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Ladders and Chutes

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You are probably familiar with the Milton Bradley family board game Chutes and Ladders, but you may not know about Ladders and Chutes. On a lazy summer day, Ahna (9) was playing the game against her doll. I looked up from my reading to notice something was amiss.

“How are you already up at the top of the board?” I asked.

“Oh,” she grinned. “That’s where I start.”

She explained that she begins at the finish and works toward the start by scooting up the chutes and climbing down the ladders to make it more interesting.

“It changes the scenarios,” she giggled.

“Like this one. The boy empties out his piggy bank and then goes up the chute to break a window with his baseball bat. He was thinking ahead.”

I marveled at how playing the game backward makes it a whole new experience and it reminded me when I learned about “turnarounds” from the work of Byron Katie. Katie’s work focuses on four questions and the last is a turnaround. “Each turnaround is an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you originally believed.” Click here for her resources:

http://www.thework.com/thework-turnaround.php

By changing pronouns and the word ‘should’ to ‘shouldn’t’ you can turnaround a judging statement like “My coworker should be nicer to me.”

Turnarounds:

I should be nicer to my coworker.
I should be nicer to myself.
My coworker shouldn’t be nicer to me.

Each of these turnarounds causes us to slow down and ask ourselves, “Is this as true or more true than my original statement?” When I went through this list and read “I should be nicer to myself,” I breathed. Yes, this was more true than my original statement. By focusing energy on what my coworker was doing and saying, I was feeling frustrated and lost. With the turnaround I was able to refocus on being kind and gentle to myself. When I did that, what my coworker did and said mattered a lot less because I was focused on me.

Turning a situation on its head is a valuable experience.

What kind of ladders-to-chutes turnarounds have you tried? What freedom is waiting for you there?

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Start the Day

IMG_0332My relationship with my iPhone is on shaky ground. On the one hand I appreciate that she keeps track of my life for me, but on the other hand I spend considerable time with her. I was rereading Byrd Baylor’s The Way to Start a Day when I considered the way I’d been starting my days…

Get up to shut off iPhone alarm
Glance at emails and texts
Play a round of Ruzzle
Check Facebook
Scan weather app
Review calendar

This is much different than Byrd Baylor’s:

“The way to start a day
is this—

Go outside
and face the east
and greet the sun…”

Beginning my day with social media, I allow things outside myself to set the tone for the day. Some days this is fine. I’ll read a funny blog or receive a thoughtful text and think about it as I chew my cereal. Other days it is disconcerting. A lot of bad news gets circulated on social media and starting my day with fearful thoughts or disturbing images affects me. My mind can clutter quickly in those first minutes of the day.

The morning after reading Byrd’s wisdom I got up and stood outside for a full minute. I listened to the birds, pulled a weed, noticed the green of the grass and took a deep breath. Listening to the tweets of actual birds (not Twitter) and feeling the weather first (not my Yahoo! weather app) felt right–more me. That was several weeks ago and I’m still rising and heading outside so I can better connect with my inside.

Does the way you start your day help you feel more “you”?

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Why I Started the Coach to Coach Blog

It’s all Linda’s and Amanda’s fault really. They said, “You really need to start a coaching blog, it’s time.”

“I don’t think so,” I said. The next day I mentioned their idea to my husband.

“That’s a great idea,” Kurt said. “Can I help?”

So I suppose it’s his fault too.

Here’s what was rocketing around in my mind:

There are already so many quality blogs out there. No one wants another one.
Who would read it?
What if it takes too much time?
What if I have nothing to say?
What if my friends do read it, but they don’t like it, but they say they like it because they are really kind people?

Then I read this Seth Godin quote, “The goal in blogging/business/inspiring non-fiction is to share a truth, or at least a truth as the writer sees it. To not just share it, but to spread it and to cause change to happen…In the words my late friend Isaac Asimov shared with Carl Sagan, ‘You are my idea of a good writer because you have an unmannered style, and when I read what you write, I hear you talking.'”

And I realized I have truth to share. I do want change to happen. I have an unmannered style that smart people have told me speaks to them. So I’ll try. If you like what you read, follow. If it triggers your thinking, comment. Let’s start a conversation about learning, coaching and life.