Living Her Passion – Allison Borji

Allison Borji has always considered herself a “creative.” Despite a challenging childhood that sadly included the traumatic loss of her father to suicide when she was just five and her own battle with severe depression, Allison always had a pen in hand and, as a self-professed hopeless romantic, loved writing poetry. After graduating magna cum laude from college with a degree in history, marrying her college sweetheart, and moving around the country as a military spouse, Allison began searching for a hobby that would help her become more reliant on herself and her abilities as she stepped outside her comfort zone.

By researching various types of art techniques and materials that appealed to her, Allison discovered she had a knack for combining colors to create beautiful artwork. As she began painting on a regular basis, Allison quickly realized the therapeutic benefits of creating art. The way the paint swirled and the ink spread on the canvas helped take her mind to a quiet place. After thoroughly studying a variety of mediums, Allison finally settled on fluid acrylic, watercolors, and alcohol inks.

When she begins painting, Allison rarely has a vision in mind of what she wants to create. Instead, she chooses a color palette that reflects her mood or the seasons and guides her to start the process creating abstract art. After reminding herself to let go of control, Allison lets her medium do the deciding. “That helps take the stress out of deciding what to paint,” she adds. Once she creates a piece, she lets it sit overnight and comes back to it after a day or two. Allison finds that extremely useful in helping her create art pieces that she loves. After about a week of assessing the piece, she adds varnish to ensure its longevity and vibrancy. Because of a harsh inner-critic she is always attempting to tame, Allison generally places one out of five pieces on her Etsy site to sell.

An Allison Borji original

An Allison Borji original

When Allison decided to open a shop on Etsy, she received heartfelt advice to “just do it.” Additionally, she was encouraged to take things at her own pace. “I knew if I opened a shop, I would feel pressure to consistently create more art. I have to remind myself daily that I am doing this because I love it, not because I have to,” says Allison. When a customer purchases a piece because they are going through the same emotional challenges as Allison, she is thrilled that her art is supporting their healing process. Her challenges have included learning how to photograph her art and size it properly to fit Etsy’s standards. “The way I see colors and the sheen on a canvas can greatly affect the photo,” Allison states. Another challenge she has battled is turning down commission work. “Learning to say no to commissions is essential to maintaining my love for making art. Because my whole philosophy revolves around ‘therapy through art’, the pressure and deadlines that come with commission work takes away the love I have for the art process,” adds Allison.

Supported by her family, friends, co-workers, and most of all, her husband Omar, Allison has come to realize that it is a gift to have found a passion that helps heal her soul, bring her peace of mind, and help others realize they are not alone. Today, she is better at motivating herself to take risks, growing comfortable with her identity, and becoming bolder in her decision making. Although each year comes with its own set of obstacles, she is learning how to breathe through them, finding humor in many situations, and adapting easier to change. “I am comfortable calling myself a different person than I was ten years ago,” Allison says, “Creating art has provided me a haven and coping mechanism that allows me to reduce the stigma of mental illness while providing hope to anyone battling personal challenges.”

Allison advises anyone ready to pursue their passion to just do it and don’t look back. “Stay true to yourself. Go with your instincts. Life is fragile and short. We can often get too caught up in what we need to do. Find your passion and make time for it. Life is hard, embracing your passion will only help make it more enjoyable and fulfilling.”

Henri Matisse once said, “Creativity takes courage.” Every day that Allison Borji steps into her art studio and lets inspiration take control, she is proving to herself—and all her customers—that anything is possible if we just trust in the process and believe we can.

An Allison Borji original

An Allison Borji original

To view and/or purchase Allison’s artwork, visit her shop “Ink & Bear It: Abstract Artworks by Allison Borji” at www.etsy.com/shop/inkandbearit.

