Provision #630: Chautauqua Credo

Laser Provision

What do you believe about God, humanity, and the nature of the universe? A daunting set of topics to be sure, but this past week at the Chautauqua Institution I heard an interesting lecture on the topic that I thought I would pass along for this week’s Provision. Doing so has helped me to have a great vacation and can help you to think more deeply and broadly about these compelling topics. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

LifeTrek Provision


In the spirit of stress-proofing, I was on vacation this past week at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York State. The focus was on imagination and creativity, giving me a lot of material to work with both as a coach and as a presenter. Dan Pink was especially good, with his presentation on intrinsic motivation. I look forward to reading his upcoming book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

To give myself a true vacation, I was pleased that David Bumbaugh, a professor at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, gave me permission to reprint his reflections on God, Humanity, and the Nature of the Universe. Regardless of your own religious or spiritual orientation, I think you will find David’s thoughts to be insightful and stimulating. Enjoy!

I grew up in a religious tradition in which God was a charter member • the focus of prayers and sermons, the source of all wisdom, the creator of the world, the protector of all who embraced the true faith, the ultimate source of justification and redemption and an endless source of comforting nostalgia. Over time it became clear to me that behind any theoretical statement, God had a clearly functional role within the religious community in which I grew up. By invoking God, people clothed their opinions with unassailable sanctity.

In essence, God became the answer that was essentially unanswerable, the mechanism by which difficult questions were evaded and old habits of thought were allowed to continue unchallenged. As I grew from childhood and adopted a more critical attitude toward the world, and the way religion functioned in that world, the clearer it became to me that God was used as a way papering over the abyss, a way to domesticate the vast mystery of this universe and of our own existence within it.

If people wondered how the world came to be, and why it is as it is, the answer was “God.” If people wondered why suffering existed in the world, the answer was “God.” If people wondered why some were set to rule over others, why some had so much while others had so little, inevitably, the answer was “God.” Over and over again in my experience, God was a mechanism used to stop deep questioning, to repress just anger and to encourage the acceptance of things as they are. Long before I had heard of Karl Marx, I had experienced God as the great opiate.

As I grew in understanding, this response to life began to offend me. I found myself questioning the existence of God, and dropping God-talk from my discourse, not because I ceased to believe but because “God” had become a barrier to faith. I could not permit the mystery, the wonder, the awe, the challenge of the world to be dimmed or dulled by a soporific named God. I could not allow the hunger for justice to be slaked, nor anger at the status quo to be weakened by the distant promise called God.

The absence of God from my universe of discourse, however, does not imply an absence of faith. There is much that I do firmly believe. I believe we are part of a universe that is dynamic and evolving and ever-changing. I believe that there is a directive in the history of that universe, that change is not random but reveals direction. The universe moves from singularity to multiplicity, from simplicity to complexity, from lesser to greater mindfulness, from necessity to choice.

This means that change is the defining characteristic of reality • that nothing ever remains the same, that all of existence is eternally in process, that we and all the world we know are products of that process, that life is lived on the knife-edge of risk and that we and the world we know are, at every moment, being transformed toward outcomes that are rarely clear or obvious.

The evidence of that ceaseless change is to be seen at every level of existence. Consider the world of high energy sub-atomic physics. I am told that this is a world in which existence is often measured in nanoseconds, in which particles spontaneously arise from the void and return to the void, in which emergence and subsidence, birth and decay, coming and going are the invariable order of existence. Consider the world of the virus, existing in liminal space, on the border between animate and inanimate, a space in which changes occur with such rapidity that it takes all our ingenuity to keep up with the threat posed by the influenza virus or the AIDS virus, or the West Nile Virus or even the Flu Virus.

Or, consider the world of the macrocosm. It is clear beyond any question that the universe as a whole is a dynamic place, with stars dying and being born, with galaxies moving rapidly away from one another, with white holes and black holes constantly altering the picture. And, of course, this mesocosm, this middle space wherein we live our lives is forever changing. One need only glance into the mirror, or out the window, or look at a photo album for the evidence that the human world forever changes.

I believe that we are part of a dynamic reality, forever moving from what has been through what is and on to what shall be. If this be true, and I believe it is, then the greatest human folly, the original sin, the unforgivable sin, if such there be, is the human conceit known as conservatism • the persistent effort to prevent change, to keep things as they are, or worse, to return them to some previous state. Such efforts cannot succeed, for they run counter to the very nature of the Universe. Existence does not stand still, nor does it run back.

All that I know of the universe calls me to have faith in the future, to know that even as I let go of the world I have known, a new and different world opens before me, rich with possibilities and challenges, and dangers and opportunities. I trust the process and I believe in the future. Knowing that I cannot both hold on to what has been and reach for what will be, I am eager to engage what is to come.

Even as I believe in a dynamic process of growth and change, I also believe that this is a reflexive universe, that underlying its ceaseless change and dynamic process there are patterns that repeat themselves over and over again, at different levels of magnitude. Chaos theory and fractal geometry reveal a universe in which there are deeply structured patterns, patterns that reveal themselves time and again across many different scales of size.

It is this implicate patterning of reality that allows high energy physics to see in the behavior of sub-atomic particles evidence for the state of the universe itself only a few nanoseconds after it came into being. In this infinitely small world, in the emergence and decay of particles, in their fusion and fission, in the release of energy, the earliest history of the universe, of our emergence can be discovered. The pattern is deep and real and unaffected by the eons of evolutionary change that can be read in the night skies.

Nor is this the only place where the patterning can be read. Several years ago, I found myself stuck in a traffic jam on Route 81 in a rural area of the state of Virginia. Waiting for the traffic to move and wondering why the steady stream of automobiles, which had moved so smoothly for so many miles along the Blue Ridge Mountains, had ground to a sudden halt, I turned on a radio station.

As if in answer to my question, the station was in the midst of a discussion of traffic problems, in which experts were explaining what had happened to me that evening and what happens to millions of others across the continent on any given day, in terms of fluid theory. There is a pattern, they said, in the flow of fluids which, when applied to the movement of automobiles along a highway, helps explain why, for no obvious reason, the traffic will suddenly seize up along a stretch of road. The same process that causes turmoil in the flow of fluids, causes turmoil on interstate highways.

Chaos theory has suggested that there are patterning relationships between such disparate phenomena as the smoke rising from a burning cigarette, the dancing of a candle flame, the dripping of a water faucet, an epileptic seizure, a heart attack, the orbit of a comet through the solar system, the path of the earth around the sun, perhaps the spinning of the galaxies, themselves.

I take a leap of faith and affirm that not only are the patterns real, they demonstrate that the world out there and the world in here is one world, that the distinctions we make between this and that, now and then, here and there are convenient and necessary to our living on this mesocosmic plane, but that beneath all apparent diversity and complexity there is a fundamental unity that cannot be breached or broken or escaped. Beneath the world of the many, which is always and forever changing, is the world of the one, forever improvising, on the basis of persistent patterns. As I trust the process of change forever moving us from what we have been to what we are to be, so I affirm the fundamental oneness of existence in which our being rests.

And, I affirm that in the midst of this world of change and persistence, human beings are the most mysterious creatures I know. We seem to bridge in our existence the worlds of the macrocosm, of the microcosm and of the mesocosm. We — we alone, so far as we know • are able to look back upon the history of the universe and see it as it was a fraction of a second after its birth. We • we alone, so far as we know • are able to speculate upon its possible future course. We • we alone, so far as we know • are able to draw the connections between what was and what will be and see how the lines converge upon and flow out from this middle level of existence, this fleeting moment of time.

We are the universe, contemplating itself and understanding itself, and in modest ways, directing itself. And yet, even as we recognize the unique position we occupy, most of our energy and attention are directed elsewhere, to mere survival. We struggle into birth, we grow and scrabble out a living, we seek to incarnate a vision of justice in our world, we reproduce, we fend off the indignities of illness and age and in the end we die and return to the source whence we came. And through it all, we, who have the ability to understand the history of the universe, seldom understand our own history. I am forever amazed at what we define as important, and the mysteries of our own existence which we so blithely ignore.

I do firmly believe that our lives are purposive and that we are participants in a larger structure of meaning than we know • a structure of meaning that has significance beyond our lives, perhaps universal significance. There is no reason to believe that human beings are not subject to the same reflexive qualities which seem to pervade the rest of the universe. Thus, I find myself intrigued by the existence of mitochondria in the cells of our bodies.

Mitochondria, as I understand them, are small organisms that, eons ago, were engulfed by the walls of aggressive and hungry cells. Refusing to be digested, the mitochondria set up housekeeping there. They have their own DNA, their own genetic history; they have a separate, but symbiotic existence within the tiny confines of the world that is the human cell. There, largely ignored by us, they go about their business; they live, they reproduce, and they die.

And in the process of pursuing their own goals and drives, their own innate imperatives, the mitochondria process all the energy our cells require, all the energy we must have if we are to live. Almost certainly, they have no knowledge of our existence or of the part they play in our lives, just as we usually give no thought to the contribution they make. And yet, as they mindlessly go about their quotidian existence, they make it possible for us to live, to pursue our petty concerns, to explore the macrocosm and the microcosm, to dream our dreams and weave our theories and fulfill whatever function is ours in the larger scheme of things.

If this is a reflexive universe, a universe of change founded on patterns which recur over vast scales • from subatomic to galactic • is it not possible that in the tiny mitochondria there is a metaphor, a whispered message about our own existence? It is not possible that in the pursuit of our mundane affairs, in the effort to tease some meaning out of our experience, we are an essential part of a larger process, a process hidden from us by its very scale and scope?

The meaning of our existence may never be clear to us, but that it has meaning and import I do not doubt. There is meaning in our drive to understand what lies behind the facade of the night sky; there is meaning in our drive to know whence we have come and whither we are tending; there is meaning in our living and in our dying and in our love for one another. That meaning may escape us, for it may be part of a structure as far beyond us in scale as we are beyond the mitochondria, but I do firmly believe that the meaning is there and in our living and in our dying we further processes and causes we cannot not fully fathom.

By the same token, I believe that the process we call mind, is not confined to us or to this planet, but pervades the universe. I cannot prove it and I will not try, but if there is no distinction between in here and out there, and if the universe is reflexive, then knowing and thinking, and awareness are properties of the universe. The dream of justice and the promise of mercy and the hope of love are properties of the universe. In some way I cannot describe, I believe that mind pervades all of existence, that particle and atom, that virus and bacterium, that mitochondrion and human being, that planet and star are, in some sense, aware, attuned, responsive. Our knowing is part of a larger knowing, and plays a role in the knowing that is the universe itself.

I believe that we live our lives in a vast sea of mystery and wonder. There are no final answers to the questions which a richly purposive, deeply patterned, constantly changing universe poses for us. There are provocative hints and suggestions and whisperings, all of which tend toward the conviction that we are part of a reality larger and more amazing and more surprising than we can imagine. It seems a betrayal of our nature and our implicate purpose to close off the questions, to limit the metaphors, to paper over the wonder and the mystery with the answer that answers nothing: God.

And so here I stand. I believe in a universe of constant change and of underlying pattern. I believe in the fundamental unity of all things and all beings, a unity which encompasses all our diversity. I believe in a universe which is pervaded with mindfulness and with meanings and purposes beyond my ability to know or understand.

Therefore, I believe it behooves us all to live gently and with care and consideration for all of existence, and especially for all the myriad children of the earth, for we cannot know the larger implications of our actions or the larger role each being plays in the universal scheme of things. I believe that our lives float upon a vast sea of mystery, and that we navigate that mysterious sea by means of metaphor. I believe in the process by which we are continually transformed in ways we cannot transform ourselves to meet the evolving challenges and opportunities which come our way. This aging, high church humanist will never be comfortable with God, but I do firmly believe in mitochondria.

Coaching Inquiries: What do you believe about how the universe works? Do you see evidence of a directive in life? How would you describe that directive? Where is leading? What part can we play in relation to that directive? How can we best make a contribution to life?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation. To learn more about LifeTrek Coaching programs, Click Here.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


You have done an outstanding job on this series on stress. At a time when I feel the weight of the economy on my retirement, which is in one year, this series has helped me immensely. I always look forward to my Sunday email from you as you are right on target. Thank you for the time and effort you show to help educate us on many levels


I want to add my voice to others who have thanked you for this series on stress. The valuable insights and focus on actions that can be taken have been inspiring and thought provoking. I want to thank you very much for the time and thought that you put into these Provisions; they have made a huge difference in my life.


I was encouraged to learn that former President Jimmy Carter had decided to sever ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after a lifetime in that denomination, because of its position that Eve was responsible for original sin, that wives must be subservient to their husbands, and that women were prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors, or chaplains in the military service. This is indeed an abomination and must be challenged at every opportunity. Bravo to Jimmy Carter for having the courage to speak the truth in love.



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #629: Stress Relievers

Laser Provision

Today we wrap up our series on stress with a summary of the four stress assessments and the nine stress-proofing practices we have reviewed over the past few months. Many readers tell me they love my summaries, because they help to crystallize the learning we have experienced by exploring a topic together. I know I learn a lot from writing them, and I also learn a lot from the replies you send me from week to week. Thanks for that. Want to learn how to stress proof your life in one quick read? Today’s Provision is the one for you.

LifeTrek Provision


I started this Provision series on stress at the beginning of May, 2009. At the time, the US economy was still faltering badly, with great anxiety as to what the future held. The sense of imminent doom, which had been lingering since September of 2008, had begun to pass. But things were still precarious and no one knew when things would start to look up. From equity markets to real estate to manufacturing to employment figures, everything was in flux. No wonder I started a series on stress!

Today, more than three months later, there is talk of improvement and hope is in the air. Whether or not this can be credited to governmental action, including the economic stimuli, one can hear a collective sigh of relief from the talking heads, pens, and tweets of financial pundits around the globe. Although employment figures are always the last to catch up in the wake of a recession, not to mention the governmental deficits, there’s reason to think that the environment is changing for the better. And the environment always wins.

Time will tell, of course, as to whether or not that proves to be true. Improvement is small consolation for those who are currently unemployed, going through foreclosure, or facing bankruptcy. What may be good news for one person is no news or even bad news for another. That’s why stress proofing is ultimately an individual responsibility. No one will do it for us and everyone will face stressful challenges over the course of a lifetime.

So I have spent the last nine weeks writing about nine ways for you to stress proof your life. Before that I gave you four ways to assess just how much stress you may be under. To conclude our series, I want to give you a quick summary.

The stress assessments focused on life events, physical symptoms, annoyances, and worries. The recession has been stressful for people on all ends of the economic spectrum because economic dislocation accounts for more than 16% of the total items on the life events assessment. It’s a big deal. Physical symptoms are even bigger deals, making them, perhaps, the best indicator of how much stress we are under. Simply put, stress kills.

Annoyances and worries represent the emotional side of the equation. The more stressed out we are, the more impatient we get with other people and the more worried we get about ourselves. We worry about those physical symptoms, both real and imagined, plus we worry about our ability to get our needs met. Given how important it is to meet needs, ranging from the most basic to the most transcendent, such worries can drain the energy out of life and magnify the stress we are facing. Simply put, stress is self-reinforcing.

That’s why it’s important for us to be proactive when it comes to stress. One thing is certain: if we sit back and do nothing, stress will get worse. Stress proofing is about doing what we can do to make things better. Our actions may not get rid of stress altogether, but that doesn’t mean we are hopeless and helpless. Every little bit counts when it comes to stress, and the following nine practices are some of the best ones I know.

    1. Stress Proof Your Mindset.
    2. Stress activates the more primitive parts of our brains, including the Reptilian Complex and the Limbic System. That’s why our mindsets get so reactive, emotional, and judgmental. To calm things down, we have to engage the Cerebral Cortex. What is really happening? What are we feeling? What do we need? What do we want? The more engaged we become with such questions the more we activate heart energy. The point is not to analyze the problem (that can make things worse); the point is to appreciate the situation in ways that make things better. By shifting our focus to a positive view, and by avoiding catastrophic conclusions, new possibilities emerge.

    1. Stress Proof Your Self Talk.
    2. What do we say when we talk to ourselves? If our messages are filled with judgmental, critical, demanding, and self-deprecating remarks, then we’re piling stress upon stress. So how can we shift what we say when we talk to ourselves? Try this: instead of saying, “I’m so stupid,” reframe that by saying, “I’m telling myself that I’m so stupid.” Instead of saying, “Stop being so nervous,” reframe that by saying, “I’m telling myself that I should stop being so nervous.” By reframing negative self-talk in these ways, we break the pattern and become more able to chart a different course. By receiving our inner messages as gifts, instead of as pests, we come into a new and more choice-full relationship with our feelings.

    1. Stress Proof Your Routines.
    2. Tell me your daily routines and I will tell you your future. To stress-proof our lives we not only need to do inner work, such as stress proofing our mindsets and self talk, we also need to do outer work • starting with our daily routines. Successful people have successful routines, patterns of behavior that we don’t have to think about, that we enjoy, and that support our values and goals in life. The more we get ourselves into positive rhythms, not boring ruts but invigorating routines, the better we will handle the stressful challenges of life and work.

    1. Stress Proof Your Wellness.
    2. Wellness is a function of our routines. It’s not an accident; it’s rather the cumulative appreciation of positive, lifelong habits. Brush your teeth every day, for example, or even better multiple times a day, and you increase your chances of good health. That’s the way wellness routines work. By paying attention to our nutrition, fitness, and goodness routines, people stave off the ravages of disease and aging. My own recommendations are based on evolutionary science: the best ways to eat, drink, exercise, and live are the ways that human beings have adapted to the longest. All this is summarized in the LifeTrek

Optimal Wellness Prototype

      . They include an abundance of whole foods, found in nature, and a minimum of processed foods, developed through industry and agriculture.
    1. Stress Proof Your Money.
    2. Wealth is also a function of our routines. Although some people are born into wealth, most people come into it • if they come into it at all • the old fashioned way: they earn it. They earn it by controlling the expense side of the equation and optimizing the income side. Sounds great, right? What separates those who make it work from those who don’t is the cumulative appreciation of positive, lifelong habits. Little things add up over time; unfortunately, most people don’t develop such routines early enough in life to take advantage of time. And the further behind we get, the harder it is to catch up. That’s when stress really takes over. So in addition to developing new routines, people can stress proof their money by letting go of what they can’t control, expressing gratitude for what they can control, and becoming satisfied with what they have along the way. There’s nothing better than a satisfied mind.

    1. Stress Proof Your Relationships.
    2. Although he may have questioned his neighbor’s wisdom, Robert Frost is perhaps most famous for that twice-repeated line in the poem

Mending Wall

      , “Good fences make good neighbors.” That line expresses what Caroline Westerhoff describes as the “irresolvable tension between boundary and hospitality.” It also expresses the challenge of stress proofing our relationships. Err on one side or the other, too much boundary or too much hospitality, and we end up in trouble. Strike the right balance, and we end up with vital relationships in life and work. How can we tell if the balance is right? Notice whether or not and to what degree we are playing the blame game. When the balance is off, we tend to blame others or ourselves for our negative feelings. When the balance is on, we celebrate the beauty of the need and appreciate the possibility of the moment.
    1. Stress Proof Your Love.
    2. Our significant others represent a special relationship with a special ability to either drive us crazy or make us happy. There’s that fine line again, only now the stakes are higher. Domestic violence can result when these relationships are stressed to the limit, and the statistics are alarming. So what’s a couple to do? Court each other daily. Put service above self. Share each other’s interests. Never be jealous. Pitch in. Keep laughing. Trust life to work out. Give each other the benefit of the doubt. Know what’s important to you. Communicate your boundaries. Through such active engagement in making your love work, stress goes down and joy goes up in the most important relationships of our lives.

    1. Stress Proof Your Environments.
    2. In the contest between intentions and environments, environments always win. They are that powerful. All the good intentions and all the will power in the world are not strong enough to overcome poorly designed environments. They are that important. That’s why coaches work so diligently with clients to design better environments. We want systems, surroundings, networks, procedures, equipment, materials, and locations • to mention only seven of the most common culprits • to fully support client intentions and goals. When that happens, and when that happens with set-it-and-forget-it automation, stress goes out of the equation altogether. Things are no longer hard and effortful. Things are rather easy and effortless, because our environments are working for us rather than against us.

    1. Stress Proof Your Spirit.
    2. There’s one more thing that can really add stress to life and work: being disconnected from our passion and out of integrity with our values. Those things touch the deep places of our soul, the inner being, and we have to tend to them if we hope to eliminate the interference that stress represents. One way to do that is to focus on the contribution we want to make to planet earth. Another way to do that is to focus on the needs we want to meet at this moment in time. Universal needs are just core values by another name. The more mindful and focused we become on that which is life-affirming, life-giving, and life-building, the happier we will be and the less stress we will feel.

 

I hope that summary is helpful in wrapping up this series of Provisions. There’s no way to happily endure high levels of stress. In fact, high levels of stress take such a toll that life itself eventually grinds to a halt under their weight. And then what good will we be? So don’t let that happen to you. Pay attention to the things that make for life, set yourself free, and dance.

Coaching Inquiries: How would you describe your levels of stress right now? What things are more stressful? What things are less stressful? Which stress-proofing practices would you like to experiment with and bring into being? How would that happen? Who might be willing to join you on the journey?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation. To learn more about LifeTrek Coaching programs, Click Here.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


I absolutely loved your last Provision, Stress Proof Your Spirit. Have you been “reading my mail”? I love when I read such inspired words at the exact time when I need them. I remember defining my core values when I worked with Erika and it was life changing! Thank you for taking me even deeper into an understanding of my values and how they are one with my spirit. 


I just want to thank you for your Provisions newsletter that I receive….I always enjoy reading it…and am reminded about living according to my values and my spirit. I look forward to your wise words every Sunday!!


Great Provision! Thanks.


I am so enjoying the stress series.


