Vicky DeCoster life coach

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

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During the early part of 2019, a college admissions scandal involving several wealthy parents stole the headlines for months. These parents, while seemingly attempting to keep up with other parents, bought their way into prestigious and competitive colleges they wanted their children to attend. One of the rumors surrounding this story was that some of the parents attended parties, heard where other parents were sending their children, and then, fueled by the mistaken belief that in order to be accepted by their peers, they would have to do whatever it took—even if it was illegal—to ensure their children could attend the same schools. Imagine the pressure they must have felt to take such desperate measures.

Trying to keep up with others in life is exhausting. While constantly focusing on what others are doing rather than our own journeys, it allows us to escape our reality—good or bad—and turn the attention away from ourselves and what we need to change in order to attain what we want in life.

Race horses are often given blinders to keep their attention on what is ahead when galloping around a racecourse. It has been said that blinders were invented when a preacher placed a wager that his horse could walk both up and down the stairs in his house. The horse walked up the stairs just fine. But when the horse refused to turn around and go back down, the preacher covered the horse’s head. Moments later, the horse headed down the stairs and the preacher won the bet. Turns out, the blinders encouraged the horse to take chances it would not normally take.

From this point forward, imagine you are a racehorse. Put your blinders on and focus on not just the path in front of you, but also the finish line. Take others out of your line of vision and stop being someone you’re not. Give yourself permission to pursue your life, your path, and your destiny.

Find a quiet place to reflect on a few questions. Where do you want to be in five years? How do you plan to get there? What strengths and skills do you have to get to where you want to go? What is your purpose? Then make a plan. Draw a road map. Create a vision board. Develop attainable goals based on your plan. Find someone to hold you accountable to your goals and vision. Make adjustments as necessary along the way. Stay positive. Become your biggest fan. And then, just like the horse long ago, take a chance you would not normally take.

All of us are born with unique skills and talents. What prevents us from pursing those talents is the insecurities that arise when we compare ourselves to others. While mistakenly believing that others have everything we want and more, we become bogged down by goal-stopping statements like, “Life is unfair. Why does Joe get everything he wants?” Think about this. Maybe Joe’s destiny is different from yours. Perhaps you are here for another equally as important reason.

Today put your blinders on and find that reason.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach based in Omaha, Nebraska, who specializes in helping clients both locally and nationwide to 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 – Kim Shaw, Photo Artist

Kim Shaw working on a photo art creation.

Kim Shaw working on a photo art creation.

Creativity is in Kim Shaw’s blood. Ever since she was a little girl, she has enjoyed taking photographs, drawing, and painting. As she matured and ventured out on her own, she was encouraged to find a career that offered stability and a predictable salary. While married, working in a variety of corporate roles and as a nanny, and raising her daughter, Brianne, Kim began photographing weddings, portraits, and even school photos. As her job as a nanny took her around the world, Kim captured beautiful scenes and landscapes from many of her trips. Later after learning her great-grandfather was a photographer and digging through his vintage images, Kim began contemplating how she could enhance and restore those images and ultimately transform them into artwork. “A photograph is frozen in time,” Kim says, “I want to know what they were going through in their lives at that very moment.”

Everything changed in 2010 when divorce set Kim on a path of healing where she eventually met with a life coach who guided her to explore new mediums that included acrylic painting on photographs. After taking a couple of classes and receiving a gentle push from a friend, Kim began painting—first for family who asked her to paint as gifts and then for a gallery owner who asked her to paint in her gallery “live” on Saturdays. It wasn’t long before her business, PhotoArt by Kim, was founded and she was on her way to pursuing her passion.

Kim’s award-winning artwork.

Kim’s award-winning artwork.

Kim’s photo painting process begins with an image in any condition. “If it’s not in digital form, I’ll scan it digitally and then print it on canvas,” she adds. “Then I prepare the surface of the canvas with a matte medium and begin painting with acrylic, following either her intuition or the customer’s guidance.” Kim says that most of her commissions are inspired by the clients, as they generally have a vision of what they want. After the painting has dried, each piece is varnished with UVA protective coating.

