I will never again ...

I feel very blessed that I decided to go on the journey of becoming and working as a coach. This work has opened up a whole new universe of thoughts and perspectives I would otherwise be missing out on .

The most important lesson I have learned thus far is to never apologize for being someone who feels deeply, shows emotion and is 'soft'. Throughout my life, I have heard comments that crying is for the weak or those who show emotion are less than. Well, I am here to tell you that I don't believe that and I will never hold back my authentic self again. 

To celebrate the most vulnerable act of my life thus far, the release of my book, I share with you what I wrote at the end in "about the author." This is a tribute to all who have had the courage to shed a tear.

About the Author

I used to pray that I wouldn’t cry. I remember the first time vividly a few weeks after hearing the news my parents were getting a divorce. Along with my brother, I was riding my bike to Dad’s house to see him. It was the first time since hearing the news, and I prayed riding down the long hill, the wind in my face to dry my tears. I prayed that I wouldn’t cry. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to cry for myself; it was the fact that I didn’t want my dad to see my pain. I wanted to protect him from additional heartache. I succeeded. My brother and I walked in the door, and the first thing Dad did was cry. This was the first time I had ever seen him upset. He cried and frantically tried to make a cup of coffee to distract himself. I held it back the entire time. Please don’t cry. Please don’t cry. I didn’t.

As I look back on that moment, I wish I had let myself cry. Blocking it created more damage than I ever could have imagined and a hell of a lot more work in learning to feel. At the age of thirty-three, I decided that I would never hold back my tears ever again. I promised my ten-year-old self that I would honour my feelings and cry as little or as much as I needed in the moment. It is funny—at the workshop where I learned to let go, one of the participants shared with the group that the one thing they appreciated about me was that I cried so openly without shame. She said that by doing so I gave her permission to show emotion as well. That meant a lot to me, and I will continue to shed as many tears as it takes to create the space for others to do so as well. I will never pray away my tears again. Never.

I am an open book. If you ask me a question, I will answer you authentically. I have nothing to hide, and my life is about accessing what matters to me, trusting myself, and sharing. This is who I choose to be. I am a teacher, healer, author, coach, mentor, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and spiritual being put here to share and create.

 

 

 

One observation about a tissue box and I stopped doubting my parenting.

There have been many moments in my journey as a parent where I felt I have failed. I have caught myself many times in the cycle of negative self talk for not spending more time or not playing more or not reacting they way I know I could have. There have also been times when I have been told that I am a patient person and mother. I have been told that I am a mother that people look up to and admire. I never really understood who I was as a parent until an unexpected conversation revealed more insight into the mother I actually am.

I noticed she needed a tissue. I had hit a nerve in our coaching session and the tears flowed.

Me:  "Just a second, I will go get my toolbox."

I grab the nearest tissue box which happened to look like a crumpled, torn up mess. (The image above is the actual tissue box)

Me: "Please excuse my tissue box. They aren't used, my daughter asked to play with it and emptied it. I ended up stuffing a full box of tissues back in the box after she was done."

We laugh and the mood lightened.

My Client: "If I was her, I would remember that you let me empty a full tissue box, just because I asked to play with it."

Me: "Yeah, I guess so. I never even gave it a second thought. I just said yes."

I knew in that moment that the observation she offered was profound and special. I felt a flood of tingling pride and affirmation fill my body and soul. After being given this gift of perspective, I looked at this simple tissue box after she left and began to wonder and reflect. This one observation hit a nerve with me just as one of my questions hit a nerve with her.  I realized how the smallest of decisions can have such a big impact in life. The nerve that was sparked was the fact that my decisions and actions are impacting the life of another, my children. Their reality, their view of what is possible in life is in my hands.

To me, I said yes to emptying a tissue box but to my daughter I was saying yes to her creativity. I was saying yes to exploration and play. I was saying yes to disturbing the neat and tidy home of these tissue’s knowing full well they will be torn, crumbled and disorganized. 

With that one word, yes, I was teaching her that it was ok to explore the messiness of life. It was ok to allow for disorder in order to seek out possibility. More importantly, I was giving her an opportunity to explore who she is and what ignites her soul. After taking some time to reflect on this one observation I felt the weight of all the negative self talk about my parenting lift off my shoulders. I was actually being the parent I envisioned before they even existed. I decided to stop beating myself up and declare that I am a good mom.

What I learned when my client offered me that observation was to be the parent I want to be means not blocking who they are. Allowing their creativity even if it means getting messy or disturbing order. I believe it is our job as parents to observe who they are and give them tools to explore all the possibilities this life has to offer. My daughter decided to ask my permission and I wonder what would my reaction have been if she didn’t. What would I have done if I found tissues all over the house? After this one conversation, my future reactions will come from answering these questions – Is this nurturing her creativity? Her passions? Who she is?

