Friends

I am blessed to have wonderful friends. Some are actually family (yes, it’s okay to be friends with family!). I still have some friends from grade school that I only see or have the opportunity to get together with once every few years. When we get together it’s as though we are still kids, hanging out during the Wisconsin winter and finding so much to do to keep ourselves busy. Other friends are of more recent acquaintance, some I’ve known for 20 years and others less than a year. Yet I find that every year they are more and more precious to me.

From the life coaching point of view, I’ve come to realize that it makes sense to have such a broad range of friends. Each friend or group of friends has come to be very special to me and has supported me at different times in my life, I never want to forget or stop appreciating that love and support.

The friends of my childhood and teenage years know a Sandy that has grown and changed in amazing ways. Who would have ever thought that the quick-tempered rather shy girl would have become a life coach? And these friends have grown and changed as well, when we get together we reminisce and appreciate the qualities that drew us together long ago, all over again.

Some very important friends were people that I came to know when I was raising my children. Most of them were also raising kids; some of us had our boys in Scouts together, shared church activities, sports, etc. Our kids and these activities gave us a strong connection and some of these friendships have become much more back-burner since the kids have all grown. They’re still very important and the fondness I have for them hasn’t diminished, I simply see them much less often. They kept me sane through the child-rearing years and for that I will always have a special place for them in my heart.

I have gardening buddies. They share my love of puttering in the dirt. We share plants, plans for our yards, frustrations with lack or excess of water, sun, etc. These amazing people all make me feel very optimistic; they are all looking forward to a better, more beautiful tomorrow.

Some of my more recent friends share my personal interests much more than the interests of my husband and children. It makes sense, my boys have grown, my husband has his own interests and I’m now making friends much like those of my childhood, are much more tuned in to my personality, hobbies, and interests. It’s all very exciting!

I would like to thank my friends, new and old. Each one of you has loved and supported me in ways that you probably are not even aware of. In many ways, each of you has been a wonderful life coach, you have taught me, motivated me and pushed me to grow. I thank each and every one of you for being my friend.

I wish you a day filled with love and support from fabulous friends.

Namaste,
Sandy

Subtle or Direct, What Works For You? Hint, Hint, The Life Coach Has a Suggestion

My eldest son recently married a wonderful young woman. While we were chatting one day she mentioned something about my son not always picking up subtle hints. I suggested giving up on the hints and taking a more direct approach, state exactly what she would like him to do. They are discovering so much about each other and realizing they each have slightly different ways of communicating. They’re working at figuring it out; I think they’ll be fine. That’s both the mom in me and the life coach speaking.

Since that little chat, I have given this a lot of thought. It’s occurred to me that a lot of aggravation and disappointment is caused by this simple type of misunderstanding. If she keeps dropping hints and he never acts on them, her feelings may be hurt and then she could very likely become angry because she thinks that he is simply being inconsiderate. From his point of view, he thinks all is well. After all, no one has informed him of anything different. Oh, maybe she’s feeling a bit grumpy, but he asked if anything was bothering her and she said no, so it must be that she needs a nap. Ugh… can you feeeeeeeel the frustration? 

Time for a bit of life coaching here. It’s really pretty basic and so simple that you already know what I’m going to say, I’m sure of it.

They need to have a little talk about communication styles. It needs to be out loud, in actual words, face to face and preferably with smiles on their faces. She probably needs to bite the bullet and simply be more direct with him. For example, instead of piling all of his dirty socks on top of his favorite baseball cap, thinking this will convince him to put them in the clothes hamper, she probably needs to ask him to put them in the hamper. For his part, he needs to make an actual effort to communicate clearly as well and also when he is really not clear about what are probably hints ask! Again with a smile. Think of how much aggravation will be avoided.

I found that when my boys grew up and moved away from home I missed them. Who knew? While I had told them I would appreciate hearing from them often the truth is that their idea of often and mine were incredibly different. I found myself missing them and wanting to hear from them more frequently.

There had to be a remedy, and I had a pretty good idea on just how I would prefer to fix this situation. My solution was to phone and leave a message, telling whichever boy I was contacting that I need to hear him tell me how much he loved, adored and missed me and that when he had done this I wouldn’t call them for another week or so. Within a day or two, I would get a call from a smiling boy (you can always hear the smile over the phone) and he would tell me just what I needed to hear. I do the same thing with my husband. If I am feeling a bit neglected, I simply ask him to tell me that he loves me, how fabulous he thinks I am and how lucky we are to be together. He will smile and repeat everything that I have asked him to say, what a great guy! I’m happy because I know he means it, he’s happy because he knows that he’s given me exactly what I needed at the moment. We’re both feeling happy and no one is feeling neglected or misunderstood. That’s definitely a win/win.

