Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Resolve to Achieve Goals January 6, 2014

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Happy New YearIt’s the beginning of a New Year and for many folks that means it’s time for “New Year’s Resolutions”. You know what resolutions are, they are those promises you make to undertake some sort of self-improvement or other benevolent or positive task of one sort or another. What you may not know is that I am “not a fan” of the whole New Year’s Resolution phenomenon. This may seem counter-intuitive since I am a coach and all, and my work is deeply rooted in supporting my clients in their personal and professional goals. But to me, resolutions are a bit of a recipe for failure. There is shallowness to them in my mind, a thought without a plan, and a wish without a vision. In fact, according to Wikipedia – “A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning.” Not the greatest of odds really.

That said, I am a big fan of setting goals and I do think that the beginning of a new year is a great time to start. While in all honesty, I believe one can be successful with starting work on their goals at any time of the year there is a “psychological” boost that a new year offers that primes us for a “fresh start”. So, what’s the big difference? Is this just a matter of semantics here? I don’t think so.

While a resolution may carry within it the necessary spark to get the fire burning, a goal provides the shelter for the flame, the kindling, the firewood and the purpose. Goals if they are to be successful require more thought and planning in order to be properly executed. They require; a roadmap along the way, a vision, sub-goals, supports and encouragements, a strategy for obstacles and distractions, awareness, a system to check, recheck and reevaluate along the way and accountability. Goals have meat on their bones that can make them strong enough to withstand the elements; where in my mind resolutions only provide the skeletal framework. As a life coach, this belief is very much a part of what I do when I am working with my clients.

Yep, sometimes like with resolutions, we do not meet our goals. Sometimes we abandon “Plan A” and move on to “Plan B”. Life is like that and though at times it can be unpleasant, we can often survive and even move forward more successfully with fresh lessons learned making our experience more successful. So if you have made a New Year’s Resolution this year, don’t let me rain on your parade as I do truly offer you my best wishes for success. Use the fresh start of the New Year – it’s a little gift from the universe to get you thinking in a positive direction AND consider going deeper, fleshing out the details of your dreams, creating a goal that you will be meaningful for you and taking all the steps necessary to ensure your success.

And… If you would like to speak to a coach to help you along the way? I may know someone who would be honored to join you on your journey.

 

Happy Giant November 30, 2013

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Meadow and MountainsWell it’s the last day of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and this is my final blog for this year’s participation. It looks like, I have managed to post eighteen out of a possible thirty, and I am feeling pretty good about that. When I first learned about NaBloPoMo on the afternoon of November 1st, I couldn’t help but thinking that this little “incentive” couldn’t have come at a worse time for me. The first couple of weeks of this month, (along with the last several months) of my life had been dominated by my participation in an Expo, the size of which surpassed anything that I had previously been a part of. And while one might wonder what exactly could have been so labor intensive about it, I can tell you that it piled A LOT of extra projects on my plate.

As part of my participation I had set a number of goals for myself, including but not limited to creating a number of new print materials, writing three eBooks, planning and marketing four new coaching groups andwriting a one hour presentation among a number of less intensive tasks. So taking on NaBloPoMo in the last couple of weeks of this push, seemed like a crazy idea that was destined for failure. But at the same time, I think I was in hyper-drive mode and I have thought a lot over the last several months about how I had lost my blog amongst my other writing projects in the last year and that simply was not sitting well. So while, the temptation was to say, “I can’t do it, the timing is just wrong”, I also knew that there are always “valid” reasons why “now isn’t a good time” for so many things that are more; wants than needs, and so, I began.

Participating in this “event” was really important for me.
• For one, I have re-learned what I already know, that if we wait for the path to be clear before we move forward on doing something we want, we can wait forever. I knew this already, and while I resist it in some corners of my life, I had let it take hold where my blog was concerned.
• I also realized that my “blog voice” is different from my other “writing voices”, and after a period of relative disuse it had grown hoarse. It took me longer than usual to find the place of flow from which I was used to writing my blogs in the past. My early efforts this past month felt more like “journal entries” than posts, but the more I kept at it the more it came back into focus.
• I knew already how much I loved to write, but lately my writing had taken a different direction. As a regular contributing expert on divorce for a few online publications, I forgot what it was like to have a more “free-choice” writing opportunity. While my other writing is still gratifying for me, and I look forward to being published in the spring in a compilation book about divorce, I do love just sitting down and writing about whatever it is I want to address as well.
• And lastly, I learned that I can get water from a stone. That there exists inside me, and likely within each of us, that ability to be true to those things that we value and that this connection will not disappoint when we want to tap into it again.

So thank-you to whoever came up with this idea in the first place. I am glad you awakened my sleeping giant. I hope to roam this fertile countryside for a while now, so I expect that you will hear again from me soon as November rolls into December. Thank-you to those of you who have been kind enough to read what I have written, to have liked, commented or followed me during the last month and who have helped to make me feel encouraged along the way. I needed that, and I am grateful for it. Maybe I will bump into you over the next rise as you too, traverse the possibilities. 

 

It’s Go Time November 15, 2013

NaturalLivingExpoBannerI am feeling the need, once more to be economical with my words this evening. It has been a very long day at the end of a long week, at the end of several months of preparation for a weekend-long event which begins bright and early tomorrow. I can’t remember the last time my life has been so consumed by a single event other than my wedding; except without the seating plan and yummy hors d’oeuvres. It has been quite a process, many components to consider, plan and produce and I am very excited that we are finally here.

I am not trying to be intentionally cryptic here – the event in question is the Natural Living Expo and I will have both an exhibitor booth and be leading a workshop on “Exploring Your Life’s Passions”. The Expo is the largest of its type in New England. There are over 225 exhibitors, 90 workshops (most of them free) some wonderful keynote speakers and a lot of positive energy. In the last few months in preparation for the Expo, I have had to learn new software, published three EBooks on my website, developed and laid-out new promotional materials and gift items, written a talk, coordinated helpers, shopped, folded, paid for countless items and many other jobs but I will spare you the list. All of this has happened in addition to my regular article writing commitments, my individual and group coaching and everything else that I do as a solo-entrepreneur. Oh yeah, and then there’s that funny thing called – personal time!

While the jury is still out about the “success” of my efforts, I have to say that I am ready to “call it”, right now. This has been a really great experience for me. I set myself many goals along the way and I have achieved all of them – no matter what the outcome, I feel good about the work I have put in and the things I have learned along the way. Sure, it would be nice – hell, it would be great to recoup all of the money I have put into this and then some, but no matter what, I am going to say that this was “a win”.

So think a good thought for me over the next couple of days. I will take all of the positive vibes I can get. And I will say that it is possible that my blog presence may have to take a slight break, but I will try to fulfill my commitment to myself for NaBloPoMo. And if I decide to cut myself some slack – I will likely tell you all about it when I am done. Peace Out…

 

Inspiration from the Inside – Out February 6, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 11:37 am
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Quiet Day in the showroomI was stuck… There was a list of “to-do” items as long as my arm – I sat at my desk, searching for a place to start and painfully aware of the need to get going. The phenomenon is not unusual, many people feel pressed right now and it is not uncommon for it to create a sense of overwhelm that results in a state of inertia. But common or not, it isn’t a place anyone really wants to stay for very long. The trick is how do you find the path outward? Though it may not seem so obvious in the moment the options are plentiful, here are some of the most common:
• You may decide that you need to just “break” the moment a bit, step away from the “stuckness”; go fix yourself a cup of coffee or take a walk to the supply-room to grab a new pen – anything that takes you out of the moment in hopes of a simple reset when you return.
• You could try to force the issue – mustering your discipline to “just do it” and hope that by jumping into the fray – your sheer force of will, can suffice to break the stand-off.
• You may seek to do a little meditation to quiet the mind- since often it is the swirl of all the tasks in your head themselves which are preventing you from getting started on any one of them.
• Or you may choose to spend a little time connecting with a friend or colleague – taking a moment to vent, to distract, or to seek a little collaboration and insight.
• You may look outward – reading a favorite quote or passage which rekindles your spark.
• You could decide that today is just not going to be your most productive day – and hope that tomorrow a fresh start will provide new momentum.
• Or you can take the time to look inward, to connect with your own self; your values, goals, passions and strengths. Connecting the “why” with the “what” and thus creating your own inspiration.
From one day to the next you may find yourself working through this list of alternatives or trying something not mentioned here – but I generally find the last option to be the most effective. Because often, when we can truly connect with our own personal motivations for what we do we are most effective at re-energizing ourselves to actually get the work done. It’s easy to lose track of “the why”. On a day-to-day basis – so many of us are on a sort of automatic pilot – going through our days – checking off our lists – but not really even completely conscious of what we are doing and what got us here in the first place. For many, life has become a series of days where the only obvious purpose is to “just get by” and our investment in the process has become just enough to keep us around to face another day tomorrow. And indeed, there are times when that is in fact an achievement worth striving for – but the hope is – at some point – it will be about more.
Maybe you aren’t in your dream job and the work you do provides a simple paycheck to help make ends meet – but if you connect with your fundamental value – that you are doing it to provide a home and basic amenities for yourself and your family – well, hell in my book that’s pretty darned important. Maybe you have a burning need to create something, to inspire others, to be of service to your community, to be a positive role model for your children, to teach, to build or any other countless possibilities. Inside you somewhere, are your values, goals and passions – and whether or not they are obvious in an outward fashion – they are shaping the decisions you make, the things you do and how you do them. So next time you need a little inspiration to move a ahead – take a moment to look within – to find that part of your soul which fuels the fire within your very existence – and let it burn baby! You’ll be surprised to find out just how inspiring you can be.

 

My Favorite PRESENT! December 30, 2012

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Xmas presntI love the week between Christmas and New Year, I always have. I have managed to keep them relatively free from work – and since I became a mother it has been a goal of mine to keep this time clear and relatively open for my sons, too. Low on: responsibilities and things that “have to” get done, and high on: all-day pajama wearing, playing with toys, eating good food, watching movies, reading, playing in the snow (if available), staying up and sleeping in late, and generally just relaxing. It’s good…

This year seemed particularly nice, with my oldest son home from college, my boyfriend in-town and my youngest son on school break. It has been really sweet to be surrounded by “my fellas”. Love them! And though I have worked some of the time, in general, I am giving myself a break from having to be overly productive. Oh there’s a list though – and it gets a bit longer each day – but I am resisting the anxious pull of productivity. Soon the holidays will pass – everyone’s schedule will pull them back “into their regular routines” and work will be attended to. But not simply “work-as-usual”, New Year work. And that’s always exciting!

As I have said in the past – I am not one for New Year’s resolutions – they just have never felt “right” or “authentic” enough for me. On the other hand – I am a big fan of goal setting. In fact in a week or so – I will be leading a group entitled: “New Year – New Beginnings” – which is meant to support participants in taking the time to reflect on where they are now and where they would like to be, reflecting on the present, envisioning the future, setting intentions and creating concrete action plans for the year ahead. That’s what makes sense to me, and I started on my own plan weeks ago. But now, right now, I just want to enjoy the moment.

There are many families out there this year who have been deprived of the ability to spend their holidays with their loved ones. And the thought of that is heart-breaking to me. I am fortunate to have my loved ones close, so I can hug them, and spend time with them and tell them that “I love them”. And I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my time. You see one of my intentions which I plan to continue into the New Year, and which I started working on quite a while back – is to be more mindful and present in my everyday life. To be as conscious as I can be in each moment, to be grateful for all that I have and to LIVE my life as it happens – while still building on the past and planning for the future. It’s a delicate cognitive balance that requires my active intercession in the moment – but it’s getting easier. Mostly, things always do… Enjoy your moments; like this one, right now and this next one, and the one after that, and…

 

Thoughts on Day One January 1, 2012

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Quick thoughts for the new year… Awoke this morning to an unseasonably warm and bright, sunny day. A nice walk is in order… after I enjoy my coffee and a little quiet, slow reflection. Felt the desire to write a post – but apparently not in my usual long-winded voice.

Spent some time yesterday reviewing the last year – the wins and the challenges. It was not an easy year, not for anybody it seemed. Despite that reality – there was a lot of positive forward movement and THAT is very exciting to see.

Not a fan of resolutions – though I am a big fan of goals and plans. Spending some time today looking forward and collecting my thoughts for what I would like to see happen in the coming year. Not so much a resolution as a map of intentions and promises to myself. Doesn’t need a change in the calendar year to happen – but there is a clean neatness to this mark of time – so why not take advantage of the moment and create some momentum?

Find myself thinking of all the people in my life and those that I do not know yet or will never come to know. And truly warmed by the sense of love, anticipation and hopefulness that people throughout the world are putting out today.

So simply wanting to check-in here and wish you and yours a year filled with growth, joy, fulfillment and warmth.

