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Holding Space for Acceptance

In business and in life, accepting what is happening in the present moment can feel like a difficult, if not impossible, task. After all, doesn’t success come from a constant driving focus on goals, on envisioning what can be by not accepting what is, and then by pushing forward to make it happen? What gets denied when we push too hard or too fast? It is oftentimes the flipped side of the success coin that the shadows of success are exposed: perfectionism and the need to control. How would holding space for acceptance of what is actually happening in the present moment influence our growth and well-being to actually be better…to do better? 

In Jon Kabat Zinn’s Wheel of Mindfulness, acceptance is “seeing things as they really are in the present which reduces the energy drained by denying, suppressing, or resisting what is already here, thus freeing and focusing our energies for positive change.”  It is through this acceptance we are able to be fully present within our current state and situation instead of choosing to deny or internally struggle against it. There may be a new boss, a new policy we do not agree with, new technology we don’t know how to use, or a deal that was lost after months of hard work we painfully relive over and over again. If, instead of lamenting over unexpected change, we could accept what is happening in the moment more completely; we could move on, focused and a willing participant in a positive new reality.

When working with my clients, I encourage them to use the following steps when holding space for acceptance.

  1. Be honest with yourself. Carefully explore the current state of the situation and your feelings about it. Hold yourself accountable within your honesty. Learn from the situation then move to step 2, letting go. 
  2. Let go. Ruminating over loss or on what should have been does not permit you to move forward. Stop holding on to what is not there.
  3. Accept what is happening now. What is happening now is your reality. As humans, we make mistakes, fail at our interactions, and sometimes stumble down our path. Learn to forgive yourself. Learn to dwell in the now.
  4. Step Forward. Looking in the rearview mirror will not help you move forward. If you live in your moment, present, exactly where you are is where you want to be. Accept it. Stop resisting, stop regarding your past to be more important than your present. You are where you are because of your skill and ability. Step forward in your resilience and in your strength to be present in a new and ever unfolding way.

Being mindful is about having an awareness of the present moment and living in awe as life unfolds. In business, we have the capacity to use our awareness of the present moment to bring about the positive change needed to naturally progress forward, without control and without regret. By holding space for acceptance, we are who we are meant to be, fully capable and courageous human beings. 

Letter to Myself;

Dear Ala,
I want to thank you for honoring your aspiration, living your purpose, and accomplishing anything you put your mind to. I know it was not easy at times. You went back to school in September 2019, while running your full-time coaching business, managing a household, and being a caring wife and mother.
I feel your gratitude and excitement as you get awarded the Professional Coach Certification (PCC) by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). In Wisconsin there are few than 45 PCC credentialed coaches and you are now among them! Only 20 PCC credentialed in Saudi Arabia. The requirements to earn this certification include:
• completion of the ICF Accredited Coach Training Program;
• a minimum of 500 hours of coaching experience with at least 25 clients;
• completion of the Coach Knowledge Assessment.
I am proud of you for completing the training program with UW-Madison. You are a woman who loves to learn, and I love that about you. I know you are a lifelong learner.
I also want to acknowledge your commitment. It took dedication, resilience, and focus to start from zero and accumulate the required 500 coaching hours in 8 months. This was important for you as you are always challenging yourself to live with high standards and you knew these hours would be evaluated at a tremendously high level through the university. Not only did you exceed the required total hours, you were able to support 56 clients, more than double the requirement of 25.
You know Ala, you would never have been able to do any of this on your own. It is your clients who believed in you and your research-based program. It is your peer coaches who stood by you and lifted you up when you needed hands.
It is your teachers who kept up with your curiosity and never-ending questions. It is your mentor and supervising coaches who asked you the right questions, who explored things with you, and guided you to the right path.
It is your family who encouraged and supported you both through their increased efforts and emotionally while you were working double time.
It is your friends who listened to you, who supported you, and explored coaching with you.
On the behalf of Ala, I would also like to extend her appreciation to the UW- Madison program for providing her with the excellent training she received and to everyone who supported her through this journey.
It is my honor to add more letters next to her name… Congratulations Ala Aldahneem, MBA, UWCPC, PCC

From Core-Oriented Values Level to the Present Moment

I personally am not affected very much with this change, but my clients (the majority are entrepreneurs), my family, my loved ones, my community, my economy, and my world are affected. This basically means I am affected.

Being in a helping profession, I get to experience it not at the global level, but at the details, goals, core-oriented values level. What I mean is that in my clients’ businesses I witness them grow and flourish. I see the progress and the sweat and the hard work that my clients put into it. There is an unknown feeling of what could happen next, or what actions they should take. I do not know the future, neither do the economists.

