Sarah Finney Coaching

Helping Well Behaved Women Toss Away the Rulebook to Live Life on Their Terms

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Who Are You?

joy 3_editedSitting here, doing some thinking and I have a soundtrack playing in my head – the Who singing “Who are you? Who, who, who who…. Tell me Who are YOU!”

Do you know who you are?

I have contemplated that question many times over the years – who am I?  What do I stand for? What am I passionate about? What makes me tick, or what ticks me off, and Why?

Here is what I know… deep down inside, I knew who I was.  I just needed to clear out the crap that was fogging my clarity of being and once I did some work and dug in deeper BOOM – there I was.

Was nice to meet me again.

So tell me – Who are you?

Do you know?

Want to find out?

I can help you find YOU and help you to be the BEST YOU that YOU can be.

What does JOY mean to you?

joy4_editedI have been pondering the word Joy this week, and what it means to me.

Delving into Joy was brought about by reading a eulogy of a woman I did not know, but knew of. A colleague of mine lost his wife and he sent us links to her blog. My curiousity got the better of me and I started to read about this amazing gal and got some insights into her way of thinking. She had made a choice at the beginning of the year to Pick a Word that had meaning for her, and to ensure that she focused on it for the year. She did not know at the time that her life would be cut short.

That word was Joy.

By definition, Merriam-Webster, Joy means:

  1. the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires :  delightb :  the expression or exhibition of such emotion :  gaiety
  2. a state of happiness or felicity :  bliss

  3. a source or cause of delight

Wow. How many of us truly take the time to notice JOY in our lives?  I know that I have not consciously focused on it, and maybe, because I was reading her blog and saw that this lady lived a truly JOYOUS life. I am inspired to do the same. She looked for it in the everyday, the stuff that we don’t even notice as time passes us by with our overtly BUSY, BUSY lives.

She found it in the funny spelling of her name on the drink cup at Starbucks. She found it in her messy kitchen that was the epicenter of all things delicious she was baking with her daughter. She found it in the check-out line at the grocery store. She found it by interacting with people she did not know, whether in-person, or online. She found it in unusual places, or maybe not so unusual, but usual.

Point is, she found it and embraced it EVERY SINGLE DAY.

The time is now. We all need to embrace JOY. Actively look for it.  Search out where there is something that brings you Delight in your day.

What does JOY mean to you?

Today’s Musings

What is on my mind today? Lots actually. Hard to know where to start with my thoughts, which can go all over the place, so how about we think about how small things can bring a smile to your face?

It is along the lines of  “The Book of Awesome”.  Think about it. What makes you smile? Is it the parking spot close to the door? The sun shining as you leave the office bringing with it the anticipation of spring/summer weather that will soon be upon us? How about making someone else laugh? Or just feeling like you are just totally awesome today!

I think that as our days go by, we don’t take enough time out to really look around and “see” our surroundings. This equates to living moment by moment – not rushing through the day, or looking to the future for something better to come along, or dwelling on the past and ruminating on what was and how you wish you could change it.

Some writers and theorists call it Living in the Moment or Being Present. It is an interesting concept to me. I have days that go by and I wonder what came of the time spent and was any of it satisfying or fulfilling to me on a personal level.  Usually, not so much.  Do you ever get lost in your head while driving to work and when you arrive, you can’t remember how you got there? Crazy eh? But it happens – all the time. It is a little scary that you can lose time like that and not really even be aware of it as it is happening.

So here is what I will be trying to do more often. Focus more on the little things that make me smile, take a time out and quietly observe what is going on in my world and find my happy place. I shall smile more often – it is contagious, you smile at me, I will smile back. It is a wonderful thing to share with others.

The end result: Those smiles will permeate my entire being with that little, internal glow that we call like to call happiness. Seems like a small price to pay huh!

Just my two cents…

Words to live by…

“The secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have, and to be able to lose all desire for things beyond your reach.” Yutang Lin

Boy, isn’t that prophetic?  I have to say that when I read these words they really resonated with me. How many of us continue to strive for more and more? What we have is not enough. We lose sight of what we already have (usually stuff we absolutely had to have) while we keep moving looking for the next best thing to come along and make us happier than we already are (if we stopped for one second and really thought about it).

Why do we always keep going?  Why does it take something traumatic to make us step back and really look at our lives and see that we are already blessed with what we have.  We will always find things that will make our lives better, or so we think. The reality is that the more stuff we have, the harder it is to just be and live our life in the moment.

