Leadership: InPower? or EMpower?

With the recent occurrences in our world, I felt compelled to write about the attributes of a true leader in any situation, whether it be in our family, at school, at work, social networks and other places where leadership can elevate or sabotage an event or situation.

In my years of management, I experienced empowering mentors and ineffective mentors.  While the empowering mentors helped me grow, the ineffective ones also taught me a lot about growth in a different manner.

I will share a couple stories that bring out the qualities that make someone ineffective as a leader in an organization, and share other stories that create a spark in the consciousness that make people come alive in a work setting.

file8841263254299I was already a single mom in my 20’s, a budding manager,and excited to help people succeed. I knew I had a lot to learn and looked up to my superiors to teach me the ropes.  What I quickly learned was that not all managers were effective.

Maureen (not her real name) was an experienced nurse in her prime years of care for patients.  She partnered with another nurse and created a successful hospice service to patients experiencing end of life.

Maureen shared with me that the only reason she became a nurse was that she was forced by her parents to choose a profession and that it was mandatory that she attend a prestigious college.  Her decision was to become a nurse because it was the shortest path to gaining a degree that her parents desired for her. This was Maureen’s path.

I attended my interview Maureen and her partner, complete with suit, pumps, and pad and paper for notes. I answered their questions and shared my experience.  I liked the diversity of the two personalities and enjoyed the short conversation.  I walked away from the interview not knowing if I was hired.  Two days later, I received the call:  “You’re hired.”

In my five years with this organization, I created better communication, scheduling practices, and earned the owners’ trust in running the organization in their absence.  But, then the abuse arrived at my door like a thief in the night.

Maureen lived in a world of fear, hatred, and self-doubt.  She was used to gettangry-womaning what she wanted no matter how unrealistic or painful it was for others around her.  She stomped her feat, screamed, and slammed doors.  This was her management style.  The company’s turnover hovered around 75%.  But, I was not a quitter.

I soon became known by my peers as the “whipping post” for everything that went wrong, even though I was not technically overseeing anything, except those I oversaw in a closely controlled, loosely described supervisory role.  I knew this would be the case, but I was just learning and at the bottom rungs of my career.  I could take a little abuse (I had already been there, I thought, with an abusive husband).

One day, Maureen, came to me and openly reversed on a principle that she made known to everyone in the organization.  She told me to do something morally wrong that served her purpose to appear “large” in the eyes of a client, who was well-known in the community.

file4781300045861Humbly, I repeated her principle back to her and she came unglued. Big mistake on my part. Her arms began flailing in the air, her eyes on fire, feet stomping, and her voice raged like the fury of a mother jaguar.  She came at me, all five feet of scrambled wildness to my five foot nine.  She wrinkled her face, lunged up at me, and screamed for over five minutes.  After a minute, it was like hearing the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons: “wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.”  Then…silence came.  I drew in a deep breath and without a beat,  calmly asked her if she was finished and said, ” Thank you, may I get back to work, now?”

Maureen spiraled around in a fit of flames, stomped to her office and flung the door shut, creating a jarring slam that I am convinced woke the dead.   Nothing was resolved, and I was still sitting with a dilemma that could have lost us a very valuable account.

This was my first experience with a manager who had no respect for herself or others. She never took time to understand a person or situation before losing her true identity as a caring person (who was, sadly, lost).  There is more to this story, but I digress and put this one on a shelf to tell you about an effective manager.

About ten years later, I was hired as a manager to an international organization that provided internal service to hospitals.  I worked for seven years before making it to corporate management.  Just prior to getting there, I was under the direction of a boss who looked out for people. He helped them become successful.  He asked their opinions, offered engagement in processes.  He valued the people who worked with him. He went by the name Garvey.

Garvey took time with me when I was frustrated that I could not get buy-in from the teams on some of my projects.  He taught me about people and the importance of meeting them where they are.  Further, he saw something in me that I knew, but never really took it to heart.

Garvey asked me, “Do you believe that leaders are created or born?”  I truly believed that leaders could be both.  I believed there were leaders who were ineffective – think Hitler – and those who empowered others -think Mother Teresa.   Garvey and I got along quite well, and he became my professional mentor.  He helped me learn how to take over his job.  I came from the same school of thought – teach others to be at least as successful as me.

One day, I was called into Garvey’s conference room “office.” He traveled to multiple locations within the region.  He said, “shut the door and lock it behind you, we are going to have a discussion.”  Needless to say, I was very concerned. Very…

“Kat,” Garvey said, “I want you to know some things about your management style and what you do with your skills.” Now, I was seriously contemplating handing him a resignation.  “You possess the skills of a leader that I have not seen in a long time.”  As I wiped the sweat from my brow and shook my head, I felt myself looking around to see who he was talking to.  I relaxed into the conversation.

