Dusting off Those Old Shoes – A Coaching Moment

photo(13)I have embarked on a new adventure as the coach of my son’s soccer team.  I played sports growing up, and even had my Dad as my coach for many years.  As a player, I enjoyed the competition, team building, and athletic skill building that sports provided me.  As a coach, I get to experience an entirely different set of skills – that at times test my abilities much more than when I was the athlete.

I have to admit, digging my old soccer shoes out of a box in the basement brought back some good memories.  I grew many friendships over the years from sports, and many of those friends were people I would have never met through school or other interactions.  As athletes, we came together for an entirely different reason – to play, to learn, and to hopefully win at something.

My Dad traveled a lot for his job when I was growing up.  But somehow, he made the time to coach my soccer team from the time I was five until junior high.  That meant at least one practice a week and one game a week, not to mention the tournaments we participated in.  Looking back, I am amazed how he was able to fit that all in.  He enjoyed the teaching moments of coaching just as much as being a player.

I didn’t realize what an amazing thing this was until I became a coach.  He had to get the attention of a bunch of five-year olds (and then some hormonal adolescent girls) to get them to work together, and most of all – have fun!  As I started the first practice for my son’s team this past fall, to say I was nervous would be an understatement.  Would I remember all of the rules? Would they take me seriously? Would they work together?  Would this be a fun experience for everyone?

I decided pretty quickly that the best way for me, and my son’s team, to get integrated with each other was for me to get right into the action with them.  So, I put on my old soccer shoes and shin guards, and joined in the practice.  What I learned from that moment, is that you can experience what its like to be a player again, and also show your players how the coach guides the team.

When I think about the coaches I’ve had in my life, whether it was through sports, work or in life, there have been many.  Coaches sometimes show up in unexpected places, but their impact is everlasting. The best coaches, for me, have always been willing to get into the trenches with you.  They have the ability to see and understand your perspective and help guide you on a path of your own creation to success.

My hope for my young son is that he will continue to participate in activities that make him grow, and one day become a coach himself.  Whether that coaching moment comes through sports, or through helping a friend through a tough time, coaching others is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done.

Public Libraries…A Gift to the World

The community in which I live is getting ready to open their newly renovated and expanded public library, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  Our local government, and a great number of private funds totaling millions of dollars supported this effort.  The community’s support of this venture was something truly extraordinary.  They saw how a grand library system creates a solid foundation for a prosperous community. I grew up going to the library.  My parents are avid readers, and I had my first library card at a young age.  Spending time at the library was like opening a world of imagination for me.  Books allowed me to experience history, cultures, and diversity in ways that I would never get to experience in my own life.  And the best part about it…it was free! Knowledge is power.  Libraries offer all the knowledge in the world.  They can take you to foreign lands, open your eyes to new experiences, and create opportunities for learning in the millions of pages available on their shelves. Libraries are part of a community.  They have grown to support meeting space, computer access, outreach activities and more.  The library director in my town, Brad Allen, refers to libraries as “…a conduit; it’s a referral.  That’s what a library is, that thing that gets you excited about going out into the rest of the world.  We’re just a component of a great fabric.  That’s what we want to be – the partner.” As an adult, I still visit the library.  The faces have changed a bit.  I still see young kids with their parents, but I also see many other people.  I see young adults doing research; unemployed individuals using the computers to look for jobs; retirees meeting friends and selecting their weekly read; and people like me who see the incredible value  in having this service be available for anyone. I have met many people in the last several years who have never set foot in a library.  I ask them “how do they get access to literature?”  I get a variety of answers, but something along the lines of: I buy books online, at a book store, download them on my e-reader, or they just aren’t readers at all.  If you fall into any of these categories, then I encourage you to find your local library and see what they are all about.  If you don’t want to step inside, they probably have a website that allows you to see all of the programs they have available and even potentially download e-books at no charge. “The library is a place of discovery,” Allen says, “a hopeful place and an inspirational space.”

Taking Chances and Winning…a Year Later

A year ago this week I took a big chance: I switched careers.  I had been with my previous company for almost 8 years, and loved my job.  I had great colleagues, a nice salary, and opportunities to meet new people.  So why would I consider making the move?

“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes- then learn how to do it later.”

~Richard Branson

When opportunity knocks, do you open the door?  I feel like my best opportunities come when I least expect it.  In fact, sometimes I don’t even know they are opportunities until I stop for a minute and put myself into the equation.

