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The Family Dimension

In previous posts, I talked about the five dimension approach I talk to life coaching. In the last two posts, I talked about the physical dimension. In this one, I talk about the family dimension. Often, this is the area clients feel they neglect the most in the hustle and bustle of every day life. They allow work schedules to overwhelm them and turn around one day to see their toddlers just days away from entering high school or worse putting on their graduation cap and gown. Suddenly, they discover the need for balance in their life realizing it is too late to bring back the years they have lost with their children.

Family Dimension: Multiple relationshipsfamily dimension

My approach to the family dimension looks at two branches of this area that may seem a little different from others. The first area will be familiar to you, I’m sure. It deals with the relationships in the family. I try to explore with you what kind of relationships you want and what kind of relationships you have. Relationships is purposely plural because their are many in every family. Parents influence us, whether alive or passed on. Whether we come from a great, loving environment or a broken home. Whether we have been abused or witnessed abuse at the hands of one or both parents. These have impacts on us in many ways.

Next we look at the relationship with your spouse. Is it what you want? Can it be better? Did you expect him or her to change? If so, that’s an unrealistic expectation in marriage. What about you? Did you change? Probably not. So what’s different from when you first met and how do you bring that spark back? What kind of relationship are you looking for and how do you get there from where you are? Is this a first, second, third, … marriage? If multiple marriages, is it your spouse that causes the issues? Why are you attracted the same kind of person?

How about relationships with children or stepchildren? How do you handle the stress that comes from conflicting schedules? What are your parenting issues? Having raised a boy and a girl who are now out on their own with spouses and with three grand kids, I’ve learned a few successes and a few mistakes along the way. What are you looking for and how do you get from where you are to where you want to be?

How about relationships with your siblings? Are you close? Do you want to be? How about with their spouses and children? How do you begin to have the relationship you envision with them? Is it possible? What if it doesn’t happen? Can you handle being rejected or isolated from your siblings if their beliefs are unlike yours? How if your beliefs and values are important to you?

What about your extended family relationships? These can get convoluted in our society where more than fifty percent of the population live in broken homes. Multiple sets of grandparents, aunts and uncles kids have never seen, maybe even unknown brother and sisters from multiple marriages. Family relationships can get very complicated, very quickly.

Relationships in families can be difficult, but are some of the most important parts of life. A life coach can help you priorities and create the relationships you want.

Family Dimension: Financesfamily dimension, money

The second part of the family dimension that I talk about in my approach is family spending habits. While I discuss job and career and earning as part of security under the physical dimension, real financial security comes from spending less than you make. Those decisions should always come through family discussion and consensus. More divorces happen over money than any other single issue, so it’s important to discuss spending early and often in every healthy marriage. Until the family learns to spend less than the family makes, finances will continue to drive a wedge between partners. There are things you can do to reduce spending and get finances under control. Once money is no longer a wedge, relationships can grow.


Physical Dimension Means Secure, Too

Physical Security and Health

When I talk to my clients about the physical dimension of life and life balance, I talk about three things. First, the security that comes from good health. I mentioned the three components Americans don’t do well in my last post, Physical Dimension of Life Balance, nutrition, sleep, and activity. When we maintain our health, we feel more secure about ourselves and our future. Illness pulls us into depressed states and makes it much more difficult to feel secure about other aspect of life.

Physical Security and Job, Career, or Purpose

physical security_career best adviceThe second aspect of security I share with clients centers around career, job, finance, knowing you have some kind of wealth to fall back on as you face increased responsibilities, grow older, and come closer to the end of life. At twenty, losing everything you own is not such a big deal. My first moves were in the back of my car. Most of you can remember those days. In my mid-thirties, it was a very different story. I had a wife and two kids to consider. It was okay if I was destitute, but I could never allow them to be destitute. I needed an income, a place for them to feel safe, clothes and food for them. I wanted more for them than just necessities. In my forties, it was about college bills, getting my kids into the right schools, establish their own skills and career patterns so they could succeed themselves (and move out of the house!). Now in my late fifties, it’s a question of whether I can build the right retirement portfolio before I quit working or reach a point when I can no longer work. And when I hit the magic age when I cannot work, I’m sure the security questions will revolve around what home will my kids put us in and is there enough money to pay for it.

