Don’t Let Others Change Your Brain

Unless you’re the negative nilly–then by all means let them, so you can be your Best Self this holiday season!3427ece1-1916-4503-88f5-f7f2e42f593a

Dr. Amen and many others have written books about how WE can change our brains. They concur that not only do we have the ability, but we have the responsibility, to make sure we, and our children, take measures to live, think and act in ways that create optimal brain health. 

But did you know that our brains are literally influenced by the brain waves of those we are with? I learned this from my Relationship Coaching teacher several years ago but in teaching the Bringing Baby Home workshop I have been reminded of that crazy fact. Dr. John Gottman has studied thousands and thousands of couples over the course of 30+ years. He is so good at what he does that he can predict, within 5 minutes, if a couple will divorce within the next 5 years with 90+% accuracy. Ha!…. that was a rabbit trail but too interesting to delete! He has also studied children and their parents. . . 

The astounding finding that every new parent should know, is that the brain wave patterns of a depressed parent will be adopted by the baby. In other words, the baby’s brain wave patterns will become depressed. When that happens, development is slowed and there can be long term consequences. Thankfully, as adults, they will have the opportunity to take charge of their brains.

Realizing the unseen battle of brain waves, helps us understand why we feel irritable after hanging out with a bunch of negative nillys and helps us understand how to navigate life. While I don’t recommend cutting off all friendships or contact with people who struggle with pessimism or depression, it is important to be conscious of how they are affecting us and, if needed, limit our exposure. More than anything, people who are depressed need to feel loved, and, influenced by positive brain wave patterns! Yet we must be careful because we lose our ability to love them well if we accidentally adopt their negative brain waves.

Do your part to remain a brilliant light in the world! Know for certain, how you love people consciously, and influence them unconsciously, can make a great difference in their lives and in the lives of those they influence! 

This holiday season, be your best self. Be the light of love, joy and peace.

What exactly IS coaching?


Those who’ve experienced good coaching that empowered them to make the difficult changes necessary to improve their lives, have kept this relatively new profession moving and growing. Coaching websites are full of testimonials. They can explain what coaching does but few can explain what it “is” or that it is not just good leadership, leadership training or another helping profession.

Professional coaches have a different mindset and a very different approach than almost all untrained coaches, because it comes naturally to very few. Keith Webb, developer of The Coach Model, says, “To most leaders, professional coaching practices are counter-intuitive, and that’s good!”  Ha! It is good if you are a professional coach! His definition of professional coaches is, “Real coaches master 3 sets: a coaching mindset, a coaching skill set and a coaching tool set.”

Most of us would never dream of seeing someone who claimed to be a doctor if they did not have board certification. It’s just not wise.


So what kind of certifications are available for coaches? The first step is to complete a program at a school that is accredited by our national board, the Center for Credentialing and Education, or The International Coaching Federation. The student first receives a school certification and can then claim to be a certified coach. At that point, they can begin working toward the BCC or  ICF certification. Both are valid certifications. Specialty certifications can be pursued after the Life Coaching certification is gained.

So what exactly IS coaching? Coaching is working with someone who has mastered the 3 skillsets, “a coaching mindset, a coaching skill set and a coaching tool set,” so that they can achieve the results they desire.

Like finding a new doctor, certifications are crucially important, but it is only the first step to finding a coach that is right for you.


Board Certification requirements can be found on the Center For Credentialing website. 

If you want to know about my training, click the tab that says “bachelor’s degree or higher in any field” FYI, my bachelor’s was in communication.

To see the difference between therapy and coaching, check out the chart at the bottom of this article. 

Betrayal by Kim Kompel

6dbadb9e-9daf-4f9b-9aa2-8b47d0977586What to Do When You Feel Betrayed

July is a time to remember those who fought to create and preserve our freedom. We can also honor those individuals in our everyday lives who have stood up to the tyranny of self-centeredness, fought for and nurtured strong relationships. Most of us know a few individuals who choose to do what it takes to grow a marriage, a family or build a community. They often take “the road less traveled” in order for their loved ones to feel safe and that they matter. 

Acts of treason and betrayal, when the United States of America was being formed, held grave consequences for those involved and our country. Betrayal in our closest relationships can incur the deepest of consequences as well. That betrayal fractures marriages, children’s growth and development, flourishing communities and ultimately our nation’s greatest resource, each other. The crippling ripple effects of our personal choices can have epidemic, world-wide results.

