days I’m better at this than others.

Here is what Brené says in Dare to Lead about receiving feedback…

“ Receiving feedback is tricky for several reasons. One, we might be receiving feedback from someone who lacks delivery skills. Two, we might be at the hands of a skilled person, but we don’t know their intentions. Three, unlike when we’re giving feedback and we schedule it and know precisely what we’re going to say or do, when we’re receiving feedback, we can sometimes be taken off guard. Someone calls us into their office, or we pick up the phone and it’s a client, and they say, “Hey, we’re looking at the pitch you all submitted. We think it sucks, and it’s so far off brief, and we can’t believe you think we’re going to spend this much money with you.” And that’s feedback. Does it feel productive? Is it easy to stay open and receptive to it? Not so much after we hear the word sucks.”

Navigating the uncertain waters of feedback is definitely challenging. Here are a couple of strategies to help you…

First, stay aligned with your values and try creating a mantra that can help you in the moment.  For example,  I value the act of being curious.  I think this stems from my strength of learner (according to Gallup’s Strengths Finder Assessment). So when I am on the receiving end of giving feedback, I am often silently repeating to myself… stay curious, stay curious, stay curious over and over as a way to stay connected to my values.  Or when I am on the giving end of negative feedback, I practice reminding myself that there will always be things on the other side of the situation that I need to know and staying open and curious is a good way to gather that information.

Second, practice staying present.  Take the time to learn what your default tendency is when it comes to offloading discomfort and then practice not implementing that strategy.  Some typical strategies are anger, blame, pretending we aren’t uncomfortable, and numbing to name a few.

Do you know what your go-to strategy is?

The bottom line is that negative feedback is a challenge for most of us, but if we want to live a life that allows for expansion and growth, we have to practice both giving and receiving it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  What have you learned about feedback?  Please share it with me in the comment section.

 

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

 

Multi-tasking or Laser Focus?

Multi-tasking or Laser Focus?

Have you heard about the current research that states that the practice of multi-tasking is not the best way to get things done?

When I heard this, I initially thought, wow, where would I be without multitasking?  Don’t we all take pride in the fact that we can do 10 things at once? And, we are busy, busy, busy, yet juggling it all!  I remember in my first job out of college my manager gave me a coffee mug that showed a woman with about 20 arms doing all kinds of things at once, looking completely calm in the process!  She and I both enjoyed thinking of ourselves as talented multi-taskers! And, my guess is, you might too!

Recent studies such as the one by scientist, Daniel Kahneman, have shown that the human brain can only focus on a certain amount of information at one time.  And, an article in Forbes actually alleges that multitasking damages your brain, lowering your IQ and EQ.

Imagine that you are watching the news while chatting on the phone with a friend, and folding the laundry.  That may feel reasonable enough but those tasks are all pretty basic and don’t require a lot of attention.  However, what if you were driving a car in a snowstorm, while talking to a distraught teenager, and reciting the alphabet backward?  Well, I know that is a bit of an extreme example, but you get the idea!  The more critical or challenging the task, the more important that you be present and focus on that one task, versus multitasking.

Until now, I had always viewed multi-tasking as a required skill to get through life productively.  However, I’m starting to rethink that and I’m discovering the power of concentrated focus on one thing at a time.  In fact, I had the television on in the background as I was writing this blog, and just laughed at loud, realizing that I would probably think more clearly without it!

As I have been paying closer attention to the impact of my multitasking, here are a few discoveries that I have made.

First, it occurred to me that concentrating my focus vs. multi-tasking is similar to the concept of the One Word tool.  Many of us have been using the One Word for years and for me, the power of the One Word is in its simplicity of focus.  That One Word becomes a priority and we intentionally think about it each day for 365 days, and we see the impact that this focus can make in our lives by the time that the year is over.

Second, I have always loved a good to do list.  And, now I have taken that list a step or two further to enhance my focus. I take my long to do list and think about the 2-3 top priorities that must get done today.  Then, I think about how long it will take me to tackle each task, and here’s the key – I assign a specific timeframe, to get them done.  This has become an impactful step because it helps diffuse the feeling of being overwhelmed.  It may be a task I am not excited to dive into, but once I realize that it should only take an hour, I feel more committed to getting it done.  Then, I plug that hour into the calendar.  If something should take an hour, I might plug it into my 9-10 a.m. timeframe.  Then, I set an alarm on my phone for 60 minutes and create a bit of a challenge for myself to get the task done.  It may sound silly, but it has really worked for me!

Last, I have discovered that things take less time than you believe it will when you can give it your undivided attention.   When I was multitasking, it felt like I was working on the same task or project for weeks at a time.  I think that was because it was more difficult to get a whole task off my to-do list, I just chipped away a little at a time by doing so many other things at the same time.  When I decide to tackle a task (or part of a project), and put a realistic time frame on it with intense focus, it has been a pleasant surprise to see something that felt overwhelming become very manageable.

I must admit that some days I am more successful with my laser-focused approach than other days. However, the new approach does give me a greater sense of accomplishment, and also tends to be much more energizing than the frequent chaotic feeling of trying to juggle a million things at once!

It may be interesting for you to try a little experiment of your own.  See if you find that laser focus is more productive and energizing for you, and you may just keep your brain healthier in the long run!

oday’s blog was written by WWR Partner Coach, Donna Kettell.  Donna is a certified professional coach (CPC) and a master practitioner in energy leadership (ELI-MP). Her certifications were earned through The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), which is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).