Life Coaching for Hitting Your Target: Ready, Aim, Fire!

life-coach-achieving-goalsDuring my recent vacation to Mexico I had the opportunity to try archery for the first time. I was hesitant at first and it took me some time to start hitting the target but sure enough, after a little practice, I was getting closer and closer to the bullseye.

This new experience made me think about some of my life coaching clients and how easy it is to be too critical of yourself when trying something new or to take another shot after an initial miss. If you don’t give yourself a chance to fail and learn from it you will never have the chance to succeed. I’d like to encourage you not to give yourself a hard time; sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. So be persistent! Take that next shot.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take That First Shot

New experiences help us grow and learn about ourselves. You find what you like, what you don’t like, and what helps you build a full and happy life. But there can be times when you defeat yourself before even getting started. Maybe you create reason you shouldn’t, worry about failing, compare yourself to others, or fear what others will think of you. You must clear your mind of these negative thoughts because they will only hold you back.

We can’t be expected to be perfect our first time doing anything. So let go of any preconceptions and give yourself a fair chance. Take running for example. If you haven’t run long distances before (or even trained) you can’t be expected to run a 5k. But don’t let that stop you from getting out there and going on that first run, or walk. Give yourself the freedom to try the new experience and take it all in for what it is instead of what you think it should be. You will learn a lot more about yourself this way, but you’ll never know until you try.

The Life Coach Says: If It’s Important, You WILL Find a Way

So your first shot was a miss, what do you do now? To succeed in your life goals, small and large, you will most likely have to try more than once. That’s okay! If you really want something, persistence is very important. You are on your own path. Comparing it to someone else’s – or even to your initial expectations – will likely lead to feelings of doubt or even failure.

Instead of being too critical of yourself, step back and think about what you did, what the outcome was, and what you could change to make it different next time. Reevaluate your goals, making sure they are workable, reasonable ones. If it’s important you WILL find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.

I’m sure you can recall Thomas Edison’s response to a critic about his failures while trying to invent the lightbulb. He said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Wow, now that is persistence!

We are human and we are all beautiful, creative, and unique individuals. If you can view your mistakes as tools for learning and moving forward, they become empowering instead of a negative weight holding you back. There is no need to feel defeated or give up, you will find what you need to succeed.

So with a view of purpose instead of self punishment we can keep trying, learning, and adjusting until we hit the bullseye.

WOW, I Hit the Bullseye!

Congratulations. At this moment step back to enjoy the accomplishment but also remember what you did to get you there. This is the important part, because now you can do it again, and again, and again. Or maybe you take what you have learned and move the target back a little further. Either way, you have built up the tools needed to continue to succeed in this aspect of your life.

This happens in our personal relationships all the time but probably goes unnoticed. Think back to a time when you made a child smile, your partner laugh, or were thanked by a friend. This means you hit the bullseye with them! Don’t let the importance of these moments slip away.

Remember how you can support and improve your personal relationships and they will grow stronger and stronger. Read my previous post on what I believe is the #1 key to any relationship to learn more about this topic.

10 Daily Rituals

With this new perspective of positive progression and learning from the actions you take, start to think about the little things that set you up to have the most successful day possible.

  • Do you like to workout before starting your day or do you prefer to spend the mornings reading or with family?
  • Are you more successful if you eat a full breakfast or when you get an early start to your day?
  • Maybe taking a walk in the evenings helps you sleep better, or having a good conversation with you partner over dinner brings your day to a satisfying end.

A Harvard Business School study revealed remarkable statistics relating to goal setting and success. The study found that the 14% who have goals are 10 times more successful than those without goals. The 3% with written goals are 3 times more successful than the 14% with unwritten goals.

Write down your 10 daily rules, or rituals, that set you up to be your best self. As discussed in my post Change Your Life: Raise Your Standards, these daily rituals should be different than your short term and long term goals; they are the things that keep you on track to achieve those goals. Don’t get bogged down! Write whatever comes to mind, try to follow it for a few days, then reflect and adjust. Before you know it you will have created a solid daily routine that is aimed directly at your bullseye.

Life Coaching for Hitting Your Target

headshot-facebookMany of my clients have told me that working with me through Life Coaching has given them the opportunity to discover their values, be intentional about their goals and to make a plan, taking action to realize goals. Here are some of the things my clients say they’ve gained as a result of working with me**:

  • Inspiration
  • Self Confidence
  • Self Awareness
  • Ability to go outside their comfort zone
  • A feeling of fulfillment
  • An alliance with me
  • New perspectives
  • The ability to stay focused
  • Better decision making ability
  • Peace & contentment
  • The ability to see themselves in a positive way

*Name has been changed to protect Life Coaching client confidentiality.

**All bullets above drawn directly from my many happy client testimonials. Read all of my Life Coaching testimonials here.

Life Coaching will give you the concrete strategies you need to keep you on track in achieving your goals. Many of my clients say I’ve helped them tap into their most deeply-held values and encouraged them to have more self-confidence in going after what they want. I have helped clients start new careers, businesses and projects based on the things they are most passionate about. Contact me to schedule your complimentary 30-minute session. We can begin to chart a course into a fresh start together.

If you feel you’re going through the motions and missing the mark, the hardest step is committing to change and focusing on what brings you true joy. If you are craving an on-target life full of joy and fulfillment, consider working with me through Life Coaching. With the right tools, navigated conversations and the intention to create something great, you can discover ways to live your best life. Let’s get started now on identifying what you want and find a way to get you there.

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation to discuss the possibilities. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person.

Share This:

Life Coaching for Motivation: How I Got My “Zip” Back

catharine-pool

As a Life Coach, I’m endlessly fascinated by the topic of motivation. It seems to be at the core of so many of our struggles as human beings. You might be surprised to learn that I too struggle with motivation! I had begun to feel my early morning swims were becoming routine. Sure, I connected with people I enjoyed. It was great exercise. But I had stopped competing about three years ago. I began to ask myself, what was I doing it for?

My new swim coach

Dr. Delghi: my new swim coach is also a chiropractic doctor

Then recently, L4 changed coaches. Coach Delghi, pictured with me at the pool above, is also a chiropractic doctor. When she started working with us, she spent time asking the right questions:

What are your goals with swimming?
What do you hope to accomplish at practice today?
Why are you here?

Even though these were the exact same questions I had been asking myself, working with Coach Delghi I felt a renewed connection to the sport I love. This is because of 3 Cs that I also practice in my life coaching:

  • Connection
  • Caring
  • Capabilities

Connecting to someone who cares, who has capabilities and with whom I have a connection is helping me stay focused.

Life Coaching: How to Stay Motivated

Scientific American recently posted an article about motivation that backs this up. Researchers looked at students, athletes and employees, and identified three critical elements of long-term motivation:

Autonomy. Feeling in charge, self-directed or pursing an activity for its own sake (the opposite of feeling “forced” to do something) predicts how motivated people are to stick with a particular course of action.

Value. Reflecting on why an activity is meaningful to you specifically, or how it aligns with what you value, can make you feel more invested in it.

Competence. Plain and simple: if you’re good at something, you’re more likely to keep doing it. But what does that mean for those who are trying to master something new?

  • Researchers found that those who credit innate talent for their own personal successes tend to give up more easily when facing a new challenge.
  • Those who talk about getting there through “a lot of hard work” are able to sustain motivation longer.
  • Believing in yourself, and the value of your hard work, is key to keeping you inspired.

Life Coaching: How to Find Your “Zip”

So what are my goals for swimming? I told Coach Delghi I’m working on my “zip”. Here’s how:

  • Practically, I’m not trying to swim faster.
  • I’ve begun counting my strokes and breaths, working on becoming more efficient as I swim down the pool. I asked Coach Delghi how many strokes and breaths she takes. She’s such an efficient swimmer, I realized her count was above and beyond what I wanted to try for. Just working on minimizing my own strokes and breaths one at a time has really helped me focus.

The result: I’m not on auto-pilot anymore when I swim. I’m focused, putting more energy and thought into each lap.

Working towards an unrealistic goal can get frustrating, and can actually sap our motivation. The timing has to be right to take on a new challenge. Being in cruise control was fine for me last year last year. Sometimes switching it up to a new activity or regimen (like when I tried kickboxing) is more helpful.

But now I’m on a roll, and the momentum is carrying me forward. When I get home in the mornings and find my husband just waking up with his morning coffee, I feel ready and excited about my day. I’m already in first gear, ready to shift into second. It puts me in a positive and energetic mood for my day. I even find myself thinking, “maybe I should get back into competitive swimming …”

My “zip” spills over into other areas of my life and day. I find I have more energy, I’m thinking more positively, I have more focus, and more interest in connecting my “lessons learned” in swimming to new areas of my life.

Remember: The kind of “zip” I’m getting from swimming is a feeling. Feelings come from within, not without. I believe that when we work on creating the feelings we want from within ourselves, we inevitably watch the whole world open up like an oyster.

at-desk-brightIf you get stuck, enlist an ally to help you in this work. I’m here to help you. Call Catharine Ecton Life Coaching or schedule your free Life Coaching consultation today. In my blog about Life Coaching vs. Therapy, I discussed the differences and reasons why you might want to hire me as your life coach. You can also learn more about how Life Coaching differs from from friendship here.

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation and we can work on lighting up your life, giving it more purpose and meaning. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.

Share This:

How to Live a Balanced Life

Life Coaching for Life Balance

I was listening to a podcast recently about work/life balance. The conclusion the ladies hosting the podcast came to after much discussion threw me a bit. They said:

“There is no such thing as a work-life balance.”

As a DC life coach, my #1 personal goal is to live a balanced life.

When thinking about finding life balance, my life coaching training prompts me to consider “being” vs. “doing.”

  • Some clients focus on external things like work, relationships and activities, or “doing.” They pay very little attention to what is going on inside their heart and mind.
  • Some spend so much time being reflecting or “being” that they can miss out on the experience of living.
Have you ever tried walking a slack line? This is a low type of tightrope, popular on ropes courses, strung up between two trees. There is usually a second line above, for holding on. Slack lines are pretty wobbly, and you need to use every muscle to stay in balance. Now, imagine losing your balance. You might have to let go of your desired destination and step off the line for a moment. You might fall, but you’ll probably land on your feet. You can dig in and hang on for dear life, but the only way you’ll make it across is to compensate whenever you start to lose your balance.
You might lose your balance often, even constantly. But after a little practice, you generally know exactly what you need to do to regain it.

When examining your life, consider the level of balance you have in the following areas:

  • Mind: Challenging yourself intellectually vs. giving your mind time to rest
  • Heart: Giving vs. receiving love
  • Health: Eating healthfully, drinking water, exercising vs. resting and indulging
  • Work: Pushing yourself to achieve vs. being content and/or celebrating where you are right now
  • Social: Satisfying social desires vs. taking time for yourself
  • Family: Creating family togetherness vs. setting healthy boundaries
  • Fun: Allocating time for things you enjoy vs. making sure you don’t overdo it

Perhaps living that elusive “perfectly balanced” life at all times, in all circumstances is impossible. But getting closer to balance in all of these areas is something we can all strive for. The simple practice of striving for balance can lead to living a more authentic, fulfilled life.

If you get stuck, enlist an ally to help you in this work. My clients overwhelmingly tell me that they’ve discovered fulfillment through life coaching, and a whole new approach to their lives. (Read my many happy client testimonials here.)

Contact me today for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation and we can work on lighting up your life, giving it more purpose and meaning. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Share This:

Life Coaching to Make the Most of Springtime’s Energy

life-coaching-transitionsSpring is green, new, alive. The childhood stage of the seasons. As nature wakes from its winter slumber and you observe the first pale green leaves unfolding, you might feel a renewed energy to tackle your to-do list, or start a new project. As a Washington, DC life coach, I know that during this time I’m going to get lots of new questions from my clients about what they should be doing, or how to manage their to-do list.

Focus on Fulfillment

We try to be the best we can be by scheduling ourselves, writing to do lists, and taking classes. What we really need is time management to do what we love … that is also fulfilling. Discover what fulfills you by getting in touch with who you really are:

  • When was the last time you received a compliment that really made you feel good? What were you complimented for?
  • In what types of activities or pursuits do you really shine?
  • What feels like drudgery?

Most adults already know what they do well, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. We often do certain things out of obligation, because they’re trendy, because our friends are doing them, or because we have a degree or specific training in something. Ignore all that noise, and instead listen for the voice nudging you in a certain direction, rather than focusing on what you think you “should” be doing.

Awareness + Action

Elite athletes and those seemingly “natural” leaders we have all observed throughout our lives are good examples of people taking joyful, systematic steps to reach their goals. These people know their strengths and are unapologetic about them. They have keen self-awareness of their goals and strengths (“knowing”), and back this up with organization and action (“doing”). They methodically manage their time and energy. At the end of the day, they are able to perform at a level that surpasses most people’s imagination by knowing themselves. (Read more about how to approach your life like a professional athlete here. Read about how great leaders are able to rise above negativity and other people’s opinions here.)

Life Coaching Steps to Make the Most of Springtime’s Energy

Step 1: Think about your “curiosities” or “interests”. You can’t have too many! Consider and play with the many things that interest you, without agenda. Recognize and label what works and build on that. (Read my life coaching tips on how to discover your childlike curiosities here.)

Step 2: Set some “homework” for yourself and pursue it without agenda. Here are some suggestions:

– Want to learn to grow your own food or flowers? Matthew Keller, postdoctoral fellow at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics in Richmond, studied 500 people in the U.S. and Canada and found that the more time people spent outside on a sunny spring day the better their mood. Your local nursery or home improvement stores may offer introductory and advanced gardening courses. YouTube is a treasure trove of information on organic gardening, how to deal with specific pests or what variety of tomatoes does best in Washington, DC.

– Want to read more, but are stuck in a rut? Visit your local library and talk to one of the librarians there about your interests, create Goodreads.com account and connect with some people who share your interests or better yet start a book club. There is no better motivator to get away from your daily grind and into reading than a fun monthly meeting with interesting people you can laugh with.

– Have a topic you want to learn more about? Discover some new podcasts. Starting your day with gratitude journaling (I wrote a how-to here), setting positive intentions and listening to a podcast on iTunes or elsewhere is one of the most uplifting ways to infuse your day with new ideas, excitement and possibility.

Step 3: Remember to capitalize on the action of springtime. Like a kid enjoying the warm weather, tell yourself it’s okay to create, express and act on a feeling of exuberance and fulfillment. Practice mindfulness and gratitude for who you are, and what is good in this moment, right now. Let the new beginnings you are witnessing all around you move you to act in authentic ways that fulfill you.

at-desk-brightIf you get stuck, enlist an ally to help you in this work. My clients overwhelmingly tell me that they’ve discovered fulfillment through life coaching, and a whole new approach to their lives. (Read my many happy client testimonials here.)

Contact me today for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation and we can work on lighting up your life, giving it more purpose and meaning. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.

