It’s Rebellion Time

Rebellion…another approach to goal setting

“When we harness our rebellious energy, we reject what most may accept, and focus on creating what we believe to be possible…we do not dwell on what has already been proven.  Instead we create the future we already know is possible.”  

  • Tara Bliss

There has been a recurring theme going on these days with not only my clients, but my friends as well:

We’re tired, burnt out, and want to go hide in a cave.  The last thing on our mind is goal setting for our future.

Personally, this year has been one of the most emotionally challenging years in a long, long time.  We’ve seen people’s personal lives politicized to the point of causing families to be ripped apart.  Death threats, hateful tweets, and offensive behaviors have become what feels like the norm for many of us.  And most of us are still mired in cultural expectations that we’re not only blind to, but don’t even agree with in the first place.

But hiding in a cave isn’t the answer.

We do have a say in how we create our lives and the world around us.  

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi

Yeah, yeah, yeah… but are we actually doing what he’s suggesting?  Are you BEING what you want to see?  Are you acting on the belief that you can co-create your future?  Or, are you hanging onto the belief that it’s too late or you’re just not up for the challenge?

No, it’s not too late and yes, you can handle the challenge.  I think where we get stuck when confronting change, is when we assume the future will unfold the same way the past did.  But if you bring a more rebellious energy to your goals, you can reshape the trajectory of your life and the world around you.  Rebellion has both destructive and creative energy behind it.  That is the road to change.  And a way more fun way to approach our goals.

If you’ve already set some goals for the new year, revisit them now.  And if you haven’t set any goals yet, think about something that you would like to see change.  This could be personal or cultural…just pick something for the sake of this exercise.  

Ask yourself:

What are my friend’s, family’s, and/or cultural expectations around this?

Do I agree with these expectations?

Which expectations can I get behind?

How would I behave?  What would I say?  Who would I spend time with and who wouldn’t I spend time with?

What would I watch or listen to in terms of the news, Netflix, Facebook, etc?

What would I say “no” to and what could I say “yes” to instead?

Asking these questions stokes our inner dormant fire.  If you were genuinely honest in your answers to the above questions, you will likely feel your energy perk up.   This is where rebellion starts.  And, good news… you have just gained more clarity about why you want this change/goal to happen in your future.

And I guarantee you will be more successful if you include collaboration.  Collaborate leadership is about dropping the pecking order and refusing to blindly follow orders.  It’s all about expressing and empowering not only your talents but also the talents of others.  It is inclusive, decisive, and powerful.  It is the opposite of oppressive power (which is divisive, destructive, and erratic).   And, no, it’s not about dropping our boundaries to be ‘nice’ either.  Collaborative leadership is every bit as much about owning our sovereignty.  In fact, it is when we have clear boundaries, we can freely share, grow, and co-create our lives.  

I believe it is time to pivot away from the single handed, oppressive hierarchy.  Instead, it is time to birth a new approach that holds collaboration and belief in our future as its’ new expectations. 

Are you with me?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.  And share your rebellion with me if you feel moved to do so.

And if you want to dig deeper into your own rebellion/goal setting, get in touch and we’ll strategize together.

And as always, retweet, repost, and share with friends.

  

Why our Goals Suck

Why our goal setting sucks, and why we will never achieve our sucky goals.

The most common times for goal setting is New Year’s and Birthdays.  Then, a few weeks go by and we notice we are not only off track, but we have already forgotten the goals we set.  

That’s because most of us set our goals ass backwards.  We think of our goals as accomplishments rather than journeys.  And because we don’t ask ourselves why we want what we want, we easily give up at the first sign of challenge.

There is a golden rule of the universe, in my opinion…

That which you desire has been deliberately put out of your reach so you can become the person who is worthy of receiving it.

That requires a whole different outlook and entirely a new approach to goal setting.  So let’s begin.  Ask yourself:

How do I want to feel every day?

Why is that important?  Because everything you do, every goal you set, is to help you feel a certain way.  Obviously, we all want to feel good.  But my way of feeling good is different than yours.  For me, feeling good might mean connecting to nature and my spiritual practices.  For you, feeling good might mean the thrill of adventure.  Or maybe, feeling good for you is all about family and intimacy.

