CRAZINESS!!!

Okay, I’ll go ahead and admit it…I’ve been out of touch!  BUT you’ll be thanking me here very soon!

Actually, it’s been a long six months….lots of good, exciting changes, and some not so good and exciting.  The not so good and exciting news is that it is with a very heavy heart and much sadness that I have to announce that I am no longer on Indie104.  At least not for the time being.  They are in the process of going through some changes of their own, and I’m not sure where it’s going to “land”.  I’m still involved with the Indie104 family, am helping to get things settled down, and hopefully someday soon I’ll be back on the air with them. Stay tuned, and I’ll keep you posted!

In the meantime, I have taken this opportunity to focus on the show on BBS Radio.  So you will see a lot of changes.  I’m getting some new staff on board, some new marketing experts, new guests (wait until you hear what we are doing on the show with guests!!!), a new format, and even a new co-host!  I’m so excited that I can’t wait to get started!  So you may have noticed some re-runs happening, and that is why.  But it will be well be worth it.  Once we are up and running as planned, I will have the wonderful opportunity of serving the music community in even more powerful and exciting ways, being able to meet more personally with each of you, and being more involved in your success.  So hang in there, thank you so much for your patience, and stay tuned!

Reach for the stars, never give up, and let me know if I can be part of your success!  God bless!

Cynthia McIntosh
Artist Development Specialist
Radio Talk Show Host
(866) 636-4696

“It’s a Crazy World Talk Show”
BBS Radio
http://www.bbsradio.com/itsacrazyworld
 
http://www.successwithmcintosh.com
cynthia@successwithmcintosh.com

The Hardest Word for Me to Say

yes-or-noYesterday was my day to meet with my coach.  It was my first day with this particular coach, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  But she was great.  I’m looking forward to working with her.

The first thing she asked me was what I’d like to achieve over the next year.  That was easy.  I’m a list-making, double-checking, plan-creating, obsessively-organizing, detail-oriented human being if there ever was one. So I proudly told her that I have my one year and five year plans all written out and I know exactly what I want to achieve.  I rattled off what I want to accomplish this coming month, what I want to accomplish over the next six months, where I want to be at the end of 2017, and where I go after that.  “Great!”, she says.  “Sounds like you know exactly what you want to do!”

BUT THEN she asks me (coaches are known for asking questions that require one to
squirm…it’s what we do!) “What usually keeps you from achieving what you set out to do? What’s usually your biggest obstacle?”  GULP!!!  It was just as easy for me to come up with a quick answer to that question as it was to come up with one for the first – but not nearly as fun.  I explained that the biggest problem I have is that I love to help people.  That’s why I love my job.  I love making a difference in the lives of those I come in contact with. The downside to that is that I get wrapped up in helping everyone else, at my own expense.  I end up giving so much that I have nothing left for myself.  And I only stop when I have nothing else left to give…and that usually means I’m not in the place that my current plan intended me to be.  So my coach, of course, says “Well, ok.  Give an example.”  Unfortunately, that one was easy to answer as well, but also no fun.  At least five things came to mind that I have done over the past week that cost me big.  “Now mind you,” I tell her,  “I am glad I was able to do them, and to help my friends, but the problem is that now I am unable to do what I need to do in order to reach my own goals.  At least not right now. It just put me behind a few months.  At least I HOPE I get back on track!”  She was quiet for a moment, then asked me how long I’ve been doing this.  I told her that it’s my personality, and that I have been that way for as long as I can remember.  I enjoy nodoing for others.  And I feel really guilty if I have to say no.  I’ve been labeled a “mother hen”.  But I do it to the point that it takes up time I should be spending on myself or my business, and it takes up finances that should be used for other things.  I get so wrapped up at times with taking care of other peoples’ problems that it derails my own life.

Well, she’s my coach.  Doesn’t take a genius to figure out I have a weakness here!  It’s not like I don’t know it…just need a little help putting it into perspective and doing something healthy about it. That’s why I have a coach. But her response, for some reason, really seemed powerful.

Her response was this:

“If it’s happening to them, it’s intended for them.  The problem was intended for them, not you.”

It took a minute to sink in.  But the truth of the matter is that when I look back at my life, it’s true.  I look at my strengths, and I realize I developed them through my tough times.  I learned and grew through them.  And I’m glad I went through most of them.  So what she said had some very profound truth to it.  If I’m always saving people from discomfort or trouble, I inherit their problems, and deprive them of the opportunity to learn from their struggles.  Interesting.  Doesn’t make it any easier to say no, but it’s food for thought.

