AGENDA…

  1. A list or outline of things to be considered or done (agendas of faculty meetings)
  2. An underlying often ideological plan or program (a political agenda)

I had a client that I was working with – he was very high up in his company and was being considered for big things. This was my first long term client and although I was very excited about it, I was also feeling a lot of pressure to be fabulous (my words, not my boss’!)

Over the course of the first few sessions we began to get to know each other and become comfortable with the work and its’ demands. I was excited by the progress my client was making and looked forward to our sessions.

About mid-way through the program the content and challenge of one of the sessions was one I was not familiar with. I went back to my own training and started to research how to approach this session. When I looked over my notes there was a conspicuous lack of information – I drew a blank. Not about to give up, I went to one of our senior coaches, who has mentored me in the past, and asked for help. He graciously spent about 2 hours with me taking me through the steps, giving me tools to help my client and showing me how to elicit the results I wanted. The night before the session I studied and went over my approach.

I was ready!

The next day I was bright and enthusiastic. My client, however, seemed disconnected and worn out. I worked very hard to engage him and keep the session moving along. It was uphill all the way. My eye was on the prize so I kept pushing him. I was working very hard.

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The Creative Dynamic…

…the Creative Dynamic is a workshop that renews passion, energy and commitment for what you want to create in the world. Through the use of performance, coaching, feedback and play participants learn to utilize the creative impulses inherent in each of us. As a consequence of exploring your creativity, your goals and desires unfold and come alive.

It’s 5:00 on a Friday evening. I’m sitting in the office getting ready to start work.

I think about my years of working in the corporate sector – when 5:00 came on a Friday I couldn’t get out of the office fast enough – grateful to have 2 days away from the grind.

I don’t work in the corporate sector anymore – at least not directly. Now I’m a coach and workshop leader on staff at The TAI Group and I’m getting ready to spend my weekend co-leading a workshop.

The participants are in the lobby, chatting nervously. Ellyn and I greet each one individually and then shepherd them into the room.

It’s 8:30PM. We work with each participant, getting them present, connecting them to the audience, the work is going deeper – they want to go deeper. We talk about truth and vulnerability and desire. The air in the room is charged – alive. Ellyn and I have found our sea legs and are working together as a unit – it’s seamless – sometimes it’s hard to tell where one of us leaves off and the other begins.

It’s 11:30PM and we de-brief – we ask each participant for a word or two on where they are – the responses vary, but everyone is engaged and clearly in the process.

It’s 3:00PM on Saturday. The work is dramatic. The participants are demanding more of themselves and of us – they are refusing to settle for less than what they desire – the passion is stunning. The room is vibrant with this energy…

Ellyn and I call the next participant to the stage. She stands in the spotlight – adjusting to the brightness, peering out at the audience and settles.

She begins – telling a story about an incident from her college years that had an enormous impact on her. As expected, it is lovely. We know that she writes beautifully and has wonderful stories. What we want is more of her in the storytelling.

She tells the story again, this time we focus on more energy, a little deeper connection with the audience. Again she does a good job.

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Fear

–noun

1.

a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

In case you haven’t noticed I like to start my pieces with the definition of the topic I’m writing about. Mostly to give me some direction, however in this case I felt a real need to know how the scholastics define fear.

I recently had a health scare. The time between the talk with my doctor and the actual tests to receiving the results spanned about 3 months. Ample time for my very fertile imagination to engage in speculation, conjecture and plain old fear… Big Honkin’ Nightmarish Fear!

When the doctor first told me that I would have to have tests, a thought passed through my mind, “what’s he talking about? I’m not sick”.

Then he told me I’d have to have the procedure done in a hospital under general anesthetic. That changed everything.

Suddenly I couldn’t hear him – all I could hear was noise – like the rush of the ocean flooding my ears. I watched his mouth moving – I was getting panicky – I couldn’t hear – then my breath started coming in short bursts – I started to feel lightheaded – my hands grabbed the sides of the chair and I willed myself to breathe more slowly. Gradually I began to feel better.

Now I could hear the doctor telling me about the tests that would be needed before the procedure could be done. Then we looked at dates – the only possible date was the Monday after I got back from my yearly spiritual retreat – hmm. “This is perfect”, I thought, “if nothing else I’ll be feeling pretty good from all the positive vibes of the retreat”. So, we booked it.

 As the weeks went by I wore the impending biopsy like a sad little badge of honor on my chest…

…yes, I’m that person who might be sick – so sad – so sad.

I wondered what I would do if they found something.

Who would I be if they found something? Would I be someone different? Would I have to act differently? Would something fundamental about me change? These thoughts circled round and round my brain with no answer and no end in sight.

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Breathing

…the action of moving air or water across the surface of a respiratory structure, such as a gill or lung, to facilitate respiration (the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide with the environment).

Clinical, to the point – breathing – a natural function – no thought required – at least that’s what I’ve always thought…

As an executive coach and workshop leader for the TAI Group my job is to train executives, ostensibly in presentation. Thankfully, our work goes far beyond that. It goes to the very core of the being in front of me – shining a light on their values, their philosophy of leadership – what do they have to say in this world and how are they going to say it – who are they when they walk into a room? It’s very human and it’s what I love about the work.

Since our approach uses the principles of theater we start with the basics – and #1 on the list is breathing. Having been an actress and singer for most of my life I thought I knew a few things about breathing. But I’m constantly amazed at how such a natural and easy bodily function is made into such a difficult and labor intensive task!

I remember a client I worked with in a short intensive program. In the first session I had him stand on stage and recite a brief monologue that he had memorized.  The only instructions I gave him were to take it slow and try to connect with me, the audience. He looked at me, took a deep breath and he was off! He spoke so quickly I could barely make out the words – but what was absolutely amazing was that he seemingly never took a breath – I mean never! When he finally came up for air, his face was red and his chest was heaving. In the conversation that followed, I asked him if he was aware that he hadn’t been breathing. He then confessed that he was terrified of speaking in public and he just wanted it to be over. Wow!

I’d never actually seen how difficult it is for some people to speak in public. I was overwhelmed with compassion for him and worked with him to move him from fear to a place of more comfort and confidence.

I recently started singing again after quite a long hiatus. My intuition said that this would be something very different. So, I put myself in the hands of my vocal coach.

Last week I was at my lesson, slogging through a song I’ve done dozens of times and we were working on – guess what – breathing. I could not get the rhythm of the breath – I just couldn’t do it.

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