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How to Eliminate Your Imposter Syndrome In 3 Easy Steps

Posted by Julia Stewart

Fraud Factor - Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome, sometimes dubbed the Fraud Factor, is on the rise.

I think the pandemic may be contributing. Because nothing says "fraud", to your brain, like sitting in Zoom meetings all day wearing business attire up top, and pajama bottoms down below. Admit it, you've fudged a little. We all have.

Now that the world is opening up again, let's reclaim our authenticity, our confidence, AND our expertise.

Here's how...

The first thing to realize is that everybody feels like a fraud sometime including your boss, your professor, your psychotherapist, etc. I know it's disconcerting to think the person to whom you shared your reoccurring dream of showing up naked at your high school reunion might actually be preoccupied with their own insecurities, but it can happen.

Imposter Syndrome is normal and you're not alone.

Second, you probably already know a handful of aphorisms that could help you with this (because so many people before you have struggled with feeling fake.) But you you may benefit from some assistance in applying these messages successfully, so read on.

Here are three aphorisms that might help:

  1. 90% of success is just showing up.
  2. We learn by doing.
  3. Act as if.

I learned that first one from a graduate-school classmate whose success I envied. I pondered it for years and I think she's right, because the second is based on research I learned from legendary Harvard professor, Tal Ben Shahar, in a course on positive psychology that I took. He said people develop their identities via their actions, not the other way around. We learn who we are by acting, so by just showing up consistently, we successfully develop new identities about who we are and what we do.

Finally, "act as if" is an old 12-Step approach to changing our behaviors and identities. If you are an alcoholic who wants to be sober, act like a sober person. If you need help doing this, choose someone who has succeeded in that transition and pretend you are them for a while. It sounds shallow, fake, and like it could never work, but as they say in 12-Step, "It' works if you work it."

Here's a short example story...

Decades ago, right after I got my MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, I was hired to teach dance at Westchester Community College. It was a dream come true that I had worked toward for years, so I was ecstatic, then nervous, then a little bit petrified. What if I screwed it up? What if my students realized how green I was?

So what did I do? I showed up and, for each course, Ballet, Modern Dance, Jazz Dance, I pretended I was my favorite teacher in that subject. That got me through the first week. By the second week, I was 100% myself, the Professor of Dance that I clearly showed up as, every single day.

I continued to teach dance for years, until I discovered my true calling: Coaching.

In this new profession, I felt Imposter Syndrome all over again, especially whenever I had to tell someone what I did for a living. Then I recalled the easy confidence my coach exuded when I first met her. It was one of the reasons I decided to hire her to be my coach. So for a while, I stepped into her persona each time I told someone what I did. Before long, I was fully immersed in my new profession and felt like the coach I really was.

 

I had made it, no more faking it.

 

As the world of work opens up again, we all could use a little assistance getting back to our best. And a coach is the perfect partner to help you through the rocky places and get you back into flow. Plus, a trained positive psychology coach is skilled in helping you identify your Ideal Self and making that your true reality.

 

Stepping into your brilliance is the ultimate approach to eliminating Imposter Syndrome.

 

Find your positive psychology coach at the Find a Coach Here directory, below. (Oh, and put on some pants!)

 

Find a Coach Here Directory

 

Topics: Positive Psychology, FIND A COACH, positive psychology coach, imposter syndrome, ideal self

Join These 3 Free Webinars with Pioneers of Positive Psychology Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

.Webinar banner

I want you to be among the first to know about the new Pioneers of Positive Psychology Coaching Series. Graduating members of the Part 2, Master Level, Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program will be leading one-hour webinars on how they are coaching their niche/specialties with positive psychology.

This year there is a special focus on coaching through the pandemic.These webinars are open to the public. We have three coaches presenting this year.

Register for these fre*e webinars today...

Pioneer Series: Coaching Entrepreneurs Through Uncertain Times

Are you an entrepreneur who has been impacted by the pandemic? Or are you a coach who coaches entrepreneurs? Or are you interested in positive psychology coaching? You won't want to miss this fascinating webinar with positive psychology coaching pioneer, Shatay Trigère, CPPC.

This is the first webinar in SCM's 2021 Pioneer Series. Open to everyone for fre*e. Seating is limited. Register separately for each webinar in the series.

Fri, Apr 30, 2021 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT

Register for Coaching Entrepreneurs Through Uncertain Times

 

Pioneer Series: Nutrition Coaching Through an Intuitive Eating Lens

Have you been eating to soothe your anxieties through the pandemic? That is extremely normal, but leads to added stress around weight gain, body image, feelings of being out of control and negative self-talk. If you're curious how a positive psychology coach and dietician assists her clients through these issues, you won't want to miss this informative webinar with Dr. Leigh Wagner, CPPC.

