I thought I’d share this with you.
It can be found in my ever growing collection of videos on my website or YouTube that you can access for free along with so much more at www.bedo.org/freebies-and-downloads.
But for now enjoy.
Being a child of the 80s I tend to have a fondness for much of the music of that era. While I was running (still a new experinece for me) I was listening to Pandora (my favorite running companion) and Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” from the Purple Rain soundtrack came on.
Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today
To get through this thing called life
Electric word life it means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you there’s something else
The afterworld, a world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night
So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one Dr. Everything’ll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left?
Ask him how much of your mind, baby
‘Cause in this life things are much harder than in the afterworld
This life you’re on your own
And if the elevator tries to bring you down
Go crazy punch a higher floor
Now, growing up, i thought I knew this song, but looking back, I missed the deeper meaning. It’s about living your life to the fullest, take it all now because this is all we have.
And then I reheard those lyrics, “And if the elevator tries to break you down, go crazy… punch a higher floor.” and I got it.
Failure. Disappointment. Obstacles. Life.
Elevators only go up or down, and if the elevator is breaking down, you’re certainly not going up.
Go crazy. Don’t just sit there and let it run you down. Step out of the box. Go nuts. And punch a higher floor. Go for it. Reach even higher. Now is not the time to play it safe, it’s time to reach farther and bigger than ever before.
Back in the spring I had finally got the report that I had not passed my MCC exam. I was upset, frustrated (to be honest, even a bit pissed) and very discouraged. And of course I had a few days of letting the elevator bring me down, but I quickly got back on my feet and reached for something even bigger and higher. I wasn’t about to let that stop me. And I achieved exciting things and created new partnerships and have had the best year in my coaching so far… even after that tragic failure and downfall.
Of course I tried again, and I’ll continue to reach for that level and eventually achieve it. But you and I know that I’m actually punching a higher floor than just an MCC.
Care to come with me?
Then let’s go crazy together.
Let’s take a few moments to learn life lessons from my sweet and nutty beagle, Ivy.
You see, being a beagle, Ivy loves to chase rabbits. It’s her blessing and good fortune that we live right next to an empty lot where bunnies flock. Sometimes if she’s lucky, one will creep into our yard. When that happens, she’s off like a rocket, pursuing her fluffy-tailed foe. At least until it manages to slip through our fence and all she can do is stare longingly through the boards at the “one that got away.”
And when we’re out for a walk, who knows what bunny, or even a squirrel, may cross her path. In a split second, she’s exerting every ounce of power to overtake her prey. There’s only one problem. She’s restrained by the leash.
This frustrates her to no end. She keeps pulling and pulling, until she’s up on her hind legs like a merecat, straining at the leash, desperate to break free.
She wants that rabbit so badly, she can almost taste it. And yet, she can’t break free from this strange restraint that prevents her from moving forward and obtaining her goal. She pulls so hard sometimes that the leash starts to tug on her throat and she starts to cough uncomfortably.
Through all this, the bunny doesn’t move. It just remains motionless, staring at her, waiting to see if she’ll get any closer.
Finally, the little hasenpfeffer hops away to safety, increasing the urgency in Ivy. “Quick! It’s getting away! I got to get it NOW!”
And yet, no matter how much she wants it, she doesn’t get any closer.
It’s like how we are with our own desires and goals. We want something badly in our lives, and we make efforts to get it, but there’s something that holds us back. Sometimes we can’t see what that is, and that frustrates us even more. We pull and strain, sometimes even making it uncomfortable for ourselves, but nothing happens.
Where we differ from Ivy is that we have the ability to discover the leash that’s holding us back. We can actually explore ways to undo its grasp that is has on us. That’s one of the beautiful gifts of coaching, the ability to discover what is really holding us back from not only moving forward, but catching the prize and sinking out teeth into that soft furry flesh of fulfillment… Sorry, perhaps that’s a little extreme in the metaphor department. But you get the idea.
We have the power to uncover and change our limitations.
Ivy can’t do that. Sure she can look at me with those sweet soft brown eyes, now fire red with bloodlust-aw, it’s so sweet-but it doesn’t get her any closer to her goal.
Finally, the rabbit runs away to safety. The urgency in Ivy has passed, and she has lost interest and is more concerned with sniffing around on the ground.
At least until the next tantalizing opportunity arises.
“Aren’t you worried about your exam?”
Nope. I’m confident I will pass, and I figure if I don’t, then there’s something important to learn.
I had that conversation six years ago at an ICF conference. I had already long past achieved my PCC status and was well on my way to logging hours to complete my requirements for MCC.
Not only that, but I was the teacher of coaches—I knew this coaching stuff solid (at least back then I thought I did. Looking back now I realize that perhaps my ignorance was bliss).
Perhaps this sounds like ego talking (and maybe there was a little involved) but there was also deep confidence. You see, I had already gone through the gauntlet of failing a coaching exam. A tale that was as sordid and brutal as any Grimm Fairy Tale, any Hunger Games book, as dark and twisted as a Steven King novel… ok, perhaps not that much. But at the time it was pretty bad. In fact, it was the only time I truly thought of giving up coaching. In truth, I actually had given it up… but for one last thing.
Anyway, that’s another story which you can read it here in all it’s PDF splendor
It’s packed with wonderful learning and in the end, although it was painful and frustrating in the process, it ended up being an invaluable experience—one that continues to still, many years later, provide me with powerful lessons to remember, pass along to other coaches, and unpack new ones.
But it’s particularly important for this story for a few reasons.
BONUS: I was able to transform that experience to benefit other coaches, thus not only passing it on, but reinforcing it within myself.
And as the years went by, I continued to explore and deepen my coaching in exciting and fun ways. I knew more and more with each passing month. I continued to hone my skills and shared all that learning with my clients (coaches) as well as fellow coaches I engaged with. (And the more you share, the more it grows, right?)
Looking back to that conversation at the conference those years ago, I suppose my devil-may-care response to that very frustrated and irritated coach might have looked like it was full of overinflated ego, (well, as I said, maybe a little, born of innocence and ignorance) but it was really just simply confidence (perhaps also born of innocence and ignorance). I knew that the bar had been raised, but I also knew that whatever it was that was asked of me, I could handle it. The change in credentialing policy and procedure didn’t intimidate me, it called me forth. It challenged me and I willingly accepted it. After all, I didn’t want this to be too easy.
You see, at the time, the ICF had noticed that the credential of MCC was losing its credibility. There were coaches who were MCC but weren’t displaying the level of skill and competency that would be expected of a Master Certified Coach. Time was you simple fulfilled your requirements of hours and experience and made your submission and that’s that. You were an MCC.
A Master Certified Coach. And all it took was just logging enough hours to show you’d been doing this a long time. With the assumption that if you had been coaching for a long time, then you certainly must be a Master Coach by then.
That was the theory, I guess.
I don’t mean to discredit those early MCC coaches. On the contrary I’ve engaged with some incredible and truly Masterful coaches, but there were also many who hadn’t been truly tested of their merit, skill and competency.
The ICF recognized this little discrepancy and made some changes in the requirements to make it harder, including ALL coaches would have to go through an exam, as with the other levels, but of course because this was the highest credential, the bar would be much higher. As a result, what was once relatively easy to achieve suddenly swung the pendulum the other way to a 90% failure rate.
Ah, I would think to myself, if only I had gotten there sooner, I would just need to submit my hours like I did for my PCC and then I’d be in. No exam, no testing, no having to prove my worth. Those were the good old days.
But I welcomed the change. Because I knew that this was going to be hard. It was supposed to be challenging. If anyone was going to be considered a Master at something, then they need to really be solid and strong. More than just a load of experience.
A Black Belt in the martial arts have to go through a test. It makes sense here, too.
Many coaches, I suspected, weren’t ready for it.
I was. True, I had only been coaching for 5 years, but I already felt I could DO what was requested of me. The only thing that was holding me back was the fact that I didn’t have enough hours accrued yet.
So with that in mind, along with the new rules and requirements, I began to devise some expectations and assumptions.
