Facing Life’s Challenges

Lorrie's career highlights

So there I was, clinging to the rock face with fingers in cracks, legs trembling, attached to ropes on belay. Screaming and cursing furiously at my Outward Bound leader to pull me up to the top, I was frozen with fear. My leader told me to calm down and reassured me that I could do it. Weeping, I kept telling her I couldn’t do it. She finally firmly said that she wasn’t going to pull me up and that I would have to climb to the top myself. “You know T’ai Chi, you have the balance and grace, Lorrie, and you can do it.” I looked down and saw my fellow Outward Bound buddies yelling their encouragement. I looked up and saw my leader. I was half way up and finally realized that no matter how much I wanted someone to help me or how much encouragement someone else gave me, no one was going to make this happen but me. Taking a deep breath, I slowly began climbing up again with shaky, tired legs. When I reached the top and threw one leg over and then the other, I pulled myself up. My leader grabbed and hugged me while

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The Word That Can’t Be Said!

Transitions

My client’s daughter said in frustration, “Mom, why can’t you even SAY the word “Retire”? My client was at a loss for words. She felt very negative about “retirement” yet couldn’t explain her feelings to her daughter. She asked in our next coaching session to talk about this quandary; she just didn’t understand her confusion and resistance.

I had a number of thoughts about why she might be having a negative reaction to “retirement”. We discussed how the cultural stereotype is that people “retire from life” and move into ongoing leisure during their “golden years”. That’s what family, friends and co-workers expect us to do. They don’t seem to understand why someone might not want to leave work for the foggy unknown that could last 20—35+ years. Playing golf or gardening every day may work for a few people, but for most it’s not enough. No one wants to give up on life. Most people want to be involved in activities (paid or unpaid) that give them a sense of purpose. Yet finding a new sense of purpose can be daunting.

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Making A Difference Takes Many Forms

Lorrie's Affiliations

Did you watch TEDxKC in person this summer? Neither did I! However, I just watched a two hour television version of it on PBS and was blown away by the fascinating people who spoke on a wide range of topics about doing the unexpected and sometimes seemingly impossible. I was moved by the air flyer who wears a special flying suit (wing suit) with a parachute that he releases at some point after jumping off mountains or the Kansas City Liberty Memorial. He had had an awareness one day that it wasn’t about the special skills that he has, it’s about using the unique skills and doing something to help someone else. The viewers were asked, what skill(s) do you have (and we ALL have them) that you can use to help others? Hm-m, I found myself considering that.

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Shifting Gears – Designing A New Habit

Testimonials

An eye-opening episode with an upset employee had convinced my new client that it was time to change his behavior. He calmly explained how, as a manager in a small business, when employees didn’t do what he wanted that he would explode in frustration. He would quickly put it behind him and not think about it again, while his employees were left walking on egg shells, afraid to upset him.

We talked about how this had been his behavior for many years. He admitted how it had served him well to get what he wanted but that it was no longer how he wanted to act. He wondered if it was possible for him to change. I discussed how instead of considering it a “personality flaw” to think of it as an old habit that could be replaced by a new habit. That perspective caught his interest and we moved forward with it.

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The Wisdom of Patience

Lorrie's professional resource

“Sometimes we have the dream, but we are not ourselves ready for the dream;
We have to grow to meet it.” — Louis L’Amour

When I begin coaching clients, they are understandably anxious to reach their goals and dreams, especially since we live in a culture that expects instant results. My clients and I determine the steps that appear to be necessary for them to accomplish their goals, then they take them. During their coaching process they learn more about themselves regarding their actual wants, abilities and contributions rather than reacting to the “shoulds” and “musts” that they have unquestioningly followed. As they clarify more about themselves or circumstances change, some steps toward their goals may need to be adjusted. There are times in the process where the outcomes cannot be forced and often take much more time than clients wish.

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Stretch Your Thinking

Lorrie's Affiliations

My client was a decisive, black and white decision maker. She was going to give her husband some news that would greatly change his life. Convinced that he would be devastated and that it would destroy his life, I told her, “You might be absolutely right about his reaction. On the other hand, he may have a reaction quite different than the one you expect.” I then gave her three additional ways in which he might receive her decision. She sat perfectly still and stared at me for a moment. “I’ve never even considered he might take my decision differently than I’d assumed.” By realizing we can’t read another person’s mind and aren’t always right about what people will think or feel, we can be more open-minded to new possibilities and ideas. This whole process is one example of helping a client “stretch her thinking.”

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Appreciation – What’s That?

Lorrie's Education

Sitting across from the midlife man with unshed tears in his eyes, I listened to the anger, sadness and regret he felt for devoting his life to a company that “kicked me out of my job” when they downsized. He had missed most of his children’s sports and school activities over the years but had thought it was necessary for the sake of his job. What was deeply upsetting to him was how he felt that his manager and the company didn’t recognize his contributions throughout his career and that he wasn’t appreciated.

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What Ifs – The Negatives and the Positives

Lorrie's career highlights

During a recent service our rabbi talked about the negative and positive “What Ifs” that we tell ourselves. The topic hooked my curiosity and took me down an interesting thought path. Having typically considered “What Ifs” as negative, I was intrigued to think about the ways in which they are positive. I realized that earlier in my life I had been quite risk adverse, spent a lot of time worrying about all the things that could go wrong and was slow to make decisions as a result of my negative “What Ifs”.

Most of us think about “What Ifs”. Some are paralyzed by “What Ifs” and some of us are excited and motivated by them depending on how we allow them to affect our thinking and lives. The habit of telling ourselves “What Ifs” is something that we often do unconsciously and it greatly impacts the actions, attitudes and quality of our lives without our realizing it.

What are “What Ifs”? I consider them to be the things that could potentially happen in the future or might have happened in the past. Let’s explore four types of examples of “What If’s” in more detail and begin with the negative perspective.

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Creating Community

Transitions

Recently I attended a wonderful workshop in Portland, Oregon based on a great book called Falling Awake–Creating the Life of Your Dreams by Dave Ellis. Dave is the masterful coach with whom I did my life coaching training program. Out of doing many exercises from the book in preparation for the workshop and clarifying my goals for the workshop, I realized it was time for ME to hire a life coach again to support me in reaching my goals!

One of the goals I have is to create a greater sense of community for myself. My coach challenged me to look at who I consider to be in my community: friends, family and groups. So I asked myself, “How much time do I spend with them? How much do I enjoy being with them? Do I want more people in my life and who would they be? Do I want to share more time with friends who are already in my life?” Consciously reviewing the people and groups in my life is quite daunting!

I also saw that it would be helpful to create an image of concentric circles (with me in the middle) to determine how close I want

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Celebrating Who We Are

Lorrie's professional resource

Recently as a friend and I were walking and talking in the early morning, we discussed what our dreams and goals have been. I admitted that for many years I’ve grappled with the message in our culture to “dream big”, “have long-term goals”, “make a huge difference in the world”. That hasn’t been my path. In traditional terms I have not been a very competitive person nor ambitious.

When I really wanted something I noticed that I got it. I wanted to find a very special, loving man to marry and be my life partner. We are happily celebrating 30 years of marriage. I wanted to live in a space that was old, had character and big windows with great light. When I first met the man who could become my husband and saw his house I realized that it fit my picture of the home I wanted. Twelve years ago I wanted a sleek design car that was either cherry red or a beautiful yellow. I found a cherry red Toyota Solara. I wanted to do work that made a difference in peoples lives. I’ve been a life coach for many years and have the privilege to do just

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