Personal note

Spring is morphing into summer: for those of us in the North Central area of the US, we are finally seeing summer, with ideal temperatures and soft breezes.

If our prolonged winter brought sluggishness, this change has brought renewed energy to promote change in our lives.

Sometimes you can wish ardently for change, be fired up with energy, but not know where to start.

That’s where a coach can help: as an outside observer, with no agenda about your life, coaches can help you clarify who you are, what you really want, and how to get there. Then, you and the coach together set up small steps to get to that goal. The coach holds you accountable for taking those steps; no backsliding allowed!

But the vision is yours; the coach helps you get there.

Are you still trying to go it alone? Do you feel you have been on a long journey, with no end in sight? Do you keep doing what you’ve been doing, and wonder why you keep getting the same outcomes? Is the promise of summer becoming a little faded, as you go from optimism to cynicism?

Do you want to change that?

As a master stress coach for overly-busy women who believe they can’t discover any way to find more time and relieve their stress, I have been very excited and renewed by the changes my clients have made in the past few weeks. Spring is coming into their lives, and into mine, too, as they progress by leaps and bounds past barriers they once thought were impassable.

You can do that, too.

The offer of a complimentary coaching session with me is extended for another week; take advantage of this offer now. Just go to: http://creativelifechanges.com/letstalk/

Readers, I’d like your help!
I write my ezine and create my programs for you.  You are my inspiration and my motivation in life.  So I’d like your help:  think of three words that best describe me and the work I do, and send them to me in an e-mail so that I can craft a more powerful message that will help more and more people.

Just put “3 Little Words” in the subject line and send them to

Thank you so much!

Who do you share your pain with?

We all know, intuitively, what research tells us: we need companions in life with whom to share both our joys and our pains. People who do not have anyone with whom to share tend to lead more stressful, less healthy lives.

Unfortunately, not everyone is an ideal companion for such sharing. If, when you have finished sharing your information, you feel worse, that’s a clue that that person wasn’t the healthiest choice.

Here is a rundown of people around whom it is better to be silent, particularly when you feel vulnerable because of a loss or a setback. We all want to be useful to people we care about; as you read these descriptions, you may recognize that you sometimes fall into one of these categories yourself. You can then vow to be a better supporter for others.

The Doomsayer:
As a young dancer, I once fell and broke a tiny bone in my foot. As I lay on the floor, moaning, and waiting for someone to take me to the emergency room, the mother of one of my classmates came over and said firmly, “I guess you’ll never dance again.” It seems funny now (I was actually back in four weeks) but at the time, she struck terror into my very soul.

Mention a physical symptom around a Doomsayer, and the DS will tell you of a brother-in-law who had the very same symptom, which turned out to be terminal cancer, so this is what you should expect too.

Speak of a recent setback, and the DS will describe all the reasons why of course you can’t reach that goal – you’re too old, too young, too inexperienced, not experienced enough… the DS can always find a Good Reason why you won’t make it, and Shouldn’t Expect to Do So.

The Hijacker (Advanced Doomsaying):
This is the My Wound is Bigger than Your Wound person. When you mention a sore back, they themselves or their partner, mother, father, aunt Cora – someone –had A Broken Back and had six years of painful injections and Ended Up Crippled. Then their child died, they lost their job, the spouse left them, and they needed care for the rest of their lives…. The Hijacker outlines all of this in gory detail for at least 20 min, often rambling on to other tragedies in their lives, and ignoring your situation entirely.

The Futurist:
With incredible hindsight, the futurist proclaims what you should have done:
“That relationship would never have worked out…you should have seen that.”
“Did you really expect you would…. win that prize, get that job?”

You can recognize Futurists easily; they are great at saying urgently, “Look out!”  just after you’ve hit your head.

The Over-Sympathizer:
Oozing pity, the OS’s face screws up while saying, “I’m SOOO sorry” in response to your recital of pain. They may recite similar instances, telling you they know how you MUST feel, in the darkest possible terms.

The OS may check in with you, asking “HOW are you doing now?” in tones that drip concern, reminding you that you are marked as someone who has a Big Problem that is readily apparent to onlookers.

The OS may mean well, but you end up feeling like a victim, not a healthy state of mind.

The Bucker-Upper:
This person tells you stories meant to inspire you to pick yourself up and do better, as in, “What? You think you have it bad? Let me tell you about …” and then goes on to a story about someone who simultaneously won the Nobel Prize and an Olympic gold medal while battling two serious diseases.

Somehow this person doesn’t inspire you to move forward with your life.

When you are in pain, here is who you really want to be around:

The Ideal Listener:
The ideal listener is someone who, upon hearing your story, remains calm and attentive, sometimes offering alternative explanations for what happened to you as possibilities, not as fact. “I know you feel bad right now and feel blocked; have you considered that you didn’t have much sleep last night? Maybe you’ll have a better idea of what to do after a good rest.”

Or, “why don’t you wait until you have consulted with an expert (or a second expert) before you start worrying so hard.”

The Ideal Listener has an understanding of the Law of Parsimony: if a given event has more than one explanation, then the explanation most likely to be correct is the one containing the fewest assumptions. Going from a twinge or a setback to total disaster, with no mental stops in between, is a serious violation of that Law.

Stress is a great leveler: it makes us all temporarily stupid, regardless of IQ, academic degree, or other expertise. That’s how so much of our stress is really about the future we are imagining and projecting, not about what is actually happening right now.

We need help getting out of that stupidity and back to rational, intelligent behavior.

This is the help we can get from an Ideal Listener.

You can become an Ideal Listener for others, and in doing so, you will be training yourself to be calm, reflective, and a respecter of the Law of Parsimony.

The Confident Introvert

“What are they afraid of?” my department manager used to ask after meetings in which a number of department members sat, silent and resentful, while he was unaware that his habit of springing surprise agenda items and asking for an immediate decision was very upsetting to these talented, educated introverts. Understanding, appreciating and utilizing the skills of introversion are foreign ideas to some – even to introverts. Now you can read about it in
The Confident Introvert.
Order now at http://www.ConfidentIntrovert.com