2020…Setting The Stage!

2020…Setting The Stage!

The Power Of Visualization

Alright everyone…here we are, HELLO 2020! So what’s it gonna be this year? Though I’m not a big fan of new year resolutions, I am a huge advocate for setting the stage and believe immensely in the power of positive visualization. In fact every morning, upon awakening I take the first 15 minutes of my day to envision the next 24 hours. Literally, going hour by hour, imagining and designing action steps that align with how I want to show up and experience the day. Naturally, some days are harder then others. But the second part of this two step visualization process-designing the action steps of the day-give me the clarity and direction I need to build in the greatest likelihood for success.  Of course, there are plenty of days when I’m feeling more overwhelmed or rather uninspired by what lies ahead. But make no mistake the power of suggestion goes a long way, it is now a well known fact that we stimulate the same brain regions when we visualize an action and when we actually perform that same action. Brain studies have shown that positive mental imagery “primes” our brains for success. 

On a bigger level, every new year I take pen to paper and return to one of my most trusted practices I learned back in 2010 when I was first just a student at iPEC (Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching) pursuing my coaching certification. It is a visualization exercise in which I imagine it is one year from now (Dec 31, 2020) and what I aspire for is actually occurring. I then proceed to consider all aspects of my life; personal development, career, health/wellness, intimate/social/professional relationships, parenting, fun/enjoyment, even spiritual wellbeing and paint a picture of what I like to see. Essentially, I design a vision that is exciting, purposeful and fulfilling, one that I find inspiring. I ask myself:

  • What am I doing? (In all the above stated aspects of life)
  • With whom am I doing it with?
  • What am I feeling?
  • How much income am I earning?
  • How much fun am I having?
  • What difference am I making, personally and professionally, in the world?

Ultimately, using this exercise to create a vision of what I aspire to be, feel, and experience in the new coming year. This process, of seeing and even feeling a new improved self in all aspects of my life allows me to then develop life objectives that support this vision, helping me break it all down into specific goals that lead me to my desired destination by years end. This exercise has become one of the most favored amongst my clients, not only promoting clarity in their goal setting but accountability as we use it as a tool to check in with to help them stay on track and develop necessary action plans and task driven work in order they be able to obtain what it is they want in and for their lives.

The most important thing to remember when doing this exercise is that not everything is written in stone, there needs to be some level of flexibility, however, not at the risk of losing sight of our vision. Remember, there is never an end state to self-development, greater success and happiness is always a work in progress but without a vision it is very hard to find direction. As the most revered book states “Where There Is No Vision The People Perish.” PROVERBS  29:18

Wishing Everyone A Very Happy New Year

-Holly-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Your Sweet Spot

Finding Your Sweet Spot

Striving vs. Straining

We live in a “do more” culture — one that prides ourselves on how busy and full our lives can be.  A culture that endlessly encourages us to take on new goals and pile on task after task. But what happens when our to-do list starts to feel overwhelming…we burnout! Listen, I’m a leadership coach, I’m all about goals and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone to tap into our greater potential. But there’s a fine line between striving and straining. 

Think of it this way, when we work out we purposely stress our muscles and cardiovascular system to overtax our bodies in order to build ourselves up. But it is in the recovery where we make the most gains.  When our body repairs and replaces damaged muscle fibers through a cellular process to fuse muscle fibers together to form new muscle protein strands. These new muscle protein strands enable us to get stronger and leaner improving our performance the next time we workout. The same holds true with our performance in life, there’s nothing wrong with “stressing” or “pushing” ourselves for a period of time just not all the time.

Truth is some stress in our lives is actually good for us. We learn how to be resilient, and get things done, our body primes us with an increase in blood flow and a healthy dose of adrenaline, making us more alert and attentive. However, chronic levels of stress, that is stress without reprieve for long periods of time, works against us, which hinders our performance and our wellbeing.  But as you can see stress isn’t the culprit here, it’s the lack of recovery.  More is not always better,  periods of recovery are necessary.  The key to high performance lies in both these actions where we push ourselves for periods of time to tap into greater potential yet factor in R& R.

Whether it be on a small level like a coffee break or stepping outside for a breath of fresh air, or even better yet a day off and a good night sleep, and of course on a bigger level through vacations, long weekends, and holidays to enjoy.  