Could you tell me if there are lectins in berries, celery, nuts, flaxseeds, eggs, and cheese made from raw milk? Thank you! (Ed. Note: I think you’re pretty safe with those foods, although dairy products (of all kinds) are not native to the human diet (they were introduced about 7,000 years ago with the domestication of animals). The primary sources of dietary lectins are legumes and cereal grains.) 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #628: Stress Proof Your Spirit

Laser Provision

How do we stress proof our life? By paying attention to the spirit within. That which animates our thoughts, feelings, and actions brings us joy as long as it is fully-expressed and life-affirming. Put that under a bushel, hide or constrain it in day to day living, and our spirit lacks passion. Twist it with negative, life-denying energy and our spirit lacks integrity. Both alternatives are stressful. If you are not fully expressing your values, and if your contribution is not building up yourself and others, then this Provision may motivate you to make some changes. Read on to find out how.

LifeTrek Provision


We’re almost to the end of our series on stress. It would not be complete, however, without paying attention to the spirit. We have already focused on stress proofing our bodies, minds, feelings, routines, relationships, and environments. So what’s left, you might ask? Try values.

The English word “spirit” comes from the Latin word spiritus, meaning “breath”. As such, it translates the Greek word pneuma and the Hebrew word ruah. In all three cases, spirit makes clear the connection between life and death. When breath leaves the body, the body is dead. When breath animates the body, the body is vibrant or at least has the potential to become vibrant. The ties between spirit and vitality come through in the following dictionary entries for spirit:

  • the vital principle or animating force within living beings
  • an attitude or principle that inspires, animates, or pervades thought, feeling, or action
  • the soul or heart as the seat of feelings or sentiments, or as prompting to action
  • excellent disposition or attitude in terms of vigor, courage, firmness of intent
  • the dominant tendency or character of anything
  • the essence or active principle of a substance
  • the divine influence as an agency working in the human heart

Now I don’t know about you, but when I read those definitions of “spirit” the word “values” connects with every single one. What we value most fills us with energy, guides our thoughts, animates our feelings, prompts us to action, quickens our resolve, defines our identity, distils our essence, and influences our heart. Our values cannot be separated from who we are, how we feel, and what we do. They represent our way of being in the world, determine our contribution, and constitute our worth. Our core “values” and our life-giving “spirit” are one.

That’s why our sense of well being gets so stressed out and disrupted when our values are compromised or unable to be expressed. If there was ever a time to protect our boundaries and / or to redesign our environments, that time is when our life-giving spirit • our core values • is getting squashed. There’s no way to happily endure such trouble.

The process begins, then, by getting clear as to just what our values are. Many people either don’t know or have only a fuzzy idea as to their true priorities. That, alone, is stressful. It leads to a sense of disorientation and a lack of passion. If we don’t know what’s important to us, then we don’t know how to live. We become what Tibetan Buddhists describe as “hungry ghosts,” since we futilely attempt to find fulfillment outside ourselves in the physical world. We lack inspiration.

But the physical world cannot fill the spirit of a hungry ghost. Nothing can. When we don’t know our values we don’t know what we’re looking for; and when we don’t know what we’re looking for we don’t know when to stop looking. So we flail around, hoping that sooner or later we will figure out what we want to do when we grow up. But we never figure it out and we never grow up and we never fill the void in our soul.

That’s a recipe for big-time stress. It may keep coaches in business, as we assist people to sort things out for themselves, but that is not what we hope for in our clients and not what we seek to model in our own lives. We seek to know and to live our values; we seek to be filled with spirit.

One way to sort that out is by looking at what Lance Secretan calls “Terrathreats”. These are the big-time bad things that we worry about most when it comes to planet earth (terra firma). There’s no shortage to pick from: violence, poverty, climate change, oppression, illiteracy, disease, and nuclear weapons come immediately to mind. So do the so-called “seven deadly sins”: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. However we describe them, the things we worry about most are connected to our values and the vibrancy of our spirit.

We heard about that kind of passion on the farm tour at the annual picnic of our CSA. Our CSA farmers, Charlie and Miriam, are highly educated people who once had professional office jobs. But some twenty years ago they began to make a transition back to the land. Why? Because the work connects deeply with their values. “You’ve got to love this work,” Charlie points out, “to stay with it over time. It’s not enough to enjoy it. You’ve got to love it. You’ve got to be passionate about it. You’ve got to believe in it. The work has to feed your soul.”

Another way to sort out our values is to look at The Wheel of Needs. That’s because true needs, unlike strategies, are themselves values. The ones that make us smile, that fill us with yearning and hope, are the ones that shape and animate our spirit. Like primary colors, they combine and blend to create all of life. Here are the 5 pairs of 10 needs identified on the wheel:

  • Subsistence • Transcendence
  • Safety • Challenge
  • Work • Rest
  • Community • Autonomy
  • Honesty • Empathy

Which needs are most alive for you? Where does your energy lie? How does your spirit dance when you work and when you rest? When you play it safe and when you challenge your limits? When you connect with others and when you march to your own drummer? When you share from the heart and when you seek to understand the hearts of others? Once your answers to those questions are clear, you’re ready for the second part of stress-proofing your spirit: expressing your values in life and work. Farms are not the only way to express our values and feed our spirits.

I was struck by a story in The Washington Post this past week about a 21-year-old Quaker man who is suing the Selective Service System (SSS) of the U.S. government to recognize his right to register for the draft as a conscientious objector. Although the United States has an all-volunteer army, the SSS still collects information from men ages 18-25 in case Congress reinstates conscription into the armed forces. The SSS does not, however, provide a way for men to register as conscientious objectors (they view that as a draft board function).

Regardless of how you view this man’s position on war and his participation in war, one thing is certain: he views the lawsuit as an expression of his values. And he anchors those values in a spiritual tradition known for its pacifism since the 17th century. That’s the way values work. They provoke action and influence destiny. They may not always risk an encounter with the law (in this case, the man could face civil or criminal penalties for failing to fill out his Selective Service forms) but they do always represent a close encounter with our best selves.

That’s what it means to stress proof our spirit: be true to that which gives life. Notice that I did not say, “be true to ourselves.” That rather trite expression is open to great misinterpretation. In the name of being true to themselves, all manner of evil has been done by people throughout the ages. If our values are life-denying, then being true to ourselves will also be life-denying. But that is not the way to stress proof our spirit. If stress proofing means anything at all, it means to be life-giving. At their best, values, like spirit, build people up rather than tear people down.

Earlier in the week I posted a Tweet (@LifeTrekBob) to get some feedback on what people do to stress proof their spirits. I received two replies. One person mentioned mindfulness and the other mentioned meditation. Why do you think those practices stress proof our spirits? Because they connect us with our values • those life-giving grounds of being that call us forth and keep us going from day to day and age to age.

It takes work to stay connected to our values. There is much in life to distract and trouble us. Why bother to be life-affirming, life-giving, and life-building when so much of life is life-denying, life-draining, and life-destroying? Mindfulness and meditation help to answer that question. They remind us of our true nature and calling. They keep us connected to the source of life itself so that we can keep contributing to the flow of life eternal.

Whatever your contribution may be, pursue it with passion and joy. Those are the hallmarks of a living spirit. Those are the values of a living being. And those are the ways of life.

Coaching Inquiries: What fills you with passion and joy? What makes your heart sing? How can you more fully connect with and contribute to life? What patterns would help you to be more mindful and focused? Who could you talk with to animate your engagement with life?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation. To learn more about LifeTrek Coaching programs, Click Here.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


Thanks for another great Provision. Your suggestions on how to respond to toxic environments affirmed that I was correct in moving up my retirement date!! Have a blessed week.


Thanks for the great work you are doing. While I appreciate your profound point re: toxic environments, your example of your computers and your apparent embrace of planned obsolescence and its horrible impact on the environment is a troubling shadow side I’d appreciate your exploring in the future • along with the class implications.


I just wanted to quickly bring up a couple points I’d like you to address about your environments article. 

1. I know we spend too much time messing around with half broken things – computers, dishwashers, etc. But just dropping them and buying new is so wasteful. Couldn’t you suggest calling a repair person in a timely manner? They can fix computers and all of the ridiculous technology we need to get our real work done. If the professional can’t fix it, then it’s broken and you need a new one.

2. Dropping people who aren’t supporting us can be such a slippery slope. Shouldn’t we be finding out how to support ourselves? The people around us will always be working in their own time frames and with their own agendas, aren’t we working to recognize those and respect them – and at the same time Teaching the people around us to recognize what they need to respect about us? Yes, there are toxic environments, and people definitely need coaching about removing themselves from those and in a timely manner, but your Provision is about doing that quickly. I feel that acting too quickly is the problem with many relationships.

Thanks for listening! I love your weekly thoughts and look forward to reading more.


You probably have seen this before. I thought of you when reading it: 

“A lecturer when explaining stress management to an audience, Raised a glass of water and asked; ‘How heavy is this glass of water?’ Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g. 

The lecturer replied, ‘The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.’

He continued, ‘And that’s the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, As the burden becomes increasingly heavy, We won’t be able to carry on.’ So whatever burdens you’re carrying now, Let them down for a moment if you can and don’t pick them up again until after you’ve rested a while.”


I really like your environments Provision. I printed off egg white protein to order some. 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #627: Stress Proof Your Environments

Laser Provision

Although we haven’t always named them as such, we’ve been talking about environments for the past several weeks. The relationships in our lives represent one environment. The finances represent another. Today we address the topic more fully, paying attention to a variety of physical, natural, and systemic environments. It’s important to make sure our environments support, inspire, and enable us to be the best we can possibly be. Why? Because “environments always win.” There’s no way to go it alone. There’s also no way to buck our environments forever. They have a way of wearing us down. So don’t let that happen. Read this Provision to design winning environments.

LifeTrek Provision


I have been associated with a number of coach training programs, either as a student or as a faculty member or both. No program emphasizes environmental design coaching more thanCoachVille. To quote the president, Dave Buck, who is himself building on the work of the late Thomas Leonard, one of the founders of the modern coaching movement: “Environmental design is essential to masterful coaching because the environment always wins!”

I agree wholeheartedly. All the will power in the world is not powerful enough to overcome environments that distract, tempt, undermine, antagonize, deprive, drain energy, and otherwise pollute our intentions. If you have been trying unsuccessfully to get something done, then perhaps the problem is not with your mindset or with your goal. Perhaps the problem is with your environments. If so, then stress proofing your life takes on a whole new dimension. Until we successfully stress proof our environments, no real success is possible.

So what is the concept of environmental design coaching? We take our lead from Winston Churchill: “We shape our environments and they, in turn, shape us.” There is always a dynamic interaction between ourselves and our environments. They become a reflection of who we are and they influence who we become. The former process is slow and evolutionary while the latter process is fast and revolutionary.

Here’s how that works: when we put ourselves into a new environment, change comes fast and furious. Anyone who has ever moved from one home to another knows what I mean. Old locations, routines, habits, accounts, numbers, roads, appliances, furniture, and friends quickly • even instantaneously • give way to new ones. I remember moving from Columbus, Ohio to Williamsburg, Virginia in 2002. Overnight I went from a sub-urban to a small-town environment, from overlooking an alley to overlooking a lake, from belonging to a variety of clubs and associations to belonging to nothing. It was all new, and I quickly had to adapt.

At the same time as I was adapting to my new environments, however, I had the opportunity to make some environmental modifications of my own. Take something as simple as setting up my new office. What furniture did I want? How did I want to set up my computer systems? My filing systems? My communication systems? My banking relationships? These things took time, and the decisions I made were critical to my long-term success. They were either going to make things easier or harder, so I sought to make things easier.

But that took time. I remember working for months on an improvised table and a folding chair as I waited for my office furniture to arrive. I remember spending weeks with contractors and my own ingenuity to retrofit my home offices with the requisite cabling and connections. I also remember spending years trying to get those systems right. What seemed like a perfect, low-cost, all-in-one option for Internet, phone, and television proved to be unreliable with no redundancy or backup for business purposes. So that environment had to be modified in order to support the work I wanted to do.

Unfortunately, too many people put up with lousy environments for way too long. I have learned to shorten that timeframe considerably. If an environment is not working out, I no longer tolerate that for very long before making a change. That has not always been my practice. In fact, I have often prided myself on being able to fix environments so they are good enough to keep me going for another six months or another year. I love to tinker, but I fail to account for the time and energy that tinkering takes.

I have experienced that first hand in the past year. Both my desktop and my laptop computers started to have problems, as I have previously reported in Provisions, and I kept struggling to make them work. I have no idea how many hours I spent on that over the course of 6-12 months, but it was substantial. It was also stressful. I never knew when things were going to crash so I developed elaborate redundancy routines to guarantee no loss of data.

The fact that I was successful at that no longer brings me much pride or joy. Having purchased and set up two new computers, I have now gone 6 months without a single significant glitch. My creativity and productivity has been channeled into my writing, as well as other important tasks, which is exactly where I want them. The fact that I know a lot about fixing computer systems does not mean that my calling can be expressed through desktop support. On the contrary, the more time I spend distracted by such things, the less time I devote to the things that are really important to me.

So what’s the solution? Getting new computers on a regular schedule rather than waiting until they go on the fritz. The latter is a formula for environmental toxicity; the former is a formula for environmental vitality. When my computers are working well, lots of things are working well. When my computers are down, lots of things are down. And I want things to work well. I have fewer frustrations, distractions, diversions, and sink holes of time, energy, and focus. Instead, I have the freedom and the joy to do the things I love with reckless abandon. That’s the key to success in any field, and it all depends upon environmental design.

I pay attention to these things when I work with coaching clients. On the one hand, I like to ask whether they would like to move to a new environment in order to trigger rapid changes and adaptations. People often protest, “Oh, I can’t do that!” But upon further review it becomes clear that they are really saying, “Oh, I don’t want to do that.” We are always at choice when it comes to the environments we hang out in. If we feel stuck, then we are probably feeling scared by the prospect of change. No one is ever stuck. That’s a judgment call that reflects our thinking in the moment. We can, however, be scared, angry, frustrated, confused, uncertain, or otherwise upset by what is happening in our environments. Those feelings are real and I view them as gifts.

Why do I view negative feelings as gifts? Because they tell us that something is not working with our environments. Something is out of alignment. Some needs are not being met. The problem is not out there, in the sense of someone or something to blame. The problem is one of fit between who we are, what we need, and our environments. When the shoes don’t fit, it’s time to change the shoes. What parents, apart from those living in poverty, say to their children, “Tough. The shoes may be too small, but wear them any way.” Parents know, as do coaches, that it’s easier to change the shoes than the feet.

Such changes can be as easy as joining a new group or getting a new job. If we do not feel good associating and working with the people we associate and work with, then associate and work with different people. I know that sounds simplistic, but it can really be that simple. More than one person has reported on the transformational effect of changing their relationships. Stop going to the bar and start going to church is, perhaps, a classic example. But it can be multiplied across platforms. We truly do become like the people we surround ourselves with. Environments always win, so pick your environments well.

On the other hand, I also like to ask whether they would like to change their existing environments in order to initiate slow but steady improvements. Here, too, people may protest that they can’t do something when the problem is really that they don’t want to. Taking something as simple as changing the foods that are in our home environments. People come up with all kinds of excuses as to why they keep foods they don’t want to eat in the house. Someone else wants those foods. They’re nice for special occasions. They’re not bad in moderation. So we keep buying junk food and we keep wondering why we’re not eating the way we want to eat.

Environments always win! If we know the foods we want to eat, then those are the foods we want in our environments. If we know that we don’t want to smoke tobacco, then we don’t want tobacco in our environments. Not even in limited quantities and secret places. When we design clean environments, then it becomes easy to realize our intentions. Of course this takes clarity (as to what we want) and work (to design our environments accordingly), but it is doable. It is always doable. Modifying some environments is more challenging than others, but it is never impossible. Some things just take a little a longer.

The key is to stop tolerating dysfunctional, toxic environments. That is a formula for disaster, burnout, and stress. When something isn’t working, when you’re not getting the support you need, when you have one distraction after another, when you’re not enjoying the work you are doing, when you’re not able to do what you want to do, then the problem is probably not with you. The problem is with the interface between you and your environments.

Pay attention to the interface. Change the environments you can change, leave the environments you can’t change, and get a coach to help you figure out which is which. Putting this off only makes things worse. Jumping on it quickly can enable you to more effortlessly, consistently, and enjoyably become the kind of person you want to become.

Coaching Inquiries: How are your environments working for you? Are the holding you back or moving you forward? Are they making things easier or harder? Do they support or frustrate your intentions? What environments can you change? What environments can you leave? How can you muster the patience, the courage, and the wisdom to make it so?
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To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation. To learn more about LifeTrek Coaching programs, Click Here.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


Great to be in touch after all these years. I look forward to your Provisions, even if I do not respond. I have seen the options you have on your web site too. I am very pleased that this new “ministry” has really taken off for you. You are the enterprise minister in getting things going, not the captain of a mainline cruise ship. I admire your creativity and wisdom. Way to go! 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #626: Stress Proof Your Love

Laser Provision

Last week I wrote about how to stress proof our relationships in the workplace; this week, I focus on the home. What does your home look like? How would you describe the atmosphere? What is the quality of the relationship between partners, spouses, and generations? If that relationship is a bit stressed right now, then this Provision may serve as a road map to get back on track. It doesn’t help to assign blame and erect fences, unless you want the relationship to end sooner rather than later. It does help to give each other the benefit of the doubt, to talk openly, and to help each other out as much as possible. That’s what it takes to stress proof your love.

LifeTrek Provision


Consider the following statistics, available through the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence:

  • Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.
  • Intimate partner violence made up 20% of all nonfatal violent crime experienced by women and 3% experienced by men in 2001.
  • In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men in intimate, heterosexual relationships were killed by their partner.
  • In recent years, intimate partners killed approximately 33% of female murder victims and 4% of male murder victims.
  • 11% of lesbians reported violence by their female partner and 15% of gay men who had lived with a male partner reported being victimized by a male partner.
  • Between 1998 and 2002, of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.
  • It is estimated that anywhere between 3.3 million and 10 million children witness domestic violence annually.
  • 18-24 year-olds comprised only 11.7% of the population in 1998 and 2002, but were the majority of victims of violence committed by a boyfriend or girlfriend (42%).
  • In 1996, nearly 450,000 adults aged 60 and over were abused and/or neglected in domestic settings.
  • 1,006,970 women and 370,990 men are stalked annually in the United States. The average duration of stalking is 1.8 years. If stalking involves intimate partners, the average duration of stalking increases to 2.2 years.

That’s only a sampling of the sad statistics available at the ABA website. Unfortunately, our most intimate relationships are neither immune to nor antidotes for our stressful lifestyles. They suffer right along with everything else. If we want to stress-proof our lives, then we may want to start at home. And that’s the focus of today’s Provision: those special, intimate, family relationships that count for so much in life yet have so much potential to distract and derail even the rich and famous.

Who has not heard of the escapades of powerful people brought low by some love interest? Such is the stuff of story, myth, and legend. “The heart has reasons that reason does not know,” to quote Blaise Pascal. Love, a universal human need, can make life easier and more wonderful when the need is being fully met. Yet nothing makes life harder and more miserable when our attempts to meet this need result in sustained conflict or violence. That’s when it’s time to stress-proof the dynamics of our relationships.

You may remember my discussion of how to do that from four years back, when I published the remarks I made at my son’s and daughter-in-law’s wedding in a Provision on Relationship Wisdom. I offered them eight suggestions that grew out of my own rich experience of meeting my needs for love through my 35-year-long relationship to the most wonderful woman in the world: Megan Tschannen-Moran. Although my suggestions were not framed at the time in terms of stress-proofing, they have a lot to offer in that regard. Here’s a quick recap:

1. Court Each Other Daily. What works during the courtship phase of a relationship works even better during the maintenance phase of a relationship. Never stop doing nice things for each others. A long-term commitment or marriage license is no excuse to use and abuse each other; it’s rather an opportunity to do special things for each other, on a daily basis. When we open ourselves up to the possibility, the things we do bring each other even more pleasure as the years go by, because we know exactly what each other likes. Be sure to make it so.

2. Put Service Above Self. The best relationships have interests outside themselves. When Megan and I got married, we had a strong sense of being called together because we thought our marriage would enable us to do more good in the world than either of us could alone. We also understood that we had to take that same approach with each other if we had any hope of making our youthful marriage endure. And it has worked out just that way. The more time and attention we give to helping others, the more willing and able we become to help each other.

3. Share Each Other’s Interests. For the past year, Megan and I have been writing a book together on how to improve coaching in schools. At times, when we have mentioned that fact to others, they have responded with concern. “Have you ever written together before? That can be hard on a relationship!” Our experience has been just the opposite. Since the beginning of our relationship we have shared each other’s interest and have helped each other out on in both our personal and professional lives. That definitely makes things less stressful.

4. Never Be Jealous. Remember all those reports of domestic violence? At their core, they all come down to confusion over needs and strategies. We get attached to a strategy, a specific way of meeting our needs, and when that way doesn’t work out our attachment wreaks havoc with our emotions and our relationships. As Megan and I were told more than 30 years ago by a dear couple who had themselves been married for more than 60 years, “Never be jealous of each other.” Celebrate each other’s freedom. Seek first to meet each other’s needs.

5. Fight Fair. As much as we understand about needs and strategies, there are still times when Megan and I have a conflict over when to do what. That’s an inevitable part of life. The goal is not to eliminate conflict, the goal is to resolve conflicts through honest and empathic communication. What do I need and want? What does my partner need and want? How can we put those two things together in mutually supportive ways? When conflicts are approached with calm resolve and appreciative intentions, they strengthen rather than destroy relationships.

6. Pitch In. We also strengthen our relationships when we help each other out. It’s that simple. Don’t sit there and do nothing while the other person carries more than his or her fair share of the load. Instead, step up to the plate. Do your part. What goes around comes around; the more you give the more you receive. That’s the way relationships are supposed to work. Whatever challenges you may face, in any arena, the task will be easier if you work on it together.

