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Posts Tagged ‘Coaching’

Would You Rather Fit In or Stand Out?

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

It’s easy and safe to fit in, to conform, to do what everyone else is doing. And yet for many of us, that is no longer working. It is time to step outside the crowd, to stand out, to shine and bring our gifts to the world. Staying small isn’t serving anyone.

I work with lots of people and organizations who are ready to play bigger in the world. Just recently I sent an email to a client and asked them to dream ‘boulder’ – of course the spelling should have read bolder. And yet, boulder seemed more fitting. In order to stand out, to really stand out, we may need to move the internal boulders holding us back.

What boulder are you ready to move out of your way? What would it take for you to stand out?

{Permission to share photo taken by my friend Clarance Dickinson}

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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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A New “Once Upon a Time”…

Friday, March 13th, 2009

“Once upon a time…”

How often have I heard those words? The expression is more about where we were at one point in our lives then where we are now. The implicit meaning is – this is how we did things – once upon a time.

As I listen to my story said aloud or the telling of other stories, I can usually find the place of “once upon a time.” What we believe about our once upon a time will often be played out. We usually go for the familiar or comfort even in the simplest of things, like, that favorite sweatshirt or pair of jeans or what I like to call our “old story” (otherwise known as our deep-rooted story we have believed to be true). What if the story had a different ending?

To see this in practice, I tested out a theory about stories. I told famous fairy tales to 1st – 3rd graders and changed the ending. In the Three Little Pigs, I had the wolf huff and puff to blow down the brick house, only to be exhausted. I had the wolf express that he just wanted some good home cooked food and didn’t know how else to get an invitation from the pigs. “No!” the kids would shout at me. “That’s not how it goes.” When I asked what really happened, I would get a summary of the fairy tale. The children would say the ending exactly as it had been read to them repeatedly.

The next part of my experiment would be to tell a story that most of the students had probably never heard of and I would make up an ending. In this case, they sat at the edge of their seats to see what happened next. And, of course, I would always have a happy ending.

Here was my discovery. When the children had no attachment to the stories, they were very excited about the ending. But when the story was known and told over and over, the ending had to be the way they had memorized it.

I also noticed the stories followed a pattern. The characters would leave to find themselves, to find their families, to escape, or to discover fame or fortune. They would often return realizing everything they needed was already in front of them or inside of them.

The power and meaning of our stories can hold us back or set us free. In Jim Loehr’s book, “The Power of Story”, he reveals that your life is the most important story you will ever tell. Loehr says, “Everyone’s got a story. And thank goodness. Because our capacity to tell stories is, I believe, just about our most profoundest gift.”

So, here is the invitation. First, read or think about your favorite fairy tale. Really listen to it. Then change the ending and notice how you feel.

Second, identify your own story. Start with “once upon a time” and continue writing your “old story.” Once completed, re-write one sentence, one piece, one theme, or even the ending. You have the power to tell, to write, and to share an amazing epic – your new story.

If you would like to learn more about the transformative power of stories and how to powerfully identify and release the old ones and call forth the new ones, then join me May 14 – 17, 2009 for a gathering of Women Wisdom-Keepers.

Visit: https://www.toningtheom.com/events.html#cosmic

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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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