24 Apr 2013

Is Text Messaging Ruining Your Life?

No Comments Life Coaching, Live your best Life, Relationships

I have lost count of how many clients I have had that had full blown conflict in their lives because of text messaging. Technology is an amazing accomplishment that has made our world smaller and smaller because of how we can stay connected. Ironically, it is also one of the leading causes of disconnection, miscommunication, and most of all, hurt feelings.

Here are my top six rules for text messaging. Follow them and cut down on the drama in your life.

Rule  #1 – Use text messaging to inform. Texts are meant to be short and sweet relays of information. “I am waiting outside”, “I’ll be 15 minutes late.” Be conscious of what you are sharing in texts. If you are trying to relay important information that actually has meaning in your life, a text is not the way to adequately do it.

Rule #2 – Remember, texting isn’t really communicating. How many times have you been sucked into a long drawn out texting conversation? If you are exchanging more than 10 texts to inform someone of what’s up – stop. Pick up the phone. I laugh when people say, “…and we spent all night texting.” If that is your basis for knowing someone, I urge you to dig a little deeper.

Rule #3 – Resist the urge. If you are upset or angry, do not text. This is the same rule as don’t hit send on your email when you are fuming. Do you really think you are going to get a resolution to your issue from a text? Are your feelings so worthless that you are going to use little characters on a screen relay them for you? Resist the urge to send that text. Stop, breathe, dial a number, or make a date to talk face to face. Be a grown up.  Grown ups understand self-regulation. Resist the urge to send that text.

Rule #4 – Clarify. In face to face conversations we use tone of voice accompanied by facial expressions to aid in delivering the meaning of the words we are speaking. While texting, neither of these are there. All we see is words. Someone might send you a text that would be funny when told in person, but without the tone of voice or facial expressions comes across as hurtful. When receiving a text, don’t jump to conclusions – clarify what the person meant before making assumptions. Assumptions get us into trouble. When sending a text, make sure that it will deliver a clear message so that it isn’t misinterpreted. Click here to read “Instead of Fueling the Flames.”

Rule #5 – Use technology for good. Do use texts to relay love messages. Make a conscious choice to turn texting into a tool to keep you connected by sending messages of love and appreciation for the people in your life. Like anything in life, you can actively choose to make it work for you. Go ahead and drop love bombs on people. Love is a powerful thing, and a little can go a long way. Choose to make texting work for you, choose to make it good.

Rule #6 – Respect your relationships. If you are so attached to your device that you are interrupting conversations with real people to talk to other people, you are not respecting your relationships. If you break bad news, relay hurt feelings, or drop bombs in text messages are you being respectful or are you a drama junkie? The instantaneous sharing of information is very seductive. Drop the drama and choose to deploy Rule #5 and use it for good.

Decide to stop using convenience of the messenger and pay attention to what you are really using your device for. Choose to do the work of real communication rather than falling down the slippery slope of living in a hand held world. It is great to reach out and say hello. Choose to keep it simple and drop the bad habits that inevitably bite back.

01 Apr 2013

Choose Your Vices Wisely

No Comments Decision Making, Empowerment

Got a dirty little secret you would die if someone found out about?  Do you secretly love to do something that is considered wrong, bad, or weird?  Do you brag that you can’t start your day without a pot of coffee, or that you must go to spin class 5 days a week?  What is your vice?  What can you not live without?

When habits are considered good, like flossing your teeth, they are habits.  When they are considered bad, then they get called vices.  Vices are those things that we go to when we need a fix.  We get a temporary fix or relief from the sugar rush, or caffeine jolt.  We get a fix when we go for that cigarette, or pour that first glass of wine.  We normally feel relief when these vices are employed.  Even if it is temporary, vices provide us with a shift, or a pause from our norm.  We come to rely on the vice to help us shift because that is much easier than doing the mental work on our own.  When we rely on our vices we get out of practice at self-soothing, and become reliant on something external.

I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes the work is just too much. If a vice can support you in moving yourself to a different state or altering your mood, is it really something to be avoided?  If a piece of chocolate after lunch gives you the strength to carry on, what is the harm?

The actual harm comes from our judgement. We often judge our vices as a sign of weakness.  Don’t get me wrong, some vices are not healthy and are not the habits that we would be best inviting into our lives.  But many of our vices are simply little ways to give ourselves a pick me up.  If we learn to use vices as a tool to support us, we then get to choose to become attached to things that work for us.  Have you ever thought about choosing your vices?  We trick ourselves into thinking we can’t live without them.  But the truth is, like anything, you do have the power to choose your vices.

