Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Putting more smileys in my life

Every day I try for a smiley face... sticker! That's right, I've implemented a rewards system that works well for junior elementary school kids. I'm a sucker for stickers, too!

I bought two packs of multi-coloured stickers, one package has smiley faces (pink, orange, yellow, green and blue!) and the other has WOW! on them (same colours but an extra colour of purple). I've aligned my yearly goals (see my Annual Passion Plan blog) with my stickers.

Pink - When I coach clients, I get a pink smiley. When I give a workshop or talk on coaching, I get a pink WOW!

Orange - Smiley for baking. WOW! for when I bake something spectacular or attend a baking class.

Yellow - Smiley for writing comedy. WOW! for performing comedy!

Green - Smiley for exercising. WOW! (to be determined)

Blue - Smiley for blogging. WOW! for working on my book

Purple WOW! - for when I have fun with Blair! This includes big and little adventures. :)

Since I started a bit late in January, I don't have many stickers on my calendar. I went back and put blue smileys on the days I posted blog entries, and orange smileys for when I baked.

I've used similar techniques with coaching clients - their feedback tells me that there is something awesome and inspiring to see how far they have come. It is also a great daily visual that tells you if you need to balance some areas of your life. Maybe you go a whole month without a yellow smiley... that'll tell you something!

I'm really looking forward to February and seeing how many smileys I have, on the inside and outside. :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Goal Setting: The Importance of Resonance

The update on my homework: I didn't do it. No, the dog didn't eat it. I made a statement the other day about how I would make a collage of my inner jerk being trapped so that I could use that as a touchstone/reminder that I am in control of my life, not the inner jerk/critic/gremlin. I did not do said collage. Was it a lack of commitment or enthusiasm around this particular task? Could be. Could be that when I set my hands to anything in the crafting realm, I feel my work could be bested by someone who is between the ages of 6-8 and creatively inclined. That's definitely my inner jerk speaking, but I am somewhat craft challenged and I'm okay with that label. 

I could make excuses or rationalize that I had other things to do - don't we all? - but in reality, I knew that when I wrote it (and denied it internally) that it was more of a wish than an actual driving desire to do this. And that's okay. When you have that realization that something you wish was important to you isn't, that's an opportunity to explore what is important. It isn't about excusing yourself for not doing things, it is about exploring the passion or lack thereof behind the avoidance. 

I can't help but go back to the importance of Resonance and Thrilling in the CTI's model of SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Resonant and Thrilling. Was this homework SMART? Did I have resonance and did it push me outside my box? Is there a way to salvage this homework or is it now somehow unimportant? When my clients report that they haven't "done their homework," we go deeper into their feelings about the homework, the act of "doing" and the essence of "being." Deep stuff, I know. 

I know what works for me are deadlines. Clearly defined dates. It's one thing for me to say I'd like to perform more comedy, but did you notice that in my APP (annual passion plan), I didn't set dates? That's how I am slippery... hehe. But the only person that is really affected is me. Soooooooo, I'm going to set a date, that by the end of March 2012, I will do at least one open mic night in the Dallas area. (That thrills me because now I'm scared witless! and there's major resonance because I miss being that funny girl on stage.) 

Y'all will know whether I did it or not, because I'll post updates on how my comedy writing is going (maybe I could talk about the inner jerk, because we all know that those are funny), and when I do get back onstage, I'll upload the video for all y'all. 

To sum up, don't create a goal for yourself that you don't love or have any energy/resonance around. Be honest with yourself and find something that really speaks to you. Create an accountability system for yourself (be it coloured stickers on a calendar, notations in a diary, updates on Facebook). Acknowledge your feelings before, during and after. Celebrate you!! 

I'm sure glad to get that off my chest. See, I'm a work in progress, too. 


