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

Planting Seeds

the wise gardener plants seeds of opportunity even when there is snow on the ground

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In life and in business, opportunities and possibilities are abundant. Laying the foundation for opportunity however, requires visiondiscipline, commitment and often forgotten but very important, patience. A clear vision of what we want. A disciplined mind to keep us focused on achieving what we want. A commitment to strike a balance between taking action and pausing. And this is where patience comes into play. Often times when we are planting seeds for new possibilities, we need to take a pause.  The pause can be as important as the action. The pause is a time of reflection. It is a time for questions. It is a time for learning. The pause requires patience. And patience, as we’ve often heard, is a virtue. 

We are all gardeners. Gardeners in life and or in business. And as gardeners, we need to find that healthy balance so that we are planting seeds throughout the year rather than making it an annual event. If we have a vision for what we want to accomplish, we need only to plant the seeds. Take the time to create a plan, to determine the resources we have as well as the resources we need to acquire. We need to be open to questioning our plan and our motives as we continue. This only creates further clarity. Take a pause when needed. Take stock of the seeds. Do they align with our vision? How might they be even better aligned to support our overall goals?

And then watch. I invite you to sit in the bigscreen theatre of life. To believe. To watch as our seeds sprout. Our “ideas” and “hopes” and “dreams” come to fruition but first we must plant the seeds.

Best wishes for healthy sprouts!

Glo

(C) 2012 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

Coaching and Creative Juices

This blog post was first published in March 2010 when I was still in training with Erickson College International  to become a coach.  I was just starting my practice.  Looking back at old blog posts on the weekend, I thought this may be a good one to revisit.  I hope you enjoy it!

I’ve been learning so many interesting things about our 3 part brain system through my learning as a coach. You may read this opening statement and say who cares about our brain system?  As long as I have one I’m good to go. Or you may give in to your curious side and keep reading to see where this is going… 

The reptilian-reticular brain is very useful for immediate action and senses things like danger and lets us know when to fight or flight.  The emotional brain is named the limbic system.  It is a group brain or team based mammalian brain and it is the one we share with our pets.  It likes sameness and avoids change and is focused on present tense.  It helps us to move into action through emotions (love, command, protect, teach etc).  The cerebral cortex system, also called the neo-cortex is the third brain in development and occupies the majority of the brain cavity. It is the part of the brain that has future visioning capacity.  It does our imagining for us and it is extremely flexible.  It allows us to create movies in our minds through visualization. 

I used to believe that only certain people had the ability to be creative and I most definitely never considered myself to be one of those people.  I would focus on what I’m not instead of what I am.  Afterall, I’m not an artist, an actor, an architect, a musician or any of the stereotype creative professions.  I am me.  A lover of life, people and all things business related.  Ah ha!  Business related.  I think and see possibilities or opportunities where some people only see roadblocks but why is that?

Over the past few months through the process of becoming a coach, I’ve had the great fortune of working with some great coaches to increase my quantity and quality of creative thought.  This is very exciting stuff especially for someone who didn’t realize it was even possible!  What I’ve learned is that what I used to believe about creative thought process has gone out the window.  In order to have creative thought and be able to vision, we need to engage the neo-cortex.  All this time I have spent focusing on what I’m not instead of what I can be.  What a breakthrough!  

The coaching that I am training in is is solution focused and forward thinking.  By engaging the neo-cortex more often through specific tools and exercises, we can use the whole brain system to create change.  Once we have those visions we have more options or choices which can generate excitement.  We may even experience those infamous “ah ha” moments. We no longer feel stuck.  We have hope and hope helps to promote optimism.  Suddenly, we see a path. We can get to our desired state through development, commitment and use of an action plan.

The brain plays such an important part in getting our creative juices flowing and sometimes we just need a little support to get there.  What are some of the things that you do to get your creative juices flowing?  What works best for you?

Cheers,

Glo

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(c) 2010 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

Sounds and looks like it…it must be leadership!

Photo Credit

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

The Courage to Act

In many aspects of our lives both personal and professional, we are faced with situations requiring courage.  Courage to act when needed.  Courage to move on when needed. Courage to step out of our comfort zone and take risks.  Courage to reach out to others.  Courage to say no when we mean no and yes when we mean yes.  Courage to dive in even when the water looks icy cold! 

Having courage isn’t only about taking action.  Depending on the circumstances, sometimes it requires courage to sit back, listen and reflect.  Acting with courage can appear lonely.  Sometimes it is lonely.  Sometimes others will join you.  Having courage does not necessarily make us heroes.  It can however, provide us with a deep and fulfilling sense of satisfaction.  Anyone can do the easy thing but it takes tremendous courage to do the right thing.  If the right thing includes instigating change, we can start by putting our big toe out there.  Everything we have ever learned, we started with taking a first step.  By moving forward, we are moving toward what we believe in.  We are acting with personal integrity.

If you want things to change, you must believe in yourself and your vision.  Ask questions that help to bring clarity.  Be open to learning and discovering.  Request the support of those who are close to you and who believe in you.  Consider working with a Professional Coach.  Discover your inner wisdom and new found strength.  I think you’ll find the water is pretty warm!

“Believe in yourself and all that you are.  Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle” ~ Christian D. Larson

Wishing you continued success in all that you do!

Glo

(c) 2011 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

Bullseye!

There are different aspects of our lives that bring true meaning.  They provide us with happiness, a sense of fulfillment and an ability to experience pure joy.  Depending on what is going on both professionally and personally, where we sit in terms of these aspects can vary greatly.  Let’s say for example that you were to think of your life successes as accomplishments and achievements.  In order to obtain those, you may need to make changes in your life which causes a need and desire to create and innovate.   Then there are those relationships in our lives which bring us joy.  The smallest little jesture or connection from someone that causes you to stop and think about what is truly important.  As we reflect on who we are and who we want to be known for, we search for deeper meaning and our lifes purpose.  Some people look and find it, others don’t. 

