I am thankful to have gone through the Unbeatable Mind coaching with Cole. She was well prepared for each of our sessions and explained things beautifully. Cole has a gift for listening and helped me organize my thoughts. She checked in after each session to see if I had questions and to see how things were going. Even though I finished the coaching sessions over a year ago, I still utilize what I learned every week. Cole has helped me prioritize what is truly important in my life and how I want to spend my time and energy. I recommend anyone reading this to take the time to benefit from what Cole has to offer. She is gifted in so many ways from simply getting one to relax and breath to helping one dive deep into what is best for you.
Doing this [work] was the push I needed to start a new business venture I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
Her skills as a coach and the ability to listen to every word and it’s underlying message are exceptional! I enjoyed every session and I have seen changes in all areas of my life since we’ve started our work together.
Even though I have known that I want this, it has now become more conscious that I want the same for my children - these healthy habits can be ingrained in them now rather than working through these basics in their 40's
I feel stronger and leaner after just a few days
Thanks for working with our team over the past months. I have found the work to be beneficial personally and professionally. I felt the information was well presented and you were great at facilitating discussion with our group.
Being present for every moment – doesn’t that sound lovely? Moments where we feel our true self resonate. Moments to connect purely with loved ones or experience mother nature at her finest. These moments are the priceless currency we bank into our “life well-lived” account. Yet it doesn’t take much for days to overflow with jobs, raising kids, and taking care of households and never find ourselves present for any of it. One of the most powerful tools I’ve found to become present is embracing silence.
Perhaps you’ve used practices like prayer or meditation to help create silent space in your life. It took me many years to learn to use these practices regularly and with intention. But silence had long since found me. God (Universe or whatever name you see fit) knows we need the space of silence to experience life fully. Silence finds us if we don’t find it first.
Sometimes silence finds us when a total bomb goes off in our life. Major disruption to the family, illness, and trauma can be loud and raucous events but often lead to a period of intense silence. My first intense experience with silence came after a serious car accident. I have never been so quiet in my life! There was commotion of people, doctor’s appointments, therapy, and world events (9/11 happened a few weeks after the accident), but I was internally silent. I was not thinking through the nuances of the accident. There was no mental processing of the changes my future held. I was just silent.
Many critical things happened in that silence – without me even recognizing it until much later – like complete forgiveness of the person who hit me and sheer gratitude for another day to breathe and be alive. Life threw me a huge curveball, but in that same experience gave me silence and space to recognize the important things in my life. It gave me the chance to see a new version of my life, a new and better version of myself.
Life doesn’t always throw us into disarray to find silence but does offer the usual transitions of growing to give us a (sometimes uncomfortable) nudge. Think back to the first few years after high school or college as we tiptoed into “real life”. Those aren’t always the most comfortable experiences. Moving to new places, changing social circles, and taking new jobs are awkward and uncertain, to say the least. In these experiences we find ourselves inherently quiet, often more out of circumstance than choice. That silence gives us the opportunity to take in what’s around us, process information, and create our new reality.
The same could be said for becoming parents. Even if we fall into parenting with great ease and joy, it is still a huge life shift and transition. The early part of parenting is so quiet – sleepless nights, constant feedings. Even when a baby is screaming at the top of its lungs, there is little space for mental chatter. So we meet another opportunity to recognize silence, create space to appreciate what is right in front of us, and embrace new love.
The last stop on our tour of silent spaces is the intentional one. The experience of silence when it is intentional is more intense and penetrating – transformative not just on our thoughts but on our being. The beauty I’ve experienced in practiced silence have been far reaching across every area of life. However, the most precious gift of practiced silence has been the presence to be here, right now, with my family.
The saying goes “the days are long but the years are short”. I found that phrase to be especially true while raising infants and toddlers. However, as my kids get older, my experience has changed. My experience now is that the days are too short. The opportunity to soak them up is right here. I’ve become like a sponge that never fills – just taking it all in. Practicing silence daily has allowed me to be present to them. Present to the way my kids speak. Awake enough to sense their moods and intentional enough to opt into a weird board game.
Practicing silence has allowed for transformation that in the way I think, how I experience life, and what I see for the future. Regardless of how we meet the silent spaces of life, the opportunity to embrace them and grow from them is a choice we can make. It isn’t an exercise in perfection, but it is an invitation to experience life from a more enriched and authentic space. Silence reveals our true nature and therefore our individual awesomeness.
The potential that exists inside the vacuum of silence is exceptional. And we will be exceptional when we step inside it. Then, we get to bring that refined self into a space of connection with our spouse and experience with our children. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving. It’s worth every single silent moment.
Ready to help quiet your mind? Here is one of my favorite calming breath practices.
