A Fresh Approach to the New Year with One Word

A Fresh Approach to the New Year with One Word

Do you like to set New Year Resolutions?

If your answer is no, then you’re like many who find them frustrating, unfulfilling, and even frightening.

Would you like a fresh approach to developing yourself this year?

In my coaching practice, and the Wholistic Woman Community, I use a theme word for the year to guide personal and professional growth. I highly recommend the One Word process if you’re looking for new perspectives about your work, or life overall.

The three-step process outlined in the book One Word to Change Your Life tells us how to receive a word that God, Spirit, The Universe (or whatever you call that which is bigger than us) intends for our development this year. The process is simple, yet important to follow because this is not about picking any old good word. It’s about receiving the word that is meant to guide and teach you. Here’s how it works:

  1. Look within. Set aside time to be quiet and ask yourself these powerful questions:
    What do I need…not what do I want, but what do I truly need?
    What’s in my way…what’s blocking me?
    What needs to go…what do I need to release to move forward?
  2. Look up. Prayerfully ask, what do you (God/Spirit/Universe) want to do in me and through me? Be open and pay attention for the answer. The word that surfaces may not be what you expect. In fact, your mind may at first reject the word provided, but if your heart and soul know that it is your word, then stick with it. Even if the word doesn’t make sense initially, trust the process and be curious to see what lessons it may teach you.
  3. Look out. Live with your word for the entire year. It’s important to stick with it because there will be insights for you through both the high and low points of your year. It helps to share your word with others who will support you as you stretch and grow.

Over the past five years, each of my theme words have taught me surprising lessons.

My first word was BELIEVE. Initially, it very easy to identify all that I believed in…faith, love, honesty, kindness…the list went on and on. Midway through the year, however, I started to see when belief was missing; times when I felt weak, vulnerable, and insecure. It was uncomfortable to realize the person I didn’t fully believe in was me. My word helped me recognize how limiting self-doubt can be. I searched for an antidote and found it in faith. When I feel weak and unable to go on, I have seen God provide exactly the people and resources that I need. I learned that the more I look for divine provision, the more often I see it. This theme word helped me to better understand my surface, as well as my deeper, beliefs.

The next year my word was FOUND. This word helped me identify the actions, solutions, thoughts, and approaches that work best for me, and to release those that do not. I learned how to more consistently rely on what I find to be true. I trust my intuition more, spend less time comparing myself to others and feeling lost. I know where the source of my inner strength lies and encourage others to find their own resilience through my coaching and book, Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith. FOUND was an especially relevant word for me as I published the book in 2014.

In 2015 my word was HEAR. Initially I thought this word was a bit odd and uninspiring. Nonetheless, I trusted the process, stuck with it, and learned from it. I paid more attention to the messages that I allow myself to hear from others…and from my own self-talk. I started to consciously block harmful or negative messages and tried to open my ears to listen for positive and/or divine messages. Interestingly, I heard many of those messages from family, friends, clients, and other people who may or may not have known they were a conduit…giving me exactly what I needed to hear on any given day.

In 2016 my word was ASK. I’m a recovering independent woman who is learning the value of being interdependent. Having been a single mom for many years I developed the tendency to be self-sufficient and ‘just do it myself.’ It’s hard for me to ask for help. This one word reminded me to practice asking for what I need. In addition to improving that skill, I surprisingly discovered related benefits in learning how to wait and receive.

This past year my word has been JOY. You might think that with the name Carol, which means song of joy, that this word would be easy. It’s a feel-good word but I must admit that I’ve had challenges with it. Initially, I felt nervous about it because of an internal expectation to always be joyful. I knew that would be impossible and felt that this word was lofty and beyond my reach. However, it has taught me many lessons.

As I helped my 87-year-old mother downsize for a move, we used the powerful question, does it bring you joy? from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to help us decide what to keep and what to bless and release. After 8 weeks of asking that question with Mom, I noticed myself asking it in other areas of my life as well. I started to pay more attention to what brings me joy. This focus helped to deepen my personal understanding of the difference between happiness and joy.

For me, joy often slips into my heart unexpectedly and it radiates a unique, glowing, energy. It rises to my face in a smile or perhaps an outright laugh. It’s a byproduct of what I’m doing; one of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). In other words, it flourishes when I am grounded. As I suspected at the start of the year, I can’t make joy happen on cue. However, I’ve learned that it appears more frequently when I’m in healthy relationships…with God, myself, and others. Joy occurs when I connect deeply with those I care about whether it’s through burst-out-loud laughter or in quiet moments of the heart.  I’m learning to recognize and savor it more. Like many others, I’ve experienced unexpected challenges this year. A frightening prognosis for a beloved brother-in-law has sent my extended family reeling. Even on this hard, unwanted, journey I search for, and find, joy-filled moments of deep connection and love and for that I am grateful.