The clearer you are about how you want to feel, the clearer your goals will be. AND, you’ll have a clearer pathway to achieving them.

So, let’s not wait.  Pull out a piece of paper or your journal and ask yourself some questions:

How do I want to feel every day?  

(Energetic?  Generous?  Grateful?   Sensual?  Passionate?  Creative?  Joyful?  Empowered?  Sophisticated?  Inspired? etc)  Ask yourself this question at least 10 times and rattle off whatever comes up.

And don’t worry if you can only come up with a few feelings. Write out what pops into your head even if you keep repeating the same feelings.  And don’t get hung up on the words…I have ‘creative expression’ as my top emotion and although that encompasses many feelings, that phrase vibes for me so that’s what I’m going with.

After all is said and done, how do you REALLY want to feel every day?

Now, on a different piece of paper jot down all your favorite memories from the last few years.  Feel free to include amazing memories that go further back in time, maybe even your childhood.

Now look at all those times and ask yourself, how did those experiences FEEL?  Did you feel a sense of belonging, or excitement or adventure or love?  Don’t over think it.  Just write out all the feelings that come up when you remember those highlights from the past.  

Then, circle the ones you repeated the most…those top three to five feelings are why you do what you do.  By getting this specific,  you have just gained the clarity you need to set goals that you’ll actually want to accomplish.

Now is a perfect time to take a few deep breaths before asking yourself:

What would I like to accomplish so that I can feel the way I want to feel?  What goals, if I really went for it, would help me generate these feelings on a daily basis?  

Is this the year you write the screenplay, start a family, take your dream vacation?  What, if you really set your mind to it, would help you feel the way you want to feel not only at the end of the journey…but throughout?

Those are your new goals.

And one last thing…only set 2 goals maximum.  Because if this is the year you write the screenplay, you won’t have time for much else.  Setting one or two juicy life affirming goals is plenty.

And if you want help with this, get in touch and we’ll figure it out together.

And as always, retweet, repost, and forward to your friends.

The Gift of Support

GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF SUPPORT  

No addict ever got sober alone.  No book was ever published without being edited by at least one other person.  No house was built single handedly.  No community was created in a bubble.

We ALL need support.

So, as the year comes to an end… look at your life, your goals, etc.  Where are you struggling?  Where could you use some extra help?

Go get it.  Now.  Be generous with yourself and get the support you need.

Book the therapy appointment.  Buy a series of workouts with a trainer.  Book your session with your health coach, writing coach, life coach, spiritual coach.  Sign up now for that meditation class or painting class or college class.  

Not having the money is no excuse.  You can always pack a lunch instead of eating out, sell some of your crap on ebay, or skip out on a few happy hours.  And, the minute you step up by signing up, the funds show up.  I’m not kidding…I’ve seen this more times than I can tell you.  When you take a stand for yourself, the universe supports you…always.

And, by committing right away, (like, right now!), you will feel both relieved and excited about your future. 

Give this gift of support to yourself…Now.

You deserve it!

And, that includes reserving time with me!  If that feels right to you, then get in touch and let’s get a date on the books. …and I’d love to hear from you.

Live with passion and joy.  The world needs that special something that you were born to share.  Please, don’t wait.  Start sharing your talents today.  And if that requires some support…go get it!

And as always, retweet, repost, and forward to friends

Gratitude

BEING Grateful vs just thinking about it   

By now you know the importance of gratitude.  It not only helps improve your disposition, it also lowers blood pressure and helps you manage stress more effectively.  And it seems like these times are more stressful than ever so why not alleviate some of that stress…for free?!?

But here’s the mistakes most people make with practicing gratitude.  Most people give lip service to their gratitude list and never actually tune in to and feel what they’re grateful for.  And, they list the same 5 or 10 things every day creating a memorized list rather then a fresh, cultivated, and deeply personal daily list.

Many of us have kept gratitude journals, or lists of things to be grateful for, etc.  But simply rattling off what your grateful for doesn’t actually help very much.  You have to really tune into what you’re grateful for.  In other words, being grateful for the sun but not stopping to see how feels on your skin is ineffective.  For gratitude to start to work in your life, you need to stop and TAKE IT IN.  You have to BE/FEEL grateful…not just record it.

And, choosing to be grateful for new things everyday is the way to really utilize gratitude to improve your moods.  If you simply repeat the same few things every day, your brain just gets into a rut and you fail to see other things you could be grateful for.  If however, you force yourself to come up with new things everyday, your brain will naturally look for other ways to feel grateful.  Your focus will change to see the positive more often than the negative.  And, when dealing with stressful situations, you’ll be able to de-stress more quickly. 

And you can be grateful for little things.  Being grateful for seeing beautiful flowers, or feeling grateful that your car got you from point A to B can as helpful as anything else.  The important thing is to really feel into it.

So, yes, keep a gratitude journal or write your lists out daily.  But, find NEW things to be grateful for and really tune into how it feels to have that deep level of gratitude.  

 

Mindful Holidays

Here we are…knee deep into the holidays.  How are you doing?  Raise your hand if you’ve already eaten what feels like your entire body weight in holiday treats.  Raise your hand if you’ve already lost your shit with your relatives.

’Tis the season!

Okay, first of all, join the club.  In my opinion, there is WAY too much emphasis on this time of year, and WAY too much pressure for all of us to do things perfectly.

The truth is, it’s NEVER GOING TO BE PERFECT.  So let’s accept that.  And instead of killing ourselves to get it right, let’s find a way to actually enjoy the end of the year without shame, anger, exhaustion, and an extra 5 pounds to lose.

If you’re in the self help world (and if you’re reading this, you are) likely, when the word ‘mindfulness’ is muttered, you glaze over as if you were reading a computer manual.  It’s a phrase that has been overused and under-explained and truthfully underutilized.

Because of this, I created a few new names for this practice… ‘mind awareness’ and ‘presence practice’.  Both of those labels, in my opinion, more accurately describe the practice.  And also, I’m not using the word ‘practice’ by accident…we ‘practice’ this every day.

Let’s not waste time, let’s get right to practicing immediately!

Feel your feet.  How do they feel?  Are you in shoes? Socks? Barefoot? Are they cold?  Hot?  If you had to describe how they felt what would you say…in detail…?

Okay, you just got present.  You practiced ‘mindfulness’.  Well done.

But what’s the point?  Why do this?  How can this possibly help me when my holiday to-do list is longer than my arm and all I want to do is eat holiday cookies?

Here is the thing about our bodies and the presence practice.  Our bodies are living in the here and now.  Second by second, breath by breath.  Our bodies couldn’t care less about what you did yesterday or, what you have to get done by the end of the week.  Our bodies know nothing about shame, regret, or worry.  They are simply here, right now.  

So, when you are panicked about what to wear to the holiday party or worried about getting the table set in time for the guests, zone in on a part of your body and feel it fully.  (And, FYI, this takes about 30 seconds so ‘I don’t have time’ is not an excuse.)

“But I thought you had to sit and meditate” is likely what your voice of resistance is saying in your head.

Wrong.  Well, not entirely.  I mean, yes, it’s lovely to sit and notice your thoughts and breath in and out in stillness.  I highly recommend doing that as many days as possible.  But meditation without action is only getting 1/2 the benefit of meditating.  Think about it.  How many times have you finished your meditation practice, got on with your day, and were in a fight with your co-worker by noon?  (Confession…I have left yoga classes feeling amazing and within minutes caught myself flipping someone off on the drive home.)

‘Mind awareness/Presence practice’ is your meditation in action.  Stopping for 30 seconds to FEEL something in your BODY brings you to the present moment.  It interrupts your knee jerk reactions and negative assumptions.  It brings you back to the present moment thus releasing you from future worry and past guilt.  

And in terms of eating, if you find you are eating unconsciously, this practice helps you catch yourself before you overeat.  And if you do overeat, this practice helps you let go of the guilt or anger you may be directing towards yourself or others.

