A Life Coach’s Take on Nicole Arbour, Fat-Shaming and Bullying

Hello Nicole,

You are not alone. There are lots of people who look like you. Lots of people. When they see someone like me who is overweight, they make judgments. When I am at my present weight (I have gained and lost Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body weight several times over during my 50 odd years) and go into a swanky coffee shop and order a low-fat chocolate, they always ask me, “Do you want whipped cream with that?”

When I lose 20 more pounds, go to a coffee shop and ask for low-fat hot chocolate, they say, “You don’t want whipped cream with that?”

When I am at my perfect body weight (for me) they never ask me for whipped cream.
What do we learn from this? Nicole, you can’t begin to understand what it means to be someone who needs to protect themselves with a layer of fat to feel safe, or the joy comes from the forbidden fruit that is the cocoa bean, the white bread rush, or the sugar buzz.

For whatever reason, your clan chose to find solace in belittling others as a form of comfort. I did notice that you had $300 worth of cosmetic paint on your face. You seem to thing that artifice is art.
Here’s what I have to say to all those with a bad body image: look for real beauty.

It is not in your body, which shall betray the best of us with time. Look for self love first, because a loving man or woman is always kind and inspires instead of ridicules. Seek out those who are kind and help inspire you to be your best, who challenge you in those moments of weakness when you feel the need to get the buzz that bad food gives you, and to forgive the skinny people who don’t understand. There are people out there who are in great shape who have kindness, who admit their struggles and don’t need to sensationalize by shaming others.

And to Nicole: yes, you seem smart. You have good comedic timing, but shame on you. Yes. You got fame (for a second). You got notoriety. But you have proven the thing that I try so hard to teach the Millennials I work with who feel there’s no point in working hard at school when you can get more famous being mean, stupid, or embarrassing in this world: that being a good person and living in the non-digital moment is what life is about. You have shown how bullying can travel. Look. I’m writing about you. Now, goodbye. Learn from Elwood P. Dowd, the character in Harvey. (It’s a black and white film… give it a try).

“Years ago, my mother used to say to me, she’d say, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be.’ — She always called me Elwood — ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”

This article was published at Huffington Post on Sep 8, 2015

Mentoring Millennials – The Difference Between Heaven and Hell

How do we Mentor Millennials and get them where they need to go? Start with where you are… So here we are. A new year has begun. Your Millennial is back in university and you are hoping that last year’s effort (best described as crap-tabulous) will not be repeated. Horrible marks. Terrible self-talk/self-image. Massive anxiety.
Here’s the worst part… who can you talk to about your child? Especially if you believe (as so many of the parents who talk to me about this feel) that every other person’s child is doing fine and it is just your child who cannot cope.

I will give you the answer to the parent/Mentor issue at the end of this article but let’s start first with helping your Millennial:

The Three Challenges

1. Just-in-Timers. for lots of students, it was easy in High School to wait to the last minute, binge study and pull off some nifty grades. The harsh reality is that this doesn’t work in University/College and the student does not have the resources or experience to try another way.

2. The Deliciousness of Indulgence. Being away from home and having no external controls, mixed with a massive amount of booze, weed and fellow video-gamers with unlimited internet access is a recipe for badness. The uninformed will say “just say no”… good luck with that.

3. The Scourge of Social Anxiety.
This is at epidemic proportions in North America. This anxiety can make it practically impossible to reach out for help in school. Making it difficult to get back on track when they fall behind, it can push them to make self-destructive choices when the inevitability of their situation is shoved in their face by mid-terms.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/millennials-stress_b_2718986.html

The Three Solutions


1. Just-in-timers meet the Daily Routine.
By starting with the simplest tasks inserted in one’s day-to-day life, the Millennial learns to use a scheduler (why does this generation prefer to keep notes on loose slips of paper?!?) to take control of their daily lives. It may seem like a small step but simply being able to do one five minute task a day instills in them what they didn’t get by obligation or just-in-timing High School

2. Indulgence meet Observation: Remember what I said about “just say no”? Well double that on this one. We are not talking about people doing serious stuff in a way that is self-endangering. Those people need immediate action but for those indulging just enough to keep them from doing anything in life; here is the solution; observe it. Yes. Notice when you are doing your indulgence. Think about why you are doing it. Is it to self-medicate (i.e. deal with your anxiety)? Is it to alleviate boredom? Is it for social sharing? Is it ‘just ‘cuz? This may seems nuts but all of those are valid. The trick is to figure out which one, when, offer better things to do that you would enjoy more for some and leave the others (at the beginning). This is the start of conscious use and helps make different choices in the future.