It took me a long time to figure out what I am passionate about and live true to who I am. I was lost for many years. This conversation opened up a realization that maybe she won’t need as long if I give her the space now to explore. If I offer her a supportive place to be just who she is with loving boundaries.

This messy, crumpled tissue box represents who I am. I am someone who gives people space to be who they are regardless of what is happening in their life.  I am someone who takes time to reflect, observe and wonder. I will never look at a tissue box the same way ever again and I will never forget this one conversation where my client gave me a gift because she was willing to share an observation about a seemingly unimportant tissue.

My hope is that my daughter will remember the tissue box. My hope is that she leaves the safety of this space we have created and remembers that she is ok in the messiness of life. I hope she remembers that her choices mirror back to her what she values most and I hope that if she has children she says yes to emptying a tissue box.

A sneak peak into my book...

Writing this book was just something I had to do. Sentences and images popped into my head and I found myself searching for a piece of paper or time at my computer to let it all out.

Today, I am celebrating a big milestone. I sent my book to the printer. It is officially finished!!

I thought I would share the introduction to celebrate. Here you go....

Introduction

“I wish I could live a little more. Look up to the sky, not just the floor.” —Adele[i]

The first time I heard Adele soulfully sing these two lines, tears welled in my eyes. I had been searching for the right language to describe the purpose of writing this book, the purpose for sharing my soul with the world. Nothing felt quite right—until I heard these words. Yes, these seventeen words are the anchor for everything I do in my life. That’s because for much of my existence, all I did was look down at the floor. No longer!

This is a book about being aware. To notice how you are presenting yourself and to live life awake rather than on autopilot. I strive to live a life where I spend more time looking up at the sky and feeling free rather than looking at my feet and feeling weighed down. My hope for myself—and for you—is to learn from all of it, whether we are looking down or looking up. To find the gift in all of our experiences and work toward living with our heads up, fully present, standing proud and even.

Simply put, this is a memoir containing some elements of a self-help book.  When I first starting writing, I discovered I was actually helping myself as I wrote. I felt better. I felt free from the accumulated years of experiences that felt like bags of rocks hanging from my shoulders. It dawned on me that perhaps if I shared my story it might actually help others. So here I am, a person who had always identified myself as being deep, proud when people called me an old soul, a typical wife and mother of two. But I had never considered myself as a writer who would publish a book with the intention of inspiring others to see life’s experiences in a new light and to define what mentorship means in their own lives. Yet, the writer in me blossomed.  Yes, I wrote a memoir, but it is also a self-help book. I truly hope it helps.

What will this book help you with? This book is about defining mentorship and discovering how it shows up in our lives. It is about how powerful mentorship is if we are willing to explore ourselves. Our greatest mentors can be found in our experiences and the people with whom we interact every day. My invitation to you as you read my story is to allow for a shift in your own perceptions and beliefs. To be open to the possibility that your experiences are a great gift waiting to be explored and to be open to a definition of mentorship you may have never considered before. My invitation is for you to open the door to your own wisdom through reading about the opening of my door. Will you be moved by my story? I cannot answer that, but I hope it stirs something in you to look a little deeper at the people and experiences that make up your past and present. Just maybe it will influence who you invite into your future and the life you decide to create going forward. Just maybe it will influence who you choose to be—how you choose to behave—at work and at home. Just maybe you will walk away with more questions and some answers about what you stand for.

Each chapter offers a glimpse into what mentorship means for me and how it shows up for me as a working woman, a daughter, a mother, and a person who finally accepted the deepest, most raw feelings of her heart and decided to take a leap of faith to share them openly. I ask questions, share stories, and offer an invitation for you to pick up the tools you may need so you can move forward in your own life. What I am offering is a door. It will be up to you to open it and up to you to decide what to do with what you find on the other side of that door—what to reflect on and how to choose how you want to present yourself in your professional and personal life. The purpose is to enhance the relationships you have with your experiences, your peers, and your loved ones. Will you experience an expanded point of view? I truly hope so.

As I’ve said, this book is part memoir and part self-help book. I had an experience with someone who ended up being a powerful mentor without realizing it at the time. I am peeling back the layers of this experience that first brought me to my knees then pushed me on my journey to stand back up and choose who I wanted to be.

It all started when I was fourteen years old in the kitchen with my dad. That was the moment the door began to open …

 

[i] Adele, song “Million Years Ago,” from the album 25, XL Recordings (2015).

