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The Coach is IN (the cafe): 12 tips to: ‘Should I stay or should I go?’

18 Jun

Should I stay or should I go?

aka

Do we marry or is to time to find my true love?

two dinosaurs 'in love'

This was K’s question as we squeezed a chat in between her travels in and out of NYC.   K’s destination:  her relationship’s future with her life-long boyfriend.   I asked about a rumor I’d heard from a man she thought was ‘perfect’ for me: ‘K’ and her boyfriend ‘B’ were engaged!   (He wasn’t perfect – at least for me, and as for them, well read on)

‘K’ and I met during my travels and have occasionally met up over the last few years.  We have an interesting connection, likely due to a shared passion, the focus of her work venture.   With enviable energy and resolve she is pulling people together and ‘broadcasting’ their voices.  She’s young:  mid-twenties and been with “B’ for over ten years.  Romance and problems merge into the expectation they will be together forever.   ‘B’ and ‘K’ have been traveling for the last few weeks – half the time with her colleagues.

First,  how can this single soul  talk about life-long love?

Here’s the true thing about discussing everything and anything:  People usually give opinions, project biases, and share fears.  While it’s part of friendship,  it’s not (always) helpful.

Admittedly I couldn’t help K. from experience.  Absolutely I could help her as a coach.  Coaching focuses on listening , asking the right questions and providing needed tools,  are the best skills to have as a friend, manager, and parent.

'B' and 'K' adventure.  Carnival cruise ship.

‘B’ and ‘K’ adventure. Carnival cruise ship.

Over 2:00 p.m. drinks at a cafe on 34th Street, ‘K’ shared:  ‘B’s grumbles included time ‘K’ spent with their traveling companions, the changing itinerary, and money.’

Doesn’t everyone grumble about money?

Within sips, we’re both tipsy, easing me into coach mode.  ‘K’ said working through their issues was appropriate in a 20 year marriage with kids. Not for them before marriage.

My thoughts:  regardless of whether ‘B’ was the one, understanding the issues and their values (use this activity!) would help them sort out their future and ultimately help ‘K’ get the love she deserves.  Pulling out paper and a pen that didn’t work, I drew my DiSC quadrant diagram.

'K' and 'B' style circled in pink!

‘K’ and ‘B’ style circled in pink!

Here’s a cursory sum:  they’re both task focused.  ‘K’ is Dominant:  focuses on action (often)  ‘her way’ – and why she is successfully launching her innovative venture, and, very personable.  ‘B’ is Conscientious:  logical, and a planner.  ‘B’ hates schedule changes:  and this trip’s itinerary fluctuations.

‘K’ instantly got the simplicity of it all, relaxing her faster than our rum.

 

80% of conflict is due to style (Dr. Donna Springer):  a HUGE part of ‘B’ and ‘K’s challenges (and for all of us).  Communication style, is part of, but not your whole personality.  Style explains how we behave, act, and react.

People may be jerks (which is how we usually define someone different).   Style identifies specific ‘jerkdom’ behaviors bugging ‘K’ and ‘B’.

couple arguing

Here are 12 tips about style and conflict:

  1. You know that class or book you want to take about dealing with difficult people?  It’s all about their different styles.
  2. People won’t change – will you?  Didn’t think so.  But you can understand them.
  3. Realize that gurgling conflict between you and someone else is about style.  Don’t look at it personally.
  4. Realize that your judgement about someone being ______ (fill in the blank:  aggressive, pushy, flaky, unreliable, etc). is about style – not a character flaw.  Remember you have flaws too.  In fact we ALL have them.  Embrace them.
  5. Be aware of what you judge people about:  it will help you understand your own style better.  ‘K’ doesn’t like ‘B’s inability to go with a flow – but then she often redirects the flow mid-stream without concern!
  6. Don’t judge.  It doesn’t make you superior, right, or better.  You are not.  It just makes you less likely to ever have a meaningful relationship with that person.
  7. If you don’t know the DiSC or have a friend like me  (who is a coach), be aware that those behavior difference you don’t like are likely communication style differences.  I know this is a repeat – it’s that important.
  8. Listen.  That means not talking about yourself and not judging what the other person is saying because it is not about you: what you say, think, or feel.
  9. Be aware of what the other person is focusing on.  That will tell you what’s important to them.  If it’s important for you to relate to them.
  10. Be aware of what’s important to you and what YOU focus on.  This is indicative of your style.  Don’t see it as abnormal or a character flaw if it’s not what other’s expect, especially if it’s different from your family.
  11. Ask questions like ‘Tell me more’.  Then listen – without judgement.
  12. Learn about yourself.  Style is a big part of our identity and explains all those freaky things each of us do that are normal for us based on our style.