3. Calming Social Anxiety. This can seem so formidable. It requires a Mentor who conveys non-judgmental trust. It requires the Mentee/Millennial looking at their challenge with kindness instead of harsh self-judgment and then to implement the following over six months; deep breathing (versus shallow breathing); visualization/meditation; learning positive self-talk; patience and relaxation.

Why Mentoring Millennials May Not Work (at first)

OK. It will work. (Deep breaths please). The three solutions I mention above work for 90% of the Millenials I encounter, just please don’t try this at home folks at least until you finish this article: Let’s start with a story:

The Long Spoons.

So… true story. I wanted to understand Heaven and Hell. So first, I travelled to Hell (Insert Donald Trump joke here…)
There were rows of tables piled high with platters of the most delicious food. Each platter was more aromatic and more beautiful to behold than the last. Every person held a full spoon but both arms were splinted with wooden slats making it impossible to bend their elbows to bring the food to their mouths. The people were emaciated, suffering and bereft of hope.

So I went to Heaven (Insert Wayne Dyer tribute here…)
Everything was the same. Same tables, same platters of food, same splints on the arms making it impossible to bend elbows but the people were satiated, happy and fulfilled. The big difference: In Heaven as a person picked up their spoon and dug into the nourishment availed to them, they stretched across the table and fed the person across from them. That person thanked them and then leaned across the table to feed their neighbor.

What’s This Got to Do with Me?!?

Chances are there is nothing wrong with your mentoring skills (if you have been working on them) but imagine the mentor is the person with the spoon, the wisdom is the food and the person starving is your child. You cannot mentor your own child, the whole concept of tribe was designed to have you mentor your neighbor’s child and them mentor yours’.

This is why people come to Professional Mentors/Life Coaches like myself and the Mentors I train. This is why you should become a mentor but get a distant relative or friend from another city to study mentoring with you. Then, you mentor their child and they should mentor yours’.

Let’s start a movement and use the long spoons the way the were meant to be used. I believe the Millennials have the potential to be the greatest generation since the 1940’s but they need new mentoring paradigms.

Find someone you trust and believe in to train you and your mentoring partner and begin a tiny revolution! It shall grow.

Finding The Confidence ……. To Find Love

As a life coach for troubled teens and unmotivated Millenials, I work with a lot of people with mental health issues ranging from anxiety to schizophrenia. What is really a great honor is to have people in their teens and 20’s trust me enough to share their deepest thoughts about their lives with me.

Sometimes, these thoughts need to be shared. I am doing so now with permission.

Meet Reginald (Really? You think that there is a twenty-something schizophrenic living in Toronto in the 21st century named Reginald?!?). No, it’s not his real name. He is on a fair bit of medication which he takes consistently since we have been working together. Reginald has gone back to university and is following my regimen of taking one course in semester one, two in 2nd semester, all the way up to five once he has learned how to study efficiently, prepare to write papers (not in the 24 hours before its due) and work with T.A’s and teachers when something doesn’t make sense.

Regg is doing famously. He is also in a wheelchair, more round than tall and although when I met him he radiated “I know more than you” (which he often did) he now radiates the warmth, the grace, the brilliant humour which is how I know Reginald to be.

So here we are. Doing great at school (low 80’s), contributing really well in class and what should come along? Valentine’s day! And who is sitting next to him in class but a warm, sensitive woman who seems to “get” Regg’s humour and he senses there is something there. Now remember, this is Reginald 2.0. Through the work we’ve done he has found new faith in himself and his self-worth has grown with every task we have set upon doing and succeeding or figuring out how to rise above.

They go for coffee. They share thoughts. They share fears. Esmeralda shares the fact that she used to be a cutter and then Reginald tells her that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Esmeralda’s starts shifting uncomfortably in her seat, not making eye contact and shortly afterwards excuses herself due to a very bad headache. She also doesn’t sit on the same side of class anymore.

I see Regg twice a week, which I do with all my clients, better to reinforce good habits and less time to acquire bad ones. We meet the next day and he shares the Esmarelda incident with me.

What do you say to someone who is the most thoughtful, astute, wise and sensitive guy you could know who has just had all his self-worth shattered. His greatest fears realized. “No one will ever love me for who I am”.

This is not just the cry of all the Reginalds in the world. It is the call of a great many people out there who feel less than worthy.

I told Regg the simple truth: “Regg, you are special. There is no one like you and I feel honored to work with you, laugh with you and learn from you. There is no question that there are other people out there like me who will see you for who you are and women who will not care about any labels you may have. They will fall in love with you”.

You can’t just give up because you haven’t found love or met people who live their lives based on appearances or fear. You know that. Tell yourself: “I deserve to be loved. I deserve happiness and I will be patient and relentless in my pursuit of both”. Say it again.
Say it everyday into the mirror while looking into your deepest self.

To all the Reginalds and the Esmeraldas out there: Keep your eyes sharp, your hearts open, your faith strong and your resolve everlasting and Happy Valentines Day to those who are loved and those waiting to know that there is a lover out there who will love them as they are.

Check out more of Ken’s articles on Huffington Post by clicking here

Time-Stealers: The Enemy of New Year’s Resolutions

The perfect New Year’s resolution — You found it! You made it! What could stop your desire to make it happen? What could challenge your resolve?

Now meet your greatest challenge. The time-stealer. He (or she) is fun, charming, great to be with, someone you are happy to do things with, gets all your jokes, just all around great to kill time with. Yes, the time-stealer is a time-killer. You never get it back and yet you value the time spent with them.

What is their name?

To read more, click here

Why Do Some Teens Never Seem To Achieve Their Goals?

Have you ever heard someone say this? “Stop crying, it’s nothing!” or “Don’t worry, it isn’t a big deal that you (fill in the blank).” Or “What are you upset about? It isn’t as if you (fill in the blank).”

What do these sayings, said over and over by well-meaning guardians, have to do with never achieving one’s goals? In trying to protect the youngest of people, we often diminish what they perceive as powerful moments. By telling them their emotions are meaningless, we create false epiphanies in them: “Well, if it’s nothing then I’ll show them! I’ll never succeed and they’ll be sorry.” These things are rarely said aloud except in moments of extreme angst, but they are often repeated over and over in our subconscious mind.

So, flash forward 12 years… Now that teen has these false epiphanies firmly ensconced in their noggin. What can they do?

To read more, go the Huffington Post article by clicking here

Sharing Your Old-Fashioned Passions With Your New-Aged Kids

 

What if you could future-proof your child?
Get him or her ready for a time when everything we know will have changed. Where practically all the jobs we now know of will be gone and will be replaced with jobs in fields we cannot even conceive of in today’s world. And what if I told you that this scenario may come to pass in the next 10 years?

Ever heard of nanotechnology?
How about molecular manufacturing, singularity in the 21st century or tipping points in the biosphere? They are real ideas right now. Some will become what they promise to become and others will fade away. You can be sure that something from left field will change the course of everything we know again… and again with regularity and greater frequency.

How do we inspire our children in such an ever changing, unknown world?

To read more click here

Ten Tips For Fostering Creativity In Your Children

If you are a parent today in the western world, you have joined a very special club. A club of parents cast adrift, drowning in self-doubt while dodging waves of pyscho-babble lurching at them from every direction. It’s easy to throw blame around but what is the main question we all want the answer? “How do I help my child unfold to be their very best in today’s world?”

10 Tips to Foster Creativity in Your Children

Encourage your kids to sign up and embrace something that they love. Whether it’s drumming, hip-hop or clown school — give them opportunities to go out, sign up, and then make sure to give them the time and space to choose to do the work required at home.

To read more click here