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Julia Stewart

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The Coaching Chrysalis

Posted by Julia Stewart

butterfly the real you s1024_1

Image courtesy of Elan Sun Star.

One of the most challenging phases of becoming a coach is the chrysalis phase. Not everyone who gets coach training experiences this uncomfortable transition, but some go through a difficult period where nothing feels right.

The concepts they are learning in class may seem nonsensical or so simplistic they wonder why we even discuss them. They may worry that they will never “get it.” Or they may be used to knowing the answers in another profession and are surprised that the “answers” in coaching seem upside down.

Psychology and neuroscience have various names for this kind of experience. Your brain for instance, has a negativity bias that tends to say, “New, different…bad.” And if stress levels are high, this bias rises a notch toward threat reactivity, which tells you something is very wrong and triggers your Fight, Flight, or Freeze response. In psychology, this sense that something is off is referred to as cognitive dissonance.

In coaching, we call it, the Caterpillar Soup stage. Caterpillars literally dissolve into a soupy goo on their way to becoming beautiful butterflies. Learning to coach can be confusing and disorienting for a while, because your ego, that part of you that protects you from harm, gets in your way.

Another part of your mind is potentially a brilliant coach, but your ego blocks it until it feels safe.

You experience your Inner Coach when you allow yourself to feel empathy, playfulness, curiosity, intuition, and positivity. When your ego realizes there is no real threat, it can get comfortable with its discomfort.

Thank your ego for trying to protect you, but have the courage to stay with the process and allow your Inner Coach to come out and play. When you do so, the real you will discover that somehow you always knew how to coach. You just forget whenever you listen to your ego. 😊

 

Do you have the courage to Become a Coach? Consider joining the next Certified Competent Coach course.

 

Become a Certified Competent Coach

 

 

Topics: coach training, becoming a coach

Radical Self-Care for Highly Sensitive Coaches

Posted by Julia Stewart

Self-Care for Highly Sensitive Coaches

Self-care is part of the job description for coaches.

Unfortunately, self-care has become a bit of a cliche: about getting a massage, taking a yoga class, or eating kale. The truth is, self-care is whatever restores and strengthens you and it can take any form that works for you.

It takes discipline to practice self-care consistently. When you do so, you are able to be your best every day regardless what else happens. That means, if you're a coach, you coach more effectively.

That's especially true if you are a Highly Sentive Person (aka HSP or Empath). The wiring of an HSP is perfect for coaching when it is well cared for. You have a super power that needs nurturing.  That's what you're doing when you practice self-care and personal development. Otherwise, you may experience meltdowns and could show up like a super villain, instead of a super hero, to those around you.

Self-care is anything but selfish, especially for highly sensitive coaches.

Read on for information on highly sensitive coaches, the traits that make them desirable, tests to see if you are highly sensitive, and a free class on radical self-care for highly sensitive coaches...

HSPs/Empaths tend to have many of the qualities that are most prized in coaching. The following are estimates of percentages of HSPs who share the following qualities. (Source: Esther Bergsma, 2019)*.

  • Empathy (85%)
  • Strong Intuition (79%)
  • Good Listener (78%)
  • Open Minded (76%)
  • Caring (76%)
  • Creative Thinking (70%)
  • Able to See the Big Picture (69%)
  • Sense of Humor (65%)

If you are strong on most of the above, you may be wired to be a great coach. If you also have the discipline to care for, nurture, and even enhance those abilities, you may be cut out to be a professional coach.

 

If you are curious whether you are an HSP:

Take this short test, or this longer one, or take this more in-depth test.

 

So how do you care for the finely-tuned nervous system of a highly sensitive coach?

 

Look for your current level of care and ask whether it is enough for you to be at your best, every day. If not, what people, places, or things put you out of balance? You might want to carry a journal and make note whenever something annoys you, stresses you, or wears you out. Then ask yourself 10 ways to change each of those items so they don't sap your energy, anymore. Don't worry, at first, if any of those solutions are possible. If you keep an open mind, a few doable solutions will rise to the top.

 

Also take a look at your internal environment. As a highly senstive coach, you take in more information than others. That's a brilliant benefit to coaching. It can also overwhelm your system. You also likely have stronger emotions. Emotions are your body/mind's communication system. Yours is more acute and that also benefits your coaching. But strong emotions need management. Otherwise, they create chaos as well as conflict with others. What habits or processes can help you manage your intensity? If you are overhwelmed, how will you work in calming breaks? If your emotions are unruly, how will you develop more emotional literacy?

 

Another great way to do this is to discover your Needs and learn to get them met. A key to meeting Needs is to apply your Strengths. Certified Positive Psychology Coaches do this with their clients but it is important to do it with ourselves, first. Otherwise, it's impossible to understand. Even coaches need coaches for this type of assistance. Our positive psychology coaching students learn to do this with their clients and you can find a coach who can help you here.

