It’s my birthday! So, what have I learned…

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It’s my birthday and I’m excited! I’m always grateful to see another year of life. However, the last 12 months have had me feeling like I am in the matrix. But not in a bad way.

I’ve been pleased to see many of my dreams manifest. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing people in my coaching and reiki business. My writing has been read nationally. I have had the opportunity to interview and sit at the feet of some of the most fascinating people. I have also had the opportunity to teach some great college students and hopefully make a difference in their lives. While joyful, I’ve been stretched so far out of my comfort zone that this birthday feels like a welcome home party after being “away” for 10 years.

So what have I learned over the past year? Let me tell you…

Keep it real with yourself. After I blew out my birthday candles last year, my sometimes go along to get along attitude shifted. If I didn’t feel like doing it, I didn’t. If it didn’t feel right, I bounced. No second thoughts. I decided to stop fronting in the privacy of my own head and started keeping it one hundred.

Do what you love. Real talk… Up until a good year ago, this felt like an urban myth. Sure, I heard of people living their passion and occasionally met a person doing it, but I wasn’t truly convinced that it was really attainable for me. Then… I stepped behind door #3 and it happened. I am actually doing work I truly enjoy and loving it! I am also surrounded by more people that are doing what they love. It makes the difference.

Take your personal Sabbath. There are many weeks that I can easily work all 7 days and not think twice. In order to stay energized and recharged, I have created personal Sabbath days. Self care is no joke. On these days I may do things that brings me joy or simply do nothing at all.

Cold calls aren’t just for salesmen. Whew, if I had any hidden shyness, it was put to the test this last year. I innately knew that as I entered new territory, I had to surround myself with seasoned people in that area. Since they weren’t knocking at my door, I had to reach out to them. This involved calling people I had only heard about or seen on social media. Surprisingly, I was met with warmth and found myself in the presence of people who have been instrumental on my journey. Cold calling has also allowed me to push the boundaries of my writing and has also been helpful in my personal life.

Discipline is a muscle. Juggling so many things requires discipline. Sometimes it comes naturally, and sometimes not so much. I have found that when the desire to slack off pays me a visit, it is time to tighten things up. There should be a discipline gym because like a muscle if it is not exercised it may get soft. Periodically, I find myself training for a race, stair climb, bike ride, or some other competition. Those things require focus and it usually transfers to other areas of my life.

Detoxing is necessary, but can be a b*#tch. After the snow melted, I found that my winter culinary debauchery had caught up with me and put my summer wardrobe in jeopardy. So, I decided to embark on a 20 day herbal raw diet detox. I also used it as the opportunity to rid myself of things that no longer served me. Man, was it tough. There is no manual that can prepare you for this. Your body responds accordingly and your emotions have free reign to run high and low. I did make it to the other side and am better as a result.

Sometimes you have to go at it alone. I must have been a wolf in another life cause I like to roll with a wolf pack. Nothing like crew. This year I found myself being led to do things alone. Not the basic day to day stuff that I was already doing solo (like grocery shopping, etc), but activities where rolling with your peeps is a must. It was a little scary at first, but I begin to see the value in it.

It’s my birthday and I’m thanking God for all of these blessings and for another year. What have you learned over the past year?

With love,

Courtney

Courtney Bell is a Life Coach, Reiki Master, Professor, and Writer/Blogger. Like her Facebook page – Courtney Bell Coaches and follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cbellcoaches.

10 things I would tell my younger self…

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Not long ago, I ran across an old copy of “O” Magazine with Oprah on the cover with her younger self. In her article, she thoughtfully gave advice to her 21 year old self.

