MANILA, Philippines - As a life coach, I have the greatest job in the world. Just as athletes have personal trainers to help them achieve their best, I?m a personal trainer for the soul. I help people discover their passions, strengthen professional or personal relationships, transition into new careers and achieve dreams they never would have thought possible.
I get to challenge my clients like no one else does. I am their mentor, cheerleader and sounding board who withholds judgment and criticism while exercising the utmost patience.
It?s an amazing process that I am privileged to be part of. I learn from my clients all the time. Here are eight life lessons that working with my clients has taught me.
1. Define your own success.
All too often, we define success by what others have, rather than what we really want. Whether you?re a student, housewife, engineer or CEO, know what it is that brings you joy, what makes life complete and what goals you really want to reach. If you?re not sure where you?re going, you?ll probably end up somewhere else.
2. Keep going.
Once you know what you want and want it badly enough, you can find a way to get it. Get the support you need and keep going. Thomas Edison, who failed more than 1000 times before inventing the light bulb, said it best: ?Many of life?s failures are people who didn?t realize how close they were to success when they gave up.?
3. If you make a mistake, learn from it and move on.
Although we all wish we can get things right the first time, a mistake is just a mis-TAKE. Which means you can do it over. So take one, take two or take 1000 times to get things right. Sometimes great things come from failures. The post-it note, which every office has in its supply cabinet, was supposed to be a new glue compound until they discovered it didn?t stick permanently. Instead, it could re-stick a number of times without any residue. The rest, as they say, is history.
4. Trust your intuition.
While there?s no substitute for gathering information about a task or situation before making decisions, you shouldn?t be afraid of not knowing every reason why you feel the way you do.. Sometimes you just know... that you know. When faced with making choices that may feel cloudy or overwhelming, take the time to sit still and listen to yourself. You really do know what?s best for you.
5. Know your values.
In its simplest expression, a fulfilling life is one in which important values are honored each and every day. Values serve as your guideposts on a journey to discover what you want. If you?re feeling stressed, overwhelmed or unhappy, most likely a key value is being stepped on. By making choices aligned with your key values?whether it?s connection, respect, adventure, challenge or something else?you?ll feel lighter and at ease.
6. Fear can be a good thing.
We cannot escape fear. It?s a signal that change is apparent or we are taking a risk and we should make sure we are physically safe. So think of fear as a companion on your exciting adventures. By taking small risks often enough, you gain confidence in preparing yourself for a bigger leap. You?ll often find that in reality, it?s never as bad as you feared.
7. Learn to say ?NO.?
One of the biggest secrets to time management is just two little letters: ?NO!? And yet it is so hard to say. Find out what activities or relationships drain your energy and start saying, ?No, thanks.? It?s hard to disappoint others, but you?ll be amazed at how time expands for you to do the things that really bring you joy.
8. Go do the small stuff.
Many of us don?t appreciate today, even though we don?t even know if we?ll make it to tomorrow. We focus on the goal as the means of fulfillment: the thing, answer or solution that has the power to give us happiness.
But it isn?t necessarily the big pleasures that bring the most happiness, sometimes it?s doing the small stuff. Have breakfast in bed. Hug your children. Kiss your partner behind the ear. Find a long lost friend. Take that class you?ve always wanted to take. Spend an hour at the book store. Plant flowers in your garden. Give someone a compliment and make their day.
Remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.
? Elena Verlee, 2008
Elena Tuason-Verlee is a US-trained mentor coach accredited by the International Coaching Federation. She is also an entrepreneur, speaker and author of www.prinyourpajamas. com . She is currently based in Manila and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org