Saturday, December 24, 2005

New Year’s Thoughts, Remembering and Wishes for What’s to Come….

2005 has been a full and fulfilling year for me. Much has happened and many opportunities await me for 2006.

Some of the highlights of the year were:
The School of Shadow Coaching (SOSC) through A Better Perspective was successfully launched. Our trainings are now international and we have worked with an amazing group of talented professionals looking to expand their level of expertise. Perspectives Blog now has a family of subscribers from 68 countries and has created a dialogue across the world. Two eBooks were written and published on the web and 2 print books are on their way to completion.

Stay tuned for those. I’ll keep you posted.

Microsoft has asked me to join their group of visionaries on their 'In Real Time Collaboration Team'. I can’t wait to see what unfolds in that realm!

I was offered another radio show to host and no....I didn't accept. It was easier to turn it down this time than the first as I realise how much I love being in the trenches in real time and not just talking about it. The School and my work has taken me to various parts of the globe both in real time and through the wonders of technology. I’ve worked with clients through international natural disasters, political crises and organizational and individual change. They’ve grown as have I. All in all I’ve met some extraordinary people along the way. What a gift! They continue to enrich my life exponentially.

“It is by teaching that we teach ourselves, by relating that we observe, by affirming that we examine, by showing that we look, by writing that we think, by pumping that we draw water into the well.” - Henri Frederic Amiel

When I read this quote I realised it’s what sums up my life. As I teach and am challenged by my students, I continually grow and evolve in life and work. By virtue of the work I do as a Shadow Coach, observing the subtleties, discerning what isn’t obvious and then working with my clients to affirm those observations….we both grow. By being 100% present in conversation, in support, in relationships, showing others’ they are worthy of my time, energy and focus because I give of myself out of choice, not obligation, I live in congruence with my personal integrity......and by writing thoughts to share with others, I’ve created a community of sorts….whether local, international or, as in my blog, with people I have never met yet have made a connection with.

That’s what it’s all about for me….connecting the dots. I look at things from the inside out……observing, relating what I observe…..teaching to feed back what works and what doesn’t, …..paying attention. The biggest gift I can give anyone else, in my opinion, is awareness and presence. My time. My focus. My energy…..without judgment.

For each of you…...this is what I wish for you for the new year and beyond…..

A heart filled with wonder
Courage and inspiration when you most need it and when you don’t need it at all
Friendship….of the best kind
A true understanding of who you are and absolute acceptance of it
Simplicity in life
To bring joy wherever you go
To have faith in yourself
That what you look for you will find
That you follow your intuition…and pay attention to where it takes you
That you try something new and love it
That you continually learn and grow
And that your smile starts from within and radiates for all to see…..
….because you’re exactly where you want and need to be at this moment in time, help build your future and give you contentment and utmost satisfaction in the present.

All the best….
Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome new Perspectives subscriber from Turkey......68th country!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Right and Power to Decide

Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.” – Steven Covey

“Sorry to push you around” was a comment made last week by someone asking me to change my schedule to accommodate another’s. I thought about that for a long time. Do I let people push me around? Rarely. Is it because I have to be in total control of everything? No. Being in total control means being inflexible. I’m very flexible within reason.

What amazed me the most about that comment was how it didn’t push any buttons. That really made me smile. I can’t count how many times I hear how people turn themselves into proverbial pretzels to please someone else. They cancel last minute, do anything to “make the sale” charge rates so below their worth because they want to get the client. They twist themselves, turn themselves inside out to accommodate anyone and everyone else in the world other than themselves and when things fall apart they can’t for the lives of themselves figure out why.

We can’t as coaches teach freedom of tolerations and being ‘problem-free’ if we don’t live that freedom. We can’t ask anyone if they’re living their lives in congruence with their personal values and ethics if we don’t seem to have them.

If I cancel one client and shuffle my schedule to please another, then I’m minimizing the importance of the first client. And if I keep canceling things in my private life to fit one more person in, I’m of no value to anyone…the client or myself, for what I am teaching by personal example?

How often do you push aside your core values to fit in? …. to make a few extra dollars, get that one new client? What would that say about you?

To take it to a more personal level, how many times have you cancelled a date, lunch, get-together of some sort with a friend, family member, someone close to you because something better came along or someone else made demands of your time? What message does that give to the person you’ve asked for a rain-cheque with? And before I get a slew of emails giving me all the exceptions to what I just said such as emergencies an unscheduled work trips etc., that’s not what I’m talking about.

Think about it for a moment. It’s telling the person you cancelled on they’re not as important as a couple of tickets to something, a lunch with someone else who is more important or more socially connected.

As a human being it’s telling one person they have more value in my eyes than another. As a professional, it’s telling one existing client they’re not as important as another potential new client. In that case I am not worthy of either of them. And as a person I would have few personal ethics if I would minimize anyone for the sake of another.

Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.” (Covey) And our ultimate responsibility is to realise how we affect everyone else around us because of our choices.

Donna Karlin

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Having the Conversation

So I was talking to my coach a couple of weeks ago (and yes, I have a coach…don’t all successful people have them?) and one of the things that resonated was when she said “What is the conversation you have to have? Figure out what it is and who you need to have it with and have that conversation.” Well, she said it more eloquently, but that was the gist of it.

One of the things I’ve been struggling with is how to change the dynamics of my work. I love what I do. I am incredibly busy. I know I will have to change the flow, dynamics, ways I work as I get older as Shadowing takes an incredibly amount of mental and physical energy and even though I have more energy now than I did 10 years or so ago, I know that won’t continue into my 60’s or 70’s.

So what do I do and who do I do it with? That is my ongoing question.

Now that I’ve figured it out to some degree, I needed to figure out the conversation I would have with future clients so they could see my vision and how it would benefit them.

However, for my clients, what came to mind regularly were the words “Have the conversation” and how often they have applied to many other scenarios, situations I watched unfold in their worlds.

I find myself silently asking the question “Did they have that conversation?” When there is a breakdown in communication, in work or personal relationships and I hear everything that isn’t happening or is going wrong, that’s the first thing that comes to mind. Have they actually had that conversation to get past whatever the roadblock is? Sometimes the conversation needs to be with ourselves. What is it we want? What are we looking for? How can we articulate it so others can understand and wrap their heads around it so they’re on the same page? How can we ever move forward without a sense of understanding and clarity?

The only way for that to happen is to have the conversation.

How can others know what our passions are unless we tell them? How can they partner with us to create a vision without verbalizing it? And how can others know what it is we want without telling them and showing them how much we appreciate their help and input when they DO give us what we want?

By having the conversation.

Generative dialogue…..sharing our perspectives individually, creating something new and evolving together because of that conversation is a perfect example of a coach/client relationship. We help the client evolve in their lives but because of the conversation, we evolve in our practices and lives as well.

That goes for all aspects of life. Don’t assume. Find out. Don’t for one moment imagine someone is clairvoyant and can read your mind. Have the conversation and let it take you wherever it was meant to go.

Donna Karlin

Saturday, December 03, 2005


If we all lived by the assumption that what is accepted as true is, in fact true, then we would not only stagnate we would made radical, life altering decisions based on myth, not fact. However the power of making decisions based on assumptions, is that it generally spirals us downwards.

Communicating to others, colleagues, managers, etc. or, in this case not communicating, based on an assumption you don’t provide value because you never heard how wonderful you were, or something similar, makes it true because the tendency would be to close down and not share expertise or wisdom. Even if the others around the table thought otherwise, how you react to your own assumptions will prove it right. If you’re quiet and not interactive they WILL believe you have nothing of value to share.

Another example is when you assume you have communicated your needs or instructions so they were absolutely understood. There were no questions asked around the table so everyone MUST know what is needed, right? Not necessarily. Many other factors come to play, some of which are, they are distracted by what is coming up next, focused on one aspect of the work and didn’t even hear the rest etc etc. Never assume. Always ask if any of them need clarification before leaving the room. That will save you both a lot of “doing work over and fix-ups’ later.

Challenging assumptions is what leads you to the truth of the situation.

When I Shadow Coach a client and ask them if they are making an assumption that they might not be aware of, that’s where our conversation goes. What might other possibilities be? Why is it, human nature looks at the negative first? An assumption in itself… always has to be something ‘bad’.

What are the other possibilities? Often, being passed over or not acknowledged has nothing whatsoever to do with you. Rather the other person could be distracted, have a hidden agenda of what he/he wants out of a meeting or conversation. The greatest assumption we can make is that it’s always about us.

What if it wasn’t? How would that change the entire scenario and what if you asked for clarification before making that important decision? Whether it’s about a relationship, job, position or task, knowing the facts rather than assuming them will save you a heck of a lot of trouble and heartache along the way. Get over yourself. You’re not that important that it always has to be about you.

"Telling the future by looking at the past assumes that conditions remain constant. This is like driving a car by looking in the rearview mirror." -- Herb Brody.

It’s putting it all in perspective.

Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome subscriber from St. Lucia. 67 countries and counting!