On The Twisting Road

November 2, 2007

Last week I was grousing about marketing—complaining that it’s unpleasant. And then I had an idea.

In My Discovery Day, a post on my Blog-Zine, I wrote about a long bike ride with a friend when I was not in shape for it. My friend rode his bike for exercise regularly. I rode mine for fun occasionally.

Marketing can be a large, involved task. You can’t hop on your bike and take on the hills and the many miles without some preparation. The best preparation is to ride on a regular basis for a comfortable amount of time, then go further and add more hills. If you’re regularly riding four miles on level roads and occasionally taking paths with hills, it’s not that big a step to take on seven miles with hills along the way.

I realized I am already marketing. I set up a Blog-Zine and completed a month of posts. I need to keep that pace and add a hill—setting up an auto-responder for people to sign up and be notified when my Blog-Zine is posted.

I have my business cards ready and people in my social network know I’m starting a coaching business. It’s time to talk more openly about it. That’s not a huge change or a big step, just a small one.

The owner of my son’s Tae Kwon Do studio asked me to do training on managing children’s behavior for the instructors. I can build on that experience and train other instructors or seek out similar opportunities at child care centers and private schools. With free or low-free training, I’ll give people a chance to get to know me and understand how I can be of help.

Coaches help people set goals then break them down into manageable steps. With help and guidance from friends training to be coaches, I had planned comfortable steps to start marketing my business. I hadn’t talked with anyone about marketing in a while, so I forgot my next step is—well, just a step, not a leap. I don’t need to build a comprehensive marketing system in a month. I need to keep doing the steps I’ve started and add the next one.

One step is choosing a focus for this blog. I started it when Barbara Sher challenged her list to begin a blog tracking the steps we’re making on changing careers. I used it along the way to try out some ideas for articles about coaching topics as preparation for writing my Blog-Zine. Going forward, I want to keep the focus on creative career choices and career change.

This will be a blog about discovering a career path and how that is revealed little by little over time. I’ll track my own steps and things I’ve learned, and I’ll write about other people’s struggles and discoveries.

Since I titled my Blog-Zine Chasing Wisdom, I am going to change the name of this blog. My friend Stella helped me see that rambling along unexplored roads takes you to new towns and more new roads. She helped me see that the journey is often the point, because you have to create your future instead of driving straight to it.

With many thanks to Stella, I am re-naming this blog Twisting Road. Pack your bags and come along.

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

Running Low On Distractions—Any Suggestions?

October 26, 2007

This week I got my scheduled posts onto my Blog-Zine, got my business name reserved and the paperwork in progress to make it official, and picked up my new business cards.

Well, I’m on my way, so I can stop posting here. I’ve arrived….

I know, I know, but when will I have arrived? When will this blog I use to track my transition to a new career become obsolete? Maybe when I have certification as a coach, as many clients as I want, and success with my first information product. It’s hard to say.

I may just keep going, since having your own business is not a stagnant and predictable thing. Maybe I’ll continue to post what I learn about trying to have a business that comes from my deepest interests and passions and way of understanding things.

I expect a change of title is coming. Since I’m using “Chasing Wisdom” for the Blog-Zine I’ll think of something to reflect the specific focus of this blog.

My next big step is to go from practice clients (the free ones who have successfully moved on) to paying clients. This blog may become a tale of marketing efforts, flops, and hopefully a few successes. Marketing is, after all, the key to a successful business.

I wanted to settle on a business name. That’s done. I wanted to get a plan for my Blog-Zine and get started. That’s done. I wanted to get different business cards I could hand out that fit my planned work as a coach and mentorship trainer. That’s done. I felt like I needed to complete these tasks so I could focus hard on finding clients.

Now those distractions are gone. I found some new ones, trying to learn about formatting on different blog services. I now have sites with Blogger, WordPress, and TypePad. I’ve spent many hours finding out how to do simple things. It feels like wasted time. I have to focus on creating and posting content instead of obsessing over format. That can become my new distraction that keeps me from focusing on getting clients.

It’s time to face the marketing beast. I hope he’s one of those Scooby Doo monsters, just some manageable worry in a freaky costume. I dread marketing more than cleaning bathrooms. I’ve got to find some new approaches, new perspectives, and a new attitude.

As soon as I have money coming in, I need to get a coach!

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

Blog-Zine Launched! Business Named! Business Cards Ordered!

October 19, 2007

I have put up my first article at my Chasing Wisdom Blog-Zine!

I have the month of October planned out. The tricky part is planning the order I want to have my blog-zine appear when each article is posted, then posting them in reverse so they line up correctly.

I have half the articles written and a couple more sketched out so they’ll all be up by the end of October.

Once I get my rhythm down my plan is to post the first through fourth weeks of each month. I’ll either post two shorter items or one lengthier item each week.

The business now has a name and a web address, although nothing is up at the site yet. I chose Discovery Lookout. The word Discovery wouldn’t let go of me. The word is about trying new things and personal insight and discussions where creative ideas are formed. It’s about getting out of ruts and challenging yourself and having fun. It’s about personal growth.

Lookout is the image of being on a trail in the mountains and coming to a point where you can see across the landscape. You see things below in scale and in relation to each other, and you see far into the distance. It’s the metaphor for seeing your past experiences, your current goals, and your future vision from the point of view of a Mentor.

Discovery Lookout is a metaphor for Mentorship. A Mentor walks with you on the trail and helps you find the place where you can get that magnificent view. You see your goals and your obstacles and find a path to get where you want to go. You see your vision for the future and get inspired to do the work of getting organized, learning new skills, blazing new trails, and overcoming those obstacles.

Once the business was named I settled into the task of updating my business cards. Having the right name seemed like it was the thing holding me back.

But as I worked I realized I don’t want or need to have the business name on my card. My card has my mission at the top, which I rewrote just a little: Be a Catalyst for Personal Growth Through Genuine Relationships That Expand to Transform Families, Groups, and Organizations. It has my name and contact information. And it lists my Chasing Wisdom Blog-Zine web address. Simple, clear, and focused on marketing.

Once they’re ready I’ll see if I still like them, and how long it takes until I’m ready to change them. I keep hearing to order a small number so I can make changes and updates without wasting cards. I only ordered 100. I think I can give out that many before I need to make any more changes!

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

Telecourses Complete! Marketing Looms Ahead

October 12, 2007

This week on Tuesday evening my coaching classmate Henry Packer and I presented our telcourse on Creative Career Choice. Actually, that was the subtitle. It was called “The Ferris Bueller Approach to Career Choice.” That stirred up a lot of interest. We had a lot of people sign up and most of them actually called in to participate on the call.

I’ve been reading and studying and talking about creative paths to career choice and ways to make a living that are in line with a fulfilled life for several years. I’ve heard lots of creative and powerful techniques for discovering gifts and passions and answering the question: What do I really want to do with my life?

But when Henry first mentioned his idea to me I was blown away. He started years ago by marking a day on his planner with “FB” for the movie. It was the day after his wife left town for a business trip and he had been very busy helping with preparations. He watched the movie, then went out and had a real-life, toned down version of an adventurous day off. He left it open so he could follow his whims and enjoy whatever came up. He’s been doing it on an infrequent but sort of regular basis ever since.

Henry’s understanding is that we have to be alone sometimes to hear our own hearts speaking. We have to take away the hectic demands and the compulsion to be accomplishing and engage the rest of our brains, and our hearts.

I love the idea of taking a day off, not a weekend but a work day, to go have fun and play. It’s a real-life version of thought exercises that ask people to imagine their Perfect Day, or a Day From Heaven. The thought exercise is fun and opens up a lot of wishes and desires, but getting out and actually living it helped me see which wishes and desires were important enough for me to use my time and energy to pursue.

I have now finished both the free telecourses I committed to presenting with partners and am at the end of introductory coaching training. We’re talking a lot about marketing now. I know, I know. I have to get out and tell people about coaching. I have to think of ways to bring some positive new ideas to their lives so they see the value of coaching and will be interested in paying for regular coaching in the future.

I need to finish drafting out my web site and get it published. I need to continue sketching ideas for e-books and presentations and turning outlines into finished material. I need to start making regular posts to my blog-zine.

Now, when was it I was going to start posting to my blog-zine? I’m pretty sure my goal was October—this October, 2007. Am I going to get to it soon, or will I put it off?

In the timeless words of President George H. W. Bush (41, the first), when asked what he was going to do after Iraq under Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, “Let’s just see what I do.”

I can’t wait to find out!

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

One Down, One to Go!

October 7, 2007

On Wednesday evening Sarah Sharp and I presented a telecourse on Cultivating Community. It was my first time to be presenting on a telecourse but I wasn’t very nervous, just a little excited and kind of anxious.

Sarah had a good story as an example of people choosing to develop community. She told about a fish market where the employees decided to have fun in spite of whatever personal frustrations or hassles they had going on. As they had fun, it started a sense of connection. When they decided on a goal, to become “world famous,” the common goal plus the decision to focus on enjoying work pulled them together into a more cohesive group. Everyday people doing work that could seem boring and repetitious, but they found a way to make it more. They transcended their circumstances through a common goal and mutual commitment.

