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Five Basic Survival Skills We Should Have Learned as Kids

Five Basic Survival Skills We Should Have Learned as KidsIf you’re an adult there’s no doubt that the world has changed significantly since you were a child. We didn’t grow up with smartphones, Twitter, Snapchat…

But how have you dealt with this ever-changing world we live in? Hopefully, you learned some basic survival skills from your parents – like how to adapt, deal with change, and basically be prepared to face any challenge head on.

When I think back to my childhood I see how my parents prepared me in some important ways for life in the 21st century.  Yet there were other key skills I had to learn the hard way. As you read this article, think about how you can strengthen some of these psychological survival skills in yourself. It’s really never too late! If you’re a parent, teacher, or mentor of children think about how you can instill them in the next generation.

Here are five basic skills that we need to not just survive, but thrive:

  1. Self-discipline. A meaningful and fulfilling life is built gradually and purposefully. There are no shortcuts. I recently shared how important making your bed every morning is – this habit requires self-discipline and I’m grateful I learned that as a young child since it has served me well ever since.
  1. Emotional literacy. This one is huge! Our emotions affect everything we do. They influence our perceptions and opinions about ourselves, and others. When we can identify our prominent emotion, we’re less likely to project that emotion onto the situation. We’ll recognize that yes we’re sad, but the weather isn’t really worse than normal, our spouse isn’t being insensitive and we aren’t lazy because we didn’t workout yesterday. Practice labeling your emotions and teach your children to do the same and you’ll be far more objective and reasonable with yourself and others.
  1. Stress management. Our natural inclination, as children and adults, is to avoid pain. But meeting difficult challenges is how we grow as human beings. Make a practice of looking for ways to challenge your mind with mental obstacles and your body with physical obstacles. If you have children, don’t immediately solve all their problems. Let them experiment with various solutions so they learn to tolerate stress and gain confidence in their problem-solving abilities.
  1. Dealing with change. Life is full of uncertainty and change. If you’ve learned how to deal with change, your attitude, outlook, and ability to function in the real world will benefit, despite what happens. So try to view life as an adventure. When an unexpected change comes your way, lean into it and embrace it. The best way to teach this to your children is to model an adaptable, flexible attitude.
  1. Gratitude. Most of us learned to say thank you as children and we’ve probably taught our children to do the same. But true gratitude goes far beyond a perfunctory “thank you”. Gratitude means a deep awareness of why we are thankful and appreciative. I recommend you keep a gratitude journal and daily enter at least five things for which you’re grateful and encourage your children to do the same. When you begin and end each day with gratitude, your whole life shifts in a more positive direction.

Did you see areas where you could strengthen your skills? Don’t be discouraged. As I mentioned earlier, it’s never too late to enhance these life skills. Or maybe this article got you thinking about your child? Do you see her struggling in a certain area and you want to coach her through it? Please consider joining me at my upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP class in March. This is your opportunity to work with me personally and learn life-long skills so you know how to coach both yourself and others. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about whether this training is a good fit for you personally.

Supercharge Your Efforts and Accelerate Your Personal Growth – Do Your Coaching Homework!

Ramp up your personal growth by diligently doing the homework your life coach gives you, for real transformation comes from daily baby steps not huge leaps.When you were in school, did you enjoy homework? I remember the collective groan that used to echo throughout the classroom. Yet, it really is an effective way for students to grow personally and academically.

As I reflect on those years, I’m grateful now. Not only did homework help me remember the lesson, it accelerated my personal growth for it taught me to 1) be disciplined, 2) make priorities, and 3) learn how to learn. Today, I regularly use homework in my coaching practice and I’ve seen that my clients who follow-up and do it dramatically accelerate their personal growth.

Not convinced? Check out these seven reasons for doing your coaching homework and see if they don’t rev up your personal growth…

  1. Remain focused.

We all know the benefits of putting notes where we see them constantly. In that way, we won’t forget the task or goals we need to accomplish. It keeps us from being distracted. Coaching homework gives us something to focus on in between sessions. Working on your personal growth every day is key to becoming the person you desire to be.

  1. Reflect deeply.

When you delve deeper into a topic you covered in session, you often need quiet and solitude to mindfully reflect on it. When your coach gives you homework, think of it as a map to your personal growth as it helps you explore the pattern of your actions, thoughts and feelings.

  1. Retain through repetition.

Our brains benefit from repetitive patterns. Your personal growth depends on remembering new things. Routines, checklists, and templates save you time and ensure you retain what you’re learning.

  1. Reasonable expectations.

You can’t expect overnight transformation. It takes daily baby steps, rather than giant leaps once a week. Coaching homework makes big challenges seem not so intimidating. It lets you know that you’re not the only one with this issue and it reassures you that there’s a process that works.

  1. Recognize results.

It’s important to track your progress – even the tiniest of wins. When you start getting discouraged, you need to be able to look back and see how far you’ve come. An important part of coaching homework is recording your feelings about each step forward and owning your triumphs.

  1. Reframe to fit.

While many of us struggle with similar issues, you have a unique learning style and speed. Coaching homework let’s you mull over the information and make it your own as you reframe it to fit your personal growth needs.

  1. Revisit and expand.

The first time you go through an exercise, you’ll apply it for those circumstances. As your experience widens and your abilities grow, you’ll be able to revisit an exercise with a fresh perspective and gain more from it on a deeper level.

Are you ready to ramp up your personal growth? Do you have something specific you want to work on, but you’re not sure where you should start? I would love to partner with you and share proven personal growth techniques that get results. Please feel free to schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation so we can explore your options. I’m happy to meet in-person, by phone or via Skype.

Developing Discipline and Mental Strength to See You Through the Tough Times

If you want to handle any crisis, start developing discipline, mental strength and grit right now, so you have the skills available when you need them.“No mud, no lotus.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Discomfort. Sweat. Getting dirty. Roughing it. Exhaustion. Frugality. When did these words take on a bad connotation – things to be avoided at all cost?

Luxury. Easy Living. Excess. These are the things that people are pursuing with damaging results to their health and happiness. It’s no exaggeration that, for some people, missing their morning latte can ruin their whole day.

As Thich Nhat Hanh noted, without slogging through the mud, you can’t find the happiness of the lotus. He also said something else that I think is very profound, “When you learn how to suffer, you suffer less.” Isn’t it true that when you know how to do something, it’s easier to do it…even if it’s enduring through challenging times in life?

So the question is: how do you go about developing discipline and mental strength? Waiting for a challenge and hoping you survive isn’t a good option. That’s like trying to run a marathon after being a couch potato for years. You’re going to get hurt. It would be advantageous to start developing discipline, more grit and mental toughness right now. Then you’ll be better prepared for whatever comes.

I’ve been enjoying a book by Joe De Sena called Spartan Fit! 30 Days. Transform Your Mind. Transform Your Body. Commit to Grit. It refers to Seneca, a Stoic philosopher, who was one of the wealthiest men in ancient Rome, yet he spoke out against the corrupting influence of wealth and leisure. He practiced a series of mental exercises to ensure he would never become dependent on his wealth. Every month he spent a few days living in poverty until he became content with only the necessities of life…the clothes on his back and the food for his next meal. He said:

“In times of immunity from care the soul should toughen itself for occasions of greater stress…In times of peace a soldier performs maneuvers in order that he may be equal to the strains of war. If you would not have a man flinch when the crisis comes, train him before it comes.”

Our physical strength only grows as we push ourselves and challenge what we think we can do. Run a little bit farther…Lift a heavier weight…Hold the position a little longer. It only makes sense that we can prepare our minds and spirit to handle hardship and challenges, too.

Make a practice of looking for ways to challenge your mind with mental obstacles in the same way you challenge your body with physical obstacles. Here are some ways that you can begin developing discipline and mental strength.

Start every day on the right foot. Find a routine that allows you to set a positive and productive mindset. For me that’s making my bed. It’s an immediate win!

Prepare your mind and spirit through a practice of journaling, meditation, prayer, or motivation mantra.

Reinforce your values and personal boundaries as you review situations that didn’t have the desired outcome and consider how you’d handle it differently in the future.

Avoid negativity and distractions, like checking emails or listening to the news, until you’ve set your intentions for the day.

View all movement as exercise and training. Your mental health depends on your physical health. It’s time to take control and make time! When you have the mindset that you’re constantly in training, you’ll look for opportunities like taking the stairs, parking at the furthest spot in the lot, and so forth.

Recognize “resistance” as a force within you that you can control. When you see a resistant attitude as an enemy you can defeat, you’re not judging yourself any longer by thinking there’s something wrong with you. You can see that it’s simply a wrong attitude, and you have the power to change your thinking.

When reflecting back, almost everyone agrees that their happiest times are during the pursuit/work/action that got them to a particularly triumphant moment.  I would love to partner with you as you push your boundaries to excel. Please feel free to schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation. I’m happy to meet in-person, by phone or via Skype.

Satisfying Intimacy in a Committed Relationship Is Possible with a Mind, Body & Spirit Connection

Many people fear intimacy in marriage, yet to have a meaningful sex life, you need to be mentally, spiritually and physically intimate with your partner. As a somatic coach, I’ve seen how being in tune with your mind, body and spirit in every aspect of life is key to feeling fulfilled. This is true when it comes to your sex life as well. Intimacy in marriage, or in your committed partnership, only happens when you’re able to connect with your partner on deeply satisfying mental, physical and spiritual levels.

But perhaps more than any other area of life it’s easy to put up with a ho-hum, status quo sex life, especially if you’ve been together a long time. And if you’re a woman it can be difficult to know what to do about this, since we’ve been culturally taught over millennia to take a more passive approach to our sexuality.

Let’s explore the different aspects of a healthy sex life and then see what you can do to increase the intimacy with your partner, which will spice up your sex life, without feeling guilty!

Mental Intimacy

Sex begins in your brain. The brain is involved in all aspects of sexual behavior including desire, arousal and orgasm. Researches are using neuroimaging to study human sexual behavior. Not surprisingly they found that women are sexually more complex creatures. However, they also found many similarities between the sexually aroused brain of men and women. Click here to read more on this brain study.

