The Struggle Is Real

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Some days I wake up energized and ready to take on the world
Other days I feel like hiding under the covers and don’t have the motivation to do anything

Some days I am flying high with excitement because my book is doing great
Other days I don’t feel like talking about it because I just want to forget all the bad stuff

Some days I feel so connected to people and I am in a beautiful state of flow
Other days I feel very disconnected from everyone and can’t understand why

Some days I have so much confidence I surprise my old self
Other days I feel like I doubt any decision I make, no matter how logical it is

Some days I feel like the emotional roller coaster has finally ended
Other days I feel like I am screaming at the top of my lungs but nobody can hear me

Some days I just need to cry
Other days I just need to cry some more

Some days I feel like I am healed from the trauma I have been through
Other days I wonder when this will ever end

Some days I see simple acts of kindness with strangers I meet through my work
Other days I see anger and aggression leaking through social media and other sites

Some days I am compassionate with myself and I realize it’s ok to struggle in life.  Just like the butterfly needs to flap its wings against the cocoon from the inside out so its wings will be strong when it is released into the world.

The only way out is through and every experience leads to the next; nothing is wasted.  I have the ability to make good choices with positive people and that’s what I am trying to do.

Some days I feel like I’ve got this struggle under control
Other days I admit, the struggle is real…

Much Love ❤

Jen
XO

** As confusing as it may sound, every healing journey takes on a life of its own.  Nothing makes sense but you have to live like it does.

If you are healing from something right now, just know you are not alone and you are going to fly one day too.   In the meantime, I am reading a book called “In The Meantime” by Iyanla Vanzant and this is exactly where I’m at in my life.

My meantime…figuring things out so this might take a while.

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Living On The Edge

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As many of you are aware and for those who are new here, my first book is about to be released sometime this month.  Needless to say, I am very excited about it and can’t wait to share it with all of you!  My book is about how I coped during my divorce and most difficult time of my life while trying to keep a positive outlook, how I found healthy ways of surviving and the life lessons I learned along the way.

Life’s challenges can help us see both sides of the coin and recently, through a friend, I discovered there’s a third side as well which is the edge.  In this sense, each side can represent each person’s point of view, their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of what happened.  On the other hand, the edge is considered the sacred space or truth of who you really are at your core.  It’s a detachment from either side, a neutral zone, an understanding, place of forgiveness, a new perspective and even a place of acceptance of what is.

The edge is enlightenment for yourself.  It’s your own truth.

When you stand and live on the edge you are without judgment of another person and you’re not being one-sided.  When choosing the middle path, you choose to be open-minded with an open heart.  You’re able to see both sides clearly and feel free while doing so.

The third side of the coin can equal balance because you are no longer leaning to one side.  Instead, when you stand balanced on the edge, it creates inner peace and happiness for yourself and when you feel ready to let go of the right of being right, that’s when your soul grows and you learn the life lessons you were meant to learn.  Maybe it’s possible that both sides are right?  Consider this, on the edge of reality, are the motivations that run deeper than both points of view.

The edge is the place where I wrote my book from while I reflected on where I went wrong in my life, what I learned along the way and found ways to see the silver linings.  It’s scary living on the edge because it requires both courage and vulnerability to admit you were wrong at times and that nobody is perfect.  At the same time, it’s the place that sets you free and is very healing.

I’m living proof of that.

For the past month, I have been living on the edge in India again, visiting my awesome friends and I attended two exciting weddings there.  I will have a new blog saga coming up titled This Is India 2017 and I look forward to sharing my experiences with all of you.

Be safe, stay blessed and try living on the edge.

Much Love and Gratitude ❤

Jen
xo

Dare To Live Courageously

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I’ve always admired the strength and courage in others and recently with myself.  I think we are all more courageous than we even realize or admit to and it’s time we shared our thoughts and experiences to support, inspire, and empower one another.  My blog is called Courage Coach so it only makes sense to write a blog about it.  I have to say, I really enjoyed receiving each and every answer from all who contributed and I wanted to keep it anonymous, however, one of my friends decided to add his name to his quote so you will see that in there 😉 (I also weaved my answers into the blog).

There’s enough negativity out there in this world and let’s face it, shit happens.  However, if you can pick yourself up off the floor and turn things around for yourself in a courageous way, then you’ve got this.  We’ve all been there which makes us more connected to each other.  Learn to drown out the gremlins in your head and those who judge you because until they have walked a day in your shoes, they have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.  So here we go, let’s see what all of you had to say about what courage means to you.

“For me, courage means……..”

To stand up for what you believe in

Facing your fears, no matter how miserable you feel, no matter how much you want to escape the situation.  But standing up for yourself even when all the cells in your body don’t want to

Accepting the fact as it is…it’s the ability to do something that frightens me the most

Having the guts to follow and do the things, be it anything.  Heart over mind or anything else

A seven letter word I have no inkling about!

Facing your darkest emotional fear

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point

All courage takes is one last positive thought to cancel out the one hundred negative thoughts before it

Taking action despite the fear, not ignoring it

The only survival tool for life.  Without courage, the world will kick your ass

The hidden natural ability provided by God to overcome the odds

Walking up to your ex and introducing yourself to his girlfriend

Ziplining with your kids

Ziplining with your mom

Riding roller coasters that scare the living daylights out of you, just to please your kids, friends or family.  Or even better, your girlfriend or boyfriend…

Forgiving someone, forgiving yourself

Sitting in the Dr’s office waiting for test results

Announcing your illness to everyone, especially your loved ones

Going for surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatments

Admitting you screwed up, taking responsibility for it and truly apologizing to the person

Traveling by yourself and eating in restaurants by yourself

Writing your heart out in blogs or whatever

Writing a book and putting it out there

Telling your friends and family you are gay, hoping they will still accept and love you

Going to a dance without a date

Saying “I love you” or saying “I like you”

Asking someone out, not knowing the outcome

Admitting you had an affair

Leaving a stable job, changing careers and going for something you love to do

Moving to a new country or city away from your family

Changing your behavior so you can improve the relationships around you

Despite having a racing heart and wobbly knees, and fear the size of an elephant, courage is getting up from your seat and doing what your heart desires

Following your dreams and persevering despite what other people might think

Starting your own business and trusting in the process

Putting yourself out there with online dating.  Going out on dates again

Confronting a bully who takes pictures of other women on the bus without them knowing by taking a picture of them while threatening them you will put it up all over the station telling everyone about them if they don’t stop

Doing what you think you can’t do

Reporting a fraud but the person doing a fraud is someone you know

Trying to have a baby with IVF even though your family is against it

Giving up a baby for adoption

Getting a divorce

Telling your kids you and your partner are getting a divorce

Leaving an abusive relationship

Attending an event where your ex and his/her family are all there

Public speaking

Telling your parents you failed an exam in school

Courage means…me.  I am courage embodied.  Every day, big or small…I show courage in how I live.  Living with an anxiety disorder makes me realize “I am courage.”

Courage is confidence

Going back to school many years after you graduated

The cowardly dog!

Courage is something that comes out of love…like a soldier’s courage comes from his love for his nation

Asserting yourself!

Courage is when you have nothing to lose but so much to attain

When I don’t care what others think

When I am only there for myself

When I will move one step forward than I was a second ago

Courage is when we are not even

Telling my wife I got fired from my job

To agree to disagree and remain friends

To say how you feel about someone or something

To give your opinion even though everyone might disagree with you

Dance like nobody’s watchin’, sing a song or play a musical instrument on stage

Taking care of yourself by going on a diet and exercising

Saying “No”, setting a personal boundary

Wearing a bikini whether you’re a top model or not

To propose to the one you love

Courage is to get married

Courage is to be single

Being scared shitless but not letting that stop you

Trying out for a local sports team but not making it.  Being ok with that

Trying something new and adventurous like parachuting or bungee jumping

Cutting your hair short

Courage is to take a leap of faith

Rolling up your sleeves no matter how difficult the passage is and to keep loving life

Facing the things you would rather run away from.  Like saying sorry for something you did or accepting an apology from someone who did something to hurt you.  It’s doing the right thing, even though it can be scary.  It’s backing down from an argument because nobody was going to win that one anyway.  It’s realizing the person you thought was perfect isn’t perfect after all, but trusting and maintaining a relationship with them anyways.  It can be something that seems small…wearing that dress and telling yourself you are beautiful, even though you put on 10 lbs this year.  It can be something huge…putting yourself on the line…physically or emotionally, especially when you don’t see the short-term benefit…but you know that someone, somewhere, sometime, might benefit from what you had the courage to do or say.

Not giving up…Even though you would sometimes because the challenges are difficult and you can’t really do anything about it

Standing out from the crowd, not being a trend follower

Stepping out of that comfort zone!!

