Growing Your Beautiful Life

Authentic Responsibilities: You’re Not Psychic?!

You might remember Coach Michelle Hill who was a guest blogger during the Beyond Resolutions series.  I’m recommending her most recent blog post (and, actually, the whole series) regarding “Authentic Responsibilities.”  You can access this post and the others in the series here:  Authentic Responsibilities: You’re Not Psychic?!.

God bless!

Toolbox for Life

ToolboxToolboxes. We all need ’em.  Traditionally, toolboxes have been men’s territory: a gift sure to bring a smile! Load it up with tools for the house and the car. Wrenches, hammers, electric screwdriver, nuts-n-bolts – you name it! And repair jobs aren’t just for men anymore – we women have learned to move beyond the stove for sure!

Gardeners have tools too – hoes, weed-pullers, little cartons for seedlings, gardening gloves, etc. A beautiful garden requires all the right tools to keep soil, seeds and blossoms strong and thriving!

Well, it’s not a far stretch to understand that we need tools for growing our lives as well.  The folks participating in our BEYOND RESOLUTIONS Journal Challenge learned this. In fact, today they are identifying the tools they discovered during the past six weeks and deciding what to include in their “Toolbox for Life.”

What needs fixing in your life? What tools do you have at your disposal for decision-making, for implementing effective change, for growing your relationships?

Keep your eyes on this blog!  Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be offering some practical advice and new opportunities for you to add to your Toolbox – all with the goal of helping you grow your beautiful life!  Of course, I’m here to help with one-on-one coaching as well – the most effective way to achieve those goals you’ve been putting off or decisions you’ve had trouble clarifying.

For more information on coaching options, click the Coaching Packages tab and send me a message! There’s no obligation on your part – nothing to lose and so much to gain!

Much love and God’s blessings to you all. Have a great day!

SMART is Beautiful!

SMARTI love when things fit together.  Here we are, learning to grow our BEAUTIFUL lives, and Coach Laura Link shows up to teach about SMART goals, and I realize once again that SMART IS BEAUTIFUL!

Back in December, I created this whole journaling project with the goal of helping people go “BEYOND RESOLUTIONS” to real action. This is exactly what SMART goals do!  Setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed goals takes those broad resolutions (“I’m going to lose weight” or “I’m going to be more open to relationships”) and makes them real!

Here’s a personal example:  I wanted to be more organized, generally.  One focus area for me is paperwork.  (I’m a pile person.)  I wanted to move my piles into files so that I would always be able to find the papers I needed when I needed them – and to find them quickly.  So of course I needed to do the filing. But first, I needed some file boxes and folders – which I did not have.  So my first SMART Goal towards getting organized read like this:  “I will purchase two file boxes plus hanging folders, file folders, colored labels and colored pens (I’m visual – I’m adding in colors for fun to help my motivation).  I will shop on Wednesday morning approx. 11:30 – after my church meeting.” Notice I didn’t take this any further (into the actual filing process). I kept it simple, definable and focused. I will know when I’ve succeeded and only then will I go on to the next step, whatever that might be.

If you’ve been following along on our journaling (starting 1/12/2014), you will already have a list of action steps to work with for your SMART Goals.  Now your challenge is to write out some SMART Goals … just one or two to start. Keep it focused. Keep it simple. Be SMART and be BEAUTIFUL!

NOTE:  I will be offering a .pdf of the entire Journal Coaching Challenge after the project has been completed.  Interested? Complete the contact form on the “Coaching Packages” page and write “Journal PDF” into the comments to receive more information. 

S.M.A.R.T. Goals with Coach Laura Link

laura imageHello!  I am Laura Link, owner and inspired life coach at iLifebalance coaching. I am thrilled to join the discussion about goal setting and how this is a game changer your success!

This week I am excited to present on the topic of S.M.A.R.T. goals.  Whatever you are seeking to accomplish, it is important to define what success means to you – to create some guidelines or parameters to organize, remain accountable to, and track your progress with the S.M.A.R.T. goal approach.

There are a few different meanings for the “S.M.A.R.T.” acronym.  For the purpose of this example:


So, when you are setting a goal, you want it to satisfy these criteria.  Is your goal:  specific, measurable and achievable?  Does it require you to take action? Is it realistic (you may not know if it is realistic until you have given the goal a good effort)? Have you created a deadline or timeline for this achievement?

I’ve seen some individuals look at S.M.A.R.T. goals as some kind of Pass/Fail situation.  If you do this, you may end up feeling disappointed, embarrassed, or uncertain if you don’t achieve your perfect plan.  Remember that this is YOUR PLAN – so if you don’t achieve your goal on the first try, evaluate what worked and what didn’t, and create a new S.M.A.R.T. goal.  I’ll bet that even if you didn’t achieve your entire goal, you made some good progress – and all progress counts!  (Also, If you exceed your goal with little challenge or effort, maybe the goal wasn’t set high enough).

If you’re struggling with achieving your S.M.A.R.T. goals, consider your commitment and motivation:  Why is the goal important to you?  How will reaching it positively impact your life?  What commitment level do you have – on a 1 (low) to 10 (high) scale – to achieving your goal?  The answers to these questions will help you know if you’re goal is really what you’re after or if you might need to do a little more “soul searching” to narrow down your priorities.  I would suggest asking yourself these questions prior to committing to any SMART goal.


  • Once a general goal has been identified, translate that into S.M.A.R.T. goal format.
  • For the next (time interval)—–I will (action)——for (duration)_____.
  • For example: For the next 2 weeks I will walk 2 miles 3 days a week.
  • Focus on your motivations for achieving your goal. You may want to incorporate a reward system for achieving your small incremental goals.
  • Solicit feedback from your most supportive friends if you need help on accountability.
  • Realize that incorporating new habits or projects into your life takes time. Be gentle but firm with yourself and don’t give up!

Locke & Latham (2006) Goals can be applied to all areas of living – another advantage to learning this process!  Practice, success, and positive experiences will enhance your ability to control outcomes across many domains of your life .*

About Coach Laura Link:  Over the past 4 years, I have coached people on preventative health areas such as weight management, stress, tobacco cessation, nutrition, exercise, and back care (all areas where improved choices lead to improved health).  I am certified as a Christian Life Coach via the Christian Coach Institute and will apply for Associate Certified Coach with the ICF in 2014.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. “-Psalm 16:11

*Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2006). New directions in goal-setting theory. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 5.

My mission at iLifebalance coaching is to inspire individuals to be the best, most actualized person they can be. The lives God has envisioned for us are so much more potent and powerful than lives that are going through the motions. What sets me apart from other coaches in this niche is my enthusiasm and passion for assisting individuals along this journey in addition to my Christian values and beliefs.

**Please leave your comments, questions, experiences with setting goals, and what you learned from this post below!! We look forward to your interaction on this topic. I will stick around to reply to your posts!**

Taking Your First Steps…

Baby Crying in the CribThis week we’re setting well-defined goals and identifying action steps to reach those goals. This post is for the visual among us. This picture is YOU before you set goals and action steps for achieving them.

The video below is YOU following your passion, taking action and achieving your dreams!  Your Mission IS POSSIBLE!  Now get out there and GROW YOUR BEAUTIFUL LIFE!

(Need help? Click on the Coaching Packages tab and request more info about coaching opportunities with me, Coach Connie!)

The Emotion Whisperer

Wild HorseFeelings. I’ve had a love ’em / hate ’em relationship with my feelings.  Have you ever felt that way?  I wanted to write a little more here about our relationship with our feelings before moving on to more practical things this week. As I considered what type of image to use for the post, the wild horse came to mind. Have you ever felt like your emotions had a life of their own?

Believe it or not, we can tame our emotions. What is your response to that idea – taming emotions? Perhaps you say, “Oh, maybe you can tame your emotions” or “Tame my anger? Bahahaha!” or “My emotions define me – I don’t want to tame them!”  Whatever your response, I want you to consider this idea: taming emotions is like taming a wild horse – it can be done; you just have to know how.  And included in knowing how is a firm commitment to love the animal – because wild things respond differently to enemies.  Keep that in mind. Emotions are not your enemy and they are not your ruler.

Monty Roberts is known as “the Man Who Listens to Horses.” (See and see his video here).
In one of his youtube videos, Monty saddles up a wild horse for the first time in under half an hour. Now, I don’t know a lot about horses, but apparently this is amazing. And I realized that his methods can be used by us to tame our fears and other feelings. (Please note that “taming” does not take the life out of the animal being tamed. It just allows you to manage the behavior so that it can run wild at appropriate times and be calm at appropriate times … be useful when needed … and creates a relationship between you and the wild thing.)

So, without writing a whole book, I’ll get to the point. What are the correlations here between wild horses and the anger or sadness or frustration feelings that sometimes rule our lives?  Here’s a short list:

  • Monty gets the horse into a ring where he lets it run its course for time.  So, when something triggers a strong emotion in you, take yourself to a safe environment (away from the source of the emotion – where you can express yourself with freedom but without hurting anyone) and then let it out. This might mean screaming into a pillow (or just screaming, if you are somewhere alone); venting to a trusted friend who is not involved in the situation; or writing everything you feel into a journal – no holds barred.  There is no criticism in this phase. You are releasing emotional energy.
  • Next, Monty stands straight and strong and looks the horse in the eye.  For you, this means finding a way to state how you feel straight on. This is what we did in journaling a list of our fears. Fear responds very well to this type of approach. So does anger…even unforgiveness. Accept it. Name it. Make it yours
  • If Monty stares down the horse for too long, it will rebel. So he balances out the statement of control by then walking alongside the horse for awhile. Quietly, right next to it. This calms the horse and its pace slows. They are building trust – together.  So once you’ve named your fear (or other emotion), sit with it awhile. Listen to what it has to teach you. Why is it there? What does it look like? What does it have to say?
  • After a time of alternating between staring strong and walking alongside, Monty is able to place a saddle on the horse and ride it. It is tamed. It is still a beautiful, strong animal with a name. Monty recognizes it and loves it. But he is in charge. You can do this too. Your emotions matter, but they should not rule you.  This is where boundaries come in. You decide when and how to express the emotion, how much energy it can have depending on where you are and who you’re with, how much time you will give it, etc. But building this relationship is a purposeful process of yielding, facing down, connecting and then riding in your chosen way at your chosen time. 

We have all been taught different things about emotions: they have a life of their own, or we need to ignore them, or they are scary and we should control them (controlling is different from taming but that’s another story). I say, they are an energetic part of us. We should get to know them. Name them. Walk with them. Let them run in appropriate places and times. And learn from them. You are the owner. You are in charge. 

So, in your relationship with your emotions, “who’s the boss?”

Facing Your Fears


As we make our plans…

As we envision the beautiful lives we’re creating this year…

As we set goals and action steps and learn to focus on our strengths…

So often, in the background – and sometimes right in the front of our minds – our fears and doubts sit cozily and comfortably, making themselves at home and preventing us from living fully into our dreams.

Today and tomorrow we are taking time to name these little demons, to look them in the eye, and inform them that they have no power.  When you know God as your strength, you grow to realize that fears only have the power we offer them.

My friends, your fears and worries are not reality. They are created by a set of thoughts you’ve chosen to cling to and project into reality.  And doing that tends to create self-fulfilling results.  It’s time to turn this around:

JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT 3.4 & 3.5:  Write your fears down. All of them. Name them as simply as possible. I like the idea of putting them in a list. Write them all down – no matter how little or how big they seem to you. And I know that fears can feel big!  Your fear could be anything from bankruptcy to illness, from making a mistake to looking silly in front of someone. Give them all a name, straight down the page.
Then:  Go down the list and, one by one, and speak the fear out loud saying, “[Fear], you will not stop me from moving forward,” and cross it off the list. Do that for every fear.  This is not to say your concerns are unimportant. We’ll take time another week to look at anything that you see as a very real obstacle and find a way through that. But fear is different. Fear is giving over your power to whatever it is – and, Ladies, these things hold only as much power as we give them. Today, we’re taking our power back!
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:  God, help us to understand that the only power our fear holds is the power we offer it. Help us to remember that YOU are more powerful than any fear we might hold on to…to let go of our fears…and to look to you for strength and courage.  Give us your unbeatable strength. Stand up for us against all odds. And cover us with your everlasting love.  Amen.
VERSE FOR THE DAY:  He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. (Psalm 91:4-8)