Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just BE it!

We are a society of 'doers'. Yes, achieving what we want in life does take action--you do have to do things in order to get where you want to go. However, we are also a society that tends to focus much more on the doing and less on the being.

What I teach my clients is that in order to achieve (i.e. attract) that which you want, you've got to align the doing with the being. Taking action for the sake of "making things happen" or out of fear can actually be at the determent of achieving what you want.

However, getting clear about what you really, really want and why you really want it and then choosing to be the type of person you really want to be will lead to inspired action, which comes from a place that feels good and feels easeful (this is my made-up word meaning, full of ease, which is different from 'easy'.)

Part of my job as a coach is to help people take the action that will bring them closer to that which they want. I am all for goals, plans and taking action, but the real magic really happens when the doing is in concert with the being.
  • How do you want to be in the world?
  • What type of mother do you want to be? Regardless of what you do for your children, how do you want them to remember you? Do you want to be present, warm, loving, engaged?
  • What type of leader do you want to be, in your business or in the company you work for? Regardless of all that you do to get the job done and keep the business going, how do you want those who work with you or for you to remember you? Do you want to be present, inspiried, creative?
  • How can you incorporate more being into your life today?

Taking action and feeling miserable while you do it doesn't make you more successful, it just makes you miserable.

Connecting with your being and how you want to feel first, and then taking action that aligns with that will not only lead you to greater success, but you'll be better able to enjoy the journey and the success along the way.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Making Molehills Out of Mountains

We'll see if I can make this title work. Humor me for a minute....

How do you work towards a BIG goal when you are already very busy and trying to juggle so much? How do you make some BIG changes that you know will lead you closer to where you want to be in your life when you already feel overwhelmed just from getting through life?

Often times what stops us from doing what we really need to do to get where we say we want to be is the feeling that the goal is unobtainable given your current situation.

Here's the (not-so-secret) secret.

You must turn your 'mountain' goals into mini 'molehill' goals.

Here's an example:

I was working with a client earlier this week on some life and business strategy planning. The primary reason she hired me is because she really wants to be working less hours so she can have more time for her family and for herself. One of her goals is to pick her daughter up from school at 3:00 p.m. each day. At this point in time, that feels totally overwhelming and unattainable since she's so, so busy with her business.

As we are in the midst of creating a strategic plan for her business and building up the infrastructure to take her from home-based, small business mode to office-based, multi-million dollar mode, she just can't get out of the office each day to pick up her daughter and feel good about it.

The mountain: picking up her daughter at 3:00 p.m. each day and being free enough to be present and enjoy the time in mommy mode.

At this time, the mountain feels insurmountable to her.

So, we've made a little molehill to start the ball rolling.

The molehill: picking up her daughter one day a week at 3:00 p.m. and taking the rest of the day off to enjoy time in mommy mode, and perhaps even do something just for herself.

Once we looked at starting with one day a week, my client felt more optimistic (and excited) that what she really wants is achievable.

In order to really support her in taking this day off, we came up with a structure that would help her make this change in her weekly schedule.

  • She chose a day of the week to commit to that would be the least likely to be impacted by travel and meetings (for her it was Wednesday).
  • She shared this commitment with her husband and would also be sharing it with her daughter so that they could help hold her accountable.
  • She asked her husband to support her in this goal by agreeing to take on the Wednesday morning routine with the kids so she can get out the door a bit earlier on the day she needs to leave the office early.
  • She agreed to block out the time on her schedule and hold it as a Very Important Playdate (VIP) with her daughter. This means not scheduling things over it and making sure she gets off calls and wraps-up projects so she can get out the door by 2:45 p.m.
  • She agreed to tell her employees about her commitment so that they too could support her by not forwarding on phone calls later in the day that day and encouraging her to get out the door when she needs to.
Now that she has a made a mini molehill goal out of her larger mountain goal, with some very specific support to help her make this change in her schedule, I am confident that she is on her way to achieving that which she really, really wants (more days of picking up her daughter from school).

Got a mountain of a goal that feels too big and insurmountable to achieve based on your current situation? Want some help finding a good mini molehill to get you started in the right direction? Contact me today to discuss how coaching can support you being your best in both worlds.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Worth the Four Minutes

I am a big fan of dancing. I love dancing. Dancing makes me feel happy. I don't dance nearly enough.

One of the things I hear from clients over and over is a desire to "lighten up"--in their work, in their parenting, and just generally in life. There's a desire to stop taking things so seriously, to laugh more and have more fun.

Hopefully this short video will help...at least for four seconds.

When you are done watching the video, I encourage you to do whatever it is you feel inspired to do in the moment.

Enjoy! I know I sure did.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Life Lessons for Kids and From Kids -- VIDEO

Think you are the only one who feels uncomfortable meeting new people and trying to remember names? Think again.

