There are three kinds of people reading this blog: people with no dreams, people with little dreams, and people with BIG dreams.  You can dream big, too.  Here’s #3 of my 8 success strategies.

Discover what you want.
Release your struggles and strengths.
Energize your mind.

Your mind is like an iceberg. A few days ago I wrote that oceanographers say 88% of an iceberg is below the surface while only 12% is visible. It is also believed that life success is 88% about changing our subconscious programming and only 12% about achieving conscious goals.

How do you energize the mind to accomplish your big dreams? Here are some quick strategies I’m using in my coaching.

Create a personalized success script. This is a written narrative of what you want and dream for in each area of your life. It is written with hypnotic words that penetrate your subconscious mind. I also help you discover and use your top five strengths from the Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment. This is your daily mantra that you say or listen to early in the morning, throughout the day, and before bed time to energize your mind.

Create a vision board. A vision board is a visual picture of your dreams. One coaching client is an artist and painted a collage with all of her dreams. Another has a notebook with magazine pictures she cut out and glued under each life category. There are vision board programs that you can create on your computer. Look at your pictures/vision board daily to energize your mind and achieve your dreams.

Create a Success Score Card. As an avid golfer, I’ve learned the importance of keeping score. Not just the final score, but every detail of my progress on every hole and every shot. Does this sound crazy? It’s not. The best golfers in the world record every shot of every hole of every course they play. These professionals know how many drives landed in the fairway, how many greens they hit in regulation, and how many putts per hole and per round. I do something similar in tennis when coaching my son. I track the number of first serves he gets in, backhand winners, errors, net points won or lost, and other key indicators that ultimately lead to winning tennis.

Let me ask you this…

Do you write down your life goals and track your achievements? This will energize your mind to accomplish your BIG dreams.

Coaching points:

  1. What keeps me from creating a success script, vision board, and success score card?
  2. What else could I do to energize my mind?

One coaching client was laid off last year and stuck contemplating, “What kind of work do I want to do?” Another person I know is struggling to decide if he wants to stay or move. My friend, a ghostwriter, has been searching for his ideal client.

He said to me, “It’s harder to decide on what you want than to get what you want.” I told him to say it again: “It’s harder to decide on what you want than to get what you want.”

That rings true for me and many of my coaching clients. When you know clearly what you want, then you will do everything in your power to get what you want.

Coaching points:

  1. Write down what you want.
  2. Verbalize to someone what you want.
  3. Get crystal clear on what you want.

I remember the excitement I felt a few years ago when my practice moved toward life coaching rather than traditional therapy. But I still get questions about the differences between the two approaches.  If you’re curious about what distinguishes traditional therapy from life coaching, let me break it down for you.

Traditional therapy:

  1. Focuses on relieving the pain or trauma of the past.
  2. Is based on a medical model that includes a pathology and mental health diagnosis.
  3. Views the therapist as the expert who prescribes treatment to fix the problem.
  4. Demands a doctor-patient type relationship that is sometimes artificial.
  5. Uses face-to-face sessions at 50 minute intervals.

Life Coaching:

  1. Focuses on creating your happy future by clarifying what you want in life. Coaching seeks to guide a person to create and design the life and lifestyle that you want.
  2. Is based on a strengths and positive psychology model. People are not viewed as weak or broken. They are held accountable to achieve their goals in their personal and professional life with their strengths.
  3. Views the coach as a cocreative equal. The coach does not have all the answers and is not above the client. The coach helps the client discover success and holds the client accountable to achieve their goals.
  4. Encourages the relationship to be casual, authentic, enjoyable, and without negative stigma. Both client and coach are energized by joint ventures and mutual friendship.
  5. Uses telephone primarily with some face-to-face sessions. Sessions can be only 30 minutes, 1.5 to 2 hours, or 15 minute laser sessions. You may meet weekly or monthly.

Coaching points:

  1. Are you or someone you know interested in learning more about life coaching?
  2. Do you need therapy or life coaching?

