Life Coaching with Tereasa Jones - Navigate the World of Relationships

Life Coaching with Tereasa Jones - Navigate the World of Relationships

Tereasa Jones

Relationships

Galentine, Valentine, Selfentine?

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Do you cringe when you think about Valentine’s Day? It’s okay. Many, even in healthy relationships, don’t love the pressure the holiday can bring. Roses, fancy dinner, romantic card? For singles, the day can be a reminder that they haven’t found a match or renews pain over a recent break-up. 

While Valentine’s Day likely hailed from a drunken fertility feast called Lupercalia in ancient Rome, it became much sweeter over time and morphed into what it is today thanks to Hallmark back in 1913 in their effort to get lovebirds to buy their cards instead of the traditional homemade cards that had been around since the Middle Ages. With the commercialization of Valentine’s Day, it seems every industry tries to capitalize on it, making the holiday sales top around $18 billion this year. Yes, that’s with a “b”.

Then there’s Galentine’s Day, which started based on the character Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec back in 2010 celebrating female friendship on Feb. 13th. Brands were quick to jump on this unofficial holiday as well. As a friendship coach, I love the idea of honoring your friends this week. Research shows that those with close friendships are happier and even live longer!

And yet…what if you are an introvert or you just don’t really want to celebrate by going out or having a bunch of people in?  My brilliant, lovely daughter, Jessica, who shares a lot of my introvertedness (new word!) gave me this idea about celebrating “Selfentine’s Day.” Those who are single celebrate “Single Awareness Day”(SAD, which isn’t an uplifting acronym, is it?) in lieu of Valentine’s and use the day as a treat yourself day, which is great, but the nice thing is you don’t have to be single to celebrate Selfentine’s Day! It’s a day to empower yourself to gift and give yourself the kind of day you would like, putting no pressure on a mate if you have one, or girlfriends – just you!

It might look like one of my favorite topics; extreme self-care. We each have our own preferences but here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Start this special day with treating yourself to a massage. Make it a good one, maybe splurge on a spa day.  You could add a facial, get your nails done, spend some time in the sauna or ice room.  Whatever you enjoy! (Even better you don’t have to make the day fall on Valentine’s Day – schedule it for Saturday or Sunday to give yourself more free time!)
  • Prepare your favorite dinner and set the table complete with candles and fancy dishes. Add soft music in the background and you have yourself a very nurturing environment for your Selfentine’s dinner. Take your time eating. Savor every bite.
  • Read a book for pleasure. Put away all those books and articles you’ve saved up for work, they are for another time. Find a nice comfy place to sit, with your favorite throw or blanket nearby, maybe a cup of tea or your favorite beverage, and indulge! Let yourself be swept away in the story you are reading – phone in another room so as not to get distracted.
  • Find a movie on Netflix or your favorite channel – guilty pleasure viewing. Put on your comfy PJs, stock your coffee table with Godiva and wine or buttery popcorn. Don’t hold back.
  • If the weather is cold where you live, build a fire in your fireplace, put some music on, and have a dance party in your living room! Crank. It. Up.
  • If the weather is warm where you live, go on a nature walk, breathe in the fresh air. Notice the wildlife and the landscape. Allow yourself to feel, really feel the appreciation for all that you are and all that you have.

As a life coach, the place that I begin is with YOU, the individual. Your dreams. Your personality. Your passions. It’s up to you! You can opt out of a holiday or even celebrate all three – Galentine’s, Valentine’s and Selftine’s. I’d love to see you share your activities with a fun post on Instagram with the hashtags #loveyourselfie and #selfentine. Remember to tag @coachedliving so I’ll find it easily. I’ll pick a winner on Feb. 15th to win a $10 Starbucks gift card.

They all begin in the same place – loving yourself first.  No matter which one you are celebrating, be sure to make it special. If you’d like to learn more about working with a life coach to navigate the journeys through love (all sorts), friendship and careers, contact me to find out more about one-on-one coaching and group coaching.

