Category Archives: Life Coaching

Defining FEAR: a Journal Prompt

Scrolling through social media, listening to news reports, many are feeling fearful.

What is fear? Some define it as:

* False Evidence Appearing Real

* Forgetting Everything is All Right

* Future Events Already Ruined

What do you fear? How do you respond to fear? What effect does fear have on you?

This week’s journal prompt asks you to reflect on fear. What is it? How does it affect you? Where has it taken/left you?

Where do you find the strength to defeat the fear?

Journal Prompt

Can you think back to a time you wanted to do something, but were afraid to do for fear you would fail?

When I look at that question my mind floods with a multitude of opportunities missed for this very reason. What if I fail?

Now think back. Think to a time you were afraid to do something for fear of failing, but you did it anyway. What was the outcome? What did you learn?

One such incident for me occurred last summer. I had been wanting to begin doing YouTube videos of encouragement, but each time I saw myself on video I said no I couldn’t do it. I don’t look good on camera. I am not professional enough. Who cares what I have to say?

One day I woke up, and I don’t know what got into me, but I brushed my hair, put on a little makeup (I am not much of a makeup gal) and with an idea in mind – not even a full script – I turned on the camera and started speaking.

I started talking about dreaming and made an acronym for the word DREAM. I described the letter D and said the others would follow.

I JUST COMMITTED TO AT LEAST 4 MORE VIDEOS!!

Knowing I would look inexperienced, I chose not to do editing. I checked the video to be sure it was framed correctly and the audio worked. After that I slapped on an opening and closing frame and posted to YouTube.

I did it!! My first video post.

I have posted several videos since then, and even interviewed other women, helping them step in front of the camera.

I realized one day, I look just like I would if we were to meet face to face. This is me. Why do I want to be someone different in front of a camera?

Now, it is your turn.

Describe a time you were afraid to do something fearing failure, but you did it anyway.

What was the outcome? What did you learn?

If you are comfortable doing so, share your experience in the comments.

Journal Prompt – forgiving me

For this week’s journal prompt, stop for a moment and reflect…..

“What does it look like to forgive myself?”

I don’t know about you. I can only speak for myself. But I don’t think I am alone.

I can forgive anyone else. There is only 1 person I find it difficult to forgive. Me.

I expect a level of perfection from myself that is impossible to achieve. And unforgivable when that level of perfection is not reached.

I know, it doesn’t make sense. It is unreasonable. Yet, it is a daily struggle.

Take a moment this to journal and consider, “What does it look like to forgive me?” Only when I look for it will I be able to begin to take a step toward it.

Journal Prompt

This week’s journal prompt is easy, but don’t just breeze past it. Stop and really consider, what energizes you?

Perhaps this week you might want to take note of moments you were energized and what led to that.

Become mindful of where the energy comes from.

If you wish, share your energizing moments in the comments.

Journal Prompt – One Thing

This week’s journal prompt looks at doing one thing you have been avoiding.

What is one thing you have been avoiding completing?

Explore why you have been avoiding it, what completing this will provide for you, how you will accomplish this, & how you will feel when it’s done.

7 Tips for Choosing Joy during COVID-19

This COVID-19 crisis has radically changed our lives. Just a few months ago, we had no idea our ‘world’ would be confined to our homes!

This crisis is a powerful reminder of how important freedom is – and how much we need human connection!

Remember you are not alone. Because what is DIFFERENT here is that everyone is impacted! Your neighbor, mom, boss and friends as well as your counterparts around the world are all going through something similar.

With so many things going on you do not have control over, it’s important to remember:

Choose your attitude today.  It’s one thing you have complete control over.

This is the challenge each of us must rise to! If we’re going to be stuck at home, we may as well make the most of it.

7 Steps to Choosing Joy while Physically Isolated:

1) Create a Healthy, Supportive Routine

When we feel powerless or helpless (as so many of us do at the moment), one EXTREMELY easy thing to do is to create a routine or schedule.

