It’s a small world…

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss was a wise man. I love to read, and on a broad range of subjects bringing the world just a little bit closer. I just finished reading Abundance: the Future is Better Than You Think by authors Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler.  While Abundance focuses on important global issues (feeding the planet, clean water, energy, healthcare, and education to name a few), it does so from a positive perspective, offering research based facts which support being optimistic about the future. For anyone who cares about people and the planet, enjoys their life, has a passion for technology, and or has children or grandchildren, this book is for you.

After watching a 16 minute video clip that I saw on a friend’s facebook page of Peter Diamandis: Abundance is our future, I was quite excited. As a solution focused coach, it was so refreshing to learn how far we have come in terms of making progress on these important global issues. It’s the glass half full as opposed to half empty approach. From this brief video clip, I was also reminded of a favourite book we read in school for a sustainability course, Capitalism at the Crossroads by Stuart Hart. As it turned out, Stu Hart’s book is referenced in Abundance. Yes, it’s a small world and getting smaller with connections at every turn. Being personally motivated and inspired by meaningful work, doing work that matters runs deep within. I was curious to learn more and learn I did.

When I shared the Abundance is our future video, Lisa Larter, CEO of The Social Business Academy, commented that the book was fantastic which piqued my curiosity even further. Within a few hours, I had downloaded the book to my iPAD using the kobo e-reader. True confessions here. This was a first for me, and another reason for the title of this post. I’ve read countless academic journal articles lately and several short e-books online but up until that time, call me old fashioned but I had no interest in reading a book without a spine. Holding a book in my hands is like peanut butter to jelly. It’s quite ironic that Abundance was the first one I downloaded because Abundance speaks to the ability of technology to make the world a smaller place where accessibility creates opportunity for abundance. It was simply amazing to read about how the world has changed for the better with advances in technology. Specifically, how social entrepreneurs are popping up in remote parts of Africa with the invention of the smart phone. Furthermore, how the world will only continue to change for the better with inventions in healthcare for example “Lab-on-a-Chip” with a goal of zero-cost diagnostics, and advances in education with successful global initiatives such as “One Laptop Per Child”. These are not pie in the sky ideas. These are real and they are happening all around us.

Interestingly, I made many connections to coaching while reading this book. Primarily because when we focus on innovative and creative solutions, we are able to engage the cerebral cortex brain system which has the capacity for future visioning. This is very important and powerful when comparing it to “getting stuck” in the problems.  Often times these situations are fear-based, and engage the reptilian brain system based on fight or flight responses, and in the case of the emotional brain, clinging to sameness also known as our comfort zone. As Abundance points out, fear can be a very powerful motivator creating extraordinary risk taking. From a coaching perspective however, fear can also be completely paralyzing causing feelings of anxiety and thoughts of “I can’t” rather than “I can.” When we combine the learning from a book such as Abundance and engage the whole brain system however, our capacity for creating abundance on a global level is only magnified. Finally, we can see the forest through the trees. The best part? We all have this potential!  

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  ~ Margaret Mead

Times have changed and the world is getting smaller. We have the ability to create change on the other side of the world without even leaving our living room. Global news travels across social media platforms in the blink of an eye. From individuals to organizations, people are doing some pretty amazing things to create change.

Are you curious? Want to make a difference? Watch the video, read the book, learn how to engage your whole brain system, and look for ways to do your part in making the world an even better place. Please, by all means, share your ideas here. I would love to hear them.

Best wishes for engaging your creative genius. Glo

(C) 2012 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

2012 Growth. Learning. Opportunities. Diversifying.

For some strange reason, WordPress is not allowing me to post the photo for this blog at the top of the page as I “usually” do. I’ve always used this format because I am a visual person and so I like the visual right up front. This has never happened in two years of having a blog. My initial reaction was frustration but it’s New Years Eve and my main goal for 2012 is to diversify in many key areas of my life. So, now I’m thinking there is a reason for this new look in my last blog post of the year.

