Life Coaching Exercises

E+R=O Event + Response = Outcome Life Coaching Exercise

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This exercise helps us understand why we keep experiencing the events we don’t want. It also shows us how to redirect our actions and responses to get the outcome we do want.

Preparation: Have your journal ready to take notes.

One Minute Meditation: Take a moment to relax, take a few deep breaths and center yourself.

Begin the Session: Begin by looking at the old response…

Think of an event in your life that keeps happening that makes you feel uncomfortable. Explain this event and describe what keeps happening that makes you feel uncomfortable. This could be something that you really want to change but feel like you have no idea how.

Event: Think of a person, place, situation or thing that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Response: Now ask yourself how you previously reacted or responded to the event. How could you have responded to the event differently?

Outcome: What was the outcome or result of the way you previously responded to the event?

Now let’s look at the new response…

New Response: How you will respond to the event now?

Remember, if you don’t like the outcome you previously got, then you have to change the way you respond to the event. If you change your response, you have to get a different outcome.

Desired Outcome: What do you expect the new outcome to be with your new response? What would you like the outcome to be? How could you respond to the event differently?

“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.” -W. Clement Stone.

Focus the session: Take a moment to visualize the new outcome.

Action Plan: What one thing are you willing to commit to? When will you do it? Why will you do it?

Life Coaching Exercises

Journaling

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Journaling is a powerful way to record and measure a person’s progress. It can also help us understand why certain things have happened in our lives by reviewing past events. Journaling is also a good way to remind us of the progress we have already made.

Here are a few examples of what types of journal you can keep:

  1. Simple writing – Every night before you go to bed make a few notes about the highlights of your day. This doesn’t need to be a long story; it could just be notes about things like people, feelings, colors, events, etc.
  2. Gratitude Journal – Every night before you go to bed, write at least three things you are grateful for. Example: I’m so grateful for my family, I am grateful for the ability to go to work today, I’m grateful for my health. Of course, more significant things may happen, but it’s okay to note the smaller things too.
  3. Dream Journal – Keep your journal near your bed and as soon as you wake up note your dreams, even if they don’t make any sense. You may look back at them later and understand their meaning.
  4. Worry Journal – Write your fears, worries, frustrations, anxieties, and all unwanted emotions down, describe your feelings. Then write what you would like to happen, or how you want to feel instead.

Automatic Writing: You can also use another form of journaling for finding answers to questions. Take any question that you need to be answered and just start writing about it. Write down the thoughts as quickly as they come to you. Just keep writing and writing. Pay attention to these thoughts, sometimes they come in the form of solutions. If you feel guided and find solutions, take action on them as quickly as possible.

Preparation: Purchase a personal journal.

Begin the Session: Choose one of the journaling methods listed above. Begin to implement this on a daily basis for three days then come back to this exercise and continue.

After three days: Once you have practiced the exercise for at least three days ask yourself these questions:

  • What was the most significant part of this exercise?
  • Did I learn anything new about myself or my situation?
  • What else would I like to get out of this exercise?
  • Does this exercise work for me and do I want to continue to journal?

Create an action plan:

According to what you’ve learned about this exercise, what action steps would you be willing to take? Hold yourself accountable and commit to the plan.

Authentic Self Teachings

Co-dependency in Relationships

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE INDEPENDENT?

To be independent means to be free from outside control and not depending on another’s authority yet being capable of taking care of one’s self, while being willing to ask for assistance when or if needed. 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE CO-DEPENDENT?

To be co-dependent means to be physically or psychologically addicted to any person or thing in an unhealthy way. Codependency is also a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement. When codependency and addiction occur together, the two behaviors can reinforce one another. 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE INTERDEPENDENT?

There is a difference between inter-dependency and codependency. In codependent relationships, the partners have difficulty being themselves while being in the relationship.

Often, codependent people feel that they “should” be independent. This leads to black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking: either you or totally independent, to the point of being unrelated, or you are codependent!

In fact, you cannot be both in a relationship and totally independent. The challenge is to be interdependent, recognizing that you need your partner and your partner needs you… but both of you also need to be individuals.

SYMPTOMS OF CODEPENDENCY:

People who have codependent behaviors often have the following symptoms:

  • Low self-esteem due to deeply held feelings of shame, guilt, inadequacy, and a need for perfection.
  • A need to make other people happy and a difficulty saying “no.”
  • Difficulty creating healthy boundaries and distinguishing responsibility for actions.
  • A need to control situations, people, and their own feelings.
  • Poor communication skills.
  • Obsessively thinking about other people and their own anxieties and fears.
  • Their own dependency on other people.
  • Fear of and issues with intimacy.
  • Negative and painful emotions such as depression, resentment, and despair.

