Core Gift Discovery Master Facilitator

I was given the opportunity from my boss to go to the Core Gift Discovery Master Facilitator Training recently on Vashon Island, Washington. I spent two days with 5 other attendees and Bruce Anderson, Director of the Core Gift Institute. Here is a little description of the training and it’s purpose:

The Strengths movement is in full-force in business, helping professions, and community development. And now there is a next-generation tool that takes strengths to an even deeper and more productive level!

Compatible with research in positive psychology, purpose-driven behavior in individuals and organizations, and motivation, the Core Gift Discovery© tool utilizes a unique facilitated process that results in a person developing an action statement that details their primary life purpose (Core Gift) and their 3-5 other gifts that most contribute to that purpose. Different than a strengths inventory, this unique profile doesn’t compare you with others, and doesn’t use general descriptors of your traits in predetermined areas.

The result is often surprising to the person, and can have a powerful impact on understanding past behavior, current difficulties, and point a clear path to future positive action and opportunity in all parts of life. It can be used to guide career choices, education, job satisfaction, discover and provide solutions to root causes of relationship issues, and be used to analyze work behaviors (positive and negative).

I was able to do my first Core Gifts interview with my boss, who has a wonderful vision for the Developmental Disability Agency she owns where we serve children with developmental disabilities and their families. She graciously supported me by asking that I interview members of our admin team who readily agreed. Each interview has been a delightful experience and truly a sacred space of discovery and has helped me to become certified as a  Core Gift Discovery Master Facilitator while also helping my co-workers with their focus in both their lives and work.

Having done the Core Gift Interview myself, I was a bit surprised having done Spiritual Gift inventories in the past, all giving me a glimpse, really, as to what my Core Gift is as my spiritual gifts stem out of my Core Gift. What remains true is when one is operating out of one’s Core Gift, it brings life and energy! It’s invigorating to be searching for one’s life’s purpose and then finding direction! I can say that I truly am energized coming to work, living out my Core Gift serving children with developmental disabilities and their parents as a Habilitative Intervention Specialist and the Family Education Coordinator.

The Core Gift Institute informs us that:

  • One of the top drivers of employment motivation and retention happens when an employee makes a significant link between their Core Gift, their job description, and the mission of the organization.
  • Many relationship issues start out as gift related conflicts and turn into generalized anger and resentment over time.
  • The behavior we use when we are angry is often the flip side of our Core Gift.
  • Our gifts are often not the abilities we get most complimented for.
  • A Core Gift is never a job. It’s the part of a job that we are most passionate about doing and learning more about.
  • Leadership trouble is often due to an overuse of a person’s Core Gift at the expense of other equally important tasks.
  • Your Core Gift is the same your entire life, but your understanding of it and how you give it changes frequently.
  • You give your Core Gift in all parts of your life, often without knowing it.

Cultures throughout the world encourage their young people to go on quests to discover their life’s purpose. How many times have you heard of folks, or have perhaps had that same yearning to go and “discover oneself” and what you are meant to do in this world? There is also the need, of course, to ensure you have balance so your Core Gift is fully appreciated and utilized to it’s fullest potential.  What would that look like for you? Are you curious to finally take some time to sort through the questions in your mind and not only discover your Core Gift, but then have someone walk alongside you while you explore opportunities to live out of your Core Gift, finally finding your purpose in this gift of life you have been given?

Contact me today and we can set up a Core Gift Interview and take that first step to live that fulfilling life you have been yearning for. Contact me today and let’s set up a time to begin your life long journey of living with intention and purpose.

Call 208-449-9019 or email me at Mention this post and get 25% off your first month of Life Coaching.



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Self Care when you are a parent of special needs kids

Self Care is important for everyone, regardless as to whether or not you have children. Having children in general impacts the implementation of when and where you can go to do something to “fill up” your reservoir of patience and energy. For some, it’s simply getting a nap in when they can. For others, it’s being able to exercise to some degree and still others, it’s carving out some quiet time for prayer and reflection. The various ways people recharge are endless based on personal preference. Challenges arise, however, when a parent has a child with special needs. It’s not so easy to find child care, or even working out something at home, due to possibly being the stay at home parent who is not simply sitting back “eating bon-bon’s”. Fortunately, often times the other parent can step in and give the parent some respite, but with some parents, it’s very brief or involving “getting to go to the grocery store alone.” If a parent is a single parent, that problem is doubled as they don’t have the other parent readily available to give a break.

