A perfect time for reflection

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Most of us are super busy during the holiday season — getting ready, traveling, celebrating in all sorts of ways. There’s lots of emotion in the air (and often a mix of emotions). 

Happily, we get a short respite between Christmas and the start of the new year. 

I treasure this space. With festivities behind us and so many people on holiday, things get quiet. I find this to be a perfect time for reflection. 

Reflection is something most people never get to doing. Life is always hectic! But when you make time to slow down and look back great things happen.


The benefits of taking time to reflect

Meaningful reflection requires time and space. You must slow down and get quiet, and that in itself is an important gift you can give yourself. 

Taking time to reflect enables you to gain perspective. Rather than drifting from day to day and week to week until a year has sped by without any insight, when you create focused, quiet time you can see so much! With thought and attention, you can consider what worked in your life, and appreciate yourself and celebrate your accomplishments. You can also spot the patterns or habits that kept you stuck. 

The insights gleaned from reflection afford you tremendous opportunities for moving into your future. This is a time to consider what you want to build on, as well as what you want to do less of — or stop doing altogether. Consider the qualities you need to cultivate or nurture to live your best life. Start to consider the goals you want to set, and how you can reach them.


5 tips and suggestions for meaningful reflecting  

Why not create a special ritual for this process? You might even want to begin an annual tradition of reflecting. Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Set aside some time for yourself at a particular time of day and find a place you like — a cozy nook, in front of a fire, a special chair — to settle into.

  2. You might want to ask someone to be a partner. Sitting together, you can do some thinking and writing, and then share your insights and ideas with one another.

  3. Designating a lovely journal for reflecting can make this a more special experience. And the journal can also be your place to note reflections at regular intervals during the year. (You might reflect monthly or at the start of each new season.) Your periodic reflections will help you stay clear and aware as you move through the year.

  4. You can approach the process of reflecting in a range of interesting ways. One possibility for getting started is go through your calendar and review the entries for each month, then note insights that come to mind. 

    Another approach is to create lists as your jumping off point. Try noting your top 10 highlights of the year or top 10 lessons learned or the 10 most important things you want to stop doing in the future. Next, jot down WHY each thing is on your list, and what you learned related to the entry. Before long, you’ll have a rich array of insights.

I would love to hear about how you reflect on the year that’s winding down, and what your big aha’s and take-aways are. Leave a comment here, or email me.

I would be happy to hear from you if you want to talk about how coaching can support you to live with clarity, intention, and commitment this year. I welcome you to get in touch to talk with me about how I can help.

I wish you and yours a New Year of living big!

How to start bringing important change into your life

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One of the big issues I see people deal with after attending my Dream Big Vision Board workshop is moving forward to bring dreams, ambitions, and visions into reality. And, even if you have not created a vision board to get clear about what you want to be and do and have in your life, most of us have ideas about how we want to bring change into our lives or make progress or grow in important ways.

Taking the first step can be daunting.

We tend to think we need to be bold and brave and strive to make heroic changes — and thoughts like that can bring up all sorts of resistance. All of a sudden it can feel scary to make a huge change. Confidence can slip away at the thought of doing something so big. Coupled with that, the prospect of failure and the shame we envision can be paralyzing. Or, we tell ourselves we're not ready yet and so we put off getting started. And sometimes, our doubts tell us it’s useless to try.

Even accomplished women who have a deep desire to step up to living a bigger life can get stuck this way — and they may be especially prone to setting huge expectations for themselves and getting tripped up. 

Here are 3 steps you can take right now to get started on making important change in your life.

1. What do you want? It’s time to get clear!

It’s exciting to anticipate making big important changes, but if you are not clear about what you really want — and why — you may jump in and find yourself having to back up and refocus. Why risk hampering yourself like that?

Sometimes we want something new in our lives, but that feeling is fuzzy. Say you are exhausted by overwork and you want to more day-to-day sanity in your life. The why is not hard to figure out, but what exactly do you want? 
- More and better sleep? 
- Getting rid of bad clients who drain your spirit — and learning how to avoid them in the future? 
- More support from family members, or finding helpers like a bookkeeper or VA? 
- More time for exercise and other self-care? 

Pinpoint what it is your really want. Because without knowing, how can you begin to bring that change into your life?

Let’s use another example, and take the process of getting clear a step further.

Say you want to relocate. Do some writing about what your reasons are for making a move. And, list your criteria. You may desire a warmer climate, or seek less costly housing, or a location with better job opportunities, or some combination of those factors. Maybe you need to have access to an international airport, or need to live near a major medical center. Get all of that down on paper. Next, rank the importance of each factor, as you will likely need to compromise on some of your criteria. The more information you pin down, the smoother and clearer your process will be going forward.

This is a doable and crucial first step — and, you’ll have started taking important action!

2. Set your sights on one or two small steps to keep going.

Rather than set a huge goal and try to tackle it in one great stride, think about one or two small, doable steps you can take now to move forward. We’re going for wins, and building momentum.

Let’s say you are in an unhappy professional position and want to move on to find work that will be more satisfying and meaningful, or you want to find an organization with a culture that feels like “home.”

Having started with Step One — getting clear about what you want and why — and having established the criteria for a great next job, you can decide on one or two doable small steps to take next.

You might first choose the most appealing option on your list and dig in to learn more. Rather than jumping in to a full-fledged job search, you can start by reading up on the sector or job type, or companies in the industry sector. Then identify people you can meet with — or people you can reach out to and ask for introductions. Prepare a solid list of the questions on your mind about the kind of work, available opportunities, compensation, etc. 

