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Designing the MMS Coach Training: How it all began

In 1974 I was searching my mind, heart, and soul for the purpose of my life, when a colleague asked me if I could help him sort out some issues regarding his company. I had little to no experience with business and couldn’t imagine what value I could bring to his situation. I declined his invitation and continued my quest for meaning and relevance. He called two additional times and asked if I could help him. I was becoming mildly irritated and asked him, “Why are you calling me?” To wit he replied, “Because I trust you.” I protested, “But I don’t know anything.” He retorted, “That could come in handy!” I was dismayed and stated, “If you completely understand that I know nothing about your business, and you are willing to pay me to help you sort out some issues, then I accept!”

In October, 1974, we started the project and Lloyd became my first official coaching client. After a successful coaching assignment, he started sharing his amazing results with everyone he came in contact with…it sounded like, ”the woman who asked the incredibly powerful questions.” My phone started to ring off the hook. Before I knew it I was coaching people every day, more and more called, despite my protest, “I don’t know anything, but I will ask you questions and you will discover your own answers.” They didn’t care because the recommendation was so strong. In those days, I charged $35 for a 90-minute session. Within six months, clients started to ask if I could teach them how to ask those powerful questions in order to work more effectively with their patients, customers, and clients. The answer to their request was unclear to me since I was unaware of what I did in those sessions that was so profoundly helpful to people. I knew I helped them focus, determine what they wanted, and make clear choices, however, I had no idea how the combination of intention, skills, abilities, and the use of my energy created such extraordinary results. People used the word, “Gifted” to describe what I did, but like a prodigy, it came naturally to me, without effort or performance anxiety.

With the help of my friend, Kathy, we started to examine and analyze what I was doing. The most important aspect was that I was absolutely certain that I didn’t know the answers for anyone else. I also believed that each person possessed their own answers to all of their challenges, and I never presumed to know for anyone else what their choices or actions should be. This was the perfect starting place, and from there Kathy assessed everything I did with clients that worked. The initial behaviors were obvious and she immediately noticed that I easily suspended judgment, something Kathy said was not so easy to do. I didn’t know that setting aside judgments was challenging for others, and so we set out to find the root of judgmental behavior in order to unlock that mechanism. If I could suspend judgment, I imagined that it must be possible for others to do so, but we needed to determine how to unlock the judgmental mechanism? In addition to suspending judgment, we had to find a way to train people to not know the answer for others. Since this was a knee-jerk reaction, trained in many years of formal educational environments, we believed that it would take a concerted effort to reverse this behavior.

We thought that if an individual exhumed their own dreams, they might experience the process from the inside out and be more attuned to the fragility of the human psyche and emotions. In other

words, if they experienced the process of remembering their precious dreams, they might be more respectful of the dreams, wishes, and goals of others.

Actively listening was essential to the process, but how could you listen if your mind was busy chattering at you? We needed to find ways to help people silence the voices of their mind, at least temporarily, for an hour or so, so that the coach could listen closely and focus on what was being said. This focus of attention was critically important. We queried, ‘how could we get their attention off of themselves and 100% on to another person?’

Then there were those powerful questions that I asked that seemed to come out of thin air. When Kathy asked me how I found those questions, I commented that as I listened intently to their answers, the next question presented itself. If I were paying close attention to what was said, the “Clue” would surface and reveal itself to me. If my mind were elsewhere, I would surely miss it.

As we proceeded with the analysis of my behaviors that created a safe coaching environment, more elements started to surface.

Kathy noticed that I used the techniques of restating and recapping frequently. I was unaware of this, but acknowledged that I wanted to ensure that I understood what was communicated to me, and to confirm that we were both on the same page as we progressed. Although I didn’t want to be irritating to the client, I really wanted to make sure that I hadn’t missed something or lost the thread. Kathy commented that I never gave advice, and I shared with her that since I knew nothing about the client’s situation, it would have been presumptuous or arrogant of me to imagine that I had any advice that might be helpful. I commented, “Listening closely in a non-judgmental manner, reflecting back what I heard, asking questions that go deeper, and being very respectful of the client’s inner wishes, dreams, and fears just about summed it up.”

Kathy was also respectful when she requested to sit in on a session with a client and watch what I did to determine if there was more that I did that I was unaware of. I obtained permission from a client and Kathy watched silently in the corner, with her clipboard in hand.

After the session, she commented, “I have a whole new list of behaviors that I observed.” She continued to list the behaviors, of an “Unconscious Competent,” a person who is unaware of their extraordinary capabilities. Kathy commented, “You were sincerely interested and curious about your client’s situation, and you asked several times about their feelings regarding related items. You were very connected to the client and when the connection became shaky, you took it on yourself to repair any disconnection. There was an interesting blend of caring coupled with empowerment. You weren’t weak or mushy, nor were you pushy or forceful. You didn’t get shaken when feelings came to the surface, which was impressive, and although empathetic, you didn’t take on their feelings or get enmeshed in them. How did you do that?” she questioned.

Kathy continued to list the many behaviors that I demonstrated, and eventually we had a rather lengthy list. This was the first step in the process. Then I enlisted the help of a new colleague, Carol, who helped me design the first MMS Coach Training in 1974. Carol was the ideal associate because she was collaborative, curious, enthusiastic, and non-judgmental. We took the list from Kathy and set out on the mission…to design a training to teach people to coach their clients, patients, and customers in the same way I was coaching them.

This was our initial list of behaviors that an MMS Coach must display:

Coach connected with client
Clarified time and outcome expectations
Established a clear achievable objective
Was non-judgmental throughout
Asked about related feelings
Restated information naturally
Recapped at strategic moments
Acknowledged when confused or stuck
Asked clear and open-ended questions
Used “clues” to create questions
Maintained objectivity
Used client’s choice of words
Acknowledged mirrors when helpful
Was sincerely interested
Focused attention on client
Actively listened
Was in flow
Coach took care of him/herself
Used heart and power energies
Closed sexual energy field
Took the client into fantasy or ideal outcome
Believed in the client’s ability
“Chauffeured” session effortlessly
Supported rather than directed
Was unattached to the outcome
It felt complete to both people
The “WOW” factor (magic)
The client made a choice
Brought the session to closure
Client left with an action plan
Client knew post session support options

We then formulated core values that we wanted enmeshed through the fabric of the training. They were:

Acceptance • Support • Causality
Awareness • Feedback • Letting go
Intention • Trust • Clarity
Creativity • Fairness • Empowerment
Encouragement • Balance • Listening
Setting Objectives • Inspiration • Completion

Now that the initial list was drafted, we set out on the mission to design the curriculum to train people in my method in practical decision/choice making.

Lynn Stewart volunteered to be trained as our experimental student. I felt that it would be a good idea to have an experiment before we officially offered it as a program. That way we could use trial and error to see what was the most effective way to produce the results. We created a tutorial situation twice per week that gave us real time feedback on what to do and what to avoid.

This is how Lynn described the process from her perspective in her own words:

I had just moved from New York to San Francisco. Having been successful in Public Relations and unearthing a desire for a new life, I came for a visit and discovered that Cherie had launched a new venture. I was enthusiastic to see what her inspiration had spawned.

While staying with Cherie in San Francisco, I watched various people enter and exit her home all day long. One after the other, they would go to her office and leave with a similar “glow.” Each one had come with a challenge, a conundrum that they were seeking and unable to find answers to on their own. Each one left with clarity and a feeling of excitement. I was intrigued.

At a certain moment I asked Cherie to do a session with me. I wanted an answer. I knew I could earn good money doing a variety of activities, but my nagging inner question was, “What are my passions, purpose, talents, and motivations that are uniquely mine? Am I here for something more important than marrying, procreating, producing, and consuming?” These questions haunted me.

In the session Cherie conducted with me, I discovered a desire to help people find their own answers in a specific area; that day, in a moment of clarity and truth, I declared my desire to start my own business, “The Inner View of Decorating;” I chose to conduct individual sessions in which people could discover their unique expression in their homes. I was astounded to discover that I found my own answer to this question; however, I realized that I couldn’t find it by myself. It was at that moment that I knew Cherie had invented an approach to decision/choice making that was really special.

I started telling people about my session and my proposed new profession. I created a draft for my brochure, and within a week I had booked my first client. It all came together rather magically without effort since it was the externalization of my inner truth…no need for motivation, very little need for management, and I was going to provide a service to help people be peaceful in their environments.

During that first session I felt as if I had done a good job, however, I had many questions and I suffered from an inner critic who would not let me rest. I called Cherie and asked, “Do you have inner doubts and fears? Do you have an inner critic who tells you how to sit, how to look concerned, and how to hold your clipboard? Do you have a relentless inner dialogue that chatters at you while the client is talking?” I queried. When she answered a singular “No,” I asked the quintessential question, “How do you quiet the voices of your mind so that you can listen to the client without being distracted?”

When Cherie told me she could teach me how to master all of these challenges, I spontaneously volunteered to be her first coaching student. I wanted to see if she was right…to find out if I could learn from my dear younger sister what she could teach me… the skill of being fully present for another, focusing all of my attention on the client, and letting go of my need for attention.

I noticed that when I was listening to the voices in my head about my posture, gestures, and the expression on my face, I couldn’t simultaneously listen to my client. Realizing that this was an issue, I knew I wanted to master the art of quieting the voices in my mind. At that moment I had no idea how to do that. If I were to seriously pursue this new dream career, I needed that skill! Additionally, I found I had a multitude of judgments not only about myself, but about my clients, and numerous other items. I discovered my judgments were in the way of me having a quiet mind. I had questions about what direction to take in the session, and I had no idea how to ask penetrating questions that were non-confrontational. I also wondered how far I should go without being too invasive, aggressive, or violating the client’s boundaries or personal space. I worried about having the next question ready, and the silences really intimidated me. I often doubted whether I was on track or had lost the essential direction of the session. In other sessions I felt out on a limb, unsure how to get back to the core concern. Sometimes the client took the lead and I felt like a bystander, ineffective and at other times way too dominant. I wasn’t sure how to gauge the balance between letting the client go for their own answers, which at times seemed way off track, or intervening with my own perceptions which I realized could be my projection, and inaccurate. In short, I noticed that I had difficulty ascertaining the boundary between my client and me, and didn’t know when to listen, when to speak, and when to provide guidance. There were moments that I dreaded when both of us would get stuck and just stare at each other. I seemed to have dozens of questions for Cherie and it appeared as if she knew the answers, which totally amazed me. She seemed to have this innate talent that she must have been born with that mystified me.

My biggest question was how I could get my own needs met so that I would sincerely want my client to achieve their goals. How could I support a client in breaking through their obstacles if I was stuck on the same challenges? And worse still, what if I was oblivious to the mirrored stuck areas? I wondered how I could ever do the brilliant work that I observed Cherie do. I asked her, “What if I don’t believe the client’s answers, should I tell them? Or worse, what if they have answers I don’t agree with? What should I do?”

These were all big challenges to me and seemed at the time insurmountable. Coaching was extremely daunting to me.

Do I need to be perfect before I coach?

I wondered if I had to be perfect, or have everything sorted out in my own life before I could start coaching another? If I was supporting someone in going beyond my beliefs for myself would my little “what about me!” voice surface in the conversation? Would I feel resentful if the client got what I wanted instead of me?

There were so many skills and abilities to learn I wasn’t sure I possessed the capability to actually do this in an authentic manner. I worried if I could be trained to get out of the way and empower the client to achieve their results… I was confused, doubtful, uncertain, and fearful that I would never be able to do this.

I asked Cherie if she would observe one of my sessions and give me feedback. She agreed, believing that this would be a great way to start our experiment, finding the best way to teach her method to others. At that first session, Cherie did not provide me with any observations, but rather asked me questions about what I did. Just like during the original coaching session, Cherie encouraged me to discover what was happening inside me and to magically self-correct. She taught me to focus my attention on the client, to take care of my own needs so that my own insecurities, judgments, good ideas, and suggestions would remain at bay as I listened curiously to the download of information.

In this way, I chose to be the first MMS trainee in the new world of coaching. The year was 1975.

The process worked well with Lynn coaching clients while I provided her feedback, and then her watching me coach, and asking me questions in private. We structured our “Coaching Tutorial” on a bi-weekly basis so we could continuously build on the foundation we had established. Lynn was an eager student who progressed rapidly and was hungry for the skill sets. She had little resistance and a lot of willingness. This tutorial provided the test case we needed for our design work. We also conducted a gap analysis. We established a starting point, an ending point, and then constructed the learning bridge between the two points. The bridge was made up of various modalities that helped people traverse the learning bridge: didactic, dyads, triads, experiential, large groups, small groups, sessions, and processes, with three types of feedback loops, specific reading assignments, reflection, journal writing, report writing, and practice, practice, practice.

More about the design process…

It became clear that the design needed to address cognitive and affective, content and process, behavior change and learning new skills and techniques. We were also defining a new career for people, one that hadn’t yet been invented. We needed to package it in such a way that didactic, group, and experiential learning could all be interwoven and each learning style could get their needs met. If a person was more cognitive, we needed to accommodate that learning style. If a person was more experiential, we needed to ensure that their needs would be attended to. We didn’t want to leave anyone behind. In addition to all of that, we wanted the group to be cohesive, supportive, and conducive to the learning environment. The blend of structure, and freedom was an important balance. The core competencies needed to be in place, but we wanted our MMS coaches to be their authentic selves, not clones or imitations.

A dance of context and content, let me explain…The context is the framework, the container that holds the parameters of the program. Within the context are the Ground Rules, the structure, the curriculum, the dates, times, schedule, rules of engagement, definitions of terms, even the venue…

The content is the “MMS Way to coach in order to support a person moving from not knowing to knowing, then making a choice regarding a specific item in their life.” The content is the syllabus, the beliefs, the actual information (data), the progression of information from broadest to most specific (Boot camp), the MMS way of approaching coaching as a profession, the feedback sessions, individual tutoring with our specified coaches, the MBTI, the chakras and energy work, how to conduct an introductory interview, how to take notes without looking, how to document, how to keep track of where a client is…and on and on…for 220 hours.

If you think of an Infinity design, this is how I saw the design of the first MMS Coach Training.

We would start with a wide funnel of welcoming participants, address expectations, tell them how to play the game, then how to succeed in the course, information on completing assignments on time, staying current with all the required tasks, sessions, journal reflections, processing, and self-development. We would be clear that if they followed the course and stayed within the time frames they would transit through the narrowest part of the infinity sign with successful results, coming out the other side with accomplishment, success, and energy.

If, however, they procrastinated, postponed, or got behind in their work, they would put themselves at risk. We would let them know, “If you do not take this course seriously, then you invite all of your personal demons to take the program with you. If you neglect to do the work that is required, in self-development, reflection, sessions, reading, journaling, support groups, cleaning the vessel, going deep with yourself, then the parts of you that you like least will show up with all the reasons and excuses to justify failing the course.” What became abundantly clear is that each participant brought all of their past experiences (baggage), successes and failures with them. The MMS Coach Training would bring up to the surface all of their issues with themselves, with other relationships, and with their ability to set a goal and make it happen. For this we needed to have individual facilitators for key points in the process, “Milestone Meetings,” and check-in moments. Participants needed support when they would go inside, isolate, and be visited by the voices in their minds.

Process and Sessions

Designing the classroom part of the process was challenging enough, but classroom practice and demonstration sessions only provided participants with a collection of superficial skills and it didn’t go deep enough for my standards.

Healing Old Wounds

I asked my student/colleague, Lynn Stewart, to help me sort out how we could get participants to heal their old wounds, unblock their resistance, and open them up to their authentic feelings. After all, we wanted authentic coaches, not mimicking robots. We wanted them to be able to recreate my “Ground of Being,” rather than merely imitating behaviors.

Lynn suggested referencing the Inner Negotiation Workshop (INW), which we started offering in August, 1975. The purpose of the INW is to help people silence the voices of their minds, and to love and trust themselves and their choices. It is a process-oriented program that goes deep if the person is ready and willing to take the journey. This seemed like the right solution. We would start the program with an INW, then in the middle, we would have another INW focused on coaching and process, and toward the end of the course, we would have a third one to complete the “housecleaning.” As we proceeded to design the course, it seemed clear that the purpose was to teach how to coach like Cherie. In order to do that, we needed to literally create space for them to heal the past, in processes designed by them. Again, if we were to maintain the integrity of the process, they would need to come up with their own answers. We could not tell them what process would work for them. They needed to derive their own way, with their own words, in their own style, at their own pace to create the imprint to duplicate the old experience and heal or erase it completely. This was the power that was exhibited in not knowing the answers for another.

The program is objective driven. Before the MMS Coach Training begins, each person has an intake with one of our professionals to determine if the program is right for them. In that Intake Interview their specific objectives for the program are established. While focusing on their individual objectives in the training, participants receive “messages” that guide them regarding what actions they must take. The “message” is an inner imperative that challenges each person to shift out of their comfort zone and take a risk. No one knows what the message is until it surfaces.

Sessions and processes are often linked. The message guides the individual in trusting their inner knowing. Taking a risk and honoring their truth center, rather than saving face, for most is a breakthrough in and of itself. Making a break from predictions, hurts, and disappointments from the past unleashes a world of possibilities. Participants who find themselves stuck usually need to do something different in order to make sure the future isn’t just like their past.

The struggle for many is between the rational, logical, and reasonable side which is fully developed and the intuitive, affective, and inner knowing which is underdeveloped.

The course, like a golf course, has intentional ups and downs, and the roller-coaster continues to grow higher with each fluctuation until there is a profound breakthrough to “Knowing” what each participant must do for their own self-development, which results in action (out of thinking/analytical function). That action or risk-taking gives rise to deeper self-development and discovery, which then opens the door to the profound experience that no one can never know for another, what is best for them…this results in the “Brilliant” session. That multiple series of breakthroughs are, in fact, a peak level experience (transcendence) that feels like “bliss.”

Having overcome the confusion (comparing oneself to other participants), doubt (why did I sign up for this course), uncertainty (will I ever get it right?), and fear (I am going to be the one who fails the program), to making the dream become a reality…becoming a certified MMS coach! While in that process, they found their authentic self and made it connectable, which enabled them to become a brilliant MMS coach. At the end they experience a huge amount of space (limitlessness), opening up again to the world, and releasing them back to their individual worlds as new people who have new abilities, skills, and a renewed sense of self.”

What transpired with Cherie and Lynn…

As the MMS Coach Training was birthed so too was the professional relationship of the two sisters.

As a result of her training, Lynn went on to work with Cherie in formulating the learning points, behavior changes, and the process breakthroughs that she experienced from their work.

She first joined Cherie as a Coach Training facilitator in the first two MMS Coach Trainings. Although she mastered the required skill sets for coaching, she felt a desire to participate in her own MMS Coach Training to gain the personal development experience of releasing the blocks from her past. Feeling that wounds from earlier times were a block to her clarity, she wanted the self-discovery component of the program. What she had witnessed in the first two trainings watching participants, she then wanted for herself. She registered for the third MMS Coach Training and claimed her right to receive all the support and attention she had extended to others.

As a result of her experience, she chose to sell her business, The Inner View of Decorating and join the MMS staff as a volunteer. Inspired by her own training, she chose to find her own place in the organization. She trained to registrar the Coach Training and then to coordinate the program as well. Within the first six months, she asked Cherie, her sister if she could invest in the organization.

Within the year, their business relationship was officially formed, and after successfully completing co-leading two MMS Coach Trainings, she stepped into leading first The Inner-Negotiation Workshop & then the MMS Coach Training.

Leading the organization…

Upon witnessing her dedication and tenacity, Cherie asked Lynn to step in and take over the leadership of the MMS organization. Lynn became CEO and retained that position until she moved to the Netherlands in 2004, where She became Director of the MMS Worldwide Institute; Lynn also teaches and trains MMS courses in Holland. She is a global citizen who lives in Amsterdam.

Cherie as the founder and Entrepreneur…

With Lynn running the organization, Cherie was freed to launch her writing career. She dedicated her time to teaching, training and curriculum design. She also wrote her first book in 1977, The New Species – A Vision of the Evolution of the Human Being.

Invitations were extended to bring the MMS philosophy, corporate programs, personal development, Coach Training, and process work to different parts of the US, and eventually, the world. She brought our Inner Negotiation Workshop from San Francisco to Aspen, Denver, Wyoming, Boston, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

MMS Coach Trainings were conducted in the Bay Area, Colorado and New York. Cherie worked with Fortune 500 companies and by the end 1988 she had documented the MMS body of knowledge, Intellectual Property and signed her next book contract for Negaholics – How to Recover from your Addiction to Negativity and Turn your Life Around.

She has gone on to write multiple (www.drcherie.com) bestselling books, teach and train on 4 continents, in over 30 countries, become an instrument-rated Pilot and most recently learned to read the Thai language. She continues to coach, teach and train worldwide with her husband, business & life partner Michael, and her sister, Lynn Stewart

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A Letter from Lauren

Dear Cherie:

I’m not sure that you will remember me directly, but your sister, as I called her in my childhood, Lynnie, certainly will. We spent many summer evenings on horseback, childhood memories that are perhaps my most favorite.

The reason I am writing to you is that I began reading your book, Transformational Life Coaching because it was loaned to me so that I might “have a gander” at what the field involves. I have been working with a coach for a year, and it has been the most powerful experience in my life, one I find myself never wanting to let go of. A lifetime of therapy and holistic modalities cannot compare to the power of a trusting and loving coaching relationship, and I know this, because I have done an uncanny amount in my life already, but now I am finally clear about who I am in this world. Your book is bringing me to a point where I have only dreamed I could go with myself.

As I read very slowly through the chapters of your book, the inner experiences I am having are so powerful at times, I need a few days to go into my own life and clean things up. Yesterday I said goodbye to someone I love, with whom circumstances were a threat to my authenticity. It was hard, but I realized that the pain would go away, but making the right choice would be everlasting. This was enormous for the girl who always stays too long. Apparently I am no longer that girl. Ditto on the very deep heartache I have had over both Valentines’ Day and New Years’ Eve since I can remember. Just the other day, on Valentines’ Day, I was agonizing, as usual, but reading the middle and end of chapter four, when all of a sudden I realized why I have so much pain around those two holidays. I became enraged (abusive mother stuff) and let it out in the shower, thus expelling something so horrible yet invisible, it has caused me tears on two holidays every year, a total of 86 times! I look forward to experiencing those two holidays in the future, looking at them with both feet planted gently yet firmly on the ground. Even if it still hurts a little, I have the tools now to bring myself into the present and see it all with clarity: detach.

In NYC and LA for the past 25 years I have been an artist, a Hollywood photographer, an upper management suit-wearer, a speech writer, a star maker, 9/11 documentarian, restaurant person of various levels of employ including management, a Kundalini yogi, a Reiki practioner, someone who can’t stand other practioners when they act like hippy dippies, a giver, a lover, and a Wounded Healer. Some was Hell. Much was amazing. And now, settled back in the Roaring Fork Valley, I had dedicated this winter to figuring out which of my talents to hone, keeping all the balls in the air. Then I became an Ambassador at the mountain and wrecked my knee on day one, on a tour with tourists in tow. I find it interesting that in yoga we say that the knee relates to moving forward in life, and also that breaks of all kinds (objects, body) are the breaking of karma. For two months I have had not much more than doctors’ appointments and ice machines to be responsible for, and as a result… I have seen the point where it all merges together for me now. I asked for clarity, not a ligament replacement, but in whatever form it came, it has come.

I want nothing more than to become certified as a Transformational Life Coach and establish a small practice here. When I say the words out loud, I begin to tremble inside. When I tell others, more often than not, tears well up, because I have been doing and doing and moving and searching and running and hiding and hyper-acheiving and pushing boulders uphill… and now I can see so clearly what my life can look like so very, very soon. I see how all the bumps and bruises, abuse and triumph, success and creative abortions, jobs, careers, dreams both realized and destroyed…. all of it has made me ripe.

I have looked at coaching schools and read their websites and all of it is, of course, informative. I was looking today, and the questions I found myself looking to answer were: “Where would I stay in Ohio for those months?” or “This one doesn’t seem to have that much of a spiritual vibration to me…” So I thought I would just come to you, the person whose words are transforming me at an immeasurable velocity…

I am asking you, to be quite direct: Now what? Logistics are my question. I’m so NOT blocked about my desire! What do I need to get from where I am today, to where I have told you I want to go (with the name plate on the door)?

I may have bored you to tears, or perhaps you can feel the power of my yearning, a deep sense of gratitude, and how your work is moving me at religious proportions…. but thank you for what you have created, and for who you are in the world.

You can be assured that there is a reader whose life will never go back to being sad, frightful, or meaningless, and your work is the mortar.

With love,

Lauren

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Balancing Parenting Time vs. Recharging “Me” Time

Many of us have either met a “Super Parent” or tried at some point to be “The Super Parent.” You are familiar with the parent that coaches their kid’s sports teams, bakes for school events, always buys the perfect presents, never misses a significant (and often insignificant) event, and their child is perpetually dressed for the (unseen) photographer, without a wrinkle or stain; they also seem delightfully happy and content to endlessly give without a frown or negative utterance about anyone. They are the epitome of “The Super Parent!” Sometimes you might watch in amazement wondering how they can possibly be so well organized, doing everything for everyone, and on top of it all, taking care of themselves!

You may have seen or (God forbid) been the parent in the grocery store with the screaming child, grabbing at candy and toys; hair standing on end, with the bottom of your shirt stained by some unknown substance your child just wiped from their face. You may recognize the expression, “Dear God, please send someone to help me!”… This is the parent that needs to learn to balance baby time vs. parent “Recharging me” time.

Many parents, especially new parents perceive “me time” to be incredibly selfish when the demands and needs of a child are so important. However, there is a specific reason flight attendants include in their briefing that you need to put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting those traveling with you! If your energy is depleted, you will never be able to care for another.

There are several important reasons to recharge your personal batteries. Here are three for you to consider:

1. Refresh your mind so that you’re able to offer your child unclouded answers to their questions.

2. Restore your body. Sleep deprivation is not healthy for anyone. As parents, the demands are incredible, and between staying up all night nursing a sick child, or juggling extracurricular activities, bodies can easily be worn down.

3. Maintain your identity. Before becoming a parent, you had skills and abilities that contributed to your self-esteem, your self-trust, and your self-confidence. It is important to maintain these activities so that you don’t feel like you’re “just a Mom or Dad.” It might be painting, journaling, dancing, gardening, writing, designing websites, a spa day, a walk on the beach – something that reconnects you to who you were before you had children and allows you to maintain an identity as a person with value beyond parenting. Maintaining your identity will be particularly important when your children leave home for college, or to start the next chapter of their life. If you don’t maintain an identity, you could easily start to wonder about your intrinsic value without children to care for.

Although my daughter is grown and living on our own, I still find it important to recharge! A few of the ways I like to recharge are:

1. A day with nothing scheduled…no appointments, no “To Do’s” a day in which anything can happen…

2. Swimming is a favorite activity. Being in water is rejuvenating for me, if a pool is not available, a hot tub will suffice.

3. A good movie or DVD that is well written, directed, and acted, with a good plot and a minimum of violence.

4. Personal services: having my hair cut, my nails done, or getting a massage are all replenishing activities for me.

5. Buying a new pen, changing the sheets on the bed, having a cup of matcha green tea are all little activities that give me energy.

Make your list of activities and people that give you energy. Then make sure that you are balancing those activities that take energy from those that restore your energy. It is up to you to monitor the balance of energy because…if you don’t, no one else will!

Every day, when you recharge your cell phone, or your iPod, consider recharging yourself…

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Please & Thank You: The Power of Manners

I recently read an article written by David Lowry, Ph.D. entitled “25 Manners Every Kid Should Know by Age 9.” Then I came to the realization that the 25 manners outlined by Dr. David Lowry are rarely even practiced by adults! What happened to manners and etiquette and how does this affect our relationships with other adults? It seems to me that at the basis of every healthy relationship are respect, concern, compassion, and trust. If basic manners are absent, how does this impact the development of a long-term relationship?

Manner #1 in Dr. Lowry’s article states, “When asking for something, say “Please.”” Do the adults in your life say ‘please’ when asking for something? As you sit at the dinner table, and your spouse asks you to pass the salt, do they use the “magic word?” How does it make you feel when someone doesn’t use polite manners, but rather demands, insists, and expects you to react appropriately to their request? How does it make you feel when you hear someone ask for something politely? Are you more eager to respond, to support their request, to help them get their needs met?

Manner #18 addresses manners as they apply to coughing, sneezing, and picking your nose in public. Do you cover your mouth when coughing? Do you sneeze without covering your nose and mouth? If you have children, do they? More often than not, children mirror their parent;s behavior.

Manner #22 is about expressing appreciation. “When someone helps you, say “thank you.” You might think this is simply common sense, yet so many people possess a sense of entitlement. Do you hold the door for an individual without so much as a nod, and when the person passes through the door, do you feel like a doorman (person). The lack of gratitude can erode any desire to reach out and help another.

When I coach couples and families, the parents often comment, “We rarely say the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to each other or the kids. It is such a little thing, and it doesn’t cost anything, let’s start doing that more often!

Consider saying, “You’re welcome!” or “It was my pleasure!” rather than “No problem.” There is a subtle difference, but the way your response “lands” on another person can make a huge difference. It comes down to being gracious. The first definition of gracious is kind and polite. Ask yourself if you want to be thought of as kind and polite. If the answer is “Yes,” then make sure your actions are gracious toward others…both those whom you know as well as those whom you don’t know. The impression you make is up to you. Do you want to blend in with the entitled, impolite, uncaring masses, or do you want to lead people toward their polite, kind, caring, and truly gracious selves? And, by the way…thanks for reading our blog and have a nice day!

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Ten Things You Can Do to Develop Children’s Self‐Esteem

Show your love every day in clear demonstrable ways. For example, make a special food they like, or show up for their athletic event even though you’re busy. These actions show them that they are worthy of love, and reinforce the idea that they deserve it.
Sincerely tell children that you love them at least once a day. Hearing it directly and clearly ensures that they get the message.
Assist them in setting mini‐goals and help them succeed. Accomplishment makes people feel good about themselves. It will give your child reasons to be proud.
Reinforce everything positive; notice what they’ve done right. This keeps your – and their – focus on what they do well, rather than on what they don’t.
Have them see the opportunity to learn from each situation. When things go wrong, seeking out the lessons to be learned makes the overall experience less of a “failure” in their eyes. The less they see themselves as failing, the less they will beat themselves up.
Make promises you can deliver; then always make good on your promises. Keeping your promises reinforces that your child matters. Broken promises signal that they are not a priority in your life.
Provide structure – set clear, fair limits and expectations and adhere to them. When they know the rules, they can succeed by following them. Mixed signals lead to confusion and doubt about what they are supposed to do.
Listen to what they have to say. Listening shows them that what they have to say is of value.
Reward behaviors that you want to see more of. Celebrate their victories. They need to feel the delight of succeeding so they can be motivated to keep striving.
Love them unconditionally, and process your own issues elsewhere. Children need to know you love them no matter what they do. When they know they are loved for themselves, regardless of what they do, they will enter the world proud to be who they are.

If you like what you’ve read and would like to read more, visit www.drcherie.com/books.php to purchase a copy of The Gift of Motherhood today!

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The Five Levels of Communication

Excerpted from: Transformational Life Coaching, and written by:

Cherie Carter-Scott, Ph.D. and Lynn U. Stewart

To be an effective communicator, you need to be aware of the five levels of communication. If you are listening closely, you will be able to discern the level of communication in the conversation. The five levels are:

1. Clichéd conversation. The first level of communication doesn’t require any investment or involvement from you. It is the most superficial level and consists of a greeting, a salutation, or a clichéd comment that doesn’t require any interaction.

2. Reporting the facts. Examples of the second level of communication are the newspaper, TV news and weather, or a report describing some happening, such as a sale or an upcoming event.

3. Judgments. At the third level of communication, you expose a part of yourself. This level involves judgments, which requires taking a stand on something.

4. Feelings. All feelings require you to expose part of your internal world. Feelings are more vulnerable than judgments, and at the fourth level you reveal your emotional connection to the subject matter.

5. Peak communication. This is the fifth and the most connected level. Peak communication happens between soul mates, twins, those with past-life connections, some siblings, some parents and children, some spouses, dharmic lovers, and other people who are deeply in love. Peak communication means that you are so connected that you rarely need words. You can complete each other’s sentences, and when one of you thinks something, the other says it.

Since setting the expectation of peak communication in every coaching session would be unrealistic, we set the fourth level as the goal. You may have sessions that reach the fifth level, but you will address those feelings in every coaching session that you do.

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Learning To Love Yourself

Excerpted from If Love Is a Game, These Are the Rules

At its core, loving yourself simply means believing in your own essential worthiness. It is nurturing a healthy sense of positive self-regard and knowing in your heart that you are a valuable link in the universal chain. Loving yourself also means actively caring for every facet of yourself. It shows up in every action you take, from putting on a sweater to protect yourself from a chill to leaving a job that does not fulfill you. It means tuning in to your own wants and needs and honoring them the exact same way you want your partner to attend to you.

Not everyone grows up to have an innate sense of high self esteem or worthiness. In fact, most of us need to work at it to some degree throughout our lifetimes. Each person feels insufficient in one or more areas, whether physical, intellectual, financial, or in interpersonal dynamics, emotional maturity, or spiritual growth. However, respecting, nurturing, honoring, and cherishing yourself is your birthright and something you can learn.

Loving yourself is the best way to learn how to love. Love is an action that requires certain understandings, skills, and capacities. By practicing loving yourself, you train yourself to advance to the next level – loving another.

Only when you have successfully mastered taking care of your own needs can you know how to extend that same attention to others. When you respect the validity of your own thoughts and feelings, you can apply that consideration to others. When you believe within yourself how valuable you are, you can then bestow authentic affection on a partner.

If your objective is to play the game of love and win, then learning self-love is the first step you must take. Before you can roll the dice or even place your playing piece on the board, you need to tap into the inner reaches of your heart and soul and discover all that you are worth.

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A Letter from Mary

Dear Dr. Chérie,

I am writing you to express my deepest gratitude and to let you know how much I appreciate your beautiful books. You have helped me tremendously in my personal growth. All the coincidences that lead me to your books make me feel very connected to you as well.

“If Love is a Game, these are the Rules”, changed my life and allowed me to manifest my soulmate almost instantly. When I read it in 1999, I had just turned 34 and was desperately searching for my soulmate. Your book helped me become aware of changes I needed to make by providing a new way of looking at my self. It also taught me the importance of making a list of my criteria, which I did. Less than a year after, not only my soulmate had manifested in my life but we were also married! This was the miracle that I had asked for! Today we are blessed with three beautiful kids, ages 10, 8, and 6. The amazing part about this is that although I had been introduced to my soulmate by a mutual friend in 1996, we had never went out. When our paths crossed again in year 2000, because I had just learned the lessons and gained wisdom from your book, I was able to recognize that he was the one!

As for the past two years, I have been doing a lot of soul searching in order to find the courage to make a career change. Few days ago, I bought “If Life is a Game, These are the Rules”. As I was reading it, I was touched by every section and every single word because it was written in such a simple, beautiful and compassionate way. I stayed up all night to be able to read it cover to cover and cried of joy many times because I felt that this was a gift from God! I sincerely believe that this is a Bible for humans of 21st century! My joy was amplified also because of the coincidences that led me to buy this book which I would like to share with you in a moment.

Although I’m blessed with a secure and well paid job which also allows me to spend time with my amazing family, I often feel like I’m not quite aligned with my values nor my purpose when it comes to work. Even though I enjoy designing and promoting programs which align with my values, I feel that I’m not quite able to use my creative talents and my multidisciplinary training to fullest potential. I believe that I am not quite made for politics of corporate office environment because of my sensitive, empathetic and collaborative nature. I also believe that one should not settle with anything less than the best of what they could be. In an attempt to find some answers on how to better align my work with who I am, I tried reading different articles and newsletters on self development, as well as doing personality tests to better understand myself. I also participated in a five day authentic leadership seminar offered by my organization which I enjoyed a lot. Not being able find all the answers, last November, I asked God to help me and begged him to guide me.

Few days later, as I woke up from my sleep, I heard a voice in my head saying “you are a multicultural soul”. Indeed I come from a multicultural family and I speak four languages. My parents immigrated to Chicago when I was 11 years old. As a teenager, I think I was deeply wounded by this change for a very long time. I felt that no matter where I went, I was always different from everyone else. The fact that my parents and my grandparents from both sides had been also through this type of experience (move from one country to another when they were young) made things not any easier to deal with.

Few days after hearing this voice, I don’t know why exactly but I had the urge to look for “the love book” which was hidden in our library in the basement. Remembering how it had helped me find my soulmate and knowing that “love” is the greatest thing, I hoped that reading it again might lead me to some answers. And it did! On the last pages of the book, I was surprised and delighted to read that you were planning to launch a book on “Global souls” in 2001. I immediately started to look for it. When I was unable to find it, I felt like I must read “If Life is a Game,These are the Rules” in the meantime. As I mentioned earlier, I’m very grateful to have the chance to discover this treasure which I’m planning on offering to all my friends and family as gift.

Dr. Chérie, would it be possible to have your phone number to be able to talk to you in person, at your convenience? I truly believe that you are the person who can help me unlock the mystery of my life’s purpose because of the way your books have touched me.

Thank you so much,

Mary D.

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A Letter from Som

Dear Cherie,

I have received the books and have started reading them. I am reading the 10 Rules of Being Human, and I am enjoying reading it. As a matter of fact, more than just enjoying reading the book, it is invoking a lot of thought. Indeed, these are the rules we all know, have always known, and have somehow forgotten somewhere along the way. Each rule, as I read, will provoke a lot of thought and self-reflection. It is a small book by size, but certainly not by content.

I am the kind of person who does not just read something for the sake of reading, but for the sake of understanding. And these 10 Rules can only be understood by reading, thinking about them, mapping those thoughts to my life this far, and playing out various scenarios for each rule. That’s when I can completely understand the essence of the rules and how I am playing my life.

I realize this is not an easy or quick process. I realize it is not easy or comfortable to be totally honest with one’s self about one’s self. I have always tried to be honest with myself, and I hope the thoughts provoked by reading these rules will help me go further. I will continue reading each rule, introspect, and see how I have been playing so far. I will share my thoughts with you from time to time.

Thank you.

Best regards,

Som

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If Holidays are a Game, These are the Rules: Ten Rules to Make the Holidays Fun!

Ten Rules to Make the Holidays Fun!
by: Chérie Carter-Scott, Ph.D.

Rule #1
You will be sent invitations

You will be invited to family events, parties, and functions. You may want to attend all of them, some or them, or none of them. What is important is that you dig a little deeper and determine what is attracting you to the events and what is causing you to draw back. In each event there will be pros and cons, both in terms of people, places, and potential occurrences. If you anticipate what might happen in advance and map out a strategy to successfully deal with potential difficulties, it will help ensure that things will go smoothly, and possibly be fun and fulfilling! Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1) When I think of (X) event, I feel___________
2) The reason I feel this way is because____________
3) I am concerned that __________might happen

The answers to these questions will help you pinpoint what your reservations, concerns, or fears are and in so doing you can create strategies to ensure that your concerns are not manifested.

Now answer these questions:
1) In order to deal with this concern, I must_______________
2) I can ask these people _____________for support
3) I can do ______________ to take care of myself and manage stress

Rule #2
You will be offered food

You will be offered food in various forms over the holidays. Some of the food will be welcomed and relished. Other types of food might be a temptation for you. Still other food groups might sabotage your overall health and eating plan and cause you to have a Negattack. Before you accept invitations, have a meeting with yourself and establish your game plan. Determine what are your: “Yes” categories, your “Maybe” and “One Bite” categories, and your “No go” areas. Make an agreement with yourself regarding all three categories, put it in writing, and sign it. Then before you go to any holiday event, read this document. If you feel seriously at risk, take a copy of it with you in your purse or pocket so that in case you get amnesia you can refer to what you previously chose and committed. You can have a “delicious experience,” but if you spend the rest of the night (or week) beating yourself up for what you ate, it just isn’t worth the rift created between you and you! Anticipate, plan, set yourself up for success and then finally, cause it to happen.

Rule #3
You will encounter people from your past

During the holidays you encounter people whom you love from the past and regret that you rarely get to see them. You also will encounter people whom you know you will see yet wish you could avoid them. People whom you did not anticipate seeing could easily throw you off center with their presence freezing you in your tracks. The first group of people is not a problem because they warm your heart and give you a wonderful feeling. The second group you can plan for because they always show up at annual events. The third group is the potential high-risk group. This group includes those to whom you have a high emotional reaction. Here are some steps you can take…
1) List anyone who might make you uncomfortable
2) Write out what you might say to them so you are not caught off guard
3) Determine what you want to do if you encounter one of those people so that your evening is not derailed
4) Acknowledge yourself for any and all strides toward functional behavior!

Rule #4
You will need to manage expectations

An expectation is the anticipation of something happening, based on past experiences; the expectation provides ideas and images of probable, possible, and also desired outcomes.

People will have expectations of you and you will also have expectations of others. This is normal and happens everyday. If you have shed ten pounds in the last six months, you might have a relative approach you and say, “You are looking so skinny! We must feed you, you’ll waste away to nothing!” You need to be prepared to respond to that statement, without slapping the person or inhaling a slice of pie. If a friend says, “I heard about your divorce. So sorry to hear about that, but we all knew it wouldn’t work out. It was never meant to be!” Think of possible responses that won’t alienate the friend. You could say, I feel the same way about your husband but this might not be so user-friendly. Anticipating what people might say prevents you from standing in front of the pumpkin pie speechless.

Rule #5
Stress is an option

Being stressed over the holidays is a definite option. If you simply go with the flow, count on being stressed. Holidays bring with them the challenge of managing multiple tasks and getting everything accomplished without feeling burdened or worn out. Cards, cooking, parties, decorating, gifting, shopping, and getting dressed up are all part of the holiday experience. They can be fun or burdensome. If you take the holidays in little bite size pieces, a little each day, so that you don’t overwhelm yourself, you will be able to manage better. Plan out what you will do when. Carve out appointments with yourself on your calendar or agenda and book in the activities. Watch out pressuring yourself to get everything done in the time allotted. Pressure during the holidays is not helpful. Take each activity, choose it, and make it fun!

Rule #6
Comparing yourself to others can be a trap

Julie is thinner. Megan has whiter teeth. John has a better wardrobe. Tony has a much cooler car. You can always find someone who has something better than you. There is no challenge to the comparison game. You can spend all your time noticing people who are better off or worse off. It doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to do that. Around the holidays this tendency can become totally out of control. There will always be a better host or hostess. There will always be someone who buys better gifts. There will always be someone who makes better stuffing or a tastier turkey. The opportunity here is to determine if you want to appreciate others for their level of excellence and learn from them rather than feel insufficient and diminished in their shadow. The choice is completely up to you. The holidays will be much more enjoyable if you can use the brilliance of other to inspire you rather than depress you. This holiday season use your journal to appreciate what you experience and not what you can do to improve. If looking down on others is your proclivity, then see if you can use your talents to teach, coach, or nurture their greatness.

Rule #7
Perfectionism can rob you of your joy

If you are “Perfectionistic,” you could actually ruin your holidays. Perfectionism means that you must be perfect in every way and there is no room for human error or mistakes. The pressure to be perfect can limit your experience of joy and satisfaction. Doing everything perfectly is not realistic and it is riddled with shades of insecurity. If you do everything perfectly it means that you close the gap for anyone to criticize you. It means that you cannot learn anything since perfection is the top of the line. It also means that if you don’t achieve perfection that you will beat your self mercilessly for not being the best at everything. To overcome perfectionism, you must give yourself permission to be human, to make mistakes, and to learn from those mistakes. If you can give yourself permission to be an imperfect human then your holidays will have the possibility of being much more fun than perfect.

Rule #8
Financial restrictions can make you feel small

You may be on a limited budget. In times of financial challenge you come to the realization that you need to change some of your spending habits from the past. What can you give that is a part of you? What can you offer that represents your creativity and generosity of spirit? What can you share that will express your caring without causing you financial stress? Consider making something for friends and family. If you bake, consider cookies or special nut breads. If you work with your hands, perhaps beaded items might be perfect. If you communicate well, perhaps a poem or short story might bring a smile and a warm feeling. When you give of yourself people appreciate the time, the thought, and the intention behind the gift that rarely comes with a store bought item. Remember that the greatest gift you can give to another is your love and that comes directly from the heart. Open your heart and let it speak with the words of love.

Rule #9
If you get stuck in the past you could miss the present

You may have hurts or wounds from the past as most people do. Perhaps you are spending this holiday season without a loved one who has always been present in years gone by. Suppressing the feelings doesn’t make them go away. Overriding them is not a solution either. If you are experiencing loss, tell the truth about the pain you experience. Then after you tell the truth allow your creativity to dictate some options to transcending the loss, or emptiness. You might wrestle with this because the memories keep drawing you back to familiar memories. Hang in there and persevere. You can overcome this. Focus on what would give you joy. Often focusing on giving to others gets our attention off of ourselves. Volunteering to feed hungry people, going to hospitals to distribute gifts, visiting a nursery or orphanage will allow you to give energy to those who are much more alone than you are. Ask yourself what would enable you to feel great about yourself and then just do it. You’ll be glad that you did.

Rule #10
Receiving graciously is an art form

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone always gave the right gifts? Yes, but we don’t live in a perfect world. People often give what they want to receive. They give what will get the job done with minimum stress. They recycle something that was previously given to them. As a result you receive something that you can’t even imagine exists on the planet. At moments like this you want to be gracious and grateful for the gift that says, “I tried even if I didn’t succeed.” At these times consider yourself as a “gift terminal.” Upon receiving something that you will never use or wear you can well imagine a person who will delight in the very same gift. In January there are “White Elephant Parties” that are given to exchange gifts that were mistakenly given to the wrong person. If you are not invited to one of these events, then throw your own party. Gather together all of the “mistakenly received” gifts and recycle them so that they finally reach the right person. Receiving graciously is a talent that requires that you look beyond the material gift to the intention of the person who is giving it. Connect with the intent and you will be filled with gratitude!

The holidays can go either way. They can be wonderful or difficult. To make sure that the holidays are precious times to be remembered for years to come you must do some preparation in anticipation of what might possibly happen. You must manage yourself and your expectations. You must deal with the unforeseen. If you do all of these things, you will have truly wonderful holidays that you will treasure forever!

Phone: (800) 321-6342 • www.drcherie.com • info@themms.com

©MMS Institute, LLC 2011