Get Your Kicks on Route 66!

As a life coach, I come across it all the time.  I speak with incredible, amazing people who are in transition or feeling truly stuck in their lives.  They hear about coaching and really want/need coaching.  They see the power of coaching and how it can change and transform their life…and they choose to do nothing.

If you have children, how far would they go if they didn’t have a coach for their chosen sport?  If you want them to truly excel in their chosen sport, they need a coach; someone to motivate them, keep them focused, teach them new skills, and stay on task; remind them why they love the sport and what they are going after; why it is so important to them.

YES!  I WANT COACHING!  I know you do! However most people  are more likely to invest in new tires on their car than they are to invest in themselves.  Yes, I know tires are important!  (I just bought a full set!)  After all, without them, you wouldn’t be able to go anywhere.  You wouldn’t be able to move.  It is the same for your life!  People who consider coaching are in this very frustrating place of not being able to move.  They stay stagnant in their life.  They either have no tires on their proverbial car of life, or their tires are bald and spinning, ultimately getting them nowhere.

Are you worth it?  Are you worth the investment or is your car worth more than you?  I may be biased, but no matter how you choose to spend your money, when you are investing in yourself, it is always the best investment you can ever make!  You’ve not only added miles to your life, you’ve also added the ability to see all of the sights along the way!

Rejection…Giving It & Receiving It!

RejectionAt a recent “Wine Tasting & Relationship Conversations for Singles” event, I remember one conversation around the subject of rejection.  How do you politely reject someone?  Most of us tell a white lie and say, “Yes, call me” at the end of the date, even though we already know that it isn’t a match.  Then we simply don’t return the calls, texts, or emails.  We’ve all done it…and we’ve all experienced it.  If you’ve experienced it, it leaves you wondering what you might have said or done wrong.  There is no closure and it can feel unsettling.
So, how about being confident in who you are and knowing what you want?  How about being direct and honest with your date?  How about saying something like, “I really enjoyed your company, but:
–  There’s something missing between us
–  I am not feeling that spark
–  It doesn’t feel like our values are really aligned
–  I have a deal breaker (smoker, drinker, religion, politics, wanting children, etc.) and we are opposites on this.  That just doesn’t work for me.
I wish you nothing but the best in your search for the right person!”
Now, this suggestion is not the only way to handle rejecting someone.  In the end, you have to find a formula that is right for you however, if you were being rejected, wouldn’t you like to know where you stand rather than have your communication linger on for a few weeks with no response leaving you in a state of wonder?  If you are the one rejecting someone else, wouldn’t you prefer to be clear at the end of the date so that you don’t have to dodge those phone calls, texts, and/or emails all week trying to figure out a way to let them know you are not interested  or let them down easy?
Of course rejecting someone can be uncomfortable however, just like exercising a muscle, it takes many repetitions until that muscle can be built.  So, practice makes perfect!  The more you do it the way you’d really like it to be done, the easier it will become.   At the end of the day, you have no control over how someone reacts to you however, you have complete control over your reactions to others.
What are some other ways you’ve handled rejection and/or you would prefer to be rejected?

They Say It’s The Little Things That Count!

Little ThingsIt’s true! The little things combine to make up the big things! So, when working with one of my clients on their health, they decided that they wanted to work on making some little changes to contribute to their health, like taking the stairs, or walking to work. But he didn’t stop there! He made-up a whole list of little things he could do differently each and every day and is starting to implement that list into his life. He was even gracious enough to share his list of little things here:




Randy’s List of Little Things….

