Deb Sofield


Start and Finish

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Recently a client called me about entering a competition – she was not sure she wanted to go through the hard work, early mornings and late nights and stress, pain, and hassle of it all, so she called to asked me what I thought.

Realizing that she would have a lot of work to do to win the race – I was tempted to let her off the hook this time – to focus on her work – to build her career – to push her to the top but then I realized looking back over our last year together how far she had come in just the 1styear of working towards to her goal.

So, I told her to sign up again…and work through it.

What I saw in her in one year’s time was a rebirth of self-confidence, a new vision of herself and her ability to be the best at what she did. What I saw through the tears and pain was a discovery of her true self and that if she could find the courage to love that person – she was on a path for life success.

Why did I push her – because I knew through the tears and pain, she could do it… and over time she would learn the skills and routines – programs and production that would build a foundation of success even if she didn’t feel like it at that moment.

I know that is not what she wanted to hear – but – just call me tough love Deb – and I’ll be by your side as you move to the next level. Why? Because I have found that too many times people ask friends for advice hoping to hear what they want to hear and not what they should hear… I’m just as guilty as the rest…but in my life my friends tend to be just as bold and blunt as I am.

A few years ago, I asked 3 friends to give me constructive feedback about my personality, my demeanor, my manners, my graciousness, and my leadership. I strive to go to the next level, and I wanted to be sure that I had done or was on a path to do what I needed to do to be successful.

So, three friends who I knew truly cared about my well-being were going to be my judge and jury… Now let me say at the start that I am fortunate to have people in my life who do have my back.

I can remember that all three letters back to me started the same – very cautious about what they were critiquing me on… but then they got the courage to speak truth to power – because I had requested it and was willing to make changes (if I could – really focused on my intention) they said things that I knew were not up to par in my life and then they offered advice about things I needed to work on from my loud and booming voice and personality (inside and out) to my forcefulness when gentleness would have worked as well to my chatter about a few folks who had done me wrong and I continued to ruminate about it years later (and they were tired of hearing me bellyache). It was an eye opening and humbling endeavor and I still have their letters in a file they sent back to me – I still read over every once in a while, to make sure I am still working on me to be my best.

How about you – would you ever consider allowing someone – who loves you – to write you a letter about your personality, demeanor, manners, graciousness, and leadership… it’s just a thought for those of you who strive to climb higher. Pick your own traits you’d like to develop.

I picked those 5 areas because they are the places in my life, I wanted to develop…you may have others.

Personality – am I consistent – even keeled – kind

Demeanor – does the look on my face reflect my heart – do I carry myself with grace

Manners – I grew up with 4 brothers and we could finish a meal by the time my Dad had finished saying the blessing… eating that fast in a social setting is not good manners – bless my Mother she hammered social grace and manners into all of us hoping it would take hold…do my eating quirks distract from my conversation… proper manners show class and status – am I living up to my upbringing…

Graciousness – for me it was about being thankful and kind – slowing down to smell the coffee and let other shine in their light

Leadership – my lifetime goal and how can I take it to the next level….

  • It’s a lot easier to climb the latter once you’ve let go of the bottom rung … learning to trust yourself
  • It’s a lot easier once you leave the safety of the shore and get into the boat and rock along with the waves to find your path
  • It’s a lot easier to grow your circle if you seek out likeminded and grounded friends who want you to succeed and are proud to call you friend – those who build you up and not tear you down
  • It’s a lot easier to develop your true self by listening to that small voice within you that speaks words of kindness
  • It’s a lot easier to go farther with the guidance of others to gently pull you back onto the road from the rut you’ve been living in
  • It’s a lot easier to live your best life once you commit to doing the hard work to better yourself for your future
  • It’s a lot easier to read a book from the library then spend hours wasting time on the Internet with nothing to show for it
  • It’s a lot easier to rest when you’ve done the hard work on yourself – for yourself – to stop and be grateful for all gifts you’ve been given by your creator to reflect to others the joy in your life.

I know I say it all the time, but I’m blessed in the work that I do – I was so pleased to receive a nice note from one of my favorite young people (and for the record they’re all my favorite young leaders).

So, in our training sessions I ask the typical question of what is the greatest gift you can give another person… now the standard answers are – love – time – kindness but one day when I asked the question – what is the greatest gift you can give another person – I was surprised to hear – Tumbler Cups!  What? I said – tumbler cups – my client went onto say – I just love them and they are so useful… well I fell out laughing so hard at that answer that I had to let it go…her honesty and sweetness was not to be denied… so yesterday when I went to the Post Office I received a box and inside was – you guessed it a large tumbler cup with my initial on it and the accompanying note that said… Miss Deb – thank you for always building me up. I look up to you so much. I couldn’t ask for a better coach! Love GG

All I’m saying is that you and I touch a lot of lives every day – everywhere – you make a difference whether you realize it or not

And I want to encourage you to continue through the hard work, early mornings and late nights and stress, pain, and hassle of it all – because if you start today – one year from now you will have a rebirth of self-confidence, a new vision of yourself and the ability to be the best at what you do.

When you fight through the tears and pain you will discover your true self and find the courage to walk your path for success.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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