It's not whether you get knocked down. It's whether you get up again. ~Vince Lombardi

"This is so hard," a client said to me recently during one of our appointments. She was going through a divorce and was having a particularly difficult week. "What's hard for you?" I asked her. "Life," she said. I could hear her over the phone line trying to hold back her tears. "I can hear that you have some emotions coming up," I told her. "Can you tell me what specifically is hard for you right now?" She began to go into more detail. It was hard some days to make it through the day--she was exhausted and stressed. It was hard to keep it together for her kids. It was hard because she was worried about her children and how divorce would affect them. It was hard because she didn't see her kids all the time now that she was separated and she was feeling that loss. It was hard to see her ex and not be angry at him. She was feeling sad about the loss of her dreams and her future with her ex. For those of you who have been there, done that; these are some very common feelings and thoughts.

My job as a coach is to listen to my clients and to propel them forward into their magnificent future. Some of my clients may not feel very positive or motivated during a session (or for several sessions), but I remind them that their immediate feelings do not dictate their future--just because they are feeling this way now doesn't mean that a year from now or even a day or week from now they'll be feeling the same way. Feelings don't last forever, but when you're caught up in them, they sure feel like it. Sometimes a coach has to hold a bigger vision for their clients who are not able to do so at the moment.

As a coach, I sometimes have to remind my clients (and while I'm at it, I'll remind you, the reader, too) that you have the power to change your life. You are not a victim no matter how much it feels like you are. There is responsibility inherent in that old and often said statement; and if you were my client, my job as a coach would be to move you forward, help you find your compass and direction in life, and help you own your power. The power's there, but many people are just having "technical difficulties" accessing it.

Life can be hard, but it can be thrilling, wonderful, exciting, loving, full of adventure and learning opportunities--life is how you perceive it. If you perceive it as hard, it will be. I don't want to disrespect your process if this is how you view life, but it is so much easier if you shift your perspective to something more empowering. If you perceive one aspect of life as hard, the rest of it doesn't have to be; it's just one sliver of life. Instead of generalizing, recognize the mind's need to over-generalize. In the distant past we needed to be aware of all possible danger because it was a matter of life and death--almost everything was dangerous hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Life was hard back then. Back then people were literally trying to stay alive each day just to meet their bare minimum survival needs. Most of us don't have to do that anymore, our basic needs for survival are met. However, the mind still likes to simplify many of our cognitive processes which means, we tend to generalize things to make it simpler. Unfortunately, it can complicate things as well, like generalizing all of life as hard instead of only one part of it.

The mind also has us believe that it needs something more than we think we can give to ourselves. In a very real way it thinks we are not enough (and the answers must be outside of ourselves). When you begin to believe you are more than enough, you begin to trust in the process of life, and in yourself. If you were to look back on the times of struggle in the past, you will find you had the strength to continue on. It may feel overwhelming during particularly stressful times in your life, but you can make it through.

If you look at a challenging situation from another perspective, could you find the good in it? Could you, for instance, look at divorce as a chance to start a new life for yourself--a life that has the potential to be even better than before? Divorce isn't easy, nor is losing your job, or a loved one, or any other issues that can be challenging. However, the path is easier if you can learn to look at the positive in life. This doesn't mean you have to repress and suppress the intense feelings such as anger and sadness or deny they exist. It is always better to feel them with all of their intensity (without harming another or yourself in the process), and then let them go. As you clear yourself of the overwhelming emotions, you begin to see other aspects of life that are happening simultaneously.

I work with a lot of people who aren't typical coaching clients. I have people from all over the world writing to me, calling me about their pain from divorce, parental alienation, or other issues in their lives. Coaches mainly take on clients who are ready to take the steps necessary to move forward in their lives, but I work with some people who aren't quite ready yet--they are scared; they are afraid; they are still working through their feelings of grief, anger, betrayal, and resentment. They may still view the world as a hard and difficult place to be, and that is okay. They are right where they are supposed to be, and I honor and respect their process. Believe me, I had mine and I recognize everyone's process as having a unique timetable. When they are ready to heal that part of their lives, there is often great movement.

What many people don't realize is that you have the power to change your life--right now!

If you want to move forward and embrace all of life, not just the negative aspects of it, you have to be willing to be open to seeing the positive and more enhancing aspects of life. Both aspects exist, but one, because of the situations occurring in my clients' lives, is much more predominant. This isn't a right or wrong kind of thing, it is a "what is." How do you take the hard parts of life and move past them? How do you incorporate the pain of a break-up or the loss of a child due to PA and continue on? If there is a spark of life, some part of a person that is willing to end the pain, then they can change their life.

I look at life as a school. We go through grades and we pass that particular grade-level if we pass that particular "test" or challenge in our life. If we don't learn the lesson, guess what? We repeat the grade! Some people get stuck in a grade, learning the lesson over and over again until they get it--if they get it at all. For example, have you ever met someone who is divorced and is miserable and oh-so-angry years later? They are stuck because they haven't processed their pain and can't see past their "life is hard" and "victim" filters. Have you met someone in a bad relationship and they keep going back to the same person, or to the same type of person? They haven't learned the lesson yet. Which do you think is better: To be stuck in life repeating the lesson or to learn the lesson and get on with what life has to offer? To be stuck has it's own kind of pain to endure, but to move on means to face your fears in spite of some pain you might initially encounter.

Have you ever met people who are happy in spite of life's circumstances? In The School of Life, they'd be advancing grade after grade because of their willingness to embrace not only their lessons, but all of life. Life isn't fair, but it's what you do with the lessons presented to you that makes all the difference. We will all encounter sadness and anger in our lives, but it does not have to be overwhelmingly hard--we make it that way. Sometimes it's hard because we are so busy managing stuffing down our feelings instead of dealing with them appropriately. Sometimes it's hard because we can't see the good happening around us simultaneous to the world of pain we live in. Sometimes it's hard because we can't let go. Whatever the reason, if you change your thoughts and you change your story to one that's more positive, it will become less hard and much easier to process whatever challenge you are going through.

When a client is having a hard time, the best I can offer is to listen to them, acknowledge what I have heard them say, and continue to move them forward by reminding them of their vision of a positive and happy future. I don't have a need to judge or tell them what I think they should do. I help them find their own answers, their own unique paths, their own unique gifts, and their own unique voice. Coaches do so much more than provide motivation and direction; they provide their clients with support which sometimes, in this world we live in, is enough to move us forward. All we need, if we have a hard time believing in ourselves, is one person who believes in us and in the possibility of a wonderful and magnificent future. My work is so rewarding because I have a chance to give back to others the knowledge and wisdom I've learned not just from having a Master's degree in psychology, but from my own experiences in life. Look, if I can do it, I KNOW they can! I believe in them 100% even when they don't. And I believe in you 100% even if you might not in a moment. We are capable of so much in this lifetime if we can only learn to get out of our own way. If you are going through a hard time right now, ask yourself: Are you ready to learn your lesson and move on? Are you ready to accept that life is more than just being hard--that that's only one perspective of life?

Life is way too short to sit on the sidelines watching it go by--it's much more fun and rewarding if you are in the game of life regardless of what is going on for you. Divorce, Parental Alienation, the loss of a job, transitions, illness, being overweight, looking for love, family issues--these things exist, but they are not meant to be excuses for checking out of life. Learn from them. Take their lessons and use them to enhance your life instead of them diminishing it. Be a hero/heroine instead of a victim. Be more...

You have the power to change your life. Use it!

Author's Bio: 

Left with no job, no college degree, and no money, Nicole Nenninger took the pain of the break-up of her 17-year marriage (to a man who deceived and betrayed her), and turned it into the best thing that ever happened to her. She has literally turned her life around by using the same materials she uses in her coaching practice and in her books and e-course. Through countless hours of research and experience, she has taken what she has learned and used to help people from all over the world get through divorce, transitions, family and relationship issues, personal roadblocks, and even parental alienation. When Nicole first separated from her ex, instead of wallowing in self-pity and poverty, she went back to school and received her Bachelor's then a Master's in psychology, wrote 2 books on divorce and subsequently developed a course on transforming divorce, began a coaching business from the ground up, began running and has now competed in over 50 running races, and met and married her soul mate. If she can do it, so can you! You have the power to change your life--do you own it, or give up that power?