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The Pivotal Perspectives Coaching Blog

17January

A Time for Change

With the start of a new year, many people are resolving to make some positive changes in their lives.  Statistics show that while over half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only about 8% succeed in achieving their goals. Anyone who works out in a gym will attest to this phenomenon --come January 1st, you have to fight to get on a treadmill, while just a few weeks later, you can generally have your pick of machines.

What is it that makes us abandon the positive intentions that we set for ourselves?

Posted in Coaching

28September

What is Life Coaching?

Is Life Coaching Right for You?

Wondering if you could benefit from a life coach?  The answer is yes if you can relate to any of the following:


   You are not happy with your current life situation, but you feel stuck and are not sure what to change

   You have trouble staying motivated

   You have goals, but find it hard to keep on track, and succumb to procrastination

   You have something important in your life that you keep thinking about, but never take any steps to get there


Wondering what it is a life coach does and what its like to work with a coach? In short, we look at the world through the eyes of our clients, ask questions to help evoke their own best answers, and then provide support, positivity and accountability as clients progress on their journey towards attaining the life they want.  In addition, a great coach also provides meaningful perspectives and insights that give the client greater awareness about themselves.


As far as what a life coaching session is like, we usually begin by asking our clients to fill out a discovery sheet before their first session to help us understand what they want to accomplish.  During each session, our clients have the undivided attention of our coaches. We create a comfortable, nonjudgmental and confidential space for them to figure out the best solutions for their best life.  Clients often remark about how powerful the exploration process is and how much more motivated they feel to embark on their actions plans at the end of each session.


During the sessions, the client sets the agenda; sessions run according to what the client would like to work on most at the time.  Typically, we like to begin by examining whether the goals our clients set for themselves are in alignment with their core values.  Each individual has a different set of values (there is no right or wrong) each persons core values are exactly right for them.  For those who are not quite certain of what their values are, we help them build self-awareness as to what they value most in the world.


Once the clients understand their core values, we look at how they relate to their life, and partner with them to best achieve whatever it is they want in accordance with their values.  Using evidence-based practices, we help our clients discover the best answers to chart their path toward their goals.  Since action is by far the quickest way to improve any situation, we encourage clients to design specific actions that they can take between sessions and hold them accountable.


We are often asked about the differences between coaching and psychotherapy.  While there is certainly a great deal of overlap between the two, there are also many differences. As coaches, we frequently use positive psychology techniques to create awareness in our clients that can lead to a better understanding of ones strengths and values, and help create actionable strategies for change.  While we acknowledge and work on emotions and issues, we do not focus on the pathology of those problems.  Rather we work on creating new strategies for progress. So while coaching is more action-oriented and forward-looking, psychology tends to focus on the fixing the pathology of problems.  The true emphasis in coaching is on action, accountability, and follow-through; it supports personal growth, professional growth, and over-all development based on self-initiated change.


Perspective clients often ask us, what is the investment on my end? First, there is a financial investment.  Sessions do cost money, but the financial investment is minimal when you consider the huge benefits you receive from coaching. 


The second investment necessary for a successful coaching partnership is your time and willingness to do the work, not only during sessions, but also in between.  Coaching is about creating forward movement and positive change.  While we will support you and provide you with meaningful accountabilities, you are the one making the changes. Being ready and willing to do so will make your coaching experience very rich and rewarding!


So, if you are willing to make a small financial investment, a reasonable investment of your time and energy, and you choose the right coach, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by hiring a professional life coach! Step into a life of choice and action thats aligned with your goals and values!   Call us today and start your coaching journey towards greater happiness and success.



Posted in Coaching

26August

Work Life Balance

Five Tips for Improving Work-Life Balance

Moving Towards Work/Life Balance


What does work-life balance feel like?  Just like your own physical balance, work-life balance is unique for each person and will look and feel differently for each of us.  The work-life balance that is optimal for you may not be what is optimal for your partner, friend, neighbor or colleague.  As individuals, we each need to seek to be continually moving towards our own optimal state of work-life balance.

Most of us know what it feels like when our work-life balance is off.  We feel tired, drained, burnt-out, under-motivated, snappish, anxious, bored, unsatisfied, unfulfilled, joyless, etc.  It is important to be mindful when we start to drift towards these feelings.  As the shift away from balance occurs, we need to start thinking about the steps we want to take to move back towards that feeling of balance. 

