Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Stop doing.....

I just came across this great question while reading the description of Marshall Goldsmith’s book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”.

“Instead of your usual “To-Do” list, start your “To-Stop” list. Ask yourself, “What am I willing to change right now?” “.

People hire me as their coach to discuss the changes they want to make in their lives. Included in these discussions are often the details of what they no longer want in their lives, such as what they no longer want to be doing. But then we usually go on to discuss what they will do instead… adding to their “to do” lists more and more things to do. I really like Goldsmith’s suggestion of a “to stop” list. To me this means meeting myself exactly where I am in the moment – doing something perhaps unproductive or unconstructive – and doing the very next smallest step… which is STOPPING! I love it! Adding to a “to do” list sometimes ends up contributing to the overwhelming amount of things we already have to do, where as a “to stop” list feels more like taking away from the list of things to do - it's a relief! It may seem like a simply enough reframe, however if it feels better, chances are you’re going to end up with better results.

Here is an invitation to work with Goldsmith’s suggestion, with a twist of Kim (I haven’t actually picked up the book yet so I’m making up the structure). At the end of the day, take some time to reflect. Was there anything that happened during the day that you really would have liked to have seen turn out differently? Perhaps during a conversation you found yourself reacting in a way that triggered a chain of emotional reactions, directing the conversation off topic or to an unwanted result. Or maybe there was a project that didn’t turn or as planned or wasn’t completed on time. Whatever the situation, ask yourself, “What specifically did I do that contributed to this outcome?” Take a few moments to reflect on the thinking pattern, behavior or action that contributed to the experience and acknowledge how you specifically participated in the resulting outcome. You may want use a journal for the process or simply spend time contemplating the experience. Next ask, “What will I ‘stop doing’ to help this result to not happen again”. Add this to your “to stop” list. Don’t worry about what you’re going to do instead, by stopping what you were doing, by default you’ll have to do something else – even if that something else is nothing. Since your intention is to not experience the previous result again, when you stop doing what you did that participated in its happening, chances are that you’ll naturally do something that will lead to the result you want!

Myself, I’ve been noticing lately that I’m not as productive as I’d like to be. I participate in being unproductive by letting myself get distracted by surfing the web; hopping from one social site to the next checking out posts, looking to see if someone commented on a post I made or if there is a new post I want to comment on, checking my email, Googling whatever just popped into my mind… anybody relate to what I’m saying? I’ve added “I will stop the distractive behavior of web surfing while working on a task” to my “to stop” list. This post is a result of that commitment – I just resisted the urge to click on my email when I heard its familiar “ping” a moment ago. However, I do have to admit – this post is a result of getting sidetracked from what I was originally doing… which I’ll be getting back to now :)

Let me know how it goes!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Magic of Acceptance and Contest Judging

“A little confused about this "Best Spiritual Book contest". I keep getting emails and FB posts from authors - some I know and some I don't - blatantly bribing me and everyone else on their lists, to vote for their book. Isn't this the kind of tactic many people scorn politicians for using.... and this is a "spiritual" book contest? Whoever the winner will be, the win will be a reflection of the votes they were able to solicit, not a reflection of the actual book. Am I missing something? I feel really judgmental about this.”

Over the weekend, I posted the above comment on my Facebook page, transparently admitting my confusion and judgment. A good friend who resonated with my observation encouraged me to not judge myself for the discernment I was expressing, which was a very kind comment. However what I noticed was that the moment I expressed my judgment, thereby acknowledging and accepting the feeling, any “self judgment” that had momentarily crept in, magically disappeared. Through my acceptance of it, I was immediately able to observe my feeling of judgment for what it was, a feeling, and I became more curious about how I felt. This curiosity lead me to check out was the contest’s website to learn more about it.

There, I discovered that my impression that the results of the contest would be a reflection of the votes a contestant was able to solicit actually was one of the intentions of the contest. The whole purpose of the first round in this contest was to teach contestants how to make themselves and their message more visible. This first round, had NOTHING to do with anything the authors may have written – the main intention of this round was to narrow down the contestants to the top 250 authors who could solicit the most votes.

On the site it states: “In this first round the authors rally the support of those they know and learn the art of promoting their message and book. This provides the author with a real life experience of publishing and promoting a book.” http://www.nexttopspiritualauthor.com/ By reading the website, I learnt that one of the main intentions of the contest was to help authors learn more about how to market themselves so that they can be more successful as authors. The more I read about the contest, the more I can appreciate what it is all about. James Twyman shares this about the competition on his personal website http://www.jamestwyman.com/: “The competition, which includes a people’s choice element, will help to establish a publishing path for an emerging spiritual author. Beyond that, all participants – winner or not – will be allowed to participate in an eight-month home study program that will provide them with the skills they need to become a successful author.”