Following your dreams and desires

Choosing what must be done over what is easier to be done

An act or state of absolute freedom.  Freedom where one is solely motivated by his/her innermost core, irrespective of the nature of the result, reaction or consequence

Fear is always found in courage.  That’s why it feels so good after you do something courageous because you conquered your fear

Courage is when there’s no other way ahead and all we can do is move ahead, be stronger, be confident, and face the consequences.  It is one of the rare feelings which has no cons.  Being courageous can never make one unhappy.  So if you aim to become happy, be courageous  ~ Darshith Badiyani

This was a super fun blog to put together because it was a large group effort 😀  All my gratitude to everyone for sharing your courageous thoughts with all of us ❤

I hope you feel inspired, dare to live courageously…

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

Genuinely Interested or Just Curious?

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I recently met with one of my friends and we were talking about this exact topic because there are times in every stage of life when somebody is questioning what we do.  Whether it’s how we wear our hair to how we raise our children and even how we express our creativity.

Effective communication whether it’s with loved ones or complete strangers should be out of respect.  Respect for why they do the things they do and don’t do and respect for privacy.  Some questions should never even be asked like “When are you going to start a family?”  This is not only a personal question it strikes a chord with some so deep because maybe they tried to have a baby and it’s not happening yet or maybe they are in the middle of a fertility treatment they don’t want to reveal and shouldn’t have to.

Relationships are another hot topic people like to dive into with a list of questions at their fingertips.   “Have you started dating” or “When are you going to get engaged?”  Perhaps that person isn’t ready to date yet because of a previous fall out in their life or for someone else getting engaged is not that simple due to family issues.  But people pursue and keep asking more.

Raising children is probably the biggest one of all because since there are so many stages they go through, it’s difficult not to compare with other families.  But here’s the thing.  Books are a great guide they are not the Bible.  Every child develops differently at different rates and as long as the Dr is happy with their progress and the family home is a happy one, that’s all that matters.  Some children develop slower than others because of a health issue and when someone questions their progress by comparing it to a child without health issues, is that even fair?

When faced with these types of situations in our life we need to ask ourselves some questions first.  Is this person genuinely interested in my life or are they just curious, or plain old nosy?  What is the motivation behind their questioning?  Are they trying to make small talk?  Will I ever see this person again even though I’m sitting beside them on a plane for the next 5 hours?  You do not need to divulge your personal life to anyone unless you feel comfortable doing so.  There’s no need to answer that question if you feel they are just being curious.  People who are genuinely interested in what you have to say are the ones who won’t judge you.  They’re with you and in it for the long haul.  Sure advice might be given but you can take it or leave it, in the end, it’s your decision anyway so don’t let it bother you.

As far as being creative, we all have it, we’re all artists in some way shape or form.  Some of us just use it more than others and nobody’s perfect.  There’s no need to start a rally to get people on your side.  Enjoy what you do and love every minute of it.

If you feel like shaving your head or chopping your hair short then by all means go right ahead.  It’s time for people to put the judgmental magnifying lens down and start trusting people that they have the ability to make good decisions on their own.  Just because they aren’t doing things the way you are doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

And if you don’t believe me, are you genuinely interested or just curious?

 

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

Stakeholder Exercise

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In life coaching there are several tools and exercises that help people dig deep into finding more inspiration and motivation in their lives if that is what they want.  Coaches are on equal ground with people because they have the deep conversations that help find solutions and opportunities in a supportive and creative way and within a safe space.

My friend Darshith inspired me with his vlogs and today I will do my second one in the #A-Z Challenge for the letter S and it’s called the Stakeholder.  This exercise creates motivation to take action on a desired project while looking to the future and noticing all the people (stakeholders) who are contributing and benefiting.  This can be used personally and/or professionally.

Two things, I need to talk less and don’t judge my artwork 😛

Happy Friday!  Enjoy!

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

Quotes (A to Z Challenge)

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For those who know me well, I am a quote fanatic!  The beauty of quotes is they give a powerful message with minimal words and they make you think or even change your perspective.  This can be very helpful if you are going through a tough time because by reading something related to your situation, it can create possibilities instead of keeping you stuck where you don’t want to be.  It’s all about inspiration and motivation 🙂

I have a quote section on my website if you haven’t visited it yet and today I will share some personal new favorites with you.

 

“The cure for pain is in the pain” ~ Rumi

“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is show up” ~Brené Brown

“Begin to live as though your prayers have already been answered” ~Tony Robbins

“If you don’t have a vision you’re going to be stuck in what you know.  And the only thing you know is what you’ve already seen” ~Iyanla Vanzant

“Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others” ~Marianne Williamson

“The entire physical world is nothing more than our classroom and the challenge is for us to decide whether to make that choice that enhance our spirit or drain our power” ~Caroline Myss

“See the light in others and treat them as if that’s all you see” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer

“Hide your craziness behind a beautiful smile” ~Paulo Coelho

“Emotional freedom comes from loving the parts of you that feel unlovable” ~Cheryl Richardson

“The way that other people judge me is none of my business” ~Martha Beck

“Life really does begin at forty.  Up until then, you are just doing research” ~Carl Jung

“You cannot find your soul with your mind, you must use your heart” ~Gary Zukav

“Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss SLOWLY, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret ANYTHING that makes you smile” ~ Mark Twain

 

I hope these quotes fill your heart and soul with love the same way they do for me ❤

Have a wonderful day 🙂

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

 

 

 

 

Life Coaching (A to Z Challenge)

One of the things I do aside from being a nurse is life coaching.  The transition from nursing to life coaching is a natural one because they are both helping professions and as a nurse I’ve had to wear a coaching hat at times (figuratively speaking) 😉

For today’s post I thought I would be brave and try out a vlog about what life coaching is all about instead of writing about it.  Please bear with me, I hope you enjoy it and I welcome your thoughts or feedback on it 😀

Enjoy ❤

 

#WhatTheHeckIsLifeCoaching??

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This is a common question I hear from people who have never experienced a life coaching session and with good reason.  Everyone knows what psychology is but not everyone knows what life coaching is all about.  I thought I would write a blog to help hack into this world for you.  🙂

Life coaching is about helping you achieve a desired goal and finding the inspiration and motivation to get you from the present moment to the future.  Think of an athlete you follow, he or she has a coach right?  Imagine if they didn’t.  Where would they be?  Coaches motivate, help keep you on track, strive for better and keep you accountable using different techniques and tools.  Life coaching is no different except there are no push ups involved, unless this is your desired goal.  😉

I would like to give an example of a coaching call using some key questions I ask that can get the wheels in your mind turning and possibly burning.  😉   So let’s get cracking!

“What is the one goal you would love to achieve in your life right now?  In other words, what do you want more of in your life?  Fill in the blank; “I want _______________”

“What if time and money weren’t an issue for you, what would you like to have or do?”

The first few questions represent stating what you want in your life.  The power to dream big.  Many people have never been asked this question before and have a hard time pinning something down because they think they don’t have the right to ask for what they want.  If you are like this, rest assured you are not alone.  You do have the right to be happy and be free to go after what you want.  Give this question some real thought and state your awesome goal.

“Why is that goal important to you?”

“What is the deeper meaning of having this for you?”

“What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?”

Ahhh.. the “Why” and legacy question, my favorites of all.  This is where your values come into play and the reasons you give as to why you want to achieve something are coming from your heart.  It’s where we keep our values close to who we are because our values define us.  It’s important to know your values in life because they guide your behavior.  Plus if you realize this goal is not very important to you, chances are you will never achieve it.  Pssst…choose something important!

“On a scale of 1 -10 with 1 being not at all and 10 being you’ve got it, where would you say you are on the scale in reaching this goal right now?”

“What does that number represent or look like?  You fill in the blank; “the number ____ represents __________”

“Where would you ultimately like to be on that scale?”

Scaling your goal is very useful because it allows you to see where you are now and where you want to be in the future.  It’s measureable.  You can track your progress by doing this several times and it also produces motivation and inspiration within to keep you moving forward.

“What are some capabilities and abilities that you already have and can use to reach your goal?”

“What are some of your transferrable skills?”

“How would you and your friends and family describe you?”

“What are some capabilities and abilities that you still need to be able to reach your goal?”

These questions pin point the skills and abilities you already have to get you there and what you still need which is important to know because you need to look at it from all angles.   The majority of people when they list their have’s and needs, the have’s list usually wins.  Therefore, you have more going for you than you even realized.

“Imagine it’s six months from now and you have successfully reached your goal.  What does that look and feel like?”

“If you could take one small action step that could bring you closer to your goal, what would that be?”

Ok here’s the fun part.  Now that you know what you have to do and need to do, the question is HOW do you do it?  This is where the rubber hits the road for most people.  They put the brakes on and don’t move because of fear.  Go back to the why is that important to you question again and get inspired.

You gotta walk the talk.

Make sure when you choose a small action step it is specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and timely.  In other words, make it easy.  Action steps start out small and you don’t have to see the whole staircase, you just need to take the first step.  Every step counts in reaching your goal and remember, that one small step can shift everything!

“What else can you do?”

“What else?”

Dig deep and keep asking this question over and over….you get the point.

“How will you hold yourself accountable for doing the action steps you stated?”

Ask a friend or co-worker to check up on you to make sure you did what you said you would do.

“What could possibly stand in your way in being able to reach this goal?”

Usually it’s us.  If you have the determination to get it done, nothing can stand in your way.

“When will you take this action step?”

Make sure you set a specific date and mark it down somewhere.  Otherwise if you say you will do it later or sometime this month, guess what will happen?  Nada, zip, nothing.

“Where will you be working to reach your goal?”

Sometimes people will be at their current workplace, maybe at home or anywhere really.  It depends on the goal.  State it and write it down.  You’re doing great!

After answering these questions you can go back to your scale and see where you are on the line now.  Even if you have only moved 0.5 up on the scale, it counts as evidence and a step forward.  Celebrate!  You are moving in the right direction and are closer to your goal already!

Feeling motivated yet?

Now your life coach holds you accountable for your action steps and will be checking on you to see if you have completed what you said you would do.  Each weekly session is a review of the last and involves making more plans for the future.  This is how you move forward by tracking progress with your pen and paper or computer.  Usually a number of sessions are necessary to get the results you want.

After you happily reach your goal and are living the dream, your notes are available to you from all the work we did together and you can look back at how far you’ve come since that day you had this idea in mind.  Years later, you can review it again and again and be proud of yourself for all your answers, hard work, determination, perseverance and motivation.  You did it!

You are amazing!

#AndThat’sLifeCoachingWithJennifer

Lots of love  ❤

Jen
xo

CALLING ALL NURSES: HOW MUCH OXYGEN IS LEFT IN YOUR TANK?

Have you ever been on an airplane and really paid attention to the flight attendant that is acting out the proper way to put on your oxygen mask in case of an emergency?  I am guessing the answer to that is “no.”  I have a challenge for you the next time you find yourself on a flight to paradise.  One of the reasons the flight attendant is demonstrating this necessary policy is because in order to help other people, you have to start with yourself first.  The same is true when you apply that to your career as a nurse.  We are not only taught but expected to take care of the patients, their families, and our colleagues, only to find out later that we forgot to take care of ourselves along the way too.  This is a normal consequence of doing a good job for others but not for us.  Is it possible to think that we count too?  Or is that just being selfish?  If we don’t put our oxygen mask on first, where does that leave us?  On the plane with the others heading for a crash landing in a town called BURNOUT.

The best way to avoid stress and burnout as a nurse is to start by putting your oxygen mask on first so that you have enough to give to others.  Also, you can only give what’s in your tank so it’s important to monitor this amount that you have at all times.  You do realize I am using a metaphor here and that the oxygen mask is an analogy for taking care of yourself, right?

Stress and burnout are rapidly increasing all over the world in every helping profession out there.  In schools, burnout is not even talked about which is sad.  Nurses are often overlooked for all the hard work they do and at the end of the day, we are expected to take care of our families at home and friends in need.  All of this is possible, as long as we take care of ourselves and don’t run our bodies on empty.  When our oxygen tank is no longer in the green and is heading straight for the red, it’s time to jump into self-compassion mode!  What is self-compassion anyway?

Self-compassion involves 3 key components that can ease our stress by far. (Neff, 2003)  Start by treating yourself kindly like the way you would treat a good friend who is suffering rather than using harsh judgment on yourself.  Two, try to see your own experience as part of a larger human experience instead of isolated and abnormal.  We are not perfect and neither is life.  Third, become aware of what you are feeling emotionally and let them be as they are instead of suppressing them for a later date.  On a physiological side which is a great side for nurses to understand, when we are being self-compassionate to ourselves it releases the “feel good” hormones of oxytocin and opiates.  Similarly, if we are self-critical when we have a bad day, it threatens our defense system and cortisol and adrenaline are released into the bloodstream making us feel even worse.  We become irritable, tired and stressed.  Do you see the road sign that is up ahead?  Burnout.  Unless you make a change soon, that is where you will end up.  So how do you change?

Practice the 3 key components of self-compassion and give yourself a time out or a break.  When you are able to do this, several things will begin to occur such as a greater desire to learn and grow, higher motivation, less frustrations, increases in life satisfaction, connectedness, gratitude, more effective coping skills, more caring and supportive relationship behaviour, more conscientiousness and improved health and wellness.

I am highly supportive of nurses all over the world who work so hard not only at work but also at home.  Give yourself a big hug for being such a compassionate person to others and then give yourself another hug for being a compassionate person to yourself.  You count too and not just during nurses week!  Remember, whatever you do, don’t forget to check your oxygen tank and put your mask on first!     -JJ