Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Road to Coaching

A client recently asked me about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of my becoming a coach.  In thinking about the ‘road’ I took to becoming a coach, it occurred to me that the story and what I learned along the way might be of value to others.

There really are two separate stories tied up in my career path: the one about the  Money road and the one about the  Coaching road, which eventually connected.  At this point, I’m going to focus on the Coaching one — Who knows, maybe later I’ll write about the Money one!

Allow me to wax philosophically a bit here.  There is the distinction that Micheal Meade makes between Fate and Destiny.  Fate being the family, culture and circumstances we are born into.  Our fate is what leads to whole families of Doctors, or Teachers, and such.  Destiny is more about our innate unique personality.  The talents our family never really seems to understand.  For me the fate piece was the  Money road that had me become a CFO, while the destiny piece was much more the fuel for me embracing coaching—following a natural talent to a new place.

Certainly anyone can become a Personal Coach, Life Coach, Health Coach, Business Coach… whatever kind of coach they want to be.  And I think that the seed of being a gifted and effective ‘coach’ is something we inherently have.  It certainly was that way for me.  As early as Junior High (Middle School) I found people coming to me with problems.  They wanted someone to talk to, someone who would listen, support them, give some suggestions, and not judge them.  I seemed to fit that bill.  It wasn’t something I actively sought, it just happened.  And it kept happening.  Of course, like most things, it was a double-edged sword.  I found that they often wanted my support, but less often asked me to hang out with their crowd.  C’est la vie.

Frankly this thing of being a safe and trusted ‘ear’ stayed with me throughout the years.

And then in the early ’90s there was this incredible opportunity I had.  I got involved with YRUU (Young Religious Unitarian Universalists).  YRUU was a youth led program for teens ranging  from Middle School through High School.  Many churches had a Youth Group with supported by several Adult Advisors. There were also District and National events and conferences led by youth with adult support.  It was a fascinating and delightful thing that unfortunately has gone by the wayside.

Through most of the ’90s I was heavily involved with YRUU on all levels: local, district, national… and I even wrote the “Youth Advisor Handbook” (available in various reprints on Amazon and even Ebay). The point was to really encourage the youth to run things themselves.  The advisor role was to support, listen, and create an atmosphere that allowed the youth to actually come up with their own solutions.    The youth never ceased to impress me.  They were often wiser than the adults.  Certainly it took patience to let them lead—I learned to count to 10, and then do it again, and again!  Giving them the opportunity to fix the problem on their own gave them practical experience.  And that is a fundamental tenet of the concept of coaching… that the client at some level actually knows—and has the capacity to solve—their problem.

This was a perfect place for me.  The only frustration was dealing with the adults and parents who wanted to jump in and control things.  They had a hard time truly trusting that the youth could make good decisions.

At this point there was no such thing as Personal Coaching, and no way to make a living doing this (it was all volunteer work).  However, around this same time along came Thomas Leonard. He was an EST employee in the ’80s and founded Coach U and the ICF (International Coach Federation) in 1995.  He spearheaded the radical idea that people could seek help and support for their lives without needing “therapy”—that we all had the capacity to do better.

When I heard about coaching in the late ’90s , I was naturally intrigued and went to a presentation.  It sounded great, and at that time looked like a hobby.  How was anyone going to make a living doing this?

By late 2000 I was hooked by the idea and started training with CTI (Coaches Training Institute).  This is what I was meant to do, what I’ve always done: untangled the knot, dug deeper, asked the questions.  Now I had a platform and credentials for doing it.  Fortunately for me the Money road had given me a bunch of business skills to help build my practice.  It all came together for me.

There is something truly magical about finding the work that truly makes your heart sing.  As you read this you’ll notice there were hints all along the way, coaching and untangling things comes naturally to me.  It’s why I’ve been at this now for almost 20 years… it’s frankly the ONLY career I’ve ever had that never bores me!

Look back on your road and see where the clues are… is there something calling you to a different path?

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

If you’d like some support in sussing out your ‘destiny’ give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.

Finding Reliable Sources

Who do you go to for information?  These days we often dive into the ‘web’ for information, and I’m guessing you also have people who you seek out for their knowledge and expertise.  Long ago my family taught me about this in some interesting and amusing ways.