What’s your style?

How can style help you decide if you should stay or go in love and work? 

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Keep your Dance Partner and Avoid the Conflict Dance with these 5 steps

17 Jun

Toe-tapping and ready to groove to the music?  

Intrigued by a dance invitation?

Well, there’s the 2-step, the waltz, and then there’s the conflict dance.

I always say that every conflict starts with an invitation.  An invitation to get all hot under the collar.  The only dance that’s never cool.

better invite dance

It’s a decision.  It takes two to tango and two to argue.

Your partner has an itch – and ‘dancing’ with you will scratch it.

‘K’ told me how ‘B’ filled her dance card:  they were on a nice romantic cruise after a week of travel and conferencing.

‘B’ brought up the money issue with a huffy ‘I spent SO much money on this romantic cruise.’  He talked numbers. ‘K’s toe started tapping itching to rumba through his rumbles.

pointing finger man at woman

After all, ‘No one puts Baby in the corner!‘ How dare he bring up money?

They  talked about the trip’s finances before they left.  She talked numbers.

I broke it to her as gently as I could:  ‘Sometimes arguments about money aren’t about money.  (Of course, sometimes they are…)  

Money is the number one fight between couples and is a leading cause of divorce!

And then I shared my  3 steps to avoid the conflict dance (and appreciate the perks of being a wallflower:

Step 1:  Avoid the seduction and heat of the moment: Recognize the ‘invitation for what it is.  An invitation to fight/argue.

‘B’ knew exactly which of ‘K’s buttons to push to ‘pump up the volume’ so to speak.  In responding, she did exactly what he wanted her to do:  dance back.

Here’s where you decide:  Do you wanna dance?  Especially realizing you’re not going to be arguing about the ‘real’ issue.

(Note:  if you do want to fight just to fight be aware of your motives. We’ve all known couples (in particular) who get into screaming matches that last for days with no end in sight and so hope of resolving the issue.)

woman aghast

Step 2:  Say:  NOTHING!  Especially if you’re also angry, since before you know it you’ll be in a dancing furry. ‘K’ responded in the way most of us would by telling ‘B’ what she had paid for including air fare and hotel.  While this is true, it was just enough to escalate the situation so they were stomping on each other’s toes.

two dancers dise by side

Better is to stop and just think a minute about what you want:  if you want to preserve the relationship:

Step 3:  Listen.  FYI:  Listening will turn the fastest twirl into a seductive slow dance – and here I mean the good kind. Your partner may not have brought up the main issue, but address it respectfully.  Giving someone what they want will ease the path to communication and connection.

Step 4:  Give your listened response – not your high kick (initial) one. Rather than sharing a detailed expense report, ‘

K’s better response would have been: “I really do appreciate this cruise”, or “I really appreciate us being here”, or “Thank you for this great cruise” or something like that.  Chances are this is what she would have said at a later time. This thank you and acknowledgement would have turned off the music to ‘B’s conflict prance. If your partner drops it, let it go temporarily.

relaxed time

If s/he doesn’t, or definitely at a later time:

Step 5:  Bring the issue a little closer and ask for more (info) The issue will come up again (as we all know), so stand on tippy-toes, and in ‘K’s situation ask: ‘You know the other day when you brought up _?  I wonder if we could spend a few minutes talking about money?”

choose how we dance saying

Repeat:  ” I appreciated the cruise (or what you appreciated!) and would like to know more about how you feel paying for it:

Or

“What would make you feel better considering both of our financial situations?’

Or

‘What could we do differently next time that would make you feel better?’

Often, if you are both relaxed at this point, your partner will talk about what the real issue is/was.

In ‘K’s situation, she was talking to me, not ‘B’.  Though she did realize he was probably feeling put off because she had (professionally) spent so much time with  other men during the conference and their travels. As in all conflicts, this one goes deeper…  Next, I’ll share ‘K’ and ‘B’s communication style differences.  I also recommended they go through their values.  It’s all a start – a good start!  And I know they deserve the best.

What causes you to do the conflict dance?

Empathy: Be kind

7 Jan

I love this quote, so key, so true of empathy:

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.
by Saint Philo of Alexandria

(and recently read in the book, ‘The other side of the world’, by Jay Neugeboren)

I always think of empathy as the key to connecting and understanding others – and even myself.  While this post is from one of my other blogs:  http://identity5772.wordpress.com, it certainly is essential to communication.  And what’s more fashionable than shoes, but good communication!

Here’s to blister-free walking this week!

Shes!  When did shoes become the go-to destination for journeys to nirvana?  When did well-appointed heels turn cads into princes and transform us plain girls to ‘sex-y in the city’?   Or has footwear always been as important to fashion as the saying: ‘Don’t judge me until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes’  has been to identity and peace?

Does our penchant for buying shoes, amassing Imelda Marcos or Carrie Bradshaw sized collections speak to our need to understand others?   Do new shoes provide  the potential and ability to walk that mile to understanding?

My footwear reflects my soul and mirrors my identity.  My journeys are on

Shoes fit for my very long journeys

foot and I’ve learned the hard way that Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahnik’s derail my  joy into train wrecks.

Footwear can define identity, and, is just as complicated.   I recently told a dear friend, ‘we may wear the same size, but we like and wear very different shoes – literally and figuratively’.

It can be hard to understand someone you love.  Someone  whose footwear appears interchangeable with your own.  Different styles, different

One pre-Xmas night, a group of young men were camped in front of a shoe store on 34th Street in Manhattan. They were spending the night to be first in line to buy the ‘newest’ sneakers. What kind? What did they look like? No-one knew – just that they wanted them.

toes add difficulty relating to the owner of the heart-pumping-blood to those other  toes. As a species focusing on souls, rather than soles, and the miles journeyed, can surely help promote listening, peace and, understanding identity.

Empathy, the ability to put yourself into someone else’s shoes, to listen for  identity without bias or judgement.   Knowing and doing are two totally different things.

Empathy can improve communication and connection, if that  first giant step is taken:  to understand what someone else is feeling or what they need.

Swapping metaphoric  ‘shoes’:  Would any genocide occur if perpetrators imagined themselves, or their mothers, or wives, or children as victims?  Would they say ‘NO’ to crimes of hate?

This must be a key to peace as I wrote about in my recent post ‘Peace Requires Listening’.

Daniel Lubetzky,CEO of Kind Bars and PeaceWorks remarked (one of) the key to Palestinian-Israeli peace is for Israeli’s to listen to Palestinian needs.  I think a shoe swap and long survival hike might help.

I’ve often found empathy, along with blisters, after finding myself on a path with someone I’ve judged.  ‘Blisters’ force me to slow down, open my eyes, acknowledge the pain.

It’s painful to listen if we are not sure of our identity, or we are not on firm footing ourselves. In Vilna, Lithuania (‘Dinner in Vilna’), Lilly said she was unhappy before she focused her identity and connected with Judaism.

Some say shoe shopping, especially during a sale, is a religious experience. There are other ways to worship.

Empathy.  Walking that metaphoric mile.  Several years ago, I discovered the cure:

Imagine these pills shaped like SHOES: Empathy pills!

A pill.

A shoe-shaped empathy pill.  

Mid-judgement, mid-hate action, a quick pill pop would change everything with, ‘Here, walk a mile in my shoes.  Have an empathy pill.’

As soon as a pharmaceutical company gets back to me, I’ll take your orders.

In the meantime, how has a pair of shoes helped you understand others, or, shaped or defined your identity? 

What leg of your journey has developed your empathy?

Tongues vs. Thumbs: Urban Ambassadors ‘vote’ results, Part 2

26 Jul

When you’re lucky enough to chat with Urban Ambassadors in the park, the future is filled with bright possibilities.

