As we celebrate the 4th of July, our country’s Independence Day, I wanted to share a little bit about my personal story and express my gratitude for the risk our founding fathers took to start our great nation and for the countless individuals, including my parents, who have sacrificed to afford us the opportunities and freedoms we have today. I also want to leave you with some thoughts to ponder about your life, the mark you want to leave in the world, and the risks you're willing to take to do it.
I was born in Manila, Philippines and came to the United States when I was 5. My parents knew there were limited educational opportunities for me and my little sister in the Philippines so they moved our family to America to have a better life. When I turned 18 I became a US Citizen. I am proud to be an American. I love that song that goes, “And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me and I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today. Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land. God bless the USA.”
My husband has a similar story. He was born and raised in Ukraine. He came to the US for college also in pursuit of greater opportunities and he became an American Citizen 2 years ago. It was evident at his citizenship ceremony that it was one of the happiest days of his life. He was grinning from ear to ear with a smile that lit up the room. We are living the dream. We both love our work and love serving our community. I feel privileged to get to coach such driven and highly motivated individuals who are pillars of their community.
Living right outside of Washington DC, we love and appreciate all the history around us. We’ve been to George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon over a dozen times. We’ve also visited Montpelier, James Madison’s home and Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home and love the history we’ve gleaned from all the tours. We’ve watched all the biographies of all the US presidents. Learning what our founding fathers went through to start this great nation is astounding and inspiring. Although George Washington lost more battles than he won he managed to keep his army together under the most trying circumstances and get this country started.
This year, we got another perspective of history through watching the musical Hamilton. Who would have thought that an orphan from the Caribbean would be the one to unite the states through having the federal government take on the state's debts! Alexander Hamilton laid the foundation for America’s economic system. He was Washington’s right hand man, writing most of Washington’s correspondence to congress while in battle. It’s quite the inspirational story of how one man made such a profound impact on American history. Another memorable experience from this year is standing on the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor, which was the last battleship commissioned by the US. On this battleship, Japan surrendered to end World War II.
All this to say that I am grateful for the risk our founding fathers took to start this great nation as well as those who have risked and continue to risk their lives to defend our freedom today. Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” With that what do you want your contribution to be? What’s the legacy you want to leave? And what are you willing to risk?
Consider completing the following 3 statements:
- I left the world a better place because….
- I changed someone’s life by….
- When I’m gone, people will remember that I….
- I left the world a better place because I loved, inspired, encouraged, and affirmed others. I had a positive impact on every single person I interacted with. I recognized the good in everyone and helped them to unleash their potential.
- I changed someone’s life by helping them understand their value and their contribution to the world. I helped them maximize their strengths in service to others.
- When I’m gone, people will remember that I cared. That I gave it my all. I took risks and acted boldly. That I inspired and left everyone I came into contact with in a better place. That I knew my days were numbered and that I lived each day to the full. As Chuck O'Keefe, financial advisor from Elizabeth City, NC told me yesterday, "look around appreciate what you have. Nothing will be the same in a year."
Even in tumultuous times as these, I am grateful.
With a full heart, I wish you and your family a mindful and meaningful Independence Day!
I have clients coming to me to inquire about coach training to become a coach so here are some trainings I've experienced and recommend:
Coach U- www.coachinc.com
Coach U is an ICF (International Coach Federation) accredited coach training program. This is an established and solid coaching program that is flexible and affordable. All classes are done virtually via phone call. As of Spring 2017, prices are as follows:
The Core Essentials Program is $3,195. This includes 77 hours of coach training to be completed in 15 months. It's self-paced so it can be completed as quickly as you want. This program satisfies the educational requirement to obtaining the first level of certification, the ACC (Associate Certified Coach) through the ICF.
The Advanced Coaching Program is $4,195. You have up to 3 years to complete this program.
For those who prefer classes in-person, I recommend CTI. This is also a solid and reputable coaching training company accredited by the ICF. The Coaches Training Institute at www.thecoaches.com
They have 3 levels of programs.
The CTI Fundamentals is $925.
The Co-Active Coaching Skills Pathway is $5,905.
The Certified Professional Co-Active Coach Pathway is $11,140.
