Archive for life coaching

The Importance of Relationships

planeLosing a friend this week reminded me again of the importance of relationships and nurturing the roots of our life. My friend, August was 84 and died of cancer he didn’t know he had. His suffering at the end was quick, going into the hospital on Tuesday, losing consciousness on Wednesday, and passing into eternity on Saturday morning. I knew he and his wife for fourteen years. They were married ten years ago, she lost her first husband in 1988 and he lost his wife not many years after that.

August was a sailor, a Navy Warrant Officer, proud of the uniform, proud of his country, proud to have served his nation. We shared war stories often. He honored those in uniform whenever given the chance. Every Memorial Day, every Flag Day, every 4th of July, every Veterans’ Day, whenever an opportunity came for special recognition of veterans in church or public events, he humbly stood with the crowd of veterans, but looked around and applauded the young men and women who stood with him, the volunteers who are protecting our nation today.

August was a father. He made mistakes along the way as we all do. In getting to know August over the last few years, especially as his prayer partner the last three years, he reflected on “redo” he’d like to have with his children. But growing up in an abusive home, never seeing how love and discipline should be expressed, he did what he thought was right, even knowing there was a gnawing feeling that it wasn’t. Regrets and long past memories are difficult to overcome without nurturing the spiritual root. Over the last three years in focused discipling, August did that. He found peace with himself, his God, and longed to share the same peace and joy with his children.

August was a husband. He loved his wife. At our weekly breakfasts together he spoke most often about her. He shared about their trips together and the joy they found in those. He share about her painting and the drive she has. He share about her faith and the way she manages to weather every storm that come into life. He shared so many stories and events that showed how much he cared for her. Sometimes he talked about the work he did for her in the flower beds, in the house, in the art gallery, in other places. He found it hard to keep up with her sometimes, but he worked hard to do it because he wanted to be where she was and aid her in whatever way he could.

August was a friend. He took time for people. He didn’t get in a hurry. He talked to anyone who wanted to talk. He would share time with the waitresses at the restaurant where we ate each Wednesday. He stopped to talk at the register. He talked in the grocery store or in the lobby at the church. Wherever he went, he was ready to spend time with people. He understood that people need relationships and was just ready to be there to lend whatever hand he could, even at 84.

We will miss August, but because he nurture the five roots of his life – physical, family, spiritual, emotional, social – in the end, I think he felt fulfilled. I think his last years were filled with joy and a peace that comes from knowing who you are and living life to the best you can each and every day. He did that. He couldn’t do much about the past except ask forgiveness and forgive himself. He had taken those steps and found peace. Now, in his faith belief and mine, he is at rest with his Lord.

Enjoy your celebration, my friend!

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Priorities and promotions

I reveled in the promotion of two friends to general officer today. I worked with both of them in my past and knew they were destined for greatness. Partly because of skill and talent, partly because of the fate of assignments being at the right place at the right time, partly because of the mentoring of the people they worked with and worked for in the past. If that were the only reason for their promotions, though, they would be poor leaders. Both will be great leaders, not because of those things, but because they genuinely care about people and know how to balance their priorities.

They learned a long time ago not to let the urgent take the place of the important. They learned to think strategically. What does that mean in practical terms? It means they don’t let the calendar run them, they run the calendar. Important things like time for planning, time for family, time for themselves, time for vacation, time for staff, time for education, time for spiritual renewal, all get put on the calendar before they can get crowded out by the mundane activities of life. Generals’ calendars are unbelievably packed. They have little or no white space which is why these two women learned early to schedule the big things first. Put the important stuff on the calendar so it doesn’t get lost.

Another thing these two women understand is the importance of their network. They know hundreds of people, but more important, they know the circle of professionals they can count on in areas where they have weaknesses. All of us have a unique set of skills and all of us have weaknesses. When we know what they are, we can bring the right talent around us to partner with us to create an unstoppable team. That’s exactly what these two do so well. They know their strengths and weaknesses. They know how to build the right teams to take advantage of their strengths and partner with the right people to take advantage of others’ strengths. The important part of the partnership, though, is giving them credit. And they ALWAYS give credit to the team.