While we’re all stuck in anxiously waiting at home, it’s easy to lose our sense of time. Days can begin to blend into each other. A routine can give us an anchor and greater sense of control over our lives. And if you have children, creating a routine is especially important to give them a sense of normality.

This routine or schedule can be as simple as:

  • 8am – Wake-up
  • 8:30am – Breakfast
  • 10am – Declutter one closet/area
  • 11am – Talk to family/friends
  • 12.00pm – Lunch
  • 1-4pm – Learn a new skill through online courses or self-teaching
  • 5pm – Make & Eat Dinner
  • 7pm – Exercise
  • 8pm –Read/Journal/Knit/Crochet/Sew
  • 10pm – Bed

Be sure to include food preparation, social time, exercise and outdoor time and some learning or creativity so you get some benefit from this challenging time.

It’s also important to recognize weekends because it’s too easy for weeks to blur together. So, make a looser schedule for your weekends. For example, you could include:

  • Sleeping in/later bedtime
  • Brunch
  • “Treats”
  • Movie night with popcorn
  • Play a board game with others in the home
  • A virtual happy hour with friends or colleagues
  • A larger project, perhaps scrapbook or some art, knit/crochet/sewing/ craft, gardening or home redecoration.

So, create a routine for a sense of control and mastery over your environment and life circumstances. Reclaim what power you can over your own life, because with all this uncertainty it’s important for you – and especially important for children – to have predictability.

2) Gain a New Skill with Online Learning:

There are so many opportunities online to gain a new skill and they’re growing by the day!

Grow your personal or creative skills or choose a new skill to learn and take back to work with online training providers like Coursera or Udemy.

There are many other providers.

If there’s a skill you always wanted to learn, search for it. But be sure to read the course descriptions thoroughly, check reviews if there are any – and check money-back guarantees as you need to!

And with so many learning options ranging from FREE to tens of dollars to the low hundreds of dollars, there will be something out there just perfect for you.

New to the use of Zoom?  Check out my short training videos on the software here.

3) Be in the moment:

In THIS moment you are OK. You are safe. Take one day at a time. One hour or even one breath at a time if you need to.

This tip is about being super-present, not thinking ahead or remembering the past, but practicing BEING.

This is a PRACTICE – meaning you will have to do it over and over again – bringing yourself back to the NOW. Over time it gets easier, and it’s a great skill to have to take back to “normal” life.

When you start to notice you’re worrying, feeling twitchy and want to pick up your device and find out what the “latest” is about the COVID situation, say to yourself, “It’s OK. In this moment, I am safe. In this moment I am OK.”  You can also add or say, “In this moment, my children/husband/family are safe.”

EXTRA TIP: Reduce or minimise how often you watch and read the news! And DON’T read or watch the news (or articles about COVID-19 or similar) just before bed!

4) Laugh

Distracting ourselves from our fears is a valid technique for feeling better!

Laughter releases helpful chemicals in our bloodstream – Endorphins (our natural “happy” drug) and Dopamine (part of our bodily “reward” system).

Netflix, Hulu and other streaming formats have so many watching options, so find something that makes you laugh!  What are your favorite comedy shows?  Is there a comedian you like?

IMPORTANT: We should NOT use over-use laughter as a distraction technique. And it shouldn’t be used for ongoing and persistent fears in regular life. But for a situation like this, where this isn’t much that any of us can do other than sit and wait – distraction can be a great coping mechanism.

5) Start a Journal!

If you’ve always wanted to journal, now is a good time to start. More than just keeping a record of your day, a journal can help you explore and sift through your feelings and experiences and learn from them. It’s a great way to get to know you.

It’s great to choose a beautiful notebook, but the most important thing is to just get started. Here are some prompts to get started with:

  • Today I am feeling _________. I think this is because __________.
  • One big thing I have learned during this crisis is _________.
  • I remember the last time I was stuck in the house _________.
  • One thing that’s surprised me recently is _________.
  • What matters most to me in life is _________.
  • Describe your ideal day _________.

