Swimming Against the Current

I discovered a few years ago that life did not have to be tough. This may not seem earth shattering to you, but to me, it was! Up until that time, if things could go wrong, they did! I couldn’t understand why everything “bad” always happened to me. What did I do, that caused me to deserve a tough and punished life? Life seemed incredibly unfair, to the point, you could see it in my eyes, you could hear it in my voice, my body physically was falling apart, and you could see it through the depression and anxiety I was exemplifying.

Life became tough at the age of 40, not because my age had anything to do with it, but it was just the period of time in my life, it all hit. It started with a divorce, and not only a few weeks after the decision was made to end the marriage, my dad informed me that he was diagnosed with stage 4, terminal pancreatic cancer at the age of 64 years. If this wasn’t enough to throw my world into a spiral, my 5 year old daughter, was rushed into emergency with a ruptured appendix requiring emergency surgery while my dad was ambulanced into that same hospital not knowing if he would make it through the night. Oh, and it did not stop there! Why not throw in a cervical cancer scare, a few full hip replacement surgeries due to bad genetics and a herniated disc in a back that took me out physically for 3 months, followed by an acreage home that sold and a new one bought on the day of my dad’s funeral. The ending of a marriage, the ending of a life, and the ending of a business, which I had also decided to leave.

Life seemed pretty low at points and tough to understand, but I kept moving forward, as what other option did I have? It was not until a girlfriend asked me to join her one Sunday to attend a spiritual gathering. Having no influence in my past from the church and lacking a strong belief system, I was hesitant to go, but being at such a low point, I took her up on it. It was this moment that changed my life and helped to give me understanding and purpose. It was that day that I met another individual who took me under her wing and helped me to learn, believe and trust in a higher power outside of myself. Whether you call this higher power, God, Buddha, Spirit, Universe, your Creator or any other form that offers you grace, it doesn’t matter. What matters is, that in this higher power, I came to understand my purpose.

My purpose was to struggle because in every struggle there is learning. My purpose was to learn to relinquish the need to control my situation and instead to let life guide and lead me to where I am to go. It was to gain understanding that when life gets tough, it is your higher being’s way of re-directing you elsewhere, to better serve your purpose. It was to bring me to you so I could help communicate that life is about living. It is about enjoyment. It is about following your dreams and passions. It is about chasing your dreams and not the dollar. It is about loving and being kind to the people around you. It is about being brave and courageous; and not letting our demons such as obstacles, fear, and our need to control our future drive our being.

When life gets tough, as it always does, ask yourself, if you are swimming against the current? Are you trying to control your future or the outcome? If you say yes, then STOP. Stop, sit in peace, and listen to your inner being. It is trying to tell you something. It is telling you that what you are doing is not working. Start to seek peace, swim with the current, and in essence, “go with the flow”. By allowing the current to take you in the direction it is going, you will find your happiness, you will find new opportunity, you will discover your dreams and you will find your greatest purpose. Be ProFound!

For more ProFound Coaching thoughts and expertise, visit us at www.profoundcoach.com.

What Do You Do?

“What do you do?” How many times have you been greeted with these few words? Whether you are at a dinner party, a social outing or simply just meeting someone new, the standard order of questioning is  “Hello, how are you?,  “What do you do?” and “Who do you work for?”

It’s no wonder so many people feel defined by their job as this, almost always, is the first line of questioning in a conversation. We don’t start getting to know someone by asking about their family or what they like to do for fun. It almost always starts with an identifier to our job. So what happens, when you don’t have a job, or you’ve lost your position, or perhaps you made a conscious decision to stay at home with the children. How do you answer this question and how does it make you feel?

It’s interesting, as I have had many conversations with people who withdraw from social settings upon losing their job. This standard conversation can be very intimidating and stressful to an individual who is not working as they don’t know how to answer it and they can feel less of a person if they don’t have a title to define themselves by.

The real question we should be asking is “why does our job title define us?” The reality is, it doesn’t or it shouldn’t. We are so much more than a job title. Our careers are only a portion of what makes up our life. It may be a big portion, but it is still only a portion. And if you are finding that your job is consuming you; not only in your physical time but also your mental time, then it is time to find more balance in life. In coaching, we work with individuals to help build out their Life Circle. The life circle considers your career and also other aspects of what makes up your whole such as your family, your relationships, your health, your enjoyment activities, your love, and your finances. We try to create balance in your life, as balance is, the key to success. Using the adage, too much of a good thing is a bad thing, applies well in this case.

So next time you are meeting someone, think twice before you ask what they do. Dig deeper to get to know the real them. We are so much more than a job title and getting to know someone outside of their job can be fascinating to hear their stories, where they have come from, what their dreams and passions are, and to learn what really drives them. And if you are someone who has lost a job and is struggling with this, next time you are asked this question, hold your head high and answer with confidence by starting with telling them who you really are, outside of a job.

If you recognize that you are struggling, as you have always defined yourself as your job title, reach out to us at ProFound Coach so we may work with you to discover who you really are. Contact us at beprofound@profoundtalent.com or visit our website at www.profoundcoach.com. 

Baby Steps

You need to walk before you can run. When a baby is first born, they experience the many milestones of their life as they grow and develop. It may start with that little baby smile or giggle, or when they roll over on the floor. As time goes on, they learn, they become stronger, and they become confident as they see their small successes. Along the way, they have mom and dad, celebrating every little milestone with a hug, a kiss, a clap out of pure excitement for their small achievement. Eventually, they are standing and taking those few first baby steps and before you know it, they are running. Do you recall your baby steps before you started the run? Likely not. When was the last time you would have taken the time to look back to see where you started?

It’s no wonder that as we age, we keep running. We were taught to run. We don’t stop. We don’t take the time to look back to see how far we have come, to see where we started and what we have accomplished. We rarely take the time to see that the success we have achieved came from a series of baby steps.

The lesson here is that when you are feeling overwhelmed, STOP. Stop for a moment of reflection to look back at how far you have come. Slow down from the run and remember that everything starts with a baby step. Break your goal or your challenge into small pieces and take it day by day. Be present to the moment you are in, celebrate the small successes which might simply be getting through each moment in the day, and pat yourself on the back for each moment you get through as sometimes even the smallest moments can be incredibly difficult and know that each second, each minute, each baby step turns into something bigger. And before you know it, you will be walking, and then running again.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, having a tough time in reaching your goals, you don’t have to walk alone. Reach out to us at beprofound@profoundtalent.com or check out ProFound Coaching at profoundcoach.com. We will help you take those baby steps, we will celebrate each milestone with you and we will help you run again!

The Journey

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. It is hard to see the light when we are amid complete darkness. It is hard to see the beautiful destination when the road is leading you into the ditch. Life can dish out its challenges and can so often feel unfair. This feeling becomes exponentially increased when you look on social media and see the wonderful life that everyone else around you appear to be living. Are they really living this wonderful life you are seeing? Possibly. Or are they masking their pain in brightness to give the world a different perception? Or are they choosing to enjoy the journey amidst the challenges?

What I can share with you, is that everyone experiences challenges. Everyone experiences pain at some point in their life. And what is interesting is that challenge and pain are based on perspective. A friend of mine shared a story with me a few years ago of a young lady who worked under her leadership and had come into her office to talk. She had missed some time at work, she was struggling, and she knew she was not doing well. The young lady was a single mom, was making minimum wage and trying to keep food on the table to feed her young son. She begged for wage increases but unfortunately her hands were tied due to corporate budgeting and things out of her control. She was unable to provide the wage increase. The next day, this young mom, did not show up for work. My friend called her family and was informed she had committed suicide. To this day, my friend holds the regret of what she could have done or said differently to help this young mom to see that this was a moment in time, a bump in the road and that brighter days always lie ahead.

Within weeks of this incident happening, this same friend, had another staff member come into her office in tears. It was a young man who was asking for time off. He was in tears and visibly not doing well. She asked him what was wrong. He said that he and his girlfriend had just broken up. While this seemed to be, in comparison, a sad situation, she knew this was a moment in time and that he would get through it unscathed.  I mean, c’mon, it’s a breakup! It happens to the best of us! Her immediate reaction was to just say yes, take the day off. But her mind went back to the young lady realizing that challenges are based on perspective. This young man was clearly distraught and instead of simply dismissing him for his day off, she took the time to listen. She took the time to give him a hug. She took the time to realize that this was his first love, his first real breakup and that to him, it seemed like life was over. By stopping and taking the time to listen, to really hear him and to give him the support he needed, she may have given him the brighter path that he needed on his journey.