Garvey was talking in a very serious manner.  He had my attention.  “You will be the next regional manager,” he said.  I was speechless.  The silence felt like hours.  I gulped and responded, “But, Garvey, I have no formal degree, or any accounting background, or…”

“Stop,” he said.  “Hear me out. You possess the qualities of a good leader.  You’re not perfect, but you know it.  You set a standard, hold people accountable, but teach them how to be successful. These are the signs of a true leader in my book.”

I nearly cried to hear these words, especially since I recalled the prior conversation when he informed me of his belief that leaders were born.  He really believed that!  So, I sucked up my “girliness” and choked back the tears.  I began to feel my confidence rise with his words.  I felt like I had real purpose in this huge company where employee’s ambitions easily became homogenized, for lack of solid managers to support them.

Later in the year, Garvey retired, and the next director called me into his office.  He said the familiar words I learned about leadership, and I was promoted to the next regional manager -over thirteens states.  My time with Garvey, and other effective mentors along the way, had been fruitful.  I put in the work and it paid off.

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Today, I  have learned so many lessons: from others, and my own shortcomings, as well as the celebrated successes in life and business.  I am now an empowered woman in her golden years, still leading with my love for people and helping them get to a place that brings empowerment to their own lives- a place of happiness and freedom.  I am ever so grateful for the people like Maureen and Garvey who taught me so much about the person I’ve always wanted to be.

 

 

When we empower ourselves, we have completed our own  basic need for attention, the need to feel validated or heard.  We begin to see ourselves in others’ eyes, seeing our own places of opportunity while being grateful to be in the presence of these teachers in our lives.

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Nurturing Voices to be Heard

Kat is a Professional Core Alignment Mentor who specializes in the art and science of NeuroLinguistic Programming and Emotional Wisdom Training.

She has helped many people realize their own potential, improve parenting, build confidence, respond more wisely to stress, and more.

Kat’s practice spans the globe for English-speaking people.  Her passion is helping people awaken the light of wisdom within themselves to live a life of joy.

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Contact:  info@taprootsforlife.com

Site:  https://taprootsforlife.com

 

 

 

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Honor Thy Cat’s Gifts!

Cat owners will appreciate the humor in this story:

Muffy whips out the door, at midnight when Margie takes the dog out for his last squat.  “Great! Now I have to find the cat,” she rants. Margie spent hours calling her name, tapping the food can, in hopes that the fluffy white puff ball would tip toe over the threshold, as she usually did.  But, no. It’s now past midnight, and Margie, with only 4 hours of sleep in the last 24 hours, is now beside herself  that little Miss Muffet just had to take a hike on this night!moon-182145_1920

Clambering back to her bedroom, desperate for just a piece of sleep, Margie  finds herself tossing and turning,all night, worrying about Muffy.  Could she be stuck in a pipe somewhere? Did she get hit by a car?  Did a rabid fox get her?  Eventually, Margie collapses into sleep out of worried exhaustion.

Early the next morning, Margie realizes that she fell asleep and Muffy was still out there… in the wilderness of the summer nights.   She bolts out bed, grabbing her robe; she hooks up the dog to his leash and heads for the door.  “Got to find Muffy before the kids wake up and find out,” she mumbles in a frantic fumble to unlock the door, her eyes sagging and red.

Margie opens the door, slips on one clog and steps forward with bare foot bouncing her big toe around to slide into the other shoe.  Hopping on one foot, balancing the dog’s leash, and a shred of dignity, her bare foot lands on something that does not quite feel like the soft shoe she anticipated, but this soft, squishy, a bit wet, piece of yuk.  Margie knows what it is, as it is all too familiar.

KakaoTalk_20150326_205625070Muffy, in all her glory, shows up at the front door,
attentively  tip-toeing back and forth, vying for her attention. “Meow, meow, meow,”she attempts to cue Margie’s smile in her flirtatious mews.  But no smiles, today. Margie looks down and sees that her dear little Muffy has brought…well… a gift, albeit a strange one, as she lifts her foot, stuck with mouse, and gags.

“No no, kitty!” she screams, kicking the mouse across the front lawn. Yes, it is the sacrificial field mouse.  Muffy has spent all night looking for the very special one, just for her stressed out owner.  Margie, in her haste,scowls at the dog, as he has one furry foot in the air; and, yanks him back.

Margie carefully hops backwards scraping off what is left of Mickey, and, heads back into the house, grabbing Muffy by the scruff on the way in.  Door slams and so the story of the day begins.

