The Power of Choice

We are all free to make the choices we want to in life. Many times, however, we tell our selves the story that we aren’t free. That we’re stuck, we didn’t choose this, we can’t do something about. But these are all lies.

We all have the power of choice and learning to own your choices can help set you free in your current situation or your life.

Think of the instance where a gal named Susan is stuck in a job she doesn’t like. The story she might tell is,
“I hate my job, but I can’t leave because there aren’t any good jobs out there. In that story, Susan has no control and is stuck in a situation that makes her unhappy.”

Think of another story where Jack lives in a home that’s underwater/upside down; meaning he owes more on his home than it is worth. Jack might tell the story that he is unable to move to a new town, or find a bigger home because his current home is underwater. Again Jack is stuck and not in control of his life.

When we feel out of control or helpless in our lives, it creates all kinds of negative emotions and feelings. As this condition of helplessness persists we begin a downward spiral, seeing the negative of our situation and then looking for people to blame.

The reality is we are all in control of our lives. Control of your life begins with claiming your power of choice.

Let’s re-tell Susan and Jack’s stories and put them back in the driver’s seat.

When Susan claims her power of choice it might sound like this… “You know, I really hate my job right now, but I’m choosing to stay in my job because the idea of looking for a new job or being without income feels worse than staying here.”

The day that staying in a job she hates feels worse than the risk of being without a job, or the effort of finding a new one is the day she can choose to change her situation, but for now, regardless of how bad it is, she is choosing to stay.

Let’s listen to Jack’s story when he owns his choices…
“Gosh, I’d really love more storage space and a home office, but my house is upside down. I could short sell it, or foreclose and rent a bigger house for the same price but that feels financially irresponsible and I like owning a house, so for now, I’m choosing to stay and see what the market does.”
This puts Jack back in the driver’s seat. He is choosing to stay. There is always a choice, but when we don’t like the consequences we like to tell others, and ourselves “That we have no choice.”

It’s the same thing with time. I catch myself saying, “Oh, I haven’t had time to do that yet.” I try to make a conscious effort to shift my language to, “I actually haven’t prioritized that yet, or, I haven’t carved out the time to do that.” Everyone has 24 hours in a day it’s what we choose to do with it that creates our life.

Owning your choices puts you right back in the driver’s seat of your life. So remember, saying, “I can’t” is like crawling into the backseat of your life and wondering why the car isn’t moving.” Instead say, “I choose to ….” And notice how great it feels to back in control.

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How to Rock 2013

Alternative to Resolutions 2013Nourish LIfe and Follow Your Path

Listen to the radio show for more information (13min)

We often think that we have to deliver on all of our resolutions on January 1st. I look at it a different way…
We’ve got 365 days to change our habits before next year. So, start by thinking what you want to have accomplished by 12/31/13 and then make decisions that get you closer to those things.

Think of your your resolutions as a destination vs. a starting point. Imagine trying to quit smoking, loose 10 lbs, find a mate and organize your house all on January 1… with a hangover. Let’s make real change this year. Keep reading to learn how.

Download the Worksheets at the End of Post

Step One: List your areas of focus
These tend to be things like, Health, Money, Love, Career, Family, Personal Growth etc.

Step Two: Ask yourself, “What do I want these areas to look like?
How is that different than they are currently? How is that the same? What will you maintain, what will you improve?

Step Three: Paint a visual picture in words for each category
This way you will know what it looks like when you’ve achieved it. There will be no question at the end of December if you’ve made it to your goal or not. Clearly defining your destination helps you get there.

Step Four: Ensure that your decisions and actions are in line with your destination
It’s kind of like creating a strategic plan for your life. All of your life decisions should ideally get you closer to where you are trying to go. If they don’t, they should be intentional decisions. For example: If you are driving from San Francisco to Washington DC, you might take a detour to see the Grand Canyon, even though, it’s not directly on the road to DC. You probably wouldn’t zig zag all over the US because you would never get to your destination. You should always ask yourself, does this decision get me closer to the life I want, or further from it? If it’s closer, do it, if it’s further away, take note, and decide if it’s really worth the extra time and energy.

Step Five: Take your focus areas into consideration when you invest your time, talent or treasure.
Will spending your energy, time or hard earned money on something get you closer to or further from your destination? Are you willing to drop $150 on a nice meal, but not willing to spend $15 on a Pilates class? That action tells the world that you value becoming an epicurean more than you value developing a firm derrière. (Which is okay, if epicurean food goddess is your destination)

What I’m saying here in a nut shell is define where you are going, and then use 2013 to get there. If you arrive in April, Good for you. If you arrive in December, great, you made it right on time. Back load your goals vs. front loading your resolutions. Writing resolutions and hoping to achieve them on January 1, is like trying to bake home made bread in a microwave.

Click Below to Download Worksheets
Alternative to Resolutions 2013
Alternative to Resolutions Sample 2013


Happy New Years to you and yours from me at Nourish Life and Business Coaching

Warmly,
Alexis Robin

Twitter Version: Define what you want to do differently in 2012, and use it as a destination. Then follow the road that leads you there!

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Maintaining Well-being During the Holidays

Too much food, too much stuff, too much to do! How does one maintain well-being during the craziness of the holiday season? Let’s explore through the lens of positive psychology and PERMA. PERMA is the acronym for the five domains of well-being according to Dr. Martin Seligman founder of the Positive Psychology movement at UPENN.
Positive Emotion -Start by making a list of positive emotions you hope to feel this holiday season… example: Love, awe, joy, giggles, surprise, coziness, relaxation. Begin to watch for these emotions and take a moment to savor them when they arrive. We tend to focus on the negative more than the positive, so be intentional about noticing when you feel good this holiday.

Engagement – Make time for activities where you lose yourself and fall into flow… for example: Crafting, decorating, walking in the snowy woods, curled up by the fire with a good book, entertaining, baking, or wrapping.

Relationship with Others – While the holidays are a great time to get together with family, it doesn’t always improve your well-being. Be sure to schedule time with the people in your life who improve your well-being. This might be coffee with a friend, a skype chat with friends overseas, a long phone call with an old friend.

Meaning and Purpose – Nothing improves well being more than doing a kindness for others. Donate time to a soup kitchen, adopt a family to give gifts too, visit a senior center, go to church or write a heart felt letter of gratitude in your holiday cards.

Achievement – Santa makes a list and checks it twice, you should too! Celebrate the little victories like finding a perfect gift, staying within your budget, getting the tree up, the cards mailed and anything else that needs tending too.

Here is the catch, if you put all of your energy into one bucket (let’s say achievement) then the other well-being domains will be empty and you will be unbalanced. Be sure to spread your energy around.

Now that you’re emotionally set… How about your physical well-being?
- Choose healthy foods so you can fully enjoy the champers and cookies on the weekend
- Get exercise…10,000 steps a day if you can
- Alternate your wine or cocktails with Pelligrino
- Get 8 hours of sleep, if you can’t take a nap during the day.
-Breathe. Deeply. Go ahead give it a try right now. It’s free and only takes a few seconds.

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Navigating the Holidays with Humor and Grace

If you are like me, you are starting to dream about crackling fires, and wonderful family gatherings, perfectly packed packages and Christmas cookies. However, each year despite my delightful dreams, I end up running crazy as the holidays approach. This year I’ve decide to navigate the holidays with humor and grace.

I’m going to start by imaging what my ideal holiday would look like… (Read lots of white space to enjoy my clean house, and beautiful decorations + family + peace and love) then I’m looking at what last year looked like. Next I’m identifying the discrepancies and finally I’m making plans for how to adjust my plans and actions so that I enjoy a nicer more relaxing year. To find out more, listen to my radio show on the topic, “The Bright Side”. (20 minutes of life coaching, live on KTHO Radio from Tahoe.
Find Worksheets Here:
Navigating the Holidays with Humor and Grace Worksheet
Humor Holiday Bingo Card
Graceful Holiday Bingo

Navigating the Holidays with Humor and Grace

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It’s All How You Say It

So you want to be heard do you?
Being a master communicator isn’t generally something that you’re born with. You have to work at it. I’ve been mastering the art of communication for years and still I stumble from time to time. Some of the best lesson’s I’ve learned are here in this blog.