As the new year begins, I often resist letting go of the word from the previous year. I need to remind myself that each word I’ve had becomes a part of who I am. The habit of using them to gain perspective and a sense of direction continues long after the year is over. Each word continues to build within me and contributes to my on-going development.

As 2018 begins, I have moved through the process to discover my next theme word. This year I know that God has given me the word BELOVED and I’m curious to see what I will learn from it.

If you would like to learn more about The One Word Process, I suggest that you read the short book One Word to Change Your Life by Gordon, Britton, and Page. Once you’ve received your Word, be sure to share it with others to form your stretch team which will support you with this tool throughout the year.

Would you like to be part of a larger Stretch Team?

If so, I warmly invite you to join the Wholistic Woman One Word Evening Retreat on January 31st from 5:30-7:30 pm. We will kick off the 2018 Evening Retreat program series with a launch party where you will learn about the One Word process and hear inspiring stories of the impact this powerful tool has had on other women.

If you’re familiar with this tool and already have a Word for 2018, be sure to bring it with you…or bring whatever words you may be considering.

If this is a new process to you, I invite you to simply attend and learn more about it.

In addition, you will learn a bit about the evening retreat programs for 2018. We hope that you will join us for all our evening retreats to learn, grow, and stay connected with your One Word Stretch Team throughout the year.

In this community of women-on-the-grow know that you are accepted for who you are now while we provide you with tools and strategies to improve…and be more fully you! We believe that we are each unique and a wonderful work-in-progress. The Wholistic Coaches and I are honored to support you in becoming more you in this fresh new year full of possibilities.

May this be a great year to Be MORE You!



P.S. If you plan to attend many of the Wholistic Woman Evening Retreats this year, we suggest that you become a member to receive discounts on every event. Click here to learn more and become a member.

Today’s author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is a strengths-based executive coach who guides individuals and businesses to be their best. For more information about her coaching services, and her book Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith, visit www.caroldelaski.com or email her at [email protected]


The Benefits of Gratitude

What do you do when you’re down-in-the-dumps and want to lift your spirits?

A proven way to shift energy from negative to positive is to focus on being grateful. When you do so, you change your perspective from a scarcity mentality to one of abundance. A tried-and- true remedy for the doldrums is to ask yourself, what am I grateful for?

There are other advantages to being grateful, as well. Literature has recognized the benefits of cultivating gratefulness as a virtue for thousands of years. More recently, through the study of positive psychology, mental health professionals are examining how virtues such as gratitude may benefit our health… and what they are finding is promising.

When it comes to health, grateful people (those who consistently incorporate gratitude into their lives) have an edge on those who are not-so-grateful, according to research on gratitude conducted by Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California Davis.

Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, and regular physical examinations,” says Emmons.

Gratitude can also help us manage stress better. It’s commonly known that stress can make us sick, especially when we have trouble coping with it. Stress has been linked to many illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer. “Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress,” Emmons says.

In addition, grateful people tend to be more optimistic and researchers are seeing how that characteristic boosts the immune system. “There are some very interesting studies linking optimism to better immune function,” says Lisa Aspinwall, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Utah.

How do you become more grateful?

Some suggestions include:

  • Keeping a gratitude journal. Regularly list or describe what you are thankful for.
  • Offer thanks throughout the day, perhaps as a breath prayer. Expressing appreciation to others, or to God, as you receive anything from a parking space to a beautiful sunset creates a habit of gratitude. In time, this practice may allow you to find the good even in very difficult circumstances.
  • Surround yourself with people who are intentionally grateful. Their positive energy will be contagious and support you in your effort to be more appreciative.

As you incorporate any, or all, of these steps to become more grateful, I encourage you to take them beyond November and make it a practice that you do throughout the year. Gratitude is a powerful tool for your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Women who want to expand their focus on gratitude are invited to join the Wholistic Woman Community for our annual Gratitude Dinner on Nov. 15th from 6-9 pm in Frederick, MD. This event is a highlight of the year and is designed to show appreciation for our members.

If you aren’t a member yet, you may join our community now and attend this year’s dinner. Learn details about the dinner and register by 11/13 to reserve your spot for this special occasion.


Today’s author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is an executive coach, speaker, and author of Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith. You may contact her at [email protected].

New Partner Coaches in 2018!

New Partner Coaches in 2018!