P.S. Here's a great article a friend of mine wrote about the magic of collaboration. You don't have to go it alone. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mr. Jerk goes on a holiday

We're our own worst critic. We may not live in the space of self-criticism all the time, but we often fail to recognize and/or celebrate our awesomeness and accomplishments. Sometimes when others celebrate this in us, we shy away and distance ourselves from praise. Do you stand in the glory and bask in praise or achievement? Do you reward yourself for moving towards a goal? If you already do, fabulous! You're one of the awesome few, because most people don't. They shirk positive feedback, thinking that if only people really knew the truth, that they just got lucky.

As a coach, I meet all kinds of critics. They are also known as: gremlins, saboteurs, jerks, whiners, and sometimes a two syllable cuss word. They're that little voice stuck in your head that says you're never gonna amount to anything, your idea is stupid, you're a failure, you're wasting your time, you're not good enough. And to be fully honest, when I get on a coaching call, I'm looking to coach my client, not their inner jerk. A technique that I use is to send the jerk on a holiday. Yup, we envision a tantalizing place for their jerk to go visit - sometimes it's fly fishing, a tropical holiday, a cooking class in Italy. Cya later, jerk! 

We are creating a space to do whatever it is you want to do or say or dream without having that jerk around saying it's impossible. On a call earlier this week, I sensed my client was avoiding saying what it was they really wanted to dream. When I asked my client about this obvious avoidance, they said their idea was stupid. Voila, the coaching transformed into, "I'll be a stupid coach and you can be a stupid client and we'll spend our time being stupid together." Translation: I give you permission to say whatever it is on your mind, free of your own criticism/jerk. It is amazing what transpires as a result. My client was able to brainstorm the possible, instead of living in the "can't," "shouldn't,"  and the nefarious "I suck" place. 

My goal (actually, I spelled gaol first, which is appropriate) is to imprison my jerk. I'm going to create a collage/art piece to trap my inner jerk. And put it in a corner. It will remind me that I've got that *bleep (two syllable cuss word) trapped and cornered. When I've done this, I'm going to create a vision board of the things I want to accomplish and experience in the next five years, mindful that the jerk was not a part of creating this vision, so the sky is the limit. 

If you could banish your jerk, where would you send it? What is possible in your life without the lies and sabotage it manifests in your head? Who could you be, in all your greatness and awesomeness? 

I can't wait to find out! 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Inspiration in the words of others

The Personal Creed of Robert Louis Stevenson

Born in Edinburgh in 1850, Stevenson became one of the great story tellers although he lived only to age 44. After spending most of the 1880s in the United States, including a winter at Saranac Lake, NY, in 1889 he bought an estate in Samoa, on the island of Opolu, where he died in 1894.

  1. Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things. 
  2. Make the best of your circumstances. The trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears. 
  3. Don't take yourself too seriously. Don't think that somehow you should be protected from misfortunes that befall others. 
  4. You can't please everybody. Don't let criticism bother you. 
  5. Don't let your neighbour set your standards. Be yourself. 
  6. Do the things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt. 
  7. Don't borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than the actual ones. 
  8. Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy. 
  9. Have many interests. If you can't travel, read about new places. 
  10. Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself. 
  11. Keep busy at so something. A very busy person never had time to be unhappy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hearts and Pants Afire!

Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Ever have this happen with your best laid plans? It’s like me and this “lifestyle” journey I’m on. I started my first actual diet in December, right before Christmas. Started. First two weeks were great. Then came the holidays and shortbread, tea and turkey. Stopped. January 1st, started again. I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted the third or so day, and yes, I had a hissy fit and got distracted and discouraged. Stopped. It took a day of not doing this diet to make me fully understand what was important: it wasn’t the diet that was the point – it is that I feel healthier and happier when I am being mindful of how I treat my body. If it takes longer to see my thighs get smaller, I’m okay with that. It isn’t about the destination... (here comes the cliché), it’s the journey. Who am I Being in this journey?

As a coach, I find myself deeply caring and believing in my clients and their dreams – I honestly and truly believe in the potential of each of my clients to have full and enriching lives, pursuing their biggest possible life. I have seen amazing things happen for my coaching clients. This just one of  them.

