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“Slactivism” March 9, 2011

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 “Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways it can change someone else’s life forever.”  – Margaret Cho
 
 We all know that time is a precious commodity.  We have 24 hours in a day and that’s it.  Oh, we try to stretch it and bend it, but all those efforts are for not.  We’re still stuck with only 24 hours. 
 
So, why would we give any of it away?  Why would we choose to use our limited allotment of valuable hours for someone or something other than ourselves?  One reason is that it feels good.   Another is that we know in our souls that doing something for someone else is the right thing to do.
 
Maybe you already volunteer your time for a cause, like answering pledge calls for your local PBS affiliate, or painting closets for Habitat for Humanity.  Or, maybe you do something for a neighbor or friend – like mowing their lawn, or changing a light bulb when a neighbor can’t reach theirs.  None of these take any particular talent – but they do take our precious time.
 
For those of you who don’t have much time to give, but want to do something, let me introduce you to the concept of “slacktivism.”  It’s defined in Urban Dictionary as:  “The search for the ultimate feel-good that derives from having come to society’s rescue without having had to actually get one’s hands dirty or open one’s wallet.”
 
To be a slacktivist you simply visit various “click to give” websites that allow individuals to donate by going online and clicking a button. The click leads you to a page with ads, and the advertiser gives money (based on the number of clicks) directly to a charity designated by the site.
 
One of the most notable “click to give” pages, according to Slate.com, is the Hunger Site.  It says that user clicks led to more than 235.7 tons of food donated last month (3,678,968 clicks). Their early success led to the creation of several other sites, including the Breast Cancer Site, where user clicks led to 103.3 free mammograms in February (5,163,968 clicks).
 
If you have more time to kill, try FreeRice, an educational game site run by the U.N. World Food Program that gives 10 grains of rice to the UNWFP for every question you answer correctly. They’ve donated more than 62 billion grains of rice in less than two years.
 
The question is: how will you use your precious time this week?  Will you choose to give of it generously to someone or something besides yourself?  Will you join the millions of slacktivists and donate by clicking or will you take a more hands-on approach?   Whatever it is, please let me know. I’d like to share your story to inspire others! 
 
If you want more information on this topic, remember to tune in to this week’s podcast on TapaPalapa.com or itunes. 
 
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It’s a Bigger World than Me! March 2, 2011

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 “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…” 
– John Donne
 
Confession time.  I took the day off yesterday.  It was my birthday and I just decided, what the heck, I’m going to take a mental health day.  I used to let my sons take one from time to time when they were stressed out, and I promote it with my clients because I think it can ultimately make them more productive.  So, I followed my own advice and gave myself a break. Truthfully, I feel better for having done it.   I’m motivated again today to tackle the myriad tasks of the self-employed Life Coach.
 
That being said, this month my intention is to focus on the Greater Good – the fact that it’s a bigger world than me.  In other words, I feel a responsibility to reach beyond my home and personal life in Fort Worth, Texas, to be a good citizen and do what I can to help make the world a better place. (I assure you, the irony of my taking a “me” day during Greater Good month is not lost on me.)
 
But why bother?  Here are a few less-than-altruistic reasons I came up with and I encourage you to add your own thoughts and reasons to this list:
 
1) Volunteers usually enjoy themselves while giving to others.  Positive psychology studies show that volunteers have greater life satisfaction.  Other solid research indicates volunteers live longer, are in better health, have lower rates of depression and less heart disease. Wow!
 
2) Volunteering offers a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives.  Contributing to others fulfills a critical need for our own self-expression in the world.
 
3) Many people volunteer to gain valuable new experience in a certain field and pay their dues for developing expertise and career advancement opportunities.
 
So, what’s stopping you?  In this big ol’ world, surely there’s someone or some cause you can support by giving part of your time.  Identify one.  Pick up the phone or shoot them an email to find out how you can be involved.  Let me know what you decide.  Maybe I can join you and together we can multiply the ripple effect thousand-fold!
 

Until next week,

Life Coach Francie Cooper
 
P.S.  Don’t forget that my TapaPalapa podcast with fellow Coach Steve Coxsey is now on itunes too!  You can now find us either way.  Just click on one of these links!

