jay peak
Full Circles Coaching  

Seeing the Opportunity in Challenging Terrain

February 2011

Is it really the end of another month?!

I have to admit, I have been on the mountain on my skis. I added a few more days to my teaching schedule; introducing kids of all ages to my passion for skiing, and I also was sure to have some play time to catch the powder in the trees. Fitting it all in can be challenging, and yet, finding balance and stepping into opportunity in our lives is so rewarding and energizing.

As a Coach I know the power of a life full of passionate playful engagement.

My time on the mountain reminded me of one of the best coaching tips I have ever received: "When skiing in the trees, look at the openings, not at the trees."

I think this tip is great advice, both on and off the mountain. Think about it. When we find ourselves in challenging terrain, it is natural to get excited -- even nervous -- and begin to shift our focus.  It is natural to focus our attention on the obstacle that is between us and our desired destination.  Even when we have a plan -- a chosen path-- it is hard not to turn attention to the tree, the obstacle and get off our line.

When obstacles present themselves, our analytical brain wants to engage our problem-solving skills to remove the obstacle.  But is that the best and only solution? 

When I am moving through trees on my skis, I want another option besides removing the tree. When I am skiing, my solution is a shift on what I choose to focus on. It is an intuitive re-focus back to the space between the trees that allows the path to emerge.  With practice and commitment to this approach, a whole new world is visible.     

When you find yourself in challenging terrain where is your focus?

Are you focused on and blocked by life's obstacles? Maybe you have developed great problem-solving skills and survived your run, only to find yourself exhausted.  

It is not just surviving that makes life rewarding; It is finding ways to thrive. When our thoughts are focused continuously on the problems or obstacles, our energy may shift and begin to come from fear or anger. This energy may be a powerful motivator in the short run, and yet, it is rarely sustainable.  Thriving comes when we change our core thinking; a "cognitive restructuring" if you will, and begin to focus on what is possible; on the opportunity, on the open path.    

One of my favorite tools for seeing the opportunity is found in the book Breaking the Rules, by Kurt Wright.  In his book Wright gives us an intuition based system of self management based on asking the "Right Questions" when faced with an obstacle.   
breaking the  rules

  • What's right? or What's Working ? The agenda setting question
  • What makes it Right? Or Why does it work?  The energy generating question
  • What would be ideally right? Or What would ideally work? The vision-building question
  • What's not quite Right? The gap-defining question
  • What resources can I find to make it right? The action-engaging question

We need to train our brain to look for what is "right" with us and the world. To make a shift into positive, self-sustaining energy, we must begin to introduce new questions and thinking. It is not always easy, and it will take commitment and practice.

Understanding our focus is an important first step. My ski clients find out quickly where their attention lies -- on the obstacle stopped suddenly right next to tree, or moving though the openings with joyful anticipation and focus.

Off the slopes my clients have gained new understanding on how they view the world with an Energy Leadership Index Assessment™ and debrief.  

 Check out my website and read more.



Shifts are made through awareness, choice and practice. Stay focused, with an attitude of gratitude, and remember that opportunity is found in the opening, not in the obstacle.

Coach Barb.  



As a Coach I know the power of a life full of passionate playful engagement.
My intention is to encourage the playful engagement of your most authentic self and raise your energy to promote peak performance and self-care.
In a complimentary session come explore how the coaching partnership supports finding a clear path. Ask me about the Energy Leadership Index Assessment and how this tool gives you new insight into how you engage your world.  
Schedule your complimentary session in March 2011 and/or refer a friend or colleague for a complimentary session and receive a 10% discount on any initial coaching program or Energy Leadership Index Assessment™ and Debrief.  Come "Play with the Possibilities."

Click here for your complimentary session


Copyright 2011
Full Circles Coaching, LLC
 barb skiing  
   "When skiing in the trees, look at the openings, not at the trees."

Coach Barb


Thanks  for  following my musings, and as always, I welcome your comments. If you found the message had some truth for you, I invite you to share  the Newsletter with  your friends.

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It is up to each of us to find our Passions, our Playgrounds,
our Plan, and our Purpose --
To Play our Own Game.

Barbara Newton, CPC, ELI-MP

Certified Professional Coach,
Energy Leadership Index™ Master Practitioner







Check this out and Save the Date

On March 8th, 2011, the Women's Information Network (WIN) will present fabulous LIVE celebrations in 10 cities across America that will be simultaneously live-streamed to women in 176 countries! 

Women worldwide will connect to celebrate and honor women past, present, and future, in many exciting ways. Learn more about the live event by visiting


I'll be attending in Boston and look forward to meeting amazing women celebrities, athletes, political leaders, and experts will speak about women's issues today and how we can "Enlighten Women's Minds and Empower Women's Hearts ... for a Better World." 

PS. Men are Welcome Too!!