Hating Change: Hate the Wind

Change causes us to break out in a sweat. We react to change with procrastination, with fear, with stubbornness. It doesn’t matter how we react, change is driven by time, and change happens unexpectedly. Fast. Unnervingly fast. Hating change is like hating the wind–it doesn’t care that you hate it; it still blows.

The instand of change: you are traveling 65 mph, you can see, the weather is good. Suddenly your windshield smashes in, glass flies throughout the car, you can't see. Change. Did you notice the image of the bird in the middle of the impact zone? It's not what hit the windshield, it's what you see in it.

What makes change so awful? Most of my clients answer, “it’s the unknown next-step portion of change I hate,” but I don’t think so. When I ask a coaching client to give me an example, they tell me about feeling excruciatingly emotionally unprepared. Awkward. Not up to the task of facing change. Feeling not ready is the inevitable companion to change. So is feeling awkward, ungainly, not suited for the task. What makes change so awful is the lack of adjustment time. No time to prepare the perfect reply. No chance to look chic and unsurprised. Change catches you by surprise, with your shoes untied and not ready to run.

Change throws us into a formal party while we are still wearing our emotional play clothes. Suddenly, what seemed appropriate for the emotional playground doesn’t fit into the serious polished-shoe environment we find ourselves in. We are caught off-guard. And off-guard,  without time to plan, we make bad decisions.

My coaching practice is rooted in helping people survive change. Then thrive with it. But it’s not easy, and there can be a lot of tears first. Change is not always a friend.

When change whips around us, it’s a windstorm of confusion, decisions, and often paperwork—all within a tight deadline. You get laid off, and must choose a generous package with a non-disclosure signature or no package and a sense of righteousness. A loved one is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, the kind that destroys plans, futures, whole families. What decisions are right? What decisions are right now?

The second part of change we hate is the fast decision making. We make decisions that are based in fear, and then see days and months of self-blame stretch in front of us. When loss is a choice, we make decisions that buffer the loss, and watch anger flood in, because we settled for less than we wanted because we had to decide quickly.

Change doesn’t always mean bad news, but even good change can look like bad news. Teaching clients to deal with change often starts with learning how to stay calm. Harder than it sounds. But once you’ve learned that, you can see change as a tool, not as a result. And that gives you the power to build.

Quinn McDonald is a life- and creativity coach who helps people survive change and thrive in a changing time. Write her at QuinnCreative @yahoo. com to find out how she can help. [Close up the spaces to make the email address work.]

Creativity Coaching? Why? (+ Giveaway)

Coaching Giveaway Report: Today is the day (Oct. 24, 2011)  I’ll be contacting the winners of the free coaching. I will not be publishing names to keep all coaching confidential. It’s an ethical bond I want to continue. There were seven winners—Thanks to all who left a comment!
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As people find out about creativity coaching and separate it from a football coaching, marriage counseling, and therapy, I start getting interesting questions.

Journal page, ink wash over white ink.

The first question is always, “How is creativity coaching different from life coaching?” The short answer is, “Creativity coaching focuses on that part of your life that fuels your ideas and talents. It helps you make meaning out of your life.”

Some other good questions I get at book signings:

Q:  Do I have to be an artist to benefit from creativity coaching?
A: No, not at all. Creativity coaching makes the most of your ideas and innovative ideas, even change in your life, to help you feel worthwhile and show up in the world the way you see yourself.

Q: How long before I see a change in my life?
A: In the last two months, I’ve had two people who came for a sample coaching, had a powerful session, and found their direction. That’s great, but it does take most people a bit longer. I ask for a 12-week commitment, because change is not easy, and while the first session is powerful, it’s hard to maintain that surge on your own. Doubt creeps in. To overcome the fear of change, to make change work for you, and to take the fear out of it takes about 12 weeks.

Q: Does coaching always work for everybody?
A. Sadly, no. There are people who do not want to put in the work it takes to create change in their lives. Some people would do better in therapy. But at the end of 12 weeks, you will either have made the change, or know the reason you haven’t, and that is a lot of learning worth having.

Q: What’s the point of creativity coaching?
A: If you are sleep-walking through life, you probably aren’t happy. Most people don’t like their jobs, but stay in them because of the salary or benefits. That’s a dreary life that to feelings of worthlessness and  low productivity. Finding something that fuels a purpose in your life, that combines left-brain drive with right brain insight can give you a completely different perspective. You life can fill with purpose and energy. That’s what focusing on creativity can bring you.

GIVEAWAY  Today on Create Mixed Media’s website, North Light Books (my publisher) hosted me at a webinar about my book, Raw Art Journaling, which is deeply rooted in meaning making. I’m finding people hungry to use their talents to do something that makes a difference. I want to help. That’s what the giveaway is about.

WHAT: I’m giving away free full-length (one-hour) coaching sessions, one for every five comments, up to 10 free coaching sessions. No multiple comments necessary.

HOW: Leave a comment telling me how you think coaching can help you. It’s not an essay contest, but I’d like to know your perspective.  You can live anywhere–coaching happens on the phone or via Skype.

WHEN: On Monday, October 24, I’ll announce the winners and contact them via email to set up a time in November or December to experience the coaching.

Perfectionist Seeking Happiness

Browsing in an art store, I found someone who picked up my book, Raw Art Journaling. I watched, not knowing if I should say “thank you for looking at my book,” or just not say anything. Deciding that saying something might make her feel pressured to buy it, I decided to say nothing unless she put it in the shopping basket. Which she did. So I stepped up and said, “Thanks for buying my book. If you want, I’ll sign it for you once you are through the checkout line.” She looked at me and said, “This is a joke, right?”

“Nope, I’m the author. I can show you my driver’s license.”

“So, did this book make you happy?” She asked

“Well, I was already happy, but this book makes me happy, yes.”

“Do you have the perfect job being a writer?”

Ahh, someone in search of the perfect. “I do. I own my business and I do more than write, but I love it all.”

She looked doubtful. “So you don’t have problems? Or days you hate?”

“Well, sure,” I said. “I hate administrative work, and I hate when I feel overwhelmed from time to time. I also hate it when it looks like there won’t be enough work. But as a recovering perfectionist, I realize that if it comes down to the day when I have completed it all, and done it all perfectly, there will be no challenges left, nothing to look forward to. I think perfection would be, well, boring.”

She looked at me for a long time. “So if your life is not perfect, how can you think it is?”

I smiled. “There is a Zen saying, ‘Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.” The difference is what you think of the work, and how you approach it. If everything is a drudgery, my life is drudgery. If everything is a chance, an opportunity, a fresh approach, well, then, I’m more enthusiastic. It’s not life. It’s how I tackle it.”

She looked at the book. “Write that in the book, about enlightenment.

And so I did.

–Quinn McDonald is the happy author of Raw Art Journaling, Making Meaning, Making Art. You can buy the book on this page of her website and get the code (way at the bottom of the page) for free shipping in the U.S. through December, 2011.


Making the Same Mistake

You’ve heard it a million times: “It’s OK to make a mistake, but never make the same mistake twice!” Or “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” One of the giant myths we love to believe is that we make a mistake only once.

Buster no longer eats flowers. Why not? Because I no longer put flowers anywhere he can find them or climb to them. I finally changed, as he would not.

It’s simply not true. We not only repeat mistakes, we repeat them most of our lives. We all know the woman who has dated the same kind of man all her life. Falls for the same type, the same profession, the same opposite-to-hers values. We wonder why she does that as we stride into Starbucks and order “the usual.”

We are creatures of habit and most of us don’t like change. We do the same thing over and over because we know how to do it that way. Even though we know the definition of insanity, we keep hoping for different results.

Change is hard. It’s great the first three days when we are filled with resolve and motivation. Then our friends begin to tell us they like us the way we are. Or our family hurls the ultimate insult at us: I don’t know who you are anymore, you’ve changed!

Well, I hope so. I’d be really bored with someone who didn’t change over a whole life. I sincerely hope we grow, we learn, we adapt, we re-invent. Because making the same mistake over and over again, and hoping for growth anyway is a new definition for insanity.

We are going to make the same mistake over and over unless we take a look at the reason for the mistake, and change our habits. It’s hard, really hard to stop making the same mistake over and over again.  But it also painful to keep making the same mistake–even if we do it in new and inventive ways.

That’s why having a coach is useful. They encourage you to create a new vision and a new way, and they hold you accountable for walking toward the goal. And then, they walk with you, because change is not easy and making mistakes is painful.

Quinn McDonald still takes on too much work and needs more sleep. She and her coach are working on it.

Want a Critique? Don’t Ask Your Creativity Coach

Yes, I’m your coach.

No, I won’t comment on your creative work.

This is hard to understand, because I am not only your coach, I’m your creativity coach. There are several reasons, so let’s get the one you most suspect out of the way:

1.  It doesn’t matter what I think. What if I tell you your creative project is horrible and I don’t like it? Will it destroy you? Why? Because one person doesn’t like it? What if I say it’s wonderful? Will my opinion validate you? What if I tell you it’s wonderful and then it doesn’t sell? Does that make me wrong? Does it make you wrong? Will you quit doing your creative work? That’s the worst choice. So my opinion doesn’t matter. Not about the meaning-making of your work.

2. You are paying me to coach you. Critiquing is a different service. Most clients think that once they’ve hired me as a coach, I can provide many services–adviser, researcher, conscience, authority-figure-to-fight-with, editor, marketer, problem-solver, and idea-provider. I can, but I probably won’t.  As your coach, my major service is to keep you in action in service to your own creativity. To give you a clear place to take a stand. To let you discover who you are and what your purpose in life is. I don’t give advice. It’s a bad idea. It gives you the idea that I’m responsible for your decisions, when I am not. You came to me because you were stuck in one place. Discovering your next move is your work, and I support you in that. I will toss out ideas for you to consider, but they aren’t advice. They are generally perspectives you can’t imagine yourself, but you will.

Yes, I provide marketing communication, editing, writing, problem-solving and idea-providing to businesses. And I charge them for it. All those services are separate, and my non-coaching clients pay for them.

3. I’m a coach, who understands the slippery work of creativity. I know about the danger of discouragement and the spike of “making it” and the long stretch of creative fear in the middle. I’m not an art/music/film/fashion expert. If fashion listened to me, there would be no 5-inch spike heels, none of those silly platform stilettos without heels, and none of those ankle boots that make women look as if they had ahoof instead of a foot. There are many things that work well, and become hugely popular, even if I don’t understand them or think they would be financially successful.

4. Writing is not about getting published. This is the hardest to understand. I am a writer. And writing is not about getting published. Writing is about writing. A born writer won’t quit, even if I tell them their story stinks. That’s how I know they are writers. Writers want to say something, even if no one listens. Being a writer is a struggle, and that’s the part I’m supporting and making accountable. The rest is details.

5. Because you need to build confidence, not gather encouragement. That’s the heart of the reason. You hired a coach to be able to create a change, work through change, live with change. Or learn why you can’t and live with that. There is a difference between what makes meaning and what will sell, and both have merits. That’s your work. I can’t do it for you. All the stories, the examples, the agreement in the world won’t amount to anything if you don’t do the work. Ah, and that’s the horrible truth. . .I won’t do your work. I can’t do your work. Doing your work is how creative people succeed and live their lives. It’s all about you. And I know that.

Quinn McDonald is a life- and creativity coach who helps people through change, re-invention and transition. Her book Raw Art Journaling, Making Meaning, Making Art has made it to the #1 slot on amazon.com’s Mixed Media division and #3 in Creativity.

QuinnCreative: Changes Coming in July

Usually when I say “changes” people cringe. I’m going to do something different. It may be hard. What if you hate the change? Upcoming changes will make sense to you, because they are, well, sensible.

1. One website. When I began to write the book, I opened a website, RawArtJournaling.com to talk about he book. Then I moved all the creative work over to that site. I had a business website, QuinnCreative.com which covered my training, writing, business coaching. The time has come to combine the websites.

2. What are you going to call it? My business name is QuinnCreative. My one site will be at QuinnCreative.com (There’s no link now, so I can put in the new link when the site debuts).

3. Are you designing it? No. I’m not an expert in web design, so I hired Jen Wolfe, who created my logo, is designing the site. Target date for the new site to open is July 15.

4. One person, one site. For a long time, I thought my business clients would run if they knew I was an artist. Turns out, I show up as a creative all the time, and the clients who appreciate creativity want to bring that part to their business as well.  The clients who don’t want a creative approach discover my type withing two minutes of talking. If they don’t want a creative approach, they will be unhappy working with me.

5. Say goodbye to the newsletter. For years, I’ve had a newsletter. With social media taking the place of newsletters, I’m depending more and more on my blog, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to keep in touch. With the book coming out, I need more time to concentrate on creative work. I want to develop more classes, both online and in person. That requires time, and a way to get back some of that time, is to discontinue the newsletter. I’d suggest subscribing to the blog, either via RSS feed or email.  There will also be a “what’s new” page on my website, allowing you to check in and see updates. More convenient all the way around.

6. Coaching prices are going up, and two gifts. As a gift to current clients, I will keep my coaching prices where they are for now. Coaching prices for new clients will rise (to $350 for 3 sessions a month and $150 for a one-time occasional coach) when the new website opens.

Second gift: To celebrate change, I will hold the old prices ($275 for 3X a month and $100 for a one-time occasional coach) until the end of July for anyone who mentions the blog. The old prices will stay in effect until the end of 2011 for anyone who begins coaching by the end of July.

I hope to see many of you at the new website as well as continuing on with me here. This blog will not move. It’s been here for almost five years and 1,500 blog posts, and it will stay right here.

Choosing a Niche, Growing Your Niche

During the last few days of coaching training, my group was told to choose a niche for our coaching practice. My colleagues began by picking up business journals and looking for likely clients.
I thought, “Why start defining and qualifying strangers, when I can look at the people already around me? I’m a writer and artist. At the time, I was working at a Washington D.C.-area company that provided writing and training for the government and the private sector. My specialty was marketing copywriting. On weekends, I would sell my artwork at art festivals. I hadn’t opened my own business yet.

M.C. Escher's "Infinite Circle."

I decided that a likely niche was to work with writers and artists. Helping them market their work as well as help them work regularly and deeply, making meaning from their work in addition to selling it.
I presented my niche idea to the Coaching Class, the senior instructor laughed and told me that artists don’t have money, and I should choose a smarter niche. He suggested I look for a “more reliable client.”

Here’s the tip I learned from that experience:
Half of being smart is knowing what you are dumb at and not doing it.

Shortly after I submitted a query for an article to a magazine, and followed up when I didn’t hear from them. They told me their business writer was leaving and they were busy looking for a replacement, and that was a higher priority at the moment.

I offered to write the column till they found the writer they wanted.
The magazine told me they loved my writing but were afraid I wouldn’t last. They were afraid I wouldn’t have enough ideas.

Both of those incidents happened eight years ago. I’m still writing for the magazine, plus another one by the same publisher. And I’m thriving in my niche.
Here’s what I learned from that experience:
The other half of being smart is doing what you are already smart at.
Almost certainly you do not have to sit down and brainstorm you’re your niche is. You already know. You might be afraid of it, or you might not believe it, or you might not know how to make it work, but your niche is already in front of you. Your niche wants you to recognize it. Give it a break, let it show up.

Stare at the dot in the center of the circles. Move your head back and forth slowly and the circles will seem to turn. Attributed to Robert Pless.

I could have worked them all linearly, developing products or service lines for each. I decided that art doesn’t work in a linear way, so maybe I shouldn’t either.
So I put what I had into a circle.
My writing for the magazines reaches a lot of artists, so I asked that my byline include that I’m a coach.
At art festivals, I talked to a lot of artists, interviewing them for my articles. My articles sounded better for real-life experiences, and that gave me credibility as a writer and a coach.

I approached an art festival promoter to let me teach art marketing classes for half an hour before the show opened.  That was good for the promoter as it helped the artists earn more at the show and gave the promoter the reputation of helping artists.
It allowed me to get to know more people. I handed out lists of marketing tips and ran specialized workshops. The group grew. I added a coaching demo every now and then.
The tip in this part of the story:  Use your niche skills to feed clients into other things you do well.
When I stopped doing art festivals, I had a big hole in my own marketing plan.
So I looked around at what else I could do.  The obvious answer to me was to show people how to do what I knew—writing, marketing, and art.
I developed training programs in writing—and looked for another market I knew well. I’d spent 25 years working in corporations, so business became my next niche.  I developed training programs and went to people I already knew in some corporations—even if it had been years since I’d last seen them. I make those contacts through Social Networking.

Zen circle, made with a single brushstroke.

Because I know how corporations work, it seems like a natural to approach marketing managers, training departments, and human resource areas.
Now I have a training development niche in which I not only develop the programs, but run them, too. I’ve expanded what I offer to include team building, leadership and other topics that demand creativity.
Which brings me to the last tip:
The best way to develop a niche is to develop a circular pattern. Each thing you do well feeds clients into something else you do well.

You can have more than one niche, but they have to connect in some way. Linear development is exhausting and won’t bring in enough income to keep you going.

My latest venture is my book. It combines coaching and is a how-to book for people who want to art journal but don’t know how to draw.  It’s called Raw Art Journaling, Making Meaning Making Art and North Light Books is publishing it in July.
What I learned from that step is: For every major new project you begin, you have to drop something else or hire someone to do it for you.

So let’s review:
1. Half of being smart is knowing what you are dumb at and not doing it.
2. The other half is doing what you are already smart at.
3. Use your niche skills to feed clients into other things you do well.
4. Linear development is exhausting and won’t bring in enough income to keep you going.
5. You can develop all the niches you want, as long at they fit into a circular pattern of skill development.
6. Review your circular pattern at least twice a year to see what needs expansion and what can be eliminated. Don’t do one without the other. If you expand in one area, you can drop or shrink another. Most businesses that try to be everything to everyone die within a year.

Quinn McDonald is a writer, artist and certified creativity coach. She also develops training programs in writing, soft skills and creative projects.

Make Room for Coaching

When someone becomes a life- or creativity coaching client of mine, I send them a letter of agreement. It explains the details in coaching that are important–the telephone number to use for the call, how long a session lasts, and a few requests that surprise people.

"Crazy multitasking" from BeyondBounds.com

Almost no one expects that coaching focuses on one thing at a time. It’s difficult to persuade people that multi-tasking is a myth. The way to prove this is to try coaching people who are deeply involved in multi-tasking.

Coaching happens (for my clients) on the phone.  I use a headset, which gives me crystal clear sound. It amplifies the crunching, chewing, and drinking noises of clients snacking or eating an entire meal while being coached. It also amplifies the keyboard clicks of clients who check their emails, text message, watch videos and yes, play games during a coaching session. Not to mention the car noises of the clients who are driving, often with friends in the car. When, a few weeks into coaching, they complain, “I’m not getting anything out of coaching,” I’m not surprised.

Here’s how you can get the most out of your coaching session:

—Coaching is an activity that requires listening, answering questions, thinking through complex emotions and motivations and connecting behaviors with consequences. Come prepared to take some notes, maybe in a notebook or journal, so all the notes stay together.

—Before you make the call, get a drink, grab a snack, go to the bathroom. Then you are ready to spend time on the phone without distractions.

— You can’t concentrate on a friends email or the embedded video and think about important decisions in your life.  Put other people aside and focus just on your needs for the moment.

—Let your other calls go to voicemail. You can’t talk to your coach, shift your concentration and energy to another phone call and pick up where you left off with the coach. Get back to your life when you are finished with a coaching session.

—A lot of coaching involves asking questions. I don’t demand instant answers. Take time to think. If I ask you, “When is your energy low?” I don’t expect you to have the answer instantly. I am willing to wait while you think. I’m even more willing to listen while you sort though several answers, looking for the most honest answer. However, if I hear you keyboard clicking, I will think you are Googling for an answer. Hint: it’s not on Google.

—Ask questions if you don’t understand what I am asking. If I ask, “When is your energy low?” and you don’t know if I mean after what activity or what time of day, ask. If you answer every question with “I don’t know, tell me,” I’ll be happy to give you examples, but your questions make the answer clearer for you.

—I don’t give advice. We can explore choices, options, and your ideas. If you are out of ideas, I’m happy to toss out some for you to react to. But I don’t tell you what to do, think, or be. That is always your choice. If I toss out an idea, it is not a directive. Generally I’ll ask what you think about the idea. You are not required to like it. You can hate it, use part of it, or come back with another idea you like better.

—Coaching is about you. If I tell you what to do and you blindly do it, then you aren’t involved in your future. If making decisions is new to you, you might find the idea of trying out ideas interesting or intimidating. Let me know how you feel and we can explore choices. That’s the joy of coaching. It involves support, encouragement, choices and consequences. You’ll have time to think and be silent. So will I.

If every second is filled with something, there is no time to process information, think of consequences, or process information to compare and contrast ideas and results. Thanks to the way the human brain processes multiple simultaneous activities, it’s apparently becoming rare to really delve deeply into any one subject or relationship, so while the electronically connected are collecting information about a wide range of topics, the depth just isn’t there anymore.

When you work with me, it’s all about you. And I’ll ask you to get away from your computer, TV, DVD player, iPod and every other electronic gadget. I’ve had clients make huge leaps when they concentrate on themselves. And that’s how it should be.

-Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach, writer, and seminar leader.

Image: Crazy multitasking from Beyond Bounds: http://tinyurl.com/4urdojb


Creativity Coaching: What I’m Asked Most Often

Happiness is a benefit of creativity. Acrylic on paper, © Quinn McDonald

Of all the things I do–art, write, run training programs, the one I’m asked about most often is creativity coach. Here are answers most people want to know:

Q  Do you teach people how to be creative?
A. Nope, you are already creative. I just make you less afraid of your own creativity. Or how to get in touch with your existing creativity that may be buried.

Q: Do you help artists or writers or dancers?
A. Yes, I help all kinds of artists. But creativity isn’t just about arts, it’s also about being a creative leader or employee, or parent.

Q: Are you an artist yourself?
A. Yes, I’m a Raw Art Journaler, a writer, and I teach business writing. I’m really an every-day creative person–a problem solver and dreamer–both day- and night.

Q: Did you go to school for creativity coaching?
A. I did. After I went to school for life coaching, 186 hours worth and graduated, I opened my practice in 2003. Most of my clients were creatives, so I  took another half-year of creativity coaching classes and was the first creativity coach certified in the U.S.

Q: Why do your clients come to you?
A. Generally because they are stuck. They might be confused about their talent, or not have enough time to create, or have too many ideas at once. Sometimes they are conflicted between their creative work and day job, want to create but are afraid to sell their work. Or they get confused between selling their work and satisfying their own creative calling.

Q. Are you a therapist?
A. No. I am neither a therapist not an art therapist. The difference is fairly simple: therapists start from the clients need to be “fixed,” often stemming from past events. Coaches look ahead. My coaching foundation also believes that people who come to me for coaching are creative, resourceful and whole. I don’t “fix” anybody. People don’t need fixing, they may need to find their path or have company climbing their path. But they aren’t broken.

Q: Do you have a coaching office?
A. Coaching is done on the phone. That’s how I was trained and it works really well. I have clients in Europe and all over the U.S. No travel, no parking, just a phone call and we can get work done.

Q: What’s a coaching session like?
A. In the first or second session, when we are defining the relationship, I ask the client what his or her goals are. Once we set goals, we see what the obstacles and gifts are on the path and the client develops a path to the goals. My role is to ask questions to clarify and to toss out ideas that the client is free to follow, discard or change. There is almost always homework–small steps to work on between calls. Sometimes I ask powerful questions for the client to think about between sessions.

Would you like to try coaching? For the first 10  people who contact me via email at Quinn [at] QuinnCreative [dot] com, I’ll provide a free sample session of creativity coaching. No obligation. No pressure. Just one free session of coaching. The offer expires on September 18, 2010. Read more about coaching.

The Hard Work of Coaching

There are a lot of coaches around–ones that will translate what your angels say, ones that delve into your soul and promise soul-satisfaction. There are happiness coaches, relationship coaches, career coaches. All of them want you to be happy and satisfied. To find your purpose in life.

Desert hiking path

Often when I ask what a client wants out of life, the answer is, “I don’t know.” If you don’t know, I can’t provide it. I don’t give advice. I don’t do the work. I firmly believe that you are not broken, don’t need to be fixed, and are creative, resourceful and whole. When you come to me you will do hard work,  every day. That’s why I’m a life coach–not a career coach or a happiness coach. For me, life is made up of many sections–career and relationship among them. If you are unhappy at work, your relationship is suffering, too. Your life is not six compartments, but one. And you are the same person in all of them.

For me, happy is not a goal, it is a way. Satisfied comes from being not satisfied and choosing to change. We make choices, live with the result. We have to choose “happy” over everything else every day, and that isn’t easy. It may mean having hard conversations, explaining why you can’t do what someone else wants right now, (leading to short term unhappiness.) It may mean giving up immediate pleasure for longer satisfaction (turning down a high-paying job you don’t like for a lower-paying job that will bring a lot of satisfaction, but will need explaining to your family.)

Change is hard work. It doesn’t come from your angels. It doesn’t come from your coach. It comes from you deciding to change and doing the work. As a coach, I support and encourage that change, help you decide on steps to create that change in your life, hold you accountable when you weasel out of it, and celebrate with you when you succeed.

I wish I were a mythic shaman, who could cast spells, drive out sadness, wave a magic stick. I’m not. I’m more of a hiker, sweating up the hills and enjoying the sky, then walking some more. I listen, I console, I help form plans that create change. And then you do the work of change. I encourage you when you are sad, laugh with you when you are happy, and watch you gain satisfaction and happiness from the work of change. It’s that simple and that hard. You life will not change in 10 minutes or in one conversation. It takes time. Which is all we have. If you are trying to find your purpose in life, time is the path you will hike.

–Quinn McDonald is a life- and certified creativity coach. She has room for two more clients who are willing to do the work for happiness and satisfaction. You can contact her at RawArtJournals [at] gmail [dot] com. If you don’t know what that means, leave a comment with a way to contact you.