The Power in a Question

Do you love the feeling that comes when you have made a decision?

When you have Answer!

I do. After all from that point of understanding we may move forward with confidence. But, what do you do when the answer is not clear? Do you move forward with as much confidence?

These past few weeks I had been giving consideration to an idea. I thought I had new insight and my answer. I was ready to move forward. Then I looked at my notes one more time and what I found was not an answer at all. As much as I tried I just did not have the next step. I was stuck.

A bit of frustration set in, then a laugh, a smile and a really good question got me moving again. I may not have my answer and yet I am no longer worried. My curiosity has me focused. I am challenged, back in action, immersed in discovery.

This is the power of a question!

There are plenty of places ready to offer an answer. Each data point sure of the truth provided. It is easy and even at times appropriate to accept the answer and move forward. However, if you find that you are not ready to step into the path provided, then consider a step to the side. With each bit of new information there is an opportunity to ask; is this Fact or Fiction? Is this part of my answer or just an answer? Imagine what might come if you just decided to ask one more question.

One of the really great things about being a Coach is I have the privilege of providing a few questions and an opportunity for my clients to Play with possibilities. So, this month no answers, just a few of my favorite questions. Go ahead, take a challenge or an opportunity and gives this questions a try.

From Master Coach Bruce Schneider

How can you find out more about that?

What does your intuition tell you?

What is another way to look at that?

From Author Kurt Wright

What’s right? or What’s Working ?     

What makes it Right? Or Why does it work?

What would be ideally right? Or What would ideally work?

 What’s not quite Right?

 What resources can I find to make it right?

From the universe of possible questions

How committed are you?

If this is true, what would that mean to you?

Remember, you may not have the answer right now but you always have a question. In the question discovery begins, moving you forward into action. If we are to find our most authentic joyful self then let’s get comfortable playing with the possibilities that exist inside the questions.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”  Marie Curie

If you are curious to learn more about how Coaching keeps you in action and promotes peak performance and self care, bring your questions to a complimentary session and let’s begin.

“Have a beginners mind; explore, be curious, ask a question and be authentic in your response.” Coach Barb

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Remove the Resistance

Wow, here we are at the end of March. The change of season is a natural time to check in. As you complete the first quarter of the year, are you finding your stride, starting to thrive, even “Riding the Glide ©”?

Or Not?

To “glide” is to move smoothly and continuously along, as if without effort or resistance; synonymous to flow. As you consider the opportunities and challenges ahead are you relaxed or anxious? Bored or excited? Worried or feeling in control?

I believe as long as we are willing to move from apathy to action we have the opportunity to find our “glide”. When skills are allowed to come to an activity without fear then there is opportunity for “glide”. I believe we all may experience “glide” and find times of peak performance in our life when we choose to move forward with confidence and joy.

How do we find that sense of ease and belonging in our work, our relationships, our play?

I have been exploring this idea for a long time and have come to find what is true for me. My exploration has introduced me to some wonderful scholars and pioneers like Stuart Brown (in the field of Play) and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (in the field of human happiness, creativity, joy and the notion of flow). When I listen to them speak and read their work I feel connected to a larger True. I have worked with passionate leaders focused on a cause. I am also an athlete and over the years I have found many examples and analogies of how flow, and how being in the moment, may joyfully lead to peak performance; watching Michael Jordon play during his hay day in Chicago, following greats like Tom Watson or Tiger Woods on the golf course, working out with Olympic diver Greg Louganis, and today skiing with some of the best alpine enthusiast in the US in the mountains of VT.

Billie Jean King (one of my heroes as a kid) said “Pressure is a privilege” and “To play sport at the highest level you have to bring Mind, Body and Soul.” As a student athlete my coaches were able to teach me how to prepare for the pressure and how to bring mind and body into my performance. But, it was up to me to bring my soul. How did I know when I had engaged my soul? I think this is what the feeling of joy signals. I have always believed that the path to peak performance is through the love of the game, no matter the challenge or difficulty or pressure of the contest. At the moment of performance, play your game and let the joy and happy happen. Trust it, feel it, use it.

“You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – on experiencing ‘flow’ (a state of heightened focus and immersion in the activities such as art, play and work). As a successful person I bet you have experienced flow.

However, our flow, our glide, our joy, our stride can be interrupted. Blocks to our best performance, our best life, may come from external factors or come from our own energy, beliefs, interpretation, assumptions and/or attitudes. Well, we have removed blocks before and we can do it again. Success comes, innovation and creativity flourish, champions are named, when each of us chooses to remove resistance to our flow.

Today, as a coach my intention is to encourage the playful engagement of your most authentic self and raise your energy for promote peak performance and self-care. Together we can build on your own capacity to achieve success, set goals in the area of skills development and confidence building, find and remove the barriers that are creating resistance.

If you are ready to get back in the game, take your game to the next level and in the process feel more at ease, then it is time get in action. It is time to remove the fear and let your talent shine. Find the feeling of “flow” in your life and learn to “Ride the Glide ©”

 

“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game”. Michael Jordan

 

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Not Ready to Jump In

Last month I encouraged you to use the power of imagination and really explore an idea. I encouraged you to take an idea and play with it. When you came to a boundary let the spirit of play release the fear and logic and bring a bit of curiosity to new possibilities. I asked you to come to the edge of what is possible and imagine venturing out into the impossible.

How did you do?

Did you have some fun playing with the possibilities?  

Where you able to jump into your thinking? Or did you find yourself hesitating?

I am usually really good at this exercise and yet this year was different. Honestly, I found myself wondering why fear replaced my curiosity. And more importantly how was I going to get my curiosity and imagination back.

As you know I teach skiing as one of my passion activities. I had a client over MLK weekend come to the slopes and say in so many words “I have never skied, I am not an athlete, I am afraid and I want to ski so I can be with my family having fun.” I love an opportunity. We took our time and she met her goal. As we wrapped up our day on the slopes she shared how her sense of accomplish will give her joy on and off the slopes. And, when she remembers that feeling she will be able to spark many more accomplishments in her future.

There it was a possible solution to my dilemma.

What would happen if I challenged myself to take on a something completely new? What would happen if I gave myself the opportunity to learn something new, try something a bit scary? If I am able to find and reconnect to the joy of concurring a fear how would that impact my ability to work through my current impasse to really imagining all that was possible?

I have said “As a Coach I know the power of a life full of passionate playful engagement.”

It is time to engage. This February I have challenged myself to try something that is outside my comfort zone. I’ll keep you posted. If you want to join in with your own challenge or just follow along I welcome your comments and your encouragement.

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On the Eve of Something Wonderful

It is the Season to Imagine and Believe

The holidays are here, the end of the year and the start of the New Year are in our sight. Once we wrap up the last few gifts it seems we begin to put a wrap on the year and begin to think about the future.  

With a strong desire for change the start of the New Year moves many of us into action. Goals are stated, plans developed and renewed energy turns to action. For some this will be “the Year”. And yet for many this will be “just another year”.  Good intentions and well laid plans will give way to old habits and routines. Why?

Here is something to consider; those that succeed are the ones that have a very clear picture of their desired outcome. And yet, it is so easy to dash into action just to get it done. It is so easy to put that thought into a box, wrap it up and check it off the list. Only we may find later it is really not what we expected or wanted.   

“People who get what they want tend to be the ones who make the effort to know what they want” Martha Beck

Have you really explored what you want for 2012?

What idea has been catching your attention? Let yourself think about it. Expand it. Don’t limit the idea too quickly or dismiss it all together. Let yourself think yes that is it and then ask, “What would be even better?” Today it is just a thought so why not really explore the idea?

Go ahead, give it a try. Open up that idea and start mentally playing with it with the emphasis on playing. Each time you begin to think “I can’t”, let this season of belief and imagination inspire your ability to ask “What if I could?”  Release the fear and even the logic and ride a bit curiosity into new possibilities.  Take that initial spark of inspiration and with the joy of the season believe for a little longer.

“The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.” Arthur C. Clarke

You are on the Eve of something wonderful.

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Find and Stay True

As 2011 comes to completion, there is opportunity for thanksgiving and celebration, as well as reflection and preparation. As I rode home from my Thanksgiving Holiday I was listening to some wonderful jazz and thinking about the year that was and the year ahead.  My mind was dancing with thoughts of change; what had changed and what would change. I began to feel the pressure of how I was going to move through those changes.

As I listened the music transitioned into a story; a celebration. Son and poet Ellis Marsalis III read a poem he wrote reflecting on his father; jazz great Ellis Marsalis. In just six words of the verse I heard a message that spoke to the challenge I was feeling and offered guidance in how to move forward.  

The six words were these “….although the line not straight, true.” 

Now, I am not going to claim to have interpreted these words in perfect context and yet my take away was this; with integrity and flexibility bring your authentic self to each opportunity.

Fritz says in “The Path of Least Resistance” – to take active ownership in our desired outcomes our mind is most effective with a clear vision of an ideal in juxtaposition to an equally clear and non-judgmental perception of current reality.

My sense is many of us know our current reality. What is not clear is our ideal desired outcome. So this Holiday Season I am going to allow my thoughts to turn to dreams and with the Joy of the season Play with what “true” line I will follow into in 2012.

What about you?

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Find Your Road to Peak Performance and Self Care

Here in northern New England the weather the last few days has been a vivid reminder that another season is coming to an end. The pumpkins are sporting white tops and the last few orange and red leaves on the trees are coming down along with the snow. As the “leaf peepers” head home and the skiers prepare for their journeys north this winter, it is a natural time to reflect on our own travels; where the year brought us and think about how to bring it home.

What do you do as you approach the end of a road? What do you do to prepare for the next journey?

In our travels we will all come to a place where one road ends and we are asked to stop and make a choice. Life’s natural intersections are not problems to solve they are just a place to move forward from.

I came across a road sign in Carmel, CA once that perfectly marked two of my favorite roads to a happy and successful journey.

"Two roads to authentic performance and self care."

When you come to the end of your energy or your ideas or just come to the natural completion, this is the time to return to an activity that allows a detour into your intuitive self. Find, trust and take a path that will bring your journey a fresh perspective and renewed energy. When you come to that place that stops you, turn towards the activity that will promote and engage your gratitude and love of life. Refresh your spirit and your physical well being. Renewed your best and your most authentic self will then be present when you return to the challenge, the opportunity and the choice. Give yourself permission, be brave, and make the time. Do not doubt the power you gain when you allow the time to calm the mind, give thanks and accept the guidance that will come.

Which road will you take when you come to one of life’s intersections? Which road will you choose to detour from the stress, and renew your most creative authentic self before jumping back into the High Speed lane?

We will not always find clear road signs to remind us to slow down or detour just a bit. It is up to each of us to map our journey well.  The work, the challenges, the opportunities and contributions are just around the next bend.  Be willing to take a path that leads to your Joy. It is Joy that brings clarity and direction to your journey.

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A Lesson from the Road – Clearing Negative Energy

I did not know the story of his brother before that morning. I was first drawn to the beautiful work of art, and as I read the project story board, I was touched. As I looked at the carving more closely, a seashell filled with ashes that I noticed peaked my curiosity. This led me to ask a question and comment on the beautiful work.

The carver; Rick, came over and introduced himself. He answered my question, explaining how he burns sage before he begins to carve. This is done to clear the space of negative energy, and to bring peace and wisdom to his work.

I asked Rick to tell me more about what I read on the story board. He told me about how he lost his brother; more about the John T. Williams Memorial Totem Pole Project; and then he shared a bit more about his relationship with his brother, John. I offered him my condolences for the loss of his brother, and shared how I too, had recently lost a sibling — my sister, Laura. Rick listened, as I shared a bit about my sister and her wisdom. We each understood, as we spoke briefly of both the hurt, and the process, and promise, of healing. Rick spoke about how he called on the spirit of his Grandfather to have the strength and wisdom to lead with peace, finding his own healing.

The beauty of this energy is seen in both his art, and on his face. 

 

Coach Barb & Rick Williams - Seattle Waterfront

I am never disappointed when I take the time to ask, listen, and learn. Thinking about my encounter with Rick Williams reminded me to be aware of the energy that surrounds us — to acknowledge the presence of both negative, or catabolic, energy and positive, or anabolic, energy. 

How might your day change if you move away from the thoughts and emotions that drain your spirit?

What would be different if you began each day with an activity that invited joy into your day?

In the ritual of burning sage; there is a choice being made, to clear the negative energy and invite the positive. We all have the opportunity to make that choice. We all have the opportunity to find a ritual that invites a new thought; brings a new emotion; and leads our energy to new behaviors. Rather than be blocked by negative energy, or tolerate how it wears on you, make a choice. Each day give a bit of time to an activity that will shift your energy and set your positive intention?

What is your “sage burning ceremony”?

I found that when I gave it some thought, I had a few, and it was just a matter of choice as to how I would engage them.

Let’s share a few thoughts and “Play” with this idea. 

 

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