What Were You Thinking? Making Next Level Decisions.

What was I thinking when I created Cross Coaching? After twenty years of networking I wanted – and saw that others were ready for – the next level of networking.

The Cross Coaching™ format keeps all present engaged, at all times, by forcing the group to focus on the topic; discouraging the disengagement other networking events permit by seeking separate pitches from everyone.

At Cross Coaching events you don’t stand up alone among others, armed with your elevator pitch to present, instead you sit together among others ready to help the you that is present be mindfully disarmed then supportively rearmed by the observations, committed conversations and charged atmosphere the topic stirs members to generate.

My topics prod members to dig deep fast; to re-discover what they’ve learned and uncover what they need to learn; then ‘coach’ each other across the table as they teach what they know and learn what they don’t. Everyone develops their business by developing others. Bonds are built. So is business.

That’s how Cross Coaching™ was born, it’s now breaching the staid and stoic standards other networking events maintain by stirring the minds of its members to constantly strive to creatively express more than an elevator pitch can!

So what was I thinking? I was thinking it was time to take networking to another level and I have!

I’m only at the first level but you can read about the next levels Cross Coaching™ is reaching for, and helping its’ members attain, in later blogs. This blog is about our December 2015 event and the topic within the imaginary crucible at the center of the table that stimulated members to Cross Coach each other.

Topic title: What were you thinking?

Sub title: To get you and your business to the next level you had to change your thinking and actions. What were you thinking that prodded you to change? What different actions did you take? What have you learned from the experience and how will those lessons help you get to the next level again?

Mark entered the arena verbally armed – then disarmed himself by admitting his recent next level decision to move away from working for himself toward an employee model instead came naturally, but only after winning the personal battle to overcome the complacency his own success and enviable lifestyle had brought him.

As a very successful businessman in the financial industry, Mark’s anchor is opportunity. He was thinking about the opportunity this company offered him to satisfy that dissatisfying inner prod; the one nudging him to move on from being okay with current success. Mark was thinking that this job would challenge him again – while taking his packed packet of skills to a level his one man operation couldn’t.

When Mark’s friends told him how much happier he seemed after taking the position, he realized his next level decision had indeed come naturally – amidst a maelstrom of pressure and change – but naturally.

Mark’s willingness to think through what was stirring him to change, stay anchored to his core self – while remaining clear about the standards and lifestyle he wanted for his family during the change process, helped him emerge from the inner battle better armed and better positioned to effect change in the financial lives of others; one example of what happens when you think about what you are thinking when ready to go to the next level in your life or career.

Taking time to think about their next move is a luxury too few people take.

A young entrepreneur friend I am mentoring is an example. He has managed to retain his independence by working for himself the past three years but the seasonality and hands-on nature of his business impacts his cash flow; so he must work when work comes until he can break through to the next level of having a crew of employees to assign the work to. He has plenty of work and enough to hire temporary help, but does not have the luxury of time to plan how to be less hands-on and more profitable. He can move to the next level when he takes time out to plan it. Sound familiar?

Back to this Cross Coaching™ event!

Greg questioned the topic. He thinks thinking about what you are thinking tends to keep you in the intellectualizing mode too much. Yes, respond to the inner prod of discomfort about current conditions by making a decision to change; set new targets then let go of the process. Embrace fresher thoughts, meet different people, get uncomfortable by changing your environment, but don’t over think the process. Allow the exposure to these unfamiliar levels and changes to change you and how you work over time.

Robert liked Greg’s angle and suggested that perhaps “who am I listening to?” would be another question to ask. He shared a great story about listening to an inner prod that urged him to quickly go home to his young daughter who may not have lived if he had not.

Like Robert, I think we should all tune in to the inner messages that impact our family and our business, more often instead of relying on those we get via text and email.

I have spent years striving to listen and respond to my inner prods; the courage to act on them showed up eventually – sometimes sooner, sometimes later – so I was pleased to see the Cross Coaching conversation steer in this direction.

This “who am I listening to?”, or connection with our intuition, inner sense, instinct, gut feeling, or unknown guidance – whatever you try to label it, discussion, helped the topic about how we get to the next level go to the next level! Not just what was I thinking when I knew changes had to be made, but what was I feeling, hearing and sensing?

What other deeper level senses – that you may have lost contact with in the rush to respond to a stressful business world, should you heed more often or give the luxury of time to nurture? How much deeper do you dare to go below the level you think you see, while reaching for the next level you envision, to discover a level you might otherwise not have reached at all?

Ana Maria was prompted by Greg and Robert’s comments to remind us that we can’t control, or manage, our lives as much as we think we can. You may be able to put your finger on what you were thinking when you decided to manage what the next level should look like, but it’s tougher to verbalize the intangibles that showed up to help you reach it.

Allow me to use Cross Coaching is an example of that. Ana Maria has been involved since it began and knows what I was thinking – about improving the ‘networking’ process; she also knows that it evolved organically, by letting go of having to control how it grew and being flexible with the direction it took.

Back to the discussion! As members continued to ‘commit to the conversation’ and contribute deep level content they took the lid off the topic to reveal the underlying levels inside; levels that confirmed asking “What was I thinking?” was merely the surface ingredient.

The meat was the intuition, inner sense, instinct, gut feeling, or unknown guidance and if we didn’t prod these pieces of ourselves so that such levels could emerge to help us heat up and rise up, then we became gelatin-like – temporarily solidified until next level heat was applied,  either by others or by that re-emerging inner prod.

Chance B. reminded us that it takes less than five seconds to make decisions about the people we meet and sometimes about the next level decision we should take; yet most of us second guess ourselves by allowing our thoughts or intellect to re-think what our inner senses and gut just guided us to do.

Cross Coaching members continued to embrace the realization that many of the next level decisions they had made in the past were a result of looking under their thoughts and under who, or what, they see or listened to. Again, less about what were they thinking, but what were they feeling, hearing and sensing?

This all-ingredient approach allowed them to tap into deeper levels of self-discovery and self-development.

Perhaps the biggest “aha” today – in response to the ‘what have you learned from the experience and how will those lessons help you get to the next level again?’ question – was the reminder to listen to the inner stirring and prodding. Dare to respond to it, instigate next level change and heed the inner signals, senses and feelings, not just the ‘what was I thinking?’ intellectual messages; then next level accomplishments are built upon a stronger foundation; one built over time (because you gave yourself that luxury) not in high-stress overtime.

Are so-called ‘thought leaders’ labeled as such because they lead with thought or because the thoughts they take the lead sharing were reached through the consequence of tapping into every sense? What’s a thought, really; something to think about or a lot more?

Now Cross Coaching member’s responses today to how they sought to reach next levels – so they could match the desire to change personally with conditions that changed how their business or job looked, as well, can be better understood and applied by others.

Jason pursued a different level of banking client. Peg returned to her passion for helping others stay healthy. Jerry influenced how his company was managed so he could better manage the portion of it he was responsible for. Betsy decided a different business model made sense. Frank discovered he could re-connect better with himself by working with people – not for them and Andrew is learning sign language to avoid being ensnared by his business to the point that it’s the only language he knows and talks about.

Another successful Cross Coaching event! Again, the topic that was placed in the imaginary crucible on the table got hot and attracted enough ingredients from the minds of members to chemically alter the base conversation into a committed one that led us to contemplate and dig to deeper levels. The format justified the time invested too!

The unpredictable outcome of topic dissection, the willingness to be transparent, vulnerable and committed to the conversation – not distracted by your smart phone (not smart!) and the accelerated bonds, trust and business built within the allocated timeframe makes Cross Coaching™ appealing to people ready for the next level of networking.

If you are ready to make contact with others and create a committed conversation in order to truly connect, because you care about how your networking experience contributes to the community, then come to my next Cross Coaching™ event.

Cross Coaching™ Contact. Create. Connect. Care.

Peter Gibson  – Harry Norman Realtor, Speaker, Author, Creator of Cross Coaching™





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