Category Archives: Self-Growth

What an amazing life when we choose to grow, to continue to expand, deepen, widen and engage with Life! What is possible now?

Leadership is a Gift

In The Art of Possibility by Benjamin and Rosamund Stone Zander we find:

Today was exceptional in that I learned leadership is not a responsibility-nobody has to lead. It’s a gift, shining silver, that reminds people huddled nearby why each shimmering moment matters. It’s in the eyes, the voice, this swelling song that warms up from the toes and tingles with endless possibilities. Things change when you care enough to grab whatever you love, and give it everything.

–Amanda Burr, student at the Walnut Hill School

I have been known to think – and write:

Everyone is a leader.

and to think of it as a responsibility to develop in ourselves the traits, talents and strengths of our leadership and to share ourselves with the world: to be the change, to lead.

Yet, this young woman, a high school student at a school for the arts, suggests that:

No one has to lead.

We choose. And we choose to give a very precious gift when we lead, especially when we lead by “grabbing whatever we love and giving it everything.” And what we give is the reminder that life itself – each moment – matters.

So why do we hold back,
let those precious moments
when we could be the one stepping up as leader,
pass by?

Do any of these resonate?

  • Not me, I’m not skilled enough
  • Not me, I don’t have time
  • Not me, I did it last time
  • Not me, she could do it so much better
  • Not me, I’m too scared to put myself out there

Out where? Out where you might be seen, where your generosity, courage, willingness might actually change another’s life? How about out in that land of endless possibilities where you might change the course of YOUR life?

Next time – at work, at home, in relationship, crossing the street, wherever you are – when the voice inside says:

Do it. Yes, you. Lend your idea. Engage your heart. Now!

remember… leadership is a choice, a gift to you and to those you impact. In the words of Karen Kimsey-House, Co-Founder and CEO of Coaches Training Institute (CTI), co-author of Co-Active Coaching and Co-Active Leadership:

Jeanne, the world needs leaders now.
Get out of your shit and lead!

What’s stopping you?
What leadership choice can you make now?
What gift is yours to give today?

(*) For a unique, powerful and positive journey into the land of your leadership, check out The Zen Leader and join other women on the journey this fall.


How do you limit yourself with either/or?

Think about it. How often do you fixate on “the way” or “the right choice”? When you know like this, do you notice that you can quickly list all the reasons why “this” is right and “that” is wrong? This way of thinking can drive a wedge between two people in relationship, each of whom thinks they are right and other is wrong. In business this can show up, for example, in one group focusing solely on quality, regardless of price, and the other insisting on cost control.

How do we move beyond these stuck points?

In the third chapter of The Zen LeaderGinny Whitelaw offers a helpful tool to expand our vision when we get stuck in this either/or  mentality. She offers a simple 3-step approach:

  1. See 2
  2. Map 4
  3. Manage the figure 8

I find that even just the first two steps are extremely eye-opening and powerful. Try it for yourself. Call to mind a situation where you know you are right and someone close to you has a different opinion. Draw this simple 4 square diagram:

Replace “MY WAY” and “YOUR WAY” with your dichotomy. Then, start in the upper left-hand quadrant and list all the reasons which positively support “MY WAY”. Proceed to the lower left-hand quadrant and, yes, list all the drawbacks to your way! Now, head on over to the upper right and list all the supporting factors for their way. Yes, you can do this! Now travel down to that lower right, a place you know well, and list the reasons why their way doesn’t stand a chance.

What did you notice?

If that was impossible, I encourage you to share this exercise with the other person(s) involved or with someone who holds the situation differently than you do. Open up and get curious! Be willing to see and hear the expressions from all four quadrants.

Where to from here?

If you value the relationship or the business, you will seek out:

  • the “win/win” that draws from both sides
  • not “mine” or “yours” but something magically different!

Or, you may check out chapter 3 in The Zen Leader and learn about “managing the figure 8”.

What topics lock you in to “either/or”?
Whose perspective do you refuse to see?
What’s possible when you explore the “wrong” way?

(*) If Zen Leadership is peaking your interest, check out:

The Zen Leader book discussions September-November 2017
The Institute for Zen Leadership


Flexibility, bending and stretching without breaking, is a valuable asset. In order to create the changes we desire in life, we must try new things, step outside our comfort zone, reach for something different. Imagine the rubber band. If not stretched enough, it isn’t very useful. If left unused, never stretched, it hardens and loses its “stretchability”. If we stretch it too far, it snaps. Somewhere in the middle, the stretching gives the rubber band its value.

What about you? In what areas of life have you flexed to the breaking point? In what areas are you afraid to stretch? Where have you become inflexible and rigid, hardened and ready to crumble?

What shift in flexibility is called for?

Amp it up – really!

What is alive inside of you right now? Stop to notice. Breathe in deeply. Is it freedom or stuck? Fear or love? Anxiety? Worry?

If what you notice is “positive”, give yourself a gift and “amp it up”! Fully feel the freedom or the love, the joy or the satisfaction.

If what you notice is “negative”, give yourself a gift and “amp it up”! WHAT???!!!!!! Yes, take time out, step outside of your activities, and turn up the volume. Let your being fully experience the depth of the discomfort, the depth of stuck for fear, anxiety or worry. Then ask:

What if nothing changes?
What is impossible from here?
What is possible?
What shift am I willing to make?

Reverse it!

Today’s thought comes from “The Intuitive Way” by Penney Peirce. Ready?

If I could reverse three situations or chronic habits in my life, what would they be?
How would I do it?
What would my life look like then?

That’s it from Penney, folks. From the coach:

What changes are you called to make?
What vision will keep you focused?

Just a reminder here. This is NOT about “beat me up” for all “I haven’t done”. It’s about clarity around choices and realizing that we can make new choices at any moment.