(Calendar from: http://designbeep.com)

 

Making Fire from Smoke October 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 9:13 am
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Ever have one of those days when you are all jazzed-up and ready to go? You feel energized, excited and have great aspirations for getting a lot accomplished. “It’s gonna be a good day, I just feel it.” And sometimes it works out – just like that – and when the end of the day comes  – you can enjoy a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. But sometimes – all that hopped up energy – has the net result of a “whole lotta smoke – but virtually no fire”. High energy – becomes – nervous energy – and at the end of the day you are left with a sense of bewilderment – “I know I did something today – but I have no idea what it is.” Energy and enthusiasm – keys to forward movement can without direction, keep you busy but not prove to be very fruitful.

Whether you are planning a business or starting your day with great hopes for productivity and success  – it pays to take a moment to slow down and reflect a bit on where you are and what you want to accomplish. Sometimes you may need to use a coach to help you decide what your specific goals are along the way and what are the components necessary to get to them accomplished.

Ever watch a bunch of little kids playing soccer? The field is full of tiny people full of excitement, a frenetic mob of flailing feet and arms chasing a ball “en masse” around a field with little likelihood of actually getting said ball into the net at the end of the field. That’s fine for five-year olds, at that level of the game – the participation, the running around is the game – but if the players on the Manchester United team played the game the same way – they wouldn’t be who they are. Yep – in order to play the game – there is more expected of you then simply stepping out onto the field with a smile on your face – you have to do more.

In order to move forward productively you have to know where you want to go and have a plan for how to get there. If you are starting a new business – it makes sense to begin with a vision and a mission statement, (a passionate enthusiasm for what you are looking to create) but without a business plan for how you are going to do it – chances are you will end up spinning your wheels without really getting anywhere. And so, my thought for the day, take a moment to pause and reflect on what you are trying to get accomplished, make a plan and then execute it. If you need help – then get some. If you can channel your energy and your passion – who knows where you can go – exciting to ponder isn’t it?

 

Sea Tales October 5, 2011

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The days sure are full, aren’t they? Countless numbers of tasks, calls, errands and responsibilities to attend to  at any given moment await your attention. Which items get to rise to the top of the list, and which will sink down into the silt at the bottom of the pool, waiting for their chance to rise again to the surface. Swimming through the quagmire of responsibilities can often leave you feeling a bit lost at sea – with the shoreline always up ahead on the horizon. You’re tired, would like to flip over on your back and just float a bit – but knowing if you do so you will be washed further away from the shore. So, what choice do you really have? Keep moving forward or get washed out to sea.

Every day we are faced with choices – that pull us in all directions – and the decision is ours about how we want to address them or not. It isn’t easy – some days the best decision is to rest a bit – to indulge yourself a little, take a walk, a nap and a break. There is only so much energy there to draw from and when your body, mind and spirit are telling you that you need some time to replensih – it is important to listen to that pull. But once you have rested a bit – you have to dive back in. Because if you don’t do it – noone else is going to magically step in and do it for you. It’s your life – you are steering this vessel, where do you want to land? Focus in on that final landing place – what are you after – where are you trying to go – what is important to you and who are you doing this for? Holding on to the vision of your own personal goals and aspirations is key. Because the only way to get to where you are going is to know where you are headed.

Once you have your end goals in mind, decide how you want to get there, what needs to get done to reach the markers along the way and let yourself be fueled by your own vision. It’s okay to ask for help along the way. Having someone like a coach to help you articulate your plans, hold on to your vision, and weather the storms along the voyage can be a great tool. Because at the end of the day – the accomplishment is yours, and ultimately getting to the goal is never a task done totally in a vaccum. But the real key – is to keep moving forward even if ironically sometimes that means staying still, look around you and use the resources at your disposal, hold the hope and the vision for where you are headed as a treasure and find in it the fuel you will need to keep you going, cause when you get there, ahhhhh Paradise.

 

Lemonade, anyone? September 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 9:56 am
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Sometimes a “negative” event can have a positive outcome. We all are familiar with the old adage about “learning from our mistakes”, making “lemons into lemonade”, and “making the best of a bad situation”. We experience it and see the net effect of such phenomenon all the time on both personal and societal levels. “Amber alerts”, air bags and bicycle helmets, are some examples of societal and cultural attempts to learn from our “mistakes”. On a personal level, a divorce from the “wrong person in and unhappy marriage” can lead to meeting the love of your life, being laid off from a job you are not happy in can give you the time and ability to grow the business you have always dreamed of, and quitting smoking after one too many a round of bronchitis,  are all examples of how we personally can make positive changes in our life based on difficult life events.

