01 Sep 2013

September Bubble

No Comments Building Confidence, Empowerment, Fearless Living, Goal Setting, Life Coaching, Live your best Life, Motivation, New Year

autumn_leavesSeptember has many expectations around it. As the end of summer approaches, many of us start putting things into the Back to School Bubble. When September comes I will eat healthier, go back to the gym, spend less, put the kids to bed on time, get back into the routine. September is a perfect bubble to send all of our promises of what we really want.  We fool ourselves into believing that when September comes we will be able to do it all.  That is the promise that September brings.

And in September that actually does happen – sort of. The kids do actually get back into a routine, and you do put them to bed at a good hour and you drag your butt back to the gym. And yet, there is still a lack of satisfaction. Before long we start to complain about the routine again, slip back into the same patterns, and create the new bubble called “in the New Year.”

Burst the September Bubble by getting clear. Name three things that you want to be able to say that you nailed by the end of September.

What is in your September Bubble?

ie. Eating healthier, getting more rest, spending less money.

Now ask yourself:

What does that actually mean?  List three actions that would lend themselves to these steps.

Eating Healthier

Meal Planning

Chopping Vegetables Sunday Night

Cutting out junk food

Getting More Rest

Going to bed at same time each night

Establishing a night-time routine

Writing in journal in quiet before lights out

Spending Less Money

Pay Bills on time

Live on Cash

Pack a lunch

Now that you see the items written down, it is actually a daunting list. This is exactly the trap. When we put stuff off into a bubble we assume that we are going to know how to do all that stuff when we get there. And we won’t.

Instead, sit back and look at the list again. Out of all of that, what actually seems reasonable and doable? What is jumping out for me is that two of the items on the list are interconnected. If I meal planned, I would pack a lunch thus enabling me to spend less, and eat healthier. Heck, if I did that, I might sleep better too!

These actions become doable when we get clear and connected to what we are doing.  Burst the September bubble by breaking up the sweeping declarations that you say around the summer time campfire. Get out a pen and break it down. The work always works. This September commit to sitting yourself down and getting clear about what’s in your bubble.

28 Jul 2013

Sobbing on Birthdays

No Comments Be More, Empowerment, Fearless Living, Life Coaching, Live your best Life, Love, Relationships

birthday cakeSome people I know get really freaked out around the time of their birthday. They see the passage of time and relate it to how far they have come and put themselves on a scale to monitor and measure their success. I don’t really do that with my own birthdays, but I make up for it when it comes to my kids.

My girls happen to have birth dates that are two days apart. On Clara’s 5th birthday, her baby sister Ava came home from the hospital. Since then the second week of July has taken over as the week of birthdays in our house. This usually is accompanied by many, many, other children, adults, family members, and this year even animals descended upon my household. It is a sugar riot, accompanied usually by the first heat wave of the year. Ah yes, the week of birthdays is nearly as big as Christmas around here.

Amidst all of these festivities I usually find myself sinking into a sentimental sobbing mess. “Is this the time you would have been going to the hospital mom?” asks one of my daughters on the eve of the big day. “How many laps around the block did you do the day before I came?” and my favourite, “Mom would have been screaming for the epidural about now,” comments from my husband. All the charming moments are recounted and details unearthed.

Birthday’s become your story in a way. They mark the passing of time, and force people to reckon with just how far they have come. With my girls, I usually notice how big their feet have grown. This year I noticed how the birthday guest list has changed from my friends to their friends. How they are no longer babies, but individuals with personalities and budding roles that they will take on with them into their lives. Mostly birthday’s fill me with an absolute disbelief at how fast this is all going. I so vividly remember the sheer work and determination that it took to nurse my newborns and yet it is unbelievable how far we have moved away from that time. We have moved through the Elmo stage and are now at a time that seems almost as horrifying to face, having a full on 11 year old pre-teen!

