Change

communication, Change, leadership

The Power of a Question (2 min read)

Throughout history there have been some profound and powerful questions.

In 1938 Bud Abbot and Lou Costello famously asked, “Who’s on first?”

In 1957 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

During his inaugural speech in 1961, John F. Kennedy told Americans, “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.”

In 1969 Tootsie-Roll asked, “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie-Roll center of a Tootsie-Pop?” and in 2000 Lil’ Kim and Sisqo revisited that same question in a verrrry different context with their hit song, “How Many Licks”.

According to Shakespeare, “To be or not to be” was THE question, and French philosopher Voltaire implored us to “Judge a person by their questions rather than their answers.”

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins summarized why it’s important that we ask thoughtful questions when he said, “Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”

At the end of my communication workshops I tell the audience, “A natural close after you’ve taught something is to ask, “Are there any questions?” But what is the difference, however, if instead I were to say, “What questions do you have? What changed?”

[The point being that we can use language in the context of a well-articulated question to remove barriers to communication.]

Yesterday Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) asked Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh a simple yet immensely powerful question,

“Can you think of any laws that give government the power to make decisions about the male body?”

There's removing barriers, and then there is asking something which clearly conveys an unspoken message. There are no government laws regulating men’s bodies.

“No question is so difficult to answer as that for which the answer is obvious.” (George Bernard Shaw)

Our capacity to make an impact hinges on our ability to ask powerful questions - of ourselves, and of others.

As you head into your day, think about the questions that you ask, and then ask yourself if you can think of better questions.

Stay curious, my friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                

Coaching, communication, Change, Life Lessons, mental skills

Step Into the Ring: Hurt vs. Harm

In conversations over the years a good friend of mine has routinely said that she desires a relationship with someone who isn’t afraid to “get in the ring” with her. Someone who will call her on her shit when she deserves it, and who will put on the gloves to protect themselves from being knocked around. Someone who (when necessary) will stand up and fight because they know who they are and what they deserve.
 

For much of my life, I was not that person. 

 

Before we are able to get into the ring with someone we have to have confidence in ourselves as a fighter.


I was once someone who freely admitted I did not like confrontation. Over the years I have learned that confrontation – when practiced and done skillfully – is one of the healthiest things anyone can do for building trust within a relationship. I’ve learned that conflict and disagreement can co-exist with love and compassion. Most importantly, I’ve learned that building the body of a fighter who can step into the ring with anyone involves understanding what it means to set and hold boundaries. Without them, the hits will keep coming and getting knocked out is inevitable.
 
We often fail to set boundaries for fear for hurting someone’s feelings, never realizing that our failure to set boundaries eventually results in lasting harm – either to ourselves, the relationship, or both.
 

Hurts will heal, but harm endures.

 
Assuming that others should know our boundaries sets them up for failure. People don’t know where our boundaries lie until we tell them or show them, and most folks won’t respect our boundaries until we do.
 
We tend to think of boundaries as restrictive, but in reality boundaries are limits that promote integrity in our lives. Setting them allows us to live with greater energy and intention and we get to draw the lines in any area we choose; with our family, friends, partners, co-workers, strangers… in conversations, in relation to our bodies or to experiences or emotions… the list is endless.
 

If you’ve yet to set boundaries in an area of your life for fear of hurting someone, please consider the harm it may cause by failing to do so.
 

Remember: The only people who get upset when you set boundaries are those who benefited from you having none. 


Setting boundaries can be challenging, but it is absolutely worth it!
 

May you cultivate the ability to step into any ring with confidence and fight skillfully and passionately for our own integrity.
 

P.S. If you could use some help with your training, please reach out.

Life Lessons, Change

11 Words said in a Volkswagon

It’s 2006 and my twin brother Chris is driving us along picturesque 280 just south of San Francisco. He’s come up from LA for the weekend and I’m filling him in on the end of what had been the longest relationship of my life at that point. The person I’d been dating was now dating my co-worker and in full “woe is me” fashion I laid out a few scenarios for next steps and asked Chris what I should do.

He was silent for a moment, and then he said something that I will refer back to for the rest of my life.

“Sometimes you just need to let things take their organic shape.”

11 words. 

The fact that we were 23 at the time and riding in my parents 87′ Volkswagen Vanagon made it sound like the most hippie/stoner thing he’d ever said. (For the record, my brother doesn’t smoke weed.) He does, however, have a knack for being wise beyond his years and though I didn’t fully grasp it in that moment, he was right. 

Lately I’ve been struggling to let things take their organic shape. In moving to a new place, starting a new business and meeting new people there is a lot of unknown. The unknown is exciting - but it’s also scary because so much seems out of our control. (Spoiler alert: it is.) When things are unknown and outside of our control we have a tendency to want to DO things. Action is a remedy for fear; being in control of something somehow tames the wildness of that which we can never truly harness. 

Every time I feel the need to DO something I think of those 11 words…

Often I find that the only thing I need to do is be patient. What I need to do is do less. I need to let go. Breathe. Stay open. Show up. See what happens.

Letting things take their organic shape isn’t a call for passivity or laziness. It’s honoring the space between no longer and not yet with all that you have.

Maybe things take the shape of an opportunity or adventure. Maybe things shape up to be a life lesson or unforeseen direction. And if things happen to take the organic shape or Ryan Gosling or Sophia Bush - please, call me!

Enjoy seeing how things shape up for you today :)

Life Lessons, Change

"Can I get some change?"

While waiting for some java at the local coffee shop a guy rushed up to the counter and thrust forward a one-dollar bill muttering, “Can I get some change?”

The barista stepped back from the register as if the guy had pulled a knife, put his hands up and shook his head saying, “Change comes from within, brother.”

The hurried man rolled his eyes and rephrased with, “Fine. Can I get four quarters?”

“That I can do! Here ya go, sir.” the barista said with a smile.

(Well played barista man. Well played!)

Lately my life has undergone a lot of change both personally and professionally. For years I read books, joined coaching groups, sat through webinars and attended conferences in an effort to make the kind of change I was seeking. I had this crazy pervasive feeling that something big was on the horizon and I kept investing in this and that to help bring what felt far off into focus.

One evening this past spring I told my head coach and fellow assistant of my decision to step away from coaching basketball in service of coaching people. This was a tough thing to do because the truth was I loved everything about my life: the people I coached with, our team, the school, the department, the location, my charming little cottage by sea… 

Driving home that night with eyes swollen from the tears that came with sharing the news I remember stopping at a red light. For YEARS I felt like something big was coming, that something was about to change. 

Sitting at that light in a Field of Dreams type moment I suddenly realized that the thing that had to change, was me. I was what I’d been waiting for.

                                     “Change comes from within.”

For the next two weeks I barely slept - partly out of panic about a very uncertain future - mostly because for the first time in a long time I was so damn excited about my life. I had no idea then what it would look like, if it would work, if I could make it, or even how to get started. It was terrifying. And, I felt blissfully alive!

Maybe four quarters is all you need. But if you’re searching for something more, read the quote below and look inside. 

Happy adventuring, change-makers ;)

“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” Jon Krakauer