Archive for February, 2010
Listen up! Life happens! The only people who don’t have problems are dead people. I guess they had some problems that got them dead, but they aren’t really suffering them any more. I don’t mean to be callous, just direct.
We have this distorted idea that happy is a destination and that life shouldn’t be so hard. I know I get caught up in that. Every time I think my life couldn’t possibly get any harder, it does. Mother Teresa said, “I know God will never give me more than I can handle. Sometimes, I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.” Well, I hear ya sister!
Some people think that happy people are happy because they are lucky, rich, thin, in a good marriage, have perfect kids, are successful, etc. But, those are just circumstances. Happy people are happy because they choose to be happy. They realize that no matter what is going on in their life, that they can overcome it, learn from it, bear it or just plain be with it AND find some things to be happy about at the same time.
You are not your circumstances! You are you and your circumstances are your circumstances. Put them back into perspective and remember that you ARE greater than your circumstances and act accordingly!
You’ve probably heard it said that you are the sum total of the 7 people you hang out with most. So who do you hang out with most? And, do you like who you are and who you are becoming in that company?
If you want to lose weight, hang out with healthy, fit people. It makes it easier. If you want to be more successful, surround yourself with people who are MORE successful than you are. If you want to be in a fulfilling marriage, hang out with other couples who represent that for you.
Conceptually, this sounds great. But, I think it’s harder than it sounds. I know that the people I spend the most time with actually are my children. When they were little, it was hard for my brain to keep from turning to jello sometimes. As an entrepreneur, I spend most of my time working with clients or in pursuit of new clients. I have to make a conscious effort to put myself in environments that stretch me and to surround myself with people who propel me forward.
Here are 7 Ways to Create a Powerful Peer Group:
1. Be at choice about who you spend your time with. Of course there are important people who you are in relationships with that may not serve your vision of who you are becoming. Choose when to spend your time with them and how much time and energy you want to invest in that relationship. I’m not going to stop hanging out with my kids. But, I am intentional about that time. I love to play games with them, help them with their homework, make meals, go to the movies and just hang out with my kids. But, I don’t play Xbox or WOW with them. You get the idea. I also love my extended family dearly. I come from a long line of women who love with food – lots of delicious food. If I am watching my diet, I need to plan ahead when I attend a family event. It’s also true that I love with food and make regular attempts to kill my loved ones with enchiladas and cheesecake. They need to plan accordingly and enlist my support when they come over.
2. Bring the people in your current peer group up with you. So, in the case of my family, especially my immediate family, I am not going to stop eating with them as a long term solution. But, I can enroll them in eating better with me. Now, I have a peer group that supports me. You can do this with your office staff, your management team, the Little League moms or any of your other friends.
3. Join networking and business development groups or start your own. My favorite business development group for Women Entrepreneurs is The Association of Women Entreprenuers. I am inspired by the motivational and inspirational speakers. I love the mastermind groups. And I cherish the friendships that I have made with like-minded women in pursuit of MORE.
4. Join or start a mastermind group. Be intentional about who you choose to mastermind with. Look for people who compliment you and stretch you. Many coaches and consultants offer the opportunity to mastermind with them for a price. If this is your next teacher, then the price is generally worth it. You can mastermind with me, if you are so inspired.
5. Attend conventions in your field. Conventions are a fabulous opportunity to network with other like-minded professionals who are moving in the same direction that you are and conventions generally offer progressive educational opportunites in your field.
6. Pursue a credential. Most credentialing programs give you education with a peer group, or tribe, built in. One of the tribes that I am proudest to belong to and most stretched and fulfilled by is my CTI Leadership Tribe. My coaching certification, CPCC (Certified Professional Co-Active Coach), also admits me to an amazing, international tribe of coaches and leaders. I continue to be inspired and grown by these associations.
7. Join an association of professionals in your field. As a coach, I belong to The International Coach Federation and The International Coach Federation in Los Angeles. I know I am among “my people” when I attend any ICF event. Know your tribe! If you are a designer, hang out with other designers. If you are a realtor, work with other realtors. These collaborations make us all better at what we do and help us to serve our clients better by bringing up our whole industry.
Whatever you do, do something. You’re success depends on it!
