Monday, November 27, 2006

Moments to Remember and Laugh About One Day

When I was in St. Louis for the International Coach Federation Conference, I started off the week having dinner with 2 wonderful people / colleagues / friends. I posed a question to them which was easy enough to ask but not necessarily easy to answer. The question was “What was your most embarrassing moment?”

Now these are moments in our lives when we are mortified to have said something, done something, or circumstance put us in positions of total “I wish a hole would open up and swallow me” feelings. The reason why I had brought it up was it was a question I often ask clients. Why, you ask? Because once they start sharing it and verbalizing it, more often than not, they start laughing about it and its power no longer has a hold on them other than one of a distant memory.

It’s quite amazing. What we might have hidden for years suddenly becomes a source of amusement.

So I ask you…what was your most embarrassing moment?

I’ll start off with sharing 2 of mine. Two, because the first was the most embarrassing until the second happened! You’ll understand once I share them with you.

The first…
I broke the front door of the parliament buildings here in Ottawa.

Now can you picture how embarrassing that would have been to have pushed the door opened with my hand only to have it go THROUGH the glass of the front door? To make matters worse, at the time they couldn’t find a first aid kit so I was bleeding on the front steps of the Parliament Buildings. A special moment, I can assure you. One of those wanting a hole to open up and swallow me moments.

The second, which topped that one (yes, it’s possible) was the following…
I was sitting in a restaurant waiting for one of my oldest friends (45 years and counting : ) to show up as he was taking me out for my birthday lunch. He is always late so I took his being late in stride. The waiter kept coming over feeling very bad for me. I assured him it was something I was used to and took out my BlackBerry to catch up on messages. Now this friend had a dog, one of my favourite dogs, a long haired Belgian Shepherd and he was getting old and sick and my friend told me he had to go at the end of the week to sign the papers to have him euthanized as there was no other choice. I emailed my son from my BlackBerry giving him a heads up that our friend had to do this to which Mike replied “Oh no! Why?” to which I replied “Because he’s old, his back has gone, he’s losing control of his bodily functions and it’s time to have him put down. There’s no other choice”.

Now what all BlackBerry owners should know is that emails come into the unit in real time, so when I pressed reply it didn’t go back to my son. It went to my client’s executive assistant. My client just happened to have been out sick that day with a bad back. Need I say more?

Within seconds a response came back from her saying “You’re going to have him killed because he has a bad back? And what’s with this bodily functions thing?”


Within a minute or so (as she of course forwarded this to my client’s Berry) I got a phone call on the same unit saying “YOU’RE HAVING ME PUT DOWN BECAUSE I’M OLD AND MY BACK IS OUT? And there is NOTHING wrong with my bodily functions thank you very much!”

Good thing this wasn’t a new client. Embarrassed? Just a bit you think? Now we laugh about it. I no longer automatically press reply on my BlackBerry! That taught me a lesson or two!

…..A now smiling
Donna Karlin

Monday, November 20, 2006

Why Are You Doing What You're Doing?

Robert Townsend said “If you don't do it excellently, don't do it at all. Because if it's not excellent, it won't be profitable or fun, and if you're not in business for fun or profit, what the hell are you doing there?”

In coaching we use the term “Mastery” a great deal. It has nothing to do with credentialing or education; it has to do with being masterful in our craft or profession. Certainly experience comes to play for the more people one works with, the richer the expertise and knowledge to draw from. As a coach, especially one who’s asked on a daily basis to teach others my Shadow Coaching™ model, I will not compromise my training or the value to clients as a result of it if the participants aren’t masterful at coaching. If they’re not having fun along the way then it becomes a chore, not a passion. Coaching has to come from a position of passion, not rules (and I’m not talking about ethics and guidelines here. I’m talking about rules that box one in). We have to coach from a position of personal integrity and we can’t begin to help others grasp their dreams if we’re not living them ourselves.

To quote Ralph Marston, “If you want to be exceptional, then be the exception. Forget about what most people would do in a given situation, and do what is best, what is right, what makes the most positive contribution. Exceptional performance is the result of exceptional thinking. Instead of merely reacting to circumstances and events, use the awesome power of your mind to develop a thoughtful, effective response.

To be exceptional, be yourself. You have something valuable and original to contribute to every situation. Exceptional accomplishments are authentic accomplishments. Allow your priorities and your actions to be based on the values, purposes and vision of life that you feel most intensely at the center of your being. Exceptional performance is meaningful performance. Look beyond the temporary and superficial, and put your energy into creating lasting value that serves a real purpose.

You were born to be exceptional, to blaze a trail into territory where no one has ever gone before. Choose today, and every day, to let your own unique, exceptional light shine brightly for all to see.”

When you do that, you will be masterful at anything because your mind and heart will be set on it.

Donna Karlin

Friday, November 10, 2006

Cultures and Ways of Being From Across The World

One of the things that constantly blows me away is the fact that in a very short time my blog has attracted a readership from 93 countries and territories from across the globe, including 8 Canadian provinces and 47 U.S. states.

As we plan for a global dialogue on issues facing communities, cities, countries and the world as a whole, I would love to invite all of you to share your biggest challenges and greatest victories, whether politically, culturally, organizationally, nationally or personally, so the dialogue could be formed and begun right here.

I look forward to the conversation..

Donna Karlin