Kim’s art niche is in gift giving. Her clients possess vintage and classic images from every walk of life—grandpa and his first car; grandma in her twenties, the father a customer never met; a family homestead in the 1950s, and beloved pets. Since 2012, Kim has completed over 50 commissions. Her customers find her at art shows and other events where they enjoy viewing her completed pieces and hearing all the stories surrounding her artwork. “I’ve found that most people want to meet the artist before they invest in artwork,” she adds. Her favorite part of creating art is seeing the reactions of her clients when they see their artwork for the first time. “Usually we cry together because the photo image means so much to them. When they see where I was able to take the photograph, it becomes a healing experience.”

Her parents are her biggest supporters. Her mother, who is in her late seventies, is now taking oil painting classes for the first time in her life. Kim proclaims she has gained complete fulfillment by pursuing her passion. “The joy I have when a client cries over their completed artwork is very spiritual,” she adds. Today Kim keeps busy with a new creative group she has formed and with exploring other mediums like abstract painting. Her advice to anyone wanting to pursue their passion is, “If you love it, then do it! Love is your fuel. Be your own customer first.”

Kim with a happy client.

Kim with a happy client.

Angel Haze once said, “True artistic expression lies in conveying emotion.” Kim Shaw offers her customers the inspirational gift of artfully recapturing moments in the lives of their ancestors, their friends, and themselves and providing them with a keepsake that draws emotions to the surface and keeps those moments alive for the next generation to appreciate. Through the pursuit of her artistic passions that provide others with so much happiness, Kim is leaving a legacy that will last long beyond her time here on Earth.

For more about her artwork or to reach out to Kim about a commission piece, visit https://www.facebook.com/photoartbykim/.

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.

 

What We Can All Learn from a Lifelong Adventurer

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I first met Dr. John Davis in 2001 when I was assigned to write a feature story about him and his siblings after they traveled across Nebraska on a tour that had been on their family’s bucket list for many years. John and his brother, Herb, wanted to take their sister, Petie, a long-time Boston resident, back to their family ranch in Cody, Nebraska, while also touring the rest of the Sand Hills. As I profiled John and his siblings, I soon learned he was the author of Too Tough to Die, a fictional account of life in a small town in the Nebraska Sand Hills, inspired by the town of Cody. John and I had a love of writing in common—and as it turned out, we were more alike than not in many more ways.

After the article was published in the Omaha newspaper, John offered to take me to lunch to thank me. I was thrilled to meet him in person. By the time our paths crossed, he was in his late seventies and I was in my late thirties. As we conversed over lunch, I learned that John graduated from Yale, served in the Navy as a captain of a ship during World War II, practiced general surgery for years with his father, and owned a golf course/tennis center. He was madly in love with his wife of fifty-plus years, and adored his children and grandchildren. He was an avid horseman, golfer, tennis player, painter, and hunter. But more than that, John was an adventurer. We were kindred spirits.

As our friendship developed, John and I stayed in contact through emails, a letter every year on my birthday, and an annual lunch. When his brother (and best friend) passed away, John told me how much he missed him. When his beloved wife died, he grieved once again. After he eventually found love with another wonderful woman, he proudly introduced her to me. As we grew to become close friends, we exchanged lively stories of our adventures. I told him of the time I backpacked down the side of a mountain in a blizzard, helped rescue a man who collapsed on a Minnesota trail, and bravely confronted my fears of grizzly bears while hiking in Montana. As he aged, he continued to ride horses, hunt, and golf. He often delighted in proudly announcing, “I’m the oldest person on the golf course!” In Nebraska, John looked forward to hunting season as much as he did when he was a boy. While wintering at his home in California, John loved four-wheeling in his Hummer. One day a few years ago, I received a letter from John confessing a terrible mistake. He and three friends had gone four-wheeling in his Hummer in the desert. After a wrong turn led John, who was by now in his early 90s, to realize they were lost, he and his friends huddled together on the cold desert floor all night in an effort to keep warm. When the sun rose, a rescue helicopter arrived to save the group. Finally after much persuasion, he reluctantly agreed to trade in the Hummer for a more practical mode of transportation. Still, he golfed and joyfully reminisced about his past adventures whenever he had the chance.

This year, I didn’t receive a letter on my birthday. I began having a nagging feeling that something was wrong. Just a few days after Thanksgiving, I learned John had died at the age of ninety-six. He left behind his sister, Petie, his second wife, Marlene, seven grandchildren, fourteen great-grandchildren, and of course, many friends just like me.

John was many things: a loyal friend; a talented horseman, hunter, and writer; a loving husband, father, and grandfather; and the kind of surgeon who, when holding the scalpel, treated every one of his patients like he would a member of his own family. But John was also an adventurer who lived life. He welcomed opportunities to meet new people, step outside his comfort zone, and grow personally—even well into his nineties.

I know Dr. John Davis would be thrilled that I am profiling him once again. But he would be even more thrilled if he knew this profile had somehow encouraged each one of you to pursue adventure, to live life with gusto, and to love each other like there is no tomorrow.

As you look forward into a new year, take John’s enthusiasm for life and pass it on to everyone you come in contact with on a daily basis as well as your children, family, and friends. Age well. Embrace adventure. Pursue your dreams. Climb a mountain. Go four-wheeling. Golf until they have to carry you off the course. Be a good person. Because I promise that when the end comes, none of us will ever regret a life well lived.

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.

 

Five Ways to Work through Life’s Challenges

Photo by Koushik Chowdavarapu

Photo by Koushik Chowdavarapu

Life has a way of throwing challenges our way when we least expect them. One day we’re motoring along on our journey through life without major bumps in the road. But then when we least expect it, life throws a curve in the road that sends us in a direction we never anticipated. Oftentimes, an unexpected turn of events causes us to wonder if we are expected to overcome obstacle alone.

Navigating through challenges is like driving in a snowstorm. Even though you are a cautious driver, your car suddenly hits a patch of ice and, in just a few seconds, lands in a ditch. As you assess the situation, you realize you are the only car on the road. Suddenly you begin to panic. You have two choices: to attempt to shovel yourself out or to call for help. It’s hard to know what to do.

Unfortunately we will all face our own snowstorm at one point or another in life—and the same two choices. So, how do we know when to shovel ourselves out of a situation or ask for help? Here are five ways to work through a challenge and determine whether you need help from an expert:

1.      Assess the situation objectively. If your car is stuck in a ditch during a snowstorm, you’re going to get out and look at how bad it is, right? Then you’re going to determine if you can shovel your way out or if you need a tow truck. When assessing the situation, view the challenge as a stranger would. What is the worst possible outcome? Can I solve this challenge on my own and remain safe? What are the ways I can solve this challenge?

2.      Try a few solutions on your own first. Stay calm and go into problem solving mode. Mentally go over solutions or list them out on paper. Work through the problem one step at a time, just like a math student would. Select one of the options and try it. If it doesn’t work, try another. If your problem is not solved within a comfortable timeframe, then it is time to try another option.

3.      Be open. When seeking help from an outside source, you must first be honest with yourself and then with them. By showing your true self and communicating candidly, you are allowing the person who is trying to help see the entire picture, not just the movie trailer. Be open to ideas and solutions. Be willing to walk down a new path to find the answers.

4.      Learn from the challenge. What is your positive takeaway from this challenge? Could you have prevented it from happening? If so, how? If the challenge was unpreventable, determine one lesson you can extract from the experience that will help you become a better person. Remember, in every experience—good or bad—there is something to learn.

5.      Look forward, not back. It is easy to continually reflect on our most challenging moments, especially when they were negative. But when we are always looking back, it doesn’t allow us to see the beauty in front of us. Chalk up your challenge to a valuable life lesson and, as quickly as you can, do your best to move on.

Working through life’s challenges can be … well … challenging. Following these five steps will help guide you out of the snowstorm and to embracing the message behind the challenge, realizing a newfound resilience, and finding your way back to the road that leads to achieving all your goals.

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 – Caleb Pollard

Scratchtown Brewing Company partners (L-R): Shay Reilly, Jade Stunkel, Mike Klimek, and Caleb Pollard

Scratchtown Brewing Company partners (L-R): Shay Reilly, Jade Stunkel, Mike Klimek, and Caleb Pollard

When he was a kid growing up outside Nehawka, Nebraska, Caleb Pollard really wanted to be a farmer, just like his dad. But when life took his family in a different direction, Caleb instead attended college, married, and eventually landed roles in the private sector as well as in economic development policy and consultation. Through his work, Caleb interacted regularly with prospective and current small business owners. To witness each of them chase their dreams and work toward goals was incredibly inspirational for Caleb. From that point on, he was hooked on entrepreneurship. In 2008 as career advancement and family led Caleb and his wife, Christine, to the edge of the Eastern Sandhills in Nebraska, he had no idea that a yet-to-be-identified passion was about to begin brewing.

