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Archive for October, 2009

I am all about starting, launching and getting going. Propulsion thrills me. Velocity thrills me. “Your best you. Starting now”, remember?

So, while I’m a big starter, I’m also pretty fascinated by those who are big FINISHERS. Enter the fabulous, inspiring and über-cool Dyana Valentine. Her motto? “Helping self-starters self-finish: one project at a time”.Picture-15-150x150

She’s been on my radar for a while, though it wasn’t until she issued a challenge that I decided to say “howdy”. Her challenge : 40 Days of Our Bodies – a commitment to tending to our bodies for 40 days and noticing the shifts that arise.

I decided to jump on in with committing to 40 days of yoga. No small feat, right? Hatha = hard. Here’s the kicker though. I LOVE yoga. Making room for a daily practice is a challenge, yes, but I started to feel that I was cheating myself out of the substance of this exercise…kinda like a vegan giving up liver and onions for Lent. So I looked a little deeper and I didn’t much care for what I saw…which is precisely when I discovered what I had to do.

On October 3rd, I decided to give up the smokes. FOR GOOD. Yup…that’s right. I had been smoking “socially” for the past two years (again). It pains me to type those words: inner monologue goes something like “you should have known better”; “how can you coach people towards self-care if you weren’t walking the talk”; “yucky stinky” and so on.

But self-imposed judgment doesn’t ever work too well with me (which is why I hadn’t managed to REALLY quit before). Here’s what does work for me:

  1. A good and resonant reason…love. I am 37. My mother died at 59. I am madly in love with my family…and I do not want to cheat them out of ME and what I bring to this life. Ain’t nothing more resonant for me than love.
  2. A good challenge…with accountabilities built in. I shared with Dyana and she’s been a valued source of support, inspiration and giggles. I knew she wouldn’t let me fall. And she won’t.

Am on Day 20. Half-way through Ms D’s  challenge…and 20 days into a new and freer chapter in my blessed life.

What do you need to be finished with so that you can get started on your new path?

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What a fabulous word…it’s succulent, sexy and yet somehow soulful. Yes, I am a sucker for alliterations, but I do love this word and its ambiguities. You can’t utter it without inferring “yes” and yet, the inherent question is “what do you need to say yes to in order to succeed?”. Early morning musings after a late night, to be sure…but I do wonder…what is success to you? To some, it may be all about the benjamins. For others, a spiritual renaissance.

While I am still blissfully defining and refining my own version of truth about success, I do know that by all accounts, last night’s Coach Buffet in Montreal was indeed a success. How do I know? I saw it in the faces of the clients and coaches, felt the energy in my scalp and toes, and read the glowing feedback forms from everyone involved.

There is no one secret to success (just google that and you’ll see that there are ostensibly 106,000,000 secrets). But for Coach Buffet, there were 3 very good reasons…none of them a secret:

  • WHAT – It is an excellent idea. Props here to Lisa for conceiving of it…she asked me to partner early along and we coached each other to the place of making it happen, but success does indeed come from innovation. People are hungry to learn about coaching and Coach Buffet is the perfect place to sample different “flavours” of coaching styles. Lisa was right…as she often is.
  • HOW – We worked hard…this is a core value for both of us. We clocked several hundred hours executing the strategy. Period. And managed to keep it fun and are still the best of friends.
  • WHO – We needed two types of people to say “yes” to this event to make it a sucess and we are ever-so-grateful:
  • a) We promised high-calibre Montreal coaches and by George, we delivered high-calibre Montreal coaches.  Julie, Amanda, Martine, Marie-Claude, Michele, Roch, Anne, Ian, Minnie, Corry ,  Louis and Alain are some of the finest coaches I’ve had the pleasure of working with. They helped promote the event and showed up last night with full intention of serving the participants’ needs. Their powerful coaching (even in short increments) absolutely blew the top off of the joint.
  • b) The participants who came out…a beautiful group of pioneers.  This had never been done before and yet they trusted the guiding force of their intuition that there was something for them in this evening. And resoundingly, it looks like they got what they came for. Bravo to the fearless and the brave early adopters!!!
  • So, I leave Montreal this morning, unabashedly basking in the glow of success for a job well done…and excited to refine for Toronto’s Coach Buffet on November 17th. We do hope you’ll come out, hungry for possibility and even, if you can imagine, just a little bit more.

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    You’ve been here often enough to know that I am ALL about gratitude. For rejoicing in the many gifts that I’ve been given and hopefully spreading that gratitude around. So, of COURSE, Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays of the year. What’s not to love? Cool crisp days, warm cozy homes filled with the smells of sage and onion stuffing, wine, family, autumnal decorations and a festive note in our hearts. images

    Here’s the problem. We gorge. We overdo it. Too much stuffing. Too much wine. Too much pressure to pull it all off. Heck, even too much family (yup, I dared say it….now please read on for the reframe). What I mean here is that it’s a hectic, crazy blur. Look outside your window right now…do you see any life? NO, because everyone’s on their couch rubbing their bellies with the phones turned off and watching the Seinfeld marathon on TV Tropolis. It was all too much to handle.

