Client Q&A: Space Saver Sarah Roussos-Karakaian

Sarah Roussos-Karakaian and her husband Nick are Nestrs, the husband and wife organizing, design and construction team. This month, they’re offering 8 hours of free design work for clients in the tri-state area. WHAAAAT? Read on for more details…

These two roll up their sleeves and refresh your space.

Sarah and Nick Will Refresh Your Space.

Sarah and Nick have a passion for space planning, interior design, and home renovations. You may have seen them on HGTV’s summer series Beach Flip, in which they demonstrated their classic revival design approach to flipping a beach house in Gulf Shores, AL.

Sarah is a Professional Organizer and Interior Decorator and began her journey after ten years traveling the world performing in hit Broadway musicals where the only constant thing was her two thoughtfully compartmentalized suitcases. Her husband Nick Karakaian is a general contractor with a masters degree in architecture.

You’re giving away 8 hours of free home design/organizing to select clients in the Tri-state area over the next 3 months. Why?

Our homes are our safe havens. We’re seeking potential clients who aren’t afraid to shout, “Help! I can’t get organized on my own.” or “Help! My space is boring and I just can’t figure out how to make it beautiful.” or “I don’t have time!” I’m giving away design work to build my portfolio and showcase the kind of work I want to do more of – I want to refresh your living or bedroom, help you with your nursery or playroom, or even update your patio – gauzy curtains, rugs and a full outdoor living space. I’d like to take ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures — these will help my business grow.

I’m looking for spaces that need saving for clients who don’t mind sharing their experience with me in exchange for 8 hours of complimentary work. Everybody wins!

How did you and your husband Nick create Nestrs?

I was sitting in a coffee shop one day waiting for a friend. I was on HGTV.com, looking for inspiration for clients and came across a casting call for an upcoming reality show to air on HGTV. My friend was running late so I decided to fill out the questionnaire. The next day I got a call from a casting director – and the rest is history. HGTV auditioned both Nick and me several times over the course of 4 months and loved our complimentary talents of organizing, construction, and design. We beat out over 1,000 applicants to be on Beach Flip. We flipped a 3 bedroom condo on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. It was a grueling and exciting 2 months of filming. When we got back to NYC – we took a week to sleep off the exhaustion – we had this excitement inside of us. We couldn’t share where we had been or what we were up to with our friends and family until the show aired three months later – but the chemistry between Nick and myself fixing up this home was electric. We hoped this show would draw attention to Nick’s general contracting work and my talents for organizing, space planning, and decorating. So, we started a company together and called it Nestrs, highlighting our organizing, design and construction work.

coaching client

Who loves the smell of drywall?

You just redid your house in Astoria. What are you most proud of?

We just finished our kitchen and it. is. everything! The house is super tiny, technically 650 sq ft – but we count the basement since it is finished now – so that makes it a sprawling 1300 sq ft. The kitchen is in the basement and could be considered weird – until you see it now! We’re lucky enough to have a backyard, as small as it is, and it’s right off the kitchen, so it’s a great entertaining space in the warm months. We knew we had to make the kitchen the show piece of the home it is now so no one will ever think to ask why it’s located in the basement. It used to be two small rooms – one laundry room and then the kitchen space. We decided to unify everything to make it feel more open. It’s gorgeous and we’re so proud of it! That being said, we’ve learned a lot on this house.

Who is your ideal client?

I love helping busy people who have an appreciation for gorgeous, but sensible, design – they just don’t have the time or know-how to make it beautiful. I really jam with people transitioning in their lives; it could be moving into a new home, having a baby, getting ready for a significant party, or starting over in some capacity and needing a change – I excel at working with deadlines and making positive change happen as quickly as possible. I work well with clients who are looking for a no-nonsense professional who prides herself in complete client satisfaction.

coaching client

Clean Kitchen Design

How much of finding the right client is a personality / aesthetic fit? Do you bring your aesthetic or help the client find theirs?

