Shifting the Focus from Anxiety to Opportunity

In every crisis there is danger and opportunity.

Recently I realized that I was more focused on the danger and perceived danger of this world crisis. I know you, too, might be feeling anxious and not sure of how to proceed – in your life or in your business.

I’d like to share a super cool tool with you. Thank goodness that as a coach, I have powerful tools to shift my perspective. One of my favorites is the Perspective Pie. Wanna play?

Okay, pull out a blank sheet of paper and draw a circle, filling the page with that big circle as much as you can. Then divide your circle into 8 slices of pie.

In one of those slices, write your current perspective. Mine was something like, “No one can focus on or afford coaching right now.” Then in the next slice, write a slightly better perspective. “Well I’m still working with clients. Some people still want coaching.”

Then write another somewhat better perspective. And better, and better and better until all 8 slices have new perspectives. My final slice was, “Coaching helps people uncover their opportunities. I need to be of more service now.”

So, I’d love to offer you a gift coaching session to help you uncover your current opportunities. We can focus on your life, your business or both.

Click here to access my calendar to schedule.

What Is the Positive Antidote for Anxiety and Fear?

With a serious virus circling the planet and all of the financial, social, and day-to-day impacts to our lives, we are in uncharted territory.

Of course the unknown can feel scary. Worrying makes it worse. What can we do to ease fear and anxiety?

I had to first ask myself this question. Here’s what’s been working for me.

Practicing mindful choosing.

When you become aware of feeling fearful or anxious, choose to put your focus on something that feels better, and true to you.

For me, I started by shifting my focus away from my retirement savings losing value. I’ve instead focused on not needing that money soon and remembering there is time for it to grow again.

I’ve gotten outside more. Feeling the solidity of Mother Earth beneath my feet, the wind in my hair, and the sun on my face. I’m taking more pictures of nature, focusing on all the gifts that surround me.

The half moon rising above Gore Range, across from Beaver Creek Ski Resort in Colorado

The half moon rising above Gore Range,
across from Beaver Creek Ski Resort in Colorado

And, I’ve been meditating and praying for calm energy for me and for anyone else who needs it too. I’ve also been more patient and kinder, with myself and with those around me.

Maybe most importantly, when I notice I’m fearful or anxious, I stop what I’m doing and simply witness the fear and anxiety. At the same time, I give myself some positive attention, allowing the fear and anxiety to be melted by love.

Practicing mindful choosing – it’s called a Practice for a reason. We may not do it perfectly, but every time we mindfully choose something that feels better, we give ourselves a gift and make the world a better place.

Guest Poet: Pandemic by Lynn Ungar

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

Thank you Randy Crutcher for sharing this.

What geeks your strengths and makes a contribution?

When you feel happy, fulfilled and energized, you can be sure that all of your top StrengthsFinder strengths are working well together! And, what energizes you might not interest a co-worker or would actually deplete her.

StrengthsFinder Mini Case Study

Let’s look at this in real life.

Julie’s StrengthsFinder top 5 strengths:

  1. Discipline
  2. Responsibility
  3. Connectedness
  4. Maximizer
  5. Context

One of the things Julie naturally does in her work as a Marketing and Communications professional involves creating a template for each new communication she develops. Then, for a particular project, she puts the actual material into the email, program outline or protocol template. Once she’s shared that as needed, she saves that email, program outline or protocol template.

When another project requires a similar email, program outline or protocol, she uses her original saved document, tweaks it as needed with the new information and sends it on its way.

Which of her strengths are geeked about this process?

If you answered “all of them,” you’d be right! It’s easy to see Maximizer, Discipline and Connectedness at work here. And Responsibility loves to respond quickly when a colleague or client needs something from her. Context loves using what worked in the past with only a few tweaks needed.

Let me know if you or someone you serve would like to be featured in the StrengthsFinder Strengths (Now CliftonStrengths) Mini Case Study.

What if Where You Focus Determines the Quality of Your Life?

Perception | Spiritual Business Coach Denver, Santa Fe

What do you see? The light, fluffy, hopeful clouds in the middle? The sunshine way off in the distance? The ominous, dark clouds at the top?

I love this photo as a metaphor for life. Or more accurately, how we think about and perceive life.

Do I want to focus on and worry about the possible storm? In this moment, will I choose the hope and joy of the light, bright fluffy clouds? Will I look for the radiant sun, even if off in the distance?

Or, if I can’t see the sun at all, will I remember that it is always shining? If I can see only a dark and stormy threat, can I give myself love and compassion in that moment? And, know that, “this too shall pass?”

What about you? How are you perceiving life right now?

Important: How Do You Keep Your Strengths Top of Mind?

Because our StrengthsFinder strengths are so natural to us, we tend to forget about them. When we forget, we negate the power of developing our strengths. It’s so fulfilling and rewarding to strengthen strengths! What’s one thing you can do on a daily basis to strengthen your strengths?

StrengthsFinder Mini Case Study

Ann: My Activator would love to run the show. Ready, fire, aim is NOT the best strategy.

To make sure I’m activating the right things at the right time, I’ve put Connectedness in charge of all my strengths. Connectedness views things holistically and knows what’s most important.

Once Connectedness sees the direction, then Activator can engage Maximizer, Strategic, Empathy and Individualization in a far more beneficial way. Hooray – ready, aim, fire.

Your Gifts May Be Rough. Offer Them Anyway.

I’m excited to share the wonderful poem below by one of my mentors, Chela Davison. Chela consistently and insistently calls me to be more present with me and all of me.

Your Gifts May Be Rough. Offer Them Anyway.

Diamonds start rough and so do our gifts.
The measure of what we have to offer should not be in its popularity or “people getting it” or likes or uptake.
The measure of what we have to offer is by how much it’s killing us to keep it inside and who is suffering without it.
My friends, I know the fears.
“It’s been done before, it’s been said before, my ideas aren’t unique.”
“I’ll be judged or shamed or persecuted. Or worse, I’ll be boring, irrelevant.”
“It’s too noisy, peopl e want quick fixes, success and ethics don’t mix.”
“I’ll lose my loves. I’ll lose myself. I’ll lose.”
“I’m not ready. I’m not good enough. I need to be better.”
We forget that we’re animals. That we’re wild, that there’s freedom right here.
We’re looking for each other’s medicine. We’re looking for a safe den and a warm body to cuddle up to. We’re hungry for nourishment and have nourishment to offer.
Sure, the world is a dangerous place. Sure, it’s cut throat competitive out there.
Except all of the ways in which it is not.
We help to create those spaces, one by one, group by group.
No single one of us will heal and change what’s sick and broken.
But many.
Many of us, toiling on our own sacred curves of the Earth.
Our hands and hearts busy making love into things, reaching out in offering.
So what if your gifts are rough. Give them.
Our souls are weary, we don’t need polished diamonds.
We need each other’s medicine, in all forms, in all ways.
We’re waiting for you, hopeful that you’ll show up.

– Chela Davison, ChelaDavison.com

This Is as Important as the Top 5 Strengths

Which of the top 5 strengths are in which of the 4 domains?

Of the 34 strengths, 17 of the strengths relate to people and 17 relate to task. The people strengths are 9 relationship-building strengths and 8 influencing strengths. The task strengths are 9 executing strengths and 8 thinking strengths.

All combinations of strengths have equal capacity for contribution. And those contributions will vary wildly based on how many strengths are in which domains.

Mini Case Study
Janae: two Executing Strengths and three Relationship Building Strengths.

Keith: all 5 strengths are Thinking Strengths.

What kind of contributions might Janae make?
What kind of contributions might Keith make?
How would they work well together?
What might be areas of conflict?

While we could answer these questions more specifically if we knew their exact strengths, we can also understand what’s important to them just by looking at the domains.

Reflecting on Your 2019, Creating Your 2020

Happy Solstice (in 3 days)!

One of my favorite year-end rituals involves reflecting on the past year – the good, the beautiful, the challenging, and then consciously creating next year.

Ten or twelve years ago, I created a deeply meaningful worksheet for both reflecting and creating. I use it myself each year and have shared it with my coaching clients so they can use it.

This year it occurred to me to share it with anyone who would like it. That being said, it’s not for everyone. It requires deep thinking and feeling, and it’s best done in 2 or 3 quiet sessions, each maybe 30 or 45 minutes.

If you’re willing to put in the time, you’ll be richly rewarded. The Reflection points you toward what’s most meaningful for you. It helps you recognize your own joy around your specific purpose and fulfilling contributions. The Creating supports you in being creatively proactive around your purpose, meaning and contribution in the new year, and for the new decade.

If you’d like the worksheets, simply enter your name and email address here to access the worksheets.

I love celebrating the light in the darkness of Solstice, the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas, and the blank canvas that is the New Year! I wish for you whatever is most joyous and meaningful to you this holiday season.

In love and appreciation.
Ann

StrengthsFinder - What is the Genius of the Top 5 Strengths?

With each person I work with, I’m endlessly fascinated by what they can do beautifully and effortlessly. This naturally happens when their top 5 strengths are all working well together.

You can recognize this when a person is feeling fulfilled and energized and in the flow. Start with yourself. Then begin having this life-changing conversation with people you serve.

Mini Case Study
Adam: Strategic, Futuristic, Ideation, Significance, Achiever
He used to feel frustrated by being labeled the crazy thinker in the room. Owning his top 5 StrengthsFinder strengths, he realized he needed to start projects and businesses. Today he’s happiest and most effective when he’s creating structure for big visions.

Let me know if you or someone you serve would like to be featured in the Mini Case Study.


Ann Strong, founder of Strong from Within and Thriving Coaches.

Author of Thriving Work.


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