Happy LOVE Week!

 

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Making Friends: Is it Enough to Just “Show Up”?

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When we were kids, making friends was so much easier. All you had to do was showup. Just going outside to play, you were guaranteed friends. Showing up on the playground at recess meant you would be able to join a tetherball game or mess around on the monkey bars. So why does it have to be so hard now? Could it be you stopped showing up?

Where is this new gathering place for adults? Where is it that you can go to “just show up”?  It could be as easy as taking a walk with your dog. After all, you will most likely encounter other dog walkers. It could be just showing up at the yoga studio or gym. There would most certainly be other people there with whom you could exchange a few words. What about that class you saw advertised online that you thought would be fun? Chances are other like-minded people would also find it to be fun. There are literally hundreds of places we could go and just “show up”. But is it really all that easy now that you are all grown up?

The short answer is “no”. It isn’t easy. It takes some effort on your part. I could easily create a list for you of “things you need to do” to take it to the next level, but I’m doubtful it would do much good. The issues are more inside of us than they are outside of us. We need a strong foundation, an understanding of how our minds are working before we venture out into the friend world to find “that perfect friend”.

Here is the question: can any one person really fulfill all of these requirements? It’s doubtful. I think we need a “community” of people who are friends at different levels to support us. When we don’t have this, life gets hard and feels lonely.  When “just showing up” isn’t enough, I can help. Are you ready to start on this friendship journey? This is the journey we take in Friendship Coaching. When you are ready, I’ll be waiting. I would love to guide you along the journey of finding the friends in your life where there can be mutual support, respect, and love.

 

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How to Make & Maintain Friendships with ADD/ADHD

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How to make and maintain friends

The older we get, the harder it is to make and maintain new friendships. Gone are the simple days of bonding over Barbies at recess. With so many adult responsibilities and distractions, it’s much harder to forge new friendships than it was when we were kids. Making and maintaining friendships can be particularly challenging for those with ADD or ADHD.

Managing the daily stresses of adulthood can already be difficult and throwing new relationships into the mix doesn’t make it any easier. However, there is no reason to give up on new friendships if you’re living with adult ADD/ADHD. Follow these simple tips and you’ll see your circle of friends expanding in no time.

Join A Club

Many adults, whether they have ADD/ADHD or not, struggle to find places to make new friends. Now that we’re out of school, we no longer have a built-in friendship-infrastructure and many people wonder where to begin expanding their social networks. Joining a club like a book club at the local library, or signing up for a sport like doubles tennis at the local community center is an easy way to meet new people who share your interests. Plus, you’ll be combining your socializing with some important self-care time exploring your own interests.

Keep A Friend Journal

Many people with ADD/ADHD find it helpful to keep a friend journal where they document how long it has been since they last connected with a particular person. Remembering to keep in touch with friends regularly can be particularly difficult for folks with ADD, so a friend journal serves as a reminder to main those relationships.

Schedule Friendship Time

It’s easy for anyone with a busy adult life to let friendship time slide away in favor of more nagging priorities. This is especially problematic for those with ADD because they already struggle with managing distractions and priorities. Try setting aside an hour each week to catch up on emails and phone calls with friends and keep that time protected from encroaching distractions.

Multi-Task

Being able to do two things at once is a strength of people with ADD. Take advantage of that strength and phone a friend while you’re folding laundry or commuting to work. Once you get in the habit, you’ll find it easy to incorporate friendship time into your everyday routine.

Take The Pressure Off

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that time with friends requires a lot of effort, planning, or organization. Think of ways incorporate friendships into your regular schedule. For example, ask a neighbor to join you on your weekly grocery shop, or invite a friend to come along on your regular trips to the gym. Even grabbing a quick half-hour coffee with a friend after work can help strengthen those bonds.

There is absolutely no reason why living with adult ADD/ADHD should negatively impact your social life. Making and maintaining new friends requires effort and commitment from everyone. With these simple tips, you’ll soon find yourself blossoming into a social butterfly.

