Blog #571 Getting Life Coaching clients

Getting More Life Coaching clients (Last Life Coaching blog post)

This really applies for finding clients for almost anything – from insurance sales, to life coaching.

Let’s see what Tim Brownson in Coach the Life Coach website has to say:

Tim has this to say about getting started:

“It’s weird how often new Life Coaches set up a business without having a clue how to set up a business.

Life Coach training is worthless if you don’t have any clients.

Having a super sexy website is pointless if you cannot drive traffic to to.

Writing an ebook is a waste of time if you don’t have people to sell it to.”

So, Tim has seven points to get clients:

-1 Public speaking to potential clients.  In almost any community there are all kinds of groups that need a speak for their weekly or monthly meetings.  Life Coaching is still fairly new, so speaking to Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, and other service groups. College alumni groups, college entrepreneurship classes, even PTA and church groups.  Get in front of the public – and talk about your passion as a life coach.

-2 Toastmasters.  Toastmasters is a community group that helps people become public speakers.  The author (Tim) says he didn’t directly clients from Toastmasters, but he learned to be a better speaker.  (And, although he didn’t directly get clients, the people attending did recommend him to their friends and associated)

-3 Off-line networking.  Network, network, network.  Shaking hands, giving out business cards help out.  Some communities have small business fairs where for a small fee a business can set up a booth and network with others.  

-4 Get interviewed or interview.  Many life coaches have blogs (hey – I’ve been ‘borrowing’ from these websites and blogs for the past five days!!!).  My blogs are text – I did spoken versions a while back – maybe I need to go back to those. Even one or two listeners might want to have a life coach.

-5 Be a guest blogger on somebody else’s blog.  Hey – you get exposed to their audiences – free!!!

-6 Make the most of social media!!!  (Okay, I have to mention Tom Capone, CEO of NYDLA – New York Distance Learning Association – a true expert in social media.  If you don’t follow Tom’s blogs or follow him on Facebook, you should!!!)

-7 Let Google help you – use Search Engine Optimization help you to reach an audience.  A person in Georgetown Texas who has heard about Life Coaches can use Google to find a local life coach!!

Now, if you are doing almost anything these hints will help you.  Network, network, network, get in front of the public – personally and professionally!!!

Okay – are you interested in life coaching?  Let me know what you do!!

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog #570 Life Coaching Skills

Becoming a Life Coach – part II

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/10/05/the-success-and-failure-of-the-coaching-industry/#5e233e2d6765

In business analysis, this article gives some skills that you need.  I’ve adapted them to Life Coaching with eight skills.

A life coach needs to have some expertise in all of these:

-1 Understand objectives.  If you don’t understand where you are going, you won’t get there!  You are generally dealing with a client – a person who wants to make changes in their life.  You (as a life coach) have to listen and help the person out. This may be tougher than it sounds – you ask your client “What do you want to do with your life?”  And the client answers “I’m not sure – make money, have a good life, be a good parent”. All kind of vague. Drill down, prioritize their answers – like “If you had to choose between working one-on-one with many clients – or work for a company working with their employees for improvements, what would you choose?”

-2 Coupled with understanding objectives is modeling/diagramming.  The old expression “A picture is worth a thousand words” is still true.  Draw what you think the client wants and let them refine it. Stick figures are okay, but get the client involved – it is THEIR life – help them define and refine where they want to go

-3 Good Communications Skills.  You have to use active listening.  You may have to read ‘between the lines’ (or hear between the words).  What is being said and what is really being communicated? If you are working with a group or a small company, you may have to talk to people at all levels – executive, management, functional.  Executive and management may want to increase production, while functional may want to make the work easier with better technology. Can you recommend both? A new technology might both increase production and make the work easier.  

-4 With good communications you will also need to organize and run sessions.  Maybe as you present your ideas (with diagrams and drawings), you will need to ‘run’ the session.  Present your research, your findings in a good, understandable way.

-5 Time Management – start and end sessions on time.  Make sure that you don’t spend too long on the details and move along.

-6 Research skills – as you work with your clients or groups, you are taking their input and making diagrams/models; preparing suggestions and processes.

-7 Business skills.  Whatever the client wants to do with their life will have some dependence on money and finance.  Help them plan out their directions and have the funds to get there. And, of course, unless you are doing this out of the kindness of your heart, you will have some businesses expenses as well – including paying taxes.

