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Professional Life Strategy Coach Dieter Pauwels joins KPLR11 TV News at Noon with a weekly segment on life coaching and career coaching strategies.



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What You Expect Is What You Get

by Dieter Pauwels November 26, 2008

Your expectations define your reality. What you expect is what you get.  It’s simple, yet powerful and profound all at the same time.  The question is, "Do you expect the best possible outcome for yourself and others?" If you do expect that good things will happen, they usually do.  Not all of the time, but in general, when you expect to succeed, you will.  When you expect to win you're more likely to do so.  When you expect to live a happy and satisfying life, it happens. Conversely, when you expect to fail, be miserable, confused, conflicted or stressed …. you are. 

It’s not fate or karma at work here.  It is the basic fact that your attitude, your mental disposition, and general outlook attract similar behaviors and reactions in those around you.  Positive people are surrounded by positive influences. They have a support system of positive people who rally behind them when things don’t go as planned. Negative people only receive more negativity and doubt when they are faced with adversity or challenge. 

The expectations that you present to the world about yourself, and the people around you, will usually manifest. Just the way our expectations of others influence how we deal with them, they also influence how other people respond to us.

If you’ve ever worked with a person who is primarily negative you will know what I’m talking about.  A negative workplace is the least productive, least satisfying, and least motivating environment to be in.  Negativity is like a black hole that even the brightest light can’t escape from.  Once you get caught up in negativity, it is almost impossible to break free.  To avoid this trap you can work on developing positive expectations about yourself and others.

This does not mean you can choose any expectation and expect it to come true. Aside from having a positive and expecting attitude, your expectations must meet two other criteria before they can help you become the person you want to be.  They must be realistic and true to your self.

Unrealistic expectations are just as damaging as negative ones.  When you never achieve success you begin to doubt yourself.  All your positive energy is swiftly transformed to negativity.  This brings you right back to where you don’t want to be.

If your expectations are not true to the person you are or to person you want to become, you won’t commit to making them a reality.  All too often people try to live up to the expectations of others, such as a parent, a manager, a significant other, a teacher or another authority figure. Make sure your expectations are congruent with who you really are. That is the only way you will realize long term success, and the only way your expectations will continue to remain positive.

"High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation."
(Charles F. Kettering)

  • Commit yourself to setting positive and realistic expectations about all the things you truly want and deserve. Write an affirmation statement that asserts your expectation of a positive outcome.
     
  • Make sure your affirmations are aligned with the beliefs you hold about yourself and others.
     
  • Take the necessary action steps to make your self-affirmations a reality.
  • Develop confidence and take responsibility for your own life.
  • Remind yourself constantly that you get what you expect.
  • Create a powerful visual message or anchor that you can refer to when you feel negativity creep in. 
  • Work everyday at bringing to you the resources you need to make your expectations a reality.

You will find both power and happiness when you begin to set your own standards and expectations based on what is true for you. You are what you believe, and you become what you expect.  Expect the best, and only the best, from life, from others, and from yourself!

10 Ways to Build a Positive Mental Attitude

by Dieter Pauwels November 23, 2008
  1. The choice is yours
    Your life is the product and result of your choices. You always have (and had) a choice. You can choose to let the current state of the economy bring you down or you can choose to look for opportunities in the face of adversity and challenge. Choose to focus your attention on what you can do and what you will achieve. The way you choose to see the world creates the world you see.

  2. Limit your time in front of the TV
    Instead read a positive book, start a project, pick up a new hobby, spend some quality time with your family, or do something that will enhance your life.  Manage your time around your highest priorities and values.

  3. Build the habit of using positive language
    Listen to the words you use. Avoid words like 'always', 'never', 'can’t', 'won’t' and even 'why.'
    Say 'I choose' or 'I want', instead of 'I need' or 'I should' and notice the difference.

  4. Surround yourself with positive people
    Surround yourself with people who have a positive influence in your life, people who speak the truth and support you.  Expand your circle of positive influence with people who are further ahead in personal and professional development than you are. Disassociate with negative people who impede your progress.

