The Origin of CORE FOUR COACHING …
I am writing a book called The COREageous Entrepreneur: Four Core Skills and Routines Every Founder Needs to Succeed. I believe that entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of America, and everyone who has a great idea, a passion and the courage to be a successful entrepreneur should have the chance to be a part of that community. Yet the failure rate of startups is over 80%. A closer look shows that businesses fail often because the founder lacked the basic core skills and routines to succeed. My clinical experience supports the evidence. There are thousands and perhaps millions of bright visionaries whose ideas never made it to market because of cognitive and mental stumbling blocks. Isn’t it ironic that some of the most successful thinkers and entrepreneurs of our time: Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, David Neeleman, Richard Branson and so many others, suffered from conditions like ADHD and Executive Dysfunction and overcame those obstacles? The COREageous Entrepreneur aims to reduce startup failures with a practical guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs with these conditions.
Publication date to be announced in 2023.
My zest for entrepreneurship stretches back a few generations…
In the 1920’s, my great grandmother was a Dutch immigrant buying and selling parcels of farmland in what is now South Holland, Illinois. After the Great Depression in the 1930’s, her son (my grandfather) took an engineering apprenticeship and started his own construction business in Homewood, Ill. As a kid I loved playing on his adding machine in his tiny tucked away office in the basement. He built over half of the houses in Homewood, Illinois by 1964.
My paternal grandparents (pictured here) emigrated from Czechoslovakia to East Chicago, Indiana in the 20’s. For these tireless workers intent on giving their family a good quality life in America, the back-breaking 9-5 shift at the Inland Steel mills wasn’t enough. My grandmother got up every day at 3:00a.m.to get to her job at the bakery. As a little kid, my father and his friend combed the alleys for metal scraps and picked potatoes in local farms so they could afford the movies. A ticket and popcorn at that time cost 50 cents! One day, my Grandpa noticed that the nearest barber was six blocks away and charged $3 a haircut, so he saw an opportunity. On Saturdays, from early morning till sundown, my grandpa drew the locals to his front porch for a $2 haircut. To further undercut the competition, if a customer was hungry, he’d throw in a bowl of Grandma’s soup!
From the 50’s to the present day, my late mother, in addition to her job as the music director at our church, taught classical piano all afternoon and well past my bedtime most nights. Over the years, the lullabies of Schumann, Bach and Chopin burned into my memory to the point where, today, I can hum many tens of preludes and concertos from start to finish.
My late father, a WW2 vet, a banker by day and entrepreneur at night, couldn’t wait to get home and change out of what he called his “banker’s monkey suit.” After helping me and my four siblings with homework, he would hunker down in his basement office and work until midnight on various startups including the buying and selling of art, designing, and selling replicas of alumni memorabilia, and a business which he sold portable flat tire inflators. Patience was an entrepreneur’s greatest asset in those days as marketing relied on face-to-face interactions, cold calls, snail mail, printed ads and “word-of-mouth.”
As a kid, I thought that the sole purpose of my parents’ evening activities was to pay the bills. But what I later learned is that my parents and their parents sought entrepreneurship as a way to use their boundless talents and hard work to provide the best educational and experiential opportunities they could afford for their children. Their efforts instilled in me a “look for the opportunities and “use your gifts” mindset.
The entrepreneur in me surfaced in college at Indiana University as an opera major in which I toured the country with the IU Opera theater. Drawn to the helping professions with strengths in science and psychology, I began my Masters in Speech/Language Pathology. To help pay for my education I developed many side hustles including as a wedding singer, a TA and a tutor to undergrads, and as a caterer for my professors’ dinner parties.
After graduating with my Masters degree in 1979, I focused on developing my clinical skills in hospital settings. I supplemented my full-time salaried position by opening an aerobic studio, then teaching adult education classes on various topics (communication skills, voice coaching, accent reduction to foreign-born entrepreneurs.
After 10 years of building a strong clinical foundation, I achieved my pinnacle position as the Chief Speech/ Language Pathologist at the Lahey Clinic. It was a dream I had ever since I came to Boston. Aside from my clinical duties, I was offered intrapreneurship opportunities and trained the medical staff on topics related to communication. I developed three major revenue and cost-savings programs for the clinic. From that experience came my first book in 2000, The Zen of Listening: Mindful Communication in the Age of Distraction. From there, my private practice “Mindful Communication” came to be.
At Lahey, I served patients with a variety of communication disorders, including those with executive dysfunction, learning issues and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). From there I began working at the world-renowned Boston MetroWest Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health, a mental health practice that specializes in ADHD and its co-conditions. I served as the Coordinator of Integrative Services and Executive Functioning Coach. In addition, I was given business development opportunities to expand and promote services to ADHDers and their families. From Dr. Hallowell’s guidance and mentorship, my strengths-based CoreCoaching method was born.
Between the Hallowell Center and my private practice for the last 30 years, I have worked with hundreds of promising self-starters challenged by ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and executive functioning issues. This population, notoriously drawn to entrepreneurship, blessed with above average intelligence, uber creativity and love of risk, often fall victim to the scourges of distractibility, anxiety and impulsivity. My CoreCoaching approach has created successful entrepreneurs out of “wantrepreneurs” with or without ADHD. I continue to provide remote executive function coaching to college students and adult clients worldwide.