Many seeds have been planted during 2011 and many major milestones have been achieved. It has been a great year! There is much to celebrate and so much to look forward to!

Growth. Learning. Opportunities. Diversifying.

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Often times it seems as though it is far too easy to be linear in our thoughts and actions. We use our existing skills and talents and map out our lives according to a straight line. But I must ask you, has your life to date represented a straight line?  What might happen if we learn to diversify a little more? Branch out. True growth and learning happens when we learn new skills and challenge our existing patterns. Uh oh! This may cause our straight line to get kind of curvy with twists and turns. There is risk involved in this because we may fail. But there is always reward too, no matter the outcome. The reward is that just like this plant above, we are growing and with growth comes new opportunities.

2012 is the year to diversify and broaden my reach. I will coach and teach. I will be a student and a teacher. I will enjoy my existing relationships and develop new ones. I will read for fun and for knowledge. Most importantly, rather than choosing between either/or, I will be open to both/and.

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called “Opportunity” and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Best wishes to you for an AMAZING 2012!  When we openly share our goals, there is more liklihood to reach them because publicly sharing establishes a sense of accountability. It also provides us with the opportunity to receive support and encouragement from others, and to stay motivated to achieve. Care to share some of your goals?  I’m very interested…please leave me a comment!

Glo

(c) 2011 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

Frost on the pumpkin

First frost, brrrrr!  Need to bundle up to take the dog for a walk in the morning.  It’s no secret that summer is my favorite season but there is much to be said for curling up by the fire, wearing cozy fleece, that first blush of cool air as it hits your face when you open the door, crock pot dinners, and pumpkins.  Yes, that’s right, I said pumpkins.  Can anything make you feel like a kid again faster than Halloween and a pumpkin patch?  Is this picture of my neice Jenna (many moons ago) not the cutest thing ever?

Halloween is kind of a cool time of year because wearing a costume allows us to become someone else, to try it out, try it on, and to see if we like it.  Maybe we will like it more.  Maybe others will notice too.  Maybe this is when we believe we are at our best because we are open to growing, learning. changing behaviours, attitudes and actions to create better and more positive outcomes.  This is the true value of coaching.  It allows us to design our futures and to try things on for size. 

When you think of all of the pumpkins in a pumpkin patch, what do you notice?  I notice that they are all different sizes, shapes, colors and although there are a ton of them we seem to be able to pick out the one that is just perfect (for us).  Well, just like picking out your pumpkin you have the inner wisdom to make choices that are perfect (for you) in all aspects of your life, personal and professional.  It’s true that some choices are made for us but we also have choices to make about  who we become as a result of those choices.  Are we victims?  Are we assigning blame or are we active participants in our own lives (thanks, Katie!) trying on different costumes while remaining true to ourselves and living with personal integrity?  I vote for the latter.  What about you?  Looking to make a change?  If so, remember that you have choices.  Get inspired by your inner wisdom! 

 

Cheers, Glo

(C) 2011 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

A wonderful weekend read

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It must be October.  It is a chilly and overcast Sunday afternoon. The fireplace is on for the first time this season.  Marc is making my favorite soup (mulligatawny).  The dog is snoring away in front of the fire.  And I am reading this most amazing book.  The kind that you can’t put down.  The kind that has you going back to re read a specific passage or jumping ahead to take a quick look at what is in store in the next chapter. 

Ironically, I received Leadership and the New Science by author Margaret J. Wheatley for Christmas last year from our son, Tom.  It has been sitting on my night table ever since, waiting patiently. Waiting for that right moment in time when reading oodles of new journal articles for my research paper would become less urgent.  I had read one chapter of this book last fall during one of the courses in my program, Leadership of Organizational Change.  It was on the list of recommended reading by our Professor, Dr. Jamie Gruman.  I enjoyed that chapter so much, I wanted more…and more I got…

This isn’t a book review.  I simply wanted to share with you a few quotes that have my mind churning with possibility, curiosity and hope.  Not only as a leadership coach, but as a lover of life and people.  If it inspires you to purchase the book and to read further, enjoy…I know I certainly have.

