The Best of Thomas Newsletter

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Defining Success

What does Defining Success mean?

It means that you have identified the 3 key relationships, things, or other elements of life that that are most important to you in your life at this time.  These 3 items can be things like “The love I experience from my wife.” to “How creative I’m being.”  The idea of defining success may sound pretty obvious to you, but there is a subtlety to this process that you’ll learn about in just a moment.

What seems to be true about the notion of defining success?

  • Until you take the time to define success for yourself, it is most likely being defined by others, your culture, the past, hope or advertising.
  • Only you can truly define success for yourself.  And, you can use feedback from others to help you articulate your 3 success definitions.
  • These success definitions set you free to enjoy life completely; they do not define you or box you in.  Rather, they release you from priorities that are not relevant or that meaningful.

Why is it beneficial for me to define success?

Given the number of influences, past and present, that one is subjected to, it’s very helpful to know what’s most important to you.  This, so that you don’t get seduced or distracted by the demands of others, your job, advertising or other sources which will tend to define what’s important to you if you haven’t taken the opportunity to define yourself first.

The 3 Steps

How do I define success for myself?  There are 3 steps…

Step 1.  Ask yourself this question.

I know I am being successful by… [fill in the blank here]

It’s very important that you use the exact sentence structure and words that you see above because this sets you up to articulate more clearly how you not only define success but how you know you’re being success at any given moment.  See, we promised you a subtlety and that is it.

Step 2. Tweak your 3 responses until they resonate.

You’ll know that a success definition is phrased well when you feel a tingle in your body, or the light bulb goes on or you feel otherwise excited.  Not feeling that way yet?  Not to worry.  This exercise is new for most people and it may take a couple days of tinkering with your success definitions before they zing.  And they will.  You will also find yourself thinking about success as you are redefining it; that is good!  If you are truly stuck and just can’t find resonating definitions, then simply start over and pick totally different ones.  This, because sometimes people confuse what they should or could want for their success definitions with what they really, really want.

Step 3.  Notice the tugs you feel.

As you feel your success definitions resonating over the coming weeks, notice the way it tugs at you to make small, or perhaps significant, changes in your life. You’ll catch yourself fairly quickly when you feel pulled away from your definitions.  You’ll find it easier to say no to people or situations that just don’t fit anymore with what is most important to you.  It’s up to you if you want to make these changes right now, but at least you’ll know what your body and heart are suggesting.

Who is defining your success? Just three steps to make sure it is you.

Everyone wants to be successful.

WHO’S TO SAY WHAT COACHING IS OR ISN’T?

Are some forms of therapy coaching?

Is consulting coaching?

Is managing coaching?

Is parenting coaching?

Is teaching coaching?

Is mentoring coaching?

Is ministering coaching?

Is loving coaching?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.  It’s all coaching, or at least it’s becoming coaching. 

bread2For years, we coaches have spent time educating the marketplace on what coaching is, and is not. But over that time (the last 20 years), and especially during the past 5 years, I believe we’re seeing coaching being used to describe a lot more than ‘just’ coaching, at least as we’ve known coaching.  Coaching is a catch-all term and I believe the term is big enough to include therapy, consulting, parenting, teaching, mentoring, ministering and loving.  I think we’ve spent a lot of time drawing the distinction between coaching vs other ‘professions.’  But the marketplace has quickly caught up with us and is now overtaking us coaches and that’s very, very good news.  If you think of coaching as sourdough starter, a lot of great bread is being made and enjoyed using the principles and methods of coaching.

There’s more to say here. My view has always been that coaching is simply a set of advanced communication and relating skills that elevate relationships to a higher place.  Heck, that’s what managers, therapists, consultants, parents, mentors, ministeres and just plain people are smack dab in the midst of getting better and better at.  Coaching is becoming FAR bigger than just we coaches coaching.  It’s also been my view that everyone is a coach, period.  And that everyone is getting better at coaching, through experience, training, awareness and modelling.  Think about it.  If coaching is truly a more evolved way of communicating and relating, coaching is something that benefits everyone worldwide.

