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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

10 Questions to Help You Thrive Through the Pandemic

Posted by Julia Stewart

ask the right questions

Ready to thrive through the pandemic? Read on...

If you're like most people, you've been thrown for a loop by the corona epidemic.

Up to a point, responding quickly to what's happening is vital, so you can't ignore the crisis. It's a scary disease we're all susceptible to and shutting down the economy creates even more problems to handle even though it's the right thing to do.

But we tend to have better outcomes when we focus more on the positive. You can switch easily to that focus by asking yourself better questions. Don't wait to explore the following. The sooner you start, the better outcomes you can create. You may want to return to them again as you get more clarity.

These 10 questions can change your life by expanding your awareness so you can thrive:

  1. What's already going well? Another way to ask this is: What are you grateful for right now? Make a list of three things, large or small, you're thankful for. Are you breathing? Put that on the list. Do you have a house to live in? You get the idea. Don't just answer this question; take the time to feel the gratitude. I know you are fortunate because you are able to access the internet. You can put that on the list, if you want. Take the time to ask this question and feel the gratitude at least once per day.
  2. What's the worst problem you have right now?... Okay, that sucks. I get it. But now I'm going to ask the real question: What's great about that problem? Think until you find something. Now find two more things. Do you get to spend more time with your kids? Do you have more time to plant your garden this spring? Have you always wanted to work from home? You don't negate other people's suffering by appreciating the goodness in your life. Quite the opposite. When you're happy, it's easier to be kind to others. Isn't that what really matters?
  3. How would you like it to be for the next two weeks (or eight, or twelve)? Imagine everything as if it went as well as it possibly could. How can you show up to create that? Who would you have to become? How could you become that?
  4. What's your purpose right now? If you live your life purpose, it makes everything more fulfilling. But even if you were living it before, it may have temporarily changed. What matters most in these current conditions? How can you bring that about?
  5. What strengths can help you through this? We all have our preferred ways to do things. It makes life easier and more fun. You always have permission to do it your way. But sometimes it helps to develop a new way. Challenges can help us grow.
  6. How can you grow through this? If you're complaining, blaming, or whining, you're playing victim. We all do that now and then but if you allow it to become habitual, you'll make everything worse for you and all those around you. Instead, think of yourself as the creator of your destiny. Make it a fun game. Tools that can help include spiritual practices like prayer, meditation, mindfulness, inspirational reading, and more. A positive psychology coach can help a lot, too.
  7. What positive habit/s could help you achieve the best outcomes? A daily workout? Video chats with positive friends? Enjoying your favorite books, movies, meals? Playtime with your pets?
  8. What do you need to learn right now? Do you need a new career? A new skill? A way to make a living from home? Online learning is plentiful and well worth the time and money.
  9. Who can help you? We're all in this together. You've got something that can help someone else and somebody else can help you. What do you need help with? It feels vulnerable to ask but people often get the most joy from helping others so go ahead and ask.
  10. What's your ultimate goal? Working toward goals is inherently rewarding when those goals are aligned with our values. If you have the gift of time, your ultimate goal may be where you need to focus. How will others benefit when you succeed? Are you willing to get started now?

 

These 10 questions are challenging. A great coach can help you with them.

 

If you'd love to help others by asking empowering questions, coaching is the ultimate work-from-home career. If you're ready to start your new future, consider joining us for online training:

 

Explore the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program

 

 

Topics: coaching questions, Strengths, mindfulness, Values, questions, positive psychology coach

The Role of Positive Psychology in Planetary Consciousness

Posted by Julia Stewart

Planetary Consciousness

At the International Positive Psychology Association's 6th World Congress this year, positive psychology pioneer, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi*, gave a talk called, Towards a Planetary Consciousness.

He asked, "What is the contribution Positive Psychology can make to the global society evolving on this planet--which could result either in an unprecedented flowering of life, or in its total extinction?

That's a heavy question for what is often referred to as, "the science of happiness", but it's similar to questions being asked worldwide by thought leaders as the Climate Crisis heats up and critical resources run out. Currently, large percentages of the world's populations are without reliable food and water, while natural disasters are on the rise, and the resulting conflicts, migrations, political turmoil, economic instability, and wars have left many feeling anxious about the future while also mourning what's already been lost.

By the way, this is a massive coaching opportunity: helping people develop the resilience they need so they can flourish in an increasingly difficult future.

Csikszentmihalyi is neither a marketer nor politician. Nor is he a spiritual teacher who promises to help you evolve your consciousness, so there was no soaring rhetoric nor sweeping promises in his talk. He's a scientist who is opening up a conversation on where positive psychology might help help in developing universal values that may help people thrive, without forcing one culture's values upon others. It's unusual even to hear a scientist use the word, "consciousness" because it is so difficult to define.

"Unless we find good solutions, the future will be a pretty bad place to live for our children and grandchildren."

Positive psychology deviates from previous psychological study by looking at what constitutes "the good life", a question usually asked by philosophers. Csikszentmihalyi said scientists need to explore the teachings of spiritual leaders such as Zoroaster and the Buddha to find what works best in today's world and share their findings with the leaders of the future.

Clearly this is an important issue for leadership coaches, who will want to pay close attention to the research that results from this focus. We all will.

 

Thinking about becoming a positive psychology coach? Download the FREE eBook:

 

Free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook

 

* If you're not quite sure how to pronounce "Csikszentmihalyi", here's a useful mnemonic: "Chick sent me high."

Topics: future of coaching, Positive Psychology, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Values, Climate Change, become a positive psychology coach, IPPA

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

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

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?

 

Want a FREE course on how to ask great coaching questions?

 

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

Shocking Ways the Climate Crisis Will Change Your Coaching Business

Posted by Julia Stewart

Climate Change Danger by Environmental Illness Network.jpg 

The Climate Crisis is announcing itself ever more loudly as epic floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, "rain bombs", enormous fires, "exploding glaciers", disappearing coastlines, civil wars, refugee crises, and even drug epidemics. Most of us are unaware how dramatic and widespread climate disasters have already become, because our news is primarily limited to our own regions, and because taking it all in is overwhelming and terrifying. However...

Acknowledging all this is positive, because...

The Truth is Always Positive.

It's time for coaches to fully acknowledge that the world we grew up in is gone and this new world portends unprecedented challenges, as well as enormous opportunities for us, for our clients, and for the world, itself.

There is already evidence that leaders in Climate Change are succeeding, which offers tremendous hope that humanity will head off the worst of Climate Change, before it's too late. But we've made too little progress, so far. Real change requires inspired action from virtually everyone, including those of us who elicit the greatness of others.

Because an insidious impact of climate catastrophe is overwhelming negative feelings, such as hopelessness, PTSD, crippling anxiety, and depression. No one is great when they're in the grip of negative feelings. Positive psychology coaches know that preparing for post-traumatic growth can head off the most debilitating symptoms of trauma, that we can assist people to become more resilient, more proactive, and to build resources to meet virtually any challenge. But...

We must help ourselves before we can help the whole world. Are you ready?

Climate Change is the single biggest existential threat to your coaching business, but with planning, inspired action, and intent, you can make that a net positive, rather than a negative. In so doing, you'll emerge as a much-needed leader in an increasingly chaotic world, but...

How do you lead in the Age of Climate Crisis?

This is a conversation all coaches need to have. We need to talk about it with each other, with our clients, with our own coaches, and of course, with our families, friends, and communities. The answers will likely surprise you.

You may think you know your calling or purpose, that you already live a values-centered life, but the trajectory of your life is being redetermined by the planet, herself, and she may send you places you never intended. The cool thing is that this universal emergency is forcing us all to identify what actually matters and to let all the other BS go.

