The Hero’s Journey (Newsletter Vol 2 Issue 7)

August 31, 2010

Live A Better Life Newsletter
(Tools and Tips for Intentional Living)

Volume 2 Issue 7, August 31, 2010
The Hero’s Journey

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In This Issue:

The Hero’s Journey
Recommended Resources
Contact Me
About this Newsletter

The Hero’s Journey

Last newsletter I wrote about how to Tell Yourself A Story – to reframe how you look at your life, your own story, your journey toward your goals and dreams.  In that article I mentioned the Hero’s Journey – the classic format for all tales of adventure.  When I was a little girl I used to love to read Trixie Belden mystery stories, a Nancy Drew like heroine who also solved crime.  Only unlike Nancy, she was average, insecure, awkward, in other words, just like me.  And I loved to pretend I was Trixie, with her home, and her family and friends, and solving crimes.

Today I am going to give you a quick overview of the Hero’s Journey.  Then over the next few months I’ll break it down, stage by stage.  My hope is that you too will find yourself in this journey, and be encouraged by the map, and knowing where you go from here.

The journey begins with life as is.  The  moment before your journey begins, before change is initiated, you feel unfulfilled, unsatisfied, unhappy.  Then you get “The Call” – this is your dream, the call to something more, better, bigger than where you are.  The dream that satisfies and fulfills, the one that fills you with excitement.  You have a Vision for how things could be, for you, and maybe even for others.  Then – “Initiation” – you take off.  Or, in this diagram, you roll down the hill.  It’s fast and furious and exciting.  It feels easy, and unavoidable.  You have to go this way! You have to do this! 

Then – you come to a screeching halt, your first break, and also the place that’s filled with traps to get you stuck and keep you there.  This is “The Pit”.  Doubts and fears kick in here.  We have monsters to fight and dragons to slay.  And we often, at some point, feel completely alone.  And we question, why did we do this? What were we thinking?  Hope falters here. 

But the journey is not over.  If we hold fast, we find others who come along and help us.  We find allies and opportunities.  The journey isn’t over, but we are no longer alone.  Hope arrives.  And we press on.  In the map, we go up.  It feels like an uphill battle here, exhausting.  Yet we are close now. 

Then, if we keep at it, keep taking steps, we have our “Breakthrough,” our “ah ha!” moment of clarity and focus.  We are re-energized.  The end, the achievement, is not far now.  We continue until…

The goal is achieved, the dream is realized, we arrive at last at the place we have dreamed of.  Then we celebrate, we reminisce, we mine our experience for learnings, and we revel in our accomplishment.

 The Hero's Journey - A Map

The Hero’s Journey is also a simplified but applicable view of the process of any change you may experience.  And as humans, the one thing that is constant is that things are always changing.  You may currently have some dreams where you are in “The Pit” with the dragons.  At the same time, you may have others where you’re nearing “Breakthrough.”  Some dreams take days, others years, but this is the basic journey for each of them.

When I learned about the Hero’s Journey, I began to see that I am really the hero in my own life story. (And how cool is that, I ask you?)  And when I began to redesign my life, to pursue my long time goals and dreams, I really saw myself on the hero’s path.  In fact, in times of significant transition or change, I carry a picture of the journey with me, and I often pull it out like a map, to see where I am, and to encourage and guide me along my way.

In the months ahead, we’ll explore each stage of the journey more deeply.  The goal is for you to understand more fully the process, the journey of pursuing your goals and dreams.  And through that understanding, you’ll be able to hold fast and stay the course until you your dreams are realized and celebrated.

As you look at the Hero’s Journey, think about the transitions in your life today.  Consider your dreams.  Where are you on your own hero’s path?  And where are you going next? 

Warm regards,

Lori Howard

p.s. Post your thoughts below!

Recommended Resources

To learn more about the Hero’s Journey and the process of change or transition, especially when it comes to life dreams, you might want to pick up a copy of these favorites.  