This webinar is part of SCM's 2021 Pioneer Series. Open to everyone for fre*e. Seating is limited. Register for separately each webinar in the series.

Fri, May 7, 2021 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT

Register for Nutrition Coaching Through an Intuitive Eating Lens

 

Pioneer Series: Becoming Positively YOU

During this presentation you will be introduced to a coaching framework and personal development workbook called Positively YOU. Positively YOU describes someone who understands and appreciates what makes them unique, and empowers them to live into their perfect and whole self. The goal of Positively YOU is to provide insights that will move individuals from living by default to living with intent. Don't miss this exciting webinar with Positively YOU creator, Stephanie Scott, CPPC.

This webinar is part of SCM's 2021 Pioneer Series. Open to everyone for free. Seating is limited. Register separately for each webinar in the series.

Wed, May 12, 2021 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM EDT

Register for Becoming Positively YOU

 

I know you will want to attend and learn from these exciting webinars.  And they are fre*e! Register right away to reserve your seat.

Want to become a positive psychology coach? Here's what our graduates have to say about our programs. Join Part 1 of the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program, become a great coach with a thriving business with 125 ICF hours and move up to Part 2, the master level, for an additional 85 ICF hours, when you are ready, and become a leader in positive psychology coaching. Visit our site for more info or make an appointment here to find out how you can join.

Explore the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program

Topics: webinar, Free, ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, positive psychology coaches, positive psychology coach, positive psychology coach training, become a positive psychology coach

Here's What Happened When I Quit Social Media

Posted by Julia Stewart

social media apps on iphone

My name is Julia and I am an addict.

I am addicted to social media. This was inevitable because social media is designed to addict us so it can keep us engaged and change our behavior. Then we buy more and more stuff via their ads and they make billions.

Wondering if you are a social media addict? Do you visit social media everyday? Do you participate on more than one site? How many minutes/hours per day do you spend? Have you ever bought anything via an ad on social media? Have you ever found a fake news story there? Do you ever get upset at things your friends or others post? Have you ever caught yourself mindlessly scrolling through your feed without curiosity or enjoyment? Have you caught yourself doing that more and more?

That last item is telling.

Mindless scrolling is like watching bad TV at 3 AM because you're "too tired" to go to bed. TV is just as addictive as social media and for the same reason. Mindless scrolling is also like binge drinking when you really don't want another drink.

What I discovered after I left my last social media site surprised me. And it led to other important changes in my life. How I got off is a bit amusing but the ramifications are huge.

Read on for how I escaped and what happened next...

I won't bore you with details of my history with social media. Long story short, I all but gave up on it long ago as a viable marketing strategy. I still use LinkedIn a bit for that but I spend almost no time there. And some sites that I used to enjoy, like Twitter, are so overrun by bots, propaganda, advertising, and toxic politics that I had long since given up on them. But Facebook was the one site where I still connected with colleagues and out-of-town friends and relatives so I made an exception for it. I thought the good outweighed the bad.

Then Facebook became a problem.

A few years ago, a friend who teaches a college course on social media marketing told me she quit Facebook because she had become addicted to it. I should have known it would happen to me, too. Was it the noxious politics that drove me away or the belligerent posts by friends of friends that woke me up? Nope.

In my efforts to control my addiction, I accidentally locked myself out.

Like an alcoholic who thinks they can control their addiction by avoiding bars and keeping booze out of the house, "except for special occasions," I removed all Facebook apps from my devices, then logged in on my iPad with a new password that I did not save. This way, I could only access Facebook on that one device. However, that did not limit the time I spent there. I still found myself mindlessly scrolling and gradually became more disenchanted. Then one day I accidentally closed Facebook.

To my surprise, I couldn't be bothered to retrieve my password.

Did you know retrieving your Facebook password is more onerous than it is for your bank account? At first, I thought that was what stopped me. Then I said I would go back to Facebook after the presidential election. Then I pushed that back until after the inauguration. With each passing deadline I was less willing to return. Why?

I felt so much happier after I left.

I was no longer triggered by my friends' political posts. Instead, I was spending my time reconnecting with actual friends and deepening our relationships just like I used to before social media. Even via Zoom during the lock-down, those relationships feel more meaningful than the likes, comments, and shares I was previously settling for.

Plus, now free of the constant manipulation of Facebook, I became increasingly sensitive to the manipulations of other types of media. I canceled cable TV so I wouldn't be tempted to visit cable news stations, anymore. I found free internet news apps that cover topics in-depth without the constant drama, sensationalism, and fake outrage. I prefer feeling a calm sense of well-being even while consuming news.