“A journal is expressive by nature and it contains feelings, emotions, problems, ponderings and it is more reflective on the meaning of life being lived.” Lynda Monk

You may find this How to Journal article from the IAJW (International Association for Journal Writing) helpful to get you started.

Last year I started posting some weekly journal prompts on my website. If you are looking for something to write about, check them out here.

6) Help and Encourage Others

Helping others is empowering and makes us feel better. Here are a few ways you could help others.

  • Check in on a neighbour or friend and see if they need anything. You can do this by phone, or in person, remembering to maintain a 6 feet distance.
  • Offer to get someone groceries if you’re going.
  • Help someone less technically savvy learn how to use Zoom or WhatsApp or whatever they need to get online.
  • Host a virtual get-together with your regular friends.
  • Reconnect more deeply with friends or relatives who have moved away.

Send “real” snail mail cards and letters. Go old-fashioned. Who doesn’t love to receive a lovely card or handwritten letter in the post box! Rediscover the lost art of letter-writing and make someone’s day.  Yes, you could send an email appreciating someone, and that’s great. But imagine your recipient’s face as they pick up that hand-written card in the mailbox.

Wondering what to say? Write from the heart! Here are some ideas to get started:

  • I really appreciate having you in my life because ________.
  • I love hanging out with you when we ________.
  • I’ve realised that you bring ________ to my life.

7) De-Clutter

I bet you have some organizational things on your to-do list (like going through winter clothes, sorting out toys to donate or tidying the laundry closet, garage or shed) that have been on there for a while. Use this isolation period to get them done!

Getting organized and de-cluttering allows us to exert some control over our lives – and therefore feel less helpless! Plus, it willl feel amazing just to have it done.

Organize your closets, your garage, your books, your photos, office, kitchen equipment. Whatever needs organizing. Or perhaps you need to go through your receipts or file your taxes!

  • If you need some inspiration (and great clothes-folding tips) you could watch the Marie Kondo series on Netflix!

A simple 3 Step Method to go through your stuff:

  1. If you’re keeping it, be sure to DECIDE where it will “live” from now on.
  2. If you’re not keeping it, create two piles:
    • Things to DUMP
    • Things to DONATE (and if relevant to pass on to specific people).
  3. When you’re done, put each pile into bags or boxes, and then once this crisis is over you can get rid of what you no longer need.
  • TIP: You don’t need to do any of this ‘in one sitting’, do an hour a day – you’ll be surprised how much you get done if you keep it up for a week!

Wrap-up

Only you can control your attitude. It is possible to experience peace and joy, even in the midst of difficult times.  There is much you cannot control. This is something you can. It’s your choice.

Believe you have the skills and power to tackle this situation and you will! Choose to make the best of a difficult situation and no matter what – you’ll find a way.

This current and strange COVID-19 situation will end. When it does, you’ll be proud you chose to make the effort to learn something – whether it’s about yourself, fresh knowledge, a new skill – and who knows what else.

As a Certified Professional Life Coach, I empower women to overcome the lies of negative self-talk to that they may step into the truth of their worth.  As a speaker I address women’s groups on this subject.

I have authored two books as part of a “Knit and Crochet Bible Study devotional/journal” now available on Amazon.

Journal Prompt – seeking goodness and hope

I had to turn off the news and close the tabs to social media.

I couldn’t take it anymore. The longer I focused on these the more discouraged and depressed I became. Sadness, destruction, and defeat seem to reign. Time to take a break.

Once I stepped away from these I found so much to be thankful for.

  • I stepped out onto my deck to enjoy the beautiful weather.
  • I talked on the phone with a friend and laughed over silly shenanigans in our homes.
  • I did a video call with my grandchildren, smiling at their precious faces.

Even in challenging times, goodness and hope may be found when you look for it.

Where are you finding goodness and hope today?

What’s Your Zone?

What zone are you experiencing today?
COVID-19 has certainly turned life upside down.

Everyone reacts differently. In the midst of this chaos, there can be conflict. Often this conflict centers around others not responding as we do. We expect everyone to feel as we do.

