Vivacious Living


Have you ever felt like you are starting over from scratch? Going back to the drawing board? You’re not! Three steps to re-frame any setback. | | By

Have you ever felt like you were starting over? I have. And when I was telling myself that, I felt overwhelmed, victimized, like I was totally walking uphill through 3 feet of snow against 100mph winds. I was going through a divorce after 15 years of marriage. An international move had “taken away” my career ...READ MORE▼
Have you ever felt like you were starting over? I have. And when I was telling myself that, I felt overwhelmed, victimized, like I was totally walking uphill through 3 feet of snow against 100mph winds. I was going through a divorce after 15 years of marriage. An international move had "taken away" my career as an attorney, and I had agreed with my now ex-husband to stay home and take care of our young children. 10 years later when we decided to divorce, I had not worked outside the home except in home-based businesses. When we made the decision to divorce, I kept telling myself I was starting over in my career. And not only was I starting over in my career but I had only a few short years of spousal maintenance in order to accelerate my income to a level that I could easily stay in a 3-4 bedroom house in the same neighborhood as my kids had always lived in and do my part in supporting them. Going back to my home country wasn't really an option because I didn't want to completely uproot my children from the life they knew. And yet, by looking at it in this way, I was disempowering myself, and playing the victim. In actual fact, in my 43 years, I had accumulated a TON of experience, all of which has been helpful to me in coaching and starting my own business. I recently realized that sometimes we feel the same way when we date. We think we've met "the one" and I say that in quotations because I don't believe we have just "one" special person in our lives. But I digress. A friend of mine recently believed she had found her man. And, after a few months, she discovered that he wasn't the right guy for her. And her words to me were, "so I'm back to square one; back to the drawing board". I don't think she meant it to be negative, but since my spidey senses were tingling, I gently reminded her that she wasn't at square one. She had a lifetime of learning experiences behind her, she had learned a little about herself through the process, and this was one more step towards what she wanted (as opposed to a step back.) Another woman who owned a network marketing business that recently went out of business was lamenting that she had to re-build her business, that she was starting over again. And again, I suggested a re-frame. All those contacts, all the network she had built up over the years, all the business and sales "lessons" she had learned in the first business, when all that experience was applied to this business, her business was going to grow so much quicker, and with so much more ease than the first business had. Whether you feel you had a setback personally, at work, in your career, within a relationship with your significant other, your kids, a friend, we can never lose the experience that we have earned through our diligence and hard-work. Some of those lessons were harder to learn than others but the lesson WAS learned. And you are still here to apply it. I am constantly inspired by how a deeper meaning can be found even in life's biggest challenges. What is the deeper meaning of your relationship ending? Do you need to learn to stand up for yourself and ask for what you want? Do you need to learn to set better boundaries? Do you need to value yourself more and not allow someone else to treat you any less than how you would treat them? What are the lessons that you've learned? As promised here are the three steps to re-framing any setback: 1. Get Quiet. Meditate. Spend some time in nature, on a hike or simply on the beach watching the waves. Take some time to get still, to allow your inner wisdom to surface. What is the meaning of what you've experienced? 2. Get out of victim mode. Stop asking "why me". In fact stop asking why at all. Why is very often the question that invokes pain. Instead get curious. What is the lesson in this? What is the universe showing me by putting me in this situation? What am I in control of that I need to work on to avoid repeating this lesson? 3. Make a list of all the experiences that you will move forward with now. What have you learned throughout your lifetime? What about this can make you a better person regardless of the realm of life, business, career, parenting, or relationships, that you are considering. Keep that list handy and remind yourself of the wonderful lessons you've learned, all the education and experience that you are bringing forward as you face the opportunity to create something exciting, something brand new, something that serves you in a way that you can't even imagine. "How is it that with so many brilliant beings on your planet, so few recognize that when one's life encounters turbulence, choppy waters or setbacks, it's always a sign that things are about to get wildly better than they've ever been before." ~ Anon READ LESS▲

Feeling Alive Again | | By

Living Vivaciously

What activities lift you up?

Today I’d like to offer you one of my favorite coaching tools: It’s a tool I use with a lot of my clients and that ANYBODY can use, and one that has been hugely useful in improving the lives of so many clients, in so many different situations. I have used ...READ MORE▼

What activities lift you up?

