Life and Spiritual Coaching

November 15, 2008

Moving Out for the First Time – Advice

Filed under: Family,Life Coaching — by Donna Ritter @ 3:20 pm


·        Always pay yourself first. Put as much money into savings as you can and leave it there until you have enough to live on for 6 months or so. You will never be sorry. Start your retirement fund early and don’t touch it. If you go to work for a company that matches your contributions, take advantage of it.

·        Be wary of credit cards. They are too easy to get and too hard to pay off. If you have to buy it on credit, you probably can’t afford it anyway and most likely don’t need it. If you use credit cards regularly, you will pay many times for the same item. Save buying on credit for two major purchases, a car and a house.

·        Invest your money in things that you understand. If you don’t understand it, then either educate yourself or find something you do understand. This understanding will help you decide when to invest, when to hold and when to sell.

·        Find a job doing something that you love to do. You spend most of your life at work; it helps to enjoy what you are doing. This may seem like a strange to say that while making a lot of money is great, doing something that you enjoy and are good at will bring you more satisfaction in the long run so try to find a balance between being a starving artist and overstressed CEO.

·        Keep an emergency savings account.  In a perfect world, this would be enough to support you for 6 months but it can be as little as $1000.  The emergency funds purpose is to pay for emergencies.  I know you are saying “duh, Mom” but you have to understand that emergencies happen all the time. It is for things like the car broke down and I can’t get to work without it.

·        Setting down. When you find that special person, make sure that they are someone who will support and respect you.  Hopefully, you will find someone with similar goals to yours, both financial and life goals.  I have found that while love is grand if the support, respect and common goals aren’t there, love loses out at worst and at best your life will be a struggle. I was so lucky to meet your Dad. We were best friends for a long time before we dated and it made all the difference in the world. When hard times come, and they will, you need your best friend to support you and hold you when you think you can’t go on.

·        Your career. Whatever you do, do it with all your heart.  You are smart enough to do anything you want to, you just have to make up your mind that you are going to do it.  Don’t let anyone beat you down.  Don’t settle for second best, you deserve the best of the best.





November 10, 2008


Filed under: Life Balance,Life Coaching — by Donna Ritter @ 12:35 pm
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When you are a young adult, you have the perfect opportunity to experience life in its fullest! You don’t have kids yet or a house to tie you to one place. Explore! If I was in college again, I’d take a year off to travel the world. You don’t need a lot of money if you stay at youth hostels and use a rail pass to travel around Europe. If you have other destinations in mind, research how you can do a work/study or an exchange student program. If you really get to know the local culture, it will teach you more than any college course could. Plus you’d have fun!

This is also the time to be spontaneous decisions, since you don’t have the baggage of an older person to carry. Be daring! Explore yourself. Get to really define yourself.

Talk to people from another culture. Try their food and check out their customs. Talk to the older people in the area. Learn about their history. This will give you invaluable experience and insight!

Before you leave for the journey of your life, check the internet to brush up on the places you plan to visit. Look for where the tourists go – and make sure those aren’t the only places on your list. You want to check out where the locals go and live. Try to learn some of the language before leaving. Also, check for travel deals offered at the time you are going to be there. Make sure you write in your journal.  

October 27, 2008

Plan, Do, Check, Act

Filed under: Life Balance,Life Coaching — by Donna Ritter @ 11:06 am
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1 Planning is an exercise we all use daily, but seldom do we use it on our own growth. In order for you to get where you want to be in the next 5 years, a plan is essential. This post will take you through the planning cycle using Deming’s famous Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle.

1.1 Plan:

Planning includes defining what you want to achieve. I use a mission statement, roles (like mother, wife, friend, and worker), and goals (like become an expert Digital photographer, have a solid financial plan for retirement…) and break those down into short term and long term goals.

You can use any number of these and other tools to plan your ideal future. Remember; don’t let that demon that says “you can’t do that” get into your head. You can do anything you set your mind to!

Once you have a written account of where you want to go, it is time to determine how you should go about achieving it. Use time management techniques, prioritization, visioning and other tools to help you complete your plan. I will talk more about these techniques in later posts.

