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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Putting Inspiration Into Action: Sing Like There is No Tomorrow

By Joy Mizzoni
Team Support Specialist
ActionCoach Spokane

If you read my post You have to tell yourself you can do it. Otherwise you won't. 
then you are aware that I was recently inspired by a client to start thinking outside the box. The post below tells how I put that inspiration into action.

I have always wanted to sing. I can sing loud. I can sing with my heart. My passion brings tears to my eyes. But what it brings to people's ears is far less poignant, I'm afraid.

And that's okay.

Yes, I can hear myself and no, you will never find me on an American Idol audition. Yes, 15 minutes of fame for frightful singing may sound enticing to some, but to me, I can think of far better ways to gain it than by publicly sharing my penchant for Judy Garland melodies.

Thus, I am terrified to sing in front of people. I would rather stand naked in a room full of strangers and give a 45-minute dissertation on vacuum cleaners then sing you a song. And trust me, I abhor vacuum cleaners.

Now, common consensus is that we should face our fears. So, I hired a vocal coach.

I honestly showed up to the very first voice lesson in my entire life, last week, thinking that in 45-minutes, I was going to walk out a new woman. A leading-role woman. All these years, when I fantasized about voice lessons, I imagined showing up, getting handed a glass of wine, and getting down to the business of singing.

In my dream land, one glass of wine, and enchantingly sharing a song with my instructor was all it takes for my melodic troubles to melt away like lemon drops.


Wait. Let me say that again.


First, they don't serve any alcohol at voice lessons.

Second, as it turns out, every episode of FAME was complete bull. They only showed the dancing in the streets.

What they didn't show was the extremely difficult and somewhat humiliating vocal exercises that, for some scientific reason, take an enormous amount of coordination.

How can I be uncoordinated just standing there? No wait. Not just standing there, but standing still, with my arms at my side, feet firmly planted on the floor. The only thing moving is my mouth.

I have had plenty of practice day in and day out opening my mouth without any effort and producing a myriad of sounds. And I talk with my hands.

I should be really good at standing still and singing. I mean, what's the difference?

I don't know the answer to that yet. I don't know why my vocal cords are so flabby. I exercise them constantly. Ask anyone I've ever talked to. They'll agree.

All I can say is that this is hard work. And I can't even tell you it's fun yet because, when I think about fun, I don't usually associate it with work, let alone HARD work and, my least favorite, PRACTICE.

I thought about not going back.

But then I also thought about how bad I would feel if I just quit after one lesson. I thought about the one thing on my bucket list: learn how to sing; be in one musical before I die.

So, instead of quitting, I decided to alternate lessons between myself and my two daughters. No more mommy guilt of doing solely for me and I now have two weeks to practice between lessons.


I only have one goal in mind right now....Not quit until I can get up and sing in front of someone other than my windshield wipers and hold nothing back. 

I mean nothing.

To do my absolute best. To close my eyes and just give it all I've got and see what happens.

Right now, I don't know what I'm capable of in life. But I'm going to try a brand new approach.

I'm not going to put limits on my talent, opportunities and dreams until I fully understand my limitations. By limitations, I don't mean fear, self doubt, guilt, and all those other little blood sucking mosquitoes. I mean my physical limitations.

I know that the voice I have is only capable of so much regardless of outside influences. Some things are out of our control.

But that's just it...I've always made excuses why what I've got is broken in numerous areas of my life with out ever testing the voltage.

So this time, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Let's just plugger in and let the sparks fly....

Special thanks to Kathleen Cavender, vocal coach, artist, and entrepeneaur. Please visit her site at

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Guest Blogger: Business Coach Ted Schmidt...I am telling you it is going to be worth it

By Business Coach Ted Schmidt
ActionCOACH Spokane

Nothing frustrates me more than watching a business owner struggle with their business when I know I can help them.  This is especially true when I have reached out to them and offered to help. Yet for one reason/rationalization or another they decline my assistance.

My approach with business owners is not to try to sell them coaching, it is instead to show them the value in having a coach and let them come to the conclusion that they want to take action. The problem is that most business owners won’t take action and selling them into coaching is not a formula for success. If a business owner has to been pulled (sold) into coaching they most likely will not be successful.  A business owner has to want to change things for the better and be willing to put in the time and effort necessary to achieve success.

As a business coach I can’t force a business owner to accept my help they have to be willing to take the step of retaining me as there coach. Part of my frustration is that in order to help a business owner they first must retain me as their coach.  If they choose not to engage me as their coach, I am left with knowing I could have helped them and yet I won’t be allowed to.

The worst part of all is when I happen to connect with them a year or so later and they are in a worse or at best the same place they were before.  I think to myself if only I could have been able to work them as their coach how much better off they would be now.  I realize that I can’t help everyone, however I do feel the need to at least reach out to business owners I know I can help and give them an opportunity to take action.

It reminds me of a quote from one of the top business coaches in the world named Andrew Johnston..

 “I’m not telling you this is going to be easy, I am telling you it is going to be worth it”.

Visit Coach Ted:


Guest Blogger Introduction: Business Coach Ted Schmidt

Team Support Specialist

Meet Coach Ted Schmidt

With his passion for business and his innate entrepreneurial instincts, it’s no surprise that Ted is a natural-born business coach. 

Ted knows a thing or two about success. He started his career in 1978 with an entry-level position at a tool & equipment rental company. After graduating from college he accepted a position with a Seattle rental company and within five years became a partner and was sitting on the organization’s governing council.
Ted’s sixth sense for opportunity led him to an empty building in Seattle.  While other people may have seen only concrete and debris, Ted saw dollar signs. He transformed this empty building into a multi-million dollar rental store with 24 employees.

With Ted’s shared tenure and guidance, beginning in 1980, the organization saw a seven-fold increase in their market presence prior to accepting an attractive purchase offer for the entire operation.  

The company had three locations in 1980 and had exploded into 22 locations by the time the business was sold in February 2000. With the satisfaction – and financial security – of a job well done, Ted returned to Spokane with his family and started a real-estate investment company.  
When a business associate approached Ted with an opportunity to enter the field of business coaching, the timing was right for him to dedicate his efforts and ambitions to helping other business owners achieve their dreams, as Ted had done for himself.
As a business coach, Ted now helps other business owners to overcome the challenges they face and achieve their goals; both personally and professionally. He adheres to a simple but powerful philosophy: 

"Take care of your team, your team will take care of customers, your customers will take care of the business, and the business will take care of you."

·         Ted was born and raised in Spokane.
·          He graduated from Central Washington University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
·         Ted is a golf enthusiast and is married with two daughters.

"Don’t stew…do" Some words of wisdom for the overwhelmed and under confident...

Every time I start questioning my present situation, something happens to remind me that I am right where I need to be…for example….

My boss called me a writer today.  He probably thinks that I didn’t notice; but I did. 

No one has told me to stop writing blogs at work.  Yet, I have diabolically dodged all the blog ideas floating around my cranial cavity today by telling myself it’s not “really” work related. I keep waiting for the inevitable reprimand. It hasn’t come yet.

This blog has almost 1,000 views.  It’s been live barely a month.  

I just realized the only person telling me that I shouldn’t be writing at work is me. The only demoralizing demon lurching in every shadow is just fear. You know, false expectations appearing real.  

Above the line behavior   is synonymous with victorious behavior.  It is the realm of choices and control.  Below the line behavior  is cutting your nose off to spite your face. It is martyrdom in the most nonsensical sense. 

Unfortunately, sometimes we wear our victimization like our favorite fleece pajamas; warmth emanating from our comforting sense of familiarity.  

My life has been difficult. Not just inconvenient.  I mean Lifetime Movie Channel difficult. I carry a lot of blame towards others for my lack of opportunities. 

But that was then.  A long long time ago, far far away. 

I can handle this. I have been handling it.  If I don’t handle it, then I am to blame. 

If I stop writing blogs, it is because I talked myself out of it. If I am unsuccessful in art, then it’s because I was too afraid to take risks. There is no chorus of the disgruntled undermining my talents, dreams, and passions. 

It’s just me.  It’s just worry.

So, I share this with you, the advice my mentor Coach Jim Munro so generously gave me after listening to me ramble off about 100 different things I wasn’t sure I could handle:

  • Make a list of everything that MUST get done today
  • Then start doing RIGHT NOW what MUST get done

And I swear to you, he ended his pep-talk with “don’t stew, do!”  How he makes this stuff up on the spot, I’ll never know….


