Monday, December 31, 2007

New URL for GottaGettaBLOG!

Please note that GottaGettaBLOG! posts from the years 2003 through 2007 will be permanently archived, here, at www.ggci.com/blog, under the heading of "GottaGettaBlog! 2003-2007". But, starting January 2008, blog posts will be posted at: www.ggci.com/blog2.

Furthermore, starting January 2010, new posts will be at:
http://www.ggci-blog.com/.

Please update your bookmarks and automated feeds accordingly.

Thanks!

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Chuck Norris is afraid of choking

The Chicago Tribune reported today that movie star Chuck Norris re-affirmed his intent not to run for public office ... for fear of "choking." Norris? Afraid? Choking? Well, sort of ...

In the tough-guy's own words:

"Let's say I run for a position in politics and I am debating my opponent and my opponent starts attacking my character and I leap over the bench and choke him unconscious, it's not going to help my campaign."

Ohhhh! Norris! Afraid! Choking! I get it now!

Isn't it interesting how a little context can so completely change the meaning of a message?

The underlying coaching questions, of course, are these:
How might YOU be misinterpreting others and how might THEY be misinterpreting you? And assuming it's happening, what do you want to actually DO about it?

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fun Family (Thanksgiving) Rituals

Fun Family Rituals - the notion is that each family does stuff that may seem insignificant to others, but is actually very special in how it helps define family values, camaraderie and cherished memories. The fun, sometimes silly, stuff that families do, look forward to doing, remember doing and continue to do - through the years.

In honor of this Thanksgiving Day, here are some of the family rituals and traditions included in my Fun Family Rituals compilation (available for download at: http://www.funfamilyrituals.com/) as written by the very people who use them to celebrate both today's holiday, and their families:

" On Thanksgiving, my kids make a Thankful Box and have everyone in the house "deposit" an index card telling what they're thankful for. Then, before dessert, we read them one at a time and laugh and cry and thank our lucky stars for our family and friends."

"We always make a turkey for Thanksgiving - even if we go to a relative's house. Gotta have our own leftovers!"

"After Thanksgiving dinner, all the moms of our extended family get together with handfuls of cash. We take whatever we were planning on spending on each of our 13 nieces and nephews for Christmas and neatly separate it all into envelopes - each marked with a child's name. When everyone is done putting their money in, the moms get their own kids' envelopes so that they can spend the money on gifts 'on behalf of' the aunts and uncles."

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Vulnerability, Teamwork, and Personal Growth

Last week I had the opportunity to spend two days on a rustic team building retreat at Joy Outdoor Education Center in Clarksville, Ohio, courtesy of a corporate client, Hill-Rom, where the group learned about their Insights® colors (courtesy of Scott Schwefel), did a high ropes course and related activities, endured gusts up to 34 mph and wind chills down to the teens (brrr!), shared emotionally-moving and personal stories deep into the night by light (and warmth) of a bonfire, slept in cabins, ate camp food, and stretched and grew in ways that were truly amazing. And that was Day One!

Day Two included a morning of coaching and facilitation, courtesy of yours truly, and an afternoon of detailed departmental planning and goal-setting, led by Phillip Saxton, president of MiTowne.

Initially, I perceived, and prepared for, my role as that of catalyst: "an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action," as Merriam Webster might say. But as I settled into my bunk that first night it struck me that the 'change' I was there to provoke had actually already happened. Every single person, in their own special way, had already become so much more open, courageous, real - and vulnerable - with each other. The team knew it, liked it, and matched it, with a collective support, respect, regard, knowing, and appreciation.

That was the good news. The not-so-good news was that pretty much everything I had prepared for the following morning was now unnecessary and wrong! I no longer needed to help them change; my job was to help them solidify their changes.

It's one thing to watch others being vulnerable; it's something entirely different to be vulnerable oneself. Yet to be truly in service of the group I was there to coach, facilitate, and support, I knew I needed to honor and respect where the group now 'was' - and be completely present to, and enabling of, whatever needed to unfold from that point forward.

So, pre-dawn, and in keeping with the "Pushing the Limits" theme of the retreat, I decided to take what was to be the 'end' of my facilitation - an article called "Life is a ten-speed Bicycle," - and use it to start a conversational unfolding, if you will, where I would rely on my coaching instincts and the collective wisdom of the group to reach for something essential, but as of yet, unknown.

And so, for the next 3½ hours, quite powerfully at times, we explored, realized, agreed, and fine-tuned, what else was needed for this group of smart, capable, and caring professionals to truly coalesce into a single, unified, and unshakable, whole.

The ultimate outcome? Well that remains to be seen. To be sure, they're off to a very good start, but the team must consistently apply the Lessons Learned, aha's realized, and courageousness experienced for the ongoing magic to happen.

Will it be easy? Probably not. Is it doable? Definitely so. Is it likely? I actually believe it is.

As for me, I know that like everyone else, my comfort zone was significantly stretched these last few days - and in a number of different ways! (As I reflect on what that means, I feel a contented little smile coming to my face.) So for that, I thank each and every one of you who helped make that my new reality.

Now if I can just get that campfire smoke smell out of my clothing, I'll be all set!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Coaches and Therapists - How Different?: ICF Conference Breakout Session

While I've been to coaching vs. therapy presentations before, they were always lead by coaches. So I thought it'd be particularly refreshing to hear about it from the other side, as it were. Enter Dr. David Orlinsky, noted professor of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.

Of all of his charts and descriptions offered, this was the one I found most helpful in articulating the differences:

David Orlinsky analysis

Good set of distinctions, don't you think?

Thanks, David.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Julio Olalla: ICF Conference Keynote Speaker

The opening keynote speaker and Honorary Conference Chair of the International Coach Federation's 2007 Annual Conference was Julio Olalla, MCC, founder and president of the Newfield Network, an international education, coaching and consulting company.

A very engaging speaker, Julio spoke about the 'cognitive schizophrenia' that has developed in the modern world. He suggested that the world insists we focus on our exterior knowing - science, business, objects, the 'real' world, etc. - which we dutifully do. But lost in the process is our ability to connect with our interior knowledge - our hearts and souls, passions and beliefs, hopes, dreams, values, love, loyalty, appreciation for the wisdom of others and the very "cognitive possibilities" that flow from emotion.

The answer is not to swing the pendulum all the way to the other side, or even learn how to ably switch between exterior and interior paradigms in an effort to achieve so-called balance. Rather, he said, the answer is in learning how to unify our exterior and interior knowledge into a cohesive whole. (Coaching, by the way, is one of the few mechanisms available for directly enabling this type of learning.)

Easy? No. Possible? Absolutely.

