Friday, April 15, 2016

Input Wanted from Christian Midlife Women



Input Wanted from Christian Midlife Women


I'm looking for input from midlife Christian women. Does that interest you?

As I coach new women and write new eBooks, I'd like to have more input as to what other women in their midlife season have tried, are trying, and hope to try.  I'd like to know what challenges you faced, what didn't work out for you, and what has worked out.

I'd like to know how you include God in your decisions.  I'd like to know where you feel he's led you and how you went about discovering that.  

I'd like to know how you balance your own wants and ideas with what God ultimately does.  That is, when he doesn't open doors you hoped would open, what is your recourse? 

Tell me what you really wish would happen in your life.  Tell me who helped offer you direction.  Tell me your needs. What are you current struggles?

When or if you decided to participate, you can email me your story here.  

In return, you will receive an opportunity for two free life coaching responses by email. This is not a paying opportunity for either of us. 

On my end, I would like permission to use bits of your story as examples in upcoming books, but will mask them by changing your name and some of the details.   You are welcome to send your email anonymously. Your input may or may not be used.  Surely, your input will help me become a better life coach to midlife women.  

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you in advance.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Daily Purpose


Just some random thoughts for those looking for some daily living suggestions:

  • Start each day as a new one.  
  • Let the past go--even what happened yesterday.
  • If you have a plan for today, commit it to God and move forward.
  • If you have no certain plan, ask God what he would like you to do with your time today. 
  • Stop. 
  • Listen.  
  • Concentrate. 
  • Make a mini-schedule in your mind or on paper.
  • Start taking steps.  Little steps toward a bigger goal.
  • Stand back and enjoy the progress.
  • Do something you think is fun.
  • Do something that counts as fitness.
  • Do something that is creative.
  • Do something that is nurturing.
  • Encourage someone.


My daughter came home yesterday.  I hadn't seen her for a month!

Today, I drove her to a job interview an hour away.  After the interview we had a brief mall time lunch.  We then headed up to Barrie, ON (1.5 more hours) where I returned her to her apartment and job, but not before picking up a few groceries for her.  On the second leg of our trip we listened to Joel Osteen on the Sirius radio.

We chatted, and I tried not to say the wrong thing to this 20-something young lady. But I talked a lot.  We hugged and I returned home.  I drove the back way because I was tired.  I didn't want the 400-series highways putting me to sleep.  It was sunny and there was snow across all the fields.  Ontario still has many farm fields, that's for sure.

It was a fully and busy day.  I drove 5 hours! And I fulfilled my purpose for today.


Isaiah 41:13 New International VersionFor I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What Kind of Life Coach Should You Use?




Today I talked with my massage therapist about life coaches.  She initiated the conversation not knowing my background.

Her main issues were: now that it's become a popular and still unregulated field, the market is over saturated with life coaches. In that mix, you will find coaches from a to z.  That means, you'll find coaches with various backgrounds, perspectives, and styles, so ferreting out what you really need becomes work.

Most offer a free get-to-know you conversation.  Unfortunately, some coaches use the time to try to convince you to buy their services. Nevertheless, it's up to you to see "what language they speak." We all have a language.  Mine is faith-based language.  I can't coach from any new age type ideas.  It's not my language. But I'm pretty good at coaching from a psychology and empathetic base too for those who aren't interested in including faith in the discussions.

What Matters

My friend used the term "authentic" a fair amount.  When a person uses a word often, that's a sign of something important to them. I didn't get her to define what that meant for her, but she gave a few examples of what it didn't look like.

I've both coached and used coaches.  I know what's out there to a fair degree. I know what I've sensed and what works and doesn't work for me.  That's another matter altogether--finding what works for me and my personality.  Some of us have our own picture of how a session should go that our coach would never know about. One of my pet peeves is a coach should be careful of not dominating the call.  She should let her client have the floor.

Another pet peeve is a coach should be careful about applying judgment labels.  I may have done this myself.  It happens easily, but one wrongly used judgment label can turn a client away.

In our conversation, my friend mentioned she'd been at a seminar and the life coach presenting asked a question and then mocked her answer.

Good coaching really does require skill.


Expectations 

If you use a coach, be fair when she doesn't coach exactly as you want her to.
Do spell out your expectations. Spell out what issues you think you want to delve into.  I say "think" because sometimes what you first think is the issue ends up not being the real issue.  For instance, I once used a coach for clarity on my business direction and in the hour-long discussion realized it was my social life that needed attention, and when that was fixed up I could function better in my business.

My friend and I agreed over many things we've seen in the coaching arena but at the end of the day, we both felt there is value in having a life coach whether for a few sessions or several.