“I find pleasure in letting these new ideas swirl freely inside me. Like clouds, they begin as mist, then take form, then dissipate. Clouds themselves are self-organizing, taking new shape as thunderstorms, hurricanes, or rain fronts depending on changes in their environment. We are capable of similar transformations; new ideas can emerge as powerful insights if we allow them the freedom to self-organize.  And there is much we can learn from clouds.  They are spectacular examples of fluid and responsive systems, structured in ways we never imagined possible: ‘”After all, how do you hold a hundred tons of water in the air with no visible means of support? You build a cloud”‘ (Cole 1985, 38) (Wheatley, 2006, 90).

“In all types of organizations, too many filled with people exhausted, cynical, and burned-out, I have witnessed the incredible levels of energy and passion that can be evoked when leaders or colleagues take the time to recall  people to the meaning of their work.  It only takes a simple but powerful question: ‘”What called you here? What were you dreaming you might accomplish when you first came to work here?”  This question always elicits a deep response because so few of us work for trivial purposes.  Most people come to their organizations with a desire to do something meaningful, to contribute and serve…If we are asked to recall that inner belief, and if we hear our colleagues speak about their own yearnings to make a small difference, we feel new energy for the work and for each other.  The call of meaning is unlike any other, and we would do well to spend more time together listening for the deep wells of purpose that nourish all of us” (Wheatley, 2006, 133).

Hoping these may have resonated with you and possibly elicited thoughts of learning, change and engagement.  Back to my book…last chapter…this time around.

Happy Sunday.

Glo

(c) 2011- True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

like daughter like mother

You may have thought at first glance that the title of this post was backwards.  In this case, it is definitely a “like daughter like mother” scenario and this is why.  My sister, Deborah (left), is an afol which stands for adult fan of LEGO.  She builds some really cool things out of LEGO like beautiful villas with roofs that are removable to display her LEGO designed furniture (see below).  Deborah belongs to an amazing global community of like minded LEGO loving peeps.  They support each other, bounce ideas off of one another and go to shows all over the place to strut their stuff! 

Deborah was always the most naturally creative one in our family in terms of the arts.  Although she loved playing with LEGO as a child, she really started to get into it as an adult.  I invite you to check more of her amazing work out here on her flickr site:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/buildingsblockd/

My Mom, Mary (right), is the new kid on the block.  Literally!  She is new to building with LEGO however, she is already a pro builder!  Deborah has recently awakened the passion within our Mom to build.  LEGO has these nifty box sets which provides the builder with an instruction booklet and 3 choices of designs.  This is a great way to get familiar with the blocks and create something cool.  An added bonus is that LEGO is an excellent way to keep your cognitive functioning in check. 

Our Mom says she was fascinated by LEGO when we were kids but never really played with it much.  Mom has now completed 3 box sets and is presently working on a Harry Potter bank to add to her collection.  The picture below is her just this past weekend showing off her most recent accomplishment, a lighthouse.  At 80 years of age, she is thoroughly enjoying her new hobby and the challenge of putting the pieces of the puzzle together.  Sidenote: I think she looks so pretty in pink! 

This is a great reminder that we’re never too old to try something new.  Your mind will love the challenge.  You may be nervous at first and you may be one to dive right in.  You may get frustrated when you hit a roadblock and there are sure to be some.  But do yourself a favour and believe.  Believe in all that you are and all that you can be, do and have.  I believe in YOU!

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” ~ Henry Ford

Cheers, Glo

(C) 2011- True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

Sounds and looks like it…it must be leadership!

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Leadership, leaders, leading…the big buzzwords on the street these days.

There is certainly no shortage of literature on leadership.  It seems that everywhere we turn someone is talking or writing about leadership.  Schools, organizations, communities, hospitals, governments…the list goes on and on.  There are as many definitions of what leadership is as there are of what it isn’t.  The media promotes some pretty high flying leaders and often times society buys into it.  Some people view these leaders as extraordinary people working all alone “at the top” to instigate change.  I don’t really buy that view, sorry.  I’d like to share with you what leadership sounds and looks like to me. 

