Thursday, December 16, 2010

Life Coaching for Teens: Increased Self-esteem, Confidence, and Motivation

By: Ivana Pejakovic, B.Sc., MA

Many parents have the ability to grant their children access to high quality education, tutoring, instructive video games, athletic coaching, and other extraordinary opportunities to help their teens become happy and successful adults.

Despite these many advantages, it appears parents are not seeing the desired results in their offspring. Contrary to their expectations, parents are noticing their children experiencing low-self esteem and confidence levels that are impacting their levels of motivation to live up to their full potential.

Fortunately, parents are now learning the benefits of Life Coaching for teenagers as a means to help their children increase self-esteem, confidence and motivation to succeed. A Teen Coach can provide guidance to youth that can make the difference between a negative and positive result for the child.

Life coaching for teenagers addresses issues such as:

Purpose: Everyone was born with a purpose on life. Unfortunately, many people live their entire lives without ever understanding this. Those who are in touch with their purpose in life are happier and more successful.

Values: Values are what is important to us. They guide our actions, direct our lives, and affect the decisions we make. The trick is to figure out who we are, what is important to us, and what kind of a life we want to live. Unless we are aware of our values, we’ll likely behave in contradiction to what is important to us and how we would like to live our lives.

Habits: Habitual behaviour can be hard to identify because we are not always aware of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. A teen coach will help teens recognize the negative habits and guide them to replace them with good habits.

Lack of responsibility and accountability: Accepting responsibility for our actions gives us power and control over our life. Early exposure to the significance of responsibility and accountability teaches teens how their choices determine the results they experience. This knowledge empowers teens to shape their life in whatever way they want.

Limiting self-beliefs: Negative expectations will limit the level of success we achieve. According to self-fulfilling prophecy, we alter our actions so that we behave consistently with our beliefs or expectations of ourselves. While teens are trying to figure out who they are it is easy to adopt self-limiting beliefs about themselves based on what others think of them and the setbacks they experience. Teen coaches address this line of thought and guide teens to replace self-limiting beliefs with self-empowering ones.

By learning these concepts, teens gain a sense of control over their lives leading to an increase in their self-esteem and confidence levels and their motivation to succeed.

The teenage years can and should be used as training ground for adult life. Positive habits developed during adolescence are likely to stick around into adulthood. In addition, adolescence is an excellent time for youth to start thinking about their purpose and direction in life.

For more information about Life Coaching for Teenagers, contact Teen Coach in Toronto, Ivana Pejakovic, and learn how life coaching can benefit your teen or young adult.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

If at First You Don’t Succeed: How to plan a successful New Year’s Resolution for self-change

Ivana Pejakovic, B.Sc., MA

There is a reason the self-help industry is booming with success. It thrives due to your general lack of success! We are desperate for self-change and are constantly on the lookout for a new solution to improve our image, appearance, worth, and overall station in life. The problem is that many of our attempts to change ourselves end up failing. For example, how many times have you tried to change the same negative habit that just keeps coming back? How many times have you tried to quit smoking and haven’t been able to yet? Have you kept your usual New Year’s resolution to go to the gym three times per week?

The source of failures...

After failing, your biggest error can be not evaluating the reason for the outcome. Typically, you may attribute your failure to external factors, such as, the ineffectiveness of the self-change program you used, social distractions, responsibilities, work, the weather, the kids, the husband or wife, etc.

The lack of evaluation of what caused your failure sets you up for another disappointment. Failing to pinpoint the culprit, you tend to repeat the same mistakes again.

The most important thing to realize is that you are responsible for all your outcomes and experiences. Therefore if you fail, the reason you fail is internal; something you personally did to interfere with your ability to succeed.

What are the things you do that sets you up for failure? Based on my many personal failures to change myself and observations of those around me, I’ve come up with six reasons I believe people tend to be unsuccessful in achieving many of their goals.

1. UNCLEAR or VAGUE GOALS. To get to where you want to go, you must clearly define your destination. You must invest time to understand where you want to go and what you want to do. If you don’t know where you are going, any path will take you there.

2. IMPATIENCE. You want change now! Once you have some idea of what you want to change, you demand to see results today. Unfortunately, self-change is usually a slow process. You must continually work in order to change your beliefs, negative habits, and attitude. This takes time and requires patience, self-confidence, and self-acceptance. If you do not accept yourself as you are, you will have a tough time reaching your goal without getting discouraged and giving up before you even see any progress.

3. FALSE PERCEPTION of the effort required to succeed. At the time of your resolution to change, you are so energized over your new commitment you mistakenly assume change will be easy. You do not fully consider the day-to-day effort that will be required to achieve your goal (in addition to those other day-to-day things you have to do). Self-change does not happen effortlessly; it requires serious work, commitment, and persistence. The reward, however, is invaluable.

4. Unrealistic QUANTITY-to-TIME ratio. It is simple and desirable to assume the big change you want to see will come in short time. Upon realizing it will take a little longer to achieve the desired goal, you tend to get discouraged and quit. The time it will take to see change is relative to the size of the goal you have set. For example, becoming the CEO of the #1 company in the world will take a little longer than becoming the mailroom manager. While both are worthy goals, keep in mind that not all goals can be achieved in the same amount of time.

5. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Once you make the resolution to change, you have strong confidence in your ability to succeed. It doesn’t take long however, for this initial faith in yourself to wane. You soon get discouraged by the slow progress and the amount of work required to succeed, “It’s just not working!” you say to yourself. You may also start questioning your ability to succeed. Unfortunately, if you don’t think you can succeed, you won’t. You’ll give up before you see any results. This will only confirm your thoughts about your inability to achieve your goal. When you fail, you’ll say to yourself “See, I knew I would not be successful.”

6. MISPERCEIVED BENEFITS. Why do you want to change yourself? Do, you seek to attract the right partner? Do you pursue a more prestigious career because you will obtain validation from your friends and family? These types of self-change are propelled by the wrong reasons. You want to attain something that is outside of your control. How can you be sure you will attract the 'right' partner if you change yourself? How do you know your family and friends will give you the validation you seek based on your career choices? You’ll be disappointed when you realize the response you were hoping for does not materialize. If you want to change yourself, it only makes sense to use an internal guideline of what you want to become. Changing yourself for another’s benefit is a recipe for emotional disaster.
The six factors listed above will greatly impact your chance of reaching your goal. The most important thing to understand is that these causes are internal to you and therefore, controllable.

You are in Charge!

Remember: you are accountable for your behaviour and results. No one or no thing, other than you, can stop you from being the person you truly want to be. To achieve any goal, you need to create a clear picture of what you want to attain. Be prepared to put in the required amount of effort for as long as it is necessary. Patience, persistence, self-acceptance, and determination are vital. If you are to achieve your goal and maintain the result, you need to keep working at it.

Now, before you start a new attempt at self-change, think about why your previous attempts at self-change were unsuccessful. If the problem came from the inside, how can you expect a solution from the outside to be effective? Would you use a band-aid on your car’s hood when the engine breaks down? Of course not! If the band-aid solution will not work for the car, it will most definitely not work for you.

Interested in more information on self-change for teens and young adults? Contact Life Coach in Toronto, Ivana Pejakovic and learn how to get your children to become a success!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Your teen is unmotivated? How to turn your teen into a success story

Ivana Pejakovic, B.Sc., MA

There are a number of elements necessary for teens (and adults) to succeed in life. To help your teen write his/her own success story, work with your child on the following:

1. Attitude: How would you rate your teen’s attitude? A positive attitude is both healthy and productive. With a positive attitude, your teen will take even the negative circumstances and turn them into positive ones. A healthy attitude can be gained by teaching your teen that not all setbacks are a nuisance. Teach your teen see the bright side of life.

2. Responsibility: Is your teen taking responsibility for his/her actions? Once s/he takes responsibility for his/her actions (the good and the bad) he/she can start connecting the dots of how certain behaviours produce certain results. Responsibility will teach your teen that s/he has complete control over his/her life. What are your teen’s responsibilities at home?

3. Inspiration: Is you teen inspired? Does your teen have enough inspiration around him/her? Inspiration comes from the situations we experience, the people we meet, the mistakes we make, etc. [Note, that TV is not a good source of inspiration]. Without inspiration your teen will feel bored and unproductive, and will experience lowered self-esteem level. Keep your teen active and involved in community events. Remember, everyone needs inspiration.

4. Goals: Can you list three of your teen’s goals? [Be sure these are your teen’s goals and not your goals for your teen]. If not, your teen probably can’t list them either. Goals give your teen something to look forward to and work towards. They motivate your teen to stay on the right track and they will improve your teen’s self-worth. Start talking to your teen about what s/he would like to achieve short-term (from now to 1 year from now) and long-term (1 to 5 years from now). Help him/her to plan how to achieve them.

5. Commitment: What is your teen’s level of commitment? Commitment is the only way to success. Once your teen decides to do something s/he has to stick to it. Commitment is best taught in the family. How are you demonstrating commitment to your teen with your own goals and personal relationships?

Interested in more information? Contact Life Coach in Toronto, Ivana Pejakovic and speak to her about your teen.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Disconnect your kids from electronics - How to reconnect with your kids through communication

By: Ivana Pejakovic, B.Sc., MA

With December celebrations fast approaching, many families are starting to make arrangements to travel to their planned destinations. While some will be traveling by car, others by plane, and still others by some other form of transportation, the question many parents are entertaining is how to keep the children busy during travel time to reduce tension, disputes, and irritating behaviour.

There really are many options for parents to keep their kids, older and younger, busy while traveling. Many family cars such as vans offer children the option of bringing their laptops, iPods, and portable DVD players with their favourite DVD collections. There is also the option of bringing portable video games and other electronic or battery operated gadgets. All these gimmicks, including cell phones are bound to keep kids busy and quiet throughout the journey.

Unfortunately, these often unsociable activities leave kids with little reason to speak to siblings and even to parents. While kids are more and more connecting to electronics, it appears they are increasingly disconnecting with the family. Disconnecting children from electronics will allow families to reunite, leading to voluntary participation in family conversations, strengthened trust, and an understanding what your kids and teens are all about.

Due to a busy lifestyle today, parents find it difficult to keep up with their work and maintain a strong relationship with their children and spouse. It is easier to let the kids do their own thing as parents tidy the house, work from the home office, or catch up on whatever is left undone.

As a result, it is vital that parents take advantage of family activities such as car rides to build their relationship with their children. Depending on the length of the journey, parents may choose to have family activities as well as individual ones prepared. If the car ride is short, it ought to be used for family time. If it is longer, parents can allow children some individual time too.

Before the portable electronics existed, many parents entertained their children through discussions and reminiscing, interactive games, and even singing. Although these trips would at times get out of hand with the kids loud and excited, these were the times parents used to nourish the bond with their children and to build a trusting relationship.

As you plan your journey to your planned destination, I encourage you to consider more interactive activities and less solitary ones. Even if you are taking short trips to the store, you can still use that time to connect to your child. Planning family activities during trips will take a little extra of your time; however, they will be worth the work when you see how these activities bring your family together during this special time of the year.

Interested in more information about the benefits of teen coaching? Visit and learn how Toronto Life Coach and Mentor, Ivana Pejakovic can help motivate your teens to achieve their goals.

Teens are a very special part of our society. They are our tomorrow! Today, it is up to us to inspire them to be all that they can be!

How can I guide my teen to make the ‘right’ kind of friends?

By: Ivana Pejakovic, B.Sc., MA

Do you find your teen has a hard time finding new friends? More importantly, do you think your teen has settled in with the first friends that came along despite the friends’ questionable quality?

Making new friends can be quite nerve-racking for a teen, especially if s/he has low self-esteem and confidence levels. Finding friends with similar values can be even more challenging.

Teens are in the process of figuring out who they are. Fear of judgement is at its highest and confusion about how the world works is a factor too. This is the time for you, the parent, to step in and instil your values on your kids. The question is how do you encourage your teen to find friends who will positively influence him or her?

Parents play an important role in their children’s lives. High expectations for your children are not enough. You need to teach and steer your kids on HOW to pick the ‘right friends.’
Before you read on, think for a minute: If you went to your teen’s room to speak to him or her about making the ‘right’ kind of friends how would you go about this conversation?

Take a moment and think about it...

When guiding you teen, it is not enough to say this is how it is and that’s it. It is not enough to expect him or her to follow adult reasoning because s/he will not (adult reasoning is not always clear to adults either). Instead, sit down with your child and guide him or her through the process of finding the ‘right’ friends.

Tips to help your teen make the ‘right’ friends:

1. Sign your teen up for 1 or 2 extracurricular activities. It can be a sports team, an art class, or dance class. Pick something s/he would enjoy or ask your teen to pick the class s/he would like to participate in. This way you give your teen power to choose what s/he wants to do. The point is your teen cannot make friends if s/he has no place to meet new people.

2. Guide him or her on how to select friends. For example: Teach your teen to carefully choose his or her friends. Direct your teen to ask him or herself what s/he is looking for in NEW friends? Get your teen to write down 5 qualities or characteristics s/he would like the new friends to have.

3. Once your teen has a list prepared, ask him or her how the current friends measure up to these qualities. Ask about each friend, one at a time.

4. Let your teen know this doesn’t mean s/he can’t talk to other people who don’t have these qualities and characteristics. Encourage your teen to be friendly with everyone, BUT his or her closest friends should have most of the qualities they listed above.

5. Encourage your teen to make friends with people who have similar values to him or her (values are those things that are really important to us— e.g., family togetherness, going to university, education, staying healthy by not smoking, drinking and doing drugs, respecting others by not gossiping, etc.

6. If your teen is hoping to form a friendship with someone, ask him or her why s/he wishes to be friends with this particular person or this group of people? Ask him or her if these reasons are compatible to his or her answers to questions 2 and 5.

7. Demonstrate to your teen that friends can and probably will influence his or her behaviour. For example, ask him or her to think about something s/he does with newer set of friends that s/he never did with previous friends (or one group of friends compared to another group). Ask him or her to think of 2 good examples and 2 negative examples.

8. Encourage your teen to think about how s/he wants his or her friends to influence him or her? Ask him or her to think of 5 ways s/he would like to be influenced? Ask him or her how she would not like to be influenced.

Interested in more information? Contact Life Coach Toronto, Ivana Pejakovic and speak to her about your teen.