“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”
—Nido Qubein, President of High Point University
Image from Unsplash by Branden Collum
In one or two sentences, please describe your present circumstances in the following areas:
- Your health
- Your relationships at home
- Your relationships at work
- Your personal finances
- Your level of happiness
- Your emotional well-being
Feel free to add a few more priority categories that come to mind. Based on your description, which of these areas would you rate as Poor, OK, Good, Great, or Outstanding?
Select the one area in which you most wish to progress. Note that your current circumstances are simply the place where you will begin. Consider developing an action plan for the next week or month that will take you toward your desired objectives.
Feel free to send me a copy of your plan and I will be happy to look it over.
“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”
—Eartha Kitt, 20th Century American singer, actress, dancer
Image from Barry Demp Coaching
Have you ever done a values clarification exercise? You know – the ones that ask you deep, probing questions such as:
At the end of your life, what would you like people to say about you?
Beyond the usual thoughts of family and making a difference in the lives of others, I would include being a student, a teacher, and of course, a coach, supporting the growth and development of others.
How important is the process of learning in your life?
What current and future developmental efforts and contributions will you have shared with others when you move on from this world?
“Sometimes it’s not strength but gentleness that cracks the hardest shells.”
—Richard Paul Evans, contemporary American author
Barry and Wendy with Weston
As a relatively new grandpa, I find it fascinating to watch my daughter, son-in-law, and wife interact with little Weston.
Although he is a very good-natured, happy little boy, he does get cranky, fussy, and a bit difficult to manage from time to time.
On most occasions, the trick that works is gently singing one or more of his favorite songs. Within seconds he calms down and begins to smile.
Where and with whom in your personal or professional life would a bit more gentleness crack some hard shells? What specific steps can and will you take to open others up to your influence?
“If you can’t be a pencil to write anyone’s happiness, then try to be a nice eraser to remove their sadness.”
Image from Unsplash by Copper and Wild
When was the last time you tried to cheer someone up? When was the last time your friends and family tried to pencil a bit of happiness into your world?
Although well intentioned, many of these efforts don’t do the trick and can sometimes backfire, leaving others feeling worse. In such cases, perhaps a “less is more” approach can act as an eraser to lighten the burden.
Where and with whom could your simple presence, care, and a loving shoulder to lean on be the way to support those experiencing sadness or loss?
“We are the masters of our fate, the captains of our souls, because we have the power to control our thoughts.”
—Napoleon Hill, 20th Century American author of Think and Grow Rich
Image from Unsplash by Philippe Oursel
Perhaps one of the primary reasons for the rapid growth of the coaching industry is its ability to significantly increase our mindfulness and self-awareness. The phrase “Wherever you go, there you are” is poignant in that we always bring along our minds, which strongly influences and creates our worlds.
The majority of my work with clients focuses on executive leadership and business matters. Nevertheless, I’ve noticed considerable attention shifting to more personal and soulful issues and the idea of living a far more meaningful life.
If you, too, wish to dig deeper into being your own soulful captain of life, I strongly recommend the book Toward a Meaningful Life by Simon Jacobson.
“A talent can be cultivated in tranquility; a character only in the rushing stream of life.”
—Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, 18th Century German writer and statesman
Image from Unsplash by Sergio Souza
Reflecting on this Quotable Coach series over the past eight years, I realized that it was the values and character traits of each author that had me select their quotes.
These daily nuggets of practical wisdom are more often gleaned from the rushing streams of life than tranquil self-reflection.
Cultivating our talents in both tranquil and active times provides an added foundation for many of the character traits we most admire and wish to emulate in our own lives.
If developing your own character is a priority, you may wish to read the remarkable stories of less well-known individuals in David Brooks book, The Road to Character.
“Every man is a volume, if you know how to read him.”
—William Ellery Channing, 19th Century Unitarian Preacher
Image from Unsplash by Aaron Burden
How well do you really know the people in your personal and professional communities?
Which ones do you know only on the surface of things, perhaps analogous to a tweet? Or maybe you know a bit more, along the lines of a blog post or professional resume?
Going deeper, you may be familiar with their book summary, or for those who remember them, their Cliff or Monarch notes.
Who do you know on the level of War and Peace, or some other weighty volume?
Who knows you in that level of detail?
Where and with whom is it time to read the full volume of their life story? Perhaps this process will help you write a few extra chapters together in the days and years ahead.
“When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.”
—Nelson Mandela, late South African anti-apartheid political leader
Image from Unsplash by Derek Story
On most mornings I wake up very early and head to the health club to kick start my day. My club is located near my office, about 15 miles from my home.
Given the light traffic at this early hour, I do my best to avoid stop lights by adjusting my use of the gas pedal and brakes. This maintains my momentum and improves my fuel efficiency.
What are some of your personal or professional projects in which the water is already boiling?
How can and will you keep adding another log to the fires of your current momentum to achieve even more extraordinary outcomes?