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What Do You Make People Do?

In my last post, Who Are You When You Can’t Be Who You Were, I mused about what happens when something that defined us, something that we considered part of our very identity, changes. That started me thinking about all the things that we allow to define us. Our age, our gender, our favorite sports team, our occupation. Of course, my “occupation” is a coach. Not that I can list that on most government forms, I have to revert to “consultant” for those. But, while I still bring my business consulting background to the table, my greatest talent lies, not in providing answers, but in asking the questions that help my clients connect the dots and discover their own answers. So when does “helping clients discover their own answers” become part of my identity? I think the danger zone, not only for coaches, but for all of us, is when our identity depends on people actually doing what we want to help them do. I worked with a coach a few years ago whose specialty was in performance coaching. While I continue to uncover gifts from the experience, it was one of the most traumatic coaching experiences I’ve ever put myself through. When I told her I saw part of my value as being an “appreciative audience” for genius creatives, she laughed at me. When I insisted I was dead serious, she became derisive and accused me of intentionally “playing small.” When I chose not to make a part of my personal story public at that time, she accused me of being selfish and withholding the help I could...

10 Ways to be Fruitful When the Garden is Burning

Whether you live in a part of the world where you endure the hot, dry days of summer, or somewhere that is like paradise every day, we all know what those hot, dry spells feel like in our life. Someone “turned up the heat” and suddenly, our life feels like a pressure cooker. Things that “flowed” yesterday become cracked, dry, stream beds. The last thing you feel is “fruitful” or productive. I’ve come to recognize that there are 10 universal factors to whether or not you reap an abundant harvest after a hot, dry spell. So while you can’t control the temperature. Or the rainfall. You CAN control your growing conditions and your mindset. In fact, you can control everything on this list. Let’s begin! 1.) Know your true nature and its value. A tomato doesn’t try to be an apple (even if it IS technically a fruit.) Are you perfectly clear on what kind of fruit you’re meant to bear? Can you articulate to yourself and others how lusciously sweet and juicy you’re going to be? If you CAN you’ll have people showing up with watering cans to make sure your buds don’t drop off before they turn into red, ripe globes! 2.) Know your ideal environment. I know the saying, “bloom wherever you are” and I’ve done that too. But how much more fruitful will you be if you’re planted in the ideal environment, for YOU? When I tried to bloom in spite of being in an environment that wasn’t conducive to my growth, I produced a few blossoms. When I demanded of my self a move...

Fantasy to the Rescue!

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. ~ Walt Disney Ah, the things we fantasized about as children! Before anyone told us we were just being silly, when we still believed in talking mice and Hobbits, and thought being a nurse or a firefighter would be exciting but not really work. A time when we believed that the only reason we couldn’t do anything was because a grownup said “no” and that when we were the grownups we would be able to do anything we wanted. Then we grew up. In my last article we explored the four steps to moving a fantasy through the stages of dreaming to visioning to creating a reality. Every time I speak about this at least one person says “but some fantasies just aren’t possible.” And when they say that a lot of other people nod sagely. Well someone forgot to tell Walt Disney that talking mice weren’t possible. Millions of kids show up to talk to Micky and Minnie every year. And Peter Jackson created a world where Hobbits came to life along with Dwarves, Elves and Orcs. To some people, being a nurse or a firefighter might be so exciting and enjoyable that the effort doesn’t feel like work. I think one of the best guides to telling you who you are, and I think children use it all the time for this purpose, is fantasy. ~ Peter Shaffer Indulging in a rich, unedited fantasy life is as essential to the creative wellspring as food is to physical function. When we say “that’s impossible” or “I...

From the Bottom of My Soul

“I believe, from the bottom of my soul…” One of the most powerful phrases you’ll ever hear. I heard that phrase about two months ago, and the conviction in the soft voice stopped my pen from taking notes, pulled my eyes from my notebook to the woman on the stage, and snagged every tendril of thought from where they had been roaming, to focus fully on what was coming next. What came next was one story after another, confirming, validating, solidifying something that I also believe, from the bottom of my soul. Leadership isn’t a role, it doesn’t require a title. It is a way of life. That’s just one of the things that Colleen Barrett, President Emerita of Southwest Airlines, recipient of this year’s Go-Giver Lifetime Achievement Award, co-author (with Ken Blanchard) of Lead With Luv: A Different Way to Create Real Success, and keynote speaker at The Go-Giver Retreat last month in West Palm Beach, shared during her hour or so on stage. Just one of the things that gave me pause, and chills of delight. (The other delightful thing about getting to meet Colleen and hear her speak was that she was joined at the event by her predecessor, co-founder of SWA, Herb Kelleher. I had the privilege of spending the afternoon sitting next to Herb and getting to know his keen wit and huge heart. Two icons, whose passion and business acumen I’ve admired for years, and both of them turned out to be exactly who I’d hoped they would be, and a whole lot more!) I’ve always wondered just how deep the Southwest culture...

The Answer is 42 – What Was The Question?

Sometimes the answer is not a response to the question, but in finding the right question to ask. In a previous post, which included my answer to what The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author, Douglas Adams, called “The Ultimate Question of Life the Universe and Everything,” I mentioned that we’d be revisiting the question, and the answer. Over the course of his series of novels, Adams takes us on a hilarious journey with his unlikely hero, Arthur Dent. Dent is a survivor of the planet Earth which, we learn, was actually built as a complex computer to discover the Ultimate Question. Another computer, Deep Thought, had been built to determine the Ultimate Answer, and after seven and a half million years had reached a conclusion. The Ultimate Answer, Deep Thought said, was 42. When the beings who had set about to learn the answer protested that they didn’t know what it meant, they were told it was because they didn’t understand the QUESTION. Earth was then designed to uncover to Ultimate Question, but before a conclusion could be drawn, the Earth was destroyed by Vogons. The beings seeking this Ultimate Question and Answer, which look exactly like creatures we know as mice, decide they don’t want to wait another eight million years and settle on an arbitrary question; “How many roads must a man walk down?” So now we know that a man must walk down 42 roads - but we still don’t know which roads, or where he’ll end up. As farcical as this may seem, (and as Adams no doubt meant it to be) it illustrates...

You DO Have a Magic Wand!

Ah magic! We all have it. But so often we close ourselves to our own magic and look to others for the transformations we want to create in our selves and in our businesses. So I offer all prospects and clients a full disclaimer - “I do not have magic wands or magic pills. This transformation is going to take work on your part.” Of course, we DO work magic together when the fit is right - and the resulting explosions are just as exciting and fulfilling for me as they are for the people I work with. That’s because I’m working in MY “magic circle” - that place in the wizard’s diagram where gifts, talents, experience, expertise, and LOVE all intersect. It took me a lot of years and botched recipes in the cauldron to find that intersection. I’ve strayed from the circle a few times - and every time I’ve been reminded of how quickly the magic fades outside of that zone. And when I come back to working only in that place, I’m reminded of just how powerful that magic can be. In a blast thru coaching session yesterday, I had a conversation with someone who is searching for HIS “magic circle.” He isn’t alone - I talk with so many of you who don’t feel the magic when you’re doing what you do. Or, who feel the explosions, but don’t see the financial reward. (And the reward is part of the magic - wouldn’t you agree?) So, what if you could wave a magic wand and suddenly be standing in your “magic circle?” I haven’t...