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Steve Mitten's Life And Business Coaching Notes - October 2008


A new day dawns on the Roberts Creek beach.

Dear Friends,

I hope you are well and weathering the latest winds of change.  

Here are a few thoughts to keep you grounded, productive and well.

All the best, 


Note - If you cannot view this newsletter in its entirety, please click here to view the web version. 


1) On The Psychology of Doom and Gloom. 

2) Marketing In Tough Times.

3) Good Old Warren.

4) Coaches - Become Inspired, Thrive, Live Your Calling.

1) Dealing With Doom and Gloom.

There is a lot of fear around these days. Talk to anyone. Pick up any paper. Tune in to any news cast, and it doesn't take you long to begin to feel that Armageddon is near.

There is the reaction to the recent harsh corrections in our financial and real estate markets. There is worry about another recession  which will directly affect the lives and well being of billions of people around the world. 

Without a doubt, these are unsettling times. However, they will come. We will adapt. And we will all get through it, just like every other challenge we have lived through. (And if history is any teacher, we will get through these challenges just like we have the other 15 recessions we have seen since the mid 1940's. In fact with much stronger, mature and diversified economies and financial systems, I happen to believe we will come back far stronger than ever.) 

Nevertheless, in times like this there is a lot of doom and gloom around. And, unfortunately, one of the things about negativity is that it feeds on itself. Research conducted at the University of Chicago and Essex University in the U.K. has shown that it is very easy for our brain to get fixated on negative information. It seems evolution has programmed us to take positive or neutral news in stride, but to marshal an extraordinary amount of attention on negative developments.  This adaptation might have served our ancestors to prepare to respond to impending real threats, but in the days of 24 hour news channels, with their constant supply of bad news, we can get stuck in a perpetual state of pessimism - which drains us of our courage, hope and the initiative to act.    

At any given time some part of our world is in flux, some of the 6.7 billion people on earth are in crisis; and bad news sells. The media knows they attract much larger audiences when there is some disaster, catastrophe or threat to report on - so they magnify the negative.  (A study conducted by the Center for Media and Public Affairs back in the 90's showed that in a time when the actual murder rate in the U.S. dropped by 13 percent, media coverage of murders increased 300%.  Other studies have shown that over 70% of news stories are negative and foster a sense of helplessness in that they report on events happening to people that were either random, shocking, overwhelming, or too far away for anyone to do anything about.)

When you add the natural negative bias of our brain, with the media's natural obsession with bad news, and technology's ability to deliver us bad news 24/7, you can excuse yourself from feeling a little down these days.  

I am not wanting to minimize any of the current challenges our world faces. Nor am I advocating the ostrich approach of sticking your head in a hole until times get better. However, in stressful times, if you are going to stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution, you will have to proactively manage your state. 

Here are some suggestions of what might help you in times of stress:

  • Raise the bar on your renewal activities. Take time each day to unwind, relax, and let go of the stress. (Try to reserve at least 15 minutes twice a day to do any activity that slows down the worrying mind; like exercising, walking, listening to music, dancing, meditation or yoga.)

  • Get whatever facts and editorial opinion you need from reliable, professional sources - but limit your exposure to the mainstream of sensationalized media. (I prefer public television news in stressful times. They typically have far less hype and much better analysis.)

  • Carefully choose your circle of people to discuss developments with. (It is very useful to have a circle of wise folks you can chat over developments with.) Stay clear of those folks that are panicking or running around like the sky is falling - emotions are contagious.)  

  • Take whatever steps you need to safeguard yourself, but having done that, look for something you can do to help someone less fortunate. (This helps everyone and can quickly put your problems in perspective.) 

  • Foster moments of gratitude. Whenever you bring into your mind's eye a few parts of your life you are truly grateful for (family? friends? health? nature's beauty?) and actually take a moment or two to allow the feelings of gratitude to well up - it will definitely change your mental/emotional state for the better.  

Following a few of these suggestions will help get you back to a place of being grounded and able to act productively.

Remember, we live in huge, mature, sophisticated, economies that have survived wars, depressions, countless disasters, etc., and learned a lot from the errors of the previous century. Right now, as the average citizen loses sleep worrying about their savings plan (or worse yet listens to the latest prophet of doom and dumps all their investments at market lows), the most successful and sophisticated investors (like the world's richest man Warren Buffet) are investing billions to purchase stocks.

The world will keep turning. 

You will get through this and do just fine.

" If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too"

- From the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling

2) Marketing In Tough Times. 

Even in good times there are too many coaches that do not know the basics of how to find enough clients, so they struggle. When a recession comes along, it can be overwhelming to anyone who has not been through this before.  

To help coaches get more clients in times like this, I recently did two free talks for the ICF worldwide virtual community. We covered the current economic realities, what lies ahead, who the winners and losers might be, where the opportunities are, how to handle the stress and get through it all, and I ended up sharing some practical marketing tips designed to help more coaches weather any storm that might come our way.

If you are interested, you can download the talk from my web site at Just scroll down the page to select the right talk. 

"When most people are euphoric...I start to panic.  
And when most people are panicking, I am euphoric."

- Warren Buffet

3) Good Old Warren.

For those of you who have never lived through a recession, or never experienced the negative excesses of the trough of a bear market, you might benefit from hearing the wisdom of Warren Buffet, the world's richest man and most successful investor. Warren, has seen many of these times come and go. Recently when everyone else was running for the exits, Warren was investing billions of dollars into G.E., Goldman Sachs and others.  Here is a link to listen to Charlie Rose's interview with Warren on October 6th.  An Exclusive Hour with Warren Buffett and Charlie Rose

"Tough times never last,
tough people do."

- Dr. Robert Schuller


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Life Coach and Business Development Specialist Steve Mitten B.ApSc, CPCC, MCC draws on the art, science and soul of making transformational change, to help individuals, professionals and leaders find their niche, be their best and make an impact.

Visit Steve at


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