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Sunday, January 28, 2018

How Much Have You Changed?



Change Is Inevitable as We Grow



Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of change in my life. Not necessarily change specifically in me, although I know that is lurking just around the corner. The changes seem to be all around me in people that I know or may work with as coaching clients.
I shouldn’t be surprised. In grad school, I minored in Developmental Psychology. That field encompasses much more than child development; its focus was on human development in the life span.

As some of you know, my mother is 94 and lives alone in The Villages of central Florida. I’ve known for some time that she was waning: losing stamina, having more difficulty with balance and walking speed. She still has a good mind, although now can’t remember as well, and occasionally gets confused. When she caught a cold just before Christmas, everything began to change in big ways. She’s now on oxygen, can’t (or shouldn’t) drive her car, and her life was become much more confined. She’s always been independent, and now must surrender a lot of that to depend on others.

I see the changes and know what they mean. My siblings and I are trying to come up with plans that she’ll accept, at the same time trying hard not to increase any stress associated with upcoming changes. Quite probably, there will be a move to Gainesville in the near future, so that she can be closer to family. But that means leaving the house she and my father built over 20 years ago, and leaving dear friends.

Watching her go through these changes has me thinking about all the different changes we go through in our lifespan.

As infants, we learn about the world around us. We learn to trust (or not). We gradually learn to speak and walk, and our experiences even at that young age helps shape who we will become in life.

We interact with the world and learn about self-control (that’s that potty-training stuff). Eventually we (hopefully) learn to express our needs without temper tantrums. We learn to interact with other children, maybe in our family, maybe in day care or nursery school.
Usually around the age of five or six, we start school. We learn about people who are different than we are, we learn to share. If we haven’t learned any yet, we begin to learn rules. As children we soak up knowledge, learning how to read, write, draw, and think. We begin to problem-solve in more sophisticated ways. We learn to differentiate emotions and their causes far beyond feeling “good” or “bad.” With luck, we learn to use our words. We develop friendships that may last our entire lives. We begin to suspect other families don’t do things the way ours does.

As we continue to grow and develop through adolescence, our bodies mature and we create or discover our identity. Friends become of overriding importance, and we learn how others may treat us. We begin to think about the future, even when it scares us. Gradually, we move towards greater independence. At some point, we’ll be ready to emancipate from our families and create a life of our own. Maybe this will be after high school; maybe it will be after college; maybe it will involve us getting married and starting families of our own.

As we develop, we move toward the work world, and finding ways to support ourselves. Currently, this stage poses difficulty for many young adults. They may exit college with massive debt and few prospects to work in the field they chose. Sometimes it’s necessary to move back in with their parents. Sometimes, to find a job, they have to move across country, away from their support systems.

Time marches on, and in the middle of life (whenever that is), you may develop a “mid-life crisis.” This is usually a dissatisfaction about how you are living. There may be a desire to change life circumstances—to leave a marriage, to move, to change jobs or even careers. This stage is about finding a way to live that will bring greater satisfaction. No matter what, this life stage usually requires change, whether big or small.

We continue to grow and develop throughout our whole lifespan, whether we’re aware of it or not. At some point, we reach the point where we’ve aged enough that we consider retirement or at least changing our work life in such a way that it is no longer central to our lives. When this is, and what form it takes often depends on a person’s financial situation. Have they saved enough to retire? Are they ready mentally, emotionally, and physically to change to a slower paced life. This can be an especially tough life stage, filled with changes in your daily life.

Grandparents may want to live closer and be involved in their children’s lives. Physical impairments may necessitate different living situations, such as living where there are minimal stairs. At this stage, there’s a lot of thought about what the future will bring. People facing the retirement stage will ultimately be making big changes, and may be anxious about the timing of their retirement decision as well as what their daily life will bring. They wonder: “What am I going to do with myself now?”

At some point, you’ll probably reach the stage that my mother faces. Feeling tired, worn out, or possibly sick. That’s when you may feel grateful for the good years, but ready to leave your fragile body as the quality of your life declines.

The timing of all the changes that occur in a lifespan isn’t always precise, and often happens when we aren’t ready for it. Illnesses can happen in midlife. Relationships can sour, changing your emotional well-being as well as your financial stability. Jobs may be lost as industries and businesses change to adapt to societal shifts.

Although there may be plenty of unpredictability, we always have the ability to change. It may take some time to accept the changes. It may take time to see how to create a different life that will be even more satisfying than the path you were on before.
Whatever life stage changes occur for you, you can make it. You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you definitely can change your reaction to those changes.

It’s definitely helpful to have support in the process. Whether you get this support from family or friends, or whether you seek out someone to help you find your new path, I think it’s important to get support.

I also think it’s vitally important to realize that we’re all in the same boat. Change happens to all of us, and when we help each other through the changes that life brings us, we help others as well as ourselves.

If you need help with the life stage changes you’re facing, feel free to contact me at 865-983-7544 or email me at Linda@InnerResourceCenter.com. We can put our heads together and figure out how you can best get the support you need, even if it isn’t from coaching with me. I’m committed to helping people find the resources to change their lives in positive ways. That’s why I call my business the Inner Resource Center, LLC. We all have resources to help us weather inevitable life stage changes. We just have to figure out what they are. I’m happy to help.

© 2018 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 15, 2018

What’s Your Vision for 2018?






If you haven’t already done so, now is a perfect time of the year to create a vision for 2018. You don’t have to do it at the beginning of a new year, but you creating a vision—in other words, figuring out what you want this year to look like really can make or break your success.

When we create a vision, we’re creating a picture of what we want our life to look like. We usually think of a vision as a picture, but you can also create a vision using your other four senses. Here are the questions to ask:


  •  What do I want 2018 to look like?

  • What do I want 2018 to sound like? What do I want to hear others saying to me?  What do I want to say to myself this year?

  •  What do I want to feel inside my body? What do I want to touch this year?

  •  What do I want to smell in 2018? What scents help define what I want?

  •  What do I want 2018 to taste like?


Some of these, like taste and smell, might seem unusual or far-fetched, but they really aren’t. For example, will you be socializing at your favorite restaurant, smelling and tasting your favorite meal? Will you be tasting champagne as you celebrate some goal completed? Will you be relaxing over a good meal with someone you love?

Our senses are important in defining our vision. When you’ve achieved your vision, what will you experience in all five senses? Thinking about this now will help you create the special outcome you’re seeking.

The whole purpose of having a vision is to be crystal-clear in your own mind what you want to happen, what you want to create, what you want to design, and what success in that looks like. When you have clarity about your vision, it allows you to utilize it to move you forward, and helps you minimize uncertainty. When you are faced with an opportunity, you can ask yourself: Does this fit my vision? If the answer is “not really,” you can say “no” and move on.

Just as someone building a house starts with blueprints or a description, your vision guides you. It allows you to ensure that you end up with exactly what you want, not a haphazard, slapped-together version. It sets a course for you to follow, or at the very least, provides direction in some or all areas of your life.

Your vision is important and unique to you. While others may give you some ideas, you ultimately decide what you want your results to look like. When you’ve personalized your vision by making it truly yours, you’ll know it fits you, and reflects what is most important to you.

The other thing it is important to realize about creating your vision, is that it can be context-dependent. What that means is that your vision may be specific to a certain context. When I’m thinking about what I want my coaching practice to look like, that may be different and unrelated to what I want my home life to look like.

I always recommend that you figure out your vision for all of your contexts:
·       ~Health—Physical and Emotional;
·       ~Work/Career;
·       ~Physical Environment;
·       ~Relationships;
·       ~Financial;
·       ~Spirituality;
~   ~Fun/Recreation;      
`   ~Personal Growth.

Why? Because you will want to integrate your vision for one area with the others. When your vision with one area is consistent with other areas, that vision creates an incredible unconscious power to move your forward in that direction. When they are in conflict, the chances of successfully achieving those visions diminishes. 

To create a vision for some area of your life, allow yourself to dream about what would make your life absolutely wonderful in 2018 in each area. Ask yourself what that would look like, sound like, feel like, taste like, and smell like. Write these things down or create a way to capture them. Some people like to create Vision Boards with pictures representing their vision. Sometimes people like to choose one word that will represent their vision for all areas for the whole year. Some people make a personal mix of songs that represent their vision. Use your imagination.

If you’d like help with this process, contact me at Linda@InnerResourceCenter.com or call me at (865) 983-7544. We can set up some time to work on determining your 2018 vision in each area of your life. If you’ve been feeling stuck or confused about where you want to go, determining your vision is definitely the most important first step.

(C) 2018 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Best Made Plans Don’t Always Work Out




Here’s What You Can Do


I had great plans for the holiday period. I was going to relax and enjoy it with my friends and family, but I was also going to get a whole lot done. Being self-employed, there’s often a lot to do at year’s end. Plus, I find it is a great time to clear out the old and begin the year anew: uncluttered, unfettered, and highly motivated. It’s a great time to plan my goals, create a strategic plan for accomplishing the things that are important to me. The sort of life I want doesn’t happen accidently.

So when those plans began to go awry, I’ll admit it—it threw me. Nothing felt in synch with my plans. The relaxation I’d so looked forward to on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day didn’t happen. You see, I communicate with my mom in Florida at least once a day. She’s 94 and getting more and more frail. The 600+ miles between her in Florida and me in Tennessee sometimes makes it really difficult.

She’d caught a cold, but was doing pretty well. But by Christmas Eve morning, she was having difficulty breathing and was “thinking about calling 911.” It took several phone calls to siblings and her neighbor to finally get her to agree to do that around 1 p.m. You guessed it, she ended up in the hospital through Christmas. My sister was able to come and help out until she fell to the flu December 25th. My brother stepped into the breach, and came down from Gainesville to try to sort out what they were doing for her and how long she’d stay. She was ultimately discharged on the 27th, and had some friends who could check on her. Everybody agreed she was much better. 

December 28th was my birthday and I NEVER work on my birthday. It is the day I set aside to do whatever I want. Unfortunately, that plan didn’t work either. By the day after she came from the hospital, she was back having difficulty breathing, and I was trying to figure things out logistically from afar. I’d just had eye surgery and required frequent rechecks with the eye doctor, or I would have been in the car, driving down there to tackle what needed to be done in a more hands on way. 

She wasn’t eating. She struggled to breathe. She refused the idea of calling 911 again. Her neighbors handled the eating situation by bringing her food. (Not that she didn’t have some in the house, but she didn’t feel good enough to get up and heat it).

Finally, we got her to the doctors on the 29th and things got better. A nebulizer with medication helped with the inflammation in her bronchial tubes and lungs, and oxygen helped with the supply. It’s still a day-to-day proposition as we try to put everything she needs in place and get her to cooperate with the plan.

Needless to say, with the worry, wondering, phone calls, coordinating and communicating with siblings, neighbors, her doctor’s office, etc., a lot of my best plans went unaccomplished. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t resent that. It’s just a fact of life. You can have some great plans, but they won’t always work out.

When that happens, what can you do? The answer is born of necessity. Be flexible. Pay attention to the things that are most important and follow through with them, and pick up the rest when you can. You’ll need to figure out how to meet deadlines, especially if they are not flexible deadlines. Sometimes that will mean you’ll have to change your plans. Sometimes it means you’ll have to delegate tasks. Basically, you do what you can, when you can.

The whole idea of making plans is about making your life easier. When you can’t follow your plans in quite the way you’d hoped, you need to adapt and become flexible enough to meet the demands that are most important, and forgive yourself for the rest.

Plans can make you more productive, but only if you can figure out how to let go of them when necessary. Otherwise you’ll beat yourself up and wear yourself out trying to do too much.

What do you do when your plans get derailed? If this is something you struggle with, I’m happy to help you figure out how to manage it. After all, I’m getting to be an expert at both the planning and the recovery when those plans go astray.
 
Email me at Linda@InnerResourceCenter.com or call me at 865-983-7544.
 
"We get by with a little help from our friends."