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Kathy Grosso
Certified Professional Coach

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Boundaries Part I - A Different Perspective

I recently held a coaching session with a client about her continued effort to set boundaries with her colleagues at work. She is a competent, energetic, and personable woman; ready to take on any task that furthers the important work that she does everyday. Folks that she directly works with, as well, as the many folks she has mentored, the national committees that she chairs, and formal and informal relationships that she has nurtured...these all compete for her time and energy. She wants to, and often does, say ‘yes’ to it all, including time for her husband, family and friends, pets, exercise, etc. Through our sessions together, we’ve talked a lot about how time can feel infinite and how energy is not. How, at the end of the day, what is most important tends to get the least amount of time and for sure, the last remaining remnants of her energy.

We acknowledged how often we hear the word ‘boundaries’...setting boundaries, distinction between emotional, physical, and social boundaries, boundaries at work, etc. However, there was a shift in the conversation when we started talking about boundaries being made up of what we feel is most important. Boundaries made up of what we will say ‘yes’ to; the people, places, activities that feed our souls and contribute to our big over-the-top ideals. This felt different than the negative connotations that seem to surround the discussion of boundaries which is, things you’ll say ‘no’ to; activities you won’t participate in; people you won’t engage with; or eliminating certain time sucking tasks.

So, what if we started thinking about boundaries differently; more pro than con? To be honest, I don’t have this entirely worked out in my head yet. I know that it ‘feels’ different to think about boundaries in this way. It feels more positive, forward moving, energetic. It feels like ‘yes’ and possibilities. I’m a visual thinker and learner so I want to spend time thinking about what comes to mind for me when I think about my boundaries being made up of what I want to do and who I want to spend my time with. I’m also very pragmatic and am feeling compelled to include those things that we have to do; those people and activities that may not be ‘feeding our souls’ but that move us towards our most important values.

Be on the lookout for “Boundaries Part II” and in the meantime, what comes up for you when you think about setting boundaries based on who you want to spend time with; activities you love to do; places that draw you in; relationships that you want to nurture? And, is there an image that comes to mind?

Welcome to Coaching

Hi! So glad that you are exploring coaching! I was certified through the Leadership That Works, Coaching for Transformation Program and currently serve as an Associate Faculty and Trainer. I also have a number of coaching clients throughout the country. Besides working in public and private education for the past 25 years, I have served as a volunteer in a number of community non-profits and educational institutions in the Battle Creek area.

My coaching path is rooted in a desire to help individuals and organizations align their choices, actions, and attitudes with their most deeply held values and principles. I believe that all individuals, as well as collective groups of people, have the resources and capacity to change, grow, and contribute in ways that are creative and transformative. Coaching serves as a tool to get at what is important and meaningful….and then, supports actions that ensure that our everyday life reflects that important and meaningful stuff! Here's a testimonial from Gillian, one of my current clients:

"Working with Kathy Grosso is a process that continues to transform my approach and outlook in both life and career. In the midst of a frantically-paced career, I found myself stuck on the hamster wheel, desperately trying to keep up with my ‘to do’ list of tasks and accomplishments, each designed to support an externalized career structure: build that CV, publish enough, get promoted, earn that title, win that award, get that recognition….there’s no time to waste. Exhausted and frustrated, I began to work with Kathy on determining what parts of myself had worked to get me this far in life and career, and what approaches were potentially self-defeating and inauthentic to my true passions. I began to develop a ‘to be’ list – to identify what really fuels the various parts of my being – mentorship, engaging in meaningful initiatives, collaboration, education, and doing ‘boots on the ground’ work in areas for which I felt a true passion.

Kathy gave me space and support to finally be honest with myself; she expertly guided me to notice how it felt to exhaust myself by chipping away at a tsunami of ‘to do’ tasks; and she used her mastery and expertise as a coach to re-focus my attention and passion on my ‘to be’ world. Just a few years into my career, I’m learning about authenticity in my commitments, and am re-prioritizing with a vision for a career that is focused and rewarding. Kathy has guided my pathway towards the chaotic but energizing space of discovery and learning, and away from the exhausting space of inauthentic task accomplishment, checking off ‘to do’ lists, and saving self-care and development for ‘some later time’."

Gillian Beauchamp, M.D., Lehigh Valley Health Network, Department of Emergency and Hospital Medicine

Let’s get started!”

Protecting Vision Part 2

Even though it was decades ago, I still feel the sting of it; a sharp and precise surgical stroke that sliced deep. Days were running into each other and the tension of multiple plates (projects) being spun while balanced was mounting to an all time high. That which seemed to make so much sense all along the way, began to fray in the face of growing demands that I did not envision when it all started. Blinded by my mounting emotional fervency, my expectations of others via my demands became unbearable for those around me. From my view, they had some real problems! From theirs (which was not being considered nor read on my instrument panel), I was flying upside down and no longer on the originally mapped course.

