FOUR ELEMENTS COACHING

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Chances are if you go shopping today, you will encounter aisles filled with last minute shoppers searching for the perfect greeting card with an Mp3 song that expresses a beautiful or funny sentiment. Or maybe you’ll notice large stuffed animals with a message embroidered on a large heart carried between their furry paws. If you love chocolates, I hope you get a great big box of chewy caramels or chocolate covered peanut clusters! 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.

Yet many jilted lovers will spend the day trying not to cry at their desks or listening to their ‘angry break up song playlist’ on their iPod. Thanks to Adele, many of them now have anthems they can listen to over and over as they try to get over the love they’ve lost. Today, lots of people will express the belief that true love begins with self love. But do they really believe that?

As a coach, I have to say that I do. I have seen countless examples where people took the time to work on their own self-loving, self-care plan, only to come out on the other side with the surprising realization that their relationships blossomed, deepened, or shifted into a place that really began to fulfill their needs and expectations. Self love really does deepen the experience of loving another. And we don’t typically show ourselves many proofs of self love.

Here’s what I’d like you to take on today. I’d like you to agree to begin this Valentine’s Day to create a self-care plan for yourself. I’d like you to really think about one thing you could do each month to treat yourself more gently, more lovingly and with more self respect. At the end of the year, on February 14th 2013, review your year and see what you learned. Are you game?

And if you need some help along the way, that’s what I’m here for. I’ve been working on being more self-loving for awhile and I can tell you it has tremendous benefits! Even though I am lucky enough to have what Etta James called a “Sunday kind of love” with someone special, I am just as grateful that I finally know what it means to love myself and to put myself on the list just as often as I care for others.

I hope you’ll show yourself some amazing Proofs of Love today. If you do, tell me about it by posting a comment here!

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.

I recently attended a leadership retreat where we opened the group event with an Ancestor’s Circle. Each participant lifted up someone who had made a significant impact on their life and work. The effect was phenomenal. A group of strangers who had barely introduced themselves become clearly and unexpectedly emotional as they described these amazing people who had believed in them, made them feel special or unique, or provided a foundational framework from which to live, work, and create community with others.

I stand on the shoulders of many amazing people who assisted me on the path I walk today.