Monday, October 19, 2009

4qtr2009 Not Just Talk! Newsletter Now Available

The 4qtr2009 Not Just Talk! quarterly newsletter from Barry Zweibel and GottaGettaCoach!, Inc. is now available and ready for viewing at http://www.ggci-quarterly.com/:

Enjoy!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Risk Tolerance and Reality

Financial Advisers talk about Risk Tolerance -- the amount of uncertainty you're willing to cope with should your investments trend in the wrong direction. But Risk Tolerance applies to more than just Wall Street dynamics.

Consider where you stand with respect to:
  • Career/Job Risk Tolerance -- The amount of uncertainty you're willing to cope with should your employer choose to restructure or eliminate your current position.
  • Leadership Risk Tolerance -- The amount of uncertainty you're willing to cope with as the boss of those facing current, impending, or recently-experienced Job Risk.
  • Interpersonal Risk Tolerance -- The amount of uncertainty you're willing to cope with should an important relationship of yours hit a rough patch.
  • Self-Confidence Risk Tolerance -- The amount of uncertainty you're willing to cope with should these or other things at work or in life not go as planned.
  • Self-Esteem Risk Tolerance -- The amount of uncertainty you're willing to cope with should your self-confidence dissipate and work/life continue to trend in the wrong direction.

The underlying question here differentiates between PLANNING for potential realities...and dealing with ACTUALITIES.

So what do we do when we find ourselves needing to cope with more risk than we would typically tolerate?

When financial advisers talk about money-matters, many (most?) suggest that we not 'change horses in the middle of the stream' but rather establish, and then stick with, an allocation strategy or plan that's properly aligned with our overall Risk Tolerance level. That, they say, will serve us BEST in the long-run.

Yet isn't it true that airplanes never actually fly in a straight line from here to there but, instead, must make a series of continuous, albeit minor, adjustments along the way to properly correct for the realities of what's going on in the skies around them?

Planning for Reality is important. But effectively handling Reality is more so. Is it not? (This reminds me of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs -- self-actualization may be the ultimate goal, but if you aren't getting your basic needs met, it's sort of irrelevant.)

So how ARE you handling the REALITY of your work and personal lives these days --not just your financial reality,but your entire reality?

  • If you're struggling some, what might you do to bolster yourself and your situation?
  • If you're not, how might you help someone who is?

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

3qtr2009 Not Just Talk! Newsletter Now Available

Not Just Talk! - the quarterly newsletter of GottaGettaCoach!, Inc.The 3qtr2009 Not Just Talk! quarterly newsletter from Barry Zweibel and GottaGettaCoach!, Inc. is now available and ready for viewing at http://www.ggci.com/NotJustTalk/. Included are:

Enjoy!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Proof that Coaching Works

It's one thing to have beliefs about the positive impact of coaching. It's something quite different when your beliefs can be substantiated as fact through independent, peer-reviewed, methodologically-valid research with meaningful, and statistically-significant, findings.

Consider, for example, the following research studies and findings:

Grant, Frith, & Burton (2009) – Randomized Controlled Trial* (RCT) evaluating executives provided with 360-degree feedback and just four coaching sessions for over a ten week period proved that:
  • Coaching enhanced goal attainment
  • Coaching enhanced resilience
  • Coaching enhanced workplace well-being
  • Coaching reduced depression
  • Coaching reduced stress
  • Coaching helped participants deal with organizational change

Spence, Cavanagh, & Grant (2008) – RCT evaluating adults taking part in mindfulness-based health coaching over eight weeks proved that:

  • Coaching enabled greater goal attainment than using an educative/directive format

Spence & Grant (2007) – RCT of adults participating in a Solution Focused/Cognitive Behavioral (SF/CB) life coaching program (not unlike the type of coaching that GottaGettaCoach! provides) proved that:

  • Professional coaching was significantly more effective than peer coaching in increasing goal commitment
  • Professional coaching was significantly more effective than peer coaching in goal attainment
  • Professional coaching was significantly more effective than peer coaching in environmental mastery

Green, Oades & Grant (2006) – RCT of adults taking part in SF/CB life coaching program proved that:

  • Coaching increased goal attainment
  • Coaching increased well-being
  • Coaching increased hope
  • and that a 30-week follow-up found that those gains were maintained

Gyllensten & Palmer (2005) – Quasi-Experimental Field Study** of participants from a UK finance organization concluded that:

  • Coaching decreased anxiety more in the coaching group than the control group
  • Coaching decreased stress more in the coaching group than in the control group
More research findings at: www.ggci.com/ROI/research.htm.

Of course individual results can, and do, vary. But this is bona fide academic research cited here, not just opinion or conjecture.

Coaching does work – it's been proven!

------
Source: Grant, A.M. (2009) Workplace, Executive and Life Coaching: An Annotated Bibliography from the Behavioural Science and Business Literature (May 2009), Coaching Psychology Unit, University of Sydney, Australia.


* Randomized Controlled Trial: RCTs are quantitative, comparative, controlled experiments in which investigators study two or more interventions in a series of individuals who receive them in random order. The RCT is one of the simplest and most powerful tools in clinical research. (www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=39532.)

** Quasi-Experiment Field Study is a scientific research method primarily used in the social sciences. "Quasi" means likeness or resembling, so therefore quasi-experiments share characteristics of true experiments which seek interventions or treatments. The key difference in this empirical approach is the lack of random assignment. Another unique element often involved in this experimentation method is use of time series analysis: interrupted and non-interrupted. Experiments designed in this manner are referred to as having quasi-experimental design.
(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quasi-experimental_design.)

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

GGCI now on Twitter

Follow Barry Zweibel(ggci) on Twitter

Might you enjoy some shorter, more informal, blog posts? Barry Zweibel ("ggci") is now on Twitter.

Come see what the micro-blogging fuss is about as I explore "the spaces between the moments" of business in general, change management, favorite quotations, fear and courageousness, getting unstuck, job search stuff, just for fun, leadership development, life coach - life coahcing, mentoring, motivation, music and music related, networking, success at work ... and who knows what else -- in chunks of 140 characters or less.

I'll be at www.twitter.com/ggci. Followers welcome!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

All Things Can Be All Things

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7718206@N06/2326763051/I was driving east on a really nice 2-lane road the other day when I found myself behind a slow-moving 18-wheeler. Because the road was both narrow and winding, my field of vision was pretty much limited to the semi's 'back end'. It got me to thinking how sometimes our best move is to simply follow. And so I did.

I cruised along like -- without being able to see much of anything -- this for about a mile or so. It was very relaxing, actually. Until, the truck I was following suddenly veered off the road and onto the gravel shoulder! Oh my.

Everything ended up okay: There was no other traffic on the road; the truck driver quickly regained control and eased back onto the pavement. And I was at a safe enough distance behind, all the while, to "steer clear," so to speak.

I couldn't help wonder, though, what the moral of this story was supposed to be:

  1. Was it simply the obvious: Don't tale gate?
  2. Was it that sometimes it really IS okay to just be a follower?
  3. Was it that it's good to be vigilant?
  4. Was it that, sometimes, just being a follower is a really bad idea?

How we interpret the things that happen to us, at work and in life, is what defines what happens to us at work and in life. I got a blog post, a surge of adrenaline, a number of interesting perspectives, and an urge to take a more scenic route back home that afternoon out of all this. And on that more scenic route back home, I felt the gratitude for both what did happen that afternoon, and for what didn't! Very nice.

So maybe that's the moral: All things can be all things -- it's how we interpret them that matters most.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Breaking Bad Habits

I'm not sure I like the implications of this, but Ann Graybiel, professor of neuroscience at MIT, says that scientists now KNOW that you can never really "unlearn" a bad habit.
"Once it's there, it's there," she says.
So, okay, if we can't "simply delete" bad habits from our brains, what can we do to "stop indulging" in them? Chicago Tribune writer, Karen Raven, had several ideas. Here are some of them -- with my two cents, added, in [brackets]:
  1. Eliminate whatever payoff the habit gives. [If you have a habit of eating ice cream every night before bed, get rid of all the ice cream in your freezer. You might still head to the kitchen for a few nights, only to find the freezer bare. But after a while, you'll stop making the trip. I like the idea, but I'm not sure how the example fits with eliminating the payoff. People tend to gorge ice cream to make them feel better -- that's the payoff. So I'd say that in addition to getting rid of the ice cream (especially if you can't control yourself) it'd be better to find something non-food-related to help you you feel good inside, like a glass of water, some physical exercise, a conversation with someone you really enjoy -- things like that.]
  2. Don't leave a hole where a bad habit used to be. [Substitute new, improved behaviors for old, bad ones. Try bringing your lunch instead of buying it, or eat a piece of fruit before bed instead of a bowl of ice cream. A great way to "fill up" that hole is to engage in something you truly enjoy. We tend to dis-empower our bad habits when we're suitably occupied with things we find compelling.]
  3. Choose wisely. [If you try to replace a bad, old habit with a good, new one, make sure the new one isn't too unpleasant. If you try to replace ice cream before bed with cod liver oil, you're probably doomed to fail. And if you can't choose wisely, just choose. The more you can remember that you DO have choices, the easier it will make it. Can't envision yourself doing 60-minutes on a treadmill? How about choosing to do 40? How about choosing to do 25? How about choosing to just standing on the thing for 5 minutes and calling that a good first step? Choosing consciously, and purposefully, goes a looooooooong way in the right direction.]
  4. Get down to specifics. [Sometimes you can identify triggers that are most likely to bring out your bad habit. These can involve people, locations or preceding actions. Maybe it's safe for you to go into shoe stores to look around -- just don't do it with the friend who's dying to buy a pair, but only if you do too. Understanding -- or at least recognizing -- what triggers you is very important. (Think emotional eating, as example.) Whenever triggered, try and identify "what just happened" BEFORE doing anything else. In other words, is it that you really NEED that Frappuccino or is it more a reaction from your boss stressing you out?]
  5. Practice. Practice. Practice. [Suppose you want to stop gossiping. You practice not gossiping at work with friend X, and you get very good at it. Then one day you go shopping with X. Watch out! You're at risk for a relapse. Plus -- if you break your gossip habit at work with X, you may still keep gossiping with W, Y and Z. A habit can be associated with different places, people and activities. If you're trying to break one, practice in as many situations as you can. The opposite of this is true, too: Just because you can't break your bad habit in ALL situations, it doesn't mean that you're not making progress. Keep in mind that relapses are actually a sign of moving forward -- we backslide FROM a better state.]
  6. Use cues and rewards. [Maybe you want to save money for a trip to Hawaii, but you have an unfortunate habit of maxing out your credit cards. Try taping a picture of Waikiki Beach to your billfold to remind yourself not to splurge on non-necessities. Again, the opposite can work, here, too: Try taping a picture of something that you want to get away from for a while -- your office building, a local restaurant that you hate, a neighbors too-fancy car, etc.]
  7. Show how highly evolved you are. [Suppose you procrastinate whenever you ought to be doing something you don't want to do. Procrastination provides instant gratification, and even though you will pay, that doesn't come till later. Remind yourself of the future cost when you're tempted to work on your tan instead of doing the housework. I laugh at how long it takes me, sometimes, to get on with something. One, day, as example, it took me a full 12-hours to get myself to do it. But that provided considerable motivation for me the next time as I chose to just do it right away rather than torment myself with "not doing it yet" from sun up to sundown. I felt particularly evolved that second day! In other words, the less drama, the better.]

Point Last: Habit changing won't work if you conceive of it like holding your breath -- you really DO have to breathe through it. So relax, get conscious and purposeful about it, and know that they'll likely be some twists and turns in the the road ahead that will challenge your commitment to the changes you're attempting.

