Happy Summer!

Today is officially the first day of summer.  For some, it may have felt that summer started weeks ago when your kids ended their school year or when the days were longer and hotter.  With temperatures peaking in the 90’s today and bright sunshine, it will definitely feel like summer here in NJ, although the kids don’t finish their school year until Wednesday!

As each new season comes and goes, many of my clients use it as a time for self-reflection and renewal. They check-in with their goals to see if they are on track. They commit to achieving new goals for the second half of the year.

  • Are you on track with your goals?
  • What are your priorities this summer?
  • How will you be sure to stay focused on achieving what’s most important?
  • What obstacles may prevent you from achieving what you what you want to?
  • How can you plan on avoiding them?
  • What will you do to gain some enjoyment from this more relaxed time of the year?

As a professionally trained and internationally certified coach, I work with business leaders to help insure their personal and professional success.  I offer training, keynote presentations, and seminars to support each individual and the organization as a whole to achieve your goals. Contact me at natalie@theprioritypro.com or 908-281-7098 to discuss your needs!

Re-Orient your Life Around Values

I am currently working with a successful entrepreneur on establishing Core Values for his Corporation. In doing so, I am reminded of the importance of recognizing your most important values and living your life each and every day based on these ‘rules’. Whether for your business, or for your life, clearly identifying your core values will help you achieve what’s most meaningful with the highest degree of integrity, pride and satisfaction.

Your life can be deeply enhanced when you intertwine your values into your overall framework for life. Aligning your work and life around your personal values will help you achieve the greatest levels of success. Your values help you establish more congruency in your life and increase your capacity for having an abundance of joy and happiness.

Your values are:

  • what you are naturally inclined or drawn toward;
  • what you are eager to do;
  • what brings you fulfillment;
  • what you do with little effort;
  • your strongest beliefs;
  • your internal motivator;
  • the only sustainable basis for goal-setting;
  • and, your heart and soul

Values are the core of who you are—not who you would like to be or who you think you should be. You are your values—they make up who you are, what you want and how you live. Like you mature, change and grow your values may also change over time. By gaining a better understanding of your values today you can begin incorporating your values into your life and creating a strong foundation which will be able to support you in every other way—including how you bring yourself to your work.

Your values represent your unique and individual essence. When you are engaged in activities aligned with your values, you feel most like yourself—well, connected, excited, glowing and effortless. However, when what you are doing conflicts with what is truly important to you, feelings of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, frustration and stress occur most often because your values are conflicting with your lifestyle and choices.

Values are linked very closely with your integrity. Integrity is when your external behaviors are closely aligned with your inner values; when your actions match your inner belief system, you are operating in integrity and using your values to drive your choices in life.

Your values run deep within you and are often disguised when danger is sensed. Danger in this case is anything that may interfere with or intrude on your values such as: needs, obligations, roles, problems, should’s , tolerations, stress, money, guilt, addictions or adrenaline.

The process of clarifying values is often difficult to do on your own. You can extract your core values based on what is most important to you, your actions, and the things you choose to do and not do in your life. The activities you engage in are usually an observable demonstration of your values; sometimes, though, your values are neglected so it’s harder to identify them. Working with the services of a professional coach, can help you with the process.

For more information, and some tips to help you identify your values, read the ”Live by Your Values” article on my website or contact me to arrange an introductory coaching session. http://www.theprioritypro.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Article-Live-by-your-Values-MBM-7-03.pdf

Restore Balance

With an added flurry of activities to complete in preparation for the holiday season, it’s vitally important that you continually and consciously restore your sense of balance.

Here are a few places to start:

  • Set Realistic Goals – Establish goals for yourself based on your key priorities. For example, if being physically fit is highly important to you, then create an exercise plan and schedule time daily to honor it. Be sure your goals are positively-based (e.g., to be strong and healthy) vs. negatively-based (e.g., to lose 30 pounts). Avoid being all things to all people!
  • Minimize the Clutter  – Unfortunately, most of us have clutter some where in our lives, either in our office, our car, at home, or in our head!  Manage that clutter so that it doesn’t accumulate. Filter what comes in to your spaces.  Being in a clean, clutter-free zone will provide you with a sense of peace and the feeling of having some control over at least part of your environment. 
  • Detach regularly – Allow yourself some time to disconnect from the demands of work.  Avoid checking email, texts, instant messages at least every once in a while to give yourself a break and to differentiate the important from the urgent.
  • Set stronger boundaries – One of the most important things you can do to preserve your health and well-being while minimizing stress and overwhelm is to say “no” to demands placed upon you.  Realize that you don’t need to accept every invitiation, assignment, project, etc. offered to you.
  • Ask for help – Rather than suffering in silence, anger or frustration speak up and ask for help. Very often, famiy members, friends, neighbors or co-workers would be thrilled to help if they only knew you needed it. Anticipate whenever possible, so that you have help readily available before you have a meltdown!

