Tag: energy

12/11/11 “Season of Renewal”

Good day, team.

Outside my window this morning, the gray skies hang heavy over leafless trees. Frost clings to my unhappy rose bush, and I feel a cold draft seeping through the window frame. Why, when everything else has gone underground to sleep, do we continue to be as active as ever? If it were April and the days were becoming warmer and all the trees and plants were in bud, I could understand it. But now?

As I page through my calendar for the next two weeks, I realize how busy I am during the holiday season. There is something strange about working hard this time of year. I often think the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas should be one of rest rather than work. However, like everyone else, I seem to be scurrying around trying to get stuff done before year-end.

Somewhere along the line, we human beings created a world in which we don’t have to pay much attention to the seasons. We stay warm in winter, cool in summer, and at least on the west coast, we can buy any kind of vegetable or fruit we want all year long. Believe me, I’m as grateful for these conveniences as anyone but I’m also aware that because of them, we keep up the same busy pace pretty much all year long, with an occasional few weeks of vacation here and there.

Winter is actually a time of renewal. It’s the time when nature draws its energy underground to rest. People who live in more primitive settings live inside and rely on what they’ve harvested and stored to nourish them through the winter months. Animals acknowledge the shorter days and sleep more. I find myself going to bed much earlier in winter. Who needs to stay awake after 9 p.m. when it’s already been dark for four hours?

Here are some thoughts from educator and writer Margaret Wheatley, who contributed to the book, “Leadership and the New Science.” In these writings, she acknowledges this time of renewal as it relates to business.

“Renewal most naturally occurs in late fall and winter when the leaves are off the trees and life appears still. Renewal is the time to remember our true nature. How do we do that? We remember who we are by becoming silent witnesses, by being instead of acting. Renewal is a time to be a human be-ing. If vision is the in breath and action is the out breath, then renewal is the space between the breaths. Renewal is the time to let go and to make space for a new or refreshed vision to emerge, so that the cycle may begin again. Renewal is called for when our vision is no longer assuring or our actions aren’t in alignment with our vision. Renewal is the time to assess our work in its own context as well as in the context of our lives and purpose. Renewal asks, ‘What really matters now?’ and is the time to tell the truth and to ask questions rather than to give answers. Answers encourage blinders: Questions open us up, free and empower us.

“Renewal is a time to tell the truth about what is so, and then to face that truth. It is the time to heal our selves, to remember who we are. And when we remember who we are, we bring our authentic selves forward.

“Renewal is a time to surrender what is no longer useful. There is often an aspect of death in renewal, as letting go may require the end of a way of thinking or operating, the end of a product line, closing down a factory, letting go of a dream. The very act of renewal is a surrender of doing.

“Once we let go, we often experience a sense of release and new energy. We also experience a sense of spaciousness. The often irresistible temptation is to fill that space immediately, as not knowing may be very uncomfortable. This space is best used as a time of questioning and allowing. This space may last a moment, a week, or several months or more in time. This space is the rich, fertile ground out of which true vision emerges.”

Give yourself permission to embrace this season of renewal by finding ways to rejuvenate your inner resources. The first of the year will be here before we know it, and then spring will be right around the corner. Now is the time to restore some of your vital energy to be able to approach the new year and coming spring with vigor and a new attitude.

Have a good week!


© Copyright 2011 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search Inc., all rights reserved.

9/25/11 “Engagement”

Good day, team,

The coach’s challenge this week is about engaging in your work and finding the energy with which to do it. Studies show that the average person puts only between 25 percent to 40 percent of available energy and ability into his or her work.

This percentage may be shocking, but time and time again, studies show that we could all improve our level of engagement on the job. There’s nothing more gratifying than working for or with someone who’s energized and always ready, willing and able to serve the customer. Each of us struggles with the same things: how to get all the work done, how to think of new and better ways to do things, how to improve our performance, etc. But when it comes to figuring out how to increase our energy on the job, we often fall short of solutions.

Here are some ways to increase your level of engagement and help your team do the same.
1) Get involved in the activities in front of you. Be present for what you’re doing in the moment.
2) Take ownership for your responsibilities and results.
3) Know where you have power and where you don’t. Stay involved where you can make the greatest difference and are most empowered.
4) Keep your network alive and well. Know who you’re affiliated with and continue to keep the energy flowing between you.
5) Understand what you’re most competent at. Leverage your strengths and don’t be afraid to face your weak spots.
6) Give yourself credit for your achievements. Find ways to reward yourself for a job well done.
7) Don’t be afraid to ask for recognition or to give it. Simply recognizing where we add value is often its own reward.
8) Make the connection between what you do and who you are. A job that has no meaning for you is the wrong job.

When managing teams, you can increase energy and engagement by giving your team the authority to make decisions and act upon them. Don’t forget to recognize all the different phases the team is going through, regardless of how smooth things are. Be alert to signs that the team needs additional coaching when times are tough. When things are going well, let everyone be involved in the rewards and recognition. Team members usually know better than anyone else what motivates them.

Try increasing your energy level this week by using some of these suggestions to re-engage in your work. In the words of Harry S. Truman, “I found that the men and women who got to the top were those who did the jobs they had in hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm and hard work.”

Have a great week!


© Copyright 2011 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search Inc., all rights reserved.

1/3/11 “Beginnings & Intuition”

Good day, team,

There’s no better time for new beginnings than now. It’s the first of the year, the beginning of a new cycle, the root of the musical scale for the year or the “do” of the octave. However you see it, it’s a start, and with all new beginnings, comes energy. Sometimes I see it like running a foot race. I start off with lots of energy that bursts forth and propels me down the track. Along with this burst of energy, comes an increase in intuitive powers. My ability to see things in a new way is heightened, and my perspective is broader – so many more things are possible. This week’s challenge is about paying attention to your intuition in the midst of a new beginning.

For the new year, I moved my office into commercial space. It’s a big change for me. I’ve been working from a home office for many years. About a month ago, I looked up and suddenly realized it didn’t feel right any longer. This was a surprise because nothing had changed and I wasn’t at all sure where the thought came from, but I tend to pay attention when these things happen. Strangely, there was no intellectual basis for my intuitive experience, so I decided to just sit with it for a while and observe.

The next day, I walked into the bakery around the corner, and as I was waiting for my coffee, I saw a sign on the wall that said, “Office space for lease — contact Dan.” That’s interesting, I thought. I wonder who Dan is? I looked around the shop and saw a man sitting in the corner having a coffee and muffin, working on a computer. I walked up to him and asked, “Are you Dan?” and he replied, “Yes, I am.” The next thing I knew, we were ascending the stairs to the office spaces above the bakery. When we walked into the space for lease, it just felt right. My normal reaction in these situations is to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. But my mind cautioned me to think about this for a while and get more information. I thought I should talk to my husband, some other coaches, my accountant and my attorney before I made a final decision. Of course, none of that was going to change the initial intuitive message that it just felt right. However, I’ve learned over time that when it comes to business, doing your due diligence is important.

The real challenge came over the next two weeks as I went through the process of weighing all the positives and negatives, consulting others, negotiating with Dan the landlord and reviewing the lease agreement with my attorney. The more I looked into all the details and spent time analyzing whether this was a good decision or not, the farther away I got from that intuitive feeling and the more I doubted whether or not it actually happened to me.

In the end, I decided to lease the space. But I wonder what difference would it have made if I had taken the space in that first moment when I felt it was right, rather than two weeks later after all my information-gathering and analysis? You can make the case that by waiting and looking into all the details, I made sure that there would be no surprises and that everything was in good order. However, the more I looked into it, the more energy I lost. And I didn’t feel nearly as excited about my decision to rent the space as I did in those first few moments.

The lesson I learned is that sometimes, going with that strong intuitive feeling in the moment is important because it gives you a rare kind of energy and enthusiasm that cannot be created any other way. If you need to jump, that’s a good time to do it because you’ll have all the energy you need to jump high and wide. At other times, using that energy to check all the details and engage others in your decision makes the most sense, particularly when longer-term commitments are being made. Understanding which action is appropriate is the challenge.

This week, as you experience the beginning of the new year, pay close attention to your intuition. Take a look around you and sense whether things feel right. Do you need to do some adjusting to realign things? Maybe your desk at work needs to be moved or your team needs to be reorganized. Perhaps you need to change a process or approach to something at work or in your home. Whatever it is, spend this week observing people and processes around you. See if you can feel what needs to change and what the best way to make that change would be. Maybe you can jump in because the risk is minimal and the pay-off might be great. In other cases, analyzing and processing are the keys to making the right decision.

Most important, use the special energy of the first of the year to observe what needs changing and don’t be afraid to take action in whatever way is best. There’s nothing like new beginnings to revitalize us and renew our goals.

As Plato wrote, “The beginning is the most important part of the work.”

Have a good week!


Kathleen Doyle-White

Pathfinders Coaching

(503) 296-9249

©Copyright 2011 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search Inc., all rights reserved.

6/21/10 “Hobbies”

Good day, team,

This week, it’s become increasingly clear to me that I need a hobby.
Frankly, the idea has never appealed to me. Maybe it’s just the word hobby.
My only association with it is hobby horse, which also did not sound very
desirable. Maybe it’s because no one in my immediate family had a hobby.
Or maybe it’s because activities like quilting or airplane model-making
didn’t light my fire.

This morning, I consulted a dictionary to try to change my attitude.
A hobby is “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation
and not as a main occupation.” Then I realized why I need a hobby. It
would be good for me to engage in an activity that provides pleasure
and/or relaxation that’s not work-related.

Yesterday, I worked on a photo album to give our kids who are moving
from Oregon to Ohio. I started on it and when I next looked at the
clock, three hours had gone by and I hadn’t even noticed. I got so involved
with choosing the right photographs, sorting them, trimming the corners
to fit into the album, etc., that I wasn’t at all aware of the time going
by. I realized when my husband walked into the room that I was thirsty
and hungry, but I hadn’t even noticed. I looked around me and discovered
little bits of paper and photos all over the place and I hadn’t noticed
them either. It suddenly dawned on me that this little project had given
me energy. I had enjoyed working on it to such a degree that I totally lost
track of time and place.

This is part of what hobbies are all about: Doing something with our leisure
time that gives us energy. Finding a hobby we can do on our own, that gives
us enjoyment, satisfaction and a sense of renewal, seems to be essential
to achieving better balance in life.

My grandfather loved caring for his roses in the spring and summer. Each
day he would go out to the backyard and study the beautiful bushes that
lined the back of the house. I can still see him sitting in his canvas
garden chair, dressed in his work clothes and weather-beaten straw hat,
admiring his roses, their color and shape, checking how much sun they
were getting or whether he had pruned them right a few weeks back. Then,
he would take his clippers and his watering can and approach them with great
care. He put on his gloves, carefully snipped here and there, and gathered the faded
blossoms in a basket. Then he removed his gloves and got on his hands and
knees to feel how moist the soil was or to spread it where it had become uneven.

He did these things with surgical precision. Sometimes he would spray for bugs
or add extra fertilizer to the soil. Then he would sit again, sipping on iced
tea my grandmother had brought him, and admire his roses. Before he was finished for the
day, he would cut the flowers that he wanted to bring into the house. He created a small
bouquet in his gloved hand, eventually putting them into a basket to deliver to my
grandmother. It brought him great satisfaction.

In the winter months, he continued his research about roses, looking
through the many catalogs that came in the mail and choosing just the right
specimens to replace or add to his collection.

I often wondered why this retired attorney had turned to growing roses
as a hobby. When I asked my father about it, he replied, “Well, he
loved the finished product. Nothing made him happier than to see a
bouquet of fresh roses on the dining room table that he had picked for
your grandmother that day. He felt as though he had accomplished something
special for both of them.”

This week, your challenge is to choose a hobby or put more time and
attention toward the hobby you already have. Perhaps you decide to
learn to draw or to knit. Perhaps you’re interested in learning how to
make beer or to build small wooden toys for your kids or grandkids.
My husband’s hobby is playing keyboard on Wednesday nights with other musicians.
My sister lives in Hawaii and creates gorgeous pastels of the surrounding
landscape and ocean. My friend Kate rides her horse Indigo for pleasure and

So what will mine be? I’m not sure yet, but this week I’m going to concentrate
on finding it.

As Dale Carnegie advised, “Today is life–the only life you are sure of.
Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself
awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you.
Live today with gusto.”

Have a good week,


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

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