We all strive to find that balance point where we are motivated, engaged, fulfilled and satisfied with just enough joy-filled outside of work experiences to keep us connected to ourselves outside of work.

 Now that we know the signs of moving away from balance, what are some things we can do to reinstate that balance most people crave?

Five Tips for Improving Work-Life Balance

  1. Be mindful of what allowed your drift away from balance to occur.  Are you working more to avoid certain things in your personal life?  Do you need to address those issues so that you can leave work behind and enjoy your home life? (ex: Conflict at home with your partner may tempt you to work long hours to avoid confrontations or uncomfortable interactions.)
  2. Review your ability to set boundaries between work and life.  (ex: Perhaps you take calls, answer emails, schedule meetings, review work or produce work product outside of your expected work hours.)
  3. Use your time at work in the most productive manner.  Do you work efficiently, have good work systems in place and maintain your focus on tasks at hand during designated work hours?  When you are at home, are you able to focus on your home-life in a fulfilling way? (ex: You habitually check personal email, social media, make personal calls, etc. during work hours or allow your attention to drift to work responsibilities during family time or social engagements.)
  4. Whether at home or at work, make joy or enjoyment your priority. (ex: You look for ways to make all situations the best they can be, have a positive outlook and handle adversities with a resilient spirit.)
  5. Use your calendar for both work responsibilities and social engagements.  Keep track of your calendar, pace yourself and remain mindful of your energy. (ex: Your calendar reflects a balance of work related responsibilities as well as fulfilling social engagements.  You keep yourself aware of your calendar and maintain it regularly.)

One of the best reasons to hire a life coach is seeking help to restore your personal sense of work-life balance.  A great coach can help you become aware of why life feels out of whack and help you put together a road map for getting back on track. 

In addition, your coach will help you move through the steps needed to achieve your goal of improved work-life balance.  The two of you will break down the steps you need to take into manageable actions.  Your coach will also help keep you accountable to making the progress you seek.

Achieving what you feel is your optimal work-life balance is not easy!  The people around you that have managed to achieve it have worked very hard to do so.  If you feel terrified to let go at work in order to have a more balanced life, consider the fact that the word “terrified” describes your state of being with respect to how you spend forty hours or more of your week!  Consider that any life worth living is one where you are able to live in peace and “at-choice” with your daily life. 

If your life is running you, maybe now is the time to enlist in help to get you back in the driver’s seat of your own life.  Contact the coaches at Pivotal Perspectives Life Coaching today to schedule a complimentary session.

Posted in Coaching

07August

50 Tips for Managing ADHD

ADHD Tips from Ned Hallowell and John Ratey

Two of the world’s leading experts on ADHD and the treatment/management of ADHD have put together a list of 50 tips for managing the deficits caused by ADHD.  I wanted to share this list as I have found it to be very useful when working with clients.



50 Tips for the non-medication treatment of ADHD

by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D.



The treatment of adult ADHD begins with hope.



We break down the treatment of adult ADHD into five basic areas:



•    Diagnosis

•    Education

•    Structure, support, and coaching

•    Various forms of psychotherapy

•    Medication



Insight and Education

1.    Be sure of the diagnosis. Make sure you’re working with a professional who really understands ADHD and has excluded related or similar conditions such as anxiety states, agitated depression, hyperthyroidism, manic-depressive illness, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

2.    Educate yourself. Perhaps the single most powerful treatment for ADHD is understanding ADHD in the first place. Read books. Talk with professionals. Talk with other adults who have ADHD. You’ll be able to design your own treatment to fit your own version of ADHD.

3.    Coaching. It is useful for you to have a coach, for some person near you to keep after you, but always with humor. Your coach can help you get organized, stay on task, give you encouragement or remind you to get back to work. Friend, colleague, or therapist (it is possible, but risky for your coach to be your spouse), a coach is someone to stay on you to get things done, exhort you as coaches do, keep tabs on you, and in general be in your corner. A coach can be tremendously helpful in treating ADHD.

4.    Encouragement. ADHD adults need lots of encouragement. This is in part due to their having many self-doubts that have accumulated over the years. But it goes beyond that. More than the average person, the ADHD adult withers without encouragement and positively lights up like a Christmas tree when given it. They will often work for another person in a way they won’t work for themselves. This is not “bad”, it just is. It should be recognized and taken advantage of.

5.    Realize what H is NOT, i.e., conflict with mother, etc.

6.    Educate and involve others. Just as it is key for you to understand ADHD, it equally if not more important for those around you to understand it–family, job, school, friends. Once they get the concept they will be able to understand you much better and to help you as well.

7.    Give up guilt over high-stimulus-seeking behavior. Understand that you are drawn to high stimuli. Try to choose them wisely, rather than brooding over the “bad” ones.

8.    Listen to feedback from trusted others. Adults (and children, too) with ADHD are notoriously poor self-observers. They use a lot of what can appear to be denial.

9.    Consider joining or starting a support group. Much of the most useful information about ADHD has not yet found its way into books but remains stored in the minds of the people who have ADHD. In groups this information can come out. Plus, groups are really helpful in giving the kind of support that is so badly needed.

10.    Try to get rid of the negativity that may have infested your system if you have lived for years without knowing what you had was ADHD. A good psychotherapist may help in this regard.

11.    Don’t feel chained to conventional careers or conventional ways of coping. Give yourself permission to be yourself. Give up trying to be the person you always thought you should be–the model student or the organized executive, for example–and let yourself be who you are.

12.    Remember that what you have is a neuropsychiatric condition. It is genetically transmitted. It is caused by biology, by how your brain is wired. It is NOT a disease of the will, nor a moral failing. It is NOT caused by a weakness in character, nor by a failure to mature. It’s cure is not to be found in the power of the will, nor in punishment, nor in sacrifice, nor in pain. ALWAYS REMEMBER THIS. Try as they might, many people with ADHD have great trouble accepting the syndrome as being rooted in biology rather than weakness of character.

13.    Try to help others with ADHD. You’ll learn a lot about the condition in the process, as well as feel good to boot.

Performance Management

14.    External structure. Structure is the hallmark of the non-pharmacological treatment of the ADHD child. It can be equally useful with adults. Tedious to set up, once in place structure works like the walls of the bobsled slide, keeping the speedball sled from careening off the track.

15.    Make frequent use of:

◦    lists

◦    color-coding

◦    reminders

◦    notes to self

◦    rituals

◦    files

16.    Color coding. Mentioned above, color-coding deserves emphasis. Many people with ADHD are visually oriented. Take advantage of this by making things memorable with color: files, memoranda, texts, schedules, etc. Virtually anything in the black and white of type can be made more memorable, arresting, and therefore attention-getting with color.

17.    Use pizzazz. In keeping with #15, try to make your environment as peppy as you want it to be without letting it boil over.

18.    Set up your environment to reward rather than deflate. To understand what a deflating environment is, all most adult ADHD’ers need do is think back to school. Now that you have the freedom of adulthood, try to set things up so that you will not constantly be reminded of your limitations.

19.    Acknowledge and anticipate the inevitable collapse of X% of projects undertaken, relationships entered into, obligations incurred.

20.    Embrace challenges. ADHD people thrive with many challenges. As long as you know they won’t all pan out, as long as you don’t get too perfectionistic and fussy, you’ll get a lot done and stay out of trouble.

21.    Make deadlines.

22.    Break down large tasks into small ones. Attach deadlines to the small parts. Then, like magic, the large task will get done. This is one of the simplest and most powerful of all structuring devices. Often a large task will feel overwhelming to the person with ADHD. The mere thought of trying to perform the task makes one turn away. On the other hand, if the large task is broken down into small parts, each component may feel quite manageable.

23.    Prioritize. Avoid procrastination. When things get busy, the adult ADHD person loses perspective: paying an unpaid parking ticket can feel as pressing as putting out the fire that just got started in the wastebasket. Prioritize. Take a deep breath. Put first things first. Procrastination is one of the hallmarks of adult ADHD. You have to really discipline yourself to watch out for it and avoid it.

24.    Accept fear of things going well. Accept edginess when things are too easy, when there’s no conflict. Don’t gum things up just to make them more stimulating.

25.    Notice how and where you work best: in a noisy room, on the train, wrapped in three blankets, listening to music, whatever. Children and adults with ADHD can do their best under rather odd conditions. Let yourself work under whatever conditions are best for you.

26.    Know that it is O.K. to do two things at once: carry on a conversation and knit, or take a shower and do your best thinking, or jog and plan a business meeting. Often people with ADHD need to be doing several things at once in order to get anything done at all.

27.    Do what you’re good at. Again, if it seems easy, that is O.K. There is no rule that says you can only do what you’re bad at.

28.    Leave time between engagements to gather your thoughts. Transitions are difficult for ADHD’ers, and mini-breaks can help ease the transition.

29.    Keep a notepad in your car, by your bed, and in your pocketbook or jacket. You never know when a good idea will hit you, or you’ll want to remember something else.

30.    Read with a pen in hand, not only for marginal notes or underlining, but for the inevitable cascade of “other” thoughts that will occur to you.

Mood Management

31.    Have structured “blow-out” time. Set aside some time in every week for just letting go. Whatever you like to do–blasting yourself with loud music, taking a trip to the race track, having a feast–pick some kind of activity from time to time where you can let loose in a safe way.

32.    Recharge your batteries. Related to #30, most adults with ADHD need, on a daily basis, some time to waste without feeling guilty about it. One guilt-free way to conceptualize it is to call it time to recharge your batteries. Take a nap, watch T.V., meditate. Something calm, restful, at ease.

33.    Choose “good”, helpful addictions such as exercise. Many adults with ADHD have an addictive or compulsive personality such that they are always hooked on something. Try to make this something positive.

34.    Understand mood changes and ways to manage these. Know that your moods will change willy-nilly, independent of what’s going on in the external world. Don’t waste your time ferreting out the reason why or looking for someone to blame. Focus rather on learning to tolerate a bad mood, knowing that it will pass, and learning strategies to make it pass sooner. Changing sets, i.e., getting involved with some new activity (preferably interactive) such as a conversation with a friend or a tennis game or reading a book will often help.

35.    Related to #34, recognize the following cycle which is very common among adults with ADHD: Something “startles” your psychological system, a change or transition, a disappointment or even a success. The precipitant may be quite trivial. This “startle” is followed by a mini-panic with a sudden loss of perspective, the world being set topsy-turvy. You try to deal with this panic by falling into a mode of obsessing and ruminating over one or another aspect of the situation. This can last for hours, days, even months.

36.    Plan scenarios to deal with the inevitable blahs. Have a list of friends to call. Have a few videos that always engross you and get your mind off things. Have ready access to exercise. Have a punching bag or pillow handy if there’s extra angry energy. Rehearse a few pep talks you can give yourself, like, “You’ve been here before. These are the ADHD blues. They will soon pass. You are O.K.”

37.    Expect depression after success. People with ADHD commonly complain of feeling depressed, paradoxically, after a big success. This is because the high stimulus of the chase or the challenge or the preparation is over. The deed is done. Win or lose, the adult with ADHD misses the conflict, the high stimulus, and feels depressed.

38.    Learn symbols, slogans, sayings as shorthand ways of labelling and quickly putting into perspectives slip-ups, mistakes, or mood swings. When you turn left instead of right and take your family on a 20-minute detour, it is better to be able to say, “There goes my ADHD again,” than to have a 6-hour fight over your unconscious desire to sabotage the whole trip. These are not excuses. You still have to take responsibility for your actions. It is just good to know where your actions are coming from and where they’re not.

39.    Use “time-outs” as with children. When you are upset or overstimulated, take a time-out. Go away. Calm down.

40.    Learn how to advocate for yourself. Adults with ADHD are so used to being criticized, they are often unnecessarily defensive in putting their own case forward. Learn to get off the defensive.

41.    Avoid premature closure of a project, a conflict, a deal, or a conversation. Don’t “cut to the chase” too soon, even though you’re itching to.

42.    Try to let the successful moment last and be remembered, become sustaining over time. You’ll have to consciously and deliberately train yourself to do this because you’ll just as soon forget.

43.    Remember that ADHD usually includes a tendency to overfocus or hyperfocus at times. This hyperfocusing can be used constructively or destructively. Be aware of its destructive use: a tendency to obsess or ruminate over some imagined problem without being able to let it go.

