“I have an existential map. It has…”

“I have an existential map. It has ‘you are here’ written all over it.”

—Steve Wright, American comedian, actor and writer

Photo from Flickr by Zen Sutherland

Photo from Flickr by Zen Sutherland

Steve Wright is a comedian with a very quirky sense of humor who definitely sees life through some unique glasses.

His quote makes me think of the phrase, “wherever you go, there you are.” What makes this useful is that we can take even more responsibility and accountability to influence our world simply because we are an integral part of each situation in which we find ourselves.

Instead of being affected by our circumstances, we can become the cause of them.

EXERCISE:

How can you apply your own presence and capabilities wherever you find yourself to improve your existential world?

“No man can think clearly when…”

“No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched.”

—George Jean Nathan, 20th century American drama critic and editor

Photo from Flickr by Colin Davis

Photo from Flickr by Colin Davis

If you have been reading The Quotable Coach blog for any length of time, you may know that one book I find highly useful is Six Thinking Hats by Edward De Bono, in which a color is assigned to each of the six ways to think about any issue:

White Hat Objective Thinking
Red Hat Emotional Thinking
Black Hat Negative Thinking
Yellow Hat Optimistic Thinking
Green Hat Creative Thinking
Blue Hat Orchestrative Thinking

The person referred to in this quote is probably using the black and red hats together, and is missing the clear and more effective approach of using all six hats at once.

EXERCISE:

Consider reading The Six Thinking Hats so that you and those in your professional and personal lives can reap the benefit of clear and collaborative thinking.

Reply to this message and I will be happy to send you a one-page summary of DeBono’s book. Simply put “Six Thinking Hats” in the subject line of your reply.

“Those who will not take a chance seldom…”

“Those who will not take a chance seldom have one thrust upon them.”

—Napoleon Hill, American author

Photo from Flickr by Quinn Dombrowski

Photo from Flickr by Quinn Dombrowski

Napoleon Hill is considered by many to be one of the greatest writers on the topic of success. His most famous work, Think and Grow Rich, has sold over 20 million copies. His work on personal beliefs and the role they play in success is legendary.

This quote goes a step further than his famous “Anything the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve,” in that it points to summoning the courage to act and take risks to achieve what we desire.

EXERCISE:

If you are “waiting for your ship to come in,” how can you suit up, jump in the risky waters, and swim out to it instead?

“It is far more impressive when others…”

“It is far more impressive when others discover your qualities without your help.”

—Miss Manners (Judith Martin), American journalist, author, and etiquette authority

Photo from Amazon.com

Photo from Amazon.com

Someone wise once told me that if you say something nice about yourself it is bragging, yet if others say the very same thing about you, it is the truth!

In my years of coaching, I have seen that there is no single critical factor more important to the building and sustaining of relationships than a genuine interest in others.

Those individuals who focus on themselves and being interesting rather than interested tend to repel people in their professional and personal lives.

EXERCISE:

How can you channel your effort and attention in the genuine service of others without calling attention to yourself, and allow others, if and when appropriate, to acknowledge and appreciate your efforts?

Also consider heightening your own focus and awareness on the remarkable qualities of others. Don’t be surprised if they reciprocate!

“Remember that a kick in the..”

“Remember that a kick in the ass is a step forward.”

—Author Unknown

Photo from Flickr by Brittney Bush Bollay

Photo from Flickr by Brittney Bush Bollay

I use a special 360º Leadership Survey in my work with business leaders. The survey evaluates their style as a leader, and the effectiveness from their own perspective and that of their associates.

The two results-producing styles are called “team leader” and “taskmaster,” with the first being a balance between results and people, and the second being a focus exclusively on results.

Although being a “team leader” is by far the preferred style for optimal long-term results that empower people, sometime the “taskmaster” or, as in this quote, “a good kick in the ass,” may be the only way.

EXERCISE:

Examine for yourself where and when the situations you find in your professional or personal life would most benefit from a balanced team leader or a kick-in-the-ass taskmaster approach to move the issues you face forward.

“Easy Street is a Blind Alley.”

“Easy Street is a blind alley.”

—Author Unknown

Photo from Flickr by kahunapulej

Photo from Flickr by kahunapulej

Are you always looking for the path of least resistance and the easy way to navigate your world?

If so, you may have noticed a drawback from such a strategy. Consider people who don’t exercise and live sedentary lives. What do you notice about their relative health, well-being, and overall vitality?

Coaching is all about helping people stretch and push beyond their physical, mental, emotional, and sometimes their spiritual limits to open up bright new vistas of professional and personal possibilities and achievement.

EXERCISE:

How can you take a more challenging “road less traveled” today, to strengthen your capacity to clearly see and realize an extraordinary life?

“If you don’t take care of your body…”

“If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?”

—Author Unknown

Photo from Flickr by Doug

Photo from Flickr by Doug

Virtually every person I work with as a coach has been dealing at some level, over the last few months, with issues such as health, fitness, and death.

Health and wellness has always been a top priority for me. Because experts say 70% of our health is within our control, I have spent considerable time applying what I learn to my own life.

EXERCISE:

As 2014 winds down and we prepare for a new year, consider taking the “Real Age Test” to get a baseline on your current biological age versus your chronological age.

Once you have taken the test, you can develop a plan of action to optimize your health and create a stronger, healthier place to live.

“The trouble with the rat race is…”

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win you’re still a rat.”

-Lily Tomlin, American actress, comedian, writer, and producer

Photo from Flickr by Tim

Photo from Flickr by Tim

One of the unique parts of my work as a coach is that I have significant freedom to work with the people I choose. This freedom of choice has multiple benefits, including better results and far more mutually satisfying relationships.

Before any coaching begins, I utilize a discovery process to weed out the potential rats that are not the best fit to work with me.

I clearly do not wish to offend anyone by calling them a rat, however, we all find some people far easier and more enjoyable to work with due to common values, beliefs, and commitments. The ability to seek out such individuals allows us to not only win more races, but also to enjoy the run regardless of the results.

EXERCISE:

How can you use your values, beliefs, and authentic commitments to partner with others to more fully enjoy more of your professional and personal races?

“Never go to a doctor whose…”

“Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.”

—Erma Bombeck, American humorist & columnist

dying-houseplant1

One of the first pieces of advice I share with those just beginning a coaching career is to engage their own coach to support their professional and personal achievements.

How can they expect clients to hire them as a coach if they don’t walk the talk and demonstrate the value and impact of coaching through their own life?

It would be a classic breach of integrity, and clients would notice it immediately. This is one of the added benefits of being a coach in that you can’t help others achieve their goals without taking a good hard look at your own, and doing the work necessary to reach them.

EXERCISE:

How can you better exemplify the highest standards of integrity and excellence in your professional and personal lives?

 

“Life is like playing the violin…”

“Life is like playing the violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.”

—Samuel Butler, 19th century English author

Photo from Flickr by Bunches and Bits

Photo from Flickr by Bunches and Bits

We’ve all heard the phrase “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” We are constantly on stage, learning as we go. The good news is that this is exactly how we learn best, through the day-to-day experiences that mold and shape our character and spirit.

Sometimes, though, our fears take over and we remain on the sidelines, watching others venture on stage and observe how things turn out for them. Often we see them fail or fall short, and think that their experience confirms our reasons for playing it safe.

Samuel Butler tells us otherwise in this quote. To be a virtuoso at life, we must engage as fully as possible, knowing that this daily effort can lead us to harmony and success.

EXERCISE:

Consider Malcolm Gladwell’s “Rule of 10,000 hours” as a way of orchestrating personal mastery and the success and fullness of your own life.