Advice for Aspiring Coaches

Life Coaching. It attracts people as a profession.

And for good reason.

There are a lot of us out there wondering if we are doing it right.  We question how we can be better. We seek self-help support and we attend classes and events like Leslie Knope seeks waffles (Parks and Rec Reference – watch it if you haven’t, it’s awesome and hilarious).

We are told we offer great advice and people constantly come to us for our wisdom and support.

We think, “I should get paid for this.” When we look at how it’s possible, the easiest path appears to be Life Coaching:

  • Becoming a licensed counselor of any sort requires schooling and there are tons of restrictions.
  • Writing a book feels super hard for reasons from the physical writing to the finding a publisher to the dubious path of self-publishing and rejection.
  • As we cast about for an option, Life Coaching shows up, because it is truly an open field = literally anyone can name themselves a life coach and so it is.

I get approached on this A LOT.  A. LOT.  Emails, coffees, “Quick questions” and clients interested.  Some are interested in how I did it so they can do it too.  I share the same advice over and over, it makes sense to share it here.

Some Facts about the Industry

In 2016 the International Coaches Federation published a Global Coaching Study.  This study shared a few facts like:

  • More than 53,000 Life coaches are working today
  • The average hourly rate for a life coach exceeds $200 and coaches earn an average $51,000 per year
  • 99% had some sort of coach specific training and 81% received accredited training to become certified as a coach

I encourage you to read this brief on the study which shares the highlights.

You can download additional information and/or purchase the full study here .

I share these specific facts because it is easy, super easy, to get caught up on the idea that glamorous lifestyle and coaching are synonymous.  We aren’t all Tony Robbins or Martha Beck.  We aren’t all taking monthly trips to Bali for “retreat” and it isn’t raining $1000s in our living room.  That, my friends, is amazing marketing by business coaches.  It is tough to achieve in 30 days, or even 1 year.  It does take work.

Yes. It is possible to create a successful career as a life coach.

Here is a great satirical look at this phenomenon…good for a giggle ( I LOVE JP Sears work, seriously check out his videos, super awesome):

 

Six Pieces of Advice

Here is the advice I give to people who ask me about being a life coach:

  1. Research:  Put all your questions into the search engine of your choosing and see what kind of answers spew out. You definitely need to read more than just this post – there are tons of experts out there with more than tons of opinions, information caches and expertise to offer.
  2. Ask and Answer these Questions: Why DO I want to be a Life Coach?  What kinds of Problems do I want to solve?
  3. Visit the ICF website and consume all you can about the industry.
  4. Identify how comfortable you are with marketing and sales – you will have to do this as a life coach.
  5. Talk to those closest to you in your life and see what they say.  Take their questions or concerns and research them further.  Figure out how you can make this work – and if you still want to.
  6. Once you have done all of that: engage a life coach.

This last one may seem self-serving.  It’s not.  Having a life coach gives you the exposure to what it feels like to be a client – you need to be a client. Your coach can help you make sense of all the things you researched and discovered in steps 1-5, organize your plan of action and help you move through the process of transforming from where you are to where you want to go.  I won’t advise someone on coaching unless they are willing to be a client themselves.

What?  I need a Coach?

Just like an athlete is coached to improve time, speed, accuracy, strength, skill.  A life coach can help you navigate your improvements to confidence, clarity, and decision making while offering support and accountability.

It is quite possible that even if after spending the time researching all you can, you still have reservations.  A life coach can help you work through those to get the answers right for you.  Life Coaching may not be the answer to your career or calling question.  But following this path can help you discover what is.

A great book to read in this area of calling and sticking to things is Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. I love everything she has to say about goal setting, purpose finding, and sticking with things. I recommend grabbing a copy and a highlighter and get to reading.

The First Conversation with an Aspiring Coach

I love helping people answer this question of “How do I become a life coach?”.  I love it. And I will tell you, the conversation usually starts out like this:

Me:  Soooo tell me why you want to be a life coach!

You (ubiquitous form): 

“I love people and they are always coming to me for advice and telling me I give such good input.”

OR

“I want a job that pays me well and provides tons of freedom. I love helping people so this made sense.”

OR

“I want to help other people do something they love. My life is kind of a mess right now and if I can start a job I love then I think it’ll straighten out and I can help other people do the same”

And my Favorite – this is the answer I want more than anything:

“I want to work with people to realize what they are capable of and help them get it in a specific area of their life.”

