Watch your language! (Part 2)

Watch your language! (Part 2)

In the last “Watch your language” blog, I talked about “I have to” and “I can’t.” Now let’s take a look at the S word: Should.

“Should” is a red flag when my clients (or I) say it. It really ought to read “I should do ____, BUT I DON’T WANT TO.” If you don’t want to or aren’t going to, simply own it. “I don’t want to do this right now. I will forgo the benefit it would give me in favor of the benefit I receive for not doing the thing.”

For example, I may say “I should do yoga” and then sit and read a book instead. I’ve exchanged the health benefits of yoga for the immediate pleasure and relaxation of reading. On some days, that is actually the better choice and the thing that takes care of me the most. And if I balance the reading days with the yoga days, it all works out. Some days, I may even do both.

What doesn’t work so well is when I make a lot of judgments about why I’m bad or wrong for not doing what “I should.” These are just choices. When I’m ready to make a different choice, I will. Bullying myself or giving myself a guilt trip doesn’t really work with me; it just makes me feel down – and less inspired to do the thing “I should!”

Where are you telling yourself “I should do ____,” but the truth is you don’t want to? Will you want to do it later – or at least be willing to? Do you need to come up with an entirely different action? Is the thing you are choosing to do instead of what you “should” do actually what you need right now?

Remember, you are always at choice, and each choice comes with benefits (and consequences). If you don’t like your current choices, find some new ones. Get honest with yourself about what you really want and what it takes to get it. And to get started…

Watch your language!

p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching´╗┐

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Watch your language! (Part 1)

Watch your language! (Part 1)

Recently, I’ve had to ask several clients to watch their language. A number of them have been using the H word and the S word: Have-to and Should.

Cleaning up the “I have to’s” gives us agency in our own lives; it emphasizes that we are always at choice. You don’t actually have to go to work. But you probably choose to because (at the very least) you get a paycheck. When you see that you are making a choice, it illuminates other choices and possibilities.

One client told me “I have to volunteer.” Now that doesn’t sound right, if I understand the definition of “volunteer!” So we looked at the benefits he gets from volunteering: community, being of service, and feeling part of something that’s important to him. (And he said it also gives him an excuse so he won’t feel pressured into doing “volunteer” work he doesn’t want to do. Clearly, the benefits are unique to the individual!)

“I can’t” is often just the negative version of “I have to.” While it would be true if I said “I can’t make the US Olympic gymnastics team,” it would be untrue if I said “I can’t take 2 months off from work.” I could take an extended vacation, but I choose not to because A) it would mean I couldn’t keep my commitments and B) it would interrupt the momentum of my business.

Are you starting to see how it’s a more mature, intentional way to operate when coming from a place of choice (instead of being in the victim role where you have no choice)? Where do you say “I have to” or “I can’t?” What is the benefit you receive from your current actions? How could you clean up your language and take ownership of your choices? You have agency in your own life!

Next time, we’ll take on “I should.” In the meantime…

Watch your language!

p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching´╗┐

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The Art of the Fall

The Art of the Fall

One of my biggest and most important roles as a coach is to support my clients in taking risks and increasing the size of their comfort zones. It’s fine to start with small risks or take things slow at the beginning to gain some experience and witness your own resourcefulness. Everything gets better and easier with practice.

But at some point – and there’s always a point – you have to stop practicing and leap without a guarantee. Whether it’s changing careers, going back to school, or starting a business, there is a time when you have to stop researching or planning and finally commit. You have to be willing to try and willing to fail; to not know how it’s all going to turn out; to make the leap – and if you fall, roll with it and get back on your feet.

A friend who is an expert trail runner put it like this when asked how he runs so fast on difficult terrain – while others tiptoe down a crumbly, rocky incline or try not to fall into a ravine. He said, “[It’s] really aggressive. Part of it is lower center of mass and good balance. But it’s also this confidence that slipping a little bit is ok.” He continued, “You have to build it; you can’t just fake that confidence… It comes with experience and understanding the terrain.”

I think practice and experience and confidence are all tied together in a powerful, virtuous cycle. But the missing piece here is courage. You need courage to take those first risks, those first steps on uneven terrain; to know that slipping a little is ok and even expected. When you get used to slipping, you have the confidence to take the big leaps that could possibly lead to a fall (which experience says you can handle), but could also lead to your greatest success.

What leap are you working towards? Where do you need to take a risk and learn to slip a little? Where could you practice falling, rolling, and popping right back up onto your feet?

Remember: slipping a little is ok!

p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching´╗┐


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The Art of the Stall

The Art of the Stall

I spend a lot of time with my clients talking about stalling. Stalling is part art and part science, and it’s definitely a skill you want in your toolbox.

To clarify, stalling is not procrastinating. Procrastinating is NOT doing something. You stall in order to DO something specific, and do it well.

You may want to stall if you need time to sort through your thoughts and reasoning. You got a job offer on a Thursday afternoon? Congratulations, and try, “I’d like to take the weekend to consider your offer and speak with my spouse. I will contact you on Monday.” And then, you contact the person on Monday with your answer – and your additional questions and/or requests.

You may also stall to let your emotional intensity come down if you are upset. You are in charge of your actions and responses, and you want to be proud of them. So rather than say something you’ll regret, sometimes you may need to create a gap by stalling in order to calm down. You might ask, “Could we talk about this tomorrow, please?” And yes, you will have to talk about it tomorrow.

Or, if you are a “yes” person, you might stall to buy yourself time to say a really nice “no.” It would look like this: “Let me think about that and get back to you on Tuesday.” Then you go back to the person on Tuesday and say, “I’m afraid I can’t help with that given my other priorities right now. I hope you’ll ask again if another opportunity to serve comes up in the future.”

Note that in all cases you still have to talk to the person (i.e., ghosting someone is not an artful stall!). But what you’ve done is buy yourself time to give the other person the answer that you really want to give. The stall allows you to say no politely rather than agreeing to something that you don’t want to do. It gives you time to make sure that you can craft a calm answer you’ll be proud of tomorrow. And it gives you time to go back and ask more questions or ask for better compensation rather than just agreeing to a job you’re not sure about.

Where could you use the stall? What are those conversations that tend to catch you off guard or get you in trouble? What do you need to prepare in advance and practice in order to stall effectively the next time you’re in that situation? 

Good stalling!

p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching´╗┐

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