Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Taste of My Own Medicine

This past Monday, I had surgery. I knew it was coming - in fact, I put it off for three months so I could be with my kids during vacation, dance at my friend's wedding, and make good on my business travel commitments. Very strategic of me, I must say. When the doctor told me to expect 1-2 weeks of recovery if there were no complications, I thought she meant for other people. I recalculated her time estimate for "Deb-Time" (which means compulsively early and lightening fast) and began scheduling phone meetings for less than 48 hours post-surgery, i.e. TODAY.

How's that working out for me? Well, score 1 for the doctor, 0 for the coach.

Last night, amidst the joy of receiving fruit baskets, Godiva chocolates and a bag of prunes from a great friend who, shall we say, knew too well what was to come, I started cancelling my appointments. My throat was still scratchy from the breathing tube, my stomach muscles hurt too much to talk, and since many of my clients are deliciously funny, I knew that a single bout of agonizing laughter could send me back to the hospital. The immediate problem is that I didn't give myself the time I needed to recover - despite being told by a professional who knew her stuff. The bigger problem is that I missed a fundamental strategic step in coaching that I use with my clients - and ignored with myself: Anticipating Roadblocks.

It's all well and good to know what you want, and to develop a plan for getting there. I wanted to get back to work and figured that by booking my clients, I would have to will myself to recover faster than I might otherwise. But I forgot to ask myself the question that I would have asked any client: "what could get in the way?" For me, it was that I wouldn't feel better in time for my appointments, and the consequence is that I have to do what I wish I didn't have to: cancel my meetings. It would have been better to have given myself the whole week (yes, Dr. Kastner, I know -- or TWO whole weeks) to renew, recharge and recover, and start fresh rather than making up for missed meetings.

So enough about me (but fruit baskets, chocolate and prunes are still welcome!): Think about a plan or process you're getting ready to embark on. What roadblocks could get in your way? And how can you reengineer your plan to get around them, through them, over them, avoid them, or even use them to your advantage?

Keep me posted - I'm not going anywhere for a while!

To your Success without the Tsuris,

Friday, February 19, 2010

One Step Forward, One Step Back

When I told my kids last night that bedtime would be at 7:45 p.m. instead of 8, I received two very different reactions. Sophie, exhausted from a weekend of sleepover dates, barely nodded as she trudged up to her bunk bed. Jacob, similarly wiped out, had enough energy left to do battle. When he started to huff, stomp and get teary, I reminded him that all of these behaviors were a signs of a tired kid. With an audible "harumph!" (which I never believed was a real expression until I heard him say it), he plopped himself on his bed with his arms crossed. Michael and I went downstairs, expecting....something.

We were surprised when Jacob came downstairs twenty minutes later and handed me a note. In the note, he wrote, "I don't want to be treated like a baby. I want to pick out my own clothes. I want a new bedtime. And I want a cell phone." At the bottom of the note, he drew a skull and cross-bones to let us knew that he meant business, and that we were putting our very lives at risk by not taking him seriously.

Here's what worked in Jacob's approach:
  • Taking time to cool off
  • Putting his thoughts into writing rather than crying, yelling or stomping
  • Making "I" statements (e.g. "I want..." rather than "You need to...")
Here's what didn't:
  • Laundry-bagging (listing multiple concerns at once, rather than the most timely and relevant one)
  • Red herrings (that cell phone is NOT GONNA HAPPEN and he knew that!)
  • Threats (his pirate scare tactics won't work on land or at sea)
So the next time you're steaming mad, what will you do to make sure your message is relevant AND respectful?

To your Success without the Tsuris,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dancing in the Moment

Today in Spinnning Class, I was flagging. I hurt in some unmentionable parts, I had run out of water ten sips ago, and I was fantasizing about work. Yes, work. With five minutes left, I was basically "phoning it in" with my legs and my mind. It was at that moment that our Spinning Instructor, Susan, saw that I was in need, got down off her own bike and danced a jitterbug right in front of me. She shamelessly shook her hips until she shook me right out of my complacency - and I began to recommit to the end of the ride.

Just what I needed when I needed it -  a hearty dose of energy, enthusiasm, and encouragement.

While my dancing is worse than my spinning, I realized in that moment that what Sue did for me, I do for my coaching clients. Whether they need a jitterbug to get them excited and moving, a two-step to get them on a strategic plan, or a square dance to help them bring in necessary partners, I dance in the moment with each and every client.

What kind of dance do you need to get moving?

To your Success without the Tsuris,

Monday, February 1, 2010

Get out the Guilt!

There was the guilt for leaving on a business trip to a warm climate while my family freezes back in New York. Then there was the guilt for missing Sophie's swim meet and Jacob's basketball game, and for leaving my husband Michael to spend the weekend driving from end to end of Nassau County between the two. But stepping on and breaking Michael's toe 24 hours before bailing on everyone? Now THAT'S GUILT!!! (Sorry honey!).

As my guilty stew continued to boil, I began to think of all the OTHER things that I feel guilty about. I simply do not have enough time, energy or finger-power to type them all here - BUT one thing that did pop up for me was that I felt guilty for letting my blog lie fallow - for more than a year.

Now THIS I can do something about! So here I am - hineni.

Let's get some coaching around guilt, shall we? (And trust me, I need it, too).

What does feeling guilty get you?
What does feeling guilty cost you?
Whose voice - other than your own - do you hear in the guilt? What strikes you about that?
When the guilty voice pops up, what could you say directly to it?
When will you tell it to pipe down?
What's ONE thing you can get off your guilt list TODAY - by deciding to take care of it, skip it, or something else?

So here's mine: I feel good that I'm blogging today. I may not blog again until 2011. And I'm cool with that.

Let me know about yours!

To Your Success without the Tsuris,