Dec 05

One Loose End To Tie Up

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

As we say goodbye to November, I want to jump back real quick and make sure one piece of business was not left undone:

November is the month of being thankful. Some focus on it all month-long, others on Thanksgiving Day itself. But where ever you fall in your thankfulness practices, make sure you don’t forget to thank YOURSELF!

My blog is about us living our best life possible. Living your best life requires a ton of work! I have found it to be the most rewarding kind of work, but a lot of effort and energy is expended when living intentionally and living our best.

Coffee with lights

December tends to be the month we look back on our year to reflect on where we have come. I think that November’s thankfulness and December’s reflection on the past year go together quite nicely.

I look back on the past year and see that I have really worked hard to live my best life. I also see that I do not have any regrets. That is huge! When we are living our lives according to our priorities, or what is most important to us, we do not look back with regrets. I worked hard (and am still working on) growing healthier, I spent great times with my husband, I grew in my relationship with God, I stretched myself and learned more about what it means to be a great person, Coach and Business Owner.

Take some time today to grab your favorite beverage, find a cozy nook to curl up in, think about the amazing things you have done this past year, and thank yourself for all of the hard work, energy, and passion you put into it.

Great Job!

Nov 21

I found an elephant in my office this morning!

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

We all have times in our lives when we go through a time of stretching. Sure, we have a choice to say no and refuse to move forward. But if moving forward in our lives is a priority, stretching times come with the territory.

It is a funny quirk of mine, but I always have said that if I have to be tortured, I don’t want to be stretched. There is a movie out there that someone is put in a stretching machine (please let me know if you remember). I thought is was Princess Bride, but I watched that portion of the movie and that “Machine” sucked the life out of Wesley. Well, be it stretching or having the life sucked out of you, it all feels the same and it is hard!

Elephant in my office

I am personally going through a time of stretching. As a small business owner, all of the work falls on either John or I. So needless to say we both have to do and learn things that may not be easy for us or fall within our areas of strength. In my personal life I am making major and needed changes in what I eat and this is really hard. I want it all to be easy. I want to walk around with all my “stuff” together.

But I don’t have it all together, so I have to decide today how to move forward. So this is where I started:

The first thing I did this morning was clear the clutter. I feel like I have so much to do and so many projects going that I could barely breathe. I unfolded our 3×6 foot plastic table, put it in the storage area next to my office and started clearing my desk of all of the stuff “I need to do”. Here are some of the things I cleared:

  • All of the books I have purchased that “I need to read”
  • All of the paper in my life that “needs something done with it” (filed, scanned, processed, etc)
  • All of my fun projects that “I need to move forward on” (Learning the upright bass, the banjo, gardening, etc)
  • For me it is paper clutter. For you it might be digital clutter that you need to clear.

Yes, I know I still need to deal with all of that stuff, but by physically clearing all of it I:

  • Cleared my space. (I work much better in a clear and clutter free space)
  • Cleared my mind. (All of the “stuff” kept nagging on me and reminding me of how much I need to do)
  • Can now deal with my urgent and important items easier.
  • Can put a plan in place that fits with my priorities to get through both the “stuff” and the areas I am feeling stretched. Can start to “eat the elephant” one bite at a time, without having the elephant standing in the middle of my office.

The stretching has not gone away. I still have to move forward on some hard things, but by clearing the non-urgent, non-important “clutter”, my mind is clearer to tackle the most important stuff.

 

Are you consumed by all of the clutter that has filled your life? Is it time to clear all of that and start fresh?

What are you going to do today is clear the clutter and focus on what is most important to you in life?

Oct 05

Better Today than Yesterday

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

Continual growth is a core value of both myself and of our Personal Coaching and Leadership Development business, Lead Thru Example, LLC.

We define Continual Growth as:

We choose to be better today than we were yesterday by continuing to learn new things and look at new perspectives.