Tapa Palapa Podcast Now on itunes! February 25, 2011

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Hooray!  Hooray!  Tapa Palapa now has a new itunes channel!  Tune in and find out what’s going on!

Preparing for Love 3.0 – on TapaPalapa.com February 16, 2011

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In our most recent episode on TapaPalapa,  Steve and I talk about some important ideas and exercises for you when you’re looking for a romantic relationship. 

We explore ways to prepare yourself to love and be loved, how to make mindful decisions about the sort of person who will be a compatible partner for you, and how to realize your own qualities and strengths so you can enter a relationship with confidence in your ability to be an equal partner.

You can also see the video of Francie drawing the winners of her Valentine’s Day Give-Away on our Cinema page.

Plus, take the VIA Strengths Survey by clicking here. It will help you identify the positive psychology strengths that you will bring to a relationship to benefit your partner.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think. Did you find the VIA Strengths test helpful? If you’re looking for a relationship, did you try the exercise Francie recommends? What tips do you have for people preparing for a romantic relationship?

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

Sign up for my Weekly Companion by clicking here.

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

How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways! February 15, 2011

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This past weekend I ran into one of my readers and she commented that last week’s blog, which contained the Virginia Satir essay, Declaration of Self Esteem, moved her to create her own essay which she calls My Personal (Wo)Manifesto of Self Esteem. She gave me permission to reprint it here. Hope you love it as much as I did!

My Personal (Wo)Manifesto of Self Esteem- or How Do I Love Me?-Let Me Count the Ways!

#1. I am creative. I can take nothing and make something of it. I can take ordinary objects- trash even- and make art out of it- woo-hoo!

#2. I am loveable. I love myself and try my best to see the love in others-even when it is most difficult, as it often is. I give and receive love easily.

#3. I am funny- silly sometimes. I have the ability to laugh at myself. I am working on the ability to laugh at my mistakes and go on.

#4. I am an object of desire- I am pretty damn hot for age 55!

#5. I can cuss like a sailor and fart like a boy! (So my husband tells me- and he should know!) This is not something I can or SHOULD easily share, but boy, at times they both come in handy!

#6. I have great hair- I love my hair! It is full, luxurious, pretty, and sexy. It makes me feel good! (I am cracking myself up right now!)

#7. I love how I am comfortable with my age. It doesn’t scare me-if it ever did. I am proud and grateful of/for every year I have been on this planet- maybe not of all my actions, but, looking to the future and working on that!

#8. I am open to learn new things, to experience life in all its glory, to look at the bigger picture, to accept people where they are-for the most part. This is a work in progress-as I am!

#9. I love that I am not on the eternal treadmill to lose weight or maintain a certain body image. Sure, I know I need to lose some lbs. I would feel better, it would improve my health- and I am working on it. But I am not consumed with the idea. Basically, I like (love!) me and fhow I look, not that there is not room for improvement!

#10. I am glad I am an optimist! I know that I have and will ALWAYS be taken care of by the Universe, Great Spirit, Allah, God, Goddess- whatever you choose to call it. I have seen and felt it, time and time again.

#11. I love myself even when I screw up, say and do the wrong things- I can forgive myself and go on!

#12. I love that I am calm most of the time- grounded in my beliefs, my faith, my actions- with my life, my friendships, and love as my foundation.

Not that I don’t have plenty to improve upon! But, I am not beating myself up over these things. Life is a school-not of hard knocks and hard times, but, it is an opportunity to grow and learn and be open to changes and opportunities. It is actually such a gift- a welcome mat laid at our feet.

We choose, not always to our benefit, but I believe no choice is totally wrong. Even a so-called wrong choice can put you on the road to a correct or better one. Who knows what that path may offer or where it will lead – however hard it might seem at the time.

I love my life and I love my friends, and I love this fickle, crazy, scary, magic, beautiful world we live in! Ah, we are but guests- and must act polite and gracious-except when we feel the need to speak out and act!

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it was as much fun for you to read as it was for me to write it! Please share if you decide to write your own personal manifesto!

– Francie Cooper

Three Ways to Fall in Love – With Yourself February 9, 2011

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 Virginia Satir, famed psychotherapist and author, once wrote this beautiful essay entitled: “My Declaration of Self Esteem.”
 
“I am me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it.
 
