Celebrate Life

Celebrate Life
 

I love watching old-timey movies from the 1940s. They’re like visions from an enchanted fairy-tale land where people would celebrate life. Women looked impossibly glamorous and men were well-groomed and gallant. I certainly have no desire to go back to the antiquated gender roles and societal inequality of those days, but I often wish I could be half as glamorous.
 

Of course, in real life I could never work up the enthusiasm to go to all that trouble on a daily basis. Occasionally I love dressing up and making an effort, but most of the time I have more important things to think about.
 

Dress and make-up aren’t the only ways to make oneself feel glamorous, though. There are many small things you can do to spice up every day. Getting things done is admirable, but I firmly believe that life’s about being joyful and excited; after all, what’s the point of all the effort if you don’t get the pleasure from it?
 

Here are some suggestions on how to create that tingly feeling which makes your life feel special and glamorous.
 
 

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Celebrate Life

 

Oftentimes, when I ask a client to tell me about their recent successes, they stumble and have a hard time coming up with anything. When I probe a little more, it turns out they threw their friend a suprise party, got their kids ready and to school on time for a week whilst battling the flu, or finished a project at work.
 

Some of your accomplishments will be large and some will seem small to you. The point is that everything you do and complete, is a success. Even something you don’t complete may be, if you learned from it and decided it wasn’t for you (clarity definitely counts as a success!). Look more closely and acknowledge all you do on a daily basis.
 

Find your successes and then celebrate the sh*t out of them. Reward yourself with a foam bath, an evening with your bestie, or that pretty scarf you’ve been eyeing. Getting into the habit of celebrating successes also sets the best example for your kids. They passed that dreaded, difficult test in school? Take them out to the movies, or simply spend a cosy evening with them at home to celebrate life.
 

It doesn’t have to be expensive, either – you just need to be creative. Dancing to your favourite music in candlelight can make an ordinary evening feel special. Burn some incense to make the entire house smell festive. Go out even just for a cup of coffee with a friend breaks up the monotony of the working week. Life is pretty wonderful, once you start thinking about it, so celebrate!
 
 

Glam Care

 

Move over, Self Care, I’ve just invented the new and improved “Glam Care”! In many ways it’s the same thing, except that Glam Care makes you feel like a million dollars. We aren’t in the habit of making an effort for ourselves, so create a special occasion, just because.
 

You could have a date with yourself. Got nobody to see that concert with you? Go alone, ignore any funny looks from others (I promise, most people won’t even notice in any case), celebrate life and have fun.
 

If you’re staying at home, take one evening to pretend you’re your own special guest. Imagine you had your best friend over or the person you’re deeply in love with. It’s their birthday and you’re making them a special 3-course dinner at a beautifully set table, bathed in candlelight and with soft music playing. If your vision includes a cake, by all means get that, too! If you think your friend deserves the effort, then you definitely do as well.
 
 

Laugh

 

Life can turn us way too serious at times and laughter can be medicine. Try this especially when you’re annoyed about something. Obviously, if your anger is justified, do something to change the situation; but have you noticed how a lot of the time, we just steam silently and never do anything? In some cases, it’s out of our hands altogether.
 

Take a good long look at the situation and ask yourself how much this will matter a year from now. Then note your flustered indignation, and if you can find it in yourself, laugh at your own grumpy face. It can be a huge relief! I’ve often been able to move on from some silly annoyance after being able to laugh about it.
 

Again, this is not to belittle your troubles or teach you to ignore them. It’s about the things we get worked up about that aren’t worth it or are out of our control. Life’s too short to get worry wrinkles over things we can’t change, so laugh and marvel at your colourful life.
 

What Your Life Could Look Like

dream life
 

I’ve always had big dreams. When I was a teenager in Germany, I dreamed of visiting Ireland. As a university student, I spent two years in Ireland and later moved here altogether. From childhood on, I knew I wanted to see other countries, and during my 20s and 30s, I lived and worked in four different countries.
 

When I discovered Coaching and experienced the fastest and most profound personal growth in my life with the help of my first-ever Coach, I knew I’d found my calling. Years later, I became a Coach myself, eventually studying for and gaining a recognised qualification in Personal and Executive Coaching. Then I dreamed of having more time and space for Coaching and my other passions and made that happen in 2015.
 

Now my dreams include growing my business and living a more sustainable life surrounded by people I love. I’m working on it, and I’d say that judging by my track record, I’ll achieve this one, too. It’s a wonderful feeling dreaming up one’s perfect life and then going for it. Nothing quite compares to it!
 

What does this mean for you? I’m going to attempt to paint you a picture and help you give shape to your own dreams, so you’ll be able to look at your life a few years from now and say: “That was when I first dreamt about xyz, and now I’ve achieved it.”
 
 

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There’s nothing wrong with you

 

Before I continue, I’d like to make one thing absolutely clear: I believe in dreams and always having a goal, but I don’t think people are broken or that their lives aren’t perfect the way they are. Too many self-styled “Coaches” try and tell you that your life’s all wrong and needs fixing (usually, followed by an offer to fix it for you – for a substantial amount of cash, of course).
 

I don’t believe in making people feel bad about themselves. Moreover, it’s my belief that everything happens in perfect timing and that we’re always exactly where we need to be in order to learn what we need to learn.
 

What’s even more important is the insight that this is simply the way life works. Everything that lives, grows (a tree that’s stopped growing, simply dies). Sometimes, we’ll find ourselves in situations, jobs, or relationships we don’t like. At other times, we’re on top of the world.
 

Wherever we stand at the time, it’s always a good thing have a dream in order to continue growing. It doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t like where we are. On the contrary, a dream is more powerful if it isn’t created out of desparation but out of a feeling of happiness and gratitude for the present.
 
 

A passion-centered life

 

Whatever your dreams for the future are, they probably include a very happy you. In my experience, human beings are happiest when they live aligned with their purpose, and that purpose is ususally connected to their passion (or multiple passions). In order to create a dream of a happy future, I therefore suggest you paint a picture of you focusing your life on what lights you up.
 

What would your days look like if they revolved around your passion? What would you do? Imagine money wasn’t an object, because believe me, it never is once someone truly puts their passion front and centre. Somehow, a solution always presents itself, even if you can’t see it just now. That’s why I suggest to not concern yourself with this particular detail.
 

Instead, pretend you didn’t have to worry about money or a place to stay at all. See a perfect day in your life, fulfilling your purpose and doing what lights you up. How would you feel first thing in the morning, when you wake up and realise you have only fun things to look forward to? What would you say to your loved ones during the day? What would you think about falling asleep at night?
 

Paint this picture in as much detail as possible. When I say “paint”, I don’t just mean you should imagine it like an actual picture, but to use all your senses. Hear the sounds, smell the scents, feel what you’re touching or holding. Bring the scene to life as much as you can.
 

Finally, it’s time to distill the main cornerstones of your dream and put them down in writing. Out of these, you can craft your next goals and go for them. Keep doing this, because life is too short to spend it without striving for something beautiful which excites you. You’re just like that tree: for as long as you live, you’ll grow and evolve, and you might as well do this consciously, after your own planning, rather than leaving it to chance.
 

Four Steps To A Radically New Life

New Life
 

“I’ve had it,” my client informed me. She had signed up for Coaching for the same reason everyone does: To create changes. And as we talked about baby steps and changing one thing at a time – which I still think is the most radical and effective way – she stopped me and said it wasn’t enough.
 

“I’m ready to leave it all behind,” she said, “and start a completely new life. What would you recommend?” Now, Coaching is not advice giving, but since she’d asked me directly, I told her she’d already taken the first step I’d recommend: getting a Coach. Even small changes can be challenging to stick with, but completely overhauling your life takes a lot of support and accountability.
 

Just in case you’re at a point where you’re no longer willing to compromise, and prepared to take radical steps towards living a life you’ll love every minute of, here’s a how-to. It includes a breakdown of the steps needed as well as the reasons behind them. And in case you’re wondering, my client went on to quit her job and become a freelance artist. The last I heard from her, she was wildly happy, so yes, she was serious about radical change.
 
 

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The anatomy of change

 

Every change begins with motivation. Usually, something triggers the “that’s it” moment. It may be that you’re sick and tired of the status quo, or you’ve compromised for too long. Some people are downright unhappy, others simply have the nagging feeling that there’s more to life.
 

What’s attractive about making a big change is that big changes come with big motivation. You’ll have huge amounts of energy to start off your new life. The saying that the first step is the hardest is not quite true here; in fact, at the beginning you seem to blast obstacles out of your way and easily dismiss objections from those around you.
 

The problem is that lasting change requires you to build momentum, and the only way to create momentum is through consistency. To do this, you need to go beyond the flashy, dramatic beginning of radically throwing out the old and embracing your new life. You need to take daily steps, do the work, and stick with it through these unglamorous times of feeling off or losing sight of your goal. Sometimes, you just need to endure.
 

I’m not going to lie to you – it’s hard! And it’ll require every last ounce of willpower and persistence you possess. You may even have to find strength you didn’t know you had in the first place. However, if you see it through and don’t give up, the rewards will be astonishing.
 
 

Building a new life

 

Are you ready to take the leap? Here’s how you build your new life.
 

1. Get a Coach

I’ve said this before, but I can’t state it often enough. People often think they “can’t afford it right now” and convince themselves they’re going to sign up later. In fact, they set themselves up for failure, prolong the journey and multiply obstacles by not getting support. If you’re serious about your new life, commit to it.
 

2. Move past the planning stage

It feels great to draw up goals and detailed steps along the way. I’m all for setting goals and writing them down, but I suggest you figure out the details later. Don’t get stuck in trying to figure out your path; the truth is that most people who’ve achieved great things, set out without having a clear idea. They learned along the way because doing is more productive than thinking. So do.
 

3. Prioritise your passions

There’s a reason why this is central to my Coaching! There will be points when you can’t find motivation and just want to throw in the towel. If you want to have any chance at creating a new life, you need to feel passionate about it. Centre your plan around at least one passion and never compromise on honouring it. This will fire you up consistently enough to see you through setbacks and periods of low motivation.
 

4. Take consistent action

This is the unglamorous bit. In order to make a lasting impact, your changes need to be accompanied by regular action. Determine something you can do every day, no matter what. Regularly review your goals. Focus on the next few steps only, and take them. It helps to commit for shorter periods at a time, such as a month or 90 days, and then review again. This keeps your eye on the ball when the overall goal takes longer to achieve.
 

There’s magic in beginnings, and a New Year is the perfect time to start a new life. If you’re ready, then stop waiting for a sign or for “permission”. Just take the leap.
 

3 Steps To Dramatically Change Your Finances Through Focus

change your finances
 

I’m not exactly rich right now. Two years ago, I’d finished paying off old debts and made a conscious decision to live and to pursue my passions. What followed were a few major expenses. I got my teeth fixed (around 3,000 EUR) and enrolled in business courses (2,700 EUR). I finally got into traditional archery and swordfighting (for which I bought equipment far exceeding 1,000 EUR).
 

Add to that the fact that I took a substantial cut in salary when I downsized my life, plus a few unforeseen expenses, and you have a fairly skint Sibylle who once again owes some money. Yet when I think back to the time I went broke in 2004, I realise it couldn’t be more different this time around.
 

For one thing, I owed a lot more back then. But the main difference is that I had no idea about finances and no idea how to deal with the mess. I was scared and helpless. Now, while my finances are a little strained, I still know exactly what’s going on. I went into this knowingly and don’t regret a single expense, because they were all necessary for my well-being and/or happiness. Most of all, I know without a shadow of a doubt, how and when I’ll have every last penny paid back and a comfortable financial “cushion” once again.
 

In short, I’m now educated about finances. I’ve also developed something which enhances everything in life, including finances: focus.
 
 

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Learning about finances

 

To learn about finances, I spent years going to workshops around the world and doing every program offered online. I read dozens of books on money management and found through trial and error, which of the systems I learned made sense. Therefore, I regularly write about money in the newsletter, and I hope with all my heart that it’s helpful.
 

The most important thing when you want to change your finances is to tackle them on two fronts: Money management, which is about knowing where your money goes and how to budget it, is step 1. Step 2 is a mindset which is as free as possible from learned ideas about money being scarce, or only coming to bad, greedy people, and all these other things we pick up from childhood onwards.
 
 

Where is your focus?

 

You’ve probably heard about the law of attraction, which states that you manifest in your life whatever you focus on. Focus is what occupies your mind most of the time. Now with an average of 6,000 thoughts that each of us has every day, it’s practically impossible to police this process. Fortunately, there’s a shortcut: Your emotions, which are caused by your thoughts.
 

Ever felt pretty good, and then you remembered something awful someone said to you, or your child being bullied, and after a minute or two you feel awful? Nothing outward happened, you just thought of something negative, and it changed everything.
 

To find out where your focus is, check in with your emotions. Set 3-4 alarms on your phone throughout the day. Whenever you hear the alarm, ask yourself how you feel. If the answer is anything other than: “Wonderful!” at least half the time, your focus is not on things that make you happy.
 

If you consciously adjust your thoughts 3-4 times a day, you will form a habit over time. Think thoughts of gratitude, or think of someone you love. It takes a while, so stick with it for at least a month or two! The change will be dramatic.
 
 

Change your finances

 

Here’s how you can use the above process in relation to your money situation.
 

1. When you “check” in, specifically ask yourself how you feel about your finances. If you feel awful, or even just uncomfortable, your focus is likely on bills, expenses, or debts. Adjust this towards thinking of the money you receive, however little it is.
 

2. Create a “giving” fund of ideally about 5% of your income. If you can’t afford it, start with 10 or 20 bucks a month. Donate these to a cause close to your heart. Whenever you do this, send along your love.
 

3. Also check in with how you feel whenever you spend money. If you feel anxious or worried, stop yourself. Say: “I happily give xxx EUR/$ for this” or, as Marie Forleo suggests: “There’s more where that came from.”
 

These may seem like small steps, but they will turn around your focus and change your finances. You’ll move away from scarcity and regret, and towards abundance and security. Your cash flow will follow.
 

Power Up Your Passions

power up your passions
 

My friend Sarah and I were sitting in our favourite cafe discussing ideas and dreams as we always do. One recurring theme was our little town, and how much we’d like to create community there. “There are so many talented artists and crafters around here… and none of them know each other!” I exclaimed.
 

A month later, we held our first Community Market in the large beer garden behind the local pub Sarah’s family owns. Yesterday, we had the 4th of the monthly markets, and we’re getting more and more stalls each time. Artists and crafters are coming together and getting to know each other. The atmosphere on these markets is quite unique; fun and inspiring at the same time, for both stall owners and visitors.
 

There’s a certain magic which happens when creative people share a physical space. They power up your passions. The truth is, making art or crafts can be a little lonely at times, and so can writing or practising music. To touch minds with other creatives feels like the breath of life, and it’s something I believe could benefit practically everyone. This includes you, even if you say you’re “just a beginner” or “not good enough” at your art or craft!
 
 

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The Red Tent movement

 

You may have heard about the “Red Tent” movement, inspired by the novel. Basically, women of all ages get together in a safe space to share stories and experiences. They laugh, cry, dance, support each other, and form a bond which spans generations.
 

Of course arts aren’t excluded from these spaces, but they aren’t their main focus. I’ve always thought that we need a similar movement for passions, and the Community Market I mentioned above is part of this dream made reality. It’s so incredibly important to share and reach out to others.
 

There’s a powerful synergy effect when people share things they have in common. It doesn’t even have to be the same passion, or even an art at all (our market includes everything from bows and arrows to homemade food, with paintings, knitting, homemade soap, and jewellery in between). Passionate people are contageous. Put in the same space, they “infect”, inspire, motivate, and support each other. It’s a natural process.
 
 

How to power up your passions

 

When I talk to friends or clients, it’s always variations of the same theme: We don’t have enough time for our passion or we don’t have the money. Oftentimes it’s just a matter of finding “headspace”, enough energy to devote ourselves to what lights us up.
 

It can be a struggle, and it’s all too easy to just give in to society’s demands. We end up going with the flow of being functioning citizens who work, eat, sleep, and do the housework.
 

But that’s not how we’re supposed to be. To truly live our joy, our full passionate and creative potential, goes against our modern society’s fabric. In order to stick with it, we need all the support we can get. And where better to find it than from other passionates and creatives?
 
 

Ways to make it happen

 

Not everyone’s family owns a pub with a beer garden. There is, however, a strange dynamic which happens when ideas like this are born: Things tend to fall into place. When you start to reach out to even one fellow passionate in your life, the universe begins to move in your favour.
 

Make a point of seeking out others like yourself and talk to them. Plant in their minds the idea of community, of sharing and mutual support. Have a pie-in-the-sky session where nothing is too crazy and every idea can be voiced, even if it sounds completely over the top.
 

Eventually, someone’s going to come up with an idea. There could be a community space that’s available for free some nights a week. It might even be a private person’s large garden or living room at first! Whether you’re starting a knitting group or a book club, a market or a discussion space, things will fall into place. They always do, as long as you make your intention heard and share it with others.
 

If all else fails, you can always resort to the internet. It’s not quite as powerful as sharing physical space, but it’s still inspiring to exchange ideas and mutual support with fellow passionates online. Seek out forums, Facebook groups, or other platforms. A Google search can open up a treasure chest of new friends to be made.
 

Stack the odds in your favour and power up your passions. It’s worth working for, and the rewards far exceed the investment in terms of time and energy.