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Author: Bradley K. Ward, PCC
Brad is a Professional Certified Coach who works with nonprofit organization leaders, people who find themselves ready for transformation, and women who lead. Before opening his practice, Brad served in the nonprofit sector for 20 years. Contact Brad to find out how coaching can help you do what you do, better!

The Future is Uncertain, Exactly as It ‘s Always Been

If you find yourself concerned about the uncertainty of the future, you’re not alone. But there’s an open secret that may surprise you: the future has always been uncertain.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, you may have felt like you knew what was ahead. Certainly there are flashes of the future you can predict or envision, but much of what happens is out of your control. If nothing else, the pandemic has made that truth more clear. And it leaves you with a choice to make about how you approach planning for the future: should you make plans or not?

I hope you’ll decide to make plans. To choose otherwise suggests you could lack optimism or may have a fatalistic attitude about the future. But you’ve chosen to make plans, so that’s a great sign!

Give yourself options

Since you’re looking ahead with optimism, consider all the possibilities that are ahead of you. One of those could be retirement. If you think you’ll retire from your job or career in the future, you can choose to save money. Setting aside even a small amount of money from each paycheck will give you a degree of certainty in your own financial independence.

Another opportunity for you to consider is contingency planning. If you have a career you really love and want to stay in it, consider what ways you can be more flexible. Maybe it’s weighing the implications of being in a long lease versus a shorter one. Or how you can make your services more inclusive to attract a wider audience. What language or languages should you consider learning? Moreover, how much of this can you do without diluting your impact?

While you’re considering contingencies, you may entertain the idea of constricting rather than expanding. What if you need to go deeper into your niche so you have a narrower specialty? What services do you need to discontinue so you can focus on the ones that deliver the most value for your clients? Which parts of your job are most rewarding to you? Which parts can you contract out so you can spend more time on the elements that are profitable?

Options can give you certainty

Contingency planning gives you options to reach your goals or desired outcome. A contingency plan doesn’t necessarily mean you’re giving up on your goal or that your pursuit is not purely in the direction you intend, but it can mean that you’ve given thought to the impact of things outside your control. And you’ve given yourself some options that will produce the outcomes you desire. Or even an outcome better than the one you envisioned.

So, now that you have peered into the unknown future, what do you see? I hope you see something as bright and hopeful as the future you envisioned before the pandemic hit. And I hope you see how giving yourself options will lead you to the goals you have so carefully crafted, even if it means taking a detour along the way.

Uncertainty and change are the constants in life. But you don’t have to fear them when you can empower yourself with flexibility to mange them.

Bradley K. Ward, PCC, is a leadership and transformational coach at The Mission Coach, LLC in Palm Springs, CA. Contact Brad to find out how coaching can help you do what you do, better!

Recognize the Good Around You

Recognize the Good Around You

I declared 2020 to be my year of clarity. What’s coming into focus is I haven’t been good at recognizing my own contributions to my profession and to people beyond my spheres of influence. Fortunately, there are people out there who have done exactly that. They have picked up on something I’ve contributed or some work I’ve done and given me a moment of recognition. And I’m grateful I’ve caught their attention!

Someone noticed me. Now what?

I didn’t know I’d have any influence beyond the borders of the US, but technology has made that possible. However, last month, MSN Asia picked up one of my tips in a piece about sustaining a happy marriage: https://www.msn.com/en-xl/asia/life-arts/the-50-best-marriage-tips-of-all-time/ss-BBZ0qmU.

And earlier this month, Brandon from Life Coach Path interviewed me. He’s facilitating a series of conversations to help coaches in training understand what it’s really like to enter the profession of coaching. I’m honored to be among some distinguished folk in my profession. Find my interview at http://www.nationalcoachacademy.com/coach-interview-series-brad-ward.

Notice what people are doing around you!

I’m taking away from the experience of being noticed that it’s important to recognize others. I don’t have to be someone’s manager to offer a compliment or tell someone I appreciate their work. And if they feel as rewarded as I do by simply being recognized, it’s a worthwhile endeavor.

