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Stick with me here on this train of thought–
On Wednesday I attended a lecture by two wellness coaches that focused specifically on what we feed our bodies. In addition to advice on increasing our vegetable intake, there was emphasis on entirely omitting sugar and caffeine because they have no nutritive value and are actually harmful to our body. No surprises there. They said that sugar has no redeeming value. (I question that. It tastes good.)
When the box lunches were passed out after their talk, I noticed a sugary lemon bar in the package. I was curious to see if the presenters would indulge. They did. Hmmmmm.
Scenario #2: A friend shared about how upset she got at a driver who cut her off. She silently cursed him, let off steam and pumped herself up with the adrenaline created by the offense.
What do these two events have in common? We’re human, for one, and we do what feels good in the moment. Eating sweets feels good, but has long-term deleterious effects. Feeling angry and righteous, in the moment, feels energizing and powerful, but ultimately drains our energy for what’s important. Each of these examples illustrates a short-term satisfying behavior which interferes with long-term happiness.
I’ve been whining about my learning curve during an online training course I’ve been enrolled in for several weeks now. I keep hoping that if I’m cantankerous enough someone will descend from the sky, hold my hand and walk me through every excruciating detail I’ve been unable to master on my own (getting the contact form onto a new weebly.com site, for instance). My short-term tantrums are not bringing me the long-term satisfaction I’m looking for in conquering the material I signed up to learn.
What does work is, not surprisingly, chunking it down into bite-sized pieces, reviewing the modules and audios several times and the most dreaded of all, asking for help.
My daily meditation for July 28 reads:
A stonecutter may strike a rock 99 times with no apparent effect, not even a crack on the surface. Yet with the 100th blow, the rock splits in two. It was not the final blow that did the trick, but all that had gone before.
It’s not the lemon bar or the flipped bird that puts us over the edge. It’s the ongoing acceptance of behaviors that don’t work in our favor. My daily tantrums are not yielding what I want to achieve. What does work is a lot of positive self-talk to get me through the challenge. “Let’s spend 5 minutes looking at the links from this module, Janie.” “Go into the linkedin community for 10 minutes now and really give this thread your full atttention.” “Take a breath, and begin again.”
Slowly, this rock of resistance will be split in two, and I will be successfully offering webinars to my audience. Allowing myself the excitement and attention derived from complaining in no way moves me forward. Griping can feel satisfying in the short term for its release and energy charge. But it’s not where I want to live.
I was laughing out loud as I read Martha Beck’s column in the August edition of O Magazine. In her article, Our Buddies, Our Selves, she hilariously describes the inner voices we all experience (whether we admit it or not). She’s named them. There’s Fang, who shows up impeccably dressed, organized and responds with alacrity. As she puts it:
In a clear authoritative voice, Fang delivers strong opinions about how you should manage your time.
And then there’s Buddy who’s dressed in shorts and a tank top and hugs you when you ask his advice.
There are almost no words on Buddy’s resume (the few that do appear are jokes and song lyrics), and in the margins, Buddy has doodled pictures of chipmunks.
It feels like that, doesn’t it? Our rational, buttoned-down mind tells us we’d have to be crazy to pass up an opportunity, while our still, small, chipmunky voice whispers, ‘please don’t do that again.’
Typically on a coaching call with one of my clients, I’ll ask her to get quiet for a moment, take a breath, close her eyes and go inside. Invariably, the truth and real desire bubble up to the surface in that moment, and there is no going back.
We betray ourselves all the time in the guise of a well-dressed gremlin carrying that smart attache case with organized folders. In my experience, time will do what time does–give you migraines, arthritis or back pain to send its message. You can’t do this anymore.
Listen to that inner voice now. What is it saying today? What change do you need to make? What do you need to say ‘no’ to today? Have courage! Ask Fang to step aside and open your arms for a hug from the truth.
I just heard a useful piece of information regarding pricing. The age-old question is: How much should I charge? It doesn’t matter if it’s a piece of jewelry or a coaching service. The quandary of how to price your goods or services is a perennial challenge.
I have always loved my father’s wisdom on the subject, coming from the retail background he did. His response was a question: How much is a black dress? Of course, it depends. What’s the fabric? Who’s the designer? What’s the market–Bergdorf’s or Target? You can see that the decision, while influenced by these factors, is arbitrary.
Carolee Friedlander of Carolee jewelry designs taught me years ago that “jewelry is a blind item” meaning that so many factors go into it that there’s no strict formula for creating the pricing structure. Whatever the market will bear comes to mind. That’s true in the coaching world as well. There are coaches charging $50 per session and others charging $1000. There is no definitive rule on the matter.
