How to Pull Through Even When You’ve Been Punched in the Face

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Mike Tyson, professional boxer

Even if you think you’re prepared for the worst, there are times when life throws you a curve ball that smacks you right in the face. Here are a few reminders to help you pull through when you’re at your lowest. 

  • Reach out for help. Sometimes it’s hard to admit just how hard life is right now but hiding from the world isn’t the answer. Talk to a friend, clergy, therapist, or coach. What do you have to lose?
  • Even small changes can make a difference. Set small goals so you can experience progress and gain momentum. This forward movement will give you a boost of confidence and optimism. Make your bed, go for a ten minute walk, schedule lunch with a friend (even if you don’t feel up to it).
  • Are you strong enough to be grateful when you’re at your lowest? Think of one thing you’re grateful for even while you’re in the “pit.” Gratitude shifts the focus.
  • Remember the setbacks/crisis/challenges you’ve overcome in the past. Pat yourself on the back for coming out strong. You’ve done it before and you can do it again!

Affirmation: I can make it through this!

Coaching questions: How have you overcome severe life challenges in the past? How can you use this experience to address what is happening now? What’s one step you’ll take today to move  forward? 

baylee-gramling-5m4Z14SDL80-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Baylee Gramling on Unsplash

A Few Good Decisions Can Make a Big Difference

You only have to get things right a few times. Twelve investment decisions in my career have made all the difference. Warren Buffett, third richest person in the world

As I embrace my seventy-fifth year, I’m considering what past decisions help me sleep well and wake up smiling. Here are a few:

  1. I decided to do everything I can to stay mentally and physically healthy while living each day to the fullest knowing that, like everyone, my days are limited. I learned a long time ago that people DO die—including me.
  2. I decided I want to leave this Earth with no unfinished business. I choose to keep a clean slate with people I care about, make sure my financial life is in order, and have no unworn clothes in the closet with the tags on.
  3. I decided to be grateful for all that’s been given to me, including loved ones, rather than bitter, sad, or resentful about what’s been taken away. 
  4. I decided to claim the fact that Jesus died for my sins and, because I’ve asked Him, I am forgiven. This decision alone has kept me sane and joyful.
  5. I decided to surround myself with positive, trustworthy, caring people.
  6. I decided to stay active with friendships, creative endeavors, community activism, nature, and books.

Affirmation: A few decisions matter.

Coaching questions: What decisions have you made that make a difference in your life? Are there some others you need to make (it’s always a work in progress)? What’s holding you back? 

court-prather--5_sGvilNME-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Court Prather on Unsplash

There But By the Grace of God Go I

No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark. Warsan Shire, British writer, poet, editor and teacher

On December 4, 2000, the United Nations General Assembly instituted June 20 as World Refugee Day. It is commemorated to honor all refugees, raise awareness, and solicit support. The day is celebrated in many countries around the world. In the Roman Catholic Church, the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, instituted in 1914 by Pope Pius X, is celebrated in January.

Why should we care about refugees, much less celebrate them? In my opinion, it’s because “there but by the grace of God go I.” Had I been born in a different country, at a different time, or of a different race or religion, I too might be the person forced to leave my country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. We frequently confuse immigrant with refugee. A refugee’s choice is frequently to stay and starve, be repeatedly raped, or die. An immigrant chooses to move from one country to another. Many years ago, I helped bring a refugee family to Illinois from war-torn Lebanon. Working with this family to help them assimilate and thrive, is one of my most cherished life experiences. 

Affirmation: I’m grateful to live where I am safe.

Coaching questions: If you don’t already know, how will you learn the facts about the worldwide refugee crisis? If you know a refugee or a refugee family, how can you make a difference in their lives?

siddhant-soni-371506-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Siddhant Soni on Unsplash

Gratefully Celebrating Mother’s Day

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie, author

Mother’s Day can be difficult for many women, not just those of us who have lost our mothers. It can be difficult for women who are estranged from their mothers, have no children but wish they did, those who have lost a child, or those who are away from their family.

For me, gratitude always helps me cope. I’m grateful for the friendly smile, bright eyes, and sunny personality I got from my mom, I’m grateful for my three wonderful children, three step kids, eight grands, eleven step grands, and five (almost seven) step greats. What a bountiful life I have! And even though it’s a day for mothers, I am especially grateful for my dad who partnered with me to create a joyful childhood and beyond.

There will be a bit of sadness in my celebration tomorrow but mostly there will be gratitude.

Affirmation: I’m grateful.

Coaching questions: What helps you feel grateful on a difficult day? What difference can you make in someone else’s day today?

IMG_1479 (2).jpgMe and my mom, circa 1953

Mourning an Old Friend

True friends are the ones who never leave your heart, even if they leave your life for a while. Even after years apart, you pick up with them right where you left off, and even if they die they’re never dead in your heart. Unknown

Last week a dear friend of mine died. She was young, in her early 70’s (I consider anyone who is younger than me young). She had been ill for a long time so perhaps she was ready to “move on.” As friends, we shared experiences of guilt and redemption, laughter and tears. We had a honest, down-to-earth relationship. When we regularly met for lunch during our working-girl years, we always ordered the same thing. We didn’t want to waste our talk-time on looking at the menu. 

As I grieve her death, I’m reminding myself what I’ve written in my book and counseled others. I’m making an effort to focus on Ginger rather than myself. I’m remembering what she meant to me and others who loved her. I’m celebrating her freedom from pain and illness. I’m sad but grateful. Loved you, Ginger!

Affirmation: I celebrate life and friendship.

Coaching questions: How do you grieve the loss of a friend? What helps you honor your sadness while embracing gratitude? 

joseph-pearson-310899-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash

Who or What Are You Taking For Granted?

How quickly we forget God’s great deliverances in our lives. How easily we take for granted the miracles he performed in our past. David Wilkerson, Christian evangelist and author

It’s a cool, cloudy day in southwest Florida today. It makes me realize how I take the parade of sunny days for granted. In northern Illinois, where we used to live, clouds were the norm in the winter which is one reason we moved here. 

How easy it is to take the beautiful, constant events or people in our lives for granted. It’s important to guard against this complacency lest we dilute our attitude of gratitude. 

Affirmation: I acknowledge my daily blessings.

Coaching questions: Is there anything or anyone you’re taking for granted? What are you willing to do to remedy this? 

IMG_2760.jpg

Lessons Learned As We Age

Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice. Mary Pipher, clinical psychologist

In her New York Times article, The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70’s, Pipher writes, “We have learned to look every day for humor, love and beauty. We’ve acquired an aptitude for appreciating life. Gratitude is not a virtue but a survival skill, and our capacity for it grows with our suffering.” 

In addition to gratitude Pipher talks about the importance of attitude. As we age, we learn that, though we can’t control all the circumstances of our lives, we can choose how we respond. We can choose to move forward with joy and grace.

Affirmation: I choose gratitude and joy.

Coaching questions: What new joys have you discovered as you’ve aged? How has your attitude made a difference? 

adult-adventure-daylight-1592091.jpg