Since yesterday was my birthday and I have spent some time reflecting, I thought it would not only be fun – but fitting to share some lessons with my younger self. This is what I came up with…

  1. It’s okay to be vulnerable– Somewhere on my path, I made the decision not to wear my emotions on my sleeve. And while I do believe that running around town as an emotional wreck is not a good idea, suppressing your emotions isn’t either. I have compromised friendships and relationships because I was too afraid to expose who I really am.
  2. Slow down and get some rest – I think I am naturally an energetic person. However, I often push it to the limits. There are years of my life that feel like a blur. If I had it to do again, I would take things much slower, live in the present, and rest when my body required it.
  3. Go with the flow – I spent a lot of time trying to control situations and people. What a waste of energy. I also believe this behavior blocked a lot of blessings. I am learning that often times going with the flow of things yields much better results
  4. Be kinder to yourself – I can be tough on myself. I didn’t always cut myself a lot slack. At times, my life felt as though I was living in a constant relay race. Once I hit one goal, I was off to the next. I didn’t often celebrate and linger in the successes. As I get older, I am being more intentional about treating myself better.
  5. Do a better job choosing friends – I have always had some pretty amazing friends in my life. Through very little effort, I feel like God put the right people in my life for that season or for long term. However, in those instances that I had to put the work in and pick friends for myself, I didn’t always do a great job. Perhaps, I hadn’t figured out who I was and what I needed. Therefore, these people were a reflection of that. I found myself burned from my poor choices.
  6. Be a good friend and expect the same in return – Even though I have had some great friends in my life, I haven’t always been the best friend. I wasn’t always vulnerable and forgiving. There would be times that I would sacrifice a friendship because I didn’t know how to effectively deal with conflict. I am still learning, but I feel as though I have come a long way. Because I didn’t know how to be a friend, I accepted less from others.
  7. Speak your truth with love –It’s no secret that I have been blessed with the gift of telling it like it is. However, my way of telling it may not be the way others can receive it. I have done quite a bit of damage in my relationships over the years for the things that I have let come out of my mouth. Learning how to speak my truth with love has really helped my interactions and relationships.
  8. Be intentional when dating – This is a big one. I wasted so many years dating Mr. Right now and not Mr. Right. Not to mention, I believe for years I was a serial dater. I dated for my current enjoyment and didn’t always look for long term compatibility. Therefore, it felt like I either dated men who were incompatible or often the same type of men (different names-same person). I believe if done correctly, a relationship is one of the few places where you can really grow personally. If you are wasting time dating a variety of miscellaneous people, you miss the opportunity for personal growth.
  9. Don’t be afraid to heal – Holding on to pain is not cute. I spent so many years angry and holding on to scenarios and emotions that no longer served me. Healing helps us move forward and gives us the tools to embrace the next phase of our lives.
  10. Package yourself in a way that is appealing to you– Your external is often a reflection of what is going on with you internally. If there is a certain way you want to look, put the work in to to make it happen!

Courtney Bell is passionate about helping people achieve their goals. She is a Life Coach, Professor, and Blogger with over ten years of experience creating strategies for adults and students to live the lives they desire. Courtney currently lives in Chicago. Like her Facebook page – Courtney Bell Coaches and follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cbellcoaches.

A New Chapter…

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An old friend used to tell me that “you can never see around corners”.  I agree.  I would have never guessed when I started my blog 8 months ago that I would have the opportunity to write for a larger audience.  I am incredibly grateful and pleased to announce that I am writing for Rolling Out Magazine.

At Rolling Out, I write a weekly column sharing life lessons and success tips with the goal of helping people move their lives forward.

Check out my first two articles:

Fight Club: Getting to the Other Side of Conflict

Conflict Resolution

Can You Be Your Own Parent?

Parenting Yourself 5

I also had the pleasure of being interviewed and featured in the publication.  Life Coach Courtney Bell Helping People Improve Their Lives.

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I will continue to blog at Courtney Bell Coaches, so be on the lookout for some great posts. Also, please support me at Rolling Out.  Feel free to share, like, post, and subscribe to my articles. Thank you so much for your support!!

Courtney Bell is passionate about helping people achieve their goals. She is a Life Coach, Professor, and Blogger with over ten years of experience creating strategies for adults and students to live the lives they desire. Courtney currently lives in Chicago. Like her Facebook page – Courtney Bell Coaches and follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cbellcoaches.

Follow Your Gut

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I’ve always been a little more intuitive than the average bear.  My hunches and insight have often surprised those I come in contact with as well as myself.  Unfortunately for many years, I didn’t take advantage of this intuition for myself.  I didn’t know the importance of listening to my inner voice.