That said, the specific and high level coaching work that we do as professional coaches continues to play a vital role in the acceptance of coaching as a skill set and of coaching as a valued profession in the marketplace.  We coaches will continue to be very special and sought after, even as the coaching approach and skill set becomes integrated into virtually every personal and business relationship.

During the Millennium Coaching Tour, I guesstimated that there may well be over 1,000,000 coaches coaching within 30 or 40 years. Some coaches think I’m way low.  Others wonder what calculator I’m using.  Regardless, the coaching skill set is here to stay and will flourish in multiple ways and via surprising avenues.  Parents, managers, ministers, consultants, therapists, and just plain people will be proud to call themselves coaches over the coming years.  And the vast majority of them will never be ‘professional coaches’ like we are.  But they will learn to coach very, very well.  And we first 10,000-30,000 coaches have ourselves to thank for taking the initiative to make this profession — and even more importantly, this skill set — stronger, more developed and freely available so that the world can benefit as every human being grows into being a coach in how they communicate and relate with everyone they meet.

–Thomas J. Leonard
CoachVille.com
October 3, 2000

THE ZEN OF PERFECT

1.   What is, is perfect.

And, you can perfect it.

2.  What isn’t perfect, is perfect.

Because there is something to learn.

3.  You are perfect.

Even when you are not.

4. Others are perfect.

Especially when they are not.

5.  Life is perfect.

But only when you see that it is.

6.  Weaknesses are perfect.

Their perfection is simply unrecognized.

7.  Your strengths are perfect.

So, continue to perfect them.

8.  What already is perfect is perfect.

Leave it alone.

9.  Tragedies are perfect.

We just can’t see the perfection, yet.

10.  Perfect is perfect.

Make perfect an art form.

Key Coaching Principles

1. SYNERGY CAUSES BETTER RESULTS, MUCH MORE EASILY.

PROPER COACH/CLIENT MATCHING IS ESSENTIAL FOR SYNERGY TO OCCUR.

2. WHEN PEOPLE ARE FULLY HEARD, THEY MOVE FORWARD IMMEDIATELY.

NOT BEING HEARD SLOWS DOWN PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND HUMAN EVOLUTION.

3. ANY SITUATION CAN BE OPTIMIZED, TURNED AROUND OR IMPROVED.

AND IF IT CANNOT, GET OUT OF IT RESPONSIBLY.

4. FEWER PROBLEMS OCCUR WHEN ONE HAS A STRONG PERSONAL FOUNDATION.

RISING ABOVE THE MUCK OF LIFE IS STEP 1 IN COACHING.

5. SOMETIMES THE CLIENT HAS THE ANSWER, SOMETIMES THE COACH DOES.

IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER WHERE IT COMES FROM.

6. ONE CAN HAVE A PERFECT LIFE.

IT’S NOT A FANTASY OR PIPEDREAM. IT REALLY IS DO-ABLE, AND IN THIS LIFETIME.

7. HUMANS OPERATE AT 1%, OR LESS, OF OUR POTENTIAL.

COACHING INCREASES THIS FIGURE.

8. SUCCESS IS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT.

SUCCESS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DESERVINGNESS, PRIVILEGE, OR BACKGROUND.

9. WHEN THE CLIENT PROPERLY DEFINES SUCCESS, COACHING BECOMES EASY.

AND CLIENTS KNOW BETTER HOW TO USE THEIR COACH.

10. MOST PEOPLE DON’T REALLY KNOW WHAT THEY TRULY WANT.

A COACH CAN HELP CLIENTS DISCOVER WHAT THAT IS. IT’S USUALLY SIMPLE.

11. WHAT ONE PUTS UP WITH COSTS ONE DEARLY.

TOLERATIONS WASTE ONE’S SPIRIT, ONE’S HEART, ONE’S MIND, AND ONE’S POCKBOOK.

12. WE ARE ALL PICASSOS-IN-TRAINING

THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR PEOPLE TO DISCOVER, EXPRESS AND SHARE THEIR CREATIVTY

COACHVILLE.COM

VERSION 1.0

WWW.COACHVILLE.COM

Excerpt from “Lesson 6 – Working through the “I’m a fraud factor”

Like a glass of cold water on a hot day

Thomas Leonard was not only extremely creative; he also had excellent timing. Thomas’ creations always seemed to arrive at just the right time, helping to answer a pressing challenge that the coaching world was facing.

Why was Thomas’ material always so instantly relevant and helpful you may ask?

Thomas had his finger on the pulse of coaching, and had an uncanny ability to figure out just what the growing world of coaching and coaches needed. Some of his best work helped empower: showing coaches that the whispering voices of doubt were wrong, and that they could, and would, have success with their business.

Today’s Best of Thomas offering is one of these coach empowerment gifts, taken from “Full Practice for Coaches – 100 Time Tested Lessons from Coaching’s Founding Father”.

1. I’m a fraud, because the client doesn’t know that I barely know what I’m doing.

Observation: Most coaches don’t know exactly what they are doing at any given moment, but we’re all learning.

Solution: Be forthright with the potential client but to accentuate what you KNOW you can do.

Example: “Now, Bob, while I have some experience in that area, I am not an expert. But what I am skilled at
is….”

2. I’m a fraud, because I don’t have a degree or any formal training.

Observation: Some of the best coaches don’t have degrees and many have had no formal training. Formal training is definitely a major plus, but not a requirement to be effective. Some coaches “just have it” and coach quite well without formal training.

Solution: If the client doesn’t ask, there is no need to bring this up. That said, some coaches feel the need to be totally forthright and do bring up their lack of formal training/degrees before they are hired. In most cases the client couldn’t care less, but for some coaches, they MUST bring this up in order to feel good/clean/clear about taking on a new client.

Eventually, the coach works through this and begins to look at their track record of client success as their credentials/degrees and they no longer have the need to bring this up. However, if YOU feel awkward about not having a degree or any formal training, by all means inform your potential client of this before they hire you. That will help you sleep at night and avoid the dread of being “found out.”

3. I’m a fraud, because my own life sucks, compared to that of my clients.

Observation: It’s not uncommon to have parts of your life pale in quality as compared to that of your clients.

You might even have feelings like “God, if they only knew my life in that area was a mess or so much less than theirs…” It’s normal to feel this way.

Solution: I used to feel this way when I first began coaching because my life DID suck. I felt, “Gee whiz, how can I coach them when I feel like a mess?” The problem with that reasoning is that the focus is on you (and your weaknesses) instead of being on the client. Focus on and revolve around what the client wants and needs and you won’t have so much time to get into the comparison game. Measure yourself against how well THEY
are doing, not how well YOU are doing.

Example: I was mentoring another coach who was broke and who was coaching a millionaire and the coach was terrified that the client would ‘find out’ that the coach had zero money and zero prospects for success. So I asked the coach to broach this subject with his client and here’s what the client said (paraphrased from my memory) “Karen, I didn’t hire you as my financial planner, I hired you because I wanted help to make some important changes in my life — changes that you, obviously, have already made. That’s why I hired you. Now, can we get back to business here?”

To download “I’m a fraud, because…” numbers four and five, as well as a helpful assignment to deal with your own “I’m a fraud, because…” statements read the full lesson here.

The extensive, prolific, expansive, “wow” list of Thomas Leonard work

One of the interesting, and unique characteristics of the Best of Thomas community is the truly diverse range of knowledge and familiarity that the community shares about Thomas Leonard.

As you read this you fit into one of the different Thomas Leonard groups:

  • Knew Thomas personally, took classes with Thomas, and helped create Thomas’ wide range of projects.
  • Have experienced Thomas’ material extensively through CoachVille, his writing, and listening to audios but never actually met him personally.
  • Are completely new to the world of Thomas Leonard and, most likely, trying to absorb as much as you can, as quickly as you can.
  • Somewhere in between these three polarizing positions.

This diverse understanding of Thomas and his material is important to creating the richness of the group as people share their different perspectives on the Thomas’ materials. It also presents the Best of Thomas team with a huge, thought stretching, and extremely fun challenge: how to present a range of Thomas material that is interesting and satisfies those who are continuing Thomas’ legacy while taking the time to properly introduce the new arrivals to all of Thomas’ work.

For the new arrivals, read through this site and check out some of the Best of Thomas books for a great start in catching up on all things Thomas.

