Leadership Team Member of Al Gore's Climate Reality Project; Animal Rights Activist; Mom of Senegal Parrot, ToQer; Wife of Art Brickman; Chocoholic; Singer/Songwriter/Percussionist; Catch up on the latest Tara's Thoughts – offerings about climate issues, animal rescue, musings about current events, the written word and people who write. Tarasitser.blog
I cannot find enough ways to tell you just how valuable my work with Leah Zimmerman has been! The tools she has taught me, the insights into human behavior, the ability to see what’s behind the mask we show, not only to the world, but to ourselves, has been a gift, a turn-around in my perspective that will forever change how I interact with the people in my life.
So I am pleased to share with you here news of a free Masterclass coming up next week from Communication expert Leah Zimmerman of Stepping Stool Coaching.
The focus of this Masterclass is listed as impactful communication in business dealings. But I want to stress that the techniques that Leah offers can be enormously helpful in any arena of your life. Difficult conversations happen. Leah can show you how to understand what is behind the words you are hearing and find the path to true, empathic communication.
Coaching is a thing. In our society it has become an industry.
That says a lot about our need for guidance through this very complicated life we humans have created for ourselves. There are business coaches, fitness coaches, lifestyle coaches, vocal coaches, spiritual coaches, financial coaches and more. And each category of coaching is individually important for the specific endeavor chosen. All wonderful resources! No shade here.
But think on this: Across all of those industries and focused goals there is a shared need that often goes unrecognized and unfulfilled. Throughout our lives and careers the one ever-present element we cannot escape is the need to communicate with other people. And sometimes that is not easy to do.
For most of my life when face with difficult conversations all I knew how to do was present the facts as I knew them and hope the evidence would turn animosity into agreement. My record of success was nearly zero.
Understanding how to negotiate difficult conversations is a skill that remains out of reach for many of us. And yet, if we are to have agency in our own lives, if we hope to achieve our goals, the ability to handle difficult conversations is essential. It is a learned skill we will need to apply in every area of our lives.
I first met Leah Zimmerman, founder of Stepping Stool Coaching, in a group setting outside of her coaching work. I was intrigued by the calm, centered, courageous way she presented herself. I was struck by the gentle certainty and inner peace she projected.
At one point she spoke of a difficult conversation she knew she would be having in the near future and then said, “That’s OK. I know how to handle difficult conversations.”
Even with no information about her background or profession I was compelled to say to her (only half joking!), “Could you teach a class in that?” Her reply: “Actually, that is what I do.”
At one point she spoke of a difficult conversation she knew she would be having in the near future. And then she said, “That’s OK. I know how to handle difficult conversations.” I was compelled to say to her (only half joking!), “Could you teach a class in that?” Her reply: “Actually, that is what I do.”
Well. Having lived a life that did not include the opportunity to learn any kind of people skills, I jumped at the chance to attend one of Leah’s free workshops. In the first few moments of her Masterclass I began to see a world of perspectives, tools, and opportunities that had never before been visible to me.
As I listened to her speak Leah seemed to see the conversation going on in my head and acknowledged my resistance before I could finish speaking my “But what if…..?” reactions. She then offered techniques that allowed me to shift my initial perceptions of a situation, uncovering instead opportunities for positive, effective communication.
Leah was able to unravel a lifetime of mysteries that had left me believing there could be nothing but brick walls in my way.
My journey to a better understanding of successful communication is just beginning but now I know where to find the insights and the tools I will need to make that skill set a part of my life.
Here’s my takeaway – Every session with Leah is filled with insights. Each time I attend a coaching session with her I end up with dimensions of understanding that I would not have found on my own. Old stories look entirely different to me now. New challenges don’t give me that deer-in-the-headlights moment that used to make me feel powerless. At least not always. I will get better with practice and the gentle, confident guidance of Leah Zimmerman.
Author & life coach Diana Weynand gets the touchdown using football strategies to help you reach your goals.
I am likely the only person in the known universe who grew up in the United States and never saw a football game. No one ever explained to me that there is something to be learned about living a successful life built into the game of football. In her book, Lipstick Football, Ms. Weynand has filled that gap.
As a former player and manager in the Los Angeles Lasers professional women’s football team Ms. Weynand understands the game from the inside out. As a successful business woman who has reached for and achieved a list of impressive goals she knows how to make intentions into realities.
