May 2017 - In This Issue:

"When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college--that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, 'You mean they forgot?'" (Howard Ikemoto, Mindful Magazine, June 2017)

How do we "forget" how to draw, or write, or dance? We were all so able when we were young. And then the critique, judge, and jury invade our being, and we stop ourselves from even trying. We don't want to look silly or incompetent.

I'm reminded of a workshop that I took many years ago in San Francisco called "The Painting Experience." In the living room of a Victorian house, easels with blank paper faced the walls. In the middle of the room containers of paints in a rainbow of colors sat in long lines. The idea was to paint in the moment and not worry about what we were going to paint, how to do it, or the outcome. We were instructed to go the middle of the room, pick up a paintbrush from a color that we were drawn to, go back to our easel and just paint whatever, then put the paintbrush back and choose another color, if and when we wished. It took time for most of us to let go, be free with the paints, and to be fully present in the process.

Ellen Langer, social psychology professor at Harvard University, says that the main roadblock to creativity is our "relentless self-evaluation." She suggests that we learn to be "confident in our uncertainty." Langer continues, "The fear of making mistakes keeps people sealed in unlived lives."

How do we let go of self-evaluation and allow ourselves to make mistakes? I recommend starting with small experiences. For example, what about driving to work using a new route and finding one thing you have not noticed before along the way. Or, do the same thing when taking your daily walk or bicycle ride. Prepare a new recipe or make an old recipe and add a new ingredient. Sleep on the opposite side of the bed. Select a different combination of clothes to wear from your closet. Then reflect on these experiences. What did you notice? How did it feel to do something a bit differently?

Sometimes changing up these small things can be motivation to try other new things in our lives. We realize that it is not that big a deal to make a mistake or live in uncertainty. We might just discover something new in ourselves or in our community. We might just remember what it was like to draw with the freedom of a five year old.


Ellen Langer
Linda Hill: How to manage for collective creativity - TED talk about creativity in organizations 
Inspired thinking

A webinar workshop for adults who are ready to design the next life chapter. Would you like to rethink your work life? Perhaps you are planning for retirement and wonder how you will make this time of your life meaningful. You might want to add some spice to your life. Spring is a time of renewal. This workshop will help you envision your next steps.

We will dive into fun and engaging thought exercises, discussion, and discovery to help you design and build your life.

Six-week workshop series, 2 hours per session, $120 for series

The workshop uses as its framework the book, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans.

Some of the questions we will answer in the workshop include:
  • What's next for me in my work/life?
  • What action might I take to kick my life up a notch?
  • How might I make a larger contribution in my community?
  • How do I meet people who might be interested in my ideas or from whom I may learn?
In a small group, we'll explore these questions and more. We will have fun. We will be inspired and challenged. We will be curious together. The experience just might change your life.
Please contact Sue with questions and to register. We will decide on the workshop dates/times once we have formed a group.
Photo of Sue Schleifer

Would you like someone to listen to you deeply, with compassion, and with questions that will break open understanding and new perspectives?

Would you like a partner to help you develop practices to live a healthy, creative, and vibrant life?

Would you like to feel greater satisfaction in your work life but are not sure how to make that happen?

Perhaps you want to develop better communication strategies with your team or learn how to apply the ideas of  Conversational Intelligence in your work or organization?

Contact me for a complimentary consultation to learn how we might work together for your success and happiness.
Cultivating a Mindful Life book cover
The Key to the Castle

Both books are available for purchase from Amazon and Smashwords and other digital download sites.






Sue Schleifer 
Oak Communications Coaching and Consulting
acorns with sprouts