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Chillax! April 12, 2011

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“People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness.”
– John Wanamaker

Chillax.  Yes, it’s a relatively new word, but it is found in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It means to chill out and relax simultaneously. I like this idea a lot!
Since most of us are dealing with increasing time pressures, steadily rising volumes of email, constant voice and text messages, and more competition at every level, it harder to wind down and chillax. Millions use TV, alcohol or drugs to change their mood in a desperate attempt to relieve worry, concern and anxiety.  The trouble is, in the long term, these solutions can cause extra stress themselves.
So let’s look at some easy ways to chillax – things you can do right now, today: read a chapter of an ebook; turn on Pandora and listen to music; take your lunch and sit under a tree. Tonight, stop on your way home and buy a kite to fly this weekend, watch a funny film, or enjoy a meal out with friends.
Chillaxing is all about making time for things  you enjoy.
Another approach to chillaxing is to do a simple, overall all body relaxation exercise.  Here’s one you can do any time:
Systematically tense and relax different muscles in your body at the same time as taking slow, deep breaths. With regular practice, this technique enables you to understand what tension, as well as relaxation, feels like in different parts of your body. This awareness will help you spot and counteract the first signs of muscular tension that accompanies stress, and as your body relaxes so will your mind.
  • Take a few slow, deep breaths.
  • Slowly tense the muscles in your right foot,
    squeezing as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10.
  • Relax your right foot. Focus on the tension
    flowing away and the way your foot feels as it becomes limp and loose.
  • Take a few slow, deep breaths.
  • Slowly tense the muscles in your left foot.
    Follow the same sequence of muscle tension and release.
  • Move slowly up through your body — legs,
    abdomen, back, neck, face — contracting and relaxing the muscle groups as you go.
So get your chillax on this week folks.  You’ll be SO happy you did!
Chillaxfully yours,
Francie Cooper
P.S. Steve and I chillax at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden during this week’s internet radio episode of Tapa Palapa. Listen in by clicking here. Did you know you can also follow Tapa Palapa on Facebook and Twitter?

Valentine’s Day Give-Away! January 24, 2011

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Enter Today!

Life Coach Francie Cooper’s

Valentine’s Day Give-Away!

Part of my mission as a Life Coach is to encourage my clients to:

  • Nurture Relationships,
  • Enjoy Life, and
  • Have Fun!

 Let me help you make that happen!

On February 11th, I’m giving away THREE great Valentine’s Day gifts:

 ~ One $50 Gift Certificate for Dinner for 2, or

 ~ Gift Card for Two Movie Tickets, or

 ~ The DVD, Love Actually, plus a box of delicious Godiva Chocolates.

Each gift includes a free 30-minute telephone Coaching session on the topic of your choice!

Here’s how it works:  Wherever you are in the U.S.,

1)  Each time we have a coaching appointment either in person, by phone or on Skype, you get 5 entry tickets in the Valentine’s Day Give-Away. 

 2)  For each new client you refer, you get 10 tickets.

 3)      As a bonus, if you haven’t been in for over six months, or if you’re a new client and come in for your initial session, you also get 10 tickets in the drawing! How cool is that?

To enter, email coach@franciecooper.com or call 817.929.9599 to schedule an appointment and/or make a referral.  Remember, drawing takes place February 11.

New Pocast from Tapa Palapa! January 19, 2011

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In this week’s episode on Tapa Palapa, Francie and Steve once again find themselves in the middle of Worklife Liberation month, say, “Forget work!”   We explore the value of play in helping you find your calling.  Through play you can discover and develop your core self.   We offer an exercise for tapping memories of childhood play to help point you to your calling.  We also recommend planning a special day of play to help you discover the kinds of things that ignite your passions and captivate your attention.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think.  Did you reconnect with your gifts and talents through memories of childhood play?  Did you plan a Discovery Day yet?  How did it go?

Please help us liberate more people by telling your friends and family about our podcast.  Invite them to sign up by RSS feed or by e-mail.

