My friend, Lindsay Manfredi, wrote this blog a month ago. I was honored and touched that she shared her experiences of coaching and gave me a “shout out” on my IBJ Article.
Okay. I have like three blogs I’m working on. They all tie in together. So, this is the first. I feel totally compelled to just take a moment and lift up two people in my life who affect me in some way everyday, whether it’s through a tweet, a blog, a phone call, or a coaching session. It’s just the way it happens. One I am only in contact with online. The other is my beloved business coach and dear friend. (No, they are not clients.)
I have gone through tremendous changes this past year, but the bulk of my growth personally and professionally was because I got committed to a coaching situation. Ever since I began coaching with Deseri Garcia, Founder and Pres of Vida Aventura, things began to change for me.
At the end of March, Amber Naslund wrote of post on the Power of Definitive Affirmations.
Man, it hit home. Then I got excited because she was nailing it and writing about it. She is by far one of my favorite writers. She takes chances. She calls it like it is. She uses her voice, and I get her. I learn from her. There are only five blogs I receive in email. Hers is one of them.
Back to Deseri: I have recently learned in a very real way that I manifest my future. Not you, not my clients, not the music my band creates, not my work, not the jack that cut me off in traffic. ME.
Deseri taught me how to get very real about being intentional, writing down clear goals, and taught me the POWER of definitive affirmations and meditation. Which, BTW I have my affirmations saved to my desktop and read them aloud at least once a day. And also on my desktop is Gaping Void’s “Moronic” cartoon because it reminds me that my dreams are so outrageous and crazy, but it really doesn’t matter. I keep pushing toward them. (Oh the little things that make me smile.)
I can’t believe…or wait…I CAN believe how when you begin to CHANGE the way you think, how you believe, and what you focus on, life begins to happen. Doors open. This is life-changing stuff! This is why I got so excited by Amber’s words:
We are cynical creatures, many of us. We look at things in terms of what we don’t want to have happen, where we don’t want to go, who we don’t want to associate with, and so on. Avoidance of the negative in hopes that the positive will emerge.
Much more rarely do we get really, painfully, brazenly specific about what it is we DO want.
And I mean specific.
Not “better work-life balance.” Screw that. That tells me nothing about what I need to do in order to achieve it.
I just want to jump up and down.
That being said, my amazing coach was just featured in the IBJ (Indianapolis Business Journal). I’m sharing this with you because she is one of the most powerful women I know. She embodies integrity. She is the epitome of “calm in the storm.” Here is Tawn Parent’s story on her:
Forget the couch and the remote control—Deseri Garcia gets her dose of athletics live and in person.
The Indianapolis consultant spends her weekends “adventure racing,” which can mean running, biking, rappelling and kayaking, among other sports. Some events last 38 hours.
What’s the appeal of something so grueling?
“It’s discovering that you can push beyond what you’ve done before,” said Garcia, 44. “It gives me courage to push boundaries in other areas—business or relationships.”
Believing that this strategy might pay off for others as well, Garcia five years ago launched Vida Aventura (“adventurous life,” in Spanish). The local firm uses obstacle courses, scavenger hunts, trust games and other nontraditional activities to build teams and develop leaders.
Her clients range from small businesses to Clarian Health and Cummins Inc. She uses hundreds of activities, depending on the size of the group and their goals. She is certified by the Association for Challenge Course Technology.
Christopher Overstreet met Garcia two years ago when she was president of Rainmakers, a local networking organization. He hired her to lead team-building exercises for his Indianapolis marketingfirm, Xiik. His staff had been having trouble communicating, so he brought in his employees from other cities for a half-day workshop with Garcia, and immediately noticed results.
“It was amazing,” Overstreet said. “People were able to talk to each other better, collaborate more. It was a phenomenal change that I noticed.”
He has since hired her for another workshop with employees on goal setting, and for some one-on-one coaching for himself. He said he has been impressed with Garcia’s ability to lead people out of their comfort zones. One employee was so moved by her own success in letting go during a challenging exercise and trusting her co-workers that she broke down crying. It was a turning point for her.
Garcia said she strives for such “Aha!” moments. Through team-building exercises, people sometimes become newly aware of their own qualities, she said. For example, an employee who rushes through instructions and fails at a group exercise may realize he needs to slow down at work.
“It’s about creating analogies for learning,” Garcia said.
This isn’t all feel-good, fuzzy stuff, she added. It affects the bottom line. Contented employees usually work harder, improve profitability and hang around longer, saving companies the expenses of turnover.
Garcia said the 20 years she spent working in business development at local companies Langham and Roadway Express gave her experience in workplace dynamics that she now puts to work through Vida Aventura.
“I went through a leadership development workshop about five years ago and fell in love with coaching and doing facilitation work,” Garcia recalled. “I discovered it was my passion.”
She runs the company out of her Broad Ripple home. She is the only employee, although she frequently contracts with other facilitators when she works with large groups. She hopes her company will eventually grow large enough to take on more employees. She said she misses the camaraderie of working in a larger setting, although she doesn’t miss the drama.
Last year, Vida Aventura brought in less than $150,000. That was a challenge, Garcia said. But as the economy improves, she hopes to reach $250,000 to $500,000 in revenue in the next couple of years.
This year has started off strong, she said. Many companies that have shed staff are looking to reignite those who remain, she said.
She hopes to branch into culinary team-building as well as increase “destination-based” work—taking client groups to interesting places, both here and abroad. For example, she led a “Survivor”-type activity with Cummins employees from all over the world in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Garcia said she doesn’t think being a woman and a minority has hurt her business success. She follows the example of former boss Cathy Langham, CEO of Langham, a transportation and logistics company. “Cathy Langham made [being a woman] a non-issue,” Garcia said. For her part, Langham praised Garcia’s listening skills, her tenacity and her ease with people.
“Deseri is a warm, dynamic person,” said Langham, who has known Garcia for 15 years. “It’s easy for her to meet people and they like her. They continue to like her as the relationship grows. That’s a stand-out strength in my mind. She’s got a great energy and great personality. She’s in the right career.”
Garcia’s love of teamwork sprang from her experience with fellow athletes in adventure racing, which she stumbled into 10 years ago after a lifetime of various athletic pursuits. She started with roller speed skating as she grew up in Fort Wayne, the child of a Cuban father and an Irish-German mother. At Ball State University, she took up lacrosse and running, and began tackling marathons. She’s a 15-year veteran of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon.
Garcia said she exercises four to six times a week, mostly to improve her health and vitality, but also to keep balance in her life. But she doesn’t expect her clients to share her penchant for extreme sports.
“You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to work with me,” she said with a laugh.
Both Deseri and Amber deserve every ounce of success they manifest. So, I guess this is a “thank you” to these gals. Read Amber’s blog. Work with Deseri. They’re out there making a difference. Intentionally.
How about you — how are you living each day intentionally?