Given these circumstances, (which are a various degree of all types of challenges), what is a parent of a special needs child to do regarding self-care? I know from experience how easy it is to stay up at night, just to have time to myself but then suffer the next day from being too tired. Of course, there were even times when my child would wake up during that time and then my well-laid plans to get any amount of sleep was all messed up, which of course, affected the rest of the day and my patience.

The tension between where a parent of a special needs child finds themselves and the often, unsatisfied needs of having resources to “refuel” is daunting. Many parents hear the message from others “I don’t know how you do it!” Well, often times, the parents themselves don’t know how they do the hard jobs they do day after day, often with little support from friends or family. They just do what they can each day “to survive”. But not without a cost. Some parents become isolated because it can be challenging to go out in the community. Some parents silently struggle with anxiety or depression. There are those who take their kids to various therapies throughout the week and resort to various escapes, whether alcohol, the Internet, social media, while also having struggles in their marriage, or other relationships, having very little “adult time” with people their age. The challenges some of these kids are facing are hard to deal with, some with medical or serious behavioral issues. The health of some parents may begin to suffer and they are running on sleep deprivation.

A group of mothers of special needs kids were asked what they would like more of in their lives and the answers were revealing of the huge gaps that need to be filled in regards to self care:

Solitude, time to recenter without feeling guilty; do something that brings joy; time to decompress; exercise; personal retreat with the Lord; More time to enjoy one’s passions; getting a massage; doing arts and crafts; a relaxing hobby; having adult time; date nights; taking a vacation; finding a trustworthy and reliable babysitter; having quiet time to either read or do some creative outlet; go to the gym; time with friends or even some uninterrupted time in the bathro0m

The answers were varied but the theme was the same: they all feel the gap between where they needed some time to recharge and the ability to have the time to do so. They all understood that the best way to take care of their kids was to also invest time in themselves. The way that could be achieved varies based on each person’s individual circumstances, desires and personalities. What works for one person may not work for another, although each person has similar needs.

During a coaching session I was participating in, I spoke of the need to find my “oasis” within the stormy waters of my home life after getting home from work. It isn’t easy going from working with needy children to coming home, as a single mother to my own needy children. I needed some way to refresh, even if for a few minutes once I got home. Since the kids often met me with their various issues as soon as I got home I worked out with my coach that something that would help me and yet still be present to them was to have a simple cup of tea to drink while dinner was getting made and joining in the various discussions with each child. It just so happened that the first night of trying out this technique, the two older kids, with the delayed effects of their days due to the stress of trying to keep regulated, both easily reacted to one another. This then set off the youngest child who has autism. During this brief storm, I found myself smirking inside while looking at my little cup of tea, my “oasis”. Being a Christian, I felt like this was simply an attack by the enemy to undermine my attempt to have some sort of planned family time in the evenings like we used to, as I had wanted to re-institute our evening devotions. After sending two kids off to separate locations to calm down and helping the youngest regulate, I informed them that they were to still expect to come back around at 8:30 PM for our family devotions. We got through it and hopefully, the kids were able to see that despite the challenges, we have a God who cares about our struggles and knows us each by name. I want my kids to know the comfort there truly is to sit before God and pour out our hearts. He understands and He strengthens and supports us. That fed my soul, as imperfect as it was, and gave me what I needed with a taste to seek out more of what truly satisfies my soul; much better than Facebook or Instagram or even watching something on TV and binge on dark chocolate and wine.

The goal I have with my family, and perhaps others with kids who have special needs can relate, is that no matter what is going in one’s life, there are healthy ways to take care of oneself that feed their souls. Moderation is the key, I am reminded, and if my son needs time to “regulate” by playing on Minecraft for about 30 minutes, or jumping on the trampoline, that’s okay. I also want to teach him about going for walks, exercising, reading, gardening, playing music, playing catch with the dog, coloring, doing crafts, talking with a friend, playing a game, spending time in prayer even! All sorts of things are available that we can do to help us deal with the pressures of life.  The neat thing is we are not alone and there is a supportive village who understands. It just takes the courage and determination to reach out and ask someone to join in the journey.