Today I'd like to offer you one of my favorite coaching tools: It's a tool I use with a lot of my clients and that ANYBODY can use, and one that has been hugely useful in improving the lives of so many clients, in so many different situations. I have used it when I coach couples, so that they can have a conversation around what chores around the house fill each other up, and which ones drain their energy. I have used it with women and men going through divorce, and women and men who are dating, or other stressful times in their lives so that they have a resource to look at when they need a hit of inspiration and positive energy. And I have used it when women entrepreneurs, executive businesswomen, and stay at home moms come to me complaining that they are always busy, but they aren't always sure that what they are busy with is productive, or when they are complaining that their business or work is draining and  not fulfilling. I also use it when people are complaining that they don't feel alive in their lives. Just knowing what makes you feel alive, if you do it more often, can actually make you feel more alive! Take a sheet of paper and put it in landscape orientation. Divide it into three sections. The sections are as follows: 1. Energy enhancers 2. Energy Neutral activities 3. Energy Drains I find it is useful to think about the things that positively influence your energy first: the things that if you did them when you were feeling most down, would lift you back up again. Maybe it's exercise, or listening to particularly songs, or meditating, or talking to a certain friend. Or gardening. Or cooking. Or, weirdly enough for me, cleaning. The list of possibilities is endless. It is definitely a personal thing though. Then go to the third column and write down the things that drain your energy, the things that you will procrastinate on til the cows come home. For me, it's emptying the dishwasher, folding laundry and mowing the lawn. For you, it's probably something very different. In fact if you're married, you might find that the things one of you LOVE to do, is something the other doesn't like at all. The middle column is then the activities that you don't really care whether you do them or don't do them. They don't affect you positively or negatively. I encourage you to do this exercise, and please, reply and let me know: 1.  What is your #1 positive energy activity? 2. What is your worst energy draining activity? And if you'd like a pre-planned page with questions to guide you during this exercise, please reach out. As always, Wishing you Your BEST life, and the best relationships within it, For more tips sign up on my website: http://www.jeclarkcoaching.com and like me on Facebook: JEClarkCoaching on Facebook Jacqueline http://www.jeclarkcoaching.com http://www.facebook.com/headoverhealscoaching
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10 Tips for Self-Care During Divorce (Or Other Stressful time) | | By

10 Tips for Self-Care During Divorce (or Other Stressful Times)
Going through a divorce can be extremely, extremely stressful. And, there are other times in our lives that can be almost as stressful: re-entering the dating field, starting a new business, parenting teens… And so often we think that taking care of ourselves is being selfish. As a former divorce attorney and now a life ...READ MORE▼
Going through a divorce can be extremely, extremely stressful. And, there are other times in our lives that can be almost as stressful: re-entering the dating field, starting a new business, parenting teens... And so often we think that taking care of ourselves is being selfish. As a former divorce attorney and now a life and relationship coach, I am here to tell you that you can do nothing better for your kids, your future co-parenting relationships, and your entire future, then to take care of yourself. Divorce is a time where we feel alone, vulnerable and unprotected. These are the times when toddlers have temper tantrums, and well, adults are not immune either. Unfortunately. And, divorce attorneys can have a hay-day with little mistakes that you make during the divorce process. It is the most emotional time in your life and it is the time where people are watching and judging and making decisions that affect the rest of your life. So, YOU need to take care of yourself; put on the oxygen mask; and do whatever it takes to take the high-road. Click on the link below for 10 quick tips for helping you through what can be life's most stressful event. 10 Tips for self-care during divorce READ LESS▲

Are you in the Picture? | | By

It's not selfish to be the star in your own life.
Confession time. I was a stay at home mom for 9 years. It wasn’t something I’d really planned on. I had dreamed my whole teen life of being an attorney. I’d had no visions of even being a parent. (Don’t tell my children…they aren’t on Facebook as you can imagine). And yet, I disappointed my ...READ MORE▼
Confession time. I was a stay at home mom for 9 years. It wasn't something I'd really planned on. I had dreamed my whole teen life of being an attorney. I'd had no visions of even being a parent. (Don't tell my children...they aren't on Facebook as you can imagine). And yet, I disappointed my parents by marrying shortly after I was called to the bar in Ontario, and disappointed them still further when I announced that I was pregnant within a year of getting married. I continued to practice law when my daughter was born, but her birth certainly changed my priorities. I wasn't as keen on climbing the ladder to partnership. I was more interested in being the best parent I could be, and the best spouse to my then husband. I wanted to raise amazing children who wanted to give back to the world, who knew who they were and were confident in that, and who would leave home soon after they turned 20, leaving their dad and I in peace. The best laid plans... When my then husband told me his dream job was to work for Microsoft, I agreed to move to Seattle, wanting to support him in his dream. At that point I was working a 20 hour work week, making $100/hour and staying home with my children the rest of the time. We made the move with both of us assuming, without checking, that I would simply write the bar exam and life would continue as normal. (Yes, I learned the hard way, that making assumptions is extremely dangerous.) Once we moved, I was thrown into a whirlwind: I had two children, aged 2 and 4 and we were living in a temporary residence supplied by Microsoft on the third floor of an apartment building. Complaints from the neighbors downstairs prompted me to ensure the children were outside in a playground unless they were sleeping, watching television, or "helping" me cook dinner. We finally bought a house and moved in. The night before we moved into this house, at the end of October, my mother called to say she had been advised by the doctors to stop working. She was extremely fatigued and could no longer walk around the school at which she taught. I was moving in, dealing with two toddlers, shuttling one to preschool and back, supporting my mother, and dealing with the culture shock that I was shocked to discover between Vancouver BC, Canada and Seattle, WA, USA. My in-laws were coming to visit for Christmas, so it was a busy few months. Christmas Eve, I got a phone call that my mom was in the hospital in Winnipeg in a coma. I spent Christmas Day with my in-laws and planned a trip to visit my mom in Winnipeg. After dinner on Christmas Day, my now ex-husband drove me to Vancouver and I took an early flight to Winnipeg. Long story short, my mom ended up dying on January 9th, never recovering complete awareness. I returned to Seattle knowing almost no one, and stuffed down my grief in order to deal with the day to day of parenting two toddlers with a husband that traveled 50-60% of the time. After some time, I thought I'd apply to write the bar exam and discovered that because I'd taken two maternity leaves in Canada and moved between Ontario and British Columbia, that I did not qualify to write the bar exam in Washington state. Another loss. The loss of my career. And then, I discovered I was pregnant with a third child. My wonderful, wonderful son. So within one year, I had moved internationally, lost my mother, lost my career and had a surprise pregnancy. My ex and I talked and decided we didn't have the money, or the resources in terms of child care, for me to go back to school. We determined I would stay at home for a few years while the kids were young. I reframed it as a challenge to become the best parent/spouse that I could be. I threw myself into parenting, making it a top priority to be an outstanding parent, reading books non-stop, attending parenting classes and keeping it top of mind that the most important relationship was with my husband. After all, I was raising my children to be contributing, independent members of society, not to keep me company all my life whereas my husband would hopefully be with me long after they left. I ended up staying at home for more than a few years. 9 or so, in fact. Life was busy. All three kids were in extracurricular activities. After my mother's death, I had taken it on myself to pull my far-flung family back together. I was running, and volunteering in all kinds of capacities. But even though I was so blessed with the opportunity to stay at home with my children and raise them as the primary care giver, there was a sense that something was missing. And then there were the  4 or 5 "grey couch years" as I think of them now: the nights where my then husband and I would sit up and talk. Talk about me going back to school, getting back into a career. My ex and I had very different values, in that he put very little value on formal education back then. He was happy for me to go back to work, he just wasn't happy to pay for any education. And, he couldn't seem to wrap his head around the fact that I wasn't happy with the way things were. "I'm happy. The kids are happy. We are doing well financially. Why can't you just be happy?" And here's where the confession comes in. It wasn't just my ex-husband who treated me like I wasn't important. When I look at pictures of the period of time from when I became a stay at home mom, to when my husband and I separated, I wasn't in any of the pictures! Not only that, but when I look back, I wasn't taking responsibility for myself, for my experience of my life, I was lost in facilitating my children's lives, my husband's life, and my dad's life. I made sure the house was clean, nutritious food was in the fridge and on the table, I made sure the kids were in bed at a certain time so that my husband and I could spend quality time together every evening he was home. I made sure not to plan things on the evenings he had available so that he could spend time with the children. I called my dad regularly. My husband and I went on dates on a fairly regular basis. I made sure I ran daily. But I was absent. I had stuffed down so much grief, and given up my dreams for my life in a valiant but misconceived attempt to support the people around me to create the life of their dreams. In a way, when I look back, I can see that I had become a shell of who I really am. My family and husband had grown accustomed to me meeting their needs and not asking for what I wanted. When I did ask, I had trained them so much that I didn't have needs, that my asking for time and money for myself and my own dreams were met with contempt and ridicule. I trained them. I trained them I would do anything to support their dreams. I had not trained them that I too had dreams. (They know now...and they support me in them, at least that's what they tell me.) This is a case of "please learn from my mistakes". Put yourself in the picture of your life. Take responsibility for how your life rolls out. Just because you are a mother, a wife, a daughter, doesn't mean you don't deserve to be front and center, in the picture, in full focus. Take time to continuously figure out who you are. Know your values. Live them. One of my most important values is learning and growing. Even if you are a stay at home mom, take time to do personal development for yourself, not as a parent, not as a spouse, but for yourself. We are all constantly learning and growing, changing. Who you were 5 years ago may not be who you are now. Take time daily to journal, to think, to read thought-provoking books, listen to books on CD in the car. You are IMPORTANT!!! Put yourself in the picture! And when you look through your photo album, make sure there are a few selfie's in there too! READ LESS▲