Archive for April, 2011

Moving forward slowly

Friday, April 22nd, 2011


So today I was having a conversation with someone who is currently trying to make changes in their lives in preparation for a large change they are going to make. I suggested that they remember to give themselves credit when they are successful. They currently see more failures than success. I think that maybe the steps are too big, so they are having issues with not having integrated the smaller changes which make up parts of the whole.

Let me see if I can give you an example. This is going to seem a little off the wall, but bear with me.

I believe I have talked about the fact that growing up we weren’t necessarily taught to take care of ourselves beyond soap and water. Brushing and flossing our teeth was something we were taught, but it wasn’t programmed into our minds and muscle memory. These habits and others had to be learned.

One habit which was very difficult for me to learn was moisturizing. There were three parts to this. The first was simply getting used to putting moisturizer on every night. The second was getting used to spending the money and not worrying about running out. Concentrating on lack. This one proved to be harder mainly because I had lived in lack, or been told that I did, for many years. The third was a fear of failure. I knew that changing these would be extremely helpful in other areas of my life and not just a hydrated face! So on a very practical level, what did I do?

I started with something I could live with. I went out and found a moisturizer that was decent and was priced decently. It also came in a large quantity so I didn’t have any qualms about using it and being lavish. This went on for about 2 years. There were two challenges: that this brand has an inconsistent distribution here in the US for this product, and it did not contain SPF.

So, my next step was to find a higher quality product which would come at a higher price and use it for a while. Pushing my comfort zone to actually use the product as lavishly as I did the lower cost product. I did this for about a year. Finally at that point I realized I was, for the most part, at that place where using moisturizer was now part of my evening routine and not using it seemed odd to me. At that point I took the last step and bought a better brand which has SPF in it and I use it daily. I am less concerned about the cost than I am about making sure that I use it every morning. I still use a different brand at night. I give myself credit for making this adjustment and taking care of myself.

So what is the point of this, you ask? As a Client, many times it is simply too overwhelming to see how to break things down into more workable solutions. Solutions which have practical applications. Like the moisturizer scenario, it is important to recognize some of the underlying issues – for me it was lack of developed habit, fear of failure and fear of lack – and upon identifying those underlying issues, find constructive ways to address all of these at once. All the while creating new systems and ways of being which support the changes which the Client is working towards.

This is exciting stuff!

Sometimes the first question to ask yourself is well, what can I do? What can I commit to change right now which I know over the next 30 days I can complete? And then move forward with that? Once that is achieved, then can you push your comfort level up a notch? This is where growth is.

Yes, there will be times when you are incomplete. There were many nights in the beginning when I forgot to put on moisturizer. And sometimes when I rebelled and simply refused to. And there were days when I worried about running out and not being able to replace my moisturizer. That has never come to pass. When I didn’t follow through, there is no reason to beat myself up. it was a mistake or simply a behavior which I choose to change. Then I simply looked at what was going on, made any adjustments to my thinking or my actions which were not supporting my agenda and then moved forward with a positive focus. And today, I generally remember to moisturize twice a day. So success has been achieved.

As a Coach, it is my job to assist my Clients to break things down to their smallest, easiest to handle units. Then to support them to achieve their goals through completing their course of action, ever raising the bar once they have successfully reached that first goal. To up level their focus. To improve.

So, if you could break things down to their smallest unit, then move through the process with a supporter and Coach, what might you achieve? Who might you be?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

Tip of the day:

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Everytime you have a serving of meat or starchy carbs, have 2 servings of low fat fruits or veggies. And don’t forget the H2O!

Sometimes you just need to let go.

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

I have a very rich internet life. back in the day when I was working as an Executive Assistant and I could run my bosses lives in my sleep, I had little to do but connect with people via the internet. At one time I was an active part of about 7 different communities and a few off shoots. Today, I am part of three, one of which includes Facebook, which is really about keeping tabs on my friends and family.

One of these communities I have been a part of long enough to get to know the personalities involved very well. There has been a shift in the group and the voices of many old warriors have become very loud. Sometimes to the point where dissenting voices get drowned out.

I have recently found that I write two or three responses before I send one. I pick and choose what I am going to say because I want to make sure that the point I am trying to get across is clear and addresses the issue and not simply the opinion of the person who is squeaking the loudest. This is very unlike me. While I am generally not reactionary, I am also not Ms. Super cautious. I tend to be direct and try to be to the point. So what is going on, you might ask?

I sat and thought about this for a while. Was there something which I was upset about? Something which I felt was wrong? had I stopped caring? Was I feeling unheard? these are all valid questions which, when I check into them, have very clear answers. No, there isn’t something which upsets me about them. There isn’t anything which I feel is “wrong” per se. I hadn’t stopped caring, if Ihad I wouldn’t have started writing in the first place. And I didn’t feel unheard. At least not, really.

I am from a large family. there was definitely a squeaky wheel theory in play. And one of the things I learned to do early was to decide what was important and what wasn’t. Now, I chatter with the best of them. My middle name is a derivative of Kathy, afterall. But when I want to be sure I am heard, I am straight and to the point.

But the key for the above situation is that I have been able to discern an increasingly prevalent pattern of people being married to their point of view. So I choose to write several different responses in hopes of getting my point across in a way which they might hear it more clearly. even if they don’t agree with my point, they take it into consideration.

Now I think as a Coach it is extremely important to not only be able to identify when I or my client is married to our position and it is detrimental, but also to be able to see when it is simply more beneficial to let go of the need to express myself (or the Client themselves,) and get my point across. When is it better to simply let go of the discussion and accept that the other person has their interpretation of the facts which is not in alignment with yours. It doesn’t mean that one is right and the other is wrong, it simply means that one works better than the other for me or my Client. There is no conflict because of this. Simply and acceptance of differences.

Now, this does not mean that you or I have to associate with people with whom we have fundamental differences in the way we are in the world. I do not have to hang out virtually or in real time with people who have very different opinions than I, or who are so attached to their need to be right that they will expend a great deal of energy trying to get others to agree, even when there has been an agree to disagree offered up.

Sometimes you simply need to let go. Whether it is of a thought, a feeling, a situation, a relationship or a community, when you stop getting anything from it, when it starts to be too much work and not enough return, then taking the time to examine what is going on both outside and inside is a good idea. Then once you have a clear picture, deciding from there what to do and how to move forward from a place of clarity will allow you to truly own not only your feelings, but your choices. And this is a good place to come from.

Personally, as I started this blog with a very real situation, I think it’s probably time for me to walk away from this community, at least for a little while. I have learned a great deal from it, made some great friends and am very happy that I have been part of it. But the more i think about it, the more I realize that I have out grown many parts of it and that it is time to move forward. the community will be there if I decide to go back. But it is simply time to shift my focus and energy other places.

So is there any place where you would benefit from taking time to examine what is going on and perhaps choosing to shift your focus?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

We design what we know, or what Anne Taylor Loft reminded me of

Monday, April 11th, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, I was walking by Anne Taylor Loft in Marina del Rey. Now, I have never been in love with ATL clothing because they have a lot of ruffles on the shirts which I find unflattering for a woman who is well endowed. To me, and many others, it looks as though she is trying to hide her assets and generally failing.

At that time, the window display is a photo essay with many of the Home Office staff for ATL in ATL clothing. Included in this photo is a few of the designers. From what I have been able to discern, very few women on the staff have a large bosom.

(Guys, bare with me. I’ll get to the point in a second, promise.)

All I could do was remember what my Costume Design professor, Jan Stauffer, said: we design what we know and are most familiar with. In Jan’s experience, all of her male designs tended to look like her husband. And she pointed out to me that there are designers out there who design to their bodies. Armanis women’s line tend to feel as though they are made for young boys. Giorgio Armani main clientele are men looking for amazing suits. That is not necessarily conducive to the female silhouette. Conversely, Donna Karan, who has a great adult, womanly body, tends to design clothes which fit that style of body.

Now, how does this come into play in the Corporate Executives life? Aside from finding clothes which are best for your particular body? How about looking at your style of doing things and asking yourself, Is this still a valid way of being and doing?

How we choose to go about something, to set up and design a project, a system, even a relationship, is usually about us and what we know. I know, d’uh! Except that it isn’t. Many people never take the time to look at what is going on, how their actions underscore models which are no longer working for them. So they continue to design their world the same way over and over again.

Why? one might ask. Because change is scary? Because of a need to be right? Because of a need to not be wrong? the list goes on and on and on. But the one truism is that without change, we become stagnant, bored, and our way of doing things becomes outdated. We begin to feel as though we are replaceable. This adds to stress, effects performance, communication and general feelings of motivations. And can lead to moving from fear and anger as opposed to excitement, enjoyment and a sense of purpose.

Now this is not wrong or bad. In fact, sometimes the pattern is absolutely perfect and does not need to be changed on any level, except to perhaps evolve and adapt with changing times. But it can also limit us on our way to our chosen goals because we cling to ideas and things which no longer support us and who we are becoming.

Now, for me, the idea that ATL should have clothes which I can wear and would want to, is probably one of those ideas which I would be best served by choosing let go of. Because chances are that the designers will continue to design what they know, and they have an audience for it. Which is good for them. I, on the other hand, am able to design what I know and make choices to stretch beyond those boundaries when appropriate. Which is great because even acknowledging that begins to free me from limitations which cause me to continue in a pattern which is no longer supporting me. I can always choose when to use what I have previously done and when to cultivate something new. And sometimes I can choose to do things the old way with a new attitude. And that can make all the difference in the world.

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Shuman