With the pandemic at play, and with so many people experiencing challenges of fear, anxiety, financial stress, and loneliness, it is important for us to realize that while the road may seem bumpy, the paved highway is around the corner. Take the time to listen, be present, and give your support to others. Realize that challenges are based on everyone’s perspective and what may seem silly to you may be the other person’s breaking point. Help others in seeing the beautiful destination that is around the corner from the difficult road they are now travelling.

For more information on ProFound Coaching, visit us at www.profoundcoach.com or join us in our Facebook Community through ProFound Talent!

The Poison Apple

What did the red apple in Snow White symbolize? It symbolized the Queen’s envy and jealousy over Snow White’s beauty. This 19th century German fairy tale continues to speak of two emotions, envy and jealousy, that we all know to be negative emotions but yet they still exist today in our 21st century. Why is this? While we might be conscious of these emotions appearing in our life, they can be tough to eliminate which is why they continue to exist today. When these emotions appear, what strategies can we use to remove them?

According to Pastor Dave Koops of Coastal Church, “envy is I want something that someone else has”; it is between two people. Envy could include you wanting their riches, their style, their popularity, their “likes” on social media, or any other item that is held by another person that you do not have. Jealousy on the other hand, is between 3 people and arises when “somebody is giving attention to someone else and I wish I had it” (Koops, Sermon August 9, 2020). Both negative emotions that are based on wanting something that someone else has.

Let’s go out on a limb and say, that we have all experienced these emotions at some time in our life, the desire to want more, to be envious of the success of others, to be envious of how someone appears, to be envious of other people’s riches…to be jealous that someone is flirting with our spouse. But what does this lead to? It leads to confusion, it leads to a sense of “not being good enough”, it leads to fear, it leads to debt when we try to keep up with the neighbors, and it leads to short term happiness that ultimately doesn’t fulfill us for long.

What can you do when these emotions appear? You can close the door on them. Become cognizant that the emotion is appearing, be awakened to it showing up, then consciously say to yourself, “that you are grateful for the blessings you have and you are grateful that the other person is blessed with good fortune as well”(Koops, Sermon August 9,2020). In short, BE GRATEFUL.

Recognize that what you have achieved and where you are at in life is purposeful and perfect. You are in the right place at this time in your life and whatever your individual good fortune is, is meant for just you and it is something to be grateful for. Even when things are not feeling wonderful in your life, life itself is worthy of gratefulness. We are all provided the things we need, when we need them. Not before, not after but exactly when you need them. Even when you have hardships, this is purposeful. Hardships come to you because you need them. You need them to learn, to gain strength, to have growth and to be able to see the tough times so that when the easier times exist, you know to appreciate them.

When you start appreciating what you have in your life instead of wishing and hoping for what you don’t have, you will experience a sense of freedom. Freedom, true happiness, no judgement, less stress and truly a sense of gratefulness. So when the red apple and temptation appear, resist the bite of envy and jealousy and choose to be grateful for what you have.

For career, life, executive and business coaching services, connect with us at beprofound@profoundtalent.com or visit ProFound Coaching at www.profoundcoach.com.

1 Thing All “Unicorn” Companies Have in Common

The Platform Business Model. I had the privilege of attending a keynote presentation recently, where Lital Marom shared her research and knowledge on what she terms the Innovation Framework and how to Think Big and Act Fast during a Crisis. For those of you who may not know, as I was not familiar with Lital, she is an internationally sought-after Speaker and Corporate Innovator known for platform business models, IoT, AI, blockchain and other emerging technologies.

Lital spoke of the need for businesses to create an Innovation Framework starting with Scanning the Market, Ideation, Creation of your Value Proposition and then Strategy Development. Sounds simple, right? Sounds straight forward and like other business knowledge you may already have; but Lital takes this one step further yet, into comparing what she says the “unicorns” all have in common. The unicorns being the true business disruptors that many of us idolize and strive to understand and to become. The first unicorn presented itself in 2004 with that being FaceBook and since then we have seen others such as Uber, AirBnB, LinkedIn, You Tube, and the list goes on.  What makes these companies unicorns is that they are truly magical in the rate that they grow, scale and monetize their business.