Share This:

Revolutionize Your Conversations Now With Mindful Listening

Revolutionize Your Conversations Forever With Mindful Listening

Editorial credit: Sorbis

Have you ever been talking to someone only to feel as if they aren’t really listening to you? Do their thoughts seem to wander when you talk, only to interrupt you to get their thoughts into the conversation?

Or how about you. Do you ever find yourself in a conversation with a friend or partner, or sitting in a meeting at work and realize you have no idea what was just said? For the average person, this happens more often than we’d like to admit, perhaps more than once every day. You might even be interested in what’s being said but your mind has carried you into the past or future, to something that’s bothering you, or to your to-do list.

Listening seems like a natural skill that we all do, but not everyone remains present when someone else is talking. The most common thing for most of us to do is to start to think of our response instead of fully listening to what the other person is saying.

Thanks in part to the way the primitive brain evolved, our minds are always on alert for trouble or threats. If we’re not listening closely, our emotions may get involved. We may misinterpret someone’s words, and think they are saying something hurtful or uncalled for.

That’s why a technique called ‘mindful listening’ is the ultimate remedy. It encourages us to take a step back from our preconceived notions and focus fully on what the person is saying without judging them.

The Benefits of Mindful Listening

“Being listened to is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” ― David Augsburger

Empathy, connection and acceptance all begin with listening. These are some of the biggest things that we as humans want in our relationships. If we learn to listen first, I believe we can truly revolutionize all of our conversations with mindful listening.

There are valuable business rewards for practicing mindful listening, too. If you are in any role that requires you to influence others or convey your point of view, listening to their needs first is crucial. Any good salesperson knows to be quiet and pay attention to the customer when they speak – they will inevitably reveal many things you didn’t even consider. You can create collaboration with colleagues when their opinions are heard. Anyone who manages or leads others needs to listen closely. The most creative, successful people are experts at leading this way. They’ve mastered the art of inquiry, raising questions no one else is asking and really listening to the answers.

Here are 6 mindful listening practices you can start using today to help transform your conversations:

1. Put your brain in gear before putting your mouth in motion. Instead of thinking through your response when someone else is talking, try to take your time. Focus on the other person’s words and what they’re actually saying without judgement. When it’s your turn to speak, mindfully pause and let the words come to you.

2. Be present. Let’s admit it. We all get bored, especially when we are talking to someone we know well. We may think we can predict exactly what they will say, so our minds wander. To pull yourself out of this habit, no matter how repetitive you think the conversation is, practice mindfulness by focusing on the words that are being said and the present moment. You will almost certainly begin to hear things you’ve never heard before.

3. Listen without prejudice. Try to catch yourself labeling the other person’s words, or putting them into a category in your mind. Take the words in without putting a judgment on the words.

4. Let go of agenda. Many successful people have been trained to focus on the outcome of every interaction. They may get what they want in business, but often “check out” when speaking to a friend, spouse or loved one. The conversation may seem irrelevant, because it isn’t taking them to their goal. The result is lots of hurt feelings when the other person’s needs, hopes or wishes – things they deem of utmost importance – aren’t heard. With everything we hear, we can’t help but attach our preconceived notions about how we things should go. But to truly listen mindfully, you’ll need to let go of having an end result and simply “be” in the conversation. Not only will you begin to enjoy the conversation more, but you’ll probably get more out of it, too. There certainly are times to steer a conversation towards a goal or desired outcome, but the bottom line is our loved ones need to be listened to without agenda.

5. Use body language. Making eye contact, leaning towards the person talking and even mirroring them can also help the other person feel heard. There is a whole science to using body language in interpersonal relationships and at work. To explore this topic further, here’s a Huffington Post article 15 Body Language Secrets of Successful People.

6. Prompt yourself to continue to be mindful with your speech. Summarizing the other person’s words (“here’s what I hear you saying,”) and asking for permission to respond (“I’ve formed some views based on what you said. Would you like me to share them?”) are great ways to remind yourself that you are actively, mindfully listening.

Implement these 6 tips in your daily conversations and watch as you become more likable, friendly and better able learn from every conversation you have.

Life Coaching for Mindful Living

at-desk-brightNeed an ally in this work? Changing our habits to become more mindful can be challenging. But I believe we can change our lives one day at a time. We’re not broken, and we don’t need fixing. We have everything within ourselves to create the life we’ve always dreamed of. With the right tools, a few powerful questions and the intention to create something great, we can get to where we want to be. We don’t even have to know what “our best life” looks like, just that we want to live it.

Contact me today for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation to explore the possibilities. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.

Share This:

The Most Effective Way to Change Your Life: Raise Your Standards

catharine-ecton-life-coaching

In my life coaching work with clients from DC and beyond, I work with people experiencing transitions. We often discuss that change is automatic:

  • The seasons
  • The year
  • The economic forecast
  • The aging process
  • Our children growing up
  • Our work situation
  • The political climate
  • … and more!

But our own personal progress is not automatic. We can evolve or get stuck. Even someone with a “perfect” life wants to continually progress and successfully navigate the inevitable changes that life brings.