It’s important that our personalities jive, but our design style definitely doesn’t have to. A lot of clients aren’t sure what their style is so we must be able to communicate comfortably in order to figure it out! The way we organize your linen closet or work flow of your kitchen has to work for you – not me – I just ask the right questions to help you figure out what makes sense to you. Same goes with design: I have the eye to make what you’re attracted to in the magazines work for your space, lifestyle, and budget.

How can potential clients be sure you’re the right team for them?

To start, Nick and I will walk you through all aspects of our proposal. Furthermore, we believe in our chemistry and craftsmanship so much that when its appropriate we often have potential clients come over to our home and see our work first hand for themselves. Ever wonder what a professional organizer’s closet looks like? I’ll show you! We sell 100% maple cabinets that are affordable and beautiful. Don’t believe us? Come over and open and close our drawers! We’ll even provide snacks and wine for making the trip. Our home is almost like a showroom – we know how personal it can be having us in your home that we want potential clients to know how much we appreciate them considering us for their big project by welcoming them into our space in an effort to put their mind at ease moving forward with us as a team. We think that’s pretty special and can’t be said of all home improvement businesses.

Where do you shop? Do you have a design philosophy?

There are so many styles out there and each one ends up getting tweaked or mashed up with another style to make it perfect for an individual or family. In the end, I’ll see to it that we nail the look you’re after. I love sourcing materials and decor items from places like Target, IKEA, Wayfair, and Etsy. We go through so many phases in our life, I’d hate to design a space that you’d need to completely renovate to change it up! These resources offer most of the products you need to transform your space, but with the flexibility to mix it up a bit down the road. I’m so on board with splurging on the perfect couch or super comfy mattress – I just don’t think vases need to cost thousands of dollars in order to achieve beautiful design.

Do you have any tips for us regarding spring cleaning?

Why yes! Yes I do! It just so happens that I have 14 Tips for Spring Cleaning and Organizing. Find them here on my blog.

Why did you reach out to a coach? 

I want to go from great to superstar status! I’m proud of the journey I’ve taken so far. And yet, I feel like I’m just getting started. I’m a big believer that life is meant to be enjoyed – it’s part of the reason why I love organizing and designing so much: we should surround ourselves with peace and harmony and eliminate stuff that takes up too much of our space and time. That said, there is always room for improvement and growth and that’s where I am in my career. I want to work smarter, not harder. Having a skilled coach who can look from the outside in is just the thing I need to advance as a business owner. I love helping others and admire when they finally get the courage to pick up the phone and call for help. I wanted to take my own advice and do the same. It’s been the best decision I’ve made thus far.

Get social with Sarah, Nick and Nestrs.com:

Instagram: @Nestrs
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thenestrs
Twitter: @thenestrs

 

How To Stand Up for Yourself (Video)

This week, one of my personal coaching clients had a fantastic realization, one of those moments that will stay with her for a good long time, and change the way she interacts with the world. In the coaching biz, we call this an A-HA moment.

She found herself in a situation where it seemed like all of her advisors were taking advantage of her kind, goodhearted ways. Simply put: she felt like a doormat.

During our coaching session, we came up with a simple activity that helped her map her values to the way she wanted to be — exactly how she wanted to stand up for herself — and avoid being too aggressive or being walked on.

Here’s how we did it:

 

The A-HA Minutes is a YouTube video series created by Allison Task, personal coach, highlighting moments of client insight in Allison’s coaching practice.

5 Coaching Questions To Celebrate Closure

One of my favorite aspects of coaching is that closure is built into the relationship from the start. As adults, closure isn’t build into our lives as frequently as was when we were children.

Think of activities or projects you’ve experienced with premeditated closure: there’s college, summer camp or high school. But as adults, closure is elusive. You rarely start a job or a relationship with the end in mind. We acquire, achieve, and gain…but reducing, rewarding and appreciating, the yins to our accomplishment yangs, are given less attention.

You Never Start a Relationship or Job Planning the Dissolution

Imagine, on the first date, summing up your dinner partner and issuing the following proposal: “I think this will last about 6 months, so let’s figure out how to have a GREAT time during our brief affair. I’m thinking Vieques, Rio, and some outdoor sex? I need a date for this benefit in April…and let’s avoid meeting parents, because…well, with closure just 6 months away, why add the stress.”

relationship coach

Finite and Fun

In some ways, that could be great.

It’s refreshing to keep the end game in mind, and the things you need to do to get there. A short term bucket list if you will. My clients decide what they we going to do in the next 3 months, and then go for it. Some of my recent clients have had the following goals: Address my financial challenges. Find more time in my schedule. Clean out the house chaos so I can move forward in comfort.

These goals were set in December, and here we are in March, with goals accomplished. And, as inevitably happens with coaching, in order to get to the big goals, first we dig underneath and clear out the bigger stuff that’s been blocking us in the first place.

My clients get it done. Week by week, item by item, with great enthusiasm, vigor, passion for achieving the goal, and ultimately, closure.

There’s something particularly wonderful about the last sessions, when clients get to review what they’ve accomplished in the last few months, and how, those goals that felt big and unattainable have come to pass.

Care to try it? You can always give me a call and work together on something big and hairy (we’ll break down that big monster into little fur balls).

Or, you can get the closure celebration you need right now. Here are some coaching questions that will take you there. Give yourself the space to answer — find a quiet room with a laptop or paper and pen. Take 20 minutes, minimum. The more you write, the deeper your satisfaction will be.

5 Coaching Questions To Celebrate Closure

– Remember March, 2015? What were you doing?  What are you doing now that would surprise you? Have you handled illness, moved, changed jobs or achieved a promotion? Managed children / parents? Taken on a new sport, instrument, built a garden?

– Looking back on last summer, what are you proud of? Vacations? Health goals? Making new friends or spending time with old friends?

– Is there a positive habit that you’ve developed since January? Eating less sugar, drinking less, going to bed earlier? Spending more time with family?

– Is there something that you’d like to do this spring / summer? Visit a local farm?  Join a co-op? Pickle vegetables? Host an Easter or Passover get together?

– Is there someone near you that you’re jealous of? What is it, specifically that makes you jealous? Is there anyway that you could add some of those qualities / situations to your own life?

The first three questions are helpful for looking backwards, taking stock, and giving yourself the opportunity to acknowledge an accomplishment. The last two questions will help you set goals for the future so that you can move toward a goal purposefully.

Set goals, and most importantly, celebrate your accomplishments. Not just turning 40, but what you did in the prior years leading to this point. What are you proud of that you — badass you — accomplished?

Reflecting and acknowledging your accomplishments reinforced them in your brain, and leads to more of the same.

Please let me know how this works for you!

Why Modern Wives Withhold Sex

Newsflash! Wives are withholding sex.

I know, I know it’s a bit cliche. Before you were married, it was hot sex all over the place, then honeymoon sex, maybe some fun pregnancy sex, and then…SPLAT! kids. “Honey, we’ll wake them up”, “The baby is watching!”, “I don’t feel good about my body!” and everyone’s favorite: “I’m just soooo tired.” Wives aren’t faking headaches anymore, they’re just passing out.

But how is this different from the classic cliche of Lucy and Desi-style separate beds in the same room?

sex and relationship coaching

Modern Retro Marriage

Well, for one, we’ve undergone a pretty intense sexual revolution since then. Women are allowed to like sex, even supposed to like it. Women and men have friends who are just like Samantha Jones. Miley is twerking and the girls of Girls — every shape size and color, are having sex and lots of it. Taking sex advice from our universal Jewish grandmother, Dr. Ruth, now seems quaint and dare I say prudish? A quick walk down a NYC street in the summer shows as much skin as soft core porn in the 60s, and today’s moms are pissed off when their daughters are thrown out of school for short skirts and belly shirts. No, they’re not mad at their daughters wearing skimpy clothes; they’re mad at the schools are coming down on those girls.

