Tag Archives: modern life

RISE IRSE ISRE…

One of the exercises we did at our Elite Influencer’s Summit in England was one involving values. It was very intense. We’d tell our stories and describe our avatars and the traits and characteristics we admired and those we hated. From those conversations, our values were made known. Because we were on a tight schedule, we only listed 10 values…the 10 most important things in our lives. If you look around, you will see companies, organizations, school systems, and governmental entities claiming these qualities: Respect, Integrity, Sevice, and Excellence. However, the qualities and values we revealed were through our actions, our speech, and our relationships. The ones claimed by the companies were chosen because they resonate with the clients, customers, constituents, and children’s caretakers. They were not derived from their actions.

If you were to interview the top echelons of these entities, you would discover they have 20-30 of the values that are really important to them, and though Respect, Integrity, Service, and Excellence might be on the list, they’re not very high on it.

Here’s how the exercise went. After discovering the values expressed by the person’s way of life, their thoughts, and their actions, they were put into a list. Then their coach had the participant choose between them to arrive at a prioritized list.

Integrity or Independence? Integrity
Integrity or Truth? Integrity
Integrity or Freedom? Freedom
Freedom or Honesty? Freedom
Freedom or alignment? Freedom…and so on and so on until all of the values are in order of priority.

Our guinea pig had to choose among 30 of these values and it took 1 1/2 hours to get to the definitive list. It was a grueling exercise! You could tell he was exhausted! Have you or anyone you know ever done an exercise like this? I’d be willing to bet that none of these executives have.

One of my values was impact. I was unique in that aspect. Another participant had Dependability for his #1. Another had Contribution. Given the choice of Honesty, Truth, or Integrity, most chose Honesty 1st. Given a choice of Respect, Alignment, or Loyalty, most chose Loyalty. It’s not that those traits aren’t important, it’s that they’re less important than others.

Looking through the Toastmaster posts on the Facebook page, I would infer that Service and Integrity are something desired more by the membership than by the Leadership of the organization. They are high on the complaint list! What kind of values do the Leaders seem to stress? Alignment, Loyalty, and adherence to cultural norms within the organization. Respect seems to be an accessory and Excellence is a bonus. How do you measure excellence? With a contest, right? It’s why they have the Olympic games and Spelling Bees. It’s why there are Michelin Stars and JD Powers awards. Yet, if TM could get rid of contests, they would in a flash. TM is a non-profit business that sells the promise of competence as communicators and leaders while providing materials for study. Do they produce good communicators and leaders? How would anyone know? Yet, their core values are Integrity (doing what they say they’ll do), Respect (showing appreciation and consideration, and treating people with honor and dignity), Service (providing support and aid to further the members’ goals), and Excellence (celebrating the best of performance, quality, and merit).

Look at all the other organizations that present themselves with those same values. Are these traits apparent in their behavior, their advertising, or their relationships with their clients or students?

When have you ever done a deep dive into your core values? If people could look at what you write about, how you express yourself, how you behave, what makes you happy and what makes you mad, the people you surround yourself with and those you shun, what conclusions would they draw about your values? I tell you, I was surprised when I did this exercise.

Mine were these:

  1. Impact
  2. Autonomy
  3. Intelligence
  4. Quality
  5. Curiosity
  6. Creativity
  7. Integrity
  8. Beauty
  9. Open-mindedness
  10. Equity
  11. Choice
  12. Persistence
  13. Humor

Some of these values may not even seem like values to many people. This, of course, is not an exhaustive list, and more values may bubble up to higher priorities as I continue to live on this beautiful blue ball.

If you claim values, you better live them. If you choose values because they help you sell cars, Integrity, honesty, or truth isn’t even on your list. Remember, “What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

What If…

My guest blogger is…ME.

FeganMethod.

Please check this out.

What if

This blog site is dedicated to Learning, teaching, and coaching.

If you know any teachers, parents, or someone studying for certification, let them know there’s a site to check out.

Where are the boundaries?

I had a nice man come to my door seeking my vote for him as a member of the school board.

His stances were printed on his handout:

  1. Fight for parental rights and transparency in our curriculums
  2. Set high expectations and place the focus on academic excellence
  3. Support school choice and competition
  4. Work to keep Critical Race Theory, Comprehensive Sex Education, and other destructive agendas out of our classrooms
  5. Use your (the taxpayer) tax dollars wisely, and fight to cut spending and lower the tax levy
  6. Fight against mask and vaccine mandates

OMG.

