Archive for March, 2018

Presentations and Messy Middles

March 27th, 2018

As I prepare to teach an upcoming four-hour course on Presentation, I am thinking about fear, and how messy (and how scary) it is to present yourself and your message to the world.  Public Speaking brings up all sorts of questions like, am worthy of the message, who am I, anyway, and is this presentation really worth all the fear and anxiety I am and will continue to go through?

Presenting is scary, but worth the time, nerve and effort

The key is this, whether a presentation or whatever the goal:  To get from point A to point B, we all have to go through a very messy middle.

Questions to help with the “MESSY MIDDLE”

Sometimes we are way too impatient with ourselves – and others – and expect to set a goal such as giving a presentation and reach it easily, in record time.

The Messy Middle is where the Magic happens

But, in any real situation, unless that goal is very simple “life ain’t that easy, babe”.  Even a five minute presentation takes a lot of time to prepare.

In fact, it may be that the space I am calling the “messy middle” is where we grow and learn about life.  After all, why would we have learned such phrases as “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” as children?  Ah, that gets us back to presentation and practice.  To help with the angst of public speaking, practice is one of the key solutions.

Lessons learned and Magic

Maybe we are actually supposed to learn something about the process itself, about ourselves, and about life in that messy middle part between the beginning and the goal.  Brené Brown says that the messy middle is where the magic happens; what magic?  I think that magical process could be called transformation.  We need to think about what we want the future to be like and then plan for it, and act like it, even when we don’t see anything happening.

The same is for a presentation.  We need to plan, prepare and practice the message, not knowing if the message will be well-received, or if I, in effect, will be well-received.

 

We are all in a process of transformation, always

Each one of us is in process, on a journey towards where we want to go, who we want to be.  We want to be there now, or even better, yesterday.  It’s true though that we know that’s not a reasonable expectation, yet we still want it.  But transformational magic takes time, and depending on the goal, it could even take a lifetime.

Each change starts with small steps, like spending fifteen minutes each day practicing your upcoming speech.  It means putting aside the “tyranny of the urgent” for the time being and focusing on the most important future transformational goals (such as becoming a better pubic speaker), and spending time on making the steps to reach them.

Take your time, you will get there in there in the end

We also need to spend time focusing on ourselves as worthwhile human beings (worthy of being listened to, regarding our presentation) focusing on our thoughts, feelings, and actions.  We need to find a way to integrate our lives and our life goals with what we are doing every day, and make them whole, not compartmentalized, but really integrated.

Who am I, really?  What are my goals?  Do they fit my value system (what are my values, anyway?)?  What can I do for myself today to help make me the person I want to be tomorrow?

These kinds of reflective questions can actually help you become a better speaker, and an integrated person.

More Questions

What do I want my life to be like today, next year, in five years?  What three things, tangible or intangible, do I value most?  Am I spending my time in a way that focuses on those values today?  What do I need to change in my life, and activities to reflect my values?

The Magic!

Brené Brown says that this messy time where “nothing seems to have changed” and nothing seems to be happening is where the (real) magic happens.  Maybe this messy time is where seeds are planted in that dark dirt which, in turn become the trees and crops to feed you for the rest of your life.

Maybe this time feels more like a winter season where all the leaves have fallen off your tree and you think it is dead, but actually your roots have reached even deeper and the tree is stronger after a restful winter where nothing seems to have happened.

Maybe focusing on practicing who you really are and how to present yourself and your message without fear is more like three steps forward and two back…  But you are slowly moving.

Whatever the metaphor you choose, mixed or not, the messy middle is part of a process that is unseen, and that can be frustrating for those of us who need to “see immediate results”. The process calls for patience, with ourselves, with the situation, and with others.  None of that is easy.  So, keep on working at and I will keep on preparing for my presentation course in July.

What are you going to do today to start yourself in the direction you want to end up in?

Happy messing around! 

Patricia Jehle

www.jehle-coaching.com                 patricia@jehle-coaching.com

Reinvent yourself for Success!

March 20th, 2018

Re-inventing Yourself – a necessity for many, especially for those over 50, but it’s vital for others, too.

 

For many people facing job-cuts and company reorganization, reinvention is key for continuing in the work force.  Unemployment is the catalyst for many changes.

It just may not be possible, especially if you are at the top, to  do exactly what you have been doing at same level of seniority (and pay, at least in Switzerland).

You will have to reinvent yourself.  This kind of change is possible, but also can be difficult.

Yes, we ALL can change

Based on research, I believe every person is able to change until their life on this earth ends.  So, my answer would be a qualified yes.  I will tell you a story about myself that illustrates this qualified yes.