Then I noticed how manipulative the newspaper I've been reading for forty years has become. Before, I thought my dissatisfaction with it was because, over the years, I've changed and they've changed and that's understandable. But it's the news media's job to inform us, not tell us what to think. Negativity bias has always been a problem with the Fourth Estate because worried people buy more newspapers, or apps, as the case may be. And implicit bias has always been there. It's sad though to see a formerly solid source of information blatantly manipulate its readers. No wonder we are so polarized. It's hard to get the facts without editorializations so we simply operate with opinions.

I unsubscribed from that paper.

What do I do now that I have so much more freedom and time? Deeper relationships comes first. Then occasionally checking the news online. Then reading for pleasure. And I scratch my information itch by reading non-fiction books of interest to me personally and professionally. That helps me keep my evidence-based coach training classes current and fosters my personal growth.

From there, I realized all the toxicity of the past year or so had caught up to me.

I had anxiety. Fortunately, one of the books I read, The Body Keeps the Score, mentioned something called Direct Neurofeedback. I did a few months of it and the results have been fabulous. It was pleasant; it was easy. And I am so much more relaxed, not in a drugged way, but in a healthy and vital way.

Funnily enough, direct neurofeedback works the same way Facebook does.

It uses the neurotransmitter, dopamine, the brain's reward chemical, to retrain the brain to a healthier state, instead of addiction. I find I am now more  focused, confident, optimistic, and most of all, aware.

Practicing any addiction will separate you from your intuition and healthy empathy.

Quitting Facebook helped me get back to my True Self. All it took was a mistake, noticing how it felt, and a little neuroscience.

 

Learn more about coaching and neuroscience here.

 

Visit the Certified Neuroscience Coach Page Here

Topics: Facebook, Social Media Marketing, personal growth, certified neuroscience coach

30 Ways Empaths Can Avoid Narcissistic Abuse

Posted by Julia Stewart

Protect Yourself from Toxic People

Many coaches identify as Empaths and may therefore have problems with Narcissists but they don't have to wrap themselves in PPE to avoid contamination.

 

Empaths have a lot in common with Highly Sensitive People (not to be confused with hypersensitivity) but also demonstrate the strengths of empathy, compassion, kindness, and love. These are ideal strengths for coaches.

When I say, narcissists and narcissistic abuse, I'm not talking about a diagnosis. I'm talking about people who are behaving in such a selfish manner that they abuse others. These are what many coaches refer to as, "toxic people".

 

They are toxic because they make other people sick.

 

If you are a coach, you need to understand this dynamic because some of your clients will experience it. If you think you are an Empath, you need to understand it so you can protect yourself from harm.

 

To learn the 30 ways Empaths can avoid narcissistic abuse and find out about an upcoming class on the topic, read on.

There is something the following all have in common... Sexual abuse, racism, mass murders, terrorist plots, dictatorships, cult leadership, internet trolls, scams, bullying, infidelity, lies, manipulation, cheating... They are all committed by narcissistic people. These are some of the most dangerous people alive and even when their abusive behavior is relatively mild, the suffering they can cause can be immense.

 

You might think this is an odd topic for someone who usually writes about coaching and positive psychology.

 

But ignoring the downside of life is never positive. Knowing how to handle difficulties is always positive.

I've known more than my share of narcissists. I am not talking about people who post too many selfies on Instagram. You can never judge who is a narcissist by just one behavior. You need to know them well. They always seem awesome at first, while they still want something from you. But relationships with them never turn out well, once they get what they want. They "Kiss up and kick down." You will wonder what you did wrong. But usually, you did nothing wrong. It's hard to believe some people are like this but until you accept that, you will be vulnerable to more abuse. 

 

Empathic people are often targeted for narcissistic abuse and many Empaths are coaches so this is a topic that needs our attention.

 

If you know me, you know I learn everything I can about subjects that matter to me. Because I've experienced narcissistic abuse more than once, I've had psychotherapy, neuro-therapy, have taken several courses on the subject, and have read a ton of books. I've also been coached on it. I joked recently that I probably should have an honorary PhD in narcissistic abuse.

 

It's time to share what I've learned.

 

So to start, below is a download of 30 Ways Empaths Can Avoid Narcissistic Abuse. I'm also considering a course on this topic for Empaths and Coaches, or at least a one-off class. I need to know if this is of interest to my readers. If you're interested in a class or course on this topic, click below for the download.

 

Start learning how to avoid narcissistic abuse. Click the button below.

Get 30 Ways Empaths Can Avoid Narcissistic Abuse

Topics: Empaths

Your Post-Pandemic Future is Here. How Will You Elevate It?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Post-Covid Future and You

 

Quick! What's that outside your window?

 

Is that your future peeking in at you? Would you even recognize it? Is it just a wisp of a shadow of a dream? Or do you know what it looks like, already?

That last could be awesome or terrible.

Your future is yours to create. Do you have the energy? The focus? The care? The know-how?

Because if you leave it to chance, chances are it won't serve you. Read on...

Around the world, a species that was feared in danger of extinction just one year ago is reappearing: folks with gray hair and wrinkles who are now fully vaccinated. Sightings of this once rare breed have been made at stores, gyms, resorts, restaurants, and even hair salons. No longer forced to spend all their money on Instacart, they are once again venturing out their homes and the economy is returning to normal.

Soon, you may be vaccinated yourself. It'll then be your turn to start living life on your own terms.

Who will you be when you can be who you want to be?

Right now, you may be too exhausted, stressed, or burned out to think about your future. That's okay. If you can begin to take care of yourself even a bit, you can get back to normal soon. But don't force yourself to focus on the future if it drains you.

May I suggest that you start with the basics if you are worn out?

Begin with one deep delicious breath. Breathe in through your nose for a count of five and exhale for five-to-eight counts. Do this anytime, anywhere, when you need to relax and refocus. Watch calmly for improvements to your mind-state, because this type of breathing triggers censors in your body that tell your brain you are safe and can relax. This is tremendously healing. Return when you are ready. This blog post will still be here.

Next, take a moment to process any grief you're still carrying.

Whether loved ones lost, family not seen, jobs that ended, or even vacations interrupted. Each loss deserves at least a moment of acknowledgment. Heavy emotions are just information. Get the message and they will move on.

Now here's a crazy question: What did you gain from the pandemic?

Did you learn a new skill set? Make new friends online? Realize what really matters to you? Write down at least three valuable things you gained from the pandemic and why they matter to you now.

What happened that you never want to do again? How will you prepare yourself so you never go through that worst thing? Train for a new career? Move to a community of like-minded people? Stock up on toilet paper?

What did you swear you would change?

How can you keep that promise to yourself? Because promises unkept tend to weigh us down.

What habits served you during the lock-down that you want to keep?

Many of us will keep our 20-second handwashing habits! And what about those Zoom happy hours?

What habits served you during the lock-down that you can begin to let go?

Will you still wear a double mask when you become immune? Will you check Covid stats every morning?

Now, what would you do if there was nothing in your way?

What dream has been knocking at your window unanswered? How can you take a step toward it? Even a small one? Commit to taking that step. Then tell a supportive friend or loved one about it. Better yet, work with a coach. Then celebrate it. The first step is usually the biggest.

 

Keep taking steps to elevate the dawn of your new future.

 

I hope this was useful for you. If helping people is part of your dream. I invite you to try out our coach trainings.

 

Visit Life Coach Training Online Here.

 

Topics: make a living as a coach, Coach Training Programs, coaching questions, future of coaching, acknowledgment, video, Covid, pandemic

6 Reasons to Get Vaccinated as Soon as You Can

Posted by Julia Stewart

Vaccination

Last week, I got a surprise in my inbox.

I was invited to make an appointment to get the Covid-19 vaccine and within 24 hours, I had the vaccine in my arm. I won't lie; I was ecstatic!

I know millions of people are hesitating to get the vaccine. In fact, I'm pretty sure my good fortune was due to others declining the opportunity because the vaccine was suddenly opened up to my group after the vaccine provider vaccinated everyone who wanted it in the previous group. In fact, the nurse who vaccinated me told me I was getting one of those "extra" doses that the vaccine vials often yield.

In case it's helpful, here are my reasons why I got vaccinated without hesitation and probably you should, too.


