Tell Me “No”

With every hit, your opponent tells you “no”. You want to take three or four seconds to recover. The problem is that within three or four seconds the other guy has thrown another 8 or 12 punches into your face and so the debt piles up like unpaid bills on the kitchen counter. You have a max of half a second to do something about it. You say, “yes” and counter with a jab-cross. He says “no” again. And you say “yes” three or four times back. Essentially, if you can say yes more times than he can say no, you win the fight.

I’ve realized that while the people who have said “yes” make me happy, it’s the people who’ve said “no” to me who have made me successful. You can become an athlete on the punching bag, but it’s your opponent who makes you a fighter. One day, I want to make a list of all the no-sayers and send them honest thank you notes. If a supervisor had not said no to a speaking opportunity, I would not have become a writer. If a new acquaintance had not said no to coffee four months ago I wouldn’t be on a national radio station this week.  I could not have built a bigger “yes” without their “no”.

After three brutal rounds, I won that fight against the Big Ten college athlete. We thanked each other and exchanged info to meet again another day. We were both hurting but we both knew that if the other hadn’t stepped in the ring to say “no” neither of us would have become fighters for “yes”.

BioPicJohn is a coach member of the International Coach Federation with a lifelong interest in personal development coaching. He received his training, mentorship, and coaching experience through Mission Network programs in Atlanta GA, Sacramento CA, and Rome, Italy. He now resides in Lafayette IN where he teaches for Purdue University and is an inspirational coach for working professionals. John enjoys competitive boxing and dedicating time to train college boxers. You can learn more about him on his website www.personapersonalcoaching.com

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How to Build a Legacy

I first heard about it through Twitter, then through text messages. January 22nd, a hundred yards down from my office at Purdue University, there was a shooting. For the next month a plethora of information poured into our local community at Purdue on the life of Andrew. After reading through the bios there’s still a lot I don’t know about him. I don’t know what type of car Andrew drove. I don’t know anything about the finances he left behind, student loans…I don’t even know what he was wearing the moment he passed away. The blogs and articles didn’t talk about those things. They just said, in more ways than one, that he was a “good person”; it has me asking if being a good person is much more important than I previously imagined.

On a day-to-day basis there are all kinds of concerns that come to mind. Perhaps it’s because we’re really concerned about them or perhaps because commercials and advertising constantly remind us of them. What will I wear? Solid or pinstriped? Will the next car I get be domestic or foreign? Which is a better investment, stocks or real estate? A month after the passing of Andrew Boldt, I’m reminded that at the end of the day the biggest question is, “How much good have I done today?”

Now, we know that’s important. We put philanthropy, charity work, and our unpaid terms as president of the soup kitchen on our resume, because want to show the world that money isn’t the only thing important to us. We also spend about 11% of our off-the-clock time making people’s lives better. “Let’s throw in pro-bono work…last paragraph.” But building a legacy on a paragraph is like standing an elephant on a toothpick. It’ll take a lot more to hold it up.

Doing good needs to be more than an addendum to our career success. An alternative is to live as if our well-doing were our greatest success.

This is the life where you wake up and show your spouse and your children that you love them. You go to work and show your appreciation to your subordinates, your secretary, your peers and your boss. The day is no longer a dreadful list of tasks and appointments. It’s just one huge opportunity to make people feel irreplaceable, valued or even help them find solutions to problems. It’s an opportunity to teach by example. It’s an opportunity to build your legacy.

This legacy is built on today. You can be almost sure that if your co-workers and friends are asking the “Is he a good person?” question when you’re gone, then they’re also asking it when you’re there in front of them—just not out loud. Here and now your good deeds are important to those around you.

I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to look at your life of doing good. Prepare a resume for a job opening as a “Executive Director of Good Deeds”. Don’t mention how much your past salaries were, what positions you’ve held, or your post college internship with Google. Simply write out a two page resume on your life of doing good. Include all those lives you’ve changed or influenced for the better. If you have enough material for half a dozen blogs and articles to be written about you then you’re on your way to building a significant legacy. When will you use that legacy? I don’t know, but if you beat me to it, hope to hear about you through Twitter.

Submitted by chapter member and coach, John Antonio

johnantonioAbout John:

John is a coach member of the International Coach Federation with a lifelong interest in personal development coaching. He received his training, mentorship, and coaching experience through Mission Network programs in Atlanta GA, Sacramento CA, and Rome, Italy. He now resides in Lafayette IN where he teaches for Purdue University and dedicates time to his personal coaching practice. John enjoys competitive boxing through Boxing USA and is an active member of the Purdue Salsa Dance Club. You can read more about John at http://www.personapersonalcoaching.com/.

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The Path to Persona

Two months ago I was sitting in my office designing business cards wondering what I was getting myself into. I was beginning a practice as a personal development coach again, but this time on my own and independent of a company or organization.  I’m already employed so I knew I wasn’t doing it to “make a living”. Then, a story came to mind which made it all seem worth while.

It happened early on in my first life coaching internship that I found myself having dinner in one of those Florida country club neighborhoods with a Proctor & Gamble retiree and his wife. A sip of Cabernet, we pronged our filet, and my 78-year-old host recounted how he just went to his high school reunion the week before.

“Everyone was just the same as I’d left them,” he said with an I-totally-regret-I-went tone.  “We all pretty much picked up where we left off.”

I tried to imagine a table of wrinkled jocks showing off their pecks and raving about last Friday night’s party. Maybe they still tried to bully the class nerd who was now the one driving an R8.

As disappointed as my friend was with the reunion, he also said it with a nonchalant matter-of-factness that made it seem like the norm now for people to go from prom night to pension and remain, well, exactly the same people. Again, I tried to imagine six decades of jobs, careers, family, and dreams scrolling by and at the end being just where I was at the beginning. It was hard to do, maybe I just needed another sip of Cabernet. It did, however, make me think of “persona”.

Persona is the part of me that makes a hundred decisions each day on whether to be generous or tight, congenial or reserved, empathetic or self absorbed; to be committed, loyal, and faithful. It’s also who I am when I’ve lost my job, my retirement, my house, and maybe my friends too. It’s what people first notice when they haven’t seen me for ten years. Have I changed? Yes, I no longer lose my temper on the court and now I even have the grace to complement my competitors. As important as persona is the reality is that absolutely nothing happens to it if I don’t do anything to improve it. It just stays the same. That can be hard to believe, but it’s harder for me to accept the idea that the majority of people in the world would not like to take steps to improve their own persona. I saw then the value of personal coaching and now I think that’s why I’m punching my name and number into a business card.

After that memorable Florida dinner I spent the next decade and a half under the guidance of a life coach. All I looked for was someone to help me take steps to change. In the words of Tolstoy, “True life is lived when tiny changes occur.” Now, in two weeks, I’ll be going to a reunion of my own. Life has changed since we’ve broken up and I hope we have too. Maybe after five minutes of cocktails they will say, “You’re still the John we knew”, but I can be almost certain that it’s not because I come across as being 17.

Submitted by chapter member and coach, John Antonio

johnantonioAbout John:

John is a coach member of the International Coach Federation with a lifelong interest in personal development coaching. He received his training, mentorship, and coaching experience through Mission Network programs in Atlanta GA, Sacramento CA, and Rome, Italy. He now resides in Lafayette IN where he teaches for Purdue University and dedicates time to his personal coaching practice. John enjoys competitive boxing through Boxing USA and is an active member of the Purdue Salsa Dance Club.  You can read more about John at http://www.personapersonalcoaching.com/.

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