Mar. 2017 
        Vol 10, Issue 3         
Creative Coaching Group
 the Creative Coaching Group newsletter
We all have had those travel days - when external factors outside our control conspire to take us down. I was recently stranded in Germany's Dresden airport after diverting there by train from Berlin as all flights out of Berlin had been grounded due to a wildcat strike. Desperately wanting to get to Paris to finish my European vacation, and with no other flights available except the one Air France had told me (erroneously) I was booked on, I relentlessly attempted to reach the airline by phone to confirm the flight. After 2 frustrating hours of dialing, I finally got through to them, only to be told they couldn't do anything for me because their "online computer booking system" was down.   As I collapsed in a heap in tears, desperately trying to think of a solution, a sense of helplessness ensued. Yet, as I sat there in that defeated state, the only things that changed were the hands on the clock.
Then I had a sudden epiphany. I'll call it my "Dresden Airport" epiphany. I realized that although the external factors were completely beyond my control I WAS completely in control of my internal reaction to the adversity. I was absolutely in control of how I felt about the challenges I was facing.  What did I want to focus on?  The hell of the moment or the place I was going? Wow! By imagining the meal of thinly sliced roast beef and glass of red wine awaiting me at a Paris Cafe, I felt an instant lightening and my mental bandwidth suddenly opened up. I felt a renewed resolve. I had a choice. There were alternatives and possibilities.   
I explore that theme in the feature article below - how can you take control when you really have no control?
  Jan Carley BA, CEC, PCC  
  Professional Certified Executive Coach     
  Creative Coaching Group    

PS. So I don't leave you hanging: I did get to Paris after an angel ticket agent at KLM (an airline partner of Air France) took pity on my situation and managed to link up my unconfirmed ticket reservation so I could board the flight...btw the roast beef (and Paris) were spectacular! 
FEATURE: How To Take Control When You Have No Control
Most of us like to live our lives with a sense of control. We intentionally organize our lives in ways that will give us a strong foundation and security to be able to thrive. Feeling a sense of control gives us the confidence to be able to soar and experience new things. Yet, as hard as it is for a Type A person like me to admit - sometimes things happen that we cannot control!
It's never a nice feeling being in a situation or facing adverse circumstances over which we have little or no control. Of course, it's a frequent occurrence while traveling - when we are subject to many external factors that affect our experience (weather delays, strikes, baggage lost, grumpy staff, smelly seatmates, lack of oxygen, late departures causing missed connections etc.) Yet even regular day-to-day externals can also greatly impact us such as changes in the political climate, world events, personal health or family illnesses, economic downturn, etc. The feeling of helplessness and stress one gets from being controlled by externals can be extreme.  
Most of us generally live the "outer game" and allow our lives and our moods to be governed and run by events and peoples actions outside of us. The danger of that approach is that we are allowing our joy, happiness and success to be dependent on forces outside of our control.
We can take back control by learning how to consciously control our own internal thoughts when confronted with external challenges.  We can shift our thought defaults from crippling paralyzers to ones that serve us. Inspirational author, Louise Hay, said "You are the only thinker in your own mind."  We can CHOOSE what we put our mental focus on. We can then choose our REACTION. That is entirely in our control.

It's perfectly okay to feel upset, out of control, angry or fearful when your feelings of control have been stripped away by external factors. Those emotions might be alarming to those of you who prefer to be most often "in control" (yup, that's me too!) , yet they are absolutely normal reactions. Denying those feelings only make them stronger. Call the situation out - it IS happening and you are upset. Stay there for as long as you need to, knowing though that while you are deep in the emotion it will be more difficult to move forward. When you are ready, then let go of the paralyzing part of the emotion and move on to Step 2.

OK. You have picked yourself up off the floor (or in my case, the airport mezzanine) and are ready to move forward. To be able to open up space in our internal world we must let go of the external forces that are filling that space.  To move on, we must release the hold that the disappointing, maddening or frustrating conditions have on us mentally.  
When I say accept, I am talking about a simple acknowledgement of the situation, not approval or happiness with the situation.   E.g/ In my airport travel story: "I accept the fact that this trip today did not turn out the way that I had hoped.  I accept the fact that my time in Paris has been cut short."  I let my attachment to that former ideal situation go. 
To use another example: You are stuck in a traffic jam and are going to be late for your appointment.  You can sit and fume and curse and feel your blood pressure rising. When you accept the facts: "Yes, the traffic is at a standstill and yes, I will be late for my appointment", you will feel the release that simple acceptance gives.  
What now? You have acknowledged your feelings, accepted the external situation and now it's time to refocus your internal world and return you to a place of mental freedom.  
Let's run through this step by step. 
Think of something that is out of your control, yet affects your life. How do you feel about it? Take a moment and live in that feeling.  
Ask yourself - Is this situation something that is within my power or control to change? 
If yes, then focus on what you want to change and put a first step in place to change that.
If it is not in your control, then ask yourself how you would prefer to feel about that situation.

E.g/ using my airline travel story: I felt upset, angry, distressed and helpless. Could I change the situation? No, I couldn't. How did I want to feel about the situation? I wanted to feel at peace, in control. With that small re-focus, there was instantly some mental bandwidth opened up and I could begin to think again - of possible solutions and possibilities. 
Using the example of the traffic jam:  You feel angry, frustrated and your blood pressure is rising.  Can you control the situation and get the traffic moving again? Unlikely. What do you want to feel in the situation? Calm, at peace, less anxious. When you refocus yourself to the those feelings and the mental state you want you can think again.  (and move to Step 4).  
Now you have acknowledged your feelings, accepted the situation from a factual perspective and refocused yourself mentally to the state of mind you want.  You have created mental space to think again and and are in control of your inner state.  How then will you act based on your new mental state? How you behave, or what actions you then take are absolutely in your control.  
Lightbulb of the Month
"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."
        - William James, American psychologist and author, 1842 - 1910

Finding Your Overtone - My new book is now on sale worldwide

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  *how to build an unshakeable foundation for your life or business

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Attention: Professional Coaches renewing ACC credential in 2017
Group Mentor Coaching Course with Jan Carley 
Join Jan and do a deep dive into the ICF competencies to enhance your coaching skill set. Perfect for the coach needing Mentor Coaching hours for certification and also for the coach who wants to refresh their knowledge and sharpen their coaching proficiency. You will experience 7 hours of intimate online group sessions designed to deepen your understanding and practical application of the ICF core competencies and have 3 hours of individual mentor coaching with Jan including auditing and mentor feedback of your coaching.

This 3 month course fulfills the requirements for the 10 hours of mentor coaching needed to renew your ICF ACC Credential, or for ACC and PCC non-ACTP applicants.  

2017 Course Dates
Spring Cohort:  May 15 - August 15
Fall Cohort:  September 18 - December 18

*email Jan Carley for a sign-up application  
(maximum 10 learners per cohort)  
About Jan Carley  

Jan Carley is a Professional Certified Executive Coach credentialed with the International Coach Federation. Known as a high-performance catalyst, Jan specializes in coaching individuals and teams to focus and expand their vision and leverage their signature strengths to open possibilities and maximize their potential. Jan's first book, Harmony from the Inside Out, has been acclaimed worldwide and is now in its 3rd printing. Her new book, Finding Your Overtone -  A Guide to Personal and Organizational Success, is now available in online bookstores worldwide.  

Jan is Associate Faculty of the renowned Royal Roads University Executive Coaching Program, a Professional Mentor coach and a certified facilitator of the Strength Deployment Inventory .  
Jan lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and is available for individual & team coaching, workshops and speaking engagements worldwide. PCC logo

Contact Jan at 604 873-1763    email:    

Quick Links
Jan' Coaching Company Creative Coaching Group
Jan's work with BarbershoppersInner Coach of Barbershop
Jan's new book:  Finding Your Overtone 
Jan's popular first bookHarmony From the Inside Out
If you would like to reprint any part of this ezine in your blog or newsletter, please feel free to do so as long as you include the following credit information: Jan Carley inspires possibilities and leverages peak performance by coaching from the "inside out." Sign up to receive her free 15 page report, 5 Ways to Instantly Focus for Harmony and Success, and receive a free subscription to Jan's monthly coaching e-newsletter, LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT.   Creative Coaching Group
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