Space of One's own







It has taken me about 4 years to find a space of my own.  I am still aiming for a "room of one's own" as Virginia Woolf recommended for women to cultivate their independent creativity in the 1920's, however, this will do.  The real space was to break out of work that wasn't for me, yet I kept telling myself I was adding value, it was my business--I was self employed--therefore I was in control. Yet why did I gain 20 pounds in 6 years, felt stressed out, resented my business partner (and husband) and just felt empty. 

I created this space as a way to center myself in writing this blog, enjoy the lows with the highs, and do my best to practice consciousness everyday--yes I was living a life of the "mind" worrying, wondering, fearing, etc.  What helped me break out of the business, was an honest inventory of what I valued, and did I do something everyday to honor that.  The answer: "no".  It took 9 months to move out of the business in a healthy way.

So here is my space and the blog.  I hope you'll join me as I aim to live more consciously and honor the values of: loving compassion (self and others), living healthy (real food and movement), living that honors the earth and being creative, and making the right decision to live in abundance with respect to other living creatures.  Now how am I going to do that in America, a society that over glamorizes self-righteousness, consumerism, dominance, competition, and inequities as fair game?

Your thoughts and suggestions? Let's begin!

C-Suite InsightsTips

Deborah ThomasOn Monday September 17th, Soul at Work celebrated its 5th anniversary at the Leading Women's "Candid Conversations from the C-Suite" as a Supporting Sponsor.  We were there for triple bottom line goals:

  • To promote the conversations we were having about Soul at Work;
  • Glean insights and tips from featured panelists on advancing change in their executive position; and
  • Continue to engage in the goals of Vision 2020 (see more below!).

So how do you make change?  Read on and please do comment below!!

Insights and tips from the C-Suite: Deborah Thomas, SVP & CFO, Hasbro; Laura Adams, President/CEO, RI Quality Institute;and Catherine L. Ormerod, Project Director of Vision 2020

Susan Colantuono interviewed and facilitated the conversation, which offered up honest stories about leadership mindset, ratio of strategy time vs. operational time, joy, successor, family and support, and how to get other women to advance--debate of quotas or no quotas to get the conversation going!

Leadership Mindset: Laura Adams was clear that she and her employees had to have an "impenetrable sense of ethics" and power of vision to keep the organization and themselves on course as to why they did daily mattered.  We quickly heard from  each of the CEO's how they spent 75-80% of their time on strategy and planning, and that it was an imperative to trust their team to implement...and to get out of the way.  As Deborah Thomas said, it is about adding relevance to strategy and connecting operations to purpose, and keeping the team on focus.  For Catherine, leading as a Director was to activate other's talents.  The problem she is trying to move forward with Vision 2020 is too big to do alone, so attaching people to a shared value and a vision to make it "happen" is the main work she does.

In a Life Purpose Funk?

Are you in a life-purpose or "career" funk?  A couple of weeks ago I was having lunch with a woman who for the past 2 years has been looking for steady work.  She has a developed a great sense of how to ask the right questions, on a DAILY basis, to avoid the "funk" and to better focus on what it is she wants even while having to grind out a living with temporary work.  Shame on my "funk".  Then I re-read this: "The Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything" by Tony Schwartz, published in the Harvard Business Review last August, 2010. He is the author of The Way We're Working Isn't Working.

Although I shy away from "prescriptions" this resonated with my attraction to fitness and the creative process: it is a daily practice and way of being. Read on and tell us what is your deliberate habit for building capacity and getting out of the "funk" mode.

The B Word: Balance

Indra NooyiHere is a film clip from Indra Nooyi who is the Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo. about the struggles she has with the "B-word" reality (Balancing Work and Family). 

Madoff Scam and my work

robynfrye_photosmall.jpgI choose "maverick" for this blog post because it is time for change but also to reflect.   Since I last spoke at Soul at Work in June of 2007, Michelle asked me to write up something about where I am today in my work.

As the New Year approaches, I find myself in a situation that has caused me to once again take my own advice and stop...take time...and reflect. I have had to ask myself some deliberated and soul searching questions suchas:
Have I been in this situation before?  What was the past outcome?  What am I really afraid of? What emotions are the strongest and what is the root of those feelings...and what resources are available to me based on my past experiences and present contacts?

On Monday, December 15, 2008 I was notified that the foundation which supports the Providence Reentry Initiative's work and my position; is closing its doors for good in January 2009 and that they would no longer be honoring any grants; including our 3 year grant to support this work and my position; due to the Bernard Madoff PONZI scam. Over the last 2 years I have been co-chairing and then consulting with the City of Providence to create a citywide plan for people returning from prison...