Monday, December 16, 2019

Coffee? Grab your IPad!

One of the challenges of living alone is there is typically no one to sit around in the morning with a cup of coffee.  I have to get dressed and make my way to Koffi (really, that's the name of my local) to meet up with someone, but that kind of misses the joy of those groggy first sips in my boxers and someone to share it with.

What to do?

It started years ago when a friend and I wanted to have coffee but lived on opposite sides of the country.  So, we set up a time, each went to our coffee spot, put on our headsets and talked.

Now, it's so much easier!  And, I don't have to get dressed!  Grab your iPad and pour a cup!  Pick your video platform and enjoy!

Yesterday, it was a virtual coffee with a colleague in Germany.  Last week coffee with a friend in Virginia.  It's the easiest thing to do.  No real agenda.  Just like we're sitting at Koffi or in my kitchen.  Next week, it will be a "virtual happy hour" with a group of international friends.  Skip the coffee and pour a glass of prosecco.

Try it.



Saturday, November 23, 2019

Speaking your Courageous Truth?

The other day I asked a group, "share a moment where you learned something meaningful about yourself or the way the world works."  For some reason, all of the stories that followed had something to do with what happened both before and after the person shared a courageous truth.  Perhaps they spoke truth to bullshit.  Truth to power.  It wasn't exactly where I expected the conversation to go, but hey, I can make soup out of just about anything.

And we did.  What came out of the conversation was a great deal of clarity on what it is that creates space for learning.  A yearning for learning.  A desire to chase learning.  And it almost always came down to some dissatisfaction with the status quo or challenge to our integrity.  But that wasn't the end.  Dissatisfaction wasn't enough.  It took speaking up.  Showing up.  Taking the shot.  And then, living through the chaos that followed!  

My story in this was an event that preceded me getting fired many years ago.  I was young and let the person in charge know what I thought about her way of doing things.  Perhaps I wasn't elegant in my presentation.  She took exception to my thoughts and suggested I might be happier working elsewhere.  And I was!  Speaking my courageous truth to her and getting fired opened up the door to another opportunity which propelled me into a wonderful career that re-shaped my life.  And, that's another story.

So, what is the courageous truth you might speak today?  



Wednesday, October 2, 2019

What's Your Story?

All of us have a story.  Some of it is fun and interesting, rich and full.  Some of it is hard or challenging.  I have a thing for stories.

So, what's your story?  Not the timeline of your life or the dates, names, and places, but the story.  All that you have made your life mean.  That's your story.  I love the way Brene' Brown puts it: "Stories are data with a soul."

If you've never considered the fullness of your story, or are just waking up to the idea that you even have a story, or might want to spend a few minutes doing nothing but reflecting on your story, I can help!

Last year, I signed up for a writing boot camp and spent four months getting "from dream to draft".  The coaches were tough and we had to post a picture of our word count every week.  And, we got there.  In the end, 40,000 words got plotted down, sorted, edited, and compiled into what just might be a resource you can use for a long time.  A bunch of good questions.  And, a whole lot of my story woven in and around along with conversations that I've had with hundreds of people over the last many years in my practice of executive coaching and leadership development.

You can purchase a copy in print or e-reader format, spend a couple hours perusing, and then decide to do nothing!  Or, perhaps you will decide to go on the journey of a lifetime.



Sunday, July 7, 2019

What if you do nothing?

She had laid out her whole story... all the background data, her assessment of the issues and how she perceived them, and how her emotions were in play.  She was beginning to develop some action-step options for moving forward.

And then, one of the other forum members asked, "What if you do nothing?"

Silence. Quiet filled the room.

After a pause and a slight bit of knowing laughter, she said “Well, it might just work itself out. We're doing a lot of the right things. Maybe it just needs a little time.”

Sometimes we get caught up in being "action-oriented.”  We fix things by doing a bunch of stuff.  And, sometimes we forget that "doing nothing" is a viable option!

Reflecting on the "do nothing trail" helps me separate the facts from the fiction in any area of my life.  It helps me become an observer and lifts me out of my desire for action.  Reflecting on the idea of doing nothing different from what I’m already doing helps me take stock from a different perspective.

And, doing nothing is sometimes the very best thing to do.



Friday, March 29, 2019

What’s Your Cause? A Birthday Challenge

I shared with Paul Warner that for my 60th birthday I wanted to do a vertical ski challenge.   He said, “Great! Let’s do 60,000 vertical in a day!”

Yikes! So I did a little research and math and wouldn’t you know, it is actually possible! It’ll be about 30 big mountain laps over 6-7 hours.  So we rallied his family and a few others and will be on the first chair at Beaver Creek Saturday morning. It’s a totally arbitrary target, and has been fun to prep for. “60 for 60!”

The valuable part for me is simply the process of joining together with some good friends to see if we can rise to the physical and mental challenge. But is there a greater purpose or cause? Should we be “skiing to end hunger” or raising $60,000 for some other charitable effort? We could do that, and certainly have at other times. But no, this time the cause is friendship. I believe in the value and importance of meaningful, authentic, intimate, and treasured friends... and am committed in my life to make the world a friendlier place for all. So, here’s to good friends. May we each value what we have over what we don’t, and connect well with ourselves and a few others along the way.



Sunday, March 10, 2019

It’s Not Safe Here!

I was debriefing a meeting that I had attended with another guy and he made the comment, “That meeting was totally unsafe.”

Really? I felt very comfortable in my skin, knew what I was about, had clear boundaries. Wouldn’t have judged it “totally unsafe” as he had. But, it was his judgment. His experience. His emotional response, perhaps. And, he didn’t own it that way. To him, “that meeting was totally unsafe.”

Well, there’s a lot of talk about safe and unsafe people. Or, places where you feel safe. Or groups that are safe. “I don’t feel safe with you” is a common statement in relationship.

But then, is “safe” really a feeling, an emotion? Is it Anger? Sadness? Fear? Joy? Huh. Maybe “safe” isn’t so much an emotion as it is a judgment or an observation about what is going on inside of you. So, a good question to get to the root of it would be, “when I judge that I am unsafe, how am I feeling?”

My guess is that the emotion most often connected to safety is fear. I feel fear when I judge that I am at risk of getting hurt- hurt emotionally or hurt physically. So, the clear statement about the meeting might be, “I felt some fear around the possibility of betrayal or loss at that meeting…” or something like that.

And, if “I am feeling unsafe with you”, I might want to own it as, “When I am with you, I feel fear. I make up a story that I might be betrayed in some way because that has happened before. I know it’s just my story, and it’s my feeling of fear…”

When I can own my emotion… in this case fear… I become empowered then to take action, to set a boundary, to take 100% responsibility for what is happening in my life, to step from victim into maturity and to clarify my want… in short, to be me.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Letting Go

I have this great poem called “Transitions” that talks about how the trapezist must let go of the one trapeze in order to grab onto the next. And, in between, there is a moment where they are holding onto neither but instead flying through air. It’s the same in rock climbing. Often, you have to let go of one hand or foothold and commit to the forward movement in order to reach the next. There’s also the story of the Spanish Explorer who burnt the ships in the harbor once they reached the new world. There was no going back… only forward.

What is it about letting go?

Long held beliefs or desires
Vigorously staked out positions on an issue
What I wanted it to be and not what it is. 

Perhaps it is about grieving what isn’t, or hasn’t, or didn’t, or couldn’t. It’s not about fixing a blame or needing to be right.  For me, it’s about accepting what is and then choosing my next step wisely. Because, in the end, every step we take is a choice. And, that choice can be driven by the past or the things we haven’t yet let go of, or it can be driven by the present, and the maturity in which we live in this moment.

So, what do you want to let go of, or accept today?

Am I Listening?

A while back, someone said to me, “Wow, Vince, you’re such a good listener!”  It made me wonder what it’s like to be a bad listener!  So, I ...