A new slant on all of this came via a coaching community I’m a part of. The instructor began bluntly. “If you don’t know what to charge in your own industry…” (Now here I thought he was going to give a lecture on market research and due diligence, but he surprised me) “…then you can only imagine how little your customer knows about pricing in your industry.” Brilliant! And true.
Prices are all over the place in every industry, so why not make up your own? His point, which is one I salute and profess myself, is to put it out there and see what happens. There is too much analysis paralysis (guilty!) and not enough running it up the flagpole to find out who’s saluting.
Lesson learned. Watch for my new offer coming soon…
My friend Meredith Gray is moving to Savannah soon and created a bucket list of activities in the northeast before her relocation. When I heard one of the items, I enlisted to join her for a visit to the Met to see the Alexander McQueen show- Savage Beauty.
We didn’t know it would be 110 degrees when we chose 7/22, but we managed to survive the line to get in and the crowds. Forewarned that it was a popular event, we chose a weekday, arrived at the museum nearly 1/2 hour before it opened and jumped onto the queue on the left side of the building. Once the doors opened, it moved very quickly and we entered the delightfully cool space and extraordinarily cool exhibit. By the time we got in, the line extended more than a block in each direction and the holding ‘pens’ in the museum were packed.
This man’s work is genius as both an artist and designer. If you can arrange to see the exhibit, I promise that you will have the experience of standing before a giant. That’s the impact of this man’s work. Pure awe.
I pulled out my calendar as soon as my friend Pam mentioned her colleague’s offering called Spa for the Soul WOMEN’S RETREAT with the tag line: Join Barbara Biziou for a transformative weekend of ritual, healing and the Divine Feminine. Sounded like just what the doctor ordered for mid-summer rejuvenation. I was conflicted as I already had the Kushi Institute Summer Macrobiotic Conference there from August 4-7, which I had paid for months ago.
I hate the dilemma of two great events being offered at the same time. I always honor the first one I sign up for, but it’s not without pain.
Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting Barbara Biziou and am really disappointed not to be a participant in her group. She has a rich background in leadership, coaching and transforming her clients.
More about her program: Let go of your responsibilities, your inhibitions, your stagnant paradigms, and your stuck energies in a nurturing place of beauty and retreat. Through participation in both deep and playful activities you will open up to your authentic self. Play, go wild, deepen your intuition, experience powerful rituals, pamper yourself and meet fabulous women.
Anyone need a prescription?
My friend Joanne Kabak, a colleague and member of my former writers group, lent me her copy of Life by Keith Richards, the audio version. It’s 19 CD’s plus a bonus extra with visuals. When I entitled this post ‘living with Keith Richards,’ I meant it. I’ve been listening in my car, on walks and while preparing meals for the better part of this month. I feel like I’m a member of his inside circle, it’s that intimate.
I’m fascinated by the detailed scoop of how he and the Rolling Stones rose to fame and the impact of that on him and the group. His tales of drug abuse are riveting, and I love how he re-connected with his father after a 20-year gap in their relationship.
I recommend this book as pure entertainment, but also for its instructional value to business owners as well. There is one outstanding detail that I shared with a colleague who was having a learning experience with a client. I told her that the Rolling Stones do not collect royalties on Satisfaction, the most memorable business-related fact from the book. Richards went into some detail about how that came to be. But, with a sigh, said, “It was an education.”
I frequently tell my coaching clients who have been burned by not having a contractual detail in writing, “Consider it tuition.” Now I can say, “Hey, the Rolling Stones missed their piece of Satisfaction. This is not so bad.”
Into every woman business owner’s life a little rain must fall. Most of us don’t have the luxury of the office water cooler or an ally in a neighboring cubicle where a sympathetic nod or warm hug will relieve the immediate angst of a situation.We have to figure out on our own the best way to process the hurt and act like a professional. It will entail reaching out to someone else and letting them know you’re in pain, which is no small feat for the independent woman.
Yesterday, after my e-newsletter landed in inboxes, I received an email telling me I’d lost all credibility by admitting that I didn’t know who Kaylee Anthony was. Ouch! I believe everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion, but am not sure I understand the need to condemn anyone else for theirs.
In that same batch of incoming emails I received another from a dear friend and colleague congratulating me on the birth of my granddaughter. I immediately vented my upset to her, to which she responded:
“She is not your “right people!” Most of us are sighing a sigh of relief for the permission granted for self care.”
I took in her words and could feel the softening in my gut.
We each need to deal with incoming negativity on our own, and it’s painful. I’m curious what methods you use when things don’t go your way or clients are abusive. This also gave me an idea for an event which I’ll call Nightmare Clients and How to Deal with Them. Would you attend?