LOW SELF-ESTEEM
Feeling that you’re not good enough or comparing yourself to others are signs of low self-esteem. One thing about self-esteem is that some people think highly of themselves, but it’s only a disguise — they actually feel unlovable or inadequate. Underneath, usually hidden from consciousness, are feelings of shame. Guilt and perfectionism often go along with low self-esteem. If everything is perfect, you don’t feel bad about yourself.

PEOPLE-PLEASING
It’s fine to want to please someone you care about, but codependents usually don’t think they have a choice. Saying “No” causes them anxiety. Some codependents have a hard time saying “No” to anyone. They go out of their way and sacrifice their own needs to accommodate other people.

POOR BOUNDARIES
Boundaries are sort of an imaginary line between you and others. It divides up what’s yours and somebody else’s, and that applies not only to your body, money, and belongings but also to your feelings, thoughts, and needs. That’s especially where codependents get into trouble. They have blurry or weak boundaries. They feel responsible for other people’s feelings and problems or blame their own on someone else. Some codependents have rigid boundaries. They are closed off and withdrawn, making it hard for other people to get close to them. Sometimes, people flip back and forth between having weak boundaries and having rigid ones.

A consequence of poor boundaries is that you react to everyone’s thoughts and feelings. If someone says something you disagree with, you either believe it or become defensive. You absorb their words because there’s no boundary. With a boundary, you’d realize it was just their opinion and not a reflection of you and not feel threatened by disagreements.

Another effect of poor boundaries is that if someone else has a problem, you want to help them to the point that you give up yourself. It’s natural to feel empathy and sympathy for someone, but codependents start putting other people ahead of themselves. In fact, they need to help and might feel rejected if another person doesn’t want help. Moreover, they keep trying to help and fix the other person, even when that person clearly isn’t taking their advice.

CONTROL
Control helps codependents feel safe and secure. Everyone needs some control over events in their life. You wouldn’t want to live in constant uncertainty and chaos, but for codependents, control limits their ability to take risks and share their feelings. Sometimes they have an addiction that either helps them loosen up, like alcoholism, or helps them hold their feelings down, like over-working so that they don’t feel out of control. Codependents also need to control those close to them, because they need other people to behave in a certain way to feel okay. In fact, people-pleasing and care-taking can be used to control and manipulate people. Alternatively, codependents are bossy and tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. This is a violation of someone else’s boundary.

POOR COMMUNICATION
Codependents have trouble when it comes to communicating their thoughts, feelings, and needs. Of course, if they are not aware of what they think, feel or need, this becomes a problem. Other times, they know, but they won’t own up to their truth. They’re afraid to be truthful because they don’t want to upset someone else. Instead of saying, “I don’t like that,” they might pretend that it’s okay or tell someone what to do. Communication becomes dishonest and confusing when they try to manipulate the other person out of fear.

OBSESSIVENESS
Codependents have a tendency to spend their time thinking about other people or relationships. This is caused by their dependency and anxieties and fears. They can also become obsessed when they think they’ve made or might make a “mistake.”Sometimes they can lapse into a fantasy about how they’d like things to be or about someone you love as a way to avoid the pain of the present. This is one way to stay in denial, discussed below, but it keeps them from living their life.

DEPENDANCY
Codependents need other people to like them in order to feel okay about themselves. They’re afraid of being rejected or abandoned. Others need always to be in a relationship because they feel depressed or lonely when they’re by themselves for too long. This trait makes it hard for them to end a relationship, even when the relationship is painful or abusive. They end up feeling trapped.

DENIAL
One of the problems people face in getting help for codependency is that they’re in denial about it, meaning that they don’t face their problem. Usually, they think the problem is someone else or the situation. They either keep complaining or trying to fix the other person, or go from one relationship or job to another and never own up the fact that they have a problem. Codependents also deny their feelings and needs. Often, they don’t know what they’re feeling and are instead focused on what others are feeling. The same thing goes for their needs. They pay attention to other people’s needs and not their own. They might be in denial of their need for space and autonomy. Although some codependents seem needy, others act like they’re self-sufficient when it comes to needing help. They won’t reach out and have trouble receiving. They are in denial of their vulnerability and need for love and intimacy.

INTIMACY
By this, I’m not referring to sex, although sexual dysfunction often is a reflection of an intimacy problem. I’m talking about being open and close to someone in an intimate relationship. Because of the shame and weak boundaries, you might fear that you’ll be judged, rejected, or left. On the other hand, you may fear being smothered in a relationship and losing your autonomy. You might deny your need for closeness and feel that your partner wants too much of your time; your partner complains that you’re unavailable, but he or she is denying his or her need for separateness.

