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The Myth of Multitasking

2014 July 1

By Shirley Oya

My clients often tell me that they can’t slow down.

They constantly multitask, and they say it’s hard to concentrate on one thing at a time. I’ve named this common behavior Frenetic Frenzy and think it’s important to pay close attention to it for these reasons:

1. It’s stressful!

Too much stress, as we all know, is not good for our health, especially our hearts. Did you know that the rate of heart attacks in women under the age of 50 has increased dramatically in the past few years? Here’s the real shocker: Annually, heart disease causes one of every three women’s deaths.

2. The inability to focus impacts our creativity and level of productivity

Studies show that multitasking is a total myth! In fact, our brains can only focus on a single thing at a time.

3. It disconnects us from our friends and family

Think about how hard it is to truly listen to someone when your mind is going in a million different directions.

One of my favorite rituals to help transform Frenetic Frenzy into Peaceful Harmony is to spend five extra minutes in bed and take five deep breaths. I call it Five & Five, and this is how it works:

  • Set your alarm clock five minutes early, and instead of leaping out of bed when it goes off, stay there and focus only on your breath.
  • Take five slow, deep breaths, making sure you exhale fully to get rid of the stale air.
  • Mentally scan your body and notice how you’re feeling. Just relax!
  • If you already pray or meditate, this is a great time for it.
  • It also can be helpful to think of three things for which you’re grateful. Numerous studies in the field of positive psychology reveal how much this simple ritual increases our overall sense of well being and happiness.

If you’re still feeling foggy, that’s actually good, because you’ll get the full benefit of your breathing. While your ‘executive planning’ brain (aka prefrontal cortex) may not have fully kicked in yet, the part responsible for your intuition and creativity (the right hemisphere) is very accessible at this time. This early morning ‘fog’ can be a time of great insights and ideas. Most of the content for my recent video came to me during one of my early morning ‘foggy’ rituals.

Remember to:

  • Keep a pen and pad of paper by your bedside, so you’re ready to jot down your thoughts. If you wait until you get out of bed, you risk forgetting one or all of your great ideas!
  • Have NO expectations for a specific outcome. In other words, don’t start the Five & FIve exercise by writing your to-do lists. Simply be open to what comes to you. There’s no way to predict whether an entire project will be ‘”downloaded,” you’ll recall something critical for a proposal, or you’ll suddenly remember that you need to make an important doctor’s appointment.

Even if nothing comes to mind, this short breathing exercise can help you to start your day feeling calm and focused, and well prepared to handle whatever comes your way.

Until next time, breathe deeply, and BE Calm!

To find out more about Shirley Oya and to sign up for her newsletter, “Tools & Insights For Work-Life Harmony”, click here.

{Giveaway} 15 Minutes That Could Change Your Life

2014 June 26

Maybe you are uneasy about your marriage, or your job, but afraid to face it. So you’ve done nothing and your anxiety just keeps intensifying.

Enter Catharine Ecton, certified life coach, who wants to help you in just 15 minutes. She’s offering powerful (and complimentary) mini-sessions to 20 people. She’ll challenge you with new ideas and action plans to spark positive change in your life.

If you think a session is right for you, send Catharine an email to catharineectoncoaching@gmail.com to sign up!

Waking Up To The Possibilities

2014 March 17

FOF Kathryn Gritts, from St. Louis, recently attended a two-and-a-half-day Fundamentals of Co-Active Coaching course, in Chicago, given by the Coaches Training Institute (CTI), which she won in a FabOverFifty giveaway.

A coordinator of Projects & Business Affairs at The Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, Kathryn reported to us on her experience.

Why did you enter the giveaway?

While I knew nothing about personal coaching, I found the idea intriguing and wanted to explore this field and what it could mean to me. I am at a crossroads in my life. Over the past eight years, I’ve been the primary caretaker for my parents in their old age. I was blessed in that my work allowed me to go on a condensed flex work week so I could devote one weekday each week to their care. My mother died in 2008 and my father died in January of 2013. While I’m now busy tying up the estate and managing their trust, I no longer have the caretaking duties that I had for so many years.

read more…

{Giveaway} An Eye-Opening, Mind-Expanding Session With A Professional Life Coach!

2014 March 17

Imagine talking to a complete stranger, who helps you figure out—in about an hour—where you should start taking your life next.

Before your conversation, you felt “stuck.” Maybe you were uneasy about your marriage, or your job, but afraid to face it. So you did nothing and your anxiety just kept intensifying. The stranger helped you ease your fears and see the outstanding possibilities for your future.

read more…

Unveil Your Own Lady Godiva

2014 February 20

When Lady Godiva trotted naked on her horse through an English market, ten centuries ago, the innocent townspeople got a great deal more than a glance at the noblewoman’s bare bottom.

Join an inspirational, one-day workshop that carries you back to the 11th century in Coventry, England, to meet the real Lady G. Discover how her courageous and compassionate act greatly influenced her world and what it can teach you today. Also, unveil your own Lady Godiva and see how he or she affected your life.

read more…

{Giveaway} Sessions To Prepare for Your Folks’ Retirement

2013 December 11

Meet Krista Watts, a retirement home consultant and coach. “I saw the need for a coaching service to guide women, 45-plus years old, through the difficult and complicated process of relocating their aging parents. The daughters need the most guidance and support. They experience intense feelings and emotions during this time. I love helping people come to a peaceful decision that they can live with in a positive way.”