What do these unicorn companies all have in common, according to Lital? It’s the Platform Business Model and with this, these unicorns of digital transformation make up the platform economy. The Platform Business Model is defined as “a centralized infrastructure that allows people outside the platform and network to connect and create value and exchange between them.” Lital speaks of the underlying patterns that create the core differences from a traditional company to a platform business which allow and enable the unicorns to grow and scale at magical rates. She speaks of them as having 3 business patterns:

Pattern 1: Business Flow. Traditionally, businesses have focused on the value chain and how to get product or services from the producer to the consumer. This model is a linear model which has worked traditionally but is now being tested with business disruptors entering the market. The Platform companies have business that flows into a “platform” that connects the producer to the consumer. In the case of Uber, Uber is the platform connecting the Drivers to the Riders.

Pattern 2: Business Structure. In the classic business structure, you would have senior management, middle management and your workforce within your organization. In a platform business structure, you might have your senior leaders and automation in the company with the majority of your workforce external to the business. In the case of Uber, most of the workforce, being the Drivers are external contractors to the company.

Pattern 3: Customer Expectations.  Customers of today want everything delivered through digital platforms and they want everything to be instant, personalized, relevant, human, and contact-less. An example of this may be Skip the Dishes or Door Dash where it is instant, you can get your product that is personalized to you (your meal) at the click of a button and it is delivered quickly and contact-less; yet we still have the human element through a “live” customer service agent or bot when needed.

So how do these platform companies scale? They scale through three things. The platforms have open innovation, they are community driven, and they are database driven companies. Platform companies source innovation through open channels, they don’t see the community as their audience, but they see their communities as distributed employees and lastly, databases are the new dollar in that the data is the value. When you achieve this successfully, you achieve the Network Effect which is the driver of growth and scalability of a platform business.

So how does one become a platform company? You go back to the Innovation Framework where you scan the market, develop ideas, create your value proposition and strategy. But this time when you use the Innovation Framework you look at your business differently through the eyes of how you can become a platform business model.  Lital speaks that all industries and businesses have the ability to achieve the platform business model. You simply need to Think Big and Act Fast!

All content in this blog is cited from the learning from Lital Marom’s Keynote address with full credit being given to her ingenuity, knowledge, and research. For more information on Lital Marom, please visit her website at www.litalmarom.com.

For more information on how ProFound Talent can be your business Partner in Growth, please visit our website at www.profoundtalent.com or email us at beprofound@profoundtalent.com.

Life’s Stopwatch

“There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.”- Leo Christopher

Time is precious, we all know this, and we have all heard this. But how many of us live each moment knowing that time could be taken from us in a blink of an eye? This is not a new topic, but an important one that warrants a reminder.

In my younger years, time felt endless…but as I approach that miracle age of 50, time is on my mind. In my younger years, I worried about things that I now realize were out of my control, I chased friendships that weren’t reciprocated, I did things to please others instead of pleasing myself, I tiptoed around trying to be perfect so as not to be judged. In short, I did things for others and I lived my life to be accepted by others.

As I age, and time is passing by fleetingly, I CHOOSE…yes, I will say it again…I choose. I choose how my moments are spent preciously. I spend them with the people that bring joy, learning and love to my life. I spend them with people who uplift me and help me to be a better person. I spend my precious time in the career I love, which happens to be my business…my dream of taking my learning in life to help others, to uplift people and companies in their own growth. I choose to find happiness in each day, even when some days are tough. I choose to be kind to others when some people aren’t always so kind. I live my life with no regret. Are you able to say the same?

Look at your life and ask yourself this one question, “If I died tomorrow, was my life the one I envisioned it to be?” Be honest with yourself. If your answer is no, then get excited. Get excited as it is not too late to start choosing the life you want and spending your time preciously for you. Be grateful for this realization as its not too late.

Ask yourself, “If my life could be anything, what would it look like?” Take away the obstacles and fears that will pop into your answer. If you dream it, you can be it! Start spending your moments in life living your dreams, spending it with the people you enjoy, being grateful and working in a career you love.

When I was choosing to leave my partnership in a national executive search firm to start my business, a friend gave me a quote that inspired me and that I held close to my heart during this period. This quote was “If you’re dreams don’t scare you, they are too small” – Richard Branson. And with that, I leave you with this quote that inspired me, with hopes it may be inspirational to you. May you DREAM BIG!

Dream Big! Be Extraordinary! Be ProFound!

For more information on how to Dream Big and how to find your dream career, connect with us at www.profoundcoach.com.