Archive for ‘Articles and Resources’

September 7, 2011

Embracing Failure

Written by Alicia Marie Fruin

I have heard it said that “if you can’t do it right, then don’t do it at all.”

I wonder how important it really is to always get it “right”? How many times does this philosophy keep us from just taking the next step? Could this just be a strategy designed to play it safe? Do we really think “if I am careful I won’t fail”? Really?

I find that ironic since failure is inevitable.  You will fail…I will fail. We will all hit ceilings of achievement. We will all get stuck. We will all fail now and then. If you are playing in the game of business at all, it will happen. Every choice, effort and move you make has to line up just right to get your intended outcome. It makes sense that it will not happen at times. What is this notion that it is bad to fail really about? Each time we don’t hit our goal it allows us to learn, tweak, re-align our actions and go for it again.

As a business coach, I have noticed that people who are very accomplished have a healthy relationship with failure. They embrace it, watch for it, learn from their mistakes and move on.  Sometimes they even publicize their failures, modeling the kind of leadership they want to see in their employees. They seem to know and understand that who they are is not their job, their business or their results.

Most of us only see these high powered, accomplished individuals when they are in the public and enjoying some measure of success. We do not see the every day struggles, disappointments and failures. On the weekly phone calls with my clients, I have a privileged point of view. I hear the challenges, hesitation, the pain, the disappointment as well as the wins, successes and accomplishments.

Accomplished people seem to understand a simple truth. They are not their mistakes and they are not their behaviors. Both mistakes and behaviors are changeable. They know in their heart that when they fail at something, they are not a failure. When they make a mistake, they are not a mistake. When they do something wrong, they are not wrong. They seem to understand that who they are as a human being is constant. They are people who can fall down, smile, pick themselves up and keep going.

I have also noticed that successful people seem less likely to avoid their emotions such as rejection, guilt, self-doubt, fear, overwhelm and dissatisfaction. Instead they just allow and move through their emotions like a hot knife through butter staying their course regardless of the fear. One of my clients, let’s call him “Joe” would say, “It’s just part of the ride. It is normal to have fear sometimes, to feel lost sometimes, and to be disappointed. I wouldn’t trade any of this for a dull cubicle and a steady paycheck”.

Mastery is a succession of failures, not wins. You have to be bad at something and keep going to master it. Failure and success are events. Whatever emotion or circumstance has been stopping you; I encourage you to embrace the possibility of failure and the emotion that goes with that. If you wait till it feels safe you will have waited too long.  Just take your next step towards your goals today and then again tomorrow and the next day and the next day.

People Biz, Inc. is a coaching and training company that helps clients to achieve measurable transformation in realizing their personal and professional goals. Owner Alicia Marie Fruin has since been coaching, training and helping business owners for over 11 years. Her years of experience as a professional coach, workshop leader and entrepreneur have allowed her to help businesses reach their optimal potential, improving productivity and increasing profits. More information on coaching and training services offered by People Biz, Inc. can be found online at www.peoplebizinc.com or by calling (512) 989-2230.

December 21, 2010

So, you were fired. Now what?

So, you were fired.  Now what?  How will you explain it when you interview?

How do you respond to a job interview question about why you left your last job, when the answer is that you were fired?  This question is dreaded by everyone who has ever been laid off.  But it doesn’t have to be that way…

There are many questions that job seekers are asked. “What salary are you looking for?” is a common one.  “Why should we hire you?” is another.  And “Why did you leave your last job?” – this one can leave you spluttering if you were fired and don’t know how to answer, and most people don’t!  After they’ve stumbled through a few answers, trying in vain to phrase it in an acceptable way and are not invited back for a second interview, their fears are confirmed.  No one will hire them because they’ve been fired.

But that’s not what is really happening.  The problem is not that they were fired, but how they answered the question.

We don’t stay at a job our entire lives like our grandparents did.  Not only is it common to change jobs, some believe it’s the best way to leverage salary and a career.  Most of the changes may be of your own volition – odds are a few changes will involve being fired or laid-off.

Companies are bought out, they merge, they down-size, and they consolidate, which means inevitably there’s a duplication of staff.  It can be as simple as the new president wanting to bring in his own team.  He probably didn’t even look at your capabilities; he just decided you were “outta there”.  These departures aren’t as difficult to explain, and your answer can be relatively easy.

