life coach omaha

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.

 

Three Ways to Become a Better Listener

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At some point or another in life, we all want to be heard. When someone really listens to us, we feel appreciated, loved, and inspired. Unfortunately, there are times when we have all felt like no one hears us when we are speaking. In today’s world filled with distractions, it is becoming increasingly challenging to capture someone’s attention for longer than thirty seconds. The good news is that it is possible to become a better listener by following three easy steps.

1.      Put away all distractions and don’t interrupt. No matter how tempting it is, it is important to remember how you feel when you are interrupted while speaking, whether with words or a ringing cell phone. Does it make you want to shut down? Stop talking? Give up expressing your feelings? By putting yourself in the speaker’s shoes, you will remember how valued you feel when someone really listens to you. Actively listening does not mean you have to agree with the speaker. It simply means you are showing respect for a fellow human being and their freedom to voice their views and feelings. Silence your cell phone and stash it in your pocket or purse until the conversation has concluded.

2.      Make eye contact, smile, nod, and take notes if necessary. Show you are interested. If you feel your mind begin to wander, slowly bring yourself back to the present. Keeping eye contact shows the speaker you are focused and interested. Smiling and nodding are also two indicators that you are engaged in the conversation. If you need extra help in paying attention, take notes. Write down highlights of the conversation and then circle key points. Studies have shown that taking notes by hand improves learning and retention. More importantly, it demonstrates to the speaker that you are attentive and care about what they are saying. Finally, try not plan what you will say when they are done speaking.

3.      Repeat what the speaker is saying. Once the speaker has finished, it is okay to ask for clarification to ensure you’ve understood. You might say, “I want to make sure I’ve heard you correctly. You want me to know that …” Leave yourself open to correction as we often hear what we want to hear, not what is actually being said. This technique also leaves the speaker open to hearing what they’ve said and to emphasize a point or rectify an assumption.

Listening is one of the kindest things you can do for another person. By putting ourselves in the speaker’s shoes, we can embrace the skill of really listening—not just to the words, but to the power behind the words. After all, as the wise already know, great leaders always listen more than they talk.

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.

 

Use Your Unique Gifts to Find Purpose

Everyone is born with an innate talent that makes them unique. Some people have the ability to be empathetic listeners. A few can listen to a song just once and then play it on the piano. Some can lead a company to achieve previously unimaginable success. Others can perform miracles in the operating room with tiny surgical instruments. Some have the talent for weaving a compelling tale that makes readers weep, laugh, or both. Truth be known, we are all gifted.

Imagine what would happen to the world if parents made it their mission to help their children identify their unique gifts and then find a way to utilize them to attain their purpose in life. No matter what your age, it is never too late to uncover your innate talents and then adjust your life accordingly. So, how does one identify a unique talent?

The easiest way to identify your innate talent is to think about what you are doing when you feel happiest in life – when you never look at the clock, never think about what you will have for dinner, and ignore your buzzing phone. For one person, it might be building a bookcase in the garage. For another, it may be swirling around a ballroom with a dance partner. For others, it might be singing opera, taking photographs, or designing a room in a home. For someone else, it may be helping others through a crisis. For another, it may be leading a team at work to surpass goals.

Once you have identified your innate talent, now it is time to create a plan to incorporate more of it into your life—and perhaps even parlay that talent into a career. Could you start a business where you design and build bookcases on demand for clients or stage homes before they are put on the market? Is it possible to network with the director of a nonprofit and find a way to work with those affected by natural disasters? Do you have the means to open your own studio to teach ballroom dancing, join an opera company, or begin a photography business?

To incorporate positive change into your life, transform your thinking and focus on using your gifts to attain personal fulfillment. As Howard Thurman once said, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

 Life is short. It’s time for you to come alive. The world is waiting.

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 Steps to Enhance a Relationship

Why do some marriages survive a lifetime when others fail after just a few months? Although it is a question many experts are still struggling to answer, many happy couples swear their success comes through constant communication, the ability to adapt to life changes together, and realistic expectations of their partner.

Although none of us are perfect, many of us presume our partner or spouse can read our minds, will act the way we want them to act, and always know the right thing to say. But in reality, these types of expectations are just not plausible. The happiest couples know that relationships need to be tended to like gardens. They do not take each other for granted, are steadfastly committed to their relationship, and respect each other’s individuality and dreams.

So what can you do today to enhance your own relationship, starting today?

1.      Listen more than you talk. 

This exercise may be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done in your lifetime. During a conversation with our partner, we may have their best intentions in mind when interrupting during a disagreement, story, or even a heartfelt apology to interject our own opinion. But it is often more effective to sit back and really listen to what our partner is saying. The after-effects of listening more than we talk are often life-changing. In the end, we all want someone to listen and then make an attempt to understand us. We are all complex beings who crave the gift of unconditional love, especially from the one we have pledged to walk through life with forever. The next time your partner initiates a conversation, just quietly listen. What you hear may be more illuminating than you ever imagined.

2.      Identify each other’s wonderful attributes. 

Often, we get caught up in talking about all the things that annoy us most about our partner. Yet at one time, we were attracted to our partners because of all their wonderful attributes, not their faults. Schedule a time when you can both sit down together, uninterrupted, and create a list of ten things you love about your partner. Do not show your list to your partner until you are both done. Then read your list aloud and watch how the mood in the room completely transforms. When you are done sharing, hang your partner’s list somewhere where you can see it on a daily basis (like a bathroom mirror). Finally, use the list as a reference and make a point of complimenting or encouraging your partner at least once a day. When you say things like, “I love how you kiss me goodnight,” or “I so appreciate you doing the dishes after dinner tonight,” or “You are so good at comforting our kids when they are sad,” you bring the kind of positive energy to your relationship that will sustain you through the most challenging of times.

3.      Plan adventures

Experiencing adventure together creates a bond like no other. Adventure can mean different things to different people. To some, it may mean climbing Mount Everest. To others, it might mean traveling the country via two-lane highways. To another, it may mean taking a class to learn to make chateaubriand for two. A great way to identify future adventures is for each partner or spouse to create a vision board that outlines all their interests (snowboarding, hiking, cooking, running) as well as the places they would like to visit one day (England, the Rocky Mountains, a gourmet restaurant in France, or the Caribbean). Once you have your vision boards created, each of you should then identify the first adventure you would like to experience with your partner. Toss a coin to determine where you will go first and then, follow through with the plan. While on your adventure, take photos that capture the fun. Display the photos on your desk at work or at home as a gentle reminder of all the reasons why you love your partner and why fate brought you together in the first place.

It’s true: making your relationship successful does take time and energy. But the rewards for your efforts are worth more than anything else in this world.

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 - Pam Rochholz

Pam captures one of her seniors in a charming moment.

Pam captures one of her seniors in a charming moment.

Pam Rochholz was once a busy high school teacher with a big dilemma: she was not happy in her job. Although she had been carrying a camera with her since middle school—photographing friends, family, and street musicians in downtown Omaha—she majored in secondary education in college, just as her parents had. Fueled by the hope that a stable teaching job would allow her the time one day to be a devoted mother to her future children, Pam placed her passion for capturing beauty with one click of the shutter into the background and focused on educating young people. But during her second year of teaching, Pam soon realized that her heart had not followed her head.

Pam, who is not known as being a risk taker, shocked everyone when, shortly after giving birth to her daughter and buying a new house with her husband, she announced she was going to resign from teaching to open a photography business. She remembers the exact date she made her decision and shares that although she felt nervous about financial insecurities, she confidently told her husband, “You know that when I do something, I put everything I have into it. We’ll be fine.” Her always supportive husband took the leap of faith with her and neither has looked back since.

Today, Pam operates Iris Images, a busy senior photography business that allows her to create her own schedule and manage her life on her own terms. She loves that her schedule changes often. Her days are full and consist of answering emails, making phone calls, placing orders, and managing shoots that last several hours. She edits photos after her daughter and husband go to bed, often staying up into the wee hours of the morning to complete projects.

Pam says she has gained much from pursuing her passion in life. “I’ve gained happiness. I no longer dread going to work every day. I absolutely love what I do and it’s such a great feeling to know I have found my calling in life.” Even better yet, Pam’s purpose and work were recently validated when she learned she was chosen as one of Senior Style Guide’s “Hot 100 Senior Photographers of 2016” as well as one of the “Top 25 Up & Coming Senior Photographers of 2016” by The Twelfth Year.

Her advice for anyone wanting to pursue their passion in life is simple. “Just go for it,” she says. “So many people advised me to teach for at least one more year before taking the plunge, but I just knew I had to do it. There was no way I could grow a business while still working as a teacher.” Pam also adds that she did not jump into her new adventure without first conducting research and meeting others working within the photography industry.

To this day, it is more than evident that Pam has kept her promise to her husband. She greets each day as an enthusiastic solo entrepreneur by continuing to put everything she has into capturing her teenage subjects as they prepare to enter a new and sometimes scary chapter in their lives. Without even realizing it, Pam is demonstrating to all her young clients that it is okay to follow your heart because as she already knows, that road leads to finding your passion in life.

To learn more about Pam and her photography business, visit www.irisimagesomaha.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.