An example from my teenage years

When I was about 14 years old I was a typically shy teen: bookish, reserved, pretty good at school and pretty uninterested in (most) sports.  But I wanted to be more “popular”, to “have more fun” the way I saw others enjoying themselves.  So, for a while I observed those who I considered more popular that were having fun, and thought about what they did differently than I.  I came to a simple conclusion:

They put themselves forward and volunteered more, for one thing.  They offered to do things.

So, as of that day of realization I began to volunteer to do things for others, starting with easy things and then gradually getting bolder so that, now at this point some five decades later, I volunteer to do the hard things, like pitching at startup weekends (last weekend).

This change simply began by raising my hand and offering my opinion, my time, my voice, my energy, and my creativity.  It actually began at a youth camp with my offering to organize a skit for everyone to watch and playing the “lead speaking” role in it.  Each little success led to another trial of something a little bit harder.

But not every attempt was successful.  Some of them were, of course, failures. Yet, when I tell most people who know me socially that I am an introvert, they are surprised because I have learned to act extroverted, I have learned to put myself forward and the risk involved has become less difficult for me.

I really do enjoy parties and being with people nowadays, but I still love time alone and books more. It took time to learn how to deal with the energy output, to coach myself on how to “do” these kinds of relatively unnatural activities.

The qualification to the “yes, you can”

You can re-invent yourself with a qualified yes.  We all have our general personality traits and we work from a starting point of where we are at.  Yet, we need to challenge ourselves and not use the excuse, “I am introverted and can’t do parties or “I am extroverted and can’t work/be alone.”

We are all able to do a lot of activities we don’t think we can, if we try and learn and try again, and keep trying until we make it.  But those activities may very well be out of our “normal arena of comfort”.  These new activities may drain us more than other more typical to our personality activities do.

Change is hard.  Change will not be easy for you, that is true, but if you want to keep working after being made redundant (especially after he age of 50 in Switzerland), change will be necessary for your success.

Re-inventing your career

When dealing with joblessness over 50, it is vital to re-invent your career, instead of working only within ones’ experience, training and/or personality borders, you will need a “Career Swing” of some sort.  Lately this topic has become more important for my friends and colleagues as the business and the economic reality of Switzerland’s landscape has been changing.

Essentially what the issue is, is that you need a good change process plan, based on the environment, your (realistic) expectations, and your abilities and boundaries.

You may change your type of work, the way you work (perhaps as a consultant), or maybe you will start your own business.  This will, then start even more change processes.  Of course, you may have to learn new things such as more about networking and using social media, too.

And what about your business, if you have one?

Finally, sometimes you need to re-invent or re-vamp your business or business strategies.  This kind of inventory taking for business should be done quarterly or twice a year at the least —depending on the business results from the last quarter and/or semester.

I would love to have an email (or otherwise, perhaps a Skype or coffee) dialog about this kind of re-invention.  Maybe you are anticipating a big change, or are in the middle of it.  No matter what, though, when dealing with this difficult change process, remember to start by asking yourself what works for others, what has worked for you in the past, and what might work in the future, based on the present situation.

You will then be on your way to a different future, and maybe even in a different place!

Have a great rest of the week!

Patricia Jehle                    patricia@jehle-coaching.com and www.jehle-coaching.com 

Also, should you be interested in joining my LinkedIn Group, SMEs Grow Together, go here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7041402  or like my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Jehle.Coaching/

Your Business Pitch

March 13th, 2018

Pitch it!  Passion is you Business’ Power to Grow, even in hard times

“Don’t ever Give up!”

 

Toss your ideas to the wind and see what happens!

Recently I met up with an entrepreneur friend who has had her ups and downs since starting her business in Switzerland a few years ago; but she continues to follow her dream.

“Don’t ever give up, just keep pushing towards your goal.  There will be a break through; you will see the signs and then you just head towards those little lights.”  She is right about following her dream, and her passion is the energy that gives her the perseverance needed to reach her goals.

When I think of startups and all the people who have managed to bring their ideas to fruition, I think of people who are passionate about the felt need that made way for their product, passionate about their clients and customers who will enjoy that product, and about their passion regarding their stakeholders who will also benefit from the product.

These entrepreneurs are really on fire about what they are doing; they really have a dream.  Here are some of my ideas about passion and how to use it for your advantage when making a pitch.

What and how to pitch?

What’s in a short pitch?

The problem, your solution to it, and why you’re the one to do this.

For a longer pitch add

The facts (what you know about the market, the problem, the potential customers- eg a business plan in the making)

A short-term plan with milestones and a long-term vision

A Tip

Be humble (after all, you’re just starting up)- you want people to like your idea, but it’s you they will buy

When the hard times come your passion will recharge you

Even with your passionate “elevator pitch”, there will often be days where the “no”s come.  The passion that you have about your product and how (and why) it is fantastic is your energy supply when you have hard days.  You must take it for granted that there will be hard days, but what keeps you, the start-up entrepreneur, going will be the energy found in the passion for your business idea, for your product.  You should use that energy for the hard days so that you can reach the day when the ball gets rolling and the profits start coming in.  Then there will be reserve energy and you can use that extra energy for another new idea to move you upward and onward without too much waste as you will be already moving instead of starting from zero.  There will be less resistance to movement, then.

