a better life for a better you

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Undoubtedly, we live in the age of expert knowledge and boundless information. At the touch of a button or swipe of a screen, we can discover so much about a range of subjects. “Googling it” or watching a You Tube tutorial have become the “go-to” behavior of this knowledge generation. Not much is hidden from us and it has become almost too easy for us to claim to be experts in any given field.

As a lover of knowledge myself, I well understand the high which new knowledge can bring. But even as we interface more with new information, we must begin to question whether or not or how much we are actually benefiting from it. With our tablets and smart phones we appear to be eternally on line but are we being developed positively as a result of the World Wide Web or are we simply allowing it to consume our time? Do we gain or do we lose?

While some of us may use the technology mainly for social networking purposes or for entertainment, there is still so much to be learned about the power of harnessing networks for our personal or professional leverage. But do we even get it? Owning the knowledge we consume (as opposed to being owned by it) means understanding how to allow new knowledge to work for us. Being owned by it means becoming a slave to every new fad or trend without determining whether or not it is right for us. With the pressures social networks can bring, it can become all too easy to be simply “trending” as opposed to changing.

So whether it is developing our skills in financial investment or being more environmentally responsible; whether it’s about catching the “know how” to start a new business, to become a more insightful leader, or to make our relationships better, the knowledge that we interface with daily should bring obvious change to our lives. For example, we know so much about the dangers of fad diets versus a complete healthy lifestyle change, that we should run far from quick fixes when it comes to an issue like weight loss.

Yet having knowledge and being disciplined are two entirely different things. Knowledge can be the initial impetus for any significant life change; so from that perspective, knowledge will always be critical. It is, however, our passion for change and our internal discipline, which will see that change become something that is sustained. When these three factors are combined; knowledge + passion + discipline, then we will grow and change in ways which will not only enrich our lives but which will make us more valuable to others.

Falling Up

Falling UpNobody likes to fall. Of course as babies, when we are learning to walk, falling is a fairly regular part of the process. We must learn the art of balancing as we become familiar with the rhythm of movement. Eventually we get the hang of it and walking, even running, become like second nature which we do almost automatically.

But then we still fall. We lose balance, we trip, we slide, or perhaps move off too quickly and our painful connection with the pavement or floor can actually tell us something. Falling is never permanent. The embarrassment and pain we experience is transitory. We either pick ourselves up independently or we’re helped up by a friend. We brush ourselves off and move on again. The point is that falling causes us to rise. We don’t go further down into the ground; the next movement after falling is usually up.

When we are confronted with the challenges of our own mistakes and failings it’s important to understand that our next movement must be “up” because actually, after falling, we do have a choice. We could stay put. We could wallow in our pain and discomfort and refuse to move for a while. Eventually, however, we will reach a stalemate and will need to choose to move on. Why then do we hold on to painful mistakes or even things done to us and refuse to let go of them?

Sometimes sitting down in our pain is the easy way out. It requires little effort. I’ve seen individuals who have held on to hurt others have caused them and it usually stunts their own personal growth. Imagine wrapping your arms around anything that’s really big; maybe a big old tree or a huge piece of furniture. That thing will hide you and dwarf you, even as it becomes your prop. It will appear larger than you are because your actions have made it so. The same happens with bitterness and unforgiveness. Failure to “fall up”; to get up and move on and away from hurt and pain will do the same to us. It will make us appear really small. It will rob us of our joy as that thing we refuse to release becomes a self-defining and powerful stumbling block to our own progress.

Whether we fall through our own failing or are pushed by someone’s harsh action, staying down is not an option we should entertain. While I’m in no way romanticizing pain and difficulty, we must use them for times of reflection and redirection. They can, if we let them, teach us about our own resilience. A failed marriage or relationship can cause us to zero in on our own self-worth and clarify for us what we are unwilling to tolerate. A lost job opportunity can give us the impetus to improve our qualifications, start our own business or sharpen our professional skills. Of course there are no magic potions which will bring us to a place of growth. Personal development often requires a willingness not only to be self-critical but also to make the required changes.

Truly moving on from any place of difficulty can only happen after we meet certain conditions. These include acknowledging our pain, processing it, accepting personal responsibility where applicable, and forgiving both ourselves and or the individuals who have hurt us. These “upward” actions can empower us to release and move on.

Telling Our Story

two-women-talking-400x400Most people groups the world over have story-telling traditions. The story-teller serves to preserve the values or morals of his/her respective society. As an artist in her own right, the story-teller fashions tales which affirm our beliefs or are lesson-based. Whether Greek myth, African folklore, European fairy tale, Biblical parable, or Caribbean/Latin-American narrative, stories simultaneously define us and shape our thinking. And while based on human-experience, not every valuable story must be true in its entirety, to hold truth. So what has happened to our story-telling traditions today?

 The reality of instant information at the press of a button or sliding of a screen does shape our current experience. Stories fly at us from every available end and we can become overwhelmed by information overload. The tabloids, the box-office and the best-seller all attempt to send believable stories our way. On the other end, while many bemoan what technology has done to human relationships, the existence of social media is in itself an attempt to reinvent intimacy and to re-tell our stories.

 But how can we deal with the challenge of hiding who we really are beneath the person we really hope to be? While Facebook and Instagram are new vehicles for us to tell our stories, they are also excellent tools for creating an unreal existence. And this is where our stories become robbed of their potential power; our modern day technological fables have become places where we hide.

 As a consequence, we create stories with no innate value. We become hooked on the invented reality of social media and lose who we really are. We become seduced by the high of one thousand Facebook friends who on a real day are actually not our friends. We can become instantly “famous”, “popular”, “successful”, or be “trending”, with some well-calculated details which may actually be hiding the truth of the entire picture. Of course I value the power of social media myself in a world which is now virtually flat. It most certainly has its place in forging social and professional connections and should be appropriately utilized. But where do we draw the lines between reality and fiction? And do our concoctions hurt or help others?

