Positive Change

Three Steps to Successfully Move Toward a Calling

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The findings from a recent Gallup survey may not be a surprise to many of us: only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs. It’s an eye-opening statistic that may prompt some of us to wonder whether we have all become robotic in our job duties, bored with the mundane, unappreciated by our superiors, or even more importantly, whether it is time to find our calling in life.

Stephen Hawking lived 55 years longer than expected after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease at age 21. It is well-known that Hawking loved creating scientific theories, solving complex problems, and teaching mathematics to enthusiastic students. He had truly found his calling. Could it be that pursuing our calling gives us a reason to wake up every day, even in the most challenging of circumstances? It’s an interesting theory that even Stephen Hawking might appreciate.

Finding a calling—a meaning for your life that fulfills a higher purpose—is probably the main request our persistent and sometimes loud inner voice makes on a regular basis. A calling or purpose is the one thing our souls, hearts, and minds regularly crave, and the one thing that keeps us going when all we want to do is give up. But finding a calling is not as easy as it sounds and often doesn’t happen as quickly as we’d like. It requires deep soul-searching, a roadmap for success, and an accountability partner who can help us identify a clear direction and then stay on track once we start a journey to achieve our dreams. So what can you do right now to successfully move toward your calling? Here are three steps that will get you on your way:

Step #1:

Transform your thinking and begin believing in yourself and your unique abilities.

Oftentimes, others believe in us more than we believe in ourselves. Breaking old thought patterns can be challenging. It requires consistent and positive self-talk that overrides negativity when it creeps in. When you notice the thoughts, gently say to yourself, “Stop, Look, and Listen.” Stop the thoughts. Look for the positive. Listen to your optimistic inner-voice. 

Step #2:

Remember that everything meaningful and important in life starts with three words: It is possible.

When you were a child, you may have thought you couldn’t ride a bike—until someone told you that you could. Now it’s up to you to tell yourself everything you need to know. Once you learn to replace the words, “I can’t do this,” with “It is possible,” you’ll be amazed at what you can do. Try it.

Step #3:

Embrace the fact that every sunrise offers the opportunity for a new beginning.

No matter what happened yesterday on your journey, today brings new opportunities, ideas, and adventures. You will never be able to move forward into the future if you are always looking behind you and admonishing yourself for the mistakes of your past. Embrace every second of right now. Breathe the air, watch the sunrise, and welcome the potential that every day brings.

Stephen Hawking defied seemingly insurmountable odds to leave an incredible mark on the world. He became a world-renowned theoretical physicist as well as a husband and father, despite his physical challenges. What do you think kept him going during the worst of times? His calling. Now go find yours.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients, both local 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 - Dawn Beckler, Kurinji Gifts

Dawn Beckler and a few of the handmade journals

Dawn Beckler and a few of the handmade journals

As a little girl, Dawn Beckler became accustomed to change. While growing up within a military and then missionary family, she lived in many different places that included the Philippines where she spent most of her childhood. While embracing and loving what she never thought of anything but a normal life, Dawn learned to appreciate different people and cultures. After attending college in the United States, marrying her husband, Scott, and teaching second grade for five years, Dawn decided to stay home with her three children without any idea that eventually her life’s journey would lead her in a direction she never imagined.

After Dawn’s brother and his family moved to India to work with an organization that rescues girls from sex trafficking, they formed a friendship with Priya, the general manager of Love Calcutta Arts. Dawn, who became intrigued with Priya’s work with the female victims of sex trafficking, soon fell in love with the beautiful products they were creating that carried a meaningful message of hope. When her brother and sister-in-law presented Dawn with the idea of partnering with Priya, she was excited. Still unsure whether to proceed, Dawn took several weeks to pray, listen, and search within her soul for the answers. In 2018, Dawn took the plunge and began the process of founding the nonprofit, Kurinji Gifts.

Handcrafting one of the beautiful journals

Handcrafting one of the beautiful journals

The name was inspired by the Kurinji, a small flower native only to India that blooms en masse once every twelve years. “The flower is a reminder that God truly makes everything beautiful in its time,” says Dawn. The mission of Kurinji Gifts is to enrich the women’s lives by providing a way to sell handmade journals, pocket journals, blankets, and cards that, in turn, provide them with a fresh start, a renewed sense of dignity and worth, and a freedom that otherwise could not have been imagined.