Ready to take action and maintain and create new friendships? My free checklist can help!

Download the Checklist Now

Want more tips on developing new friendships with adult ADD/ADHD? Contact me for a personalized consultation.

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How Mindfulness Can Improve Your Focus

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In a fast-paced world with countless distractions and demands on our focus, mindfulness and meditation have gained popularity. The most basic principles of mindfulness are about living consciously and paying close attention to the present moment. Because mindfulness requires a special level of attention, it may seem challenging for a person with ADHD to practice this form of meditation. However, research has shown that mindfulness, when adapted for ADHD, can improve focus and concentration.

#1: Single-Tasking

With the demands of modern living, multitasking has become the norm for many people. Unfortunately, multitasking often does more harm than good, resulting in memory problems, excess stress, and increased distractibility. Practicing mindfulness demands single-tasking and asks practitioners to focus on one task at a time. Slowing down and eliminating multitasking can increase your focus and your productivity.

#2: Stress Reduction

Stress often escalates when people get overwhelmed by present demands and future fears. Mindfulness asks that your attention remain in the present moment. Instead of worrying about the future, mindfulness brings your attention back to the present and allows you to focus on what’s in front of you. Mindfulness will help you redirect your thoughts away from future worries and anxieties so you can focus on the present. In addition, the improved focus you’ll get from single-tasking will help prevent you from getting overwhelmed and stressed by everything coming at you all at once.

#3: Improve Concentration

Other research has shown that mindfulness can help rewire your brain and create new neurological pathways. It has also been shown to increase grey matter in the brain, and that extra density can improve one’s overall psychological well-being. By rewiring your brain and creating new pathways through mindfulness and meditation, you’re helping yourself find new ways to cope with stress and handle tasks. This all means that you’ll be better equipped to deal with distractions, resulting in improved concentration.

At first, mindfulness may seem challenging. In fact, many new practitioners struggle with feeling that mindfulness has made them more distracted. This feeling is normal because mindfulness will initially draw attention to your propensity for distraction. Noticing your distractions is the first step in the process. With time, you’ll learn to recognize them and let them go so you can focus on the task at hand.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Watch for my group on planning that I will be rolling out sometime this summer.

NEED HELP? Set up a complimentary strategy session so we can talk about it HERE.

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Executive Functioning and Problem Solving

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There is no such thing as a problem-free life. I wish there was, but there just isn’t! That’s the first truth that we have to accept. When we are faced with a problem, we could always try to avoid it. But avoidance is actually counterproductive. The more we avoid the problem, the bigger it gets. We could try to give it to someone else, but that doesn’t usually work either. Why? Because it isn’t their problem, and the solution they come up with is their own, not ours. We could just make a quick decision and call it done. How many times I have done this, only to regret it later. So… what’s the solution to the problem of having problems?

Before we talk about solutions, let’s talk about why it can be difficult for those with ADHD to process them. The Executive Functioning center of the brain is where problem solving takes place. It is also an area of the brain that people with ADHD have difficulties with. After we acknowledge that the Executive Functioning center of the brain isn’t going to help very much, we can develop strategies to make sure that a person with ADHD doesn’t become so overwhelmed with solving their problems that they just give up trying.

Here are some of the roadblocks that I personally have when dealing with problems. Maybe you will see yourself in some of them:

#1: I haven’t clearly defined the problem. (I need to look under the hood)
#2: It seems like it will take too much time. (I stink at estimating time)
#3: There are too many possibilities or choices. (That overwhelming feeling is waiting in the shadows)
#4: Fear of making the wrong choice. (Consequences!? I’m not sure what they are yet, but I don’t want to have to pay them)

I could make the list longer, but I think you get the gist.

Let’s take a look at Roadblock #1: I haven’t clearly defined the problem.
If we aren’t careful, we could work and work to solve a problem that isn’t really a problem at all. Here is an example: One of my clients wanted to work on getting along better with her boss. She said the lines of communication between them was poor. We worked and worked on this problem, but made no headway. Finally, I asked her if she was sure that this was the right problem to be working on. She initially said that it was, but upon further discussion, it turned out that the real problem was that she didn’t want to work there at all. She really wanted to pursue her dream to become an interior designer. We were able to change course after correctly identifying the “real” problem and have worked out a plan for her to return to school (while still being employed) to get her credentials. Of course there are many more challenges she will need to overcome, but I have faith that she will be able to address them now that she has clearly defined the problem.

On to Roadblock #2: It seems like it will take too much time.
Being realistic about time is another issues that people with ADHD have. After clearly defining the problem, one of my favorite strategies to deal with this roadblock is to “chunk it down”. All this really means is that you list the steps that need to be taken. After listing all of the steps, you may have 5-10 more manageable “to-do” items on your list. Now you can get a grasp on how much time you think each one of the steps will take. Write down that number… and then double it. Yes, I said DOUBLE it. Knowing that correctly estimating times is a challenge, we should give ourselves a cushion. I can almost hear you now saying “But what if I finish before the time is up and have nothing left to do? I will be bored!” First, boredom won’t kill you, and secondly, always have something on hand that you can do should you find yourself with some extra time on your hands.

How about Roadblock #3: Too many choices or possibilities.
The biggest problem with this roadblock is that it often leads to either procrastination or paralysis. Either way, the decision isn’t being made. When you are confronted with a situation where you have many possible choices, it might be difficult to choose among them, even when the stakes are low and most of the choices would turn out fine. So, narrow your focus. Pick 3 or 4 of the possible choices and look at their pros and cons. Eliminate each choice one at a time until you only have one left. That’s the one! That is your choice. See, that isn’t so hard. I know, easy to say when you aren’t the one standing in the cracker aisle trying to make a decision about the right cracker for the occasion. Really, your guests probably won’t even notice!

Finally, there is Roadblock #4: Fear of making the wrong choice.
This is a first cousin of Roadblock #3, too many choices. Ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that could happen if I make the wrong choice?” Usually the worst thing isn’t really all that bad. This is really based on a limiting belief that there is a “right” choice and a “wrong choice”, and you must choose the “right” one. Develop something you can say to yourself (a mantra) when this limiting belief threatens to derail you. An example might be. “There is no “right” or “wrong” choice, any choice I make will work just fine”. Find a mantra that resonates with you and work on it. But keep it short. Our subconscious loves it when we give it too much information. Gives it more to argue about!

Give these suggestions a try and see if they work for you.

If you would like some help with these, please contact me to set up a complimentary strategy session and we will see if working with me might help you!

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Holiday Tips to Survive the Most Wonderful Time of Year

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For some of us, the holidays are truly “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. For others, not so much. Holidays tend to accentuate whatever is prevalent in your world. If things are going well, there is no family strife, and your social calendar is full, maybe it will feel like “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. On the other hand, if things aren’t going so well, you lost someone you love, you lost your job, family dysfunction runs rampant, or maybe you have moved to a new community and don’t know anyone yet, your mood may be more like The Grinch (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) during the holidays. Either way, the holidays usually involve interaction with people, especially friends and family, whether you want to see them or not.

Even if your life is currently more Grinch-like, you can still do some things to enjoy the season:

  • Consider accepting invitations that come your way. Getting out and socializing usually lifts your spirits.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend with people who are less than encouraging to you. Set firm boundaries around when, where, and how long you will visit with these people, even if they are family.
  • Keep your expectations of the holiday in alignment with your reality. Unrealistic expectations, especially during the holidays, are common. Life is rarely like it is in the movies. Yes, there are lots of good Holiday movies, but remember they are just movies. They are not really anybody’s life.
  • Set aside time each day to think about, or perhaps journal about the things you are grateful for. It’s hard to maintain a dark mood when you are feeling grateful!
  • Comparison is the thief of Joy – Theodore Roosevelt. We rarely compare our lives with those less fortunate than us. We always go in the opposite direction and compare our lives to those who seem to “have it all”. A good thing to remember is that we can only see what the “have it all” people want us to see. There is no way to really know another person’s reality. People always have struggles, they just don’t always make them public.
  • Avoid getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. It’s hard to enjoy anything when every minute of your life is taken up with to-do lists and errands. Remember KISS – Keep it simple sweetie!
  • Nurture yourself. Extreme self-care helps you relax, enjoy, prioritize, and avoid stress. Nourish your body with food that is good for you. Avoid overeating and overindulging in sweets or alcohol. Get adequate sleep. We need from 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night in order for us to be at our best. Schedule in downtime. We need downtime to rejuvenate and recharge. Don’t run yourself ragged. It isn’t worth it!
  • Try to get a little sunshine each day. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a real thing and it affects many of us to some extent. Even though it might be overcast, take a walk. A little sunshine can make all the difference in the world. The exercise won’t hurt either.
  • Practice Mindfulness. Practice being fully aware of where your body is in space at any particular time. If your emotions are running high, realize that they are just emotions and have no power over you. Accept where you are and what is going on just as is. There’s no need to worry about it, try to fix it, or try to change it. Just let go of it and in a shorter time than you think, it will just be a memory.

I hope these tips will help. These are things that I try to do for myself. It isn’t always easy, but it always makes me feel better. If you need a little help, please drop me an email. I would be honored to walk through your holiday season with you.

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FRIENDS ARE IMPORTANT – Five Tips To Keep Friends At The Forefront Of Your Mind

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Busy lives and fast minds sometimes wreak havoc on friendships.  Add ADHD to the mix and it is a recipe for a lot of lonely times and hurt feelings between friends.  Here are a few tips to help make staying connected with friends a little easier.

1.    Go through emails and  contacts and sort people into one of three categories.  Intimates – these are people who are dearest to your heart.  They are the people who will come to your aide at 2 in the morning if you need them to.  Friends – These are people that you do things with outside of the context of the environment.  For example if it is a friend from work, you would socialize with them outside of work.  They aren’t intimates in that you would not confide everything to them, but they are fun and they add pleasure to your life.  Acquaintances– these are people you see in church, at the dentist, at book club but you don’t socialize with them outside of the environmental context in which you know them.

2.    Look at your calendar and enter a reminder to contact your intimates once a week and your friends maybe once a month.  Acquaintances will just be on the list unless you decide to move them up to friends.  The contact could be an email, a text or a phone call.

3.    Have a friend journal in which you record things like important dates your friends and intimates mention, their children’s names, their significant other, special gifts or treats they like.  This will help you avoid forgetting the important things in your friend’s lives.  If it is a special date like an anniversary or birthday, take time to write it on your calendar.

4.    Make plans to do something with your intimates at least once a month and your friends at least once every other month or so.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just doing something you both enjoy.

5.    If you have shared interests, that’s a bonus.  You can plan things to do surrounding your interest.  I have a client who has an intimate who is long distance.  They get together on the phone on nights Dancing With The Stars comes on and watch it together.  You could also use face time or skype.  At a particularly busy time in my life my best friend and I scheduled dinner out every Thursday night.  We both had small children so it was an extra fun time to visit with each other without the demands of the children.  One of my clients has a friend that he goes to the firing range with and shoots.  They do this probably once a month or so.

There are a lot of other things you can do to keep up with your friends, but this should get you started.  Let me know if you have other ideas.  I’m always looking for good ideas!

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Five Tips to Improve Your Relationships

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group on the porch

With or without ADHD people need help with relationships.  But those with ADHD need a little “extra” help.  The tips below have come from working with people with ADHD for many years.  I think they will help you too!

