Sunday, November 29, 2015

No One is Ever 100% Wrong (Or right for that matter.)

Hey, can I stop over in a few?

I thought you were working until 9?

I was. ((((Some Silence)))) We were slow so they told me I could leave early. Can I stop by? 

"I'm crazy but I ain't real dumb." David Crosby, Cowboy Movie

It's Black Friday, you are an assistant manager at a nationally known boutique and you're slow?

The Cliff Notes version goes like this:

There had been a management change 4 months ago. The old manager thought she'd hung the sun. She was their top producer, the golden child. Life was good. Corporate people were talking bonuses and promotions.

"Life is good please enjoy it while it lasts." DMX, Ain't No Sunshine

Her mentor left the company and when the new manager arrived she began creating a different environment. She wasn't so much about sales and competition as she was about unity and teamwork and everyone being successful.

The proverbial 180

In short, her boss told her to adjust her attitude or maybe it might be time to move on. Her career goals were not in alignment with the new regimes way of doing business. Square peg in a round hole and all that stuff. She was devastated. She'd made a complete investment in this job. Not only does she enjoy working retail she is good at it.

Bad news, in our family travels faster than a brush fire. Siblings banged their chests in support and proclaimed they would never shop in that store or any of its affiliates ever again.

Did I say "Ever?"

I sat at the kitchen table looking out the window.

Joan shot me one of those "Are you going to say anything looks?"

No one is ever as good as you think and no one is ever as bad as you think. 

Ray Taylor taught me that. He was one of my first bosses and he told me that it is never, ever an all or nothing proposition especially when it comes to dealing with people. The best will one day disappoint us and the worst will one day surprise us.

Now, the dad in me wanted to get in the car and go beat a few people up and start a social media campaign that would put the company out of business. How dare someone hurt my little girl!

But little girls grow up and sometimes being a growling father pawing the ground is not in anyone's best interest.

I don't understand dad. 

It means your boss isn't 100 percent wrong and neither are you. There is some wisdom in both of your  positions. My advice is to find a common ground and work together. 

I told her it was natural and normal to hurt and be angry.

This life we live was never meant to be easy. The challenges, the struggles, the failures and disappointments we experience are the dings, nicks and scrapes of this world.

It's sad but true; there are no absolutes, no 100 percents, just a lot of wriggling and maneuvering to create the optimal degree of comfort Some days we have to look into that corner of ourselves we'd rather not see and do a bit of housekeeping painful as the process may seem.The advice I gave her went something like this:

Call your mentor and ask for her guidance. She knows the geography much better than I do. Listen to what she has to say.

When you go back to work tomorrow sit down with the boss and ask her to make a list of the areas she feels you need to improve in. Ask her to meet with you weekly and give you feedback on your performance.

The coach and consultant in me says there is lots to learn for both of them.

The dad in me just hugged her.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Don't Challenge, Change

Yup it,s that time of year.

My inbox is stuffed with exhortations to be healthy, to plan for the future, to get organized, to free my soul, to make 2016 the best year ever............... I could be here all day

I'm not hating.

I need to do all of those and a few more to boot.

By mid February even the greatest iron clad challenge of the year administered by the most influential guru's on the planet are often a fond memory.

But, what if................

What if there were one change that could be made universally that would take care of everything else?

What if instead of challenging ourselves to do something for a short period of time we dug deep, became a bit uncomfortable, tossed and turned for awhile but when the wrestling match was over we were left with serenity?

What if gratitude, thankfulness and being grateful were more than platitudes?

What if weren't discretionary in our thanks?

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 18:10-14

I'd like to think of myself more like the tax collector but in truth I live my life like the Pharisee thanking God that "I'm not like....." or "I'm grateful this didn't happen to me." 

Often my gratitude is smug and tinged with pity for the poor soul whose lot in life is just a smidgen worse than mine. 

We don't like to read these things, much less think about them. I know I don't. 

I've found that when I post blogs that have unicorns, fairy dust and magic in them my readership and comments spike, but when I talk about "this stuff," the things necessary to get to all of the magic, people vanish. 

I am grateful that I am learning to be thankful for everything that crosses my path on a day to day basis. It's made me, me. 

There has been much joy, some sadness and pain, but mostly days that are simply days that connect the two experiences. 

What if being thankful was standard operating equipment? 

What if innately I was thankful for you and you for me and for all the collective experiences in the universe?

Would we need anything else but each other?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Only Marketing Tip You'll Ever Need ***Bonus Blog***

"It was great sitting next to you this morning at the networking event! It is easy to see you are incredibly passionate about your profession."

It came in an email late Friday afternoon. I wish I could share a complicated formula with you on how to arrive at that place of passion. I can't.

"Be Yourself."

62 years of life have taught me that it is easy to get lost and fall for the call of the bright and shiny and veer off of your chosen path. It's easy to get immersed in all the bling and buzz words and what's popular and what isn't popular. 

I listen to webinars while I am eating my lunch and a few weeks ago the speaker made an observation. She said:

"There are guru's and then there are poo-ru's" Which one are you?"

At times, probably both.

I've learned to be John and John cares deeply about other peoples success and he'll work hard to help you get there and then challenge you to help someone yourself.

That's it.

If you want to know the nuts and bolts read my web page. 

If you want to experience me Skype, Hangout, phone or visit me in person. 

I don't follow the rules. I never have. 

We are on the cusp of 2016. Wouldn't it be a great gift to you if your main goal was digging deep and finding the best you there is, and then using your career to share it with the world. 

By the way............. I still do not understand how to create and use a landing page. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What Do You Deserve: Only You Decide

Over the next 3 weeks I am going to share three universal truths that will help you create success and happiness in your lives. 

No magic bullets

You can pay me thousands of dollars to work with you but it wont mean a thing, unless you are committed to your success. 

Yeah, it's a scary proposition, buy ya know what? 

You are up to it

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"I'm That Good"

I never told you about Kaitlin, did I?

Kaitlin was a cheerleader, honor role student, athlete and eventually class president.

I was in the drama club. I enjoyed the technical side of the theater, specifically the directing and producing part.

I did try acting once and Mrs. McDonald introduced me to the concept of a broom handle being put in a certain part of your anatomy. That was the first time I'd heard that phrase. 

One afternoon Kaitlin slid in next to me as we were walking down the hall.

Can I ask you a big favor?

I wanted to tell her that dying on the spot would really upset my parents and at least my sisters. I've never been too sure about my brother. Besides I didn't think Kaitlin even knew who I was.

You're working on the school play , right? 

I nodded.

I want the lead female part and someone told me you were good at directing people. 

More nods

Would you work with me? So I could get the part? 

I knew something Kaitlin didn't know. I knew that Mrs. McDonald had pretty much decided who was getting both male and female leads but since she wasn't the head of the English department she couldn't make her own rules so she had to go through the pretense of holding tryouts.

Please, it would mean a lot. 

Did I mention on a scale of 1 to 10 Kaitlin was a 15?

For the next 4 weeks I worked with her. Every day after school, sometimes on Saturday's and once even before school in the drama room.  When the dust settled she was awarded the lead role.

In my star struck mist it took me many years to realize that all the honors Kaitlin had racked up in her short life came to her because she believed she was that good. It wasn't luck. It was a deep seeded belief that she could accomplish anything she set her mind to accomplish. Even if it meant reaching out to someone she barley knew and asking  him for help.

Try to remember that in the 14 to 18 year old world stepping outside of your social class and talking to much less eliciting assistance from someone 2 or 3 rungs below you was anathema. 

Kaitlin taught me that the "cool kids" often get a bad rap. They have no problem saying "I'm that good." and they had the courage  and wisdom to back it up.

I knew the person who was slated for the female lead. We sat beside each other in drama class. When we graduated she had her pick of drama scholarships to some of the best colleges in the country. One day she and I arrived for class early and she sat there looking at me.

You helped her, didn't you? You helped Kaitlin?

I nodded  (I nodded a lot back then!)

That was smart of her......... to get someone to work with her. 

We all have visions. The Kaitlin's of this world take it one step farther, don't they? They do whats necessary to make that vision a reality. Those 4 weeks we spent together? She was all business and focused on what she wanted to attain. Despite my Mitty-like dreams there wasn't any socializing

We didnt talk after she got the lead role. When we'd pass in the hall she'd wave or smile, once she even winked at me (I damn near peed my pants) 

There's a lesson here. Believe in yourself and what you want and then do what is necessary to get there. Whether it's your life or your career  --- GO FOR IT!

Post Script
A few years ago someone asked if I remembered my first coaching client. I prattled on about a company that hired me to help them navigate out of a tough situation until one day it dawned on me that Kaitlin was really my first coaching client all the way back in 1971 before we even had a glimmer of what coaching was. 

BTW Kaitlin is not her real name  and I don't know whatever became of her   :)