First, if you find that you are angry, frustrated, disappointed (insert your own feeling here) with someone in your life, you should tell them. I’m not talking about, “Hey Jerk Face, you left your dishes in the sink again. You are such a pig!” Try something like this…”Honey, I’ve noticed that I’m feeling angry when I see your dishes in the sink. It makes me feel like you don’t respect how hard I work to keep the kitchen clean when you leave stuff in the sink. I’m sure that is not your intention, but I wanted you to know that’s how I’m feeling”. Instead of getting all defensive, the person you are speaking to will hear what you say.

Try it… “It makes me feel ______ when you ______. I’m sure that wasn’t your intention, but it’s how I’m feeling”. Or, “I am noticing that I’m feeling frustrated with how you speak to me in front of my colleagues. I think it’s because you keep cutting me off. I’m sure it is not your intention to frustrate me, so I wanted to share how I’ve been feeling with you”.

Second, Check for understanding. Being married to a French man reminds me to check for understanding almost every time we speak. His English is excellent, but sometimes the way I phrase something doesn’t resonate. Ask the person you’re speaking to if they understood what you said. If they say yes, ask them to repeat it to you to ensure you were clear; especially if the matter is of high importance.

Third, When you’re trying to share your ideas with someone you work with or care about, instead of saying, “You should….” try “Have you ever considered…” This gives them the opportunity to tell you if they have and if it worked or not. It’s especially key if you are offering unsolicited advice in the workplace or to a friend.

Fourth,
Say what you want. Sounds easy right? But most of us say what we don’t want.
Me: John, what would you like in a new job?
John: I don’t want a boss that micro-manages me. I don’t want to work weekends. I don’t want to be strapped for cash.
John is telling me everything he doesn’t want in his new job. So let’s give John’s words a makeover.
John: I want a boss who trusts me to do my job and gives me autonomy. I want weekends off to enjoy my family. I want enough money to pay my bills and put away $300 month in savings.

With your kids: Don’t Run! becomes, Walk in the house. Don’t spill the milk! becomes, Do your best to keep all of the milk in the glass or the container.

Just pay attention this week to how many times you say, “I don’t want…” It’s surprising. Make an effort to say what you want. It feels better and it sets your mind on the goal, whether that’s finding a job with weekends off or keeping the milk in the container and cup!

And Last, Turn your sights to the positive by shifting your typical, “How was your day?” to “What went well today?” Most of us go right to everything that went array when someone asks how our day was. So by asking your kids, spouse, colleagues, and friends, “What went well today?” you’re helping them shift to positive thinking. Positive thinking according to Dr. Martin Seligman in his book Flourish, is one way to build resiliency. (The ability to bend without breaking, and thrive after a traumatic event)

Share your thoughts and communication tips below!

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How to Slow Down

I found myself rushing last week through every activity I did. Dropping the kids off, getting ready, working out, cooking dinner, reading stories… RUSH RUSH RUSH. I was frazzled by the end of the week and then through a series of unfortunate events, I heard the message, “Slow down Alexis”. It is easy to get caught up in the frenzy and you must be intentional about how you slow down. Here are some ideas for you to use.

Notice your personal frenzy
Is your heart racing? Are you stressed? Are you snapping at people who don’t deserve it? Are you thinking about things happening after the present moment constantly? Pay attention to what is happening for you and notice what’s happening.

Determine the cause
Why are you so busy, stressed, frantic? Is it because you over scheduled yourself? Are you making things mean more than they should? Are you putting things off to the last minute? Determining what is causing your personal frenzy will help you overcome it.

Okay, so how do you fix it?

Easy: Breathe, take three deep breaths and feel every cell in your body respond by relaxing.

Moderate: Cancel some things. Just clear things off your plate.

Difficult: Physically rest. Take a nap, read a book, take a walk, grab a coffee. Whatever feels the most restful do it.

Proactively slow your life down

1. Schedule some catch up time after trips.

2. If you must turn up the dial on productivity, either, prepare ahead of time or build in rest after.

3. Play! Go have fun and balance your hard work and efforts with some fun play; it’s rejuvenating.

4. Build a solid foundation. Get good sleep 7-8 hours a night, Eat foods high in vitamins and minerals, hydrate often and exercise. This will prepare to kick ass when needed without destroying yourself in the process.

Some people say a thing is not worth doing unless you do it well. When we’re rushing through life, we can’t enjoy the task at hand, we aren’t present and it’s not meaningful, so you might ask, “Why even do it”?
If you are going to take the time to do something, be present and enjoy it. Otherwise skip it. Life is too short.

Twitter Version: When you slow down the wine tastes better.

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How to Say No

How to say no…

Learn to Say No Gracefully


“No thank you”

“I’m interested in doing this next year”

“No”

“I don’t think it’s a good fit”

“Right now, I’m totally focused on getting xyz done, thank you for the opportunity”

“Gosh, I’d love to, but I promised myself I wouldn’t take on one more thing even if it was really cool”

“No”

“I’m flattered you thought of me, I can’t take advantage of that opportunity now and still deliver on what I’ve promised to do already”

“No”

“In an effort to practice what I preach and find some balance, I’m choosing to say no”

“Have you ever had to say to no to something you really wanted to do but didn’t have time to do? That’s what I’m going to have to do in this situation”

“Thanks, but no”

Protect your goals and your sanity, just say no.

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Five Steps to Finding True Love

Step One: Fall in love with yourself.
If you are self loathing, it will be hard for other’s to love you. Be honest with yourself about what you love and what you don’t love about yourself. Commit to taking action on the things you don’t love. No one else is going to complete you. Only you can do that.
Loving yourself will help you feel worthy of love which will make you less likely to settle for someone who is mediocre, or worse abusive on any level.

Step Two: Make a list of what you want.
List all of the things you want in a mate/partner/ spouse.
Ex. Loving, Funny, Financially Secure, Well Traveled, Educated, Spontaneous etc.

Step Three: For each of those adjectives, list three actions that would confirm they fit the description.
Example:
Loving – She/ He would make me a to go coffee on mornings when I’m late for work, She/He would listen to me without judging me, She/He would show affection regularly- kiss before bed, hugs when I return home.

This does three things:
1. It helps you gain a clear understanding of what you want. The list is easy, the actions to support the descriptions on the list are hard.
2. It creates a brain map which helps you to identify your ideal partner when you see them do things. (I want someone generous. Then when you’re out to dinner with friends and see him throw in a few extra bucks to cover tip, bingo! Confirmation track)
3. It helps you articulate what you want to friends, family members and colleagues, so people see a good match for you.

Step Four: Circle Your Deal Breakers
Get very clear on what you can and cannot deal with for the rest of your life. If you don’t ever what to live with a smoker, that’s a deal breaker. Want kids? Then that’s a deal breaker. (Warning, this is easier to do if you aren’t currently with someone) When we are with someone, we tend to let deal breakers slide vs. being honest about being able to live with them because it means that the relationship may not work.

Step Five: Follow Your Own Bliss.
Go do the things you love to do and release attachment from the outcome. You aren’t going to find an outdoorsman living in New York City.

Twitter Version: Get clear on what you want in a partner, know your deal breakers, do what you love.

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How to Rock 2012… An Alternative to New Years Resolutions


Free download-able worksheet at the bottom of the blog!

It’s the end of the year again and it’s good time to reflect on what worked in 2011 and what didn’t work. If you’ve tried New Years Resolutions and they haven’t worked, I have a different approach for you. Resolutions can help determine what we want to change in 2012, but the immediate nature of applying them or “front loading the goals” generally ends in failure mid January.

This year think about what you want to do differently as a destination, not a starting point. Give yourself a year to get there, vs. trying to get there in a day…the day, January 1st. As my dear friend Gretchen Pisano says, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”. So figure out where you are headed in 2012, and start lining up your life with those destinations. How you ask? Read on…

Step One: List your areas of focus
These tend to be things like, Health, Money, Love, Career, Family, Personal Growth etc.

Step Two: Ask yourself, “What do I want these areas to look like?
How is that different than they are currently? How is that the same? What will you maintain, what will you improve?

Step Three: Paint a visual picture in words for each category
This way you will know what it looks like when you’ve achieved it. There will be no question at the end of December if you’ve made it to your goal or not. Clearly defining your destination helps you get there.

Step Four: Ensure that your decisions and actions are in line with your destination
It’s kind of like creating a strategic plan for your life. All of your life decisions should ideally get you closer to where you are trying to go. If they don’t, they should be intentional decisions. For example: If you are driving from San Francisco to Washington DC, you might take a detour to see the Grand Canyon, even though, it’s not directly on the road to DC. You probably wouldn’t zig zag all over the US because you would never get to your destination. You should always ask yourself, does this decision get me closer to the life I want, or further from it? If it’s closer, do it, if it’s further away, take note, and decide if it’s really worth the extra time and energy.

Step Five: Take your focus areas into consideration when you invest your time, talent or treasure.
Will spending your energy, time or hard earned money on something get you closer to or further from your destination? Are you willing to drop $150 on a nice meal, but not willing to spend $10 on a yoga class? That action tells the world that you value becoming an epicurean more than you value developing a yoga practice. (Which is okay, if epicurean food goddess is your destination)

What I’m saying here in a nut shell is define where you are going, and then use 2012 to get there. If you arrive in April, Good on you. If you arrive in December, great you made it right on time. Back load your goals vs. front loading your resolutions. Writing resolutions and hoping to achieve them on January 1, is like trying to bake home made bread in a microwave.

Happy New Years to you and yours from me at Nourish Life and Business Coaching

Warmly,
Alexis Robin

Twitter Version: Define what you want to do differently in 2012, and use it as a destination. Then follow the road that leads you there!

Tell us what your focus areas are in the comments or on our Facebook Page facebook.com/nourishlifeandbusinesscoaching

Alternative to Resolutions Download
Alternative to Resolutions Sample

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Life – The Ulimate Juggling Act

So ends another Sunday night, and a feeling of regret is creeping up as I think of what I didn’t get done. Two soccer games, a birthday party, five loads of laundry, one dinner party, house cleaning, trip to Apple Hill for the petting zoo, apple pie, pumpkins, corn mazes, homework, sight words, and a belated birthday call to my dad were the things I did finish. Whew! So, what I missed…

Daily meditation, vacuuming, church, more homework and so on. Life is the ultimate juggling act and how we think about it determines how we feel we’re doing. There are hundreds of things I would like to do on the weekend, but the reality is it’s just 48 hours. So what’s a person to do?

Start by knowing your bucket priorities…

When you kick the bucket, what do you want to make sure you’ve done? Spent quality time with your children, spouse, friends? Took good care of yourself? Chancing are you aren’t going to your final resting place thinking, “I wish I had vacuumed more.” Put those things first 75% of the time.

Next, be intentional about how you allocate your time on the weekend..
.
By the end of the week, the last thing you want to do is “plan” your entire weekend. But if you want to make the most of it, or enjoy your nap without guilt, then you have to consider what you want to get done, and how you are going to spend the weekend. I’ve wasted away hours of a weekend, sipping coffee while figuring out “what we are going to do this weekend.”

Don’t over commit…
If you’ve got multiple social functions and you can ditch one, do it. Trying to be all things to all people, events, parties wears on a person. Give yourself a pass if you have no down time available. Many times we go to events out of guilt or fear of what others will think if you skip it. I’m giving you permission to skip it.

Review how things went…
Did you finish everything you’d hoped to? If you missed something that was really important to you, reflect on why it happened. Did you put someone else’s needs before your own? Did you lack planning? Did you make a conscious choice to not do something? Decide how you’ll fix it next weekend.

And last but not least, give yourself a break…
Don’t beat yourself up because you skipped cleaning the bathrooms so you could take care of yourself, or play with a child. Pat yourself on the back for being the person you want to look back on at the end of your life.

Twitter Version: Juggling your life is about, knowing your priorities and intentionally scheduling your time.

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