Laura Armour

Life’s Lenses

I have believed for a long time that the best educators in this world are reading and travel.  Generally inexpensive (well, depending on where you travel I guess) and mostly accessible to all, both will challenge the normal to which we have become accustomed and broaden our view of life and the world around us.  Don’t believe me?  Then go visit another country and watch the way they do life.  Pick up a book and learn about another culture.

A healthy pursuit of purpose and destiny often requires us to challenge thoughts and “normals” that we hold to be true.  I’m talking about the normal in which we were raised or better yet, the perspective or lens through which we view life.  This encompasses everything from healthy communication to family culture and norms to social behaviors and thought patterns.  It is easy to consider the way in which you were raised or the values you hold in life to be considered normal…true…the way things are done.  Yet, all of us believe that and when you see how unique we all are, then we must question how is it that our normal is the only way?

An easy example proving how aware yet unaware we are of our “normal” in life is to watch what happens when two people get married.  They are in love, devoted to each other, excited to begin a new life together until one person’s “normal” gets in the way of the other’s “normal”.  You budget your finances this way?  Oh, you actually don’t budget at all?!? Why are you cleaning again?!?  Why have you not cleaned anything?!?  I fold laundry this way…oh I just leave it in the basket and never fold it.  You want to spank our children?  You don’t want to spank our children?  It goes on and on, until fights erupt and lines get drawn in the sand or they decide to communicate and grow together.

As you pursue your purpose in life and really, as you pursue health in general (meaning emotional, spiritual, mental, even physical), then you must stop and look at your life’s lenses.  How are you viewing life and why?  What makes you think doing life this way is “normal”?  Ask yourself some of the following questions…

  • How do I view people who disagree with me?
  • Are my life’s lenses born from health and truth or are they born from wounds and lies?
  • What fruit are my life’s lenses bearing in my life and in those around me?

When we are willing to examine our normal and challenge our lenses, then we are primed and ready to put our mind, will and emotions behind the intention of becoming the healthiest version of ourselves.  And in doing so, we are ready to fulfill the purpose and destiny on our life in the healthiest way.

Gratitude and Generosity

It is almost October, which means fall, cooler temperatures (except when you live in Georgia), beautiful landscapes, family time, holidays and a general slowing down of life.  I love how gratitude becomes an ever present theme and conversation topic at this time of year; as we gather to celebrate various holidays, we reflect on the year and what we are thankful for.

I believe gratitude is one of the most underused tools in our belt when it comes to pursuit of purpose.  The nature of pursuing your purpose is often defined by longing…pushing towards a goal… action steps and declarations.  But, we don’t realize that stopping and appreciating what we have is key to our joy and contentment in life.  And it’s actually vital to fulfilling our dreams.  If we don’t learn to practice gratitude, then our dreams will never satisfy…we will constantly want more…long for greater achievements.  We will miss out on much of what we could be experiencing now.

I have mentioned this before, but I currently work for Bethel Atlanta running their administration team and their ministry school’s internship program.  Recently, our staff read through Dann Farrelly’s book Kingdom Culture: Living the Values that Disciple Nations as part of our staff development.  This book highlights the 13 core values of Bethel Church in Redding, CA (the church that Bethel Atlanta was planted from) and goes through what each value means, what it doesn’t mean and the scriptural references for each.

The value that stood out most to me at the time was Generous Like My Father.

Most people associate generosity as a positive attribute and many Christians believe we have a call to be generous…tithing our income…giving to the poor…blessing others.  But what I love about Farrelly’s description of generosity is that he says generosity isn’t solely defined by our actions, it’s defined by our mindset.  “Generosity is a mindset.  The poorest person on earth can live generously.  Even if we don’t have many resources, we always have something to give.”

It struck me in that moment that combining generosity and gratitude would make an unstoppable duo in your life.  Gratitude keeps lack from controlling you…it keeps you present in the now…appreciative of what you have been given…peaceful in waiting for more.  Generosity will keep abundance from controlling you…it keeps your hands open as your dreams are fulfilled…as your favor grows…as your resources strengthen.  We have all seen the Scrooge complex demonstrated whether in our own sphere or in society as a whole and everyone sees it as unappealing when demonstrated in others…to have so much yet always needing more…to have great resources, yet never make them available to those around you.

If we can learn to be grateful in whatever we have and whatever our circumstances are and if we can learn to be generous with everything we have and in any circumstance, then no amount of wealth or lack will ever control us.  Nothing will keep us from pursuing our purpose or from fulfilling our dreams.

My Story

A silly little fact about me is I struggle to introduce myself to people, not because I don’t know who I am, but because I don’t know what people want to know. So here is my attempt to let you a little deeper into who I am and why I do what I do. Enjoy…

If you had to whittle me down to three things it would be coffee, tacos and college football…go dawgs. And travel…but that would make four things…oh and chocolate…which I guess means I have trouble whittling myself down…#relator. So, if we keep diving deeper into the question of who am I, then I would say my purpose in life is equipping and developing individuals and organizations to discover their unique identity, realize their dreams and fulfill their potential. Basically, I was born to be a coach.

I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Biology…not what you were expecting huh? I had dreams of medical school, but the rigors of organic chemistry and thoughts of many more years of school brought that dream crashing down to reality. Yet, I truly enjoyed biology, so I finished my degree thinking I would teach or go to nursing school. But then, the most perfect man walked into my life and I was never the same. His name was and still is Jesus. Yes, I know that’s a cheesy thing to say and yes, I know everyone says that, but it’s true. He is the kindest person I have ever met and though I knew him as a child, I met Him in a dramatic and completely unexpected way when I was 20 years old and my life has never been the same since.

I graduated a little unsure of what “career” I should pursue and where my dreams would take me, but I had discovered this place called the Wesley Foundation and my heart was transformed through discipleship there. So, I stayed and worked for what would become 4 years at the UGA Wesley Foundation first as an intern and then as an associate director. It was unconventional and unexpected and exactly what I needed. There I learned not only the value of discipleship and one on one mentorship, but I discovered the power of Strengths Finder. Did I mention I met my husband there too? Probably should move that tidbit further up the timeline of the story…but I digress.

Kirk and I got married and we moved to the southside of Atlanta following his job opportunities in the TV/film industry…no, he’s not some famous actor, he’s a video editor, though I happen to think he is a pretty cute nerdy techie guy…and I ended up working for a church, Bethel Atlanta. I have been involved in many facets of Bethel Atlanta’s organization, but the most impactful was working with their ministry school. It has a heavy leadership and personal development focus and my inner coach (even though I didn’t know it was my inner coach) came alive.

When I was a second year student, I had the chance to be coached as part of the curriculum. Now, if I’m completely honest, I laughed when I first heard the phrase life coach many years ago. Who the heck needs a life coach? You can’t handle your own life…so you hire a coach? Seriously?!?! I think I was 15 or 16…the epitome of wisdom and maturity. Needless to say the 18 years that have followed that moment have shown me the immense value a coach can bring. But, if I’m completely honest, nothing showed me the value of a coach more than going through the training course I did with Real Change Inc. Me, the one who never knew what she wanted to do with my life, was finally home. This is what I was made for…I just never knew it.

I remember going through training modules thinking…you have to explain to people how to do this?…doesn’t everyone just do this naturally? And the answer is no, not everyone can ask great questions…and even more importantly the right question. It isn’t easy for everyone to take a dream or a problem or an organizational structure and dissect each part into achievable and attainable goals, steps and solutions. Coaches do that and it’s why they are valuable to individuals and organizations.

Am I just saying all this to promote this new business venture…partly. Sure I want this idea to succeed and grow and I would be lying if I didn’t say I’m excited about the chance to make a living doing something I love. But ultimately, the motivating factor behind this is to empower individuals and organizations to impact their spheres of influence. I can’t impact your sphere of influence, but I can empower you in who you are and what you do so that YOU can impact your sphere of influence. And with that line of thinking, it’s really possible for all of us to change the world. Come watch and see!

How Do I Know That We Are a Good Fit

I’m glad you asked! Behind the noise of the Internet is a swarm of influencers, bloggers, consultants, professionals, knowledgeable individuals and then people who are simply opinionated. And if that sea of people wasn’t enough, now we add in life coaches and it can become pretty overwhelming to know who to trust and what to believe. You have goals and dreams that are important to you and you want to put time, energy and resources into them. How do you know whom to partner with to see those dreams and goals become real?

