Living With Intention in 2016

New Years resolutions are often perfect storms that catapult unintentional turmoil and subsequently cause unnecessary pain. Let me explain, I can recall countless occasions where I have witnessed loved ones pledging to change their lives at the stroke of midnight on the 1st day of the new year. I remember them quickly rambling off red hot carry over goals that they missed in years prior. I too found myself caught up in this dilemma …trying to plan for the coming year in the 60 minutes prior to the ball dropping in New York’s Times Square. However, this year I vowed to move smoothly into 2016 without a traditional resolution, but with clear intentions that support my overall growth, success and happiness.

“The more aware of your intentions and your experiences you become, the more you will be able to connect the two, and the more you will be able to create the experiences of your life consciously. This is the development of mastery. It is the creation of authentic power.”   Gary Zukav

I have found that life provides an ever evolving mystery, filled with happiness, sadness, fear, and opportunity. I see intentions as clear points along the path of life that are continuously moving us forward. These intentional points, are often based upon the lessons that we must address to move us closer towards being our best selves and living our life’s purpose.

Plotting a Direction in 2016

Our libraries are filled with books that talk about the importance of setting goals and I would argue that many of us get it..yes its something we should do. But how many of us actually take the time to sit and think about how we have grown and where we would like to head next?

I think the answer to this question for many of us is that I would love to do it… but I don’t have time…which I can completely understand. As a life coach I get to work with lots of people, and have found that my clients are often less excited about life when they move without an intentional direction. They often complain of feeling out of alignment, stifled, and lacking creativity and passion.

As I launched into 2016 understanding the danger of moving without intention, I developed 16 questions to support my next steps. These questions assisted me to reflect on my past year, connect to my motivation and assist me to focus on my strategic direction for this year. Through my process I learned that one of my intentions this year is to spread happiness, so I am sharing my questions with each of you below. I hope that they can support you to live with greater intention in 2016.

Reflecting on 2015

  1. Whats important for you to remember about 2015?
  2. What did you learn about yourself?
  3. What brought you happiness?/What made you smile?
  4. What 3 values lead you through this year? (faith, hope, etc)
  5. What were your biggest milestones? (things that shaped how you see the world)

Discovering Inspiration for 2016

  1. What change do you want to see in the world this year?
  2. Who inspires you? (past or present)
  3. What gives you energy?/What brings you joy?
  4. How would you describe your life’s purpose? or How would others describe your life’s purpose?
  5. What are you like as your best self?

Setting Intentions for 2016

  1. What would you like to spend more time doing this year? What would you like to spend less time doing this year?
  2. What would it look like to live more boldly this year?
  3. What are one or two areas of life where you would like to focus this year? What would it look like for you to focus?
  4. What would you like to say you have learned/accomplished by this time next year?
  5. How will you celebrate your lessons/accomplishments along the way this year?
  6. What song, poem or image represent the approach to life you would like to have in 2016?
About the Author: Leslie Brown, PCC, MPA is a community coach who supports individuals and teams to move towards great alignment of purpose. She is principal coach at Blooming Willow Coaching, www. bloomingwillow.com and faculty at Leadership That Works a Coaching Training Program, www.leadershipthatworks.com
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Affordable Coaching? Are you Crazy??

The Willow: (Looking at the situation)

As I research the range of prices for coaching I am shocked at how much the “big boys” make for corporate coaching, up to $500 a session. So why am I, the person with six figures in student loan debt, providing affordable coaching? The answer is simple because I believe that everyone deserves access to quality coaching because it helps to transform lives. To help you understand why I believe in the power of coaching I am going to share a little about my personal experience which requires that we go back in time (insert twilight zone music here).

When I graduated from college, I became a capacity builder supporting grass-root nonprofit organizations. I wanted to ensure that the organizations closest to the ground were able to compete for funding and operate sustainably while staying true to their missions. I enjoyed working with the community so much that I entered a direct-service agency and began to dedicate my life to serving youth. However, after doing this for years I began to burn out because of the heavy burdens placed on direct-service social justice agencies. So I tried to switch gears and go back to capacity building for a small respite, but quickly realized that the burn out was much deeper. I started to look for outlets for a recharge including yoga, therapy, meditation and traveling. However, when I returned to the work I still felt exhausted… until I found coaching.

The Roots: (What’s up under the current perspective?)

I always believed that coaching was a luxury that I couldn’t afford but after my coach offered me a sample session, I was hooked. My coach pushed me to realize that as I worked to conduct the day-to-day activities for my employers, I had in some ways lost sight of my ultimate vision.  In addition, I had also pushed aside some of my core values which were beginning to cause conflict.

The Bloom: (How we can grow from a deeper understanding.)

Once I realized that I was out of alignment with my dreams and values I was able to quickly realign and step back into my power. This is why providing access to coaching is so important for me, because I understand how misalignment can affect how you feel, how you perceive your environment and more importantly how you envision your future. Furthermore, I am committed to providing quality affordable coaching because I believe it is a gift that everyone deserves.

As your coach I can offer you an environment to explore deeply, reconnect to your power, face your fears and get you moving towards your goals. So if coaching sounds like something you would benefit from, I would love to be your coach and support you as you to step further into alignment with your dreams!

Your Future Coach,

Leslie Brown

http://www.blommingwillow.com

It’s The Simple Things

Riperton's hit album, Perfect Angel (1974)

Riperton’s hit album, Perfect Angel (1974) (Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Willow: (Looking at the situation)

As I hit the “still listening” button for the 10th time on Pandora, I realized that it was indeed lunch time. I also knew that post lunch it was due time for a station change from my up tempo world music mix, to  something slower in order to prepare for part two of my work day. Sitting there stuffed to the gills (I ate too much trying to stall), I prepared to enter the vortex of social media marketing.  As I hunkered down to face the multitude of marketing platforms labeled “user-friendly” (not true for me) I decided to go with some 70s R&B to keep me grounded.

After starting my “old school” internet radio station, the room was suddenly filled with the sweet soprano voice of Minnie Riperton. Her lyrics brought me to a halt, as she sang out “the simple things, the lovely simple things, I could go on and on and on”, and she was right.  I suddenly realized that all of the new social media platforms were encouraging all of us to move fast through life, missing the simple things. So I pushed away from the computer, grabbed the nearest pen and launched an amazing karaoke performance to finish out the song.

Getting to the Root: (What’s up under the current perspective?)

From Nicholas Carr, “fast (Internet/social) media and deep slow thought don’t mix well.” As media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in 1960s, “Medias are not just passive channel of information.” “They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation.” However, there are several benefits brought from deep reading (thought). For example, “our ability to interpret text, to make the rich mental connection that form when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged. ”

The Bloom: (How we can grow from a deeper understanding.)

When I sat back down after the impromptu karaoke show I knew that something had to be done to slow things down. To reach my goal of providing coaching for people who moved through life at the speed of light, I would have to use different strategies. The traditional strategies of social media marketing wouldn’t reach my audience buried under tons of emails and overly stimulated with the Tweets, Pinterest and Linked-In messages.  I needed to go simpler, I needed to return to the forgotten networking methods that people have moved beyond…that’s right face to face meetings and telephone calls (okay… and a litttle FB, you can’t expect me to go cold turkey, I am a Gen. Xer/Millennial). So wish me luck, I am going simple with my marketing so look forward to a call or visit from me soon. Also I challenge you to push away from your desk and busy schedule to enjoy a song break, read a good book and get back to the simple things in your life.

Your Future Coach,

Leslie Brown

http://www.bloomingwillow.com 

Let’s Laugh Together

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One of the things that help to turn dark days into light is laughter. It is one of the most powerful ways for each of us to tap into our inner joy and create a life enhancing energy. Studies will tell you that laughing everyday will truly help to prolong your life. So my question for you is, how much are you laughing? I am not talking about that surface level laughing that we can contain in a moment’s notice. I am talking about the laughing that takes a long time to stop; the kind that sometimes causes stomach-aches and tears. Why, you ask? It’s because I am a believer that true happiness comes from the inside out and when we are truly happy, we laugh often as children do.

So what stops us from laughing? You guessed it, life! Yes, this wonderful experience called life, that is filled with a constant mix of emotions; happy, sad, joy, sorrow, good, bad. In addition to our daily dose of changing emotions we get a heavy load of expectations. This loveable whirlwind called life is what each of us step into when we rise in the morning. So how can we laugh in the midst of this ongoing saga? By knowing your purpose and laughing at the unexpectedness of life.

Knowing your purpose doesn’t mean that you know what is going to happen. It means that you have a clear idea on the direction in which you are headed. It means having an understanding of your core needs and values to help keep you centered. It means having authentic voice and choice in all situations. It means knowing who you are, what you value and what you need to be successful. Once those things are in alignment then you can’t help but laugh, as life is truly funny. So how can you get to know your purpose? You can start with a little coaching by honestly asking yourself the following:

–          What are my core values?

–          How do I live my core values?

–          What needs do my values help me to meet?

These simple questions will help you to begin the journey to more laughter. So as you take the first step, think of the funniest thing that happened to you in the last week and join me for a laugh. Then start to really dig into these questions bringing you more into alignment with laughter.  If you are interested in continuing this conversation on how to create true alignment and bring more laughter in your life contact me at lesliebrown1908@gmail.com  for a coaching session.

What’s In a Name?

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As I complete my 10 month intensive coaching certification, I was suddenly struck with the dilemma of naming my coaching practice. Easy you say….well I beg to differ.  The only naming that I have done is with pets, cars and parties, and honestly even with those I had a hard time. So when thinking of what to name my coaching practice, I froze. The only thing that I could think of was this is how people are going to judge what you do, so you better pick wisely. My panic was only elevated by the voices in my head telling me that each name that I thought of sounded too…fill in the blank. But then it dawned on me, why not use something that I learned during my coaching training.

Coaching training was not easy, it was over 300 hours of intense work and we covered so much. How could I choose? Then I began to think of one of the future self-visualization exercises we learned. I remembered how cool it was for me to meet my future self whom I nicknamed DT Willow. I had never really known anyone named Willow except of course for the child of Will and Jada (pop culture reference).  Anyway I quickly realized that Willow had to be a part of the name so I Googled it for more insight.

As I read through numerous Willow websites I realized that these trees were pretty spectacular!  I learned that Willow’s have very small trunks so they are really unassuming, but under the trunk lies some of the deepest and most powerful roots. The roots are so strong that they allow the tree to bend and move in ways unimaginable for most trees. This is the Willow’s secret weapon, the roots..as a coach that is one of the things I am committed to helping my clients create deep roots to support their transformation. So I thought perfect Willow Coaching but it felt like something was missing, but what? Then in a dream it came to me, not only do I want my clients to grow roots but I want them to bloom and show the fruits of their work. So I was struck with another question, do Willow trees bloom? Well to answer your questions as well as mine, yes willow trees do bloom. So what’s the name of my new coaching practice? You guessed it, Blooming Willow Coaching and you can check me out at www.bloomingwillow.com to learn more about my practice and how I can support you to create roots and bloom, register for a sample coaching session by emailing me at lesliebrown1908@gmail.com .

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