Inner Wisdom

This past Spring I attended a workshop called The Art of Transformational Consulting, a five day immersion with Robert Gass and 24 other consultants in the Boston area.  I was reminded of the power of our inner wisdom to be a trustworthy guide.

What is your “inner wisdom”?  It’s that part of our being, inner voice, that we can trust to tell us the truth about what we want and need. How do you know your inner wisdom is speaking to you?

Three simple guidelines:

  1. Inner wisdom answers our questions from and for the present moment.  It doesn’t speak for the future.
  2. Inner wisdom is clear.  It’s not muddled or confused. Inner Wisdom gives us simple, usually short, answers to the most vulnerable, important and pressing questions of life.
  3. Inner wisdom is loving and compassionate.  It doesn’t produce negative, disparaging, mean or critical answers.  This voice may show up, but that’s not your inner wisdom, I promise.

Want to practice? Here’s how:

  1. Sit or stand comfortably in an upright, dignified posture.
  2. Take a deep breath in and exhale a moment longer than your inhale.
  3. Ask yourself a question or have a friend/colleague ask you the question about which you want to know the answer.
  4. Say out loud your answer. If your inner wisdom is aligned and centered, it usually comes quickly.

A story to illustrate this practice:

A client has lived both in Europe and the USA for the past 14 years.  For professional reasons he wants to relocate to the USA permanently, however he’s a parent of a teenage daughter who lives in Europe with him.  He went so far as to land a very competitive job in his field in the USA last year, but he wasn’t sure if he should take it and leave her during the last two years of her schooling.  What gave him the clearest, quickest answer was to ask his inner wisdom what he should do.  The answer came easily and quickly.  He should stay in Europe with his daughter for now.  This was a challenging answer to accept, but all the pro/con lists and cost benefit analyses didn’t match up to his inner wisdom’s voice.

It’s the end of the summer in New England.  What questions about your life do you have? Ask your inner wisdom and an answer will appear.

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Being in Action

I have been a member of a boot camp community for over 2 years. It’s made an immense difference in my life physically, emotionally and mentally. I work out intensely 2-3 times a week. My body fat ratio has gone down. I am physically strong, more confident, and I am more resilient to adversity of all kinds as a result of the intense physical pressure I put on myself..

One of the lessons I derive from the physical work outs in which I participate is to be in action. At Boot Camp, I am in action even when I am tired or depressed. I show up to Mike’s class and I lift more weight than is comfortable, do more and better push-ups and run faster than I think I can.  Annie Dillard says “the way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives”.   The lesson of being in action has transferred to other areas of my life as well.

On a professional level, I am completing projects I have wanted to do for long time.  For example hiring a new assistant to support the back office needs of my business like creating a client only section of my website is now underway. I am talking more openly about racial justice work in a faith based-based context, something I didn’t have the courage to do 5 years ago.  I am writing and teaching more to develop myself as a thought leader.  Being in action has meant putting aside my perfectionist tendencies.  Not everything is perfect or figured out before I actIt’s meant that mistakes happen and I let them roll of my back more easily. I make mistakes in boot camp all the time, but it doesn’t matter, because I stay in action for the 60 minutes I am there. If I am going to move forward on the big ideas of my life, I have to:

  1. Act even though I will make mistakes.
  2. Get more help to implement my ideas.

Some questions to consider as you decide to act:

  1. What ideas do you have that you haven’t acted upon yet?
  2. What’s holding you back?
  3. What support do you need to start producing breakthroughs in these desired areas?

A main purpose of Conditioning Leaders and One Million Suns is to support the actions you want to take professionally and personally. We would love to hear your stories of action during 2015. This is the year of action for Conditioning Leaders and One Million Suns, will you join us?

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Interested in Equity and Intersectionality?

For those of you who have been following my newsletters the past 2 months, I wrote about racism in September and in October, I highlighted a client of mine, Coming to the Table, a national organizational leader on racial healing and reconciliation.  There are a lot of ways to keep learning about power, equity and inclusion  dynamics.  One upcoming event is the 2014 Equity Summit on December 5 and 6th in Dorchester, MA. You can learn more about the summit by calling 617-436-0289. The website is


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Introduction to Health Equity and the Impact of Racism on Health

This announcement is referenced in Madeline’s September 2014 Newsletter

White residents, on average, enjoy better health than Black and Latino Residents in Boston.  Biology, personal behaviors, and access to health care do not adequately account for these racial and ethnic health inequities. Instead, we need to look at how social, economic, and environmental resources that influence health are distributed across communities. Resources that impact health include income and wealth, education and employment opportunities, food access, opportunities for physical activity, health and social services, and political power. The nation’s history of racism has led to an unequal distribution of these resources resulting in people of color bearing an inequitable burden of disease. (BPHC, Health of Boston, 2011)

When: 1st Friday of the month 10:00am – 12:00pm

Where: Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center’s Health Promotion Center, 10B Green Street, Jamaica Plain

RSVP: Abigail Ortiz, Director of Community Health Programs, 617-983-4104,  Brought to you by the Jamaica Plain Racial Justice and Equity Collaborative

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We’re Meaning Making Machines

This post tells the rest of the story from my July 2014 newsletter to illustrate how the Ladder of Inference is at play in our lives and work. To learn more about this model, click here.

A supervisee (Bob) walks into Sally’s (his boss) office when Sally isn’t there to put a report on her desk. As he’s placing the report on the desk he sees a sticky note that says “Bob, no bonus”. Bob, in a nano second, gets mad. He assumes he’s not getting a bonus, because he thinks Sally doesn’t think he does good work. He, then, goes to ask his colleagues if they’ve gotten their bonuses. He finds out another colleague, whom he thinks poorly of, has gotten his bonus. Bob is even more upset now and decides to update his resume because he concludes it’s time to start looking for another job since Sally doesn’t support him.

However, Bob isn’t aware that a handful of employees who have been with the company over 5 years and have demonstrated high revenue generation percentages for 4 quarters in a row and have consistently high evaluations with customers are eligible to start buying into the company as new owners. The “no bonus” stands for “new owners bonus:. Bob learns this all when Sally asks him to come into her office a few days later.  Needless to say, he is surprised and has a hard time re-orienting himself to this news, because he has been actively updating his LinkedIn profile and thinking seriously about where he would want to be next.  He is totally caught off guard, because he was so committed to believing the story he had made up was the truth. It was difficult for him to imagine anything different could be going on.

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Being rooted in neuroscience

Rene Descartes, a 17th century French philosopher, had a profound impact on Western culture. He promoted the separation of body and mind as a fundamental truth. Modern neuroscience suggests an integrated understanding of the human body,  which is more holistic approach as compared to Descartes’ interpretation. Because the brain has different parts with different functions, learning to distinguish when and how to lead from the neo-cortex rather than the limbic brain is essential for leadership success. At Conditioning Leaders, our work is grounded in this awareness.  Our clients derive great success because they know to to respond under pressure and shift quickly away from the limbic “reptilian” brain to the part of the brain (the neo-cortex) which accesses big picture thinking, intuition, and collaborative action. Want to learn more how to do this? Contact us and we’d be delighted to help you.

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Sufficiency: the Power of Enough

Each day we swim in a cultural current that flows between scarcity and abundance. This undulating current affects our sense of who we are and what’s possible for us. The three toxic myths of scarcity identified by Lynne Twist in The Soul of Money are “there’s not enough”, “more is better”, and “that’s just the way it is.” Sufficiency is a context that lies outside the dichotomy of scarcity and abundance. Sufficiency is about being, doing, and having enough and living from this place inside ourselves , our relationships and in all parts of life. In order to put ourselves in transformational space, we must lead, think, and live from being, doing, and having enough. As coaches we teach individuals, leaders, and organizations to integrate sufficiency into their respective modus operandi.  To learn more about sufficiency, check out some of these great videos from Lynne Twist.

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Being rooted in the body

One distinguishing mark of a masterful leader is somatic intelligence. Our bodies are constantly informing us about how we’re relating to the daily pressures of our rough and tumble world. Our physical postures – how we sit and stand and move – deeply impact our thoughts and actions. Through the practice of Leadership Embodiment, a somatic approach derived from Eastern mindfulness practices and Aikido (a non-aggressive Japanese martial art whose focus is inner and outer balance), we learn to recover center more quickly and lead with greater ease, and efficacy.  In this work we lead clients through physical practices so that they can handle the pressures of professional work and personal life with increased access to the power of our center. To learn more about Leadership Embodiment, go to

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