-8 And finally, some expertise in where the client wants to go.  If your client wants to sell their house and move to New Mexico and raise goats, it would be good to have an idea how that is done!!

There we are – getting to be a life coach in five blog posts – what a deal!!!

What do you think?

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog #569 Starting as a life coach

So, I want to be a Life Coach – what next?

https://work.chron.com/degree-need-become-life-coach-8686.html

Okay, you have been reading the three blog posts on being a Life Coach.  You like helping people with their issues; you think you are a good listener and a good communicator; and you think that being a life coach would take less time than going for the full therapist/counselor route.

The linked article has directions (suggestion) to become a life coach:

“Professionals who work as life coaches encourage individuals to grow in their careers and personal lives. The purpose of life coaching is to help people improve the quality of their lives. If you are a good communicator who is thinking about becoming a professional life coach, the skills you’ve developed and the life experiences you’ve gone through can help you make the move to coaching. There is no set academic program for life coaches, but training in communication, counseling and teaching is helpful.”

Continuing:

“Generally, there are no specific requirements needed to become a life coach. Many people who enter the field have a background in mental health or counseling. Others enter the field simply because they always loved helping people, offering advice and providing guidance. Often, people who become life coaches say they did so because friends or family were always coming to them to ask for help in solving their problems.”

There are no formal education requirements needed to become a life coach, either. In fact, essentially any person who wants to be a life coach can become a life coach, regardless of age or educational background. It is an industry that has little regulation, despite its pace of growth.”

Just because someone says they are a life coach, however, doesn’t mean they have the skills to practice. That’s why many life coaches choose to become certified. Do you need to be certified to be a life coach? No, but it definitely helps.”

My take on this:  Yes, there are no specific requirements to be a life coach.  Good – and bad. To be a mental health therapist, you need at least a master’s degree (in an appropriate field) and experience(s).  But almost anybody can put up a webpage saying “Life Coach”. You need to be differentiated – which can happen with certification.

Depending on the life coaching you want to do – from things like “Restaurant Impossible” to “Sales Motivation” you need experience in a field – or multiple fields – you probably need to be well read, up-on-many-topics, enthusiastic, encouraging and motivational.  (We will look more at Life Coach job skills tomorrow). Or, you can be a generalist – listening, asking questions, helping the person find their niche in the world.

The links suggests getting certification – which is a good idea.  To be an effective life coach (or even basketball coach), one needs to have training and appropriate knowledge.  If you want to be a certified life coach, there are several organizations and training groups that can help you with appropriate education and certification.

This can be expensive – courses are not free, certification tests and approval is not free.  The question now becomes – are you all in on this or not. While being a life coach can be lucrative, it can be a challenge to get to the top tier.  
Yes, you can still be a life coach without classes and certifications.  You may have to start as a volunteer and gain experience. Then carefully handling clients who will enthusiastically endorse you will give you credence in the field.

I do like helping people.  At age 71, I am not going to go for the full certification route.  I might even be happy helping people I know explore their options – for free!!!

What do you think?  

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog #568 Life Coaching or Therapist

Life Coach versus a Therapist –

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-is-he-thinking/200904/the-difference-between-coaching-and-therapy-is-greatly-overstated
https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/whats-difference-between-therapist-life-coach-0823165

So, here we are – what is the difference between a life coach and a therapist?

These two articles seem to agree – there isn’t much difference between a life coach and a therapist.  

The psychology today article states: (written by a therapist)

“Now, it escapes me how such practices as these can possibly be differentiated from good coaching. Just because a client may have the belief that there’s a difference between coaching and therapy doesn’t mean that there is one.”  (this comes after a lengthy delineation of what a therapist does). Seemingly this author suggests that a person who needs somebody to talk to might pick a life coach over a therapist because of the stigma of ‘going to therapy’.

Think of this scenario.  

John is depressed.  He lost his job due to some shortcomings he has.  He at times was caustic with customers and other employees, even to yelling at the manager “You do it yourself” on one occasion.  Since that time he has been going to anger management sessions with a psychotherapist. John meets an old friend at Kohl’s Department Store while their wives are shopping.  The old friend (Bob) asks “I heard you got fired and you are in therapy”. John has grown up that “therapy” means he is mentally sick, that he goes into a therapist and lays on a couch and tells the therapist why he hated his mother.  John doesn’t want to be identified as ‘crazy’, so John answers Bob with “I’ve been seeing a life coach to get my life back together. We’re exploring many options for work and finding out a lot to move ahead”. A life coach is cooler than a therapist if the author of this psychology today article (Michael) is correct.

The second article referenced above comes from “Good Therapy”.  Here the author (Diann) wants to make the difference clearer. This author states:

“Therapists are licensed and regulated by the state in which they practice and must have the required levels of education, training, and continuing education to use the title of psychotherapist.”

“While many coaches seek specialized coach training and certification, there is no state board that requires this. In fact, anyone who wants to use the title of coach can do so because coaching is an unregulated industry at this time.”

Her (correct I think) assessment is that therapists are licensed and regulated, while life coaches do not have the same rigorous licensing and regulation.

Way-back-then – I was a high school assistant basketball coach and a head baseball coach – AND – I had no licensing or regulation to do either.  I became a coach mostly because the previous teacher in this position also was the assistant basketball coach. I do think that most states do regular high school coaches to be properly qualified with at least two courses under their belt:  Protection and care of athletic injuries; and Theory and practice of coaching basketball. (or other appropriate sport).

When I became the assistant basketball coach, I got a book on ‘how to coach basketball’.  I was required to attend an ‘officiating workshop’ (but my school district picked up that tab for all coaches to attend that).  It might be similar to when I was a high school teacher and when I was a college professor. The high school teacher had to have the appropriate degree and licensing by the state to be a teacher.  The professor also needed the appropriate degree (generally a doctorate), but many professors have never taken a class on how to be a good and effective teacher. [Aside, many are good teachers from ‘on-the-job’ training; but some are not.]

There is a strong movement now to certify life coaches and to require appropriate education and experience.  But, the industry (if you can say ‘life coaching’ is an industry is very fragmented. Many proprietary programs have sprung up.  Maybe I will start the “Bruce White School for Life Coaching” soon. Let’s see … for $5,000 a course with five required courses, I will determine if a person is qualified to be a life coach, and if so, I will send out a framed certificate that “John Doe is a certified graduate of the Bruce White School for Life Coaching” with all the rights and privileges of such a program.  (Which will be worth maybe $30 – most of which is the cost of the nice frame!!!)

I did a quick Google search on Life Coaching Programs and got a whole list of various programs and ‘certifications’ for life coaching.  

Some people maybe be excellent life coaches because of their experiences, their personalities, their caring attitudes and their communication.  Other can take several training programs and may not be good life coaches.

“Do your homework” before seeking a program to become a life coach!!

What do you think?

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog 567 Life Coach – part II

Becoming a Life Coach – part II

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/10/05/the-success-and-failure-of-the-coaching-industry/#5e233e2d6765

Becoming a life coach is kind of a ‘big deal’ now.  

The linked article from Forbes Magazine says:

“Coaching is estimated to be a $2 billion global industry that is rapidly growing”

And

“According to the International Coach Federation (ICF), the largest professional coaching organization in the U.S., the number of worldwide coaches has grown from 47,500 in 2012 to 53,300 in 2016 with the addition of approximately 1,500 coaches per year for the last four years.”

From Anthony Robbins and Cloe Madanes – and RMT (Robbins-Madanes-Training) group, they say “Since 2009, we have trained over 10,000 students. As the foremost life coach training program in the world and the official life coach training of Tony Robbins, we take the responsibility of being your educator very seriously.”

That implies there are many getting trained and potentially entering the Life Coaching arena.

Tony Robbins also adds: “What does a life coach do? The difference between a life coach and therapist is that a life coach sets clients up with a process that may be long or short-term, instead of regular sessions. In life coaching, a client works with a coach, who is not a healthcare professional, in order to clarify goals and identify obstacles and problematic behaviors in order to create action plans to achieve desired results. The process of life coaching takes the client’s current starting point as an acceptable neutral ground and is more action-based from that point onward. A life coach enables the person receiving treatment to take control of their life and take action to steer it toward their goals.” (see https://www.tonyrobbins.com/coaching/life-coach-vs-therapist/ )

Scenario 1:  I’m a 57 year old woman.  My children are grown and gone  I have a degree in history but I never really used it.  I have done a lot of things – including being a school bus driver, a special education aide,  a person-to-person product rep (think Avon or similar), I’ve taught kids in my Christian Church.  I think I am compassionate, a great listener, passionate about helping people and would love to be a life coach.  What do I do now?