  5. Develop a “Givers Gain” mentality
    Give away what you seek without expectation or measuring. When you seek success, help others to be successful. When you seek happiness, help others to find happiness first.

  6. Invest in yourself
    Listen to positive attitude audio CD’s, invest in courses or workshops or attend personal development seminars.  Read books from people like Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, Jim Rohn, Charles Swindoll, John Maxwell, Dale Carnegie, Anthony Robbins, Jeffrey Gitomer, Wayne Dyer, Norman Vincent Peale, Ken Blanchard, Jack Canfield and many others.  People who write about how you can and will, not why you can’t or won’t.

  7. Let go of anger, resentment and judgment
    Hanging on to negative emotions like anger or resentment will drain your energy and hinders you from moving forward to create positive change in your life. The best way to let go of these emotions is to fully acknowledge the feelings associated with the initial negative experience. Honor those feelings and let them go as they no longer serve you, and replace them with something positive. You can still hold on to the lessons learned from the initial negative experience.

  8. Create positive, realistic expectations and take action
    All too often people try to live up to the expectations of others, such as a parent, a manager or a significant other. Make sure your expectations are congruent with who you really are. You are what you believe, and you become what you expect.  Expect the best, and only the best, from life, from others, and from yourself. Take action on your expectations.

  9. Stop believing in what you think is true and start believing in what you really want
    Identify and let go of limiting beliefs that no longer support or honor you. Instead develop empowering beliefs that are aligned with your goals, values and your heart’s desire.

  10. Take responsibility for your own life
    Focus your attention on what you can control: your thoughts, your actions, your behavior, your emotional state and your daily actions and activities.
    You’re the steward of your own life and are solely responsible for the results and experiences you create. Taking ownership and responsibility for your own life is a freedom and tremendous privilege.

It all starts with your attitude.

Relaxation Techniques to Deal with Stress

by Dieter Pauwels November 20, 2008

Relaxation techniques were designed to relieve stress, anxiety and can even help with some medical conditions. There are a number of ways or techniques that can be used to relieve stress, and all of them work differently for different people. If one of the following techniques doesn’t work for you, the next one on the list may. Feel free to experiment with the relaxation techniques listed, in order to find the one that works best for you.

Yoga: Yoga has been practiced for hundreds of years, and has helped millions of people cope with stress. You can either take a class or learn Yoga techniques from books or the Internet. Stretching, breathing and focusing techniques are the basis of Yoga, all of which are beneficial to someone undergoing stress.

Meditation: Meditation is basically a form of thinking, or a way of focusing and sharpening the mind on one thing. It promotes relaxation, and many people use it on a daily basis to relieve stress and anxiety.

Soothing Music: Soothing music can be used to relax the mind and body. The old adage that, “music soothes the savage beast,” isn’t far from the truth. Try a CD of nature sounds, or perhaps some soothing classical music is the best choice. It all depends on your own musical tastes.

Deep Breathing Techniques: Stress often causes us to breathe shallowly and this almost always increased stress. Mentally scan your body for physical tension. Does your chest feel tight? If so, you may be holding your breath without even knowing it. Shallow breathing puts less oxygen in the blood stream, producing an increase in muscle tension. When you experience headaches or feel anxious and uptight, try this:

  • Choose a comfortable place to sit, preferably away from other people. Sit up straight and keep your feet flat on the floor. Imagine and feel your feet being rooted and connected to the earth.
  • Place your hand on your chest at your middle Dan Tian, one of your body's three reservoirs of energy, located between the middle of the chest; also between the eyes and below the navel to nourish the energy of the heart which "houses the mind." Place your other hand on your belly just below your navel, at your lower Dan Tian, to nourish the energy of the kidneys.
  • Begin taking slow, deep belly breaths. Concentrate on your body expanding and contracting. Visualize your energy sinking lower and lower into your body. Continue this breathing exercise for one to three minutes. Breathing into the lower Dan Tian helps release fear and anxiety. In doing so, you create more stability and become more centered and secure within yourself and your body.

A Massage: Who wouldn’t love a nice back massage? Treat yourself every now and then to a well deserved massage. It will help you relax tensed muscles, and relieve stress.