There are some clients that come to coaching hoping for a quick fix or to be told what they should do with their lives. Well, there are no quick fixes in coaching. While some potential clients are curious about what a bigger, awesomer life looks like, a lot of people aren’t ready for that kind of commitment to themselves. Coaching isn’t a 2 week fad diet for your life. It is about envisioning what is possible, creating that vision and pursuing it like your pants are on fire. Some clients get coached for months or years, because coaching keeps them on track, excites them and incites them to greatness. I love what I do!

Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Some of you may have already abandoned your New Year’s Resolutions. Some of you may be punishing yourselves for giving up too soon, setting the bar too high, not doing enough, not being good enough. Speaking from past experience, that kind of self-talk is tedious and destructive. It doesn’t serve you and doesn’t get you any closer to who you truly are capable of being. I know for myself, I work hard at creating an environment with reminders of who I want to be, which is a loving, caring person. I have a Chinese proverb painted on a wall hanging in my meditation space: “If you get up one more time than you fall, you will make it through.” There are amazing stories to be told by people who defied the odds because they did this very thing. Steve Jobs fell down. Steve Jobs got up. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Same goes for Jim Carrey and JK Rowling, to name a few. Do you think Einstein got it right the first time? Or how about Olympic calibre athletes...  they don’t always score gold, but they keep on going. You’ve got to want to get up to have a chance to stay up.

There are going to be stagnant times in life where you feel like nothing worthwhile is happening in your job, your relationships, your fitness routine - there are natural plateaus to all cycles  – but those can be great opportunities to go even deeper and get curious about what is meaningful to you in that moment. If you’ve already abandoned your new year’s resolutions or considering it, ask yourself what your resolutions mean to you. Do you like the person you are being when you are doing these things? Are you excited? Connected? Resonant? If the answer is no, go deeper and find that which sets your heart and pants on fire. I will be the President of your Fan Club and Fan those Flames!

All I ask is that you not abandon yourself.  I’ll be right by your side.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Annual Passion Plan (an APP for a SMART life, not a smart phone)

One of the things I find helpful in organizing my life is having goals and plans. And I mean the kind you write down and/or announce to the world. A few years ago, Blair and I sat down and mapped out how we wanted our year to look like. We categorized our wants, needs, personal and professional goals and mapped them out over the four quarters of the year. Each month we would review how we were doing, whether we were still on target with our plans and assess from there. That was a particularly fruitful year - we had created a vision of how we wanted it to look, and by golly, we made it happen.

We haven't done this for a few years. With the job loss in 2009, with two long distance moves and general upheaval, we got so focused on surviving the everyday. So we took it day by day. And at the end of these three years, while amazing events have happened, we feel less fulfilled because we weren't participating in the driving forward of our destiny as much as we would have liked. So we vowed to not let another year go by for which we weren't mapping out our goals and passions and working really hard to make them happen. Not everything gets ticked off from the list, but it is a great reminder of what is important to us. When we make decisions, we ask "is this bringing us closer to our goals?"

I had the opportunity last week to sit down for a couple of hours and think about how I would like 2012 to look. The categories I used for myself were: educational goals, Dallas goals, personal development, professional development, travel, stuff I would like, things I don't want to forget.

When you create your list, notice what you left off. When I made mine, I noticed that I hadn't written down that I'd like to perform more stand up comedy this year. That was an opportunity for me to get curious about that omission: Am I still enjoying comedy? Do I have other priorities? Is this fun? Does this make my heart sing?

I'm sharing some of my goals with you here. It'd be an amazing year to "git 'er all done" but it isn't about getting your checklist done, it's about living your life with resonance. Does your Annual Passion Plan lead you towards your Life Plan? (As an aside, looks like I created my own APP, LOL. Now if I could just get that on an iPhone.) I find it helpful to write stuff down on sticky notes and arrange them in priority order and then either post them as one big sticky note collage, or write them down in linear form and print out the list.

The most important thing is to be MINDFUL. Whatever that means for YOU. For me, it is posting my goals  in a very visible space so that I see and acknowledge it on a daily basis. This isn't homework or a chore - this is you creating the life you want. If you don't really want to do something, ask yourself why you put it on your list. Get curious.

Do you know what a SMART goal is? In the business world, this traditionally means: Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic and Timely. Blah. That sounds like a to do list with stuff I don't wanna do... CTI's coaching model teaches a new way of looking at SMART.

S = Specific. In order for a goal to be achievable, it needs to be specific.  What is exactly do you want to accomplish?

M = Measurable. How will you know you've accomplished your goals? A goal must be measurable and have a date attached to it.

A = Accountable. In moving toward a goal, it is useful for you to create accountability for achieving it, by having a coach like me, or a friend or family member who helps keep track of your progress.

R = Resonant.  Resonant goals are what move you toward the things that truly bring you fulfillment.  When you think or talk about this goal, can you feel the passion stirring? Is this something you really want for yourself? Will working to achieve it be fully honoring your values?  A good coach can help you find the resonance in your goals, and help you to let go of goals that are not resonant for you.

T = Thrilling.  Goals should be so thrilling — and even scary — that you can’t wait to get started!  Set goals that have you stretch, that will call you forth to new capabilities and power, that push and pull you forward into a bigger life. This can be HUGE but know that you have people in your life who will support you, including me!

That being said, I am now including perform stand up comedy on my list. It must be important to me, because I woke up in the middle of the night last night with a joke and I just had to write it down... which means there is a Jean coming to a comedy stage to Dallas in the very near future...

Educational goals (a place for you to expand your mind)
Fencing class (I bought a Groupon!), intermediate and advanced cake decorating classes, a language class (Spanish or Italian), crafting classes so my crafts look less special than they currently do, a relationships systems theory class (how to coach in groups). 

Delightfully Discover Dallas
We just moved here, and I'd love to know the ins and outs of my new city. I'd like to have a great tour on hand of sights and eats for when we have visitors stay with us! Discover comedy clubs for me to perform in!!

Tuning my Temple (personal development)
Find a fitness class/activity I enjoy and do it 3x a week, meet a friend for coffee 1x weekly, blog 3x a week, bake 1x weekly, keep a gratitude journal and write in it daily, be mindful about food, enjoy the time with my new Little Sister (Big Brothers Big Sisters). Scheduling 1 hr a week for comedy writing!

Kickin' Ass at Coaching (professional development)
Write a book which leads to paid speaking engagements, write workshop outlines for1/2 day, full day and 2-day workshops, connect with the Deaf community in Dallas, create coaching video blogs in sign language for my website, get 2+ workshop gigs in Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal/Vancouver

Travel goals
Visit cities nearby for weekend trips: Austin, Houston
Visit New Orleans 
Go on an Alaskan cruise this September to celebrate a friend's wedding
Go somewhere to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary in December

Here's to 2012 being a thrilling and resonant year for all of us! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The dangers of autopilot

Have you ever driven to work and, upon arrival, wondered how it is you got from your front door to the office? Where you just zone out from conscious thinking, and just focused mindlessly on staying in between the lines? Perhaps you are somewhat aware as you change lanes and make left and right turns, but for the most part you are not fully present in the moment? I know I have. It happened this morning as I was aimlessly driving, discovering my new city. I was here but not here.

Are you zoned out in your life? You’d think that, as a life coach, my life is somehow more enlightened and focused than the average person’s life. Not so. In fact, the most productive I have ever been was when I had my own coach supporting me and driving me towards my big dreams and passions. When my husband and I picked up our lives in Vancouver, Canada in September 2010 to move to San Francisco, it was a radical change for me. I went from working every day to not working. From being busy to having all the time in the world. The scary part is, I had more time to be mindful and focus on what I wanted from life. 

