Archive for February, 2011

The Jargon, or how the language you choose can make or break you

Monday, February 21st, 2011

A friend if mine recently applied for his dream job. He has gone through two rounds of interviews and was sitting down to write thank you notes. he popped up on line, giving me the low down about the interview and then asked me to take a look at his thank you note.

Now, my friend has a habit when something is very important of using business industry jargon. Not a bad thing when you are addressing a corporate board or talking about a project which is pending, but in a thank you note, it becomes excessive.

Thank you notes and cover letters are places where we get to show the person we are writing who we are. That we can write a clear sentence, we are able to articulate our thoughts and gives us a chance to address anything which we feel needs further explanation.

The challenge can be in choice of language. My friends initial letter was filled with Biz Speaks. So much so that I had to ask him what he was talking about. I made a few changes – spelling, small rearranging of sentance placement – and then suggested that he think about making the language more accessible, so that it reflected him, and not his MBA program. Afterall, they knew his background. They had chosen him as a candidate based on his education and experience, this was a chance to show them who he was as a person.

So he quickly rewrote the letter. While he did not eliminate all the buzz words, which was fine, he did make it much simpler and it felt more sincere. The letter showed him to be thoughtful, clear, steady, compassionate, insightful and open new experiences and to feedback. He made a few more tweaks, and sent it off.

It is suggested that if we want to succeed we find someone to model ourselves and our lives after. There is wisdom in that, except when this blocks us from being authentic and expressing ourselves authentically. If someone is mega successful in business, but doesn’t have a satisfying personal life, how does this serve them? So be careful who you choose to emulate. When all we can do is speak in the jargon of the business which we engage, while we might very well bond with others who are in the same tribe, we loose out on the opportunity to connect and create with people on all levels. It is a choice and individually, we choose how to handle this.

So when you speak, who do people hear? What are you telling the world about yourself? And is it who you want to be?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

from Zero to Bitca in under 30 seconds…

Thursday, February 17th, 2011


I was speaking to a friend of mine a while ago and she told me that she needed to be careful because she knew that she could go from zero to bitch in under 30 seconds. And that she experienced a dichotomy about that. On the one hand she really didn’t like herself when she did that, and on the other, is was so much easier than when she was choosing to be very conscientious about her behavior and her choices about how she was interacting with the world.

Then she told me that there were times when *I* really pissed her off because, in her experience, I was seldom a bitch.

This stunned me a little bit. But we go back to her earlier statement. It’s hard work being conscientious and compassionate all the time. At least, at first.

(ETA: I am not saying that I am never bitchy. But I work very hard to recognize when this is happening and what is going on in my life. Generally i will then take time to address that and move forward. Although, human here!, sometimes, I’ll simply enjoy the chance to be bitchy.)

Here is the obvious dilemma. It takes practice. And it takes a willingness to let go of past patterns and ways of doing things, ways of being. This can be WORK!!!!! And if the behaviors are heavily ingrained, feel as though you are pushing a rock up hill!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ll leave the rock pushing to Sisyphus. And can someone get him a glass of water? Maybe a beer? The boy looks thirsty! Instead of trying to become more civil all at once, wouldn’t it be easier to change one thing at a time? Say, hold the door open for someone, feed the birds at lunch, actually sit down with someone and actually listen to them when you ask them about something? Small steps.

And part of this is learning to understand what the underlying message which you have been choosing to live from is. What is your world view? Are you choosing to make everything about you? Are you seeing disrespect in others? Are you projecting? Where in your life, in your behavior, are you judging yourself? And what is that Judgment? And is it still serving you?

Let me give you a clearer example. Last summer when I went to practicum, I had an issue which I had pretty well worked out. I have written about this before. It’s my Good Women Do and Don’t do X,Y,Z model. The truth is, I am a good woman. there are many things in that model which don’t serve me because they are out moded. I know this and I accept it. My struggle was how to not make me, my family and my past decisions wrong while I off loaded this old belief system. It was a puppy chasing it’s tail thing.

The head of my program finally said to me, raise above it. Take a different, higher view. You will be able to see it differently and that will make it easier to let it all go. So I did. i chose to acknowledge that there was nothing wrong with what had happened in the past, because it got me to where I am. And that I have now evolved beyond those rules and ideals. Once again, nothing wrong with that. it was simply time to let go and move onto something which would serve me better. Something, if truth be told, I was already doing. But now, I could choose to do it without judging myself, without fear, anger, or minimizing myself. That is huge!

Back to zero – b, on a purely technical level, as a Coach I would encourage my Client to choose one thing, one behavior, one thought, speech, or action pattern which they had which irritated them and change it for 30 days. Eliminate it or change it. Start small. See what happens.

So what small thing could you change in service to changing the bigger picture? What would you choose to do / be / act if you knew that by doing one small thing, you could start to change your world?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

Small kindnesses, or how being true to myself pays off

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Sometimes it is good to go back and remember things in order to see how things have changed or improved. Or in order to keep perspective about what was good and what was not so good. And how sometimes simple pleasures and small kindnesses make all the difference.

When my son was small, I was working for a film distribution company. The wages were okay, but not really enough for me to significantly grow on. But I was grateful for the work and the friendships I developed while I was there.

Christmas was coming and I wanted to get a tree. One of my friends – Kat – and her roommate had decided to get a real tree, so Kat offered to lend me her artificial fir. Which was cool. My son, who was almost 4 at the time, and I set it up. We didn’t have a lot of decorations, a few lights, a handful of bulbs and one garland. So we got creative. We made paper chains, popcorn strands and a few cookie ornaments. But we looked around the apartment and found something clever to use: the plastic carriers from gumball machines. You know the ones, they are clear plastic with a coloured top and when they come out they have all kinds of fun little prizes in the? Well, Justin almost always received one as a reward for going to the grocery store and behaving. I popped hole sin the top, strung curly ribbon through and filled them with Hersey Kisses and other little treats. It was magic!

we had a couple of friends over to dinner on Christmas Day and those were the decorations which everyone was impressed with. What a lovely idea!

I have to be honest, even today, those little balls filled with goodies are my favorite decorations. (i haven’t had a tree in a few years. This will change. Check back here in December!)

What got me all nostalgic about this was thinking about changing and how different my expectations have become and how the pendulum swings. In 1993 I had no problem accepting Kat’s offer of her tree. I never expected the offer and so accepted it with great love and joy, knowing that the offer came from her heart. Later, I would experience a lot of help which came with strings attached or which had escape clauses so that the person who offered the help could bow out and not take responsibility for their part. This lead me to a period of feeling somewhat entitled but also exceptionally defensive and looking at the world from a “If I want it done right I have to do it myself” stance.

I now find myself swinging back the other direction. And as a Coach, I find this to be a beneficial thing. When I look at the world with the expectation of scarcity, that is what I am given. When I am expecting people to be negative, angry, frustrated, this is what will show up. When I model loving acceptance, abundance, generosity, and embrace my worthiness, then this is what I receive. Yes, I will be tested, but in the end, when I choose to be true to myself, to my core values and to what fulfills me and makes me happy, without making anyone else wrong, then my life and my goal are fulfilled. things fall into place as if by magic.

Looking back, I can see that even though that period in my life was financially lean in many ways, it was abundant in love, friendship and small kindnesses.

As an Executive, where have you gotten caught up in the Expectation of lack, scarcity and negativity? have you chosen to look at the shortcomings of others and therefore not been able to see the positives? What might happen if you chose to shift your view? How could things improve?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

Improving. . .

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

I am supporting the next step in my Coaches training I am reviewing the basic Coaches model: 15 Deliverable, 15 Style Points, & 15 Proficiencies. Am actually very excited. This is where the good stuff is!