After marveling at the variety of beer in his local bottle shop in the early 2000s, Caleb started home-brewing with a co-worker. His venture into brewing was accidental. Caleb says, “I loved the creativity, independence, and connection to agriculture that was the beer industry.” After traveling extensively and visiting wineries and breweries across the United States, Caleb decided he was ready to pursue a new business venture.

The idea of founding a brewery in Ord, Nebraska, started as any good business does: over beers and a cocktail napkin in 2009. Once he met partners who were as passionate about brewing beer as he was, Caleb knew they had to pursue the opportunity or live a life of regret. Still, he knew that timing was critical and patiently waited for the right opportunity to transform his passion to reality. In 2011, he and his partners formulated their goals and plan of action. In January 2012, they established the company, sought financing, and acquired real estate in downtown Ord. On December 1, 2012, Caleb and his partners broke ground. Ten months later, they opened the doors to Scratchtown Brewing Company. In the summer of 2013, Caleb left his secure job and dived into the business full-time. Inspired by the advice of a former business owner—“You are either all in or you are not. There is no such thing as half-pregnant.”—Caleb accepted that entrepreneurship is not for the uncommitted. He adds, “It was a startling, humbling, and hard lesson to learn.”

Today, Caleb relishes in entrepreneurship that comes with three benefits: creativity is rewarded financially, the buck stops at his desk, and success is derived from a team effort. Whether times are good or challenging, he is thankful for the support he receives, both personally and professionally. “That engagement helps me work through the ups and downs of business ownership,” Caleb states. “Having a solid network of people that help you keep perspective is essential to getting beyond this self-is-my-business mindset.”

Scratchtown Brewing Company has evolved into a solid, profitable business. With a growing payroll and forty percent of the brewery’s business now outside of Ord, Caleb is thrilled to see Scratchtown bring much happiness to his community and beyond. He adds, “To have brand recognition in other states, not just Nebraska, tells me we’re building a reputation based on excellence and good storytelling. That’s exactly what we set out to do.”

Caleb has great advice for anyone wanting to pursue their passion in life. “Make sure your passion will actually make you money and make you happy … you can’t perpetuate a business unless it perpetuates itself.”

Steve Jobs once said, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” When one walks into Scratchtown Brewing Company, sits at the bar, and samples one of their delicious beers while conversing with one of the owners, it soon becomes evident that Caleb and his partners are passionate about what they do and that determination fuels their journey every day.

Life has come full circle for Caleb. Now as a business owner who persistently sets and works toward goals, he is successfully chasing his dream—and perhaps in the process, quietly inspiring another young person who has no idea their own passion is brewing.

For more information about Scratchtown Brewing Company, visit http://scratchtown.beer/.

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 – Brenda Herrod

Brenda Herrod, IPE Masters Figure Pro Card winner, 2017.

Brenda Herrod, IPE Masters Figure Pro Card winner, 2017.

As Brenda Herrod neared her fortieth birthday nine years ago, she was deeply entrenched in the darkness of grief after losing her mother, her brother, and father—all to cancer and within an eighteen-year timeframe. While standing at a crossroads and uncertain where to go next, Brenda began relying on exercise as a natural antidepressant. A wife, mother of two, nurse for fifteen years, and in graduate school to attain her nurse practitioner in women’s health care and Master of Science in Nursing, Brenda was certainly busy but determined to do whatever it took to decrease her risks of dying of the same horrible disease.

Although she lifted some weights, Brenda mostly focused on cardio, until a friend told her about Buffmother, an online group of women focused on healthier lifestyles. After joining and losing thirty-five pounds in a “Superstar Success” contest through Buffmother, Brenda became intrigued by the weight training transformation process. “I realized life was short and decided I wanted to get healthier and in better shape,” says Brenda. “My passion and love for bodybuilding, competing, health, and fitness has only grown stronger since.”

Brenda started competing in 2009 and won second place in Master’s Figure for ages 40 and up in her first natural figure competition. Since then, she has competed in six additional contests and won several awards (including first place wins in several categories). Still, Brenda wasn’t satisfied and set a goal for herself to earn her Pro Card in the International Professional Elite for the NANBF Federation. On October 21, 2017, she competed in her seventh natural figure competition and won first place in the GONC Figure Masters class. Even better yet, she finally attained IPE Figure PRO status. A thrilled and proud Brenda says, “Age is just a number, just like the number on the scale.” She feels blessed beyond belief to be healthy, fit, and able to pursue her passion.

