WHO and What is Accompanying YOU on YOUR Life Journey?
Dave’s Top 5 Lists:
Sharing MY Insights on transformation and change with YOU!
(Oh! and as a bonus, if you can make it to the end. A challenge for YOU!)
Chapter 1: Setting the stage (a.k.a. The background and context)
Making all my dreams come true.
I like the sounds of that.
Making my dreams come true is top of mind for me these days.
I have just gone through an exercise of writing down my top 5 dreams.
I was inspired by Tim Ferris in his book, “The 4 hour work week”.
As mentioned in a previous Blog, I am trying to cap my work week at an average of 40 hours.
Getting down to 40 hours has been challenging enough for now but,
I like the idea of getting it down to 4 hours per week.
So, no harm in exploring the concept and approach to do so.
I have already taken away a lot of great ideas that I can tailor to ME.
Tim can keep the rest for HIM since the book is all about what worked for HIM.
And I am all about coming up with what works for ME.
Hats off to Tim for sharing his ideas and experiences with ME and maybe some of YOU.
Some is rubbing off on ME and hopefully some on YOU.
Like Tim, I am hoping that sharing some of the things that have worked for ME with YOU.
Sharing some of the insights and ideas from MY life journey with YOU.
Will allow YOU to take away an insight or idea or two that might work for YOU.
That is the purpose of My blogs and of my upcoming book.
It is also the Mission of MY business which is
Helping people lead more fulfilling lives.
But enough about ME, back to Tim and his dream exercise.
One take away for ME from having gone through this dream exercise,
is that I have a lot more dreams floating around my head than I did a few years ago.
As I mentioned in my recent blog describing “MY bout with clinical depression”,
a few years ago, I was not doing a whole lot of dreaming at all.
I was doing a whole lot of avoiding.
And a whole lot of escaping.
And a whole lot of isolating myself.
I mentioned some of my “avoidance techniques” that I had come up with in that blog.
I was becoming quite good at it.
Avoidance that is.
And, at the same time, I was becoming a bit of an SME (Subject Matter Expert) on
both becoming and remaining depressed.
And, I had developed quite the toolkit of approaches and habits (all bad ☹) along the way.
I am grateful to no longer be living in that dark place.
I am still vigilant to be on the lookout in case those storm clouds start to reappear.
But so far, so good. 😊
I am still trying to figure out how I was able to pull off this change.
Pull it off, and more importantly, maintain it.
Most folks are not able to maintain changes for more than a year.
Think weight loss goals!
“Oops. I feel a cheat coming on. Pass me one of those donuts please”. ☹
Think of aspirations of spending more time doing the things we like doing.
“O.k. maybe not this week, I have to get that project out the door”. ☹
Think of ambitions of spending more time with loved one’s (i.e. date nights with our significant other).
“Honey. I am going to have to cancel our date one more time. I have to get a project out the door”. ☹
Think new year’s resolutions.
Actully those probably don’t last more than a few weeks, or even a few days. ☹
So how did I do it?
How have I been able to maintain some of MY changes.
Some have been more like Transformations.
Life altering ones.
I.e. Have kept my 100 pounds of fat from coming back for well over a year.
I.e. I have been eating healthy for over a year now.
I.e. I have not had a buzz from alcohol for over a year now.
I am hoping to answer that question by writing my first book.
Actually, I am hoping to answer 2 questions.
What were the top 10 “change enablers” that I leveraged to support MY Life Transformation?
What were the top 10 “change maintainers” that I am leveraging to maintain (and build on) MY Life transformation?
And while I am at it,
What was the “catalyst or catalysts for making the change” in the first place.
I hesitate to use the term, “catalyst(s) for transformation”, because
I did not set out to transform my life to the extent I have done.
I was just hoping initially to make some small changes.
They just ended up snowballing and next thing I knew.
I was where I am now.
(i.e. 100 pounds of fat lighter, a new career calling, stronger and more caring relationships etc.)
O.k. that is 3 questions but,
Whose counting. 😊
As I work through all of these thoughts.
And by work them out,
I mean taking the time to reflect on my journey,
Reflecting on where I have been in order to identify my lessons learned.
Reflecting on where I am heading so that I can prepare myself for the ride. 😊
I also mean taking the time to learn about my journey by reading about the journeys of others,
I also mean taking the time to speak with others about their journeys to better understand
and appreciate both the uniqueness and commonalities of our respective “Enablers” and “Maintainers”.
In coaching they taught me that we are unique.
Unique individuals in unique situations.
Yet we do have things in common.
I am curious to find out what those are.
So, although the jury is still out.
(a.k.a. My lists are still in the first draft stage)
There is one or two enablers that are coming through loud and clear.
Having someone(s) to accompany YOU on that journey is both
a huge change enabler and maintainer.
That is the WHO!
Who is accompanying YOU?
Also, having a process to help you along the way is also key.
A process that includes building YOUR personal foundation as YOU move forward with your change.
That is the WHAT!
What process is supporting YOU?
What shape is the personal Foundation in that is supporting you on YOUR journey in Life?
I tried to go it alone in the past.
In hindsight that did not serve me well.
Result: Clinical depression.
In hindsight, MY process as described in my blog on “MY bout with Depression” did not serve me well.
I.e. getting liquored up. Escaping my troubles by watching movies etc.
Result: Functional alcoholism,
In hindsight, letting My “Personal Foundation” slide did not serve me well.
I.e. BMI that was either obese or overweight over more than 14 years of my life journey.
Result: Lack of energy most of the time.
And that is a lot of time out of MY journey.
Luckily for me.
I became aware that MY going it alone approach was not serving me well.
I had pretty much given up on life.
It was time to make a change.
It was time to start trying to start enjoying life a bit more.
I was not thinking transformation at the time.
Just a little change would be helpful.
If I kept on the same path as before I was likely not going to be around for much longer. ☹
So, I decided to make a change.
This is my story of how I went about it.
At least, part of that story.
YOU will have to wait for MY book for all of the gory details. 😊
Chapter 2: Exploring the topic (a.k.a. reflecting, researching and connecting)
As I look back on where I was then and where I am now.
Several concepts come to mind.
One is the concept of no pain, no gain.
Not sure why but,
Pain is often the catalyst and approach for making ourselves better off.
Pain might have gotten me to my catalyst for change but,
It was not part of MY approach to execute and maintain that change.
Just the opposite.
I figured it would be an easier journey of change if it were fun.
Another concept is the concept of working on oneself.
Working on oneself apparently is a process.
Again, I was looking for a process that was as painless as possible.
Yet another concept is the concept that people see the world through their own lenses.
Isolating myself from my own feelings and avoiding other people did not expand my lens.
Surrounding myself with people who were more interested in sharing their lenses with me rather than helping me expand mine was also not all that helpful.
My lens seemed to be shrinking rather than expanding.
I felt stuck.
So how does one expand their opportunities and horizons (a.k.a. their lenses).
Apparently by connecting.
Connecting with oneself and
Connecting with others.
Others who are interested in, not only helping others expand their horizons,
but also, by encouraging them to do so.
As opposed to telling them what they SHOULD do.
(a.k.a. People who want to SHOULD all over YOU). ☹
Some of the “shoulders” have the best of intentions but,
that does not take away from the fact that it does not feel all that great,
to have someone unload a pile of “SHOULD” all over YOU. ☹
Now as far as the connecting goes.
I am not sure which is supposed to happen first.
Connect with oneself or with the others, or both,
at the same time.
MY hypothesis is that it varies by each unique individual and their unique situation.
In my case, turns out that I was disconnected on both fronts.
For ME, the first step was connecting with ME.
That meant reconnecting with a couple of people who I had pretty much tuned out over the years.
My inner critic and My inner coach.
My inner critic at the time liked to talk to me more than My inner coach.
A lot more.
And, he did not have a lot of positive things to say.
Apparently, I was a bit of a loser!
He reminded me of that on numerous occasions.
That I was working in an organization and industry where success meant becoming a “Partner”,
He never thought of asking me whether that was what I aspired to be.
He reminded me that SALES and selling was a key expectation and metric to,
not only my success in my role, but my even remaining employed.
He reminded me that I was terrible at SALES.
That I hated SALES.
That I even hated the word SALES.
He reminded me that I had already been in a sales role in the past and
that experience did not go well. It did not go well at all. ☹
My past experience happened during my cigarette smoking days.
My SALES induced stress levels in those days were such that,
I could smoke a whole cigarette in one shot. ☹
Inner coach. Where were you buddy! I missed you! ☹
Speaking of coaching.
Back to the present for a sec.
I now have a life coach.
Her name is Shawna.
She is from Venus.
I am from Mars.
She is my outer coach.
Meant to complement my inner coach (yes, he is back on board now 😊)
It just so happens that she was part of a group that undertook a study.
A study on what makes people coachable.
Apparently, that something is what makes them un-coachable if it is not present.
They came up with a #1 reason.
Maybe this #1 reason might explain the sudden disappearance of my inner coach.
And the emergence of my inner critic as the dominant voice in my head.
So, what was that #1 answer to the survey on what makes someone coachable
or not coachable if it is missing?
Drum roll please.
“There needs to be a willingness to question one’s beliefs”.
O.k. no wonder I was not listening to my inner coach.
I was not listening to anyone at the time.
Not anyone else.
Well that’s not true.
I was listening to my inner critic.
He kept reminding me that I was a loser, especially when it came to SALES.
And I believed him.
Without question, I believed him.
Hard not to believe him, when he is the only one I am listening to. ☹
My employer at the time,
in the hopes of getting me out of my funk,
had actully assigned me a new coach.
He was a performance coach and not a life coach.
In this case, SALES was the performance expectation that I was to be coached on.
He was one of the SME’s in the Sales space.
I am flattered and appreciative that he was assigned to me.
Poor him though.
I am not sure he knew what he was getting himself into.
He encouraged me to try and get out of MY Comfort Zone.
To just get out and try some new things.
Hand out one business card.
Introduce myself to one person.
Anything! Just do it!
Unfortunately for my “sales” performance coach and for ME,
my inner critic had my ear in those days.
My inner critic’s belief was that I would never enjoy sales.
I would always hate and be lousy at it.
And I chose to believe my inner critic.
To believe in him, as previously mentioned, without question.
That was about 5 years ago.
I recently met my now ex-Sales Performance Coach,
At an alumni cocktail last spring.
Right after I had decided to start my own business.
I told him that I was struggling a bit on the relationship building side of things,
in my new business.
I was spending most of my time building relationships while neglecting some other activities.
I was having way too much fun meeting people.
Spending time with people.
And I was not worried.
The other crap will get done.
Tim Ferris would likely suggest I offload it and stick with what I love to do.
And now, ironically enough, that was developing relationships.
Which, surprise, surprise, result in sales on the back end.
I had finally figured that one out.
In one of my last roles with my former employer.
One of my last roles after almost 20 years with the same firm.
I had discovered that sales in that business and in my new business was,
not about sales after all, but about relationship building.
Sales are a result of relationships.
And I love building and nurturing relationships.
Wow. How cool is that!
Took me long enough to figure it out.
And with NO help from MY inner critic along the way.
But lots of help and support from my inner coach.
And from those around me supporting me in my role at my former employer.
One of the largest professional services organizations in the world.
They helped me to build MY self-confidence.
To a level that allowed me to play a leading role in numerous relationship building programs.
Relationship building programs aimed at senior managers and executives.
Relationship building programs aimed at the next generation of senior managers and executives.
The same executives who even the thought of connecting with them intimated me not that long ago.
But no longer. Thanks to MY newfound courage and self-confidence.
I was the only non-partner asked to help design and deliver
one of the firm’s webinars in a newly launched series of SALES webinars.
At first, I did not want any mention of the word “Sales” included in the webinar.
I did not want to scare anyone else by using that 4 letter word.
I finally agreed to include it. But only once. On the title page.
We would call the webinar “relationship selling”.
The rest of the webinar document and presentation would be
“Sales” word free.
I was also the only person who did not have a business development role,
who was asked to become one of the facilitators rolling out a
new relationship SELLING course for the senior practitioners in the firm.
Senior practitioners that included the partners. 😊
Not bad for someone who was inhaling cigarettes at the mere mention of the
word SALES a couple of years prior to that.
My ex-coach had a smile from ear to ear when I told him the story.
In the past, he was probably wondering what was taking me so long.
So long to get out of my comfort zone.
Well, what was taking me so long is that I was spending too much time
listening to my inner critic and not my inner coach.
And not reaching out to and listening to others who had my best interests in mind.
I did not have a willingness (or the courage) to question my critic.
I did not have a willingness to question my beliefs.
In those days, I truly believed that there was no way that I could ever not be terrified of SALES.
Wow. Was I wrong.
My ex-performance Coach was not the only one smiling ear to ear at that cocktail.
I was beaming. 😊
And it wasn’t from the booze.
I was mainly drinking water. 😊
That was only one change.
A change in mindset.
A big one mind you (pardon the pun) because
it provided me with the confidence to
start my own business.
Bye. Bye. Bi-weekly paychecks.
Bye. Bye. Paid health care benefits.
Bye. Bye. Defined Benefit Pension Plan.
Hello entrepreneur Dave. 😊
Oh, and BTW.
My Myers Briggs is ENTP.A
Preferences and personality that aligns with “Entrepreneurial” traits.
Only took me over 30 years of MY career to figure that one out.
Yo! Inner critic. Thanks for not mentioning that one to me along the way.
Inner critic. You are in the dog house.
Inner Coach. I am listening to you more often now. 😊
So how did I do it?
How did I make all of these changes across my various life quadrants?
Across both MY Personal and Professional sides of the equation.
The weight, the booze, healthy eating, big career shift etc.
How did I move from having given up on most of my life (the only exception being my kids) five years ago to where I am today?
WHO? and/or WHAT? Accompanied ME on MY life journey as I made and maintained this change?
So, without further ado.
Here you go:
Dave’s top 5 List: WHO and What is NOW Accompanying ME on this new phase of MY Life Journey.
What I am now referring to as my second half.
The second half of MY life.
Chapter 3: My Top 5 takeaway(s) (a.k.a. What I have I learned? How have I grown?)
WHO and What is NOW Accompanying ME on this new phase of MY Life Journey. The TOP 5:
#1: MY WHO: Talking the Talk (MY inner coach in the front seat next to ME, MY inner critic in the back)
It all started with me deciding to talk more. To talk more to myself (a.k.a. stop and reflect more). To talk more to others. Before you knew it, I was starting to get to know myself. The more I got to know myself and to start feeling good in my own skin, the more I started to get the urge to start walking the talk. That’s when my Top 2 kicked in. Walking the talk.
#2 MY WHO: Walking the Talk (the courageous and self confident version of ME) 😊
It started out slowly but before you knew it, I was sticking my head outside my comfort zone every once in a while. Egged on by my inner coach and my support network of colleagues and friends. And you know what? I lived to tell about it. All the nasty things that MY inner critic told me would happen, did not. Apparently, my inner critic’s ability to predict the future was only a myth. My courage and self confidence continued to increase the more often that I left my comfort zone. The credibility of my inner critic went in the inverse direction. Shame on you, inner critic, for holding me back all these years. Turns out my comfort zone was not that comfortable after all. Makes me think of a quote that a friend of mine shared with me recently; “nothing grows in the comfort zone”. I agree.
Now that I realize that leaving my comfort zone does not result in my death or dismemberment or other nasty things happening to me, I am starting to venture out more often. I am starting to venture out farther. I now realize that most of what my inner critic was saying was not true. That is when I started listening more to my inner coach. He was not telling me what I could or could not do. He was encouraging me to get to know myself better. Honouring my values. Believing in my dreams. Playing to my strengths. I started learning more. Failing more (Fail = First Attempt In Learning). Get up again more. Failing again more. Just basically moving forward more which results in growing more. All of a sudden, my fixed mindset had shifted to a growth mindset. Welcome back inner coach. 😊
#3 MY WHO: OTHERS (of the “LENS Expanding and Encouraging” variety, no “SHOULDERS” allowed!)
Not only was my inner coach encouraging me to get to know myself better. So were a whole lot of other people. Authors of books that I was now reading. Books that I previously thought were a bunch of crap. Friends. Colleagues. Peers. Fellow coaches. From all over the country. From all over the world. Hooray for technology. I was connecting with people from all over the place. My lens was expanding exponentially and with it, the possibilities and opportunities that I now realize are out there.
In the course of my connecting with people, I came across more than a few people, who, although they might have meant well, were for some reason quite insistent on sharing their thoughts on how they see the world. Although they were likely unaware of it, they were sharing their beliefs with me, often as limiting beliefs. Not taking the time to understand my situation and my dreams. A lot of unsolicited, biased advice on what I should do. Often what had worked or not worked for them. Advice through their lenses. Given my new level of awareness, I was able to pick up on it pretty quickly. And based on my new awareness that MY choices are mine, I decided not to spend a whole lot of time with these folks. As Neil Pasricha says in his book, “The Happiness Equation”, you are the average of the 5 people that you hang around with the most. I have now decided to hang around people who inspire and empower me, and not those people telling me what I can and cannot do. Or by trying to fix me. Well. Guess what! I am not broken. So f**k Off.
