Thursday, March 29, 2012

On Endings

Endings are prevalent in my world. My coaching clients are all experiencing loss or death. Whether it be the death of a relationship, a way of being, childhood, a tradition, a job, innocence, or a belief system, they have all been endings indeed. Some of the deaths make us sad and like the death of a loved one, we need to grieve them. Some are liberating, because they are long awaited, in other words, it was time.

All death ends up being expansive. Yes, even the death of a loved one. Once you allow yourself to grieve and acknowledge the grief, you can go beyond. Something always has to end in order for something else to begin. We dread endings, but endings in a way signify life. Spring wouldn’t be Spring without Winter.

The Spring I am writing about is not to be experienced in the company of someone else. The kinds of beginnings that follow the endings I am referring to are the ones we experience alone. The person you become when you lose someone close to you, a job you loved, or a way of life, is not anything you can explain or share. It is a journey traveled alone. Perhaps this contributes to our fear of death.

Our evolution however, depends on these deaths. Deaths are about letting go of something for the good of the whole. We hang on to our differences, our cultures, languages, etc. It is a way we think to keep them alive. What we are doing is choking the life force. No one wants to idly sit by and allow something to become extinct, and yet we all will be extinct one day. The fear of extinction is what compels us to hang on and fear death.

What if we did not look at it as losing something? What if we looked at it as a stage of life. Yes, a stage of life. Death can be seen as a stage of life. Death is about allowing, it is expansive and evolving. Death can only be seen this way when you release judgment. Western culture sees death as a morbid topic and yet I’d like to invite you to see it as a necessary part of your experience of life. Endings are necessary. Endings are liberating. Endings are sad, but when the sadness evaporates, the seedling can sprout.

If you are in the midst of a difficult ending, and would like support in seeing this transition in a different light, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual coaching is about changing the way you believe things to be in order to have a more meaningful and complete experience. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute consultation to determine if spiritual coaching is for you.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Everyone claims that they want ultimate authority over their own fate.  Regardless of what your political or cultural inclinations may be, on paper we all want to be independent and the master of our own domain(s). That is until we realize what that means.

Some are quick to blame someone, an event , or an institution when something goes wrong.  Even though, this may be true from the "blamer’s" perspective, dwelling on the feelings of blame is destructive and dis-empowering. Others like to think that the hand of God or some mysterious force, is responsible for the good in their lives. And then there are those who believe that life is all a series of random events and that if you are lucky, you will be dealt a good hand. None of these ways of thinking lead to independence or sovereignty.

Independent does not mean alone. We all are inter-dependent whether we know it or not. Yet, inter-dependence is not a weakness. As in management, you delegate the work, so you don’t have to do it all yourself. With that however, comes the reality that the person you have delegated to, may or may not do what you have expected them to do, or done it in the manner you would have liked them to. This is the crux of the problem, we want to be managers and delegate as long as it still gets done exactly the way we want it to get done, regardless of how that way may change as we change and how impossible this is the more we look into it!

In other words, we want sovereignty until it fails us and then we would like to blame the other person, circumstances, the powers to be, the government, our politicians, the terrorists, and on and on it goes. It’s always someone else’s fault when we don’t get what we want. Yet, we refuse to take responsibility that sometimes we want different things, in fact, sometimes we want opposite things.

Inter-dependence is an experience enhancer, that is until entitlement enters the picture. Entitlement is about expecting a perfect job, boss, government, or any other situation. Entitlement robs us of our sovereignty. The moment we feel entitled, we have handed over our sovereignty to the other.

Many of my coaching clients are going through an involuntary transition like a job loss. More than the fear or concern about the future, what seems to be the main issue they are facing is the fact that their transition is not voluntary. They did not choose to change jobs. This questions their sovereignty and they don’t like it one bit.

Through the course of coaching sessions, we both discover that what they thought was their sovereignty was not the case at all. In fact, they recall all the events that they may have missed, the opportunities they did not seek, the vacations they did not take, the appointments they neglected to make, other jobs they did not apply for, and then all of a sudden they realize how much of life was not lived because they were obligated to their jobs or careers. Then the anger sets in and for some, the blame takes place. Some of the bitterness is about the life they have missed out on for a sense of responsibility or loyalty they may have had towards a job that was taken away. Yes, they know how business works and it is not personal, but they realize all the personal stuff they gave up for an impersonal pursuit. Then it becomes personal!

Sovereignty is about accepting full responsibility for all of your creations.  It includes, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sovereignty is about taking full responsibility for what is happening in your life, and if you can’t, then taking responsibility for how you are reacting to what is happening in your life.

No entity can take anything away from you unless you have somehow invited it to. Spending time with the possibility of that invitation is what helps you stay sovereign. If you spend time discovering the wisdom in what is happening , you will not be basting in blame or entitlement. And there truly is wisdom in all that is happening, we have just been too busy feeling sorry for ourselves or blaming and pointing fingers.

