If you’ve browsed my website, you might have come across the phrase “client-centered approach.” But what does that mean?
Simply put, a client-centered approach means that I believe, wholeheartedly, that ultimately you know what’s best for you. In other words, when we work together, I will guide you, but you’ll drive the bus.
Some people might expect that I am an “expert” who has all the answers they’re looking for. I’m not that kind of expert. Instead, my expertise is that I know how to guide you to connect with the knowledge you already have inside of yourself. I help you discover and develop your resourcefulness so you can achieve the goals you set. I have decades of experience in coaching and counseling settings, but when it comes to identifying an ideal outcome for your life, no one is more of an expert than you are.
While this approach does mean that you have the personal responsibility of creating a vision, making decisions, setting goals, and managing the pace at which we move through the process, it doesn’t have to be intimidating. I support you every step of the way so you’ll feel confident about each step’s timing, the goals you set, and the decisions you make. When we work together and adapt the program to fit your specific needs, interests, and values, you can be sure that you are entirely in charge of your direction and success.
There are many scientifically proven benefits of deep breathing. Here are just a few and an easy breathing technique that will have you feeling better in 2 minutes.
Many women are feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled. They have bought an idea: if they're beautiful, earn enough money, have a perfect family, are CEO or a celebrity they will feel loved, successful, and happy.
I know this isn't true because I have had the privilege of coaching hundreds of women, and many of them have achieved these types of goals. They're financially secure, they have their family, some are CEO's for large corporations, and some are celebrities, making tons of money. What they all have in common: they all crave meaning and fulfillment and their accomplishments aren't satisfying that craving.
Experiencing fulfillment is something that money, a perfect body, or the love, attention, and approval of others doesn't provide.
Being happy and fulfilled is a two-part problem, requiring a two-part solution. It's a spiritual and practical problem that requires a spiritual and practical solution, and you can't do one without the other.
The spiritual part of the problem: this is the belief that you're not enough - not good enough, not smart enough, not lovable. It's the reason why you're driven to work hard. You want to prove that you can be loved, you can achieve, you can be respected, you can be admired. But the victory is hollow because even if every other person in the world believes it, you still don't, and you won't until you do the work of healing this part of yourself.
The practical part of the problem: because you've had these beliefs you've relied on external validation and accomplishments to bolster you and no amount of external validation will ever be enough.
If you're to experience true fulfillment, you're going to have to do the work of learning who you are and how to care for yourself. I'm not talking spa days and cocktails on the beach here. I'm talking about real, transformative work, where you learn about what makes you tick and how to care for yourself.
I'm not going to sugar-coat this, it's a journey, not an overnight fix, but I know it's possible, and I know the rewards are magnificent. Doing this work with a Life- Coach gives you a team-mate, someone who can show you the ropes and guide you through the tough stuff.
You're a smart woman who has managed to achieve great things in your life; this could be your greatest.
This post is part 2 on the topic of Isolators and Fusers and focuses on Isolators in relationships.
Click here to read Part 1. Are you a Fuser?
The relationship dynamic of Isolators and Fuser is described in the book Getting the Love You Want by marriage counselor and therapist, Harville Hendricks.
Isolators can feel smothered by intimacy in a way that feels similar to being stuck in a room with no windows. They are afraid of being controlled and overwhelmed. They tend to want to do things on their own and aren't good at keeping in touch throughout the day. They can appear to be disinterested in other people, and this can feel hurtful to their partners.
Isolators often choose to be in a relationship with Fusers, and Fusers decide to be with Isolators. Why is this?
The answer is polarity. There is magnetism in being with someone who exudes a polar opposite way of being, which is very sexy in the beginning. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long before partners start to realize that they have trouble connecting (as is the case for the Fuser), and enjoying independence (for the Isolator).
You can see how a couple can start to become frustrated and resentful in this situation, and the quality of the relationship can suffer.
This dynamic plays out in many relationships, and I want to encourage you. It does not mean the relationship is doomed. The key to working with this dynamic is awareness.
