How to Really Feel Thankful


With the holidays upon us, we may look forward to enjoying the company of family and friends, good food and time off.  Or we may not.   Extra shopping, preparation, travel and other additions to our already packed schedules can make the holidays feel stressful.  Also, as the days grow shorter and winter approaches, many people feel depressed (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  Feeling stressed, anxious or depressed when we tell ourselves we are supposed to feel cheerful can make it even worse.  We feel guilty about feeling sorry for ourselves when we know we should be grateful.  After all, we have much to be thankful for:  if you are reading this, it means you have a computer with an internet connection, making you more wealthy than 95-97% of the world’s population.  Still, knowing we should be grateful and actually feeling that way are two different things.  So how do we get back to feeling thankful?

One simple technique is to keep a gratitude journal.  It sounds too easy, or maybe too cheesy.  How can writing down what we’re thankful for help when we don’t feel that way?  The answer is to start small.  Promise yourself that every day for a week, you will write three things you are thankful for, either when you first wake in the morning or right before you go to bed.  Try to write three different things each day.  You will be amazed when simple phrases and sentences turn into paragraphs and pages.  Albert Einstein said, “Everything’s energy and that’s all there is to it.   Match the frequency of the reality you want and you can’t help but get that reality.”  This quote explains why gratitude journals work.  I find that writing in the morning changes my outlook for the whole day.

Remember to give thanks.

Keeping a gratitude journal can re-focus our priorities:  if we’re grateful for our husband and kids, why are we spending more time working and less time enjoying them?  It also sets a great example for our children.  When we can articulate what we are grateful for, it helps them to do the same.  That’s important, with Christmas approaching and long lists being written; it can help kids to re-frame their outlook as well.  Why not try it for the days leading up to Thanksgiving?
How do you remember to feel thankful?  Please share in the comments.

 

EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT! BECOME A MEMBER OF NEW FRONTIERS LIFE COACHING!


Jenny is committed to making coaching available to ANYONE who wants to change their life, regardless of budget, and that’s why she’s so excited to offer you a new monthly subscription plan.  For just $47/month, members will receive:

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Give yourself the best Christmas gift of all and start off the New Year with an investment in  YOURSELF!

 

 

Working Mom: Why you deserve to be happy and questions to ask yourself if you’re not


In my last post, Can working moms really have it all, I said I would write some posts about how working moms can plan and create their ideal work/life balance.  However, I think there’s one question that many moms need to ask themselves first: do I really deserve to be happy?  Of course, the answer is YES.  It seems so obvious, yet after having children, we become accustomed to putting their needs first.  Sometimes, we feel that we can’t put their needs first because we must earn an income to support them.  Either way, our own happiness can get put on the back burner.

When I was contemplating leaving my teaching position last year, thinking about my own happiness made me feel guilty.  I was surrounded by other teachers who were experiencing the same situation I was, and still managed to stay positive and enthusiastic.  What was my problem? I wondered.  Why couldn’t I just put on a happy face and plug through, for the sake of my steady income, for the sake of my students?  Thinking about leaving to make myself happier only made me feel selfish.

Finally I came to realize that not only did I deserve to be happy, but that my happiness would benefit my whole family.  As the saying goes,

If Mama Ain't Happy Ain't Nobody Happy
In my constant state of stress and unhappiness, I had less patience for my children.  My discontent was affecting everyone in the family.  Though I still miss my students, I know every day that I made the right decision, not only because I’m happier, but my whole family is happier.
So what if you are unhappy in your current work situation?  Is it always necessary to quit your job and work from home?  Absolutely not.  Career coaches often suggest that clients look at the LEAST amount of change that would make them happy.  Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Would I be satisfied with a promotion, or even a lateral move to a new position?

Do I just need a new supervisor, or is it time to leave my job?

If it’s time to leave, do I need a new company, or a whole new career?

What is our family’s financial ability to handle risk?

Do I really want to work for  myself?

Feeling unhappy in your current situation drains your energy and makes it difficult to take care of your own needs, as well as those of your family.  On top of that, uncertainty about the future can be overwhelming.  Taking some quiet time to answer these questions is a great place to start the process of achieving your ideal work/family balance.

Exciting opportunity for a free coaching session!


What’s great about coaching?  Many things, but today, it’s that you can get a free session by taking advantage of this Hot Steamboat Deal, no matter where you are!  Coaching is done via phone or Skype, so even if you’ve never heard of Steamboat Springs, this is a great way to get a fantastic deal and give coaching a try.

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Key to finding your dream job: know yourself first


I know:  you’re thinking, “I know myself!”  You’re listing off your name, your job, your marital status, political affiliation, etc.  But if you don’t feel completely fulfilled in your current job, are dissatisfied with some aspect of your situation but not sure why, maybe it’s time to take a deeper look.  Often, life happens so fast that we don’t take the time to explore who we really are.  If you are confused about the future, not sure which direction to take, getting to know your authentic self is a great place to start.  Here are some ideas:

  1.  Interests:  list your hobbies, favorite activities, subjects.  If nothing comes to mind, what really grabbed your attention when you were a child?
  2. Values:  think of times you have felt successful in life.  What values were you upholding?  When something makes you angry, what values do you feel are being ignored?
  3. Heroes:  list the people you admire – they can be famous, or people you know personally.  What do they have in common?
  4. Strengths:  what do you like about yourself?  If it’s too hard to list many things, what do your friends and family say they admire about you?
  5. Skills:  what do you do really well?  What do you do that is unique, or that you do better than most others?
  6. Desires: What do you want?  What’s on your bucket list?  What do you want to be remembered for after you’re gone?
  7. Dreams:  If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
  8. Places and spaces:  Where and when are you most comfortable?  Most productive?
  9. Balance:  what is your ideal work/life balance?
  10. Put it all together:  look back at the answers you’ve given.  How can they be combined to reflect your core message – that is, what you want for yourself and to give to the world?  This is who you really are!

 

How do you recharge your batteries?


Starting my own business has been rewarding, exhilarating, and yes, frustrating and discouraging.  After a spate of “beginners’ luck”, the reality of starting a new business (as we recover from the recession) set in.  I’ve never been a patient person and  have quit many times before, so this is presenting some new challenges.  However, unlike earlier endeavors, this is one I wholeheartedly believe in, so I know that I owe it to myself not to give up.  I’m learning how to stay positive and focused on my goals when every cell in my body wants to lie down and cry.  Most of the time, this  is easier than it’s ever been, in part because I listen to my affirmations every night, I look at my “dream board” to remind me of my goals.   Also, I absolutely love what I’m doing.  Still, I’m human, and learning to stretch, challenge and make myself vulnerable like never before.  What do I do when I’m so discouraged  that nothing else seems to make me feel better?  I do the one thing that I know always helps:  go for a hike in the woods.

Whether I’m depressed, nervous, angry or confused, the brisk hiking releases tension.  The smell of the woods is my aromatherapy, and the sights, ever-changing with the seasons, distract me from unpleasant thoughts.  The blessed sound of silence is my meditation.

Though I know that to achieve my goals, I must stay focused on putting my thoughts into action, sometimes, when I hit a brick wall, this is the only way to back up and start going in the right direction again.  I know that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  But remember the Energizer Bunny commercial?  Even though he kept going and going, what the commercial didn’t show was that eventually his batteries, like all batteries, had to be recharged or replaced.  Hiking is how I recharge my batteries when they’re on empty.

It’s different for everyone.  People have told me they don’t feel right when they’re not taking photos, drawing, journaling, exercising.  It doesn’t matter what your recharge activity is, just that you have one, and more importantly, that you use it when you need it.  What do you instinctively know will make you feel better, even if you are thinking that you don’t have time to do it?  Sometimes, when nothing seems to be going right, you don’t have time NOT to recharge your batteries.

Try it next time you feel yourself spiraling down  into negativity.  Promise yourself that you will stop and do that one activity that you know will refocus you.  Imagine what you can achieve when you are staying positive and focused on your goals!

Ten Mistakes People Make When Planning for the Future


Eighties music fans will remember the Talking Heads song, “Once in a Lifetime“:

You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
You may find yourself in another part of the world
You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife
You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?

Probably most of us can relate to this sentiment, waking up one day and wondering how we ended up in a dead-end job, or a life that is somehow not what we want.  Well, how did you get here?  What leads us away from our true hopes and dreams?  It’s true that there should be no regrets in life because every situation, for better or worse, is a learning opportunity.  Still, many of us find ourselves repeating these “learning opportunites” ad nauseum, as is repeated in the refrain at the end of the  song, “Same as it  ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was….”  Why do we keep ending up someplace other than where we thought we were headed?  Here are some common mistakes people make when planning for the future:

1.  Trying to live up to the expectations of others.  We do what we think our parents want, what society expects, what our high school guidance counselor advised.  As most brides discover when planning their wedding, you can’t please everyone, so you might as well give up trying.  Just please yourself.

2.  Not taking time for self-discovery.  (See last week’s post, “Who are you? Exploring the wilderness of your intuition”)  It is amazing how many people, when asked what they want, are surprised to discover that they don’t know.  They’ve never stopped to think about it.

3.  Thinking in terms of “should”, as in, I should focus on earning a lot of money, I should stay home with the kids, I should pursue this career because it’s what’s “hot” right now….

4.  Underestimating yourself.  Way too many brilliant people I know have a horror story about what an “advisor”  or authority figure told them they weren’t smart enough to do.  We tend to internalize these negative messages, and when opportunity knocks, talk ourselves out of it because we think we aren’t smart enough, experienced enough, tough enough, etc.  Why not give yourself a chance?

5.  Not addressing your skills.  I recently attended  a workshop in which the presenter said that many people make decisions totally with their hearts or their  heads.  Your unique gift to the world is a combination of the two.

6.  Not addressing your passions.  See #5.

7.  Allowing life to decide for you.  Many people just float along, working at whatever presents itself.  As the saying goes, if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice – just not necessarily in your favor.

8.  Feeling like you can’t change the path you’re on.  Repeat after me:  it’s never too late.  It’s never too late.  It’s never too late.

9Not being willing to be a life-long learner.  Many times, taking a new direction will require learning new skills, going back to school, or doing things differently.  Don’t let this hold you back from your future.

10.  Quitting too soon.  “Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.” – Ross Perot

I admit I’ve made most of these mistakes in my life.  Which of these mistakes is holding you back?