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These are some of the questions Melanie Ott would like to ask you. Then, together, you would explore ideas, create goals, find a simple way to get there and, finally, she would help you go from intention to action. Why does she do this? “Because,” she says, “my life goal is to live a rich and meaningful life and to inspire others do the same thing.”
Melanie S. Ott, PCC, BCC, SPHR, is the principal and founder of Leap Forward Coaching, a firm dedicated to helping clients achieve greater satisfaction, balance and success in their professional and personal lives. Ott, who holds a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Adult Learning and Human Resource Development from Virginia Tech, took her own leap of faith several years ago when she traded in her 25 years of corporate training and human resources to pursue a life with purpose.
“And while life coaching is not rocket science,” she chuckles, “I believe we all experience the need for guidance during times of transition and uncertainty.” She grows more serious as she explains, “Many otherwise happy and successful people can suddenly feel overwhelmed by their hectic life. As we grow older, life seems smaller than it once did. Slowly, your choices become constricted by bills, family needs, careers and responsibilities. We go from feeling like anything is possible to not thinking much beyond the day-to-day. But I believe you can relive that same inspired abandon you felt as a child. That’s the power of thinking and dreaming big.”
Ott uses what she calls a holistic style of coaching. “To help people change, you must first look at their whole life. How is their health? Are they happy with their career? What is their family life like? Everything is connected, and changing one thing will affect all the others.” When she first meets with a client, she helps them create a Wheel of Life. “We start from there and figure out what we need to do to move them from Point A to Point B, which is their ideal state and the place they dream of being. I help them figure out their life purpose and why are they on this planet. Then we put it down in writing. You would be amazed at how valuable a tool it is just seeing it written out. Most of all, I teach my clients how to be accountable for the whole process. Change has to come from them.”
Whereas traditional therapy is all about looking into your past, she points out that life coaching is all about looking forward. She also says it’s not a quick fix. “It’s a process, and it usually takes at least five months. I would never expect anyone to take a leap of faith blindly. They need to access the risk and benefits scale and ask themselves, ‘What is the worst thing that can happen if I make this change?’ and ‘What would be the best outcome if I did it?’ I am there every step of the way cheering them on and reminding them that change is not the enemy. It’s an opportunity!”
Believing that everyone deserves to be happy, Melanie offered these tips for pursuing (and achieving) happiness:
TAKE A JOY BREAK.
When you feel stressed or sad, take three minutes to do or think about things that make you truly happy.
Remember that this, too, shall pass. To console yourself and bring greater perspective and happiness into your daily life, ask yourself, “Will this really matter 10 years from now – or even in 10 minutes?”
Optimists view negative events as temporary and outside of their control. They see positive events as permanent, resulting from qualities within themselves. When things go well, ask yourself, “What is it about me that made this happen?” When things go wrong, repeat: “This is temporary and out of my control.”
CELEBRATE SUCCESS; LET GO OF NEGATIVITY.
It is nearly impossible to fill your life with happiness if it is already crowded with anger, discontent or frustration. When you complete a project, celebrate just as much as you would have beaten yourself up for not completing it. Next time someone does something nice for you, be just as grateful as you would have been angry had they wronged you.
FOCUS OUTSIDE YOURSELF.
An inwardly-focused mentality quickly leads to unhappiness. Instead of spending your time focused on what you don’t have, can’t seem to achieve, or are unsuccessfully pursuing, focus on helping others gain, achieve or pursue.