 

Or Learn about Radical Self Care for Highly Sensitive Coaches in this free class.

 

Radical self-care for highly sensitive coaches is like tuning up a fine Italian sports car before taking an epic drive through the Italian Alps. Otherwise, you might end up stuck by the side of the road, or worse. Do take that epic life adventure! But first take time to take care of yourself. You'll enjoy more awe, more thrills, more gratitude, more togetherness, more joy. And so will those around you!

 

Ready to be your best so you can serve others better? Ready to treat yourself the way your need to be treated? Ready to nurture your super powers so they can be your super strengths and not your weaknesses? Take this upcoming free class and get started on the path of radical self-care:

 

FREE: Radical Self-Care for Highly Sensitive Coaches

 

*This post is informed by Esther Bergsma's The Brains of Highly Sensitive People, published in 2020 in the US. Highly recommended! By the way, this book features the 2007 research on sensitivity by Winnie Dunn, PhD, OTR, FOATA, CPPC. Winnie later attended and graduated from our Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program.

Topics: gratitude, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, personal development, positive psychology coaching, Strengths, Needs, FIND A COACH, highly sensitive, self care, Empaths

Four Words that Strike Fear in Coaches' Hearts

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coach Panicking

Ever since I became a coach twenty years ago, I've been hearing a certain four-word phrase from other coaches.

You can almost hear the coach's heart clutch when they utter these four words. And it's surprising because coaches are such optimistic people. But even optimists have fears, sometimes.

These words offer a red flag that, when you know how to read it, tells you how to handle the fear.

You may share this fear. If so, you may be saying these four words. And it could be holding back your coaching career. So I'm going to offer some insight on what it means and what you can do about it.

Read on...

This four-word phrase needs some context. So here's how it shows up:

  • I need to ....to get my coaching career going.
  • I'd better....or I'll never get clients.
  • I want to....but something is holding me back.
  • I don't know how to.....
  • I've got to.....
  • I just need to....and everything will work out.

You've probably guessed what this phrase is (or maybe you peeked)!

It is: "Put myself out there." Have you heard this phrase yet? Have you used it yourself? It's code for fear of being rejected or fear of failing  These fears represent two major unmet Needs identified by the late Abraham Maslow. One is the Need for Belonging. The other is the Need for Self Esteem. These Needs are natural. We all have them.

The fear occurs when these Needs are Unmet. They are easy to meet when you know how (or work with a coach who understands this dynamic). Most positive psychology coaching schools don't teach Maslow's Needs theory, but we do.

New coaches succeed faster when they work with coaches who understand this.

Once your coach has helped you meet your Need for Belonging or Self-Esteem, you can take the spotlight off yourself. That's what the phrase, "Put myself out there", does. It makes what you do all about "myself".

Great coaching is never about the coach.

Once you take the focus off "myself", it becomes obvious where it needs to be. Put your focus on others. Learn to listen more deeply to them. Notice the people who want and need your coaching. They are always sending signals, but when your focus is on "myself", you won't notice them. So your efforts to grow your coaching career or business will be clumsy. You won't do your best work and you may, indeed, wind up feeling rejected or like a failure.

I'm here to tell you to stop putting yourself out there.

Just be listening to others and hear what they are really saying (they have code phrases too). Be the coach whose Needs are so well met that you can forget yourself long enough to hear what others need from you  and your coaching career will practically build itself!

Want to be the coach who can hear what's going on by just listening to one sentence? Join the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program before prices go up. We don't just teach you about Strengths. Actually, we teach about Strengths and a whole lot more. We help you put the whole picture together so you can coach masterfully. We also teach you the secrets to building your coaching career.

 

Click below for FREE downloads on becoming a positive psychology coach and more:

Explore the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program

 

Topics: coaching business, Coaches, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, coaching career, Needs, FIND A COACH, become a positive psychology coach, Abraham Maslow

How do Life Coaches Make Money?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life Coach in Her Office

Here are seven excellent ways to making money as a life coach.

Making a living as a life coach is easier than you may think. That's one of the reasons this profession has become so popular and why it has surged since the pandemic began!

Want some ideas on how you will support yourself as a life coach? Whether you become an executive coach, business coach, career coach, or health coach, it's all life coaching and there is a business model that can work beautifully for you.

Read on!

