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.


  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.

14 Jun 2013

Trust Your Instincts

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

My amazing coach mentor, Marta Weiskopf, taught me how to trust my instincts. “Notice when you get it right. Notice when you get it wrong. Work on understanding that difference.”

You can only really get in touch with your intuition when you get to know the difference between what a real intuitive nudge feels like compared to a fear response. The simple way to work on this is by taking the time to notice. When do you get it right and when do you get it wrong?

I just had one of those huge gut instinct moments. I have a window at my desk looking out into my yard and the neighbors yard beyond. I was working away when all of a sudden a young man appeared from the back of my neighbors yard and marched on through. The fact that he was carrying a chainsaw caught my attention. I thought, “that is weird.” I hesitated, then got up. I walked to my front room – watched as he walked across the street and straight into the back yard of the house across the street. I stood at the window. I was about to shrug and turn away, but I hesitated. I waited. He didn’t come back around the front of the house. I waited longer. I started to get worried. The neighbor across the street is a senior and lives by herself. I waited even longer. I started to debate about what should I do. I saw her front window shake, hard.

I called 911. I decided it was better to be wrong. I tried to be cool on the phone but really I was apologetic, “I saw this thing, and it was weird, and I am not sure, but the lady there lives alone, and I am worried, and…I just have a feeling that I need to call.  It is probably nothing, but I thought I should call…”

By the time the police arrived he was long gone. Her three jewellery boxes, and lap top were gone with him. The good news is I was outside with the police when she got home so I was able to tell her what was going on. Better that then her coming home alone to a kicked in door. Still, I felt terrible that I wasn’t more forceful on the phone. I felt terrible that I basically stood at my window and watched it happen. It took the police 20 minutes to arrive. What if I would have been more clear with 911, what if I would have trusted my gut feeling more? Would they have got here quicker? Would it have made a difference to the dog they brought over to try and catch the scent? What if I had acted on my instincts rather than hesitating?

In this case my instincts were right. I acted, but I also hesitated. When I was dialing 911, I heard my gut very clearly say CALL, DO IT. When I got on the line I was clear but also hesitant. The chatter in my head was loud: “What if am wrong and he was supposed to be back there cutting her tree?” , “Why else would a guy be walking around with a chainsaw?”, “What if you are wrong and the police swarm her house and scare her?”, “What if you end up looking like the nut case crazy neighbor?” Even though the “voice” was saying all of those things, the feeling in my gut was louder. DO IT.

The good news is, I have evidence that my intuition is on. Despite the obvious fact that there was a random guy wandering around the neighborhood with a chainsaw, I could have ignored it. I could have shrugged and turned back to my work. But I didn’t.  My intuition worked. I was right, something was up. The bad news is my fear of “bothering people” also kicked in. I think I actually apologized on the 911 call! It may have made a difference if I had said loud and clear on the call. A MAN WITH A CHAINSAW JUST WALKED INTO MY ELDERLY NEIGHBOR’S BACK YARD!

Could have, should have, would have. It may not have gotten them here any quicker, and I will never know. But I can still take this experience as a lesson on trusting my instincts more. I can use this experience and file it away as validation that my intuition is always with me. It was clear as a bell, but I fought it because I wanted an out in case I was wrong. My fears of looking stupid, being wrong, and looking like a nosey neighbor made me hesitate. But even when my voice of fear was yelling at me, my gut instinct was clear as a bell. “Call 911 now.”

Coach Yourself:

1) What are three memorable moments in your life when your gut told you something and it was right? What happened? Did you know it and act, or did you not listen? What did that experience teach you about your instincts?

2) If you feel like you can’t trust your instincts, work on listening to your intuition more.  Intuition is a gentle nudge – it is the quieter voice. It is steady and it is clear. If you are feeling “muddled” you may not be able to hear it. Allow yourself to get quiet. What is the constant nudge, the one that remains steady?

3) Be willing to notice when you get it wrong and embrace that. Sometimes it will be more clear that we have not listened to our gut. Give yourself credit for that. The fact is your intuition was there – you just didn’t act on it. Again, the thing to notice is that it was there. What did that feel like compared to what you decided to do? How could you recognize that same gut feeling next time? What are you willing to do for yourself next time?

15 May 2013

Change is a Process, Not an Event

No Comments Be More, Decision Making, Empowerment, Fearless Living, Life Coaching, Live your best Life, Motivation

changeA classic trap of fear is to innately believe that you are fundamentally flawed and won’t ever get “there.” There are things we long for like, “to be comfortable in my own skin” or “that I will like myself” or that “I won’t be lonely anymore.” Thoughts like this damage your ability to continue on your path with the conviction that is required to actually make changes in your life.

Drop the lie that you can ever really “arrive.” Anything worth having in life requires conviction, work, and then maintenance. When you embrace that life is a process you are  then better able to help yourself shift to the mindset of adjusting and carrying on when things get tough. When you drop the belief that you are innately flawed you are allowed to take responsibility for yourself. There isn’t some big hidden mystery of why you are so screwed up! You are believing a fear based lie that keeps you stuck. Stop the trigger that leads to erosion of your sense of worth that is vital to make the lasting changes that you seek. Embrace the process, I guarantee you that you will like the results.