Structure Matters

We’ve heard from several clients that they’d appreciate some support dealing with the challenges of working virtually. With more of us working from home right now, it’s leaving many people feeling unsettled and unproductive. The structure that we once had is gone and many of us haven’t yet put new, guiding structures into place.

To understand why structure is important, it may be helpful to understand a bit about the brain.

We all need consistent routines, otherwise, our brains have to do a lot of work to process all the new incoming data, and that uses a lot more energy. Our brains naturally want to conserve energy, so we count on routine and rote memory to get us through our days.

Having structure is critical to feeling safe,
feeling less tired,
and being more able to focus.

Think about it this way: imagine if every time you woke up, you had to relearn how to make coffee, brush your teeth, or even get dressed. These activities no longer require thought – hence the beauty of structure and routine!

COVID-19 has thrown much of our structure and routine out the window, so here are some tips for creating structure throughout your day during these shifting times:


  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time – every day.
  • Think about how you work. Are you most productive in the morning, midday, or afternoon? When possible, match this up with the needs of your workplace and colleagues so that you have a predictable schedule that takes the best advantage of your rhythms.
  • Make a list each morning of the most important items you need to tackle. Hang it on your wall.
  • Set reminders on your phone or computer to get up at least every hour and stretch, walk around the house, do some jumping jacks, dance through one whole song, etc.
  • Go outside when you can, while keeping a safe distance from others.
  • Eat healthfully and regularly.
  • Drink lots of water.


  • If you’re both working from home, figure out separate work areas so that you aren’t tripping over one another.
  • If you’re on a virtual meeting or phone call, create a system so that your partner knows not to interrupt you.
  • Find times to connect each day. Schedule a walk outdoors, if possible, to increase your sense of expansiveness.
  • Take turns creating meals. Get creative with what you have in the cabinet.
  • Find time to laugh. Watch a funny movie, an an old sitcom, or something that you know will bring you a chuckle.


  • Be sure that your kids are getting plenty of sleep. Their brains are growing and incorporating all these changes, too, so they may need even more sleep than usual.
  • Ensure that they, too, get regular exercise. Their muscles and their brains need to be active.
  • Create structured learning opportunities for your kids at a regular time each day.
  • Make sure they can focus on learning something that matches their level of understanding.
  • Be sure to manage the stimulation in the house so that your child can concentrate. Don’t let one child play video games and expect the other to do math in the same room.
  • Help your kids with a creative outlet (drawing, dancing, playing music).
  • Let your kids help with meal preparation.
  • Finally, leave room for unstructured time that isn’t screen time.

At the end of the week, review the structure you’ve created to see what worked well, what was challenging, and what you might want to do differently next week.

Structure can support you and your family
as we go through this challenging time

Remember, it’s differently stressful to all be home together; so acknowledge this with your family, and together work to identify structures that will help keep your brains from feeling overly taxed during this time.

We’d love to hear what’s working for you!

If you’d like to read some additional posts we’ve done to support people during this current pandemic, click here.

 We’re here if we  can be helpful—either by phone,
 Zoom, or the virtual platform  of your choice

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Living Thoughtfully: You Matter

We live in increasingly stressful times. The world is moving fast, there are powerful political divides, people are doing more and more in their roles at work, and families are juggling multiple schedules across 2, 3, or even 4 generations. And, now we are faced with Coronavirus.

It’s no wonder that it feels like the world is coming apart!

Over the next few weeks we’ll help you think about
how to care for yourself, your family, your workplace,
and your world during these challenging circumstances.

When you and the people you care about are under stress, it is critical that you put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Now, we know that oxygen masks won’t actually drop out of your ceiling at home or work, but the idea of taking good, thoughtful, and proactive care for yourself operates on the same principle.

Ensuring that you are taking good care of yourself increases your resistance to stress and illness, and it increases your resilience when under stress or when sick.

To be at your best in your life and world
and on behalf of the people and communities you love,
you have to care for your health and wellness.

Now is the time to be certain you are doing the following:

  • Sleep
    Get 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night (some people need 9 to function best).

    We know that it can be challenging, but we’re not kidding here. This is critical during times when it feels like your world is coming apart.

  • Water
    Drink lots of water.

    Water does so many things that are important when you’re under duress. It flushes your system, keeps your skin and mucous membranes moist and less likely to crack (opening you to the risk of germs), and it helps your brain function more effectively.

  • Food
    Eat as healthy as you can.

    Food is as much medicine as it is nutritious, so take advantage of this fact.

  • Exercise
    Exercise every day, even if for a few minutes.

    Exercise is important to your immune system, your resilience, and your ability to weather the storms of life. 15 – 30 minutes of movement each day can help you get through challenging times and support you in dealing with all that comes at you during a day—even germs.

  • Spirit
    Take time each day, or at least each week, to nurture your spirit.

    It’s amazing how often we let this go when life gets busy, and yet that’s when it’s most important.

    This can be as simple as listening to a meditation on an app, reading a passage from a spiritual text, taking a conscious walk in nature, or going to a service at your church, synagogue, or mosque.

Start putting the oxygen mask on yourself this week. It will support you staying as healthy as possible, both physically and mentally.

Next week we’ll talk about how to take care of yourself—particularly your physical health—when people around you are getting sick.

Stay well.

If you’d like additional support in honoring
and nurturing yourself during stressful times,
please contact us.

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We All Need Mirrors

In coaching leaders in a wide range of industries, we often encourage them to connect with people who can mirror back to them, honestly and accurately, who they are and how they show up in the world. We believe that other people can help us see more clearly who we are and whether we’re showing up in our life and work in ways that matter to us.

Today we want to share a note we recently received from Zöe, one of Heather’s clients. We often ask clients to write a 2 – 3 sentence description of their experience with us that we can share with people who are considering working with us. This was so much more!

This is a powerful mirror of our impact,
letting us know that we behaved in alignment
with our mission and values.

Take a look . . .

“Working with Heather has been a stark difference from my previous experiences with career coaches and counsellors. While others helped me craft my resume and maybe identify my strengths as an employee, from the beginning Heather’s whole-person approach fit my needs to a tee. During our first meeting, I was blown away when we didn’t even look at my resume. Heather first wanted to understand who I was before we dove into understanding where my next steps would lead. By the end of our first hour I was touched by the way she responded to my life’s story. She quickly began making connections between who I was and my values, where I wanted to go, and what work meant to me.

Heather’s process is incredibly humane.

I felt seen and understood each time we met.

Looking for work and trying to understand how to create a balanced life can create a lot of anxiety. Throughout my time working with her I felt like I had someone who both kept me accountable to doing the work, but who also understood the emotional nature of the process.

Heather empowered me to look inside and see what it was I truly wanted out of work and life. We set out my priorities, my criteria for my next job, and I learned about the strengths I had as a person, not just a list of software acumen!

She helped me understand
how to talk and write about myself,
which at times used to feel like a foreign language.

I came to Heather because I had a hard time articulating what I wanted to do. She helped me clear away the anxiety and be excited about finding something that actually excited me.

For those who already know what it is they want, Heather can also be incredibly helpful. Her support with my cover letters, resumes, and interviews was amazing! Because Heather took the time to understand who I am, she understood what I was leaving out when I talked or wrote about myself.

Finally, the accountability buddy piece of this whole experience can’t be overstated. Everyone needs help and getting help from someone like Heather is a unique opportunity.”

Having a mirror can be powerful, and we’d encourage you to find a mirror in your life.

Whether it’s a trusted ally, colleague, or coach, ask them to let you know how they experience you, your department, or your organization; then listen closely. Hold both the positive feedback and the suggestions for change with great pride. You’re looking in a mirror — the only real way to know who you are and how you’re showing up in the world.

We are so grateful that we get to do this work!

If you’d like support in discovering your unique
gifts and talents, contact us today
about our coaching services.

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Your Afterlife Conversation

Recently, we were at a party where a few people were talking about wanting to be more like various athletes, business notables, and stars. One of the people in the group said, “I think that when we’re greeted in the afterlife, we won’t be asked why we weren’t more like these famous people we talked about today. Instead, we’ll be asked why we weren’t more fully ourselves!”

