I am studying to earn my Coaching Certification from the Coach Training Alliance. I don’t need to do it, but I am a lifelong learner and believe in credentialing whenever I can. Early on in my coursework, my classmates and I had a lively conversation about the importance of self-care. The work we do as coaches can get pretty intense and we need to show up for our clients in the best, healthiest, frame of mind, at all times. Self-care should be refreshing, calming, rejuvenating, and create the space necessary to help our clients Imagine their Life’s Possibilities.
I started to take inventory of what I thought self-care meant and questioned whether I practiced enough of these things. Hair, nails, lashes, and shopping were what came to mind first. Ironically, when I engage in these activities I feel anxious, stressed and uncomfortable in the chair. It feels like time is passing by and I can’t get it back. But, I love how I look and feel afterward, so I’ve imagined the alternative to NOT getting these things done:
- I thought about going grey but when I saw a preview of that look, I realized I wasn’t quite ready for that change yet.
- Having my hands and toes done makes me feel good, but I’ve cut back on how often I have someone else do them, and now give myself regular mani and pedis.
- Eyelash extensions are THE BEST! They’re beautiful, and I’m totally obsessed! But, I’m rethinking this one because it requires a lot of maintenance, which requires a lot of time.
These things all fall into the category of personal care, along with showering and teeth-brushing, but are not self-care.
Self-care, I’ve come to understand, is something altogether different. I’ve committed to daily self-care practices during COVID, and I know I will continue beyond the pandemic. Each of these practices has become vital to my productive day:
- Gratitude Journal- I spend the first hour of each day drinking coffee and water. My first cup is savored, in pure darkness and silence. While enjoying the second and third cups, I express my gratitude in a journal. I have so much to be grateful for that the simple practice of writing it down gets my day off to a positive start, so I don’t rush my daily journaling. I also spend about 10-minutes reflecting on the previous day and re-reading earlier entries.
- Vision- I created a vision for the next five years and wrote it down. Each day I read that vision so I’m clear on what I am working on, and toward. This takes me about a minute.
- Health- In my weight loss program, Vitalife, we get body scans that provide us affirmations. I have done three scans and have three sets of affirmations I read daily. This takes about a minute. Maybe two.
- Mediation- I use the Headspace app to assist my meditation practice. Did you know that you only need to quiet your mind for three to 10-minutes to gain the benefits of meditation?
- Fitness- I workout twice a week with a personal trainer via Zoom, and the other days on my own. Before my foot surgery, which I’m still healing from, I did Zoom yoga. Soon I’ll resume my yoga practice as well.
All of these things combine to help me reduce anxiety and stress, which in turn enhances my creativity and boosts my energy. As you can see, I’m not spending hours and hours in self-care. And, in full disclosure, I don’t do ALL of these things every single day. Sometimes I slip up or miss a day. I’m not perfect, but I know and understand the benefits. I’m fully committed to continuing these practices for life because when I adhere to them, I’m a happier person and a better coach for my clients.
Are you struggling with self-care, either finding the time or feeling worthy of it? As a result, you might be feeling STUCK in life or your career. I can help!
New clients excite me. Truthfully, all clients excite me, but I love the early stages of discovery, as a new client relationship unfolds. It’s at the beginning that I can start to piece together the purest, most unbiased, objective picture of my clients before we become familiar with one another. I’m working with a new client now, and as often happens, she sees herself very differently than I do.
What I see: A completely successful entrepreneur who can run two businesses, create her product, raise two children and be a great wife. She knows what she needs to do to get stuff done and she knows how to prioritize the work.
What she sees: Despite her business and personal success, she feels that sometimes, her creative side takes over her “get-it-done” side. She gets lost in time. It’s a blessing and also her curse.
In our last coaching session, she admitted she got more done this week than she would have otherwise. Curious as to what changed, I asked what did she do differently? She explained, knowing she’d agreed to be accountable to me, for doing what she committed to, she stayed more focused on driving sales for her business.
This accountability is often overlooked, and I got to thinking about my accountability partners. If my accountability partner and I are working towards similar goals, we seem to get much more accomplished. So, I have several, depending on the goal:
- I have an accountability partner for weight management and healthy eating.
- I have another accountability partner for growing our businesses.
Though they are two different people, what these partnerships have in common is that we set goals and report to each other every week (at least once a week, usually more) on how we’re doing. We’re committed to achieving our individual goals and helping each other do the same.
Many people don’t have someone who will hold them accountable. Sometimes, with the best of intentions, and to be supportive, our friends and family members let us slide or tell us we can try again tomorrow. Instead, what we need is for them to support us in setting our goals, and taking the steps necessary to succeed.
I work out with a personal trainer twice a week. She is another accountability partner but I pay her. Why? Because she pushes me harder to accomplish my goals than I would if I did it alone. I know all the right things I’m supposed to be doing, but I don’t do them. Believe me, I’ve tried. I get tired. I get distracted. I say I’ll work harder tomorrow. And then I don’t. I would much rather use the money I invest in my personal trainer for something else. And if I’d lift weights on my own I could use that money some other way. But I don’t, and I know it’s an important part of my health and wellness journey. So I pay her, and I’m okay with that.
Do you have an accountability partner? Do you feel yourself falling short of your goals, or setting the same goals over and over without success? I can be your accountability partner to help you set realistic, achievable goals and CRUSH them. Picture your life one year from now if you take that first step today. Get Unstuck and Imagine Your Life’s Possibilities.
“Barb’s ability to keep me accountable and stay focused on my goals, is invaluable. She easily spots my own mental blocks, and doesn’t allow me to gloss over them. Barb provides a safe space to share and be vulnerable, both of which have been key to my progress and success!” -Toby Myles
A few weeks ago a friend confided that they were feeling isolated, under-exercised, scared about the future, their career and how the pandemic would affect their kids in the long run. Like many, my friend is working remotely, with a home office on the third floor. Pre-pandemic, when working from home only happened occasionally, my friend’s home office was the dining room table. “Once relegated to the upstairs home office, it was hard to come down”, my friend confided. It was far from everything going on in the house, and when work life got busy, my friend stayed upstairs, for hours. Even with a daily goal of taking a stretch or a short walk, my friend, who is quite healthy, just couldn’t get it done. Fearing that “sitting is the new smoking” all my friend wanted was to come down the stairs, open the front door and go to the end of a very short block. And still, they couldn’t get it done. This feeling of failure, as defined by my friend, contributed to their malaise. My friend added that they had created a very functional stand up desk, and all they had to do was move the laptop from their seated position to the standing position. And still, it wasn’t happening.
I asked, why haven’t you set a small goal to just stand up, every hour? Further, I said, you are concerned that once you get up to your third floor office it’s hard to come down, right? And you’ve shared that you NEED to move more because if you don’t, you’ll literally stay seated for many hours at a time. I reminded my friend, “you told me you’re super busy at work right now, and it’s not practical to take a break every hour, yet you want to find a way not to sit so long. Why don’t you just stand up?” I asked.
They said “oh, you mean make a small goal?” Lightbulb moment.
I pointed out, if it’s such a small goal why don’t you do it? To me it sounded like a great start and easily achievable. Standing up every hour means a change in perspective, a new effort, stopping what you are doing for a moment and then getting started again. So I didn’t really consider it a small goal.
This got me thinking. Imagine the possibilities if you did just this one thing. Stand up! You’ll feel better because you are moving your body. You’ll be energized by the motion and you’ll likely find time to add larger goals like walking to the corner once a day. Eventually you’ll find yourself taking a break mid-day for a brisk walk. The world won’t come to a screeching halt, and work will still be there when you come back. Give it a try!