Seven excellent ways for coaches to make money:

  1. Add coaching to your current business. Whether you are an attorney, consultant, trainer, psychotherapist, branding specialist, healthcare provider, or offer another client service with your business, coaching makes a lot of sense when you want to broaden the services your offer, thereby increasing the value you provide to clients while adding to your business' income streams. I was a personal trainer when I became a coach. I added coaching as a service for my clients and, before long, I was coaching full time!
  2. Work as a health coach in a healthcare environment. Many of our graduates have gone on to coach within healthcare environments, such as within hospitals or occupational therapy facilities. They help patients have more positive outcomes and sometimes they even work with the providers, themselves!
  3. Offer coaching services through a non-coaching business. Coaching can augment financial services, for instance, by helping clients get clarity about their goals and values. This can work great with other services such as career counseling and psychotherapy, enhancing both. Reach out to other businesses and offer to partner with them! They will want to know your credentials, so get those in order first!
  4. Become an internal coach in a large organization. An internal coach is a salaried employee of an organization who has the title of Coach and whose primary responsibility is to coach the employees of that organization. You can help them develop more effective leaders and teams as well as coach employees who have been laid off to plan their next chapter in life. Get a full-time salary to coach!
  5. Become an external coaching provider. An external coach contracts with organizations to work with its executives and employees toward specific outcomes over a specified period of time. This is one of the most common and lucrative ways for coaches to make money!
  6. Become an employee who offers coaching as part of your job description. Many job openings require coaching skills as part of the job. Get the training and certification you need to offer coaching in your job. Increase your employability as well as your salary!  The possibilities are endless.
  7. Start your own coaching business! Coaching is a popular service and you can charge several hundred dollars per month for each client. Plus you can add to your business by partnering with other professionals, such as in #3 or contracting with other organizations, such as in #6. You can coach part-time of full-time and set the hours your please. It's one of the most flexible professions and you can coach your clients remotely via phone or video, so it's safe no matter what else goes on in the world. The crazier life gets, the more people need life coaches!

 

Coaching is a popular and lucrative profession for people who love helping others.

 

How will you make money as a life coach? The possibilities are plentiful and it all starts with coach training and certification. We train 100% online. Always have and always will. Our prices will go up soon so now is a perfect time to start!

 

Want to learn more about building a coaching business? Here is one approach that has helped coaches succeed for twenty years. Our coach training programs include a business-building program that attracts clients even to beginner coaches. It's one of the many free extras we include for our students.

 

Download the FREE Coach 100 eBook and enjoy business success:

 

Download Your Free Coach 100 eBook

 

Topics: business coach, executive coach, make a living as a life coach, Life Coaches, life coach salary, Coach Certification, coaching career, how to get coaching clients

What is the Neuroscience of Character Strengths and Virtues?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Character Strengths and the Brain

Character Strengths are ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that are natural for you and help you express one or more of the six Universal Virtues.

All Character Strengths originate in the brain. They represent the best in you.

Character Strengths and Virtues were identified by a team of psychologists and have been well researched.

But what about the neural basis of Character Strengths? Do we use both sides of our brain equally when expressing our Signature Strengths? Do strengths involve our thinking brain or our emotional brain? This matters because it impacts how we use our strengths.

A new book by Jill Bolte Taylor, the neuroanatomist made famous by her TED Talk, My Stroke of Insight, suggests fascinating correlations between Character Strengths and the brain.

Learn more about Character Strengths and Virtues, as well as their intriging neural origins by reading this post. You can even download a FREE list of Character Strengths organized around their corresponding Virtues and classified according to which parts of the brain tend to be involved when those strengths are used. Very cool!

Read on...

The original team that identified the six Universal Virtues and twenty-four Character Strengths was led by Chris Peterson and Martin Seligman. They had the wisdom to look beyond their own values to those of other cultures and other times to identify what humans have cherished in other humans. If they hadn't, we might have a very different set of Virtues and Strengths that focus much more on the benefits of the rational mind, so prized by modern Western culture, such as logic, organization, and productivity. Those abilities have helped create our modern world of technology that has transformed the lives of billions of humans. Important stuff!

And yet, Western culture's preference for the rational has also brought us to a unique moment in time. As the Climate Crisis wipes out whole towns in a single stroke, we have arrived at a point where Mother Nature seems to be saying, "Enough with your clever tricks. Obey my rules or perish."

The twenty-four Character Strengths do include linear strengths such as Judgment/Critical Thinking, defined as: "Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly" (Niemiec, 2018). However, it is striking how many more Character Strengths seem to use Right Brain functioning, primarily.

One reason for this is that the Left Emotional Brain tends to compare current experiences with previous events to decide if you are safe. If not, it can trigger the Fight, Flight, or Freeze response which can cause you to become self-protective, which may result in less cognitive openness, such as Curiosity, and less pro-social behavior, such as Kindness. These Character Strengths are related to Virtues which are what we value in others. Ego-based self-protection isn't valued as a Virtue but it is important to the individual's safety and it probably figures into some Character Strengths, such as Prudence, which weighs desirable choices with less desirable choices to make wise decisions.

