Tag: appreciation

6/2/13 “Birthday”

Good day team,

In honor of my birthday this past weekend, I am celebrating by sharing one of my favorite poems with you. I hope you enjoy it!

Love After Love

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was yourself.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you have ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

~ Derek Walcott

Have a good week!


© Copyright 2013 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search Inc., all rights reserved.


Good day, team,

This week’s challenge is about the benefits of shaking up our normal patterns. I just spent two weeks immersed in French culture and cuisine, and the greatest gift of this vacation was the opportunity to do everyday things very differently.

Try speaking a foreign language for two weeks: That alone will help you see yourself and your world from a different perspective (three years of high school French was not much help). Take two hours for lunch each day dining on some of the finest cuisine in the world or walk everywhere you want to go in a large city. Find yourself in a toilette without any toilet or ordering a steak medium rare and having it served raw. Become totally lost and be forced to ask a complete stranger for help without speaking their language (in our case, this always lead to a positive experience as the French are always so willing to help and have a wonderful joie de vivre!).

Each of these experiences gave me the chance to be more awake, to be out of my comfort zone and struggle to make something work or to be understood. Although it’s irritating, it always forced me to pay attention and provided the opportunity to notice aspects of my surroundings I never would have seen if I were in my normal daily routine, like the way light falls through a hotel window in the afternoon after a luxurious nap or what a carpet of ferns looks like in the early morning on a search for mushrooms in a French forest.

Every time I travel, I experience a wonder and innocence that get lost in my regular life of work, chores and responsibilities. I know this doesn’t have to be the case, and I’ve tried many times to jolt myself out of the low hum of work life, but the more familiar my life, the more asleep I seem to be. Fortunately, I find myself in a business where my clients tend to awaken me with their comments, stories and observations. Being present to them is my most important job, and it never ceases to amaze me how much I am inspired by their sincerity and hard work.

This week, try changing how you do things just enough to wake yourself up. You don’t have to travel halfway around the world to be more aware of your surroundings. Knowing how easy it is to take our lives for granted, try spending some time doing the dance a little differently so you can remember how much you enjoy it.

Here’s a lovely quote from Gresley that speaks to my point:

“Our object in traveling should be not to gratify curiosity and seek mere temporary amusement, but to learn, and to venerate, to improve the understanding and the heart.”

And another from Mark Twain:

“I have traveled more than anyone else, and I have noticed that even the angels speak English with an accent.”

Think about what you can do to shake things up a bit and notice what otherwise gets lost in your day. Or, better yet, start planning your next vacation and do some research about where you’d like to go and what you’d like to see.

Standing in front of Notre Dame in Paris last week, I noticed that the entire front of the cathedral has now been completely cleaned and restored. When I visited two years ago, much of the front was covered in scaffolding. There in front of me, the late morning light shone on the beautiful faces and figures carved out of off-white, pink-hued stone. The entire structure is such a thing of beauty that it took my breath away. In that moment, I realized how fortunate I was to be there. Now my challenge is to bring that appreciation to the more mundane moments in my life.

Have a good week!


Kathleen Doyle-White

Pathfinders Coaching

(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2010 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.

7/26/10 “Capable”

Good day, team,

This week’s challenge comes from my good friend and former client Jan
Foster. It’s a poem for all the capable people out there who every once
in awhile dream about being irresponsible, unpredictable and a little
bit bad. Your challenge is to do as the poem suggests: Appreciate
yourself for being so capable or try being a little incapable this
week and see how that feels!

A Prayer for the Capable

And as you stand there
On time and
Appropriately clad for the event
With a high-fiber bar in your bag
And extra pens
Let us take this moment to applaud you.

You, the prepared.
You, the accomplished.
You, the bills-paid-on-time and the-taxes-done-in-March.

You, who always returns the shopping cart.
You, who never throws a tantrum.

While the moody, the irresponsible, the near-hysterical and the rude seem to get
All the attention
Let us now praise you.

Just because everyone always expects you
To do well
Does not make it any less remarkable
That you always do so well.

So thank you.

For picking up the slack
For not imposing
For being so kind
And mannerly
And attending to all those pesky details.

Thank you for your consideration
Your generosity
For always remembering and never forgetting:

That a job well done is its own reward
That the opportunity to help someone else is a gift
That the complainers, the cry-babies, the drama queens, the never-use-a-turn-signals, the forgetful, the self-involved, the choleric, the phlegmatic and the your-rules-don’t-apply-to-me-types
Need you to rebel against in order to look like rebels.

(You provide the lines – for without the lines, what would they color outside of?)

So take a minute
To pat yourself on the back
And say, “Job well done.”
And as you consider someday
Showing up stoned
Or unprepared
Or not at all

And as you imagine someday being imperious
Or demanding
Or the one with the temper

Hear the unspoken “thank you” from a
Grateful nation that is a
Better, smarter, calmer, easier, friendlier and more organized place
Thanks to you
And your dogged diligence.

You are beautiful.
You are precious to us.

You are the hand that stills the water, the wheel that never squeaks, the one we all rely on
And while you probably would have remembered to send a thank-you note,
We forgot.

And just because everyone always expects you
To do well
Does not make it any less remarkable
That you always do so well.

And I would tell you to take the afternoon for yourself
Or sleep in tomorrow
But I’m pretty sure you already have plans.

So just take this very moment right now
To appreciate you
And all that you have done and done well
Even by your own high standards.

And remember:
You are beautiful.

And just because everyone always expects you to
Do well
Does not make it any less amazing, delightful or delicious that

You always do so well.

© Samantha Bennett 2009

Have a good week!


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2009 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights


Good day, team,

This weekend, the weather outside was cold and damp so I decided to spend a good portion of the day lounging on the couch watching college football.

I’ve been a football fan since I was young. I just happened to be lucky enough to live in Wisconsin when the Packers, under Vince Lombardi, won the Super Bowl. I was also living in Washington, D. C., when the Redskins won, and in New York when the Jets won, and in Miami when the Dolphins won. When I moved to San Francisco, I guess the 49ers caught my luck, because they started an unbelievable winning streak that lasted for years. I often thought I should start betting on football teams based on where I was going to live next!

Since then, I’ve moved to a city where there is no pro football team, and I guess my luck doesn’t apply to professional basketball, given the Blazers’ record. But I’ve become much more enamored of college football over the years, so this weekend I settled in for a long day of watching good games.

During the Oregon State vs. University of California at Berkeley (“Cal”) game, I saw something happen that is the heart of this week’s challenge. One of Cal’s star players, Jahvid Best, vaulted over a player from Oregon State into the end zone and fell hard from five feet in the air onto his neck and head. The entire Memorial Stadium went silent.

In a subsequent news report, Cal’s quarterback, Kevin Riley, said, “I was standing right there. You knew when he landed it was something. His eyes were blank, and he was trying to breathe.”

The report continued, “Best’s teammates went down on their knees and waited, then moved to the end zone as trainers and doctors took him away on a stretcher. The game was delayed 13 minutes. Some of Oregon State’s players who were on the field at the time huddled together in support.”

As I watched all of this play out on TV, I was moved to tears when I saw both teams go down on their knees to pray for Best. I expected the Cal team to do so, but when the Oregon players huddled together in prayer for him, I was inspired.

Just minutes before, the goal of the Oregon State team was to beat its opponents at any cost, and they were doing everything they could to prevent Best from getting into the end zone. But when he went down, everything changed, and what everyone wanted was for him to be all right.

I thought about the teams I’m working with and how combative team members can be with each other. They can get nasty when they feel their territory is threatened, or they’re being blamed for something they did or didn’t do, or someone is trying to sabotage them. This competitiveness plays out in so many destructive ways—not just within the team, but throughout the organization—that it often takes years to heal the rifts between team members.

At the same time, when something terrible or life-threatening happens to one of our teammates, we suddenly realize how important we are to each other and are immediately humbled into that place within us of unconditional love and compassion. In this place, we are truly connected. All the noise and flying fur that occurs when we fight can create one bad story after another that builds on itself and then becomes so large we lose our ability to appreciate each other. I call it the “beastly bundle,” that knot that holds all the bad news and nasty commentary. Sometimes the bundles become so big, we can no longer see over or around them, and when we look at our teammate, all we see is a beast.

I encourage you to examine your thoughts and emotions when a colleague irritates you. Are you telling yourself a story that says, “That person is out to get me. How can they be so disrespectful? Why are they doing this to me? I’ll figure out a way to get back at them. They’ll be sorry they treated me like this.”

If you’re telling yourself such a story, think again. It’s not that these thoughts don’t come up—they do, and along with them come all kinds of sensations that we have to deal with, such as tightness of chest, shortness of breath, fire in the belly, heart racing, etc. But if we don’t grab hold of these negative thoughts, emotions and sensations, if we see that they are just part of a story, then they do not control us. Seeing them is not being them, and the part of us that is able to observe can free us from our negative thoughts and emotions by remembering what’s really important.

This week, try neutralizing your negativity about your teammates. Maybe you do that by looking at the bigger picture. Ask yourself what the whole team is trying to achieve, rather than being solely focused on winning one battle. Perhaps you need to be reminded of what other challenges your teammate is trying to deal with to get a better sense of why he or she is behaving badly. Difficult health or family issues can put any of us in a negative state at work. Try spending some down-time with your teammate, at lunch or over coffee, talking about something other than your jobs. If you don’t get the connection you’re hoping for, try something as simple as forgiving her or him and realizing that as much as you’d like to say, “Get over it!” what’s really needed is kindness.

Why does it require the hard lesson of seeing that we might lose someone to value that person? As I watch my father slowly die of kidney failure, so much of my anger and sadness about him melts away in my heart. At the end of the day, all I really feel for him is love and compassion, forgiveness and gratitude. The stories will all be silenced when he dies, just as they were for the Oregon State player who one moment was trying to defeat his rival and the next was down on his knees silently praying for his recovery.

We are so lucky to have one another and be able to work together toward our common goals. Let’s try this week to appreciate our teammates for who they really are and take responsibility for our own negativity by not always believing the stories we like to tell ourselves. Remember that we’re all trying to do the best we can, and each of us is trying to make a difference. In that way, we are much more alike than we realize.

Have a good week!


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2009 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.