3 FOFs will win a 1-hour phone/Skype session with Krista.

To enter to win,
comment below by answering this question:
What advice do you need for this transition
for your parent(s)

3 FOFs will win. (See official rules, here.) Contest closes December 19, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.

Win A Spot In A Course That Could Change Your Life!

2013 November 20

Want to learn how to listen deeply and ask really good questions, to acknowledge the saboteur thoughts that may be holding you back from being all you can be, to look at the world with curiosity and without judgment? Win a transformational two-and-a-half-day course, given by the esteemed Coaches Training Institute (CTI). It can help you change your relationships with your family, with your work and even with yourself.

read more…

36 Reasons To Give Mantra Buttons

2013 November 14

Betsy Karp, who calls herself The Colour Coach, says she can help you start transforming your life today. Through the simple use of color, she will give you the tools that teach you how to shift your energy, attitude and perspective. A former artist, textile and fashion designer, Betsy is now a certified health and wellness counselor. She helps women–mind, body and soul–to “paint the picture” of their lives. Read more of our interview with Betsy.

“Mini mantras are your daily dose of self love,” says Betsy. “They are a fun, playful way to connect to those around you. Use them to feel empowered, positive and focused. Let them define who you want to be.” We couldn’t stop thinking of reasons to gift them! Here are 36 fun, serious, heartfelt, friendly and clever reasons to give a mini mantra button to someone or to wear one yourself!

read more…

FOFace-to-Face with Karen Kimsey-House, Co-founder of The Coaches Training Institute (CTI)

2013 October 14

When FOF decided to launch a section on Lifestyle Coaches, we approached The Coaches Training Institute about a partnership. One of the premier coach training institutes in the world, CTI’s exclusive Co-Active approach is considered by many to be the profession’s gold standard.

Once you read our thought-provoking interview with Karen Kimsey-House, below, you’ll be tempted to sign up for CTI’s Fundamentals course. I am planning to do exactly that. See for yourself!

—Geri Brin

What’s the history of CTI?

We started CTI in 1992, the year after I married. I was in my early 40s. My husband and I both came from the world of the theatre. I was an actress. When I was 38, I began to want more stability in my life and to transition into a more professional career. So I started an adult educational learning company right here in San Francisco, called The Learning Annex. That’s where I met one of my partners, Laura Whitworth, who became one of the founders of CTI and who has since passed away. I met my husband, Henry House, through Laura. He was the third CTI founder.

What was the status of coaching in 1992?

Coaching, as we know it today, did not exist. There was some work inside organizations for executives. If they hired an executive coach for you, it was because you were on your way out or were in trouble. Coaches didn’t exist for the masses or individuals.

read more…

Who Needs A Coach?

2013 August 20

One of the most powerful feelings in life is the feeling of inspiration.

We’ve all experienced it, to different degrees. Going to a jubilant Broadway musical and wishing you could jump right on stage and sing along with the cast. Watching a friend knit yet another drop-dead gorgeous sweater and deciding to start knitting lessons as soon as possible. Listening to a passionate religious leader, who fills us with the desire to attend church every Sunday.

On the other end of the spectrum of emotions sit the feelings of hopelessness and discouragement. We’ll never lose the weight we gained during menopause. We’ll be stuck in a tedious job until we die. We’ll always play second fiddle to a smarter, prettier, more successful sister. And on and on.

Sometimes, we get lost in the second set of emotions and can’t seem to find our way out. We may turn to a well-intentioned friend, relative or business associate, and, if we’re lucky, we’ll get advice that helps us change direction.

Too often, though, those closest to us are the ones who can guide us least. Our most intimate friends and relatives will try to protect us from taking risks, because they don’t want us to get hurt, or they project expectations on us because they know our old (negative) patterns.

Enter the “professional coach,”

… someone who can help us clarify what we want, make better decisions, and learn to appreciate all of the twists and turns that we face every single day. Contrary to popular belief, professional coaches aren’t gurus, advice-givers, or cheerleaders. And although they talk to us over the phone or in- person, like therapists, they definitely aren’t therapists or psychiatrists. What they strive to do is uncover our greatest wisdom and to get it into motion.

Coaches have varied backgrounds and life experiences, but the most capable among them say that their main value is their expertise in coaching itself, which is a practice with a defined set of skills and processes. They are trained to be superb listeners, nonjudgmental, and intensely curious. They’ll ask powerful questions that cut through the same old story lines we’ve been telling ourselves for years, lines like ‘I’ll never find a job I love,’ or ‘I’m destined to be overweight forever.’

Coaches help us identify our deepest dreams, biggest fears, and greatest strengths, as well as where we’re stuck. They challenge us with new ideas and action plans and support our desire to make real and positive change in our lives. Coaches are advocates, sounding boards and skilled co-strategists.

Coaches are continually asking FOF to write about them. Health & wellness coaches, relationship & dating coaches, empowerment coaches, job coaches. FOFs are among their best clients, they tell us, because we seek the expert resources that will help us deal with our changing bodies, careers, lifestyles and relationships.

With that in mind, we’ve created this new section, called Coach!, which will introduce FOFs to some of the industry’s top professionals. Every one of them wants to help us take charge of our own health and happiness during this crucial period of our lives. So get informed, get in touch (all our coaches offer complimentary phone sessions), and get moving, forward that is!