  1. It's my civic duty. Similar to voting, getting vaccinated is something I do because I am a good citizen. Like millions of others, I risked Covid-19 to cast my vote in the last election. We create a better society for all by participating in these events. It's is the least we can do for each other.
  2. It's safer than Covid-19. Like any major mass event, this pandemic has spawned or revived numerous memes, many pejorative, like Super-spreader, Anti-masker, and Free-riders. The last are folks who hope to benefit from herd immunity by letting everyone else risk the side effects of the vaccines, but as one physician said at the holistic/medical health service where I got the vaccine, "This is a very clean vaccine." The active molecule breaks up within hours after triggering your immune response, and exits the body. There are no preservatives, which can sometimes be toxic, no major allergens, and the basic components are common to the human diet: protein, lipids, sucrose. She recommended that those with serious allergies check with their allergists before getting it, but predicted it would be safe for others. My thinking is: I already know Covid-19 is a terrible disease that can destroy organ systems even in those who survive. Why risk definite dangers to avoid unknown, and possibly nonexistent, vaccine side effects?
  3. Experts say we should all get vaccinated as soon as we can. The sooner millions get full immunity, the sooner the pandemic will slow down for everyone and we can get back to the lives we used to enjoy. Ethicists and public health experts urge everybody to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
  4. I didn't have the option of giving my appointment to someone else. Although I'm in a high-risk group, I can work from home because I'm a coach, so I would rather essential workers got vaccinated before people like me. Most of the time, though, you can't give your appointment away, so use it. I feel immensely grateful to have received the vaccine early.
  5. Positivity won't be enough to protect against Covid-19. I heard one spiritual young woman claim, "If you don't believe in the virus, you won't get it." If you analyze her statement, it's obvious she does believe in the virus. She is gaslighting herself, a form of toxic positivity. I'm all for healthy positivity and it does help boost people's immune systems, but it's a boost, not total immunity. I tend to  agree with the Centers for Spiritual Living who teach that our thoughts guide our outcomes and may help keep us healthy and one of the ways good health comes to us is via medical intervention.
  6. Mental health. Psychologists say one of the worst effects of the pandemic has been the uncertainty. We can't plan our lives, much less live them, because we don't know how long or how bad the pandemic will be or whether we and our loved ones will survive it. That unknowing is brutal. I now know when I will have full immunity and, although infectious disease experts urge everyone who is vaccinated to continue wearing masks and taking basically the same precautions as everybody else, it is mentally freeing to know the danger is coming to and end for me and eventually, for everyone.

 

Ironically, something else helped even more in the short-run.

N95 masks are again available to the general public. When worn properly, they are 95% effective at protecting you from inhaling the virus. They can be worn repeatedly as long as they fit your face snuggly. I got a shipment the same afternoon I got my vaccine appointment and at first I thought I wouldn't need them, but I realized it would take several weeks to get full immunity from the vaccine. With these new, more powerful masks, I feel much safer getting out of the house and enjoying some normalcy. I highly recommend them. Just be careful to buy them from a reliable retailer, because there a many fakes already. Don't get them from a drifty website or from the "marketplace" of a big retailer, which may not have vetted the sellers. Your masks should be NIOSH approved and have the Health and Human Services logo (unfortunately, some of the fakes appear to also have these stamps of approval, so pay a little extra to a mainstream retailer and get the real thing.)

 

I hope this helps! Stay safe and be well.

 

Most of the time, I write about coaching. If you're interested in becoming a coach, please download the free Become a Coach eBook.

 

Get a free Become a Coach eBook here.

Topics: become a coach, gratitude, Covid, pandemic

Join a Virtuous Cycle of Joy and Success this December

Posted by Julia Stewart

upward cycle

How do you define success? More money? Joy? Time? Love?

Whatever success means to you, would you like more of it? Most of us would and there is an inspiring approach that will help you, help others around you, and creates a virtuous cycle for everyone concerned.

As this difficult year comes to a close and as most cultures celebrate important holidays, now is the perfect time to co-create this virtuous cycle. Read on for how you can join in for free...

What if virtually all forms of success were related to smarter giving? They may be according to research by Adam Grant and others. Here are a few ways smarter giving benefits you:

  • Givers are more successful negotiators.
  • Givers strengthen their relationships.
  • Givers experience fulfillment.
  • Givers spark creativity and innovation.
  • Givers' clients express more satisfaction.
  • Givers inspire others to give.
  • Givers receive more in return.
  • Givers experience more joy.
  • Givers inspire joy in others.

Of course, givers can be taken advantage of, but there are smart ways to reduce or eliminate being taken.

Come learn how to be a smart giver this holiday season and help us establish a virtuous cycle of giving. It is free to join and could be the inspiration that makes 2020 one of your very best years.

Fully Alive with Positive Psychology (Giving Edition) starts this Wednesday, December 2nd, for four weeks, 7-8 PM EST. It's a live webinar with me, Julia Stewart that is free to join, but seating is limited so please only join if you will attend. No recordings will be sent out, because all of the value is in the attendance of this live reciprocity circle.

Don't miss this unique opportunity to share an amazing experience. Sign up today and mark your calendar!

Attend Free Fully Alive for Joy and Success

Topics: Free, coaching success, successful business, personal development, Positive Psychology, Boundaries, setting boundaries, Fully Alive, personal growth, self care

Should Coaches Be Givers, Takers, or Matchers?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Give and Take

Last week, Americans went to the polls and chose between a lifelong Taker and a lifelong Giver.

Think about it: You knew which was which even though I didn't tell you. This post isn't about politics; it's about a simple, research-based, rubric for understanding people. Like all great coaching tools, it offers clarity and simplicity in place of confusion and suffering.

It also points to a playbook for any new (or veteran) coach who wants a successful career.

You're may be asking, Am I a Giver or a Taker? And what is a Matcher? You know when you're on the receiving end of these behaviors because they govern whether your relationships, networks, and organizations are thriving or toxic. So it matters a lot.

What differences will these distinctions have for your clients and for your career? Read on...

Before I explain these three distinctions, let me give some background. Recently I attended one of Mattison Grey's TED Talk Talks. They're like virtual book clubs but with TED Talks instead of books (Highly recommended and free!) Cool people show up, such as graduates of this school, and Mattison facilitates awesome conversations. If your Zoom connections have been feeling shallow, this is a powerful alternative.

Mattison is one of the best coaches I've ever met by the way, and she is an Otherish Giver. More on that later.

In that recent TTT, we discussed psychologist, Adam Grant's "Are You a Giver or a Taker?"

According to Grant's research on organizations, Takers trigger toxicity, such as paranoia, mistrust, resentment and vindictiveness; while Givers make organizations better. Matchers give about as much as they get so their behavior can be influenced by Givers and Takers. By the way, one Giver can measurably improve an entire organization, but one Taker has two-to-three times the impact, only it's negative.

That ratio, between positive and negative, shows up repeatedly in positive psychology research, and is sometimes called, the Positivity Ratio.

Everyone does some giving, taking, and matching, but which "type" you are represents your default. Do you go through life asking, "What can you do for me?" or "What can I do for you?" or "If you help me, I'll help you."?

According to research, the old myth, "Nice guys finish last," is only sometimes true. It depends on what type of Giver you are. And as more people and organizations learn to spot Takers quickly, the not-so-nice guys are failing faster.

To explain, here are different types of Givers, Matchers, and Takers.

  1. Selfless Givers: These are the folks who never say, "No." What do they give? Their time, energy, knowledge, money, everything. They are the "nice guys" who finish last because they spend their time on others, making it harder to do their own work. They get drained and tired, become irritable, and eventually burn out. Once depleted, they can't do much for anyone and may even need others to help them. Even Givers may show up unconsciously as Takers when their needs aren't met and it's harder to meet your needs during a pandemic...
  2. Matchers: These folks are the majority and match favors and other types of giving, tit for tat. If they are surrounded by Givers, they will be inspired to give more, creating a virtuous cycle. If they are dealing with Takers, they give less and less, creating a vicious cycle, and may even become vindictive toward Takers, helping to create an environment of toxicity. That toxicity creates even more depletion for Givers. Matchers amplify giving and taking, which is one reason why Givers and Takers have such powerful impacts on networks and organizations.
  3. Otherish Givers: These Givers care about others but aren't selfless. I call them Smart Givers or Givers with Boundaries. These are the people who are ultimately most successful because Otherish Givers are attractive and spark virtuous cycles, plus they know when to say, "No." But success doesn't happen overnight because they do spend time and energy helping others. Otherish Givers protect their time and energy because they know how they impact everyone in their organizations and relationships. It's not just about them. When an Otherish Giver identifies a Taker, they may shift to more of a matching style. If they observe the Taker offering crumbs in exchange for their bountiful gifts, or if the Taker habitually transgresses their boundaries, they reduce their help and may even cut the Taker off. This helps create space for the virtuous cycle that boosts everyone else because Givers are free to give more, which inspires Matchers and reduces toxicity. Pro Tip: If you are catnip to Takers, like me, you might want to learn even more about how you attract Takers, how to change that, and of course, how to recognize Takers sooner. Read Grant's Give and Take. Or if you love complexity, read Dr. Ramani Durvasula's, Don't You Know Who I Am?
  4. Disagreeable Takers: These are often the leaders we have to put up with. They rise quickly to the top, mostly by taking, and people put up with them because they are afraid not to or they simply have no choice. The Givers get worn out and the Matchers become vindictive. Disagreeable Takers also attract other Takers who hope to benefit by association, which amplifies the toxicity. But even Disagreeable Takers show up agreeable some of the time...
  5. Agreeable Takers: Grant calls these, Fakers. They are the hardest to spot because they are so likeable. Many people assume they are Givers, or at least Matchers, because they are so agreeable. But agreeableness has nothing to do with giving styles. Agreeable Takers will brown nose you, but only when they want something. The rest of the time, they ignore you or criticize you. If you are a people pleaser, like many Selfless Givers, this can be a powerful hook because Agreeable Takers seem to offer the approval you need, but only some of the time. Like B.F. Skinner's Operant Conditioning, they can train you to give more and more. Keith Raniere is an example of how much toxic influence one Agreeable Taker can have on a group of Givers and Matchers. And how far an Agreeable Taker can fall once that group catches on.

U.S. presidents tend to be larger than life so it's easy to identify contrasting giving styles. In exaggerated fashion, our two recent presidents demonstrate Grant's research findings, perfectly. The Taker shot to the top in one leap, winning the ultimate prize in his first-ever election and immediately threw the entire country into toxic convulsions. Four years later, he's the only president in decades to lose his second term because a record-number of Americans, fed up with his constant taking, marched to the polls in Matcher-revenge and voted him out. The Giver, on the other hand, took nearly 50 years to win the presidency, attracted a broad coalition, and has already extended his hand, Giver-style to the other side. While the Taker, in perfect Taker-form, claims he's the real winner and threatens to sue. For some reason, Takers love to sue but they usually lose. They really do finish last in the end.

So how does this show up in coaching?

Well, Disagreeable Takers are unattractive and are rarely successful in coaching. Meanwhile, Matchers and Selfless Givers struggle. The former, because they are unremarkable. The latter, because they burn out before they succeed. Agreeable Takers can succeed for a while but don't last because both coaches and clients dislike Fakers. Finally, Otherish Givers rise to the top more slowly and often stay there. They build sustainable success. Don't worry, it doesn't take 50 years!

In other words, Otherish Givers do best in coaching.

The Founder of the Coaching Profession, an Otherish Giver, taught coaches to "Give for the joy of it" AND "Be incredibly selfish". Now you know why. Thomas Leonard taught the Principles of Attraction and gave them away for free.

 

Most successful coaches, such as Mattison Grey, do their own version of otherish giving and form strong networks of true fans.

 

Want to experience Otherish Giving? Here are two opportunities, one from Mattison and the second from me:

 

TED Talk Talks for Free  Attend Fully Alive for Givers for Free

 

Topics: Free, Thomas Leonard, Mattison Grey, Attraction Principles, TED, Fully Alive

Do Your Coaching Clients Dread Their Coaching Sessions with You?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Do your coaching clients dread their coaching sessions

Coaching with you is a wonderful experience, right?

We all want to believe our coaching is impactful and enlightening, even fun. But what if it isn't? Would your clients even tell you?

I'm asking because one of my advanced students recently mentioned in class that she terminated a coaching relationship with a well-qualified coach because every week, she dreaded her coaching sessions. There could be any number of reasons why a coaching client might dread their next session, some of them good. But every week? Not good.

Dread is a powerfully negative emotion. What was going on here?

5 Reasons your clients might dread your coaching sessions:

  1. You're a master coach who gives your clients big problems. Great coaches aren't afraid to challenge their clients, especially the clients who are committed to being their best. Thing is, if you do this too much it can be painfully overwhelming. Even clients can burn out. Balance big challenges with sessions where you help clients integrate what they've learned, appreciate their new growth, and feel like they are winning. That's masterful.
  2. You're a sledgehammer coach. Some clients will ask you to give them a kick in the pants when they don't perform. This is always unpleasant and rarely effective. Do tell your clients the truth, even when it's less than they'd hoped. But don't be mean. There are communication skills that will help you say anything to your client without wielding a hammer.
  3. You are nosy and rude. Clients will tell you anything if you know how to ask. But if you don't know how, things get super awkward. Fast. And if you don't ask, that could stunt their progress. Do ask, but don't be rude. Get permission.
  4. You coach like a boss. Or a parent. If you tell your clients what to do, they will react like teenagers and resist. They won't like it and neither will you. Don't be bossy. Learn to talk to your clients like the independent fully-functioning adults they are. Treat them with respect, even awe, and they will look forward to their sessions.
  5. You're a cookie-cutter coach. Some coaching schools will teach you to coach with a template, or a formula, or by the numbers. Your clients are smarter than that. They are also unique, which is why no one approach to coaching is always effective. Unfortunately, some coaches spend the time and money to learn a multitude of skills but, for whatever reason, they reduce what they've learned to a cookie-cutter. That's what my advanced student experienced with the coach whose coaching sessions she dreaded. The coach asked the same kinds of questions, in the same order, week after week. There was no customization, no surprises, no growth. Why would a coach do that? Were they lazy, distracted, intimidated by the client? Regardless, the client deserved more. Following the same pattern every week will drive any client away. That's why you need to learn all the skills and practice them until you can throw them away and just focus on what they client needs, moment to moment. To paraphrase jazz great, Charlie Parker, "Master yourself; master the skills; then forget all that and just coach."

What to do about this? Do what every great coach does constantly: Ask your clients. Check in with them at regular intervals, such as once per month, and find out what's working and what isn't. Make it safe and rewarding for them to tell you the truth. Then make the changes needed so your coaching is fun and effective. Or refresh your training with new skills. That's mastery.