Face your Fears

Many times, the biggest obstacle to success, balance and happiness is fear. Fear is just a barrier that challenges you and may stop you dead in your tracks.

I once heard a motivational speaker define fear as “false evidence appearing real”. Unfortunately, I don’t recall who to credit but I’ve remembered these words and repeated them to clients who were stuck.

Fear may show up in many forms.  Petra (name changed) was so afraid of how success would change her life that she continually sabotaged her chances of success. She wasn’t consciously aware that she was doing this. She thought she was taking the steps to build her business, yet she wasn’t reaching out for new business or following up consistently with former clients. 

When we began to explore how fear was showing up in her life, Petra realized that although there were several fears in her life, the biggest one was that she feared success.  She labeled that fear and defined it as being afraid that her life would change; that she wouldn’t be the same person.  (There were a number of limiting beliefs we uncovered that we worked through separately—I’ll write more about beliefs in a future blog!!)

Petra worked hard to disclose the origin of her fear and discovered that her uncle that she highly admired had distanced himself from the family when he became successful. He ultimately died a sick and lonely man. He was a workaholic who drowned himself in work; the resulting stress led to a severe heart attack at just 54 years old!  Therefore, Petra feared that success would kill her too! She was afraid that having a successful business would mean she’d have no time for her family or friends. She feared being divorced, in poor health, with no friends or family who cared about her because she spent no time with them.

After realizing the origin of her fears and reevaluating them, Petra was ready to reframe her fear. She looked at her fears as an opportunity to build her business differently and a way to consciously stay connected with those she loved.  She took responsibility for creating her success in the way it was important to her. Today, I’m happy to say that Petra lives a well balanced life with a successful business and happy family life.

For valuable tips and strategies to help face and fight your fears, visit my Full Plate Blog at MyPath.com.  (http://connect.mypath.com/mypath/blogs/full-plate/2010/08/20/tips-and-strategies-to-face-your-fears)

Flip your BUT

Most of us encounter obstacles on the road to achieving our goals.  Through several experiences of working with my coaching clients and continuous learning opportunities, I have learned to turn these obstacles into stepping stones. If you’d like to learn how to turn problems and challenges into progress too, read on!

The first and probably most important point is that examining the problem in-depth rarely works because instead of focusing on solutions, you’re caught analyzing or dissecting the problem. Once you clearly identify the problem, increase your ability to make wise decisions by flipping over that obstacle to see what opportunities are available beyond it. If you remain caught up in looking at the problem, it will expand in your reality and you won’t be able to reach your goals. You’ll become either a victim who complains about the problem but doesn’t take any concrete steps to change the situation, or a quitter who gives up on the original goal and chooses a different path to pursue.

So, as you come across obstacles along the path to your goals, reflect on the hidden meaning of what it may be trying to tell you.  Often, hidden within the pain of your problem are the seeds of what you really want. Clearly define what you’re hoping to achieve; redefine your goal. Be aware of the “buts” and flip them into “ands”.

Several years ago I had the fortuitous experience to work with some masterful coaches at a coach training school. I learned the technique of “flipping” my but and I’ve used it successfully myself, with audiences and with individual coaching clients. For example, if your goal is to get a new car BUT you can’t afford it, and you flip the “but” to an “AND” you’d be saying something like, “I want a new care AND I want to be able to easily afford the payments”.  The sentence started with your goal to get a new car but ended abruptly at the BUT. It’s set up a conflict that cannot be resolved as long as the two things are seen as mutually exclusive.

Here’s another example…”I want to make more money, BUT I don’t want to work 60-80 hours a week”.  If you flip the second half of this statement and combine it with the goal in the first part, you’ll end up with a powerful new goal such as, “I want to make more money AND work just 40 hours a week”.  When you do this, you stop negating your goals, and start creating exactly what you want.

Do this exercise with one of your current goals. Fill in the blanks as indicated:

I want _____________________________________  BUT _______________________.

(your goal)                                                              (the obstacle)

Then, turn the “but” into an “and” below:

I want ______________________________________ AND ______________________.