For Thomas veterans hopefully the material being presented is bringing back some memories, reminding you of forgotten information bits, and providing some “aha” idea moments for moving forward.

Today’s newsletter will provide a baseline check from you on how to move forward with presenting the Thomas Leonard material at our fingertips.

How to best do this? Below is a list, definitely not complete, of all of the interesting Thomas bits: programs, writings, ideas, audios, images, etc that we have managed to pull from the cobwebbed depths of the Internet.

For Thomas community newcomers, read through this list and leave a comment or send an email to content@bestofthomas.com and let me know what titles below nudge a thought, or glimmer of interest in your mind?

For Thomas community pros, read through the list and let me know which of your favorites are missing, which of your favorites you would like to see again, and, even better, what Thomas material you may have saved in your own archives that you could share with the Best of Thomas team. Leave a comment or send an email to content@bestofthomas.com and let’s start putting our heads together to make Thomas’ legacy even more complete.

The Attraction Program
A Perfect Life Program
Personal Evolution Program
Personal Environments Program
Toleration Free Program
525 Life Models
Evolutionary Progressions
Topten.org
Thomasleonard.com
CoachVille Graduate School of Coaching
Thomas Leonard Coaching School
Certified Leader Training
Coaching Critiques
Coaching Models
15 Coaching Proficiencies
Full Practice Marketing 100
3 Steps to Success Program
3 Step R&D Program
Genius Coaching
CoachVille Certified Coach Program
List of Coaching Principles
101 Coaching Mistakes
How to Coach Anyone
Passive Revenue for Coaches
5-Day Full Practice Program
5-Day E-zine in a week program
Coaching Forms
Becoming a Perfect Person
Coaching the Entrepreneur
Becoming Reaction Free
Getting into the corporate door of coaching
Lazer coaching
Natural selling process

21 Personal Evolution Strategies

To evolve more quickly and easily…

1. Surround yourself with new ideas instead of recycling your beliefs.
Beliefs can limit your ability to experience life as it unfolds.

2. Make chaos your friend.
The unexpected is a good thing as long as you’re open to it.

3. Let your environments do most of your evolutionary work for you.
Evolution occurs as you adapt to such environments.

4. Use tolerations to your advantage.
Every single thing you are putting up with is an opportunity waiting to be leveraged.

5. Constantly experiment.
Synchronicity is the reward.

6. Spend more time in nature.
Nature nourishes and recalibrates our natural systems.

7. Become the host of a thriving network.
Let your network evolve you as you serve them.

8. Continuously integrate all aspects of your life.
Integration evolves you from being needlessly complicated to being richly complex.

9. Invest in your virtual environments, not just your physical environments.
Life is becoming more virtual.

10. Design your sources of energy.
You can then operate at a higher frequency.

11. Become superconductive.
Reduce the energy you consume by 90% by reducing your resistance to life.

12. Master the evolving set of Cyber Skills.
Extend your intelligence by connecting with everyone.

13. Surround yourself with people who are eagerly evolving.
They spark you. You spark them. Evolution occurs effortlessly.

14. Stop resisting.
Assimilate events the first time they occur.

15. Choose a goal that is bigger than you are.
Be pulled forward by it, instead of pushing yourself.

16. Get over yourself in every possible way.
Arrogance holds you back.

17. Learn how you naturally operate.
Come to honor your personal dynamic.

18. Know your gifts.
And design your life to fully express them.

19. Emotionally heal.
Healing maximizes your emotional IQ.

20. Cause something and surprise yourself.
Initiative is a muscle.

21. Make what you don’t know is more interesting than what you do know.
Enjoy learning more than teaching.

Commemorating Thomas Leonard, Father of Coaching | Part 5

All good things must come to an end, and here we are on the last day of the special five day email event remembering Thomas Leonard. Today we are going to finish by carefully peeling back the layers of Thomas mind and visiting some of his light-hearted, funny, and maybe just a bit bizarre pieces of work.

First let’s take a look at what happened when Thomas wrapped his creative mind around a new piece of graphics software. Looking at his creations you can almost see the smile on his face as he started thinking of all the different possibilities and going crazy pushing this new program to its limits. Each logo pushes the boundaries in a slightly different direction and you can feel how Thomas was stretching his creativity and seeing what he could do. Even more insight is gained when you realize that Thomas never used any of these logos, he simply exercised his mind and his talents, then stuck them on a page; another environment he could activate when needed.

what ceiling add or just caffeine
be annoying
edges
fear is natural
movement
be there. or not
turmoil stimulates
balance is overrated
compensate for vanilla
swing

Our final piece of Thomas memorabilia was written over ten years ago and really shows how Thomas valued the belief that you must be creative and take risks; whether you are right or wrong, whether it works or not, or whether anyone was ever going to see your work. The key is to challenge your own thoughts, expand your ideas, and take risks with your creativity. Constantly experiment.

This top ten list shows how Thomas brought the idea of creative risk taking alive:

The Top 10 American Practices That Will Be Labeled Barbaric by 2010.

1. Eating animal products.
Meat, dairy.

2. Hunting and fishing.
Killing anything with a central nervous system.

3. Moral Judgment.
Labelling anyone as immoral.

4. Sales.
The consumer will buy, not be sold to.

5. Bigotry.
Racial, sexual orientation, culture.

6. Classroom, programmed/track schooling.
Will be replaced by lifelong virtual learning.

7. Government.
What’s the point?

8. Anger.
In any form.

9. Striving/Acquiring.
Goal setting, competition, seeking will be replaced by attraction/occurence.

10. Sports.
Sports are a glorified vestige of war.

Was Thomas writing this top ten list with tongue firmly planted in cheek? We will never know, but knowing isn’t what matters in this case. What matters is what we take from this top ten list, what we choose to learn from yet another example of Thomas’ creative mind.

Thomas took a risk over ten years ago with this top ten, joking or not. Now here we are in the year 2010 and we now have the opportunity to ask the same question: what top ten things do you think are going to happen in ten years, or not happen, if you choose to follow Thomas lead?

What risk are you avoiding with your creative projects? How would your place as a thought leader in your chosen field change for the better if you were willing to take that risk no matter whether it worked, whether people agreed, or whether that risky idea ever saw the light of day?

Until February 16th, to help commemorate Thomas’ passing, we are holding a 20% off sale of all Thomas publications, newly polished and published in print. To activate the discount please use coupon code: MEMORIES when you place your order.

Thanks for joining us. We hope you enjoyed the little ‘fuss’ we kicked up to celebrate Thomas’ life of value.
The Best of Thomas Team

Commemorating Thomas Leonard, Father of Coaching | Part 4

Day four of our special memories of Thomas newsletter is here. Welcome back! I want to thank you for joining me on this inspirational and thought provoking journey into the life of Thomas Leonard. I hope you have not only been sharing in the memories presented here, but have also undergone some real perspective shifting changes as we dig deep into this material and learn more about the man behind all of the ideas.

Today we are going to get a chance to taste one of Thomas’ memetic environments and answer some really important questions that are going to continue to challenge your way of thinking and open up new, fresh, actionable ideas on how to apply this memory of Thomas to transforming yourself into a thought leader.

What made the man think the way he did? How was it that he was so creative? How did he connect so many seemingly disparate things?

Many people aspire to the level of creativity and innovation that Thomas Leonard embodied. One of the major ways that he attributed his flow of creativity was how he nourished his mind. Very early on he made public the list of magazines and newspapers he read many of which are listed below. Not only did he surround himself with a regular list of magazines Thomas was also known to, every once in awhile, go out and buy a whole bunch of new magazines to add to his list, which continued to grow. In fact, after his passing many people would be surprised with the number and titles of magazines and books we found.

Have a look at some of these titles, listen to Thomas discuss this piece of his memetic environment, then ask yourself if, perhaps, some of your creativity could be jump started by some nourishment from magazines connected to fields other than the one you are spending the most time in. What new and unique ideas could you cook up if you randomly chose two of the magazines on Thomas’ list and mixed the ideas into some new and amazing flavour?

Thomas and RV
click image for a larger view

Thomas’s notes on some of the magazines he read:

Dwell – Why? Edgy architectural magazine. Jars my creativity.
Popular Mechanics – Why? Gadgets, tools. Easy way to keep up.
Utne Reader – Why? Cheaper than a pair of Birkenstocks.
Scientific American – Why? So outside of my thinking/interests. Evolutionary stimulant.
Enlightenment (Now EnlightenNext) – Why? Mind stuff.
Fast Company – Why? Everyone else is quoting from it. Gotta read it. Yawn.
Red Herring – Why? I like the name of it.
Wallpaper – Why? High style/design. Inspiringly so. The ultimate physical environment.
Wired – Why? Intellectually stimulating. Convergence of science, technology, philosophy.
Travel and Leisure – Why? Fantasy
Worth – Why? General financial/investing learning.
Real Simple – Why? As a reminder to uncomplicated my life.

Listen to this 5 minute clip of Thomas discussing magazines and his memetic environment. (listen to the entire environments audio here)

Until February 16th, to help commemorate Thomas’ passing, we are holding a 20% off sale of all Thomas publications, newly polished and published in print. To activate the discount please use coupon code: MEMORIES when you place your order.

As we continue this week-long commemoration of Thomas in 2010, stay tuned tomorrow when we talk about Thomas, creativity and risk-taking.

We hope you found this enjoyable,
The Best of Thomas Team

Commemorating Thomas Leonard, Father of Coaching | Part 3

Greetings to day three of the Memory of Thomas newsletter. Last email we took a lengthy, but intriguing look into Thomas’ condo in central Phoenix and, hopefully, gained some mind-shifting insights into the importance of the physical environment. Today we are lucky enough to take a peek into two more of Thomas’ important environments: his RV and his Millennium tour.

One of the most fascinating and legendary aspects of Thomas’ life was the RV that he called home during much of his coaching work, made famous in a Newsweek article on February 5, 1996 that featured Thomas coaching from his RV in a different location every night.

Thomas and RV

The RV itself was the subject of a great deal of conversation in Thomas’ courses including “A Perfect Life”. He would often talk about fixing little things around his RV and how he reveled in and enjoyed the fact that it was such a small space because it actually enabled him to stay decluttered and make sure that every last tiny detail was perfect. Nothing was out of place. He even had a Friday checklist that he completed every week listing the things that he would do to keep his RV maintained. It was all wonderfully thought out and formulaic so that his living needs disappeared into the background and his creativity was fully supported.

rv floorplan

Of course the other part of the RV mystique was the transformation of this living space into the evangelist RV that toured the countryside exposing people to the word “coach” painted across the side. Thomas was a lonely soldier, being the ambassador of, and living this thing called coaching.

This is an incomplete but none-the-less interesting graphical representation of the cities Thomas visited on his Millennium tour.

millenium tour map

Unbeknownst to many, though of course Thomas wanted to spread the word about coaching, the Millennium tour also supported his own personal evolution. Thomas was the first to admit that he had stage fright and this tour was his way of getting over that in a not surprisingly, over the top, Thomas way: putting himself in front of a microphone over and over again in each of these cities.

A list of a few of the cities Thomas visited helps to give the true scope of this undertaking and reveals just how amazingly passionate Thomas was about letting the world learn about coaching.

San Diego, California
Salt Lake City, Utah
Denver, Colorado
Little Rock, Arkansas
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Nashville, Tennessee
Raleigh, North Carolina
Burlington, Vermont
Vancouver, British Columbia
Montreal, Quebec

Whether working from his home base in Phoenix, or traveling across the country in his mobile coaching platform it becomes clear how absolutely, truly important spreading the idea of coaching to everyone who would and wouldn’t listen was to Thomas. Once again Thomas unique approach to life provides us all with a model to follow when thinking of how we can help introduce others to the coaching profession that, through his love and tireless work, Thomas brought to life.

Until February 16th, to help commemorate Thomas’ passing, we are holding a 20% off sale of all Thomas publications, newly polished and published in print. To activate the discount please use coupon code: MEMORIES when you place your order.

As we continue this week-long commemoration of Thomas in 2010, stay tuned tomorrow when we talk about Thomas his mind nourishment.

We hope you found this enjoyable,
The Best of Thomas Team