A Look Back at 2018: Why the Failures Are Just as Important as the Wins

Photo by  Jean Gerber

Photo by Jean Gerber

Although December is generally a very busy month for the majority of us, it is also a great time to step away from the holiday parties, shopping, and buffet table to reflect on everything—the good, bad, and ugly—about the past year. Unfortunately, we often avoid reflecting on the bad and the ugly because, quite frankly, it stings and reminds us of things we’d rather forget.

In a 2018 blog profile, one of my interviewees stated that when she was considering opening her own business, she decided to study businesses that failed. When asked why, she added that she felt it was important to learn why businesses closed their doors, not just why they succeeded. Today her business is thriving because she took the time to face her fears, explore all options, and learn.

Failures are equally as important as successes in teaching life lessons.

Although we’d rather not think or talk about our failures in life, it is valuable to our personal growth to ask ourselves questions at the end of each year that prompt self-reflection and provide an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, what we want, and how we can move forward and transform a negative experience into a positive one.

For example, on September 20, 2018, the Cleveland Browns beat the New York Jets for their first win since December 24, 2016. In less than two years, they managed to turn a series of heartbreaking losses into an unyielding determination to prove their critics wrong.

Lessons extracted from failures can be transformed into positive energy
that fuels the achievement of future goals.

In job interviews, hiring manager sometimes ask candidates to discuss a time when they failed. It can be an agonizing moment in the interview for candidates. After all, we are trained in life to focus only on our successes. But the hiring manager has a reason behind the question. He/she wants to know if you are willing to take risks and, more importantly, if you are willing to learn from your mistakes.

 Failure provides an opportunity to learn from mistakes.

So when thinking about what you have achieved and not achieved in the last year, it is important to ask yourself a well-rounded set of questions that not only explore your wins and losses, but also help you find a direction forward:

What have I accomplished this year that I am most proud of?

What have I done that I wish I could take back?

What is the one constructive criticism I would like to work on and why?

Who in my life is holding me back from pursuing my dreams?

What is the one thing I wish I could have achieved this year that I didn’t?

How committed am I to learning from my mistakes? (Very, not so much, not at all)

How willing am I to take a risk in the next year? (Very, not so much, not at all)

What does failure mean to me?

What does success mean to me?

Once you have formulated and reviewed your answers to all of these questions, take some time to reflect. If you failed, why? Were you committed to your goals? Did someone stand in your way (or did you stand in your own way)? What are three lessons you learned from each failure?

 Reflecting on an entire year can be enlightening in many ways. Although it is scary at first, it is an important step in growing as a person, stepping outside your comfort zone, and learning lessons that you can carry forward into the future to better yourself and the world around you.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.

Living Her Passion – Julie Ricceri, Diana’s Papillion Tea Shop

Julie Ricceri, Owner of Diana’s Papillion Tea Shop

Julie Ricceri, Owner of Diana’s Papillion Tea Shop

When Julie Ricceri won a bag of tea from a Facebook contest hosted by The Papillion Tea Shop in 2016, she had just retired from a thirty-two-year career as a special education teacher. Married for thirty-three years and the mother of an adult daughter, Julie was looking forward to a new chapter without any idea that winning that bag of tea would become a pivotal moment in her life.

When Julie visited the tea shop to pick up her bag of tea, she chatted with an employee who was resigning. Julie, who was seeking work a few days a week, was eventually hired by Diana, the owner of the tea shop. Diana had cancer and needed someone to manage the shop while she received treatments. As a friendship between the two women developed, Diana confided in Julie that she wanted someone to take over the shop if the cancer ever became untreatable, perhaps five to ten years down the road. While Julie and Diana contemplated partnering together in the business, Diana traveled to Florida over Christmas. When she returned, she was too ill to work. Julie adds, “She was only able to make it in one more time before she passed away.” Her death left her grief-stricken husband, Des, with the overwhelming task of managing the shop as well as Diana’s affairs. After Julie agreed to stay on and run the business, she asked him to consider renaming the shop, Diana’s Papillion Tea Shop. He agreed and a year later, Julie purchased the shop from him.