Could your coaching use an upgrade? School of Coaching Mastery is one of the few, perhaps the only, coaching schools that offers advanced training in positive psychology coaching.

 

The coach who is constantly learning keeps their coaching fresh.

 

Find an Exciting Coaching Module Here.

Topics: coaching clients, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, masterful coaches, positive psychology coaching, advanced coach training

2020 Stole Your Life. Here's How to Get it Back.

Posted by Julia Stewart

2020 Stole Your Life

Remember 2019? Restaurants, vacations, parties? Those were the days...

Now we live in 2020 where one week feels like twelve years. Maybe you've become accustomed to the isolation, frustration, and uncertainty. Maybe you've made your peace with all the plans you had to abandon. But more insidious thieves may have entered your life by now and they can be harder to notice, much  less, manage.

Here's a surprising thief of life and how you can handle it easily...

By now, the onslaught of 2020 catastrophes has likely depleted your surge capacity. And toxic leadership may be twisting you into a pretzel.The frenetic news cycle gives you whiplash. Zoom meetings make relationships seem two dimensional. And social media is literally forcing you to think in black and white.

Your environment is not supporting you.

When our environments don't support us, one response is to redesign our environments so they do support us.  But in 2020, this has become more challenging to do. Another response is to rely even more on our strengths...

Our strengths are the talents, aptitudes, or abilities that we use so well they've become easy, fun, and/or highly effective. Almost any behavior can be a strength. Compassion, when acted upon, can be a strength. Even anger, when well-used, can a be a strength. But both compassion and anger can be weaknesses, too. We can get more done with less energy when we use our top strengths so it's natural for us to over-use them when we are exhausted, stressed, or drained. When we're running on empty, sometimes our strengths can get us over the finish line, but if we over-use them for too long, they can become weaknesses.

A weakness isn't the opposite of a strength.

A weakness is a misused strength. It is a strength used inappropriately that is therefore preventing us from reaching our goals. One way to misuse a strength is simply to leave it undeveloped. Another is to overuse it when another strength would be more appropriate. A third and more serious misuse is to so overuse a strength that it drives our lives, and sometimes the lives of others, into a serious imbalance.

It can be so distressing to live with an imbalance of strengths, plus an unbalanced environment, that we may feel our mental health is suffering.

So here's that simple tool I promised. You can think of it as a mindfulness exercise, or think of it as that classic coaching tool called, distinctions. In reality, it's a little of both. But don't just use it for a few seconds, or minutes, or even one day. I've been using it for weeks and the benefits just keep growing.

Here's your distinction: Under-function vs Over-function.

A little background on how to I use this distinction: I don't usually get writer's block but in the past few months it has happened repeatedly. I get an idea for a blog post. It's half-written in my head before I even sit down to write. But as I start to write the first sentence, which I can see in my mind's eye, the letters and words evaporate one by one until I have nothing. No words: no article. Yuk!

I mentioned this to my coach and she said she's hearing a lot of it in 2020.

So I could just accept it, which would be okay but not ideal, or I could fight it which would make things worse. Or I could honor the unique burdens of 2020 and deal with it realistically.

Like most high achievers, my complaint was that I was under-functioning in some areas, such as blogging, so I set an easy goal. I just set out to function. I went through my day noticing where I was under-functioning and, without judgment, I asked myself what just functioning would look like and did that much and no more. It felt good. What I discovered was that I was under-functioning in many more areas than I had previously thought but that I was over-functioning, way over-functioning, in just a few.

You guessed it: I was over-using my strengths to the detriment of almost everything else.

So I began using the same measurement I'd used where I was under-functioning and applied it to where I was over-functioning. Just function, no more, no less. One strength I was overusing was, learning. When learners are confronted with a threat, we often react by learning everything about it. In my case, I'm also a strategizer, so I learn all I can and then develop a strategy out of what I've learned. It's highly functional most of the time. At the onset of the pandemic, I learned all I could about COVID, then developed a strategy for dealing with it. I had my COVID strategy down cold months ago but was still learning all I could and that was leaving less time, energy, and focus for everything else.

I was unbalanced.

It's a simple tool: underfunction vs overfunction vs function. The challenge is to do it with self-compassion instead of judgment. It will help you notice where you may be overusing your strengths to get through difficulties but may also be creating more discomfort for yourself and others. One you notice it, you can choose something better.

Where are you creating imbalance in your life by overusing one or more strengths?

 

A coach with expertise in strengths can help you with this. All our graduates have this expertise. Click below to find a coach who can help you get your life back.

 

Find a Coach Here Directory

Topics: Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Strengths, FIND A COACH, positive psychology coach, Covid

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