Meanwhile, the Right Brain, according to Jill Bolte Taylor, tends to be involved with greater positivity and playfulness such as Humor, as well as Transcendent qualities, such as Love and Gratitude which are highly valued by others. Taylor is a neuroanatomist, so she focuses on the brain's structures. Some neuroscientists focus more on energy and information flow and some neuroscientists emphasize that the whole brain is always working, not just some parts. While that is true, the brain focuses itself by inhibiting the parts that are less needed for a given task. For example, when I'm being creative, I probably inhibit my Left Emotional Brain which might stop me from taking risks and my Left Thinking Brain, which might over-analyze. On the other hand, if I'm preparing my taxes, my playful Right Emotional Brain won't help me finish, while my big-picture Right Thinking Brain won't help me focus on details, so it's likely my brain will inhibit those for a while. That said, we may be more mature and possess more Wisdom, when our brains are well-integrated so we can use multiple areas of the brain for more nuanced responses to life.

To be clear, Taylor's new book, Whole Brain Living, is not about Character Strengths. It is a personal development book that helps you understand yourself better by understanding your brain. But I couldn't help noticing that traits she describes as specific to certain parts of the brain sound very much like descriptions of Character Strengths so I decided to list them that way in the free document below. Reading her book may help you understand the meaning of Strengths a bit more.

 

Curious about the 24 Character Strengths and how they are grouped according to the six Universal Virtues?

 

Would you like to know more about the neural origins of your own Strengths? Get the free download: "Universal Virtues and Character Strengths with Neural Key" below.

 

Click below to get the free Character Strengths document:

 

Get Your FREE List of Strengths and Virtues Now

 

Topics: coaching with neuroscience, Strengths, Martin Seligman, Values, brain, positive psychology coach training, Jill Bolte Taylor

How the Mass Exodus of Workers is Impacting Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

Exodus of Workers

Last year, unemployment was shockingly high, while demand for coaching surged.

The pandemic wreaked havoc on the world of work and the resulting confusion sent millions running for the help of coaches. Whenever there is mass confusion, a significant percentage of people will question their previous choices and wonder what's next for them. That's when they need coaches. It happened after 9/11, too.

This year, as the availability of vaccinations slows the spread of Covid-19, workplaces are again opening up, but workers are saying, "No Thanks!"

How is that impacting coaching? Read on...

First, some data on the world of work in 2021 (Sources include Bloomberg and NPR):

  • 77% of workers want the option to work from home at least some of the time to continue after the pandemic.
  • 23% say they would take a 10% cut in pay to continue working from home.
  • 80% of executives don't want to work at the office full time.
  • Three days per week is now the most popular office workweek.
  • 25% say they plan to change jobs after the pandemic.
  • 20% say they already have changed jobs since the pandemic began.
  • Pew Research says 60% of workers consider the pandemic a time of reckoning when they are reconsidering what is meaningful work for themselves.

 

These are powerful numbers.

 

Anytime there is this much flux in the population, millions of people hire coaches. This is why coaching usually does very well even when unemployment is high.

 

What reasons are people giving for changing their minds about work?

 

  • "Vaccine hesitancy" has created a perception that working on site is dangerous because new virus variants are more contagious and more deadly and unvaccinated people can spread them.
  • Childcare is still spotty and may expose children to the virus, so parents want to keep them at home.
  • Workers discovered that working from home saved expenses on clothing, commuting, eating out, etc.
  • They discovered they could get more done in less time without travel and constant meetings.
  • Service and leisure workers cite low pay and say it isn't worth the risk.
  • Service and leisure workers also were angered that managers expected them to risk their lives so other people could eat their cheeseburgers.
  • People felt disrespected by employers who dumped difficult work conditions on them with too little supportive infrastructure.
  • People were shocked to find how little disaster preparedness existed in their industries and that managers expected front-line workers to make up the difference.
  • People are disillusioned with gig work that fails to provide benefits or decent wages.
  • Medical personnel are traumatized and burnt out and are looking for new careers.
  • Women and people of color have been particularly hard hit.
  • Some workers took advantage of online education, while they were laid off, or working from home, to prepare them for new careers.
  • Some people moved out of urban centers to avoid the virus and now don't want to commute.
  • Many workers say the "old normal" was never normal, nor was it optimal or even healthy, and now they never want to return to it.

Millions of people are now transitioning to new lives. Coaches coach transitions.

 

What does this mean for coaching?

 

  • Many people are no longer willing to fit their lives to their jobs. They want meaningful work that fits the lives they want.
  • People are prioritizing their mental health, and even flourishing, over climbing corporate ladders.
  • People are realizing their nervous systems weren't designed to deal with high-powered careers complicated by worldwide disasters.
  • People are prioritizing personal life over work life.
  • People want control over their own time.
  • People are starting their own businesses to reflect their values.
  • Even those who believe working at the office is beneficial are faced with the reality that most people are no longer willing to show up at the office, everyday.

 

In short, people's values around work are changing dramatically and this seismic shift will impact everything from now on.

 

Coaches coach transitions. Right now, just about everybody is in transition. They need you.

Twenty years ago, the founder of the coaching profession, Thomas Leonard, predicted that coaches would mostly work from home. Because nearly everyone would work from home. Now it's coming true.

 

Coaching is the ultimate work-from-home career.

 

Are you thinking about becoming a coach? Nearly all coaches are well-trained and most are certified.

Now is a good time to become a coach because the need and demand are high. You can train online, market online, and coach online.

 

What are you waiting for?

 

Download the free Become a Coach eBook and get started:

Get Your Free 'Become a Coach' eBook Now

 

Topics: coach training, become a coach, Coach Training Programs, Thomas Leonard, coaching career, Values, Covid, pandemic

This is How New Coaches Set Their Fees

Posted by Julia Stewart

Professional Coach Setting fees

You've decided to become a coach. Congratulations!

You're getting coach training. Smart! According to research by the ICF, nearly all successful coaches are well trained in their profession and most are certified. Trained and experienced coaches also make more money.

But at every step along the way to becoming a professional coach and launching a successful business, new questions arise. None is more important, or more intimidating, than setting your fees.

Are you stumped on setting your fees? Help is on the way! Read on...

The first thing to realize is that you will set and reset your fees many times during the course of your coaching career. So you need to get comfortable and confident with it.

Most coaches are confronted by Imposter Syndrome each time they raise their fees. They ask, "Am I worth it? Will my clients all quit? Will I make less money if I am over-priced?" First, no matter how much you charge, you will always be worth more than your fee. The "Am I worth it?" question, along with all the other doubts related to imposter syndrome, are products of your brain's negativity bias. We all tend to focus on the negative when we are stressed, uncertain, or feel vulnerable. That's one more reason why working with your own coach is so valuable. Second, your clients won't quit, if you handle setting and raising your fees well.In fact, you may wind up with even more clients!

One of the secrets of setting your fees is to find the fee that attracts the clients you want. Here's a quick story that demonstrates one effective approach to setting fees:

I was lucky. The Founder of the Coaching Profession, Thomas Leonard, helped me set my fees, 20 years ago, when I was a brand-new coach. Here's how...

My dilemma was that coaching paid more than the profession I was transitioning out of and I had a hard time justifying the higher pay to myself. I was a new coach and the clients for my first business were likely to become my first coaching clients. Previously, I had been a dancer and college professor who became a personal trainer while I transitioned into my next career. I lived in New York City where the going rate for personal trainers was $60 per hour. Life coaching starts around $100 per contact hour (business and executive coaching pay much more). How could I attract the same clients and get them to pay more for a new service?

Thomas said, "Why not just charge them the same to start and raise rates later?" Then my coach helped me flesh this out into a real strategy. I offered each of my personal training clients a free month of coaching (three half-hour sessions per month) to see if they liked it. Several of them took me up on it. The ones who wanted to continue, I charged $60 per half hour, or $180 per month. Since personal training clients usually paid me $240 for four one-hour sessions, the monthly fee for coaching was less for them, but I was making $120 per contact hour, a respectable starting rate for life coaching AND I used this strategy to attract my first coaching clients. It worked!

I found other clever strategies to raise rates over the next few years to build a solid living with coaching.

This approach may work for you, or if your situation is different, it may not. What I can guarantee is that getting expert advice and/or working with your own coach, will make setting and raising your fees a lot less stressful and attracting clients will get easier for you.

Would you like expert advice on setting your fees?

After coaching and training coaches for twenty years and working with literally thousands of coaches, I am an expert. Do you have questions for me about setting your fees? Would you like some valuable answers to those questions? What if you could attend a live Coaching Clinic and by the end of that webinar you could confidently announce your new coaching fee? How much more money will you make when you have set your fees with confidence and grace? How much more will you enjoy your coaching business? How many more clients will you help reach their goals and their full potential?

A smart fee structure creates a virtuous cycle for all.

Join me for the upcoming Coaching Clinic: How to Set and Reset Your Coaching Fees on Monday, July 12th, 3-3:30 PM Eastern/New York Time. It's FREE to current members of the Certified Positive Psychology Coach and Certified Neuroscience Coach programs. If you JOIN one of those programs by July 12th, you'll get it free too, PLUS you'll save an additional $500 by joining before tuition goes UP. That's $550 saved. Gee, you really are a smart coach! ;-)

If you aren't a member, no worries. You can still join this career-changing clinic for just $50USD. You'll still learn how to raise your fees in a way that is attractive to clients. It will help you make more money and coach more clients. PLUS everyone who registers for this clinic will get EARLY access to the new and improved version of our most-popular free eBook: Life Coach Salary

 

Ready to set your fees with confidence and attract more clients?

 

Register for Coaching Clinic: How to Set Your Fees

 

Topics: webinar, coaching success, ICF, life coach salary, Thomas Leonard, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Life Coaching, new coaches, certified neuroscience coach

How Empaths/HSPs Can Stop Attracting Narcissists

Posted by Julia Stewart

A bird sitting in a tree - Believe in Yourself

Empaths, also known as Highly Sensitive People, often have problems with Abusive Narcissists.

If you are a coach, you have a high likelihood of being an HSP. Find out here if you have this genetic trait. If you are an HSP, and you've ever had problems with difficult, or even dangerous people, you most likely were dealing with people who have narcissistic issues.

Is any of the following familiar to you?

Relationships with narcissists usually start out great but almost always turn sour. Their common relationship pattern is to idealize, then demean, then discard people. Sometimes they repeat the pattern over and over with the same person. Other times they stay stuck on the demean stage for years. That can ruin their target's self-esteem.

They are the office mate who always needs a favor, takes advantage of your kindness, then steals your ideas. Or the romantic partner who goes to great lengths to woo you, but once you've fallen in love, starts cheating on you, right away. Or they are the "best friend" who steals your job or your spouse. Ouch.

You may have wondered what you did wrong in these instances, but HSP is a normal trait that seems to attract abnormal people. If you're an HSP, or have had problems with a narcissist, or if you are a coach with clients who have had these problems, read on for how to handle these vexing issues and live happier...

Most information available about this topic is geared toward self-defense for Empaths/HSPs because narcissistic behavior is so common.

That's good and necessary. But great coaching focuses on solving problems at their source so they never come back. And that got me thinking...

  • What if you were impervious to narcissists?
  • What would that look like?
  • How could you do it?
  • What if you could recognize narcissists before they notice you?
  • What if you stopped attracting narcissists, at all?
  • How could you do this using your HSP strengths?
  • What if you became unattractive to narcissists?
  • Would that make you less attractive to everyone?
  • What if you kept your empathy and compassion but couldn't be manipulated with it?
  • What if you stopped rewarding narcissists for their abusive behavior?
  • How might the world become a better place because you grew into a better version of you?

Those last few items are ultimately the most powerful.

These questions sent me on a journey of research into both narcissism and HSPs/Empaths. That brought me to Narcissistic Abuse, which I have personally experienced (probably you have, too). I've read a ton of research and also books by therapists who specialize in HSPs or Narcissistic Abuse but it's almost impossible to find anything on these topics written from a coaching perspective of creating solutions vs. healing problems after the damage has been done.

One of my gifts is making connections between bits of information I get from various sources. This leads to insights which lead to new approaches. Which lead to new learning modules because I like to help others by sharing what I've discovered. This is one of those topics.

HSPs are virtually the opposite of narcissists. At the other end of the sensitivity spectrum are those who are very insensitive. They are more prone to disorders on the narcissistic side, such as psychopathy and conduct disorders. They tend to regulate themselves with the emotions of others and therein lies the key.

The best way to share the details of this discovery is in a class, so I've created an in-depth class that meets on June 7th.

It's free. In it, I will share with you details on how HSPs attract narcissists and how to stop. I'll also share resources and the research behind these ideas, so you can continue your learning. Armed with some knowledge and a positive environment, you can hone your strengths and believe in yourself. That's freedom.

It could dramatically reduce the amount of pain you experience in your lifetime. As an HSP, negative experiences have a greater chance of causing you to languish. While positive experiences have a greater likelihood of helping you flourish.

So it matters a lot.

From a big picture perspective, helping HSPs avoid the Narcissism Trap can help change the world for the better. Because Narcissists are responsible for much of what ails the world.

You can flourish in a narcissistic world as an HSP. You can also help the world become a little less narcissistic and that's good for everyone.

 

Will you join me? Register for this free one-hour class now:

 

How HSPs/Empaths Attract Narcissists and How to Stop

 

Topics: become a coach, webinar, Free, HSP

Are You a Highly Sensitive Person? Take This In-Depth Test to Find Out

Posted by Julia Stewart

Sensitive Man Enjoying the Scent of Flowers

Highly Sensitive People have an opportunity to flourish even more than other people.

HSP is a popular term for a well-researched inborn trait called Sensory Processing Sensitivity that impacts 20% of the human population. Several gene variations have been identified that are associated with HSP and like any trait, HSP brings both advantages and disadvantages to the individuals who have it. If you are an HSP, you will notice more about your environment and process it more deeply, which can help you excel in intellectual, emotional, creative, or intuitive areas; as well as in relationships, and even in sports and business. But all that extra information can overload your nervous system, causing stress and overwhelm, so you'll pay a higher price for putting up with negative circumstances, but you'll profit even more from a positive environment than others will.

