life coach

Valentine’s Day Letter

I have a confession to make – I’m a little embarrassed by it. I often talk to people about offering themselves the same kindness they would offer others in their lives. When we discover how they’ve been feeding themselves negative messages about who they are, we often realize how they would NEVER, and I mean NEVER, say those very same things to describe anyone else they care about. Yet, many of us make derogatory comments about ourselves.

I’m guilty of it.

My sons play hockey, and for one, it was Senior Night a couple of weeks ago. The seniors each take a picture with their parents before the game and a tradition is for the moms to wear the boys’ ‘away’ jerseys. My son’s team has 14 graduating seniors and the parents have been meeting at frigid ice rinks at ridiculous hours for many, many years. We’ve shared victories, losses, injuries, frustrations, cups of coffee and hot chocolate, lots of pasta parties and a couple of glasses of wine.

The hockey moms decided to have a picture taken of all of us. I hadn’t seen the picture until another mom showed me at one of the games last week.

And then I did it.

I saw the photo and I said with a sour face, “Ugh. I look like a linebacker.” I heard the words fly out of my mouth and immediately wanted to go back in time to reverse them. It was only a moment before I realized it didn’t matter what I looked like in the picture. What DID matter was that I was IN it, a part of an incredible group of women, evidence of the fact that we shared our sons’ passion for the sport (most of the time) and the last decade or so with one another.

I realized I’ve still got some work to do. Who cares how I look in pictures? Better to be present, participate and have fun!

Here’s the picture I’m talking about. I’m standing at the end on the left.

hockey moms

I’m so happy to have it to remind me of the time spent with these women watching our sons play their most favorite sport.

A simple, knee-jerk response has rekindled in me the desire to be more kind to myself, to check in on the automatic dialogue I have with me. I will honor myself going forward. No more self-deprecating remarks. They really don’t serve a purpose. I will offer myself a little more love.

So with Valentine’s Day just a few days away, how will you extend more kindness and love toward YOURself?

Will it be by checking YOUR internal dialogue? Or by eating healthier so you’ll feel better? Or by getting in an extra work out? Or by reaching out to a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while because that would make YOU feel good to do it? Or will it be by doing something simply for the fun of it (here’s hoping there’s a little bit of THAT going on!)?

Sending a little love your way,

Laurie

Laurie Leinwand is a Professional Life Coach assisting clients with a variety of personal and professional life issues. Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching encompasses Laurie’s work as a life coach for women and men, career life coach and work-life balance coach.

Laurie provides personal development assistance with regard to powerful issues such as how to make a change in your life and finding fulfillment and your life purpose. In addition, she works with clients interested in learning how to say no, setting limits and boundaries, as well as balancing work and life.

Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching is located in Randolph, NJ and services the surrounding communities of Morristown, Denville, Parsippany, Florham Park and Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, though much of her coaching is done on the phone and is accessible to clients worldwide.

 

Emptying the Gratitude Jar

My family and I just celebrated the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and this is exactly when we began using our Gratitude Jar last year. I’ve posted about the Gratitude Jar before so forgive me while I fill in those who are unfamiliar with the concept. gratitude jar

I simply placed a large mason jar on my kitchen counter, put a Post It note on the side and wrote “Gratitude Jar” on it (okay, so creativity may not be my strong suit). I then put the rest of the pile of Post It’s on top with a pen. I told my family that we were going to try an experiment – that the Jar would rest on our counter for the next year and that we all were to “capture” positive moments or thoughts, write them down and place them inside.  We could write down ANYTHING we were grateful for, no matter how big or small. There was no “right,” or more importantly “wrong” way to do this. I explained that it would be fun, and that it would help us to tune in to things that were going well, rather than focus our energy on that which wasn’t.

Everyone agreed to participate. I even sent my daughter off to college with her own Gratitude Jar.

