Best Year Yet

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The Beach Ball Perspective

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by Dory Willer

For as long as I can recall, I have had a knack for seeing possibilities — an innate talent that has served me well, especially as a Coach. It doesn’t matter what the circumstance, issue, or problem, people can count on me to see things from a differing perspective – broadening their own perspective. It’s the way I’m wired, and a good thing too because the C-suite and senior team clients I work with value the coaching I provide on expanding this skill for themselves.

You see, we trip ourselves up with our so-called issues and problems when we look at them from just one perspective – the perspective we are accustomed to. I’m a great fan of Albert Einstein’s quote: “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” I love to illustrate the point of this quote with our Best Year Yet Beach Ball Principle.

We have a gigantic striped beach ball sitting between us. What color is the beach ball from your perspective? You might say, “Blue.” And, I will quickly quip back, “What on earth are you smoking? It is red, definitely red!” You might agree that there might be a red stripe. And, you know that only because you’re imagining the beach ball from a broader perspective. For example, a knowledge or former experience of seeing a beach ball from a distance versus seeing the whole ball. It clearly has several different colors, including white. This illustration becomes a metaphor for us as we continue to work together. Later, in a future coaching session when we are discussing a problem situation, I will trigger with “what color is the beach ball” — reminding you to step back and view the issue from a broader point of view.

Let’s say the problem is with a major customer, I might suggest to you that you jump into the shoes of your customer and ask you to take on their perspective. What is it that they perceive? What is most important to them from their vantage point? Or, what might another industry do with a similar situation?

It’s not always easy to just jump into another’s shoes to take on another’s perspective. There are tactical skills involved to do so. The first involves attentively listening. You must provide full attention to what is being said and what is not being said. Tap into your intuitive gut to capture what is between the lines. Turn off your chattering mind to truly listen to what is being conveyed. Absolutely, skill #1 – required!

Another way that I might help you re-wire your thoughts (broadening your perspective) is using a dose of Appreciative Inquiry (AI). If you’re not familiar with this process, I highly recommend Sue Annis Hammond’s book, The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry. The manner in which I use AI is first asking you the question: What can I appreciate about this issue or problem? In the example cited above with the VIP customer, I would apply AI and state, “It’s great that the customer came to your company to tell you what’s not working rather than simply not renewing their contract.” Continuing with AI, we would sharpen your focus by asking the following questions:

  • What’s not quite right yet?
  • What is it that needs to be improved?
  • What is the first thing we can do to make it ‘right’?

Through these reflective questions, we gain a helicopter perspective of the issue. . .up, round, and underneath, pulling back to get a BIG picture view. I like to equate this to the pie of life. We all have a slice of pie of what we know (e.g., how a plane flies), and then another slice of what we know that we don’t know (e.g., how to build a jet engine). However, the largest portion of the pie of life is what we don’t know; we couldn’t even fathom, nor have access to knowing. Our perspective is built and created from what we have experienced, what we have learned, and our imagination. Our perspective broadens when we learn new things, have new experiences, and expand our imagination. Amping up the power of our imagination is the added value we bring to work, and to solving problems. This brings to mind another favorite quote, from Abraham Maslow, helping drive home my point (pun intended):

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.

I leave you with this Dose of Coach Dory:

  • What problem are you facing today?
  • What appreciative thought can you reach about this problem? In other words, what is the opportunity that it births for you?
  • Where are you seeing your world anew?
  • What are you doing today to cultivate and nurture your (and your team’s) imagination?

Dory Willer, PCC, SPHR, founder of Beacon Quest Coaching in the greater San Francisco Bay Area of California, is a certified executive and organizational success coach. Willer was named the 2003 International Coach of the Year, and has been coaching companies like Yahoo!, Wells Fargo Bank, Northrop Grumman, and Boards of Directors since 1999 produce thriving results year-after-year with their Best Year Yet plans. Learn more at or email Dory at

Until Growth Do Us Part

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The turning of the calendar to a new year has always delights me.  It’s a signal that it’s time to reflect — and more importantly, to declare what I want to create for the next year of my life.

As a child I recall sitting at the student desk in my room and writing down goals – not the average New Year’s Resolutions type of goal, but goals that were specific, measurable and relevant in my young life.  Perhaps it was the grade point average or the new baton routine I wanted to master.  I would normally write 10 things that I wanted to be, do, or have for the upcoming year and pin them on the bulletin board where I would see them daily.

Little did I know then that my annual ritual would actually become the backbone to my success. Today, as a Certified Executive Success Coach, I continue to walk my talk with writing SMART Goals, taking action that is aligned with my goals, and producing results that provide me with a feeling of fulfillment
about my life.

It was in 1999 that I first discovered the Best Year Yet program.  I was so impressed with the simplicity and thoroughness that I quickly joined the organization as a Partner and began using the Best Year Yet process with my clients.  When I saw the results my clients were producing that first year, I wondered how this could be done with partnerships.   So I approached my husband and asked him to help me to experiment by creating a Couples Best Year Yet Plan.  The rest is history.

Here we are turning the calendar to 2011, excited about our sacred marital retreat between Christmas and New Year’s where we set aside a few hours to create not only our individual Best Year Yet plans, but also our Couple’s Plan.   It’s become an annual event and has grown beyond the borders of our marriage.  Several of our “couple friends” and even one of our adult sons and his wife are following in our footsteps by going on marital retreats and creating a Best Year Yet Plan for their marriages.

Over the years we’ve demonstrated to family and friends the power of the process, how it pulls us together with a common vision, and how it helps us protect our time together.  I love it when a family member comes to visit after the first of the year and the first thing they do is beeline it for the refrigerator where we post our plan.  They are curious to see what our intentions are for the New Year – and more importantly, where they fit in to our plans.

I recall one year when we created a specific goal to provide memorable life enriching experiences for our nieces, nephews and grandchildren.  We wondered what plans would unfold for the kids involved.  As it turned out, we took two to Hawaii for their first BIG travel trip, we took another to the snow and taught them to snow ski, and yet another came along on a camping trip with us where we hiked and explored the wilderness with them.

Another year one of our Guidelines upset the applecart with some of our friends.  The guideline was:  Decline the Should’s. To us that meant we wanted to be more conscientious of protecting our time and doing only that what we truly wanted to do.  We stuck to it, even though we had been challenged several times, and the result we produced for our marriage was a new level of joint ownership – dare I even suggest, a new level of freedom and joy.

Which brings me to the point:  what motivates us to do this year after year?  Quite simply because our marital vows include a commitment to grow together.  We’ve adopted the motto ~

“Until Growth Do Us Part”

We’ve defined our growth as new levels of joy.  So as we begin each year, sitting by the fire, sipping our favorite beverage, and embarking on the creation of another Best Year Yet plan for our “coupledom”, we remind ourselves that the destination is JOY. Then we define what a Best Year Yet filled with new levels of joy would look like to us.  And the egg timer is set, the dialogue begins and before we know it, another new Best Year Yet Plan is ready for the refrigerator door — and the beautiful crystal picture frame that sits on our bathroom vanity.

Whether you are in a life partnership, a single parent, a young adult or perhaps business partners, give it a try.  Be purposeful and deliberate with the creation of your plan and then throughout the year help each other apply your three Guidelines.  We’ve found that discipline to be the key to producing our New Paradigm, which is descriptive of our new level of joy in our relationship in the coming year.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and purposeful New Year!

Coach Dory

Dory Willer, PCC, SPHR, founder of Beacon Quest Coaching in the greater San Francisco Bay Area of California, is a certified executive and organizational success coach.  Willer was named the 2003 International Coach of the Year, and has been coaching companies like Yahoo!, Wells Fargo Bank, Northrop Grumman and Boards of Directors since 1999 produce thriving results year-after-year with their Best Year Yet plans.

Visualizing to keep your eye on the plan: Step-by-Step Guide

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We all have within us a wonderful power that most of us
under utilize.

Athletes have been using it for eons, and peak performers in all professions have been jumping on the bandwagon.  That power is called visualization.  The consistent practice of visualizing the achievement of your goals – seeing them complete and achieved  – seeing yourself winning!

Visualization of your goals and desires accomplishes four essential things.

1. It activates the creative reservoir in your subconscious that begins generating ideas and inspired action to achieve your goal.

2. It helps you perceive and recognize resources you can access to achieve your dreams.

3. It activates the principle of the law of attraction, thereby drawing into your life the people, resources, and circumstances as stepping stones toward your goals.

4. It builds your self-motivation to take the necessary actions, lighting a spark of what can become true for yourself.

Visualization is really easy.  I suggest you sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and imagine — in as vivid detail as you can — what it’s like for you when one of your goals is achieved.  What would be different for you – what would be delightful?  Notice the feeling it gives you.  See it from the end as if it is.  Imagine being inside of yourself, looking out through your eyes at the desired end result. Get in and now get out.  It’s that quick.  And then progress to your next Best Year Yet goal.

Athletes call this visualization process “mental rehearsal.” All you need is a few minutes a day.  Most of my clients feel that the best time to do their mental rehearsal is when they first wake up.  It sets your energy for the day – very much like programming your GPS.

Create a goal storyboard collage

Another powerful technique is to create a collage of yourself with your goals, as if they were already completed.  If one of your goals is to own a new red car, take a picture of yourself sitting behind the wheel of that car at your local dealership.  If your goal is to visit Egypt, find a picture or poster of the great pyramids and cut out a picture of yourself and place it into the picture.  With today’s technology, you can cut and paste yourself into a scanned picture to make an even more convincing image using your computer.  Some of your goals may have the result of a desired condition, such as inner peace, rather than a tangible thing such as a car.  Find a picture from a magazine or a word that elicits that feeling for you like a person in a chair facing the setting sun.

Create a picture of every aspect of your Best Year Yet plan –
a visual representation for every goal you have.

Use Your New Paradigm Statement to Support Your Storyboard Collage

Your new paradigm statement is the affirmation statement for your entire storyboard collage and evokes not only a feeling, but the experience of already being true in your life.  Have it clearly printed somewhere on your storyboard, at the top, in the center – somewhere to draw your attention and focus on to it.  The collage pictures paint the story of what your life reality is.

See it, believe it, achieve it

See it – believe it – achieve it, that’s the winning formula I like to design with my clients in helping them keep an eye on their Best Year Yet plan and to keep the momentum of progress unfolding.

Through writing down your goals, using the power of visualization and keeping your focus on your new paradigm, you can achieve amazing results.  Visualization helps you shift your beliefs, assumptions, and opinions about the most important person in your life — YOU! They allow you to harness the 20 billion cells in your brain and get them all working in a singular and purposeful direction.  Give it a try and allow your subconscious to become engaged in a process that helps you see the end results you intend to achieve, and feel what it’s like to produce the reality of those results coming true.  It’s a power that comes from within and every athlete knows that it’s a vital key to their success. The process is invisible and doesn’t take a lot of time, and the payoff is immeasurable.

Obstacles are those frightful things that you see when you take your eyes off your goals.  Keep your eyes on the intended end result – be the winning athlete of your plan.

Dory Willer, PCC, SPHR, founder of Beacon Quest Coaching in the greater San Francisco Bay Area of California, is a certified executive and organizational success coach.  Willer was named the 2003 International Coach of the Year, and has been coaching companies like Yahoo!, Wells Fargo Bank, Northrop Grumman and Boards of Directors since 1999 produce thriving results year-after-year with their Best Year Yet plans. <>


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