Tip of the day May 4, 2011

May 4th, 2011

One way to support yourself in drinking enough water is to have a bottle in the refrigerator which is 64 ounces. You will know you have met your goal because you have refilled it.

Another alternative is to have a refillable bottle on your desk or counter and knowing how many times a day you have to refill it in order to meet your goal. Mine is 32 ounces, so for my minimum requirement, I need to refill it twice. Easy!

So, they say it’s your Birthday…

May 2nd, 2011

Hello!

So, today is my birthday. And as with most birthday’s I am feeling a little, oh, blase about the whole thing. I don’t have anything planned of today, although there are thoughts about going to visit someone in Denver in a couple of weeks – their treat – but over all nada.

World events seem to think that they needed to give me a present. The head of one of the biggest terrorist organizations was reported to have been killed last night. And while that is good news simply because now people may be able to sleep better at night, it also reminded me of something: I can love my enemies.

The tragedy of 9/11 lives with me as with most other Americans and the world. I lost two people I knew and am lucky to have not lost my cousin who was at work in the Pentagon when the plane crashed there. I feel for the friends, families and colleges who were left behind and the survivors both of the disasters themselves and those who were part of the rescue effort who have died or continue to have health issue resulting from their heroic efforts on behalf of all concerned.

But I found myself doing something unexpected tonight. Instead of celebrating, I found myself moving into acceptance, compassion, loving and forgiveness. Because I know, in my heart of hearts, that it is only through though these that there can be healing.

Yes, I agree that the bringing of Osama bin Laden to justice and his death is long over due. He and the group which he lead have wrecked a great deal of havoc and lose in the world. All in the name of a God which I do not understand or recognize. And yet, I find that I can say a prayer for him, for his soul, because even if it means nothing to him or against any score he and the Supreme Deity may have to settle, it helps me to be at peace. Because when I pray for him, I also pray for myself. When I accept and forgive, I am loving myself as well. I am able to be at peace.

This is not an easy thing to do. even as I write this I think to myself, are you crazy?!?!? ObL was a monster! He lead fanatics and encouraged them to oppress, kill and destroy any one and anything which got in their way or in the way of their dogma!

All true. But his existence in the world has also helped me to remember that every day is a gift and a blessing. That even when there is evil int he world, there is also so much good. That with out the darkness, we wouldn’t be able to see the light, be blessed by the light, be bathed in the light.

So here is my prayer, not for Osama bin Laden and other tyrants in the world, but for me and for you who read this and for others;

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
Let there be forgiveness, acceptance and love.
Let us always remember those lost, but also remember to laugh when we remember, because they were and are our shining lights and not one, no matter how malicious, can take that away from us.
Let us say a prayer for those who have inflicted harm. That they will one day find peace.
Oh Mother Father God, I am in deep gratitude for this life. For my friends, my family, my pets, my colleagues and even those who would do me harm. These are all your children and my teachers. I love them all. And I am truly blessed.

So be it.

(BTW- the above is really a large part of Spiritual Psychology. I recommend the book, Loyalty to Your Soul for more info.)

The best birthday present? Knowing that I am loved.

But, if someone has an Ipod they’d like to find a new home for, I won’t turn you down.

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman
www.nancieshumanexecutivecoach.com

Moving forward slowly

April 22nd, 2011

Hello!

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
www.nancieshumanexecutivecoach.com

Tip of the day:

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.

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
www.nancieshumanexecutivecoaching.com

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

April 11th, 2011

Hello!

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
www.nancieshumanexecutivecoach.com

An Attitude of Gratitude

March 27th, 2011

Hello!

So, as is my wont, today I went to Costco to pick up a few things which we had run out of or forgotten when we did our marketing the other day. It’s a beautiful day here in Southern California, so I walked over with my push cart, stopped and bought a cup of coffee and went into the store.

