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Posts Tagged ‘Relationships’

Yes, this was me, some months ago. My stylist actually called in sick twice in one week…the first time, the salon called to let me know, and rescheduled me for a couple of days later. I showed up early and waited nearly 30 minutes (there was no receptionist on duty — just stylists all with clients) before someone decided to tell me he’d called in sick, again.

I was so frustrated and upset, I was nearly in tears, but it’s not what you think. And, it’s not uncommon. I’ve heard similar stories from many of the women in my inner circle — and extended network — on numerous occasions.

It wasn’t actually about the haircut. The root of the issue (no pun intended) is this: As usual, I had a lot going on in my life, and had waited until my hair was truly out of shape, out of style, and just downright unruly before I’d called to make an appointment, which meant about another 10 days before I could actually get into the salon. It’s not as if I wasn’t aware that within a certain number of weeks of my last cut, that my hair would have grown and would need some professional attention. The issue was I had chosen to put my needs last, after my family, my business, my personal growth, etc…Commendable, maybe, but not conducive to peace or good mental health over time.

I was so looking forward to an hour of true down time, when someone else would be fully focused on me and my only responsibility was to sit upright in the chair; at that point, I needed that. So, when I finally took the time for myself and the stylist didn’t show up, I was at the end of my emotional reserves!

Ladies, tell me you haven’t been there…whether it was your hair stylist, nail technician, massage therapist, or a girlfriend you were planning to have coffee or lunch with…The stars were no longer in alignment and that respite you so desperately needed evaporated nearly in an instant, leaving you frustrated, emotional…whatever the reaction, it was likely out of proportion to the actual event.

This is one of the reasons I’m collaborating with Tracy Worley and Maureen Craig McIntosh to bring you Gracebreak Retreat. We are taking an intentional time out to reconnect with ourselves and other strong, talented, courageous women. We will discover our natural talents (potential) and strengths (performance), define or refine our core values, dig into the choices we make and the behaviors we demonstrate that either serve us or don’t! And we’ll connect with other women who share similar challenges in their lives, broadening and strengthening our inner circles and support network. And we’re doing this just outside of beautiful Bozeman, Montana.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I routinely commit to things I really don’t have time for, or do not have deep meaning for me?
  • Do I routinely put everyone else’s needs before mine?
  • When I do take time out for myself, is it usually accidental (unplanned), late at night after everyone else is asleep, or simply because I’m desperate (and then I feel guilty for taking it)?
  • When was the last time I truly took significant time out to reconnect with and nurture my own needs?

If you answered yes to any (or all) of the first three, and you need to look at a calendar or have someone give you the answer to the last one, you need to be there with us. We’ve designed this retreat specifically for you. The truth is, you cannot give what you do not have and when your reserves run dry, you are of no service to anyone, especially you!

We can’t wait to see, and serve, you there! Register today!

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Image  This photo was taken in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace in Guatemala City, as we prepared for a ceremony including John Maxwell, Guatemala Prospera, and the Guatemalan President.

Exactly a year ago this week, I was in Guatemala City, one of 150 John C. Maxwell Certified Coaches teaching a Transformational Leadership process to ~19,000 leaders within the seven streams of influence. All of those leaders committed to taking a small group of people through the Transformational Leadership process over the course of 30 weeks. That’s right — 30 weeks! During that time, they would study and apply each of The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, as described by John in his book of the same name, as well as 15 Values, as defined by the Guatemalan people based on what they thought would be crucial in changing the culture in their country.

Today, those 19,000 leaders have taught and influenced nearly ~200,000 citizens within their country, and the work continues.

Make no mistake, that trip changed thousands of lives, not the least of which were the Coaches who traveled to a far-off land to give of themselves to people they’ve never met, and may never see, again. It certainly changed mine, in ways I find it hard to articulate, even today, one year later.

I’ve learned, without question, what it means to offer something of significance to someone else; some thing that will change lives in unimaginable, possibly indescribable ways. As I sit in my office today, in West Virginia, I think fondly of my week with such amazing people doing such amazing, life-giving work. I long to be there with them, again.

The good news is, I am confident that opportunity will come again, and perhaps even sooner than I imagine. Since our time in Guatemala City last June, the John Maxwell Team has been invited to do the same work in several other countries in Central America.

To my fellow coaches, the leaders of the John Maxwell Team, the talented translators who shared their time and language, and the people of Guatemala who welcomed us into their country, offices, churches, and businesses…Thank You. I am blessed by you. I look forward to being with you all, again, soon.

If this appeals to you, watch this short video on our trip to Guatemala. And if you long to taste significance and are interested in joining this amazing team, here’s your invitation. I hope you join our tribe! Be sure to tell them I sent you!

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It’s funny how things pop up, isn’t it? Some people call it coincidence, but I’m not one of them. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe all things happen for a reason, whether we are privileged to peer behind the curtain and discover the reason or not, and a lot of energy is involved.

So, as I’m thinking about this a great deal lately, you might imagine the smile on my face when one of my mentors, Chet Scott’s latest blog post popped into my inbox. Here’s the link. 

I must be channeling Chet. To say that he’s often in my thoughts is an understatement. Chet has what I refer to as “clear vision.” He’s one of those people truly gifted at stepping outside what’s going on and cutting thru all the crap (Chet would simply say “shit”) to what’s really happening. I appreciate that about him, as well as in others when I see it demonstrated. Perhaps because I do it, as well (based on feedback from numerous sources over the years, not my own wishful thinking).

Everything in the universe is made of energy which continuously moves into and out of form; it cannot be created or destroyed…really, simply channeled. It flows between objects and people and between people and people.

So, other people’s energy affects how you navigate in the world. It truly does matter with whom you spend your time. This is why it’s so critical, especially when you are trying to effect change in your life, that you surround yourself with a like-minded community. Seth Godin would call it a tribe…those people who share your values, are on a similar path, passionate about some common idea or thing, and who lift you up, encourage, and support you, who complement you where you are weak.

Take inventory of those around you today. Determine if some of the people in your life have passed their “use by” date, and make the necessary changes you need to make in whom you surround yourself with. Your very future depends on it.

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Yes, it’s true. I went to prison 10 days ago — the Ohio State Reformatory, in Mansfield. You may be familiar with it if you’ve watched The Shawshank Redemption. 

In getting there, I traveled a number of roads I’d never been down before, both literally and figuratively. I went down those roads with a sense of expectation, of anticipation of profound discovery, knowing I would be confronting the physical prison and my personal prison. As the van drove down the highway, getting ever closer to its destination, I wondered “am I ready for this?”

Am I ready for this?

Is anyone ever ready to confront themselves and scrutinize the self-limiting beliefs that have held them back for years? Is anyone ever ready to scrutinize the self-imposed constraints they’ve placed on what they will or won’t do in their lives? Is anyone ever ready to walk into a cold, dank, musty, rotting place, filled with the ghosts (I’m told they are real in this place, but cannot say I felt or saw any) of those who were literally locked behind those bars?

The focus of the experience was to recognize our personal prisons, often realized through day jobs that fill our bank accounts (to some degree) while emptying our souls, and develop a plan for creating our dream jobs. I spent some time alone in a cell, laughing, crying, wondering, and reflecting on my life. Oddly, as I sat on the rusting springs of a “bed,” I could see muted light coming through the glass block windows across from my cell; I could hear birds singing.

IMG_0595While in my cell, I wrote a good deal, in my journal, in response to some questions posed by one of my mentors/coaches who facilitated the experience, and in a letter to me from my future self. This letter will be mailed to me at some point in the next year; I will be absolutely surprised by what it says, as I have no memory of what I wrote!

On the figurative side, I discovered much about  myself. My prison is no longer a day job; although I consider myself blessed to have escaped from more than one that was not the place for me. What a blessing to fully understand one’s purpose in life! No, my prison is truly self-constructed, bars created from beliefs about who I am and how I show up in relationships and what those beliefs and behaviors mean for what I will experience and accomplish in my life.

Self-awareness is the starting point for making any meaningful change in one’s life. Higher levels of awareness allow you to make choices, intentionally, with thought given to your desired outcomes. I’m working at a higher level of awareness now, and intentionally thinking and moving differently within the important relationships in my life. For now, at least, those particular prison bars have been erased.

While it’s unlikely you will travel to, or spend any time in prison any time soon, I encourage you to spend some time with pen and paper in reflection. Consider what imprisons you. What’s keeping you from fully living into your passion and purpose? What small step can you take, with that new awareness, to change your reality?

