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Thrive on Your Core Driven Path

July 28, 2014 | Issue 07.2014

In This Issue

Note from the Trail
How’s Your Response-Ability? [Feature Article]
Recommended Resources

Note from the Trail

Hello, Trailblazer!

After a couple of trips for fun, I’m home for the rest of the summer. Since my younger son starts football practice in just two weeks, it hardly seems like there’s much summer left. But when I walk outside and feel like a baguette in a steam oven, I realize there’s plenty of summer ahead!

When I wrote last month’s Field Note, I was expecting my son and I would be able to enjoy the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter features at Universal Orlando. Turns out all those email messages from Universal saying, “Come visit the new Harry Potter features this summer!” had a vague statement that they would be “opening this summer” but no clear date set. They weren’t open while we were there, but they did announce while we were there that the attractions would open two weeks later.

We were pretty disappointed, but navigating letdowns is part of life. Turns out there was an up side, too. Since there was a build-up to the announcement of the opening date, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon was in town. We got to go to three free concerts the week we were there. We saw Jimmy Buffett, fun!, and Pitbull. I knew my son would love seeing fun! and figured he would enjoy Pitbull, but I was surprised to find out he’s a little bit of a Parrot Head!

Our second, shorter trip was to San Antonio to drive my mother to Sea World. She hadn’t been in a few years and wanted to go again, so my son and I took her. We enjoyed the shows and the animal exhibits there, and the next day we enjoyed Six Flags Fiesta Texas. We ate wonderful Mexican food three days in a row, and my mother and I enjoyed a couple of refreshing margaritas.

None of us enjoyed the heat in the middle of the day or the traffic on the drive back. They were definitely “downs” that went along with the “ups.” But being a Trailblazer means getting good at navigating whatever shows up on your path. This month’s article has a few tips on how to do that.

I have some news that I am excited to share. I finished my experience requirements and am now a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the ICF. I hear often that clients don’t care about certification, but it’s the culmination of years of courses, supervision, coaching experience, and a few demanding exams. I am very happy to have gotten here.

See you on the trail!

Stephen Coxsey, MA, PCC
Leadership Development Coach

P.S. A very special Welcome! to those of you who have signed up since the last issue went out. I’m glad you’re here! As a subscriber to The Trailblazer, you are part of my Advisory Board. I count on all of you for feedback on what you want to see more of and what you want to see less of in future issues. As you read through this issue, please remember:

If you like what you see, please tell your family and friends.
If you don’t like something, please tell me!

How’s Your Response-Ability? :::::::::::: Feature Article ::::::::::::

When I talk to self-employed people about the benefits of coaching, I often paint a picture of the kinds of challenges I know many of them are facing and how coaching helps them manage those challenges more effectively. Sometimes I’ll ask them to remember back to when they became the eager new entrepreneur.

Eager to be In Charge
I’ll say, “For a lot of us self-employed people, we remember when we decided we wanted to work for ourselves. Maybe you saw how much the company was paid for the project you did compared to how much you were paid and realized your value. Maybe you wanted to do something more meaningful. Maybe you wanted to have more control over your own schedule.

“You thought, ‘I want to be in charge. I want to be the one who makes the decisions.’ And now, when you’re switching hats as fast as you can and trying to juggle a lot of different responsibilities, you realize you’re in charge. You’re the one who has to make all the decisions.

The Leader with No Followers
“You come up with the list of things that have to be done, but when you look around to assign them, all you see is a mirror with your face. You’re in charge, so it falls to you to do it. You’re the boss, but without any employees. You’re the leader but you have no followers.”

I regularly have a discussion about the leader with no followers. I brought it up a few times in a Leadership Coaching class, I bring it up with coaching colleagues, and I ask friends and even acquaintances their opinion on this idea. What are the qualities of a strong leader that have nothing to do with inspiring, organizing, or guiding other people?

They seem to cluster around resourcefulness and ingenuity when facing challenges and the ability to design and create something from an idea. So far, I haven’t come up with a word or simple phrase to define those qualities or even this role. “In charge” captures part of the role, but not the agility or creativity of someone who handles the responsibilities well. “Responsible” is part of it, but “able to respond” is much more on-target. Someone can be responsible for something without being a responsible person.

The terms captain, author, director, and even master convey the idea, but not across all situations, the way leader conveys the same idea across all situations. Who is the captain of your plan to get into graduate school? Who is the master of the fundraising gala? There’s not a single word or phrase that seems to work.