1.2 Do:

Practice your plan for a month or so and see how it goes. Keep a journal and write down what is working and what is not. Even though I am talking about long term plans here, that doesn’t mean they won’t change all along the way.

1.3 Check:

Take some time to analyze your successes and failures. Remember – failures are not bad. They are simply learning mechanisms. If someone never failed, that would mean they never took risks. Risk taking is an important key to moving ahead in life; so no punishment or feeling bad if something doesn’t turn out like you thought it would. Just change the way you go about it!

1.4 Act:

This is the fun part. You have worked out the kinks and are ready to fully act on your mission. Your chances of success are greatly enhanced by a positive attitude. Keep a journal of successes, what you are grateful for and what things you may want to look at during your next Check cycle.

2 Prioritizing:

When you are in the Planning stages, prioritizing is a great tool to help you hone in on what is most important to you. First write down the actual priority of these roles in your life. What do you spend the most time on? Then write down your desired priority of these roles. There is probably something you should fix to get back in line with your authentic self.

3 Goal Setting:

Goals should be written as SMART goals. S = specific, M = measurable, A = attainable, R = realistic and T = timely. Specific means the goal states exactly what you are going to achieve, measurable means you can measure whether it was successful or not, attainable means you are giving yourself a goal that is within your grasp to achieve (no flying to the moon), realistic means it can be done within the limits you set and timely means it has an end time in which it should be completed.

Write the goal in positive language so it is something you would like to do, not something you’d like to put off.

Goals can be achieved over different timeframes; short term (within a month), medium term (within 6 months) or long term (within a year or several years).

4 Planning Your Goals:

Here are some steps you can use to plan your goals:

·         Visualize how your will feel, what you will see once you achieve your goal. Close your eyes and hold this vision in your mind. Write down your thoughts on a sheet of paper.

·         Write down the steps you think you need to take to achieve it.

·         Arrange the steps in time order

·         List all the resources you need to help you get your goal.

·         Identify any blocks or risks that could get in your way.

·         Establish plans for managing the risks.

·         Make a list of action steps and take your first action!


October 26, 2008

Tips on living a Balanced Life

Filed under: Family,Life Balance,Life Coaching — by Donna Ritter @ 12:11 pm
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Everything we do comes with a cost. One thing I do is to spend a good part of my time learning new things. I think that time is well spent and I would advise anyone to put learning in your life balance set. The things I have in my life balance are:

·    Spirituality: I spend lots of time studying books about God, reading the bible and participating in bible studies. It keeps me grounded and happy.

·    Family: I spend as much time as possible with my family. My kids are in college, so that is hard. I always make a big deal on holidays and take 2 weeks off during Christmas – my favorite holiday.

·    Learning: I read constantly, take courses, practice new things. I don’t think I could ever give this up.

·    Work: when I am working I put my full attention to it and do it well.

·    Exercise/health: I spend time in the gym and love to hike on the weekends if I can.

·    Managing the house: believe me – this can be a full time job, but I keep up on it and parcel out work to my husband to lighten my load. I also have a cleaning lady come in once a week. I’ve had her for 15 years and she is part of the family. I call her my angel.

·    Fun – this can be a date with my husband, doing some of my hobbies (I like taking pictures and writing), or curling up with a romantic novel to relax. It can also be hiking or doing something else outside. I love nature.

The important thing is for you to spend time defining what you like to do in your job; it takes so much of your time. Never forget the other things in your life that give you balance. When I am at work, I make sure to take a few minutes each hour or so to do a 5 minute meditation to calm myself down and be the best I can be at work. I always clean off my desk at the end of the day and write down the tasks I need to do the next day. These change of course, but it gives me something to start with when I arrive. I do my best not to think about work at home so I can concentrate on my other priorities. If possible, I exercise at lunch. If not, I walk at lunch. You can walk almost anywhere you are and it costs nothing. Being out in the sun clears my mind and energizes me for the afternoon.

I schedule time for each of my priorities listed above and try to make sure they are always taken care of. If something happens where I miss one, I get out of sync and have to get back to the things that balance my life.

Remember – you are the only one that will truly take care of you. Make your list of priorities and schedule them in your day timer each week so that you don’t over commit yourself. That will help you to live a truly balanced life.


