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Posts Tagged ‘coaching’

Last Friday, I was introduced to a practice of mindfulness and supreme focus by my friend Adam. While he IS a wise old soul, he is neither a yoga master nor a Buddhist monk. He is an 8 year old boy who likes Doritos, Ben-Ten and modeling clay figures of Spider Man and he suggested that I give Fimo a whirl. So I did.

Let me preface this by saying I’ve made it a bit of a mission to find wee food items for my daughter’s dollhouse (custom made by my Dad to look like our house…wall colours and all). I pretend that I’m seeking out the cutest foods for my daughter, but when I’m being honest with myself, it’s a quest for me…something unrequited there, I’m sure! Last week, I spent a WHACK of money at the Ex on dainty teeny-tiny foodstuffs (and felt a little bit like a crazy old cat lady for the experience…miniature doilies, anyone?).

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Fun with Fimo

So when Adam implored me to take a jaunt with him to our nearest art supply store and shell out some bucks for Fimo,  I was in…though just for him. I never thought I’d manage to create something worthy of adorning the dollhouse. Fourteen dollars later however, my mind boggled with the endless possibilities: ice cream cones, sushi, meatballs, cookies…oh my!!!!

We nimbly worked it with our fingers, talked about life, love and bullies. We listened to the rain fall and shared jokes. We counseled each other on our creations and championed each other’s good work.

Given that this delightful afternoon occurred during my working hours, and in honour of my value of hard work, I’ve decided to apply what I learned about the afternoon to my business…and my life. And what did I learn? A lot.

  • Be open to new endeavours…whatever it may be.
  • Want more play in your life? Listen to children…they know how it’s done.
  • Letting go of preconceived notions about how something should be done can give you lots of room for expansiveness. And a quieter mind. Very good for your innate creativity in all you do.
  • Taking time away from business is a good thing…besides, as the one and only Danielle LaPorte tells it, you’re not that important
  • Paying attention to details can make the difference between something being unpalatable or sumptuous. A little more effort can be rewarding…even if it feels fussy and awkward.
  • The only person that expects me to be perfect is me. AND, given that I’m imperfect, what the hell do I know about perfection anyways!
  • There is certain deliciousness in variety. And FURTHER to this, stay tuned for an event that I’m co-hosting with my dear colleague Lisa Chandler. It’s all about sampling a delectable variety of coaching styles…in 15 minute increments. You’ll be AMAZED how a good coach can help you cut to the meat of an issue in less time than that.

I’ll not be doing this for a living any time soon, but was pretty pleased how my little smackerels turned out….fingerprint imprints and all.

So, I ask you to try something new, fearlessly and with no attachment to the outcome. You may surprise yourself…and even clear your mind while you’re at it. And if you don’t know what that could be, ask a kid. They’ll let you know how fun’s done.

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Have you ever offered advice only to find that it’s duly ignored? Makes you feel kind of cruddy, right? Especially given that, in your mind, it was probably exactly what the recipient needed to hear?

Here’s an inside secret…no one really likes being told what to do (even if they came to you asking for advice…weird, quirky, but true). Further, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this, when people come to their own conclusions, they are more satisfied, motivated and inspired. And when they land on their own solution…BING BING BING…they’re more likely to follow through in action.

The coaching profession accounts for this by basing its work on the assumption that every person is naturally creative, resourceful and whole. Everyone has the answers to their life’s problems within them…they just need someone to help them to pull it out. And when expert advice is really required, clients will have the motivation to find that, too.

I just let you in on Coaching 101. It may sound a little abstract (perhaps), a little ungrounded (I assure you that it is not) and a little woo-woo (at times, sure). But the idea of building your own something and loving it more than something you were just handed is called “The Ikea Effect”. An article in the Harvard Business Review points to the phenomenon that “labor enhances affection for its results”. You-fab vs. pre-fab means you’ll find it more fab.

Intrinsically, I believe this to be true. I am most fond of the art in my house that my husband and I have created ourselves. We encourage our daughter to make her own mistakes rather than handing her the answers. And I’m certainly finding my own way in business as an entrepreneur (with some support systems in place) more so than when I was “corporate”. Ask around…you’ll see what I mean. Stacie Maier, very cool owner of Uprise Careers points to her favourite tattoo…a cute and simple paw print. It’s not the same caliber of the others that adorn her frame, but she did it herself (told you she was cool…and a GREAT person to talk to if you’re late-20’s and “not cubicle friendly”).

Where the Ikea Effect can be worrisome is in the power of “I’m righteousness”. We’ve seen this too, haven’t we? People who actually use and BELIEVE such 80’s phrases such as: “my way or the highway”. The HBR article points out:

Managers should keep in mind that ideas they have come to love because they invested their own labor in them may not be as highly valued by their coworkers – or their customers.

In building Ikea furniture, we all know one thing: lose the Allen key and your Galant desk will never come together. No duct tape can help you there.

Further, in coming to your own decisions, if you’ve asked for advice, please appreciate the perspective from which it came, listen to the offering for resonance with your own values and go from there. Assuredly, no duct tape will be required.

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Today is our daughter’s first last day of school. She’s finishing out junior kindergarten with a glowing report card (if you don’t count the pointed comment: “she usually follows instructions well”). (more…)

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