Interested in beginning your own silence practice? Check out this beautiful book, Sacred Silence, by my teacher, Catherine Divine.
Another favorite: Just Breathe by Dan Brule.
In my practice, I try to share simple, powerful ideas on how to improve communication skills so our relationships – both personal and professional – can thrive. In my last article, I talked about the importance of deep listening. Today I want to focus on being impeccable when it comes to one word – but. This one word can change how we communicate with our most important partnership: marriage.
“But” is a toxic word when it comes to interpersonal communication. It is not only a stumbling block to effective communication, it actually undermines consensus building and throws a monkey wrench into cooperative pursuits. Linguistically “but” signals a transition. It effectively tells the language side of our brains to disregard everything that came before and pay particularly close attention to what is about to be said. On the surface, this may seem like a good thing. Consider, however, how we typically use the word and the impact on the relationship in the examples below.
Child: But I’m not hungry right now. (Protesting finishing what’s on his plate.)
Parent: I know you aren’t hungry, but I want you to finish what’s on your plate before you get down from the table.
Spouse: I know we agreed that we were going to rein in our spending, but it was on sale and I’ve been wanting one for a long time.
Coworker: I’ve been thinking about the Anderson project. I reworked some of the ideas over the weekend, and I really think there is an opportunity here to do something different.
Supervisor: I appreciate your enthusiasm and creativity, but the Anderson team have been long time customers of ours. I don’t want to rock the boat rolling out something new with one of our longest standing clients.
Do you see it? More importantly do you feel it? “But” often creates a power differential. The speaker is giving lip service to – pretending as if they want – cooperation and collaboration. In reality, however, they are looking for submission communicating that they are in a position of authority.
In the first example, the child’s own physical boundaries are being imposed upon. They are being asked to neglect their own internal cues (satiation) in order to satisfy the authority’s (parent) desire that they clean their plate. Repeated over time, the child learns to distrust their own instincts and instead to prioritize the wants of others. They may learn to defer to others, to downplay their own wants and needs. Of course, this can lead to many difficulties emotionally and interpersonally if the habit endures into adulthood.
In the second example, the spouse is communicating a unilateral veto power regarding decisions. Their wants and needs supersede agreements made between partners. Agreements are good and worthy of enforcement only when they align with their wants and needs. But agreements that are not in alignment with wants and needs are subject to immediate nullification without consultation. The other spouse is not an equal partner with an equal voice. They are listened to and considered only when the spouse in authority deems it appropriate.
In the third example, the coworker’s creativity, enthusiasm, and initiative has been punished. The message is clear. Stay in your lane. Don’t think for yourself. Do what you’re told. Observe the status quo. This is not a team environment (despite what we said when we hired you). You are not to do anything that may reflect poorly upon company tradition or your line of supervision.
To be sure, my analysis of these situations is perhaps more dramatic than the listener/receiver of the message may perceive or interpret the message of the speaker. I’ve elaborated to emphasize the power of this small word – “but” – and the automatic habit we have of using it in our everyday discussions. The dramatic interpretation creates a window of opportunity to try something different and develop a new habit. Instead of saying “but” build the habit of saying “yes, and”.
“Yes, and” communicates acceptance. It lets the speaker know what they have said has been heard and more importantly valued. “Yes, and” fosters creativity. It sets the stage for true collaboration. “Yes, and” is so powerful in terms of fostering collaboration that improve theater students train in the use of “yes, and”. “Yes, and” is Miracle Grow for problem solving and brainstorming.
Take on this challenge for the next week. Replace “yeah, but” thoughts and responses with “yes, and” thoughts and responses. See how relationships change as a result. Making this a consistent practice will not only change relationships with others, it will also changes the way we relate to ourselves.
Recommended Resource: “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz. I highly recommend it for those on the path to personal freedom. Briefly, the four agreements outlined in the book are: 1) Be impeccable with your word. 2) Don’t take anything personally. 3) Don’t make assumptions. and 4) Always do your best.
‘Thank you’ is considered a hallmark of grateful children. Many parents consistently prompt their children to use this phrase upon receiving a gift, a compliment, or favor. While saying ‘thank you’ is an important aspect of gratitude, gratitude is a complex experience that extends beyond using simple phrases. We also know that gratitude is associated with optimal outcomes such as higher reported levels of life satisfaction, fewer physical illnesses, less anxiety and depression, increased sense of optimism, and improved social interactions. Given the advantages related to gratefulness, it is not surprising that many parents strive to raise grateful children.
Practicing gratitude is beneficial for children and is something that can be easily practiced in multiple settings. Not only does practicing gratitude benefit a child, but it also benefits the people children interact with because it helps others feel appreciated and valued. Raising grateful children is the perfect chance to practice what we preach.
Recommended Resource: Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character