Early one morning as a man walked along the beach, he saw an unusual scene. Thousands of starfish that had washed up on shore were dying in the sun. In the distance he noticed a young woman picking up starfish and throwing them back into the ocean, one at a time. When he came close enough to her to be heard above the waves he said, “You’re wasting your time. There are thousands of starfish along this beach front. You can’t possibly make a difference.”
She reached down, picked up a starfish, and gently threw it as far as she could, back into the sea. “I made a significant difference to that one, didn’t I?” as she reached down to pick up another.
That’s how I feel about being a Life Coach. Coaching works. One person at a time. One changed life at a time. In 1998, I traveled from St. Paul, Minnesota to visit my married daughter in Chicago, Illinois. One evening, so she didn’t have to alter her plans, I agreed to go with her to a meeting of small business owners.
That night the speaker was a Personal and Professional Life coach. She talked about how life coaching helps people to live more effective and joyful lives. She discussed how people sabotage themselves and stay stuck.
Then she asked us all several questions:
Soon after that serendipity meeting, I took coaches training and started with one client (I call each client a “coaching partner.”) Twelve years and hundreds of coaching hours later, I remain amazed about how the coaching process works. Life Coaching is a professional relationship that enhances the coachee’s ability to effectively focus on learning, making changes, achieving results and experiencing fulfillment–as the person God created him/her to be.
Have any of you experienced working with a Life Coach? What was it like for you?
Perhaps I’ll write more about the rewards of life coaching later.
You Flirting with Action Addiction & Burnout?
Have you dreamed of slowing down, but keep hearing your internal-bully whisper “There’s no stinkin’ way you can do that!”
Perhaps you’re one of many in service-related careers or ministries who are on the fast track to burnout. (Just in case you wondering, here’s a good definition of burnout. Burnout is the type of stress and emotional fatigue that occurs when a series of (or combination of) events in a relationship, mission, way of life or job fail to produce an expected result.)
Awareness is an important step in changing this self-defeating lifestyle of overworking, overdoing, over-helping and over-committing. The following questionnaire can help you identify your need:
There is HOPE.
You can admit your need, ask God for guidance and insight, seek help and resources, and then take active steps to reshape your thoughts and behavior. It sounds like a lot. Yet, that first step is all you need right now.
Show someone you love (preferably a healthy, supportive person!) your responses to this questionnaire. And then don’t back down. God honors truth-telling–even if that truth (the reality facing you) feels negative.
THERE IS LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF BURNOUT.
My mother (who I always thought looked like a movie star!) suffered repeated TIAs (transient ischemic attacks, or “mini strokes”)1 and lost her sight, hearing, reasoning and ability to talk. I hated what was happening to her. Then that dreaded call: “She’s dying. Come.” On Mother’s fourth night at the hospital, my daughter, Lynnette, joined me.
Aunt Aileen & Mom as she was losing her sight
“I wonder if Aunt Aileen will run to meet Grandma,” said Lynnette.Mother and Aileen, who died previous year, loved being sisters. While we chatted about heaven, mom’s breathing turned more erratic. We watched her leave us. Kissing her cheek, I whispered, “This is Joanie, Mom. I love you. Tell Jesus hi for me.” (For years, she had asked me to say hi to my friends each time I left the house.) Stroking her thinning white hair, I recalled how, as a child, I had combed her thick black locks. Lynnette wiped the lips that had often whispered, “Honey, you’re special.”
Death’s messiness didn’t terrify us as we imagined it would. Still, for weeks I tried to make sense of my emotions. Happy because life’s disappointment and anger didn’t matter to Mom anymore, I questioned the sad injustice of her disease and death too soon. One day God reassured me, “Joan, in that sterile hospital room, I sent angels to carry your mother to her Savior. You stood on holy ground” (see Acts 7:33).
Mom’s debilitating disease, premature death and my own struggle with grief remind me of my flawed reality. Yet on this Mother’s Day 2010, God’s hope guarantees me life beyond the inequity and loss I feel.*
What loss are you feeling this Mother’s Day season? What hope have you found?
2. Chapter 2: About how life changes. As a NEW MOM how did your life change? What surprised you? Who or want helped you adjust to your new life? Need these by May 10.
3. Chapter 3: About the myriad of necessary decisions. As a NEW MOM what decisions were you faced with? Ex. When/if go back to work? Breast or bottle? What car seat? Babysitters? Feeding schedule? To let baby cry or not? How did you choose? Need these by May 17.
4. Chapter 4: About sleeplessness and foggy thinking. As a NEW MOM how did fatigue & sleeplessness affect you? What helped? What hindered? Need these by May 20.
5. Chapter 5: About daddies and your relationship with them. As a NEW MOM, how did you and your husband find time to connect? Stories, tips, cautions?
6. Chapter 6: About dealing with your emotions and body changes. As a NEW MOM, how did you deal with fluctuating emotions, body changes, weight loss/gain? Crying jags? Postpartum blues? Depression?
7. Chapter 7: About how TIME changes for you during this pre-occupying time. As a NEW MOM, what happened to your schedule, time management? You structured? Flexible? Bothered by Time? Stories, tips.
8. Chapter 8: About how your definition of LOVE changes. As a NEW MOM, how was your concept of LOVE challenged, changed? What did you anticipate you’d feel? What DID you feel? Stories, tips, resources, advice. Scripture.
9. Chapter 9: About any unrealistic expectations you, your family, friends, the church or society places on you. As a new mom, what unreasonable expectations did you have for yourself, your baby or your family? How did you try too hard to make it all just right? Stories, tips, scripture, helps, solutions?
I will not be using your full names. And will need a signed permission sheet (which I can send to you) if I use your first name or tell your story with the details you give me. I may do composite stories. Thanks for being cool with all this. Let me know if you have questions.
Relief to you today,
P.S. Yes, I know the numbers are different sizes and colors. Oh, well. A little “relief of imperfection” here!
P.P.S. Yes, you can pass this request to other MOMS who you think may have good stories/tips to share. We’re all in this to help other MOMS.
P.P.P.S. Sorry, but because this is a WORK FOR HIRE writing project, I cannot compensate you or give you a copy of the book. I will let you know when it comes out, however. And I think the book will only cost (retail) $7.99. So that’s good!
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.