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I have a bad habit of ignoring problems. My habit is to pretend they aren’t there and hope they will go away. This is causing problems in my marriage and at work — but I don’t know how to solve either of these problems so I just avoid thinking about them. I realize this can’t go on. Any advice?
Have you ever watched birds perched on a telephone wire? When there is no wind the birds will be randomly facing both directions. But on a windy day, the birds all turn and face the same direction. When there is trouble in the air, the birds all face into the wind.
They do this because facing the wind is the only way they can take off and fly. If they face the wind (the challenge) it provides lift, it keeps their feathers from getting ruffled and it helps them maintain balance. If they turn away from the wind and ignore it, they can’t fly.
When life sends challenges your way — you must also face the wind.
Principle No. 1: When you sweep things under the rug, they don’t go away — they get bigger.
Challenges are in your life to help you grow. If you choose to divorce your spouse instead of working through the problems, if you choose to quit your job and find another instead of finding solutions, you won’t escape these issues — the problems will follow you.
The universe will keep giving you this situation again and again until you learn what you’re meant to learn. You might as well learn it now.
Principle No. 2: Life is a classroom and every experience is a lesson you are meant to learn.
Difficult problems are the teachers of life and they mold you into the person you are meant to become. Every problem the universe sends your way is in your life for a specific reason and you are meant to solve it or learn something from it.
Trust there is a solution out there and if you keep looking you will find it. Choose to trust that you are here to win. This challenge is here to help you grow — not to beat you. If you keep working at it, the solution will show up right on time.
Here are some suggestions for facing your problems and finding solutions:
No. 1: Take responsibility for what is in your control.
Make a list of what is in your control and what isn’t, relative to this situation. Get very clear on your responsibilities and focus on doing those things. If you don’t know how to do those things, ask for help. Leave everything that is out of your control in God’s hands.
No. 2: Be patient.
Most problems don't have a quick fix. They take time. Don’t give up if it’s a two-steps-forward, one-step-back process. A slow process teaches you different lessons than a quick-fix problem does and you need to experience both. Trust the process is moving in the right direction, and it will be resolved if you keep at it.
No. 3: Increase your ability to respond to problems.
One of the reasons you run from problems is you have fear around your ability to solve them — so up your skill level. Read self help or relationship books, attend seminars or get a life coach or counselor to help.
I was avoiding important accounting tasks for my business because I was scared I didn’t know how to do them correctly. Signing up for a Quickbooks class made the task easy and now I enjoy the work. When you sharpen your saw the work gets easier.
No. 4: Focus on solutions.
Brainstorm and come up with 50 possible solutions to this problem. When you focus on solutions instead of complaining about the problem, you create a space to receive inspiration. You could also talk to 20 people and ask for their advice. You may get some interesting solutions you didn’t think of.
No. 5 Write an apology letter to yourself.
Apologize to yourself for avoiding opportunities to grow in the past. Explain to yourself that mistakes don’t define you and commit to a process of growth, learning, stretching and solving problems. This may sound odd (to write a letter to yourself), but you will learn some interesting things from doing it. Put your commitment to face the problems in writing.
The famous motivator and author Jack Canfield in his book "The Success Principles" said: “You have to take the positions that you have always had the power to make it different, to get it right or produce the desired result. For whatever reason (ignorance, lack of awareness, fear, needing to be right, the need to feel safe) you chose not to exercise that power. All that matters now is that from this point forward you choose to act as if you are 100-percent responsible for everything that does or doesn’t happen to you.”
When you make a commitment to change and start taking steps in that direction you will find it is easier than you thought. Your fear is always worse than the real thing.
You can do this.
I need some help dealing with anxiety. It’s not serious enough for medication, but I do worry all the time about everything. I was hoping you could give me some “life coach advice” on quieting the fears in my head. I drive my husband crazy with my worrying and I wish I could be more peaceful like him.
Here are some principles which may help you change this.
Principle: Worry never robs tomorrow of its problems, it only robs today of its joy.
Studies have shown most things you worry about will never happen and the things which do happen are usually out of your control, so no amount of worrying could prevent them.
This means that worry is a waste of your time and energy. It does not change the outcome of the future at all, but it definitely affects the quality of your life today.
You may think that worrying protects you. You may believe worrying helps you avoid or prevent problems. It doesn’t.
Doubt, fear and worry are not motivating. They sap your energy, leaving you less able to deal with real problems when they actually happen.
Sir William Osler recommended living your life in “day-tight" compartments, meaning you focus on what is in your control today and leave the problems that might happen to tomorrow.
Principle: Setting aside a specific time to worry makes worrying more difficult to do.
