Monday, April 30, 2012

The Miracle of Gratitude

Have you ever listened to yourself talk before? Really listened? What do you hear? Predominantly positive statements? Negative ones?

One of my clients recently shared that she has been caught in a spell of negative thinking and speaking. She's struggling with an incident that is causing her to feel angry and sad. She keeps finding herself rehashing the incident, justifying her actions and imagining confrontational scenarios in her head.

Has that ever happened to you? I think it happens to most people at one time or another.

The problem with being stuck in negativity is the belief that what we think about we bring about. So, when you find yourself in this negative place, it is very important to get yourself out -- and quickly!

How do you do that? Well, there are many tools, but one of the most effective is to focus on gratitude.

The cool thing about gratitude is that it is both scientifically and spiritually proven as a healing method. People who are grateful are more optimistic, joyful, healthy, productive and less stressed.

Of gratitude, Dr. Robert Holden, author of Happiness Now, said this, "The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see." 

You can incorporate gratitude into your life in a number of ways. Here are a few suggestions. Try one or maybe even all three!
  • Before you get out of bed every morning, thank God for all that you have. 
  • During your journaling, thank him again in writing. (If you don't regularly journal, start a gratitude journal.)
  • Express your gratitude again before you go to sleep at night. (It's great to do this with your children and/or your spouse.)
It's powerful stuff. But don't trust me -- try it out! I am confident you will find that although it takes work to focus on gratitude, the good that comes from it will feel like a miracle! 

Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to share this little reminder with all of you!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Enough About Me ... Let's Talk About You

One day this week as we were standing outside school getting ready to go home, an older student approached Tyler and started asking about the patch of gray hair on the back of his head. His questioning was loud, a bit rude and included many of his own opinions about why Tyler had gray hair and what was going to happen next with it. It was nothing like the people who have politely inquired about it.

He even crossed a personal boundary and touched Tyler's hair. I honestly don't think the kid was trying to be mean, in fact, I think he may have a minor learning disability that inhibits his social filter.

At bedtime last night I asked Tyler about this interaction and he said, "Oh yeah, that kid always does that."

"Really? You've never told me that before," I said, feeling shocked that he had never mentioned it. "Does it bother you?"

"Sort of," he said.

"What is his name?" I asked.

"I don't know," he replied.

At that point, I explained to Tyler my hunch that this child probably has a minor learning disability that inhibits his social filter, and that he was most likely not trying to make Tyler feel bad.

But disability aside, there are plenty of people in the world who operate without social filters, so I knew this was an important lesson for Tyler.

My take on situations like this is that we can't control what other people think, do or say. The only thing we can control is us -- what we think, do and say.

So I suggested to Tyler, "The next time he comes up to you and starts talking about that, just smile and say, 'Enough about me ... let's talk about you. My name is Tyler. What's your name?'"

Then I gave him some questions he could ask the kid about himself. Things like -- "How long have you gone to this school?""Who are you friends with?""What do you like to do for fun?"

The key to handling situations like this gracefully is to turn the conversation around. Try to get the attention off of Tyler and on to the other child. Tyler really grabbed on to this solution and we talked about it for several minutes.

Honestly, this issue is not about the gray patch of hair on Tyler's head. He is really OK with it. It's been there since he was four -- and it's on the back of his head, so he rarely sees it or thinks about it. The issue is about how to handle awkward social situations with grace.

After my talk with Tyler, I went downstairs to talk to Paul about it, and much to my surprise, he said, "Your solution was right on, according to Dale Carnegie."

Imagine that -- me, unknowingly quoting Dale Carnegie!

Paul just recently finished reading Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, so he explained to me Carnegie's 6 Ways to Make People Like You:
  1. Become genuinely interested in other people
  2. Smile
  3. Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
  5. Talk in the terms of the other man’s interest
  6. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely
My advice to Tyler incorporated several of these items. I guess I was on to something without even knowing it! Common sense, maybe? Regardless, I thought I'd share with all of you in case it is a tool that can help you or your children! Happy Thursday!

Friday, April 20, 2012

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

I love that Kelly Clarkson song, "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger."

I think it's a great reminder that the trials we experience in life can help us grow if we choose to let them.

I put the word choose in bold, because that is the key. When trouble comes our way, we have a choice -- we can either grow from it or become the victim.

The correct answer is to choose to grow -- and the proof is in the past. If you look back over your life, you will see that you grew the most as a person during the biggest challenges of your life.

I recently appreciated this gentle reminder from a couple of friends as I expressed my frustration about some of the challenges Alyssa has experienced in school this year. I was dwelling on the negative. I kept saying, "I can't believe this is how her Kindergarten year turned out." I was momentarily stuck in the disappointment of wishing things would have been different for her this year.

