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Julia Stewart

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Squeezing Your Size 12 Life Into a Size 5 Day

Posted by Julia Stewart

via GIPHY

Squeezing into a too-small box is cute when cats do it, sad when humans do.

And totally inappropriate when coaches do it. Coaches are supposed to model great self-care for our clients and, while we can't control everything in our lives, we can be honest about what's really going on. Telling the truth to ourselves is always positive, because, no matter how hard life gets, when we embrace what's true, we can start choosing something better.

Lately, too many of my coaching students are cramming too much into their lives and seem oblivious to the damage they may be doing. This post is for them - and for you, if you're over-doing it, too.

5 Reasons doing too much is a terrible idea...

  1. You're probably stressed. Over-doing it is exhausting and stressful. High levels of stress hormones over time are toxic. They can wreck you gut biome, which can damage your mental health, as well. You may be familiar with the Japanese word for death from over-work: Karoshi. Unfortunately, people tend to think they're doing great until it's too late. Wondering if you're stressed? This image, shared by a former client, will tend to "move" when a stressed person looks at it, but doesn't move if you're relaxed. optical illusion
  2. You're not giving your brain enough time to slow down. it needs that to see things for what they truly are. No wonder people can work themselves to death; they can't think straight when they over-do it. Poor choices result. And neuroscientists say those who over-do it have less gray matter in their brains, meaning fewer neurons to think with.
  3. You may not be fully present. You think you're doing so much for others, but often people just want you to really see and hear them. You can't do that when you're rushed.
  4. You're probably over-stressing those around you. Stress is contagious and can become a vicious cycle. Plus people take their cues from others. That's how cultures of over-work develop.
  5. The people around you are more likely to over-do it, too. Instead of making a better world, you may be making it worse!

What can you do instead?

  1. Practice a little self-compassion. It's okay to say "No" to more work, to ask for help, to prioritize what matters instead of pretending everything matters equally. It's okay to live by your own values instead of everyone else's. If you're over-extended, you're doing no one any favors. Give yourself a chance to just be and then start again with sanity.
  2. Notice what need you're trying to fill by over-doing it. Is it a need for significance? To win? To out-do everyone else? Are you a help-aholic who needs to be needed? A great coach can help you with this because you can get all your needs met in non-toxic ways and that's the gateway to true happiness.
  3. Identify what matters most and have the discipline to cut out everything else. It'll feel uncomfortable at first, but will get much easier. You may be surprised that no one else really cared if you did it, in the first place.
  4. Start using your strengths where they're needed most. Let people with different strengths do the other stuff. You'll save energy, stress, and discomfort for all. Everyone will be happier.
  5. If you really want to help others, model what a great life looks like. You'll be giving them permission to also live their best lives and be happier. Happy people are kinder. Everybody benefits!

Be a coach who models awesome self care.

Because potential clients are looking for this and because you'll literally coach more effectively if you're neither exhausted or stressed. Here's a course that teaches the three most important subjects in coaching so you and your clients can be your very best:

 

The Three Most Important Subjects in Coaching

 

Topics: self care, certified neuroscience coach, Needs, Strengths, highly sensitive, Values

Is Neuroplasticity Over Hyped?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Neuroplasticity_brain_to_brain

Neuroplasticity training programs are popping up everywhere.

They make a pretty grand promise: That by just learning some easy tools, you can physically change your brain and therefore your behavior, your thoughts, your emotions, and you can even eliminate your addictions and habits. Wow! Who doesn't want permanent change like that?

But how do you know if they deliver?

And even if they do deliver, are there any unforeseen side effects? And how long before the effects take place? Days, months, decades? Can you cross-train your brain by practicing one activity and see then see improvements in another?

And do you really want a stranger tinkering with your brain?

These are questions I asked myself and then dug into research on the topic when I started designing the Certified Neuroscience Coach Program, because for a while, we called it the Certified Neuroplasticity Coach Program.

Bottom line: In coaching, it's the outcome that matters, the flourishing life or career that the client enjoys as a result of the coaching. That outcomes is generally due to changes in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, which themselves are the result of changes in the brain. Brain change matters but outcomes matter most.

Neuroplasticity isn't even the point.

It's an intriguingly trendy name for a phenomenon that most neuroscientists were sure didn't exist until the 1990's when they discovered that the brain continues to change in adulthood, that in addition to new connections forming between neurons, new neurons actually form, as well. The discovery of neuroplasticity launched a whole new focus on personal development.

If you own an fMRI machine and are licensed to use it, perhaps you can promise to change your clients' brains in measurable ways and prove it. Otherwise, better to focus on the outcomes of neuroplasticity. And keep updating your knowledge, because there are downsides to brain change and questions about "dosage". For example:

  • The story of London cab drivers, who develop larger hippocampi by memorizing London’s 25,000 streets, is well known. Less well known is that the process of memorization undergone by these cabbies appears to have decreased other forms of memory, with resulting atrophy of corresponding brain regions. Neuroscientists have found evidence that there’s a trade-off, but they just don’t know for sure.
  • The story that brain plasticity trainings, such as Lumosity, don’t work, is also well known. But there are other brain-training programs by reputable scientists that still claim you can make sustainable changes to you brain. Are they right? It's hard to know without solid research evidence and that's not always available.
  • The recent book, Altered Traits, by Dan Goleman and Richie Davidson, is about how meditation changes the brain, but much of it cautions about over-promising because too much is still unknown. For example, you may know that meditation appears to make lasting changes the brain, but most of those findings have been based on people, such as Buddhist monks, who have been meditating several hours per day for decades. The problem is that, although meditation makes immediate changes, they tend to wear off quickly, and no one knows yet whether there is a reasonable amount that “regular people” can do to make lasting change.

So far, programs that promise neuroplasticity appear to over-promise.

On the other hand, neuroscience tools can be highly effective in coaching and, if you aren't using them yet, you probably need to start, especially if your clients seek lower stress levels, better focus, greater resilience, goal achievement and more because neuroscience tools and practices do appear highly effective in achieving desirable outcomes. Whether they also cause growth inside the brain, itself, is interesting but beside the point.

Clients want better outcomes not bigger brains.

If you're curious about using neuroscience tools and practices with your client, check out the courses included in the Certified Neuroscience Coach Program. Take a few course or take the entire program and upgrade your coaching with the latest tools. Download additional information by clicking below:

 

Learn More About Neuroscience Coaching Here

Topics: Neuroplasticity, coaching with neuroscience, Certified Neuroplasiticty Coach, certified neuroscience coach, personal development, psychotherapy

Top Ten Best Positive Psychology Blogs

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positivity_by_.imelda.jpg

If you are a positive psychology coach, then you need to keep up with the latest in positive psychology. Books, seminars, and research papers are wonderful for in-depth learning, but sometimes you want to understand a new concept quickly. That's when positive psychology blogs come in handy. Here are 10 awesome blogs for you to check out...

The best positive psychology blogs are updated frequently with useful information, often written by positive psychology researchers, themselves, on their latest findings. And there are also terrific blogs written by academics, positive psychology coaches, and other thought leaders. They can be wonderfully inspirational, or focus on practical applications of positive psychology findings.

This blog you're reading is written for coaches and often focuses on positive psychology coaching. Subscribe for free in the upper right corner of this page and check out the free eBook on becoming a positive psychology coach, below.

The following are the top ten positive psychology coaching blogs that we like best.

 

Top Ten Best Positive Psychology Blogs

1. The Greater Good in Action: The Science of a Meaningful Life.

This is my favorite go-to blog for positive psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. It includes engaging article written by positive psychology researchers on topics like awe, gratitude, and self compassion.

2.Positive Psychology Program: Your One-Stop Positive Psychology Resource.

Here's another information-packed resource on all things related to positive psychology such as life satisfaction, self worth, and the positive effects of spending time in nature.

3. Just One Minute: One simple practice a week can produce powerful results.

By author and beloved teacher, Rick Hanson, these positive neuroscience exercises are easy to incorporate into your life.

4. What Matters Most? Using your strengths to impact well-being.

Written for Psychology Today by Ryan Niemiec, Education Director at the VIA Institute for Character.

5. Positive Psychology News

Written by several graduates of Masters in Applied Positive Psychology programs.

6. Authentic Happiness

Site for the Masters in Applied Positive Psychology program at UPenn, directed by the Father of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman.

7. The Happiness Project: My experiments in pursuit of happiness and good habits.

Written by author, Gretchen Rubin.

8. The Psychology of Wellbeing: Musings on the science of holistic wellness.

Written by Jeremy McCarthy with a focus on using positive psychology in spa settings.

9. The Happiness Institute Blog

Written by professor, Tim Sharp, a.k.a., "Dr. Happy".

