What a Difference One Year Makes

What a Difference One Year Makes

I cannot believe the difference one year makes.  I have had a dream about becoming a life coach for several years.  As many of you know, life happens and you delay and delay your dreams until you can barely see them any longer.  I had one reason after another that seemed legitimate as to why it was not a good time to pursue life coaching.  I had too many things going on at home and at work and I didn’t get it done.

Well 2014 was different.  I was able to finally save enough money to take the life coach training with Valorie Burton and I became a certified life coach.  I learned things about business development that I never thought I would understand.  I incorporated my business and didn’t just buy cards from Vista Print and pretend that was all I needed to do.  I read, researched, and learned about business and made it my goal to implement good business practices.  I also stretched myself and with some assistance from my friend Erial Ramsey at Imperial 1002 and built my own website!  Most of you know that I am not tech savvy but I was determined to learn what I needed to learn to help my business flourish and to challenge myself to become familiar with new technology and social media that could help build my brand.

Deep Roots Consulting, LLC was born.  I have a steady number of clients, conducted many trainings and have been requested frequently to be a speaker for major events across the country.  I think one of my biggest accomplishments over the last year is that I became a published author!  I always envisioned that I would become an author but never laid out a strategy to get it done.  That is why I was so excited to become a part of the “Voices Movement” with my friend Marlon Smith. I am one of the authors in this book which includes a diverse group of 26 experts and leaders who represent five countries: Spain, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United States.

Each chapter is written from the space of possibilities. Some authors share real life epiphanies and wisdom from their own personal struggles and valley experiences. Others empower you with action-oriented solutions for transforming your life.  My chapter is titled “Get Unstuck” and will inspire you to start living the life you were destined to live.

I share this experience with you because I want you to know that whatever you dream for yourself can become a reality.  Last year, when I started my coaching business, I had no idea that I would have the opportunity to build an amazing brand that has literally reached so many with my coaching, training and speaking appearances.  Life gives us no guarantees when we work toward our goals. This all started from one tiny step.

I focused on what I love to do and I worked hard every day to learn more ways to help people by providing resources and information that help them not only to live but to thrive. Over the years, I’ve spent many nights wondering if I was on the right track.  You might be wondering the same thing about your dreams right now while reading this blog.  Things will work out if you stay the course and be open to change along the way.

There are a few things that I have done along my journey and I’d like to share them with you.  I believe that success is a formula and that if you follow the steps you can create similar or greater outcomes for yourself.  So for anyone who wants to know how I got to this point, I want to share a few strategies with you.  They are:

  • I have always paid for professional advice on how to make myself or my business better.  I have always invested in myself.  I hired my first coach for $100.00 per month over ten years ago, when I was still searching my purpose. I found the money to invest in myself and I cut back on things that were not necessary in order to afford the coaching service.
  • I associated with people who were my ambition level and above. I also identified people who have already accomplished what I wanted to do and I spent time with them.  That was hard at times.  It’s so easy to stay around people whom you love and make you comfortable but comfort does not create progress.   I focused on building relationships with people who elevated my vision and that made me more success minded.  I attended weekend, one day and daily training to get around people who were doing what I wanted to do.  Today I have so many new friends that came from these events.
  • Reading is fundamental. I read books that changed the way I looked at myself, others and the world.  It is important to get out of my own head to see things from other’s perspective so that I could be more open to what people had to offer.
  • I take at least one strategic action every day that will move my life or business forward.  I know how easy it is for me to get overwhelmed.  Every day I make sure that I take actions that can create change in my life.  This has prevented me from feeling overwhelmed about doing everything all at once.   Some days are better than others.  Don’t beat yourself up if you struggle in this area.  Even if you only take a micro-step, count it as a victory and set yourself up for success the next day.
  • I have more fun.  I work full time and have so many activities that I must shuffle children to and fro that I realize they have a better social calendar than I do.  Over the last year I have found ways to try new things like boot camp, girl’s night outings, or just taking a bath!!  How sad is it if you don’t have time to sit in the tub and relax?  We have to carve out time on our calendars for ourselves.  What is the point of reaching your goals if you don’t know how to have fun along the way?

Maybe something on my list inspired you to add to your list or if you don’t have a list maybe now you might create one.  I am so excited about this last year.  What have you accomplished in the last year that makes you proud of YOU?  Big or small, it’s time to celebrate!

Don’t Disturb the Peace

Don’t Disturb the Peace

Don’t you find life to always be filled with stress? Doesn’t it seem like there is always something that happens which encompasses our entire attention, and thus drain our positive energy? As our society grows more and more complex, finding true peace becomes more like trying to find an oasis in the desert. My life is a busy one as well, being a wife, mother, working full time, and running a company and all of the stress & demands that comes with it, definitely takes its toll over time. Today was one of those days that it seemed my peace as destined to be disturbed but I finally took a moment to reflect on all that was going on around me and focus.

Therefore, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you seven of the methods that I use to find peace and disconnect from all that may be falling apart around me:

Be One with Nature

We spend so much time confined in buildings of steel and concrete and bricks that we quickly forget that it is natural for us to be in nature.  This is why it feels so good and it is so peaceful when you take a walk in a park or bike on a local trail. As I am typing this blog, I am looking out my window to this gigantic tree in the back of my house. Watching its stillness, with the wind blowing through its branches calmly, it is a sight that not only inspires me, but also relaxes me.  If you feel overwhelmed, take a stroll outside where there are many trees or go to a remote area far from the city. Just enjoy the sights, the sounds, and the peace.

Laugh a Little

Whenever you are laughing or smiling, something interesting happens. Not only does something happen on a chemical level to make you feel better, but it also stops all stress and negativity from entering your psyche. A simple smile can make such a difference. For example, I have a friend that I talk to almost every day and we laugh until our stomachs ache.  It’s such a great part of my day that we have now decided to call it our “ab workout” for the day.  I know I’ve been doing boot camp but I believe laughter with this crazy friend has contributed to the formation of my abs!  So whenever you find yourself in a funky mood or things just aren’t going right, just think of the silver lining in the cloud that you think is following you, and don’t be afraid to just laugh until you cry. You will quickly realize that peace finds its way much more easily to you when you don’t take life so seriously.

Just Breathe

When all else fails. Just breathe!  Some days you may not have time to get outside and walk or laugh with your friends but one thing we all must do is breathe.  Any time you bring attention to your breath, your mind can’t think about all your worries.  I close my eyes and breathe in slowly for 8 seconds and then exhale for 8 seconds.  Depending on the day I’m having I may need to repeat the deep breathing many times until I feel calm and centered.  Breathing is healing.  I have been interested in mediation for years but have not been able to sit still long enough to feel I can do it effectively.  I discovered that by just closing my eyes and being aware of my breath is meditating.  I have stopped pressuring myself to become a master yogi and decided that inhaling and exhaling with my eyes closed and being fully present is good enough for me.

Live in the Present Moment
Most of the time, what we worry about is relating to something either in the past, or something that hasn’t happened. Living in the present moment erases all such thoughts. Why worry about something in the past that we cannot ever change? Why worry about something that we are not even sure will happen? This is why in the present moment, you find true inner peace. In the present moment, there are no problems and no concerns. There is only stillness, and it is within that stillness that you can uncover peace.

Embrace your beliefs
Faith is a belief that God will, as my grandmother used to say, “Make a way out of no way.”  Faith has sustained me in good and bad times. Faith is much more than just comforting rituals to religious people.  It has the ability to have a positive impact on mood and mental health.  We need faith to navigate this world today and must embrace our faith with our entire being. Having a solid, healthy faith is crucial in guiding us towards peace and wisdom. There is a reason why research has shown that people that are deeply devoted to their faith have a higher life expectancy and are less likely to manifest disease in their bodies.  Faith can play a major role in the reduction in and protection from stress.  A scripture that helps me know how important faith is to me in my times of stress is one that my mother said to me often: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (Jesus in John 14:27).

Care about Others

You will never find peace by being self-consumed and only worrying about your own needs and wants. When you begin to genuinely care about other people, so much goodness comes right out. This only helps into solidifying your inner peace. It can be people close to you or pure strangers, but any act of kindness and goodwill eases your way towards peace. When I help other people, I stop focusing on my so-called problems and realize that my life isn’t so bad after all. This rids my entire being of all the stress and feelings of overwhelm. There is great peace and wisdom in thinking and caring about other people, which we are blind to when we are too deep within our own selfish ways.

Accept What Is
There is only so much we can affect. What we cannot change, what we cannot influence no matter what, should not be a concern to us. This is what I notice with so many people, in that we focus and linger on things in which we have no control. Why worry about something that all the worrying in the world will not change? Why care about what other people think of us when we’re not even sure what it is they are actually thinking? Once you understand this fact and start accepting what is that you cannot change, you automatically relieve yourself of a mountain of stress and anxiety. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Taking this path is following a road towards peace.

Having peace is based on our ability to let things go and to understand that we can control and what we can’t control.  Let the small stuff go.  Focus on what is good in your life and spend your moments appreciating what you have instead of ruminating about what didn’t go your way.  My new goal is to practice being mindful, staying in the present and enjoying the little things that fill up my day with joy- because those things are there!  No matter how situations may throw us off our game, we cannot let people disturb our peace.

Can You Hear Me?

This week has been a very odd week.  I lost my hearing in my left ear due to what the doctors are calling sudden sensorineural hearing loss.  They aren’t sure what triggered it but I’ve got to tell you not being able to hear out of my left ear is very frightening.  My entire existence has been altered.  The way I receive information has changed.  The noise around me is so intense but I cannot distinctly hear what is going on.  Is that person talking to me or am I just surrounded by noise that I can’t decipher?

If I didn’t have a clear understanding that my faith will get me through this experience this entire week would have been a tailspin.  When I was talking the hearing test on Tuesday and sitting in that booth unable to hear anything in those headphones my heart started racing.  How would I be able to communicate if I couldn’t fully hear?  How would I have to change everything I do if my hearing doesn’t come back?  Those were just a few thoughts that raced through my head.  I immediately thought, “What could have caused this?”  What noise overload was too much for my ears to handle?  Since I’m left handed and this is my left ear have I done too much talking on my cell phone in that ear?  Was it singing in church on Sunday plus a loud concert that night?  Am I just getting older and my ears are starting to fail me?  All of those thoughts started swirling in my head.  I realized that I hadn’t written my blog for this past week and it made me think about this ordeal with my hearing.

How much do we truly take into our ears on a daily basis?  Do we really hear what’s being said to us or do we just let the sound waves go by without giving them much thought?  How much are we communicating with the people around us?  Are we really listening to what is being said or has so much noise gotten into our heads that we start to block them out?  I really had to start thinking about this as I tried to listen to my husband or my kids talk to me this week.  I could barely hear them and felt out of sorts when I did hear what was being said.

I think we do that with the people we encounter on a daily basis.  People are talking to us but we barely hear them.  We think we know what’s being said but we have all but tuned out.  We start to hear what we want to hear and then interpret that to be what we think the person said to us.  We place a judgement on what was miscommunicated and unless fixed, the relationship is forever altered; just like my hearing is right now.  This situation has brought up three things that I think are important when we really want to hear what someone has said to us and open up our lines of communication.  If you are in a situation where you feel you aren’t being heard or you’ve gotten so bitter that you cannot hear then you need to do Awaken, Equip and Engage.

Awaken

Loosing hearing in my left ear has been a wakeup call.  It has awakened something in me that I hadn’t felt in a long time and that was – helplessness.  No matter how hard I tried to clean out my ear or press on it, no sound could be heard.  I had to wake up to the fact that there has been a shift and I could either wallow in sadness or get myself together to take the next steps to attempt to recover my hearing.  We have communication breakdowns in our relationships every day and there is a wakeup call. We either choose to repair it or ignore it.  If we repair it, we take the time to do whatever needs to be done so that no further damage can happen to the relationship.  If we ignore it, we pretend there is nothing wrong; ignore the sharp pain that we may have just felt and we go on as if nothing has happened.  The problem is that no one was heard.  There is a deterioration that is starting and will continue unless a rational mind steps in and stops the damage in its place.

Awakening should be the beginning of our awareness.  It should be the beginning of our understanding that change must occur in order to see improvement.  If we are willing to see our fault in the breakdown of our communication then there is a better chance to protect further erosion in the future.  The same goes for my ear.  What were the steps that I could have taken that that could have protected my hearing and possibly avoiding this situation?  Was there anything that I could have done differently?  We have to think about this with our communication as well.  What do you need to awaken in you so that your words do not fall on deaf ears?  How is your tone, speed, or pitch?  Has everyone around you become so numb to your harshness that they can no longer hear you?  You must be frustrated?  Just like I am now.  We must equip ourselves to do a better job in our ability to hear and be heard.

Equip

Are you ready to make a change?  I know I was not.  I was not prepared at all for what happened to my ear this week.  It caught me off guard, or so I thought.  Back in 2013 I visited the ENT doctor because there was something not quite right with this same left ear.  Since I was able to pass the hearing test, no one questioned me further about this potential breakdown.  I was not equipping myself to take better care of this ear because people around me helped me to ignore the signs.  Since this episode this week, I am understanding that we must be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.  We must do the same with our everyday communication.  We must prepare when we are talking to understand that our delivery of our message must be clear and stated with love in order to be heard.  If our message is delivered any other way it will be shut off and communication will break down.  We must find the tools and resources necessary to help us become better communicators.

Whether calling someone, talking to them face to face, sending emails, or the one I hate the most: texting, we have to be prepared to state and restate our message in our minds so that when it comes out there is no block.  I think that’s why I don’t like sending serious messages through text.  That is a form of communication to me that gets easily misunderstood and many repairs to the message must occur to not further breakdown.  The problem with texting to me is that we don’t hear the message in a positive tone.  We put a nasty spin on what’s being said in our own heads but use the other person’s voice to deliver the message.  We are not fully equipped to hear a person when you are listening to your own voice send the message.

What do you need to do to better equip yourself for better communication?  What do tools do you need to pull out to be effective?  Do you need to be an active listener?  Do you need to move your ego and feelings out of the way so that you can be heard?  Do you need to bounce your conversation off another neutral person so that you can hear feedback on whether your approach is good or needs to be improved?  There are so many ways to equip ourselves for better understanding.  I’m learning that with my own hearing as well.  I am currently on 60mg of steroids and just had a surgical procedure that injected more steroids in my ear so that I can be equipped to repair the nerve that is not functioning in my ear.  What injection do you need for better communication?  Patience?  Love?  Kindness?  Understanding?  IF you equip yourself with those tools, your chances of improved hearing get greater every day.    Once you are equipped with the tools you need you are now ready to engage.

Engage

Just like doctors not knowing what is causing my hearing loss, sometimes we don’t know what is causing our ineffective communication with others.  If we want healthy relationships, both personally or professionally, we must engage people in a way that is welcoming and open.  We cannot put barriers up that will prevent us from reaching out to others and possibly cut off communication permanently.  My hearing loss has caused me to engage not only with doctors that can help me but also to other friends that have suffered with similar issues.  This situation has humbled me and made me realize that we cannot take the slightest thing for granted.  I am learning new ways to engage with others this week so that I can hear what people are saying to me.  I’ve had to move the phone to my right ear so that I can actually hear.

Sometimes we have to move things around so that communication can continue.  If I kept the phone up to my left ear, I would hear nothing but jumbled up robotic-like sounds.  I could be stubborn and just continue to do things the way I’ve always done them but it would not get me the results that I want and that is to listen and to be heard.  We must alter our way of communicating as well if we want to engage with others.  We must engage in a positive manner that is well received.  If we are able to do that, our hearing will be restored.  Relationships will be healed and no further damage will be done.  We must not lie around in self-pity and feel like victims when our words fall on deaf ears.  We must be aggressive with our approach to restoration.  We must believe that our faith will carry us through.  I pray that you hear me and do what needs to be done to protect your “hearing.”  I am doing all that I can to protect mine and I know that restoration is on its way!