Fitness, weight training, and healthy eating has become her way of life and has even influenced her career. Brenda is a nurse practitioner practicing as the coordinator of the Better Living Program (a weight management program) for the employees of the Nebraska Methodist Health System. “Bodybuilding has become my way of life. I live it, breathe it, and love it!” she adds. “It gives me such a sense of pride to know that I have sculpted my body into an entirely different look. Weight training, cardio, and keeping a positive mindset combined with good nutrition is the greatest thing we all can do to stay young and healthy.”

A typical workout includes a warm-up on the stepmill or elliptical followed by free weights. Brenda always switches up the exercises to keep variety in her routine, work different muscle groups, and prevent injury. She occasionally uses machines, but also enjoys kettlebells, box jumps, band workouts, sliders, pushing the sled, and jump roping to achieve high intensity interval training. Brenda loyally follows a precise diet, especially prior to a competition, which helps her lose fat and build and retain muscle.

Her support group is large, and Brenda swears by the positive influence they all have on her, in one way or another. She is overwhelmed with support from her competition team under the direction of Matt Jackson, as well as from her husband, two adult children, other family members, fellow co-workers, Better Living clients, friends, and trainers at two gyms.

Brenda is passionate about sharing her healthy lifestyle with others. In her full-time role as nurse practitioner/wellness coach at Nebraska Methodist Health Systems, she encourages employees to believe in themselves, keep a positive mindset, and change habits to keep weight off for good. Brenda says it is very rewarding for her to see the progressive changes in her clients. “By losing weight and changing their body composition, every single part of their life and health is improved,” she proudly states.

Brenda (front and center) with her Lift Like A Girl weight training class at Methodist Health Systems.

Brenda (front and center) with her Lift Like A Girl weight training class at Methodist Health Systems.

It is obvious when talking to Brenda that she is most happy when making a difference, not just in her own life, but in the lives of everyone she meets. “It is the best thing in the world when someone tells you that you inspire them,” she adds, “and even better to see them get off their medications and become healthier and more confident.”

She advises anyone who wants to pursue their passion in life to go for their dreams. “You only live once and you never know how much longer you have. Don’t put it off. Your passion will show if you do what you love. You will make a difference.”

Laurence Shahlaei once said, "Your love for what you do and willingness to push yourself where others aren't prepared to go is what will make you great." Brenda is a living example of what it means to emerge from the darkness of heartbreak and transform into a positive influencer who passionately encourages others to achieve their greatest potential through healthy eating, consistent exercise, and, most importantly, by believing they can do it too.

Yes, Brenda Herrod is strong. But the difference is that she is strong not just on the outside, but on the inside as well.

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 Build Drive in Teens and Young Adults

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It’s easy to place the dreaded “lazy” label on someone who appears from the outside to lack drive on the inside. But when thinking about the bigger picture, it’s important to recognize that there may be deeper, underlying issues that are prompting the lack of motivation. Thankfully there is good news. Through careful guidance, unbiased listening, and authentic encouragement, it is possible to build drive in someone who is seemingly floating through life without direction.

Teenagers and young adults are often the victims of this negative label. They may be living the life their parents want for them or haven’t yet discovered the one thing they love to do more than anything else. Simply put, they have little reason to get out of bed in the morning. So they don’t. This type of behavior angers those who love them, and ultimately causes rifts, frustration, and perhaps even depression.

So what can you begin to do as parents to help your children move in a positive direction?

1.      Help them identify one or more passions or strengths. Although it is tempting to transfer our own agendas onto our children, it is often a strategy that unfortunately backfires. We are all on our own journeys in life, each with different passions and strengths. Therefore what might work for you, may not work for your child.

As early as possible, begin asking simple questions like, “What do you love to do more than anything else in the world?” If they answer, “Sketching landscapes,” then it’s time to encourage them to sign up for a community art class at a local museum. If they reply, “Helping others,” then begin guiding them to find an interesting community organization and then reach out to begin volunteering. If they respond, “I enjoy solving math problems,” then help them find a way to tutor students whose strengths lie in other areas. If they answer, “I love to write,” it’s time to inspire them to begin journaling, writing stories to publish, or even meeting with a local author. Through a process that focuses on more listening than advising, he or she will eventually identify their passions and unique strengths.