My suggestions:  First, look at yesterday’s blog on WHY be a life coach.  Why is this attractive to you? What experiences do you have that you can bring to the table?   Meet with your own life coach and give your answers to these questions. (Actually, as you talk this out with a life coach, you might come up with your own conclusions for your direction).

Scenario 2:

I am a 42 year old man.  I’ve had the same basic job since I graduated from college twenty years ago working as a local television news reporter.  While I love my job, having a family frequently means that we “run out of money before we run out of month”. I have interviewed thousands of people – from the governor, senators, local government officials, farmers, various other laborers – really almost all types of citizens.  I think I have great interview skills, I can elicit deep responses from the people I talk to. I also think I have good analytical skills and can help others organize their lives. I’m interested in working part time (maybe one evening and maybe Saturday morning a week) to supplement our income.  What do I do now?

My suggestion:   Again, look at yesterday’s blog.  I think you have a good WHY – income, and helping people get organized.  With your experience in the community, your can suggest places where your clients can get experience and/or job opportunities.  You could take some online classes in psychology or counseling for the next six months, then approach some people you think might want your help, work with them for free for a few months to get their recommendations and encourage them to share your name with their friends to get started with monetizing your second career.  Do you have a ‘nextdoor neighbor’ group in your community? You could use that to advertise as a life coach.

So, what might you do as a life coach?

Tomorrow – the difference between a life coach and a therapist

Thursday – looking at some skills for both a life coach and a therapist

What do you think?

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog #566 Life Coach #1

Becoming a Life Coach – part I

https://www.learnhowtobecome.org/life-coach/

The definition of a life coach is: a person who counsels and encourages clients on matters having to do with careers or personal challenges.  For the next three days, I’m going to be writing on being a life coach.

In effect I have been a ‘life coach’ for many years.  I have helped many (a great many) students in discussing their life plans, helping them select college majors, helping them select classes, helping them get internships; helping them get initial jobs; helping them by writing recommendations; and helping them after graduation with job and life advice.

On Facebook, I see so many images of friends and former students that I have encouraged over the years.  I am an “Encourage”. I identify with two Biblical characters – Barnabas and Peter. Barnabas is first mentioned in Act 4:36 “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”).  Barnabas encouraged Paul and others to grow in faith. I’ve encouraged many students to grow in their knowledge, their skills and their lives. And, my identification with Peter is not that he was a leader of the early church, but he was ‘impetuous’ – getting out of the boat to walk on water, saying he wouldn’t deny Jesus – and yet before the rooster crowed he denied Jesus three times.  Yes, I identify with a guy who was good at ‘shooting off his mouth’. (Hmmm – is that a good choice for a life coach?)

I was approached by a friends who said she would like to be a life coach.  Today’s blog is my first thoughts for her.

Question 1:  WHY. Why do you want to be life coach?  Are you ‘called’ to this position? What makes you think you would be any good at being a life coach?  What skills do you bring to the position? Why do you want to counsel and encourage others how to deal with life issues?

Question 2:  WHY. Why is this position attractive to you?  Do you think you will get rich as a life coach?  Who do you think will want your services (and who do you think will PAY you for your services).  From Simon Sinek’s “Getting to Why” – down inside you you have a ‘mission statement’, a statement of value and direction.  WHY do you think you can be an effective life coach?

Question 3:  WHY. Do think think this is an easy-pay job?  Sit with a person for an hour, asking questions and listening and say “You will be a great <life-concept>”.  Is this better than an 8 to 5 job? (And get $500 per one hour session?)

Question 4:  (although asked in question 1):  What do you bring to the position?  Do you have experience and experiences that make you genuinely qualified to give fact and opinion based opinions and advice?  

Question 5:  Do you have a specific area that you want to work in?  Are you experienced in business? If so, what area of business?  I’m thinking of the television show “Restaurant Impossible”, where an expert in restaurants works with failing restaurant owners to turn their business around.  Are you a restaurant expert who can do that? Are you experienced in sales? Are you experienced in select areas where you can help individuals grow and improve?

Question 6:  How can you get the experience and knowledge to be a great life coach? Can you help insurance agents increase their sales?  Or furniture companies and furniture sales people increase their sales. What life experiences do you have that give you the confidence and ability to help another person to determine their life skills?  

Yes, you can be a life coach, but you need to be ready for the position!!!

More tomorrow!!

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog #565 Fighting (in marriage or at work)

Judging/fighting for a marriage or at work!

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/2806-fighting-for-my-marriage/day/5

Taking some concepts for marriage and applying them.

This article is part of a “Fighting for my marriage” – and gives seven boundaries for a good marriage – and by implication – for a good relationship.

Let’s see.

-1 Speaking negative about our spouse to others (including family members).  Let’s extend that. What about speaking negative about our boss, our co-workers.  As mentioned in yesterday’s blog, our words have meaning – and can help or hurt. Saying “My boss is an idiot”; “My boss is a jerk”; “My co-worker is an egotistical, overbearing, brute of a man”.  “My co-worker is a terrible gossip, who lies constantly, nags and is hateful”. (Or .. with spouses, “My <spouse” is a terrible gossip, who lies constantly, nags and is hateful).

First – I remember the old “rule” – if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

Second – you have to work with this person (or persons).  If you are complaining about them, how much different are you from them?  I want to suggest that love goes a long way.

-2 Allowing others to speak negatively about our spouse.  Again, extending that – letting others speak negative about our boss, co-workers.  If this happens enough, your home (or workplace) can become a ‘toxic waste dump”. Don’t say anything, or be positive “Hey, he/she is trying as best as he/she can – give him/her a break!!”  

-3 Keeping secrets from one-another.  That might be a spouse only boundary. But, in the workplace, I know some people who hold ‘secrets’ on a project until they can ‘pop out the information’ and look like a superhero!!!  If you have a good idea – share it – don’t wait until you get all the glory. The concept of team is that everybody wins. Keeping secrets (or holding back information that might help the team) is not being a good team player.

-4 Flirting with anyone other than your spouse.

In the marriage arena, that is also toxic.  In the workplace, flirting is going to be a negative as innuendos and comments start to crop up and hurt the workplace.  The gossip will start to talk “Did you know that Tom and Jean are an ‘item’?” And, if they are, is it any business of yours (or mine) to know that.  I’ve seen many students start relationships in my class (including leading to marriage). Unless I know them well enough, I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut.  MYOB – Mind your own business!!!

-5 Paying attention to your technology that to your spouse.  In the business place, this does hit home!!! I’ve been in team meetings (and other occasions) where a person is checking their phone, maybe even playing a game (I don’t care how addictive ‘Words with Friends’ is, don’t play it in a meeting!!!).  Unless there is something vital that you can’t miss out on, put your technology away (when you are with your spouse, or in a business meeting). By something vital, I mean that your mother is in surgery and your sister said she would text when your mother got out of surgery – and you really need to know whether it went well, or you need to get an airplane ticket to Michigan for a funeral.

-6 Speaking unkindly or shouting.  For a married couple, you might need to count to ten, or take a walk around the block.  I don’t remember any (ANY) situations where yelling made it better!! In a work setting, you have to work together.  Don’t let negative emotions get in the way of teamwork and projects.

-7 Physically hurting another.  In marriage this happens – it should not happen at work (but has).  In marriages, this is the tough time when one person calls the police about domestic violence. I think it has almost come to that in our hotbed of political thought – where a partisan from one side will strike a partisan from the opposite side.  Will physical fighting solve the problem? (Or, will war between country A and country B solve the problem.)

I have written about disagreeing without being disagreeable.  It can be tough – in a marriage or in a work arrangement. Listen, listen, listen.  Talk it out – and be patient. If you can’t say anything nice – don’t say anything at all!!

What do you think?

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog #564 Three little words

Informal Education with Bruce White

January 12, 2019 at 4:00 AM · 

Three little words: Taking a quasi-political turn today.
http://www.dailyjournal.net/…/the_power_of_three_little_wo…/ 
Actually, these words are for all of us.
The words are:
-1 Listen
-2 Explain
-3 Govern

The writer is from an Indianapolis paper and this article came as an editorial on January 10, 2019 (two days ago).

