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Welcome to my blog: Perils and Pearls

My heart's desire in this endeavor is to offer support and encouragement to the hearts' of women. That you would feel accompanied - not alone - as we travel together and find the jewels in our sometimes perilous journeys. 


For most Americans (and the world, for that matter), this captured image is old news by now; but the leadership lesson modeled by Coach Reid is anything but old.

 

The amazing ending to the Super Bowl, with the Kansas City Chiefs coming back to win it after being down 10 to 3 at halftime, was teetering on being the top story of the championship game.

 

What was eclipsing the repeat champions’ story was an incident caught on camera that happened between Travis Kelce and Coach Andy Reid. Yeah, you know, the infamous bump-and-yell play.

 

As an Enneagram Practitioner, as well as being a Subtype One-on-one (Type 3), there was no doubt in my mind that Kelce is a fellow member of my subtype. We are known for our intensity in... well, in everything we do! Just ask my Self-Preservation husband. He had been pointing this out decades before we had understanding of our wiring or the Enneagram:

"Yeah, she’s intense. It’s a package deal for sure – ha! But I love it about her, my Bam-bam!"


So intense, in fact, that he tried to get me a vanity plate for my car with the word on it: INTENSE. Or NTENSE. Or N10Z...But they were all taken. Which tells me there are more than a few of us out there!

 

I believe that Coach Reid could trade notes with my husband if they got to talking about the intensity of Travis Kelce. Of course the media grabbed that clip and took it viral, framing it as an assault – Kelce pushing his coach hard enough that Reid almost lost his balance, while being yelled at by a red-faced mad man.

 

But I read several accounts of the incident, along with what both Kelce and Coach Reid said about it after the fact, and I land on this:

Coach Reid is a genius for bringing out the best in his star players and he does so by leveraging their strengths.

My thought on this was only confirmed when I read another few postgame headlines about what superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes says about Coach Reid.



 Allow me to share some of INC’s account of Mahomes postgame interview and their thoughts on it as it applies to leadership:


Mahomes credited Kansas City head coach Andy Reid for enabling him to achieve this level of success. Calling Reid the ‘best coach of all time,’ Mahomes explained exactly how his mentor has helped him through the years.

'For me, he brings out the best in me because he lets me be me,' Mahomes said. 'He doesn't try to make me anyone else. I don't think I'd be the quarterback that I am if I didn't have Coach Reid being my head coach...

'He brings out the best in me.'
In just seven words, Mahomes identifies a hallmark trait of all great coaches, teaching a brilliant leadership lesson in the process: Great leaders bring out the best in their people.

Without getting into the details of the different schools of thought on how to train NFL quarterbacks, it comes down to this: The standard has been to prioritize the system the coaching staff has developed over the quarterback’s natural style - to train the qb to "play within the confines of an offensive strategy the coach or his administration feels is best." They believe the percentage of success with this method warrants the required conformity of the quarterback.


But Andy Reid had a different idea: Instead of forcing Mahomes into a system, he allowed him to play to his strengths.


Now that gets my attention. As a Life Coach with almost two decades of experience, I firmly believe in the principle of playing to your strengths.

Why spend your time and energy focusing on improving your weaknesses when you will most certainly contribute to the world out of your strengths?!

Mahomes has said “He’s learned how to get the most out of me every day.”


I believe Coach Reid has done similarly with Travis Kelce. Reid has known from the start that Kelce’s passion is fiery.  In fact, his passion spilled over in a speech he gave the evening before the Super Bowl. A few of the quotes from people who heard it:


There wasn’t a dry eye in the room!

Coaches and teammates were so moved they were tearing up.

[Kelce’s] speech hit me differently than any other pregame message I’ve heard before.

It was raw and passionate...


I believe that it was in the context of how Coach Reid had just experienced the passion of his star tight end in that speech the night before that he was able to shrug off any inference of malice from Kelce’s verbal and physical display of his intense desire for his team to live up to the potential he knew they had.


