Posts in perspective
Coaching: The Key to Getting Unstuck

One of the local papers runs my coaching content weekly.

They use this caption for my "Coach's Corner" column.

I hadn't seen it before. And I love it.

Unlike other interventions, coaching is all about taking the ideas and magic already in a client's head and helping them unravel, organize and make sense of it, while setting aside the things that have been holding them back.

Standard client comments: "I know I need to ___ (take action) but can't because ___ (limiting belief.)"

Coaching empowers people to move forward and get things done.

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Make What’s Most Important Most Important

One morning last week, I made myself my favorite breakfast – fruit-filled pancakes – before heading downstairs to my home office to get my day started.

Shortly before I finished, I used some of the batter to prepare a plain pancake for my teenage daughter (she doesn’t seem to feel that pancakes and fruit go together), and she decided to sit down to eat it. This is a girl that almost never eats breakfast, certainly not in the kitchen.

So, instead of making my way downstairs, I sat down right there in the kitchen and ate with her.

We chatted about breakfast, school, and other stuff.

It was short but pleasant and a great way for both if us to start our days.

Sometimes, in our rush to get to work and (officially) start our days, we jump in, power up and plow ahead, leaving our lives behind for the time being.

At least, that’s what usually happens to me.

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Making the best of a down market

How can we stay positive when the "weather" that surrounds us is bleak?

Here are some tips:

  1. Find the positives ➕ - In every situation, there are positives and things to be grateful for. Despite the rain, the weather is quite warm. Actually, the warmest we're had in weeks. A down market offers opportunities to buy on the cheap. Reduced volume gives us time to think and strategize about how to grow when the trends reverse.

  2. It's all pointing up ⬆️ - Starting tomorrow, the day will begin to lengthen. It will be a long climb, but it will happen. The rain will clear out as well. We can't predict when we've hit bottom in our personal lives, but past experiences tell us that better days are ahead.

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12 Personal “T.H.A.N.K.S.G.I.V.I.N.G” Reasons To Show Appreciation

Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays of the year.

For many, it’s a time to be with family and enjoy delicious food (and some football).

It’s also the kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

At its essence, though, Thanksgiving is all about gratitude,

Whether you choose to remember how early American settlers survived a difficult winter or something more recent and personal, Thanksgiving gives us all opportunity to pause and reflect about all the goodness in our lives and say, “Thank you.”

🙏 “Thank you” for your gifts

🙏 “Thank you” for your opportunities

🙏 “Thank you” to the special people in your life

🙏 “Thank you” to the Being that produced you

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Learn to Let it Go

When I say that haven’t recited this prayer properly I refer mainly to the above paragraph. After all, there have been people who have hurt me, sometimes in serious ways. They seemed very content with their behavior and most did not seek forgiveness. Even though I recognize that if we all – myself included – willingly forgave one another then we would all be able to approach God for the atonement that we desperately seek. But still, it was so hard to forgive sometimes, especially is their behavior hurt my career and/or affected my family. I suspect that most of us have struggled with this point. We simply have a hard time letting go and are prepared to hold grudges indefinitely when we feel that we were right, even to our own detriment.

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Learn to measure, measure, measure 📏

My eyes can deceive me quite a bit.

Over the past two months, I have embarked in some house-related projects. One was to redo our front walk. The other was to level the area underneath an over-ground pool.

Because my home 🏡 is on a hill, an optical illusion is created that makes flat surfaces appear sloped.

When I saw our completed walk, something just didn’t look right.

And after adding substantial top soil to one end of the pool 🤽 site to even things out and prevent water for building on one end, it still seemed uneven.

However, when I used a level 📐 (a tool that indicates how flat a surface is), I saw that the surface is in fact flat.

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What do you want to become independent of?

“Independence means that the amount of value you take from other people is equal to or less than the amount of value you put back. It doesn’t mean you don’t need other people. And it doesn’t mean you avoid other people’s help.” Scott Young

As we near July 4, we have many things to think about, such as…

🗽 The great country (USA) that so many of us live in, that grants us so many personal freedoms

🗽 The many sacrifices of others, on the battlefield 🔫 and in the political arena, to ensure and sustain those freedoms

🗽 The awesomeness of BBQs 🌭 and fireworks 🎆, even if they have nothing to do with independence

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Choose Substance Over Form

When I knew that I would be moving on from my role of school Headmaster five years ago, I considered two primary pathways forward. One was another school leadership position. The other was to become a leadership coach and consultant. A variety of factors would point me in the latter direction, which I have been traveling on for the past five years. But this was only possible due to my willingness to open up to new possibilities and not allow myself to become stuck along the one path that I had come to know so well.

In their timeless presentation on the perils of leadership (Leadership on the Line, HBR Press, 2002, pp. 218ff,) authors Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky caution leaders to worry less about the form of their work and focus instead on the substance or essence of their contribution. We tend to come to think of ourselves by the form of what we do (“I am a mayor”, “I am a business executive”, “I am a professional athlete”, etc.) and struggle to make sense of things when our positions and status change, voluntarily or not. Suddenly, the stay-at-home mom with an empty nest, the non-profit leader who had not been renewed, the politician on the wrong side of an election, the retired technician or the laid-off laborer find themselves disoriented, with a reduced sense of purpose and unclear direction.

Without question, such periods can be very difficult and confusing, particularly when they occur suddenly and are imposed from without. But when a person chooses to identify first by who they are as people and what motivates them in the service of others, they can more easily and confidently move forward.

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Is it Father's Day or Father Day?

How did you spend your Father’s Day?

Full disclosure: I’m one of the purists (if I can call my self that) who says that “every day is Father’s Day”. So, in my house, there’s no big celebration, no gifts of ties or toolsets.

Instead, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. Putting together my kids’ pool, that is.

Pools, even the inflatable variety, take real work to assemble and properly fill (I did well on the former but not so great on the latter – hard to get it all even and fully balanced, but that’s for a different post).

But the weather was hot, and the kids were pining for the pool, so out went dad in his finest shmatas (Yiddish for upscale yard attire) for hours of fun in the sun (before the real fun began, of course).

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