Our existing 'cosmology', says Olalla - the story we've created for ourselves about how we fit into the world - is externally based:
O --> A --> R
Observers (us) take Actions that yield specific Results. Should we not like the Results, we simply change our Actions and try again. Note that we don't typically consider how we might change ourselves to modify the outcome.

What if we allowed ourselves to change in addition to (or even in lieu of) changing the actions we take? How might we more consciously and intentionally incorporate more of our interior knowing into the "O --> A --> R" model?
Quite possibly, the Actions we'd subsequently take (and want to take, for that matter) would be sufficiently different to enable some completely new Results heretofore unavailable to us.

Easy? No. Possible? Absolutely.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Higher Understanding through Ping-Pong

An absolutely wonderful article in today's Chicago Tribune titled, Mastering the art of Ping-Pong: Sensei says you must become 'calm and rushed' by By Kevin Pang:

Young Grasshopper hopes to one day become master of the Ping-Pong realm, but Young Grasshopper lacks the wisdom of Ardy S. Taveerasert, flower shop owner by day, sensei by night. Listen to the words of the sage in T-shirt and short shorts:

"Table tennis is like chess and running at the same time," Taveerasert dispenses, encapsulating 30 years of Ping-Pong perspicuity into one sentence.

Young Grasshopper nods. He absorbs. He understands. Everything Young Grasshopper has learned about Ping-Pong must be unlearned.

The setting: A warm, pastoral evening at Daley Bicentennial Park, steps from the Pritzker Pavilion, an iron monkey's leap from Lake Michigan.

The apprentices: Members of the Chicago Slam Table Tennis Club, a faction of all ages and nationalities. Five nights a week, they clash in the struggles of competition (and ostensibly, mankind), and to take in the knowledge of one Taveerasert.

The sage hails from Thailand. In his youth, Taveerasert's older brother forced him to play Ping-Pong. One day Taveerasert finally bested his brother, and then he did it again, and again, and again. A dream was born: to assemble a legion of Ping-Pong warriors, and to make the sport as ubiquitous in the U.S. as Little League baseball. A year ago, the sage became commissioner of the Chicago Slam Table Tennis Club, and a dream was realized.

On this night, Young Grasshopper enters the dojo with a dozen combatants of Ping-Pong at various levels of mastery. One student is Mike Mezyan, a 27-year-old from Jordan, who wears a royal blue athletic crew shirt, collars popped. He shuffles his feet from side to side like Baryshnikov over hot coals. His forehead glistens with sweat. He owns not a paddle, but a blade, which costs $500, and some $300 more a year to maintain its rubber surface.

As blade contacts ball, Mezyan grunts with a feral rage emanating from the depths of his soul.

"You need to be calm and rushed," Mezyan explains. To acquire swift instincts, one's inner-self must remain calm.

Mezyan goes on: Wait for the ball to reach the crest of its arc. The ball will momentarily stop in mid-flight and freeze.

At which point, Taveerasert says -- now standing opposite Young Grasshopper -- do not try to hit the ball.

A counter intuitive strategy, it seems. But soon, the sage's wisdom becomes clear: Trying to hit the ball means one is aiming to hit the ball. One should not aim to hit the ball. One should not try to hit the ball.

One should hit the ball.

"Harder," Taveerasert implores.

Young Grasshopper's guards prevent him from hitting the ball as hard as he could. He does not trust, nor does he realize, his untapped powers.

Harder! Taveerasert's brows furrow.

Young Grasshopper must release his inhibitions.

Harder! Harder! Harder!

Young Grasshopper, with all his might, swings his right forearm in a blur, the blade striking the white ball at the apex of its course. The ball streaks over the net, curves to the right, strikes the table once, past Taveerasert and his outstretched hands. It bounces several times off the floor before coming to a rest. The young apprentice scores one point off the sage. Eyes bulge with shocked disbelief. The student is humbled and the sage smiles.

Through the silence, Young Grasshopper and his master achieve a higher understanding.

-----
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Which is really harder?
  • To be creative enough to create a hit song out of thin air, or to take that song on the road and play it consistently and passionately, night-after-night-after night?
  • To do what it takes to drive a high-profile project through to its successful completion or to seamlessly operationalize the significant changes likely resultant from that project's completion?
  • To lose 20 pounds, or to not regain them?
  • To get a new job when you're unemployed, or to stay positive when you're unemployed and not getting any job offers?
  • To significantly improve your performance or to ably sustain those improvements over time?

There's a tendency in business -and in life - to judge others by what they do, or don't, do particularly well. Prematurely. Repeatedly. Unfairly.

Given that you're, quite probably, already familiar with what it feels like when others - prematurely, repeatedly, and unfairly - judge what you do, how might you actually be prematurely, repeatedly, and unfairly judging others and what they do or don't do?

Remember, what goes around, comes around.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Keys to Personal and Professional Growth


Consider how this works:
  • If something is New Information AND Relevant, it's likely to be Important.
  • If something is New Information AND Resonant, it's likely to be Meaningful.
  • If something is Relevant AND Resonant, it's likely to be Memorable.
  • And if something is Memorable, Meaningful, AND Important, it's likely to enable Growth, on either a personal or professional level, yes?

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

What's on your BIWI Fun List?

BIWI, as in, "Becasue I Want It."
Fun, as in, well, fun!
And List, as in, go ahead and list some things out. I'll wait!

Now go do some of them. Or at least make plans to do.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Upended Pareto

You're probably already familiar with the Pareto principle, or 80/20 Rule, as it's also called, which suggests that 80% of your results come from from 20% of your efforts, or words to that effect. Well here's a variation on the theme, one that I call, the Upended Pareto:

"Eighty percent of whatever's wrong with a situation doesn't really matter."

Your job is to identify the 20% that does matter ... and work exclusively on that.

So pick a situation you're dealing with and ask yourself, "What is the 20% that does matter?"
Start there and see if you're not better off for doing so.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Choosing to Choose

Typically, people get stuck because they can't figure out what they really want:
  • What do I want to be when I grow up?
  • What do I want my next job to be like?
  • What do I want to do about this issue at work?
  • What do I want to do on my next vacation?

Sometimes, though, this issue is not so much about what to choose as it is about choosing to choose:

  • Should I accept this new job offer?
  • Should I push back on my boss?
  • Should I go back to school?
  • Should I exercise today?
  • Should I pitch it all and just chase my dream?

With this, you probably know exactly what choice you want to make, but something's holding you back. And that something is almost always fear:

  • Fear of it being too difficult (or you thinking that maybe you're not good enough)
  • Fear of it being too different (or you feeling that it will take you too far outside of your comfort zone)
  • Fear of it being too dicey (or you believing that you can't recoup if things don't go right)

When fear keeps us from making foolish choices , fear is good. But when fear keeps us from owning our own lives, well, that's an entirely different matter.