One of my biggest life lessons came when I decided to buy a house in my late 20’s. I searched high and low for a place that was a good fit for me and my budget.  I finally found a home that I liked.  However, the neighborhood left a lot to be desired.  Despite every uneasy feeling, I jumped right in and made the purchase.  The closer I got to the closing, the louder the voice became telling me I was making a mistake.  But wait…  I didn’t know how to hear it and clearly didn’t listen.

At my house closing, my inner voice was so loud I could have sworn I heard it say “walk away”.  However, I ignored everything and signed my life away on the dotted line.  The day I purchased my home, I should have been elated.  But I wasn’t…  I got the key and didn’t even go to the house for 2 days.  When I did, I clearly knew I made a mistake.

The first week in my home I accidentally came across a subdivision less than a mile away with homes for sale.  I walked into the model home and knew this was the home I should have purchased. It cost less than the home I bought, was in a nice neighborhood, and was perfect for me.  I remember feeling physically sick.

It was at that moment I knew that I had ignored my inner voice.  All of the signs were there and I didn’t pay attention.  Now, I was stuck.

Long story short, I lived in that house for 2 years and rented it out to tenants for 5 years after that.  I never felt at home there and although there were some pleasant memories – it came with it’s share of challenges.  Challenges that would have been avoided had I followed my gut.

From that moment on I have worked hard to listen to my voice.  I have watched it guide me to (and often steer me away from) places to live, jobs, relationships, friends and so much more.

How do you hear your voice?  The steps below have worked for me:

  • Daily meditation – Spending at least 30 minutes a day in prayer and silence has allowed me to be far more connected with myself.
  • Acknowledging uneasy feelings – My body will physically tell me if something is not right.  It could be a queasy stomach, headache, or a feeling I can’t explain.
  • Listening to your voice– Sometimes I hear a soft voice instructing me how to proceed. It can be as simple as “don’t enter that building” or “be careful how you interact with that person”.  Each time I have listened has been a blessing.

How are you with listening to your inner voice? What is your ritual for hearing it. Has ignoring your voice put you in bad situations?  Feel free to share.  Moving forward, please follow your gut.

With love,

Courtney!

Sometimes You Have To Close One Door To Open Another…

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Right before I finished grad school, I landed my first real job.  Although it didn’t feel quite right, I signed up to be an investigator with a major child protective service agency.  It was clear that I was not qualified, but my thirstiness for a job coupled with their desperation to fill the position closed the deal.

As an investigator, I was the first point of contact for cases of child abuse and neglect.  I had to investigate allegations and remove children from their homes if necessary.  Outside of some classes in college, a little bit of street smarts, and a few kids I knew growing up that claimed their whippings bordered on abuse – I was way out of my league.

Over the course of almost two years, I saw some treacherous stuff.  I went in crack houses, jails, spent half of my time in court, removed kids from their home, and saw some cases of abuse that gave me PTSD. I also caught a glimpse of kids who felt they would use the system to avoid being disciplined.  All in all, it was an eye-opening experience.  Some of the things I experienced have helped me navigate through life.  For that I am grateful.

About year and a half into that job, I knew it was time to go.  Looking for a new job became my mission in life.  For months I sent out resumes and followed leads with no results.  I felt like someone had put roots on me.  I couldn’t buy an interview.  Finally, I decided that if I didn’t find a job in three months I would quit.  During that time, not only did I job hunt – I worked every possible hustle that came my way and stacked enough to pay bills up for a few months.

The day finally came. It was a Friday. I was free.  My colleagues celebrated my departure and with not one interview in the past six months, I wasn’t sure what my future held.

I rested that weekend and surprisingly the Monday after my last day, my phone began to ring.  I was shocked.  Over a two week period, I got calls from jobs that I had applied for months before I quit.  Within one and half months, I had a new job with a corner office and a considerable pay increase.

It was during that period that I learned that sometimes you have to close one door for another one to open.  There is a small chance that I would have still gotten that job- but I doubt it.  By releasing that situation, I  allowed another opportunity to enter my life.

Some people are able to easily transition from one blessing to another without any closure.  That hasn’t always been the case for me.

If you are having difficulty going to the next level in any area of your life, perhaps it may be time to close a door so another one can open. What do you think?

With love,

Courtney!

Sometimes You Have To Close One Door for Another One to Open

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Right before I finished grad school, I landed my first real job.  Although it didn’t feel quite right, I signed up to be an investigator with a major child protective service agency.  It was clear that I was not qualified, but my thirstiness for a job coupled with their desperation to fill the position closed the deal.

As an investigator, I was the first point of contact for cases of child abuse and neglect.  I had to investigate allegations and remove children from their homes if necessary.  Outside of some classes in college, a little bit of street smarts, and a few kids I knew growing up that claimed their whippings bordered on abuse – I was way out of my league.

Over the course of almost two years, I saw some treacherous stuff.  I went in crack houses, jails, spent half of my time in court, removed kids from their home, and saw some cases of abuse that gave me PTSD. I also caught a glimpse of kids who felt they would use the system to avoid being disciplined.  All in all, it was an eye-opening experience.  Some of the things I experienced have helped me navigate through life.  For that I am grateful.

About year and a half into that job, I knew it was time to go.  Looking for a new job became my mission in life.  For months I sent out resumes and followed leads with no results.  I felt like someone had put roots on me.  I couldn’t buy an interview.  Finally, I decided that if I didn’t find a job in three months I would quit.  During that time, not only did I job hunt – I worked every possible hustle that came my way and stacked enough to pay bills up for a few months.

The day finally came. It was a Friday. I was free.  My colleagues celebrated my departure and with not one interview in the past six months, I wasn’t sure what my future held.

I rested that weekend and surprisingly the Monday after my last day, my phone began to ring.  I was shocked.  Over a two week period, I got calls from jobs that I had applied for months before I quit.  Within one and half months, I had a new job with a corner office and a considerable pay increase.

It was during that period that I learned that sometimes you have to close one door for another one to open.  There is a small chance that I would have still gotten that job- but I doubt it.  By releasing that situation, I  allowed another opportunity to enter my life.

Some people are able to easily transition from one blessing to another without any closure.  That hasn’t always been the case for me.

If you are having difficulty going to the next level in any area of your life, perhaps it may be time to close a door so another one can open. What do you think?

With love,

Courtney!

Are You Getting The Support You Need?

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Last night I watched a mayoral debate in my city.  The candidates were varied in views and political experience.  One candidate stood out to me because he has proven to be a successful business man despite all indications that his life could have gone down a different path.  Although he has no political experience, his confidence, candor, and honesty has made his campaign interesting to watch.

During the debate, his raw “homegrown” delivery instantly made him stand out from the other candidates.  It was evident that the other mayoral hopefuls spent time preparing for the event and received coaching from professionals in this field.  This may have been the case with this candidate, but it didn’t feel like it. Many of his answers felt emotional and he used his closing statement to deliver a rousing prayer.  This led me to the question…  When entering a different arena in your life, is it a good idea to receive coaching and support from people in that area?

I am always in awe of people who live their life fearlessly and are not afraid to display their gifts and talents by entering areas that may be outside of their comfort zone.  It is even more amazing when they experience a level of success while doing it.  What we never really see is their journey behind the scenes and the work and support needed to be successful.

Anytime we enter a new territory or take our ventures to another level, it is up to us to connect with people that are doing the work we aspire to do.  It doesn’t matter if it’s starting a new business, new job, or workout plan.  These people have walked the path, can help us gain insight, and assist us in avoiding nasty lessons they may have experienced.   Sometimes the master will appear when the student is ready and sometimes we have to seek out the master.  Either way, navigating waters with no training, guide, and/or support can be unsuccessful and at times yield dangerous consequences.

I wonder if this mayoral candidate is getting the coaching he needs on this journey?  Are you pursuing a new goal and having difficulty?  Have you sought out a veteran in that area or other support?  Let me know.

With love,

Courtney

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Vision Boarding: Another Way to Achieve Your Goals

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A little over eight years ago a friend invited me to a brunch at her home that would ultimately change my life.  Not only was the food tasty, the spiritual nourishment left a lasting impact. During our gathering, I watched the film The Secret, learned about the law of attraction and was given my first vision board.

What is a vision board and the law of attraction?  A vision board is a visual reminder of the life you want for yourself.  It is created by attaching pictures and words to a poster, bulletin, or cork board and hanging it in a sacred place in your home and/or office. The Law of Attraction simply means you attract what you think about and focus on.

Prior to being introduced to the vision board, I used to write my goals out on various sheets of paper and tape them to the wall in my bedroom.  During my super “hungry” times, my room looked like scenes from A Beautiful Mind.

Being a true believer of “ask and you will receive”, surprisingly I was a little skeptical of the concept of the vision board and the law of attraction.  However, since my grassroots attempt at bringing things in my life through random scraps of paper was working, I decided to give it try.

A few weeks later, while visiting my home town of Chicago I had a deep knowing that it was time to leave Atlanta and move back.  At the airport I bought a Chicago postcard and put it on my board when I returned to Atlanta.  That was the beginning of something special.  A few magical months later, I was living in Chicago with a new job.  Since then, I have watched so many blessing unfold in my life.

From that day, I have never been without a vision board.  As a result of making my vision plain –  I have been blessed with amazing friendships, relationships, jobs/career goals, additional income, achieved health goals, and so much more.  I have also hosted  quite a few vision board parties, facilitated workshops, and required my college students to complete one as their final project.  It has been incredibly amazing watching people achieve their goals and connect with their deepest desires.

So, why am I writing this blog post?  The new year is the perfect time to identify your goals and find a way to bring them to fruition. If you haven’t connected with a method to do this, I would like to suggest a vision board.  For those of you that have boards, this is the perfect time to dust them off and add new items that you would like to achieve this year as well as long-term goals.

How do you make a vision board?

  • Choose 5 goals (or more) that you would like to achieve.  Feel free to pick 3 goals that you would like to achieve within 0-18 months as well as 2 long-term goals.  Goals should be realistic and can be representative of the career, health, love, and spiritual areas of your life.
  • Use words and pictures from magazines, photography, google images and other sources to represent your goals. You may even use or create artwork to articulate your vision.
  • Place images on a poster or cork board in a way that elicits feelings of excitement about your goal. Also, put a picture of yourself on the board.
  • Hang this board in a sacred environment with a minimal amount of foot traffic.

creating vision board

Every six months I update my vision board.  I use this time to create new goals and remove ones that have been achieved.

Best of luck in 2015.  Have you identified what you would like to achieve?  Don’t be afraid to reach for the moon because you will definitely hit the stars!

With Love,

Courtney!

Courtney Bell is passionate about helping people achieve their goals. She is a Life Coach, Professor, and Blogger with over ten years of experience creating strategies for adults and students to live the lives they desire.  Courtney currently lives in Chicago. Contact her if you would like for her to facilitate a vision board workshop for your group at courtneybellcoaches@gmail.com and follow her on Twitter at @cbellcoaches.

Happy New Year! 7 Things I Learned in 2014…

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In a little more than 24 hours we will be saying farewell to another year. I decided to join the many bloggers and writers and share lessons learned in 2014.  Overall, it was a pretty good year.  Some of it is a blur and other parts moved way too slow.  Most of all, I am able to walk away feeling incredibly blessed.  Even the biggest challenges brought beautiful lessons.  This is what I learned:

Be prepared for what you ask for, because It will inevitably come– For a while it felt like my desires were taking forever to manifest.  But when they did, they came hard and fast. I was so focused on getting them that I didn’t focus on being prepared when they arrived.

Idle time isn’t always the Devil’s workshop- Prior to this year, busyness was my best friend.  I always felt like I had to be doing something.  This year I gave myself permission to rest when I needed it.

If you are sick, rest- This lesson is still a work in progress for me.  I had no problem rolling out with a hospital gown and IV just to keep things moving.  Now, I am more comfortable allowing myself to rest and recover.

Work hard and then work hard some more– Achieving goals requires work and discipline.  Doors inevitably open when you put in your time.

A phone call is a much better investment in a relationship than a text– Many of us have allowed texting to dominate our relationships.  You will never the get the most out of a relationship if that is your primary form of communication.

Generosity breeds generosity– give from your heart and you will get it back.

Being vulnerable isn’t a bad thing– It’s okay to open up and share your authentic self.  This was quite the lesson.

I’m excited about all that 2015 has to offer.  I am in the process of creating goals and preparing myself for the work that comes with them.  Are you ready for next year?  What did you learn this year?  Feel free to share.

Thanks again for reading my blog and for your support.  Next year will be much more exciting!

With love!

Courtney