Power Is Not a Dirty Word


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It was one of those crystalizing moments, when lots of swirling puzzle pieces suddenly come together and the picture makes sense.

I was listening to an interview about Power and Leadership with Linda Kohanov, founder of EponaQuest and author of a new book, “The Power of the Herd.” I had read her first book, “The Tao of Equus,” last year, and was looking forward to the interview.

I wasn’t disappointed. “The Power of the Herd” presents a new view of Power and Leadership. Kohanov described how this evolved as a result of her work with a rescued stallion who had been abused:

“The most surprising thing to me was that I discovered that kindness, sympathy and understanding weren’t enough to heal the wounds of that level of misused power, that I had to become powerful myself. And yet I had to become powerful in a different way than the kind of Domininance/Submission power that abused him to begin with. And I really wasn’t sure what that was.” Healing With Horse Telesummit 2013

Kohanov went on to describe the journey she embarked on to discover – and embody – the power needed to heal that stallion, and what she learned. I was struck by three key ideas:

  • Predatory vs. Non-Predatory Power
  • The Importance of Boundaries
  • The Role of Nurturing and Companionship

These came together with other teachings to give me a new understanding of leadership, and of power.

The Puzzle Pieces

That’s the background. Here’s where the pieces of the puzzle began to fall together.

PREDATORY vs. NON-PREDATORY POWER

Over time, through research, observation and first-hand work with horses, Kohanov developed a model of what she calls “Predatory Power” vs. “Non-Predatory Power.” While horses are “prey” animals, they are herd animals and leaders of the herd certainly exert power over the other members. Language is important, though, and the term “prey” conjures images of quivering victims. This is not what she observed, so she chose the term “non-predatory” power.

What’s the difference, you ask?

Predatory Power: Leaders nourish themselves at the expense of the others.
Non-Predatory Power: Individual and group needs are met.

Predatory Power: Leaders value territory over relationships.
Non-Predatory Power: Leaders value relationships over territory.

Predatory Power: Leaders value Goals over Process – “The end justifies the means.”
Non-Predatory Power: Leaders value Process over Goals – The end does not justify the means.

While Kohanov developed this model as a result of working with horses, she works with people as well, and there are of course parallels to human leadership. She went on to talk about classic “dominance” leadership, and I was reminded of something Mark Rashid, a well-known horse trainer and author, teaches.

In his book, “Horses Never Lie,” Rashid describes two types of leaders he has observed in herds – often within the same herd: “Dominant” leaders verses “passive” leaders. Dominant leaders are the “alpha horses” that rule the herd: They eat first, drink first, and spend a lot of time reminding the others who is boss. But the other type of leader, rather than constantly asserting its dominance, seems to be chosen by the others. Why are they chosen? As prey animals, horses need to conserve energy so that they have it when they need to escape.

“Primarily they conserve energy in a herd situation by willingly following a leader that they know won’t cause them unnecessary stress or aggravation. In the herds that I had a chance to work with, it was evident that seldom, if ever, was the chosen leader the alpha horse. Rather, it was a horse that had proven its leadership qualities in a quiet and consistent manner from one day to the next. In other words, it was a horse that led by example, not by force.” (Horses Never Lie, Skyhorse Publishing, ©2000, p. 38.)

He proposed that it made sense to him, in working with horses, to be the kind of leader they would want to follow, rather than having to constantly force them to follow him.

That sounds great, except… language is important.

I was impressed with Rashid’s ideas, and I translated them not only to my own work with horses but to people, too: I kept thinking about my own experiences with “dominant” or “alpha” human leaders vs. leaders who lead by example. But again, language is important, and calling them “passive leaders” was a stumbling block for me. Apparently I wasn’t alone; in his new book, “Life Lessons from a Ranch Horse,” Rashid admits that created “quite a stir…After all, how can one be passive and still be a leader?

Well, Kohanov’s language and examples helped this to make more sense. If I go back and substitute “non-predatory” for “passive” all my resistance goes away.

But wait, it gets better!

VULNERABILITY AND BOUNDARIES

Kohanov went on to talk about how predatory leaders prey on their followers’ vulnerabilities, whereas non-predatory leaders protect their followers, honor boundaries and make it safe for members to be vulnerable in the group. Non-predatory leaders, she said, shield the weak, and members can show vulnerability in groups.

Here I was reminded of Brene Brown’s TED talk about vulnerability. I was also reminded of something my friend Vicki Dello Joio teaches:

“Boundaries remove barriers.”

What? I admit, the first time I heard Vicki say that it left me scratching my head. What’s the difference between a boundary and a barrier? How can a boundary remove a barrier? But what Kohanov said about vulnerability, and about boundaries, helped me to finally get it:

“When you’re setting a boundary, you’re simply claiming the space you need to feel safe and present and, as a consequence, more connected to the person you’re setting the boundary with.”

This makes it easier  – and safer – to be vulnerable as well. This is only possible in non-predatory power systems.

One more a-ha!

NURTURING AND COMPANIONSHIP

Kohanov also explained another aspect of herd behavior that caught my attention:

“There’s also another element to herd behavior that’s really important, which is acts of companionship and nurturing. They spend a large amount of time just being really quiet together, resting together, mutual grooming, grazing together, and all of those elements create this glue that begins to hold the herd together.”

This glue, this power, isn’t about fear, and it isn’t about territory. It’s about acts of companionship and nurturing.

But that’s not the a-ha.

Kohanov doesn’t claim that “dominant” leadership is always bad and that the “lead by example” leadership of “chosen” leaders is always good. Nor does she claim that successful herds are always supportive and nurturing.

As part of her research for the book, Kohanov studied various herding cultures, where humans live in close proximity with the herds they tend.

“What you find with Master Herders in traditional herding cultures is that they actually get to the point where they can use these various roles at will for specific purposes. So that a Master Herder knows when to act as Dominant, when to act as Leader, and when to act as Nurturing Companion.”

That requires consciousness or, as my friend Michael F. Broom teaches, conscious use of self. Conscious use of self isn’t only about recognizing one’s faults and getting out of one’s own way, but is about being conscious about what tools, or style, to use when.

Which brings me to something I teach (and my clients hear this a lot): We get to choose.

We get to choose not just our default mode, but we get to consciously choose which mode is right for the situation we’re in now.

A-ha.

Power is not a dirty word

Yes, there was a lot packed into that interview, so much that I had to listen to it several times. And when the pieces came together, this is what I saw:

  • It takes non-predatory power to set the boundaries that make members of a herd feel safe enough to allow themselves to be vulnerable.
  • Every member is responsible for setting and respecting boundaries; a member doesn’t have to be The Leader to set boundaries, but no member can be a (non-predatory) leader without setting boundaries.
  • Companionship and nurturing are also powerful and can bring and hold a herd (group) together.
  • There are, of course, various styles of leadership and different types of power, with different applications. No one type is ideal all of the time (our greatest strengths become our greatest weaknesses when taken to extreme). Dominance is necessary at times.
  • The real power is in knowing what type of power to employ when – and being able to do it.

Part of what was so interesting about all of this is that in almost every instance I could replace the word “herd” with “group,” “team” or “organization” – human herds. This all applies to human interactions as well as to equine interactions, and it has given me new insight into what many smart people are teaching about human interactions and leadership. (Funny how the horses keep giving me insight into other humans, and into myself. Even when we’re just talking about them.)

And whether it applies to horses and herds or to humans and organizations, Power is not a dirty word. Everything depends on the type of power that is being employed, and when.

A-ha.

Hallway Angel


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It had been a long week, and it was only Wednesday.

A week of highs and lows. Of time spent with the horses, of wonderful, uplifting, encouraging conversations.

And. A week of conversations that made me think, If I am ever in another Relationship I have so much to learn, so much work to do on myself, so much I want to do differently.

A week of looking in the mirror and thinking, I’m not young anymore. I have lines on my face I didn’t have before. And they’re not laugh lines. I’m not pretty. No one will ever love me again.

(I’ve gotten pretty good, over the years, at not indulging in negative self-talk. But I succumbed. And I noticed.)

Like I said. It had been a long week. And it was only Wednesday.

But on this Wednesday I had gone into The City for the monthly meeting of coaches and, as always, it filled me up.

I was standing in the hallway outside the hotel’s restrooms, waiting for a friend to come out so we could walk together to the train station. Standing, not thinking, just basking in the afterglow of a really good meeting with friends and colleagues and a speaker who had given me a lot to ponder.

I looked up from my pondering, and there was a man standing in front of me.

“Excuse me,” he said, “but I just had to tell you. Even from across the room. You’re beautiful.”

I gaped at him.

“Really,” he went on. “Stunning.”

I’m talking to an angel, I thought.

“This isn’t a pick-up,” he hurried to add. “I’m here with a date. I just had to tell you.”

“Thank you,” I managed to say. “I appreciate that.”

“You are, you know. Really. Beautiful.” I could smell alcohol, he had clearly come out of the bar, not out of our meeting, and was headed for the restrooms. I’d never seen him before. Maybe the angel took on the smell of alcohol to make himself seem real, I thought. Or maybe the alcohol made it easy for the angel to nudge him to action. Either way, it was exactly what I needed to hear.

“Thank you,” I said again. “I really appreciate that.”

Thank you, Angel. Whoever you are.


Take notice, the next time one of your angels whispers in your ear and nudges you to be an angel for someone else.
Are you willing to let yourself be nudged?

Image courtesy of papaija2008 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bus Stop Angel


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“I can’t go to medical school. I’ll be 40 when I finish.”

I was sitting at the bus stop, enjoying a beautiful spring afternoon, when I heard one side of a conversation behind me.

“No one will want to marry me when I’m in medical school, and how can I have kids while I’m in medical school?”

Really, I thought, doesn’t she watch Grey’s Anatomy? Med students and interns and residents get married and have kids and the world doesn’t come to an end.

“I can’t go to medical school.”

I couldn’t let that go by. Without thinking for more than a flash second I turned around and saw a young African-American woman in scrubs, wearing a headset, talking on the phone.

“Go to medical school,” I said. “You’ll turn 40 whether you do or not. Go to medical school.”

She gaped at me, and pulled out her ear-buds. “What?”

“Go to medical school! You’ll turn 40 whether you do or not.”

“Oh,” she said, and nodded slightly, and put her ear-buds back in.

Now I’ve done it, I thought. She must really think I’m a crack-pot. (Although I believe that people who carry on phone conversations in public invite a certain amount of audience participation.)

The bus came, and we got on. I sat down in the middle, and she went on to the back of the bus and carried on with her conversation, talking about the medical office where she worked, complaining about the doctor she works for, how one of her co-workers said she thought he discriminated against people but the woman on the bus told her, “No, he treats everybody bad.” She stopped talking about not going to med school, though. At least for the moment.

My stop came before hers, and I got up and headed for the back door. I expected her to glower at me for eavesdropping and butting into her conversation. Instead, she waved gaily at me and gave me a big grin.

Go to medical school. Be a better doctor and a better person than the jerk you work for. Show him how it’s done. Be true to yourself, and find someone who sees you shine and will be willing to figure out study schedules and childcare and parent with you. Go to medical school. We need you. You need you.

Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We Don’t Always Know How Much We Are Loved


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Grandma Rena and my dad

A post on Maria Wulf’s blog at Full Moon Fiber Arts reminded me of this. Maria wrote about a mysterious safety pin and a note that fell out of the pocket of an apron she was incorporating into a quilt.

I left a comment that the handwriting on the note looked like my grandmother’s handwriting. Grandma Rena, whose handwriting – and voice – is preserved on the recipe cards she gave me with my two favorite recipes for Banana Bread and Apple Cheese Bread.

Maria replied that hand-written recipes “are like pieces of art… they’re layered.” These certainly are.

I had the sense to ask for those recipes as a child, and it’s a good thing I did, because she passed away when I was in middle school.

Both recipes call for chopped walnuts, and Grandma Rena included, in parentheses, “leave out for Emmett,” my youngest brother who is allergic to peanuts. Grandma Rena wasn’t taking any chances, so she left out ALL nuts and always brought two loaves: One regular loaf for the family, and a small loaf without nuts for Emmett.

Well, my baby brother was too young to appreciate this, and he was probably only in kindergarten when Grandma Rena died. So I gave him copies of the recipe cards as a Christmas gift a few years ago.

Maria’s blog post reminded me of this, and I learned this lesson again: We are loved. We are more loved than we realize.

Somebody loves you. More than you realize.

This came full circle a couple of years ago, when my aunt sent me a newspaper clipping with a recipe for a “frozen lemon treat” (a kind of frozen custard/ice cream). There was a hand-written note at the top – in Grandma Rena’s handwriting – “Susie likes this.” My aunt found it at the bottom of the kitchen junk drawer she was cleaning out and sent it to me. I don’t remember either Grandma Rena or Auntie Terri ever making it, so I must have been very small at the time, but I have always loved lemon, so I’m sure I loved it.

That love note took more than 40 years to get to me. It came with love from both my grandmother and my aunt.

Somebody loves you, more than you realize.

And the people we love may not realize that, either.

Today let’s act on that.


Someone loves you more than you realize.

Take a moment to feel that.

What can you do today to act on your love for someone else?

It Made Me Smile


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Yesterday I got an invitation to join someone’s network on LinkedIn, from a name I hadn’t heard or thought of in quite a while. There was no personal note with it, as is often the case, but I responded (as I frequently do) with a note thanking him for the invitation.

He replied, saying, “I saw you on LinkedIn and it made me smile.”

Which of course made me smile. That was the nicest thing anyone had said to me in a while – and people say nice things to me all the time. (I’m surrounded by nice people, and I’m grateful.)

When I stopped to think about it, I realized that we had worked together nearly twenty years ago. Gadzooks, how could that be possible? I don’t feel old enough to have done anything twenty years ago.

Even more, I marvel that those twenty years could disappear in an instant – because we made each other smile.

Make someone smile today. It will come back to you. I promise.


Work with a coach with experience in Connections, Joy and Grief.
I invite you to contact me: susan @ susanTblake . com
.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Garden of My Heart


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In October of last year I had a Moving Sale and liquidated a big portion of my belongings – and my garden.

My little garden. Visitors would step out onto my patio, surrounded by a six-foot privacy fence and shaded by a heritage oak, and exclaim, “Oh! It’s like a secret garden!”

It was. With its fountain, bird feeders, glider bench, and plants everywhere, it was a secret garden. A little oasis.

And I sold and gave away almost all of it.

That was harder than moving. Harder than letting go of books, of furniture, of pots and pans. When I drained the fountain and watched it go out the door with a half-dozen plants, I thought I was going to throw up. Luckily a friend was there to catch me with a hug.

Now it is Spring. Daffodils are popping up and trees are blossoming out, and I am remembering my little garden. My volunteer oak and walnut trees are probably leafing out, my Chinese purple fringe bush is probably blooming somewhere, and I can see my foam flowers and coral bells in my minds eye. Soon the three-foot Sweet Lavender bush that I grew from a two-inch pot and looked like an ancient, gnarled bonsai will be blooming, and the giant rose geranium, also grown from a two-inch start that Bruce ordered for me eleven years ago, will open its riot of pink flowers in May.

Now they will be blooming for someone – many someones – else. Ah, my little friends, scattered to the four winds like seeds, I hope you bring them as much joy as you brought me. I needed to make room in my life for something new to come in, and it is. I wish you well out in the world.

And. I brought a handful of plants when I moved in temporarily with a friend. Not because I couldn’t replace them, but as a promise to myself. A jade plant (cuttings from a friend), an angel-wing begonia and a dragon-wing begonia that have followed me as cuttings around the country, a small ivy topiary, a peppermint geranium, and a rose geranium that I grew from a cutting from the original rose geranium. And another friend offered to foster my rose bushes in containers. It’s time to go and visit.

I have a tiny garden to keep my thumb green while I cultivate a new garden in my heart. Life’s transitions are sometimes painful, even if they’re beneficial, and Spring always follows Winter. Always.

Grow well, my little darlings that went to new homes. Bloom where you’re planted – a good lesson for us all.

Here’s a little Spring for your heart…


Would you like to talk to a coach with experience in
transitions and grief?
I invite you to contact me: susan @ susanTblake . com
.

Skeptics and Cynics. And Coincidences.


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“He was so cynical, it was impossible to deal with him.” My friend told me about a prospective client she had been talking to, and went on to describe how one of her mentors had recently talked with her about dealing with people in the sales process, and how the hardest two categories were Skeptics and Cynics. “What’s the difference?” she wondered aloud.

I almost spit my coffee out on the table. My friend had just voiced a question I’d been asking myself for several weeks. How weird is that?

I can’t even remember what started me thinking about it, but it has floated through my mind several times recently. In and out. Here and gone again. Unresolved. And here it was again, this time in a voice outside my own head.

I managed to swallow rather than embarrass myself, and we started talking it through.

What is the difference between a Skeptic and a Cynic? Why is one easier to deal with than the other? How can we tell them apart?

Here’s what we came up with:

Skeptics are at least a little curious, whereas Cynics are not. Cynics are sure.

So, how can we tell which one a person is?

Well, we decided, by asking them questions. Not by asking, “Are you curious?” but by asking other questions, and by paying attention to how they react.

The idea is that a Cynic is probably not open to being questioned, definitely not open to changing his or her mind. The Cynic is potentially threatened by the possibility of being wrong. The sureness of their views makes the world a safer place, and their egos – and their places in the world – are at stake.

A Skeptic, on the other hand, is willing to listen, willing to consider the possibility that something else might be true, or possible, willing to change his or her mind. Willing to be (at least a little) vulnerable.

Curiosity. If someone responds positively to Curiosity in us, and if they are willing to be Curious, this is a sign that what we’ve run up against is healthy skepticism. But if someone doesn’t respond well to our Curiosity, is not Curious about other possibilities, if someone is Sure, or feels disrespected by being questioned, then it’s a good bet that this is a Cynic. Even if they don’t see themselves in that way.

Conversations with each of them will be very different. In the sales process, my friend pointed out that a Cynic probably isn’t someone it makes sense to spend a lot of time on. But a Skeptic, now that’s someone she could work with.

Curiosity. A tool for learning about someone’s outlook, and a tool for communicating with them.

A puzzle I had been unable to unravel by myself quickly dissolved when I explored it with a friend.

What do you think? When have you encountered Skeptics and Cynics, and how did you know which was which? When have you found yourself being Skeptical, or Cynical, and how did it affect your course? How do the two feel different?

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Busted


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We were talking about a subject he’s wrestled with throughout the time we’ve worked together, and it’s been two steps forward, one step back. (Sometimes one step forward, two steps back.)

“What is it that keeps you from asking your customers for testimonials, from telling people about what you can do for them?”

“It makes me feel Slick Salesman-y.”

We’ve had this conversation before.

Hmm, I thought.

“You got great feedback in your customer surveys – He’s a great guy. He came to my house and talked to me. He saved me money. He helped me with a tough situation. True?”

“Yeah.”

“And I know you are all about service. You want to be an advocate for your customers. True?”

“Yeah.”

“So, while you do have the goal of making a decent living for yourself and your family, what would happen if you held the intention when you talk to people of creating a win-win situation? Would it feel different if, when you asked for an appointment, you thought about those success stories, and all the people you’ve helped?”

“Maybe,” he said.

“Give it a try. Practice on me.” So he did. First he was quiet, and then he started practicing, while holding in his mind all the people he has helped – while earning a living. He tried a few phrases, and started to get some momentum. Suddenly he burst out,

“I CAN HELP YOU, DAMMIT!”

“Yeah!” I cried. “Now you’re getting somewhere!” We started riffing on that, and I joked it could be a great tag line for giveaways – T-shirts, travel mugs, all labeled with the name of his company, and I can help you, dammit!

His eyes lit up, and he started to laugh, and shouted, “DAMMIT, YOU NEED ME!”

Suddenly he sobered and looked at me out of the corner of his eye. “That would be a great motto for Susan T. Blake Consulting, too,” he said.

*cuethesoundofbrakessquealing*

I…er…um…well. Yeah.

Busted.

Damn it! Caught learning again.

So we practiced saying it to each other.

“I can help you, dammit!”

“I can help you, dammit!”

“That does feel different, doesn’t it?” I wondered out loud.

“Empowering,” he said.

Yeah.


Hi, I’m Susan T. Blake,
Professional Encourager and Lifelong Learner, and
I can help you, dammit!
Contact me at http://susanTblake.com/contact-me/

Now let me hear you say it – leave a comment, below!

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Garden. Stand. Glow.


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Breathing Into a New Year

I am not immune to the seasonal reflection and contemplation that goes on this time of year, and like millions of others I find myself reflecting on the past year, my successes and failures, realizations, and what I want for the coming year.

It isn’t just about flipping to a new year on the calendar, though. 2012 was a year of huge transition for me, and I have spent the last two months on a sort of working vacation. Working. Treading water. Breathing. Contemplating. Being Grateful.

But over the last two weeks, as my schedule has slowed down slightly and we have passed through the Winter Solstice and the end of the Mayan calendar and entered 2013, I have begun to look forward. That has manifested as three exercises (so far) that have been very fruitful. I’d like to share them with you here, as you may find them helpful as well. (And going public, and the accountability that can bring, is probably a good thing.)

A Personal SWOT Analysis

A what?

It started when a friend invited me to send her my resume, as she wanted to share it with her client. I took some time to review it first and do some updating. One of the things I had highlighted was helping my clients perform SWOT analyses. What’s a SWOT analysis? It stands for

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats

with Strengths and Weaknesses being Internal factors and Opportunities and Threats being External factors. The idea is to brainstorm these, and only then set goals and plan initiatives that have a good chance of succeeding based upon your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

I looked at my resume and thought, “Hmmm, this might be a good time to do that for myself.”

So I did.

It’s been an interesting process (which is still in process, especially the Opportunities and Threats part). Here are a few highlights:

  • This has been a great opportunity to be reminded of my strengths. I have a lot of them. I tend to take them for granted. (Is there anyone who doesn’t, at least at some time?)
  • This has also been a reminder of something two different wise people have said to me at different times in my life: “Your strengths taken to extreme can be your greatest weaknesses.” One example? I am extremely persistent and tenacious. Taken to extreme, I can be quite stubborn (good Taurus that I am). This doesn’t always serve me (or those around me), especially when it’s time to walk away from something.
  • I have a number of opportunities available to me, and I had an idea for another one as a result of this process.
  • Examining the Threats is important, especially since most of them can be prepared for and overcome. But they have to be recognized first.
  • Regarding those Threats, I realized that they, and the Opportunities, aren’t all external. Those Weaknesses can pose threats to my success if I don’t manage them. As for the external Threats, I need to watch my feet, and be aware, not wary.

That Amazing Question Again

Then, on Sunday, Chris Brogan’s newsletter arrived. In it, he asked this version of my Amazing Question: What would you attempt if you believed in yourself a lot more than you do today?

Hmmm. Excellent timing. I emailed Chris, and he challenged me to answer it for him. So I did. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Schedule more workshops – at least one every month.
  • Actively promote my coaching – by calling people, sending emails, launching a newsletter.
  • Get back on a regular – or at least more frequent – blog schedule, even if the direction changes.
  • Invite new Captains Curious guest posts.
  • Create a new photography site.
  • Create a site for my jewelry and either begin selling on Etsy or actively schedule shows and parties.
  • Submit a proposal for the magazine article I want to write, interviewing other women named Susan Blake.
  • Finish the rewrite of “Remember to Look Up” and publish it for e-readers through Amazon etc.

Damn. That’s a big list of Opportunities. But completely achievable – if I believe in myself. Since it was fed by the Strengths and Opportunities lists I had recently begun, I know it’s all possible – Weaknesses and Threats not withstanding.

Boil It Down

And then Chris’s next blog post arrived, his annual “My Three Words” post, in which he describes choosing three words that will be his touchstones for the year, his guiding force to keep him on track. They are the words that represent the Big Vision for the year.

So, here is my response to his challenge to come up with three words that represent my Big Vision for 2013:

Garden. Stand. Glow.

Garden: The first word that actually came to me was Renaissance, because I have a lot of interests, a lot of talents, a lot of avenues I want to pursue. I am a Renaissance Woman. My commitment for 2013 is to respect them and to pursue them all: Coaching. Writing. Photography. Music. Jewelry Making. Partnering with horses in Equine Guided Experiences. They all feed me, they feed others, they feed each other, and they have the potential for literally putting food on the table – if I act like I believe in myself (see above). I am a Renaissance Woman, but an even better term that describes this, and embodies action, is Gardener. A garden requires tending – planning, tilling, planting, watering, pruning, weeding, harvesting. And this is about action, not just interests and talents. Also, a good garden is filled with a variety of plants, not just multiples of only one plant, and that describes me. A polymathic garden. So my first word is Garden.

Stand: As in, stand in my power. 2012 was a year filled with repeated reminders that I am powerful. And that I often either discount it or take it for granted. Especially my Intuition. I built a varied and successful career on mostly left-brained, highly analytical abilities, but events in the past year have repeatedly plunked me smack dab in the middle of my right brain. My work with horses is part of that. Where before I have often discounted my intuition, I am finding that it is indispensable and usually accurate. Part of respecting my garden of talents, interests and skills includes trusting that intuition. It guides my curiosity and I can employ my curiosity to validate it. This year I commit to standing in that power, so my second word is Stand. (I also like the visual connection to a “stand of trees.”)

Glow: As I tend my Garden and Stand in my power, I see myself start to glow. That glow serves as a beacon to others. The glow of a candle in the window, a campfire in the forest, a lighthouse on the coast. Come this way! It helps us find each other, connect, engage. No hiding my light. My third word is Glow.

* * * * *

There you have it. Three exercises for the New Year, the new age. It is all part of a work in progress, of course. I encourage you to try them! Please share the results here in the Comments, or feel free to reach out to me.

Peace Tuesday


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No Black Friday.

No “In Case You Missed Black Friday.”

No “Cyber Monday.”

No “Cyber Monday Extended Thru Tuesday!”

No “50% Off!”

No “Shop Early!”

No “Last Chance!” threats.

No “Only Two Spots Left!”

No “Crazy Cyber Deals!” or “Blowout Savings!”

No “Thanksgiving Sale Extended Thru ________.”

Just thanks-giving.

Shhhhh. Take a deep breath – and let it out.

Image courtesy of Susan T. Blake

What’s your favorite place in the whole world? This is one of mine. (You can click the photo to enlarge it.)

Here’s a chair. Take minute and just enjoy the view.

There’s plenty of room.

I’m Sue, and I’m a coach. Nice to meet you.

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