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Celebrating 1 Year!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Today is the first anniversary of Mountain 2 Coaching. Little did I know when I launched the company that the world was about to turn upside down just a couple of weeks later. Nonetheless, it has been a great first year! I love being a coach and am learning a great deal about running and growing a small business. I’m grateful for the opportunity to pursue what I have always wanted to do.

I put a lot of energy into setting up the company to be successful down the road. Here is a summary of what has happened at M2C during its first year:

Completed Professional Certifications – I launched M2C right after completing my CSC (Certified Sherpa Coach) certification and started coaching clients. When things slowed down during the lockdown last spring, I used the spare time to become a Birkman Certified Professional and completed certification to teach Sherpa’s Coaching High Performing Teams program. I have found that Birkman is an excellent complement to the Sherpa process and provides beneficial data that enhances each coaching engagement experience due to its detailed components and its identification of needs and stress behaviors. I have had a lot of experience with mentoring, coaching, and using personality profile data throughout my career. Certification provides the necessary training, structure, accountability, and support needed to coach as a profession.

Built out M2C Brand – Please look around the M2C website. I have updated it to be more concise and specific about my mission to grow happy and effective leaders who own their career stories, which I have been passionate about throughout my career. It now is focused on “why” – why M2C exists, why coaching is beneficial, why stories are important, etc. I believe the two mountain theme is relevant to nearly everyone’s career journey and the events of the past year have allowed many of us to rethink our career goals and establish a vision for what we want to achieve.

Developed a Marketing Strategy – The traditional marketing approach for building a coaching business is to rely on your existing professional network. I have done that but do not want to limit my efforts to one industry and one location. I decided to use LinkedIn for nearly all of my marketing to appeal to a broader audience. I use Sales Navigator to build connections and post entries on the M2C company page to share relevant articles and information about why coaching works. I appreciate the response to the page. Followers are added every day. Getting on your feed is very helpful to the strategy! If you haven’t done so already, please follow the M2C page and like or share any posts you see that you enjoy.

Upgraded the M2C Zoom Room – Now that Zoom has become a staple in business culture and is accepted by a wider audience, I use it for my coaching sessions. This gives me the flexibility to coach anyone, anywhere, and at any time. I was able to do some updates to my setup due to a surprise home remodel last summer after a lightning strike. I now have fresh paint, good lighting, a bookshelf, and a fake ficus. Just like a cable news contributor!

What about next year for M2C? I will be laser focused on building up a sales pipeline as the economy recovers from the pandemic. I could use your help! I understand that leadership development has been low on the priority list. The past year has been chaos, and everyone has been in survival mode. However, the end is now in sight. Please keep Mountain 2 Coaching in mind once your business starts resembling normal and coaching opportunities arise. I am committed to providing effective coaching solutions that work with your budget. Coaching works!

How has this year treated you? I’d love to hear your story! Call me at (936) 697-2921 or email me anytime.

Thank you for your support!

Better Than The Greatest

I am a sports fan. Even before all of the games got canceled, it was hard to turn on ESPN without hearing “experts” debate who is the greatest. The greatest college football team of all time? The best World Series? Who is better, Jordan or LeBron? What about this guy? Things change fast in the NFL. Lamar Jackson was the greatest quarterback in the NFL last year…until Patrick Mahomes did this. Tom Brady was the “GOAT” until he lost a few games and then maybe Peyton Manning wasn’t so bad. Why are we so obsessed with who is the greatest?

In boxing, Muhammed Ali was the greatest of all time before he was the world champion. He was the greatest before he was even Muhammad Ali. By claiming to be the greatest, Cassius Clay motivated himself to beat Sonny Liston. All of the “experts” (they had them back then, too) were predicting Liston would win. But Clay knew that he needed to convince himself he was the greatest by doing the work to prove it. After he had proven to himself he was the greatest, he made his claim to anyone and everyone. Then he proceeded to back it up. There was no need for a debate. There was even a movie about it.