 

 

One simple secret busy working women use to spring clean their soul

We invest much of our time during the spring season keeping our external world clean and organized. 

We dust and scrub, declutter, decide what to toss and what to keep, organize closets and various rooms in our homes. We even get rid of ‘winter kill’ in our back yards and gardens. 

All of which is very valuable to our well-being. 

And I began to wonder what if we spent as much time in our internal world. 

What if we spring cleaned our souls? 

How would one do that? 

I spent a lovely afternoon at a Wellness Show this winter speaking about one simple secret.                Two words -  Letting Go

I wanted to share with you what I shared with them and offer you a spring gift:  3 steps to letting go and living well

I am a dweller! I admit it and am not afraid to declare, my name is Kim and I dwell on most things. I dwell on thoughts I have had, thoughts I should have had, things I said, things I should have said, decisions I have made, should have made or shouldn’t have made. I dwell. 

For those of you that are dwellers I am sure you know what I mean when I describe it as a merry go round of disastrous “what if and should have” thoughts. A tightness in the stomach and frustration of not being in control. 

There is a solution and it is called letting go. We have all heard it. I am sure we have all attempted it and we probably have all said it to someone or to ourselves – “you need to JUST let it go.”

I am here to tell you that it isn’t that easy. Letting go isn’t something you JUST do. It is a process much like moving through a period of grief. It takes intention, effort and time. 

Here are 3 steps to consider on your letting go journey:

1)      Understand the relationship you have with your experience. What are you holding on to and why? 

Before you can let go of something it is important that you understand why you are holding onto it so tightly in the first place. It is important to take the time to explore the experience and the reasons it is taking up space in your reality.

We hold onto so much in our life. People, relationships, memories, material things, beliefs, thoughts and so on.

We cannot let go of any of this if we are not willing to understand our relationship with it and acknowledge that we are holding onto something tightly. Awareness is the key to letting go.

2)      Explore a ritual or practice that means something to you.

In my own experience, in order for me to let go of something I have to perform a physical act to represent my intention. This is a very personal process and one that takes effort to determine the best method that will work for you.

Here is one example:

·         Write down on a piece of paper everything that comes to mind that you would like to let go of. Don’t think just write. Then burn it, bury it or tear it up.

·         Write every time the ‘merry go round’ presents itself. Over time, the spin will get slower and slower. Eventually, it will be a thought that you can easily acknowledge and move on from.

3)      Accept that letting go is a commitment and a life long journey

A letting go practice in your life is forever. Why? Because with each breath you take there will be things to let go of. I invite you to view letting go much like you would a healthy life style choice liking eating well or exercising. Make it part of your routine and you will be happier and less dizzy for investing the time.

As you clean out your closets this spring consider letting go of some of that mind clutter as well. With each item you donate or toss, attach a thought or an experience to go with it.

      And remember to have fun, the boxes may be heavy but you don’t have to be. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 simple secrets coaches use to snap themselves out of grumpiness when coffee just isn't working.

 

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday. I was in a total funk, feeling grumpy, negative and sorry for myself.  At first I thought I just needed a cup of coffee to snap myself out of it but sadly it did little.

I knew immediately that this mood was not going to help me create a fulfilling day. It wasn't even 8am and I saw the impact I was having on my family, my moodiness was like a parasite.  I had to do something.

I think we all can relate to these moments. I am not immune to them just because I work as a coach. I feel I have a responsibility to work harder to put my learning into practice though, and so I did. I was able to snap myself out of then negativity pretty quickly. 

Here are the three steps I use to "snap myself out it" and coach myself through it:

#3 - I got honest. 

I took a moment to ask myself what was really going on. What was this grumpiness all about? Turns out, I wasn't irrationally grumpy. I was overtired and sad that morning. Some people can go without sleep, but being tired for me is a trigger. I also noticed I was feeling sad about missing my family back home. I was stuck in the past of my most recent visit.

#2 - I shared it.

Once I figured out that I was sad I shared it with someone I trusted. It felt good to have them listen and more importantly get it out so I could stop the swirl in my mind. I allowed a few tears and acknowledging my sadness felt great. 

#1 - I went outside.

I took a minute to get reconnected to what I love and I listed off all the things I am grateful for while breathing in the cool spring air. This brought me back to why I chose to live where I do despite the distance from family and friends.  And although my sadness and tiredness was still there it didn't control the rest of my day. I had reconnected with the present moment.

I had a fantastic, productive and fulfilling day. I felt good knowing that I had the tools to work through my negative thoughts and feelings and the courage to call it out. 

It is ok to be in the funk. 

The key is to dig a little deeper and acknowledge what is really going on so you can move forward in a positive way and get back into the present moment.

