I once had a friend (I’ll call him Jeff) who blamed all his shortcomings in life on the weather, his lack of money, his lack of education, no time, he hated movies, he hated to go to the comedy club; and, he further blamed his pathetic life (his belief), on family, co-workers and friends.
“He didn’t set up the orders on time,” “She forgot to tell the customer about our new products.” “He was standing in the wrong place, he should have kicked the ball into the *&$%# goal!” Jeff bragged about the women who loved him, yet his relationships never seemed to last longer than 6 months. Surprised? Further surprise….he had just married.
One rainy day, I received a call from Jeff. “Can you come over to my office? I have something private that I want to discuss with you.”
“Sure,” I said, “I’ll be over in about 20 minutes.” Must be that new product line that he is working on. Perhaps he will finally accept some coaching to improve his networking relationhips toward a successful kick-off. He had issues with people in the past, so maybe, just maybe. His manner with people needs some fine tuning, I thought.
When I arrived at his office, no one was around. It was like the haunted empty hull of an abandoned train car. Dimly lit with deep dark sockets of empty offices. All the employees were strangely, well, just…gone. I looked around. No Jeff. I was a little concerned. Not that I didn’t trust him, but I had to admit to myself that the strange circumstances that I happened to notice were, well, a bit odd. Thoughts started racing through my head.
Was I going to be his next victim, was my number up, in our group of acquaintances? I really don’t want to lose him as a friend. He really does have kind heart beneath his layers of fear! He had such a free-will about blaming people that it became a joke among my friends of who would be the next number on Jeff’s next rant. I guess, now, that was me.
“Hello? Anyone here?” Silence. The light was on in Jeff’s office, but he wasn’t sitting in his usual, leisurely stance. You know the one: feet up on the desk, loose tie, rolled up sleeves and hands behind the head. “Hellooo….”
Finally, Jeff approached quietly from a side broom closet. I was a bit startled, but turned my head with confidence and control. I jumped into casual conversation: “Did you not hear me calling? So what’s good, my friend?”
“I just need to talk with you about something that has been on my mind. I asked everyone to leave, because it’s, well…personal.” His face was very serious.
“I’m just not happy. Why do I not attract the right people?” he said.
“What are the ‘right’ people, Jeff?” My heart settled a little with this question. Not a blame game, this time.
Jeff continued, “I never get referrals, I never get customers, I just don’t get it. I market my a@# off!”
“What do you think the ‘right” people are, Jeff?” repeating my question.
“People who respect me. I’m a good man. I help people, I give myself away so many times. No one cares about that! I refer people to fellow business owners, I follow up with them, but I get no thanks and no business.”
I sat and listened to this rant for about 10 minutes. This was, by far, his shortest, in comparison with the many hours I spent over the years, listening to other “poor me” sessions, including sobbing. Many a time I offered my coaching services. This territory was all too familiar. He was a fractured man, desperately seeking quick answers.
“What am I doing wrong?” he asked, as he courted for a self-soothing answer from me.
“Well, Jeff, I don’t think that you are doing anything wrong. What do you think attracts this lack of referrals, respect and not knowing the right people, to you?”
“I don’t know, this is why I am asking you!” he shouted at me. To my surprise, I didn’t flinch or even back away when he practically spit the words at my face. I just took a deep breath and calmly asked, “What do you think your immediate behavior just told me? Would you want to be your friend right now?”
Jeff stepped back, with a puzzled look on his face. How dare she! I’m in charge here, not her. I asked for her help and she is quizzing me on everything. She is gone!
Jeff slammed a book down on his desk, and paced back and forth. The noise made me jump inside, but I could not show my weakness outwardly, or he would have won this game he played. “I need answers. You are the guru, the know-it-all of coaching. Don’t you have the solution in your bag of tricks?” He was at his breaking point, begging for truths.
As a friend, I could not resist jumping into my years of training. Our conversation began:
“Jeff, what do you want?”
“I want my business to grow.”
“What will you do when you get to that point of growth?”
“Who will support you in your growth?”
“No one. Because no one understands.”
“If you were Robert Herjavec (Shark Tank), what would do you think he would do in this case?”
“He would gather his team and talk about what works and what doesn’t.”
“What is it about Robert’s approach that is attractive to you?”
“He is calm, takes an interest in his employees and has lots of friends.”
“What do you think it would take for you to copy that this calm approach and take an interest in your employees and friends?”
“I would need to research how Robert attracts people to him. I don’t know, be kinder to them?” Keeping from judgement, I knew Jeff was in a tough spot. I responded:
“Be kinder to them. What does that look like to you?”
“Maybe, lighten up? I don’t know, have parties?”
“Lighten up. What does that mean? Having parties sounds nice.”
“Lighten up means don’t blow my cool when something doesn’t go the way I want it.”
“What will you get more of when you take this approach of being calmer, lightening up and being kinder to others?
“I won’t be so tensed up. People will listen. Maybe they will hear me. Hey, maybe they will hear my sales pitch better. Do you think?”
“I think, Jeff. ”
“What will you take from this conversation to support you the next time we talk?”
Jeff responded: “That I can make a difference in my own life.”
Jeff was headed down a dark path of no return, but with one coaching session he was able to turn around a huge set of building circumstances that could have led to more lost relationships and, perhaps, some physical illness for Jeff, as a result of a cumulative effect. He could have lost his business, his new wife, and his already strained
Note: While this story is fictitious, the circumstances are real. Jeff is a real person and is representation of my clients over the years.
Hi, I am Kat!
I am a real live life coach who embraces an internal massage of the mind, body, and spirit brain functioning. This practice is known as Emotional Wisdom Training and NeuroLinguistic Programming.
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