But here’s the deal.  I AM the kind of person that likes to help others.  That’s not a bad thing.  In fact, I like who I am.  However, we have many facets to our personalities, and all of them can be good or bad.  If I’m a quiet person, that can be good, unless I’m TOO quiet.  If I’m a strong person, that can be good or bad, depending on how I utilize that strength. This is no different.  It’s a wonderful personality trait, as long as I use it in a healthy way and use wisdom.  If not, it can continuously put me in tough positions.  It can effect many aspects of my life – my business, my time, my self esteem.  It can lead to bitterness and resentment.  It’s not healthy.  So, I need to practice saying “no”.  “No” is a complete sentence…that’s another pearl of wisdom my coach threw my way yesterday.

The bottom line is this:  Once my coach got me to look at my future and how my actions were affecting it, how my actions were keeping me from reaching my goals and making my visions become a reality, it has given me a whole new perspective on what I’m doing.  That doesn’t mean I will never help another person – far from it!  I love helping others.  That’s why I’m a coach.  But like everything else, I need to do it in a healthy way, and in a way that allows me to be successful so that I can help more peopleno-hand.

We all have weaknesses.  Saying “no” is mine.  Yours may be that you are afraid to admit you need help.  Or you are too shy.  It’s possible you don’t trust others easily.  Maybe you have a hard time keeping yourself from shopping.  What is yours?  Do you need help dealing with it?  If not,  what is your secret to overcoming it?  I’d love to hear your story!

Cynthia McIntosh
Success Coach – Highway 2 Success

Getting Through Storms in Life

We all have them.  And for many of us, when we are in the middle of them, they feel like they will never end.  We feel like they are going to drown us.  We feel like no one can ever understand what we are going through.  We isolate.  We lose sleep, or we sleep too much.  We don’t eat, or we eat too much.

the_sovereign_of_storms_by_procrust-d38gl3iWe all handle stress, frustration, and disappointment in different ways.  But how we handle it can make all the difference in the world on how we come out of the situation.  How we handle it often defines what the final outcome will be.  And how we handle it is a choice.  I know it doesn’t always feel like it, but I really believe that it is.  I feel very strongly about this.  Let me tell you why:

Today I live in a house that I really enjoy, with people I love being around, and I have a wonderfully fulfilling career.  I have the world’s greatest coach (in my opinion), and I look forward to my future..But I want to share with you that it definitely has not always been this way.  In fact, I have to humbly admit that I regret that I wasted so many years feeling defeated by life!

Life hasn’t always been easy for me.  It isn’t always easy for anyone.  I’ve dealt with family issues, rejection issues, financial issues, and even cancer issues.  And for years it DID leave me feeling defeated.  But I’ve learned through my challenges that how I chose to approach them has a huge impact on how each chapter of my life ends, who I become through the challenges, and whether the challenges end up being destructive or being a blessing.

You see, up until a few years ago, I had been an accountant.  I had spent the majority of my lifetime  making my living on a computer.  Then one day I woke up in the hospital. I was told that while I had gone into the hospital expecting to have minor surgery for skin cancer,they went to remove the cancer on the back of my hand and found that it was much more than they had anticipated.The cancer had already eaten away all the nerves, tendons, muscles, and even veins in my right hand –  and yes, I’m right-handed.  They had to take everything out.  To save my hand, they had to re-build it with muscles, tendons, and veins from my right arm, but I lost most of the use of my right hand and arm.  I do have to thank God that the doctors got to the cancer in time (within being a few days too late) to stop it from going into my bones in my hand – that would have been a game changer, and I wouldn’t be writing this to you today.

After surgery, cancer treatments, and physical therapy, I needed to make some changes.  I was not able to use a computer as I had before, and I was forced into a career change.  Thankfully, I have wonderfully supportive friends, because at the ripe old age of (?) I found myself looking for a whole new career that did not require the use of my right hand and that did not require that I go outdoors much (another result of cancer).

After much time, prayer and thought, my desire to help people succeed and my love for people led me to research and ultimately take on life coaching as my new career path. I studied coaching, and it has been an amazing transition.  I feel like I am doing what I was supposed to be doing all along.  I feel released to be what I’ve always wanted to be.  I’m loving life!

Life still has it’s challenges.  It always will.  But I’m grateful that I now spend my time making a difference in the lives of others by doing something I love – all because a really tough time in life forced me to leave my comfort zone and do something completely new.

I don’t spend a lot of time talking about life’s challenges.  grid9_Beautiful-Weather2  I prefer to focus on the things that I am grateful for.  But I know that some of you are going through struggles, and I hope that this story can be an encouragement to you.  If you or someone you know can benefit from this story, please share it – that’s what makes it worth while for me!

If you have a story you would like to share or if this article has touched your life in any way, please share it with us by commenting to this post.  We’d love to hear from you!

