Is Change on the New Year Horizon for You? Consider the Holidays Your Pre-Season.

Poised to Embrace Change - Life Coach Teresa Young

Today I’m thinking about embracing change. ‘Tis the season for me on a lot of levels, and that intrigues me. Because I know if it’s happening to me, it’s happening to folks around me, too.

‘Twas what season?

I’m thinking about the fact that there are placid seasons in our lives. Times that, as you look back, seem like long stretches of comparatively calm water. But then when was that, exactly? Those six months? That year and a half? But actually, this major life event happened. Then that one. And while they had your attention, the lid blew off the situation around the corner.

Never a dull moment. And that’s the journey. That’s the beauty. Beautiful life.

And yes, change comes in seasons. Like in the movie Chocolat, where a big wind blows lovely Vianne and her daughter Anouk into the village. And we feel it. The “winds” of change. “Spirit.” The unknown. Excitement. Freedom. Fear. Plus whatever grieving we’re doing as we let go of whatever certainties we need to lose.

What do you want to do?

So, here in the season that’s a pre-season, too, with the coming New Year calling me forward, calling you, how do we invite and embrace the unknown? A focus on energy is one way for me. In fact, I say follow the energy. First by getting present to its ebbs and flows. What wants to rise up within you? And what feels exhausted? Exhausting? As in wants to be over, at least for now. Follow the energy as inner wind tugging you forward.

And it’s worth noting here that we humans often don’t embrace change until we have to. Honestly, we all have our ways of treading water, of staying afloat without rocking the boat. That’s why it takes a big wind to break up the status quo. Then we will still stand there or sit or lie and wait and hold back and turn back and start forward and stop flat, until the moment comes when… we’re… ready. Or ready enough. Because sometimes we just have to leap to learn what we need to know.

Party and plan. Present and future.

This holiday season, relish the known. The now. And especially all our delicious ritual experiences. Meanwhile, in the margins, as big context, keep watching for what wants your attention. Then in moments that feel right, try out some new moves. Put a toe into that growth-and-change dance that it’s time to do. And while you’re dancin’, look around for and enjoy all the fine folks right there with you on the wild, wonderful journey.

 

Life Coaching with Teresa Young
Photo: John Livzey

Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person in Los Angeles, and via Skype outside the U.S.

 

Tragedy Makes Us Reflect. It Makes Us Feel so Much That’s All Too Real. Then We Keep Moving Forward.

Tragedy Makes Us Feel - Life Coach Teresa Young

While we were all in shock after the tragedy in Thousands Oaks, two more California tragedies, the Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire, flared. And here we are now, our shock even more profound.

Just back from Panama City, Florida and Hurricane Michael’s devastation, I’m a few weeks into grieving another tragic experience for a community, this time my hometown. This time my loved ones.

So I feel like sharing a bit of what I’m reflecting on right now.

These stories are just beginning.

First, as any stories of tragedy fade from front page news, they’re really just beginning. The support that we can and want to give must continue.

It can come in so many ways, from the deeply personal and truly sacrificial—a shoulder to cry on, housing help or work for displaced people—to the simplest quiet acts. Like yes to a small donation in the grocery store. I had lunch with a friend today who said she gives directly to GoFundMe pages to make a fast impact.

Life is so beautiful.

I was struck over and over in Panama City by gorgeous days, while weather-related tragedy unfolded all around us. It was surreal.

And I say that taking the time for all those thoughts and feelings, rather than shutting them down, is an important part of finding our way through devastating experiences. Take real time to think. Time to feel. Everything else that seems so urgent will still be there.

In the process, in the wise words of the Dalai Lama, reflect on your own strength to carry on. On everything your own life is about. Everything you hope for.

The point is to care for yourself toward helping those around you. Your oxygen mask comes first.

Don’t sugarcoat. Do offer hope. And rest.

If you’re connected to anybody directly impacted by these tragedies, do empathize. And do remember to also offer encouragement. To offer hope. Your words may make a difference that you’ll never know.

Trust your instincts as you find ways to help that don’t sugarcoat what is in fact tragic, but that do align with that very human activity of carrying on. It’s what we do. We keep going.

And on dark nights, in dark times, we need rest. We all need rest. There will be days and nights when we’ll get it, days and nights when we won’t. But keep giving yourself permission for it. For that oxygen mask. Nourish yourself toward nourishing others.

As you keep your own little light burning, it can help brighten the way forward for others. For all of us.

xo,
Teresa

 

Life Coaching with Teresa Young
Photo: John Livzey

Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person in Los Angeles, and via Skype outside the U.S.

 

Invite Some SuRpriSe Into Your Life. It’s Only Always Good for You. For Us.

Invite Surprise with Life Coach Teresa Young

When’s the last time someone—or life—surprised you, in a good way? Can’t remember? Ready to change that? Well, then you’ve got to invite some surprise on in.

Often, for all our talk of wanting more of this or a different that, we tend to travel the same well-worn paths over and over.

Habits that have grown stale. Casual daydreams—or rich  fantasies—of adventure or change that we don’t act on.

Change may not be the most natural thing

Often, too, there’s no real reason why, or why not. Maybe it’s just how we’ve lived. Or how we’ve watched the folks around us “do life.” Besides, our routines are comforting, right? They work. Hmmm.

Or do they? Maybe the truth is somewhere between yes and no.

To welcome surprise into your life, get curious about the unknown. And about that part of you that may be waiting for its turn at bat, or on the dance floor. Out snorkeling. Or hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Move over, known. Time to mix things up!

Invite the unknown in

Take a different route to work. Make a point to notice things along the way. Say yes! when you usually say no, or instead of that famous decision-in-a-non-decision:  we’ll see.

Sit quietly if you usually don’t. Head out for a walk without a purpose. Call a friend without anything on your mind to say. Wear something really different for you!

Let the unknown call you out

Book that trip. Take that class. Ask for that raise! Try saying no to things, too. See and feel where different choices take you. And pay attention to whatever coincidences or unexpected opportunities pop up then. Because they do. They will.

You deserve an amazing life. Invite surprise in for surprising developments. Woohoo!

 

Life Coaching with Teresa Young
Photo: John Livzey

Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person in Los Angeles, and via Skype outside the U.S.

 

 

 

 

What IS Life Coaching Anyway, You Say? Let’s Start With What You Do Know.

What Is Coaching? - Life Coaching with Teresa Young

So first, what is coaching? Well, think football. Basketball. Golf. The Olympics.

Got it instantly, right? Now. Can you picture sports teams—or their star players—bringing their best to the game at hand without their coaches?

Next, widen that view to me and you. Because life has been changing lightning fast since the late 20th century. And never more so than now.

More and more we understand so much that we once had little awareness of, like the connection between stress and health. Between visualizing and achieving. We get the relationship between the ways we “do life” and what we get done.

What coaching isn’t

By the way, coaching isn’t therapy, another important resource. Coaching is present- and future-based. Coaching is about achieving goals rather than processing and healing.

The golf pro expects to get to the next level with his swing through coaching. Coaching is results-driven.

And to be crystal clear, I’m not saying that therapy doesn’t promote growth. It absolutely does! And the fact is, accomplishing what we want most is the specific, razor-sharp point of being coached.

Also, coaches know you can’t just put icing on whatever is there and call it cake. To say it another way, positive thinking isn’t a game changer. Coaching is inspirational. But it’s also so much more.

How about client-centered partnership?

I say coaching is a client-centered partnership that supports focused folks in bringing their own wisdom, intelligence, skills, energy and desire to achieving their goals. One step at a time.

And when we think of athletics again, we also know that coaching has been around for a long, long time. Expert, goal-driven support is nothing new. The first written records of the Olympic Games were in 776 BC!

So, what is life coaching?

Fast forward to these days, and life coaching. First, it isn’t just for the rare, chosen few. After all, we’re more free than ever in this amazing age to pursue our dreams.

Now think for a moment about the connections between these parts of ourselves and our lives:

1.  Current habits, beliefs, and dreams
2.  Past experiences, and what we tend to make them mean
3.  Current clarity about inspiring professional and personal goals
4.  Healthy support systems, or lack thereof
5.  Current capability to follow through on goals to successful completion
6.  Current capacity for creating balance in the midst of it all
7.  Life’s ever-morphing challenges and opportunities

Clearly we’re each a mix of histories and experiences that affect the way our lives unfold. We have gifts, abilities, and tendencies. Stories we tell ourselves. Fears. What we think we can do, or deserve.

Life coaching takes a holistic, big-picture approach. It gets to the core of what our largest selves really want, and how—given who we each uniquely, actually are—to get there.

The nitty-gritty

For more of what life coaching is, think consistent, energetic support. Active listening. Empowering questioning and dialogue. Action planning. Championing. And holding clients accountable to act on what matters most to them! Also, deliciously, life coaching is about acknowledging and celebrating all kinds of small and large successes along the way.

Repeat as needed. :)

What’s more, coaches help clients uncover and wrestle to the ground whatever bugaboos come up and get in the way. After all, that’s just human. It’s another reason expert support matters as you do the work toward real forward movement.

Just like star players run those drills. Like they get help correcting that swing or perfecting a free throw.

Now imagine your version of all that. Toward what you want your life to be about.

And reach out for more info if life coaching sounds like a fit for you. Then get ready for your MVP year!

xo,
Teresa

 

Life Coaching with Teresa Young
Photo: John Livzey

Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person in Los Angeles, and via Skype outside the U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Things Fall Apart? Just Proceed, One Baby Step at a Time. One Foot in Front of the Other.

When Things Fall Apart - Life Coach Teresa Young

Processing… everything

I’m in Houston on my way home to L.A., already feeling like I’m back in civilization. Airport WiFi!

But I’m still intensely connected to what will be a long recovery process in Panama City. Because it’s just three weeks since historic Hurricane Michael hit the area hard.

There’s plenty I can check on and text my dad about on the iPhone I drove 100 miles to get him for his birthday. That phone, a communication channel I know I can count on in the midst of this mess, helped me get on the plane home.

Now healing will be very slow for my mom’s hometown, and for my mom. For my dad, too. He has worked himself to the bone.

And not just since Hurricane Michael struck. And not just the month before that, during and after my mom’s scary surgery and scarier complications. But for the past two years, when she was ill but not yet diagnosed. And the extent of her cancer still isn’t clear.

My dad’s health has suffered in the caregiving he’s been doing. Anybody who has been through their own parents’ tough times knows where I am with them now, in heart-wrenching new territory.

Emotion and encouragement

So despite my love for my beautiful life in L.A., I had a tough time leaving Panama City. Finally my dad and I agreed that I had to get in my rental car and go before we both broke down.

This morning it had a flat tire. Under these crazy circumstances, it took three hours and several phone calls to get some help. I wasn’t about to let my dad mess with it.

And now I know firsthand how natural disasters are in the news for a week or two and then fade from view. The truth is, the recovery process in and around Panama City is barely underway. The shock everybody is in is still descending.

I heard dark threads of conversation all over town that I countered with encouragement. The stages of grief are just beginning.

Blossoming in hardship

On the other hand, one inspiring result of all this heartbreak has been my family coming together. And that’s big. Because the fact is, this left coast liberal and those red state Republicans have re-connected in ways we haven’t been capable of in years.

My local brother Ken is kind of my twin on the planet, the big guy version born 364 days later. One day a year on his birthday we’ve always said we’re the same age. He’s former Coast Guard, and about the time I started my own business he started his. These days the ace helicopter mechanic runs his own tractor company while managing his 40-acre homestead.

So it was satisfying to watch him manhandle our parents’ ruined property. The first time, before I got there, he cut them out of a house-high barrier of once magnificent old oaks.

The second time he worked to get tangles of trees and all kinds of debris like siding, roofing, front porch overhead fan parts, and their shattered mailbox to the side of the road. We’ve heard FEMA will take it all from there.

It seemed to me he was doing what he was into from the time he was pint-size, pushing all his great trucks around in the yard. Being his kickass, can-do self in the world.

A day in the life

In the midst of it all, my two brothers and I managed to have some beers and a party-planning conversation last Friday for our dad’s 83rd birthday. We met at a favorite bar of theirs. It had just opened back up, running cash only and standing room only.

Then my brother Michael, a former-Navy security pro on loan from his work overseas, trekked back to the AirBnB townhouse out on the beach that I’d found before I left L.A. His family had to vacate their battered apartment building and are looking hard for housing. Ken headed to his place in nearby Chipley. And I went back to our parents’ home. Most folks have power now.

I had to smile while I was still looking for my rental car and saw Ken already rolling out onto the highway in his 50-foot rig, sporting one of several Caterpillar contraptions he works with. A day in the life.

Then yesterday as he was clearing our parents’ lot, they lost water to the house again. Amazingly, a guy from the Water Department came right out and diagnosed an issue underground. It wasn’t at the street, so it wasn’t his problem.

The next thing I knew, Ken was waist-deep in a hole, gluing something with something Michael had snagged from the hardware store. And our parents had water again.

Michael had already rigged up an antenna that my dad bought years ago. So now my parents can watch some TV. And I fed everybody. That’s been my thing.

Best birthday ever

And we had our dad’s 83rd birthday party. Despite our depressed parents’ protests, it went down. And Dad loved it. Two little girls next door even brought over homemade cookies, an impressive fete given the mess at hand! Mom couldn’t get out of bed to join us, but she said she thinks it was Dad’s best birthday ever.

And a note on the satellite image of Hurricane Michael here:

Just before I left, Ken heard that emergency responders had found one of Mexico Beach’s weather station recorders. They learned it had measured sustained 160 mph winds with gusts of up to 201 mph.

So it’s a good thing this storm moved fast. Otherwise its impact would have been even worse.

Tough stuff and temporary opportunities

Panama City and larger Bay County have had two hospitals for decades. And Hurricane Michael pummeled them both. They’re still closed right now except for emergency services.

So long convoys of troopers and sheriffs roll through town at least once daily, sirens blazing, getting people to hospitals sixty or more miles away. (Do they transport one patient per vehicle? I still don’t quite get it.)

And on my drive to Destin to buy my dad’s phone, I heard urgent requests on the radio for more hospital personnel, and PSAs about emergency nursing certifications. Both things I’ve never in my life heard before.

For now, back to La-La Land

For now, I’m grateful for the part I’ve been able to play for my family in this crisis. And for everything I’m learning about natural disasters.

For instance, I know now that west coast folks need generators to complete earthquake prep. Think about multi-week power outages. Oh, and landlines really will be useless.

For now I’m ready to get back to my own work. And I’ll keep going to Panama City. My parents will need ongoing help prepping for immense changes, like getting their 2-story house repaired and ready to sell.

And is it time for assisted living? Can they agree on what comes next?

It’s no longer a someday situation. One thing they do agree on is that they won’t be moving to La-La Land. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Meanwhile, thank you again and always to everyone who helped us. As my niece Kyla says, “You have done something great.”

We’ll never forget it, as the wild, wonderful journey of life moves on into who knows what strange new country.

That’s the gig we’re all on, right? Never a dull moment.

xo,
Teresa

 

Life Coaching with Teresa Young
Photo: John Livzey

Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person in Los Angeles, and via Skype outside the U.S.

 

 

 

 

Generating Power Through Gratitude is a Game We Can Play in Any Situation

Generating Power in Panama City - Life Coach Teresa Young

Generating power here

I’ve never seen so many workers up on power poles at the same time across so many lanes of traffic. And on a Sunday yet. And this is going on all over Panama City.

Gulf Power is trying hard to restore power to all areas of Panama City and larger Bay County by October 24th, two weeks after Hurricane Michael ploughed through here. That’s tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, in a sweet moment yesterday on a bumper-to-bumper highway, three state troopers were standing around keeping an eye on things. Someone in a car ahead of me reached out and handed them a big bag of sandwiches.

They dug right in. Power, indeed.

Music matters

When I got here from L.A. four days ago, I started playing Pandora’s ‘70s rock station while driving around in my rental car. That is, when I can get a signal. I decided on ’70s tunes to evoke my pre-teen years here. They feel right.

Like yesterday, on the way to my parents’ house from my AirBnB condo on the beach in heavy traffic. Cat Stephens’ Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world couldn’t have been more perfect.

My brother’s family is staying with me after getting most of their stuff out of their damaged apartment. My mother is recovering from some awful surgery and feels too weak to move. So I’m taking hot meals to my parents daily.

In a bizarre twist, Panama City Beach is the only nearby municipality with power. I found a place there before I left L.A., thinking my parents would come stay with me, too. But they won’t leave their home. And I get it.

After several hours with them yesterday, James Taylor’s Shower the People kicked in just as I pulled out onto their ravaged street again. It got me past the shock my dad and I feel every time we open his garage door to the ruin around us.

I give him his own private daily pep talk then as we stand next to my car. Shower the People is definitely what I’m doing here.

Sketchy routines

And on the important subject of cell service after a weather disaster, kudos to my iPhone. I’m faring better than folks with other devices.

I’m sending and receiving texts using weak cell signals and WiFi. I’m using Google and Google maps. And a shout-out to the carrier that’s sharing its tower with Sprint. I hear they have at least two towers with heavy damage.

We’re managing a routine of sorts while waiting for power, insurance adjusters, and more ease of movement. That’s both indoors at my parents’ place, where extension cords to the generator and all around the ground floor are exactly as I imagined them while sleepless in Los Angeles—with my mom on a walker and my dad using a cane—and outdoors.

Imagine downed trees, mountains of debris, and suspicious-looking cables as thick as your ankle stretched out across the roads. Hordes of workers with orange cones parked all around their heavy-duty vehicles.

And a news flash: yesterday I saw a convoy of FEMA trucks roll into town with “Potable Water” emblazened on them in block letters as tall as a man. Their presence is growing.

Fueled by gratitude

Lastly for now, thank you again! to everyone who has helped us. Now that the shock of it all has worn off a bit, I’ve starting telling my parents how I got here this time. All the aid we received. They get wide-eyed and quiet while I get choked up.

The three of us are feeling so much together, with gratitude the saving grace on the list. I’ll update you again soon.

xo,
Teresa

 

Life Coaching with Teresa Young
Photo: John Livzey

Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person in Los Angeles, and via Skype outside the U.S.