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Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Overcoming the Negative Voice in Your Head

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Most of us internally hear an ongoing stream of messages that we hear (sometimes unconsciously) that direct our lives. This voice can be a composite of things you tell yourself, and the messages you have heard throughout your life from parents, teachers, caretakers, friends, etc. The messages can either be positive or negative, and if you listen to and believe them, they can direct your life.

My client, Tony, looked exhausted. He had been sick several times over the last year and was now recovering from the flu. “I’ve always been a healthy person,” he said. “It’s frustrating being sick and it’s impacting my business. I’ve had to cancel appointments and feel my business may fail as a result.”

Tony normally pushed himself. His workload was easily enough for two people. It’s no wonder his body revolted occasionally and got sick. How else could it force Tony to get some rest?

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“How many appointments would be ideal during the month and how many are you handling right now?” I asked.

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“Fifty appointments per month would be good and I am doing about 70 per month now.” He said. “I just don’t feel like I work hard enough. I could do more and don’t want to let anyone down. What if I limit myself to 50 appointments per month and lose clients? My business might fail.”

I introduced the concept of the Saboteur – the voice inside your head that constantly gives you negative messages. If you aren’t listening, the messages get louder and more panicked. “Don’t try something new. You will fail and look like a fool.”

Once I pointed out the Saboteur’s voice, Tony and I took one of the statements he had taken as truth and began to question the validity of it. “Are you working hard enough?”

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“I’m working hard enough to be worn out and sick most of the time.” he said. “Maybe I’m working too hard.”

“Describe to me what your Saboteur looks like. Who gives you these negative messages?”

“I imagine an old, mean woman who points her finger at me. The messages come from a place of concern, but they quickly turn into criticisms and warnings. If I waiver, her voice gets louder and more insistent. Sometimes she is talking so loudly that I can hardly hear anything else.”

“Are these messages valid for you right now?”

“No. I am working hard – probably too hard – and it’s making me physically sick.”

“I’m going to act like your Saboteur and I want you to talk directly to me,” I explained. I stood up and put a mean, grumpy look on my face and pointed my finger at Tony. I said, “You don’t work hard enough and don’t deserve the clients you have.”

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He laughed at my personification of his Saboteur, but then he got serious and mad. “Quit telling me what to do. I am sick because I always push myself. You have unrealistic expectations. Shut up and go away.” There was so much power behind what he said, as though it had needed to be said for a long time.

He said it felt great to finally stand up for himself. His homework was to write a paragraph describing his Saboteur, notice any time she sends him messages and write what he’d like to say back to her. He also agreed to acknowledge the Saboteur messages he receives and determine how he would face each one. His idea was to post a STOP sign on his desk. Each time he looked at it, he would remember the power he has to stop his Saboteur from running his life.

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Coaching Challenge: Write a paragraph describing your Saboteur. When you hear your Saboteur’s voice, listen and write down the messages you receive. Determine the intent of the messages and verify their veracity. How do they impact your life and drive your decisions? By simply being aware of this voice, you gain power over the messages and have a conscious choice to accept or deny their intent.

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Resolutions Made … in 4 Simple Steps

Monday, December 15th, 2008

As January 1st draws near, it is the perfect time to ask yourself: What do I want more of in my life? And what do I want less of? Isn’t that the core of New Year’s Resolutions?

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One of my clients recently asked for help in defining and keeping her resolutions. She had one of the most popular resolutions: to get in shape. It seemed very important to her, fueling her desire to make changes and move forward.

By asking a few questions, it was easy to determine where she was and help clarify her goals. The more specific she got, the more excited she became. It was as though imagining it and talking about it took her one step closer to achieving it. Putting forth intention and the energy behind words can be very powerful and a great first step. To make it even more concrete and do-able, we got even more exact. I asked her to clarify the following:

  • Goals – What do you want to happen? What is the outcome? Make sure your goals are measureable, specific and attainable.
  • Resources – What supports you in this area?
  • Red Flags – How do you know when you are not in line with this goal?
  • Affirmations – What statements help you move towards this goal?
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Here’s how it looked for her intention of “getting in shape:”

  • Goal — Workout at least three times per week for 40 minutes, combining weight training, flexibility and cardio-vascular conditioning. Lose 10 pounds of fat in 8 months. Decrease my body fat percentage by 3 points.
  • Resources – My health club, a personal trainer, a nutritionist and my favorite fitness magazine.
  • Red Flags – When my clothes begin to feel snug; I feel lethargic, and I start to gain weight.
  • Affirmation –When I take care of my body, it takes care of me.

After we had a framework, an action plan and some accountability for “getting in shape,” we then moved on to her second priority, Romantic Relationships.

When we finished looking at all eight areas of her life (Fun & Recreation, Physical Environment, Career, Money, Health, Friends & Family, Significant Other/Romance, and Personal Growth), we had done some incredible work and she had specific milestones to guide and track her progress.

I then took the worksheets and folded them in half. I told her that she could have them back, but I wanted to know the one word that would help her to keep her resolutions. “You already know the word,” I assured her. “The word you are looking for is the basis for truly changing your life. It doesn’t have to do with any particular area of your life. It has to do with you. What is this word?”

She thought for a minute, hesitated and said, “Authenticity.” I knew from the way she said it that this was the word. It didn’t matter what area of her life we looked at, if she approached it with authenticity, she could reach her goals.

And so, after an hour of completing worksheets, diving into all areas of her life, it really came down to one word: authenticity

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. She could use all of her creative ideas and hard work to move forward in each of these areas, but it became very simple. Her ONLY resolution, then, became, “To keep my word: authenticity.” That makes it easy to remember and to measure her progress…every day.



Coach’s Challenge:

Create your New Year’s Resolution by identifying one word that impacts all areas of your life. Here are some examples: honesty, integrity, education, creativity, courage, kindness, efficiency, faith, focus, etc. Select one and move forward keeping this word in mind. If you can post it in several places, it serves as a constant reminder to integrate it into all areas of your life. This then becomes your one-word New Year’s Resolution. Happy New Year!

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