Author Archives: wishingwellcoach

Whoa, Nelly!

Hey there! I’m glad you found me – well, sort of found me. . . You see, I’ve moved over to a shiny new page that you’ll find here. It only takes one little click to get a better layout and as well as the latest and greatest content. So go ahead. . .

P.S. This page will be deleted soon, so please do join me. . . See you there!

 

The smartest thing Steve Jobs ever did.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.                                                                                                – Steve Jobs

I found this quote and I love it so much I had to share it. In fact, I’m using it on my new web page that will be launching soon! This quote is the essence of what I believe in, and what my coaching practice is about. The words themselves are meaningful, but the fact that it comes from someone who was wildly successful because he lived in his own passion space makes it that much more powerful.

Jobs was a genius and hard working there’s no doubt. But the smartest thing he ever did was allow himself to work within his zone of genius – where what he was great at and what he loved intersect. Living HIS life, and not someone else’s made all the difference in living a mediocre life and living a life that no one will soon forget.

So, what does YOUR life call you to do? What lies within your passion space and zone of genius? Are you ready to move from living a mediocre life to living one no one will soon forget?

If you are, I’d love to help you.

Moving from a mediocre life to one filled with the passion, meaning and enthusiasm you want and deserve is not as complicated as you might think.  It’s time to STOP living someone else’s life, and start living your own. It’s time to START making the difference in the world and in your own life that you are meant for. And it’s time to have the JOY, EXCITEMENT, and IMPACT your life is meant for. Email me today at jessica@wishingwellcoach.com to give yourself the life-changing gift of a life no one will soon forget.

Do you want to get paid to do what you love?

No. I really don’t. I’d rather be bored out of my mind, and feel the life draining out of me. I kinda like being yelled at. It’s probably good for me to do things that I dread, and that don’t come naturally. (If you haven’t noticed, I’m a little sarcastic).

OF COURSE YOU WANT TO GET PAID TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE.

The problem isn’t really that you need convincing to do what you love, the problem is that no one has ever showed you how to get paid to do it. You’ve never taken the time to figure out what you love, or at least you don’t know how to take what you love and turn it into something marketable.

I work with people to help them get paid to do what they love. When you figure out what you are passionate about, what you’re skilled at, and align those things with what comes naturally to you, you can find work that feels more like a calling.

Just wanted to let you know. 😉

The Art of Saying No.

We’ve all done it: Said yes when what we really meant was no.  There are many reasons that we do it: A fear of disappointing or angering someone; concern that no one will be there for us when we need something; fear of not being liked; or maybe even an underlying belief that we should be self-sacrificing to be worthy of love. Whatever the reason, saying yes when you really mean no leaves you kicking yourself. You’re over-extended, and you’re doing things that really aren’t that important to you. Worse still, you’ve added to the self-loathing that comes with betraying yourself and moving away from what you truly want. So how do you say no? One trick is to do it so gracefully that you sidestep those fears that get kicked up at just the thought of saying no to someone.  Here’s a great example:

Some time ago, my wife was invited to serve as chairman of a committee in a community endeavor. She had  a number of truly important things she was trying to work on , and she really didn’t want to do it. But she felt pressured into it and finally agreed.

                Then she called one of her dear friends to ask if she would serve on her committee. Her friend listened for a long time and then said, “Sandra, that sounds like a wonderful project, a really worthy undertaking. I appreciate so much your inviting me to be a part of it. I feel honored by it. For a number of reasons, I won’t be participating myself, but I want you to know how much I appreciate your invitation.”

                Sandra was ready for anything but a pleasant “no.” She turned to me and sighed, “I wish I’d said that.””

 

Stephen R. Covey (1989). The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Let’s dissect the “no.” If you can take apart the elements of a graceful “no,” and reconstruct it into one that is authentic for you (using your language), you never have to say yes when you really mean no again.

First, notice how the friend comments on the value of whatever is being asked of her: “that sounds like a wonderful project, a really worthy undertaking.”  Since we are afraid of insulting people by implying that their request is not worth our time or is not interesting, this can help the person who is asking something of you to feel that their request or project is still valuable, even though you won’t be there.

Second,   state your gratitude for being thought of, and how it makes you feel to be included. After all, whatever the request, you are being asked because you bring something of value to the situation.   “I appreciate so much your inviting me to be a part of it. I feel honored by it.”

 

Third, say no. “For a number of reasons, I won’t be participating myself, but I want you to know how much I appreciate your invitation.” Notice how the friend declines, politely, but does so while being kind, thankful , clear and firm? She doesn’t spend time on why she can’t; she doesn’t defend her reasons. She says no politely but firmly.  Also, notice how she doesn’t resort to “I can’t.” She owns the fact that she is making a choice based on her own priorities and doesn’t shy away from that.