A Hot Bath: Curling up with a book in a nice hot tub is a terrific way to end the day. You can also add some candles in order to enhance the relaxing atmosphere, while the hot water relaxes your muscles and washes your cares away.

Try these relaxing techniques to help you cope with your stress. They’re relatively cheap, and the benefits can be enormous.

Life Coaching Over the Phone: What are the benefits of connecting over the phone with a life coach?

by Dieter Pauwels November 17, 2008

Life Coaching.

As a personal life coach, people often ask me if there are any benefits of working with me over the phone.

Actually, there are many advantages or benefits of coaching over the phone instead of an in office face-to-face coaching session. While I offer my coaching clients the option of both, let's consider some of the benefits telephone coaching has to offer. 

Telephone coaching will get you the support and feedback you need for creating meaningful changes in your life and achieving the results you want, while still being able to connect on a very personal level with your life or business coach.

Personal life coaching over the phone enhances your level of focus as there are fewer distractions during the coaching conversation.

Talking with your life coach over the phone establishes an emotional comfort zone allowing you to connect more easily and communicate without feeling pressured to make eye contact or communicate non-verbally.

Over the phone coaching is more cost effective. Not only will you pay lower coaching fees than when you would meet with me face to face, you also do not have to pay for any travel expenses.

Telephone coaching is extremely time effective. You will not waste any of your valuable time traveling back and forth to our coaching meetings. You won’t get stuck in traffic, no need to battle the weather or look for a parking spot.

Over the phone coaching allows more flexibility in scheduling our coaching sessions. You can enjoy coaching in the surroundings of your choice. You can choose  a quiet, private and relaxed place to be during our private coaching sessions. You will be able to connect with me from the comfort and privacy of your own home or office, wherever you feel most comfortable.

Working over the phone also enables me to work with clients who would not otherwise be able to benefit from my coaching services. Most of my coaching clients are located in the US, Canada and Europe.

Our telephone-based life coach and career coaching services are provided but not limited to the following metropolitan areas: St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Denver, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco, Phoenix, Cincinnati and Cleveland.

To find out whether working with a life coach over the phone will work for you, go ahead and schedule your free life coaching introduction session today at http://www.dieterpauwels.com

What can the flow of a river teach us about life's experiences?

by Dieter Pauwels November 14, 2008

A river always moves forward, setting its course and creating its own path down to the sea. At this place beginning and end all come together.

The life of a river is expressed in its flow, just as your life is a continuous flow of experiences. A river's flow is powerful beyond measure. Even when it runs into obstacles, it finds a way past any resistance.

Just as a river, your life has a constant flow with changing forms. From calm and steady waters, through accelerating rapids and waterfalls.
 
Think for a moment about the river of your life. What is the current flow of your life's experiences? Is it calm and steady? Maybe some rocks have found their way into your life's river causing backwater and thereby changing the direction and flow of your course. Perhaps you feel pulled down by the undercurrent of a negative experience. Maybe you find yourself enjoying the rapids of a new and exciting venture.
 
Wherever you are in the river of life, it is important to be fully present in the flow of your current situation. When you are in the rapids, the only thing to do is to be in the rapids. The river will take you there anyway. To be in the flow means to be present and involved; to allow yourself to experience the honest emotion of your current situation.
 
All too often we deny or dismiss the negative or painful currents in our lives and miss out on the opportunity to grow and to learn. What you resist will persist, and will eventually come to the surface of the river in the form of turbulence or regret.
 
Sometimes the stream of life may seem to be stronger than you are. You resist and try to swim against the current. If you have ever experienced the adventure of white water rafting you know that when you fall out of the boat when going through a rapid, you can't swim against it. Instead, you follow the stream and the river will bring you along.
 
And so it goes in life. Once you fully experience the currents of life's river, you will always move forward and the flow will bring you along. It always does.
 
Go with the flow and align with the positive currents in your life that pull you forward.

Stress Management: 5 Tips To Release Stress In Your Life

by Dieter Pauwels November 13, 2008

Stress affects us all in varying degrees. Whether your job is demanding, or you’re a single mother struggling to make ends meet, stress can add to the burden you already bear. Learning to manage stress is crucial if you want to live life to the fullest and maintain a healthy balance. Below you will find a few tips and techniques that will help you manage stress, and overcome your burdens.

  1. Environmental Control
You are in control of your environment. Many people forget this fact, and unwittingly do things out of habit that cause them stress. For example, if the evening news stresses you out, watch a light sitcom instead. If you fight traffic every morning trying to get to work, then either take a bus, and let someone else fight the traffic for you, or find a route less traveled. Controlling your environment, and finding ways to lighten the stress factors in your life is tremendously important.
  1. Learn to Express Your Feelings in a Respectful Manner
Bottling up your feelings is not a good way of managing stress. In most cases, this leads to resentment, frustration and pent up anger. If something or someone is bothering you, learn to express your feelings in an open, yet respectful manner.
  1. Make Time for You
It’s important that you set time aside for yourself, even if it’s only for one hour a day. Take a relaxing bubble bath or read a book before bed. However you manage it, having a little ‘me’ time is a great stress reliever.
  1. Laughter is Good for You
Learn to laugh at situations that may cause you stress. Even laughing at yourself can relieve stress, and humor works wonders for relieving tension. Don’t discount the power of a good belly laugh.
  1. Self-Medication is Not a Good Idea
Never self-medicate yourself. Sure, that 6-pack of beer may temporarily help you to forget your problems, but in the end, the problem is still there. Instead, meet your problems head-on and find a solution.
Use the above tips and strategies to relieve the stress in your life. Don’t allow stress to bring you down, or ruin your life.
For other stress related information and resources, you can visit

How to Cope With Stress at Work.

by Dieter Pauwels November 12, 2008

Workplace stress or job stress is a very real problem in workplaces around the world. When the demands of the job surpass what you can safely and mentally handle, it can cause headaches, loss of sleep, irritability, stomach upset and make it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. Not only does it have an adverse effect on you, but also on your company. Stress costs companies around the globe millions of dollars per year. Imagine how much more productive you would be if could cope with stress more effectively? Less sick days and no pounding headaches would invariably lead to more production.

So what can you do to reduce stress at work?
There are a myriad of ways we can better manage stress in the workplace. Like many things, a large portion of the problem is how we deal and think about our surroundings. If you’d like to manage stress more effectively at work, consider these 5 helpful stress reducing tips.
 
1.    Think positively whenever possible. Avoid coworkers who constantly complain about their jobs, and try to gravitate to positive thinkers. If you do something well, praise yourself, even if no one else notices.
2.    If stress is bogging you down, you can always take some vacation time. Use that time to relax. If you’re at the workplace, and taking a vacation is out of the question, try taking a walk, listening to your Ipod or relaxing for a few minutes outside with a warm cup of hot chocolate. Sometimes all you need is a few minutes to yourself to clear your head.
3.    Do your best in the workplace, but avoid being a perfectionist. Nothing you do will ever be perfect, and by expecting perfection, you put undue stress on yourself.
4.    Sometimes you just need to blow off some steam, and talking is the best way to do that. Seek out someone you trust, and talk to or get the help from a professional life coach.
5.    Humour really is the best medicine. If you’re feeling stressed out about a certain situation, try finding something funny about it. You can also think about something that’s happened recently that’s funny, or share a joke with a co-worker.
 
While the emotional and mental symptoms of stress may seem benign at first, it can lead to serious health problems if it’s not dealt with properly. Remember, you’re in charge. A Positive attitude is the first step towards relieving your workplace stress.

How satisfied are you with your life?

by Dieter Pauwels November 11, 2008

Use this life coaching tool below to rate your personal satisfaction within the following areas of your life:
career, health, emotional well-being, financial, friends & family, personal growth, fun and recreation, physical environment, relationship and romance, and life management skills.

For each of these areas, ask yourself, “How satisfied am I in this area of my life right now?”

