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In This Issue
Picking Cotton: A Story of Choice
Coaching. Why?
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Why Clarity.....
....and why now?

HDClarity is an e-zine for those wanting to develop more trust, understanding and camaraderie in their work environment, and their life in general.  A smoother running team is a more profitable team.  They get things done faster, for less cost.  If you'd like to discover methods for reducing struggle, resolving conflict, improving relationships, or just plain relieving stress, please read on. 
"Yesterday is History; Tomorrow is a Mystery; Today is a Gift"
   Master Oogway (from Kung Fu Panda)....(or
   Eleanor Roosevelt...or
   William Shakespeare...or
   Joan Rivers...or
   Ancient Druids.........who cares?  Works for  me!)                                      
When I was a little boy, growing up in a middle class Cape Cod home near Morristown, NJ (which is currently for sale, by the way, just in case you know anyone wishing to move to rural New Jersey!), I crawled the hardwood floors of my home like a pro.
Between the dining room and the living room was an archway with an oak door saddle....you know....that piece of wood that crosses the floor where a door might have been once that's about an inch above the floor.....easy to trip over?
I would routinely crawl at warp speed between the dining room and living room and back (since my Dad was usually in his easy chair and Mom was getting supper prepared....think Ozzie and Harriett).  But every time I was forced to cross the dreaded door saddle, where I routinely and painfully banged my knees, I would slow up so as to minimize the damage.  Pretty bright 10 month old, no?
But this would slow my progress and make the time between being loved by my Mom and connecting with my Dad longer.  Dilemma.  Go as fast as I can between hugs and bang my knees 'til they hurt....or slow down to reduce the moments of pain but take longer to get between the hugs.  Risk/Reward!  The cost of love!  Love hurts!
Then one evening, so my Dad told me, I was cruising between dining room and living room and almost without hesitating I stood up, took a step over the door saddle, went right  back to my knees and scurried to my totally shocked dad.  He'd always heard that a child's first step usually came with a parent (actually I think he mentioned "the Dad") holding onto timid hands and shakily offering support as Junior hobbled forward (or backward).  But the shear frustration and pain of dealing with that damned door saddle aided in my DECISION to experiment with another method.  That's called LEARNING.
Probably the biggest question my coaching clients can ask themselves revolves around their metaphorical door saddles and pain in their knees.  It's been my experience that the great motivator of DECISION-MAKING is FRUSTRATION.  Unless there's something you WANT (ie., something you don't have, a gap between your situation now and the situation you'd like to enjoy) BAD ENOUGH (your knees hurt, your feelings of self-worth are constantly under attack, your income isn't large enough, you haven't been able to get away with your family, your company isn't growing fast enough...the list goes on and on) then the likelihood that you will DECIDE to make necessary changes (ie., put your past behind you and get out of your Knower/Judger persona) and see the situation from the present (your Learner/Researcher persona)....nothing will change.  Status quo.  Stuck.  Sore knees forever.
So while we may not think kindly of FRUSTRATION when we're experiencing it, it could be trying to teach us something.  As I think about it, I have a difficult time remembering any really important lesson I learned that did not come through some incredible gauntlet of FRUSTRAION.
From where does FRUSTRATION come?
Think about it.  When are you FRUSTRATED.  You're FRUSTRATED when something happens that doesn't meet your expectations.  Expectations come from our history ("it happened that way before, so it should happen that way again"), our K/J persona.  We're FRUSTRATED when we don't get what we think we deserve (a judgment from our K/J persona).  We're FRUSTRATED when there's a gap between what we know and are comfortable with (again K/J) and what we WANT.  We begin to realize that how we go about things now will not result in what we WANT. 
So how bad do your knees hurt?  Enough to engage in the FRUSTRATION and look for new ways?  Or not so bad.  Maybe the ol' knee thump isn't so bad after all.
Picking Cotton: A Story of Choice 

Ronald Cotton Muhshot
Ronald Cotton

On July 29th, 1984, a black male broke into Jennifer Thompson's apartment in Burlington, North Carolina put a knife to her neck and raped her. 
Thompson's resolve made her stay observant during the ordeal with the absolute intent of surviving and identifying her attacker so he would be caught and appropriately punished.  Later testimony would reveal that she wished for him to be raped and die in prison.
Through a process of identification commonly used by police departments of that day, Ms. Thompson identified with certainty, Ronald Cotton as her assailant.  She helped the police develop a composite sketch, identified Cotton from a set of photos and subsequently identified him from a physical police "lineup".  Cotton was the assailant.  Jennifer was certain.
Another rape victim of that evening could not positively identify Cotton, but was not comfortable suggesting that he was not the rapist. 
Through the identification process, the police, growing more and more certain themselves and wanting to put Ms. Thompson's fears to rest, assured her that Cotton did, indeed, appear to be the rapist.
Jennifer Thompson's dramatic finger pointing testimony at the trial led the jury to a 40 minute decision and Cotton was led away to serve a sentence of life plus 54 years.
Three years later, another man serving time in the same prison as Cotton was bragging about committing the two mentioned raped, and Cotton used this to obtain another trial.  The judge disallowed the prison yard confessions and Cotton was then sentenced to two life sentences since now the second rape had been added to his charges.
Fast forward 7 more years.  The science of DNA in law enforcement had progressed, and two new public defenders were assigned to Cotton's case.  The evidence room had just enough genetic material to prove that Cotton was not the rapist, but it was instead the prison yard braggart.  Cotton was free to go....after almost 11 years of his life had been stolen.
Jennifer Thompson was devastated.  She was SO CERTAIN Cotton was her attacker.  The Police were SO CERTAIN Cotton was her attacker.  By the second trial, even the other rape victim was now SO CERTAIN Cotton was the attacker.  That was their composite TRUTH about this situation. 
But it was not accurate.
Ronald Cotton had a choice when he left the prison system.  He could be bound by sheer hatred for the woman who had falsely accused him and stolen eleven years of his young life.  He could have harassed her and hounded her for recompense.   Or he could free himself from a life of hatred and anger and forgive her.  He chose the latter.  The CBS 60 Minutes piece I saw Sunday evening gave the impression he did that to allow Jennifer Thompson (now Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, married with triplets) to continue her life unfettered by her overshadowing error.  Surely this graceful gesture accomplished that.  But I believe Cotton got a lot more out of the exercise.  He's not bound by hatred.  He's not spending his energy trying to relive the past and correct the errors.  And the relationship (one we would not expect to have any future) has flourished and created a book and a movement for more carefully examining how we identify the people we feel are guilty enough to incarcerate.  The missing piece is Thompson-Cannino's inability to forgive the real perpetrator.  She made an attempt to meet with him, but was rejected.  He died of cancer while still serving his multiple sentences.  The circle, from my understanding, was never complete.
We are supposedly creatures of free will.  We always have choices.  Frequently, our understanding of what's accurate is tainted by filters (see HDClarity, March, 2009) that make our truth inaccurate.  When the inaccurate data becomes embedded in our "Knower/Judger", most likely we're not making choices anymore.  We're just regurgitating what we're already proven to ourselves.   So was the situation with Jennifer Thompson.  Could there be a stronger case for getting "present"?
How many relationships do we have where our "truth" about somebody may not be accurate?  It's probably not going to send them to prison, but it is incarcerating how good our relationship could be.  We and this other person are trapped in our "truth", our "reality" of who we each are, how we perceive each other, and ultimately how we relate, work together, play together, etc. We carry around these "truths" embedded in our Knower/Judger mode, defending them and protecting them like Jennifer Thompson carried hers.
Let them go.  Open your senses.  See, hear, taste, smell, feel the accurate data. Allow your "truths" to be adjusted.  Sometimes, even forgive. 
Coaching.  Why.....? 


Hank Haney and his most famous (but certainly not only) student.

....to get better at something.  Period. 

Tiger Woods has a coach (Hank Haney).  Dinara Safina (current #1 World Ranked Woman's Tennis player....and you probably thought it was Venus or Serena like I did!) has a coach (Zeljko Krajan).  Lance Armstrong has a coach (Chris Carmichael)...Mikko Hirvonen, current World Rally Championship leader has his co-driver Jarmo Lethinen....and these people are the best in the world at what they do.  They hire people who aren't as good as they are to help them be better than they are.  Sounds oxymoronic, doesn't it?

But coaches can see things they can't.  They know their clients strengths and weaknesses.  They help keep them "present" and not as affected by their Knower/Judger.  They know how to help them learn when there's hardly anything left to learn.  They're trusted advisers, shamans, psychiatrists, best friends, worst enemies, whatever it takes for their contractors to be the best.
OK.  Maybe you're not competing for a #1 ranking in some World sport.  But you probably can do things better in your world to run a better department; make more money; live happier; spend more quality time with your kids. 

Are you a possible candidate for a coach?

"Yes" or agreeing to any of these questions or statements could make you a good candidate:

  • Could I use a non-judgmental listener to help me sort things out?
  • Could someone help me straighten out my 2 iron?
  • Do I have any limiting patterns and behaviors (like micromanaging) that I'd like to modify?
  • Do I have challenges with my weight?  Time management?  Relationships?
  • I feel I'm not contributing enough at my company?  In my family?
  • I'm not in synch.
  • Do I have challenges safely discussing my mistakes, doubts or anxieties?
  • Do I experience blockage when conversing with anybody?  Everybody?
  • Am I not totally clear about my direction or the direction for my team?
  • Do I feel out of balance in my life and want strategies to prioritize?
  • Do I need new ideas on how to lead? Follow?  Get out of the way?
Consider a coach for your team if you answer "yes" to any of these questions:
  • Has your organization recently reorganized, restructured, and changed direction?
  • Are there unresolved conflicts within the team?
  • Do many of the problems end up on my desk?
  • Could meeting conduct or problem-solving skills be improved?
  • Are agendas running the place instead of mission?
  • Does the team need more clarity?
  • Do long term histories impede productive tomorrows?
Clearly some of these issues I can't help you with.  But I know a coach who's worked with many pro golfers in the past and I'd be happy to hook you up if that pesky 2-iron's killing your game.

Get present.  Today.  It's your choice.

Kim DeMotte
Power of NO, Corporate CoDriver
(877) 245-8250