What did you notice about this story?  Is there anything familiar that you can take away?

For cat owners,  gifts from the cat are a very special occasion.  They may hunt for hours to bring back their prized sacrifice from the wild.

In our human-ness, it is often easy to overlook what others bring to us, as a gift.  Whether it is a lesson, a shared talent, or even shared time.  They are gifts of the heart.

More importantly, it is our life journey that we discover, recognize and utilize our  own gifts.  These, sometimes hidden, talents are born from our mind and soul, and are delivered when our body shows up to bring them outward to our world.

When one is able to relax the mind by accepting the current emotions, accepting what is, loving what is, and having an attitude of gratitude, one is able, easily, to see the gifts within the heart; and, to recognize when others bring us gifts….such as Muffy’s very special drop at the front door.

How does one get to this point?  There is so much information on the web, in books, papers, etc.!  How do people corral all of this information to pull their inner wisdom and know where their gifts lie? Yoga, meditation, go to the spa, eat this brain food, take this supplement, stand on your head.  It is insane, you say!! 021_pp

Every ounce of my being says, “You…are…Correct!”  Inner wisdom has nothing to do with what we learn in books, how we meditate (although there are benefits to that), or even how much we rely on the internet for our answers to the “how-to’s.”

And the answer is (drum roll please)…..wisdom comes from your heart!

When our mind is in total alignment, we are well-grounded , we think positive thoughts. Our heart begins to speak in us and through us in ways we never thought we could imagine.

From the practice of bringing alignment emerges our gifts.  Our gifts of who we are, what is our true purpose for our life on this beautiful earth.  This IS your heart and living from YOUR heart.

Next time your little Muffy brings a “gift,” won’t you view it just a little differently?  View it with L-O-V-E!

HippyKat  Kathleen “Kat” Kohler Schwartz is a Core Alignment Mentor and owner of Taproots for Life (NEW).  Kat practices Emotional Wisdom Training and Neuro Linguistic Programming to help women realize their inner voice toward living a happier, more fulfilling life.

Kat conducts her sessions over the phone and is available worldwide for English speaking clientele.

Available by appointment only-                                                         E-mail: info@taprootsforlife.com

Visit her website:  https://taprootsforlife.com

 

 

 

 

Why I Blog…

I used to ponder the question, “Why do people blog?”  What’s in it for them?   There’s no money in it, I thought.  Even those who represent a company, what do they get besides a handful of referrals, right?  So, why do they do it?

I started on some new ventures in my life at the age of 56, after being laid off from a corporate position.  I jumped on the job search wagon, immediately. Surely, this is no big deal.  I’ve been here before. Nothing turned up after 9 months.d384bc6b06a44f1a0fc96a7bc6f379a2

In my state of haste,  I expanded on a dream,  invested some savings, and started an aromatherapy business.  I went back to school, found myself…you know the drill.  This was the time to discover!

What I discovered  was that I had an inner wisdom that I was listening to for a long time.  Yep, I became a “zen” student in the school of life.   Okay, so I didn’t become a monk or Zen master, but I did learn that my inner wisdom was talking to me and, somewhere during that year, I stopped listening.  What was I thinking?!

I reached out to some friends during the course of my exploration (I needed a job!) and felt a real need to listen, not to my own4db5a07b3b6432882530cfb1d3e8c159 wisdom, but to others.  This is where I learned about me, even more.  Some of the education was not so well received, but I listened, as these qualities are what people saw in me and I trusted their perspective.  Why didn’t I see these things? I thought.

What I heard from my brave acquaintances and close friends was that I needed to do what I know and what “speaks” to me.  No one told me the actual words, but the message rang clearer and clearer the more I reached out.  These conversations over the course of 6 months taught me that when I talked with others, I learned more about myself, even if people were not telling me anything.

My friends answered my questions and I was grateful.  I reached out to several coach friends, as well.   I still didn’t hear the words I needed to hear. The thing that I longed for, the thing that I am supposed to do for the rest of my life.  It was frustrating for me.

I went back to school to become a better writer (still working it), as it was a lifelong passion.  After I completed my courses, there was one more thing to do.  Become the person I always wanted to be.  I wanted to help people.  From the time I was seven years old, I knew this, but never knew what it really looked like, until the day I spoke with my friend, Jennifer.  Glasses on Book-Sketch

As I spoke about my experience, Jennifer said, “Back up for a minute. Say what you just said about coaching people at work to take your job. Tell me more about that.”   My story was illuminated with words like: sharing, empowering, teaching, forward thinking,  development, and progression.

Jennifer said, “Kat, I see this glow about you when you talk about how you helped people get promoted while under your direction.  That is where I see your passion.”  I stopped talking, sat there for a minute and said nothing (which is rare for me.)   The ringing in my ears was glaring and eye-popping.  “There it is,” I said to myself.  Everyone was trying to tell me, but I didn’t hear it.  I should be coaching people, sharing my experiences, HELPING them succeed, just as I had done for the last 35 years as a manager. Okay, I thought, I’ve got some serious work to do!

I know, I know, I can hear you now: “Get to the point, Kat!  Why do you Blog????”  I’m smiling, because you have now experienced why I blog and “tasted” just a bit of my coaching technique.

Since my journey to deeper discover (and I recommend  it for everyone), I have become a coach in Neuro Linquistic Programming and Emotional Wisdom Training. Living out my dream to help people, I also learn by other people- especially when I blog.

I have also become a writer (working on several books). When I blog, I tell you about my experiences where I have learned or had aha! moments, and share them with you.

I am humbled to hear that you are reading my blog.  It is my vision and mission to help just one person with my blogs, in hopes that they will pass on the message.

I wish to inspire to be inspired by you, taking the ripple effect out into the world, as we are all connected souls. Thank you for reading, as I learn by each person who reads, comments, and shares their own story.

So, I stand in my humbleness and say, “This is why I blog.” 5fb9394cad6f7509cd734483733b5966

 

HippyKat Kathleen “Kat” Kohler Schwartz is a successful Holistic Mentor in St. Louis, MO.

Kat practices Neuro Linguistic Programming, Emotional Wisdom Training and Aromatherapy in her unique technique to help people overcome old patterns of thinking toward a stress-free life of living their dreams.  She offers person-to-person and phone sessions.

http://saltoftheearthholisticwellness.com

Contact Kat for Mentoring:  livingmywisdom@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Love is inside out…

What is love to you?

Recently, love and its meaning came in pure form from a man I met with mid-stage dementia.  I’ll call him Nate. I asked Nate, “what is love to you?”  His response was simple:  “Doing what I can to help someone.”  When I asked a little later, Nate said, “Love is having a cat in your lap.”  As simple as his answers came, I knew there was more.

Further, I asked when was the last time he felt love.  Nate did not hesitate and retorted, “You can’t put a time on love!”  I felt that he was getting a little fired up, so I know his brain was engaged.  In my persistence to find out what this man felt as love, he answered more: “Love is knowing that the world is a good place to be.”

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“Love is knowing that the world is a good place to be.”

Love is knowing that the world is a good place to be….it’s worth repeating.  A man, in the throes of dementia, still felt emotion about love and, in his innate wisdom, could describe that love is not of the world or in the world, but what we perceive and feel that love is from the inside out.  The knowing; and, once we know love, all else is good.

Have you ever noticed how a person just beams when they have love in their life?  How do they get it?  You think, “I want some of that!”  We are not talking about romantic love; we are talking about intimate love.  The kind of  intimate love like Nate described: doing what you can to help someone, having a cat in your lap,and knowing that it comes from you, inside. Deep down inside.  Even the cat knows what this is!

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How did we get lost in feeling this longing for intimacy?  The feeling of contentment, feeling that the world is all good no matter what occurs in our lives.

Experiences happen to us.  Lost loves, misunderstandings,  lack of communication, anger, loneliness, fear, hate.  The list of emotions and experiences is endless.

How do we get back on track to get that feeling of contentment that we all seek?  Take a step back for just a moment.  What drives you?  What is your passion?  Money, houses, boats, bigger income.  Dig deeper!

What is it that you reeeaaally want?  Better job, kinder boss, more loving relationships. How will your life look when you get these things?  02-2016mel-mlonnberg-300dpi

Are these things what you really want, or, is there more?  What will make you happy once you get these things?  Think love and all of its possibilities.  I can guarantee that a car or house will not bring love and contentment, but it will bring some new hefty payments, which brings a whole new set of emotions (We’ll save that hot mess for another blog!).

Love comes to us in all perceptions and emotions.  When we ask ourselves at least three times what we reaallly want, the emotions open and we sit with these feelings, knowing that this is the first step to knowing where to go for love.

We find that love is not in the things we want or achieve, but in that love already is.               All we have to do is accept and know.

 

HippyKat

 

Kathleen “Kat” Kohler Schwartz, is a Holistic Mentor and owner of Salt of the Earth Holistic Wellness.  She delivers a mind, body, spirit approach to life coaching that brings results.

Kat’s practice can be experienced in her office, and by phone or Skype sessions.  She is available Monday through Friday by appointment.   314-359-2467

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…oh,and God Bless my Oatmeal!

One morning, I was sitting in my favorite nook in the dining room.  I flipped on the Sunday news and started chowing down on my large bowl of oatmeal, piled high with berries and pecans.  I looked up and thought, “how healthy am I?!”  Then, to my surprise, a little voice that nests herself on my shoulder from time to time said, “Then why do you never feel fulfilled after breakfast?”  I just wanted to toss that little ego-wrecker right outside the door.  She was self-defeating, belittling and just plain negative!

But, I listened to the little voice, (I’ll call her Abby, short for Gabby Abby!) a little while longer.  She seemed to gently fade away when I decided to listen.  Hmmm.  Where did she go?

Each of us possess this inner voice like Abby.  When you are tootling along, minding your own business, everything is great, then BAM!  That self-defeating voice singes our happiness.  We fight back, kicking, hammering our fist.  “Why is this happening, go away, let me be!”  Does this sound familiar to you?  It should, as this is the typical reaction for most people when their Gabby Abby comes to visit. Just when we are about to score the biggest promotion of our life or get down on one knee to make that life-changing proposal, she makes her chalkboard scratching presence known.  The voice that sounds like an annoying mosquito comes whining to our shoulder, “Do you really want to do that? Is is really time to ask her/him? Maybe tomorrow.”

Every one is born with a area of the mind that collects experiences throughout our lifetime.  Enter subconscious.  Our subconscious is developing from the moment we are born.  Everything we see, touch, taste, smell, and experience is stored in our subconscious mind.  Based on our experiences and lessons, we create our own personal values and protection systems (that fire is hot, so do not touch it!).

At those times when we least suspect that any thought would counter our intentions, our subconscious draws from experience, creates the protective “friend,” and speaks from that little voice.  “Should I move forward, backward, or stay?”   Now, you may think this is a bad thing, but! not so.  Our subconscious is also noted as the ego.  The ego exists in all of us.  Our subconscious ego can drive us, protect us, and keep us in check.  But, it can also make us crazy if we don’t understand it.  Most people tend to listen to the negative thoughts, based on limiting experiences, that keep us from moving forward.  Our parents who always said “no” to everything we asked, or the constant beating down of the personal spirit, as with abuse.  Believe it or not, recognizing our little voice is valuable!

When we are able to realize what causes our thought process, we are able to move past the experiences that we allowed to defeat our spirit.  But, the subconscious ego will protect those experiences and thoughts until another experience or intervention (EWT, counselor, friend) can help us realize that the experiences do not serve us in certain situations – repeated behaviors, for example.

Shall we revisit the oatmeal and Gabby Abby on Sunday morning?  When Abby left my mind, once I addressed her, I realized that a message was waiting there.  What was it?  I turned off the TV and sat to listen.  I looked back into the bowl of oatmeal, as if the answer would burst from the berries.  And suddenly, it occurred to me.  I had not taken the opportunity to focus on my meal, my mind was wandering and I had not given thanks. The aftermath of eating while watching TV and not paying attention to my meal was setting me up for an empty day of continued wandering.

I stopped everything: I held my hands over the oatmeal and tea and gave thanks for Mother Earth who nurtured and sprouted the oats, the farmer who grew and harvested, blessed those who processed and packaged, the drivers who delivered it to the store, all the people in the store who moved the product to the shelves. I continued to bless my ability to make the money to purchase the box of oatmeal; and, the berries,nuts, etc. that graced the top of my breakfast.

At that moment, I was able to unlock the subconscious ego and see that I was not exactly living the healthiest. Even though I was eating healthy food and exercising, I was not nurturing my mind and spirit.  A great lesson came from this for me.  I recalled that I was always at my happiest when I meditated in the morning, got in a yoga session or just sat in a moment of silence with my breakfast.  This was feeding my subconscious ego with positive thoughts and actions.  When Gabby Abby visits again, I have just the right medicine.  Silence is golden!

Over the last 30 years, I had taught about this state of consciousness to supervisors, managers and co-workers: awareness, taking time from their over-scheduled world, being thankful.  But, this single Sunday morning occurrence made me realize that I had lost some of my own lesson along the way.  As one goes through Emotional Wisdom Training (EWT), this is the type of aha! moment that can be experienced.  In the moment, I was able to recall my own training and understand where my mind needed to be for my own well-being.

Most of the world’s population is not trained to listen to their own innate wisdom, due to the busy chatter, multiple obligations, failed relationships, juggling schedules, and the like.  When reaching out to discover one’s innate wisdom by partnering with an Emotional Wisdom Trainer, the world just becomes a better place.

Now, will you please pass the milk?  My oatmeal is waiting.  Smiles….