Tapping Into Your “Horse Sense”

“Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.” -W.C. Fields

horse-sense-for-coachesI was mesmerized by the interactions of a horse, unresponsive to training so far, and a professional “horse whisperer.” As the two interacted inside the ring, the trainer moved around the horse watching, walking, talking, petting, directing and even complimenting. After 45 minutes, trainer and horse had become partners. The horse whisperer was able to guide the horse to follow him, do figure eights, turn around, back up and more. What began as a tentative encounter ended as a veritable horse/trainer ballet.

Last week I had the unique opportunity to witness Louis Wood‘s work with an untrained horse out in horse country just outside Washington, DC. I attended this leadership program, the same one chosen by hundreds of Fairfax County First Responders, as continued professional development so I can stay on the cutting edge of leadership training and psychology to serve my Washington, DC life coaching clients better.

Later seated on the horse, Wood was able to move in different directions without using a bit or reins. He used his knees and heels to motivate the horse to move, without whips, tugs, pushes or food rewards. After an hour of this, the owner of the horse was brought in to saddle up and ride. In short order, she was astonished as she too was also able to ride and guide her horse bareback, under Wood’s close supervision.

“Horse Sense” for Professional Life Coaches

Before there was Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ), there was “horse sense.” The opposite of “book smarts,” “horse sense” is a great term for the practical knowledge and good judgment about ordinary life that so many people exhibit.

The term is completely applicable to the leadership principles and coaching competencies Mr. Wood embodies. His approach to leadership development is incredibly helpful for those who wish to engage the heart, mind and body to create meaningful partnerships with clients and colleagues, using the beautiful metaphor of his work with a 2,000 pound horse.

“Horse Sense” and Emotional Intelligence

According to psychologist Dr. John D. Mayer, who has published extensively on emotional intelligence, here is what EI is NOT:

  • Agreeableness
  • Optimism
  • Happiness
  • Motivation
  • Calmness

Someone with a high EQ DOES have the ability to:

  • perceive emotions
  • access and generate emotions to assist thinking
  • understand emotions
  • regulate emotions (of both yourself and others)

getting-my-horse-senseHorse whisperer Louis Wood would never have been able to accomplish what he did with the horse if he relied on his personality traits alone. Sure, he was a charming guy. But his “horse sense” had nothing to do with that. It had everything to do with his ability to perceive, understand and regulate both his own and the horse’s emotions. He was able to take charge of and control what happened next with the horse because of his ability to manage the “mood” in the ring.

People who are considered to have high EI can solve a variety of emotion-related problems accurately and quickly. They can correctly perceive emotions in other people’s faces, gestures and words, and what the emotions convey. For example, they know that angry people can be dangerous, that happy people want to relate with others, and that sad people often prefer to be alone. High EI people can manage their own as well as other people’s emotions. They know how to use the “mood” in their own lives to promote specific types of thinking. Solving problems requires less cognitive effort for those high in EI.

This is why the old-school methods of “breaking horses,” according to Mr. Wood, are not only outdated. They’re less effective. In the same way, I find that when many of my life coaching clients come to me, they’ve (unsuccessfully) tried all manners of self-flagellation, guilt, pushing, striving and grasping to get what they want. This is why life coaching with an ally or guide like me can be the one thing that helps my clients break through to a new way of living.

You’re No Horse … I’m No Cowboy

washington-dc-life-coach-catharine-ectonAs a Life Coach, I am friendly and a people person. I develop great relationships with all of my clients, and we have fun with coaching. But first and foremost, I am not my clients’ friend. My primary role is as their advocate. My clients have come to the realization that they don’t need another parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker telling them what they should be doing. They are ready to pursue the life they were born to live, and have always dreamed of – not to please others or fulfill someone else’s dreams, hopes or aspirations for their life.

As your Life Coach, my job is to move with you, ask questions to bring you to “aha” moments, and work through my proven coaching methodology and toolbox to help you along in the process of self-discovery. It has nothing to do with me or my personality traits, and everything to do with helping you live life to its utmost potential. Unlike a friendship that involves give-and-take, a life coaching relationship is unilateral – it’s a one-way street exclusively focused on you and your goals.