Here’s what unfolded over the course of the year:

The jar filled up. That’s what I could SEE, but so much more took place. Because of the experiment, I attempted to stay focused on things I could be grateful for, even when it seemed like there wasn’t much at the time. If I was having a blue day, I’d be reminded when I walked by the jar that I had much to be thankful for, despite being at a loss for the specifics in that moment. The sound of the jar had an effect – I would open the jar to place a note inside and my son would yell from the other room that he heard me, and I could hear the smile in his voice.

Gratitude and good feelings have a way of spreading.

If too much time passed without my putting a note in the jar, I’d know to check in with myself. Where was my head? I probably needed to shift back to positivity….and I would challenge myself to find something to write about, and could always find SOMETHING. It would undoubtedly put me on a better path.

Sometimes people would be visiting and they’d ask what the Jar was for. Not only was it a conversation piece but it was always in those moments of explaining that I recommitted to utilizing the Jar. Some guests were so excited by the idea that they contributed then and there.

Here’s what took place last week:

My family and I had decided that we would empty the Jar on Rosh Hashanah and share our captured moments. We dumped the notes out and took turns taking a note from the pile randomly and reading aloud. Words won’t serve to describe what that experience was like for me.

My daughter remembered to bring home the beautiful notes she had written over the course of the year (without being reminded). My husband, who I hadn’t realized was participating regularly (he had been recording his gratitude on his work computer), wrote notes that surprised me and served to bring us closer. My sons’ notes ranged from being thankful for food to eat to being grateful for good health and amazing accomplishments.

There were “stealth” notes too – comments that people outside of our immediate family deposited while we weren’t looking. We had so much fun discovering them!

Themes emerged – we found that we often mirrored back to each other the things we appreciated most in one another.

We laughed as we remembered things we had done. We got emotional as we remembered how we felt. We connected. We reoriented ourselves to one another and recommitted to the things that are important to us. We all squeezed each other afterward and talked about how special, successful, and gratifying our experiment had been.

Then my youngest son took a Sharpie and wrote “Year 2” under the “Gratitude Jar” Post It on our empty jar. And when I looked at it that night before I went up to bed, there were several notes in it already waiting to be read next year.

Warmest Regards, Laurie

 

Laurie Leinwand is a Professional Life Coach assisting clients with a variety of personal and professional life issues. Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching encompasses Laurie’s work as a life coach for women and men, career life coach and work-life balance coach.

Some of the topics of focus in her practice as a professional life coach are assisting and supporting individuals that are stay at home parents (stay at home moms and dads are constantly forced to adapt to their current circumstances as their children grow and change) as well as those returning to work. Laurie works with people reentering the workforce who are unsure of their direction and interested in cultivating professional development skills and support.

Laurie also provides personal development assistance with regard to powerful issues such as how to make a change in your life and finding fulfillment and your life purpose. In addition, she works with clients interested in learning how to say no and setting boundaries.

Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching is located in Randolph, NJ and services the surrounding communities of Morristown, Denville, Parsippany, Florham Park and Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, though much of her coaching is done on the phone and is accessible to clients worldwide.  Laurie is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the New Jersey Professional Coaches Association (ICF-NJ).

Just Going through the Motions?

What would it mean to do things with greater intention?

Wondering what I’m talking about? Let’s start with what “intention” means: what one intends to accomplish or attain. Synonyms include aim, ambition, goal, objective, purpose and meaning.

So my question to you really is: when you do things, or say things, are you plugging into your true intention when doing so?

I’ll give you a couple of examples to illustrate why intention might matter.

I really don’t like to cook. Or what I should probably tell you is that I really dislike all the mess that needs cleaning up after cooking, and the disproportionate amount of time spent figuring out what to make for dinner, buying the ingredients, chopping and peeling and actual preparation COMPARED to the time spent actually eating.

However, when I stop for a moment and think of it less like a chore, and more as an action with intention behind it – as in, this is what I do to nurture my family, this is one way I demonstrate my love for them – then I approach making dinner entirely differently. It’s no longer something I’m just seeking to check off my list. It’s an action with a deeper meaning behind it.