Although Julie has always loved tea, she only drank unflavored green tea for its immune boosting power. Once she started working at the tea shop, she began learning about the health benefits of all teas. Today she definitely considers herself a tea aficionado who is passionate about the advantages of drinking a variety of teas cultivated from around the world.

Diana’s Tea Shop, Papillion, NE

Diana’s Tea Shop, Papillion, NE

While owning a business was daunting at first, Julie was inspired by Diana who she says had the imagination and unique abilities to open the shop. Diana’s husband, Des, offered great advice: enjoy every moment. “He didn’t want me to feel guilty about taking over the shop,” Julie adds. Before she tackles anything new, Julie always asks herself, “Would Diana like this? Is this something she would do?” Today, Julie has transformed into a confident entrepreneur who is slowly adding her own unique touches to the shop. Recently she added more tables and a cozy sitting area—a decision that has been very popular with her devoted customers. Her biggest challenge has been determining how much inventory to purchase and finding a balance between the demands of entrepreneurship and her need for occasional downtime. Her biggest surprise is how many of her customers have become her friends. “It really is a blessing,” she says, “I have a whole new set of people in my life that I would not have ever known had I not won that bag of tea!”

Julie’s husband, Ben, is her biggest supporter. He helps her with the books, cleans the shop, and assists with preparations for special events. Her daughter, Nina, also provides encouragement along the way. Finally, Diana’s family always expresses their gratitude to her for keeping the shop open.

Every day, Julie opens the shop at 10:00 a.m., ensures the tea is ready for sampling, stocks the shelves, checks on orders, answers customers’ questions, makes drinks, and chats with the customers. When asked what one word best describes her life today, Julie answered, “Full.” By pursuing her passion, Julie has gained a sense of satisfaction that comes with loving what she does. Although she never expected to be an entrepreneur, Julie has settled quite nicely into her new role and openly embraces everything that goes along with it. When she greets her customers warmly and offers them a place to decompress and enjoy a cup of flavorful tea, there is no question that Julie has found her home.

 Diana would be so proud.

 For more about Julie and the tea shop, visit www.dianaspapillionteashop.com or her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/papillionteashop/.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.

Why I Became a Life Coach

Vicky on a hike in the Beartooth Mountain Range, Montana, 2018

Vicky on a hike in the Beartooth Mountain Range, Montana, 2018

It’s a question I’m often asked: Why did you become a life coach? I am often reluctant to answer because as a life coach, the focus is on my clients, not me. When pressed, my answer is always short and simple: Because I love to help people find answers to their deepest questions about themselves and the world around them. But really it goes much deeper than that for me. Coaching others to achieve fulfillment, inner-peace, and their truth is my destiny. In short, I feel it is what I have been put on this earth to do.

As a professional writer for many years, I have become accustomed to questioning life and people around me. In doing so, I have learned that we all have a compelling story to tell. For decades, I had been informally guiding others through major decisions and obstacles when I decided to pursue a certification in life coaching. As my children matured and entered college and the world beyond, I knew it was time for me to follow my own dream. As I stepped outside my comfort zone and began an intensive training course, I was reintroduced to my love of engaging in the kind of deep conversations that instigate introspective reflection and inspire positive change.

To say I am a goal-driven person is an understatement. Setting goals drove me to write five books by the time I was forty-five; become a solo entrepreneur; ride a bike 150 miles in two days with a team; run through the notorious runner’s wall and finish many 10k races; and hike down the side of a mountain during a blizzard. Setting goals is how I made it through all the challenging times when my inner-strength was tested in more ways than I ever imagined. None of us are exempt from tragedy, loss, or heartache—and I am no exception. When I coach my clients to set goals and then hold them accountable to achieve them, it is not just because I have been trained to do that as a coach. It is because I’ve lived it and witnessed the positive results of goal setting first-hand.