First let me tell you how I learned to bake bread.  My paternal Grandmother, Dossie, was  a cook—like ran a lunch room, catered meals for 100+ by herself cook.  And she baked, wow did she bake: rolls, cinnamon buns, bread… everything!  In my 20s I started to learn to bake, and it does require finesse and practice.  The interesting thing was how she tutored me in this.  She couldn’t really explain what to do.  She’d say things like “you knead the dough until it feels right.” Huh?  What she could to was diagnose a problem in seconds, even over the phone.  So that’s how I learned the art form of baking from her.  I’d call and tell her how the loaf looked, and she’d tell me I didn’t let it rise long enough, or I didn’t have enough yeast in it, or a myriad of other tips.  She was a very reliable source for baking knowledge, and I got to be a pretty good baker.  (As a sad little aside, I have had to mostly give up baking, at least for myself—gluten and yeast are no longer my friends.)

Even earlier when I was in Junior High School—which you may think of as “Middle School”—there was another resource lesson.  Actually it was several lessons in one event.  My dad was the kinda guy that wanted you to think, and have a good reason for what ever you did, or asked for.  We had this Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia.  It was many very small books.  One day I came to him and told him that we needed a new encyclopedia.  “Why would that be?” he asked.  “Well, it’s because I have to do this report on WWII for my Social Studies class and our encyclopedia was published in 1937,” I responded.  A new encyclopedia was purchased right away.  I needed a better source,  and he readily agreed!

What I took away from both of these early examples—and other life experiences—was that you really need to be careful who you go to for information.  It’s not that people don’t have opinions on a variety of things—they do.  But do they have expertise, a base of knowledge about the subject, or wisdom in that area?

I think we get ourselves in trouble when we ask well-meaning folks who don’t actually have expertise in the topic about things.  For example, we tend to ask colleagues about how to attract clients.  I’ve seen it within the coaching community for years.  It’s not that talking with colleagues about your business is all bad… but how about talking with the people who you actually want as clients instead?  Finding out what they want?  Oh and finding a sales and marketing expert to help you attract those people?

When it came time to upgrade my website I worked with  Jerry Fletcher, Brand Poobah and he started with having me gather data about my clients, and then I had conversations with the clients I really worked well with about what brought them to me.  I needed to know what the clients wanted and needed in order to hire me. And I needed someone to help me give them that.

I know what I do well and where I need help.  And when I need help, I look for someone who is a reliable, deep source in that area I don’t know about.  We all have different talents and knowledge.  I don’t need to know everything, what I do need to know is how to find and expert and when to ask for help.  It saves me bunches of time and money, and also helps me learn about new things.

Where might an expert help you do better?

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

Let me know if I can either be a source or help you find one.  Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.

Donning the Mantle

How do you get ‘ready’ for work?  What do you do to prepare yourself to give a presentation?  Or to have a challenging conversation?  How do you don the mantle of your career?

I got intrigued with some of the creative ways we do this while reading a recent blog by my friend, Rachel Boehm. In The Clothes Make the Man she talked about the subtle messages our clothes send to others and ourselves.  Part of her sharing was this great story about how she felt more strong and capable when wearing high heels, so she donned some to plunge into fixing the clogged kitchen sink.  The heels helped her get the job done!

What we wear doesn’t just send signals to others, it helps us ‘don the mantle’, doesn’t it?  We take on the authority of the position.  We step into it.

Of course all this is metaphor.  The symbols help us ‘stand’ in the role.  No wonder It’s often about shoes and feet.  It sure was for Dorothy—from following the yellow brick road to clicking the heels of her ruby slippers together.  We feel different in flip-flops than heels.

For some of us it’s a conscious act.  Long ago in the ’80s I had a co-worker named Martha.  Part of her job as the Finance Manager in that company was to make collection calls.  Trust me, that can be a daunting thing for both parties on the call.  The way she gathered her personal power to make those calls was by wearing her pearls.

What we are really doing with all this is both making a declaration, and gathering talents and strengths together.  The shoes, or jewelry, or whatever just help to remind us.  Additionally by using them, seeing them, feeling them we open those neural pathways in our brains where all the positive association around them live.

I take my maternal grandmother with me everywhere I go in the form of a ring that was hers.  As I do that I bring her qualities to life in me—things like fortitude, kindness, and even poise—which I need more of!  When I’m doing a talk or presentation my other grandmother brings her feisty, fearless self to me.  Together the talismans and ancestors all support us.

What do you don to set the tone and take up the mantle?

Oh, and just for grins, what talisman or item of clothing or jewelry might help you uncover and rely on a part of you that would be more helpful and effective with money?  And please, don’t make it a green eye shade… that would likely have the opposite effect!

I invite you to become even more conscious of this idea of creating intention through symbols that serve you.

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

I’d love to hear what item works well for you.  Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.

Separate Business & Personal Money?

The bulk of my clients are working directly for themselves.  They are the company or ‘talent’—be they real estate agents, coaches, accountants, lawyers, artists, or some other sole proprietor. A crucial part of that situation is that there are two distinct piles of money that we (yes, I’m one of those types, too) all need to deal with: Business Money and Personal Money.

Let’s explore some of the challenges and pitfalls with having these two distinct money entities, and some thoughts on how to cope with those challenges.  Here are three possibilities to look at.

1). What happens when you keep the business and personal money together, and treat it the same? This one ends up being messy, ugly, and way too complicated.  It is guaranteed to not only drive your tax person crazy, but to cost you bundles of money, time, and energy, on both the business and personal side.  Frankly it’s an avoidance tactic that will make things much more difficult.  And if you do this you miss one of the really great things about money.  By mushing everything together you miss being able to see what is happening with it.  “Where does it all go?”  “Why can’t I ever get ahead?”  Judgments and nagging voices in your head abound!  Bottom line: this is not a sustainable way to go.

2). What happens when you keep the business and personal money separate, yet still treat them the same?  This option is slightly better than the last one.  At least the taxes are easier.  There is however a subtler and yet bigger issue at play when you do this.  It ALL becomes about you personally!  When you have to tell someone your rates it’s about you instead of what you will do for them.  It’s hard enough to keep what we do from who we are internally without getting the money mixed up in there.  And an even more fascinating thing that I learned in my many years as a CFO: Business Money and Personal Money have different perspectives and scale.  They run on different criteria.  Business is all about growing itself or Return on investment (ROI).  My question was always “what is this expense going to get us as a company?”  And under that was, “will thing be better?” and “will we be more profitable/successful?” Personal money decisions often have a more emotion-based component:  “Will I feel better?”  “Will I be safer, more secure?”  “Will others like or appreciate me?”  Can you see how murky and expensive it can be when we kludge these together?  Those different criteria lead to different choices and result.  

3). What happens when you keep the business and personal money separate, and treat them that way?  I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that this option is the one I strongly suggest!  I’ve been practicing it for much of my life, all of the times I was running a business—which has included not only my coaching practice, but an electronic payment processing start-up (doesn’t that just sound techie!) and a radio station.  Keeping the money separate allowed me, among other things, to see the business as an ‘entity’ separate from me. I’ve always had these conversations with myself about: “What would the business want?” “What would it say?”  “What would make it more solid, and effective?”  Similar questions, yet from a different perspective than the Personal Money questions.  By keeping it all separate you can see what each ‘entity’ has to tell you.  You have clearer information, which will create more effective actions, and better results, both in your business and personal life.

Give it a try.  See what new ways of thinking are available.  Notice that once you get things separate between your business money and personal money—both in your accounting for them and in the way you think about them—you will be simultaneously more relaxed and in control.  A result worth working toward, for sure!

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

I’d love to hear about what you discover about your own business and personal money workings and ideas. Give me a call at  503-258-1630 or leave a comment.

Whoa the Worry!

We all do it.  We worry, fret, agonize, brood, and get into a dither.  It’s a human thing to do.  The question is: When is it actually effective?  And when isn’t it?

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for most of is all that nattering in our heads.  That critic voice saying “you should — you must — why haven’t you…” over and over again, in every way possible.  And we get trapped in this land of defending, feeling ‘wrong‘, beating ourselves up, second guessing — you get the picture, right?

It’s hardwired in for us.  It’s very, very old, and has to do with safety and security.  There is a part of us that is obsessed with keeping us safe.  It sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?  And it would be, except that Inner Critic in our heads has a very narrow and somewhat odd perspective about what is safe!

It defines safe as where you are in this moment.  Frankly it doesn’t care about a bunch of things that make our lives challenging.  Things like piles of debt,  toxic relationships, being stuck in jobs we hate, etc.  It’s fundamental criteria is that you are not currently in imminent danger — like literally on FIRE!  Seems fairly safe to say our Inner Critic has some paranoia going on!

This critic voice in our heads is not a new thing.  It’s been around as long as humans have.  Monkey Mind, Gremlin, Sabatour… all sorts of names.  And we coaches are all too familiar with it.  It’s a big part of what keeps clients stuck.  See, whenever we try something new or different there is a chance we will mess something up.  Frankly, messing things up can be a very good thing because it leads to new ideas, possibilities, and results.  And trying something new just freaks our Inner Critic out.  It gets very activated and wants to reign you in, keep you safe, keep you right where you are in this moment!

It has a very simple and effective technique to get you off track: It distracts you.  There are many ways it does that.  A couple of classic ways are:

  • It gets you into a ginormous discussion in your head.
  • It lectures you on how bad, wrong, or stupid you are.
  • It berates, belittles, and ‘bad dogs’ you.

It’s really effective.  All this fretting on your part, fueled by the critic voice in your head, serves to distract you from any ‘new‘ idea and keep you right where you have always been!

Our Inner Critics are crafty. They know us really well.  They know the tender spots.  They will do anything to keep you safe—and again, they define safe as where you are right now.

There’s the real rub in this.  You cannot change, improve, grow, or attain new goals without doing something different.  T’aint possible.  All that time you spend nattering in your head with your Inner Critic is just distracting and sidelining you.  It’s not helpful, at all!

The most effective method I have found to stop the critic — and just in case you haven’t noticed, I think stopping it is a crucial thing to do — is to hold and think about it entirely differently.  Instead of engaging with it at all, think of it as a signal that you are doing something new and different.  Don’t try to calm the fear — instead rejoice and applaud that you are trying something new!  In a bizarre way, your job is to rattle your critic, isn’t it?  If you are just “drawing inside the lines” and “holding the status quo” nothing is going to change… NOTHING!  So instead of joining your Inner Critic in its lecture, judgement, and finger wagging, how about you celebrate that you are doing something different?  Revel in it a bit.  Know that you can change and make choices.  Thank the Inner Critic for the signal, while not falling into its distraction trap!

A good technique to distinguish between Inner Critic and something important for you to know or pay attention to is to ask yourself:

  • Is this ‘conversation‘ in my head distracting me from what I’m trying to do, or to focus on?
  • Is there a ‘tone‘ attached to the message I’m getting, like fear or shame?  Your Inner Critic always has a tone.  Your Inner Wisdom never has a tone.

See if you can’t say “Whoa there!” to all that worry, be kinder to yourself, and get more traction on your dreams!

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

Need some help with this? Give me a call at  503-258-1630 or leave a comment.  Happy spending!

Money Strata

We all have beliefs about money that we cling to, and when those beliefs get challenged, our reality also gets challenged.  One of the fundamental, and in many ways “unspoken” beliefs about money has to do with the “socio-economic strata” that you and your family belong to.

There are places in the world where which level of society you belong to is crucial.  For example, England still has the House of Lords.  Other places practice less obvious but equally strident categorizing.  I noticed when I lived in the South that the first question I was asked by new acquaintances was what housing development I lived in.  The answer to this question told people what strata to put me in.

We like to think of ourselves as a “democratic” society, and in many ways we are.  But when it comes to neighborhoods—and money—we have many levels.

There is an exceptionally strong internal compass to stay in our lane, and certainly to not rock the boat!

What if the only thing that actually kept us in our class or strata was the belief that a given strata was somehow where we belonged?  Guess what?  That belief is the only thing that really does keep us there, and it’s incredibly powerful.  There are amazing statistics about people who win the lottery being back to the financial status they were in before winning within just a few years.  Mismanagement and lack of financial acumen can be part of that, but I think it’s much more about being pushed into a money “strata” you don’t understand and aren’t sure how to fit into.  These people somehow feel they don’t belong in the new place, so they find ways to sabotage themselves right back to where the came from, to where they think they “belong”.  I remember once being reluctant to buy a house in a particular neighborhood.  The voice inside my head said: “You’d have to get dressed and put on makeup to get the mail!”  Definitely a step above my comfort zone.

Mostly, when we step outside of the norm, what comes with that stepping is a disruption of the old systems.  Part of what holds many families together are common beliefs and practices around money.  Many Depression Era families are proud of their ability to “keep body and soul together”.   Being able to “get through the hard times” is a part of how they see and value their family.  If someone in the family goes off and suddenly “makes good”, what does that say about the ones left behind?  It might just say that they could have chosen differently too!  And wouldn’t that be awkward?  What if everyone had a choice?

In what ways does your “strata” keep you stuck, and what would you choose if you could?  Have you even thought about how your clan and class keep you from pursuing new ideas?  What if you could decide what you wanted, and go after it?

Ka’ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

If you’d like to explore the challenge of your Money Strata give me a call  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com

Surviving SPAM – A Lot!

I’d really love for this to just be a bad Jeopardy category title — unfortunately it’s not!  It’s more a hard-won cautionary tale.

By now we ALL are up to our butts in daily SPAM, phishing, and other nasty email stuff.  I actually tracked it, and in February I received over 3000 emails that exemplify this.  Yes, my spam filter goodies caught many of them, and I am now I am also adept at using ‘ignore’ and ‘junk’, not just ‘delete.’

Today’s story is a more twisted tale about my receiving lots of unwanted email.  It’s about being inundated with ‘blog comments’ that aren’t comments.  They are sales pitches, weird things, and some were even in cyrillic!  This all started in January, and frankly it was driving me nuts!

I contacted my techno/puter genius and he came up with a solution to solve the problem.  It was all about having people ‘sign in’ to the blog before leaving a comment, thus avoiding the robotic messy spammers.  I would still maintain control on accepting their ‘membership’ in the blog, and approving their posts.  I thought all was good…little did I know!

I didn’t really notice that I hadn’t had any sign-ups or comments until someone emailed me directly with a comment and mentioned that they couldn’t figure out how to leave a comment on the blog.  Our next step was to include some language that we thought would clarify the process.  After that I asked a couple of trusted friends to try it out.  They got mired and stuck in it.  Ouch!

Only then did I remember a very crucial thing — to not make it hard for fans or clients to engage with me!  I’ve had some past experience in having clients irritated with me, when technology beyond my control wasn’t ‘friendly’, and certainly didn’t want to repeat that in any way!

It was about this time that I remembered that I had leapt in to the ‘apparent’ issue without really getting to the core problem first.  We all do that, we are trained to do that.  I remember when I was first exposed to working in a company, that the ‘rule’ was to not bring a problem to your manager without also having a solution for it.  Old habits die hard, and even though I now know better, the pressure of being uber spammed had me ‘regress under stress’, and my puter person had taken that stress at face value.  Oops!

As I got back to the core issue, which was making it easy for real people to leave a comment, the clouds started to part.

There was a fundamental flaw in my initial interpretation of the flood of spamsters fussing on my blog.  I thought it was because of the huge increase in this stuff I was experiencing everywhere.  I was wrong.  Turns out that a handy app/plugin named Akismet was the culprit. I knew I had this and assumed it was something that was free for everybody…after all, I’ve had the website for a while now.  And on WordPress it said that the software was ‘up to date’.  What I finally discovered, with the brilliant insight of my tech person, was that the software was up to date, but the license wasn’t!  Really!  Yipes!  God forbid that should be made clear to those of us that don’t speak fluent programmer-gab!

Makes sense though, everything went whacking in January.  It probably was when the previous license expired or a free trial ended.  And then all hell broke loose.  And near as I can tell no one ever notified me that I had it on a trial, or that the trial period or license had expired.

So now things are all good.  You don’t have to ‘join’ anything to leave a message.  No passwords for commenters.  No confusion for my readers.  I have paid for a year of magic Akismet.  It is catching and marking as SPAM about 20 ‘comments’ a day from the bad guys…yippee!

It cost some money, took way too much time, disrupted some clients, and probably caused some general consternation that I don’t even know about for some people.

Sometimes, I must admit, I do wonder if all this ‘progress’ is really worth it?  And in hindsight, I do appreciate the reminder — or perhaps we should call it “swift kick in the arse”— to dig deeper around what the issue really is before I leap into a solution!

Ka’ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

If you’d like to kvetch about SPAM give me a call  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com

The Big Secret About Getting Fired

Throughout my life there have been many times when I feel like Cassandra.  She was a Greek prophetess cursed by Apollo so that her prophecies, though true, were fated never to be believed.  For me it has often been about stating what I felt was obvious and having others look at me like I’d just landed from some other planet.

One of those areas in which I notice I have a really different perspective is ‘why people get fired.’  It looks like they got fired because they made mistakes, embezzled from the company, or didn’t do the job effectively.  My experience in corporate land says that’s not so.

Before I detail this out let me say that I’ve only been fired once, from my very first job.  I have, however, fired people, seen others being fired, and heard a myriad of stories from friends and clients about being fired.  I know this really isn’t about Money, and yet I keep running into this with clients.  My point is to expose that this does happen, and warn you so you don’t get caught in it yourself.

You may have a very different opinion, and here’s what I notice: What gets you fired is not really about the work you do, or don’t do.  It’s how you fit in the culture of the company.  It about whether or not the people in power like you—and by the way, those people may not be in the top slots on the org chart!  It’s a system thing.  Are you a fit?  Or do you stand out?

In many ways, a Company—just like a Country—has a personality.  In order to fit in and be successful you need to align with that personality.  If you don’t, you won’t last.

Oh,  they will find a more plausible reason to let you go than that you don’t fit.  But nevertheless, it will really be that you just don’t fit.

In my experience if you get hired and really aren’t competent at the job you will be let go within a short time—six months or less.  If you’ve been there awhile and somehow now they don’t like you, and you are sensing impending doom, know that it’s about  that you don’t fit in the current culture, or perhaps in where the culture is going.

The irony is that NO ONE actually talks about this.  Thus my Cassandra thing!  I worked in various Corporate lands from 1970 to 2000 and found this to be present everywhere.  As a manager I admit that I would find other issues/mistakes to come up with a viable reason for firing the person.  They were all true and valid.  However the real reason was that they just didn’t fit.

If someone fit in the culture those mistakes would be forgiven or overlooked.  If you don’t fit you aren’t forgiven.  Certainly in some ways this is awful, it’s like cliques in High School.  And it’s what is happening.

So my suggestion is to look for kindred spirits and places you ‘fit’ as a person, as much as you look for a job that suits your skills.  It’s no fun to stay where we don’t fit, and it’s more than likely not worth the money however much it is.

And if you are in a place that you did fit, and somehow the culture has changed, dig deeper and see if your being suddenly always in trouble, or let go has to do with that… there may be some financial compensation for you if the game has changed.  For example if you recently got a raise or a promotion, and then get transferred to another boss who fires you, there is something else going on—something for which you may be able to get some compensation.

Bottom line — fitting in is often way more important than being competent.  Just sayin’

Ka’ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

If you’d like to chat about Cassandra things of your own, or how to navigate these ‘not performance based’ problems give me a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.

Small Change?

What if both the idea of change, and its implementation could be less taxing than we imagine?  Actually not change as in coins, but change as in the verb.  Let’s explore that!

All sorts of things in life can be intimidating.  As humans we particularly like habit and routine.  It’s easier than looking at everything with “new” eyes all the time, truly!  So perhaps our inherent ‘risk aversion’ has gotten tangled up with an aversion to change?

Additionally our handy, dandy Inner Critics make change seem daunting and scary.  They tell us that all sorts of bad and complicated things will happen.  Then they tell us that we can’t change, that it’s too hard to change, that we aren’t capable of change—over and over and over again.

And big change is challenging, and arduous, I agree.  The new question is: “what if it’s actually about small change, instead of big change?”  Radical idea, eh?

One client I’m working with is in the midst of the discovery that you don’t have to change everything to be more effective.  A small change can be very effective on many levels.

Here’s an idea to embrace.  We don’t actually have to start over from scratch, we may just want to tweak things a bit!  We each have unique talents and strengths.  We are each a unique compilation of possibilities.  There is strength and value in that uniqueness.  Getting more effective results is more about small changes than trying to start from scratch.   Additionally if you try to change ‘everything’ about yourself, you are actually more likely to zoom right past and thus keep the part that’s not working, leaving it still not working.

When you lean on the support of what you are good at, it’s much easier to shift or change the parts that aren’t working well.   You are coming from strength, which is really effective.  One of the crucial aspects to making small changes work comes down to figuring out where the ‘sticky part’ is!

What I’m really trying to say here is that you don’t have to crawl through broken glass or become a different person to find more fulfillment or inner peace.  It’s more about narrowing in on small changes that can have a big impact.

Those changes are mostly around what we make up!   We make up stuff about:

  • How we are ‘supposed’ to be
  • What others want or need from us
  • What others think about us
  • How we judge ourselves

Which all comes down to a large pile of judgement (Inner Critic) which makes changes look big, hard, scary, and downright impossible.  And yet some changes are truly just small shifts.  Now those small shifts that make a big difference often seem to be in the land of boundaries.  Remember those?  Those handy little fences that manage everyone’s expectations!

So how about experimenting with making some small changes, and setting some simple boundaries between yourself and others?  What might happen then?  Oh and what might you do with those super talents of yours if you had a wee bit less distraction and judgement circling you?

Ka’ching

Shell Tain, the Untangler

If you’d like to explore just what boundaries to set where give me a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.

Perfection is a Money Trap

Money is one of those areas where we have all made some mistakes.

  • We have bought things that didn’t work.
  • We have spent too much money on stuff we never used.
  • We have given people presents they didn’t like.
  • We have lost money on the sale of a house
  • We have gotten “taken to the cleaners” in a divorce.
  • We have run up charges and interest on our credit cards.

And yet we are mostly still here, and kicking!

Sure some of these things were and are avoidable.  And yet they also still serve to give our Inner Critic great fodder for berating us!

There are a couple of things I want to clear up about these ‘errors in judgement‘ and ‘mistakes‘ we all make with our money.

First, you got through them !  The problems may have been messy and costly, but you survived them!  It’s one of the things I think our ancestors that went through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl got trapped in.  They somehow missed that they made it through the troubles, and that they didn’t happen again in the same way.  We tend to practice “one trial learning” with many things.  We tend to either try and hide our head in the sand or decide it will always be like it was, and avoid getting anywhere near the part we think is scary.  We stay trapped.

The other thing I’d really like my readers to consider is the value of the messing up.  Huh, you say!  How can there be value in having gone through that terrible time, that mess?

It’s all about learning!  As humans we actually learn by making mistakes, by being imperfect.  You don’t just get on a bike and ride it the first time.  You wobble and pedal and fall off.  The same process happens a bunch in other aspects of our lives, including money.  We screw up, make mistakes, and learn.  If we don’t make mistakes we don’t learn!

But instead of accepting that we make mistakes, sometimes in order to try and avoid “errors”, we try to be — or appear to be — perfect… yipes!  Just how patient are you with yourself?  Do you keep trying to attain something close to perfection to avoid judgement?  And do you notice that most of the judgement come from your inner critic, instead of the people around you?

Many of us have this thing in our heads about trying to be ‘perfect‘.  I truly think it’s one of the traps our Inner Critics use to keep us stuck in a rut.  Somehow we think we are supposed to be perfect without practice, failing, or learning.  Instead I really like the perspective that Maya Angelou put forth:  “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

We do recover, we do persevere, and we do learn.

Money is just one of the assets that we ‘spend’ while we are learning.  Money, Time, and Energy all get spent.   And I’d like to suggest that Money is really just a reflection of the other two: Time and Energy.

Here’s the really interesting question.  How much time, energy, and maybe even money do you spend trying to be perfect, protecting the idea that you are almost perfect, or even hiding that you aren’t perfect?  What if instead of getting trapped by perfection, you actually celebrated your mistakes as ways to learn?  What if it’s really about focusing on the learning, and not beating yourself up about that mistake you made?

It’s really likely that your attempt at perfection is a reaction to some really ‘old stuff’ that actually is no longer present in your life, right?  Like avoiding being judged or lectured.

Seems to me trying to be perfect has us holding on to, and getting stuck in, our errors in judgement, instead of learning from them, perhaps laughing them off, and most certainly moving on… what say you?

Ka’ching

Shell Tain, the Untanlger

If you’d like some support letting go of trying for perfection, just give me  a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.