Many people on the treadmill of life are so busy taking step after step that they miss out on gaining from their current experiences or encounters along the way. So, as a coaching practice, I encourage clients to pause in purposeful and regular reflection. This increases awareness and enables people to benefit from what has happened in their lives. Sometimes it is good to trace back the threads which have added to the current tapestry of experience. We are looking for the ‘golden thread’ which has helped to change direction.
Let me share an experience which happened to me today. At King Shaka airport in Durban, an unusual meeting place, I proudly presented the first copy of my new book, ‘GROW: how to turn your stumbling blocks into stepping stones’ to Camilla Singh who project manages and edits the publication of the books in the F-L-A-G-S series. The first two books are available in paperback (as seen in the photo) and as an e-book on Amazon.
These two books contain a combination of personal stories and are written in a way that encourages the reader to reflect and create meaning from everyday experiences. Ideal for coaches, the books are also suitable for anyone who would enjoy reading motivational stories or others who are interested in self-development. At the end of each chapter are coaching questions which encourage reflection.
After handing Camilla the book, I boarded the plane and asked myself ‘how did this all begin?’
Unravelling the threads there is a clearly identifiable significant moment. My son, Gary Eckstein, had completed the research for his Master’s degree at Henley-on-Thames in the United Kingdom. His topic involved e-marketing and prompted him to ask me a simple question: ‘You love writing – can’t you write articles relevant to your business and share them with others?’
That was a really good question. But I was concerned as I didn’t know how to go about this.
As a website developer and listed as one of Australia’s main Mailchimp experts, he helped to link the dots showing me how to turn my stumbling blocks into stepping stones. It was easy. Following his framework my passion was converted into something tangible.
My website became more functional and more colourful using a combination of colours that really appeal to me. With the help of a friend, Des, we created an image that was right for me and opened doors.
With my son’s encouragement and support I was able to maximise the potential of the website and of my writings. I had the freedom to write an article whenever I found an everyday experience to be relevant to any of the five services offered by my business – professional speaking, facilitation of leadership development, training (mainly communication and networking skills), executive coaching and developing customer service strategy.
Another brightly coloured thread that became woven into the tapestry was that of Candice Warr who remains the meticulous connector linking me, my writing, the website and relevant social media. Gary helped us with a structure that improved Google ratings and was simple to follow. As I wrote each article, Candice posted on my website and also linked to Facebook, Linked in, Twitter and Google+.
We built up a Mailchimp mailing list by inviting people to subscribe to my newsletter on a complimentary basis. This was set up (again, by Gary, Australia’s Mailchimp expert) so that once a month a summary of the latest articles appeared in subscribers’ email boxes. This required minimal effort from the team.
After three years of diligently following this process I had randomly written over 200 articles. We needed to use this valuable asset as part of a bigger picture.
This is where my special friend, Camilla Singh, entered the scene and started weaving her magical threads to create a cohesive picture. She offered to project manage the production of a series of books based on my personal F-L-A-G-S philosophy, each letter forming a separate book. The F stood for Flow and the stories related to my work as a professional speaker. The L articles neatly fitted into the leadership development category, Lead. Continuous improvement strongly represented the training arm of the business and Advance became the title of that collection. G for Growth captured the essence of executive coaching, an area which has gained in importance. The last letter is S for Serve and emphasises the importance of having a strategic approach whether serving others in a business or personal capacity.
The team under Camilla’s leadership has now published two of the five books on Amazon each in print and e-book versions. This would not have been possible without the dedication, commitment and expertise of Wendy Bothma who worked endless hours to make editing changes and format the manuscript.
After publishing my original two books, ‘Networking Tactics’ and ‘ABCs of Networking’, I was clear that I did not wish to be the seller of books again. Thus Camilla investigated and advised that we go the Amazon route. This presented endless challenges for Camilla and for Wendy but they overcame these and turned the publishing stumbling blocks into stepping stones. Again, Des and Candice both played important roles. Des designed the covers and advised us on the aesthetic side of formatting. Candice remained immersed in the project, keeping meticulous lists of articles and original photos, and documenting which had been used.
So, getting back to the beginning of this article, on reflection, getting ‘GROW: how to turn your stumbling blocks into stepping stones’ into a published book was not as difficult for any of us as finalising the first book. However, this would not have been possible without the excellent teamwork and friendships.
Tracing the threads back, Gary’s formative influence in providing the framework, motivating me to take action and staying involved shows how important that ‘golden thread’ is.
My questions for you are:
- Which are some of the ‘golden threads’ in your life?
- What are some of the pivotal moments that enabled you to change direction?
- In which ways are you recognising and optimising opportunities?
- How can positive relationships help provide a springboard for future growth?
- Who are the people who have added colour to the tapestry of your life?