Destination Success Newsletter - August 2004
The Summer Olympics underway in Athens are a great source of entertainment and inspiration. They also offer some interesting lessons for ProCoach members seeking to reach their full potential.
The one thing that strikes me most as I watch the Games is the degree of commitment it takes to reach the top. Most of these athletes have been developing their skills and experience in their chosen sport for at least ten years. Their quest for gold has been their dream and the primary focus of their lives. Their preparation frequently involves 4 - 6 hours of training per day. When we watch the Olympics we are seeing not just the finest athletes, but also some of the most committed individuals on this planet.
I believe it is healthy to have some semblance of balance in your life (an area in which I could personally use some improvement!) Still, seeing the dedication of these peak performers is inspiring. I recently read an interview of an athlete who said, "Becoming the best in the world required only two things of me. Practice when I wanted to, and practice when I didn't want to." In any endeavour, if you want to see the results you must put in the effort. If you only do things when you feel like it, your results will suffer. And no matter how hard you work, you still need patience. It takes many years to reach the top.
Another lesson relates to the structure these athletes employ in order to reach the top. For one thing, they all have coaches. Also, their training regimes are not random. Every one employs some kind of system based on the experience and knowledge of their coach. You, too, have a system at your disposal. In order to maximize your results, you need to follow the ProCoach Success System as diligently as an Olympic athlete.
We see many amazing performances at the Olympics. We also see some heart-breaking moments of personal tragedy. These moments of failure give television viewers a rare glimpse into the inner psyche of the athletes involved. If you look closely at their faces, you can get a sense of their inner dialogue - the things they are saying to themselves. Some are able to shake off their disappointment and graciously accept the realities of their painful situation. These athletes have a bright future. The prevailing voices inside their heads are healthy, and support their success as a human being both in and beyond their sporting endeavours. Other competitors who fall short of their own expectations leave the stage clearly angry with themselves, and retreat into an exile of solitude and self-criticism. You can tell, just by watching them, how hard they are on themselves. No matter how successful these people are externally, they have not yet reached a place of accepting themselves. And their enjoyment of life suffers for it.
As I work with ProCoach members, I find that many of them are beating themselves up in the same brutal way as these "failed" Olympic athletes. During our Laser Coaching sessions these members tell me they are unproductive, disorganized, undisciplined and under-functioning. Here is my response. There may indeed be room for improvement, but if you want to experience a rich, fulfilling quality of life, you absolutely must stop judging and criticizing yourself. Your self-perception is probably highly distorted. Even if it is accurate, your expectations of yourself - no matter how low - are obviously too high. Not only does this hurt your enjoyment of life, but as we saw in the Olympics the pressure you put on yourself can actually diminish your performance. So quit kicking yourself while you are down. Have some patience and compassion for yourself. When you start being kinder to yourself, your performance will gradually improve and so will the quality of your life experience.
With patience and gentleness,
Maximizing the Success Factor
How are you doing with the "Confront Your Fears" Success Factor? This is one of the most powerful of all Success Factors, but it is also an easy one to slide on. It requires tremendous diligence on your part to identify and challenge your fears head on. Why? Because up till now you have spent your entire life developing strategies and habits to avoid facing them!
While at the July live seminars and during my Laser Coaching sessions since, I have heard members make all sorts of excuses. Some people explain away their fears ("I would do that, but") Some deflect them ("Why would I want to do that?") Often people block, deny or ignore their fears ("Fears? What fears?") What is your favourite avoidance strategy? All of us have our deeply ingrained and highly effective ways of side-stepping our fears. And these can make it hard to maximize the opportunity available from this Success Factor lesson.
As your coach, I have a challenge for you. Identify and break through one fear - small or large - every day. It is not that hard to find them if you are committed to it. You could ask yourself this question daily: "What is one thing that would advance my success that I am avoiding because of fear?" Or you could look at your "to do" list and check in with your gut on each item. Which ones cause a funny feeling in your stomach? Those are the ones to take action on! If you can't find anything on your list, revisit the "Stretch Yourself" exercise on page 7 of the Success Factor workbook. This exercise suggests that you intentionally create fears to practice on. The avoider in you will no doubt question the value of doing this, but it is a huge opportunity. Remember, the goal is to observe yourself as you come up against your fears and practice breaking through them. I guarantee that fear is the one thing most holding you back from achieving the results you want. Don't miss the opportunity this Success Factor offers!
Set yourself up to win!
If there is one thing I have learned as a coach, it is that every time you complete an intention you set for yourself - no matter how small - you add fuel to your fire and accelerate your momentum. And every time you write an intention and fail to achieve it, you pour water on your fire and reduce your success. To ensure that you finish the current quarter as a winner, I recommend the following exercise.
Pull out your Quarterly Intentions Folder now and review everything you wrote on it. The intentions you set will fall into one of the following four categories:
1) Some intentions have already been completed. Put a big check mark beside them and pat yourself on the back. Good job!
2) Some intentions are on track for completion before your quarter ends in October. If you are confident you will complete them, write "OK" beside them and recommit yourself to follow through with them.
3) You may find some intentions that are in alignment with where you want to go, but are unlikely to be completed this quarter. Since failure extracts a high price, you must correct this situation! I hereby give you permission to revise your intentions so you can complete them by the end of the month. COACHES TIP: When you modify your intentions, make them significantly more modest and realistic so you are extremely likely to complete them. Remember, there is no penalty for setting a smaller intention and overachieving it!
4) You may look at some intentions you wrote and realize that they were totally unrealistic, or that things have changed and you no longer are committed to them. In this case, do not modify them. Decommit from them. That's right. Cross them out completely, and do not write anything in their place.