7. Keep Laughing. No relationship can long endure a lack of joy and laughter. If it isn’t fun, it won’t last. I work on that in coaching, since people cannot force themselves to practice new behaviors forever. Sooner or later, they have to become enjoyable if they’re going to endure. So whatever makes you laugh and brings you pleasure, do those things early and often. Then find new things. Experiment. Keep life interesting and spontaneous. Laugh together, not at each other but with each other, to keep from becoming cranks.

8. Trust Life to Work Out. However you wrap your brain around this last dimension, whether you attribute providence to intelligent design or evolutionary development, there’s no way to keep a relationship going on pins and needles. The more anxiety we feel about life the more antagonism we feel at home. That’s why domestic crime statistics go up as the economy goes down. Losing financial stability increases relational hostility. So trust becomes a factor in stress-proofing our lives. Without hope that things will work out, one way or another, our love is at risk. Trust, hope, and love are always interconnected, and the greatest of these is love.

Last week I gave you three handles for stress-proofing your relationships at work. Watch your attributions: don’t play the blame game. Set your standards: know what’s important to you and why. Communicate your boundaries: Share your standards and expectations with others, before things start to go awry. I hope you can see those handles coming through in my relationship wisdom. If attributions, standards, and boundaries are important in the workplace, they are even more important at home.

The blame game is a killer when it comes to love and commitment. We want to know that the ones we love give us the benefit of the doubt and have our back. We also want to know that they share our values and respect our space. The best way to get those things is to give those things. The more we make such healthy dynamics our way of being in the world, and our way of being with the ones we love, the more freedom from stress we will enjoy.

Coaching Inquiries: On a scale of 0-10, how much stress would you say is in your primary love relationships? What would it take to bring that number down? How many of the above suggestions describe your way of being in the world? Which ones would you like to adopt and do more fully? Who could assist you to make it so?
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To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation. To learn more about LifeTrek Coaching programs, Click Here.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


I enjoy your Provisions. Thanks for teaching me about my reptilian, limbic, and rational brains. Makes a lot of sense!


I noticed on your Twitter feed that you were switching over to the Palm Pre. Keep us posted on how you like it. I’m considering. (Ed. Note: So far so good. Still working on extending battery life and adding apps. It is cool and compact.)


Do you know which service or program can be replaced with AvantGo, since you mentioned that AvantGo will be out of business very soon because of devices getting more and more popular having mobile access to the web? (Ed. Note: AvantGo is now officially closed. I do not know of another service like it. If you have a web-enabled mobile device, however, you can access our mobile content by going to www.LifeTrekMobile.com)



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #625: Stress Proof Your Relationships

Laser Provision

There’s no end to the relationships in our lives; from the cradle to the grave we are bound together with others. Those relationships can either make life more wonderful or more miserable. At times they do a little of both. How do your relationships look right now? This Provision describes and makes some recommendations regarding our professional and work relationships. Next week, we will approach our personal and romantic relationships. The same principles apply to both, so what we learn this week serves as a foundation for next week. Read on to start making your life more wonderful today.

LifeTrek Provision


What things do you tend to get stressed out about? If you’re anything like most people, we covered two of the top three in the past two weeks: health and money. When those things are not going well, stress tends to mount up quickly. That’s why it behooves us to get those two things under control, and to keep them under control. When we fail to do that, stress is sure to follow.

If you’re rolling your eyes right now, wondering how in the world you can do that when you suffer from a chronic health condition or when your finances went kaput with the recession, then I would encourage you to read those Provisions again. Everything is relative to the perspective we take. When optimal physical and/or financial well being is not within our reach, due to circumstances beyond our control, it is still possible to reduce our stress by controlling the things we can control.

How many times have you heard or read about someone who has done just that? Life throws them a curve ball and they make lemonade out of lemons. They decide to control the things they can control, and that makes all the difference. Instead of being helpless they become helpful, both to themselves and to others. They set an example not necessarily because what they do is heroic or remarkable (those stories make the nightly news) but because what they do is worthy and important to them. By refusing to play to the victim they overcome the vicissitudes of life. My last two Provisions can help you do that, regardless of where you are starting from.

Of course ideally we start down the path of physical and financial well being long before we end up disabled or broke. That’s the way those Provisions work best: as preventive medicine. They can assist you to get back on track, if that’s where you’re at, but they work even better when we stress-proof our routines before things break down. So don’t wait for that to happen. If you still have your health, and you still have your money, don’t suffer from the illusion of invincibility. That’s an adolescent framework that stress-proofing replaces. Instead, benefit from the intention of productivity. That’s a generative framework that stress-proofing encourages.

This week and next we turn to the third area about which people experience the most amount of stress: relationships. Spouses, partners, children, parents, sisters, brothers, relatives, friends, colleagues, associates, co-workers, bosses, subordinates, teachers, students, customers, vendors, confidants, counselors, and coaches • there’s no end to the relationships in our lives and they all have the ability to make life both wonderful and miserable. When relationships work, it’s a wonderful thing. When they don’t work, stress can shoot through the roof. This Provision will assist you to avoid that at work.

Consider the following list of the Top 10 Causes of Workplace Stress according to the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health. In late-night television form, we present them in reverse order:

10. Overload / Underload
9.   Random interruptions
8.   Pervasive uncertainty
7.   Mistrust, unfairness & office politics
6.   Unclear policies & no sense of direction
5.   Career & job ambiguity
4.   No feedback • good or bad
3.   No appreciation
2.   Lack of communications
1.   Lack of control

Now ask yourself: how many of those causes of workplace stress have to do with other people. Where does that load come from? Sometimes from within, but also from others (and almost always with others). What interrupts us? What makes things uncertain? Mistrust, office politics, no feedback, no appreciation, lack of communications • those explicitly involve other people. And where does our lack of direction, job ambiguity, or lack of control come from? Relationships! At their core, all of the Top 10 Causes of Workplace Stress have to do with other people.

Learning how to stress-proof those relationships can be seen, then, as ranking near the top of all our stress-proofing requirements. To that end, I would encourage you to pay attention to your attributions, standards, and boundaries.

Attributions. Attributions have to do with cause and effect. What causes you to feel the way you feel, to work the way you work, to trust the way you trust, to take things the way you take things, to hear what you hear, to understand what you understand, to say what you say, and to relate the way you relate? Flip Wilson, an American comedian and actor once designated by Time magazine as “TV’s first black superstar”, was famous for answering that question this way: “the devil made me do it”. It was a great way to attribute causation to an outside force.

Most of us are not so flip (pardon the pun) but we do find ways to attribute causation to people and things beyond ourselves. My boss is a jerk! My sister is nuts! My computer has a virus! My teacher is demanding! My employee is lazy! My lawyer screwed up! My coach steered me wrong! There’s no end to the ways we like to blame others and other things for our negative feelings and experiences.

Yet the blame game, to quote Marshall Rosenberg, is always a “tragic expression of unmet needs”. It’s tragic because it makes it less rather than more likely that our needs will actually be met. It’s also tragic because it distracts us from what our needs really are. We end up focused on the strategies that are or are not working for us, rather than on the universal, life-giving needs that those strategies are seeking to meet. By focusing on needs we can stop playing the blame game and start playing the no-fault game. We open up new zones of possibility for making life more wonderful.

Standards & Boundaries. What’s the difference between a standard and a boundary? I often work on this with my clients. Simply put: standards are things we hold ourselves to while boundaries are things we hold others to. Example: If we do not use illegal substances on principle, then that’s a standard. If we do not allow others to use illegal substances in our homes, then that’s a boundary.

Unfortunately, most people are unclear about their standards and boundaries until it’s too late. They do something they later regret. Oops! A standard has been violated. They put up with something until they explode. Oops! A boundary has been violated. In the absence of clear standards and boundaries, our lives and relationships become very stressful indeed.

So the first step when it comes to stress-proofing our relationships is to get clear, very clear, about the things that make life more wonderful for us. The second step is to avoid blaming other people and things when life is less than wonderful for us (see Attributions above). The third step is to communicate our standards and boundaries to other people before they ever get violated in the first place. That lowers our stress levels immensely.

The four-step process that I learn in Coach U for communicating boundaries is: inform, request, insist, leave. It’s kind of the three-strikes-your-out principle. Before your boundaries ever get violated in the first place, you inform people as to what they are and it’s no big deal. It’s more of a helpful and interesting conversation “Why is that important to you? Wow! That’s important to me too (or not). Let’s work together to make sure we all get our needs met.”

It gets trickier after violations occur, but the sooner we voice our request that they stop the easier and the more productive the conversation will be. By the time we get to insisting, things have usually deteriorated significantly and it usually works better to leave that situation if not the relationship, so that we reduce the likelihood of continued conflict. When leaving the relationship is not an option we want to choose, then learning to communicate about the violation without playing the blame game lowers the stress level and makes a positive outcome more likely.

How do we do that? Nonviolent Communication offers a helpful way of communicating with honesty and empathy. The more we approach others as allies, rather than as enemies, in the life-long project of getting our needs met, the easier it will be to make life more wonderful at work.

Coaching Inquiries: How would you describe the stress level in your relationships? Who do you blame for that? Yourself? Others? Both? What would it take to stop playing the blame game and to start playing the no-fault game in the service of human needs? Where could you turn for help with that? When would you like to get started?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation. To learn more about LifeTrek Coaching programs, Click Here.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


Your series on stress has been incredibly helpful to me and my husband. We read them every week and have been taking many of your suggestions to heart. Thanks!


It sounds like you have found every possible way to beat stress, so I assume you are having a very relaxing summer! 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #624: Stress Proof Your Money

Laser Provision

Stress proof your money. How’s that for a theme that coincides with the American, Independence-Day holiday! In the midst of a global recession, money has become more of a stress for more people than ever before. Ironically, money can stress people on both sides of the equation. Too much money can pose as many challenges as too little . Most people say they would prefer the former problem, but I’ve lived and worked with both sets of people over many years and it’s not that obvious to me that the former are any happier than the latter. How much is enough? Read on to get in a stress-free zone about money.

LifeTrek Provision


Let me start this Provision with a disclaimer: if you think this Provision is going to tell you how to make more money, where to put your money, how to live on a budget, or how to have no worries about money, then you’ve come to the wrong place. I am not a certified financial planner, cannot boast of a rags-to-riches story, do not adhere to a strict budget myself, and have worried about money at different points and times just like everyone else. I wish there was no money in the world and that everyone worked for the love of it to make life more wonderful both for themselves and for others.

That was the premise of the Star Trek series, a popular science fiction fantasy set in the 24th century when money had ceased to exist. To quote Captain Picard, “A lot has changed in three hundred years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of ‘things’. We have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions.” That’s stress proofing our money through technology. Elsewhere, Picard notes, “The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity.” That’s stress proofing our money through self-actualization and connection.