And don’t forget to surround yourself with positive people who will support you.  Being around positive, successful people is the first step to having a successful life of your own.

Cynthia McIntosh
Success Coach
Highway 2 Success

WHEN IS A COACH NOT A COACH?

It’s amazing to me that even though coaching is the second-fastest growing profession in the world, rivaled only by information technology (as reported in a National Post article), many times when I tell people I’m a coach, they look at me with glazed over eyes Successand ask me what that means.  Professional coaches actually do try and find other titles other than “coach” in order to describe what they do.  So I thought I’d take a minute to explain what it is that I do as a coach, and what I don’t do.

Let me start off by describing the traits I personally feel are requirements in any coaching relationship.  First off, a coach is someone who provides a safe and honest environment for his/her clients.  Notice I did not say comfortable, and I did not say easy. Being honest is not always comfortable, and it is not always easy.  But it has to be safe.  A good coach is your teammate.  Your coach is there to support you in whatever way you need in order to achieve your goals.  Sometimes this requires helping you see and face some hard, cold truths.  Sometimes it requires kicking you out of your comfort zone.  But this is why your coach has to be someone that you feel completely safe with, and someone that you know is absolutely, positively, 100% focused on your success.  If you don’t feel this way about your coach, you won’t have the trust required to get through the process.  Coaching is a unique professional relationship.  While many professional relationships require trust, confidentiality, and professionalism, coaching also requires teamwork.  You’re a team in your journey.  A coach does not make your decisions for you, does not tell you what to do, and does not do it for you.  A coach is there to listen to you in a way that few people will (we call it Level 3 listening), to help you think things through, to help you figure out what the right path is for you, to help you figure out how you want to stay on that path, to hold you accountable to your decisions, and to support you as you work your way to your success.

So that is who a coach is to a client.  Many times people ask me what the difference is between a coach and a consultant, a therapist, a mentor, or a counselor.  So let’s look at some of these differences.  Sometimes a coach wears more than one of these hats, and in these cases, should keep these services separate, in my opinion.  But let’s take a look at consulting as an example.  A business coach would sit down with a client and discuss things such as relationship issues, fears, frustrations, managerial difficulties, motivational problems, etc.  The coach may meet with the clients’ teams and find out what is keeping them from maximum performance.  The coach may meet with individual team members to dig deeper into what can be done to influence the team members and increase productivity.  Or the coach may work directly with the client alone and work on issues like prioritizing, working through personal issues that are affecting the client’s work.  But the coach discusses these things with the client, and helps the client think things through on his/her own.  The coach does not direct the conversation or the outcome.  In other words, by asking questions, the coach helps the client find his or her own answers and to find clarity.  One of the main ways of doing this is to help the client identify his/her core values, what is really important, and then to help prioritize.  And as the coach and client work together, the coach gives the client steps to take and work to do to ultimately obtain the results that the client has chosen to work towards.

In contrast, a consultant will go in to a business, look at it, and tell the client what needs to be done, and most often do the work necessary.  For example, a business owner may bring in a marketing consultant.  The marketing consultant will take a look at the business, create a marketing plan, and usually have a big part in putting that marketing plan into action.  Or a financial consultant will come in and look at a business, create a plan, but will also be involved in putting that plan together.  A coach, however, will only help a client identify his or her desired results, create a plan, and then support the client in taking the necessary steps to put the plan together.

There ARE coaches, however, that offer other consulting services.  For example, I have a background in accounting and in marketing.  I have a lot of experience in both.  So if I find that a client really needs social media marketing in order to reach the desired goals, I may offer to provide those services, separately from the coaching contract.

Often I am asked what the difference between a therapist and a coach is, so let me hit on that question for a minute. When I was going through coaching training, they explained it in a way that made it really simple to understand, so I think I’ll just borrow their explanation.  The way they put it was, a therapist helps unhealthy people to get healthy.  A coach helps healthy people to excel and to be their best.  The reason this is important to understand, is that if you understand that a coach is not someone who “fixes” people or problems but that takes completely healthy, normal people and helps them reach their full potential, then you understand that everyone can potentially benefit from having a coach.  I personally have a coach of my own.  I’m blessed to have one of the best.  He isn’t cheap, but because he is a great coach, he is worth every cent I pay him, and in all honesty, he’s worth more.  He helps me make tough decisions.  He helps me figure out my long term goals.  And most importantly, he has helped me create a vision that has made my life exciting and fulfilling.  THAT is a coach, and I’m proud to be one.

I hope that answered some questions that a lot of you have had.  Feel free to comment to this post if you have any questions!

