We live in a task-, project-, and objective-based society. How do we bridge that gap between the tasks that rule our lives, and what we really care about? Living our lives from the world of what we truly care about, connected with our commitments, actions, satisfaction, and shared background constitutes the world of the Managed Action Practice (MAP). This post is about how I wrestled with the MAP, seeking tools and ideas to bridge the gap towards greater focus on what we care about.
For months, I had been mulling around the idea of putting together a mixed-media program with videos, documents, and a mastermind group, all focused on new businesses getting started online.
The process was been fascinating on unexpected levels. You see, I know the technical content quite well, but presenting it? Just thinking about putting it in a form that is publicly consumable brought up all manner of fears and doubts.
- “Who am I to do this?” and other fears came up, despite knowing full well that I feel compelled to share this content.
- “It’s not good enough to invite others to see it yet,” despite knowing that it is great content useful, and relevant to my market as well as my fellow coaches just starting out.
- “There’s just one more thing to add” before I go live — despite knowing full well that I can update and expand on the fly.
On and on, the list of reasons to wait continued to grow. The overarching theme, of course, was that everything I felt about my product launch was rooted in fear. It’s the same fear that most of us experience when standing on the cusp of possibility, and the bigger the possibility he bigger the fear.
We stand on the pinnacle between wild success and utter failure. Instead of taking the next step, we freeze. We believe that for the moment, there is safety in standing still. Not only is the safety an illusion, but so too are the dangers we create on either side.
- The danger of failure, we fear, is that it will be permanent — a belief rooted in the fear of the unknown.
- The danger of success, we fear, is that it will be short lived, or unsustainable, then we will land back at failure again.
But all of it — the fear of failure, of success, or even the imagined safety of standing still — it is all just an illusion in our heads. It is all part of our deeper fears, trying to keep us from living and being at our highest potential.
So I launched my offering. And I feel great!
Check it out at That Web Coach - http://www.ThatWebCoach.com
In Jim Collin’s Good to Great, he presents an idea called the Hedgehog Concept – the sweet spot in business at the intersection of three distinct drivers: What the organization can be the best in the world at doing, where the organization has a passion for innovation and success, and where the organization derives its profit.
I was reflecting on an equivalent concept for an individual rather than an organization. Essentially, this would be an Ontological, or Personal Hedgehog Concept (PHC), focusing on ways of being as a person, rather than ways of operating as an organization.
For each of us, there is one thing that we are better at than anybody else in the world — it’s being our authentic self. I emphasize authenticity because for most people, it is not our default way of being. Over time, we have all learned to protect ourselves, to put up various walls and self defenses, and to avoid feeling our fears, disappointments, or sadness. Yet I assert that our greatest gifts — to ourselves and to others — manifest when we are acting from the core of who we are, at our very best (our essence), and not form who we are being when our barriers and masks are up. Returning to that place of authenticity is a unique journey for each of us, and is one of the three components of our greatest success.
The second component of the Personal Hedgehog Concept is our “purpose” — the organizing principle around which the major decisions of our life revolve. To say that our purpose is the reason that we were put on this planet is both an over-simplification, and completely ignores the challenges that each of us face in actually discovering what that purpose is. As part of a PHC, I assert that those who have come to realize (or declare) their purpose are at a distinct advantage in life as they navigate the permanent white-water of change that so many of us experience in our modern world.
The final component of the Personal Hedgehog Concept is one’s career. Throughout life, most of us will have a number of different jobs, and those may or may not be tied together in the form of a career. In the context of the PHC, the work that matters is that which not only puts food on the table, but that simultaneously feeds one’s soul through the alignment it has with our purpose. Sometimes we may find our self having more than one job – the one that pays, and the one that nourishes us. To the extent that these are one in the same, I assert that we are closer to our own personal sweet-spot in life.
In Jim Collin’s book, those companies that had discovered and operated from their hedgehog concept significantly outperformed other comparison companies over an extended period of time. For individuals, comparison with each other is hardly the greatest measure of a human being. Rather, the comparison is between who we experience ourselves to be, and the joy and fulfillment we are capable of by living in alignment regarding who we are being, why we are here, and how we are making use of the gifts of our time, talent, and life.
In my capacity as a coach, I work with people to be more aware of choices, and to choose that which supports living from their essence – their authentic self, at their very best. I also work with people to discover what is most important to them, and to close the gap between what one says is important, and how one is actually living one’s life. Lastly, I also work with people to find greater fulfillment in their work, ideally by aligning what they do with who they are and why they are here. If you are ready to move into your personal sweet-spot in life, then contact Primary Goals.
There is a video on TED by Simon Sineck, author of Start with Why. In it, he talks about the fundamental difference in the way leaders and influences communicate, compared with the rest of the masses. In essence, most people start by communicating WHAT, then HOW, then WHY, whereas those with influence work in reverse. They start with why. He gives multiple examples, and also describes what he calls a golden circle, radiating from the center with Why, How, and What.
You can find a link to the video below, and it got me thinking about how that golden circle relates to my own model.
Why I Coach
I coach because I stand for positive transformations in the lives of people and organizations. This is not just a catchy slogan — it is something I am firmly committed to, whether I am a coach, individual contributor, manager or leader of any group in which I find myself. Fundamentally, I coach for the purpose of transforming lives.
How I Coach
I coach using a variety of methods and styles, focusing principally on who my client is being.
This is a fundamental aspect of who we are, how we appear to others, and the way we interact with our environment, jobs, friends, and family. Typically, people focus on behaviors and what we actually do. While those are absolutely important, our behaviors stem from who we are, and through an ontological approach, I help clients see that they actually have far greater choices in their lives than they previously thought.
What I Offer
I offer a set of tools to enable you to achieve your Primary Goals. My biggest tool is actually the relationship that we create together to stand for your greatness. Make no mistake about it — coaching is challenging work. If it were only about having somebody to talk to or tell you what to do, you would already get that from friends and family. No, coaching is about facing the barriers that keep you from being effective, and systematically addressing the beliefs, experiences, and structures that keep those barriers in place despite your best efforts. I offer a way of being that is rooted in Radiance, Discernment, Love, Leadership, and Power (my way of being). Together, we will look through the lenses of Teaching, Learning, Creativity, Relationships and Play to consistently move forward towards your Primary Goals.
Imagine for a moment that you are walking down the street and you meet Superman, except that he’s all crumpled up in a corner with a piece of Kryptonite hanging around his neck. Most of us, I assert, would willingly remove the Kryptonite to help Superman regain his natural powers. Never mind that this is a purely theoretical idea with a fictitious comic character. There’s actually a point to this story.
To make it more real, suppose that Superman is actually all of the people that you meet on a regular basis, and that their own personal Kryptonite can’t actually be seen. Instead, it is comprised of limiting beliefs, such as
- I don’t know how
- I don’t have time
- It’s too difficult
- I might fail
- It will never work
The purpose of coaching is to remove our own personal Kryptonite and to regain our power to create our life — to be the cause of what we experience, rather than at the effect of what happens around us. The truth is that we are all superheros and that coaching is a tool with the power to increase our aptitude to fly at higher altitudes with a better attitude.
So when you’re ready for your life to take off, contact Primary Goals, and we’ll chart a flight plan for your future together.
All too often when we have a dream, especially a big one, it does not take long before we discover or create some reason that keeps it out of reach. Just this weekend I met a woman who has a dream of opening up her own luxury spa. She’s had this dream for years, but she has yet to make any progress because she lacks money and a business plan.
Even if we can stay focused on our dreams, it’s still way to easy for some obstacle to appear that gets in our way. In her case, my intent was to point out that those obstacles need not become the full-stop barriers that they so often are in our lives.
I asked her to imagine her spa in great detail, her dream fully realized. She had a remarkably clear vision of what it would look like, smell like, sound like, and the services she would offer and how her guests would feel. Even just listening to her vision, I really wanted to go there.
From that vision, we then worked backwards towards the present. What would have to occur shortly before the last piece of her dream was in place? A common approach is to imagine all that we need to do, to prioritize that laundry list of tasks, and then do first things first. That’s fine if one is making progress, but it doesn’t help much when we get stuck. By working backwards, she got to skip the obstacles, start with the end in mind, and work towards the present.
Along the path of this reverse-action-plan, she created several new possibilities, including talking to other spa owners to learn their stories; interviewing them about their keys to success; asking them about themselves and their businesses. Then, with a huge smile on her face, she realized that she could actually do all of that right now! She did not need money and a business plan to take action on those pieces of her dream!
That’s what coaching is all about – creating possibility, always moving forward, and overcoming perceived obstacles to progress and success. So if you or anybody you know is ready to move forward, please contact Primary Goals.
When I was younger, we had a riding-lawnmower. It had a clutch and brake on one side, and the throttle on the other. At the time, I had no idea what any of those pedals really did. I was too young to use the thing, but I wanted to go for a ride so I convinced myself that the yard needed mowing. I told myself I was going to do a good deed. Or so I thought.
The yard was mostly flat and I managed to get the thing started by turning the key, but I wasn’t going anywhere. I saw the gear-lever in the middle, and I knew how to count. So I tried putting it into 1st gear, but had to really struggle since I had no idea what a clutch was. Eventually, I got it in gear, then it started to move slowly all on its own. I was able to steer the thing around the yard and I was having an absolute BLAST!
Since I was on a slight incline, I quickly learned that the pedal on the right (gas) made me go faster, and that either pedal on the left (brake or clutch) made me stop. Good enough, I thought. Soon, I got to the back of the yard, turned around, and started going downhill. At that point, I started going a bit faster and was rapidly loosing the illusion of control I had created earlier. [Read more...]
Start with a clear vision.
To that, add ample skills and plentiful resources.
Bring to a rolling boil with an accountable action plan.
Simmer at moderate heat, adding incentives as needed.
Caution – Do not omit any ingredients, nor use substitutes.
Failure to clarify the vision will result in confusion.
Inadequate skills leads to greater anxiety.
Old, outdated, or missing resources will produce an excess of frustration.
If the heat is too low or the action plan is weak, anticipate numerous false starts.
And without adequate incentives, the change will take forever to boil over into success.
For best results, use fresh ingredients and contact Primary Goals to cook up the most successful change efforts.
There is a saying that “fish discover water last.” While we can’t really know if that’s true, it made me wonder what do people discover last.
If I had to guess, I would say that it’s our filters – the lenses through which we see the world, and the set of assumptions and beliefs through which we filter almost every experience we have in life. Not only are most of us oblivious to our filters, but even when we become aware of them, seldom do we keep that awareness in the forefront of our mind. And why would we? We all think that our filters are correct! For example, “That’s just the way I see things,” or “That’s the way the world works.”
As a quick example, read the following question and think about your answer before you continue reading:
Would you rather a lion eat you or an elephant?
The problem was easy enough to fix once I noticed it. By releasing some of the tension in the brake cable, I was able to generate much more forward speed for the remainder of the ride. And in that moment, I realized I had just re-enacted one of the models I use with clients in order to make greater forward progress on their primary goals.
N.R.G – Notice, Release, Generate.
Until I noticed that my progress was slower, I never bothered to do anything about it. In fact, even afterward, I still had simplistic reasons to explain away my results, but it was the act of looking that revealed the cause. Often times, clients do the same thing, with the most common reasons for stalled progress being that there’s not enough time or money, else there are external circumstances at play. While that may be true, the act of deliberately noticing all that you can about your experience of a situation has a way of revealing new information that was unavailable prior to the conscious act of noticing.
On my ride, I was able to release brake tension. For my clients, this is about letting go of default ways of being, unchallenged assumptions, thinking that “that’s just the way things are,” or perhaps about surfacing unexpressed expectations or resentments. Not until these things move from the subconscious to conscious awareness do we gain the ability to make deliberate choices about how we want these things to impact our lives.
Finally, I was able to generate greater forward motion. For clients, this step is about using the energy that was freed up from the release, and applying it towards things of greater importance.