Between now and the 24th century, however, it would appear that money will still come in pretty handy. Although this Provision will not say anything other than the obvious when it comes to money management (it’s a bit like weight management: balance the inputs and the outputs with throughputs of benevolence), I do have four perspectives that can help with stress proofing: stop obsessing about money, live with a sense of gratitude, get things under control, and distinguish between needs and wants. Each will be considered in turn.

Obsession. Let’s start with obsessing about money. For years, during boom times, people were obsessing about how to get more money. Names like Robert Kiyosaki, David Bach, Mark Victor Hansen, and Michael Masterson promised to tell us the secrets of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, “The Automatic Millionaire”, “The One Minute Millionaire”, and “Automatic Wealth”. There were some good ideas in those books, but they made their authors rich not because of their ideas but because of our obsession with money. We wanted to know how to move up, and to move up quickly if possible, so that we could feel secure and enjoy the good life.

Now, during a recession, people are obsessing about how to stop losing money. Those same names, and some new ones, are now telling us how to “Fight For Our Money”, “Guard Our Money in Turbulent Times”, “Live Happier and Healthier for Less”, “Rebuild Our Finances”, “Overcome Money Disorders”, and “Invest Our Money Now”. Again, these authors and books have great ideas, but they are selling like hotcakes because of our obsession with money. People report hovering over their bank balances, retirement portfolios, and accounting software like hawks. Financial feeds and tweets have become ubiquitous.

It may be human nature to watch the things that give us security like a hawk, but I am convinced that our obsession with money contributes to our stress. There’s a difference between being responsible and being possessed. Recent studies in neurobiology make clear the impact of too much electronic stimulation. We end up with what’s being called, “techno-brain burnout”, symptoms of which include hyperactivity, inattention, depression, and anxiety. If your brain receives non-stop financial updates from multiple electronic sources, not to mention the old paper news, then chances are good that your stress is at an all-time high. Unplug and give it a break. Designate at least one day a week for no electronic stimulation. Give yourself some down time.

Gratitude. Here’s another one that goes by the board in hard times: gratitude. We experience a loss and end up getting stuck in denial, anger, bargaining, or depression. Instead of mourning the loss and moving on, with a spirit of acceptance and understanding, we continue to push back either as though we were entitled to that particular thing or as though that thing was required to make us happy and whole.

Well, guess what: we are entitled to nothing and nothing is required to make us happy and whole. Life is a gift. In good times and bad times, we not only can find things to be grateful for, we must be grateful if we hope to stress proof our money. Finding succor in things that cost less money or in things that cost no money, like the beauty of a sunrise or the caring of a friend, has been documented to help set people on a more positive path.

You have perhaps heard of positive psychology, where gratitude plays such an important role. Experiments have been conducted with people who keep gratitude journals, write gratitude letter, make gratitude visits, or otherwise cultivate gratitude in visible and specific ways. They all help. The more gratitude people express, the less stress we experience.

Control. People love to get rich quick. Something there is about winning the lottery or marrying into wealth. People also love to get rich slowly. That is, after all, the American dream. Climb the ladder. Horatio Alger. Invest your money and watch it double every seven years. Or quicker, if you’re good.

Now there’s nothing wrong with wealth in and of itself (although it’s been said that, “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.”) but I am more concerned about the exercise of control than the accumulation of wealth. Take Michael Jackson. The man was one of the most successful recording artists in history, but the man was in constant financial distress. He was hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and he came close to losing his sprawling estate until an investment company bought the $24 million loan on the property. So, too, with Ed McMahon. He was Johnny Carson’s sidekick but he died broke.

How did that happen? McMahon put it this way: “Well, if you spend more money than you make, you know what happens. And it can happen.” Michelle Singletary, columnist for the Washington Post, put it more simply: “How do you go broke on $200 million? You spend $201 million.”

Getting control of the equation, in terms of what’s coming in and what’s going out, is an essential part of stress proofing your money. However you do it, do it. Upsize your income and downsize your expenses until you are in a sustainable position. Think outside the box. Work with family and friends to figure out how to make it work. Move if you have to. Find alternative living arrangements. For the first 15 years of our adults lives, my wife and I made very little money. Family helped us to get through. But so did sharing apartments with friends to help reduce expenses. It may not have been the American dream, but it worked • providing us with both financial and emotional support.

Enough. I’ve written a lot about this in the past. The biggest stress when it comes to money is having no sense of enough. When we live with a bottomless pit (on the expense side) or a topless peak (on the income side) there’s nothing but stress. We wake up every day in the throes of more and less. We never have a satisfied mind because we are either comparing ourselves to an imaginary internal frame or to an impossible external frame.

Don’t do that! Avoid the trap of “Affluenza” • “a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more”. Recognize the problems of being part of what Thomas Friedman calls an “Americum” • “any group of 350 million people with a per capita income above $15,000 and a growing penchant for consumerism”. Thomas Friedman argues that there were 2.5 Americums in the 1950s (America, Western Europe, and Japan). Today, we are approaching 9 (America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Russia, Japan, India, China and South America) • with 2 more just around the corner (India and China).

No wonder the planet is groaning under the weight of so many people. The problem is not the people, the problem is our insatiable appetite for more. I don’t pretend to be immune to all consumerism, but I do consciously avoid “the dogged pursuit of more”. I was content when I lived on less and I could go there again. It’s not about more; it’s about enough to be content. And when we are content, our stress about money goes way down.

These four dimensions of stress proofing our lives are interrelated. If, for example, we have a strong and clear sense of enough, then it’s easier to be grateful about what we have and who is in our life. If, for example, we have things under control, then it’s easier to not be obsessed about money. We can hold things a little more lightly, with a “set it and forget it” frame. However we get there, finding ways to reduce our stress about money can do a lot to help our overall sense of well being. Want to learn how? I encourage you give us a call or contact us for coaching.

Coaching Inquiries: What is your stress level about money? How obsessed are you about making money, or making more money? What’s your idea of enough? What helps you to balance your outputs with your inputs? How can you express more gratitude for life? Who could you celebrate with right now?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation. To learn more about LifeTrek Coaching programs, Click Here.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


I really enjoyed reading your Laser Provision on Stress Proof Your Wellness. It reminded me of what the premise of the Pritikin Diet and Lifestyle teaches, which I try to live by. It seems lately no one refers to them.


I see that you refer here again to your ‘smoothie• recipe. Do you have this handy online? I was wanting to start again and couldn’t find the recipe you gave me and couldn’t find it easily on LifeTrek. Thank you. (Ed. Note: All our recipes can be found at www.lifetrekcoaching.com/recipes.)


Your recipe noted that the probiotics from PureCaps.com could only be purchased through a distributor. Do you have another recommendation for buying probiotics online. I don’t want the fuss of finding a distributor. Thank you for the recipe. (Ed. Note: Any acidophilus will do. You can buy capsules and open them up or find a powder at www.VitaminShoppe.com). 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #623: Stress Proof Your Wellness

Laser Provision

It’s been said, “Those who do have health, have many wishes. Those who do not have health, have but one wish.” Although that’s not exactly true, per my series on Life-Giving Needs, the point is well taken. Nothing contributes more to a sense of distress than poor health. The key, then is to stress proof your wellness • a topic I have returned to repeatedly since starting LifeTrek Coaching in 1998. Indeed, my own lack of wellness at that point was part of what led me into coaching. Today, I review my formula for Optimal Wellness.

LifeTrek Provision


I am enjoying Dr. David Kessler’s recent book, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. He makes the same point I have made on many occasions: fat, sugar, and salt make for a lethal combination. Not only does it do a number on our health and wellness, it also does a number on our willpower. Remember the old commercial that included the line, “Bet you can’t eat just one!” Well, guess what? They were right.

The food companies know a good thing when they see them. By combining fats, sugar and salt in innumerable ways, food makers have essentially tapped into the brain’s reward system, creating a feedback loop that stimulates our desire to eat and leaves us wanting more and more even when we•re full. The only answer, then, is to plan and structure our eating to avoid that lethal combination. And the best way to do that, in my experience, is to educate yourself about the things that make for health and wellness. Such information can lead to action.

As you may remember from my long series on the topic, optimal wellness requires us to pay attention to three factors: what goes in (nutrition), what goes out (fitness), and what goes around (goodness). For a long time, I conducted my own experiments in these arenas without clear, scientific guidance. It seemed I could always find an authority who would contradict another authority on the matter. All that changed for me in the summer of 2004 when I heard a lecture given by Dr. S. Boyd Eaton at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York State.

Titled, “Stone Agers in the Fast Lane: Health Promotion in the 50th Millennium,” the lecture articulated a principle for understanding optimal wellness that won me over immediately and has since become an avid part of my reading, research, and regimen. The principle Dr. Eaton articulated was simply this: by learning about the diet and lifestyle of our original ancestors, we can learn about the diet and lifestyle that best suits human beings today and in the future.

Why would our original diet and lifestyle be so prescriptive? Because we ate and lived that way for most of our existence as a species. Only recently, in evolutionary terms, have we made dramatic changes to our diets and lifestyles (through the agricultural, industrial, and now informational revolutions). Although those revolutions have generated some wonderful things, including civilization as we know it today, they have also generated chronic disease and stress in unprecedented proportions. People were not designed to eat those fat, sugar, and salt combinations, to sit around all day in front of electronic screens, and to live in ticky-tacky houses in relative isolation from each other.

That’s why Dr. Eaton and many others now argue persuasively that the original diet and lifestyle, from the Paleolithic period, is worth emulating (in so far as that is possible) for those seeking to optimize their own health and well-being. So I have moved in that direction over time and I have been sharing with you my experience with that through the pages of LifeTrek Provisions. Here’s a quick recap of what I have learned:

  • Evolutionary Nutrition. Prior to 10,000 years ago, no human being on the planet was eating grains, dairy products, or beans. These products of agriculture had not been invented yet. Prior to 100 years ago, no human being on the planet was eating foods that had been grown and fertilized with the byproducts of fossil fuels. The power to fix nitrogen, by combining nitrogen and hydrogen gases under immense heat and pressure in the presence of a catalyst, had not been invented yet. As a result, the human population was smaller and far less developed.

    But it was also healthier from the standpoint of chronic disease and stress. Many people are surprised to learn that; I know I was. I assumed that the lives of our original ancestors, to quote Thomas Hobbes in 1651, were “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Nothing, it turns out, could be further from the truth. Without wanting to exaggerate or ignore the very real challenges of their existence, it is safe to say that our original ancestors lived relatively long, enjoyable, and active lives in supportive communities. Their diet, as hunters and gatherers, included primarily wild game, birds, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Those are the foods, grown organically, along with plenty of clean water, that still make for optimal nutrition today.

  • Evolutionary Fitness. Prior to 10,000 years ago, no human being on the planet lived in permanent shelters, let alone in urban areas, with foods delivered practically to their doors. Civilization, as we know it, had not been invented yet. Prior to 200 years ago, no human being on the planet was moving around with the help of fossil fuels. The internal combustion engine had not been invented yet. As a result, the human population was parochial and far less mobile.