They don’t. And they won’t.

An unpleasant truth is that you cannot control the reactions of others. You can help, but you cannot change others. You are the only one you can change.

Are you reacting, or responding?

I found this graphic on FB. I can’t give credit to the creator as I have no idea where it originated. I like how it describes 3 zones looking at “Who do I want to be during COVID-19?”

Note, it doesn’t ask “who am I?” It asks “who do I want to be?” There is a difference.

Where are you on the chart? Are in the Fear Zone? Learning? Growth? Where would you like to be? The difference between the two is the gap you must cross.

How are you going to cross that gap? As a life coach, I can help you move along that path.

Journal Prompt – Don’t Stop Now

You started the year stating a Big Goal and worked diligently toward it.

Then, BAMM, life happened and you are quarantined.

How has it affected your progress? What can you do during this time to stay focused on your Big Goal?

I am currently involved in Bible Study on the book of Ruth. The speaker made a statement I find so appropriate.

I didn’t come this far, just to come this far.

Yes, life has definitely thrown a curve ball. But it hasn’t thrown us out of the game.

Take some time to re-evaluate your Big Goal. For some, this may cause them to see it isn’t the priority they thought. There is something much bigger to move toward.

For others, it may confirm the value of this Big Goal. “Achieving this goal will help me be prepared for another attack from life (and there will be ) by……..”

Remind yourself why that goal was important to you a few months ago. Focus on the end result. You can still get there. Make plans to step around the obstacles and continue to move forward. It is within your grasp.

Keep going.

This pandemic will end. Don’t let it end your dream.

Perspective in Quarantine

Like most of you, I am under a “stay-at-home order”, a guideline seeking to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For me, life is not very different. My husband works from home already. I write these posts and encourage others from home. We don’t just leave the house at a moment’s notice anymore, and our small group now meets online instead of at my dining table. Other than that, our lives remain the same. I am blessed.

But for many, there is a dramatic change in their lives. Schools are cancelled. Businesses are ordered closed. Families are together under one roof 24/7. The children don’t understand why they can’t go to the playground.

The chaos of all this can definitely bring a person down. It is easy to get stuck in the “I have to” and “I cannot” and “They will not let me” frame of mind.

I have to be with the family 24/7. I have to cook meals, we can’t go anywhere. I have to pick up all day long.

The more you focus on I have to, the more pressure you will feel. Saying this yourself makes it a command, something you don’t want to do. Think of your child when they tell their friends “I cannot play right now, I have to clean my room.” They don’t want to do that and are focusing on what they cannot do because they have to do something else.

PERSPECTIVE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE

By focusing on the feeling of having to do something, you are telling yourself you really don’t have a choice. The truth is, you do. Let’s be honest, you can choose to ignore the stay-at-home order. You can choose not to cook. You can choose to ignore your family.

And like any choice, there are consequences.

So what if you chose to work within the confines. What if, instead of ‘I have to cook so many meals” became “I get to show my children how to make our favorite dish.” What is “I have so much laundry to do” was stated “I get to keep my family clean and clothed. I can even use this time as an opportunity to show them how it is done.” What if “I have to spend the whole day with these people” became “I get to spend time with my family. What fun thing can we do together?”

Another difference perspective makes is in the general atmosphere around you. If you are frustrated and discouraged that you have to be there, that will translate to the others around you.

She looketh well to the ways of her household (Proverbs 31:27). You can help your family get through this. Check your perspective. How is it leading those around you?

  • You have to practice social distancing, you get to help preserve the health of yourself and others.
  • You have to stay away from friends and family, you get to use today’s technology to call, text, video chat.
  • You have to stay inside. You get to do those things you have put off because you didn’t have time: crafts, clean out a closet, play board games with the kids.

Change your Perspective, find unseen Possibilities. Look at the new Pathways that are open. On which will you Proceed.

How are you keeping your perspective during this difficult time? Share thoughts and ideas below.