Each daughter of Calcutta carefully crafts the journals by hand using recycled materials. The hand-bound pages are made with reclaimed cotton fabrics and woolen blankets. The journals are covered with three layers of vintage sari material, the traditional garment of Indian women. Included inside each journal is a handwritten note to the recipient, presented in her native language of Bengali. The cards are handmade with layers of recycled paper or sari scraps and accentuated with beadwork. The blankets are hand-stitched with two layers of vintage sari material, embellished with a running kantha stitch. They are reversible, each side unique and beautiful.

Dawn says her biggest support group has been her brother and sister-in-law, whose advice and help has been invaluable, as well as her husband and family. “Their prayers and belief in me have been such an encouragement,” she adds. Her initial challenges were deciding on a name, creating a logo, building the web site, and filling out the paperwork for a 501(c)(3). Now nearly a year later, Dawn says her favorite part of running a nonprofit is knowing that God brought her to this point and gifted her with the blessing of making a real difference in lives. No two days are alike for Dawn these days. In addition to raising her children and running Kurinji Gifts, she also works two days a week as a school receptionist and occasionally substitute teaches.

Cuddle Blanket - Cotton Sari

Cuddle Blanket - Cotton Sari

Throughout the last year, Dawn has learned to trust that she is in the right place at the right time, and thoroughly enjoys helping others understand the mission behind Kurinji Gifts. Dawn has inspiring advice for anyone wanting to pursue their passion in life, “Don’t give up. Don’t believe the naysayers. Choose carefully and wisely who you listen to. Don’t wait to live until something better happens or comes along. Your life is today. Live it!”

For more about Kurinji Gifts and its important mission or to order any of its products, visit https://kurinjigifts.org/.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach based in Omaha, Nebraska, who specializes in helping her 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 His Passion - Scott Papek

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I’m excited to turn the microphone around and profile Scott Papek of Papek Media. Scott is a passionate problem solver with over 20 years in the media business, including radio, music, and television, and in selling marketing and travel photography. Today, he’s host of the popular podcast, Fyigt For It, where he profiles guests who have overcome adversity to attain success. To listen to my interview with Scott and learn about his path to achieving his dreams, click below:

For more about Scott and his work, visit https://scottpapek.com/ and https://www.papekphotography.com/.

Who Inspires You Every Day?

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Sometimes in life, the simplest everyday acts are what inspire us the most.

He has no idea he inspires me. The neighbor who lives four doors up the hill from me has special challenges. Every morning for the past twenty years, he has diligently laced his sneakers, bundled up if it’s freezing, and headed out his door for exercise. He is disciplined, determined, and reliable. No matter what the weather, he perseveres.

My office window faces the sidewalk. Sometimes I happen to look up while he’s on the last stretch of his outdoor exercise session. All these years, I have been stopping whatever I am doing and quietly observing him as he heads home. You see, our houses are situated on top of a giant hill—a hill that I have been trying to tackle at the end of my run for the last twenty years—and the same hill that he has conquered every day on his own without a coach, parent, or personal trainer to cheer him on.

His journey to the top of the hill is not easy every day. As the years have progressed, his gait has slowed to a slow and steady pace. Although he leans to one side now, he trudges up the hill with a quiet determination while keeping his focus on his goal of reaching the top of the hill, no matter what it takes. His daily struggle is mesmerizing and always prompts me to reflect on his perseverance despite his challenges and then determine a way I can utilize this inspiration to motivate myself to achieve what I want for my own life, not just that day but every day.

Inspiration is all around us. All we have to do is be aware. Inspiration comes from the child who is overjoyed after solving a math problem without help from the teacher. Inspiration comes from the mother who juggles complicated tasks at work and then comes home to simultaneously care for her aging parents and young children. Inspiration comes from Paralympic athletes who prove over and over again that great things can be achieved despite physical obstacles. Inspiration comes from a senior citizen who has found her purpose in serving others during her final act in life. Inspiration comes from the bus driver who makes a point of smiling at all his passengers as they enter his bus, the server who makes a special point of complimenting all her guests, the CEO who heads a fundraiser for an employee facing hard times, or the ordinary man who, without thinking, runs into a burning building to save those inside from certain death.

My neighbor will probably never know the influence he has had on how I view life. Since I first began observing him from my office window, we have both sprouted a few more gray hairs and learned new things, all while managing to keep ourselves upright and breathing. We have much more in common than not. Through it all, he has taught me that no matter what our challenges, we all have the power to look deep within for the strength to trudge up the hill to reach our goals and pursue the life we were meant to have.

Today, look for the inspiration. I promise it is there, all around you, just waiting to lead you in the right direction.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients both in Omaha 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 Their Passion, Dean and Jayne Bredlau

Dean and Jayne Bredlau

Dean and Jayne Bredlau

When Dean Bredlau and Jayne Watts first met in 2014, they focused on growing their relationship with each other and God, not plants. It was not until after they married in September 2015 and settled in Zumbrota, Minnesota, that they noticed their conversations frequently turned to farming. The summer of 2016, Dean took a leap of faith and planted a garden in sandy, hard, and weedy soil on a friend’s farm. Despite having little to show for his efforts other than a few less-than-flavorful vegetables, Dean was enthused about doing more.

Soon, Jayne and Dean began researching and watching “dirty” movies on YouTube on composting, organic growing, soil composition, planting and watering methods, seeds, and seed growing. After several months of experimentation growing microgreens indoors, their urban farm-to-table grower business, My Sweet Greens MN, was born. Jayne, who held a variety of roles at a local newspaper and within a large hotel portfolio, had some flower gardening experience. Dean, who is a QA Technician by day, was equally as inexperienced at growing vegetables. But as they combined his passion for farming with her keen interest in marketing and promotions, their idea began to sprout into a business with strong roots.

While maintaining their full-time jobs, the Bredlaus focused on moving their business forward. Jayne began bringing samples of what would become their two signature blends to the executive chef at her employer for input. One day after asking if they were ready to sell their microgreens, he became their first customer. In August 2018, Jayne resigned from her job to focus on the business full-time.

Microgreens are small vegetable shoots that are grown for eight days in one inch of potting soil and vermiculite. After the shoots are harvested by cutting, the roots and seeds are left in the soil which is repurposed to their market gardens. In comparison, baby leafy greens are grown in soil in the ground for approximately 21 days and are cut from the plant for consumption. The Bredlaus package the microgreens for sale in two-ounce clam shell boxes for retail sales in stores and farmers markets, and also to sell in bulk to restaurants. Customers add microgreens that include sweet pea and sunflower shoots, arugula, broccoli, kale, and cabbage to salads, sandwiches, smoothies, soups, stir-fries, and much more.

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Today, their business is bustling. With assistance from two part-time independent vendors and occasionally their children, the Bredlaus package approximately 150 pounds of microgreens per month. In addition to supplying 10 retail stores (including Hy-Vee stores, a local grocery store, three Co-ops, and a handful of restaurants) with their five core microgreen products, the Bredlaus also vend at area summer and winter farmers markets.

Jayne says that running a niche produce business comes with its challenges. In the past three years, she has learned to listen to customers, rely on her grit, network with peers, and most importantly, to never give up. Dean, who has never met a stranger, focuses on utilizing his background in farming and quality assurance in food product manufacturing to extend their outreach into the community and beyond. It is their passion to educate all customers about the benefits of incorporating microgreens into a daily diet. The future looks bright for My Sweet Greens MN, despite the recent news that they will have to change the name of their business by the end of 2020 due to trademark issues.

For anyone contemplating pursuing their passion, Jayne advises they should clearly define the purpose and vision for their dream, and then determine what resources will be needed and who will be impacted and how. Finally, Jayne advises to step in faith, calculate the risk, and evaluate the dream with realistic criteria. Today, Jayne believes that what she does matters—something she could not do even a year ago.