The Way of Transition: Embracing Life’s Most Difficult Moments by William Bridges
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin  

Check out my new web site: www.unearthyourworth.com.  And follow me now on Twitter @lori_howard.  

Contact Me

I welcome your feedback, comments and questions. Also, if you’re interested in contributing to this Newsletter, email me your submissions.

Tell me what you think about this newsletter by posting a comment below.

website: www.coachforabetterlife.com
blog: CoachforaBetterLife.wordpress.com
email: Lori@CoachforaBetterLife.com
twitter: @lori_howard

Click here to subscribe.
By subscribing to this newsletter, you will receive monthly tips, news, and information on how to live a more fulfilling life.

About this Newsletter
Copyright 2010 Lori Howard. All rights reserved.

Tell Yourself A Story (Newsletter Vol 2 Issue 6)

June 22, 2010

Live A Better Life Newsletter
(Tools and Tips for Intentional Living)

Volume 2 Issue 6, June 22, 2010
Tell Yourself A Story

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In This Issue:

Tell Yourself A Story
Recommended Resources
Contact Me
About this Newsletter

Tell Yourself A Story

I received an email yesterday from an old acquaintance-friend, Sarah.  It was a letter telling me all about how wonderful her life has been over the past year.  A true adventure, the mythic hero’s journey filled with romance and castles, only without a wicked witch or any evil. 

I confess, as I read her letter, I began to compare my life to hers. And mine was sorely lacking.  I felt like someone kicked me in the gut and said “Hey, loser.  You’re wasting your life away.”  Lucky for me, my very close friend Cathleen quickly intervened.  “Sarah’s life isn’t better than yours or mine, she’s just a great story teller.  I’m sure she has problems like we do, only she just left those out.”

Then I wondered, what if I told the story of my own life over the past year in the same fashion that Sarah told hers?  What would my story be?

So I grabbed a cup of blackberry tea, and sat down with my laptop and started typing.  Read the rest of this entry »

Creating the Best Support Team (Newsletter Vol 2 Issue 5)

April 27, 2010

By Lori Howard

Live A Better Life Newsletter
(Tools and Tips for Intentional Living)

Volume 2 Issue 5, April 27, 2010
Creating the Best Support Team

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In This Issue:

Creating the Best Support Team
Recommended Resources
Contact Me
About this Newsletter

Creating the Best Support Team

At some point in your pursuit of your goals, you will very likely encounter some sort of obstacle. If you don’t, I’d say you’ve you’re aiming too low.  Some obstacles seem overwhelming, insurmountable.  You run out of time or money or support.  You feel like you’ve hit the end of the runway, but the plane isn’t going to take off, instead, you fear you’re might crash and burn.

So what do you do? 

I want to talk this month about how to create support for yourself to keep you going when things get tough.  How to assess the value of your support system and then how to use it effectively. 

So right now, take a quick inventory of the people you are closest to, the one’s you trust.  List their names.  Let’s group them into simple types. 

-         Which ones are the ones who are great at cheering you up when you’re feeling down?  The ones most concerned with how you feel, and who want you to feel good.  Let’s call them our Cheerleaders.  Put a “C” next to their names.

-         Which ones are the ones who are great at analyzing things and finding problems in our logic or holes in our reasoning?  These are the problem-solvers.  The ones you talk over your ideas with when you are ready to have them challenged.  Let’s call them our Testers.  Put a “T” next to their names. 

-         Which are the really good listeners?  The ones who can listen to what you say without interruption, and respond with things like “So what you’re saying is …” or “I hear you…”  or “That sounds difficult/exciting…”.  Let’s call them our Listeners, and put an “L” next to them. 

-         Which ones are the ones who will call you out when you’re full of crap?  The ones who will challenge you that you can be more, do better?  Let’s call them our Butt-Kickers, and put a “B” next to their names.

