winery-columbia-river

This winery is on the Columbia River, with Mount Hood in the background.

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This is the third installment of a series about my summer road trip. The others were posted on August 23 and September 6.

Traveling through Oregon this summer provided several opportunities to connect with a variety of people. After a wonderful time in McMinnville, I drove to Portland, hoping to see some of my clients or friends from coaching. There I found Lara Adler, whom I have known for many years. She was one of Carey Peters’ and Stacey Morgenstern’s “Spotlight Sisters” who migrated to the west coast and settled in the Portland area, where she has established herself as an expert in environmental toxins. As we caught up with other friends over wonderful Japanese food, we reflected on how long we’ve been doing some form of coaching to help make a difference in peoples lives.

While in Portland I also went to the famous Powell’s City of Books, a landmark, multi-level source for new and used books that also houses a café. I could spend hours there, and often have. Of course, if you are into food, beer and wine, Portland is a “go-to” destination. During lunch at Rogue Brewery, I met a nice young woman who wants to make a difference through learning more about how to save endangered species. I also spoke with a bartender who loves fly-fishing. Almost all people have a passion and a dream. Part of what I committed to on this journey was asking people about their dreams, which can lead to fascinating conversations and inspirations.

The next day’s drive led to Seattle, where I let myself wander the city until catching up with Jeffrey Stewart, a wonderful coach I first met while mentoring with Robert Dilts. Jeffrey works at Microsoft, where he really gets a chance to utilize his NLP and coaching skills. I had a great time with him and his family. Jeffrey and I love to discuss the evolution of coaching, especially since we have both worked with Robert, who has been very instrumental in influencing the direction and scope of coaching and leadership.

Upon leaving Seattle I decided to drive along the Columbia River and explore some of the vineyards and orchards this area is famous for. I have been reading The Change, a SciFi series that takes place in this area, so I was able to see what I’ve been reading about. Traveling this way for me is peaceful and serendipitous.

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As you may already know, this summer’s trip is one of many dreams I have successfully realized. Have you identified the specific steps necessary to make one of your dreams happen? Are you working on at least one of them every day?

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Oct
18

Are you reaping the benefits of mentoring?

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If you’ve read my last couple of newsletters, you know I plan to scale back my coaching and training opportunities over the next few years and focus on mentoring instead. What does that mean for a coach?

The definition of mentoring is to advise or train someone, especially a younger colleague. It comes from Mentor, the name of the man who advises young Telemachus in Homer’s Odyssey.

Mentoring styles and expectations vary from person to person and industry to industry. In the corporate world, employers often facilitate mentoring programs as a means of nurturing up-and-coming leaders. In academia, mentoring is encouraged to assist younger staff with teaching, scholarship, service and leadership skills. Whatever the profession, the overall goal of mentoring is usually the long-term success of the “mentee.”

In the coaching world choosing a mentor usually means that you’ve decided to emulate someone informally or you’ve paid for formal one-on-one mentoring. Robert Dilts is someone I admired and emulated for years, so I considered him to be an informal mentor. Eventually, I decided to establish a formal, paid mentoring relationship with him.

Whether the connection is by family, friend or business, a mentor is someone who has stepped forward and assumed the task of educating or guiding a younger or less experienced person. As a mentor you see in someone something worth sponsoring and supporting. Mentoring requires that you know and like someone well enough that you want to support a particular type of growth.

I believe that true mentoring is a calling, and it exists because of a desire to instruct or teach. Because information and attitudes are conveyed, it requires that there be a relationship in which the mentee is open to learning and discovery. As a mentor, not only are you imparting knowledge, but you also have a close enough relationship that you can identify values and beliefs that will make learning possible. It requires more in-depth sharing than teaching.

Being successfully mentored requires you to recognize a level of learning or expertise that will be helpful for your mission and purpose. Your mentor should be someone who can help you attain something he or she has, but you don’t. When you recognize that someone has a philosophy or worldview you want to understand on a deeper level, it might be appropriate to seek a mentoring relationship with them. Mentoring involves a conscious decision to learn from someone and to emulate what they’re doing.

Even though I have not yet initiated a formal mentoring program, I have been consciously mentoring others for a long time, especially coaches. You are in a position to do the same. Know that there are others who need your support.

If you’d like to read more about this, I highly recommend From Coach to Awakener by Robert Dilts.

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Oct
04

Are you where you want to be?

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terry-alfredo-katie

Just before leaving Los Angeles I had dinner with Melissa Wilhelm and her husband John. Melissa has been developing her brand and has been pursuing what she wants. She’s yet another person I saw this summer who has demonstrated a willingness to go for a dream. Her husband John has also been doing work he loves. He recently left a safe job to go for a dream job. As we talked a familiar theme emerged: going for a dream requires managing anxiety and uncertainty. You must be more committed to your dream than reality.

After heading north I connected with one more client, Jack Austin. We had a chance to reconnect and review some of our earlier work together. Jack is one of the most well educated coaches I have ever met. He is always reading a new book or exploring a new training. He laughingly acknowledges that he has to resist jumping in with sharing information or theories, but his knowledge is helpful for ultimately understanding clients’ motivations and experiences.

I made it to San Francisco the next morning and connected with several people on my social media list as well as friends 2588_TerryCynthiaPeruI grew up with in Peru. One of my favorite people, Nancy Marmalejo, invited me over for dinner and asked me to stay. What a wonderful visit. Those of you who know Nancy know what a wonderful way she has of moving through the world. She has created a home that honors her grandmother, a healer, by creating sacred spaces and herbal gardens. We had a wonderful reconnection and went for a walk, enjoying the wonderful park and lake nearby.

Prior to my trip I let my connections from Peru know that I wanted to connect with fellow Peruvians or expats; that was one of my trip goals. One of the responses was an invitation from Cynthia Bolton (pictured with me at right). We shared such a unique childhood that still unites those of us who grew up in La Oroya, Peru. She and her husband live near Oakland and have a spectacular view of the bay and San Francisco.

After leaving their house I was off to northern California. I went up Highway 101 and avoided the freeway so I could enjoy the coast and the redwoods found in northwest California and southern Oregon. I let myself meander along the coast, stopping to enjoy the beaches. Just by taking my time, I found a great grove of redwoods. To be in their presence is to feel at one with the ancient ones, the lungs of the earth, or as my teacher Don Américo would say, the Waiki trees.

oregon-trees

Crossing into Oregon is at times to see crowds of people enjoying the beaches, but if you go on some of the smaller roads, it’s quiet and peaceful.

horsesI had a destination in mind for that state as well. I was connecting with one of my childhood best friends, Alfredo Arguedas. He lived next to me, and his sisters and my siblings were very close. As kids, we spent hours hiking and target shooting. He went to school in Lima while I went to Kentucky, and we reconnected in the summers. He and his wife Deb now live in McMinnville, Oregon, on a rural 10-acre plot where they raise horses and chickens. They are watched over by their dog, who takes her job seriously. I had a marvelous time with him and caught up on all that transpired after we both left Peru. Alfredo did two tours in Vietnam as a Marine, then went to Marine Officer Candidates School and eventually retired as a full colonel.

Alfredo relayed a tearful story about returning as a consultant to Vietnam and being teamed up with a former captain of the North Vietnamese Army. They spent every morning before work drinking tea, and in the process he found an inner peace that had previously eluded him. He also visited an area where he had been stationed and put some old ghosts to rest.

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If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that this summer’s road trip was on my bucket list and is one of many dreams I’ve realized.

Have you set aside some time to evaluate where you are and where you want to be? If you haven’t taken the time for this self-evaluation, don’t wait any longer. Sit down and start daydreaming, brainstorming and planning! Once you figure out what you want, figure out how to make it happen.

Note: This is the second installment of a series about my trip. Check my Facebook page and blog for additional posts.

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Sep
20

What Can You Learn from Harvey and Irma?

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Last night I watched the televised appeal for support for victims of Harvey and Irma. I was touched by many of the stories and responses from ordinary people who tapped into deep reservoirs of compassion and empathy. I had to pledge a donation. How could I not?

One of my mentors, Robert Dilts, wrote Beliefs: Pathways to Health and Well-Being, a book that was inspired by the healing journey of his mother. She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and given six months to live. Robert worked with her using all the techniques and skills he knew, and she achieved remission, which Robert understood as RE-mission, a purpose greater than herself. Dreams often have this component: they are tied to a larger purpose.

So, when a pro football player described an idea to help his Houston neighbors, his message resonated way beyond his imagined goal. Meaningful dreams have a way of doing that.

Even with support coming in, it’s clear that there will be a multitude of people who will need to draw on faith and resilience. Because they lost so much and are starting over, they may also have the rare opportunity to realize dreams.

When it’s darkest we know the dawn is near. Some of our greatest coaching opportunities come at crisis points. It is when despair is present that we often forget we are resourceful. One of our most important tasks is to remind people that they are resourceful and resilient. It also helps that we believe that ourselves. When you can hold that belief, it makes it easier for others to access that powerful state.

As you consider the aftermath of these storms, think about the resiliency and resourcefulness of your clients. What you can do to help them recognize their strengths and get through their crises?

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Sep
06

Are you reaping the rewards of setting a powerful intent?

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I saw a recent post from Nancy Marmalejo sharing how energizing and renewing her recent vacation had been. “Yes!” I said to myself, because her musings captured what I felt as a result of my summer drive to Alaska and the vacation week Beth and I took in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

On my driving trip, I really wanted two experiences: be in nature and reconnect with old friends. I fully experienced both intents. Driving along the coast of the western US is one of the world’s most scenic opportunities: Northern California offers ocean vistas with mountains full of majestic pines and giant, stately redwood trees. Just inland is one of the best wine producing areas in the world, with miles of well-tended grape vines and small, friendly towns featuring wine tastings, breweries and creative chefs combining local ingredients in fresh, innovative masterpieces.

I grew up in Peru, high in the Andes Mountains, and everywhere I looked there were mountains but no trees, because we were above the tree line. Those mountains were my playground. My friends and I spent hours exploring them. We found old buildings, parts of the old Inca road, even burial caves. When I turned 12, I got my own horse, which made exploring even more comprehensive. Getting away and setting an intent to be in the moment opens possibilities.

When I was 18 I rode a motorcycle from Tucson to Panama, even though our intent had been to drive all the way to Chile. Though unable to get on a ship through the canal, we were able to put our Volkswagen bus on a ship heading to Miami. So we flew. That trip had been one of my goals. I had been a traveler from a young age and had already been around most of Peru and parts of Bolivia. Given that my dad worked in Peru in an Andean mining town, I guess you could say travel and adventure were in my DNA.

I left Arizona on June 20 at 4:00 in the morning in an effort to avoid the extreme heat (over 110 degrees). I took my kayak with me, which worked well except for reducing my mileage and sometimes causing some noise. I was able to get from Phoenix to Los Angeles by that afternoon. There I connected with Anita Avalos, a client. She had just come from Italy, where she had been creating an experience for those who love the idea of experiencing the sensual treat of creating an Italian experience with food. Hers was a full dive into living, shopping, cooking and feasting the local way—a deep dive into that life. My road trip offered a similar “dive.” In a way we were both talking about living our dreams.

Are you living your dream? If not, are you actively working to make one of your dreams a reality?

Set an intent today, and start working on it right away!

Note: This is the first installment of a series about my road trip. Watch my Facebook page and this blog for additional posts.

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Aug
23

What I Learned Along the Way

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My recent drive from Tucson to Alaska and back again followed by a vacation in Mexico was truly the “trip of a lifetime.” Some of the reunions along the way allowed me to recognize the extent to which friends and I have affected each other’s lives. I also had a chance to spend time with clients who have become friends. All of this led me to see what a difference you can make in people’s lives through the relationships you form.

My trip really began when I reunited with several Peruvians in New Mexico, and it culminated in Mexico, where Beth and I spent time with Steve Stryker and his daughters, Alexa and Chloe. Steve and I met during my freshman year, and his family effectively adopted me.

So, what did I learn about myself on the trip?

First of all, I recognized that I had kept an agreement with myself to travel and to reconnect. As a result of this trip, I now have the experience of having driven as far north as Fairbanks, Alaska and as far south as Santiago, Chile!

I also learned how important travel and adventuring has always been to me. It’s part of my identity. I believe I will always meet amazing people who may well have an impact on my life. I had a number of such meetings, including one with a man on a bike traveling from Los Angeles to Juneau, Alaska; when he saw my University of Arizona lacrosse jacket, he introduced himself as a U of A graduate. Later, after ziplining in Mexico, we met someone who had just graduated from the U of A school of law. What a small world!