And if all else fails: Begin anew.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Expert In" AND a "Student Of"

Just read a very interesting post by Andrew Bryant in which he talks about the importance of Intentional Practice:

"Intentional Practice is perfect practice and perfect practice makes perfect. Intentional practice requires knowing “Why” you are doing what you are doing and complete “Attention” to the task."
It reminded me of the value of striving to be BOTH, "expert in" and a "student of".

Perhaps some examples would help:
  • An Attorney can be both expert in intellectual property law and a student of litigation.
  • An Architect can be both expert in residential housing and a student of eco-responsible design.
  • A Musician can be both expert in music theory and a student of creative expressionism.
  • An Executive can be both expert in getting things done and a student of leadership.
  • A Life Coach can be both expert in asking the right questions and a student of the human condition.

Indeed, embracing the "mind of a student" often helps the Expert get past the ego-imposed limitations of not wanting to look foolish from, or be embarrassed by, not already know everything there is to know about their particular area of expertise.

Students continue to learn and grow as a matter of course. Experts, similarly, continue know and do with incredible skill.

Striving to be BOTH "expert in" AND a "student of" may take a fair amount of Intentional Practice, but it's most definitely a worthy goal.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Demons of Effective Goal Setting

Ever try to get something started ... only to not?! Ever start with the best intentions ... and then nothing?! Effective goal-setting is a tricky wicket ... especially when the demons start looking you in the eye.

Five such demons consistently like to do that:
  1. The Demon of Procrastination -- Too frequently "Later" morphs into "Whenever" which morphs into "Never".

  2. The Demon of Limited Accountability to Oneself -- It's amazing how so many people are so capable at helping others, but when it comes to helping themselves, fugetaboutit!

  3. The Demon of Poor Prioritization -- The classic mistake: Over-Prioritizing the Urgent, and Under-Prioritization the Important.

  4. The Demon of Trying to Take Too Big of a Next Step -- Doing so either makes the task impossible, or distasteful.

  5. The Demon of Inadequate Support Systems -- It's not always a straight line between wherever you are and whatever you want, so it's essential that you have the proper support in place, from both the people around you and the processes you're engaging.

These demons have an incredible power to derail. And they're just a few of the demons that are out there.

What demons do you see when goal-setting? What sorts of things do you do to avoid their fiery stare?

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Fiery Eye courtesy of: dusktg.deviantart.com/art/Fiery-Eye-11084727.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Turning Dreams into Reality

Question: Is it more important to fully articulate a dream *before* applying oneself to it, or does it work better when it's an iterative back-and-forth between the two?

What's *your* view? How do *you* do it?

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Put the Big Rocks First

[An oldie, but goodie from Daniel Scocco - in his own words - originally posted at: www.dailyblogtips.com/put-the-big-rocks-first.]
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Stephen Covey is one of my favorite authors. In the book “First Things First” he describes a story that one of his associates experienced on a seminar. In the middle of the lecture the presenter pulled out a wide-mouth jar and placed it on the table, aside to some fist-sized rocks.

After filling the jar to the top with rocks he asked, “Is the jar full?”

People could see that no more rocks would fit, so they replied, “Yes!”

“Not so fast,” he cautioned. He then got some gravel from under the table and added it to the jar, filling the spaces between the rocks. Again, he asked, “Is the jar full?”

This time the students replied “Probably not.”

The presenter then reached a bucket of sand below the table, and dumped it on the jar, filling the spaces between the rocks and the gravel. Once again he asked “Is the jar full?”

“No!”, the students shouted.

Finally, he grabbed a pitcher of water and filled the jar completely, asking to the public what they could learn from that illustration.

One of the participants answered, “If you work at it, you can always fit more into your life.”

“No,” said the presenter. “The point is, if you don’t put the big rocks in first. . . would you ever have gotten any of them in?”

Daniel completes the post by asking: What are [your] big rocks? More importantly, are you making sure that they are going first into the jar?

Thanks, Daniel! I was looking on the web for the retelling of this story. Yours is the best one I found.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Is This You?!

Cat: Bah.
Dog: Do you know the only thing you're good at is complaining?
Cat: Yes.
Cat: Practice makes perfect.
----
courtesy of Mutts, 2/17/2009

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Fast-Track the Possibilities

Quick -- Name one thing you can do, one person you can call, or one thought you can complete, in the next 10 minutes, that could make a difference.

Then fast-track the possibilities before you get distracted by something else.

Name one step you can take, one question you can ask, or one idea you can share, in the next 15 minutes, that could increase your impact.

Fast-track those possibilities before you talk yourself out of them.

Name one step you can build on, one conclusion you can re-validate, or one recommendation you can support, in the next 30 minutes, that could truly help make things better.

Fast-track the possibilities before you forget what you were even thinking about.

Use the next hour to get that much more interested what possibilities are readily available to you, to become that much more aware of the possibilities around you, and to commit that much more fully to furthering these possibilities, sooner, rather than later ... rather than not at all.

Quick -- fast-track the possibilities before the moment is gone.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Should New Coaches Niche or Not?

Had the opportunity to be interviewed by Don Morris of the New Coach Connection for a podcast on the pros and cons of less experienced coaches choosing niches.









(direct download)

Click on the arrow to the listen to the podcast -- running time: About 50 minutes -- or use this link to download the interview to your local computer.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

"Fall Down Five Times; Get up Six"

A Haiku by Barry Zweibel:
    How could I miss THAT?!
      Things soooo not going as planned.
        Resilience is key!

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    Monday, December 22, 2008

    BNET syndicates article by Barry Zweibel

    BNET quotes Barry Zweibel, MBA, MCC, GottaGettaCoach!
    Just learned that BNET has picked up and syndicated an article I wrote and had published a while back. Here's the link: Find Articles - A Strategic Coach, Training & Development, Apr 2005, by Zweibel, Barry.

    I'm particularly pleased by this as I've wanted to be noticed by BNET, dubbed as "The go-to place for management", for quite some time now.

    Nice way to end the year, dont' you think?!

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    Tuesday, December 9, 2008

    Time MANagement

    "Somewhere along the line, though, we got sold a bill of goods that said that the scales of life could balance two things and only two things - work and family."

    So writes Brad Thor in a recent issue of Michigan Avenue magazine, who's launched a "full-scale assault" to put his life back in balance by dedicating more time to doing things that he likes to do.

    "I love my family and I love my work," he continues. "But if I don't take time for myself, I can't be at the top of my game in anything."

    Here's some of what he's now doing:

    • Become a Regular - "Have a standing, once-a-month rendezvous with pals at the same restaurant. Enforce it mercilessly. No excuses. And the last one to arrive buys the first round."
    • Get out of Town - "As temperatures drop, so do prices on vacation rentals in neighboring states. Leave your work behind, and head to your own private beach house with loved ones for the weekend. And, while you're there, carve out some alone time - and don't feel guilty about it. Take a walk, rent a boat, sit on the deck with your iPod. All that matters is that you do something for you."
    • Take an Afternoon Off - "Even if you can't get out of town, you can still knock of early one day and treat yourself to the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. Consider it an investment in your manliness. There's also something incredibly empowering about sitting in a dark theatre while the rest of your colleagues are back at their desks."

    "Just remember," concludes Thor, "every man has the same number of hours in his day. It's what he does with those hours that determines what kind of man he is and what kind of balance he will have in his life."

    Give or take a 007 flick, so, too, could be said for women, I suspect.

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    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Productivity, Leadership, and Motivation

    fork in the road
    Question: Do you have any tips on being more productive during the day?


    • "Learn to say no. A computer runs at its slowest when it has too many operations open at once. The same applies to our own production." - Greg Reid

    • "Divorce yourself of the idea that long hours and accomplishments are connected." - Vic Johnson

    Question: Any advice on how I can be a better leader?

    • "Be a person who can be counted on." - Cynthia Kersey

    Question: How can I keep myself constantly motivated and on track?

    • "The biggest problems people have in achieving goals is that they often try to make too many drastic changes all at once. Research indicates that when people are asked to make big, sweeping changes in their lives all at once, they get overwhelmed, become discouraged and commonly give up. The most effective way to create lasting change is to focus on one area at a time. Even the busiest person can find the time to take a single step." - CK
    ----
    Source: Success Magazine's 1on1: Getting the Most of Your Time (August/September 2008)

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    Friday, November 14, 2008

    Platitudes & Attitudes

    T. Boone Pickens
    Some observations from Texas billionaire, T. Boone Pickens ...


    MAKE THE CALL.

    "Sometimes the window of opportunity is open only briefly... be willing to make decisions. That's the most important quality in a good leader. Don't fall victim to what I call the ready-aim-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome. You must be willing to fire."

    ANALYZE WELL.

    "Information is everything. You can never have enough, and as you get older you find that keeping current keeps you in the game."

    LEARN FROM MISTAKES.

    "It's all right to get your fingers crushed in the door, but don't let the same door crush them twice."

    KEEP PRIORITIES STRAIGHT.

    "Far too many executives have become more concerned with the four P's -- Pay, Perks, Power, and Prestige -- rather than making profits for shareholders."

    HIRE GOOD PEOPLE.

    "What I am always looking for is people who can do a job better than I can."

    BALANCE IT OUT.

    "Work eight hours and sleep eight hours, and make sure they are not the same eight hours."

    FORGET ABOUT AGE.

    "Give young people a chance."

    HAVE A PLAN.

    "A fool with a plan can outsmart a genius with no plan."
    ----
    Source: Success Magazine (November 2008)

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    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Dogs, Music, and Improving Communications

    singing dog "Anyone with normal hearing can distinguish between the musical tones of a scale: do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do. We take this ability for granted, but among most mammals the feat is unparallelled."

    So reports Sandy Fritz in the October 2008 issue of Scientific American Mind, to the dismay of barking Labradors, woofing bassets, and yelping Yorkies, everywhere.

    Yet a recently-concluded study by researchers at UCLA, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Weizmann Institute of Science, concluded that "humans can easily detect frequencies as fine as one twelfth of an octave -- a half step in musical terminology. Dogs can only discriminate resolutions of one third of an octave."

    What's the inference from a leadership development standpoint? Well, the flippant answer might be that the people who say they don't understand you ... are dogs! But a more respectful analysis might conclude that your message is, at times, a bit too subtle (or convoluted?) for them to make sense of.

    Granted, this conclusion has less to do with hearing than understanding, but if you stay with me a longer, I think it will be worth your while.

    Subtlety is often considered a more "refined" form of communication. The problem with subtle communications, though, is that they ask the listener -- they require the listener -- to be much more discerning when listening. And depending on circumstances, that could be asking a LOT from someone. Too much, perhaps.

    Indeed, expecting someone to give you their full and Undivided Attention could be far more than they're ready for, or capable of, in this busy, distracted, juggling priorities, go-go, world of ours.

    So what if we purposefully avoided such splitting of dog hairs when we're sharing our content with others? What if we focused, instead, on talking more clearly and crisply (and in larger octave steps, perhaps?) so that everyone -- even those with lesser abilities to listen so carefully -- could completely understand what we're talking about anyway?

    What would that sound like, I wonder?

    Hopefully, this isn't too subtle a point to be making. Hopefully, it will encourage (and help) you to communicate more effectively than you might otherwise.

    And, hopefully, that will be music to your listeners' ears.

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    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Zig Ziglar's Success Habits

    1. Be a constant learner. Seek out information that you can learn and teach to others.
    2. Encourage others and help them get what they want.
    3. Express gratitude. "Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions," Ziglar says. "The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for."
    4. Recognize the value of relationships and their role in creating balanced success.
    5. Be consistent in your words and actions. "When you make a promise, keep it."

    ----
    Source: Success Magazine's Lessons from the Top (October 2008)

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    Friday, October 17, 2008

    Self Doubt? Get Out!

    An article in the March 2008 issue of Dance Magazine (my daughter subscribes!) caught my eye. Written by Anne L. Wennerstrand and titled, "Hang in There," the piece "counsels dancers not to let self-doubt stand in the way of building a career."

