Win Harper | Life and Leadership Coach

Pump up the volume!

In the summer of 1993 I drove across country in my 1986 Honda Prelude; my favorite car of all time.  I bought it used in 1987, and gave it to my daughter in 1996.  I put over 250,000 miles on it.  Of course, I believe about 100,000 of those miles were because I got lost so much.  Amazingly, I still get lost today even with a GPS!

While driving I listened to Meatloaf’s “Bat out Of Hell” cassette tape.  When I say I listened to it, I really mean I sang along with him – everyday; all day long.  When a song I particularly liked came on I turned up the volume and sang at the top of my lungs.  I was alone.  After three days my voice was hoarse and my hearing gone.  When my voice finally gave out I lip synced the words into my rear view mirror.  Again, it is important to me that you know I was alone.

When we like a song we pump up the volume. 

Now imagine there was something about yourself that you wanted to pump up the volume on.  Not sure what that is, well, not too surprisingly I have an exercise that might help you.  I want you to think of two or three individuals that you don’t like.  If not liking is too strong, choose individuals that maybe just annoy you.  They can be people you know or know about, or they can be historical figures, movie stars, politicians, etc.  Then list the quality or qualities about that person that you don’t like.  More than likely those qualities are underdeveloped in you.  And, I want you to turn up the volume on them.

I first did this exercise in the early 90s, and I chose Muhammad Ali and a professional colleague.  I believe that Muhammad Ali IS the greatest boxer of all time, but I couldn’t stand his bragging.  My professional colleague was also a business competitor, and he was always OVERSELLING his organization.  When I looked at those two traits, bragging and overselling, I realized that they were underdeveloped in me, and I was limiting myself. 

For instance, at one point in my career I was in Philadelphia and my boss was in Dallas.  The only way he knew what I was accomplishing was if I told him, and that was very difficult for me.  My gremlin would say, “Don’t brag!”  But being proud of what you do and celebrating your successes with others is really not bragging. 

And, by looking at the annoying qualities of the professional colleague of mine I was able to identify another limiting belief.  I was being too much of a team player, and I “sacrificed” myself and my organization for what I believed to be the greater good.  Ultimately, that did not serve me or my organization. 

Where do you want to pump up the volume in your life?  Who can you learn from?

This is my last blog of the year.  Elizabeth and I are going to Mexico in early December, and then I am going to take the rest of that month off.  Part of that time will be devoted to working on a coaching book that Cathleen O’Connor and I are collaborating on.  I have just finished my EBook which contains, “The Best of My Blogs”, and it will be available through my website soon.

Happy Holidays!!!

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Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/23/10 at 10:34 PM

Quotes and Poetry

Elizabeth and I were at The Lodge at Woodloch two weekends ago.  I, of course, took John Leone’s water coloring class and this is my newest piece of work.  He is a great teacher, and a hero to me because he embodies and models qualities I admire and respect. 

In my previous blog I talked about my childhood heroes:  Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Superman.  Now here is where the Universe steps in.  While at The Lodge we met a wonderful couple, and they gave me a card with this quote on it:  “We need heroes because they draw us on to become better versions of ourselves…” Wally Bloc.  They had not read my blog and were not even aware that I wrote one, and yet they gave me the perfect quote at the right moment.  I love the way the Universe works.

I collect quotes and poetry that inspire me.  I am amazed how in a few short words the authors are able to capture the essence of what I believe.  Here are some of the ones I use in my coaching and in my workshops:

1. “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  Gandhi.  This is on my website, and what I strive for daily.  I have stopped watching TV news because it focuses on what is wrong in the world.  I don’t deny that there are lots of things wrong, and at the same time, I want to contribute and help change things.  I believe that by living consciously, being grateful, and contributing to the well-being of others I can influence the world community, and hopefully start a chain reaction of change.

2. “Anyone or anything that does not bring you alive is too small for you.” David Whyte in his poem “Sweet Darkness.”  To that end, I surround myself with loving and supportive people.  I am a great fan of David Whyte, and highly recommend his work to everyone.  In 1994, I took a workshop with him at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, and it accelerated my personal growth.  His poetry and words of wisdom have played a large part in making me who I am today.  Here are two more quotes by him:


Life is no passing memory of what has been
Nor the remaining pages of a great book
Waiting to be read

It is the opening of eyes long closed

From his poem, The Opening of Eyes

This is the first step to living consciously –  simply open your eyes.  Be aware of what you say, what you do, and who you spend time with. 

4. “Man is the only species that has the privilege of refusing its own blossoming.” I heard David say this at a workshop in NYC.  You have free will and choice in your life; you are responsible for where and who you are and where you are going and who you are becoming.

5. ” At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” Lao Tzu Founder of Taoism.  In Co-Active Coaching we say that everyone is creative, resourceful, and whole.  You know what you want and how to get it, but you may be blocked from accessing this information.  As a Life Coach, I have helped 100s of individuals get past their inner critics and limiting beliefs.  I have helped 100s of individuals to live more fulfilled and balanced lives.

6. “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” This is from Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese.”  David Whyte introduced me to the poetry of Mary Oliver.  To me this poem says, get out of your own way; get out of your head; let your heart speak.

7. “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Paulo Coelho from his book “The Alchemist.”  Ask for what you want; say it out loud in the clear air, and trust the Universe.  The Universe will give you feedback; look for the signs.  Live consciously.


The hand moves
And the fire’s whirling
Makes different shapes.
All things change when we do.

- From “Singing Images of Fire”, Kukei, 8th c. Zen Master.  You influence others by who you are and what you do.  You are a leader and role model, live accordingly.

9. “And as you let your own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”This is from Marianne Williamson’s “Return To Love.”  Another way of saying what Gandhi said and what Kukei wrote.  Live consciously, be your full self, and know that you make a difference. 

10. “A true spiritual teacher does not have anything to teach in the conventional sense of the word, does not have anything to give or add to you, such as new information, beliefs, or rules of conduct.  The only function of such a teacher is to help you remove that which separates you from the truth of who you already are and what you already know in the depth of your being.”  Eckhart Tolle.  We all need help along our journey.  To me, this describes what a Life Coach does.

What are your favorite quotes and poems?  Do you collect them, memorize them, and use them to motivate and inspire yourself and others?  If you do, please send me some of yours. 

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Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/09/10 at 06:36 PM

Copyright 2009 by Win Harper.