In the beginning of a sexual relationship when romance is at it’s highest it’s easy to fantasize the ideal sexual encounter. In a committed relationship it takes more effort. You can get your brain in gear by looking for the positive in your partner – whether s/he is particularly kind or s/he has the sexiest smile. Another strategy is to be adventurous and try something new.  Our brains release sexual hormones when we try a new activity so plan a special surprise for your partner and your own desire will ignite.

Physical Intimacy

This aspect of sexuality may seem obvious but sometimes we forget how much can be communicated through touch. Women often need to feel intimate through conversation, and while that is valid and deserves a place in a relationship, don’t forget what you can communicate through your body.

Look for opportunities to touch your partner throughout the day, not just in sexual interludes. Touch them as you pass by in the hall, give them a hug, rub their hair after a long day… It’s amazing the amount of reassurance touch can give a relationship. And in the bedroom you may want to occasionally practice absolute silence to force you to transmit all your feelings through touch.

Spiritual Intimacy

It’s important to acknowledge that your sex life is a foundational aspect of your relationship. If it weren’t, you’d simply be friends, not partners. Your spirit is what leads to eroticism or sex imbued with meaning, romance and desire. 

Start to view sex as sacred. You might already set aside time to meditate, pray or attend religious services so don’t be afraid to set aside “sacred” time to devote to your sex life. It’s easy to think that there’s always tomorrow night, but if you view your sex life as a sacred commitment, you’ll look forward to it and you’ll give it the 100% attention it deserves.

When you get your mind, body and spirit involved, sex can be a fun, satisfying and important way to keep a relationship vital.

Unfortunately, many people are afraid of intimacy on some levels, so their relationships get hung up on sexual challenges. Which is why Nando Raynolds and I have decided to co-facilitate, “Love, Sex & Intimacy: Getting Your Heart’s Desire,” a forum for men and women to come together. Join us to exchange some frank talk about sex and deepen your skills, compassion and understanding. We’ll be meeting online Thursday, February 16th, 2017, 6:30-8:00pm and in-person Saturday, February 18th, 2017, 10am-1pm & 2-5pm. Please contact me to register to attend.

How to Get Out of a Funk Quickly So You Don’t Get Stuck There

If you want to know how to get out of a funk faster to regain happiness, use these proven tips for mindfully exploring and resolving the source of your funk“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” ~ Mary Engelbreit

“Urggh! I can’t do anything right today! Everything I touch is falling apart!” Have you ever felt like this? Once your day starts off on the wrong foot, is your whole day shot? Or do you have a sure-fire way of resetting your emotions, so you can get over it faster? Do you know how to get out of a funk quickly?

We’re not always up and peppy. I don’t think humans are meant to be, do you? There are ebbs and flows throughout our lives. Most of us go through a predictable cycle of peaks and valleys. However, it can become a perpetual problem, if we spend too much time focusing on the negative. I agree with this beautiful expression from TinyBuddha.com:

“Our minds are like oceans. Like the tides, thoughts come in and then retreat back. When your mind is stuck, the ebb and flow of your thoughts are all negative. Each new thought process makes the negativity even stronger, creating a snowball effect.”

Being in a funk is normal; staying there is not a healthy option. A funky mood is signaling that it’s time for reflection to make a change in your life. Give yourself space to do that and then move on. Otherwise you’ll experience these effects of a sustained funk:

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Loss of energy and enthusiasm
  • Isolation and withdrawing from friends and activities
  • Lack creativity
  • Persistent feelings of hopelessness or despair
  • Inconsistent and irregular sleep patterns

It’s taken me years to recognize the signs, and still at times I can spend precious time in a pretty deep funk before I can get out on purpose. But the good news is that we can all learn how to get out of a funk through practicing mindfulness.

Previously I shared five ways to mindfully shift your level of happiness. Here are some additional ways to show you how to get out of a funk and back to enjoying life to the full:

Listen to what your body is telling you. It may be a case of just needing restorative sleep, good nutrition or self-care to regain your emotional balance.

Identify the negative, reinforce the positive. Your feelings help you understand and explore why you’re in a funk. Allow them to guide you, without judgment. Try writing them down. Start with how you’re feeling. “I feel       ” then “I feel anxious because     .” Keep digging until you get to the root cause so you can extinguish its power over you.

Take a break and do something creative. You may not think you have time, but how productive are you going to be in your funk, anyway? You’re not. So give yourself a break and restore your energy by getting out of your head and into your body. Creativity helps you process your mood and express things you can’t with words alone.

Break a sweat, get the endorphins pumping, and work the funk out. I use a number of exercises to bring myself out of a funk. If, because of injury or limitations, you need a low impact solution, try The Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Re-education. Learn to release the tension in your body and you’ll release the tension in your mind.

Use NLP to do a reality check. Connect with when you were at the top of your game. You’ve been there before. You’ll be there again.

It may be tempting to blame other people or circumstances, but we are individually responsible for our own mental state. You get to change how you internalize and deal with what life throws at you. I would love to partner with you and share personalized techniques for excellence with you. Please feel free to schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation so we can explore your options. I’m happy to meet in-person, by phone or via Skype.


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