From the time I graduated university to the time we crossed the border, I had been working away in one office or another as an administrative goddess or office mommy. And I fell into the trap of “what you do is who you are.” When Blair was let go from his job, and I was the sole wage earner, that became all the more important. Society tells us you are valued by what you earn. Well, as a foreigner in the United States on a spousal visa, I’m not allowed to “disrupt the flow of commerce.” I cannot have a job. Sure, I have joked about how nice it has been to be able to bake cookies at my leisure and do nothing for months on end, but here’s the truth. It hasn’t all been fun. The past 16 months have taught me a lot about myself. And here’s a little bit about my journey:

I was physically ill for a year up to the move, and plagued with severe GI issues. On top of that, I have suffered from migraines all my life, which seem exacerbated by stress. About 2 months before the move, I was advised by both my general practitioner and a gastroenterologist that I should take sick leave from my job. Once we moved to San Francisco and got settled into our new place, the level of stress in my life diminished significantly, so much so that I have hardly had any GI issues since September 2010, and my daily migraines only visit me a handful of times a month. In San Francisco, I decided I was entitled to some rest and relaxation, and I did nothing. Absolutely nothing. For weeks and months on end. I would turn on the TV, play facebook games, and be absolutely awed when Blair came in the door. Really? A whole day passed and I didn’t even notice? There were many like this.

What few friends know is that I was decompressing from stress, but also I was dealing with a low grade depression that came out of this “I have all the time in the world, but what now?” situation. I had ideas but I wasn't particularly motivated to work towards them. I kept myself busy (and my 2011 Christmas letter to friends shows how busy I really was), but I felt like I was on autopilot. It took me about 10 months to accept that sometimes you need to tune out from everything and heal on the inside. When I finally gave myself permission for that to happen, I felt the cloud lifting and I felt like I could return to a life of purpose. 

How do we define ourselves without paid employment? I know many people who have been unemployed who have really struggled with this question. The Company Men is a recent film that looks at this very question as its protagonist takes a hard look at his life when he is laid off. In the moment, when someone says, now you can do what you really love, discovering what that thing is can be frightening. And monumental. And it feels like society undervalues parents, most often mothers, who stay home to raise their children and run a household. That is not paid work, and somehow that translates to worthlessness. Raising kids, juggling a home and maintaining relationships is hard work. All the while, mothers are expected to be an emotional rock of stability in the family. I’d love it if we could value people on their being, not on their doing. Are we being the best person we can be? Are we living true to our values and are we living up to our potential? That's what society should measure!

In the past 6 months, I have seen a real shift in my own perspective. First, that my worth isn’t defined by a salary. Sure, we all say that, but to internalize it and accept it is another matter entirely. Second, that I have healed my physical and mental self and am ready for this next stage of my life. Third, I will be Jean, to the fullest, and share my dreams and goals and maybe that will inspire someone else. I am already in kick-ass mode, and I see where I want to go. I am disengaging the autopilot and ready to live a fully conscious life. Yes, there may be moments of autopilot as I pull out of the garage and drive Blair to the office, but I have some big plans for my life and I want to be fully present for it. I don't want to arrive at the end destination and say, how did I get here. I want to enjoy the ride. And all of its bumps, twists and turns. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Smoldering passion, big fire!

This post started to be one about gratitude in finding thanks in the small things in life, when the big things have got you down. It transformed itself into a post about how thankful I am for the pain and suffering of the past three years. I know, I'm thankful for suffering? Maybe that is a bit melodramatic, "suffering," but it has been the most challenging three years of my adult life.

At the end of January 2009, my husband lost his job of 8 years, followed by the death of my grandfather, and the completion of my six month coach training. It was a lot to process at once. I was also immensely hurt by a close friend, and the result of these events on me was that I shut myself up in my apartment after work and didn't really socialize. I brooded. My husband Blair was content to brood as well, as he dealt with the emotional aftermath of being laid off. He was working through his feelings of rejection, confusion, frustration and anger. While good hearted friends said better things will come of it, what they needed to remember is that people need their space to process feelings. And that kind words don't allievate fears about how bills are going to get paid. The video game industry in Vancouver was a veritable wasteland - no one seemed to be hiring, and there were a lot of out of work games people who were also on the hunt.

