All posts by Mary W. Crow

Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) Passion + Persistence Coaching Specializing in Career Transitions marywcrow.wordpress.com

Is It Time to Connect with a Coach?

WHEN DO PEOPLE SEEK COACHING?

I coach women and men who are very successful in many ways but are “stuck” in some aspect as they pursue their goals. Coaching gets them un-stuck and accelerates movement towards their goals. Through a coaching alliance, clients step bravely in directions that are personally or professionally meaningful.

WHAT DO PEOPLE SEEK COACHING FOR?

I am experienced in coaching on Career Transitions, Health & Wellness, and Work/Family Balance. To cite a few goals my clients have achieved, this could include a career advancement, a more rewarding work environment, a more satisfying work/life/family balance, or getting in better physical shape and training for a race.

HOW DOES COACHING WORK?

As a coach, I rely on both evidence and intuition to elicit your wisest, bravest self. It’s your life, your vision! A coaching alliance empowers clients to clarify and attain that vision. I provide unwavering support and hold accountability. I engage clients in values clarification and visioning of desired outcomes, leveraging your strengths and past successes to catapult you towards what you want.

ARE SAMPLE CALLS OFFERED?
Yes, I offer a complimentary 30-minute Connection Call to see if we would be a good fit. BOOK A CONNECTION CALL now at http://bit.ly/2S0HnLc. Create the change you’re longing for. Let’s connect soon!

-Mary

Advertisements

Back to the gym

Day four of belonging once again to my old gym. My youngest son turned one year old just before Christmas and I have been needing to add exercise to my self-care regimen. I missed running, yoga classes, the elliptical machine.

I even missed simply stretching on a mat in a place (with music) where no one would bother me for awhile. Parenting is wonderful, but without enough breaks, can be stressful. Going to a gym gives me that much-needed break in a place that’s devoted to my health and well-being–no other distractions.

So what did I do on day four? A lovely Pilates class. I’ll be back! It was wonderful to focus on my breathing, core muscles, and building strength and flexibility.

My husband dropped our four year old off at preschool and went with the baby to buy some groceries. I walked home hearing birds chirping on this unseasonably warm February morning. I’ll admit I didn’t rush back. Now my tank is refueled for more hard parenting work (and cuddles).

What will you do for self-care today?

I coach people on health, work/family balance, and career transitions (areas of life that are interconnected!) I’d love to offer you a connection call.

Work-Life Balance

My four year old son loves anything that goes:  cars, trucks, planes, boats.  He has a toy boat as part of his train track set.  I was explaining to him the other day how a captain of a ship is constantly steering and making tiny corrections in the direction in which it is headed.  Ocean waves and wind can throw off its original direction.

This is also what we do in pursuing goals.  When external forces jostle us, we correct our direction and get back on track.

The same is true for work/life balance, as well.  Imagine a tightrope walker.  She is always feeling where her body is in space and in relation to the tightrope, balancing and balancing anew.  They say that writing is rewriting.  Well, balancing is rebalancing!  We start off on any given path totally on course.  While many things can tempt to sway our course, or perhaps even take us down the garden path, there are important tools which can bring us back again.  Making a detour can even prove to have been helpful, in the end.  We can take that shovel, rake, and hoe, and use them to our advantage.

During the year in which I had an infant and a three year old, I scaled back on coaching.  It was right for my family and myself at the time.  By the time my boys turned one and four, I realized I needed more breathers to focus on other parts of myself and other parts of my life.  This can be as simple as prioritizing a hot shower or bath.  It can mean paying attention to that voice whispering a restaurant meal with my husband would be worthwhile.  It can take the form of finding  ways to work exercise into my routines.

Coaching is one of those important parts of my life that I knew needed to return front and center.  I have resumed working with a coach of my own, and I have been laying the foundation for doing more coaching.  As any parent knows, this is a multi-pronged effort.  There is scheduling to do around children’s routines and family needs.  There is office space to polish up, so to speak.  There are supplies to gather, apps to update.  As I refocus on my business, I find my excitement grows.  I walk down the street and feel as if I had a secret that I want to tell everyone I pass.  Exciting changes are underway!

I love my profession because it’s creative and effective, hence very rewarding.  It allows me to forge a strong alliance with the person I’m coaching in order to evoke transformation.  For my own life, I also love coaching because it works *with* my life.  I can schedule calls around other meaningful activities.  I don’t have to turn down a weekend hike, a freelance music opportunity, or anything else in order to succeed.  While I offer a range of times when I’m available (mornings/afternoons, weekdays/weekends), it’s a profession that truly enables me to practice healthy work/life balance–a fact that helps me to champion my clients as they seek work/life balance in their own lives.

