Termite Tenting or Doggy Vacation Extravaganza? It’s all in your point of view.

ExtravaganzaBlogPhotoThe minute suitcases came out of the closet the “Are we going? Do we get to go? I really want to go? Do I get to go?” energy started. Both of our dogs knew something was up.  The twirling whines of “We want to go! Do we get to go? Oh boy we’re going! We’re going! We’re going!” were at a fever pitch by the time everything was loaded and we all got in the car.

They were anticipating a Doggy Vacation Extravaganza. I was filled with stress and anxiety at the thought of spending 3 days in a hotel room with two 70 lb. dogs, and elderly cat, and my husband Chuck while waiting out termite tenting of our house.

One experience; two totally different points of view.

After a short drive we exited our vehicle at the pet friendly La Quinta. Standing proud, tails wagging furiously, the dogs pulled us up the green carpet, squatting to leave their calling card every so often.

Soon the door to our short-term-home-away-from-home opened. The dogs came barreling in. “OMG – KING SIZE BED! VIEW OF THE BBQ GRILL! A PICNIC AREA!!” proclaimed the fever pitch of whines. A neighboring dog came into view, and the whines became excited barking and jumping enthusiasm about meeting a new friend.

As we unpacked the food (dog and human) dog heads swiveled back and forth in unison watching this buffet of favorites being set up just for them. We could feel their telepathic pleas of “Leave the room. We’ll be good. Leave the room. Leave the room now.” They were drooling.

The Doggy Vacation Extravaganza was off to a great start. I, on the other hand, was still stressed about the noise the dogs were making, tired to the bone from the tenting prep, worried about putting the house back together when we got home, and pretty much anything else I could think of.  Sigh.

At this point you might wonder what could possibly be better than staying in for the dinner buffet in our one-room-home-away-from-home?

Going out for dinner! “Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Leashes are out. We get to go! We get to go! We get to goooooo!!!!” (I could feel a headache starting behind my right eye.)

Soon, on the outdoor patio of a nearby dog friendly restaurant, dog heads were once again perky and alert, eyes roving from us to other diners, to the floor, to the wrens picking up the crumbs. Enjoying the smorgasbord of smells, sounds and sights. Leaning forward every time a fork moved. Catching every single morsel they could beg. Smiling happily when someone paused to pet them. Feeling like Doggy Rock Stars.

It was a fun evening, and I was surprised. It was obvious that other people liked our dogs’ attitude. I was starting to come around to the dogs’ point of view. Why was I so worried? I was only making it painful for myself. Hmmm.

And finally, back to the short-term-home-away-from-home. “Everyone on the bed at the same time!  Endless puppy rubs!  STAYING ON THE BED ALL NIGHT!!! Wishing this would last forever!!!!”

Surprise. Cassie and Reba’s expectations of a Doggy Extravaganza Vacation were reality. In spite of me. I expected to feel stressed out, tired and cranky. So I did. In hindsight not so surprising. LOL.

At the end of the day I was actually rejuvenated, and really grateful for the doggy vacation point of view. It was way more fun and healthy than mine. Next time I’d like to take their point of view from the beginning.

The next time you feel stressed out or overwhelmed, ask yourself “what a dog would think about this?” It can open the door to a whole new world.

Feel like checking out a new point of view? Let’s talk about it.

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I Believe I AM Influencing Social Change

PaulaFlowersLRWhen the 2016 Global Coaching Study Executive Summary from the International Coach Federation landed in my inbox I couldn’t wait to see how my experiences and opinions related to the other 15,000+ coaches worldwide who participated in this amazing study.  In the 20 pages I read, there was one thing that stopped me in my tracks.

98% of us coaches worldwide believe that we can influence social change.

I feel hugely validated by this. It’s a powerful thing to come together as a group of industry professionals. It’s quite a different thing to be reminded that our combined hearts are working together for the common good of humanity.
Whether we’re working one on one, or with groups and teams, on life, businesses or community issues, we are helping make the world a better place by teaching people how to honor themselves and each other.
Thanks to my clients, my coach friends, all the other coaches, and the International Coach Federation.
I’m grateful for this reminder to celebrate this amazing life that is coaching.

A Lesson About Safety from My Iguana Hitchhiker

My heart jumped when I caught the movement out of the corner of my eye, and my eyes widened in disbelief and shock as I realized something was climbing down the windshield of my moving vehicle. “Holy crap,” was my first thought, followed by “He’s going to die!”, as I subconsciously registered the colors, the ridges, the claws, and size of him. “It’s a friggin’ iguana!” Panic set in as he moved down the windshield onto the hood, sliding as he battened down against the wind; I was sure he was going to become road kill right before my eyes. I whipped into the next parking lot, and drove toward the shrubs on the side as my hitchhiker inched down the hood. “NO no no don’t fall off here” was screaming in my mind as I came to a stop and he disappeared off the hood.  “Did I run over him? Is he under the hood? Did he go into the bushes?” IguanaCropMy heart was still racing as I jumped out of my truck and ran to the passenger side, just in time to see his tail disappear into the shrubs. As I calmed down, I thought to myself, “He’s safe now, but he’s in unfamiliar territory.” It wasn’t until later that I felt the oxymoron in those words.  Equating safety with being in unfamiliar territory doesn’t feel logical. Safety means knowing what to expect and being in control. When life steps in, picks me up, puts me somewhere else, my mind screams danger and fills up with all of the worst case scenarios. Yet when the dust settles, every time, I grow from it, kicking and screaming at the unknown, until familiarity sets in again.

I finally understand that safety comes not from avoiding unfamiliar territory, but from trusting that I can get through it, and live to tell the tale.

The next time life picks you up, takes you for a ride, and drops you into unfamiliar territory, ask yourself what you can learn from how you’re responding. Do you trust yourself to keep going, or does all of your energy go into resisting the change? What’s the dramatic awful outcome you’re imagining? And most important, is the freak out energy helping? These questions can bring safety into the unfamiliar quickly and easily. Try them out, and let me know how it works for you.

Interested in more lessons from iguanas? Read about my October 2008 encounter with an iguana HERE.

PS. For those of you who want to know how the iguana got on the hood of my truck, it climbed up the fence, into a tree, and onto my truck to sun himself. The overhanging branch has now been trimmed back, and I check my roof before I drive away. LOL.

Building Your Muscles of Choice and Change After Cancer

“After it sunk in that I couldn’t take time for granted, I felt compelled to make spending time with my children my top priority. It was challenging, I kept reminding myself that if I could do cancer, I surely could do this.”– Angelina Provst, age 43, 4-year lung cancer survivor

Change, by definition, requires doing things differently. To have more of what matters most, YOU MUST want it badly enough to step out of your comfort zone and take a new action instead of an old one.

 The first step into the gym, ice cream skipped before bed, or salad ordered instead of a burger is the absolute hardest. As much as we wish that we could lose weight and keep it off without exercising or changing our diet, we won’t.

Changing how you do things is like strengthening a muscle. It can take weeks to finally set foot in the gym. The first time you lift the weights, muscles weak, your first repetitions are hesitant and uncertain before you get the feel of it. Next time you feel a groove. Soon, the workout seems easier so you add more weight. Your confidence grows. And then one day see muscle where there was none when you do the muscle-man arm flex. You feel inspired to keep going.

Of course, you won’t go from your first workout to muscle-man arms overnight. Life will get in the way.  A rush assignment at work and sick kids will intrude on your routine. One morning you will wake up and decide “I can’t do this right now.” Like we all do, you’ll get stuck, sometimes for weeks, months or more. THIS IS A NORMAL PART OF THE CHANGE PROCESS.

 This process of transition comes in uneven spurts: three steps forward, one step back, with a frustrating stuck place, or plateau, where nothing seems to happen. Know that healing is happening in that stuck place. You are processing the growth you have made, and preparing for your next steps. Remember to show yourself compassion when things slow down or aren’t progressing as fast as you’d like. Instead of feeling wrong, celebrate your progress. You’ll reduce stress, gain confidence, and feel more control over your future as you begin to focus your attention on the choices you’ve made.

When you heard “You have cancer,” did you believe you could do what you have now done? By no choice of your own, you’ve faced the thing you thought you couldn’t do. Fighting cancer has created a new muscle, the If I Can Do Cancer I Can Do Anything muscle. Flex this muscle when your normal resistance to change appears.

 Sign up HERE for my FREE Three Easy Steps That Build Your Muscles of Choice and Change Telecall on Tuesday May 15, 2012 8-9 pm EST / 7 CST / 5 PST. Can’t make the call? Sign up and get the audio after the call.

Learn more about building the muscle of choice and change in my What’s Next After Treatment Ends? LifeBook. Look Inside HERE.