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Need to fix your life?

Personal coach to the rescue

Jennifer McPhee
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 09/02) - Just walking into Lowell Ann Fuglsang's home office is a pleasant experience.

It's airy and clutter-free.

This makes sense, considering she coaches people - both individuals and groups - to "de-clutter" their lives, to achieve their definition of success and to stay focused on what's important to them.

Fuglsang is a work style and lifestyle coach.

"I'm really happy in the work that I do," she says.

And you can tell that she genuinely is.

But it wasn't always that way. For 20 years, she worked for Human Resources Development Canada. At one point, the department was restructuring, downsizing and Fuglsang didn't agree with what was happening.

"I remember a good friend said to me: 'Well, Fuglsang what are you waiting for? Why don't you get out of here and do what you've always wanted to?' So that's what I did."

When first working with an individual client, she asks the person to answer this question: I know how successful I am by how..."

She also has a circle divided "into four stages we all go through" in her office. Phase one called "Go for it" when people are doing just fine.

Phase two, "the doldrums" is when people "feel in a rut."

"Usually, there's something that needs to be let go of," says Fuglsang.

For example, maybe people are staying with an unsatisfying job because they don't want to give up a high-paying salary. "That's a letting go thing," she says.

Phase three is "cocooning." Usually in the beginning of this phase, the world feels stressful and punishing. Later in this stage people do some serious self-exploration.

If this leads to a "turning point" they will usually enter the next phase where they start to get ready. For example, they might take courses they need to change jobs.

Then it's back to "go for it."

Fuglsang often asks people right off the bat what phase they think they're in.

"It's a way of quickly determining what a client would like to work on," she says.

Do they usually know where they are?

"Most of the time, they know exactly where they are," she says.

But getting back to the first question she asks clients. How would she answer it herself?

She thinks for a moment.

"I know how successful I am by how my clients are able to design and live a live that they want."