This last person is clear on what they are looking for in seeking coaching as a career.  The previous 3 answers aren’t horrible entry points because they all possess a sincere desire to figure out how to help someone live optimally. An awesome starting position and in many cases help is only needed in getting specific.

These answers create different starting points into becoming a life coach:

  • You may need to do some work in your life first.
  • You may need to do some work getting clear on what you want to do and how.
  • You may need to clarify your own vision.

Being a Good Listener isn’t All there is to Being a Life Coach

Wait. Whaaaaaaaaaaat?

Giving advice is very little of what we do – we are here to help others discover their strengths and what optimal living looks like for them.  That isn’t advice based on our personal experience, it is expertise based on research, experience and training.

Yes, you must be able to listen.  Then you translate what you have heard into insight for the client – actionable insight: a question, an observation, a clarifying point to validate.  You guide them through self-discovery exercises and exploratory experiences.  The focus is 100% on what the client can discover through the lens you can share with them.

You must be able to set ego aside and be fully present – this may be the first time this person has ever been truly heard.  It’s life changing.

Again, another giggle worthy take on this: Shit Life Coaches Say

It’s funny, cuz it’s true.

Your Next Steps

If you are ready to do your research on this as a career, follow the 5 steps I outlined above then contact a coach.  I’d be happy to do a free 1-hour session with you to follow up on your learning and help you find a coach whether it is me or someone in my network based on what you want to do.

We may also find you are a good fit for my Coach’s Collective Membership Group where we explore coaching from multiple dimensions and share expertise among professional coaches across the globe.

Email at jennifer@nolimitslife.guru and we will get something set up.

And in case you haven’t yet caught on, I do view coaching a serious business.  These are people’s lives. And yet…life is funny.  Look for the giggle worthy.

Best of luck on your exploration!

P.S.  You may have noticed I didn’t talk about business plans, technology, websites, blog presence or networking.  I advise getting clear inside on what you want and how, first.  Once you get clear, you’ll be able to whip that stuff out much easier. Your web designer will thank you.

 

 

 

photo jun 20, 8 27 31 am

Jennifer Murphy – Certified Personal and Executive Coach

I am a certified personal and executive coach ruthlessly focused on helping people live awesome lives.  I spent a large chunk of my life pursuing other people’s ideas of success and while those experiences were sublime in some cases, they weren’t the “more” I was seeking and I just never felt full. In 2011, I made the commitment to live life on my terms and everything changed. The life I love today was created.

My background is 10 years in the US Army as an officer, 10 years in Corporate America and then the last 6 running my own business. I have deployed twice in combat scenarios, worked with foreign governments and militaries and worked extensively in international business.  I have an undergraduate in Criminology, an MBA and certification in Positive Psychology. I have led organizations from 3-400 and love developing people and helping them create their next steps in life and work. 

I am founder of No Limits Life Empowerment Institute as well we a working glass artist, Reiki Master,  Partner in Shaman Grocer in Iowa City, and Co-founder of the Midwest Reiki Festival.    My favorite time is spent doing anything soccer related with my aspiring world cup soccer player, 10 year old Alexander.  I am also a pretty big fan of gaming (PS4) with my partner Craig while solving the world’s social problems. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Break Away From the Group

Yesterday I took my son to Maquoketa Caves State Park. It is what it sounds like: caves in a park. And it’s awesome.
 
While there we saw a lot of things I could write about which promote conformity and crush, absolutely crush freedom. I could be disheartened by a few of the things I saw, instead let’s reflect.
 
A daycare group was there at the same time. The canyon rang with not the sounds of nature, but the sounds of daycare providers wrangling their charges.
 
“Don’t climb on that”
“Stay on the path”
“be quiet” (what?)
“Not so fast”
 
and my favorite “You’ll get dirty, stop that.”
 
Strip away the safety concerns. I get those and as a mom whose kid has been in daycare, appreciate them.
 
Children + Park = so much experience to be had.
 
Yet time and again they were reigned in, curiosity squashed, interaction terminated and opportunity to immerse in what their bodies and souls were craving crushed.
 
