Failure Is a Must for a Good Life Story

Sandra Dillon: May 13, 2018


Story to tell 1We should all have at least one great story to tell, and it is the story of our life. And if we want to make ours worth a read, it must have certain elements.

A good story has a theme that helps the reader learn something about his own life through the penned words of the writer. All memorable stories have a character that struggles with internal feelings or needs or a conflict which may or may not be a result of his own doing. The important part of the plot is the character must win or lose at least partially by his own initiative and choices as opposed to being rescued.

Why am I sharing the structure of a great story? Because we’ve entered a time when failure isn’t a socially acceptable option, and parents will go to great lengths with their time, money, and excuses to ensure their children don’t fail. In my opinion, these parents are robbing their children of a full life—experiences of personal growth and the telling of a good life story.

To ensure we’re talking the same language, let’s define failure. Failure can be driving hard for something never achieved or never working hard enough to achieve anything of personal significance. Failure can be not having the right priorities and living with the outcome. In the worse scenarios, failure can mean choosing selfish behaviors that result in harm to others. You may have other definitions, but these capture some common ones.

Who doesn’t like a good story where somebody struggles and overcomes failure or a series of failures? I don’t know one good story where someone has been rescued when he should have rescued himself. Parents should allow their children to (1) live with the consequences of their choices and (2) live their own life and not the plan parents dream for their children.

My encouragement to parents is to suspend any helicoptering parenting that clears obstacles in the path of their children or rescues them from their poor choices. Instead, pray for your children as you let them fail while they figure out life, and with faith you will likely see them flourish as they learn first-hand from their mistakes. Perhaps their story will be so compelling, it will find its way onto the New York Times best selling non-fiction list.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and premarital/marriage coaching.  She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossingsministry.com.

Life Coaching: What to Look for in a Coach?

Sandra Dillon: February 15, 2018

Coaching Profession

Coaching has become one of the fastest growing professions, expanding beyond the ranks of sports to include life, executive, wellness, and leadership to name a few life coachspecialties. Brick-and-mortar as well as online schools are popping up and offering training and certification with a small investment of time and several thousands of dollars. These schools advertise they can teach you how to coach and build a client portfolio delivering a 6-figured salary. I’ve yet to find anything sustainable that does not require time, patience, and hard work. Without a doubt coaching can be transformational, and the responsibility lies with the client to vet a coach to find the best fit.

What I Would Look for in a Coach

Coaching helps people define and meet their goals, and coaches help clients get results. Coaches typically market themselves with certifications, degrees, and diplomas, yet a coach’s education is only one aspect of creating a successful coaching relationship. Other factors someone should consider before choosing a coach include:

  • Degree/Training/Certification: Does the coach have some form of training, formal education, or certification? Master’s degrees are available from colleges and universities. If selecting a coach based on his training, make sure he graduated from a program endorsed by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
  • Length of Experience: Many coaches hang their shingle up on a part-time basis, because it takes time to build a practice. They still have full time jobs to pay their bills, so when a coach advertises he has coached for 3 years, ask more questions regarding the amount of time he’s invested in coaching.
  • Type of Experience: Although coaching uses a general set of tools and processes, a coach who has practical experience in a specific field brings added value into that area of coaching. They’ll be able to offer suggestions if a client becomes stuck on how to navigate toward his goals.
  • Recommendations: Can the coach provide recommendations from satisfied clients? If coaching is primarily individual-based, recommendations may be more difficult to secure as clients don’t want to reveal they are coached. With business coaching, companies are usually more forthcoming with recommendations.
  • Business Legitimacy: Is the coach coaching as a hobby or business? Does the coach have a social media presence (business website, LinkedIn profile, Facebook Page)? What does it say about them? Although there are many talented coaches who approach coaching as a hobby, clients should be comfortable with the cost/reward structure.
  • Connection: Don’t underestimate the value of the coaching relationship. A coach can have all the right tools, processes, and background experience on a subject and be limited in what he can do for the client because of personality fit and connection. Liking, respecting, feeling comfortable, and being inspired by your coach is very important.

How I work with Clients as a Coach

As a Life & Leadership Coach, I approach my clients holistically because humans are multi-dimensional. Although a client may come to me to work on one specific issue such as transitioning careers, changing jobs, and learning teamwork skills to name a few, we explore what is happening in each area of my client’s life. As an example, if we’re going to work on changing careers, I need to know about his/her marriage. Why? Because we need to understand how the spouse will either support or challenge my client’s ability to change careers. Since I have a broad knowledge and experience base, I routinely coach on relationships, marriage, finances, career, jobs, business management, and time management.

I typically offer a free 30-minute call, so I can (1) answer any questions about myself, (2) understand what you are seeking from coaching, and (3) recommend how I think I can help you. During the call, you learn (1) how the coaching process works, (2) whether you are comfortable with me as a coach, (3) have any coaching questions answered, and (4) whether the fee/schedule fits.

During the first session, we typically review your Wheel of Life Assessment to understand how satisfied you are with each life dimension and how they affect each other. You then prioritize where you want to initiate improvement. Most coaches are trained not to advise and only ask open-ended questions so their clients can figure out what they want to do. In my coaching practice, I wholeheartedly drive on questions but find that clients at times need my support with brainstorming options and solutions. They also need help vetting these options against their standards and discussing approaches to get over obstacles.

Next Steps

I highly encourage people to consider coaching in an area of life that they’re struggling through. Coaching can be a powerful tool as just about any athlete can attest to.  The most difficult part is finding a talented coach you click with that can help you achieve your goals.

 [Note: The opinions and views of this article are of the author’s own and do not reflect those of any coaching organization or other professional coaches.]


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and premarital/marriage coaching.  She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossingsministry.com.

The Power Of One

Sandra Dillon: September 16, 2017


changtheworldMargaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”  I would add, “Never underestimate the power of one.”  It only takes one to make a difference—a hero—an every-day person who gives a part of his life to something bigger than himself.

To be a hero one must ask the question: “What can I give?” The answer lives in the difference between what is and what can be.  People rise up by lifting up others.  The truth—the world needs more of you and your unique gifts.  People ask, “How and what can I give?” People tap into their “power of one” by answering the following questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What can I do for others?

Heroism is unveiled in action. Where can you mentor, teach, help, encourage, and inspire? Heroism is like a boomerang.  The boomerang flies across the horizon only to return to its sender.  Heroes are motivated to give but find they get even more in return. In the process of giving, you may just create your best life ever—one that can be described as:

  1. A life worth living
  2. One with purpose
  3. One with love and laughter
  4. With significance

What will you do 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years from today?


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and premarital/marriage coaching.  She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossingsministry.com.

Shine: Everyone Has Something to Offer

Sandra Dillon: September 14, 2017


shine 2I believe everyone has something to contribute to this world—a light within them just trying to get out.  That light may be a creation, an innovation, a word of encouragement, a helping hand, or a quiet presence.  I lovingly refer to these gifts as Shine moments where people are at their best.  Some of my favorite Shine quotes include:

The Purpose of Light Is to Create More Light (Paulo Coelho)

Live to Let Your Brilliance Show

We Are All Meant to Shine

Sometimes More Sparkle Is Called For

The World Is Far Brighter Because You’re in It

Never Pass Up a Chance to Glow

Shine With All You Have

I Want a Brighter World Than Bright (John Keats)

Your Shine is Not Simply Seen—It should be felt

Always Keep Your Fire Lit

Be Brilliant—the World Needs You

Your Light Touches Hearts and Minds—It Changes the World

What are your Shine gifts?  When have you been most blessed by someone’s Shine moment?  “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you” (Isaiah 60:1, NIV).  I encourage you to continue to search within yourself for those gifts that need to shine out into the world and fill it with more light!

 

A Father’s Gift to His Children

Sandra Dillon: September 3, 2017


father-daughter-son2When TV cameras pan a sports field, how many times have you noticed players mouthing “Love you, Mom.” How often have you noticed dads getting credit when sportscasters are interviewing athletes after a big win? My recollection is that moms are receiving most of the public praise. Why do fathers seem to be forgotten or avoided?

As a child growing up in a single-working-mother family without any father contact, some of the discrepancy can be chalked up to the single-parent family structure.  I believe another portion can be explained by the lack of emotional bonding between fathers and their children.  Although I do not have all the answers, I do know that dads play a vital role in the lives of their children, and what boys need from their fathers differ from what girls need.

Eldredge (2004) proposes that every boy wants to be a hero and continually asks himself the question, “Do I have what it takes?”  Boys want to impress others and are often doing things that allow them to say, “Look at me!”  Since every boy is seeking validation that he has what it takes to be a man, boys often look to their fathers to help them answer that question. Even God said of his Son, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17, NKJV).

On the other hand, Eldredge (2004) suggests that a girl has a different question she is looking to her father to answer.  Girls try to capture their father’s attention to answer the question of whether she is lovely and worth pursuing?  A father answers that question by letting her know that he is thinking of her and delights in her.

When fathers do not validate the core needs of their children, Eldredge (2004) proposes boys feel like a failure and girls feel abandoned.  Boys will forever try to prove they are a man and shy away from anything that might reveal otherwise.  A father’s silence can wound a son.  Since a father cannot give what he does not have, it is not uncommon for generations of fathers/sons to struggle.

Girls, whose worth is not validated by their fathers, may seek male attention outside of the family.  Children who are emotionally starved by their biological fathers, should seek a spiritual father.  Many wonderful fathers can step in to provide that need to non-biological daughters.  I am one of those girls, whose stepfather became my spiritual father. These needs cannot be fulfilled by a mother, only a father.  Mothers, on the other hand, give unconditional love, teach about mercy, and provide comfort (Eldredge, 2004).

If you are a father, consider looking for those authentic opportunities to say the words that convey to your son that you are proud of him and has what it takes to be a man.  For a daughter, make sure she knows that she is delightful and worth fighting for. Fathers are the most powerful men in their children’s lives.

Reference

Eldredge, J. (2004). You Have What It Takes: What Every Father Needs to Know. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.


144-2 - CopyAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional leadership coach with an extensive background in premarital and marriage coaching, education, and mentoring.  She coaches individuals, and couples, as well as facilitates relationship workshops.  She has a passion to help people experience outstanding marriages and relationships.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website www.shinecrossings.com

A Tale of Three Trees: It’s Not What You Think!

Have you ever bawled like a baby when reading a children’s fable?  I have!  Several years ago, as I was browsing the small bookstore at The Homestead Heritage in Waco, Texas, I picked up The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale.  I guarantee you that this was no ordinary children’s story.   The tale tells of the dreams of three trees in the forest, who all long to grow into something that the world would value.  One wanted to be the most beautiful, the other the strongest, and the third the tallest.   After many years the woodcutters came to harvest these trees on the mountain.

Christ with CrossWhat these three trees wished themselves to be instead became how they were used to serve.   The purpose of each tree brought me to tears.  Can you guess how the tallest tree was used?  The third tree wanted to be the tallest tree in the land, and by some accounts this tree got what it wished for as it stood tall at Calvary with Jesus nailed to it.   This tree had one idea of its future, but God had another purpose and plan.  Despite the ugliness it endured as it co-labored with Jesus, the third tree had the opportunity to help bring Salvation to the world.  Now that’s worth both living and dying for!

We all have dreams, and the question we should ask ourselves is whether we are dreaming the right dream.  Are you pursuing your own dream or seeking to know God’s dream for your life?  Sometimes God’s dream for your life will take you through ugliness, harshness, and cruelty such as what Jesus experienced on the cross?  Much of the time you will never be made aware of the impact you are making and must maintain faith that God is using each faithful word and action for Kingdom impact.  On those seemingly rare occasions when I do get feedback, I find those are the fuel that keep me seeking the Lord’s will for my life.

God’s Promises

Bible to HeavenThere are days when we need the simple reminders of God’s promises to His children.


He has a purpose and great plan for your life

In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28


With Him, your future is bright and the best is yet to be

“For I know that plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “…plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11


You have everything you need to do all He’s created you to do

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13


God created you with strengths and gifts to offer this world

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:14


He loves you and will be with you wherever you go

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

Hebrews 13:5


With God by your side and Jesus in your heart, go change the world!