Memorial Day weekend is coming up.  Last year, I asked a group of men outside a local coffee shop if they enjoyed it and was surprised by the answers I received. One man blurted out “Yep!” Another commented, “Yeah, we had fun,” and an older gentleman–about 75–said, “I enjoy every day.”

Those words stuck in my mind. I felt his sincere appreciation for being alive today and every single day. He was basking in the early morning sunlight and having coffee talk with his friends.

Most of us enjoy Fridays, the weekend, and holidays but do we enjoy each and every day?

Coaching points:

  1. What relationships and activities do I enjoy each day?
  2. Do I plan my schedule with simple enjoyments each day?
  3. Do I express gratitude for the little joys of each day?

Are you focused on pulling weeds or planting flowers?

Have you noticed how you dread pulling weeds? This is a chore that involves sweat, a sore back, and probable stings from fire ants. It’s like facing the negative emotions, events, and people in your life. Though we need to pull the weeds, there is an internal resistance.

Have you noticed how your motivation increases when planting flowers? You visualize the outcome of beautiful color and sensational smells. You feel the joy, peace, and relaxation of sitting with your family and friends. You have created an oasis and a paradise.

Coaching points:

  1. What weeds do you need to pull?
  2. Most of all, what attractive goals and dreams do you need to plant in your life?
  3. Focus more on what you want in your life than what you don’t want.
  4. Visualize your goals and dreams with color, smell, and emotion.

Do you view life as swimming upstream or flowing downstream?

Many of us have been taught and instinctively believe we should swim against the current to achieve life success: “Success comes to those who work hard and pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” We easily believe the curse to live by the sweat of our brow.

Which way does water flow? (Hint–it’s not uphill.)

No effort is required for the most fluid substance in the world to flow downstream to it’s destination. It’s counterintuitive. It’s time for you to naturally start flowing downstream. Let go and flow to your life destination.

Coaching points:

  1. Flow in your strengths instead of fighting weaknesses.
  2. Naturally go around, under, and over obstacles in your life.
  3. See serendipity in daily destinations.
  4. Relax and enjoy the journey.

Playful balance–from A to Z!  The perfect alphabet for family fun.

A-Acting for fun

B-Balls and more balls

C-Create and join clubs

D-Dance around the house

E-Enjoy pets

F-Frisbee fun

G-Get outside

H-Hop, hip hop, hopscotch

I-“I Spy”


K-Kite flying

L-Leaves, rake and jump

M-Makeover for fun

N-Noon time walk

O-Old pictures

P-People watching

Q-Quicken your step

R-Ring toss

S-Silly faces

T-Tickle each other

U-Upbeat attitude

V-Video workout

X-X and O (tic, tac, toe)

Y-Yawn and relax

Z-Zoo outing

There are three interesting trends in the world of work according to Randstand’s 2008 World of Work research.

1. Job security is currently more important than job happiness.

A Gallup poll reports that 71% of Americans say now is a bad time to find a quality job. People are afraid of the downward economy and are seemingly more content to stay put with their current job, though they may not be happy.

The 15 top factors of job happiness according to employees in order are:

  • Feeling valued
  • Recognition and appreciation
  • Supportive work environment
  • Leadership I can relate to
  • Being a part of a team
  • Capable workforce
  • Lack of job stress
  • Shared vision, values, and pride
  • Opportunities for personal growth
  • Empowerment
  • Collective commitment to objectives
  • Sharp individual accountabilities
  • Fitting into the culture
  • Platforms for collaboration
  • Rigorous performance management

In 2008, every one of these job happiness factors was scored less important to employees. In other words, economic well-being was focused on more than emotional/job happiness well-being. Unfortunately, people are staying in jobs they hate, just to have a job. This is a reality that gives control to employers to take advantage of employees. This trend is a trap for employees and employers because if workers are not truly happy emotionally then personal problems increase, more health benefits are utilized, and burnout increases. This makes an unhealthy workplace for employers, employees, and customers.

2. Dealing with stress in the workplace is on the rise.

The anxiety of change is a constant stressor in the workplace according to employees. The fear of being laid off and benefits being cut are pesky mosquitos that buzz in the minds of workers. Employers have the challenge to provide stress management programs and managers are in dire need of stress relief themselves. Stress is likely a major reason that work productivity is down over the last year.

Employees and employers are encouraged to utilize lunchtimes and learn from seminars, employee assistance programs, leadership academies, electronic newsletters, and life coaching. If your workplace needs these services email [email protected] for an initial consultation.

3. Hiring, motivating, and retaining employees

A new number one challenge and trend for business owners, Human Resource Departments, and CEOs is hiring the right people with the right skills for the right job. This process is well discussed in the book, Now Discover Your Strengths, authored by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.

Playful balance is important, too!  Here are 10 great ideas for having fun:

  1. Invite a neighbor over for popcorn and a movie.
  2. Pick one local site or tourist destination that you’ve never experienced and do it–this week!
  3. Invite a friend over and wash and wax each others’ vehicle.
  4. Check out the performers in your area and go enjoy with friends or family.
  5. Complete the crossword puzzle in the Sunday paper.
  6. Watch one show on the Food Network and cook what you learn.
  7. Invite and take a friend to try a hew hobby or activity.
  8. Get photos and songs and make a family video.
  9. Organize a game night with your family or friends.
  10. Read funny cards at a store and buy one for someone who needs a laugh.

Which one is your favorite?

Who do you want to be when you grow up?

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to the first 4 stages of balanceability–the word I coined defining your ability to balance your life.  The father of balance research, Erik Erikson, devised 8 stages of psychosocial balance with each stage representing a crisis with positive and negative turning points.  According to Erikson, we need to discover the balance between the positive and negative turning points to lead a healthy life.

Stage 5 is identity versus identity confusion. This stage is most prominent between the ages of twelve to twenty years old, but you can visit a stage many times throughout your life.

Who am I? Where am I going? Where do I want to go?

Our understanding of self grows like rings inside a tree trunk. As we experience the seasons of life, our sense of self branches out into many directions.

How does our identity develop?

The known part of self is experienced through your physical, social, emotional, and intellectual attributes. This leads to your concept of self, which is your belief and understanding about yourself. Your concept of self can be divided between the ideal self (who you want to be), your perceived self (what you think others think of you) and real self (the true you).

The knowing part of self functions through doing. This is accomplished through perceiving, performing, thinking, and remembering. Thus, your self esteem is created and rooted in positive and negative feelings toward one’s self.

A person with a well developed sense of identity is aware of the roots of their concept of self and their feelings of self esteem. They are aware of the different parts of themselves.

The implicit attitude of identity is, “I’m this kind of person. I’m not perfect, but I’m still OK. I can accept your shortcomings because I can accept my own.”

How does identity confusion happen?

Unfortunately, many people grow up in an emotionally deprived environment. Self concept and self esteem is 50% how you were nurtured. Your genetic personality  predisposition is the other 50%.

The implicit attitude of identity confusion is, “I’m not sure who I am as a person. I should be much better or more than I am. I have trouble accepting your shortcomings just as I have trouble accepting my own.”

Top 10 questions to ask yourself

  1. Do I have a stable sense of self that does not easily change, or do I have an unstable self that has many ups and downs?
  2. Can I combine short-term goals with long range plans or do I have trouble turning short term goals into long range plans?
  3. Do I handle the whims of peer pressure or do I give in to the whims of peer pressure influence?
  4. Can I give myself a high level of self acceptance or do I have low levels of self acceptance?
  5. Do I make decisions without undue wavering and indecision or am I ambivalent, fearing that my decisions will be wrong?
  6. Am I optimistic about myself, others, and life, or am I pessimistic and cynical toward myself, others, and life?
  7. Do I tend to believe that I am in charge for what happens to me–good or bad–or do I blame and give control to others when good or bad happens?
  8. Am I able to seek self acceptance by being my own person or do I seek self acceptance indirectly by being what I think others want me to be?
  9. Can I be physically and emotionally close to another person without fearing a loss of self or do I have trouble getting physically and emotionally close to others because I fear co-dependence or being overly separated?
  10. Am I mentally flexible and able to keep my sense of self without having to be right or am I mentally inflexible and keep my sense of self by having to be right?