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December 2010: "When an Automatic Way of Being is Living You"
by Patricia Hirsch

Recently, I had a very eye opening experience, and it had to do with a newly discovered and not-very-pleasant Old Observer that was ‘operating me’ in my life. Who I was being was someone I didn’t realize I was being, and it was an eye opening experience that was costing me happiness, vitality and self-expression. Let me give the definition of an old observer.

When we are born, there are existing conversations in the world that we are born into. Conversations that were there before we even showed up and that we adopt as if they are our own; conversations that we think we thought up consciously. They are not right, they are not wrong and they are worth thinking about.

An example of a conversation that someone is born into is the custom of taking off ones shoes upon entering a Japanese home, shrine, temple, some schools or traditional Japanese inns and hot springs resorts. In a Japanese gym, it is rude to wear outdoor gym shoes inside; therefore, one must bring a pair of indoor gym shoes to wear inside. One must also wear a special pair of slippers specifically for bathroom use only usually found right inside the door. Is this wrong? No, just a conversation that Japanese citizens were born into. A bit of history on this custom follows and the link to where it was found is at the end of this LCT! *

“The custom of removing outside footwear within the house goes back at least as far as the Heian period (794 - 1192) among the upper classes and gradually spread thereafter throughout society. One of the reasons that footwear was shed in this fashion was because of the high rainfall and the generally very damp climate. A house would be quickly dirtied if people walked in wearing mud-covered shoes or sandals. But probably what came first was the custom of both sitting and sleeping directly on the floor on straw mats or cushions laid over it. Footwear was removed at the entrance to help keep the house clean.

The custom is deep-rooted and has not changed despite the widespread shift in the typical lifestyle from that centering around tatami-mat floored rooms to Western-style interiors furnished with tables, chairs, and beds. No matter how tiny the apartment or how westernized the home, people take their shoes off.”

Notice that the reference is to the custom being deep-rooted.

An old observer could also be created as a conversation that one decides along the way as they live their life. When working with clients, it is my job to introduce them to the observer they are in the present. Who they are being in the moment that they are taking the actions they take that they are getting the results that they get. When an old observer shows up in our coaching conversations, my clients count on me to share with them when I hear they are living from assessments or conversations that do not support their goals and plans in their lives. When queried as to when they first remember the way of being began, they are immediately able to pin it to an incident that occurred often somewhere between 4 to 15 years old. When asked as to what happened, the answer is often an immediate, clear and concise memory of an incident occurring after which they made a conscious decision based on their assessments, to “never again will I… ” or “will always do ‘x’ when… ” or “can never trust someone that…” or some choice they made 30 to 50 years ago that is still age appropriate, somewhere between 4 to 15 years old. Hence, the “old observer” or also described as an Automatic Way of Being, that no longer serves a 30 to 50 year old with goals or dreams of designing lives they love. Once realized, my clients then have the choice of upgrading the conversation to the age one is now. Or not. Neither is right nor wrong. This is just a choice.

An old observer, or automatic way of being, may or may not work in life. There is no harm in every automatic way of being; for example, my mother lived into a conversation called “making homemade cinnamon buns every December to be able to offer as presents for Christmas.” Believe me, this automatic way of being worked for me… and for her. She loved to cook, her cinnamon buns were loved by all and given she was extremely generous, all friends and families would receive their very own drippy and delightful presents each year.

Back to me and discovering a way of being that doesn’t work for me any longer. I spend many, many hours introducing clients to their old observers and working with them to design a new observer to live into, one that will support what they see possible for themselves. Occasionally such as recently and often surprising to me, I realize that I have been living into an automatic way of being that I was either born into or picked up along the way, or I shall appropriately describe it as “one of my own old observers that is living me.” It has been so automatic, or transparent, that without the wakeup call I received, I was unable to see the effect it had on me or on my loved ones.

I am now able to begin to put in new practices to notice when this old observer shows up and how it wants to live my life for me. I now have choice in either to choose the old comfortable and automatic way of being that does not work for me (I think this one began around age 11) or design and live into something that will be more befitting my dreams and aspirations of designing a life I love.

Thank you for reading my thoughts.

Have a wonderful holiday and New Year season and with love, I wish you discovery of an old observer who may have a hold on you and one in which you are now willing to notice. I wish for you to notice how it is not yours but only something you were born into or picked up along the way.


Patricia Hirsch, MBA, Master Certified Coach
Chief Empowerment Officer with Design Your Life Coaching

* Internet resource on Japanese custom of removing shoes:


December 2010: "Who Are You? — Marketing YOUR Unique Genius"
by Ann Bennett

It doesn’t matter if you have been in business for a long time or you’re just starting out, if you are still needing to get more clients easily and consistently, without pushing so hard (and who doesn’t, in this ever shifting world?) you have to get crystal clear on YOUR Unique Genius. Yes, I said Genius. All of us have IT— albeit seemingly fleeting at times, overlooked or simply unrecognized, we are all born with innate talents - things that we just naturally do well. Most of the time, we disregard IT because IT comes so easily to us, so effortlessly and is so much Fun - that it doesn’t seem like “a big Deal”.

Most of us think Genius is an IQ thing. Something that only the super smarties possess; those mathematical wizards, those with photographic memories or instant recall of everything they had ever read — You are probably saying, “that is certainly not me”. One of my mentors is fond of saying “when you have no idea how to find something or where to look for it…It’s most likely right under your nose.”

Here are some great ways to uncover your Unique Genius:
Start with a list of all the things you absolutely love to do, or compulsively or automatically do without thinking — that you would do whether you were getting paid for it or not (don’t censure here, just write it down).

Other things that can reveal your Unique Genius:

  1. You are a mother (most mothers can run a small country!)
  2. You have written a book (that makes you an expert).
  3. You are a master sailor or a great cook.
  4. You are over 50.
  5. You are under 30.
  6. You get the idea.

Now that you have started to make a list…Look for the common denominators. We can use them in your marketing.

Don’t forget to acknowledge yourself for the willingness to go deep and to move forward, and above all to Celebrate Yourself!

Ann Bennett is a Marketing & Branding Business Coach who works with start-ups and solo-entrepreneurs who struggle with their marketing to attract more clients and make more money easily and consistently.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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