Wow, what a powerful thought!

Spend a moment thinking about this idea
that perhaps your job here on earth
is to become fully yourself

Most of us are quick to assess who we are in comparison to others. Instead, shift to assessing who you are in light of your potential to be fully yourself, with your unique gifts and talents, your distinct passions, and the ways you build connection and community.

What would you do differently if you believed that you were on this earth to overcome the messages that keep you small, the comparisons that insist you should be different, and the wounds and fears that life has inflicted on you?

Take some time this week to consider the following questions:

  1. What would you do if you were in this life in order to explore and experience your unique gifts and talents fully?
    • How would you talk about yourself to your boss?
    • What would you want to do more of and less of in your work?
    • What would you envision might be your future career path?
  2. What would you do if you believed that you were worthy of respect and love?
    • How would you relate differently to the people you love and who love you?
    • What relationships would you work to deepen? Which would you step away from?
    • What support would you get for growing in your ability to have rich, deep, and caring relationships with a partner, your family, your co-workers, your community?
  3. What would you do if you believed that you’re a creative person who can stretch into doing more of what brings you meaning and purpose?
    • How would this impact your choice of work?
    • Where would you go to explore your creative expression and the ways you could use it to contribute to your world?
    • How would you weave your passion, meaning, and purpose more fully into your life and work?

Living fully is a great act of courage. You’re worth it!

If you’d like support in discovering your unique
gifts and talents, contact us today
about our coaching services.

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Case Study: People Skills

Last week, we shared the 5 Must-Have People Skills to Succeed in Business and in Life. As a quick reminder, here they are:

  1. Influence
  2. Communication
  3. Dynamic Dialog
  4. Openness to Many Truths
  5. Ownership of Mistakes

Often, we nod our heads when we hear these skills, recognizing them but not really understanding what they look like in action. So, we’d like to share the story of Tara.

Tara was a successful financial executive at a midsize corporation. She was probably one of the most skilled accounting professionals you could ever meet. She was bright, strategic, and could crunch numbers with the speed and precision of a calculator (well, almost).

Because of her success, when the organization was faced with the retirement of the CEO, Tara was asked by the board to be the interim CEO. She jumped at the chance to step more fully into her leadership with this new challenge. Yet, within a month of taking the reins, she found herself getting feedback that she was experienced as being disrespectful and arrogant, at which time she sought us out for coaching and support.

As an expert in finance, Tara was adept at dealing with numbers and with people who understood the language of finance, but she had little experience dealing with the people across the organization who handled the design, development, sales and marketing of their product line. She quickly realized that she needed to develop her people skills if she was going to succeed in the interim position and in future leadership roles.

We talked with Tara about the 5 must-have people skills. Like many of us, Tara was more adept with some of the people skills than with others. For instance, she was very comfortable owning mistakes and believed strongly in communicating openly with others. Where she was struggling was being open to many truths, being influenced by others and engaging in dynamic dialog.

As an expert in finance, Tara loved that numbers were consistent. A five is always a five. And while she understood that there were often differences in the interpretation of numbers, she found it challenging when people she depended on brought her very different truths about the same event. It left her feeling a lack of confidence in her team and made it hard to be in a dynamic dialog—where their thinking influenced her thinking.

Through our work together, she realized that in order to move forward successfully with her team and the board, she needed to work on these three areas.

We met weekly to discuss the ways she could expand her people skills and agreed that she would experiment with some new behaviors to see if they increased her impact and the success of her team.

These are a few examples of what Tara did differently:

Openness to Many Truths: Tara found it frustrating that there were such different perspectives and interpretations of the same event. It often led her to close her door and make top-down decisions that undermined her credibility as a leader, particularly in this interim role.

We recommended that Tara consider the differing input as a way to get a glimpse of the business from another vantage point. Then, in dynamic dialogue, the group could create a shared understanding of what was going on that would influence their shared decisions about how to proceed.

Dynamic Dialog: We helped Tara understand that she didn’t have to stop when she encountered different truths but, instead, they were the starting point for a more dynamic dialog where the team shared information. With that information they explored, together, how to fulfill the needs of the business.