Our discussion was wily and and as discussed last time, begged for tangents darting to school,  A Better Chance Program’ trips, and of course, girls.

How odd we must have looked to passersby:  a middle aged white woman surrounded by nine non-white teenage boys?  We’re attracting lots of looks, a few guys point out, so we rearrange ourselves, putting my coaching sign back on the table.  The sign had been on the ground so I could see everyone’s eyes and faces.

The Ambassadors listening intently!

People want to talk and be listened to, as the posse reminded me.  Conversations like these could go the distance, bridging people and building understanding.

The importance of conversations and communication takes front and center stage.  In this day and age I have to ask about their communication preference:  tongues vs. thumbs?

Tongues rolled in response and a vote revealed a preference of 7 tongues to 2eithers’.   Wow – I’m surprised though I shouldn’t be since these guys are talking -to me- on a hot afternoon.  I see their ‘tongue’ vote as a thumbs up for opposable thumbs and humankind’s love of face-to-face interactions.

‘After texting, you may change your mind and then, there’s nothing you can do’, one Ambassador shared with universal agreement.

Next consideration was about the ubiquitous ‘LOL’ at the end of the message.  ‘It doesn’t mean anything anymore.  You just add it all the time’ was one summary of  this text’ accessory.   Adding a little ‘frownie’ face is more meaningful.

Now this doesn’t mean cell phones don’t serve a greater purpose, especially on the subway as one told:  ‘I have a friend who pulls out his phone as soon as he sits down even though there’s no service.’  

It’s taken me more than a few years to realize people play games underground, explaining their ‘palmed’ focus.  Is he playing games I wondered?

‘NO!  He just doesn’t want to talk to anyone!’ 

While I usually view the subway as the perfect melting pot, for many it is their

Bryant Park is also quite the melting pot of people and entertainment including piano playing! If you’ve never spent an hour roaming this small square – do it! It’s amazing what you’ll find!

decompression chamber after a tough day.  So I do get it.

If texting is a ‘no’ what about Facebook, cyberspace’s 24/7 ‘happy hour’ meet and greet?  Will they cross the great divide for a FB ‘like’?

One scary and cautionary tale:  Two girls went missing after going to a Facebook ‘hook-up’.  As the Ambassador wisely stated:  ‘Everything public is dangerous.’

Six of the nine have Facebook pages, so yes, it fares a bit better.  But having a page and ‘liking ‘it’ are two different things.  Especially when it comes to connecting with the opposite sex.

Offering a friend request on-line is often met with rejection – even after the girl had expressed interest in connecting.   This was really frustrating to these guys.  ‘They (girls) say they want to talk.  But they don’t.’

This multi-sided coin reveals great Facebook relationships.  Unfortunately these relationships aren’t great in ‘real life’.

One thing is apprarent with the Ambassadors.  These nine, really nice, open, intelligent young men live in ‘real life’.  Armed with humor, great conversation skills and drive, I think, I hope, they’ll continue to nurture skills for meaningful relationships and ‘real’ communication.

Yup!  Human connection and communication are alive and well in NYC.  

Let’s all make a phone call today and hear someone LOL – for ‘real’!  

I’ll be back in Bryant Park next Wednesday the 1st of August!  Stay cool!

Urban Ambassadors: The Coach is IN: A Talk in the Park

24 Jul

A posse of nine young men parading through Bryant Park attracts attention.  But then again, that is exactly what they want!

I look up as they noisily passed, stop, and glance back at my sign – and me.  Holding the sign and offering a coaching session intensify their huddle.   Within

The coach is IN and ready!

minutes the pack breaks as one strides towards me, the posse trailing behind.

J. plunks a quarter down in payment for five sessions.   Here’s the scene so far:  9 guys standing, smiling, staring in wait at my table.  This feels like fun!

They scatter to find chairs, forming a semi-circle around me.  I suddenly feel like Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society.   No worries:  no table jumping for me.  My coordination is not on par with my coaching skills. 

As introduction, J. shares his stunt  pulled walking across the Park’s lawn.  His ‘jump’ meant to amuse and entertain the posse (and everyone watching) doesn’t match his deadpan expression.  It’s quickly obvious he’s the group’s entertainer.  I can’t help but assess his communication style.

