Pondering

Master Walking his Talk

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One of my favorite spots is our downtown Coffee shop. As a coffee lover, a latte is my favorite drink. My coffee has to have the right aroma and right taste, and I know that in this coffee shop, no matter who makes my coffee it will taste the same. 

A few days ago when I entered the coffee shop, I was surprised to see my kids’ Taekwondo teacher assistant, or as they call it: The Master’s Assistant. When he saw me entering the coffee shop, he stood up and bowed toward me. 

When my three kids joined the Taekwondo studio the Master taught us, the parents and the kids, that when we all enter the studio, we bow, when the kids go on the mattress or off the mattress, they bow. When the Master and other instructors hand you something you bow, and when you hand something to the Master he bows. 

When you bow, it signifies not only respect for your Master and classmates but respect for yourself, for the art of Taekwondo and your life in general. It is a universal gesture that signifies respect and appreciation. It is as they say without words: “I see you.”

When my teenage kids came for the free trial lesson, I could see something in their eyes and stance that I haven’t seen for a while. The Master was able to ask for respect and discipline from the students, but at the same time, he also showed respect for each student.

As you know, this is an experience that teenage kids don’t always have. I believe that most of the time when you enter teenage phase two things happen at the same time; While observing the world and the adults they are trying to understand what’s good/right and what’s bad/wrong and with those categories, they observe the adults and the world as a whole. It feels at time as they have much judgment regarding the way adults behave. They are watching closely to see if the adults are walking their talk in alignment with what they expect from the kids. 

That day, when my kids took the trial class, I could see that because the Master’s respected all students and at the same time almost demand respect, they saw the Master, an adult, whom his walking his talk. I could sense how their energy is shifting during and after the class; it was magic. 

Back to the coffee shop, when the assistant Master bowed toward me, I have to admit that I was inspired. This young man who has a dream to be a Taekwondo Master walked his talk. In today’s world, I feel that many of us walk conflicted. We behave one way in the office and another way when we leave the office.

When I mentor new coaches or coach business owners they will talk with passion about the deep conversations they have with their clients. However, when they leave the office, when they are outside with other people who are not their clients they let go of their gifts, and it is as they don't know how to utilize their strengths the same way. They hold a value or strength strongly with one group of people and don't know how to access it, how to use it in other areas in life. 

 

This young man knows that there is a long way for him to become a master. Even when you receive the black belt, the journey is still long. He also understands that part of his journey to become a master is to model Master behavior everywhere he goes. He holds the values of his Art strongly no matter where he goes and whom he speaks to.

I think that for some of us, doing what he did, stand up and bow in the middle of a coffee shop might sound strange, but when you walk your talk, you hold your values, thoughts and behaviors aligned no matter where you go or what others think. You stay true to what is most important to you even when others don't get it.

Do you feel a gap right now between the way you show up in one place and the way you show up in other areas of your life? I want to invite you to notice yourself. Notice your behavior, thoughts, and actions. Where does everything feel aligned? Where do you feel out of balance?

Gradually add one thing you do well to every aspect of your life and see what is available when you bring it everywhere. 

For example, curiosity, if you are curious at home, with your friends and strangers, but lack curiosity at work, try to bring curiosity to everything you do and everywhere you go. Ask, ask and ask even more and see what the impact on your life or others is. 

You might lose your balance even when you work on it, but the more you notice yourself and your gaps you will expand who you are and grow.

Giver vs. Receiver (not a taker)

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to all the Givers out there. A true story…

Funny enough when I started writing this blog post I realized that today is Giving Tuesday. So it is a good place to start and share my thoughts about Givers.

Here is an interesting learning, until not so long ago I was a pure Giver. You might have read the book The Givers, by David Callahan. I didn’t know I was a giver, until a few years ago when I read this book and realized that this is me – I am a Giver. As much as I have enjoyed being a Giver at times, I also suffered from being the victim (yes, yes… it is my pattern, and I have learned how to shorten this way of being) of the takers. I haven't noticed this trend until I was part of a special program where I realized that some people picked up the phone or met with me only when they needed some information to understand the material in the program. But after they took the piece of information they needed they disappeared and when I needed something from them? They were no way to be found. That is when I have learned that takers will take knowledge, but will never share it with others.

Givers, on the other hand, will give knowledge, time and resources to anyone in need. They don’t see knowledge as power; they don't even understand this conversation around power, mostly they will come from a place of abundance. By the way, if you are not sure if you are a giver, here is a clue for you, you will always leave a meeting with another person too late because you want to make sure they got everything needed from you.

But the thing with givers is that we Give, and we enjoy giving, but because we put people before tasks, and many times we will also over commit to too many things, one day we wake up with the victim feeling and say: “Hey! What is happening here? I give and give and give, and no one is supporting me! no one is referring business to me, no one shows a place of an open heart to me, and the people I have trusted and helped grow to his or her leadership had turned away." How come that a Giver who comes from a place of kind heart suddenly feels as if no one cares?

I believe some of you were thinking to themselves: "Hey Givers! make up your mind! Do you help others just because you want to do something out of the goodness of your heart, or do you all just a bunch of manipulators who give so you can get something in return?”

No, True Givers don’t want anything in return, they are so inclined to give that they get to the point (and it happens again and again) where they just feel as they have no resources left. A deep sense of sadness and exhaustion arises, and then stress and fear crawl to the inner giver who steps into an overwhelming state. So what they do? They shut down, close the door and roar at anyone else who is trying to steal their time. Without saying a word, they look at you as they say: “Stay away! This is MY time; it is MY MY MY time to take care of myself because no one else does! I have some work to do, do you see the “No Disturb” sign? until I am done, I am not here!”

So after years of being a pure Giver, I felt as something is missing for me to enjoy giving, and then I asked myself: “What if I will become a receiver? What if I will allow my self to choose when I want to be a pure Giver but will also open my energy to receive?” And that’s when an interesting journey started for me because after years of giving without anyone leaning my way, suddenly people just showed up and asked: “Can I help?” sometimes they didn’t even ask, they just Gave without asking if I wanted to receive. Actually, they didn’t need to ask – because I communicated it without words, I communicated it through a new energy and new way of being that now I am willing to receive, they were able to sense.

When I was looking internally, I was able to notice that for years I was stuck in a positive way of being that blocked any opportunity I had to receive. I must confess that I know what was the reason I blocked my way of being as a receiver, but I will not go there. Still, if you are a giver who wonders why? Why no one leans my way? Ask yourself if there is something within that blocks you from wanting to receive, maybe you have learned long ago that when you receive you need to pay back for receiving? Maybe you have learned that when you receive you lose your power, or it might even bring a sense of shame? Perhaps you have learned that receiving could diminish the giving? and maybe you are confusing receiving with taking? When you go deep, ask yourself what is it that you block from receiving that doesn’t allow others to help/support/promote/mentor/advocate behalf of you/for you? 

So how would it be to Give and also be a receiver?

 

Overwhelmingly Unbalanced January and Assumptions About my Generation X

Overwhelned

Something interesting happened this month, we are talking about January, and for some reason, most of my clients shared the same burden of having too many things going on in their life right now. For some, it resulted in doing nothing, and for others, it led to making too many mistakes.

It is kind of interesting how things were starting to fall apart for all at the same time, exactly when we all suppose to let go of our New Year's resolution.

But, let’s skip the New Year’s Resolution Statistics and let me share something I am thinking about related to my generation, Generation X.

I am not sure what is happening to us, especially Generation X, but I think for many of us this smartphone/technology distraction caught us unprepared. Don't get me wrong, I am not that old, but although my father brought home Commodore 64 when I was 6, life with computers, or computer with life – not sure what is the right order – became part of my reality only when I was around the age of 24.  My assumption is that for many of my generation it was/is the same picture.

The reality is that Gen X is struggling with balance like no other generation.

You see, for my kids, technology is part of their nature, they are 100% committed to it, but! When they want to talk to me (not when I make them talk) they will put their technology away and connect fully – I am not kidding.
Now, my parents and their generation? Most of them worked with papers during their office hours, and when they went back home, they disconnected from their work until the next day. Today, after they have retired, they got used to technology, and even enjoy some social media, and smartphones, but they use it as a hobby or pleasure.

Generation X?

Think about it for a moment; we weren't born into this environment; we needed to figure out how to work with all the distractions, how to work with emails efficiently? How to build our business using social media? How to use text messages and What's App? And feel alive or not depend on our smartphone battery life.

So we feel like we always have too much, too much work, too many commitments, too many distractions, so we stopped choosing, we do it messy or just break the rules and don’t do it at all.

Again, this is my assumption about why our generation feels so overwhelmed and out of balance; we had to learn to say yes to too many things, we had to learn later on how to embody email and social media and iPhones and exploding Samsung. Oh! One thing we did forget! We forgot how to say no.

So what I like to do is go back to basics. Somewhere in the new reality of “technology is part of our life” we got confused and started to approach our brain as CPU. So listen here! Yes, our brain is a smart computer, but if you read the machine instructions (Brain at Work by David Rock is a good place to start), you will realize that our brain is not okay with multi-tasking. Multitasking is something that was invented by Human Resources to write in Job Descriptions, but let me repeat my message to you: our brain was not designed to support multitask. Our brain was designed to figure out patterns and behaviors; it learns what we do by breaking the actions to little bites until it sees a pattern and makes it part of our "non-thinking mechanism."

So if it is okay, I would like to invite you to go back to basics, to go back in time to when Commodore 64 was just a big fat box with not much memory. That was the time when we would take a pencil or a pen and write down or even draw your list.

Write down, or draw everything you have in your head, spill it out, throw up, I know you have there more than a dozen item in your head. I can tell you that it feels so damn GOOD to empty your head space and let go of all the distractions and even guilt for all the things you said YES to because they are easy to do, but not important and that will lead you to the next step. You need to have a serious conversation with yourself about what stays and what goes. This is your early spring cleaning. Enjoy ;-)

Last, here is something I have created to plan my goals. I broke down the process into three categories: DOING, BEING, and RESULTS. For each goal ask yourself: What is the doing for this goal? What is the being for this goal and what are the results I would like to see from the doing and being? What's cool about this process is that sometimes what you think is your goal ends up being something else. It makes you think intentionally about each of your goals.

For example, you want to speak in front of groups, is speaking is your result? No! Speaking is your doing, so what is your being? Your being can be courage, and what are the results? Probably more clients, visibility, money…

Got it? Keep it simple, download it and have fun!

The NO Line

As a child, many moons ago, before the reality TV hit the road and their producers didn’t even dream about keeping with the Kardashians, on days when there were no friends to play with or older siblings around to share my imaginative ideas, I used to go to our family living room and pretend that I am on TV and everyone can see what I do right here right now.

In the past few years I was more mindful about doing being, I know, it sounds weird when you read it: “doing being?” – but stay with me.

I am not sure how exactly it started, maybe when my clients started to tell me that I am very intuitive and instead of pushing my intuition away, as I used to, I started listening to it, the more I paid attention to it, the more connected I felt. The intuition opened the door to zoom in and understand my FEARS, I was so astounded and at the same time paralyzed with my relationship around fear. How the fear shows up in my thoughts and how theses thoughts lead me to courageous decisions and many times, not too proud to say, to stop me from moving forward.
Bringing it back to my childhood reality TV story, in a way it was like I have decided to put a camera behind my back that will watch me all the time and I can watch the inner happenings at Noa’s Show (I think it can be a cool name for a reality TV show).
That’s what lead me into experimenting with meditation that taught me about how to stay with curiosity even when I can’t shut down the inner chatter. It’s okay. It is not about being upset with myself that I can’t, it is about noticing and bringing myself back with no judgment.

To make a long story short, I took myself on a path where I have learned how to of observe my senses, my emotions and my thoughts with no judgment at the Noa’s Show.

A few months ago I decided to experiment with running. It started as a suggestion for my 12 years old to do something together, so we started the couch to 5K program. She hated it. I, on the other hand, loved it. The more I kept going with the program the more my body yelled back at me: “Hey! Let me run more and more.” So I decided that my body probably knows better than me and I just need to listen to it. I ran more and more and It got to the point where body yelled even louder: “more!” so I decided to go for a bigger loop. Everything went well, I was running up the hill, and then my body was starting to lose it. It wasn’t happy anymore, I was really struggling, I just wanted to get to that church sign and stop, but that church seemed so far away from me and I moved into walking few feet before I got to the sign. Then on my next run everything went really well until I got into that same hill, closer to the church’s sign, “I think I can get to the church line! I can do it,” I told myself internally, all I needed to do was to pass the church sign, but my body, again, gave up few feet before the sign. I felt very frustrated and could notice how the reality TV camera is trying to understand what is going on there.

The next time, I felt like no matter what, I am not going to give up! I started the run, the hill, my body started to be upset with me, but then as much as it was hard I heard the inner cheerleader telling the quitter that he knows that I have that tendency to quit but not this time, and to make it even more interesting I heard him saying: “Listen, this time not only that you are not going to aim for the church as your line to stop, we are going to do something crazy! you will keep going as much as you like, no lines!”
The quitter was ready to quit, but the funny thing was that the moment there was no line to cross, the quitter lost interest and the cheerleader got in charge. Not only that I passed that church sign I was able to keep running another mile as if I just started.
That experience was so strong that the next time I ran, every time I felt like I am about to quit I heard the inner cheerleader yelling at me: “no Lines! Just run, stop when you are ready.”

When I took the running experience into my day to day experiences, I realized that there are some areas in my life that I am stuck for the same reason. My quitter loves lines, or should I be really messy here and say that he loves not crossing the lines – he will quit even before I get to the line. Understanding my pattern, I let go of some lines I drew in my life and as funny as it sounds that freedom left the quitter with not much work to do. So if you are in need of part-time quitter you are welcome to hire him he is available to start immediately.