As we close out 2019, I wanted to do something to mark not only the end of this year, but the end of a decade. Can you believe it? What happened to you over the last ten years? How do you feel about yourself and your life? Are you…happy?

For me, some of the accomplishments that I had include becoming an author, a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, certified as a high performance coach, developled an online course, created workbooks and coaching protocols to help people live better lives. There’s more, but you get the idea! I’ve experienced a lot of growth and a lot to be proud of, Right? Wow! Yay me! And yet…

Those were just the highlights. There were a lot of lowlights, as well – like doubt, disappointment, failure of a business model, blowing out my ACL, false accusations, my mom passing away and getting scammed by app developers. Oh no, it went really wrong. Why me?

Thank you!

And yet, there was so much living that happened in between the highs and lows of my life. When you and I take the time to reflect on the meaning of our lives, the ups and downs fade away and what stands out the most to me is the living of it and the living through it. I got to experience this life in this past decade and I am so grateful.

We are so much more than the sum of our highs and lows!

Throughout the year on this blog, I’ve written on themes of habits, mindset, skills, and empowerment that I feel have moved the needle in terms of quality of life and performance.

So as a gift – for the entire year – I wanted to share with you my best practices from the last 12 months that you can use for the coming year and beyond. Take what you need, share with those you care about and make the most out of each and every day!

Prioritize the Right Way

January

The big idea for this month was to recognize that you and I have to prioritze in the right way to have the kind of success that is meaningful to us. Below is my method for getting a handle on my calendar. Click on the picture to read the full article.

The Six-I Method

Make a list of your current priorities and answer the following six questions:

  • Identify why these areas are the most important to you and how you will accomplish them. When you start writing the reasons, it may become clear to you which items takes precedence.
  • Identify who is doing the talking in your brain. Is it past modeling or is it a superior? In other words, who do you have to please to get that task completed and where do they rank in terms of your values?
  • Identify what time and energy constraints exist and then rank the most pressing items first.
  • Identify your values in relation to the choices. Ask, “Is this activity in alignment with my values and with what I want to accomplish long term? Do I like who I am when I do this activity?”
  • Identify the choices that make the biggest impact by asking, “What is the smallest activity I can do, consistently taken over time, that would give me the biggest impact toward my long term goals?”
  • Identify how you will prioritize your list based on the previous answers.

February

Use disappointment to your advantage!

The big idea for this month was how to use disappointment to drive you to success instead of stopping you in your tracks. The month of love can be a blessing to some and heartache to others. Here’s a summary of what I use to get me back on track. You can click on the picture to read the full post.

Four Steps to Momentum

Do these steps in sequence and they will help you to keep your eyes on the prize and your head in the game:

  • See beyond the present moment – Ask yourself, “what are the long term ramifications if I do nothing or keep doing what I’m doing?” What happens if you let this setback or disappointment stop you? What are the long term consequences if you allow this to stand as is? What matters most?
  • Seek support –Who can help you to resolve the issue? Who can you confide in and share what you feel? Who can hold you accountable to make the choice that is best for you?
  • Take a realistic assessment –What are you responsible for? The only thing you can truly control is yourself. So what can you do? How do you want to feel?
  • Plan Your Next Steps – Now that you know what you want, know why it is important to you and have the support you need to move forward, plan your next steps given the information you have and decide to act. Schedule it. If you make a mistake, keep modifying until you get the outcome that you want.
How do you create a win/win outcome?

March

The big idea of this month was how to create a win/win where everyone walks away satisfied. Below is the method that works best for me. You can read the full post by clicking on the picture.