My point here is that as nice as it would be for us to communicate through hints and clues, for many of us it simply is not all that effective. In this day of very busy lives, we often don’t have the luxury of face to face communication. In the past we did have that luxury and so much of our communication was body language, hints and subtleties were much more easily understood. Since we now rely on phone calls, emails and quick little chats with one another, we need to be sure that we are easily understood. When we speak calmly, clearly and directly we are much more likely to have our needs and desires understood and that makes it much more likely they will be met.

Please clearly understand, I wish you a fabulous day,

Namaste,
Sandy

Harley Fest

I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Official home of Harley Davidson motorcycles. This week we are being visited by thousands of Harley Davidson riders and fans as they are celebrating the 105th anniversary of Harley. It’s awesome!

I was privileged to be asked to sell raffle tickets for a beautiful Harley at one of the events. It was just so much fun. Meeting friendly, happy people from quite literally all over the world. These bikers and bike fans are all behaving as though they’ve known each other for years and sincerely missed one another. Making new friends in this environment is certainly not difficult.

This is of course quite an economic shot in the arm for Milwaukee and the surrounding area. More important, it’s been a terrific lesson. People of the area are so happy to have all of these bikers coming into town, they are rolling out the red carpet. Bikers are being welcomed with open arms and in return, they are being the best guests imaginable.

Young and old, families with small children, many of these bikers are even traveling with their dogs. Everyone that I’ve talked to has been ready to stop and talk, tell you about their hometown, what their trip has been like and how much they are enjoying their visit.

I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to take part in this wonderful event. It’s been heartwarming and just plain fun, something that the life coach inside of me says most events can and should be. Once again I’ve been reminded that if you treat people well, they will treat you well. Milwaukee is benefiting from that simple lesson in amazing ways.

I hope that everyone you meet during this Labor Day weekend is a friend, new or old, treat them with warmth and love and I have no doubt you will have a fabulous weekend.

Namaste,
Sandy

Lessons from My Dogs

misc 002Did you know that some life coaches have four furry feet?

Some of the most amazing life coaches I have ever known have been the boxers who have come to live with us. As I watch Indy, it occurs to me that dogs know how to live a positive, stress free life and inspire others to do the same.

Indy is the third boxer that has been a part of our lives. These amazing dogs have taught me so much. I watched Rocky put up with unbelievable silliness of three very little boys. While he romped and played with them, he also watched over them with love and devotion. He was an unbelievably friendly dog, but he always stood between any of my little boys and someone they might not know. One of my favorite memories was of Rocky sharing an ice cream with my eldest son. Not terribly hygienic I know, but it’s amazing to remember my son taking a lick from the cone and then Rock would lick. They shared an entire cone in this manner. Now that’s love and patience.

Rascal was the next boxer to become part of our lives. He taught our boys and their friends that it was okay to be a bit goofy even when they were growing into teenagers. He would romp and play and follow them around just waiting for a game to start or someone to stop and rub his ears. The boys would forget they were supposed to be ‘big, tough boys’ and would talk in sweet sing-song voice to Rascal, enticing him to play. When they would ‘camp out’ on the family room floor, he taught them the value of sharing as he would curl up on someones blanket. None of those boys, my own sons or any of their friends, ever asked Rascal to move. They simply shared. And they were rewarded for their kindness with boxer slobber and snorts. High praise indeed!

Rocky and Rascal have passed and now Indy lives with us. My sweet boy is always eager for a game of tug or a walk and each time I walk in the door he’s as excited to see me as if I had been gone for weeks.

Each of these dogs has reminded me of the most simple yet profound lessons. Expect wonderful things from the day, and you’ll always find something that makes you happy. Greet everyone as though they are loved and you will be treated with love in return. Share your most precious gifts (slimy toys in their case) and others will share with you.

I could go on and on, but anyone who has ever been fortunate enough to know and love a dog, knows just what I’m talking about. So for today, I’d like to thank my wonderful dogs for the lessons they have shared and that Indy continues to teach and share. They are indeed wonderful life coaches.

For today, look around and find an unexpected life coach. Someone or something that is teaching you perseverance, love, patience. I bet you’ll find something or someone who is teaching you how to live your best life, right at this very moment.

Wishing you a fabulous day,

With warmth,
Sandy