Coach Jen Coaching

The Last 6.2 Miles of a Marathon – Part 3

This post originally appeared on Coach Jen’s blog at

I don’t know about you but after the last two posts (part 1 here and part 2 here), but I have a new appreciation for marathon runners. Life is hard enough, why put yourself through that torture? I say that, but I still love a good challenge!

There is one more insight I want to pull from the article I came a crossed “My Experiences With The Last 6.2 Miles Of The Marathon”  . Here is what he writes.

“When I was struggling the most I came upon a young guy who made me feel like I was doing okay. He was really struggling. He was walking (well really hobbling) and as I passed him I gave him a little slap on the shoulders and told him that he could do it and that we were getting close. He mumbled something back that I couldn’t understand but then he started to jog with me. As we talked I started to tell him that he was looking good, that we were getting closer, and that he would never be the same after finishing that marathon (It was his first). The thing that I noticed is the more I tried to help him and get his spirits up the better I felt about myself. In talking someone else through the rough spots I am talking myself through.”

little boy

When we are down and out, the last thing we want to think about is helping others. It takes all of our gumption to get ourselves out of bed in the morning much less the effort to help someone else. But what Mr. Haag says in the article is so true. If we take just one ounce of energy and put it toward encouraging someone else, we find that we suddenly have more. More energy, more peace, more joy, more. I can’t explain it, but I think we all know deep down it is true. If you have never tried it, today is the day. I know this is a great reminder for me. I want to be an encourager of others and I love how I feel in return.

“Now in every race that I run I seek out those who look like they could use a little help or inspiration and try to offer some words of encouragement. I think life is the same, if we will try to find opportunities to help and give then usually we are the ones who receive the most.”

Whether you feel like it today or not, experiment and encourage someone around you. Genuinely care about them, and see what comes back your direction. It might just be the key to get us through the last 6.2 mile challenge we have in front of us.

Coach Jen Coaching

The Last 6.2 Miles of a Marathon – part 2

This post originally appeared on Coach Jen’s blog at

If you are just tuning in, I found a great article recently that is helping me walk step by step through my marathon of life. On March 29th 2012 Ryan Haag posted “My Experiences With The Last 6.2 Miles Of The Marathon” and he touched on some pretty amazing correlations between his last 6.2 miles and how we have to run the race of life.

In my last post we looked at the last 6.2 miles of the marathon. This is important, because the marathon is somewhat “easy” towards the beginning, but as it continues, it gets harder and harder to the point where you can only focus on putting one foot in front of the other.


Marathon runners

Today’s subject is very similar because I don’t think we can take the subject of perseverance too lightly and only mention it and move on. As I continued to read Ryan Haag’s article he started describing a number of his last 6.2 miles experiences.

He shares “It was not long after this (seeing the 21 mile marker) that I experienced what has been my nemesis in the final miles of all but one of my marathons, which is cramping in my hamstrings.”

And his marathon a year later, “the hamstring cramps that I had felt the year earlier returned with a vengeance. I was trying to run straight legged and hobble the best I could but my pace started to slow. I found myself gritting my teeth and kind of growling to try to persevere through the pain.”

I do not want to make light of Mr. Haag’s pain and suffering, but I started to laugh as I read about him running straight legged and hobbling. Don’t get me wrong, it was not a laugh because I thought it was funny, it was a laugh because I feel right now, today, that I am hobbling and just trying to make it. I envisioned myself as the one doing all I could to keep going even if it meant running straight legged and hobbling.

One of the goals I have been working in this year, among others, is the physical goal of getting into better shape and strengthening my back (a cause of pain for me for years). I have made great progress with the help of my personal trainer. We have discovered and improved one area of my back, but with that improvement, my hip which has had to compensate for my bad back all of these years is now screaming. I know I am making progress. I know I am getting stronger. But I feel like I am having to run straight legged and hobbling. And yes, I have growled too!

Your struggle may be physical, it may be mental, emotional, spiritual, relational, financial.. Whatever it is, it can be hard!

The article continues “with about 2 miles to go someone was passing out ice cold wash clothes which I used to wipe my hot, salt crusted head and body with and then just laid it on my bald head while I ran. It was possibly the most refreshing thing I have ever felt.”

Each day we are blessed with “cold wash clothes” but sometimes in the middle of the mess and pain we don’t see how much of a blessing they are. There is no doubt that Mr. Haag had to focus all of his being on putting one foot in front of the other, but he was able to feel the refreshment that came his way that day. It may come from another person, it may come from nature, where ever it comes from, grab it, hold onto it and allow it to help encourage us in our race.

Stop for just a second and think about a “cold wash cloth” experience you have had recently. Take time to enjoy it! Then keep hobbling FORWARD!

Coach Jen Coaching

The Last 6.2 Miles of a Marathon

This post originally appeared on Coach Jen’s blog at

This morning I Googled “what is the hardest mile of a marathon?” because that is where I feel like I am in life right now. I always teach that life is more of a marathon compared to a sprint. We just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.

Well, I am doing that and I suspect you are too, but doesn’t it get to the point at times when you feel fatigued, like your life is getting “cramped up”, like the finish line is too far away?

That is how I feel today and have been feeling for a few weeks now. I am pushing forward in a number of areas of my life, but I’ve lost my excitement, I’m struggling to stay confident, and I question whether I’m running the right race.

marathon water

My Google search brought me to a blog called Run Through Life: Tips and Experiences on Running & Other Important Things In Life.

On March 29th 2012 Ryan Haag posted “My Experiences With The Last 6.2 Miles Of The Marathon” and he touched on some pretty amazing correlations between his last 6.2 miles and how I feel in life right now. I want to fill this blog post with all of his insights, but I am going to take one at a time. I need to chew on each of them and figure out what each of them mean to me and how I can apply them to make the “stretch of life” less cumbersome.

Today’s insight is: “When I start a race I am usually thinking in five mile increments and then the farther I get into the race my goals shorten to water stops and then to 1 mile at a time and during the final few miles it goes to one step at a time.”

As I reflect on my life and current goals, I can see this same thing. I am probably to the point where I am looking for water stops. But this does not encourage me because it means that it is going to get harder. It means that I am going to get to the point where I can barely lift one foot to put it in front of the other.

Does it help to know that this phase of my goals is around the bend? Maybe a little. I guess I know when I am there that it is a “normal” part of the race. That others have come before me and persevered through this part to cross the finish line.

But I think what motivates me more is to know that many before me have stopped just short of the finish line and I don’t want to be that person. I do want to persevere!

“It is during that last 6.2 miles where you really have to reach down into yourself both physically and mentally and find strength that you previously didn’t know you had. The last 6.2 miles is what makes you better, stronger, more confident, yet humble person following the marathon. That 6.2 miles stretch gives you the confidence that there is nothing that can stop you from attaining your dreams but also makes you so grateful for all of the gifts that you have been given.”

Where are you on your current race of life? Are you feeling good watching the miles pass with ease? Are you starting to feel the fatigue? Or are you just trying to put one foot in front of the other?

Hang in there! Keep going! Don’t stop! Others have persevered and you can too!

More to come…parts 2 and 3 will post this week.

Coach Jen Coaching Simplify

Whose definition of success are you living by?

Have you been influenced by other people’s definition of success? Has that influence been good, bad or both?

This post originally appeared on Coach Jen’s blog at

As many of you know, I am in the process of writing a book. This adventure is bringing me in a lot of different directions, all in the hopes of helping each of us to live the BEST life we can possibly live. Today I am reflecting on and writing about what success looks like and I am curious how you feel on the subject and the experiences you have had.

def of success

  • When you transitioned from your high school years into your “adult” life, were there very clear expectations placed on you by your elders on how to move forward in life?
  • Did they have a clear definition of success they wanted you to pursue?
  • Was their view of success one of order or adventure?
  • Did you follow through with their definition of success? If so, are you still on the same path? Or have you veered off?
  • Why?
  • Have you discovered your own definition of success in life? What is it?
  • If you are a parent, what definition of success are you passing on to your child? Why is it important for you to communicate this to your child?

In my personal life and in my career as a Life Coach, I have met many amazing individuals that have all had a unique combination of answers to the above questions. Some are moving forward in life, some are stuck. I am interested in seeing how the definition of success of influential people in our lives have shaped our lives.

I would love your input! Please feel free to set up a simple account and comment right here in the blog, comment on Facebook or send me an email. 

Coach Jen Coaching Simplify

End to an amazing 46 days!

This post originally appeared on Coach Jen’s blog at

This image sums up the last 46 days! It is great to have said goodbye to 46 items and as I look back I don’t regret parting with even one of them. It fact, there is more space in my life because of the removal of these items.

sometimes-you-dont-feel-the-weight-1024x685 copy (Mobile)
It has been a fun 46 days. It has been a ton of fun having conversations with friends and family as they have tried to part with items in their life. This adventure has sparked conversations around camp fires, dinner tables and many phone calls. It has been a great experience for me, and I hope for you too!

Getting rid of “stuff” is different for every person, as it should be. We are all amazing and unique individuals. I guess the message I would like to part with is – Always strive to live your BEST LIFE and do not let any possession hold you back from it! Find freedom in your day, in your home and in your life.

Thanks for sticking with me over the past 46 days! Here is a mini collage of all of the “stuff” I parted with. It was fun to recap!

Preview of “40 days collage”

Let’s see what adventure we can get into next! Have a great week!

Coach Jen Coaching Simplify

The end is in sight and the good-bye pile is growing!

This post originally appeared on Coach Jen’s blog at

This week flowed pretty well. I was actually in the mood to get rid of things and clear more space. Don’t get me wrong, I still had to search for things to get rid of, but once I looked in the far corners of my home, I realized that I had more stuff that I do not use or have duplicates of.

I was also reminded that getting rid of things is a process. I have had many items in my sites for some time, but I was not ready to part with them. My house is filled with things that I am not ready to part with. But over time, I realize that a lot of it is in the way and taking up space. In most cases I do not love the items, or not even use them. It takes time to part with them, but I feel great when I do.

Because it is a process, it is important for me to keep reduction at the forefront of my mind. To take time out monthly or quarterly to go through things and ask myself if it is time to part with certain items. That would be a great thing to add to my monthly todo list.

I also want to set up a system to think before I buy new items. I am trying something new this week. I set up an incentive program for myself. There are a few clothing items that I would like to acquire, but instead of just running out to get them, I have decided that I have to earn them. I set up a goal for myself this week to move forward on one important area of my life and if I succeed all week, I can go purchase one of those items. What this also does is prolong the buying process which gives me time to really think about whether I need this item or not. It take the “impulse” out of the buying process.

Here are the items I said goodbye to this week! Possessions #36 – #42

Autumn flag

#36 With the weather growing warmer, I went out into the garage to do some spring clean up. While I was there, I found this autumn flag that I have not flown for at least 10 years. I decided the American flag was all I needed and said goodbye to this one.


#37 Again, while working in the garage, I came across this propane lantern. My husband LOVES flashlights, so in the case of an emergency, I think we are covered and would probably not use this lantern…at least we have not in quite a few years.

swim suit

#38 I love swimming and this is one of my favorite suits that I seen may laps around the pool. I have another one that fits me a little better and I really don’t need two. Goodbye my old friend!

white board

#39 This white board has been used for many things through the years. As you might notice, if you look closely, we were using it as our workout board for a while. But our smart phones have taken over for the white board and we have not used it for quite some time, goodbye!


#40 Here are a few CD’s that just did not make the cut. I hope someone else enjoys them!

over eating book

#41 This book was a great recommendation from a friend and pointed me in my current direction of eating healthy and removing much of the processed foods out of my diet. Goodbye processed foods and goodbye book.

boxing bag

#42 I was not quite ready to get rid of my boxing gloves and wraps, but it was time to part with my boxing bag. I don’t need it!

Great lessons have been learned so far, but I’m not done yet. A few more items to go! See you next week for the grand finale!

Coach Jen Simplify

I would have never guessed!

At the beginning of this week I knew that it was going to be tough to find things to give away. In fact, each day I have roamed around my house trying to figure out what to part with. But, I have found something to depart with every day and I have experienced something that I did not expect. I was expecting to feel upset about the items that I was parting with. I was expecting to feel real pain. But what I have found is yet more FREEDOM! I cannot explain it in any other way. It has made me realize that I don’t need these items in my life to make me happy. It felt like a breath of fresh air!

Here is what I said goodbye to this week! Week #5, Possessions #29 – #35

dress pants

Possession #29 is a pair of dress pants that I really like, but since I have been eating better and working out, they are simply too big for me. I was tempted to hold on to them in case I gained a few pounds back, but what kind of mindset is that? I do not want to live my life thinking about backsliding, I want to focus on continually improving my life. Therefore, I decided that say goodbye to my pants, and give them to someone else to enjoy. I know that whatever size pants I need in the future, I will be able to purchase them (hopefully on clearance)!


Possession #30 is a bag of cosmetics that I have tried and did not like. I held on to them thinking I might use them some day, but now that I am eating healthy, my skin is looking a feeling better than ever, so goodbye!