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Sometimes we’ve got a bullseye in a few key areas of our life and yet we’ve missed the dart board altogether in others.  A piece of the puzzle isn’t fitting, we aren’t as fulfilled as we want to be.  Often we can put our finger right on it and say with conviction “I want to be more creative.  I want to learn to think outside the box.  To challenge the status quo and come up with meaningful solutions to some of the issues I’m faced with on a daily basis.” OR “I want to focus more on the relationships in my life and how valuable they are to me.” OR “I want to not only set goals but I want to find the way that works for me so that I am achieving and celebrating them.” OR “I want my life to have true meaning so that I can look back with pride at who I have become and how I have contributed to the lives of others.  I want to look ahead with passion knowing that I am fulfilled and excited by the possibilities of a new day.”

Sometimes it’s a bit more of a challenge to put our finger on what, if anything, is missing.  Our vision isn’t clear.  Something is amiss…we struggle, we feel stuck, we take a new course, join a new gym, paint the living room a new color and still we drag ourselves out of bed dreading the day.    

Whichever aspect of your life is the dart that missed the board, you’ve got everything  needed to figure it out and change what is within your control.  We tend to underestimate how powerful change can be and instead we focus on the obstacles.  At times we may need support to help us think in a new and empowering way.  Through the power of solution focused Coaching you will experience these insights firsthand.  You will be amazed at how all of your darts not only make it on the board, but they get a bullseye! 

“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle” – Christian D. Larson

Celebrating you and all that you are and all that you can be!

Cheers,  Glo

Note: Several of the ideas from this post are adapted from an article written by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton M. Christensen “How Will You Measure Your Life?”  To purchase a copy of this very inspiring article please visit http://hbr.org/

(C) 2011 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

Where is Your “Go To” Place?

Do you have a “go to” place?  A place that you can go to when you need to unwind and destress?  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a place that you visit physically, perhaps it’s an image or a feeling or some sort of ritual, sport or hobby.  Today it seems that so many people are running all over the place with so little time to relax let alone reflect and just enjoy.  While the running can be fun, it can also be so draining!  Often times it’s not until we stop that we fully realize the toll this is taking on us mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. 

Having a “go to” place is like having a little secret hideaway.  It’s your own personal vision of bliss.  For some people it’s by the water, some in the mountains, some at the Spa, the golf course, fishing, painting, gardening and the list of these special places goes on and on.  Whatever does it for you and provides you with a mini escape from the hustle and bustle of a busy career and life, take a few minutes today and celebrate that sacred place. 

We’re all looking for that healthy work life balance it seems.  Between busy careers, family life and social commitments, we try to cram in exercising (the body and the brain) and any hobbies we enjoy.  We stretch ourselves a million ways to Sunday and then collapse exhausted.  Although that perfect balance is different for everyone and we all have different responsibilities and desires, having a quick and dirty “go to” place is good for the soul.  Even if the relief is short, it is something.  And that something may be so compelling that you’ll make the time to visit it more and more often.  Do you have a favorite “go to” place?

(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

What’s On Your Bucket List?

About 10 days ago now I started a Master of Arts in Leadership at the University of Guelph.  During the in residence portion of the program, we had to complete information for a personal profile to share with our classmates and the faculty.  One of the topics was to list what your goals are.  I tend to break goals down and look at them on a few different levels.  Because I’m self employed I don’t tend to lump things as personal or business any longer.  Business is personal to me.  It’s not something I do just to earn a living or to pass the time, it’s who I am.  I do however, always categorize my goals based on timing so short term, medium term and long term.

As a Coach, it was an interesting exercise in that my goals are so clearly ingrained I didn’t miss a beat.  My role is to support others in defining and achieving their goals so being able to do the same is only appropriate.  The zinger for me is always the long term goal.  It never changes.  I mean it looks slightly different year to year in how I will reach it but overall, the vision is as crystal clear as the blue sky on a sunny day.  I want to write and publish a book. There, I’ve said it.  It’s the number one thing on my bucket list and has been for a few years.  Did you see that 2007 movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholas called The Bucket List?  They meet in a cancer ward when they’re both terminally ill and they work together at fulfilling items on their bucket lists.  Those things that you want to make sure you do before you kick the bucket. 

Fortunately I’m not terminally ill but I am doing small things which contribute to obtaining my long term goal and writing this blog post is just one thing.  First step is that I’ve defined it.  To some, it may seem a little lofty but it has a face and a name and it is fully aligned with my core values.  Now that I’m openly sharing this with you and I’ve put it on paper, I know with certainty that I will continue to take the necessary steps to get there.  It may take me many years and in fact I fully expect that it will.  As part of the process there is likely to be blood, sweat and tears of rejection from publishers but I’m determined.  I am inspired to write by the water like Diane Keaton in Somethings Gotta Give.  Ironically, another Jack Nicholson movie! 

I’ve recently made a connection with the Author of an amazing book on career change called Now Is The Time To Do What You Love, Nancy Whitney-Reiter.  This connection is what I consider to be a bonus step.  Bonus steps are the ones you aren’t expecting but the ones that may move you closer to where you want to be.

I’ve put my long term goal out there and I double dare anyone that tries to stop me!   So what about you?  What is number one on your bucket list?  What’s that one thing you dream about?  What would make you feel completely fulfilled and why is it so important to you?  Who would you be if you had this?  What steps are you taking to get there?

Cheers,

Glo

(c) 2010 – True Bliss Coach Gloria Higdon

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