Growing Courageous Kids

(& Parents!)

Taking Courageous Action: getting unstuck (Part 2)

Part Two

In Part One we looked at whether we were Big Beginners, Magnificent Middlers or Competent Completers. Click here to see which one you are.

As you looked at which type best fits your preferences and experience, you might notice that if you have a strong aversion to a particular stage of the process, a pattern of avoidance was set in place. Once this pattern becomes entrenched it’s very common for fear to kick in, so that next time we encounter the dreaded ending (beginning or middle) anxiety surfaces.

One of my friend’s suggests asking the following questions:

If I’m not beginning, following through, or finishing well…ask

  • What am I doing instead? (notice/observe)
  • What am I afraid of? (looking bad, messing up, not being perfect?)
  • If I were living in faith (or courage), would I choose to do this?

We have a couple of choices in taking courageous action. First, figure out why we have the fear/anxiety so we can be aware of our unconscious motivations. Examine our motivations with complete honesty. Are we actually sabotaging ourselves by settling for “I don’t want to.”? It’s important to explore these areas first before moving on to the next part.

Once you’re sure you’re not sabotaging yourself, holding yourself back in fear, or simply giving up to the deterministic idea of “I’m not good at that part, so why bother?” You’re ready for more courageous action. Be clear about your strengths and preferences and partner with people that complement you. If you’re a great beginner and finisher, have your partners be accountable for a magnificent middler. This is playing to your strengths is a key strategy for all successful and fulfilled people!

Let me know what your pattern is and how it’s working for you!

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Taking Courageous Action: getting unstuck

Part One

So you’ve got your vision, mapped out your plan, took some steps in the right direction, and then…nothing.

What happened?

People get stuck at different parts of their process, either the beginning, middle or end. Simple, right?

Take a few minutes to think of how you go about accomplishing a project, or for your child, how she goes about completing (or not!) school assignments. Once you’ve analyzed your patterns, you’ll see what part needs support for completion to actually happen.

Big (or What?) Beginnings

Do you love to vision, dream big, plan out huge projects? Do you love exploring possibilities? Does the idea of brainstorming for a new project get your energy up and running? Then you are probably blazing through beginnings!

Your child will get excited when you ask her to brainstorm solutions for her school (or personal) problems. She’ll wake up with more energy and start entertaining possibilities. The question for you will be to see if she can translate those ideas to the next stage, or does she become bound by possibilities instead?

Another option is to feel frozen, confused and confounded on how to get started! You may wish that someone would just hand you the plan so you could run with it. The idea of brainstorming make you queasy and you get dizzy when presented with so many choices…ugh. You wonder, What Beginning?

Magnificent (or Muddled) Middle

Some people enjoy implementing a strategy. They may not be into the act of visioning and/or planning, but once the plan is set, they are gifted in making it happen.

You may be a Magnificent Middler if you noticed increased motivation at the thought of diving into ACTION; you can see exactly what is needed to make the plan a reality. You know who to contact and the best people for each part of the plan. You won’t miss an important detail. You’ve got it covered!

Here your child will need you to help him plan out the process and walk him through the initial steps. He’s a slow starter and needs lots of prompting. He may complain that he “doesn’t know how to start!” Once you finally get him going he is able to do the legwork and follow the plan, working with a degree of independence.

On the other hand, you might be a Muddled Middler if your eyes start glazing over “too many details”; you can’t decide who should do what; you lose steam early in the implementation and want to work on a new project instead. 😉

Competent (or Casual) Completer

Others may enjoy the beginning and/or the middle of a project, but really feel their energy rise with the thought of sprinting to the finish. With the end in sight, the creative juices start flowing and the joy of competent completion kicks in. You may not even enjoy the early stages of a project. What you want is to come in at the end and hit a home run. You love the end result out there for all to see.

In the same manner, your child might take forever to get started on a school project, or even homework. She might need you to actually hold her hand and sit her down. You’ll have to hover to get her through the beginning stages, but finally, as the end nears you can tip-toe away and watch her finish with excitement.

Anybody with a modicum of success has at least learned to be a Casual Completer. You had your fun envisioning and/or implementing the project. Your love of the challenge is over now that the end is in sight. If there is a lot of pressure, you’ll respond and the cross the finish line because it is necessary. Or not so successful professionals might be so casual about it that you leave others to finish as you wander over to a new different race.

In the next post, we will look at what is motivating or driving our patterns and explore what we can do to be successful at all the stages!