Through all my life experiences, I have learned that there are two things most of us require to be happy: perseverance and a purpose. Finding the strength to persevere through the hard times is how I’ve survived all these years and created the life I want for myself. Realizing my purpose is what gets me out of bed every day and makes me look forward to every moment as an opportunity to illustrate to others all they can achieve after creating a clear plan and then taking action.

It brings me great joy when I guide a client out of the darkness and into the light to embrace what they thought was previously impossible. I have been known to jump up and down when I hear a client has stepped outside their comfort zone to achieve a dream, a goal, or a life-changing realization. One thing I have learned throughout the process of working with a variety of clients is that the size of the dream does not matter. What matters is the joy that comes with realizing they deserve everything they want and need in life.

Finally, being a life coach is much more to me than just guiding someone to achieve goals. Being a life coach reinforces my personal mission to share kindness and love with everyone who walks beside me on my path through life. Together we learn. Together we celebrate. Together we brainstorm. Together we are reminded that no matter what our challenges, we are never alone.

 “Taking personal accountability is a beautiful thing because it gives us complete control of our destinies.” ―Heather Schuck

If you are interested in learning more about how life coaching can help you achieve your goals and dreams, reach out to Vicky via the contact page.

 

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.

Living His Passion – Kevin Kinzley, Kinzley Photography

Kevin Kinzley, Kinzley Photography, Red Lodge, Montana

Kevin Kinzley, Kinzley Photography, Red Lodge, Montana

Even at a young age, Kevin Kinzley enjoyed looking at photographs. At age fourteen, he was first inspired to own a gallery after walking into Tom Mangelsen’s gallery in Omaha, Nebraska, and realized what a career in photography could look like. Yet it was not until his sophomore year of high school that his true passion for photography began taking flight. As he learned to roll his own film and process and develop prints, Kevin discovered that he was happiest in the dark room and while capturing landscapes and wildlife. But as his journey led him to attend Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, to study photography, Kevin slowly began to feel unsure about his path and eventually returned home to Rapid City, South Dakota, where he soon met his future wife, Jessica.

After a short stint as a ski bum at Crested Butte, Colorado, Kevin married Jessica. In the fall of 2009, they both returned to Northwest College where he re-enrolled in the photographic communications program and she pursued a nursing degree. After graduating in 2013, Kevin’s wife landed a nursing position at the hospital in Red Lodge, Montana—an area the couple had frequented through college to backpack, camp, and fish in the Beartooth Mountain range. “It was only fitting that Red Lodge would become the place we would start our careers and family,” adds Kevin.

Kevin was finally able to fulfill his long-held dream when he opened his gallery on the main street in Red Lodge in October 2016. Enthusiastically supported by his parents, wife, and others, today Kevin enjoys the ability to create and take action on his own ideas and thoughts on a daily basis. “Owning a business comes with a lot of sacrifice and discipline, but I know at the end of the day, I am creating something really great for my family,” says Kevin. A typical day starts early as he balances daddy and entrepreneurial duties. Some days, he brings his young daughter to work with him before she goes off to school. Once she is settled at school, he edits photographs, completes paperwork, and greets customers from around the world who visit his gallery. He says there are always jobs to work on, prints to order, or building maintenance items to check off his list. Because Red Lodge is essentially the base camp to the Beartooth Mountain range and Yellowstone and draws visitors from afar, Kevin states that he has shipped his prints as far as South Korea.

Photo by Kevin Kinzley (Big Horn Mountains, Lost Twin Lakes, Cloud Peak Wilderness, Wyoming)

Photo by Kevin Kinzley (Big Horn Mountains, Lost Twin Lakes, Cloud Peak Wilderness, Wyoming)

During his photography travels, Kevin has encountered a variety of wildlife including wolves, eagles, elk, birds, bison, owls, and even geckos in Hawaii. Living so close to Yellowstone and the Big Horn Mountain range the past nine years has provided Kevin with wonderful opportunities to capture creatures in their native habitats. “It’s always fascinating to witness and document their interactions without disturbing them,” he adds.

