Do you ever get tired of waiting for things to come together? Why does everything seem to take so long?
After years of hang gliding and a thoroughly enjoyable bachelorhood, I got serious about finding a life partner when I was in my mid-30s. Twelve long years and many painful, tumultuous relationships ensued during which time I frequently wondered whether I would ever find what I was looking for. When I finally met and married my wonderful wife, Marianna, I thought I had it all.
And then the waiting began again, this time to be a father. Two years after our wedding, with my 50th birthday approaching, medical tests confirmed that fertility issues made it unlikely we would conceive a child naturally. Numerous medical consultations and procedures followed with more waiting. Still no results.
Last spring, Marianna and I made a decision to adopt a baby girl from China. A year filled with paperwork, meetings, fees and approvals has gone by. The baby room is ready, complete with crib, teddy bears and a closet full of tiny clothes. We are excited, eagerly looking forward to being a family. Every time the adoption agency requests something, we respond immediately. The waiting goes on. And the most frustrating part is that there is nothing we can do to speed the process.
As a coach, I notice that many people struggle when they are waiting. They seem unable to make the distinction between things that they have control over and things that they don't.
There is no point in pressing hard when there is nothing you can do to influence the outcome. But it is also a mistake to sit back and do nothing. When you are waiting for things beyond your control, there are usually may small steps you can take while you are waiting. For example, right now Marianna is learning sign language for babies; I am doing some projects around the house that will make life easier when the baby finally arrives.
Here is a coaching question you can use when you are waiting for things outside of your control to change: "What steps can I take to advance my objectives in areas were I do have control?"
You may become impatient, negative, even angry about things which are beyond your control. You may complain bitterly, or try to force things to go your way. These reactions will not help the situation or your peace of mind! In fact they usually have a negative impact on both.
This leads to a second useful coaching question: "What am I trying to make happen before its time?" Taking a moment to ask yourself this question can provide a valuable shift in perspective. It is difficult, frustrating and often fruitless to attempt to force things to happen based on your personal self-centered agenda.
The challenge is to do everything you can to advance your objectives while letting go of the things that are beyond your control. This ensures you move forward as fast as possible with a minimum of negativity and stress.
As Marianna and I wait for our child, the I am doing my best to practice what I preach. Adoption is different than natural childbirth in that, once you are approved, receiving a child is certain. In our case it looks like the family I have wanted for so long will finally be complete in the next two months. The waiting is difficult, but I do not need to put my life on hold. There are steps I can take today.
Andrew Barber-Starkey, Master Certified Coach.
In This Issue
ProCoach has its First Birthday!
We held our very first seminar on March 31, 2004, so ProCoach is officially one year old! What an amazing year it has been! We have come a long way, and of course the best is yet to come.
As a coach and a business person, my biggest emphasis is always on getting results for our clients. To see how we are doing, we sent a survey to all of the members who have been using the system for a full year. So far we have received responses from about half of them. The results are almost unbelievable, and are a true testament to the quality of our program and the efforts of Team ProCoach.
As you read this, keep in mind that most people see far greater results in the second and third year of the program than they do in the first year. Here are a few of the highlights:
|To what degree have you experienced an improvement in the following areas?
|Business and Career
|Money and Finance
|Greater belief in what is possible for me to achieve
|More optimism about the future
|Greater clarity about the future
|Improved focus and productivity
Free "Secrets of Success" Teleclasses - April 2005
|Based on your experience, how would you rate the ProCoach Success System in the following areas?
||Good or Excellent
|Effectiveness at getting results for members
|Value of the program (price vs. service/results received)
|Your personal return on investment
|Quality of program materials
|Quality of service provided to members
|Your overall rating of the ProCoach success system
The "Secrets Of Success" evening seminars held during February and March were a huge success. Close to 400 people came out to hear my success principles in Vancouver, Seattle, Calgary, Red Deer, and Edmonton. My presentation explained why goal setting doesn't work, the three biggest mistakes that cause people to fail, the importance of taking a systematic approach to success and more.
A number of people asked whether I would be willing to present the same material by teleclass for those who live outside the areas where I held seminars. Thanks to your requests, I'm excited to announce that I will be leading several free Secrets of Success teleclasses in late April. Standby to receive an e-mail containing details of how you and your friends and associates can register to attend these powerful tele-seminars.
Enter the Zone of Discomfort
My clients often tell me that they have the ability to achieve far more than they are achieving today. Then they ask me the fastest way to access their untapped potential. Would you like to know the answer?
Bring to mind some highlight experiences of your life. The times when you faced the biggest challenges, made the biggest breakthroughs, had the biggest wins. Did you feel relaxed and comfortable during these times? Were these situations effortless for you? Probably not. In fact, you were quite likely terrified. Yet these were the times when your ability and self-confidence increased the most.
Like it or not, you grow the most when you confront your fears and step outside your comfort zone. As author and speaker Robert Allen says, "everything you have today is inside you comfort zone. And everything you want but don't have is outside your comfort zone."
The challenge is that going outside your comfort zone is, well, uncomfortable. So, you avoid going there. You may work very hard, but mostly you do what is familiar. You fail to stretch yourself. Then you wonder why you do not make as much progress as you would like to.
Here is my personal quote on this topic, and you may not like it! Are you ready? "There is a direct correlation between the frequency and extent to which you go outside your comfort zone, and the speed at which your momentum increases."
The people who accelerate themselves rapidly to high levels of success have a secret weapon. They have a great deal of courage, and they make a habit of going beyond their comfort zone. Or, as the book title says, they "feel the fear and do it anyway." You can accelerate yourself rapidly too. But you have to willing to frequently and intentionally enter the zone of discomfort.
Ask The ProCoach
Question submitted by JS in Vancouver
"I am in sales, and to be honest with you I hate my job. Without going into the details, I'll tell you that I've worked here for three years. I make a reasonable income, and the company overall is okay, but I really dislike the management in our branch and I find the environment extremely unpleasant and stressful. I want to leave and start my own business, but I'm not sure exactly what kind of business would be best. Would it be a mistake for me to quit my job now when I don't know what I want to do next?"
There is no standard answer to this question. In general I always recommend that when you're making a change - be it changing jobs, ending a relationship, or even changing homes - it is preferable to move towards something you want instead of away from something you don't want. For example, right now you just want to get away from your current situation. If you leap out of your job without knowing where you are going, you could end up worse off than you are today. It would be much better to know exactly what you want to create and have a plan for implementation before you make a drastic change.
One important factor is your financial needs and resources. If possible I recommend that you avoid increasing your level of consumer debt, as doing so will increase your level of stress and limit your options in the future. Since you don't know what you are going to do, your only realistic options would be to live on savings or get another job. If you do not have savings or income, how else will you pay the bills? When I started my coaching business, I had $80,000 in savings. That dwindled to $30,000 before I got fully established, and it took another five years before I built my savings back up again.
The fact that you're not clear about the business you want to create is a serious concern. Usually I encourage my clients to have a clear picture of what they want and start working on it, building a foundation of knowledge, clients, contacts and infrastructure before they leave their job. This makes it much easier to ramp up the new business quickly when they make the change. The risk in your situation is that you may end up floundering around for several years looking for the ideal business opportunity. This could be both financially and emotionally devastating.
Having said all this, there are times when you need to get away from where you are now before you can gain clarity and start to rebuild your confidence. Moving away is not always bad. Just make sure you have a well thought out plan in place before you leave.
Do you have a coaching question? Send it to . The ProCoach will answer one stimulating question each month.
Shannon Forbes - Seattle, WA
ProCoach: What kind of work do you do?
Shannon: I work as a sales rep for a large printing company in the Seattle area. I've been there for about a year and a half.
ProCoach: When did you join the ProCoach Success System, and why?
Shannon: I joined the program in June last year. I felt it was time for me to take some steps towards creating the future I wanted. I knew where I wanted to go, but I was not getting there as fast as I wanted to. When I heard about ProCoach I realized it was exactly what I was looking for.
ProCoach: How has it been so far?
Shannon: Well you told us when I started that people don't usually see big results until their second and third year. But it has been pretty amazing for me so far. What I like best is that I always know my priorities. The system keeps me connected to my task list, which gives me a sense of control and freedom. It also supports me to follow through with things I wouldn't do otherwise. That has definitely led to some extra sales.
When I first started using the program, I was having some real challenges at work. I was still relatively new on the job, and was having trouble finding my place on our sales team. It is amazing how much my confidence has increased in the past year. I think the system helped me to embrace my own selling style, which is quite different from other members on our team. It has really helped to have a systematic, structured process I can use to create a plan and follow through with it.
ProCoach: Has your income increased since you started using the program?
Shannon: Oh yes. I get paid on straight commission. My income has grown slowly but steadily. Things are not where I want them to be yet, but there is definitely a significant improvement. I'm very satisfied with the way it is going. Again, I have only been using the program for nine months so far.
ProCoach: Any other areas of progress?
Shannon: Yes, I have seen improvements almost everywhere. For example, when I joined the program, I was not exercising at all. A while back I had a knee injury, and I stopped exercising and just never got started again. Now I run four or five days a week and as a result I feel much better. Recently I made an appointment with an exercise coach to talk about getting into some new activities.
Thanks to the system I also have better quality free time. Before, I almost never had a totally clear day. Now I set Freedom Days aside and keep them sacred. That is significant. If you don't get away from work it is unhealthy, and no fun either.
ProCoach: How has your momentum increased?
Shannon: Well, it exists! (laugh) I didn't really have any momentum when I started the program. Although I still hit blocks from time to time. Actually, I blame ProCoach for that. If I was not moving forward so fast, I wouldn't have to deal with nearly as many issues. ProCoach is not just accelerating my business; it is forcing me to grow at the same time.
ProCoach: We recently surveyed the ProCoach members who have been using the program for a year. Every one of them said they have developed a much greater sense of what's possible for them to achieve. Have you found that?
Shannon: Definitely. I've always known that I would be playing a big game but now it is starting to happen. I think the ProCoach Success System is helping me clear away what was limiting me. Over the past year I have experienced what I consider to be the resurrection of myself. I have found new parts of myself and now I'm in touch with my joy - even at work. I also auditioned for a part in the play Music Man. Even though I didn't get the part, auditioning was one of the highlights of my year.
ProCoach: What do you like best about the ProCoach Success System?
Shannon: I'd have to say it is the Laser Coaching. I usually come to our calls with a problem and I have some ideas about what to do with it. You always take it in a brand-new direction where I never thought we would go. You look at the issues in a very different way and see solutions I never would've thought of. I appreciate that sometimes you challenged me and call me on my stuff. I don't have enough people in my life who do that.
Also, the process of filling out the Weekly Workbook and talking with your Success Partner is very powerful. It creates any continuity that helps you stay on track. And I love the Success Express Game. Silly as it seems, I really enjoy coloring in the game board and I know it supports my success.
ProCoach: What's in the future for you?
Shannon: I don't know, but it is something big. So far the climb in my sales has been linear rather than exponential. As I approach my second year I see that my acceleration is becoming exponential, just like you said it would be. Some really big things are starting to come my way. The biggest is a prospective new client that I have found. Our company has about 60 employees now, and if I land this contract it would double the volume of work we are doing. And this is not the only big opportunity. I recently closed a sale on the largest single print project of my 15-year career. Doors that were previously closed are now opening for me.
ProCoach: Congratulations, Shannon. Keep up the good work, and good luck signing that big contract!
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Andrew Barber-Starkey is a Master Certified Coach residing in Vancouver, Canada. His coaching program, the ProCoach Success System, is designed for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, self-employed and commissioned sales people who want to double their income while simultaneously doubling their time off within 3 years.
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