 In our real-life circle, away from our photo-stories, how vulnerable, honest and exposed are we really? Do we connect with friends and family to forge real intimacy? Do we expose our weaknesses and flaws? Can we allow our mistakes to guide a friend? Are we open to correction and guidance from others if our real story leaks out? Do we offer genuine advice based on the life-lessons learned? Have we allowed our public profile to subsume who we really are or are we even connected to our real story? What about that story that is uniquely ours; do we really know its details; its value? Are we intimately in-tuned with our own experiences, motivations and behaviors or are we coasting on auto-pilot? Are we reflective, self-aware and capable of growing past the limitations which our own stories may suggest?

 Of course in sharing our stories I’m not talking about the indiscriminate “confession” of every intimate detail of our lives with complete strangers every time. Honest and open sharing of our challenges can have a valid place depending on our life role. At another level, a life that is open to sharing is not one governed by pride and pretense. It is one which does not need to be always right, nor one that must mirror perfection. Living authentically should reflect the balance between moving towards our ideal self while embracing our humanity. As we let our barriers down and expose our true stories to others, then our lives can begin to take on a whole new meaning as other become enriched through our lives.

 Denise J Charles is Director & Counsellor/Coach at Better Blends Relationship Institute e mail betterblends@gmail.com

Your Baby Is Coming Now Push!

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Get this great interactive motivational book by Denise J Charles; excellent for personal use or as an exercise tool for Life Coaches.

In an age where everyone is searching to add meaning and value to their lives, Your Baby Is Coming Now Push! The Book About Pregnancy Which Is Not About Pregnancy, is a timely reminder of why we are here. Using the anecdotal stories of her own pregnancies, the author skillfully weaves an analogy which uncovers the reality that many of us, male and female, are in fact pregnant with ideas, dreams and desires (IDDS). The book’s premise is that we must learn to overcome the obstacles and push out our dreams, if we are to experience the fulfillment which we all crave.

This book is a highly interactive, inspirational and motivational exercise, which challenges the reader to identify and chart a path towards the fulfilling of these ideas, dreams and desires. Whether you are an entrepreneur, manager, writer, artist, parent, or you long to change jobs or pursue a new course of study, Your Baby Is Coming Now Push!, will inspire you to push past obstacles, to see your ideas become reality.

Creatively written, each chapter allows for reflective writing, and goal-setting, through its end of chapter exercises; a great book for coaches, trainers and motivational speakers.

Follow the link here to Amazon’s kindle store to get your e book now for kindles, i pads, or any android e reader.

Why Is Success So Elusive?

Many of us long for that elusive thing called “success”. We have long been seduced into believing that as long as we achieve it, we will be eternally satisfied and happy. But are we even clear about what success is? Is it possible that it is the satisfaction which we think success will bring, which often eludes us?

Life was not meant to be lived in stagnation mode; this is why high achieving individuals constantly seek new challenges to surmount. So you finally got that book published, made the team, got that promotion, bought the dream-house or nailed that important sales deal. Do you then go on vacation and let your accomplishment ride you out into the next decade of your life? Chances are that if you did that, there would be little personal growth. And why is that?

Success was never meant to be a short-lived, in the moment thing. Yes, we will experience “growth-spurts” which are linked to long, sought-after accomplishments which we value (making the team, buying the house, publishing the book) but if we rest on our laurels there, we will miss the impetus for our next leap forward. Ultimately, a life of success must be defined as a series of experiences which flow on a continuum. This “success continuum” does not always necessarily spell A+ achievement in everyone else’s terms, but should spell the value derived from experiences learned.

In other words, success is not only about obvious positives. This simply means that when I don’t land that coveted job, or when I have to re-sit an exam, or if my spouse leaves me, my success is hinged on the value I extract from these challenges; not on the much touted outcomes of success which are limited to always getting what I want; when I want it.

This is why success is elusive. Because we can’t tie it down. The more we think we have it; the more we want it. Even when we have it in some domains like our professional lives, it seems to escape our personal lives. And even when we can’t seem to grasp it, especially in situations over which we have little control, we have to learn to seize the life- lessons from those experiences of challenge. In so doing, we will ultimately redefine our perceptions of success.

Life admittedly is experienced on so many levels. We interact daily with the challenges which emerge from our relationships, our choices, our jobs, our educational pursuits and to some degree, our past experiences. The “Better Blends” approach to coaching is an integrated one; one which seeks to bring clients into a deeper understanding of how the varying elements of their lives can be interwoven for maximum success.

At Better Blends Coaching, we also acknowledge that our differing life-scripts, life-maps, personalities and learned behaviours can have a powerful impact on how we navigate the complexities of life in the 21st Century. This blog will therefore feature articles, publications and video which will inspire us to connect with that much needed “better blend” in our lives.

What mkes us unique, is not simply the “psycho-babble” of the thousands of life-coaching practices espoused today. Here at Better Blends Coaching, you will come face to face with a real-life person like you. A Life Coach who has navigated countless challenges and is “still emerging” and growing.

Life, Relationship and Motivational Coach, author and Director of Better Blends Coaching, Denise J Charles, is no expert with pat answers for every complexity. She is a resililient individual and a competent, resourceful facilitator, who can help you emerge, transend challenges and zero in on your life purpose and passion.

Thanks for stopping by. We hope to inspire you to experience “a better life for a better you”.

Better Blends Coaching is an affiliate and partner of Better Blends Relationship Institute.

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