  1. The school system which includes teachers and administrative personnel act “in loco parentis” or in place of the parents. I have seen what happens when some parents decide that they don’t need to allow teachers or administrators that oversight and interfere with the smooth transactions of education. One pulled her child out of line and spanked her child because she looked over to the window to see her mom and little brother and sister looking in. “That will teach you to pay attention!!!” she screamed. One parent was calling all the teachers for her little darling and bawling them out for giving him too much homework and then flunking him anyway. One guy felt it his duty to supervise recess and keep bullies from getting punished. “They’re just having a little fun. They’re not hurting anyone…” A group of parents decided which books in the library were to be burned and broke in and vandalized the room and damaged many of the books that weren’t on the list simply because they looked suspicious.
  2. The state school board already sets expectations in the form of standardized tests. Who is responsible for academic excellence? Isn’t the student? There is little a teacher can do to make sure each and every student reaches the same level of excellence because of “No Child Left Behind,” and the threat of loss of funding should the students fall short. There are no requirements made of students such as turning in projects and homework or studying for tests. So who bears the brunt of this expectation? The teachers? This is why the pool of teachers is getting smaller.
  3. You can’t always get enrolled in the school of your choice because of classroom size limitations. And if you do choose a school outside your district, they are not required to provide transportation. The priorities of the school locations were to provide neighborhoods with neighborhood schools, where the students knew most of the other students. How do your tax dollars get to the school you send your kid to? You cannot designate the funds according to your choice of schools. Parents of children from outside of your district are not contributing to your school.
  4. Critical Race Theory is an approach to discrimination, not coursework. Comprehensive Sex Education is not mandated in this candidate’s state. I am not sure what other destructive agendas he might be referring to unless he’s going to go back to Darwinism vs. Intelligent Design or Creationism.
  5. To ensure good education, you have to empower teachers, not disempower them. You have to pay them a living wage. You have to provide materials for the classes as well as maintain the physical building. Cutting spending–where? Lowering the tax levy–how?
  6. Mask and Vaccine mandates protect the children and teachers from getting sick. Doesn’t the health of everyone in the school system have any meaning?

Now to be fair, if you go to his landing page, he has a lot fewer stupid stances. Keeping political agenda out of the schools? Good. Attracting excellent teachers? Good. How? He doesn’t say. But when you get into his site, he goes into indoctrination based on Christian ideals. Yay! But that would be good for parochial schools, not public schools. We cannot TEACH the children what they are: children of God who are loved unconditionally, but we can show them. His tag line is Education–Not indoctrination, then he wants to indoctrinate students in regard to our supremacy as a country and morality as a people. Morality should be taught in church and in the home. Sex ed shouldn’t have to be taught in school, but because parents have abdicated that responsibility, it needs to be taught somewhere.

I dunno. It seems to me that people are CRYING OUT TO GOD! And then hoping he doesn’t answer and just waves his magic wand and everything we hate disappears. What if we’re the ones that disappear? Whoops.

What we, as Christians, need to do is ACT LIKE CHRISTIANS! We are trying to substitute an outside influence on behaviors to codify and conform all the behavior so everyone knows what’s right and what isn’t. EVERYONE ALREADY KNOWS what’s right and wrong. We don’t have to spell everything out. It’s the law that’s written on our hearts: Love our neighbors as ourselves is one of 2 that are there. Love the Lord your God is the 1st, and we tend to love ourselves more than anything and despise those that are not us. There are more divisions every day. Listen to God in your heart. Love all and treat all with respect and not judgment. The government should have no say in moral issues. The government should butt out of the schools.

Whenever we say, “There ought to be a law…” we take away autonomy, resourcefulness, creativity, and responsibility from all. We are, in effect, saying, “No constituent has the thinking ability, the consciousness, or the awareness to conduct his life as he sees fit. We must provide that for him.”

We provide our children the guidance and the moral basis that becomes their belief systems for when they become adults. But once they’re on their own, we allow them to make the mistakes, because they represent exactly what we have given them and have to make choices as to what behaviors, thoughts, and attitudes serve them best, and what don’t. When we step in and correct them, and tell them what to do, we are basically telling them they are incompetent at living as adults. Would you try if you thought your parents believed you were incapable of being an adult?

I will not be voting for this candidate.

Should have brought my water…

We kidnapped the grandkids today and went to the zoo. K had his water, G had her water, M and I didn’t. Oops!

We decided (meaning I decided and M shrugged and agreed) that the kids would design our visit. We got 2 maps and made plans. K, who’s a tweenager, is very focused on the distances, the heat, the ability of the grandparents to transit the walking looks and decides to go to the Desert Dome, but since little G doesn’t like the smell, we go only to the Kingdom of the Night and see the bats, the beavers, the snakes, and the alligators (including a white one!) G is upset because K ALWAYS gets to choose. She wants to see the Aquarium 1st and is mad because K chose the closest building. We tell her that we ARE going to the Aquarium, but just not first. K gets to choose because he’s the oldest, and she gets to choose where we go next. So she chooses the Aquarium and then whines because it isn’t first. I tell her that it doesn’t matter whether it’s first as long as we see it. She sulks. She’s 3rd grade.

We knew we wanted to go on the train and the carousel, but we needed tickets. The ticket booth was right next to the Skyfari, so we slipped that in between the aquarium and the carousel. Waaaaa! You said we were going to the carousel next. Oh, the unlimited energy of children! K said, “We have to remember distances because these guys are our Dad’s parents!” G sniffs. So we take the Skyfari up and over the rhinos and the sable antelope and though we didn’t see the cheetahs, we saw the enormous sundial, the brass rhino and elephant, and the lions sleeping on the rocks. The kids got to “fly” the helicopter, and we went to the lion compound but couldn’t see the lions from the ground. We rode the Skyfari. Unintended consequences: I have put both legs to sleep and my feet are cramping! It made getting off the gondola tricky! After maneuvering off the dread machine, we then headed for the carousel. It was a longer trek than M or I had anticipated!

