March  2016 
          Vol 9, Issue 3                
Creative Coaching Group
 the Creative Coaching Group newsletter
Jan Carley 2 square Happy Spring! 

Sorry about the delay in this ezine. Sometimes, everything piling up seems to hit a critical mass and meltdown happens.  Or, as my clients might say  "I was super busy and I had it under control...but then "..." happened and it all fell apart."  Yup, you know the drill!  For me that "..." was a horrific version of the 'flu de jour' that completely took me out of commission. 

Whatever has flattened you or is causing those sinking-in-quicksand feelings of overwhelm or stress right now there is a way out! Read the feature article below and find out how to get on 'solid ground' again.
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 Jan Carley BA, CEC, PCC 
 Professional Certified Executive Coach     
 Creative Coaching Group  
Feature Article: Overwhelmed? How to Get Out of the Quicksand 
Quicksand is a bed of wet, loose sand that allows any heavy object that comes upon it to sink. Quicksand fits well as a metaphor for those unstable times of overwhelm in our lives.  Imagine that you have experienced a few challenges recently (a bit of life 'liquefaction') and aren't feeling so solid - and then one more thing sits on you. Once we start to lose our solid foundation we sink quickly depending on the weight of what is placed upon us.  Click here to  download the pdf worksheet to help get you back on solid ground.  
How to Get out of the Quicksand and on Solid Ground Again
When you get stuck in quicksand - the first thing you must do to avoid sinking further is to shed any excess weight you are carrying. Following through on our metaphor - we literally must shed the things in our life that are weighing us down in order to get ourselves out of the quicksand. First step is awareness and identifying what is pulling us down.
Weight Awareness EXERCISE:
Use the pdf handout, or grab a piece of paper. Do a stream of consciousness download and write down all of the things, big or small, that are pulling you down or weighing on you right now. This list could include duties, responsibilities, commitments, relationships, health of self or others, fears, parenting challenges etc.   Create this list without judgment and be as specific as possible.
There is a difference between feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude or sheer number of tasks facing you, and feeling overwhelmed by things that hold an emotional charge.  It's the pieces with an emotional charge that carry the most weight and can almost instantly sink us (or drop us so deeply that we are effectively immobilized).
Weight Assessment EXERCISE:
Get clear on which category the things on your your 'weight' list fall under. Is it purely an operational task or does that item have some emotion attached to it?  This can be a bit tricky to ascertain - something that seems on the surface like an 'operational' task (e.g/ filing your income taxes) might derive its real 'weight' from the emotional charge attached to completing that task (e.g/anxiety, dread, guilt at being behind etc.)  Look at your WEIGHT list and put a star beside or highlight the items on your list that have some emotion attached to them - things that when you think about them, give you a physiological reaction. Maybe your heart races, your brow furrows, your stomach clenches, you feel a tightening physically, or maybe they are things that keep you up at night worrying. When finished, take a look at your list and the balance of emotional vs. operational tasks on the list. What do you notice? Awareness as we know is always the first step to any kind of growth or change.