The conversation becomes a free-for-all as at least seven voices compete to be heard, each telling variations of who they are and where they’ve been.  Order is quickly restored and they resolve their only conflict by taking turns and raising hands to speak.  In reality their issue is a search for conversation and acknowledgement.  Sitting back, I settle in to listen.

The Urban Ambassador (A Better Chance) crew: nine of the nicest guys you’d want to spend the afternoon talking to.

So, who are these guys? 

Introductions are exchanged with strong handshakes and good eye contact.  Unsurprisingly this is part of their ‘training’.  I define a handshake as a transfer of energy – a desire to share energy with another, I’m rewarded with a firmer grip.

Proudly, they tell me they are Urban Ambassadors and rising Juniors.  They are high achieving young men of color in low achieving schools, participating in ‘A Better Chance’, a program which mentors, and supports them to go to college and fulfill their potential.

Their potential and drive shines through.  T. shares his interest in business, in success and tells me he always strives to do better.  An imperfect grade, raises questions while pushing for that next level.  T. joins J. in leading the conversation, allowing his communication style to become clear.

Normally they are in suits and show the pics to prove it.  Today’s casual attire reflects the day’s activity:  bowling at Times Square Bowlmor Lanes.  www.bowlmor.com/timessquare  

Next week, they’re off to Washington, D.C.  for the second time.  A first visit focused on colleges including Howard University.  Business seems a popular career interest, except for M., an artist observing from the back.

SAT preparation occupies many of their days.  Test taking is a skill and we discuss strategies.  A few mention the need for more time to think and fully process questions while the others comment on how more than one answer makes sense.

One question comes up based on an experience this morning.   No-one stopped to help them when they asked for directions.  Why not?   These guys are SO intent

N. paying a bonus in appreciation!

and SO interested in understanding human behavior.  What could I say other than to keep trying and keep smiling.  Not that these guys are the type to give up.

These Urban Ambassadors live up to their ‘title’ in exuding personality and ‘niceness’.   It’s striking how intently they listen to each other and to me.  Listening is one of those skills I usually think of as being on the endangered list.

In this day and age of tongues vs. thumbs communication, I couldn’t help but ask about their preference for connecting.

And that’s a whole other story, so I”ll share it next it time.

Overcoming skill-building challenges with Friends: The Coach is IN: A Talk in the Park! Vol. 7

16 Jul

What frustrates you about friends and colleagues?

How have you overcome challenges when working and learning with friends?

N. was focused and open about his challenge and issue to be resolved as he sat at my Bryant Park coaching table.

A relationship conflict:  mixing business with friendship, or more specifically having goal focused skill building sessions with a friend.  One slight problem:  his “friend doesn’t appear to be doing the work”.  His friend appears to be “holding himself back.”

Listening, I knew it was time to focus N.’s challenge by using MoMA (Moments of Awareness) https://communicationessentials.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/decisive-actio…the-park-vol-4/ ‎:

Q1:  What are you feeling:  frustration

Q2:  What do you want:  Growth – in the skill they are both working to develop

Q3:  What can you do differently:  Let him go at his own pace

Sounds good, right?  It took us time to ‘get here’.  Strong emotion guided his frustration.   Answers to these questions initially focused on his friend: what his friend needed to do, what his friend wasn’t doing.

N.”wondered why people ‘do that’.  He wanted his friend take action and pursue this skill growth with his discipline.  Confessing he couldn’t change his friend didn’t make it easier to focus.  It never does.

Further discussion found N. sharing this same frustration with others:  his dad and with those he coaches for medical school interviews.  He admitted he becomes frustrated when he is asked the same question 3 times.  He doesn’t want to waste people’s time – even if they don’t mind.

The DiSC is a great tool for insight into action, reactions, conflict, and career focus. This image is from www.suehansonspeaks.com. To take an on-line assessment go to: http://www.personalitystyle.com

 The essential two tools:  I believe are indispensable to provide N. insight into his behavior.   The results can provide direction and strategies to achieve his goal and  eventual answer to Q3 above:  letting his friend go at his own pace.

  1.  The DiSC assessment tool.  http://www.personalitystyle.com  will identify his communication style. This good quick version of the tool provides great information.  (Stay focused on one aspect of your life as you take it.  Questions?  The Coach is IN)
  2. The values assessment tool tunes you to:  ‘the radio station we all listen to’:  WIIFM:  What’s In It For Me.  WIIFM’s are our values and explain our motivation and a key to action AND insight into underlying causes of conflict.  N.’s values are (likely) key to his own motivation -and conflict with his friend’s actions.  A very simple assessment tool:  http://www.career-test.biz/values_assessment.htm .                                            Values also drive our financial decisions, so use them to assess your spending and saving actions!

The hard part of course is putting it together and understanding (for N.) his own behavior and then recognizing his friend likely has a very different style and values.  Recognizing, accepting, and learning from these tools are key, and, I can’t repeat it enough even for myself, challenging.

N.’s next step is to communicate his needs to his friend.  He can only talk about himself  and his needs and should’s.  This is a great opportunity to begin a conversation and learn more about his friend.

I suggested a modified ‘I Statement‘ approach adding some open-ended questions:

  • The reason I want to build this skill is:
  • I want to build it with you because:
  • It’s important to me because:
  • I get frustrated when you (specific action)
  • What is your reason to build this skill?
  • Why do you want to work with me?
  • Why is important to you?
  • What do you think we can do differently for us both to grow better at this skill?

Our 10 minute session stretched to almost 30 minutes as we went through these 2 tools and 2 processes.  A full coaching session (as N. and I discussed) would work through the assessment results and fully formulate communication strategies to use with his friend and interview coaching clients!

A good first start and a good demonstration of how coaching meets my value for meaning (and helping others).   

How do your values match your daily actions? 

The Coach is IN: ‘A Talk in the Park’: Volume 3

8 Jul

Why is it so hard to really, truly, share a deep, dark desire or wish?

Why would YOU step away from success into uncharted – challenging territory?

Nabbing a table and chairs for ‘clients’ in NYC’s Bryant Park, I arrange my sign, sit, and turn-on an expectant and slightly hesitant smile.    I look at the movie

My coaching sign! The blue ‘board’ in the background becomes the movie screen for Bryant Park’s Monday night movies. This week’s show was ‘The Wizard of Oz’

screen where I watched ‘The Wizard of Oz’ a few days ago and imagine myself as OZ.   Coaching after all can provide a home, a brain, heart and courage.

Feeling like the Cowardly Lion, I realize I could use a little courage.  Coaching in the Park is scary:  What if no-one sits?  What if I have nothing to say, nothing to add?   Recognizing my fear sends my empathy into high gear.   I’m here.   I have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

After 5 very long minutes I wonder if I’ll only have my own fear to coach. Offering a session  to the young French ex-pat to my left boosts my confidence.    He declines with a smile, telling me  ‘A Talk in the Park’ is a great idea.

Flaunting his French charm, he recommends my coaching session to a young woman in a bright green dress.  Never underestimate a French flirt!     Glancing between him, me, my sign, she considers a moment before taking a seat.

I’ve raised my price to 5 cents, taking my cue from Lucy (see Vol. 2).   She hesitates at the nickel charge.  Or is it my imagination?

What’s on her mind?  Curiosity.  She (I’ll call her WIG, for woman in green) was

Self-published author Garrett Robinson reading from his book ‘Zoe’ in Bryant Park

curious about coaching and its benefits.  She ‘got’ I was promoting my services.  WIG  is a writer for a large print publication.  I’m really, really impressed.  Published writers in print publications occupy coveted positions these days.  WIG’s success arrived BIG and early:  straight from college.

I’m thinking we should switch seats.

Hesitating, WIG starts laughing, a great open-mouth laugh twinged with a private joke.    The joke: she does have a ‘question’.  The joke: she can’t believe she is going to share this secret with someone she doesn’t know.

Using Moments of Awareness I ask:

Q1:  What is she feeling?:  Restless and ready for a change, a challenge.

Q2:  What does she want?: After years of critical writing she wants to try writing creatively, maybe a novel.

