Monday, January 31, 2011

What?...Oh Yeah, That's Right...

A strange thing happened the other day, I was introduced to someone by a colleague, and the introduction went something like this:  "This is Bren, she's a Transformational Guide who helps people make changes in their lives... and she's a published author."

It caught me by surprise.  A published author?...wait, that's right, I have been published; more than once in fact.  However, it was strange to be referred to as a published author because I don't necessarily think of myself that way.

This event caused me to take a look back, actually a long look back to just over a decade ago, when I first started working with a coach.  I was still in a corporate career back then and the company had decided bringing in coaches to work with various departments and individuals would help improve the overall workings of the company.  So I ended up working with two different coaches.  One worked with our department as a team, the other, I worked with one-on-one.   I won't discuss how the team coaching went, but I will share my personal coaching experience.

One of the first things I needed to figure out about my coach was if our coaching sessions were really private. I wanted to ensure that what we worked on and discussed wasn't going to go back to my Director or my Vice President.  So I will admit I tested him out and the work we did together stayed very corporate and did not venture into the personal realm at all.  Then once I was certain our conversations and work were indeed private, things quickly changed.

I startled him one day by announcing that I had a couple of goals I wanted to work on with him that had little to do with my corporate job.  The first was to get published; the second was to get out of the corporate job I was in and have my own business within five years.  Needless to say, he was a little surprised, but to his credit and ability, he agreed to help me attain both and assured me no one would know of my plans to leave.

It was at this point in my life, this goal, that started me down the path to being a published author. I have always enjoyed writing, however I wasn't sure people would enjoy reading what I wrote, so I never submitted my writing to magazines or publishers or even blog posts.  The most I ever wrote was a monthly newsletter for a professional organization.  To be honest, I'm still not all that sure people enjoy what I write, the only difference now is, I write it and post it and then hope it resonates with those who choose to read it.

An amazing thing happened as I worked with my coach on my goal to being published.   I was attending a meeting one night and met the editor of a woman's business magazine.  We chatted for a bit and then we were joined by another colleague who told the editor that I was a writer; I was stunned, did my colleague actually say that to an editor?  What was she thinking?  The editor turned to me and asked one question "Are you any good?"

How exactly was I supposed to answer that?  My response was "I think I am".

The editor looked at me and replied, "Well then, write an article, send it to me and if it's any good, I'll publish it."

In my next coaching session I relayed the experience to my coach who was thrilled for me.  I on the other hand was a little nauseous, kind of queasy and yes, a little scared.  Back then I didn't realize you should feel this way when you are close to accomplishing a big goal; and all your goals should be big.   A goal is supposed to be achievable yet also a stretch, something big, challenging, exciting, so it thrills you when you accomplish it.

My coach pushed me to write the article.  He became that voice in my head; yes, I will say that 'nagging voice in my head' that reminded me I already had an editor waiting to read my work; I didn't need to knock on doors and ask to be considered, I had someone waiting, all I had to do was write.  So with great trepidation I contacted the editor and asked how long of an article and if there was a particular topic she wanted me to cover.  She gave me an overview of the type of article and indicated it needed to be approximately 1,200 words; it was going to be a two page article.

I couldn't believe she wanted a two page article from me.  Now I will admit I panicked. I had said I wanted to be published and yet in my mind I had thought of this goal as a long term goal; something that would take me, oh a year or two to accomplish, yet it had only been a month since I originally announced the goal to my coach and already I had an editor waiting to read my work.  Granted it didn't guarantee it would be published, but the speed at which this goal was manifesting was astounding.  I sat down and wrote the article. Then I re-wrote it.   Then I left it for a few days and re-read it; then edited it.  It was finished, but I hesitated over sending it in.  It sat as an attachment in a draft email on my computer for days.

My coach worked with several staff members in my company so I would see him not just during our meetings but also in the halls of my office. Each time he would say "Have you sent it?"  and I would shake my head no.  Finally he showed up at my desk one day and said "Send it now, while I'm here."  There really wasn't a reason not to send it, other than I was afraid the editor would hate it. So with my coach standing beside me, I sent it and waited.

It seemed like forever before I got a reply.  In reality it was probably about a week, but anyone who has ever waited for an answer knows how you can torture yourself with self-talk.  "She hates it", "I should have rewritten it", "I should have taken a different perspective", all kinds of thoughts filled my head.  My coach's response was simple and straight-forward "wait for an answer".

Finally, I got a response.  She liked the article, in fact she was going to publish the entire article in an upcoming edition without additional editing; it would be printed.  My coach was impressed and pointed out that it's not often that the first piece of work a writer writes actually gets published let alone published without revisions or editing.   Part of me was overjoyed with what I had accomplished, the other part of me couldn't believe I achieved this goal in only four months.  It didn't take the two years I expected; it came together as if by magic.  Once I had committed myself to the goal, the pieces came together, things aligned because I was aligned and clear on what it was I wanted.  It seemed simple, almost too simple and I really couldn't believe it until I actually had the magazine in hand and saw the two page article with my name on it.

Since then I have co-authored the book, Dying To Live Well, with Renate Weiler, Kim Redman, and Deborah Johnson.  I write a monthly newsletter along with this blog, and I have written a deck of inspirational cards which I plan on having published. So, yes, I am published author.

As for the other goal, the one about being out of a corporate job within five years, that happened as well.  I was conveniently downsized, given a severance package, and I stepped out the corporate door and into the life I live now as a Transformational Guide.

Some times it takes hearing it from someone else to remind us of our accomplishments. The goals we set in the past and accomplish, then pave the way for how we choose to live our life and the goals we set in future.  My journey out of a corporate job and into a profession I love started with having a coach, creating a plan and setting goals.  Along the way I have become an author, a Master Practitioner, a Transformational Guide, and a coach.  I live my passion and assist and guide my clients so they are able to live their passion as well.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Journey

I love my work; I love what I do.

There is a certain yet indescribable joy in witnessing a client's journey through the process of transformation; a journey they willingly embarked on, a journey they are committed to take and to see through to their destination ~ their goal.

Clients come to me for a variety of reasons, family, relationships, career, personal development, etc.  Regardless of the reason, they all seek the same thing: "Change".  They want to change something somewhere in their life in order to make their life better; to get them 'on track'; to get them aligned and congruent with how they want to live their life. In other words, they want to live a fuller, happier life than they are currently living and they are looking for someone to assist them in making their goal a reality and they ready to do whatever it takes to achieve it.

My job is to guide them on their journey.  Their commitment to taking the journey means they will be doing the work.  Each client is responsible for creating the changes in their life they seek; my responsibility is to guide them through the process, to give them the tools, information, strategies and support they need to succeed.  I commit to assisting them when they commit fully to the work and the goal.  I firmly believe each and every one of my clients can achieve whatever they set out to accomplish when they are willing to do whatever it takes to get them there.

As we journey the path of transformation together, I get to witness first hand how they progress.  I see the change in their facial expressions and body language, the changes in the tone of their voice and their words, I share in the excitement of how the change they seek is beginning to manifest in their lives and I get to be part of their celebration as they achieve their goal.  I am a witness to their potential and to their success; and without a doubt it is both an honour and a joy for me to be part of their success.

The funny thing is, they often joyfully say "You changed my life!"  Yet, the truth is, they changed their own life; I merely journeyed and guided them along the way; they chose to make the journey and by doing so, they empowered themselves and achieved their goals.

Guiding individuals through change and transformation and into empowerment.  That's what I do... and I love it!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What's Your Priority?

It's amazing how many people have a long list of priorities, yet they are not on their own list.

While it's admirable to put the needs of others first, the reality is, in order to be able to continue to meet the needs of others, one needs to have their own needs met first.  In other words, a person cannot continually care for others without caring for themselves, yet so many people continue to try to do just that and the end result is usually exhaustion, resentment, and often illness.

Ask yourself this question "Am I at the top of my priority list?" and if the answer is "no" then ask "Am I even ON my priority list?" and if the answer is still "no" then it may be time to reconsider your priorities.

For some reason society seems to equate taking time for ourselves with being selfish. When did taking time for our own well-being become an act of selfishness?  When did getting enough exercise and rest, eating well and taking care of our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical states, enjoying time with family and friends become selfish?  Why have we put the well-being and care of everyone else (our husbands/wives, parents/children, friends/colleagues, career) above our own?  Why are their needs/demands more important to us than our own well-being and are we really prepared to pay the price that is attached to this belief?

We have become a society that is always rushed, stressed, exhausted and frankly over-medicated.  Ulcers, sleepless nights, acid reflux, aches, pains, migraines, and no time to do what's necessary for our well-being, but just enough time to take a pill to treat the symptom but not the cause because it would be selfish to say: I need to go to the gym or to yoga, or I need a break so I'm going out for coffee with friends or to a movie, or for a walk, or any other thing that would give you time for yourself to regroup and gain a sense of well-being and rejuvenation. 

Your own well-being should be a priority for you.  When you feel well, you are able to do more: for yourself, for your family, for others you have made commitments to.  Taking time for yourself, in whatever form gives you that sense of well-being, rejuvenation and relaxation is a necessity to living life fully.  Put yourself on the top of your priority list and you will be amazed by how taking care of you will make it easier to continue to meet and take care of all the other priorities. Think about it, even the airlines tell us "Put your oxygen mask on first, then assist others".  They know you have to take care of you first in order to be of help to others.

As the saying goes "You don't know how important good health is until you don't have it".  

It's a whole lot easier to maintain good health than it is to regain good health.  

It's a new year, a new beginning and a good time to review and update your priorities.  Make sure you are at the top of your own list.