Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Failure Coach VII

Failure First Webinar - August

Johnny Appleseed is in his dorm room at Mahoney Hall at the University of Miami and is looking at a graphic on his laptop computer. Johnny is bored with school and instead of attending his first scheduled class with a couple hundred of his closest friends in the Learning Resource Center he opts to check out the webinar Coach Siena told him might help him sort out some of the issues he has about where he wants his life to go. The Coach is proud of his former student-athlete and touches base with him periodically via e-mail.   
Stage One: Resistance. In this stage, one attempt to prevent failure, to hold it together, to cover it over, to pretend that whatever “it” is, “it” didn’t happen. There is embarrassment at this stage and generally a desire to fix “it” before anyone notices.
Stage Two: Acceptance. In this stage, there is surrender to what is and an acceptance of what is unfolding. One might ask for help at this stage. There is vulnerability, connection and relationship.
Stage Three: I’m not sure what to call this stage. Time? Healing? I just know that, especially for really big failures some time needs to pass before one is ready to look at learning. This is the pause, the breath,  the place of being.
Stage Four: Learning. After some time has passed (sometimes a little, sometimes a lot) it’s time for debrief and learning. What didn’t work? Where was I blind? What’s the new information to incorporate?
Stage Five: Transformation. As the new information is integrated, transformation occurs.
 “The information is from a blog Karen Kimsey-House who with her husband Henry and Laura Whitworth founded The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) in 1992 with Laura Whitworth and Henry Kimsey-House. I won’t editorialize on anyone else’s approach or advertise CTI life coaches. What I want people to recognize is the value in failure and I like what Karen is presenting here. I know this is an eye-chart. It is included in our seminar materials and also presented in some depth in my book You can’t give 110%”.Karen is an entrepreneur. In addition to CTI, she founded the Learning Annex adult education program in San Francisco in 1986. It grew it into one of the most admired programs under the national Learning Annex brand. Karen received her MFA in Communications and Theater from Temple University in Philadelphia. CTI has trained more than 30,000 life coaches…”

This Alan Edgewater webinar is live and in progress. It allows participants to ask questions in real time, some of which he will address during the session. A recording of the session is also available to those who paid for the webinar. Johnny types in his question.


“Alan” interrupts a woman’s voice at what seems a fair enough point to break into Edgewater’s description of the slide as it remains on the screen. “JA, a college student in Miami wants to know how to avoid failure.”
“Well there is one in every crowd. With all due respect to JA, I’ve sold a lot of books and attracted thousands to seminars and conferences. If I have one clear message it is this: DON’T TRY to AVOID FAILURE. Instead, embrace and celebrate failure. This is really hard for students to grasp especially. Students are taught to focus on goals and get on a path to acquiring the knowledge it takes to achieve those goals. It’s a flawed way of looking at the world. Here’s why: You will fail – maybe not right away but soon enough. How you respond to that failure will do more to define you than anything else…”
The slide graphic changes on the screen. Alan moves on to describe a few of his favorite case studies. Each one has a graphic treatment that looks like a folder with color photo and typewriter font describing the case file. Alan has clearly made a part of his patter. Each is an illustration.

“Maybe JA and others with similar questions will understand The Alan Edgewater Failure Coach philosophy better when they see what the approach has done for:

A. Sally Smith-Jones works a Wal-Mart cash register in a suburb of Chicago. Her kids resent her. She is finally at peace. She’s stopped beating herself up about those things that just didn’t go right with her kids and ex-husband.

B. Jill Beane is a school teacher in Cleveland. She lost her job after she allegedly left some student unsupervised on a field trip to the zoo. The kids thought it would be funny to spray paint polar bears.  

C. Sherman Ringling in Tampa is an actor and a wanna-be stand up comedian. To make ends meet he’s working the pro-shop at golf course at McDill Air Force base.

The point, while maybe not chrystal clear is that each of these people were deeply depressed because they were not even close to living the lives of which they had once dreamed. They are among the thousands of folks providing feedback to Alan Edgewater Failure Coach LLC”.

Johnny Appleseed types in his next comment. JA: THESE PEOPLE ARE NOTHING LIKE ME.

This time the note is left in the queue without response and Alan Edgewater continues with a sort of commercial for his first two books and a mention of the Alan Edgewater Failure Coach website. The webinar ends with the familiar line: “It’s not easy being you…but no-one is better at being you.” 

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