Very Messy

May Monthly Shorts - In the Nothing Something Shows Up and How to Stay Focused

What I Was Thinking About This Month?
What was I thinking? Actually nothing.
For the last week, I have tried to come up with words, sentences but... nothing, nada, not a word, not a sign not even a little comma. I was out of words. 
What was going on?
I believe that my container of creativity was almost empty. You see, I set myself a goal to send my book draft to beta readers by the first week of May. When I dove into the writing I couldn't stop, and the clock was ticking 11PM, 12AM 1AM, and I just kept going. When I sent the draft to my Beta Readers (the first readers who read an early draft and help the author to better the structure of the book) I couldn't take a pause. I had to keep moving, I had a few more big projects to take care of. It was one of those weeks where I felt like a toothpaste tube, those tubes I keep squeezing and squeezing to get out what's left because I don't have another toothpaste in the house. But as you know there is always something left, it is just the way it felt as nothing left.  
Still, in the woods of nothing I have learned that something will show up. When I stop resisting the emptiness or my want to deliver results and give in to the nothing something shows up. When I give in I look for ways to get inspired so I can refill the creativity container and this system never let me down. Last week, when I spoke to a group one of the attendees reminded me that the best ideas come up not in the meeting room when we force action, but most of our best solutions show up when we let go of the action and connect with the being. For me, it is when I take a shower or go on a run, or when I read an inspiring book, or listen to an inspiring podcast or TED talk. 
Next time when you try to make yourself work or create, remember that in the nothing something will show up. So how can you invest your time differently rather than keep working on nothing?

Focus
Focus, when you zoom in and boom! you see results and you feel good about yourself. Focus became such a challenge for so many of us. So many reasons so many distractions. Sometimes I feel that all I need is to see is a butterfly to get distracted. This is why with the years I developed a few different practices that move me more and more to be focused. There are still those days that I am all over the place, but I realize that since my life can be chaotic at times (not because of others, but because of me  - I would probably get bored with doing the same thing every day, or have the same pace a day after day so to make it interesting I shuffle things around). But Since I am being asked this question a lot there are a few practices that I became very rigid to help me stay focus as much as possible, especially when I write.
Here are my top three - feel free to share with me what are your practices. I always enjoy getting your emails or comments.

  1. Close your email and social media. If you need to knock down a project, set it in your calendar and while working on it close all other channels. Allow yourself time to disconnect so you can connect with self. Some people now even put their smartphone closed in a closet.

  2. Social media - stop checking your social media ego (how many likes etc every other minute) set time twice a day to check it out - put it in your calendar.

  3. Scan your inbox and answer first to emails that bring money, other emails can wait (unless there is an opportunity for income). As service-oriented I am, I am learning that some people will be okay receiving an answer later on. That's okay. Don't get me wrong - I don't ignore people, but I prioritize where my time goes first and if you are a giver like me it is easy to fall into the helping everyone else and look at yourself at 4pm and say: "I didn't do anything today..."

Hope it helps - let me know if you would like more tips that work for me. Now always what works for me, might not work for you - the least you can try but please be consistent. Trying it for a day or two is not enough.


What have I listened to lately?
After dinner, my husband and I like to clear out the living area from the house residents who are under 18 years old and just relax with some good music. A few weeks ago my husband put an album of a guy I haven't heard his music before and I really liked it. A few days later I was working in my favorite coffee shop and in the background, I heard a song that pulled my attention. One of my new little doings is to collect ideas of musicians/music I can listen to while writing. So whenever I hear a song I really like I Shazam it (Shazam is an app that identifies the media playing around you, and gives you full info) Guess what? when I Shazamed the song it was the same guy: Andrew Bird.Check him out. 
 

My Most Watched Video Last Month
 on Social Media 
One of the most watched 'On the Run' videos in April was about our want to Defeat Behaviors or limiting thoughts/emotions that get in our way. We don't like barriers, we like a quick fix. I believe that part of the reason that we think we can get rid of some behaviors is the phrase: "let go" this phrase is so rooted in our cultural conversation that it is as we believe that by saying it we will fix the others' problems.
Can we get rid of them? no, but we can shorten the time they stay with us.
My perspective is that awareness is the first step of moving toward a sustainable change. When we know what we didn't know we are out of the awarelLESS state, as I call it. Knowing is as we say: "I see you behavior/thought/emotion" and for some reason the more we see them the less time they stay to hang out with us.
Click here to check out the video 
For more inspirational shorts and on the run videos check my social media feeds: @NoaRCoach (LinkedIn/twitter/FB/Instagram)



Noa @Next Events - Come and Say Hi :-)

5/17 Monthly Women Walking Mastermind. 
The Women Walking Mastermind group is getting a lot of great vibes from the community and we would love for you to join us this Friday, May 17th 9AM-10:30AM - feel free to come with your workout/casual clothes. 