The climate crisis has pulled me away from my usual concerns about positive psychology coaching and how to help my clients thrive, while teaching others to coach with powerful, evidence-based tools. All that still matters, but I had to I become a Climate Reality Leader in Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership Corps, because right now, that matters even more. As a CRL, I'm licensed to share Gore's Inconvenient Truth/Inconvenient Sequel talks to my networks, in customized form.

The most emotional moment in the 3-day Climate Reality Training I just took with Gore and his team was when he acknowledged that, "we could lose everything we hold dear". Everything. Every one of us is in danger of losing all that matters most to us. This is no exaggeration, because many already have lost everything.

Or we can be heroes, leaders, inspirers, and creators of a new world.

I have answers, but I don't have all the answers. I'm a coach, so my Climate Reality talks must be interactive.

Will you come talk about it? I'm giving my first Climate Reality for Coaches talk on December 11th, 8-9 PM EST, via interactive webinar. Just to be clear, this is a talk about the Climate Crisis and how it impacts coaches. It is not about coach training. It is, of course, free of charge. Lead the change with me.

Come join me to talk about what this all means to you and to all you hold dear.

Register for the Climate Reality for Coaches Talk

 

 

 

 

Topics: coaching business, Values, Climate Change, positive psychology coach

Coaching Tip: The Last Motivational Tool You'll Ever Need

Posted by Julia Stewart

ofpush.jpg

Ah January, the beginning of a new year. It's the month to make resolutions and the busiest time of the year for the fitness industry. This is when you're most likely to be bombarded by motivational tips, tools, pep talks, speakers, posters, efficiency hacks, apps, books, coaching programs, etc., ad nauseum.

When I went to Flickr just now to find an image for this post under the keyword, "motivation", all I got were a zillion motivational posters like the one above. Have you ever wondered why there's so much motivational junk out there?

Because it doesn't work.

For instance, one the motivational posters I just saw has a formula on it: Sweat + Sacrifice = Success. Oh. Didn't that just solve everything for you?

No, me either.

If 99% of existing motivational junk was worth anything, the issue would be solved by now and you and your friends wouldn't be searching for better ways to accomplish what you need to do.

Up until now, if you truly wanted motivation, you had to get another person involved, like a personal trainer. I used to be a personal trainer in Manhattan and one of my clients dubbed me, "Motivation for Hire", because I showed up at her door every night whether she wanted to exercise or not (usually not). I got her healthy again and she felt virtuous when I left, but she paid me about $20,000 per year for that motivation.

I'm going to clue you in for free.

I'm going to share with you a tool that upgrades motivation so much, that people literally can do what they want, when they want, and still get more accomplished than they can with any other approach.

Yes, really.

I learned about this tool from the Father of the Coaching Profession, Thomas Leonard, who was one of the most prolific people I've ever known and he did whatever he wanted when he wanted. When I first tried doing whatever I wanted when I wanted, I had a blast and accomplished more on my To-Do list than ever. In fact, I mentioned that to the client above and she said, "If I tried that, I'd never get anything done."

Back then, I couldn't explain how it worked, but now I can.

The difference is to orient your life around what is uniquely you. Another way to say it is to build your life around what matters most to you. Most people think this will be difficult, or that they will fail, but the opposite is usually true. It certainly was for me.

Thomas called this TrueValues, but I call it your unique values, because it only works when you focus on what matters uniquely to you. Building your life around your unique values is transformative, joyful, meaningful, growth-oriented, and one of the great secrets of success.

It's not just motivating; it's inspiring.

If you have the integrity to identify and live what is uniquely important to you, you will never need another motivational tool, because you literally will be able to do what you want for the rest of your life. In fact, I suspect the reason you have trouble motivating yourself to do what does not matter to you, is because deep down, your heart is telling you your life is passing and you're not doing what you were designed for.

How to discover what's uniquely you?

Look at what you're driven to do now and ask yourself if it's a harmonious passion or an obsessive passion. If it's a harmonious passion, ask yourself what's most important about it to you? Keep asking until you have 10-20 answers. Then look at those answers and notice which ones resonate with you. Cross the others off the list.

Decide which of those harmonious reasons are the most important. You should end up with 3-5 of them. Now start making choices based on what fits those 3-5. Your life will begin to improve. When your entire life is oriented around your top unique values, you'll be able to do what ever you want when you want.

If you'd like some help with this, find a coach, below.

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Topics: Thomas Leonard, Values, FIND A COACH, personal values

The Critical Missing Link in Positive Psychology

Posted by Julia Stewart

Photo by Justin Kern - Missing Links in Positive Psychology.jpg

Positive psychology has been ignoring what matters most in life.

You already know we love positive psychology and that emotional intelligence picks up where positive psychology leaves off. But here's a missing link to positive psychology that hardly anybody mentions...

Because for on thing, the way most people talk about this missing link just isn't sexy. That's because it's been presented to most of us as a "should" (something we should care about and act upon), rather than what it really is: completely unique and personal to each of us.

When we approach this missing link from our uniqueness, it becomes inspiring.

When we approach it from what's been imposed upon us, as a "should", it deflates us. No wonder we don't talk about it! Some coaches even think they should avoid asking questions about it!

I'm talking about what matters most to you: your personal values.

These are often not the same as what you parents, schools, religious, or political leaders taught you to value. Taught values help us fit into society. They make us homogeneous. They may be uninspiring, but you find yourself living your life around them - and then wondering why your life feels flat, boring, or lifeless. 

Personal values are unique to you, uniquely energizing and inspiring to you.

Recently some fascinating research was done on values under the guise of mindfulness, a positive psychology tool that is so thoroughly researched, it has its own research journal called, Mindfulness. It's well-known that practicing mindfulness leads to greater wellbeing, which is the ultimate measure of positive psychology. New research shows people who practice mindfulness are more likely to act on their values. Current research is attempting to prove whether lived values are the main reason mindfulness increases wellbeing. 

Personal values contain the blueprint for your calling in this life.

Nothing could be sexier! And like finger prints, everyone's values are unique. Unfortunately, most people have no idea what their personal values even are.

Here are a few more important points about personal values:

  • Values are personal, unique, and individual.
  • Values help us show up authentically.
  • Values are what matters most to each of us.
  • Values point to our unique long-lasting happiness and fulfillment.
  • Values point out your calling and life purpose.
  • Values integrate heart and mind.
  • Values integrate us with other people.
  • Values help us feel fully alive.
  • Values help us serve others.
  • Values determine our actions more than anything else.
  • Values give meaning to our lives.
  • Values help us harmonize our relationships.
  • Values help us integrate our emotions.
  • Values inspire us.
  • Values help us reach our goals.
  • Values give us greater freedom if we're aware of them.
  • Values are catalyzed by mindfulness.
  • Values lead to greater wellbeing.

All of the above is wonderful, but most people don't even know what their personal values are and often we confuse our needs with out values and needs are a whole different thing.

We can't make the most of our lives without identifying and activating our true values. 

Positive psychology coaches are perfectly positioned to help people identify and act on their true values. But most positive psychology coaching is strengths-based only and without our personal values, using our strengths feels empty and meaningless. It's time we fully integrate values with strengths. 

Values are the missing link in wellbeing.

The Certified Positive Psychology Coach program thoroughly integrates strengths and values and two modules that focus on values are coming up soon: The Psychology of Values and Personal Evolution and Coaching Values, Needs, and Strengths. Each course can be taken individually and is approved for 8 ICF ACSTH or CCEs.

Coach with the missing link of positive psychology and help your clients achieve what matters most to them.

Click below to choose a values-based coach-training module.

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Topics: Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Positive Psychology, positive psychology coaching, Strengths, Needs, mindfulness, Values, positive psychology coaches, personal values, wellbeing

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