Better Together: Who’s on your Team for Success?

A few years ago, a tax preparation company used “You’ve got people!” as a tagline. Their TV commercials showed a satisfied client bragging “I’ve got people,” confident and at ease that they had a trusted tax experts in their corner. This really resonated with me, having just retired from corporate life to launch an “encore career” of coaching, change management consulting, and teaching. It became quickly clear to me that going solo doesn’t mean going it alone. We ALL need help from others. Corporate life offers infrastructure that is often taken for granted – office space, structure, steady work flow, and a regular paycheck with benefits. Support for payroll, accounting, IT, and HR are all taken care of by the “mother ship” employer. Replacing all those benefits and services required me to either do it myself or “outsource” (ask for help). Outsourcing those things I don’t know how to do, am not good at, or are outside my core business focus led to creation of my professional “Team for Success.” I sought and engaged professional help from a CPA, a web designer, a financial advisor and (of course) a coach. A sense of relief comes from knowing “I’ve got people!” A Team for Success can be much more than just tactical, transactional vendor-client relationships. The Team for Success should also be of strategic importance, by partnering with trusted colleagues who do similar or complementary work for brainstorming, collaboration, and especially for referrals. And, this means you also are on the other’s Team for Success, too, adding value for everyone by strengthening and extending networks. You probably have a Team...

What’s Your Money Story?

Money is a powerful concept. Just think of all the ways in which most of us give our attention to money – how we earn it, manage it, account for it, save it, spend it, worry about it, and even give it away. Not surprisingly, many of us have unquestioned limiting beliefs about money. We may even hold judgments about the relationships others have with their money – rich or poor, lavish spenders, or overly frugal. In The Energy of Money, author Dr. Maria Nemeth challenges readers to create a personal “money autobiography” by writing a description of our lifelong experience of money, from earliest memories to now. She suggests that what we observed and learned about money from our earliest memories informs our money beliefs as adults. What a sobering exercise! My money autobiography showed me how my own Money Story – my current beliefs about money – was very much shaped by my parents’ beliefs about money. My folks were members of “The Greatest Generation.” They were kids during the depths of the Great Depression and were young adults during WWII. (Keywords: Lack, Scarcity, Limitation, Rationing, Distrust, Secrecy, Hardship, Doing-without.) Understandably, they saw the world as generally an unfriendly place; money was hard to come by and to be protected at all costs. For them, the glass often looked half full. I acknowledge that I didn’t experience the hugely challenging times they endured growing up. Different life experience means different worldview, so I see and experience the world differently – as a generally friendly place of abundance that is full of choices and opportunities. For me, the...

Receiving Help as an Act of Generosity

Asking For Help I’m changing my mind about asking for or accepting help, when I need it. What I learned growing up was be needless/wantless, be self-sufficient, be self-reliant, and never be beholden to anyone. “Who are you to have needs, with so many other people in the world in much worse need?” As a kid, I learned that asking for or receiving help was freeloading, a sign of weakness, or of poverty. That’s how it landed for me, anyway. After 50-something years of living with those rules, I decided to find a better feeling perspective. So, working with my coach (yep, I have a coach too!), I discovered there is another more satisfying perspective for me to explore about asking for and receiving help.  We all can use some help sometimes. She asked me “how do you feel when you are asked for help by someone else?”  Hmmm.  Well, generally, I really like being asked to help, sometimes even honored.  It feels good to be able to assist someone.  (BTW, neuroscience calls it the “helper’s high” – actually a chemical buzz from showing kindness or compassion to another.  So, she asked me, doesn’t it follow that if someone offers help I need or if I ask someone for help they, too, might feel good by my allowing and accepting their help? A Coach’s Skillful Guidance With a coach’s skillful guidance, my new understanding of my assumptions about offering and receiving help is three-fold. First, I feel rebuffed when I offer help and it is declined or ignored, so maybe they do too?  Second, I found that I was...

Take Imperfect Action

Thorough and Cautious? Or Scared… Okay, I admit it. Sometimes, when I’ve got something in front of me that is new, or I don’t have ALL the answers, or have an ABSOLUTELY assured good outcome, I slip into a habit of delay.  For me, it looks like analyzing and digging for data and running through endless scary “what if” scenarios.  I tell myself that I’m just being thorough and cautious. Thanks to coaching – both as a client and as a coach myself – I’ve discovered over time that I’m stalling because I’m kinda’ scared.  Scared of what, you ask?  Of failure. Of looking bad. Of making a mess. Of not doing something perfectly. The endless loop of indecisiveness was my preferred strategy to for playing it safe, but it was also keeping me in the “Land of Stuck-ness.”  Busted.  Now I know better. Maybe this sounds familiar? I’ve discovered for me, and for many of my clients grappling with this delay tactic, is that there are more satisfying alternatives to feeling stuck.  Here’s one that I find works well for me — Take Imperfect Action. Take Imperfect Action means pushing past the scary unknowns and just moving ahead.  This isn’t about being reckless or impulsive. It means doing reasonable due diligence, gathering adequate data, discerning, and then choosing a course of action.  And then taking mindful — if imperfect – action, informed by my current understanding and resources. And something happens that is quite remarkable. Taking action, albeit imperfect, tends to create spaciousness for new things to emerge – people, resources, opportunities, and ideas. Stuff seems to show...