I have been reflecting lately about my life and how fortunate I am. I have had some hard knocks in my life, just like everybody else, and I spent some time remembering  what things were like for me just a few years ago. Time to reflect is a great thing.  It makes you truly see how far you have come along – at least it did in my case.  I am very happy with where I have ended up in life. Yes, I am sure there are things I could continue to strive for, but the reality is that being happy with what I have already achieved and have is a good place to be.

Maybe this is all coming up because last weekend was Thanksgiving, but it is something that I am going to keep in mind throughout the year.  It is always a good thing to continue to grow on a personal level and I hope that this quote can help keep me on track!

Here’s to being content.

The Dawning of a New Year… change is in the air

Resolutions, intention setting, goals, desires. We ask for that which we want to receive and we hope that these wishes are granted to us, sometimes with the assumption that we are owed, or that it should “just happen”.

We are nineteen days into the new year and history has shown us that most folks end up ditching the goals and resolutions as life continues on its merry way – not making room for the wishes and desires we all have. Time marches on and so do we.

New Year’s Eve has never been a night that I “love”… could care less about it for the most part.  For me, a new year usually dawns in September – probably because I always liked the newness of all the good stuff that came with back to school – clothes, shoes, pencil crayons and fresh, clean notebooks. The freshness of a “clean slate” and jumping up a grade, showing the advancement of self, the learning and evolution of a person as they grow, physically, emotionally, spiritually – it always felt like a Big Step Up.

imagesZX7X8UJ8Change is hard, but evolving oneself and building upon what was to move to a new state of awareness is always a good thing.  Out with the old ways and learnings and in with the new. Fresh knowledge and growth is an enabler – it is a door opener. It allows us to forge ahead – moving past history and into a new state of mind. Releasing and healing past hurts is game changing.

Holding back from believing in ourselves and our own inner beauty is a detriment to life. I am a big believer in putting the past to rest and living in the moment, as hard as that can be sometimes. As I get older and time is marching on, I am more and more aware of the importance of letting your true, authentic self shine.

Too many of us worry about other people’s thoughts of us and their judgments about what we may be doing in our own lives.  The key here is Our Own Lives.  We determine our fates and should never be made to feel that the choices and changes we make are wrong. They may be wrong for the person passing judgment, but that is their own issue coming to the surface and has nothing to do with the other individual.  It is not personal, even though it often feels that way. Personal growth is when you can see past the issue at hand and see the hurt in others and understand that is where the advice or commentary is coming from. It is a mirror of their own reality.

Each of us is the master of our own life. It is up to each of us as individuals to make the best choices we can to fulfill our dreams – taking action to learn, heal and evolve will be the way to achieve the things we want have in life. It takes work – its not magic, but it is what it takes to be who we really are. Some folks may not like it. Any change in a person they love or admire becomes a new behavior, which is hard for them because it means change for them as well, but it is change they don’t want or did not ask for. It is hard to embrace.

It can be hard for us to navigate these waters, but it is important to keep your head above water and keep swimming along or risk drowning and living a life that is inauthentic and disingenuous.

Live your life, after all  it is yours to live as you see fit.

Things that move me

But, if I take a time out and start to think about what brings a semblance of peace to my life, it would include the following things/experiences that I hold dear inside my heart. These are in no particular order and it is definitely not an exhaustive list.

  • Seeing a Robin for the first time after a long winter
  • Listening to my cat Cleo snoring beside me
  • Knowing that I am loved by my family and friends
  • Watching a child laugh
  • Having a gut wrenching laugh that makes my stomach sore the next day
  • An afternoon nap
  • A fantastic book that I cannot put down
  • The fact that I have a wonderful home which I have created by myself
  • An ability to keep learning and evolving
  • Knowing that I have my own personal guardian angels above (thanks mum and dad)
  • Having a nick name that only my closest peeps know about
  • My freckles – seriously, they are awesome
  • Life lessons – and man, there have been a lot.
  • My emotional strength – lesson here is you never quite know how strong you are until tested. I am strong.
  • The song “I Believe” by the Bachelors – check it out. It will move you
  • Gorgeous Fall colours
  • My bed. It rocks.
  • My family – sister, brother, nieces, brother and sister in-laws… awesome!
  • People watching
  • Sharing good times with friends and sharing those memories and laughing about them later
  • Writing – I got advice that I should write more and expand my creative side… hence the Blog…
  • Cooking – as long as it is for people who love to eat as much as I do and appreciate it
  • The lonely cry of a Loon on a still lake
  • The moon, as it breaks above the horizon as it rises in the sky at night
  • Birds… all of them really, but I do love a Cardinal
  • Books – real books, not e-readers. There is nothing like cracking open a new book – Nothing!
  • Great parents – they were awesome and I truly miss their presence in my life every single day
  • Poking around in the garden
  • Crunching and playfully kicking dried leaves as I walk through a forest
  • Mentoring young gals
  • Getting past “the past” and embracing the lessons and forgiving where necessary
  • Being healthy – emotionally, physically, mentally