I’ve seen how unexpected recognition or gratitude can change someone’s day for the better. So I’m challenging myself and you to make that a practice at least once a week. Rather than looking at my phone while I’m waiting in line, I can look around me for people going out of their way to do something kind or thoughtful. But it takes more than noticing, it takes recognizing the effort to the person doing it or to the person I’m there to see.

Imagine what the world would be like if a few people made the effort to notice and recognize the work of others. If you’re picturing a place you’d like to live, join me in watching for and calling out the unnoticed good you see around you. Even if you don’t return to that place, you’ll leave behind a positive experience for someone. And who wouldn’t want to do that?

Bradley K. Ward, PCC is a leadership and transformational coach at The Mission Coach, LLC in Palm Springs, CA. Contact Brad to find out how coaching can help you do what you do, better!

My 2020 Guiding Principle: Clarity

A few years ago, I brazenly gave up on resolutions and opted instead for a word that would be my guiding principle for the year. Coming up to 2020, I had initially chosen celebration as my word. But the longer I lived with it, the less I liked it. I know too many people whose experiences in 2019 made that word feel cheap and tone-deaf to the realities of our world today.

I struggled for a while. Then I heard myself tell someone that my word for 2020 was vision. I reflexively recoiled because it was trite and predictable. I immediately went back to the proverbial drawing board to reconsider what I would choose for 2020.

Nothing sounded right to me. I went through so many words that I can’t even recall all of them. I was putting pressure on myself to identify my guiding principle and feeling unsettled with how I would start the year. Then, it occurred to me that the searching was a key to my dilemma. And I finally saw it as plain as day:

Clarity

This year, I will invite, seek, and practice clarity. Not that I’ll be 100% successful – I’ve no such delusions about who I am. But I will think before I speak so I bring clarity to the conversation. I’ll ask questions rather than opining so I can hear what clarity others have to offer.

When I attempt to communicate and find myself failing, I will lean into clarity and ask the listener what I can do to make myself more clear to them. And hopefully I can do this by using empathy to put myself in their position for a moment.

When I hear myself becoming frustrated with someone else, I will step away from my impatience and ask questions that allow me to focus on creating shared meaning. That is, after all, the entire point of our communications with each other.

And when political discourse starts to take its inevitable destructive turn, I’ll remind myself that letting others speak with clarity is a critical part of understanding our differences.

But there’s more

What else is required of me if I’m in pursuit of clarity? I think it includes recognizing when I’m in a situation where I will not be heard and taking my leave from it. I think it includes letting go of the need to change an opinion of someone else. And I think it includes being present to the needs of the person or people I’m engaged with so that I respond to those needs in the moment.

As odd as it sounds, I think clarity isn’t always about being clear, myself. But it is also about giving other people the space to be clear for themselves. I’m really good at this as a coach, but don’t always make a habit of doing it outside of a coaching session.

A toast to 2020

Clarity. In 2020, I will seek clarity as often as I can. I hope your 2020 is filled with celebrations, moments of vision and clarity, and more love and laughter than you expect. Happy new year!

Preserving Nature and Human Dignity

It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.

Jimmy Carter

Earlier this month, Jimmy Carter celebrated his 95th birthday. I was a child when he served as 39th President of the United States, so I don’t remember much about his term in office. What I’ve since learned is how much wisdom he imparts and what an excellent example of service to country he offers us, even at his advanced age. What I didn’t realize until I found this quote is how insightful he is about the survival of our natural world and our role in preserving it.

Failure to notice nature

I think I frequently failed to notice the beauty of nature when I lived in a big city. It’s easy to do when you’re surrounded by tall buildings, endless concrete, and people rushing to their next scheduled appointment. Maybe it’s happened to you, too.

But since we moved to Palm Springs, I intentionally stand in awe of Mt. San Jacinto to the west every morning and evening when it’s time to walk the dogs. I make a point of looking up to the mountain to take in the beauty and grandeur of what nature has offered us. And I stop to think how grateful I am that San Jacinto is the protector of the valley I call home.