This is hard work at times, but life can be empty and frustrating without continual growth. I have heard the saying, if you are not growing, you are dying, and I think the saying really has a good point.

man reading

I have been learning new things in my life that are stretching for me. I have found that as I am stretched, I can really get discouraged. I joked with my Personal Coach that one moment I am high as a kite, the next I am as low as I can go. What is my deal? This week I have found myself on the roller coaster of life, and even though I couldn’t stop life in its tracks, there were some things I could change, some adjustments I could make, a fresh perspective I could consider.

You have heard it from me before, and I can guarantee you will hear it from me again:

When life seems crazy, get off the crazy train, set aside some quiet time and think.

When is the last time you had intentional quiet time to process/think about your life? Your children’s life? The life of your career? The life of your marriage or relationships? Seriously! In the hustle and bustle of our lives, we don’t set aside time to think. To help me think, I journal. Writing things down help me to think things through.

That is what I did this week.

  • When I felt off, I asked myself why? and what was bothering me? I took time to think about it and was able to identify some issues.
  • I also decided some fresh perspectives would be healthy. I bought a book to read that suited my situation. I used to not even consider marking up a book, but I have underlined (in pencil) a number of takeaway items for me to remember and implement.
  • I also spent some time online learning new things, and seeing what others are doing.

I do feel like I was shriveling up and dying until I made the choice to grow. Is life perfect now? Of course not. But I am learning, hearing other perspectives and growing more into a more amazing Jen!

Do you need to prioritize Continual Growth in your life? What can you do to be better today than you were yesterday? What can you do to be a more amazing YOU?

Sep 19

Ask and Listen! There are amazing people and stories all around us!

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

I was reminded recently that I should not only focus on myself and my needs, but keep others in mind on a continual basis. This is an obvious statement, and we do provide for so many needs in our lives. We support our spouse or significant other, our kids, our co-workers, etc. But how often are we intentional about truly placing the attention on another person? It is so much easier to focus on ourselves, talk about ourselves, and think of ourselves.

stories of others
Over the past year I have tried to shift my mindset about the conversations I engage in, and it has been amazing. I have learned so much about so many people that I would have never known if I did not intentionally ask. My husband and I meet up with his grandmother once a month for lunch. We take that time to catch up on life, but I have also started to ask questions about times gone by, times with her husband who is now diseased, how life was for her growing up, and the places she has traveled in her life. Her life and her stories are amazing! It brings great joy to her to share and reminisce about these times, and it brings me tremendous joy as I listen.

How often, in our daily conversations, do we really listen to people? How often do we put others first in our conversations? How often are we intentional about asking others about their past or present experiences? All of these things take some intentionality. For me, and I would guess for most of us, this does not come naturally. I have had to:

  • Prepare ahead of time by thinking if questions I can ask.
  • I take some time to think about the person I am getting ready to have a conversation with, who is important to them, and what is important to them.
  • I think about their hobbies and interests. If I don’t know of any, my first question is “what do you love to do for fun?”
  • I think of events that recently happened in their life and ask them about them.

What happens next is vital.

Listen.

When we truly listen and are interested in the person the next question comes naturally. Yes, there is a chance that you will not be able to talk about yourself, but it is very rewarding to put someone else first. I have had some of the greatest lunches, car rides, and walks with others when I make it all about them. Be the bright spot in someone’s day, ask about them, listen and make it all about them.

What upcoming conversation can you be intentional about? It could be someone right in front of you.

Sep 12

Beauty in the place where NEW and NORMAL meet!

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

Today’s post may seem like a contradiction to my normal “go get-em” posts. But as I reflected on my week, I realized that even though it was great, it was pretty ordinary. At first I interpreted this as a bad thing, but I also knew deep down that it was a great week. How can something so ordinary be so great?

