Monica J. Griffith

Guiding Light Coaching

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Once again, we have ‘Sprung Forward’ and lost another hour. Yes, it is now Daylight Saving Time and for many of us this is seen as just another disruption to our day (or week!).

I like when the clocks change. It’s another hint of more light in my day and for some reason, I think that gives me more time to do what needs to be done. I know, it’s a mind-fake, and still, it does give me a renewed burst of energy.

Many do not see it this way. I’m not sure if it is the chore of changing the clocks or maybe they don’t like the fact it is light outside later in the evening or darker in the morning making it harder to get going. One thing is for certain – if you live in an area that is ruled by Daylight Saving Time, your schedule needs to adjust!

Time-management. I have always been curious about the thought of actually managing time. It cannot be done, at least as far as I can comprehend. Each day has 24 hours (plus or minus one during the change to and from DST). Each hour has 60 minutes and each minute gives us 60 seconds. How can one possibly assume to ‘time-manage’? It is what it is and to the best of my knowledge, there is no way to manage how time is!

However, I do see there is a way to manage how I utilize the time I’ve been given. I get the same amount as everyone else on Earth. And, my time ticks at the same rate as yours. Am I right on this? So, why don’t we call it ‘Time-Utilization’? This is a much more powerful term for me and it really gets to the point of what is actually going on here.

My clients often bring to coaching the problem of time-management. What they soon discover is a lack of focus and or direction. The limit of 24 hours in the day is not the concern; rather it is the efficient and effective utilization of these hours that is the conundrum!

People often spend their energy on things that can be completed quickly, easily or in auto-pilot. They set aside (or completely ignore) the activities that might be seen as hard, long, cumbersome, distasteful or challenging. Another obstacle is they may often try to accomplish more than is realistic – bite of more than they can chew, so-to-speak! Then, discouragement sets in and they become distracted by one of the easy or seemingly more enjoyable tasks. Or worse yet, they may just give up. Suddenly, they realize ‘time has gotten away’ from them and they now label themselves poor at managing time!

Nope! It is really just a few things:
• Being very clear, purposeful and intentional about what is important;
• Seeing meaning and relevance in the action to be taken or task to be done;
• Doing what I said I would do, when I said I would do it;
• Celebrating all accomplishments – no matter how small.

Creating the life you’ll love to live in each of the 24 hours you are given calls for you to be the pilot of the flying-time-machine.

You are in control (not time) – what are you going to do; where are you going to fly; how far and high are you willing to take this journey?

Sometimes, what is happening in the world affects us in ways we cannot imagine. Today, I am sad. I am owning my feelings today and will be working through the sadness as best I can. I will not allow it to overtake me or to linger too long; nevertheless, it is there and I acknowledge it.

While the ‘reason’ for the sadness is not something for which I am personally attached, and there may be little I can actually do to prevent the catalyst from recurring, I am still sad.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. A day that should have been filled with celebration, love, wonder, peace and prayer.

How will February 14, 2018, be remembered? Yesterday was the shooting at a High School in Parkland, Florida. Yesterday, thousands of parent’s and children’s lives changed forever. Yesterday, millions of people around the world gasped for breath and watched or listened in shock as children and their teachers were innocently murdered. Yesterday was not the first, nor will it be the last time this vileness happens. Yesterday will not soon end for many.

I don’t really know if holding these families in my thoughts and prayers helps them; I do know it helps me. And while I am not personally impacted with a child attending that school and do not have a friend or family member who suffered a loss there, my thought is: “There but for the grace of God, go I.” And, I am certain that sentiment is uttered by many. It could have been any of us…

How do we (those perhaps not directly impacted) move forward through this feeling of sadness, particularly as we are inundated with pictures and stories on the news and social media?

For me – it is first to acknowledge the sadness, the loss, the misery of those directly enduring this event. It is to allow my tears to fall and know that my question of ‘Why?’ can never be satisfactorily answered. It is to shift from ‘why’ to ‘what’, as in What can I do? It is a call to action.

For some, that call to action may have a direct impact on the victims and their families such as financial assistance, medical or mental health support, cards or words of encouragement, etc. For others, the call to action may be a stronger voice and involvement in the political arena or within their own community. Some may answer the call to action on a more personal front – with prayer, writing, music, connection with friends or family. What do you do to answer the call? What is your next small, sweet step to shift the sadness in a positive and productive manner? What do you do to create a space of well-being?

Yes, I acknowledge the sadness that I am feeling. And as time ticks forward, I am intent on: becoming clear on the contributions I am making; shifting my focus to what has meaning for me in this world; answering my call to action; easing the struggle of sadness and unrest; demonstrating gratitude for all I have and all that is to come.

The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.- Neale Donald Walsch

Do you ever have the feeling that someone is ‘walking all over’ you? Do you find yourself frustrated or even a bit cynical with others and hear yourself saying ‘they made me/want me to/expect me to…’?

I hear that quite often as new clients work with me in coaching. What they soon discover is they have been remiss to set boundaries. Once we uncover what might be getting in the way and exactly what a boundary might look like, the activity revolves around becoming clear about their ‘line in the sand’.

Let’s talk a moment about what is a boundary. According to Merriam-Webster, a boundary is: something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent; a real or imaginary point beyond which a person or thing cannot go.

When we look at boundaries as a fix to ensure or support self-care rather than selfish-behavior, we can be guilt-free when we say ‘no’; we can ask for what we want and need ; we can say ‘yes’ because it is what we want to say rather than feeling it is the obligatory response. Boundaries support our desire to ‘be’ who we are, really, and not who other’s expect/want/need us to be for them.

Several comments I often hear regarding this awareness is this: I can’t be that mean and say no all the time; doing that would be like slamming the door on this relationship; if I don’t give in to him/her, they won’t like me anymore. And so it goes – the excuses, justification and rationalization as to why setting boundaries won’t work! And here is a question that might be something to ponder upon: What might your life look like if you took responsibility for your own happiness and success? What would that be like for you?

Boundaries do not have to be impermeable walls! They can be, and possibly should be in some instances; however, they can also be like the orange construction fences that have some flow through and some give. They can be like picket fences that are sturdy and strong with areas of drifting through. Is it possible to have ‘both/and’? Of course, in many instances, it is! The focus here is that one does intentionally create that line in the sand and determine if the situation at hand is a brick wall or construction fence!

“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” ― Anna Taylor

Recently, I shared my thoughts about creating a vision for the future. I delight in planning and setting goals or targets, something on which to focus my attention. I don’t want to aimlessly wander – or squander – the years I have been given to occupy this great Earth. And yet, sometimes, it seems I am doing things without a true investment. Does that ever happen to you? They are those things I think I should do, or that others expect me to do. Where is the joy in that?

Shouldn’t the time and energy I invest be directly (or indirectly, at least) bring me joy? Wouldn’t that mean I was doing something I love? Is that being selfish or self-centered? I don’t believe it is and let me explain my thinking here. Sometimes, it may be a bit of a stretch to find joy, happiness, fulfillment, delight or pleasure in what one is doing. The activity or scenario may not be what I expected – or maybe it is what I expected and that was something less than desirable! I believe experiencing the joy or delight in what we are doing circles back to the Vision of who I intend to be.

Let me share this story with you:

A few years ago, I was a leader in a corporate company and had just completed a 3 day workshop with my management team at one of my remote locations. We had an incredible experience, getting to know each other on a more personal level, building trust and communication to strengthen the leadership team. We looked at how we could work better remotely and addressed the concerns of each leader’s individual team. We created great synergy and high engagement for leading our group to excel in a variety of ways. I was living my intention: Being an effective and engaging leader. Sounds great – right?

After the workshop, 5 of us were waiting at the airport for our flight home. My boss calls me on my cell phone and asks me to step away from the group. His message to me: Corporate has decided to close several locations. One of them is mine. The one we are departing from. I need to create a plan to return to this location with him in a few weeks and deliver the news. WOW!! What a kick in the pants!

Obviously, my mood quickly sank to a new low. We had just invested so much time and energy in building trust and relationship. It had been one of the best investments of time and money we had spent and I was looking forward to a new year of engagement and growth for my teams and leaders. And now, less than an hour since our celebration lunch, I am to be planning the message that the location will close and my team (and their leaders) would be out of a job or (hopefully) in a new position with the company. I was devastated! I was expected to do something so heartbreaking and really, there was no option or easy answer.

