Kindle the Vision of Joy and Expectation

stnick_transparentToday is St. Nicholas Day.  A day when we honor a Saint associated with many legends and, of course, most notorious for his reputation as a bringer of gifts.  The giving of gifts is an important component in our psychological health.  Underneath all the commercialism is the simple human need to show our love, care and concern for one another.  I love St. Nicholas Day and the opportunity during the December frenzy to have this space to really consider why I am celebrating with gifts.  It is delightful to know that children in many parts of the world woke up today with all kinds of goodies stuffed in their shoes – an important part of the honoring of St. Nick around the world.

As I begin to conclude a year focused on visioning I would like to invite you on St. Nicholas Day and though December to kindle the joy filled expectation that we had as children about to be visited by Santa.  Know that when we live connected to our passion and purpose we can become like Santa every day.  The joy of living on purpose brings our natural genius and talents to the surface spilling over to everyone we encounter.


Building Vision With ‘Open Space Technology’

Deb Nystom of Reveln Consulting begins the ‘super powered’ Open Space session by sharing the rule and principles of Open Space

It’s the end of October and time to think about wrapping up the year and building the Vision for 2013!   If you’re looking for a dynamic way to begin building your vision for next year, Open Space would be an excellent way to begin.  Over the last month I have had the opportunity to experience Open Space twice, both as a participant and a facilitator with the Professional Coaches Association of Michigan. Each time I was struck by the power of this approach to bring out fresh ideas and solutions in fun, effective and very quick time frames.


West Michigan Coaches work together to share ideas around social media.

The method is simple and can also feel a bit chaotic as it begins, yet the results are astounding.  You begin with a group of people interested in a particular topic gathered at the same time.  (It can be anyone from a group of friends, co-works to like-minded professionals).  You introduce the topic, the ‘one’ rule and principles and everyone goes to work.  In the case of the West Michigan Coaches last week we gathered around the topic of social media and in a ‘super power’ session (just ten minutes) over ten topics were discussed with whole lists of ideas created for the coaches to utilize as they build their services in the future.

Open Space closes with a round circle debriefing of ideas shared.

For more on Open Space or if you would like me to lead a session for your group send an email to;  To read more about the West Michigan Coaches process you can connect to:

Keeping the Vision in the Storm

As you might notice from the gap in my blog posts, I had a dramatic change in my life this summer that took me off course and away from the many creative visions I had for the third quarter of 2012.  My parents were in a serious auto accident that left them both with closed head injuries that will change their lives forever and, of course, mine as it relates to my relationship with them and their care.  In the thick of the storm many things come to an abrupt halt and often we must consider alternative routes.

If we can remain open, after the initial shock we will often see that the alternative route offers us much and instead of our hopes being crushed by the change our vision can become stronger.  More and more I learn that it is all a matter of how we choose to perceive what is happening. A client of mine (noting all the sailing ornaments in my space) shared about a retreat she had just returned from.  Her most important take away was the quote, ‘Calm seas don’t make better sailors.’

The simple truth of her statement brought to mind all that I was learning on my alternative route and…. all kinds of great sailing metaphor.  Indeed, over the last several months I had been sharpening my skills in the storm.  At moments I have even needed to ‘heave to’ (a way of slowing a sail boat’s forward progress, so that the boat does not actively have to be steered. It is commonly used for a “break” or to wait out a strong wind.) and plan alternative action. The vision of my destination is still before me – my E.T.A. has just been altered.

3rd Quarter Review: Part 4/Final, Formulating New or Continuing Plans.

We have reviewed the last six months with an eye toward learning and examined our level of commitment for the plans we made in January.  Now it is the time for the fun part – at least my favorite part – formulating the ongoing plan.

Hopefully by now you have crossed off any parts of the original plan that no longer serve you and have eliminated any sense of guilt over what did not get accomplished. Using what you have learned from the first six months it is time set a clear vision for what you would love to create between now and December 31st.   My first suggestion is to pick no more than three.  Think of creating a laser focus of intense energy that will produce the result you want in a given area faster, verses spreading the light thinly over a lot of items and taking longer to create the needed energy.

Next, take out a blank sheet of paper for each goal and allow a little time for creative brainstorming about next steps, solutions to problems, possible resources and support networks.  I like to put the goal in the center of the page in order to let the ideas flow all around it.  Use lots of color.  I enjoy linking similar ideas or expansions on an idea with the same color.  Remember brainstorming is not a time to monitor the validity or reality of the idea – it is a time to let thoughts flow to allow for new and even better ideas to come forth.  When you are complete circle the ideas/actions that inspire you and could commit to doing in the next six months.

