Goal Setting and Prioritizing · Life's Challenges & Choices

Freedom: Decision Making Made Real

reaching for the sky www.maryhumphreycoaching.comI have mulled over one word these past few weeks: Decision.

This thought process came to a head on New Year’s Day, 2016. How fitting is decision for a new year, a new start…and I ask, how about making it a permanent thought process for the rest of your/my life?

As I have, you might want to print this post, or take notes. I tape reminder notes in places where I see them often. This is because a quick change of heart or mind can take place immediately, but lasting change, especially when it involves a mindset, normally involves an overhaul of life-time thinking patterns. We need reminders!

Decision. It is only an idea, a thought, until we take action.

“I made a decision today. I settled, concluded, chose, voted, made up my mind to ____________ (fill in the blank).” I may have decided to write a new book a year ago, but until I start writing the book, it is only a goal or aspiration.

What can we do to make our decisions stick? Take the first step, move it to the next level, and follow-up with subsequent steps until the decision becomes an action…until we can announce, “I did it!”

Procrastination is the killer of turning decisions into reality. (I raise my hand in admission to this fault.) Why do we procrastinate? The number one reason is FEAR. Bold faced fear.

So, what do we do now? We have this idea, this “decision,” and now we find our fear-filled selves saying, “Oh, perhaps I should not make that decision. I should not rock the boat. I should not create more work stress for myself. I think the best thing to do is nothing…” Yes, taking the easy way out. Is it truly the easy way out? No. What happens a week from now, or a year, or even a life-time later when we realize that we have never done what we felt called to do? We miss out. That is sad. We miss out on making a difference in our lives, or the lives of others. We fail to make our personal contribution to the world.

Face your fears. Stare them down. Study them. Know them inside out. Break them down into small manageable chunks (or crumbs). Change what you can and make the choice to ignore or forge through what you cannot change. Remember, we cannot change others, and we cannot change the world. We can only change how we react to it. You can only change you!

By breaking fear down, we discover the truth–real things that we should fear, which ultimately amounts to very little. We also become aware of our inner-generated story and falsehoods. The lies that we believe, and we are often monumental story tellers.

Meditate on people, those that you consider a mentor, or those that you admire. Think about the accomplishments of these people. Where would they be today if they used fear as an excuse in their lives? What if they never moved forward with an idea (made it a decision) because of self-doubt, “I am not (educated, beautiful, trained, smart enough, young enough, old enough).”

I made the decision to not accept the “what if’s” that surface in my life. The action that I took when I made that decision was to not mentally use any excuse, to only use good judgment. What if I make a mistake? What if I make the wrong choice? Growth is a bundle of both bad and good choices. Can we mature without a solid learning process?

Steps for the three F’s: Break down fear. Release your faith. Allow your faith to spread until there is no room for fear to survive. Experience freedom.

Keep moving forward, my friends. Move those feet, take those steps…advance. Turn those decisions into actions!

Believe & Invest In You · Goal Setting and Prioritizing · Managing Stress

Managing Life by what You Value

life values www.maryhumphreycoaching.comAre you super busy?  Does your day not feel normal if you aren’t working, or if you aren’t on the go?

Do you often feel something is missing in your life?

I see myself in all of the above from time to time. We all do.

What I have discovered is how my fast paced daily work-life carries into my home life. I tend to feel uneasy when I sit still, and I feel the urge to get up and produce something.

Our personalities are different, of course. Some of us are driven by production, some are driven by peaceful rest.

Think about people that you know that curl their legs beneath them and focus on a book with total abandonment to the world. Or, they take a walk, and they do not look at their phone while they do so. They enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, or nature. They sleep at night without wondering what they will do to manage an unfinished project at work. They pray in their quiet space each day, or several times a day, taking beautiful care of their mental and spiritual health. They turn Facebook off for 24 hours, or longer, and it does not leave them feeling like they are missing out on things of importance. They sit down with their baby, delighting in tiny wisps of laughter, instead of mopping the floor.

What do we do to shut it all off, to find peace (slow the pace down), to bring on the sense of complete in our world?

First, we realize that work will always be work. In other words, it is never-ending, and the only thing that separates us from it is to stand up and walk away. We close the door behind us and say work is never finished, but our work-life is.

Second, we realize that it is okay to sit still. It is okay to unload our minds and be quiet. It is okay to turn off the phone, or at least, to only check it occasionally for emergency calls or texts. It is okay to tell our friends that we are shutting down…and God bless the friends that urge you to do this!

Try this:

List the top 10 things that you personally value in life. Arrange this list by the most (#10) to the least important.

Of these top 10 things, write down what you have completed from the list today.

If your top 10 thing is to write, have you written today?

If your #10 is to connect with family, have you called your mother, sister, or brother today?

If your top 10 item is to enjoy nature, have you enjoyed nature today?

So, you don’t have a load of time today for the most valuable things on your list, how about #5, #3, or #1?

Post your list to the dash of your car, your refrigerator, on at the top of your calendar in your work space.