I encourage you to find the sweet spot between striving and straining, know your tipping points and embrace pushing yourself out of your comfort zone as long as you are sure to factor in recovery!

Wishing You The Best Of Success

-Holly-

 

Anxious?

Anxious?

The Elephant In The Room

Believe it or not there’s nothing wrong with you. Anxiety affects tens of millions of people world wide, though we don’t talk about it, many of us grapple daily with intrusive thoughts and worries — sometimes to a disabling degree. Quite frankly, it’s a very normal response to unprecedented times where the bombardment of email, social media, and onslaught of constant world news is now the norm. We never get an opportunity to shut down or recover, unless we consciously take steps to do so. There is only so much the human mind and body can process and wrap ourselves around. In this month’s blog post, I’m inviting you to consider the role anxiety may be playing in your own life, and options you have for making it better. 

After close to 20 years in the helping profession, as therapist and now women’s leadership coach, the one thing I have come to learn for sure is that there is no one silver bullet or magic pill out there that serves as a cure-all. Just as there is no one thing that causes us anxiety, we need to consider a number of practical shifts we can make daily that will help to build our own collection of anti-anxiety strategies. From simple self-calming techniques to fundamental lifestyle and perspective shifts, I will offer suggestions on a wide-range of anti-anxiety tactics that are now out there and proven to be making a huge difference in the quality of people’s lives.

Combatting Anxiety One Step At Time

*Please note-anti-anxiety tactics are not numbered in any intentional order to follow 

#1: Nutrition– The relationship between food, mood, and anxiety is garnering more and more attention. There is a growing body of evidence and research explaining how anxiety can be triggered by inadequate nutrition. Here, I share a great article found in Experience Life Magazine titled ANTI-ANXIETY EATINGIt gives you the skinny and the scoop along with four key nutritional strategies that support a calmer state of mind. It’s a great place to start understanding how our eating habits can be vital in keeping anxiety at bay. 

#2: Sleep– Sleep plays an essential role in regulating our emotions, behavior, and physiology. Experts agree that 7-9 hours of sleep are necessary for optimal health and wellbeing. However, as many as 40% of adults are sleep deprived, or regularly getting less than 6 hours a sleep a night. As someone who has struggled with quality sleep issues herself, this has become a number one priority for me to master as I know the toll it has taken on my mind and body.  After much personal research, I have come up with an arsenal of sleep strategies ranging from deep breathing exercises, pre-bed-time rituals, understanding the effects of caffeine and alcohol on my system, along with tips for dealing with sleep interruptions and falling back to sleep. Here, I share a great podcast found on The Living Experiment “SLEEP” episode. Well worth carving out some time to listen to, it covers all you need to know.

#3: Exercise– Nothing surprising here, physical activity as we all know is a key factor when it comes to fighting off anxiety. From the obvious of  creating a venue to release pent up emotions as well as distracting us from daily stressors-as it’s really hard to exert ourselves physically and ruminate on negative thoughts. But there is also a real science (“EFFECTS OF EXERCISE AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY ON ANXIETY” by Elizabeth Anderson and Geetha Shivakumar) behind how exercise reduces stress hormones and stimulates productions of endorphins which together help foster a calmer state of mind. 

#4: Social Connections– Meaningful relationships and physical interaction with others is a critical factor in helping to mitigate anxiety. People need people, whether you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert, having the support of others tells our brain that we are safe, loved, and accepted. It’s not about the quantity of relationships but rather quality and most importantly physical proximity. Do not mistake likes on your social media page to go the distance. Or texts to qualify for meaningful conversations. Carve out time on your calendar to be with those who lift you up, make you laugh and support the best version of yourself. 

#5: Digital Diet– Unplugging from the digital world is a great way to reduce the stress that being “on” all the time brings into our lives. Start powering down, limit the number of emails or texts that you send. Pick up the phone and have an actual conversation with someone or better yet go with face to face contact. Turn off your alerts from time to time, put your phone on silence mode, and only check into all correspondence or social media during specifically set times of your day for only a set amount of time each day. Create boundaries…technology isn’t going to slow down, it’s only going to become more consuming.

#6: Spend time Outdoors– Research indicates that getting out into nature reduces anxiety by increasing the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system responsible for digestion and rest; part of its activity involves slowing the heart rate. When the parasympathetic nervous system is active, physical side effects of anxietydecrease and subjective feelings of peace and relaxation increase. It doesn’t have to be a big grand gesture like a hike in the mountains, simply just stepping outside, breathing in the fresh air, feeling the sun or wind on your face, and focusing your attention on the sights sounds, and smells around you can be enough to make a difference. But of course, the more you make a point to get outside the greater the benefits you will reap.

