Life Coaching: Creating a More Intentional Life

I was recently asked to describe life coaching- what it is, who its for, what we do in coaching sessions. 

The way I think of it: it’s for anyone who has an issue or goal to work on, or who wants to be more effective, enjoy life more, be happier, set and reach goals, improve their relationships. To replace bad habits with those that serve you. To get better at solving problems and making decisions. To turn worry, judgement and overwhelm into positive action. To have less drama and more fun. To get unstuck. 

Basically to take on your life in a more intentional way.

And always, with curiosity and compassion. 

Coaching sessions are an opportunity to look at your life- what’s working and what’s not- with another set of eyes, from another perspective. To decide what you want for yourself, and then make that happen. 

The first step is understanding how you got where you are now. Like every other human being, you meet each moment from within your own unique perspective and history and belief structure. 

As you meet each situation, each interaction with another person, you engage with it: you have thoughts and opinions, emotions arise and you behave in certain ways. Through this engagement, you create new situations, new results. 

This is an ongoing process of constantly creating your life experience. Which is always happening, whether you are aware of it or not.

The second step is: how do you use knowledge of this process to stop fighting with your spouse, lose weight for good, or stop worrying about your kids or your business? (Or whatever else doesn’t feel right in your world.)

Well, you have all kinds of options when it comes to how you meet the world, whether it be your husband, your dinner, your kids or your business we’re talking about. So that is where we start. We identify what needs to change to get you where you want to be. We make a plan. We tailor it to you and your situation. 

Each week you expand your understanding of yourself, of what you want, of how to make that a reality. You apply what you learn. You begin to see evidence of improved relationships, habits, health, emotions. You build up awareness, skills and resources. You feel confident and empowered. 

You are creating the life you want, on purpose.

I coach clients on their relationships with their adult kids, on creating a meaningful life, on their businesses or a career change, on weight loss, self confidence, grief, infertility, marital issues, artist block, worries about our country and about the pandemic. You name it. 

The common thread is learning to see your blind spots, understanding where your power is and how to use it effectively to create the life you want.

p.s. Photo: me, with rutabaga, living my (mostly) intentional life.

…so we can’t get it wrong

I think about my friend Allie, and I have to smile. 

Her voice, her laugh, her wit; her creativity and intelligence; the depth of her love and loyalty for friends and family; her commitment to the kids she works with.

There is no one else in the world like Allie.

When I think further, I realize that last statement is true of everyone I know, and in fact of everyone. There is no one that is exactly like anyone else.

What to make of this? The undeniable truth that each human being is absolutely unique. And in fact so is every living being, human or otherwise. 

It seems to me an everyday miracle.

An amazing truth that implies unlimited possibility of life expression.

To me it says 

  • the basis of our world- the natural/spiritual world we are part of- is variety, difference, creativity, expansion
  • all of us have our own part to play 
  • all beings are completely and exactly perfect
  • our life is ours to live, so we can’t get it wrong

And you, what does it say to you?

OMG I Can’t Say That!

Have you ever had an opinion that you know you don’t want to say out loud to your adult kid, something like “you’re clearly not gonna get that job you’re counting on” or “that guy you’re seeing is a loser”? You don’t want the job or the guy to come up, so you ramble on about anything else with great animation, your voice getting all high pitched and weird sounding.

You love your kid, you know their business is their business, and you want to be the kind of parent who knows when to keep her mouth shut.

When you hang up the phone, having dodged that bullet, you are relieved… for a moment. But then, the wondering sets in: did s/he notice how lame and awkward you were? Does s/he now wonder what’s wrong? And, how long can you keep this up when there is always something that is gonna feel taboo? How will you ever be close and feel connected if you have to censure everything so carefully?

Notice that when you resist and try to hide your thoughts, and judge yourself for having them, the thoughts themselves can take on outsized power. They become the elephant in the room. You may resent feeling judged, even if it is yourself doing the judging. When you don’t accept or feel good about our own thoughts and feelings, its difficult to have a clean, clear relationship with yourself. And when you’re working so hard to censure and hide your thoughts, its pretty impossible to feel comfortable and connected with others. 

So what to do?

First, don’t judge the thought or yourself for having it. Thoughts arise unbidden and we get to decide what to do with them.

Minimize the energy behind the thought. Don’t turn away from it- take a look, be curious. 

Question the thought. Ask: is it true? Am I in a position to see the full picture? Could I be wrong? What else do I think? What do I want to think? What do I want to communicate to my kid? 

Decide what thoughts you do want to think about your son or daughter. The thoughts should be believable to you and support how you want to show up for your kid.

Take the initiative to communicate that to your son or daughter. That could sound something like:

“I’ll probably always have my own ideas and thoughts about your life, sometimes based on feeling protective of you, or on my own experiences, fears, challenges, my desires or regrets about my own life. But I know this is your life to live your way, and I just want to be here to love you and support you. That’s what I am working on- bear with me if I fumble sometimes.”

When you figure out what you want to say, you don’t have to worry so much about what you might say.