EMOTIONS
Codependency creates stress and leads to painful emotions. Shame and low self-esteem create anxiety and fear about being judged, rejected or abandoned; making mistakes; being a failure; feeling trapped by being close or being alone. The other symptoms lead to feelings of anger and resentment, depression, hopelessness, and despair. When the feelings are too much, you can feel numb.

CO-DEPENDENCY AND ADDICTION:
Codependency and addiction are often closely related, as codependency was first associated with partners of alcoholics. Today, addiction is still one of the most common associations of codependency. How does this work?

People with a drug or alcohol addiction often have a range of problems stemming from their addiction. These may include:

  • Issues with work and money
  • Problems with other relationships
  • High-risk behaviors
  • A constant need for emotional support.

The codependent partner does what they can to support the addict through all of these trials and tribulations. There may be token gestures to help the addict get clean, but the addictive behavior is not resolved, and the difficult life circumstances continue.

Indeed, the codependent often helps the addict to engage in harmful behaviors, helps to clean up and cover for them. They may also provide money and other support.

Codependency is not always associated with addiction, but for those who are addicts, there is often a codependent. And, in many cases, the codependent often engages in addictive behavior themselves. It may happen that people in this situation both engage in codependent behavior. More frequently, however, one person will have more severe addiction issues, and the other will support them.

SELF EVALUATION EXERCISE

Preparation: Have your journal ready to take notes.

One Minute Meditation: Take a moment to relax, take a few deep breaths and center yourself.

Begin the Session: Ask yourself the following questions…

Am I co-dependent on anyone?

Am I co-dependent on anything?

If so, what does that look like?

How do I behave?

What or whom am I giving my power away to?

How does it serve me to be co-dependent?

How can I take my power back from this situation?

Is someone else co-dependent on me?

How can I act differently toward them?

Am I dis-empowering them by contributing to their co-dependency or addiction?

Create an action plan: What action are you willing to take to become more independent or interdependent? Write it down.

Life Coaching Exercises

Seven Step Breakthrough Life Coaching Exercise

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The Seven Step Breakthrough is a powerful coaching exercise that can help us visualize what we want, show us how we have responded to it in the past, realize what may have been blocking us from achieving it, and create an action plan for how to change that.

Preparation: Have a pen and paper ready or your journal to take notes.

One Minute Meditation: Take a moment to relax, take a few deep breaths and center yourself.

Begin the Session: Complete the next six steps, the seventh will come later.

THE SEVEN STEP BREAKTHROUGH 

Introduction

This is a simple yet empowering exercise that can help you get from where you are to where you want to be by using powerful Life Coaching techniques. The Seven Step Breakthrough can help to find answers or clarity in any situation and can also help with making decisions that you may be presented with at this time. This coaching exercise can be used every time you need answers or clarification and can be reused multiple times after. The motivation behind this breakthrough process is that “you have all the answers within yourself.” This seven-step process will take approximately one hour to complete, and has the most benefit when to finish completed in one session. Be prepared to take notes during this session. Journaling is very important when you are preparing to have a breakthrough! It allows you to record and measure your progress.

Step 1.  The Event 

An event can be a situation where you are looking for answers, direction, clarity, or insight on what action to take. Is this something that keeps happening? Is it an old pattern or habit that you would like to let go of?  Is it a new adventure that you’ve been wanting to experience? Are you interested in a new relationship or ending an old one? Is this the first time this has happened? What event will you be working on during this session? Take a moment to write down all the details about the situation and how it makes you feel. What is true about this event? Write down what emotions are associated with it and how it makes you feel.

*Take time now to journal about the event, or about questions that you are seeking answers to. Continue to the next step when you are finished.

Step 2. The Response 

If this event has happened in the past, how have you previously responded to it? How will you respond to it now? In every situation, you have the power to choose your response, and in every situation, your response will determine your outcome. If you knew that you could get any outcome you wanted just as a result of how you respond, what would your response be?  How does that make you feel? Our feelings are our guide to what action we should take. Does it feel good or does it make you feel discomfort? Take a moment to journal about all the ways you could respond, write them all down.  Visualize what kind of outcome you may get for each response. Then choose the appropriate response.

“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, then you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.”

*Take time now to journal about your new response to this event. Continue to the next step when you are finished.

Step 3. The Outcome

What would you like your outcome to be? How would it make you feel if you chose this outcome?  Is it in alignment with your feelings, beliefs, and values? If you had all of the support you needed, what would you like to experience? Be very detailed about what you would like the outcome to be. Visualize yourself already experiencing it. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that are created during this visualization. These emotions and feelings are like the glue that will attract this outcome to you. If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel like laughing, then laugh. The only thing to remember is to allow these emotions to flow along with the feelings of already having, being, or doing what you want.

