What I Learned from 29 Days on My Bike

What I Learned from 29 Days on My Bike

The 29 Day Challenge

On January 31 I signed up for a 29 day mountain bike challenge, #trailsforallchallenge, hosted by the NSMBA, our local North Shore Mountain Bike Association. The challenge was to bike 29 minutes every day for 29 days for the month of February in support of the North Shore trails.

The challenge was certainly going to be a challenge as flat and easy are not words to describe the North Shore trails. And to make matters worse, there was a glitch with the tracking software, Trailforks, which meant we had to make every ride at least 40 minutes to count in the challenge. 

Learnings from the NSMB Trails for All Challenge
NSMBA Trails for All Challenge Learnings
NSMBA Trails for All Challenge what I learned

So, for 29 days I rode between 40 and 90 minutes every day, averaging 300-500m elevation gain per ride while exploring the North Shore trails. I made sure to mix up my rides and keep it somewhat challenging and interesting. Some were easier and faster, some harder and more technical and then there were a few in the gnarly category to keep the ‘saw sharpened’ so to speak.

Rain or shine, sick or healthy, in pain or not, busy or not, I rode. 

NSMBA Trails for All Challenge what I learned
Learnings from the NSMB Trails for All Challenge
NSMBA Trails for All Challenge Learnings

What I Learned

 These are some of the things I learned from 29 days on the bike:

 

When I set a commitment to something and tell others about it, I’m more likely to follow through. There’s weight to others knowing about my commitment and I’m more likely to follow through because they’re cheering for me too.

 

If I decide on something that’s important enough, I’ll find the time to do it, no matter what else is going on. Day 4 and 5 of this challenge I had a stomach bug and felt so ill. All I wanted to do was lie on the couch. But I rode anyway because I’d decided this challenge was important to me.

 

Being part of a cause that was making an impact in my community added fuel to my commitment. The NSMBA does so much to build and maintain the trails I get to enjoy. Knowing that my donation and participation in this challenge was driving a bigger impact gave me motivation on those days when I needed it the most.

 

Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean I can’t do it. This was hard. My body felt so sore some days, I was increasingly getting more tired and fatigued. Some days I could barely get started on the climbing trail, feeling the resistance and aching in my legs. But by persevering through those moments, I proved to myself that I could do it, I could do something really hard. And I’ll do hard things again.

 

If you want to get better at something, do it every day for 29 days. My riding over the last month has improved dramatically. I’m not only stronger and fitter but my skill level on the trails improved in a surprising way. I found myself going faster on the downhills, getting more air on the jumps and navigating technical sections more smoothly without the hesitation I had before. I also became more familiar with the features on the trails and the best lines to take, as I was riding them more frequently. I learned that if I want to ride a trail well, ride it lots!

 

Sharing this challenge with my partner Stephen brought us closer. We both committed to this not knowing what we were in for while also doing a ‘dry February’ – not a drop of alcohol all month. We both are parents of young kids, we both have full-time work, we both have full lives. Doing this hard thing together meant we were supporting one another through the harder days while also feeling energized from the fun adventures we were often having on the trails. This rich and immersive shared experience will always be a positive memory for us.

 

Creating a challenge to ignite people to take action in their lives is a great idea! Beyond the prizes that have been handed out (which I have not received any yet, boo hoo boo!) and the tote bag I get in the end, the real prize is the experience I’ve had, what I’ve learned and how darn strong I feel right now! The fitness I’ve gained, my sharpened riding skills, the new trails I’ve discovered, the shared experience with Stephen and the people that have joined me along the way are the prizes I’ve won in this challenge. The actual prizes are now just a bonus…that I’m still shamelessly holding out for!

 

You can do hard things

In closing, if you get a chance to do a challenge, if someone says hey, do you want to ride, run, walk, hike, whatever it is, for 29 days or something, do it! Even if the challenge is to walk 10km in a month. Don’t shy away from it because it’s hard. Lean towards it because it’s hard. The prize from doing it will be far beyond what you expect. 

And, you can do hard things! 

Thank you again NSMBA for the 29 day #trailsforallchallenge and for all the prizes I didn’t think I’d get. 

How To Use a Growth Mindset to Overcome Adversity

How To Use a Growth Mindset to Overcome Adversity

When I say the word adversity, what comes to mind?

For some, it may be facing a serious illness for themselves or a loved one, loss of a job, end of a relationship, struggle with mental health, sustaining a serious injury as an athlete just to name a few.

For others, the challenges might be around a positive goal but still a challenging situation such as changing careers, starting a new business, training for an athletic pursuit or simply investing in personal development.

The similar thread that runs through all these examples is the struggle we all face with ourselves as we navigate these situations. It’s through adversity, big or small, when those common fears and doubts about ourselves come to the surface. It happens anytime we’re taken off course of the norm and what we’re used to.

In fact, our brain really doesn’t like it. It likes patterns, it likes sameness, it likes preserving energy and limiting change.

This is where mindset comes in, in particular a growth mindset.

Growth Mindset

According to Stanford professor Carol Dweck in her book Mindset, a growth mindset describes people who believe that their success depends on time and effort. People with a growth mindset feel their skills and intelligence can be improved with effort and persistence. They embrace challenges, persist through obstacles, learn from criticism and seek out inspiration in others’ success.

As opposed to a fixed mindset, where people see their qualities as fixed traits that cannot change. With a fixed mindset, talent is enough to lead to success and effort to improve these talents isn’t required: one is born with a certain amount of skill and intelligence that can’t be improved upon.

So how can we use a growth mindset when overcoming adversity?

How to use a growth mindset

There’s so much I could write here but as a starting point it comes down to these 3 things:

1. Focus on your strengths and what skills you could lean on to help you get through the challenge you’re in.

    • For example, if you’re generally pretty motivated, what might you do to start feeling motivated again – regular exercise, reach out to a friend, colleague or mentor for support, do things that bring you joy?

2. Use your challenge as an opportunity to develop and grow. You might feel stuck because you just don’t know how to navigate this challenge, not because you can’t.

    • What aspects of yourself could you heal and grow,
    • What skills could you develop?
    • What coping strategies could you learn to help you right now?

3. Give yourself compassion and be patient. Adversity can bring up our worsts fears and surface self doubt.

    • You’re not struggling because of who you are or for lacking anything. You’re struggling because adversity is hard!
    • Be compassionate towards yourself as you would towards a loved one and be patient.
    • Challenges take time, emotional energy and an openness to change to overcome.
    • You’ll get there with the right support and encouragement starting from you.

Remember, adversity happens to us all and it’s never easy. But when we believe we are capable of navigating it and that we might possible learn and grow from it, it makes the difference in being able to overcome it.

5 Ways to Make Embracing Discomfort Easier

5 Ways to Make Embracing Discomfort Easier

The number one thing that gets in the way of learning and growth is our willingness or ability to be uncomfortable.

You’ve probably heard of all these sayings:

  • Embrace the Discomfort
  • Lean in to the discomfort
  • Get our of your comfort zone
  • Comfort zones are most often expanded through discomfort

These all circle around the notion that discomfort is actually a good thing and a necessary thing for growth. It’s through it that we move forward. It’s what we discover while in it that helps us expand ourselves and broaden our perspectives.

Discomfort is a gift if we choose to use it.

But we need courage to go there because it’s a hard place to be, it generally doesn’t feel good. And it’s very personal from individual to individual, we all have our own personal experience with emotional discomfort. That’s why most of us avoid it. That’s why all the sayings above also revolve around gently inviting you towards it.

It’s a good thing, discomfort…but how do learn to go there, how do you learn to lean into it instead of avoid it?

It all comes down to one critical moment when you have a choice, embrace the discomfort and feel the emotions that arise during it or run from it and avoid the experience. Your choice in that moment will determine whether you are contributing to your growth or limiting it.

embracing discomfort

Here are 5 tips to make embracing discomfort easier.

1. Accept the Feelings that Arise

With discomfort comes a range of different emotions that might arise. We may be reminded of an event in the past or we might be worried about something in the future. You may feel sad, anxious, angry, irritable, scared, worried, annoyed or withdrawn and quiet. As your feelings come up, take a moment to acknowledge them and accept them for what they are. By acknowledging your feelings, you’re allowing yourself to accept them too. This is an act of compassion towards yourself which will allow you to be generally more accepting of yourself, giving you more freedom to grow and learn.

2. Tap Into Your Courage

Most of the time the emotional discomfort that comes with personal development and growth are only brief moments, sometimes as short as 7 seconds. I often tell my clients that if you can hang on for 7 seconds, the moment will most likely pass. The thing that will get you through these moments is courage, pure and bold courage. Courage is that force we all have within us that gives us strength in moments when we don’t think we have any. It’s that force that propels us forward when we feel stuck. It’s a gift that we all have within us, we just need to tap into it. By tapping into our courage in discomfort, it gives us what we need to move through those brief moments.

3. Take Action From Your Intuition 

Now that you’ve accepted what you feel and have tapped into your courage, you might have a sense of what the right thing to do is. You might have an ah-ha moment and a new realization. You might now be closer to the truth, your truth. This is intuition – those inner thoughts that are beneath the armour, protection and avoidance. These are the thoughts that arise when when you take a moment to really listen to yourself and what your body is trying to tell you – from your head, your heart and your gut. This is the source of your intuition, when you listen to all three. The key for moving forward in discomfort and starting to use it as an opportunity for growth is to take action from your intuition.  Taking action from your intuition will always move you forward in a positive direction.

4. Acknowledge Yourself For Your Bravery

At this point after taking action from a courageous place you might be standing back reflecting on the situation and most likely feeling relieved and, even though it was tough, you might be feeling pretty proud of yourself. It’s a massive thing you just did, to lean into the discomfort, to choose to be brave, to tap into your intuition. It’s a helpful and positive practice to acknowledge yourself, to reflect back on the challenging situation and give yourself a pat on the back. This inner work, stepping out of your comfort zone is not for the faint hearted, that’s why it’s rare. But it’s deeply important in so many ways and in so many aspects of your life. So make sure you regularly give yourself a pat on the back because you deserve it.

