Category Archives: small is stupid

Sweet November Dreaming! Plus Free Download

Happy November my friends! With the change to winter time, it’s dark mornings and early sunsets, I felt the need to kick up the sparkle, focus on what’s moving and shaking and what I want to bring more of in my life and work. Soooooo….I did  my Full Moon Dreamboard a week early.

For those of you looking to start a dreamboarding practice, here is a quick tutorial about how to whip together the board of your dreams (the lo-fidelity version).

I have been using Pinterest for the last year or so to create my monthly dreamboards (so much inspiration, so few paper cuttings to clean up!) and suggest you give it a try too!

Here is my November Dreamboard:

I am feeling a lot of warmth and home-y-ness, sparkle, light and love in this board and can’t WAIT to see how the month evolves around these images. What do you see in this board?

Using this dreamboard image as my screensaver for the month keeps me fully engaged with my vision. If you would like to download a copy for your own screen, it’s my gift to you!

Happy dreaming!

on ostriching: get your head out of your ass

I was working a heavy ostriches metaphor into this post: how in cartoons they bury their heads in the sand but how in reality they are super fast and lay the largest egg of any living bird. But that really is what wikipedia is for. Read to your heart’s delight about ostriches there.

Hiding behind that metaphor was the real message: that we all bury our heads in the sand at times. Especially change-makers, leaders and creators, who face big choices and scary turns on their un-blazened trails. It’s comforting, muffled and quiet in the sand, so who can blame us?

But here’s the problem: refusing to think about an unpleasant situation, hoping that it will improve so that you will not have to deal with it rarely works in the way you want it to AND it burns as much energy as actually making a decision and taking action.

It leads to burnout all of its own. Anxiety. Guilt. Ultimately: giving into perfectionism, procrastination, and really, fear, does not a trail-blazer make: you know this.

So here’s what I suggest:

  • Identify areas of your life and work where your head is in *ahem* the sand.
  • Pull it out.
  • Brush your little peepers clean, take a few deep breaths.
  • Look around and really see what’s around you.

There might be a whole landscape, big puzzle pieces, or oncoming vehicles coming at you. Look for those things and feel your feet in your shoes and take action. A micromovement. Start a conversation. Write yourself a note. Do Something. Do your thing.

What is the thing that you are burying your head in the sand about right now? Pulling it out just might be the just thing that clears the next few yards of your trail.



thank you.

Yesterday, I received word that I successfully completed certification and am officially a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. Amidst my happy dancing, I realized that, as hard as I worked to complete the program, my tribe worked even harder supporting me through the process: through my doubts, fears, successes and failures they held my hand, kicked my ass, cheer-led, offered help and more.

To this tribe of amazing friends, family, clients, readers, supporters and colleagues, I extend my deepest gratitude and devoted heart. And I wish you much more love and success:


To laugh often and much,
to win the respect of intelligent people
and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends,
to appreciate beauty,
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child
a garden patch or redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love love love.


a cottage: not a prison. broken down walls, nonetheless.

your prison

a cottage: not a prison. broken down walls, nonetheless.

I want to bring my creativity into my work.

I want to feel more confident and powerful.

I want to change the way I feel about my bodyI want to do work I feel passionate about. I want stronger relationships.

Or even:  I don’t know what I want, but it’s not this.

It’s no small thing when someone says that they want something in their lives to change.

My coaching clients do a lot of hard work to get from where they are to where they want to be, and that work isn’t always in the form of action (going, doing, getting, running, higher, faster, now!). The hardest work seems to be in the shifting, the choosing and affirming new perspectives, the being and the standing up into what they want.

I recently completed with a client, who put it quite simply: “I had built my own prison!”

She was talking about the process of acknowledging, examining and letting go of the stories that kept her stuck. The tall tales she told herself which built steel bars, and doors that locked tight (complete with guards carrying automatic rifles). A prison that was built of: That’s the way it has to be. They call it work for a reason. You can’t do what you love. I am not [fill-in-the-blank] enough. Other people can do that, because they are [fill-in-the-blank] and I am not. You are a dreamer, come back to reality.

From the prison, she could smell the warm air of possibility and the sweet notes of her heart’s desire, but her arms could not reach out to grab onto these things. For months, we sat together on the floor of that prison, looking around and describing what it was made of. Brick-by-brick, she looked at the stories and chose: to believe something different. She choose the way she wanted to see the world by choosing which stories would stay and which would go.

I had built my own prison.

And we all do. The key that unlocks the door is listening to the stories we tell ourselves and then making the choice to either continue to believe them or to choose something different. Shifting from: They Call it Work for a Reason, to: My Work is a Joyful Exploration, opened up possibility, curiosity, play, and just fit my client like a glove. (You can tell by the sparkle in her eyes.)

On this July afternoon, I wonder: what stories are holding you prisoner? And if you chose, what would the new story be?


purposefully nice

a little kindness goes a long way: a love note to myself.

What would happen if today you spent the day being purposefully nice to yourself? If you treated yourself like you treat your best friend: with kindness, gentleness, humour and deep love. If you treated yourself like a road trip partner, occasionally checking in to see if you are okay and if you need anything. Or even like the neighbour that you run into occasionally (the one from art class that tells great stories) and stopped to listen and really see yourself?

What if for one day, you treated yourself like a houseguest that you really adore, and went about filling your rooms with lavender and your suitcases full of jam?

Make your inside voices match your outside voices: start by being purposefully nice to yourself today.


Update: Reflections on my first full day of intentional kindness are up on my personal blog, The Living Dreamboard.

your ultra marathon

Now, I was not an athletic kid by any stretch of the imagination (all knees and elbows and general lack of co-ordination), but in the last few years I have learned to love running. My iphone has made it significantly more enjoyable with Nike + GPS and some great playlists, and now living in the mountains with a lake nearby helps too.

But I remain stunned by the intensity of athletes who run ultra marathons: the idea of running for those distances and that amount of time is whoa-inducing.

Love this video (sent to me by one of my fabulous clients) and the direct comparison between committing to something like a (whoa!) ultra marathon to committing to your ultra-mara-LIFE. Specifically:

  • Leaving it ALL out there or not going out there at all.
  • Every time you hit a wall, you have a decision to make: find away to go around it, find a door, or quit. And the thing is, once you get through a wall: everything resets.

Those runners sure are something, don’t you think?

who you are

One of my favourite quotes is from a song by the cooler-than-cool Ben Harper (the new album is fantastico, btw) and I carry a little note with me as a reminder: “I would rather find out who you are than who you’re not.”

For me and for you, I want to take a stand: to choose to love the hell out of who we are, and to drop-kick the notions of who we should be.

Yes, this has to do with radical self-acceptance, but it also has to do with the lie of small, of not being x or y enough, of using comparisons as an excuse to not go out and get yours.

i was talking with a passionate and inspiring man about taking the next steps in his business (he knew what they were and why the steps were important) but he got hung up on what he wasn’t. Specifically: he wasn’t formally educated, a shark, and calculated and unemotional.  The things that he saw as lack compared to his competition were so much of the magic he brought to the business:
– years of experience and practice fuelled by passion.
– a heart-based business that speaks to his community.
– open ears and discussion with his customers about their needs.
– and I could go on.

I wanted to jump up and down hearing this man explain to me (a convert, a client, a fan of his art) the reasons why he felt small. He feels small, but he is changing people’s lives, creating a thriving tribe-based business, and having an impact on the world that many dream of.

So, let’s roll around in our collective and individual awesome. Why are people, projects, clients, small children and animals drawn to you? What do you really care about? What are you great at? What do you love to do?

These are the things that will define your personal and professional success. Who cares that you didn’t do laundry this week. Forget that you are not a doctor. That sometimes you need a break from your kids. Oh, and that you are not a waif.

We get it. You are human. Pssst…the rest of us might be too.

Please know this: it is not about fitting in. It is about standing up and for the big, beautiful, weird, wonderful, freak-of-nature that you are. We like that person a lot and can’t wait to see more of them.

Quarterly Reporting Without the Zzzzz’s…

To be completely honest, the things I miss about daily corporate life are largely social: the three o’clock coffee-over-cubicles laughs, discussing current events and after-hours pints on Thursdays.

I know it’s a bit nerdy, but one thing that I love and miss is the frequency and depth of status reports. There were SOAP’s in my first management role (Summary On A Page: one page executive summary of what’s happening, reported into my bosses) and later in project management a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat: an evaluation done during project scope and revisited throughout the project life cycle).

Having to report on progress of initiatives meant that I was sitting down with my team to get clearer than clear on state-of-the-union, these check-points were broken down into nice n’ neat little chunks of time, and then analyzed. Bi-weekly meetings, monthly conference calls, and quarterly reports [*geeky yum-filled sigh*] meant we were all on the same page about where we are today and where we were about to go.

At the end of the first (calendar) quarter of 2011, at just about the time when Q1 results are being analyzed and the next three, six and nine months are being evaluated and planned, Gunsinger Coaching has been working diligently on it’s quarterly reports for the business, and also for life spaces.

Sounds fancy, but it’s easy. We started by checking in on:

  • Where are we on key initiatives?
  • What are the hard and fast numbers?
  • What are our next level goals?
  • What opportunities do we see?
  • What are the challenges, blockages, risks?
  • Who are the team members? Are there new teammates that we can include?

Six questions: data collected and results analyzed, and suddenly planning becomes easier with a clear view of the landscape.

Could “quarterly reporting” clear up where you are and where you choose to go?

You are More Than a Start Up

I was re-reading Business Stripped Bare last week, and in it Richard Branson says (describing Virgin Mobile): “From the off, the business acted like a listed company – and that’s how all start-ups should try to behave.”

What if you thought of your (big ‘L’) Life as a start-up?  One based on a really great idea, with good team members, a forming vision and a clear impact?

And now treat your start-up like a listed company. What responsibilities would you have to your shareholders? How would your management team function? Where would you position your company in the market? What do customers say about you? Are there opportunities that you need to take advantage of?

How does looking at your life through this lens change the perspective about your life?

As the saying goes: it’s not personal; it’s business.

It’s the business of owning your life.

Your Big ‘L’ Life

What if you started taking it more seriously, this business of your Life?

Not, drifting sadly along, taking what is offered to you and not daring to ask for a second helping, or a side order of coleslaw, with a pint of beer, please.

What would you create room for if this was it? How would you show up differently? What would you be willing to risk? Where would your two feet choose to stand?

End the autopilot. Be as big as you want.

Stick a capital L on that life of yours.

Inspiration: One Week and the Flaming Lips