Don’t try to stop worrying. This actually keeps you thinking about not thinking about it, which is actually still thinking about it.
Instead, set aside a specific time in your day to do all your worrying. If worry shows up before then, tell yourself, “Not now, I’m going to worry about that later.”
When the time comes, give yourself 30 minutes to deeply dwell in worry about everything that's on your mind. You may find it’s difficult to do it that long.
Principle: You will find peace by focusing on solutions.
During your worry time, instead of dwelling on your fears, focus on solutions to the problem if it actually arises. Spend time researching the issue and make sure you have all the facts.
Dean Hawkes of Columbia University said, “Half the worry in the world is caused by people trying to make decisions before they have sufficient knowledge on which to base a decision.”
Don't assume anything. Get all the facts, and solutions will be easier to find.
Principle: Uncertainty is part of life, and it doesn’t have to scare you.
Accept that uncertainty is beautiful part of the adventure of life. Not knowing what tomorrow holds isn’t a bad thing. Just because it is "unknown" shouldn’t scare you. Your future is just as likely to be good as it is bad.
Most people would like to know exactly what to expect so they could prepare themselves, but there is a reason life doesn’t work that way: It would ruin the adventure.
Life is a fantastic adventure with each day being a journey into a previously untouched place. It's exciting this way.
Choose to trust the Universe that things will work out and you will be OK. If you stay positive and stay in trust, you are more likely to attract a positive future.
Principle: Focus on being present, and you are always OK.
Practice being more present in the moment, because you are always OK right now — and there will never be a moment when it isn’t right now. So you have nothing to worry about.
George Macdonald said, “No man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow's burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear.”
Take everything one moment at a time. You can plan for future events, but don't hold fear around them. Choose your emotion in this moment right now.
Principle: Fear is a choice.
You do not have to be worried or scared about anything. You get to choose your attitude and mindset in each situation. You get to decide how you will experience your life.
You can choose to experience each situation with fear or you can choose to ride through it with hope, trust and optimism. You can choose to focus on other people instead of dwelling on your worries. This makes a big difference.
You may not believe that you have a choice about your fear — especially if you are in a habit of dwelling in drama and suffering — but you do. Fear is a choice, and so is peace.
Choose to trust that your value is infinite and absolute and you are not here to fail. Choose to trust that life is a classroom and every experience a lesson here to teach you something.
Choose to trust that things will work out for the best. Choose to trust yourself to find the solutions to problems, because you are meant to.
“There is much in the world to make us afraid. There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid.” – Fredick W. Cropp
Practice choosing trust instead of worry. You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in self esteem. Watch Coach Kim on KSLAM every Monday at 6:15am
I feel an increasing sense that something is missing in my life. I’ve spent my whole life trying to please everyone around me and make sure they approve of me — but I don’t like who I’ve become. I’m not sure I even know who I am. I think I need help learning to be true to myself. Any advice?
Somewhere along the way you subconsciously decided to conform yourself to win attention, love or validation. You are now experiencing the emptiness that results from betraying your true self to please other people.
Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” But all of us, on occasion, betray ourselves to win the approval of others.
Here are some principles that may help you to be the authentic you.
Principle: What others think of you is irrelevant.
People can think whatever they want, but their opinions don’t change who you are. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
If you think you are a bad person, that is one thing. But what other people think about you holds no power to hurt you. Their opinions cannot diminish you. You are the same you regardless.
At some point you are going to have to let go of trying to earn approval from others. You are going to have to choose not to care what they think. Today would be a good day to do that. Take your power back. Your opinion is the only one that matters.
Principle: Comparing yourself to others makes no sense.
You are intrinsically and extrinsically different from everyone else on the planet. You are on a different journey and learning different lessons. You have different gifts, talents, flaws and weaknesses. You are so entirely different you are incomparable.
Comparing people is like comparing a cherry, a peach, a strawberry, a raspberry and a grape and trying to decide which is better. There is no way to judge that. They are too different to be comparable and they are all wonderful in their own way.
There will always be people who are more pretty, smart, strong, tall or thin than you, but there will always be people who are less pretty, smart, strong, tall or thin than you — and there will never be another YOU.
Make a rule in your head against comparing yourself to others. It’s a waste of your time and energy.
Principle: The more you try to impress others the less impressive you are.
Don’t conform or change your opinions to win the approval of others and change them again with another group of people. When you behave like this, people can't trust you. They can tell you aren’t authentic and they will quickly lose respect for you.
People respect authenticity. Knowing who you are earns their respect even when they disagree with you. So develop and express your own ideas, sense of style and way of thinking. If you don’t know how you feel about a topic, own that, too. Ask questions and gather information until you do have an opinion.