Once you get into the habit of doing this throughout the day (I recommend putting reminders on your phone to chime every hour), see if you can do it while you are busy at work, etc.  You CAN keep a part of your mind on how your feet are feeling while talking to your mother.  (Yes, it even works with mothers!)  You can notice how your breath feels as you inhale and exhale while shopping at Trader Joe’s.  You can notice how the sun feels on your skin, while sitting in traffic.

By just staying present with your body, your stress level is instantly reduced.  And less stress means better thoughts.  And most likely, more control over your reactions to other people. 

So, while you read the last bit of this newsletter, notice your feet, or some part of your body.  Just keep part of your mind tuned into that physical sensation while you read on.

Notice you’re not making your shopping list in your head.  You are present and able to absorb what you are reading.  And, you are more likely to remember everything you need to buy when you go shopping later.

Practice this incessantly over the holidays!  In fact, if you do NOTHING else, do the ‘presence practice’ all day long.

And if you want to bliss out to my FAVE tracks…

HAVE AN AMAZING HOLIDAY SEASON!  

 

Clearing the Slate for 2019

A Clean Slate

This is a follow up to my previous newsletter… ‘Creating Space’. 

This idea of cleaning our slate is one that I usually suggest doing later in the year.  But I have found that starting this process in October is more effective for both myself and my clients.  

The idea is to go into the New Year owning everything on your to-do list.  As well as owning your bigger goals that you may or may not include for the new year.

When I say “owning” your to-do lists and goals, I mean…taking full responsibility for what you are putting your energy behind.

If you thought of energy as currency…hard earned cash…what would you invest it in?  Because you get to decide how, where, and what you will invest your energy in.

So this process begins with writing down (not in your head) everything you have to do.  Your ‘ultimate to-do list’, so to speak.  This includes bills, work assignments, agreements with others, your personal goals, appointments, holiday gifts…everything.  I like to give myself at least 3 days to make up this list.  Little things pop into my head when I’m driving or in the shower so I keep adding to my list as these things come up.  So, for the next few days, jot things down as they come to you and do not discriminate.  Big or small, put them all on paper.

When you think your list is finally complete, set aside a few uninterrupted hours to actually study at your list.

Circle the doable items that will give you a great sense of relief knowing that they are finally DONE.  In other words, by actually completing these things, you will be entering the New Year “mentally” clutter free as well as opening up the time to start new things.  

Then, cross off or politely bow out of the things you agreed to do for other people that no longer serve you..  These are things that simply won’t get done or will hold you back from the more important tasks on your list.  Again, politely bow out of what you had initially agreed to doing ideally in the next 24 hours.

Then, look at the “big goals” that you did not accomplish.  

Because, to truly clear the slate, you may choose to eliminate some goals all together.

So look at the goals that are currently not happening.

Why didn’t you accomplish them?  Is it possible that they no longer serve you?  Sometimes letting something go is more empowering than hanging onto it for dear life.  Goals and dreams actually do have expiration dates.  Put on your truth lenses and ask yourself if this is still worthy of your time and effort.  Ask yourself why you set this goal in the first place and more importantly, do you still feel the same way about it now?  This step of letting go may feel painful or sad, but there is great power in being honest with yourself.  Honoring where you are NOW will ultimately help you to make better decisions as to where you want to go in the future.               

How do you know if it’s time to let it go?  

Is it taking too long?  Is the pain outweighing the joy?  Are you getting nowhere?   Are you hanging onto it because you are afraid of what other people will say if you decide to “give up” on it?  Is there something else nagging away at you?  Could you actually try something different or new and still fulfill the desire that the original goal was meant to achieve?

Sit with this awhile.  These are not easy questions to ask…even harder to answer with honesty and self compassion.  But they are worth asking and answering.  

You may decide to let it go.  You may shed a tear or two. But then, you can allow yourself to open up to other possibilities you were too preoccupied to see.

Or, you may decide, “Absolutely NO!  I’m not letting it go.”  And in that realization you will discover more clarity as to WHY you must keep this on your list of goals and desires.

The point is to be honest with yourself.  And compassionate.

Now…what can you do before the end of this year to both clear your to-do list and move your goals forward?

Write out a new list of what will be done THIS year.  Schedule when and where in your calendar and start taking action today.  I suggest setting an aggressive course of action now which will allow you to have more time to enjoy the holidays when they arrive.

The idea is to start 2019 with a CLEAN SLATE.  Not a slate with stale leftovers from last year.  Ideally the only goals being invited into the New Year are your passion projects that you have revisited and have even more clarity on.  All the other stuff should be completed or at the very least, completed as much a possible before the New Year begins.

So…write it ALL out.  Decide what shall be done, what shall be let go of for good, and what shall be reinforced and invited into the New Year.

And, stay tuned.  I have a “Getting Our Shit Done” challenge coming up in the next few weeks.  I suggest you get a jump on it and start clearing your slate now!

Go getter’ done!

And if you want some extra “kick butt mojo”, get in touch and we’ll tackle it together.

 

Creating More Space

 

Most of us can pretty quickly point to the areas in our lives that we’re not happy with.  The answer to asking ourselves the question, “what’s not working?” is rarely a surprise.  But the problem that most of us have when reflecting on our sticky spots is that we simply slap a label on it and then shut down or become self critical.

The truth is: 

Self criticism offers no clarity.

Think back to a time when you were getting overly critical with yourself.  Did you come up with any solutions for the issue you were dealing with?  Not likely.  Your mind just kept going around in circles about how you should have done this or that…not helpful or resourceful in any way.

If letting go of what’s not working, or finding actionable solutions is the goal, then we have to try a new approach.

Pull out a pen and a piece of paper (I HIGHLY suggest writing this out) and answer these questions:

What is weighing you down?  (Heavy?  Burdensome?)

What do you fantasize about changing or getting rid of?

What have you bitched about on more than 3 occasions?

What would you love to never do again?

And then ask yourself this question, which you might want to spend some extra time on…

Why?  Why haven’t you let this go…yet?  What expectations do you have of yourself and others that keeps you stuck in this situation?  

And then…take a deep breath.  Reread what you wrote and allow this to sink in.  

Then, off the top of your head:

‘What ACTIONABLE steps can you take to change this situation?’

Write them down.  

Maybe you don’t know the answers yet.  That’s okay.  Because taking the time to get clear about why it isn’t working, and why you are still dealing with it, will eventually lead to ideas.

You can also do this for the less intense things in your life too.  Maybe the clutter in your drawers is weighing you down.  (That’s true for me!)

Why is this an issue for you?  What are your expectations about yourself?  Did someone expect you to keep everything neat and tidy when you were a kid?  Do you still feel that way now?  If so, schedule times to get rid of that crap.  Or maybe now you realize that, despite your upbringing, you don’t really care about clutter.  Great!  Drop the expectation about being a neat and tidy person!

Getting clear about our bigger issues can be tough or easy depending on your level of clarity.  You start with asking, why it’s still a problem and what your expectations are around it.  Your answers will give you the clarity you need to handle the situation.  And that makes it easier to take the necessary actions to create the change you want.  And, getting rid of the little issues can open up way more space (and time!) to handle the big stuff.

So, write out your answers to the above questions and see if you can actually DO something to change those situations.  Both the big stuff and the little stuff.

And if you want support with this, get in touch and we’ll tackle it together.  

And as always, retweet, repost, and forward to your friends.

The Games we Play

Today’s newsletter is not about the big goals, the big decisions, the big changes we create in our lives.  No, today I’m talking about the stupid shit that we waste our energy on…on a daily basis.

One could argue that our little pet peeves and minor irritations are not a big deal.

But, science is proving that stress, ANY stress, is a major cause of disease.  And the little stresses that we put up with every day, add up.  

A helpful way to examine what you are wasting energy on is to ask the question:

“What game am I playing that I am no longer willing to play?”

For example, feeling irked when: 

The dish is in the sink instead of in the dishwasher.

The laundry is yet to be removed from the dryer.

The neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking.

You get the point.  These are small irritations that can cause stress despite not being a very big deal.  Consciously choosing to no longer put your energy behind these types of things frees up your energy and lowers your stress level immediately.

You can ask this same question for the bigger ‘games’ you are playing as well.

The game of being envious of your friend’s success.

The game of playing victim to your mother’s criticism.

The game of staying quiet when someone is saying something offensive.

Framing it as a ‘game’ rather than a big issue can sometimes make it easier to adjust your behavior.  It also opens you up to seeing the issue from a more objective point of view rather than a personal one.  

Seeing your envy as a ‘game’ allows to to decide if you want to opt out of the game entirely.  Is the game of taking criticism personally worth your energy?  And if you refuse to play the game of staying silent, what new actions can you take that weren’t available to you before?

Whether it’s the little pet peeves or the bigger issues, lightening up your attitude will undoubtedly allow you to have a more honest look at where you are adding unnecessary stress to your days.

I’d love to hear from you on this!  What games are you opting out of?  (Me?  I’m quitting the game of shaming people for not stopping at stop signs!  Wish me luck with that!)

As always, retweet, repost and share with your friends.  

Learning to be Comfortable with feeling Uncomfortable

“Never Underestimate the Inclination to Bolt” – Geneen Roth  

To create any lasting change, you must be willing to push beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone.  If you remain in your comfort zone, nothing changes.  Its the edge of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.

But, that is also where you will have to tolerate a good amount of discomfort.

Let’s say you are trying to end your addiction to sugar.  Aside from the physical addiction (and, I think sugar is our biggest addiction in this country) there is an emotional reason you are turning to sugar.  The first step is to notice what’s going on…notice your feelings you when you are fixated on eating something sweet.  What thoughts are running through your head.  What does your body feel like when you want to inhale the cookie jar?  Can you name what you’re feeling?

And here’s the truth about feeling your way towards what’s really going on…you don’t actually have to name it!

A lot of people get tripped up with that.  We’ve been told to name the sensations that we are feeling in our bodies.  But, from my experience, you really don’t need to name it.  Now, if you know for certain that you are feeling shame, or loneliness, or boredom, great…name it.

But if you’re like me (and many of the people I’ve worked with) you can’t quite put a name to it.  So, rather than getting stuck trying to figure it out, forget about that and just feel whatever your body is feeling.  Lean into it.

Now remember, when you are feeling uncomfortable your instincts are to run away…to bolt, as Geneen says.  

But, the opposite is where the change begins…you must turn towards that part of you that is uncomfortable and open yourself up to experience those feelings…feel what’s going on, fully.  

And then, move your body to express what you’re feeling.  Literally get up and move and physicalize what you’re feeling.

After you have felt and expressed what’s really going on, choose a different action.

Insight without action is useless.  

Let’s go back to the sugar example. 

You’re faced with a craving and rather than scarfing down a chocolate bar, you stop and feel what’s going on.  You move through it, lean into it, and allow for yourself to feel what’s really going on.  

Then?  What is a different action you could take?  How about throwing that chocolate bar away?  Maybe go for a walk or put on your favorite music and dance for a while.  You could call a supportive friend or journal for a few minutes about what’s going on.  

Another great way to interrupt cravings is, once you’ve leaned in, yell out loud “Stop!  That is not loving to me!”  Shouting, in and of itself, will change your state.  And hearing your own voice shouting those words is a powerful tool to changing your behavior.  

Whatever you do, take a different action.  And, there is no ‘one way’ for everybody so you’ll have to experiment to see what helps you the most.

So again, when the desire to ‘bolt’ kicks in, stop what you are doing, and lean in.  What’s going on?  Where do you feel it in your body?  Can you move your body in a way to express those feelings?  And then, what different behavior can you try?

This can be really tough for a lot of us.  If this is something you need support with, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.  We can figure it out together.

And as always, repost, retweet, and send to a friend.

Setting Healthy Boundaries…Another Aspect of Sovereignty

This has been a life long lesson for me.  Having grown up in a house with zero boundaries, I was never taught their importance.  Or, for that matter, how to effectively set healthy boundaries and then how to enforce them.  

