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Our life coach shares why we're more frightened by fear itself rather than change. Read on for more.

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A couple of months ago, I was coaching a client that was struggling to make changes in his work and home life. He was having difficulty focusing on his responsibilities and felt miserably stuck. Everyday was another lesson in futility. From his vantage point, he had no options to change the situation.

As an exercise, I suggested that we make a list of all the choices that he had in life. He was to write down every single choice that came to mind, devoid of judgment. I was impressed by his ability to list the different choices that he had, no matter how crazy they seemed. After the list was completed, we went through the choices and took a closer look at each one of them.

One by one, we discussed the choices in detail. One by one, he would give me all the reasons why the choice would absolutely never work. I tried to help him see each choice from a fresh perspective, but no matter what I did, he had a whole list of compelling reasons why it would fail.

I looked at him for awhile and then I said calmly, “Do you notice that you’ve vehemently explained to me why none of these ideas work when you originally thought these ideas were great? Why do you think that is?”

Sometimes we are so scared of trying something new that we will stay in a horrible situation. There are a lot of uncertainties in trying something new. We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. We aren’t sure how things are going to progress. Fear of the unknown causes us to stay exactly where we are. Fear of failure can take ahold of us and rule our life. The truth is that not making a choice and staying stuck is also failing.

Change is hard. It’s hard for people and it’s hard for organizations.

At some point in your life, you have sat in this very same chair.  You have lamented how unhappy you are, yet still aggressively fought the possibility of any change. Fighting the change ensured that you would be safe from failure. Or did it?

My suggestion is to make one change. The change doesn’t have to be huge; it just has to be one teeny tiny step that moves you in the direction of your goal. After you have done this, take another tiny step and another. This pushes you out of your paralysis stage and into an action stage.

Be honest and recognize that your reasoning for shooting down all your choices is tied up in your fear of what waits on the other side. Accept the emotion and continue to take small incremental steps.

Along the way, be sure to remind yourself that the FEAR of FEAR is far worse than the fear itself.

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    We chat with the founder of a new locally-based online resource that’s dedicated to encouraging, supporting and inspiring women. Read on for more about the writer, speaker and personal coach behind the movement that aims to shine up your sparkle.

    Cherylanne Skolnicki, Founder of The Shine Movement.
    Cherylanne Skolnicki, Founder of The Shine Movement.

    Everyone has their own sparkle, but it’s easy to let life’s difficulties dull the shine.

    Helping women shine is what Cherylanne Skolnicki is aiming to do with The Shine Movement, a membership site that’s dedicated to helping modern women, especially moms, redesign their everyday to create a space for them to shine.

    “Members are most often women who are searching for a way to balance their professional pursuits with their personal lives while trying to find a connection with a like-minded community,” explains Skolnicki, who is also a writer, speaker and personal coach.

    Skolnicki launched The Shine Movement when she herself was searching for a community she could identify with while balancing her personal and professional lives. “I was so hungry for this that I decided to build it myself,” she says.

    “We want this to feel like a ‘charging station’ for women who are committed to making choices that let them shine,” Skolnicki adds. “It’s a place to come get filled up before you go back out and give it your all.”

    The Shine Movement is built around four guiding principles: contribution, connection, playtime and downtime. Contribution is about serving others by using our gifts to make a difference while connection is about being real in our relationships. Playtime is when you make time to do the things that fill your heart and light you up and downtime is establishing a rhythm in your life to break the busy cycle.

    Alongside Skolnicki is a small team of women who are helping to create content and bring it to life. Darcy Crociata serves as the Content Manager and Growth Analyst, Anne Schmidt works as Creative Designer, Hilary Molina as Operations & Member Relations and Melissa Lower who helps The Shine Movement as an intern.

    With her team, Skolnicki and The Shine Movement is working to connect the community and empower women. “I really believe that we are all students and we are all teachers,” she says. “By connecting in this community we can get help in areas where we are struggling and share our secrets in area where we have it all together.”

    Skolnicki says that the entire community is encouraging while challenging one another to play a little bigger or to make an even bolder choice, and she loves it.

