Bubble Wrap (aka Playing Small)

Bubble Wrap (aka Playing Small)

I have a lot of clients who are stuck when they begin the coaching process because they want a perfect long-term plan for the future, complete clarity, stability, to be settled, a guarantee they’ll make the right decision, and/or to be fully confident and fearless.

When you see that in writing, it probably looks pretty obvious why they are stuck; those things don’t exist in real life. Real life is messy. We make mistakes and fail and feel scared sometimes.

But imagine if I told you I had a way to keep you safe and pain-free: bubble wrap. We will wrap you in bubble wrap and if you fall down or bump into something, you won’t get hurt. Sound good?

The bubble wrap is also going to prevent you from going places where a bubble wrap suit isn’t normal attire. It will constrict your movement and make you and your world feel limited. Still want the bubble wrap? Yeah, me neither.

We’ve all felt pain. Of course we don’t like it. But it gave us experience that shows we are strong and can move through those difficult times. We can’t allow ourselves to become so pain avoidant that we play it safe. Because playing it safe is playing small.

So if we take that bubble wrap off, are we likely to get hurt? Yes. Will that suck? Yes. Will we still be ok? Yes.

The alternative is to live less of a life. Be less yourself. Not bring your gifts fully to the world. And that’s not ok. Because the world needs all of you. We need all of you.

In what situations do you show up with bubble wrap on? Where are you stalling while you wait for the conditions to get perfect? What’s that thing you’ve been avoiding?

Go do that!

p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching



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Social Climbing

Social Climbing

This week, I tried something new. And difficult. And less dangerous than it looks. I went to High Point Climbing gym where the walls are 55 feet tall.

My friend and I were novices, but we felt fairly confident while signing the lengthy waiver and putting on our harnesses with some assistance. Once we entered the huge climbing space, we started to get a little nervous and paid very close attention to the short instructions provided by one of the staff.

Once that was over, we donned our climbing shoes, quickly conferred, and left the main climbing area to head for the kid’s section! We tested the auto-belays like we were shown, clipped them to our harnesses, and climbed a wall that was a couple of stories high. When we got to the top, neither of us were willing to let go of the wall and trust the auto-belay to get us to the ground safely. After lengthy discussion, we both climbed down the wall. First attempt? Climbing was a success. Getting down, not so much.

We talked a bit more with the staff and got some reassurances. (One staff member admitted he had to climb down his first time, too, but he wasn’t in kid’s room; he had to climb down a 55′ wall!) So we went back to the kid’s room and tried again. This time at the top of the wall, we took a deep breath and let go into our auto-belays, and…success! We climbed a third wall in the kid’s room and belayed again. We were ready for the big walls.

And climb we did! We chose the easiest climbs, but were able to get to the top and belay down. For being new, we did awesome! We felt very accomplished and surprisingly not very sore.

New experiences come with lots of lessons. Here are some that I was reminded of:

  • Allow yourself to be new
  • Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing (especially the people who aren’t new)
  • New things are easier and more fun with a friend
  • It’s ok to start small
  • Allow people who know stuff to help you
  • It feels reassuring to hear personal stories from people who know stuff
  • At some point, you are going to have to let go and take a leap into the unknown
  • Don’t be discouraged when things don’t go according to plan; take care of yourself, get help, and try again
  • Things get better and easier with practice (although, practice can be tiring!)
  • You don’t have to go from your first small success to expert level; be willing to make incremental progress
  • Celebrate your accomplishments
  • Get pictures so you can show your friends (who, like mine, may say “OMG! Is that YOU?”)

While the final accomplishment sometimes provides the best pictures, it’s the least interesting part of the story! Get out there and try some new things to keep expanding that ever-shrinking comfort zone. At some point there is going to be something you really want to take a chance on, and we need to make sure those trying/failing/trying-again muscles are strong.

What’s something you’ve been wanting to try?

Go do that!

p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

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Your failures make you interesting

Your failures make you interesting

Before you launch into any big goals or new year’s resolutions, I hope you’ll do something a bit smaller and possibly more fun: fail.

Think about something you always wanted to try, and go do that. Do it imperfectly. Make an enormous mess. Fail really big. Take pictures of that dumpster fire. And then tell your friends, because now you have a great story. Funny how that works; it’s our failures that make us interesting.

Last fall I was meeting with my client Lara, and we were discussing her career goals. She mentioned some ideas that she felt were out of her reach like opening a stand at the farmers market. During our conversation she said wistfully, “I’ve always wanted to make bread.” As if bread was some sort of impossible dream! I challenged her to bake bread over the weekend and bring it to our next career coaching group meeting.

Pictured here is Lara’s dog who wouldn’t even give her first attempt at bread a little lick. Ok, so it failed to rise, and she basically made play-doh. But the second batch was bread! She brought it to our  group meeting, and we all tried it. And it was good! Some folks even had seconds.

The best part is that it wasn’t the success that made for a great story. It was the failure, the perseverance, the trying again, and then the success.

Nobody (except maybe you) thinks you should be a huge success at something new the first time you try it. So if you want to have any hope of hitting those resolutions or big, important goals in the future, you may want to go out and get used to failing and trying again.

What’s your, “I’ve always wanted to make bread?” That thing that sounds like a lot of fun to you and is entirely do-able, if you’d just give yourself some space to make a mess? Do that! And then show pictures of your initial fail to your friends.

Be interesting!

p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

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Christmas Presence

Christmas Presence

On Monday I tried to cram in a couple of holiday errands between appointments, stopping at The Mail Center to drop off some Christmas cards (no, I’m still not done) and mail two boxes of presents to the West coast. When I arrived, there was an older woman in line in front of me filling out a form. I exchanged pleasantries with the Owner, Mark, and asked if he thought I could get out of there in about 15 minutes. I hadn’t really given myself enough time before my next appointment, but Mark assured me he would do his best. Then the woman in front of me told him, “you can go ahead and help her first.”

As Mark took care of my boxes, I thanked the woman and we chatted; I found out that she has four grandchildren between 2 and 8 years old. We agreed those ages were great fun at the holidays. As we talked a bit more, she revealed that her husband had recently fallen and broken his hip and would spend Christmas in a rehab facility. It was obvious that would be hard on both of them.

If I hadn’t been forced to slow down for a few minutes and get present, she wouldn’t have shared that with me. Behind people’s joy (or automatic “I’m doing great”) there are often challenges and struggles. I hope that you’ll be gentle with yourself and the people around you during this busy season. When we are compassionate and give people the gift of our presence, sometimes they will talk about things that trouble them; it may lighten their load just a bit.

Wishing you and yours warm and merry holidays – and strength and support to deal with any challenges you face.

p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

 

 

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An exercise in gratitude

An exercise in gratitude

Recently I saw the quote “what if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you said thank you for today?” Wow. Well, I got really busy counting my blessings – and not my typical lazy way (e.g., my closest friends and family) – but rather a pretty thorough inventory of the immense goodness in my life.

I’m sure I’m repeating myself, but gratitude really is the best way I know to let go of my worries or complaints, ground myself in the present, and shift my attitude. (What’s the big deal? Your attitude affects your mood, and your mood affects your thoughts, and your thoughts lead to your actions, and your actions create your reality!)

If you like exercises, here’s one to get you focused on gratitude this holiday season. What would you list if you were to write the alphabet and think of one or more things, beginning with each letter, for which you are grateful? Just to give you an example, the last time I did this, B was for “Beth, birds, books, blessings, bedtime, and beef!” All things essential and frivolous that you are grateful for can be on your list; in fact, the weirder it is, the more it will make you smile when you read it at a later date.

If you’d like even more thoughts on gratitude, here are my blogs from the last four years:
http://jenfrankcoaching.com/2017/11/grateful-for-the-little-things/
http://jenfrankcoaching.com/2016/11/what-are-you-grateful-for-today/
http://jenfrankcoaching.com/2015/11/grateful/
http://jenfrankcoaching.com/2014/11/gratitude/

I hope you have a lot to be grateful for today. Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving holiday!

p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

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