K and G went on the carousel, then we went and picked up the train. We rode in the caboose! The kids wanted to be as far away from the whistle as possible. K can differentiate the trains by their whistles! What kid his age does that? I’m impressed! The whining has begun. I perceive that K is flexible and looks for opportunities. But he also seems to be checking objectives off and more interested in getting to the locations than enjoying what they see there. Hurry UP, Grandma! G tends to fixate on the plan and gets upset when it changes. This is interesting.

We finished the train ride at Glacier Bay…92 degrees, no glaciers, no snow, no mountains. I was shocked! By this time, M and I are dehydrated. K, G, and I go to the closed restaurant and sit in the shade while M looks for the tram to take us up to the gate. Whining ensues. “We wanna go to the gift shop!!!!” “Maybe…” We wait for about 15 min. We think this is where G lost her water bottle. The tram comes and we all get on and head uuuuuuup the hill to the Lied Jungle. We decided to eat there because it’s air-conditioned, darker, and you can watch the monkeys while you eat. They make a KILLING on food! OMG! $5.25 for a hot dog? This isn’t the meal, that’s just the hot dog. The fries are $5.25, the mac and cheese is $5.25, the fruit is $5.00 ($5.00 for an apple!), the fruit cups M and I had were $7.25 because they had to cut up the fruit and add 1 Tbs of yogurt. K’s commemorative cup of water was $9.50. So, lunch for 2 kids and 2 grandparents was nearly $100. That’s nuts. I could get a steak dinner for everyone for less than that! Kids are not whining. G finally finishes her hot dog. We’re cooled down and head out, but not to the gift shop. Awwww. Well, I asked when they were coming back and if they could wait until then to get their gifts. They reluctantly agreed. We then trekked up to the car.

K and G are saying “Best Day Ever!!!” Warms a grandparent’s heart. M and I are exhausted and dehydrated, even after our $5/$7 drinks. We have racked up 7,500 steps. But, we’re having to drink about 1 gal of water. I have severe cramps in the bottoms and TOPS of my feet, my calves, my hands? and my leg is complaining. I take a 2-hour nap, punctuated by cramping.

Maybe not the BEST day ever, but it was fun!

Strange Market

If you come and visit me in the MidWest, you’ll be in Cow Country. Yup. Cows everywhere. What will you find on the menus? Steaks, chops, ribs, roasts, burgers… Do you need leather? There are stores here that just sell cowboy boots, and you’d have no problem getting leather items anywhere.

I went to the UK for a 2-week tour. Sheep everywhere! What do you find on the menus? Steaks, chops, ribs, roasts, and burgers…but no lamb. No crown roasts, no chops, no legs, no shanks. Do you want some authentic British wool? You can get Red Heart and Bernat in the local convenience stores. Those are NOT British labels. I went into google to search for shops in Edinburgh and London and in those huge cities, I found 4 shops, only 2 that sell locally-sourced undyed wool. And those 2 locations are warehouse stores that sell exclusively online.

I have a former student who cards and spins wool here in Omaha. It’s Wonderful stuff! Like I said, this is cow country and I have a more available source of undyed, pure wool here in town than I had on my travels in the UK.

So, as a tourist, I thought they’d offer authentic Aran sweaters and knit goods to sell at exorbitant prices. They had mass-produced sweaters with cable patterns. Most were wool/polyester or wool/cotton blends. None were produced in the UK. I am confused. They have more sheep than people, and you cannot find wool or locally crafted sweaters? In fact, there used to be an “Irish Shop” in the local mall that sold Aran sweaters and woolen goods here in Omaha, and I didn’t find any with variety on the whole tour in the UK.

I think I am going to contact my student and get some of her wool to make a sweater, an authentic Irish pattern sweater.

Let me help…

I hate this. I wanted to get into my bank account to check my balance because I was out of the country. Good idea right?

I did NOT get international calling access. Bad mommy. Why would I need 500 texts from people showing me their breakfasts or giving me excuses why they didn’t practice this week? I turned my phone to Airplane Mode and left it there. But I signed into wifi at the hotels I stayed at.

In order to see my bank balance, I had to get into the Banking App which doesn’t use face recognition, put in my super-secret password, and then wait for my verification code which…you guessed it, is TEXTED to me. Read previous paragraph. Well, that won’t do. But there is an option! Yes, you can have them call you. Hmmmm. If they allowed facial recognition or, what… biometric recognition on my PHONE instead of my DESKTOP, that might mitigate the need for me to spend all that money to use this feature 3 times in 2 weeks. But no.

So in traveling all over the UK, after the 1st week, I had no idea what my balance was.

Do you want your account to be secure?
yes, that would be nice.
Let me help you. Now you have double verification!
oooh! neat! how do I access my account now?
Wait…you wanted ACCESS? That would not be secure!
um…I have my password.
Well, the 2nd verification requires a phone with a plan that allows for international calls.
I can’t get international calls.
See how safe it is?

Face/palm

So now my account is so safe the only ones that can get into it are the bank and my creditors. Argh.

Where does talent come from?

