People come into our lives at different times. We appreciate them but seldom celebrate them during their lives. I recently lost my coach Pat Schuler who passed away from a sudden illness. She was a friend and mentor for almost ten years. When she presented at a Career Coaching Conference in 2008, I knew that she was the right match for me. We discovered we were both big fans of Stephen Covey and we shared how exciting it was to have a great career but to also focus on our other big rocks—family, friends, vacation, well-being and courage.
Pat had a passion for helping career coaches. She used to tell us that we had the second most important career in the world after medical careers. I had always thought that career coaching was important but never thought of it quite that way. That was Pat!
Pat identified my strengths after just six months of working with me. She challenged me to always follow them in order to develop and have a successful career. On many occasions, I told her and her husband Brian that she was the reason for my business success because I reaped the benefits of her following her heart and opening a Kick Butt Sales Coaching program. As we all know, passion is important but when self-employed…sales is key!
Pat taught me so much but her three key strategies had a profound impact on myself and my coaching clients. I will always use them in my practice.
- Who is in your boat? I have asked many of you this question. Our direct success, personal and professional, comes from the individuals we decide to include in our boat. This was Pat’s concept. The last time I spoke with her, she gave me permission to include it in my upcoming book. It breaks my heart that she will never see the impact that she made by my sharing this with so many others. Who in your boat motivates and nourishes you? We must keep out the toxic individuals and throw them overboard if necessary.
- Have a Champagne Bistro! Every year, as part of our group coaching program, Pat would have us imagine that we were in a lovely restaurant celebrating our personal and professional successes as if they had already happened. We talked about all our achievements in the past tense. It was such a powerful visioning exercise and I credit it for many of my career accomplishments including presenting at conferences and creating my Benatti Resiliency Model. This year, I had one goal that was the same as last year. This was to finally write my book. Pat reassured me that I could do it! Her support and process is one of the major reasons this dream is finally coming true. I will have a champagne toast to her when my book finally comes out.
- Learn to say No. Pat taught me to say no to clients or projects that were not a good fit for me. I would say to Pat, “but what about the money?” She would explain to all of us that we needed to focus on the sweet spot within our business. A client may be interviewing us but we are interviewing them too! I thank Pat for this because it gave me the time and energy to have a focused business, sparking success with coaching and training that motivated and inspired me! It also gave me the needed time for my family, travel, and fun.
At the time of Pat’s passing, our small Mastermind Group was meeting with her twice a month. Her husband Brian sent us the most beautiful and comforting email, highlighting her gifts, which I will always cherish. Brian stated, “The metaphor that I suggest you hold is one that I call Warrior to Wise Woman, and I believe it describes the essence of her evolution. No one (in their right mind) would ever doubt Pat’s ability to “Kick Butt”—and yet, it was her wisdom, her ability to balance boundaries with compassion, skills with inner-game, that uniquely supported her clients in winning their success. A successful business is ultimately a reflection of succeeding at self-mastery, and this manifesto was at the heart of Pat’s mission. She loved to teach and see her clients’ successes—she lived for this. And I’m coming to believe that this transition for her is nothing more, or less, than her soul’s decision to teach in a bigger classroom, and to help even more people to win their success.” I thank Brian for sharing this wisdom.
Pat was living in Ecuador at the time of her death and that is the place where her services took place. Although we could not be there to offer our sympathy, my colleagues and I were able to share personal and professional memories by phone.
As you can see, this has been a big loss for me. Pat gave me the courage not only to continue but to “kick butt.” I will always ask myself, “What would Pat do?”
Hopefully, we leave a legacy when we die. How will you do this in your business and personal lives?
Thank you, Pat!