  

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Keep Changing, But Watch Yourself




To keep life fresh, change is important.  Small changes or large changes.

Physical Health Changes 

Right now I'm doing an anti-parasite detox. Whew, did you know how many parasites might be hiding in your bowels?  Creepy.  Anyhow, I want to keep changing my health to what is best for my body.  I'm in a Facebook body health group that I've learned a lot from. I want to be able to do the things God has put me on earth to do.

Right now I can hardly finish typing this because my muscles keep stiffening up. I also have a pain pit in the lower spine area that's been bugging me for over a year.  Chiropractic, massage, heat, stretching, and a new chair  have not been effective over the long term.  I've learned a product MSM might be able to help my stiff muscles.  I've been on it a month and am hoping for the best.

Membership Changes 

I also decided today to drop my gym membership.  It was a place for me to get out of the house to go to.  I imagined going late at night if necessary as it was open 24-hours. It worked for me the first few years, but lately it's not been feasible. A friend also pointed out when she visited a similar franchise she didn't feel it was friendly.  She goes to a community center for 50 and over and says they are quite friendly.

My friend is right. When I first started I would make a point of having a conversation with the office staff at the gym. But no other gym members interacted with me.  Most of us weren't there for that purpose, but the older I get in the empty nest phase, the more I want and need to socialize.

The new staff have rarely even said hello to me when I've entered. But that's not the reason I'm quitting.  I challenged myself to get there 2 times a week Jan and Feb or quit. I didn't meet my plan.  I realized today I was usually only motivated lately to go out of guilt not enjoyment. That's not a good sign.

Change Can Make Me Feel Queasy

Once I sent the termination email in I was surprised by the panic I felt.  It was as though I'd said goodbye to exercise forever and accepted a lesser life. Which isn't true.

I realized how much a crutch the idea of a gym membership was.  I think it made me feel like I was doing better than I was in the exercise department just by having a membership.  But a membership alone doesn't work your heart or muscles.

Change Can Feel Like a Loss

But I think the panic is more than that.  I joined when my son was in high school as this gym was nearby.  It was easy for me to get to it regularly before picking him up.  I think by quitting now I'm letting go of a fond memory of an old routine. Another sign that my mothering phase has ended and time is moving on. (insert tears).

I was the only member of the family who was a member, so it was my thing. Giving up my thing doesn't feel good either. We all need something that is our thing.

Watch for Triggers

I thought I was fine with the idea of giving up the membership.  I thought being relieved of the guilt  of not going would help.  And it may, but I was surprised of a memory it triggered.

Years ago just before I had my midlife crisis, I'd quit another gym membership. I'd switched churches, quit the ladies group, and then my membership.  I basically took myself out of operation.  I didn't realize what I was doing at the time, nor the consequences.

The idea was that I would quit and my husband would use the money to buy home equipment we'd all use.

Well, I barely used the home equipment and I was depressed.

When I told my husband today that I was quitting the gym, imagine my reaction when the first thing he said was, "What piece of equipment do you want to buy?"

"NO!" I screamed inside.  I'm going down that road again.

And so with nothing new lined up except for some home videos I plan to do, I'm feeling a little nervous.

Fill the Gaps 

So I will start an online Essentrics program and then look into pay-as-you-go community programs to fill the gap.

Since deciding to make this change I feel a sense of panic.  Some change is hard. So I will ask God to lead me through the right new doors.

What about you?  Spring is on the way. Do you sense any new doors opening?  Do you sense it's time for change?


Saturday, February 06, 2016

My New Rules for Searching for Life Purpose and Direction

I have a friend looking for new life direction.

As a certified Life Purpose Coach® I pondered how I could best help her.

I could suggest she go through Pathway to Purpose or the Conversations on Purpose 10-week assessment process either alone or with a life coach.  It's the basis of the process I went through 10 years ago and a process I became certified in.


Since then I've written my own tools for midlife women which describe my discoveries on the idea of finding purpose in midlife.








As I pondered my friend's question, I wondered why I might hesitate offering he the 10-week Life Purpose Coaching process. I think the answer is because it tends to promise women results, but sometimes fails to give them, at least in the context most women are expecting.

I was tempted to contact a few of my coaching sisters to ask if they still believed the Life Purpose Coaching process they too were certified in.  

Challenged to Ask Myself

As I pondered asking my connections their take on the program I found myself asking, "What do you want their answers to be?"

Did I want them to validate my opinions?

Then I wondered how honest they'd be. No one wants to throw anyone or any program under the bus. I decided it might be a long wait for answers I already had formulated for myself.