So, all contestants are winning the 8 month home study program - I love it when everyone’s a winner!!

While I still stand by that I don’t care much for being excessively spammed and bribed by people I don’t know, I now understand that for many of the contestants who emailed me, doing so was an exercise to help them stretch out of their comfort zones and that I can support.

Even with the understanding of how the contest is designed, I was still curious about the judgment that got triggered by the numerous emails and posts I received. Another friend made a comment to my post, sharing that she was feeling out the energy of the emails/requests and discerning whether she felt the person was coming from a place of love and generosity or personal desire. When I tuned in, I felt that many were coming from both, and I didn’t really have a problem with either. It is normal for people to desire winning a contest; to desire having their message be heard and understandable to desire wanting that so much they are willing to give stuff away (bribe) in exchange for votes in the hopes of possibly winning a publishing contract especially when that is what they are being encouraged to do. As I acknowledged this new feeling that was now associated with the contest, I wondered how it was that the feeling of judgment got triggered first, and not the more generous energy that I can sense now?

As I continued to curiously sit with this inquiry, I realized that the idea of “bribing for votes” triggers a feeling of dishonesty. I’m immediately reminded of stories I’ve heard through the media where individuals used such tactics to gain votes that would win them positions of power, instead of qualifying for the position due to the true value they intend on bringing to the position. I’m noticing that whenever I witness the tactic of “bribing for a vote” being uses, the past energy of dishonesty is triggered and I immediately become suspicious of whoever is using it. The more my suspicious I become the more judgmental I become – and it that state, I’m not very open.

This is what responding from autopilot is like – which most of us do often, each and every day. We react to situations based on past experiences that get anchored into us. When something happens that is similar to a past experience, it triggers the associated anchored response, which is easy to go along with because it’s already been proven. When this happens with my coaching clients, after acknowledging and accepting how they feel, I ask questions to peek their curiosity, which often encourages them to seek out more information, leading to new understandings and perspectives to discern from. And this was exactly what I did for myself. By first acknowledging and accepting how I felt, not making myself wrong for it, I ignited my curious nature which then opened me up to see more of what is there to see.

As I realized I was reacting to a past association to a tactic that felt dishonest, I wondered how I would have responded to these emails if my first or prevalent association with “bribing for votes” was connected an experience that felt honest or generous. If my past association to the tactic was that I’d gained something of value in return for a vote and if all my vote did, was help someone be seen for the value they had to offer, how differently might I have responded to the numerous requests for votes I received? I imagine that if my overriding association to “bribing for votes” was from that perspective, I probably would have been inclined to vote for each person I resonated with. Or I may have simply been inclined to support them all for having the courage to step out of their comfort zones to support themselves in getting their message out.

As a result of putting my own judgment out there to be seen and heard, not only did I gain clarity about this particular contest – I also learnt more about what was at the core of the resistance I’ve been feeling towards other marketing strategies that I’ve had a hard time aligning with. I realize that most of my judgments of other marketing methods are based on negative associations. Not sure if I’ll be jumping on their band wagon anytime soon, however if there is something there for me, I’m now in a new perspective from which to discern my alignment to it from and it feels… open :)

To all of the contestants that made it to the second round – congratulations on your well earned success and the best of luck to you all.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Any Regrets?

A friend on facebook, Michael Murphy, posted this question today "Is it possible to live without regret? Do you agree or disagree and why?" Here's my response which followed someone's who thought that YES it was possible, because we always have choice and we made the choice.

I agree, it is all about Choice! Regret can also be a choice. I think that if we've made a choice that we didn't align with 100%, that in time we may experience flutterings of regret. That isn't such a bad thing, it's what we DO with it that can potentially harm us.

A fluttering of regret can happen when we get a peek into a "what if" of an alternative past choice. Good news is that choice is always available to us. We can choose how long we stay in the energy that the "what if" brought up, how far we take it and what direction we take it in. Because we can choose our thoughts and perspectives, we can choose what we do with regret when it flutters in.

So is it possible to live without regret? Sure, I believe everything is possible. The question is, is it probable? For many people - no, and that doesn't have to be such a bad thing. Our natural ability to choose can deflate or inflate the impact of regret. We simply need to remember that we can choose, and that we can always choose again, and again and again....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What Is So Difficult About NO?

Do you have a hard time saying no? I do.

Whenever my honey, a colleague, friend or even a stranger asks me something that I need or want to say no to, I find it emotionally challenging. I’ve been really curious about this lately – why it feels so awkward, and how lately, I’ve even felt resentment creep in for being put in the position of having to say No, as if the other person should know better than to ask – and YES I know how irrational that is!! I don’t usually have an issue with my decision initially; I know what I’m willing and able to do or accept at any given time, and what I’m not. However, when it comes to having say that little two letter word – N O – sometimes I buckle and kick myself later for not listening to myself – or it comes out all icky and not at all in a way I feel good about.