Meanwhile, my same aged son is terrifying me with his daredevil perches on out-croppings. We engage fully with wet muddy shoes and body and sprints down trails to the next adventure.
 
We played hop rock in the creek at one point and came across a fawn serenely grazing 6 feet from us. We watched in wonder for about 20 minutes outlasting any group that joined us during that time.
 
Several times we found ourselves alone in a cave or on a trail simply being as we felt and tuned in to the amazing earth and water energy surrounding us.
 
I have no interest in curbing enthusiasm. I have zero energy for “stay in line” outside of a real safety concern.
 
What those kids experienced yesterday happens every day to all ages: the idea that you have to stay with the group and do what the group is doing and don’t dare to explore your own path – it’s dangerous and you may do something the rest of the group isn’t ready for.
 
But maybe you are ready to do something dangerous.
 
If it’s time to unleash your inner warrior and get dangerous,
I have something for you.
 
It’s the five week warrior club. Info session is Sunday at 5pm. I’ll share the 5 key tenets of freedom as I teach them and gift you a guide and video series as part of the webinar.
 
I’ll also tell you about the club and how it could impact you and your quest for freedom.
 
Don’t be those kids all grown up and your daycare provider simultaneously. Stop telling yourself to stay in line and stop allowing others to tell you that. Start being dangerous: be you.
 
Interested? register here: http://eepurl.com/cZbvZL
photo jun 20, 8 27 31 am

I am a certified personal and executive coach ruthlessly focused on helping people live awesome lives.  I spent a large chunk of my life pursuing other people’s ideas of success and while those experiences were sublime in some cases, they weren’t the “more” I was seeking and I just never felt full. In 2011, I made the commitment to live life on my terms and everything changed. The life I love today was created.

My background is 10 years in the US Army as an officer, 10 years in Corporate America and then the last 6 running my own business. I have deployed twice in combat scenarios, worked with foreign governments and militaries and worked extensively in international business.  I have an undergraduate in Criminology, an MBA and certification in Positive Psychology. I have led organizations from 3-400 and love developing people and helping them create their next steps in life and work. 

I am founder of No Limits Life Empowerment Institute as well we a working glass artist, Reiki Master,  Partner in Shaman Grocer in Iowa City, and Co-founder of the Midwest Reiki Festival.    My favorite time is spent doing anything soccer related with my aspiring world cup soccer player, 10 year old Alexander.  I am also a pretty big fan of gaming (PS4) with my partner Craig while solving the world’s social problems. 

When I Grow Up….

By age 30 I had ended one career and started another and still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I thought success was finding a career path that provided relatively good income and room to move up – one already laid out with simple steps to move through – like a board game. I was discovering life hadn’t laid those steps out as neatly as I thought and it didn’t feel as successful as I thought it would.

Up until age 30, things had been appearing and I had been saying yes to them – somewhat blindly.  In 1992 I went to college because it was the next natural step to living a prosperous life.  In 1995, the US Army ROTC office at CSU Fresno called and offered me a full scholarship to complete my education and I said yes – with little thought.  I commissioned active duty and went off to be an Army officer.  I didn’t have a grand plan on what that would look like, but turned out to be pretty good at it.  I consistently did well and got great assignments as a result.

When I decided to leave, it was because I was getting the first rumblings from within: life was more than just a job.  I wanted a lifestyle different than the Army was providing.  In a bid to retain me, I was offered the opportunity to work with the most elite support command in the Army…still I had to go. The voice within was getting louder.

I went to a job fair and accepted a job in the Midwest with a utility company.  I joke that I accepted it in a fever induced haze – the product of contracting bronchitis while on a whirlwind interview tour across the US and being unable to go to any additional interviews.  My dogs and I moved to Iowa in February 2004 and I soon wondered when I’d be leaving.

It turned out it was here I’d settle on what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I’d discover life didn’t have to keep happening to me, I could create my life. I could develop a vision for the future and put it into action one step at a time.  Others were out walking their paths, sometimes lined up single file one after the other doing the same thing.  But me, I wanted to forge my way through on my own path.

I had this same mentality as a kid: I grew up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  My backyard was literally the Sierra National Forest.  One of my favorite things was to follow a trail for a bit, then strike out on my own – see what might be just beyond sight from the established path.  I often trekked up and down the creek behind our house finding new ways to get to different vantage points and finding fresh perspective.

