I’ll post new bits of inspiration here a couple times each month. Expect quotes, links to videos, musings, recipes, and who knows what!

Do you have a 5-year plan?

I confess, I don’t have a lot of long-term plans. I mean, I take care of big long-range things like saving for retirement, but I don’t have a 5-year plan. At any given point in my adult life, if I paused to look back at the previous 5 years, I couldn’t have predicted much of it!

For some folks, this may feel uncomfortable, not knowing what’s next. But the truth is, we don’t know what’s next. So instead of my letting my fear-based uncertainty gain power by pretending to be in control, my motto is “I show up.”

Showing up has worked for me. It has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and helped me to meet new folks and learn new things. I’ve moved around the country, had great relationships with wonderful people, experienced multiple careers – and landed in one that’s a terrific fit. All because I was willing. All because I showed up.

If I had tried to plan my life in a detailed way – and then been disciplined about sticking to the plan – I believe life would have been less rich, less fun, and less fulfilling. I believe the universe often has better plans for us than we have for ourselves – if we just keep showing up.

I was visiting with a friend recently. He’s never had much of a plan either; instead, he stays alert and open to new opportunities. And one of my clients lives by the creed of “How hard could it be?” Notice how all of these mottos provoke action and call for us to step up and try – even if we don’t know what the outcome will be.

If you don’t have a plan, that’s fine; just be sure to take care of the big stuff and have a motto that provokes action. What are the words that you live by that keep you moving forward?

Keep showing up!

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

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Travel Lessons

Last fall, I took a lovely trip to Barcelona. Many months before the trip, the airbnb and plane tickets were booked. And that was about it for the planning. The travel guide I’d ordered stayed unread until I was sitting on the plane!

As I read, an outline of the week began to form. On a small piece of paper, each day was written down with one big thing to do: a neighborhood to visit, a site to see, an experience that only happens on a certain day of the week…and the trip took shape. There was still flexibility and lots of time to explore, but I had a general plan to work from.

While reading the Rick Steve’s travel book, I saw his philosophy. It included this: “Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. If something’s not to your liking, change your liking.” What great travel – and life – advice!

When I look back on the trip, I realize this is sort of how I run my life. As I get older, I plan a lot less and roll with life a lot more. I take care of the big, important things early. The details I wait on until I have to address them. Even then, I leave some wiggle room and am flexible in changing my liking. I’ll have to continue to work on being “fanatically positive and militantly optimistic,” but I do try to see the gift in every situation and be trusting about the future.

What’s your style and approach to life? Does it fit who you are, what you believe, and how you are evolving? Where do you need to practice militant optimism or change your liking? Are there lessons in your travels?

Time to book a trip!

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

p.p.s. Last call for Memphians… A small career coaching group is starting on February 5th, and there’s a spot left. More details are here: http://jenfrankcoaching.com/career-group-jan-2018/

 

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Career Coaching Group in Memphis to start late January 2018

Happy new year! If you want more direction and clarity around your career in 2018, consider whether coaching could help you. If you are in the Memphis area, I will be running a three month career coaching group beginning late January. All the details (and what past participants have said about the groups) can be found here: http://jenfrankcoaching.com/career-group-jan-2018/

You’ll learn more about yourself, your unique strengths and gifts, and tell an effective story with your resume. You’ll also learn all of the networking skills and decision-making tools you need to move your career forward. (Don’t have a passion? Don’t sweat it; we’ll help you identify the things that interest and excite you!)

Please contact me today at jen@jenfrankcoaching.com or 901.308.0613 with questions, to schedule a conversation or to register. Let’s make 2018 the year you move closer to the work you love!

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Is this my door?

I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Barcelona this fall. It’s a beautiful city filled with fascinating neighborhoods and architecture and art – and food!

One of our destinations was a highly-recommended tapas spot: Bar del Pla. We showed up before 12:30pm – very early for lunch by local standards – but the lights were on and there were staff inside. I tried giving the door a pull, but it didn’t budge, so we figured they weren’t open quite yet.

We came back a little before 1pm, and again I tried to pull the door, without success. However, this time I was lucky. A gentleman saw my struggle and kindly said, “Push the door to open it.” And suddenly we had access to a lunch so delicious that we made a point of coming back to Bar del Pla again on another day.