I believe it is important to continually grow in life. For me, I try to grow by reading and hearing other perspectives. I also like to try something new every once in a while. Ordinary, on the other hand, is defined as “with no special or distinctive features; normal.” This week, I found beauty in the place where NEW and NORMAL meet.

beauty in ordinary
My week probably looked a lot like yours. Laundry, house cleaning, lawn work, work work, errands, exercise, bathed the dog (or kids for many of you), paper work, and appointments. A pretty ordinary week. I did not come up with any great discoveries, nor scale a mighty mountain (with the exception of the laundry pile). But I did:

  • Meet a new and extraordinary person.
  • I was able to show generosity by giving a large tip to someone who works hard but makes little money.
  • I was able to move forward in getting UN-STUCK by learning some new exercises to help my aching back.
  • I was able to support and encourage those close, special people in my life.
  • I was able to make my home a comfortable place to be and live.
  • I exercised and had a medical procedure to improve my health.

All of these things are very ordinary because we do them all the time, no special or distinctive features, but they are wonderful!

Give yourself credit today for the little things!

  • Be proud of the fact that you kissed and loved your kids and significant others this morning.
  • Remember and acknowledge the new people that come into your life.
  • Realize the smile you gave someone, or the door you held for someone, made a difference.
  • Consider the work you do around the house to be a job well done and a job that improves the lives of those you love.

Give yourself credit! Yes, there is always more to do, more to learn, places to go, people to see. But embrace the ordinary in your life as well!

What did you do today or this week that seemed ordinary, but needs to be seen as extraordinary?

Sep 06

I’m Stuck! There’s No Way Out!

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

There are few feelings worse than feeling STUCK. It brings along with it the feeling of hopelessness, fear, and anxiety, which drain what little bit of energy we have left. It is a horrible place to be. When we feel STUCK, we look around and it seems like there is no way out, no life-preserver, no helping hand.

But there is hope! There are people and resources all around us to help us get UN-STUCK. The question is, are we willing to do what it takes to reach out for that helping hand?

boat in mucThis week I had two incidents of feeling overwhelmed to the point where my chest muscles tightened, I felt short of breath, and I had a hard time calming myself down. I wondered if I was having a heart attack, asthma, or possibly a mild anxiety attack. I reached out to a trusted friend who has dealt with similar symptoms in the past and she confirmed my suspicion, anxiety. She shared her story with me and we talked through what I needed to do to get better, how to feel less STUCK.

In life, we make decision after decision that slowly slides us towards this place of “BEING STUCK”. We spend too much $, we don’t discipline our children, we stay at work instead of going to our son’s baseball game, or daughters soccer game, we lay on the couch instead of going for a walk, we watch 4 plus hours of TV a night instead of investing time with those who love us. All of these decisions gradually build up to the point where we feel like we are at the point of no return. Over time we get STUCK. The good news is that, over time with right decisions, we can get UNSTUCK!

What decisions have you made to bring you to a place of being STUCK?

The answer to this question is very important, because one of the first steps in getting UN-STUCK is to take responsibility for your situation. It is time to swallow your pride and come to the realization that you should have done things differently in the past. It’s time to replace the bad habits with good habits, get on track and get UN-Stuck!

There are many resources you have available, but a great place to start is to ask someone for help. We are fed a lie in our lives that “we should be able to do it on our own”. Science, psychology and religion tell us that we are meant to do things together, to depend on one another, not to be alone. Stop believing the “Lone Wolf” lie and reach out for a helping hand. Reach out to:

  • Someone you can trust. Go to someone who will keep your conversations confidential.
  • Someone who can actually help you. If you go to someone who cannot help you, you have to ask yourself if you are just going to vent and really have no intention of getting UN-STUCK.
  • Someone who has experienced the same thing you have, and have worked their way out of that situation.
  • You may need to find an organization to help like Alcoholics Anonymous, Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, Etc. There are organizations out there for you, you just have to make the effort to find them.
  • You may need to hire a Personal Life Coach to help you identify your next action steps and hold you accountable for following through on them.
  • You may need to hire a counselor, a lawyer, an accountant, whoever it takes to move you forward and get UN-STUCK!

It is a CHOICE. Your CHOICE. Are you willing to do what it takes to get to where you really want to be? If the answer is YES, what are you going to do today to move forward?

 

Aug 29

The Importance of Discovering Who You Are and “Being You”!

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

I have come to realize that life is a process of understanding ourselves, and then taking that information to live better in this world of ours. We are amazing, complex individuals that have been created, shaped and formed through our environment, the people in our lives, and our many experiences. I believe we will go into old age still discovering new things about ourselves. We truly are amazing.

Weathered Tree Rings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will be honest, I have not been intentional about learning about myself. It has been through people in my life presenting various tools that I have helped me tap into who I am, what I am gifted in, what I am strong at, what I enjoy, why I respond to things the way I do, etc.  But through this process, going on for about 10 years now, I am a much more confident, happy, free person. And like so many great things, I want everyone to experience the same confidence, happiness and freedom.

Here are just of few things I have learned and discovered about myself:

  • I have an overall optimistic view of life, but I have to watch out for the negative things that I think about myself. I tend to be hard on myself.
  • I love to be active. I love to walk, play volleyball, and my latest discovery is that I enjoy working out punching a boxing bag.
  • I like being by myself. There is a time for me to be with people, and there is a time for me to be by myself. If I do not get my “me” time, I get cranky (just ask John).
  • I have experienced God’s presence in my life. I try to stay in tune with Him every day so I can learn to love Him and others better.
  • I LOVE sweets! I have realized over the past few years how bad sugar is for me, so I had to cut back. But I really enjoy sweet stuff!

Learning about yourself is not difficult, but it takes time and intentionality. You have to get away from the hustle and bustle of life to read, think, make observations, and utilize great tools. I believe the more we know ourselves and live our lives focused on our gifts, strengths, and amazing qualities, the better:

  • Spouse we will be.
  • Friend we will be.
  • Parent we will be.
  • The more fun we will have.
  • The more energized we will feel.
  • The better we will serve others.

…the list goes on and on! Each ring on a tree represents a year of growth. The year could be a year of great abundance, severe drought, fire, disease, or just getting by with what it needs. But the tree still grows! We have a choice, no matter what our current season looks like, to grow and learn. Join me on this quest to take time to learn about ourselves, feel more energized, and give back like we never thought possible.

If you would like to receive an email notification of my future blog posts, subscribe in the right column. A confirmation email will be sent to you, so don’t forget to confirm it in your email.

Aug 15

Now Open: Life Planning Class Registration – October 2013

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

Registration has begun for the October Life Planning Class at St. Charles Community College taught by our very own Coach Jen!

Click on this link to start the registration process. Read on for more details.

Life Planning Class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The summer semester of this class was a huge success and we are running it again to help you overcome the busyness of your life! Here’s what one of the participants from the summer semester had to say:

The Life Planning Class I took at the St. Charles Community College went above and beyond my expectations of the course. Jennifer Regan from Lead Thru Example worked with each one of us to develop a life plan tailored to our individual goals and dreams. She not only gave us the tools we needed to pull together our ideas but quiet time during class to disconnect from our current distractions to focus on life’s priorities. By the end of the course I had not only developed a realistic life plan but the ability to recognize some of the distractions keeping me from my goals!

Craig D.

As a participant of the class you can expect:

  • Weekly instruction on practical tools to help you succeed in all areas of your life.
  • Professional Materials to walk you through a systematic Life Planning Process.
  • Time each week to disconnect from your busy life and focus on yourself and what you want out of life.
  • Your own personal Life Plan, created by you with practical steps to move forward and make it happen!
  • The number of participants is limited and the session is filling up fast! Don’t delay, Jen would love to see you in October!

St. Charles Community College – Learn for Life
Life Planning: Creating a Road Map for Your Life
Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm
October 22 – November 12
Investment of: $75.00

Click on this link to start the registration process.

Aug 08

ENJOY NOW!

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

Pre-goal-attainment positive affect…in other words, ENJOY NOW! I am enjoying reading Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project. It is her story of defining happiness for herself and figuring out what that looks like in her life. The term pre-goal-attainment positive affect made me giggle. It sounds like the latest discovered disease. But as I continued to read, it was a great reminder for me. There is a fallacy called “arrival fallacy” which is the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you’ll be happy. I love to obtain goals, to put a check-mark on the box, but so many times I forget to enjoy the journey (pre-goal-attainment positive affect).

dancing in puddles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This subject hits home right now. John and I are in the midst of some pretty hefty financial goals (debt reduction, savings, etc.). The goals we have set are the right ones for where we are in life and to get us to where we want to be in the long-term. But I WANT and I NEED! But I CAN’T HAVE right now and that makes me cranky at times. What I have to remember is: * We are doing the RIGHT thing * I will eventually get some of the things on my WANT list * Instead of being cranky about it, I need to find enjoyment in where I am right now. Are you working towards something that is hard, but worth it? If not, should you be? What should that goal be? If you set a goal, and you are willing to be uncomfortable for a short time, you will see dividends for the long-term. Find ways to have fun even when you are working hard on your goals! Treat yourself to some Pre-Goal-Attainment Positive Affect!

Side note: If you know you need to move forward in some areas of your life, but you are not sure where to start. I am teaching a great class at St. Charles Community College starting October 22nd for 4 weeks. It’s called Life Planning: Create A Road Map for Your Life. Here is the link for registration! I would love for you to join me! If you do not live in the St. Louis area, but would be interested in the class, let me know. We are developing the curriculum to bring the class as an interactive on-line webinar in the future!

-Coach Jen

Jul 25

I Can Do This: Getting Over the Hump

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

I CAN DO THIS!

We all have the greatest intentions to lose weight, to exercise more, to eat better, to quit smoking, etc. But actually doing it and sticking with it is downright hard. Others seem to succeed, why can’t I? When it comes down to it, I just can’t say no to that bowl of ice cream. I have the best intentions every night, but I just can’t get out of bed in the morning to exercise. I have had times of success in the past, why is it so hard for me to succeed right now? Why can’t I move forward in this one area of my life?

Man in Bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past month I have gained 5 pounds. I ask myself how in the world have I gained 5 pounds? Unfortunately/fortunately I track my weight, exercise and calorie intake, so I can look at my logs to see how it happened. I gained it 1 pound at a time, eating too much food. With summer here I have enjoyed more ice cream than normal, and I have rationalized it because I have been exercising a lot. I could rationalize it even more my saying that those 5 pounds are from the muscle I have gained. On days that I have not felt well, physically or emotionally, I have decided “I NEED” the ice cream. I have allowed my thoughts and feelings to take the driver seat. But the fact is, I am back up 5 pounds and I don’t want to be here, so I have to take control and make a change.

I have done it before, and I can do it again. Here is what has worked for me in the past, and what I am going to put into place again.

  • Remove the temptation: If something is too tempting to resist, remove it from your home and your life.
  • Replace it with a better alternative: Many people are using the smokeless cigarettes to help them quit smoking. Find better snacks to eat. Find exercise that is fun.
  • Be realistic about your time: If you are not a morning person, you are setting yourself up for failure if you plan to get up early to exercise. If you know that evenings are a time when you like a snack, set aside some calories (if you are counting calories) to allow for that snack. When we “WIN” at something it motivates us, so let’s set ourselves up to win!
  • Plan ahead: If I am at a family function: I cannot even look at the dessert table or it is all over. Know what you need to do to succeed in a situation and do not waiver. If I am going to a restaurant, I go on-line to look at their menu. I decide what is going to work for me, and I do not even look at the menu when I get to the restaurant.
  • Find what motivates you and use it to your advantage: I love rewards, so I have set a realistic goal to lose my 5 pounds by the end of August, and will reward myself when I meet my goal.
  • Realize so many of our battles are in our mind: We do have the authority to make right decisions for ourselves. Everything is a choice.

Join me as I change my thoughts from “I NEED” to “I CAN DO THIS!” and let’s get back on track!

Are you willing to take authority of your thoughts and your environment to accomplish the goals that are important to you?

-Coach Jen

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