It is important to have some of each of the Cheerleaders, Listeners, Testers, and Butt-Kickers in your support system.  It is equally important to know which type of support you need when you call on your support system for help.  Do you need someone to pick you up, remind you of how great you are, that you can do this?  Call one of your Cheerleaders.  Do you need someone to listen to you, and reflect back to you what you’re thinking and feeling?  To give you time to vent or clear your mind of thoughts and feelings.  Give a Listener a call.  Perhaps you need help fixing a problem to overcome an obstacle, actually looking at the solution you’ve come up with, and want to see if someone other than you thinks it will work, then call your Tester.   Or do you really need someone to call you forth, challenge you to step it up and bring your real A-game?  Boldly seek out your Butt-Kicker to come along and kick your butt. 

It’s important that you know who can do what in your support system.  Call on the wrong one at the wrong time and you could end up feeling crippled, instead of lifted up and helped along your way.   

Now, there’s one final category I’m struggling with mentioning, but I think they do exist and are important to discuss.  These are the Nay-Sayers.  The ones who no matter what you say or do, are always focused on the negative.  To them the sky is always falling and we are all doomed to destruction.  There is a difference between our Testers and these Nay-Sayers. Testers know how to dig in and find problems in our thinking.  The Nay-Sayers take it to a whole other level – and can be destructive to our hopes and dreams and ideas.  We may love them dearly, but need to limit our contact with them, especially when we’re in need.  Put an “N” next to their names so you remember who they are.  When you really need support, don’t go these individuals. 

So what do you do when you encounter those uber-challenging obstacles?  Take a moment to decide what kind of support you need, and reach out your support system:  Ask for help.  What if some people in your support system can serve as different types?  Tell them what kind of support you need. 

If your current support system doesn’t contain Cs, Ls, Ts, and Bs, then start looking for people to add to the mix.  Not sure how to do that?  I invite you to schedule an appointment with me and we can talk about how you can create a stronger support system for yourself and your dreams.

Unearth your worth™ today!

Warm regards,

Lori Howard

p.s. Post your thoughts below!

Recommended Resources

The topic in this section is resumes.  You never know when you’ll need yours.  Would you like to make your resume powerful and compelling? Check out this new product:  Write a Resume that Works!  For newsletter subscribers – there’s a special 30% discount.  Click here for details!

Would you like to just beef up the language in your resume to give your accomplishments greater impact?  Pick up this f*r*e*e list of Action Verbs.

Contact Me

I welcome your feedback, comments and questions. Also, if you’re interested in contributing to this Newsletter, email me your submissions.

Tell me what you think about this newsletter by posting a comment below.

website: www.coachforabetterlife.com
blog: CoachforaBetterLife.wordpress.com
email: Lori@CoachforaBetterLife.com

Click here to subscribe.
By subscribing to this newsletter, you will receive monthly tips, news, and information on how to live a more fulfilling life.

About this Newsletter
Copyright 2010 Lori Howard. All rights reserved.

Strengths Are Like Superpowers, Master Yours (Newsletter Vol 2 Issue 4)

February 22, 2010

By Lori Howard

Live A Better Life Newsletter
(Tools and Tips for Intentional Living)

Volume 2 Issue 4, February 22, 2010
Strengths Are Like Superpowers, Master Yours

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In This Issue:

Strengths Are Like Superpowers, Master Yours
Recommended Resources
Contact Me
About this Newsletter

Strengths Are Like Superpowers, Master Yours

No matter what your life, your dreams, it is important to know what you do well.  What are your strengths?  Do you know? 

I like to think of strengths as our very own superpowers.  We must know how to use them.  We can use them for good or for evil.  We can use them to pursue our own goals and dreams and to help others.

If we haven’t mastered our strengths, if we don’t know how to wield them effectively for our purposes, they can become our weaknesses and undermine us.

Think of someone you know who is very observant and detail oriented.  They do precision work.  They obsess over quality.  We need these people, we need these skills – they give us quality work and beautiful things.  But these same attributes, applied to the wrong situation, can suddenly become a drag.  Overly analytical, slowing down progress, giving us a detailed price analysis when all we need is a quick “finger in the wind” estimate.  You see?  Good vs. evil.  Superpower to Achilles’ heel, because the person didn’t know any better. 

So what can you do?  How do you master your strengths? 

Step 1: Know your strengths – by name.  What are you good at?  Do you know?  One quick way to find out is to ask the people who know you, who have some experience of you, in whom you trust.  Try this quick assessment: Send an email to 3-5 friends or coworkers and ask them what are your top 3 strengths and your top 3 skills.  Let’s define strength as a character trait that you possess, and let’s define skill as something you do well. 

Want a more scientific approach to finding out your strengths?  Pick up a copy of Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, and you’ll have access to your own personal strengths assessment based on their extensive research.

Step 2:  Now that you know your strengths, be conscious of when you use them throughout your day.  Select one strength to focus on over the course of your day.  Ask yourself: is this attribute needed here?  Does this situation benefit from me engaging this strength?

Also notice when you DON’T use it.  Ask yourself the same questions: Is this attribute needed here?  Would this situation benefit from me engaging this strength? Would using this strength make it worse?

Step 3: Take one whole week and practice the use of that one strength.  Look for opportunities to use it, and observe the results.  Focus on mastering your strength, learning when to use it, when it helps, and when it doesn’t. 

Step 4:  Repeat for Step 3 for each of your strengths over the next month or two.  Master your superpowers.

Now, what are your strengths? Your superpowers? I invite you to discover your own strengths and practice using them.  Then, visit my blog to share what you learn as you master your own superpowers.

Post your thoughts below!

Recommended Resources

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a link to the StrengthsFinder 2.0 website, so here it is: www.strengthsfinder.com.  It’s one of the few assessments with some research behind it that you can take yourself. 

Contact Me

I welcome your feedback, comments and questions. Also, if you’re interested in contributing to this Newsletter, email me your submissions.

Tell me what you think about this newsletter by posting a comment below.

website: www.coachforabetterlife.com
blog: CoachforaBetterLife.wordpress.com
email: Lori@CoachforaBetterLife.com

Click here to subscribe.
By subscribing to this newsletter, you will receive monthly tips, news, and information on how to live a more fulfilling life.

About this Newsletter
Copyright 2010 Lori Howard. All rights reserved.

How to Find Your Passion (Newsletter Vol 2 Issue 3)

January 18, 2010

Live A Better Life Newsletter
(Tools and Tips for Intentional Living)

Volume 2 Issue 3, January 18, 2010
How to Find Your Passion
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In This Issue:

Happy 2010!
How to Find Your Passion
Recommended Resources
Contact Me
About this Newsletter

Happy 2010!

Do you know what your dreams are?  If you want to make 2010 better by pursuing your passion, your dream, but don’t know what that is, this issue is for you. I have a collection of exercises I have successfully used with clients in our one-on-one sessions. This month, I share my favorite one with you.

Read the rest of this entry »

Take Time to Reflect

December 14, 2009

We are nearing 2010, can you believe it? Amid the holiday chaos we all experience, it’s good to steal some spare moments and reflect on how the year has gone.

  • What were your goals for 2009? Think back on what you hoped for, dreamed for, and set out to achieve this year.
  • What did you accomplish in 2009? Consider what you actually got done. How do you feel about those things?
  • What did you overcome in 2009? Life always hands us challenges, obstacles, opportunities. What were yours this past year?
  • What were your pleasant surprises in 2009? Life also brings us gifts, unexpected treasures. Did you take note of them? You might even think of these as blessings.
  • Now the tough question – what did you fail to achieve in 2009? What are some goals you didn’t hit? We all have them. No beating yourself up here, just identify them.
  • The final question, and my favorite. What did you learn in 2009? What lessons can you use as you move forward into 2010?

I imagine your year had some ups and downs, some accomplishments, some heartaches, and some real blessings. Mine does. Take time to reflect on where you’ve come this year, and how you got here. What was the journey of 2009 for you? As you do this, you will be better able to identify your dreams and set your goals for 2010.

If you’re up for it, share some of your learnings with me by posting here, or by emailing me at Lori@CoachforaBetterLife.com.

Just Don’t Quit (Newsletter Vol 2 Issue 2)

October 26, 2009

Live A Better Life Newsletter
(Tools and Tips for Intentional Living)

Volume 2 Issue 2, October 26, 2009
Just Don’t Quit
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In This Issue:

Enough Already!
Just Don’t Quit
Recommended Resources
Contact Me
About this Newsletter

Enough Already!

We all have times when we feel overwhelmed or exhausted from our efforts, and think the answer is to quit. I must confess, fall has been particularly challenging for me. I had planned to be busy with projects, but not with the multitude of unexpected challenges added to my life (e.g., hit and run car accident, confrontation with a neighbor, leaky windows, and broken bed, to name just a few).

I wrote this article before things got particularly difficult. (Interesting, eh?) I find as I review it now, that I feel less overwhelmed, and I am inspired to get back to work. I hope you find it helpful as well.

Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrate Your Way to Success (Newsletter Vol 2 Issue 1)

September 22, 2009

Live A Better Life Newsletter
(Tools and Tips for Intentional Living)

Volume 2 Issue 1, September 21, 2009
Celebrate Your Way to Success
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In This Issue:

Happy Anniversary!
Celebrate Your Way to Success
Upcoming Workshops!
Contact Me
About this Newsletter

Happy Anniversary!

Welcome to the One Year Anniversary of the Live A Better Life Newsletter! This issue marks the beginning of our second year! Thank you for subscribing.

And what could be more fitting as we celebrate our anniversary than an article on how to Celebrate Your Way to Success? That is the focus of this issue.

Don’t miss my new workshops in and around Chicago in September and October. I’d love to see you there.

Read the rest of this entry »

Get Experience without Starting Over (Newsletter Vol 1 Issue 12)

August 17, 2009

Live A Better Life Newsletter
(Tools and Tips for Intentional Living)

Volume 1 Issue 12, August 17, 2009
Get Experience without Starting Over
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In This Issue:

Gear Up for Fall
Get Experience without Starting Over
Recommended Resources
Contact Me
About this Newsletter

Gear Up for Fall

It’s the time of year we start thinking of school days. Fall is just around the corner, and school supplies are on store shelves. And that can lead us to think about our own education and learning, and how that can serve us in our career of choice. It can also trigger anxiety when we think of how much we need to learn, especially if we want to change what we do. This newsletter will help you manage that anxiety with some practical steps to take. (By now, you know I’m all about taking action to get unstuck.) Try some of these ideas to find out what kind of knowledge and experience you really need.

While we’re on the subject of education, I’m excited to offer some new workshops in and around Chicago in September and October (click here for details). I’d love to see you there.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Re-Ignite Your Passion (Newsletter Vol 1 Issue 11)

July 20, 2009

Live A Better Life Newsletter
(Tools and Tips for Intentional Living)

Volume 1 Issue 11, July 20, 2009
How to Re-Ignite Your Passion
Subscribe now!

In This Issue:

Greetings!
How to Re-Ignite Your Passion
Recommended Resources
Contact Me
About this Newsletter

Greetings!

How has your summer been? Mine feels like it’s flying by. I’ve also managed to come down with a summer cold the past few days, which really put a damper on my enthusiasm. So, once again, I find I’m applying the newsletter article to my own life. Just a few minutes doing the exercise below has been helpful for me as I press on. I hope you also find it useful.

Read the rest of this entry »


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