As the holidays come and go, one of the most popular remakes we see on network television is the holiday classic called A Christmas Carol. Kelsey Grammar sings about days past in the musical, Vanessa Williams reconnects with her long lost friends while Susan Lucci discovers what a Grinch she really is as modern day Scrooge.

As I see it, we can learn a lot from this grouchy, ghost-fearing guy. Exactly what life lessons can we learn from Ebenezer, anyway?

Those apparitions got it right it my book. After all, I never realized how on target they were! As I humbly admit to being an addict of “Fa La La Lifetime” and know many of these shows verbatim, I never realized how Scrooge truly gave me the foundation to many of my coaching techniques.

Transition Tip # 1 – Remember Your Past. Just like how Ebenezer needs to go down memory lane to remember more carefree days, I have my clients do the same. Unfortunately, we all have he potential to become Scrooge-like. Ironically, Ebenezer was not always a “Scrooge”. Since many of my clients have experienced transitions, like Ebenezer, that may have given them a more pessimistic view of life, I have them gently revisit times past where they were more carefree and simply put – happier. By doing this, they can reconnect with the things/people/places that were enjoyable to restore that twinkle in their eye.

Transition Tip # 2 – Accept Your Present. One of the most important life lessons that Scrooge experienced was his current reality – how he treated the people that worked for him, the chain of events that took place by having Tiny Tim’s father work on Christmas and so on. Just like Scrooge, by looking at your current situation and seeing it for what it is, you are most likely to be able to accept it as a means of moving forward. If you are in a constant push and pull with yourself by perpetuating the “blame game,” you will be stuck in that reality.

By taking responsibility for the situation you are in (and are unhappy with) , you will most likely take alternate steps on how get to a better place in the future. For example, if you wake up today and finally admit that you can’t stand your new haircut, I would imagine that the smart thing to do would be to find a new hair stylist in the future. The same premise goes for your personal and professional life. Simply put, if it isn’t working for you then fix it.

Take note of your current reality – what is working for you and what do you need to change? Have you always wanted to go back to school for your MBA? Are you sick of looking at the same pile of CD’s sitting in the corner of your family room (I use this example from personal experience!) or are you missing your date night with your husband? These are all doable tasks that you can fix. But, you will not take the steps to fix them if you do not acknowledge them! By accepting your present does not mean you cannot change it. By accepting your present, as Dr. Phil says, you are “getting real with yourself.”

Transition Tip # 3 - Dream about a better tomorrow. I really don’t think Scrooge would have changed unless he took a look into his future. He was able to see the results of his behavior and it really hit home. Just like Scrooge, we need to think about how we are living our lives TODAY that will result in a better tomorrow. If you keep doing more of the same, you will get more of the same results. Sometimes, we are so reactive to our lives that we neglect to plan them. We simply react to the people and situations around us rather than having a game plan. You need to think about the daily goals you want to achieve – actually envision the results – in order to obtain them.

As for me, I am not afraid to dream big. It isn’t unusual for me to sheepishly discuss my dreams to the occasional nay-sayer. However, I refuse to let their Scrooge-like beliefs get in the way of my future. To practice what I preach, I have a vision board in my bedroom that has a whole array of hopes and dreams that if anything, make me happy when I look at them first thing in the morning. I have pictures of my friends and family – those that I am grateful to have in my life. Also, on a more playful note, I have photos of castles in Scotland that I hope to visit one day. As I see it, these pictures give me a road map for my action plan to one night go stay in a beautiful castle (minus the ghosts, thank you very much!)

Take the time today to make a list of the things in your life that are working for you – those everyday tasks/situations/people/ encounters that are going right. Use this as a gratitude list to create a positive mindset for you to take this plan a step further. For instance, if you were excited that you finally ran those 2 miles this morning, why not plan to run a 5K in the spring?

Scrooge was really no different than the rest of us. He was a nice guy who took a wrong turn. His heart was in the right place he just needed a few ghosts to get him back on track.

Don’t wait for an apparition to show you the way. You have the tools to do it right now.

Think about what things/people/places that used to bring you joy in the past and what is postively working for you in the present. And, think about the “wonderful life” (no pun intended) you want for yourself in the future. Once you do, ghosts or no ghosts, I guarantee you will sleep like a baby tonight.

Author's Bio: 

Patti's Bio

I am a forty something single mom of two awesome kids. In the past six years, I have: separated and divorced, finished a graduate degree with honor’s, started a part-time career as a writing instructor at a local college, opened up my own business as a transition coach, and as of November 2008, became newly engaged! In addition, as of June 13th, I will have finished my basic training to become part of the

Jersey Shore Collaborative Law Group. As you can see, it has been quite an eventful few years! However, I have never felt more fulfilled in my life.

How did I do it?

I can honestly tell you that I have utilized many of the same principles I learned in graduate school (I have an Master’s of Arts in Teaching) and applied them to my life. I thought, “What are my goals? Where do I want to be in one year – two years – five years? How am I going to get there?” (Think of this as being your own tutor!)

Like a teacher does with her class, I wrote out my lesson plans on how to achieve those goals. Hour-by-hour, day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, slowly but surely, I kept my eye on those goals and made sure that I kept forging ahead, even on the days I barely could get out of bed. (On those days, I gave myself a gold star for even making myself a pot of coffee or going to the dry cleaners!)

This is a true testimony on how you can use a crisis to create a new path for your future. That is what I did. I took all the pain and suffering I had during my divorce, turned it around into a positive learning experience.

What is the magic formula that makes my business thrive?

I knew that knowledge was power and the better educated I was as to what I could expect from the divorce process, the better. I wanted to be one step ahead of the game when meeting with the professionals and my goal was to be the ideal client. I wanted to get the most for my money when meeting with my lawyers and other professionals for many reasons – I wanted to save money, not waste my time talking about emotional issues during our meetings and I wanted to get it over with as smoothly (and quickly) and possible.

In the meantime, I read and studied books on goal-setting and laws of attraction as well as countless books on divorce (refer to recommended book list) and interviewed many legal professionals.

While I was studying and researching the various aspects of divorce and how to do it right, so to speak, I would reward myself with reading books on how to achieve your dreams! As a result, Patricia Phelan Clapp M.A. LLC, the Transition Coach, was created!

You can do two things at once during times of crisis – you can work on YOU and go through the divorce process as skilled and knowledgeable as possible!

All you need to do is commit to wanting to move forward in a positive direction.

What will we do out your coaching sessions?

* We will find the necessary resources for you and clarify the various roles of the lawyer and other professionals as part of the legal process. In doing this, we will make it easier for those professionals to help you by implementing their legal, financial and psychological areas of expertise.

* We will focus on creating a positive client-based relationship that will give you the ability to compartmentalize the divorce process separate from your emotions.

* I will help you achieve your goals and find a balance between divorce and moving on with your life.

* A step-by-step plan will be devised on how to manage the legal and financial aspects of your divorce.

* In addition, personal goals will be set and a plan will be developed on how to achieve these goals.

* By creating a road map for you to follow during your divorce, we can concentrate on empowering you with the peace, self-respect and hope that may have been lost along the way.

Piff – Tomaro Professional Building

1704 Maxwell Drive

Suite 302

Wall, New Jersey 07719

(732) 865-5377

“Helping you find the resources you need to stay focused and balanced during times of transition.”