Creating A Win/Win

  • Make the right impression – Be clear about what you want the other party to experience when interacting with you.
  • Keep them engaged – What words resonate the most with them? Match their mental processing speed with your pace of speech. How best will you reach them?
  • Remember what is most important to you – Why is it important? Keep that reason top of mind.
  • Honor what is important to them– Do you understand and respect their reasons as to why it’s important to them? Find the flexibility point in both of your positions. From there, you can construct a solution together. When you understand and respect their reasoning, you, then, have the ability to be creative with solutions that will give both parties a win.
  • Use your physiology to your advantage – Have you heard that phrase, “The highest energy in the room wins?” When your energy is high, you are more creative, you are more persistent and when you use both, you can generate better solutions.
  • Lead with your heart- What is the greatest good for all involved? Empathy, compassion, and understanding are the emotions and the frames of reference that can lead us to a win/win. So check in with yourself here to make sure you are coming from a good place.

When you keep these points in mind, you will find common ground that can lead to a win/win scenario for all involved. Persistence and creativity will win the day more often than not.

Remember, you and I are always after the emotional experience of the result and NOT the result in and of itself.

April

Do You Know Why You Want it?

When this month hit, I was experiencing some struggle and questioned, whether I was making the right decisions. The framework below helped me get out of my head and into action.

Defy Doubt.

  • Be clear about why you want it. Remember, the reason you want it has to be greater than the pain you will have to go through to achieve it. Hence, you focus on what you want and why you want it.
  • Understand the risks. This means, you list, on paper, all your doubts, fears, and challenges so you understand what you are up against. Notice I didn’t write “focus on them.”
  • Decide whether to proceed. Are the risks worth it? This means COMMITMENT. RESOLUTION. A “NO TURNING BACK” kind of decision is required. You have to be all in to have extraordinary success. Is what you want worth the struggle of learning what it takes to get it?
  • Mitigate the downsides. Now whether you have decided to go for it, or you have decided against it, you need to handle the challenges as best as you possibly can. Your goal is NO REGRET.
  • Believe in your ability to figure it out. Trusting yourself is the key to no regret AND to handling doubt. You were created with amazing abilities to bring what you imagine into reality. You are a steward of yourself, and as a steward, your goal isn’t only to protect, but also, to serve what is in your best interests.

When you use this framework to redirect your focus from doubt to the right kind of action, you take back control of yourself and your life.

My wish for us is that we can look back on our time here without regret. My mom can’t go to Italy, but I can make sure the lesson she shared helps others to get where they want to go!

How do you define an “Extraordinary” relationship?

May

This month sort of snuck up on me as I was handling multiple priorities; having amazing relationships with the people in my life. Below is the method I use to help me do just that. You can read the full post by clicking on the picture.

10 Tips to Extraordinary Relationships

  1. Pay Attention – Be present when you are with another person and really listen to understand them and what they are sharing.  When you do, you not only make them feel you care, you make better and deeper connections. They feel seen.
  2. Complement Them – Take the time to notice something you like and communicate it. When you do, you both get a kick of dopamine that helps you to create a closer connection. They feel closer to you.
  3. Be A Friend When you notice that a person is excited by something – share in their excitement. Ask questions. Become excited because they are excited. When you do this, they want to open up even more. They feel liked by you.
  4. Surprise Them – Plan something that would make them smile or that would make them feel special or cared for. When you do, you both create a deeper bond, because of this shared experience. They feel special.
  5. Say Hello and Goodbye – Not a toss over the shoulder as you are walking in or out of the room kind of greeting. But rather, take the time to make eye contact with them and communicate with your body language that you see them. That kind of attention to detail makes all the difference. They feel like they matter.
  6. Notice A Need – Do they need help with something? Are they struggling to open that can of peanut butter or to finish that project? Whatever it is, stop what you are doing and help. When you do this, you are showing them that you are there for them. They feel like they are not doing it all alone.
  7. Mirror Their Feelings What this means is to reflect their experience back to them. This creates connection and understanding. They feel like you get them.
  8. Include Them – Don’t fall into the trap of telling yourself you don’t want to “burden them” with what is going on or you don’t want to invite them, because they are not part of your other group. When you include people in your life, they feel part of your life. People are more capable than you know.
  9. Say what you mean and mean what you say – When you are transparent and tell it like it is, they feel they can trust you.
  10. Intention – Last, but probably the most important out of these 10 tips. Be intentional about how you want to interact with them. How do you want them to feel when they are with you? They feel important.

