What I learned from trees

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This spring, I’m living and volunteering for a month at a monastery in central Florida. One of the many, many, benefits of my stay here is that the grounds are beautiful and are home to huge, old oak trees, softly draped in bluish-grey, lush-looking Spanish moss.

The weather has been perfect for outdoor reflection, and a good deal of my time has been spent in the shade of the trees’ blanketed branches.

Here are a few life lessons these massive mentors have shared with me . . .  

Stay rooted.

Learn to sway.

Going out on a limb can be a good thing.

Accept that there are seasons, and change is inevitable.

Leaves, like so many things in life come and go, and that’s okay.

Oh, yes, and being green is a great way to live!

 

If you are thinking about branching out this spring,

sign-up for Strengths Coaching, a new service offered by Patrice Koerper @ Wishful Thinking Works

To register or to learn more about this inexpensive coaching option to grow and change your life, click here

Join the fun! Two Wishful Thinking Works workshops in Cleveland, Ohio in April

Patrice Koerper  Life Coach Wishful Thinking woman and treesOne of the best parts of my life coaching practice is being able to take interesting, helpful, scientific research and breaking it down into user-friendly formats and activities for real folks – like you and me – to use. 

I’m thrilled to announce that on Saturday, April 20th from 1-4 p.m., I will be in Cleveland, Ohio doing just that as I present a 3-hour workshop chockfull of great ideas and information to help women of all ages re-energize or redirect their lives.

And, on Saturday, April 27 from 1-4 p.m., I will be presenting a special “Flourishing Together” workshop for moms and daughters, ages 9-12, to help them discover new ways to work together to build their self-esteem and confidence.

If you are in the Cleveland area, please plan to  join us for one of these fantastic workshops, if not, consider bringing a Wishful Thinking Works workshop to your part of the world!

Don’t put off the changes you’ve been considering.

Spring into them, and launch a new you!

For more info on my “Re-energize and Redirect” April 20th workshop in Cleveland, click here.

For more info on my “Flourishing Together” April 27th workshop in Cleveland, click here.

To learn more about Wishful Thinking Works Workshop options, click here.

For information about Wishful Thinking life coaching options, click here.

For wonderful, free Wishful Thinking Works, Resources, click here.

For hundreds of helpful posts about happiness, well-being, creating the life you want and so much more follow Wishful Thinking Works or “Like” us on Facebook.

Each and every one of the above Wishful Thinking Works options can help you create the life you really want. Pick one, and go for it!

Changing debates into dialogues

Have you ever been in a conversation that ended-up being more of a confrontation?

Do you often feel misunderstood, or even angry that people just don’t seem to get you or your point of view?

Do you spend time thinking about what you wished you had said?

Do you find yourself thinking about what you are going to say next, rather than listening to what others are saying?

I know I have! Each of these situations may be related to our tendency to engage in “debates” more often than dialogues. In fact, our conversational style may actually be preventing communication rather than enhancing it.

If you are interested in exploring and/or improving your conversational style, here are some thoughts on the subject. This chart was posted in 2011 on the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation web site. I believe it was developed for group and organized discussions – but I  could be wrong :-)  I do think it can be applied to any and all conversations – personal and otherwise, and may be a great way to start a dialogue about dialoguing. Let me know what you think!

As you read it, take a moment to think about how you and your spouse or significant other converse, and how you settle differences or share information, ideas and opinions with co-workers, family and friends. And, remember that the one of the fastest ways to change a situation, is to change our role in it! It’s all part of being the change we want to see . . .

Dialogue Debate

Collaborative: two or more sides work together toward common understanding

Oppositional: two sides oppose each other and attempt to prove each other wrong
Finding common ground is the goal Winning is the goal
One listens to the other side(s) in order to understand, find meaning, and find agreement One listens to the other side in order to find flaws and to counter its arguments
Participants speak for themselves as individuals whose own experiences differ even from others on their “side.” Their behavior is likely to vary from stereotypic images others may hold of them. Participants tend to be leaders known for
advocating a carefully crafted position. Participants’ behavior tends to conform to   stereotypes.
Participant’s point of view is enlarged and possibly changed Participant’s point of view is affirmed
The atmosphere is one of safety; facilitators propose, get agreement on, and enforce clear ground rules to enhance safety and promote respectful exchange. The atmosphere is threatening; attacks and interruptions are expected by participants and are usually permitted by moderators.
Assumptions are revealed for re-evaluation Assumptions are defended as truth
Introspection of one’s own position occurs Critique of the other position occurs
There is the possibility of reaching a better solution than any existing solutions One’s own positions are defended as the best solution; other solutions are excluded   and new solutions are not considered
An open-minded attitude is created; participants express uncertainties as well as deeply held beliefs. A close-minded attitude is created; participants are determined to be right and express unswerving commitment to a point of view, approach, or idea.
Participants Search for basic agreements Participants search for glaring differences
Participants search for strengths in other positions Participants search for flaws and weaknesses in other positions
Holds that many people have pieces of the answer and that together they can put them into a workable solution

