Why do we miss opportunities?

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” – Thomas Edison

What a true statement.  How often do we look for the big break, the perfect job offer, or the perfect client, and miss the opportunity that is staring us in the face because it seems like too much work.  

Opportunities do require attention and work…and are sometimes hard.  It has been my experience however, that these “hard” opportunities provide the greatest lessons and rewards. 

After all…”The hard is what makes it great”


Is life really full of opportunities?

The focus of this weeks thoughts for the day are going to be centered around the following principle

Life offers neither problems nor challenges, only opportunities

What would your life look and feel like if you really lived this principle?

I am looking forward to studying this principle and seeing how I can better apply it to my life.  I am also looking forward to hearing others thoughts and feelings on this subject.

Get the most out of Coaching

I found this article today on Linkedin and love the principle shared around being willing to commit to change when working with a coach.  The principles shared are key when working with a coach, but I also feel that these principles are true life as well.    

Remember “light bulb” jokes? My favorite was, “How many shrinks does it take to change a light bulb? One, but the light bulb must want to change.” It’s true: Unless or until a person decides to commit to change wholeheartedly, no coach can help move him or her one-millimeter off the dime.

Worse yet is the fact that, unlike light bulbs that lack the capacity for self-deception, humans bamboozle themselves all the time. Whether it’s a smoking cessation program or working with a coach to improve management skills, people claim they want to change or drop dysfunctional behaviors from their lives, but then fight like Ninja warriors to defend them. Worst of all, irrespective of how intelligent or professionally powerful a person is, it is a virtual certainty that after embarking on a change process, they will be partially or fully derailed by the feeling, “Better the devil I know than the devil I don’t know.”

The reason why backsliding on our ostensible commitments to change is so common is because most change is the result of compliance to a demand, incentive, or threat. “Lose weight or you’ll suffer a heart attack” coming from an M.D. is a directive most folks won’t ignore. Unfortunately, when incentivized to change in this manner falling off the wagon is common because our motivation wasn’t to change, it was to avoid a premature death.

Psychologists who have studied intrinsic and extrinsic motivation since the 1970s — most notably, Professor Edward L. Deci — demonstrate that when a person acts in response to extrinsic motivators — the promise of money; the threat of punishment — commitment to a behavior is short-lived. This is why when the cat’s away, mice will play. Mice don’t want to change their behavior, i.e. playing games, but they do when cats are present. However, since change (the cessation of play) was instigated by an extrinsic force — Tabby — if Tabby isn’t monitoring the mice, these rodents instantly revert to form.

What, then, should you do if you think you want to change and, like so many of your peers, put your faith (and a huge financial commitment) in a coach? Is it possible to develop an authentic commitment to executive coaching through sheer willpower alone? No. But what you can do is develop a mindset — i.e. new “automatic” cognitive messages — that will help you counter your own resistance to change.

What follows are the exercises I use most often to help new clients initiate coaching with the best mindset possible. If, prior to the onset of coaching you experience the attitude adjustments they are designed to foster, the change process should be profoundly less anxiety and resistance-provoking for you than it is for those who dive in unprepared.

1. Ask yourself, “Cui bono?”

Recall a golf lesson or the clumsiness you suffered during an introductory yoga class. Now recall how you responded when the club pro or yogacharya gave you critical feedback. No big deal, right? Well if you’ve never been to an executive coach, I guarantee that the first critique you receive will not be a NBD experience. Why? Golf or yoga are peripheral to an executive’s definition of self. Being a stellar manager is central, so when someone pokes that realm of your self-concept the usual reaction is “ouch!”

The best way to reduce the possibility of being stung by an executive coach’s constructive critical feedback is to remind yourself that it is (a) not ad hominem and as such, (b) comparable to the club pro’s efforts to correct your slice. To do this with ease, learn to employ the Latin phrase “Cui bono?” — literally, “as a benefit to whom?” — after each critique you receive. The rational portion of your brain knows that no competent coach would gratuitously put you down. Now you need to train the more primitive, more reactionary parts of your brain to think that way too. By making “Cui bono?” the mantra you bring to assessment sessions with your coach, you can learn to accept that any and all feedback from him or her is intended to be helpful, not hurtful.

2. Be sure you wouldn’t rather hire a cheerleader than a coach.

Many consultants and coaches know that they can build lucrative client bases by treating protégés the way Little League coaches deal with their pre-teen charges: Everything the kid does evokes a “good job” or “atta boy!”

The problem with an automatic “good job” reaction is that it is useless and often — even by pre-teens — seen for what it is: Balm for under-developed egos. An 11-year-old with burgeoning self-esteem would much rather hear “keep your eye on the ball” after striking out than “good job,” but if you want to hear cheering regardless of how you perform, caveat emptor. An ethical coach doesn’t bring pom-poms to meetings with clients, so hire to your needs.

3. Learn the difference between participation and commitment.

Having spent 30 years as a psychotherapist and coach, I can assure you that acting the role of a “participant in a change process” is not nearly the same as being committed to actually changing yourself. Many people claim to be involved in a change process when, in fact, they are holding their true selves in abeyance. Years ago, many gay men married women because they held the deluded belief that the process of being part of an intimate heterosexual dyad would change who they were. In time, virtually all discovered that suppression doesn’t work and that role-playing without conviction has no chance of effecting change.