Peace be with you and take good care of yourself!



October 23, 2008


Filed under: Communications,Life Balance,Life Coaching — by Donna Ritter @ 5:46 pm

An important part of using others as creative problem solving resources is, of course, making sure you understand their ideas and suggestions. One technique used to do this is “paraphrasing”. This is the act of summarizing someone’s thoughts using different words. It is important to check your understanding, even when you think you understand. It is a natural tendency to not check our understanding when we do think we comprehend. However, because our understanding is based on not just what was said, but also our interpretation of what was said, the understanding could be way off the mark. In order to avoid this misunderstanding, when you paraphrase a thought, be sure to check it with the person doing the communicating. A paraphrase is not complete until the person offering the suggestion agrees.


When paraphrasing, it is important to not only understand what the person said but what they meant! Even if you think you hear the words correctly, your understanding of the intended meaning can still be off the mark. It is important that you check your understanding, especially in these situations:


·    Prior to developing someone’s thoughts or to make a final decision to accept or reject them.

·    Prior to agreeing or disagreeing with someone’s view or information about a problem.

·    Prior to judging or evaluating someone’s work or actions.


Paraphrasing is not only useful in confirming that you have understood what was being said, but it is also the only way the other person can be sure you were actually listening. In addition, a useful, though not foolproof way to use paraphrasing is to try to manage someone who is rambling or repeating. If, as a facilitator, you can step in and paraphrase what their thoughts are, you can more effectively capture their idea and then move to the next person.


Here are six steps to effective paraphrasing:


1. Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.

2. Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card.

3. Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material. At the top of the note card, write a key word or phrase to indicate the subject of your paraphrase.

4. Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form.

5. Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.

6. Record the source (including the page) on your note card so that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the material into your paper.


October 22, 2008

Enjoy Yourself – Don’t take on other’s problems

Filed under: Life Balance,Life Coaching — by Donna Ritter @ 11:51 pm
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How do you treat yourself? Do you realize that you are a unique and special individual that God loves just because of yourself? You have all the power you need to live the life you have always wanted to live.

Think about how we treat ourselves every day. How often do we blame ourselves for other people’s problems? Do we talk to ourselves with love and care? Do we show enough respect to our self? Let us take a moment and think about what we do when we make a mistake or do not get the desired result? Do we tell ourselves off? How many times do we call ourselves ‘Stupid’ or use a similar word to express our dissatisfaction? If we think about these questions deeply then we will discover that often we treat ourselves unfairly. And when we do not treat ourselves properly, the world treats us in the same way. It can even affect our mental and physical health.

Now is time to break the cycle! There is no one in this world as special as you and you should treat yourself that way. Take care of yourself, your heath and your emotional well being. Take time to exercise, eat right and play. Take meditation and prayer walks.I had this bad habit myself. Whenever I made a mistake or even of those I loved made a mistake, I used to blame myself, and carried a feeling of guilt with me. What happens if we do this? First, our subconscious mind accepts whatever we say as true. If we say to ourselves, we are not good at doing something. Immediately our subconscious mind receives this message and records it as true; because it does not judge any statement, we make.

When I realized the way we talk or communicate to ourselves decides the quality of our life and our effectiveness, I changed my approach. I desperately wanted to break free from this never-ending cycle. So, what did I do?


I took responsibly for what was truly my fault, sought forgiveness and moved on. For the rest of the mistakes made around me, I supported my loved ones without taking their blame on myself and began to find ways to enjoy my life. Have fun – you deserve it!

October 14, 2008

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! 



October 11, 2008

Five Keys to Great Relationships!

Filed under: Communications,Life Coaching,People — by Donna Ritter @ 4:26 pm
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Everyone has had the experience of “connecting” to someone almost immediately when you meet. This is the art of building solid relationships. When you feel this connection you are glued to the conversation and sometimes can finish each other’s sentences.


Just about everything you do relies on teamwork. It is vital to a well working Project team, a family, lasting friendships etc. These are five things to look for in a solid relationship:


1.   Respect: Everyone wants to feel important and that they matter. The key is that you show respect to others even before they have done anything to warrant it. You respect others because they are simply human beings. At the same time, you should have to expect to earn it from others. This makes working through conflicts much easier.

2.   Shared Experiences: Respect can lay the foundation for a good relationship, but it’s not enough. You can’t be rational with someone you don’t know. It takes shared experiences over time. This is easy in families, but if you have a project team with high turnover, you need to work at building those relationships.

3.   Trust: When you respect people, and build shared experiences, you are in a position to develop trust. It is essential to every relationship.

4.   Reciprocity: One sided relationships don’t last long. If one person is the giver and one person is the receiver, there is no win-win dynamic. You should ask your teammates, colleagues and friends about their dreams and hopes. Give people your full attention and look them in the eye when you are in conversation.

5.   Mutual Enjoyment: When relationships start to grow really solid, the people begin to enjoy each other. Just being together can turn unpleasant tasks into positive experiences. Becoming a master at building relationships brings individual and team success.

October 1, 2008

Why Hire a Coach?

Filed under: Life Coaching — by Donna Ritter @ 7:08 pm

Coaching is proven to work when these two factors are present:

1. The client is willing to grow, and

2. There is a gap between where they are now and where they want to be. That is all that is necessary for you and your coach to solve problems, create a new life, turn a business around, double sales and profitability, and design and implement a plan of action. Or whatever else is called for to ensure that you have what you need to get more of what you want.






Ultimately, humans do what they really want to do anyway. And to find out exactly what you really want for yourself and your business is our first task together. I help you to distinguish between what you coulda, shoulda, oughta and have-to want from what you, in your heart of hearts, really want for yourself. Once you create the ideal goal, you’re much more likely to naturally and consistently take actions to reach it.




Sorry, but having it all means starting with a balanced life. And you know what that means — It’s time to be very, very selfish. Not egotistical, but Selfish. With a capital S. I’ll show you how to be selfish yet responsible. And how to get your needs met and still have people like you! (This process is called establishing your Personal Foundation and there are only 25 steps. You’ll love building your foundation because you know you’re worth it. You need this base if you are to be your Self.




Money, money, money! You gotta have it and have a lot more of it than you think, especially with this recently passed tax package. (Hmmm.) Anyway, you know you can make (and keep) more money, so why don’t you? I’ll help you increase your business, fill your practice, pay off old bills, set up a financial plan and future and help design a strategy for you to earn more from your professional efforts. (Yes, you can!)




When anyone has a partner they trust, they will always reach for more because they can afford to.




Every single client of mine is smart, smart and smart. Yet, they still use me. Why? Because they know the value of sharing ideas with someone who understands them and is subjective enough to want a lot for them, yet objective enough not to be biased or self-serving. Just you talking about your options with someone who can listen is often enough to have it all become very clear. You’ll always get my honest, constructive views.




When you’re happy, productive and free from tolerations and problems, you’re going to feel better![i]


[i]  Form courtesy of and copyrighted by Coach U, Inc., l FB385


September 23, 2008

Finding Yourself In this World

Filed under: Life Coaching — by Donna Ritter @ 6:39 pm

I was brought up to be an independent woman and to expect that I should do something that would take care of any costs I may have in my life. Well, it turns out that life doesn’t always turn out like you want. I recently have had a problem with degenerative disc disease so commuting 1-2 hours a day is not an option for me anymore. I’m sure for every person you talk to, God has thrown them a “Lesson” to help us to understand that we shouldn’t rely on material goods – but on Him.

As usual, He did know what was better for me than I did. I took a lot of assessment tests and found that I have not really been in the right career for my personality. I am more of a mentor, teacher, and coach than a technical corporate engineering manager.

So, I have studied with Franklin Covey Coaching along with a number of other coaching disciplines to learn  methods of coaching. I have also engaged several of my other coaching friends and am ready to take on the world! Or am I?

Now there are two types of people in the world – those that think they know it all and those that ask for help when they need it. I am the type of person that constantly spends time learning, and while doing that I realize what parts of a job I like and do well, and what parts I don’t like and can get someone else to do.

Everyone needs a support system. It doesn’t matter what business you are in. There are some things that others do better than you can so why bang your head against the wall! Spend your time on what you do best and do what you do best!


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