30 Quotes For a 30th Birthday!

 

It is generally understood among bloggers that an all-quote posting is a “cheat” as it is the easiest of writings. Now that I’ve made that acknowledgement, here is MY all-quote posting!

 

Last month my niece Mary celebrated her 30th birthday. I was flummoxed as to how to celebrate her milestone. Back in June my goddaughter Clare, who is friends with Mary, celebrated her 30th birthday and for her celebration I offered a listing of the “30 Things I Know For Certain.” In the span of two months, I haven’t learned an additional 30 new things for certain and so I’ve turned to quotes.

 

Mary is a collector of quotes – one of the things we have in common. I decided to gift her with the 30 quotes that I am guided by as I navigate life. So, yes, I know these 30 quotes to be true for certain, though you may not know that based on some of the decisions I’ve made and continue to make!

 

But here’s what I do know – embrace these flashes of truth and the next 30 years will be glorious – which is my wish for Mary and for all of you who read this posting!

 

  1. The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. Mark Twain

And finding that “why” may take more than 30 years!

 

  1. Don’t ask what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.Howard Thurman

There is a world of difference between “living” and “coming alive.”

 

  1. 20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. Mark Twain

That’s not to say you won’t have some disappointment by what you did – but – Twain is right on this.

 

  1. You must not ever give anyone else the responsibility for your life.       Mary Oliver

Including your parents.

 

  1. And you ask, “What if I fall?” Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?       Erin Hanson

Now there’s a scary thought – what if you succeed?

 

  1. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.          Steve Jobs

Imagine all that would not have been if he had!

 

  1. Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.           George Bernard Shaw

There’s a difference between being a professional and an artist.

 

  1. If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.    Maya Angelou

You want to be amazing, yes?

 

  1. When we die and we go to Heaven, and we meet our Maker, our Maker is not going to say to us, “Why didn’t you become a messiah? Why didn’t you discover the cure for such and such?”  The only thing we’re going to be asked is, “Why didn’t you become YOU?”                                           Eli Wiesel

Becoming YOU – that’s what it means to become amazing.

 

  1. Whenever someone comes to me for help, I listen very hard and ask myself, “What does this person really want— and what will they do to keep from getting it?”                   William Perry

Ponder that.

 

  1. He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love In The Time Of Cholera

A life-giving life, indeed!

 

  1. Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true.              Brian Tracy

We live in a time when talk is cheap – but words have magic.

 

  1. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.                   Philo of Alexandria

I’ve yet to meet the person who isn’t fighting some battle.

 

  1. If you want to impress people, talk about your successes. But if you want to impact people, talk about your failures.                                                   John Maxwell

Real vulnerability comes from strength and creates connection.

 

  1. Our full humanity is contingent on our hospitality; we can be complete only when we are giving something away; when we sit at the table and pass the peas to the person next to us we see that person in a whole new way.    Alice Waters

Or as they say in Yap, “Hosachigachig!”

 

  1. A student asked Soen Nakagawa during a meditation retreat, “I am very discouraged. What should I do?” Soen replied, “Encourage others.”                       from Essential Zen

Perhaps the easiest of human acts.

 

  1. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.Maya Angelou

Why do so many forget this?

 

  1. Every single job I got in Hollywood was based on knowing someone. Here’s a piece of advice: Don’t try finding people who can help you. Find people you can help.             Lewis Teague – Cujo / director

From a horror film comes hearty truth.

 

  1. All real living is meeting.                     Martin Buber

And so, there is no need to be afraid.

 

  1. You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be something great for someone.        Arielle Jackson

Sigh a sigh of relief!

 

 

  1. The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.Henry Miller

Which is why Anais Nin loved him.

 

  1. I can’t go back to yesterday — because I was a different person then.           Lewis Carroll

Happy present! Happy future!

 

  1. Am I a success or a failure?” is not a very useful question. It is better to ask “what am I learning?”  Bob Sutton

A great question from the man who wrote the book, “The No Asshole Rule.”