Kevin shares that he has learned much during his journey as an entrepreneur. “Pursuing my passion has taught me to look at the bigger picture and see all the reasons why I am doing this. At the end of the day, I love what I do. I am blessed that I get to pursue something I really enjoy.”

He offers great advice for someone interested in pursuing their passion in life. “Never walk away from your dreams because someone tells you it’s impossible. Find that support system that is going to build you up and be there when you fall short. Always have the ability to believe in yourself and know that although there are going to be bumps, they are all worth it in the end.”

Marc Riboud once said, “Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” Ever since he was a teenager gazing at Tom Mangelsen’s photographs in a gallery in Omaha, Kevin has been molding his life around his desire to capture the world around him and share it with others. Even when he tried to walk away, his passion for his craft called him back home to where he belongs—in a gallery in Red Lodge, Montana, where his photographs inspire others to stop, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and remember to live fully and with intention.

For more about Kevin and his gallery, visit http://kinzleyphotography.com/.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.

Three Ways to Overcome Fear

alexandra.gorn.photo

I know one thing we all have in common. We all wish that we could live our lives without fear—ever. From the moment we are born, our parents—while doing their best to encourage us to live independently—are also constantly reminding us of the dangers around us. “Be careful!” they say as we hop on a bicycle for the first time. “Don’t talk to strangers!” they announce as we walk to school. “Drive safe!” they yell as we slip behind the wheel with a new driver’s license in hand. “Lock the door!” they say when they leave us at home alone while they go out for dinner.

As we mature into adulthood, we understand all the reasons why we need to be safe behind the wheel. We know why we need to be wary of strangers. We know why we need to lock our doors. But do we really know how to face the everyday fears that often prevent us from stepping outside our comfort zones and living the life we know we deserve?

Following the three easy steps below can help us move through fear and become the best version of ourselves:

  1. Acknowledge fear. It may sound strange, but it is therapeutic to welcome fear when it knocks on your door. Greet it and invite it in. Close your eyes. Feel your heart racing. Feel your palms sweating. Then begin to breathe deeply. While breathing in, silently count to three. Then exhale through your mouth while counting to ten. When you feel calmer, you are ready to begin the second step.

  2. Take action. Fear grows best in an environment cultivated by paralysis. It is your job to overcome the paralysis by taking action steps that lead you in the direction you want to go. Find a piece of paper and begin by answering this question: “What is the best thing that will happen if I conquer this fear?” Once you have written down your answer, log three action steps underneath the answer. What can you do today that will take you one step closer to conquering this fear? Remember, these actions do not have to be overwhelming. Baby steps will also get you to the same destination.

  3. Focus on your long-term goals. On the same piece of paper, write down this statement and fill in the blank: “In five years, I want to be ____. Be as descriptive and lengthy as you want. Close your eyes again, but this time, picture the future. Really see yourself. What are you doing? Are you happy? Who is around you? Open your eyes and write down three specific goals that will lead you to what you just described in the statement above. Now welcome confidence as it knocks on your door. Greet it and invite it in. Feel the pride and excitement that comes with knowing your journey from this point forward will be fueled with confidence not fear.

By transforming fear into action steps, we become freer to pursue our goals and dreams. You are not perfect. None of us are. Fear is a natural emotion we all feel at one time or another. The good news is that you hold the key to conquering it.

 “One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises,

is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”

Henry Ford

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.

 

Living His Passion - Eric Moses

Eric.Moses

Eric Moses experienced a childhood filled with challenges. At age four, his brother passed away after an asthma attack, leaving Eric as the only child in his already small family. That event was more than enough for anyone to handle, let alone a young boy, but Eric was forced to face another challenge when his mother suffered a brain aneurysm when he was eleven. Although she thankfully survived, her life—and his—would never be the same.