Friday, June 8, 2012

Honestly, Encouragement, Truth and Friendship

 I wanted to follow up on the last blog post before I started to minimize the significance of an epiphany I had yesterday evening, which prompted both this posting, and the previous. 

Last night I was working on a painting for Hot Summer Nights at Arbor Crest in July.  This is the largest piece I have done, and I am committed to its finish.  After working on it for several hours, I sat down and looked at my progress.  And then it hit me. 

Like a baseball bat.

Like a ton of bricks.

Like a nuclear bomb. 

Her words rang clearly in my head.   

“Focus on painting.” 

Staring at this enormous canvas tilted on my easel, I saw it for the first time. What she saw. What I couldn’t see.  I saw it now, but she saw it then. In the beginning.  At my first show. 

She must have said it to me more than once, during different occasions. Otherwise, I would not have carried this advice with me, in the back of my mind, over the course of this past year.  

“Focus on painting.” 

I was put off.  Couldn’t she see what I saw in my pastel drawings? 

Forget that she hated my frames, brightly colored, mismatched and haphazard. 

“Focus on painting.”

I wanted to rebel. 

I thought she was just being bossy and condescending; using her artistic and literary credibility to act superior.  

I procrastinated.

I kept playing with pastels.  

I begrudgingly and intermittently painted.  

I don’t know when it happened, but I found myself painting almost every day; my beloved pastels collecting dust. 

And last night, I saw it. 

And I understood. 

She saw something in my paintings not yet developed, and of which, I was unaware. 

A depth, she said last night.  

Last night, staring dumbfounded at my canvas, I realized she was my friend. 

Aren’t you glad I said that, she said last night. 


Yes I am.

Sucess and Personal Growth Are Easily Hindered When You Automatically Expect The Worst From People...Who do YOU need to forgive?









"Unforgiveness leads to great bitterness, which is a costly misuse of your creative imagination"

I realized last night that I am generally untrusting of people. When someone gives me a compliment, I assume they are just being nice. When someone goes out of their way to help me, I assume they are just being nice. When someone offers me criticism or advice, I assume they have an ulterior motive. When someone is generous, I assume they want something.The chip on my shoulder is pretty big and my fortitude of defenses are pretty indestructible. Sometimes I feel like I am a walking shard of glass; all pokey, sharp, and unyielding.

My mentor, Coach Jim Munro, keeps telling me to read Key 22 in "An Enemy Called Average. 
I wanted to share this with you.....

"A chip on the shoulder weighs a ton. Few things get you off track as fast as when someone has done you wrong. When you decide to do anything significant in your life, you will be lied to, stolen from and taken advantage of. How you respond makes all the difference. 

Who do you need to forgive? You may think of this as a spiritual or religious idea. It's also a powerful success principle.

The weight of unforgiveness greatly drags a person down. It is a tremendous load to carry in the race of life. Here's the key: If you want to travel far, travel light. 

When faced with the need to forgive and forget, never make the excuse, "But you don't know what that person did to me!" That may be true, but do you know what unforgiveness will do to you?

Unforgiveness leads to great bitterness, which is a costly misuse of your creative imagination. Great amounts of brain power are used up when you ponder a negative situation and plot how to get even. This kind of thinking is totally unproductive. 

What really matters is what happens in us, not to us. 

Forgiveness is essential for good relationships, both personally and professionally. It's also very valuable business success principle. 

People who burn bridges will find themselves isolated and alone...dealing with those who are neutral and enemies the rest of their lives. That's why we should do all we can to build bridges, not burn them. Vengeance is a poor traveling companion. Getting even always results in imbalance and unhappiness. 

Working with businesses throughout America, I have found unforgiveness in every stagnating situation. Conversely, I have found growing organizations generally don't talk that much about past problems and injustices. Successful people have a way of not letting things stick to them.

Never underestimate the power of forgiveness to free you to focus on your dream. It's one power you have over a person who slanders or takes advantage of you. The farther you walk in forgiveness, the greater the distance you put between yourself and the negative situation. It allows you to run toward your goals and dreams unhindered."


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What I learned from the Cat Test...

As I drove to work this morning, hair dripping wet, reminding myself to put deodorant on at the next stop light I come to, I thought about the Cat Test. 

Last summer, I thought it might be a good idea to adopt a dog.  I visited a local animal shelter and met this giant, brutish pit-bull who seemed to possess the heart of a kitten.  He smiled, drooled, wagged his stub.
When I took him to the play yard he came when I called him. He sat. He won me over. 

I already have a cat named Toad with giant green eyes and a penchant for using inappropriate household items as scratching posts. But he consistently redeems himself by doing literal somersaults.  I’m talking head over tail. You Tube, here we come! 

Needless to say, I would never want to bring home another pet that may try and ingest Toad. Or at the least, do him significant kitty bodily harm. 

Thus, this potential new addition to my home in the form of a jovial, giant bundle of dog had to pass the Cat Test before I could finalize the paperwork. 

So the smiling pit bull and I enter an empty room.  A woman then enters carrying an orange, long-haired cat that resembles a child’s toy thrown in the washer machine one time too many.

The premise of this experiment is to introduce a cat into the room with the dog. If the dog doesn’t try and eat the cat, he passes the Cat Test.

And you thought YOUR JOB SUCKED? 

Life is hard for everyone folks. You, me, the idiot going 55 mph in the fast lane, and yes, this scraggly, slightly senile cat who possibly has been through so many Cat Tests in its poor life it’s ready for a kitty-sized straight jacket. 

The woman explains to me that they use an older cat because they are more patient. 

Um, excuse me, what? 

This woman was an amazing spin doctor! Patient? Patient? Did she just use the word “Patient”?  

Let me translate… they use a cat too old to give a ##$@ anymore.   Talk about apathy on the job!  Let’s ponder for a moment and reminisce about the last time you felt so overworked or unappreciated at your place of employment?    

Life is not fair. Not even for an old cat that has paid his dues tenfold during his nine lives.  Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure was down to the last one or two, from the looks of things. 

This story could be a metaphor for a lot of things, like investing in your retirement, planning for your future, taking steps to ensure you aren’t used as a test cat in your golden years. But the moral of this story is really about how we are all in the same boat.  

We all are trying to get to work, an appointment, a meeting, a school function, the grocery store, etcetera, etcetera, and etcetera.  We all have to deal with grumpy bosses, passive aggressive co-workers and pompous pontification from those who must demonstrate their superiority.  

We all get flat tires, flabby thighs, and the occasional bout of flatulence. 
When we are able to see the big picture a little clearer, I know for me, it makes me feel less overwhelmed.  I see the daily trials and tribulations not so detrimental. I feel like I am able to put things into perspective and understand that obstacles to success are not concrete barriers.  They are just the potholes, panhandlers, and perturbances of everyday life.  But in reality, we’re all in this together.  

Try to remember this the next time someone cuts you off in traffic or someone snipes at you; chances are they didn’t feel like getting up and going to work anymore than you did.  They showed up because they had to…just like you…just like me.  

Like I said, life’s a bitch.  

So did the pit-bull pass the Cat Test

He did not. 

The woman placed the orange, mangy, kitty on the floor and it nonchalantly walked past the dog. The dog sniffed, wagged said stump; drooled proudly and walked over to me, as if to say, “Look, I passed! I passed! I did it! Bring me home now!” 

I knelt down and complemented him on what a good boy he was, scratched behind his ears, and began making a mental list of neat doggy toys to buy him on the way home. 

And then it happened. 

The cat walked past the dog and he opened his mouth and took a HUGE BITE at the air inches away from the cat. No, he didn’t bite the cat this time.

It was obvious, though, that given enough time alone with a feline, this dog would inevitably give into kitty devouring temptation. 

So in the end, I did not adopt the darling, drooling, stump-wagging, charming canine, but I did learn a valuable lesson from this Cat Test

It’s called work for a reason.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Art, Wine, Wit...and Some FAQs About Coaching...No I don't work for a business hospice...your diagnosis is not terminal...

Artist and Team Support Specialist at ActionCOACH Spokane
As you know, I am an artist. If you missed my very first posting than click here now

June 1, 2012, I had the honor of being June’s First Friday artist at CaterinaWinery.

Acrylic on Wood by your humble blog author
A big thank you to Coach Jim Munro who spent three hours atop a ladder (in a tie) hanging 29 pieces of my art!  If that’s not a job perk, I don’t know what is…

Surprisingly, there were as many questions asked of me about business coaching as there were about my art. 

To me, this is a great sign because it means two things:
  1. People are actually reading this blog 
  2. I have elicited some curiosity about coaching. 

Now, I did mention these questions were asked of me during an art event at a winery.  I like wine, especially complimentary wine.  A lot.  Which explains why I felt it necessary to compose a blog posting on a Monday morning to try and better clarify some of my answers I may have offered Friday night. I do believe, in my defense, my answers where clear, articulate and typically ended with, ‘excuse me, I’m going to get another glass of wine.’


So, let’s explore business coaching.  What it is and what it is not.

It is not a business hospice…
If you come expecting miracles, you may be disappointed. This is not the place to come and die. If your business is dead, we probably can not resuscitate it for you. 



ActionCOACH Spokane works with businesses that are already profitable. 

(Click Here for ActionCOACH definition of a“business”) 

“We are not looking for a couch potato to turn them into a triathlete,” explains Jim Munro.  “Our best clients, and the most fun to work with, are businesses that are 80% there, but are looking to accelerate that last 15-20% of their success. They might have achieved that last 20% in a few years anyway, but the impact on both the business and the community is astounding when they move forward at warp speed in contrast to a slow plod.”

It is not a sign of weakness or ineptitude…

People seem to think of business coaching in the same respects neighbors thought of divorce in the 1950s:  “I didn’t know they were having problems…I didn’t know things were THAT bad.” 

Let me ask you something, if your colleague told you they hired a personal trainer, would you respond,

“Gee Gloria, I didn’t know you were THAT fat”? 

No, of course you wouldn’t!

Go for the gold in the business Olympics…


Simply put, a business coach works with emerging and successful business owners who wish to take their success to a higher level.
The word “success” is subjective; so is happiness.  It’s personally defined by each individual.  A business coach does not pass judgment.
What a business coach does is hold you accountable, keep you focused, and ensure you are putting time and energy into actions that produce results for your business; not just on things you enjoy. 
A business coach will tell you that you have to fire Aunt Betty, because although she’s your favorite aunt and she always brings you chocolate chip cookies, as an employee, she is pretty much worthless.

Some specifics please….


A business coach can help you with….
  • Sales
  • Advertising
  • Profit growth
  • Business growth
  • Business systems
  • Time issues
  • Team building strategies

Can’t anyone slap “Business Coach” in front of their name? 
Just like you wouldn’t visit a plastic surgeon without doing your homework, you should never hire a business coach without snooping around first.  Yes, anyone can call themselves a “coach” and charge you a fee.

I feel I'm among the real deal...

Greg M. Anderson, MS, MSW, BCC
Certified Business Coach
ActionCOACH GregAnderson  is the first person in the Spokane area to attain Board Certification through the Center for Credentialing and Education.  He is native to the Spokane-area, graduating from Eastern Washington University with both his Bachelor and Master degrees.  He earned a second Masters’ degree from Walla Walla College.  During his studies, he lectured extensively as a Graduate-level teaching assistant and guest lecturer in his field of study.  He was recently recognized for his national efforts to share the impact of his learning and abilities.

But Joy….they pay you to say good things….

Yes, but not this many good things. I came here in September thinking only a miracle or a very rich husband could make my dream of someday becoming a full time artist reality. But witnessing our clients’ successes coupled with the practical, strategic guidance I receive during my weekly meetings with my coach, I have begun to see some fundamental similarities in successful people. I am aware of the continuous assault of distractions bombarded on me almost constantly.  The road to success sometimes seems paved with land mines and booby traps.

I took another step toward my professional success through my art by accepting a friendly push, although I didn't think I was seeking out that helpful shove. Fortunately, someone cared enough to provide it and I was smart enough not to refuse the assistance.

Want to succeed? Want to do it as effectively as possible? Someone knows and cares enough to help you too...Take your first step...reach out for assistance and start on your journey post haste...

Explore More....Suggested Links...

  ActionCOACH Spokane BBB Profile A+ Rating


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