My husband is Herb Mason. Our story about coming together in our 40s is worth telling, but I’ll save it for another time. Herb has never seemed concerned about his weight or the nutritional value of food. Without guilt, he’d happily consume a steak and baked or mashed potatoes, or a cheeseburger and fries, cooked crispy. He enjoyed his daily 7-11 Big Gulp, with regular Pepsi, each day. Not one, but two. Within the past two years he also added a daily Starbucks Triple Venti Latte with two raw sugars. In the beginning of our relationship (2005 ish) he told me he didn’t really have a sweet tooth. I laughed out loud.
During the Spring of 2020 COVID stay-at-home order, I literally went to the grocery store and bought WHATEVER I wanted. If I couldn’t decide between two options, I bought them both. Which Oreos? BOTH! I like to refer to this time as my Cheese-It diet. It was the perfect solution to hibernation. I don’t think Herb was as giddy as I was about the reckless abandon with which I bought food, but this didn’t stop him from eating more than he might have normally.
In June of 2020, I emerged from the COVID cocoon for the first time, to meet a friend for lunch outside. To my horror, absolutely none of my clothes fit. I went on a keto diet immediately, but this is also a topic for another time. My weight-loss journey is nearly as old as I am.
Two months into my diet, a friend of ours, Davis Jaspers, founder of Vitalife Weight Loss program, asked for volunteers to be interviewed for a staff training video he was producing. Herb and I were perfect for the project, as neither of us had been presented with the Vitalife program before. I’d seen many people get great results from Vitalife but I’d never investigated it for myself.
As a part of our participation in Davis’ Vitalife training video, we weighed in on a smart scale that gave us tons of great information. For example, Herb’s weight was 199.9 (Woot! Made it under 200!) and his metabolic age was 78. Ouch. Herb will be 60 in December. After the training video, and two months on Keto, I opted into the Vitalife weight loss program. Herb did not.
In preparation for the program, Herb and I laughed about the things I’d need to give up. How “absurd” it would be for me to give up my cocktails. Afterall, vodka has no carbs, and I lost plenty of weight on keto, while still enjoying alcohol. And as long as we were laughing about my unhealthy choices, I outed Herb for his 2-Big-Gulp-A-Day habit. There are more carbs in a single Big Gulp than I ate all day on keto. Davis remarked that if all Herb did was give up the Big Gulps he would lose weight, improve his health, reduce the brain fog associated with excessive sugar among many other health benefits. I think Davis was the millionth person to tell Herb how toxic his soda habit was.
Big changes come from small but consistent efforts. It didn’t take Herb long to come up with a plan he could live with. He decided he would cut back on soda little-by-little each week, the goal being to eliminate it altogether. First, he’d get down to one Big Gulp per day. Next, no Big Gulps and eventually just an occasional Pepsi as a special treat.
As Davis promised, Herb did start to lose weight. I’d begun tracking my food intake, along with others, trying to get UNSTUCK from our COVID gains. Soon Herb was tracking his food too, at first just out of curiosity. A cheeseburger is how many calories? Wait! What happens if I eliminate the bun? Wow…250 calories! Mind blowing.
Next came exercise. Herb wondered, “what if I add that in and track it?” So he dusted off his Fitbit and learned, the more he exercised, the more he could eat and still lose weight. Plus, with less brain fog due less sugar, he had WAY more energy to exercise. His first goal was getting in 10,000-steps per day. Then came the elliptical, followed by virtual yoga sessions with Sakhaya Yoga, each week.
Today, Herb has lost 30-pounds! He wears a size 33 pant, a size medium shirt and his metabolic age dropped from 78 to 59! His journey to getting UNSTUCK started with a desire to be more healthy, as he entered into his 60s, by eliminating his daily Big Gulp habit. As a result of setting attainable goals, and having me as his accountability partner, Herb gained the momentum he needed to keep pushing for more results. He entered his 60s in the best shape of his life. He got UNSTUCK and Imagined his Life’s Possibilities.