So once a year I allow myself with as much grace as I can muster to have a time of sobbing for the passage of yet more birthdays. I use sentiment to remind me how much I have to be grateful for and get right into the reality of these two girls being those babies I brought home from the hospital. Their feet are so big, their hair is so thick, their laundry growing exponentially with them. The near terror I feel at the next birthday milestones we will meet is replaced with the knowing that there is no other way. Let the birthday’s pass and feel the surreal moments of moving in time. Living life on purpose is allowing the feelings that come up to be felt in order to really get to the depth of gratitude …I am grateful that we get to do all this “stuff” of life. Choosing to live on purpose may cause some sobbing from time to time, but it is worth it.”

28 Jul 2013

Reduce Life Down to the Lowest Common Denominator

No Comments Be More, Building Confidence, Decision Making, Do More, Empowerment, Fearless Living, Goal Setting, Life Coaching, Live your best Life, Stress Management

Lowest-Common-DenominatorMath was not my subject. In fact my poor Uncle Dennis probably still has the occasional nightmare about his time spent tutoring me. Me, at 17 through Math 11. Yikes. One concept that I do remember was the idea of reducing parts into their lowest common denominators so that they were easier to work with. It occurred to me the other day that every day I guide clients by breaking down big complex sums of overwhelming obstacles into manageable parts. The feeling that something is too big to take on is the reason behind things like procrastination, avoidance and plain old not doing. People get stuck because they don’t know how to break down big parts into smaller parts.  I help people do that everyday.

The process of breaking down life into manageable parts isn’t where the work ends, but where it begins. We believe we know how to do “life” but the inside voice that speaks gets in your way. Our thoughts sway to  objections to getting at “it.” Things like: “I am too tired,” “I don’t know how to do this,” “I am overwhelmed,” and “I can’t think when I am overwhelmed.” And then we stop. We turn on the TV, surf the net, take out the garbage – basically anything that allows us to avoid having to confront actually doing “it.” A skilled personal coach assists by breaking down your resistance to the process.

When working with me, people learn what really is at the heart of the matter. What is that voice of fear saying in your subconscious while you are actively choosing to do or not do?  I assist people in taking the time to really break down the internal objections that come up.  Together, we take the time to hear what the excuses in your head are really saying.  When you identify these life becomes easier. You can learn how to talk back to the voice inside your head.

Coach Yourself Exercise

What is it that you say you want to be doing?  Name three things.

Example:

  1. Selling cupcakes at the Farmer’s Market
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Socializing more.

Now, name what your excuses are for not doing that.

I’ll walk you through one:

Selling cupcakes at the Farmer’s Market

1) Too tired after working all week

2) Watching TV too much and zoning out

3) Got distracted by family, my wife wanted me to do a bunch of chores.

Now, reduce selling cupcakes. Do the work. What is a list of 50 things you will need to do to sell cupcakes at the Farmer’s Market. What? 50 things!  Yes, 50 things. Be real and honest here.  To actually be to the point of being able to sell cupcakes at the farmer’s market is going to take many different steps. What are all the things you would need to know and do before you would be ready to actually do that?

Here are some examples:

What recipe am I going to use? What am I going to charge?  How much is each cupcake cost? Where do I buy ingredients? What equipment will I use? How do I register for market? When does it run? What am I going to call the cupcakes…and the list goes on. While making that list, pay close attention to the voice. What is it saying to you?

Your visceral reaction to that list is the thing that is running the show in your life. Use the tool of reduction to get to the bottom of what your excuses are excusing you from. It isn’t about the TV. It is about what you are avoiding when you confront the work associated with actually doing your dream.

Let’s do the work. As a Coach, I am your tutor. Just like my Uncle Dennis, I get you to sit and actually think about what you are doing in life and why. It is amazing what can happen when you get clear.

05 Jul 2013

Full Steam Ahead into the Business of Shifting!

No Comments Be More, Building Confidence, Decision Making, Do More, Empowerment, Fearless Living, Goal Setting, Life Coaching, Motivation

I am taking a big leap this July. I will be flying totally solo into the horizon with my coaching services and saying good-bye to my wonderful colleagues at Junior Achievement of BC, the not for profit group that I have worked with since 2004. Time for this coach to take a leap!

It hasn’t really been a leap though. It has been more like a really slow descent into a new territory. The falling isn’t really the scary part; the fear is about what is going to happen when I get there. As I get closer to hitting the ground, I don’t actually feel like running.  There are so many directions to take. If I put on my coaching hat, I know that the first step is to get clear, and usually the best way to do that is stop. Stopping however is totally counter intuitive. Fear is telling me to run, to do something, anything…and to make it quick. Experience and awareness is telling me to pause. I have to get quiet and listen for that quieter whisper that is leading me to where I want to be. In the mean time, I need to stick with my conviction.

Conviction is remembering what you know for sure. I know for sure that I am choosing to say good-bye to the best professional experience of my career by leaving JA. I also know that it is time to go. I worked really hard to be at the place where I can say good-bye and feel good about it, hence, the slow descent. For the past 7 years I have slowly built my coaching practice by putting in the time where it matters most to me, and this is with clients.

What I know for sure is that when I “land” and am on my own in new territory I will get to work with even more people in a way that makes me come alive and that is as Coach Beth. In my coaching space, I put on a hat that transforms me into my best self. As a regular person in the world with responsibilities and a family, I have times of struggle just like everyone else. But as Coach Beth, I get to lay that aside. My role becomes the one that sees the brilliance that is inside of everyone. Nothing is cooler than supporting people to light that up. I have my dream job.

So now is the time! No matter what new directions I decide to take, I know for sure that individual one on one coaching is where it is at for me. I love it.

My humble request is to send me some love over the next couple of months! As I land into this new territory, I know that the love and support of the people that I reach with my blog, newsletter, website and social media accounts will be the fuel that keeps me going.  I am cringing writing this paragraph. It is a risk to ask for help! But I am going to be true and do what I know is right. Please send me some love this summer!

Send me your referrals of people you know who could be doing so much better than they are. Tell your friends that are trudging through one horrible life experience to another to try coaching with Beth.  It really does work.

Those that have worked with me, send me your testimonials of where you are now. All of my clients know, but it bears repeating that I LOVE to hear from you. Drop me a line.

For the rest of you reading, LIKE and share my social media stuff! We all know that is where it is at these days! If you haven’t already you can find me on Facebook by searching Beth Veenkamp- Constructing Life Coaching, and on Twitter at @BethVeenkamp.

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more! Your support is so valued, and I am so grateful to have you as part of my journey.

15 Jun 2013

Trust Your Instincts – Post Script

No Comments Building Confidence, Decision Making, Empowerment, Fearless Living, Life Coaching

They caught the man later that afternoon. The grandson of Ann, my neighbor, came over and got a description from me and called around town to all the pawnshops. He asked if they had a man in trying to pawn a chainsaw. One shop said yes, so he left his number and asked the pawnshop to call if he got anyone in trying to pawn some jewelry. He also left a description of some of the pieces. Sure enough within hours the man sent his girlfriend in to pawn some rings. The pawnshop called the grandson who sent in his sister to look at the rings. She identified them when she went in, so the pawnshop held the man’s girlfriend in the store and called the police. The grandson stayed outside and told the man that he just wanted the sentimental pieces back like his grandpa’s medals, and that he would drop it and not call the police.  The man confessed on the spot and told him where he lived.  When the police got there it was done. The police came back to Ann’s house with some of the jewelry to be identified, and got a statement with a description from me. The man was arrested.

Gross. The whole thing is gross. I think the incident was just part of a desperate and random act by someone who is in a whole lot of pain and now just a whole lot more trouble. I really don’t want to be a contributor to more pain for anyone – if I hadn’t have reported it he might have gotten away with it.

But, in this case, my greater obligation is to my neighbor.  Fundamentally, I believe that we all need to have each other’s backs.  Imagine if we all worked on taking care of each other more; what a wonderful world it could be.  This knowing will serve as my guide as I process these events. It feels yucky to be near this. I want to have a shower. But steady and strong, I trust that as neighbors, as a community, as individuals, we need to look out for each other. You can trust that.

All is well that ends well.