Guest Post: Michele Woodward on Alignment
Today’s guest post is from a coach whose work I not only admire, but also draw from in my work with clients.
Which is why I was so excited when Michele Woodward accepted the invitation to guest post. Enjoy!
We talk about being “in alignment” quite frequently, don’t we? And sometimes the explanation of being in alignment sounds more like the Official Rules for playing Twister, than something simple and easily understood.
When I think of being in alignment, the first thing I think of is knowing my priorities. Yep, knowing what’s important to me — and just how important it really is — gives me the ability to focus, set my intention and, maybe most important, give appropriate energy in respect of that priority.
Example? Okie doke. I met with my coaching client Julia this week. She’s a medical doctor who stepped out of her residency and professional life when she and her resident husband had their first child. She is now 45, has four children ranging from 7 to 14, and is getting a divorce. She asked for my help in managing her time better — needless to say, her life is a bit chaotic.
As we talked, I jotted down some notes. Finally, I said to her, “Here’s what I heard are your priorities,” and I listed them for her like this:
1. Be an involved, steady, centered parent
2. Be spiritually fed, and curious
3. Tend to your health
4. Explore your professional options
5. Manage your divorce proceedings
Eyes wide open, as if I were saying sooth, she said, “Yes! That’s it exactly!”
(Which was good for me, because I could have been completely wrong.)
One of the things I Know For Sure is that each and every day I have 100 units of energy. I can’t take from yesterday, because those are all spent. And I can’t borrow from tomorrow, because tomorrow gets 100 of its own. All I’ve got is 100… today. And it’s how I use them that makes all the difference.
So, I explained this 100 Units idea to Julia and asked her to look at her priorities and figure out how she’s allocating her energy. Eye opener. No wonder she feels pressed for time — because she’s putting energy units on things that aren’t even remotely her priorities.
With nothing more than heightened awareness of what’s truly important to her, Julia was able to re-align her energy in the best way to serve her priorities. She was able to understand where she needs to say no, and where she owes it to herself to say an exuberant yes.
Plus, now she can be non-apologetic about being in alignment with her priorities. Rather than beating herself up when she’s helping in her child’s classroom rather than — oh… not folding laundry, or dust bunny abatement, or returning to her medical profession — she can take satisfaction that she’s serving that which is most important in her life, her parenting.
And she knows that her parenting is more important right now than having a job. Despite the well-meaning folks that urge her to get a job, any job, and quick, she knows that her fourth priority at this moment is to explore her job options. Which she’s happy to do with an appropriate allocation of energy, thank you very much.
Finally, she knows she has to invest some energy units in managing difficult divorce proceedings. Which is hard. Boy, has that taken a lot out of her. But now she’s able to put the divorce in context of her priorities and not allow any delays or roadblocks or idiocy to take more energy than she’s allocated. How great! She can step away from the pointless, time-consuming drama and just focus on what she needs to do.
Time management problem? Cured. In alignment with what’s most important? Done. Happy? Know what? Despite the upheaval in her life, she is. And she’s growing happier and more confident and stronger every single day.
All because she sat down and pulled herself into alignment with her heart. Which has made all the difference.
Michele Woodward — Master Certified Coach, author, speaker and teacher — has the ability to help people get clear about who they are and what they want to do, and to develop a workable action plan to get where they want to go.
A former White House official and corporate citizen, Michele works with people who want to be more effective in their work, find new work, or re-enter the workforce. She lives outside Washington, DC with her two teenagers, two puppies and an optimistic outlook.