*Take time now to journal about your future experience. Continue to the next step when you are finished.

Step 4. Take Action 

What steps have you already taken to move forward on this? Have you tried a different approach? Do you know the next step to take? If it’s someone you need to talk to, then schedule a time to contact him or them, or simply call them. If it’s somewhere you need to go, plan it. If you need money, expect it. If you are not sure how to do it, talk to someone who has already done it. What will you do? What action will you take? Who do you need to talk to? Where will you go? Remember, it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. The lessons you learn and the people you meet along the way are all a part of your journey. If you are familiar with the law of attraction, then you may have noticed that the key to manifesting what you want is to take action that is in alignment with your intention. Another clue is that the word action is within the word attraction, and the word act is within the word action. So by taking action, you can expect new opportunities to unfold, and by acting as if you already have it through visualization, new possibilities will present themselves.

*Take time now to journal about the action that you are willing to take and when you plan on taking it. Also, schedule a time each day that you will visualize the outcome you want. All you really need is five to ten minutes. Continue to the next step when you are finished.

Step 5. The Blocks 

What’s stopping you or blocking you? Is there something you are waiting for? Do you try to take action and keep running into blocks or distractions?  What are those blocks or distractions? How will you respond to them if they happen again?

When you take new action in any situation, distractions may show up to throw you off track. Learn to recognize them and face them. If you take no action, you may not get the response that you want. Let go of any negative thoughts or self-judgment that you may have. Remember, the worst thing that could happen is that you learn what not to do, while the best thing that could happen is that you learn what works and what to keep doing that. Most of us stay in our comfort zone, where we feel safe and comfortable, but in order to grow and get breakthrough results, we have to step outside of the zone of familiarity and into the scarier zone of the unknown. If you are feeling discouraged, uncomfortable, depressed, procrastinated or fearful, just remember that we always have a breakdown right before we have a breakthrough.

Follow your intuition, also referred to as your gut feeling or inner knowing. These are two similar feelings that we often get confused. One is a feeling that you shouldn’t do something because your inner guide knows it is the wrong action to take or the wrong words to say. If you go against this feeling, you may experience more blocks, or things just don’t work out the way you want. The other is a feeling of fear and just plain discomfort, but you know you have to do it. This one is the feeling you get just before you stretch and grow out of your old comfort zone. By trusting this feeling and facing your fears, you may experience the ease and inner peace. Things will just start working together like a puzzle. It is important to learn to differentiate when your inner guide is telling you no, and when your body is just telling you no due to experiencing something new and uncomfortable.

*Take time now to journal about the blocks that you may be experiencing, and how you will overcome them. Continue to the next step when you are finished.

Step 6. The Plan

What is the first thing you could do to take action? What do you feel like you can do right now? When will you do it? What one thing could you do to take action? Journal about what you could do to move forward with this event. Write it down as an action plan! When would be a good time or day that you will do it? Be very specific. Is it today, tomorrow, or this week? Schedule it, write it on your calendar so you can see it and schedule other events around it. Always make sure to be accountable and do it!  If you would like to have someone remind you, call a friend, family member, your coach, an accountability partner, or someone you can trust and ask them if they can remind you at a certain time right before the event. Make sure to also write on your calendar a day when you will do the follow-up session, and review your notes in your journal.

*Take time now to journal about the action that you are willing to take and when. Continue to the next step when you are finished.

Congratulations

Congratulations, you have completed this coaching exercise. I hope you gained more clarity or understanding around this event or situation by going through the process. Remember, if something unfavorable happens during this process, it is probably just a blessing in disguise. Within every problem, there is an opportunity to be unmasked. Everything that has happened up to this point has perfectly been supporting you on your journey. You can’t do it wrong, and you don’t make mistakes. Mistakes are just opportunities to learn from and grow from. Continue to the next step only when you are ready to review your progress after you have followed through with your action plan.

Step 7. The Follow-up & Review 

Write down what you did, how it went, and what the outcome was. Would you have done it the same way? Would you have done it differently?  Did you have an “aha” moment?  Did you get clarification, answers, or insight? By reviewing your progress, this helps validate the action that you have taken and helps set you up for your next action step. Measurable results are very useful in situations like these. Make sure to thank yourself for your accomplishments and willingness to move through this process. Now that you have completed the Seven Step Breakthrough program for this event, you can now use it over and over for any and all events, just start over with step 1.

I would love to hear your progress, thoughts, questions!