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.

04 May 2013

Intention + Conviction = Results

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

If you want something claim it in your gut.

Claim it with conviction – the unwavering knowing that you are on the right course. Conviction is what allows you to stay true to your path, it is the inner knowing that hard work will pay off. If, at first, the results are not obvious, conviction is the tool that you can use to keep yourself going. Most of life is doing the working part in order to arrive at the getting results part. In our immediate gratification world we are trained to believe that instantaneous is better. In real life when that doesn’t happen, many of us get trapped in fears and doubts that end up knocking us off the path.   With conviction you can decide to commit to the most important parts of your dream or goal. Having clarity on your intention helps you stick to it. Intention with conviction is unstoppable.

What can you do today to claim something you want with intention and conviction?

31 Oct 2012

Inspiration can come from the strangest places

No Comments Do More, Grief

TrapperMy husband and I faced a day we had been dreading last week.  We put our beloved dog  Trapper to rest.  It was excruciating.  Grief is such a powerful, full body experience.  Going through it myself gives me so much more compassion for the suffering I see around me when grief is a familiar feeling.  I have been lucky so far in life, this I know.

My dog Trapper was one of the luckiest dog ever.  Trapper was born around January 1 2000 in the Turks and Caicos Island of Providenciales.  Derek rescued him from underneath a friends deck, trapped in a back corner that was over grown with bush.  At first we thought the noise we heard was a bird.  But determined Derek investigated and fetched out the tiniest puppy.  One look at Derek’s face let me know that we now had a dog.

How could you take a tiny 3 week old puppy away from his mother?  Well, on this island there is a special bread of dog known as Potcakes.  Some have owners, many do not.  Trapper’s mother was wild, and while we had dinner that night with our new found bundle of dog, she stealthily deposited 8 more puppies in the same spot.  Those puppies were eventually rounded up by our friends and taken to the island’s vet clinic.  Fortunately two from the litter were adopted by tourists from Minnesota, and sadly the other 6 were humanely euthanized.

My cousin referred to Trapper as our fur baby.  And he was!  We fussed, and mussed and took that dog everywhere with us.  He went on boats, and trips to the beach, and became the most pampered of pooches.  We left him when he was 3 months old for our trip off island to get married, and worried the whole time we were gone.  Trapper has been with us our entire married life.

My Dad sent me a text when I told him our sad news, the message said, “I am very proud of the Trapper legacy”.  Read more about The ‘Trapper Legacy’…

Taking him on as our pet changed both of us and caused a ripple effect to those around us.  Because I had Trapper, I immediately started paying more attention to the wild dogs on the island.  They were everywhere and horrifically often dead on the side of the road.  At night you could hear howling dogs and crying puppies in the bush around our property.  Packs of dogs going through garbage was a familiar site.   After we got married, I got a job as a Hotel Manager, and sat on the Tourism Advisory Board where wild dogs were a regular topic of conversation.  The number of feral animals was growing.  They were beginning to form packs, and became a threat to people jogging or walking on the beach.  Their main source of food was the abundance of garbage at the dump, a poorly kept facility, which happened to adjoin the airstrip.  Feral dogs in packs, would run across the tarmac to get to the dump from the settlement areas, and eventually, a Delta Airlines flight had to abort a take off because there were dogs on the runway.  Not good for an island the depends on tourism.  Several methods where proposed to take care of the problem. And at the time, people on the island were dealing with the problem in horrific ways including poisoning, shooting. When I got involved there was even talk of introducing a communicable disease like Distemper.  The government hired someone to shoot the dogs, but after awhile, the dogs clued in that Alco Williams in the green car was not their friend and would of course take off when he rolled up.  Alco became a great champion for those dogs, and eventually was empowered to run a humane trapping program that was much more successful, and better for Alco’s soul.

I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but me being me, jumped on the bandwagon for a humane response to the feral dog problem, which eventually led to me leaving my job at the hotel to take on the role of Manager of the newly reformed TCSPCA.  It was a departure from anything I had ever done, and put me completely out of my comfort zone.  A committed group helped me to lobby the government for funds to run a humane trapping program for truly feral dogs, and a free spay and neuter program for the dogs who did have owners.  This program ran in November 2001, and with help from a team of veterinarians from the US, we preformed over 230 surgeries and humanely euthanized approximately 640 dogs.  It was not a permanent solution but it helped.  It also established a credible voice for animal welfare on the island, and to my utter joy is still in operation today.

Running that project on the island required the coordination of many people, many of whom where my family.  It was all volunteer based, and the work of going into settlements where third world living conditions existed and talking to people, many Haitian, was an eye opening experience for my comfy Canadian upbringing.  Going to schools to give education talks where students had very limited materials in very crowded classrooms ignited seeds of activism in me that still burn today.  Being in completely unfamiliar territory and bearing the responsibility of the project outcomes is one of the most defining experiences of my life so far.  And it all happened because we found a puppy, who became my poster child for what a great pet a Potcake can be if they live in an environment in which “all animals are owned and cared for”.

In 2002 we packed Trapper into a crate on an Air Canada flight and brought him back to Canada with us.  Our island time came to a close when we moved back to await the birth of our first daughter Clara.  We worried and fussed about him, he barely had any fur, was scared of all the green grass that was seemingly everywhere, and growled and barked his head off when he ran outside to snow the first time.  But he adapted, grew some hair and lived 10 years with us in Kelowna.  My good old boy saw me through everything meaningful I have in my life.  He was protector of my girls, faithful guardian of our property, loved by friends, and in every way, a part of our family.

I really can’t think of who I would be had he not come along, but somehow I know I wouldn’t be the same.  His legacy of being the poster boy for Potcakes created a shift in me that led me from thinking about something to actually doing something.  He activated me in ways that are surprising and memorable, and make me laugh now.  His presence liberated me to be more and do more, this stretched me and gave me the courage and confidence to keep pushing for more in different areas of life.  Whenever I have come up against something I felt I couldn’t do, I would just look over at my boy napping in his favorite place and know that I have done way tougher things.  Inspired by what I did do because of what he inspired in me, I can usually find the space to take my next step.  Inspiration can come from the strangest places.

Now that he’s gone it feels as though that chapter of our life from so many years ago is really closed.  That is hard.  But I do know that because of him we have been enriched with so much good.  If this pain is the cost, then I would gladly do it all over again.  Trapper was always so worth it.