As a final step create a ‘flexible’ calendar beginning with the end and working back.  Think: ‘In order to accomplish this goal what would I need to have complete and be working on in December – then November – working on back through the months. When you get to August break it down into weeks, until you are asking yourself what you could do this week.   Don’t forget to add in the ideas you circled from your brainstorming session. Keep ‘flexibility’ always in mind as you move forward with these plans!

I look forward to hearing about your successes as you build a very exciting second half of 2012!

3rd quarter review: Part 3, Assessing Our Commitment

Assessing our commitment is an excellent practice whether we are off the mark of our projected goal or right on target.  It is a way of reviewing the energy we are giving or are withholding from our project.  Trying to move forward with a goal while we are subconsciously withholding energy will drains us.  It can affect our overall sense of wellbeing and even make us sick.  Assessing our commitment to goals allows us to make new or better choices sooner, that are in greater alignment with where we are today verses where we were six months ago.

Here is a simple process that I have found helpful. Ask yourself, on a scale of 1-10 how committed am I to achieving my intended goal?

  • If the answer is less than 5, identify the following:
    • How important is this goal to the end results I am seeking?
    • Is this goal in conflict with one of my core values? If the answer is yes, evaluate if this is ‘really true’ or if it is in conflict with a ‘should’ or an out of date belief.
    • Identify any feelings of resistance you may have about this goal and the reason for the resistance. Determine if changing your thoughts will aide you in eliminating the resistance or if the resistance is ‘showing’ you that the goal is out of alignment with what you really want or need.
    • Allow yourself to change or illuminate the goal if it is in conflict with a core value or no longer serves you and your vision for the future.
  • If the answer is above 6: identify the following:
    • Acknowledge your high commitment level and ask yourself how you could make your commitment even stronger.
    • Identify what is keeping you committed and take steps to keep supporting this positive influence.
    • Note any remaining or small/nagging sense of resistance and the reason for this resistance.  Examine new ways of thinking that will incrementally help you to be free to totally enjoy the movement toward your goal.

3rd quarter review: Learning from our progress

To begin developing our vision for the second half of the year, as mentioned in last week’s post, it is helpful to review the first six months. Remember, it is always important to put our inner critic on the shelf.  Greater progress and energy to move forward are created when we view our experience through the lens of lessons.  Next, review your answers from the questions in last week’s post.  This will help as we move forward in our review.

A useful way to learn from our progress is to make a list of our successes.  Allow yourself a good 30 minutes to really think though each month.  Make sure to include even the small things you successfully completed.  Now ask yourself; “What factors (actions, things, thoughts, emotions) helped you to succeed with each item on your list?”  Pull out a fresh notebook and title it ‘Winning Strategies.’  Write in the notebook what it was that caused/helped you to succeed in each area that you were successful.  These ‘Winning Strategies’ can then be used to help you in the areas that you are not producing the results you want.  Statistics show that 80% of the time we have skills that can be transferred from one task to another.

Now, with your list of ‘winning strategies’ in hand, review again your last six months and write down the areas where your progress has not produced the results you wanted.  As you review this list ask yourself the following questions and decide if you want to keep the goal included in your vision for 2012:

  • Am I still committed to this goal?
  • Does this goal conflict with other things in my life that are currently more important?
  • If I choose to keep this goal, what ‘winning strategy’ could I apply that will help me create the results I want.
  • If a winning strategy doesn’t seem to apply, think about ways you might find help moving forward with your goal.  Remember, most things come to pass through the effort of many.  We don’t have to go it alone.

Note:  Winning Strategies are part of the Success Unlimited Network ® coaching tools used with full permission by Soul Reflections LLC.  Next week we will look at reassessing our commitment.

Visioning Success; 3rd Quarter Review

Wow!  Here we are half way though the year!  As many of you know, I have dedicated this year’s blog to Visioning our Success!  July marks another opportunity for new beginnings. As we begin the second half of the year it is important to take some time to assess our progress. Throughout this month I will provide questions to help us with the process.  This month’s blogs will include: Learning from our progress, Assessing our commitment and Formulating new or continuing plans.

So to begin; take time this week to dust off that vision board we created in January and pull out any written plans for action that may have gotten buried!  As you begin to focus on your original vision stay connected to the idea of ‘journey.’  This is not a time to beat yourself up if you are not yet where you wanted to be in July.  Think instead of lessons.

Ask yourself:

  • How have you grown during the first six months of the year?
  • What do you notice is different about where you are now in comparison to where you were in January?
  • How can take what you have learned in the first six month of the year and use that knowledge to create an even more positive outcome during the second half of the year?

Most important, make this time of review an enjoyable process.  Set up your review in an environment you like.  Go for a walk, use quiet music, draw your impressions or use any other activity you enjoy as you begin to review your vision.  Next week we will look at how to use your progress to help you move forward in areas that are not developing as you would like.