If you do NOT like to network this is your group. If you like to network but looking for a place to have a meaningful conversation we created a system that shifts the focus from networking to connection. 
Why we do it the way we do it?  Why we do it differently than in other groups? 
There is a lot of thinking behind it - we explain everything before we start :-) 

This month topic is Limiting vs Limitless vocabulary. 
PLEASE RSVP HERE

Open Heart Leadership Mindset

Heart

We all have that person in our life that we can not tolerate. Isn’t that a great opening for a Valentine’s Day post? I think it is. 
A few years ago, I decided to walk my walk of coaching. To walk my walk of coaching meant that I would hold the principles of coaching not only when I sit with my clients face to face or meet with them through the phone but also to hold those principles when I am not with my clients when I am not coaching. You see, the core of coaching is to partner with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. If you strip the fancy words ICF used for coaching, the nutshell of coaching is the relationships I establish with my clients from the first conversation. Establishing the coaching relationship is what allows me to have a different conversation with my clients.
What I mean by that is that when we start working together, I get curious about my client’s needs and wants in this relationship. They know better than anyone else (including me) what they need. Of course, I make sure that they don't speak the mantra of shoulds and needs that others put in their head. I make sure that they express what is the heart of their want, not the others' want. But to make sure we both can hear the real want we need to have trust. Yes, trust that thing, that "space" as coaches like to say, that makes you want to share your want with me, even if it is uncomfortable. 
What makes people trust you? There are many possible answers to this question because there are many people with different wants and needs. But when you let go of judgment by listening with much curiosity to what they say and shift your focus from what you need or really want to say right now to allow them to talk they trust you because your focus is on them. Also, it is also important that we will ask the person what they need that when we share our feedback or share what we hear, sense or curious about that they will be open to receive our feedback. Think about it, in each relationship the responsibility to give and receive is on both sides. No matter if you are a leader, a business owner or a parent, you are not the only one responsible for the conversation. Think about it,  I can be the best coach with the best tools, and you can be the best leader with the best communication skills, but if the other person in the conversation is not willing to receive your insight or feedback, they just won’t! It is not because we did a crappy job, we followed all the rules, step by step, but we didn’t do something important. We didn’t ask what they need and wanted to be open to receive our feedback. We assume that by asking what we need to do differently, the relationship will get better.


