Coaching the Creative, Hat Tips

Lyn Gives Ellen DeGeneres A Run For Her Money!

spool headerI’m extending a standing ovation to Mary Miller of Spoollhardy Girl – a blogger who has documented her reinvention journey from empty nester to creator of oustanding quilted blankets.
Mary is a no nonsense Midwesterner who questioned the legitimacy of my “life coaching” when she first observed me shadowing a client last year at a sewing summit.
I don’t mind being questioned in this manner. There is merit in examining some of the practices used under the guise of “life coaching.” But, that’s the subject of a different blog.
Fast forward to today, and it is Mary’s humor and candor that has caught my eye now. I just read through two of her most recent post and I laughed out loud several times. Then I realized something about Mary: She’s a Bad Ass!

That’s what we call people who understand and then live in alignment with the following SoulSalt concepts:
A personal code of conduct – A.K.A. Be True
A personal set of strengths – A.K.A Be Strong
A personal system for managing focus – A.K.A. Be Focused.

Enjoy’s Mary’s style and honesty….Mary you’re on:

Be True. Be Strong. Be Focused. (Find Your Lula Recap Part II)

What are your core values? Do you know? Take a minute to think about it. Can you pick three words out of all the words in your language that sum up who you are? It’s not easy is it? Especially if you haven’t ever thought about it.  I hadn’t.

On day two of Lula we were introduced to Lyn Christian. Lyn was also at Sewing Summit with Amanda Herring last year. She stayed mostly in the back, videotaping Amanda’s talk. Amanda introduced her as her “life coach.” I have to be honest. I thought the term life coach was a little weird. Maybe it’s my no nonsense Midwestern upbringing. Maybe it was simply my own prejudices, but I didn’t really understand why a life would need coaching. I am pretty much a “just muddle through” kind of gal. Having somebody to coach one through one’s day seemed, well, self-indulgent.

When I woke up the morning of day two. I reminded myself of something I’d jotted down in my smash book in the midst of my near panic attack (thank you, Richard Nixon) the night before:

I knew there could be no room for my pre-conceived notions this day. I needed to stay open to everything that was given to me and assess later whether or not it was something I could use. To do anything else would mean that I was wasting everybody’s time especially my own.

The first thing we did that morning was some alignment exercises with Lyn’s partner, Susan McLaughlin. She showed us some really fantastic things that we can do on a daily basis to keep our bodies aligned. Proper alignment can help reduce inflammation in our joints and also reduces fatigue so we can work better, longer. I was stunned by the immediate results just a few short exercises produced. She also had us do a breathing exercise which felt like what I’ve imagined meditation to be like. I really liked how calm and focused this made me feel. I mean, really? Any chance to lie down on the floor and listen to my breathing, I’m in!

Now that we were all aligned and focused, we began working with Lyn. I’m not sure I have the vocabulary to describe Lyn in a way that will do her justice, and I didn’t take a single picture of her because from the moment she started talking, I was completely honed in on her message. This is no New Age, Kumbaya singing, false guru (did I mention I might have some pre-conceived notions?). This is a serious, accomplished business woman who has helped some really big hitters in the business world as well as the art world accomplish their goals in both their personal and their business lives. Chops, people. Lyn has chops. She is one of those rare people, you meet who are so comfortable in their own skin they exude a quiet confidence that makes you want to raise your game; to just be better. She also has a personal style that is so cool and so her very own and so uncontrived that, well, let’s just say Ellen Degeneres is jealous.

We began by going through stacks of cards with words on them finally narrowing them down to three words that were our top three values. Mine are Love, Gratitude, and Equilibrium.  Whenever we are faced with decisions that need to be made in our personal or our business life, we need to see if what we are being asked to do aligns with these core values. This exercise really helped me to recognize some very basic things that are so easy to lose sight of. I realized later that I had de-cluttered my inner workspace, just as I do in my sewing room before I start a new project, and I felt just as refreshed and ready to work after this inner de-cluttering as I do then.

Love: Nothing is possible without it.

Gratitude: An elixir, without which life is poisoned.

Equilibrium: Necessary for good function.

Our next session Lyn brought us through some very specific, solid things we can do to make our lives function better.  I have printed out my Today/Not Today and my “This Week/ Not This Week” sheets and have filled them in with sticky notes containing all the things I must accomplish if not today, then soon. This includes everything from the mundane (laundry) to the fun stuff (work on Illustrator) She talked to us about personal integrity; if you tell yourself you’re going to do something, you need to do it. This is something I have always struggled with. I’m pretty good at doing things I tell other people I will do, but I am always happy to give myself a pass on the things I tell myself I’m going to do. Lyn calls that “shoulding on yourself.” Hehehe get? “shoulding?” Get it?

I think the biggest realization I had after two days of listening to Lyn is that being a “just muddle through” kind of gal wasn’t really working for me. I was wasting too much time, giving myself too many free passes, and making excuses for why I wasn’t where I wanted to be creatively. Integrity is really important to me, and I was letting myself down in that area, big time.

So, I highly recommend taking a minute to contemplate what your core values are and ask yourself if you are living by them. It does a body good! And if you want to know more about the incredible Lyn Christian and her coaching company, Soul Salt (coolest name ever, don’t you think?), you can find her HERE and HERE and HERE! It’s all great information and it’s all free.

And one last word on Find Your Lula 2013, and then this will morph back into a quilting blog. I hope that I have painted an adequate picture of just how special this retreat was. People use the phrase “life changing” all the time and it annoys the heck out of me………..(wait for it)………….BUT. But Lula really has changed the game for me. Amanda told us she would help us find our wings and she did. She really, truly did. There are going to be more Lula retreats in the future and I hope if you’re reading this you will consider attending one. Amanda is a natural connector, and she has a magical way of connecting with people and then connecting them with others, strengthening everyone in the process. I am honored to call her my friend.

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