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January, 12 2006

Too big? Too Small?

A friend came to dinner last night and toward the end of the evening, she confessed that she was doing well with her work but it just was not challenging enough for her anymore. For most of us, it is way more frustrating to toil at projects that are too easy for us than to meet tasks that are demanding. In fact, it is very stressful to live a life in which we are not learning, adopting new skill sets, and stretching our abilities. I see it all the time in my practice. Whether it's a job or a business, we perform better when the stakes are really high. Now that can mean many things but the truth is that we can only be on top of our game when we are playing the game as if it was a championship. Honest! While we may long for a comfortable pace -- and I'm not against that -- we need to be careful that it isn't too comfortable. Many years ago I read a book and took a class that was developed by Robert Fritz. The book was called "The Path of Least Resistance." It had a profound influence on my life and I recommend it. I am remembering in this context that good music teachers, who wanted to bring their students to proficiency, kept increasing new material before the student had mastered the old. Then finally, the teacher would have the student go back and play one of the earlier pieces and, to the student's amazement, he/she could handle the piece well. To some degree that is the point. To establish proficiency, we must always take on tasks that are a little too difficult -- those that require more of us -- those that feel hard. It not only makes us better -- it keeps us on our toes. It is the adventure in our lives. Keep on pushin'.

December, 30 2005

Happy New Year AND

What does that really mean? After all, we just go from one day to the next and remember to mark our checks and other documents with 2006 instead of 2005...and yet it's a day really different from all others. We can take the time to make or renew commitments -- to say that we will do something we have been wanting to do for a long time -- to go somewhere we have been wanting to go -- to complete something we have been wanting to complete -- to talk to someone we haven't talked to in a long time -- to add one new piece of excitement into our lives.

A friend sent me a questionnaire, which contained questions about my plans for the year. I blithely printed it out and started to fill in the blanks. Oooops. It was way more difficult to do than I had anticipated. He was broaching subjects I didn't really want to think about but I did it anyway -- where do I want to be financially next year? What do I want in my career? What do I want accomplish? What would I like to remembered for this year? What would I like to remember that could happen this year?

I will add several others: What do I want to look like next year? How can I have more fun on an ongoing basis? What ways would I like to show some of the people that are closest to me that I love them?

I'm not big on resolutions that put me on a diet, or have me working one more hour a day or monitoring my finances more stringently. Dictatorially declaring something makes me crazy -- I do happen to be on a diet and I have lost 23 pounds already and next year this time, I want to be another 20 pounds thinner. That doesn't mean I'll deprive myself and go on a strict diet that I will leave after two months -- I am stating an intention and I know all of the reasons that I'm stating it. That may be the key...

Do some work now. Write down however it best suits you what your dreams for YOU and yours are. Then put the pieces of paper away and look at them in 4 months and then again in 8 months and finally a year from now.

Our intentions are powerful. We ACT ourselves into change. The rewards of a little discomfort now that stem from acknowledging what we really WANT can bring immense pleasure at the completion of the year.

And, by the way, Happy New Year!

December, 23 2005

Aren't we making too much of some of this?

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings. I wish all of you the best at this great time of year. But I'm up to my eyeballs in frustration over the political correctness discussions that are going on. Sheesh...I keep reading and hearing the debates as to what to say and what to do so no one is offended. Oh, please, how did so many become so sensitive? Haven't we learned anything this year???? What with a tsunami, catastrophic hurricanes, and the worst earthquake in history -- why does anyone care about this? What is going on? I just don't get it. I grew up in a very close-knit community and I was the only Jewish girl -- my brother the only Jewish boy. It wasn't always easy around the holidays but it was also not a big deal. I bought gifts for my friends. I took part in the school gift exchanges. I may have even been in the school play. My parents told me about the Jewish holidays and my friends informed me -- with great pride, by the way -- about what and how they were celebrating. I had hurts as a child -- so what? I also had diversity and learning experiences. It is our differences that give us the opportunity to go deeper with each other. We may hold sacred whatever it is that we want to hold sacred. Another person's words cannot change that. I think that inspecting our greetings so much obscures something very important -- that something is love in all of its dimensions. All that we hold dear is about loving one another and the more we love the easier it is to say our truth as we know it and have it ring clear to the receiver as they want it. May this be a truly blessed time for you.

December, 15 2005

Who needs support?

Who needs support? EVERYBODY!

I hear from clients all the time about how valuable it is to engage in a coaching relationship and how satisfying it is to have someone hear their ideas, give suggestions and become a sounding board. Yes, it's true. It is exceedingly helpful to have a person assisting you as you make decisions and plans for your work or personal life.

Now this is obviously in my self-interest because I have a number of coaching clients. AND, this is not a marketing piece. It is a validation of the fact that ALL of us can benefit from sharing, brainstorming, and receiving unconditional acceptance. Lately I have been talking to some of my clients about how they can set this up in their lives -- with a partner, a co-worker, or sibling. Some groundrules must be established: no judging; no dictating; and NO unasked for advice-giving! One needs to pick a person he/she can trust and then both parties need to enter into a complete and open discussion about rules and a declaration of what is helpful.

But's GREAT to have someone to go to who does not need to solve a problem or fix a situation but someone who makes it clear from the first word to last that he/she is there only FOR you.

The stronger you are the more you may resist this notion. But I'm here to tell you that a coaching relationship is a great blessing and that no matter how good you are, you could possibly be better by letting those words leave your head and come out into the world for someone else to hear. Where it may lead may surprise you -- in the VERY best way.

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