5 COUNTER-INTUITIVE NOTIONS THAT CAN IMPROVE YOUR LIFE

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** image credit: Victoria Yore and Terrence Drysdale

Hi friends…

So what might those notions be?

These came to mind…

  1. Being still when you have a thousand things to do. Seems like the last thing you should do when you’re swamped with a busy schedule. There are people to see, places to go, fires to put out, calls to make, emails to send. But then, things aren’t always what they seem, are they? Here’s what St. Francis de Sales and Martin Luther had to say about it…

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2. Giving when you’re low on money. What? Really? That just doesn’t seem like good accounting. It seems like the last thing you should do when you’re low on cash, and wondering how you’re going to pay your bills is give some (or all) away. But for some reason, the law of the universe is “give and you shall receive.” Perhaps because it takes faith to give. It takes trust to give. And that faith and trust are never more tested than when we give even though it looks like utter foolishness. You can trace some of the greatest (and sometimes wealthiest) people to their generosity. If you were to examine some of their lives, you’d find that they gave when it hurt to give and when it seemed they had nothing.

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3. Doing less, not more. Striving: it seems like a good word and a good idea, but is it? Sure, we should strive to love more deeply, create more authentically, trust more fully, work more heartily, but striving is something different. Striving is doing something in our own strength and forgetting why we’re doing what we’re doing, and for whom. Striving can be exhausting. When there is much to do, and so many depending on us, to step away requires faith, it takes strength, and that first takes willingness.

 

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4. Loving and being kind to someone who has hurt or offended you. Whenever I’ve heard of people sort of mocking the idea of following Christ, as if it’s for simpletons and weaklings, I wonder if they know about this thing he said: love your enemies. This is where the rubber meets the road. Whether someone stepped on your toe, or destroyed your life (or the lives of people you love), we are called to love… which is the absolute last thing we feel like doing in that moment or season.

 

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5. Keep going when you feel like giving up. You’ve been planting seeds and watering them continuously. You’ve been hoping, praying, trusting for a situation to change or improve. You’ve done your part. What gives? What’s taking so long? Where’s that harvest you were promised? Sorry, I don’t have an answer on that one. I wonder myself sometimes.

What I do know is that even though everything in you wants to call it quits and forget about it… even though you’re frustrated, tired, exhausted and want to throw in the towel, something inside you refuses to give up. Even though it would be easier, you can’t. You won’t. You’ll get up one more day and keep going. You’ll trust one more day and anticipate something good, even though you have every reason to say, “Hey, after all this time, it ain’t happening.” Even though the outward reality looks completely opposite. Again, things aren’t always what they seem. Just like in the best plays, there’s always something going on behind the scenes to make the story one worth telling.

It’s what the best stories are about, the best movies: tenacity, overcoming, resilience… moxie. It doesn’t even seem possible to keep going, but you do and you will.

 

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In all five of these things, what stands out is that none of them “feel” good, or make sense. They’re completely contrary to how we normally operate. So they must require a strength outside of ourselves in order to pull it off.

Exactly.

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* * Image credit: Christian Schloe 

 

If you’d like to have a courageous conversation, click here to book an appointment with me (no charge). I’d be happy to talk with you and explore how you can move your life forward.

Blessings,

Monique

http://www.artoflifecoachmonique.com/

 

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THE PRISON OF YOUR MIND

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Hi friends,

If you don’t know who Sean Stephenson is, you’re about to meet an endearing, gentle man who has more obstacles to overcome than most, but instead of complaining about it, he is taking his challenges and turning them into inspiration.

May you be inspired by his strength and wisdom in this short TED talk.

“Never believe a prediction that doesn’t empower you.” – Sean

Wishing you a great rest of the week!

Blessings and peace,

Monique

**If you’d like to talk with me, you can schedule an appointment by following this link for a 30-minute call by Skype or phone (no charge) or fill out the contact form below. I’d be happy to hear from you.

WHAT IS THE SABOTEUR? (HINT: WE ALL HAVE ONE)

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Hi friend…

Do you ever have the experience where you’re about to do something you know you’re supposed to be doing and then you stop yourself? I don’t just mean doing the dishes or the laundry. I mean important stuff. Things your heart burns for. And yet, despite all the burning, there’s this voice inside you that takes a bucket of cold water and pours it all over you. And the next thing you know…

You’re doing something completely unrelated to whatever “it” is that you were meant to be doing.

I don’t know what it is for you. It could be a book you’ve been meaning to write. It could be that space you’ve been wanting to organize for yourself so that you’ll have a place to focus on your creative or spiritual life. It could be eating healthier so that you’re not sick and tired all the time. It could be a relationship you’ve been wanting to work on. It’s different for everyone.

But then some voice inside you says things like this:

“What’s the use? There’s no guarantee it’ll lead anywhere.”

“When I have more time.”

“So many other people are doing this. What makes me think I’ll ever get anywhere with it?”

“The last time I tried something like this, nothing came of it.”

“I’ll do it later.”

“I’m not good enough. / Nothing I do is good enough.”

“It needs to be perfect.”

Friend, that merry-go-round won’t stop on its own. You have to deal with it and stop it by force, even if it means bringing it to a screeching halt. Even if you have to dig your heels into the ground and feel like you’re being dragged a while before it stops. But stop it you must.

How do I know this? Because I have a tendency to ruminate, so if I’m not careful, I could spend hours ruminating and speculating and over-thinking. Granted, a big part of being a writer involves staring into space. But there’s a limit. I’ve had to learn to snap out of it. I do a lot of things to help with that—prayer, meditation, yoga, EFT, writing, watching and reading things that motivate and inspire me.