Jayne says that she has always lived to be the best she could be for the people in her life, for her employers, and for the responsibilities she bears in life. Now she is living by the motto, you only live once. “It’s time to chase my dream—to live my passion. I believe each person gets this chance, probably once in life. Take it. Jump. The net will be there. You’ll learn to bounce back, stand up, and trust in what’s truly important.”

Abraham Lincoln said it best. “The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.” The Bredlaus are well on their way to living that profound truth every day.

For more about My Sweet Greens MN, visit their web site at https://www.mysweetgreensmn.com/ or find them on Instagram @mysweetgreens__mn and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mysweetgreensmn/.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach based in Omaha, Nebraska, who specializes in helping her 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.

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.

 

How Do You Want To Be Remembered?

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Chances are you’ve probably heard the quote by Benjamin Franklin, “There are two things certain in life: death and taxes.” Even though we know death is inevitable for all of us, it can still be morbid picturing the end of our life while asking ourselves, When I die, how do I want to be remembered? Yet, asking yourself that question from time-to-time can shine a light on your past, the current state of your life, and where you want to go in the future. In short, asking “How do I want to be remembered?” allows you to look inward, reflect on the experiences that have brought you to where you are now, and then envision how you want the rest of your life to play out.

So how do you begin contemplating the answer to such an introspective inquiry? First, sit in the moment. Focus on being present and removing all distractions. This time is just for you. Here are a few sample questions that may help begin the process:

  •  What do I consider my successes in life?

  • What are some of my failures and what did they teach me?

  • What have been some of my most influential experiences to date?

  • What do I see as my place or purpose?

  • What one piece of advice would I give my children and/or grandchildren to take into the future?

Maybe you want to be remembered for your volunteer work helping the less fortunate. Perhaps you want to be remembered for your professional successes. Maybe you want to be remembered as a motivational speaker who inspired others with your story of perseverance through challenges. Perhaps you want to be remembered as a father who was always there for his children. Maybe you want to be known as the sister that everyone could count on, even those not connected to you genetically. Perhaps you want to be known as the person who made everyone laugh, even in their darkest moments. Maybe you want to be known as a mentor who provided encouragement to youth needing to believe in possibilities. Perhaps you want to be known as a politician who worked for all people, not just your constituents. Maybe you want to be remembered as the physician who stops his busy day for a moment to hold the hand of a patient having difficulty handling bad news.

Once you decide how you would like to be remembered, write it down. Length is not important. Be as concise or as lengthy as you feel necessary. This is just one example of a remembrance statement:

I want to be remembered as a kind friend, wife, mother, and trusted guide who provided hope to anyone who needed it, listened more than I talked, and helped others find humor in every situation. I want to be remembered for my ability to connect with everyone who crossed my path—for making them feel welcome and reminding them that we are all just doing our best and that it’s okay to make mistakes. Most of all, I want to be remembered as someone who loved, learned, and left the Earth a better place in the process.

It’s okay if the answer to this all-important question changes as you grow and develop personally. Life is always evolving and transforming, so why shouldn’t you? Once you have formulated your statement, hang it somewhere where you can view it on a daily basis. The power behind this statement will help guide you through the present moment and into a clearer future to become all you were meant to be.

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 Five Things Do YOU Need To Be Happy?

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For the past few months, many have been jumping on the bandwagon of organization thanks to the Netflix show, Tidying Up, where Japanese organization expert Marie Kondo helps ordinary people clean up the clutter in their lives and keep only the items that spark joy. It’s a movement toward positive change that highlights the importance of looking within, deciding what we want, and then taking action to make it happen.

It’s true that by releasing our burdens of the unnecessary “things” we often surround ourselves with (and mistakenly believe that we need), we are better able to focus on finding joy in the every day. When I was younger, I had a friend whose mother grew up on a farm in the middle of America during the early part of the twentieth century, miles away from any town. All she had to play with on a hot summer day while sitting under the one shade tree near their house was a ragged doll. At the time, my friend and I were horrified. How could she possibly have been happy with just that one scruffy doll to keep her occupied? My friend’s mother, who still leads a simple life well into her nineties, firmly stated to us then that she was completely happy having less than more while growing up. Although many years have passed since then, I have never forgotten that story or her valuable message that living simply is perhaps the key to living happily ever after.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to consider this introspective question:

If you lived somewhere that provided all of the basic necessities like loved ones, a bathroom, comfortable furniture, a few dishes, food, and drink, what five things would you need in order to be happy?