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A Blessing on Being Brave

A friend sent me this Traditional Irish Blessing and thought I would share it with you all:

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To Strive or Not to Strive…

In the past month, I jumped in with both feet to the “twitterverse,” which is a way of communicating with tons of people via “micro-blogging” (only 140 characters per “tweet”/entry). Imagine going to party and being privy to everyone’s conversations at once! There are a lot of amazing people there that I have met and I’m excited to meet hundreds more.

In reading people’s twitter-names and bios, I’ve noticed some talk about “striving” for a particular goal, task or life-style.

Ahhh. Striving.

I react strongly to that word. I learned many years ago that life is much better if I don’t strive, but rather allow myself to be moved into “inspired action” as my coach calls it. This is true for me especially in a spiritual context. I don’t want to strive here; instead I surrender and yield to God’s Spirit that leads to living a life of LOVE.

Maybe, I’m reacting to semantics, but for me, striving is hard work—going against the natural flow and relying on my soul/mind effort versus letting inspiration flow through me, leading me, pulling me along, into action.

This isn’t to say that we don’t work hard, persevere and live a disciplined life.

Our kids need to learn persistence and discipline for their courageous foundation. Understanding that they don’t need to “try”, but rather CAPTURE the ideas when they flow, RESPOND when inspiration flows, SURRENDER by living in the present moment and not worrying about the future.*

We need to work hard, yes. Develop persistence, yes. But to strive and live in constant tension…NO. I don’t think striving is worth it.

What do you think? Are you happier when you strive? Let me know!

*Thanks to the “Conscious Achievers” in Life Coach Mary’s Success & Inner Peace Bootcamp for these ideas and insights!

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Resilience: Tromping Through Tall (poopy) Grass

Sometimes it’s really gross to put resilience into practice…

One key of resilience that is foundational to courage is the ability to “just do it anyway”.

Most functioning adults have learned this.

Kate is a mother of three rowdy, vivacious, amazing children. Yet, like most kids today these normally high energy kids can very easily slip into unmotivated lazy couch potato mode. Who hasn’t been there?!

One morning, this hard working mother planned to go for a walk on the beach with a friend to de-stress, exercise and do something positive for herself–All important in any busy mom’s life.

But she also knew her family.

If she didn’t get them moving for the day before she left, they would grumble and complain about being bored…sound familiar?

So, she buckled down into her “just do it anyway” mode.

After asking hubby dear what his plan was she learned that the dog poop was in the way of the boys getting much needed yard work done. The grass was very, very tall. Ah ha.

She set to picking up the poop in the tall grass. Not an easy, clean or pleasant task, but she “did it anyway”.

When the family saw her working they got up and started moving themselves. Soon the yard work started!

Kate enjoyed her walk knowing that she modeled the “just do it anyway” attitude for her kids, so they got motivated for the day.

Sometimes, resilience means courage to get dog poop on your shoes.

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What does Courage mean to you?

As I have been writing about a courageous foundation for our kids, I realized that it is a concept that encircles many important ideas and traits. I want to hear what courage means to you as a parent, or person that works with children.

For one writer, courage is closely linked to integrity, achievement and effectiveness:

All good-willed parents want their kids to obtain healthy and honorable achievement, but currently we’re handcuffing them with nice-sounding intentions that dissipate when applied to the real world. Good behavior alone won’t fly; it was never designed to. We need to guide our children to achievement not fulfilled upon the broken backs of others—which leaves in its wake resentment, bitterness, and cynicism—but instead toward achievement that’s nourishing for themselves and others. This is especially relevant in America, a nation awash in ambition, much of which is good, some of which is bad. It takes courage to follow integrity because that often means taking the longer and harder route.

For the whole blog click here.

Enjoy! And please let me know what you think with a short (or long) comment! Thanks!

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4 Steps to Heal Your Broken Brain

1. Eat right for your brain

2. Tune-up your brain chemistry with supplements

3. Live the UltraMind lifestyle: Exercise, relax, sleep, and train your brain

4. Live clean and green

from Dr. Mark Hyman

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Is Your Tank Full?

Did you ever have a teacher in High School make the class do the exercise “if so and so were and animal, flower or car what would they be?” I remember my classmates and I doing this once in 10th grade psychology class. My friend decided that I was a Mercedes convertible (I forgot which one exactly) classy, sporty and fun. It fit me. I loved convertibles especially in sunny southern California.

Of course my convertible was a sporty FIAT spider, which eventually broke down beyond repair. In part because it was a FIAT (fix it again Tony) and in part because I wasn’t the greatest with routine maintenance. Not horrible, mind you, my dad taught me the basics and I cajoled my male friends into changing my oil and other basic tasks. But I definitely pushed the limits, arriving to work on empty and such things.