While continuing on his unique coming-of-age journey, Eric played sports, which he believes helped to keep his head above water. He made friends, excelled in basketball, and built his self-confidence. Looking back, Eric says his true inspiration was his grandmother. She was always laughing, making him food, and allowing herself to be the safety net he needed whenever he started to feel down. Later, his father filled the same role, becoming Eric’s idol more and more as he came to understand and appreciate his father’s unwavering leadership and unconditional love during a time of great loss and beyond.

As Eric entered his teenage years, he battled addictions that caused him to let his family down, lose many friends, and also his sense of identity. Thanks to a newfound interest in the sport of boxing, Eric was able to not only fight and win within the ring, but also fight and win the battle within himself to conquer his addiction. Through it all, he learned a valuable lesson: always be prepared for change.

As he continued to transform his life, Eric’s mentors helped him find his way into college. He originally thought he wanted to be a teacher, then a geologist, and finally he joined the university’s English program where he discovered he could write about anything and not be judged for it. But as he entered his final year of college, Eric had absolutely no idea what he wanted to do. He says, “I think my desire to complete college showed me that I could try for anything and everything in life.” It was that desire that led him to graduate and help found Free Wheel Media, a one-stop-shop web site for the least-biased online news available. “We went from writing our own articles to aggregating articles, and then back to writing articles. It’s been a nonstop of testing to see what works, but we’re finally happy with what we provide the public,” Eric adds. “We help them stay informed, not brainwashed.”

Fueled by perseverance, his passion for sports, and a strong determination to find his sweet spot in life, Eric applied three times at his dream company—Hudl—that provides tools for coaches and athletes to review game footage and improve team play. On the third attempt, he attained his first interview and eventually landed a much-coveted role in sales. Although the role was out of his comfort zone, Eric settled in quickly by focusing on making his clients happy.

Today, Eric is fulfilled realizing how his life has come full circle. Through his love for sports, he landed a role at his dream company. Through his love for writing and editing, he founded an innovative web site that provides unbiased news to a large audience. He says, “Sometimes you get the worst news possible. Sometimes the easy way out seems exactly that: the easy way out. Fighting through my troubles and letting myself be open to change has really made me the person I am today. The most valuable thing in life is to never give up.”

Eric’s boxing coach, Wilfred Davis, offers sage advice. “Keep your chin down but your eyes up. Don’t let anyone knock you out, but always be prepared for a good punch to the nose. With those eyes up, you might be able to avoid that punch to the nose. With the chin down, you won’t get knocked out if you can’t evade it.” He takes his coach’s profound words to heart not just in the ring, but in life.

Eric has been through much in his young life, yet his story to date is living proof that whatever life throws at him, he can handle it through his strong belief in himself, his abilities, and a determination to focus on the small things that provide the greatest happiness every day.

Despite suffering heartbreaking loss and unimaginable setbacks, Eric is living proof that it is possible to persevere through challenges by always preparing for change, fighting through the darkness, and never giving up.

For more about Free Wheel Media, visit https://freewheelus.com/,

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.

 

How to Open Your Mind to the Possibilities

Photo by  Anton Darius

Photo by Anton Darius

Our mind is a powerful piece of machinery that can work in our favor—and also work against us. When imagining all the possibilities in life, sometimes it is easier to shut down than it is to ask “What if …?” While analyzing opportunities or possibilities, it can be helpful to break each decision down and write down all the pros and cons. Additionally, it is important to be completely honest with yourself during this assessment. You don’t have to show your list to anyone. This is just for you. For example, your question and list might look something like this:

What if I sold my house?

Pros

I would gain freedom from yard work, house repairs, and hefty property taxes.

I would have more time to pursue my passions.

I could invest the profit from the sale for retirement.

Cons

I would lose a solid investment that generally increases in value with each year.

I would lose a significant tax deduction.

I would lose space for my dog to run.