Our participants joined in the conversation and shared a lot of ideas and thoughts on ways that individuals can help bring more connection and common purpose into groups so community connections are strengthened. We discussed values like compassion and mutual respect that we think are necessary to strengthening community, plus common goals and a willingness for group members to take time once in a while to see how the group is doing at meeting its goals and functioning as a community.

Sarah is a polished presenter whose enthusiasm and warmth come across clearly. It was great to have her as a partner because she was memorable and took the pressure off of me. I knew people would have a good experience based on what she shared and the conversations she led. I was able to be very comfortable when I was giving information and leading discussions.

This Tuesday I have my second telecourse. This one will be on Creative Career Choice. I hope it goes as smoothly as the first one did. Since a telecourse is a “live” event with group participation and technology is involved, unplanned things can happen.

I’m ready for the expected and think I can navigate most of the unexpected. If Henry and I wind up with things we can’t handle—well, then, we’re gonna’ have some great stories to tell!

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

Blog, Blog, Blog, Telecourse!

September 30, 2007

I’ve added links to other blogs where I will be posting. They’re on the left, the top list, if I arranged things correctly.

I have been participating in weekly discussions with a group of Parenting Coaches who have decided to use a group blog to post articles by different coaches on topics helpful to parents. Please check it out. It’s called Parenting By Our Strengths.

I went for the first time this month to the meeting of the North Texas chapter of ICF, the International Coach Federation. At the meeting I met a couple of people who said a group were gathering after the luncheon to talk about faith-based coaching. I had not thought about coaching from a faith perspective but realized it’s a powerful idea. I have tried to keep up with Christian Counseling over the years to understand reasons some Christians are reluctant to seek mental health services, why they might distrust therapists, and how to talk about emotional healing in the language of faith. I am Christian and have always connected the healing work of a therapist with Christ’s message of forgiveness and restoration and hope, so I never experienced that resistance.

The group was coincidentally meeting for the first time and one of the members started a blog, posted to it, and invited others to join and post. I jumped in and wrote a short article. Check it out at Faith Based Coaching.

I also wrote a lengthy first draft of my Discovery Day to shape into an article for the premiere of my Chasing Wisdom Blog-Zine. I will be learning through writing it and formatting it and intend to make it interesting and useful. Check it out and let me know your thoughts.

My first telecourse will be Wednesday of this coming week so I’ve been working to get ready for it. My second telecourse will be Tuesday of the following week. Thank you to those of you who have signed up and those of you who have wished me well and encouraged me. I look forward to what we’re going to learn.

My neurotic thought of recent weeks: Do I have a coaching business that will include e-books, audio recorded presentations, and maybe a membership community? Or do I have a personal mentorship business with a variety of products and media which includes coaching as one of the services offered? It may be an insignificant distinction but it’s on my mind a lot as I develop a business plan and a marketing plan!

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

Brief and Cryptic

September 21, 2007

I was planning the creative career choice telecourse with my classmate Henry and he said he was planning to take a “Ferris Bueller” day off before we present the course. The concept was something he had told me about and became the main theme of our presentation so it sounded like a good idea to have fresh information to share.

Then he asked me if I was planning to have a Ferris Bueller day off.

I hadn’t planned to—until he asked me. Of course it made sense, and it sounded like a blast.

I spent today having my day off. I called it my “Discovery Day.” I experienced some fun and interesting things and learned more about my interests and what I need to include in my life. No details yet, since I’m still thinking about it and planning to write a blog-zine article based on my experience and what we will present in the course.

At this point I encourage everyone to remember to take time for fun, for whimsy, for whatever is missing in your daily life that you really enjoy and value. Heck, if you can take time off to go to the dentist, you can take time off to go to the beach.

I didn’t go to the beach, because we don’t have one close, but I probably would have if it could have been done within a single day!

I’ve been carrying a thesaurus and dictionary around, thinking about words that describe the work of coaching and the ideas of personal mentorship and personal growth and improvement through the synergy of relationships. It’s been fun—I’m weird like that, but I know people who read dictionaries for fun. Thinking about the words that describe my work and my business has helped me think of new ways to help people as a coach, new ideas for information products, and new metaphors for explaining what I do.

But I still don’t have a name I like that is available as a URL and for a business entity in Texas! I’ll keep at it.

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

Cultivating Community Telecourse

September 17, 2007

CULTIVATING COMMUNITY
Practical Steps and Spiritual Principles

Wednesday, October 3rd at 8:00PM (Eastern)
Presenters: Sarah Sharp and Steve Coxsey
Contact: steve@stevecoxsey.com

TELECOURSE DESCRIPTION:

Do You Ever Feel Lonely When You’re In A Group?