    To supplement the content she shares in The Shine Movement, Skolnicki interviews one woman who embodies the principles of the movement. “These are people like Susie Schnall who wrote The Balance Project, Tara Mohr who wrote Playing Big and Nicola Kraus who wrote The Nanny Diaries. They are sharing how they are balancing their professional pursuits with their family lives and telling fantastic stories that are so inspiring to our members,” she says.

    Through The Shine Movement, Skolnicki is hoping that she can help modern moms redesign their everyday to create space for them to shine. “I also want to surround them with a community of women so they know they are never ever alone,” she adds.

    You can learn more about The Shine Movement by clicking here or by visiting Skolnicki’s personal website.

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    One local woman recently transformed her life - from addiction and chaos to power and focus - and she’s now launching a five step private mentoring program to help other women do the same.

    Find Your DRIVE
    Melissa Kirkpatrick, Founder of Find Your DRIVE

    It’s easy to get stuck in a rut between social, professional and personal obligations. But what happens when the rut turns into a debilitating downward spiral?

    Melissa Kirkpatrick had been there, and made a choice to intentionally transform her life. After meeting with a business coach to help guide her through the process of managing her family’s golf courses, Kirkpatrick realized the transformative power of setting goals and reaching for your best self. Of her business coaching experience, Kirkpatrick says, “It was empowering for me when I learned how your thinking creates your reality.”

    The idea for a career in mentoring others was born. “Through the work with [my business coach] and my own desires to create more in my life, I discovered I wanted to share how I did it and how others could too, so I knew coaching was for me.” Kirkpatrick had already experienced many different seasons of her life; she had married her high school sweetheart and raised two sons, then went back to school in her 30s to complete her teaching degree, but she knew there was more left to her story.

    “Being a teacher by trade, and a motivator by nature, I felt called to shine my light into the world”, she says. Kirkpatrick used her skills in instruction and her love for golf as a launching point for Find Your Own DRIVE. From experiencing her own personal transformation and recovering from an alcohol addiction, Kirkpatrick realized, “We all want to be supported, we just don’t know how or who to ask. My mission is to offer others a way of receiving support in a non-threatening, fun, and interactive way.”

    Kirkpatricks
    A before and after shot of Kirkpatrick.

    Kirkpatrick began with offering free coaching sessions to four individuals in 2013. “Their immediate transformation in just a short amount of time was inspiring. It took the next year of planning, developing, creating, and dropping my fear and doubt to finally launch my services.”

    What does DRIVE really mean? Beyond the basis of the parallels between golf and life, DRIVE represents the process of transforming your mind. “The acronym came to me one day when I was working with my coach. As we laid out the steps in my own journey to transformation, it was ironic that the steps were easily identified in the word DRIVE: Desire, Receive, Implement, Visualize and Evolve,” she adds, “These steps have supported me in owning and operating a golf course, to having a body that is healthy and strong, to giving up longtime addictions to food, alcohol and spending money, to releasing all those underlying beliefs that kept me stuck to now using a proven formula and finding my DRIVE for life.”

    Who is the Find Your DRIVE mentee? Kirkpatrick explains, “The women I support are those who are tired of going unconscious and numbing out. She desires more for herself in all areas of her life. She believes there is more to her purpose and wants to discover it now,” she adds, “Creating a life you love and desire starts by loving yourself – that’s where the magic begins.”

    What are the beginning steps for someone who wants to transform their life? Kirkpatrick’s free e-book, 5 Steps to DRIVE, can be found at findyourowndrive.com. She explains, “On this page there is also my scheduler to sign up for a chat with me. I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of this call. It’s a free 15 minute call to learn about what you truly desire and want to change.” Kirkpatrick is also currently offering her newest program, 21 Days to Body Mindfulness, at half-price through December – $17 when you download the eBook. “This 21 day, daily email program opens the mind and connects with the body. It is perfect for those who are not sure they are ready for coaching but want to start the new year with conscious thinking”, she explains.

    As Kirkpatrick continues along her own personal journey, she looks forward to the opportunity to help other women transform their own. “I will be honored to mentor and witness those women who say yes to finding their own DRIVE for a life they love with no regrets. My commitment will be to continue to be in service and continue to play full-out in my own life, leading the way to freedom and abundance, and all that that implies.” To learn more, visit www.findyourowndrive.com.

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    Negative memories recur for even the most positive people. Our life coach columnist explains what to do the next time one rears its ugly head.

    I was driving down the highway the other day when an old memory popped in my head. I’m sitting in an office with my boss and a powerful employee. Everyone is looking serious and I’m wondering what is about to happen. This employee is a manipulative troublemaker who bullies for sport. Up until that point, I haven’t been her target, but things were about to change.

    She starts the conversation by explaining how “everybody” is complaining about me. My first reaction is shock and hurt but I quickly find my footing and remind myself who is “sharing” the information— someone that I don’t trust. I listen to all the negative complaints, not showing any emotion. All in all, I handle the situation perfectly, asking for specific proof for each judgment made about my behavior. I ask, “When did I ever demonstrate that?” She really can’t answer.

    Now, back to today. I find myself becoming fixated on the negative statements that she had shared about me that day. I start running through the list and pondering whether they are true or not. I “feel” the emotion that I felt the day it actually happened. I become stuck on these thoughts and as you can imagine, nothing about this experience is productive or helpful.

    We all know that it’s not healthy to look back and dwell on the past. In fact, Social Media is covered with quotes telling us not to partake in this particular behavior. For example, “The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come.” Or, how about this one: “Don’t look back with regret, look forward with hope.” However, no matter how many times I read that quote, it doesn’t help me stop myself from doing this now and then. Telling me to think positively just doesn’t change my behavior.

    So why do I do this?

    Ray Williams, an executive coach and author says, “In our brains, there are two different systems for negative and positive stimuli. The amygdala uses approximately 2/3 of its neurons to detect negative experiences. Once the brain starts looking for bad news, it is stored in long-term memory quickly. Positive experiences have to be held in awareness for more than 12 seconds in order for the transfer from short-term to long-term memory.”

    Our brains like to hold on to negative experiences more than positive ones.

    Not to mention the fact that from the earliest times, being aware of and avoiding danger has been an important survival skill. That ability for your brain to instinctively jump to “what’s wrong” instead of “what’s right” is wired inside all of us.

    So what are you going to do about it?

    Well, one thing that you can do is force yourself to acknowledge your own behavior. “Yes, I’m focusing on the negative. Yes, I know why my brain is doing this repeatedly. Yes, I feel the anger, hurt, frustration that I originally felt when it happened.

    However, NOW I CHOOSE to think about something else.“

    When you try too hard to not think about that negative thought or memory, you will accomplish the opposite— your brain will never let go. So instead, acknowledge your feelings and thoughts and then make a decision to think about something else. For example, you can say, “I CHOOSE to think about what I’m going to make for dinner tonight.”

    Accept that you will always have past negative memories and thoughts that pop up into your present life. However, you can learn to control your thinking by understanding why you take part in this behavior, acknowledging your emotions in the situation and working hard to distract your thinking.

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    Planning for potential risks can help you navigate a smoother journey, but worrying can become a way of life. Our life coach columnist explains how to stop stressing and start living.

    We were on our way back from a 40-mile bike ride when we heard people talking up ahead on the trail. As I peered off into the distance, I saw five people sitting in the grass, their bikes strewn about at the top of the hill.

    They had just accomplished a ride up the fairly steep elevation. It obviously had taken a lot of energy for the crew, since they had decided to take some time out to catch their breath. From our vantage point, we couldn’t see anything but the 5 people and the top of the hill. My husband yelled to me, “I wonder if there’s anyone else coming up the hill?” I didn’t say anything, and then I heard him yell to the group and ask if there were anymore still making their way up the hill. They replied with a no and began to get back on their bikes.

    As we rode down the hill, I thought about what had just transpired. It would have never occurred to me to think about whether there was anyone else coming up the hill. It just wouldn’t have been of concern to me. Nor would I have even followed my thought up with a question directed at the crew. It just wasn’t important.

    However, this was very important to him. I assume he was thinking about sharing the trail as he flies down the hill, going 30 miles an hour. I also assume that he was being cautious and safe.

    The whole potential danger would have never crossed my mind. I just assumed that no matter what was coming at me as I flew down the hill, I could control my bike and maneuver around the obstacle safely.

    If we’re riding and we get off course, I don’t think it’s a big deal. Eventually, we will figure out where we are and find our way back to our path. It always works out. In fact, sometimes the alternative journey that we end up taking when we’ve lost our way turns out far better than our original planned itinerary.

    Our perspectives in life can be explained in the experience that I just shared with you. He is always looking ahead, gauging the dangers and obstacles in his way and looking for the best, safest path to get to his end goal. In contrast, I’m just riding toward my goals in life, assuming that when something happens, I will have confidence to deal with it in the best possible way. If I get off course and lose my way, I trust that eventually, I will figure it out. I’m always certain that it will work out just fine.

    I’m not saying that one way of thinking in your personal and professional life is far better than another. What I am saying is that it’s good to think about WHERE you fall on this continuum. There are a lot of uncertainties and disappointments as you make your way down the mountain of life— eventually you will hit a huge pothole and it will get you off track.

    This will occur no matter how diligent you are at assessing potential risks. Eventually, something will happen.

    Having a combination of the two approaches to life is really your best bet. Be as proactive as you can, assess the possible dangers and risks, but beyond that, try to just live life and chase your goals.

    And make sure you have the skills of RESILIENCE to weather the storm.

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    Our life coach columnist offers advice that’ll help unclog your mind so you can be more effective in your personal and professional life.

     

    I recently attended a fundraising event where I didn’t know a number of people. When it was time to sit down for lunch, I worked my way over to a table of all new faces. I introduced myself to the person on my left and then turned to my right. With a smile on my face, I told my tablemate my name and began to make conversation.

    The next thing out of my mouth was the following: “So what do you do?” With a stern look on her face, and a negative tone to her comment, she replied, “I work really hard.”

    I like to think of myself as fairly perceptive when it comes to people and the communication process. However, this time, I was confused. In the next few seconds I attempted to figure out what was going on in the interaction. My tablemate seemed irritated and I knew that I hadn’t said anything out of the ordinary. I searched my memory to see if I was supposed to recognize this woman and I had disappointed her. I came up with nothing. I needed to figure out why she was reacting to me in such a negative manner.

    My next move was to agree with her. “I’m sure you do work hard.” Then, it occurred to me that maybe she took offense to the question, “what do you do.” So then I asked her in a light way what she works hard DOING. She began to share how she works at home with her teenage children. After we got over that hump, she began to loosen up. She shared a little about her life and we proceeded to get along just fine.

    Apparently, her decision to work from home was colored with much emotion. Of course, I had no idea that I was walking into such a landmine. I had just met her! However, I’m imagining that in her mind, I had a lot of nerve to ask her what she does. In her mind, she feels that people are looking down on her because she isn’t working. In her mind, she’s angry that I had the audacity to ask her that question and act like she doesn’t work hard.

    In her mind, she thinks I’m judging her.

    Of course you know that’s not the truth. I was innocently trying to make conversation with a tablemate. However, from where she sat, the judging seemed very real.

    There have been times that I’ve misinterpreted other’s actions and words because of what I was grappling with in my own head. My negative thoughts misconstrued the actual message that the other person was trying to convey to me. I’m also pretty positive that the same thing has happened to you on more than one occasion. You have had mistakes in thinking fueled by some “unfinished business.” I’m referring to that “stuff” that triggers you to react and respond inaccurately to the sent message. That stuff triggers you to not only misinterpret the message, but also can negatively impact the outcome of the situation. Your behavior at these moments can squelch opportunities for your future.

    That unfinished business will continue to haunt you until it gets addressed and dealt with head on.

    So, do yourself a favor and deal with what’s clogging up your brain so you can be more effective in your personal and professional life!

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    Face it. Bad things are bound to happen. Our life coach columnist explains the five ways to become a more resilient person when they do.

    Eventually, bad things happen. You’ll lose your job, get passed over for the promotion that you were counting on or botch that humongous deal that was going to change your life.

    You will be miserable and think that life is over.

    Yes, you will be incredibly disappointed and sad— that’s to be expected. However, your response to this life disappointment will greatly impact what comes next. Your resilience in the face of disaster will determine your success.

    The bottom line is that your sense of control in each life event greatly influences the eventual outcome. Do you see life in a reactive mode? Do you feel like things happen to you? Or do you have a strong sense that you can control and manage life in a proactive manner? Do you live your life making things happen? This mind-set makes the difference in your ability to face adversity.

    I have developed some questions that might help you take more control in your life and positively change your direction when bad things happen.

    Ask Yourself:

    1. How does it serve me to stay where I am right now? For example, say you just found out that your boss didn’t take responsibility for a mistake, but instead, blamed it on you. You are angry, hurt, devastated and disappointed. You are wondering why this happened to you and why you are so unlucky. However, how does it serve you to stay in these feelings right now? How will you benefit in any way? Sometimes when we’re hit with bad news, we can get stuck in the feelings, and those feelings can spur us on to make some really bad decisions.

    2. What can I control in this situation and what is beyond my control? This is an important question to ask yourself because it gets you out of a victim mentality and into a more positive, proactive frame of mind. You can’t control what just happened, and you certainly can’t make the whole situation disappear. You have no choice but to accept that this has taken place. Now give some thought as to what you can control. You can control what plays out next in the storyline. You can control what action you decide to take next.

    3. How can I improve the current situation? Now is the time to brainstorm. I want you to write down all the possible ideas that come to your mind. Don’t leave anything out just because it sounds crazy or not realistic to you. Be creative and write every type of ending you can think of for your storyline. Try not to judge or evaluate these ideas for now— just let your mind run wild and come up with scenarios. For example, remember the previous situation with your boss? You can have a talk with your boss and calmly ask why. Or, you can confront him and demand answers. Or, you can immediately start looking for another job. There are many, many choices you can conjure up in your mind.

    4. Now evaluate these choices and number them in order of best ideas. Consider the outcomes for each idea. If you are proactively controlling the situation, you will have a number of action steps that you have created on your list.

    5. What have I learned from this experience? Be sure to not skip this step! Is there something that you would like to do differently next time? There is always a lesson that you can glean from every situation. Do some soul searching and be honest.

    Becoming truly resilient is a process. The more you practice, the more resilient you become in riding the waves of life.

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    Read on as this local writer, speaker, and personal coach reveals how she found her path in life and why she devotes her life to helping others do the same.

    Cherylanne Skolnicki started her own coaching business called Cherylanne Skolnicki Coaching.
    Cherylanne Skolnicki started her own coaching business called Cherylanne Skolnicki Coaching.

    Cherylanne Skolnicki had a successful and upwardly mobile career – in sales and then marketing at Proctor & Gamble – but eventually, she realized that she had a different calling in life.

    She left P&G to form Nourish, a company focused on helping families eat well. Now, Skolnicki is a writer, public speaker and private coach through Cherylanne Skolnicki Coaching.

    She says it’s a mixture of business coaching and personal coaching, and she tends to attract women who want it all, such as working mothers trying to balance their professional aspirations with their desire to be excellent mothers. She describes her career as “the fullest expression of who I am and what I’m here to do.”

    “I think my whole body of work up to this point has led me to this chapter,” Skolnicki says of her inspiration. “It took me a while to put the pieces together of how my greatest gifts intersected with what people around me needed most, but once that became clear, this chapter of my professional life was born. Words truly are my gift – especially words used to uplift, encourage, clarify, and inspire – and my work as a writer, speaker, and coach allows me to use words in a way that touches lives and makes an impact on the world around me.”

    Skolnicki is on a mission to teach the principles of Life Design, a “process of intentionally designing a life to consistently feel the way you want to feel. It’s about discovering what you’re here to do and doing it. It’s about finding harmony between your professional pursuits and your relationships at home. It’s a method of using simple prototypes and experiments to answer the question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ It’s the most direct way out of feeling stuck or overwhelmed that I’ve ever seen and it’s the path to living a highly energized, personally optimized life that you know matters.”

    Skolnicki wants to share this message with more people and to help them “know themselves and to design their lives accordingly.” Life Design, she adds, has a plethora of benefits. Subscribers to Life Design “stand out because they are both highly energized AND deeply peaceful. They’re not frantically chasing someone else’s dream. They’re not conflicted and guilt-ridden.”