Like the horse and his trainer, we establish a relationship of mutual trust and respect. We observe, watch, listen, and feel to learn from each other. (Read more about how Life Coaching differs from therapy or the advice of a good friend.) This type of relationship allows my clients to work through goals, achieve them and have a fulfilling life without so much frustration and overwhelm. I love the metaphor, but we can agree: you’re no horse, and I’m no cowboy. But if you sometimes feel like a racehorse, primed and ready to break through the gates and run the race meant for you (but not able to quite see what’s holding you back) schedule your free initial Life Coaching consultation today. We’ll chart the processes you need to remove fear, jump over roadblocks and squash any anxiety around them. Let’s explore how you can have what you want and live with more ease and freedom … the kind of freedom that comes with living life on your terms.

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation. 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.

 

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Invite More Playfulness into Your Life

How to Play MoreOften, when my ambitious Washington, DC life coaching clients come to me with their “big goals” and aspirations, I ask them:

“Where are you finding your creativity?”

This is often met with blank stares. My hardworking clients are not used to thinking about creativity, or how to build it in their lives. (Read my previous post where I answered the reader question, “Catharine, how do I cultivate creativity?”.)

Do you know the #1 way I’ve found my clients build creativity?

THROUGH PLAY.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -George Bernard Shaw

Eureka Moments

How many times have you puzzled over something while staring at the computer, only to gain insight while on a run or in the shower? I know I personally have had many such moments.

  • Sometimes, leaning into the grind is what we need to do to be more productive.
  • Sometimes, inviting more playfulness leads to flashes of insight.

Being playful and playing as an adult is so much fun, but most of us have been trained out of it.  We’ve learned to be more serious, to put work ahead of everything else. But what does this ultimately “cost” us?

  • We have learned to give up play because we think playing is for children and frivolous people who aren’t serious about getting ahead.

Well, guess what: play is for everyone, even adults and “serious people. The more you practice playfulness, the more your creativity will flow.

Play helps my life coaching clients do these key things:

  • Reduce their resistance to new things
  • Feel better / more relaxed
  • Access more creativity
  • Become more resourceful
  • Become more successful
  • Have more fun
  • Become more fun to be around!

How to Let Down Your “Work Hard” Philosophy & Use Play to Your Advantage

Some people are naturally more playful than others. While I have a good sense of humor and find humor in so much of life’s contrasts and challenges, I’m not that good at actually playing … so I actually have to put it on my to-do list, and schedule play time into my calendar.

It’s up to you – you can either fall back on your “yes, buts” of fear, worry and beliefs such as “I have to work hard to get ahead” … or you can trust the experiments I’ve done with myself and others and start to be more playful. Start your own personal experiment about how play helps you attract more abundance into your life.

If you’re trying to access more playfulness in your life, schedule some of these into your overly-busy calendar:

Playtime with kids or grandkids. You can’t really engage with young kids without entering the world of play with them. Let them show you the way and leave your grownup mind behind.

Take a walk or day trip without any plans or route. To make it extra playful, toss a coin to decide on the direction you’ll start out in. Then just go wherever you are drawn. Let your playfulness lead the way.

Art without agenda. Go to Michael’s, buy some supplies and start sketching, watercolor, sculpting or whatever you did when you were younger (I bet you did all of these!) Let go of your need for your art to be any “good.” Just enjoy the process of creating it.

A magnetic poetry kit, crossword puzzles etc. Keep them where you spend a lot of your hours and play with them whenever you get creatively blocked.

A dinner party or other gathering focused on “fun.” Get some kids games, art supplies, and just hang out and have fun. Laugh as much as possible.

Get outside. Break the routine of your day with a walk in nature or around the block, and leave your phone, music and pedometer at home. Breathe deeply, you are at play!

Play with your dog. If you don’t own one, borrow one from a friend, volunteer to walk the dogs at an animal shelter, or go hang out at a local dog park. Even just watching dogs play can be fun!

Keep kids toys at your desk. Having them around will automatically lighten things up, but playing with them when you’re bored or in a bad mood will help even more.

Dance. Running, walking or exercising to music is one thing. But really cutting loose and dancing is another. Kids are great at this!

catharine-headshotNeed to add some playfulness and levity to your life? Enlist an ally to help you in this work. Call me, Life Coach Catharine Ecton or schedule your free Life Coaching consultation today. You can have what you want, live with more ease and bring your life into alignment.

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation and we can work on your goals 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.

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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.

 

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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.

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Light Up Your Life: What Schoolchildren Can Teach Us

the person you become-2Fall can be a refreshing new beginning for my Washington, DC area life coaching clients with its cooler weather and new routines. I am brought back to my children as young kids, and their sense of excitement, anticipation and even nervousness about the new school year. Who would be in their class? What would their teacher be like? What would they wear on the first day? I also remember shipping them off to college, or starting at a university campus myself as a young person. That sense of freedom, new people to meet, new things to learn, new books to read and endless possibility was like electricity in the air.

I believe that regardless of our age, we can and should tap into this type of wide-eyed enthusiasm during this time of year. What can you learn this year as the country’s young people return to school? How can you cultivate your interests and give your life more meaning?

Try Something New

When you try something new – like putting yourself in a new environment or trying to learn a new thing – your brain sits up and takes notice. Researchers have shown that the brain requires energy and focus to create a new “mental map” of its surroundings, and while this can create anxiety, it can also release “feel good” hormones.

When you are engaged in what’s happening around you, you feel great. This kind of feeling not only creates joy and happiness, but also helps increase performance, productivity and creativity. This is why traveling to a new place, taking a class or changing up daily routine can help you see everything in a new light.

What about my “Passion”?

Many of my clients ask me, when making a career or life change: “People tell me to follow my passion. I don’t know what it is!”

The problem with the recent fixation on “finding our passion” is that people frequently have many interests. The “passion” question is confusing when one interest doesn’t stand out as being more ardent than all the others. So why not ask the plural: what are your passions?

Focus on Your Curiosities

What makes your heart pound and flutter when you leave work for the day? What feels like drudgery? What gets you excited when you face a Saturday with no agenda in hand? How can you make time for the things that really light you up, or where you really shine?

If you no longer partake in the activities or hobbies you’ve enjoyed since childhood, why have you stopped? When was the last time you read a really great book, took a class you loved or engaged with a fascinating teacher?

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. It’s okay to do things that are outside the box. They may not even make rational sense, and this might produce some anxiety. It’s okay to try something different simply because it piques your interest. (Read about the time I took up kickboxing – yes kickboxing! – here.) Remember: living an authentic life doesn’t come from people-pleasing, it comes from just being you.

Do the Work Gently: Show Up for Yourself

Once you decide what you are going to pursue, have a to-do or “homework” list that is flexible and changeable. If having a healthier lifestyle really lights you up, your list might include hiring a nutritional coach, downloading some exciting recipes or simply going for a walk. Setting realistic, measurable goals and holding clients accountable for their progress is my specialty as a Life Coach. When the work also aligns with their values, it happens more effortlessly.

Many of us are not used to seeing self-discipline in a caring way – as a way of showing up for ourselves, our interests and our desires. This makes doing the work possible, without self-flagellation, guilt, doubt or drudgery.

It’s one thing to work from a place of excitement, purpose and joy. It’s a completely different experience to work in an attempt to prove yourself and gain accolades from others. So take care to do the work gently. Do not use discipline as a workhorse to get to where you think you “should” be.

Working a day job while discovering and pursuing your passions demands a lot of time and focus, but you can honor both needs: one for economic stability and the other for authenticity. Even if we don’t work a day job, are going through a job transition, are retired or otherwise, it is easy to get sucked into the routine of life, never really doing anything that truly lights us up. But balancing career, things we “must” do like chores, and family or social life with our personal interests is critical to leading a full, enriched life with meaning.

Beware of attaching a desired “outcome” to every new thing you try. The best part of trying something new or tapping back into a forgotten interest might not be immediately apparent. Sometimes the “new thing” can be slowing down, taking a walk in the woods behind your house, playing a game with your family or cooking a beautiful meal. Just focus on what makes you feel more like you.

Recess

Remember having an hour of recess to just run, play, and jump? Carve out a little time each day or each week to give yourself a break, whether that’s doing a paint-by-number, or dancing to your favorite song. It may seem ridiculous at first to “schedule” this time, but it will help you have the discipline to show up for yourself. Don’t have any agenda for this time, but you might be surprised at what bubbles up. Human beings’ greatest creativity and solutions to ongoing problems sometimes are found when we simply disengage and give ourselves time to just be.

Light Up Your Life Like a Kid Starting School

First: Drop the frustration, burn-out and overwhelm about this very loaded “passion” idea. Think about “curiosities” or “interests” instead, and add them to your syllabus for this fall. You can’t have too many! Consider and play with the many things that interest you, without agenda. You may want to try things people have thanked you for, something you’ve always been good at, something you value or that lights you up. At first this might make you feel nervous, and that’s okay. Be childlike, and don’t feel the pressure to commit to just one thing. This is your life. Enjoy the process.