This seems perfectly natural, doesn’t it? I mean, take a look at where you are now in your life—your coaching career, your business, whatever. And look at that next thing that you want to achieve.
Your only frame of reference of whether or not it’s possible is the information that you currently have at your access.
This of course works against us, too, right? We have a design to accomplish something and realize (or feel) that we are currently not at that level, and then we determine automatically that obtaining it is impossible.
For me, this was the opposite. I clearly saw it in my sights. I already had a feeling of just how possible it was. And I had racked up enough personal proof to suggest that this was entirely doable.
And so I set myself on a plan to move faster there. I was five years into my coaching career and I was confident I would get that MCC before I hit my 10 year mark. But I had to start NOW.
And so start I did.
Convinced that when the time came I would either pass easily, or if I didn’t, I would graciously accept the experience and chalk it up to more great learning.
Little did I know what experiences awaited me.
You know, they say that it’s the journey, not the end destination, where all the important stuff lies. Heck, I did not realize just how true that was.
This is #2 of my 17-part journey in becoming an MCC.
The successes, the failures, the challenges, the steps I took and all that other stuff in between.
Plus get TONS of other stuff to help your coaching grow.
I recalled stepping into my first weekend of coach training. Like everyone else, I was new to the coaching world. We all went around the circle introducing ourselves—saying something to the effect of, “Hi, I’m Ben, and I’m really excited about becoming a coach. It turns out I’ve been coaching all my life in one form or another and this is such a perfect fit. I know my purpose and passion now and I’m fully committed to this new course in my life.”
Something like that. Perhaps it sounds familiar, like you said it yourself or you heard others say it.
It’s ok, we all say things like that when we’re stepping into something new and exciting—especially when it “feels right”.
On the final day of that first weekend, we had what was called an “open brown bag” conversation where we could ask our instructors anything about coaching and the topic of credentials and the ICF came up.
They explained about the three levels of credentials and that ACC would be similar to what we would get from our Certification course should we continue. And then there was this level called MCC.
Something in me sparked to awakening. It would take me the next 10 years to discover that it was my Inner Master Coach coming to life. It was he who spoke—ever so softly that I could barely hear it—saying, “Yes.”
I perhaps should preface this by saying that before I had discovered coaching I had spent nearly 18 years prior as a “working” actor in Chicago. I say “working” because although I kept getting hired and cast for things, I could see others in my circles getting much more work. Actors who were no better than I was, talent and skill-wise, and some who even were not as skilled, were making decent money. And I knew exactly why. I watched them treat their acting as a full business. They took on their marketing, they immersed themselves in their branding, they continually reinvented themselves, they spent whatever they could to reinvest in themselves—either in their business or in their training and skill development, or both. And while I certainly wasn’t against doing any of that, I didn’t have the powerful and consistently active drive to keep getting bigger and better.
I was content with doing the rounds, taking a class perhaps from time to time, and waiting for my agent to do all the work for me and then call me when auditions or jobs came up. Which they did… from time to time.
It was enough to sustain… barely.
So I was always forced (like so many other actors and artists) to take a “day job”. And then stuck in the dilemma of finding a job that wasn’t mind numbing, but would also offer the flexibility of being able to do the “acting thing.”
Bottom line, I knew that if I was going to succeed I needed to treat my acting as a real business, rather than a nice money-making hobby, which is more what I was really doing.
So it was in that Sunday circle when I had what you might call an epiphany. At least it was for me.
Here I was stepping out of the aimless wandering of acting and stepping into what could easily be more aimless wandering. If I wasn’t careful I was going to spend the next 10 years of doing exactly what I had done in acting, but in coaching.
Don’t get me wrong, I had some pretty decent success. I’ve done just about any type of acting job that’s out there (except Major Motion pictures—and even then I’m all over the background in “Rookie of the Year”. I’m the guy in the stands in the Batman shirt when everyone is chanting “Throw it back!”—pretty easy to spot when you know what to look for—but that’s a metaphor for another post) but nothing that was sustainable. Nothing that felt like, “Yeah, I’ve got myself really established and set in.” Nothing that would indicate I was really playing a big game. And here I was, getting ready to do it all over again, just changing the title on the outgoing voice mail.
The bigger irony was that I was likely investing several thousand dollars to wander aimlessly in this new place, pretending to call myself a coach and not really committing—just like my acting career. Sure, I’d get clients here and there, perhaps enough to make it feel like I was doing ok, and not low enough to give it up. Same trap, different label. I knew that if I was going to do this thing called coaching, and if I was going to be true to those words that I said earlier that week of “This is my new direction and purpose,” I was going to have to step out of that comfort zone and learn how to treat this like the business that it was.
That meant two things.
It was really perhaps my first “coaching experience” where I was truly impacted me in a deep and profound way (there have been many others since, but let’s be honest, a lot of that early coaching is more about learning the skills and tools, and while we experience change in the moment, or rather the opportunity and inspiration of change, those insights rarely last. But this one was different. I knew when I heard those letters and what they represented, that if I was to really be serious in this coaching world, I needed to achieve that status.
Not that being an MCC would instantly be the solution or final stage. I knew that I might not ever achieve it. After all, they reminded us all, it stands for Master Certified Coach.
But I knew that I needed to give my everything to try. I can’t explain it any more than that. It wasn’t about vanity, it wasn’t about some sort of vainglorious hope that if I reached that status then I would automatically be pulling in millions of dollars. But it was still important. Personally.
Of course there were just a few things I had to accomplish first—like my first weekend of training, getting clients, getting experience, getting money, getting certified at the basic level, grow my business, become more powerful and skilled, do more training, get more hours of experience, get my PCC credential, then coach for a really long time to get more hours of experience and training and then…
I would get my MCC.
I didn’t clearly realize it at the time, but it was this powerful and personal vision that kept me moving. Every now and then I would reconnect with what I wanted, and more importantly, why I wanted it, and that would fuel me to keep moving forward, keep tracking my hours and accomplishing all my smaller goals—step by step.
And so my journey began.
(This is just the beginning of an amazing #17 part roller coaster ride. Follow the saga. Discover insights, learn from my experience, utilize everything here to help you grow your own coaching, whether you pursue this direction or something else. And it all can be found here.
So… what was the lesson you got from this?
When you embark upon something new, something big, something possibly scary, overwhelming and “oh crap”, it’s critical to look at a few important things.
A) What makes this important to you? Trust me, that’s going to come in handy later on.
B) What’s the vision or dream? Yeah, this is going to be pretty important, too, later on.
C) What will it be like if you don’t do this important work? In other words, i knew that if I didn’t approach this whole thing differently, it would likely be the same overall experience as my acting.–fun, fulfilling (to a degree) but not truly realized. This also begins to reveal our own personal habits, strengths and weaknesses, fears and concerns and all that stuff that would likely come in if not checked.)
D) Follow your own words. There’s going to be so much about this and the other things and so much more to come in the following chapters, but it all bears repeating. In this case, we need to honor our words. Our coaching tools, distinctions, models, core foundations principles and all that stuff is there for a reason. And if we’re not going to use our own product, then we’re going to have a really hard time selling it with confidence.
It’s more than just knowing this coaching stuff works, it’s truly KNOWING it works.
And it can ONLY WORK if we actually DO it.
So pick something that you want to create, achieve, build, grow or realize. (Mine currently is to create a membership platform where 10,000 coaches can access all of these posts, audio recordings, video lessons, master classes and cutting-edge webinars, and YOU’RE INVITED to join in on the Free Access to Great Stuff level. Check it out and get all the Great stuff.)
When I was going through my early stages of coach training, I was convinced that it was me. In fact, in my Supervision calls in Certification, I got a rating of a “1”. This is when the Supervisor and I would listen to one of my coaching calls that I did with one of my clients, and then we’d evaluate it together.
I can tell you, it was horrible. I loved the Supervision part of Certification because it was a great place for me to learn, and after having brought some difficult calls to the sessions, I decided on that one because I felt that I had done some fantastic coaching and was ready for a little pick-me-up and affirmation. Yet, when I listened to it again with the supervisor, I realized that had done everything wrong with my client. I coached the saboteur, I was so stuck in my head and trying to solve the problem. Let’s see, what else? I certainly didn’t pick a principle, there was absolutely no listening, curiosity, or intuition. And self-management? Puh-leaze!