This is a great reminder for me to not make assumptions! I am also fond of the saying “If a door doesn’t open, it’s not meant for you.” I’m a big believer that pounding on locked doors is a waste of effort. But I wonder if sometimes we might need to try something a little different before we give up and move on…

That door you have been pulling on, what if you gave it a gentle push? What if you listened to some advice from a kind observer?

This holiday season, my wish for you is that all of your doors swing open with ease!

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

p.p.s. A heads up for Memphians… I will be running a career coaching group beginning in early 2018. If you want to make progress as the leader of your career and life, details are here: http://jenfrankcoaching.com/career-group-jan-2018/

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Grateful for the little things

The Thanksgiving holiday is a wonderful reminder to be grateful for our many blessings. Remembering the big stuff – family, friends, love and laughter – is often easy. But what about all of the small beauty we may overlook on a daily basis? Below is an Anne Sexton poem to help keep your attention on feeling gratitude for the little things.

If you need even more thoughts to ground you in gratitude (or just don’t like poetry!), here are my blogs from the last few years:
http://jenfrankcoaching.com/2016/11/what-are-you-grateful-for-today/
http://jenfrankcoaching.com/2015/11/grateful/
http://jenfrankcoaching.com/2014/11/gratitude/

Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving!

Welcome Morning
by Anne Sexton

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry “hello there, Anne”
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,
dies young.

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

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Is being overly busy a form of laziness?

A friend recently dropped this nugget of wisdom on me: “busyness is a form of laziness.”

Hmpf.

If you read this blog regularly, you may have picked up on the themes of overwhelm, stress, and general busyness. I’ve looked at the topic from a number of angles, most recently discussing acting like a human doing instead of a human being.

Busyness is something I continually struggle with. I like to see open space in my calendar or else I feel stressed. I once took a vacation where my entire goal was to see if I could be bored! And so to label me “lazy,” makes me aggravated. A-ha! That means we are onto some new insight…

First I needed to take a look at the judgments I have about laziness. Yes, my default thinking is that lazy = bad. But there is a good side to lazy; for me, it’s called ease. [sigh of contentment] I know this part of me, and it trusts that it is appropriate to be lazy sometimes: to recharge and just enjoy the simple pleasures of doing nothing in particular – or productive!

Now that my judgments are calm and I can be rational, how can being constantly busy equal being lazy? I love paradoxes, and this is a great one with something to teach me. If I stay busy with work or other obligations, I get to avoid something else. Maybe it’s tackling all the fundamental stuff in my business (like an out-of-date website); or perhaps taking on new challenges that are more personal to me (more yoga and meditation); or maybe I’m worried about being lonely?! Am I busy about the right stuff and in the right amount? Sounds like my priorities need some attention!

How do you feel about the word lazy? Is your busyness a cover for something you don’t want to address? What might you be avoiding? And the next time you scoff at a little nugget of wisdom, pause and see if there is something there for you to explore!

Get busy!

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

p.p.s. Happy Halloween!! 

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Permission Granted

This week in yoga as we moved into final relaxation, my teacher said, “I give you permission to let go.” Hmm, permission…

I don’t consider myself a big risk taker, but the major changes I’ve made and chances I’ve taken in the last decade were because I gave myself permission to choose again if it turned out I was heading in the wrong direction.

Becoming a coach? I told myself I would commit to the training, learn a lot about myself, and gain new skills. If I decided to not become a coach, that was an ok outcome. It was only then, when I gave myself permission and space, that I was able to sign up for the year-long training – and found a profession that’s a terrific fit for my skills and gifts.

Move to Memphis? I liked Memphis a lot, but another big move felt risky. When I told myself if it turned out to be the wrong decision I would move again, I was able to go forward. It’s been an incredible four and a half years in a city that has so much heart. I have been embraced here by wonderful people who have helped me build a successful business and a full life.

This works on a small scale, too. Recently there was an event I wasn’t too sure I wanted to attend. I told myself to show up and gave myself permission to leave after an hour if I wasn’t enjoying myself. I ended up staying for two and a half hours and had a good time meeting some really nice people.

These things were only possible for me because I gave myself permission – in advance – to be wrong and make a new choice. (Bonus points for the times when we do this with grace and mercy and without judgment!) If you have to get every decision right, it’s going to keep you stuck. If you force yourself to live with every choice, good or bad, you’re going to become reluctant to make decisions and you’re going to stay stuck. If you’re cruel to yourself when you get something wrong, you’re going to stop trying and then, you guessed it, you’re going to be stuck.