Once you understand the push-pull of your interactions, you can:
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you think you're an Isolator or a Fuser? How is this dynamic shaping your relationship?
Most important of all, what can you do to support yourself in your relationship so that you can get your need for autonomy or connection met?
If you're feeling aimless or that your life is lacking direction, meaning or purpose this coaching tool can be a lifesaver. It's simple but don't underestimate it. It's a true friend in helping you get clarity on what really matters.
This first video I will take you through the thinking behind the strategy and help you understand why it works.
I talk about the difference between a "means goal" and an "end goal" and why it's important to not confuse one with the other.
I also briefly explain why growth, contribution and experiences are key to a life that feels meaningful to you.
I this next video I take you through the 3 questions you can explore to discover your "end goals".
Having a clear idea of your "end goals" is crucial in creating a life by design, a life that feels good to you. Please don't be shy to contact me if you have any questions or comments.
"A what?" you say.
A Fuser. A Fuser is a person who craves connection. Fusers want to do things together, with their partner, almost all the time, and sometimes that "wanting to be together" can feel insatiable.
Fusers often feel disappointed, frustrated, and hurt in relationships. Fusers talk about being "left behind" or "ignored" by their partners. They want more time, more attention, more engagement from their partners. It rarely feels like enough.
At the extreme, Fusers are terrified of being left. It's an intense fear associated with what it would feel like for a child to be abandoned by their parent. Less extreme variations of "being abandoned" can include if the fuser's partner cancels a date, is consistently late, or shows affection to other people.
The most painful part of being a fuser is that the constant pressure of wanting togetherness puts their partner and relationship into an unhealthy cycle of push and pull. The fuser feels that their partner is constantly pushing them away; when the partner pushes them away, the fuser panics and wants to get closer. As the fuser seeks to be closer, their partner keeps withdrawing and moving out, and around and around it goes.
This unhappy cycle can destroy relationships.
There are several ways to interrupt this nightmare relationship merry-go-round. I teach clients who are Fusers on how to be more empowered and independent. Clients develop a clear vision of who they are in their relationships. They learn specific strategies and skills that help them feel safe in themselves, less reliant on their partners' approval and affections, and worthy of love in many different ways so that they don't rely so heavily on their partner to meet all their needs.
Interestingly, Fusers often choose to be in a relationship with Isolators. Click here to learn more about Isolators.
There's all kinds of frustration - frustration with the guy who’s weaving in and out of the traffic, frustration with the government on how they’re distributing (your) tax dollars and frustration with the customer service representative whose first language is not English.
And frustration is super sneaky. It creeps up. It’s not like anger that shows up full of bluff and bluster. No, frustration is subtle, sometimes to the point of being barely discernible.
Also, frustration lies to you. It tells you that the other person is the problem, not you.
Which you know is a lie, right?
Yeah, it’s not true. It’s not a blaming thing of you’re wrong and they’re right. It’s more of a misunderstanding thing. At the heart of every frustration is the belief, that you aren’t in control of your destiny, that your power, your agency has been taken from you and that you can’t determine the outcome or that you’re being kept from accomplishing your intended outcome. And then you blame the person who appears to be getting in your way.
Let me give an example:
Person A is driving in heavy traffic and it’s moving so slowly. Person A is getting frustrated. She has a meeting in 15 minutes and now she’ll probably be late. Ugh! She starts imagining the repercussions and decides it’s not going to go well. She can't believe this is happening to her, again! This is a problem.
Person B is driving the same traffic. She is also due at a meeting in 15 minutes. She will also be late but she is not frustrated. She calls ahead, explains the situation, offers to reschedule. The other party is irritated but Person B takes no notice of that, she knows everything will turn out well in the end. This is not a problem.
What is the difference between these two women? Person A does not have a clear appreciation for herself or her faith in her ability to handle the situation. Person A is living in reaction to events and is now blaming the traffic for her shitty day to follow.
Person B believes that she is capable, resourceful woman who can handle curveballs. She doesn’t feel the need to take on what other people think of her because she has a clear sense of her own value and self-determination. She responds, rather than reacts. Person B has faith in herself.
Does this make sense?
I know this is a simple example but it does scale, even to the most intimate of relationships with the highest stakes. Frustration comes from a lack of belief in yourself and your power to achieve the outcomes you want in life. So, basically, you don’t have enough faith in yourself.
Yesterday this played out in my own life around my health. I didn't feel empowered to ask for what I wanted with regards to my food choices. I adopted the belief that it was okay for me to go along with everyone else's agenda and I could make do. By the end of the day I was frustrated, tired and irritable and inclined to blame my friends. I felt like I had spent the day reacting to curveballs. If I had started the day with faith in myself, a belief that I am worthy, and asked for what I needed to feel good in my body, I wouldn't have been so frustrated.
So, what if you're frustrated that your son isn’t taking his studies seriously? (I get you, mama!) Frustrated that your husband doesn’t remember to take out the trash?
Frustrated that your best friend can’t seem to get her act together?
There are nuances to this rule-of-thumb, like when when you’re frustrated on behalf of someone else or you’re frustrated that you can’t catch a break.
Read my next post on why that is... coming soon.
My client feels like crap. She made a mistake. It is indeed a significant, even life-altering mistake. It's also true that had she been more diligent, the error might not have happened at all. But here we are, and now there are consequences.
She blames herself and starts pointing to all the ways she's failed, all the ways she could have prevented it from ever happening, all the ways that she is now, because of her recklessness, sinful and unworthy of love or compassion. She calls herself selfish, irresponsible, a failed human being. She's inhaling Cheetos and a bottle of wine, in bed, watching re-runs of Modern Family.
I know that she's not a failed human being. I know that she is worthy of love and is intrinsically good. I have to help her to believe it too.
There's a belief that if you do something that is "wrong," you should name it, blame someone and then punish the person at fault until they're a bloody mess. Some of the women I work with do this to themselves, quite a lot.
They believe that if they name, blame, and punish, there is a righting of the wrong.
It doesn't work that way.
Punishing yourself will not prevent you from mistakes in the future, it will not change your behavior or choices from the past, and it will shut you off from your power and wisdom in the present.
Punishing yourself will keep you spiraling through feelings of shame, anger, and lack of compassion for yourself and others. These feelings will rob you of the opportunity to grow that comes from exploring mistakes with an open heart. It will keep you stuck in the past.
I explain this to her, and by the end of our call, she's starting to smile again. In talking through the details of how this happened, she realized that although she is ultimately responsible for the consequences of her actions, she had made choices based on a flawed premise. She doesn't deserve punishment; she deserves compassion, support, and a practical solution.
By working through her mistake with an open heart, she learned from this mistake and took steps to prevent it from happening again. Added benefits from this approach - she now feels compassion for women who find themselves in a similar position, whereas before, she felt judged. It's a win-win for everyone!
“How you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it”
~Norman Vincent Peale
I’m reading The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. It’s a classic and every page has nuggets of great wisdom that align and reinforce, from a biblical perspective, what Jill and I teach at 1 Life by Design.
This quote struck me as being especially helpful when we feel stuck or struck down by circumstances. Life can deal gut blows that can drain your energy leaving you discouraged and spent.
I had an experience like this just last week. I woke up feeling cheerful and then a friend called and her news felt like someone pulled the plug on me. Almost immediately all my energy drained. I felt depleted and going back to bed seemed like a legitimate, next-best step, except it was 10am.
The “facts” were not pretty and in that moment, I couldn’t think clearly, but I have a personal strategy for moments like this and I’ll share it with you, in case you find it useful.
I found that this 3 step strategy works for me because I start to see how my thinking about the “facts” is obscuring my power to be resourceful and to respond rather than react. It reveals to me that I am less defeated than I thought I was.
This is living a life by design.
When I did this process last week it took a little while to recover but I got there and the lessons I learned in my recovery were huge, lifetime influencing ahas. By the next day, I was deeply, authentically appreciative for the whole experience. It contributes to feeling even more confident in my ability to navigate and design my life.