What will it take to make that first step?

How can you ensure that you can be consistent once you do so?

What is keeping you from starting something new?

What kind of support do you need?

Think of one thing you can do today and make your plan to begin the transformation process and remember, step by step, new habits can start and it begins with the positive mindset that change can happen. Babies start to walk in stages and this is not different.

Enjoy the journey and what you learn along the way!


Sheila Hughes, Life Coach


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

What are the 10 Top Resources available for Families Who have a Child with Autism?

When we got Joshua’s autism diagnosis over 7 years ago, I was given a black binder packed full of information about resources to help us on our journey.  As much as I appreciated all that information, it was quite overwhelming and I really didn’t know where to start.  Although the binder of information was seemingly all inclusive, it would have been ideal to have a simple “To Do” list and someone to guide me along the way.  Luckily, I have always had a great social support group and being more outgoing, I didn’t mind talking to others about what we were going through.  As mentioned in my last post, I even started writing a blog.


Working in the Developmental Disabilities field, I have become painfully aware that not all families are aware of all the various resources available for kids who have autism.  They, like I was, are overwhelmed and simply trying to manage in the day to day while getting the help they so desperately need for their child.  How do they prioritize their time, especially if they are working parents?  What can they do regarding child care for their special needs child?  If they are a one income family, how can they budget the needs of the family to now include more expensive food and supplements should they want to make use of the benefits of a dietary change?

top 10

I have compiled a “10 Top List” of things to do now that you have a diagnosis of autism for your child.  This list is packed full of information, but the intent is to take what you want, come back later for more, once you are ready, and simply have a place to get started on this journey toward, hopefully recovery of your child so they can function and be successful in our society.  There is no way you can do it all at the start, and perhaps some of the suggestions won’t pertain to your situation.  More than likely, there will be waiting lists for most if not all of the services, so at the least, get some names of treatment providers in your area, aside from the school and get started calling to get assessments so therapy can start as soon as possible.  School districts have a certain amount of days to get their assessments done, so that may be one of the first places to start.

Take a look a this free download of my “10 Top List of Resources for Children who Have Autism” and let me know if I can be of any help to you or someone you know, along this journey.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Spotlight: Raising Autistic Children

I started a blog when we first received our youngest son’s diagnosis of autism back in December 2009, called Journey with Joshua. I had been home schooling and had a background in Children’s Mental Health so journaling what I was learning was a great outlet for me.

Autism has become more prevalent these last 7 years. The CDC had put the rate of children diagnosed with autism as 1 out of 68 kids, but a recent survey has the number now 1 out of 45 children.  What I have discovered in these last 7 years is not only the number of therapies available to help children on the autism spectrum to lead a fulfilling life, but the HUGE need of parents who have special needs children.   Part of parenting is making sacrifices for our children out of love, as we parents all can attest to.  Meeting the countless parents on our journey, who truly struggle along with their children’s issues.

It can be heart wrenching watching one’s child struggle with what is often considered “simple” daily tasks and part of growing up.  I have seen man news articles of children who have been excluded from birthday parties or sit alone in the cafeteria at school.  There are the feel good stories, of course, which spotlight those who truly “get it” and selflessly include our special kids but the heart ache remains for parents all the same who work so hard to advocate for their children and get them the services they need just to be able to function in society.

I think about how different my childhood was and how my son Joshua’s childhood has been.  He has been in therapy since he was 3 years old, not to mention Developmental Preschool.  He has gone to speech therapy since he was almost 3, every week.  He has also gone to occupational therapy from the time he was 3 1/2 years old, so pretty much, for 7 years, with a few short breaks due to changes with insurance, vacations, and moving.  He has been doing Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy since we moved to Idaho, for 4 years, on top of the other therapy.  He had also done Vision Therapy, Physical therapy and now, he is doing Neurobiofeedback and has recently started going to a chiropractor.