It looks like this photo of my classmates. We’re not leaders because we’re in a program called M.A. Leadership nor are we leaders because of our professional titles. We are leaders because we’ve created a community to support and encourage one another to grow,  change and stretch a million ways til Sunday. To help one another to look at the big picture when we’re drowning in the details of the moment. To lend an ear and close our mouths. To open our hearts as much when one of us has experienced personal losses as when we’ve experienced personal wins. We’re sounding boards. We set goals. We inspire one another. We’re forward thinking.  We’re all in different places and stages in our lives and our careers.  We create change and we move mountains but we don’t do it alone.  We’re like a flock of geese.  We take turns leading and following.  We are, with all due respect, average Joes… 

You see, leadership is not reserved for a few at the top with the best parking spot.  Leadership is bottom up, top down and everything in between.  Leadership isn’t some mystery.  It’s available to all of us…all of us who want it and are willing to go for it!

What does leadership mean to you?  I’d love to hear from you.

Cheers,  Glo

(c) 2011 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

A new phase and a blank canvas

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Truth be told if I had read this statement earlier in life it wouldn’t have meant much to me.  I never really gave much thought as to who I was, who I could be, why things did or did not happen in my life or how I had the power to grow and evolve as an individual.  I was too busy just living and enjoying life.  There were a few constants in my life however.  I’ve always cared about and connected with people.  I find people so interesting.  What they think, what they do, what they feel, what they say and even how and why they say it.  I also truly love life.  I find such tremendous joy in the smallest of things.  This sense of inner happiness and joy has made my life so rich.  It has helped me even during some difficult times.  This has not changed for me… 

What has changed for me over the years are my priorities, my view on how I can shape my life to be whatever I want it to be and my view of who I am in relation to everything and everyone around me.  I suppose I’ve entered a new phase in life.  I don’t tend to categorize it by age although I guess that is a factor.  It’s a life shift.  My life is like a blank canvas in many respects.  There are so many opportunities for adding color if and when I want.  Without question, the palette is more easily accessible at some times than others but it’s always there with a brush just waiting for a first stroke of color.  Although the canvas may be a different shape or size,  your canvas and palette are awaiting you too! 

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There is a wonderful energy that comes with this openness to possibility and change.  The passion and sheer excitement that fuels us to try new things, to be curious and to allow ourselves to evolve, brings with it a sense of freedom.  Freedom to find meaning.  Freedom to create.  Freedom to open the doors and see what is on the other side.

Wishing you love and light,

Glo

(c) 2011- True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

How Clear Is Your Vision for 2011?

Well here we are…it’s the last day of the year and also the day when many people set and declare goals for the New Year!  Whether they are big or small, short or long term, personal, professional and or spiritual, what will you be doing to ensure that you are committed to achieving yours? It’s been my experience that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.  We are unique and we all have different values systems and perspectives.  Learn what works for you and be like Nike and Just Do It!

One thing which I have done and I find works well for me especially if I’m setting significant goals is that I break them down into small steps which are more manageagable.  Another thing I find helps is to celebrate at every milestone or step by setting up a reward system.  Presently I’m at year 2 of a 3 year plan making this goal of a career change a fairly substancial one however when I chunk it down, it’s really just a series of smaller actions which are of benefit to my life in general and also to the big picture.  To help stay on track I created a map broken down by year and then month.  Pretty simple to follow and as you can see green is complete and red is yet to come…the rewards are also built right in!

The important thing to remember is not what it looks, feels or sounds like to me.  The important thing is what it means to you!  The goals that are truly yours should come from within, they should be on your agenda and not what someone else expects of you.  Be a part of creating your future and you will own it!  I encourage you to celebrate at every step you reach, big or small celebrate them all.  Hey, that rhymes!