 

  1. Comparison is the thief of joy. Theodore Roosevelt

Easy to rob yourself blind.

 

  1. Just because you’ve gotten accustomed to behaving in a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the right way. Maybe it’s time to get unstuck.                         Twyla Tharp

Wisdom from a goddess.

  1. The business of life is the acquisition of memories. Carson / Downton Abbey

And cherishing them.

 

  1. There are only two ways to live your life: one is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.             Einstein

He really was a genius.

 

  1. There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.                Alexander Woollcott

Although many days I might want to argue with this truth.

 

  1. The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love. Henry Miller

And in the end – as in the beginning – love is all there is. . .

 

  1. Why not? Why not you? Why not now? Aslan / “The Chronicles of Narnia

What’s your answer?

 

 

I thank you God for this most amazing day,

for the leaping greenly spirits of trees,

and for the blue dream of sky

and for everything which is natural,

which is infinite,

which is yes.

e.e. cummings

Too Afraid to Want What You Want!

 

The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.

George Bernard Shaw

 

Todd hired me because he wanted guidance as he searched for a new job. The financial situation at his company is such that he doesn’t see room for either advancement or a raise and he doesn’t want to be stuck on a Titanic.

 

He works in the entertainment industry as a technical manager at an editing production house. He’s been at it long enough that his knowledge and expertise put him in a valued position.

 

For several months he’s been going through a series of interviews at a major Studio.  After each one, he’s been encouraged that “the job” is going to be offered to him.

 

However, in an odd twist, his fifth interview was with an executive who admitted he didn’t know what job he was interviewing Todd for!

 

At the end, the guy assured Todd that he seemed like a perfect fit – even though he couldn’t say for certain what the job was.

 

He told Todd that someone from HR would contact him shortly.

 

Todd realized that with each successive interview, he was becoming more confused as to the job he was a “shoe-in” for.

 

Ten days went by without a word. So, he called his contact and explained that he’s going on vacation and would like to know what’s up before heading out of town.

 

His contact asked him to call when he got back because for sure he’ll have good news then.

 

Todd told me that he’s not going to call; he’s fed up and if they want him, they’ll call.

 

But there’s more.

 

Todd admitted he doesn’t want them to offer him a job – whatever the job might be!

 

Intellectually, he wants “the” job, but emotionally he doesn’t.

 

He likes his job, he likes the power and influence he has and he’s afraid to lose it, but because the company’s in a financial mess he feels he should move on.

 

If the Studio says, “No,” then he’ll be happy because he can reassure himself that he tried.

 

If the Studio says, “Yes,” then he’ll go to his boss and hope he’ll counter-offer, though he doubts he can.

 

Todd admits he doesn’t want to take power in the situation because then he’ll have to live with the consequences of his decisions.

 

He’s hoping that what “should” happen, will happen.

 

Crazy?  Sure.

 

But most of us do some version of what Todd is doing.

 

Change is scary.

 

Taking responsibility for our decisions is scary.

 

Leaving it up to the “gods” to decide our fate seems less risky.

Playing mind games is more fun than mapping out a strategy.

 

But, if we don’t create our own life, then who will?

 

Do you want to break through the fear that is preventing you from being influential and heard? 

To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

contact me at:

  [email protected]

818-415-8115

Are You Superstitious?

 

The man who says he can and the man who says he can’t are both correct.

Confucious

 

 

When Chandler Massey won his first daytime Emmy for his role as Will on Days Of Our Lives he was the odds-on favorite in his category, though he didn’t take the predictions seriously.

 

In fact, he didn’t even bother to write an acceptance speech.

 

He revealed to reporters that he hadn’t prepared a speech because he didn’t want to “jinx it.”

 

He later regretted not writing one because he forgot to thank various special people, including his grandparents.