Only you can choose what's right for you. But it's your responsibility to choose, even if your choice is to defer the decision for a period of time, or to gather more information so that you can choose more wisely. After all, choosing not to choose is a choice, too, you know.

But not choosing, simply because you're too afraid to choose, is not what you want to do - it's not who you want to be. So step into the fear, step through it, and step out the other side, so you can choose, whatever you choose to choose.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Good to the Bone


from Positive Thinking magazine:

"To succeed in life you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone." - Reba McEntire

Indeed. - bz

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Labor of Obligation

Some of the work we do falls under the category of Labor of Obligation:
  • quote/unquote "important" assignments that we may think are trivial
  • urgent requests for any of a variety of things
  • monthly or quarterly reports that no one really reads, but cause all sorts of consternation if they're not submitted on time

Other things we do fall under the category of Labor of Love:

  • pet projects of ours
  • things we feel truly make a difference in the our world (no matter how big or small we happen to define that world at any point in time)
  • certain types of work that we just happen to particularly enjoy and/or find fulfilling in some way

Too often, though, we spend so much time with our Obligations that we run out of time to work on the important stuff - the things that really matter to us.

There's no easy answer, but more than likely, it has something to do with getting through the stuff you don't like doing more quickly so that there's time left to do what you do like to do.

You might even say that we each have an obligation to create the time needed to work on what we love doing - an obligation to ourselves.

What, then, are three things you can do to: (a) reduce the number or scope of - and amount of time spent on - the obligatory things you do so that you can; (b) increase the number or scope of - and amount of time spent on - things you'd do for the sheer love of being able to do them?

Go there for a while and see what that does for you.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Mentor Coach Interview: Barry Zweibel

Thanks to Linda Boos and The New Coach Connection's blog; "Making Coach Connections" for their interview of me in their February 28, 2007 post, titled: Mentor Coach Interview: Barry Zweibel. Here are some excerpts:

Hello all and welcome to the Wednesday Interview! The final coach I have chosen to interview is our own Barry K. Zweibel, MCC, ICF-Certified Master Coach. Barry is newly certified MCC and I gained much from his answers, I hope you will too.

Read on.

How do you define coaching?
Iteratively! Really, it all depends on where people start talking to me about it. “Is it like therapy?” Well, yes, sort of, but it’s more about moving forward from where you’re at than looking backwards … “Is it like consulting?” Why yes, but it’s not about me giving you my answers, it’s about helping you determine your own answers …

When did you decide to become a coach? What was your aha moment? My undergraduate degree is in psychology (MBA in marketing) so the people-side-of-life has always been an interest to me. But I didn’t like how therapy was pathologically-based. Sure everyone can probably benefit from therapy, but not everyone is broken, so what about all the “normal” people who are just feeling stuck or uncomfortable or aren’t sure what to do next, etc.? But coaching wasn’t around back then.

Fast forward, and a guy named Chip Bell (Managers as Mentors) turned me on to a coach-like perspective and Thomas Leonard sealed the deal. They both helped me realize I already was coaching; it was now a matter of doing it full-time rather than just as an adjunct of my other professional responsibilities.

Once you started your business, how long did it take you to go from zero to a sustainable business? What did that involve?
Year One was good enough in that it was only a half-year, really (I started GottaGettaCoach! on July 4, 2000 – Independence Day!) and Year Two was pretty good, too – but I think that was because most of my work came from people I already knew. Year Three was awful – I ran out of contacts ~ and hadn’t yet figured out how to get people I didn’t know to find and hire me. Apparently something clicked, because Years Four, Five, and Six have each been great and progressively better than the one prior. (Year Seven, 2007) is starting off quite nicely, too.

What did that involve? Patience, and persistence, of course. But I think the thing that made the most difference was creating specific business development (biz-d) and client acquisition strategies that were customized enough to me so that I truly enjoyed working them. I learned that there is no one right way to make a small business successful – there are zillions of ways. So I choose a few that worked (and that were within my comfort zone) and worked them as passionately as I could.

Where do you see coaching going in the future and what do you think the next big trends will be?
I’m very optimistic. More and more people are being coached by their friends, relatives, and co-workers and are really liking the ‘it’s-all-about-me’ thing. But they increasingly don’t like how their informal coach’s vested interests keep getting in the way. As such, they’ll increasingly look to professional, objective, coaches (read: you and me) to hire.

Next big trends? Here are three: (1) The increased importance of certification (and ultimately licensure) of coaches will cause scads of casual and part-time coaches to back away from the field creating more opportunity for those remaining; (2) more coaches will opt for group-work creating even more opportunity for those continuing to focus on 1-on-1 work; (3) trends won’t matter because how many clients do you really need to have a successful practice, anyway?!

What do you love about being a coach and coaching?
No need to preach to the choir on this one – I love that I get to be a coach and that I get to coach. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t get that?!

What are the top three pieces of advice you’d leave for new coaches?
(1) focus more on your biz-d than you probably are; (2) do it in ways that truly work for you – regardless of what anyone else has to say about what you should or should not be doing; (3) adopt a puppy!

So okay, I only had two pieces of advice, but there is something to be said for being as good a businessperson/coach as your dog already thinks you are!

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

An Argument for Less Simplicity

Leah Eskin wrote a fun little article in her Home on the Range column for the Chicago Tribune magazine section a few weeks back, titled, Get Over the Easy: Effortless Eggs Aren't Worth the Trouble:

"Simplistic propaganda lurks on the magazine cover, best-seller table and annoying pop-up promotion: Declutter, deacquistion, desist. Mottoes that are supposed to relieve the overworked and overwhelmed. But don't.

"You realize you like complicated. Maybe not bacon-on-a-swing complicated. Not spear-it-and-cute-it-yourself complicated. But at the very least the carefully selected and beautifully composed cheese-plate complicated."

On she writes, quite cleverly, in fact, about what seems to be a justification for a quasi-complicated brunch. And as I read, I was struck by the notion that many people, myself included, actually like the complicated! After all, there is a beauty in complexity that simplicity simply cannot hold a candle to, fragranted paraffin, notwithstanding. Like when a basketball team executes a perfect pick and roll, or when a car's anti-lock brakes do their thing, or, in keeping with Ms. Eskin's epicurean emphasis, when all the parts of a Thanksgiving Day dinner are ready to eat at exactly the same time. This is not simplicity. But it is fantastic!

We often complain how office policies and procedures tend to be more complicated than they need be. And many are. But sometimes, there's nothing like a crisp 7-step process to take something through from start to finish. It begs the question:

What might we be trying to make too simple?
In an effort to clear things off our plates (that one was for you, Leah!) what important details might we have overlooked? In an effort to rush through a meeting , what important questions might we never have let get asked? In a effort to hurry home and live a balanced life, who might we have nearly run off the road as we changed lanes without looking back there?

It's complicated when you have to square the corners, polish the chrome, dot the i's and cross the t's. Rarely is it simple.

But a job well done? Now that's simply outstanding!

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy 4704, Good Fu to You

Fu, meaning luck
Sunday, February 18, 2007, marks the start of the Chinese New Year, DingHai, the Year of the Pig, Year4704 by the Chinese calendar.

Here's hoping it brings much Fu, that is Luck, to you.

And if you had some 2007 New Year's Resolutions you have lost track of, today might be a great day to pick them up again!

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

International Coach Federation Honors Local Life Coach with Master Certified Coach Credential

Northbrook, IL February 7, 2007 - Barry Zweibel, president and founder of GottaGettaCoach!, Inc., has been awarded the Master Certified Coach (MCC) credential by the International Coach Federation (ICF).

The MCC is the highest, and most prestigious, designation available through the ICF, a globally-recognized, independent, certification body for professional coaches.

The ICF has more than 11,000 members in 80 countries, and less than 5% of its membership -- and less than 2% of all coaches worldwide -- have achieved this MCC distinction.

press release

MCC certificate

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Ten Top Tips for Getting Over Bad Habits

From an interview I did with Echo Magazine:

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Life Coaching: Bridges to Fulfillment

In what I think is a very informative and well-written, article about life coaching and how it works, Elite Magazine just published: Bridges to Fulfillment - Life Coaches Help Close Gaps Between Dreams and Reality, by Jennifer Mifflin. It features yours truly and one of my clients, Melissa Coulter.

If you're a current or former client interested in being interviewed for an article like this, please let me know. Thanks.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Who IS that in the mirror?


Here's a question for you to enjoy answering: "What quality to you most like about yourself and why?"

Go on, indulge yourself. Answer the question.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Give it a Rest!

From the Sep/Oct 2006 issue of Positive Thinking magazine:
Every hours, give yourself a short break. Take one to five minutes to press your "pause" button with one of these ideas:
  1. Stand up and stretch.
  2. Take a walk around the block.
  3. Splash some cold water on your face.
  4. Look away from the computer and gaze out a window.
  5. Eath a healthy snack.
  6. Sip ice water. (With each sip, your energy and alertness increases.)
  7. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
  8. Visit with a colleague or neighbor, and share a joke or a story.
  9. Call your significant other for a quick chat.
  10. Repeat this mantra throughout your day: "I have all the time I need to do everything I desire to do." (Before long, you may find it's true.)

Now let's not kid ourselves - this list is no panacea. But, trying working a few of these ideas and see what you see. Numbers 6 and 2 work well; what works well for you?

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Friday, October 13, 2006

No One to Confide In

From the October/November issue of Scientific American Mind comes this:

Confiding in No One - by Brie Finegold - "Newly published analyses of a 2004 survey indicate that Americans' social safety net is shrinking. On average, the 1,467 respondents listed only two-people with whom they discuss important matters. In 1985 a similar mix of volunteers answering a comparable large survey reported an average of three confidants.

"Also surprising: The most frequently reported number of confidants was zero, rather than three in 1985. Principal investigator Lynn Smith-Lovin, professor of sociology at Duke University, speculates that recent increases in time spent at work and frequent changes of residency could explain this striking change."

Need a confidant? Then maybe YOU GottaGettaCoach!

(Sorry, couldn't resist!)

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Notable Quotable: Procrastination

"Putting off an easy thing makes it hard, and putting off a hard one makes it impossible." - George H. Lonmer

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Five Keys to Pushing Past Fear

While most people are dearly looking for that recipe to eliminate fear from their lives, fear is actually a good thing – it’s a necessary component of the growth and development process. How, then, can you better manage your fears?

Key #1: Remember that you’ve successfully faced your fears in the past.
Sure, there have been times when fear has undermined your success, but there have also been times when it has not. Don’t forget that you’ve already proven you know how.

Key #2: Keep your eyes ON the goal.
Hannah Moore said, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.” All around you are people who’ve been able to face their fears and get the job done because they refused to be distracted or lose focus. Yes, they felt fear, but they subordinated it to a larger goal.

Key #3: Collaborate when possible.
It’s easier to be more courageous in a group setting. And additional hands are helpful, as well. So if you’re feeling afraid, go ask someone to help you with what needs to be done or to just be there for you.

Key #4: Create even MORE fear to make the current fear seem more manageable.
It may sound silly, but ever notice that a new fear makes older ones pale by comparison? Put this to your advantage by seeking situations that put your once larger fears into perspective. It really does work!

Key #5: Purposefully stretch your Comfort Zone.
If you’re not failing at least some of the time, you’re probably not learning or growing much. Make it a priority to grow your Comfort Zone so you can become more capable at what you do. Start by doing something new and challenging today.

What are some of the ways that you better manage your fears?

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Wisdom of Letting Go

"Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day."

What thoughts, ideas, misinformation, grudges, fears, doubts, unrealistic expectations, self-limiting-beliefs, and/or unfair judgments might you let go of today?

What specific things do you need to learn to be able to do that? Probably none.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Care and Feeding of your Gear-Train

I was looking through some of my old class materials from my teaching days at Northwestern University (teaching nights, actually!) and ran across a great little article by Michael J.Robson called, Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. (Quality Digest magazine, January 1993.) The idea of the piece was that, like a 10-speed bicycle, we all have gears we rarely use.

Taking Robson's premise a step further, in addition to the gears we tend not to use enough, we probably also have gears we use too frequently. Given that, here are some suggestions for effectively switching gears, as it were:
  1. a. Use more of your 'accepting constructive criticism' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'ego leads the way' gear.
  2. a. Use more of your 'encourage staff to contribute more fully' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'disregard the opinions of those who don't' gear.
  3. a. Use more of your 'this could be interesting' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'close-minded and cynical' gear.
  4. a. Use more of your 'clarifying the goal' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'activity in lieu of achievement' goal.
  5. a. Use more of your 'collaborating with others' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'I'll just do it myself' gear.
  6. a. Use more of your 'I'll finish this up by 5:05pm' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'I'll stay late and work through dinner' gear.
  7. a. Use more of your 'holding staff accountable' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'letting them drop the ball ... Again' gear.
  8. a. Use more of your 'being curious and engaged' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'being judgmental and enraged' gear.
  9. a. Use more of your 'confident, capable, and caring' gear.
    b. Use less of your 'fear, uncertainty, and doubt' gear.
  10. a. Use more of your 'creativity and resourcefulness gear.
    b. Use less of your 'I just don't know what to do about this' gear.