Wholistic Woman Retreats is excited to announce the addition of FOUR new partner coaches to our team! We now have three Wholistic Woman coaches: Carol, Laura, and Kelye, and our roster of six partner coaches: Donna Kettell, Jane Helm, Casey Clark, Kim Wilson, Kat Middleton, and Elisabeth Vismans. Join us in welcoming these fabulous coaches to Wholistic Woman! We’re equally delighted to welcome back Donna and Jane as partner coaches in the coming year.

More information for our new coaches will be coming in the next few weeks. Casey and Kim are focusing on health and wellness coaching, while Kat and Elisabeth are life coaches.

2018 is going to be an exciting year packed full of exciting retreats and events! You won’t want to miss the wonderful programs our coaches are developing for our Wholistic Woman community!

Laughing is Good for You

Laughing is Good for You

Do you like to laugh?

How do you do it? Are you one who likes to giggle, guffaw, snort… or do you smile quietly when something tickles your fancy?

I’ve been thinking about the importance of a good laugh lately. At times, I take humor for granted but now it’s becoming clearer just how necessary laughing is for my wellbeing…and the wellbeing of my loved ones.

Laughter releases tension, fear, and anxiety that weigh us down. It forms momentary time capsules of joy that bubble up from our center and burst effortlessly from our lips.

Who can you count on for a good laugh?

My mom and I like to giggle together. She’s almost 87 years old and I’ve noticed that her love of laugher increases with each passing year. She laughs more at herself than ever before…and I often find myself laughing with her. Whether it’s over something she can’t remember (like mixing up the names of all her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren) or something she can’t do anymore – like climb into a SUV and sit down gracefully in one fell swoop. Laughing at herself seems to make aging less stressful.

Don’t get me wrong, Mom has a positive, ‘can-do’ attitude which hasn’t diminished as she ages. On a recent vacation to the lake she was determined to participate in all activities as fully as possible. Even though it was challenging, she walked the bouncy dock (with some assistance) to board our pontoon boat each day. Swimming and tubing on the lake makes boaters hungry so we would often stop for a treat of delicious homemade ice cream at the Lakeside Creamery.

The floating dock below the creamery is in cross currents that make it especially bouncy. I wasn’t sure if Mom could successfully navigate this dock even with help.  She was determined to have fun (and ice cream) so Mom linked arms with my fiancé Greg and I. With us on either side of her we carefully made our way down the dock to the base of the wooden steps that led up the hillside to our frozen treats. We must have looked like three drunken sailors as we staggered this way and that way down the dock! It was a little scary but more than anything it was adventurous and fun. We laughed in joy fully appreciating that we were in it together, living, loving, and laughing our way forward. My Mom models for me and many what it’s like to age gracefully, as well as the importance of maintaining a positive attitude in the face of challenges.

Who do you know that laughs at herself (or himself) often?

Who reminds you to lighten up and not be too serious?

I’m especially aware of laughter’s value this week as a beloved family member faces a serious health diagnosis. It may seem odd to talk of laughter in the midst of a trial; however, I’m struck by just how important humor is in this sobering time. It offers a counter-balance to the understandable anxiety and fear that comes with uncertainty.

Our family, like many, loves to laugh together. As we recall memories and retell favorite stories we connect yet again with one another and deepen our bonds. Telling jokes, laughing at our own antics, and being downright silly, lightens the load, even if just for a moment.

In addition to recalling fond memories we are intentionally creating new ones each day. So while we await more test results we spend precious time together. Quality time is one of the 5 love languages and tops my list. I value it more than ever in the face of this diagnosis. To me, quality time means savoring opportunities to give hugs, to talk, smile, pray, and laugh; to enjoy one another in the simple activities of life shared together.

The source of our amusement may be the antics of small children, the family dogs, or even something as mundane as the weather. Unexpected joy bubbles up when we get soaked in a surprise rainstorm, see a rainbow after that storm, or leisurely enjoy a nourishing meal and conversation. Ultimately, it’s just about being together.

Being ‘in the moment’ can be challenging on a typical day and even more so during fearful times. Anxiety can send us into ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ mode. In these times, I find it helpful to remember that light-heartedness is a tension-reliever and can offer an element of hope. If we can still laugh, then life must still be good on some level…even when the news we face is scary and frightful.

Balance is a choice.  I remind myself to counter-balance fear with love… sad with happy…tears with laughter. When I feel that life is spinning out of control, I turn to prayers that stretch out beyond me to a God that I believe knows all…and is working for good in all circumstances.

How will you balance the moments you’re given today?

Whatever this day brings, I encourage you to take time to laugh…whether you throw your head back with a great ‘HaHaHa’ or quietly giggle to yourself…savor the feeling. Remember how precious the gift of joy is each day.