Coin Scarf

Possession #31 is a belly dancing scarf. I have two others that I like a lot better, so I do not need this one!

pull bouy

Possession #32 is a “Pull Buoy” still in its package. I love to swim and I bought this when I had a membership to a gym with a pool. I no longer have that membership and really don’t need this sitting around.

door picture

Possession #33 is a picture that I bought for almost nothing on clearance that I was going to put up on our front door. The problem is, we have a lot of door to door solicitors so I always keep my friendly “no solicitors” sign up and never have used this picture.

striped shirt

Possession #34 Back to my closet. This striped shirt is very comfortable, but also getting a little too big for me. I have pulled this shirt out many times to give away, but always put it back in my closet. It is time to finally say farewell!

blue shirt

Possession #35 This shirt is beautiful, but I have NEVER worn it! I simply never have an occasion to use it and now, like much of my clothes, it is getting too big! This one was a hard decision, but it felt GREAT to finally get rid of it! I no longer have to think about when I might be able to wear it.

Sacrifice = More FREEDOM! Who would have guessed! 7 more items gone, 11 more items to go! Wow, this is amazing!

See ya next week! I have no idea what to expect!

This post originally appeared on Jen’s blog at

Coach Jen Simplify

Possessions #22 – #28…Week 4!

This post originally appeared on Jen’s blog at

In order to keep my commitment of getting rid of 40 possession in 40 days, I am getting really close to giving away things that I would normally keep. Some may think, “what’s the point Jen, I understand giving away things that you no longer use or no longer want, but this is getting a little silly.”

You may be right, but I knew this getting into the commitment. The original inspiration for this project was a Benedictine Monk who started out with a lot less than me and decided to sacrifice for 40 days. Like he did, now I have to move into the sacrificial stage of my 40 days.

These items may not seem like much of a sacrifice to you, but realize, I have looked over my entire house for the past 4 weeks and for whatever reason, the items I select from this point on were items I had a plan for. I was planning on reading that book again, I really like that piece of clothing, I was planning on using those videos again. Whatever the case, I had hopes of using these items again.

The great news is that

  1. I can live without them.
  2. I am giving them to people who can use them instead of collecting dust on my shelves.

I present to you, Week #4, Possession #22-#28!

MBA book

Possession #22: A book I was hoping to read down the road. I doubt that was realistic because I have many other books “on my list” to read, before I would have gotten to this one.

nonl book

Possession #23: This book I utilized as we were starting our company. It’s a great reference, but I was able to pass it on to a friend getting ready to start-up their business. I’m glad it can be put to good use!

kitchen stuff

Possession #24: A few kitchen odds and ends. I was baking one night and realized I had the measuring cup hidden way in the back. This measuring cup was a great idea but a pain to clean, so I stopped using it and now it is out the door!

landlord book

Possession #25: Another book going to a good friend!

IMG_2234 (Mobile)

Possession #26: A great set of exercise videos. These were the videos that started my journey towards my current fitness goals. They were great, so I passed them on to my mom so she could walk indoors when the weather is bad.

dance video

Possession #27: Is another fun exercise video. I love to dance and this one was great! But I pulled it off the shelf and now I am just left with my two yoga videos.

office files

Possession #28: These are some odds and ends from my office. File folder, a special two hole punch and another journal.

7 more things that are truly not important when we consider the big picture of life. I am confident that over the next 12 days, the sacrifice that I make will be nothing compared to the freedom I feel as I create open space, the gratitude I feel for the items I decide to keep and the joy I will feel for keeping my commitment to saying goodbye to 40 possession in 40 days.

By the way, Easter is actually 18 days away, not 12. And the tradition that I grew up with was to give up something until Easter, so yes, I will give up the extra 6 items = 46 days!

Coach Jen Simplify

Out with the Suckers!

This post originally appeared on Jen’s blog at

What does week #3 have to do with SUCKERS?

If you know me, you know I love sweets! Am I sending them to the curb? … Of course not!

Am I ousting some special people in my life? … No you lucky SUCKERS! :)

I am using the great amount of knowledge that I have accumulated in the past month or so from my gardening class to get rid of another type of sucker altogether.

If you are unaware (as I was just weeks ago), suckers are the:

“vigorous vertical growth coming from the roots or lower main stem of a plant. Suckers are generally considered an undesirable thing—you want the plant but you don’t want its suckers, because the latter sap the original plant’s energy and turn it into weak growth in the wrong place.” (4 Ways to Control Plant Suckers: Controlling Suckers to Keep Your Plants Healthy By Jonathan Landsman)

Now, what does this have to do with giving away 40 possessions in 40 days? Good question! Through a conversation with yet another wonderful friend, they mentioned to me that they were following my progress and felt the items I was getting rid of were not all that hard to part with. And they were right! But the, now 21, items that I have parted with are suckers in my life:

  • They vigorously grow! I accumulate things very quickly. I don’t mean to but: I pick one small thing up here and there and suddenly it adds up with many other little things that I have picked up along the way. My possessions vigorously grow! I’m guessing yours do too.
  • They sap the original plant’s energy! I think if you asked the plant, it would say that the sucker is just fine to stay there, but once you prune that sucker, or get rid of unneeded possessions we and the plant suddenly feel freedom and open space! We can put our energy into real growth and not just supporting the suckers.

For me, saying goodbye to 40 possessions in 40 days is helping me to keep control over the vigorous growth of stuff in my life and is giving me a sense of real freedom everyday when I make the decision on what to part with.

Here is my low down for the week!

movie 1

Day #1: A fun movie, but I don’t need it!

movie 2

Day #2: Another great movie. Can you tell I raided the movie shelf this week?

nike flops

Day #3: My favorite Nike flip flops. My feet apparently have shrunk because they are HUGE on me. I could not even walk out to the trash can with them on.

drying rack

Day #4: This one was a tough one for me. I love my household tools and I have dried clothes on this puppy for years. Last year I expanded and got a portable clothes line that I can use outside, so this one was just taking up space. It felt great to have the space after it was gone!


Day #5: I used to buy journals on clearance so that I could give them to my coaching clients if they wanted them. These were a few I had left over, so it is time to pass them on as I had originally planned.

pebbles toy

Day #6: Pebbles, my sweet dog, contributed today! She could not even get her mouth around the toy. Good bye!

challenger tshirt

Day #7: This is a special t-shirt I got as a child when my family visited the space museum in Huntsville AL. The image on it is of the Space Shuttle Challenger which broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members on January 28, 1986. I have held onto it because it is so special, but now I want it to be in the hands of someone who will really appreciate it.

Goodbye 7 more possessions! Goodbye SUCKERS! Hello more space and freedom in my life and home!

Coach Jen Simplify

Obligation, Impulse and Security

Week Two! It’s getting very interesting! I have made it through 14 days of giving away one possession a day and I can see how this is going to continue to get more challenging as I go along.

My words for the week are OBLIGATION, SECURITY and IMPULSE. This week, I discovered that I have purchased things out of obligation, and at times, very impulsively. I have also found that I have held on to much of it for its sense of security.

I’ve made a conscious decision, saying goodbye to obligations, impulse and security. I have found great peace as I have placed items on my goodbye pile! Here is what I was able to part with this week.


Day #1: My friend Monica inspired me to get rid of a dress that has been collecting dust in my closet. I bought this dress a few years ago and only wore it once. I don’t even know if it fits me any more, but there was a sense of security I felt with having it in my closet. Once I took the step to remove it and add it to my goodbye pile, I felt a freeing feeling. It’s gone!


Day #2: I love having clear walls. Some may think that my walls are bare when they come to my house, but I just like them clean and clear. I find it refreshing. With that in mind, I took down three trivets (small plates that sit on the table or countertop on which you place hot serving dishes) that I bought at a home party years back, but never used other than for wall art. I do love home shows, but I have also found that I buy things out of obligation, not out of want or need. I say goodbye to the trivets and I think I have to say goodbye to home shows too. Goodbye!

wooden book

Day #3: Another book! This book is great and very inspiring. Why not pass it on so someone else can get inspired!


Day #4: In my continued pursuit to remove chemical cleaners from my home, I parted with a bag of different detergents now that I have found healthier alternatives.

love lang book

Day#5: A great book that is very useful for everyone. This is going to a good friend who is interested in serving her husband better and wants to find out what Love Language he has!

church book

Day#6: This book is going to the same friend as day #5. She is an amazing woman always serving others with a glad heart!

Day #7: Impulse buy! Last year I wanted a pair of comfortable sandals. I knew I did not LOVE these shoes, but I got them anyway. They are not cute and they are not comfortable. They are gone! I have felt guilty for buying these, so I held on to them. It was a mistake, and now it’s time to move on. Ahhhhh! (deep sigh)
Giving away one item a day does take a lot of work, but it is worth every moment.

Have you bought things or kept things out of Obligation? Security? or Impulse? We all do, but don’t let those mistakes continue to tie you down. Break the ties to those possessions and gain some freedom!

Until next week! Keep living your BEST!!!

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