As an HSP, you need to pick your environments wisely or even create new environments to elicit your gifts while minimizing the costs.

Start first by identifying whether you are an HSP with the in-depth test below. Next, educate yourself about your trait so you can optimize it. The research into this personality trait is fascinating and may upend much of what you previously thought about personality, well-being, and mental health. But there is no diagnostic test for it, only a short scale used mostly by researchers. If you are a coach, holistic healer, artist, writer, or researcher; those careers are common to HSPs. Read on for how to identify your trait and get started optimizing it...

DOES is an acronym used to describe the main features of HSP. The D stands for the key feature of this genetic trait: Depth of processing. HSPs take in more information from their environments and that leads to both advantages, such as making better decisions, and disadvantages, such as suffering from over stimulation. O stands for over-arousability which can lead to upset or overwhelm, one of the downsides of HSP. Next is E which stands for Emotional intensity and Empathy. HSPs feel more intensely than others. This means greater highs and deeper lows. Plus, they are finely attuned to others and feel other people's emotions. The latter can create havoc if an HSP spends too much time around people who are emotionally disregulated, but it can be an asset at work and in most relationships, when smartly managed. Finally, S stands for Sensing Subtleties. HSPs are aware of subtle changes or differences that don't register for nonsensitives. The ability to notice subtle changes is an asset in many situations.

"Empath", by the way, is a self-identified trait that overlaps quite a bit with HSP but is not well researched. Hence, definitions of the Empath trait vary according to who the writer or speaker is and may include psychic abilities. But generally, there are enough overlaps between Empath and HSP that they may be the same trait. So if you think you are an Empath, take the test below. Both the test and this article are based on the writings of Elaine N. Aron and others, such as Michael Pluess, who research Sensory Processing Sensitivity ...

Because HSP is inborn, it will show up from birth and you will always have it.

So, in addition to taking this test, check with your parents about early indications that you were more sensitive as an infant. It is unlikely you will answer "Yes" to every question in the test, even if you are an HSP, because of independent personality factors or because you learned to subdue some of your sensitivity to blend in better with the majority who are nonsensitive. Likewise, you may not be an HSP but still answer "Yes" to some of these questions because you have developed sensitivities or strengths in some of these areas at some point in your life. Finally, a few of these questions may sound like traits that could show up in either HSPs or nonsensitives, but the key here is why they show up. Is it a product of sensitivity or not? If it is caused by sensitivity, it may be a normal trait for HSPs.

Take this 6-minute, 50-question test to know if you're a Highly Sensitive Person:

Answer "Yes" to the questions below if they are either "Sometimes" or "Always" true for you. You can also think of them as "Moderately" or "Very" true. If the majority of answers are true for you, you are likely an HSP. And if only a few of them are true but are "Always" or "Very" true, you probably are an HSP, although this test is not intended to be an official diagnosis. If you have this trait, take responsibility for it by doing everything you can to optimize it for your own benefit and for the benefit of your loved ones and others who come in contact with you. Otherwise, they and you will miss out on the rich possibilities of your trait.

