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Steve's Life And Business Coaching Notes

December 2013


"Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. 
Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom?"

- Goethe


1) It's Either Or - You Can Get Things Done or You Can Connect With People. Choose Wisely - This article relates some of the latest neuroscience that shows at any given moment we can be focused on a task or we can be focused on relating to another. Thus the need to choose carefully.

2) Other Resources - Here are two good videos for you. In one Daniel Goleman talks about the challenges of keeping focused. In the other Psychologist Barb Fredrickson talks about how positive emotions help us grow and change.

3) It's Here - January's Affordable Marketing Program For Coaches Is Open for Registration - Are you wasting your time trying to track down clients one at a time? Do you want to learn how to set up systems to attract far more of your ideal clients, naturally, with high integrity? If so, you may be ready for this long-running, transformational program. Please check out the course description, most recent testimonials and the video of this proven program.

1) It's Either Or - In Any Given Moment You Can Get Things Done or Connect With People. Choose Wisely.

I love my children and want them to always know that. Nevertheless I work at home and when the kids were younger, they would frequently pass through my office while I was working on something.

When I am focused on a task, say composing an email, about 90% of my attention is there.  So I would often simply not notice one of my kids asking a question until the 2nd or 3rd time or when the volume increased.

Of course I wanted my kids to learn boundaries, notice when I was on the phone with a client and generally choose an appropriate time to talk with me.  However, even when they did that, if I was concentrating I would often not give them the attention I would consciously choose to, so that I was communicating how much I love them.

In these busy, digitally distracted times, this same phenomena happens in some form about a 100 million times a day, to busy leaders, managers, parents and partners who do not respond as they might desire, simply because their concentration is on some other task.  The problem is that this lack of response, repeated hundreds of times, can give off the message to those we are in relationship with, “you are not important”, “I do not care about you”, “my email or text message is more important.”  And those around us can further interpret our behaviour by making up that we are simply not nice, caring or trustworthy. Relationships and connections suffer.

Modern neuroscience can shed some light on this problem. We now know that when we are focused on a task, we are activating what is called the brain’s Task Positive Network (TPN).  When this part of the brain is activated the social circuitry in what is called the Default Mode Network (DMN) is not activated. It seems you simply cannot be focused on a task and have all your social skills working well at the same time. They are mutually exclusive circuits.  You can achieve or you can relate. Put simpler, you can do or you can be. You cannot do and be, well, at the same time.

So, this means that for those of us with a strong tendency to get lost in tasks (particularly common among very busy people under pressure or people doing work that requires more intense focus) we really have to be aware that when we are concentrating, our people skills, general openness to new ideas and new people and our ability to deal well with change, drops dramatically.  And under sustained stress they can pretty much drop to zero.

If this is you or you know someone who wrestles with this challenge, there is hope. The key is to first recognize you may be vulnerable to this. And secondly, to routinely practice re-directing attention from tasks to the big picture, values, emotions, meaning, connections.  (Routinely move attention from the head to the heart.) This helps ensure the firing of our social circuitry that essentially keeps your people skills in play.  Thirdly, you want to proactively manage your stress, on a daily basis, to prevent the decent into a narrow, task focus, where you become a human doing rather than a human being.

Slowing down to be more present, more mindful, is essential if you are wanting to cultivate  more  wisdom, effectiveness and deeper relationships.   It is also one of the hardest things for us achieve. 

However, when we find a way to regularly step out of the doing, we can begin to notice what we were thinking.  When thinking is observed, but not fed, it can give way to feeling.  When feeling is not resisted or fed, it can give way to deep presence.   The mind is clearer and the heart is more open. This looks good on us all.

"This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.”

― Mary Oliver

2) Other Resources.

Daniel Goleman On Focus

This is a great video featuring Dr. Daniel Goleman discussing the challenges and importance of keeping Focus in these busy days with heightened digital distractions.

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson On How Positive Emotions Transform Us

Anyone wanting to be a little happier, optimistic, healthier, open to change? If so, here is a video that will share some good science and a simple practice. The Power Of Positive Emotion.

3) Coaches - Wanting To Consistently Attract Their Ideal Clients.

The January 2014 edition of my marketing program for coaches is now open for registration. If you are sick of trying to "sell" coaching to everyone you know, and ready to learn how to attract far more of your ideal clients, I invite you to check out THE 6-FIGURE PRACTICE MENTORING PROGRAM and get your name on the list.

Coach Marketing

(Here is a new video that briefly describes the program.)

Visit Steve at Life and Business Coach Steve Mitten.

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* photo courtesy of Supertrooper and FreeDigitalPhotos.net .