So as you see, their promotion to general officer is not an accident. Barb and Jimmie nurtured the five dimensions of their life throughout their careers. Congratulations are in order for what they have done in the past, for their bright futures, and for what the Army will gain because of their leadership in the future. They will coach a lot more young officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers, and civilians over the next several years. Hopefully, many will learn the lessons of balance, setting the right priorities, and thinking strategically from them.

Congrats again to the AMEDD’s newest generals.


I Want Desert First!

Over the weekend, my grandson reminded me of how we can sometimes get our lives so out of kilter until we just seem overwhelmed by it all. He’s a great kid. I love him to death. Sometimes he just doesn’t want to eat his dinner, though. What do we do? Like good baby-sitting grandparents, we bribed him with an ice cream sandwich if he would eat all his dinner! Bad thing to do. Now the three year-old wants desert first! 800px-IceCreamSandwich

It’s great being a grandparent. Now I can give sugary stuff to my grand kids and be the hero, give them back to their mom and dad when they’re all wired up, and go home laughing at what I know they will face. Fun stuff! As a side note, he did eat his dinner. But he also ate his ice cream sandwich.

So the point of the story – too many of us “grown ups” scream and throw tantrums (maybe not out loud, but at least internally) to get ice cream first. We satisfy the little kid inside us instead of doing the adult, mature thing with just a little self-discipline and put of the desert until we’ve finished the healthy stuff. We let our lives get out of balance instead of focusing appropriately on nurturing the four dimensions of life allow us to balance life and bring us ultimate fulfillment and joy – physical, family, spiritual, emotional, and social dimensions.

Often our problem lies not just in lacking the self-discipline, but in setting goals for ourselves and understanding the dimensions operate to help us meet them in the first place. When we know the goals we desire, we can set a plan in place to reach those goals. We can use the dimensions of life to map out the plan so as to balance our life in a way that brings fulfillment and joy. We can see how all of the parts fit together as a whole to make us who we were created to be.

If you want to learn more about the dimensions of life and how they can make a difference in helping you meet your life goals, contact me.

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Spiritual Dimension Is the Core of Who We Are

The spiritual dimension of life reflects who we are deep inside. When we ignore the development of our spiritual dimension, we risk floating the latest fad, poll, and survey on the street and never stand for anything. We never understand our purpose in life and float aimlessly, unfulfilled, and probably very unhappy with who we are and what we accomplish. The spiritual dimension presents us with our moral compass, our values, a sense of purpose greater than ourselves. It gives us hope and helps us realize there is always something we can do in the face of adversity.

Spiritual Dimension and purposepurpose of life, spiritual dimension

One of the more interesting things about each of us resides in the genetic code that makes us unique. Although we are similar in so many ways, no two of us are exactly alike. If you think about the combinations and permutations of genes that exist in us, you begin to realize it’s the virtually impossible odds of two people being alike. If that is true, and forensic science bases itself on that fact, consider the likelihood that two people have the exact combination of skills, talents, intelligence, experience, and so forth. Again, the odds are virtually impossible. If for no other reason, the physiological differences between us make us respond to environmental factors with slight differences.

If we are all different, then we all fit different roles and responsibilities better. As a Christian the spiritual dimension is where I think we find purpose in life. I believe we were created with a purpose in mind. When we figure out what that purpose is and pursue that purpose we will feel fulfilled in life. We will be happy in our chosen profession and know that we are doing what we were made to do. For those not of the Christian faith, the same argument still holds. If you know what your skills, talents, experience, desires are, not necessarily what makes the most money, using those attributes to the fullest brings exceptional satisfaction and fulfillment in life. Most often fulfillment comes from using those talents for the good of others because we are relational people.

How do you find your purpose?

So if finding your purpose is so important? Just how do you go about doing it?

There are some simple steps.

  • take an inventory of your skills and talents
  • ask yourself how you help people
  • list the resources you have available to help others
  • think about who you help

Put these lists where you can stare at them for a few days. Let some close friends, your spouse, and family members pick them apart, add to them, and change them around. Add a list of who help you help others. These will be your weaknesses, things you either don’t do well, or don’t like to do. Don’t limit your lists to your job site, make sure you think holistically. What do you do for your neighbors, your family, your church?