Wait! You can’t get it at the department store? I’m disillusioned!

How do we define “talent” and when is that term used?

Definition of talent

1aa special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude

b: general intelligence or mental powerABILITY

2: the natural endowments of a person

5: (archaica characteristic feature, aptitude, or disposition of a person or animal

Thank you Merriam Webster.

When you watch Eddie Van Halen play guitar, you will hear him described as extremely talented. When you look at Michaelangelo’s work, you will gasp at his grasp of the human form, an amazing artistic talent. When you ask Einstein anything, you don’t think talent, you think genius. When you watch someone do anything that is beyond the ordinary in the physical world…fine arts, or sports, we call them talented. When you see the results of mental ability beyond the ordinary, we classify it as an expression of genius. They’re the same thing.

Why is that important? I’ve been told that I am a talented musician. I am not in an orchestra or in the opera. I can, however, play Bach’s Prelude in C from the Well-Tempered Clavier in any key you want. But I think many musicians cringe at that term because it seems to discount the amount of work it takes to get to any level of mastery.

I know plenty of musicians in orchestras that cannot play anything without the sheet music. They are technically brilliant, but not exactly talented. Of the 165 musicians that graduated in my class, only 5 could play by ear. Many music teachers won’t work with students that play by ear because the students learn the song by hearing it, and may not hear it the way it is written. So NOT ALL MUSICIANS ARE TALENTED. They put in a lot of work. People tend to equate skill and talent. Do they do that in intellectual fields too?

If someone has multiple degrees in many different fields, are they talented at learning? Or are they geniuses? What are your thoughts? Can a learning process that allows people to acquire knowledge in multiple areas be learned? Does knowledge in one discipline translate to another discipline? People that can make that transition from one subject to another and almost instantly “know” what pertains and what doesn’t are considered intuitive. How much intuition do geniuses display?

So let’s examine intuition. This should be interesting. Picture your brain as an electrical machine.

All your thoughts, insights, memories, and powers of logic work like sparks in your mind. Somehow, your mind is able to retrieve whatever information it needs at the time it needs it. For instance: how does my brain know where all the letters on my keyboard are and tell each finger when and where to push to get the words I want while simultaneously allowing my eyes to see misspellings and mistakes in grammar and my conscious mind to think what the next word is supposed to be? It’s A MIRACLE! It is also simultaneously processing the fact that my husband is typing on his work computer, the mailman is on his way up the hill, and the speed of the wind because it buzzes my siding at 25 mph.

What is intuition then?

a: the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference

bimmediate apprehension or cognition

c: knowledge or conviction gained by intuition

That means that presented with a set of circumstances, a person with a high degree of intuition can immediately understand the situation without “apparently” figuring things out. A person with talent in music can figure out the chord progressions, the beat, and the melodic or harmonic notes that can be played as improvisation. A person without talent would have to see the progression, chart out the available notes, compose a solo and learn it by practicing. The talented musician makes use of his intuition to project what is coming up in the accompaniment and adjust his improvisation accordingly.

Someone that gets on the elevator with his boss and who then can give a short synopsis of the project he’s working on without writing it out and reciting it is using his intuition to figure out what the boss needs to be told and in how much detail.

Someone that is sitting on a train and upon going past a train in the opposite direction comes up with a theory of relativity has used his intuitive power to see the connection between time and space.

What is happening is that the connections in the mind from one thing to a completely different thing are bouncing around near the boundary between the conscious and subconscious mind in such a way that there is an instant recognition of the relationships between these things.

How do you increase the size of this opening between conscious and subconscious?

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Practice?

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Nope, it’s PLAYING! If you want to learn how to improvise on a musical instrument, you just play and make LOTS of mistakes. You pick up what sounds good and what doesn’t. You find out what your fingers can do, and what they need to rework. You find out how to make what you hear in your head come out of your fingers. You experiment.

You want to learn how to skateboard? You’re going to break a lot of bones.

You want to do perfect diving? You’re going to do lots of belly flops.

You want to write the Great American Novel? You’ll write the Grate American Novel 1st that will make you cringe to read.

You want to be a genius? Read a lot and ask lots of questions! Flunk a lot of tests. You’re probably backing off now. You think that you have to be born a genius. I do not believe you do. If you develop your intuition, expand your awareness, and become facile in the art of interaction between the conscious and subconscious, you get more sparks flying. Originally, the Intelligence Quotient compared your apparent mental age to your actual age. What should a 5-year-old know? What does THIS 5-year-old know? If the 5-year-old knows stuff that 8-year-olds know, then 8/5 x 100 gives you 160 IQ. To maintain that 160 IQ, what would his apparent mental age have to be when he’s 10? 16. What would it have to be if he was 30? 48. What is the difference between what a 48-year-old person and a 30-year-old know? Yeah. Hard to figure that out. They don’t have knowledge standards for every age, do they?

You develop your talent/intuition by playing and having fun. Do Sudoku puzzles. Kick a soccer ball around. Pick up a different instrument. Read some philosphy. Write a poem. Consider the origins of the Universe. Make those sparks Fly!

Goals?

Last September I had a vision. I was in the Entrepreneurial Mastery Inner Circle. It’s a group of entrepreneurs that discuss how to be more successful in their businesses, and the main business they have in common is the coaching business. The founder of the group wanted to get a Coaching Academy going that would educate the public on what coaching really was all about, accredit aspiring coaches, and stretch them in their performance to become elite influencers.

What was that vision I had? At first, it was a picture that CS had provided…the association of highly competent coaches who not only had amazing skills getting people closer to their ideal performance level, but their businesses were thriving. People came to them for the best service. They weren’t begging for clients or involved in discount price wars. They could do What they wanted, When they wanted, With Whom they wanted, at the Price they wanted, If they chose to do business at all. We would get together for an intense seminar to give us not only the coaching techniques and skills but the business acumen we’d need to stay in business. I got a glimmer of that vision right then.

But there were hoops to go through, challenges to face, an intellectual gap to fill, and a heavy price to pay. I have probably mentioned my learning method (feganmethod.com), so I knew I could handle the intellectual gap. I am also a financial guru of sorts, so the hefty price was something I could arrange. I expected to get a return on my investment to more than compensate for the cost. Things outside of my control? There was an application process that included an interview, and I was told that not everyone would qualify. From being involved in those calls from the Entrepreneurial Mastery Circle, I knew there were many people in that group that were much more qualified than I with more experience and making much more money. They were charging $100/session and they had more clients. I had a teaching business and had never coached before. I was charging $100 per month! But that vision kept pulling me back, each time with more detail.

I knew that the person I saw in my vision was not the same one that faced me in the mirror. This was a different kind of goal that I’d never gone after before.

If you have a job or a business, you are probably familiar with goal setting. You understand dream boards or vision boards. You have probably discovered affirmations you tack to your bathroom mirror and recite before you go to bed. You probably keep a pencil and paper by your bedside in case you come up with the cure for cancer in the middle of the night. You write down the 6 most important things you have to do the next day. Those are all measurable and can be put into a list that enables you to check things off. They get you to your goal of success however you define it.

This goal I was looking at, to get accepted into this Coaching Academy, was not like anything I’d ever come across in those motivational seminars I had attended every 6 weeks for 15 years. This goal was not like all those self-help gurus who told us to find our “Why?” to discover our “How?” and improve our lives. They all involved concrete steps that you had to trudge up to get what you wanted. The leadership books I read focused on How a leader thinks and What to concentrate on. This approach, for this vision, was how to improve thinking itself. It was raising awareness and extending consciousness. How in the world do you measure that? It occurred to me that the vision boards and the affirmations were two-dimensional representations. This growth was growth from inside to outside, not outside to inside. As such, two-dimensional thinking would be inadequate. It involved three dimensions!

I put in my application with my money, but I had no assurances that I would be chosen. In the meantime, I studied the materials that were sent out. I took part in the discussions online. I had been a part of the Empowered Women’s Inner Circle for a while by then, and I was regarded as the “genius” of the group. I am no genius, but my learning method has brought me insight into many different disciplines of thought. The members of that group would be discussing a topic, and I’d have the facts available since many of these topics were those I had taught. All the women in this group are wise, innovative, resourceful, empathetic, and goal-oriented. But it is not skills they seek in this group, it is improving their thinking. This group was made up of exactly the type of people I needed to associate with. These were exactly the issues I needed to face. AND, as a bonus, I liked all of them!

Throughout this waiting period, we were informed that over one hundred people had applied for acceptance into the very rare air that was this Coaching Academy. I was not optimistic about my chances. With the discussions and the study, I had stretched my awareness and my consciousness had awakened a new approach to the circumstances in my life. I was responding rather than reacting. I was considering options and choosing actions and words and it was becoming more instinctive with practice. My awareness of my individual strengths and weaknesses, my insights into how I thought, and my observation of how those people around me thought grew. With all the study I was doing (it’s self-paced) I had to design a discipline that would allow for the reflection and deep-diving into the thought processes. By doing this, I was seeing some real, tangible, credible growth in my thinking. It enabled me to reflect on my experiences and see them in a different light. It moved me to change my perspectives.

Then, wonder of wonders, I was informed that I was one of the chosen. I would become a Founding Member of this Coaching Academy! Only 20 of the 100 applicants were accepted. I was floored! Now the real work would begin! He sent out the teaching modules on coaching: the premise behind the idea of coaching, the approach, why and how it worked, and how to improve. It made my brain sweat. I would spend 15 minutes watching a module and answer the basic questions that ascertained that the material had been duly read and digested. Then there were self-assessment questions that gave me the chance to show my understanding of the material. These were deep questions that required thought, and the act of responding to these questions brought back memories of essays from English Composition. There had to be a structure and a point, and the best way to express the concept would be in story form so it had to have a plot. So, in addition to the 15-minute module, I had another hour or so of that exercise. AFTER THAT (wait, there’s MORE) I had to answer application questions that were even more involved! This set of questions often took more than 2 hours to answer. Then, at the end of the module that might include several teachings, there was an assessment that took about 2 1/2 hours to go through! In addition to the group discussions in the EMIC and EWIC groups, the new calls involved the philosophical approach and solving problems before they became problems. I was having to take a nap after each session!

