Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Today was a rough day. I am part of a group called Vistage - phenominal experience - but excruciating at times. You are part of a group of Executives from other companies (there are thousands of Vistage groups/members worldwide). You get together once a month and work through issues that you are dealing with in your place of business. It's a tough process. Invigorating - and totally draining all at the same time. You present your issue - and then everyone in the group starts asking questions. No question is off limits - you must answer (without getting defensive as that destroys the purpose of the exercise) - and the group is not allowed to offer up any solutions (that comes later). Imagine yourself in a room of 20 other executives and they're all firing questions at you. It's like nothing I've ever experienced. The more questions they ask you, the more you answer. The more you answer - they more they ask. The purpose of course is to get to to the root of the issue; more often than not the issue you're presenting is symptomatic of something bigger. That isn't always the case - but for me, it usually is. This goes on for several minutes - then the group begins giving you advice. After that, you make your commitments - specific actions you will take between now and next month's meeting that propel you toward solving your issue.

I've been with the group for over a year and they have worked several of my issues; and each time I've come away tired but energized. I've executed plan in both my personal and professional life based on the advice of this group of people and have seen dramatic changes because of it. I've yet to have a bad experience - but today was by far the toughest issue I've had. These people are amazing - brilliant, successful, insightful, genuine - and tough as nails. As I said before, no question is off limits because absolute truth is required to get to the root of the issue. It's hard to be totally open, totally raw in a room full of very strong, very successful business men and women. Don't get me wrong - it's a totally safe environment. I have never once felt attacked, exploited - anything like that. I know that the intent of every single person in that room is to help the person with the issue. But the process still sucks.

I came away really run down - and had to hurry home so that I could go to vocal rehearsal. I was so beat - so drained emotionally and mentally. But then I got to rehearsal - and got to spend time with people that I love so much; people who encourage me just by being themselves. And all of a sudden I didn't feel so beat down - so discouraged. I felt loved - I felt welcome - I felt better. I'm thankful for the people God has put in my life: friends, family, co-workers, Vistage members. But I'm especially thankful right now for my friends - you make my life so much richer. And to Kristi - you mean the world to me - thank you so much for walking with me through this valley.


Kristi said...

I am so glad I was there to talk to you. I teared up reading this... Heidi, I will walk with you through the valley and to the top of the mountain and everywhere in between.

Looking forward to coffee...

Jon in HB said...

That sounds like an awesome group! What a neat and intense experience that must be. You're lucky to have such great friends like Kristi.

Hey, maybe you should invite those jerks you dealt with at Starbucks to a Vistage meeting to work on their customer service and connecting with their customers!