Finding Your Calling January 19, 2011

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Finding Your Work-Life Calling
“Where talents and the needs of the world cross, therein lies your vocation.”  Aristotle
This week, we’re again exploring the world of work, specifically the idea of finding your calling.  In ten years of Coaching, I’ve had many, many clients struggle with this issue – as young adults, at mid-life, and, yes, even at retirement.  Finding your calling is actually a multi-faceted undertaking, but this week I invite you to at least get started.   How do you do that?
First, I believe it’s important to gain access to your imaginative, creative self, that wonderful part of you that exists in the right side of your brain.  To do this, sit and breathe deeply and quietly.  Feel yourself becoming relaxed.
Now, calmly and gently, ask yourself these questions:
As a child, what did I love to do that, when doing, I lost track of time?  Did you like to play with friends, put on “shows,” write, run, work in the garden, ride horses or bikes, draw, play games, fiddle with the computer, play grocery store, help work on cars, play with animals, clean, listen to music, dance?  What was it that really brought you joy?  If you’re not sure, ask a parent or sibling – someone who knew you before you started school.
What do you do now that, when doing, you lose track of time?  Do you garden, go to shows, enjoy museums, talk to friends, play games, exercise, cook?  What is it that currently brings so much joy that you enter the flow – that space where you lose track of everything around you?  (You do know the answers to this question.  If it isn’t immediately apparent, that’s okay – ask your significant other, your children or a friend.)
Next, find paper and a pencil, crayons, markers, stickers, pens, or any type of writing implement.   Begin to sketch or write or create in some way the images you’ve called to mind.  Keep at it until something appears on paper. 
Now, consider this:  How might these images be representative of my calling?  What are they saying to me? 
If you’d like support in exploring your  calling, take your first step by entering a comment below, pick up your phone and give me a call at 817.929.9599, or visit my website at www.franciecooper.com.
If you’re interested in listening to more information on this topic, tune in to this week’s podcast on TapaPalapa.com.  Your ideal work-life is calling to you!

Life First, then Worklife January 12, 2011

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In the latest podcast on TapaPalapa,  Steve and I ask you questions a traditional career counselor or consultant isn’t likely to consider. Things like the way you interact with people, the kinds of environments you prefer, and the patterns and rhythms that feel most natural to you.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think. What do you need to add to your life to bring in the zest? What will sweeten it? How can you make it less sour or less bitter?

This Week’s Tidbits:

Request your free 15-minute consultation from Francie or Steve to help you decide the best next steps for you in worklife liberation.

Contact Francie by clicking here

Contact Steve by clicking here

Sign up for Francie’s Weekly Companion by clicking here.

Sign up for Steve’s Twisting Road Traveler by clicking here.

Taco, Burrito, Rice and Beans January 11, 2011

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When I’m making decisions about work – how to ideally use my gifts and talents – I also like to think about my temperament and personality. As an extrovert, I gain a lot of energy being around people, so coaching others fits me beautifully. But, when I’m writing, this newsletter for example, I prefer silence – no music, no interruptions – just me and my computer. I try to balance those two needs by scheduling writing time in my quiet home office, and then venturing out into the world to see clients and colleagues in my business office.
This week, I invite you to consider your temperament and personality as they affect your work. What type of rhythm or schedule do you prefer – one that’s flexible or one that’s structured? Do you want to be around a lot of people or do you prefer quiet? What do you value most – flexibility, free time, variety, predictability or security? Or, are you like me, a combo – one taco, one burrito, rice and beans, please.
What kind of work-life do you really want to have?
Let’s take a look at the traditional model first. Do you like the idea of going to and leaving work at the same time every day? This model often offers the benefits of security, paid vacation, insurance and sick leave. In this model you are frequently given a specific assignment, told how to do it and there are expectations of when it should be completed. Does this sense of security, certainty and direction appeal to you?
In the entrepreneurial or self-employment model, the individual sets his or her own schedule. This means identifying every day what you’re going to work on, when and how. The deadline is often your own, unless it’s imposed by a client. You have no one else paying your insurance, no paid vacation or sick leave. You do have a tremendous amount of freedom. Security, however, can be elusive.
Which of these models appeals to you? If you say, “I like both,” is there a way to combine them? Perhaps you could get a part-time job with benefits along with different part-time, self-directed work? It’s easy to get trapped in black or white thinking – “I have to do one or the other. I can’t do both.” But, I contend that in work, just as in life, there can be many, many shades of gray.
If you’re considering a new job, but you’re not sure what you want to do, you might want to pick up a copy of Barbara Sher’s book, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What it Was.
If you’re considering working for yourself, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Barbara Winter’s book, Making a Living Without a Job.
Don’t forget, you can also give me a call for personal coaching on this topic and/or listen to more thoughts on the latest TapaPalapa podcast.

