Coaching Blog - When Stories Can Change Your Life
Valentines Day 2020
Get to know the StoryMakers
Let me introduce The StoryMakers. We are a creative agency that provides both media and coaching.
Ron comes from a long history of visual arts as a photographer 📷 and videographer 🎥 and I come with my background in life and career coaching .
We both also have a lot of experience in project management and business consulting. Together we each have 20 years in our craft.
I want to share something personal on behalf of Valentine's Day. How we became an item :).
Things may seem smooth and easy for us now, but they weren't always this way.
You see Ron and I both came from a divorce and broken marriages before we met. 💔
I was also raised in a divorced home so had no personal success stories in this area. We had many heartaches and disappointments with past betrayals. You can read more about my journey here.
We both dreamt of having a loving and supportive family someday. I prayed deeply that God would bring me the right person, someone that would not only be my husband but my partner in life. 👬
Ron and I were both Project Managers at a the same small software firm in the Seattle area. We sat right next to each other but didn't feel like we could be open about our relationship.
Ron was my trainer, since I was new to the firm and he had been there a couple years. At that time, I wasn't interested in dating. I had tried the online dating game with nothing but disappointments and was really just wanting to take a break.
You all know Seattle can get a lot of rain. ☂️ Well one day Seattle had so much rain that it was flooding everywhere. 🌧️ The water to our office was up to our waist. Luckily my condo was accessible to me but Ron couldn't get to work or his house.
That is when we met up and got to know each other outside of work.
We started to date but had to keep it quiet. 🔇
We would communicate by instant message 🗨️ even though we sat a couple feet apart.
That was how we communicated with each other about where to go do dinner or fun things to do after work. 💃
I think we kept the secret 🤐 pretty good considering some people didn't even think we liked each other (according to small company gossip) :).
One day after I had left the company, I showed up with Ron at the company picnic. You can imagine everyone's surprise. 😮
A few months later we were married in Maui surrounded by family and friends.👰 Now here we are partners, entrepreneurs and loving running a business together and occasionally doing fun wacky things like Trapeze date nights.
Check out this video. This was our Valentine's date last year. I don't know how I was so brave that day with my fear of heights. I thought we were going to be doing acrobatics on the floor. 😯
This year for Valentine's Day we are heading to a Russian bathhouse.
To honor the day of love💕 we are offering a special couples portrait package. This includes capturing the images, editing, up to five prints that are your favorite and the digital downloads. These can be taken at a place within the greater Seattle area or out of our home studio in Bothell. This package would normally come to around $500 but between now and end of March we will give this out to the first 5 couples to reach us for just $349. 👩❤️💋👨
You can reserve your spot by sending your payment of $349 and then emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your session.
Seven Steps To Become The Best Version Of Yourself -An Ebenezer Scrooge and George Bailey Experience
Imagine your spirit floating out of your body and looking down at yourself. All your emotions are left behind and only the rational thinking part of you is observing your life and scenes as they pass by. This is not an easy thing to just sit and imagine. Our natural tendency is to navigate through life solving problems with the chatter of our own thoughts and the pull of our emotions and feelings. Yet, we frequently discover our made up thoughts and illusions lead to disappointments. It would be much easier if we actually had the same experience of Ebenezer Scrooge with the spirits or George Bailey with a guardian angel.
We rarely take time to observe ourselves, study our actions, discover our patterns and ask ourselves probing questions. We are so consumed by our demanding jobs and fast-paced lives that we fail to see the bigger picture.
If we could have the ghost of Christmas past, present and future force us to see ourselves for who are, even the most vile and ugly parts of ourselves, such as in the story of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, would we too be able to alter our fate? Would we all of a sudden decide to be completely accountable for the past, present and future choices we make?
Similarly with the classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life" by Frank Capra, what would happen if we had an angel come to us and show us our life, demonstrating all the good we have done and how life would be with us not contributing? Would we be encouraged and want to continue? Would we be inspired with even deeper longings to serve others?
Objectivity and self-examination is powerful in producing positive changes in ourselves but can be difficult to execute independently. We don't learn the important lessons of observing and examining ourselves in formal education very often and there aren't really training courses devoted to how to do this right. Self-observation exercises can help you process a lot of information about yourself in a deep and meaningful way. This helps you to have a window view of yourself inside the world so you can see your role as opposed to just being a blended part of the world or even a solo person in the world. If you feel stuck, trying self-objective observations will most likely shine light on what you need to do next.
The oldest book in the world, the Bible, even mentions the importance of self-examination in a number of versus.
1 Corinthians 11:28 - "But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup."
1 Corinthians 11:31 - "But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged."
Romans 12:3 - Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Here are some approaches to stimulate self-observations and make things in your life more transparent by removing the veil. Many of these exercises encourage some element of documenting changes that have either taken place or are currently underway. They can also help you envision the future. All these exercises will serve in getting you up close and personal with who you are so you can hold a part of your life in your hand and examine yourself much like Ebenezer Scrooge and George Bailey. You may not be able to be perfectly objective but you be able to seek to improve.
1. Journaling: We can write out our thoughts, past disappointments, life scenarios as they unfold, and future desires. By writing about our lives we can observe ourselves in words using the basic tools of pen and paper as opposed to relying on ghosts and angels.
2. Letters: Writing letters to yourself forces you to step outside of who you currently are. You can write a letter from your current self to future self and vis versa or write a letter from your current self to past self. Here are a couple fun website for encouraging writing future letters to yourself https://www.futureme.org/ or http://lettertofutureself.com/.
3. Interviews: have a family or friend interview you. Here are some good questions to start with. What are my 2 greatest strengths? If I had my own show what would it be about? When do I look the happiest? What is something new you think I would like that I've never tried? What are some areas you think I'm holding back in and not challenging myself or improving? What have you learned from me?
4. Self Portraits and Self Videos: Drawing and taking a picture of yourself or making a video will force you to look at how you present yourself and what your strengths or weaknesses may be. This can help you address and work through issues you have with self-doubt or low self-esteem. This approach will really magnify how you appear but by the end of the process, if done several times will likely make you more courageous.
5. Scrapbook, Portfolio & Vision Board: Completing a scrapbook or portfolio with pictures and important papers can help with self-reflecting on your past accomplishments and areas you have developed and grown. Doing this can encourage thoughts of how you might want to change and develop further in the future. A vision board is a powerful tool to capture the vision of your next version, using pictures and words that describe the kind of person and life we want to have in the future. You can join me in several online and in person Vision Board Workshops coming up in the new year for more info - https://www.thestorymakers.net/Vision.
6. Questions: If you can ask yourself probing and open ended questions you will be able to see your situations in different perspectives. Questions like why am I choosing to behave this way? What are my core values? What kind of things give me energy and motivate me? What is the most important thing I should be doing right now? What do I want to do with the rest of my life?
7. Life Coach: Often times doing these exercises on our own can feel overwhelming. Working with a trained life coach can be a great way to have someone else guide you through a self-observation experience. Similar to how the spirits did with Ebenezer Scrooge or the angel did with George Bailey, a life coach can help you to see your current state, then help you to develop a plan for how to change and become the next best version of yourself. "The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out." - Proverbs 20:5.
How many of these have you tried or would like to try this year? Let me know in the social media comments below.
Julie G. Allen is a Life and Career Coach, Project Management Consultant and Business Owner of The StoryMakers.