Archive for August, 2011

Zombies Attack! or it’s all about your come from!

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011


This post is a little tongue in cheek, but I wanted to have some fun. Well, I was having fun and decided to share.

So you have two people with different outlooks on life. What in the Coaching community we call “World View.” Person number 1, who we’ll call Lori – nothing for or against Lori’s in the world. I know many, it’s simply a name – has the WV that the world is a scary and dangerous place! It’s not safe out there. Her friend, Brenda – also nothing for or against Brenda’s in the world – takes the WV that life is an adventure. We may as well have fun.

So one day Lori and Brenda are having lunch and suddenly, you guessed it, ZOMBIES ATTACK!!!! Who’d have thought, right? Now, both Lori and Brenda have strong survival instincts so they reach for any availble weapons and go for it!

This is where inner dialogue is important. Lori’s inner dialogue is “WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!” Brenda, on the other hand, thinks, “We may die, but I am going to take as many of these suckers with me as I can! MASH BRAINS!!!!”

You guys with me so far?

When the dust has settled, Brenda looks up and says, “Not something would do every day, but that was kinda fun!”

Lori, who is off in the corner having a mild anxiety attack, looks at Brenda as if she. is. totally. in. sane.

So what is going on here? Two people, same situation, same actions, both have the same outcome, and both have completely different experiences.

The Zombie attack validated both Lori and Brenda’s World Views. What has potentially been changed is Lori’s PoV. Because, although the Zombie attack did show her that the world is a dangerous and scary place, it also showed her, if she cares to look at it, that she can take care of herself.

So, back to real life and Coaching, how often do you find yourselves in a situation where, if you only look at it from one point of view, via your filters, you are doomed, stuck, wrong, fill-in-the-blank? Where are you judging yourself or the world as being a particular way which does not support your long term agenda? Or maybe it supports an old agenda which is no longer serving you.

What steps to take? Identifying the pattern, then finding something else, something better, to replace it with. Sounds easy, right?

Well, it is as ways or as difficult as we choose to make it. but the important aspect is to become aware and to be willing to look at patterns in a non-judgmental way, taking responsibility and then empowering yourself to change. It’s very cool.

I think we’ll revisit Lori and Brenda in a few days and see how they are doing with the aftermath of their Zombie experience.

Until next time. Things to think about.

Nancie Kay Shuman

I want a divorce! or looking at associated behaviors which no longer support you

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011


So I am in the process about a diet. And no, I am not going to talk about dieting. We hear about this every day in the media. And while every once in a while I will choose to address this here, now is not one of those times.

What i do want to talk about is marriage. But not the type between two people, but between to associated behaviors and where one no longer supports your agenda.

Now, I love soup. i am a master soup maker. Have been for years. to me, if you have soup, you must have bread! And bread means butter. Preferably fresh and lightly salted. Then, maybe a little jam or apple butter, if it happens to be around.

Okay, see where this is going? Now, as vegetable soup tends to be a cornerstone of most of my diets, this can present a challenge for me! Because I will crave bread and butter. At least for a few days. Then, if I am able to make healthier choices, I am usually good with not having bread and butter for a while.

When I can’t stay away, most of the time II may as well simply have not started the diet to begin with.

This relationship of bread and soup obviously no linger support my current, new agenda.

This is not unusual. And it is one of the reasons many people fail at a goal which they have set for themselves. I know many a smoker who has tried to quit but has been unsuccessful because smoking and friends who smoke are so ingrained in their ways of being in the world that it isn’t simply a matter of no more cigarettes, but a totally new life style. Which many people are totally unprepared for.

Another example is an executive who wants to open better communication with his staff. But every time he gives feed back he praises with one breathe and then criticizes with the next. The staff feels as though they really aren’t achieving anything. And the executive continues to feel as though he is held at a distance.

Now, these shifts have the potential to shake our world. Because the two behaviors have become intertwined. And doing one without the other seems somehow incomplete.

So I challenge you, look at your patterns. Where do you have behaviors coupled up which are no longer compatible? What would happen if you uncoupled them?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

Physical expression

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

I have been working with some people who have been looking at physical expression of beliefs, thoughts and ideas and where they reside or show up in their bodies. One became very tired when ever they were presented with certain tasks. The other, who had been conducting a series of workshops for several years and was having problems getting a grip on the, was experiencing pain in her hands. It’s is amazing what our bodies are telling us if we listen. the challenge for the Coach and the Client is recognizing these signals and finding ways to address them which help to realign and support the Client and the Clients agenda.

Things to think about . More, soon.

Putting one foot in front of the other or Shoes!

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011


I was at the shoe store last night and over heard a conversation between two women regarding some of the shoes which are currently fashionable. Specifically, platform heels. These women were mother and daughter, the daughter was probably mid 40’s. They both looked to be middle class and as the store was in Marina del Rey, Ca, chances were that they are educated and could well be anywhere between conservative to liberal.

The comment regarding the platforms was that they were “Sunset Strip.” The implication was strippers and ladies of the evening. Giggle, giggle. Really?

Now, I fully admit that I am a dedicated shoe fanatic. I love them, but I also know that there are shoes which are more appropriate than others in different situations.

(Just a little personal history, I wore platform shoes from middle school through most of High School. After that, pumps with stiletto heels were the norm. Today I have everything from flats to moderate platforms. Haven’t bought any of the sky high ones. Yet.)

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that one of the things which I talk about is dressing for success. And one of the areas where many women fall down is, indeed, their choice of shoes. Let’s face it, shoes are fun! They add colour, texture and can really finish an outfit and make a statement.. The challenge is that you need to be aware of what the statement is and is it the one you want to be making.

I admit, I tend to lean towards the conservative in my style of dress for work. Well, barring the saris. But that is a different blog. I also advocate having a little fun. Basic black / blue / grey can get boring fast. There is a very fine line, though, between classy fun and frivolous or just down right tacky.

So let’s talk shoes. There are a few rules which I go by and which other people who are image consultants and stylists also agree with. Overall. We have seen in the past how that goes!

Flip flops and thong sandals. These are great and incredibly comfortable. But , unless you work in a spa or at a pool, they should be left at home and worn in very casual setting. Sorry, ladies, even the ones embellished with rhinestones are really meant to be worn for fun jaunts on the weekends, not in a professional setting.

Trainers. Also known as sneakers, tennis shoes, and a plethora of other things. These are great and comfortable and on a casual Friday, fantastic. As long as they are clean and in good shape. If you work for a company which is casual every day, then they work as well, although I would probably have more than simply white sneakers. A wardrobe of several different colours and styles will extend the life of your shoes and help you to look more professional overall. You can also choose to wear other shoes such as cowboy boots and various flats. In a professional setting, trainers should be relegated to casual days and to wear to and from the parking garage or Metro stop.

Strappy open toed heels. I am going to go out on a limb here. During the summer, on a Friday, these work. Because during the summer, for many companies, standard of dress are lower and women are allowed to wear things such as sun dresses to the office. But be sure that you understand when summer ends and regular dress code (or expectations) go back into effect.

The reason I say that I am going out on a limb with strappy sandals is that, in general, open toed shoes are considered no no’s when it comes to professional dress. And if you wear any open toed shoes, please make sure you have a decent pedicure. This doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, but nails and cuticles trimmed, filed and buffed is a good idea.

Now we get into the classics. Pumps, sling backs and peep toes. Non-platforms. All of which fall into the category of go to shoes if you are working in a professional environment. There are only a few things I need to say about these and some of it is personal preference. Once again, depending on you place of work, usually these will be neutral in colour, and coordinate with your outfit. Subtle flourishes are great, but don’t allow them to overwhelm you and your overall look. The other thing I would stay away from is patent leather. Especially in red. I have nothing against red shoes. In fact, at one time I had 4 pair in my closet and they all got plenty of wear. But let’s face it, red patent leather just screams. And unless it is the right outfit, do you really want your shoes to be that loud? (The exception to this would be on a Friday with a retro style cherry print dress with a little jacket. Bu the look would need to be played to the hilt! Which can be fun, but you would need to have a lot of self confidence to pull it off!)

Now we get to platforms. Platforms come in everything from 1/8 of an inch to 2 – 4 inches. From Espadrilles to stilettos. For the professional, my suggestion is to stick closer to the ground. The reason being maneuverability and image. Heels by their nature tend to lend the feelings of vulnerability to a woman. Yes, heels add height and stature, but they can give the illusion of a need to lean on someone for stability. This perception can be especially true with Stilettos and very high platforms. Because even though the platform really means that the foot isn’t at the acute angle which it appears, the illusion is that the woman is walking on a very tiny area and can topple over at any given point in time. Is this the image which you are trying to cultivate.

Now, that having been said, I am a 3” heel girl. As said preciously, I do tend to veer towards that classics. Although it is not unheard of for them to have interesting detail such as a touch of lace or print. Even sculpted edges and an occasional rhinestone. Contrasting piping can make a huge difference in the look of a shoe. But for work, even if you are young, leaving the sky high platforms for evening activities is probably a good idea.

Free Form Writing, or letting it all hang out!

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011


Has it really been two months since I have completed a blog post? Wow! How did that happen?

Today I want to talk about a tool which sometimes is used in Coaching. I believe I have spoken about it before. It’s called free form writing. Julia Cameron, who wrote the book The Artists Way calls them morning pages. One of my peers refers to it as vomiting on paper. The basic technique is just that, you close the door and start writing, allowing anything which comes forward to come forward with not judgment or expectations. You can set an intention or a focus, as I call it, but know that it may not go there and be okay with that, and what ever comes forward.

Now, Free form writing is a powerful tool which is actually part of a few religions. I have used it in the past to great effect, but know that, for me, I need to be careful as I have had it backfire on me or there have been outcomes which I hadn’t counted on.

So why am I bringing this up now? Things are starting to move for me. Which I am incredibly grateful for. But as things begin to move, I find that there is some resistance and I have a need for clarity about how I want them to develop. Free form writing is a great way to get that out. It is also a fantastic way to discover what may be holding me back.

Now, I have friends who are writers who really dislike this tool. Because of two aspects: they already write 8 hours a day, and I ask them to destroy their writing when it is complete. Think about that for a moment. Your livelihood is based on writing and I, your Coach, have asked you to write in a way which is emotional and revelatory and then burn it! WHAT?!?!?!

It’s actually not what it seems.

Free form writing is plotless, it is at best unguided and filled with emotion. The point is to get all out on paper and to simply, as my friend said, throw up all the toxic stuff which is holding us back. Or to express all those unexpressed hopes which need to be given voice in order to be born.

Remember no one is going to read this, not even you, so you can write anything!

How many times have you wanted to tell off your obnoxious fill-in-the-blank? How many times have you wanted to sort out the feelings which you have had around some issue that simply wasn’t making any sense. How about wanting to take a look at your dark side in a safe environment? We all have one and many times they contribute good things when in balance. And yet, many of us never acknowledge them. Free form writing is a tool which can be used to help to become friends with our dark side or any aspect of ourselves which we feel we would benefit from being addressed.

The thing which I many times bring forward from a free form writing session – which should last uninterrupted between 10 mins and no more than 2 hours – is a sense of peace and getting back in touch with a calmer, more centered me. This helps to facilitate better communication with others, better decision making, less stress and more fun! All good things!

So, if you could help shift anything via free form writing, what would you work on? And who would you be when you are done?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman