Beth and I have been having some spirited conversations about the way I like to take immediate action. I’ll have an idea and want to act on it right away. She prefers thorough planning before beginning. For me, too much planning can be frustrating. For her, not enough planning is frustrating.

You’ve heard the idiom “Work smarter, not harder?” I once had a mentor who countered that by saying, “No, work the right way.” He recommended taking the right actions for the best results. If you just decide what you’re going to do in the New Year, very little happens. You have to decide AND take action. You also have to take the kinds of actions most likely to generate the best results.

Here’s the formula: Decide AND Take Action, using the Right Actions.

Okay, so right according to what? If you apply a good strategy, that’s going to increase your results. For us, determining this strategy becomes a dance between planning and action steps. If I have too long a meeting without taking action, I feel like I’m wasting my time. Keep in mind that I’m a 7 on the Enneagram, and Beth is a 6. I believe everything will work out, so I don’t plan for potential problems. She is concerned about being responsible, doing the right thing, not letting people down and avoiding potential obstacles. So, she uses planning to avoid problems and maximize time. When it comes to my (not our) business, my way of working, ultimately, is that I often don’t ask her for input because my style is that I tend to just act. These days, knowing that my future is shorter, I am more open to planning because my time is more valuable.

I believe that “good enough is good enough.” I’ve seen how perfectionism can lead to spending way too much time planning. For many perfectionists, there’s not enough return on investment to match the time spent “perfecting.” As you look at your goals and plans for this year, it’s important to recognize that if you focus on not disappointing others, you might disappoint yourself by not acting.

I prefer to take action—ideally the right action—and then adjust as needed.


How about you?

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What is coaching, and what makes a coach successful?

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Coaching works because it’s an analogy that most people can understand. When the word coach was first used in our field and people started to refer to themselves by that, they drew upon athletic coaches and what they do—mold people into a working team. They are able to do this by creating emotions that help people move forward. Successful coaches are able to bring out the best in people by understanding what their unique skill sets and gifts are, how to work with those gifts to create a team effort, and how to create beliefs of success and possibility in the people they’re working with. They are able to lead people to do the hard work that results in success. If they miss on any one of these, their season won’t be as successful.

Athletic coaches help create a set of behaviors that lead to success. Their feedback focuses on what they want, not what they don’t want. So it’s often done in the form of “not this, but this.” They acknowledge what won’t work and point out what will work instead. The most successful coaches are the ones who adapt to the motivational style of their players—those who need to be encouraged and those who need to be called out for not doing their best. Also, when a team is struggling, the coach reminds them of their goals and mission. They help create sustained effort over time.

So what does it mean to be a great coach in our field? It means that you learn to recognize the gifts and skill sets of the people you’re working with. You understand what motivates them. You help them develop beliefs of possibility and beliefs about improvement. And you yourself develop flexibility in your approach to different kinds of people.

It goes without saying that good coaches in our field and on the athletic field are inspirational and hold up beliefs of possibility even when their clients or players are struggling. Just like athletic coaches who over time develop the most effective and efficient ways to practice and prepare for games, coaches in our field learn to ask the right questions at the right time and to help people discover what they are truly capable of.

And just like good athletic coaches, we must learn to bounce back from adversity and see what others call failure as opportunities for deeper learning. As coaches we must learn how to have winning seasons and winning records, because we all know that when coaches don’t deliver, they are fired. A firing in the athletic world can lead to depression and resignation, but it can also lead to resilience and new commitment. We have to discover how to navigate our wins and losses.

Where do you recognize yourself in this description of a successful coach?

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Are you ready to follow your heart in the New Year?

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canadian-scenery-1 canadian-scenery-2-2 canadian-scenery-3

Canadian scenery: the first two photos are from Vancouver, one of
the most beautiful cities in North America, and the last was taken
on the spectacular road to Whistler.


This is the fifth installment of a series about my summer road trip.


What I wanted to do on my trip was to follow my intuition or my muse. I sometimes just took a road because it interested me. I would also stop to take pictures, especially of beautiful vistas or wildlife that became more and more common as I got farther north.

After leaving Seattle I drove east to visit wine country along the Columbia River. This land is abundant with vineyards, orchards and small, well-kept towns full of friendly inhabitants. I took advantage of the rich bounty by tasting wine and cider and sampling local cuisine. This kind of traveling is best done slowly to savor the food and drink and scenery. I often read Sunset Magazine, and this trip is one I remembered reading about.

By mid-afternoon I had crossed into Canada, which was an interesting experience. When the border agent noticed I was from Arizona, she asked several times if I had a gun in my car. I didn’t and said so. I did mention that I had a 22 at home and was then questioned about where I kept it. When I asked why there were so many questions, she paused and said, “Of course, most Americans have guns. Sometimes they forget they have them in their cars, and questioning helps them remember.” So, the Wild West still lives, or all “real Americans” have guns.

Ah, Vancouver. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in North America—until you encounter its traffic or try to buy or rent a house or condo. When you visit Vancouver’s amazing, pristine beaches and eat its great food, you discover a true international city. Being there in the summer was also a treat because of the long days. It’s a great place to kick back and enjoy.

Continuing the trend of reuniting with people from my childhood in Peru, I stayed with Beverly Hanna—a former Peruvian neighbor—and her husband. They took me out to experience eating on the bay, where water taxis transport people from one waterfront establishment to another. Before I left, Beverly took me to a farmers market and told me to buy the local strawberries. Wow! What a taste treat. Southern British Columbia produces some incredible produce and seafood served up in a beautiful environment.

The next day I hit the road, headed for Whistler, the site of a recent winter Olympics. This drive has to be one of the world’s most scenic, with mountains, lakes and rushing rivers around every corner. Whistler is a scenic mountain town and an ideal site for winter sports. I had fun walking around and enjoying the vibes of the town. The only planning I needed was to watch my gas, because once I drove farther north, towns became few and far between. I also had to convert gallons into liters of gas—yes, a liter, like a liter bottle of wine. When I did the figuring, I realized how expensive gas is in Canada, so paying by the liter seemed to make it easier. The other fun calculation was Canadian versus American dollars. The difference was in my favor: 100 American dollars got me about 125 Canadian dollars.

Going on this summer’s trip is one of the ways I followed my heart this year. Are you following your heart right now? Have you made specific plans to follow your heart next year?

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What happens when you follow your heart?

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I made a vow to myself at the beginning of this year to follow my heart no matter where it takes me. I set an intent to say yes to my heart’s desires, determining that when opportunities arise, rather than question, I will do. This has meant saying yes to my heart. Over the course of the year, those intuitions have proven to be “right” and in service to others.

Following my intuition typically results in a win for me and for someone else. Following my heart at the HCI event meant to intuitively go wherever I felt pulled. I found myself with the right people at the right time saying just what I was meant to say or do. I had conversations with new people, remained open to whatever might happen and experienced several serendipitous occurrences as a result of that approach, making new friends and clients along the way.

This approach even carried over into my personal life, facilitating positive experiences in settings that have often been challenging. Following my heart has led to heart-opening experiences as well as fun and wild adventures. When I follow my heart, I am more passionate, more present and available to myself and to others. It has also meant having difficult, scary talks with loved ones, friends and clients.

This is one goal or commitment that I stay with. From the time that I had my heart attack, or my heart “awakening,” I have embraced this way of living in a heartfelt way, no pun intended.

What happens when you follow your heart?

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What are you doing TODAY to make your dreams happen?

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


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.


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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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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Are you where you want to be?

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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.


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.


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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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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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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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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