5. Make Discomfort Your Friend

So now that you know how to embrace discomfort a bit more easily and you’ve adopted a new practice of acknowledging yourself, the last thing to do is to make discomfort your friend.

Make discomfort your friend so that it becomes a regular part of your life.

Choose to look at discomfort the same way you look at a close and long term friend that has annoying habits but you manage to look past them and live with them because you deeply care about that friend and that friend deeply cares about you. Because all that discomfort is, is a signal or warning bell letting you know you’re stepping into your growth edges, that you’re expanding yourself and that you’re growing. It’s a positive thing and it’s there to help you grow, just like a good friend.

make discomfort your friend

Embracing discomfort is a hard thing to do, even when we have a strategy or tips to make it easier. It’s supposed to be hard, that’s why it’s called discomfort. But, that being said, just like other hard things, when we have a way through something and knowledge that going through it is worthwhile, we’re more likely to face and embrace the challenge.

Keep leaning in, it’s always worth it.

3 Strategies to Manage Stress More Effectively

3 Strategies to Manage Stress More Effectively

If there’s one thing we all share in common, it’s experiencing stress in our lives.

The way we handle and cope with stress varies for all of us. And what might be encouraging to know is that it’s not something you’re born good or bad at, it’s a skill you can develop.

For those that manage stress well, they’ve developed an effective skillset throughout their life for coping and navigating through stressful situations. In emotional intelligence, this skillset is called stress management.

Something important to note, before I go further, is that there are other things that complicate our ability to cope with stress effectively, which include trauma. Past trauma adds additional complexity to our thinking, our stress response and our ability to regulate our nervous system. For those struggling with past trauma, I would encourage the support of a therapist or other trained professional in times of increased stress.

However, regardless of where you find yourself and what stress you’re navigating right now, there are 3 strategies that you can start using right away to learn to manage stress more effectively.

1. Learn ways to regulate your nervous system

ways to regulate your nervous system

Regulating your nervous system is crucial for overall well-being and functioning. The nervous system plays a central role in controlling and coordinating all the activities of the body.

When it comes to stress management, the nervous system is closely linked to the body’s stress response. Chronic stress can lead to an overactive sympathetic nervous system(fight-or-flight response), which can have detrimental effects on physical and mental health. Learning to regulate your nervous system helps manage stress and promotes a more balanced and relaxed state.

Here are some ways you can start regulating your nervous system:

  • Breath work
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness practices
  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Adequate sleep

2. Check and challenge your mindset

challenge your mindset

Your current mindset can have a huge impact on how you experience the situation you’re in.

The beliefs you have about yourself, the assumptions you have about the situation you’re in and how you let your fears dominate your thinking directly affect how you respond to certain situations, the stories you make up, the feelings that surface from those stories and consequently how you experience stress.

If you are feeling powerless, if your optimism is low, if you are consumed with worry and if you’re overthinking and struggling to come up with a solution, these are all indications that possibly your current mindset isn’t serving you.

What we don’t often realize is how much our mindset keeps us from seeing a solution or a way forward. It can often keep us in the past pointing to where we’re most afraid. The key in these situations is to challenge our current thinking and look beyond our current frame of reference.

Here are some questions that will help you do that:

  • What are you currently hustling for? – perfectionism, FOPO (fear of other people’s opinions) fear of failure, fear of being seen as weak, stupid, incapable.
  • What limiting beliefs are running the show that need to be reframed into more empowering ones?
  • What fear might be dominating your thinking that you need to face and address?
  • What could you be learning from this right now and what opportunity is there for you to grow?

After answering these questions ask yourself how you might shift your current mindset and thinking to be more empowering. Then, create action steps from this new thinking which will help move things forward.

3. Create an intention for how you’d rather be right now

set an intention

When we’re stuck in stress, it’s hard to see our way out. It’s hard to see past a certain stressful situation or time frame. We get lost in the trees instead of being able to see the whole forest.

An empowering way of moving ourselves through stress is to create an intention for how you’d rather be experiencing life right now? It’s essentially a vision for a future time and a future you.

Examples of intentions are:

  • I want to feel more calm and relaxed
  • I want to feel more empowered in my life
  • I want to feel more in control
  • I want to be more boundaried with others
  • I want to speak my truth more often

Here are some questions to help you create your new intention:

  • What would you rather feel right now?
  • How would you rather be responding to life right now?
  • What would you like to take action on that you’re afraid to?
  • What things do you need to say and to whom?
  • What’s most important right now?
  • What word represents an intention that you’d like to make?

Now that you have these 3 strategies, look into them a bit deeper, learn more about different aspects of these strategies (eg. learn about breath work) and start trying them today.

Maybe you could commit to doing one breath work or meditation practice every day, maybe you could commit to 30 min of exercise 3 times per week, maybe you could have a crack answering the questions about your current mindset.

Whatever it is, start doing it.

