“When you are a parent…”

“When you are a parent, it’s crucial you realize you aren’t raising a ‘mini-me,’ but a spirit throbbing with its own signature.”

-Dr. Shefali Tsabary, keynote speaker and author

Photo from Flickr by Aaron Brinker

Photo from Flickr by Aaron Brinker

I love the idea of all parents having masterful coaching skills to support the growth and development of their children. The primary reason for this opinion is the fact that coaching is primarily an inside-out approach, which is often far more desirable and effective than an outside-in approach.

I’ve found through my own parenting efforts that both my children appreciated and flourished in their development when they had input and some influence on their lives. In other words, people – including young people – are more likely to participate in that which they help create.

EXERCISE:

How can you use a coaching approach in your parenting efforts to bring out the unique signatures of your children? If you are not a parent, how can you use an inside-out coaching approach to support others in your personal or professional worlds?

“A good deed brightens…”

“A good deed brightens a dark world.”

—Author Unknown

Image from fridaylight.org

Image from fridaylight.org

Imagine you are standing in a pitch-black room in which you cannot see your hand in front of your face.

A person enters the room with a lit candle. You can now see your hand, and of course, the smiling face of your visitor. Soon a second, third, and fourth individual join you, each bringing their own candle to further illuminate your room.

Many times, when we look at our lives, the lives of others, and the world in general, things can appear dark and foreboding. We might not even see a light at the end of the tunnel.

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom can you offer your own good deeds to brighten up the world of those around you? Please note how often this process brightens your own world as well!
Imagine the brightness and illumination if everyone focused on doing this more, each and every day.

“You can’t reach for anything…”

“You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk.”

—Zig Ziglar, American author, salesman, and motivational speaker

Image from bradbyers.com

Image from bradbyers.com

Imagine you are learning to juggle, starting with three balls. Your initial efforts are awkward, but you quickly learn that you must release one ball in order to catch the next, then quickly toss that one, too. You just can’t hold on to anything for long without losing the momentum of the entire batch of balls.

EXERCISE:

Where in your life are you required to juggle people, priorities, and projects in order to have more of what you desire? In such cases, you must release some of them temporarily. What if your job here is to make sure you release those that represent yesterday’s junk so that you can have more of the quality balls in your life?

“If there is a single lesson…”

“If there is a single lesson that life teaches us, it’s that wishing doesn’t make it so.”

—Lev Grossman, Author and Journalist

Illustration from Flickr by Tom Simpson

Illustration from Flickr by Tom Simpson

Walt Disney World is a magical place that we have visited many times with our children and family. In the childhood classic, Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket sang, “When you wish upon a star,” a song which says that anything your heart desires will come to you.

For most families, planning a six-nights/seven days vacation full of magic can cost anywhere from $1,000 per person to over $10,000 for a family of four. Given that money does not magically grow on trees, affording it takes considerable effort and sacrifice. This is especially true for the average family, whose median annual household income, according to the 2012 census data, is about $50,000.

EXERCISE:

To what extent are your most fervent hopes, desires, and wishes backed up with necessary efforts and actions, to make even more of your dreams come true?

“It is better to prevent than to cure.”

“It is better to prevent than to cure.”

—Peruvian Proverb

Photo from Flickr by Phossil

Photo from Flickr by Phossil

Many years ago, there was a TV commercial for Fram oil filters, using the marketing slogan, “you can pay me now, or pay me later.” The premise of this campaign was to garner the support of auto mechanics. The mechanics, in turn, would suggest that you could do one of two things:

Invest a small sum in protecting your car’s engine with a new Fram oil filter right now, or pay for an expensive engine repair or replacement down the road.

EXERCISE:

Where would an ounce of prevention be worth more than a pound of cure in your professional or personal life? What actions will you take today to invest a little, for far greater value or savings in the future?

“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.

“I will prepare and someday, my chance will come.”

“I will prepare and someday, my chance will come.”

– Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

Image of hands planting a small tree

Image from Flickr by alexindigo

It is early summer in Michigan and this past weekend, I noticed a large number of my neighbors working on their lawns and landscaping. Many were also preparing the soil and planting flowers in their gardens.

Their driveways were piled with soil, mulch, grass-seed, and lots of other preparatory resources, to help the flowers and greenery grow.

Exercise:

What preparatory activities can you engage in today, and all year long, to increase your professional and personal chances of success?