2.      Communicate that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s really true that we learn much more from our failures than our successes. But too often our good intentions as parents cause us to focus on protecting our children from failure rather than teaching them how to deal with failure. When your child makes a mistake that does not cause irreparable harm to others or endanger himself or herself, push aside your own worries about how others will view you as a parent and become unattached to the outcome. Then begin sharing stories of the mistakes you have made in your own life, what you learned, and how you recovered to become a better person. Through an open and honest dialogue, you are gently guiding your child to understand that mistakes are part of life and that you do not, under any circumstances, expect perfection.

3.      Assist them in creating a plan. An easy way to help teens and young adults begin visualizing a plan for their lives is to encourage them to create a vision board. After gathering several magazines, encourage them to cut out pictures that represent their dreams and place them on the vision board. While thinking about what they want more than anything in the world and then watching it all unfold on poster board that hangs in a prominent area where they see it every day, your child will begin to believe that they can attain their goals with hard work, perseverance, and support from you.

By letting go of our own agendas and focusing on passions, strengths, positive communication, and the visualization of a plan, it is possible for our children to emerge from the dreaded “lazy” label and transform into self-motivated leaders who know that being perfect or living the dreams of others is not the key to attaining a happy life.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients (that include teens and young adults) 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 - Miles Moore

Miles stands next to his plane with his dogs by his side.

Miles stands next to his plane with his dogs by his side.

Miles Moore first began nurturing an interest in flying when he was a boy. His father, a World War II pilot who flew a B29 bomber in the Pacific Rim, captured Miles’ attention early-on with his fascinating stories about flying airplanes. As Miles grew up in Omaha and learned about entrepreneurship through managing a paper route for the Omaha World-Herald, he had no idea that he was already building the foundation to carry out two future dreams: one as a business owner and the second as a pilot.

Following graduation from Iowa State where he majored in Finance, Miles moved to Chicago where he began a career as a financial advisor. After raising children and building his own firm, Moore Financial, Miles and his wife, Joanne, moved from Chicago to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in 2014 to pursue their lifestyle interests. For Miles, the move meant more opportunities to ski, hike, and ultimately continue the journey to attain his private pilot certificate.

Miles says that earning a pilot certificate is both a demanding and rewarding process. Only forty percent of registered student pilots complete the certificate. The training process, which typically takes about one year, consists of completing curriculum related to aerodynamics, regulations, airport procedures, navigation, flight planning, etc.) and hands-on flight training. Students must also pass both a FAA written exam and a flight test/check-ride with an FAA examiner. Once the certificate is obtained, pilots frequently work to complete advanced ratings such as Instrument Rating, Multi-engine rating, Commercial Rating, and Certified Flight Instructor.

Ask any pilot what they like most about flying and they will probably say it is both challenging and fun. Miles is no exception. He adds, “There are limitless learning opportunities and it opens a world of possibilities. For me, the independence and flexibility that comes with flying is a huge draw.”

Miles began researching how to purchase a plane after his first flight lesson. After determining which models would deliver the performance necessary for a demanding mountain/high altitude environment plus provide the speed and capacity appropriate for regional business and personal travel, he purchased a turbo-charged, six-seat Beechcraft Bonanza in February 2017. His plan is to fly the plane for three years, further advance his skills, and then purchase a jet-engine-powered Piper Meridian.

Miles pilots his plane above the clouds.

Miles pilots his plane above the clouds.

Miles credits his father’s influence for instilling his spirit of adventure and passion for aviation. When he hangs up his entrepreneurial hat one day, he plans to serve as a flight instructor so he can inspire other adults and teach them how to fly.

Flying provides a great outlet for Miles as he receives great satisfaction from setting and accomplishing goals. He advises anyone who wants to pursue their passion in life to create a written plan with action steps and deadlines. He adds, “Recognize that change is challenging for everyone and generally only happens when you’re uncomfortable. When the pain of not pursuing your passion and goals exceeds the pain associated with change, you know you’re ready to move forward.”

Miles’ passion for flying is a testament to an inspiring quote from Leonardo da Vinci, “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

There is no question that when Miles steps into his airplane, pulls back the throttle, and soars into the sky, he is relishing in every bit of the freedom his father valiantly fought for some seventy years ago. And from somewhere even higher in the sky, his father is smiling down on him.

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.