Yesterday one of my clients used the metaphor of relationships as a cards game and here is the deal, I see you, I listen to you, I focus on you, but at the end of the day there are rules to the game. I need to get the rules from you, or we will play on the board game without a win for you for too long, that can be exhausting for both of us. What do I mean by that? First I share with you how I work with you, but then I also ask for your wants and needs beyond your goals, I need to understand what kind of conversation, a way of communication you would like to have that will serve you. Some clients need more of quiet time to process, and for me to stay quiet and wait, some clients want me to challenge them a lot, while others don't like if I push too hard, some need to report about their progress in between sessions while others need to process on their own. I dance with each one of them differently while also get the permission from them to be me. There is no one size fits all, there is no recipient there might be a need to switch the dairy with nut milk for one person, and the wheat with almond flour with another. So how do I walk my talk outside the coaching session? I see people as people. This is the heart of a strong leadership. I think in the last few years it became more and more of a narrative in leadership, parenting and owning a business - see people as people, see the human in the other no matter how different they think and behave. 
But what does it mean to see people as people? I love to use the explanation that Arbinger Institute use in their books. The core of seeing people as people is to stop seeing them as objects. There are three ways to see people as objects:
1.    Seeing people as an obstacle -   when you look at people as something that gets in your way of achieving your goal you see them as objects. If a person slows you down and becomes a barrier in your way, you become impatient, when you become impatient you communicate that with your body and with your words. It can happen with the cashier in the supermarket or one of your team members who doesn’t deliver what you need. You stop seeing them as people, achieving the goal becomes more important than the people themselves.
2.    Seeing people as a vehicle - you can also stop seeing people as people when they become a tool for you to achieve something, a vehicle. You all experienced when someone used you as a vehicle. It will start when they come to your desk, or stop you on your way and probably flatter you on what you wear and then ask you if you can give them something they need that you have. Did you ever experience being a vehicle for someone else? I sure did….
3.    Not seeing people – this is when the other person is invisible, we don’t notice their existence. Have you ever experience sitting in a meeting with another person and they talk about their business/themselves/their mission for 60 minutes and never find the time afterward even to ask you one question about yourself? Would you do any business with that person? 
How do you see people as people? It starts with noticing that we all at times see others as objects. Me too. Now, when we are ready to admit that we have our moments when we don't see others as people, we can start noticing ourselves and learn to switch. How can we switch? We move our attention from focusing on our needs and wants to the needs and wants of the other person. A little example from our current flu season. Like many of you, our family hit with the flu as well. Since Thanksgiving every week I had one or two family members sick in our house. A few days ago while my two older kids stayed home with a cold and a fever I drove my youngest to school. My husband was on a business trip, and I was tired. My little one got into the car and said: “mom I have a headache and I feel like I am going to throw up” It was the sixth time that he used that excuse in the last month. Twice he did have something but this time like the two other times the week before he did not have a fever or anything else. I was tired. I was ready to just go to my meeting with a client and get some peace and quiet from all the germs in my house, so I did what sometimes parents do when they get tired. I yelled. Remember this is a messy blog. I yelled that enough is enough and he is going to school. There was more yelling from my hand, but the underneath the yelling was my try to say to the world to let me be. My youngest gave me the unhappy nine years old guilt look, and we both stayed quiet until we were one minute away from his school. That's when I noticed myself. I shifted from seeing my son as a barrier, being in my way of achieving peace to a child that might try to communicate with me a need or want. “Hey little guy," I asked him "is everything is okay at school? Do you have trouble with your friends, teachers?”, 
“yes mom,” he said, “I have some trouble with the assistant teacher.” 
You see, stop seeing people as people, is something we do more than we think, not only with our team members, or with our clients, but also with our family, or when we go to the supermarket or at networking events. Don’t be upset with yourself, just notice. The more you notice yourself, the more you will open your heart. 

People can sense when you see them as objects, think about it, see me as a person someone compliments me, see me as an object someone compliments me, do the compliments feel the same? 

Happy Valentine's.


 

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.

I Am Not a Breather

When I started training to become a coach, one of the things we needed to do was to practice coaching skills. So how did we do it? We coached each other constantly! We practiced coaching in school and outside of school; we practiced as much as we could.

One of the things that I couldn’t stand when my coach-student-friends started their coaching session with me was when they would say: “Ok! Let’s take a BIIIIIG breath!”

Since many of the coaching sessions outside of school were through the phone, I used to roll my eyes and let my coach friends take their big breath and just wait for it to be over!

Few years after, I was already a certified coach and a few of us coaches re-grouped to practice our coaching skills and give feedback to each other for the sake of our own growth as coaches. It was great! But then they started with the breathing and I told them in my very Israeli-direct way that “I am not a breather!” Everyone laughed and we had a great conversation about breathing with clients. Yes, I know “breather” is not a real word, but it just meant for me that I don’t enjoy taking a deep breath during coaching sessions when my coach decides for me it is time!. I felt that I am just not a breather. If you want me to take a big breath, please ask me if I feel like it! Don’t make me do it!

But you know, life gets in your face and one morning when I opened the refrigerator (you know, that thing that you do when you work from home) I realized that I was not breathing. That’s right!  I was pressing my lips together really hard and was holding my breath as if I was about to dive into a pool.

I must say that I became very curious about what I had just realized in my own kitchen, but rather than judging my behavior of not breathing, I became curious and started observing myself. The more I observed myself the more I was amused with what I was doing.  Weirdly enough I had realized that “being” in an entrepreneurial “I am procrastinating” state made my thoughts kept me from breathing!

I closed the refrigerator and took a big breath. It was a choice, a choice to shift from where I was to a new state.