44.    Exercise vigorously and regularly. You should schedule this into your life and stick with it. Exercise is positively one of the best treatments for ADHD. It helps work off excess energy and aggression in a positive way, it allows for noise-reduction within the mind, it stimulates the hormonal and neurochemical system in a most therapeutic way, and it soothes and calms the body. When you add all that to the well-known health benefits of exercise, you can see how important exercise is. Make it something fun so you can stick with it over the long haul, i.e., the rest of your life.

45.    Make a good choice in a significant other. Obviously this is good advice for anyone. But it is striking how the adult with ADHD can thrive or flounder depending on the choice of mate.

46.    Learn to joke with yourself and others about your various symptoms, from forgetfulness, to getting lost all the time, to being tactless or impulsive, whatever. If you can be relaxed about it all to have a sense of humor, others will forgive you much more.

47.    Schedule activities with friends. Adhere to these schedules faithfully. It is crucial for you to keep connected to other people.

48.    Find and join groups where you are liked, appreciated, understood, enjoyed. Conversely, don’t stay too long where you aren’t understood or appreciated.

49.    Pay compliments. Notice other people. In general, get social training, as from your coach.

50.    Set social deadlines.

 

02August

How to Maintain an Active Lifestyle

How to Choose the Right Reason to Exercise

Motivating You to Continue Exercising

There is a famous cartoon that pictures a man sitting in a doctor’s office.  The doctor says to the patient, “Well, you can exercise one hour a day or be dead for 24.”

This is how the majority of people think about exercise – as a means of delaying death.  Not such a positive message, right?

Not only is it a doomsday message, but we also know from research data that the efficacy of this strategy to help people sustain an exercise commitment is dismal. 

So why do we all believe that “getting healthy” is a good reason to help us sustain our exercise commitments?  Because it sounds like a logical strategy and because it is the primary message we hear from most health and fitness experts around the world.

Sadly, this message is not the right hook to keep you exercising.

Achieving health and fitness is a long-term goal that takes time, energy and commitment.  There is no immediate gratification associated with the idea of “HEALTH”. 

As humans, we are hard-wired to want immediate gratification.  Generally speaking, we want what we want, when we want it because that makes us feel good.  So, how is our desire for immediate gratification tied to sustaining exercise habits over a lifetime?

It turns out that without an immediate return on investment with respect to exercise, most people will not be motivated to sustain an active lifestyle.

What can you do to increase your chances of staying active throughout your life?

Step one:

Find out what your real immediate return on investment (ROI) is with exercise and focus on that!

HINT: Something positive that makes exercise a gift to yourself: “I will have increased energy and reduced stress throughout the day if I exercise!”

Step two:

Keep a flexible mindset with respect to exercise.  This means having an open mind about what exercise means. 

HINT: You may have in mind what you would like to do for exercise, but every now and then you might not want to do it.  Instead of applying willpower to “just get it done”, be flexible about what exercise might entail so you can enjoy some kind of activity without the negative impact of using willpower.

Step three:

Use a successful model like MAPS as a framework for coaching yourself to exercise. What is MAPS?  It is an acronym for a strategic model about exercise.  It looks like this:


Meaning: What does exercise means to you?

Awareness: What are our core beliefs about exercise?

Permission: Give yourself permission to make exercise a priority.

Strategy: How are you going to implement your intentions to exercise?

TAKEAWAYS AND TIPS:

  1. Change your language about exercise from “I should” exercise to “I am willing” to exercise.
  2. Sustained motivation to exercise stems from the finding the RIGHT REASON we initiate exercise in the first place!  When motivation is linked to distant, clinical, or abstract goals, health behaviors are not compelling enough to trump the many other daily goals and priorities they constantly compete with.
  3. It is the lack of permission to prioritize self-care that is often toughest nut to crack when creating a sustainable behavior change.   When looking for ways to give yourself Permission to make exercise a priority, ask yourself this: Why would self-care ever be considered self-indulgent?
  4. Make sure that your experience from exercise is positive.  If exercising at high intensities produces negative feeling for you about exercise, your chances of sustaining exercise are very low.  “No pain, no gain” does not work for most people – this is shown time and again in scientific research.  For sustainability, you need to choose physical activities that you enjoy!
  5. We know that moving our bodies is one of the best ways to release dopamine – the so-called “feel good” hormone in the body.  How do we link knowing this to wanting to exercise?  Tell yourself that by exercising today, you will feel great

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to believe that:


 You are your most functional and successful self when you exercise on a daily basis!