We struggled through, trying to stay optimistic. Sometimes it was more challenging than others. There would be promising interviews that led nowhere, which resulted in another loop-de-loop on the emotional rollercoaster of self-esteem. This seemed to go on for months. Then it seemed things were turning around. Blair had time to recuperate from the psychological impact of losing his job, and focused on creating work he loved. It was inspiring to see this man bound out of bed in the morning and recreate a cherished childhood game. In three months, singlehandedly, Blair recreated Ultima 4 in flash, allowing people from all over the world to play it in their browsers. It was April 2010 by the time the game had launched, and it started to pick up steam. A small group of people were dedicated to playing his recreation, and we received many emails from many people who shared their memories of playing the game back in the mid-1980's.

By happenstance, I was planning to attend a conference in July in San Francisco for Children of Deaf Adults and asked Blair if he'd like to join me. I had originally planned to attend solo. Four days after meeting with an old university chum in the Bay Area and her passing his resume on to a friend of hers, Blair had been interviewed three times and hired by Zynga, the largest game company in social gaming. The Ultima 4 project apparently sealed the deal. The interviewer, who later became a good friend, said he rarely sees the kind of passion Blair has for storytelling.

It was a year and a half of uncertainty and possibly destiny that led Blair to work for Zynga. He has now worked on CityVille and CastleVille, the number 1 and 2 games on Facebook, because his passion showed through. It can be a challenge to follow your dreams when you're slogging through a day job, and it is just as challenging to follow your dreams when you're at home, unemployed and sorting through emotional pathos. What I know to be true is that when you have fire and passion, you owe it to the world to set the place ablaze.

As Blair searches for kindling to rebuild his fire - it has been a very busy 16 months, with an international move to San Francisco from Vancouver and then to Dallas and he's fatigued- I am thankful that I see the spark in him. And when you see a spark in someone, you need to blow gently, to see what will catch fire. I see him pulling out his notes and he's got that twinkle in his eye again...

You will see amazing things from Blair Leggett. And it wouldn't have been possible without the challenges along the way. For that, I am grateful.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Incremental steps lead to monumental journeys

I was chatting with a good friend, James, tonight about mutual friends that are running their first marathon this May. I remember when they first started running and how they insisted they were comfortable in the 5-10k range (hubby and I had done a half marathon by then) and didn't really care to do much beyond that. I am so proud that they have completed a handful of half marathons together now, and they are tackling their first marathon.

It reminded me of my own running journey, of how in my 29th year I set a goal to do something spectacular for my 30th - run a half marathon. It didn't faze me that I had never run before - they have clinics that teach you these things. I was not particularly athletic in school (I quit rugby after I got kicked in the face). But I had a goal, and I went from a "Learn to Run" clinic, to a 5k clinic straight into a half marathon clinic with the help of some great running coaches.

Out of the 120+ runners that showed up each Sunday morning to run the slow and steady distances, I was always the last one back at the clinic. I wasn't as consistent with the Tuesday/Thursday practice runs, which ultimately affected my performance, but I enjoyed the Sunday runs and the satisfaction of knowing that after each run, there would be some tasty pancakes or a breakfast burrito to celebrate. I developed lasting friendships with people who were literally by my side for each step.

One of the clinic leaders, Chris, stayed with me for the entire half marathon training and race day. I was my own pace group because I was so slow... But life isn't about being the first to cross a finish line, and I ran that race with a smile on my face, singing ditties, and I had gusto and energy left to continue after the 13.1 miles. Yes, my feet hurt and were bleeding. Yes, I was waiting for my pancakes. And yes, to this day I still say that I have the endurance of a full marathoner - I ran, albeit slowly, for 3 h 34 minutes or some such number. All I knew is that I was going to finish the race, and I didn't care if I had to run, jog or walk. In my 29th year, I redefined myself as someone who had discipline. Who was athletic. Who was determined. 4 days before I turned 30, I crossed that finish line with a smile!

