Posts tagged ‘coaching’

Idling in Inertia

I’ve been thinking about inertia way too much recently, letting several days go by where I have done precious little with my Plan B as I watch the time trickle away from my current job.  Not that I haven’t done anything, but it all feels like avoidance.  Nothing like cleaning the office refrigerator and microwave to get me back to my desk and paperwork!   So while the former is helpful and gave me the mental break and impetus to go back to a more tedious task, it seems to be a too common pattern in my life.

With inertia, we stay the same until a force propels us another way.   Whether it’s in a job, a relationship, or our health, it’s easier to stay the course than act.   And what force then moves us?  A job ending, a heart attack, a major loss…wouldn’t it be so much better to have that Plan B, or to change or stop what we can.  There are so many things we can’t control, that it’s important to deal with the things we can. 

One good thing, and I am all for rewarding baby steps, is that I’m noticing this inertia sooner than I used to.  The brain chatter picks up, saying, Look out, look out, rut ahead.  You should, you should.   It’s mostly negative chatter and while I know it’s not good, I am getting to where I can reframe it into something positive.  Yes, I should do something different, take some kind of step towards my new future, but instead of mulling that over and over, I will act.  I will create a force to get moving.  Even something as little as putting a goal on a list.  At least it is there to check off. 

We all need motivators, no matter how small or idiosyncratic.  For me right now, flabby arms and my blog stats are my biggest motivators.  Yes, of course, there’s also  the branching out into a new career, but I want to be doing that with tight arms and an active, popular blog.  I know that these seemingly minor things will make a difference – as I do anything positive, that movement will continue and I will do something in another part of my life that needs a little shove.   There is no judgement in inertia, it is what it is, so when we humans take on its significance in our lives, one of the directions feels better than the other.  For me right now, the body staying at rest is a rut and the body in motion is my future, and I just hope that I can keep that inertia, and my Plan B, rolling.

July 2, 2010 at 6:47 am 10 comments

Bobble-Heading Through Life

It worked again, those three journal pages in the early morning before anyone else, including the coffee pot, is awake.  Okay, the cat was up, but she loves the morning pages, too.  All my journals and pens have been permanently scent marked by her, not to mention the addition of jagged lines from her rubbing on the pen at inopportune times.

I had been writing and thinking about several things that had come up in the last two days, one about self-respect, the other about dreaming vs goal setting, and then bobble-heading through life  showed up and Poof! that was it.  That’s what it’s all about – whether we go through life nodding and agreeing with all that comes our way, or do we take life by the hand and say, What a great adventure!  Let’s go!

I always thought I was a good dreamer – I can while away vast amounts of time in my head, lost in thought, oblivious to others who are wondering if I am dead, asleep, boring, or what.  Nope, just thinking and trying to work that Law of Attraction, picturing the book signings, the articles in glossy magazines, even Terri Gross wanting to talk to me.  I just didn’t realize I wasn’t a very effective dreamer, and that while dreaming is good, without action, it’s like the northern lights, magic while there but then gone.   I had always wondered why, with such good ideas, such positive thoughts, that I still seemed to be in the same place.

Action!  Even the most novice director knows to say that at the beginning of filming, but I seem to have missed that part.  My father was not an action oriented man, more the let’s see if something bad happens first before we do anything, so I am awed and amazed at people who think something and then do it.  Who knew!  Action people assume action follows thought, that if they think or say they want to do something, they do it.  The dreamers  just keep on dreaming and thinking and sometimes need to be reminded that something must be done before something can happen.  Action people have lists with things checked off and at the end of the day, they’re done and I’m still thinking.  I am so envious!

Part of this, I realize, is tied with self-esteem and whether we deserve those dreams or not.  I used to think that flabby self-esteem was invisible, a nasty, hidden secret we could keep from others, but no, it’s as plain as day.  Horse’s know it, kids know it, students in class know it and they can make your day hell.  I wish I had a magic wand that would cure poor self-esteem, but just like any bad habit that is ingrained, it takes work to overcome it.  And whine, whine, whine, no one likes to work on those kinds of things.  Fun things, yes, painful things, not so much.

So this Reluctant Success has steeled herself towards action, to setting a goal and actually doing it rather than thinking about it, and creating new habits.  I still haven’t figured out why some things are so easy, they just get done with no thought, but then there are those rascally ideas, the better job, the newer car, and all of a sudden it’s oh, it’s okay, it doesn’t matter.  But honey, it does.

June 18, 2010 at 2:13 pm 6 comments

The Reluctant Success

In following with the current popularity of the Law of Attraction I am writing this as if I am a success, not the halting, undisciplined writer that I am.  I mean was. 

I had the worst possible childhood for a writer…a reasonably idyllic Midwestern childhood of riding bikes on country roads, Kids’ Day with parades, ferris wheels (yes, I could see my house from the top), and painted store windows, a popcorn stand on the corner, and yes, fresh sweetcorn from my grandmother’s farm and tomatoes from the garden.   Did I mention scaring pigs and watching their cute little back-ends race across a field?

If you’re looking for a dark side to this, it would be my brother providing most of the entertainment, throwing up strawberry shortcake from the top of the Octopus, that stomach churning up-down-swing you around amusement ride, or splitting open his knuckles on his rusty bike fender, or knocking himself silly when the metal seat of the swing whacked him on the back of the head.  That one got me out of my piano lesson and straight to the doctor’s waiting room.  The biggest suspense in my life was what was going to happen to him next.