How to choose your vices well:

1) What are three things that you ‘could not live without’?  Might be your favourite shampoo, the perfect latte or a particular brand of socks.  Notice the things you can’t live without and then ask yourself why you love them.  It might be the smell that reminds you of summer, the caffeine rush, or the way they feel on your toes.  When you use those things, do you stop and notice the pleasure that they still give you.  A vice helps you shift, it alters.  If you are failing to notice and appreciate that shift, your vice isn’t a vice, but rather a habit.  Are you choosing or just blindly doing?  If you are going to indulge yourself, isn’t it better to appreciate it?

2) Ask if your vice is working for you.  Just like remembering to appreciate your indulgence, it is important to ask yourself if your vice is working towards what you want in your life.  If a pint of ice-crème straight out of the container is more than a monthly occurrence, ask how that indulgence is working with respect to your health and wellness goals?  If it is, great. If it’s not, what is going on that this is your ‘go to’ for comfort?  Can you work on finding comfort in a different way?  Decide to choose your vices.

3) Use your vice well.  If you have decided that the truth is red wine is your vice, then decide to use it well.  Remember using it well means purposefully giving yourself the indulgence, appreciating the shift that it can help you make, and being full in the knowing that you choose this and it does work well for you.

Empowered people know what they need to do for themselves in order to have the capacity to cope with the daily-ness of life.  People who are clear about the little ways they have found to live life with more ease are more successful.   If your vice is giving you a way to completely check out, then I would urge you to take a deeper look.  What are you trying to avoid?  Look at what your vices are giving you permission to do or believe about yourself.  Is that what success looks like to you?

14 Mar 2013

Plant your Seeds this Spring

1 Comment Do More, Motivation, Spring

Spring To DoHopefully by now signs of spring are beginning to emerge wherever you are. The time change heralds longer days and naturally our focus turns to what lie ahead… summer in all it’s glory.

Since the move of the time change to earlier in March thoughts of spring really do come quicker every year. We feel like we better start to get at it when we still have daylight at 6PM. The additional day light at the end of the day makes up for the getting up earlier adjustment. Spring is coming, Spring is coming!

Spring is the set up for your whole year.  What do you want to be ready for by the time summer hits?  Make no mistake about it, spring is the time of year where there is work to be done.  Whether it is taxes, closets, the car or the garden, spring time often means a season of work, and if you can do it right, it will be your most productive time of the year. Don’t object, or reject the hard work of these next couple months, because Spring is where your efforts have the most impact.  Here is why:

1.  Just like a garden, the seeds that you plant in the spring require a lot less maintenance once the hard work of planting is done.  If you need to clean your garage, sort through your closet or do paper work, think of it the same way.  If you decide you are going to embrace the spring and get at it, the results will last all year.  Think about what you will be able to do once that task is done rather than focusing on the overwhelming details in front of you.

2.  When one of the things on your list gets done, it gives way for new things to come up.  Everyone can relate to having that niggly thing that we really want to take care of, but it just keeps hanging around.  Decide to get that thing done this spring.  When you complete that nagging task, you create freedom. It’s off your mind and quite literally has stopped weighing you down.

3.  Clutter, weeds, taxes, overflowing dresser drawers, and the “room we throw all our crap in” literally pulls like a weight on our subconscious.  It gets overwhelming, and that is what stops us from taking action.  Use spring as the catapult to get you moving again.  After a long winter, people are naturally inclined to want to get outside and shake off some of the cobwebs.  Use this  unstoppable force to help you tackle those overwhelming items… once you start the overwhelm lifts.

4.  Think about the results you want.  Since the beginning of the year I have been urging you to think about how you want to feel by the time Christmas rolls around again (yep, I said it!) ~ Ready for a Fabulous February.  What results do you want for yourself by the end of the year?  The time is now.  If you really want to have those feelings, the time is now.  Plant the seeds of your intentions with concerted effort this spring, and the harvest will be yours to enjoy.

Coach Yourself~
Remember what your year intention was back in January.  I hope that you wrote it down.  What 3 things do you need to get at in order to keep the intention in motion?  Do you need to join a group, make a phone call, or ask for help? Write those three things down. Push yourself to take action. Spring is the time!