(your goal)                                                                 (your goal)

Once you’ve stated your new more powerful goal, start asking yourself questions like, “How can I get a great new car with payments I can afford?” or “How can I increase my salary while working while working less and earning more?”  Keep asking these questions and other empowering questions so that you can engage both your conscious and your subconscious minds working towards finding solutions for you. This simple process of flipping the but works similarly when you have conflicting priorities. For example, “I want to attend the professional association meeting this evening but I promised my son that I’d attend his track meet”.  When flipping the “but” to an “and”, I searched for an alternative or a solution that would allow me to do both and as a result I planned on dialing into the meeting and listening to the speaker while I watched my son run track.

Often when clients get this far in the process of achieving their goals, they let fear immobilize them. However, now that you’ve developed some empowering questions to move you toward your goal, the key is to get into action. Action is the perfect antidote for fear. As you take steps towards your goal, you can keep using this process as the evil “BUT” monster shows up. The fear of change, even positive change, can keep you stuck or push you back into victim or quitter mode. Feeling like you are stuck, or have no alternatives, dis-empowers you to achieve your goals.

Determine your goal and what’s stopping you so that you can flip that “BUT” to an “AND” and move yourself through empowering questions into deliberate action toward achieving your goals. If you feel you can’t do it alone, contact me at  natalie@theprioritypro.com or call 908-281-7098 and I’ll be happy to explore how working with me as your coach can help you achieve your desired goals. With over a decade of experience and tangible results, let me help you attain your goals!

What you put into it is what you get out of it!

Read an inspirational message about my daughter’s cheer squad and how they came from way behind to win the National Championships. Look for the lessons of what you can apply in your own life to be the BEST!

Click here to read more: Welcome to MyPath: Full Plate: Put in What Matters!

I wasn’t going to go to this competition because I was already booked to speak on both Wednesday and Thursday last week when they attended. However, when we thought on the previous Sunday that my daughter broke her fingers at a friend’s house and I had the anxiety ridden week of Doctor’s visits, Radiologist and the Pediatric Orthopedist to find that she had injured them very badly but they weren’t fractured, I began re-thinking my original decision. The doctor would release her to allow her to perform but practice had to be minimized and her fingers needed to remain taped until the competition.

On top of that, the arrangements I made for her to travel with one of the coaches we’ve known for years had to be altered because the coach was traveling earlier and staying later. She was also bringing her entire family and would not be able to have her in their room. My husband encouraged me to go but I felt I couldn’t because I had to honor my commitments to my clients.

I contacted my clients to check their flexibility with the date and was disappointed to learn that there was no flexibility. So, I had to make a quick decision. I had to look inside and ask myself some very important questions. In the end, I chose to go and to honor my commitment to my daughter as one of my key priorities. I quickly booked a flight and ground transportation and arranged to spend the one night I’d be there in one of the rooms booked for the team. I arranged for an alternate presenter from CIGNA to cover my presentation scheduled for one of their clients. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go for the week though because I had to be back Thursday night to present one of my programs I had contracted to deliver. I traveled from NJ to FL for a quick overnight Tuesday-Wednesday. Being there gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to see my daughter and her team become National champions for the first time in the 44 years of the team’s history. What an experience!! I am so glad I went!!

Focusing on what matters most may not always be easy but it’s important to living a quality life with little or no regrets! If you want help creating the life you are meant to live, defining your key priorities, or achieving your goals, let me know – email natalie@theprioritypro.com.

A New Year

Wow, time has flown since my last blog entry!! I can’t believe that it has been over two months. So, you may be wondering what I have been doing during that time.

Like you, I have been SuperBusy. In an effort to align my skills, talents and interests where I can make a tremendous difference, I have been researching new markets. What I have found is that small business leaders, owners, entrepreneurs have a lot on their plate. Too often, even when they have staff, they have a hard time of letting go of some of their tasks. Sometimes, although they have specific goals each day, they are pulled off task by urgency’s or other important matters that draw their attention.

Therefore, I will continue my research and I will continue working with my current clients to help them focus on their priorities both at work and home. One of my clients recently told me the power of living without the sense of chaos and stress as a result of working with me on a regular basis every other week. Another client had me help her through an important career decision so that she made the decision for the right reasons for her rather than putting others first yet again.

I am poising for growth by working on the infrastructure of my business: the systems and processes while preparing some new programs to meet the growing needs that I have learned about. With so many people focused on the economy, the crises, and the job situation, I intend to focus on the hope and the positives that will bring each individual and this country forward. Negative energy is contagious; what positive thoughts will help you achieve what you want today?

As always, I love to hear from you! Let me know your thoughts, challenges, needs, and opportunities. I am hear to support you growing to your fullest potential!

Yours truly,

Natalie Gahrmann
The Priority Pro