Saturday, January 29, 2005

Circle of Influence

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." -- Henry Brooks Adams, Historian

John Pistorius sent me this quite a while ago now. It’d open it up, read it, think about it for a while, knowing I’d love to write a blog around it, and so many thoughts and ideas would fly through my mind, I’d close the file again as I didn’t want to be writing a blog the size of a book! One book on the go is enough thank you very much!

And here I am, starting up a school. Every time I do what my friend and colleague Andrea calls a brain dump to get as much information down about what it is I do before it flies right out of my mind, I think of this quote. My goal is to teach concepts, process…. ways of being. The latter, the ways of being is what a Shadow or ontological Coach does. We work with a client’s way of being, language, body and emotion all tied in one.

Last night Andrea posed a question to help her with a project she’s working on. The question was “Where are you coming from?” She was looking into Coaches putting their own spin on what they think is right and influencing a coaching session with that bias. My immediate answer was “It’s not about where I’m coming from. It’s where my client is coming from and where he or she wants to be”. I quickly added that to my class brain dumping notes.

Much of what I do is instinctive. I have been working as a Shadow Coach for so many years that I have fined tuned a great deal of my craft and do my work without much conscious thought. I just do it. In creating the school and needing to document, be aware and be able to teach my model with a logical flow, I needed to take notes; mental and physical notes. And as I am constantly working on reinventing models and approaches, this facilitated the process in both directions. In effect, I’m shadowing myself in action.

I have many goals with regards to my teaching. One is to be able to create a community of like-minded Coaches to finely tune a model that is proven to work and work well. Another is to increase awareness in Coaches so even if they don’t choose to shadow Coach, they will be more mindful and aware of their clients’ subtleties. And for those who do decide to adopt this model as their own, to become so good at it, so instinctive, that their clients achieve their personal level of excellence. The ripple effect in this instance goes way beyond the participants in the program. It goes to each client they coach and those around them.

This quote will keep me on track. A keeper : ) And just as it’s a reminder for me, so is it a reminder for everyone who is in a position of influence, who mentor and help others grow. There are many ways to teach; by word, or example. But when you do both together, that ripple effect will be more powerful than any of us could ever imagine.

I leave you with a favourite quote of mine. "You are the centre of a circle, the diameter of which is determined by your circle of influence. You will never know just how wide that diameter will end up being".

Donna Karlin

Saturday, January 22, 2005

A Change of Perspective

In preparing class material and notes for my School of Shadow Coaching, I decided to go over some of the files I had from an old R & D team I was involved in. A pattern came to light which I knew I had to create a section on for the class.

To backtrack for a moment, for those of you who read my blogs on a regular basis, as well as those of you who have worked with me, you know my opinion of making New Year’s resolutions and setting goals off the top of your head based on something that occurred to you in passing about 10 minutes before. I realised a great deal of Coaching and goal setting involves getting rid of something or changing something.

I also know, from surveys, polls and research that these kinds of goals are rarely achieved and even fewer realise the success of any resolution they set at the stroke of midnight on December 31st.

One of the things we had discussed in detail was the concept of Attracting or Attraction. Another was 'Absence Of' rather than 'Elimination Of'. i.e. what you don’t want isn’t there in the first place so there’s nothing to get rid of. You attract what you want, invent your future as I call it, rather than react to the present. Even better, in my opinion is inventing your present which, in turn creates a future you love.

As the School of Shadow Coaching is delving into advanced Coach proficiencies, one of the things I want to stress with students and clients alike, that has proven to be extremely powerful, is the concept of choosing the life you want, not existing or reacting to the status quo. It’s not changing, it evolving into who you choose to be. And it’s not spending time and energy dealing with getting rid of ‘stuff’. It’s creating great stuff, experiences and choosing to be with the people who energise you and help you learn and grow. Paradigm shift is from the negative to the positive. Which do you think is more energizing? Talking about all the stuff you can’t stand in your life, thereby feeling as if you have this train you’re pulling behind you, to, environments of every kind exactly as you want them?

Which would you choose? Which way of thinking would you benefit more from? I think the answer is quite self evident.

These choices you make aren’t for the next twelve months until you set another New Year’s resolution. These are ways of being, not time defined.

So I leave you with these questions….”What 15 aspects of you (your life) do you want to enjoy for the rest of your life, not just the immediate future?” and “What are you ready to let go of to have a life of your choosing, one that you love?”


Donna Karlin

Monday, January 17, 2005

Discovering Yourself

“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself.” - Alan Alda

Why is it people second guess themselves, which is exactly what happens when we talk ourselves out of whatever it is our intuition is telling us. I was thinking just that the other day and then came across this quote. It was a reminder to write about this topic and ask my readers for their insights as well. It’s almost an immediate series of responses; something happens, we know intuitively whether or not we should act, run the other way or jump in with both feet. Then our mind does everything in its power to talk ourselves out of our initial gut reaction, or, intuition.

This quote brought home one of the reasons. Intuition is outside our comfort zone. It’s not something that’s been thought through thoroughly, pros and cons weighed….how much this will stretch me outside my comfort zone, etc etc. Life as we know it, or choose it to be, is simpler than delving into the unknown. However if we do stay within the parameters of our comfort zone, we’ll never know what wonderful surprises are in store for us. I love surprises (the good ones : ) Serendipitous moments when we wonder what unknowns were at play to give us the gift of that surprise second or minute in time when the world is exactly as you wish it to be. I’ve met the most extraordinary people that way.

And when we live by our intuitive feelings, the same happens. It’s no longer fighting what we know to be true and real, for us. And in the process we are reintroduced to ourselves, the breadth of our imagination and intricacies of the human character. Through the stretch, not only do we grow as individuals, we allow a different side of our personality to come out and play. A freedom of sorts. It really is a wonderful feeling.

It’s you.

Donna Karlin

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Power to Move Beyond

Recently I wrote an eBook called The Power to Decide. It’s short, sweet, to the point and goes over basic choices one can make in a chaotic day in order to take back control. Some are looking for a L O N G manual, however the smallest changes can bring the greatest results as long as you consciously decide to make them, RIGHT NOW. Wishing for change, doesn’t do it. It’s also very powerful to move beyond what was. Those who live in the past, and relive and rehash all the bad stuff, find themselves stuck for an eternity.

"As difficult as it seems, you can be sure of this: At the core of the heart, you have the power to move beyond the old issues that are still hindering your freedom. The hardest things—the ones that push you up against your limits—are the very things you need to address to make a quantum leap into a fresh inner and outer life" - Doc Childre and Howard Martin

I love watching as clients move past old issues and look to the future while in the present. I know….complicated, but I’ll get back to that in a moment. In organizations where forgetting ‘what was’ is a difficult thing to do as history often gets in the way, it’s a huge leap towards change. When I work with clients and watch it happening, there is no doubt in my mind they’ve made a conscious decision to get past old issues and look forward.

When a client expects miracles from me, I remind them it’s not when I decide there should be change, it’s when he sees a need for and value to changing what isn’t working at that time. Timing is everything. It doesn’t mean he’s not open to the concept of change, just that he doesn’t see urgency for it.

Few change for the sake of the fun of it, as for most, change is difficult if not overwhelming. A new paradigm; we no longer talk about change, rather we discuss reinventing ourselves by choice. It’s a matter of choose our ways of being, learning, processing events, experiences and emotions and creating or inventing our lives as we want it, not as we know it to be.

Our mind is a very powerful tool. How we believe, what we do with those beliefs is what dictates our ways of being. To get back to the present, by making conscious choices right now, the future falls into place. Living in the future or, as I call it the “what might be one day if everything goes according to plans” mentality, rarely works. In being present, learning, growing, attracting to your life exactly what you want, your future will unfold the way you’ve created it, right now.

Learn from the past, don’t live in it.

Donna Karlin

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Coolest Thing You've Ever Done

What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done? Not an easy question to answer! As I listened, I had no idea what I could respond with. I asked my son what his answer would be and he had a difficult time answering as well. So I thought I’d ask him, from his perspective, what he thought the coolest thing I’d ever done was. It was amazing for me to listen to his perspective. I thought it was meeting and spending the evening with a famous actor. He didn’t even count that as cool. His immediate response was that I changed professions. A response I had was traveling up to the Yukon Territories to work and learn about the people and customs there. He agreed that was pretty cool : )

Last night I was invited to watch the movie “Lost in Translation”. As I was watching, I wondered where it was going, what the plot was. And then, as the movie progressed I realised I didn’t care if there was a plot or not. The movie was evoking all sorts of thoughts and feelings, reminding me of where I am in my life right now as well as why I made some of the choices I did along the way. If I had seen such a movie earlier in my life, it might have bothered me and parts of it would have come too close for comfort.

I watched this when I was supposed to.

I was sorry I didn’t have time afterwards to discuss and reflect about what I saw in it, but instead took the time to write insights the movie triggered in me.

Coming full circle I’m thinking back to my answer about the coolest thing I’ve ever done. It’s less of a tangible right now and more a way of being. I think the coolest thing I’ve ever done is to open myself up to life and living it. To share who I am with those around me, and open myself up to learning as much as I can about myself, and life.

As I reflected back on the past few years, I’ve changed a great deal. Someone close to me once said I used to write just to write and get information down on paper (or ‘puter), but now I write from the heart, not the head. One can’t learn about self through facts alone. One learns through experience and emotion. The more you open yourself up to that, the more grounded and less reactive you’ll be. A wonderful place to live life from.

So what’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done? I would love to hear! You didn’t think I’d let you off the hook, did you?

Donna Karlin

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Stopped by Success

An Executive Coach’s dilemma: Working with clients to help them grow, lead and succeed and as the lightbulbs go off, as they have these major ‘ahhas!” their growth stops dead. Go figure. It happens more than you might think.

A Masterful Coach needs to be able to keep the client on a forward motion so the newfound awarenesses and successes don’t become stumbling blocks. Many are so amazed at how much they’ve changed and grown that they figure that’s all there is. Not so. It’s just one step of many through the process of growth and evolving into a life of their choosing. In order for them to become that person, attracting to their lives exactly what it is they want, they need to take these victories in their stride, congratulate themselves for the milestones certainly but realise it’s a vehicle or part of their journey, not a destination.

Is there ever a destination in evolving through life? A question to debate, though, from personal experience, there are a few plateaus here and there but when one always wants to learn and expand horizons, the evolutionary progressions are endless. It’s exciting and, for some, scary at the same time. Once you look at the process as building blocks instead of consistent change then life becomes fun. When a person grows exponentially and constantly expands and advances through change they adopt these newfound awarenesses, skills and strengths into creating a life they love.

It’s time for a paradigm shift. Instead of change, evolve. And rather than eliminate what it is you no longer want in life, choose what you do want. Attract the environments, people, skills, knowledge and attitudes that nurture you and you’ll have all the foundation you need to emerge into the person you’ve always wanted to be….known you could be.

This creates mega-shifts in beliefs, yes. Something to work on with your Coach and if you’re lucky enough to work with a Shadow Coach™ (OK so I’m biased : ) then together you’ll reinvent and enjoy every moment of your day as all aspects of it will be of your choosing. Powerful.

Donna Karlin