My Favorite Things List

One of my preferred exercises in coaching is to have people create their own, “My Favorite Things” list: what makes life taste good, increases your joy; what do you love to do, eat, play, etc.  From simple and free to complex and expensive, leave nothing off.

Tony Robbins explained this concept during a Larry King interview on New Year’s Day 2006; I had a lengthy but inspired flight from Vancouver to Montréal to cultivate my own list.  Since then, my List has grown and I have discovered several truths:

1) during the natural course of life, I do many of these things – except now? I pause & recognize that this was a great moment. Life brightens…

2) I have manufactured more of these moments; life’s too short to not do these things regularly.

3) The vast majority of my Favorite Things are free.

4) Since meeting Kristy 13 years ago, some of the best are shared.

A sample from my List:

Writing in my journal

Smelling my children’s hair after a bath

Nachos with salsa

Runner’s high

Speaking to an audience and seeing the light bulbs illuminate

Writing with a Mont Blanc pen

Filet Mignon cooked to medium rare with a full-bodied Red

Learning new music on my acoustic, electric or bass guitars

Feel free to grab any from my list that inspire you – and share some of yours!

How To Select A Great Mentor / Coach

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For over 30 years, I’ve been blessed to have been both informally and formally mentored; I have mentored and/or coached others for over 20 years now.  When mentoring is executed well, there’s nothing better; once you’ve experienced it, you’ll never want to be without.  Selecting the right mentor or coach can be daunting: by nature of the relationship, you are empowering this person to have tremendous influence in your life.  Your mentor / coach doesn’t have to have it all figured out; they just need to be a little further up the road than you are.  Life is too short to limp along with just a ‘good’ mentor; hold out for and track down a GREAT mentor that can help you navigate the landscape on the way to becoming the best version of yourself.

Great Formal Mentors are:

Altruistic

Motives matter.  The best mentors are those that are Off Self, On Others.  Those who have had the greatest impact in my life have been radically sold out to your success.  The motto of my favorite mentor is, “Keep helping people.”  Nothing worse than a mentor who just needs their ego stroked.

Present

During sessions, your coach should be totally focused on your time together.  They should be an appropriately engaged listener.  You should get the sense that you are the only person in the world during this time; there is no phone, no interruptions, no computer screen; just YOU.

Prepared

Great mentors hit the ground running; they’ve invested time thinking about you and this session beforehand. Now, they should be flexible enough with their planned content to meet your most relevant needs today; anything they were about to get into takes a back seat to the fire you’re putting out right now, but they should be warm at the start of the session.

Empathetic

Can they feel what you’re feeling?  Do they accurately relate to a situation you’re working through with a similar time in their life?  Better, as they explore with questions and actively listen, can they emote feelings you weren’t even aware you had?

Intimate

Trust is earned.  I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to trust someone who asks me all about me, but isn’t willing to get as naked emotionally with their stuff.  How about their shortcomings and mistakes?  Beware the mentor who has never failed or suffered loss.

Compatible

Are they someone you want to be like?  You don’t have to agree on everything, but your foundational philosophies and presuppositions should be aligned, or a breakup down the road will be inevitable.

Available

Some mentors are available once a week; others only have time for one call a month.  You need to determine what kind of availability you’re looking for.  Occasionally, when it’s formal / paid mentoring, this is driven financially: how much can you invest into tailored personal growth?  From there, does your mentor aggressively seek time to connect with you?  I love it when my mentors say, “Let’s set up our next time before we go.”

Flexible

Can your mentor adjust their style when you share what you’ve liked about a certain call?  If something rubbed you the wrong way during a session, bring it to them; the best mentors will adjust and meet you where you’re at.

Generous

When we get together, the conversation is two-way, but very much about you and your needs.  Your mentor should be emotionally stable enough to see your situation with clarity, not projecting their own mess into your world.

Introspective

What lessons have they learned from their mistakes along the way?  Can they walk you through how they got through?  How about their wins?  Can they share nuggets without bragging?

Coachable

Does your mentor have a mentor too?  If they are pouring into you, they had better have someone rejuvenating and pouring into them.  Also, mentoring often acts as a mirror; objective as mentors try to be, much of the advice given is also applicable to them, too.  Are they learning and growing with you?

Encouraging

Great mentors never make you feel inadequate or weak; instead, they inspire, encourage and empower.  Even if they don’t have a fiery personality, if you feel like running through a brick wall at the end of a session, you have an epic mentor.