Influence: As the team shared the many perspectives and truths that they saw, and as they moved into a dynamic dialog about how each perspectives identified some core issues that needed attention, Tara was able to ask them how they would suggest they proceed (she asked for their influence). She then added her perspective about how to proceed (she influenced them), and together they agreed to a path forward.

This approach to the work began a new way for Tara to work with her team that included their wisdom and perspective in the planning, and created shared ownership for success moving forward.

Her team and the board both felt better about her leadership and Tara, to her credit, asked them to tell her when she reverted back to “finance thinking” vs. “leadership thinking.” At first her team was wary to do so, but because Tara was comfortable with owning mistakes and direct communications, they came to have confidence that they could, in fact, let her know when they felt unable to influence her.

Tara kept this list of skills on a post-it note on her computer. There were still days when she wanted to pull up some spread sheets and make decisions in a vacuum—this people stuff seemed slow and inefficient. Over time, however, she saw that taking the time for the people stuff up front resulted in much greater team alignment and their awareness of needing to engage others to get buy-in before decisions were made. Tara’s growth was growing her team.

Like any of us learning a new skill, Tara stumbled at times; but with regular coaching and reflection, she gained skills and wisdom during the 12 months she served in the role. At the end of that year, she was identified by a search firm to lead another organization which she continues to lead to this day.

You can do this!

If you’d like to brush up on your people skills,
contact us today
about our coaching services.

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5 Must-Have People Skills to Succeed

Mastery of knowledge within a field is not complete without mastering the people skills required to work effectively within your organization. Most businesses today require that you collaborate on teams, across departments, or across the globe. Being able to relate to people is as important as the technical skills that you’ve learned and developed.

Regardless of your area of expertise, we hope that you will explore these 5 Must-Have People Skills and apply them to your life.


The foundation of our work is in our definition of leadership: A leader is anyone who is willing to influence their world and is willing to be influenced by their world, regardless of their role or title. 

The ability to influence others and be influenced by others is the key to excellent relationships and powerful leadership. You’ll be more successful if you share your perspective with others and then listen deeply to their thoughts, ideas, and wisdom.

This is where great discussions, innovation, and synergy happen.

You’re always communicating! Whether it’s with your words, your body language, your clothing, or even the electronics you use, it’s important to remember that everything is a communication and you should choose yours wisely.

Your words and actions should be communicating the same thing. It’s discordant for people to hear one thing but see another in your behaviors. Aligning your words and your behaviors is critical to success.

Dynamic Dialog:
Great conversations can transform your relationships at work, at home, and in your community. Four key components of dynamic dialog are: intentionality, transparency, curiosity, and deep listening.

Dialog is not just taking turns speaking, it’s about listening deeply with the intention of getting beyond the spoken word. It’s about aligning on principles and ideals so that everyone is better for having shared in the discussion.

Openness to Many Truths:
Great leaders understand that there are many truths. Truth, in relationships, is a subjective experience. Respect for different perspectives can create alignment, engagement, and ownership of success.

The easiest way to build empathy is to understand that every one of us has a different truth about the world – a truth that’s based on our upbringing, our family of origin, our traumas and our successes.

Ownership of Mistakes:
Owning up to your part in a mistake is vital to strong relationships. You’ll gain respect and deeper connections if you take responsibility for your mistakes, are transparent about what happened, and stay open to learning from your mistakes.

Mistakes happen. It’s what you do after the mistake that defines you.

We’ve included our 5 Must-Have People Skills infographic that you can print and use to remind you of these essential skills.

Download the 5 Must-Have People Skills pdf here

Take some time this week to think about these 5 Must-Have People Skills. We’d love to know where you shine and where you feel like you have some growing to do.

We’re here for you!

If you’d like support in getting unstuck,
contact us today
about our coaching services.

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When Your Patterns Hold You Back

This week, we want to share with you how the patterns you’ve learned early and over the course of your life can make you prone to feeling stuck.

Consider this:
In childhood every one of us needed love, support, interest, concern, protection, food, and education from our caregivers.