Include a vegetable or fruit with every meal
Stand at work while making phone calls
Eat fish once per week
Drink red wine from Chile
Do volunteer work once per week
A dozen crunches twice per day
A dozen push ups twice per day
A dozen Squats twice per day
Order thin crust pizza
Share your love every day
Happy wife, Happy life
Eat cherries to fall asleep
Kur technique to fall asleep
Set your rearview minor a bit higher on long drives
Eat a banana once per day
Stretch often
Go for a walk
Take a deep breath
Go to bed earlier
Drop the all or nothing attitude
Plan your meals
Have healthy food choices readily available
Break up your routine on occasion
Seek help when needed
Always see the humor in life
Surround yourself with good people
Be kind to self and others
Make time for hobbies and projects


So, how about you? What are some little things that you could do differently that would contribute to the bigger goal you are trying to reach in life?

Want a better relationship? What little things are you doing for your significant other that might contribute to that better relationship?

Want a promotion or better job? What little things are you doing to get yourself there?

What little thing could you do right now, in this moment?

Why Is A Private Investigator Akin To A Life Coach???

Bruce Graham


When potential clients contact a Private Investigator about Family Law issues, more often than not they are in extreme pain. They have given everything they know to give, sometimes for decades, to their primary love interest – the one they stood before God and their community and promised to – Love, Honor, and Cherish – “Now and Forever.”  And despite their best efforts they failed.  They justifiably feel wounded, betrayed, and uncertain as to how to move forward with their own lives, let alone how to deal with the impact on their children, and other family members.

Anyone who has been through this will tell you that despite best efforts to “protect the children”, all kids experience some form of anger, humiliation and/or rejection. Effectively, their hearts have been torn in two because the two adults they love the most cannot get along.  Life as we knew it just died – and that sucks.

As well put-together as some people appear on the outside when entering the divorce process, they are only masking the enormous distrust going on in the inside – distrust of themselves and of others. Can anyone blame them?

With the break-up of a relationship comes psychic trauma. The nature of the injury runs the gamut from emotional (always), to physical (sometimes), and financial (oftentimes). At a minimum, these folks desperately want to be listened to, understood, and to be “made whole” again.  At that time the first job of any helping professional, be it a Private Investigator or a Life Coach, is to establish sufficient rapport to be able to effectively guide them beyond the murkiness in their space so as to arrive at terra firma again, as quickly and as safely as possible. Together we must figure out:

1. Who they are at their core
2. What they want
3. How best to get them there

Once I have that background of profound rapport where they trust that I understand them and what they want, we can then begin to explore “WHAT” we will be doing together.  Typically, my emotionally-charged Family Law clients are seeking one or more of the following:

• Ammunition to ensure a fair division of assets
• Ammunition to protect their children as best they can
• Ammunition to prove the break up “was your fault.”

Once the objective is determined we need to deal with “What is your budget?”  In all my years as a PI, unlike my experience as a Life Coach, I have never heard anyone with a Family Law issue respond with a thought-out budget for investigation. The typical response is, “What does something like this cost?”  It is not unusual for an already-wounded client to hear this as if he or she is nothing more than a “pay check” to the Investigator.

Akin to any helping professional who supports clients coming to them in severe pain, investigators tend to have caring hearts. There is a natural pull to want to be the “hero” and save the day. Yet there are hard dollar costs involved with investigations, as well as Time, Mileage, Overhead, and the cost one pays for Professional Expertise.

Experience has taught that honest and authentic communications “without any attachment to the outcome” provides a wonderful opportunity to enhance the working relationship. With compassion the PI conveys:  “I appreciate the stress and pain you are currently experiencing. I want you to be free of that as quickly and completely as possible.” To accomplish that I am going to present you with:

• Your options
• Their related costs
• The probability of success of each

I will answer all your questions and then ask you to choose which, if any, option(s) best suit you. My intention is to empower you to make an informed decision. Should you choose to not retain my services, I am okay with that too. Does that sound fair?

Ideally, in the act of being empowered to choose the client experiences themselves back in the driver’s seat. With this renewed sense of power we arrive at a satisfactory budget and now begin to implement the plan as a With today’s technologies investigators have a myriad of tools and “toys” available to develop all sorts of information. Some are legal, others are legal only under certain conditions, and there are those that are flat-out illegal. A few common tools are:

• Video cameras and moving surveillance
• Monitoring e-mail messages, chat room discussions, and internet
• Tracking a spouses vehicle
• Performing asset searches
• Using electronic eavesdropping detection

My personal commitment when acting as an Investigator or as a Life Coach is “first, do no harm.” If a client requests a service that I believe will bring harm to them, I counsel them about the danger of that option and work to re-direct them to something more suitable. 99% of the time this is effective. (You would be astounded by what some seemingly “normal” people request.) Because we are often dealing with the dark side of humanity, the work of a PI often takes us to some interesting and unusual places.

I invite you to join me Monday 3/17 at 8pm CT (9pm ET, 7pm MT) to hear how these dynamics played out in some real life set of circumstances in the online webinar, “A Private Eye’s Unique Perspective On Relationships.”   Learn the issues clients were dealing with, the actions they chose, the outcomes that were produced, and the difference each made in each life. If you or someone you know is dealing with infidelity and contemplating the need for a PI (or for a Life Coach), you won’t want to miss this discussion. There will be plenty of time for Q & A so bring your questions!

By Bruce Graham
Private Investigator
Life Coach

Going on a Date with Someone New?


Do yourself a favor — do some detective work on your own!

Here’s how! Dating is a process where a two people meet, go somewhere socially and get to know each other. Sounds benign right?  Not exactly. This is the day and age of crazy $%#*&@. Strange things can and do happen all the time. Hackers make their living breaking into computer systems, identity theft – one of the newer and more serious crimes – is as common as peanut butter and jelly. And, with the internet being used to source anything from arm candy to a full-fledged relationship – who knows what you’re in for. Chicago’s met with Bruce Graham, a licensed private detective and owner of ETS Investigative services. While Bruce and his team have historically been used by lawyers for assistance in the areas of skiptracing, civil litigation, personal injury, marital surveillance, and criminal defense work, more recently Bruce’s practice has been growing with regard to primarily women asking for information about men they’re dating. Here’s the topline on how to play Sherlock Holmes at home while you’re dating:

  1. Adopt a “Wits About You” Attitude: Don’t worry about being a little extra cautious and seeming a bit paranoid. Use the same good judgment with yourself that you would with your child going to a new person’s house. Find out the vitals – name, home address and home phone number, date of birth and where your date works.
  2. Google your date. This might sound obvious – but you’d be absolutely amazed at what you can find. Also check out My Space and/or Facebook– these sites are just as popular, if not more so, with the over 35 crowd as they are with the college-set and twenty-somethings.
  3. Take Your Own Wheels. While chivalry is not dead – save it for down the road when you feel more secure. Always have your own transportation and extra cash in the event you get a funny feeling about your date – or just have had enough.
  4. Dig a little bit. If your date is a professional check out any of the associations he/she would belong to. Ask a friend in that industry if they can help you find out about your date.
  5. …Where Everybody Knows Your Name. Not literally but pretty close. Plan to meet where you are recognized. Or call ahead and share your situation with the Maitre D. A bartender, hostess or waiter who knows you can put your date on notice. That alone offers you a degree of added safety.
  6. Red Flags. If any of these signs show up on your date proceed with caution. Evasiveness – not answering your questions and deflecting information. Not being able to reach him or her by phone or text, or not being where they said they’d be. What they told you is NOT adding up.

Whether you’re new to the dating world or re-entering it, these practical tips can help you or someone you know reduce concern or avoid future heartache – leaving more opportunity for a good time. And, if you are at all suspicious about someone you’re involved with, check them out – why wait? If you need assistance, contact: Bruce D. Graham, LPD, MSW Vice President, Life Coach – The Distinguished Coach Mobile 847 401-3438

A Great Lesson on Stress…

glass of waterA young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘half empty or half full?’… She fooled them all …. “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied , “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm.  If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “and that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”

“As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night… Pick them up tomorrow.

