Archive for the ‘Vision’ Category

It’s that time of year.  The end of one and the beginning of a new one.  The time when many people size up where they are and think about where they want to be.  I wrote last year about how I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.  Or, at least, that they aren’t for me.  They seem to set people up for failure and that’s not a good way to start a new year…or a good feeling to have at the end of January when you realize you’ve not followed through with your resolution/s.  Then you have 11 months to bemoan that and feel bad.

This year I am thinking about the new year in a different way.  I’m looking ahead at the year to come in a broader way and trying to come up with a metaphor or vision for how I want my year to be or how I want to be as a person.  2011 was all about resettling in San Francisco and getting my older son set up in high school.  We’re resettled and he’s settled.

As I sit here in a funny massage chair in a cottage in Maui’s upcountry, I’m trying to imagine where I want to be (mostly mentally) at this time next year.  Later today we’ll go to the top of Haleakala, the volcano on Maui.  I think I’ll find inspiration up there.  Maybe next year will be about climbing peaks…physical and metaphorical.  Maybe 2011 was the year of the burrowing rabbit and 2012 will be the year of the mountain goat or the bald eagle.  I’m not sure, but I like the idea of looking at it in this broad sense.  Then I can ask myself during the year whether I am staying true to that vision.  Even if I don’t get to the top of many peaks…am I trying?  Am I moving forward?

What is your vision for 2012?

May 2012 be all that you want it to be.

I recently read a New Yorker article (Oct. 3, 2011) about coaching by Atul Gawande,  Personal Best: Top Athletes and singers have coaches.  Should you? The article is about all different types of coaches…more traditional athletic coaches and voice coaches, as well as an innovative coaching program for teachers, and his own quest to be coached on his surgical techniques by a retired surgeon.

I read the article from the perspective of a life coach and asked myself how his observations related to what I do.  The big take-away for me is that no matter what type of coaching he was talking about, it always came down to fresh eyes and a different perspective.  There is great value at having fresh eyes look at a situation and give input and observations.  An athlete can’t observe herself in the way a coach can, a teacher can’t see what he’s doing the same way an outsider can, a surgeon can’t notice the subtle things she does out of memory and habit, and we as individuals have a hard time seeing some of our patterns because they are all we know.

The big question Gawande poses at the end of his article is:  are people ready to accept that everyone has room for improvement?  Are we ready to hear what those fresh eyes see?  Are we ready to consider a different perspective?  Of his own first experience with a coach, he says “That one twenty-minute discussion gave me more to consider and work on than I’d had in the past five years.”

Whether you’re an athlete, executive, parent, teacher, surgeon or just someone trying to figure it all out…what might fresh eyes tell you?

We all climb mountains…more mental than physical, usually.  This past weekend I reminded myself what it’s like to climb a real mountain.  It’s hard!   There was lots of sweating and panting and determination and amazing views, and I did it.  I have wanted to climb Half Dome in Yosemite for many years and I have finally fulfilled that dream!

What did I learn?

  • I can do it!
  • Bring friends…it’s much more fun along the way and easier to laugh at the pain;
  • Just keep on going…one step after the other;
  • It’s an amazing view from the top.

Now I want to remind myself that these things are true for mental mountains too.  The mountains/dreams/desires/goals may be daunting, but they are reachable.  Really.

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “Do what you love and the money will follow.”  I have.  Many times.  And in many ways I believe it, but I also understand when people are skeptical…I’m skeptical too.  I don’t have a great answer when clients ask how they are supposed to pay the bills while they make a movie, write a novel, pursue athletics, work with immigrants, teach, and on and on.  And yet, I still believe it’s my role to push people to do what they love.

Last night I was reading an article in the New Yorker (September 5, 2011) about a Dutch artist, Theo Jansen, who does what he loves.  He makes giant beach animals out of plastic tubing and they’re in a commercial for BMW.  What popped into my mind the minute I read that fact was:  he’s making money by doing what he loves.  And no one could have predicted that.

For me, it goes to show that you really never can tell what will happen.  Theo Jansen and those around him could have (and possibly did) come up with a million reasons why making moving beach animals wasn’t practical or worthwhile, but he went ahead and did it anyway.

As I engage in mental dialogue with myself in the coming weeks and months about what is worthwhile and how I can help more in supporting my family financially, I’m going to remind myself of Theo.  I’m going to keep doing what I love and believe anything can happen.

I just read another article from The Atlantic that has my mind buzzing.  So much to think about!  On so many levels I don’t even know where to begin.  But I want to share it.  Right now.

I assume the article by Lori Gottlieb, “How to Land Your Kid in Therapy” is mostly aimed at parents, but since we are all children to someone and deal with other human beings in our lives, I think it’s a great read for anyone.

Where do I fit into this?  How was I raised?  What am I doing?  What makes me happy? How are those around me doing things?  What is my reaction to how others do it?  What about the things that society encourages/discourages?  What is society?

My biggest take-away, is, Wow, I need to do some thinking about myself as a parent, as a coach to my clients and as a person. What is your reaction?