At the same time they were supposed to be nurturing us, our caregivers may have been tired, stressed, dealing with financial difficulties, struggling with addictions, juggling work schedules, caregiving their own parent, or feeling overwhelmed by all of their responsibilities. In addition, our caregivers had their own early experiences that shaped them and how they managed their parenting.

This complex weaving creates an environment where children first learn to navigate their worlds by navigating their families.

In those early years, and as we grow, we learn ways of relating to power, work, neighbors, family, politics, religion, our bodies, others’ bodies, similar types of people and people very different from us, and who we believe we are at our very core. We use those lessons to survive the normal messiness of early life and to navigate our movement into the world.

We develop the behaviors, mindsets, perspectives, and approaches to life that support us in our particular world. We then do these things over and over again in our lives until these patterns are so entrenched that they seem like truths.

Many of our patterns help us in our lives,
 yet it’s the few that don’t serve us
that we need to watch out for.

The pattern of relating warmly to family and friends, neighbors, and people on the sidewalk may serve you well in many instances. It becomes a problem when someone is treating you badly and you endure this treatment to ensure that you’re relating warmly to that person versus setting limits or getting away from them.

We see old patterns become problems in the workplace, too. When someone reports feeling stuck in their work, they’re often actually bumping into old personal belief patterns. These beliefs may leave them feeling that they can’t ask for a pay raise because that would be greedy or they can’t set a limit on someone who is always talking to them at their desk because that would be disrespectful or they can’t look for a new job because this job is safe.

Spend a bit of time this week thinking about your patterns. Which ones still serve you and which ones don’t?

When you find yourself feeling stuck, ask yourself if you’re struggling because of a pattern or story you’ve come to believe is a truth. Your answer may free you up to move forward.

Let us know if we can help.

If you’d like support in getting unstuck,
contact us today
about our coaching services.

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After our recent posts about moving around your obstacles and getting closer to your goals, a number of you wrote to us and expressed that you’re feeling stuck—stuck in your thinking, stuck in your approach to work, stuck in your ability to think insightfully about your life.

Stuck is a challenging obstacle. It can be hard to fully name and even harder to move on from.

Sometimes when people feel stuck they just start doing, doing, doing but without a vision or goal. For others, they get paralyzed and find that they do nothing. And still others go on with their daily activities but feel lost, unsettled, and, well, stuck.

So, this week we’d like to share some of the things that we’ve found helpful in getting unstuck. Take a look at the ideas below and see if any of them resonate with you.

Write a letter.
Write a letter to someone you’re inspired by (living or dead), and tell them what’s going on in your life and what you feel is missing. If writing doesn’t feel right, try doing this exact same thing by leaving yourself a voicemail on a private number. Both of these actions can often open you up in ways you don’t expect.
  • No one ever has to see this, so be honest and write/speak freely—don’t judge yourself or worry about grammar or spelling.
    • Go into a lot of detail. Share what’s been going on recently, how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, and how others are responding to you.
    • Tell them how you got here—this stuck place.
    • Tell them a bit about what it was like growing up, what you learned about what was possible in your life, and what you learned about keeping yourself safe and small.
    • Tell them about your successes in life and your missteps.
    • Tell them where you thought you’d be at this point in your life.
    • Ask them what they’d suggest you do to get unstuck, and then write down your very first thoughts in response to the question as if it’s coming from them.
  • Play with this over a few days.
Ask yourself a question.
  • If I had a magic wand, what would I do right now?
    • Be open to all answers.
    • It’s tempting to be judgmental, but really consider what you would do. Then ask yourself, “Why would this feel good?” Answer that and ask why once again another one or two times.
  • How would Buddha, Jesus, Ghandi, my Aunt Kate respond in this instance?
  • What would I do if I knew there would be no consequence?
  • If being stuck was “a gift”, describe what the gift would be for being stuck now.
Have a conversation.
Have a conversation with someone who you believe can hold your discomfort with respect and help you reflect on where you are in your life, why you feel stuck, and how you might move forward.
Do something new or different.
  • meditate
  • plan a hike
  • call an old friend
  • color, paint, or draw
  • take an improv class
  • read a genre of book that’s new to you
  • join an exercise, dance, or other activity group

We know that feeling stuck can be a frustrating and sometimes frightening place. Give yourself some time this week to try one of the ideas on this list. Please let us know what you discover.

