There Is A Season

June 2, 2011

Perhaps I’m unoriginal. Perhaps I’m obsessing and can’t let go of this thought. Perhaps I’m just perseverating (look that one up!). But the topic of flexibility has grabbed hold of my mind and demands to be heard.

For last week’s episode of Trailblazing TV I chose the topic “Practice Flexibility.” The tip is about ways to keep trying new approaches so you can stay adaptable.

A few days later I was talking with Francie Cooper, Life Coach, my friend and co-host of the Tapa Palapa internet radio show. We realized we were both thinking a lot about flexibility and adaptability. It was the theme showing up for our clients and it was the theme banging on the doors of our own lives. We decided to name our season finale show “Go Gumby!” and talk about ways to stay limber to prepare for changes, both expected and unexpected .

For this week’s episode of Trailblazing TV I had the topic chosen days in advance. It’s been a time of change in my world. A lot of people around me are going through significant transitions, some heading up and some heading down in their work lives or in their relationships. On top of that, my son graduated from his Montessori school, so he heads off to middle school in the fall. Sadly, it was the last year the school will operate because of changes in the community and a city street project that is going to take a big piece of the property.

These events leave me a little melancholy. To everything there is a season. But the positive side of that is the possibility for improvement and renewal that change brings. That’s why I called this week’s episode of Trialblazing TV “Everything’s A Play Project.” I realized as I was editing and formatting it that it’s a message about being flexible and adaptable, too.

With Tapa Palapa going on hiatus for the summer while Francie is busy with other projects, I started looking at ideas for recording a podcast of my own. I “dug through” my computer files and found the recording I made in November as a sort of pilot episode for a podcast. It was shortly after Francie and I had planned our first month of themed shows. I had suggested improvisation as a theme in our discussion. We decided to go with a different theme so I wanted to capture my thoughts on the value of improvisation. Improvisation, of course, is about flexibility and adaptability.

For me that’s full circle. As Francie and I were starting our first season of Tapa Palapa, I had improvisation on my mind. As we finished up, we both had flexibility and adaptability on our minds. We ended where we began. Since things have beginnings and endings, we all need to be ready for change.

You can listen to my “Twisting Road Travelcast” by clicking the triangle below, or chose to play it in a separate window or download it to your computer. If you use an iPod or other MP3 player, that’s the way to get the file so you can transfer it to your device.
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In the show I talked about a video interview by John Williams, author of Screw Work, Let’s Play!. If you click here to go to the original post of the podcast you can see that video.

I also mentioned an e-book I was formatting. It contains ten of the most surprisingly good (surprising to me!) articles I wrote for people new to marketing. They reduce the concepts into everyday language that marketing newbies can understand. I finished it shortly after recording the podcast and put everything in place so I could start giving it to anyone who signed up for my newsletter. That’s the standard thing to do – give away something to entice people to give you their e-mail addresses.

But to everything there is a season. I’m not doing the standard thing any more. I decided to do the Trailblazing thing. I’m giving it away with no strings. You don’t have to sign up for anything. Just go to AnythingButMarketing.com and you can download it there. If you decide to sign up for my newsletter while you’re there I certainly won’t mind!

Big Play Lab Day

April 13, 2011

I want to send a great big shout out to the Resource Group for MentorCoach students. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be posting this today.

Gayle Scroggs is co-facilitator of the Resource Group and runs a coaches’ MasterMind group I’ve attended for a couple of years now. She invited me to talk to the Resource Group about additional profit centers for coaches, ways to provide products and services beyond individual coaching. I was honored that she asked me, and eager to share what I know.

It seemed like serendipitous timing because I’ve recently settled on a theme for my coaching niche and suddenly I’ve been contacted ‘out of the blue’ to help people based on that theme. And I haven’t even made it public! It’s like a nod from the universe that I’m on the right track. Maybe even a divine thumbs up.

But right after getting puffed up from feeling flattered, I realized… I’d been ‘thinking’ about redoing my home page for quite a while, but I hadn’t done it! I’d been relying on all the old, worn-out excuses. I don’t have a professional photograph. I’m not sure if I should change the template. The new theme means I need to tweak my marketing message. Believe me, when it comes to excuses, I live in abundance.