Because the reality is, no one’s going to do it for you, no magic wizard is going to appear and remove all of your stress with her wand.

It’s up to you to look after yourself. And you’ll thank yourself for it, I guarantee it.

Learning To Let Go of Control

Learning To Let Go of Control

“If only I could control what happens then everything would be ok.”

Imagine if you could control how people respond to you and treat you and how things operate around you? Imagine if you could have things exactly the way you want them? Imagine if you didn’t have to deal with this thing called ‘uncertainty’. Ah, what a world that would be?

I know as you read this, a part of you is daydreaming for a brief moment about how good this would be. Although that might sound nice, there are limiting factors to always needing to have control. In fact, needing to have control is actually something that has control over you. 

What do I mean by this? Let me explain. 

When we need to have control over things, we need things to go a certain way in order to feel ok. We tend to be rigid in our approach to things, we tend to be less flexible with others and we tend to be closed to feedback or new ideas. In effect, we close ourselves off from the outside world and operate in a closed loop of our own internal thoughts, beliefs and assumptions.

At a deeper level, we are operating out of fear.

Fear of: 

  • Rejection
  • Being hurt
  • Not being heard or seen
  • Uncertainty
  • Emotional exposure
When we operate out of fear, this is where the fantasy of control ends. When we operate out of fear we’re no longer in control, we are now controlled by our need to be in control.
learning to let go of control
When we operate out of fear, we’re reactive and protective. When we operate out of fear, we’re rigid and inflexible. When we operate out of fear, we often feel powerless. When we operate out of fear we’re at the affect of our blindspots and default negative behaviours. We’re not being discerning or thoughtful. 

What we need most in these moments is not to focus on holding onto control. We need to let go of the idea that control will protect us and make us ok. 

Instead, we need to address the fears that are driving our need for control. We need to face the thoughts and assumptions that are bringing up those fears. And then, we need to bring curiosity, compassion and empathy to that. 

This might also involve: 

  • Having a difficult conversation with someone
  • Making a difficult decision 
  • Trusting that the future is not the past
  • Being open to a different perspective
  • Being wrong
  • Trusting and forgiving others

A simple question you might want to ask yourself to help in this process is “what am I protecting myself from or avoiding by being in control or needing to have control?”

And then, give yourself the time and space to explore the answer to that question. 

letting go of control

This will be the beginning of learning how to let go of control so it doesn’t control you. The more you practice this inquiry, the easier it will get. Slowly, the need for control will ease as you shift to being more present and self-aware to what’s going on for you during challenging situations. Slowly, you’ll learn to address your fears and take the required action that will help you move through them. 

When you learn how to move through your fears and take action in your life, that’s when you get a sense of being in control again. It’s the very thing you wanted in the first place, you just needed to approach it from a different direction! 

The Work of Authenticity

The Work of Authenticity

How many times have you said to someone or you’ve heard it said to you, ‘just be yourself’?

Or, ‘just be you, everyone else is taken’.

It turns out that being yourself is harder than all those quotes say.

In fact, this takes up the majority of the work I do as a coach, supporting individuals to not only be their authentic self but first they sometimes have to find it first.

Why is it hard though? Why do we have such a hard time showing our true selves, saying what we really think, sharing our feelings and admitting our fears?

This is such a huge question and without trying to sound like a great philosopher or even admitting that I have the answer, from a coaching perspective, it all comes down to how we learn to adapt to our life experiences. Human’s are highly adaptable, that’s what makes us successful as a species.

However, it’s also this trait that comes into play when we’re struggling to ‘be ourselves’ or be vulnerable or be more authentic in how we show up in our lives. Ultimately, we adapt our way out of being ourselves as we learn to protect ourselves from being hurt and learn strategies to get our needs met.

And then there’s Jennifer or Thomas, both working professionals, aged 43 and 51 respectively who come to me feeling stuck, wanting to find a deeper sense of meaning in their work and feeling a bit lost with what the next step is in their career (and life as it often happens that way).

This is where the work of authenticity comes in.

Because it is work. 

the work of authenticity article

It’s work to undo or even look at the adaptations you’ve made to navigate your life experiences that have distanced you from your authentic self and/or your values.

It’s work to undo the strategies you’ve developed to protect yourself. It’s work to face the fears you might have found a way to avoid. And it’s work to acknowledge those parts of yourself that perhaps you learned to reject or be ashamed of.

In this article I’m not sharing a ‘how to’ or a ‘5 steps to being authentic’ or any kind of answer on how to do it. I’m simply telling you that it’s work, it’s deep work and it’s hard work.

It’s hard work to be authentic because of all the forces against us to not be, especially as we get older.

So don’t give up the endeavour because it’s hard. Don’t stop the work because you’re afraid of what you’ll find. Keep going, keep searching, keep opening and keep being curious.

Because the gift of it all, of all the work you’re doing is freedom, healing, inner peace, connection with yourself and others, being who you want to be and having what you truly want in your life.

Two Kinds of Burnout & What To Do About It

Two Kinds of Burnout & What To Do About It

 You might be surprised to know that many of my coaching conversations involve the question ‘how are you going to make time to look after yourself?’