  1. As a child, were you precocious in some areas but lagged behind your peers in others?
  2. Did adults sometimes assume you were shy or frightened because you paused before joining in at a new school, party, or activity, but you were really just taking it all in?
  3. Were your parents proud of your accomplishments but worried because you were so sensitive?
  4. Did your sensitivity ever make you a target for bullying, teasing, or taunts by other children with names like: Crybaby, Sissy, Nerd, or Teacher's Pet?
  5. Did your parents and teachers push you to shrug it off, toughen up, or fight back; but that was very hard for you to do (Don't answer Yes to this one unless the second part is also true)?
  6. Have you ever wished you were more like other people and/or secretly preferred your sensitivity?
  7. Do you love subtle or complex colors, flavors, scents, or music?
  8. Are you more sensitive than most to the effects of caffeine, alcohol, or medication?
  9. Have you always felt an affinity for animals or nature?
  10. Are you highly intuitive or have accurate gut feelings?
  11. Are you responsible and conscientious?
  12. Are you creative or innovative?
  13. Do you have a rich, complex inner life?
  14. For fun, do you prefer small gatherings of friends, going to a seminar, spa or spiritual retreat, or spending time in nature; but find big parties, loud concerts, nightclubs, or major sporting events too much (Answer Yes to this one, if the first part is true, even if the reverse was true in your teens and twenties)?
  15. Do you love helping others but do your best work one-on-one or in small groups?
  16. Do you take your time processing and assimilating new information and then make good decisions, have useful  insights, find solutions, or have new creative ideas?
  17. Do you find busy city streets, stadiums full of people, or being around highly emotional people exhausting, upsetting, or overwhelming for you?
  18. Are you easily bothered by too much heat, cold, wind, or humidity, or by loud noises, rough fabrics, certain smells, or too little sunlight?
  19. Are you intensely spiritual or religious, and/or do you find meaning in secular philosophy, science, math?
  20. Have you become an expert or master in at least one area of your work or life but don't brag about it or expect much acknowledgement for it?
  21. Do people value you for your gifts but complain you are too sensitive or you expect too much?
  22. Are you highly emotional or have one or two very strong emotions?
  23. Do you ever wish you weren't so sensitive?
  24. Do you love spending time alone even if you are an extrovert?
  25. Do you need peace and quiet to be at your best?
  26. Are you more interested in improving yourself and less interested in competing with others?
  27. Do you feel shy or overwhelmed in new surroundings even though you are neither when in familiar surroundings (Don't answer Yes to this one unless the second part is also true)?
  28. Have you ever gone through a painful period when everything felt hard and you couldn't seem to keep up with it all, but have you also had periods of great happiness when it felt easy to succeed at your goals (Don't answer Yes to this one unless the second part is also true)?
  29. Do you feel like you've known more than your fair share of abusive narcissists (a.k.a. toxic people, emotional vampires, or high conflict people)?
  30. Do you love experiencing intense positive emotions but dread equally intense negative emotions?
  31. When something painful happens, does it seem to stay with you longer or do you have more trouble shaking it off than others do?
  32. Are you more easily hurt than most people by the things others say?
  33. Do you cry easily, or did you used to cry easily but have learned not to cry in front of others?
  34. Do people complain that you overreact?
  35. Have you spent most of your life acting tougher than you really are and has that cost you emotionally and/or physically (Don't answer Yes to this one unless the second part is also true)?
  36. Have you ever walked into a room and sensed that something was wrong even though no one said or did anything to confirm it, and did it turn out that you were right (Don't answer Yes to this one unless the second part is also true)?
  37. Do you intuitively know what others need and automatically try to provide it even if it wears you out?
  38. Is setting boundaries harder for you than most because you are so aware of what others' need?
  39. Do you sometimes need to withdraw temporarily from relationships, to recover, and do others feel hurt by this and sometimes punish you for it?
  40. Do you pick up subtle signals from others and adjust yourself to accommodate them?
  41. Do you have strong emotional empathy and deep compassion for others?
  42. Have you ever felt depressed or anxious around certain people or circumstances, but felt fine once you changed your environment (Don't answer Yes to this one unless the second part is also true)?
  43. Do you love being close to other people but still need your alone time (Don't answer Yes to this one unless the second part is also true)?
  44. Are you choosy about who gets to be close to you?
  45. Do you find it harder than others to let go if you get close to the wrong person?
  46. Do you feel especially alive when you are in a forest, near the ocean, or in some other natural setting?
  47. Do you love traveling and sight seeing but in smaller doses than most people (Don't answer Yes to this one unless the second part is also true)?
  48. Do you find your life is dramatically better when you pay attention to your self care?
  49. Have you noticed that enough sleep makes a huge improvement in your life?
  50. Have you built your life to accommodate your sensitivity and have you noticed your life has improved tremendously because of it (Don't answer Yes to this one unless the second part is also true)?

Again, if you answered "Yes" to most questions or answered "Yes" to fewer questions but your answers were "Very" true or "Always" true, you most likely are an HSP.

This is important because HSPs benefit more from positive people and environments, and are also harmed more by negative people and environments.

To enjoy greater happiness and success, HSPs must accommodate their trait and communicate to important nonsensitives why they are the way they are. If you skip this, your life will likely be unnecessarily difficult and painful when it could be both joyful and successful.

The good news is you have more to gain from positive psychology coaching than most people and can enjoy what researchers call, Vantage Sensitivity. Vantage sensitivity is the ability to excel because of the HSP trait, sometimes beyond what nonsensitives accomplish, but only if your life is well designed to optimize your trait.

Because of Vantage Sensitivity, it is well worth your while to invest in coaching and become your best self, especially if you are an HSP.

Would you like to develop your Vantage Sensitivity? Download Self-Care for Highly Sensitive People and pick one idea from it. Then perfect that idea. HSPs are gifted at over-responding to problems. When you focus that gift on over-responding to your own needs, you create capacity, strength, and the ability to do almost anything! This is just the beginning...

Are you ready to give Vantage Sensitivity a try? Then start upgrading your self-care.

 

Download Self Care for Highly Sensitive People below:

 

Download Self-Care for Highly Sensitive People Here

 

Topics: self care, Empaths, HSP

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

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