Why Curiosity and Independent Thinking Are So Important

I have always been a very curious person. I always asked the most questions in high school. This was probably much to the chagrin of my teachers and fellow students alike. 🙂 In Algebra, trying to learn how some of the formulas were derived was not always in my best interest though. I finally gave in, memorized the stuff and got my A.

Whether it’s questioning and researching the quality of our food or the official story of 9/11, it is important to me to learn the facts and come to my own conclusions. Asking a lot of questions serves me well as a coach. I learn more about my clients, and it helps them become more aware, insightful and curious themselves. We must be open to discovery and explore, dig and search for meaning. It requires attention, awareness and effort.

Purpose is a particular type of meaning. An exemplar of purpose in life was Gandhi. He wanted to achieve personal enlightenment, help his fellow citizens do the same, and protect the freedom and dignity of human beings. That’s pretty impressive for one man.

Purpose is a manifestation of our core values and interests. But purpose is just a starting point. We must pursue it. Once we are committed to a purpose, we devote more effort to important goals and activities, and it will often feel effortless. When we are doing things that are central to our identity, everything feels less difficult, and stress takes less of a toll on our body, minds and spirits.

“Curiosity means little unless, as a natural right, it derives from our own choice for satisfying our minds. In other words, curiosity as a natural right is fueled by independent thinking. This is where a high standard of living can lead us astray. Corporate media does everything possible to convince us that wealth brings us happiness. If we drink this Kool-Aid we are bound to be left thirsty. Wide differences in individual tastes and abilities means we need to independently satisfy our curiosities apart from the formulas hyped by corporate media. A society that incuriously abides by the consumerism of conventional wisdom or mass culture relinquishes the custom-made satisfaction from a natural right to think independently and be curious.” (www.themiddleclassforum.org)

Coaching Inquiries: What is your purpose? How can you be more curious?


My Ideal Client

Are you in general a positive person? Do you have a habit you really want to quit or shift to something healthier? Are you ready to make a change for good? Do you want to achieve high level wellness? Do you want to be more creative, have more fun and get more accomplished? Do you know you have the answers but just need someone to listen wholeheartedly to you and brainstorm with you? Do you want things to be all about you for once? If this is you, I want to work with you!

I would say that the main habit that I want to change in myself is procrastination. Ten years ago, I met some life coaches and told myself I was going to hire one. Guess what? I didn’t.  If I had, maybe I would have realized wellness coaching is what I wanted to do a lot sooner. I can sit here and dwell on that and have regrets, but that would not serve me very well. Besides, I probably wouldn’t have had the experiences I have had that have made me more self-aware today.

I have always been in service/teaching oriented careers. I remember playing in a tennis tournament 20+ years ago and having my competitor’s father come up to me and say, ” You should be a coach/teacher.” I guess I listened somewhat. I became a tennis coach for over ten years. That served me well as I met some wonderful people and had some great experiences.

After my brother passed away in 1995, I decided to switch gears and get into massage therapy (www.solfultouch.com). I think the whole healing aspect of massage is what drew me into the field. I truly believe we are drawn to do things for others that we want for ourselves.  I have been on a self-discovery journey for many years. For a long time I couldn’t get my hands on enough books. The works of  Neal Donald Walsch, Don Miguel Ruiz, Sark, Marianne Williamson, Dan Millman, Rumi,  Paulo Coelho, Marlo Morgan, Iyanla Vanzant, Eckart Tolle, Shakti Gawain, Brian Weiss, M.D, and many more line my bookshelves.  Now I can’t get my hands on enough coaching books! 🙂

I am excited to be embarking in this new field.  I think my background in fitness, teaching and healing qualifies me to be a great wellness coach.  I am passionate about people making the right choices for themselves that will keep them healthy and thriving for their entire lives.  I still have a lot to learn, but I have learned a lot in my life experiences, and I know I will be a great supporter and collaborator with my ideal client.

Coaching Inquiries: Are there things in your life you want to change to be more healthy and productive?

S.M.A.R.T. Choices

For goals and habits to be successful, they not only need to be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic and Timely), they also need to be chosen.  Only through intrinsic motivation can we build our strengths into the life of our dreams.

The purpose of coaching is to assist people to make S.M.A.R.T. choices. First, we choose to make wellness one of our core values. Why is being well important to you? Is it to be able to be active with your kids, travel, feel good all the time, stay out of the hospital? What is your why?

Second, we choose S.M.A.R.T. goals that support and stem from our value of wellness. To come up with these goals, coaches like to broaden and build on people’s strengths. We all have had times in our lives where we have excelled or succeeded at something and were in the zone. This may have come from your determination,  commitment, resourcefulness, teamwork or a number of other strengths that you possess. Pulling from our strengths made life more wonderful.

Which leads to the third, all-important choice: we choose to implement S.M.A.R.T. strategies that support and stem from our goals. That’s why the process of Changing for Good so often begins with consciousness raising. We become mindful of our choices like staying away from high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oils that damage our health and wellness.

Here are some examples of  Smart goals:

1. Take at least 10,000 steps every day, wearing a pedometer if it helps you do so.

2. Drink at least two liters of filtered water per day, removing rubber bands on water bottles if that helps you to keep track.

3. Consciously acknowledge, say, or write down at least three things for which you are grateful each and every day.

4. Get at least six hours of sleep a night, nodding off and waking up at about the same time every day.

Instead of general, vague, unrealistic, irrelevant, and wishful pipe dreams, S.M.A.R.T. goals and habits produce mastery experiences that lead directly to our best selves. By choosing our values, goals, and strategies, we end up with the intrinsic motivation for change.

Coaching Inquiries: What are the values, goals, and strategies that govern your life? Are they Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely? What actions have they inspired? Who could you talk with to sharpen them up? How can your choices be more fully your own?

The Anti-Inflammation Diet (Lifestyle)

There is a connection between the quality and the quantity of the foods we eat.  It has to do with your levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). The hormone leptin signals the brain when the stomach is full,  but if one has high CRP levels, leptin’s ability to control appetite is impaired. This is indicative of inflammation in the body.

The answer to both weight loss and risk reduction for chronic disease is therefore the same: an anti-inflammation diet and lifestyle. By paying attention to the quality of the foods that we eat, we can lower the levels of systemic inflammation and CRP in the body which, in turn, makes it easier for leptin to control the quantity of the foods that we eat.
What’s an anti-inflammation diet and lifestyle? Here are the highlights:

  • Eat lots of fresh, organic fruit (especially berries) and cruciferous or leafy vegetables (such as broccoli, spinach, or kale).
  • Eat raw nuts and seeds (especially walnuts and ground flax or hemp seeds).
  • Eat wild, organic fish (such as salmon or sable) and game (such as buffalo or venison) with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Avoid saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, dairy products, sugar, flour, and all processed foods.
  • Take a high-potency, daily multiple vitamin.
  • Drink lots of clean, filtered water (at least 2 quarts or liters).
  • Exercise daily.
  • Get a good night’s sleep (at least 6 hours).
  • Relieve both high-stress anxiety and low-stress boredom.

By focusing on the quality of the foods that we eat, the quantity takes care of itself. Fresh, organic fruit and vegetables are the foundation of healthy nutrition. There is no way to eat too much of them. Exercise, rest, and stress management are equally important. Anti-inflammation is a matter of lifestyle, and the more consistently we follow the routine today, the easier it becomes to follow them in the future. In less time than you might imagine, they become enjoyable matters of habit.

Coaching Inquiries: Do you know your CRP level? Ask your doctor for a blood test. How do food cravings impact your life? Do you eat the kind of foods that make cravings worse? How many fresh fruits and vegetables do you eat per day? How could you eat, exercise, and relax better? Who could become your partners on the journey?

Perfect Your Environment

Perfecting your environment is not about being materialistic. It’s  about being self-nurturing. You want everything about your environment to have your personal stamp on it, be clutter free and in working order and make you feel good.

In Thomas Leonard’s book the  28 Laws of Attraction, there are ten ways he says you can perfect your environment:

1. Perfect Your Car.

2. Perfect Your Clothes.

3. Perfect Your Home.

4. Perfect Your Office/Work Environment.

5. Perfect Your Body.

6. Perfect Your Food and Liquids.

7. Perfect the Energy around You.

8. Perfect Your Lighting, Sounds, Air, Visuals.

9. Perfect Your Integrity.

10. Perfect Your Tools, Computer, Equipment, and Appliances.

If we all strive to make things better in these ten areas, we will feel better, look better, have more energy, be more creative and less stressed out. If we have our “things” in working order, surround ourselves with energizing people, music, programs, and take care of our bodies, we will start attracting more of what we value in our lives. I’m sure we all have at least a few of these areas in which we can make improvements. Once you get started in one area, you will notice that improvements in other areas becomes easier. The key is to get started. 🙂

What’s the alternative to willpower?

Before taking on new positive health behaviors, we must clear out the clutter in our lives.  If there is clutter in our homes, we have to free up that space.  If we have uncompleted projects, we need to finish them or let them go.  If we create extra time and extra space, we will have more energy to nurture that side of us that makes health change happen. We must reduce our distractions by tuning into self-awareness, clarify and focus on what’s truly important to us, and be fully present in the moment.  Finally, we must chill! We must let go of any guilt, disappointment, limiting beliefs and other forms of self deprecation that stand in our way of being our best selves.

Think about where you can start clearing out clutter in your life this week.  Maybe  you have a  junk room in your home that you can convert into a work out space and start kicking your butt with the P90X workout program. 🙂 Maybe it will just be your sanctuary to go and be quiet and meditate, read or do yoga.

By creating an environment that is conducive to healthy living and establishing strong supportive relationships, we can begin to establish long lasting health behavior changes.  This is much for fun and effective than just having willpower.  I would love to hear about your experience with de-cluttering.

In health,


How do the 4 people you talk to the most or spend the most time with make you feel?

Write down the four people and make three columns. One column is a minus sign for negative, one is a zero for neutral and the third is a plus for positive. For each person, check the column that each person falls under. Do all four of your people make you feel uplifted, happy, loved and supported? You have very healthy relationships if this is the case.  If you have any neutrals or negatives, it may be time to evaluate that relationship. Maybe spending less time with that person or talking to them less is something you may want to consider. If you are feeling like your energy is being zapped every time you are with this person, ask yourself why you are keeping that person in your life. Your social support system is as important as every other aspect of your well-being. Surround yourself with upbeat, supportive friends and family. 🙂