Don't rely on the cup of coffee to snap you out of being a grumpy frog. You can snap out of it with these simple steps.

Stand Even Sunday Facebook Posts - Why ??

Every Sunday I pick a powerful value word that resonates with me. My hope is that it may resonate for you and maybe in the moment will help you shift your focus and attention onto what matters. Maybe it will tweak a part of you to think differently during the week. 

I always felt connected to teaching. Stand Even Sunday allows me to access that part of me where I can explore an idea out in the world. This is the purpose of these posts. My role as a coach is to help others connect to their core values and invite them to live from that place, rather than from all the external noise pulling us in all directions. 

Why the picture? I wanted to choose a picture that had a deeper meaning. There are a few reasons I picked this but the biggest reason is what I am wearing. The leather Harley Davidson jacket is my dad's. He wore it every time we got on his bike which was a great passion of his. Wearing it not only connected me to him but also represents the last name he gifted to me – Standeven. Maybe it is silly to put so much attention on a name but for me it holds many reminders of the person I strive to be. A person who is willing to stand up for what I believe in. A person who is willing to stand up and run towards her dreams. 

Here is a short excerpt from my book; a little bit about my name and a glimpse into my heart.  

At the age of 33, I experienced an awakening. I found my voice again and am now ready to stand tall.  I am reminded every single day about standing tall since it is in my name – Standeven. Was ‘stand even’ to be part of my destiny as I use my name to symbolize who I choose to be? Is it an anchor for my own legacy as I move through my experiences? It is definitely a powerful reminder for who I am striving to be and the life I wish to create. Although I didn’t become the schoolteacher I had envisioned as a young child, I have become more than I ever could have imagined. I identify with the label of teacher, healer and this book and my work as a coach is a testament to that. If I had the opportunity to redo my grade 5 speech, I would tell everyone when I grow up I want to be a person who helps others stand even. A teacher who stands for being courageous, open minded, and inspiring. That is the teacher I strive to be and I am on the path.

Each Sunday let's explore what matters to us most and to access this will be one simple word. 

Welcome to Stand Even Sunday.

 

 

Thank you Tracy Conrad for capturing the spirit of Stand Even with your amazing talent :)

Rain, rain go away.... and it did!

I never would have imagined my work as a coach would lead me to meeting this amazing family in the Dominican Republic. I spent 4 days with a group of teenagers who built this house for a deserving family.  I even had the opportunity to get my hands dirty which I was happy to do!

I never would have imagined my work as a coach would lead me to meeting this amazing family in the Dominican Republic. I spent 4 days with a group of teenagers who built this house for a deserving family.  I even had the opportunity to get my hands dirty which I was happy to do!

I have experienced times where language feels like it limits me. There have been profound moments in my life where I struggled to articulate the depth of what I have experienced. I find myself in this very situation trying to describe what my trip to Puerto Plata meant to me.

There are two stories that have stuck with me since meeting a few members of this impoverished community in Puerto Plata, Nuevo Renacer. One women spoke of having to send her 3 children away to live with other family members because the “house” they live in was unsafe and unhealthy. My heart sunk.  As a parent I can not imagine being put in a situation where I would have to make that decision and then live everyday not being with my kids.

Is it possible for my heart to sink further? Yes, and it did.

I had no idea, it never occurred to me to dread the rain as these families must. The shanty type structures are no match for a passing shower. The tin roofs leak and rain means hours of clean up, risk of mold and struggle to keep beds, blankets and clothing dry. Life is not easy and the rain merely adds a new level of survival and worry. Rain? Really. I never considered that before. I look around at the structures in my own community and note that our animals are housed in better conditions than these families. Really? Yes. My heart sunk once again.

I woke up at around 5 am and heard the rain. It was my second night in the Dominican and I was warm and safe in my room after visiting the community that day. It wasn’t just a few drops, it was a down pour. It came down in sheets. Three nights before, if I were to be woken by rain, I would have rolled over happy to hear the patter of drops as a soothing back to sleep melody. Instead, this night I had numerous flashes of the families scrambling and working to keep dry. Were they bailing out their homes?  Scrambling to find buckets and tarps? Moving to a neighbors home to wait it out?

I grew up in a middle class family. I never had to worry about the roof on our house. I didn’t realize how much I took my home for granted, my way of life for granted. I never considered that rain could be nothing more than a melody until seeing their living conditions. Since I have been back I give thanks to my warm, secure home. I give thanks that my kids live with me and our home provides them a safe shelter. These families gave me a priceless gift of perspective and gratitude.