#7: Medication– As a former therapist I understand that everyone has different levels, types, and ways their body experiences anxiety. In some instances, when anxiety becomes so debilitating that putting into practice any of the above tactics becomes far reaching, medication may be a consideration. This is when it is time to consult with your doctor or a mental health practitioner. But with the understanding that anxiety is not like an infection that can be cured with medication. As it only helps to dull anxiety, acting as a bridge to access life long coping skills that when practiced daily can truly eradicate anxiety.

The reality is, life is challenging. There is no sugar coating that but I know despite how hectic, stressful, and complicated life can get, every woman with the right “tools” and self-knowledge can live a life with greater ease and success!

Wishing You Always The Best Of Success

-Holly-

 

A Secret Elixir

A Secret Elixir

Surprising Benefits Of Finding A Hobby

Want a surefire way to improve the quality of your life, relationships, and mood? Get a hobby. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking as if it’s that simple, how could something so frivolous make that much of a difference? The last thing I need is another commitment. Hobbies are for people who lead quiet, relaxed lives, and have extra time. I get it, between the kids, work, staying on top of household responsibilities, the notion of a finding a hobby can sound like a waste of time. But actually, for those people who lead very full and busy lives, it’s all that more important to find a hobby. Think taking up a hobby is an ineffective, senseless, or self-indulgent way to use your time? Read on to discover the amazing benefits a hobby can have on your life.

Why Get A Hobby?

Relieves Stress & Lessens Negative Self-Talk- First and foremost hobbies relieve stress and clear our minds by keeping us engaged in enjoyable and positive tasks. Taking our attention away from the day-to-day challenges and issues we face.

Enhance Social Connections- Hobbies are something that you can frequently enjoy with other people. Whether you join a club, play in a league, or just come across people with similar interests and mindsets. Moreover, when you  take some time to do something enjoyable it lifts our spirits so our current relationships reap the benefits of our improved mood. 

Increase Confidence and Self Esteem- Your hobby is going to challenge you in someway, whether mentally or physically. As you overcome these challenges, your confidence will be boosted. 

Enrich Who We Are– When people ask you what you do in your free time, hobbies prevent you from standing there and scratching your head in puzzlement. Hobbies give us something to talk about, adding layers to our identity. They give us space to view ourselves differently, exposing us to new ideas and different perspectives.

Promotes Productivity- Hobbies prevent burnout allowing us to take time out for ourselves, bringing us renewed energy and excitement. This will carry over to the rest of our activities whether at work or home. And since most hobbies usually require rearranging of our schedules to fit it in the activity, it forces us to manage our time more wisely and productively.

Don’t even know what pastime would make you happy? Best bet is to start by building on your own interests. Think about what you value most, examine your skills and personality, and pay attention to what excites you. Being outdoors, doing something physical or creative with others or alone. What skills would you like to learn, talents you want to develop, or experiences you crave? Brainstorm some ideas and try out a new activity from your list. Lastly, pay attention to how you feel during the experience and give it at least three to four attempts to get over the beginners’ hurdle. You may not find the right fit for you right away, but the upside is along the way you can have a lot of fun trying new things and exploring what’s out there. This summer take some time to check out a hobby or two, with the season’s warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours, along with for most, more liberties in our schedules makes for a perfect time to take some time  enjoying an activity that is not attached to work or other commitments. 

Wishing You Always The Best Of Success

-Holly-

 

We All Lead

We All Lead

Keys To Successful Leadership

October 2017 Insights

We all lead, either by choice or default. Leadership is the ability to inspire and motivate yourself and others into taking positive and sustainable action. Whether you are a high level executive at a Fortune 500 company trying to negotiate a corporate buy out, on the board of your school district’s PTA organizing and recruiting for a fundraiser, an owner of a local bakery who would like to encourage her customers to use her services more often, or a coach just like me working with all of them, it’s crucial to understand that each person is a leader, or at least a leader in the making. If you don’t think of yourself as a leader, you are limiting your potential. Leading is the way we help people move into action, ourselves moreover. The question is not whether or not we are leaders, but how well we lead.

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