At a crucial juncture, in the heat of the moment, in the middle of an intense conversation, one entangled individual pointedly and purposefully said to me, “You think you’re God!” That is when I began to lose altitude… big time!

Principle Two: You may appear larger than you actually are! It doesn’t arrive instantaneously in most cases; it is a gradual eroding or chipping away of a right perception, which finds itself in redefining yourself and everyone around you.

Others began to appear inept compared to my competence.
Others seemed indolent compared to my commitment.
Others were irrelevant compared to my significance.
[ still stings as it is shared once again ]

All the signs were there, but I was not paying attention to the things that mattered most. What mattered most to me was me… and how I felt in each moment. People became a MEANS to an END, and the end was ME.

And… that pretty much was the end of me... at least in that way of seeing things! Things, indeed, changed. We need to define each other rightly at all times; a right and proper respect for who they are. And, we need to stay clear of taking on things that are not ours to take on; a right and proper respect for what they do.

Forgiveness was the key to getting back on course way back then, and it still remains the answer for when we “get too big for our britches” in today's culture. ​ Fly in the right direction… right side up!

Long Term (This post and all posts below it were written by HelpNet staff)

The magnitude of each moment is miraculous, indeed. It is not so much what plays out for us that can be designed to a great degree (which can be grand and glorious), but I'm speaking of how it plays out; its long term impact.

Thirty years ago (and more), I taught Junior Highers part-time in addition to what I was already doing. Wow and Whoa! I found out fast that JH's show you nothing, tell you nothing, they don't miss a thing, and they don't forget anything. There wasn't a day that I didn't humorously say on my way to the car (in Groucho Marks fashion) as a means to resolve and release to keep on keeping on, "Yep... that made a lot of difference!" Then, I would sit in my car and start working through what I did know as compared to what I didn't know, because I wasn't seeing it, hearing it, or feeling it. Yet, deep down inside, I knew I was having an influence.

Just in case you didn't just catch it right there, right there is the key to sanity and success: You need to operate from what you know rather than how you feel. Emotions are fickle at face value. The truth is trustworthy.

So, I kept at it with everything I had, and lo and behold... 29ish years later, I started hearing from the JH's via email. They found me on the internet; didn't see that one coming! Most of the emails had the same format: started with 'hope you remember me', followed by an extensive update on their life, and then, closed with a final statement of their assessment of me and what I did for them.

The first young man who contacted me ended his email with the following assessment: "Outside of the Principle, who was my Dad, you were the most influential teacher to get me to where I am today." Whoa! Not a clue. I knew that I was having an influence, but no clue to the degree of impact and influence that I was having in that young man's life.

I got this last one from a young lady in that class. She ended her email with this personal statement: "You were the only man growing up that I didn’t fear." Can you get a sense and a feel of her historical experience way back there in her environment?! I knew nothing about it. So glad I stayed the course.

Principle Five: Things you do are larger than you can really see... and more long lasting!

People will come into our lives and for the most part, we will not know much of all that is going on in their life. We need to understand that they are there right on time and for a real purpose, and make sure that we fulfill our role in their lives regardless of what we see, hear, and feel. We know that we are having a long-term impact in their lives... either positively or negatively. And in all of that, don't ever forget the Ripple Effect; your work keeps on going in them and in others as they touch others with how you touched them.

Believe the truth and don't become weary in well-doing; it will come to fruition. Stay on course!

Protecting Vision

Out... on the road... peddling hard... into the wind! We were about 12 miles out and felt a change of direction might be good... nice. The next paved road would be it. The very next one was.

Left, in lickety-split fashion, we made the change and once tracked in straight line, I looked up and my mouth dropped open with full gaping gasp! Stretched out in front of us, starting at about 300 yards from where we currently rolled, was a hill that appeared to go straight up, almost like a monolith that had been dropped in by an alien space craft! My heart nearly fell out of my chest and my brain was running end-game scenarios faster than Speedy Gonzales could grab Fritos ahead of the Bandito!

We looked at each other (momentarily disassembling the paceline) bearing the same face, and more than one person said, “And we turned left why!?!” Laughter ensued and we immediately took on the task at hand.

Like never before, the most amazing thing took place. With each crank of the pedal and roll of the wheel, the wall started to lean away from us; the closer we got, the flatter it got. In a very short period of time, the whole vision of the encounter changed from virtually impossible to extremely doable!

I realized that some of life encounters are the same; the first look is a bit frightening, but further looks and the last look is more in line with reality.

Principle One: Things that threaten appear larger than they really are!

It is essential that we keep our vision of things in line with the truth, and one of those is that we will be surprised and things will be distorted at first glance. Knowing that will enable us to positively press forward and accomplish the task without waiting and/or wasting time. The closer we get... the flatter it gets. The more time with it... the more familiar it becomes with our connected past experiences.

At the top of the rise, we all laughed long and hard, embracing the joy in the moment of learning yet another aspect to our own thinking and how to protect our perception for living excellence in each moment.