Swimming In Quicksand CHAPTER 5

My new book, Swimming In Quicksand, is available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle format (Click Here To Purchase).  If you are interested in a sample of the book, you can get one from Amazon.  However, over the next several weeks, I will be posting a bit more of the book than the publisher’s sample.  If you enjoy the sample, please recommend this to your friends, colleagues, and family.  Thank you.

Things Are Looking Up

Mark’s good mood carried him through the rest of the afternoon. While his schedule indicated six meetings during the remaining four hours of the day, time seemed to fly by. Before he knew it, he was grabbing his jacket and heading for the door. As he was getting into his car, he realized he was humming again. It felt good to leave work happy.

This time he remembered traffic was likely to be bad on the expressway and headed through town instead. While it was stop-and-go, it still only took fifteen minutes longer than his morning drive. As he pulled into the driveway, he checked his watch and saw it was only 5:50. He hopped out of the car and headed into the house, gently pressing the garage door switch on his way in.

Maggie and Denise were just setting the table for dinner. “You’re home!” Maggie said, reaching out to give him a hug and kiss.

“I certainly am,” Mark answered, “and I’m also very happy to see my two favorite ladies.” He returned Maggie’s hug and gave Denise a quick kiss on the cheek. “Let me wash up and I’ll be right down for dinner.”

Denise turned to grab the napkin holder and place it on the table. “Perfect timing Daddy. Mommy and I decided we wanted pizza tonight and it will be done in just a few minutes.”

“Mmmmmm… That sounds great. I’ll be right back to help set the table.” Mark headed into the study, dropped off his things, then headed upstairs to wash up. When he returned, the three of them continued setting the table. They finished just as the timer rang.

“Let’s eat. I’m starved,” Mark said as he sat down.

Maggie finished cutting the pizza and brought it to the table.

“Can I serve?” asked Denise.

“Absolutely,” answered Maggie. “By the way, Denise has something to tell you.”

Denise picked up the spatula from the table and scooped a slice of pizza on to Mark’s plate. “I got an ‘A+’ on my history project!” She was so excited she was bouncing up and down in her chair.

“Which project was that?” asked Mark.

“The ‘King Tut’ project! Remember, the one where I made the model of his burial chamber and wrote the paper about the discovery of his tomb?”

“That’s wonderful, sweetie! I am very proud of you. I know you worked hard on that project. You deserved a good grade.”

“Thanks Daddy,” she said, beaming.

Maggie also had a good day. She and a colleague had put together a proposal they believed would reduce billing errors for her company. The two of them had presented it to management right after lunch. The presentation had gone well. The proposal was accepted and they were put in charge of the team assigned to roll the plan out to the rest of the department. It was a huge honor. As Maggie described it, Mark could see how pleased she was.

When everyone finished eating, they chased Denise upstairs to finish her homework while they cleaned up.

As Maggie carried the stack of plates from the table to the sink she said, “It looks like you had a good day, too. This has been the most pleasant evening we’ve had in over a month.”

“I know, hon. And you’re right. I had a very good day. The friend Joe introduced me to was great. He called himself a coach. I’m still not quite sure what that is, but our meeting got me energized and excited.

He continued. “I know I haven’t been very much fun to be around lately, but I sure hope to change that.” He leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. “Meeting with this guy today made me feel like there are all kinds of possibilities.”

After the table was cleared, Maggie headed into the living room to watch some television, and Mark headed to the office.

He sat down and pulled out the papers Steve had given him. Written at the top was “Pre-Coaching Questionnaire”, followed by several questions. Mark read through them. “Wow,” he thought, “these are tough.” He reached for a pen and started working his way through them. What are your values? What are your passions? What drives you or moves you? What are you feeling in your job today? Why do you believe you feel that way? When was the last time you felt satisfied at work? What were you doing? What was the atmosphere? Why do you believe it was satisfying? What parts of your job do you like? Do you have other activities you find interesting and energizing? Do you know what you would like to do differently? By the time he finished writing, it was nearly Denise’s bed time. His hand was a little cramped, but he felt pretty good. He’d been able to answer all of the questions.

Before he forgot, he grabbed his phone and thumbed a quick email to the address Steve had given him. Just before he hit the send button he read through it.


I just finished the pre-coaching questionnaire. Meeting with you today, and thinking about these questions has me excited about starting. I would love to meet with you at your earliest convenience.


Satisfied that auto-correct hadn’t done anything embarrassing, he touched the send button and headed upstairs to tuck Denise into bed. As he turned off the lights in the office, he realized he was in a great mood. He smiled and shook his head. “I could get used to this.”

NOTE:  This is the last segment in the preview.  There is a lot more to the story, including some twists and turns.  If you like what you’ve read so far, please consider purchasing “Swimming In Quicksand”.  Click Here To Purchase.

Image Credit:  http://allthingsd.com/20120329/finally-things-are-looking-up-for-it-spending-survey-finds/
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