During our chat, James said this about running and his own experience: "I always thought you had to be some kind of genetic freak. You just have to commit to it. Like anything in life. A great lesson!" James went from being a non-runner to an IronMan triathlete.

What I love about James' comment is that it is so true. We have to envision our goals and fully commit to them. A resolution isn't going to mean much if you don't fully commit, neither will working with a life coach if you talk about your passions but never pursue them.

Are you fully committed to the person you envision yourself being? Are you committed to doing the work it takes to get there? It can be hard work at times, but I've heard that anything worthwhile is worth working for. And maybe you'll sing a ditty or two along the way, or smile as you pass people who are happy sitting on the sidelines of their lives.

It's the incremental steps that lead to the monumental journey. What direction are you headed in?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Taking inventory

Today, hubby and I are spring cleaning. One of my tasks was to take inventory of what supplies we have in the pantry, freezer and fridge. The subsequent goal is to create meal plans based on those items, to rotate stock. I'm feeling a bit geeky about how excited I am about making meal plans. I love having a road map of where I am going. It allows me to see where I started and where my journey will end. As I wrapped up my nifty inventory spreadsheet, I thought about how this task parallels taking stock of our lives.

I wrote yesterday about approaching 2012 with clarity, action and passion for my goals. My annual Christmas letter was a "taking inventory" of sorts. I still need to put aside a few hours tonight and over the course of this week to plot out the map of 2012 and where I want to go, with new goals and celebration milestones for each quarter of the year. For example, tomorrow I'll be purchasing a membership to our local community centre that has water aerobic classes and a rock climbing wall. I'm excited at the prospect of meeting some new people in my new town.

Where do I want to be at the end of 2012? Or rather, who do I want to be? I will be the Jean that has learned to embrace slow, meaningful breathing. Taking the time to savour books. Tea. Friends. Clients. Myself.

For now, I am excited by the challenge of creating a focused meal plan - which also aligns with my values of having a balanced budget.

Topics for future blogs coming soon:
  • Values exploration
  • Incremental to Monumental
  • The Career Myth

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Tabula Rasa

How many times, over how many blogs, have I written about the idea of the blank slate, or tabula rasa? At least a handful, I would wager. This is the time of year that people make their list of resolutions and announce their intentions to the world. I may follow, I may not.

Since moving to San Francisco in September 2010, and now to the Dallas area in October 2011, I have wandered aimlessly with respect to my own goals. Or so it seems that way. When I look back on 2011 and chronicle my adventures for my annual Christmas letter, there was never a dull moment in each month. There were 4 trips to Canada, 2 presentations at a national conference, a long distance move, and probably over 1,000 cookies baked for hubby's coworkers. But when you have goals in life, and a full time job, sometimes it seems easier to accomplish those goals - you may be more driven to accomplish them. When you are living unconsciously, it is easy to forget that you have dreams and that there are things that you are passionate about.

I am passionate about baking. Not so much the eating (I sample and send the goodies away), but the nourishing of others. I also really enjoy the tranquility of the kitchen and the creativity of trying new recipes. I love when my cookies make people smile.

I am passionate about being a good listener and inciting passion. It was only natural for me to take my own passion and channel it into becoming a certified professional coach, and providing friends and clients with attentiveness, support, compassion and excitement. I am really excited by the possibilities available in 2012 as I venture further into coaching and public speaking.

Am I wiping the slate clean? Yes and no. I wouldn't want a completely blank slate - I think it is important to be able to see our past mistakes for what they are, learning opportunities. I also give myself permission to be okay with taking a break from being hyper-focused and driven for the past year and a bit. I have been busy, perhaps not as busy as I could have been, but it all has its purpose. I am physically healthier, as well as more mentally balanced, having shown myself loving kindness this past year.

My approach to 2012 is to create clarity, action and passion for my goals. I am creating short term, mid term and long term goals. In each I ask, am I excited, does this bring me closer to who I wish to be? There are opportunities that surround each of us, and this year I will continue saying YES! to the universe and its opportunities.

What will you write on your slate for 2012? Who are you becoming, with each day?