The topic of burnout is all around us. Almost everywhere you turn there’s articles, social media posts and books around the topic. Here are some articles I found just today:

“How to deal with Workplace Burnout”
“Burnout Prevention and Treatment”
“4 Steps to Beating Burnout”
“Burnout and Stress are Everywhere”

We might also know people personally who are suffering from burnout or it might be ourselves.

In my work, what I’ve discovered is that there are 2 different kinds of burnout and in this article I’m going to share what you can do about it. 

 

  1. Circumstantial Burnout
  2. Self-Burnout

Circumstantial Burnout

circumstantial burnout

Circumstantial Burnout is when there are circumstances and situations that lead to burnout that are mostly out of our control such as:

 

  • Toxic workplaces
  • High pressure and demanding work cultures
  • Challenging personal circumstances involving:
    • illness
    • loss of a loved one
    • financial hardship
    • conflict in the workplace
    • unfair / inequitable treatment
    • workplace harassment

These situations require a unique approach to burnout typically relying on external tools, resources and people to support us and help shift our mindset. Examples of these are mindfulness meditation, breathing techniques, mindset shift exercises and professionals such as coaches, therapists and mediators.

The goal with this approach is to find ways to cope and deal with the stress and difficult emotions that come with these situations and effectively navigate the challenging circumstance.

Self Burnout

self burnout

Self-Burnout is the second type of burnout.

This is the burnout we do to ourselves when we unknowingly create situations and circumstances that drive our own burnout.

This is where I focus most of my coaching when the topic comes up. What most people discover is that they are the ones driving their own burnout.

They’re saying yes to things when they could be saying no. They’re taking on workloads that are too much. They’re fixing other people’s problems. They’re staying up late and responding to emails. They’re sacrificing themselves, their personal time, their health and their time with loved ones willingly.

They think that by working hard in this way, it shows that they’re committed and people can count on them. They think that it’s what’s expected of someone at their level. They think that if they say no or don’t work like this they won’t be eligible for the better opportunities.

Under all of these thoughts I always find one common thought pattern:

“If I don’t do this or work in this way or get these results, it won’t be enoughI won’t be enough.”

The approach for self-burnout is first, understanding what’s driving you to create circumstances that contribute to your burnout. Part of this involves a deeper conversation with yourself around naming your ‘not enough’ statement and creating a new supportive statement instead. The second part of the approach is to create a new strategy for avoiding burnout and creating new situations and circumstances that support you in being your best self instead.

This involves:

 

  • saying no to things that will overload you
  • establishing healthy boundaries with colleagues around work and personal hours
  • leading and coaching more and fixing other people’s problems less
  • making time for healthy lifestyle habits, exercise, time with friends and family
Self-burnout requires a bit more personal development than circumstantial burnout.
In order to hop off your own burnout train, it will take some effort for sure! It’ll take doing some personal reflection, taking responsibility and a willingness to let go of habits and thought patterns that you’ve held onto for a long time.

Both types of burnout will take work to navigate AND the work is always worth it. Because whether a situation is within our control or not, when we take personal responsibility in our lives and take action, we take one step closer to creating the life we want and the outcomes we seek.

3-Phase Approach to Managing Transitions

3-Phase Approach to Managing Transitions

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another.”
Anatole France

Let’s talk about transitions. What are transitions and why is it important to understand them?

According to William R Bridges, transition is the inner psychological process that people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the new situation that the change brings about. He desribes it also in simple terms as the personal and human side of change.

The biggest mistake individuals and organizations make when trying to navigate or implement change is not understanding giving attention to the personal experience of change. We as humans go through a deeply personal process as we navigate change, often requiring grief, letting go, acceptance, encouragement, validation, support, hope and a vision of the future. If individuals or teams are feeling stuck in change, it’s typically because one of these requirements are not being met.

Common examples of professional and personal transitions include:

 

  • Career change
  • Taking on a new role at work
  • Implementing new systems or technology
  • Divorce
  • Moving in together with an intimate partner
  • Moving countries and relocating
  • Critical illness of yourself or a loved one

What makes transitions difficult isn’t necessarily the change itself, but rather the evolving within ourselves that has to occur to successfully move through a transition.

Each of the examples above require a kind of personal evolving. Like William R Bridges explains, individuals will go through an inner pschological process as they come to terms with the new situation.

It’s during this inner process that’s the hardest and often brings up the most amount of fear such as:

 

  • Fear of the unknown and uncertainty
  • Fear of getting hurt
  • Fear of looking incompetent
  • Fear of being irrelevant
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of other people finding out about your faults
  • Fear of feeling difficult emotions
  • Fear of loss
  • Self-doubt that you will be successful in making the transition

So how do we deal with this fear and self-doubt? How can we effectively navigate this inner psychological process and this required evolving? How do we do this without getting stuck?

William and Susan Bridges created a road map to get through the most difficult work and life passages. In their book Managing Transitions – Making the Most of Change they introduce their practical and powerful 3 phase approach, The Bridges Transition Model, to managing transitions and share examples on how to apply it for yourself and in organizations.

