Archive for June, 2009

Asking for what you need

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

A couple of years ago I was working for a young entrepreneur. He asked me to get information for him regarding the cost of long term temporary housing for his mother and grandmother-in-law who were coming to visit for a couple of months. I, being a savvy Executive Assistant at the time, asked the following questions:

What are the dates?
How long are they staying?
What part of town?
How large a unit?
How much do you want to spend?

His response to all of this was, I don’t know, don’t bother me with the details, just get me the information.

Ummmm, any one else see the problem here?

Now, I am good at what I do. I mean, really good. I can get you the best deals out there on travel, and if the numbers are difficult, there are tricks which I can do that will get you some upgrades like no ones business. But, there are some requirement, such as being clear on the details, otherwise it is simply mental masturbation, and while getting yourself off can be fun, let’s face it, it doesn’t get you any babies, or in this case, accurate, clear information which is usable.

In the end, I did a lot of research, gave him reams of information, and had him ask for the one property which would not be available on the dates which had been decided on and which he had not told me about. He then booked the housing himself, siting my incompetence to justify his anger.

Now, the above was a pattern of his. On other projects I finally learned to say to him, when you have some parameters, let me know and I’ll start working on it. Until then, there really isn’t anything I can do.

From a Coaching point of view, being clear about what it is you want is key. This helps your assistant or others who are working with you to be able to accurately get you the information you are looking for. Had my boss said, these are the approximate dates, find 4 places, with at least these features, close to this area, we would have been golden. I probably would have found 5, just to give him a little more variety. Instead, I spent a lot of time spinning my wheels and being unproductive, my boss became frustrated with the overall lack of any usable information gleaned from my hours a of research, and, in the end, we had a less than amicable parting of ways.

And on a financial level, this was also a difficult, because as noted above, there was a lot of time wasted on something which should have been relatively simple. There were deals out there which could have been investigated and taken advantage of had I been given the correct information. Or at least more usable information. And with me leaving the position, the boss had to once again find an assistant and train them, loosing valuable time and energy which could have been better invested.

So the question I have for everyone out there is this: how well do you communicate your ideals, thoughts and desires? What might happen if you were to slow down, be clear, and actually share the information with the people who work for you? What might happen if you give them the parameters they need and then allow them to get creative?

Things to think about. Until next time.


Affirmation from the oddest places

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009


Last Saturday night, I had a gig reading tarot Cards at a Bat Mizvah. It was at a lovely home in Sherman Oaks, Ca. Which was great! But I had had a challenging week with everything from having problems booking my son’s ticket home from Scotland, to having the bank lose a rather large deposit to having the brakes on my car go out at 3:00 pm on Saturday afternoon! It was enough to make anyone crazy!

(NOTE: No one who has read my blogs so far should be surprised that I read tarot cards. If used properly they are a great transformational tool. They can also be a lot of fun! No, I generally don’t use them as part of my Coaching practice, but in the right situation, they can be very revelatory.)

One of the guests was an older gentleman who sat down at the table and asked if he was wasting his time because he was too old to look into the future. I laughed and said, if you are planning on getting up tomorrow, it’s not to late.

Turns out he is a Psychoanalyst who studied Gestalt with Fritz Perls in the 60’s! Which is very, very cool! He is also a long time teacher and lecturer at two major Universities here in Southern California. He and I chatted about my Coaching and what I am trying to achieve, while we were shuffling the cards. While I was reading for him, he identified an area where he was carrying fear. My response was, so be more loving (his cards also said this, which was cool!)

When we act out of fear, we are suppressing the change that love, happiness and joy can move forward with ease and grace. We do not allow integration and authenticity to help us to make our decisions. He and I spoke for another minute or two and I asked him, if he could change one behavior within himself which would help to shift everything, what would it be?

He said, I can stop focusing on this problem which really isn’t mine and start focusing on the love which is in my life. the fun which is there, and then applying it towards this area.

I smiled, and agreed.

When he left, he said, you have given me much to think about. Thank you. By the way, you will be very good at what you want to do. (Coaching)

My jaw hit the table. It is one thing to know intuitively that you are good at what you are trying to do. It is another to receive unsolicited feedback and praise from a source which is credible and knowledgeable of their field. I am still blown away.

So, the question and challenge is this: Where do you receive your feedback on how you are doing. whether in work, at home or within the world? What is the message you are getting when you are least expecting them? And what filters did you have to let go of before you were ready to hear them?

Things to think about.

Until next time.