I left the Dominican Republic with many insights. The one thing that surprised me the most is that I didn’t leave with a sunken, heavy heart. I left feeling grateful that these people welcomed me without hesitation. I left feeling hopeful that improvements are happening and people are creating a better way of life. I left feeling inspired that there is more good happening in this world than all the bad that we seem to be inundated with. I left with a full heart and my experiences there will serve a big part in how I choose to live my life.

They taught me the power of working together for the greater good. They showed me what it looks like to be part of a strong community. It was blatant, I can’t explain the energy I felt as children wandered and people watched over. There were so many people and yet it felt so intimate. I am in awe of the community they have created. I left with an expanded perspective of my own life and how very fortunate I am to live the life I do.  I left with a greater sense of what community means. 

I will think twice now before I complain and the rain will always be a reminder to stay grateful.

This Live Different trip showed me what the statement “Life is about people, not stuff” actually feels like and what it means. I felt it. 

We don't have to travel far to experience the power of this life changing philosophy.

Thank you Live Different for all you do to make this world a better place. I feel honored to be part of your extended team.

www.livedifferent.com

 

I am so honored to have the opportunity to support an amazing group of people who make such an incredible difference in our world.

I am so honored to have the opportunity to support an amazing group of people who make such an incredible difference in our world.

A note on a napkin - writing my first book

I think we are all guilty of assuming we have unlimited time. We all have dreams, things we hope to accomplish one day and I would often catch myself thinking 'I will do it tomorrow' and every time it pops into my mind I am reminded of my dad.  One of the reasons I decided to start writing a book about our journey was because I was tired of catching myself saying 'I will do it tomorrow.' I have dreamed of writing a book about the lessons I learned from my dad's brain hemorrhage since I was a teenager. His journey showed me just how fragile we are and how each day is an incredible gift.

Over the years, I let myself off the hook continually listing a number of reasons why I didn't have time but I knew deep down that wasn't actually true. Finally, I stopped the excuses and despite having a new born baby and a toddler, I started to write whenever a free moment presented itself. Many times it was just a few notes in my notebook and sometimes on a scrap of paper or even a napkin. It didn't matter as long as I did it and kept moving forward.  Much of my writing was in the middle of the night after putting my infant daughter back to sleep and taking 45 minutes at 3 am to empty my mind with whatever was there. As I look back on the last 2 years, I sit in awe of the fact that all of the 'few minutes' resulted in a book. My dream so many years before is a reality. Living my dream isn’t the finished book but rather the fact that I invested in my love of expressing myself through writing. I had been living my dream all along when I took the few minutes to scribble on napkins and scraps of paper. I made a choice and despite many daily responsibilities of raising a family and working the act of taking the time opened me up to living my dream each day.  I feel blessed to have been given all the yesterdays to get to this point and I am fulfilled knowing my time was well spent.

When I catch myself thinking 'I will do it tomorrow', I stop and tell myself to just start a part of it today and if I am lucky enough to have a tomorrow at least there will be evidence that I started something I cared about. There is time right now, you just have to decide and make it happen.

Here are 3 questions to get you started to living your dreams and making the most of today. Whatever you decide to jot down on your ‘napkin’ whether it a something you have always wanted to learn, a place you have dreamed of visiting or a lifestyle change you want to invest in it will be worth your investment.  

Make a list - What are the things you are pushing to tomorrow?

Make a list - What if you started part of it today? What could you start with right now?  

Make a list – What if today was your last day? What would you wish you had invested in?

Now all you have to do is decide and do it.

Until next time ,

Kim

 

 

What's on your canvas for 2016?

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    My daughter received this beautiful hand painted canvas from her aunt this Christmas. This meaningful gift reminded me of my new years ritual.  To create lasting change we need to anchor ourselves to what matters. We often say "I don't have time" but what we are really saying is "it doesn't matter that much to me". We make time for the things that matter most to us. The illusion of not having time is just a statement to get us off the hook.  Every Dec 31st, I sit and write down all of the milestones and wonderful things we experienced as a family during the year. It amazes me every time how much I end up writing and it is a great reminder of the full year of experiences and growth we had.  On Jan 1st, as I reflect on the past year and on the year we are embarking on I ask myself;    How do I want to feel     at the end of this year?     After I have written a list of words I ask myself;    What would I like to accomplish this year?     Every year, I end up experiencing more than I ever could have imagined. I think that is why standard one-line resolutions let us down. They are too rigid and narrow. I need room to explore what is possible and have the flexibility to make decisions in the moment, all year long.  My invitation is for you to consider a new way to create resolutions. Choose to anchor yourself to the feeling you want to create rather than solely on specific actions or outcomes.  What you invest your time in will flow naturally from the list you create. Coming from what matters to you will be easier to sustain than starting with only what you hope to achieve.   Your list of actions will continue to grow and build upon one another over the entire year. Every 3 months, take a moment and write down your list of accomplishments. This will provide you with much needed momentum and inspire you to create more.  Here is a glimpse into how I created my 2016 ‘resolutions’.  When I look at my daughter's canvas it strikes me that the words exactly represent how I want to feel when I look back on 2016. I want these words to represent how I show up in life and my filter for how I choose to use my time.     Confident    Inspired   Strong   Resilient   Creative   Intelligent   Vibrant   Natural   Passionate   Loving    These words will serve as the foundation for all my moments this year. My gauge for success will be every 3 months when I take a moment to reflect.  What did I focus on and am I proud of the year I am creating?  From these words come more questions.    What do I want to focus my attention on?                               What are the three things I wish to create in 2016?   1) Create a strong, healthy, active life. 2) Create vibrant experiences with my family 3) Create work that inspires myself and others  How will I create these three things? When I make decisions this year I will go back to the words and the feeling I intend to have at the end of 2016 and ask myself if my choices are aligned with the resolutions I created. Every 3 months, I will write a list of my accomplishments under each statement (active life, vibrant family experiences and inspiring work) as a way to remind myself what matters to me.  For example, by investing time writing this I can add ' New Years blog post' to the list under #3.  All I have to do now is live my life and make my decisions from these anchor words and statements. Everything I ever wanted to create falls into place and beyond my expectations, every single year.  I don't make one-line resolution statements anymore. I create something that matters to me; a canvas of reminders that I can live into all year long.    What is on your canvas for 2016?      

My daughter received this beautiful hand painted canvas from her aunt this Christmas. This meaningful gift reminded me of my new years ritual.

To create lasting change we need to anchor ourselves to what matters. We often say "I don't have time" but what we are really saying is "it doesn't matter that much to me". We make time for the things that matter most to us. The illusion of not having time is just a statement to get us off the hook.

Every Dec 31st, I sit and write down all of the milestones and wonderful things we experienced as a family during the year. It amazes me every time how much I end up writing and it is a great reminder of the full year of experiences and growth we had.

On Jan 1st, as I reflect on the past year and on the year we are embarking on I ask myself;

How do I want to feel at the end of this year?

After I have written a list of words I ask myself;

What would I like to accomplish this year?

Every year, I end up experiencing more than I ever could have imagined. I think that is why standard one-line resolutions let us down. They are too rigid and narrow. I need room to explore what is possible and have the flexibility to make decisions in the moment, all year long.

My invitation is for you to consider a new way to create resolutions. Choose to anchor yourself to the feeling you want to create rather than solely on specific actions or outcomes.  What you invest your time in will flow naturally from the list you create. Coming from what matters to you will be easier to sustain than starting with only what you hope to achieve. 

Your list of actions will continue to grow and build upon one another over the entire year. Every 3 months, take a moment and write down your list of accomplishments. This will provide you with much needed momentum and inspire you to create more.

Here is a glimpse into how I created my 2016 ‘resolutions’.

When I look at my daughter's canvas it strikes me that the words exactly represent how I want to feel when I look back on 2016. I want these words to represent how I show up in life and my filter for how I choose to use my time.
 

Confident
Inspired
Strong
Resilient
Creative
Intelligent
Vibrant
Natural
Passionate
Loving


These words will serve as the foundation for all my moments this year. My gauge for success will be every 3 months when I take a moment to reflect.  What did I focus on and am I proud of the year I am creating?

From these words come more questions.

What do I want to focus my attention on?                         

What are the three things I wish to create in 2016?
1) Create a strong, healthy, active life.
2) Create vibrant experiences with my family
3) Create work that inspires myself and others

How will I create these three things? When I make decisions this year I will go back to the words and the feeling I intend to have at the end of 2016 and ask myself if my choices are aligned with the resolutions I created. Every 3 months, I will write a list of my accomplishments under each statement (active life, vibrant family experiences and inspiring work) as a way to remind myself what matters to me.

For example, by investing time writing this I can add ' New Years blog post' to the list under #3.

All I have to do now is live my life and make my decisions from these anchor words and statements. Everything I ever wanted to create falls into place and beyond my expectations, every single year.

I don't make one-line resolution statements anymore. I create something that matters to me; a canvas of reminders that I can live into all year long.

What is on your canvas for 2016? 

What living with chronic pain has taught me about leadership

 

I am in some level of pain every day. Some days it is a full-blown migraine where every thought hurts and my day is spent in bed wishing for relief. While other days it is just a tickle of discomfort in various areas of my body most often my neck and jaw.  I am grateful for the tickle days as it frees up some energy so I can invest in things that I love. Although rare, I do have pain free moments and those are a great gift.

I view pain much like I view my ego. It is there chattering away and doing its best to bring me down. Over the years, I thought fighting, being angry and resisting the pain would someone scare it away, which as you can imagine never happened. I have since decided to accept that pain is part of my experience in this life and although some days it overcomes me I do my best not to succumb to its darkness.

I am writing this today because I am just coming out of two weeks of intense daily pain which included a 5 day migraine.  As I look back a moment vividly returns. I was in excruciating, blinding pain attempting to make my daughters lunch for school. I would lay my head on the counter take a few deep breaths and attempt to put together her sandwich.  I pushed through long enough to get my kids on their way and then retreated back to bed. This moment reminded me that our struggles can provide such profound learning and discovery. This is my perspective of how pain has offered me the following leadership lessons.

1) Determination

For anyone who has been in a twelve round boxing match with pain it can feel like an eternity of blows up against the ropes. What I have learned in my own pain journey is there is always an opening to strike back. Sometimes it doesn’t show up until the 12th round, but the opening always appears. It takes determination and perseverance to stay in the game and wait for the break, despite the risk of blows. Pain has given me a fighting spirit and I will never give up on life.

2) Stop and slow down

Pain forces me to stop and prioritize. I cannot complete everything that I desire when I am struggling with pain and therefore I have to pick and choose the most important things in order to survive the day. Pain has given me the gift of taking a step back and investing in what matters rather than just checking off the to do list boxes mindlessly. Pain forces me to slow things down, allows me opportunities to be mindful and gives me access to presence.

3) Awareness

I am very aware of what is happening in my body at all times. Living with chronic pain has opened me up to an acute sense of awareness and it has also given me a curious spirit when in the presence of others. I understand that there may be much going on behind the surface because most of us who live with chronic pain look 'normal' and healthy when in reality the suffering is great. With awareness comes a new perspective, compassion and empathy for others and for myself.

4) Gratitude

Living with chronic pain is hard and at times it has worn me down. I admit I have struggled with bouts of depression and often succumb to negativity during the really rough times. What I have noticed over the years is that I am grateful for the pain because it gives me the opportunity to really notice and appreciate the less painful days. I drink in the moments I can play with my kids or engage in physical activities without pain. I am grateful I am able to live fully in the days of less pain. Taking a moment to reflect on what I am grateful for connects me to what matters and this is when I am my most present.

I have spent much time speaking with leaders who have a desire to inspire and motivate. Whether you are leading in your role at work or accessing leadership at home with your family imagine if you accessed determination, slowing down, awareness and gratitude - and that this guided your day.

I invite you to reflect on your own boxing match. What are you in the ring with and what has it taught you about leadership?

Pain is not my enemy. It is my teacher.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Emily Jenzen. I never met you but your story touched my heart and I think of you often. You were a neighbor in my home town and I didn't even know it. Your story has inspired me to keep moving forward despite the debilitating pain of migraines.

Happiness lives in the pursuit of presence

When I finally discovered my purpose, I wondered why I didn’t feel a grand sense of awe settle over me. I had always believed in the pursuit of happiness and one day I would land on it and stay there.  What I quickly realized was the pursuit of happiness felt much like finding the gold at the end of a rainbow. 

The reality is that I felt contentment and excitement for a time but I found myself struggling to sustain it.  I started to wonder what happiness really meant for me and started to challenge what I had previously been told or experienced.  There were moments where I wanted to give up on happiness and wrestled with the thoughts that maybe happiness was only reserved for certain people. I had hit a happiness rock bottom so I dusted myself off and decided that there must be something I am missing.

What became clear after much exploration with my own coaching was that I needed to shift my perspective. It became clear that searching for the pot of gold I labeled happiness was holding me back from creating the life I desired.

I realized that happiness is part of a much bigger picture. This is why I felt like I was continuously let down by life. The pursuit of happiness didn’t align with how I processed my experiences. I am a very sensitive, emotional being who feels deeply a full spectrum of emotions in life, from despair to elation.

I know I have felt moments of sadness and happiness at the same time, and each one served me. I asked myself what is bigger than being happy? The answer was being present. Happiness is just one part of living a present, fulfilled life. I started focusing more on experiencing all the colors of the rainbow rather than finding the pot of gold.

This change in perspective allowed me to appreciate all life has to offer, by experiencing what is happening right now. I no longer feel the pressure of feeling happy all the time. I can ride the ups and downs and find contentment, find peace and ease with all of it because being aware and present was the key to unlocking the kind of life I wanted to create.

I am committed to living a present life. To feeling everything fully, whether it is pain, joy or even the moments of nothingness.  I am committed to being fully present with my kids, my husband, my family, friends and clients by looking into their eyes and holding their hands in life. I continually remind myself of the big picture and let go of any resistance to what is happening and let it flow.

Pursuing presence is about noticing and listening to what I need in order to stay balanced and aligned with who I am.  It is about noticing when I am in need of connection with someone or in need of alone time and having the courage to express it. Presence is about accessing the now so we aren’t pulled into what was or what is about to be.

I am committed to exploring and pursuing presence. Presence is where I find my peace and you can live a present and fulfilling life by following these steps.

1) Embrace the ups along with the downs.

If you give yourself permission to feel whatever is happening right now you can move through it with grace and ease. It will help you restore balance quicker than if you resist where you are at or wish you felt differently than you do. Life is about pursuing what matter to us, learning and growing in every moment.

Allow the visceral response to your emotions. Embrace it all whether it is tears of joy or the ugly cry. 

2) Notice the times of quiet contentment.

Take a minute to enjoy the moments when you feel balanced and aligned with who you are.

The time you spend in this space will grow and flourish as you learn more about how it feels and what you are doing to create it.  Your mind and body will begin to naturally gravitate towards it.

3) Acknowledge and reward yourself when you shift in the moment.

Awareness is the key to personal growth and taking a moment to celebrate your milestones along the way makes every experience worth living.

Everyday is an opportunity to learn something. If we don’t reflect and celebrate our growth, we miss out on the learning that is gifted to us. Celebrating can be as simple as acknowledging awareness; it can be a quiet moment of reflection, an enthusiastic arm pump, or a warm hug with a friend. Growth and acknowledgement of it is limitless.

4) Be present. Social media isn’t the problem.

We like to blame social media or other forms of entertainment, as the reason people aren’t present in their life or with others.

There is nothing wrong with social media; the challenge is when people choose to engage with it. Prioritize your time so you can be fully present with whatever you are doing whether it is dinner with family and friends, learning a new skill or with your screen time. Choose one and make it your focus.

Living a present life is a life worth living.  Happiness lives in the pursuit of presence.

One shift in perspective can change your life!

.

Lessons from a 5 year old

We have been waiting for this moment ever since she could say the word bus. Her eyes sparkle as she realizes the time has come to go to the "big school". With her new outfit and shoes she walks briskly with confidence to the awaiting school bus door. There are so many unknowns but she doesn't waver. She is ready. 

I am proud of the mother I am and the strong, independent woman she is growing up to be. This five year old has taught me more about who I want to be in this world than any course or book ever can. This week, I let go of the baby and toddler she once was and embraced the beautiful little girl she has become.

I am taking her lead and getting on my own bus to the future. With my head held high; enthusiastic and with no thought to all of the unknowns. Thank you for showing me the way my beautiful and wise girl.

 


 

 

Fear

I asked myself a question when wondering about taking the leap and starting my own business. 

Is my desire to share who am I with the world greater than all the "what ifs", "nay sayers" and fears I have conjured up? The answer was yes. I am doing it despite my fear and doubts because it is important to me.

What I discovered is that this isn’t just a business venture I am embarking on it is about who I am. The work of coaching takes all of me and so it isn’t a job, it is my life. I feel blessed to have finally found where I fit and to embrace what I am good at.

I am excited about continuing to grow, discover and support people as they move through their own journey in life.  I would be dishonest though if I didn't admit that I have moments of doubt and worry about "what people will think". I push through it knowing that I can't expect others to be vulnerable with me if I am not willing to be vulnerable myself.

My hope is that my presence will inspire you and my stories will move you into action in your own life.

"Fear of the future is a waste of the present."  - unknown.

I am proud of myself for taking a risk and jumping in with two feet. Thank you to everyone who has reached out with support and kind words. I am overwhelmed with how many amazing people I have in my life.

Take a moment to look in the mirror and ask yourself:
What are my fears today?
What's possible if I chose to move through the fear and do it anyway?

Kim

 

 

Welcome to my Blog

 
 

Hello and welcome!

I am on a journey to live a fulfilled life.  I rely on coaching to help me live in alignment and be present to what matters to me. The picture above is a perfect metaphor, illustrating that the walls around us may crumble but we can still remain whole, centered and content. 

Life is about how we choose to deal with what is on our path. The house may fall down around us but it is possible to remain grounded and strong.

By sharing, we can change the conversation we have with others and with ourselves. My blog will be a place where I share my discoveries and insights with you.

My hope is that my stories will inspire you to take the leap and invest in yourself. You deserve it. 

It begins...

Kim