Monday, March 7, 2011

Moving Forward

Hi everyone,

First of all, thank you for your interest in Brighten Your Future Coaching. This blog has served me well but it is now time to move forward. Brighten Your Future Coaching now has a new official website! You will find all of the same information you have come to depend on here, including weekly blogs, but I've added a few new twists such as helpful resources to the new site. So please click on the following link and check out our new home. You will always be welcome.

http://www.brightenyourfuture.ca

Cathy Obright
Stress Relief and Personal Coach

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Reality

I attended a workshop on Creating Abundance a couple of weeks ago. During the workshop the facilitator, Rev. Lori Hisson, said something that has stuck with me ever since. What she said was, "Another person's truth is not necessarily your reality". This really hit home with me. Ever since I started my own business people have been saying things to me like, "it will be really difficult with the economy the way it is" and "there is so much competition out there, other coaches have had to give up their businesses. You may have to too." At first comments like these really got me down. Yes the economy is tough right now and unemployment is high. And yes, there are a lot of coaches in London. However, as Rev. Lori said, this doesn't have to be my reality.

A good example of this principle is Kingsmill's, a department store in downtown London that has been in business for 145 years. It is one of the few remaining independent department stores in Canada. Now you would think that, given the hard economic times of the past couple of years, Kingsmill's would be feeling the pinch. After all they carry high-end, quality merchandise and are located downtown where parking is sometimes difficult to find. This is not the case. Kingsmill's recently won the 2010 Retailer of the Year award from the Canadian Gift and Tableware Association, one of retail's highest achievements. They received this award in recognition of their high quality of service, their innovative marketing and their unique customer experience. They may be 145 years old but they have worked hard to keep up with the times. So instead of laying off staff and lowering their standards, they have thrived, actually expanding their offerings and hiring new staff. What is one retailers truth (and I can think of several retailers including Linens and Things, that have closed their doors over the past two years) isn't their reality.

I'm sure that we can all think of examples of comments well-meaning friends have made that are meant to shield us from hurt and disappointment but instead serve to discourage us and cause us to give up our dreams. But remember, we have a choice. We can choose to believe that their truth will be our reality and give up on our dreams or we can say to ourselves, "well that may be true of so-and-so but it doesn't have to happen to me" and keep right on moving forward. I'm sure that many people told Thomas Edison that his idea would never work or that other people had tried and failed. But he just kept plugging away (sorry about the pun) and now we have light!

It can be difficult remaining confident and positive in the face of all these "helpful" comments. Tap into your support system of trusted friends who are supportive of your dreams when you find yourself in need of a confidence boost. Working with a coach can also help you to not only build your confidence but also to put together a plan that will enable you reach your dreams. So remember, another person's truth does not necessarily have to be your reality, and go for it! The sky is the limit!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Choices

I was recently talking with a friend about some problems he was having at work. These problems were not new, and they had been causing him a great amount of stress for quite awhile. I asked him what was the reason behind him not taking action to resolve the problems and his reply was "I have no choice".

This is a phrase I hear quite often from people who are experiencing stress or overwhelm in their lives. They honestly feel that the situation that is contributing to their stress is one over which they have no control. It is being forced upon them and they have no ability to respond or to do something about it. In other words, they feel they have no choice in the matter. Well, the good news is, yes you do.

Many people who are experiencing anxiety or stress confuse having to make tough choices with having no choice at all. In the case of my friend, he has several choices including confronting his manager and colleagues about their behaviour, setting boundaries, or looking for a new position. But these actions are not easy to take. For my friend, at this point in time, the amount of time and energy that would be required to put them into action is too great. It is an easier choice to stay where he is and to remain stressed.

I remember a conversation I had with another friend a couple of years ago. This friend had undergone treatment for cancer several years before and the long-term effects of the treatment made it necessary for her to have a colostomy. During that conversation, she mentioned that she had no choice but to have the surgery. This really upset her. She didn't want to have it but she felt that there were no other options open to her. After listening to her, I gently pointed out that she did have choices. She could choose to not have the colostomy and spend the time she had left in peace and comfort. Or she could choose to have the surgery and lengthen her life but have to put up with the complications that it would cause. It turns out that consciously, she had never realized that the first option was possible. To her, it was unimaginable to make that choice so it did not exist. But to have it pointed out to her that she actually did have a choice, and that she had, unconsciously, already made it, brought her a certain amount of peace. She no longer felt as though the decision was out of her control.