Bridges Transitions Model

This 3 phase model is so helpful because when you can see the big picture of the transition, it gives you understanding where you might find yourself in it. Finding yourself, your team and your organization in this model also provides validation and acknowledgement for how and why you might be struggling. It also provides valuable context for creating a plan and strategy for a way forward and how to become unstuck. From this, it can provide individuals and teams a sense of hope and encouragement in creating their new beginning. 

The 3 phases of transition are:

  • Endings – Letting go of the old ways and the old identity you had. This first phase of transition is an ending and the time when you need support in dealing with your losses.
  • Neutral Zone – Going through an in-between time when the old is gone but the new isn’t fully operational. We call this the ‘neutral zone’: it’s when the critical psychological realignments and repatternings take place.
  • New Beginnings – Coming out of the transition and making a new beginning. This is when you develop the new identity, experience the new energy, and discover the new sense of purpose that makes the change begin to work. 
managing transitions article

“Because transition is a process by which people unplug from an old world and plug into a new world, we can say that transition begins with an ending and finishes with a beginning.” William Bridges, PhD.

If you’re finding yourself in a transition that’s challenging, try asking yourself these 3 questions:
  1. What phase are you possibly feeling stuck in? 
  2. How could you give yourself or your team validation and acknowledgement right now for where you’re at?
  3. What are some things you could do to support you and/or your team in moving through either phase 1 or 2 so you can experience the energy and renewal that awaits you in phase 3?

Most transitions are accompanied with discomfort. Most transitions are difficult. AND, most transitions will present you and/or your team with an opportunity to evolve and grow. 

We can be more successful in evolving, growing and feeling renewed when we have a strategy or a framework to help us navigate the process. 

Betty-Anne Johnson, MBA, EAC

Betty-Anne Johnson, MBA, EAC

Betty-Anne Johnson

Betty-Anne Johnson, MBA, EAC

Professional Certified Coach

When Betty-Anne came to me she wanted a big career change and life transition and had this incredible dream of moving out West and rebuilding her life in a new and positive way. We worked together for 3 months, from April to June 2021, through online sessions.

We started our coaching with an EQ-i 2.0 Assessment and used her results to help navigate her self-discovery and growth journey in our sessions together. 

It wasn’t until October 2022 when we finally met in person for coffee in a North Vancouver coffee shop, that I saw in amazement that she was living her dream and accomplished the goals she set back in April 2021. 

 This is her story.

What was happening before I met Dagmar?

2020 was an interesting year for me.  In January, my divorce became final.  My daughter and I took our first trip to Antigua (and last vacation for 3 years).  The full force of the pandemic hit in March – my work offices closed to the public, and I ended up suddenly driving 22 hours to pick up my daughter at university.  As all the non-essential services started to close down, my daughter and I found ourselves in a new reality – working, studying, working out and socializing from home.  In April, my specialist recommended that I have a partial thyroidectomy due to a high risk of cancer.  I had my surgery in July and I found myself pondering my life and direction while I was recovering at home.  I was headed toward the 20-year mark at my workplace, and my daughter would be completing University soon.

Why was I open to talking with Dagmar?

I reached out to a career counsellor through my EAP, and he told me about Dagmar.  I went onto her website, and something immediately clicked.  With the mountains and the ocean in the background of her profile picture, and her write up about courage and change, I knew I needed to connect with her.

What was my experience with Dagmar as a coach? 

I told her about my dream of relocating to the west coast and that of becoming a coach.  We went to work together!  We did so many amazing exercises – I vividly remember the first visual to address the clarity I would need to make my “Big Leap.”  We systematically worked through my fears (I found out, hidden deep in my survival brain that there was a fear of living in my car).  She went above and beyond – introducing me to so many great people on the west coast.  We did my EQI together and I went forward with leveraging my strengths and identifying areas of growth.  We talked about the phases of major life transitions, and, through her guidance, I identified what I would need to keep my “fire” going strong.

What are my results now?

Well, fast forward to today, February 5, 2023… I am a certified coach living in North Vancouver – my dream.  I am now working on fulfilling the next phases – joining a company with a passion for workplace wellness and starting my own coaching and consulting company.  Having worked in high stress work environment for many years, I would love to help women in the workplace achieve healthy balance.  I am also working with small organizations to demystify the strategic planning process and develop a strategic plan that works!

Ryan Gilchrist, Athlete / Videographer

Title

When Ryan came to me, he was at a cross roads in his life. He was at his first major life transition, having just finished high school and about the embark on ‘the rest of his life’.

This can be a very overwhelming time for young adults, given the number of choices and options they have and feeling the pressure to do the right thing. In amongst that is figuring out who they are as an adult, what their passions are and making sure they make the right choice to set themselves on a path to success.

Ryan was no different to many kids in how he felt at this junction. However, what made him unique was his exceptional talent in BMX and MTB Enduro Racing. He was a state and national champion and had a dream of racing in the Enduro World Series. He was also top of his class and was a prime candidate for any of the best Engineering or Health Sciences programs in the country.  He couldn’t figure out how to do both and whether pursuing his dream was irresponsible. The indecision overwhelmed him.