Then: Set some “homework” for yourself. Here are some ideas:

  • Want to read more fiction but don’t have a favorite author or are stuck in a rut?Join a book club.
  • Have a latent interest in science you never pursued? Research local parent/child STEM clubs and activities.
  • Have an interest in aquaculture or marine biology? Book a private kayak tour with a local environmental center.

Finally: Remember that passion is a feeling. Feelings come from within, not without. Like a kid starting school, create a feeling of passion from within yourself and 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.

 

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Basketball & How “Peak Experiences” Define Us: Marty’s Story

case-study-marty

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In Life Coaching, “peak experiences” are often described as the best moments of one’s life, moments of pure joy and elation, moments that stand out from everyday events. The memory of these events is lasting and people often liken them to a spiritual experience. Through Life Coaching, we can begin to understand how these moments are connected to our values at a core level.
Here is an example of a Peak Experience that helped one of my clients connect to her values.

Marty’s Peak Experience

“Marty” (name changed to protect client confidentiality) remembered vividly a basketball game she played in as a Junior in High School. She was a star player in that game. Now in her late 60s, Marty’s description of the gymnasium, the crowd, the players, the sights, smells and feelings associated with the game itself transported us both to that time and place. It was a story rich with texture and emotions. From her many life experiences, Marty chose this one because it was still so alive for her.

From the story, the values that define her bubbled to the surface:

  • recognition for her hard work
  • teamwork
  • support from family and friends
  • challenge
  • competence
  • taking risks

By identifying her values, Marty was able to better understand what was at the core of her being. They made choices about what to commit to now so much more clear. Marty began to recognize that somewhere over the years she had stopped honoring the very qualities that were necessities for her personal fulfillment.

The exploration of a “peak experience” story through Life Coaching helped Marty find ways to rearrange her life so that she could once again experience and continue to enjoy the values that define her.

 

Life Coaching & Peak Experiences

In Life Coaching, I help my clients use peak experiences to help them live “on-purpose” and according to their values. When we conclude our Life Coaching sessions, my clients often tell me that they’ve begun to see themselves differently. Perhaps they do not need others’ approval as much. They definitely feel freer. They begin to see it’s possible to change and find their voice, power, and passion through “unmasking” and getting reacquainted with that self they’ve hidden.

at-desk-flipped

Contact me, Life Coach Catharine Ecton, to start living an unmasked, authentic and healthy life in line with your core values. Let’s chart a course to the truth of who you are and discover why being yourself is the ONLY answer.

Each Life Coaching session is an hour intensive one-on-one conversation by phone or Skype with me. We’ll meet once or twice per month for three to six months for a total of six sessions.

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation to discuss my Life Coaching for Authenticity program. 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.

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An Authenticity Exercise

chair

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This photo is of a porch at our family place, a large farm in Maryland that has been in the family for almost 200 years. The chair is shared and enjoyed by many cousins spanning generations. People of all ages and sizes – from young mothers with their babies to great-grandmothers – have rocked on this porch.

I’m not sure how old the chair is. Every 20 years or so it wears out and we have to replace it!

Simple Pleasures & Living an Authentic Life

One of the themes of my Life Coaching practice this year has been my clients’ desire to integrate past stories with their own current reality, and recognizing the importance of being genuine. They want to be balanced, fulfilled and “real,” living a life that is theirs alone. “Unmasking,” being authentic and not hiding or editing parts of ourselves can be difficult, but is essential to living a wholehearted life. Spending a contemplative moment in the rocking chair is a simple pleasure that links the people and generations of my family. It’s not the best or most beautiful chair in the world, but it’s “real” and it’s part of us. It gives me a sense of place and belonging.

Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending–to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how the story ends.
-Brené Brown, Rising Strong

Connecting With Our Values: Peak Experiences

Peak experiences are often described as transcendent moments of pure joy or elation, moments that stand out from everyday events. The memory of such events is lasting and people often liken them to a spiritual experience. These moments are connected to our values at a core level.