While she is teaching you the inner workings of the game of football Ms. Weynand is also offering you insights and strategies to get you closer to your life goals. Her descriptions of the physical world of football, the players on and off the field, how the game is played, and even some football history, are filled with action, clarity, color and energy.
Lipstick Football opened a world to me that offers, not just a fun and instructive view of a previously unfamiliar sport, but a set of easily accessible tools to use in your personal quest for achievement.
Wynand’s method has proved so valuable that Antioch University has asked her to teach an online course this Fall based on her Lipstick Football Principles.
To get you started Ms. Weynand will be offering a FREE WEBINAR to introduce the course:
Now is the time to jump in and find out what it takes to go from idea to reality guided by an award-winning entrepreneur, author, teacher, speaker and life coach whose book, Lipstick Football, is emerging as the tool of choice for her ever-growing audience.
The Winter Solstice is sometimes called a Tipping Point. The climb from lengthening nights and shortening days flips into a gradual progression of shorter and shorter nights offering longer and longer days as we go forward. I see it as a Transition into the journey that becomes the New Year.
Transitions are inevitable. We grow and change. People come into our lives and also leave us. We change our living spaces. We take on new responsibilities and close the door on others. Transitions happen. Often without our permission. Sometimes bringing wonderful surprises. Sometimes bringing pain.
Transitions can be joyous and exciting. But also, uncertain and frightening. Some will cause us to grow in ways we could not have anticipated. Others will feel as if you are swimming across a river and, having finally reached the center, leave us lost in that place where you can no longer see the bank of the river you left behind and have yet to find the new riverbank you are swimming toward.
It’s OK to tread water for a while.
The Winter Solstice gives us the space to rest in that uncertainty knowing that the way forward, whatever that is, will always continue. It’s OK to tread water for a while.
This moment in time – the Winter Solstice that has been approaching, that, starting tomorrow, will just as smoothly, move away from us – can be your invitation to acknowledge where you are and to make space to welcome what is waiting for you down the path. Your destination will reveal itself in time.
Celebrate the uncertainty and know that this, too, is part of that journey.
The San Fernando Valley chapter of the Climate Reality Project is very pleased to host, as our June 2021 Featured Speaker, Dr. Peter Kalmus.
Dr. Peter Kalmus is a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. He uses satellite data and models to study the rapidly changing Earth, focusing on biodiversity forecasting, clouds, and severe weather. He has also spent many years becoming an advocate for a fossil-fuel free society.
Dr. Kalmus’s award-winning book “Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution” offers real-life solutions to help you move away from a consumerist lifestyle.
“Changing our lives shifts the culture and creates space for collective action. Together, let’s explore a more meaningful life–without all the fossil fuel!” — Peter Kalmus
In his book Dr. Kalmus outlines a series of doable steps that anyone can adopt to bring us all closer to a sustainable society. Join us on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, 7PM PDT, for a free Zoom gathering where you can ask Dr. Kalmus your questions about sustainable living.
“I know I can change the world, indeed, I am changing the world. What I can’t do is save it. That I have limits is a fact, and I accept it. I don’t expect my changes to have a big impact. … If what I do has impact, I know this impact arises only from an existing resonance, a resonance that grows through interacting with many other people in turn. We are like water molecules in a wave: we simultaneously transmit the wave and are moved by it. No one molecule causes the wave, but together an enormous number of water molecules carry the wave. It’s all of us together, carried by a resonance, that will affect great change.” -Peter Kalmus
The scientific community tells us we have already passed the Climate Change tipping point. It is critical for each of us to travel our own path to that place where, together, we can carry our dream of a healthy society into the wave of the future.
Assemblymember Gabriel has just been re-elected as the CA State Assemblymember for District 45 in the San Fernando Valley. He has championed efforts to address California’s housing and homelessness crisis, strengthen public education, pass gun safety measures, and protect vulnerable communities.
On November 10th he will be our Special Guest Speaker at the Climate Reality Project San Fernando Valley Chapter meeting. As he gets ready to start his second term, we wanted to hear from Mr. Gabriel about climate-related issues impacting our community and our state. Please join us and bring your questions.
Join us to hear his update about Climate Change issues and
Would a heaping dose of hope-in-the-future help you right now? How about someone in your circles who might be looking for some inspiration?