Can you think of a situation in your life right now that you are putting up with because you feel you have no choice, even though it is making your life stressful? Now ask yourself, "in an ideal world, would I put up with the situation?" If your answer is "no", then you do have choices. They are just tough ones and you are choosing not to take them into consideration. It helps to enlist the help of a coach or a trusted friend to help you to identify what your choices are and to support you in the action that you choose to take. You do have the personal power to change your situation, if you choose to.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Power of Gratitude

I have decided that this year will be my "Year of Living Abundantly". I am starting out with a clarity I have never had before about what I want to have in my life (as opposed to what I want to accomplish)and I am trying my best to think positively and not dwell on what my life is lacking. One of the best ways that I have discovered to do this is by focusing on what I am grateful for in my life. I have started to end each day by reciting, in my head, a list of all the things I am grateful for, and they are many:

* having a safe, warm place to live
* having friends and family who love and care about me
* having the opportunity to do what I love and the time to be able to focus on it
* my health
* opportunities to learn and grow
* books so that I can gain new perspectives, learn new things, and get away from it all
* having a cat who is a great companion

You get my drift. What this small thing, which doesn't take long, does for me is it makes me realize how lucky I am. There are lots of people out there who are living on the streets, who have to rely on food banks to feed their families, and who are alone and lonely in this world. I may not have all that I want but I am so fortunate to have what I do have. I'm really not lacking anything that is important (OK, it would be nice to have a man in my life but that is a subject for a whole other blog!). My life is rich and knowing that helps me to keep a positive outlook. It focuses my thoughts on the abundance that I have in my life, and that is the message I'm sending out to the Universe. I'm not focusing on lack. I really am truly blessed.

This is the first step for me. I know that saying this list in my head is good, but saying it out loud is better and writing it down, committing my thoughts and gratitude to paper, is best and holds the most power. I am going to make picking up my journal every morning and writing my gratitude list a part of my daily routine. They say it takes 21 days to form new habits...well, tomorrow will be day one.

What are you grateful for? Why not make writing a gratitude list part of your daily routine. A professional coach can teach you the tools you need to live a more abundant life, and then provide you with the encouragement you need to put them into practice. Everyone had the ability to live a life of abundance...and it all starts with gratitude.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Clarity

I had the opportunity to attend a great workshop this past week. It was called "Living in Abundance". One of the things that we talked about was that what you focus your mind on is what manifests in your life. When I first heard this concept, I thought it was just a bit too "new age" for me. I always thought that what happens in your life is determined by chance or by other people. I never imagined that it has a lot to do with what and how I think.

My coach shared a great excerpt from a book by Neale Donald Walsch called "Conversations with God - Book 1" that explains this concept very well. This is what he wrote:

"You get your life to "take off" by first becoming very clear in your thinking about it. Think about what you want to be, do and have. Think about it often until you are very clear about this. Then, when you are very clear, think about nothing else. Imagine no other possibilities.

Throw all negative thoughts out of your mental constructions. Lose all pessimism. Release all doubts. Reject all fears. Discipline your mind to hold fast to the original creative thought.

When your thoughts are clear and steadfast, begin to speak them as truths. Say them out loud. Use the great command that calls forth creative power: "I AM". Make "I AM" statements to others. "I AM" is the strongest creative statement in the universe. Whatever you think, whatever you say, after the words "I AM" sets in motioin those experiences, calls them forth, brings them to you.

There is no other way the universe knows how to work. There is no other route it knows to take. The universe responds to "I AM" as would a genie in a bottle." (page 92)

One example of this that I can think of in my own life is a simple one. I bought my first brand new car when I was 29. It was a bright red Toyota Tercel. I loved that car. It was my pride and joy. Up until the time I bought it, I honestly don't remember seeing any other red Tercels on the road. But, once I started to drive mine, I saw them EVERYWHERE! My mind was focused on my brand new car and, what manifested in my life, but red Tercels. At the time I thought it was a bit freaky, but it wasn't. It was just the Universe manifesting what I was focusing my mind on.