Related article: Keep Yourself Going This Spring Using Kindness

20 Feb 2013

How to be a Global Citizen

No Comments Be More, Do More, Social Responsibility

you are the change you want to see in the worldIf you know me, you know that I love a good party.  I am passionate about celebrating, and that is probably one of the many reasons that I love to volunteer with Global Citizen Kelowna.

Global Citizen Kelowna celebrates what it means to be a Global Citizen.  GCK, provides a forum for all of the “little people” that are doing their “little” things around the world with one single purpose.  To make things better.  GCK week primarily celebrates diversity.  Being proud of where you are from is important.  GCK week showcases the richness that we have in our Canadian Culture.  It is also an opportunity to celebrate and bring together all of the people in our community that work towards making life better for people in developing countries.  The challenges are complex, and yet we have among us people who work tirelessly to make a difference.

I have discovered that being a Global Citizen is not hard, or heavy, or life consuming.  I have learned that I can make a difference right in my own community, and I believe that little drops of goodness can overwhelm.  I work on that, and I work to instill that in my children.

Here are some easy ways you can be more of a Global Citizen too!

1) Know the UN Millennium Goals. Regardless of what actions you are taking, you can know these goals and find ways to move them forward in your own part of the world.  Imagine if more of us knew these goals and talked about them with more ease?  What could be possible for us all then?

2) Find one way to be of service. Consider the Millennium Development goals, and find one small way that you can be of service. Being “of service” is a critical component to happiness. If you feel stuck and unfulfilled it may be because you are not growing. We need to grow in order to be happy. When we utilize our natural gifts, talents and skills, we give way to growing. It does not matter if your act is small. It does not matter that your act has seemingly no impact. What does matter is that you develop the mind set of a Global Citizen and be of service to something on this planet that is not singularly about you.

3) Ask yourself this: “do my actions make me a better Global Citizen, bit by bit each day?” Whether its parenting, stopping to pick up garbage on the street, or joining an organization or group. Do you take an action each day or even each week that helps you to be informed, interested and moving in a forward motion?

“We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
~ Mother Teresa

20 Feb 2013

The Multi-Tasking Trap

No Comments Do More, Stress Management

multitasking“Ability to multi-task and handle/ manage multiple projects” used to be my favourite line to add to my resume.  The ability to do multiple things and handle a complex series of needs is a really important thing.  Too much of a good thing however is a trap. How much is too much?

  • I feel exhausted
  • I feel like I never accomplish anything
  • I feel unfulfilled daily
  • It is never enough
  • I keep dropping the ball

If thoughts like this are frequent, ask yourself if you have gotten into the multi-task trap.  While being able to juggle is a great skill it also leads down the path of being unfulfilled.

Here is how:
Multi-taksing requires having multiple thoughts at once.  That means mind chatter.  Mind chatter can be exhausting, especially when it is “harried chatter”.  That kind of mind chatter is also what takes us away from being PRESENT.  The ability to be PRESENT is the key to happiness.  Consult any scholar, guru, therapist you like, that is what it all boils down to.  Presence.

Multi-tasking creates multiple thought patterns, all in competition with each other for the brain’s full attention.  This creates scattered thinking.  For some scattered thinking results in lack of focus, and the inability to get things done.  For others it creates mindlessness.

Mindlessness can be a dangerous place.  Think about it.  When you are mindlessly vacuuming, peeling carrots, doing dishes etc. what are you present to? Most likely in moments of mindlessness your inner voice starts to talk. Often our inner voice creates less than productive chatter. Fears, insecurities, regrets tend to occupy our thoughts in our mindless moments. What does your inner voice like to talk about?

If you’re feeling exhausted and unfulfilled at the end of the day, take a close look at your self talk.  When we mindlessly buzz around, we rarely stop to “smell the roses” so to speak.  When we don’t purposefully pause and give ourselves a pat on the back for our worth each day, how can we possibly feel worthwhile?  The daily-ness of life is work.  Multi-tasking is a skill that many develop in order to cope with all of the demands. Be willing to catch yourself in a whirl and learn to pause and pull yourself into the present moment.  Fulfillment comes when we stop, catch our breath, and focus on the moment.

When your scattered thinking/multi-tasking leads to feeling like you never get enough done, learn to stop yourself and ask “what one thing can I complete”.  Focus on finishing one task at a time.  As you do this, write a list of all of the things you finished.  Even if they seem trivial write these things down for one week.  Be willing to soak in all it is you DO do.  When you do this for yourself it will give you practice at being PRESENT.  When you work on being present, depleting thoughts and feelings slip away.