Physical security in this second meaning, then, ties closely to two other dimensions, family and spiritual. Let me explain. It ties to family because financial security is never about how much you earn, but rather about how much you spend and that involves family spending habits and expectations. The problem with most families in financial trouble is not how much they make, but how much they spend. When you spend more than you make, you never catch up. That’s the problem with the current administration’s “get out of debt” concept. You can never spend your way out of debt!

Physical security ties to the spiritual dimension because it’s in that dimension that you find purpose for your life. When you know why you are here, you can do more than just find a job that puts food on the table. The reason 65% of workers are unhappy in their jobs is because they never match purpose with career and job. They pick up the paper or search the internet, apply for something they think they can do, get a job and get stuck. They never figure out their purpose in life and never pursue a career in which they will truly be happy.

Security is important. A job can make you feel secure, but it cannot make you happy. A career can make you feel more secure than a job, but again, you may not be happy in your career if it doesn’t make your purpose in life. By matching your purpose, career, and job. You will enjoy what you do, make money doing it, and feel secure in it because you know you are made for that purpose.

Physical Security and Safety

A third part of physical security is safety. I mention it briefly because if safety is an issue, it must be dealt with swiftly and is really out of the purview of life coaches. If you do not feel physically safe where you are, do something about it…now. Whether it involves police, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, carpenters or construction workers, marital counselors, or some other specialty to intervene, take care of the safety issues in your life immediately. You cannot continue to live in what you perceive is an unsafe environment.

 

 


Physical Dimension of Life Balance

The physical dimension of life balance is one often overlooked by Americans. We spend billions of dollars every year in healthcare, yet we are one of the unhealthiest countries. The Army Surgeon General, Lieutenant General Patricia Horoho began a campaign when she entered her position to try to stem the tide of deteriorating health among military members’ long-term healthcare needs by focusing on three simple areas that produce long-lasting results in this physical dimension, nutrition, sleep, and activity.physical dimention

Nutrition – Eating Right

Americans top the list in terms of eating the wrong things at the wrong time. We know what’s right, but just fail to follow the rules. Because of our affluence in the world, we have a tendency to eat tremendous amounts of sugars and fats, grains and processed foods. More than any other country we over indulge and eat more. We want our money’s worth! So we go for the buffet lines. Consequently, our adults are morbidly obese, our kids are obese, and we have the highest diabetes rate in the world. Is it genetics? If it was, it would be type I not type II. Face it, we’re fat because we eat too much of the wrong stuff.

The answer to our physical dilemma? Eat right. Look up a heart healthy or diabetic diet and follow it. Period. Start early. Put your kids on it…now! Teach them that fruit and vegetables are better than chocolate cake…by example! Take the soft drinks out of the house, make them an exception to the rule instead of the drink of choice. There are a lot of fad diets out there that won’t work. Sure they will take off pounds, but the pounds will come back as soon as the diet ends.

The secret to weight loss and healthy living is lifestyle change. That’s where the heart healthy or diabetic diets (they are almost the same) come in. You can change to these diets for a life time and make them your lifestyle eating habits. If you value your physical condition, change your eating habits. it will make a world of different in how you feel day to day.

Sleep – the body’s time to heal

Before electricity, we went to sleep when the sun went down and woke up when the sun came up. We took naps when we got tired and our bodies told us what to do and we did it. Somehow in the last century we decided it wasn’t good to listen to our bodies and most Americans figured out we don’t need as much sleep. We stay up all hours of the night, force ourselves awake with a blaring alarm clock, drag through the day, fall asleep on the coach watching TV, but stay up to watch that movie we just can’t miss and end up going to bed at 1:00. Then start the process again the next day.

Take a few months and figure out what your optimum sleep time really is. Go to bed at the same time every night. No TV, no radio, no distractions. Just a dark room. Set your alarm if you have to, but get up when you wake up and see how long you’ve slept and how you feel during the day. Start at 10:00 for one week, move an hour either way. Tired may mean either too much sleep or too little sleep. Most adults need 7 – 9 hours sleep. Most teenagers need 9 – 12 hours sleep. Most children need 10 – 12 hours sleep. It depends on the person’s metabolism, but figure out what’s right for you. It’s during your sleep that the body heals itself. To improve your physical condition, figure out how much sleep is right for you, not too much, not too little.

When you find the magic number, you’ll find you seldom need an alarm clock. Go to bed at the same time every night. Make yourself a routine. Plan to go to bed at or near the same time every night. Get up at the same time every morning. Even on those day that you could sleep in – don’t! If you find you have to stay up for a special event on some nights, that’s okay, get up at the usual time the next day, but schedule a power nap during the day to let your body catch up on sleep. Don’t break the wake up times. You’re body will thank you for it in the long run.

It really is okay to schedule power naps. A ten minute power nap can do wonders for you in the middle of the day. More than twenty minutes, though, will give you a groggy feeling that is hard to get over, so don’t plan longer than a fifteen minute rest. There are relaxation techniques that can help you get into a restful state quickly to take full advantage of those ten minutes if you have trouble clearing your mind or relaxing. The last ten minutes of a lunch break or that dreaded 2 o’clock wall is a great time to plan a short power pick me up nap.

Activity – moving doesn’t mean becoming a jock

Americans somehow equate the mandate to get active with going to the gym five days a week working out with weights and running a hundred miles a week. Because we see all the gym advertisements and the specimens of physical perfection encouraging us to work out, we slugs assume they must not be talking to us, right? And so we sit on our couch and stuff ourselves with potato chips as we think about what a slug we’ve become.

The third stool of staying healthy doesn’t mean becoming a jock. It means moving every day. So what is that exactly. It means quit circling the parking lot trying to find the closest space. Instead, just park and walk. After all, you’re going to walk every aisle in the store anyway, right? Just add some more steps in the parking lot. It means walk up one flight of stairs and down two flights instead of taking the elevator. It means if you’re at an open air mall, don’t move the car if you’re going to another store, just walk. It means walk around the block. It means if you own a business, reserve your parking place at the back of the parking lot instead of at the door (that’s good customer relations anyway!).

Just move. Make it a point to add some physical activity to your life. Get up off the couch and do some physical things that raise your heart rate a little. Do some things that move your muscles and joints every day. Do so physical things that will let your body recognize that you are not hibernating.

How do you manage these three components of your life?

What are your tricks for eating right? sleeping right? moving more?

How do you avoid the temptations to fall back into bad lifestyle patterns?

 


Life in the fast lane

The older I get the faster time seems to move. I used to have a theory about it that time was just a perception based on your age. A year to a two-year old is a long time, 50% of their life. Now, pushing the big six-oh, a year is less than 2% of the span that I can draw from in my memories. Of course, that assumes I can remember anything longer than what I ate for breakfast. Now I’m not so sure about my theory anymore. I’m beginning to think time does slip away faster than it did ten years ago. So what does this have to do with a life coach?

I think time moves fast because we have things so turned around. We somehow got the impression that a productive calendar means no white space left on them. I fell into the trap. It took my wife and kids continually reminding me, disease processes, and hitting the magic 30 years in the Army to finally figure out I was way out of balance. I’m hoping I can share through this blog and a new career path a better way of living for some who head down that same dead-end before it is too late.

So what does a life coach do and what do I mean by balance in your life? In other parts of this website you can explore some of the aspects of balance. You can see my credentials in the About Me page, but the model the Army uses with its five dimensions of physical, family, spiritual, emotional, and social wellness are pretty good starting places. If you’re not looking out for yourself in all of them, you’re out of balance. A life coach will help you assess yourself in each of these areas and see how you’re faring. They will help you set goals to balance those areas and action plans to achieve those goals.

Remember, though, life coaches are not magicians. Like an athletic coach, they will point you in the right direction, but you must expect to do the work. Kobe Bryant has a shooting coach. His shooting coach seldom breaks a sweat, but has propelled Kobe as one of the best scorers in the NBA. Likewise, Mickey Mantle had a batting coach. Unfortunately, what he didn’t have, was a life coach he would listen to.

So how do you manage to balance your life? What are your secrets to getting everything done in a world that pushes for every minute filled with activity? What are your goals in each of the five dimensions – physical, family, spiritual, emotional, social?