Make it a practice to make choices from your own personal value list each and every day.

The fidgety feeling of “What am I missing?,” or, “What should I do today?,” will ease itself off because you will be focusing your life on what you value.

Start now.

Let me know as it works for you.

The value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation. You are not important becuase of how long you life, you are important because of how effective you live.  – Myles Munroe

Life's Challenges & Choices · Managing Stress

Reminder: Slow Down to See the Obvious

puzzling frustration www.maryhumphreycoaching.comI am in the process of building a website for my coaching business.

When the new site name jumped out at me (it is exactly the message that I want to convey), I scooped up the domain and began the process of pointing it to the website. I’ve been through this process numerous times so I felt it would be a smooth deal. I knew I would have a published website in no time flat.

After waiting 24 hours, I discovered that I had input one DNS number incorrectly. There would be no additional stumbling blocks ahead, right?

After I returned home from work the following day, I eagerly logged onto my lap-top to check out my new website. No. Nope. Na-da. The site still had not published.

Nearly a full week later, 6 days to be exact, with my head feeling like it was in a whirlpool and swirling downwards fast, I decided to push my stubbornness aside and I requested help from live chat. I carefully laid out the history of my troubles, and I asked, “What am I missing?” The chat person asked me for my domain name. After a pause, they replied, “Nobody owns that domain.” In disbelief I typed, “No way!” I quickly erased the words as reality sunk in.

Was it possible? What had I done? WiseWomenOfNobleCharacter was WiseWomanOfNobleCharacter. In my hurry, coupled with a lack of sleep, and in the pursuit of getting something important finished (all too) quickly, I had missed my new business website name by one character.

What happened that day is a common occurence…caused by speeding through a task, allowing frustration to take the lead, coupled with looking for a big problem, when indeed it was, and often is, something small.

My friend, Kayla, of Red Cedar Bison, and Selah Press, was operating the booth at her local farm market that morning. She posted on her Facebook page, “You know your market samples are good when we are nearly out of samples by 10 am. One lady said the sample was like a party in her mouth.” Kayla is one of the most optimistic women that I know. As simple as her statement was that morning, it spoke to me clearly. I was not working in a cheerful way, and I was rushing through what could have been a joyous time. How was I with giving out samples (of smart coaching), if I was only raising my blood pressure and running on the fuel of a flustered spirit?

Moral to this story: Take your time. Ask for help. Get enough sleep. Don’t expect big things to go wrong, and inspect the small things. Enjoy the process! Do not detract from the creativity that you possess!

Moliere said it well, “The trees that are slow to grow bear the most fruit.”

(By the way…I purchased both domain names. If I made that mistake, so will someone else. Covered.)

Goal Setting and Prioritizing

The Connection – Clock Watching and Procrastination

clock watching www. maryhumphreycoaching.com8:00 a.m., my office phone sprang to life. It was the CPA. The pressure was on. Not only was I required to reconcile the bank account, which should have been finished weeks ago, he asked me to “snug up the cash” and balance the statement that I had just received.

That early in the day I wanted to rush to the coffee pot (guzzle the whole thing?), turn down the air conditioning in anticipation of sweat production, and I pondered what else I might do to make the day seem less daunting. Pamper me baby. As I looked at the mountains of work growing by the day on my desk I felt little hope. How was I to do this? What would be the outcome if I didn’t complete what I needed to do today?

After hours of putting out spot fires, I clocked in early from lunch with heavy dread rolling in the pit of my stomach. I fell into silent prayer, “Father, I know this is not the most important thing to pray for, but I practically need a miracle. Please help me stay calm so I can finish this today.”

My co-worker made faces through the glass, “Don’t look so serious. You’ll wrinkle your forehead.” Was that meant as humor? Yes. He was right. Relax those facial muscles, woman. You know how to do it, start at the forehead, feel the tension loosen in your eyebrows, and next work on your eyes. That’s the ticket, keep on going. Slacken the jaw. There, you have it.

I got the first statement completed. I was in awe when I glanced through my office window into the lobby. The hands of the serious-looking industrial wall clock had barely moved. A rush of encouragement filled my veins. I can do this!

I dived into the second statement knowing that I had enough time to complete it if I held a positive frame of mind. I never looked at the clock again. Not only did I finish that long dreaded task, I sorted through plans for the next day. It was then that I heard the excited voices of people gathering in the hall outside my door. What in the world was going on in the middle of the afternoon? Then, they left the building, every one of them!

I squinted through the glass and broke out in laughter at what I saw, the old clock was standing still. It had quit working three hours earlier! It was time to go home.

Pure joy filled my heart, and then the lesson came to light.

  1. Trust myself.
  2. Notice where and when procrastination begins (and make it end).
  3. Prayer is always key.
  4. Relaxing is smart and necessary.

The biggest lesson of all — the clock means little.

