Shattering The Glass Ceiling Within

This is a life coaching blog that will provide information that will assist women in overcoming barriers to change and other helpful information relating to women's health.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Coping with anxiety-Make it smaller

One of the hallmarks of anxiety is what therapist call "What if" thinking. This makes simple problems become catastrophic events. I often use the analogy of a snowball with my clients. You start of with a tiny snowball that fits comfortably in your hand. Then with each "what if" thought the snowball rolls through the snow making it bigger and bigger until it is no long manageable. The key to managing anxiety is often managing your thought patterns. Here are some examples of "What if" thinking.

Situation: You are invited to a holiday party.

"What if I go to the party and no one talks to me. People with think I'm not social and I will not be invited back."

Situation: You are planning a road trip.

"What if my car breaks down in the middle of nowhere or I run out of gas. How will I get help? What if I get killed?"

Situation: You giving a presentation at work

"What if I forget what my presentation in front of all those people? Everyone will think I am an idiot. I will never get a promotion."

Now these are common fears and problems everyone has faced at one time or another. The person who suffers from anxiety will not be able easily discredit these catastrophic thoughts

One possible solution is to work on combating your negative catastrophic thinking. Allow for possibilities other then the worst possible case scenarios. If your car breaks down, what are some of the possibilities to handle the situation safely? Sometimes it is even beneficial to work through the fearful situation. This helps you to be prepared if the worst happens.

It is also helpful to do what therapists call "reality testing". How realistic is it your life would end because of your car breaking down. Statistically, it is not very high. If you take the necessary precautions, it should be minimal. It is also useful to explore past experiences. You arrived safely during your previous road trips. This gives you concrete evidence to combat your catastrophic thoughts.

It is important to remember that anxious thinking is not rational. Therefore, it is important to admit and examine your irrational thoughts. You have to work hard to apply the rational thought to calm those anxious feelings.

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, Ph.D is a great resource for anyone suffering from anxiety.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Ten Commandments of People Pleasing

Harriet Braker , Ph.d wrote a book in 2001 about women's need to please entitled The Disease to Please. In her book she explained the Ten Commandments of People Pleasing.
1. I should always do what others want, expect, or need from me.
2. I should take care of everyone around me whether they ask for help or not.
3. I should always listen to everyone's problems and try my best to solve them.
4. I should always be nice and never hurt anyone's feelings.
5. I should always put other people first, before me.
6. I should never say "no" to anyone or let others down in any way.
7. I should never disappoint anyone or let others down in any way.
8. I should always be happy and upbeat and never show any negative
feelings to others.
9. I should always try to please other people and make them happy.
10. I should try to never to burden others with my own needs or problems.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering from an inability to set appropriate boundaries. Whenever I read these ten commandments, the real impossibility of people pleasing become clear. No one could realistically live this way.

These commandments leave no room for the woman herself. It requires a woman to have no needs or desires of her own which is not humanly possible. Despite this impossibility, many women strive to achieve this impossible task of pleasing everyone around her while taking nothing for herself. There has to be a balance to pleasing others as well as meeting your own needs.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Imposter Syndrome-Explaining away success

Women who suffer from the imposter syndrome are experts at explaining away their success. They discount and dismiss their own achievements. Here are some ways that you may be discounting your own success.

1.Luck- Have you found yourself saying, "I just got lucky that's all." Or "It was the luck of the draw". There is a famous saying about Luck- Luck is when preparation and opportunity meet. Even situations that are commonly called pure luck such as winning the lottery has some preparation involved. You have to buy a lottery ticket to play. I'm not suggesting you start playing the lottery because let's face it the odds are not very good. But Luck is often just when hard work and preparation finally meet opportunity.
2.Timing- This is a close cousin to luck. Women who dismiss their success away using timing may find themselves saying, "I was just in the right place and the right time." Timing may give a little help to your success, but for those suffering from the imposter syndrome; timing is the only reason for their success.
3.Personality and humor- "They just liked me!" is a common belief of those women who feel they are not truly deserving of their success. Using personality and humor as a rationalization for success, requires that you work hard at keeping people entertained so they won't notice your incompetence.
4.The Simplicity of the task- Many imposters feel a direct link between the simplicity of the task and the amount of credit your willing to give yourself. "It was so easy anyone could have done it." Is a frequent statement by imposters using this way of dismissing their accomplishments.
5. Low Standards- Imposters never seem able to feel worthy of certain positions, institutions or organizations. They commonly discredit any organization that accepts them as a member…"if they let me in they must really have low standards!"
6.Other people- Imposters often give the reasons for their success to the efforts of other people. "They felt sorry for me", or "they were just being nice" or" I knew someone and that is why I got the job." Sure knowing someone helps get an interview, but most employers won't just hire someone on a shoe string. There must be some other reason why you were hired. It might actually mean you are qualified for the job!

These are just some of the ways that imposters dismiss or discount their own success. Dr. Valerie Young has written a workbook about the imposter syndrome. You can visit her website at http://www.impostorsyndrome.c

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Five Minute Rule

I love the five minute rule. I discovered it through a procrastination workbook I purchased several years ago. The basic idea is that "you can do anything for five minutes." If you are one of my clients, you have or will hear me talk about this rule of conquering procrastination, clutter and whatever else is getting you down.