Educate yourself.  Know how ADHD shows up for you.  This allows you to develop strategies to minimize the impact of ADHD on your relationship.
Get help. Help can be in the form of medication, counseling, coaching or nutritional changes.  Most likely it will be a combination of two or more of these.  Without help it is nearly impossible to develop strategies to flourish in relationships.

Take responsibility.  Don’t play the blame game.  Take responsibility for your decisions, your actions, your ADHD, and for educating those who are closest to you about ADHD.  People are usually willing to work with you if they know what’s going on.

Develop systems, strategies, and accountability.  Systems and strategies make dealing with ADHD easier and accountability makes sure you use the systems and strategies you develop.  This is work best done with the help of a coach.  This is their area of expertise!

Make time for the people you care about.  Relationships will literally die if you don’t make time for them.  Make sure that you connect with the people closest to you regularly.  (Hint – you could develop a system for this!)

If you would like to learn more about how to develop systems and strategies to encourage and strengthen relationships contact me.

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Relationship Energy

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engagment one way

When Relationships are new they are exciting and we love spending time together. Energy abounds and we can’t wait for the next time we see the new person in our lives. Everything is fresh, new, and exciting. This level of energy is hard to sustain though, and it isn’t long before we feel the relationship slipping. We still care about the person and we still want to grow into a relationship with them, but there doesn’t seem to be enough of us to go around. Where did all that excitement and anticipation go?

A decade ago we talked a lot about time management. I think we have talked this one to death. Managing our time has taken a back seat to managing our energy. As technology has improved, and the economy has demanded that we find ways to cut costs, many people are working from home offices. Even when we don’t work from our home offices we are “connected” to work 24/7 through mobile devices like laptops and cell phones. The boundaries between work, family time, and leisure have blurred.

When this first started happening we tried to manage our time better. Now, we are beginning to realize that we can’t manage our time when we have demands hitting us constantly (thanks to technology). Maybe managing our time isn’t the answer. Perhaps we should turn our attention to managing our energy. This concept is really a good one to work with in today’s world because in order to make sure we have energy for the important things in our lives we are going to have to learn to conserve and manage that energy so that we have enough for all that is important to us (including all those friends and loved ones).

Unfortunately, we aren’t yet doing such a good job of energy conservation and many of us are finding that the important people in our lives are getting whatever is left over at the end of the day which isn’t much. When we do finally get to spend some time with our loved ones, we are definitely not at our best. Our minds are sometimes fuzzy. We sometimes fall asleep right in the middle of the movie we were looking forward to enjoying with our loved one. Heaven forbid if our significant other wants to “discuss” anything. We just don’t have the energy for it! The solutions to this problem are yet to be discovered. What I know for sure, though, is that we have to intentionally decide to take control of our energy expenditures and learn “energy management” or we might just end up with a job, but nobody with whom to enjoy life.  So, what can you do to manage your energy better?

 

COACHES CORNER: 

The person that falls asleep during the much anticipated movie is me! I sometimes feel like the energizer bunny. I just go and go until I can’t anymore and when I find myself with a few minutes to just sit down and do nothing…..I nod off. That isn’t even the worst of it though. I love my friends and family so much and I honestly think about them all the time, but they never know it because good intentions don’t count when it comes to spending time with or even spending time talking on the phone with the people who are important in my life. I think I need the benefit of my own coaching and need to learn to set those boundaries a little tighter. The Energy Management idea came from a book that I have only just begun to read called Elsewhere USA by Dalton Conley. When I was introduced to this term, it opened my eyes to a new way to look at things. You see, I have been stuck on trying to manage my time, not my energy. It hasn’t been working for me and I would venture to guess that it hasn’t been working for you either. Won’t you join me in exploring what this new concept could mean to your life? Take the coaching challenge below and report back to me what you discover!

COACHING CHALLENGE:

  • Get out your journal out. Dust it off if necessary!
  • List the important people in your life leaving at least five spaces between each name. Make separate pages for family and for friends.
  • Look at the list and honestly appraise how much energy you have put into each relationship in the last six months.
  • If you are satisfied that you have put in enough energy to properly maintain your relationships, close your journal and move on, but if you aren’t, proceed.
  • In the spaces below each name write things you know that you and that person enjoy doing together.
  • Grab your planner and see when you can connect with each person. Write the date in the space below the name along with the way you would like to spend time with them.
  • Contact them either by phone or email and make it a date! (Hint: since moving to Arizona I can’t see many of the people I care about the most so I try to make phone dates with them). One of my clients even has a phone date with one of her best friends as they watch the same TV program together each from a different state! You have to get creative.
  • Let me know how it’s going. I love success stories. If you are having difficulties achieving success, schedule a coaching call to get you started. Good luck!
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Loneliness vs Being alone

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Ask any self respecting introvert and they will tell you that being alone is not the same thing as loneliness. However, should you ask an extrovert they might think that the two are one and the same.

Theologian Paul Tillich brings clarity to the topic when he says “Language has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone, and the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.”

Whether you are introverted or extroverted, however, nobody wants to feel the despair that true loneliness impresses upon our souls. One type of loneliness is the isolated feeling we feel when in a new setting or community. This is usually temporary and leaves no permanent scar on our hearts.

Emotional loneliness, though, is different. It is the pain of being rejected by the world and living in total isolation. To be accepted is recognized in our world as one marker of being well adjusted. When we feel emotional loneliness we feel like a black cloud follows us everywhere we go. Trust in others is low, fear is high.We walk around in the world feeling different and somehow flawed.

Our need for connection is so strong that it can bring us tremendous joy in the face of great tragedy such as the camaraderie and deep enduring bonds that developed during the September 11 crisis and the mass destruction by hurricanes Katrina and others. But it can also bring us great despair when it fails to develop.

As I am writing this the thought occurs to me that many of you will think “wow, that’s depressing”. I don’t want to depress anyone, but I do want to emphasize to you that there is this debilitating loneliness out there eating at the hearts of so many people. If you are one of the fortunate ones who experiences temporary loneliness from time to time it is to you that I am writing this. I would like to heighten your awareness that there are those among us that really could use a hand extended with compassion and the offer of friendship. Sometimes we get so busy in our lives that we forget that others are suffering. It really costs us little to offer a smile or a pleasant word, or even extend an invitation to have coffee or share lunch with someone. Won’t you please look around you and see if you can identify someone in your sphere of influence that could use your friendship?

Coaching Corner:

As an introvert, (I know it is hard to believe) I rather enjoy spending time alone. However, I have felt the sting of loneliness many times in my life and it just plain hurts! As a child we moved very often and it seemed that I was constantly the new kid on the block. We finally settled in a small town when I was in the 8th grade, but even then I felt that I never really belonged. It seemed that those who really belonged were those who had been born and raised there and many times their parents had been born and raised there. I made a few close friends, but always felt a little like the kid looking in the window instead of one of the group. Later, as a young parent, we moved to a new city and state. Again I felt the sting of loneliness until one woman took the time to reach out and help me connect with the community. That woman is still one of my closest friends, and she always will be. She took the time. She extended the hand. As a result we spent the next 13 happy years in that community.

Coaching Challenge:

Look around you and identify someone new in the community. By new, I don’t just mean a few weeks or months, sometimes it takes years to get plugged in. You can often find these people on the periphery of the natural circles that form in any gathering.

Go up to that person and extend you hand. Introduce yourself and try to find some common ground. If you can’t find common ground, introduce them to someone with whom that might find common ground.

Don’t let it end there, watch the person and make sure they get plugged in. If they still seem to be floundering, take another stab at it. Maybe you belong to an organization that might interest them.

Continue the above steps every chance you get.

One more thing, don’t forget to smile and greet people in the check out stand, at the dry cleaners, on the sidewalks, everywhere you go. That smile and greeting may be the only one that person gets that day!

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