Then, after you’ve savored it…spread it to around; be a source of joy for others. I invite you to join me in being a source of love and laughter!

If you’d like to learn more about cultivating positivity and experience Laughter Yoga, I invite you to the Wholistic Woman Evening Retreat: Be Positive on August 30th from 5:30-7:30 pm. I hope to see you there!


Today’s Author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is an executive coach, founder of Wholistic Woman Retreats, and author of Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith. Learn more about her coaching and training services at www.caroldelaski.com or email her at: [email protected].

Are You Ready for an Adventure?

Are You Ready for an Adventure?

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” ~ Helen Keller

What do you think of when you hear the word Adventure?

Daring…risky…exciting…maybe even a bit scary?

Adventures often have an element of the unknown, risk, and perhaps danger. I’ve noticed that there are different levels of adventure that appeal to each of us. What thrills me may seem tame to someone else. What thrills someone else may seem impossible for me to do.

Whether you’re quick to jump on board or prefer to think things through before taking a well-calculated risk, I believe it’s important for each of us to cultivate our own unique spirit of adventure. That spirit calls for us to try new things that take us out of our comfort zones, to stretch, grow, and reach for new accomplishments. The spirit of adventure is when we “participate in exciting undertakings or enterprises,” according to Dictionary.com.  

My adult son, Ben, recently went skydiving with his girlfriend Kate. They were nervously excited about this great adventure and thoroughly researched the company they chose to literally, take the jump. Even though I was nervous, too, I saluted their courage in overcoming fear and doing such a daring act. I was the first person Ben called when his feet were safely on the ground once more and his voice was full of excitement and joy as he told me that it was one of the most amazing experiences of his life. His adrenaline and thrill were evident and contagious. I felt both relief and happiness for Ben and Kate; especially knowing that they took this adventurous step together.

I have no burning desire to jump out of a perfectly good airplane; however, I have my own sense of adventure. It often comes alive for me when I travel. I recently went to Texas for a work trip and extended my stay for a few days of fun and adventure exploring Texas Hill Country with my co-worker and friend, Kelye. 

Kelye travels to Texas frequently for work and she designated herself my official tour guide for our long weekend together. She drove us through big cities and small towns: Austin, Fredericksburg, Comfort, and San Antonio. We drove through Luckenbach, Texas (where Waylon, Willie, and the gang sang). I tried new foods and drinks, saw new animals (such as armadillos), stayed on a ranch, and even bought myself a pair of red cowgirl boots as a reminder of this fun road trip. Traveling always taps into my sense of adventure as I find myself more open to see, taste, smell, listen, touch – and thoroughly experience new places, people, and things.

What taps into your sense of adventure?

What activities bring you the thrill of excitement?

What will you do this summer to explore and stretch out of your comfort zone?

If you’re looking for good ideas, I have a great suggestion!

I warmly invite you to our first Wholistic Woman Scavenger Hunt. This local adventure will take you around the historic district of Frederick, MD, and help you discover and experience it in new, creative ways.

Frequently, we take our hometown or nearby attractions for granted; we may not make time to enjoy and explore them. This is your chance to get to know Frederick better as you hunt for items and activities in the four Wholistic categories of body, heart, mind, and spirit.  

Clues in each category will challenge you and your teammates to find and photograph such things as:

Heart: Do an act of kindness for an elderly person such as helping them across the street or paying for their parking meter.

Mind: Go to the house of the famous woman who said “Shoot if you must, this old gray head, but spare your country’s flag!” and salute the flag displayed there.

Body: Get a postural assessment from our sponsor, Spring Ridge Chiropractic, at the tallest, straightest place in Baker Park.

Spirit: Photograph your team at one of the many houses of worship in Frederick and light a candle, say a prayer, or meditate together.

These, and many more clues, will stretch your minds as you walk around town; be sure to wear comfortable shoes! Find and do as many of these clues as you can (or want to) in an hour and a half. Wholistic Woman Retreats will provide snacks and plenty of water to keep you hydrated and happy as you explore old town Frederick.

Create your own team, or come on your own and join a team at the event. This is a great team-building experience, whether you’re bringing co-workers, staff, or board members…or if you meet your team that day. You’ll get to know others as you explore the streets of Frederick – on the move – learning, connecting, and growing.

At the conclusion of the Scavenger Hunt we will gather upstairs at Brewer’s Alley to celebrate with cold drinks, dinner, and a recap of team adventures with a slideshow of your scavenger hunt photos. Fun prizes will be awarded, but we know the best reward will be the sense of accomplishment and connection you will feel from getting outside your comfort zone with other Women-on-the-Grow.

To participate in the Wholistic Scavenger Hunt, register yourself and/or your team. Plan to arrive at the Baker Park Gazebo at 4:30 on July 26th. The hunt will run from 5:00-6:30 PM, followed by dinner and celebration at Brewer’s Alley till 8:00 PM.

I hope to see you there…let’s have an adventure together!

Today’s Author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is an executive coach, founder of Wholistic Woman Retreats, and author of Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith. Learn more about her coaching and training services at www.caroldelaski.com or email her at: [email protected].

Be Balanced – A Wholistic Approach

What does it feel like when your life is in balance?

Does it energize you, leave you feeling relaxed, or is there some other quality that best describes it for you?

More importantly, how do you know when you’ve achieved that elusive equilibrium that we refer to as balance?

I’ve noticed that balance often looks, and feels, different for each of us. What’s great for me may be overwhelming for another. What’s optimal for you may be boring to someone else. What makes us feel balanced is unique to each of us. Only you know what components are necessary for your well-being.

Some of the needed ingredients could be time outdoors, quality time with loved ones, solitude, or time for spiritual renewal. Others may need time with a support group, exercise, good nutrition, music, creative expression…this list could go on and on. Knowing what makes up your personal access code for balance will enable you to achieve it more often.

Our bodies can provide abundant information about how we’re doing by sending us warning signals when we’re out of balance, as well as calming reassurance when we are in a healthy zone.

Many of us experience negative physical symptoms when we are on overload: backaches, headaches, digestive troubles, and sleeplessness are examples of red flags that warn us when we are not taking good care of ourselves. These indicators of stress are signals to slow down, rest, practice self-care, and restore well-being to our lives.

Our bodies also send signals when we are in a positive state of balance. When I’m experiencing a high sense of well-being I notice that I often smile to myself as I go about my daily activities. I appreciate my surroundings and the people I encounter more. I release the striving that often appears when I’m out of balance and gratefully receive what each day brings.

When we begin to pay more attention to our well-being we notice what it feels like to be in, or out, of balance. We learn our own personal warning signals that can indicate when we are getting off track. This is helpful on a daily and weekly basis, but also on a larger scale as well.

As I look back on the past year, I can see that I have had a series of activities that have thrown my balance off kilter. The love of my life moved in with me one year ago and we became engaged on Christmas Eve. That would have been a big adjustment in and of itself, but layered on top of that were a number of family support roles that I chose to take on.

I overextended myself and my physical, emotional, and mental health was impacted by doing too much. An upswing in my business coincided with these changes and even though almost everything was good, I still found myself stressed to do it all…and be it all. Eventually, something had to give, and my warning signals of exhaustion, sickness, irritability, and depression got my attention.

I started pulling back, taking much needed downtime, and making conscious choices that would refill my own tank. I leaned on the tools and strategies that we practice in the Wholistic Woman Community. I sought to understand how my strengths had drifted to the dark side and weren’t bringing the results I wanted. I looked at my energy levels and saw that I had dropped into a lot of caregiver (level 4) energy and started working my way back to level 5, win-win energy. I used my One Word for this year, Joy, as a lens to examine how some activities brought me deep happiness and others did not. Regularly applying all of these strategies helped to get me back on track and restored my optimal balance.

I believe that life is a learning process and that I know how to better recognize my overdoing it…simply because I have over-done it…yet again! With practice, I remember how to find my way back when I get off track, using the tools that have proven helpful over and over again. As I wrote about in my book, Lost and Found…life can be a series of experiences where I lose my way…and find my way again. I’m encouraged to see that I continue to discover, learn, and evolve through the experiences of each year.

The key to finding my way is asking what I need more of, and what I need less of, in order to achieve the balance that is right for me. I ask myself what I need on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis to make healthy choices. It’s not a perfect system. Some days I can’t get what I need, but with self-awareness I can make sure that I get it in the next day or two in order to maintain a weekly, monthly, and yearly sense of balance.

In the Wholistic Woman community we focus on developing our body, heart, mind, and spirit in the life-long process of integrating all parts to become whole. At the May Evening Retreat, Be Balanced, I will lead women through a short self-assessment to identify how satisfied they are with their well-being in these four areas of heart, mind, body, spirit.

We will discuss strategies and tools to improve our satisfaction in each area. Women will leave with actionable steps to lead a more balanced life. I invite you to join us for this interactive and lively discussion to find your optimal balance. Click here to learn more and register for the Be Balanced Evening Retreat.


Today’s Author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is an executive coach, founder of Wholistic Woman Retreats, and author of Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith. Learn more about her coaching and training services at www.caroldelaski.com or email her at: [email protected].