Joshua wired up and ready for Neuro-biofeedback

This has been including up to 5 days a week of therapy.  He is also now taking piano lessons for a year and has been taking swimming lessons for 3 years.  He doesn’t yet know how to ride his bike as it involves a lot of motor planning and visual tracking that he struggles with.  This child, who is now 10 years old, works incredibly hard to learn things that most of us take for granted, while also trying to deal with sensory issues and learning how to regulate himself when he is feeling overwhelmed.  This is normal life for our family.

With that in mind, it is imperitive for the rest of our family to, of course, be aware and supportive of Joshua’s challenges, but also be supported to grow and experience life individually in whatever various interests each member is involved in.  This, of course, includes both the parents and the siblings.  Parents, in particular, put in a lot of exhausting work to get the children the services they need, as well as encourage them to develop in a well rounded fashion socially, to the best of their ability.  It can feel some days like you are trying to plug all the holes in the dike, one after another!


Through all the busyness, the parent often tends to “lose themselves” in the process and are simply trying to survive day by day, falling in bed exhausted, every night, with some parents, getting very little sleep when their child has their own sleeping issues.

Experience shows that inorder to be a healthy parent to one’s child, a parent needs to also invest in caring for themselves.  You have to fill up your “tank” so to speak with healthy coping skills and habits that enhance rather than negatively affect one’s health and family life.  Every parent is different with what they can do that gives them energy and enlivens their spirit.  Each family has their challenges in this regard.

What are you looking for to do that for not only yourself, but for the health of your family?  There is much truth in the saying of St. John Paul II,

“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”

How do you want to affect your family, which will then, positively impact the world?

If you have a child with special needs, how do you fill your tank while also advocating for your child’s needs?

What goals have you put on the back burner that you are aching to start working on?

Contact me and we can coach around your challenges to leading a fulfilling life while helping your child to become the best that they can be!

Call 208-449-9019 or email Sheila at

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What Does “Into the Deep” stand for?

While I was taking my classes for becoming a Life Coach, a phrase that resonated with me was listening for that “song of the heart” that each person has.  In order to find that song, you have to be willing to take the time to allow the one you are working with to “go into the deep” areas of what drives them.  It is a discovery process, or for some, a re-discovery of hopes and dreams placed on the back burner and forgotten about as they lived their lives, adjusting to various events, obstacles and experiences that perhaps, steered them off of the course they originally were pursuing.


The noise of everyday living can make it hard to reconnect with that inner drive.  Perhaps the frustrations of feeling as though something is missing, just keeps eating away at that illusive inner peace.

  • You may be trying to make healthy living changes but keep having to start over.  You may be tired of being sick and tired!
  • You may be in college and not sure what you want to study or how to reach your life’s ambition.  It’s a great time of discovery, of course, but with the cost of college tuition, one wants to be efficient with one’s resources.
  • You may be so focused on your kids, whether special needs or not, trying to provide for their needs and helping them become all that they can be while realizing that you got lost along the way.  Frustration can come out in different ways but you realize that there has to be a way for your kids to become fulfilled, as well as yourself!

Life coaching is a great opportunity to come into that sacred space with a trained life coach who knows the right questions to ask to help you get to that deeper place and give your inner dream the voice it has been seeking.  Once that heart song has been expressed, a life coach will hold onto that dream with you and help you discover the steps, supporting you along the way to make it a reality!  New habits take time to develop and become strong and a life coach, just like an athletic coach or drama/art coach, will help you practice those new skills until they become second nature and you are living the life that you have dreamed.

Give Life Coaching a try!  Gear up in a way that makes sense to you to make the changes you have been seeking!  Cast your net on a different side of the boat and allow for it to go deeper than you have dared to go before.  As your life coach, I will help you see what repairs may need to be made to your net.  I will help you steady the boat while you are exploring the depths around you as you consider different perspectives, and support you as you pull in the catch of your dreams!

You will discover more than you dreamed possible about yourself!


Contact me today to set up your free inquiry call!  Don’t keep putting it off!  Make the most of today!

Email: or call 208-449-9019



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment