Posts by: awhitmire

Gradually, Then Suddenly

Most entrepreneurs know there is no such thing as work/life balance.   Work is an integral part of life, not separate from it.  So why do so many of us talk about feeling out of balance?    Answer: We prioritize work disproportionately over the non-work/rest of our life.  And we work in ways that are not sustainable.   We put bounds on almost every aspect of our life, except work.   We don’t bring our families to work, but we’ll be heads down in our email during our annual family reunion.  We don’t stop in the middle of a work project to…
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Why Would Anyone Great Want to Work For You?

Bob had a look of shock in his eyes, one I hadn’t seen in the 18 months we’d been working together.  Bob owns a thriving landscaping business and he wanted to get my thoughts about adding someone to his office staff.  I asked several questions before serving up the one that triggered the look.  “Why would anyone great want your crappy little job?”(Did I say that out loud? I cringed after I said it.)   Bob was making the mistake that virtually every hiring manager makes: viewing his employment opportunity from only his perspective.   Bob had scoped the job narrowly…
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Moving from “If” to “How”

2:00 am, pitch black but for the twinkling headlamps.  Crampons on my boots, ice axe in my hand, inexorably tethered to a team of four.  I’m scrambling up the aptly named, Disappointment Cleaver, despair creeping into my consciousness.  This is where I learned the meaning of Commitment.   Though I’d trained hard and felt great on the climb the day before, I was laboring mightily in the higher altitude.   While we charged passed other rope teams, I felt as if I was barely hanging on, I’d never been so completely spent.  (What made me think this was a good way…
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Knowing When to Throw in the Towel

Terry was a serial entrepreneur with all classic, foundational attributes of her station:  tenacious, risk tolerant, resilient.  She started a services company with a truly unique approach, and she was passionately committed to both the company and the sector it served. Yet, when her young company was repeatedly losing contracts and struggling to meet payroll, she was faced with the entrepreneur’s ultimate dilemma, whether to continue the business she’d fought hard to create or to throw in the towel.   The idiom “throw in the towel” is, of course, a boxing reference to when a fighter’s manager throws a towel…
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“I Feel Judged By You”

My son’s nanny had been with us about a year when we sat down for her performance review.    Betty was smart, dedicated, and had great judgment.  Great judgment both in terms of her ability to make good decisions and in terms of her propensity to cast an opinion based upon her beliefs.  The former type of judgment was a strength.  The latter, not so much.   After providing Betty with a glowing evaluation, I told her that just one thing was still niggling at me.  I wasn’t sure how to approach it, or even whether saying it would be fruitful. …
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Life: By Design or By Default

A couple of years ago, I began to see a pattern that I could no longer over look.  Every time I engaged with an older female client, I experienced an internal dialogue that was critical of them.  YIKES!  That’s a big f-ing deal!  The foundation of my work as a coach is seeing the hero in everyone.  My internal disparagements were infecting my client relationships and souring their results.   Oh, I could always justify or disguise my critiques.   “She’s being a victim.”  “She’s just wanting attention.”  But when I looked at my default pattern of behavior and the results, it…
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Never Ever Give Up

Never Ever Give Up.  We’ve all heard that advice dozens if not hundreds of times.  So many times, in fact, that it can seem a bit trite, as least to me.  But then I saw Diana Nyad’s talk at last month’s TEDWomen and her words gave the saying a new meaning.      What You Probably Already Know – The Results   Unless you’ve been living in a remote village in Nepal (or you are an entrepreneur working 90+ hour weeks), you know that Diana Nyad is the 64 year old woman who recently did something no other man or…
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Hold My Hand

I had the most remarkable and meaningful experience yesterday...at the dentist.  That’s right!  I had a meaningful experience at the dentist.   And it was quite a surprise.   Dreaded Dental Work To me, dental work is in the same category as colonoscopy (which actually, I’ve never had, but I’ve heard of it and it sounds awful).  While I wouldn’t classify myself as clinically dental phobic, let’s just say that my dentist may need to replace his arm rests.   (And by the way, my arms were NOT resting.) Like for most things in my life that aren’t perfect, I blame my…
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I Have a Dream

What’s Your Dream? Fifty years ago on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Though it was a momentous occasion, King’s prepared speech was just a composite of speeches he had given before. Nothing new. Clarence Jones, King’s speech writer, said that the preparations for the march had been so burdensome that the speech had not been a priority. What made King’s speech one of the greatest of all time was not in what he had prepared. Off-Script and With-Heart King started his…
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Leading from Your Zone of Genius

Focus on Strengths Much has been written about the benefits of focusing on our strengths.  Marcus Buckingham’s books, Now, Discover Your Strengths, Go Put Your Strengths to work and the Strength’s Finder assessment that came from that work, have enlighten us all to the idea that we’ll succeed much faster by focusing on what we do well instead of what we suck at.    The notion that we each have a Zone of Genius, a place where our innate talents meet our passions, is a familiar concept.  And yet, how much of our days are we spending in our Zone? What’s…
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