    Luckily for Skolnicki, she has found her path in life. Every day she wakes up excited to go to work, the feeling she hopes to bring to her clients as well. “It’s like you tap a supernatural energy source that’s always with you,” she explains. “So my favorite pat of my job is watching that source show up for my clients. When I see the light return to someone’s eyes – when the answer she’s been searching for comes to her in a moment of clarity and she’s simultaneously energized and peaceful – THAT’S my favorite thing about what I do.”

    Skolnicki advises those who want to better themselves to start by carving out some quiet time to evaluate their lives. “Often, the urge to better ourselves is rooted in feeling overwhelmed, and when we quiet the stimulus around us, we can more clearly hear the prompting of what we need to do. The answers are almost always there,” Skolnicki explains. “We’re so busy running that we rarely stop to makes sure we’re still running in the right direction! But the thing we most resist is exactly what we need.”

    Skolnicki describes herself as a woman who always believes that the best is yet to come. She is currently exploring options in group coaching so she can serve more people each year, and that’s just the beginning. She is working on her first book. “I’m a lifelong reader and can’t even count the number of times a book has changed my world view, so I’m excited about getting my own ideas out in that form,” she explains. The readership of her block, Let Your Life Shine, is also increasing.

    To learn more, visit her website, www.CherylanneSkolnicki.com.

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    Our life coach columnist offers a new way to look at your failures that'll make you see yourself -- and all your bumps along the road -- differently.

    A number of years ago, I was speaking to a group of 300 women at a conference. This was at the beginning of my speaking career and I was still feeling my way through the motions of presenting. I was confident at the beginning and my presentation started off with a bang. However, as I got further into my hour, I started to lose them. I could feel it happening so I tried every trick imaginable to keep them interested. However, they had an option of either attending my presentation or 4 others in the rooms down the hall. As my presentation began its descent, my audience began theirs.

    One by one, they walked out, oblivious as to how it affected me. I might add that they didn’t even try to be polite or discreet about their exit. I hung in there, pushing myself to ignore my dwindling audience by focusing on one or two that seemed interested. With a quarter of my audience left, I had never been so glad to end a presentation. I look back on that afternoon as sheer torture— the stuff of nightmares.

    That presentation was an epic FAILURE.

    How about the time when I was rocking and rolling through a workshop and then took a quick break? I went to the restroom and came out before I realized that I had left my microphone on during the whole experience. In other words, the entire room experienced my “break” right along with me. And then there was the time in my college Anatomy class where I was responsible for learning the parts of my dissected animal for the major exam. I studied and studied but when it came time for the Final Exam, the Professor’s labeled animal parts looked absolutely nothing like mine. I was lost while I looked around at all the pre-med students that knew exactly what they were doing. I failed that class miserably.

    That day was another epic failure in my life.

    Do I even need to share about when I was fired from my job? Can you spell F-A-I-L?

    I’m sure I could fill this page with many other experiences that stand out but I certainly don’t want to bore you. I have a point to make about failure and I’m slowly getting to it. I believe that we look at failure all wrong. Our failures are kept a secret: a shameful, covered up secret. The more we try to cover them up and pretend they don’t exist, the bigger and more powerful they become. If you give some thought to how you view your failures in life, you would agree with me.

    I was recently having a conversation with a friend when she got very serious. She whispered a secret about a big fat failure in her life. As we got to the end of the story, I could tell that the failure was weighing her down in life.

    I shared with her that instead of hiding our failures, we should be proud and flaunt them. We should be passionate about sharing how we failed and lived through the experience. We should realize that having the courage to try is everything. We should know that failing is a part of life and spurs us on to greater things.

    I had the courage to… and I failed.

    I know this is a tough concept to grasp since our society does not really condone failure. Take a look at social media and you’ll quickly see everyone putting their absolute best self forward— the one that they WANT you to see. But that’s not really the true story. You are a combination of your successes and your failures, and without your failures you won’t have your eventual success.

    So be proud to share the tire marks where life ran you over and you still lived to tell the story. Stop giving so much power to your failures and internalize the fact that trying and failing takes courage, strength and true grit.

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