10. Dr. John Blog: Guide to self.

The latest positive psychology tools by John Shinnerer.

 

There you have the top ten best positive psychology blogs. Have fun reading, learning, and applying the latest info on how to live a flourishing life!

 

Curious about becoming a positive psychology professional? Get the free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook:

 

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

Topics: Positive Psychology, positive psychology coach, positive psychology coaches, positive psychology coaching, free ebook, positive psychology blogs

How to Live Resiliently Despite the Climate Crisis

Posted by Julia Stewart

Mother Nature Always Wins

The title of the image above is, "Mother Nature Always Wins."

Yes, she does. But you don't have to lose, just because she's rapidly changing the climate. You've probably heard the UN recently delivered a stark warning that we have until 2030, just a bit over 11 years as of this writing, to make drastic changes, or the climate crisis will get so bad millions of people will die. For the first time, I'm hopeful people are ready to heed the warning, because...

Last year, I became one of Al Gore's Climate Reality Leaders. I took his free training because it seemed every time I taught one of my international coach-training webinars, someone would be absent because of a wildfire, flood, or hurricane. It was happening to my students all over the world, simultaneously.

Wait, what?

What I learned was that it was too late to prevent Climate Change, but it was not too late to prevent the collapse of civilization (whoa) and that resilience has become an ever more important focus, meaning how to survive and thrive despite the coming catastrophes. As Al summed up, though, "We could lose everything we hold dear."

Sounds like science fiction, right?

Last week, Donald Trump finally stopped claiming Climate Change is a hoax. Now he claims it's real, but it's too late to do anything about it.

Who are you going to believe: the people getting paid to lie about it or the people who've been warning you for years and have now been proven right? That last group says there's still time to make the changes we need, but we all need to mobilize, fast.

Governments, corporations, and individuals can all make a huge difference. Start by voting for politicians who will get to work right away on it.

Humanity has a long history of pulling off massive victories at the last minute. The US, for example, waited to be attacked before it transformed its economy to help win World War 2 in just a few years. Later, when we were losing the "space race", we mobilized to put a man on the Moon in just eight years. That was a long time ago and this is way bigger but we can do it again.

Humans are good at succeeding at the impossible. But before we can succeed, we must survive and flourish. That takes resilience. I usually write about positive psychology and coaching, but resilience is where climate activism and positive psychology meet and embrace. Here are six steps to resilience even in these dangerous times.

Six ways to live resiliently despite the worsening climate crisis:

  1. Thomas Leonard always advocated what he called, Super Reserves, so you'd be ready for anything. Well, anything and everything is coming soon in the form of worsening weather. You can still live well, but it may take some planning. Or you can do nothing now and struggle later. Your choice. If you want to live resiliently and flourish no matter what, here are some suggestions. Stock up now on water (one gallon per person per day for a minimum of three days; don't forget the pets) in case your local water supply is knocked out for a while. Bonus points for installing your own water filtration system, especially one that can run without electricity. You may also need cash after big storms, since other types of transactions require electricity. Also, non-perishable food and clothes in water-proof bags. Don't forget your meds. Put it all where you can reach it when you need it.
  2. Always have a reserve of power: Get a gas generator or a large-capacity battery that can be attached to one or more solar panels, so after a big storm you won't ever have to go long without power. You can also get a small solar panel that's big enough to charge just your phone. Bonus points: Install solar on your roof or geo-thermal and keep your lights and heat on even when the grid is off. See number 5, below, too.
  3. Beat depression before it even has a chance. I've coached a lot of people who've been through disasters. After the fear subsides, overwhelm, confusion, frustration, discouragement, and eventually depression almost always follow. Bounce back faster by working with a positive psychology coach now to build up your resilience. When you know your values and purpose, you're more likely to experience Post Traumatic Growth instead of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Working afterward with a coach or therapist can also help.
  4. Stay physically fit. I lived in NYC during and after 9/11 when I was a personal trainer. One of my clients, an executive in her 60's, who worked next to the World Trade Center, had to walk down forty flights of stairs and twenty blocks home to her apartment, because elevators and transportation stopped that day. She told me later that she never could have done it if she hadn't been working out with me.
  5. Get reserves of transportation and even housing. What if there's a gasoline shortage after a disaster? Or little or no electricity? Owning cars with only one power source could be a problem. If you have two or more cars, make sure one is electric and one is gas powered. If you have only one car, a plug-in hybrid gives you extra options. Mine also has wifi, an essential for anyone working from home, which is the best way to save time, stress, and pollution by skipping the daily commute. Now that storms and pollution are becoming huge problems, staying home makes more sense than ever. And just in case, consider getting a second home if you can afford it, or talk to friends and family about hosting each other if the worst happens. Right now, I have a friend in Canada who is living in a hotel while her home is repaired after a terrible tornado. Personally, I'd be more comfortable at my weekend place.
  6. Look for the opportunities. Chaos and opportunity go hand in hand. You're about to see more of both in greater quantities than have ever before existed. There will be big winners and big losers. Look for new problems and how you can help. Find solutions for our new reality, either to help solve the climate crisis or help people and nature survive and thrive despite what's coming. Always look for the opportunities and you'll always do well. A coach can help.