We’re here for you!

If you’d like support in getting unstuck,
contact us today
about our coaching services.

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When Obstacles Get in Your Way

In last week’s post, Heather shared how she used our Mapping Your Success Path framework to focus on her 2019 goals.

We heard from a number of you that you struggle in your personal and professional lives with staying on track with a plan. Some of you thought that Heather was so successful because she is a coach and does this work every day.

We have to admit, we regularly talk about how challenging it can be to stay on track, and that we never want to suggest that this is easy. So, this week, Heather is going to dive in a bit more to the Obstacle portion of the Success Path and give some additional details on the times she went off track and what she did to course correct.

. . . . . . . . . .

As a reminder, after a complete tear of my ACL, I not only required surgery but 9-12 months of physical therapy to recover. To provide support for my recovery, I decided that my theme for 2019 was Mindfulness. Specifically, to be mindful of my attitude, mindset, and movement after knee surgery so that I could allow my knee to fully heal, become strong again, and no longer have pain.I knew that 2019 would be a challenge because I have a long history of overdoing and hurrying – it has come to feel like my natural state. My recovery required me to be slow and steady. Clearly, I was going to need to do some things differently!

That said, there were many (MANY) times throughout the year where I bumped into my hurry habits and either did too much or, in reaction, did too little. At times I was exhausted or in pain. Other times I grappled with self-pity and “why me?” And, often I got really impatient because I felt my progress was taking too long.

Here’s what I did to keep myself on track
(or to get back on track when I was derailed!):

I committed to doing the following three things for 5 minutes each morning. Notice the word commit. I didn’t expect to be motivated to do them every morning, so I treated them the way I treat work, I made them non-negotiable.

Priority: I’d remind myself of my big goal and why I was doing it. Actually, I had it written out and hung up on the wall which helped me to see my goal, in writing, on a regular basis.

Plan: I’d think about the one most important thing I needed to do that day for my recovery and visualize where and when I would do it.

Prepare: I’d prepare for the obstacles that I knew were likely to get in my way by creating an “If / Then” contingency plan. For example:

Prepare: I’d prepare for the obstacles that I knew were likely to get in my way by creating an “If / Then” contingency plan. For example:

    • If I’m feeling great and am worried that I’ll do too much, then I’ll ask coworkers, friends, or colleagues to keep an eye on me.”
    • If I’m feeling like I don’t want to do anything but watch TV or stay in bed, then I’ll turn on my favorite music to get me moving.”
    • If I do the plan that the physical therapist has laid out for me for the whole month, and I don’t get hurt, then I’ll reward myself with a new pair of sneakers.”

Research shows that this type of realistic idealism can be key to ensuring we keep moving forward with our goals.In her book, Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, Psychology professor Gabriel Oettingen discovered that when people visualized details of both their outcomes and their obstacles, they were far more likely to achieve their goals.

To be very clear, along the way I did get derailed. What really helped me to continue moving forward was making my success non-negotiable; reminding myself of my big WHY, stating what my rewards would be, and creating a web of accountability with the people in my life.

A quote that inspires me to keep moving forward by Greg McKeown in his book Essentialism, is:

“If you don’t prioritize your life,
someone else will.”

. . . . . . . . . .

We hope this has added some greater insight for you into the nature of obstacles and how to navigate the normal times when you get derailed on the way to your goals.

Heather’s journey and how her success was achieved wasn’t because she is a coach or because she didn’t get derailed, but because she planned for obstacles—she counted on them!

As you begin to map your success remember to factor in the obstacles as a normal, but challenging, part of the process so that they don’t throw you off course.

To your success!
. . . . . . . . . . 
If you’d like support in putting this framework
into action in your life, contact Heather
about our coaching services.

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Case Study: Success Path

In last week’s post, we shared the framework we use to help individuals set themselves up for success with their goals throughout the year. We call it Mapping Your Success Path.

As a reminder, you start the process by thinking big about the whole of your life before diving into the specific goals.

Here are the steps:

  • Life Priorities – what truly matters to you in this life?
  • Meaning & Purpose – what are you passionate about that brings you meaning and purpose?
  • Goals – what’s your vision of success and what are the 1-3 goals that will move you forward?
  • Obstacles – what gets in your way?
  • Small Steps – what are the small steps you can take each day to get around the obstacles so that you can gain traction on your goals?

While people love the idea of this framework, they often ask if it really works. So, this week Heather is going to share her recent experience using this framework in 2019 after she had ACL reconstruction on her knee:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I think it’s important to tell you that I’m a mover . . . I hurry, run, and dash through my life, and that pattern has taken its toll on my knees in more recent years. Most of the time there’s no need for me to be hurried, but I guess I believe—in the moment—that it’s efficient. I suspect you’ll see the irony in this.

A year ago, I hopped up onto a wobbly stool to hang a photo instead of grabbing the step stool in the garage (an example of trying to be efficient!). The fall from the wobbly stool resulted in the complete tear of my ACL. I not only required surgery but 9-12 months of physical therapy to recover.

I decided that it was time for me to change my behavior. Knowing this would require me to learn new habits, I decided to use our Mapping Your Success Path framework to bolster my chances of success.

Here’s what the framework looked like for my situation:

Life priorities: one of my top life priorities for 2019 was my health—more specifically, a functioning pain-free knee. And, knowing I can do too much in the pursuit of efficiency, I decided I needed to heal at the pace the professionals were telling me it would take (which was considerably slower than I could imagine) so that I could be active and pain-free moving forward.

Meaning and Purpose:
I loosely describe my sense of meaning and purpose as someone who is an activator for myself and others—I am pretty passionate about helping people move forward. In this case, I committed to bringing that passion to my own life.

Vision/Goals: I often pick one word that’s my theme for the year and, as I considered what it would take for me to change my behavior, I decided that for 2019 it was Mindfulness. I wanted to heal properly which meant moving slower, more deliberately, and doing daily (often small) exercises. I needed to listen to not only the health care pros but to my own body…All. The. Time.

Obstacles: I knew that the biggest obstacle would be ME. My constant sense of “gotta go, gotta go, gotta go!” This obstacle wasn’t as difficult to overcome when I was on crutches because it wasn’t an option to move quickly. Once I started to heal and become more mobile, I knew the real test would begin.

Small steps: The best way for me to remain mindful and not slide back into my old habits, was to pause every time I stood up and remind myself that my goal was to be mindful of my body.

To help me remember this, I regularly talked about it, left myself notes around work and the house, and I setup a support system to further ensure that I was successful.

  • Accountability: As I mentioned above, I regularly told my friends, family, and coworkers about it so that they could help to hold me accountable. I can’t tell you how often one of them reminded me to slow down, saying something like, “Heather! What’s the rush? Take it easy!”
  • Progress Tracking: I knew that the only way I could easily track the 15-20 exercises I had to do daily, was to create something tangible that I could see. So, I made large poster board-sized charts and checked off each time I did an exercise that was on the list. I gave myself a star each day that I did exactly what I was supposed to do. Turns out that our adult brains really do like to see that we’re making progress!
  • Reminders: Once I started back at work, I knew it would be very difficult to stay mindful, so I put another piece into place. I created 3 different reminders on my phone that went off at different times of the day. They reminded me to get up, move, stretch, take a walk, etc. I still use them!
Success: For me (and for many of us), getting around the obstacles is about learning new habits in order to be successful. To learn to be more mindful, I created a world of support to help me to keep moving forward toward my goal.

I’m happy to say that I completed the year
without any falls or accidents
and have learned to pause more often
and to listen to what my body is telling me
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Like last week, we’d like you to think about what a successful year would look like for you.

How different would your world be if, by the end of the year, you’d been able to move forward toward your vision of success?

We’ve included our infographic again so that you can print it out and use it to help you think about where you land on your success path, and then the next steps to take toward success.

To the New Year!
If you’d like support in putting this framework
into action in your life, contact Heather
about our coaching services.

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