Dr. John Gottman, one of the most well-respected academic researchers in the field of marriage and family and author of What Makes Love Last: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal, describes 10 ways to betray a partner in addition to sexual betrayal. He explains that relationships are built on the foundation of trust, and the erosion of trust in a relationship begins in the seemingly most insignificant of moments. You choose to turn toward your partner or away from your partner when they need you most, whether you are consciously aware or not. Choosing to turn away from someone when they need your support or attention invites distrust. They no longer trust that you will be there for them. Over time, that constant turning away develops into a sense of betrayal, and ultimately a fractured marriage that lead to divorce, even in relationships that practice fidelity. The following behaviors contribute to a sense of betrayal, according to Gottman:

  1. Conditional Commitment – The underlying attitude is “I am here for you…until something or someone better comes along.” The partner is not fully in the relationship and any incident can diminish how much intimacy and support their partner receives.
  1. A Nonsexual Affair – This relationship involves a supposedly platonic relationship that a partner would be uncomfortable watching the interactions or upset with the closeness shared.
  2. Lying – Keeping secrets or not sharing the truth in order to avoid blow-ups or arguments in order to keep the peace.
  3. Forming a Coalition Against the Partner – When a partner includes outside family or friends in decisions, constantly vents or criticizes the spouse, or aligns with their parent over their spouse regarding issues, erosion of trust prevails.
  4. Absenteeism or Coldness – Instead of sharing true feelings, the partner chooses to give the cold shoulder OR emotionally not being present for the spouse when they need support or feedback.
  5. Withdrawal of Sexual Interest – A variety of reasons for not making sex a priority can lead to a sense of betrayal. Those reasons include busyness, stress, negative body image, criticism, not feeling cherished, mismatched sex drives, or physical/medical issues. When the issues are not addressed in honest, loving ways, hurt and rejection can consume the relationship, according to Gottman.
  6. Disrespect – If a partner makes another person feel inferior, uses frequent name-calling, sarcasm or implies they have the upper hand, they are being disrespectful and creating the poison of distrust in the relationship.
  7. Unfairness – Life can be unfair, but loving, long-term relationships can be havens from injustice. Mutual satisfaction only happens when neither partner feels taken advantage of and needs/wants are met equally. For example, spending, division of labor, or how free time is spent need mutually satisfying solutions.
  8. Selfishness – Happy couples understand that, at times, each will forfeit their own needs for the common good. However, resentment occurs when selflessness is not mutual.
  9. Breaking Promises – Broken promises can include, for example, secrecy or controlling of money/resources, not aligning with a mutual value established in the beginning of a relationship (like how to practice spirituality or boundaries with in-laws) or addiction.

How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal

  1. Create a safe place to share honestly with each other. Avoid blindly accepting hurtful behavior, shutting down or harsh retaliation and defensiveness. Also, avoid making your partner guess what is wrong. Put your feelings into words by saying how actions make you feel.  Ask each other open-ended questions that begin with the words WHAT or HOW that invite solutions. Be open, honest and unconditionally committed to mutually sharing what you both truly want for your relationship.
  2. Practice accountability and reliability. Re-establishing trust, according to Dr. Brene Brown, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, author and creator of the video, Anatomy of Trust, explains that individuals need to “own your mistakes, apologize and make amends as well as do what you say you are going to do consistently.”
  3. Listen deeply. Repeat what you think you heard your partner say and allow them opportunity to clarify. Refrain from choosing to hold on to your misinterpretations of their words or behaviors. Dr. Brene Brown also suggests to give your partner the most generous interpretation of their actions.
  4. Choose calm empathy. When we choose to respond calmly, our brains stay out of fight/flight/freeze mode and can problem-solve much better. Compassion and empathy are located in the pre-frontal cortex of our brain and can be accessed when calm. The prefrontal cortex also houses our ability to reach solutions. So, take a short time-out, get calm, choose empathy and you are on the road to finding solutions that work for your relationship.
  5. Get help. Enlist the help of an objective person who is trained in relationships, such as a board certified relationship coach, to help create solutions in order to move forward and align with the vision you have for your marriage.

So, embrace the challenge to build a deeper sense of trust and avoid the pitfalls of betrayal in your marriage in order to create strong relationships within your family.  Only then will you ever know the greatest opportunities for your ultimate dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of TRUE happiness.

by Kim Kompel 

to find out more about Kim  click here.

How To Have Great Relationships-but don’t expect to like it!

10994946_10153140305943846_8240182326330972053_nIf you’ve read books about leadership lately, you’ve seen the phrases below adapted and rephrased then touted as good leadership skills. No doubt, they are! But rarely do we consider the fact that these things can, and do, serve all of our relationships well. They are the nourishment needed to make them blossom and grow. Consider them like Miracle Grow for relationships!

  • Build each other up
  • Serve one another
  • Carry each other’s burdens
  • Forgive one another
  • Be at peace with each other
  • Comfort one another
  • Care for each other
  • Show kindness towards each other

Breakdowns in relationships often begin when we start expecting others to give to us the very things we once gave freely. i.e. the things listed above.

Books about living a fulfilling life are full of examples of how a person’s life changes and becomes gratifying when 1.) they begin to live for a bigger purpose than themselves and 2.) they focus on giving rather than receiving.

Implementing the things above gives new purpose and meaning to relationships. And many find a sense of fulfillment by choosing, on a daily basis, this selfless way of living. (Don’t worry, people who focus on the good of a relationship, choosing to be a giver, cannot be doormats – but that’s for another article.)

What if this year you decided to bring your best self to your relationships, treating others as you wish to be treated? What if your thoughts, words and actions were not dependant of their choice of words and actions? Sounds depleting to think about but once it becomes a way of life, the contrary is true.

You may even find yourself feeling like a great leader and will likely begin living a fullfilling life, thriving together with those you love.

If that seems like a far cry from where you are, but want to move in that direction, you might be interested in relationship coaching for individuals. My slots are very limited, but I have great referrals and we’re planning on doing a Relationship Group in April at the Coaching For Wholly Living Spring Summit. Be watching for details.

 Speaking of groups, and the Coaching For Wholly Living WINTER Summit, I’ll be posting some AMAZING testimonials soon.

Regain Enthusiasm

How I Regained Enthusiasm 
Could This Be What You Need?
3ddec2a4-3d0d-4742-98db-b639d2618a83When I stopped writing my newsletter a year ago, I needed a break. I had new things on my plate and rather than trying to do it all, I decided to back off on a few things. Besides that, I’d lost my enthusiasm for writing.

When our enthusiasm is gone, we feel stuck. I sure did! I spent some time down in the rut, but then, I took my first step. Being a coach, I knew that to move out of stuck, I needed to reassess where I was (overwhelmed) and then get clear about where I wanted to be. Since I was feeling overwhelmed, I backed off on things that were draining my energy.

Taking a break is essential to being able to think clearly. Humans were designed to need rest and relaxation. Our brains need time think outside the confines of our daily grind. We also need to time to think about nothing!

Sometimes we only need a short break. Just a day away to REthink, REfocus and REmember why we are doing what we are doing.

I needed a longer break. Taking a break gave me time to refocus and get clarity. During my break I began working with Stronger Families, and I was reminded – I work better with a team. I need them for inspiration. Though I travel all over the country – alone, there is a team of Master Level Trainers that I’m connected to as well as the SF staff – they inspire me!

It sounds easy, ‘just take a break,’ but that first step can be really hard! We get so bogged down with life and what we ‘have’ to do, that we have no brain space for what we ‘could’ do. We may have no idea why we’ve lost our enthusiasm, but it is gone – long gone!

What I learned during my break from writing was that I needed to develop a team of  coaches to work with if I wanted to reengage with writing and take on more clients. I have done that and I have been inspired to write again! My colleagues are great! I will introduce you to Kim Kompel and Ted Hackney soon.

Though we may feel like we have no choice, isn’t being stuck just the result of making the same choice over and over again? I thought I “had” to write my newsletter. If I didn’t, I’d be throwing away everything I’d worked for. When we get stuck in a rut we begin to believe it’s the only way. We’re no longer going where we want to go but can’t see any other way.

Simply reframing our choices and realizing we are NOT stuck, we have chosen this path today and consciously recognizing our freedom to make a different decision, whenever we are ready, helps us feel much better! It can REnew our enthusiasm and bring life back our endeavors.

align=”center”>REthink, REfocus & REmember