Get a positive psychology coach to help you build reserves of resilience:

 

Find a Positive Psychology Coach Here

 

Topics: Climate Change, positive psychology coach, Values, Thomas Leonard, FIND A COACH

Bringing Positive Psychology Coaching to Occupational Therapy and Beyond

Posted by Julia Stewart

Winnie DunnThis is the second in a series of interviews of graduates of the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program. Many have fascinating coaching careers and will share some of their secrets with you. Look for this tag: CPPC Graduates.

Welcome to the Interview with Winnie Dunn, PhD, OTR, FOATA, CPPC. Winnie is a Distinguished Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Missouri and is bringing positive psychology and strengths-based coaching to individuals and to the field of Occupational Therapy.

There are two parts to the interview. Audio, for those who prefer to listen, and written, for those who prefer to read. Different questions for each. Explore as you like!

 Here's the Fascinating audio interview:

 
And here's the in-depth written the interview:
 
Winnie, are you currently practicing positive psychology coaching? Yes.
 
What is your niche or specialty? I provide coaching for other health and education professionals so they can incorporate coaching practices into their work (e.g., teachers, occupational therapists, speech therapists). I provide coaching for families who have children with conditions (e.g., autism, developmental conditions) to support them to navigate within their lives.
 
What else are you doing besides coaching? I am a Distinguished Professor at the University of Missouri.
 
What positive psychology coaching tools do you find most useful for your clients? It is particularly important for the professionals to remember to be CURIOUS. In their training, they learned how to be experts, and so can jump forward to anticipated outcomes and begin asking leading questions. Remaining Curious reminds them to stay in the present moment. I have also found PROVOCATIVE questions to be useful. It takes courage to use them, and lots of reflection to identify when they will be helpful to move insights along.
 
Which of your strengths do you find most useful in coaching your clients?
Creativity: I can see many facets of a situation, giving me an exploratory spirit
Notice patterns: I see relationships among factors that others might not consider
Be strategic: I understand the importance of context to someone's decision making and insights
Show compassion: I recognize the emotional part of someone's journey even with what seems like practical decision making
 
What project/job/initiative that you are working on are you most excited about? The state of Kentucky has embraced the use of coaching for their Early Intervention services [birth to 3]. They hired 3 experienced providers to serve as the Master Coaches for the state. I designed their entire training and competency plan. I am working with the Master Coaches to become excellent coaches themselves while also supporting them to create the materials and activities they will use with the rest of the providers across the state. We are also using a web platform for self reflection and feedback [TORSH]. We can upload coaching video sessions, and provide feedback and reflective questions in real time on the videos.
 
How has becoming a Certified Positive Psychology Coach® helped your career or helped you serve your clients? I had been conducting studies about coaching with families as the coaching profession was growing itself. I decided that someone on our research team needed to learn coaching from not just the literature, but from a substantial program. Since I use strengths based approaches in my work, the CPPC program was particularly suited to my philosophy and approach to care [I am an occupational therapist]. Having this certificate has provided external validation for our work in coaching, and has the added benefit of a positive psychology approach, which resonated with our research designs and practices. Colleagues ask more questions and are more reflective in their consideration of coaching approaches now.
 
What else have you studied since graduating as a CPPC? I am already an occupational therapist, special educator and have my doctorate in Applied Neuroscience. The CPPC program enhanced those areas. The CPPC program provided additional structure for how we teach coaching to others for their projects.

What’s next for you as a positive psychology coach? I am starting on a research project with a colleague at Thomas Jefferson University. I will be supporting interdisciplinary providers to coach families of children who are living with a spinal cord injury. We are working on additional studies of coaching using Telehealth communication to serve families in remote locations.