What have we lost in our lives by clock watching? We watch the hours and minutes rush by, and we push for deadlines, but we shove forward in the opposite direction. We make terrible choices when we feel stress. Instead of feeling motivated we select the road of procrastination, the fastest way to get the most done, which leaves us ignoring what we view as particularly time consuming or difficult. Where does this get us? Tired bones that want to drop in a chair and do nothing, leaving a cluttered mess of what remains, and crumbled pieces that fall through the cracks.

I challenge you to try setting an alarm or reminder, and stop watching time move by. Slow down. Have faith. Do not set the outcome of your life by the clock.

The biggest benefit — a positive enjoyment of life and work, and real accomplishment.

Believe & Invest In You · Life's Challenges & Choices

A New Moment to be Anxious About Nothing

refresh www.dreamstime.comWhen we hit the key to refresh our computer screen it accomplishes several things, but the main thing it does is clear the path that allows our computer to operate on a fresh new page. By doing so, we erase the junk that was slowing progress down.

Gone went the past. Restored and unimpaired came the new moment.

We do not have an easy button in our human anatomy for refresh, but we can virtually select it to unload heaviness. Just how dense and burdensome is the unseen waste from yesterday, this morning, and a few moments ago? Are you ready to give yourself a new moment to be anxious about nothing?

Clear. Refresh. Breathe.

Women in Transition

Fake It Until You Make It

fake it until you make it www.maryhumphrey.comWhat does fake it until you make it mean? It does not mean to be someone that you are not (outside of your value system). It is always important to be your genuine self, but develop the mentality that you can do what you set your mind to doing.

If you want to write a book, when are you starting?

I you want to change jobs, have you sent the first application?

If you want to obtain a degree, have you talked to the financial aid office (or applied for your first class)?

You can do this. Fake it until you make it.

Be the person that you intend to be today. Guess what? This person is you, you just need to give her permission.

From an article that I wrote several years ago, “We have so much to give, so much we can do with imagination.  We are the master gardeners at whatever we do.  We are writers because we think we are.  We are weavers because we think we are.” Do your research and take the step!

What can you do today for your tomorrow? What do you want to do today, and is something holding you back? What successes have you had in your life where you “faked it” through steps in the process?

Believe & Invest In You · Women in Transition

Reflections: What I Gain from Being Coached

I have a coach, which has added to the benefits that I see in coaching.

All of us have skills and values. I am organized, dedicated, on-time, focused (on God, family, friendship, and business…in that order), and I know what my life-mission is.

With this being said, I always walk away from an hour of coaching with something new to think about. My coach, and any dedicated coach, prompts the client to open discussion focused on their needs.The client knows best what they want to achieve in each coaching session.

So, I go into the session (as a client) with an agenda, and I walk away with valuable insight into what I needed/wanted to talk about in that hour, as well as a plan of action to keep me accountable, and afterwards, I always end up in deep thought on things that I never would have dreamed of. These are positive, growth-inspiring results!

I coach because I live my life to encourage and support others with their God-given paths. With myself being coached, I give accolades to what I personally have obtained from investing in myself.

Take a look at what I have accomplished through recent sessions with my coach:

  • Organized. I can write out a list or outline and set myself to work in a snap of a finger. A coach, however, watches for what I have not outlined, such as, celebration points, too much of a push, or too little, meaning, procrastination. In a 10-minute span, we mapped out the start and finish plan for an entire book. This plan went beyond the nuts and bolts of writing, it also included breaks and “toot my horn” moments. These are necessary things, but it took a coach to point what I had been missing out on. How can I inspire and encourage others if I do not share?
  • Dedicated. When there is work to do, and I am the responsible party, I focus and dive in. A coach opens us up to endless dedication. When I tell a person (coach) that I am going to stick with the program, I do stick! The human side of me whispers in my ear, oh, you do not have time for that plan, but the other human side of me says throw out the old me, and I stick with it like glue!
  • Values. A coach ensures we include what we value in our daily lives and work. Work too hard? The coach points us back to our family. Work too little? Our coach asks, “How do you plan to provide income?” A few weeks ago, my coach identified that I needed to put myself first in my daily life. I always ask others, what have you done for yourself today? This self-care should not come last in our priorities. Guess what happens when we put our needs last? What comes last, may not come often enough, if at all.
  • Accountability. A coach helps to keep us on the hook. I’ve felt the squeeze of pressure, pressure that I would not have applied to myself. This is reasonable pressure because I see the results. I have had the mindset that I can manage what I have applied to myself in life, with God’s help, and that I did not need someone else to tell me what to do. While that is true, I have now learned that I do not always see the obvious.

Years upon years of life leads us to a habitual state, and we believe that our way is the right way. Picture a flower that can see inside their own bud. It is quiet, beautiful, peaceful, and it feels right. It is smart to hold that beauty from others? What happens when we share? We encourage others, and they may even see hope for themselves, and follow suit. While coaching is not about telling a client what to do, it is about polishing the edges, so what we do shines through with light.

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What are doing for yourself today? Are you taking care of and investing in yourself? Do you set the example that others will see and want to follow?

Signature Mary L Humphrey

Share, Encourage, and Learn

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