One more thing, in order to pull off using a new framework with these tips to improve your relationships, you have to be brave. You have to be willing to be seen, to be vulnerable and to be honest about what you want to have in your life. I want you to step up and have the kind of relationships that will make your life become so full and so rich just because of the peope in it.

Do you include…yourself?

June

It came to my attention that we have a loneliness epidemic in this country. It’s not anyone’s fault, really. We have become incentivized to be less inclusive and more exclusive about who we allow to enter into our personal spheres. However, all of that exclusivity comes at a cost. Below are the best practices to get out of loneliness. Click on the picture to read the entire post. My two cents: “Be kind and include others.”

The Inclusion Protocol

Step 1: Include yourself. Reconnect and remind yourself of just how far you’ve come. Nothing that ever happens to you can diminish you or the light within you. By reminding yourself of all of your successes, you reconnect to the parts of you that you haven’t been focusing on.

Step 2: Include ease. Make it easy. For example, who can you talk to right now? Friend, family, or wise mentor? How do you know what’s really true about what happened? What would make you feel like a million bucks right now? By simply asking yourself questions to redirect your focus on what you can do helps you to ease the feelings of loneliness.

Step 3: Include others. Set friendship goals. Do you have a schedule to follow up and connect with your friends on a consistent basis? Do you have shopping friends, foodie friends, or book club friends? If you don’t, how would you make them? Whatever you are into, having friends to share your struggles and your triumphs with makes you less likely to get stuck when loneliness strikes.

We all can have moments of loneliness, but we don’t have to stay there. Just knowing that other people have had similar experiences can help make us feel better about ourselves and our lives. So give these three steps a try and you may find that loneliness is just a cue to remind you to connect to yourself, to connect to the people, and to connect to the ideas that matter most to you.

July

Facts Are Powerful

This month’s big idea was tackling the bad habit of creating false narratives that cause harm to you and to others. Making assumptions is the worst habit ever and here is how you can get a handle on it. You can click on the picture to read the full post.

How to Beat the Worst Habit Ever

  1. Cue: When you are triggered to make an assumption run this routine instead:
    • Count to Ten. Yep, that advice from mom gives you much needed time to detach from your habit of a biased and quick response.
    • Find Out the Facts. However uncomfortable it may be, ask the questions that give you the clarity to know, for certain, what is true.
    • Act on the Facts. Practice only factual responses. Creating this dicipline is a game changer and improves the quality of your relationships.
  2. Reward: To make it so you run this routine (habit) every time you are triggered, you need to reward yourself in a way that will make you want to do it again and again. This reinforces your habit of a factual and less biased response.

That’s it! If you practice this script, over and over, you will be less likely to make an ass out of u and me and more likely to have better results! Give it a try!

Resilience Can Be Triggered

August

When life gets tough, you need a plan to bounce back. Below is what I use to help get myself back on track after a major setback or disappointment. Click on the picture if you want to read the full post.

Print this out and use it!

September

Are You Living Your Dream or Your Fears?

As the beginning of Fall hit, I needed to check-in with myself to make sure the goals that I was going after were right for me. If you and I are chasing the wrong dream, success won’t make either of us happy.

Goal Alignment Check-In

  1. Does the goal meet your needs or your values as defined by you? If not, you have to identify how it would make you feel to continue to work toward that goal and decide whether the tradeoffs are worth the pain of the inevitable conflicts that will arise.
  2. Does the goal give you joy as you work on the steps to attain it or do you dislike the process but want the reward? If you love what you do, then it will be easier to continue when obstacles appear. If, however, you are only looking forward to the reward, it’s not only much harder to be successful, it is also harder to control your mindset during the process.
  3. Why do you want that goal? What feeling are you going after? If your answer has to do with pleasing others, you need to identify if you are doing it for the right reasons.
  4. Do you see yourself as the type of person who achieves that kind of goal? If this is a no, evaluate why you want the goal in the first place.

The idea of this kind of check-in is for you to gain clarity about the drivers of your goal choices. The clearer you are about those drivers, the better decisions you will make when it comes to choosing a goal.

Secret of Success

October

This month I took a pause from social media and had some of my friends guest post. Click on the picture to find out for yourself if you are living life on your own terms.

November

You Need to Trust but Verify!

I was so grateful, you know. The story of how I got scammed could have turned out a lot worse than it did. Use my “cautionary tale” to help you to avoid the difficulties that I experienced. Click below to read parts 1 and 2 of How I Got Scammed:

https://challengeyourvision.com/2019/09/how-i-got-scammed/

https://challengeyourvision.com/2019/10/how-i-got-scammed-part-ii/

Top 7 Ways to Prevent Fraud

  1. Verify that any referral service has properly vetted the companies that they recommend to you.
  2. DO NOT sign a contract and give money at the first meeting.
  3. Verify that the company is telling you the truth by verifying their work address, business filings, ownership, their business affiliations, and the testimonials of the people who claim they received good service from them, including their Linked-In profiles.
  4. Verify all phone numbers and addresses that you have been provided.
  5. Use only credit cards to purchase services, so that, you have an easier time recouping your money if something goes wrong.
  6. Document everything. When you do, it makes it easy to support your interpretation of events and it makes it easier for the professionals to help you.
  7. Speed of Decision. I believe I had the best outcome, because I didn’t hesitate to act when I finally recognized the truth.

Had I employed all of the above recommendations, I may have prevented months of fear, anxiety, disappointment and worry. So the next time you want to get a dream project off the ground, make sure you “Trust but verify!”

December

What I’ve learned most throughout the year is to appreciate not only the blessings of the people, places and things in my life, but also the challenges that I face. It is in those challenges that I can choose to become stronger, love truly, communicate better, and take a stand for who I am and what I believe in. For it is in our struggles that we hone the person we inevitablly become.

There are more than a few more holiday parties till the end of the year. In that spirit, below is an outline of an Appreciation Feast that is sure to make any holiday gathering extra special this year.

Appreciation Feast

  1. Everybody brings their faves: favorite music, favorite food, favorite story, and favorite drinks to share. Contribution is key. When you contribute, you have skin in the game.
  2. During the meal, each person will stand up in turn and listen while everyone else shares what they like, admire, appreciate or care about the person.
  3. Play Table Topics or any sort of Q and A game that causes everyone to learn something new about each other.
  4. After the meal, break a way into couples and interview each other on what you stand for, and what matters most to you. You can use the Story Corps App for this if you would like.

You can use these best practices as a road map to help make 2020 the best year of your lifeA great life full of love, friends, success and meaning DOES NOT JUST HAPPEN! Your life deserves your attention and planning.

It is not only that; the end of the decade is here! What have you accomplished from 2010 to 2019? What are you grateful for? Who has come into your life and whose light has gone out of your life during this decade? Take the time to reflect on everything that’s happened.

When you and I take the time to reflect on the meaning of our experiences, we learn not only how much others matter to us, but how much, we all matter to each other.

Well, that’s it from me, Coach Christine. I’ll have some big changes to talk about in 2020. But to end this year right, I want to thank all of you who consistently show up here to connect, to learn and to grow into the best version of yourselves. It’s my honor to share my journey with you.

As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, you can reach out here or email me at christine@challengeyourvision.com.

If someone hasn’t told you lately, I will tell you that the world needs good people like you to come alive and have the courage to share their insights and gifts with others.

Many blessings to you this holiday season and beyond!

With love,

Thank you for being a part of my 2019!