1  Accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue!

2  Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

3  Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

4  Drive carefully… It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.

5  If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

6  If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

7  It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

8  Never buy a car you can’t push.

9  Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.

10  Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.

11  Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

12  The second mouse gets the cheese.

13  When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

14  Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

16  Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.

17  We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

18  A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

19  Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.


20 Save the earth….. It’s the only planet with chocolate! I THINK !!!!


Author – Unknown

The End Game Plan

GPSThere are so many strategies singles use when looking for their potential mate.  They may have  requirements, deal breakers, chemistry, personality, height and weight restrictions, even geography (lives close to you).  Many singles think of many of these things as they are speed dating, blind dating, or simply checking out other singles at a singles mingle.  But what about destination?

Destination?  What Do You Mean?

Where are you going in life? What is your ultimate destination?  After all, if you don’t know where you are going in life, how do you know if your potential mate is going the same way?  Part of REALLY knowing yourself is knowing what you want out of life; knowing your purpose and/or what you are most passionate about; knowing the end game plan; where you want to end-up.  If you don’t know, you may have already experienced a relationship or dating scenario where you thought things were lining up nicely (good chemistry, good personality, no red flags) only to break-up in the end because you didn’t realize the other person was heading a completely different direction in life.  They had a completely different end game plan.

Your Internal GPS

Awareness is the first step to remedy this loophole in your ‘ironclad’ singles strategy.  You see, we cannot address things that we are not aware of.  Now that you are aware of its’ importance, do you know your end game plan?  Consider your vision of the life you want to create for yourself.  Where are you at?  What are you doing?  What kind of person are you doing it with?  What does life feel like there?  What does it look like, smell like, taste like, sound like?  Write it down!  Write the story of your vision for your life with all of the senses.  Be as descriptive as you can.  Holding the vision in your head is not good enough.  Honor your vision with the written word.  Writing it down makes it more real; more clear; more  likely to be manifested!  After all, you wouldn’t get in your car with your GPS system and assume it would just know where you wanted to go.  You need to program it into the system.  Now, your GPS will take you there in the most direct route possible.

Knowing your end game plan is not enough.  Programming it into your internal GPS system by recording it in written word will bring you there faster than you ever thought.  And, while you are on the way there, perhaps you might find your mate?  After all, you’ll be going the same way, right?


Destination Push PinI talk a lot about ‘destination’ in the workshops and group coaching calls I do whether it is in regards to Life Coaching or Relationship Coaching.  Why?  Because you have this precious life to live as you see fit.  You are the captain of your own ship.  Where you are at in life is a direct result of the choices you are making and where you are steering yourself in life.  If you don’t have a destination programmed into your internal GPS system, you are probably wandering around a lot in life; much like that squiggly gray line, you are likely finding yourself taking a lot of detours, going in circles, passing through a bunch of construction, and perhaps even stuck in the traffic of your own life all because you don’t know where  you are going.

Let me be clear.  Once you define your destination, it doesn’t mean that your life will look like that attractive straight red line.  After all, you are still steering your own ship and sometimes you will make the choice to pull into port to take a rest, or circle back to that place you happened to stop in.  What’s the difference?  The difference is consciously choosing versus allowing your subconscious to steer your ship!

If you know where you are going in life, it makes it so much easier to say ‘No’ to the things that don’t line-up with your destination.  Consider this metaphor:

You determine that your destination is (metaphorically speaking) San Diego.  Why not?  They’ve got beautiful weather, mountains, ocean, beaches, etc.  So, you set your sights on San Diego and start making your way there from wherever you are.  On your way, a friend stops you and says, “I’ve won tickets to New York!  Come with me!  We can see Broadway plays, visit museums, and eat some fabulous food!  What do you say?”  So you think about it.  The old you, the one without a destination, might just go to New York and have a great time, wandering around not sure where you should be going from there.  The new you easily says, “No thank you!” because you know it will be a BIG DETOUR from the place you REALLY want to go; your ultimate destination in life; the place that you are passionate and purposeful about!