 

I was amused reading this (yes, of course, I was in a doctor’s waiting room!)  because how often have I refrained from doing or saying something because I didn’t want to “jinx” it – whatever “it” is!

 

So many of us engage in this primitive practice of superstition.

 

My father used to say, “Don’t get your hopes up because you don’t want to be disappointed.”

 

I followed his advice for years – and never got disappointed – or super excited.

 

I trained myself to focus on the negative and to downplay my talents, wishes and hopes.  I learned that hoping can only lead to disappointment.

 

I’ve met many people who are reluctant to prepare for the best because that could somehow increase the chances of “the best” not happening.

 

If you think about it, isn’t it amazing just how much power we think we have over the universe? Instead of, “build it and they will come” their mantra is more like, “don’t dream it and it will come about.”

 

Had Massey written an acceptance speech, he still would have won since the mere act of writing would not have had the power to make all those winning votes magically disappear!

 

He engaged in superstitious thinking and we all do it in some form or another:

 

Let’s not talk about bad jury duty experiences because then we’ll receive a summons the next day (hmm. . .I hope I didn’t just jinx myself!).

 

Let’s not talk about it raining on my special occasion because then it will rain.

 

Let’s not prepare since that would entail too much power on our part; but let’s acknowledge we do have power to shape things by simply speaking of them!

What’s wrong with being disappointed?

 

Okay, that’s such an obnoxious question because we all know being disappointed sucks.

 

However, had Massey written his speech and lost, he would have been disappointed AND he would have had that thank you written so he could have sent it to those he loved.

 

After all, he wasn’t thanking them for winning, he was thanking them for loving him and he didn’t need to wait to stand on stage with a trophy to do that!

 

What kind of superstitious thinking are you doing?

 

Is it stopping you from doing something you would enjoy?

 

Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from being influential and heard? 

To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

contact me at:

  [email protected]

818-415-8115

What To Do With Habits that Refuse to Die

 

Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

 

Shortly after his 90th birthday, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Six weeks later, he passed away.

 

Knowing that our father was dying, I resolved that I wouldn’t argue with my brother about anything relating to our dad’s care and burial. We had argued over so many details when our mother died that I was determined we would do it “right” this time. I felt confident – after all, I coach people in how to handle difficult, stress-filled situations.

 

I was going to coach Peter and myself through this ordeal. . .

Ah, but I’d forgotten that old habits die hard!

 

Within an hour of my landing back in New Jersey, Peter and I were pressing each other’s buttons with ease. That is, until we looked each other in the eye and said “no – not this time.”

 

More than anything, we wanted to work together so as to be together for our father in his last days.

 

When Peter and I were growing up, our father always told us to “keep your eye on the ball, kid.”

 

Given that Peter and I never played sports, his advice made little sense! Eventually, we figured out he was quoting some famous sports person (still don’t know who) and what he was trying to say was that if you stay focused on what you want, you can have it.

 

Sitting by our father’s side in the nursing home, Peter and I kept our “eye” on the ball, supporting our father and each other in all ways caring.

 

While old habits may never die, this time they did not take hold as in times past. What happened?  Peter & I were able to laugh at our own selves and at each other.

 

“You know you’re being controlling, don’t you?” 

“No, I’m not!” 

“Then, what do you call it?” 

Pause.

“Controlling!”

 

We didn’t allow old rituals to stranglehold us. We quickly (okay, “somewhat” quickly) caught ourselves when we fell into old patterns and moved on to a more honest, more engaging place.

Old habits may die hard or they may never die.

 

The real issue, though, is this – we can change our relationship with old habits of talking and relating.

 

Awareness + desire = change

Well, actually, awareness + desire + skill + practice = change.

 

Here are some questions to help you become more aware of the rituals that trip you up at work and in your personal life:

 

  • What is a recurring situation in which you respond in familiar, knee-jerk fashion?
  • What triggers are being pressed?
  • If the old ways of responding are not working for you, why do you persist in using those ways?
  • What would you like to see happen differently?
  • What would you have to do for that “different” to happen?
  • What’s holding you back from doing that “different”?
  • What can you start doing to make it easier for you to do what you want to do?

