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Staying Calm When the World Around You is in Chaos

Staying calm inside when the world around you seems chaotic can be very difficult. For anyone who recently bought a year’s worth of toilet paper in response to the latest crisis, this may apply to you. A little diligence is reasonable, but anxiety seems to be at an all time high and that can be followed by depression if we are not careful.

What can we do to keep a sense of inner peace? Well, first of all, it isn’t to deny the issues and bury our heads in the sand. That only creates a false sense of security for most people. All of our emotions are there for a reason. All of them, including anxiety and fear. Take a few minutes and explore what emotions you have about the events that are happening around you. Is it worry? Okay, accept that. Don’t tell yourself you shouldn’t have that feeling. You do. It’s normal. Once we accept our emotions, that part of our brain can rest and we can begin looking at the situation from a more logical problem-solving perspective. It’s when we deny or invalidate our own inner experience that we have problems letting negative emotions go. It’s as if the warning system in our brain has to get louder and louder in order to get our attention.

Second, once you’ve recognized and accepted the things you are feeling, ask yourself some basic questions. “What is the evidence that I or my family is in danger right now or in the very near future?” If the answer is “ very high”, do something to protect yourself now. If the tornado sirens are sounding and there is a giant funnel in the sky, immediately get to a safe spot in the lowest part of your house and stay there until the answer to your question is “low”. But if the original answer to your question is “low” then take a deep breath and ask yourself some more questions, such as: “What is the worst case scenario?” “What is the best case scenario?” “What is the most likely outcome?” “If the worst case scenario were to happen, what would I do next to cope?” And also “How many times in my life has the worst case scenario I’ve worried about actually come true?” If you are like most people, the answer should bring you some comfort.

Third, stop watching the news reports and social media that predict nothing but gloom and doom. All of those things are skewed to the sensational. They only highlight the worst case scenarios, and as a result add to the panic and fear. It is like a plane crash. If you stay focused on the hundred or so people who died you may never fly again and you miss the reality that thousands of flights and millions of people fly every day without a hitch. Avoid the sensationalized media that gains money from advertising revenue and benefit the most when more people sign on or log in.

And mostly, stay connected. Don’t isolate yourself from other people who can help you process what you are dealing with. Chances are others are facing some of the same fears you are, or at least they may have in the past. “Social distancing” is the phrase that comes up in relation to illnesses that are highly contagious, and it makes sense from a physical sense. But don’t socially and emotionally distance yourself from others. Keep connected to those supportive relationships in your life. That is one of the best things about our electronic age. If you are isolated because you haven’t been investing in authentic relationships until today, consider how Journey Coaching can help. Our passion is for helping people grow and connect. 

By: Terry C.

The Problem with Porn

“What’s the problem with porn – isn’t it just an individual’s private choice to do what they want with their own body? Many reputable people have deemed it ok from the friend who thinks no harm no foul to New York Times detailing the benefits of pornography. So why are we taking a stance? Because porn hurts. 

At Journey, we are concerned about anything that affects relationships. Research indicates that almost half of all families in the U.S. reported that pornography is a problem in their home. Furthermore, porn can be associated with lowered sexual satisfaction and commitment, along with an increase in negative communication and infidelity among couples. 

This is similar to what I’ve seen in my practice. Couples who come into counseling where pornography is an issue often describe a lack of physical and emotional intimacy. Why is this?

Many women consider porn use by their partners to be a type of infidelity. Porn typically encourages a photo or video induced fantasy relationship by which the person is sexually aroused rather than by their partner. It is like an extramarital relationship, except that the fantasy relationship can be even more threatening because the fantasy partner always says and does what you want them to, they are usually without blemish, never have a headache, and are always in the mood. How can any real person compete with that? 

Women whose husbands or boyfriends look at pornography often report poor body image, concerned that he is comparing her to those perfect younger bodies. Women also complain of loneliness, a lack of communication, and little or no intimacy (physical or emotional). They often wonder, “Why am I not enough?” 