I could go on and on. It is great to reflect on the things that make us who we are, and that shape us. Taking time out to focus on what we are grateful for is a good way to spend some time in your day. Often times, it is this type of reflection that will remind us of just how lucky we truly are.

My two cents…

Ice Storm and Musings Leading to a Fresh New Year

I woke up this morning and had some thoughts – random in some cases, but rather fluid in others. Thought I would share in the spirit of all things leading up to a new year.

For those of you who experienced the recent ice storm – you will get where I am coming from. For those of you who did not, this will give you an idea of what it was like for me.

Sum it up in one word. Scary. And I was blessed to only be without power for a little over 24 hours. Many, many people suffered for much longer than that, and some are still waiting 10 days later.

I pride myself in being a stalwart kind of gal. One who is steadfast and holds her own, no matter what the situation. This storm had me so anxiety ridden I almost did not recognize myself. On the outside, I was trying to find humour in the situation – this is a “go to” method of coping for me. Find the funny, crack the joke and get on with it. On the inside, my guts were in a knot and I was questioning why the hell I had decided to buy a house and live in it by myself – no one else to share the burden of trouble when it comes. Seriously. What was I thinking?! I am still wondering about this, but will take some time to think through things when my mind is not clouded with anxiety, but with clarity.

Trees were heavy with ice – so heavy branches were splitting and coming down with loud crashes. Frost plates shifting far beneath the ground causing loud, explosion like noises that make you shake in your shoes. Hydro lines thickly coated, weighing heavily and pulling free of their posts. Transformers exploding everywhere in bright flashes of blue and green lights. Sirens ever-present in the background.

Hearing branches crashing to the ground in my backyard had me jumping out of my skin. I was fortunate. Nothing hit my house. I was fortunate.

And then, out of the fear came the beauty.

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A world coated in ice – like a living Swarovski Crystal. Sun shining brightly, glinting off of everything in its wake. It was breathtaking to behold. Light winds made the branches sound like wind chimes – tinkling softly. A photographers dream.

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Power was restored, heat came back on, fridges were emptied and people started to get back to living their lives. The clean up will be huge.

But in the aftermath of this are the lessons we all need to learn.

1. Be Grateful. Count your blessings. I know I am not the only one who feels so immensely grateful for all of the things I have taken for granted. When your Power is taken away you learn very quickly how much you depend on it. FOR EVERYTHING.
2. Look after our Earth – she needs us to be awake and being more eco-conscious. We have experienced brutal weather patterns in the last few years. Yes, there is such a thing as global warming.
3. Look after each other.
4. Find the lessons in each experience and learn them.
5. Find the beauty.

I love this quote. I will keep in mind as I move forward into a New Year.

“The secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have, and to be able to lose all desire for things beyond your reach.”
– Yutang Lin

To all of you out there, I wish you a beautiful, clean slate of a New Year.

May you all be blessed with love and light in 2014.

Who do You want to be when You grow up?

ladiesToday was a great day.

Maybe not in the “I won the lottery” type of great day, but great none the less. I was heading to Ottawa for a business trip and typical to the way I like to roll, I got to the airport 1 hour prior to boarding.  I never like to be rushed, and can’t stand feeling like I could be late for something (I know, get over it already). Given that my flight was delayed, then cancelled and then re-scheduled, the day could have been a relative bummer, but sometimes stuff happens and you just have to deal with it.

Why was my day so great given the upheaval of my travel plans you ask?

Well, I had a little epiphany during my trip. One that has me thinking and feeling decidedly good about my life, but has also shown me where I want to be eventually… in my – dare I say it – my golden years.

This little epiphany came in the form of 3 ladies in their golden years – and no, I do not mean Dorothy, Rose and Blanche, but more in the form of Myrtle, Evie and Annie.

I met Myrtle and her sister Evie in the line-up at security.  These lovely gals were on their way to Ottawa, and then were planning on heading to Myrtle’s cottage located on the Ottawa River for a bit of R&R.  Evie was a wee bit of a thing – with a bright sparkle in her blue eyes and a smile that would light up a room – she was definitely the chatty one.  Both ladies required the use of canes and were all dolled up for their trip. Super cute.

The gals were ahead of me in the line going through the usual baggage screening and both had to give up their canes to make the walk through the security scanner. I was coming along behind them – head down getting my own stuff organized and as I went through the scanner, there was Evie off to the side with the guard giving her the once over with the wand and the dreaded “pat down”.

Evie was having a fit of the giggles over this little episode and she confessed to me that both she and Myrtle had set off the metal detectors!  She found this hilarious – and laughed and laughed about it.  She then fessed up that she had her hip replaced and Myrtle had a new knee so the two of them were full of metal and set them off. I could not help but laugh with them as they packed up their stuff and giggled the whole time.

Evie’s mirth was a bit short-lived, when it dawned on her that her bags were missing.  She wondered aloud where they could be, and thought that they may be coming along the belt after mine. Myrtle snorted and  reminded her that she had too many bags to bring on board and they had checked them.  Evie burst out laughing again and told me that apparently the effect of the scanner gave her a little brain fart!  I was having quite the laugh along with them – they were contagious.

OMG… What a treat these ladies were – to be the age they are – I am guessing in their 80’s – to be traveling, enjoying each other’s company and still able to laugh at their foibles was completely refreshing in this age of digital information consumption and general lack of social graces – especially in an airport where everyone is in a rush to get from point A to B and have a general air of stress about them.

My fun did not stop there.  Once I boarded the plane and took up residence in my usual aisle seat, I was asked to hop up to allow another passenger into the same row.  Another golden gal by the name of Annie squeezed into the seat next to me. Annie was pretty in turquoise and had a lovely laugh and lots to share.

Annie was heading to Ottawa to see her youngest daughter and her two boys.  Annie told me that this daughter was her 7th child and that she had 16 grandchildren and was a great-grandmother to 4 other wee beans. She was excited about her trip and snorted a couple of times when she told me that she had better enjoy her quiet time on the plane because the boys will be all over her for the weekend and she would not get a moment’s peace.  I could see that she could not wait for her weekend to start.

Annie told me a bit about herself – she was born in Sudbury, moved to  Tillsonberg and lived there with her husband for many years. Her hubby had recently been put into a home, and she was left a little bit at loose ends but apparently this did not last for long.

This lady – who was probably in her 80’s as well, had moved to be closer to her husband and was in St. Thomas.  She was not too fond of it there, and decided to move to a senior assisted living community where she enjoyed hanging out with the “girls” and had a great deal of fun learning to play the piano – practicing up to 5 hours a day, was taking up French, got her hands into their gardens and more.

To me, that sounded like a pretty full life – given her age and what she was up to, and then she told me that she decided that as much as she enjoyed hanging out with these gals, she wanted her own space again so she bought herself a little house, complete with a lovely garden and side door leading to this oasis. She was reading Eat, Pray, Love and told me that she was saving the last chapter because she did not want the book to end.  She was enjoying the story too much. This lady is amazing – so full of life – even when it seems her life has undergone a massive change.

I want to be just like Evie, Myrtle and Annie when I grow up.  But then again, perhaps the beauty of these ladies is that they have kept their playful attitudes and love of life in tact and never thought they had to grow up. Maybe that is the secret.

I am sure they have all lived very full lives, and I am sure that like everyone else, they were touched by good times, and sad times. What I learned from them today is that you are NEVER too old to do/find something that you love – to take the trips you want to take, to pursue a new hobby or dream and to laugh all along the way.

May my Golden Girls continue to giggle and enjoy life for many years to come. Cheers to the Gals and thanks for the lesson.  It was a distinct pleasure to meet you three.

I guess sometimes we all need a little reminder that life truly is what YOU make it.

Maybe I’ll get to this later…

Unbelievable. Almost 1 year has passed since my last blog post. Literally almost 12 months and here I was thinking that writing blogs would be something effortless and easy for me to do and focus on and yet, here we are.

So why? That is the ultimate question. Is it a lack of things to write about, or just an acute case of procrastination? I think the latter.  I am the unsworn Queen of Procrastination. I do not know where it manifests from, but it is something I want to change.

It is like the fear of starting – the what if’s, the whyfores and whatever else I can direct my focus on takes over instead of letting me tackle the project at hand. When I look at it objectively, I can see that the fear of starting is directly related to the fear of finishing and putting out there whatever it is that I am creating at the time. And getting judged by the masses.

Because that is what we all do – we create, and not necessarily in an artsy form as creativity is usually defined, but in everything we do on a day-to-day basis and like it or not, we get judged by what we create. Oh, and dare I say it… we also judge (ourselves, and others).

All of my life I have wanted to ensure that I bypass all forms of critique. I want to do well, but I don’t want to hear another’s opinion on how I could have done things differently (usually just their perception of how they would have done it.) How I do things is how I want to do them. I really don’t need or want unasked for feedback.  If I ask you, then bring it on.  If I don’t ask, then best bet is to keep your opinion to yourself.  What this does not mean is that I don’t want to engage in a good dialogue, but I would rather you enable me to make my own choices and learn from any mistakes I may make.  The road to success is littered with failures.  Just look at the history of Edison inventing the light bulb.

Unasked for or unsolicited advice leads to a visceral response on my part. I start to question the very nature of what I am embarking on, doing, creating at the time and start to re-evaluate my motives and opinions, but based on someone else’s perceptions, which are not necessarily my own. Maybe I don’t want you to add any colour to my artwork. Suddenly what I set out to create is no longer my own. Not an ideal situation.

Here is what I am teaching myself on a daily basis now.  Quoting Deepak Chopra, “What other people think of you is none of your business.”  I love this quote. Talk about a life changing thought. What if you just did what you wanted to do – throwing all caution to the wind and just let it all hang out and not care about what other people think about what you are up to.

This is not to say we should push out thoughts or commentary that go against humanity, but to take those risks, at a personal level – to write the blog post that may give people insights into your own vulnerabilities – and to know, that on some level, the people reading the post can directly relate to what you are saying at some level.

Here is what I know.

The longer your wait to get moving on something the more your mind can find additional reasons why you should wait, and none of those reasons are good ones. The thing to remember is once you get started, it usually ends up being easier than your little brain would like you to think it will be.

Lesson learned. A great deal of satisfaction comes from the completion of a project you have set out to do. Knowing that you have tackled a project, infused it with your creativity and have finished what you set out to do is empowering.

So don’t wait. Just get at ‘er.

You’ll feel great…..

Today I am not holed up in my house, ensconced in my space, reveling in solitude. I stepped out, even in the ridiculous heat of the summer – upwards of 40 degrees with humidity – and am happily sitting outside at Starbucks, cold drink in hand – writing.

Today was the day – because I have been thinking about writing again for a long time and it was time to just do it. Time to get on with it, and thus the post is born.

The thrill of discovery

Today, I took a step outside of my self-imposed box and started exploring a new passion of mine – one that I hope to make a full time gig – Life Coaching.

To define Life Coaching all up, it is about helping people create positive changes, see new possibilities and help define the steps people need to take to achieve their goals.

For a long time, I struggled with defining what I was passionate about and I would come up blank.  I could not find any passions, nothing seemed to get me jazzed. I did not have a “cause” that I supported, and felt like much of my life has been spent in survival mode. Life has thrown some curve balls my way, and although I have often thought of these experiences as those things that make you stronger from an emotional standpoint, they have left me feeling empty of any true passion.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have done a lot of stuff in the last number of years and have spent a great deal of time redefining who I am – finding myself is truly what I have been up to, and somewhere along the way a small twinkle started at the back of my head – a little inkling as it were, a small nudge of my subconscious mind trying to draw my attention to something… but what was it?

The search was on. What was that little voice trying to tell me? And then one day, my awareness kicked in and there it was. What gets me jazzed and brings me joy is helping others achieve their goals.  It started with mentoring the university interns that reported to me.  These were not just students coming in to do a mundane job for me, I wanted to bring them more than that.  I wanted to hear from them, help them set goals and achieve them during their time with me as their manager.

What started as an extra thing on my “to do” list at work has evolved into my passion. I have found a way to take my strengths and use them to help others which brings me a true sense of joy and accomplishment.

These are the things I am striving for in my life – and my reason to take the path less travelled and less familiar, breaking down the walls of my self-imposed box to open new doors of self-discovery.

This is the wish I have for everyone.

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