To your success,

Cynthia McIntosh
Highway 2 Success

DEFINING YOUR VISION

guitar player

I have spent many, many hours talking to musicians. Some living the dream, and some…well, not so much. But what every performing artist has in common, and what continuously draws me to them, is their passion for their art. They never get away from it, nor do they want to. They will sacrifice almost anything for their music. They wake up thinking about it, and they fall asleep thinking about it. They eat thinking about it, and dream about it with every breath. They live their music. And I honestly love that about them. I love their drive and their love for what they do.

For that reason I have committed to devoting my professional life to coaching performing artists and providing them with the support they need to achieve those dreams they so passionately chase.  As life has lead me to evolve into this new focus (and it isn’t really that new…I’ve been doing it for over 20 years, but I’ve just never put a label on it and devoted full time energy to it), I have made some changes to the Highway 2 Success website and to the services it provides.  As I prepare to be back on the air on Indie104 with what is now going to be the “It’s a Crazy World” radio talk show, I am talking to performing artists to find out what they feel is most important to them on the show, and what they most want from me.

So to that end, this week I posted an article on my website that I hope will help readers to define what their vision really is, why they need to define it, what the difference is between having a goal and having a vision, and how to take the steps to make the vision become a reality.  This is something that I feel is one of the most important things one needs to understand in order to really achieve success.  In the very near future I will add additional tools to the website that will help readers to learn how to put all of this information into practice.  So please check out the website, read the article I just posted (“Defining Your Vision“) and please feel free to comment with questions, suggestions, and comments!  I’d love to hear from you.  And visit often, as I will be adding new information to the website on a regular basis that I hope will really inspire my readers and help them to find the strength and support they need as they reach for the stars!

I hope you enjoy our new website and soon-to-be-aired radio show!

God bless,

Cynthia McIntosh
Highway 2 Success

 

It’s Christmas Eve!

by Cynthia McIntosh
Success With McIntosh

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone.  I hope this blog finds each and every one of you enjoying the Christmas season with family and friends.  I encourage you to embrace the season and reach out to those around you and bless them today.  None of us really know what the people around us are going through, any more than they know what we are going through.  That’s just life.  So just give the gift of love to those around you today, and make a difference.

God bless you all…Merry Christmas and may you all have a wonderful 2015!

Sincerely,

Cynthia McIntosh
Success With McIntosh

And Here Comes 2015!

Written by Cynthia McIntosh
Success With McIntosh
Highway 2 Success

As the year comes to a close I, like most people, find myself looking at this past year and being grateful that I made some good decisions, and also wishing I had done some things differently.  Like everyone else, I have perfect 20/20 hindsight vision.

2014, I will admit, was a challenging year.  I dealt with some serious health issues, had to move several times (and we all know how stressful moving is!), had to give up the radio show that I loved so much due to the health issues (and yes, I WILL be back soon!), and had several real hoops to jump through.  But sometimes life does that to us.  I can say as I look back at it that I see some great lessons that came out of it, I was able to help some people in ways that I never could have otherwise, and as always there was a reason for things happening as they did.

However, it’s also a fact that while we can’t do a thing about the days behind us, I shared a link to an article yesterday that gave some very simple, basic, but positive steps that I can take in 2015 in order to be more successful.  It’s interesting how some of the hardest habits to form are actually some of the most basic.  For example, for me one of the things I need to work on is getting more rest.  I’m a workaholic.  I love to work.  I feel guilty if I’m not “accomplishing something”.  So I have a difficult time setting aside time to rest, and to have “me time”.

One of the nice things about the new year is that it gives us all a feeling of being handed a clean slate.  It’s a “start over moment”.  It’s another chance to do better.  I for one am so thankful for the things in life that let me feel like I am being offered a new beginning.  I think they’re exciting.  It gives me a chance to sit down and make my goals and plans for the next season…to create new dreams.

My biggest resolution for 2015 is to start taking more “me time”, because I know it will make me more productive and focused.  It’s been proven over and over that we need rest and down time in order to really reach our potential.  I realized in the last few weeks how little time I have where I am not working on something, trying to figure something out, or trying to solve a problem for myself or someone else.  I realized how little time I spend just reading a good book, or going for a walk with my dog.  So I’ve made myself a promise to start making time to myself more of a priority and to retrain myself into accepting non-productive time as okay.

On the flip side of that coin, I also spent some time really going through what I want to accomplish with my business, setting some goals, and writing out the steps I need to take to accomplish those goals.  It’s always good to write things out so that you can revisit them during the year.  Personally, it helps me stay focused, and it keeps my dreams alive.

How does your 2014 look to you as you look back at it?  What are you most excited about for 2015?  What is the biggest change you want to make for next year?