The New Year is a time when people start to set goals for the coming year. How clear are you about what you want to be, do, or have this year? If you are clear and feel this clarity deeply, than focus on it and watch what happens as the year unfolds. If you aren't clear, or need help in setting your intentions or goals, working with a coach can help to bring into focus your intentions, goals and dreams for your future...and manifest them in your life. May 2011 be your "Year of Abundance".

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Living Your Values

I heard an interview recently on "Ontario This Morning" on CBC radio that really caught my attention. The show's host, Wei Chan, was interviewing a minor hockey league coach from Peterborough. During a game in November, the coach, Gary Walsh, pulled his team from a game after a player on the opposing team uttered a racial slur to a member of his team, who is black. When the player was not pulled from the game but instead returned to the ice after the incident, Coach Walsh's team decided not to continue the game and returned to the dressing room. As a result, Coach Walsh was given an indefinite suspension by the Ontario Minor Hockey League. The player and the coach from the opposing team also were suspended for 3 games.

During the interview, Ms. Chan asked Coach Walsh if the decision was a difficult one. After all, he knew that he would probably be suspended. Coach Walsh replied that no it wasn't. His team made their decision not to continue to play, and he supported that decision, because it was based on what they believed in. They knew that uttering racial slurs, whether delivered in the heat of hockey play or not, was wrong. When the player was not penalized for his actions, even after it was brought to the attention of his coach, Coach Walsh's team felt they could not, in good conscious, continue to play. They were there to support their team mate. They knew, in their hearts, that it was the right thing to do. For Coach Walsh, the decision was simple. He and his team were living by their values.

I was blown away by this interview for a couple of reasons. First of all, I was impressed with Coach Walsh. Here was a man who knew what was important to him - what he believe was right and just in this world - and was willing to live by those values even though he knew he would be punished for it. He was solid in his belief and felt no regret. And I was impressed that his team of young players - 16 and 17 year olds I believe - who were solid enough in their values to stand up for what they believed in. It is obvious that Coach Walsh had not just been instilling the values of good sportsmanship into his players, but also other important values as well - loyalty, integrity, strength, courage, equality and fairness. All of these values, to me, are lacking in sports today, where money, fame and "good television" seem to take precedence over good sportsmanship. And to have youth this age buck the trend to do what they did is amazing. I am encouraged to know that these youth will be tomorrow's leaders.

I try very hard to live by my values. They make the decisions I have to make every day a bit easier to make. However, I am not sure if I could have done what Coach Walsh and his team of minor hockey league players did. That showed great courage and strength. The lesson in this for me is that I still have a long way to go, but now I have a role model to look up to. Thank you, Gary Walsh, for that.

What are your values? Do you live your life by them? Coaching can help you to discover what your values are - what is really important to you - and help you to build your courage muscles to begin using them to guide your life. If you would like to grow your values muscles, give me a call. I'd love to show you how great a values-based life can be!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Remembrance Day

A friend on Facebook posted the most amazing video on Remembrance Day. It was a vignette of photos taken of one soldier's journey from Air Force Base Trenton to the chief coroner's office in Toronto along the Highway of Heroes. The soldier in question died in combat in Afghanistan. I've watched this video three times since it was posted and was moved to tears each time. And, on several occasions I sobbed. I shared this video with my other friends on Facebook because I felt it was worth sharing. Lest we forget.

One of the reasons it moved me so deeply is that it made me realize just how lucky I am to be a Canadian; to be born in a land where I am truly free. I am grateful that I live in a country where I am free to voice my opinions in public without fear of imprisonment and death. I am grateful that I can sleep at night without the sound of gunfire in the street and mortar shells falling nearby. I am grateful that I can fall in love with whomever I wish without fear of reprisal. I am grateful that I can work at a job I love without being forced into a career because it is good for the state. And I am grateful that I have access to free, world-class medical care no matter how long I have to wait. These are all things that other people in this world don't have. When I think of these things it helps to make my other problems seem small by comparison. These other problems are things I can deal with. Given the level of poverty, social injustice and civil unrest we have in this world, I'm just glad I'm lucky enough that the small things I have a tendency to worry about are problems! It means that I'm healthy, clothed, fed and housed- that my basic needs are met. It means that I'm free.

Yes, I'm very proud to be a Canadian. What are you grateful for? What does being a Canadian mean to you? I'd love to hear about it.