Whether or not you can relate personally to what I’m saying, I imagine that you at least know someone, or that you know someone who knows someone, who couldn’t say NO to save their own life. They can have a completely full agenda, and when asked to take on yet another project, instead of saying: "No, I’m full thank you!", “Yes” is the automatic response comes out of their mouth. Know anybody like that – intimately perhaps? Or maybe, you relate more to NO = rejection? Regardless of which side of the equation you are on, if NO equals’ rejection, you’ll either feel rejected or that you are rejecting – neither of which feels good.

So I figure, if it feels so hard to say NO, then I won’t. Instead, I’m going to say Yes – to everything!

What I realized is this; when I’m feeling awkward or even resentful with the NO, my focus is on exactly that – what I’m saying NO to and the two letter word itself. What I’m not focused on is what I’m saying YES to, by default. In reality, whenever we say NO to something, we are actually saying YES to something else. And likewise, when we say YES to something, we are saying NO to something else. What often feels hard for me is the amount of energy and focus I’ve been putting on the response of NO. If saying NO aligns with my own agenda or plans, honors my values, feels congruent and right for me, then the NO is actually a Yes to ME and what is important to ME.

My new game plan is this… to focus on what I am saying YES to, and then to respond from the perspective of YES.

I started writing this post a couple of days ago, and since then I’ve attracted a number of opportunities to use this new strategy. One decision has been whether or not to take on another board position. The helper in me was tempted to say yes, but then I realized that would be saying no to being as effective and efficient in my other commitments and that is not OK with me. I am saying YES to my personal standards, and YES to leaving the space open for someone who can do it well. That feels good.

Another example was being asked if I thought something was a good idea and a straight NO (because I didn’t think it was) would have been a quick response, however, that felt stiff and inflexible. Instead, I took then the time to recognize what the YES was to, and then I expressed myself from that perspective (which aligned with the bigger picture). It felt supportive and good to express myself in that way and the YES was well received.

I’m going to keep this up and if you are like me, and you find it hard to say NO, I invite you to challenge
yourself to find a way of responding to all requests made of you for the next week with a YES. And I’m not suggesting that you simply get wishy washy with your NOs, but to focus on what you are saying YES to, and then to craft your responses from that perspective first. Remember that the YES is often about your own agenda, goals, integrity, self care, personal balance, values, or the bigger picture of whatever the request is about. Saying yes to these feel good – saying NO to helping out… doesn’t always feel so good. So focus on what feels good.

If you take on this challenge, I’d love hear how you do with it. And please remember, while you are working with this challenge, if someone makes a request of you, and inside you authentically feel, 100%, that you need to respond with a clear and unmistakable NO – then please do so, knowing that that NO is really a loud YES to yourself!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Winter and Spring Workshops with The Ottawa Catholic School Board

Hey - I'm offering a number of workshops through the Ottawa Catholic School Board for Continuing Education. Registration for the March dates ends soon - so if interested contact them right away.

Pattern Busting – Create the Patterns that Lead to a Life You Want

Learn how to recognize your unwanted or unhealthy patterns. Participants will identify the thoughts, belief and values that are running the patterns and which one(s) need to shift to create more desirable outcomes. You'll learn a number of Kim's Pattern Busting self coaching tools, which will open up your peripheral, enabling you to see all of the possibilities and options that are available to you in any moment! Learning this tool will empower you to create life enhancing patterns!
Winter and Spring Dates 2010
9:30 am - 2:00 pm
Saturday March 6, 2010 or Saturday May 8, 2010

The Value of Money & You

How you value and treat your finances is a direct reflection of how you value yourself! During this workshop you will identify what is most important to you - your personal values - as well as how you truly feel about money. You'll break through the limiting beliefs, behaviours, and attitudes that have been sabotaging your prosperity and strengthen your relationship to the value of you. Aligning your inner worth with your outer worth will naturally result in more prosperous and abundant living.
Winter and Spring Dates 2010
9:30 am - 2:00 pm
Saturday March 27, 2010 or Saturday April 17, 2010

Conscious Creation Group Coaching
Create a balanced and fulfilling life this year by working with a professionally certified Life Coach. Within the first few classes you will uncover your core values, set S.M.A.R.T. goals and create a plan of action aligned with your values. Then in the following weeks you'll receive the coaching you need to keep you accountable and true to yourself. With the help of your coach, you will break through any self-sabotaging unconscious patterns or limiting beliefs ensuring success in achieving your outcomes. Class is open for 10-12 participants - so enroll early!
Spring Dates 2010
7:00 pm- 9:30 pm
Wednesdays from April 21 – June 9, 2010

Please note the above workshops are being offered through the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Please visit their site at www.fallconnections.com for registration details or call 613-228-3338.