As he should have, Kelce apologized – first to his coach, then to the world, for crossing a line (that went around the world). But all the while, Coach Reid was directing his comments to the powerful passion of his players:

They’re passionate players and I love that. Even if they chest bump me to the other side of the 50, I appreciate it,” Reid said. “I just love that the guy [Travis] wants to play and wants to be in there playing and he knows I love that, so it makes me feel young.

There’s no coincidence in the word ‘dynasty’ being used now when referring to the Kansas City Chiefs. And it’s not a fluke how players are able to experience the height of their skill and success with Coach Reid. He knows how to bring out and develop their strengths.


This is me repeating myself; but it's what I'm passionate about:

What are your strengths? How can you start leveraging them instead of focusing on what needs improved?

Remember me asking: What is the thing you can’t not do? Well, I guess for Coach Reid and his fiery Chiefs, the answer is winning championships!



If you would like to follow me on this adventure, and receive notice whenever I post something new, please subscribe. (It’s simple – at the top and bottom of every page on the Perils & Pearls blog site. *No need to be a 'member.')


**A word about POSTING COMMENTS: I LV engaging with your feedback/responses to my writings! But, if you run into tech obstacles when trying to post a comment, please feel free to do as so many of you have done: Send me a private message using the "Let's Chat" option on the Perils & Pearls Home Page.


And if you know people who would benefit from the support, and/or enjoy the short writings, please share the site or a post with them. Heck, just share it on your social media…Let’s grow it together! 


Blessed to play a part ~

g

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We are into February (already!), probably reassessing the resolutions we made a month ago, and headed towards Valentine’s Day. So, I am taking this opportunity to check in on my heart health.

 

I want to admit up front (while fighting back some old shame) that for the first three to four decades of adulthood I did not believe that my heart was worth protecting, let alone pursuing.

 

I was living under a misconception formed during my childhood that I was here (created) to be sacrificed for the agenda of others, and responsible for...well, for everything and everyone around me.

 

So, it is a relatively new thought (in the last 8 years) for me to talk about valuing, protecting, pursuing my heart. Initially that meant learning to say no to the lie and turn towards the truth of who God said I am: valued, worthy to be loved and protected, having a divine destiny, called His Beloved. That translated into spending several years where my mantra was: 

My healing is in my ‘no.’

When what was being asked of me or put upon me resembled that old image of me being sacrificed and held responsible, I had to resist the ingrained brain response to fall in line with that misconception. God was planting His image of me into my heart even as the Gardener of my soul lovingly pulled out all the weeds by the roots.

I had to disown the false identity to make room for my true identity, and then allow it to take root in me – all impossible feats, in my opinion and experience, without the transforming power of God at work. Willpower will fail re: creating true lasting change.

This process I am describing – moving from old to new, false to true - brings to mind my graphic illustration of the broader process of transformation: The Transformation Arrow. I firmly believe as Christ-followers we should all be somewhere on that arrow, moving from old/false self, to new/true self at every point of our journey.



 When we move from the left over to the right (from old response to new response) re: some particular false-self habit or pattern, we are then ready to cooperate with God on a new ray of light He will bring into our awareness – something else that is holding us back from living freely as who God created us to be. And that will put us squarely back to the first step on the left again: Connecting with God re: the change He is inviting us into. And so the journey of transformation goes...and continues as long as we are willing.

 

The cataclysmic event that shot me onto the Arrow this round was the month I spent living in the possibility that I had advanced cancer running around in my chest. The level of powerlessness I felt while waiting for the verdict stripped me of my can-do T3’ness, my positive attitude...my hope in a future.

 

And as an Enneagram Type 3, my imbued purpose and gift is to bring divine HOPE into my spheres of influence. Wow, talk about irony! But God...He is always working at multiple levels in unseen, incomprehensible ways!

I believe my very scary low drained me of my self-reliance and caused me to question my self-protection like no other single event in my journey had.

