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Everyone’s Got Talent! March 23, 2011

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 When you think of talent, what comes to mind?  Is it the kids with the amazing voices on American Idol?  Is it a favorite painter like Picasso or O’Keefe?   Maybe it’s a much-loved author like Mark Twain or Jodi Picoult.  While it’s true that all of these individuals have or had talent, what if I told you I believe Everyone’s Got Talent and, yes, that means you!
 
Talents are simply natural endowments.  We’re all given them and it’s our job in this life is to discover what they are.  It’s also our job to figure out how we’ll use them to make the world a better place. 
 
When I work with clients on discovering their own gifts and talents, I often find that what they enjoy doing gives them clues.  This week I’d like you to think about what you enjoy and, by extension, what your gifts and talents are and how you can use them to make the world a better place.  Here’s a chart* to get you started thinking.  Circle the talents that apply to you and add your own.
 
Taking care of animals
Singing
Running
Doing math
Helping others
Reading
Listening to others
Jumping
Skipping
Riding a bicycle
Drawing pictures
Painting
Creating stories
Playing ball
Dancing
Using imagination
Telling stories
Telling jokes
Making people laugh
Playing a musical instrument
Playing sports
Speaking more than one language
Whistling
Finding four-leaf clovers
Putting puzzles together
Taking tests
Finding things that are hidden
Growing plants and flowers
Yodeling
Juggling
Solving problems
Cooking
Helping people understand each other
Recognizing stars and plants
Spelling
Memorizing
Designing clothes
Building things
Sign language
Gymnastics
Art
Debating
 
 
Now, take it a step further.  How can you use just one of these talents this week for the greater good?  How can you use it for someone other than yourself?  If your talent is growing plants and flowers, for instance, could you help a neighbor plant a garden?  If you yodel, could you take 20 minutes to entertain a group at your nearest nursing home? 
 
Whatever your gift is, whatever you’re called to do in this world, just don’t waste it.   It is, after all, one of your jobs in this lifetime!
 

If you want more information on this topic, remember to tune in to this week’s podcast on TapaPalapa.com or itunes. 

 
Until next week,
Francie
 
*Chart developed by Charlene A. Costanzo

Today’s Greater Good March 16, 2011

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Last Friday, March 11, Japan was hit by a devastating earthquake/tsunami which has caused the loss of tens of thousands of lives and irreparable damage to topography and property.   This event, I believe, is yet another call to us to become involved in working for the greater good – a topic we’ve been discussing here all month.
 
As author Carolyn Myss expressed, “We learn from this event in Japan that we can be with the Japanese community of people through prayer, through email, through FB (Facebook) in an instant.  We are truly learning an enormous cosmic truth: We are one. And we are meant to use that truth: Pray together, heal our fellow human beings together, and heal our beloved Earth together. Put your soul to work.”
 
In addition to prayer, international disaster relief organizations have recommended that those of us who cannot directly supply physical assistance can best help by making monetary donations.  If you have a favorite, reputable organization to which you regularly donate, please considering doing so again.  
 
It has recently came to my attention that the Red Cross is accepting donations of $10 by text messaging.  You can text REDCROSS to 90999 to contribute.  It couldn’t be easier. Full details can be seen here: https://american.redcross.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=ntld_nolnav_text2help  
 
As Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist posted on Facebook recently, “An event such as this reminds us of the impermanent nature of our lives. It helps us remember that what’s most important is to love each other, to be there for each other, and to treasure each moment we have that we are alive. This is the best that we can do for those who have died: we can live in such a way that they continue, beautifully, in us.”
 
 

If you want more information on this topic, remember to tune in to this week’s podcast on TapaPalapa.com or itunes. 

“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. 
 

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!

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.

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!