Like you don’t really connect? Like things are pleasant on the surface but there’s not much underneath?

Do you hear stories about people long ago having close connections to each other and wish it were still possible? Do you wonder if it ever really existed?
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There’s a growing disconnect in the world. Larger and larger populations live in closer and smaller spaces, but people seem to be forgetting that anyone else exists!

In this workshop we will explore ways you can encourage connection and community within the various groups of people you interact with on a regular basis. We’ll discuss the values of a functioning community and ways to promote them whenever you’re with other people.
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You will learn:

• A model of community at a deep level of connection and cooperation
• The values of a functioning community
• The stages of development for a functioning community
• Many of the challenges to maintaining a thriving community and how to resolve them
• A model for sustainable group leadership through community based on collaboration and consensus among servant leaders
• Specific steps you can take to promote community in groups where you are a member
• An approach to finding an optimum balance between individual and group identity using the dependence continuum
• Ways that participation in community energizes your personal growth
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This won’t be a philosophical discussion of some unattainable ideal. We’re not yearning for Shangri La. This will be a real life, present day, roll-up-your-sleeves interactive workshop to help you find ways to build a foothold for community in the immediate circle of people around you—beginning with you. You will be challenged to plan real steps you can take to start bringing people together into community in your own life.
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LEADERS:
Sarah Sharp has made it her mission to help unite people with their fullest potential, and then teach them to teach others to do the same. She has spent the past five years coordinating training events on topics such as Communication Skills, Conflict Resolution, and Generational Differences. She spent time as an advocate for her employees, planning team-building and morale-boosting events. Working for a decade in healthcare administration, she was also an advocate for patients, helping to build systems and protocols to ensure good customer service, building a sense of importance as an individual as well as a place within the larger healthcare community. She has merged her attention to detail and her love of people into a budding career as a highly entertaining and intensive speaker. Sarah believes that as each person works toward their own good potential, everyone benefits and community is fostered and flourishes.

Steve Coxsey is passionate about the power of mentorship to promote personal growth and strengthen groups into community. He spent three years working in schools helping teachers brainstorm behavior management and individualized instruction for students, along with planning ways to promote cooperation in the classroom. He worked as a therapist at a treatment center for two years and then in private practice for six years before becoming co-owner of a childcare center and preschool. As a supervisor of programs for children, he was concerned daily about the children having a sense of belonging and connection. As a supervisor of several employees, he was always looking for ways to promote a sense of cooperation and shared purpose. Early on he thought of that as a sense of “family” or “teamwork” but has come to realize he was actually working to develop and maintain a thriving community for all the children and staff.
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TUITION: This telecourse is free. You pay only any long distance charges to access our bridge line.
TO REGISTER: E-mail your registration to steve@stevecoxsey.com. Place the words “Genuine Community” in the subject line. In the body of the e-mail please include: 1) Your full name; 2) Your e-mail address to receive confirmation and other information on the course; and 3) Your daytime and evening phone numbers. In response you will receive confirmation of your registration and access numbers for the bridge line.

ALL REGISTRATION INFORMATION IS CONFIDENTIAL AND WILL NOT BE SHARED. We will not sell, rent, share, or exchange your contact information with anyone.

QUESTIONS?
Contact Steve at steve@stevecoxsey.com or Sarah at scandelon@aol.com.

Become the catalyst to build the connections you’ve been missing. Take a stand for community!
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Creative Career Choice Telecourse

September 17, 2007

The Ferris Bueller Approach to Career Choice
Freeing Yourself to Choose Work You Love

Life isn’t about finding yourself.
Life is about creating yourself.

~ George Bernard Shaw

DATE AND TIME: Tuesday, October 9, 2007 at 8:00p (Eastern)
PRESENTERS: Henry Packer and Steve Coxsey
CONTACT: steve@stevecoxsey.com

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TELECOURSE DESCRIPTON:

Do You Feel Stuck In A Career That Doesn’t Suit You?

Did You Pick The Practical Path for Security?
Did You Choose What You Were Supposed To Do Over What You Wanted To Do?
Can You Remember What You Wanted To Do?

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More than at any time in history, we have the freedom to choose work that we can enjoy. The technology of the information age makes it possible to consult, train, teach, and sell across great distances. It’s getting easier and easier to find clients and customers who want what we can offer through work based on our unique abilities. It’s possible to find work we enjoy, work that brings fulfillment and contentment, work that feeds our souls as well as pays the bills.

But a lot of us have lost track of what we want to do. We chose things we were good at doing. We chose things we stumbled into and thought, Why not? We chose what our parents had done, or always wanted to do. We set aside our wants and dreams, thinking they were childish and impractical, and settled into a rut.

It’s time to remember what you want to do, because it comes from the deepest part of you. It’s time to embrace your dreams. It’s time to climb out of that rut!

This telecourse is designed to give you some exercises you can use to rediscover what you want to do when you grow up. We will show you ways to listen to your heart’s desire, your soul’s call, that part of yourself that has a unique way of seeing things and a unique combination of gifts and talents. This points you to work that engages your mind and your emotions. This is the work you were born to do, and it brings you the highest level of contentment and personal success.

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You Will Learn:
• Common reasons for choosing a career don’t hold up over time
• Alternatives to having a job that people are really doing successfully
• How Multiple Profit Centers can be greater security than a job and more connected to your deepest nature
• A Career Choice model for planning work around your life
• Exercises you can use to hear your heart’s desire and discover your gifts and passions
• Practical steps to take to bring more happiness and enjoyment into your life—even at work!

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LEADERS:
Henry Packer is journeyman life coach, professional computer geek, aspiring actor/author, and recovering malcontent. Raised in the theater and later a literature major, he found his true callings early in life. As an alumnus of Woodstock (the first one) he valued the ideal of dropping out, but he took the responsible path and became a systems analyst, work that kept him fed, housed, and unsatisfied. In years of quiet pragmatism, he knew that dropping out needs to be an occasional activity, and he has become an authority on the art and science of the Day Off. A recreation, a diversion, and an extraordinary method of regaining oneself.

Steve Coxsey is passionate about personal growth and development. He was a consultant for teachers before working as a therapist at a treatment center and then in private practice. He spent ten years as co-owner of a childcare center and preschool, where he put into practice the power of mentorship to promote personal growth. As a supervisor of programs for children, he was able to collaborate with teachers and caregivers on ways to help children learn new skills and approach challenges with confidence. As a supervisor of several employees, he got to help them set personal goals for professional growth and reach outside their comfort zones to learn new things. He helped many develop long-term career plans that honored their dreams. Steve has been on a journey to discover his next calling and loves helping people discover their passions and gifts and find ways to design work around them.

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TUITION: This telecourse is free. You pay only any long distance charges to access our bridge line.

TO REGISTER: E-mail your registration to steve@stevecoxsey.com. Place the words “Genuine Community” in the subject line. In the body of the e-mail please include: 1) Your full name; 2) Your e-mail address to receive confirmation and other information on the course; and 3) Your daytime and evening phone numbers. In response you will receive confirmation of your registration and access numbers for the bridge line.

ALL REGISTRATION INFORMATION IS CONFIDENTIAL AND WILL NOT BE SHARED. We will not sell, rent, share, or exchange your contact information with anyone.

QUESTIONS?
Contact Steve at steve@stevecoxsey.com.

Get out of the rut! Discover what you love to do and plan your life around it!

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Looking Forward To Figuring Out What I Learned—Once My Head Clears

September 15, 2007

I was pretty sure this post would be about my experience at the local chapter meeting of the ICF (International Coach Federation). Friday was my first opportunity to attend a group meeting during lunch at a very nice restaurant in Dallas called Popolo’s.

I thought I would compare what was going on with that group with my experiences with my MentorCoach class. I thought I would have some ideas about moving my business forward.

Nah. A little bit of itchy-nose allergies became a stuffy head cold by Friday afternoon and wiped me out. I got the headache and cough today, Saturday. Insight doesn’t come through very clear when your head and ears are stuffed up!

I enjoyed meeting new people at the luncheon and will attend again and probably join the local group. They have a training session during the monthly meeting and that will be an opportunity to learn more about variety in the world of coaching.

The training this time was on group coaching, with a live demonstration. Having just completed training modules on group coaching through MentorCoach I thought it was a good way to see a real experience to compare with the guidelines and recommendations.

But that’s about all I figured out. My nose was itchy during the training, and by the time I got my sons from school I was feeling crummy. I probably won’t know what else I learned until I feel better.

There was another snag during the week. I can’t have a business entity named Discovery Partners in the state of Texas because there’s a limited partnership with that name. It throws another wrench in my plans so I have to back up, find a name that represents my business, and make sure the name is available for a corporation and a URL. At least having this annoying cold is distracting me from the frustration of trying to get a name that brings together a business entity, a URL, and my mission.

I think I’ll seriously consider calling it “Stick” again. I need to see if that’s already taken.

May Your Nose Be Clear and

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

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