Over time I’ve come up with some very effective ways for clients to make lasting change. Of course through life coaching, these ways are developed collaboratively with my coaching clients. But there are some commonalities to their very unique journeys that I’ve discovered, and I’ll share with you here.

1. Have a vision. Most things we tell ourselves we “must” do like goals or ambitions (to lose weight, to get a promotion, to make more money, to work out every morning) aren’t very inspiring. We have to push ourselves to do them, and achieving these goals takes all our force of will. More compelling is to ask ourselves, what will I create? For example, I can create:

  • A satisfying work life
  • An amazing relationship with my kids, spouse or partner
  • A strong, healthy body full of vitality
  • Financial abundance
  • An energizing morning ritual

This is our vision, the pull that excites us, gets us up in the morning and keeps us following through. It engages our emotions and energizes us. Yes!

2. Have reasons. When the inevitable challenges arise – the economy is stagnant, you’re tired and unmotivated, you get passed over for a promotion – you need reasons strong enough to follow through on your vision. This is where my life coaching clients use their most deeply-held “reasons” (a.k.a. “discipline”) show up for themselves and their deepest wants, dreams and ambitions. It’s in these challenging moments that your vision for a better life will carry you though. Do you have compelling “reasons” for the changes you want to make in your life?

Take the vision that absolutely excites and inspires you from step 1 and create sound, compelling reasons to follow through on this vision. For example:

  • How would you feel if in one year you had achieved your vision?
  • How would you feel about yourself?
  • How would you feel about your life?

It is so important to create strong enough reasons.  Having a powerful enough “why” will provide you with the necessary “how”.

3. Follow through every day. Can you remember a time – maybe when you were younger – when you were so focused on something that you thought about it every day? Maybe as a teen there was a rock band you really liked. Perhaps you had intensity about your favorite sport, or in college your favorite subject. Or maybe you can remember this intensity about your first crush. Whatever it was, it was so part of your focus, you had so much intensity of emotion about it and you reviewed it so often that you were almost able to draw it to you. When anything that would get you closer to this thing showed up in your life, you noticed.

It’s important to remember these times, because they prove that you CAN accomplish what you set out to accomplish when you follow through every day!

4. Develop rituals. Great athletes and musicians, the financially successful, those who have advanced to the top of their field, great parents, great spouses – anyone at the top of their game – all have rituals that make them who they are. Great singers take excellent care of their voices. They drink tea and lemon backstage before every performance. The physically fit work out regularly – and seem to enjoy doing so. Financially successful people pay their bills without fail and invest religiously. All of these people have non-negotiable rituals that make them who they are.

Along the same lines, don’t we all want amazing friendships, great love lives, strong families, fulfilling careers and vibrant health?

What cool little habits do you have that make you uniquely you? Maybe no one else does them – but this is why you get the great results that you do in that one awesome area of your life.

5. Raise your standards. Achieving lasting change is different than achieving your goals. You don’t always get your goals, but you always get your standards. There’s a familiar story about a baby elephant who was tied to a post by his circus trainer. When he pulled against the post, he couldn’t go anywhere, so he eventually gave up. Years later, when he was a fully-grown, two-ton elephant capable of pulling down the entire circus tent, he still accepted the constraints of the post and his shackles because that’s how things had always been.

What constraints are you accepting as a “given”? In life, we get our “musts,” not our “shoulds.” When something is a “must” it becomes part of our identity, our belief system. Doing it doesn’t require any willpower, because it’s who we are inside. The strongest force in your personality is the need to stay consistent with how you define yourself. Ask yourself: when did I decide to accept that limitation? We live out who we believe we are.

  • If it’s your “must” you find a way, in the face of all odds
  • If you do all your rituals, you have so much momentum to succeed

Catastrophic failure – failure of health, the loss of a job, the failure of a marriage – doesn’t happen all at once. It comes from all the little things we’ve failed to do:

  • Get up early
  • Make the call
  • Check the books
  • Eat your vegetables
  • Say you’re sorry
  • Go for a run

You do little things to make certain areas of your life a smashing success. That’s why you’re uniquely you – and you have a great life! But there is always room for improvement, and everyone wants to continually thrive and grow in their lives. During these periods of transition and “up-leveling,” it’s not what we get (more money, a slimmer physique, a great relationship) that makes us feel happy. It’s who we become in the process.

Life Coaching to Raise Your Standards

at-desk-brightNeed an ally in this work? Changing beliefs about who we think we are can be difficult. But I believe we can change our lives one day at a time. We’re not broken, and we don’t need fixing. We have everything within ourselves to create the life we’ve always dreamed of. With the right tools, a few powerful questions and the intention to create something great, we can get to where we want to be. We don’t even have to know what “our best life” looks like, just that we want to live it.

Contact me today for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation to explore the possibilities. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.

Share This:

How to Love Your Life & the World Around You

life-coaching-loveOscar Wilde once said: “To love one’s self is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” It’s true that a life of romance begins and ends with you. Yet, just focusing on loving yourself may not be enough.

If you have been working on self-help and self-love in the name of “being a better person” or “bettering your life” … yet are still consumed with anxiety, doubt and worry … you may realize that you need something different.

When it comes to the whole self-love movement, here’s what I believe:
focusing solely on loving yourself can be a lonely, isolating endeavor …

But when you focus on loving your life & the world around you … everything changes.

Over the course of our lives, we often forget that we have this very impressive skill: the ability to generate our own feelings. Like an artist painting a picture, you are the person who has the power to depict how you will show up each day. (Read more about the power of intention here.) And what is love but a strong emotion? So, instead of looking for love outside of you, why not bring passion into everything you do – getting dressed in the morning, cleaning your house, your office job, even packing your kid’s lunch?

When we show up in our lives passionately, love has no choice but to find us. We become more keyed-in to what we love, things that are already there in plain sight – and in turn even more passion begins to find us. This sounds like staying right where we are, the proverbial “blooming where we’re planted.” But loving our one, precious life could be the key to not only navigating life’s major transitions successfully, but also to creating lasting life changes.

Could loving your life and your world really be the greatest love of all?

You decide. Here are 7 examples that rely heavily on my philosophy as a Life Coach. Please note these are not the be-all-end-all to loving your life and the world around you, but just a list of things to spark your creativity.

1. Stand for something. By devoting your time and energy to a cause bigger than yourself, you elevate the conversation, connect with people who share your values and improve the world around you. A win-win-win!

2. Find time to laugh. Your calendar is full of appointments and obligations. Why not prioritize a glass of wine, a coffee or a “game night” with a friend or family member who makes you laugh? Studies continue to show it really is the best medicine.

3. Practice gratitude. Train your brain to see the blessing in everything. Create a gratitude ritual and build it into your day. Read through your gratitude journal on days when your mood needs a boost. (Learn how to keep your own gratitude journal here.) These small habits can have hugely transformative effects.

4. Accept help. There is an art to accepting offers of help and compliments gracefully. Learn and practice this. It will help you tune in to the beautiful life you are creating.

5. Create space. Why do we fill our lives with so much, all the time? Instead of trying to control, schedule or manage every aspect of your life, give the world the chance to surprise you from time to time. In my travels abroad, I’ve learned that the French are very good at this. Learn more about creating space from my post last month about creativity.

6. Chat with one new person every day. Make it a point to say “hello” or compliment at least one stranger at your local coffee shop or at work. Express gratitude to your bus driver or to anyone who serves you during the day. You might be surprised at how many conversations this starts, and how many interesting people are all around you.

7. Put a “velvet rope” around your life. We often spend precious energy “dealing with difficult people,” but there is another way. Remember that it’s up to you to decide who you let into your life and how deeply – and that excusing yourself from a conversation, changing the topic to something more constructive, deleting an offensive post on your Facebook wall or “unfollowing” someone on social media with no further comment can be easier than you think. You don’t necessarily have to end a relationship over bad behavior, but creating boundaries and “sacred space” will help you fall more in love with your life. If you are naturally guarded, this can mean taking a look at who is already inside your “velvet rope” and being more open to new faces and souls that inspire and lift you up.

at-desk-bright

Life Coaching: Love YOUR Life More

For all of these reminders, falling in love with what you are doing, a.k.a. “being present,” is the key. Whatever it is, from the most mundane of things to peak experiences, living with gratitude for what is allows every moment to be a celebration.

Need an ally in this work? I believe we can change our lives one day at a time. We have everything within ourselves to create the life we’ve always dreamed of. With the right tools, a few powerful questions and the intention to create something great, we can get to where we want to be. We don’t even have to know what “our best life” looks like, just that we want to live it.

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation if you need an ally in this work. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.

Share This:

How to “Become More Creative”

How to Cultivate Creativityin Your Life

This life coaching blog post was prompted by an insightful reader question last month:

“I noticed that one of your suggestions is to be creative. This raises the question for me, what would this look like for me? I wonder how many people get ‘stuck’ on that packed hot little word, ‘creative?’ “

Thank you so much for your question! Indeed “cultivating creativity” can be a big, intimidating goal, yet we know it’s one of the highest human impulses. Our culture often labels creativity an innate quality or natural gift. But many agree that creativity is a skill to be learned, practiced, and developed, just like any other. Here are 5 things you can cultivate in your life that may lead to more creativity:

  1. IMPERFECTION. Not everything has to be perfect before you write the next chapter, submit your resume, start networking, put your painting in an art show, sign up for an athletic competition. Perfectionism can be a form of procrastination. Another way to stay in your comfort zone is saying you “aren’t quite ready yet.”
  2. IMPROVISATION. Too much planning implies you have everything under control. Creativity challenges the status quo and gives you license to explore new territory.
  3. NONCONFORMITY. Twyla Tharp, dancer and author of “The Creative Habit; Learn it and Use it for Life,” suggests you stir up your creative juices by asking: Why do I have to obey the rules? Why can’t I be different? Why can’t I do it my way? These are impulses that drive creative people … and are questions the self-labeled “non-creative” people can ask themselves. Using creative thinking and an approach to your situation that is different from your norm can bring new ways of perceiving yourself.
  4. CURIOSITY. Maybe it is time to question the wisdom of always doing things the same way. Sometimes an imperfect balance can help you achieve more than perfect harmony.
  5. SPACE. Are you giving yourself the “space” to be creative? It’s easy to fill our lives with things, obligations, a quest for more. Of course, we want to fill our lives with more beauty, love and joy. But the problem comes when our quest for more (even if the quest is for “more creativity”) is built on “not enough.” We rush around, stress ourselves out and fill our lives with excess and still feel a lack. No amount of doing or getting or “trying to be creative” will be enough because it’s based in lack and scarcity. If you feel you lack creativity, perhaps it’s time to cultivate the SPACE to be creative (a desk for your paintings, a quiet spot to write, a secret thing you’re working on that no one else knows about, a time of day or place in nature just to BE).

Ground Rules for a Perfect World by Twyla Tharp
 Quiet.

       No one present who does not belong – no observers.
       All the time in the world. No worry that you will be thrown out or
       that you will go in to overtime. 
       No goal other than to try things.
      No fear of failure; nothing will fail.
      No obligations other than to do your best. 
       We entertain each other: I challenge them, and they challenge me.
      Each date completes itself. The next day is new.
 
  • How do you see the conditions of your own perfect world?
  • What must you have and what can you do without?
Even this blog is a departure from my usual style … it is more creative! Thinking about creativity reminds me that we have the ability to make choices and build creativity on the solid skills of what we know and do best.

Want to “be more creative” but not sure what that will look like in your daily life? Perhaps you need an ally in this quest. Together with my clients, we find ways to move forward, achieve balance and fulfillment, and create a meaningful, fully-engaged life. Here’s how:

  • I am an Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Certified Professional Co-active Coach (CPCC), and completed my Master’s Degree in Education (M.Ed.) — think of me as a highly-credentialed personal trainer for living your best life
  • I use navigated conversations, powerful questions and encouragement to help uncover the best in yourself
  • Unlike self-help books or the Internet, I will work collaboratively with you. Unlike your friends and family, I’m an expert at the process of changing behavior … which is much more valuable than instructions or advice when you truly want to make a change.
  • As a trained and certified Life Coach, my job is not to ‘instruct’ or ‘advise’ you. My job is to help you explore and come up with the best choices for you based on where you want to be, and develop a concrete plan with actionable steps to get there.

I believe we can change our lives one day at a time. We aren’t broken and don’t need fixing. We have everything within ourselves to create the life we’ve always dreamed of. We are teachable. We can change. With the right tools, a few powerful questions and the intention to create something great, we can get to where we want to be. We don’t even have to know what “our best life” looks like, just that we want to live it.

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation and we can work on cultivating creativity together. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Share This:

On Listening to the Radio … and Being in the Driver’s Seat (Of Your Life)

take-the-wheel

At the beginning of the new year, I stopped listening to the radio in my car. This may seem a strange new year’s shift to make, but hear me out. Suddenly I have become more aware of and engaged with my surroundings. I am more present while driving. I appreciate the beauty all around me. I have thought about the people crossing in front of me at crosswalks and imagined their lives. I have lost some of the stress and sadness I have when I hear the news. This little change has had surprising impacts.

Rest assured, this isn’t the only change I’ll be making in 2017. Imagine we are starting the year with a whole new slate of opportunities. I’m not talking goals and resolutions. I’m suggesting looking at your time and attention differently from how you did last year.

What are the risks and what are the rewards of adding play, fun, genuine satisfaction of completing a project (big or small), developing new connections and celebrating personal satisfaction at the end of the day?

You have an opportunity every day to become more creative and less routine.

Life Coaching: Take the Wheel

You can do this with little changes, like I did in the car. I realized after I switched the radio off that I had been allowing what I heard to determine what kind of day I would have. With this small shift, I can decide what kind of day I want to have and then choose what “inputs” to let in. These small choices help set our focus, attention and intention in the right places. Instead of constantly living our lives reacting to the world around us, we can set our intention and choose the life we want.

The route to a satisfying quality of life begins with being aware of what you are doing and making the decision you want to improve on what works for you. Here are some examples:

  • Doing fewer things but doing them better
  • Talking more deeply with your family and friends
  • Finding new ways to motivate yourself at work
  • Being creative every day.

We tend to look at being “busy” as a hallmark of success. Really? I believe that “busy” word holds us back from an authentic and happy life.

In fact, it can have a negative effect and drag you down.

Listen to your own voice when you tell someone you have been “very busy”. How do you sound?

at-desk-brightWhy struggle with yourself? Don’t put off all those things you want to do, to be, to experience and to love. Find fun, find play and add them to your schedule. Re-organize your days with a new kind of busy and see where that takes you. Take the wheel and spend your time on things that excite you. With you at the wheel, your life will certainly have more of a chance of going the way you want it to.

Life Coaching with me uses exercises, tools, navigated conversations, and powerful questions to help you focus on creating your best life one day at a time. Imagine how you will feel about 2017 when this year is over.

What did you do to make it work for you?

