Leadership and Life Strategies
for Professional Women

Full Circle Institute

Ruth Ann Harnisch

President, The Harnisch Family Foundation

My husband and I are on the planning committee for a 2006 conference in New York City for 300 people. They are elite members of an organization of global leaders in business, industry, and civic life. A committee member said, "Listen, we are talking about people who are at a place in life where they're far more willing to spend money than spend time. We have plenty of money, and we don't mind spending it. But we are very stingy about the things we are willing to spend our precious time on at this stage of our lives. So we better make it worth their precious time. Offer them a priceless experience, and then, believe me, they will not care how much they have to pay."

That, in a nutshell, is why I decided to Cut-to-the-Chase. It's a coaching program that was worth my precious time and therefore the financial cost was irrelevant.

Barbara Mark challenged me to say out loud what I wished were true about my life, what could be true about my life, if I would stop procrastinating, stop making excuses, stop letting myself off the hook when things got challenging, and simply cut to the chase! What did I wish for that was entirely possible? For me, the answer included something as basic as 45 minutes of aerobic exercise every day. With Barbara's coaching and accountability checks, I just built those 45 minutes into my life. I did it for health. I did it to create thinking time, for its meditative quality, and to create a feeling of joy by using my physical body.

That was just the beginning of all the wishes I made come true when I was willing to make the commitment to Cut-to-the-Chase™. I racked up an impressive list of Big Things Accomplished, included saying, "I quit," "You're hired," and "You're fired." I faced one major disappointment and several challenges, but crossing my personal Finish Line was a resounding triumph.

Measuring my long-term results, the most important thing I got from my decision to Cut-to-the-Chase™was the change that happened through adding exercise to my daily life. My body changed. My enjoyment level of life increased exponentially. Being accountable for working toward big goals with what seemed like a full-time coach holding me to my own standards, I changed.

Two weeks ago, I went to a conference and unpacked a suitcase full of pants that I hadn't worn since "same time last year," and I was surprised to find the pants needed so much tailoring that they were unwearable.

Last week, a woman I haven't seen in a while said, "You look wonderful. Have you had work done?"

This week my husband and I went to a black-tie event. I own a dozen appropriate outfits. Nothing fits. Nothing. Fits. I am at least two sizes smaller than I was the last time I wore a long gown.

This was NOT part of the plan. I don't look different to myself, but other people say I look great. I think it's coming from within, but it's just one more example of the positive consequences of my decision to Cut-to-the-Chase™.