What’s Your Type?

nine personality types on blackboardThe Enneagram is a robust system of personality, self-awareness and personal growth. As parents, we are challenged daily to grow ourselves into our best selves so as to meet the developing needs of our children in a peaceful and loving manner. The Enneagram can offer a path out of ineffective parenting patterns such as reacting to children with shortness, yelling and using punishments.  Once you identify your core personality type, it can be studied, practiced and incorporated into one’s behaviors to show up for our children and the rest of our lives with more grace and effectiveness.

The Enneagram is different from more commonly known personality typing tools, like the Meyer’s Briggs, because it provides more than a static snapshot or box that people fit into in terms of their tendencies and behaviors.

The Enneagram is an ancient personality system which aims to capture the 9 personality types present in the human family. The types include The Reformer (1), The Giver (2), The Achiever (3), The Individualist (4), The Investigator (5), The Loyalist (6), The Enthusiast (7), The Challenger (8) and The Peacemaker (9). The names of the personality types come from the ways in which each type attempts to make its mark on the world, and respond to its need for love and recognition. Each type behaves in specific ways to gain approval and earn the love that we all seek as human beings, starting from a young age.

In addition to providing a current view of how a person is behaving, the Enneagram system is built upon the idea that personalities, and people, evolve over time. The more a person knows about him/herself and his/her behaviors, takes conscious action to untangle misconceived ideas about love and belonging, and becomes fully self-accepting, self-realized and effective in the world, the more each type evolves to become their highest self.

I came across the Enneagram many years ago when I was having challenges in a relationship and at work, with people who often seemed to speak a different language than I did in their behaviors and assumptions.

At that time, my father had just passed away and I had just begun the arduous journey of becoming an inner city public high school teacher. I was under stress and was typed as an Enneagram 4 — the Individualist. I was withdrawn, focused on how different I was from others, and often assumed that no one else saw the same issues and problems that I saw in the same ways.

I came to realize when I began my coaching program two years ago, that I had been mis-typed. Each Enneagram personality not only has a type that we evolve to, but also a type that we go to under stress. I am actually an Enneagram Type 1, the Reformer. The Reformer is concerned with doing the right thing, serving people, and is very values and ethics-based with decision-making.

All personality types have wonderful qualities, but they also have patterns which can create problems, especially around self-criticism and perfectionism.

It is my self-development work to evolve to a Type 7, The Enthusiast, to overcome my patterns and assumptions about people and how to go about gaining love. In fact, when one evolves to their highest self/type using the Enneagram system as a tool, life no longer is about approval and seeking love from the outside, but rather about being true to oneself, living from a place of deep authenticity, integration, peace and flow.


Why Ray of Light Coaching?

Kiran and son

Kiran and daughter

Some of you may be asking why my coaching practice for modern parents is called Ray of Light Coaching.

First of all, what a coach really offers to her clients is herself: her personality, personal qualities, skills, attributes, attitudes, history and perspectives. What makes the coach as a human being unique and attractive is what makes her desirable as a coach.

In that spirit, I got personal with myself in naming my practice. My name, “Kiran,” is a Hindi name from India, meaning “Ray of Light.”

When I think about a ray of light, like those featured in the picture on my business card, advertisements and on my website, I think about illumination, positivity, radiance, happiness, curiosity, expansion, creativity, possibility, inspiration and seeing what was always there, just more brightly and intensely. Those are some of the qualities that Ray of Light Coaching brings to my clients’ lives when our work together has brought about the shifts and understanding that they desire.

For new parents, I think of a ray of light as applying to all newborns, to  how human beings change when they become parents. Like rays of light beaming into the rain forest, newborns illuminate us and our lives with wonder, unlimited potential, curiosity, happiness and an expanding sense of who we can be.

I come to coaching for modern parents with zero judgment or “should’s.” If I have motto’s in this work, they are: “Be authentic.” “Let your child be your guide…”

Like all new parents, my husband and I struggled in the early months with sleep deprivation, overwhelm, a lack of experience and an often chaotic environment, keeping all of our plates spinning while learning how to care for and be with our new baby. We learned over time to trust our instincts and to trust ourselves and the transition we were experiencing. We had help from our friends, six of whom had babies all within three months of us, and some support from family during the first two months.

When my husband went back to work when our daughter was one month old, I was left at home, by choice after having taken an extended leave from my job to spend six months instead of the allotted three months of state disability maternity leave at home with our daughter, feeling out of sorts and out of sync with him and with the rest of the world. I felt teary, confused about my life, overweight and unsure of myself. The guilt of being a mom who also wanted her own life to make sense and be fulfilling settled in quickly.

I learned, though, within the first three months of my daughter’s life, to be present with her and to understand what made her smile and laugh, and to just enjoy the time I was spending with her. We went out for walks, met other Moms and babies for play dates, she played and learned quickly, and looking into her smiling eyes was that ray of light that got me through the toughest days.

I also began to see and appreciate some of the qualities that were growing in me because of motherhood. Becoming a Mom definitely made me a better person: more patient, less serious, more playful, more curious, more present, more responsible for others’ well being and happiness, more generous, more contented with the simple things in life, like a walk outdoors, a good (kids’) book, a healthy home cooked meal, a hearty laugh, and lots of strong snuggles and feeling needed by this new life.

When I got the opportunity, I returned to work part time when my daughter was six months old and spent the next six months trying out being back at work, juggling her care, child care, breastfeeding, part time work, being a wife. I decided at the end of that six month project that I wanted to leave the traditional work force and become a mompreneur running my own business from home which served other parents.

I wanted to focus on working with other modern parents because I transformed in becoming a Mom in ways I did not expect and that I am still discovering. Mostly, my desire to prioritize my child and family became what felt like a must for me, not out of pressure or meeting outside expectations, but out of an authentic love and satisfaction that I felt in being a Mom that I never felt before. And several friends who became Moms within months of me all made their own unique choices about work and family balance. None of us “figured it out,” per se, as each Mom had a different approach.  Some kept working full time, others worked part time, others started businesses like me, and others stayed at home without working outside of the home at all. We’ve all done the best we can to find what balance fits our selves and needs most.

Our lives will continue changing, as will our choices, as our kids grow and mature.

I believe each client is their own ray of light, and may not know it yet. I believe their child is a ray of light who can teach them more than they may ever realize. Honoring our selves and our children are the most important parts of this journey.

I believe their child is a ray of light who can teach them more than they may ever realize.

As a coach for modern parents, I hold up these intentions and support people as they find their own authentic way on their parenting and personal paths. While it can feel daunting to find a balance that makes sense, there are so many rays of light illuminating our way. Opening to those within ourselves and in our outer world allow us to establish a life of intention, authenticity, joy, and deep contentment as our families grow.

Call me to set up a totally free 30 minute phone consultation and find out which of my coaching packages will support you to grow as a person, a parent and a partner, in order to be the family you really want to be.

Kiran and son

Kiran and daughter

Does Balance Exist for Modern Parents?

Recently, I’ve talked with different parents and care providers about whether something called “balance” exists in a busy parent’s life. Based on my own experience and those of others, when reflecting honestly, it doesn’t seem to be a quality most parents are experiencing or can really hope to experience any time soon.

When I originally began coaching and thought of balance as something to coach towards, I wasn’t picturing the happy-ever after, got-it-all-figured-out variety, which is a myth.

Instead, I think of balance as being an inner state of being, where a sense of remaining centered, grounded and calm in the face of ever-changing external circumstances and daily issues/challenges stays steady.

How does one go about pursuing this intention for inner balance? For me, meditation is a requirement, not a nice to have. Even if it is five minutes at a time before my husband rushes out the door and means I take a shower later when the kiddo is trying to jump in with me. The practice of meditating is one of the few I have found that actually cultivates this inner state and provides a regular, tangible practice which can be committed to and built upon.

Journaling is another practice which quiets the chatter and encourages focus on what is really felt, what can be let go of, and what needs to be acted upon.

Letting go of perfection and comparison alone would give most parents a greater sense of inner balance. These forces are so pervasive in our culture, that simply letting them go, refusing to look externally for affirmation, returning to one’s inner set of values and vision for what a great family life looks like brings an inner state of acceptance, humility and ease.

What does balance mean to you? How do you cultivate it in your life?

If you could use some support figuring out how to bring more balance to your life, whatever that means to you, give me a call for a free consultation today at 415-377-6791!

Finding Purpose as a Mompreneur

Jen Harris with her family

Jen Harris with her family

When I was planning our wedding in 2008 I was looking for the perfect photographer. I knew I’d find the right person when I saw the right image with a balance of artistry, emotional charge and that years-in-an-album memorability. When a google search landed me at Jen Harris’ gallery of wedding photography images, I knew in my gut I had found our match.

We had a relatively small wedding photography budget and I figured someone who produced this level of beauty in her images would charge at the highest rates. Most photographers I had started to explore were charging $5000 and more for one day of wedding shooting.

I picked up the phone and called her. In minutes, she was telling me her own story as a Mompreneur, how she decided to pursue her passion for photography as a home based business when she fell in love with capturing images of her own children. Creating this business gave her the opportunity to be with her children as often as she wanted to. And, she added, it wasn’t really about making money (gasp!) as much as it was about providing a high quality, relationship-building service to people during one of the most important times of their lives. Her values of quality, service, artistry and relationships come through in all of her photos and in her business. Continue Reading