I remember seeing “The Greatest” when I was ten years old and was convinced. I didn’t see many of Ali’s fights. I was too young to care when the “Rumble in the Jungle” and “The Thrilla in Manilla” took place. Boxing was very popular in the ’70s even though most of us couldn’t see the big fights live because they were on closed circuit pay per view. We couldn’t even see the highlights. We saw still pictures on the local news and the commentary in the newspaper the day after the fight. Weeks later, we finally could see the replay on Wide World of Sports. We didn’t need to see the fights. Muhammed Ali was the greatest. He made me want to be the greatest, too, in whatever I chose to do. He inspired me to work hard.

We all started wanting to be the greatest. Maybe this is when the debate of who is the greatest of all time in everything began. Not long afterward, ESPN and sports talk radio came along. All of a sudden, there is a lot of airtime to fill with hot takes. We moved on to other things when we ran out of sports—bands, movies, Jeopardy contestants, etc. We are obsessed about who is the greatest at everything, now and all-time.

Striving to be the greatest is a lousy strategy. Most of us won’t be the GOAT in anything. Obsessing about being the greatest can lead us down a path of perfectionism, workaholism, and burnout. Maybe we are only good at some things. What about OK? Is it not OK to just be OK sometimes? Or even just not bad? Falling short of being the greatest then means failure, and we grow fearful of it, won’t admit it, and can’t learn anything from it.

This is why it is better to be great than being the greatest.

Greatness takes more than accomplishment. When you have time, watch this video of Ali, Tyson, and Sugar Ray Leonard on the Arsenio Hall Show in 1990. It’s fascinating for several reasons. It shows how being the greatest was just a step on Ali’s path to greatness. As Ali admits, in-his-prime Tyson probably beats in-his-prime Ali. Ali says if Tyson could land a punch he would be knocked out. Tyson credits Ali’s greatness to his character. I agree. Ali’s influence is what made him great. He made an impression on Leonard and Tyson. He became an inspiration to the entire world by how he lived his life and what he stood for. Ali had become more than the greatest boxer, he had become one of the most significant Americans in history.

Do we even know what it means to be great? Maybe that’s the problem. It is easier to understand what it means to be the greatest than to be great. We can point to statistics or other evidence. Perhaps we don’t know what great means because it is so overused. As I write this, my computer tells me to use a synonym for it. Great has become the new awesome. We are getting tired of great.

Last fall, I stumbled upon a useful definition. I was in the Self Help section at Half Price Books and noticed they had several copies of The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey. I thought there were only seven habits! Somehow I had missed out on the sequel. I bought the book and read it. Dr. Covey wrote that the world had evolved to where a new habit was needed to allow us to go beyond effectiveness to greatness, where we seek fulfillment, passionate execution, and significant contribution. To “find your voice and inspire others to find theirs” is how he defines greatness. Like Mike Tyson felt about Ali, Dr. Covey believes your character determines your greatness.

Ali once visited Tyson’s reform school, and it inspired him. Ali’s sense of conscience, vision, passion, and discipline made him a model for a lot of us back then. We thought we admired him for being the World Champion and the greatest boxer of all time. Over time, we understood that it was his presence and his values that were the source of his influence. Ali’s greatness came from outside of the ring.

By learning this definition, “To Be Great” is now my “why it matters.” I am no Ali, but I am motivated to be an influence to whoever I can. Greatness is tied to effort and not accomplishments. I say “great” all the time to describe my goals and wishes for others. When I am confident in what I am doing, connected to a mission, and learning, I am proactive and play to my strengths. I’m being great by doing the best I can. When I fail, fall into the trap of trying to be the greatest, or become disappointed about just being OK, my weaknesses show up and my influence fades away. Helping others find their voice has always been a passion of mine, but it requires me to model the right behavior without trying too hard or worrying that I am going to fail. Then I can’t help anyone.