This mindset came back to me as I began to question the path I was following others on after the birth of my son.  In 2007 he arrived 3 months prematurely and I was gifted time as I cared for him while he finished his development in the incubator in the NICU. I had time to consider my life.

I realized I needed a new vantage.  I needed to explore some alternate paths.  I needed fresh perspective on who I was and what I was doing.

I took some courses.  I read some new books.  I dabbled in different things.

For too long. I got seriously restless.

Then I got serious.  I hired a coach.

Hiring a coach gave me the path to clarity, accountability and commitment.  It also confirmed, yes, my life is more than my job.  I am here to live a full, rich, passion filled life and the routine to retirement gig wasn’t cutting it.

Are you asking, “what do I want to do with my life?” and taking free course or download after free course or download and not finding answers? A coach may be your answer.

If you are signing on for e-courses and not finishing them – you aren’t alone. I recently read upwards of 97% of people don’t finish them. (that fact isn’t verified, but I could see how it can be true).

Are you bored with life, or busy with bullshit?  Are you doing things that kinda suck? Are you doing them out of some sort of obligation anyway? You may need support to say yes to things that rock.

Hiring a coach gave me the courage to confront what I was really looking for in life and the confidence to take some action toward it. Now, 7 years later, I still have a coach.  My coaches have changed focus and people over the years, but I will always value coaching support and perspective.

If you know you are capable of more but feel restricted by external forces, a coach can help you develop the skills, attitudes and behaviors you need to free yourself.

And hey, I am a coach.  I might be able to help you like I have helped many others find the freedom they want – the freedom to be and live the way that really crave. It’d be super cool to have a conversation with you and see if it’s a good fit for where you are and what you want in life.

At a minimum, I can point you to some near-term actions and resources to find freedom if coaching with me isn’t right for you now – no worries.  I have told lots of coaches no along the way, it’s cool.

Your Challenge Now:

In your journal complete this sentence: When I Grow Up….

Then,  apply for a lackluster to limitless energizer session with me – let’s see if it’s a good fit for your initial foray into freedom.

 

photo jun 20, 8 27 31 am

Jennifer Murphy

I am a certified personal and executive coach ruthlessly focused on helping people live awesome lives.  I spent a large chunk of my life pursuing other people’s ideas of success and while those experiences were sublime in some cases, they weren’t the “more” I was seeking and I just never felt full. In 2011, I made the commitment to live life on my terms and everything changed. The life I love today was created.

I am founder of No Limits Life Empowerment Institute as well as a working glass artist, Reiki Master,  Partner in Shaman Grocer in Iowa City, and Co-founder of the Midwest Reiki Festival.    My favorite time is spent doing anything soccer related with my aspiring world cup soccer player, 10 year old Alexander.  I am also a pretty big fan of gaming (PS4) with my partner Craig while solving the world’s social problems.  email me at jennifer@nolimitslife.guru and share your story.

 

Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash

How is Your Health?

In the year preceding my departure from my last corporate job I had walking pneumonia 5 times.  Once it even came with a bonus kicker of whooping cough.  Steroids, antibiotics and over the counter remedies did nothing to stop it.  Days of working from home, long naps and attempting to power through it made no difference.  I was chronically tired, chronically sniffling, chronically coughing after every word I spoke.  I had put on weight.

In the prior 3 years I had been diagnosed with allergies, GERD, Arthritis, Migraines, more than a few bouts of bronchitis and sinus infections as well as the rarest form of asthma.

I kept thinking…wow, is this really what it’s like to be human?  

Around me I saw the same things happening.  To be sick seemed to be the latest fashion trend.  Everybody I knew seemed to be on something for something. Showing up to work sick was done with a sense of pride, “I’m so dedicated and valuable here I can’t possibly stay home.”

“Seriously, there has to be more.” I remember thinking.

There was.

Recently my Yoga Instructor reminded me of all this.  She looked at me in class and said, “we have been doing this about 10 years and you haven’t aged.”  We talked about why and I am going to share my suspicions with you here. I perceive 3 primary actions driving this outcome:

  1. I changed my diet.

My cravings were for fresher foods, more organic flavors and higher quality. I gave in to them.  I began to buy fresh, local and organic.  Even when my budget became the tightest it ever was, I stuck with it. I found I need less volume when the quality is higher – go figure.

My weight dropped and my stomach issues cleared up almost immediately.  Increasing water helped my headaches begin to fade and my ache from arthritis dissipate. As time went on I found that eating processed foods had an immediate and sever impact on my body:  skin rashes, stomach aches and more.

My diet was a huge step to take in feeling better about my life.

  1. I changed where I spent my energies.

Mentally I had to get straight on what mattered. I developed an exercise called aligning priorities and put it to work for me.  Using it I became very focused on spending resources on what I valued most and saying no to the things misaligned.

What followed was an increase in opportunity to engage with my dreams.  The opportunity to open my business presented itself, I took it.  Changes needed in my relationships became obvious and I made them.  Expired affiliations and loyalties were retired and lower vibration options just went away.

This alignment of energies gave me clear path to yes or no in my life.  Today I ask, “will this get me closer or further away from what I want to do?” as the gatekeeper question.

  1. I changed how I heal myself.

How I heal myself today addresses my entire system.  Rather than running to a doctor for each discomfort, I explore my life holistically. I never seemed to have an easy illness for a doctor anyway.  There was never a “oh you have this” response.  It was always, “well it could be several things”.  Now I know why: my illnesses weren’t just a bug – they were connected on all levels.

Today I work with a holistic chiropractor, Dr. Karly Abel, and view my health primarily through natural and spiritual means.  I consult with healers periodically and go the VA for my annual physical.  In the last 3 years I have had to consult a General Physician once for an illness I could not contain.  It was walking pneumonia.  Rather than just taking the antibiotics and waiting for a cure, I also took stock of my life and found other areas needing to be addressed.

I believe our bodies talk to us about our life choices.  They will tell us when we are off track – the same way our intuition speaks to us.  Therefore, we need to heal not only the physical symptoms, but the emotional and spiritual as well.

Do you recognize yourself in any of this?

Is doing exactly what I do right for you?  Maybe.  Is some degree of it?  Definitely. 

Your diet and how much water you drink is a fundamental building block – your body uses what you put in it – wouldn’t you like it to be the absolute best Mother Nature can create? Fuel yourself with high quality and you body will return high quality energy and output.

Focus your energies on what is most important to you and those things will flourish.  Spend time on the things you value most and you will feel most connected to them.  Feeling connected to those things will inspire you to live in alignment with your purpose and in turn you will feel more freedom.  Your sense of conflict will diminish as you know what you can say yes to and what to turn down.

How you heal matters – we are multi-dimensional.  Treating only one dimension just seems ludicrous. If I ignore a spiritual or emotional pain long enough, it will show up physically.  I bet yours does too.

What is your health currently telling you?  Are you trying diet plan after diet plan?  Are you on a closet full of prescription meds? Are you always hungry and always eating?  Are you shoving emotions down faster than a bag of French Fries? Chances are it goes deeper than conventional methods would explain.

Rebel.  Explore other means. Try a new approach if what you have been doing isn’t working.

The answer to how I haven’t aged in my Yoga Instructors eyes in 10 years is in living a lifestyle I love.  It is encompassing of healthy supportive food, people I love, a career that inspires me and a sense of completeness.  This lifestyle is more than professional success, it’s my entire life of success as I have chosen to define it.

YOU can find this too – you can be the person receiving your ultimate compliment.  You can be the person former acquaintances don’t even recognize and look at in wonder. It is possible for you.

Your challenge:

It’s time to define what lifestyle success means to you – how do you define it? Email me at jennifer@nolimitslife.guru and let me know. I’d love to hear your definition!

photo jun 20, 8 27 31 am

I am Jennifer Murphy, a certified personal and executive coach ruthlessly focused on helping people live awesome lives.  I spent a large chunk of my life pursuing other people’s ideas of success and while those experiences were sublime in some cases, they weren’t the “more” I was seeking and I just never felt full. In 2011, I made the commitment to live life on my terms and everything changed. The life I love today was created.

Apply for a Lackluster to Limitless Energizer Session if you are ready for more independence, freedom and sense of living your real life than you have ever had before. 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you Too Busy For Time Management?

This week my son is in a 7 hour a day week-long soccer camp followed by a chiropractor session, a haircut, competitive club soccer tryout and bookended by soccer tournaments.

It’s a busy week for him.