Be yourself and people will always respect you.
Principle: Confidence comes from embracing the whole you.
You can’t be yourself if you don’t know yourself. Take time to explore your personality, your values, your opinions and your beliefs. Embrace not only the good qualities about yourself, but also your flaws, faults and weaknesses.
Your flaws, fault and weaknesses are a beautiful part of who you are — and they do not take away from your value. Your authentic self isn’t always pretty, but it is all perfectly you.
Your flaws and mistakes also connect you with other people. Own them all and choose to feel comfortable being imperfect — everyone else is imperfect, too.
Principle: Don’t define yourself by your past.
You are not your failures and mistakes. They were just situations (or locations on your journey) and lessons you learned. They are not “who you are.”
Your past served you by teaching you things. Embrace the lessons and let the rest go, like a city you drove through long ago. That place doesn't affect who you are now because you aren't there anymore.
Principle: Be genuine and loving.
Poet e.e. cummings said, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” It does take courage to be authentic, but once you get there, it is the most freeing feeling in the world.
Instead of trying to impress others, focus on loving, lifting and validating other people. When you take the focus off you and choose to love and validate other people, the real, amazing, genunie you shows up.
Love is who you really are. When you chose to focus on loving others, the fears about your value disappear. Keep working at it.
You can do this.
The strongest force in the universe is a human being living consistently with his identity. ~Tony Robbins
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing self esteem. Watch Coach Kim on KSL TV every Monday at 6:15am.
Listening isn’t just about exchanging information with another person. When you take the time to ask questions and truly listen to another person’s thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions, fears and concerns (and you honor and respect their right to think the way they do), you validate their worth as a person. You show them you value who they are.
This is one of the greatest gifts you can give another human being, because the deepest fear in all of us is that we aren’t of value or aren’t good enough to be loved.
When you validate a person by listening to them, you build a relationship of trust and they feel safe with you. When this happens, their walls and defenses come down, and they become much more cooperative.
Asking questions and listening is also the best way to instill confidence in a child. When you take the time to listen to a child’s ideas, opinions and feelings, you are showing him he is important. A child who feels important will go much farther in life.
Tips and tricks to for being a better listener
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing self esteem. Watch Coach Kim on KSL TV every Monday at 6:15am
I’m at the end of my rope. I have a degree in accounting and business administration, but I’ve been looking for a job for 18 months and can’t find one. We are deeply in debt and the creditors are at our door. My self-esteem is at rock bottom and I am really discouraged. I'm doing everything I can to fix my situation, but nothing is going right and my family is suffering. Do you have any advice for me?
There is plenty of information out there on finding a job; I want to give you something different. I want you to help you look at your situation in a different way, because changing your perspective can totally change the experience.
Here are some principles that might change your perspective:
Principle: This situation is not who you are.
Don't define yourself by this situation and let it affect your self-worth. This situation is a location on your journey through life; it is not who you are.
Think of it this way: If you were on vacation and driving through Texas, would that make you a Texan? No. Texas is just a location, and a location has nothing to do with who you are as a person.
This unemployment situation is not who you are, either. Don't tie your value to it. Choose to see this experience as a drive through a rough part of town. It will soon be over, and you are the same you, no matter where you are.
Principle: Challenges are in your life for a reason.
Have you ever seen a chick trying to hatch from an egg? You might be tempted to intervene and help the little guy. But you can’t do that. Do you know why? This struggle is a divine process designed to make him strong. If you intervene and help him out, he will die.
Your current situation may be facilitating the same kind of process for you. The universe may be letting you fight your way out of this one for a while in order to help you grow stronger. That may be the only reason help hasn't arrived.
The good news is, you are not meant to struggle forever. You are meant to get out of this. If you keep fighting and refuse to give up, you will make it through.
Principle: Don’t give this situation the power to hurt you.
You are an amazing, divine, incomparable human being. No situation or experience can take that away from you (and no location can diminish who you are, either). Nothing can change your infinite and absolute value -- not even the state of unemployment.
Imagine Superman stopping some bank robbers who pepper him with bullets. Imagine how he might laugh at their attempts to hurt him because their bullets have no effect on him. They bounce right off.
You can choose to let these difficult experiences and failures bounce off you, too. They don't change who you are. You are bigger than these setbacks, debts and challenges. Choose to be bulletproof and maintain confidence in your abilities. You cannot be diminished by a situation.
Principle: The past does not predict the future.
Just because you struggled yesterday does not mean you will struggle tomorrow. Choose to see your life as a fluid state that is always changing. If things have gone bad recently, then you have an upturn coming.
Principle: Optimism creates the best results.