– Francie Cooper

Snowy Day in Fort Worth! January 9, 2011

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A rare event is taking place outside my home-office window right now.  It’s SNOWING!  Something we don’t see too often in this neck o’ the woods.   A snow day here offers a perfectly valid excuse to stay inside, crank up some mellow Pandora tunes,  light a fire,  read a novel, catch up on blog posts, and make some warm comfort food.  I plan to indulge in all of the above 🙂 

If you find yourself in this same, lovely spot with an extra ten minutes,  listen in on my latest podcast with Steve.  We share a few laughs and talk about WORK being a four-letter word.  Check it out:  http://tapapalapa.com/ 

BTW, I read today that 61% of  people polled by Parade magazine said if they had it to do all over again, they would NOT choose the same career.    How ’bout you?  Would you choose the same career?  If not, what would you do instead?  

If you want to explore some options, post a comment or shoot me an email.  I’d love to talk with you about the possibilities!

Into the Fire December 29, 2010

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In the newest podcast on TapaPalapa.com, Francie and Steve discuss fire as a symbol of releasing the past to prepare for transformation and renewal.  In nature, fire clears away debris and dead wood to set the stage for new growth.  We can release our own psychological debris and spiritual dead wood symbolically through a fire ceremony to set the stage for our rebirth and growth.

This week we reached deep in our bag of professional recording tricks to create a virtual crackling fire. Close your eyes and imagine you are snuggled up next to the fire as you listen to this episode.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think. What do you want to release as this year ends? What do you want to make room for in your life for the coming year? What intentions are you setting and how are you preparing to grow so you can make your intentions real?

Please help us spread the light by telling your friends and family about our podcast. Invite them to sign up by RSS feed or by e-mail.

Whew! That Was Fast! December 28, 2010

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Wow, I can’t believe Christmas has come and gone already. Did your holiday observations and celebrations meet your needs this year? That’s what I’m thinking about this morning, trying to discern what worked for me and what didn’t.

First, the plan of simplifying decorations went well. I didn’t miss having tchotchkes perched on every horizontal and vertical surface. The small tree, mantel and table centerpiece satisfied that need nicely without being too overwhelming. What also worked were many gatherings with family and friends. That seemed to be the balm I needed for creating a sense of peace, joy and love.

I didn’t miss the chaos of shopping in ever-more-frantic crowds of people – my few forays into the madness left me shaking my head at the ire of yelling and fist-shaking by angry shoppers when parking spaces were stolen. I admit, though, I did have difficulty shaking the feeling of Scrooginess.

You see, I have a life-long habit of over-the-top gift giving and cutting back on that was what I imagine going through withdrawals might be like. But, I realize, in the end, it really was okay and didn’t diminish the love I experienced from family or friends.

That’s just a small glimpse into my holiday experience, and now I invite you to take a look at yours. Were your needs and desires met? In what ways? Were there things you wish had gone differently? What were they? What changes can you make next year to assure that will happen?

Speaking of changes, have you started to think about what you’d like your 2011 to look like? I’d love to sit down with you to help create your intentions for next year, and then create an action plan to make that happen. Give me a call at 817.929.9599 or shoot me an email at coach@franciecooper.com and we’ll set up an appointment to do just that!

Happy New Year, One and All!

– Francie Cooper

In the Glow December 16, 2010

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Steve and I just posted our latest podcast on TapaPalapa.com.  This week we’re exchanging some light-hearted banter about the way close friends and family bring light into our lives, and the way we can be light for them. It’s a light of hope and inspiration that calls forth our better selves, the people we are becoming. In the light of their warmth, their comfort, and their inspiration we glimpse the Divine loving us through them.

Their light also shines on us to show us parts of ourselves we don’t see, both our flaws and our talents. We need that light to grow, to see ourselves more clearly as we prune away old behaviors and develop our gifts and abilities.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think. How has someone close to you shined the light of inspiration or revelation for you? How do you do that for others?

And please help us spread the light by telling your friends and family about our podcast. Invite them to sign up by RSS feed or by e-mail.