It’s also prime training time for time management.

He’s 10 and life won’t slow down from here.  Increasingly, demands will be placed on his time as he gets more social, craves more mobility, plays in middle school and high school sports in addition to his club and continues with his hunting and fishing seasons.  Eventually (I shudder) he will have a girlfriend and she’ll want his time (she had better be good enough for him!).  Life will get busier and as his parent it’s up to me to model for him the best way to manage those demands.

It’s the kind of thing we didn’t really talk about when I was his age, nobody did.  I don’t remember people glorifying busy the same way – triple and double booked and racing all over hell and back to make it to every graduation, birthday, sport and event.  People said no to the things that weren’t most important.  That is the model I had.  Rather than just talking about it, I crave modeling and living with a time management model that is simply…simple. 

Back to my question: are you too busy for time management?

A few other versions of the question:

Are you too busy to focus on what is most important?

Why are you spending time on things that are not important to you?

Is there a reason your kids needs to play 4 sports?

Do you truly want to sacrifice your personal time and experience in this life to live vicariously through your kids, your friends or people online?

If I gave you 30 seconds, a minute even, could you list the 3-5 most important areas of your life and what you are doing to enrich them?

Are you investing in things instead of experiences?

These are the kinds of questions I had to ask myself almost a decade ago when I wanted to unscrew how screwed up my life had become.  They were hard to answer – despite the model I had growing up.  I had to spend some time working with a coach to pull away all the objections, forms of resistance and utter BS I had chosen to pile up around me.

If you struggle to answer those questions, you are in need of some serious overhaul in the way you manage your time.  Time is a finite resource – we get 24 hours in a day, we get this one life to live (in this incarnation), and we deserve to treat ourselves well in how we use it.  Not just well…outstandingly amazing.  We deserve to treat ourselves outstandingly amazing.

Three things you can do right now in 5 minutes or less to start treating ourselves outstandingly amazing:

  1. Optimize the next 7 days. Spend 5 minutes looking at your commitments for the next 7 days.  Say no to the things that are energy draining and unnecessary.  Send the card instead of going to the graduation party of the neighbor kid you say hi to once a year.  Say yes to the things that move you forward in life.
  2. Admit you can only be in one place at one time. Take a deep breath and recognize that you are only one being.  You can only be in one location at one time.  It isn’t your job to stress yourself out completely to make everyone else happy.  If you choose to over commit, do it because it feels fun – not because you want to have a heart attack in the next 12 months and die from stress.  Pick the event, activity or commitment that moves you forward and delegate, decline or defer the rest.  FYI – I just postponed a massage so that I could focus on getting some work churned through so when I do get that massage, I am not freaking out about my to-do list.
  3. Schedule 15 minutes once a week to optimize your schedule. Right now, set a weekly appointment with yourself to spend 15 minutes a week optimizing the next month or so.  It will always be a state of refinement, that 15 minutes will yield huge gains.

Yep, I get it, managing all the moving pieces of life is tough.  Part of loving the life you are living is loving what you are doing in it.  Those things are your choice.  You can choose to be too busy for time management and just keep letting life happen to you. 

OOOOORRRRRR
You can take charge now, implement a couple of simple things and let me know how they work for you. 

If you struggle, it may be time to bring in the big guns of life coaching and together we will look at what drives you to insanity and help you conquer that chaos and chart a fresh course full of purpose and straight up fun.  Start here if this is you.

We have a mini-course on this coming up in August, then again in September.  It will kick off on August 1 at 11am CST and run for 4 weeks then again on September 12 at 730pm and run for 4 weeks.

Right now I am looking for input on this course and would love to have you weigh in via this short survey – can you do that? It’s only 8 questions and I have a bonus for those of you interested in taking this to the next step.

Click here to be an Influencer and provide us your thoughts on the best focus areas for the “Too Busy To Take It Time Management Mini Course”.

 

j36Jennifer Murphy is a life coach, help captive in Iowa, but willing to stay because her son anchors her in place and he is so totally worth it!  An expert in helping people across the globe prioritize their values and create a life centered on what they value most, allowing them to shed stress, overwhelm and the BS that can suck the soul from daily living.  Learn more at http://www.nolimitslife.guru 

A 420 Reflection

Normal is a relative term. It really is. Think about it for a moment.  Your routine, your rhythm for your day is yours and yours alone.  It is your normal.

The values and situations you grew up with were normal when you were growing up with them.  You woke up, you had things happen, they were normal.  And the things that happened in your day were likely different than the things happening in your peers day.  Their breakfast routine or homework routine was different.

Take my son for example.  He is driven farther than anyone in his class to get to school and I am guessing he is among a minority if not alone in the fact that he often gets up at one household yet has breakfast and gets ready for school at another.  His normal is different than others in his class. As a 10 year old he is learning a lot of flexibility and gaining the ability to transition through situations pretty well.

It gets me thinking about my own normal growing up as I note the date on the calendar – April 20, 2017.  Known better in certain circles as a holiday called 420.

When I was growing up in California, it was the mid to late 70s and 80s, I graduated high school in 1992.  (Don’t hurt yourself doing the math – I am 42 as I type this article.)  Cheech and Chong were funny guys on the record player and 8 track.  There were funny smelling plants in the backyard we didn’t tell everyone about and in the den there was a red tray that I wasn’t to touch.  The water filled smelly piece with the black sticky residue was also off limits.

The sweet, slightly musky smell of weed permeated my childhood. It was normal.  I didn’t see it as a big deal, it was just there.  Large groups of people around me used it. It was just part of life.

The Red Ribbons showed up in my life a few years later and I remember seeing a display put up by the local sheriff with all kinds of illegal substances and thinking – hey, I know what that one is…

Around that time, the smell became not quite so constant.  If it was happening, I wasn’t seeing it. Why was never my business and I don’t know that I asked.  I don’t remember it being a big deal one way or another.

In high school I was offered some and thought – well yeah, why not?  It’s normal.  In fact, I am almost 100% sure weed was the reason I passed geometry. My junior year of high school I was “busted” smoking after a football game, in my cheer uniform with some football players.  I was horrified to be called into the dean’s office and interrogated.  They threatened to call the sheriff and I was horrified at what that could mean.  I was a good girl. Good girls don’t get the sheriff called on them.

When I got home that day, my mother was waiting and she was not mad at me. Not for trying it anyway.  She was mad at my judgement on timing and placement. She admitted it would be hypocrisy to condemn me for something that was not a foreign substance to her and that she didn’t believe was the worst thing I could be doing.  In addition to the on campus suspension I had been awarded, the temporary suspension from the cheer squad and suspicion of “narking” by my peers, I was grounded for a few weeks.

I didn’t smoke after that. I just didn’t.  It wasn’t a conscious decision to stop or a dislike or anything else.  What really happened was alcohol took over my life.

As an alcoholic I wanted the chaos and insanity and drama that alcohol brought that weed simply didn’t invite in my life.  With weed I passed geometry, with alcohol I failed health.  But by God, I committed to alcohol.  After all, alcohol was legal so why shouldn’t I overindulge and drink as much as I could?  And like an Iowan at a corn syrup…oops I mean corn, festival, I went for it.

For the next 10 years or so I let alcohol dominate me:  through a career in the military where I found many of my kind, through passing out while driving and waking up on the side of the road half collapsed out the driver’s door, through alcohol poisoning and lost memories, marriage and divorce, lost friendships, bad, bad choices and more.  So much more pain than I can describe, or that you want to hear.  Alcohol took me to dark, dark places.

I recovered 14 years and 2 days ago.  It used to be a huge, big deal.  Now I have a new life and the day itself isn’t as big a deal as the gratitude I have for the life I get to live now.

I am interested in this movement of the legalization of marijuana on so many levels:

  • There are so many medical benefits which I saw up close as I watched my aunt recover from breast cancer in a medically legal state.
  • I am intrigued by the vast amounts of information and misinformation out there. The fear based op-eds and the scientists and doctors coming out with more and more research.
  • The dollars gained in taxes in states like Colorado where medicinal and recreational can be purchased and the dollars spent on crime prevention and jails in states where it isn’t legal.
  • Watching Tommy Chong on Dancing with the Stars then reunited with Cheech Marin on stage right here in Iowa a while back was fascinating– a state where you can use cannabis oil to treat certain conditions but you can’t buy it here (note: you can buy CBD oil here), instead you have to trek it in from another legal state across illegal states and pray to whatever you believe in that you don’t get caught bringing medicine to a family member or loved one that experiences intense relief when using it.
  • As a glass blower I can’t help but be fascinated by those artists whose work largely heads into the weed market. Their creativity and artistry is mind blowing.  If you haven’t watched Degenerate Art on Netflix yet, queue it up.  And this 60 Second Docs piece on Robert Mickelson and his work will  blow your mind.

I think we as a society are headed into a new normal – maybe more like the childhood I remember even.  My family couldn’t have projected what they were preparing me for as I was exposed to all that I was exposed to, but as I see it today it is like seeing an old friend.  That moment your olfactory senses are tickled by a scent that brings back happy childhood memories, like gramma’s cookies might do for someone else.  Across the nation people are benefiting from the use of medical marijuana and of legal age adults are choosing the mellowing effects of weed over the chaos of alcohol.

It may not be for everyone, but neither is your anti-depressant or pain management pill.

When I think of the lifestyle I want, the life I want for my son, I pray that he never chooses to drink the way I did.  I hope and pray he didn’t inherit the disease that took me to places I never wanted to go, but signed a contract in blood with as I took those first sips.

What I want is for him to pursue life the way I have chosen – his own way. I want for him, and for everyone, to know that it is super cool to be you.  Just be you, not some expected version that needs to measure up against anything else.  I think as we move towards a more authentic state of being, it is natural to also move toward more natural products for our bodies.  Our bodies crave the new normal of natural, not the old normal of processed synthetic, toxic mind and body altering substances.

Whatever your normal is today, think about it.  Is it right for you?  Is it really, really right for you?  Are you informed on all sides of the issue you spout off about, vote on or endorse?  Do you know your own story and what works for you and what doesn’t?

It is time to live dangerously: define your normal, don’t let it be defined for you.

 

My first time on the big girl torch

My first big torch experience

Jennifer Murphy is a life coach, help captive in Cedar Rapids, but willing to stay because her son anchors her in place and he is so totally worth it!  An expert in helping people across the globe prioritize their values and create a life centered on what they value most, allowing them to shed stress, overwhelm and the BS that can suck the soul from their daily lives.  Learn more at http://www.nolimitslife.guru 

The Manifesto – No Limits Life Empowerment Institute

My tribe is all about courage. My tribe wants courage to step out of the expected into the authentic.  My tribe doesn’t want to be stressed out, working jobs they hate in relationships that stifle them.

They want to thrive.

But they are afraid.

“What will people think? What will people say? What happens if I change? My life isn’t what I want, but what if it gets worse when I change? Who am I to ask for more?”  They exclaim.

“Oh, but what if it gets better!? Can I handle better? Do I deserve better? ” They whisper.

My tribe is simultaneously their best asset and ally and worst obstacle and enemy.

My tribe has ideas they want to follow, but aren’t sure how. They want to have more ideas and impact the world in a positive, big way. My tribe doesn’t want to live small. They want to live big, without limits and without constriction on the good they can do. They are fierce, independent beings who have too long not allowed their true nature to shine.

My tribe wants to be their own boss, they want to express their creative and spiritual gifts and talents and callings in a way that creates a purpose based profitable lifestyle for themselves. They want to move past the old idea that being a creative or a spiritual professional can’t pay the bills and create the lifestyle they want while simultaneously serving others and sharing messages in a big way.

My tribe has settled for too long in the lives constructed on false definitions of success and is ready to make some changes allowing them to be more, do more and live more fully.  They are going to walk through things that scare them, they will stumble and fall over these things but they will get back up and keep moving.

My tribe seeks courage within to do what fear says is too hard. They seek to do what their programming declares impossible. They crave the energy of creativity and spirituality as a way of life and not just something they do. My tribe is afraid and doing it anyway.  They are ready to face the fears and heal them, to face the old programming and reprogram it. They seek personal development and growth and are open to new thoughts, patterns and perspectives.

They want to be in love with their life – every single minute of it – and they take action to make love grow.

Are you with us? 

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No Limits Life Empowerment Institute was founded by Jennifer Murphy, the leveling up of here business No Limits Life established in 2011.  Jennifer is curating a team of domain experts in the areas of life that matter most: your purpose, your career, your energies and your ability to take care of you as you serve others.  More domains will be added as we grow – there are No Limits to where we can go!