How does one even begin to approach this task? Check back on my intention: Being an effective and engaging leader. This is what I really love. Leading others; guiding them to find their way and be their best; knowing that sometimes, that means being direct and tough with compassion and empathy. Laying out the facts, as I know them; being a bit vulnerable, not taking things personally yet, being personable; listen with compassion; allow and encourage each individual to process information in his/her own way; honesty; integrity; truthful. Always breathing and knowing ‘all is well’.

My boss and I did return to the location and shared this news with the leaders. Then, we met with the teams and shared with them. Delivery of the message was the easy part. What I mean by that is we prepared a statement and read it. So, once the words were out, we were done with the delivery. It didn’t feel good and I’m sure my voice was shaking – not who I like to be; however, it is my intention in leadership to be truthful and I know that sometimes means being tough and direct.

And then – – the range of reactions came. Tears, anger, disbelief, fear, disappointment, denial, thoughtful and questioning. Small group meetings and one-on-ones. Some had to leave the building as they were so distraught. A few simply went back to work, feeling nothing was in their control except what they knew on the job.

And me? Here is where I was silently drawn by the strange pull of what I really love: leading others. I breathed in the intention of being leader and what that means for me. I found no joy or delight or happiness in the task I was called to do – announce the closure and disappoint my team. Yet, I found great fulfillment in being there to listen and console and plan and hope with each and everyone. In being leader I did not go astray. Having my clearly defined intention, I was able to shift from the thoughts of cynicism and defiance and what I should do, or that others expect me to do, or the task I was assigned. I became grounded and in control of living the life I envisioned – being the most effective and engaging leader I could be.

Others will have expectations of you. Tasks will arise that are unpleasant. All the ‘you should do/be/think…’ comments or thoughts will arise. How do you stay true to who you really are and how you plan to live your life?

Be clear. Connect with the pull that is silently drawing you to what you really love. Define your intentions of how you will ‘be’ in this world. Create your vision. Ground and center yourself. Then, breathe it in and take one small step to live the life you said you would live.

Here we are on the last day of 2017! While many people are preparing for a New Year’s Eve celebration, I am pondering what 2018 will bring. Oh, not in a worldly sense – but in one more personal and intimate. What I can control and how I want to be in the coming year.

Now is the time I reflect a bit on the current year and look at my successes as well as the areas in which I did not quite live up to what I expected for myself. Of course, in order to do that, I need to revisit my vision and goals set at the beginning of the year. Once I see the progress – or lack thereof – the process of planning 2018 becomes more clear and can be completed with greater ease!

Does that happen for you?

Let’s back up a moment. I have a few questions for you: Have you written you Life’s Vision? If not, how do you know where you are going? Or, are you just drifting along, allowing life to happen? What would it be like for you to set the course for your life – in writing – and create the life you’ll love to live? Do you know that starts with Vision?

The Merriam-Webster definition of Vision: the act or power of seeing: Sight … a thought, concept or object formed by the imagination … mode of seeing or conceiving … unusual discernment or foresight …

Your vision for your future is your imagination creating a picture of who and what you aspire to be! It is about seeing a better future for yourself. It is about seeing a life that is fulfilling, passionate, deeply satisfying and complete. It is all about YOU and you are in the driver’s seat! How great is that!

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Carl Jung.

I can hear you now: How do I create this Vision Statement, Coach? What is it suppose to look like? How do I know if I did it right?

Breathe, dear one! How about we make this happen with ease and grace? Would that be okay?

There is no ‘right or wrong’ – it is what YOU want it to be. It can be as long or short as you like/need. Look inside and create the life you will look back on throughout the year and say: YES! Where you direct your focus is where you will go. It’s really just that simple!

Are you ready to get started? Here are a few questions you might like to consider:

1. How can I be more present?
2. Where can I be more accountable?
3. How can I take better care of myself and those I love?
4. In what ways can I contribute to others?
5. What actions can I take to ensure I have no regrets?
6. What footprints do I want to leave?
7. Who in my life am I willing to forgive?
8. Where am I in auto-pilot?
9. What is one thing I really want to do that I have not yet done?
10. What am I most grateful for?

This is, of course, not an all-inclusive list; nevertheless, it is a possible lift-off point for you! Just creating a space for allowing your imagination to take a fresh look at what is important to you and where you intentionally direct your focus will help you to create a life you’ll love.

Take a look – what do you see?

How will you show-up throughout 2018?

What will it be like on December 31, 2018, when the person reading this article today takes a look back?

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” – – Thoreau

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