Imagine your life as a journey around a mountain. Standing where you are, you cannot see what’s around the next corner. It could be a wonderful experience or it could be a disaster -- it is impossible to know which the universe has in store.
Standing in this place, you only have two options:
Choose to trust that good things are coming. Choose gratitude for what you have and believe a brighter future is around the corner. It may be the only positive choice you have. It is not easy to stay positive when the outlook is bleak, but you can do it, and it does help.
Keep practicing. Whenever you find yourself in a frustrating, defeated or depressing situation, remember that it is just a location on your journey. It is not who you are, it can’t diminish you, and it is in your life to help you grow.
Make sure you are seeing the situation accurately and then choose optimism, because the only other option is misery and only makes things worse.
You can do this.
Let’s perform a miracle together
If you read this article and have any suggestions or connections to get this young father a job interview, please contact Coach Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have visited with him and he's a competent, intelligent person and would be a great employee.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker.
How do you deal with exes who try to ruin your new marriage? How do you set boundaries with an ex who uses children as a manipulation tool? How do you deal with an ex-spouse who personally attacks you all the time? I guess that’s three questions, but any help would be appreciated. My ex is really difficult to deal with.
Research shows that kids do best when their divorced parents get along, though divorce rarely makes that easy to do. Here are a couple of suggestions that may make the road a little easier:
Principle: Children need to be protected from conflict.
Your children have the right to love both their parents, so never bad-mouth your ex in front of your children. If your ex is saying negative things about you, there isn’t much you can do about it except live so that your children see the truth for themselves.
If your ex is hostile or insulting, whenever possible use e-mail or text messages for communication. The children can’t overhear those and won’t think the problems are their fault.
Principle: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Treat your ex the way you wish to be treated, even if they don’t deserve it.
Behaving in a calm, rational, respectful way (even if your ex doesn’t) is the first step to a more civil relationship — and, your kids are watching your behavior and learning from your example. If they witness mature behavior from you, they will learn how to deal with problems appropriately.
Principle: Focus on what is your responsiblity.
You must take responsibility for your actions and behavior, but do not waste energy on things you have no control over and things that are not your responsibility. Make sure you don’t have a tendency to “own other people’s problems” and feel guilty if you can’t fix them.
Get out a piece of paper and draw a line down the center. Write what’s in your control on one side, and what’s not your responsibility or in your control on the other. Get really clear about what belongs to you and let the universe handle everything else.
Principle: Setting clear boundaries is crucial.
You will teach people how to treat you by the kind of behavior you tolerate. You know what your boundaries need to be. Set them and start enforcing them in a strong but respectful way.
Make it clear that all communication must be about the children. You have no other reason to communicate. Rude or disrespectful text messages will be deleted without response. You will not respond unless treated respectfully.
Principle: Strong and respectful communication makes a difference.
There is a right way to have a conversation with a difficult person. This involves asking questions and listening to your ex’s point of view first, then asking permission to explain your point of view.
Asking questions and listening does not mean putting up with abuse. It is about honoring and respecting the other person’s right to their opinions so they will be more likely to respect yours.
If rational, respectful conversations are not possible, stick to text messages only.
Principle: The universe gave your child this parent (your ex) for a reason.
Your ex may not be a perfect parent, but apparently they are the perfect parent for your child. If your ex causes problems or even damage your child (and you are unable to protect them from this) there is a divine reason that experience was meant to happen.
Trust the universe. It knows what it is doing. Your child will survive this and may become stronger for it.
This is tough to live with when your ex is hurting your children, but you really only have two choices. You can live in anguish while you try to help your child through it, or you can live in trust while you help your child through it. Trust creates more peace.
Principle: You can choose peace regardless how your ex behaves.
You cannot escape this difficult situation, but you can choose how you want to experience the situation. Pain and suffering are optional.
You can choose to ignore the attacks. You can choose to see that attacks aren’t really about you. You can choose to see your ex as the scared, struggling human being they are. You can choose to trust life. You can choose a state of inner peace.
People only have as much power over you as you give them.
Peaceful does not equal passive, however. You must still set limits, enforce your boundaries and protect yourself and your children.
Get some professional help
Less than 25 percent of remarried (step-family) couples seek out professional help, education or counseling in spite of the fact that it usually makes the difference between success and failure. Less than half of all step-families even read a book about step-family dynamics. I strongly urge you to seek out some professional help and read some books.
If your ex has anger issues or behavior that seems ridiculously inappropriate, they may suffer from borderline personality disorder. Research and learn more about the condition to find out what you can do.
Hope this helps.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker. Follow her blog on the KSLAM page http://www.ksl.com/?sid=&nid=315
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.