Review the year with these 4 questions

I had the privilege to interview Ken Coleman author of  the book, One Question: Life Changing Answers From Today’s Leading Voices. The book is a “best of” content from Ken’s interviews with influential leaders of faith at Catalyst Conferences. These leaders include John Maxwell, Rick Warren, John Acuff, Seth Godin, Tony Robbins, Jim Collins and so many more! Instead of merely summarizing entire interviews from these leaders, Ken, focuses in on the some of the best questions he has asked these leaders and their insight from these questions.
When I interviewed Ken on the phone, I asked him “What are the top questions we need to ask ourselves as we end 2013 and begin 2014?” Ken offered four insightful questions to reflect upon, two that help us review the past and two that help us look to the next year.

For all the major areas of life can to be evaluate with these questions as we review 2013:
1. “What did I do right?” It is important to focus on the positives and the blessings. Think about what are you grateful and thankful for this year. These are the ‘wins’ of 2013.
2. “What did I loose?” Failure can hurt but it also is the best way to learn. So this question is not for being hard and critical on yourself but a way to review what you learned as you move forward.
Moving forward into 2014:
3. “Where do I want to be/go?” This question helps us to realize our vision for the future. It helps us dream.
4. “What do I need to get done in 2014?” It is easy to have a lot of lessons learned and a lot of vision. These things are great, although, often time we naturally create too many goals. So this question is very clear and straight-forward, to help us create realistic goal based on strong clarity of our vision. What is the one or two really big things that need to get done?

Ken is a master of asking questions. Ken Coleman reported that the goal for writing One Question was to encourage people to ask more questions. He wants to help his readers develop a habit of inquiry. Society today focuses on getting answers. Although, in order to solve problem and succeed in life, it is much better to know how to ask questions and solve problems from those questions. The entrepreneurial mindset is one of curiosity and one that is always learning new things. The book is a great resource for any life coach, business owner or Christian leader. It is a great book for anyone who also desires to be an entrepreneur, life coach, or Christian leader. I highly recommend getting a hold of this book and reading it. The insights alone from these world leaders is well worth the price of the book. What Ken adds about developing a habit of inquiry is also fascinating. From all of 36 leaders, who Ken featured in this book, one big overall theme rings true, they all asked questions. Ken challenges the reader in the final chapter to never stop asking questions. You can read a lot of reviews and even hear some incredible free content in video, audio and print form on his website for the book!

New Year, New Goals

The end of the year for me has always been a good time to reflect on the past year and to focus on some goals for the new year. Here is my reflections from 2013 and goals for 2014:

Reflections:
1. God has again blessed me with an amazing opportunity. I remember last year, this time freaking out about getting an internship to finish my degree and to become licensed. I had several interviews and nothing was working out. In 2013, during the summer, a Liberty University connection helped me get an internship that will has been vital in learning how to be a professional counselor, getting the hours I need and just a blessed place to work so far!
2. Starting my own business was an amazing dream come true as well! Talk about being blessed! And going from nothing to 4 clients and a lot of potential. 
3. Financially, it has been tough at times, but God has always provided for me this year!
4. I am thankful for the visions I have seen and the direction I am following! I am really blessed.
Goals for 2014:
1. Before the fall, I will finish Counseling internship, pass the NCE and become a Licensed  Professional Counselor (PC).

2. I would like to complete the Board Certified Advanced Christian Life Coach credential/training with the ICCA. To accomplish this I simply need to complete one extra course with the ICCA and then apply for the higher credential.

3. I would like to have a rough draft of my book completed within the next year. This is a matter of spending time each week, writing the book.

4. I would like to have at least five paid coach clients before the end of the year.

5. I would like to start paying off student loans.

Are you in touch with your emotions?

Did you know that just maintaining a sad face drags you down? Your mind and body both are negatively by the a frown. The idea of “fake it until you make it” is more than cliche. Science backs it.

First, let’s examine the benefits of smiling. Did you know that smiling lowers your heart rate? Also
Neurotransmitters called endorphins are released when you smile. These make us feel happy.
It’s not easy to keep smiling in stressful situations, but studies report that doing exactly that has health benefits. When recovering from a stressful situation, study participants who were smiling had lower heart rates than those with a neutral facial expression.

A smile also makes one more attractive, easy going, and empathetic. In fact, a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that smiling actually makes you more attractive to those you smile at. A study found that smiling can make you more comfortable in situations you would otherwise feel awkward in.

Smiling even makes your immune system stronger by making your body produce white blood cells to help fight illnesses. One study found that hospitalized children who were visited by story-tellers and puppeteers who made them smile and laugh had higher white blood cell counts than those children who weren’t visited.

Studies have found that people are more willing to engage socially with others who are smiling. A smile and all the positive emotions associated with it are contagious. University of Pittsburgh study concluded that people who smiled were considered “more trustworthy” than people with non-smiling facial expressions.

Laughing too has a ton of scientific benefits. Levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine tend to decrease during bouts of laughter. Laughter is used to reduce stress, relieve pain and boost immunological responses by doctors and therapists.  Laughter has been shown to lower or balance blood pressure and increase vascular blood flow. Laughing 100 times is equivalent to 10 minutes on a rowing machine or 15 minutes on the stationary bicycle. Similar to smiling, laughing also increases endrophines in the body and also makes a person more pleasant to be around.

 Laughter is relaxing to our bodies and muscles. In one study, students who watched a funny video in their classroom responded with lower levels of aggression in tense situations.
Negative emotions are bad for body. Science is beginning to confirm what certain wise men have said at different points in history. King David said, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Prov. 17:22. Your mind and mental state can have a profound affect on your physical body, your spiritual experience, and your over-all quality of life. The mind, the body, and the spirit are all inextricably interconnected. When one is affected, the other two suffer.
Here is another interesting point. When you are stressed do you clench your right hand or left hand? Assuming you  are right handed, you probably clench your right hand. This is normal, new there is stress, the body gets more tense. A long clench on the right hand or many through-out the day, though could suggest too much stress.If you notice that you do this. Try something else: Try your left hand when you are stressed out. Some athletes may improve their performance under pressure simply by squeezing a ball or clenching their left hand before competition to activate certain parts of the brain, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association. Dogs do this too with their tails. When dogs are anxious they wag their tag from right to left, but when they are happy they wag their tail from  left to right! 
I leave you with one activity for you. Try this experiment, place a weight on a string and then hold your hand steady while holding the string and letting the weight drop. See how long you can hold it still and steady. Next, think about moving the string clockwise but do not do it, only think about it. Slowly the weight will move clockwise. Now, think about it moving in a counter-clockwise direction but do not actually initiate your muscles…slowly the weight will change directions!
This is an amazing proof that our mind and emotions do really strongly effect the rest of our body, if the science was not enough for you!

Wednesday Holiday Links

Wednesday Link List

Here are this weeks’ links:

1. Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping by Mayo Clinic

2. Home for the Holidays: Tips for overcoming holiday anxiety and stress by WebMD

3.  Holiday Stress and Suicide Risk: How You Can Help by AACC

4. Tips for parents on managing Stress During the Holidays by APA

5. How to Manage Stress During the Holidays by Alex Dolin

Keep up with all things “Fully Alive Life Coaching,” with my daily paper that features over 200 contributors but most importantly my feeds on Twitter, Youtube and Facebook. Here is the link: http://paper.li/f-1381598529

Coaching through Scripture Introduction

The Bible is a powerful tools of the Christian faith.

Did you know that the idea for the word “coaching” springs from an ancient Biblical Model called “mentoring?” 
Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. 
Psalm 145:4 – One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. 
Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. 
2 Timothy 2:2 – And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
The Bible is an encouraging tool for discipleship and a tool for coaching! The Bible even encourages us to use the book for these tasks! 
1 Corinthians 9:24
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
This can be used to help with goal setting and in trying times to realize that life is a race, think big picture.
1 Timothy 4:8
8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
This one is awesome, it is a great reminder that we are spiritual beings with a physical bodies and emotional minds. This is the topic of  a book I am currently writing a manuscript.
1 Peter 5:5-7
 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Thankful

I am realizing that I have a ton to be thankful for. And I am.

What has been keeping me busy:
1. Internship at Cornerstone Counseling. Had someone told me I’d end up in Ashland, Ohio for my internship as I was applying for internship last year, I would have looked at them strangely. I did not apply for any internships that were more than 30 miles away from where I live, yet, through all the circumstances and connections I have made, the Lord provided me an internship and it is a really great site.
2. Fully Alive Life Coaching. It is still in the infancy stage. I love helping people and I am excited to see results already in my clientele.
3. Adjunct Professor at Ohio Christian University. First, I love instructing and teaching. Second I am thankful to be putting my M.Div to use to actually make some money. And without this job, I would not be able to do my internship and start my coaching business.
4. My education at Liberty University. I have worked hard on earning my degrees and in learning a lot of practical knowledge that I am using today as an intern, minister and life coach.

Free Time and Recreation:
1. Family. Always have been and always will be thankful for them. I am blessed to be in this amazing family.
2. My host family here in Wooster, Ohio. Because of them, I am able to have a place to stay when I am in North Central Ohio so I can complete my internship and do so cheaply! They are an incredible family and not only blessed but honored to be staying with them and to learn from their godly example as parents and youth leaders!
3. Ultimate Frisbee. The past few years a group of friends started playing Ultimate Frisbee at Rising Park. It has been an amazing success. Besides just being a lot of fun, I have also met new friends, gotten closer to old friends and got a lot of exercise out of the deal too!
4. 2013 for me was the year of Catan. I went from playing a few games of the original Catan game to now owning most of the expansions and extensions of Catan. It is a good strategy board game. This year I have spent a lot of time playing and enjoying the game with friends and family.
5. Music. This year purchased a banjo. I honestly have not had much time to practice playing it, but it is fun and I am thankful for it.
6. Target practice. This year, my brother has taken me out to the range for target practice more than ever. It has been fun and a good environment for practicing gun safety and  self-defense.

My Dreams:
1. Of writing a book.
2. Finishing my internship, which is coming up!
3. Earning a Doctorate.
4. Paying off student debt.
5. Seeing where God takes my coaching business.

Stress Budget during the holidays

Less Stress BudgetThe holidays can be festive times. They can be fun and happy for many people. But it can also be sad and stressful for many. An activity that helps my clients is creating a stress budget in times of burnout, hardship and during the holidays. Just like a financial budget tracks spending of money, a stress budget tracks the expenditure of stress!

Let me show you an example and offer an activity for you to try:
Let’s assume that one starts the work week with 100 units of stress resistance or self-care units.

 Activity
 Cost
 Balance
 Awoken up in the middle of the night by son coming home past curfew and making too much noise
 20
 80
 Argument with colleague during board meeting
 15
 65
 Dealing with normal work hassles
20
 45
 Driving home 
10
 35
 Argument with with spouse
5 30

In this scenario you are left with a little bit of currency in reserve. After watching your favorite TV show, getting a good meal and 8 hours of sleep, you are likely to charge all the way back up to 100 or higher for the next day.

Although, not everyday looks like this with a reserve:

 Activity
 Cost
 Balance
 Breakfast argument with spouse ad son
 15
 85
 Accident on the highway on your way to work makes you late
 15
 70
 Dealing with normal work hassles
20
 50
 Argument with secretary 
10
 40
 Major crisis occurs: Your wife was in an automobile accident
45 -5
Did not complete all work and boss is stressing out
15 -20
 Drive home
10
-30

You may have overspent your reserve by 30 units!

Not everyday do you get to re-charge. Maybe that night you had to eat fast food as your wife was in the hospital for four hours. By the time everyone is home it is past your bed time and you did not get to enjoy any “me” time. The night is restless as you keep checking on your wife and worry about her car. So you start with only a balance of 65 the next day.

 Activity
 Cost
 Balance
 Car does not start at first
5
60
 Deal with normal work hassles 
20 40
 Drive home
10 30
 Son wants to talk to you about his bad day
10 20
 Take care of cooking dinner and caring for wife
20 0

Now the day is over and you are exhausted. You still have a totaled car to deal with and dirty dishes and laundry are piling up. All you want to do is go to bed!

Especially during the holidays where there is even more stress! There are presents to shop for and purchase. There are family and relatives to visit and greet. There are community and job get-togethers and parties to attend and contribute to. There are holiday meals to create and contribute to. There are decorations to put up through-out, around and on the house. There is a sense of volunteerism (to help those less fortunate).
All of these activities (and more) are can be fun but they can also take even more of your self-care units or stress resistance units.This can cause a lot of stress and difficulties especially when our self-care units are already really low from a crisis, like an automobile accident or  family emergency.

So what to do about this?
Just as with financial budgeting, some planning can really help. Plan out and decide which festivities you are going to try to be involved with in advanced. Schedule time in for self-care. Even when life is hectic and unpredictable, be cognizant of your own needs. For some people, going to bed earlier will help re-charge their self-care units. For others, this might mean leaving time at the end of the day for a hobby (like exercising, musical instrument, playing cards with friends, watching TV, relaxing with tea and a hot bath, yoga, etc). I offer even more ideas for hobbies and relaxation methods in this post. 
Also another key to this is prioritizing tasks in life. I speak about this in more detail in my video. In order to decide what to do during the holidays, we must decide if the activity is important enough for us. If the activity is not important or relevant to you, in some cases, it may be better to stay home and re-charge instead of feeling like you must go to every event.
So the main message is two-fold. The first is preventative in deciding in advance (planing out) some holiday events. The second is an on-going habit of intentional self-care time. The third is in communication. Let your friends an loved ones know where you are at stress-wise. If you imagine that your self-care units are getting low and you need time alone or to get more rest, let others know. They will be more likely to understand when the situation is explained to them and transition from holiday events will go smoother.

Depression Wednesday Link List

Wednesday Link List

Here are this weeks’ links:

1. CBT During Dialysis May Combat Depression by PsychCentral

2. Depression and recovery summed up nicely in a picture by Danny Baker

3. How to Transform Depression Into Awe by The Change Blog

4. Exercise May Allay Anxiety, Depression by the MedPage

5. Down in the Dumps? How to Become a More Positive Person by Dumb Little Man

Keep up with all things “Fully Alive Life Coaching,” with my daily paper that features over 200 contributors but most importantly my feeds on Twitter, Youtube and Facebook. Here is the link: http://paper.li/f-1381598529