FOUR ELEMENTS COACHING

Moving You From Surviving to
THRIVING

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In his book, Crisis Points: Working Through Personal Problems, author Julian Sleigh introduced me to the idea of demons who show up in our lives making us “shrink in fear and revulsion.” Yet they bear gifts hidden under their wings. “If we challenge them and make them yield up their gifts,” he says, “they will be satisfied and will fly away, leaving us to benefit from what they brought.”

If this is true, I met many demons last year and it took me awhile to make them show me the gifts. You may be wondering where I’ve been since last February. And, perhaps my biggest fear is that you are not. Maybe my posts and newsletters and calls were forgotten in the bustle of your own demons, triumphs and joys. And that’s as it should be, really. My demons belong to me – and yours to you. And for much of 2012, I couldn’t coach you or help you to share your fears because my own demons were circling like vultures, it seemed.

Last year began rather unexpectedly and dramatically for me and my family. My youngest daughter was hit by a young driver, resulting in a severe break at the ankle and the total loss of her car and her job. Months of surgeries and pain followed, and I worried about every aspect of her recovery. Simultaneously, another demon brought me the realization that my mother’s dementia and failing health would require an almost immediate move to assisted living. I worried that the house wouldn’t sell and that we wouldn’t be able to afford the right place. Later that summer, my oldest daughter broke her wrist – yet another surgery ensued! Federal funding cuts affected nonprofits that I serve daily. I slipped into a routine of reacting, fretting, doubting myself and fearing – oh the fearing!. By July, being on hyper alert to all of these issues began to take a toll on my physical and emotional health. It took me a few months, but by the end of the year, I came up and out of the darkness and demanded that all these demons yield their gifts to me. And there they were…

I was able to work when I could, as I could, without losing my income or the career that is so meaningful to me. My children recovered and found their own gifts in the pain and suffering. My mother adjusted to the move and I found that I enjoyed having her so close and can accept what her brain can offer at this stage of her life. I realized that if I ignore the emotional work that needs to be done and hope that it all goes away, it won’t. I read a lot of books and watched a lot of movies, but when they each ended, the problems were still there. If I try to continually live with reacting rather than responding, I eventually break down and need to nurture myself and heal. I’m not an adrenaline junkie anymore. Maybe it’s my age or maybe it’s just that I’m tired of it.

But when I do demand the gifts, I am surprised by joy and I see grace. I see those friends who loved me through the times I retreated to my room, forgetting to call or send a birthday card. I am loved by those family members who believe that what I could do in those moments was enough. My colleagues, clients, and teammates acknowledge my journey and wait for me to come back to myself. I forgive myself for not ‘achieving my goals’ or ‘committing to success.’ I just let it all go and reach for what is beautiful and comforting.

So this year, so far, the demons have been mostly at bay. For now. I am back to myself and back to work that I love in a way that pleases and delights me. I remember why I love coaching so much and have reconnected with old clients and welcomed new ones. There are still issues – some loom large on the horizon. But there is more good in my life than I can number.

This year will be filled with peace. How do I know? Because even when the demons swoop in, I know that they are carrying something that I desperately need. And only I have the ability to ask them to surrender it.

Surrender. Sounds like a beautiful state of being, doesn’t it?

Pierre Reverdy said “There is no love; there are only proofs of love.” Whatever love might be felt in the heart, we use this day as a way of expressing that love to others through gifts and special treatment.
Today, lots of people will express the belief that true love begins with self love. But do they really believe that?

As 2011 comes to a close and 2012 begins, millions of us will take at least a few moments at some point or another to reflect on our accomplishments, our challenges and our hopes for the year ahead. Resolutions and intentions abound in the minds of those who strive to change old habits or create new ones. Fears about whether those resolutions will stick surface in our thoughts as we silently wonder if this will be the year we achieve our ideal weight or pay off debt. Self deprecating thoughts sneak in unbidden, yet familiar. Whether this review is something you enjoy or dread depends largely on the process and your state of mind going into the review.

You see, I am going to live to be 103 so I’ve got a lot of living left to do! As a child, one of my favorite short films became a sort of mantra to live a long and healthy life. My mentor, Jiminy Cricket, showed me ‘How to Have Fun Safely’ and live to be 103. The lessons I learned from Jiminy as a child felt very different than they do today. I have definitely refined these principles! But here are a few kernels of Jiminy’s wisdom and a look at how I have incorporated this advice today.

I used my values when creating a mission and philosophy for 4 Elements Coaching and for my other business, Nonprofit Staff Success International. During the creation phase of my business foundation. I included my values in my business plan and posted them on one website. By communicating what I value most, I assist my clients in discovering more about me as a coach and as a business owner. And, whenever I come to a personal or business decision that feels heavy, I check in with my values to see whether the opportunity aligns with one or more of them.

This blog was posted originally on another site August 20, 2007. On May 7, 2011, we watched as our Megan crossed the stage to receive her Bachelor of Arts degree from Queens University of Charlotte.

I’ll tell you about her four years of adventure in an upcoming post. For now, join me in remembering the day we parted, and celebrating the end of a journey that came to pass much more swiftly than we could have imagined.

This year, I have set off with an intention to simplify my life. It was my clear desire at the start of 2011 to let go of those things that were draining my energy and making me feel cranky, guilty, inadequate or used. I leaped into a critical examination of all the things I was involved with or attached to and considered what I could let go of without too much trauma or sadness for all involved.

Branding has a significant impact on sales by developing an awareness, then an affinity, and then a loyalty from the consumer. Asking others to provide honest, anonymous feedback about you requires a certain amount of courage. There’s also the fear that they won’t think enough of you take 10 minutes out of their day to complete the survey. I pushed the ‘send’ button after much deep breathing and a commitment to learn from the experience, come what may.

When I discovered coaching and decided I wanted to be a coach, it never occurred to me that I would also have to become a business owner. Looking back, I really think there are really 10 simple, not too left brain things I benefitted from or wish I would have known when I was a new entrepreneur.