It’s a difficult feeling to lose control over what our future might be, or just our normal day-to-day activities which are no longer the norm. We strive to find our norm, but how can we really do so when nothing around us is promised or known at this time? Not to mention that we are “required”, for our health and safety, to stay six feet apart: social distancing.

I have seen many cases where people feel they need to create a temporary norm. Others judge themselves for taking certain actions before they know what could have been. Some are attached to the idea of what it could be and not what it is right now.

We need to be practicing the beginner mind with all of the updates that we have to cope with. All the new information about our business that we need to learn: “the new ways”, the market, and all that that we had prepared ourselves for up until the time we realized nothing is “usual” anymore.

I use the word “realized” because everyone has their own pace. Not everyone recognizes or moves from the avoidance stage at the same rate as everyone else. So wherever you are – no judging.  Just recognize that you are not alone in this sense that normal is no longer here.  And yet at the same time also recognize it is just temporarily absent, only until an unknown time when it will again return.

So as I was thinking of ways to help my clients cope during this crisis that is also new to me, I was staring at the Wheel of mindfulness by Jon Kabat Zinn. I realized we can replace many of our sufferings these days with one or more parts of the mindfulness wheel. Mindfulness is key during this time.

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I have chosen to accept that this as my new norm until further notice:

Non-judging– stop judging yourself, the situation, or others. You did not know what you know now. You did the best you could with the information that you had. Any financial situation or relationship, or any other decision you made before all of this mess started is relevant and you made the right decision. With the new info of the outbreak of COVID-19, looking back is not going to change anything. Non-judgment is the key to enjoying your moment now.

Beginners mind – oh how much info and updates we get. Every time we make sense of what is new, we then have to start over. Have a beginner’s mind and start fresh in whatever change or loss of control that might come your way. If you need to start learning a new thing, go for it. Be right here, now; start fresh because it will serve you during this rapidly changing time.

Non-striving– doing is our default mode and we now have the time to just be. Our ego connects the amount of busy-ness to our self-worth. Try to take a step back and use this time as a chance to be. Let that being inform the doing.

Letting go of what I hoped and planned for. Many of us had plans for vacations, big moments, graduations, or weddings. We worked hard and we looked forward to these times, but with all of these changes, all we need to do is to let go of what should be and just be.

Patient– knowing this will pass and having some patience during this ride is helpful. Patient with your kids, with your inefficient technology, patient with not knowing or having no plan or control.

And finally, trust that this time will pass and we are all going to get through this dark cloud. Trust that a good teaching and message is for us to learn as a person, family, community, and as a whole, worldwide. Trust that when you feel a certain way, it is ok to validate it and acknowledge that this is hard.  If you push too hard it will make it worse and you will not learn from what it is trying to teach you.

My question to you: What part of the wheel of mindfulness do you need to take with you today and this week to live in the present moment?

Why ALA

Ala Aldahneem, principal of A.L.A. LLC (Aspire. Live. Achieve.), is a business coach and life coach who understands your challenges and helps you get where you want to be in life. With dual certifications as a business coach and life coach, Ala motivates people to revitalize their personal and professional lives.

Unlike other coaches, Ala focuses on both professional achievements and personal life goals. She focuses on individual life domains, success mindset and positive habits. Ala believes your personal life and your business life are thoroughly intertwined. That’s why she integrates both life coaching and business coaching strategies to create the best outcome for clients.

Ala has witnessed many rewarding transformations, and she wants to share her successful coaching practices with you. Are you ready to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be?

  • Clearer life purpose, personal and professional values, intentions and goals
  • More happiness, less negativity
  • Better productivity
  • Increased confidence
  • More control over your life
  • Greater ability to achieve your goals
  • A healthier mind, body, spirit, and emotions through life equilibrium

If you’re ready to work toward these results, Ala is ready to be your coach. Formerly a business analyst and project manager, Ala utilizes her business skills and MBA to guide clients through transitions. After experiencing a rewarding life and career change herself, Ala helps others find their life purpose and achieve what they aim for in life, while forming positive habits.

Ala brings empathy, diversity, positivity, aspiration, tools, and motivation to clients at her De Pere office, helping them achieve success. Using her global perspective. Ala’s Detoxing Negativity workshops and personal coaching programs are making a difference in people’s life

Here’s what A.L.A. LLC clients are saying:

I wouldn’t be the person I am proud of today if it wasn’t for Ala!

-Natalie Z.

Ala helped me realize things I needed to know to grow personally and professionally.

-Ryan M.

Ala has a gentle, yet clear and effective approach, to guiding her clients to a “new state” in your life.

-Oliver B.

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Contact A.L.A. LLC today, 920-883-8122, or click here for online booking  for a free, no-obligation Discovery Session.