In Life Coaching, I help my clients navigate through both peak experiences and moments of hurt, anger, frustration, and pain. Connecting with their values, living on-purpose and according to their values is central to this process. When we conclude our time together, my clients tell me time and again that they’ve begun to see themselves differently. They often do not need others’ approval as much, and they definitely feel freer. They begin to see it’s possible to change and find their voice, power, and passion through “unmasking” and getting reacquainted with that self they’ve hidden.

A Simple DIY “Authenticity Exercise”

Here is an exercise I use with my life coaching clients to help them get back in touch with their core values.

  •  Find a spot in your home where you can be quiet and contemplative, like the chair above.
  • While sitting there, can you recreate a past experience that gave you joy and fulfillment?
  • What was happening?
  • What were you doing?
  • Who was with you?
at-desk-flippedLife Coaching for Authenticity with me, Catharine Ecton, can direct you to an awareness of the values that are most important to you and that you need in your life right now. Together, we can explore the values you were honoring at that time, and how to get back in touch with your natural commitment and enthusiasm.

These concepts and ideas bring a favorite Longfellow poem to mind, the one that ends with:

We may build more splendid habitations,
Fill our rooms with paintings and with sculptures,
      But we cannot
Buy with gold the old associations!
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Contact me, Life Coach Catharine Ecton, to start living an unmasked, authentic and healthy life in line with your core values. Let’s chart a course to the truth of who you are and discover why being yourself is the ONLY answer.

Each “Life Coaching for Authenticity” session is an hour intensive one-on-one conversation by phone or Skype with me. We’ll meet once or twice per month for three to six months for a total of six sessions.

Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation to discuss my Life Coaching for Authenticity program. 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.

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Life Coaching: Be More Authentically You

who-are-you-really

“Couple in Love” at the 2010 Carnevale in Venice by Frank Kovalchek, Anchorage, AK

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My life coaching client Patricia* came to me when she decided that after 30 years of living with her sister in a caretaking role, she was ready for change. She reached out to me to find support, encouragement and a plan to take steps for a major transition.

“I want a sense of control of my future.” -Patricia, June 2015

We all want to be safe, loved, and accepted. Some of us find that the best way to do this is to put aside what we want or feel and allow someone else’s needs and feelings to take precedence. This may work for a while, but it can create intense inner turmoil. When we’re overly accommodating of others at our own expense, we may begin to resent that we’re always the one called on to do extra work or to take care of someone else’s problems.

Patricia decided that she was ready to shake off the caretaking role and shed the mask that she had been wearing for so many years. Our life coaching sessions gave her a platform for venting and an honest assessment of her dreams and options. The mask came off! Patricia found ways to navigate a complex relationship and create to a more authentic one. It started by being true to herself.

Life Coaching for Authenticity

at-desk-flippedMy life coaching clients want to be balanced, fulfilled and “real.” They are tired of living a life to please other people and following a dream that is not theirs. Many of us wear masks that hide what is authentic and true. Most of us think we are doing the best we can.

I think we can do more and do better if first we are true to ourselves.

Life coaching with me can help you examine:

  • How you can create your own success instead of riding the coattails of someone else’s
  • Ways to change your mindset
  • The risks and rewards of taking the step to “unmask” and be the person that person you really are
  • The baby steps needed to let go of perfectionism and comparisonism and lead the unique life that is yours alone
  • What you can do every day that brings you joy, energy, and moves you toward the reality you want

I believe you can create whatever your heart desires – a successful business, passionate relationships, daily happiness. Often, the reasons I see people struggling with creating what they want is because they are stuck:

  • Needing other people’s approval
  • Bowing to other people’s definitions of success
  • Trying to be everything to everyone
  • Waiting for just the right moment to have “me time”
  • In a cycle of comparison and perfectionism
  • Doubting their own ability to change

Contact me, life coach Catharine Ecton, to start living an unmasked, authentic and healthy life drawing on my “co-active coaching” approach. Let’s chart a course to the truth of who you are and discover why being yourself is the ONLY answer.

Each “Life Coaching for Authenticity” session is an hour intensive one-on-one conversation by phone or Skype with me. We’ll meet once or twice per month for three to six months for a total of six sessions. Those living in the Washington, DC area have the option of meeting with me in person in a mutually-agreed upon location.

By the end of our time together, you’ll begin to see yourself differently. You may not need others’ approval as much, and you’ll definitely feel freer. You’ll see it’s possible to change and find your voice, power, and passion through “unmasking” and getting reacquainted with that self you’ve hidden.

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.

*names and other details have been changed to protect client confidentiality

 

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