I invited two of my clients to let their gremlins have full rein at the beginning of our group’s call. They each had a minute to let loose, and they did a beautiful job. My purpose was to allow the negativity to have its head, and then excuse it from the premises. Coaching and gremlins don’t work well together. Those critters must be removed.
It was a very productive rant. I’ve asked my clients’ permission to share the words of their saboteurs because they are universal, even though they may sound personal to you. Here’s what they heard. Sound familiar?
- “You don’t really know what you’re doing.”
- “Why not just enjoy the summer?”
- “Do you really want to build this big a business?!”
- “That’s a lot of work.”
- “It doesn’t matter how you‘re feeling. You still have to show up for your clients.”
- “You can’t do this forever. Why bother?”
- “Who says you have to go to the next level?”
It didn’t take long to fill the allotted time, but I could tell they were running out of steam at the end. After that, I denied all entry to gremlin-esque thoughts or concerns. We had a very productive session.
In a self-help book I read long ago, it was suggested that you reserve a special time each day to spend on what’s bothering you–say 4-4:15pm every afternoon. That will serve as your dedicated gremlin/voices time, a chance to give your full attention to the matters at hand. If a voice starts grabbing your attention at 10am (“You’re an impostor!”), remind yourself to take note and consider the ‘advice’ at 4pm. You can see where this is heading. Inevitably, the flow of your work, what you’re meant to be doing takes over and you’re able to work peacefully and productively. When the appointed time comes, you may or may not decide to mentally hash out the earlier thoughts. Our 1-minute rants served a similar purpose of re-training the mind when it comes to gremlins and saboteurs.
One great transition that occurred after that initial exercise was the re-framing of one client’s thought. In order to get to the next level, this business owner felt that she would have to “expose [her]self more.” That sounded frightening to her and to me, too. After discussion and processing on the subject, this is her new language regarding the opportunity: “I consciously create important relationships in a bigger arena.” She began to feel the positive pull of that phrasing. Feels really different, doesn’t it?
So, spend time with your gremlins…on your watch, not theirs. I promise, it works.
Never have truer words been spoken! On Friday, July 8 at 4:09pm, my daughter Lindsey gave birth to Chloe Elizabeth, her and Evan’s first child, my first grandchild.
All other accomplishments fall by the wayside. Birth is a miracle, and being a witness (metaphorically, not in the delivery room) to this wondrous process is a gift beyond imagination.
This child comes from an increasingly long line of women business owners. My mother created Fete Accompli, a party-planning business back in the 60′s. Grandma Jane (I told Lindsey and Evan that I wanted to be called Lady Gaga, but evidently, that’s already been taken) has been entrepreneurial since 1980 (1970 if you count when I sold my first pieces of artwork for dollars from strangers) and Lindsey who is the owner of lindseypollak.com.
I’m sure other family members look to this somewhat blank canvas and project their hopes and dreams there as well. What I do know is that she will become who she is and have her own journey to get there. She could not have asked for two more loving parents to guide her way.
I ask your blessings and good wishes for this precious gift.
A colleague of mine who’d studied journalism taught me a quote she’d learned in her school days. Their mantra was, “Notice what you notice.” In fact, I call my bi-weekly newsletter The Noticer. This hit home for me yesterday in three quick observations.
Yesterday I had lunch with a client of mine who is in the home care business. We were walking in the center of Fairfield, CT, by a small park where a camp group had assembled. My client spotted someone pushing a wheelchair. “I wonder why he’s wearing [surgical] gloves. There’s no need for that.” I looked over and saw what she was referring to, but would never have even looked twice. But, that’s her business, and she took note.
After lunch I drove to a new salon in Bethel for a haircut. It’s housed in a large, old Victorian house on the second floor. The first floor is devoted to a restaurant. Although there is signage for the salon–I knew I was in the right place– all of the signs in the parking area said “Parking for Restaurant Only” which made me question whether it was permissible to park in the lot.
Not wanting to be towed, I drove to another lot across the street. The sense that I got was that the restaurant may not be welcoming to the beauty salon clients walking through their premises. This was all split second stuff, but I was conscious of whether I was entering the right door or not. It set up a negative experience. That was quickly dismantled by the gracious hostess and the salon owner’s apology. “As a business owner,” I offered, “you need signage for your new clientele letting them know the score.” That’s the kind of thing I notice: what will be useful for a business owner to enhance the client experience and comfort level.
The reason I was trying a new salon was that the owner had attended a speaking event where I was featured. We’d had a delightful conversation afterwards, and he said he’d love to cut my hair. “I took a good look at you when you were speaking and noticed that you could use a different cut.”
What are you noticing? This is what makes you who you are.