I then asked myself, "What would your answer be to them if they asked your take on the program?" and "Why is it you still talk about and support it if you don't believe it offers answers? What IS your suggestion for finding life purpose and direction?"

My Take

Now that I've walked through and lived out the concepts over years, I'm happy to think of myself as an unofficial Beta tester of the program. My maturity and understanding have grown in leaps to where it is today. But I'm not sure my answers are what women are hoping to hear.  Nevertheless, I offer them in hopes one woman agrees or finds clarity.


Here are some of my thoughts:

a) No one person on earth will have your answer. No one person has developed a complete tool to solve your dilemma. If they did, there would be no need for God.

b) God does inspire writers today. He did inspire the author of the program I talk about. God anoints writers to produce products so they will become tools He will use to get people in line with His plan for them.

c) There is no it. There is no "ONE thing you're put on the earth to do." That is a concept taught in the program, but a thought I disagree with. I don't know if my disagreement is with the theory as it was expressed, or that I just didn't grasp the right understanding the author intended--maybe due to my high hopes and expectations.

At the time, I was desperate for answers about life direction.  When God connected me with the program I jumped two feet in the air. I finally felt I'd found life direction--my it--to train as a life coach!

My life purpose or mission statement was one I'd identified before my training. Over time I've written it differently.  It goes something like this:
  • To encourage others.
  • To use my gift of creative communication.
  • To help women become all God's designed them to be.
  • To launch women into meaningful ministry or work.
  • To help women find direction.
  • To walk through transition with Christian women.
  • To help midlife women find hope and direction.
  • To bring the Good News to others through writing and coaching. 

In many coaching programs, I'd fail.  Why?  Because I haven't made one focused statement.

We get caught up in the idea we are to have only one mission statement.  But why not have five or six?

Missing Factors 

What is missing in these statements is how I will do this?  Who are these women are that would want to listen to me?  How would I connect with them?


More so, we look for a title, job, or official role.  So I decided mine was life coach. Miraculously, God did connect me with several women in various parts of North America and I was hired to coach them by telephone. But then my interest waned and the inquiries became fewer.  Again I was back to square one! So the disillusion set in--if my life purpose was to be a life coach why wasn't it taking off? And the question arose whether the program misled me or not.

Expressions of our Mission 

Where many of us get stuck is in figuring out how to express our mission. I think most of us are looking for a role, title, job, etc.  Many say they are ministry-minded, but even then we want to be paid for our ministry, especially if we are still of age to be in the workforce. It doesn't feel right to use our time in unpaid ministry when we could be out there adding to our pension fund. Besides, God's word tells us to not be lazy and that a man who doesn't work won't be fed.


So it's all very confusing.

We want to be validated usually with a paycheck. Even if we choose to be a stay-at-home mom or homemaker, we want to be validated that our role is important.

We at least want to be given people to serve and venues to serve them in. When our children leave home it can be complicated to know just who we are to serve next.

Reality

The reality is that the answer isn't that cut and dried. There won't necessarily be one place or one way to use our gifts and express our mission.


When a woman goes through the life coaching process she probably expects to end it with a result that says something like this:

You are meant to be a college instructor.
You are meant to write books.
You are meant to only be a nurse.
You are meant to take a job in a tourist information center.
You are meant to go back to school to become a counselor.

Then the problem comes when she struggles to get an instructor position, sputters at writing her book or writes it and sells few, and so on.

d) The answer is to be open and flexible and to use tools along the way. I still support the program because it helped me deal with some hurts, grudges, bad habits, and so on. It helped me get to know myself, find freedom from things that bogged me down, gave me clarity, and offered direction for the rest of my journey.

So here are a few tips I would recommend to my friend who is looking for life purpose and direction:


  • do identify your skills, abilities, and discern what you feel God has equipped you to do or made you sensitive toward. 
  • get rid of the idea there is only one calling, one role, one way to express your mission.
  • get rid of the idea there is some business that is waiting for you to join them or some job with your name on it.
  • use multiple tools, tests, courses, and books with the expectation that they will only be one piece of your life purpose puzzle.
  • consult God and take steps to try things out with the mindset you can change direction as God leads.
  • enjoy the process of everything you try.
  • think micro.  That means, ask God about every little thing you do, and be confident he will use it for good. Be happy with micro. 
  • rewrite your definition of success and validation. We get too hung up on paychecks. 
  • discover your top passions and when you don't know what else to do, work on them.  See where they take you.


"For the LORD God is a sun and shield; 

the LORD bestows favor and honor; 

no good thing does he withhold from 

those whose walk is blameless" 

Psalm 84:11 (NIV).