Where do you need to give yourself permission? Whether it’s to be wrong or change your mind or make a new choice, where can you lighten up a bit and show yourself some grace and mercy?

You have my permission to let go.

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

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Human Being vs Human Doing

Since I launched my business in 2013, I’ve often written about working too much, stress, time management and being overly busy. Recently I realized that I believe “it is more important that I am productive than joyful.” Ouch.

This is a generational belief for me and one that is hard to break. Clients have been coming to me with similar versions of this belief, including “my value as a human is proportional to my production.” Ouch again.
human doing
It is a great thing for all of us to want to serve our loved ones, our communities and our world. However, we do not have to earn our self-care, our down time, or our joy. We are allowed to just be; after all, we are human beings – and not human doings. As Brene Brown says, “Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is.”

Remember, a belief is a choice, and we can always choose again. I’m currently experimenting with “I am worthy of joy” and my client is trying “I can waste a little time.” The trick is to show these new, aspirational beliefs that we think they might be true.

So last week on a perfect 85 degree day with low humidity, I played hooky for a couple hours and read by the pool and went swimming. And I saw a Facebook picture of my client on a beach, smiling and looking relaxed. Progress!

What do you believe about your productivity and your worth? What new belief could you experiment with to show yourself your care, relaxation, and joy are just as important as everything else you do?

Wishing you time to just be!

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

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Things always get different

In the past month, two of my closest Memphis buddies have moved away. These are folks in my ‘hood who I saw often – my comfortable, familiar friends who always recharged my spirit. The first left a month ago, and the second left last week.

I have been surprised over the last couple months that I have not been more worried about these changes. I would normally pre-worry about the situation to prepare for the inevitable feelings of loss!

While I feel a bit sad, I find myself in a more trusting place – due to age, experience or grace, I cannot say. (Probably a bit of all three.) What I do know is that I will remain close to these friends despite the geographical distance. And I know that if there is new space in my life, something will come to fill it.

While my friends’ adventures are taking them 1,000+ miles away to different coasts, my current adventure is more quiet and internal. Will I be lonely? Will I fill my time by working too much? Or will I make choices that take care of me? (Probably a bit of all three!)

temporaryA wise friend once told me that “things always get different.” I was blessed to have such good friends close by that I shared great times with. And I am blessed to have many other friends locally and around the country. And I know that something new is on its way in its own time. So instead of worrying, I’m going to anticipate goodness and take special care of myself.

What’s the thing in your life that’s likely to “get different?” How can you take care of yourself during the process?

Be well!

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

p.p.s. Quick note for young professionals in Memphis… There is one slot left in the career coaching group starting in August. Details are here: http://jenfrankcoaching.com/career-group-aug-2017/

 

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How ARE you, really?

how_are_you_feeling_today__by_avatarjessRecently I was walking into the library while an older gentleman was walking out. I smiled and said, “How are you today?” He replied, “I’m blessed. How are you?” As we passed each other, I responded without looking back, “I am, too, thanks.”

While the exchange was pleasant and reminded me to be grateful, there was no pausing to be really present. It was friendly, but absent-minded. I’m sorry to say, I do this a lot. Even with people that I am close to and care about deeply.

I read an article by columnist Omid Safi not long ago, and he wrote:

“In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal? What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.”

What a gift to pause, look someone in the eye, and ask them, “How are you? How is your heart?” And then listen to the answer and accept it, without attempting to change a thing. (This is for you folks like me, who want to cheer people up if they are feeling bad!) What a gift to share an intentional, heartfelt moment with a loved one – or maybe even a colleague or stranger.

Also notice how you answer the question, “How are you?” How many of us answer, “Good” or “Fine” without even thinking about it? I’m afraid I’m guilty of that, too, although I’m trying to do better!

Where are opportunities for you to break your stride, slow down and ask, “How is your heart today?” Or maybe give a thoughtful answer when someone asks, “How are you?”

p.s. I’d love to hear how you are! Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

p.p.s. Quick note for young professionals in Memphis… There is one slot left in the career coaching group starting in July/August. Details are here: http://jenfrankcoaching.com/career-group-aug-2017/

 

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