    Indeed. And there's broader applicability, as well. Per the author:
    "No matter where you are in your career [bz: or what career you're in], you can stay encouraged by learning how to respond differently to your circumstances. With a little benign curiosity, you can feel more empowered and energized in the face of inevitable disappointments."
    Benign curiosity. I like that notion.

    Emily was an accomplished ballerina who held an unquestioned belief that if she wasn't "special enough" she wouldn't be worthy of future success and approval. As a result, she placed way too much importance on what others thought of her work. Through benign reflection she realized that this was due, in large part, to her early ballet teachers who "devalued her abilities in class, forcing her to prove herself worthy of their attention." Wow!

    Michael, a musical theater dancer, would become extremely anxious and fearful when preparing to audition, notwithstanding his success in a number of prior shows. Through benign curiosity he learned that the voices in his head were really those of his family, who never really supported his love of dance in the first place. Hmmm.

    So what is YOUR self-talk telling you and where did those ideas initially come from?
    Likely, from a very long time ago. "The voices of self-doubt that a dancer [bz: or anyone else] may hear," writes Ms. Wennerstrand, "are often the result of the “outside getting inside.” These voices can be those of parents, teachers, and authority figures who were once relied upon for safety and approval. By developing awareness, dancers [bz: and others] can learn to question some of those internalized voices."

    So don't just listen to your negative self-talk and accept it as truth, wonder about its truth. Question its truth. Consider that it may NO LONGER be true. ASSERT that it doesn't have to be true.

    And tell your self-doubt to get out!

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    Monday, October 6, 2008

    How Happy Are You?

    So how happy ARE you?! Here's a fun little quiz courtesy of the Chicago Tribune and the Psychological Flourishing Scale:

    Step One - Answer each of the 12 statements below:
    1. I lead a purposeful and meaningful life.
      A. Strongly agree
      B. Agree
      C. Slightly agree
      D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
      E. Slightly disagree
      F. Disagree
      G. Strongly disagree
    2. My social relationships are supportive and rewarding.
      A. Strongly agree
      B. Agree
      C. Slightly agree
      D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
      E. Slightly disagree
      F. Disagree
      G. Strongly disagree
    3. I am engaged and interested in my daily activities.
      A. Strongly agree
      B. Agree
      C. Slightly agree
      D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
      E. Slightly disagree
      F. Disagree
      G. Strongly disagree
    4. I actively contribute to the happiness and well-being of others.
      A. Strongly agree
      B. Agree
      C. Slightly agree
      D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
      E. Slightly disagree
      F. Disagree
      G. Strongly disagree
    5. I am competent and capable in the activities that are important to me.
      A. Strongly agree
      B. Agree
      C. Slightly agree
      D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
      E. Slightly disagree
      F. Disagree
      G. Strongly disagree
    6. I am a good person and live a good life.
      A. Strongly agree
      B. Agree
      C. Slightly agree
      D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
      E. Slightly disagree
      F. Disagree
      G. Strongly disagree
    7. My material life (income, housing, etc.) is sufficient for my needs.
      A. Strongly agree
      B. Agree
      C. Slightly agree
      D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
      E. Slightly disagree
      F. Disagree
      G. Strongly disagree
    8. I generally trust others and feel part of my community.
      A. Strongly agree
      B. Agree
      C. Slightly agree
      D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
      E. Slightly disagree
      F. Disagree
      G. Strongly disagree
    9. I am satisfied with my religious or spiritual life.
      A. Strongly agree
      B. Agree
      C. Slightly agree
      D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
      E. Slightly disagree
      F. Disagree
      G. Strongly disagree
    10. I am optimistic about the future.
      A. Strongly agree
      B. Agree
      C. Slightly agree
      D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
      E. Slightly disagree
      F. Disagree
      G. Strongly disagree
    11. I have no addictions, such as to alcohol, illicit drugs, or gambling.
      A. Strongly agree
      B. Agree
      C. Slightly agree
      D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
      E. Slightly disagree
      F. Disagree
      G. Strongly disagree
    12. People respect me.
      A. Strongly agree
      B. Agree
      C. Slightly agree
      D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
      E. Slightly disagree
      F. Disagree
      G. Strongly disagree

    Step Two - Calculate your happiness/flourishing score as follows:

    • Give yourself 7 points for each Strongly agree response
    • Give yourself 6 points for each Agree response
    • Give yourself 5 points for each Slightly agree response
    • Give yourself 4 points for each Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree response
    • Give yourself 3 points for each Slightly disagree response
    • Give yourself 2 points for each Disagree response
    • Give yourself 1 point for each Strongly disagree response

    Step Three - Consider your results:

    • 80-84 = Extremely high flourishing
    • 74-79 = Very high flourishing
    • 68-73 = High flourishing
    • 60-67 = Flourishing
    • 48-59 = Slight lack of flourishing
    • 32-47 = Lack of flourishing
    • 12-31 = Extremely low flourishing

    Step Four - Next Steps:

    Happy with what you found?! If so, GREAT! If not, review the 12 questions and decide which ones you want to happily flourish more with.

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    Monday, September 29, 2008

    Crain's Chicago Business quotes Barry Zweibel

    Barry Zweibel was quoted in Crain's Chicago BusinessSeptember 29, 2008 - Barry Zweibel was quoted in "Laid-back Layoffs", an article by Crystal Yednak, in today's issue of Chicago Business.

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    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    Newsvine quotes Barry Zweibel

    Barry Zweibel was recently interviewed for a series about coaching at Newsvine. Thanks, RebelGirl!

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    Friday, September 5, 2008

    Laughing Reduces Stress

    According to a bit in the June/July 2008 issue of Scientific American Mind magazine, "Anticipating a good laugh whisks away stress."

    Research scientists at a California University conducted the following experiment: They asked one group of men to watch a funny video and another to page through a bunch of periodicals. Lo and behold, the group that saw the comedy had "much lower levels of stress hormones such as cortisol" as compared to the magazine group.
    Of particular note was this: The movie watchers' stress levels went down before the film even began!
    In other words, the mere anticipation of laughing provided some of the exact same stress-reducing benefits as actually laughing.

    Now that's funny, don't you think?! (To reduce stress, I recommend that you laugh whether you think so or not!)

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    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Locus of Control: Self-Management across the Continuum

    Based on Julian Rotter's work in the late 1950's, Locus of Control is about peoples' perceptions about why they do the things they do and, by extension, why things are the way they are - at work, and in life:

    • The more we believe that our behavior is guided by fate, luck, or other external circumstances, the more of an external Locus of Control it can be said we have.
    • Conversely, the more we believe that our behavior is guided by our personal decisions and efforts, the more of an internal Locus of Control we can say we have.

    (Did you notice how I used "it" when defining external, and "we" when defining internal?! Sometimes, the basis of one's Locus of Control can be that subtle.)

    Now typically, coaches don't spend a lot of time on the "Why?" question - let alone findings that come from observing therapy patients, as did Rotter's. But Locus of Control is an important concept to understand if we want to truly maximize our potential.

    What's important to realize, and as the chart indicates below, is that one's Locus of Control is not fixed or unmovable; actually, it's more of a point on a line - a point that routinely shifts, quite radically at times, depending on issue and circumstance.

    Locus of Control continuumSo rarely does someone always embrace an external Locus or Control. Rarely does someone always embrace an internal Locus of Control, either.

    And therein lies the power of the notion, because: If your Locus of Control can shift without you realizing it, it can also be made to shift because you realize it.

    • Feeling that everyone (and everything) is working against you? Shifting to more of an internal Locus of Control will help you be a bit more assertive and/or realize it's time to take a more decisive action to move things meaningfully forward.
    • Blaming yourself when things go wrong - even when they're not your fault? Shifting to more of an external Locus of Control will help you accept that certain circumstances (and failings) really are out of your control and it's really okay to give yourself a break every now-and-again.
    • Struggling in a personal relationship that's not working no matter what you do? Shifting to more of an external Locus of Control will help you request that the other person step-it-up a notch or two, as well, and not just leave it all for you to do.
    • Sensing you're not in a good mood much of the time? Shifting to more of an internal Locus of Control will help you accept responsibility for the state of your mood and do something enjoyable to chipper yourself up a bit.

    Locus of Control is no panacea - it's more just a way to explain the "why?" behind the "what?". But it's also a great way to help become more conscious and purposeful of what you do, say, and believe - all keys to effective self-management ... and success.

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    Friday, July 11, 2008

    What do you know about your Energy Levels?

    Had an interesting conversation with a former client yesterday – we got to talking about energy levels vis-à-vis time-o-day.

    “I’m a morning guy," he said, "so I like to work out in the evening.”

    Counter-intuitive thinking like that fascinates me. Turns out that although he likes to "hit it hard" at the gym, working out is relaxing for him - something he'll do anyway. So, he prefers to focus his high energy periods on work, rather than working out.

    Now I consider myself pretty self-aware on a lot of levels, but I have to admit that I have only a very basic sense of how my energy level relates to time-o-day. For me, it seems to be more a function of what I’m doing, or planning to do, rather than when I'm doing it: If it’s "important" work, or fun, my energy tends to run high; if there’s not much on my plate, not much energy.

    How about you? What do you know about how your energy operates?

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    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    The Five (or Six) Truths About Fear

    Susan Jeffers, in her ground-breaking book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, identified five basic truths about feara:

    1. The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.
    2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out … and do it.
    3. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out … and do it.
    4. Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I'm on unfamiliar territory, but so is everyone else.
    5. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.

    "By now you've gotten the picture," writes Dr. Jeffers. "We can't escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us in all our exciting adventures ... Some people have told me they are never afraid, but when I question them, they reveal that we are just differing on semantics. Yes, they feel nervous or anxious sometimes - they simply never labeled it as fear."

    Know, though, that whether you label it as fear, or not:

    Unfamiliarity with HOW to do something is not the same as Inability TO do something.

    So, the next time you find yourself "feeling the fear", or feeling nervous, or anxious, or whatever it is you feel when you're in an unfamiliar space ... STOP ... and remind yourself that just because you haven't done this particular thing before, it does not mean you're incapable of doing it (or learning to do it).

    This simple realization is central to all personal / professional growth ... all relationship growth ... all leadership growth ...all life growth ... all everything growth.

    So I want to add a 6th Truth of Fear to the list:

    1. Our ability to push through fear has far less to do with the difficulty of a given situation - real or imagined - than it does with our readiness to learn and grow, regardless of circumstance.

    As such, it seems to me that fear can be recast as a basic "invitation to learn", rather than an inhibitor of learning.

    Ha! I guess you could say that while "opportunity knocks but once," fear rings the bell again and again and again - until you accept its invitation to come out and play!

    ----
    aTaken from Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway®, Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. Copyright ©1987-2008 Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    Archived Topic: Fear

    Friday, May 9, 2008

    Life on Track: In a Minute You Could ...

    (a) Be grateful - Write a thank-you card.

    (b) Relax - Close your eyes, breathe deeply and slowly three times.

    (c) Connect - Pick up the phone to call someone you haven't seen in a while.

    (d) Gain Perspective - Look out the window toward the horizon.

    (e) Think about you - List three things you like the most.

    Hey, it's your life, do something wonderful with it ... as in the next 60 seconds!

    ----
    from the April/May 2008 edition of Success magazine
    Stopwatch picture courtesy of Wikipedia

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    Friday, April 18, 2008

    Hello, Barry? This is the BBC News calling...

    I got a call today from the BBC News. And oddly enough, it seemed perfectly fitting, having just completed a morning call with a client in London. But it was not about her. It was about me...or so I thought.

    "Hello, Barry?" asked the man with the decidedly British accent. "This is the BBC News calling..."

    It seems they wanted to do a piece on Clinton vs. Obama, but with a twist. The BBC wanted to interview an American Life Coach to talk about how one would coach the ultimate loser of the nomination - whoever that would be. Is that a great topic, or what?!

