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Stukes' Blog

Donald Stukes

Donald Stukes - Signed Articles of Agreement February 9th, 2012, 96th Learner

United States Navy

This is my beginning to My Life, My Lineage, My First Paperback Book. I invite you to read my journey as I compose each chapter of the 14 Level Reintegration Program. My success is your success and our community's success. Thank you for your courage and support. To post comments you must register with our community. You can view this outline I am using to map out my progess. Thank you for your comments, I value them

  • Friday, February 10, 2012 08:44 | Donald Stukes
    After many years of struggling with this economy, I frankly was very tired. And while us veterans and active duty military personnel are not perfect (some recent articles) overall my experience has been very positive. In going through the Learner's orientation, I found a new sense of purpose and re-energy! I invite those out there online with similar backgrounds and values to read my post and join me in this adventure by commenting your thoughts to my post. I look forward to reading your comments that share your bond with me as fellow veterans.
  • Thursday, February 09, 2012 20:31 | Donald Stukes
    Today I attended my Learner's orientation and was both overwhelmed at the amount of information and the graciousness of the Learner instructor Al Renteria. This is my first attempt at a four page review of my 4 hour learner session but its late tonight so tonight's post will be considerably short. The discussion of our session included such topics as the eradication of the homeless veteran by 2035. Who are the hidden treasures and growing an online community. We also discussed the centers mission, vision and guiding principles. We examined the SWOT analysis, the elephant model, the tile and carpet model, the three pillars of commerce, the science of the hunch and the greatest source of energy (the C player). As I sit in my office typing this blog post, I am fondly reminded of my learners session earlier today. As I glance at my 14 learners articles of agreement, I have become re-energized with unlimited positive possibilities. To me the most memorable article reads" I agree to seek out all services and benefits that my honorable services has given me the earned-right to use". To sum up what I feel about today's session is in an article written in Forbes magazine called "Are you coachable? The five steps to Coachability.. Are You Coachable? The Five Steps to Coachability In a previous article Three Keys to Getting and Staying Inspired, I suggested that real change is more often spurred by desperation than inspiration. Back in the 1990s my golf game was in such desperate straits that I turned to lessons. For the first month my pro, fresh off the PGA Tour, was strictly professional. Then one day he said, “Augie, I enjoy teaching you. No matter what I ask you to do you give me 150%. You’d be amazed at how many guys pay me just to argue with me. They don’t really want to change it; they’d rather be right than good.” Six months later I’d gone from barely breaking 110 to flirting with 80… * * * When I look back perhaps my proudest achievement is my coachability. The wisdom of my mentor Louis R. Mobley, the founder of the IBM Executive School back in 1956, has inspired many of my articles here on Recently a reader wrote to congratulate me on my good fortune at having had such an amazing teacher. But while my gratitude is boundless and luck always plays its part, the story, as college professors like to say, is a bit more “nuanced.” Louis R. Mobley mentors Turak in 1979 In 1973 I dropped out of college, picked up carpet installing, and went looking for people who could teach me how to live a life worth living. Whenever I came to a new town I would canvas bookstores asking their owners for the “coolest people around.” In Washington, D.C, a bookseller gave me Mobley’s name and phone number, and soon I was sitting in his magnificent study just outside Columbia, MD. We spent all day and most of the night discussing everything from NATO to Plato, and when I finally staggered back to my car I was as light headed as a supperless college student with all of Aristotle in his head. Not long afterwards I called again. I offered to find clients at no charge for the boutique consulting service Mobley had started since taking early retirement from IBM. All I asked in return was the opportunity to learn “everything you know.” “I’ll go you one better,” was Mobley’s reply, “you can move into our guest room. Every morning we’ll meet in the study. In the afternoon you can rustle up clients. But there’s one condition.” “What’s that?” “I insist on paying you for your work.” * * * A proverb says that only stupid men learn from experience. Wise men learn from other people’s experience. The education I received sitting at Mobley’s feet was priceless, but it would never have happened if I had not been coachable. Coachable people all share five distinct character traits. The first trait is humility. Humility teaches that there are things we need to do that we cannot do on our own. Only humility can teach us that the most important things we need to learn require fundamental changes in our behavior and outlook. Humility itself, for example, can’t be attained by reading a book or taking a class. Humility requires a change of heart rather than a change of mind. Working with Mobley was a humbling experience, and if humility was the only thing I learned it was more than enough. The second trait that coachable people share is an action bias. Lou Mobley was a saint, but if I hadn’t been willing to get off my butt I never would’ve found him. The third trait is purity of purpose. Making money or adding Mobley to my resume never crossed my mind. At the time I had no interest in business per se. I was hungry for Mobley’s wisdom for wisdom’s sake, and I am quite certain that if my motivations had been selfish he never would’ve made the offer he did. The fourth trait is a willingness to surrender control. Even when we do find a mentor we often put him in an impossible situation. We implicitly insist that we will only give up control once we have seen results. In fact we only get results if we are willing to give up control. Unwillingness to surrender control is the single biggest reason for the lamentable fact that most authentic change is precipitated by a crisis. Ironically, the reason why most of us need a coach in the first place is to learn how to give up control. I often hear the argument that being coachable is a dangerous trait unless we are “certain” that we have the right coach. But while I am sympathetic, authentic change is a journey into the unknown, and a journey into the unknown is by definition a journey into uncertainty. Insisting on certainty is just another bogus constraint we impose to stay off the hook. The final trait is faith. The problem with life is that it must be lived forward and only understood backwards. In my own experience this is especially true when it comes to working with a coach. The benefits of change are often only obvious after the change has occurred. An alcoholic only truly understand the benefits of sobriety when he becomes sober. In fact, as my golf lessons painfully revealed, usually things get worse before they get better. Only hindsight is 20/20, and that is why we so often hear someone exclaim, “If I knew then what I know now I would’ve changed years ago.” Nothing here should suggest that you shouldn’t do due diligence on prospective teachers. However in my own experience, the false pride that prevents us from “stooping” to the humble role of “follower” is far more dangerous than incompetent teaching. For example, while I was living with Mobley and his family I watched many people come and go. All were impressed by Mobley’s hospitality and wisdom, but not one ever asked to join me as his student. Later in my own business career, I abandoned typical interview questions in favor of riddles. One day a young man said, “I did a terrible job on the riddles. I know I’m not going to get the job. But I learned so much about myself that I’ll be thinking about it for weeks. Thank you so much.” We shook hands and he turned to go. “Wait a minute,” I called after him. “You got the job.” Life must be lived forward but only understood backward. I started using riddles to screen for traits of the mind. This young man taught me that my riddles were a screen for a trait that is far more important. A trait of the heart: Coachability. Link:

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