Look specifically at those things you designated as emotionally charged pieces. We are going to tackle those first because it's the emotional charge that pull us and our operational list of tasks deeper into the quicksand. The emotional pieces easily colour the operational pieces and make them feel weightier or insurmountable.  Once we diffuse the charge, we can calmly go about prioritizing and managing our operational tasks.  (e.g./ my client Brenda came to me overwhelmed by how far behind she felt on most of her work responsibilities. The situation seemed out of control for her. Before we delved into a management-plan to get her back on track, we explored what was taking up the most space for her. She explained that she was having trouble even focusing in our conversation because she was worried about a close friend who was undergoing chemo treatments for an aggressive cancer. This highly charged emotional piece was creating a blanket feeling of intense overwhelm for Brenda and had to be addressed first to get her on solid ground. Once on solid ground, she would be able to develop her workplan)
1/ Stop Moving 
When in quicksand it is important not to thrash about or resist as that motion will sink you further. The way out is counter intuitive - you need to slow down your movements and bring yourself to the surface and lie back. If you relax you can get out of it.
  Remain calm, be still and breathe.
2/ Dump Excess Weight
We want to create space and lightness when stuck in quicksand. Which of the 'emotionally charged' items on your list feels the weightiest right now? Pick the one to work with that, if eliminated or relieved, will make the biggest difference to lightening your load.
For the moment you are going to defer the rest of the items on your list to create some space to breathe. This is strategic! Remember, you are in the quicksand - if you struggle and run around trying to do everything on your list you will sink deeper. The way out of quicksand is slow and incremental. 
3/ Find the Solid Ground  
Look at the one priority area you identified and:
A/ Calmly ask yourself what solid ground look like in that area. Be realistic here and remember - we are not talking about the ideal situation or a bed of roses here, we are working to get you out of the crisis place, the quicksand.
e.g./ Brenda's friends illness - Brenda knows her friends illness is not going to suddenly disappear, however, SOLID GROUND might be that Brenda knows that her friend is as comfortable and supported as possible.
B/ Then ask yourself what part of that you have control over. If none, what part of your reaction could you control? (e.g. / I can control feeling guilty about not being with her every treatment)
C/ Imagine that you are now standing on solid ground in that area.  How would that change your thoughts or outlook or actions?  
e.g. / For Brenda, it might be for me to start focusing her thoughts on the fact that her friend is in good hands, in a good facility with caring people, and she can phone her nightly to check in etc.
D/ Go forward and act from that place of solid ground.  (imagine how Brenda's phone calls will shift when she stops coming from a 'guilty/overwhelmed' place of thinking)   
4/ Get Help
You are going to need someone to throw you a rope and help pull you out of the quicksand if you have sunk in over your knees. Ask for support. We know it's a different kind of ask for an emotional item - yes, you will need to be vulnerable. Ask someone you trust or find a support group in your area.
5/ Self Care
It is important to stop struggling when in quicksand as struggling sinks you further. Patience and rest are the 2 most important things when you are in Quicksand. Getting out can take some time and is an incremental process. You will need your strength.
What one small thing could you do, or what thought could you  shift in the next 48 hours to get you closer to solid ground again? Remember - it's the power of incremental change that will get you out of the quicksand.  
1/ Remain Calm:  Stop moving and Relax  
2/Lighten your Load: Dump the weight to  create space and lightness
3/ Find your Solid Ground:  Accept it/ Identify it/ Work to stand on it
4/ Get support: Find someone to throw you the rope
5/ Have Patience and Breathe: Getting out is Incremental 

Lightbulb of the Month
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"When your to-do list has you coming undone, you have to step back and come back to center. Without a connection to something that is real, you will lose your way."- Oprah 
Sinking in the Quicksand?  Let Jan help you get out!
I can help you get out of the quicksand and gain perspective. Contact me before the end of April for a Quicksand One-on-One Coaching Intensive and feel the benefits of having a supportive thinking partner to get you back on solid ground again. 

Spring Special:  
90 minute Quicksand Intensive, $179

(limited spaces available - contact Jan now!)
Current clients - add a session on to your current package at this special rate)
FINDING YOUR OVERTONE available with pre-sales bonuses
Support the writing of my new book by pre-purchasing FINDING YOUR OVERTONE - A GUIDE TO PERSONAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL SUCCESS at a special discount price of $20 (includes shipping!) and you'll also receive several pre-sales bonuses.  Go to   (Anticipated Book release date: June 2016)
About Jan Carley  

Jan Carley is a Professional Certified Executive Coach credentialed with the International Coach Federation. Known as a high-performance catalyst, Jan specializes in coaching individuals and teams to focus and clarify their vision and leverage their signature strengths to open possibilities and maximize their performance potential.  

3rd edition of Jan's book  

Jan's book, Harmony from the Inside Out, has been acclaimed worldwide and is now in its 3rd printing. Her second book, Finding your Overtone, is due to be released June 2016.   


Jan is Associate Faculty of the renowned Royal Roads University Executive Coaching Program, a Professional Mentor coach and a certified facilitator of the Strength Deployment Inventory .    


Jan lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and is available for individual & team coaching, workshops and speaking engagements worldwide. PCC logo

Contact Jan at 604 873-1763    email:     

Quick Links
Jan' Coaching Company Creative Coaching Group
Jan's work with BarbershoppersInner Coach of Barbershop
Jan's popular bookHarmony From the Inside Out
Jan's new book (to be released June 2016)  PRE-SALES: Finding Your Overtone 
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