I would lose great neighbors who know me and look out for me.

Now it is time to sit back and evaluate the pros and cons. Are there more pros than cons or the opposite? Are your pros stronger than your cons? Are your pros and cons realistic (R) or are they fear-based (F)? Write an R or an F next to each pro and con. Do you have more Rs or Fs? Finally, ask yourself one last important question:

Am I making this decision for me or to make someone else happy?

Although we all sometimes make decisions based on what is best for our families, it is equally as important to make decisions that fill our happiness tanks and give us a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Is this decision taking you to where you want to be? If not, it’s time to re-evaluate again.

Another example might be this question:

What if I take the job?

Pros

I would gain a 20% increase in annual salary and bonus incentives.

I would gain the kind of skills that I need to pursue my dream job.

I would gain a relationship with a superior who is nurturing, kind, and supportive.

I would be free from a negative culture that does not support the growth of its team members.

I would have regular hours that would allow me more time with my children.

Cons

I will lose three weeks of vacation.

I will lose the feeling of security.

I will lose an office with a door.

When contemplating career changes, it is crucial to your decision-making process to evaluate the role based on facts gathered through research, the culture of the prospective company, the personality and management style of your potential boss, and most of all, the gut feeling you get when you walk in the door for the interview. Trust it. It doesn’t lie.

Other sample questions might be as follows:

What if I move to Los Angeles?

What if I end my marriage?

What if my son goes away to college three states away?

No matter what decision looms in front of you in the future, following this process of opening your mind to the possibilities will lead you to the answer. If it doesn’t, perhaps it’s not the right time for a change.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.

 

Living His Passion – Ben Evers

Ben Evers, Farm Focused

Ben Evers, Farm Focused

When Ben Evers was young, his parents purchased property outside Plattsmouth, Nebraska, with the intent of creating a horse farm. Little did he know at the time that the move would be the single most impactful change in his life. As life on the farm presented him with daily opportunities to perform chores, creatively solve problems, work with his hands, and develop a variety of skills, Ben grew up understanding the value of fulfilling work that instills pride. Additionally, he watched his mother walk away from a corporate job to start her own business. As her company developed and grew, Ben was by her side, helping whenever and however he could. Despite his desire to pursue other interests that included playing sports and riding a dirt bike, Ben never forgot the valuable life lessons he learned during his childhood.

After graduating from the University of Nebraska with a degree in Business Management and marrying his wife, Morgan, Ben pursued a career in retail management that took him from big box stores to a family-owned automotive collision repair shop and finally to a major auto parts supplier where he progressively moved up the ladder to become a district manager who oversaw over 200 employees. In 2015 after deciding that fulfillment was more important to him than chasing the dollar, Ben moved with his wife and their three children back to Nebraska with the intent of starting a business and getting back to his roots. A few months later, Farm Focused was founded near the horse farm where Ben first learned to embrace the country life and the value of hard work.

Driven by his love of working with farmers and a respect for agriculture, Ben started the business based on the idea of bringing efficiencies to local growers through soil additives at planting time that ultimately allow the grower to use less inputs (synthetic fertilizers and fungicides) and increase the health of the soil. Additionally, Ben focused his business on improving efficiencies of the diesel engine, the heartbeat of the farm. As the business grew, Ben added another sector to his brand by creating lifestyle apparel items that he originally created as thank you gifts and marketing collateral. Before long, a demand for his apparel helped him discover that there are surprises in every business. Ben states that he eventually realized that Farm Focused is not just a company that helps farmers, but also a relatable brand that people want to be a part of, no matter where they live or work. Since creating a great logo, Ben has built the line from one t-shirt to 10 separate designs in both unisex and female cuts, seven hat designs, and has even branded socks. Ben adds, “The growth of this side of the business has happened very rapidly. Today we are at a point where we are ready to take it to the next level.”

