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Mindfulness coaching

This blog posting describes Mindfulness practice and meditation, and provides very helpful handouts designed to help you get started.

Mindfulness Coaching: happy peaceful couple

A "mental break" at a stop light

Mindfulness Coaching comes alive for my clients when I share ways that I weave the practice into my daily routines and when I help them to do the same. This post is a very good example of seizing an opportunity to practice during a common, often mundane part of a busy day.

Meditate while you workout

This blog posting shares some techniques I've been using to weave Mindfulness meditation, chanting, and focusing exercises into my aerobic workouts at the gym.

Thinking is not reality

One of the basic exercises involved with Mindfulness Based CBT is to separate yourself from your thoughts. In other words, reinforce the truth that "you are not your thoughts" and "your thoughts are not reality." This blog posting describes an every-day incident in my life that I used to reinforce these emotionally-healthy ideas.

My influences: Mindfulness, Habit Change, & more!

My influences are varied. This page provides more detail about how I blend these various techniques into my Career Coaching & Life Coaching approaches.

"What's the deal with habits?"

Reading the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg greatly influenced me. Let me summarize how the book led to me reevaluating my work.

First, people with efficient working habits—not necessarily more intelligence or experience—seemed to move through their goals quicker and easier. Second, my clients who got stuck were often blocked less by goals and more by unhelpful habits preventing them from even getting started. Third and finally, when emotionally upset, wouldn't it be better if we all saw that as struggling with some unhelpful "thinking and doing" habits instead of thinking we're "bad" or "broken"? Bad habits are annoying, but we all know they can be changed.

Put it this way: if you want to build a beautiful house of change in your life, be sure to place it on a solid foundation of effective habits. As a result of reading this book, I now begin and end my Life & Career Coaching meetings with questions designed to reinforce helpful habits. Also, I was so impressed with the book that I give a copy to every client who signs up for my Platinum Coaching package.

Click here for a book review I wrote about The Power of Habit. Click here to read an excerpt from my upcoming book, Daily Pivots: How to Avoid Bad Habits and Do the Right Thing Instead.

[Other great books you might enjoy]

"Why do you focus so much on emotions?"

People are at their most creative and resourceful when they are simultaneously relaxed and concentrating. There are various phrases that we use to describe this state; I call it peak performance, and athletes call it being in the zone.

The more I can help my clients to increase relaxation and gentle concentration, the better they're able to achieve they're goals and succeed.

Now, to use a phrase I hear with some frequency from my clients, easier said than done. Keeping an even keel emotionally under pressure takes practice and can benefit from some coaching. Practice long enough, and the skills needed to remain cool under pressure become very powerful new habits that will serve you as you strive toward any kind of goal.

To summarize, wildly successful people are not usually mood dependent. They don't let catering to a temporary mood become more important than, say, creating a loving relationship, getting a raise, having a good time at the party, or changing careers. They're emotion-management habits keep them focused and reasonably calm.

I teach Mindfulness & CBT for emotion management

Twenty-five-plus years of research have shown that learning to shift how you think and act (Cognitive Behavioral Treatment or CBT Counseling & Coaching), and learning how to maintain a pleasant and accepting focus on what you are doing in the present moment (Mindfulness) are the keys to reducing emotional upset. Overall, this work is called emotion management.

Think of emotion management as taking your current emotion and turning the intensity level way down low. Also, I say that Mindfulness is like "going to the gym to build up your emotional muscles." Mindfulness practice helps to keep emotions brief, preventing them from turning into lingering, debilitating moods.

I teach emotion transformation skills

Recently, other colleagues and I have been working to improve upon emotion management by developing approaches that provide quicker relief, that build a bridge from negative to positive emotions, and that create emotions designed for successful goal completion. The term I've read that best describes this approach is emotion transformation.*

Emotion-transformation skills include slowing down, shifting from negative thinking to realistic optimism, responding to emotional upset in ways that make you feel a bit better—instead of ways that make a bad situation worse, balancing your head and heart when making decisions, increasing feelings of motivation toward your original goal, delaying some gratification while still being able to enjoy the moment, and more.

Also, I've completed advanced training in DBT and its skills-training component, and I fold these techniques into most of the work I do with clients. These techniques span both emotion management and emotion transformation.

* Thanks to Patricia Love, Ed.D., and Steven Stosny, Ph.D., for introducing me to this term in their excellent book "How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It" (click here for more information). And click here to check out Pat's web site.

I teach Positive Psychology skills

After more than a century of professional focus on lowering suffering—for example, moving from a -5 to a 0 on the "feeling good and doing well" scale, some renowned psychologists have recently encouraged a shift to what makes a person strong, peaceful, happy, and able to bounce back quickly from problems—moving from a 0 to a +5 on the "feeling good and doing well" scale. They call this movement Positive Psychology. In addition to focusing on happiness, this movement emphasizes specific and practical action, instead of over relying on talk and analysis.

I use a holistic approach

Sometimes, to reach your goal quicker and easier, you have to focus on some things that are not directly related to your goal—I know how strange that sounds, but it's true! This is a major reason why typical Life and Career Coaching often fail, because they're so intensely focused on managing goals.

Increasingly, science is supporting approaches that people used to dismiss as light weight or as "crunchy granola." Mind, body, emotions, and spirit appear to be so interwoven that the idea of there being a line between them is increasingly being disproved by scientific research!

On a more practical, day-to-day level, people do not experience their overall emotional health as being separate from finding a date for Saturday night, trying to avoid the sweet snacks at the coffee station at work, managing a difficult father-in-law or boss, making more money, or finding meaning in life.

Our work will go where it needs to facilitate the change you want, not to mention your overall sense of peace, joy, and deep life satisfaction.

"Should I schedule a consultation meeting?"

I'm glad you asked. Absolutely, yes! ;-) Pop online for a free, half-hour consultation, see that we'd make a great team! Why not give me a call at 1-410-949-7888 or email me to schedule an appointment? You'll be glad you did!

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