Fear is an adrenaline pumping emotion that can cause us to fight like a wild animal, or run away to a safe place as fast as possible.  How do you respond to fear?  The thought of going from a comfortable salary to 100% commission made my heart beat wild, but it also made me excited.  I changed industries from banking to commercial real estate, and had a lot to learn.  Here’s the reason I made the jump: I knew deep down I could do it, and that sense of confidence drives me through the ups and downs of this feast or famine industry.

I encourage you, dear reader, to think of what you are really good at.  Are you insanely organized?  Do you love to solve problems, meet new people, or never miss a deadline?  You have skills that are engrained in you that make you invincible to anything that comes up against you.  You just need to know how to engage them to win.  Use these skills and make them your talents.  The rest will be easy.

In addition to a career change this year, I also published a book.  Little did I know that during this same time, a savvy gal out in San Diego, California was also making her dreams come true.  Also making a career change was the founder of  GOLFopolitan.  I was contacted a few months ago by her to be a featured book in their golf tournament displays.  Writing this blog was my introduction to GOLFopolitan, and I can’t wait to see this company grow!

So what does the next year look like for me?  Well, if it’s anything like the past 12 months, then the sky is the limit!  Stay tuned!



Let Me Count the Ways…

When your mind is at ease, anything can happen.  And when something magical happens in that moment, say “yes.”

My sophomore year of college, I was invited to a birthday party.  It was for a friend of a friend that I hadn’t ever met before.  I contemplated not going, but decided it might be fun.  I was single, after dating a guy for much of the past year, and was perfectly fine with hanging out with friends.  I definitely wasn’t looking for “Mr. Right.”  I was then introduced, or maybe it was pushed into meeting, this guy sitting at the end of the table.

“You need to go and talk to him” my friend said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I think you will like him” my friend responded.

Oh boy. Great.  Someone for me to “like.”  Just what I needed.

Needless to say, that first conversation didn’t go so well.  He didn’t appear to be interested in me, and I wasn’t either.  We both left at the end of the evening with barely a good bye, and probably expected never to see each other again.  We were wrong.  The very next week we were both invited to another birthday gathering, and were seated next to each other.  It was another non-eventful evening.  As I was leaving later that evening, my friend who invited me said that this guy wanted my phone number.  What?!?!  Why would he want my phone number?  I didn’t get the impression that either of us wanted to talk more.

To fast forward a bit, this guy that I was pushed into meeting, is now my husband.  What started as a uneventful beginning, turned into a beautiful love story.  He ended up calling me a week after that second meeting, and we talked for hours.

I love hearing how couples meet, and why they fell in love.  Their stores inspire me, and make my own story all the more special.  An unexpected meeting many years ago, has grown into something so amazingly profound.  When I think of all of the ways this man, this love of my life, has touched my heart and soul, the list could go on for days.  When I first met my husband, he wasn’t what I expected.  He was so much more.

Dale Flory, you have given me the greatest gift – your love.  You give me the confidence to be a better person.  You show me the meaning of family.  You support me through all of life’s curve balls.  You are an amazing Dad.  You don’t take life too seriously, and always have a way to make me laugh.  You are the one and only person I want to spend the rest of my life with.

I wanted to share this story with all of you to give you the perspective of saying “yes” when you can’t find a reason in the world to say “no.” Saying “yes” to this birthday gathering once upon a time, has given me a very happily ever after.


A Powerful You

I had the wonderful opportunity to engage with a group of business professionals and have a much needed social time recently.  I have been invited to join these phenomenal women for a scheduled social time for many months now, but for the first time was able to attend due to my busy schedule.  I left some emails unattended, and some work left to be finished up later, because the opportunity to engage with these fellow power people was the most beneficial part of my week.

I feel that sometimes the busyness of life forces us to react instead of being proactive.  Why don’t we give ourselves permission to push the “pause” button and truly engage with people in the moment?  The life lessons we are able to glean from others, when no agenda is set, is sometimes the most important lessons that we can gain in life.  Those moments when you are not talking about a business deal, or a logistic for your  household, can be the most eye-opening.

What I am grateful for, is the people in my life that I only get to see for little bits of time, but when we are together it seems like no time has passed at all.  The hour that I got to spend this week with these powerful women made me feel powerful, too.

That leads me to a question for all of you: How do you feel most powerful?

My friend and executive coach Jay Pryor has asked me this question many times over the past few years.  At first, this question threw me for a loop.  If you are in sales, the power play comes at the close of the deal or when the client says “yes!”  In other parts of the business world, it may mean getting the job, promotion, recognition or new opportunity to expand yourself.  Feeling powerful is important in so many ways.  To know that you have a voice that matters and to know that you are heard is one of the most redeeming qualities you can have.

On the flip side, the ability to listen to others, reinforce others in their dreams, and be that support system for your family and friends can make anyone be powerful.  Sometimes the sheer act of being present for others is the best way to create power within your life.  Cherish these moments you have, and make sure you have the opportunity to engage with others that not only make you feel powerful, but that you also provide a powerful source to their lives.

Turning a Dream into a Reality (#raisingstandards)

My favorite quote that I like to share with others is:

“Do one thing each day that scares you” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

To me, these eight words are powerful enough to move you into action if you are ready for it.  How many of us have dreams that don’t become realities because of fear?  What is holding you back?  Is it time, money, support, education, fear of the unknown?

My friend, Jim Moore, had a dream that is now becoming an amazing reality.  Jim is a former collegiate and NFL athlete, who has a passion for coaching.  His ability to nurture others into being the best they can be, and use their strengths to enhance their teammates is something quite remarkable.  He is a father of three active boys, and has had the opportunity to take on first hand the spirit of teamwork, motivation and accountability that exists on and off the field.

A couple of years ago, Jim had a dream of opening up an indoor sports facility to enhance the baseball and softball training programs available in his community.  This was no easy feat.  In addition to working full time, and being a full time husband and father, he also coaches two of his sons in multiple sports, and volunteers with his church and community organizations.  After a lot of research, and the opportunity to form a partnership with others, Jim’s dream was on its way to fruition.

Over the last several months, Jim and his partners have put some considerable sweat equity into making this dream come true.  From cleaning out cob webs, scraping mud off of I-Beams to painting 20 foot walls, peeling up old flooring and laying astro turf, this project is a true labor of love.  My family and I had the pleasure of touring this space today, and WOW!  It looks and feels like a professional level facility that athletes young and old will enjoy immensely.

I am pleased to announce that Team Performance will open its doors on Saturday, January 4, 2014 in Lawrence, KS.

As you enter this new year, realize that you too can turn your dreams into a reality.  #raisingstandards

What Are You Thankful For?

I awoke this morning much earlier than I intended to.  With our family not arriving for the Thanksgiving festivities until much later in the day, I had planned to sleep in (as long as my kids stayed in bed).  When my husband’s alarm clock went off this morning, we both were already awake.  Thanksgiving Day makes most of us reflect on what we are thankful for, and my early rising today gave me a head start.

When my family has hosted the Thanksgiving festivities, we ask our guests to write down what they are thankful for on a slip of paper.  We then each draw out a slip of paper and read each others words of thanks.  Family always is at the top of everyone’s list, including my own.  Family, to me, is more than those who are related to me by blood. It is those special people who have graced my life with their presence, and make me a better person.  So many of us are lucky to have been born into a loving, caring, amazing family that is with them through thick and thin.  Others don’t have that connection.  Whether you were given a family at birth, or created your own, we need to nurture those family relationships to grow them into the ones we cherish most.

Today, and every day, I want to give thanks to my family.  My husband, kids, parents, in-laws, siblings, the crazy crew of extended family that is going to show up at my door later today, dear friends, and my work family.  You all fill my cup with blessings each and every day, and I am thankful to have you in my life.

Why Author a Blog? (by Alana Muller)

Today’s blog is a re-post of my friend, Alana Muller’s blog, CoffeeLunchCoffee.


Last week at this time, I posed the question, “Do You Journal?”  The piece encouraged readers to consider keeping a journal – any kind of journal – whenever he/she has something to say.  I ended the post with, “What type of journaling will you pursue?  Why?”  So this week, focusing on a blog as a journal, I wonder, “Why Author a Blog?”

Your reason should probably be because you are passionate about a topic, have great interest in sharing information or opinions in writing, need an outlet for your thoughts and emotions, or something similar.  Whatever the case, my recommendation is that you write for yourself… not necessarily to have someone else read it.  I started blogging because I became very, very dedicated to networking – mostly because it provided so many benefits to me, both tangible and intangible.  I felt – and continue to feel – strongly that it was my responsibility to share my insights with others in hopes that it could benefit them, too.  Monthly Calendar

At the time that CoffeeLunchCoffee.com was established, it was my intention to only write and post 30 essays.  I printed a blank month-long calendar for the month of November 2011 and filled in a topic for each day (using pencil, thereby giving myself permission to change topics if I wished to on any given day).  I thought I would stop, forever, on November 30th.  Well, it turned out that there was more to say… and I have been blogging periodically ever since.

So, if you feel passionately about a topic, issue, genre, etc., make the choice that that will be nature of your blog.  Expect nobody to read it… but hope that everybody reads it!

In terms of logistics, I write each post in Microsoft Word, then I publish it to my site on WordPress.  Once each blog is posted, I use social media (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) to broaden my distribution.

If you are giving this serious consideration, here are some thought starters for you:

  • Are you trying to promote your business or industry?  What are the prominent issues facing the organization or industry today?
  • Are you an expert at your hobby or field of study?  Choose topics for which you have some knowledge that others might benefit from.
  • Do you have strong opinions about a particular issue?  Identify a few topics for which you could pen a few thoughts.

Remember, a blog can be short or long (I recommend up to 500 words per post), written or filmed (video-blogs), etc.  Still not sure blogging is for you?  I highly encourage you to give it some consideration; but, hey, don’t just take my word for it.  Check out this terrific piece from “Becoming Minimalist” blogger Joshua Becker wrote entitled “15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog.”

Why not print out a month-long calendar now, pencil in a few blog topics and see how it goes?  I can’t wait to read your first post!

Write Your Own Story

Too many times, we let the looks, comments and opinions of others rule the way we are.  We walk into rooms with fear that others won’t like what they see.  We hesitate saying things that might not be widely accepted, and we lack the courage to stand up for others when they are put to the test.

Here’s the reality: YOU (and only you) write your own story.

I can think of several people in my life that are comfortable in their own skin.  They bring about an ease of being that makes others flock to them.  Each of them has found a way to be proud of who they are, and don’t exhibit this need to mold themselves to others just to be accepted.  When I asked these people if they ever experience fear (that apparently I have never seen them exhibit), the answer surprised me.  They experience fear on a regular basis.

Researcher and author Brene Brown has started a good conversation on being vulnerable.  The biggest challenge for most of us, is that we don’t always know what we want, and we are afraid to voice that concern. The phrase “fake it ’til you make it” has some validity when approaching new situations.  Not to fake your lack of knowledge or insight into something unknown, but to fake (at least in your head) the feeling of acceptance.  What if each of us were to walk into a room full of strangers with our story already figured out – where we were comfortable and confident with the things we do know, and open to the possibility of growing through the experiences of others?

Negativity doesn’t have a place for you.  Don’t even consider it as part of your story.  The challenges that we have faced are stepping stones to our ideal outcome.  When you open up yourself to a story of success, the positive energy you create will make your story a best seller every time.


“Maybe stories are just data with a soul.” ~Brene Brown

Do Business Owners Have All the Fun?

I recently made a big career change and am now self-employed.  My decision to embark on this career move was made with a desire to be completely in charge of my earning potential, schedule, and ability to manage my own goals and expectations.  If you are not self-employed, you may look at these objectives with a twinge of jealousy, and be asking yourself “gee, I wish I could make my own schedule, goals and salary.”  If I had that genie in a bottle mentality, and could merely wish my success into existence, the self-employed lifestyle looks pretty sweet!

Here’s the reality of working for yourself:

1. Your time is your biggest commodity – Every activity has a purpose.  Every meeting (whether it be a coffee, lunch or whatever) needs to be focused around producing results.  The small amounts of creative brainstorming that I used to work into my week exists mostly outside of the work day, or is earmarked through quick conversations to be delved into later.  I use my early mornings or quiet time before bed to get my thoughts together for the work day.

2. You (and only you) are in charge of your income – I am fortunate in my new career to be a part of a small team.  But at the end of the day, my contribution to that team solidifies my place on the bench.  Results need to be quantifiable, and accountable.  I don’t get the luxury of waiting until the progress report at the end of a quarter to determine if I need to make adjustments in my strategy.

3. There is no safety net, unless you create it yourself – Being self-employed is a high-risk, high-reward industry.  There isn’t a pile of money sitting in my bank account just waiting for me to indulge in a spa day (although that sounds like a pretty good goal to set).  Planning is key, and creating a full pipeline of activity builds that safety net a bit faster.

4. I don’t work 40 hour work weeks – Here’s a reality check: self employed individuals work way more than 40 hours per week.  A flexible schedule comes with the perks of being able to attend your child’s school program in the middle of the day, but results in cranking up the computer at night to make up for that time away from work.  Being in charge of your outcome has a direct correlation to the time you invest to get there.

Being self-employed is exhilarating, rewarding, challenging, engaging, and motivating.  It is by far the hardest I have ever worked in my life, and I am loving every minute of it.  It also comes with its share of stress, doubt, and competition.  I didn’t make the decision to become self-employed quickly, and it took a lot of planning and soul searching to jump in with both feet.