The instances that cause real concern feel very personal, even when they aren’t. You are the only one who was dismissed, and what’s more, you know they’ll replace you.  You’re caught off guard, angry, and frightened.  In an instant, you’re on the defensive, which is usually where people remain. And that’s exactly what causes the problem.  Interviewers can spot “victim” mentality from a mile away.  

Firing isn’t always about the individual, even though that’s who is impacted the most.  Sometimes it’s about the boss—especially bosses with issues.  It might be about poor performance, but that’s not always negative. It could be the result of having different philosophies.  For instance, the company may value those who work weekends, nights and holidays.  You prefer to balance your life.

Once you’re fired, you can’t change the circumstances.  But you can control how you view them.  While departmental or companywide layoffs are easier to explain, they can also cause damage.  You wonder, “If I’d been really good, wouldn’t they have found another spot for me?”  In addition, you’re in an insecure place that sometimes is difficult to adjust to.

Take some time to clear some tears or anger.  If you’re tempted to recoil, rehash, threaten revenge or otherwise communicate with your previous employer, don’t.  Remember two words: reference and reputation.  Don’t burn your bridges!  Leave the company gracefully.

During this time you have given yourself, detach yourself from the event and honestly examine what happened. Look at the facts.  That’s the only way you’re going to get any insight and begin adjusting your thoughts and perspective.  There are hundreds of reasons for dismissal, so there is no perfect answer.

The first step, as trite as it sounds, is to look at it as a blessing – an opportunity to grow or move on.  It may take some time to see, but no matter how bad it looks or feels, something good will come of it.  Maybe it will be a better job, a chance to grow, a new business, or the realization that you hated your career – who knows?

If you’re too busy being the angry and defensive victim, not only will you miss the chance to capitalize on the positive outcome, but you’ll also keep experiencing negative consequences.  When you’re in a victimized frame of mind, you’ll miss recognizing an opportunity and continue to perpetuate your unemployment.

The unequivocal rule in an interview is to tell the truth.  If they discover you lied, you’ll be wondering for a long time how you’ll pay your bills.  So when you’re asked why you left, tell them you were fired.  Forthright brevity is best.  It’s all in how you phrase it.  The trick is a shift in perspective, which is easier when you’ve purged the defensiveness and shame.

Don’t give a long, rambling story or blame the company, your boss, or anyone else.  Take full responsibility.  Do not be a victim in any way shape or form.  Did you learn from the experience?  Then by all means, say so. It is okay to say the role, company, or job was not a good fit for me.  Not every job is right for every person.  There are philosophical differences, chemistry problems, tough spots, and bosses who are difficult and self-absorbed.

Regardless of the reason, it wasn’t your perfect job, or you weren’t quite what they needed.  The great thing is that it was recognized (in whatever form) and everyone is moving on.  The goal is to be real about what works for you and why the firing took place.

Let’s examine two answers to the question: “Why did you leave your last job?”

“I don’t know.  I was doing my job.  Most everyone liked me.  They always came to me for advice instead of our boss.  When the other manager left, they promoted the assistant.  She’s maybe about 28.  I guess they thought she’d be good just because she’d been there a long time, but she really was a shrew.  I think she hated me.  She was always talking down to me.  She never did this with the “higher ups”.  One time she took credit for one of my projects.  She’s the one that should have left!  I’m glad to be out of there.”

“I was fired, actually.  The assistant manager was promoted to manager because she had seniority and she was very good at her job.  Unfortunately, she was young and perhaps she thought respect was automatically accorded instead of earned, because when everyone else began coming to me instead of her, it didn’t seem to sit well with her.  Despite that I excelled in my responsibilities and met my goals, she let me go.  I’m sorry to have had to leave the company.  I did learn that I could have been a better communicator and I could have built a relationship with her.  That could have saved my job.  Next time I will work harder on that instead of assume someone knows my intentions.”

Can you spot the differences?  As the interviewer, what would you think?

You must work out a comfortable response.  Rewrite it, rephrase it, and test it.  Be able to say it calmly and sincerely.  If you notice hesitation or discomfort, your words and your attitude (possibly both) need an adjustment.  There is no good or bad.  There’s only perspective, which is your choice.  Firing is considered “bad,” but what’s bad about being fired when a boss has issues?  What’s bad about protecting a customer or not compromising your ethics?  What’s bad about being asked to leave because the position description changed and doesn’t fit your job preferences or skills?  What’s bad about being fired from a sales job for lousy numbers when you hate selling (and realize later that you’re relieved to be gone)?

One last bit of advice:  talk through your responses to interview questions with an objective supporter, like a career counselor or a career coach.  Sometimes we can gain perspective by having a conversation with a neutral party.

Alicia Marie
People Biz, Inc.

October 15, 2010

“Valuing a Business” – Case Study by Brian Walters & Associates

Under what circumstances would it be necessary to need to know the value of a business? Well, there are myriad reasons why knowing what a company might command in the open market might be a critical piece of information.

A divorce; the opportunity to offer an attractive remuneration package to a potential executive; the dissolution of a business partnership; to obtain a second opinion on a previously performed business valuation- these are all valid reasons why one might need to know the value of a business.

Brian Walters and Associates has conducted several appraisals – read about one below.

Client Specifics

“John Doe” was part owner of two companies- one an established business grossing approximately $20 million annually, the other a startup company that saw revenues of almost $18 million in its first year, and was projected to do 2 times that much the following year, with projected increases for the foreseeable future of approximately 20% annually.

Mr. Doe owned 20% of one company, and 10% of the second.

Mr. Doe had fallen out of favor with his fellow business owners, and the business relationship was ending. In order for everyone to part on good terms, the other owners agreed to give Mr. Doe a check for his share of the value of the company. So the valuation project was initiated to accomplish a few objectives:

  • The overall value of each company needed to be determined (and Mr. Doe’s gross share calculated)
  • The other business owners had already performed a valuation of both businesses; we were tasked with comparing the previously performed valuation with the one to be done by us, and justifying any differences
  • Mr. Doe’s share eventually had to be adjusted to account for 2 common discounts applied when assessing the value of a minority share- Discount for Lack of Control (DLOC) and Discount for Lack of Marketability (DLOM). An opinion needed to be offered on what an appropriate percentage was for both these discounts.

The Project

Performing a business valuation is an intensive, exhaustive process that involves several key activities, all of which are interrelated, and each of which adds another piece of valuable information to the overall objective of providing an opinion of value to the business.

A few are highlighted here:

  • Interviewed key associates in both companies to obtain a sense of how each company was operated.
  • Interfaced regularly with the bookkeepers and CPAs of both companies in order to obtain all of the financial information needed to complete the valuation project.
  • Recast the financials as necessary, making the adjustments needed to view each firm in an appropriate light and to make decisions regarding the valuation independent of the particular idiosyncrasies commonly seen in privately run firms.
  • Performed an intense analysis of the industry in which both companies operated, taking note of all trends and including their effects in the final appraisal report.
  • Conducted research on previous court cases involving DLOC and DLOM for the industries in which the subject companies operated, and determined an appropriate value for each discount.         

 *Note:  Even though this project involved scrutinizing court cases, we are NOT attorneys, nor do we claim any expertise in the legal field*

  • Selected several methods of performing the appraisals for each company, then weighted each appropriately in order to determine the most appropriate method for assessing value to the projects.
  • After an appropriate level of scrutiny of the previously performed valuation, offered an opinion as to why it was not appropriately performed, and why our client was entitled to a higher share of the business than first calculated.

The End Result

Due to the work performed on this project, Mr. Doe was able to receive from his former business partners a check in an amount that more accurately reflected the value of his share of the companies. He has now successfully divested himself of the untenable position represented by his former business climate, and has other business interests that he is currently pursuing.

Being able to supply such a critical piece of information for the client to assist in his long-range planning is always a great pleasure for the consultants at BWA, as we realize the importance of this function to any of the processes that involve needing to know the value of a business.

 

Case Study provided by Brian Walters, CEO of 

Brian Walters & Associates.

 

Click here to view the BWA website!

 

 

 

 

June 21, 2010

The Middle Way is Very Simple ~

The middle way is very simple. Keep it simple and you will find the balance you have been yearning for. All extremes are fear based and destructive. Should you eat all the time? Well no, that would not be good for you. Should you stop eating all together? No, that would not be good for you. I could ask you the same questions around exercise,  work, play, relationships and on and on.  From science, we know that if you pull a pendulum 30 degrees to the right it will swing 30 degrees to the left. You do not need a philosopher to understand this.  

Sometimes an extreme solution feels like a good idea. For example; if you are always alone, eat alone, go to movies alone, watch TV alone, and work alone. Being in a relationship where you are together all the time may sound good to you. The reason it seems like a good idea is that you are living in the opposite extreme. However, if you then entered into that relationship, it would not be long until you needed your space. Learning to swing your pendulum less to the left or to the right is the middle way. The middle way is that place where you are not forcing or pushing against anything.  

The energy is balanced. You must first realize that everything has its opposite. This means everything has a middle point as well. Awareness of this makes the middle way possible. When you stop swinging between the opposites, you will discover far more energy than you ever imagined. What takes others hours will start to take you minutes. The things that wear other people out will not even faze you. You will learn how to manage your energy efficiently. 

I am saying that most of us waste tremendous energy on extremes. The inefficiency of your actions are determined by how off center you are. When you spend lots of time trying to maintain an extreme, nothing moves forward. You get stuck in a rut. You become stuck working too hard or too little, eating too much, not sleeping, being depressed.  

How do you find the middle way? How do you stop the pendulum from swinging back and forth so violently? Amazingly enough, you do this by leaving the pendulum alone. It will not keep swinging to extremes unless you feed the extremes with energy. Stop participating in the extremes and your pendulum will come to center. You will be filled with energy because you have stopped wasting it on extremes.  

This is quite different from how most people live. Someone cuts you off in traffic and you could be upset for an hour or more! If you are operating it the middle way.  Things happen and they pass. You do not get pulled into upset easily. Someone cuts you off in traffic and you feel pulled towards upset…then being aware, you open your heart, release and move on. Continuous upset is a signal that you are operating in an extreme. We all get out of balance. It can be a great way to discover the middle way actually.  

Awareness of your emotions will keep you from being stuck. The middle way is blind. You cannot see where you are going instead you use your cane to feel where you shouldn’t go thus finding your path.  

Excerpt from Healthy Solutions Program http://www.peoplebizinc.com/lifeworks/healthy-solutions/ 

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June 15, 2010

Ask an Expert, Pieter J. Dewet, “Heal Thyself”

Join our Ask An Expert session in August – Dr. Pieter DeWet- Heal Thy Self  

Pieter J. DeWet, M.D., M.D.(H), FAAFP, ABHIM
Holistic Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Homeopathy,  Family Practice, Chronic Disease Management

Dr. Pieter J. DeWet has been in private practice, practicing Wellness medicine since 1997 and is the owner and medical director of Quantum Healing Institute in Tyler, TX.  Dr. De Wet graduated medical school in 1985 and has been a family physician since 1991 when he obtained his Board Certification in Family Medicine through the American Board of Family Medicine.  He has been a fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice since 1994 and completed a fellowship in Faculty Development in 1994.  He has been a Diplomat of the American Board of Holistic and Integrative Medicine  since the year 2000.  In 2007 he also received his Arizona Homeopathic and Integrative medicine license. 

Dr. DeWet completed his residency in family medicine at the University of Texas Health Center at Tyler in 1991. He pursued a career in academic medicine at UT Health Center starting immediately after his residency until he left UT Health Center in 1997 to go into private practice. Dr. DeWet was associate professor of family medicine and associate program director of the family practice residency program. He was intimately involved in the development of numerous chronic disease management programs at the University of Texas Health Center. He was also the founder and director of the Center for Nutrition Preventive Medicine there from 1995-1997.

Dr. DeWet has been co-host of a nationally syndicated radio program called Healthy, Wealthy & Wise since 2004. He and his wife Cindi are currently hosts of their own XM radio program called “The Quantum Healing Hour” on XM 170 every Saturday 4-5PM CST. Dr. DeWet has spent his entire career in medicine starting from the time he entered medical school to search for the most effective, least harmful and the most cost effective methods to treat patients with complex health challenges, and currently treats patients from all around the country and worldwide for diseases and health conditions ranging from the most simple to some of the most complex. Dr. DeWet approaches all patients holistically, which means he focuses on body, mind and soul and routinely addresses and assists in the treatment of patient’s physical, emotional, social, mental, environmental and spiritual issues as it relates to their overall health situation. He is determined to find and treat the root causes of illness in each patient that he sees which is one reason why Dr. DeWet is credited for getting very good results with the majority of his patients, especially those that are willing to make the commitment to heal all aspects of their health challenges.

Date & Time: Wednesday, August 11th, 2010 at 3PM CST.


Call               (512) 989-2230         (512) 989-2230 or email rsvp@peoplebizinc.com.  
 No cost to attend.  Reserve your space today!

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May 19, 2010

Possibility Thinking: So You Think You Have it Figured Out?

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.  ~ Einstein

The cycle of natural learning is curiosity> inquiry> knowledge> application. 

We are wired to naturally learn as we go through life.  However, many of  us so called “adults”  however seem to  have given up on this type of thinking and learning, opting instead for finding the “right’ answer.  Why is being “right” more important than learning? 

We all do it in one way or another…  reach for what we know versus what we could learn? I guess it is easier? If I already know how my husband is there is no need to listen, inquire or really communicate. If I already know how my employer is there is no reason to ask for a raise.  The list goes on and on.  Maybe it is some kind of risk management mechanism that our mind likes to play? Keeping us from really engaging in life. Life becomes dry and uneventful. We have been there done that.

As a result, many of us have stopped learning.  The job of a coach is to develop people’s natural ability to grow and learn. When we open ourselves up to the question versus the answer anything becomes possible. Our child-like wonder is awakened.  We experience more and more joy. Opportunities arise. Why? When we are in “the know” we cannot see our own incompetence. Unfortunately, the people around us can! We stay blind to what would be possible if we were to stretch and grow. 

To start opening up to what you could learn, just ask yourself:  “What could I become curious about?”  Or challenge yourself:  “Maybe I could learn something here?” or “What if that isn’t true?”  The question is always more powerful than the answer. Start with all the places you are absolutely certain you are right. Start questioning the validity of your point of view. Be curious, not judgmental. There is a night and day difference. Play with possible points of view, ask: ” How else could someone see this?” or ” what is another possible way to interpret that?” . Remember, your point of view is limited to what you can see. From wherever you are, you can only see part of something.  Thinking our way or opinion is right is what shuts learning and growing down.  All of your answers come from the past.  Aren’t you tired of living there?    

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October 14, 2009

Dr. Maria Nemeth will be our next guest in the Ask an Expert series!

Join Alicia Marie as she interviews Dr. Maria Nemeth on “The Energy of Money”

Maria Nemeth, Ph.D., MCC, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Master Certified Coach, is an internationally recognized speaker, author and seminar leader. She is the founder and Creative Director of the Academy for Coaching Excellence. For more than 20 years, Dr. Nemeth has trained professional coaches, ministers, clinicians, executives, teachers, and private individuals using the coaching methods and skills that she has designed. Her courses and workshops have been taken by thousands of people who report significant, even miraculous, changes in their lives as a result of her teachings.

Maria is the author of The Energy of Money: A Spiritual Guide to Financial and Personal Fulfillment, which is available in five languages. Her nine-hour audio cassette series, The Energy of Money, won the 1999 Audie Award for Best Personal Development Series.

In addition to her overseeing the Academy, Dr. Nemeth presents at conferences and organizations worldwide. Her work emphasizes clear communication and empowers people to take authentic action to produce extraordinary outcomes.

Check out Maria’s interview on YouTube.

Tuesday, October 27th @ 3-4pm CST
No cost to attend. Reserve your space today!

Call (512)989-2230 or email rsvp@profitconsultingco.com.
To join the session, dial (724)444-7444
Call ID: 64981 / Pin: 1#

September 10, 2009

What You Pay Attention To Grows

We have all taken a beaten from the media this last year. All the negative news about the economy and the recession can be overwhelming. I even had one anxious client say, “It feels like the world is coming to an end.”

Take a moment to think of something that happened in your past that seemed very bad at the time, but now in retrospect you see what a blessing it was.

I absolutely know that the challenges we are facing economically now will look like a blessing in retrospect. Businesses will get stronger and leaner. Families will come together. Governments will change. People will remember what faith is. Programs and non-profits will emerge as well as all the positive change we cannot yet see.

I invite all of you to step into hope and give up the worry and concern. How effective can you be when you are worried? How productive are you when you are anxious? How creative are you when you are upset?

Of course, I believe that positive thinking is important for many reasons. If only for your peace of mind, I invite you to stay focused on what is right, what is working and what is good in your business and in your life. What you pay attention to grows and thrives!

August 27, 2009

Leadership Institute

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WHAT: M3 Race Leadership Institute
Nurture and Enhance the power of community to successfully grow your business and yourself.

WHEN: Thursday, September 24th thru Saturday, September 26th, 2009

WHERE: Office Depot headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida.

We at Count Me In believe that entrepreneurship equals leadership, and so do our partners at Office Depot. Leadership takes vision and discipline, creativity and tenacity, risk-taking, earth-shaking, courage, confidence and commitment. It also takes a strong community– this one. Our Leadership Institute will help you successfully grow your business and yourself.

Featured Workshop: Select, Hire & Retain Top Talent – Alicia Marie Fruin

Want To Create Your Dream Team? Now you can! In this workshop you will:
• Craft a strategic plan to build your team
• Learn how to profile roles and write accurate job descriptions
• Design targeted job ads that attract the right people
• Develop the skills to recognize and retain top talent
• Get great interviewing tips and a FREE CD of materials you can use in your business.

Here’s what you’ll experience:

* Two tracks of powerful workshops taught by experts in their fields
* Elevator Business Pitch Updates
* Vendor Matching by WBENC connecting your product or service with corporations, universities, hospitals or government agencies interested in doing business with you. (Separate registration required– Click here to register)
* Panels, speakers and some creative surprises
* Plus lots of time to share with and learn from each other, one of the hallmarks of the Count Me In community
* Shuttle service between hotel and Office Depot available
* Valet Parking at Office Depot

Click here to register!

August 21, 2009

Letting Go…

One of our Leading Change Participants generously agreed to let me post her article on Letting Go .The focus of the Leading Change program is developing our emotional intelligence so we can be better leaders.    

Letting Go by Karina Miller  

I like to think I’m good at letting go, but what I’ve realized lately is that letting go of friends, moving homes and changing jobs frequently, and being what I thought was highly resilient through any change thrown at me isn’t the same thing as letting go. I’m good at change that doesn’t result in real change — changing the surface things and letting go of small annoyances. I’m good at surviving. I have come to understand lately that being “good at change” and survival is not the same thing as creating big, meaningful breakthroughs. I had simply become very good at creating the illusion of letting go and dealing with change. 

A ropes course I took last year helped me begin to understand the true meaning of letting go. It was a powerful analogy for the physical sensation of letting go of something my core physiology and psychology truly thought was required for sheer survival. I was harnessed to a very solid line, standing on a log, about 40 feet up in the trees. I had practiced sitting in my harness and knew that there was no way to fall. My conscious intellect “knew” that letting go of the ropes that connected my harness to the main line wouldn’t hurt a thing. Letting go of my death grip on those ropes would actually free up energy to help with my balance and focus, which would in turn improve my performance dramatically. Yet it was literally one of the the hardest physical, mental, and emotional things I’ve ever done. I was terrified and on the verge of breaking down into a puddle of tears.

It felt similar to many past experiences of clearly irrational fear, panic, and depression. With the help of an excellent coach, I finally, and very slowly, eased my grip and let go entirely. I also learned to request the support I needed from my coach – at the mechanical, strategic, and deep “feeling” levels of learning. 

Once I actually let go and felt the sensation of letting go throughout my body, I was able to work through the course to the limit of my true physical abilities and continue the process of letting go of fear. I felt much freer and was able to move forward, establish challenging goals, and do things I never thought were possible – including effectively coaching others who were more skilled than me. The same has been true of letting go of my suffering and resistance to the fear of shame. 

Several months later I saw the aftermath of harmful “letting go” when a man let go of the Aurora Bridge rail from the outside and fell hundreds of feet to his death, right next to me. Although letting go of the ropes felt similar to causing myself to plunge to certain death, the difference between letting go of my hardcore grip on habits, thoughts, emotions, fears, and hurts that limit me from living a fully engaged life, and making very poor choices that conflict with my values or go so far as to inflict harm or death on myself or anyone else were stark. My survival mechanism doesn’t always know the difference. Sometimes it feels like letting go of something I’ve held onto tightly my entire life will literally cause my death. But, my brain and heart can tell the difference if I really listen. By deepening my understanding of my fears, opinions, stories, and hypocrisies through coaching, feedback from others, and deep personal reflection, and then letting go of them, I have started understanding the possibilities for true freedom, deep love, authenticity, and true engagement in my life.