#4 MY WHAT and MY WHO: MY “working on Myself” PROCESS (a.k.a. taking self-care of myself”) and supporting tools to maintain My Personal Foundation (Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual, etc.)
Talk to someone who has undergone a change in their lives and you will often hear the word “process” used. Apparently, working on one’s self is a process. I like to refer to mine as the “taking self-care of myself” process and tool kit. Taking care of myself includes taking care of my personal foundation. I had some catching up to do on that front over the past couple of years. I had neglected myself for many years. First, I worked on the Physical to give me the energy. The Mental helped keep me disciplined and connected with my head until things became more habitual. Like a puzzle, the pieces started to come together for me. My values are now my GPS. My dreams my goals. My emotions act as my barometer and help keep me connected to my heart. My new-found spirituality helps me connect with those around me. I am in such a better now. Like night and day. Thanks to MY “taking self-care of myself” process or as one of my friends calls it, HER “Self Love process”. I now have more energy to care for and love those around me. Cool Process!
Oh and by the way., taking care of one self is also an ongoing, never ending process. I mentioned before that we are all unique and we all have our own unique situations. Throw in the adage that “the only constant is change” and you quickly realize that every unique situation will also change. That means that each of us unique individuals will be forced to change as well. That is, if we don’t want to be left behind. That is, if we want to grow. Hence the requirement for continuity in the process. Boy. Where was my process a few years ago? ☹ Oh well, I am working on it now. Big time. better late than never. 😊
#5 MY WHAT: The Life coaching process and MY life coach
I recently decided to complement MY “working on me process” with a life coaching process. I did not even know that there was such a thing as a Life coaching process until a little over a year ago when I decided to become one. I am now complementing my inner coach with an outer coach. My outer coach owns the life coaching Process. I own the agenda and outcomes of our work together.
This approach does not preclude ME from connecting and consulting with others as well. I still reach out to others. Often. But this coaching arrangement (a.k.a. agreement) provides me with both a process and person that allows me to not only maintain the changes that I have made but to take them to the next level. The benefits of the coaching process vary from person to person. I will leave that discussion to another blog. In my case I meet with my coach at least every 3 weeks for 45 minutes. This approach provides me with a regular touchpoint that encourages me to stop and reflect and talk to myself and talk to someone else. Someone objective who has only MY best interests and MY agenda, as HER agenda. It also allows to focus my priorities in the right place which is important so that when I do “walk the talk” I am heading in the right direction. The direction of MY dreams 😊
So. There you have it.
Wow. That was a lot to take in.
A long blog.
Like drinking from a fire hose.
Took me a while to put this all together.
Over 50 years.
But better late than never.
So, now YOU know WHO and WHAT is accompanying ME these days.
What about you?
Who and What is accompanying YOU?
Chapter 4: MY Challenge to YOU (An opportunity for YOU to learn and grow.)
Optional of course.
Like everything in Life.
Are YOU Ready for YOUR challenge?
Here you go,
The Challenge: Connect with someone, but not just anyone
If you do not already have someone who you can confide in.
Find someone and connect with them.
Remember the criteria mentioned above.
(i.e. they are objective, they have time for you, they have your best interests at heart, you trust them so that you can open up to them, allow your authentic self to come out etc.)
Think of a positive change that you would like to make in your life.
Think of how you will feel once you have made that change.
There you go.
You now have your topic and desired outcome.
You are on your way to making that change come true.
Enjoy the Ride!
Well, that’s all for now Folks
Looking at making a positive CHANGE in YOUR Life?
What would that change be?
MAKING THAT CHANGE A REALITY!
Make that change a reality and explore Life Coaching at the same time by participating in my “Life Coaching with Dave Experience”. A great opportunity to experience Life Coaching in a very timely and cost-effective way. The details are on MY website in the 1to1 Coaching Section.
And NO, that is not a typo in the $ rate of the offering. It looks low because it is. I am really trying to encourage YOU and others to give Life Coaching a try.
Items and articles referenced in putting together this STORY
The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha