Sunday, April 16, 2006

Marriage - Coaching - Life

On Saturday I spoke with two couples concerning marriage issues.

Both couples have similarities. As you know, I do not disclose personal information on my clients or potential clients, so I will not mention their exact issues, just the dynamics that make up so many marriage disputes.

When two people come together to form a union, marriage, they bring with them expectations. As long as those expectations are respect, love and honesty, there will not be a problem. The problems or issues come in when one or both partners bring with them faulty thought patterns, commonly called baggage.

So one year or twenty years into the marriage, this baggage or thought patterns start to develop into major disputes, soon divorce seems like the only way out.

What can a couple do? Is divorce the only answer?

This was my conversation last night with a couple. Sure you can tell them, preach to them or advise them to be thankful for what they have. I find that easy to say, especially after my wife's accident. Unfortunately that is like printing a warning on the package of cigarettes. It just does not work.

So what is the answer. First, most couples issues boil down to three issues, based on two dynamics. The two dynamics of life are , Fear and Love. Either you Love to do something or you Fear the consequences if you don't do it.

The three dynamics are wanting events your way, the way you feel they should be. The second dynamic is not trying, not experiencing life the way you should. The third dynamic is simply, trying to get others to fill your voids.

As a Life Coach, I see this very quickly in couples. Last night I noticed these dynamics at play in both partners. Ok, so now we know the dynamics at play, now what, what do we do?

There are several methods to help a client. As always you can try mental health therapy. I am not a fan of traditional mental health therapy. You can try Somatic Emotional Release work or Emotional Unwinding. Either method works well. This work, a byproduct of cranial sacral work and MFR, is designed to unleash the unresolved issues that you are holding in your tissues.

I use this work and have found that most clients release the emotional baggage and start to feel better physically. If you would like more information on Life Coaching or Somatic Emotional Release work, please feel free to call my office at 706-864-7000.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Meth = Death

Tonight I took my family to a special meeting held at the local high school by the Lumpkin County Sheriff, Mark McClure. Sheriff McClure is a unique Sheriff in the State of Georgia. He along with all the local judicial system, from Judge Jeff Lowe, the Magistrate Judge, to Superior Court Judge David Barrett, even Chief Judge Hugh Stone were all present.

The forum was designed to speak to the local community, to address drug addiction, especially Meth. This drug is like a cancer, it is taking over rural North Georgia. It is a major problem and there is no simple answer.

The panel consisted of county commission chairman, school superintendent, juvenile judge, superior court judge, drug task force members and John Cagle, the head of the GBI office in Cleveland Georgia.

This forum was very interesting and informative. Although I am disappointed that the system does not try alternative methods of treatment. I know of a local coaching group in Colorado that offers Life Coaching to individuals while in prison.

Afterwards I spoke to Superior Court Judge David Barrett. I asked the judge about treatment programs and therapy available to the prison population. Sad but true, there is little help for prisoners. Maybe I need to start a coaching program for prisoners. It is being offered in other jurisdictions, maybe Lumpkin County is a good place to start in Georgia.

If you know anyone on Meth, as Sheriff McClure said, " you can't stop them, you can't make them want to change," All you can do is show them you care. Offer to help them get help.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Velveteen Rabbit & Coaching

The Velveteen Rabbit
More Than A Children's Book

By Jeff Wasserman

On the weekend of March 30th through April 2nd, the childrens production at the Holly Theatre in Dahlonega Georgia presented " The Velveteen Rabbit." This play was based on the book first published in 1922 by Margery Williams.

The book follows the life of a stuffed bunny, made of inexpensive fabric and filled with sawdust. The bunny arrives in a well-to-do little boys nursery. Along side of more expensive toys, the bunny feels naturally shy and insecure. The bunny longed to fit in with his peers. Actually he hoped to become special to the boy.

Abandoned after the excitement of Christmas, the rabbit befriends, the wise old skin-horse. He explains to the rabbit that the boy will eventually love him and make him real. As the story goes, the horse is right, the Velveteen Rabbit is selected to keep the boy safe and secure during a serious illness.

A special bond or relationship develops between the boy and the rabbit. Along with the experiences the two share together, the rabbit transforms from a toy to something Skin Horse calls "real." Skin Horse claims that real is what happens when you become your true self, not a contrived, shiny, pretend thing and are loved despite, and maybe even because of, your imperfections.

The Velveteen Rabbit is much more than a children's tale, it is a classic metaphor. This story has the power to provoke our deepest desires, inspire reflection and remind us of the basic truths in life.

In the children's theater production of the Velveteen Rabbit, at the Holly Theater, Valerie West, the director, adapted the play to include a little girl as Andrea, instead of Andrew and a female rabbit spirit. Adapting in life is the key to a happy and successful life. As the old saying goes, " if you have lemons, make lemonade."

The play was wonderful and the entire cast and crew did an excellent job. Both of my daughters were in the play, Sara playing the rabbit spirit and Rachel playing a wild rabbit in the woods. Denali Hazen played Andrea. On Sunday, after the play, Denali presented my daughter Sara with a book by Toni Raiten-D'Antonio, titled The Velveteen Principles.

When we returned home, Sara started to read the book. Sara read one chapter and came running into my office to explain that the book closely resembles Life Coaching. I opened the book and immediately noticed the similarities. Life Coaching is all about seeing yourself in the mirror of life, or seeing yourself as others see you. It is like a reality wake up call.

In the Velveteen Rabbit, story and play, the reality wake up call is called being real. Being real is truly being yourself and not a version of something you think you are suppose to be. In coaching we call this, living your authentic life.

This theory is based on our own individuality. Being real is different for everyone. Whether speaking about living an authentic life, living the coaching lifestyle or being real, one thing is the same. We are all striving for a feeling of happiness and contentment. We are always looking for work that is engaging, relationships that feel satisfying and genuine love so we never feel alone in this world.

As in the book and play, once you are real, you know that everything you say and do matters to others. It helps you understand pain and pleasure. You will want to help ease others pain and bring pleasure to your loved ones. It helps you strive to leave your mark on this earth.

In the book, the Velveteen Principles, Toni Raiten-D'Antonio lists 12 principles. This is especially interesting since my healthy life program using 12 similar principles which I call coaching strategies.

# 1) Real is Possible. - Being real is a quest to resolve your doubts and clarify your own identity and self-worth. In the play, as soon as the Rabbit learns what real is and the Rabbit believes it is possible, he/she starts to show signs of being real.

# 2) Real is a Process. In the play, the rabbit looks up to Skin Horse as a role model. Skin Horse explains the process of becoming real. He describes it with such authority, with such precision. In life, many people hire a Life Coach to help explain the process of living your authentic life. Change and transformation is a process in the play and in real life.

#3) Real is Emotional. Individuals have feelings and emotions that keep them from being real. In the play, the Rabbit maintains an emotional longing for being real. Skin Horse explains that you must have a clear understanding of your emotions, in order to be real. In Life Coaching, the coach explains the dynamics which hold you back from being real or living an authentic life.

#4) Real is Empathetic. When you are not real or not living a real life, you have difficulties understanding and relating to others. In the Velveteen Rabbit, the other toys all see their imperfections and are living their life as a toy. Skin Horse on the other hand, is real, he is able to express his kindness and caring.

# 5) Real is Courageous. In the story, Skin Horse explains to the Rabbit to have courage, to expect a little pain, to face his/her challenges. In real life, achieving what you want in life, living a authentic life requires you to overcome challenges, ridicule and resentment. Like in the play, you might even shed a real tear or two along the way.

#6) Real is Honest. Skin Horse is honest and real when it comes to talking to rabbit. The only reason the Rabbit leaned on Skin Horse is because he is so honest throughout the entire story. If you want to be real, you need to be honest to yourself and to others.

#7) Real is Generous. Generous is more than just giving material possessions to those who need. Generous is about caring for others health and happiness. In the story, the Rabbit is more concerned about the boys health than the fact that he is being taken away to be burned. Being generous is not about gift giving, it is about offering your support, caring for others and lending encouragement.

#8) Real is Grateful. In the Velveteen Rabbit, the boys love played a huge role in the Rabbit becoming real. The Rabbit understands that he should be grateful. Being grateful is more than saying thank you, it comes from the heart.

#9) Real can be Painful. Transforming into being real, or living an authentic life is a complex process. The Rabbit learned from Skin Horse that awakening in life, to becoming real is sometimes painful. In our lives, moving toward an authentic life, living the life of your dreams can be a painful experience, but once you reach your goal, the pain becomes part of the process or journey.

# 10) Real is Flexible. In the play, the Velveteen Rabbit sees the wild rabbits playing in the garden. The Velveteen Rabbit is not sure he can hop like the other bunnies. Once he forgets his limitations, he is able to hop just like the wild bunnies. You must release your self-imposed limitations and be flexible and accepting to change.

#11) Real Love Endures. The Velveteen Rabbit becomes real due to the boys love and affection. This entire story is based on endless love both from Skin Horse and Andrew, the little boy.

#12) Real is Ethical. The story demonstrates that in order to become real, to live the life of your dreams, to live an authentic life, one needs to be ethical and content with ourselves.

The story of the Velveteen Rabbit is a terrific example of why we should all live an authentic life, based on our own self worth. Being real is living a life that reflects the values and principles outlined in the Velveteen Principles by Toni Raiten-D'Antonio.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Best Run Business in North Georgia

World Class Customer Service
From A Local Family Owned Business.

By Jeff Wasserman

In today's competitive world, you seldom encounter a business that exceeds your expectations. I had the pleasure of meeting and doing business with one such company. A few years ago I was setting up an office in Dahlonega and was in need of a new desk and other office furniture.

Every time I take my vehicle to Hardy Chevrolet in Gainesville for service, I can't help but notice the bright and cheerful building next door. The name on the building says it all, Office Pro's. Inside you will find a large two level showroom of new and used desks, chairs, book cases and supplies. The building also houses the school supply division, School Tools.

As a Life & Business Coach, I work with individuals and business owners who are looking to clarify their companies mission statement and connect with their customers. These business owners are searching for a method to improve the company culture, motivate their employees in order to offer their customers a excellent shopping experience. If you can offer your customers a memorable, hassle free shopping experience, you have developed a customer for life.

The owner's of Office Pro's have found the recipe for success. This family owned business, started by John & Marsha Jones, and their sons, Bill, Bobby, John IV and Tim. The Jones's family along with 30 other wonderful and dedicated staff members offer the most unique, relaxed and memorable shopping experience I have ever encountered.

As a Life & Business Coach, I often speak to groups of business owners, corporate managers and professional sales people. I stress the fact that little things make the sale, not the amount a business spends on advertising. Office Pro's is a great example of this theory.

When you walk through the door, you are always greeted by a caring and professional employee. Not a high pressure sales tactic, so often seen in furniture stores, but more like a welcome to our home greeting. The warm greeting is always followed up by an offer of a hot cup of coffee, individually brewed for freshness. On warm days, a cooler filled with ice cold bottles of water are yours for the taking.

The sales staff is always there to help and suggest, but there is no high pressure at Office Pro's. After viewing the new and used inventory in this large 45,000 square foot showroom, the sales staff is there to answer any questions. John Jones is always walking the showroom making sure the customers are being helped by his staff.

Mr. Jones has a talent for closing the sale. On the day I visited Office Pro's with my wife to buy a desk, I was overwhelmed with choices. New, used, wood, metal, just so many choices. I decided I would leave and visit the other national office supply stores located in Gainesville Georgia. Mr. Jones and his son Bill offered us a option never before offered to me by any retail store. If we leave and need time to think, we can go to lunch and if we return the same day, he would deduct our lunch off the bill. This was unique and a terrific offer of good will and smart business.

As you start to leave Office Pro's, even if you do not buy anything, they offer free newspapers to their customers with " Compliments of Office Pro's" stickers on each one. What a wonderful free inexpensive marketing tool. They even have free phone books for customers who need an additional phone book.

The Jones family and their staff have created a wonderful business and leave customers with a memorable shopping experience. I often speak to small business owners who complain that they can no longer compete with the large national chains. I make suggestions and offer advice on how to build customer loyalty, but many business owners prefer to spend a great deal on finding new customers instead of focusing on retaining the ones they have.

If you visit Office Pro's in Gainesville, be sure to check out their large selection of school supplies in their School Tools section and if you need a sign, talk to Tim Jones at Promotion Signs in the front of the building. From desks, to signs, the Jones family will take great care of you. And if you are not happy after the sale, they will make it right.

As you can see from the example at Office Pro's, if you own or manage a business, you can offer World Class Customer Service for little or no money. It does not take a huge advertising campaign to compete with the national chains and large corporations. In fact, you are doing yourself an injustice if you try to compete with these large companies on marketing. The secret is with the extras, paying attention to the little things in life.

I have worked with clients who put their business cards on a packet of flower seeds. Most perspective clients will not throw away a packet of seeds, but they might throw away a business card. I once worked with a client who sells his product to the construction trade. He was at a loss on how to get his message out to prospective clients. I suggested he buy a few dozen donuts, put his business card on the box and deliver them to the job sites. No one will pass up a fresh box of donuts.

If you have a unique business marketing idea you would like to share, please e mail me or call. I am always looking for successful businesses to spotlight. My theory is simple, do something for the customer above and beyond what they were expecting and you have a customer for life. I call this theory, Under Promise - Over Deliver (UPOD).