Judith Warner, in Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxietyexplains the situation thusly, quoting one of the many modern married moms she interviewed for her book:

” ‘I can’t say these days our marriage is about love,’ says a working mother of two in New York. ‘It’s definitely not about romance.’ It’s like we run a small business together. We’re business partners.’ ”

Hot, it’s not. Martin continues with the following analysis:

“…then they talk about sex. About how, as more highly evolved females, they don’t need to have sex, don’t want to have sex, while their husbands, being men, well…”

sex and relationship coaching

Frustrated. And in need of an orgasm.

Eek. Sure, sex is fun, physical and gratifying, but what about that whole making love thing? What about the intimacy that comes with sex? Are we beyond that too?

In the celebrated Primates of Park Avenue, Wednesday Martin said almost the same thing, that women were establishing their own single gender tribes, and have moved beyond sex — though they are not without physical gratification: there’s always Pilates and ultra marathons.

Not Having Sex Has Become A National Trend

Martin continues her analysis, “There was something sinister in the fact that the very same women who would tell me how wonderful their husbands were would, in the next breath, let me (and a roomful of avid listeners) in on the most awful humiliations of their mates’ private moments.” Talking about how pathetic their husbands were, masturbating in bed after these wives refused their advances, flowers and all. These wives enjoyed shaming their husbands behind their backs, in public.

Ouch.

But why is this happening? It’s actually pretty straightforward: wives are angry. Women are still doing the housework. Women are still the primary child caretaker. But wait — we started out equals; it wasn’t supposed to be this way.

One of Martin’s interviewees explains, “When my huband and I started dating, I made more money than he did. I had more status than he did. Then all of a sudden — whoosh! I went part time. I don’t think I’m ever getting it back. He now starts conversations with me with the words, ‘Here’s what I’d like you to do.’ I want to say, ‘You can shove it up your ass.’ ”

sex coaching

Doesn’t This Seem Like Fun?

This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. We were peers. We were equals. The wives, have more advanced degrees. We traveled side by side, we had sex on top, underneath, all over the place. We made money, we had plans. We were peers in and out of the home.

And then we had children. And now the Mrs. is working, or not, but either way she’s setting up birthday parties, play dates, interviewing babysitters and au pairs, cleaning out the fridge, making or ordering dinner and organizing doctor appointments and immunizations.

She’s pissed. She may let you know it directly, or she may be passive aggressive about it. But the fact remains: you’re not getting any.

And given this tense situation, in a culture where raising children goes largely unsupported, especially in the first five years, wouldn’t both partners benefit from a couple orgasms, some intimacy and a hug?

You bet they would. Here are two ideas to address this situation that has worked with my clients:

  1. Masturbate. A lot. You know your husband is doing this, but are you? Ok, you might be mad and not want to have sex with him, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the health benefits of an orgasm on a regular basis. You’ve earned this. Head to your favorite sex shop or go online. You can be mad at him, but don’t punish yourself.
  2. Remember Those Cheesy Cosmo Quizzes? Well, the self-help aisle has tons of similar ones for couples. The most popular amongst them is this: The 5 Love Languages. It’s quick, easy, and I promise you’ll learn something about your partner — and yourself — by the end.

In the end, remember: it’s not his fault, and it’s not your fault. American culture has given women opportunity, but not the support to back fill what’s traditionally been considered women’s work: raising children and tending the home. It’s not fair, it’s not right, but it’s not his fault. Talk to each other, love on each other (and yourself), and remember to fight the common enemy instead of one another.

And if you still feel stuck, you can always call me; it’s what I do, after all.

relationship coach

Come to Momma!

Deadbeat Moms & Ex-tortion

Growing up in the 80’s, I knew lots of kids from divorced families. They lived with mom, their dads remarried or lived somewhere else or both. Dads were tan. They were usually coming back from skiing in Aspen or sailing in the Caribbean.

None of my friends lived with their dads. If there was a divorce, mom ended up with the kids. Period.

And here we are in 2016. There’s a new divorce normal, and it isn’t shared parenting, it’s deadbeat moms. More than half the divorced families I know today were the result of moms walking out — not because they were abused, neglected, or mistreated in any way. They just wanted a different life. They wanted to pursue their art, or their modeling, or just have the experience of living on their own. http://www.fira.ca/article.php?id=150

They left their children with their soon to be ex-husbands and just walked out. Call it the new feminism, where feminism has been misinterpreted to mean “I can do whatever the hell I damn well please.”

Divorce Coach

So What Did The Dads Do?

They picked up the slack. They took care of the kids. They parented.

And when it came time for those men to face their soon to be ex-wives in court, it was as if there was a time warp in the courtroom: It was still the 80’s. The judges had a hard time believing that the children lived with the father, that the father still lived in the family home and did the bulk of the parenting.

divorce coachDeadbeat moms were becoming the new normal, but the laws, set up at a time when women couldn’t even get their own credit cards, financially favored the lesser earner, which was typically the wife, and made sense at the time.

Today in New Jersey, here’s how the law works: If the deadbeat mom and dad share the child equally, and the mom chooses not to work, the mom is entitled child support from dad.

That’s right, folks — in a situation where the child responsibilities are split equally, the lesser earner needs to be covered by the bigger earner. And if the mom chooses not to work, even though she has a couple advanced degrees and a history of 6-figure incomes, that’s fine. Dad has to pay child support.

So, if mom is the deadbeat sort, the kind that would walk out on her children in the first place, it’s in her best interest to not work, and fleece her ex-husband.

The Law Stands By Her on This.

I am a lover of men, and a lover of women. I love people who parent their kids and enjoy their work. I believe in the dignity of work, and that people feel better about themselves when they’ve found something to do with their skills and talents.

I however, cannot continue to stand by and watch the trend of deadbeat moms extorting their ex’s just because they can. Very few people stand up on behalf of high earning men these days, but that doesn’t mean they should continue to be exploited because of outdated laws.

My evidence is personal and anecdotal, but it’s a trend I’m seeing more of and it’s very real. The courts are biased and dads are afraid: one wrong step and they might have their children taken away. Better to appease the ex than stand up for what’s right.

Divorce is painful. However, it doesn’t have to be completely unfair for the individual who is gainfully employed, just because their ex chooses not to work.

The first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one: let’s not let this issue go unnoticed; let’s not let these dads who are trying to do the right thing continue to be punished. Is this a trend you’re seeing too?

Change the Way You Work with One Idea

I volunteer locally, and have a mentor who invests time in helping me grow. He has the uncanny ability to get me to do more whenever I want to quit. I admire this skill, and wonder how he’s able to turn my frustrations into taking on more work every time. And I leave our conversations with a big smile on my face.

He told me that he knows how badly I want to make a contribution, to make a difference, to make things better. And he knows that if something pisses me off, the flip side is not to resist being pissed off, but to include it (not act it out, just include it) and get the job done anyway.

Who is Your Career Mentor

Who is Your Mentor?

From what I can tell, he’s putting some t’ai chi spin on my frustrations and spinning it back at me with the opportunity to do even more good.

He recently shared this quote with me, something he picked up along the way that revolutionized the way he thinks about work — whether it’s paid work or volunteering. It explains his own personal philosophy for finding fulfillment in what he does, and helping others find it too:

DON’T LOOK FOR SATISFACTION IN WHAT YOU DO. BRING SATISFACTION TO WHAT YOU DO.

As he told me, “I love this line because it reminds me that it’s MY responsibility to create satisfaction for myself. If you look for satisfaction from a job, an event, or another person, you’re dependent on them. If you assume responsibility, you are no longer a feather in the wind, you ARE the wind.

