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…about my final training for relationship coaching this weekend was a revelation made by the co-leaders near the end of the session. This was our second course led by the same two leaders, David and Sandra. Their compatibility in the front of the room set the tone for both sessions.
It goes without saying that all of the leaders from the Center for Right Relationships handle the material brilliantly. A unique characteristic of this training involves having two leaders for every course. It’s a powerful learning model. Seeing two personality types talking about the same material offers participants a wider range of possibility than having just one instructor.
David and Sandra’s “dance” in the front of the room was so effortless and joyful that it somehow made the challenging material easier to absorb. There was palpable admiration, affection and respect demonstrated throughout the three days.
Near the end of the weekend David told us something that sealed the deal for me as far as this work goes. Although he and Sandra had known each other through the world of coaching, they had never led a class together. When they got the assignment to co-lead, Sandra requested that they hire a relationship coach to help them design their alliance, which they did.
In the advertising world the question that gets asked is, “Will the dog eat the dog food?” It means, what is the company’s confidence in its own products? Not only did Sandra and David ‘eat the dogfood’ they’re pedigree specimens of what I believe is a world-changing practice.
I’m combining business with education this weekend. I was hired to give my Distinguished Speaker Series talk for ASID-New England at the Design Center in Boston on Thursday. We worked it out so that I would come when I needed to be in Boston for my Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching training. My final session starts today and ends Sunday at 5pM. It’s been a terrific course for me, developing my coaching skills for working with teams, couples, partnerships and large organizations.
A fun side benefit of this Boston trip was pulling into the parking garage at the Westin Boston Waterfront. I knew I didn’t qualify for handicapped parking, and I was too late for the special spaces I’ve seen recently at Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk for expectant moms and parents of infants all located closer to the entrance than the rest of the parking spots. But right here, in this large hotel garage, there were spaces near the exit and elevators marked with green stripes for hybrid automobiles. I pulled my Toyota Camry right in and felt virtuous and privileged at the same time.
I had the good fortune to meet Robin Lange, owner of iYogaStudio, at Erica Green’s event last Friday night. Robin conducted an abbreviated yoga class that got us relaxed and more flexible for the evening ahead.
After she listened to my talk about getting PR she wrote this:
I had to tell you that I have been listening to your “Today Show” CD and have learned quite a lot from that. You present some very valuable insights and information in an incredibly user friendly fashion.
On a personal note, I had to let you know that the Calvin Coolidge quote you use is a favorite of mine. When my siblings and I were in high school and college we owned a small goldfish that was kept in a very small bowl for 7 years having survived many mishaps including trips down the drain while water was being changed as well as two curious cats.
We nicknamed him PD which stood for Perseverance & Determination. My father had used that Calvin Coolidge quote often to motivate and inspire us in our schoolwork and sports.
When PD eventually died, my father went so far as to institute a family award that was given out each year to the family member who exhibited the most PD that year. The award was a trophy of a fish that corresponded to whatever we were working hard at: a flounder for my brother, the wrestler; a shark for me navigating the waters of Hollywood; a barracuda for my brother the lawyer; and a bigmouth bass for my brother, the salesman.
Over the years we have had much fun, laughter–even tears–at this annual ‘banquet’ and the quote lives on my refrigerator having been given out as magnets one particular year. It is so easy to get discouraged when pursuing your dreams, and I thank you for that reminder to persevere!
For those of you who don’t know the Calvin Coolidge quote referred to, here it is:
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
May you be the next to win the PD award!
I accidentally attended five different networking events last week. I say accidentally because they weren’t all labeled as such. Monday night was a birthday dinner for a friend and client. I met eight women I hadn’t known before. Friday night’s event was for the purpose of networking yet began with an hour of yoga which made it feel warmer and friendlier than just shaking hands. I put out my books, met many other women business owners and shared good food. Sunday afternoon I attended the opening of an art exhibit curated by another good friend and client. I bumped into several colleagues whom I hadn’t seen in months, years and even a decade.
The other two were purely networking events located at commercial venues. They didn’t work as well for me personally. After all these years in business, I’m still discovering what works and what doesn’t. The best place for me to check in with that is my heart. How do I feel? What’s the vibe? Are these my people? Is the atmosphere conducive to the conversations I want to have?
My commitment to myself and my business is to attend three networking events per month. I intentionally check my calendar to see if I’m accomplishing that. Then there’s the unintentional networking which happened at the birthday dinner and art gallery. Any time you show up in public, you’re networking. In fact, my thesis is that whenever you’re not home alone, you’re networking.
Bottom line–be who you are wherever you go and bring business cards.
