What is Organizational Development anyway?

organizationYears ago I was working as a trainer/instructional designer for a small company when my supervisor, the Operations VP remarked that our employees did not seem to have loyalty to the organization.   This was a small start up tech company and most of the employees were remote.  She told me that the engineers would stay for about 6 months then leave.  Some did not stay that long.  It was a huge problem for the company.  She also said that these engineers needed training.

The Engineers would join the company then go out immediately on assignment with an experienced engineer.  They would watch and learn from the experienced engineer.  That was their training.  When they “got it” they would head out on their own.  Each new engineer was assigned randomly to an experienced engineer. Some experienced engineers were good at “teaching” the “new guys” and some were not so good.  She thought that this was not enough training for the new “guys” and that is why they hired me.  I was supposed to train the engineers so they would all have the same training.  The main goal was that if the engineers all had the same training and they felt comfortable, they would not leave the company.

So, I did what I was asked and more.  I took about a month to research the task, interview and shadow the experienced engineers, find my SMEs, talk to some clients and do some analysis.  I created a 1.5 week training that taught the new engineers the hard skills; how to rack and stack, configure a switch, set up the server and the storage array.  I created a class called Consulting 101.  This class consisted of the soft skills; how to start your conversation with the client, how to keep them informed, how to escalate an issue and how to have the final conversation/walk through before they were left with their new equipment.  I also created an orientation so that the engineers would feel more connected to the company.  They learned more about the organization, the purpose, people and other engineers.  We all thought this would solve the problem.

The executive team seemed pleased with the results.  Instead of hiring one engineer at a time we would bring in 4 to 6 and put them through the training then send them out to shadow for a few days.  The “new guys” were not leaving and we could weed out the non-committed or the “guys who just did not get it” in the first two weeks.  This training seemed to be working.

After I worked for this company for about a year I realized that there were deeper issues than training.  I won’t get into what these issues were (in this blog post) but there were quite a few.  If I had known more about organization development, I would have asked more questions of the Operations VP.  I would have tried to get to the root of the matter, rather than just following orders from my supervisor.  If I had taken a class or even a webinar, I would have had more knowledge of what I should have done at that time.

Deborah Covin Wilson, president of Wilson Associates and I, will be facilitating an ATD Essentials class called The Essentials of Organizational Development; The mysterious world of OD explained.  In this 3-part webinar series, we will discuss how to analyze data to make recommendations and communicate results to the stakeholders.  Furthermore, we will explore how to select the appropriate organizational development intervention and measure the success of a specific OD intervention and how to become aware of common mistakes and pitfalls during the OD intervention.  You will develop a plan to create an OD implementation in you own organization.  We will experience an OD intervention through a case study and explore the ways in which you can use new skills to achieve your business results. Participants will become familiar with resources they can go to for additional assistance in the future.  Sharing experiences between participants is highly encouraged for better learning.  Go to the ATD website to sign up!

 

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Join Deborah Covin Wilson and Lori Ann Roth for a live online webinar sign up at

https://www.td.org/education-courses/essentials-of-organizational-development

 

#organizationdevelopment  #organizationaldevelopment  #Associationoftalentdevelopment  #webinar

 

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Word for the Year 2018

RelationshipsEach year I choose a word or phrase that I think about for the entire year.  This word helps me to focus more specifically on my goals.  I learned about the one word from my business coach, Sheri Kaye Hoff.  Then, I researched on Google to see if this is a “thing” that many people do or if it is just a quiet secret.  It IS a “thing”.  One word is a website that helps people choose their word.  It gives suggestions to see which word resonates with you. One word is so much easier than making New Year’s Resolutions or setting goals.  Of course, I set SMART goals each year but the one word helps me focus if I get overwhelmed.  Let me share my last three words/years with you as an example of how one word has worked for me.

In 2016, I choose Fearless as my word.  I decided in January that I would move from Northern Virginia to Southwest Florida.  I have been planning this move in my mind for at least 10 years.  I always said that when my “baby” goes to college I will finally move to Florida.  The time had come, Mick, my baby, was 19 years old and out of the house with almost a year of college behind him.  I would be fearless, leave a stable job to start my own business, leave the house I had owned for 20 years and find a new house in a state where I had never lived.  I will do this!  This is my dream.  I was also fearless throughout the process of selling and buying a house.  Fearless was a perfect word for that year.  Every time I felt some fear or doubted myself I would think about my word and my goals and feel FEARLESS.

In 2017, I choose two words that resonated with me.  Outrageous Abundance.  I even wrote a blog post about my amazing walk on the beach where I saw my words in action.  I select those words because I felt like I wanted to start my life in Florida with such abundance since I had left many friends, colleagues, my work team and neighbors.  I did not feel abundant in December of 2016 and hoped to feel more abundant in December of 2017.  In fact, this year was such an amazing year for me.  It was full of challenges, new opportunities, learning experiences and relationships.  I left all jobs behind and started two new businesses;  Learning and Reflective Growth and a distributor for Lip Sense.  I also took classes to become a better coach and grow my coaching business.  I met so many wonderful people from Bright Coach and reconnected with an old friend after 20 years.  I joined BNI in Sarasota and can’t believe how many wonderful, smart and motivated people I’ve met.  I worked hard to fit into this team and won rookie of the year for my BNI chapter; an honor I treasure.  I’m starting friendships with some extremely talented people and they are helping me and supporting me as I grow my business.  I joined ATD Suncoast in Tampa and volunteered for the board where I got a ticket to Crystal City, VA to learn more about my new “job”.  I also got to see a lot of VA/DC friends. My most outrageous abundance is my relationship with my new husband, Angel D. Garcia.  We have so much love and joy.  He supports me and loves me and even goes to see the sunset with me (even though he has it on video – his words, not mine).  We are legally starting our lives together with such an abundance of love, fun, laughter and joy.

In 2018, my word will be Relationships.  As a Myers-Briggs, ENTJ, feelings do not come easily to me.  I tend to think of the tasks first, then the people.  I prefer to concentrate on jobs, calendars and lists.  This year is the year that I pour my energy into relationships.  I’ve been getting better at friendships for the last 10 years.  Facebook has helped me keep current with people I don’t see often.  I recently reconnected with Linda Demmer and Kalana Elaster from my college days at Michigan State University.  Next, I added five of my son’s Au Pairs to my Facebook and am “watching” them get married and have children of their own.  In 2018, I hope to make new friends and keep the old.  As the girl scout song goes, “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold”.  My number one relationship to focus on in 2018 will be the relationship with my husband.  I will be patient, kind and loving to this man.  I will also try to clean as I cook, which does NOT come naturally to me.

In conclusion, I challenge each of you to choose a word that resonates with you and focus on that theme throughout the 2018 year.  Good luck and Happy New Year to all.

Lori blog

#oneword  #newyear  #resolutions  #relationships

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Just Be

fireworkI could not sleep the other night.  I kept waking up, tossing and turning.  Next, I would try to relax myself with good thoughts and meditation.  Then, I finally felt wide awake and got out of bed at 4:30 am.  I went downstairs, got my dog out of her crate and went to the lanai by the pool.  I sat on a lounge chair wrapped in a furry blanked, my dog, Remmy, sat between my legs and relaxed.  My mind was going 100 miles per hour.  Sure, it is the holiday season.  I am working on building my business and making more contacts.  I am researching, meeting with people, and writing curriculum for classes in January.  I must have too much on my mind.  Remmy was sniffing the wind.  So, I sniffed.  I smelled bread from the bakery 3 miles away.  I watched Remmy’s ears flicker so I listened.  I heard traffic.  A lot of traffic!  Strange, I would never guess that there were so many cars on the road at this hour.

I realized that Remmy can just be.  She is not thinking; she is not feeling.  She is just being in the moment.  Buddha would be proud of her, but not proud of me. I had monkey mind.  Going like a crazy monkey.  I know many exercises and techniques to slow it down; to relax my body but, nothing was working at all this am.  So I decided to be like Remmy and just be.

Looking at the beautiful sparkly stars on this dark night, I wondered if I was on the right path.  I decided to enjoy the wind and the cool air.  I took a few deep breaths.  I calmed down.  All of a sudden I felt a wave of love.  It was not even a wave; it was as if I was enveloped in a full on huge hug.  Such a joyous hug, filled with love, and grace.  My entire being expanded and joined the night.  I felt such joy and love that tears came to my eyes.  All I could say was “thank you, thank you, thank you.”  My body tingled and electricity flowed through me.  It was not warm or cold – it was perfect.  It was love.  I smiled.  I laughed.  I felt like I did not deserve this beautiful grace that had been bestowed upon me.  But, I knew it was for me and I DO deserve it.

I have felt this grace a few other times in my life.  I cannot imagine feeling it constantly.  I wish I could, but I am not sure I can handle being in such openness.  I want to feel this more often.  I felt connected to all of the good in the world, the universe.

Just sitting on that lounge chair, staring up at the stars.  Being.  Is that all there is?  Being?  Is that what I need to do more often? Just Be.  I wish that you feel this wonderful joy this holiday season.  Try to just be even if it is for a few minutes.

Lori blog

#cantsleep  #incrediblejoy  #bliss #justbe

 

Never Worry Again!

thankfulHurricane Irma really took a toll on Florida.  Not only was there physical damage, there was emotional damage.  Most people do not like change and evacuation was quite a change.  Many people in Florida are still reacting to these changes even though the hurricane happened in September.  Many of us worried for over a week before they hurricane hit.  Many of us worried while we were evacuated and while the hurricane hit.    Strangely enough, many of us are still worrying and feeling strange after we realized that we don’t have much damage and all was safe.  Many of us worry too much.  We worry before, during and after the event.  Recently, I learned how never to worry again.  I would like to share this technique with you.

First, the event will happen and we will react to the event in one way or another.  It is up to us if we will worry.  These are separate actions; reacting to an event and worrying.  Let me give an example of Jane.  Jane worries about not having enough money to pay all of her bills on time.  This is the worry.  Jane is doing everything she can do to get money to pay all of her bills.  She has a good job, she sells cosmetics on the side, and she has always paid her bills on time.  Jane pays her bills but her expenses keep going up.  This is the event.

Next, Jane will continue to work and pay her bills.  She will do her best to get money whether she worries or not.  Now, how does she not worry?  Jane uses this technique.  Picture standing on a square with three squares to your right and three squares to your left.  You are in the middle – in neutral.  When we start to worry we move to the first square to the left.  Jane thinks, “I am so worried that I can’t pay my bills.  My expenses keep going up and I have only so much money that I have been bringing in.  I am doing my best but what if I can’t pay a bill?” Then, she takes another step to the left to the next square and thinks, “If I can’t pay my bills, I will lose my house, I will go bankrupt, I will have to move in with my parents.”  If she worries even more she moves to the last square on the left and thinks, “I can’t live with my parents.  I will have to move out and I will be homeless, I won’t have health care and I will get sick and die.”  Huge worry.  The end.  NOW, consider moving to the right instead.  Instead of worry, she thinks, “Even though I only get so much income from work my business can pick up and I can sell more cosmetics.  I can start paying off some credit card bills.” Then she takes another step to the right and thinks, “I paid off all of my credit cards and I am now saving money!  I have so much money in my checking account and savings account.  I can now pay all of my bills electronically and never have to worry about physically paying a bill again!”  Then another step to the right and thinks, “I now have so much money that I go on exotic vacations, I love my job and just got a raise!  I am the diamond queen status in my cosmetics job and I win free trips.  All is great!”

Finally, the event will happen but you do not have to worry.  You will work and pay your bills – the event.  But, if you went to the right and tell yourself the more and more positive stories you feel better!  Go ahead and try it for yourself.  You really will feel better!  Now, when I first tried this I thought, “this is crazy, because I think positively does not mean that my bills will be paid!” That is correct but remember, the event is different than the worry.  You will still do everything you can for the event.  It is up to you what you THINK about the event.  So, think the positive and feel better and keep doing the best you can.  Events will happen whether you worry or not.  So, why go down the path to the left when you can think positively and feel so much better?  The event will happen either way and you will do your best if you worry or do not worry.  So, don’t worry.  Use this technique and never worry again.

This technique took me some time to “perfect”.  I worked at it.  When I started to worry I would use this technique and I did feel better.  I still did the event.  I still worked my hardest at whatever I did.  Now, when I find my thoughts move to the negative and start to worry, I quickly stop my thoughts and switch them to the right and more positive thoughts.  I try to move myself all the way to the right until I laugh at the wonderful feeling and the exaggeration of that thought.  I feel better, not worried.  Try this technique, let me know if it works for you.

#worry  #emotionalintelligence  #cooltechniques

Lori blog

 

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Hurricane Irma: a lesson in Flexibility

irma misses sarasotajpg

Everyone I know in Florida, including myself, has still not returned to “normal”.  Between the Hurricane Harvey, media, and people in the “north”, Floridians have had a most interesting experience.  This occurrence has tested our flexibility.  Flexibility is a dimension of Emotional intelligence which is so important in our personal and professional lives. Enjoy my story as I relate how emotional intelligence specifically, flexibility, plays a part in our lives daily or in this case in emergencies.

First, Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston in what it seemed to be over night.  The aftermath lasted weeks.  When Floridians realized that IRMA was headed our way most visualized our house surrounded in water, our possessions strewn all over our neighborhood.  I realized that this threat was real, on Tuesday, September 5th when I was in a meeting and one of the participants told all of us, “Irma is now a 5”.  This means that a Category 5 hurricane was heading right for Florida – we were told Miami at this time.  When I arrived home and started working, my son called and told me that they cancelled classes at the University of Miami indefinitely.  He was going to get gas, pack and evacuate to my house on the other side of the state. I was excited that I get to see him for an unplanned trip.  Yes, this type of flexibility I absolutely love, like a gift.  I always love to spend time with my 20-year-old son.  The next call I got was from a Miami gas station, “The lines are really long, I’ve been in line for over 20 minutes, it is so crowded here – everyone is getting gas, NO WAY!  Someone just hit my car – I’ve got to go”.  He is not usually very flexible and called me about every hour to report his progress.  He NEVER calls except for his weekly Sunday mom call.  Usually I get a cryptic text.  He was not harmed and his car was just bumped; seven hours later he was at my house.  This is usually a 3.5-hour drive.  Once here, he made himself at home.  We were not too worried about the Hurricane coming to the west coast of Florida.

Next, the media was giving IRMA 1oo% coverage.  Floridians were watching the spaghetti tracks of possible paths of the hurricane with eyes glued to their screens.  We saw the devastating effects of IRMA on the first islands in the Caribbean.  We heard the weather reporters and meteorologists exaggerated forecasts of what would (not could) happen to Florida.  Miami was being evacuated.  Most of my son’s friends live out of state and had already booked last minute flights home.  I-95, the interstate that goes from the Florida Keys to Maine, was bumper to bumper in Florida.  Then they evacuated the keys.  I-95 was a parking lot from Key West to North Carolina.  People were evacuating to “visit” friends and family out of state.  It was Wednesday, we put our hurricane shutters on all the windows except the sliding glass door to the pool.  I took all of my furniture and huge plants (including 3 palm trees in pots) off of the huge Lanai and into the house and garage.  The house was like a cave; a jungle cave.  The media told us that we were in the “cone” and everyone in the cone would experience terrifying and damaging winds and rain.  We were not in an evacuation zone but right next to one.  I started to pack for evacuation to my best friend’s house in South Carolina.  Now, this is where judgement and flexibility comes to play; what should I pack?  I packed everything in my safe, my computer and my jewels into a plastic container.  I put my taxes and important documents in my washing machine.  I started to put bags of water into the freezer in case we lost power.  I was almost ready to go until my boyfriend and I talked to our neighbors.  The hurricane was not going to come near us and we would get winds, we have shutters and we should not flood. They had reservations at a hotel in Atlanta but decided not to go that night and would probably stay.  We saw on the radar that the track was headed to South Carolina where we were planning to go.  We decided to stay.

The next day I went to the store and got more food.  I heard tales on the news and from many neighbors that all of the grocery stores were completely out of bottled water, a necessity for after a hurricane.  Some of the gas stations near us were out of gas.  Luckily, I had filled up the day my son came home.  When I was in Walmart I saw one woman with 2 cases of water and realized there was a line for water.  The line was from one end of the store to the other end; I stood in that line.  It moved quickly because Walmart employees were tossing 2 cases in each cart as customers rolled on to get other supplies.  SCORE!  I got 2 cases of water.  I also got my normal shopping complete and got extra batteries, wine and ice cream.  Better enjoy our last days.  Now that our decision to stay was made we hunkered down.  Many of my neighbors were leaving.  School was closed, work was closed, the local government was closed.  We watched the TV news like we were addicted. I was very flexible because I had time.  If I felt stressed for time I think I would not have been able to be so flexible to stand in a long line for water or wait for gas.  I realized that flexibility also has to do with managing time.  I am more flexible when I have the time to choose an option I normally would not choose.  If I was short on time I would not be as flexible and possibly not choose another option.

Finally, the non-Floridians were texting, Facebook was filled with “be safe” messages.  I even heard from one friend that I had not communicated with in over 2 years.  It seemed like everyone not in the path was also watching the hype and urging us to evacuate.  We figured we were just fine until my boyfriend, Angel, noticed the radar.  Most Floridians look at the radar app on their phones to check out the ever changing weather in Florida; our house is symbolized by a blue dot.  When we looked Friday, there was a red circle with a 3 on the blue dot.  The track had changed and IRMA was going to hit our house with category 3 winds.  We decided at 8:00am to evacuate.  “Let’s be ready to go by noon”, Angel said to me.  “No! Everyone on the west coast will be leaving at noon.  I can be ready in less than an hour”.  We threw some clothes, and a toothbrush in a suit case, packed up the dog food, her crate and packed the car.

Now, this you may think is total flexibility!  However, when I reflected back I realized that I was already prepared.  I had already packed the important possessions.  Preparedness, has a lot to do with flexibility.  When we are prepared it is easier to be flexible.

We realized that most of our neighbors had already left including our next door neighbors, we assumed they went to Atlanta as previously planned.  We stopped at my parent’s house on the way to try to talk them into leaving with us.  They live north west of us about an hour.  They stubbornly told us that they had weathered 3 hurricanes 10 years ago and they were staying plus they were not happy that their flight to Costa Rica out of Ft. Lauderdale was cancelled.  Is stubbornness a trait of being inflexible?

We took the fastest route to South Carolina.  Yes, my best friend, Carol had to be flexible too.  First we are evacuating, then not, then we are.  She thought this was a great time to plan “game night”.  This was a good lesson in flexibility for Carol. We did not take the “shortest” route because all of the west coast Floridians were headed north on I-75.  There were rumors of empty gas stations and traffic.  We used our google maps (again, being prepared) and headed east to I-95 most of the east coast had already evacuated. Driving east on 95 we saw many cherry pickers and power trucks heading south.  The Keys were in Irma’s direct path; Miami still was not safe.  While in the car I was posting photos of our evacuation on social media.  Many people seemed relieved that we decided to leave the impending doom.

Weeks after the hurricane most Floridians still feel a bit lost. I feel like a newly retired Floridian, not knowing what day it is (because of the cancellations of school and work).  I lost jobs because everything was closed or the power was out.  As I reflect on the Irma experience, I realize that flexibility is a must in these types of situations.  My experience was not bad compared to most.  Sure, I was inconvenienced by the lack of gas, rumors, and the traffic.  My family, including my aunt and uncle on Marco Island all made it home and are repairing the minor damages.  My son is back at school, boyfriend back at work and I flew to DC to work.  Most in the keys had all of their possessions lost or ruined.  Flexibility is key in these types of situations. We learn from past experiences such as Harvey, listen and are influenced by the media and our friends and family.  I realized that being more flexible is easier when you view a change as a gift, have time on your side, are prepared, and not stubborn.  Hopefully, you enjoyed this blog article.  Feel free to comment on your experience with flexibility.

 

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#hurricane  #irma #flexibility #emotionalintelligence

Lori blog

“Don’t you EVER think before you speak”?

business people conflict working problem, angry boss argue scream to colleague businessmen and women serious argument negative emotion discussing report meeting at outdoors cafe during the lunch breakAll of my life my mother has always asked me this question.  It was only after I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) training at OKA that I realized why I was programed to speak with out “thinking”.  Actually, I speak to think – I am an extrovert.  My sister, Kelly, it the opposite.  She thinks to speak.  Learning about the differences in how people think to communicate has helped me with my coaching and training throughout the years.  It has also helped me in my relationships that are one-to-one.

Kelly, my sister, has been called shy, quiet and a loner.  She once tried to go through an entire week of high school without talking to anyone.  She succeeded.  I could not get through my first hour class in high school not talking, even with strep throat and laryngitis.  We have been so different in our communication styles since birth.  This is just how we were made.  Now, as adults we are more blended.  I do think more before I speak and she is more of a talker in her small group of friends (that she has had for ten years).

Introverts need to think about what they are going to say, how they are going to say it and how it will resonate with their audience; they think then talk.  Like Kelly, they are not what I call sharers.  Kelly would not share anything about herself without being asked by someone close to her.  If asked she may need to think about the answer…pause… wait… then maybe offer something.  Maybe not offer anything, or say, “I’m not sure”.  This was frustrating to me growing up.  But, the more she and I talked, the more she trusted me and the more she would open up to me.  I just thought that she did not think as quickly as I thought.  That she was slower – not as smart.  But, I knew that I was wrong.  I knew Kelly was very smart and knew the answers.  She just would not share her answer until she felt comfortable in her head, in her thoughts.

My first advisor for my dissertation committee was an introvert.  I would go into his office full of ideas and plans.  As he sat behind his Mac I would talk and talk about my latest theory or ask question after question.  I would answer most of them myself because he just sat there.  I would get so frustrated because when I really NEEDED an answer I would wait.  He would tap some keys on his keyboard, look to the ceiling, and take a deep breath.  I would wait. I would get impatient and ask another question.  I am sure that I frustrated him.  Later, I learned that if I waited long enough he would come up with an excellent answer.  I had to switch my advisor because I was not patient enough or educated enough in MBTI to realize that he was an introvert.  Finally, I figured out that if I emailed him a question he would email back an awesome response in a day or two (sometimes a week later).  I learned how to be more patient and how to work with this introvert.

Extroverts talk to think.  I had never heard that saying before I took the MBTI class.  It resonated with me.  I brainstorm with friends, on the telephone, in person, whenever I can talk to people.  When no one is available, I talk to myself.  Yes.  I do.  I always joked that at least I knew I was talking to an intelligent person.  Ha!  I love to take a concept or thought or idea and ping pong it around with someone.  My best friend, Carol, is also an extrovert.  She and I can play with an idea for hours.  The idea is like a shuttlecock being swooshed from racquet to racquet.  We bat the idea around and it morphs into a ping pong ball, then a baseball then… you name it!  We can play with an idea until it forms something that we are both satisfied with…the outcome of the conversation.

I am sure that Kelly and my advisor would be so frustrated with me during our conversations.  I know I had been frustrated with them.  I have been told on many occasions to just “shut up”, that I talk too much, and ask too many questions.  Talking to them was like “pulling teeth”; painful and bloody awful.  But, after years, I finally learned how to communicate with my introvert friends and colleagues.

Knowing these difference is so important in business, training and coaching.  I have learned some techniques to work with both groups at the same time.  During meetings, I ask people a question and have them write it down then give 5 minutes of quiet so we can individually work on it.  Or I prepare an agenda with roles assigned so everyone knows what is expected of them, and they can be prepared.  Then, I do some brainstorming.  I find that the extroverts jump in and ping pong the ideas around.  When the introverts are asked, they usually read what they have written.  I think that is just fine and all can participate that way.  During training, I have journaling, individual exercises, or reflection.  I also create discussion activities but give time for the introverts to respond.  Coaching introverts is more difficult for me but I have learned through practice to wait…wait…wait for the answer.  Or send pre-work and be ready to discuss it during our sessions.

Learning the differences between speaking before thinking and speaking to think has helped me with my communication in my work.  I hope that this blog post has given you some techniques and insight about the differences in communication styles.  Let me know if you have techniques to share for coaching, training or meetings.

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#MBTI #extrovert #introvert #communication  #training

 

Open Heart Breathing – a great exercise to bring joy and healing

open heart breathingThey say that what does not kill you makes you stronger.  After time has passed, I am now inclined to agree.  When my heart was broken years ago I felt so vulnerable.  I was crying in the bathroom at work.  Sobbing from a broken heart.  It took me a few months to heal my broken heart.  Now, I can look back on that time and realize what I did to make myself feel better and how I healed.  One very important technique that I just started doing, I call open heart breathing.  I share this little secret with my coaching clients and it seems to help.

He broke up with me and would not even talk to me.  I was devastated.  We had been in a relationship for five years and I thought it would end on good terms.  I guess it did for him but not for me.  I thought I would see him when I was visiting Florida but he said “NO!”.  My soul sister and fellow race car driver, Kay Rongely invited me to visit her house in Lake Placid, Florida.  While she went to the grocery store, I took a walk near water and a park-like area in her neighborhood.  As I was walking, I felt the crying coming on again so I let it rip.  I cried as I walked; so glad that her neighbors seemed not to be outside at that time.  Tears streamed down my face and I felt so alone and so sad.  I did feel “weight” on my shoulders even though I was in the best shape of my life.  I felt heavy and burdened with my sorrow and my pain.  I felt empty or whatever was inside of me was not “good”.  Usually, I have an good disposition; positive and happy.  I usually smile and share my joy with other people.  Not now.  It seemed not any longer.

I looked up to the sky and put my arms over my head.  “God”, I thought, “Please give me some good feeling – some goodness inside of me”.  I pulled my arms in toward my heart as if capturing the goodness from the heavens and pouring it into my body.  I felt a little better.  Next, I breathed out what I imagined to be “bad stuff”; my pain, my sorrow, my tears.  As I breathed out I took my hands from my heart and pushed them down, my hands palms down to the ground.  Again, I reached my arms up and breathed in all of the goodness, love and joy and pulled it to my heart.  And breathed out all of the bad moving my arms down.  I actually felt physically and emotionally better.  I felt like the good was coming back into me if only for that moment.

Then, I made a deal with God.  I promised that I would take this joy and this love that I was feeling from “taking” and I would use it to heal.  Then when I was healed, I would give my joy and love back into the world/heaven.  I would breathe it back into the air so other people can take it to heal.  That was over 10 years ago.

I have since healed and now during my walks through the forests/woods or walks on the beach you will see me with my arms out stretched up to the sky.  I am giving joy, love and peace to the world as I breathe it out of my soul.  It is a different method than when I was so sad and needed the good for my own healing.  Now, I breathe in all of my joy and love into my heart; I feel the energy fill up my lungs with joy and love.  Then, I raise my arms to the sky and breathe it out into the world.  I imagine all of the good that I feel in my heart shoot out into the world.  You see, I have healed.  I feel love.  I feel loved.  I love myself and all that is.  I want to share that love with those who need it, just as I needed it on my walk in Lake Placid.

I call it open heart breathing because I feel that I am opening my heart and sharing all of my good feelings, joy and love.  I take my hands from my heart and fling them out over my head “shooting” all of the goodness into the air.  As I touch my heart with both hands and breathe in I imagine all of my joy and goodness ballooning in my lungs and heart.  I “open” my heart as I throw all of my goodness into the world in the hopes that someone will use this good energy for their healing as I did years ago.

So, please use this tool, exercise, whatever you wish to call it to help yourself, your clients or your friends.  If they need open heart breathing for healing or if they wish to share their goodness with the world.  Both types work.  Many of my client say it works to make them happier.  When we finish coaching and I ask what helped you, what do you remember that worked?  Many of them say the Open-heart breathing.  It seems to have a very quick, immediate effect and it lasts for a while because you can do it anywhere.

Do you have techniques that you use similar to open heart breathing?  Please comment so that we can continue to share the good energy and help those who need to heal.

#coaching  #love #joy #emotionalintelligence  #healing

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Is she drowning? Ethics on the beach. What would you do? Part 2 of 2

thumb_20170624_202352_1024In my last blog I told the story of my very strange and scary 4th of July experience.  I was sitting on the beach with my boyfriend and my wine watching the sunset.  I noticed a woman dressed in shorts and a bikini top.  She had long brown hair that was loose down her back.  She started to swim out into the gulf of Mexico.  There were other people in the water as the sun was going down, but they were within the waves breaking close to the shore.  This woman swam out past the buoys, past the boats, past what I deemed was safe.  I was the only person who noticed that she was so far out – others were watching the sunset and now the fireworks were starting.  She swam so far out that I could only see her head as a shadow far out in the water.  I thought that she may be trying to kill herself.  I asked in my last blog – What would you do?

I was not panicked.  I did not scream.  She was too far away to hear me anyway.  My boyfriend suggested that I call 911 earlier.  Now, she was very far out and it did not look like she was going to turn toward shore.  I could not see her head any longer.  It seemed like she had gone too far.  Then I saw what I thought was her head.  I called 911.

I told the operator where I was and where the woman was.  She asked me some strange questions as I kept trying to see the woman’s head bobbing between the waves.  “Is anyone hurt?” “Uh no”.  “OK, I just have to ask”.  She told me she was sending a rescue vehicle to the beach.  I told her which road was closest to the woman.  She asked me if I could still see the woman.  I said not really.  She was drifting to the south, down the beach.  I started walking south down the beach so I could keep her in sight as the sun was setting.  It was getting darker and it was harder to see what I thought was still a head.  I felt stupid calling 911.  I told the operator that I was not sure that the woman needed help but I was worried.  She said that she was glad that I called because someone was swimming on that beach last week and went out and never returned.  “please stay on the line” she asked me.

It was dark and I could see lights from an ambulance down the beach.  They were too far away.  They would never be close to where this woman was last seen.  I continued to walk down the beach so I could be in line from where I last saw her.  But, she was still too far south.  It seemed that she was between the lights of the rescue vehicle and where I was walking.  I walked faster.  There were so many people on the beach now watch the last of the sunset.  The sun was down but the blues and pinks and oranges were painting the sky.  I was not feeling anything.  I was watching and listening to the woman on the phone.  I answered questions and kept walking down the beach.  Then, it looked like the woman’s head stopped bobbing, I could see her arms moving.  Not, calling for help but swimming – turing toward shore and swimming.  “Wait!” Then I could not see her arms or her head anymore.  I saw dark; dark waves, dark sky and dark water.  “what do you see?” the 911 operator asked me?  “nothing”  It is too dark.

I saw the lights of the rescue vehicle far down the beach.  I kept walking to where I last saw her.  I was still about 50 feet down the beach away from her.  Then I saw someone in the water, swimming slowly toward shore.  No arms were coming out of the water, the swimmer was just floating to the south and sort of “surfing” on the waves coming into the beach.  Then, they were on the sand bar.  Foot touching sand.  I saw the person coming out of the surf.  On to the beach.  “I think she just got out of the water”.  “I think that is her!”  She started walking toward me up the beach.  “I am going to go up to her”.  “Are you safe?” the operator asked.  “UH yes”.  As I got closer, I noticed the long brown hair dripping wet down her back.  She was wearing shorts and a bikini top.  She did not look in great shape to be swimming for sport.  I went up to her.  “Were you just swimming way, way out there?”, I asked.  “yes”.  “You scared the S***  out of me.  I called 911”.  “oh sorry” she said and she walked past me up the beach.  She seemed ok.

I was relived but stunned.  I told the 911 person that I will hang up now.  She told me to stay on the phone until the rescue people could find me.  The lights were still down the beach.

After this experience was over I took inventory.   I realized that I felt that I made the correct decision.  I called because I was very concerned that she would drown.  No one on the beach saw this happen.  Or did they see it and just ignore?  Later a friend of mine told me that her neighbor killed himself by swimming out and never coming back.  Someone reported it and his family had closure.  They never found the body.

This experience led me to examine my decision making, my feelings, and my faith in other humans and myself.  After a week I have decided that I did make the correct decision.  I am confident about that. If she did not return I would have felt that I should have done something.  I would have felt responsible.  I am still processing my emotions and feelings.  But, at the time, I was calm even though I could think of the worst outcome.  Looking back, I wished I would have asked her, “what were you doing?” but at the time it did not seem like the right thing to do.  She was exhausted and not ready to talk as she walked back up the beach.  I let her go.  Should I have followed her?  I still do know if she is a troubled soul or if she gets her exercise by swimming with the sharks in the dark.  I don’t know if I have faith in others.  Why did no one else see her swimming so far out.  Of   course someone must have seen her – but did nothing.  Then went back to their families and friends – after all, it was a holiday at the beach.  The fireworks were starting.  As far as the faith in myself; I feel as if it were some type of a test.  I have had other experiences where I did not do what I would have expected myself to do – where something happened too quickly; where I did not say what I should have said, where I did not defend someone as I wish I would have done.  But, in this instance.  I did.

When you think about all of the times that you were “tested”.  When you had those experiences where you had to make a quick decision, a tough choice or say the right thing.  Did you want to but could not?  Did someone else step up as you sat there quietly?    Or did you take that risk because you were responsible or because you knew it was the right thing to do?

#decisionmaking  #emotionalintelligence  #lifeordeath

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Is she drowning? Ethics on the beach. What would you do? Part 1 of 2

2017-04-29 20.15.43It was the 4th of July and I went to the beach to see the sunset – yes – and the fireworks; Little did I know that I would be tested with an ethical dilemma.  My man and I took our beach chairs and sat down right by the water’s edge.  It was a warm evening with a beautiful breeze.  The sun was setting.  In fact, it would set at 8:29pm.  It was 7:55pm at the time we nested in to watch the sunset.  What happened next was not expected.

There were people in the water swimming.  All I could think about was that sharks usually feed at twilight.  I was hoping everyone would be just fine on this beautiful night.  An inner tube was floating away from some people.  It went past the buoys where the swimmers were to stay so the boats could not pass into the swimming area.  The raft/tube drifted out and to the south; it was drifting farther and farther away.  No one seemed to care or want that float.  Who did it belong to?   I was curious, but not enough to swim out to get it.  The tide was taking it out.  I noticed a woman/girl in front of me in the water.  She had long brown hair and was wading in the waves with other people.  What was different about her was that she was wearing shorts and a bikini top.  Most people don’t wear shorts in the water, but this is Florida and to each his/her own.

This woman started swimming out farther than the other people.  She went past the buoys.  As an ex-lifeguard I realized that she was not being safe.  She was all alone.  I was taught the “buddy” system of swimming for safety.  Was she going to get the floating inner tube?  It was very far away and was floating faster than she could swim.  I said something to my man.  He started watching her too.  Soon, all we could see was her head against the waves.  She was VERY far out in the water.  What should I do?  “You should call 911”, he said.  I noticed he did not get his phone to call 911.  Was she trying to commit suicide?  Did she get caught in the riptide?  Now, I could not see the inner tube float any longer.  It was too far away – gone from sight.  Gone.  I could still catch glimpses of the woman’s head floating in the waves.  There was a boat near her.  Will it hit her?  Does she see the boat?  Is she swimming toward the boat?  I asked myself questions as I watched.

No one on the beach seemed to notice this woman so far from shore.  The people on the beach were watching the sunset and getting ready to watch the fireworks.  I seemed to be the only person concerned that this woman may die.  She was not panicking.  She was not waving her arms to signal that she was in distress.  She just kept swimming out farther and farther.  Then she started drifting south like the inner tube.  Out farther and to the south; down the beach away from me.  Did the tide take her like it took the float?

These types of events don’t happen to us every day.  We don’t have to make life and death choices but when we do what do we rely on?  I choose to rely on my emotional intelligence.  How was I feeling at the time?  Could I name my emotions?  I was afraid for her, I felt helpless and confused.  I was afraid but curious.  I did not panic.  This moment seemed so surreal.  The sun was setting; it was getting dark – golden in the sunset but darker.  I kept trying to see her between the waves.  I had so many questions and I wanted answers that were not available.  Where were her friends?  Her family?  Why was she alone?  What is happening?  How nervous am I?  Is she going to die?  I realized that I needed to make a decision that I had to live with the rest of my life.  Ignore her and let it go?  Start yelling and get the crowd to see her.  Swim out with a raft to get her?  Call 911?  What would you do?  I took a breath, sat down and made my decision.

To be continued…

#emotionalIntelligence   #decisions  #lifeanddeath

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20 ways to write an Affirmation, Intention or Opportunity Story

intentionsAfter watching the movie The Last Holiday with Queen Latifah and LL Cool J, I was taken with the idea of a book of Possibilities.  Queen L’s character created a book of possibilities.  It had pictures of what she wanted in her life.  A book version of a vision board if you will.  So, I created my book.  I am into words so I wrote stories about my future.  I would date then write my “story”.  Many of them have come to being!   Setting your intentions or writing an affirmation is an incredibly easy thing to do. All you need to do is come up with a positive intention or affirmation that describes and sums up your future you.  I listed 20 ways to help you get started to write intentions, affirmations, opportunities or possibilities.

  1. Take your intention and affirmation seriously. Believe it.

 

  1. Write about what you want. What you really, really want. (Thanks Spice Girls).  You don’t have to limit yourself to what you have now.

 

  1. Speak in the first person. Use “I” or “me” statements.  Use the most powerful words ever, “I am”.

 

  1. Write in present tense. Close your eyes and imagine that you are already experiencing the wonderful things that you desire.  “This is happening now”.

 

  1. Write with gratitude statements from the heart. Write as an expression of “grateful having”, rather than wanting or needing.

 

  1. Write in the positive. Instead of “I will not eat sugar” write, “I will eat healthy foods”.  Use “I am” or “I do”.  Do NOT use the word NOT.  (LOL)

 

  1. Write as yourself! You only need these intentions for YOU!  Use your own words and slang. Be your unique you.

 

  1. Write with Passion and Feeling.

 

  1. Write in your learning mode. If you are more visual use imagery (word pictures).  If auditory use sounds (Crunch!).  If Kinesthetic use emotions and feelings (make things move – Actions).

 

  1. Write your affirmation or intention or about the new opportunity as you are already there. Do NOT worry or write about HOW you are going to get there.

 

  1. Write about the things you have and are grateful now. Give yourself Kudos for the strengths and skills that you already have too!

 

  1. Write about ANYTHING. Things, feelings, experiences, relationships.  ANYTHING you wish to manifest.

 

  1. Don’t let your version of “reality” stop you. Go for the moon!

 

  1. Write many or write few. Write a story or a statement.  Do what you feel.  It must feel “right” for you.

 

  1. Only write affirmations for yourself – you cannot change other people.

 

  1. If having difficulty believing, use words like, “I choose to be…” “I am so happy that…”  “I expect that..”

 

  1. Be accepting of yourself and your beliefs. Do not judge yourself, your statements or your new reality.

 

  1. Change, upgrade and evolve as the intentions manifest.

 

  1. Always write the date that you wrote the intention. Then write the date that it happened.  I put the date I first wrote the intention in the upper right corner.  When it has manifested (happened – came true) I write a note on the bottom with the date I realized it came to into being my present reality.

 

  1. Have FUN! If writing the details is not fun – don’t write the details!  Write what feels best for YOU.  It is about you.

Enjoy your future!  Love yourself and others.

#intentions #Lawofallowing #affirmations #manifesting

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