I only had a short list, so I decided to indulge a little bit in one of my favorite activities: people watching. I was surprised at what I saw. Many women who were my age, more or less, looked tired, stressed, aged. Many had deep groves around their mouths and eyes. Most were dressed well and had their hair and make up done, so it wasn’t a matter of this being the hippy dippy crowd, which is my neighborhood is always a possibility. And it suddenly hit me that I have much to be grateful for.

Many years ago, I was hanging around Alcoholics Anonymous and Alanon meeting because there were several people in my life who were actively pursuing their addictions or where trying to get sober. One of the ideas which came up was to practice and attitude of gratitude. After watching the women in Costco I remembered that I have a great deal to be grateful for.

I am grateful for my son and my friends who love me, accept me and support me without question. I am grateful that I chose, years ago, to live in awe and acceptance of what is and to not worry too much about how things “should” be. I am grateful that I have a future and that it is bright. I am grateful for all the things I have been though, without judgment, because they have helped to make me a better, stronger more compassionate person.

I am grateful for this last year without a car. That is one less stress in my life. And in fact, I am grateful that, overall, I have chosen to live life in a way which is minimally stressful. Or at least, take an attitude which is minimally stressful.

I am grateful for the challenges which I have had. And I am grateful for gifts which I have been given. Too many to count. I am grateful for good genetics. And for curiosity which keeps me growing.

There are many things which I could choose to focus on which could be judged as short comings: not enough money, my career is taking longer to come to fruition than I would like, I am not able to do many of the things which I really want to do and enjoy. But by focusing on those things, I would be spending energy in fruitless ways, running in circles and adding to my stress. It is when I am in the calmness and in a place of gratitude, that I am able to hear my inner voice, my inner knowing which in the 15 Proficiencies would be #10, Shares what is there, what comes forward. It is where you and I put our focus which will bring forward what we are trying to manifest.

And while some may choose to equate gratitude with a religious or spiritual path, it doesn’t have to be. It can simply be an appreciation, acknowledgment and high regard for what is there.

What are you grateful for? What do you focus on? If you switched your focus, what might happen in your life? And who might you become?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman
www.nancieshumanexecutivecoach.com

We’re only Human afterall or Proficiency #15: Respects the client’s humanity.

March 27th, 2011

Hello!

So today, I am going to introduce the last Proficiency. Proficiency #15: Respects the client’s humanity. I believe that this is probably one of, if not the, most important proficiency, because it is so foundational in how the Coach sees and interacts with the Client.

15. Respects the client’s humanity.

We all have limits, both internal and external, and as much as coaching is about maximizing potential and opportunities, we are all human and the Certified Coach respects this. Success without stress is what we are all after and by recognizing limits and appreciating different paths to achievement, the client is both individually and universally respected.

Examples:

1. Respect the client’s RAM limitations.
2. Respect the client’s style/approach.
3. Respect the client’s wishes.

The key distinction is respect vs. accept.

Isn’t this idea amazing? That I, as the Coach, accept the Client as a human being who has their own set abilities and limitations? That, in respecting their humanity, I accept that they are where they are, have gone through what they have gone through in their life times,are interested in changing. These are all very important and really, really amazing and supportive. The fact that the Coach accepts and respects this and the fact that the Client comes to Coaching as a complete person who does not need to be fixed, healed, repaired or in anyway saved, is completely freeing. And more than that, it allows the Client to start to respect and accept themselves as well.

Now, this does not mean that the Coach always plays all nicey nice. As a Coach, it is my responsibility to point out to my Clients when they are not keeping their word, working to their full potential, or being in integrity. by the same token, it is my job to also recognize when a Client is doing their best but perhaps needs to shift their focus or come into acceptance of a limitation which they are currently working with and help them to find ways of being which will either counteract that particular limitation or make friends with it so that it is easier to live with.

The other side of the coin is that the Coach gets to respect their own limitations. Their own humanity. There are some Clients who, because of their different world view, I know that I would have difficulties working with. There is nothing wrong with admitting that and in fact, it is taking care of myself and respecting myself and my boundaries which is a good thing. Because then I spend less time trying to figure out why I feel negatively about a situation.

So, as this is the last blog in this series – and I plan on taking a week off before I start the next one – I leave you with this question: As a Client, would you want a Coach who is able to do all of the things mentioned here? Someone who not only is an expert in what ever area they are working with you in but is also trained and skilled in everything from technique to helping to bring out your best, to seeing and respecting you as the Client as a whole and complete human being?

And Coaches, isn’t it wonderful that we have these Proficiencies to work with? Which help to ensure not only our competence but also give us a platform to build and grow from? And help us have the confidence to move forward with ease and grace?

So what will you do? Who do you want to be? Who will you become?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Shuman
www.nancieshumanexecutivecoach.com

Proficiency #14: Designs supportive environments.

March 25th, 2011

Hello!

Okay, I readily admit, this is my favorite proficiency! This is about helping the Client to get organized and put things into place which support the Client in a way which ensures more ease and grace into their lives. Here is the experts take on this:

14. Designs supportive environments.

Success, not to mention personal evolution, becomes sustainable when there are environments and failsafe structures that support it. After all, who wants to rely on fortitude and willpower to get things done or to develop oneself? Enter the Certified Coach who has been specifically trained in helping the client to design and install these environments.

Examples:

1. Design environments that automatically support.
2. Design stimulating environments that evolve.
3. Repair environments that weaken.

The key distinction is environments vs. self-reliance.

Now the key to this question is how deep do you want to go? On the surface, this can be simply organizing your files in such a way that they are chronological and numerical. It may be setting things up in such a way that notes are attached to a file so that the Client has everything at their figure tips when ever they need them. Or it could be as deep as recreating a believe system which is more in alignment with who the Client is becoming. And that could include things such as a new spiritual practice, exercise regime, and diet.

In my second year of Grad school I had a trio with a woman who was trying to reconnect with her body. One of the things she wrestled with was a past which did not include good dental hygiene. She said that she had gotten better at remembering to brush her teeth, but flossing was something which she hadn’t ever really gotten into the practice of doing. Having been there and found a simple solution, I was able to make a usable suggestion. She was wowed by it. I have spoken to her since then and she is still using that action as part of her supportive environment.

Remember, once a Client gets a supportive environment in place, things can go into auto pilot and the Client is more able to work on big picture items than getting caught up in the minutia. Example: one client I had wanted to be able to have more heart felt conversations with the people he was partnering with on projects. He, his assistant and I set down and went through his Rolodex which they had as a shared data base on their computer network. We started to add notes. Anniversaries, birth dates, kids names and any interests outside of the project. If someone called and spoke to the Assistant, letting her know that he was on the way to his kids soccer game, that went into the message to her boss, so that he could ask about the game and the child when he returned the call. Barbara Walters is an expert at this. She and her Assistant have a conspiracy of kindness going on. Barbara’s index cards include all of this information and she is diligent in following up on it. And even though it is known that she has helpers, people still appreciate her taking the time to remember the important events in their lives.

Now, on the deepest level, this is about designing a new life, a new way of being and creating a totally different world view. But, like you probably didn’t learn how to drive in 2 hours, this takes time and focus. And a willingness to take risks and to suck sometimes. IT takes time to grow. And that is where the Coach can help to see where a structure has a design flaw and needs to be shored up or where it can be expanded, as well as when it is time to change focus if necessary. And of course, when a Client is ready to leave something which no longer serves them behind.

All of this is designed to help the Client bring forth their agenda with as much ease and grace as possible. And that is a beautiful thing. it is also designed to help the Client through any rough patches which present themselves. It is in this Proficiency that the Coach helps in the most real world ways and the Client gains the freedom to take the biggest steps.

So, if you were able to create a system or systems which would support you with ease and grace, what would they be? And who would you become and what would you be able to achieve?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman
www.nanceishumanexecutivecoach.com

Tell the truth and shame the devil or Proficiency #13: Relishes truth

March 25th, 2011

Hello!

So today we are working on Proficiency #13: Relishes truth. So what does that mean/ Well, let’s start by looking at the definition developed by Coachville and then explore more.

13. Relishes truth.

This may sound obvious, and it’s deeper than that. After all, truth is a level above mere honesty, as in there is always a truth about a situation, person or event that, when discovered and articulated, can transforms one’s life or business. Certified Coaches have come to enjoy and orient around truth as a source of joy and guidance.

Examples:

1. Come to enjoy/relish truth about the client’s abilities and limitations.
2. Teach the client how to relish the truth for the pleasure, not just the utility, of it.
3. Be open to truths about your coaching style/paradigm.

The key distinction is relishing truth vs. expecting honesty.

In someways, this is about feedback. Both giving and receiving. But it’s also about being able to see and understand beyond the obvious.

A friend of mine continues to sabotage her diet. She’s only about 30 lbs over weight. We’ve talked about it frequently. Her struggle, her judgments about her inability to stick to a diet or exercise plan. How much she hates her clothes, the feeling of being tired, and lack of endurance. Finally I asked her what was her motivation for not following through on her diet commitments. When she gave me the deer in the head lights look, I practiced Proficiency #2, Reveals the Client to Themselves, and then took it a step further by reflecting the truth of the situation, both the positives and the negatives, and helped her choose a path through the ideas, beliefs, emotions so that she was able to make a better choice and to set up a supportive environment (our next Proficiency) which has helped to facilitate her release of weight.

Now, Relishing truth is also about being able to see things from different angle and coming to understand what resonates for you as an individual and for your Clients. While these can be two very separate things, it allows for a deeper learning and for the Client to really take ownership and responsibility for their choices and move from this place into a way of being which better supports who they are now and who they are becoming. Which is incredibly exciting!

One other aspect is for the Coach. Sometimes hearing feedback is not fun. And sometimes we have a tendency to not want to hear it at all! I had a situation last summer where the Client gave me some feedback after I had adjusted my style at her request. Her comment to me was that I was technically very good but that there was no connection between us! This triggered me. Now, there are several levels of truth here. No, we weren’t able to develop a connection. The Clients way of interacting was in a very non-active style, while mine is very active. So when I was asked to adapt to her style, it didn’t translate well. I take full responsibility for that.

The other truth is that I was invested in helping my Client to shift and her not taking responsibility for the results of her choices, or that was my perception of what she was saying, was a trigger point for me. What was going through my head was, well, if you had allowed me to actually do the job you hired me for as opposed to simply being someone you are paying to listen to you and allow you to keep doing what you are doing, then maybe we could build a connection. But NO!!!! The truth was that because I was very invested in personal responsibility – mine and my Clients – I was not able to be fully open and supportive of the Client. While I was willing to enter new territories, I also needed to acknowledge to the Client when I felt that it wasn’t going to work. There is truth in that. And not being able or potentially willing to acknowledge this truth, was have been part of what caused me to, in the end, to not be able to take in the feedback gracefully.

Now the last point of this is that I also had to take some time and consider the source. There are times when things are defiantly a projection. In this particular case, while I chose to look at much of the feedback which I was getting both from the Client and from my own reactions, the truth was that she and I simply have very different ways of being which don’t align. This is not a bad thing, it is simply a thing. And it is an opportunity for me to look at my own truths and become more deeply honest and more fundamentally grounded in the reality of who I am and what I believe.

So, when cutting down to the bottom line, what are your truths? What feed back are you getting from the world and from yourself? And if you were to test those truths, that feedback, what would you learn? Who would you be? Who might you become?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman
www.nancieshumanexecutivecaoch.com