    But it was also far more active and fit. It takes a lot of work to hunt and gather food without gunpowder and metal. It also takes a lot of planning and ingenuity. All that contributed not only to the development of big brains but also to fit bodies. The two go hand in hand. The more we use our brains and bodies, the better we feel and live. Inactivity and lack of exercise contradict human nature and undermine human health.

    In this area, too, I had a big surprise. I figured that hunters and gatherers had more activity and exercise than modern office workers. I did not realize, however, that they also had more rest and relaxation. No one worked straight through from 9 to 5, let alone from 5 to 9. They rather developed healthy rhythms between exertion and recovery, both day to day and season to season. Much was dependent upon weather and light. Day to day, our original ancestors took naps and slept far more often than we do today. They built their fitness on a solid foundation of self-care that we would do well to emulate.

  • Evolutionary Goodness. And it wasn’t all about self-care; they were also far more attentive to and supportive of each other’s needs than we are today. There’s really no other way to survive in the wild. For a description, I turn to Dr. Eaton in his 1988 book, The Paleolithic Prescription:

    Our original ancestors “were much like us • experiencing most of the same hopes, doubts, desires, pleasures, challenges, disappointments, and conflicts. But they experienced them together. Social isolation, with its now established threat to mental and physical health, was unknown to them. Stresses were numerous, but they arose out of the realities of life, not from clock watching, traffic jams, or class consciousness.”

    “Their lives were spent working, playing, eating, sleeping, entertaining, and worshipping • with a close-knit group of people who, as much as they might complain, cared for one another. When tensions arose that couldn’t be resolved, they were free to move off and join other friends and relatives in a different band for varying lengths of time. Their children grew up in that same context of closeness, nurturance, and love.”

    In other words, benevolence! Only in supportive communities and environments could people survive and thrive. Banishment meant certain death. Mutual aid meant life. “This was the way of life,” Eaton concludes, “that characterized every generation of human beings on our planet for most of the course of human evolution.” It’s in our genes and in our bones to care and to make life more wonderful for others.

So that’s the pattern that makes for optimal wellness. It’s also the pattern that protects us against the ravages of stress. It’s hard to overstate how stressful it is on our health and wellness to eat poorly, to exercise minimally, and to rest hardly at all. To say that we don’t have time to take good care of ourselves is to put ourselves on a fast track to the morgue. That may make headlines when we are a celebrity, but something tells me that’s not the kind of attention Michael Jackson was hoping for.

Want to learn more? All my Provisions and Pathways related to optimal wellness can be found atwww.CelebrateWellness.com. I invite you to check them out or to give us a call for coaching.

Coaching Inquiries: What actions could you take that would make your life more wonderful? How could you move closer in your manner of living to the wisdom gleaned from evolutionary wellness? What changes would you like to make in your diet and lifestyle? How could your communities and support networks conspire to make it so? Who could you talk with this week, about the possibilities?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation. To learn more about LifeTrek Coaching programs, Click Here.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


Your last Provision on “Stress Proofing Your Routines” was a great provision. Thank you! I will put this on my ‘things to change agenda• for this week.


The first line of your last Provision hit me right between the eyes. Tell me your routines and I will tell you your future. Since I read that line I have paid much more attention to my routines. Thanks!


Your provision about healthy routines reminded me of a chapter in coach Cheryl Richardson’s new book, The Art of Extreme Self Care. A healthy routine has a power all its own. A healthy body, mind, and spirit can accomplish so much more, too.


I want to thank you for your Provisions. They are like a free, weekly coaching session. I always look forward to them and always leave feeling nourished. I found it interesting how similar my routines are to yours. Over the last few years I have been doing a lot of work on my “walking the walk” in preparation for Wellcoach training. Your weekly provisions have played an important role in helping me clarify my vision. Although my choices vary from yours, I have developed stress-proofing routines in my life and also feel uplifted by them. I have significant sources of stress in my life that could send me down the wrong path. Instead, my routines provide me a deep sense of inner calm and path to mindful living. 


There seems to be a lot of sugar in your smoothing recipe. Even though it is natural sugars, I’m a diabetic and this would not work for me. Sugar causes inflammation in the body and that’s a bad thing. (Ed. Note: Agreed, when it comes to the health impacts of sugar. The sugar in my smoothie recipe is easily reduced; just eliminate the molasses and reduce the quantity of fruit. Otherwise, there are no sugars.) 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #622: Stress Proof Your Routines

Laser Provision

Tell me your daily routines and I will tell you your future. To stress-proof our lives we not only need to do inner work, such as we talked about in the last two Provisions, we also need to do outer work. And that takes many forms. In this Provision we look at the question of our routines. When we get in the groove of healthy routines, we don’t have to work as hard and we can better handle the things that come our way. Through clarity, information, connection, and curiosity we can set ourselves on the right course. That has been my experience and that is my hope for you.

LifeTrek Provision


Question: how hard do you have to work to remember to brush your teeth on a regular basis? If you are anything like me, that one doesn’t take a lot of effort. It’s not on my Outlook calendar and I don’t have reminders popping up on my PDA. I just do it. I also go to the dentist for a cleaning, every six months. I make the appointment for my next visit before leaving the office from my last one. That appointment goes into my PDA and when the time comes around, it beeps and I’m there. It’s all pretty routine and automatic.

The same goes for my exercise routine. I get up in the morning and do pretty much the same thing every day. I get dressed in my workout clothes, make a pot of green tea, read the paper while drinking the tea, check on my appointments for the day, take four deep breaths, and then go for a 30-90 minute run or bike ride. On Saturdays, I go for a long run that lasts for two hours or more. When I get back from my aerobic workout, I do some stretches, sit-ups, and, from time to time, strength training before cleaning up and getting started with my day.

Breakfast is also a routine. 90% of the time I make and drink my Healthy Fruit Chewy. I’ve posted the recipe on our website and I have updated it over time as the recipe has evolved. It includes an abundance of health-positive fruits, proteins, seeds, spices, oils, and other ingredients (like bee pollen and acidophilus). That gets me all the way through to lunch without hunger or snacking. It really is a great way to start the day (along with the vitamins and other supplements I also take routinely).

In the afternoon I enjoy taking a break from work with a pot of Purple Leaf Tulsi Tea, also known as Holy Basil. This naturally caffeine-free leaf is a sacred plant from India used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. In India, Tulsi is considered an “elixir of life,” relieving stress and supporting well being. Recent studies suggest that Tulsi may be a COX-2 inhibitor, like many modern painkillers, due to its significant amount of eugenol. It also has a goodly amount of antioxidants as well as significant antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity.

If I feel tired in the afternoon, which doesn’t happen very often, I may lie down for 15-20 minutes. I can usually fit that in around my coaching appointments and other work. On occasion, I also do a brief stint (6-12 minutes) of Heart Rate Variability meditation using the Healing Rhythmsbiofeedback training program. It doesn’t take much time and I enjoy the relaxation it brings.

Lunch and dinner also have their rhythms. My wife and I participate in a CSA Farm, which gives us a steady supply of fresh fruits and vegetables for more than half the year. You can find a CSA Farm near you by visiting LocalHarvest.org. Through our local Farmer’s Market we have also connected with local sources of lean, happy meat such as bison and free-range chickens. So we have a salad for lunch and a small piece of meat with a side of vegetables for dinner (along with a second round of vitamins and other supplements).

With the longer days in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s easy right now to go out for a walk after dinner • a great way to settle things down and to reconnect with those you love. That paves the way for a couple more hours of productivity, if I want, or relaxation before ending the day with a 30-minute stint in the hot tub. We bought that tub in 2003 and we still manage to sit in it most every evening. It has more than paid for itself, since it helped me to avoid surgery for a torn rotator cuff and my wife to avoid surgery for a frozen shoulder.

Before going to sleep, I take a few more deep breaths, talk with my wife about the things we are grateful for in our day, and take the melatonin that has been so helpful to me in the wake of my2007 panic attack. The melatonin helps us to fall asleep more quickly and to feel more rested the next day. That’s the function of melatonin: a hormone produced naturally by our pineal glands at night: it helps us to mop up and recover from the stress and strains of the day. After considerable research, personal experience, and talking with multiple doctors (to confirm its health safety), I am persuaded that everyone over 40 should take melatonin unless there is a medical reason to avoid it.

Then we go to sleep and get up the next day, only to do it all over again. There are, of course, variations for travel and special activities (like entertaining, lawn mowing, gardening, and guitar playing). But even then, we seem to hold on to most of our healthy routines. I never pack a suitcase without including my running gear, my supplements, and multiple bags of tea. I also take the biofeedback device with me for my laptop.

I mention all this not to boast or to show off what a good life I have. Indeed, you may look at my routines and not find them attractive at all. “A Healthy Fruit Chewy, every morning, for breakfast!!!” I can hear you exclaiming and see you shaking your head right now. That’s fine. I’m not trying to persuade you to adopt my routines. I just want you to know that I have them and that they make it easier for me to support the kind of life I am building for myself.

That’s what routines do. They eliminate the hard work of deciding anew, each and every time, each and every day, what we will do. And the secret of our future is hidden in our daily routines. Perhaps that explains, at least in part, why my “real age” is almost 20 years younger than my “chronological age” according to those virtual age calculators on the Internet. My routines help to support my health.

Twenty-five years ago I had a friend in his mid 50s who worked in a downtown office building and who had the then-obligatory, mid-life heart attack for white-collar workers. After being treated by his doctor and after recovering sufficiently to go back to work, my friend showed up in the office with a prescription, written on a physician’s Rx pad, for a 20-minute nap every day after lunch. Now this man had never taken a nap in his life, and there was certainly no nap room at the office (let alone a culture that supported naps).

He nevertheless talked to his boss and they agreed that a 20-minute nap after lunch every day was better than another heart attack. So my friend brought in a yoga mat, loosened his tie, and found a place to go and lie down for 20 minutes on a daily basis. To the best of my knowledge he’s alive and well today in the state of Kentucky.

I’m glad I didn’t have to wait to have a heart attack and to get a doctor’s prescription / permission before developing my healthy routines. They work better preventively anyway. Especially when they become habits that work on autopilot. We don’t want to have to think about these things. We just want to set them and forget them, like a thermostat that regulates the temperature of the environments in which we live and work.

If that sounds boring to you, then you’re missing the distinction between a rut and a routine. Ruts are mundane, random, boring, life-depleting, and going nowhere. Routines are vital, chosen, satisfying, life-enriching, and spiraling upward. That’s exactly how I feel about my routines. They not only organize my life and make it easier, they also fill me with joy because they are meaningful to me and because they support my values and goals in life.

No wonder good habits have such stress-proofing potential. The more you can get in a positive rhythm, the easier life will be. Of course, bad habits have the opposite effect. Smoking two packs a day, to mention only one example, will lead to health problems more often than not. Everyone know this, but not everyone sets up their routines accordingly. That makes me sad but it also keeps me in business as a coach. Setting up what one coach calls “personal ecosystems” is a lot of what we do. We help people design the habits that make life work.

So how do we develop good habits? There’s no surefire method, but it does help to become clear, informed, connected, and curious:

  • Clarity. What’s important to you? What do you value? What’s alive in you? What needs do you want to meet? Until we can answer questions such as these, there’s no way to get started on developing good habits. Clarity is motivation.
  • Information. Once you know what you value and what’s important, then there’s usually a body of knowledge to learn and master. If snowboarding is the most important thing in the world to you, then you better learn about snowboarding. If green energy is the most important thing, the you better learn about green energy. And if you want to live a long time, so you can do what you want and contribute what you can for as long as possible, then you better learn about living a long time. Information is power.
  • Connection. No one is an island and that’s especially true when it comes to life-enriching habits. My wife tells me that I have greatly influenced her lifestyle since I share my habits with her. That’s probably true, but it works the other way around as well. We support each other. So too with personal trainers, massage therapists, running buddies, or anyone else who has similar interests and services. Connections are wonderful.
  • Curiosity. Don’t take my word for it, figure things out for yourself. Habits start out as experiments. What healthy routines would relieve your stress and make your life better? You’ll never know until you try. Once you find one you like, repeat it. Play with it. Modify it. Adapt it. Amplify it. Before long, your experiment will become a healthy regimen. Curiosity didn’t kill the cat. Curiosity is what makes life possible.

Coaching Inquiries: What habits make you feel good? What habits make you feel bad? How could you develop more good habits? What values would that support? Where could you go for information? Who could support you on the journey?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation. To learn more about LifeTrek Coaching programs, Click Here.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


Really enjoyed the brain talk in your last Provision!! The whole article was informative. Thanks!


Here’s a couple of YouTube videos of Dan Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness”. I love this guy! So intelligent, and with such a great sense of humor. I’m listening to “Stumbling on Happiness” on CD, read by Dan Gilbert. Excellent!

 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #621: Stress Proof Your Self Talk

Laser Provision

In his famous collection of poems, Leaves of Grass, first published in 1855, Walt Whitman includes a poem that eventually came to be called, “Song of Myself”. The poem includes the following lines: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes.” This was not the poem of someone with a personality disorder. It is rather a fair description of us all. Our physical sensations, emotional energies, and cognitive / creative thoughts generate different messages, priorities, and paths of development. By learning to enjoy our contradictions, rather than to bemoan them, we can stress proof our self-talk once and for all. Sound intriguing? Read on to make it so for you.

LifeTrek Provision


Over the course of the past two months I have attended two workshops, one sponsored by professional coaches and the other by Nonviolent Communication trainers, that have both worked with similar approaches to handling self-talk. I thought I would share them with you today as part of our series on stress-proofing your life.

Stress-proofing your self-talk is, in some respects, a continuation of last week’s Provision on stress proofing your mindset. There we reviewed the etiology, morphology, and functionality of the human brain. People did not come by our big brains in one fell swoop. We developed them slowly, across millions of years, as one species gave way to another which gave way to another and so on down the line.

Given that the human brain represents the current end point of many variations, our brains include all that has gone before. It can be viewed as having three brains in one The Reptilian Complex is the most primitive brain, controlling muscles, balance, and autonomic functions. It never sleeps and never learns. The Limbic System is the middle brain, controlling emotions and instincts. It helps determine valence (whether an emotion has a positive or negative charge) and salience (what gets our attention).

The Cerebral Cortex is the most advanced brain, controlling cognitive and creative functions. In human beings, the Cerebral Cortex represents two-thirds of the total brain mass. It solves problems and imagines possibilities in a spiral dynamic of ever-increasing complexity and congruence. Without our Cerebral Cortexes, there would be no society as we know it today.

For all its importance to human civilization, however, the Cerebral Cortex does not run the whole show. The Reptilian Complex and the Limbic System also have their say. When an intense emotion overpowers us, for example, such as grief, anger, or fear, we know the Limbic System is in charge. Current research suggests that the Cerebral Cortex physically lifts off and separates from the Limbic System in the wake of such emotions. The cognitive and the creative are no match for the affective and the instinctive.

That accounts for the age-old problem of people “doing what they don’t want to do, and not doing what they do want to do”. There’s no reason to despair about that, as though there was something wrong with us. That’s how we’re made! We have three brains, each of which connect directly to the body and control behavior on the basis of different stimuli and priorities. One brain wants nothing but survival, another wants nothing but to avoid pain and repeat pleasure, while the third wants nothing but the best it can imagine and design in life and work.

Talk about competing interests! It’s a wonder we have as much integration as we have. These three brains are in constant interaction, at times in conflict, but often in harmony. The better theCerebral Cortex does its job of solving problems and delivering hospitable environments, for instance, the less we will trigger full-blown Reptilian and Limbic reactions. And that’s a good thing, because full-blown Reptilian and Limbic reactions are hard to handle in the moment and hard to reconcile after the fact.

The workshops I attended in the past two months have both referenced the tripartite nature of the human brain as one source of what is commonly referred to as self-talk. Not all self-talk is the left side of the Cerebral Cortex talking to the right side, and vice versa. If that was all we had to deal with, the conversation would be pretty straight forward. We would use our cognitive and creative functions to meet our needs and wants without interference from other voices.

But that’s not the way it is, is it? Who among us has never had butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, weak knees, wet eyes, tight shoulders, or a racing heartbeat? Who among us has never had crazy dreams, second thoughts, uneasy hunches, nervous energy, or troubled memories? Such dynamics are universal parts of the human experience, yet we often beat ourselves up over having such reactions. Our Cerebral Cortex gets stressed out by what the Reptilian Complex andLimbic System are doing and vice-versa.

Enter my two workshops. Instead of regretting that we have Reptilian Complexes and Limbic Systems, and instead of trying to stuff them into a Cerebral Cortex box, both of my workshops suggested ways of dialoguing with our various parts in order to relieve the pressure and learn from them on the way to self-understanding and transformation.

In Missouri I spent a day with American Zen Master Dennis Genpo Merzel, Roshi. He has developed a process for discovering, experiencing, and appreciating life that he calls “Big Mind Big Heart“. He also notes that this process is a good way of working out the kinks, the stuck places, and the unhealthy patterns that keep people down.

So how does it work? Big Mind Big Heart integrates traditional Zen Buddhist meditation with modern western psychotherapy techniques, such as Stone’s “voice dialogue” and Satir’s “parts party“. By framing different aspects of ourselves in Zen Buddhist terms, Genpo Roshi assists people to separate their identities from and begin to dialogue with the different voices that surface from different parts of our brains.

It’s liberating to realize that we are not our ReptilianLimbic, and Cerebral parts. We are not even the sum of our parts. We are the occasion for a conversation between these different parts, and the more we listen, the more we learn. Genpo Roshi will pick a part, such as The Seeking Mind, and he will ask to talk to that part in a meditative and psychodramatic way. As the dialogue proceeds and people lose their attachment to that part, they move from ego to integration, from stress to synergy.

In Minneapolis I spent a week with Nonviolent Communication trainers on the living energy of needs. Here, too, there was an effort to separate our sense of self from our self-talk. The trainers suggested that there was no way to appreciate the living energy of needs if we could not get beyond our self-critical voices regarding how our ReptilianLimbic, and Cerebral parts were interacting.

How do we do that? They advised a subtle but simple shift. Whenever we talk to ourselves, especially whenever we engage in blaming self-criticism, reframe it as a message we are telling ourselves. Examples: whenever we say to ourselves, “I’m so stupid; I should know better than that.” Reframe that as, “I am telling myself that I’m so stupid and that I should know better than that.” Or, again, whenever we say to ourselves, “Stop being so nervous; I’ve done this a thousand times before.” Reframe that as, “I am telling myself that I should stop being so nervous because I’ve done this a thousand times before.”

Can you feel the difference? In the first instance, we are wholly identified with the statements. Weare stupid. We are nervous. In the second instance, we have taken one step back. We recognize that we are not our negative self-talk. We observe that some part of ourselves is generating messages. In this way, by becoming a mindful observer of how our three brains are interacting, we can move from being stressed about to being fascinated by the messages. What are they trying to say? How are they serving us? What do they tell us about who we are and what is going on? Enquiring minds want to know.

Last week in Provisions I mentioned that at the Minneapolis workshop I was also introduced to a process called Focusing. This process similarly seeks to listen to and learn from what different parts of the body, mind, and spirit are trying to say. It is a gentle process for discerning what the body is trying to say. Focusing suggests a different way of reframing those many internal messages. Instead of saying, “I am telling myself that…” reframe those messages by noting, “I am hearing myself say that….”

Although both approaches have their merits, I like the Focusing reframe even better when it comes to stress proofing our self-talk. It holds more wisdom and curiosity for me. To say, “I am telling myself that…” makes it clear that we can choose to tell ourselves different things as well. To say, “I am hearing myself say that…” makes it clear that we can choose to listen to what our different brains may be saying. And Focusing suggests that we listen with deep appreciation. It wants us to have a relationship with our feelings rather than to simply be in our feelings.

Again, can you feel the difference? To be in our feelings is to be wholly identified with one voice. If that voice says we are stupid, then that’s all there is to say. We are stupid. If that voice says we are sad, then that’s all there is to say. We are sad. When we become wholly identified with any one voice, then our self-talk becomes extremely limited and stressful. We lose a sense of perspective and ease regarding all that is going on inside us.

To have a relationship with our feelings is to become a participant-observer in our own minds and bodies. What physical sensations do we notice (Reptilian level)? What emotional energies do we notice (Limbic level)? What cognitive / creative thoughts do we notice (Cortex level)? All three levels send us messages all the time. At times, the messages conflict. At other times, the message converge. Either way, having a relationship with our sensations, feelings, and thoughts turns them into an enjoyable “parts party”. We can dialogue with them, learn from them, and not take any one of them too seriously.

In her excellent book, The Power of Focusing, Ann Cornell suggests that we can learn to develop this kind of relationship to ourselves welcoming whatever comes, holding the space, hearing the essence, and staying in present time. To be welcoming means that we are interested in everything we become aware of, regardless of how ugly or beautiful, repulsive or attractive it might be. To hold the space means that we bring our awareness to what is going on inside us and hold it there. Hearing the essence means listening for what is longing to be heard. Staying in present time means not being distracted by thoughts about the past and/or future.

Those are excellent recommendations for those who want to stress proof their self-talk. Different people struggle with this in different ways and to different degrees, from not at all to all the time, from mild to intense. Regardless of whether or not self talk is a stress for you, the methods recommended here are excellent pathways for personal and professional development. The more you know about your many voices, and the more respect you afford them, the more you will grow into a deep awareness of all life has to offer.

Coaching Inquiries: What sensations, feelings, and thoughts are alive in you right now? How can you grow more attentive to your internal dynamics and messages? How can you learn to enjoy and benefit from the conversation rather than to find it stressful and debilitating? Which of the methods reviewed in this Provision pique your interest? Why not click on one of the links right now?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation. To learn more about LifeTrek Coaching programs, Click Here.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..


What an excellent Provision on how to Stress Proof Your Mindset. It’s packed with informative information as well as realistic and helpful practices for reducing stress. Touch• and kudos to you!! I think this is a truly helpful missive here. Thank you. 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services