When it came time for the scoring, I actually gave myself a “0”. The kind and generous Supervisor gave me a “1”, only because it didn’t seem that the client was worse off by the end of the call. In other words, at least I didn’t damage them. (Comforting thought it was.)
So after that experience, I was convinced that I was the “Worst Coach In The World.” And in fact, I was convinced that no one would be able to take that title away from me. Oh sure, there were other coaches who said they were the worst, but they couldn’t hold a candle to my incredible ineptitude. On top of all that, my Saboteur was very proud of this achievement and missed no opportunity to remind me of my coaching status, placing my awards high up on the mantle, polishing them every day, like a proud parent, “Look at that. My boy. The worst coach in the world! Not every Saboteur can brag about that.”
And it didn’t end there. In fact, I received my second gold medal of “Worst Coach in the World” when I took my exam. I didn’t just fail, I FAILED!!!! Again, the saving grace in my feedback was that I at least hadn’t damaged the client. (It’s not every coaching session where the client actually stops the coach and tells the coach what to do because the coach is completely somewhere else and doing anything but coaching.)
And every time after that when I offered my coaching, I secretly new that it was just setting myself up for another refusal to come, because of course they had to have known about my trophies. They could probably see my crown. I imagined that total strangers would be phoning each other in the middle of the night to warn unsuspecting victims to not fall prey to the “Worst Coach in the World” when I called to offer my coaching. And if they did accept, then it was at their own risk and they would eventually find out that I was a fraud, a sham.
However, strangely enough, time passed. And somehow, after a period of time I seemed to have misplaced my trophy. The luster and novelty of it all had worn and my Saboteur seemed to have forgotten it’s gloating pride. I began to realize that not only was no longer the reigning champion of coaching sucktitude, I was actually pretty good at this stuff. And in fact, getting better all the time. I was accumulating proof, not of my poor skill, but of my powerful impact.
What’s even funnier is that because I now coach coaches, I keep running into coaches all the time who claim to be the reining king or queen or coaching misery.
So I’m wondering. Who is it now? Where has the title gone to?
Perhaps you think it’s you. But remember, there can only be one “Worst” so perhaps you’re mistaken. Maybe you are super sucky, you’re part of the royal family of crappy coaching, but you’re not the Worst.
In fact, I challenge you to write down 10 coaching successes. 10. Anyone can do ten. Even if you fell asleep in Fundamentals you can come up with 10.
And if you can come up with 10, then you can easily expand that to 100 in time, and then more and more. And if that’s the case, then there’s still hope for you yet.
Perhaps you can sell your trophy to the next “Worst Coach in the World” on Ebay.
A while back, I went in to Cleveland to celebrate not only Thanksgiving with the family, but my 40th birthday. I had commented to my wife that I really miss BertmanIOriginal Ballpark stadium mustard that I can only get there. (It’s awesome… some of the best mustard I’ve ever had. I know, how can you compete with childhood memories. But truly, and I really mean this… it’s awesome stuff.)
Unbeknownst to me, my darling bride had contacted all the guests coming to the party and suggested that they bring mustard. And they did. By the end of the party, I had accumulated 6 individual bottles of mustard, not counting the additional bottle that I had bought for myself earlier. Now, I’m loaded with 7 bottles of awesome mustard… all because I simply asked for it. Of course, the other thing to point out is that I didn’t just ask and then sit back and wait for the magical gifts to come pouring in. I went out and took action myself.
Looking at it from a “Law of Attraction” way, the Universe saw me requesting in conjunction with being committed to acquiring my desire, and said,
“Mustard? Sure. Here you go,” and handed me the condimental motherload.
Basically, the lesson to remember is… If you want it, first you have to ask for it (and you never know who might be listening and be in a position to either say “yes” or spread the word.) and then make the steps and the commitment to go out and get it yourself.