What other gears do you want to become more facile at shifting in and out of?

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Monday, August 14, 2006

So what did YOU read this summer?

I know for a fact that many of you enjoy a good book, whether it's printed-, electronic-, or audio-format. And I know that many of you have been worked your way through quite a number of titles. Well here's your chance to share:

Tell us, if you will what titles did you read this summer?

I'll get things started in the comments section.

P.S. If you've got a favorite blog you'd like to recommend, included it, too.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

What's your Decision-Making Tempo?

Do you tend to make decisions too quickly, or not quickly enough?
Do you tend to step into action too soon, or not soon enough?
How do you determine when the time for these things is the right time?

We often assume that the only relevant decision-making variables are the What and the Why (and to a lesser extent the Who and the Where).

But what about the When?

Deciding too soon forces you to omit some potentially decision-changing information into the process. But not deciding soon enough has its own set of implications. Acting too quickly might cause you to unnecessarily misstep, but not stepping into action quickly enough will likely get you left behind.

Pick an issue you're working on and consider if the tempo of your decision-making is optimal. Modify your actions accordingly.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Relax

Okay. You've been working really hard lately - and it's paid off handsomely ... or not. Regardless, it's now time to relax and recharge a bit. So how about it?

There are all sorts of ways to relax and they don't all require a lot of time or effort on your part. As example, how about you:
  • taking a day off?
  • scheduling a long lunch?
  • enjoying an extended coffee break?
  • listening to an entire song on the radio?
  • sitting quietly for 30-seconds?
Don't kid yourself into thinking that you can't take the time for a few really deeps breaths. Don't kid yourself into thinking that they wouldn't be helpful.

Go on, relax. (And then get back to work!)

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Keyword: Vibrancy

Vibrancy affects how well we do and how positively we are perceived. Compare and contrast:

  • How vibrant are you typically?
  • How vibrant is the work you do?
  • How vibrant is your attitude towards others?
  • How vibrant is your willingness to accept new and varied challenges?
  • How vibrant are you when someone asks you for help?
  • How vibrant are you in unfamiliar circumstances?
  • How vibrant are you when being given 'constructive' criticism?
  • How vibrant are you when you're having the time of your life?
  • How vibrant are you after a major success?
  • How vibrant are you when you're consistently at the top of your game?
Asks the Coach: What's one thing you can easily do in the next 10 minutes to increase your vibrancy? What are three additional things to keep in mind, should you ever need a quick vibrancy acceleration?

Ready - set - go.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Sometimes I go too fast

I received a very long, beautiful, and heart-felt email from a woman yesterday. In scanning her email I learned that she'd been going through a very difficult time recently and was looking for ... hoping for ... asking for ... some life coaching. (I get a number of these types of emails from men, too, by the way.)

"I'll re-read this in the morning when I'm fresh and able to reply more thoughtfully," I told myself. And with that, I x'ed out of her email and apparently hit the delete key, too. Because by time morning came - poof! - her email was gone.

She's not heard back from me yet. And she never will. (All of my deleted emails get purged at the end of each day so I have no way to retrieve her email or contact information.) I feel absolutely terrible about that ... and I can't even apologize!

Sometimes Unintended Consequences come from me going too fast.

Thank you, whoever you are, for helping me remember that about myself - you being the one who did the coaching is an irony that's not lost on me!

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Cooking in the Key of Life

As a follow-up to Wednesday's post, Strumming in the Key of Life, this just in from the June/July 2006 issue of Every Day with Rachel Ray:


Q to Rachel: What recipe are you the proudest to serve?

A from Rachel: Anything I serve my family, because it's made with the most love and my sharpest attention.


Q to Rachel: I'm 14 and thinking about becoming a chef when I'm older. Do you have any tips for me?

A from Rachel: Never be a food snob. Learn from everyone you meet - the fish guy at your market, the lady at the local diner, farmers, cheese makers. Ask questions, try everything and eat up!


Q to Rachel: Would you have a tip or tow on how to make dreams come true?

A from Rachel: Work hard. Laugh when you feel like crying. Keep an open mind, open eyes, and an open spirit.
As in cooking, as in life!

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Strumming in the Key of Life

The cover story of the May 2006 issue of Guitar Player magazine is titled, "99 Ways to Play Better Now: Tips from your Favorite Guitar Players!" and it struck me that so as the guitar, so in life.

See if you can connect the dots between what several of them said about music and what you already know to be true about life, happiness, and success at work or play:

  • "Incorporate the feel of what someone plays into your style rather than the actual notes." - Bonnie Raitt

  • "The best performances are completely unselfconscious - where you're inside the music, and it's leading you and you just follow where it goes." - Bill Nelson

  • "Don't spend more time worrying about what it is you're supposed to be doing, rather than just doing the work. Once I was stuck while trying to write some new music, and I asked my friend Wayne Horvitz how he did it. He gave me a pencil sharpener. The moral? There are no short cuts, so stop whining and get on with it!" - Bill Frisell

  • "Tone has more to do with touch than gear." - Eric Johnson

  • "Get in touch with your uniqueness." - Ty Tabor

  • "All it takes is to hear a little improvement in your playing, and that little bit of inspiration is often enough to push you even further." - Wes Montgomery

  • "Don't be precious about anything - much less a certain guitar sound. There is always another interesting sound or effect just waiting to be discovered." - Robin Guthrie

  • "Listen more to the other players on the bandstand than you do to yourself," - Bill Kirchen

  • "Remember that the reputations of some of the greatest jazzmen ever are built on eight-bar solos. Too many guitarists play solos that are way too long." - John Hall

  • "Remind yourself that you're free to feel great instead of reserved or insecure. You automatically become a better musician in becoming a more aware individual." - Eric Johnson

  • "The enemy of inspiration is self-doubt." - Nels Cline

It all sounds like good stuff to remember, doesn't it?!

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Friday, May 12, 2006

A chance for you to help others ...

What do you do to recover from a bad mood sooner?

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Your Personal S.W.O.T. Analysis

Anyone who's been through an MBA program knows about the "vaunted" S.W.O.T. analysis - but it really is a quick and easy way to get an overview of what's going on inside and outside an organization that's likely to affect (or is affecting) its ongoing success.

But did you knowthat you can also use the S.W.O.T. as a self-analysis tool, too? Here's how:

Take out a clean sheet of paper and draw the following 2x2 matrix:

Now, spend no more than 20 minutes total (5 minutes per cell) competing your personal S.W.O.T. analysis, based on the following definitions:

  • My Strengths - Your personal/professional talents, skills, and abilities
  • My Weaknesses - Your own personal/professional limitations, dislikes, and soft-spots
  • My Opportunities - The things that (and people who) motivate, inspire, and empower you.
  • My Threats - The things that (and people who) frighten, unnerve, and discombobulate you.

Evaluate your conclusions; Tweak your life as necessary.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Gremlins on Parade

Many of you are, no doubt, familiar with the Gremlin - that voice inside your head that's always telling you what's wrong with you. Or maybe you know the Gremlin by some other name - see http://www.ggci.com/NotCoaching/NotGremlin.htm.

But what can you do when your Gremlin is being particularly loud, boorish, and obnoxious to you?

The first thing is to remember, as Richard Carson, author of Taming Your Gremlin says, that "your Gremlin knows precisely how to get your attention and will create movies in your head suited to your vulnerabilities." So remember that whatever generalizations your Gremlin happens to make will likely sound particularly compelling you to - even if it is factually inaccurate. Let me repeat that last part ... Even if it is factually inaccurate.

Second, remember that your self-concept - AND the one being espoused by your Gremlin - "is faulty for one simple reason: you are not a concept." You're a human being and far too complex to be categorized in such absolute terms. So don't let your Gremlin delude you into thinking it knows more about yourself than you do. It really doesn't; it just wants you to think so.

Third, remember that Gremlin visits are often excellent opportunities for personal growth. You see, while a Gremlin's conclusions are rarely correct, its chattering can actually point us to a constructive learning edge by showing us that we need to learn how to better handle criticism, to feel more comfortable in uncomfortable settings, to recover more quickly from disappointments, as examples.
See the shift? It goes from Gremlin being all knowing, to Gremlin being all wrong, to Gremlin being a catalyst in facilitating our continued development.
Last, remember that you're very good at many things and some of them need your attention right now. So, the sooner you can actually re-engage yourself in what you already know you do well, the sooner your Gremlin-itis will subside AND the sooner can start benefitting from its resultant - that is, constructive - insights.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

A Better Man

A musical interlude for this Friday morning ...
song title: A Better Man
music and lyrics: Kevin Moore / O. Osbourne
recorded by: Keb' Mo'
album: Slow Down

Sittin' here in my problem
What am I gonna do now
Am I gonna make it
Someway, somehow

Maybe I'm not supposed to know
Maybe I'm supposed to cry
And if nobody ever knows
The way I feelIt's all right
And it'll be ok
I'm gonna make my world a better place
I'm gonna keep that smile on my face
I'm gonna teach myself how to understand
I'm gonna make myself a better man
Climbing out of the window
Climbing up the wall
Is anybody gonna save me
Or are they gonna let me fall

Well I don't really wanna know
I´ll just hold on the best I can
And if I fall downI´ll just get back up
It'll be alrightIt'll be ok
I'm gonna make my world a better place
I'm gonna keep that smile on my face
I'm gonna teach myself how to understand
I'm gonna make myself a better man


I'm gonna make my world a better place
I'm gonna keep that smile on my face
I'm gonna teach myself how to understand
I'm gonna make myself a better man
Maybe I'm not supposed to know
Maybe I'm supposed to cry
And if nobody ever knows
The way I feel
That's all rightIt'll be ok
I'm gonna make my world a better place
I'm gonna keep that smile on my face
I'm gonna teach myself how to understand
I'm gonna make myself a better man


I'm gonna make my world a better place
I'm gonna keep that smile on my face
I'm gonna teach myself how to understand
I'm gonna make myself a better man

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Monday, February 27, 2006

A bit of Life Coaching Humor

Now no one said it would be easy!




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Professional Life Coach, Barry Zweibel, quoted by CNN.com

Yours truly was recently interviewed about Life Plans for a CNN.com Special Report on Long-Term Planning by Ann Hoevel. Here's the article:
(CNN) -- Long-term planning can help ensure happiness, health and success, but the best-laid plans can be derailed by situations no one can anticipate.

What's the best way to make a lasting long-term plan? CNN.com asked the experts for tips on setting and reaching your goals, and how to stay on track when life gets in the way.

Health Plans

Your current health is key to knowing what kinds of preventative measures you may need to take later in life, according to Dr. Philip Marshall, vice president of product strategy for WebMD.com.

Long-term health care plans should take into account genetic risk factors and life-long conditions such as diabetes or epilepsy. It should also anticipate the cost of one's own and future dependents' health care needs. For people in their 20s and 30s, fitness is central to a successful long-term health care plan.

Marshall said it is critical to eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, and eliminate risk factors like smoking because the effects of neglecting fitness issues will manifest later in life. "Things happen suddenly in your 40s and 50s because your gradual health has declined," Marshall said.

Because people use the health care system more often during these years, research on the cost and quality of health care providers and treatment options is essential to a successful long-term plan. Cancer screenings, unanticipated illnesses and caring for elderly parents can mean large health care costs for this age group.

Planning for the senior years involves many choices. The amount you save for retirement will affect health care and your health insurance choices. Advanced directives including living wills should be made and shared with loved ones. Maintaining personal health records and keeping them easily available can make a difference in health care quality.

"If health information is not available at the point of care, you can be at risk for receiving poor quality of care and a number of complications that could have been anticipated and prevented," Marshall said.

Career Plans

Creating flexibility and a satisfactory balance between work and personal life is the key to building any successful long-term career goals, according to Monster.com advice columnist John Rossheim. To offset the time invested in your career with life at home, Rossheim suggests developing consultant-type skills that will allow you to work part-time for your company or on your own if you need more time for other things.

To be flexible as a professional, try thinking outside the confines of your training, says Rosemary Haefner, senior career advisor for CareerBuilder.com. She suggests using your skills to work for organizations that you're excited about instead of getting a job that matches your degree. This flexibility is what allowed some computer experts to bounce back after the dot-com bust in 2000.

"They were successful because they could capture the skills and learning they had that were transferable," she said.

Long-term career plans need to allow for unexpected hurdles. The Internet, technology and jobs moving overseas have affected long-term career plans in many professions, Rossheim said. Examples are travel and real estate agents, who have had to specialize in areas of their fields that are not as accessible to their clients working through the Internet. Facing this kind of change or job loss can be especially daunting for those who have had a 15- to 20-year career.
Haefner says the way to bounce back from this unemployment situation is to get over the idea that, "I'm too old, it's too late for me."

"Organizations are willing to take a chance with older job candidates because they're more serious and they usually have more on the line," she said.

Life Plans

What if you're facing retirement and feel like you didn't reach your goal? "Just because you didn't meet that goal doesn't mean you should give up on that goal," Haefner said. "A lot of retirees are coming back into the work force into roles that they always wanted to have.

"The difficult part about making long-term life plans, says Barry Zweibel, a professional life coach and founder of GottaGettaCoach!, Inc., is that people think they should know what they want out of life, when in actuality they have no idea.

"Most people don't know what they want long term," he said. "As much as they've tried, they haven't been able to figure it out. My reaction to that is, 'They haven't figured it out yet'."

Zweibel says the realization of long-term life plans takes patience, honesty, awareness and being open to new experiences. But once people reach middle age, they may find that life gets in the way of their life plans.

"Responsibilities make a difference," said Zweibel. "If you have a family and you say, 'I want to quit my job and sail across the seas,' there are a lot of strings attached."

Those responsibilities don't mean you should give up on your aspirations. Many people assume that the implications of their life plans on their families will be too much to bear. Zweibel suggests having dialogue with your family before you give up on your dreams.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Separating Yourself from Your Problems

How good are you at separating yourself from your problems? Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism, suggests that this is yet another thing that optimists can do better than pessimists. Here are some of the distinctions that Dr. Seligman makes between the two groups:

Pessimists tend to see their problems as ...

Optimists tend to see their problems as ...

Permanent

Temporary

Personal

External

Pervasive

Specific


Note that sometimes pessimism is the more prudent perspective to hold, such as when the cost of potential failure is extremely high. But being pessimistic out of habit isn't always in your best interest.
So, if you're bothered by incessant a pessimistic attitude and negative self-talk, try this:

  • Try looking at your situation as temporary and not permanent. "This, too, shall pass" is a good thing to keep in mind.
  • Try recognizing that while the problem you're facing may be negatively affecting you, it's not about you - even if it's still yours to remedy.
  • Try defining the problem as specifically as possible, so that you can recognize parts of the situation that are not the problem. Challenge the assumption that the problem is yet another example of a more pervasive set of problems. (It may well be, but don't just assume that it is.)

Don't worry if the shift doesn't come easy at first. Like anything else of import, sometimes it takes practice. So practice. Practice being optimistic. And if positive thinking seems too big of a leap for you, start by practicing non-negative thinking.

Help the problems you face feel more manageable, more doable, and less burdensome by separating yourself from your problems and you'll have far more energy to deal with whatever problems do come your way.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

"I'm too busy driving to stop for gas."

There's a real thrill to being productive. You versus the work (or you in harmony with the work). Digging in and making a difference can truly be an uplifting - and motivating - experience.
But sometimes we get so caught up in the "moving forward" that we forget to (or choose not to) stop and recharge our batteries, refuel our gas tanks, reconnect with our grounded self, stop and smell the roses, etc. And that's where problems can set in because, as you know,  when a car is out of gas, it just stops ... wherever it happens to be ... however inconvenient it may be.
There are plenty of signs that you, yourself, might be running on empty and are due for a break:
  • you're tired
  • you're irritable
  • you feel particularly stressed
  • you're not smiling as much
  • your favorite foods don't have much taste
  • you're not much fun to be with
  • you've started to isolate yourself from others
  • you've started to isolate yourself from the things you used to like to do
  • you wake up tired
  • you go to sleep exhausted
  • you can't remember the last time you enjoyed the passing of time
  • you feel like a cold is coming on
  • you body parts are complaining to you
  • you have this dull headache
  • did I mention you constantly feeling tired?!
Yet we humans are incredibly resilient beings - a little freshening up from time to time really does go a long way. You don't wait until it's too late to refuel your car. Don't wait until it's too late to refuel yourself. Make a point of doing something to recharge your batteries this weekend. Or even sooner!
You'll be glad you did.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Is 2006 getting off to a good start for you?

Well, we're still a little less than one week into 2006, but did you realize that about 1.4% of the New Year is already gone?! Yikes!

The bigger question, of course, is what are you planning on accomplishing in the remaining 98.6%? To follow that , let's take your baseline temperature with a little personal-development activity:

Step One: On a clean sheet of paper (or on your computer), create (or paste) the following chart:

Life Factor

B

R

Health/Fitness

Friends

Family

Romance

Personal Growth

Rest/Relaxation

Physical Environment

Career

Money

Joy/Laughter


Step Two: Consider how important these Life Factors are to you by rating each one using a scale from 1=low to 10=high. Record your answers in column B.

Step Three: Now rate how important each Life Factor is to you based on the amount of time and energy you give to it. Record your answers in column R using the same 1-to-10 scale.

Interpretation: Column B relates to your beliefs about life. Column R relates to your reality in life. Any Life Factor where your two ratings vary by 2 or more would probably benefit from a little extra attention on your part.

Step Last: Identify (and take) some specific steps to re-align your reality with your beliefs and see what that does for you. But don't delay, because as Stevie "Guitar" Miller sang, "Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin', into the future."

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Monday, January 02, 2006

BeeZee quoted in major Chicagoland newspaper

I was quoted in today's Daily Herald in an article written by Harry Hitzeman on making better New Year's Resolutions.

Getting my name ~ and my ideas ~ in front of 750,000 readers is a pretty nice way to start 2006, don't you think?!


>>> blog category: life <<<

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Friday, December 09, 2005

On Becoming a Better Conversationalist

Dave had an interesting comment to a recent post titled, "Key Networking Skill: Saying Goodbye" where he looked at the notion of saying goodbye from the perspective of someone being said goodbye to:

"The two problems with being socially inept," he wrote, "are (a) people are always using clever ways to stop talking to you and (b) you don't realize its happening until they've finished doing it."

To be clear, my post was not about using "clever ways" to stop talking to socially inept people. It was about taking care of your own needs to move on without being outrageously impolite.

But let's flip the coin. What if, as Dave implies, the goal is to become more "ept" at social interactions, that is, better at the whole small-talk thing. Well, one of the best books on the subject is How to Work a Room, by Susan Roane. Here's a few excerpts that may be of help:
  • Remedy #1: Redefine the Term "Stranger" - Look for what you have in common with people at an event. This is the planning that helps you feel more comfortable and more prepared. These common interests can be the basis for conversation.
  • Remedy #2: Practice a Self-Introduction - A good introduction simply includes your name and something about yourself so you can establish what you have in common with other people at the event. It only has to be 8-to-10 seconds long.
  • Remedy #3: Move from "Guest" Behavior to "Host" Behavior - "Hosts" are concerned with the comfort of others and actively contribute to that comfort. "Guests" wait for someone to take their coats, offer then a drink, and introduce them around the room.

Other tips:

  • Say something ... Anything - Don't wait; initiate. Take the risk. Listen with interest. Smile and make eye contact.
  • Try strategies that feel comfortable - Read nametags; Go with a buddy; Walk up to - and start talking with - people standing by themselves; Smile; Ask questions. Be genuinely curious about who people are and what they have to say.
  • Avoid common crutches - Do not arrive too late. Don't leave too early. Don't drink too much. Don't gorge at the buffet table. Don't misuse the buddy system by joining yourselves at the hip.

I think that just deciding that this is something you're going to learn to do - and become comfortable in doing - is 90% of the work. And all you need to do that is simply decide that it's important enough to you to learn how. From there, (1) start noticing what others say and do - and how it works; (2) practice doing some of what works yourself; (3) stay conscious and purposeful about your learning; (4) congratulate yourself for stepping up to the challenge!

Keep me posted as to your progress.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

An introduction to life coaching

Geoffrey Litwack recently contacted me for an article he was writing about the life of a life coach. He's since uploaded it as a blog posting titled An introduction to life coaching. I think it's a worthwhile read, not just because I was one of the life coaches he interviewed for the piece, but because of how wide-ranging his questions about coaching were. Here's what he asked:
  • How is it that life coaching is what you came to want to do with your life?
  • What goals are your clients typically looking to achieve?
  • How should someone go about choosing a life coach?
  • What is the time and monetary commitment required?
  • Are there any common problems or misunderstandings you run into with new clients?
  • Does any particular theory or philosophy guide your coaching?
  • Do you see coaching as an alternative to therapy? Have you ever coached someone through a time of mental hardship, or worked with a therapist to help a client?
  • Are you comfortable coaching someone via the phone or email, or do you think it’s best to meet in person?
  • What do you consider to be an end point for your coaching of a client?
  • Is the ICF the only coaching organization that matters, or are there others?
  • What is the difference between life coaching and specialty coaching?

You'll have to click to his article for the answers, but if you do, you'll not only get my views, but the views of Dr. Ken Byers, another life coach, as well. I think you'll find it meaningful reading.

Thanks, Geoff.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

W.O.W. and Wow!

Okay, I can take a hint. First are the commercials that Volkswagen has been airing lately about their cars having refrigerated glove compartments ... to keep your sushi cold.

And now there's this from the Associated Press - Wako, Japan: Honda has designed a car that's dog friendly. The W.O.W. Concept (Wonderful, Open-hearted Wagon) uses a modified - and significantly enlarged - glove compartment to serve as a dog crate for your pup's safety, while providing excellent sight-lines between you, the driver, and your furry co-pilot.

So I decided to go visit my glove compartment to see what was going on in there. Happily, I found no sushi - although I did collect a fair amount of dog hair. (Angel, my yellow lab, loves car rides and does shed.) I also found some maps, the owner's manual, registration/insurance card, maintenance receipts, a really cool-looking pen ... hey, I was wondering where that went ... and quite a few napkins. Not much to speak of, really.

But with Honda and VW making better use of their glove compartments, I thought, hey, I could do that too. So I did. Inside my CR-V's glove compartment, I put ... wait for it ... a pair of GLOVES!
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Sometimes we miss the obvious. So look around and see what you see. What's been going on that maybe you haven't been noticing? What makes you go, "Wow! I didn't know that." And what, if anything, do you now want to do about it?

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Monday, September 26, 2005

The Three Phases (and Songs) of Success

I've already blogged about TheLadders.com as I became one of their affiliates in August. Check it out, and sign up, if you haven't already.

Now, I'm pleased to report, I'm also a contributor to their newsletter.

In the September 26, 2005 issue of Good Advice, you'll find an article I wrote called, The Three Phases (and Songs) of Success. When you follow the link, you'll have to scroll down a bit - mine is the 3rd entry - but that's not too much to ask is it?!

The idea of the piece is that there are three distinct phases we go through in a career and each phase is typified by a popular song title. Check out the titles I chose and then post what ones you'd use for where you're at with your career.

Good fun.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Do You Sudoku?

A great new game hit the comics/crossword puzzle page of the local paper. It's called Sudoku. And if you love logic - and problem solving - this is a game for you.

Here's an example, from wikipedia, of what a ready-to-start Sudoku puzzle might look like:

"The rules of Sudoku are simple," according to www.websudoku.com. "Enter digits from 1 to 9 into the blank spaces. Every row must contain one of each digit. So must every column, as must every 3x3 square. " This site is particularly fun in that there's a seemingly unlimited supply of new puzzles. You can also choose what level of difficulty you want - easy, medium, hard, or evil.

You can then print them (as I do) or play on-line. But a word of caution - like Spider Solitare (on an XP computer go: Start > All Programs > Games), or Lemmings (mercifully, no longer available) , or Snood (their tag line is "forget life ... play snood!"), or any other of this ilk - set limits so you don't get too carried away.

Yes, taking relaxing breaks is good medicine. (For Sudoku puzzles click here.) But, puleeze, people, set a timer if you need a reminder to get back to work!

Question: What types of games do YOU play to take your mind off things a bit?

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

When are you at your Absolute Best?

So when ARE you at your Absolute Best?
  • Morning ... or afternoon?
  • Early in the week ... or more toward the middle ... or end of the week?
  • With a deadline looming .. or when you have time to be creative?
  • When you're particularly well-organized ... or when things are a total mess?
  • In times of simplicity ... or in times of complexity?
  • In front of your boss ... or your staff ... or your peers ... or your customers?
  • When faced with something new and demanding ... or something familiar and comfortable?
  • When accountable to others ... or accountable to your self?
  • When well-rested ... or highly-caffeinated?
  • When feeling ego ... or feeling gratitude?
  • When there's a crisis ... or when there's not?

When are YOU at your Absolute Best and, more importantly, how can you spend more time in THAT place?

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Do you have a recognizable smile?

"Britons are being told not to smile for photographs when applying for new passports to avoid confusing new security scanners introduced at airports worldwide, officials said yesterday." (From today's Jamaica Observer.)

Makes sense if the "photographs must show no shadows: your face looking straight at the camera, a neutral expression, with your mouth closed" for the current iteration of recognition technology to work properly. But it got me wondering ...

What's your usual facial expression at work? Do you smile? Or do you scowl, or purse your lips? Do you furrow your brow, or flare your nostrils? Do you stiffen your jaw or flash white-hot glances? Do you unabashedly yawn or look right through people?

Nonverbals speak loudly. And meaningfully. Often to the detriment of ourselves ... and others.

So take some time today and look at yourself in the mirror. Assess, as objectively - and as accurately - as possible, exactly what message your facial expression is sending when you're not otherwise paying attention to it.

So many are so serious at work. Too serious. While looking in the mirror, practice your smile. If it isn't already, try making it one of you most recognizable facial features and see what happens.

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