Unfortunately, the life coach industry isn’t regulated the same way other personal development industries are like counseling. That can make it difficult to know if the coaching offered is worth your resources and if that type of coaching is what you actually want or need.

As a coach, I believe that a fulfilling and abundant life is available to everyone. I also believe that our time, energy and resources are worth spending on making the life we want a reality. And I know that the first step toward living in that abundance…and the best bang for your buck…is knowing your why. So here are the following values that mark my coaching and set it apart from others who are just adding to the noise of the Internet.

• You are unique

You were created on purpose and you were created for a purpose. You are uniquely you. This is why I value coaching the individual, because there never has been and never will be another you. So love and embrace your uniqueness and let it shine.

• You are important

Your worth is defined by who you are, not what you do. And because of that, it’s in our internal world that true, lasting change begins. As we transform our mind, will and emotions, our actions begin to transform as well and we are free to begin walking in our unique destiny.

• You are powerful

Your choices, not your circumstances, define you. Life can be hard and unfair, but it’s how we respond to life that marks our experience of life. You can choose to stay where you are or you can choose to grow. And growth is not only possible, but also necessary to achieve your purpose in life. We were never created to be stagnant, but to continue growing and transforming from glory to greater glory.

• You are known

It is important that we know ourselves. Self-awareness is a life long journey and necessary to fulfilling our purpose. It’s only when we know ourselves can we truly let others know us as well.

• You are loved

You were made for and from Love. You were built for relationships and community. You were meant to live life with others and you will need others around you to discover and fulfill your purpose.

If you are ready to embrace your uniqueness and acknowledge the power of your choices…if you are willing to grow and transform your inner world…if you want to commit to a journey of intentionality, vulnerability and discovery…then I believe that we would be a good fit. I believe that I can help you on that journey to discovering your individual why and making steps toward seeing it fulfilled.

What is Life Coaching?

There seems to be a new craze emerging in nearly every sphere of life and industry…life coaching. I’ve seen coaches come on the scene specializing in health and wellness, business strategy, marketing and brand development, general life skills and other highly specific industries. The options really do go on and on.

So what exactly is life coaching? The idea of life coaching began in the eighties and was born out of a need for help that was more than sporadic consulting and less than traditional counseling. People were looking for not just someone to tell them what to do, but to walk the journey with them encouraging them along the way, making slight but monumental adjustments at key points and arriving with them at the achievement of their goal. While the industry as a profession isn’t new, it’s popularity is gaining both speed and volume rapidly in our present day society.

When you hear the word coach or coaching, you probably first think of a myriad of sports…football…baseball…track…hockey…certainly not the things I mentioned above like team communication. But it was actually the sports world that inspired the growth and development of the life coaching industry. People have always known the value of a great coach in sports. Coaches are often the difference between a win and a loss, between getting into the post season or not. Now, we are taking that same principle and applying it to other spheres of life, society, and business.

Dictionary.com defines a life coach as “a person who advises clients on how to solve their problems and reach their goals in life.” Life coaching is different from counseling and consulting in that it is a partnership where the client is in charge. A coach isn’t here to tell you what to do…they are here to help you discover what you want to do, offer suggestions and walk with you as you do it. For those of you needing a visual, here is a diagram from Real Change Inc. This is from their coach training program outlining where coaching fits into the grand scheme of the growth and personal development options available to us.

My personal philosophy with coaching is simple…I don’t want to give you a generic 5-step program that doesn’t meet your individual needs. I want to create individualized, unique steps and activations to help you achieve your own goals and dreams. My job as a life coach is to encourage what is already inside you to come out, to ask the right questions so you can decide what your goals are and then to walk with you as you achieve them. And at the end of the day, I think the most important question you can answer is why? Why are you here? Why are you doing whatever it is you are doing? Why do you want to do something different? There are 1000 how’s to accomplishing your dreams, but there is only 1 why. I love helping people discover their purpose because once we do; you will be able to answer why for the rest of your life. Let’s start your journey today!

 

 

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