Sometimes I hear women state that their partner pressures them to reenact what he has seen on porn videos, leaving them feeling “humiliated” or “dirty” afterwards. This is especially true when the photos or videos portray violence and/or abuse. 

The reality is, porn hurts. It doesn’t just affect the person who is using it, but it also affects the individual who they are in a relationship with.

So what can be done? We encourage you to do your own research. If you are in a committed relationship where porn is involved, have a heart-to-heart discussion about how it affects each of you. When it comes to sexuality in a marriage, both people need to feel secure and comfortable in order for intimacy to grow. 

If you are someone who struggles with the negative aspects of porn in your life, reach out. There are likely professionals in your area who can help, look online, call a hotline, or find a therapist, but don’t try to go through this alone. 

Terry Carlson, RN CADC LMHC

Partnerships Strengthen Community

By Terry C.
This past week, I was honored to have the opportunity to speak to volunteers at Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center in Cedar Rapids. While at Bridgehaven I met with many of the kind and wonderful volunteers who make this organization work. I shared with them what Journey Coaching is about, and they gave me a tour of their facilities. The place was abuzz with women and families who were taking classes, obtaining food, clothing and infant supplies.

For those that haven’t had the opportunity to experience Bridgehaven, Bridgehaven is a nonprofit organization that has been serving the Cedar Rapids area for over 35 years. They provide compassionate support, with free pregnancy tests and confirmation ultrasound, along with practical support like food, clothing, skills classes and more.  I can’t begin to describe how vital this organization is to the Cedar Rapids area and how much they depend on donations and volunteers to do their work. I am excited for the opportunity to partner with Bridgehaven in the future!

Partnering with Journey will provide Bridgehaven an opportunity to expand their services to offer more one-on-one mentoring, and it will allow Journey a chance to serve our community through this positive and life-affirming ministry.

If you are interested in finding out more about how you can get involved with ether Bridgehaven or Journey Coaching you can find us at: BridgehavenCR.org or JourneyCoaching.org.

When Finding Joy Is a Struggle

By Terry C.

Joy to the World ….. Christmas and Joy go hand in hand, or so we expect. Yet many of the people I talk to actually struggle to find joy or happiness at this time of the year or any other. They are trying and trying to find joy, only to feel it is not available to them. But what I would like to suggest is that joy cannot be “found” by looking for it. 

Consider the very young child looking at rapt enjoyment at the simplest things. Wonder and joy are in the very way a child plays. No one has to teach them this. It comes so very natural to children. As long as they feel safe, connected and loved by those who care for them, small children are naturally joyful, happy and content exploring the world around them. 

So what happened? How did we go from just experiencing joy, to feeling like we have to chase it? I think the answer is that we allow robbers to come and steal our joy. Joy robbers show up as common things we may not even realize, such as: Unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves or others; comparing ourselves to others; and my personal favorite, believing we don’t deserve to feel joy. 

What I have found is that when we eradicate the joy robbers from our life, joy shows up often in the simplest and most surprising ways. We all have the capacity to feel joy and wonder from birth. You may feel great joy the next time you find yourself gazing at a beautiful sunset or watching an infant discover her feet for the very first time.

So, the next time you feel the need for joy, ask yourself “What am I letting rob the joy from this situation?” Make this change and you may very well have a joyous holiday!

Special note: one of the biggest joy robbers in our lives can be depression. If you have tried everything you can think of and still feel a loss of joy, please find a therapist near you. Or contact us and we will try to help you find someone to talk to.  Call us at 319-244-8341.

Surviving and Thriving During The Holidays When There Is Family Tension

By Annie M.

It’s that time of year when many of us are excited about the holidays. But perhaps you feel differently. Perhaps the holidays are a reminder of the things and relationships that aren’t going well. Instead of being excited, you might actually be dreading the holidays.

I want to encourage you that you aren’t alone. For one reason or another, the holidays can be very difficult. You may feel like there is nothing about this time of year but stress and negative interactions that are completely beyond your control. You’re not alone. Many of us feel like that, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

As I sat down to listen to a recent Journey Coaching podcast recording, I found myself feeling not only encouraged but excited for the holidays. This time, I had received some helpful tools to enter this holiday season in a way I haven’t before. All too often, I have approached holiday gatherings without a plan or clear set boundaries. Usually this left me feeling out of control, or even worse – attacked.

I want to encourage you that there are some things that you can do to help you thrive during this holiday season. First, anticipate the event before it happens. Recognize what actions or behaviors can be a trigger for you and develop a plan on how to handle those triggers with clear set boundaries. Rehearse your plan and boundaries beforehand and decide practical steps of what you will do should a confrontation arise.

Maybe you are thinking, sounds great in theory, but I’ve tried that and it blew up. Yeah me too. But I learned from this recording something I had never thought about before. I was encouraged to decide now how I want to react before the moment happens and develop a backup plan. I want to encourage you to determine a few backup strategies and implement them should things not go the way you planned. Get away, take a walk, take some deep breaths and stay determined to not let this experience rob you of your joy.

Try to stay focused on the reasons for the holidays. For instance, Thanksgiving is about gratitude. Choose to focus on the things that you are thankful for and those things that are going right. Stay positive by reminding yourself out loud the things that are going well. Perhaps you have a family member who has always been supportive. Focus on your relationship with them and allow that to act as a buffer in the midst of negative interactions. And remember, gratitude is just one thought away.

Lastly,  have you checked your expectations. What are they? I want to encourage you to evaluate what they are and why they have them. It is important to remember the reason for the Holiday. Holidays are designed to bring people together. Focus on others, and you may find that you feel a little more joy yourself.

Are you looking for a way to improve your strengths and look at your areas of improvement in a whole new light? Call us at (319) 244-8341 or email us at Terry@journeycoaching.org – we would love to get in contact with you and help you on your journey through coaching in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

How It All began

By Terry C.

One idea that sparked Journey came from the observation that as our society becomes technologically advanced, people are becoming more and more lonely and isolated. Face-to-face relationships are rapidly being replaced by electronic “friends” or “snaps” that are poor substitutes for real connection. We are also seeing that as isolation increases so do mental health issues like depression, anxiety and even suicide. 

With this observation on the forefront of our minds, Journey Coaching officially started six years ago after my husband and I attended a leadership conference in Illinois. We met a pastor, Mike Calacci, who was also attending the conference. As we talked, we discovered that even though we each come from different perspectives (see our bios), we all had something in common, a passion for relationships and soul care, both within the local church and outside its doors. 

Often throughout history, when society problems arise churches step up and fill the needs in a big way. For instance, churches were instrumental in the creation of a great many hospitals and nursing facilities in our country during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. So we looked at how the churches might be equipped to meet this problem of increasing disconnection and isolation in society today. 

Churches provide large-group and small-group ministry programs, but unless people have a pathway to more intimate connection, their loneliness and isolation may not change. Plus, research by the Barna group and others demonstrates that people actually grow more through one-on-one connecting relationships. So how do we help individuals, regardless of whether they are involved in church or not, become more connected and grow? 

Over the next few months and years, Journey Coaching began to take shape. We decided it needed to be a process rather than a program, and one that facilitated conversations and discussion between individuals or two couples rather than more impersonal larger groups. We could see the need for intentional one-on-one mentoring type relationships if we are going to really help people grow, but we found the idea of mentoring was not as widely received as the concept of coaching. 

We believed that for this to be effective, Journey needed to be simple enough to be a peer-to-peer coaching ministry. We also realized that the initial coaching series needed to be a short 6-8 session commitment. So we started putting together the first Journey Participant’s guides to facilitate the process. We knew that in order to really get to know each other, Journey had to start with the opportunity for coach and participant to tell their stories to each other and then build from those stories. 

Once we had the basic framework, we went out and coached some people. We took their feedback and our own evaluation of the process and revised the workbooks, then started out again coaching more people. This was the longest part of the process. After about five years and ten revisions we reached the place where we are today. One of the biggest revisions we undertook was adding a section on worldview. We felt this was an important and often overlooked component in personal growth. 

It was also important to all of us that the Journey material be effective when used by other Christians, but also to be helpful to those who are not or who are questioning what they believe. For that reason, we revised each chapter to give the participant a chance to either complete or opt out of the focus of that chapter from a Christian perspective. That way when working on the concept of strength or worldview, for instance, readers would have the ability to compare their own perspective with a healthy Christian perspective, yet not feel pressured to do so. 

The response to Journey has been so favorable that this year Journey, Inc. became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, grown out of the desire to help bring a focus on connection, soul care and individual growth to the world around us. We have been encouraged by all the people who have joined us on this journey so far, and we hope you will join us on this journey too!

What is the Difference Between Coaching and Counseling?

By: Terry C.

Because I’m a licensed counselor and one of the developers of Journey Coaching, people often ask me, “What is the difference between coaching and counseling?” Just asking that question implies that there are a lot of similarities, enough to cause considerable confusion. Both are highly relational. Both work to bring insight and perspective to another’s life, and both coaches and counselors have a wide variety of experience to draw on. 

Since I’ve done both, I will try to explain the differences here. When I am in the counseling office, I am usually focused on helping someone heal. It may be from past or present emotional wounds, mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, difficult or broken relationships, or other life crisis and we work together to bring about healing. Coaching, on the other hand, is focused primarily on growth in one or more areas of a person’s life, usually at a time and place in their life where they are emotionally healthy enough for forward growth.

Because the needs of the individuals they are working with are greater, professional counselors have a minimum of a Master’s degree in counseling or social work and are typically licensed by the state or states they practice in. Counseling can be rather expensive and is often covered by insurance. 

As you might imagine, coaching is much more informal. There are a few training and certification options for someone who is interested in a coaching career where they work for a school or business, and earn a salary or charge for their services. On the other hand, a lot of peer-to-peer coaching is actually done on a volunteer basis and often spontaneous. For instance, you might go to a neighbor who is good at woodworking to ask him or her for advice on a project you are doing or you might consult a friend to coach you on your golf swing.

Journey Coaching is also peer-to-peer, but rather than a golf swing coach, Journey coaches are more like a “you” coach. What this means is that as you go through the Journey process your coach will help you identify your unique qualities. From helping you make sense of your own story, to identifying your strengths, growth areas, world view, and goals in life, your coach will help you identify the unique way that you fit into this world. Journey helps you look at the whole you: body, mind and soul. The Journey workbook was designed from a basic Christian worldview perspective, giving you an opportunity if you would like to reflect on how your own story might fit into God’s larger story.

Journey coaches are not career coaches. They are volunteers who have usually been through their own coaching process and are interested in helping others begin to grow more in understanding of themselves and the world around them. The goal for Journey Coaching is for people to grow to know themselves better, and to grow in healthy relationships with others as they do this. 
Hopefully this clarifies the differences for you between coaching and counseling, and also helps you better understand the specific focus of Journey Coaching. Information on how you can become involved with Journey through coaching or being coached: contact Terry@JourneyCoaching.org.

Reflection on Summit 2019

Reflection on Summit 2019

By Jeff C.

I want to encourage you to check out the content of the Global Leadership Summit!  It can change the trajectory of your life. It did mine!

After recently attending at a Cedar Rapids satellite site, it continues to amaze me how much of a leadership party this continues to be year after year.  I think it’s about perspective. To hear from such a wide variety of people who step out of their comfort zones to do something that matters, well that really matters.

For me, it was about a dozen years ago when I was rocked out of my orbit to do something different.  It was the spark that started Journey. While I’m a marketing guy in the marketplace, I’d been in church leadership for years.  But the model of people going to church once in week or once in a while and hoping to grow wasn’t working. And it was a source of holy discontent to me.  Something needed to be done that wasn’t being done in a way that was fresh. 1:1 coaching was key.  
There’s lots more to this story.  But that’s for another day. For now, please check out  https://globalleadership.org/global-leadership-summit/   Regardless if you think of yourself as a leader, EVERYONE has influence.  Your influence matters….