Q3:  What is she doing to prevent herself from getting what she wants?:  The usual ‘yes, buts’/what ifs’:  What if she can’t think of anything to write?  What if her writing is BAD?

WIG is secure and successful.  WHY CHANGE and scarily jump into the unknown?

I reminded WIG what she wanted:  to stretch her talents .

Wanting is easier than doing, right?

My suggestions:

  •  Start small.  Stop editing your decision and your fear of the unknown.
  • Write for short periods of time a few times a week.  Set a schedule and timeline
  • Get support and someone to be accountable to
  • Write without editing and/or direction at first – just WRITE.
  • Write for ‘x’ months before editing or judging your work.
  • I’ll add now: WIG,  Write for fun and about YOUR interests.  Keep a list of possible topics in case you get stuck.
  •  Write and find your voice:  your creative vs. critical voice.
  • Then set new goals.

Was this session valuable?  I got a thankfull $5.00 bonus!

WIG:  keep me posted.  Remember you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

How can these suggestions help you stretch yourself into new territories?  

How can you support yourself or a friend to take a new step?

A Talk in the Park: The coach is IN: Volume 1

26 Jun

What issues challenge you?  What changes do you want to make in yourself or your community?  How will talking focus your action and turn internal questioning into confidence?  Can progress can be made in 10 minutes?  Well, let me tell you!

Channeling my inner Lucy from the Peanuts cartoon, I paraded my “Doctor is IN” sign offering free coaching.  The goal:  To help people take positive action to improve relationships, career,  finances, and manage conflict.

My role model! I’m looking for regular clients and even willing to step out of the (cardboard) box to talk!

nuts.wikia.com/wiki/Lucy%27s_psychiatry_booth?image=Lucy-van-pelt-1–jpg

Lucy sports a fancy cardboard booth, gives great advice, and as far as I can tell is my greatest competition.   Building on my three dimensionality –  a HUGE advantage – sparked my creativity.   Not confined to a page I can walk around to  potential clients, sign in hand.  After reading my post about this intention http://identity5772.wordpress.com, left my brother Owen wondering ‘if I’d lost it‘.  Rest assured, doing this in Union Square nudges me only slightly higher on the ‘nut’ scale.

Resting my impatience on a bench introduced me to my first ‘client’. Sitting and patiently reading,  ‘S’,  a middle-aged African-American woman was taking notes in advance of launching her new business:  helping unemployed people with resources.  I have to admit, she deserved my nickel.  She offered thoughts about my three areas, believing there is a strong need for spirituality.   Questioning focus is a key component of coaching. Thanks to her perceptiveness, conversation ultimately linked spirituality into the advertised areas of relationships, career and finance.    Our great conversation led to a potential partnership in her venture!

S’s assessment:  coaching would be a nutritious appetizer in a soup kitchen/food pantry.

Winding through Union Square’s bench lined path led me to George Ivey (who asked that I use his name), reading Michelle Alexander’s “The new Jim Crow Laws” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Jim_Crow.  Skeptically, he agreed to a ‘session’, communicating nonverbal challenge about my possibility for success.  GULP!

Filled with emotion and the frustration of the racism and inequality that still exists, George reminded me  its impact on everything from ‘stop and frisk’ to economics.  Questioning revealed his  feeling trapped.  Trapped, yet actively seeking paths to promote change including leading a scout troop at his church.  Or rather a past and future activity.   The new incoming pastor is supportive of this youth group.  Clearly a powerful example of a good leader!

Sensing George’s continued frustration led to further probing about what ‘he wanted’.  Uncovering the need for education, he focused on the idea of an African-American history class, combining the format of movie and discussion.  Good ideas need good plans and when asked about the steps he needed to take to accomplish his goal, his first one was to buy a notebook on his way home.

Buy a notebook!  So simple and exactly the right way to start!  George has this great vision.   Juggling the coordination and planning needed could easily snowball into a burying avalanche.  Securing the right tools provides needed initial focus.  Next, we talked through additional steps.  He came up with a chart to outline possible speakers and topics.  The last step in our short session focused on when.  Shooting for fall isn’t good enough.  The need for a specific date identified the first Saturday in October.

Asking George if he was satisfied with our progress produced a half-smile.  He shook his head vertically with undercurrents of enthusiasm!

My coaching strategies with George:  The tool:  using the three questions of Moments of Awareness (see About Communication Essentials) uncovered and focused action based on frustration.  Action: outline a few first steps.  More time and continued follow-up would flush out additional steps and a tight timeline.

George promised to keep in touch!    With luck he will share how he’s doing and the specifics of his October event (and which I’ll attend)!

Tomorrow:  N’s courageous life change, understanding communication and behavioral styles (DiSC) and the results of our ‘talk in the park’ coaching session!

Dinosaur Communication – Tongues vs. Thumbs

14 Jun

I’m a  bit of a dinosaur.

The good news is, that we are never as alone as we think!

I prefer face to face conversations, writing letters on stationary dropped into a mailbox on the corner.   My palm  is open and empty.  I walk the city focused on feeling while resisting the trend to record and capture ‘the moment’.  I lug around a paper book , savoring the feel, the mustiness.  Tentatively holding a page between my fingertips, that millisecond before turning it to the ‘been there, read ‘that’ side adds sweetness to my read.  My books are strewn with pieces of paper marking remarkable quotes and scenes to be reread on a whim.

Evolution is inevitable and species either adapt or become extinct.   Life and technology changes, moving us forward.   My preferences are becoming archeological treasure while my survival instincts kick in.  Why I can text, and LIKE it!  I can be a 21st century woman though that definition is still being written.    To be sure, how and what we communicate has evolved and now resides in this century.  These change effects how we interact, relate, and feel

Remember meeting and talking at the water cooler before water bottles and emailing messages across cubicles? Interestingly, the people pictured are ‘older’. Are water coolers extinct? How much office culture is created over a shared beverage?

about ourselves and our relationships.  How can it not?  Right?

Cyberspace must need well-trained air traffic controllers to handle flying messages.  I sometimes think counting messages is the modern-day equivalent of counting ‘coup’.   I love listening to a friend’s messages, knowing we will both laugh at the same thing at the same time in the message.  Does a written LOL count as a shared laugh?

And yet, it is so seductively easy to send a text, an email rather than press

What’s wrong with this picture? Is there anywhere we don’t text anymore?

the keys to call and connect to a friend.  It gets the ‘job’ done, too easily, too quickly.

But here’s one thing I think, I know for sure:  while our thumbs are winning the competition with our tongues in communicating and connecting, our basic human needs to be acknowledged and LISTENED to still need to be met.    And I wonder if the partnership of thumbs and technology will ‘do it’ for us.

(I’ll stay clear of references to tongues, other than with respect to the physical act of talking.)

Communication is like playing catch with a ball tossed between two or more people.  These days, that ball is often tossed into cyberspace, caught, assumedly,

Never to young to learn to ‘play’

unreturned, or twittered as a fly ball with the hope that someone, somewhere, will catch it.

Communication is the game to play!  Playing is a way to get that need to be acknowledged and listened to met.   Blogs, twitter, and, Facebook bolster hope someone ‘out there’ is acknowledging and ‘listening’ by reading. I hope you are there.  Are you?   It’s a great effort, but it’s NOT playing catch.  Unless you leave a comment.

Game on!  It’s tongues vs. thumbs

Which satisfies your need for communication and connection? 

VOTE by checking out the next post!!! Which do you prefer (or use more often) tongues or thumbs or tongues to communicate??? Leave a comment!

Which do you prefer to actually use?

My suspicion:   many of us miss and crave face-to-face ‘catch’, a.k.a. two-way conversation and connection.

 Do you spend enough time sitting across a table, waiting for a raised eyebrow, a hint of a smile, or                                                    sharing tear-induced laughter?

I  miss it!

So here’s my question: 

 is ‘thumb-communication’ an evolutionary advantage to tongue-communication?

Where do you get your quality ‘tongue’ or face-to-face communication?

As a dinosaur, I’m flexing my thumbs and doing all I can to propagate face to face, ‘old-fashioned tongue’ communication   (i.e. talk!).

Stay tuned for posts filled with stories and tips about how communication is the key to survival.

Join with me and share your thoughts on how we can naturally select how we communicate and thrive!