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Archive for the ‘Coaching’ Category

Do One Thing Afraid ─ Every Day

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

As I work with coaching (and healing) clients, I am often asked how to create powerful visions for work and life. Over the years, I have used the following steps to help me move from vision to action. I have put a lot of my work out into the world. Some of it has landed with success and some of it has flopped. I always learn from each experience.

Isn’t it better to look back years from now and not have regret for what we didn’t do? There will always be an excuse of why we didn’t start something. There will always be an excuse: the lack of time, the lack of experience, and the lack of money. Even if we had all of these, there is still no guarantee that our idea/dream will work. How liberating to just go ahead and live out our idea.

Here is how I move from imagining, to designing, into living my dreams:

1. Visualize the dream as already happening (i.e. creating your business, making art, writing a book, having a loving partner or whatever the goal is)

2. Name any thoughts or beliefs that might be getting in the way (These are the old stories/tapes we carry around with us)

3. Reframe any thoughts or beliefs by writing your intention in the positive with a timeline (i.e. I see myself having my paintings in 2-3 galleries by July, drafting my book in 2014, and being with a loving kind person this month)

4. Ask for support. Seek out people for ideas. Bounce your thoughts with those you trust and ask for any specific support to help keep you focused

5. Take 1 action daily towards your goal. Do one thing every day. As I like to say, “Do it afraid. Make change despite yourself.”

6. And finally, celebrate yourself! Treat yourself to a cup of tea, buy flowers, or something sweet. And celebrations can happen at every step along the way.

Now, go do one thing afraid today!

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Lead By Listening

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

After a lot of hard work, you have been made the leader of your team or your organization.  And now, as a leader, you are anxious to start performing.

First, there is a level of excitement and then the pressure is on – to not only lead, but to lead well. What lessons have you learned along the way to get here? What leaders inspired you?

At those moments there’s a natural tendency to immediately start forging ahead – after all, you are all up to speed on the organization/team, vision, plan, and now, the strategies and tactics that will be needed to move forward.

And that tendency can easily lead to believing the thought, “Since I know the way and I can just push forward, my teammates will just follow me, and they’ll figure it out.”

There is however another voice as well. It’s the voice that says, “Wait, slow down. Is everyone on team in alignment to what is happening?”

When that voice speaks, the best response is to lead by listening.

People and organizations cannot move forward without being heard. The phrase lead by listening is very important – its representative of the one thing a leader has to do before they push forward.

Alignment – of vision, of plan, of strategy, of tactics, of metrics, roles and responsibilities – all of it can only happen if we listen first.

And it is not just listening to your immediate reports – the listening has to go all the way down the line, to every employee.

Listening is not a leadership assumption, as the impatient parts of our brain may love to think.  It doesn’t happen without effort.

A leader must take the time to make this happen, the old-fashioned way – person by person, meeting by meeting, and conversation by conversation.  

A good leader listens first before becoming a teacher who prepares his or her students, and then a coach, making sure everyone is ready to move forward.

Listening is a culture that may feel new, but it is critical for visioning and taking action. What’s happening now and where do you want to go are questions leaders need to ask and listen for answers. What is the company mantra that people are saying?

Serve your organization and team by asking key questions. Serve yourself by listening to the answers.

They are ready for you to lead.

And now, so are you, as you have listened to those around you. You are really ready to move forward.

Don’t succumb to that pressure to race ahead and get a lot of tasks completed before you take time to listen.

That way, you’ll never have to look behind you as you climb upward and bring others with you.

Lead well by listening!

Mary Anne


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What Is Your Passion?

Friday, March 30th, 2012

In a recent conversation with my partner, she asked me what my passion was. I told her it was traveling and writing. She said, “But what is your inner passion?” I found myself stumbling and babbling all sorts of ideas. None of the ideas felt like my one passion in life. Then  I asked myself the question and when I listened from that perspective, I knew the answer: “Service.” My passion in life is service. It’s something I was taught by my parents and a gene I inherited. I told my partner, “I will always be of service, no matter what I do in life.”

It seemed my answer was so obvious that I began to search for another one. Sometimes what we are really passionate about is right in front of us – something we do daily or is a part of our essence. When you think about your essence, what do you bring to the world?

What is your one passion you share effortlessly?

May you live your passion each day in celebration with the world.

Mary Anne

And if you need assistance unearthing your passion, feel free to contact me to set up a coaching session. Live your passion!

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My Growing Edge. What Is Yours?

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

I often encourage people to think bigger, go bolder, and reach higher. As my business started to grow, I knew it was time to expand my coaching practice – to reach more people – to be more visible. I began to draft my business design, update my bio, and launch a new website. After completing my draft, three things happened: 1. I came down with a horrible stomach virus; 2. A family member was diagnosed with a serious illness; 3 My computer crashed. All of this happened in the span of about seven days. While feeling vulnerable, the voice of doubt came whispering (okay, screaming) in. I had the thought, “Maybe I am not ready and capable of expanding my coaching business.”

When I was done feeling sorry for myself, I realized at that moment I was going to my growing edge. And for that reason I knew it was important for me to help other people discover theirs – because at any given moment, we are called to go beyond the voice of doubt and fear and see what incredible opportunity is awaiting us. It may not always be easy, but it can be simple. It can simple knowing what we are called to do. And it may take getting support to help us create the map to get there. Continue reading…

Celebrate your growing edge in Hawaii. For more details about the upcoming retreat in Hawaii on the Big Island, click here.

Peace, Mary Anne

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What Are You Seeing in Your World?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

When you look out, what are you seeing in your world?

What is your vision?

What is your mantra?

What are you creating?

In stillness, your creative vision and mantra is available.

When you look within, what are you seeing in your world?


{Photo taken in Egypt by Mary Anne Flanagan}


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Celebrating International Coaching Week!

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

As part of International Coaching Week, 2/6 – 2/12, I am doing some wellness coaching at various centers and spas. I am also offering special discounts so folks can experience the power of coaching. If you are interested in learning more about life coaching and taking your dreams and goals to the next level, visit my website: https://www.toningtheom.com

Feel free to check out my Life Coaching Services on Thumbtack as well.

Drop me a line!
Mary Anne

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What Scares You More – Failure or Success?

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

“I’ve been terrified every day of my life but that’s never stopped me from doing what I wanted to do.” -Georgia O’Keefe

There is something so freeing and exhilarating when we can challenge and transcend our fears. Dr. Susan Jeffers has a book called, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, that talks about facing and walking through our fears. What’s amazing is that when we walk through our fears, we not only find the fear to be an illusion, but often we find our greatest passion is on the other side of it.

Every time I have a new project, create a new program, post a blog, send a proposal of a workshop, I have a stream of fearful thoughts run through me. Sometimes the fear of success is even bigger than the fear of failure. It is in those moments I think of my friend Fr. Bob who twenty years ago said, “Anytime you do ‘God’s’ work, you ought to be a little afraid.” Work that is meaningful and influential allows me to transcend my fears.

As Joyce Meyers says, “Do It Afraid.” Do one thing this week that scares you – it is a great starting point.

Do something despite your fear and see where it leads you.
Mary Anne

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Inspiration, Curiosity, & Positivity

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

After meeting some of the best and the brightest researchers and educators at a recent Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital Coaching in Medicine & Leadership  Intensive, I wanted to share some amazing quotes of inspiration:

“All great leaders by their passion and sense of purpose, and their accomplishments, live a great story.” ~Sanjiv Chopra, MD

“The opponent within one’s head is more daunting that the one on the other side of the net.” ~Sir John Whitmore, PhD

“Positive emotions help us become the best versions of ourselves.” ~Barbara Fredrickson, PhD

“Changes in the internal system will effect changes in the external system and vice versa. This means that how you relate to your Inner Team members is similar to how you relate to the people in your world and vice versa.” ~Richard Schwartz, PhD

“We cannot inspire passion in others without engaging it ourselves.” ~Richard Boyatzis, PhD

“Coaching improves psychological resources that predict higher performance, capacity to change, and mental health, e.g. increasing positivity, resilience, and self-efficacy.” ~Margaret Moore, M.B.A.

You don’t have to be a life coach or a doctor to ask, to be open, to be curious, to connect in ways that allow us to reach our deepest vision of healing and wholeness. As Paul Farmer once said, “The only true nation is humanity.”

Mary Anne

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Believing in Your Potential

Monday, September 27th, 2010

I just came home from a Coaching in Medicine and Leadership Intensive with Harvard Medical School. In another blog, I will post some amazing quotes and ideas. I wanted to dedicate this one to sharing why it meant so much to me to go to this Harvard Intensive.

Back in grade school, I was never the best or brightest in class. Teachers often based my grades on my hard work, my creativity, and my enthusiasm. My report cards had remarks like, “Mary Anne is a joy to have in class.” While I may not have understood everything happening in the classroom, I had an insatiable curiosity and loved asking questions.

By the time I went to high school, I felt like I had to work so hard just to keep up. I started to feel very lost and struggled with many classes. By the end of my junior year, I prayed to get through one more year. Not knowing what I would do after high school, I met with my guidance counselor, who after looking at my transcript, told me not to apply to college. My counselor thought I ought to go to a trade school or find a job. She told me I wouldn’t make it through college.

As a Life Coach, I can look back now and see that this counselor didn’t see or believe in my potential. She never asked me what I wanted to do after high school or ask if I wanted to attend college. Fortunately, I had a religion teacher who told me I had a lot of gifts to share with the world. She encouraged me (along with my parents) to attend college and explore classes until I found something that brought me joy.

This teacher saw in me more than I could at 17 and encouraged me to explore and dream — she saw potential and possibility. I graduated college with honors and have gone on to do amazing work with non-profits as well as successfully start my own company.

Going to Harvard Medical school this weekend was symbolic for me. It reminded me that anything is possible and I have even more potential to celebrate.

Who believes in your potential? As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.”

Mary Anne

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Did You Do Your Best?

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

There was a time growing up when I didn’t doing well in school and my mom asked me, “Did you do your best?” I told her I did and she said that was all I needed to give others – my best. My mom told me I could be anything I wanted and believed in me at times when I didn’t believe in myself.

This past week I completed my certification as a Life/Executive Coach from New York University. It was a big undertaking as I work full-time and run my own company as well as had major family health issues come up while taking classes. There were times I thought I was going to give up. Keeping up with all the courses, homework assignments, readings, completing forms, and coaching clients became all consuming. Yet, through it all, I have met some of the most amazing individuals (some of whom have become  my closest friends). I have come across men and women from ages 25 – 65 that see potential and possibility in the individuals, business executives, and organizations they partner with. This exceptional group of coaches is all about life-long learning and developing their own sense of self-mastery. They are vulnerable, generous, and supportive.

After completing the last course, I celebrated with my fellow coaches and then went home and celebrated with my partner, Lorene (who has encouraged me every step of the way). I told her I wish I could have picked up the phone to tell my mom that I finished the coaching program. I still miss hearing her voice. Instead, I opened a box that has photos and other memorabilia and pulled out a photo of the two of us. I looked at a photo of my mom and I, cried, and said, “I did my best.”

Special thanks to all of my family, friends, and coaches for being so supportive on my journey.
Mary Anne

This is dedicated with gratitude & love to my teacher, my coach, my mentor, and my good friend, Paulette Rao.

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