 

Remember

Old habits have only as much power and control as we give them!

 

Do you want to learn how to confidently break the old habits that keep tripping you up –

so as to develop and nurture successful professional relationships?

 

To explore how business skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence – and joy

please contact me

  [email protected]

818-415-8115

The 10 Things All Trustworthy, Trust-Generating Pros Do

 

You can’t be everything to everyone,

but you can be something great for someone. 

Arielle Jackson

 

 

Although I only play miniature golf I had the privilege to speak at the Titleist Performance World Golf Summit. I spoke on how coaches, trainers and teachers can create trust between themselves and their clients.

 

I explained that no matter what your field trust springs up when your client believes that you “see” and understand them.

 

In my talk I highlighted the basic communication skills that go into creating trust: listening, managing emotions, understanding your biases and using well-chosen words.

 

Since that talk, I’ve recognized a marked difference between those who are able to create a trusting relationship and those who seem robotic. Yes, clearly there’s a difference in communication skills BUT there’s also that “something else.”

 

I’m now convinced that the “something else” hovers around whether the coach, teacher, healer (substitute “manager” or “leader”) trusts their own individual self – trusts not just their professional skill set, but trusts their own person and their ability to enter into a relationship with others.

 

In order to establish trust with your client you need to trust your own self.

 

What does it mean to trust your own self?

 

While it’s about being “confident”, it’s about more than confidence. When you trust your self certain observable things happen – or at least, you’re willing to let happen.

 

Trusting yourself means that you –

 

  1. Believe what you’re doing is worthwhile and you’re committed to the job. Golf legend Scott Foley said it best: “I’m here to touch the individual lives of the people that I work with. I was raised on the idea that when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night the goal is to leave the world in a better place than you found it.” 
  2. Readily and willingly make yourself vulnerable and are not easily embarrassed.
  3. Experience empathy for what your client is feeling, thinking.
  4. Respect failure and mistakes and so are patient because you know the process demands it.
  5. Convey knowledge and competency with a non-arrogant alertness so that a potential problem is addressed with, “here’s how we’ll handle it.”
  6. Telegraph joy in what you’re doing through a palpable sense of liveliness, exchange and laughter.
  7. Focus on the client and are not self-absorbed because the on-going dynamic of the relationship is paramount.
  8. Understand the inherent power of story – realizing that a command of facts alone doesn’t generate trust.
  9. Go about your business rooted in the belief that the ultimate goal is to hear a client say, “I hadn’t thought of that before.” It’s all about discovery.
  10. Are grateful – for the skill, the client, the opportunity. Everything rests on this.  Seriously, have you ever met an ingrate you trusted?  How can there be trust without gratitude?

 

I think these ten traits flow from being able to answer the most basic and simple of questions: “Who do I want to be?”

 

Answer that question and you will inevitably come to trust yourself – and so create a trusting relationship with your clients.

 

A recent client of mine told me that he wants to be known for five characteristics: Intriguing / interesting / powerful / knowledgeable / humble.

 

He believes that he is these words and also that he can become “more” of these words.

 

I’ve been working with him only a short while but I can see how those words mark him and why his business practice is getting noticed.

 

The truest of truths is that people will most trust you when you trust yourself. 

 

Why?  Because the more you trust yourself, the more you’ll –

  • trust your client
  • trust the process of the relationship
  • help the client trust him / her self

 

Trust is a circular experience.

 

A client or colleague trusts you when they believe you “see” them.

You can only see them when you see and trust yourself.

The more you trust yourself, the more you can help your client trust his or her own self. 

Help a client trust their own self and they will come to believe that they can “do it” – whatever skill that “it” might be.

 

Ultimately, the circle of trust begins with you.

There’s no magic to any of this, though when trust happens, it can be magical.

 

 

Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from being influential and heard?

 

To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

contact me at:

  [email protected]

818-415-8115

What Name Do You Call Yourself?

 

To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth, which constitutes self-respect,

is potentially to have everything.

Joan Didion

 

 

I don’t know my paternal grandfather’s first name. His birth certificate says, “John”, but his baptismal certificate says, “James” while his death certificate says, “Joseph.”

 

He was thirty-three when he died and my father, his son, was just seven. Oddly, my father never could recall his father’s name and nor could my grandmother, even though she’d been married to the man!

 

The “JP” of my name stands for “Joseph Patrick.”

 

I’m named after my father, but my mother hated both names. My dad insisted, though, that I be named after him. However, he never called me “JP.”

 

He called me “Bobby.” Lambs were painted on my crib and because a lamb goes “bah-bah,” he called me “BaBa” when I was growing up. In high school, he slurred it into “Bobby.”

I come from a family that doesn’t have strong loyalty to names!

 

Yet, there is power to a name.

 

Recently, Roxanne, a new client, came to me distraught – she’s been out of work for several years and feels hopeless.

 

She said, “I don’t know any more who I am.  I’ve lost my dream and I don’t know how to get it back.”

 

I asked her to tell me who she had been before she lost her job.

 

Agitated, she said that she couldn’t remember.

 

And then, she poignantly muttered, “I don’t know if I really ever had a sense of ‘me’.”  She went on to say, “I’m a loser.”

 

I’m coaching Ron, another client, in public speaking. He’s intelligent, accomplished, respected and valued as a professional resource by his peers.

 

He downplays that reality by maintaining, “I am a fraud.”

 

When he speaks, he talks fast because he doesn’t think he’s worthy of people’s attention.  He’s afraid that people will see him for the imposter that he believes he is.

 

I think it’s easy for a person to lose sight of who they are – of who they once wanted to be – and of who they could become.

 

The TV private eye Remington Steele famously claimed, “I am who I believe myself to be.”

 

Whether you’re a fictional character or a real person, I think that belief influences just about everything in a person’s life!

 

Roxanne believes she’s a “loser” and Ron thinks he’s a “fraud.”

 

I know, though, that she’s not a loser and he’s not a fraud.

Yet, they insist on labeling themselves with names that don’t accurately reflect the reality of who they are.

 

Motivational guru Brian Tracy urges people to,

“Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true.”

 

What name do you give yourself?

Who do you believe yourself to be?

Is it a belief that gives you life or that sabotages your life?

 

Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from being influential and heard?

To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

contact me at:

  [email protected]

818-415-8115

 

This One Precious Day!

 

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware,

joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.

Henry Miller

 

I recently came across this reflection snippet from Danielle LaPorte.

I don’t know the context from which this comes, but it has grabbed my imagination and challenged me to ask myself,

what am I doing in this moment and will it eventually benefit someone?

I don’t know the context from which this comes, but it has grabbed my imagination and challenged me to ask myself, “what am I doing in this moment and will it eventually benefit someone?”

 

Read this and see if you’re similarly challenged. . .

 

Right Now:

  • Someone you haven’t met yet is already dreaming of adoring you.
  • Someone is writing a book that you will read in the next two years that will change how you look at life.
  • Millions of children are assuming that everything is amazing and will always be that way.
  • Someone is in profound pain, and a few months from now, they’ll be thriving like never before. They just can’t see it from where they’re at.
  • Someone has recently cracked open their joyous, genuine nature because they did the hard work of hauling years of oppression off of their psyche—this luminous juju is floating in the ether, and is accessible to you.
  • Someone is genuinely forgiving the seemingly unforgivable.
  • Someone is curing the incurable.

 

What are YOU doing Right Now?!

 

Do you want to be more in the moment right now

so as to develop and nurture successful professional relationships?

