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The SeamLess Life

Issue # 2 May 22, 1998

About the Author:

Sherry Lowry is a Austin-based business coach who works nationally and internationally with executives, managers, business owners, other coaches, psychologists and therapists. She brings experience to her clients as a founder and developer of 7 businesses, including one non-profit organization, as a consultant and trainer, and professional mentor. Co-leading group telecalls (via regular telephone connection) and telegroup series is a speciality....with other field experts on corporate marketing, using public speaking as a marketing tool, marketing with heart, and offers with Diane Menendez special teleclasses for mental health professionals transitioning as coaches. In 1996, Sherry founded and continues to host The Coaches’ Showcase, a free theme-based telegroup exchange with some of the industry’s most experienced coaches. Also useful is her online collection of The Lowry Notes - free to the public at her WWW site. She holds two traditional graduate degrees and has completed the Coach University curriculum. She is on the Board of International Coach Federation and is a member of Professional Coaches’ and Mentor’s Association and Texas Executive Women.

Contact info:
Sherry Lowry, MCC
Austin, Texas, USA
Ph: 512-527-0097
Web site:

Swat the Gnats and Stop the Suffering

Last week's SeamLess Life™ article asked you to create a "life satisfaction baseline." You measured your satisfaction in 8+ dimensions of your life. The SeamLess Life™ is about increasing your satisfaction in all parts of your life.

One way you can do this right now is to:

  1. - Identify what stands in the way of your satisfaction, whether the obstacles are big or small,
  2. - Figure out what those blocks "cost you" in terms of energy, time, focus, etc.
  3. - Find ways to eliminate, minimize, or effectively manage the blocks.

What this usually means is that you learn to manage YOU in a different way.

Blocks to satisfaction usually come in 2 forms: 'Gnats' and 'Sufferings'

1. The 'Gnats' of your life.

These are the small things you put up with. They're small things that you usually just brush off, like the gnats at a picnic. You ignore them. You aren't aware that these annoyances draw your attention and energy away from what you're really up to. If they felt more like "bees" or even "mosquitoes," you might do something about them. Mostly, you just put up with them.

'Gnats' could be the messy closets and work shelves that keep you from finding things. Your crowded garage. Your unfinished marketing brochure. A car that needs tuning up. A broken lock. Dry cleaning to take in for winter storage. Most of us tend to just put up with these things, tolerate them, until they pile up. Then we get so annoyed that we finally do something about them.

2. The 'SUFFERINGS' of your life are your BIG or CHRONIC complaints.

They create tension and crowd you. You're conscious of how they diminish the quality of your life. You probably just accept them as "normal" because you don't know what to do about them.

'Sufferings' can be your long work hours as you start your business. Your staff isn't well trained so you can't delegate. Your demanding clients call you at all hours. Your daughter is concerned that "you don't EVER get to my soccer games, Dad!" You don't take vacations. You don't have time to talk, really talk, with your spouse. You've stopped exercising. Your 83-year-old aging, forgetful mother needs more attention than you can afford to give.

So, What Can You Do?

About the Author:

Diane Menendez, Ph.D., is a business and personal success coach. She has been coaching since 1983 when she began the High Performance Coaching process as an internal staff coach at AT&T. Since 1988 she has coached more than 250 business executives in Fortune 100 companies and has provided leadership for company-wide efforts in executive and leadership development. Menendez’s special niche in executive coaching is providing support to leaders of rapidly changing industries who are committed to transforming their personal leadership styles. She has successfully transferred her skills to work with entrepreneurs, other business owners, family owned business leadership, and non-profit executives and their organizations. She created Results-Focused Leadership Development, an intensive, creative and empowering process that influences and inspires client to fully develop their leadership potential while supporting their company’s mission and goals. Her passions are inspiring the success of family business members, entrepreneurs and therapists and other professionals in transition. Her www domain name,, is an expression of her belief that, "Our work can bring us joy as well as financial rewards." Yes, that’s what she means -- real joy, enough to make your heart dance.

Contact info: HeartDance, Cincinnati, Ohio USA, 513-474-1137 1-800-882-9383;

Web Site:

More satisfaction comes when you take these steps for yourself.


List as many as you can right now. Most people's 'Gnats' and 'Sufferings' come in the areas of Work, Family, Home/Environment, Community. Start with these. Or go back to your Life Dimensions chart and list your 'Gnats' and 'Sufferings' for each dimension.


Anything you put up with has a cost to it. It may cost you time, inconvenience, frustration. Or, the cost may be your own or others' disappointment. Or a loss of well-being. Identify what each 'Gnat' and 'Suffering' is costing you. Ask yourself, is the exchange worth it? Is putting up with this and bearing the cost really worth it? We believe that most of the time the cost is too high. If you want a SeamLess Life™, you can't afford to give up pieces of yourself in this way.

Some people get a lot of energy from putting up with things and from suffering. They get energized by feeling like they're martyrs, handling heavy loads, being "oppressed." Sometimes it even makes them feel heroic to be handling a lot and to be miserable. There are much better ways to get through life. But you won't find them until you stop putting energy into the 'Gnats' and 'Sufferings' and make some space for other things.


There are basically 4 ways you can 'Swat the Gnats' and 'Eliminate the Sufferings.'


Create a plan for eliminating each one completely. You can take care of it yourself: That might mean spending Saturday cleaning up the garage. Organize a garage sale and get rid of the excess. Set a realistic completion date for your brochure and put it on your calendar. Or, delegate: You might, for example, hire a graphic designer or a writer to complete your brochure.


Once you decide not to have them in your life, some 'Gnats' and 'Sufferings' will just naturally disappear. It's as if they realize their time is over. They just take care of themselves without any effort on your part.


Compromise and find a solution that will work for now, and that will take the emotional "charge" out of the situation. Recognize that you can't do everything at once, so get real about your expectations. Establishing a realistic date for completing your brochure, for example, will take the sting out of it hanging over your head.


Some things, like your 83-year-old mother who is in decline, may be unchangeable facts in your life. What you can change is how YOU respond to them. Think of how long your mother took care of you: She invested at least 16 years of her life in a nurturing, protective and supportive relationship for your growth. Be grateful for the opportunity to give something back. Be thankful for whatever time you have left with her. Arrange as much support as you can for yourself, and acknowledge how much you have to learn from the situation.


You'll want to revisit your list every 60 days. Add new items, and eliminate what you've taken are of. Consider what dimension of your life most of the 'Gnats' and 'Sufferings' play out in. Most of us have a couple areas where they tend to collect in. If you find they are mostly at work, for example, take action:

  1. - Don't let new ones accumulate or multiply there. One 'Gnat' attracts others--soon you'll have a swarm.
  2. - Decide what the real costs are you for you. How long are you willing to put up with this? Set a "termination date" for each of your 'Gnats' and 'Sufferings.' Put it on your calendar and become a Terminator of the things you've been tolerating!

Debuting Friday, June 5:

Issue# 3 - Needs and Values

Sometimes your 'Gnats' and 'Sufferings' are linked to how you meet your needs or live through your values. Keep reading The SeamLess Life™ and find out how yours are connected to the fabric of your life.

E-Mail us with questions or suggestions; Diane can be reached at, and Sherry can be reached at

Diane and Sherry's book, Discovering Your Best Self Through the Art of Coaching, can be ordered at

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