 

You know, that moment when I decided to close the refrigerator door (don’t worry – I probably did grab something out of it before I closed the door) was a big moment for me. It was the first time I had realized that breathing is choosing.

What?

You see, few days after, I found myself lecturing my 3 kids, again, during dinner time. So in the middle of the same blah, blah, blah, that I used to say every night (and my kids wouldn’t pay attention to) I paused and took a big breath. That moment of choosing to pause and take a big breath made me stop lecturing them and sit still and quiet.

Everyone was waiting on me to keep going, but I just stopped, I knew that there was no added value to what I was going to say, it was more of a need for me than an added value for everyone else. I just did it because this is what I do every night and then regret. So taking that big breath was for me a moment of choice.

Since then, breathing for me is a choice. When I am “not breathing” I know my body is sending me signals that I am not choosing my next step. It is a signal that I need to shift. It is a moment to ask myself: what do you need to shift right now in this moment?  I can still choose to stay where I am – stuck! But it will be from a resonate place of choice, not from being a victim of my own thoughts.
I work with many clients who talk so fast that they can’t even catch their breath. Their work-life is so full that they can’t even pause the long list in their head and take a moment to breathe.

So no, I don’t make them breathe. I still think that your coach should ask for your permission to take a big breath together, but what I do is ask my clients is to notice how fast they are speaking, how short their breath is,  and get curious about what’s going on.

 

Ask yourself, what makes you talk so fast that you can’t even catch your breath? What makes you hold on your breath so that it feels like you are about to dive into a pool? What makes you stop and take that big breath that everyone in the range of 5 miles away from you can hear? What are the signals that your body is sending you?

What I Have Learned About Mindfulness from a Deer

A week ago I took the kids to school, it was early morning, my car was still cold and I was driving slowly. In front of me, the sky started changing their color from the dark sky to beautiful colors of an early sunrise. “Look at the beautiful sky in front of us,” I said to my daughter, who was sitting next to me.  While I was looking at the road and driving ahead I heard a big bump from the back side of my car.

“What was that noise?” I asked. I turned my head around to the window behind me and to my surprise, I saw a deer heading back to the other side of the road where it came from. It was really quick, but I couldn’t really see him, he crossed the street after I passed him in the dark and he bumped into the door behind me. I stopped the car and found that it had some dents and seems like the deer was fine if he was able to keep running, and I didn’t drive very fast.

Luckily it was a minor damage, I don’t like how my car looks like right now, but we are all fine.
Now, what’s interesting is how my driving habits changed after this experience. I drive for many years, but I have never needed to deal with deer living next to us. Where we live now – driving in an area where deer can jump into your road is a daily reality and I realized that my driving habits and skills didn’t include the habit of being mindful for a deer that might jump into the road while I am driving.
Then Last night I have noticed while driving back home from a networking event that I changed the way I scanning the road with my eyes. If before I was looking mostly at what was in front of me and/or on the road, now I am also paying constant attention to what is happening on the sides of the road left and right, especially if I know that I am driving in an area where we can meet a deer friend.

The deer made me think about the practice of mindfulness in our life. So many times we let our life pass by without noticing what’s really happening, without focusing. We don’t really pay attention to other people or things in our life. Mostly your thoughts are running all over the place with no structure. You don’t really think about anything; you just do it. But when a deer bumps into your car you open your spectrum, you look back and ask yourself: “how for god sake I didn’t notice these events in my life?” Suddenly you start looking not only at what is in front of you, but also what is on the sides of the roads, your eyes are scanning all the time, and your mind is present with what is happening right here right now. “

So now you probably think to yourself: “Oh! Great! I understand the example about the deer, but how exactly it is applicable to MY life? How do I stay present and more mindful about my life? and don’t start telling me to meditate because I truly don’t have time for meditation in my life right now!”

Okay! I get it, and I am not going to convince you that meditation can help you practice being present with your life, I won’t! my only request to you is very simple and quick – just take one deep breath. Yep! That’s it. Whenever you catch yourself traveling with your thoughts all over and pass people and events without paying attention just take a deep breath and see what’s happening. Don’t stop after the first time, keep doing it every time you catch yourself wandering around. That’s only one second and one deep breath – that’s it. Now you know. I hope the deer will take a deep breath too….