Changing Weather or Changing Seasons: Here’s Why It’s All Good!

Rushkin quote, seasons, weather

Changing seasons or changing weather — it’s all good!

From the Series: Life on Dog Hill

Autumn is my favorite time of year, so even though the first day of the season came and passed without my realizing it, you can bet that I spent time outdoors. It must have been a subconscious knowing, kind of like birds flying south. Yes, I was outside in my backyard cutting up the limbs from a fallen hardwood, stacking fallen brush, breathing in the fresh air, and loving every moment of it.

Although I claim autumn as my favorite season, in truth all the seasons are wonderful. That truth reminds me of a plaque hanging on the wall next to my desk with this quote:

Even now as I write this post, it is raining outside. My window is open, and I hear the drumming of the water on the leaves of the trees. It is a beautiful, soothing sound. In another month, the sound of rain will be changed because the leaves will have turned and dropped. The music may sound different, but the beauty of nature remains.

Autumn is the time of year when my tractor gets its biggest workout. It’s the time when I drive through the wooded trails picking up fallen branches in an effort to “clean my forest.” I wrote about this last year to explain the 10-day bonfire I tended. I’m a bit of a fanatic, but it’s not my fault as last year’s article explains.

Sheila Callaham, Life on Dog Hill

This felled hardwood makes great firewood!
Don’t you love my get up?

Autumn is also the time of year when my youngest son Ryan has his annual Halloween party, and no spooky party is complete without a hayride through the haunted forest. The haunts have dwindled now that my older sons refuse to dress up and hide behind the trees. I don’t think that’s so much of a problem for Ryan now that he’s in middle school. It seems that going on a hayride with girls isn’t about the haunt at all. I’m not too old to remember that important fact!

I did an informal survey on my Facebook page not too long ago asking folks what their favorite season was. It seems that most of them responded with Fall. The majority of respondents were, like me, creatives of different types — mostly writers — which makes me wonder what it is about this season that inspires creativity.

When I breath the autumn air, its crispness invigorates my mind and spirit. I feel a churning within my ribcage, like a bird fluttering to escape. Words rise in my throat, unable to escape until I place my fingers on the keyboard and let them go. Inspiration floats in the air around me like an invisible smokescreen; when it clears winter will already be here, and I’ll begin dreaming of Spring.

Living Authentically: Who Are You Unfolding to Become?

Sheila Callaham Quote on Authenticity

When I was young, I frequently thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up. In middle school, I wanted to act. In high school, I considered veterinary medicine. Aside from doing a little community theater in my early adult years, and subsidizing every vet clinic within my vicinity with the care of my fur babies over these many years, those career options came and went by the wayside. After college, I graduated with a degree in political science and got the first job I could find: civilian with the Department of the Army. I never considered who I was becoming because at the time, I was more focused on doing.

Fast forward almost three decades, and I’m in a very different place. A place of curious comfort. Comfortable in my sense of peacefulness yet ever curious for what comes next. But I didn’t get to this place by doing; I got here by learning how to be — by mindfully seeking out my authentic self and trusting myself to unfold into that realization. And yes, it took almost thirty years!

Michael Bernard Beckwith says that we can be active participants in the evolution of our lives — the unfolding of who we become. To do this, however, we must first know who we want to become. More importantly, we must make an emotional connection to that part of ourself by asking “why” and then resonating in that answer.

Successfully unfolding into your authenticity means you must truly desire the very manifestation you wish to create. For example, let’s say you want to become a lawyer. When you ask yourself why, you respond with, “Because that’s what my mother does and what my parents expect me to do as well.” If you are following a path that someone else has laid out for you and it is not a destination of your choosing, while you may follow the path to it’s natural conclusion, chances are you will not be happy.

The Litmus Test: It’s All in the Feeling

Seriously. Everything you need to know about your life is contained within your emotional guidance system. If you feel incomplete, then look at all the areas of your life to determine where the gap might be. Consider the emotional, spiritual, social, financial, familial, physical, mental, and career aspects of your life. Sit with those considerations and then on a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being awesome, how would you rate your happiness and satisfaction in each of those areas? Now, consider that each area represents a spoke on a wheel and the number you identified on the scale indicates the length of the spoke. How smooth would your ride be? What aspects of your life might you need to focus to gain an increased feeling of balance?

Change Takes Courage

Whether your litmus test of feeling signifies you would feel happier with more friends, or you need to release an unhealthy relationship, change is required. And of course, change creates resistance which makes changing all the more difficult. We all know that change takes courage. Lots of courage!

Here’s a question to ask yourself:

If the goal is to get to a better feeling place, then your honest answer to that question is key. It points you squarely in the direction you need to go.

Don’t Expect a Bandstand

When and if you decide to create a change in your life, those around may not be very supportive. Don’t let that surprise you. They are uncomfortable because your change creates implications of change for them by default. And, no matter how thoroughly you try to explain yourself, they may never be stand behind you in the way you would have wanted. That’s okay because you are in charge of your happiness, and only you know what it takes to live authentically, following your dreams.

What’s Your Next Step?

If you take a moment right now to consider all the aspects of your life, what one area could benefit from your focused attention? What aspect of your life is overdue for growth, development, challenge, and adventure?

Finally, what is the first next step you can take for the unfolding of your authenticity to take shape?