I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.
 
Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me.
 
However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded.
 
I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside f me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am okay.”
 
When I first read this piece, I realized I not only didn’t really love myself, I didn’t even know where to start the process.  My mind was so ingrained with self-sabotaging thoughts that loving myself sounded unnatural.  I realize now, however, that if you don’t love yourself, you can’t fully love another.
 
So, if reading Satir’s wise words has inspired you to work on loving yourself, here are three ways I believe will be helpful:
 
1. Forgive Yourself.  If you have made mistakes in the past, you need to forgive yourself now. All of us make mistakes.  It’s just part of the human experience.
 
2. Eliminate negative self-talk.  Do you often berate yourself over the tiniest thing?  Is there a little voice inside your head that often tells you you’re stupid or unworthy?  Be aware when this is happening.  Change your words to the opposite of what you’re saying. For instance, if you find yourself saying, “I am so dumb!”  STOP.  Replace your words with, “I am becoming so smart!”
 
3.  Make positive affirmations everyday.   I know this may sound hokey, but it does work!  Post affirmations on your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator and steering wheel, anywhere you will see them frequently.  For instance, write out and say aloud several times a day, “I love and accept myself completely and unconditionally.”
 
There are many, many other ways to raise your personal love quotient.  If you’d like to work on these and more, shoot me an email or give me a call!  Remember, all clients, new and returning, are entered in my Valentine’s Day Give-Away!
– Francie Cooper
 

What’s Love Got To Do With It? February 1, 2011

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“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” 
– Morrie Schwartz
 
Boys and girls, it’s here.  February.  Lo-o-o-ove month.  That time of year we traditionally express our deepest, most heartfelt, gushy, mushy feelings.  My question today, however, is, “What’s love got to do with it?”  And, what is it anyway?  For the sake of our discussion today, let’s say it is greater life satisfaction.  What does love have to do with our level of happiness?
 
As it turns out, there are actually many benefits to love.  Research shows that a loving environment encourages a person to better reach their potential, to be more giving to others, and to have greater trust.  Love can also help someone muster the resiliance to go through the most difficult times.  It is, clearly, a feeling that we all need just a strongly as we need to eat.
 
It’s also been shown that love reduces stress, relieves tension, reduces pain, and helps you live longer.  Do you agree?
 
This month, I urge you to take one small step to create more love in your life. 
 
You may be thinking, “But I don’t have a lover in my life right now.”  To that I say, acknowledge your love to a friend, parent, child, and/or grandparent.  Even a simple hug, shoulder squeeze, back-slap, or arm rub can lower stress hormones and help you feel more connected.
 
Or, you may be thinking, “Romance?  What’s that?  We’ve been together for years now.”  To that I say, “Do something novel together.”  There are ways to reignite the flame, though going out to your favorite restaurant for dinner is probably not one of them.  Research shows that you both need to engage in something new and challenging to get your brain to produce love hormones.  Try rock climbing, dance lessons, riding Segways, sleeping in the zoo overnight, handing out blankets to the homeless, horseback riding, plate painting, a cooking class, batting cages, a comedy club, or a helicopter ride, just for starters.
 
Another idea might be to come to a few sessions of couples Coaching together!   You’ll find new ways to connect, have greater intimacy, plus create a stronger bond. 
 
As an added bonus, you’ll be entered in my Valentine’s Day Give-Away!   You could win dinner for two, movie tickets for two, or a box of Godiva chocolates to enjoy with the romantic movie, “Love Actually.”
 
For details, check out my January 24 blog.
– Francie Cooper

Listen in on Tapa Palapa’s Latest Work-Life Liberation Podcast January 28, 2011

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In this weeks Tapa Palapa episode Francie and Steve talk about the fact that it’s too easy to get sidetracked and try to solve the wrong problem, so it’s important to get clear about what you want to change in your worklife. They look at smaller changes to consider before pursuing a full career change or pursuing self-employment. They also show you ways to test out your career dreams by identifying the practical considerations and by talking with people in that field to point out obstacles you’ll likely encounter.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think. Can you identify a way to bring your calling into your current work? Where can you exercise your influence to improve the environment at your workplace? Is there a big career or business dream you have that you’re ready to start testing out?

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.

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.