Your passion will be what separates you from the “crowd”

In some cases, there may be others doing the same thing as you do.  But your passion about your product might be the key to setting you apart from all the others.  If you shine when it comes to passion and, of course, produce a great quality product, you will stand out, even if there are a hundred – or a thousand – doing just the same thing as you.  You will find that people notice how you talk about what you do, and they will be happy to try your product.

Your business idea doesn’t have to be original to be passionate about it.  I have a niece living in Oregon who owns her own bookkeeping company.  She works hard and is very passionate about what she does, and she is proud of her quality services to her clients.  Because of this passion, and because she is very competent, she is excelling and business is booming.  Passion is vital for a start-up and that pitch you are working on.

So, what wakes you up in the morning and gets you out of bed?  Use that energy to talk about your idea.

Have a great rest of the week!

Patricia Jehle

ps: For those of you interested in what I do, I am a business coach focusing on managers, CEOs, leadership, SMEs and Startups, but also on expat coaching.  I have added OQM® (Organic Quality Management) Consulting to my pallet and would love to talk to you about how OQM® or me coaching you can help you move onward and upward with your career, team, division and company.

patricia@jehle-coaching.com

www.jehle-coaching.com

blog: www.jehle-coachingexpat.com

Snow causing problems? Or is it others’ negativity?

March 6th, 2018

It’s been very snowy this past week

Sometimes it’s not rain, but snow

Friends of ours tried to get home from Tenerife last week.  What would usually have taken the better part of a day, took over three.  I attended a wonderful writers’ conference last weekend in Geneva, and the Brits had a hard time getting there because of snow.  Is it raining (or snowing) on your parade?  It happens sometimes, and it’s usually not the weather’s fault.  Today I want to address negativity – raining on people’s parades.

Others’ Jealousy and Tantrums- the MEGA of negativity

Sometimes other people rain on our parade.  Those same people may also rain on other people’s parades, too.  Recently I have been noticing this phenomenon in my life, in my friends and neighbors’ lives, and especially in the social media and news.  Jealousy.  Tantrums.  Negativity is rampant.  This kind of “raining” has become prevalent.  I think we, you and I, should put a stop to it, at least as much as we have power over it.

Let’s look at a why for such negativity, and then suggest a way to put up your umbrella in protection, and finally encourage you not to rain on others’ parades.

Why?

Jealousy or Insecurity – or both

Maybe you are doing well, maybe you are even doing really great; other people who are not doing as well may want to rain on your parade.  Why? – maybe because of jealousy.  Or perhaps they are feeling so bad that any sort of positive movement or attention given to others makes them angry and resentful.  This kind of negative activity, whether it is talking about you behind your back, trolling, writing about you in the newspaper, or whining about you to the press so someone else writes, is really bad behavior on their part and truly has nothing to do with you – or your success.  It’s really more about them as people.  It is about those people and their attitudes and self-esteem and insecurities.

What to do?  Put up your umbrella!

Time to put up an umbrella of protection against others’ negativity

How do I put up and use my “umbrella” to protect me?  The “rule” Brené Brown uses is this:  only people actually getting out there and trying get ahead with you are allowed to tell you anything, and of those people, only the (very) few you can trust should be taken seriously.

You alone get to make that list of people who are on your side and the others “don’t count” so you don’t have to listen to them.  You can even, like Brené, write down that list and put it in your pocket, briefcase, backpack or handbag.

So, think about those who you are going to put on your list, write it down, and ignore all others.  If you have to, go off-line for a while.  Don’t read the local newspaper, if it helps.  Do whatever you have to do to put up that umbrella and use it until that storm passes.

Finally, make sure you are not raining on others’ parades.  Instead, celebrate with them!

It is important to recognize and celebrate success.  We need to do that for ourselves and friends and family, but why not spread the wealth and celebrate other people’s success, too?  If you practice this piece of advice, you will find yourself celebrating very often, and that is good.  For example, a friend of mine is taking over the family business on April 1st.  I may send him some chocolate as a gift.  Celebrating others’  accomplishments is a bit like being grateful for what you have, yourself.  It puts a positive spin on life.

Why don’t you try celebrating today?  Write a note of congratulations on LinkedIn or facebook.  Call a friend.  Give somebody an “ataboy”!

Let’s move into the future with a more positive outlook for ourselves, for your neighbors, and for the communities we live in.  Celebrate your own success.  Celebrate the success of others.

Patricia Jehle               www.jehle-coaching.com       patricia@jehle-coaching.com