Coaching cannot change you one iota unless or until you’re really committed — until you have skin in the game. Before I work with a client who needs to make major changes, I share the aphorism my baseball coach once told me to drive home the distinction between authentic commitment vs. going through the motions: “There’s a huge difference between participating in baseball and being committed to it; it’s like a bacon and egg breakfast. The chicken participates in the breakfast. The pig, on the other hand, was fully committed.”

Since you won’t change unless you really want to, and nothing — not the highest-priced coach or public declarations about your intention to change (which, presumably, will humiliate you if you fail) — will help you to succeed, it behooves you to learn how to thwart your worst tendencies in advance of tackling change. This is what cartoonist/philosopher Walt Kelly, in his possum persona, Pogo, was referring to when he said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” If you accept this fact of life, coaching — and every other change process you initiate — will become surprisingly simple.


A faculty member of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry and staff member of McLean Hospital for 25 years, Dr. Steven Berglas is now an executive coach and corporate consultant based in Los Angeles, CA.

You can view the entire article by copying the following link in your browser http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/08/get-the-most-out-of-executive/

If you are interested in hearing more about coaching and the benefits of working with a coach, please let me know.  

Professional Coaching…not just for athletes?

I have always been fascinated by the vital role a great coach plays in the lives of athletes.  These athletic coaches are instrumental in the success of the team they are responsible for.

Without them…the individuals as well as the team never seem to succeed at the level they do with the assistance of their coach.

Can you think of any professional sports team that operates without an experienced leader behind the bench? Would Tiger Woods golf game be where it is today without the assistance of his coach?  Imagine a high school football team without the same guidance.

No matter what the level of play is, if you want to succeed in sports you need a coach.

Should living life be any different? 

Have you ever had a desire but didn’t know what you needed to do in order to realize it?

Have you ever set a goal but found yourself lacking the motivation to achieve it?

Have you felt like your life is on auto pilot and you don’t know where you want to take it?

What if you had the assistance of a professional coach that could assist you in answering these questions? 

There is an option for those that are looking for this type of support and assistance…this person is a professional Life and Leadership coach.

What is a professional coach?

Although professional coaching does have its root in sports and there are many similarities, professional coaching is not based on competition or focused on win-or-lose scenario.  Coach’s focus on bringing out one’s best but not to best someone else.  Contrary to sports coaching, professional coaching helps people think and create win-win scenarios for all involved.

A professional coach is someone who will help improve your personal and/or professional life by offering support and encouragement as you work through the goals and desires you have set out to achieve. A coach is a support system with one goal in mind: improving your quality of life.

 What does a professional coach do?

A professional coach will partner with you to help produce positive results, whether in your professional or personal life. They help you perform better and ultimately improve the quality of your life.

A professional coach helps bring out the potential in you, your relationships, your family, or your business.   The process is done by emotionally connecting your inner purpose and passion to outer goals and strategies to bring about extraordinary and sustainable results.

A coach is trained to listen, observe and customize an approach to your needs.  They will work to find solutions and strategies that will help you move from a place of functioning and surviving to a place of optimizing and thriving.

Do you need a professional coach?

This question is more about what you want than what you need.  No one “needs” to do anything, but there are a few reasons why you may want to work with a professional coach.  The following list of questions may help you decide:

  • Are you happy with your life, but are looking to take it to the next level?
  • Do you often feel overwhelmed from the daily tasks at hand?
  • Do you feel like you’re living life unconsciously?
  • Are you wanting to excel at a sport, but are finding that you are not improving?
  • Do you feel like everyone seems to have a master plan but you?
  • Are there goals that you would like to achieve, but you are lacking the motivation to achieve them?
  • Are you looking to become a better leader in your home and/or business life?
  • Do you want to be able to connect with more people?
  • Do you want to develop stronger relationships with your family?
  • Are you unsatisfied with your work situation and looking for more?

Answering yes to any of the above questions may suggest that you could benefit from working with a professional coach.

Is coaching right for you?

Coaching is designed for people that are functioning well and are looking to improve, stretch, and function at an even higher level.  Coaching is designed for people who are looking to release the energy the past has on them so they can move forward.  Coaches do not work with mental illness nor spend much time on your issues or problems. Coaches focus on solutions.

Before you make a decision, step back and ask what exactly you wish to accomplish with a coach. Once you establish this, a professional coach can strategize a winning plan to help you attain your goals.

Professional coaching may not be the best option for you if you don’t think you can devote the time and energy to make a change for the better. Due to the partnership approach of coaching, it is vital that you be open and willing to the commit to the full experience.

What do I do next?

If you are interested in exploring the possibilities of working with a professional coach I would love to set up a complimentary session so we can talk.

In this session we will discuss more about coaching and see if it would be a good fit for us to work together.

Please reach out to me through this post or by emailing me at travis@chooseyourpace.com

We all deserve the opportunity to work with a coach.  Life, like athletics, is more enjoyable when you have someone supporting you along the journey.   I look forward to supporting you in your journey!