Notice two distinctions in the above question. “How satisfied am I…”
This is a subjective assessment. It is not about how your spouse, your family or your business colleagues see you; it’s not about success, it’s about personal satisfaction.  
Also notice “right now”. This little exercise will give you a snapshot of how you feel at this very moment. Do not look for ultimate truth, just check in with how you feel in this very moment, because that’s all there is.
Enjoy!

Stress Relief in Times of Economic Change

by Dieter Pauwels November 9, 2008

There’s little doubt that the economy is changing, and it’s not for the better in most cases. Stocks are plummeting and real estate isn’t faring much better. With economic woes comes stress, too.

How is someone to deal with the pressure of an economic downturn? What’s the best method of coping with stress in this situation?
S.T.O.P., but don’t panic.

Step back.
Don’t get caught up in the doom-and-gloom hype around the economy. Relax for a moment and pay attention to what is happening around you.

Think.
The most intuitive reaction is to look for problems. We go into survival mode, because this is what we have conditioned our mind to do. The problem is that we get stuck into this negative state of mind which leads to high levels of anxiety, stress and bad decisions. Dealing with change more effectively requires us to think.

Options.
In slow economic times, there are still options available to you. For example, you could try laying aside a few dollars every week as an emergency fund. You’ll feel a lot less stress if you knew that you had some money laid aside for an unforeseen event.

Plan Ahead.
Take stock of your particular financial situation and what causes you stress. Write down specific ways you and your family can reduce expenses or manage your finances more efficiently.
The point is that by planning ahead, and taking control of your own financial wellbeing, you can greatly reduce the amount of stress you’re under. Dealing with problems before they arise is much better than dealing with them when they do.
Rely on Your Personal Support Network
When doubt and anxiety peak, rely on the people who constitute your personal support group, people who care about you and your wellbeing. When life starts to get you down, open up to them and bounce some of your feelings off them. They may provide you with valuable advice, or at the very least, be able to listen.
If you continue to be overwhelmed by the stress, seek professional help, like counseling or a personal life stress coach who can help you with effective coping strategies to reduce and manage the stress in your life.
The economy may be a source of stress to many, but remember, times change. The economy may be seeing some tough times now, but tomorrow is a new day. This too will pass.

How to Overcome Procrastination

by Dieter Pauwels November 5, 2008

We all procrastinate. It’s a problem we all face.

Actually we often spend more energy putting off a task than it takes to do it. In many ways we end up paying twice, once with all the energy avoiding what we know we must do and then, finally, once we actually do it.
It’s amazing that we can grow up, make it to adulthood, learn how to walk, read, write, and drive… but we can’t get ourselves to do things that we know are in our own best interest.
One of the most important things you need to do is, ironically, admit to yourself that you’re procrastinating and can’t make yourself do what you want to do!
Follow these 5 steps to turn procrastination into perseverance.

1) Write down all the things you are procrastinating about. Prioritize your list in order of importance and urgency. To help you prioritize your list, ask yourself the following three important questions.

  • What will it cost me in terms of time, (emotional) energy or even money if I keep putting things off?
  • What are the benefits of getting the job done?
  • How will waiting serve or benefit me?

Sometimes there could be a positive reason for you to put something off. Perhaps if you wait long enough, the circumstances might change and you may no longer need to take this action. Or perhaps you might get an important piece of information that could change your course of action.

Can you come up with any valid reasons for putting things off or are they merely excuses?

2) Create a timeline to get things done.  Set target dates and create time in your schedule. What will be a realistic assessment of the time it will take? Is there someone you could delegate this task to?

3) Accountability can be a good way to deal with procrastination. Work with a friend, a colleague or a personal life coach to keep you accountable.

4) Take action. What is a first things you can do right now that will move you forward?

Break the task down into smaller pieces and commit yourself to doing whatever it is you are procrastinating about for only 5 minutes at the time. This will help you build the habit of getting things started. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish in only a few minutes.

5) Take time to celebrate. Once a task or project is completed, reward yourself. This will give you a sense of achievement and reinforce the feeling of accomplishment so that next time you find yourself procrastinating, you will remember how good it feels just to do it.

For more practical tools to overcome procrastination, you can visit the personal development blog of Steve Pavlina.

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