I hope that you will contact me for a Coaching Sample Call today!  It’s 30 minutes, complimentary, and tailored to your unique needs.  Coaching changes lives–I know this firsthand!  Call or email me today:  (646) 831-5126 or mary.w.crow@gmail.com.

Warmly,

Mary

Career Transitions

Today I did something scary.

I left a music job that I’d held for several years, because I knew it was time for a change. I’m resuming blogging and reconnecting with my community of other coaches and clients, past and future. I have been on a brief maternity leave from coaching and I miss the creativity and connection that this work brings.

In part, I’m leaving my music job for family reasons. My husband is taking five classes on top of doing property management. We frankly have limited family time, and hope to better design the time that we spend together as a family. Therefore, it helps for my work hours to be flexible.

I feel vulnerable sharing about this transition. Change is scary, yet I aspire to bravery, which I see as powerfully taking action in spite of fear. In fact, at the heart of a coaching relationship is willingness to step bravely in new directions that are personally or professionally meaningful.

I coach most often in a few key areas:

  • Career Transitions
  • Health
  • Work/Family Balance

These areas of focus are not accidents! I left a corporate career and turned down an offer from The New York Times to do be an entrepreneur and achieve a more satisfying work/life balance. My husband and I have two wonderful boys, a spirited 3 year old and an almost 4 month old. I have been an avid runner, yogi and hiker at various points in my life (so important to my self-care and physical and mental health).

As a coach, I rely on both evidence and intuition to elicit your wisest, bravest, most confident and curious self. I am fully confident that you are the expert on your own life. The coaching process and methods that I employ make these parts of yourself fully accessible as you decide what’s next and take action.

It’s your life, your vision! I empower clients to clarify and attain their vision. I will provide you with unwavering support and hold accountability as you move forward powerfully towards what you want.

Curious to try coaching? I offer complimentary 30-minute sample calls to see if we would be a good fit. Email or call me to set up a time! Know someone who could benefit? Please feel free to refer me.

Warmly,

Mary Crow

Passion + Persistence Coaching

mary.w.crow@gmail.com

(646) 831-5126

5 Healthy Habits During a Job Search

Career transitions come in many forms, one of the most major ones being a new job search.  In addition to the obvious steps of networking and sending our applications (which I will cover in separate blog posts), it is important to consider how to support ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally during a job search.  In coaching clients who are in the midst of a job search, I have observed that they have the best chances of success, and weather the transition the most smoothly, when they follow these 5 healthy habits:

1. Get ample sleep.

Prime your mind and body by giving yourself the rest you need.  We are at our most productive after a good night’s sleep.  Most people need 7-9 hours.  Notice how much sleep you need to feel your most alert.  If you feel you can’t spare the extra time in bed, consider that an extra hour of zzz’s can result in several hours of added productivity, not to mention a more positive outlook.

Some people who are worried about a job search may find they suffer from insomnia and have a difficult time winding down at night.  If this describes you, go the extra mile to set up a cozy sleeping space, limit screen time at night, engage in a soothing pre-bed ritual such as journaling or listening to music.

2. Exercise regularly.

Exercise is wonderful for so many reasons.  It leads to better sleep.  It puts us in a good mood.  It activates endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.  It makes us calmer, less reactive, and better company for others to be around.

Have a hard time committing to exercising on a regular basis?  Consider the huge rewards it brings.  Sometimes it’s simply our resistance to a new habit that stands in our way.  Try scheduling exercise in your calendar and set yourself up for success:  pack your gym bag, set an alarm.  The more times in a row that we repeat a new habit, the more engrained it becomes in our minds and the more naturally it comes.

3. Do something just for fun.

Why?  Career transitions inevitably entail a lot of stress (both “good” and “bad” stress).  Doing something you enjoy, that’s just for yourself, can alleviate much of that stress.  It also has a profound impact on reframing the career transition as one part of your life, rather than an all-consuming part.  Whether it’s hiking, taking a painting class, or playing in the backyard with your kids, everyone needs time to be playful, silly, or creative.

4. Surround yourself with a support network.

This one is a double whammy.

