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Start at the Beginning

Start at the Beginning

Apr 21, 2014 3:51:46 PM

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I just got word that my book, The Cycle of Transformation has been shipped and it’s on the way to me…and I can barely stand the anticipation of finally holding it in my hands. Is it actually, truly, real? Or will I wake and find that I have dreamt it up?

I went from excitement to confusion as I prepared to write my post today about the book launch on May 5th. I felt edgy and uncertain about how to describe the book. As I started re-reading it, for what seemed like the millionth time I couldn’t decide if I should highlight this-bit or that.  I only managed to accomplish stressing myself out about what you will think about “The Book.”

I shook myself off and moved to considering what you would want to know, and what I would want to know if I were you, and ended up feeling like I didn’t want to tell you about “THE BOOK” at all!  For the briefest moment I even wondered why I wrote “THE BOOK”. And then I realized that I was becoming afraid of what you will think and feel about the book (ME).

I am that person again: Insecure and becoming more neurotic by the minute.

I was overwhelmed, deer-in-the-headlights, and I didn’t know where to start. Thankfully I remembered that this is my body’s signal that reminds me to slow down and breathe.

Then I was struck with a brilliant idea…what about just starting at the beginning? What if I stopped trying to figure out the best parts, and just provided you with a little update and some basic information. Maybe even copy the Preface. That seems doable. One might go so far as to say…fairly easy.

I took another deep breath and noticed my stomach dropping back where it belonged, my shoulders letting go of my ears, my jaw unclenching, and my heart beat returning to normal. I felt the sense of relief that arrives whenever I unwind myself.

I no longer judge myself when I feel compelled to walk around the block (twice) rather than merely crossing the street. I just notice it. This perfectly-imperfect ME holds her breath a bit more often as I launch this book into the world.

What I really wanted to share with you is that we are in the final stages of preparing the book for distribution on Amazon, both in print and as an electronic Kindle version. The publish date is targeted for May 5th where we will officially launch at the ASTD EXPO in Washington D.C.

Please come visit me at booth #706 during the ASTD EXPO May 5th– May 7th and get a copy of my book!

Below is the Preface so you can have a little taste of the book and its content.  Don’t be afraid to tell me what you think!  No really…I will live-breathe through it!


“Over time [the nautilus] builds a spiral shell, but always lives in the newest chamber, even here, a mute lesson in how to use the past; live in the most recent chamber and use the others to stay afloat.”

– excerpt from “Nautilus,” by Mark Nepo

“Leave thy low-vaulted past!

Let each new temple, nobler than the last,

for as the spiral grew, he left the past year’s dwelling for the new.”

– excerpt from “The Chambered Nautilus,” by Oliver Wendell Holmes

I love the act and the art of coaching.

There is something magical about engaging with others on the topics that matter most. It is deeply rewarding to support the connection people have to their work, and to align their individual talents and passions with their career goals.

The Mark Nepo and Oliver Wendell Holmes quotes above perfectly capture the nautilus as a metaphor for personal and professional growth.

The nautilus is a cephalopod, or a mollusk, with a coiled spiral shell composed of numerous chambers. As the nautilus grows, it moves to the largest chamber at the open end of a nearly-perfect equiangular spiral. Just as the nautilus lives in the most recent chamber of its shell, so too can we inhabit a larger space that spirals out from the lessons of our past.

Ours is a journey of transformation as we cycle and develop beyond who we were into who we are meant to be. And where better to learn our lessons than where we spend the majority of our time: at work.

Emotionally-connected Leader Coaches have an important role to play in transforming people’s lives at work.

Early in my career, the common thinking was that emotions had no place at work: It’s business, it’s not personal.

Today, research confirms that emotionally-savvy leaders are more likely to improve employee engagement, job satisfaction and profits. In other words, there is now clear evidence that successful managers balance driving for results with being caring and connected to their team members.

I want emotional connection at work, and I would bet that you do too. Connection to others and connection to the work itself. Emotion, or that which moves us, has always been part of the landscape. Sure, some people shy away from the messiness that comes from heated disagreements or the vulnerability of fear and disappointment. But without emotions at work, we all lose. It is the reason people buy, it is the inspiration that causes us to follow, and it is the passion that drives innovation.

Finally, it is (mostly) okay to talk about emotional intelligence, employee engagement, and the “soft” side of leadership. Research by Gallup and BlessingWhite, to name a few, has opened the door to real conversations about the billions of dollars that are lost due to apathy and even sabotage.

We have come a long way in a short time with regards to understanding the role of emotion in business. And yet there is more to do. Employee engagement statistics are still deeply disappointing as many struggle to secure work that they enjoy and find meaningful. The answers are complex. I won’t pretend that economics aren’t a factor. But it’s something we only control at the micro level. We do control every decision that moves us closer or farther away from meaningful work.

The fulcrum of getting from where you are today to where you want to be, is empowerment. Leaders who coach team members to be self-aware and to intentionally move toward career goals will be game changers. That is what this book is about.

I initially illustrated the Cycle of Transformation eight years ago. It was a doodle on a piece of copy paper, an attempt to make sense of the concept I used to coach in organizations. When I saw it in black-and-white, something clicked. I carried that original drawing with me for months, contemplating what it meant.

The first time I drew the Cycle of Transformation on a chart for a team, their eyes lit up. It made sense to them, just as it did to me. Soon, I was using my diagram regularly to develop Leader Coaches.

Since that early drawing, I have expanded and improved upon the concept. But the basic premise remains intact. I offer it to you with my sincere hope that it improves the quality of your coaching conversations.

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If you like this blog, I think you will like my book The Cycle of Transformation. Available now!
Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement by having a different conversation at work, contact us now.

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Deb Siverson

Deb Siverson is the owner and founder of Xponents. She completed her Masters in Organizational Leadership from University of Colorado-Boulder. Deb is the author of the book, "The Cycle of Transformation: igniting organizational change through the leader coach."

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