A few months ago I attended a men’s retreat called The New Warrior Training Adventure, which is put on by The ManKind Project. By the end of the weekend, the participants are encouraged to select a mentor from the men working the weekend, to help us stay engaged and connected to our experience.

I had a couple of people in mind, and finally settled on one. Looking back, I am convinced I made the right decision! It has been interesting getting to know this guy. We joke that we are not always clear on who is mentoring whom in this relationship. Also, if either one of us says something that neither of us understand, that seems to be perfectly fine. And do you know what?  I am okay with that!

Usually, I call him, but a couple of days ago, he called me and said he only needed about 90 seconds of my time. He said he was trying to decide how he wanted to die, was trying to figure out what it meant to be an elder and whether or not it even mattered if he knew what it meant. These are the types of stream of consciousness conversations we have.

I should be clear on this. When he said he was trying to decide how he wanted to die, he was not referring to suicide. He is 20+ years my senior and at the most generous, he will probably not survive another 4 decades. (I SAID I was being generous!) What he meant was, there are many ways to die and he was trying to decide how he wanted to do it. Some die bitter and angry, some die sad and alone, some die in contentment. He was trying to decide how he wanted to be for the remainder of his life. What a great example of living a life of intention!

He mentioned that one thing he wanted to change was that he wanted his “wants” and his “needs” to be much closer. (Many of us “want” much more than we actually “need”). To this end, he was planning on giving away about half of his shoes. (I didn’t ask him if he meant to give away half of each pair, but maybe I should have! Just kidding!) He has more shoes than he needs and his shoes are important symbols to him. He has diabetes and many people with diabetes lose their feet. He HAS both of his feet, so his shoes are a reminder of the value of his feet. He says he is determined to keep his feet for the rest of his life and I think he will succeed.

He is a very spiritual man and as he was telling me about giving away his shoes, a thought occurred to me that I felt I needed to share with him. I told him it was very important that he give away his shoes. While he no longer had any use for them, their journeys had not yet finished. They had other paths and roads to walk down, but they are not his roads. They have other places to go, but he is not part of that journey. Just as he has a destiny that does not include those shoes, they also have a destiny that does not include him. They are meant to accompany and escort someone else on their travels. Someone else’s feet were waiting for them somewhere and he had to release the shoes to them.

He seemed to take a great deal of comfort and seemed to really enjoy the idea that his shoes still had work of their own to do. Like him, they were not finished yet. They had more work to do. It was just time for them to part ways with him.

Just some shoes for thought.

Tom Maher, CPCC, ACC
The Possibilities Coach

Hey Everyone! I want to talk a little bit about success today. I also want to talk about failing. Actually, I want to talk about success AND failing. I think, in most people’s minds, success and failing are opposites. I would like to suggest that they are compatible and actually go very well together.

When you try something new, how many times will you try and fail before you give up? One time? Five times? Ten times? A hundred times? Personally, I think I am closer to the 5-10 time range. It is not that I don’t have much of a desire to succeed, it is that I just don’t like to fail that much!

I think I used the analogy in a previous post of a baby learning how to walk. Babies just don’t quit! They see others doing it and they WANT to do it and they don’t STOP until they succeed! You might counter this by pointing out that babies never see anyone who has FAILED in learning how to walk! They only see successes! Perhaps if they were witness to people who never learned to walk, they wouldn’t feel so bad and they would throw in the towel, too. Or their diaper, as the case may be! EEEEEEEEWWWWWWW!!!

When people give up on things, it is usually something where they know some people will be successful and others never will be. (They decide they must be one of the ones who will never be successful). They take their defeat gracefully and move on to the next experience/task. When would you give it up?

What I am getting at is really rather significant. I attended the monthly meeting of the International Coach Federation Minnesota Chapter last night and the speaker made a very interesting point. He said the average Olympic figure skater falls down on their butt on the ice approximately twenty thousand times from the time they first put on their skates until the time they qualify for the Olympics! TWENTY THOUSAND TIMES! For those of you who appreciate zeroes, I said 20,000 TIMES!! That’s a lot of falling down! You’d think that they were so good and so talented that falling would be something they would have left behind YEARS ago! Apparently, this is not the case!

Think about it. Does this mean that to be successful, you must fail A LOT?!? It sure sounds that way! To be the very best in the world, (or just AMONG the very best in the world), you need to continually fail? Or fail on a very large scale? To be the best, you must fail the most? Is that the price of success? This also means that they must pick themselves up after every fall and go for it again.

Could you do that? Could you commit to failing 20,000 times to be one of the best in the world? And that is not even a guarantee? Would you be willing to fail 20,000 times, (or more), knowing that you might just be average? Or maybe even below average, when it is all said and done? That just seems so hard to imagine!

Are you beginning to see how success and failure go hand in hand? Do you see how they are partners, instead of opposites? Are you beginning to see a yin and yang quality about their relationship? I know I am!

The next time you fail, just think, “Only another 19,999 times and I will be World Class”. And then pick yourself up and go for it again! And here’s to you!

Take care and I will talk to you again real soon! And of course, if you have any questions or comments, please let me know!

Tom Maher, CPCC, ACC
Endless Possibilities Coaching and Speaking, LLC
Coaching for Musicians, Actors, Comics and Models


Niche This

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Hello, All! I usually don’t blog on business topics, but this came up recently and I thought it might be interesting to address it. I do pro bono coaching at The Living Waters Market in Minnetonka most Friday nights and this past Friday, I had two clients come sit in my chair who wanted to talk about similar things. They were both interested in growing their businesses.

Now I am not a business coach, per se, but this was definitely something I could handle. Actually, I have worked with two outstanding business coaches whom I would recommend to anyone interested in growing their businesses; Michael Charest of Business Growth Solutions and Mark LeBlanc of Small Business Success. They both have my personal endorsement of being outstanding coaches who have served many clients in the area of growing their businesses and they are both honest men of integrity. I trust and recommend them both implicitly.

That being said, I felt like I had some great insights to help these people. For the record, I ended up asking each of them if I had their permission to remove my “coaching hat” and put on my “consulting hat”. They both gave me that permission. As we began talking, they both stated that they wanted to work more on their niche. As they talked about their niche, it quickly became clear to me that we were talking about two different things. I knew this because I sensed that I was not following them anymore.

I ended up asking each of them what their niche was. They both proceeded to tell me about the services they provide for their clients. I said, “No, tell me about your niche”, and they looked at me with an expression that said, “I just TOLD you what my niche is”. Dictionary.com defines a niche as “a distinct segment of a market”. They were telling me what they did, not whom they served. I figured everyone knew what a niche was, but apparently I was mistaken. Hopefully, you will find this post helpful, too!

I gently suggested that they were not telling me what their niche was as much as they were telling me what their specialty was. They seemed to think they were the same thing. I told them that their specialty was about them, what they do. Their niche is about their customers, who they serve. They both said that they can serve anyone. While this is true, it doesn’t help people identify with whom they really love to work.

I began to ask them who they LOVED working with. Who were the clients that they loved serving? Who are the clients that they could just spend all day with and be completely fired up about working with? Who were they passionate about? A niche is really your “who”. Who do you love working with?

The other half of the “who” is the “what”. What do you do for them? What pain do they have? What problem do you solve for them? For this post, I am just focusing on the “who”.

One of the things they both asked me was about limiting themselves. They thought if they identified a specific group that would eliminate the opportunity to work with other people. From a Law of Attraction perspective, this is a scarcity perspective. It is coming from a place of “lack”. So here is the rule for niches that eliminates the fear of excluding anyone. Are you ready for it? It is really quite profound. Okay, here it is. Saying “Yes” to one is NOT saying “No” to another. I know, that’s genius, right?

Identifying a niche helps people know for whom you are looking. It also opens up the conversation. For me, my niche, or my “who”, is musicians, actors, comics and models. So when I say that, it opens up the conversation. Someone might say, “Well, I know this photographer who would probably LOVE to work with you. Can you work with them, too?” My answer would be, “Yes!” (Again, saying “Yes” to one is NOT saying “No” to another.) I am never limiting myself or cutting myself off from any perspective clients. I know who I LOVE working with, and I, too, can work with anyone. If there is someone who wants to work with me and they are not in my niche, I just get to determine if they are a good fit for me or not. (I do that with all of my clients, whether they are in my niche or not).

Also, choosing a niche can be fun! People love hearing it, too! Here is how I talk about my niche, my “who” and my “what”. I work with musicians, actors, comics and models who want their most dynamic performances on the stage and their most fulfilling lives off the stage. This is not just about work/life balance, it is about work/life FULFILLMENT! People LOVE hearing that and they want to talk to me about it! AND they have a desire to connect me to those people. And also notice, other than the very first three words, I am not speaking about myself AT ALL! It is all about my niche, my ideal clients! Your niche should not be about YOU, it should be about THEM!

So how does your niche measure up? Do you have one? Is it any good? I can rattle off my “who” and my “what” in about ten to fifteen seconds, but truth be told, it took my about ten to fifteen MONTHS to create! It is no small task! If it feels overwhelming to do, you are probably doing it RIGHT! Don’t give up! Keep looking, keep crafting, keep discovering! Your niche will make you stand out from your competition and it makes you more attractive to your clients! They WANT to know that you are that specific and you care about THEM! And my clients that are NOT in my niche? They know they are special because I am working with them despite the fact that they are not in my niche! They know that they “measure up”! Defining and claiming a powerful niche is a win-win! You can’t go wrong!

Go create your niche, take care and I will talk to you again real soon! And of course, if you have any questions or comments, please let me know!

Tom Maher, CPCC, ACC
Endless Possibilities Coaching and Speaking, LLC
Coaching for Musicians, Actors, Comics and Models

Categories : Balance, Beliefs, Coaching
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