That shift in recognizing the intention changes the experience.intention

Here’s another example of how recognizing, and plugging into, intention transforms the whole dynamic.

The supervisor at the town pool spies leaves and debris at the bottom of the pool just before opening. With a roll of his eyes, he says sarcastically to his staff, “Nice job cleaning the pool this morning!”

His intention is to get the lifeguards to do their job, however his statement, and the way it’s delivered, only conveys disdain and frustration. He could have more effectively said, “Guys, I need you to thoroughly clean the pool each morning before the guests arrive. Please clean those leaves out now because we’re about to open.”

Sarcasm serves to undermine our relationships. It doesn’t promote respect and often camouflages our real intentions and what it is we are really trying to say.

Imagine how your tasks and your relationships might be impacted if you considered your true intention more often in your actions and words.

Imagine less ‘going through the motions’ and speaking ‘off the cuff.’

Plugging in to your intention can shift your experiences from dull and unrewarding to more positive, effective and satisfying.

Be aware of your intentions. Be sure to see them through.

Warmly, Laurie

Laurie Leinwand is a Professional Life Coach assisting clients with a variety of personal and professional life issues. Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching encompasses Laurie’s work as a life coach for women and men, career life coach and work-life balance coach.

Laurie provides personal development assistance with regard to powerful issues such as how to make a change in your life and finding fulfillment and your life purpose. In addition, she works with clients interested in learning how to say no, setting limits and boundaries, as well as balancing work and life.

Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching is located in Randolph, NJ and services the surrounding communities of Morristown, Denville, Parsippany, Florham Park and Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, though much of her coaching is done on the phone and is accessible to clients worldwide.

The Power of Play

I was talking with a friend recently and we fell into a discussion about how perfectionism and wanting things “just so” often slowed us down, or kept us from moving forward altogether.

He then told me a beautiful story about how he had been building with blocks with his young daughter. He was so focused on creating a solid structure that he found himself constructing a perfect pyramid. This was incredibly annoying to his daughter who seemed to be far more interested in playing with the blocks and having fun. Finally, my friend succumbed as his daughter convinced him to build something “her” way.

What they ended up constructing swayed back and forth and teetered on the edge of collapse but ironically reached far greater heights than any of his previous efforts had.block tower

We laughed as he shared this story because it illustrated the “power” of play and the importance of having the freedom to be creative and ‘color outside the lines.’ It made me contemplate the new heights I could reach if I threw the rule book aside once in a while and gave myself permission to play just for play’s sake.

I’ve decided it’s way more important than I had imagined and I’m determined to incorporate more of the spirit of play into both my professional AND personal arenas.

How often do YOU play?

Warmly, Laurie

Laurie Leinwand is a Professional Life Coach assisting clients with a variety of personal and professional life issues. Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching encompasses Laurie’s work as a life coach for women, career life coach and work-life balance coach.

Some of the topics of focus in her practice as a professional life coach are assisting and supporting individuals that are stay at home parents (stay at home moms and dads are constantly forced to adapt to their current circumstances as their children grow and change) as well as those returning to work. Laurie works with people reentering the workforce who are unsure of their direction and interested in cultivating professional development skills and support.

Laurie also provides personal development assistance with regard to powerful issues such as how to make a change in your life and finding fulfillment and your life purpose. In addition, she works with clients interested in learning how to say no and setting boundaries.

Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching is located in Randolph, NJ and services the surrounding communities of Morristown, Denville, Parsippany, Florham Park and Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, though much of her coaching is done on the phone and is accessible to clients worldwide.  Laurie is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the New Jersey Professional Coaches Association (ICF-NJ).

A Jar of Gratitude

I bought this jar which now makes its new home on my kitchen counter with a pad of post-its and a pen on top. Its purpose is to house all that my husband, kids and I are grateful for in the coming year.

We jot down the things we are thankful for, fold the notes and drop them in the jar without reading what others have written. We are enjoying the process of watching these little papers of appreciation accumulate. As the jar fills, glancing at it reminds me that I am fortunate, without my even needing to be fully aware of the specifics. I now more often approach all that I do from a place of abundance, rather than from a place of wanting, or scarcity.

gratitude jarFilling the jar of gratitude is a feel-good activity.  It requires that I focus on everything that’s going well. I am forced to look at my life through a lens of positivity. I’m less likely to miss opportunities to take note of the things that make me smile and I’m eager to find more things to write!

For my daughter away at school, I sent her with her own jar of gratitude to place on her desk and fill at her own discretion.

A year from now, I’ll sit with my family and we’ll remove the notes we’ve all amassed one by one, read them aloud and conduct our “year in review.” I look forward to this becoming an annual tradition.  And I hope that it serves to shape the way my children see their world.

How would a Gratitude Jar change your world?

Warmly, Laurie

Laurie Leinwand is a Professional Life Coach assisting clients with a variety of personal and professional life issues. Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching encompasses Laurie’s work as a life coach for women and men, career life coach and work-life balance coach.

Some of the topics of focus in her practice as a professional life coach are assisting and supporting individuals that are stay at home parents (stay at home moms and dads are constantly forced to adapt to their current circumstances as their children grow and change) as well as those returning to work. Laurie works with people reentering the workforce who are unsure of their direction and interested in cultivating professional development skills and support.

Laurie also provides personal development assistance with regard to powerful issues such as how to make a change in your life and finding fulfillment and your life purpose. In addition, she works with clients interested in learning how to say no and setting boundaries.

Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching is located in Randolph, NJ and services the surrounding communities of Morristown, Denville, Parsippany, Florham Park and Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, though much of her coaching is done on the phone and is accessible to clients worldwide.  Laurie is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the New Jersey Professional Coaches Association (NJPCA).

Full on Fun with Family

As we wind up summer, my family and I went to an amazing place called Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ. It was a day filled with lots of silliness and giggles as we posed with various sculptures, made up our own names for them and tried to guess what they represented. The stories we constructed made us laugh so hard sometimes we almost cried. sculpture garden men in line

I feel so fortunate that we are able to experience days like that one.  With all the running around that we do and everyone’s crazy schedules, it’s sometimes hard to be fully in the moment and simply let go and enjoy to the fullest without thinking about what comes next.

Days like that I want to cherish forever. We document them with pictures and in writing as well.

This way the joy that we experienced continues on and has a lasting legacy.

Make sure you’re not moving so fast that you forget to have fun. And when you do have those silly, funny, pure moments of gleeful deliciousness, find a way to hold on to them so that you can remember and relive them time and again (especially when the busy times feel like they’ve taken over).

So grab your family members or friends and go have some fun and be sure to document it in some way so the laughs and smiles keep on coming!

Warmly, Laurie

Laurie Leinwand is a Professional Life Coach assisting clients with a variety of personal and professional life issues. Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching encompasses Laurie’s work as a life coach for women and men, career life coach and work-life balance coach.

Some of the topics of focus in her practice as a professional life coach are assisting and supporting individuals that are stay at home parents (stay at home moms and dads are constantly forced to adapt to their current circumstances as their children grow and change) as well as those returning to work. Laurie works with people reentering the workforce who are unsure of their direction and interested in cultivating professional development skills and support.

Laurie also provides personal development assistance with regard to powerful issues such as how to make a change in your life and finding fulfillment and your life purpose. In addition, she works with clients interested in learning how to say no and setting boundaries.

Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching is located in Randolph, NJ and services the surrounding communities of Morristown, Denville, Parsippany, Florham Park and Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, though much of her coaching is done on the phone and is accessible to clients worldwide.  Laurie is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the New Jersey Professional Coaches Association (NJPCA).

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