To be credible telling a group of people to stop worrying about perfection and ‘just do it,’ I needed to get it done. Three hours before I was due to be on the call, I set aside my planned work and started focusing on my home page.

What would I write? Did I have a photo that was good enough for now, or would I rely on text? Would I plan a long introduction of my services or just a brief overview suggesting different pages to visitors based on their needs?

It seemed like a lot to decide in three hours, much less to write, edit, format, and upload! What a challenge it would be. What a fun adventure, or what a face plant. Either way, it would be a tale of the entrepreneurial life.

Then I remembered that the entrepreneurial life is about creative problem-solving, and experimenting, and play – the kind of play that’s about learning by trying new things in a low-risk way. It was time to take this challenge to my Play Lab. Not enough time to write and edit and format? Choose a different approach, one that’s more complicated and might take more time!

I’ve been wanting to record a video introduction for weeks now, so I said, What the heck! I grabbed the video recorder and tripod and headed to the wooded area along the edge of our property. I thought of the wording I would use to do a quick greeting and overview. I set up the tripod and did a couple of trial runs to get the distance and the composition right. Then I started recording. I fumbled on the first couple of runs, but I get to blame the jet flying right overhead for that second one. But then I found my groove and got through the intro seamlessly…

And I froze. I had welcomed people and called out to my tribe, telling them briefly how I can help them. But what then? Yes, the guy who regularly teaches that each marketing activity must have a specific purpose that leads people to take the next step was stuck. What was it I was going to ask people to do again? And the clock was ticking. Tick. Tick. Tick.

I sorted out my blueprint and recorded again. The words were good, but there were no smiles. Even a total amateur like me knows it’s better when people smile in videos! So I recorded again, feeling like I was smiling. When I reviewed it there were some smiles, but not as many as I was aiming for.

But perfect wasn’t my goal. My goal was to get it done before the call. I took my equipment in, uploaded the video to my computer, edited it on the front and back, and formatted it for the internet. Then I uploaded it to YouTube because that was the way I knew to embed it in my web site. I’ll figure out better ways to do it in the future in my HTML sandbox. But for now it’s good enough.

The video finished uploading to YouTube as I left to pick up my son from school. At his tae kwon do lesson I spent my time composing the new home page with the video and the sign-up form. It’s a very simple squeeze page, except it breaks an important squeeze page rule. There are tabs on it that give you choices besides filling in the sign-up form.

But you know what? I got it done. And I was happy to let the Resource Group know it was done.

I’m also happy to tell the world now. My new business theme? I’m The Trailblazing Coach ™. Trailblazing is the creative problem-solving, entrepreneurial way of life. Check out my new home page to see how it all turned out.

I was pretty happy that I got it done in time, and happy that people visiting my web site would see an updated home page. Then I thought, What if they visit my blog? I haven’t updated it since before the Super Moon, since before the seasons changed!

Thank you, Resource Group!

Re-Re-Re-Treat

November 19, 2010

Tomorrow I will be teaching people at the REFOCUS.REINVENT.REBUILD daylong retreat for people planning their lives as they leave middle adulthood. My friend and colleague Francie Cooper who is my co-host of the Tapa Palapa podcast invited me to present, and we’ve been referring to this workshop as the “Triple R Seminar” for a few weeks. Recently I’ve been thinking of it as the Re-Re-Re-Treat.

The theme of my talk is self-employment. My topic has to be focused because I don’t have the whole day, just a keynote presentation. I’ve got a small window of time to tell the attendees that the most exciting thing about a creative career is that it lets them align their work with who they really are. I have just a few minutes to say that self-employment lets them claim their own productivity and creativity, to “own” their personhood.

In that short time, can I get them to feel what I feel when I hear the Declaration of Independence? Read more

Sacrifice

November 5, 2010

Please pardon the scraping, clanking, and banging. That’s the sound of me dragging my soapbox into position.

Ahem.

Ladies and Gentlemen!
Read more

The Hive Mind

October 31, 2010

Just a couple of days ago my older son was talking with me about his plans for the next few months. He had already told us he wants to take off next semester from college and work full time so he can save up money to be able to afford to share an apartment with his friend.

What he added this time is that he feels like he’s stuck going to school, like he has to but doesn’t want to. He said it feels like a cloud lifts when the semester ends, but all he really has to look forward to is a few weeks of reprieve while another cloud forms on the horizon. He said he needs to find the reason why he is going to college, a positive reason based on moving him closer to where he wants to be in his life, not a negative reason like keeping other people off his back.

Then he told me he needs to take some time to figure out who he really is. He looked at me and asked, “Dad, can you understand that?”
Read more

Just How Called Are You?

June 13, 2010

If you look into the history of the word calling in English, meaning the kind of work a person is specifically suited to do, you’ll find out it’s connected to the word vocation. Vocation comes from the Latin word vocare, which means to call. Although vocation now is synonymous with career, its early meaning was a specific kind of work that a person was called to do by God.

Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, this is an important test. When you try to find your calling, are you looking for something that is essential to your fulfillment, something you must do, something that you feel compelled to do by some force greater than yourself, something you were maybe even “designed” to do?

Because if you’re just looking for something that feels happy and nice or entertaining and enjoyable, you might be completely missing out.
Read more

It Was a Fast-Straight-Road Weekend

May 31, 2010

It’s been a hectic Memorial Day weekend totally consumed by… let’s just call it extended-family-madness. I planned to have a little time over the last couple of days to put together a post but life interrupted my plans. But I’m home now and the chaos is left behind.

Fortunately I found a powerful and brief analogy for my recurring warning about focusing on chasing the latest new marketing tactic before figuring out your marketing plan. It was a link in a recent blog post by Seth Godin.

Seth referenced a post by Rich Goidel, blogging at “The Back of the Napkin,” titled Playing with turtles. The core message here is to focus on the important thing — marketing message — and not get distracted by secondary things — playing with marketing channels.

I’m writing a corollary. When someone else has written a beautifully concise post that conveys a valuable message to your audience, call it good, link to it, and shut up.

(Bonus to me: I don’t really have time to write a post, much less edit one to make it good.

Bonus to you: You don’t have to read that meandering post I don’t have time to write!)

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

After Mowing It Over…

May 23, 2010

For years I had a commitment to post something here weekly related to my career journey. A few months back I decided just to post things when I was inspired or moved or had indigestion or something like that. My productivity fizzled.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to get back in the habit of posting weekly again to the Travel Log category, which is the descendant of my original blog. If Ken can post often about doing something daily and Darcy can keep trying to write something regularly to see how it works for her, I figured I could easily go back to doing something I was able to do for years.

Last week it was easy. This week I was left drumming my fingers next to the keyboard for days instead of dancing across the keys. Thank God for mowing!
Read more

Writing sdrawckaB

May 14, 2010

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been spending a lot of time writing articles and pulling together ideas I’ve collected for an information product for people considering self-employment. I enjoy writing because it’s a slightly new experience each time.

Sometimes things just flow, but the next day I reread what I wrote and it looks like… it flowed, alright, but for a very different reason. Sometimes I wrestle and fight with a piece and don’t like it very much, but other people give me great feedback. Considering that, I might just be writing some of my best stuff ever right now, because I’m having to unscramble things I originally wrote backwards.
Read more

My Own YouTube Channel!

May 3, 2010

Valerie Young of ChangingCourse.com is opening her Profiting From Your Passions Career Coach training program to new students. She brings in limited groups so she can give them the time and attention they need for a few months as they start learning the materials and settle in to the supportive community.

I like to brag about the supportive community because I regularly get ideas and resources and encouragement from them. Sometimes I’m part of the helpful crowd, whenever I have something helpful to say in response to other people’s questions.

Valerie asked me to record a video about my experience specifically as someone trained in the ICF model of professional coaching prior to taking her program. I was eager to explain how Valerie’s approach, her step-by-step system, and her creativity-sparking techniques are a powerful complement to broader coaching skills. But I wasn’t sure about making a video.

So I jumped right in! I recorded the video (it only took me 7 tries to get through it without bloopers) and created my own YouTube channel! I named it Twisting Road Travelers to encourage me to come up with more things related to the Twisting Road theme of uncovering your natural gifts and talents, cultivating them, and designing your life and work around them.

I am really excited I took this step. I don’t know what future videos I will add or what direction my ideas might go, but it’s a new way for me to talk to people about authentic living that flows from the core self. That’s what energizes me, so that’s what I need to be doing!

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

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