First – Listen

Yes, we have to listen. To our own ideas, to our friends’ ideas, to our enemies ideas. And, even more than audible voice, but to the passion and the body language. We might agree, in fact, we might disagree (or as some said “We can agree to disagree”).

In business there is a concept of violent disagreement, but even stranger is the violent agreement. Do you remember the early Lite beer commercials – one side is strongly saying “It tastes great”, and the other side just as fervently is saying “Less filling”. Of course, the message to the audience of the commercial was that it both tastes great AND is less filling.

In the home, the parents are saying things like “we love you, we are concerned for you, we think you are not old enough to date at age sixteen”; and the teenager is saying “but I am able to handle it”. It might be that both are right, and the parents DO want to protect their daughter (from unscrupulous men), but the daughter is in effect saying, “I know that, but at some point, you are going to have to trust me” (and I think that Titus, the president of the High School Chess Club, who I have known from church, and you know his parents as good, sweet people, will be a good starting point for a sixteen-year-old).

When we put up our “wall’ before we listen (intentional use of the word “wall”), the barrier to open communication happens. 
Yes, Listen

Next, explain
The person (group) is trying to explain WHY they believe as they do. If they (and you) can explain the basis for their belief, let them do it.

Let’s say you are having a forum for “International Faith Week” (or something similar and you invite a Catholic priest, an Evangelical pastor, a Jewish rabbi, and a Muslim Onam – even if you have your own belief system, you need to let that person ‘explain’ their faith and beliefs.
In the political spectrum, I may have gone into a discussion (argument?) with biases and come out of that discussion with an understanding – and occasionally changed opinions and values. 
(and … watch the labels – ‘jerk’, ‘stupid’, ‘pink liberal’, ‘reactionary conservative’ doesn’t always work. A person could be a liberal on some issues and a conservative on others – and all based on their analysis and what has gone into their thinking.)

Explain also implies wise and careful use of rhetoric.

Explain should mean a careful presentation of the facts and the interpretations of those facts in an appropriate manner, not yelling at the other side.

Govern:
That is appropriate for the editorial in the Indianapolis Daily Journal, but how about us? Do we ‘govern’? Some of the synonyms for governing include ‘manage’, ‘regulate’, ‘guide’ – which could be terms outside of government. I/we have to manage our family budget, guide our children, regulate our use of resources.

I have been known to find Bible quotes, and today I find in Isaiah 1:18 “Come let us reason together”. Yes, we can ‘agree to disagree’ without being ‘disagreeable’.

There is a concept that we have TWO ears and only ONE mouth, and therefore we should listen twice as much as talk.

What do you think? Can we (or the government) reason together? Can we (or the government), listen, explain and govern like rational human beings?

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog #563 Write your obituary

Seven habits of Extremely Happy People

https://www.inc.com/andrew-thomas/7-habits-of-extremely-happy-people.html

We’ve had the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People for several years (and I’ve even used it in classes).  I found this website and wanted to talk about it.

So, let’s see how might might fit you!!

-1 Recharge your batteries!!  Hmmm … in the last week, I’ve written about unplugging, about days of rest (or Sabbaths), about Sabbatical times off.  I recharge my iPhone overnight -getting to bed at a good things to recharge. Taking vacations, even taking in movies.

So, what do you do to recharge?  Play golf? Play bridge? Binge watch TV?  Take a hot bath? Taking a nice walk or hike?  Riding your bike? Get away from work – and recharge.

-2 Visualize a happy life!! Visualization is a great concept for a lot of things.  What would be the perfect vacation? Lying on the beach in Hawaii? Sitting on a bench after a hike to the top of a lookout on the Appalachian Trail?  Having your family together on Thanksgiving?

Picture a happy future – maybe like the classic western final scene, riding off into sunset.  I have a favorite memory – holding my twin granddaughters the first time. Visualize happiness!  You are what goes into your mind. If you think happy thoughts, you are on the road to happiness.

-3 Practice gratitude.  The article suggests keeping a journal where you write three things you are happy for each day.  This helps you to focus on happy things that you are grateful for!!! “In everything give thanks”.  