Also check out www.coachfederation.org for more coaching resources. This is the website to the ICF ( International Coach Federation).
Notes from class:
1. Be an observer of yourself as a communicator – notice and pay attention to how well you’re listening and how that impacts or touches you. Take note of your strengths and areas you wish to improve upon.
2. Watch It’s Not About the Nail (2 min) Video
3. Watch a classic Abbott and Costello, Who’s On First? (7 min) Video
4. Here is the link to an excellent TED talk by Celeste Headlee, called - 10 ways to have a better conversation. This is so worth the 11 minutes. It is ultimately about listening. Gives great perspective and tips. TED Talk
Quotes to inspire you to listen to yourself:
1. "Listen and hear not only what you thought you wanted to hear. Listen and hear what you have to learn." -Ralph S. Marston, Jr.
2. "No one will listen to us until we listen to ourselves." -Marianne Williamson
3. "It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen." -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
4. "You don't learn when you're talking." -Watts Wacker
5. "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." -Winston Churchill
6. "Listening is the beginning of understanding. Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening. Let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance." -Proverbs 1:5
7. "Listening is a form of accepting." -Stella Terill Mann
As a coach who is passionate about my profession, I am constantly honing my listening skills to more deeply understand my clients.
Below are my notes and takeaways from session #1 of a listening class I started this week.
What is listening? Making meaning from sound. A mental process of extraction to get understanding.
Why is it important? Listening is our access to understanding. Conscious listening creates understanding and understanding creates deeper connections with others.
What gets in the way of good listening?
1. Multi-tasking. Presence precedes listening. If you're multi-tasking by checking your phone while trying to have a conversation, you're not being fully present. If you're not being fully present, you won't be able to listen effectively. If you want to listen well, give someone your focused undivided attention.
2. Distractions. Similar to #1 but these can also be our internal thoughts such as personal worries or thinking about our "to do" list while in conversation. The solution is to put our attention outwardly to the person in front of us, paying attention to the tone of their voice, their pitch, their pacing, the content, their emotions, values etc. instead of inwardly to the internal dialog of our minds.
3. Our filters. They tell us what we're paying attention to. For example, when someone starts talking and you think you know what they're is going to say before they say it, you stop listening. We can't assume we know what is going to be offered or we don't hear what is going to be said. Another type of filter is our intention. For example, if we intend to listen to our spouse as it's the very first time we're listening to them, how would that intention change the way we listen to them?
4. We're becoming impatient. We don't want oratory anymore. We want sound bites. The art of conversation is being replaced by personal broadcasting such as that on social media. We need to have patience and gain an appreciation for the art of conversation.
5. We're becoming desensitized. Our media has to scream at us with headlines in order to get our attention and it means it's harder for us to pay attention to the quiet, the subtle, the understated. Start paying attention to the understated and discover something new.
Way to improve conscious listening?
- Silence- Spent just 3 minutes a day in silence to reset your ears and recalibrate.
- The mixer- Even if in a very noisy place, listen for how many channels of sound you can hear. For example in nature, how many birds can you hear?
- Savoring- It's about enjoying mundane sounds like traffic or water flowing. Its the hidden choir that's around us all the time.
- Listening positions. Move your listening position to what you're listening to: Active/Passive, Reductive/Expansive, Critical/Empathetic
- Acronym- RASA which is the sanskrit word for juice or essence. Receive- pay attention to the person. Appreciate- making little noises like oh, ok, etc. to let someone know you're tracking with them. Summarize- the word "so".... is important in communication. Ask- ask questions afterwards.
- Listen with your whole being. Listening is not just using your ears. Listening with your eyes, ears, heart, and intuition are all combined for deeper listening.
- Remove distractions both internally and externally so you can be fully present to the person in front of you.
Many of the points on listening here came from this TED talk by Julian Treasure: 5 Ways to Listen Better
Here are my notes and the video from this past Sunday's sermon at The Community Church in Ashburn, VA.
Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.- Matt 5:5
Question: What does Jesus mean by "the meek?" Psalm 37/Daniel 3:16-18
The meek person-- (meek are open, receptive)
1. Has profound trust in God.
2. Is not defensive.
3. Is ok with God being God.
The meek are those who have a profound deep confidence in God. Hebrews 11:6
The opposite of meekness is striving and pushing. A constant state of turmoil and tied up not able to experience meekness.
This kind of living is carefree. Matt 11:28-30 says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
What I thought would happen isn't happening. It's ok because God is in charge.
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and continue to do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret-- it only leads to trouble, heartache, and evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. A little while and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. - Psalm 37:1-11
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, 'King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty's hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. - Daniel 3:16-18
Question: Do you trust God to the degree where you can calmly and without care just thrive right where you are?
Dr. Henry Cloud talks about the 5 factors of trust.
Fill a pitcher of water with level of trust. How high would that pitcher be filled?
1. Understanding- Do you believe that God understands and knows where you are right now?
In the Lord, whose word I praise. Trust begins with an understanding.
Hebrews 4:14-16. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in
every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
2. Intent- Do you believe that God is for you?
God is biased in your direction. When you were still a sinner, he gave his only son for you.
Psalm 56- this I know. That God despite what's happening around me, that God is for me.
3. Character- Do you believe that God is good?
Psalm 118- Oh give thanks to the Lord he is good. His mercy endures forever.
4. Ability- Do you believe that God is actually able to perform?
Matt 19:26- With God all things are possible.
5. Track record- Do you believe that God has a track record of turning things around?
Psalm 103:1-5- Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits-- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfied your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
I attend The Community Church in Ashburn, Virginia and felt inspired to share my notes from Pastor Charlie Whitlow's sermon this morning.
Are you blessed?
Matthew 5:4 says, "blessed are this who mourn, for they will be comforted."
1. ALL of us will experience loss in this life. No one will escape this life without being touched by pain, sorrow, and loss in this life.
Christianity is a sober-minded walk through this life that embraces and experiences the tangible presence of God in spite of difficulties of life.
2. The only healthy response to loss is mourning.
What is mourning? To allow the feelings of grief, loss, heartache, and sorrow to run the full course of life. The book of Psalms is the largest book of the bible. People are speaking to God. Laments are in the book of Psalms. What are laments? Songs and prayers of sorrow, heartbreak, and confusion. Where are you God? Why did you let this happen? This is not what I thought was suppose to happen. Prayers of anger to God. People pouring out their real troubles and complaints to the Lord. Anger, weeping, and crying to the Lord.
If you have never been disappointed or angry at God, then at best you have a superficial relationship with God.
3. Problem: Not all of us adequately grieve or mourn our losses.
We ignore the pain through hyperactivity in Northern Virginia.
A blessed life happens to those who know how to mourn.
Whatever we suppress doesn't go away. It finds an alternative way out. Usually undealt with grief comes out in unhealthy ways including addictions and physical illnesses.
Grief is a normal healthy human response when there's loss, which when handled effectively leads to a growth. When the grieving process is short-circuited, it can lead to health issues. Unprocessed grief can lead to anxiety and depression.
Experiencing losses without adequate grieving stunts our health physically and spiritually.
4. All of us need to learn how to grieve well.
How many of our health issues are caused by blocked mourning and unfinished grieving?
Symptoms of unfinished grief that we're not done mourning a loss by Peter Garlock:
- Seeming forever sad, angry, depressed, often feeling numb or nothing at all. The intellectual type. Unemotional. Flat. Unable to bond emotionally with others.
- Minimizing their loss. It's not a big deal. Others have it worse than I do. I'm not sad, just tired.
- Chronic weariness or anxiety. It takes a lot of energy to suppress pains.
- Addictions. Trying to temporary trying to medicate or numb the relentless pain. The #1 addiction is through activities.
- Repeat anniversary depressions.
THE BLESSED LIFE TEST
Question: Have you adequately grieved your losses?
Life will reach new heights if we grieve well.
Grieving well assignment:
1. Pay attention to your losses. Think through your life and losses. Write them down. Make 3 columns. One with age, the loss, and how you responded. Ages 3-12, 12-19, 20-26, and 27+.
2. Honestly express your feelings to God.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and pain and acquainted with grief; And like One from whom men hide their faces. He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or esteem Him. But in fact He has borne our griefs, and he has carried our sorrows and pains; Yet we assumed that He was stricken, struck down by God and degraded and humiliated. But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was crushed for our wickedness. The punishment for our well-being feel on Him. And by his wounds we are healed.
Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the So info God, let us hold fast our confession of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Savior. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted, knowing exactly how it feels to be human, in every respect as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with confidence and dwitout fear, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
3. Share your grief with others in the family of God. Community Church Motto: This is a safe place NOT to be 'OK.'
4. In time allow the grief to give birth to something new.
Death leads to resurrection. Something new will be birthed. You'll have a new way to connect with others.
In Matthew 26, Jesus grieves well. What does he do? He takes his friends, goes into the garden, and prays. He says I'm so sad to the point of death, would you pray for me?
The Community Church has a Grief Share support group on Tuesday nights at 7pm. For more information, go to: www.thecommunitychurch.org
Just this past week I had the privilege of seeing John Maxwell speak on the 5 levels of leadership. Below are my notes.
The law of process- leaders develop daily and not in a day! We like to microwave leaders but you have to crock pot leaders.
Ask how far can you grown instead of how long will it take? Teach growth and not goal setting.
Level 1 Leadership: Position
People follow you because they have to. People are prisoners. You get the least amount of effort and the least amount of energy from your people. The followers are asking themselves, how little do I have to do to keep from being fired? Low morale and low energy are common here.
Level 2 Leadership: Permission
The key word here is "relationships". People follow you because they want to.
They listen. Great leadership begins not by telling people what to do but rather by asking questions and listening to them. "Listen, learn, and lead."
Every follower asks 3 questions:
1. Do you like me?
2. Can you help me?
3. Can I trust you? (Will you lead me for my best interest?)
Great leaders know it's better to slow down and go together than to go fast and go alone.
It's not a what a person says but what a person does. Lead based on the behavior of your people. Listen well, observe well, and serve well. Value people.
Level 3 Leadership: Production
The key word is "RESULTS". People following because of what you have done for your organization.
3 key points here:
1. Lead by example. People do what people see.
2. Create momentum. When you produce, you create momentum. When you have momentum, people think you are better than you actually are. Managers solve problems while leaders create momentum.
3. Attract better people. Producers attract producers. Many leaders send people where they haven't been before. They are travel agent leaders. Be a tour guide leader instead and show people the way.
Level 4 Leadership: People Development
People follow because of what you have done for them.
Reproduction- you compound and multiply.
1. Recruit very well. There's a strength in recruiting They know how to bring people to the team. The first step of recruiting is having a clear picture of what you're recruiting for. What does this person look like?
2. Position their people really well.
3. Equip people well. 5 things:
1. Being good yourself. You cannot give what you do not have. Make sure you're really good at what you do.
2. You can't teach. They have to watch you do it. Spend the time with people. You don't do business alone. You always have someone with you.
3. You let them do it. You are tweaking them.
4. They do it.
5. They do it and now someone is learning from them.
Level 5- Personhood
People follow you because of who you are and what you represent. You are a model to follow. You are larger than life.
It's been almost a year now since my last post and a year since I first learned how to swim. I can't tell you enough how life changing swimming has been for me. It's been life changing because it was the biggest fear I had in my life and now I've overcome it. Swimming was something I just didn't do before. I took lessons before in freestyle and failed. It just took the right swim coach, some belief that it was possible, and handing it over to God.
Would you believe me if I told you that I LOVE swimming now? I was so overjoyed at the initial onset of swimming that I continued weekly lessons after that competition. I can now swim a mile. That's 64 laps! That's ridiculous when I think of it. If you had told me last year pre-swimming lessons that I 'd be able to swim a mile a year from now, that would be the funniest joke ever. For me, this is like climbing Mount Everest! It was THE impossible. But what's even cooler about overcoming my fear of swimming is that it has given me confidence that I can overcome anything. It's like that book, feel the fear and do it anyway. Now when I have challenges come into my life, I almost welcome them. I realize it's an opportunity for me to be a better person. Little by little, God willing, I can overcome.
What is the voice within you saying to you?
This is a picture of my community pool. This is where a miracle happened. This is where God winked. This is where fear was conquered.
This past Sunday my husband and I participated in a "Couples Challenge" with other couples from our church and neighborhood. The challenge consisted of a 16-lap swim, various body weight exercises, and a 3-mile run. When my husband first mentioned this "challenge" to me several weeks ago, I just laughed. I wasn't interested. Afterall, other than floating on my back and swimming doggie paddle style, I didn't know how to swim. I had no form.
Although I'm fairly athletic, I had this fear factor around swimming. I attempted swimming lessons as an adult to learn "freestyle" but it didn't really work out. I could sort of do it but not really. It was ugly. I felt like I was drowing every time I tried. I always felt like I was swimming for my life as if I had a shark chasing me while trying not to drown. It probably didn't help that my instuctor was a former Navy Seal and I felt like I had more of a drill seargent rather than an instructor. It was terribly uncomfortable. I was always tight and tense in the water and I never learned it.
Two weeks before the challenge date, I start getting all these emails from people participating in the challenge. The couples were talking about how they were training for the event. Some did it while on vacation while others practiced their swim in a lake or their run in our neighborhood . At first I was annoyed to get these emails because it assummed that I would participate. I copped an attitude. I was thinking, how did I get on this email list when I didn't even agree to do this. Apparently my husband signed us up. One week before race day, I realized we were participating whether or not I could swim. I decided then to sign myself up for 2, 30-minute swimming lessons. Breast stroke was one of the swim types listed so I asked my instructor, Alicia, to teach it to me. I had my 1st lesson on Monday and my 2nd lesson on Thursday. Race day, mind you, was Sunday. On Monday, we used a kick board and I learned the motion for the legs. On Thursday, I learned what to do with my arms, how to push off the wall, and how to combine the arms with the legs. Alicia was incredibly patient and encouraging to me. After putting it all together, I could swim a lap. And after some practice, I could swim 2 straight laps with plenty of energy left. That was a miracle! And the strange thing was that I enjoyed it! It was fun and relaxing exercise. I had never EVER EVER in my life been able to swim 2 straight laps. I hugged Alicia. I couldn't believe it. Learning how to swim has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I felt like I had just learned another language. I felt unstoppable. This opened new avenues of adventure for me. The thought had crossed my mind how cool it would be to do a sprint triathalon if only I had not feared the water. Well now, I have conquered the water. To God be the glory! Thank you Jesus! Philippians 4:19 says, "and my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." I felt so empowered in learning this little bit of swimming that I have decided to continue taking weekly lessons to learn the other styles of swimming.
Now back to the race. It was a team effort so I only had to swim 4 laps while my husband swam 12 laps. We placed 4th out of 6 couples but I was pretty darn happy considering we only trained together for 2 days and I learned a new skill out of it. Not to mention we had fitness instructors, a former coast guard member, and college swimmers in the group. We're talking about a very athletic bunch we have here. I was just thrilled to have conquered a fear and learn how to swim.
What's the moral of the story?
Luke 17:27 says, "what is impossible with man is possible with God." Sometimes the "thing" that you fear the most just needs to be handed over to God. Don't attempt to do it alone in your own strength. Ask for God's help. Because I had a horrible past experience with swimming, I had a mental block around it. It felt like it was the impossible. When faced with "the impossible" believe God will see you through it. Trust that He will make it possible and He will show you a way.
What's that thing you fear that if overcome could have a huge positive impact on your life?
What's the upside of overcoming your current fears and handing it over to God?
Fear is a miserable thing! It keeps us from realizing our full potential in life. See fear for what it is...a lie. When fears creep in your mind, expose it. Pray about it, talk about it with friends or write down your thoughts in a journal. The more airtime you give fear, the more ways you'll come up with to overcome it. Overcome fear through exposing its lies and overcoming it with the word of God. What is FEAR? False Evidence Appearing Real. It's like seeing a shaddow of a spider taking up an entire wall and assuming that's the actual size when in reality it's only 1 centermeter in size. Act on your fears, trust God, and find a treasure.
"One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do." - Henry Ford