So whatever your superpower is, whether it’s Fortune 500 sales skills, fabulous taste, your desire to help young Black women succeed, aging Boomers plan for retirement, entertain with your words or increase your clients’ range of motion, those wise words can be applied.

Bring your sense of satisfaction to what you do rather than look for satisfaction from what you do. Then take the superpower that is uniquely yours and find or create a workplace that lets you use it. If you walk in the door thrilled to make a difference, dammit — you will!

I look forward to hearing what you think of this idea, and better yet, how it goes when you implement it.

Thank you for reading!

-Allison

Want to Improve Your Career? Let’s Talk Money.

The majority of my clients come to me to talk about their careers. Hey, it’s where we spend the majority of our day, so it’s worth taking the time to make it fabulous. Whether you want to get better at your existing job, transfer to a new job, or create your own business, I can help you figure out where you want to go and get you there.

A key part of that conversation is the money talk, which I typically have ASAP. Clients will tell me how they want to make “X” (they literally say “X”), and I ask them to give me a number. Sometimes its 120K, sometimes it’s 800K. Everyone has their X. Some clients don’t know their X, so we figure it out together.

So if you work with me, we’ll talk about money, for sure. Usually in our first session. But too many times, my clients aren’t ready for the money talk. Money makes them nervous and anxious. Women, especially, haven’t been raised talking about money and are often uncomfortable with the topic.

Farnoosh Torabi Podcast

Award Winning Financial Podcast – Farnoosh Torabi

Enter Farnoosh Torabi, best-selling author, television personality, award winning personal finance expert, and creator and host of So Money.  As well as my good friend and media partner-in-crime.

She invited me to be a guest on the So Money podcast this week, and I’m thrilled to share it with you. During the show, I reveal:

  • How I lost $1 million dollars (true story) and what I gained from that
  • What the coaching A-ha moment feels like, and why it’s so powerful
  • Splurges that are worth it
  • The importance of staying debt free

So please, have a listen. Her podcast is informative and fun, and warning: addictive! It’s an honor to talk money in the company of Farnoosh’s other guests, including  Seth Godin, Robert KiyosakiJean Chatzky, Margaret ChoJames Altucher and hundreds more.

Enjoy! I look forward to hearing what you think.

Indulge at the Super Bowl Party, Guilt Free

Pillsbury Snack Stadium

Pillsbury Snack Stadium

It’s early February, we’re all a little plump here in the Northeast. And here comes the Super Bowl, with it’s guac, chips and chili. And wings. And cookies. And Italian heroes, meatball parms, pizza and ice cream. It’s a food orgy.

My clients are annoyed, bothered and irritated by extra pounds they are carrying.  And we talk about it, because it’s something that’s on their mind that they want to change. Here’s how the conversation goes:

Q: What’s the benefit of keeping the five pounds?
A: I get to drink wine, eat chocolate, cheese and enjoy dinners out.

Q: And what’s the benefit of losing the five pounds?
A: I feel better in my clothes. It’s not a big difference, I’m really the only one who sees it — it just bothers me.

Then we do a Cost Benefit Analysis. Is a bathing suit body in the winter more beneficial than chocolate and cheese? If so — bye bye chocolate. But if hiding a couple pounds under a sweater for the cold months, then cutting back on the high-cal intake in May is more your style, you have my blessing.

If a client isn’t motivated to make change, change isn’t going to happen. The next step is to accept the situation as it is (and enjoy the food). And if you’re more motivated to eat high cal foods (in exchange for the extra weight), then be active in that choice.

Here’s the main point: Whether or not my client loses the weight, I want them to lose the agita about weight loss. I want them to lose the anxiety, stress and aggravation. You want chocolate? Have chocolate! Just promise that you’ll eat slowly and take pleasure, real pleasure in that chocolate.

As for the Super Bowl, if you plan to do it up, do it up! I’m not saying throw back a 6 pack and gorge thyself, I’m saying go into the party looking to enjoy. Think of the things you’re looking forward to indulging with, and enjoy that experience. Take pleasure in taking pleasure.

The mental game that my clients are playing — the guilt over eating, not eating and losing 5 pounds; THAT guilt and negative self talk is what’s most important to me as a coach. I’m all for losing weight and feeling good in your clothes. I’m just not for the amount of anxiety that goes with it.

When you give yourself permission to enjoy food, instead of feeling guilty about eating it, here’s what happens: You actually enjoy eating. You have less guilt and more pleasure. So the guilty binging stops. When you stop telling yourself you can’t have the food, you can take time to enjoy it, and then….

You might just indulge a little less. And when you indulge less, you might end up losing those pesky pounds. But not because you’re willing yourself to do it with negative self talk, but because you’ve stopped battling yourself.

Let me know how this works for you and have a wonderful Super Bowl Sunday!

 

What’s A Life Coach? (Video)

Part of the fun of working with a life coach is picking a partner who you connect with. After all, we’ll be working together closely on something that’s of absolute importance to you.

You may be wondering:

  • How is a life coach different from a therapist?
  • Are my questions that insightful?
  • What is it like to work together — am I upbeat? Is this fun?
  • Do I have an annoying Jersey accent?
  • What’s the point of a coach, really?

Here’s a little sample of me in my office answering the question “What is a Life Coach”. We’ll meet here in my office, or virtually via Skype or phone.My role is to be your advocate as you go for this big goal — something you’ve been working on and wanting to achieve.

We’re about to get to know each other really well.

So here’s what I’m like. As you can see, I’m pretty fired up about what I do.

Ever Throw the Game?

Have you ever decided that you couldn’t do something?

Maybe it was run a marathon, bake, or do calculus. Maybe you decided that you couldn’t play the piano, guitar, or figure out texting.

For me, it was coffee. When I graduated from Cornell with few job prospects, I went for entry level jobs. I ended up as an assistant to a CEO of a CD-ROM company, with an understanding that in 6 months he’d give me an opportunity to work in marketing.

I was a great assistant. I knew how to deliver service — I had bartended and waitressed for years. However. I didn’t want to be too good at assisting, if you catch my drift. I didn’t want to be irreplaceable.

And so, I made a terrible cup of coffee. Just terrible.

career coachingWe had a coffee pot and grounds, and I was supposed to clean it and prep.I was responsible for coffee, and coffee service to clients. How is it that an Ivy League-educated girl, with bartending and waitressing experiencing could NOT make a decent cup of coffee?

She didn’t want to.

I know I’m not the only one who does things like this. Last weekend, I was visiting my parents in Florida, and had to do some laundry. Laundry is a pretty straightforward activity. I walked toward the machine, arms full of clothes, and asked a couple questions over my shoulder. My mother said, “Don’t ask your father, he doesn’t understand laundry.”

My father is a smart man. He graduated from an engineering college and made a long career for himself in business. He knows stuff, especially about geography and history. He’s a fantastic card player.

I looked at my father and said, “That’s quite a racket you’ve got going on. You’ve got mom convinced you can’t do laundry?” He smiled without making eye contact. “I do other things.”

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”

This choice, what you can or cannot do, comes up all the time for me with coaching clients. I have clients who have decided that they have no financial skills, or no cooking skills, or no time. Now financial and cooking skills are not talents you are born with — they are things you learn, either by exposure through your family routine as a child, or active study as an adult.

Not having enough time? Everyone has the same 24 hours. It’s how you use them. Is your commute too long? Are you watching too much TV? Vegging out with Facebook? Are you not getting enough sleep which renders you less effective all day long? There are always reasons.career coaching

Personal choices are active. If I don’t want to make good coffee, I’ll never make good coffee. If you don’t want to cook, you’ll never pick up the skill. And if you decide to be excellent managing your finances, find a career where you’ll make a lot of money, or climb that fence, you’ll do whatever you believe you can do.