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I recently started working with a wonderful woman who came to me for life coaching, not business coaching. She is figuring out what’s next for her, and it clearly isn’t what she’s been doing for the last several years–putting everyone else’s needs first. I recommended that she begin to say “no” to those activities that drain her, like attending parties for little ones she’s not actually related to.
We also came up with exciting tasks for her to pursue as she’s rejecting the life-draining ones. She is to interview a couple of identified people in industries that make her juices flow. Saying “no” will be new behavior as will stepping out of her current comfort zone. But her delighted giggle told me she would accept the challenge.
While she may not be clear yet on what she’s moving toward, experience shows that taking a stand in support of oneself hastens the flow of what’s next. Now that doesn’t sound very scientific, so I was tickled when later in that same day I heard ‘big girl’ words stating that exact hypothesis.
I attended an excellent webinar given by a colleague in the webinar training course I’ve been taking all summer. The subject was leadership and the thesis was that leadership is fueled by energy–positive or negative. The session’s instructor elaborated by describing catabolic energy–the breakdown of molecules–and its de-motivating destructive impact and anabolic energy–the synthesizing of molecules–and its creative, expanding and life-giving force.
“Our thoughts create our energy,” she stated. “When you get rid of the catabolic forces, your purpose and direction will show up. It presents itself.”
Precisely the message I’d given my client in the morning, but with more syllables. In coaching, we call that a wink from the Universe. (I wonder what corporates call it.)
I’m sure this finds many of you digging out from under, bailing out your basements or, like I was earlier today, searching for power and a shower. The Westport Public Library was closed. I got hopeful when I saw many folks spread out on the stone picnic tables with open laptops thinking I’d be able to soak up some external WiFi from the library’s resource, but no. They must have simply wanted to enjoy the lovely river view while pecking away at their computers.
Next I drove up to the Exit 18 Starbucks knowing that they recently installed banquette seating and lots of outlets. I could see the line into the parking lot from the traffic light and the overflow of cars at an adjacent lot letting me know that I was not the only one with the bright idea to sip coffee and plug in this morning.
I went to plan B. Get a shower at the Edge Fitness Center and then see if the lights were back on in my building. I lined up behind other women with similar intentions, got my hot shower, and was thrilled to see lights on in my apartment across the street from my gym. I can’t remember the last time I was so happy to flip a switch.
I must confess to having gotten into party mode with the hurricane fever that began as early as Friday. There was the shopping frenzy and the constant pre-storm chatter about what to expect. A neighbor hosted a hurricane party at 4pm yesterday which was so much fun.
When I returned home from that event, and since I couldn’t get online or see much in the darkness, I had to watch the DVD I’d borrowed from the library.I also power-napped my way through much of the weekend. Isn’t there something about the low pressure system that makes us sleepy, or did I make that up?
Now I’m back at my desk and have caught up with all the to-do’s from early Sunday and am back to the real work. I know that the storm wreaks havoc not only on our landscape, but my psyche had some collateral damage as well. I’ve called in the crews (my accountability partner and my business friends who meet weekly) to help restore me to work mode.
Anyone else struggling to get focused?
This is a story we’ve been waiting for, but the finality of it is still sobering. I feel privileged to have lived at this time of stunning innovation and creativity. As it said in the Seattle Times–
“I sort of look at us as two of the luckiest guys on the planet,” Jobs said to Gates. “We found what we love to do, and we were at the right place at the right time.”
To me, it’s like we’ve lived during the invention of the Gutenberg press. Everything in our lives has been radically altered by the birth and development of the desktop, then laptop, now pocket-sized computers. How amazing to watch this transformation and its impact on our society. Breath-taking!
I’m sorry for Steve Jobs’ ill health. I wish him well as he leaves Apple.
I had a personal brush with him before I knew who he was. My eggs appeared on the cover of the FLAX Art & Design catalog in the early 90′s. One day my phone rang. It was Steve Jobs, although his name meant nothing to me back then. He ordered four of my eggs. Pretty cool. I always hoped to meet him and introduce myself. I still hope to.
You’ve got to see this!
My brother Andy Goodman was invited to participate in a Rant performance in Los Angeles. He chose to talk about our mother and what her death meant to him. Hard to believe that he turned it into an hilarious 10-minute talk which I want to share with you. Not only do I want you to see my brother’s extraordinarily smart and talented performance, but I also want to open the kimono a bit to show where I come from.
Warning: There is a 30 second intro by someone who is not my brother. Be patient. He’s worth the wait. Let me know what you think. My favorite bit is the Nautilus reference…
Last night was my Office Party with over 50 women business owners in attendance. The sun peeked out long enough for us to enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres on the patio. There had been some question about the party being held given the seemingly endless rain we’d been experiencing here in Southern New England over the past few days. But, the skies parted and almost everyone who intended to come came. There were messages about canceled flights and scattered flooding, but most of this stalwart crew showed up anyhow. That’s what we do. We’re business owners.
For me, the evening was pure bliss. Being surrounded by all these amazing women who I’ve worked with over the years and listening as they shared their accomplishments with each other was energizing and inspiring. My favorite part of every networking event is the round robin of self-introductions. Much as I dislike giving my own 30-second commercial, I always love hearing how others say what they do. Last night was exhilarating. There was such a wide assortment of industries and talents represented. I particularly loved the buzz after this part of the program as women connected and continued the party.
Today I feel so good. Mission accomplished! I did what I set out to do, it was well received and I am basking in the glow.
Tomorrow I take off for a conference and will be out of the office until next week. I will not be posting entries until I get back. I want to give this next event my full attention. I’m sure I’ll have lots to say when I return.
During the evening I asked the women what word or phrase stands out when they think about what they’ve learned in our work together. The very first woman who spoke said, “Self care.” She’s so right. Giving myself a break in my routine of blogging is an example of how I take care of myself. Showing up 100% where I am on a daily basis and making sure I’ve covered my bases (i.e. telling you not to expect blog posts) allows me to be at peace and fully present.
See you on the 23rd.
Next Monday night I’m hosting an “office party” for all of my entrepreneurial clients who never get to go to office parties or company picnics. Depending on your point of you, this could be sad or lucky.
In addition to providing a traditional get-together in a nontraditional way, it’s my way of expressing gratitude to a remarkable group of women. My apartment community has a luxurious Club Room, pool and patio area where we will gather.
Entrepreneurs don’t get to have these corporate ‘perks’ so I’m making up the occasion to entertain. Besides, I value my clientele so highly that not only do I want to express my appreciation through celebration, but I also want to give them the opportunity to meet each other. As I continue to navigate my way in the social media world, I recognize that my greatest strength is actually social networking LIVE–another advantage of this fun event.
Since there is no hierarchy among this group, there will be no office politics to contend with, no behaviors to be gossiped about over the water cooler the next day, just laid back fun, mingling and new friends to be made.
I don’t do well at buffets. Talk about leaving money on the table! Too many temptations, not enough appetite.
When faced with all those opportunities–antipasto, salads, entrees, cheeses, soups, veggie platters, not to mention entire dessert stations, I contract. I feel less than and anxious that I’m not able to consume as other patrons do, and that they’re getting more value for their dollars, enjoying the experience more and feeling completely satisfied. Talk about comparing my insides to others’ outsides. Now there’s a losing formula.
So it is with the class I’ve been taking over the summer months. It feels like a smorgasbord. There are the weekly modules that run 2-3 hours each every Friday afternoon at a time when I’m thinking about the weekend ahead. I can download them anytime and listen at my leisure. Fair enough. But then I already feel behind. There’s an accompanying PowerPoint download (aka google doc) with tons of links to be understood and digested.
Throughout this experience, I’m tasked with creating my own webinar, marketing it, partnering with others and, to really get the most from the sessions, attending others’ free webinars to get the gist of the medium.
On top of the weekly lessons, there are support calls with a coach and others in the community. Plus (are you full yet?) there are online communities on linkedin and facebook with a stream of dialogue that penetrates my inbox hourly. I also signed up to be part of a support group which meets an additional hour a week. There’s tremendous bang for the buck in terms of my investment, but I’m realizing, I’d rather have the bite-sized gourmet portions, thank you.
Oh, and when I was on Monday’s coaching call (with 38 other attendees) there was a ‘chatroll’ with streaming dialogue amongst us. The leader threw out a networking question–e.g. What do your clients like best about you?–for us to chat about. It felt like a speedway to me.
I had a coaching call with my wonderful coach on Monday afternoon. I was totally overwhelmed by 5pm having had that whirling dervish community conversation earlier in the day.I didn’t know which end was up and almost canceled our call because I thought I’d be better served using the time to try to get a handle on my coursework.
She likened my state of being to the Apple computer’s wheel of death. It’s going and going and you’re not sure if it will ever stop.
We talked about what’s really important to me right now. One word came to mind. Chloe. My daughter and son-in-law gave birth to my first grandchild a month ago. I’ve seen her several times, but know how extremely precious these early weeks and months are for her and her parents. I want to spend as much time with them as I can. The only thing coming between me and that vision is the buffet of choices my course is laying before me.
With my coach’s astute and loving guidance, I decided to take a break. Yesterday I didn’t open one message, attend a call or look at my notebook or online training module. Boy, do I feel great today. Not surprisingly, I may actually spend an hour listening to the current lesson, but I don’t have that internal pressure building inside me to load up my plate.
I’m not a pop culture fiend, but have found myself immersed (albeit delinquently) in Project Runway. As an ardent patron of the public library system, I recently found dvd’s of the first four seasons of that show. I know I’m light years behind those in the know. I don’t care. I’m having a great time catching up.
In addition to witnessing creative and beautiful solutions to the fashion design challenges the contestants are faced with during each episode, there is the real life aspect to the show that is equally intriguing. Over the course of the program, the personalities who have become the most endearing to me are Tim Gunn and Michael Kors. For those of you who don’t watch, Tim serves as a mentor to the designers giving them feedback during the design process. Michael Kors, a top American designer (as Heidi Klum always refers to him) is one of the judges.
In the episode I watched last night, it was getting near the end of the series of design competitions with only seven designers still in the running for the prized Bryant Park runway opportunity. The winner, a gentleman who had almost been eliminated a few times, started crying when his name was announced. Heidi Klum asked, “Why the tears?” He replied that the competition was such a roller coaster of emotions. He was elated to win, but that only made the suffering of the approval/disapproval judgments that much more intense.
To which Michael Kors remarked, “That doesn’t go away.”
Here was one of America’s top talents in the industry admitting that it is still damn hard, even at the top. I thought that his admission was a gift of truth to the contestants. You can want this so badly and have your moment in the spotlight with all the glamor, but the truth is, it’s a cutthroat industry. As Heidi says during every episode, “One day you’re in, and the next day you’re out.” That’s the reality of the whims of fashion. How generous of Michael Kors to honestly share that even at the top, it’s emotionally brutal.
My entrepreneurial world is smaller, less harsh and unequivocal, but the roller coaster ride exists. I concur with Michael Kors, it doesn’t go away. Anyone pretending that they’ve got it all sewn up is not someone you should listen to.
I’m spending a few days attending the Kushi Institute Annual Macrobiotic Conference (my 4th) and learning a bunch of new things. Well, not actually learning them for the first time, but in a state of readiness and openness to try on a new behavior after hearing about it for many years.
I had an individual session yesterday with a macrobiotic counselor who listened to my symptoms (minor, but not insignificant) and made many recommendations. For this one-time Friendly’s mint-chocolate chip ice cream addict, I have moved away from sugar and dairy, but not entirely lost my sweet tooth. We discussed my daily frozen banana treat, for instance. I came to appreciate how this tropical, dense fruit is not doing me any favors. I’m going to eliminate it for a period of time and take a look at how I feel.
That’s just one example of the analysis and recommendations he laid out for me. There were many. In fact, I plan to create a chart when I get back home to help me implement everything he said.
Another biggie was that I not read the Times in the morning over breakfast. That meals should be spent eating, chewing and digesting and nothing else. Maybe some classical music in the background or conversation, but not an external activity. This will be a huge transition for me. I gather so much information during that 30-45 minute meal. My fear is that I’ll be less informed. His counter-offer is that allowing myself the full pleasure and experience of the meal will be so life-enhancing that other areas will open up exponentially.
Isn’t that always the fear with letting go of a habit? That there will only be a void in its place, not a remarkable outcome. I’m willing to trust the wisdom of the teachers I choose to guide me in this new direction. It’s challenging, to say the least. But what extraordinary feats are accomplished that aren’t challenging?