And lastly stay the course…make sure your vision is crystal clear.  If times get tough or if circumstances beyond your control become obstacles, do whatever works for you to keep your vision in your mind, in your heart or wherever it means the most to you.  I’m a visual person so I have this picture of Arizona with me heart, mind and soul.  I love the big blue sky in Arizona and the magnificent red rock against it.  This particular photo with the reflection in the water is a reminder of my vision.  A change in careers for me has been truly life altering and yet, there is nothing special about what I’ve done.  I’ve created a long term goal and broken it down into small and manageable steps.  This is something we all have the ability to do.  Coaching is one of those professions where people ask all the time, what does a Coach do?  Coaching is about you, not me.  If you’re looking for advice, ask a family member or a friend.  They love giving advice!  If you’re looking for someone to challenge you to come up with your own reality and your own agenda from deep within, ask a Coach!

Wishing you a wonderful New Year filled with love and light and all things bright!

Cheers,  Glo

(c) 2010 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

Resistance to Change

In my M.A. Leadership program we are learning all about resistance to change this week.  There are two types of resistance, active and passive.  In active resistance we may find fault in the change and therefore be critical of it and we may experience fear of the unknown or have a low tolerance for uncertainty.  In passive resistance we may say that we’re going to change so we agree verbally however we don’t follow through with the steps required.  Instead we may drag our feet or procrastinate.  In order to accept change, we must be truly motivated to learn and grow.  Even more simplistically, we must really want it.

“Resistance may stem from a single fact, belief, feeling or value.  But that is the exception.  Facts, beliefs, feelings and values are usually linked together in sequences or patterns.  The most effective way to find missing pieces in a pattern is to ask nonthreatening questions relevant to the specific situation” (K. Hultman, Scaling The Wall of Resistance)

Coaching is a creative process or dance whereby the coach and client respectively seek to ask and answer these underlying questions.  Supporting the value and principles of mutual respect and trust is of paramount importance in this relationship.  This dance stimulates the cerebral cortex allowing capacity for future visioning and the bigger picture.  This in turn allows us to mentally experience or try on the desired change, to see ourselves in it and yet be disassociated from it at the same time thus reducing resistance to change.     

Whatever your resistance may be initially, you have the ultimate power to believe in yourself and to experience the magnificent kaleidoscope of color that comes with desired change.

Cheers,  Glo

(C) 2010 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

Time to Put A Bullet in Sugar…

…at least temporarily.  Perhaps permanently, who knows! 

Last week I received blood test results confirming that I have low blood sugar.  This isn’t surprising because I’ve had this for years.  What was surprising was how low it was even after having just eaten not once but twice!  For me, low blood sugar causes headaches and mood swings amongst other things if I eat too late or miss a meal.  Ask anyone who knows me well, this is no secret.  I always carry some type of food in my purse, most often it is raw almonds.  It isn’t exactly convenient but it is what it is.  So I do my best to avoid skipping meals or eating too late. 

What I haven’t been avoiding is simple sugars themselves.  One would think that if I am diagnosed with low blood sugar, that I need more right?  Wrong.  The sad truth about sugar is that it causes spikes in our blood sugar levels and ideally what we’re looking for is to regulate our blood sugar.  The best way to do this is to either minimize simple sugars or eliminiate them entirely.  I’ve been inspired by a local family who also cut sugar out of their diet for a one week period.  Given that sugar is in so many of the products we eat today, this is no easy task.  But hey, I’m up for the challenge so on November 1st I’m going to start with a commitment to eliminate sugar from my diet for one week. 

I have 5 days to do some research on what I need to eliminate from my diet and what I need to add.  These changes may sound simple (no pun intended!) but given that sugar is in so many of the things we eat and that I am a chocoholic, I don’t expect it will be easy.  I fully expect to feel better though!  I will keep you posted on my progress…and if you want to join me, that would be great. 

Wish me luck! 

Cheers,  Glo

(C) 2010 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

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