Monday, May 31, 2004

Sensitizing Yourself

Sensitizing yourself can lead to emotional surprises. It doesn't mean being more 'touchy-feely' or sensitive. It means being aware of all that's around you and inside of you. And yes, one can get hurt in the process but one can truly live and experience life as well. That is definitely worth chancing hurt. Otherwise it's an existence without feeling. All of a sudden you'll feel things you never felt before. You'll become aware of yourself through the mirror of others.

Each person we meet through our lifetime represents a different "us"...worlds apart from who we knew ourselves to be before. Does that make sense? Think for a moment how you're perceived by family as opposed to friends, colleagues as opposed to both family and friends, perfect strangers or the ones closest to our hearts. We tend to be hurt by them the most, probably because we let them in. We let our guards down, hoping we'll be accepted for who we are without judgment or condition. Until we let people in, a new aspect of ourselves cannot be born. We discover ourselves anew each and every time. It's a freedom of sorts. When we like what we see, we let them glimpse even more of who we are deep down. We are true to ourselves, and let our dreams, hopes and aspirations come out to play. When we try to be what we think others want us to be, then we are no longer in alignment with our values. We then become angry.....more at ourselves than anyone else, though blame is easy to place. Why become angry with someone else for what you're not getting, when you haven't told them what it is you want in the first place? The world is not made up of clairvoyants.

Just this morning I found myself colouring my words so as not to push any buttons. Who am I kidding? That's not who I am. So I stopped myself and said it like it least in my world. I will never know what I can have if I'm not honest with myself and others. A good reminder. It's not insisting on what you want, it's sharing it. There's a difference.

Last night a friend asked me what it is I wanted for my upcoming birthday. My answer was immediate though totally out of my control. Still, it doesn't mean I can't share it, especially with myself. I can dream, imagine, let my subconscious come out to play. And maybe when I close my eyes and make a wish as I blow out the might just come true. Stranger things have happened in this world.

"Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you'd think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise." - Lewis Thomas.

The way I look at it, just being is a miracle in itself. Why not ask for the moon, the stars and the sun? It's worth the shock if it happens. And I'll let you know if it does : )

Donna Karlin

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


Recently I was asked if I like everyone. I found that a strange question but, afterwards, realised that most people don't see the world from the eyes of a Coach. Obviously the answer was "No, I don't" but thought a great deal about that question ever since. No, I definitely don't like everyone. That would be verging on the ridiculous. What I do, however is see the good in those I come across in life. There's a difference. I'm always open to the possibilities that I will learn something, experience something new or grow as an individual through every person I meet.

Interestingly enough, the person who asked me this question was one of the most uncommunicative, closed people I've ever met. There was no eye contact, no interactive conversation. As a matter of fact, what interaction there was was quite curt and impersonal. Quite an oxymoron when you think that this individual is quick, intelligent and witty.

So what did I learn? A great deal. People like this judge quickly, are inflexible and miss so much along the way. They also judge a book by the cover and miss the myriad layers waiting to unfold before them. I learned that when one has expectations of another without any rhyme or reason, they are almost always disappointed. And when they don't take the time to see anything beyond the tip of their nose, they are missing out on what could be an extraordinary experience. It also confirmed to me that I don't ever want to be one of those people.

When push came to shove, did I like this person? No. Would I choose to be friends with this person or take what precious free time I have and make a point to spend more time in a relationship like this? No again.

One thing Thomas Leonard taught me was to prune my life of toxic relationships and choose what I want in my life. Attraction. Attracting people, experiences, situations to my life that I want with the absence of anything I don't want. It's not freedom's absence of. The difference being freedom of has a connotation that something I don't want is there and I have to be free of it. Absence of means it's not there in the first place because I attract only that which I do want. Subtle, yes. Powerful, yes. So maybe that's why some think I like everyone. That's because I choose to spend time with those who are important to me and not waste it on those who aren't. That doesn't mean I won't go out of my way to meet and interact with new people because I always will. I'll make some great new friends along the way. And for those I meet and don't click with, I will still learn something....about human nature, about myself, about how to communicate with all sorts of people. And to see and and hear what they're not saying.

"Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives." - William James

That's what I be able to see the many perspectives of life....always changing....enriching.....fulfilling.

Donna Karlin

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Dreams to Action

Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living. - Anais Nin

Back and forth it goes....a dream beyond our wildest imagination takes root and grows. You can chop off the new growth but the roots become even stronger. They break ground when we least expect them to show up and they flourish. Any discontent feeds them and when they are ignored, they remind you of their existence yet again by becoming even larger. And the larger they become, the more we suppress them as "something that huge will never happen to me!"

As we get older we tend to regret forgotten dreams and then it's too late to do anything about them. Words of wisdom from those who live that regret, is to never give up on your dreams because through them you truly fly.

What's stopping you? Have you taken the time to sit back and let your dreams see the light? The realisation of your innermost dream makes your life magical. It gives that zing...that extra energy that just won't go away. Through it your life comes together in exactly the right way. You're not suppressing what you truly want......balance just happens. Think for a moment. What is your deepest, wildest dream? Instead of telling yourself every reason in the book why it can't happen, how can it? Work from there. And watch as everything in your life begins to be touched by magic.

A letting my mind wander toward the possibilities....
Donna Karlin

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Laser Coaching ™ for Clarity

As a coach the place I need to be is the gap between where my clients are and where they want to be. My role is to work with them to narrow the gap or, at the very least, find a way to bridge it. There wouldn't be a need for a coach if everyone looked at their life with total clarity. Coaches step in when they're stuck and go round and round the same issue until it's larger than life. The part I love best is when I laser coach....sharing a truth with the person I'm working with to give instant clarity. It's not whether they're doing something that's "good or bad" there is no room for judgment in a Coach's realm, rather it's allowing the truth to cut through the befuddlement, clearing away the garbage towards a vehicle for change. A colleague of mine pointed it out very eloquently. She described it as being a "question that is needed to create openness". Perfectly said Sylvie! It might hit them between the eyes but the impact is exactly what they need for their clarity. And when said without judgment, allows them to look at that truth and do something with it.

Laser Coaching, sharing that truth (by the way it's not my truth or my client's truth but the truth of a situation or issue) takes the pressure off my client. When I spoke about this technique at a course, the reaction I got back was that it put a lot of pressure on the client. Not so. It does the opposite. It illustrates what is....... allows them to zero in on the crux of the matter and talk it out. I become that vehicle, the enabler, to facilitate the process.

And if nothing else, what I've achieved is to plant a seed of awareness in my client's mind. Ultimately they will always go back to that truth, take a deep breath and dive right into it.

Clear as a bell. And then the fun begins as I watch them take control of how they live that truth and move on.

Donna Karlin

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Observation and Intuition

I've been coaching quite a long time now. For a new-ish field I think I was coaching before it was called coaching, at least in the realm of executive, work/life balance, personal coaching as opposed to sports. From the traditional model I became a Shadow, not a model many use as it takes an incredible amount of mental and physical energy to be a part of a client's day, chaos, sometimes turmoil and uncontrollable schedule. It's running at their pace processing and being mindful of every interaction to use in my coaching. I have to be aware when my client isn't....and find a way of mirroring that behaviour back to the client in a nonjudgmental way. It's showing behavioural patterns so my clients can choose on their own if they want to maintain or change them and which would give them more value.

And in running through the day and Laser Coaching ™ them throughout, I realised it's like having to be the eye in the centre of the storm, and to share that calmness with my clients so they can see it's not only possible, but beneficial. What came to me this past week was that after all this time as a Shadow, what is a hidden dynamic for me is the use of intuition. It's not easy to find enough clarity in an insanely busy day for the intuitive senses to come out and make themselves "heard", but each time I do, it proves to be invaluable. It's not necessarily what's happening in the moment that strikes me. It's more a natural rhythm of the day and interactions. If I know there's a challenging situation at play and all of a sudden there's silence in that area, something is brewing and it's something to take notice of. While questioning my client about perceptions, insights etc, that's when I bring this up. It's taking notice of energy around you, both positive and negative. When they can be in tune with that, they are no longer reactive to a situation but on top of it and can work with it rather than fight it. If they're having difficulties with someone in their staff for example, and all of a sudden all is quiet in that area for no reason whatsoever, it's something to look at and carefully.

For me, what I learned is not to fight the intuitive thoughts as they come, or to talk myself out of them with logic. It's to incorporate them into the whole picture and work with them to benefit us both.

One of my clients recently told me I look right through him. I think he meant I see past the obvious and actually discussed this with him. One of the benefits of working with a Shadow Coach is to know your Coach will be aware of what you were too busy to pick up. These mini conversations during the day go a long way towards achieving my goal as a Coach which is when my client, through the coaching experience, feels coached 24/7 especially when I'm not there. I'm not treating my client as transparent or one dimensional. It's taking into account all the intricacies of a personality and how that person changes with everyone person, situation and experience they have and seeing what isn't there as well as what is.

How wonderful would it be if we all let our other senses come out to play? I think pleasantly surprised.

Donna Karlin

Saturday, May 08, 2004

The Ultimate Client

Once in a while, if you're very lucky, you come across a client like the one I worked with this past week. It's very rare when you work with someone who puts their trust in you and the process to such an extent that you can almost 'see' the wheels in their minds turning as they process the information you share with them throughout the day. And with that, for me, the ultimate was watching as he immediately looked at how he could approach his day using these tools as they were unfolded to him. And even better than that was watching the awareness dawn as changes were implemented and things just clicked.

The week just flowed, sharing of insights, perspectives, creating new paradigms as time flew by. Before we knew it, it was Friday and time to recap the week and what was learned and already applied. I can't wait to see what the month brings as more and more of these new concepts are experimented with and tweaked by him as he tailors them to meet his needs. In a month I go back and already I can't wait to hear the results of these changes having been practiced and incorporated into life as a whole.

The best part of the work I do are the people I do it with. And once in a very long while do I 'luck in' and work with a client like this. A client has to trust his/her coach implicitly to open up to the possibilities that are offered, not knowing what to expect or what the outcomes would be in implementing these changes. A partnership forms, one which won't end with the week. Another favourite part of my work...the connection or bond that is created and remains for a very long time. And I can sit back on the sidelines and applaud as he soars and achieves whatever it is he sets out to achieve. You see, a client who is as open as this really is the ultimate. There is no questioning the whys and wherefores of these concepts I's how. "How can I use this to my benefit?" or "How does this apply to my life?" If it doesn't, fine...then we move on. And if it does, it's the awareness of how he could approach what used to be a difficult situation and turn it around to be in control of his realm of it. Empowerment at its best. And I sat back and watched it happen over and over again through the week. A true leader is one who realises he always has more to learn and knows there is always someone out there who knows more about a subject than he does. He doesn't fight that or try to "top" them. He learns from them and partners with them to become stronger. His circle grows along with his circle of influence, for as he grows he helps those around him pull themselves forward at the same time.

A coach accelerates this process. What was special about this week as well was seeing the translation of newfound awareness into tangible change right before my eyes....and the delight in his when these changes just worked. The kind of experience which validated a hundred fold that I'm doing just what I should be doing and reinforced the whys.

This is who I was fortunate enough to work with and as I shared with him on Friday afternoon, it was too much fun to be called work and I loved every minute of it, learning alongside him all the way.

Donna Karlin