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Category: Work

In the Life Coaching Trenches

Ever since that charmer Tony Robbins showed us how entrenched misogyny can be even in what might be widely considered an ‘enlightened’ profession, I have lingering thoughts about the shadow this famous life coach has cast on people doing the work in the coaching trenches. We – yes, I am a life coach – have already accepted how we’re portrayed in entertainment. You can bet that if there is a life coach character in a TV show or movie, that person is going to be flaky and/or the slick, fast-talking type. That character will be the butt of a joke or be exposed as a charlatan. This is nothing like the professional coaches I know. Then, of course, there is the image of coaches who preach from a mountaintop of their own making. Robbins falls in that category. He has helped a lot of people. He’s motivated them to overcome their fears and rethink debilitating thought patterns. He also holds the distinction of being arguably the most famous coach in the world. People see his riches, the arenas he packs, and are drawn to his swagger and presence. He has earned his place in the upper echelon of self-help experts by virtue of all of that. But the Robbins model represents a small fraction of professional coaches. Meanwhile, among the coaches I know (and we’re talking the cream of...

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Awaken the Giant (Misogynist) Within

Anybody remember the scene in Friends where Phoebe’s lovable but dim little brother, Frank, meets Rachel and Monica, says “Whoa” as he gives them the approving once-over, and then asks Joey, Ross and Chandler how they “get anything done around here?” Cue the laugh track. Or maybe not. Apparently there are CEOs in Tony Robbins’ acquaintance who use that very same approach to leadership. Only without the lovable part. At one of those events Robbins holds in whopping arenas and auditoriums that cost upwards of $600 — this one in San Jose in March — he got into a back and forth with a woman named Nanine McCool who expressed that Robbins misunderstands the #MeToo movement. Her opinion was based on this (taken from a YouTube video of the event recorded by a woman named Butterscotch): “If you use the #MeToo movement to try get significance, and certainly by attacking and destroying someone else, you haven’t grown an ounce,” Robbins says. “All you’ve done is basically use a drug called significance to make yourself feel good.” McCool goes on: “You are a leader and an influential man and you are doing a disservice in my opinion to the #MeToo movement.” This, keep in mind, from a woman who laid out some serious cash to be at that event. She’s a fan. “Look at these people and see what is...

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Doubting Other People’s Princesses

Growing up as a teen in Central Jersey and then on into early adulthood, I had a curfew while I lived at home. My brother did not. The reason, as stated by my father, was because I was a girl. I am relating this in an emotionless way. No judgment here. But I want to look at it factually to make a point. Who was my father ostensibly protecting me from? I think I can safely say it wasn’t from women. Fast forward 35 years. Last month I offered to drive my mother to a wake an hour-plus from their home. My father, age 86, objected with this, “What happens if you break down?” My mother told him we’d call Triple A. I am well past the point where I want to change my father. He’s old school and set in his ways. But I wanted to help my mother here, so I calmly said, “I went to Paris, Italy and Germany by myself. I think I can navigate New Jersey.” He was a bit flustered, but he got my point. Again, who did he want to protect two women on the Jersey Turnpike from? Probably not predatory women. There are plenty of protective husbands, fathers, and brothers out there who think like my father. It’s their natural instinct to want to shield women they love from potential harm....

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From Pink Hats to Purging Our Pain

Who knew that when Donald Trump promised to create jobs he meant for the mental health industry? Shrinks are on speed dial. From casting couch to therapy couch. We’ll take it, though. In some warped way, it’s a silver lining. As we crossed over the year mark that this country inexplicably put this president into office, I’ve been thinking a lot about all the sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations that are bubbling up on a daily basis. So much buried anguish surfacing and bringing fresh pain. Ripple effects keep coming in seemingly never-ending waves. Another victim. Another accused. Men who expose themselves. Men who exploit powerful positions. Men who rape. Men who cajole via word and deed. On some level I want to issue a big thank you to our esteemed president, for he has unwittingly set the tone for this uprising. A Hillary Clinton presidency would have us in a very different place, of course. Certain legislative progress that would benefit a wide range of Americans. Definitely less embarrassment of how we’re being represented both here and abroad. More and better sleep for a lot of us. But would we have had the mostly gender-based upheaval we’re experiencing now? I don’t think so. Let’s assume Harvey Weinstein would have still been exposed by The New York Times and The New Yorker. We would have likely attributed it...

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On O’Reilly, My Rage Spills Over

Last year shortly after New Year’s Day I was in the gym, doing some stretching. A long-time gym member, a guy in his 60s, came over and kissed me on the lips and said “Happy New Year.” It was abrupt. Caught me off guard. And it was unwelcome. If you asked him about it right now, he would probably say I liked it. You know why? I was ready to object in the moment and then I cowered. I felt like a weakling, but something in me wanted to just forget it and keep the peace. I see this guy almost every time I go to the gym. Fast forward to last week. Yes, just six days ago. I was lifting weights and we got into a light conversation. He works in a service job, so I posed a scenario to him about how he would handle a certain situation with a customer. “Simple,” he said while leering at my chest. “Show me your tits and you’ll get anything you want.” If you know me at all, if you’ve read anything I’ve ever written, you’re saying, wow, here’s the part where the mighty Nancy cuts him off at the knees. But you’re going to be disappointed because I cowered again. I was so taken aback I was rendered speechless. He took his swagger to the next weight machine while...

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