A Shift In Perspective

A Shift In Perspective

I know I reference my coaching clients a lot in these blog posts, but for those of you who haven’t experienced it, you might be feeling a little skeptical. And I get it.  When I first explored coaching it felt very incestuous – coaches always coaching coaches and coach wanna-bees. I wondered, can coaching really make a difference in the real world, or is it just a lot of feel-good hooey? After 15 years in the profession, however, I’ve seen enough results to know it is real. Take a recent client of mine. For her, the choices she was making got in the way of how she was showing up, and the impact was profound. Throughout her career, she’d kind of lost touch with the person she always saw herself to be. Then, she got wrapped up and spun around with other people’s stories of who she was; she got a little high on her horse because of her position and title. Then, one day, someone triggered her in a really bad way, and created the issue that brought me in. Our work wasn’t exactly required by her job, but when it started, it was seen by many as a last ditch effort. Some weren’t sure they even wanted to keep her on. But they committed to six months, and so did she. Together in those six months, we worked on getting her back to her core self, to who she really was, and how she lost her way and why she was triggered in the first place. Now, this is exactly the kind of stuff that can sound sort of new-agey, woo-woo, and leaves people feeling skeptical — but it’s exactly this kind of...

With All Due Respect To NIKE

Are you running from something? Or towards something? Too often we’re running away, trying to escape — but our problems keep following us!  Like that person who goes from one bad relationship to another with no loss of emotion, or those that seem to have terrible job after terrible job. But what are the chances that they could have that many bad jobs (or relationships)? There’s got to be a common theme, a common denominator. If you’re in this situation, I hate to break it to you: the common denominator is YOU. We tend to take our problems with us. So if you want a different result, you have to take a different action. But how can you change your perspective? How can you build a habit of considering new ideas and making more powerful decisions? Well, take a lesson from Socrates. There are three elements to how we engage with and show up in our life; there’s what we think, how we feel and what we do. Pick one, change some aspect of it and see what you get. Then change another part and explore again. Not every change will yield the desired result, but some will.Otherwise, if you just keep thinking, feeling and doing the same things over and over again, nothing will ever change, right?  Here’s the full Socrates quote: If you always do what you’ve always done, You will always get what you always got. If you always get what you always got, You will always think what you’ve always thought. If you always think what you’ve always thought, You will always feel what you’ve always felt. If...
A Beautiful Response

A Beautiful Response

One of my favorite things about writing this blog is the responses I receive from you all via email. A few weeks ago, I shared a post with you called “The Flexible Oak,” and an old friend responded with something remarkable: this beautiful poem by Lao Tzu.   newborn – we are tender and weak in death – we are rigid and stiff living plants are supple and yielding dead branches are dry and brittle so the hard and unyielding belong to death and the soft and pliant belong to life an inflexible army does not triumph an unbending tree breaks in the wind thus the rigid and inflexible will surely fail while the soft and flowing will prevail   Let that encourage us to be flexible in our mindset. Thank you for responding with this, Frank; I hope all of you will always feel welcome to respond to these posts. Just comment here, or email me! I’d love to hear form...
Is Change Possible?

Is Change Possible?

Maybe. We’ve all been there, right? Your boss has hired some schmuck to deliver a bunch of feel-good, kumbaya mush that’s supposed to build better teams or something? As one of those schmucks, a question I love to ask my clients and audiences at some point during our interaction is: Is this worth your time? I particularly love to ask that when it’s clear they’re thinking…no!  Of course, many of them don’t believe it’s going to help. They don’t know me. They don’t have any reason to believe this particular talk is going to make any difference. They’ve tried stuff like this before, and it’s created no change whatsoever… What I like to point out is that they’re right. If you’re under the belief that nothing can ever change, well guess what? Nothing will. What’s Henry Ford’s famous line? “If you think you can or you think you can’t…”  It is soooooo easy to stonewall this kind of effort. All you gotta do is Nancy Reagan it and “Just Say No!” No, I won’t participate. No, I won’t talk about it. No, I won’t do anything different. No, this is who I am, I can’t be someone I’m not…No. But if you’re one of those people that thinks “just maybe,” and you’re willing to make a concerted effort to change the toxic culture you work in, your career trajectory, your relationships, your goals — is their any chance that you could do it? If you don’t think so, then any effort is a waste of time. Reading this blog is a waste of time. Coaching is definitely a waste...
The Reciprocal Benefits of Leadership

The Reciprocal Benefits of Leadership

Last week, we talked about the power of your mindset as evidenced by a profound psychological study. Well, there was another study involving nursing home residents that I found to be just as incredible, and just as impactful for us today. In this study, nursing home residents were given plants. Half of the residents, Group A, were expected to take care of those plants; they were explicitly told the plants were their responsibility, to water them, fertilize them and keep them alive. The other half of the residents, Group B, were told the staff would do all the plant care work — their job was just to enjoy them. After eighteen months, twice as many of the residents in Group A were still alive. That means those who were caring for a plant had double the chance of survival! Think about that for a moment. When we have responsibility for another living thing, the value and benefit of our actions isn’t just for the living thing we are caring for. It’s a reciprocal benefit for us both. If we’re twice as likely to live longer taking care of a plant, imagine the impact when we care for and nurture people! When we are called to lead, which we are called to do in every interaction we have with ourselves and others, caring for and nurturing those “on our team” isn’t just the “right thing to do” — it’s the best choice for ourselves. It sustains us, no matter how difficult it may occasionally feel. Leadership isn’t something we do to people, it’s something we do with people. Leadership is...
Accountability Scares the CRAP Out of Us!

Accountability Scares the CRAP Out of Us!

I’ve recently started meeting with an accountability partner, and it’s got me thinking: Setting goals we can be held accountable to is a surprisingly difficult task. In fact, one of my newest clients made an interesting comment on the topic: “If I keep my goals ‘squishy’ and undefined, no one can hold me accountable.” It’s true, isn’t it? The more specific you get, the more obvious it is to those around you if you miss the mark. I can relate to that. That’s why I need an accountability partner! I need to be called out on my “squishiness” and held to a more effective and empowering standard. This is what gets in the way: in order for accountability to work and have value, it requires us to be seen, which is an intensely difficult and vulnerable feeling for most people. Isn’t that why public speaking is our greatest fear in America? You are wholly, vulnerably seen. If you stutter, stammer, misspeak, or mess up in any way, everyone can see it. Because you’re visible. How does that old saying go? “Better to remain silent, and let people think you a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Without precise goals, expectations, and objectives, people can’t prove we’re foolish. But the moment we get specific and let other people in on the details, we’re vulnerable. What if we fall short? What if we mess up? What if we can’t do it? We open ourselves up to that judgement running rampant in our culture. It’s truly one of biggest obstacles keeping a lot of people from getting serious...