Once you have set up and had a few productive conversations, you’ll be on your way. And, when you are ready to confirm what you want to go after, you can plan for the next small step to take — like creating a tailored resume and a great cover letter.

3. Build in accountability and support. 

When you tell someone that you intend to do something important, and regularly keep them up to date on your progress, you are more likely to stay on track. Accountability is a powerful motivator and keeps your momentum strong. 

The key is to get that support from someone who truly cares about you and your success — someone who believes in you and will support you in a positive way. You can seek out an "Accountability Buddy” and set up a schedule for check-ins. And, having a coach can be a great asset when you are trying to make important change and want to do it as smoothly as possible. Because, inevitably there will be bumps in the road, times when your confidence dips or your best next step is unclear. Having a capable guide to get you through the rough patches and help you to see the way forward and stay on track will accelerate your progress.

Life presents us with an ongoing series of opportunities to grow, change and expand. And every time you decide to step into what’s next, you’ll be called on to commit again and take consistent action to reach your next level. 

Some final thoughts.

As you go through each step along the way, remember to acknowledge yourself for setting your intentions, committing to taking action, and for each small piece of progress as you attain it. Celebrate your ongoing commitment, your ability to leave old limiting mindsets behind, your willingness to make big change, your courage to persevere, and your creativity and resolve. 

And finally, be sure to celebrate your successes!

I would love to hear from you as you undertake or move through periods of important change in your life. Comment below or email me — I always read what you post or send.

And, if you want to talk with me about how coaching can support you to step into the big life you desire, just complete my Coaching Inquiry Form and we'll make a date for a call (there’s no obligation or cost for this deep heart-to-heart conversation).

How clarity makes for a powerful vision board

I was delighted to be with the remarkable women at my workshop and their fantastic vision boards.

I was delighted to be with the remarkable women at my workshop and their fantastic vision boards.

An incredible group of women spent a wonderful day at my Create Your Life Vision Board Workshop, on Saturday, April 8. They focused on gaining clarity about they want in their lives — what they want to BE, what they want to DO, and what they want to HAVE. They were courageous and deeply engaged in the work, and also supported one another in beautful ways.

The vison boards they created are fantastic! The creative energy in the room was palpable as each woman selected images and words tied to her desires, and arranged and pasted them on the boards in compositions that had the deepest meaning for her. These unique expressions are already hanging where they will be seen daily, to keep each woman inspired to take action that will help her manifest her desires and transform her life.

I was honored to lead this special group through my process, and I'm eager to hear about the impact of the vision board for each one.

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My vision for a big new year

2017 is off and running! In just the first couple of weeks I’m experiencing a lot of positive energy and feeling that this will be a momentous year.

Yes, I, like many others, feel great uncertainty and deep concern about the direction our nation’s new administration is taking now, and where it will go. But, I feel determined to make my voice heard, to take constructive action, and to do my important work. I want to be a force to support and inspire people to stand strong, to think creatively, and to be effective leaders in their lives and work. The collective, bold, creative thinking and action that we bring to our lives and our society are crucial now. If we succumb to fear and anxiety we will fail to think, and fail to act.

Here’s how I am moving forward:

1. I chose an important word to guide my year. As many of my readers know, I am a big believer in choosing a guiding word for each year. Last year, I chose SAVOR. It guided me to slow down and appreciate everything — big and small — in my life, and it served me well. It helped me to create new awareness and habits, and enhanced my daily happiness. The gratitude I cultivated was a great balance to the stresses that came along.

My word for 2017 is VIBRANT — vibrant health, energy, creativity, thinking, service, and action. I am already feeling the power of this amazing word in my daily life!

2. I am already celebrating achievements. I am celebrating good self-care, and that I am feeling stronger and healthier than I have in a long time. I am celebrating that I have cleared my office of accumulated clutter, and have updated my systems so that I can keep my work space organized and functioning smoothly. I am celebrating that I have started to work with a terrific virtual assistant, and I look forward to how that help will free me to do more of the important projects I have planned.

And, I am celebrating the Vision Board workshop I lead on Saturday, and the remarkable group of women who did deep and beautiful work with me. I am still savoring every moment that we spent together, as they connected to clarity and determined how they want to be in their lives, what they want to do in the year ahead, and what they want to have. They made it all visual in amazing ways, creating vision boards that are both beautiful and packed with intention.

3. I am finding inspiration and creating in exciting ways. I visited the Museum of Fine Arts last week to see great work on exhibit before it leaves the museum. Standouts, in addition to William Merritt Chase, were The Clock, Terry Winter’s prints, and the Massed Media show. I will continue to visit museums and galleries regularly. And, in anticipation of the start of a painting course that I’m registered for at Tufts/School of the Museum of Fine Arts, I have been painting in my studio. I am also finding the vision board I made in late 2016 to be an inspiration for the things I most want to manifest in my life now. Seeing it every morning keeps me taking action toward what I want most. All of these are sparking my thinking and awakening my heart every day.

And, connecting everything for me, love will continue to be my driving force, alongside creativity — in this year and every year. As I wrote in my email at the end of 2016, I ask myself every day if I am I serving myself, my family, my clients, my community and the world with a full heart. I am determined to model love and tolerance as I move through 2017.

How is your year starting? Have you chosen a guiding word for yourself? Do you find yourself struggling or feeling stuck? Let me know how you are feeling and doing as you look ahead to this new year. I would love to hear your thoughts.