Do you know what word describes your motivations, your “why it matters”? Can you describe your strengths and weaknesses? What are your interests? How do you feel you can best contribute? Answering these basic questions of self-awareness can make a big difference in your career. I’d love to help you out.

Rember that “the greatest” is just an opinion, a hot take, influenced by bias. You can work your whole career seeking to break records. Then someone else eclipses it a year after you retire. Greatness leaves evidence behind. Michael and LeBron are both great. I believe all can be great if we choose to make a contribution however we can.

Certified!

I have completed my Sherpa Executive Coaching certification:

Becoming a “Sherpa” has been a seven-year journey for me and has resulted in the founding of Mountain 2 Coaching. I was introduced to Sherpa Coaching as a client in 2013. The company I worked for was preparing me for an executive role and recognized the benefit coaching would be to me for leadership development.

The coaching experience was transformative for me. I quickly learned I could no longer rely on the skills I had acquired and honed as a project manager to be effective as a leader. I was organized, detailed and dedicated but had trouble connecting with my team and setting expectations. I came to understand that my behavior was holding me back. I learned how to show empathy and generate enthusiasm.

My coach encouraged me to take ownership of who I was and to tell my story. This was difficult for me as I had never taken the time to do this. There was too much to do! However, I did find my DiSC assessment fascinating and surprisingly accurate (very high D and very high C).

I began to write my story. Being a project manager, this came together as a GANTT chart:

As it was for many of us from Generation X, my “Young Greg” phase was filled with its share of chaos and dysfunction. However, for me this time was enjoyable and the values established during this phase are still with me today. Going to sunday school, being a Cub Scout and watching Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers taught me to be honest and the importance of character. I spent a lot of time alone, where I developed my strong sense of freedom and adventure by reading, writing and developing a vision for my future.

Star Wars was released in 1977. It was a huge deal for me at the time and I was a big fan. Additionally, it coincided with the end of the “Young Greg” phase. My “Luke Skywalker” phase began. For me, this meant getting a job as I needed money to get the things I wanted. I had two paper routes when I was 11 years old. I dedicated myself to my schoolwork so I could go to college. I worked at McDonald’s throughout high school and learned the importance of process and teamwork. I moved furniture during my breaks in college. After graduating, I continued to work hard as a professional and acquired the skills I needed to advance my way up the corporate ladder. Being a hard worker was my identity throughout this phase. This was my first mountain.

Having children added more adventure and we were determined to do all the things we were supposed to do as a growing family in the ’90s. We bought a two-story house in the suburbs, joined a megachurch and devoted all of our free time in our children’s organized activities. The combination of being a dad and advancing to a management role in my career launched me into my “Obi-Wan Kenobi” phase. I could no longer be independent. I had to become interdependent.

I continued to fight the light saber battles while managing projects but they no longer brought me the joy they once had. My coaching experience helped me appreciate the opportunity to lead and I found joy in seeing others succeed in their careers due to their effort, supported by guidance I could share from my past experiences. Remembering the joy I had experienced coaching little league baseball and softball, I eventually decided I needed to become a coach once again. This is my Everest.

The Sherpa certification process was a challenging and rewarding experience. It took almost six months to complete. It involved an intense week of study in Cincinnati, online classes, a self study curriculum and practicum client engagements.

My Sherpa Cohort & Instructors

By going through the certification process, I learned what it meant to be a Sherpa. Learning how to shut up and listen is hard! The toughest client in my practicum was me. I had to coach myself through the Sherpa process and validate this story I like to tell.

With my Sherpa Coaching certification completed, this month marks the beginning of my “Yoda Phase”. I look forward to being a Sherpa Coach for a long time and helping other climbers to tell their stories by exposing them to the M2C Story and guiding them up their Everest.

The response I have received following last week’s launch of our website and the M2C page on LinkedIn was great. Thank you! I appreciate the constructive feedback. I have had a lot of fun learning how to build the site and will continue to improve it so it can be a useful tool for you as you advance in jour journey.

What is your story? Can you tell it? What is holding you back?