So that said, as this is in the beginning of this book, and therefore a great symbol for “new beginnings”, I call upon you (dear reader) to declare one thing that you want right now. Make it really clear and specific, and “Ask for it”. Also determine what action(s) you are willing to take to achieve it. Tell at least 10 people what you are wanting and what you will do to get it, and then go out there and start getting into action.
To give you all another clear example of what I’m talking about, when my client load is getting low, I make a declaration to myself and to my wife and my own coach. Something like:
“I, Ben Dooley, CPCC, PCC* coach to Coaches success, declare that by (pick a date) I will have two new full paying clients who are ready to work with me and get amazing results in their coaching development and learning.”
Then, (and this is the important part) I get into action to find them so that I can make it happen. Just sitting back and waiting for it to come just cause you asked for it is kind of lazy. And just going off into action without asking for it is reckless. But combined together, the two work powerfully, much like a hot dog nestled in a bun… with some delicious Stadium mustard.
*(Yeah, I’m now an MCC)
FOLLOW UP ADDENDUM: Since then, we’ve discovered that you can also get it online, too. http://bertmanballparkmustard.com/
Get some for yourself and you’ll see what I mean. And if you’re feeling very grateful for this blog post and you want to find some way to say thanks… Just throwing out a suggestion of where you could send a bottle.)
OK, how many of us are having coaching calls and they aren’t feeling like they’re connecting with our Values? There’s no sense of excitement, play, acknowledgement, discovery, etc…? And as we all know, if our Values aren’t being stimulated, then where is our aliveness?
So look at it this way.
Let’s say you’re going to a party, and you love potato salad (just go with me on this one, okay?). I mean, every time you have potato salad your tummy twirls with delight. In fact, you go to every party desperately hoping against hope that there will be potato salad for you to consume with passion.
The trouble is, sometimes there is potato salad… and sometimes there’s not. Apparently, not everyone thinks to provide potato salad for their guests. (Heathens.)
“What are they thinking?” you might say. “Don’t they know how wonderful potato salad is? What’s wrong with them? Or maybe they don’t want me to have potato salad. Maybe they’re holding out on me.”
Or perhaps they have their own plan as to what is needed at their parties.
And who are you to tell them what they should and should have at their party? However, you really want to go to the party, but you have no way of knowing if they’re planning on serving potato salad.
What are you going to do?
How are you going to guarantee that potato salad will be there at the party?
Well, it’s pretty simple. If you really want potato salad—I mean, really, really, really want it—then the only way to guarantee it will be at the party for you to enjoy is… (can you guess what the solution is? Go ahead, take a guess) …that’s right, to bring it yourself. Stop at the store on the way and purchase a tub of your own. Or make some of your own the night before.
This way, not only will you have your deeply coveted potato salad, but others will most likely be there who will enjoy your potato salad, and in fact, be so inclined to bring their own next time to share with you.
So going back to your values, the best way to insure that you’ll have those elements that you desire in your coaching is (come on, take a guess)… that’s right… to bring them to the call yourself.
Most often we fall into the trap of waiting for the client to bring our values into the call, like somehow it’s their responsibility to bring connection and energy and abundance and whatever our values are to the call. What we fail to realize is the simple fact that they are our values, not the client’s. They’re having enough of a time trying to connect with their own values than to be responsible for providing you with yours.
Of course, continue to follow the client’s agenda, give them what they need, but by using your Values to do so, you’re actually showing up more fully for your client. If you want acknowledgement in your coaching, then acknowledge your client. If you’re wanting playfulness, then play with your client. If you’re wanting risk taking, then… well, you get the idea. In other words, YOU make the first move, and invite your client to join you.
And not just with your clients. How about all your other relationships? You want your mother to respect you? Try respecting her—really respecting her, without expectations. That means, that you’re not going through the motions of respecting her so that she’ll get the point and return the favor. It’s about truly giving up expecting it from her, cause chances are it won’t show up. Just like the potato salad, if you want it, you’ve got to bring it. And then it’ll be there for you to enjoy.
So give it a try. Give your Values away.
You just might be surprised at what you get in return.