This is a common phenomenon among high school and college students. They call me to say they are running a “little late” for our appointment, because they “just realized” they need to get gas. I smile every time remembering my own adventures running on fumes, putting the car in neutral down the winding hills, so I would make it to the station! Sometimes I think that angels must have pushed me along because I always “just” made it!

It’s not just teenagers that push the limits and run on fumes. Often we carry these adrenaline driven habits into adulthood just transferring the specific details. We might not ever run out of gas again in the car, but how many times do we run out of patience? Or energy? Kindness? Respect? When our reserves are low – our levels of back up emergency “funds” – it is very easy to lose out in living our ideal self, living out the person God made us to be. Maybe your basic physical needs are met. You have plenty of food, clothing and shelter, but your emotional account is empty from constant giving out and never refilling. I know that when I want to give someone “the bird” for cutting me off in traffic, that my emotional reserves are low! (Someone with “road rage” or anger management issues wouldn’t benefit from the above example.)

How do you keep your tanks full enough so that you can choose to respond to a situation, instead of simply reacting out of habit or desperation? What do we need in our lives so that we are free to choose?

One important element is making sure our needs are met and that our reserve tanks are full. One reason I hardly ever ran out of gas in the car I bought when I was 19 was because I knew I had a 2.2 gallon reserve tank. I drove and drove until the light flashed on. When that light flashed on I knew I had entered the “I better watch it” zone. Many times I used up me reserve tank within that .2 of the gallon, but I was intent on really pushing the limits counting on the accuracy of my readings of the mileage.

Not only do you need that reserve, you need an awareness of it, where you are within it, and the perspective to read it accurately. If you are used to reading the odometer in kilometers but are driving a car with mileage reading only, you will misjudge the distance. How many times have you said “I thought I had more (time, money, patience, whatever). We misjudge the reality of a situation when our perspective is out of whack.

What can throw our perspective out?

  • Fatigue

  • Hunger (low blood sugar)

  • Unrealistic expectations

  • Illness

  • What we are ingesting mentally (movies, TV, books, radio and newspapers)

  • Relationships

  • Stress

The list continues. The important fact is to know what your triggers are, so that you prepare a “perspective intervention” for yourself! This isn’t as radical as it sounds. Actually a shift in perspective can happen in a moment.

Some things to experiment with:

· Call your “pick me up” person. This could be anyone that can talk you out of your craziness; your friend, mentor, coach.

· Ask your friends how they shift their perspective and borrow or brainstorm techniques.

· Go outside and walk around in nature; take time to notice the colors and sounds around you; get out of your head!

· Off to the gym with you. Stop whining and get moving!

· Do some Brain Gym (

What works for you? I want to hear about it!


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Is Your Kid Stressed Out?: Create a Fat Head!

I cannot tell you how many times parents have complained about their kids behavior and ADHD or whatever, yet didn’t make any connection between the kids’ diet of soda, dyes, processed food, sugar…with a lack of nutrition needed for the brain to work well.  We need to continue learning how to help kids’ brains and bodies help themselves.

Dr. Mark Hyman is the author of several books that I have read. I use his principles of  Ultrametabolim and his UltraPrevention books to get and stay healthy (when I don’t follow the basic ideas, I don’t feel so great…). Here is an excerpt from his latest article. You can see all of the blog if you want. I recommend it.

Nutrition Tip #1: Become a Fat Head

One of my patients, a 20-year-old woman who hated seafood and avoided it her whole life, suffered from depression, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder (ADD), obesity, muscle pain, and chronic fatigue. Her blood tests showed a severe deficiency of omega-3 fats and an overload of inflammatory omega-6 fats.

So we gave her an oil change, with high doses of fish oil (EPA and DHA). Soon, she recovered from her depression, brain fog, and ADD, her pain disappeared, and she lost 60 pounds! Read the rest of this entry »

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Everyday Tools: Clear Your Brain with Post-its!

A key to being courageous is resourcefulness. When you feel like you have choices, opportunities and many ways to manage your life, it’s easier to brave about it all.

There are tons of study tools out there related to time management and organization. This was a major area of focus when I worked at an educational therapist (learning specialist). You would think I would remember to put all these into practice for myself! Alas…

This short video reminds us of a simple technique you can use with your kids (and yourself!) to get a handle on the “to do’s” in your life. 🙂

Enjoy Perry’s fast talking enthusiasm!

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