Tag: understanding

12/4/11 “Inner Wisdom”

Good day, team.

This week’s challenge is about inner wisdom. After a week in silence at a meditation retreat, I had an opportunity to get quiet enough to hear my inner wisdom. Frankly, I had forgotten just how quiet you need to get to hear it. It’s not just an opportunity for external sounds to dissipate, but also for the internal voices of the mind, heart and body to begin to quiet down so that you hear that quiet voice within.

This inner wisdom has many labels. Some people call it conscience or intuition or a sense about something. Whatever we call it, we all seem to know what it is — that inner voice that quietly says what we know is true. So, as the mind continues to analyze this solution or that, or strategize about the next best move, that quiet voice simply makes a statement that our inner awareness recognizes.

Here’s a good example. Years ago when I changed careers, I remember distinctly hearing that inner, quiet voice continuing to give me the same message. I had been recruiting for 20 years and I was successful, at least in terms of having plenty of business and making good money. But when I got very quiet and really asked myself what was true, that inner voice told me it was time to move on. In looking at it, I realized that I didn’t find recruiting very satisfying. So I hired a coach to help me determine what might be a better career path for me. My coach was very helpful. She encouraged me to explore lots of different possibilities and to continue to listen to that quiet voice within. But that voice wasn’t telling me what profession was right for me, it was just telling me it was time to move on. Of course, my mind went into overdrive because it desperately wanted an answer right away, but my inner voice told me to be patient, that when the time was right, the opportunity would show itself to me.

As time passed, I found myself resting in the question. Instead of trying to force an answer, I continued to question and inquire. Eventually, it became clear that I wanted to become a coach. As I explored training options and figured out how to become a coach, things just fell into place. Movement from recruiting to coaching took place naturally.

This is one of the characteristics of inner wisdom: It isn’t forced. The Roman lyric poet Horace wrote, “Force without wisdom falls of its own weight.” As the mind and heart struggle to figure something out and we push or pull to make things happen, the entire experience becomes heavier and harder to do, and we often get farther away from what’s actually true for us. Conversely, that quiet voice has the energy of acceptance and spaciousness about it; it’s as light as a feather but as sure as anything can ever be.

Another aspect of inner wisdom is that like an ability or a muscle, hearing your inner wisdom actually strengthens it. I find that when I make the time to be quiet with myself each day, that inner voice is more accessible. It’s not that it’s louder; it’s just easier for me to hear.

This week, spend some quiet time with yourself. Try sitting quietly for 10 minutes doing nothing. Experience sitting still and quieting the mind by not attaching to any thought as it comes up. Thoughts do come and go, but they only stick around when we get stuck to them. Emotions come up and seemingly overtake us, but if we don’t continue to feed them with our thoughts, they also pass away. Sensations come and go as we continue to sit and be quiet. At some point, you may hear that voice within arising from some deep part of you. It often sounds to me like a pebble that’s been dropped into a well. You drop the pebble and wait in quiet stillness until you hear the pebble hit the water deep down at the bottom of the well. You know that eventually the pebble will hit the water, but you don’t know exactly when and you must be very quiet to hear it. When it does, you’re always a little surprised and yet you knew all along what it would sound like.

Be quiet for a time each day and listen. There’s a wealth of truth and understanding that each of us carries within the deepest part of our being. It doesn’t make a lot of noise and it doesn’t demand to be heard or understood — it just is. Try being silent enough to hear it.

Walt Whitman wrote, “Wisdom is not finally tested in the schools, Wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it to another not having it, Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof.”

Have a good week,


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

8/9/10 “Learning”

Good day, team,

This week’s challenge is about learning and appreciating the variety

of ways people learn and understand things.

Last week, my husband sent me this paragraph from a great article he

read that touches on this subject. It’s by Pete Warden @typepad.com

from his article “Harness the Power of Being an Idiot”:

“I learn by trying to build something; there’s no other way I can

discover the devils-in-the-details. Unfortunately that’s an incredibly

inefficient way to gain knowledge. I basically wander around stepping on

every rake in the grass, while the A students memorize someone else’s

route and carefully pick their way across the lawn without incident. My

only saving graces are that every now and again I discover a better

path, and, faced with a completely new lawn, I have an instinct for where

the rakes are.”

I find that I learn in much the same way. I recall my high school algebra teacher,

Mr. Johnson, trying to explain the concept of A + B = C to me without success.

He finally sat me down at a desk with 3 different sized boxes and encouraged me

to move them around and assign different values to them. Only then did I begin

to understand the concept.

If Mr. Johnson hadn’t taken the time to try to discover how I learn, I might have

failed my course. And, more importantly, I might never have discovered

how I learn. It’s a real eye-opener to realize that not everyone learns in

the same way. I have had clients, for example, who have suffered from dyslexia

or some other learning disability, and because the way they learn is not readily

accepted, they struggle for many years in school. Making the discovery of

how they learn and adjusting the way they take in information is very liberating

for them.

There’s no doubt that the best computer applications are written by

software designers who take the time to understand how their users learn and

experience their products. Don’t we all want technology that easy to understand

and use?

Your challenge this week is to think about how you and others learn. Do you

take in information and easily find ways to apply it without a lot of show and

tell? Maybe you learn by participation like I do: I have to be

actively involved with the thing I’m learning or participating with

others in an active exchange of ideas to increase my understanding.

Some people memorize information easily and can immediately come up with

the right answers from their vast storehouse of facts and figures.

They learn by lots of input and can often recall all that information at

a moment’s notice. And then there are people who learn things through

their senses and experience the world through sight, sound and touch.

Take a master cooking class sometime, and you’ll discover what I mean.

Most master chefs don’t measure, and they don’t read recipes: They cook

by taste and feel.

If you’re trying to explain something to other people, don’t be afraid to ask

them if they understand you. And don’t be surprised if they take in the same

information in a completely different way. There are as many ways to learn

as there are ideas, and no one way is better than another. Assuming that

we all learn in a similar fashion is one of the unfortunate characteristics of

most educational systems, and when you find a teacher or manager who takes

the time to help you discover how you like to learn, a whole new world opens

up to you.

This week, try exploring how we learn. You might just learn something new!

Have a good week,


Kathleen Doyle-White

Pathfinders Coaching

(503) 296-9249

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



Good day, team,

This week’s challenge is about trying to communicate with people who don’t speak the same language we do and how we manage to get our message across even when we don’t understand the words.

Over the past few weeks, we have had friends visiting from France, and I have been reminded again of how important it is to spend time with people foreign to us. It’s so easy to think that the way we think and live are the same all around the world. People from elsewhere show us new ways to see and do things.

One of our guests doesn’t speak English, and my French is very elementary, so it’s been challenging to communicate. I’ve found myself relying on gestures and tone of voice to get my messages across. It’s been fun to attempt new French words by stretching my brain to find any kind of Latinate word that might be the root of an English or French word we’re trying to speak to each other. Surprisingly, many words in the two languages appear similar, but their pronunciations are so different that they’re unrecognizable.

Nevertheless, as human beings, we are masters at using every possible skill we possess to be understood. Last evening, I found myself making the motion of digging a trench to explain how we might dig up some dirt in the garden. And this morning, I was making the sound of bacon cooking to try to explain part of the breakfast menu. Along with these antics come much laughter and embarrassment: We are used to understanding and being understood without trying. But the truth is, we often communicate something very different than the words we are speaking.

When we have to rely on gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice, we realize how much we communicate nonverbally. How many times have you sat in a business meeting and heard someone saying one thing while his or her facial expressions convey a very different sentiment? Isn’t it interesting that, even over the phone, when someone stops listening to you, you can feel it? When my daughter-in-law tells my grandson, “Owen, you need to pick up your toys,” she uses a different tone the first time she says it than the third time. The words may be the same, but Owen finally realizes that he’d better pick up his toys this time or he’s going to be in trouble.

This week, notice your gestures, your tone of voice, and your facial expressions when you communicate. Do you use your hands a lot when you’re trying to emphasize something? Maybe your tone of voice becomes very different when you’re trying to communicate a sense of urgency. Pay close attention to the communication styles of the people around you. Does their tone of voice change depending on who they’re dealing with or what they’re attending to? Perhaps you see that peoples’ communication becomes more relaxed when they’re with their own team or their friends compared to when they’re with people they don’t know as well.

Whatever the case, try seeing how consistent you are in your communication. Do your facial expressions represent the same message that’s coming out of your mouth or are you sending out mixed messages? Are you using the right words to convey your message? How do you know if people actually understand you? You may find yourself resorting to the sort of charades I did last evening, acting out digging a trench, but if it helps others understand you and it’s more fun, why not try a new way to get your message across?

Have a good week!


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

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