But in order to move forward in a positive way we are required to have at the very least two essential ingredients; goals and aspirations, and plans and action. If you have always dreamed of having your own organic, hydroponic vegetable farm but lack the ability to develop a plan and the persistence to do the work needed to get it going –  then it’s never going to happen. Similarly, if you have the innate ability to become a brilliant writer but lack the confidence and drive required to both get your words onto paper and get that paper disseminated to the audience then you will never experience the joy of connecting with and reaching others in that way.

In order to turn a bad situation into a positive one you have to recognize what needs to change, envision what you want to happen and take the steps necessary to make it happen. Though a little bit of luck, and being in the right place at the right time doesn’t hurt, nothing will change unless you have what it takes to seize the moment and take action. It’s not easy all the time. Life circumstances are often outside of our control – but how we react to those challenges and what we decide to do about them – is. You don’t need a negative catalyst to get the ball rolling, though often they do provide some added motivation.

As a coach – this is where I come in. My job is to ally with my clients and support them in the discovery and articulation of their dreams and goals and then to help them take those aspirations into action; to create the personal and professional lives of their dreams. It’s a pretty sweet place to be, after all one of my passions is helping others discover and live theirs, becoming the best selves they can possibly be.  The work is yours – my job is to help support you in the articulation of your vision. It’s a beautiful thing to do what you love – isn’t it time you treat yourself to a nice tall glass of lemonade?

 

Celebrating the View from Here July 12, 2010

When I decided to go back to school to become a life coach, I made a commitment to myself to do what I needed to do to make this goal a reality for me. Coaching is a funny business, not yet regulated by most state licensing boards, anyone can call themselves a coach and there is nothing stopping them from doing so. Scary, huh? That’s not my style. When investigating becoming a coach I worked with a couple of coaches myself first in order to determine that this is the path I really wanted to be on. I learned about and joined the International Coaching Federation an independent governing body that has made it their business to define guidelines, professional, educational and ethical standards to regulate the field. I researched educational programs that were approved by the ICF and structured their programs to meet these professional standards and found Mentorcoach, a program geared primarily toward professionals who already had a background in the helping professions; human resources people, teachers, social workers and psychotherapists. And I followed their program, taking the courses I needed and beginning my practice following the ethical and professional standards that I was instructed in.

It has been a pretty long process and a difficult one at times. Being a single mom, I have needed to work a separate full-time job in the meantime in order to pay the bills while I take the courses I needed and get my business started. There are times when both time and money have been squeezed to the point of strangulation in order to make this happen but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Of course it also helped a great deal that my children and friends have been supportive and encouraging in this process. Additionally I am energized and excited about the work I am doing, the people I am meeting and the things I am learning. It was the right choice and I am very happy about the journey I am on as I work my way toward my goal.

At this point in the process I am gathering all of the bits together as I prepare myself to take the final certification exam this fall. Letters of recommendation are being collected, hours of coaching tallied and coursework, mentoring and supervision documented; all the various bits coming together for the final push needed to become certified. It’s exciting and incredible to be here. When I got my Master’s degree in psychology, years back I felt a similar sense of accomplishment but at that age my responsibilities were not as significant and my ability to focus on that singular goal was less taxed by the other demands of my life. This, this is a big deal, I’ve worked hard for it and I am damn proud of myself to be so close to completion.

Of course, once I get there I intend to continue toward higher levels of certification, pursuing further education and doing the bits necessary to attain those levels as well. There is so much more I want to learn about and do. But for right now, for this moment in time I want to savor the view a bit. To take a moment to reflect back on all that I have done to get me to this point and to enjoy the view forward with the promise of certification in close sight, shining like a little ingot of gold on the horizon.

I figure if you are going to spend your life helping other people work toward and attain their goals then you ought to be able to do it yourself. Sometimes people get discouraged along the way – feel like they will never get there and give up on the process. But for today I want to say that indeed if you keep your eye on the prize, and continue to push forward you can reach your goals. And then after dancing around a bit you can set yourself a new goal to work toward – something that inspires you and pulls you forward. Celebrate your successes and keep on truckin’ you never know what the next bright spot on the horizon is awaiting your arrival.