But my friends helped me see the positive in it. They reminded me of the promise I already made to myself. That I would not dwell on the negative. That I would sieze the opportunity to teach Alyssa and help her grow through the challenges. That all of the work we are doing with her now will be of benefit to her later, as well.

One of my friends has a fantastic approach to helping her children deal with problems at school. She sympathetically listens, talks about solutions with them, then asks them, "What are we learning from this?" I love that question at the end, because I think it solidifies the lesson and shows them how to better handle these problems in the future.

I think we are giving our children a huge gift if we can teach them at a young age how to look at life's challenges as growth opportunities -- and it helps us remember to do the same!

Because really, what else are we going to do?  Everyone has challenges in life. The most important thing is how we get through them -- if we stay positive, we will come out Stronger in the end.

---This blog is dedicated to all parents! We have such an important job!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Looking Beneath The Surface With Kids

Yesterday I noticed Tyler treating me less than respectfully. A little eye roll here, a tough tone of voice there. I was alarmed by it. This is not normal behavior for Tyler. Although I felt agitated, instead of yelling at him in the heat of the moment, I waited until later and pulled him aside to talk about it.

I gently asked him if anything was wrong. Told him I noticed he wasn't being very respectful to me -- I cited examples. I asked him if there was anything I did to make him upset with me.

He said "no," then he got all serious. He looked down and started to cry. He said that a project at school was really overwhelming and that he was feeling very stressed out about it.

So, we talked about that for a while. Then, I told him how we treat other people is a reflection of how we treat ourselves. So, perhaps the reason why he was being hard on me was because he was being too hard on himself regarding this project at school.

You see, Tyler's real problem was not with me, even though he was taking it out on me. It was within himself with his own thought patterns.

I talked up his little self-esteem by telling him what a wonderful student he is. That I am totally confident he will do a great job on the project. That I know he will do his best work -- he always does. I also pointed out that what he is learning is valuable and will be needed in future grades.

This seemed to help my little guy quite a bit. It took him a little while to perk back up, but he surely did! By this morning he seemed his normal self. It was surprising that a third grade project would have him so worried, but to him, it's a really big deal.

The reason I am sharing this with all of you is to show you how you can get to the heart of matters with your children. When they act out, dig deeper. Be a good observer of their behavior and really listen when they tell you what is wrong. You'll be amazed at how much you can help them!

I am happy to teach all moms about how to utilize these valuable parenting tools! Contact me if you would like more information!

Friday, April 13, 2012

“The Secrets of Being the Best Mom” FREE Teleclass

Are you struggling with the role of being a mother? Is it more difficult than you thought, but you’re afraid to admit it? Do you wish you could just learn how to relax, let go and trust that you are the “best” mom your kids could ever want?

Then, join me and fellow life coach Mir Lynne Pietrzyk for “The Secrets of Being the Best Mom, a FREE teleclass that will assist you on your journey to becoming the mother you want to be. 

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, April 25 from 11 a.m. to Noon CST (Noon to 1 p.m. EST) to hear Mir Lynne and I discuss the secrets all moms need to know about how to create the life and home they desire with their children.

The top 3 secrets you will take away from this teleclass are:
  • How to enjoy and make memories out of every day 
  • How to give your children the exact amount of TLC they need to thrive 
  • How to get it all done and still have time and energy for YOU 
To register, visit The dial in information will be emailed to you after registration.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tina Offers Life Coaching Program About Living Consciously

Tom Clare /

Sometimes we go through life ... well, just going. We are so busy that we don't stop to really think about what we are doing or if we are even happy.

We live as a slave to our "do-do" list, feeling constantly exhausted and like there is never enough time to get it all done.

If you're a mom who would like to take some time to slow down and evaluate your life and make sure you're living it to the fullest, join me for an 8-week group life coaching session that will help you learn to live life more consciously.

What Will be Covered? In the safety of a supportive environment, moms will learn tools and techniques for living life to the fullest every day by making conscious choices. You will pick one area of life to work on and make better – it can be health, finances, spirituality, relationships or career. You'll be amazed by how much you can change your life in only 8 weeks!

What are the Top 3 Benefits of a Group Coaching Program?
• You surround yourself with other women facing similar challenges.
• You learn new techniques for goal-setting, action planning, stress management and more.
• You gain motivation from the coach AND the group!

When is it? This program consists of 8 one-hour sessions – one per week, starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18.

What is the Cost? Program cost is $20 to YMCA members, $40 for non-members. (Materials cost is $14 that will be paid to the instructor at the first class.)

How do I register? Call the Y at 847.296.3376

Where will it be held? Lattof YMCA Meeting Rooms

What do I Need to Bring? Physically, you will need a writing journal and a pen. Mentally, you will need an open mind. Emotionally, you will need the desire to make your life even better than it already is!