    There must be another way. A softer, more moderate display of our gratitude for what we all have in abundance. Other ways to tell family that we love them and that we care: more frequent (and shorter?) visits. A little less butter on the turkey skin (uh-huh…1200 calories per serving…we did the math). One less bottle of wine. A little more chatting and one less side dish.

    I am grateful for much…and choose to tune into it all on a daily basis, rather than binging on it over one weekend in October.

    And now, I’m off to make a sandwich and see what the gang in Manhattan’s up to these days…but will leave my phone on in case family wants to talk.

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    Last week, I was contacted by a coaching colleague who was drumming up interest in a concert that she is putting together on October 13, 2009 in support of the Toronto Boys to Men program.  Julie likes to play “full out” and I believed her when she wrote about the performer that was headlining the concert: Scott Kalechstein. 437783422She wrote that she saw him in concert over ten years ago and described that experience as such:

    “The room was ALIVE, VIBRANT, In MOTION.  The LOVE. LIGHT and LAUGHTER was magical, healing, profound.”

    Sorry folks, but those are some of my trigger words (others are: yoga retreats, equality, kittens, Loire Valley, Lauren and Greg, popcorn and Donna Karan, but I digress). I had to speak to this man. Some due diligence first. A quick peek at his website revealed that he had performed for Deepak Chopra, Byron Katie, John Canfield and many others. Now I REALLY had to speak to him. I tried to e-terview him, but he would have nothing of it. He wanted to talk to me. In fact, he wanted to SING to me.

    We chatted for a while about who he is and what he’s all about. He is a very funny comic, a laid-back Californian, an intuitive coach, a scarily talented song-writer and performer, and a fiercely proud father and husband. I asked the dopey question: “are [wife Venus and daughter Aysia] your happiness?” and was pretty pleased when he replied: “No, that’s called family. Happiness is an inside job”.

    And here’s what he’s about:

    I’m about looking fear in the face and saying “Excuse me but you lie. You’re not the truth”. And I do that in my own life and for others in my coaching, comedy and music. So I do that and I am that.

    What has been your most thrilling performance to date?

    It would have to be the first time that I did stand-up comedy because I was intimidated by that form of expression. I was going on the stage that Dana Carvey and Robin Williams had been on.  In fact, I opened for Robin Williams. I had so much fear and so afterwards, I was so proud of myself. I was high on that for days. This goes back to my commitment to not let the fear take over or be the truth about me.

    What is the most thrilling performance that you’ve YET to do?

    I imagine it’s about making songs in the moment…this is likely what’s most unique about me and what I’m able to create. I have a vision of being on Oprah and her saying “I’ve heard about you, do your thing” and there being tears. Lots of them…and joy.

    You have enjoyed a fair amount of success…other than sheer talent, what else can you attribute it to?

    I’ve been performing full-time for 20 years. I didn’t set out to do this, I just started writing songs. After college, I started to become fascinated by personal growth and while I was still just writing songs for myself, they became part of my expression. I had no real thoughts about sharing it with the world. That wasn’t the intention…the intention was on the personal growth. And given that that was my prime focus, the music was pure expression and therefore it was all just easy and flowed.

    The real work has been in TRUSTING enough to let it be easy.

    You’re a man of words AND actions. Whose words/actions do you admire?

    Barack Obama’s actions and words in a fear-based society is pretty inspiring. There’s a kind of superglue regarding the amount of people stuck to keep things the way they are. But he’s putting in a lot of energy to change that. It will take time to manifest his vision.

    Is there fear in creating the in-the-moment work?

    Sure…my ego says this may be tough, but luckily that’s only one voice in the choir…before it used to be the director of the choir.

    What is one word that governs all that you do?

    JUST ONE WORD? Naw…I need more!

    Okay, 5

    Peace, love, ease, power and joy.

    And out came the guitar. I was treated to the Scott Special: an in-the-moment creation centered around the words peace, love, ease, power and joy. It was magical to behold. This guy is seriously skillish and I was completely sold by song’s end. It was poignant, soulful, resonant and pure loveliness. I wish I had have recorded the call.

    I get why he would rather sing than be interviewed.

    What would you like the world to receive from you?

    I’d love to know that I’ve helped people to have fun, find joy, refuse to give in to fear and to see how easy life can really be. It can flowing down the river rather than furiously paddling upstream.

    I’d also like people to stop searching for the next thing. Make fun with right NOW your priority, because there will always be something else on the list.

    Have fun today…it may well be your last day.

    I am disappointed that I’ll miss the Toronto concert (I’ll be at Coach Buffet in Montreal) but if you are in Toronto on the 13th, you may want to check him out. It will be a unique experience…there will be laughter, love and motion…just like Julie experienced 10 years ago.

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