If you close your eyes, what pops into your head as the things you cannot live without? For me, it is a good pair of hiking boots, a plethora of books, a computer or a pad that allows me a place to write, a method to play music, and a camera. The total value of all five things is probably around $1,000. I can confidently guarantee you that if I was surrounded by just these five items and nothing else in life, I would be gloriously happy no matter what my challenges or obstacles. But why?

Hiking boots provide me a comfortable way to step into nature and enjoy the wilderness, books offer me a way to escape into imaginary worlds that allow me to contemplate possibilities, a computer or a pad of paper invite me to continue to pursue my passion of writing and sharing stories with others, a method to play music allows me the chance to feel bonded with others around the world who also adore a great song, and a camera provides me with a way to capture an experience and reflect on it whenever I want. In short, all the items I have listed provide me with one major thing I need no matter what: peace.

Once you have identified the five things you need in life, write them down along with an explanation as to why. After your list and explanations are compiled, reflect on how you feel now about your life from this day forward. In a general sense, creating this list should help you feel more relaxed and at peace about your future.

It’s a tough reality to accept when we suddenly realize there are no guarantees in life. But when we compile a list of the five things we really need in order to be happy on a daily basis, it allows us a safe place to take a deep breath, calm ourselves down, and understand that no matter what happens down the road, we are going to be okay.

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 Change Is So Hard

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The call for change often comes when we least expect it. Sometimes it comes in the form of a whisper so soft that we have to strain to hear it. Other times it comes in the form of a roar we cannot ignore. But when that little voice in our head becomes so loud that we cannot ignore it anymore, the potential for change suddenly becomes a reality we must courageously face.

Yet oftentimes as exciting as change can be, many of us resist it because, quite frankly, it can also be terrifying. In fact, the idea of change can sometimes be so daunting that it has the power to immediately transport us right back to a time when we had to face a super scary change, like the first day of kindergarten when we felt like we might lose our breakfast right on top of our brand new shoes. Yikes. The cold, harsh reality is that when we step outside our comfort zones, it is an uncomfortable place to be at first. As author and research professor Brené Brown states, “You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.”

Change is an inevitable part of life. It comes in many forms whether it is something we embrace like new love or something we abhor like an unanticipated job loss. Sometimes change makes us want to curl up in the fetal position and shut out the world. Other times change lightens our load and makes us feel like leaping with joy. Sometimes it is fun just to talk about change. What if I moved to Europe and lived off my savings for a year? What if I started my own business and escaped the corporate nightmare I’ve been enduring for entirely too long? What if I bungee-jumped off a bridge with a Go-Pro attached to my helmet? It is while talking about change in its most initial stages that we realize we are craving something new. But what is it really and how do we find a way to move forward from here?

Will Craig, author of Living the Hero’s Journey, says that the quickest way—and perhaps the only way—to discover our true destiny is to truly know ourselves. In order to push through the fear, identify a clear path, effectively make decisions, and take action, we must first be able to identify and understand not only our strengths and passions, but also our weaknesses and limitations. We must also be prepared to answer introspective questions that dig deep and force us to look within for the answers.

It is incredibly important that while on this journey through life to be honest with yourself about the possibility of change. In the end, is it is you who is living your journey: not your spouse, not your parents, not your children, not your friends, and not your next-door neighbor. You, and only you, hold the key to unlock and walk through the door of change or throw the key away and stay where you are for now. No matter what, take the time to work through each decision with help from an accountability partner who does not have an agenda, but instead, is capable of guiding you to becoming the best version of you.

Change is powerful. It is scary. It is an action-packed roller coaster ride through the unknown. Change is what fuels our journey through life, keeps us from being stagnant, and ultimately transforms us into the people we were meant to be.

Change is hard. Find a way. Your destiny 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.