A whole lot of us are finding just that in a newly published book from my dear friend Barbara Caplan-Bennett. If you have been feeling the weight of all the crises happening in our world, if you are not sure how to find hope in the face of your daily struggles, this is a book worth your time.
Check it out for yourself and then please help spread the word.
NOSEWORTHY, A Memoir
“Noseworthy is a memoir about a woman who faced a difficult choice when diagnosed with melanoma — lose her entire nose or very possibly lose her life. Her year long journey to obtain a prosthetic nose is filled with big challenges and small victories.”
This is a real-life story of courage in the face of great trauma (or as Barbara likes to call it, “the shit show”) and, ultimately a triumph over a life-changing course of inescapable events. Barbara has been a bright spot in my life for many years. I have always been awed by her ability to keep smiling through the tears and to welcome whatever life throws at her.
I watched her face this battle and come out on the other side with her moxie, her sense of humor, and her love of life still intact. As a writer she has a natural gift for making her readers comfortable and the skill to tell her stories in her very authentic, likable, honest voice.
The electric fan sits on the floor by the window. It protects me from the heat and humidity that plagues modern society. In my youth I lived in world where my goals were achievable and my task list was short enough to complete by the end of the week. Here in Los Angeles it was almost always pleasantly warm and dry. And I didn’t have to fight the weather to make space in my brain to tackle daily goals and dreams. I don’t remember having so much to fight for and certainly not so much to fight through.
Now I feel the encroaching world press in on me in ways I never expected. And on top of all the daily challenges, the aches, the tasks piling up around me, the demands of a world grown altogether too connected to handle in any rational fashion, I have to fight through the physical discomfort of an environment grown so hot and sticky that it produces another, previously unexplored, struggle: distraction. Distraction of a physical nature that Just. Should. Not. Be. There.
But there it is. It frightens me to think I may have grown so old that my body can no longer survive in its environment. And it frightens me to think that we may have so deeply destroyed our environment that we, as a species, may not survive the very effects we have loaded on our planet and our own backs.
But, I have never been one to sit in my fears for very long. No pouting, pity-party for me! So, kick up the level on the fan. Take a drink of cold water. Take a deep breath. Focus on what’s next. Focus. Ignore the ache that sits at the back of my brain that screams at me, “You could lose this time.” Just put one foot in front of the other for as long as you possibly can and – focus. Say a prayer of gratitude for the cool air coming at me from the fan by the window enveloping me like a Cone of Silence. (Yeah, you have to be “of a certain age” to understand that reference!)
Just keep fighting to move forward. Enjoy the cool air and ….. Focus.
I have long been a fan of the short story form. In fact, the short story form is far harder than longer forms of writing. Making your intention clear in a limited amount of words is not an easy task. There is a long line of authors whose work I enjoy but top of the list in this regard has always been Harlan Ellison. There are many reasons I am a life-long, die-hard Ellison fan, but chiefly, my admiration is for his ability to select just exactly the right word for every moment in his stories with never a word wasted.
Here’s a favorite example:
“A foot was planted between my shoulder blades and the fist let go of my shirt, and I was booted forward onto my suitcase, which slid a few feet, carrying me as on a raft.
I fell off, rolled over and tried to sit up. Conquest, Slaughter, Famine and Death were staring down at me.”
Quoted from All the Lies That Are My Life by Harlan Ellison
There is no need to give the reader any more detailed description of the four guys who are about to beat up our protagonist. The phrase “Conquest, Slaughter, Famine and Death” tells you everything you need to know.
Another master at choosing just the right words is Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, who sums up this thought beautifully:
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
And another famous author offers clarity on the subject. When asked his opinion on cursing Mark Twain had this to say:
“The English language is a poor enough means of communication as it is. I figure we ought to use all the words we got.”
Notice here that he did not advise using MORE words than needed at one time but choosing the RIGHT words for what you are trying to convey at that moment.
Words matter. They can offer great kindness but also great sorrow. They can build relationships or tear down entire communities. Words have weight and meaning and sometimes great consequences.
When you are attempting to evaluate someone’s character listen very closely to the word they choose to use. Their choices are not casual. They are a result of a lifetime of attitudes and perceptions and are evidence of the state of their inner psychology.
The speaker is telling you something about who he is and how he chooses to participate in this thing called Life.