Mirror, Mirror on the wall...

Who’s the handsomest man of all??!!

Selfies.  So many today!  And, how many actually like taking one?  Or two? Or a thousand? How many get retaken to get just the right smile, pose, angle, gut sucked in?

We are obsessed with perfection.  I must admit that I used to not like having my picture taken.  There was always something wrong. I look goofy, too fat, too smiley, too hunched over, too whatever.  I noticed every imperfection on me.

Where does that come from?  Well, if you think about it, I’m comparing my image with some other image in my mind….of another person who doesn’t have crow’s feet, of a model I just saw online that makes me look so not handsome, of someone else who has what I think I lack.

What would it be like to look in the mirror and see the person deep inside, beyond the exterior, who is quite beautiful, who is in the image and likeness of God, who is pure you?  If I look beyond the bags under my eyes, might I begin to something more, something more youthful, more life-giving, more beautiful, more me? Might I begin to see my true essence?

In that essence there is no perfection, there is only perfect Mark, perfect me.  The one who was created to be this person, look this way, and live this life. My DNA is all over this and it is unique!

Instead of looking for the perfect self, what might it be like to look for the self whose image and likeness is exactly and perfectly as it should be?  The self who has been marked in such a deeply perfect and permanent way that the only selfie that can be taken is the one with the lens of the heart. To see perfect beauty in who you are created to be!  There is no need for a second, third, or thousandth selfie. Truly perfect beauty cannot be captured by a camera, but only by the one who is looking for it.

I see many people searching outside of themselves for the perfect them.  And, quite honestly, they run into many roadblocks and dead ends. Because what they are looking for cannot be found out there.  It has to be searched for and found within. Perfection is within. It has no external standards. Perfection comes from living one’s life in the way that makes you authentic, real, whole, beautiful.  Beauty comes from the soul, not from the cosmetic department or fitness center.

I love journeying with people as they discover that inner place filled with their beauty, their abilities, their compassion and love, their true perfection.  It’s a place filled not with images of crow’s feet and 6-pack abs, but a place filled with heart, soul, beauty, life. It’s a place that mirrors you.

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Aye, Matey!

Do you know why pirates wear eye patches?  I’ve asked this question to a few people and the answer is the same. They have lost an eye.  That would be incorrect.

I had the pleasure and honor to speak to a local Rotary chapter this past week, and they incorporate the National Days calendar into their meetings.  Thursday was National Talk Like a Pirate Day….Argh! So, I wanted to play along.

The President of the chapter asked that question.  The answer is: to prepare one eye to see in the dark, so that when they go below deck that eye would be prepared to see in the dark.  They would put the patch on the other eye and use the eye already adjusted to the dark to see!

I never knew that!  As I was waiting to give my presentation, and heard that answer, I thought I would tie that into coaching.  Totally made it up on the fly!

Often in coaching, there are moments when clients may go into dark places - about work/career, relationships, how they are showing up in life, struggles, challenges, about the future.

In the dark, clarity isn’t usually there.  We can’t see. We struggle to find our way through.  Enter the Coach...with an eye patch!

As I coach, there are times when I have the wonderful privilege to walk with someone into those dark places, where they can’t see more than a couple of inches in front of themselves, and be a source of light and vision with them.  I never thought that I was a pirate with an eye patch who could remove the patch from my eye and help someone see a bit more of that dark pathway that is possibly leading them to a place of light with an eye that is already accustomed to the dark!  I have seen my own dark places and have become familiar with them and how they intimidate me.

Coaches can have this intuitive ability to sometimes see more than their clients in the dark.  To help them trust them and begin moving out of their paralysis and fear. To ask questions that help the client see more of the pathway forward.

How often might you be in the dark and need someone to help you through?  What is your experience of darkness in times of transition and questioning?  You might need that Pirate Coach who can see in your darkness! Aye, Aye, Matey!

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New Beginnings

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

~Lao Tzu

So true!  Going to college. Getting my first job.  Going to the seminary to study for the priesthood. Leaving priesthood to enter a relationship.  Leaving a full time job to begin my own business.

All new beginnings.  All with endings that preceded them.  Some endings were excruciatingly painful, while others may not have been as painful.  But, none-the-less, there was some kind of pain involved.

Leaving home. Leaving studies to enter the workforce. Leaving the country to study in Belgium. Leaving a vocation I loved and was quite good at. Leaving job security for a new venture.

I wonder if in the excitement of the new beginning we dismiss or don’t take notice of that which is coming to an end?

My relationship with my family as I have known it was going to change when I left for college.

My life of studies and college would change to a 9-5 work day...and no homework!

My life in the workforce ended and I entered studies and discernment for ministry.

My life and world as a single man would become filled with another person.

My 9-5 daily work life now changes to managing my own hours and time.

A lot of external changes, but oh so many more internal changes.  My emotions/feelings. My body. My experience of the world. My experience of myself as I moved into these new beginnings.

I have found that in the process of beginning something new, attention also needs to be given to that which is ending - relationships as we know them, daily contacts, my schedule, my time, my money and resources, my feelings, and my very self.

I find that in staying with, or reflecting on my endings, I have gained much wisdom about that which is going away, as well as that which my body is feeling.  My head may say, “I’m ready! Let’s do this!” But, my body and my emotions may be saying, “Wait. We need to grieve this, feel this, take this in and really experience it.”  The painful ending is about saying goodbye to that which has been. To the ways that we have “known” others, the world, and most definitely ourselves. Sometimes we are not good at saying goodbye because it can resemble a death.  Dying to something that is going away so that something new can emerge.

Transitions in life have both endings and beginnings.  And these transitions have all kinds of emotions, from sadness to anger to joy and exhilaration!  I have been through many transitions and can attest to all of this. Never easy, but always worth it because I have grown through each of these transitions.  They have contributed to the person I am today, and I would not want to change any of it.

What kind of a transition might you be immersed in right now?  How can I help you with it?

In the end, it is always a new beginning, and it will always have so much more to it than just the sparkly new thing.  It will involve growth pangs and your entire being. After all, the new beginning is really about you anyway. 

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Front Row or Third Row??

Front row or Third Row??

Front row or Third Row??

When I look at this picture, far too many times I have lived in the third row, especially on a roller coaster!!!  Life can seem to be full of ups and downs that just upset me, worry me, make me scared, and, quite honestly, unenjoyable.  I just hate the long drop off! My mind fills with fear and my body fills with tension. Life can be a “white knuckle” kind of experience, especially when experiencing something that is a change or transition.

We can get consumed with worry and doubt, fear and trepidation, create all kinds of scenarios that have dire outcomes, and live, well, like the third row.  We look glum, unhappy, worried, not even noticing the life around us. Third row living rods us of so many things.

What would it be like for you and me to live in the first row, especially when we are faced with some kind of challenge, change or transition??  Instead of seeking out the third row, why not try the energy and life of the first row??!! It really is our choice. We choose to create the scenarios that makes us third row people.  If we can do that, then why can’t we create scenarios that make us first row, let the wind blow up our skirt, laugh till our belly hurts, and seek out the excitement people??!!! I can tell you that the journey through that challenge, that change or transition will be much better than the third row!  Giving ourselves over to much more energizing thoughts and choices will lead us to the first row experience! Life will still be a roller coaster, but it will be filled with laughter, joy, and a much better view! I am sure of that!

Life Coaching for me is about helping people see and make choices for movement from the third row to the first row of their journey.  Helping people see a different perspective to their life experience is mind blowing and life changing! I love seeing faces, hearts and spirits move from fear and imprisonment (third row) to greater engagement, risk, purposefulness, and freedom (first row)!  Instead of being strapped into the third row seat and looking down, they are holding their heads high, taking a look at the horizon and seeing a much better landscape, a much lighter and more enjoyable place. Are you feeling stuck in fear and limitations as you try to move through a very challenging life transition, and desire to be free to think more broadly, positively and joyfully?  Then let’s chat, and get you started moving towards that front row experience.

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Regrets.  We all have them.  We regret something we did.  We regret something we didn’t do.  We regret choices. We regret relationships.  We regret staying too long in something. We regret not giving the second chance.  We regret hurting another person.

In Bronnie Ware’s Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, she shares with her readers (myself included) the 5 biggest regrets of the dying.  Can you imagine? Getting to the end of your earthly, physical life, and lamenting things that you didn’t do.  I would bet that all of us can relate to this because, as we live right now, we probably have some kind of regret.  But, what is a regret?

When I look back at the origin of the word, it comes from the French, regreter, meaning to “long after, bewail, lament.”  These are words that we would associated with dying.  We bewail or lament the death of a loved one. But a regret?  What are we actually lamenting or bewailing?

Bronnie’s book lists 5 regrets.  I would imagine there are many more.  And they are not regrets for things. They are regrets for the way one has lived or has not lived.  Regrets of the dying are about life and living!

I have a quote in my office from Norman Cousins:

“Death is not the greatest loss in life.

The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”

For me, this speaks to my understanding of what a regret is!  The dream that goes unfulfilled because of fear. Not being true to oneself.  Giving over power to someone else that doesn’t deserve it. Making excuses for why one is living the life they are living.  Staying stuck in a job out of fear or obligation.

The greatest loss is when we see something else for ourselves and then we let that vision, that image die because of fear, obligation, lack of confidence, comfort, paralysis, or excuses.  “That will never come true.” “That is too risky.” “I won’t be able to do it.” “My life is good just as it is.”

When we let that deeply desired career die inside of us.  When we settle in a relationship for something less than what we truly desire.  When we give the direction of our life over to someone else because we lack the confidence to venture forth.  When we let the fear of risking paralyze us and hold us hostage. Regrets.

So, what is the opposite of living a life of regrets?  Living a life where these things do not die inside of us while we are living!  Living life with a sense of purpose, direction, joy, fulfillment! Paying attention to what goes on inside of us when we feel ourselves at a crossroads in life.  Not giving into fear. Not giving our power or choices over to someone or something else, especially where it involves our integrity and authenticity! Live a life where our deepest desires are given the chance to be expressed, created and developed!  They are given life!

Regrets are about the parts of us, the parts of our lives that were never given the chance to even experience life!  They were born in us, but died in us long before they saw the light of day. Don’t let this happen. Might these parts of us that are yearning for life be divinely inspired?  Might they come from God? Might they be a call to our highest, truest selves? It would be devastatingly sad to die and never live the life we were meant to live. That would be my greatest regret.  What’s yours?

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“A diet changes the way you look.  A fast changes the way you see.”

~Lisa Bevere


One of the pillars of Lent is fasting.  There are so many things that we can fast from - food, alcohol, sweets.  Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I fasted from one of those items.

If I want to truly live my life purpose, then will any of those items help me find it?  Maybe, but probably not.  What must you and I fast from to get closer to what our life purpose is?  I propose a fasting and corresponding feasting practice for the next 40 days.


       FASTING FROM                                                           FEASTING ON

Seeing life through the lens of negativity       Seeing myself and life through the lens of                                                                                         possibility!


Living with limitations                                      Exploring boundaries and beyond!


Feeling uninspired                                            Seeking out the things that inspire me!


Allowing others to define me                          Defining myself!


We are called, during this season, to allow our fasting to help us see differently!  In order to do that, we must remove the glasses we’ve always used, throw out those self imposed limitations, kick the uninspiring people, places and things to the curb, and start forming our own definition of who we are and who we want to show up to be in this one, crazy life that we are given!

Finding our life purpose means going beyond the limits and boundaries we live with right now.  It is an exploration into unknown territory!  It means putting on new ways of seeing ourselves and our lives. It means climbing that mountain to the summit to see a whole new view!  It means changing our diet by fasting from the things that hold us back and putting better nourishment into our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls.

What do we need to fast from today?  And what do we need to start feasting on?  What’s holding you back from that 20/20 vision??

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Characteristics of an excellent coach

Finding the right Life Coach is not so easy.  However, here are some characteristics to look for in a good coach:

The Top 15 Characteristics Of Excellent Coaches

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