If this resonates for you, don’t worry.  You CAN learn to set healthy boundaries.  You CAN learn to enforce them.  Although it might be uncomfortable in the beginning, setting boundaries is crucial to supporting your personal power.  

There is a misleading perception these days… “be open, be inclusive, don’t judge”, etc…no matter what.  Sure, we all agree that being nonjudgemental is a good thing.  But not if someone is taking advantage of you or walking all over you.  There is nothing spiritual or enlightened about being a doormat.

Another way of looking at boundaries, is seeing them as tools to ensure your standards are being respected.  In other words, you haven’t lowered the bar for other people.  You instead, can hold them to the standards you expect, or move on.  They know where you stand and can decide for themselves if the relationship works for them…and visa versa.   Your job is to be clear and consistent.  

The best way I have found to learn this skill is by modeling someone who is good at it.  Studying someone who has mastered a skill you desire is a great way to learn.  So, if you want to learn how to be more comfortable with networking…you could find someone who’s already comfortable with it and join them for some networking events.  Then, watch their behavior and start behaving that way yourself.  It may feel awkward at first, but it works.  (Just like as children, we modeled our parents…there is a reason we sound just like our mother sometimes!)

This works for any behavior you want to learn.  

I didn’t get really comfortable and capable with boundaries until I started working in a doctor’s office as a rehabilitative Pilates Instructor. 

Dealing with people in pain is challenging.  Being in chronic pain is exhausting.  And, some patients have more difficult personalities than others.  So, setting boundaries became crucial for me if I wanted to maintain my own personal sanity.  And let me add, many of these people tried to test my boundaries or ignore them altogether.  But I stayed firm…once I got comfortable enforcing them.

Fortunately, the office manager, was outstanding at setting boundaries.  He too had to learn this skill years ago, but he was clearly confident and capable now!  I remember gawking at him several times in absolute amazement… “You can do that?”  I remember thinking… “You can just say ‘no’???  Without a bunch of excuses and apologies????”   He was amazing.

I studied him like a hawk.  And eventually, I became very clear about my boundaries, despite how uncomfortable it was at first.  

Some personal examples:

Session times.  Some people are chronically late or just don’t respect your time.  I got really good at ending exactly on time.  I didn’t care if they were late…we ended on time.  I had one patient show up still eating her breakfast which wasted 20 minutes of our session.  I watched her eat…I still ended on time.  And when she complained, I reminded her what time our session started, and that it was her choice to eat for the first 20 minutes.  Our session was scheduled for one hour…not an hour and 20 minutes.

Cancelation policy.  Sometimes people think they are exempt from this policy which I clearly state, and put in writing.  So, I ensure I get paid in advance so if they cancel last minute, I’m still getting paid.  My policy is my policy and if they don’t like it, they can work with someone else.  (I do make exceptions for people with chronic, painful health issues…but that’s rare.)

Another boundary I learned to set was how to ‘hold space’ for people.  By that I mean, someone could be struggling physically or emotionally, and rather than hooking into their emotions, I quietly, compassionately, observed them.  I witnessed their pain…without getting personally involved with it.  (And I wouldn’t do any good as a life coach if every time a client got upset, I took on their pain…)

I think this boundary, ‘holding space’, is an important one for everyone to learn.  Because, yes, people want to be seen, heard, and understood.  But we can offer people that compassion and simultaneously keep our own sovereignty by staying in our own emotions and not hooking into theirs.

I repeat…We can be unrelenting in minding our own energy and emotions, and still compassionately observe the pain of others. 

This is especially important now due to our current events.  We are bombarded daily with all the terrible things happening in our world.  If we allow ourselves to get sucked up into it, we’ll burn out, break down, or self destruct.

Now more than ever we must set healthy boundaries and enforce them vigilantly.  Especially when it comes to holding space and witnessing others.

This is one of the most common issues I work with people on.  It is challenging for many of us.  Please, get in touch if this is an issue for you.  We can work on this together.