The most common response I hear is "I don't have five minutes!" I just repeat the rule back "you can do anything for five minutes". Carving five minutes out of your life is much easier to handle than carving out an hour or half an hour. The beauty of the five minute rule is that once you get started you will probably go ten minutes or longer.

Getting started is the hard part of any dreaded task. Just commit to five minutes. Get up five minutes earlier or go to bed five minutes later. You can always find five minutes. Good Luck!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What is Life Coaching and how can it help?

What is Life Coaching

Life Coaching is about creating the life that you really want. Coaching is a tool to help you realize the vision, goals and dreams that will lead to a more fulfilling life. Coaching is an active process focusing on enhancing self-knowledge and forwarding individual action toward achieving your goals. Learning as well as forwarding action in the coaching relationship is an effective way to facilitate the learning process so important to permanent and consistent change.

The Coaching Relationship will benefit you by:

Providing Accountability
Structure and focus through weekly contact
Provides a new perspective & feedback
Helps identify your strengths & how to utilize them.
Helping you clarify your values and goals.
Supporting you in reaching your goals.
Overcoming obstacles to change i.e., procrastination, perfectionism, & disorganization
Provides a confidential & non-judgmental place to work on life issues.

Areas of Expertise

Overcoming Underearning
Helping women overcome barriers to change
Women's empowerment issues (self care, setting limits, saying no, positive choices)
Career Coaching
Creating Balance in your life

Types of Coaching

Individual Coaching

Individuals can have coaching sessions over the phone or in person. This provides flexibility and convenience. The initial coaching session is free. ChangeWorks customizes individual action plans to meet the client's individual needs.

Spot Coaching

Single session coaching calls are helpful when your stuck and you need help getting moving again.

Group Coaching

Group coaching is available which is done over the phone through a teleconferencing service. Group coaching is exciting and fun for both the coach and the clients. It is also helpful to have feedback from group members and work with others who are actively involved in the change process.

Telegathering Q & A

Q- What is a free Life Coaching telegathering?

A- Life coaching telegatherings are an opportunity to get some free life coaching over the phone with other callers. Life coaching telegatherings or teleclasses are a common way of providing coaching to clients.

Q- How does it work?

A- You call into the bridge line and enter an access code. The presenter hears a beep when someone joins the call. You announce yourself using your first name or nick name. Sometimes people say where they are calling from. For example, I would say "Hi" "I'm Maureen calling from Virginia"

Q- How many people will be on the call?

A- There could be one caller or several. It just depends how many people call in. This is a new service so it may take awhile for people to call in. The bridge line is limited to 10 callers.

Q- Is there a cost to the call?

A- There is no charge for the actual call except there are long distance charges. The bridge line is usally accessed through a long distance number

Q- What do you do on the call?

A- I will be discussing the topics that are presented in my newsletter. Callers can bring up issues they would like coaching on. It is also a good opportunity to go over the action plans in a structured way to assist you in creating the life you want.

Q- Is life coaching like psychotherapy?

A- Life coaching is not psychotherapy. The Telegatherings are not considered a substitute for therapy. Life coaching is a relationship that is designed to help further action and provide accountability for people who want to make positive changes in their life. Life coaching is psychoeducational but is not intended to treat mental health disorders.

Q- How long are the calls?

A- The call will last 60 minutes. But you can end the call whenever you like.

Q- What are the advantages of doing a telegathering?

A- Telegatherings are very convenient since you don't have to leave your house. It's also an opportunity to learn from others and get some support. A structured call is helpful to further action and keep you accountable to your goals.

Q- What if I miss the call?

A- I will be recording the calls to put on my website. This way you can listen to the call at your convenience. This is also a way to sample the calls before calling in for the first time.

Q- Are the calls confidential?

A- No one has access to the calls except for those participating. I will state the importance of confidentiality on every call. Anonymity is a benefit to telegatherings.

Final Thoughts- I hope you will join me. It should be fun!!!

Myths of Perfectionism

Myths of Perfectionism

Myth 1- Perfectionists are usually happy and content about what they achieve.

Perfectionism does not lead to success and fulfillment. Although some perfectionists are remarkably successful, what they fail to realize is that their success has been achieved despite-not because of-their compulsive striving.

There incredibly high standard prevents them from enjoying their success.

Myths 2- If you want something done well, get a perfectionist for the job.

Perfectionists often have problems with procrastination, missed deadlines, and low productivity. There high standard interfere with completion.

Myths 3- Perfectionist take great pride in their work.

Although perfectionists follow an "I'll-keep-trying-until-it's-perfect" credo, they are especially vulnerable to potentially serious difficulties such as depression, writer's block, and performance and social anxiety.

Myth 4- Perfectionists just have this enormous desire to please others and to be the very best they can.

Perfectionist do have an intense desire to well but this drive is usually based on feelings of low self esteem and strong feelings of inadequacy. These negative feelings do not go away when the perfectionist performs well. These negative feelings remain and only drive the perfectionist toward higher achievements. It becomes a vicious circle.

Suggested Reading

Here are some resources to help if you feel perfectionism in interfering with your ability to enjoy life.

A Guide to Rational Living by Albert Ellis. Wilshire Book Co, 1998 (3rd revised edition).
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns. Wholecare, 1999 (revised edition).
How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life by Alan Lakein. New York: New American Library, 1996.
I've Done So Well-Why Do I Feel So Bad? by Celia Halas & Roberta Matteson. New York, Ballantine, 1987 (reissue edition). (11/02)