Throughout our life we meet a myriad of people. We collect moments of togetherness, we share ideas, emotions, lessons. I believe we meet the right people the moment we are ready to benefit most from that connection. Call it serendipity, synchronicity––yet not an accident.
In February 2021, while attending an ICF Romania webinar, I met a remarkable woman: Coach and bestselling author Marcia Reynolds. At the time, I did not know who she was despite her impactful work. Her bright presence captivated me during the online event, so immediately afterwards I began my research to find out more about her.
And here we are in July 2021! After reading about Marcia and her work and listening to several podcasts and interviews, I was inspired to send her a copy of my first book. I dreamt of having the opportunity to do a short interview with her, so I sent her a LinkedIn message with my request. To my surprise, not only did she immediately reply “YES,” she also suggested we do a Zoom call. Here are some of Marcia’s precious insights.
Three defining moments that made you the Person You Are Today
• There are many and it is hard to choose just three. In all my books, I share that when I turned 20, I was in jail. I thought my life was over. And I met this woman that told me: “Are you crazy? You are young, smart, strong…” And that I have privileges that many people do not have … She helped me to claim who I was and what I could do. And because of that I really wanted to dedicate my life to helping others in the way she did for me. So, that’s why I like supporting coaches and people wanting to make a difference.
• Another defining moment was my master’s degree in adult learning, which made me realize how we learn and what really changes our behaviors. I was always trying to improve my training programs. People enjoyed the experience, but they did not necessarily change their behavior after the programs were over. The degree triggered my ongoing curiosity to discover how people learn and are inspired to change their minds and grow.
My ongoing thirst for understanding learning led met to discover the power of coaching.
• This triggered the third defining moment: when I found coaching––in 1995––and started researching the difference that coaching makes in the brain and why it is so powerful. I was inspired to earn my doctoral degree so I could study the neuroscience of learning. I found that when we tell people what to do and or only focus on problem-solving, only the working brain is activated, which uses only short-term memory and not reflective learning, Coaching activates a different part of the brain where long-term, learning memory is. We not only learn and adapt our behavior, we feel more confidence to move forward, which was what that woman in jail did for me when I was 20.
If you could speak to Marcia when she was 5 years old, what would you like to tell her?
Always speak your mind. It took me a while to have that confidence, but I did it and I chose my own path.
Courage is acting in the face of fear; courage does not make fear go away, courage is
‘I recognize my fears and I am going to move forward anyway’. If you don’t have fears, you don’t have courage. You might have confidence. Maybe you feel bold, but it is not courage. So, as a coach or a teacher, the energy I bring to the conversation can inspire courage – I set the emotional tone of the interaction. The brain senses the emotions of the socially dominant person in the room (the leader, coach, or teacher) –– so the emotions I’m feeling are what you’re going to sense. And joy, courage, care gratitude, are very contagious … So, my courage should uplift your courage as well.
Resources you use to Recharge
• I have had an extremely clean diet, no sugars or grains, for decades and I exercise every day. For example, this morning I went for a 3-mile walk, then I spent time in the gym doing strength training. Hence, I’m very healthy and I am doing my passion, so it does not feel like a burden, even now that I’m in my 60’s! I know I can work with a lot of energy for many years to come.
• I also like to write; it energizes me.
Recommendations for this Challenging Period
• Self-care is critical, to get enough sleep, to have positive people in your life––if you are not positive, you are not in my life … I get out in nature often, I hike, I appreciate where I live, I enjoy being outside with my feet on the ground, feeling the earth.
• We all have to find what we’re called to do, and we can find that calling no matter what… If you are stuck in bad energy because you do not like what you’re doing that’s not healthy.
Coaching in the future years
Because I’ve worked for technology companies for 11 years, I saw the shift into smart technologies many years ago, early in my career. Yet I do not know how they will perfect human interaction with Artificial Intelligence, so I can’t predict that. So much of my effectiveness as a coach is the energy between us, the presence that I bring that helps you feel safe with me. Will Artificial Intelligence ever be capable enough to replicate that? I am not so sure, not now anyway, but who knows what the creative, human mind can create in the future?
About being Real, Authentic, Vulnerable
- When we go through rough times in our lives, we learn who we are and the importance of being who we are, the importance of being real. This gives us creative power.
- Vulnerability wraps into Authenticity: ‘I am sharing with you who I am and what I think, and why I see the world that way. I’m also interested in how you see the world. Maybe then, we can see new possibilities together.’
Interesting facts about Marcia
- Green is her defining color because it represents Nature.
- She loves the desert (she’s lived in Arizona since birth). She thinks there is magic in the desert.
- She has Romanian ancestry; her grandfather was born in Transylvania.
You can learn more about Marcia and her work by reading her inspiring books (https://covisioning.com/books/), joining her newsletter and following her on social media. As for me, I’ve released into the universe my wish of meeting Marcia offline, either in Romania or in the USA.