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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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“Who’s in Your Fab 5?”

Monday, July 20th, 2009

My Fab 5

Mary Anne & her drumming Fab 5 in Hawaii

There is an amazing new book out called The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle. Coyle visited some of the world’s greatest “hotbeds”, which are small areas that have produced large amounts of talent. It’s all about having a better understanding of where talent comes from, how we learn, and how we can discover more by our mistakes. Coyle talks a lot about how we can acquire skill by learning about a substance called myelin. “Myelin is the insulation that wraps around nerve fibers and increases signal strength, speed, and accuracy.”

According to Coyle, there is a pattern in acquiring talent that includes, “deep practice, ignition, and master coaching.” I found this fascinating. I always wondered what talents were inherited and which ones were not. How can we increase our level of talent? …Practice, practice, practice.

In looking at how to increase our level of talent, I found there were other factors such as confidence, motivation, and environment. Want to build up that myelin? Here are just a few of my suggestions.

There may be times you want to do something new or increase your level of performance, but fear gets in your way. Notice and acknowledge fear when it arises. The more you push it away, the more it returns – even bigger and louder.

  1. Make mistakes. We not only learn by doing; we also learn by re-doing. Our brains can actually recalibrate according to what we learn from our mistakes. So, go ahead and use that phrase you did as a kid, “Do-over.”
  2. “You are who you hang out with.” A good friend of mine, Fr. Bob, once said this to me on a retreat back in 1989. Basically, look around and see who you are hanging around with and that will show you where your energy and actions are drawn towards. Are your friends there to support you on your journey or holding you back? Another way of saying this is, “Who is your Fab 5?” Take an inventory of the people who most influence your life.
  3. Do something new. Push yourself. Challenge yourself to do one thing that scares you. “Do It Afraid.”
  4. Ask questions. Push the limits of your brain and your heart. Begin a practice of asking questions daily and see what emerges. Create a question ritual. I find by asking a BIG question, it leads me to what is next in my life. My big question this month is: How can I be of MORE service?
  5. Follow your breath. Your breath is your will. When you are ready to start a new project, practice your skills, or create a path, start with your breath.  Use your breath to guide you. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, slowly and deeply. Awareness of our breath allows for better focus.
  6. Finally, our coaches were right – practice, practice, practice. Repetition is key when wanting to acquire a new skill.

So, go ahead, make mistakes, practice, and find a good coach. Then look around and ask, “Who’s in your Fab 5?”

Thanks to my “Fab 5” for  keeping me on track, pushing me to be more, and allowing the space to practice, to grow, and to develop.


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Who’s in Your Cabinet?

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

OK, I’ll admit it. I have been intrigued with everything about our new president. I have been watching every little thing President Obama does – from the swearing in ceremony, to the dance with the first lady, to the first day of signing executive orders. I have been amazed at the shift in the thinking, the hope of what is possible, and the potential at what this country can do with one another.

I was intrigued by every new Cabinet position announced by President Obama. I thought about what kind of Cabinet I would want to create. I began to generate a list of new Cabinet positions I would like to see.

My list of new Cabinet members includes a Secretary of Humor, someone who makes us laugh and reminds us not to take ourselves so seriously. I would also appoint a Secretary of Play, someone who reminds us that play is important for our health and well-being. In this position, the member would help us remember all the games we played as children, give us time to sing, to dance, to drum, and to color outside the lines. Finally, I would appoint a Secretary of Coaching so when all the predictions of doom and gloom come our way, there is someone asking the important questions about possible solutions. They will ask us how can we solve some of the most important dilemmas and they will keep asking. The Coach will believe in us when we forget and remind us that together we can do anything.

There are a lot of economic, social, and environmental issues to work on over the next four years. May be adults can relearn to ask more questions, take more naps, and connect the dots. Perhaps it is time to we all give ourselves permission to color outside the lines.

Who is in your Cabinet? Have fun!

Mary Anne

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