Stephen Covey says, “It’s easy to say NO when there’s a deeper YES burning inside!”  Maybe it’s time to Find Your Deeper YES!

Baggage? I Ain’t Got No Stinking Baggage!

HoarderWhat is your home environment like?  Is it messy and cluttered?  Dirty and disorganized?  Or are you super-clean and super-organized? If your home environment feels like it is caving in on you or taking over your life, guess what?  It is!  It could be a symptom of the pain(s) you hold inside from your past.  OK, so you are probably not a hoarder, but do you have hoarder-like tendencies?  Are you unable to let go of things because you’ve attached a memory or emotion to it?  It’s perfectly normal to attach a memory or emotion to an object and hold onto that object to remind you, but doing this in excess may mean you’ve got some emotional baggage which is manifesting into actual physical baggage. When we clean-up our home environment, and feel proud of our space, and comfortable welcoming others in, we also feel proud of ourselves and are more likely to welcome others into our lives.  As you start to go through things you may find that everything has an important memory that you want to keep.  So, what are you going to do?  Can you really keep it all and still feel good about your space?  One way to further weed through your things is to keep only those items that you can put in a place of honor or put on display somewhere so that you are truly honoring that memory rather than burying it under a pile of papers. We all have baggage because we are all human!  How much we hold onto is a choice.  Many of us are unconsciously choosing to hold onto everything, and therefore feel out of control.  Once we shine light on those deep dark places that are buried deep within us, they aren’t dark anymore; we can release them into the light; we can release some of the physical baggage too!

What are you avoiding?

What do you need to pull out of the darkness and release into the light?

What do you need to let go of?

The Truth!

the-truth-shall-set-you-freeI moved to Denver from Chicago in November of 2012 not really knowing a soul in Denver but bringing with me all of the excitement and joy of starting a new life in a new place.  I knew I would miss my friends and family back in Chicago, but I figured that with all of the technology out there today, I could easily stay in touch via phone, e-mail, skype, etc.  And I did!  But what I did not foresee in all of the preparations I had made for this big move in my life was how much I would miss the ENERGY of the people I love.

About four months after I moved to Denver, I had slowly become depressed.  I lost my confidence; my motivation.  Being alone on this journey with only my cat for comfort, I didn’t realize how much I would miss a person’s physical presence, a touch, or being in the same room with someone who really knows me.  I began to sleep a lot.  I would sleep a full 8 hours, get up, have breakfast, and then sleep again for another hour or two.  I had no energy to work on my business or reach out to anyone.  I only had the desire for more sleep, which was my only escape from loneliness, which was the situation I had put myself in. (Situational Depression)

About six months into my move was when I realized that I was actually depressed.  For two months, I was denying this.  I didn’t want to admit it to myself and I didn’t want to face it if it were true so, I pushed it away and kept feeling it’s symptoms.  However, once I became conscious of this depression; once I acknowledged it and allowed the possibility, I now had a choice.  I could stay depressed and keep sleeping all of the time, or I could be vulnerable, share my dark secret with others, reach out for help, and get back to the person I was when I felt confident and motivated!

So to help myself, I decided that I would answer a key question truthfully.  When I spoke to friends or family who were asking me, “How are you doing,” I would tell them the truth….and it did begin to set me free!

The truth set me free because I was willing to acknowledge it, embrace it, and speak it; I was willing to be vulnerable; to show that I don’t always have it all together; to show that I am human.  Because I was willing to do these things, I received support from friends and family who checked in with me much more often and asked what they could do to help.  Because I was willing to tell my new Denver friends what I was experiencing, they were willing to reach out to me more and relationships began to blossom.  Because I was honest with myself and others, life began to blossom again.

Is there something you are denying yourself?

Is there a truth you are not willing to admit to yourself, let alone others?

What if you have nothing to lose, but everything to gain if you allow the truth to set you free?