A PASSION FOR SEEING THE BEST IN OTHERS AND HELPING THEM SEE IT TOO
Twenty years ago, in my mid-thirties, with a solid career, and financial success, I made a powerful decision .. to stop living from what I called “the neck up” and start to find a way to live like i felt as a young girl - connected, alive and courageous, heading off into the bush for days on end with my family or riding horses through the wild fields around us.
You see, living from the neck up, while it helped me achieve a certain measure of career success, came at a high cost for me personally, for my body, and also for many others in my life … my partner, children, parents, friends and even those I worked with.
I knew there had to be a better way to be the leader of my life, and that the change had to happen from the inside out.
I spent many years exploring consciousness, meditation, mindfulness, energy practices, coaching, NLP, emotional intelligence and even completed a formal Masters degree in the evolution of consciousness and culture to learn about how we develop over deep time. A decade later, I was not the same person.
My work in the field of human performance, coaching and learning grew and expanded globally as I worked to build and deliver programs throughout North America and also in China, the Middle East and Europe. I had the great joy of exploring everything I was learning not only through my inner life, also through my work with thousands and thousands of individuals and leaders.
Then a challenge came that asked more than I thought I could handle: my daughter was diagnosed with a seizure disorder. No matter what we tried her seizure’s would morph and change and could not be controlled. It was particularly painful because we had no idea when chaos would rage. I had to find a way for us both to not only survive, but thrive together through the uncertainty and pain.
We gathered a community of extraordinary brain scientists, doctors, advocates, others living with similar conditions, energy workers, friends and family – a hugely varied and eclectic group! One member of our team, a very special horse, began to teach me how to navigate this challenge in a way all the human experts couldn’t. I had been active in equestrian sports for almost my entire life and suddenly through the challenge of having a daughter diagnosed with a seizure disorder, a daughter who also LOVED horses, a big black mare named Echo began to show me what more was possible in very practical and tangible ways.
She changed my life and the life of my daughter and family, and her biggest and most impactful lessons for me happened when I stopped riding her and started to simply be with her. Echo’s lessons were so impactful that they would stay with me no matter where I was. They changed how I showed up at home, in the boardroom, in the airport … everywhere!
When I turned 50, I decided to dedicate my life to a living project – I became certified in the field of equine experiential learning, purchased a special 25 acre farm, helped Echo form a herd and we began working together to teach others her simple, powerful lessons. It wasn’t long before the herd began taking myself and everyone who came to our centre deeper and deeper in our development in ways that were better than anything I’d imagined as possible.
Over our first four years, we saw over 300 people join us for mindfulness practices “off the cushion and into the field” - people from every background and age group from our community arrived not knowing what to expect and leaving lighter, more peaceful and visibly more connected to themselves and life. It even started to feel like nature and the weather was in on the project!
During this time, I decided to start another experiment and began incorporating all the lessons the horses were teaching me into the leadership and coaching programs I delivered to organizational teams across the US, Canada, and India.
What started with about 50 leaders and 300 people and went on for two years to include over 450 leaders and 2700 individuals. Soon I was receiving hundreds of emails from employees whose hearts were opened by the work – and, very often, after a session I would look out my office window and see the herd kicking up their heels and bucking with joy. This led to the start of BraveHeartElders, a unique transformational coaching program for seasoned leaders with a deep desire to build and share a legacy worth living and dying for.
I have no doubt that working with the herd and nature, our work will continue to grow and evolve in ways we cannot yet see. I KNOW that no matter the challenge facing you, when you learn the principles of the herd, come back to the deeply cooperative nature of life and begin to live like the horses from the inside out, you too will find your flow and connection and your brave heart will lead you to know your inner magic and how to share it to make a difference in this yearning world.