If you want to jump off a bridge, call a therapist. If you want to cross a bridge, call a coach.
People, including a lot of coaches and therapists, don’t really know what the differences are between coaching and therapy. In my opinion, there are many reasons that there is so much confusion. The main reason that I think there is so much confusion is because there is very little regulation on what coaching actually is and many untrained and uncertified coaches don’t necessarily appreciate or respect the boundaries of coaching. In addition to that, therapy has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. Therapy is rarely the “lie on the couch and tell me your feelings” experience that it once was stereotyped as.
So what is coaching and what is therapy? This is such a great question that The International Coach Federation in Los Angeles hosted a program led by coaches and therapists to discuss it this week. And, guess what? To many of the participants, the differences between coaching and therapy are very unclear.
The primary distinction between coaching and therapy used to be this imaginary line on the horizon called functionality. Ten years ago, everything below the line (the land of disfunction) belonged in the realm of therapy and everything above the line (functionality) belonged to coaching. So, clearly, depression and any diagnosable therapeutic conditions require a therapist. Just as clearly, goal setting, visioning and self actualization was the work of a coach. Another clear distinction was that therapy dealt with the past to the present and coaching only concerned itself with the present to the future.
Here’s what’s happened though. Therapy has evolved into the realm of positive psychology and human development, which was previously exclusively the work of a coach. And coaching has evolved into the realm of feelings and overcoming fears which dangerously treads on the boundaries of therapy.
Additionally, while therapy is highly regulated, coaching is not. The International Coach Federation offers regulation, certifies coaches and accredits schools to train coaches in 11 Core Competencies with supervision. But there are many, many people calling themselves coaches that have no training outside of their life or their professional experience. So, now we have marketing coaches, business coaches, peak performance coaches, executive coaches, grief coaches, eating disorder coaches, and everything in between. The business coaches don’t cause as much trouble in this conversation as the life and lifestyle coaches. Most of the time business and executive coaches don’t offer coaching around feelings and personal issues that would overlap with therapy. But grief coaches and eating disorder coaches are definitely dancing a fine line between coaching and therapy. And most clients eventually ask their coach to work with them in some capacity in the realm of past hurts and unresolved issues that formed current belief systems.
An ironic distinction is that in order to identify a client with an eating disorder or depression or something like that, you actually need to be a therapist. Coaches are unqualified to diagnose or treat anything. Professional coaches have to be very clear about their boundaries and limitations and when to refer to a therapists. Likewise, it is unprofessional and unethical for therapists to call themselves coaches unless they have been trained in coaching tools.
The bottom line for clients:
- Work with the professional that you think you need
- Make sure that the professional you work with is certified or holds the proper credentials
The bottom line for coaches:
- Understand and know your professional boundaries. You can find ICF’s Ethical Guidelines here.
- If you aren’t already, get certified.
- Develop professional relationships with other coaches and therapists and continue this conversation.
- When in doubt, refer it out!
Ash Wednesday & Lent
I know that Catholic traditions sometimes mystify and interest my friends, so I thought I’d share some of my spiritual practices with you.
Yesterday was Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday” which is the day that we celebrate and overindulge as we look toward lent and our lenten practices.
Today is Ash Wednesday. It is a day that we remember our humanity and our sinfulness. We go to services around this theme and receive ashes on our foreheads in the shape of a cross to publicly acknowledge our sinfulness and imperfection. We know it looks funny. Most of the time, it looks more like we have dirt on our foreheads than anything else. But, we wear those ashes as a badge of honor. They show that we belong to something greater than ourselves and they show that we know we are imperfect and that we are going to spend the next 40 days reflecting on that.
Which brings us to Lent. Lent is the 40 days before Easter. As Catholics, this is a time to reflect on our humanity and our imperfections. We are called to prayer, fasting, penitence and alms giving. These are some old fashioned words that confuse most Catholics.
Of course, you know what prayer is. We are called to enrich our spiritual practices and take our prayer life to the next level, whatever that is. For some people, it’s going to Mass every Sunday. For others, it’s saying a Rosary every day. Many Catholics take up reading the bible. I know you’ve heard that we don’t do that, but we do. Haha. You can’t believe everything you hear.
We are well known for out Lenten Fasts. The common question and the one you will see me post on Facebook today is “What are you giving up for Lent?” This is pretty much a 40 day exercise in awareness, to simply go without something that we are accustomed to having. The idea is that your sacrifice will additionally serve to purify you in mind, body or spirit. Chocolate, soda, alcohol, coffee, bread, tortillas and rice are all popular foods that are given up for Lent. My kids are giving up some TV programs. I suggested the TV altogether, but they thought I was spiritually insane and should be admitted directly to a convent.
In addition to our Lenten Sacrifice, we are also called to fast or eat very lightly on Ash Wednesday, every Friday during Lent and on Good Friday (the Friday before Easter). Oh, another practice I’m sure you are familiar with is our practice of not eating meat on Fridays. Even McDonald’s is on to this one and puts the Filet-o-Fish Sandwich on sale on Lenten Fridays. Giving up meat on Fridays is really just one more form of fasting; again, one more spiritual practice that raises our awareness and brings our faith to the front of our minds.
As for penitence, pretty much that just means that we are sorry for our sins or for our short comings and we actively strive to do better. We have some services around being sorry and intending to do better including Penance Services and Reconciliation, which used to be called Confession. We don’t practice simply confessing so much as being sorry, asking for forgiveness and having the intention to do good, which is why it is now called Reconciliation. It is a sacrament (a very special practice) that brings us back into relationship with God.
And, finally, Alms Giving. We are called to be especially generous during Lent, donating time, food and money to the poor and the homeless. It is especially popular for us to have food drives, work at food pantries and make special charitable contributions at church or in our communities. I imagine that Haiti will be the beneficiary of some Lenten Alms Giving this year.
One last mention, is that scripture (you know, the Bible) calls us to bear all of our Lenten practices joyfully and privately. So, really, we aren’t supposed to mope around or talk about how much we miss Diet Coke or how great we are for reading the Bible or for working at the homeless shelter. The only purpose in discussing our Lenten practices is to share our faith and our traditions with others in the spirit of love and generosity.
So, if you see a Catholic with Ashes on their forehead today, you don’t have to pretend that they don’t look goofy. Just say something like, “Peace be with you.” This is like a secret Catholic handshake. It will give you something to say instead of “What’s that smudge on your forehead?” And, it will also give you a way to acknowledge it without staring awkwardly or trying not to look at it.
Peace be with you!
1. Set a Goal!
How many clients do you want? How much money do you want to make? How many new clients do you want in the next 6 weeks? How much money do you want to make this week? this month? If you don’t have a goal, it’s hard to reach it. Make it tangible!
2. Develop a Simple Plan!
Your marketing plan doesn’t need to be rocket science. We all know the top 10 or the top 100 things that we should be doing to get clients. We all know what we “should” be doing, but we’re not doing it. Mostly, it’s because what you “should” be doing, doesn’t normally get done. Make your plan 3-10 things that you WILL do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Your plan should be things that you like to do and that you will do. If you hate public speaking, don’t do it. If you love to blog, then blog. If you like networking, then network. Just don’t forget to follow up! Again, do it the way that works for you. If you hate ezines, don’t have one. If you love personal notes, then write them. You get the idea!
3. Take Consistent Action!
Successful marketing is the result of having a simple plan that you will work consistently. It is better to have 3 simple actions that you take every day, every week or every month than one brilliant strategy that you implement once every three months.
4. Do ONE thing!
Do at least ONE thing every day that will move you toward your goal. Updating your website is a great idea, but it’s not likely to get you a new client today. Make the call, send the email, meet for coffee, ask for a referral, etc. Do ONE thing every day that is directly related to getting the results that you are after.
5. Be Accountable!
It’s easy to make a plan and not so easy to stick with it. Set up a structure for accountability. Get a buddy and check in daily or weekly. Check in with your mastermind group. Tell your coach your plan and design an accountability structure. Join a Get Clients NOW! Teleclass!
Get Clients NOW! Teleclasses are now forming! Get more information here!
Teleclass forming NOW! Space is limited! $197
Six Tuesdays in March/April 2010
Mar 16 & Mar 23: 10 – 11:30am pacific and
Mar 30, Apr 6, Apr 13, Apr 20: 10 – 11am pacific