As planned, I saw many of the people I grew up with, and I realized why the decision I made to see them was so important. I learned how much my experiences in Peru shaped my worldview and affected the rest of my life. The way I—actually, the way we—grew up was unique. In some ways our Peruvian community was like a small town because we knew most, if not all, of our neighbors. However, it was different from a typical small town because its residents were from all over the world. I was exposed to multiple worldviews and attitudes, which developed my ability to be comfortable with lots of different worldviews. That’s part of what made me the coach I am today.

I also learned that time is valuable. The way you choose to spend your time speaks to what you think is valuable at the moment. If you experience yourself squandering your time or not using it in a way that serves you, change what you’re doing. This is particularly important if your future timeline is shorter. Of course, you never really know what your future timeline is!

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Jul
05

Have you had to learn something the hard way recently?

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Posted 7/5/17; written in early June

This is the first time I’ve been able to sit down and reflect on “what now”? I’ve been involved in helping with the health care of my father-in-law, Harry. Navigating all the systems involved has been an education. Like many painful educations, it was not freely chosen.

About six weeks ago Harry suffered a fall. He told us the next morning, and because of his age and fragility Beth thought it best to take him to the hospital. He is a vet, so he primarily uses that system, and they decided to admit him into the hospital to run tests to evaluate for injuries and to determine the cause of the fall.

Unfortunately, Harry got worse because of the hospitalization. He was kept in bed and hooked up to a fall warning device that emitted a shrill sound if he tried to get out of bed. Since the VA staff was managing a full unit, he did not get walked or exercised and lost weight as well as strength. Therefore, the discharge plan was to send him to a skilled nursing facility.

It was awful. Understaffed and overworked personnel were slow to respond, and he was put in a room with another patient who was agitated, loud and suffering from many issues, which affected Harry’s ability to rest. When Beth and I got home around midnight after his first day there, both of us knew we couldn’t keep him in that place.

In all fairness to this and similar facilities, they do the best they can with the limited resources they have. Many of these facilities cannot accomplish what they are or were designed to do. Most of their residents are in the last stages of life, and many of them no longer have family available to manage or help direct their care. They have become warehouses for the elderly, poor, and disabled. They are staffed by overworked, underpaid people who feel and experience the despair that permeates the milieu like a creeping gas attack designed to suck out joy and life from all who are in the environment.

Then there is the effect of all of this on family members and caretakers. How can you leave a loved one in such an environment? Often families have no other choice.

So how did we get here? The health debate has intruded into this event because even though we spend more money per capita on health care than any other country in the world, we are left with a system that seems to satisfy no one.

The good news is Harry is doing well now. He is in a facility that is smaller and more personalized, one where we are able to work with the staff. The bad news is that many people don’t fare as well, in part because they simply don’t have the options he does. If you’ve had to deal with a similar scenario in your family, you have my heartfelt empathy.

 

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Jun
16

Working with a Disappointed Client

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Two recent events have been holding my attention and shaping my thinking. For starters, I just had an uncomfortable but important conversation with a client. This client was not happy and was willing to share their perspective of our coaching experience.

Three areas of concern emerged from our conversation. The first was a question about value, reframed this way: “I am not getting value from our work together. I don’t think you were very focused in our last [two] sessions.”

Next were questions about policies and delivery of services. I asked, “How would you know that you were getting value?” The reply was “I would have had specific actions to take.”

The final issue concerned the client’s responsibility for speaking up about what they wanted. This is often hard for clients to do, so you need to model this or encourage it from the beginning. As one of my former coaches said, “You need to be responsible to your clients, not for them.”

So how do you do this? To help the client speak up, I focused on questions such as “How can we move forward?” and “How could I give value?” What I realized was that I shared in the failure of this relationship.

Why?

It started from the beginning. I was implementing a new, improved system for responding to my clients. I am trying to automate as many functions as I can. I use Infusionsoft, so I should be able to do this, since this software program has all of those capabilities. Yes, but one still must make sure that they are using the functions well and as designed. Did I? No. Where I failed was in making sure not only that all of the information that needed to go out went out but also that it was returned.

Here’s the new plan: Make sure information goes out and comes back signed. Go over the signed information together so there is clarity about how I work. (I’d like to review how I work so we are both clear about how coaching with me works.) Answer any questions that arise, and make sure that I am clear about how I hold myself to agreements. I’m going over this with my VA to make sure all of these steps are put into place.

As for the comment about me not being “present,” guilty as charged. That’s because I was dealing with the other event that’s been on my mind lately—helping my wife with my father-in-law, Harry. He was in the middle of a medical crisis that took over a month to improve. I’m sure that those of you who are dealing with or have dealt with similar caretaking challenges can identify with this.

So what to do: If you are struggling, acknowledge it, and reschedule if necessary. Your clients deserve your attention. By the same token, if your clients are not able to focus or are not “present,” they deserve the truth from you about how they are (not) showing up.

The client and I talked about all of this, and I can’t say the outcome was ideal, but I think the ultimate decision we came up with serves us both. I feel bad because I think I could have been helpful, but once someone has gotten to the point that they no longer believe in or trust you, I think it’s rare that they will come back from that point.

Are you committed to following your heart’s desire? Are you regularly taking action to realize your dreams? If you really want to accomplish your goals, at some point you have to move from planning to action. You must act.

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May
03

What are you doing to inspire trust in your business?

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I have dreamed of taking a long road trip to visit with friends from my childhood in Peru, high school, college and people I have met and become friends with as a coach. In planning the specifics of this dream, I also decided I would visit several national parks and kayak on a number of rivers and lakes. Recognizing that my old Ford Escape had too many miles on it and was facing some expensive repairs, I decided to buy a replacement SUV. After some research I settled on a Subaru Forester and found a used 2015 model.

Beth and I looked at how to make all of this possible, and as part of the process I decided to sell my Escape rather than trade it in. The selling experience itself was an exercise in faith and setting intent. Why?

Well I was intentional and focused. I did research for suggestions and tips and followed a plan. I invested in having the vehicle detailed, gathered all my old maintenance records, took pictures of my clean, detailed car and posted on Craigslist.

Within an hour I had inquiries about the car. Two stood out, so I made appointments to meet at a local restaurant. First I saw a brother and sister who liked the car because it was clean and well-maintained. The second person was a graduate student from Germany. What a nice young man. He was interested and wanted to pay to have a mechanic go over the car, exercising due diligence.

While the Escape was being inspected, I invited the student back to my house for coffee. We had a wide-ranging conversation. He brought a unique German perspective to current events in the US. When we returned to the car, we learned that the mechanic had found an age-related problem that would need to be attended to, so I agreed to reduce the asking price. I hadn’t known about the problem, but it didn’t surprise me. We went to the buyer’s bank, and he paid cash.

When he drove me home, I suggested that we stop for a snack and a beer. While we were eating, I asked why he decided to buy the car—what was his buying decision? He told me that the car looked good, literally. Most of the cars he had been looking at were in poor repair, had ripped seats, faded paint, etc. Then he said, “I got a good feeling about you, and then you asked me to your house for coffee. I knew then that I would buy your car. Even when the mechanic’s report came, I knew we could work it out.” So even though his original buying strategy was visual, getting a good feeling was kinesthetic and was ultimately what mattered.

In thinking about this experience, I realized it was consistent with a book I recently read, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini. Without conscious thought I had employed one of the strategies Cialdini describes. Inviting the prospective buyer to my house for coffee created trust.

Whom do we open our homes to? People we like and/or trust. Rather than being logical, many buying decisions are made based on “good feelings.” How often have you invested in someone or something because it felt right?

What are you doing to help potential clients trust you? How do you encourage good feelings for your business?

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Apr
19

Making Your Dream a Reality

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As I plan my long-awaited trip, I’m looking at what I want and dream about through the prism of older age. I don’t have unlimited time; therefore I am applying criteria to my choices. Many years ago I set a goal of being on as many major rivers as I could because river travel seemed like a way to connect with early explorers and adventurers, and I have thought of myself as an adventurer for most of my life.

Dreaming is the first step toward getting what you want. You must take action, ideally inspired action, to realize your dreams, and at times you must employ faith, acting in the absence of truth or certainty.

If you live in the east or southeast and have been thinking of working with me, especially in person, this trip could be your opportunity. Part of what I have to share is a congruent message about following your dreams. One of the major outcomes of many who work with me is that they step into and live their dreams. This may be an act of faith on your part.

Over the past two years I have recommitted to acting in that way myself—acting on faith. I do this by committing to follow my heart’s desire. I don’t want to be at the end of my life regretting what I have not done. I’ve always ascribed to Alfred Lord Tennyson’s idea, “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Are you committed to following your heart’s desire? Are you regularly taking action to realize your dreams? If you really want to accomplish your goals, at some point you have to move from planning to action. You must act.

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