You can work on smiling at everybody you meet.  I like making eye-contact in the grocery store (or other public places) and giving a big smile and a nod.  I even like saying “Hi” when I’m walking and hiking. I say “thanks” to the clerks and may even make small talk “It looks like a busy day today” to the grocery clerk.  To the clerk at the counter at the senior center, say “hello” and add “I’m glad you are here”. (And mean it).

-4 Unplug!!  Get away from work.  To be happy, you need to get away from work, to make time for things you like; things that make you happy.  Don’t walk around staring at a tiny screen – look up, smile. You know if you spend more than 25 hours a day on your computer or smartphone, you will go blind!!!

-5 Laugh.  Find opportunities to get in some belly laughs every day.  The old concept is “laughter is the best medicine” is still true.  Did you hear about the tomato that was severely injured in a car accident?  He will partially recover, but, he will be a vegetable for the rest of his life.   Did you hear about the roof? Probably not, it’s above your head. Do you know that prisoners have to use ‘cell’ phones.   Do you know why basketball is such a messy sport? You dribble on the floor!!

-6 Go outside.  On the nice days, take a walk.  Go to art shows, to parks, or museums.  Take time to smell the roses. Plus you get vitamin D.

-7 Exercise.  Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, ward off feelings of anxiety and depression, and also boosts self-esteem. It doesn’t have to be hard.  I’ve seen studies that say 20 minutes of walking three times a week will help you avoid some aspects of dementia and help both your attitude and physical condition.

They also have a link to a Happiness Quiz:

Why don’t you try it?

WOOOO!!!

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog #562 Write your Obituary

Write your obituary!!! REALLY!!!
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/can-t-we-all-just-get-along/201709/have-you-written-your-obituary

I’ve done this as an assignment for classes a few times. Write your obituary!! (Okay Bruce, you finally have lost it)!!!
I think it is a good time for reflection on where you are going when you write your obituary.

When you start out on a driving trip (let’s say going to New York City), you get out your maps, you determine if you want to drive longer hours and stay on the interstate highways – or get off the roads and “See America”. Maybe you can figure out where old friends live and drive a little out of the way to catch up with them. Maybe you have watched some TV show that inspired you to go out of your way. I’m thinking of the Food Network “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” where there are some really neat restaurants to visit – and we have done that – drive a little out of our way to hit some neat/unique restaurant. (Aside – probably a good plan before all restaurants become franchises). Have you seen the covered bridges in Vermont and New Hampshire?

As you plan this long road trip to NYC, you might check your finances – can we stay at high-end motels/hotels or not? Maybe we can do the BNB (bed and breakfast route), or just the Airbnb (air bed and breakfast). Are there national parks on the way? Scenic stops that can’t be missed? (Will you be close to Philadelphia – are you going to see the Liberty Bell? How about Washington DC?)
Now, let’s think of the intent of writing our own obituary. Of course, no person is quite clairvoyant enough to know exactly how their life is going to go. But, if you take a positive view and live to an old age, what “might” your life be like – and what ‘might’ your obituary be? (By-the-way, when I assigned this years ago, after one or two flippant obituaries – where the person was run over by a truck two days after the assignment was due – I made living into retirement part of the assignment).

Will your obituary be like this: “Bruce White, died in his sleep last night. He was boring.” Or with several paragraphs of the highlights of a person’s life? Do you have a passion for flowers, you can be like Carl Fischer (an old friend), who loved gladiolus and bred them for years and has many gladiolus that he bred (see: https://www.nowetagardens.com/About-Noweta-Gardens-Gladiolus-Bulbs.htm). Did you have a bridge named after you? Is your name on a memorial plaque for your service (like my friend Norman has in the Leander memorial park)? Were you on civic committees? Were you active in a church or synagogue? Did you serve as a Scoutmaster or PTA president? Did you write many iPhone and iPad apps like my friend Steven? Did you take in rescue dogs (like Tom and Pierre)? Were you considered for a Nobel Prize in Medicine (like my friend Tony)

By reflecting on where you might end up (as an obituary) it can help clarify who you are – and where you are going. There is an old adage “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never get there!!”. Obviously writing your obituary helps clarify where you are going, helps you focus on how to get there.

“For Fun” (okay, maybe not quite for ‘fun’) sit down in the next couple of days and write your obituary. Think about what you really want to do in this life – and how you are going to do it!!!

And, if you are willing to share it with me – that would be great!! brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com
What do you think?
Bruce

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments