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Continually grow as a person and find your work/life balance

Setting Personal Boundaries – 5 Ways to Build Strong and Supportive Relationships

Setting personal boundaries takes courage, but in the long run, you’ll be happier and the people in your life will love, respect and appreciate you more.“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice.” ~ Brené Brown

Have you ever been in a relationship where you’re the one who does all the giving while the other one does all the taking? It can make you feel like you’re ready to explode, right? Perhaps you have a boss, coworker, “friend”, or family member who always leaves you feeling drained, exhausted and tense every time you’re around them.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. You do have the power to change it. And it doesn’t involve avoiding them. You do it by clearly defining and setting personal boundaries.

When you’re uncertain of your own boundaries or you don’t clearly communicate them, you’ll cave in and say “yes” to things that make you unhappy and uncomfortable. It can even make you take on everyone else’s “stuff” to the point you don’t know who you are any more.

If you’re not used to setting personal boundaries, it can be difficult at first. It requires honesty and integrity to gain the clarity of who you are and what you need. Then little by little this self-knowledge will give you the inner strength to tell people, with conviction, respect and tact, what you need from your relationship with them.

Setting personal boundaries is a life long process. Here are five ways to accelerate that process…

  1. Give yourself permission to set personal boundaries. You have a right to your feelings and you need to honor your present preferences and limitations. It’s okay to say, “No”. You owe it to others to be honest with them, because a relationship built on self-deception can’t be sustained. Don’t take everything upon your own shoulders or let in baggage that isn’t yours. Remember that when you set a limit with others, the way they react or respond is information about them, not you.
  1. Build personal boundaries based on how you truly feel. Discomfort and resentment are two emotions that signal that your boundaries are being trampled on. Identify exactly how your boundaries are being crossed. Consider whether it’s the overall experience that you resent, or whether it’s how something was phrased or presented. Reframe negativity into a positive perspective.
  1. Be specific about your boundary limits. Where do you draw the line in the sand? What are your values, preferences, and needs – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually? Remember that having identified these once long ago isn’t going to serve you now. You’ll want to revisit this often, since you change and update as you grow and gain more insight or information.
  1. Practice mindful self-awareness so your personal boundaries really support you. Most people set boundaries out of frustration because they are “fed up” with a situation or a behavior instead of basing their boundaries on their own preferences, needs or values. It’s important to decide on our personal boundaries during meditation or introspection time not in a time of crisis. When you’re firmly grounded and centered, you’ll have self-confidence and won’t be plagued with guilt.
  1. Communicate your personal boundaries clearly. People don’t know your boundaries unless you tell them. You can’t expect them to be mind readers or to intuitively know what you need. In a respectful manner, share your limits with others often so they know where they stand with you. They’ll respect you more and like you better for it.

Setting personal boundaries takes strength and courage. But in the long run, you’ll be happier and the people in your life will respect and appreciate you more. If you could use help setting boundaries why not schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation with me so we can explore your options? I’m happy to meet in-person, by phone or via Skype.

Are Your Life Goals Aimed High Enough?

Creating and setting the right life goals means you aim high enough to challenge yourself, instead of settling for what’s comfortably within your reach.“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” ~ Michelangelo

This time of year there’s a lot of talk about setting life goals and achieving life goals. But the most important conversation centers around this question – are you setting the right goals? Rather than settling for what’s comfortable and easily within your range, are you aiming high enough?

Archery is one of my favorite activities and I often think about how it’s a great metaphor for achieving your fullest potential in life. There are a number of life lessons you can learn from archery. Here are a few:

 

Lesson #1: Without a target, there’s no purpose.

What would you do if I handed my bow and arrow to you? Your first question no doubt would be, “What do I shoot at?” When you have a target to aim at, you gain a sense of purpose. It changes how you feel. You become excited about the challenge before you. The first time you hit the target is thrilling! Adding a target changes the way you view archery. It gives context and meaning to it.

The same applies with life goals. They change how you feel about life. They alter how you approach each day. Without them you’ll merely exist and meander through life without direction and without much accomplishment.

 

Lesson #2: Anchor yourself for success.

One of the first things you’ll learn about archery is how to position yourself and hold the bow and arrow. When you take your stance, you need to create an anchor point – the fixed position of the bowstring hand on your jaw or cheek while aiming the arrow. It gives you the strength and balance to shoot safely and effectively.

For life goals to be effective, it’s important to incorporate the practice of centering yourself, which helps you feel still and aware as you connect with your inner being. When you know who you are, then you know how to create life goals that get you to where you’re going.

 

Lesson #3: Aim high for the long-term

The first time you shoot an arrow you’ll pick a target that’s close to you. As your skill improves, you’ll want to move the target farther away to see what you can really do. Yet, as the distance increases, your arrow may fall far short of the mark. Why is that? You have to adjust your aim a little higher than the bulls-eye to compensate for the pull of gravity.

You want life goals that push your self-limiting boundaries. And to do that you’ll want to aim higher than you can ever imagine it possible to achieve. And when external forces make you miss your mark, you’ll need the flexibility to adjust and try again.

 

Lesson #4: Measure your progress

Of course, you don’t expect to hit the bulls-eye the first time you shoot the arrow. You’re happy just to nick the target. Then you’re thrilled to hit the outer ring. Each ring gives you something to measure your progress by.

Worthwhile life goals need to be specific and measurable. When you see where you were and how far you’ve come, it promotes self-confidence and builds momentum for further progress.

 

Lesson #5 Partner up for accountability

Being a member of an archery club makes you show up on time. It’s a lot more fun and motivational when you see how others are hitting the mark!

When you have an accountability partner for your life goals it holds you to a deadline. And you’ll be much more likely to push through the days when you don’t feel like it.

 

What are your life goals for 2017? My colleague, Nando Raynolds, and I love helping people become outstanding by teaching both the “what” and the “how” of extraordinary success. Come and check us out at our next free talk on January 12th on “Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet!”  Click here to get the details

Maintain Your Inner Strength and Stop Giving Your Power Away

Maintain your inner strength or painful life events may cause people pleasing behavior that erodes your power until you’re not able to stand up for yourselfHave you ever bared your feelings to someone you trusted, but they responded with a dismissive or judgmental response? Perhaps it even caused a rift in the relationship that has never healed?

That rejection can cause a life-altering pain. In order to avoid experiencing that pain again, you may adopt a people-pleasing behavior. You hide your feelings, needs and opinions, so they won’t be trampled on again. And over time you find that your inner strength has seeped away. You can’t even say “no” when you need or want to. Instead you remain quiet and acquiesce; silently berating yourself because you wish you could stand up for yourself.

Perhaps this is how you’re feeling right now. Painful life events can give you a double whammy – the initial pain and then a lingering unresolved hurt that actually redefines who you are and robs you of your power. Would you like to become more assertive as you restore your inner strength and reclaim your authentic self once again?

Let’s first examine some situations that can destroy your inner strength and rob you of power. It can happen…

  • When someone says something negative, critical or judgmental about you and you remain silent or mentally agree.
  • When you shift into a reactive mode and you don’t give yourself time to think and be who you really want to be.
  • When you stay so busy you don’t have time to think and process life.
  • When you don’t mindfully and daily reflect on what’s important to you.
  • When you’re emotions are out of control or you’re discouraged and depressed.
  • When you’re not getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, and exercise.
  • When you isolate yourself and aren’t making meaningful connections.

All of these manifest a lack of self-love, which drains your inner strength. But you can restore your self-worth! When you retrain your brain, you’ll be able to access your inner strength and power again.

How can you replenish your inner strength and reclaim your power? Here’s a practice that can help you reconnect…

  1. Close your eyes and become fully aware of your breathing and your body sensations.
  2. Breathe deeply from your belly until your body and mind relaxes.
  3. Now, think of the last time you gave away your power and scan your body, noticing where you feel tense.
  4. Welcome whatever emotion arises and accept it with kindness.
  5. Ask yourself, “What past story is this emotion connected to?”
  6. What happened then is not your reality today, so tell yourself, “I release you,” and let it float off into the sky.
  7. Open your eyes and shake it off.
  8. Do a few somatic movements to discharge any lingering self-limiting beliefs.
  9. Now bring awareness to your core, and connect to all that empowers you – your strengths, talents, resilience, and good qualities.
  10. Focus on these empowering thoughts to restore your self-love, inner strength and power. Be convinced you can do and be anything you want.

A consistent mindfulness practice gives you the inner strength to turn toward your feelings with acceptance. When you quit ignoring and fighting them, something will shift within you. You’re self-love will reassure you that you are worthy. You are loveable. You are valuable. You do have people who care about you. You do have a meaningful purpose in life. When you feel empowered in this way, you’ll be able to stand up for yourself, speaking your truth.

If you’d like a guide to restoring your balance, please, download my free 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment. It will help you identify the areas that most need your attention right now and what you can do to bring healing and empowerment to your life.

Daily Taking a Break from Work –The Secret to Innovation and Excellence

Daily taking a break from work may seen foreign to you, yet it’s really the secret to greater innovation, performance excellence, and a life filled with joy.“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” ~ Anne Lamott

Every day we’re bombarded with advice to become more organized, to get more done, to write endless to-do lists as we break big projects into smaller portions. So the idea of daily taking a break from work may sound strange to you. And while I wholehearted support the concepts of being organized and prioritizing to get things done, there has to be a balance in life.

If you feel as if you have to be busy every moment of every day, and you don’t think you’re successful unless you have a lot of accomplishments – and you’re in an endless cycle of “Check! Done that! Move on! Check! Done that! Move on!” – perhaps it’s time to reassess what you’re really accomplishing.

Actually, scheduling some downtime and taking a break from work on a daily basis will increase your ability to come up with innovative ideas and creative solutions. However, a more important reason to take a break is that if you don’t, it’s only a matter of time before you experience burnout, which could damage your body and spirit so badly that they’re not able to fully recover.

So as a friend, let me ask you: When was the last time you really disconnected from your business and responsibilities? When you didn’t listen to anything but the buzzing of the bees? When you didn’t watch anything but the clouds floating by? When you didn’t plan anything except…well, you didn’t plan anything at all! How often do you get to experience total creative silence as you simply practice being in and enjoying the moment? If you can’t remember, you’re way overdue. You are, no doubt, already on cognitive overload.

Think about it: You know you need to eat every day, right? You do it, not only because it’s enjoyable, but you expend the calories in your output of energy. And your body automatically knows to breathe in after exhaling. Why? Because you use up your supply of oxygen and your body demands more. As children, we knew how to play…when did that change? When did people forget to take breaks and enjoy life?

You constantly give all day long. You push to do things for your family, your friends, and your job. Yet if you aren’t regularly taking a break from work, you’ll run out of resources. Your body and brain needs downtime to repair itself. Not only is a good night’s sleep essential for refreshing yourself, but taking a little bit of time off during the day is necessary too.

The benefits of taking a break from work are countless. Your mood will improve. Your stress level will go down. Your energy will return. Your heart will be healthier. Your creativity and productivity will skyrocket. Your relationships will flourish. You’ll do your most excellent work if you’re regularly taking a break from work.

Isn’t it time to give your body and brain the space and time it needs to process all that you’re taking in every day? Your body may already be telling you it needs a break…are you listening? Unfortunately most of us have learned to ignore these messages from our bodies. Please, download my free 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment. Go to a quiet place and give yourself the gift of reconnecting with yourself this month. You owe it to yourself.

Grow Professionally with 5 Rapid Transformation Strategies

If you want to accelerate your professional growth, here are 5 tips anyone can use to grow professionally and enjoy life more fully - tip 4 may surprise you“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” John W. Gardner

Isn’t it amazing to watch people completely transform themselves? One moment they’re a shy person and the next moment they’re confidently leading others. It’s as spectacular as seeing a beautiful butterfly emerge from a cocoon. How do they grow professionally, seemingly overnight?

The truth is this kind of transformation doesn’t happen overnight, does it? We aren’t born professionals – it takes time and concerted effort. However, there are strategies that you can use to grow professionally that will fast track your transformation as a confident leader in your field. Take a look at five of my favorites below:

1) Take advantage of targeted education. 

New practitioners, therapists, and coaches often struggle with maintaining focus, because there’s so much to learn when you’re starting your own business. It’s normal to get sidetracked. In order to grow professionally, you’ll want to fight that tendency and keep your goal foremost in mind.

Focus allows you to pick the most appropriate education for your current situation. Education is easily accessible via local or online courses, books and audios, podcasts, and joining specialized online communities, so take full advantage of these, but please do so purposefully. When you master one thing, move on to the next.

For example, over the years I’ve studied both traditional and non traditional methodologies. I started with western psychology and added specializations such as Hakomi, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Self-Relations and Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. But what really accelerated my transition from therapist to Somatic Coaching is the deep study of The Feldenkrais Method® and Neuro-Liguistic Programming.

Just as a caveat: searching for a “perfect” program may become an excuse for not taking action. You may find that working with a personal coach helps you focus on the most effective path toward your goal.  

2) Ask for specific feedback.

It boosts the ego when someone says they like what you’ve done. But without specific feedback on what’s working and what’s not, you won’t be able to grow professionally.

It takes time and effort to establish a reputation of excellence and it starts with the right attitude. For example, professionals aren’t defensive when they receive criticism, because they know that, somewhere there’s a nugget of truth they can use. Then they willingly invest in themselves to become the best version of themselves possible.

3) Network for progressive advancement.

Whom you associate with directly affects how you grow professionally. You may not view yourself on the same level as well-known people like Stephen Gilligan, Byron Katie, Robert and Diane Masters, or Richard Strozzi-Heckler, but you might be pleasantly surprised at how approachable influential people can be when you sincerely reach out to them. Social platforms let us show interest in what they do and how they do it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. (For example, please feel free to post your questions or comments about leadership, professionalism and personal growth on my Facebook page. I’m happy to chat with you.)

4) Go the extra mile.

Even if others are happy with a so-so result, hold yourself to a higher standard of excellence. Since an “okay” experience is quickly forgotten, push yourself to perform something truly memorable. Think creatively about how you can make it easier, more enjoyable, or more valuable for your clients.

5) Before saying “Yes” or “No”, mindfully consider your options. 

Some choices can be scary and that can make you say “No” reflexively. On the other hand, out of embarrassment or pride, you may be tempted to say “Yes” before fully knowing the scope of what’s required. Slow down and ask yourself why you’re reacting as you are. Then ask clarifying questions to ensure you fully understand the project at hand. By being willing to try new things, you demonstrate self-confidence, which inspires others to have confidence and trust in you as well.

Many years ago, one of my most influential mentors said to me: “When you are asked to do something, Say YES and then figure out how to do it!” This bold approach can bypass all the fear and anxiety of trying something new. It’s not for the faint of heart, though!

Which of these strategies are you ready to try? If you want to grow professionally it’s essential to have a plan. So, what do you really want to accomplish and how will you do it? Why not schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation with me so we can explore your options? I’m happy to meet in-person, by phone or via Skype.


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