Fine Arts Photographer Donna Callighan and I go way back to early EWN (Entrepreneurial Woman’s Network) days in the 90′s when her shingle read “commercial photographer.” I’m sure she did at least one of my head shots back then and definitely helped my success by shooting images of my eggs and related products. We had a ball in her then new studio in Stamford styling the shots and adjusting the lights for my first big brochure mailing.
Donna hired me as her coach a couple of years ago to help her focus on her passion–fine art photography. She was crystal clear on her goals and needed my skills to keep her accountable and in touch with that passion. She developed a new website and a marketing campaign to promote this aspect of her business.
At my client networking event in January Donna filled the crowd in on her huge coup for 2008–an installation of her art at a major hotel. Watch this 1-minute clip to hear it in her own words. In a recent email to me Donna acknowledged that it took over a year for the whole process, but what enormous success like this doesn’t? I admire Donna so much for staying the course. That’s the hardest part of the journey–the in-between times when it feels like nothing is happening.
There was some synchronicity involved as well. Donna’s large format fine art photographs (above) are hanging in the same complex as
…one of my biggest clients, the one who took me to Paris where I discovered the ‘style’…Can’t wait to see the look on her face! Of all the places for my work to end up…just down the street from her is very, very full circle. Feels right and sits right in my belly in a very fated manner. Confirmation that I am on the right path.
Donna was a dream client. I’m so proud of her!
I’ve attended several networking groups over the past few weeks and met lots of new people. It’s especially good to get “out there” and interact with other folks who are also “out there.” I have a hunch many people are hiding, not circulating and/or waiting for “it” to get better. Those who are showing up are those I want to meet.
Yesterday morning I attended a group called the Gotham Network after being invited by colleague Judy Heft of Judith Heft & Associates, LLC. I’d had the event on my calendar for well over a month, because much as I’d wanted to attend previously, this was the first Tuesday morning that was available. Twenty-plus of us sat around a white-clothed table over a buffet breakfast at the Greenwich Hyatt. It felt high level, well-established and buttoned-up. The meeting was led by Barry Monies of Computronix, a technology solutions provider in Stamford.
Barry’s style was crisp and brisk. He first requested self-introductions emphasizing what was unique about our companies. He then conducted a full roundtable discussion on what’s happening in the marketplace as filtered through our unique industry’s vantage point. To wrap up, Barry gave everyone an opportunity to offer a final thought. The member’s individuality stood out most in this brief go-round as they shared about their children’s successes and whatever else was top-of-mind important at that moment. It was a nice inside glimpse beneath the professional exterior.
I sit in my office this morning catching up on the last few busy weeks with a stack of business cards and decisions to make: who to follow up with, which groups to continue to pursue and what information to hold onto and move forward with. I’m sure, if you’re reading this, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Bottom line, I’m going to be asking myself the WIIFM question: what’s in it for me? We ALL operate out of our own self-interest first, even if it doesn’t always look like that. I need to ask myself what is the best use of my time? Who is my market? Will the investment pay me back? What can I contribute to these different groups? I’m also going to allow myself two weeks to make a decision based on what still feels important and worthy after consideration.
Brad Isaacs and I offered 20 men and women an Invitation to Get Real this past Saturday at the Fairfield Library. We promised to give them an experience and, boy, did we!
I outlined in the opening of the program that we would take them through a process to reality that follows a format I learned many years ago when I began my journey towards self-improvement–letting go of things that kept me from being fully alive: cigarettes, caffeine, sugar, etc. Here’s the formula I learned and have appreciated ever since:
First it gets BETTER, then it gets WORSE, then it gets DIFFERENT, then it gets REAL.
- First it got BETTER
- Then it got WORSE
- Then it got DIFFERENT
- Then it got MUCH DIFFERENT
- Then it got MUCH WORSE
- Then it got REALLY DIFFERENT
- Then it got REAL
- Then it got MUCH BETTER
That is to say, many unpredictable things happened during the workshop that were very real and created a lot of disturbance. Brad and I used all of our leadership skills to steer the event and keep it a safe space for everyone there. Every voice got heard as we worked through what had happened.
Allowing every member who chose to speak that opportunity, profound changes happened for all of us, including Brad and myself. As I said at the outset of yesterday’s session, “What I want in my life is REAL, no masks, no phoniness.” I got to have that in spades on Saturday and know that it helped others develop the appetite for it as well.
(The photo was taken at my Leadership course in California where we did high ropes work–40′ up in the air–which helped prepare us for these kinds of challenges.)
I just got this great mailer and wanted to share it for several reason. First, I recommend that all of my clients send out letters to their sphere of influence to let them know when something new is happening. It’s appropriate to do this when you’re in any transition: starting a new phase of a business, between opportunities or re-creating yourself. First class mail has taken on new significance in this age of virtual marketing. I loved getting a hand-written note from a long-time friend and colleague.
When I was early in my egg-decorating career, Jack presented me the opportunity to have a one-woman show at the newly opened Brookfield Craft Center in South Norwalk. It put me on the map with a gala event and an article in the New York Times. I taught many classes at this renowned institution and shared conversation-filled dinners with Jack and Judith Russel in addition to other visiting craftsmen–a coveted invitation offered to their weekend faculty members.
So when I received this “warm letter” from Jack, it affirmed my belief in this practice. Jack was letting his sphere know what he was going on and what he was up to. I immediately picked up the phone to respond.
Jack had been with Brookfield Craft Center for 28 years. Now, at 61, he has the opportunity to make an enormous contribution elsewhere. I told him I, too, would keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities.
That’s the impact of reaching out and letting people know what’s going on. Action is the magic word.
I had the good fortune to meet Sandy through an introduction by Pearl Mattenson with whom I attended most of my core curriculum coaching courses (that’s a mouthful). We connected immediately and soon Sandy began attending one of my Mastermind Groups. Now she’s attracting creative women into her own practice through her process painting workshops and by being who she is.
Her monthly newsletter is always thought-provoking and inspiring. I wanted to share a segment of her March edition because she’s articulated so well what I’m feeling.
After briefly summarizing the Jewish holiday of Purim:
King Achashverosh decrees that the Jewish race be annihilated, seals it in his book as an unchangeable mandate. His wife Queen Esther quietly orchestrates the reversal of the decree. Through prayers and fasting, she unites the Jewish people to stand together with renewed pride and belief as they celebrate with joy the restored hope for their survival.
Sandy goes on to note that the miracles that took place on Purim were hidden.
Even Esther’s name means ‘hidden.’ When something is hidden, we need to look harder to find what’s there.
During this recession, many of us are in despair and don’t see the end in sight. And yet, there are many hidden miracles that are occurring around us. Often, it is in moments of despondency that the most important miracles reveal themselves.
There are always signs around us, and we can miss them if we don’t know what we are looking for.
How many do you know who have lost jobs and are now realizing that they were on autopilot? They may now be figuring out what they really want to be doing with their lives.
Some who have been cutting back on purchases are finding out that they didn’t need most of what they were buying. As a result, we may end up with less waste and more resources on this planet.
Families who have cut back on watching television in order to save money on their electric bills are spending more time bonding, reading and playing games together. We are learning to appreciate what we have and not take things for granted like we might have in the past.
Let’s pay attention to the hidden miracles in our day. Focusing on the possibility that lies right beneath the surface can give us the momentum to get through this dark time.
I see miracles every day in my life and coaching practice. Start looking! They’re hidden everywhere. Let me know what you find.
My client Jessica Bram’s book Happily Ever After Divorce: Notes of a Joyful Journey is on the bookshelves now. But in a couple of weeks Jessica will have the official launch at Barnes & Noble in Westport, CT where she’ll give a talk and sign copies.
I know she’ll be in demand as a speaker across the country because her story, so beautifully written, will inspire anyone who has come face-to-face with heartbreak, tragedy and loss.
I challenged Jessica a few weeks ago, during our Mastermind Group meeting, to practice her talk in front of a friendly group before taking it on the road. She immediately put a date on the calendar, sent out an email invitation to close friends and then got down to work. Having the deadline forced her to get her thoughts in order, decide how to approach the talk and what to include. It was an artificial deadline, but one that had her moving forward toward her goal.
Now, I realize, this sounds much easier when I write it than it is to actually do it. It’s one of those assignments that separates the winners from the wannabes. It’s so easy to find excuses, put it off or decide against the goal entirely. But Jessica knows what she wants and is willing to put in the blood, sweat and tears to accomplish it.
Her practice talk was yesterday at 4pm. Jessica grabbed me before she began and admitted, “This is a real stretch for me!” I completely understood. Giving a talk, especially in front of people who know and love you, is terrifying. Twelve pairs of eyes watching your every move, judging your performance (because they want you to succeed) and wanting more than anything for you to do well is scary stuff.
She did an awesome job. Her stories gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes. Her writing put me there with her in that vinyl-smelling motel room at the Jersey Shore, on the miniature golf course with her sons, and at the coffee shop table where she and her ex hashed out custody issues.
Now she has her first talk under her belt. She took a big risk and sailed through. It’ll never be that scary again. Jessica will report in to the Mastermind Group Wednesday night on this goal. I can’t wait to see the smile on her face when she shares her success.