First, you will feel more supported emotionally when you take advantage of the support that’s available to you.  You will have more optimism and resilience, and less risk of anxiety or depression.  You will experience more connection and less isolation.  Others matter.  Positive psychology shows that meaning is a key hallmark of happiness–connection to other people and to something larger than ourselves.

Secondly, you will be more likely to hear of useful resources or job leads that could ramp up your search.

This last one is important. . .

5. Be gentle with yourself.

Whether your search is a long or a short one, remember that it is temporary.  While you are in the midst of it, treat yourself with as much care and compassion as you would a good friend.  Before long, you’ll be at your new dream job, and your search will be a fleeting memory.  While you’re in the thick of it, do everything you can to make the process easier on yourself.

Naptime and Growth Spurts

I don’t get a chance to blog as much these days, between mothering a toddler and coaching my clients.  I find that I miss it, though.  So today, as my son naps, I find myself with a precious hour or two.

Time is a hot commodity as a parent.  Whether working out of the home, full time, part time, or stay at home (what a misnomer!), all moms and dads find that there’s a new “normal.”  Yes, we can still carve out time for ourselves, but it’s no easy feat.  It takes compromises, trade-offs, and in many cases, communication with a partner.

For example, my husband often takes our son to the playground before leaving for work, so that I can coach a client without Herbie banging on the door, crying “door, door!”  Parts of daily life such as showers and ample sleep also take communication.  (Honey, remember the time I took a shower without warning you and we found Herbie had climbed onto the dining room table and was going through the mail?)

Point being, when even a shower is not to be taken for granted, there can be a lot of pressure when I find myself with an hour in the middle of the day to spend as I see fit.  I review my options.  I could clean the bathroom (we haven’t hired a house cleaning service, something that I would nonetheless advise ANY new parent to squeeze into a budget).  I could read any of three books that I had optimistically purchased on Amazon.  I could answer overdue emails and texts.

Or I could blog.

We do what we are to feed ourselves.  To remember who we are.  I am a writer who loves psychology and personal growth.  These fields are interwoven for me, personally and professionally.  As an INFJ, I tend to look at the world in terms of where I want to grow.  It’s my idea of fun to jot down goals in each area of my life where I want to focus in the coming week.  I love understanding mental processes, perceptions, and motivations.  This is why I’m a coach.  It’s also a part of parenting that I really love, as well.

So in the context of my new “normal,” I’m okay with a certain degree of clutter in our home.  I’m okay if my exercise is running around the playground and park (believe me, I have the biceps and quads to prove it).  I’m okay if couple time is family time.  There’s a season for everything, and other seasons will circle back around again.  For now, it’s a season of growth:  my growth, my son’s growth, and my clients’ growth.

My son went through three shoe sizes in three months.  I’m ready for new shoes, too.

Resilience & Rock Throwing 

At Forest School this morning in South Mountain. Lessons in resilience. My 19-month-old son rolled down some (carpeted) steps on our way out, then another toddler accidentally threw a rock at his forehead by the brook. 

While justifiably upset, he recovered quickly (after a few tears) from both and adventurously waded knee-deep in the brook, finding the biggest rocks he could possibly pick up and throw. 

The lesson for me is to be prudent and don’t take needless risks, but to keep on trucking. Expect comfort, and offer it. Be brave. For me, bravery doesn’t mean not expressing feelings. It means not being held back by accidents. Not losing out on opportunities for joy. 

Wading in the cold water, he pronounced “BIG!” as he hoisted each rock up to his shoulder. 

Choosing Powerfully–In Spite of Fear

As cool fall weather is sweeping in, I’m enjoying seeing all of the yellow, copper, and red leaves, some still on the trees and others that have fallen. I have a lovely view of trees in the park across the street from my house. As I write this, the golden leaves match my living room curtains, making me grateful for both the beauty of nature and the comfort of home.

I used to work at a corporate job in midtown Manhattan and didn’t have very much time to spend at home, especially not in the afternoon. Mid to late afternoon has become one of my favorite times of day, when the sun sweeps across the sky, lights up the living room with its southern exposure, and sets elegantly over the park.

A couple of weeks ago, on an unseasonably warm October day, I took a solitary hike in the Watchung Reservation here in New Jersey, and basked in the beauty of majestically tall trees, sunlight playfully dancing on leaves, and birds singing their avian hearts out.

More time appreciating nature is just one of the rewards of having listened to my heart and followed the path that was right for me–changing careers and stepping into a very different lifestyle than I once knew. It was scary to leave the corporate career that I’d always known. It felt secure, dependable, safe. I was offered a position at the NY Times and had to rely on my coach to help me see that there was something else my heart was calling for. Something less known, but more in line with how I want to express my values today.

Through coaching, music, and preparing to be a mother soon, I’m living some of my deepest values: beauty, creativity, personal growth, curiosity, compassion, caring, health, family, and flexibility. Being rich isn’t on this list. I care about security and frugality, but only in service of my core values. Fear of not having enough no longer rules me.

Life can still be stressful. As I write this, my grandmother is in the hospital after having a stroke. I’m filled both with love and gratittude for my relationship with her–and the good that she has done for so many people in her 95 years–as well as fear and sadness.

This week, I also I went to traffic court. I wrestled with the checkbook to try to make sure I wouldn’t bounce a check. I tracked down electricians and several heating specialists, as part of my responsibilities as a landlady. These are necessary, if frenetic and unpoetic, parts of life. As someone who is an intuitive introvert (to borrow from Myers-Briggs), engaging in a lot of extroverted sensing can feel taxing to me, and takes recovery afterwards.

Yet, my life is essentially exactly as I would wish it, just for today. I have much room for growth, but right now, I’m celebrating what’s good. I’m savoring the fruits of how I’ve chosen to craft my life. My work is deeply meaningful to me–I get to help others be at choice in their own lives. I get to champion them as they create what they want, and celebrate what they’re learning.

I also get to design my own schedule and incorporate self-care. For the first time ever, I get to go to the gym for an hour and take a short nap most afternoons. I alternate between work and my personal life throughout the day, rather than work in an 8 or 9-hour block of time. This may not work for everyone, but it’s ideal for me.

Why can it be terrifying to leave what we know, what has its merits and we consider pretty good, in pursuit of something different, better?

Our saboteurs can be sneaky. I have a “good-enough” saboteur who points out that what I have isn’t bad, so why rock the boat? That belief can literally keep me stuck in a place of dissonance for years. Another saboteur masquerades as trying to protect me: “you’ll get hurt, it’s better not to try.” This often comes from fear of failure or not having enough. It takes good coaching to help me see more resonant perspectives that can move me forward towards what I really want.

Power comes from choosing consciously. My future self is already living her ideal life, fulfilled beyond my wildest dreams. I get to play with discovering what that life is like and who that future self is. Then I get to step into it–again, and again.

“What Fulfills You?”

“What fulfills you?”

When we run into someone, we usually ask “How are you?”  Since it’s rhetorical, this question usually garners the expected superficial response, “I’m fine, thanks, how are you?”  The question doesn’t dig deeply, doesn’t attempt to make a meaningful connection.

I recently assisted at a 3-day Fulfillment class with CTI, the Coaches’ Training Institute.  Students had come from varied backgrounds in terms of geography, career, and life experiences.  I volunteered to assist the leaders and help to make sure things ran smoothly.

In our first exercise, everyone circulated, introduced themselves to another person and asked, “what fulfills you?”  It was fascinating to see how fast we got to know meaty things about each other:  what we do for fun on a Saturday, who we spend it with, where we like to travel on vacation…

…in short, what lights us up and made us feel alive.

Aliveness and connection are the foundation of a fulfilling life.  I see this emerge in my coaching clients when they move towards what they’re passionate about.  It’s easy to be complacent and pretend that what our heart tells us isn’t really important.  We resist what’s new because the unknown feels scary.  We settle for what we don’t enjoy but think ought to be ‘good enough.’  Sadly, this leads to flatness, deadness.  Picture a heartbeat on an EKG that has flatlined.

In contrast, coaching offers a vision of life that is resonant and full of purpose.  Values are clarified, goals are determined, and actions are aligned with values.  Now, that’s a life with a pulse!

Living a fulfilling life is a radical act.  A coach finds out what someone really, truly wants to do, and asks them to take action to get it.  How often are we asked what lights us up, and are held accountable for taking baby steps toward making that happen?

How many times do we think about taking that step, then back down, shrugging it off?  “Maybe one day–if things change…maybe not.”

What’s a radical act for one person may not be for another.  Someone who never exercises may find that working out 3 days a week is radical and life-changing, while someone else may sign up for a triathalon.  We are all unique.  The important part is what that action means to us as individuals–what direction it has us pointed in, what we learn, and how we grow from doing it.

We have the power to visualize a fulfilling life and to go out and get it.

Call or email me for a free 30-minute sample coaching call today.