Holds that there is a right answer and that someone has it

Find out what makes you uniquely you!


gymnast-patrice-koerper-life-coach-wishful-thinking-works

Did you know that you are a very cool and unique combination of virtues and character strengths?

Yes, you! You are uniquely designed to be good at certain stuff. How cool is that? Positive psychology studies show that one of the best ways to feel happy and fulfilled in your life is to identify and use your personal strengths to accomplish the “stuff” that best suits you.

Having and exercising your Character Strengths is nothing new, yet sometimes we have to be in just the right mood to move forward on something, so I am mentioning it today incase the spirit of the Olympics inspired you this weekend, and you are wondering what you can do to pursue your personal best.

Why not get started by taking the VIA Charcter Strength Survey to find out more about yourself and what makes you uniquely you. It only takes 15 -20 minutes, and it’s free. Not a bad investment for such a positive return; it could be the beginning of a whole new you or maybe just a more “fit” you, because once you discover your strengths and begin exercising them, you can increase your happiness and your sense of fulfillment. 

Don’t miss out on exercising your strengths, it’s a workout that can keep you fit for the rest of your life! Think of it as the Olympics for your mind! It only take a few clicks and less than 30 minutes to discover and begin exercising what makes you, uniquely you!

After you have completed the survey, click here to receive your free Wishful Thinking Works Circle of Strengths, which can help you exercise your strengths and work your way up to your personal gold medal of happiness! 

Patrice Koerper  Life Coach Wishful Thinking gold medal June 2013

 

If you are ready to go for the gold in your personal life, having a coach can help you focus and move forward faster.

Contact Patrice Koerper for Wishful Thinking Works coaching, today.

Wishful Thinking Ways #14

Wishful Thinking Ways

Today is the last post in our Wishful Thinking Ways series. For 14 weeks we’ve been meeting on Fridays to find new ways to create the lives we really want and to zero in on one very specific change in 2012. I hope you’ve enjoyed the series!

Today, I will be explaining a formula, which will help you achieve the change you want in your life. Before we begin, if you haven’t already, please complete the free Wishful Thinking Ways “Change Circle” sheet. Then jump on the Wishful Thinking Works Real Deal Change Wheel, which is a great way to get off the Ferris Wheel of Denial we sometimes ride when we go round and round instead of forward in our lives by telling ourselves why a particular change is not possible. Completing the Wishful Thinking Works Real Deal Change Wheel can get you started in the right direction. If you are new to the Wishful Thinking Ways series, click here.

“20/5/90 Formula”

I’m a believer in life coach and author David Essel’s “20/5/90 Formula”, because it works! It’s an easy to use method to create change in your life. All you have to do is create weekly, time-specific, realistic action steps, which you then work on at least 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 90 days!

Each Sunday night, or other consistent day of your choosing, layout the time-specific, realistic action steps that you will do for the next 5 days, 20 minutes a day. As an example, let’s say your goal is to exercise more. On your chosen day, write how you will move toward that goal over the next 5 days. Lead with the reason you have chosen that goal, and write the sentence as though you’ve already achieved it.

“I’m excited that I’m living a healthier lifestyle and as part of my goal I will exercise 20 minutes a day for the next 5 days. I will wake-up early each day and so I have time to exercise from 6 to 6:20 a.m. I will keep my exercise clothes and shoes next to the bed to make it easier for me to get up and going.”

    1. On Monday I will walk outside (or on treadmill) from 6 – 6:20 a.m.
    2. On Tuesday I will work out at home with my __ pound weights for 20 minutes. I will do ___ sets of _____________ for my arms and ____ sets of __________ to strengthen my back. I will also do _____ sets of ____________ for my legs, etc.
    3. On Wednesday I will walk outside from 6 – 6:20 a.m.
    4. On Tuesday I will work out at home with my __ pound weights for 20 minutes. I will do ___ sets of _____________ for my arms and ____ sets of __________ for my legs, etc.
    5. On Friday I will walk outside from 6 – 6:20 a.m.