The farmers that Ben deals directly with on a daily basis all primarily grow corn and soybeans. He states that one of their biggest challenges is the current state of the commodity market. Unfortunately as smaller acre farmers start to fall off and massive yield farmers continue to produce higher yields than ever before, an increase in supply is outrunning the demand. Because of this, there are many progressive growers who are looking for better ways. That is where Farm Focused steps in to help.

A typical day at Farm Focused involves office business as well as time working on a diesel engine, walking fields conducting comparison analyses between treated and untreated soil, or staffing a booth or space at a county fair or other event. The company continues to evolve and change as Ben learns more about the industry and identifies opportunities to bring further products and services under its umbrella.

Ben openly welcomes the personal growth he has experienced over the last few years. “I have seen a different side of life and I am a happier and more content person today. Professionally, I have gained new perspectives that have allowed me to look at things a little differently.” He advises those who want to pursue their passion to build self-confidence first and then decide that you are going to make it, no matter what unexpected obstacles pop up on the path to living a dream.

John D. Rockefeller once said, Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." Three years ago, Ben Evers did just that when he stepped outside his comfort zone, listened to his heart, walked away from a corporate job, and jumped into building a business that would not only provide him with fulfillment, but also support his family. As he walks the fields and searches for innovative ways to help those who provide the world with food, there is no question that Ben is putting his all into going for the great. Rockefeller would be proud.

For more about Ben and his business, visit http://www.farmfocused.com/.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.

Why Practicing Gratitude Makes Us Happier

Photo by Jessica Castro

Photo by Jessica Castro

Practicing gratitude can be one of the most challenging practices we do on a daily basis, especially when someone cuts us off in traffic, our children are sick, we lose a loved one suddenly, or our boss asks us to work late for the fifth day in a row. Yet as difficult as it can be sometimes, the practice of remembering what we are grateful for has tremendous benefits.

According to a recent study at UC Berkeley, people who wrote gratitude letters reported feeling significantly better mentally several weeks later. Additionally according to another study published in Personality and Individual Differences, participants who practiced gratitude stated they felt healthier and experienced fewer aches and pains. Other reported benefits through a variety of studies include better sleep, less aggressive behavior, improved self-esteem, and enhanced empathy.

In order for a gratitude practice to be successful, it is important to set aside a certain time every day to identify what you are thankful for in your life. The best time to begin practicing this technique might be at bedtime. Place an empty notebook and pen next to your bed. Every night before shutting off the light, close your eyes, place your hand over your heart, slow your breathing, and focus on what matters most to you. Then open your eyes and write this sentence in your gratitude journal:

Today I am grateful for …

Let the words flow. Chances are that what you end up writing will surprise you. In most instances, the things you find you are grateful for will not be material items like cars, boats, or a sparkly new piece of jewelry. Instead, your daily gratitude statements might look more like this:

Today I am grateful for a warm bed.

Today I am grateful for a hug from a friend.

Today I am grateful for my health.

Today I am grateful the laughter of my children.

Today I am grateful for a great conversation with my boss.

Today I am grateful that I had my mother in my life as long as I did before she passed.

Although practicing gratitude through daily journaling is the most effective way to see results, it is important to note that you can practice gratitude wherever you are, whenever you want. You can practice gratitude in the car while at a stoplight. Look at the sky. Quietly reflect on its beauty and then practice gratitude for the gift of nature. You can practice gratitude while in a meeting. Look around at all your co-workers. Find gratitude for all the different personalities because it is the unpredictability of life that keeps you from feeling bored. Practice gratitude while in the grocery store. Look at all the food available at your fingertips. Be thankful as there are many people in the world who do not share the same luxury.

After practicing gratitude every day for several weeks, pay attention to how you are feeling. Seeing results does not provide you a pass to stop the practice. Continue on, no matter where life takes you from here.

By focusing on the simple gifts that life provides us every day, it is possible to transform our thinking into a more positive mindset that promotes fulfillment, happiness, and inner-peace.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.