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The SeamLess Life

Issue #3 June 5, 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
Email: sherry@sherrylowry.com
Web site: www.sherrylowry.com.



Acknowledge Your Needs
and Get Them Met

"He's SO needy! I just can't stand being around him." "She's letting her neediness ruin that relationship!" How many times have you found yourself running the other way when you heard someone described as "needy?"

The truth is, we all have needs. The trouble comes when WE don't let ourselves acknowledge our needs exist. When you believe that it's not OK to have needs. When you're so embarrassed about your needs that you deny they even exist. That's when you drive your needs "underground"--and they really begin to run your life.

When you're living A SeamLess Life™, you make friends with your needs. How?

1. You acknowledge your needs--they exist, they're real.

2. You identify the needs you have now.

3. You discover how your needs are getting themselves met, and whether those ways are good for you, and

4. You find satisfying and healthy ways to get each of your needs met.

I. Acknowledge You Have Needs.

Your needs are those things that are essential to you now in your life. Essential to you doing your best, having your best, being your best. When a need is fulfilled, you don't think much about it. Like breathable air is essential to human beings. But until you're suffocating, you don't think much about it. When you don't have enough clean air to breathe--then a lot of our energy goes into getting that need met.

Usually we have enough air. At any given time, though, we may have any of about 100+ other needs going unfulfilled. Needs for Achievement. For Intimacy. For Excellence. For Results. For Companionship. Or, for Beauty. You get the picture.

II. What Are Your 5 Greatest Needs Right Now?

As you create A SeamLess Lifeª, get very clear about the needs you haveright now. Take out a sheet of paper and create a list of your top five needs.

You may find it easy to put your needs into words. You may know what's causing you some pain or tension. For example, you may already know that you want and need more affection from your spouse. More peace and quiet in the mornings. More energy. More evidence of business results.

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, HeartDance.com, 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;

Email: diane@heartdance.com
Web Site:
www.heartdance.com.

How can you recognize a need? You can often identify needs by tracking some of your emotions. When a need doesn't get met, you may feel frustrated, fearful, disappointed, hurt, angry. When a need does get met, you feel pleased, excited, challenged. Track the patterns of your emotions. When you discover patterns of "downside" and charged emotions, you're on the trail of a need that isn't getting met.

Write down your 5 top needs. Start with a longer list, if you need to. Then, choose the top 5. Needs generally fall under one of four major categories:

  • Needs for Security For example: safety, protection, stability, information, duty, clarity, certainty, honesty, commitment, to meet obligations, financially secure, order, authenticity, etc.

  • Needs for Power For example: control, wealth, authority, management, to be moral, dominance, freedom, to be obeyed, to be right, to be visible, to lead, to be in charge, wealth, be acknowledged, praised, be noticed, influence, etc.

  • Achievement For example: To create, accomplish, achieve results, strive, perform, be busy, be responsible, succeed; to have peace, be spiritual, attain calmness, be perfect, etc.

  • Affiliation (For example: To be listened to, needed, loved, touched, to help, be included, be cherished, collaborate, communicate, be appreciated, be connected, be central to a group, etc.

If you're having trouble identifying your needs--that's a message! You may not think it's ok to have needs. Or, you may have denied them so long that you're kidding yourself about not having them. Or, you're ashamed of them.

Why Do We Deny Our Needs?

Most of us grew up being afraid of being called "needy." We learned in school that Abraham Maslow said every human being has a Hierarchy of Needs, from Security to Self-Actualization. That should have made it ok to have needs. But most of us learned to pretend that we had it alltogether. We could meet all of our own needs just fine, thank you. Our popular heroes (Superman/Wonder Woman, Sheena, John Wayne, Rambo) were the Die Hards of the world: they did it alone or the hard way and didn't seem to need anyone or anything else.

It's time to get real. Sit down right now and list your top ten needs. We'll help you: send a fax on your letterhead, or with your name, address and fax number to us at 713-461-0554. We'll fax you back a list of approximately 100 needs and a form to list yours on.

III. Discover how your needs are getting themselves met, and whether those ways are good for you.

Now, take your list of 5 needs and do 2 things with it:

A. First, look back at the life dimensions list you created for yourself back in The SeamLess Life™ Column #1. You listed the life dimensions that were important to you: like Work, Family, Community, Friends, Health, Spiritual, etc. For each of your 5 needs, assign a rating to it, from +5 to - 5, according to how well that need gets met in each particular arena of your life:

+5 = This need gets fully met in this dimension
0 = Need doesn't show up in this dimension
- 5 = Need doesn't get met at all in this dimension

Here's one client's brief list.
Need for inclusion:
Work: -3 (doesn't get invited to lunches)
Home: +5 (feels very included with family)
Friends: +2 (some invitations, wants more)

B. List the ways you are getting this need met. For example, you may be trying to be present at every meeting at work, because you want so much to be included. Your work may be suffering because you are spread too thin and can't get everything done. Ask yourself, what's the exchange I'm making to get this need met? Is it worth it?

Look back at the list of "Gnats and Sufferings" you created in The SeamLess Life™ Column #2. Are any of these around because you are getting a need met? For example, you wrote "too many meetings at work." In fact, you could stop going to half of these meetings. But, you continue to go because you're getting your need met for inclusion. Find satisfying and healthy ways to get each of your needs met.

Two goals you have for your needs: to get them fully satisfied right now, and to do so in ways that are healthy. Ways that let you create A SeamLess Life™. How do you do this?

Start by examining each need and asking,

  • How can I get this need met easily and without effort?

  • Is there another dimension of my life where I can get this need met more easily and fully?

Make a list of at least 3 ways that you can get each need met more easily, without a high cost, in a more satisfying way during the next 2-4 weeks. Then, get started and act on your list. Experiment until you find ways of getting your needs met, and the need gets itself fulfilled. Eventually, you'll be able to take the need off your current list.

The Case of Jerry

Here's an example. Jerry's an entrepreneur with a high need for achievement. He looks to his work to satisfy this need--which isn't fully satisfied right now as he gets his new business started. His need is starting to drive him inappropriately. It's leaking out and over into other areas of his life. He's trying to get his need for results met at home. He's bossing his family around, making to-do lists for them. He's looking to an adult sister to take care of something, when he could really do it better. His standards are very high, and she feels criticized. He's over-organizing tasks to be done. He's complaining about a church committee that's not doing anything about a problem.

Here's what he could do instead:
  1. At home, take on the job that he's delegated to his sister, who just can't meet his standards. Scratch the to-do-lists for others. He's setting priorities for others that aren't their priorities. There's no buy-in. Instead, get their buy-in about what needs to happen and design the new priorities with the family. Alternative: Do it himself.

  2. In his community, get an active leadership role in his church board, so he'd have the satisfaction of seeing short-term results. Get other people involved who have influence and create an action plan. Implement it.

  3. At work, start something new to meet the need. Upgrade his client list. Ask more directly for feedback from key clients. Retrain the staff. Tighten up marketing. Start a targeted marketing initiative Once your needs begin to be met, you can start living through your values.

Yes, that's why getting your needs met is important. You can't live the SeamLess Life™ while your needs are driving you. You want to have your work and your whole life be an expressing of your core values. So, start today. Focus on identifying and getting your needs met in the key arenas of your life. It's a major step forward on the path to The SeamLess Life™.


Debuting Monday, June22 :

Issue #4 - Live Your Values

E-Mail us with questions or suggestions. Diane can be reached at diane@heartdance.com, and Sherry can be reached at sherry@sherrylowry.com.

Diane and Sherry's book, Discovering Your Best Self Through the Art of Coaching, can be ordered at http://www.sherrylowry.com/book.htm.


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Text © Diane Menendez & Sherry Lowry, 1998, 1999. Part of the original Sideroad.
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