Imagine the consequences

But what if you never honor the wealth of nature around you? What if you fail to appreciate its beauty, vastness, or seemingly impossible stillness? Would you miss nature if it disappeared from view tomorrow?

What if you spend more than 8 hours each day sitting at your desk, not making time to look out the nearest window to take in the sky? What if your weekends are filled with errands and chores that render your free time void of any appreciation of the world around you? Would you miss nature if it disappeared from view tomorrow?

For a moment, imagine the impact of not teaching your children to honor the gifts of nature around them; the impact of teaching your children hatred and war. What kind of world would we hand the next generation?

The dignity of humans

Now substitute people for nature – what is the impact of failing to teach your children to notice and honor what people offer each other? What is the impact of promoting the idea that others are not important?

I hear people say they don’t want to live in a world where they pay for the mistakes of others. I can understand the sentiment, but the truth is we already live in a world where we pay for the mistakes of others. Likewise, we benefit from the successes of others – although perhaps not always in monetary terms.

Here’s an example of how we benefit from the successes of other people. Not too long ago, Elon Musk opened for all the technology behind his electric vehicles that was previously patented. He did so to make it easier for vehicle manufacturers around the world to make cars that do not burn hydrocarbons. His innovation can now benefit us all.

Jimmy Carter’s prescient observations about nature are staggering to consider. And if you consider that people are an offering of nature, how much more staggering is the impact of failing to heed his words?

Bradley K. Ward, ACC is a leadership and transformational coach at The Mission Coach, LLC in Palm Springs, CA. Contact Brad to learn how coaching can help you do what you do, better!

Groovy New Location

Groovy New Location

Starting on September 1, 2018, find The Mission Coach at its new location in Kaptur Plaza. This stretch of buildings sat vacant and deteriorating for several years. But a small group of Palm Springs residents saved the building from demolition in 2015 because of its architectural value and its significance to the body of work of architect Hugh Kaptur. 

Find us at
650 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 2
Palm Springs, CA 92262

I’m excited to be in a vibrant office space surrounded by people making Palm Springs a wonderful place to live, work, and play. See you soon!

Brad

MissionCoachLocation2
New Location of The Mission Coach, LLC
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Find The Mission Coach at 650 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 2.

Bradley K. Ward, ACC is a leadership and transformational coach at The Mission Coach, LLC in Palm Springs, CA. Contact Brad to find out how coaching can help you do what you do, better!

Turning the Page to 2018

December 31; the last day of our calendar year. Today is a great day to look back, reflect, smile, laugh, cry, or simply be present with what happened over the last year. It’s also a great time to give yourself some words of encouragement for the year ahead.

We’re each a bit wiser for the experiences of the last 365 days and, hopefully, a bit more tolerant of the humanity in ourselves and others. It’s possible one of those humans will  ask you tonight about your hopes and plans for the coming year.

Resolutions aren’t for everyone


If you’re not one to make a resolution (like me), then what will you do to keep your year moving in a direction that you intend? Consider an alternative, such as a word or action that will ground you in your purpose for the year. You don’t have to do anything cheesy or silly, unless that’s your thing, to keep yourself focused on your chosen word. But I think it’s important to find a way to keep that word present in your thoughts and actions if it’s to be a meaningful part of your year.

I’ve chosen a word to remind myself of what I intend to cultivate at home, among my clients, and in others.

My word for 2018 is THRIVE.

The last couple of months I’ve been planning 2018 and the word thrive kept showing up in my reflections. It came up too frequently to ignore, so after a few years of working on the foundation of my practice, I’ve decided it’s time to grow!

An appealing thing about thriving: it’s contagious. People who are thriving are easy to be around because their enthusiasm readily connects with the people they encounter. It inspires others to find their own sense of vitality and fulfillment. And so on, and so on.

Here’s to a 2018 filled with wonder, joy, and opportunity to be inspired and to inspire others. Happy New Year!

Bradley K. Ward, ACC is a leadership and transformational coach at The Mission Coach, LLC in Palm Springs, CA. Contact Brad to find out how coaching can help you do what you do, better!

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