The goal, of course, is to create weekly time-specific, realistic action steps that are right for your change. Gear the time-specific, realistic action steps to your change goal – getting a new job, starting back to school, opening a business, etc. The “20/5/90 Formula” works for everything.

The key is taking time to write a plan each week. Once you begin holding yourself accountable, change becomes easier. As you achieve each day’s step, remember to savor your success, which can make you feel more confident and motivate you to keep moving forward. And, even if you are following the same steps each week, write them down as if they are new each week. Writing is part of the commitment process.

You can do this. You can absolutely create the changes you want in your life.

20 minutes a day, 5 days a week for the next 90 days, is not a huge amount of time and the results can be amazing.

Before too long, you might find yourself committing more time each day to your goals, that’s great, little successes build to big successes by increasing our confidence, congruence and stamina.

Special Tip

I believe it is better to allocate more time per day, than more days per week to your goal and here’s why. If you start doing your time-specific action steps 7 days a week, the odds increase that you might miss a day. Once you miss a day, it’s too easy to fall into a pattern of beating-up on yourself.

 “Man I missed a day, I said I wouldn’t and I did, I never finish anything, I’m lousy at this, why do I even try?”

Any version of a negative thought pattern can easily lead you to throw in the towel on your change process – in fact, it is a very common way to sabotage yourself.

“I didn’t ________________so I must be ___________________.” (Insert any negative term or phrase.) “This is too hard. I will never change. I don’t deserve to do better.”(Your version may sound different, but I think you get the idea.)

While using the “20/5/90 Formula”, do not under any circumstances allow yourself to use a missed day or a shortened time frame from a day to build a case for failure. Okay? You’ve been warned, missing a day is bound to happen, so I suggest creating a support statement to tell yourself, if or when you skip or shorten a day’s assigned activity. I call this your “Getting back on the horse” statement. Make your statement supportive, kind, and energizing.

“I didn’t do ____________, but that doesn’t mean I have to throw in the towel. I really do want change and I’m good at it. I’ve changed and achieved lots of other things in my life. So, even though I missed a day, I’m going to keep going and keep moving forward. I feel great when I do what I say I’m going to do and I really do want to change, so I am going to keep going.”

My example is long, but I wanted to make sure you get a feel for how to write your “Getting back on the horse” statement. As always, use your words, fill in any blanks and go for it. You can do it.

Study after study shows that if our goal is important enough to us; if we are committed to achieving it; if we are specific in our plans, and if we create an environment that provides feedback – change will take place. (“The getting back on the horse” statement is a form of support as is working with a partner on your goal.)

Let’s Do It

If you start on Sunday, April 1 by Friday, June 29, 2012 your change will be a part of your life. No fooling! June 29 might sound far away at the moment, but here’s the thing – June 29 will be here no matter if you change or not, but a new you is guaranteed to be there to greet it, if you follow the “20/5/90 Formula”.  Do you want to find the same old you on June 29 or do you want to meet the new and improved, confident and congruent you?

The choice is yours. I can’t wait to hear about your success!

Wishful Thinking Ways #11

 

Would you like to feel more confident, courageous and calmer? If so, you are in the perfect place at the perfect time – Wishful Thinking Ways week #11!

Today we are creating your Change Circle. Click here for a customized Change Circle sheet you can use to decide exactly what you want to change in your life. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to select one, and one thing only to change.

By choosing one, and one thing only, you concentrate your efforts and dramatically increase the odds you will achieve your goal. And, by accomplishing whatever you set out to do – you will not only achieve your change goal, you will also gain confidence in yourself and your abilities, and build some courage along the way. And, if you allow yourself to celebrate and savor your success you can go to sleep and wake-up feeling calmer. It’s a win-win-win situation! The trifecta of change – confidence, courage and calm. (Ooh, that feels good . . .  I’ve been working on my personal change goal, and I can tell you it feels wonderful to see the changes taking place, but that’s another post.)

You can do it.

If you have been following Wishful Thinking Ways over the past 10 weeks, you are completely ready for this. In January, you set the stage; in February you spent time exploring and discovering your dreams, and in March you will begin making them happen. The past 10 weeks of Wishful Thinking Ways have been chockfull of ideas and activities to get you started and moving in the right direction. (If you are just joining us, no problem, click here or on the last link below.)

Wishful Thinking Works  – all you need to do is to slip into the driver’s seat and get behind the wheel of your life. You are in control! I know there are days it may not feel that way – we all have them – but deep down you are capable of creating change in your life. I am absolutely sure you have done it before, and just as sure you can do it again.

The free Wishful Thinking Ways “Change Circle” sheet will help you. Click here, then read and print it. No printer, no problem – read the sheet and make your own circles on a piece of paper. (Where there’s a will, there’s a way!)

No excuses, you can do it. Go for it! No matter where you are today, it is the perfect starting point for where you want to be tomorrow.

Click on the links below to review or start your Wishful Thinking Ways.

It is never too late to create positive change in your life.

Wishful Thinking Ways #10 – My Wishful Thinking Ways

Wishful Thinking Ways #9 – Your Story, Your Way

Wishful Thinking Ways #8 – Mind-Mapping & More

Wishful Thinking Ways #7 – Change Drawings

Wishful Thinking Ways #6 – Questions Hold the Key

Wishful Thinking Ways #5 – Exploring Label Fables

Wishful Thinking Ways #4 – Name that Feeling

Wishful Thinking Ways #3 – Physiological Tells

Wishful Thinking Ways #2 – Simple Steps 

Wishful Thinking Ways #1 – Start at the Very Beginning

 

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If you have enjoyed this or any other post, please “Like” Wishful Thinking Works on FB and share the post with your friends!

Up next

Patrice Koerper, American Corner, Bitola, Macedonia

That’s me. Happy and fulfilled because I was using my strengths and was very grateful to be where I was, doing what I was doing – talking about positive psychology at the American Corner in Bitola, Macedonia to a great group of people!

For my next project I am heading to the Republic of Georgia for three months as a Response Corps Volunteer with the United States Peace Corps. I love the Peace Corps; 2011 is their 50th anniversary. Who knew during the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps I would be a volunteer with them again! That’s the fun of creating the life you want, it is often a mystery – until it unfolds in front of you, like Macedonia and Georgia have done for me.

I will live in the capital of Tbilisi, and will work with the Ministry of Environment Protection writing a public relations plan for them. Before becoming a life coach, I worked in public relations for 25+ years, but could never have predicted I would someday be using those skills in Macedonia or in Georgia.

Georgia and Macedonia have a number of things in common, they have both been republics since 1991, and they are both beautiful mountainous countries with lots of vineyards; wonderful, warm people and rich histories. Their climates are similar, and much like Cleveland, Ohio were I was born and lived for 36 years.

I cannot wait to begin my assignment in Georgia, but it is just as difficult to say goodbye to Macedonia and my friends and “family” here, as it was to leave my family and friends in the States. Change and courage go hand in hand with each new adventure. We can never be certain where our journeys will take us, but I know that happiness is my constant traveling companion if I only remember to open my suitcase!

I hope wherever you are in the process of creating the life you want, you are experiencing fun, flow and fulfillment and are surrounded by friends and are finding ways to use your strengths, because as noted on the screen in the above photo those five things combined are the key to creating the life you want, PERMAnently.

Below is the next stop of my journey, where will yours take you? (Please remember, the internal places we travel and the friends we make are as important, and are usually more life changing and lasting, than the locations we visit.)

The Republic of Georgia

And, in true Georgian tradition, I will toast to you and your journey as soon as I can in my new location. You see, in Georgia . . .

“Toasts, however, are not simple declarations; they are expected to be speeches mixed with mirth, spoken verse and insight. Toasts are usually made with wine, toasting with beer is an insult to the one toasted. We are very generous with our wine, but since toasts are the only time you are supposed to drink your wine, we have many toasts (we have always been a practical people). In fact, we will use just about anything as an excuse to toast, a foreign guest happens to work quite well. So get used to your family, your country and friendship and your character being toasted. ”

http://georgia.travel/culture/food/toasting/

And, since Georgians never toast without a table laden with delicious homemade food, I know I will be feeling at home very soon!

PS  This post is filled with interesting links and videos about Georgia and posts about Macedonia and Wishful Thinking Works. Please take a minute to scroll up and click to learn more about where I am heading next, where I have been and what I’ve been thinking about along the way.

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