We started our coaching with an EQ-i 2.0 Assessment and used his results to help him navigate the path ahead. This is the story.

Why was I open to talking to Dagmar?

I had never thought of talking to a life coach. I was in the most difficult part of my high school life, studying for exams that were (apparently) going to dictate my entire future, and at the same time facing pressure to enter into university courses, I knew nothing of and was completely unsure about. All of this was taking an extremely large toll on my mental health and was decreasing my ability to study effectively, creating a vicious cycle that seemed to have no end. The decision to see a life coach was suggested by my Mum. She had seen Dagmar before and encouraged me to have a go. 

What was my experience with Dagmar as a coach?

Dagmar was very friendly and made me feel extremely comfortable. I have had trouble articulating my issues to people before but Dagmar broke down these barriers and I felt as though I was able to talk about my situation freely. The session had some emotional moments because a lot of the issues I had been facing were related to stress so having such a comforting coach made the sessions feel less like a doctor’s appointment and more like a conversation with a friend. 

What did it facilitate?

I had a lot of balls in the air at the time I was talking to Dagmar and was really struggling to make sense of my situation. Talking to Dagmar wasn’t an immediate solution but more of a stepping stone to working out my priorities and becoming more comfortable with the uncertainty of my situation. One of the more impactful exercises was a visualization session where Dagmar asked me to visualize myself in a perfect situation where all of my goals were achieved. I never thought too much of it until now…

What are the results now?

18 months later I have found myself in a situation where all of my goals are starting to become reality. In my visualization session, I was racing in North America at the Enduro World Series round in Whistler. In the session, the visualization felt far-fetched and impossible. Today I booked my tickets for not just the Enduro World Series round in Whistler, Canada but the entire World Series. It was just a visualization 18 months ago and now to see that an actual plan has been put in place to make the visualization possible has been incredibly satisfying and makes me feel so positive about my future. I can truly say that my session with Dagmar was a catalyst for this positive plan.

Your Why Is As Personal As It Gets

Your Why Is As Personal As It Gets

Your ‘why’ is as personal as it gets.

What do I mean by why? It’s the intersection of your values, the impact you want to make and your strongest skillset, aka gift.

When I was at the lowest point in my life, it was also when I was furthest away from my ‘why’. I was completely out of alignment with my values, I was compromising myself and had lost sight of the impact I want to make in this world.

And the comeback was all about finding my ‘why’ and stepping inside my true self again. And why this process is so personal is because you have to break through the barriers and limits you have around yourself in order to authentically discover what’s already there within yourself. You have to shift to more supporting beliefs to visualize the impact you want to make. You have to do the personal work, hold the mirrors and let go of the past in order to create a vision for an inspiring future.

That’s the reason your ‘why’ is as personal as it gets. And once you find that, then you become unstoppable, then you build confidence within yourself, then you believe you can make an impact in the world.

Choose Growth Over Fear

Choose Growth Over Fear

Choosing our path can sometimes be easy, but most often it’s not.

What often clouds our decision making is fear and stories we’ve made up. Sometimes these fears sound like:

  • what if I fail
  • what if this doesn’t work
  • what if they discover the truth, that I’m a fraud
  • the last time I did this it didn’t work out
  • be realistic, that path is only for dreamers
  • you can’t make money doing that

What if there was a way to address those fears and stories in a new way, would you want to find out? What if those fears and stories were just BS? What if the only purpose they serve is to protect you from getting hurt? What if you knew that those fears will NEVER push you out of your comfort zone and into a place of new possibilities?

Where would you rather stay, trapped in fear and crappy stories that don’t serve you, OR, in a new place of growth, possibilities and opportunity?

The choice is always yours, what do YOU choose?

Levelling Up Is Not Comfortable

Levelling Up Is Not Comfortable

Levelling up is not comfortable. In fact, while you’re in it, you can often feel like you’re levelling down. 

When you’re levelling up in your life, you’re essentially growing in an expansive way. And when you finally get on this new exciting path and the universe begins to deliver what you’ve been dreaming about, you’re surprised when negative thoughts and doubts seep in, or when shame washes over you or when those old limiting beliefs start to chime in. 

You may ask yourself, I’m starting to get what I’ve wanted all this time, why am I feeling like this?

My friend, it’s because you’re at your growth edge. You’re on the fringe of your comfort zone and you’re literally in the process of breaking through your growth edge. And your brain will be wanting to protect you from danger so it will send you all those old messages again, trying to convince you to retreat. RETREAT BACK to safety! 

This is a critical moment in your change. And whether you push through or not, this will determine whether you follow through with the change you seek or retreat and remain unchanged and stuck where you are. 

Your choice, ignore the old messages and have the courage to create new ones and continue down your new path, or believe the messages (again) and stay where you are. 

The choice is up to you. 

Don’t Let Fear Stop You

Don’t Let Fear Stop You

If I had let fear stop me, I would never have done what I’ve been able to do and achieved what I have.

Fear can be the very thing that holds us back from doing great things and tapping into the greatness and potential that lies within ourselves.

When I lived in Australia, I used to do downhill mountain bike racing. And it wasn’t about being fearless. In fact, it was about using my fear as a resource to push myself through to the next level of riding. I knew that it was fear that stood between me and the rock face or the drop that I wanted to clear. And if I could do those things, that meant that I could push beyond my fears. And if I could push beyond my fears, well then I would be free and that’s the ultimate feeling, to be absolutely free. And that’s why I ride, because I get to do that every time I get out on my bike.

And looping into personal and professional life, it’s no different. In fact, I get to use what I learn through riding and apply it to the other things where fear comes up:

  • Changing my career at 40
  • Learning a new profession
  • Signing up for a half-marathon
  • Opening my heart to love again
  • Facilitating a workshop for the first time
  • Creating an online course and hoping people will buy it
  • Putting my heart into my work and trusting that’s the way

So my question to you is if fear wasn’t stopping you right now, what would you want to do, create or change? And if you could find a way to overcome that fear, would you?

Secret To Change: Where You Focus

Secret To Change: Where You Focus

The secret of change is not about fighting the old but rather on building the new.  ~Socrates~

Easier said than done Socrates. It takes courage to face the change we’re in, accept what is, let go of what might be holding us back and learn and grow from the experience.

It takes a perspective that there are more positive things awaiting us on the other side and that it will be in fact better than where we are now.

It takes a growth mindset to focus on building the new. And that’s not for the faint hearted, as many of you know.

But what’s the alternative. When we stay focused on the past, we only get results that resemble the past. But when we focus on the future, as uncertain and unknown as it is, we open ourselves to possibilities we never could have dreamed up.

The choice is yours and starts with you. What do you choose?

Our Deepest Fear

Our Deepest Fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”  ~ Marianne Williamson ~

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

Most of the work I do with entrepreneurs and leaders is helping them step into their light, their power, their gift and their talents.

There’s this assumption that most of us are afraid of failure. But the evidence leads to the contrary. Most of us are more afraid of what awaits on the other side of our limiting beliefs.

Most of us are afraid of our own light.

What if you could give yourself permission to have the success you dream of? What if you could attract abundance and flow towards you so you wouldn’t have to go and hustle for it anymore?

What if you could do the work you love, live from your purpose and have a ‘why’ that you operate from every day?

What would be possible then?

Letting Go For Change

Letting Go For Change

Letting go is an essential part of change.

Sometimes we’re not aware of how much we hold onto the past or how much it holds onto us.

That’s why in order to move forward or ‘Fall Through Our Change’, we must be willing to let go, let go of our hurt, our disappointments, our pain and our beliefs that keep some of those things in place.

Letting Go is step three in my ‘Falling Through Change’ Model. To learn more about my model and how to fall through your change visit the Resources page.

And for now, what might you need to let go of in order to move forward on your journey of change?

Beliefs: The Key to Your Change

Beliefs: The Key to Your Change

If we want something we’ve never had, we have to do something we’ve never done and, here’s the secret key, and change beliefs we didn’t know need changing.

It’s our beliefs about ourselves that most often get in the way to making positive change in our lives. We may want something so bad, but if we don’t think we deserve it, are worthy of it, will be safe or the list goes on, then we will actually push away or sabotage the positive things that come as we move through the process.

Have you checked your beliefs lately? Do you really think you deserve it or are worthy of it? Perhaps it’s worth having a look.

And if you discover that your beliefs are actually standing in the way of your positive change, then I encourage you to be courageous and lean into the process of changing them to ones that support and facilitate your change.

Our Perspective Is Our World

Our Perspective Is Our World

Our perspective is our world, but it can also limit what we see.

We base decisions from our perspective.  We choose how we interact with others based on our perspective. The quality of our relationships can be dictated by our perspective. And what we achieve in our lives is often determined by our perspective.

Our perspective and our willingness to change it, can be the key to making positive change in our lives. When we have the courage to look at our perspective, question it and open ourselves to other perspectives, that’s when we see things we didn’t see before and learn about possibilities we never knew about.

So if you’re feeling stuck, frustrated or just can’t see the path ahead, try looking at your perspective and inquire if there’s another way of looking at things.

If Change Was Easy

If Change Was Easy

If change was easy, there would be no growth and transformation wouldn’t be possible. 

The butterfly doesn’t complain when it struggles to break through the chrysalis. In fact, it’s the struggle that completes the growth for the butterfly. 

If you helped pull the butterfly out of the chrysalis before it was ready, before it has struggled it’s way through, it wouldn’t be strong enough to survive in the wild.

So, if change is hard for you right now, it’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to challenge you, it’s supposed to be uncomfortable, it might even be painful. 

You might even be breaking open, so you can grow back stronger, wiser and more capable than you ever knew you were. .

So keep leaning in, embrace your change and everything that comes with it. Because the bigger the challenge, the bigger the growth. And the growth is so worth it all.