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation and we can work on setting powerful intentions together. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Share This:

Setting a Positive Intention for the Holiday Season

how-tohave-a-betterholiday-season_-set-a-positive-intention-3

Share This:


During this time of year when the days are short but the to-do lists are a mile long, it’s easy to start living life on auto-pilot. Here are some signs you might be:

  • Your “to-do” and “have-to” lists are endless.
  • You feel disconnected from nature.
  • You feel disconnected from other people.
  • You feel disconnected from your true desires.
  • You know exactly where you’ll be in 5 years – and it’s not exactly where you want to be.
  • You chose your current situation (like your career, location or what you do day-to-day) to please others, not yourself.

If you’re living life on auto-pilot, you might not be living your best possible life. Stopping to set an intention can be a great way to begin to shift things.

The change you create when you decide to choose a different intention can have an impact on your life right now and actually help you have a better day. Here are some quick ways to make sure your focus, attention and intention are in the right places.

1. Who do you want to be?

Most people focus on how much weight they want to lose, what job title they want, what kind of relationships they want in their life or what material possessions they would like to have. In setting a powerful intention, ask yourself who you want to be. Step back from past efforts to reach your “goals” and decide to be different. Be gentle. Be wise. Be someone who is creating a great life or a better career or financial health. It’s a subtle distinction, but it’s one that can help you make a leap from living in a “lack” mindset to living a life of abundance.

2. Paint a picture of how you will show up today.

I’m not saying you have to bust out the watercolors here, this is a metaphor. Like an artist painting a picture, you are the person who has the power to depict how you will show up each day. One of the best things you can do is to consciously depict who you choose to be each day, by consciously setting your intent and reminding yourself of your dreams and goals. Gratitude journaling, a mantra in your morning yoga class, or any practice that works for you can help connect you to something deeper than your email Inbox or the news report on TV. Instead of constantly living your life reacting to the world around you, set your intention and choose the life you want. Make it your work of art.

3. Write it out, take it with you.

If you read my post about How to Keep a Gratitude Journal, you know that starting the day by being thankful has been scientifically shown to improve people’s lives. If you already have a morning ritual like coffee, yoga, a morning run or walking the dog, try setting your intention then. You can write out your intention on an index card that you carry in your briefcase or notebook. Keep it on your dashboard or tape it to a mirror – anywhere you’ll see it during the day. Review it before walking into an important meeting, and read it aloud when you can – especially when you are tempted by old ways of thinking.

4. During the day, watch your words & thoughts.

Check in with yourself during the day. How often do you worry, become anxious, fearful, or negative? How often do you talk badly about yourself, use negative words, or complain? These thoughts and words unconsciously send you out of your intent. Just observing them can be enough. Or, you can try to spin your negatives into a positive. For example, when I walked into my first kickboxing class I had immediate fears and anxieties. I quickly replaced them with my intention: that I was going to try something new, because trying something new was of value in itself. I reminded myself that it was going to be worth it.

5. Take action now.

Self-help is great, and many have benefited from self-help books and programs of all kinds. But self-help thinking can be limiting. It says, “I have to get it all fixed before I can move on to better things.” All of the working-on-yourself can keep you from really living your life. Life Coaching thinking says, “What would happen if I acted now, in spite of how I’m feeling about my life, or my capabilities?” Rather than focusing on yourself as a project, focus on your LIFE and making it better. Take ownership, take responsibility, take pride and place value on your time – and be the “boss” of your life. If you’re curious about difference between life coaching and therapy, click here.

6. Get Outside Help: Enlist a Buddy or Life Coach

As with any change, it is so much better when you have an encouraging partner to help you in this work. I have provided these suggestions to get your started, but sticking with it is where many of my clients have stumbled. To enlist the help of a powerful ally, call Catharine Ecton Life Coaching or schedule your free Life Coaching consultation today.

Are you living a life of “have-to’s”? If so, you might find your life becomes a bit dull and predictable.

You could:

  • Simplify your gift-giving with a gift swap or Secret Santa.
  • Give the gift of time to someone you love.
  • Swap out a tired holiday tradition with something that excites you, or that you’ve always wanted to try.
  • Take a cue from nature’s hibernation: shorter days and more darkness are a signal to take it easy and rest.
  • Set your mindset on giving and receiving.
  • Enjoy gifts of winter beauty, holiday lights, and the joy of children.

Everything in life is a choice, even during the holiday season. A life of “have-to’s” creates more stress, overwhelm and discontent. The adventure is in swapping out our “have-to’s” with “want-to’s.” Instead of constantly living your life reacting to the world around you, set your intention and choose the life you want. Make it your work of art.

at-desk-brightMany of my clients have told me that working with me through Life Coaching has given them the opportunity to discover their values, be intentional about their goals and to make a plan, take action to realize them. Here are some of the things my clients say they’ve gained as a result of working with me*:

  • Inspiration
  • Self Confidence
  • Self Awareness
  • Ability to go outside their comfort zone
  • A feeling of fulfillment
  • An alliance with me
  • New perspectives
  • The ability to stay focused
  • Better decision making ability
  • Peace & contentment
  • The ability to see themselves in a positive way

*All of the above drawn directly from my many happy client testimonials. Read all of my Life Coaching testimonials here.

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation and we can work on setting powerful intentions together. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.

Share This: