Stop Being So Nice!

Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one. Eleanor Roosevelt

Being an individual, being yourself, means learning to say “no.” It means being less “nice.” Not being as nice isn’t showing a lack of love or respect. It is learning to say no to the demands of others that take away from your rights. It’s saying no to someone’s whim about what you need to do. It’s safeguarding your time and energy by saying no even to things that sound interesting but push you outside your boundaries. 

Overlooking bad behavior, saying yes when you want to say no, taking on more than you can reasonably do may make you the “nice” neighbor or friend but it will chip away at who you are, your right to be an individual.

Affirmation: It is okay to say no.

Coaching questions: If you’re considered the “go to” person who is always “nice” and says yes to every request, what is this behavior costing you? What would your life look like if you weren’t so “nice?”


Keep Your Bucket Full

An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly. Unknown

There’s a new children’s book out entitled Fill a Bucket by Carol McCloud and Katherine Martin. The idea is we all have an invisible bucket which holds good thoughts and feelings about ourselves. When someone does something nice for you, you do something nice for them, or you do something nice for yourself, you fill your bucket. 

I’ve used the bucket analogy as a Life Coach for years. I’d notice my client’s bucket was empty by how they sounded or what they said then I’d ask them, “What will you do this week to fill your bucket?” During the holiday season, it’s easy to deplete our own buckets while working hard to fill the buckets of others. This month, keep tabs on your bucket, notice when it’s getting low and either fill it yourself (a nap, a massage, a walk) or ask someone to help you fill it (please clean up the kitchen, take me to dinner, drop this off at the post office). As we fill the buckets of others, the joy in our buckets goes up but we need to watch the balance. 

Affirmation: I have a full bucket.

Coaching questions: How’s your bucket doing? Is it full or empty? What can you do this week to fill up your bucket? 


Advice For The Ages

In your actions, don’t procrastinate. In your conversations, don’t confuse. In your thoughts, don’t wander. In your soul, don’t be passive or aggressive. In your life, don’t be all about business. Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor from 121 to 180 AD

For an ancient guy, Marcus gives us some good advice. Procrastination, confusion, unfocused thoughts and passive/aggressive behavior all keep us from being our best selves. I’m wondering what his experience was to cause him to say, “don’t be all about business.”

In our current 24/7 working environment where we walk around with a computer on our wrist or in our purse, it is tempting to be all about business. And yet, the conventional wisdom talks about how no one ever talks about business on their death bed. Dying people talk about relationships…those they love, those they want to forgive, and those they will miss most. 

Affirmation: I lead a balanced life.

Coaching questions: How’s your life balance? If there is room for improvement, what’s one thing you will change?

Balancing Purpose and Pleasure

To be truly happy, you need to feel both pleasure and purpose. You can be just as happy or sad as I am but with a different combination of pleasure and purpose. And you may require each to different degrees at different times. But you do need to feel both. I call this the pleasure-purpose principle–the PPP. Paul Dolan, author of Happiness by Design

Hedonism is the pursuit of happiness via sensory pleasure and comforts. Eudaemonism is the pursuit of happiness through efforts to live a virtuous life and become a better person. There’s evidence to show that living well means balancing these two aims.

If we choose one to the exclusion of the other, we can end up feeling like we’re missing out which can cause anxiety, depression and even chronic disease. One way to obtain balance is to notice when experiences provide a sense of both pleasure and purpose then create more of these moments in our lives.

Affirmation: I have both pleasure and purpose in my life.

Coaching questions: Can you name a time when you experienced both pleasure and purpose? What helps you keep both pleasure and purpose active in your life? What gives you pleasure? What gives you a sense of purpose?

Two Steps Forward

I’m choosing to see tomorrow as another opportunity to do things a little better, and to use the knowledge I’m gaining to make small, sustainable changes–fully understanding that for every two steps forward, I may take one step back.  Jamie Martin, editor in chief, Experience Life magazine

Jamie is talking about trying to keep all her “balls of healthy living” in place…eating well, exercising, getting good sleep, relationships. For me travel can unravel my tightly wound ball of healthy living. Right now I’m suffering from too few vegetables, too many carbs, too little exercise, too much sitting. But, like Jamie, I’m choosing to acknowledge that life is ever changing and I need to adapt to the moment. This week I’m heading to Wyoming where my ball may do a bit more unraveling but I will be gaining knowledge and experience in return.

Starting July 2, I’m taking two giant steps forward…filling my fridge with fruits and vegetables, starting work with Jennifer, my trainer, and settling into a summer routine.

Affirmation: I choose healthy living.

Coaching questions: Where might you be unraveling? What will it take to get you back on track?