So here’s the formula. You fill in the blanks:

That sounds like a _______adjective______ project.  I feel __________________ that you asked me, but for a number of reasons I won’t be participating. Thank you thinking of me.

A few ground rules:

  1. Rework this formula so that it works for you. It should sound like you and not feel like someone else’s language.
  2.  It’s important that you clearly decline. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in being graceful that the other person thinks you’ve actually accepted.
  3. Don’t make excuses.  Try not to say “I can’t.” You rarely can’t do something, you just choose not to. Saying “I can’t” gives away the power you’ve claimed by making a choice about what you can do with your time.

You can be a kind, generous and caring person while still having your own agenda and control over your time. If you don’t take control over your time and agenda, you are living someone else’s life, and ultimately you won’t be giving the world the kindest and most generous gift you can offer: the gift of your true self.

Do you have a reverse-resume?

We all know what a resume is: a piece of paper on which you’ve stuffed all of the skills, experiences and job positions that you believe are relevant to market yourself as the right candidate for a job. No wonder job hunting feels so degrading. You are forced to reduce yourself to one sheet of paper which you pass around to others for evaluation. Sheesh!

What would happen if instead of going into job hunting with the mindset of selling yourself, you flipped job hunting on its head? What if you understood that your value cannot be condensed onto a single sheet of paper, and that your precious time, creative energy, and life’s work should not be sold to the highest bidder (or in this market sometimes to the only bidder?) What if you started searching for a job by searching your soul before searching the want ads?

Introducing the concept of the reverse-resume. Instead of finding jobs that your one-page version of yourself might be a “fit” for, what if you instead spent time figuring out what qualifications the JOB needs to have before you’ll entertain giving it some of the best years of your life? You probably have enough life-experience at this point to know that you need to be doing work that’s meaningful to you, that excites you and that makes you feel competent in order to feel happy in life. It’s not the only component of a happy life, but it’s a critical component since we spend so much time at work and since we often in part define our lives by the output and actions – the work we do (in this case, at work.)

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”  Lewis Carroll

Job searching that starts with soul searching is much more likely to land you a job that feels more like a calling. But first you have to know where you are going. The way to do that is to write your reverse-resume.  Here’s a basic template to get you started:

Objective: What is your objective? Not just to find a job, but to find one that gives you meaning, purpose, and contributes to your overall happiness.  It’s your responsibility to define this as clearly as possible. What will make you feel that way? What’s meaningful for you? What would you like to contribute? What is going to make you fall into bed each night exhausted and thrilled at the same time?

Experience(s): What do you want to experience in this next job situation? Do you want to lead a team, be part of something that’s growing, have a chance to travel or work on a particular project? What things will you be doing day-to-day and also what larger vision will you be working towards? Define your desired experiences no matter how large or small.

Education: What do you want to learn from this? From skills to personal growth experiences, what do you want to gain?

Skills: What parts of who you are and what you know are you going to get to use on a regular basis? Do you love to do something and you want to do it as part of the next job? If so, write it down!

Salary Requirements: What do you want to make? What will make you feel great about your financial health?

Feel free to add any categories that seem relevant for you. In fact, if you come up with one, please post it as a comment!

Remember, your reverse-resume is not some head-in-the-clouds vision board. This is a set of instructions for you so that you can more clearly define what you are after and for you to know when you’ve found it. Don’t say that you want to make a million dollars unless you are prepared to work your butt off to land that job. Strive to create a balance between your vision and what is realistic – there may be several steps along the path to your ultimate vision.

Creating a reverse-resume is a way to remind yourself that you are worth MORE than what’s listed on your regular old resume. You’ll still need a resume to market yourself, but your reverse-resume will help ensure you don’t sell yourself short.

Live Workshop!

Just a quick post to let you know about an upcoming workshop! The description and registration info is here:

Discover your Life Calling:

Do you feel unfulfilled, lacking direction or unhappy in your work or overall, in your life? Do you know there’s something more, but can’t figure out what it is? Do you believe you could be living a fuller expression of your life?

This two hour workshop is designed to help you begin the journey of discovering your life calling. The evening is interactive, creative, and introspective. Come prepared to write, create, explore your feelings and share with others. We will discuss what a life calling is (and isn’t) and examine the components and structure of a calling. Exercises designed to help you tune into your true self, own your passions, and unearth your talents and skills will allow your calling to begin to take shape.

When: Monday, 5/7 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Where: Roots & Wings Healing Arts 317 N. Main St., Natick, MA 01760

Fee: $30/$40 at the door

How to Register:  events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=6pbatrjab&oeidk=a07e5u61fr0d36f00e8

OR contact Jessica Sweet with questions or to register by phone:

(781) 640-7250, or email: jessica@wishingwellcoach.com.

Is the search for a life’s calling a “luxury problem”?

      Is your yacht in the shop, again? Seriously? I hate that. I also can’t stand it when I can’t decide which of my cars to drive, or whether I should go to Hawaii or Italy for vacation. Isn’t life so hard?

Ok. I have no yacht, I drive a (messy) mini-van, and I’ve never been to Hawaii OR Italy. Seriously though, people have a lot of misconceptions about life callings, and one of them is that the search for a life calling is a “luxury problem” like those above. To most people, what is more realistic is what I someone told me at a networking event: “Life calling? I can’t even pay my rent. I’ll worry about that when I’ve got a couple of million dollars to keep me warm.” Well, yes, you could wait that long, but then how much of your life will have you wasted doing things you don’t love?

A life calling is not a “luxury” problem just for those who have nothing better to worry about. Neither is it a metaphysical issue (see Life Callings for the Mainstream). A life calling is quite simply a statement of what your life is about and what you are here to do. Think of it like a business mission statement. This statement is a way for a business to describe why they are in existence. Wikipedia defines a business mission statment like this:

“A mission statement is a statement of the purpose of a company or organization. The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making. It provides “the framework or context within which the company’s strategies are formulated.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_statement

In the same way, your life calling is your mission statement. It describes your purpose, guides your actions, spells out your goals, provides your path and helps guide your decision making. We use these ideas all the time when it comes to business – and we agree they are essential. But when it comes to our lives, we feel that strategic planning is for many reasons, not something we should be doing. Businesses that only spend their time resolving day-to-day crises don’t end up where they envision themselves, and we don’t end up with meaningful and happy lives unless we can spend the time it takes defining what is meaningful to us.

“OK, I’m convinced. But how the heck do you find your life calling?” you ask. I’m not going to lie: it takes soul searching. It requires the ability to work on this issue which, though essential, is all too easily ignored. And it requires a good dose of faith in yourself.

Here’s the crash course:

1. Listen to yourself. Not the part of you that’s afraid, that tries to people-please, or who believes you can’t. Listen to your True Self.

2. Identify your Passions. What makes you feel alive?

3. Think about your skills. What you’re great at, both learned and natural talents.

4. What do you love to give to others?

5. What is your essence? Who are you really?

6. Understand your life experiences. What has life been trying to teach you?

Call it whatever you’d like: A life’s calling, a personal mission statement, your purpose, or something else.  Taking the time to find the life that fits for you is not a luxury. It is essential to helping you define and create the life you want so you live with no regrets.

For more help getting started, get my FREE article “Find Your Life Calling.”

The Giving Experiment

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I have an idea that is slowly forming. I’ve talked to some pretty smart people about it, and each time I do, the idea changes and grows a bit. I don’t know the final form this idea will take, or if it will be a series of ideas all carried out in different ways. That’s why it’s aptly named The Giving Experiment.

You see, one of my core beliefs, and an idea that Wishingwell Life Coaching is based upon, is that if we all do with our lives what we are “supposed” to do – whatever uses our talents, makes us giddy with joy, and that which naturally flows from us – then we are contributing to the world at our highest potential. Giving, in this way, seems essential for our happiness as individuals and for the overall happiness of the machine of society. If each of us “cogs” isn’t doing their part, the machine fails. Forgive me for calling you a cog, but while we are all unique and gifted individuals we are also piece of the beautiful tapestry of life. If we don’t live to our potential, we leave the place filled with holes.

Giving in this way inspires me, and I want to share that inspiration with others. The Giving Experiment is a way to do that. So for Challenge One of The Giving Experiment I want to invite all of you to become contributors on my Pinterest pinboard “Giving.”

If you are not familiar with Pinterest, here’s how it describes itself: “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.”

On my “Giving” pinboard, I’d love for you all to contribute words or pictures that capture how you give back, something that inspires you about how others give of themselves, something you’d like to make a difference about and more. Make sure to include the story behind the picture so we all get it. A pinboard created by all of us will be very cool! It’s going to capture the unique ways we give to the world and create a community of like-minded people: those dedicated to making the world a better place through sharing what they have to give.

To contribute, send me your Pintrest username by emailing it to me at jessica@wishingwellcoach.com , and I’ll add you as a contributor to the board.

Life Callings for the Mainstream

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So just how “out there” is the idea of having a life calling? Is it the stuff of tea leaves and crystal balls, or is it an important factor if you are interested in consciously designing your life (and not letting life just happen to you)?

Unless you ask yourself some pretty fundamental questions about what you want to do, what you want your life to look like, and how you want to feel, you are probably going to end up with a life that is in “default” mode: You go into accounting because your dad was an accountant, or even because you like numbers – while never looking deeper at what you want your life to be or where you want to end up. And one day you realize you are miserable doing the work you are doing. But you are afraid it is too late to make a change. (Don’t worry, it’s not.)

A life calling doesn’t have to be thought of as a magical or metaphysical thing. It is quite simply something that is woven together from your passions, skills, essence, life experiences, and what you love to give to others. It can be thought of fairly scientifically with this formula, and it can be found by examining each of these pieces closely.

Now, I would be lying if I tried to pretend that I approach the subject this scientifically. I do believe that somehow in this life we are all set on a path for learning, growth and giving that influences who we are, what we experience, and what we love in order to perfectly shape and create a life that helps us grow, while at the same time enabling us to be happy. Can you believe that what you would love to do most and what you are best at is also the thing that will make you the happiest? How cool is that?

But if you just don’t believe there is something set out before you that you are supposed to accomplish, surely you can get behind the idea that doing some things will make you happier than others. Let’s compare running a business to running a life: When you run a business, if you want it to be successful, it’s not enough to do the next thing that is before you and put out fires (that is, it’s not enough to work IN your business). You need to think about your business, create a business plan, a mission and a vision, and action steps to achieving them (to be successful you’ll need to work ON your business). Same is true with life. It’s not reasonable to think you will end up with a wildly successful life (whatever your definition of that is) if you don’t have a mission and vision, action steps, and a plan.

Why wouldn’t you think about what would make you really, really happy (vision) and build on that? And if you don’t know where to start with it, why wouldn’t you start there? Why stay stuck just hoping to win the lottery, be recognized, or wishing for some other change? It ain’t gonna happen unless you make it happen. But the good news is, making it happen is completely within your power, whether you believe that your calling has been created for you or is of your own creation.

 

The Devil You Don’t: What if I have no idea what I want next?

Where do I start if I have no idea what I want next? I’ve run into this question a few times over the past several weeks. I’ve talked to a couple of people who are feeling completely overwhelmed at not only the prospect of being motivated to do something (find a new job, get out of a terrible relationship), but also of the idea of having to create whatever it is that happens next.

We are not dummies. We know when our jobs stink or our relationships need fixing or ending. But we stay stuck in bad situations out of fear. Fear of being alone, fear of not being able to pay the bills, but mostly fear of being in charge of designing what happens next. What if you have no idea what you want, but you only know it isn’t THIS?

Ah, I’m glad you asked! Fear of transitions is completely normal. Hence the expression about the devil you know and the devil you don’t. But the truth is that with a little soul searching you don’t have to face a devil you don’t know. You can figure out what you want next. It doesn’t have to be a devil you don’t know, and it doesn’t have to be a devil at all.

My experience tells me that while many people need help getting over hurdles to goals that they’ve clearly articulated and really want (without self-sabotaging emotional baggage about why you shouldn’t or can’t have it) once they are at that point, they are 85% of the way there. (OK, I completely made up that statistic, but you get my point). It’s not that the major thing that holds us back is lack of motivation, know how, and the like. It’s that we don’t know what it is we truly want.

Imagine being in the situation of hating your job. (Maybe you don’t have to imagine very hard). You know what to expect: the boss you hate, too much work that is no longer fun, and a steady pay check. The idea of finding something you love may seem impossible, frivolous, and terrifying when you don’t know where to start. Here’s what I suggest:

  • Start keeping a journal of any interactions or situations that give you a little zap of feeling alive. Was it when you were out at a nice dinner, helping someone solve a problem, or handing in a completed project? No matter how small that feeling, write it down and see if you can start to put together a theme of when you feel at your best.
  • Look at your skills. I’m not talking about the latest web technology you learned. Don’t recreate your resume. I’m talking about your innate skills. If you are great at learning web technology because you love it, then that should go on your list. Or if you want someone in your life who will appreciate your ability to listen, write it down. Chances are, you are really good at certain things because you love to do them, and if you love to do them they somehow fit into the puzzle of what is next.
  • Get some help. Whether it’s professional coaching or a good friend, having someone listen and offer another perspective can be helpful. You may gain insights into yourself that will help you write the next chapter.

It’s both scary and empowering to think that we get to choose what happens next in our lives. But if you can push into the fear of change knowing that there is hope, that you can figure out and create what you want, then hopefully that will outweigh the fear (and downright hopelessness) of staying stuck forever in a situation you hate. You are the only person with the power to make a change. Otherwise you will stay stuck in this same situation, or one equally difficult. But if you can find the courage to take a look, my guess is that you will figure it out and you’ll be too excited about the change to even have time to feel afraid.