Friday, October 27, 2006

A Meeting of Minds

This past week I was in St. Louis at the International Coach Federation Research Symposium and Conference which, as always, blew my mind. I would love to have said the conference itself was mind blowing but for me, what always takes me to new heights are the people I connect with...those I haven't seen for a year and can't wait to reconnect with, as well as the new people I meet who come from far and wide to share ideas, concepts and ways of being. Having more than 1,400 or so Coaches all under one roof is daunting enough, never mind the noise and energy that accompany us : ) but still, the level of interaction and mind melding is extraordinary.

This year, even though the venue left a lot to be desired, the people I met and shared ideas with were over the top. Over 30 countries were represented along with the richness of backgrounds and cultures. And as we left St. Louis to return home, we were already discussing what we could create for next year.

Continuity is a given. We want the best for the profession as well as the clients. One thing was very clear. If we continued to share ideas and let others help us evolve, nothing would stop us. It's not about continuing education credits as much as learning, integrating and contextualising what we learned through the week. One of the things I have to watch for with my clients is how quickly they integrate what they learn into the content and context of their lives. How often do we look at that for ourselves?

It's about people and how they put the same facts and concepts into completely different packages, utilizing them in unique ways. It's not as much as what we create as what the professionals will do with those creations afterwards, so even as I was heading back through Chicago to my home in Ottawa, I was creating a map in my agenda of who I wanted to connect with whom so their lives can be enriched exponentially.

In a world where 'knowledge is power' and many hoard what they know to hold over someone else, how much more powerful would it be if we shared that information and grew in leaps and bounds by virtue of having another tweak it to mean something else? Two minds working is always more than one....four more than two and so on. So tonight the virtual introductions begin. And to my friends Susan, Sue, David, Philip, Michelle and rest of the gang who already have numerous projects, books and classes aligned for me to get started on (yeah I know in WHAT spare time?) I thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me think, wonder, imagine and begin creating. The sense of possibility has been stoked within me, so get ready for what's to come!

It's all about finding the best in life and wishing the same for others.

Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome subscriber from Uganda....93rd country and counting. Stay a while, 'put your feet up' and we'd love it if you'd share your ideas and perspectives with us.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

It's All About You

What do you think? Does the title of this blog push a button or two?

I’ve had more conversations this past week with people wanting to set boundaries, but not knowing how. Or they know how but don’t think they can or should or, just don’t set them for other reasons. People think selfishness is a bad thing. They do want to make their lives easier but as they don’t want to rock the boat so to speak, they don’t set boundaries. They’re the ones who suffer and as they’re not practicing self-care, everyone suffers.

Why is that, exactly? I’d love to hear your take on that.

Respecting yourself means listening to your body and emotions constantly and then acting beyond the linear to do what’s needed for your own well-being.

I realise for some it’s cultural programming; being raised to put others first, to do the best for the family, community etc, but even those who are powerful leaders, who you might think wouldn’t think twice about being selfish, have a hard time taking that personal replenishment time.

Why do you think setting personal boundaries has to be detrimental to others around you? Wouldn’t it be teaching them to do the same as they see how well it works with you? And if you take good care of yourself, wouldn’t you have MORE to give someone else?

“A red rose is not selfish because it wants to be a red rose. It would be horribly self-centered if it wanted all the other flowers in the garden to be both red and roses.” – Oscar Wilde (with a bit of poetic license from Donna Karlin).

Selfishness, or taking care of one’s self isn’t about having everyone else cater to you to the exclusion of their own well-being; it’s acknowledging that you respect yourself enough to care for yourself so you can give back more. How you perceive that will determine the level of self-respect and self-care.

What's the first thing you can do to begin?

Donna Karlin

Thursday, October 19, 2006

In The Realm of Possibility?

People automatically assume they know all the facts and it not only often gets them into trouble but could cause difficulty for others at the same time.

For example, about a week ago, I was in a busy elevator in a Federal Government department where I’ve been working for the past 4 or 5 years and there was a staffer who I knew quite well next to me in the elevator. I hadn’t worked with him but had with his boss, so he knew the level of client I worked with as an Executive Shadow Coach. As I read a particular email, I started grinning at the content. Unbeknownst to me (and let me clarify I never read anything confidential in a public place), he glanced over my shoulder at my BlackBerry and saw who the email was from.

At the top of his lungs he exclaimed “You got an email from Stephen Harper?” Oh this was WAY too much fun to let go of so I remarked “Yes. He was commenting on my blog” to which this man called out “Stephen Harper reads your blog???” I replied “Yes. Steve reads my blog and I his. Oh and we are co-authors of another blog besides this one.”

Well that was more than he could handle. Keep in mind the rest of the occupants of the elevator were listening intently.

Incredulous, he exclaimed “OUR PRIME MINISTER WRITES A BLOG WITH YOU AND YOU CALL HIM STEVE??” to which I quietly replied “Who said it was the Prime Minister?”


I looked at him and told him he had no business reading someone else’s BlackBerry and if he’s going to do things like that, it’s going to get him into trouble and, by making assumptions, there would be a great chance he’d get the other individual into trouble as well. I work with the highest levels of bureaucracy. All he had to do was tell one of the people who had a Deputy’s ear that I co-wrote anything with the PM and it could jeopardize my work with him/her.

He assumed. If I hadn’t clarified, the others in the elevator would have left certain of something that just wasn’t true. The ramifications could be disastrous.

“The least questioned assumptions are often the most questionable” - Paul Broca

How often do you read something at a glance, overhear something mentioned and create an entire scenario around it which just isn’t so? We’ve all been guilty of that over time, no?

Besides which….do you think it’s in the realm of possibility that a Prime Minister would feel comfortable and secure enough in his position to write a blog at all? A whole other question to ponder.

Donna Karlin

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

People Are Their Own Magic Wand

Years ago I created a mini program about people, and about you.....and my friend Steve Harper unknowingly (well until now : ) reminded me about it. It was a compilation of so many perspectives about people, how they think, look at themselves, respond to the world and create their place in the world. I had forgotten all about it but once I read Steve's words of wisdom in our, I decided to unearth it and give it another look. It's time to start distributing it to those who want to look at their place in life and perhaps do something to change what's not working.

One line that resonated was "People fail to see that they are the magic wand they wait and wish for."

Why look for a magic wand when you are one? People become who they might be when they let go of who they are. If you're so busy holding on to what'll never know what's possible!

Donna Karlin