To explore how business skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence – and joy

please contact me

  [email protected]

818-415-8115

 

National Positive Thinking Day

 

Your attitude defines your altitude.

Zig Ziglar

 

This Friday, September 13th, is National Positive Thinking Day!

 

My father was a great storyteller who had an appreciation for the absurd. With Scotch in hand, he was a jolly good-fella whom people enjoyed.

 

Although he had a great sense of humor, my father was not an optimist. While he could laugh so hard that he’d cry, the proverbial glass was ALWAYS half empty.

 

We were a Catholic family and like many Catholics of his generation, he could quote the Catechism. The first question in that book is: “Why did God make us?”

 

The classic answer is, “God made us to know, love and serve Him in this world and be happy with Him in the next.”

 

My father would quote this and point out, “It doesn’t say anything about being happy in this world. We’re not meant for happiness.”

 

This belief, which is a perversion of Catholic thought, allowed him to explain every disappointment, misstep and misfortune that happened in his life.

 

He was a fatalist and as such had low expectations for life.

Dreams didn’t amount to much because they most likely would be decimated.

 

Hopes were pleasant but did little more than aspirin.

 

I had to work hard to understand how his belief system was grounded in a lie – a lie that allowed him to aspire for very few things of value.

 

All these years later, I don’t think my father was unique in his fatalism. In fact, I think it’s far more common than we care to admit in this “feel-good” society of ours.

 

Mildred (85) is the oldest resident in my condo building.

 

She told me that she and her husband raised their family in this building although she had never wanted to live here. She wanted to own a house but her husband wouldn’t hear of it.

 

She lamented, “I’ve been miserable in this place for thirty years. Can you believe that?” And I did detect a twinge of pride in her voice.

 

I laughed, saying, “Of course I can!”

 

It’s easy to surrender power and believe that ultimately life is controlled by forces outside our control.

Viktor Frankl, one of last century’s greatest writers and a survivor of Auschwitz, fervently believed that,

“We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: The last of his freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

 

Be happy.  Be powerful.  Think positive!

 

Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from being influential and heard?

To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

contact me at:

  [email protected]

818-415-8115

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I Learned This Summer

 

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.

Anonymous

 

This past week I finished teaching an eleven-week course at UCLA Extension on “The Dynamics Of Interpersonal Communication.”

 

It was a remarkable experience for many reasons – and since I haven’t received the class evaluations, I’m presuming that my students also enjoyed the course!

 

There were twenty-six participants, only four of whom were from the U.S. They ranged in age from early twenties to late fifties. They came from Tunisia, Morocco, Romania, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, South Korea, France, India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines and Mexico. For some, English was their third language.

 

On the first night, the room was quiet before start of class as each person was focused on their smart phone or tablet, ignoring the person just a desk away.

 

On the last night of class, the room was a chatter fest, as though these folks had known each other since pre-school.

 

What accounts for the radical change?

 

They learned how to have and enjoy a conversation. 

 

Simple as that!

 

I’m convinced that real learning takes place in a relaxed atmosphere conducive for conversation.

 

And so each week I’d give them ample opportunities to talk – in pairs and in small groupings.

 

I’d give them questions that sprung from exercises we’d do related to that night’s focus. No role-play – just conversation in which they had the opportunity to talk from their perspective.

 

In the talking, they surprised each other.

 

Most came to the course wanting to learn how to be confident when dealing with the stranger, especially in challenging, difficult situations.

 

While I taught about listening and emotional intelligence and conflict strategies, more than that I invited them to put down their phone and look at the person sitting next to them – not as a stranger, BUT as a person who just might be worth getting to know.

 

By the last night of class, they figured out how to allow themselves to be surprised with a new way of understanding others as well as their own self.

 

And what did they learn?

  • That most people come from families that baffle them.
  • That most people worry about “what will people think?”
  • That they’re not the only one uncomfortable speaking in public
  • That everyone longs to be more confident.
  • That everyone resists change – even if they say they don’t.
  • That learning comes from doing.