Ever-so-slightly, I noticed that my mental acuity was improving. Each exercise planted a seed of growth in my mind. Soon, my weeds were gone, and now I had an English Garden.

So 8 months after I had that first glimmer of a vision of me in the future, I was there, in England with 20 of the brightest minds in the business. I’m STILL excited!

This is where I stayed:

This is where I got advanced training in coaching techniques and practical matters to help me stay in business. But I haven’t even finished the first half of the material I need to pass the accreditation. I have a lot of modules to get through, lots of exercises to do, practice sessions, reflection, self-assessment to get through, and many conversations…But I already have a vision for what will occur in August at the next summit meeting. I already have a glimmer of what kind of person I will become after that. I’m seeing people reacting to the person I have become, and I believe they see a difference in me too.

If you want to move from 2-dimensional vision boards, SMART goals, and affirmations to 3-dimensional thinking, I know how to get you there. In fact, YOU know how! I can show you a way to tap into that inner resourcefulness and become the person that lives in YOUR vision.

Advanced Coaching

No, it won’t be about getting your football team to the National Championships.

Hmmm, wait–maybe it will!

Coaching someone is different than mentoring or teaching/training or psychological analysis. Coaching is about triggering something inside your student, player, employee, or client that allows them to improve their performance. It is opening that awareness that allows you to play better as a team. It is exciting that desire that will allow you to overcome self-limiting beliefs to achieve your goals. (Whoa, cliche much?) Translated into normal speak: It brings the destination of who you want to become into view, to allow you to believe that what you want is achievable. It is making the impossible possible because it gives the person the awareness that they have the power within them to change.

Case in point:
Little Betsy plays the trumpet. It is almost too heavy to hold, and she can only get honks on it. Instead of the teacher circling every mistake and correcting her embouchure and yelling “Blow!!!” at this 5th-grader, her teacher acts as a coach and asks questions.

  1. What did it feel like?
  2. What did it sound like?
  3. What did you do differently?
  4. How many notes did you miss? How can you remember them next time?

Yes, there will be times when the teacher has to fill in the gaps in her knowledge, but Little Betsy will be a much better musician than her peers in a couple of months because, through her teacher’s coaching, she has developed an awareness. She has learned to listen and pay attention to her own playing, and she will be developing her consciousness of the music around her in her elementary band. Will she become a professional musician? Probably not, but that doesn’t matter. She will enjoy the music she produces and will discover an appreciation of the music she listens to…Pop, Jazz, Hip hop, Rap, Classical, Medieval Gregorian Chant… She may even venture into composition!

Bobby wants to play basketball in the worst way. He has reached his goal…yes, he plays very badly. He’s also 5’2″ tall. He cannot play basketball. Why not? He gets coaching help from a brilliant coach and his awareness explodes! You do NOT have to dunk to play basketball well! This is a revelation. He goes to his coach and tells him he wants to work on skills that will be valuable to the team and are not dependent on his height. His coach helps him develop his ball-handling skills. He asks Bobby these questions:

  1. What does it feel like when you dribble correctly?
  2. Can you dribble faster? How would you go about it?
  3. Can you pass faster and with more accuracy? What would you do to improve that?
  4. How would you go about guarding a guy 1 1/2 feet taller than you?
  5. Would stealing the ball be easier if you have better skills than the person you’re guarding?
  6. How fast can you change direction when you’re running? Can you do that while dribbling? How would you improve that?
  7. How High do you think you’d have to jump? How would you go about improving your current jumping skills?

Now Bobby is aware of his teammates’ positions on the floor. He knows who is open and who can shoot from where they are. He avoids having the ball stolen from him and because he can dribble like a demon; no one can block his passes. He may have increased his jump height so he can deny a shot from the opposing player. Of course, that freaks out the whole opposing team. He is his team’s secret weapon. When they announce the players at the beginning of the away game, and he stands between his buddies who are a foot taller than he, and the crowd snickers, he knows that the home team crowd is thinking, “Oh boy are THEY in for a surprise!” Can Bobby apply these skills to something outside of basketball? If his coach is on it, and if he asks the right questions, you can bet on it. In both cases, the music student and the athlete, they are playing to their strengths. Awareness IS a strength.

But coaching is not just for athletes and student musicians. Who asks you questions that make you more aware of your strengths, your aspirations, your perceptions, or your consciousness? You don’t have teachers that do that anymore. Are you a better person than you were ten years ago? How about five years ago? two months ago? What have you read, watched, or participated in that stretched your thinking? Do we stop improving our thinking just because there isn’t a test? News Flash! There’s always a test! It just may not be written! Isn’t the purpose of school to improve your thinking, not to just cram more stuff into your brain? Aren’t you supposed to relate the information you have gleaned from your studies to your everyday life?

Learning in school is not the facts you accumulate to pass the test, it’s the way you prepare to gain awareness and the growth you will need in your experience after school. But unless you know what questions to ask yourself, you live day to day without stretching your skills, your mindset, your perception. That’s why there is so much burnout in adults. You graduate from high school at 18 or 19, then, for some, four or more years in college, then you spend about 15 years in your chosen profession. No growth, no developing awareness, a closed consciousness… And now you believe everything you see on Facebook. Your windows to the world close to pinpoints. This is where the mid-life crisis rears its ugly head. The fact that there IS a mid-life crisis is PROOF that you have stopped your growth and development as a person! And the fact that the existence of a mid-life crisis has become normalized is absolutely frightening!

What happens in a mid-life crisis? A person wants to re-invent himself or herself. They might buy a flashy car, go on a dream vacation, have an affair, quit their jobs, gamble away their savings… They want to start over. But what they are really saying is that they want to recreate the feeling they had when they graduated and knew absolutely everything and nothing was out of their reach. They just don’t realize that nothing has ever been out of their reach; they just haven’t become the person they needed to be to reach for it. They stopped growing, experiencing, and appreciating.

A coach, if they’re not a fraud or a con man, will ask you these uncomfortable questions:

  1. What do you want in life?
  2. Is that all?
  3. Why is that important to you?
  4. What would it feel like? look like?
  5. What would you have to do to get this? What kind of person would you have to become?

And the coach won’t stop there. What you want in life might not be the first thing that pops into your head. What you currently think you want in life might NOT be what you truly want; it might be just a visible aspect of something deeper. The premise is that to get something, you have to do something. But that is shallow at best. To DO something significant requires you to BE someone significant. This requires growth in your thinking that will substantially change your outlook on life, your perception of your world, and your power to mold it into the life you want. Do you ask yourself those questions? Are you satisfied with the most cursory of answers?

To get those answers, you don’t seek a mentor, because though you may want the lifestyle of a person, you have differing backgrounds, experiences, and perceptions. You can’t have his life any more than he could have yours.

To get those answers, you don’t seek a teacher, because though they can fill in the gaps in your knowledge, they do not usually teach you how to think into the deepest areas of your consciousness. If you’re still working, and you want to quit or retire and start your own business, they can provide some information you need to be successful, but they cannot make you into the person you have to BE to be successful. You have to change your mindset from employee to entrepreneur and that is a huge shift in your thinking.

To get those answers, you don’t seek a psychologist. They look back into your past to explain your present. They might be able to project your future, but though they may bring new awareness into why you ARE the way you are, they cannot help you BECOME who you want to become.

To be designated as a coach, I am taking a course that leads to accreditation by the EMCC, The European Mentoring and Coaching Council. I must take online classes to fill my brain with good practices and processes. But obviously, that cannot be the be-all and end-all of certification. Anyone can pass a test. So once we have the basics of good coaching down intellectually, we have to work on the practice in order to develop a sense of the art of coaching. It requires that we give and receive coaching under supervision. It’s like an apprentice arrangement. Then we are evaluated. If we pass, then we move on to evaluated live coaching where we are observed coaching an actual client. If we pass that and have spent the requisite time in reflection and examination, learning, and self-assessment, then we get a certification that is very exclusive. 100 people wanted to put in an application for this certification, but only 43 qualified. Of those 43 applicants, only 20 were accepted. (I was one of those accepted! Yay!)

You cannot simply go on the internet and proclaim yourself to be a coach. Unless you are a con artist, It is a time-consuming, arduous process. It is also very expensive. But who would go to college to get a degree and be surprised that it cost money? Who thinks that becoming an MD requires just daytime classes and no internship or residency? Who thinks that taking the CPA test is easy enough to be passed without extra study and tutoring? It will take me 12 months of hard work, but I should be certified by the end of December. And that’s not the end of it, because the learning never stops. There are weekly calls, continuing education, and occasional summits and updates.

If you want to avoid that mid-life crisis; if you want to self-actualize; if you want to be a significant force in your universe; you must get a coach.

Let me be the tactical adviser!

I have never fired a weapon in my life. I have never gone to firearms training, tactical training, or strategic training either for the military or police…because I am NOT military or police. BUT I watch lots of procedural police shows.

I was watching one where the Texas Ranger was in the house of his paramour who happened to be a bad guy. Her cohorts broke down the door and started shooting with their fully automatic weapons. In the blink of an eye, our hero tips back the couch he was on to give him cover. I HAVE had upholstery training. Couches, the good ones, have oak frames. They have springs wired together for support, hog hair to keep the springs from damaging the filling, and cotton batting for comfort. The cheap couches have pine frames, springs of less tensile strength, and foam rubber for comfort. You can tip a good couch but only if you are strong and have help because oak is heavy. The high tensile strength of the springs might serve to deflect bullets, but the batting and the hog hair would not. Since our hero tipped the couch himself, we must assume it was a cheaper model. (After all, if you’re going to have to do more than one take on the fight scene, you don’t want to use an expensive couch!) The pine frame would be useless against most bullets, and we know that the manufacturers will not use much wood in their creations. They may use 3/4 -inch plywood to support the springs.

Our poor hero, hiding behind fluff and pine, should be Swiss Cheese. Our bad guys are standing in the doorway firing fully automatic weapons and hitting the wall behind the couch, the end tables, the lamps. They must have gone to the Storm Trooper Training Facility. With the couch on its back, one strafing from arm to arm of the couch and close to the floor would take him out.

But noooooooooooooooooooooo.

