Life and Spiritual Coaching

October 14, 2008

Put Joy into Your Work

Filed under: Life Balance — by Donna Ritter @ 12:21 pm
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Put Joy into Your Work

Sabrina Schleicher, Ph.D.

Have you been feeling the doldrums with your job lately? Do you find yourself procrastinating with certain tasks? Is it hard to get up in the morning to get to work? If you answered “yes” to these questions, chances are there is incongruence between your job and your life purpose. And, the good news is, you don’t have to quit your job to address this incongruence (unless you really want to!)
In my Coaching Groups, we work on articulating our life purpose as a means to increasing our joy in our work. Yes, you have a life purpose. No, you don’t have to create it out of thin air. You already know what it is, even if you haven’t put words on it yet. You have been living out your purpose all of your life. Your life purpose is about the essence of who you are. It is who you can’t help but be.
There are many ways to identify your
life purpose. One way is through art. Art is a powerful tool for self-exploration. Art bypasses words and language. Art allows us to express the core of who we are, even when we can’t find the words to do so. And, you don’t have to be artistic to benefit from using art for self exploration.
Try this: Make a collage using magazine pictures, photos, or any random items that capture your interest.  As you are selecting things to include in your collage, the key is not to think too much. Just select pictures or items that you are drawn to.  Arrange them in your collage in whatever way feels good to you.

Once you have completed your collage, ask yourself these questions:

  • What feelings come up as you look at your collage?
  • What themes do you see?
  • What colors or patterns stand out?
  • What does your collage say about who you are?

Write your answers to these questions. Put your collage aside for a day or two. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself thinking about your collage off and on. What thoughts and feelings come up? Jot these down.

Then come back to your collage. Notice what is in your collage and what you have written down. To take this one step further, share your collage with a trusted friend or colleague. Ask for their feedback as to what the collage says about you. 
What words or phrases come up repeatedly? Use these words or phrases to write a few sentences about your life purpose. Start with the words, “I am…” and go from there. See what comes up. Play with this.

How do you feel as you read your life purpose aloud? You may feel what you have written is only partially done. That is ok. Articulating your life purpose is an on-going process. By doing this exercise, you have begun to develop a sense of your life purpose, and that is sufficient for looking at how your life purpose relates to your job.

When you feel lagging energy for your work, what is happening in your job that may be incongruent with your life purpose? What options are there for dealing with that? How are you expressing your life purpose in your work? What might you do this week to bring your life purpose into your work?

Answering these questions AND taking action on your answers will put you on the path to bringing joy into your work.


Boost Your Creativity and Make it Work for You!

Filed under: Life Coaching — by Donna Ritter @ 12:18 pm

Boost Your Creativity and Make it Work for You

Sabrina Schleicher, Ph.D.

There are times when it can feel like you have simply run out of good ideas. This is the classical “writer’s block,” and you don’t have to be a writer to experience this phenomenon. No matter what you do for a living, your creativity can be one of your best resources. What can you do to boost your creativity when you feel as though you just can’t access that part of yourself? Take advantage of the mind-body connection to boost your creativity. There are a number of simple things you can do to clear your head and get your creative juices flowing.


Exercise. Step away from your project and go for a walk, or head to the gym. Exercise promotes the flow of oxygen to your brain. Exercise also releases stress-relieving endorphins and decreases the levels of cortisol (i.e., stress hormone) in your body. All of these positive side effects of exercise will help to get your creativity going again.


Get Plenty of Sleep. Be sure you are getting sufficient sleep. In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to short-change yourself on sleep. We need at least eight hours of sleep to be fully alert and functioning at our best. It is impossible to come up with your best ideas when you are sleep deprived. 


Get away. Take a vacation or mini-vacation for a change of pace and scenery. Do something totally outside of your ordinary routine. This will help you to see the world differently and get a fresh perspective. If now isn’t a good time for a vacation to the Bahamas, take a mini-vacation. This can be as simple as a 5-minute break to close your eyes and use imagery to evoke a relaxing scene in your mind.


Practice Relaxation, Meditation, or Yoga. Inducing a relaxed state of mind and clearing your mind of clutter will help you focus in the present moment. You will be surprised at the creativity that returns to you once your mind has been freed of the clutter of your daily thoughts and worries.


Schedule for Creativity. Notice the days and times of day you are most likely to be creative and have good ideas. Rearrange your schedule to best utilize those times for your creative endeavors. Treat this like an appointment with yourself. Do not let other matters intrude on this important time.


GET Coaching. Coaching is an excellent way to get your creativity flowing again. As a coach, I love to work with creative clients. Even the most creative person sometimes feels stuck, or has difficulty implementing creative ideas. Having a supportive coach to assist you in brainstorming and developing specific plans to implement creative ideas can move you much further along than when you work alone.


An example that comes to mind is a woman with whom I recently talked to about business ideas. For several years, she has had the idea of marketing her creative therapeutic interventions to other therapists, but she has never had a plan for moving forward with her business. After just a few conversations, she has developed a website and products she is marketing to therapists, parents, and teachers. The support of a coach can be of tremendous value as you take action to put your creativity to work! 



Saying “No” When it’s not that Simple

Filed under: Communications,Life Balance — by Donna Ritter @ 12:11 pm
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Saying “No” When it’s not that Simple

Sabrina Schleicher, Ph.D.


As a psychologist and life coach, I often find myself discussing the importance of saying “no” with busy, stressed out business owners and professionals. Everyone likes the idea of saying “no” more often, at least in theory. But, when it comes to actually doing it, I hear a lot of “yes, buts.” In other words, “yes, I could say no to that, but then who would do it?” or “yes, I could say no to that volunteer project, but then I might disappoint them.” Why is it so hard to say “no” to others?

Most of us experiencing success in our careers have learned one lesson really well–if you want to move ahead, you have to be willing to do the work. Translation, say “yes” to opportunities that come your way–you never know where it will lead. Well, look where that has led you. . . right to reading this article, looking for a solution to managing the stress from your busy life!  
The truth is, we are much better at saying “yes” than we are at saying “no.” Saying “yes” is easy, even if it means more stress and frustration down the road. When you say “yes,” the person asking something of you smiles, thanks you, and you are left feeling as though you have pleased someone. There is a lot of emotional payoff in that.


Saying “no” is not immediately gratifying to us. Although rationally we know that saying “no” will mean we will feel less stressed in the future, when we say “no,” we may feel guilty about disappointing the person who has made a request of us. Or, we may fear the consequences of saying “no.” What’s so good about that? Not much. That’s why simply telling yourself to say “no” more often is not a very effective means of managing your busy life and career. 
So, what’s the alternative? Contemplate saying “yes” with awareness of what the “no” is in every “yes.” For every task or project we agree to do, we are saying “no” to something else. For example, when you are starting a small business, there are a lot of start-up costs. You also are investing your time and energy into developing your product, building your customer base, and networking to promote your business. Your resources are limited and you have some difficult choices to make about where to invest your resources. Your time and energy are precious resources, as are your financial resources. Yet, we tend to believe we can stretch ourselves thinner and thinner by cramming more and more into our day. This simply does not work in the long-term because you deplete your energy.

Instead, think of your time and energy as being limited, just as you think of your financial resources as having a limit. This will help you to use all of your resources wisely. When you say “yes” to one opportunity or project, you are saying “no” to something else in your life. So, when you say “yes” to volunteering on a project, you will be committing your time and energy to that project. What are you saying “no” to? Where else would you be spending that time and energy? Perhaps you are saying “no” to some relaxing time with your family, or time spent developing your product. It becomes much simpler to say “no” to others when you are fully aware of the impact your choices have on your business and personal life.

Being fully aware of our choices allows us to make choices congruent with our goals, values, and life purpose. This brings us closer to a sense of balance.  


Try this over the coming week: Each time you are presented with a new opportunity, project, or task, ask yourself, “what am I saying ‘no’ to by saying ‘yes’ in this situation?” Write this question on a piece of paper and post it where you will see it often. You will soon be making wiser choices about how to allocate your precious time and energy.


Live Your Authentic Life!

Filed under: Life Balance — by Donna Ritter @ 11:38 am
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You are the creator of your own vision. Writing a mission statement helps you to clearly define your mission, a powerful tool to create meaning and meaning and direction in your life. A personal mission statement answers these questions:

1.   What are you about? What does your ideal life look like?

2.   What are your primary values?

3.   What values do you need to develop and what tools will help you to do that?

4.   What is your daily practice to keep you in touch with your personal values?

5.   What/who are you grateful for? Plan to keep a gratitude journal.

6.   What inspires me to be the best person I can be?

7.   Examine your public, personal and deep inner life to define what values, contributions and roles are most important to you.

8.   Visualize your desired results. Identify the principals and values that will help you to realize your vision.

9.   When you day dream, what do you see yourself doing? What if you had unlimited resources?

After you have answered all of these questions to the best of your abilities, consider what you would like to leave as your legacy. How do you want to be remembered?

At the end of the exercise, revisit your gratitude journal. You will find that you have much more to be grateful for than you thought you did at first glance. Make a plan to enhance your best qualities and live your authentic life!



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