February 2013

As we excavate our salads, sitting on the porch of Ft. Lauderdale’s Riverside Hotel, Marge Schiller slips me a copy of her book.

“Inscribe it, please,” I beg. I’m a fan of appreciative inquiry, and I am tickled to receive a copy of Marge’s Appreciative Leaders: In the Eye of the Beholder.

Let’s “plerk” together and see what happens, the inscription reads.

Plerk – that’s play and work, Marge, right?

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My professional life began in showbiz. First time I got a job in “the real world,” I was in my mid-thirties. Trainer for a Social Services Agency in New York City. And I had this very real fear: What would it be like to work with “these people” in the real world? Showbiz had been a culture of play; was I about to rot in a culture of drudgery?

Surprise! “These people” were fun. Heck, our meetings were a lot more fun than any of the meetings we ever had in my theatre life!

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You know who they are, right?

They hurtle toward you at a party, corner you in the hall. Ramble on about something or other, whining complaining joyless stressed. Rabid narcissism in extravagant bloom, venom raging under a veneer of social grace. On and on and on they go, and not a word they say interests you …

Yep. They’re the energy vampires, sucking you dry.

A minute or two in their presence, and you feel your spirit shrink, life draining right out of your soul.

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“He’s my absolutely favorite client,” Dan Oropesa, the Relationship Manager at my firm, proclaims with great conviction as we sit at the computer, charting the next few months of my life.

He’s talking about Rich, the head of a large securities firm, a fellow I coach.

Here’s the part I want you to get: Dan has never met Rich, never even spoken with him on the phone. This is a business relationship charged solely by emails to schedule appointments. The ridiculously mundane stuff of conducting business.

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