The other day I was talking with a client, and she uttered the dreadful “B-word.”

I almost collapsed in shock and horror.

I mean, when we Designed our Alliance, we covered language considerations–and we built in permission for the occasional “S-word” that may pop out from time to time, and even the “F-word” here and there.  But I was completely unprepared for the stinging damage of the dreaded “B-word.”

Of course, it’s much worse than all the other “[letter]-words” out there.  So much worse.  It’s the grand-daddy of them all.  A word so deadly, because it sounds so innocent and harmless, and yet every time it escapes past someone’s lips, irrevocable damage is created.  I’m talking about a word that can, in an instant, erase any sense of hope, self-esteem, possibility, value, praise, acknowledgement, connection, and love.

It is the gremlin/saboteur’s favorite word.  It uses it mercilessly and without care as to what Values are diminished.

How many times have you longed for the phrase, “I love you,” only to have it quickly followed by “BUT…”?

What about the numbing impact of, “I’m sorry, BUT…” or. “You did a great job, BUT…”, or, “You are the most beautiful, wonderful, talented, amazing human being in the world, BUT…” And what about what we say to ourselves?  Things like, “I did a great job, BUT…”, or “”I’m confident and powerful, I am loved, I am good, BUT…”

Oh the pain, the pain.

In fact, no matter how wonderful and heartfelt those first words are, no matter how much detail and proof and power supports them, they are all instantly eradicated with the crushing blow of one simple word.


And whatever phrase follows continues to forage a path of fear, ego, domination, control, and disconnection.  It kills instantly whatever words of love and gratitude existed for that brief moment, and all that’s left in the wake is blame, resentment, embarrassment, shame, anger, sorrow, and pain.

My friends, the time is at hand.  Stop the spread of this evil word before it’s too late.  I encourage each and every one of you coaches out there to join in this campaign and work relentlessly with each and every one of your clients to erase this heinous word for their vocabulary, before any further destruction occurs.

In fact, I challenge you all to take on playing the “BUT” game.  Have a partner (your coach, your client, your spouse, family member, friend, co-worker… anyone that you care enough to create positive connection with) and place each other on strict scrutiny.  Give them $1 for every “But” the is uttered.

Then, practice converting each “BUT” into an “AND” until every “BUT” is eliminated from our vocabulary.  Then, and only then, will we truly have the chance to grow and thrive.

BUT… you already knew to do this, right?


“Who holds the title now for “The Worst Coach in the World?”

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.


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


How I gloriously failed my first coach certification exam, and lived to tell the tale.

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.

  1. A) At the time, even though I had failed, I had gotten tremendous support and insightful feedback.
  2. B) I had firsthand experience of failure in coaching, and then grew from it.

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.

  1. A) I already was a great coach. All my clients (of whom most were coaches themselves) told me. And I knew it from my own experience.
  2. B) The exam would be no different than what I had done before, only they were looking at it more closely.
  3. C) My style was out of the box, creative, non-linear at times. Exactly what they were likely looking for.
  4. D) Whatever happened, I knew I could handle it.


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.

  • What others are saying, what’s in the outside world that is coming to you. In this case, the stories that other coaches were sharing about rumors they had heard (I had yet to actually hear from anyone who had taken this new exam requirement) and also what my clients were telling me about their experience of my coaching.
  • What we make up, think of, choose to remember, feel and believe. In this case, I was pretty proud of my coaching and my knowledge and depth of what I had discovered about this craft and how I was passing it along to others.  And when I would come across any outside sources about coaching, they would only confirm what I already knew and practiced.

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.

101 Successes

Working with my Gremlins/Saboteurs can be quite tiring.  It seems that every time I turn around, they’ve got some “reason” or other as to why I shouldn’t do something–I don’t deserve it, I’m not good enough, it won’t work.  Their beating can be quite relentless, where it seems sometimes that the only reality is the one that they show.

All the elements of my past where I failed, and fell down, where my ideas bombed, or others didn’t appreciate, where I wasn’t good enough, or any other event (some even made up) are thrown in my face to support their argument that I’m not worthy.

It feels like every time I try to do something positive and move forward, they whip out this scroll (and it’s a long one) that contains each and every failure in my life.  And did I mention it’s a loooooooong list?

So I’ve decided to create my own list.

It contains 101 of my successes that I can refer to at a moment’s notice.

Finally, I have pure proof that “I can do it” and “I am good enough.”  It says so right here on line 63.

And lines 44 to 56 are all ideas that I had that actually did get completed and came true, and not only that, but lines 72 to 77 clearly list my actions that created a contribution and benefit to others as well.

Oh, and here on line 17, I listed my clients… all the coaches I’ve worked with and helped them strengthen their skills and become stronger and more confident so they can help their clients (there’s that ripple effect that i so love)

And then there’s all my friends… instead of itemizing, I just put them all in line 39   (I always go to the line from “It’s a Wonderful Life.”?  “Remember: No man is a failure who has friends.”)

So let that be a special gift to yourself… a list of your 101 accomplishments, successes, and things you have been and done that you are proud of.  They can be big things, small things, generous things, selfish things, it can be skills and qualities, ideas, actions, reactions, heck, I don’t care, as long as it is something that you can think about you and your past that makes you smile.

Think you can do it?  Great.  Go for it.  And have fun.

Don’t think you can come up with 101?

Well, look at it this way.  If you’re 30 years old, that means that you’ve been alive for about 11,000 days.  That translates to almost 263,000 hours, or 15,768,000 minutes, or just under one billion seconds of your life.  And that’s just for the 30 year olds.

So out of an average of one billion seconds in your life (give or take), you’re trying to convince me that you can’t find 101 things to celebrate?  You’ve got to be kidding!!!

Give it a try now.

You’ll be amazed at what you discover about yourself.

“Everything I needed to know about Marketing I learned from J.C. Penny’s”

I have the most notorious luck with pants.  Invariably, I can’t last a week with a new pair before there is some sort of unfortunate stain embedded into the fibers—ink, wine, hot sauce, curry, you name it, it’s probably been on my pants.

So I end up going to J.C. Penny’s often to restock my lower garments.  In the process, I’ve noticed a few things about my experience.

A)    The minute I walk in the department, there is usually someone there to greet me.  The result?  I feel welcome.  I’m not alone in this struggle to maintain my wardrobe.  There is someone else there to help me.  I know this because she instantly says…

B)     Can I help you?

If I say “no”, she simply smiles and lets me know that she’s right over at the register, and if I need any help, just come and ask.  If I need any help?  That’s comforting to know.

But if I say “yes”, she moves on to the next step.

C)    She asks me what is it that I’m looking for.  Now the obvious answer is that I’m looking for pants.  I’m in the pants section, I’m surrounded by pants, what do you think?  But she’s really interested in beyond that—like, what kind of pants?  Jeans, Khakis, dress slacks?  These types of questions help us to narrow the field.

D)    She then asks me what I’m buying them for.  Again, the obvious answer is because my knees get cold if I don’t wear pants.  Of course all she’s really trying to do is clarify the situation even further so she then will know exactly how to help me.  So I reply that I’m looking to replace my pair of khakis that got horribly stained with a permanent marker (pretending to play Pictionary, no less. What’s even more embarrassing is that these are specially “stain-resistant” pants, and I still ruined them).  I’m needing a nice casual pair that I can wear when I’m meeting with clients or out to dinner with friends.

E)     She then follows up by wanting to know specifics, like color, size, and particular cut.  All of these simple questions take very little time, but in just a few moments she knows exactly how to handle the situation and point me to exactly what I’m needing.

F)     The only thing that’s left is to try it on and see how it fits.  It’s really at this point that I’ll decide if I’m making a purchase.  That moment of looking in the mirror and seeing myself decked out in a pair of crisp clean brand new pants that are exactly what I was wanting, and perhaps even better than what I was expecting, creates an emotion.  I look good.  I feel good.  I want to continue this good look and good feeling after I leave the store.  I want people to look at me on the street and say, “Dag, look at those bright, crisp and clean pants.  He looks good.”  And with that emotional surge of what’s possible for me with these perfect pants, I quickly make my way to the register to pay my money.


Now, imagine that instead of being at J.C. Penny’s, it’s on your phone.  And instead of the sales lady, it’s you greeting the customer, and instead of pants that are involved in the potential purchase, it’s your coaching.  And the customer has just “walked” into your “store” to buy a pair of “pants” that they are needing.

You have three options.

1) Let them wander around the store, and hopefully they’ll find what they’re looking for and go buy it themselves and you won’t have to be bothered.

2) Grab the first pair you see and try to stuff them into it.

3) Ask questions.  Get curious.  Find out exactly what it is that they’re looking for.  What is the problem that they’re struggling with?  What will it “look like in the mirror” when they have “found the right pair of pants.”  Make sure that by the end of the call, you know what specifically “size” “color” “cut” “fabric” “and intention” requirements your customer has for your “pants”.

And by pants, I mean your coaching.


And then send them off to the “register” to make their purchase.


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.


No, try not! Do or not do, there is no try”

-master Jedi Yoda.

from “The Empire Strikes Back.” (1980)

Master Yoda’s got something there.  What’s the point of attempting something if you’re not going to set out to do your best?  If you’re going to commit to something, then really commit to it.  Give your best effort with the intention and anticipation of completing with overwhelming success.  Otherwise, trying is just failing with dignity.  You know, “well, I tried.”   Trying allows a wide open loophole for you to slack off and do just enough to look good.

He also challenges those who doubt themselves with the lovely phrase, “Judge me by my size?” and then proceeds to do something amazing.  It’s such a brilliant choice that the one to utter these words is the same one who is the most powerful Jedi in the universe.  He can raise spaceships, and lift giant ton machinery, and is a brilliant strategist, and can wield a lightsaber with blinding and dizzying speed.  And yet, he’s small, old (800 years), and seemingly frail, needing an old wooden cane to walk about.

But when his young apprentice believes that he can’t do something because it is too big, Master Yoda takes the challenge and demonstrates the power of truly committing to one’s task by raising Luke’s spaceship out of a swamp.

Stunned, disbelieving, Luck utters, “I don’t believe it.”

And his master replies solemnly, “That is why you fail.”

How does this apply to your coaching?  You gotta be kidding me.  It’s has everything to do with it.  Only be truly believing that not only can you succeed, but you will succeed.  Focus clearly on what it is that you want to accomplish and set about to do it.  No matter what the size, if you are truly committed, with every belief that it can and will happen, then it invariably will.

It may not happen the specific way that you want it to go, but if you “use the force” and focus all your attention and energy to accomplishing your goal, you will succeed.

So take it on now, my young Padawan.  Pick one thing that you want to accomplish.  And then DO it.  Don’t just settle for try.



“Values are just like potato chips…

…once you have a taste, you have to have the whole bag.”

It’s really just that simple, isn’t it?

I mean, think about it.  We love our Values.  They’re the experiences and qualities that we have to have in our lives in order for us to feel alive, fulfilled, full of possibility and hope.  When we’re connected to our Values, we are inspired, energized, activated.  And who wouldn’t want more of that?

For me, one of my big Values is helping others learn and grow, and when I get to do that, even a little bit, it’s like I just stuck my finger in an electric socket.  I feel charged, and I want more.  Not only that, but we begin to learn ways to connect with those values so that we can easily repeat the process.  It’s the law of cause and effect.  If I DO this, then I’ll BE that.  Or specifically speaking in my case, “If I DO my newsletter, then I’ll BE helping others learn and grow.”  And I like that.  It feeds me to do more, so that I can get more connection with my wonderful and delicious Values.

Hence the whole ‘potato chip” metaphor.

Next time you’re at a party, I dare you to have just one single chip and not want more.  True, you may be able to resist or deny yourself actually taking more, but you’re still gonna want it.

The same is true with our Values.  We’ll get a taste of our Values, but then there’s something inside that says “you know, you really shouldn’t have them.” Or “who are you to do this and connect with your Values,” which is the same as that voice that says, “You know potato chips are fattening and bad for you.  You should stay away.”

Well, I suppose it’s true in some ways, that Values do fatten us up as well.  But it’s the good kind of fat.  It’s the kind that makes our lives fuller, richer, larger and more energized.  I don’t know about you, but I would love to have a fat life, packed full of those potato chip Values.

Just stay away from the dip.  That’s where the real trouble lies.

“Gremlin Poker”

Sometimes it seems as though we’re playing this big poker game with our Gremlin or Saboteur.

Now, think about it for a minute.

“Hm… I think I’ll bet that I want to start a coaching career.”

“Yeah?  Well I’ll see your coaching career, and raise you a Who do you think you are?”

“Okay.  I’ll see that, and raise you an I’ve got excellent training and I’m confident in my skill.”

“Really.  So you think you’re tough, huh?  Well, how about we throw in a You don’t know how to really build a business?  And I’ll even throw in a You can’t get your own life straight, who’ll want you as a coach? to boot. What do you say about that?”

Hm.  That’s a pretty big bet all right.  Well played.

“What’s the matter, the stakes too big for you?  Ready to fold?”

“Fold?  Sorry, not this easily.  Not while I have a decent list of clients are all seem to be getting great value working with me.”

“So you think.  Maybe they’re not telling you the truth.”

“Ooh.  Low blow.  So are you calling me?  You think I’m bluffing?”

“Yeah, I think you’re bluffing.  I’m going all in.  I don’t think you got what it takes to be a coach and I’m tossing in everything I’ve got at you.  You can’t possibly match me.  You have got to be kidding yourself.  You’ve been doing this how long?  And you only have how many clients?  And you’re only making how much?  And what about the bills?  You’ll never succeed enough to quit your other job, and you’ll never be able to succeed until you quit your day job.  You’re stuck.  Meanwhile you have to waste all that money on those classes and your own coach and if you really look at it, you haven’t really gotten anywhere except spent some time playing this silly fantasy and really not making a difference.  I mean, if you were really that good, you’d already have a full practice, wouldn’t you?” There.  All in.  What do you say now?

“Well… I say you bring up some pretty strong points there.  And I must admit, I almost tossed in my cards and let you win.  But you forgot one thing.  I got an ace up my sleeve.  And that Ace is that I’m passionately drawn to this work.  I love my classes, I love my clients, I love learning, and I love coaching.  My core Values are being expressed and when I’m connected to my coaching, I feel alive.  Sure the money isn’t there now, but it doesn’t mean it’ll always be that way.  And sure my client load is down, but as I continue to grow and put myself out there with confidence, more will come.  There are millions of people out there who are hungry for a change, and are needing someone to help them discover powerful and fulfilling lives.”

“Who?  Someone like you?”

“Yeah.  Someone like me.  What’s the matter?  Is that a little sweat I see?  Could it be that you’re getting desperate.   Perhaps you know you got nothing and I’ve got the winning hand.  And every day, I’m getting stronger and more skilled, both as a coach and in my life.  You can bring up the past all you want (and what you think is the truth), but it’s only because you can see the future, and you’re scared, because there’s no place for you and your smallness there. 

But I can see my future self who knows the struggles and successes.  I can see my visions and dreams all coming true because I made them.  And I know I can achieve my success and fulfillment, and there’s really nothing that can stop me.  Not you, not my fears, not anyone, unless I toss in my cards myself and give up the hand.  And I will never do that, because I have people who love me, need me, and believe in me.

So, Mr. Gremlin, I call your bluff.  The time has come.  What do you have?”

And on it goes.  Each perspective building upon the next.  Who will win the jackpot?   Only you can tell.

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