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Over the course of my career — 24 years — as a professional communicator — I was frequently responsible for community relations. What that amounted to was interacting with various members, and organizations, within the communities where my employer did business. This could be participation in Chamber of Commerce activities, fundraisers put on by local/regional non-profits, Rotary, and other similar activities.

One thing that always stood out to me was this: People attending these so-called networking style events often stay in their little clusters of friends and colleagues…the same people they see all day at work!

I understand it from an emotional level. A lot of people don’t like having to strike up a conversation with someone they don’t know, or barely know. It leaves one feeling somewhat vulnerable and exposed. It requires us to step out of our Comfort Zones and take a risk. I speak from experience here; I would prefer to be on stage speaking to a full ballroom rather than have to walk into it during networking time only to be faced with countless tight clusters of people already engaged in conversation and have to try to break into one of the conversations uninvited.

But this defeats the whole purpose! If I make the effort to attend an event in my community, I am there to mix and mingle and get to know people outside my company. It’s an opportunity for a group of employees from one company to spread throughout the other attendees and function as Chief Marketing Officers for your organization; telling stories about what you stand for, what you offer, how you serve your clients, how you grow and empower your employees. It’s a chance for them to make important connections with people who may become a critical resource, a new employee, a new client at some point in the future.

And, yet, we allow fear and discomfort to hold us hostage and stay — safe — in our little clusters of office mates!

I was blessed to have a co-worker (still a valued friend and mentor) who pointed out the importance of doing “missionary” work. When attending any external function with any colleague (one or many), he encouraged the others to go off on their own and meet new people…and would simply walk away from you and model the behavior if you didn’t get started on your own. It was simple and brilliant! A practice I carried forward in my various roles with employers after that point. I admit, however, it didn’t make me popular among my co-workers; they appeared to resent my insistence they step out of their comfort zone and interact with strangers…but it’s important for the business.

How do you think about “missionary” work and what can you do differently the next time you’re in a networking kind of situation?

How might it serve you in your future endeavors?

How might it impact your business?

Come back and tell me your stories — I want to hear them!

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Folks, I was honored to be invited to share the radio waves with my friend, colleague, and business partner, Tracy Worley, on her Gracebreak Blog Talk Radio on Monday.

We shared a half hour (a very fast half hour, from my perspective) talking about finding meaning in your life, discovering your purpose, knowing what motivates you, and how to recognize and reward your team. I’m confident there’s some nugget of wisdom in here that will help you, if you will take the time to listen. And I say this because I have been blessed to have been mentored, coached, and taught by some amazing minds — John Maxwell, Paul Martinelli, Christian Simpson, Mac Bledsoe, and others — throughout my life, and I do my best to be a river (picking up and sharing wisdom along my journey) rather than a reservoir (holding in all I’ve gathered for only my own use).

Here’s the link. Be sure to share it with anyone you think might get some value out of it. And be sure to come back and tell me what you think! And in the meantime, have an intentional day.

Thanks for taking the time to listen.

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I’ve been involved in a couple of different situations of late that have brought the principles outlined in the Drama lesson of the Empowerment Mentoring program front and center for me. Follow along, and spend a few minutes reflecting on these thoughts to see if you may be creating some unnecessary drama in your life.

The key principle that is most active around me, recently, is this: Assuming malicious intent from others OR acting with malicious intent. Specifically, assigning motives to others, in the belief that one knows what someone else is trying to accomplish in a given situation, without the benefit of having a conversation with the person to discover what is actually going on.

Have you participated in a relationship in which you made certain assumptions about another person’s motives, that later turned out to be a misunderstanding or misinterpretation? First, it’s human nature to make up stories about what’s going on around us, because we like to have closure and we have a strong need for things to make sense. So, we pull in bits and pieces of information, snatches of conversation, and we make up stories that make sense to us, based on our values, beliefs, and life experiences. This doesn’t mean that the stories we come up with are based in reality, only that they make sense to us. The problem here is the stories we concoct are often far from the truth…simply because we are missing key facts.

The other consideration is that Intent does NOT equal Impact! It’s important to consider that there are times when we speak or act  that what we intend to happen is not the outcome we get. What that means is, we are sometimes the author of some of the drama in our lives, because we are not fully self-aware or as intentional as we might be. And we also tend to make assumptions about the intent and behaviors of others in our lives.

If you’re experiencing drama in your life, I encourage you to spend some time in reflection and come to an understanding of the role you are playing in the situation.

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