Life was pretty easy…school was fun and I got good grades without trying too hard, learned the piano despite doing it my way instead of my teacher’s way, got into the college I wanted, didn’t die from being stupid, my periods were easy, childbirth was easy (well at least I forgot the worst parts), and now what?  What did I learn?  Well, it certainly wasn’t  how to push myself through the boring parts of life, to struggle to get ahead, to really work for a dream.  I mean, why?  I could be pretty happy and content mosey-ing through life, accomplishing a certain amount, a little travel, good jobs more meaningful than well paid, living in a pretty home in a pretty town.  But.

But now what?  I’m at the age where easy isn’t good enough, I get to put my dreams first rather than those of my kids or my husband, or anyone.  I have a small window of time before I need to start putting priorities to my parents needs, so I need to get going.  But how? 

Being an avid collector of quotes from Bartlett’s to The Portable Curmudgeon and every self-help book on a shelf, I have a million bits of good advice, inspiring, cajoling, sassy, wise, and not one of them will kick me in the rear and get me going.  Not long term at least. Only I can do that, and I’m not very good at it.  I know how many times Edison tried to invent the lightbulb, how many rejections William Kennedy recieved before getting Ironweed published, and that failure is mandatory (What! No one told me that when I was growing up!). 

And so my research begins, corraling the resources and supports around me, to believe my friends when they say, “I’d read that” about my book idea, gather my books and advice givers, and yes, you’re right, Karen Lamb, ” a year from now you may wish you had started today.”  I know, I know.

May 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm 6 comments

Rethinking Ballpark

I love my Dad.  He’s dependable, steady, hardworking, a great provider for his family, and uncomplaining.  It wasn’t until I could actual get a “visual” on him that it really made sense.  He’s a straight and narrow kind of guy, blinders on, nose to the grindstone, who forgets to look up sometimes and see what some other options might be.  I have learned from his regrets at not acting or taking a risk because of some internal should.   The house by the river where he first lived as a new father slipped through his fingers, and the hugging and kissing of his children that was too effusive was shut away until we had left home.  I hear his disappointment in himself, and even though I tell him how amazing it is that he learned that and changed has not seemed to soften that hurt.   I’m visiting him next month and wondering if he has more regrets in his life than joy.  I hope not.  What a terrible legacy to leave behind.

So here is the visual on my family.  My Dad is the straight line, just like the ones running down the middle of the road.  My first daughter is the jagged up down up down of a crazy day on Wall Street.  My second daughter is the wave, gently undulating, with highs and lows but without the thunder. 

And me, I want to be a ball park.  I’m at home base with a wide V of options and opportunities open to me.  My home run can be anywhere from first base through third base and even off to the edge a little bit.  I am at the mid-point in my life, the year that I have lived just as long away from home as I did living at home.  I have passed the age where my mother died and I get to see my grandchildren.  I am happy and healthy and looking to transform my own regrets.  My business card will read “What next?”  and my goal is to take as many people along that  journey of self-discovery as I can, making sure each and every one has that chance to see an open field and be able to go where ever they want to follow that dream.

April 9, 2010 at 12:45 pm Leave a comment

Paying Attention

I’ve heard the Universe gives you lots of chances to practice what you’ve learned, or at least could have learned if you were paying attention. That’s the unstated test – were you paying attention?  Happily I was, because I got my test just 3 hours later.  I give myself an A for noticing, but execution was a B- at best. 

I had attended a coaching session earlier in the afternoon and an issue the presenter focussed on was getting through a tough situation.   A quick 4-parter, even I could remember it.  Mostly. 

1. Breathe

2 Acknowledge your feelings

3 Ground yourself in the present moment

4 Make peace with the situation or accept to do something about it another time

All good and I bet it even works better when I get all the steps in, but for now, I am happy to recognize that I am stressed and that I can do something about it. 

It’s winter in Upstate NY, so of course it’s  snowing  just as everyone is trying to get home, roads are untreated and slick and traffic lined up like a parade.  I skid past my turn, turn around for a second go and slide again.  I am not a happy winter driver, except during Camelot winter, when the ground is sparkling white with snow and the roads are dry.   As I am creeping along to errands I don’t want to go on, my mind is racing towards my daughter commuting over the poor roads, the company that may beat me to my house, the bed to be remade, the cat hair clinging to the sofa, and yes, that I am stressed, angry, afraid, and that I just learned what to do about it. 

I would like to add Recognition to that previous list, because I know it would be a relief  just to scream at someone, go home, and be mad about the weather.  Trouble is, I would not like myself.  So let’s hear it for Recognition, knowing – paying attention – that emotions are high and that there is a better choice than just reacting in a pre-programmed way.

So, I started Breathing.  Simple, you say?  No.  Unconscious?  Yes.  My shoulders are hunched, my body is tight, and I’m not processing what’s going on right now, only a multitude of possibilities that probably won’t happen.  Just taking a breath and loosening up created space for productive thinking to enter my brain. It worked so well I tried it again.  Feeling better, I tried another step, Be Present, focus on what’s in front of you.  I’m in my car, it’s snowing, there are lots of other cars, check my speed, my brakes…okay…I’m feeling in control, the screaming urges are leaving and I know what I’ll need to do should an emergency arise.  I am all of a sudden a competent driver and I only did two out of four tasks!

Sitting in my warm office now, I can now accept the situation and check off #4, and I might even remember to do this whole exercise before I start driving in ugly weather again.  I look forward to the time when this whole process is automatic and that practice sessions come farther and farther apart.  I may still mix up the order or skip a step, but it will still work and I will be proud of myself.  I think I’ll put that as #5.  Give credit when it’s due, especially to yourself.

February 18, 2010 at 4:08 pm Leave a comment


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