 

They learned the power of story – the power of conversation. 

 

And so they could not help but learn that each person, no matter where they’re from, shares three things in common –

 

Every one of us

loves someone

is afraid of something

has lost someone or some thing precious.

 

Ultimately, they learned, to quote motivational guru Rene Brown –

 

If I get to be myself, I belong. 

If I have to be like you, I fit in.

 

My students learned how to belong to an international tribe of learners!

 

Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from being influential and heard?

To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

contact me at:

  [email protected]

818-415-8115

Soul Murder

 

I know – it’s a dramatic title to a blog post. . .

 

I first came across this brief short story by famed writer David Mamet in the LA Weekly – decades ago.

 

Back then I clipped it, saved it and occasionally would read it when sorting through files.

 

Few stories have haunted me like this has – exquisitely poignant.

 

And for any of us working towards “confidence” – well, we all need someone to hand us a quarter!

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Soul Murder

by David Mamet

 

The child sat with his head in his hands, rocking back and forth. “And if you did not want it, you should not have asked for it,” the woman said, “for you do not know what it means to deserve something, for you do not know what it is to work for something.” She paused. “Do you?”

 

The boy did not look up. And it seemed the woman did not require him to. She rubbed one eye for a moment, and while she rubbed it, her mouth went slack. The boy continued rocking.

 

“Now,” she said, “when we get home, do you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to take your toys and box them. And I’m going to ship them away. Do you think I’m fooling?”

 

The two other children — probably his brother and sister, the man thought — looked on, not dispassionately, but at a remove. Well certainly, the man said to himself. If they were to intervene, what would they say?

 

The boy stopped rocking and rose from the bench and began to walk, stiff-legged, looking down.

 

“Where are you going?” the woman asked.

 

He raised his head, cow-eyed, to indicate his destination — the men’s room across the waiting room.

 

“Then why do you walk like that?” the woman said. “I’m talking to you. Why do you walk like that, for God’s sake?”

 

His mouth moved like a fish’s for a moment.

“You sit down,” she said, “and I’ll tell you when I want you to go somewhere.”

 

He waited a moment and then sank down on the bench. His mouth was open, and his hands were pressed over his ears. He put his head down, just above his knees, and began rocking again.

 

The woman addressed herself to the other two. She drew them close around the pile of baggage and spoke softly to them.

 

Yes, that’s right, the man thought. Yes, that’s right.

 

She gestured to the baggage and pointed at them, and they nodded; and she gestured at the washroom and she nodded and then she, and then they, looked over at the other boy. She got up quickly and gathered herself together and walked crisply off.

The other children looked guiltily at the boy and then they determinedly busied themselves with their books.

 

Well, now’s the time, the man thought, and he had this fantasy: He would walk over to the boy and sit beside him. “Do you know who I am?” he would say. The boy would look up. “I am your guardian angel. I have been sent to tell you this: You are not bad, but good. Do you understand? You are not bad, but good. I only have a moment, but you are to keep this.”

 

He inventoried his pockets for something to give the boy.

 

“You are to keep this — it’s a magic quarter. Every time you see it, every time you touch it, you will magically remember that you are not bad, but good. You are good. Do you understand?

 

“Now, listen to me — one day you will lose the quarter. This is part of the plan. When this occurs, it means that each time you see any coin then you will remember that you are good.”

 

In the fantasy the man pressed the coin into the boy’s hand and quickly stood and walked away.

 

As he finished the fantasy, he saw the woman walk out of the washroom and return to the two good children and saw the three of them smile and rise and organize themselves around their bags. Just before they left, she looked at the boy on the bench and glared at him as if to say, “Well?” And the boy rose and followed them.

 

— David Mamet

 

Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from being influential and heard?

To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

contact me at:

[email protected]

818-415-8115