Do you have a quote about positive psychology and/or coaching that you’d like to share? Positive Psychology Coaching empowers others to live their best lives with our support...what could be a more satisfying way to engage with others but in service to their goals and aspirations?

What else would you like people to know about you and about what you do? People contact us through our website: www.dunnandpopecoaching.com

NOTE: Winnie's partner, Ellen Pope, also studied at School of Coaching Mastery
 
We're proud of the great work that pioneers like Winnie Dunn are doing to serve others. If you're inspired to keep learning and offering more to your clients, consider joining the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program:
 
Explore the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program
 

Topics: CPPC Graduates, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, positive psychology coaching, Strengths

The Future of Coaching: Participate in this Groundbreaking Research

Posted by Julia Stewart

Research coaching psychology

The future of coaching is research-based and now you can be part of it!

You're invited to participate in groundbreaking research by renowned coaching researcher, Dr. Richard Boyatzis (See bio below), and his research team at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) on the competencies of effective coaching.

Research into coaching has skyrocketed in recent years, but as of yet, there is scant research into the effectiveness of coaching competencies on which coach certifications are based. Isn't it about time that changed?

Learn more about how you can get involved and participate in this important study at the next Association of Positive Psychology Coaches (APPC) meeting, August 15, Noon - 1 PM Eastern/NY Time (UTC 1600).

We'll discuss other exciting developments in positive psychology coaching at the August 15th meeting, as well.

If you're already a member of the APPC, watch your inbox for an invitation to this meeting. If you haven't joined yet, there's still time to join for free. Go here to join and watch your inbox for an invitation to this meeting.

About Dr. Richard Boyatzis:

Dr. Boyatzis is a professor in the department of organizational behavior, psychology, and cognitive science at Case Western Reserve University, as well as the H.R. Horvitz Chair in Family Business. He is also an adjunct professor at the international ESADE Business School. Boyatzis has received awards at Case Western Reserve for research, teaching, and service, and he was named a distinguished university professor. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees from Harvard University.

APPC members will receive full instructions for joining in this research study at the August 15th meeting.

Join the APPC Now.

 

Topics: future of coaching, coaching research

Positive Speech Coach Shares How She Coaches Speakers for TED Talks

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positive Speech Coach, Valeria Pittaluga at TED

This is the first in a series of interviews of graduates of the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program. Many have fascinating coaching careers and will share some of their secrets with you. Look for this tag: CPPC Graduates.

Welcome to the Interview with the Positive Speech Coach, Valeria Pittaluga, CPPC, Italy. Valeria specializes in coaching TED Talk speakers with positive psychology.

There are two parts to the interview. Audio, for those who prefer to listen, and written, for those who prefer to read. Different questions for each. Explore as you like!

Here's the 21 minute audio:

 
Here's the rest of the interview:
 
Valeria, are you currently coaching professionally? Yes.
 
What's your specialty? I mainly coach public speaking, but life coaching inevitably mixes into it.
 
What else do you do besides coaching? Organizing my own TEDx event. TEDx Lucca.
 
What positive psychology coaching tools do you find most useful for your clients? Visualizations of the end result. The joy of the celebration that goes with the met goal. The excitement of extrapolating the golden nugget of one's true message from the rest of the "noise". Expanding and deepening the insights and inspirations and where they naturally stem from. The focus on the tools already intrinsically available to the speaker to perform without anxiety.
 
Which of your strengths do you find most useful in coaching your clients? My gift of innate enthusiasm. It's my greatest asset.
 
What project or initiative are you working on that you're most excited about? Right now the coaching of my nine speakers in both Italian and English. I love it!
 
How has becoming a Certified Positive Psychology Coach® helped your career or helped you serve your clients? My training in Positive Psychology has propelled me forward in my Coaching training. It's the most intuitive and logic path to excellent Coaching. Coaching with a positive and constructive spin to it is as powerful and empowering as it gets!
 
What else have you studied since graduating as a CPPC? I've explored Voice Dialogue and systemic constellation Coaching as well as Emotional Intelligence Coaching. I've also gone into depth in NLP Coaching. 
 
Have you earned a new credential from ICF since graduating as a CPPC? Yes, I pursued my ACC certification with ICF.
 
Have you earned any other credentials since graduating with your CPPC? I'm a trained trainer for the "5 chairs 5 choices" method for executive coaching in companies. The method is carefully crafted around the non-violent communication teachings of Marshall Rosenberg.
 
What's next for you as a positive psychology coach? I'm interested in neuroscience and how meditation and silence heals and enhances the human experience.
 
Do you have a quote you’d like to share? Never stop starting over.
 
What else would you like people to know about you and about what you do? I would like people to know that coaching for me is a mission and though this might sound wishy washy, I aim to spread the importance of mindfulness and non-violent communication in every way I can.
 
Nothing wishy washy about that!

 

Valeria coaches in English, Italian, and Spanish. You can reach her here: http://www.valeriapittaluga.it/

 

Every coach has a career as unique as they are. If you'd love to enjoy as much passion and fun with your coaching career as Valeria does, consider joining the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program.

 

Explore the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program

 

Topics: Certified Positive Psychology Coach, TED, CPPC Graduates

The New Certified Neuroscience Coach(tm) Is Open for Registration

Posted by Julia Stewart

Certified Neuroscience Coach Logo 11-20-18

There's a brand new coach training program that will teach you to use the power of the brain to help your clients create whatever they want.

You can save when you register for the Certified Neuroscience Coach Program now.

What is the Certified Neuroscience Coach Program?

  • "Positive neuroplasticity" has much in common with positive psychology. In fact, it helps explain why positive psychology is so effective! The Certified Neuroscience Coach program is a sub-specialty of the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program and includes 100 live distance-learning training hours.
  • This program will teach you what goes on in the brain, as well as the body's other information processing systems, during coaching and beyond. You'll learn how to help your clients move into more resourceful brain states and how to help your clients "hard-wire" desirable changes for themselves.
  • Neuroscience coaching is in demand for a variety of coaching specialties and niches, such as executive and leadership coaching, business coaching, life and wellness coaching, to name a few. Coach your clients to flourish, to make positivity their default, to enjoy more success, develop positive habits and let go of less desirable ones, to reach peak performance, coach positive brain states to enduring traits, and even how to maintain brain health and sharpness well into old age.
  • Plus, you'll develop transformative tools, so you can enjoy "self-directed neuroplasticity", yourself!
  • Depending on your previous training and credentials, you may be able to waive some courses and take electives that you choose, in their place.
  • Most coaches will complete this program in about a year with a minimum of 4 hours work per week. We give you up to two years to finish.

Here are the courses that are included:

If you want, just try one course. It's less expensive to take the whole program, though. If you decide to join the entire program within 30 days of completion of you course, you can apply 100% of the cost of the course to the program tuition. 

 

If you're interested in this program, let's talk. Please book an appointment here.

 

Or call +1-877-224-2780

 

Or visit the Certified Neuroscience Coach Program and download a fact sheet, below:

 

Download Certified Neuroscience Coach Fact Sheet

Topics: Neuroplasticity, coaching with neuroscience, Certified Neuroplasiticty Coach, coach training, certified neuroscience coach

Is Self Care Selfish?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Self Care Relaxation Lake

Self care is one of the foundations of coaching.

If your clients aren't taking great care of themselves they won't be their best with any consistency. They just won't. Likewise, great self care is part of a coach's job description. So much so that it's included in SCM's Best Practices for Professional Coaches, Part 1, #5:

"Professional coaches practice excellent self-care, so they can consistently give their best to their clients."

Coaching is expensive and your clients deserve your very best. That means your self care isn't just about you, it's about others, as well. So why don't coaches always take care of themselves?

  • Much of it is cultural. From the protestant work ethic: No rest 'til work is done, to today's current crazy work environment that is ultra-competitive and focused on short-term productivity. Recently, a woman told me her work day began at 4 AM and ended at 8 PM. She didn't even sound embarrassed about it. Then there's the man who only sees his infant daughter on weekends, because he gets home from work at 10 PM, then eats dinner while working some more. Not great for his wife.
  • Then there is the pressure on mothers to be self-less for their children (and husbands). For many, self-care induces so much guilt, it may not even be restful. No wonder marriages suffer.

Is it possible all this selflessness is really selfish? I think so.

Let me explain. In coaching we often talk about the ego vs. the true self. These are immensely valuable concepts derived from Buddhist psychology. Here, the ego is a bit different from Freud's definition. In Buddhism, the ego is that part of you that protects you from harm, keeps you safe, makes you competitive, spurs you to win, to receive approval from others, to gain acceptance. I like to think of it as an app or operating system that comes preloaded when you are born. You may not always like it. In fact, it probably causes conflicts with others sometimes, but you'd be dysfunctional without it. The ego is 100% for you, so it chafes with other egos and some spiritual and religious traditions will even encourage you to destroy it.

No wonder people deny its existence.

But the ego is a marvelous shape-shifter. It won't die until your body dies. Just when you think you've conquered it, it shows up in a whole new form. It's that part of you that needs to be Wonder Woman, who needs to prove you can outwork anyone, outproduce all the competition, who is a perfectionistic overachiever, who sacrifices for the children, the elderly parents, your co-workers, even your clients. Or conversely who is shy, who thinks, "Who am I to be great?", who can never be selfish about anything, who is always "good". All of that's your ego, baby.

The ego is not just arrogant and self-centered. It can show up that way and a million others, as well.

I knew a man who was great at launching successful restaurants. Like many types of business, restaurant work is highly competitive, stressful, and involves incredibly long hours. My friend was "killing it" until the day he collapsed in the dining room, in front of his employees and customers, and had to be wheeled out on a stretcher and hospitalized. His adrenal glands were so depleted they could no longer produce enough cortisol to keep him conscious.

I had a similar experience as a dancer in graduate school at an expensive college in New York. My friends/classmates and I were competitive, all vying for "straight A's" and praise from our professors. Faculty politics were toxic. Dancing eight hours per day in an overwhelmingly stressful environment took its toll. In the two weeks leading up to my masters thesis concert, I lost ten pounds without trying. That's not normal. A month later, home for Christmas, I stopped into a store to pick up last-minute wrapping paper and started feeling dizzy. I was indoors with a winter coat on and was sure, once I stepped outside, I would be fine. Outside, I was still dizzy, but the cold air felt good and I could see my parent's house. It was minutes away and I was sure I could get there. Next thing I knew, I was looking up into a strange woman's face who was asking, "Are you alright?" I had passed out in the parking lot.

I finished my Masters on-time with "straight A's", but I failed in the self-care department and that meant other people had to take care of me for a while. My young healthy body had collapsed and that had lasting implications for my health. To this day, if I get overtired or stressed, I have to rest or risk collapse. Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

Why did I do it? I just wanted my professors to tell me I was "good enough". In other words, I was driven to get two major needs met from Maslow's hierarchy, acceptance and self-esteem, like my life depended on it.

Self-care is about getting your needs met. It's not optional. You can't skip it for long. If you studied General Psych in college, or even high school, you probably were introduced to Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. On the bottom are physical needs such as enough rest and sleep, water, air, nutrition. Above, are psychological (a.k.a ego) needs, such as safety, belonging, and self-esteem. At the top is self-actualization, similar to the concept of the Ideal Self from positive psychology (Oprah would call it, "living your best life"). You can't expect to get there if your lower needs aren't met, especially the ones on the bottom, the physical needs. That's where self care comes in.

Great self care is never selfish. It's what you need to be the person others need you to be.

When you work on yourself or when you coach your clients, make sure you pay attention to getting physical and ego needs met. Otherwise, you may be doomed. Learn how to incorporate self care and needs into your coaching. It's one of the most important subjects in positive psychology coaching. The next course starts soon.

 

Register: Coaching Values, Needs & Strengths

Topics: self care, positive psychology coaching

101 Terrific Positive Psychology Coaching Questions

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positive Psychology Coaching Questions

Here are 101 terrific coaching questions all based on positive psychology theory.

To get full value from these questions, it's important to understand the research and theories behind them. In a nutshell, positive thoughts and emotions are correlated with greater happiness, better health, and more success. That said, 100% positivity is never the goal. Even negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences can have positive outcomes, especially when we take the time to learn from them and to look for benefits and work on our personal growth.

Here is a quick course that will get you started as a positive psychology coach. Or to become masterful, enroll in the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program. You'll learn masterful coaching skills, such as how to know when to ask which question, how to follow up regardless your client's answer, how to craft your own questions, right on the spot.

If you're just getting started as a coach, print these awesome questions out for reference.

Download the free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook to learn more.

101 Terrific Positive Psychology Coaching Questions:

  1. What's going great this week?
  2. What have you accomplished so far?
  3. What are three good things that happened at work?
  4. What are you grateful for today?
  5. What are you feeling really good about?
  6. What do you want to accomplish in this session?
  7. How will you measure success?
  8. Shall we explore your reasons for making this change?
  9. Which of your personal values will be expressed by achieving this goal?
  10. How will achieving this goal help you express your purpose?
  11. What other reasons might there be that you haven't explored yet?
  12. Are you ready to make this change or do you need to talk about it more?
  13. What would happen if you improved this by just 5%?
  14. What other benefits are there to accomplishing this?
  15. What reasons have been stopping you so far?
  16. How have you been stopping you so far?
  17. How could you address those reasons?
  18. How could you eliminate some the the drawbacks to changing?
  19. What preparations do you need to make before you start this project?
  20. Which of your strengths can help you here?
  21. What will you tell yourself as you take steps toward this goal?
  22. Who else can acknowledge you for your efforts?
  23. On a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to your success?
  24. How hard are you willing to work on this?
  25. What obstacles could you encounter and how can you overcome them?
  26. If everything goes perfectly and you're at your very best, what will that be like?
  27. What strategies will help you focus on what you want vs what you don't want?
  28. What's already going well?
  29. When was a time when this went well for you?
  30. What strengths were you using when this went well?
  31. How can you apply the same strengths to succeed this time?
  32. Who do you work well with?
  33. Who has complementary strengths who might collaborate with you?
  34. Who else will benefit from your success?
  35. How will you feel when you've succeeded?
  36. How will your strengths help you express your purpose?
  37. What are you curious about?
  38. What would you like your legacy to be?
  39. What circumstances are effecting your positive or negative emotions?
  40. How would you like to feel? Can you imagine feeling that way right now?
  41. How positive are you on most days?
  42. What are you currently doing to raise your positivity?
  43. What might be possible if you increased your positivity?
  44. How could you increase your positivity?
  45. Who are the most positive people in your life?
  46. How could you spend more time doing what you enjoy?
  47. How would your relationships be impacted by more positivity?
  48. How could you decrease your negativity?
  49. How could you be happy even before you reach your goals?
  50. If you're fully present for a few moments what do you notice?
  51. If you turn off your thoughts for a minute what do you know?
  52. What does your body need?
  53. It sounds like you're using a strength. What would you name it?
  54. How could you master this strength?
  55. What other situations could be improved if you started using this strength there?
  56. How could this strength help you meet an important need?
  57. How can you use your strengths to express your personal values?
  58. Where else could you use your strengths in new ways?
  59. Who could you collaborate with who has complementary strengths?
  60. What strengths do you need to develop to be more effective.
  61. What strengths do you wish you had?
  62. What can you appreciate about the strengths you do have?
  63. How could a weakness also be a strength?
  64. Do you ever overuse a strength? What happens then?
  65. Do you strengths ever get you into trouble?
  66. What would help you feel more engaged at work?
  67. What activities excite or energize you?
  68. Where else could you use your strengths?
  69. How can you use your strengths to help you reach this goal?
  70. When does time seem to fly for you?
  71. Who or what makes you laugh?
  72. What makes life meaningful for you?
  73. What activities feel most valuable to you?
  74. When is a time in your life when you were at your very best?
  75. What's most significant to you about that time?
  76. What do you do to help others?
  77. How could you build resources to support a happier and more successful life?
  78. Who has helped you immensely who you might want to thank?
  79. How do you want to thank others?
  80. Who or what could you be grateful to?
  81. What makes this accomplishment so important to you?
  82. What will help you persevere until you succeed?
  83. Who can support you to reach your goals?
  84. What will keep you on track?
  85. What do you need more clarity about?
  86. What's your first step?
  87. When will you get started?
  88. How will you remember?
  89. Once you've succeeded, how will you maintain it?
  90. What clarity do you still need?
  91. How confident are you of your success?
  92. What will your life be like when you succeed?
  93. What other aspects of your life will be impacted?
  94. How will you take care of yourself while working on this?
  95. How will you maintain other important aspects of your life such as your relationships?
  96. Who are you willing to tell that you're making this change?
  97. How will you maintain your positivity while persevering?
  98. How will you feel about yourself when you succeed?
  99. How will you celebrate?
  100. Who will you include in your celebration?
  101. How will you savor your hard work and accomplishment?

This is just a sampling of terrific positive psychology coaching questions.

Learn more by joining the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program. Get a fact sheet to learn all about it.

Get Certified Positive Psychology Coach Fact Sheet

 

Topics: positive psychology coaching, coaching questions, Strengths, Needs, Values, positivity, Certified Positive Psychology Coach

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