    Unfortunately, they wanted the life coach to come to their Washington D.C. office to do the interview ... this afternoon! Sorry, can't get there from here (Chicago) by then. Oh well.

    Nevertheless, I thought it'd be interesting to consider - and blog about - how I might coach Hillary or Barack if the situation actually did present itself. And, while the specific questions I'd ask would likely emerge as our conversation unfolded, I'm pretty sure I'd approach the dialogue in this way:

    Coaching Steps

    1a. Public "Do" questions - That is, questions to get at what was needed to deal most effectively with the situation publicly today, and moving forward. Yes, they'd be pretty obvious, but when dealing with high-powered coaching clients, it's important to create a safe path before traveling into deeper, more personal, areas of discussion.

    • What will be the primary message of your public statement about this?
    • What relationships do you need to circle back to - to thank and/or repair?
    • What else needs to be mopped up a bit?

    1b. Private "Do" questions - These would be similar to 1a-type questions, but would focus more on what the individual needed to do, privately, to turn the page as it were.

    • Now that this is over, what do you need to do for yourself?
    • What makes that so important for you?
    • How can you get more of that for yourself more quickly?

    2a. Public "Be" questions - Public figures are identified, in many ways, by what they stand for. Given that, a whole series of questions can be asked about how they want to show up and "be" publicly.

    • How important is it to you that your constituents' issues continue to have a meaningful platform?
    • From a historical perspective, how do you want your role in this campaign to be remembered?
    • What is your message to the American people about the importance of trying, even if you don't succeed?

    2b. Private "Be" questions - This is really the heart of coaching, questions designed to help an individual better understand how to stand in the world.

    • So, how are you with not having won - as in really?!
    • What do you need to feel 'complete' about this and be ready for whatever comes next?
    • What are you most proud of for having made happen during the campaign?
    • What are your Lessons Learned that made your campaign particularly worthwhile?
    • How has this empowered you, as a person, moving forward?

    It's hard to say how much any of this would resonate for the non-nominee. It's hard to know how receptive s/he would be to even having this conversation. But I suspect that whoever it would be with, it'd likely be an important conversation for the person to have ... for the good of the the individual ... the Democratic Party ... and the people of the United States of America.

    To think it was all spurred by the BBC News calling. Jolly good.

    Jolly good, indeed!

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    Friday, March 28, 2008

    New Thinking; New Doing

    Ever have one of those weeks where nothing seems to go right?! While it's perfectly normal for that to happen from time to time, the bigger question is:
    "Is there anything you can you do, besides just being patient, to help insure that next week will be better?"
    I believe there is and that the answer has a lot to do with what I'll call New Thinking; New Doing. The idea is to force your brain to create new synapses - ones that wouldn't normally occur - as a way of jump-starting your mind into a more resourceful place. Here's how:
    1. Pick a topic, preferably one you have some definite views about
    2. Take the other side of the story and embrace it even more fervently
    3. Smile at how clever you are to have been able to do that

    Some examples?

    • If you're a New York Yankees fan, be a die-hard BoSox supporter for a day and see how your fanaticism is far more transferable than you realized.
    • If you're a red, red, meat eater, be a vegan for a few days and see what happens to your views about food.
    • If you're a strident Barack Obama supporter figure out what Hillary Clinton should do to win the Democratic Party's nomination.
    • If you're classical music lover, switch to jazz or C&W and allow the emotions of the music to 'speak' to you.

    One of the things that keep us stuck - especially when things get tough - is when we become even more entrenched with what we believe to be true. Consciously challenging yourself (and your myopia) is precisely what New Thinking; New Doing is all about.

    See what it can do for you.

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    Monday, March 17, 2008

    Fear 303: A Revised Model of Fear

    Last month I forwarded a model - Fear 101 - to explain how many people conceptualize fear. As you may recall, there was an inner core of Fearlessness, surrounded by a ring of Courageousness, encapsulated in a vast Infinity and Beyond called, The Land of Fear.

    Since then, I've received numerous emails and phone calls from people telling me that that's exactly how they envision fear, too. Very gratifying, indeed.

    The Next Step in the process, then, was for me was to figure out how to re-frame fear so that it would not be so large-and-in-charge as it is in the Fear 101 model. The “aha moment” came once I was ready to accept the possibility that Infinity and Beyond was just too big and unlimited a space for fear to claim so unilaterally. It was only then that I realized that Infinity and Beyond was not, ipso facto, the Land of Fear – it was simply a Benign Unknown.

    What a wonderful shift!

    The resultant upgrade, dubbed Fear 303, looks and works as such:

    Fear 303 Model

    Starting at the back of the pack is this huge Benign Unknown stretching out in most directions. Within it (and bubbling out of it in places) is this thing called Opportunity.

    So that we're clear, Opportunity is a good thing.

    Next, as the blue bubble indicates, our natural response to Opportunity is often Fearlessness. This, too, is a good thing, as Fearlessness often empowers us to positively leverage Opportunity.

    For sticklers to detail, it should be noted that the Fear 303 model recognizes that, sometimes, Fearlessness splashes out past Opportunity and into other areas of the Benign Unknown that may neither be opportunities, nor so benign. But that's just the way things are, sometimes, right? (I failed to recognize that in Fear 202, which is why I didn't post it between 101 and 303.)

    So here’s where I think it gets nice and juicy: Instead of allowing Fear to "own" all of Infinity and Beyond, Fear is now relegated to a small little cloud in the lower right-hand corner of the diagram. Like Fearlessness, Fear also overlays Opportunity - some opportunities do, indeed, frighten us - and parts of Fear splash out, as well, into the Benign Unknown, and into parts of the Unknown that may not be benign. That really is the way things are, sometimes, right?!

    But in the Fear 303 model, Fear is clearly a whole lot less featured – especially when you consider how Fear is mostly covered by Courageousness in service to Opportunity.

    Sure, sometimes Fear still prevents us from moving forward, but it does so to a considerably lesser extent than in Fear 101. Indeed, once we recognize that Fear does not have to be our default reaction to the Unknown, it is majorly dis-empowered and has significantly less automatic say-so over how we react to what's going on around us. We are at choice.

    That feels very motivating (and plausible) to me. How does it feel to you?

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    Friday, February 29, 2008

    Fear 101: A Model

    I've been talking to a number of people about fear lately and decided to diagram what a prevailing mental model is for many with respect to fear:

    Fear 101 As you see, the inner core represents one's fearlessness – that is the place where we have no fear. For some this is a very big place; for others it can be fairly small. As they say, individual results may vary.

    Surrounding this inner core is a ring of courageousness – the place where, as Susan Jeffersa would say, we are willing to "feel the fear and do it, anyway."

    As with the fearlessness core, the courageousness ring is a very big place for some, and a relatively small place for others. Too, and this is something you've likely already experienced yourselves, the actual size of these two areas will vary greatly depending on circumstance, mood, comfort level, and a variety of other variables.

    Surrounding all of that – and this was the real light bulb realization for me, as it may be for you – is a veritable Infinity and Beyond ... of fear. Yes, for many people, anything outside of what they're already fearless - or willing to be courageous - about, is a never ending Land of Fear.

    Of course, not everyone looks at it this way - although a surprising number of people really do. (And to a certain extent, you might, too, if you're being really honest with yourself.) So perhaps you can appreciate that I mean no disrespect when I say,

    This is hardly a Model for Champions!
    What it is, though, is a pretty frightening diagram. Scary to even look at, actually, with its big, hairy, eyeball staring back like that. Remember that Far Side cartoon – “Warning: Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear” and all you see is one big, fat, blood-shot, monster’s eyeball?! Like that, don't you think?!

    Although that may just be the fear talking!

    But, when we consider that virtually everything outside of our fearlessness and courageousness zones is in the Land of Fear, it's no wonder why feelings of fear, worry, and doubt can seem so incessant. After all, Infinity and Beyond, by it's very definition, is a pretty big place!

    Okay, so this said,the Next Step is to figure out how to re-frame our model so that fear is not so featured as the kingpin of the whole thing.

    Stay tuned!

    ----
    a Taken from Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway®, Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. Copyright ©1987-2008 Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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    Thursday, February 21, 2008

    What the Shadow Knows, redux

    You know you've been blogging a long time when you find yourself blogging - again - about an eclipse. (Ref: What the Shadow Knows, October 28, 2004)

    It got me thinking - again - about the shadows WE cast - intentionally or otherwise:
    • Who walks in YOUR shadow?
    • Who's HIDDEN by your shadow?
    • What ELSE is hidden in your shadow?
    • What shadows are YOU hiding in?
    • Whose shadow is hiding YOU?
    • How might you shine a big fat spotlight on things so you can better see - and be seen?

    Do yourself a favor and wonder about all this for a while - again.

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    Thursday, January 10, 2008

    Finishing Unfinished Business

    Yesterday's post focused on one aspect of unfinished business from 2007 - having the conversations you know you need to have. Here are some other items to finish up, as well:
    • What's something you've been meaning to do for someone that you haven't as of yet?
    • What's something you've been meaning to do for yourself that you haven't as of yet?
    • Who's someone you've been meaning to reconnect with that you haven't as of yet?
    • Who's someone you've been meaning to introduce yourself to that you haven't as of yet?
    • What idea have you been meaning to share with someone that you haven't as of yet?
    • What's something you've been meaning to read that you haven't as of yet?
    • What's something you've been meaning to write about that you haven't as of yet?

    You're invited to do so now.

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    Wednesday, January 9, 2008

    What conversations do you know you need to have?

    New year. Fresh start. Ready-go.

    But wait.

    No doubt there's some unfinished business from 2007. No doubt, there are some conversations that you meant to have, but never quite got around to it. And no doubt, they're conversations that you really need to have if this new year is to be the "fresh start" you're hoping for. So,

    • Who do you need to talk with?
    • What is it that you want to say to him/her?
    • What is it that you want him/her to say back to you?
    • What's the real conversation you know you need to have?

    While it may not be easy, inviting someone into a conversation like this can help set a much more collaborative tone, moving forward. But depending on circumstances, the conversation may need more than just one 'sitting' to complete. Grudges dissipate slowly, after all.

    To speed the process - and the likelihood of success - be sure to remember to these pointers:

    • Be respectful
    • Be honest
    • Be interested
    • Listen carefully
    • Ask a lot of questions
    • Seek to understand

    If you do, you might be happily surprised to find that there are some misconceptions that can be easily cleared up. You might also find that certain things that were taken out of context and given a life of their own can be reeled back in. You might even find that you've been unwittingly contributing to making things worse, but can take some immediate actions to set things right.

    But only if you have the conversations you know you need to have.

    So who do you need to have an open and honest conversation with?

    I know you know. You know you know! So go. Do.

    Yes?!

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    Friday, January 4, 2008

    Wishing You a "Great" 2008!

    Happy New Year, everyone! And while it might sound a bit sing-song-y to say, here's wishing you a great 2008!

    Too trite and hackneyed? Surely not. But if so, here are some variations-on-a-theme that maybe get a little less airplay:

    • Here's wishing you a top-rate 2008!
    • Here's wishing you a clean-slate 2008!
    • Here's wishing you a gold-plate 2008!
    • Here's wishing you a easy-skate 2008!

    I could go on, you know. In fact, I will!

    • Here's wishing you a not-too-high-of-a-gate in 2008
    • Here's wishing you a winning-debate in 2008!
    • Here's wishing you a really-short-wait in 2008!
    • Here's wishing you an ice-cold-salad-plate-of-a 2008!
    • Here's wishing you an extremely-satisfying-state in 2008!
    • Here's wishing you keep-off-that-extra-weight in 2008!

    Okay, you get the point.

    Now go make it so.

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    Tuesday, January 1, 2008

    Life Coach - Life Coaching - category archives

    Follow this link to the GottaGettaBlog! archives for more postings from Barry Zweibel on the topic of: Life Coach - Life Coaching.

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