But in the end, the only way to cut it out is to… well, stop it. Get up and shake yourself out like a blanket that has crumbs on it. Because even crumbs can bury a person if there’s enough of them.

Remind yourself of the opportunities you have—very likely opportunities that a few years ago you only dreamed of. Or if not that, just reflect on what you’ve already done and how far you’ve already come. And if you’re having trouble remembering, call up someone who knows you well and ASK them. Ask them to remind you!

There are some friends who fit this quote so perfectly, they should have a t-shirt with it inscribed: “A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it back to me when my memory fails.” Or, in some cases, a coach.

Make sure you have at least one person in your life who can jolt your memory and remind you who you truly are and of all the good you have done. Because this will help you to courageously keep going on days when you feel like you’re not getting anywhere.

If you can’t reach a friend, consider sitting for 20 or 30 minutes and writing down all the good you have done and reminding yourself. I guarantee you, 20-30 minutes won’t be long enough.

I hope this encourages you and helps you feel less alone and more okay being human, knowing that there isn’t anyone on the planet who doesn’t struggle with self-doubt or The Saboteur.

Together, we can silence that debilitating voice and keep replacing it with the voice of grace and encouragement. The latter is the voice of truth.

If you need help battling the saboteur, you can click this link to go to my calendar and set up a free 30-minute introductory coaching call with me. 

Meanwhile, stay courageous,

Monique

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THE MYTH THAT LIFE COACHES HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER

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I’ve been trying to think for a while now how to write this article. I’ve had the title in mind for several weeks.

I’ve noticed something, a sort of unspoken myth, if you will, about life coaches: that a life coach is someone who is somehow above the rest of the population and has things all figured out. The reason I know this is because I myself have sometimes felt that way about mentor coaches and coaches who have been at this a lot longer than me. I somehow allowed an image to grow of people who don’t struggle, don’t know what it is to suffer, who somehow magically knew how to get their coaching practice off the ground and had no problems with putting themselves out there. Deep down, I know these ideas aren’t true, yet they surface on days when I’m feeling particularly challenged and feel like giving up.

Thanks to people like Kim Avery (one of the amazing people I had the privilege of being trained and coached by) and her willingness to be vulnerable, I am reminded how true it is that God’s strength is best shown in our weakness. Her willingness to not only share bits of her journey, but also to share how scared she was to share, is something that emboldens me and surely anyone who hears her.

Lest you think that I’ve come to coaching because I think I have it all together, let me relieve you of that idea right now: that’s not why I started coaching. I started simply because it was time. Because for years, a whisper in my heart grew so loud that it started shouting to me to get started. And getting started has changed me in many ways as I’ve gone through a deep, heart and life-exploring process that is just like the process I help clients go through.

What I came to the table with is a deep level of faith, a high level of empathy (which, I admit, has sometimes been my downfall in the past) and a whole lot of experiences that have allowed me to see into other people’s issues, pain, relationships, dreams, confusion, lives and hearts.

But I also came to the table without a clue what to do in terms of business, websites, and that word I still wrestle with—marketing. To say it has been a learning curve would be an extreme understatement. Add to this the extreme circumstances going on in the life of a close family member that affect me daily and well, let’s just say it’s a challenge. However, it’s never boring.

It’s interesting that the same things that are hard for me as an artist, are hard for me as a coach. But just because we aren’t naturally good at something, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it or that we can’t become good at it with practice (Kim Avery is, again, a great example of this).

I’ve had to get over the idea that telling people about what I do is annoying to them and remind myself (daily!) that I have something valuable to offer and if I don’t tell people, they’ll never know. That goes not just for coaching, but for my writing, music, acting and other creative abilities as well.

I didn’t come to the ability to hone in on what someone is saying and not saying by having it all together, believe me. I don’t think I came to it through training either, although the fine tuning of training has been invaluable. I think I came to it through my own self-awareness and some crazy gift of hearing what a person isn’t saying and being able to tune in to people on a spiritual level. When I was a child in elementary school, I was a confidante to other kids who needed someone not just to listen, but to understand their struggles.

I think what makes life coaches have something so incredibly valuable to offer is: we know how it feels.

How what feels?

How it feels to wonder if you’re even fit for the task of whatever you feel called to. How it feels to struggle with implementing healthy boundaries so your life will have more balance. How it feels to know where you want to go, but not know how to get there. How it feels to walk by faith and not by sight every single day. How it feels to have to push perfectionism aside if you want to get anything done. How it feels to feel down sometimes. How it feels to stop procrastinating and do the next right thing. How it feels to plant seeds and then wonder when they’ll ever bear fruit. How it feels to need support and encouragement. In short, we know how it feels to be human.

We can understand because we’ve been there and, on a lot of things, have come through to the other side. But mainly, because we listen at a deep level and are trained to ask powerful questions, we can help you work through your challenges in ways that work for you. Not because we have all the answers, but because we’ve seen how powerful coaching is in our own lives and the lives of our clients. We know how empowering it is when someone trusts that you actually have the answers within yourself and asks you questions to help you navigate your way to finding them.

Inspiring you to connect to how valuable you are, and to what you have to offer this world, is what I’m here to do both as a coach and as an artist. What I’m also called to do as a coach and as an artist (and a human!) is to keep it real.

If you want to learn more about what I do, you can visit my coaching website by clicking this link: Art of Life Coaching.

Till next time, wishing you peace and courage…

Monique

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