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We all have our “bright shiny things.”

For an entrepreneur, it’s a new idea.

For a coach, it’s someone with a problem.

I’m both. I see LOTS of bright shiny objects. Two things that are nearly irresistible to me -  “hey, can I run this idea past you?” and “I don’t know what to do, got a second?”

In any given day I hear one or both of those questions at least once. My knee jerk response is “SURE!”

You know where this is going, right? If I allowed myself to follow through on that knee jerk response every time I’d have a lot of clients (and prospective clients) calling me a jerk because I wouldn’t be taking care of THEIR needs. So when I get that knee jerk urge, I try to kick myself back into high gear on the work front.

Today I allowed myself to be sidetracked by private messages from someone in my “sandbox” of speakers, coaches, writers, etc… who was very traumatized by the choice of one of her friends. My instincts kicked in, I grabbed that bright shiny object and began trying to piece it together.

To add to my coaches’ natural temptation to coach, the situation touched my heart and a couple of old sore spots. I “couldn’t” leave it alone. It wasn’t like this person really NEEDED me. She has other friends who are closer to the situation, better able to speak to her distress, better suited to offer comfort and perspective. It was my OWN need that moved me to respond.

Interestingly enough, as I began to chide myself for giving my energy and time to someone ELSE’S drama  I recognized that my answers to her contained wisdom I didn’t know I had. There were my next three blog posts, a chapter that belongs in my book, kernels of truth I had thrown out with the chaff.

Not that EVERYONE will consider it wisdom. There is no “universal philosophy” and the more wise it is for me the more wrong it will be for some other people. But it was MY wisdom, gems I’d been mining for and had not yet uncovered. And I recognized power in it that might speak to others and help them uncover some gems of their own.

But then, there was also the hour and  half of reading, responding, detoxing, reframing… That wasn’t in my work plan, I had a full day of clients and projects and commitments - “shouldn’t” I at least have had the discipline to leave it until after “normal” work hours?

Didn’t I just let a bright shiny thing derail my productivity for the day? After all, posting to the blog was on my list of “to-dos” and here it is nearly 9PM and I’m just now getting to it. Surely that isn’t responsible “life balance.”

Depends on how I tell the story, doesn’t it? Either I let myself get trapped into a tailspin of drama/trauma, free coaching and emotional drain. OR I was offered a completely no-risk opportunity to learn from someone else’s story.

I actually received TWO huge gifts from that bright, shiny thing.

One was the “ah ha” moments of truth I had while responding to the messages. I’ll be unwrapping that gift for months, maybe years to come.

The other was a reminder that I control my energy. No one else. The amount and nature of the energy I give, and the amount and nature of the energy I let in. UP.TO.ME!

So there is the balance beam - fall off on one side and we miss the opportunity to dip into our own well of wisdom, to receive the gifts of sharing another’s experience. Fall off the other side and we step into the trap of giving energy without being mindful of our choice.

WALK the beam with sure feet and land the dismount and we have been gifted with insights, we have offered compassion, we have been true to ourselves, but we have preserved our own energy field.

Was I reaching for the bright shiny thing or reaching for wisdom? They look a lot alike. The difference is a mindful choice.



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