Finding Your New Normal in Uncertain Times

Finding Your New Normal in Uncertain Times

Beginning yesterday, I’m working entirely from home. I’m used to working at home as well as with clients on the phone and Zoom, so this isn’t all new for me. I’m also an introvert and homebody, so that’s comfortable, too. What I didn’t expect was my desire to not work at all, to not accomplish a thing, and to be unmotivated and just want to sit around and read or watch TV!

Scream therapy may not help, but humor might!

I think that’s partly caused by the anxiety that comes with the uncertainty of our current situation: globally, as a nation, as a community, and in our own homes and lives. I know it makes me want to hibernate and take a break. Right now, the best I can do is to keep my appointments, do the things that need to be done, and then be gentle with myself and my inability to tackle any big work or home projects.

Some of my clients and friends are doing some cool things to deal with staying home and the feelings of isolation, boredom, lack of motivation, and anxiousness that come with that.

One friend posted on Facebook: ” Working from home Day 3. I’m still waking up at the same time, showering, putting on eyebrows, brushing my teeth, and wearing perfume to go to the living room. Carry on.”

A client reported that she and several of her colleagues have started the practice of being in a Zoom “meeting,” but they are working independently. It allows them to feel less alone, have a little ambient noise, and to periodically chat or joke with one another. This is something my client plans to practice when working remotely even after this crisis passes.

One great way to boost your mood is to
do something nice for someone else!

Another young client is challenging herself to check in on friends with phone calls, rather than texts. She also takes walks, and on her next one she plans to stop at the grocery store, see what produce is available, and look up a recipe for those ingredients on the spot. It’s a way for her to both stretch herself and learn while taking care of herself.

I’ve also found some practical advice in these articles. Perhaps something stands out to you?

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/19/health/coronavirus-cabin-fever-definition-quarantine-wellness/index.html

https://forge.medium.com/100-ways-to-not-freak-the-fuck-out-during-isolation-7dd980584d8b (Sorry about the explicit language!)

I encourage you to experiment with some new behaviors to see what takes best care of you. And please share those practices with others! I’d love to hear what’s working for you, so I can use and share your ideas, too. You are most welcome to share your ideas here: https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

Take care and be well!

Read More

Your Word of the Year

Your Word of the Year

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions (in fact, by now many folks’ resolutions have failed), but I do like to choose a word of the year. When you have your word, it helps you to make choices and let go of stuff that isn’t going to get you more of what you want – or how you want to feel.

To figure out your word for the year (no, it’s not too late!), just sit quietly, close your eyes, and let your mind drift. Let positive words float through your mind. One of them should feel extra good to you. That’s your word. Simple, right?

When I did this at the turn of the year, some of the words that came up for me were courage, trust, adventure, self-care, gratitude, openness, generosity… But when “acceptance” drifted by, I knew from the tingle it was my word for 2020!

So when I don’t like my circumstances, I will remind myself to practice acceptance and notice that I’m still ok. And when good things come my way like interesting projects, compliments and sweet surprises, I will accept those, too, reminding myself that I am deserving of goodness.

And when I have choices to make this year, I will make the ones that move me towards acceptance. Because that’s where the peace and relaxation is – and all the other good feels. Bonus: acceptance is a judgment-free zone!

Once you have your word, sit with it. What feelings come up for you? How will you get more of that for yourself in your everyday life?

Best wishes for 2020 and finding your word of the year!

p.s. I originally posted this blog on New Year’s Eve (the emails failed to send though – a few technical difficulties!). Some folks posted their words on Facebook: adapt, perseverance, present, gratitude, and mindfulness. If you want to share your word, please do here: https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

Read More

Word of the Year

Word of the Year

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions (in fact this is exactly when many folks’ resolutions start to fail), but I do like to choose a word of the year. When you have your word, it helps you to make choices and let go of stuff that isn’t going to get you more of what you want – or how you want to feel.

To figure out your word for the year, just sit quietly, close your eyes, and let your mind drift. Let positive words float through your mind. One of them should feel extra good to you. That’s your word. Simple, right?

When I did this during the last week of 2019, some of the words that came up for me were courage, trust, adventure, self-care, gratitude, openness, generosity… But when “acceptance” drifted by, I knew from the tingle it was my word for 2020!

So when I don’t like my circumstances, I will remind myself to practice acceptance and notice that I’m still ok. And when good things come my way like interesting projects, compliments and sweet surprises, I will accept those, too, reminding myself that I am deserving of goodness.

And when I have choices to make this year, I will make the ones that move me towards acceptance. Because that’s where the peace and relaxation is – and all the other good feels. Bonus: acceptance is a judgment free zone!

Once you have your word, sit with it. What feelings come up for you? How will you get more of that for yourself in your everyday life?