If you are at a point in your life where you’d like to learn more about ways to enhance your experience of sovereignty, you may want to consider spiritual life coachingContact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if spiritual coaching is for you.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Perfectionist

I coach many people who are self-declared perfectionists. They typically know this about themselves and yet find it hard to deal with especially when they have multiple deadlines or an important project they need to finish. What seems to happen with perfectionists is that the target keeps on moving. This can lead to stress and extreme overwhelm.

It is almost as if they keep on moving the bar higher and higher and can never achieve success because success keeps on being redefined. The mind of a perfectionist is a hostile place. There is no room for rest, relaxation or any kind of comfort at all.

Here are 10 things a perfectionist tells herself:

1)    It’s not good at all
2)    It could be better
3)    What if there is something that needs to be changed and I am not seeing it right now?
4)    What if I overlook something and someone else sees it?
5)    I could do better
6)    I’ll spend another hour, day, week, month, etc. and then it will be done
7)    If there were more hours in a day, I could do it right
8)    I won’t do it, because I can’t do it the way I want to do it
9)    I’ll never get it done and I am ashamed and frustrated with myself
10)    I am overwhelmed by my incomplete projects

The perfectionist keeps on engaging in perfectionism because the end product, finished project, or whatever they finally complete ends up being such a success that they end up feeling like it was well worth it. If you are tired of struggling with perfectionism and find yourself stuck or overwhelmed, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching is about creating a safe space for discovery. Changing your language and self-talk may be the first step after the awareness that you are indeed a perfectionist. Contact me if you are interested in a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


His 13 year old daughter comes home and announces that she is going to a co-ed party that is going to last until midnight. He is faced with what to do about this declaration and about his own feelings of uncertainty. Should I say no, you are too young for that. Is she too young for that? I feel really unsure about my decision. Why am I so uncomfortable? All these thoughts start eating away at his insides and his stress level goes up and he snaps at his wife who wants to know what to make for dinner. Sounds familiar?

In my article dated February 12, 2012, the second obstacle to creativity was the need for knowledge. I was writing about creativity, and now I am applying this concept to life in general. Take parenting as in the example above. Most parents face it at one time or another. It is uncharted territory especially if it is your first child. And even if it is not, every child is different and what worked with one may not work with another. However, with the second and consequent children, you can remember the feeling of uncertainty you experienced with the first one and that in itself is comforting (the memory that you have experienced this unease before). Some parents when faced with the unease of being a beginner may refer to how their parents dealt with them or imagine what they would have done. That gives them a sense of comfort.

Being a beginner is not easy and it is harder as you get older. One reason being that you expect to know more, after all, you are older. Yet, life always has a way of throwing you a curve ball, just when you think you have figured it all. This is what many of my seasoned clients who are losing a job feel like. I have not had to go on a job interview for 20 years, I’m not sure how to do that anymore. I’ve been an expert in my company and everyone knows me, I am nervous about having to prove myself to a new boss and a new company.

Then there are the really serious and not so positive new experiences, like waking up one day after losing a loved one, or hearing a serious health diagnosis, or finding out something unsettling about a loved one. These are the moments where we feel like our life experiences, education and knowledge, are failing us. We are exposed to the raw sensation of not having a clue and yet, the issue at hand may be demanding us to do something or act in a certain way and we are completely unsure about what or how or if it is the right thing to do.

What if as in the example of creativity, we allowed ourselves to get comfortable with the fact that we are a beginner at it? In other words, what if instead of fear, dread, or intimidation, we faced the issue with certainty of our own uncertainty and ignorance about the topic at hand?

Take the top example, if the father in this example just took a deep breath and thought: Wow, this is interesting. I have no idea what to do. I feel anxious, because I think my daughter is too young to be hanging out with teenage boys at a party. I feel like my baby is growing up too fast. I don’t want to be a strict parent, but I don’t want her to get hurt or exposed to stuff she can’t handle.

Notice how these thoughts are all leading into another similar thought. That is exactly what staying in uncertainty is all about. It is about staying in that place and clarifying your discomfort over and over again. It will calm you down, give you a sense of certainty about your own uncertainty. It will bring more light and clarity to your biggest fears. And in the end, it will allow you to communicate honestly, openly and without drama.

Our fear is getting stuck in the uncertainty, looking weak, or not succeeding. However, we do get stuck, look weak and not get what we want, when we either fight the uncertainty or give up and avoid moving forward. Surrendering to uncertainty is about admitting to being a beginner. It is refreshing to be around someone who is not arrogant or over confident, especially if that person happens to be our parent!

If you are going through uncertain times, dealing with situations that are making you feel uneasy, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching sessions are geared towards helping the client get comfortable with life’s many uncertainties by becoming confident that they can get through any situation even if they don’t know how. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if you’d like to proceed with coaching.