Now that you know the answer celebrate by jumping forward with both feet and never looking back! Go on, drink the elixir of authenticity. It’s the best drink you’ll ever have.

Sheila Callaham is an author and success coach living in Chapel Hill, NC. If you liked this article, please share via your favorite social media venues. Sheila loves being social!

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Top 10 Benefits from Hiring a Life Coach

Screenshot 2014-09-10 22.44.09This post is the second of three posts sharing my Top 10 learnings as a life coach. In this post, it’s all about the benefit of working with one!

I’ve had the good fortune to be on both sides of the coaching experience. So in sharing my top 10 list of benefits from hiring a coach, know that it represents both perspectives.

  1. My friend Shann Vann Leek wrote a fabulous article about self-love for Aspire Magazine titled You Deserve to Put Yourself at the Front of the Line. Not only does Shann talk about why putting yourself first is so important, she gives you three easy transformational tips on how to make a habit of doing it. Her article is spot on, so take a couple of minutes to read why it’s so important to put yourself first!
  2. In Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends & Influence People, his first two princiDale Carnegie How to Win Friends & Influence Peopleples in handling people are to avoid criticism, condemnation or complaining and to give honest and sincere appreciation for others. To perform these two principles consistently, one must first learn to look for the good in life. Not only will this practice help you win friends and influence others, it will also allow you to go through life feeling much happier! Coaches know how to help you shift your line of thinking — reprogram your mind, so to speak, so that your default is set on “find what’s right” rather than “find what’s wrong.”
  3. I wrote about gratitude in last week’s post, and I include it again here because so many people don’t realize the power of expressing authentic gratitude. The beauty in expressing gratitude, even for the smallest thing, is that it builds upon itself. I can’t think of a better role model than Oprah to explain how this works. Click here to watch her short video What Oprah Knows About the Power of GratitudeIt’s only a few minutes, say go on, have a listen!
  4. Quote by Author Sheila CallahamOne of the most powerful benefits I received from working with a  life coach was learning why all emotions are good — even the ones that feel yucky. How we feel serves as our “emotional guidance system,” alerting us to when we are not in balance and harmony with our authentic self or deeper wisdom. If you feel depressed going to work every day because your manager suppresses your creativity, that’s your emotions telling you that you are not in alignment with your expressive self. When you are not in alignment, actively seek change so that you can feel better. Sometimes, however, our yucky feeling emotions stem from baggage that we continue to carry with us which brings us to our next benefit.
  5. Last summer I wrote the article Let Go of Your Past and Focus on Your Perfect Future. Here I outline five ways to release the baggage holding you back. I find that when working with clients who feel a lot of anger, there is typically something in their past that keeps coming up for them. Once you discover the cause of your yucky feelings, then you can make a conscious effort release the baggage responsible for it. Coaches are trained to ask powerful questions that aid in your reflection and identification of emotional baggage you’re carrying around.
  6. Caroline Myss, internationally renowned medical intuitive and author of several bCarolyn Myss The Language of Archetypesest selling books, makes a clear distinction between fate and destiny in The Language of Archetypes. Fate is caving under fear and relinquishing life into the hands of others. It is, she says, selling our soul for the safety of what’s known. Destiny, however, is the willingness to go with the unknown to create the life you truly desire. The Secret (pun intended!) to creating your desired future is is first to get very clear on what you want, and then visualize yourself already receiving it, connecting to how it feels to have already achieved what you desire, and finally appreciate every small step in the right direction! Coaches know how to facilitate this thinking in their sleep!
  7. What you think about yourself, you become. End of story. Don’t like how you think and feel about yourself? Hire a life coach!
  8. There is simply no end to the possibilities for the abundance of joy, love, pleasure, excitement, discovery, wonder, amusement, and laughter if you are looking for it. In this way, abundance is your birthright. It’s up to you to claim it. Coaches show you how.
  9. Perception is a powerful tool. How you perceive yourself is projected to everyone around you — whether you realize it or not. When you appreciate yourself more, respect yourself more, extend more patience and kindness to yourself, that will shift your self-perception in subtle ways that will be noticed by others. Your inner reality is projected outside of yourself.
  10. Have you ever met anyone who remained calm when you were about to blow? If so, you’ve probably met an expert in the art of allowing — the acceptance of a person or circumstance as he/she/it is. I can’t think of anyone better than Christy Whitman to explain the Law of Allowing in this short video and how you can benefit from practicing it every day!

There are many benefits to hiring a life coach, and I’ve just skimmed the surface. If you are considering working with a life coach, one thing to keep in mind is the many different kinds of coaches including leadership coaches, relationship coaches (both work and personal), spiritual coaches, success coaches… and so forth. Most coaches offer a complimentary session which I would highly recommend. You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about yourself in 30 minutes. Better yet, there’s no cost or commitment! Why wouldn’t you do that?!

Remember, a coach will push you — that’s their job — and if they are doing a good job, they may even make you a little uncomfortable. A good coach will point out where they see you tripping yourself up, so you must be open and willing to receive feedback.

Becoming a life coach has been rewarding for me. Not only have I made a personal transformation, I have had the honor of working with many others in their transformation as well. If you are curious about life coaching click here to watch five free training videos that Christy created to help you better understand if life coaching is right for you.

If you are looking for a coach, what benefit do you want to take away? And, if you are a coach, what are some of the benefits your clients have expressed as their takeaways?