Check out how a five minute conversation with my 3-year-old daughter ended up being a perfect opportunity for a important life lesson for her...and for me.

P.S. Still trying to figure this video thing out. There's got to be a way to make the initial freeze-frame a little more, um, glamorous or something.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tips for Taking the Challange Out of Finding the Right Preschool

From the stories I heard from friends and the comments I read on the mommy message boards, finding a new child care/preschool for my daughter was not only going to be a challange, but perhaps even torturous. After ignoring my maternal instinct long enough that it was time for my daughter to move on from her current child care situation (a pit in your stomach each time you drop off and pick up your kid is a pretty good message from your own Internal Guidance System that it's not the right match anymore), I prepared myself for what I had convinced myself would be a long, frustrating and tedious process of finding a new school.

With an attitude like that, it's no surprise that that is just how my experience began.

I wanted the prefect place to just magically appear one day, but from what I was told, that is just not how preschool shopping goes around here . I started asking around, I called a few places, and eventually I visited a few places. Each time there were things I liked and things I didn't; sometimes it was more of a feeling that it wasn't right then anything else. There was even one place that I really wanted it to be the "right" so badly that I went back to observe twice. After witnessing a near disastrous bathroom situation with twelve 3-year-olds, I walked out of the building in tears that I would need to yet try again.

After a few hours of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to apply my own coaching techniques and what I know about the Law of Attraction to help me make this frustrating process much more enjoyable and easier.

I am happy to say that in less then a week we found the perfect place for my daughter. It's not a place that is heavily advertised in the area. In fact, it had not come up on any of my previous searches I did for area preschools and I hadn't even heard of it until a friend mentioned that her friend's children went there. Once I looked into the place, nearly everyone I mentioned it to either had children who had gone there, were going there or knew someone whose kids were going there. Which is particularly amazing considering they only take twelve kids at one time! My daughter's transition to her new school two weeks ago has been seamless and I drop her off and pick her up each day with a feeling of joy, peace and gratitude.

Below are some tips for taking the challange out of finding the right preschool or day care for your child.

1. Focus on what you want, not what you don't want:
This is the fundamental principle behind the Law of Attraction. What you focus on is what you get. The more I focused on the process of finding a school being challenging, frustrating and hard work, that's exactly what I experienced. As soon as I shifted my perspective and got very clear about what it was we really, really wanted for our daughter, it really did just magically show up.

2. Get really, really clear as to what you want:
Sit down with your spouse or partner and make your wish list for the most ideal place for your child. Paint a picture of what the place will look and feel like. Think in as much detail as possible and consider questions such as:
  • What is the size of the place? How many children? How many teachers?
  • How do the teachers/child care providers treat the children?
  • How far away is the place from your house?
  • What's the price range?
  • What's the ideal schedule for your family? How many days? How long each day?
  • What type of activities would you like them to offer?
  • What type of outdoor space do they have?
  • How do they handle communication between teachers and parents?
  • What is the primary learning philosophy? Play-based, Montessori, something else?
  • What's the interaction like between parents?
  • What is the age range of the children?
3. Know your deal-breakers: Creating your wish list is a key part to easily finding the right place. However, just like many wish lists, some items on the list carry a heavier weight then others. Prioritize your list and indicate which items are essential (i.e. the deal-breakers). Know which items must match up with the place in order for it be a clear YES.

4. Spread the word:
Once you have a clear picture as to what you want, tell as many people as you can what you are looking for. Let the options come to you as opposed to thinking you have to go on a mission to find the places yourself. The clearer you are as to what you are looking for, the easier it will be for people to pass along places they know about.

5. Pay attention to what you hear and feel:
Trust your own Internal Guidance System when talking to others about possibilities and when you start contacting places to interview. Listen to what is said, but also be aware of what is not said and what your gut instinct is telling you.

6. Check places against your deal-breakers:
Don't waste your time going to look at places that do not meet your essential list. Interview the owner, director or child care provider over the phone before scheduling a tour or meeting them face-to-face. It's too easy to lose sight of your deal-breakers when you are in the midst of viewing a place or meetings someone in person and your emotions of wanting it to be the right place or person kick in...only to find out later that they don't have space for the days you need or their pick-up time is too early for schedule.

7. Take some action, but don't force it to happen:
Taking inspired action is also a key component of helping the Law of Attraction work in your favor. But there's a difference between inspired action that comes from doing the previous steps versus taking action out of fear that you won't find something. Take action that keeps you feeling positive about the process. If you start feeling negative, take a break and recommit to your intention of this being an easy and enjoyable process and reconnect to your vision of what you want.

8. Trust:
There are many great preschools, child care facilities and nannies out there. Your perfect match will show up. Don't settle for anything less then what's on your essentials list or that doesn't feel right to you. If you do, there's good chance you'll be back doing this same search sooner then you'd like.