Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Are You Coachable?

When I first heard about Life Coaching, I thought it sounded kind of new agey. Like the way you might think about crystals -- they sound nice and look pretty, but can they really do anything? Now I know better about coaching (the jury is still out on crystals), and since I've been training with corporate leaders, VP's of human resources, PhD's in psychology, and other muckedy mucks, I figure if it's a fluke, I'm in good company.

But it isn't a fluke. Life coaching generates great results for people. That's why corporations, executives, athletes, and celebrities hire coaches all the time. (See this New York Times article about coaching: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/26/fashion/sundaystyles/26COACH.html)

But it also helps people like you and me discover who we are, what motivates us, what our goals are, and how to achieve them. Here's an example on a smaller scale. A friend asks you to go for a run. "Come on," they might say. "You said you wanted to lose weight and it'll be fun running together." So surprise -- you've just been coached. You've been motivated, inspired, and you have someone to whom you are accountable. Life coaching is the same, but on a more profound level with long-lasting results. If you work with a coach, you will grow and grow and grow.

You might think you don't need a coach. And maybe you don't. But before you blow it off completely, ask yourself this question: "Am I coachable?" Is there any area of your life, work, relationships, finances, or enviroment that could use improvement? Are you interested in self discovery and thinking outside of the box? Would it be easier to do these things with someone trained to help you? Do you have the real desire for something better?

There's really nothing to lose. Most coaches offer a complimentary session up front so you can get a feel for what it's all about. If you are a business owner or a parent or an athlete or a student, or anyone who wants to move forward, coaching will help you achieve what you want.

Here are some of the results you can expect from coaching:

1. Discover what is out of balance with your life by looking at who you are now and what you need to change.

2. Determine what is sapping your energy and how to eliminate these drains in your life.

3. Envision and define what a really fulfilling life looks like for you.

4. Decide what your priorities are and how to stay focused on achieving your goals.

5. Focus on your values and align your external life with your internal beliefs.

6. Unhinge yourself from beliefs and patterns that are holding you back from what you want to achieve.

7. Make profound shifts in your way of seeing yourself and the world, allowing you to move in directions you never even considered!

If you are interested in learning more about coaching and how it might benefit you, I invite you to email me at bbdavenport@charter.net.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Getting To Know You

Do you really know yourself? That question always has intrigued me, and as an INFJ, it's only natural that I would spend a lot of time and thought figuring out who I am, what motivates me, and what my passions are.

For those of you who aren't INFJ's or who haven't explored character and temperament types, an INFJ is just one of sixteen personality types commonly associated with the model of personality development created by Isabel Briggs Myers, the author of the world's most widely used personality inventory, the MBTI or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. ® Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs, developed their model and inventory around the ideas and theories of psychologist Carl Jung.

There are four pairs of preferences in typing:

-extroversion (E) or introversion (I);
-sensation (S) or intuition (N);
-thinking (T) or feeling (F)
-perceiving (P) or judging (J).

We all have elements of each of these functions, but we differ in the degree of preference we have for choosing one way of doing or being over another. Thus, the sixteen combinations.

So, why does this matter? For me, it is simply fascinating. I love learning about myself and other people. But typing has a much more profound and practical application. People are different and have different motives, values, drives, etc. They perceive and believe differently. And in spite of knowing about these variations in behavior, most people see others' differences as some manifestation of being bad, stupid, or crazy. We naturally tend to see people's differences as a kind of character flaw in them. But if you understood them, what makes them tick and how they experience the world, imagine the positive implications for your personal and professional relationships!

As an INFJ, I love to focus on possibilities and interact with people individually or in small groups. Put me in a solo job where I have to follow detailed instructions or assemble something, and I'm bound to start chewing my ankle off. Employers utilize type testing all the time to help them figure out where people belong within an organization and how to take advantage of their natural abilities and preferences.

But I think on a personal level, understanding your own type and the types of those close to you could put us on the road to world peace! Perhaps that's stretching it, but you get my drift. If you understood that your friend isn't being "too sensitive" when her feelings get hurt, but that emotional sensitivity is part of her natural make-up, then you learn to engage with her in a different way.

I love this quote from Please Understand Me, Character & Temperament Types, by David Keisey and Marilyn Bates:

"If I do not want what you want, please try not to tell me that my want is wrong.

Or if I believe other than you, at least pause before you correct my view.

Or if my emotion is less than yours, or more, given the same circumstances, try not to ask me to feel more strongly or weakly.

Or yet if I act, or fail to act, in the manner of your design for action, let me be.

I do not, for the moment at least, ask you to understand me. That will come only when you are willing to give up changing me into a copy of you."

If you are intersted in taking the Myers-Briggs personality sorter, contact a coach or psychologist trained in administering the test. You can take a shorter version online at:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Larry and Jody

Bowl of clouds
Originally uploaded by kevindooley
I have these friends, Larry and Jody. They are the coolest couple. They have always been cool, but in the last few years they are more than cool. They are amazing. I've known them for years. Mostly Jody, since both of our daughters have been training together as ballet dancers, and Jody and I have been plopped together in carpools, recitals, and waiting around dance studios. Jody always has had the most incredible zen-like quality to her. While I was biting my nails over my daughter's ups and downs as a dancer, Jody seemed to handle it all with a serene equanimity and appropriate detachment. I really wanted that. Plus, she could pull off wearing blue jean overalls and look completely adorable. But I digress . . .

I got to know Larry a bit later. I started hearing bits and pieces of a new venture he had started. Something about coaching people to align their life and spiritual goals. I kept asking his teenage daughter (the dancer) what he was doing, and she'd roll her eyes and say, "I don't really know." So as I was thinking about life coaching for myself, I decided to go talk with Larry to learn more about his work. And I found out the most incredible thing about him -- and Jody.

First, Larry had worked for years in a big job with a big corporation. They lived in a big house in a gated community. You get the picture. (I never really knew this since Jody is so zen and wears overalls.) One day Larry comes home to the big house and tells Jody that he has been experiencing a spiritual transformation and has been profoundly inspired to start a non-profit working with people on spiritual awakening. Oh, and by the way honey, we'll need to sell the house to do this, and please don't buy any more overalls. Needless to say, this did a number on their marriage. This was not the Larry Jody had married.

But here's the amazing part. Larry had discovered his life passion. He couldn't walk away from it in spite of fears about his marriage, finances, and a myriad of concerns about starting a new venture. And as Larry aligned with his authentic self, incredibly Jody did too. Maybe she was forced too by circumstances, but that doesn't matter. As long as we get there. She would have gotten there one way or another.

So fast forward to today. Larry started Cloudwalk, a Christian non-profit organization whose people have dedicated their lives to serving others in their spiritual growth. They do workshops and retreats and have touched hundreds of lives. It continues to grow, and Larry is clearly where he should be. The Cloudwalk offices are in this wonderful, light-filled cottage which he shares with Jody. Jody found her own passion and started a retail business called The Garden Within. The rest of the cottage is her retail space where she and her partners sell all kinds of unique, locally made stuff. Jewelry, clothing, garden goodies. I just want to roll around in there, it's so neat. The outside of the cottage is devoted to Jody's gardening business, another of her passions. She also works with Larry at Cloudwalk with workshops and retreats. She has a light around her.

So now this husband and wife have each found where they are supposed to be. Their contentment is palpable. They are in this great space, together, working with people who want to grow spiritually. Amazing.

Why am I telling you about this? Because life is short. Find what you love and go for it. Don't accept mediocre. If you need help, get a mentor or coach or advisor to assist you in discovering the authentic you and then become it. Go live an amazing life.

(If you want to learn more about Cloudwalk, visit www.cloudwalk.org.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What Are You Tolerating?

On the way downstairs this morning, I stepped over a pile of accumulated stuff that my kids have left on the steps -- for days and days. I passed the sample boards for bathroom tiles leaning against the wall that the guy brought over four months ago for a fix-up in one of our bathrooms. A project yet to be started. And now as I've begun to write this post, I can't move my darned mouse around because it has to circumvent a maze of the clutter on my desk.

These are minor irritations, but irritations nonetheless. And I've been putting up with them. As busy people, we humans tolerate a lot. Not just the small things, but big, important things like living on the edge financially, being overweight, or putting up with negative, energy-draining people.

Why do we do this? Yes, we are all busy, distracted, pulled in many directions and short on time. And many of us have been taught to accept the status quo, not to complain or rock the boat, or to put up with other people's bad behavior. But what if you started eliminating the tolerations in your life? What if you made the decision to start addressing the irritations, energy drains and negative habits that stand in the way of a happier, fuller life? A life focused on what you really love and value rather than one marred by tolerations.

I know. It can be overwhelming. There are so many things we tolerate, it's difficult to know where to start. But now that your attention is focused on it, can I challenge you to just start somewhere? Dave Ramsey, the financial advice guru, encourages people who are in debt to start paying off the smallest debt first. Every early success can motivate you to tackle the bigger issues. And every success is a gift to you -- a gift of more energy, more time, more peace of mind.

So here's my challenge for you: pick one small thing in your life that you are tolerating and eliminate it this week. That's all. Just start there, and maybe you will be motivated to challenge yourself next week to take on another!

I'd love to hear back from any of you about your toleration and how you handled it.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Originally uploaded by psychosquirrel427

"I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom." -Anonymous

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Re-write Your Life Script

Have you ever taken the opportunity to re-write your life script? To tear off the old pages and start with a clean, fresh sheet of paper? Often this happens as part of a big life change or upheaval. A job loss, a divorce, a move or some other extraordinary event that changes you forever and forces you to reassess everything you are and everything you do. Most of us don't want to go through the upheaval to get the new life. But have you ever considered re-writing your script on just an ordinary day? If you could wake up tomorrow and recreate your life into the life of your vision and dreams, would you do it? What would it look like?

That empty sheet of paper can seem intimidating -- all that white space crying out to be filled with a plan for joy, purpose, meaning and fulfillment. How do you begin? Is it really attainable? This year I have started to re-write my own life script. My oldest daughter has left home to pursue a career as a ballet dancer. After years of driving her 60 miles round trip twice a day to her dance studio, I discovered her absence has created a time void for me that has screamed for attention. Though I've loved raising kids and working as a public relations consultant part-time, I finally decided to pursue my true passion. Unfortunately, I didn't know quite what my passion was! But something inside kept urging me on, begging me to continue asking the universe "What am I supposed to do?" In my search, a very strange thing happened. I discovered that my passion is helping other people discover their own!

In April I started training for certification as a Life Coach. For those who don't know, a Life Coach works with individuals, groups or organizations as a partner and facilitator in helping them determine who or what they are, their goals and how to achieve them. They help you re-write the script and then encourage you to live it! A Life Coach can work with you on any goal -- from finding your life passion to increasing your productivity. You do the work. The coach helps move you along.

I am more than halfway through my training and have started coaching (a requirement for my certification). I love the process of facilitating change, growth, joy and passion. Supporting people as they move forward toward a better life is thrilling! In fact, if you or a friend would like to experience coaching first hand, I am providing a free session to anyone truly interested in blooming in some way. Feel free to e-mail me at bbdavenport@charter.net. One last thing. My friend Laura helped me create the name Bloom Life Coaching. She also created a beautiful logo and business cards for me. Thanks Laura. Your passion inspires me!