The next thing I noticed was that the intruders didn’t intrude. They broke down the door and started firing willy nilly into the living room. Then they stopped firing so our hero could get some shots in with his little handgun. It was a cute little silver deal and looked like it could shoot water or light your cigarette. So he’s firing over the back of the couch without looking at his target because, well, “Don’t stick your head up to see your opponents if they are shooting automatic weapons at you!” He has no idea where his bullets are going. But he knows that when he fires, they don’t. He doesn’t use this break in their attack to find a better hiding place. Both intruders had automatic weapons–both firing simultaneously. They couldn’t see their target, but they knew he was behind the couch. They also knew he was the only target in the apartment that was armed. They didn’t come into the apartment! The door is a bottleneck. It makes them stationary targets. If one had put down suppressing fire (into the couch) the other could have entered and advanced on the good guy. Then he could fire from a different angle to distract the good guy while his partner entered the room to flank him.

But noooooooooooooooooooooo.

Of course, if the good guy had moved from behind the couch to a new position, he could have picked them off as they came into the room because they’d still be shooting at the couch. I’m shaking my head.

Next scenario:

The detective and his partner are running down a guy who was instrumental in a murder and they know he’s the only one that can tell them who the mastermind behind the murder is. They chase him into an open space and lo and behold, there are 8-10 other cops there, weapons drawn. “Give it up! You got NOWHERE to go! You’re surrounded!”

Indeed, he is standing in a circle of cops…a circle. None of them has taken cover. Our intrepid detective sees the panic in his target’s eyes turn to determination. He is going to commit suicide by cop. The detective is telling him to get on his knees and the guy does not comply. He walks toward him, trying to talk him out of his decision, and at one point tells the other officers to lower their weapons. They are lowered but not holstered as is protocol. The target slowly moves his hand from above his head to his waistband where his weapon is. WE do not know if he’s going to drop the weapon or draw on the officers. Those officers behind him do not have the closed-captioned monitor to observe his actions, they just see him dropping one hand.

Among the first rules you would learn in firearms safety is to not only pay attention to your target but to scope out what is beyond your target. You cannot control the bullet after it leaves your gun. Remember that the target is in a circle of cops? So even though those cops behind the target cannot see what he’s doing, they fire on the suspect. If the suspect had gone down quickly instead of acting, the 2nd and 3rd bullets would have hit our detective and his partner. Because he is acting, even though he has been hit in the lung, the liver, and the heart, he remains standing and slowly crumples to his back. You can see that the bullets have traveled through and through his torso because he has both entry and exit wounds. Where did the bullets go after they pierced him? Into the cops on the other side of the circle? Oops

While the detective was slowly walking toward our suspect and talking him down, why wasn’t another cop walking up behind him to subdue him while the suspect was distracted? Oh, because if the suspect had gone for the gun, the detective would have fired and gotten both the officer and the suspect.

In a press defense in basketball, you get two people to stop the progress of the offensive player by trapping him in a corner or near the side of the court. If the offensive player with the ball is in center court, you have to put three people on him to stop him. In a situation where our suspect was in the center of an area, he has too many options. You want to “herd” him to a point where the only option is to surrender, you put him up against a wall or a corner.

Of course, every cop that faces this situation knows that if you speak in logical terms, the suspect will acknowledge your wisdom and make a rational decision. It’s like arguing with your toddler on the benefits of sleep and expecting him to bow to your deductions and accept your conclusion. HA! The detectives all start with, “You don’t want to do this! We can work something out…” And every time… they go for the gun and either aim it at the police or blow their brains out. OF COURSE, THEY WANT TO DO THIS! It’s the easy, quick answer.

You have to make an emotional appeal. The suspect is in full-on emotional panic. Logic will have NO effect. “How do you think your loved ones would prefer you–dead or alive? Do you think the outcome is hopeless? If I could give you an alternative, would you at least consider it? Officer Smith, could you come up and relieve our suspect of his gun, please? The rest of the officers, make sure there is nobody behind the suspect so if shots need to be fired, there are no collateral damages. I promise you will not be hurt if you follow my suggestions.”

It doesn’t make good TV or Movies, but it might in real life. Any police officers out there, please look at this and see if I’ve misjudged the situation. If I have, PLEASE enlighten me!

The coolest arrest I’ve ever seen was when this kid was robbing a fast food joint. He and his partner tied up the manager and the rest of the crew and they walked out into the parking lot. Apparently, my call to the police had been heeded and they came in without lights and siren and parked away from the building, blocking the exits. That way, no new customers came in and our thieves would not get out easily. They were unaware of the circumstances outside the building. One of the officers was behind the dumpster where the thieves had parked their car, and one was stationed at the freezer door. The kids sauntered out of the building, and the policeman behind the door walked up behind them with his gun in one kid’s back and his finger to the other’s back, and said quietly in his deep, deep voice, “You are under arrest.” One of them peed his pants. “Now boys, get down on your knees and lace your fingers behind your head.” The officer’s partner revealed himself, weapon leveled, and moved toward the boys. The backup police helped gather them up and read them their rights and put them in the car. They took the money as evidence. Then the one with the deep voice went in and made sure the manager and the crew were ok, and he stayed to ask questions.