Then, somewhere during the excruciating waiting, I posed this coaching question to myself:

How would I live differently if I knew my race was shortened? 
What came up for me, over and over, was the awakening of: I can’t spend my days stepping away from opportunities, playing defense, shrinking back in safe silence!

And so, in the days following, I watched myself move through “Connect w/ God” to “Surrender” ...and landed on “The Point of No Return”!

What I heard in my spirit was “Your healing will now be in your ‘yes’, Beloved! Your true identity is now grounded in you. You don’t need that wall of self-protection. I am your Protector.”

I am so energized by the opportunities I am now stepping into instead of away from, playing offense instead of defense, bringing my unique voice and perspective to situations instead of shrinking back in silence. Ahh...Now that’s living!

 

The opportunities that come into our lives on a daily basis are never-ending – from our interactions with clerks and baggers at the grocery store, to offering empathetic support to those who are in one of those excruciating times of awaiting an answer, a recovery, a second chance.

Each of us has something unique to offer, something I describe as ‘the thing you can’t not do.’ It’s what naturally flows from your veins, your superpower! No one can bring exactly what you can to this hurting world, or to your next-door neighbor.

My desire is to keep offering what I can’t not do – encourage, bring hope – wherever He takes me, with whomever He crosses my path. It’s (still) where I find Life.

 

And I’m cheering you on to do likewise... 

Take inventory of your no’s and yeses. Where might be a ‘no’ that you could turn into a ‘yes’? You only need to offer what is already in your hand, what comes easy for you.

I can attest to: There is true Life to be found when we are living out our God-given identity.

 

If you would like to follow me on this adventure, and receive notice whenever I post something new, please subscribe. (It’s simple – at the top and bottom of every page on the Perils & Pearls blog site. *No need to be a 'member.')


**A word about POSTING COMMENTS: I LV engaging with your feedback/responses to my writings! But, if you run into tech obstacles when trying to post a comment, please feel free to do as so many of you have done: Send me a private message using the "Let's Chat" option on the Perils & Pearls Home Page.


And if you know people who would benefit from the support, and/or enjoy the short writings, please share the site or a post with them. Heck, just share it on your social media…Let’s grow it together!


Blessed to play a part ~

g



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Being in the last half of January, most of you are probably through the irritating return process from Christmas gift-giving. The process can be so painful that you decide to keep the thing you’ll never wear or use, right?! And how about when we are the ones who gave the gift that is being returned? Ugh...it can feel like a failure.

 

So, is there a gift we can give – for any occasion - that we can be sure won’t be returned? I believe so: The gift of truly listening to another. I have a hilarious memory to share that illustrates how impactful good listening can be.

 

I’ll never forget it...My husband Ron and I were hosting my parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration in our home. It was a perfect June day in Ohio. The house was full of chatter and laughter with my parents at the center of it all. Mom seemed to be in her glory as she took in all the compliments and stories being shared with her by those who had been witnesses of some part of Faye and Jerry’s 50 years together.

 

We did the food ourselves – no caterer, which meant someone had to man the grill to keep the meat platters full of chicken and burgers. Ron volunteered, partly so he could keep his introverted self from being overwhelmed by the amount and volume of the conversations taking place all around him.

 

As it would happen, a quirky friend of ours, (I’ll call him Mitch), discovered Ron’s hiding place at the grill station, and joined him there. I had taken no notice of this movement until I was looking for Ron’s whereabouts and found him nodding his head while he flipped burgers. Mitch’s occupation of Ron’s attention lasted a full 90 minutes – which I didn’t learn until much later that evening while Ron and I were simultaneously cleaning up and debriefing about the event.

 

That’s when Ron told me Mitch stayed by his side for an hour and a half straight, talking away about everything and nothing, with Ron’s only input being an ‘uh-huh’ or a nodding of his head. I laughed and said,

“Here I thought you must have given him some much-needed advice or solved a perplexing problem he had, because of the comment he made to me when he finally came back inside.” 

And here’s the line that became an instant classic in our family: Mitch said to me after his time with Ron: 

“Geri, do you know that your husband is the wisest man I know?!”

When I told Ron that was Mitch’s comment, he belly-laughed while telling me he hadn’t said one word of response or advice to any of Mitch’s diatribe - only an occasional grunt or nod. We both laughed till we cried. How ironic Mitch’s compliment of wisdom when Ron hadn’t said a word. Hmm...

To ‘listen’ another’s soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another. Douglas Steere


During both my Life Coach training almost 20 years ago and the certification process for becoming an Enneagram Practitioner, I received great information on what good, effective listening is. And I did some reading and refreshing on the art of listening before embarking on this post. But the bottom line is this: I have to be motivated to improve what is not inborn for any of us - that is, good listening skills.

Researchers have concluded that the more motivated a listener is, the more active and alert he/she becomes as a receiver. You will not improve your listening skills until you resolve to do so and apply motivation to the practicing of such.

And may I add, that for me as a Enneagram Type 3, it is especially challenging to train myself to not be a hurried listener. Here’s a bullet-point on how Type 3’s communicate:

Direct, topic-focused, fast-paced, and confident. Others may perceive me as impatient, unfeeling, overly efficient, and overriding of other's views.

Oh boy, see what I mean? But I will not faint from applying myself to this goal! My work with clients requires that I am intentional in my posture to put aside my own thoughts and agendas and really be present and hear what they are saying – and not saying. The bigger challenge is with those I love. And although I won’t use it as an excuse, our ‘ever-screen’ culture doesn’t help with our continuous partial attention syndrome.

 

Here are a few jewels I’ve picked up to practice in this area of effective listening:

 

·      Listening is not the same as hearing. When we hear, we only perceive sounds; but when we listen, this hearing is accompanied by a deliberate and purposeful act of the mind. To listen means to get meaning from what is heard. One may hear the words uttered by another person without really understanding them.

 

·      A specific type of listening, active listening requires the listener to totally concentrate, understand and respond to what is being said instead of just passive hearing.  Active listening entails listening with all senses. It also involves providing full attention to the one speaking.

 

·      Your attention can be demonstrated in nonverbal ways, such as eye contact, posture (perhaps leaning forward), being comfortable during pauses/silences, being focused/tuning out all distractions.

 

·      Verbal ways to affirm you are actively listening: without interrupting, reflect back to the speaker what you hear her/him saying, ask questions that reveal you are taking in & understand her intended message, and perhaps asking her to say more about something you sensed her feeling more about.

 

My desire for overcoming my roadblocks to being an empathetic, active listener can be found in this quote:

If someone knows another person is really listening, the conversation changes. The speaker doesn’t need to desperately guard her or his opinion. The speaker has no need to line up convincing counter arguments. The conversation has room for reflection and deeper understanding.  Rev. Catherine Tran

 

I invite you to consider...

 

Can you think of someone in your life who demonstrates the traits of an empathetic, active listener? How have their listening skills affected your comfortability in sharing vulnerably with them?

 

Is there a aspect of listening to which you desire to put intentionality? How/where/with whom might you practice that in your daily life?

 

If you would like to follow me on this adventure, and receive notice whenever I post something new, please subscribe. (It’s simple – at the top and bottom of every page on the Perils & Pearls blog site. *No need to be a 'member.')


**A word about POSTING COMMENTS: I LV engaging with your feedback/responses to my writings! Let me cut through the tech hassles re: POSTING COMMENTS:

When you click to add a comment, you will get a choice of leaving a comment "AS A MEMBER" OR "AS A GUEST."


CLICK THE CHOICE "AS A GUEST" (-even if you are a SUBSCRIBER) & your life will be simpler- ha! And as many have done, feel free to send me a private message using the "Let's Chat" option on the Perils & Pearls Home Page.


And if you know people who would benefit from the support, and/or enjoy the short writings, please share the site or a post with them. Heck, just share it on your social media…Let’s grow it together!


Blessed to play a part ~

g

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