Related to Leadership but Not the Same
A person can be excellent as captain, author, director, or even master, but not be a very good leader. People who work independently can handle their projects beautifully but not do well guiding other people.

A person can be an excellent leader but have areas where she or he is not a very effective captain, author, director, or master. The one who inspires the project team to beat each deadline and figure out the seemingly impossible challenge might close his or her office door to avoid looking at the reports and projections sitting there unfinished.

A leader can often delegate responsibilities, choosing people who are best able to handle them. But a person in charge who has no followers is responsible for all the tasks.

How Are You Doing?
How are you doing with your responsibility-handling-ness? If you’re like most people, you’re really good at some things, pretty good or at least good enough at most of the rest, and you have a few things you don’t do well. If you’re in charge but have no followers, how can you handle your responsibilities better, especially the ones that tend to stump you?

These 5 ideas can help you become a nimble, all-terrain, efficient responsibility-handler.

Observe: Sometimes it’s simply a matter of information. Once you see how other people handle a particular challenge or combination of challenges, you can follow the pattern. Or maybe you see someone managing one situation and you extrapolate from that example to your situation. You can even find examples in books, articles, and blog posts. You don’t need to find a high-caliber, virtuous role-model. You just need to find someone who’s gotten good at moving forward on shifting terrain.

Ask: Many people enjoy helping. Social science researchers study the benefits to givers and find them to be pretty powerful. If there’s something you can’t do well, consider asking for help. If there’s something you want to figure out or learn how to do, consider asking someone to show you.

Develop: Sometimes the challenge you’re facing points you to what my colleague and good friend Gayle Scroggs calls your “growing edge.” This is an opportunity to become more adept by learning a skill, building on your strengths, or cultivating your potential talent. Whatever abilities you develop will improve your responsibility-handling-ness in the future.

Collaborate: You do some things very well and aren’t that good with other things. That’s how it is for all of us. Fortunately, we can find people who are really good at the things we can’t do very well, and some of those people won’t be very good at the things we can do well. If you find a partner or team where your strengths and abilities are all complementary, you will all benefit. This can work for a specific project, a single profit center, or an entire business operation.

Pay: Complementing each other’s strengths is an important concept behind money. Money makes it possible to partner with someone when you don’t directly need each other’s strengths and talents. You can use yours to create value, earn money, and exchange that money for someone else’s strengths and talents. You may not be ready to hire an employee in your self-employment adventure, or you may be working on a project that generates no money. But you can still decide to hire someone to do tasks you don’t do well. Whether it’s a few dollars to a neighbor kid to help you clean out the garage or a couple hundred dollars to a virtual assistant to help you organize paperwork, sometimes paying someone to do the tasks you don’t do well is the best way to be responsible.

Application: Expand your response-ability in a challenging situation by choosing one tip and trying it out. Start with the one you feel most comfortable doing.

Question: What are some areas where your responsibility handling is especially strong? How can you make it clear to others that this is one of your strong areas? How can you exchange that value with people whose responsibility handling skills are agile and efficient in areas where yours aren’t?

Request: If you know of a great word or phrase to convey the idea of response-ability, responsibility-handling, or responsibility-handling-ness, please email it to me!

Naming this quality is not coming easily for me, so I’m asking for a boost from someone who is adept in this area.

Recommended Resources

Overwhelmed and struggling to find balance?

Looking for a way to start moving forward?

Stuck in your comfort zone?

Sounds like you’re ready for a creative, dynamic, collaborative partnership focused on your dreams and your goals.

Experience the Unique Power of Coaching

Contact me to set up a 30-40 minute complimentary consultation where we design a strategy and help you choose your next steps.

About Steve

Steve Coxsey develops leaders who thrive on a core driven path. He partners with people who want to bring the best of who they are to their leadership roles in their personal lives, professional lives, or businesses. He helps people cultivate their strengths and natural talents so they can take ownership of their productivity and creativity.

Then they become powerful, breaking free of other people’s boxes and cubicles and living and working in alignment with who they really are. They design their lives around their values, their purpose, and their natural way of being. They tailor careers that use their unique strengths and talents and complement their life design.

Would you like that to be you? Get started with a no-risk 30-40 minute consultation. It’s complimentary, so all it will cost you is a little bit of time. You can schedule the complimentary call using this online tool. You can also call 817-416-8971 or e-mail Steve@SteveCoxsey.com to set up the call.

Click here for more information than you could possibly ever want to know about Steve.

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