Figure out who you are and what excites you. You’ll probably see in the list of how you help and who you help a clear purpose for your life. You’ll see what really makes you happy in doing things for others. It may be in your current job, or it may be that your current job provides the means by which you’re able to do what you love. This simple exercise can work some wonders for you if you’ve never tried it before.

The spiritual dimension of life is all about finding your purpose and direction. If you’d like more information or more help in discovering your purpose in life, give me a call or email me. You can find out more about the packages available by clicking below.

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be the best w. arrow

 

richard@ageesconsulting.com

(210) 854-3978

 


Resilience and the Five Dimensions of Life

mooreIt’s been interesting listening to the news media marvel at the resilience of the Okies in Moore, Oklahoma in the wake of the devastation that hit the small town. Crises have a way of bringing us to back to reality and forcing us to deal with priorities in a way nothing else does. If you put the news interviews in the context of the five dimensions of life my posts have described, you begin to see how these dimensions manifest themselves in a balance that provides resilience in the face of adversity and despite devastating circumstances gives an individual the power to take charge of life and move on.

Resilience and the five dimensions

The five dimensions – physical, family, spiritual, emotional, social – clearly play a part in the resilience of the individuals interviewed in the tornadoes that touched the lives of the Moore, Oklahoma disaster. The physical dimension from a health and security perspective. Those most fit weathered the storm best. And from a security perspective, schools and individuals knew what to do. For the most part, the residents took the right action in the face of a devastating storm and only 24 lives were lost in what could have been the most horrific loss the nation faced from a tornado. Physical endurance and a sense of security builds resilience.

life domainsFamilies’ first thoughts were for other family members and parents, grandparents, extended family members headed to the places they knew their loved ones might have been to rescue them. They took each other in, search debris fields for pictures, mementos, and other salvageable items and just to know each was safe. Thoughts were focused on life and safety. Material things disappeared from their vocabulary after the storm. No one talked much about the loss of property or things, they talked about life. Everything else could be replaced. Family builds resilience.

We saw many talk about prayer during the storm. Reaching deep into themselves and outward for a higher power as they realized there was nothing they could do to help themselves in the face of nature’s wrath. And when the storm was over, churches became the central receiving and distribution centers for shelter and aid. Why? Because as a community, the church stood as a symbol of aid and assistance before the tornado helping people in small ways. It was a place of faith in good times and bad before the tornado struck. It was a natural place to turn in disaster because it was a familiar place to many of the citizen before the disaster. This is the “Bible Belt” of the nation. Faith builds resilience.

We observed the emotional dimension as people showed raw emotion in the aftermath. Sorrow from the loss of friends and loved ones. Joy in finding loved ones alive. Relief, resolve, thanksgiving, awe, discouragement, anxiety, anger, denial, grief. We saw the gamut of emotions. We saw them expressed openly by the citizens of Moore. We saw loved ones and friends accepting their emotions without question recognizing that it’s okay to feel and express emotion in times of crisis. Through it all, the one emotion that kept coming back time and again was joy. Loved ones found alive and okay. Everything gone, but still alive. Joy despite the circumstances. Priorities reordered because of the events of the day. Proper ordering of priorities and proper expression of emotion builds resilience.

The social dimension came alive. Close friends gave solace and helped in tangible ways. Friends and acquaintances opened homes and gave unsparingly to aid victims. Tribes poured out generously because of kindred spirits recognizing the pain each victim felt and in some ways empathizing with their loss and need. People helping people. A strong social network builds resilience.

These five dimensions work together to make us strong. They help us face the crises that come our way. Pull any of the five out and we weaken in our resolve to face the circumstance we are in. Can we make it without any of them? Maybe, but not as well. The combination of the five and their interaction and integration make the news interviews in Moore not so surprising. It is a community in the middle of the nation’s “Bible Belt.” They have a strong spiritual culture. The faith of the individual and the community shapes the other dimensions of life and brings into perspective what is truly important in life. It’s not the things that surround us. It’s the lives we live and the people around us. Everything else can be rebuilt or replaced. Only the people and our relationships with them really count. Faith builds resilience.

Need help with understanding or balancing the five dimensions of your life? Contact me for a free session.

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