This approach may seem like cheating to you, but it is really just smart strategy. At the end of the quarter every uncompleted intention will hurt you. But the ones you crossed out will not hurt you, even if you crossed out 80% of what you originally wrote. That is because building your confidence and momentum involves your subconscious mind, which is not hurt by the intentions you crossed out.
Even if you only filled out your Quarterly Intentions Folder recently, I still recommend that you do the above exercise now. Re-evaluating and adjusting your intentions is a great way to develop the skill of setting realistic expectations of yourself.
Playing the Success Express Game
There are two categories of ProCoach members. Those who are using the Success Express Game, and those who are not. The members playing the game are raving about it. Over and over I hear stories of people filling out their Weekly Success Planners and completing their action commitments so they can get more points. Perhaps it is the Olympic influence, but many of these members are feeling very competitive!
If you are not playing the game, please don't criticize yourself. Do keep in mind, however, that it was designed to support your success. The only criteria for playing is that you be using your Weekly Success Planner, which is a crucial element of the ProCoach System. If you did not start scoring your Success Express Game at the beginning of this quarter, you may think that you are too far behind and there is no point in starting now. Not true. Here are two reasons to start playing the game today. First, you will figure out how it works and learn how to maximize your points. Second, you will get in the habit of tracking your score each week. Both of these will help you get off to a strong start with the game next quarter.
Playing is very easy. All you need to do is to fill out the chart on the last page of your Weekly Success Planner workbook, and then update the score to your game board each week. So go for it. And challenge your Success Partner to play, too.
This is the first quarter we have used the Success Express Game, and we want to hear how it is going for you. We will be sending you a short survey about it early in September. Whether you are playing the game or not, please take the time to respond when you receive it!
Financial Tracking spreadsheet coming soon!
We have recently created the Financial Tracking workbook into an Excel spreadsheet. If you have Excel software on your computer, you will soon be able to download the spreadsheet from the ProCoach website and use it to track your financial progress. You will receive an email on how to download the spreadsheet early in September.
Terminating your ProCoach membership
A clarification regarding how to end your ProCoach membership (in the unlikely event that you choose to do so!!!)
All monthly memberships commence on the first day of the calendar month and end on the last day. During the introductory period (the first 3 months in which you are a member) you may cancel any time, right up to the last day of the third month in which you are a member. Once your Introductory Special is over and you are paying monthly, you must let the ProCoach office know by the 15th of the month if you wish to terminate your membership at the end of the month. If we do not receive notification by the 15th, you will be charged for the next month. This is because we incur costs based on the number of members we expect to have in the coming month. For example, we place print orders and book seminar rooms and conference lines well in advance. The best solution? Don't leave. Stay in the program long enough to get the payoff from your investment!
ProCoach does not charge members any "commitment deposit" and there is no penalty for leaving as long as you provide us with sufficient notice.
Have you had a Laser Coaching session this quarter? If not, I strongly encourage you to book one. You do not need to have an issue or problem in order to get value from Laser Coaching. Just book a session, show up and see what happens. You will be amazed and delighted by what can happen in just 15 short minutes. The Laser Coaching schedule books up quickly at the end of the quarter, so book your session now.
Recordings of Success Factor and Success Booster Teleclasses
Recordings of the recent Success Booster and Success Essentials teleclasses are now available. You can listen to them by telephone or on-line. To get the telephone access code or connect on-line go to www.procoachsystem.com, enter your password and then go to the Coaching/Teleclasses tab.
Member Success Stories
This month we turn the Success Story spotlight on Hunter Dickson, a ProCoach member who lives in Vancouver. An accomplished writer and editor, Hunter wrote this article herself. Thank you, Hunter!Started a business; then found the courage to close it down
Embarked on a career as a writer and editor
Gone on assignment to Chicago to write about the publishing industry
Listed my condo with the intention of being mortgage free when I buy again.
A little over a year ago, all I knew about coaches was that they trained athletes. When I heard about business coaches I couldn't get my head wrapped around the concept - or think why I would ever need one. Business just happens. Right?
Needless to say, finding Andrew and growing with his coaching systems, both through SuccessTracs and now ProCoach was exactly the guidance I needed. I had been running fast for years. Yet I was so scattered that, in spite of all my effort, I really ended up nowhere.
In the past I always got stuck in the details and would constantly lose sight of the big picture. The ProCoach Success System has helped me overcome that.
My favorite tool is Weekly Success Planner. Although I look at it only occasionally during the week, each Sunday night I put my feet up, open the Planner and check off my accomplished intentions.
I am always amazed at what can be accomplished in a week. It doesn't matter whether a Top Three Priority was something big, or something small like "clean my apartment". Maybe my Celebrate Yourself was "go see new Harry Potter movie". Anything is a win. And everything is a win. If I don't accomplish an intention, the system lets me decide if it was too big, unreasonable, something I really didn't want to do or was subconsciously scared to do.
And it is so easy. Who would have thought that spending a few minutes each week writing down my intentions could move me forward so intensely? Looking back at my old Weekly Planners is one of the best things. I see myself much more clearly, especially when I read one that is two or three Quarters old.
I am nearly half way through Year Two (if you count the time I spent with Andrew in SuccessTracs), and I can physically feel my momentum increasing. In the past 18 months, with the help of this terrific coaching program and my supportive fellow coachees I have:
I am in the process of:
Changing my outlook from "What should I do?" to "How can I best serve?"
Negotiating a monthly Book Review column for a BC publication.
One of my weekly intentions right now is "Slow Down". The more I slow down, the faster success is coming to me. Weird!
Thanks to the ProCoach team and to everyone in the program. You all inspire me in different ways.
"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
-- Calvin Coolidge