Best wishes for 2020 and finding your word of the year!

p.s. I originally posted this blog on New Year’s Eve (the emails failed to send though – a few technical difficulties!). Some folks posted their words on Facebook: adapt, perseverance, present, gratitude, and mindfulness. If you want to share your word, please do here: https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

Read More

The Season of Giving Thanks

The Season of Giving Thanks

One of my small career coaching groups started this month. We began by doing some foundational work, raising each person’s self awareness. Last week, we used the Keirsey temperament assessment (i.e., a more robust and accurate version of Myers Briggs) to show each participant how they fit in the context of the other temperaments. A lot of a-ha moments happened for folks.

The next morning, I had thank you notes from 2 of my 5 participants. Here are a couple of brief excerpts: “Thank you so much for the discussion last night. It really helped me to learn more about my previous work situation… A lot of light-bulbs came on for me and that is extremely reassuring and comforting. Again, thank you!” And “Jen, I am getting so much from the coaching. Thank you for putting together a program that is so holistic. I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner…”

I am so grateful all year long to do the work I do, whether it’s in groups or one-on-one. I know coaching makes an impact on folks – even when I don’t know how or how much! But getting detailed thank you notes from people is really meaningful. When someone takes the time to specify what was helpful, that’s high-quality feedback that is usable and creates lasting good feelings. (For more on the power of a thank you, see: https://jenfrankcoaching.com/2017/05/send-a-card-part-2-the-power-of-a-thank-you/)

So grateful for you!

This past week I was also working with a team at a local organization that serves children. We talked about the skill of giving positive acknowledgement. Here’s the exercise they did: on a note-card, write a thank you to someone you know personally or professionally. Include what they did AND the strengths/skills/characteristics they used to do it. They had a lot of great examples of colleagues and family members going above and beyond, being helpful, and having a great attitude while doing so. The participants all agreed – and were even eager – to give the person their thank you.

When you thank someone (i.e., give them specific, positive acknowledgment/feedback), it creates good feelings in them. There are additional benefits though. Positive acknowledgement is one of the ways that we teach others to treat us. If someone does something you like and you thank them with specifics, it makes it more likely they will repeat that behavior. And it creates good feelings in the giver, too!

Who deserves a thank you from you during this season of gratitude? Please take time to tell them what they did and how they did it. They’ll thank you for it!

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m very grateful for you!

p.s. Every November, I write a blog on gratitude; it’s that great of a topic! If you want more thoughts or exercises (or a little musical accompaniment or a poem), check these out:
https://jenfrankcoaching.com/2018/11/an-exercise-in-gratitude/
https://jenfrankcoaching.com/2017/11/grateful-for-the-little-things/
https://jenfrankcoaching.com/2016/11/what-are-you-grateful-for-today/
https://jenfrankcoaching.com/2015/11/grateful/
https://jenfrankcoaching.com/2014/11/gratitude/

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

Read More

Courage (and Girl Power)

Courage (and Girl Power)

I’ve been thinking a lot about courage and confidence lately – two favorite themes of mine – and coincidentally had two smart, powerful women clients the same day where these topics came up. It’s funny how issues that are on my mind, like the confidence gap between the genders, are often highlighted by the challenges my clients face.

One of the reasons I’ve been thinking about courage (aka girl power) the past couple months is the eloquence of 16-year-old activist’s Greta Thunberg as she has spoken out in defense of the environment. When I was a young girl, I was expected to behave, be quiet, and respect my elders – even when their behavior might not have deserved my respect. Greta’s independence, spunk and sureness in her cause are inspiring. It’s unlikely she always feels confident, but clearly she cares enough to do her important work anyway. (Here’s her speech to world leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAJsdgTPJpU)

And then there’s Alex Borstein’s recent Emmy award acceptance speech (at right) where she told the story of her Grandmother’s audacious question to a guard (i.e., authority figure). Being “out of line” literally saved her life. (For more inspiration, you can watch Alex’s speech here: https://www.emmys.com/video/71st-emmy-awards-alex-borstein-wins-outstanding-supporting-actress-comedy-series)

My own clients continue to impress and inspire me with their courage as they speak up in their careers. One noted that things changed for her dramatically when she stopped worrying about disappointing her boss and instead said she didn’t wanted to to disappoint herself. When her true priorities became clear (e.g., her daughter and her health), it became easier to say “no” to a culture of over-working.

Another client, who works in international childrens’ rights, has recently become more willing to say what needs to be said – even if it’s to powerful funders and the message isn’t popular. When I asked her what the worst thing was that might happen, her answer was perfect. She said, “I don’t care.” What she does care about is serving children who don’t have a voice.

When we get clearer about what our priorities are and what we truly care about, it becomes easier to be courageous and to stand up to authority. Of course, there’s space here for the men to be courageous, too, perhaps even just in supporting the women around them. Something as simple as saying in a meeting, “Bob, before we move on to your comment, I’d like to hear more about the idea Sally just mentioned” can make a huge difference in an organization’s culture.

Where could you be more courageous? Which of your personal priorities might make that easier? Where can you support those who might have less power than you?

Have courage!

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

p.p.s. There is one spot left in a career coaching group starting Nov 11 in Memphis. More information here: https://jenfrankcoaching.com/career-group/

Read More