April 2020 Newsletter and Updates
Reflections from Red Maple's Owner
By Raechel Pefanis
Last week, I had a very interesting experience. It started with an "I've hit the wall with coronavirus!" kind of moment. The stress of tilting my work, my home and my family routines came to a bit of a crescendo, and....well, there are no words for it other than to say that a full out family meltdown happened. My kids stuff had overcome the house in piles and messes that were making me absolutely batty. My husband was in this "here but not here" takeover of the main floor, as he moved to remote work. Organizations were cramming my inbox full of inquiries about project changes and cancellation policies, and and our two sets of aging parents were calling every few hours with various needs and challenges. And there was me, trying to hold all of this up amidst my own adjustment to my own reality, where all my usual escapes - like my caramel macchiato - were not available to rescue me. Suffice it to say that I completely lost my shit, gave up, and carbed out. Mama blew her stack. And right on the heels of blowing my stack came a wave of intense guilt for doing so, because when it comes right down to it...I am well aware that MY adjustment is a definite first-world, white-girl adjustment.
With my kids in tears and my marriage full of irritants -not to mention my sink backed up with dishes- I retreated to my office to take a much needed breath. Instantly, the tears and anger and frustration that had been building up came boiling out (if you thought us professional helping types were not also very much human, well, consider yourself now educated :). Everything came tumbling out. My fear that coronavirus might touch our parents, who have, in the dimming years of their lives, had to isolate from us and their grandkids. My stunning realization of the total lack of controls I have to do anything about the uncertainty that is shaping my life in the months to come. My sadness that projects I was excited to tackle, with people I really wanted to work with, had dissolved into a heap of unmet expectations. And let's not forget my utter terror that I might soon be co-opted into becoming a hopeless homeschooling parent.
Well, just as my 14 year old drama queen was really coming unhinged, I looked out the window to find a giant red tailed hawk perched in the tree out my window. And while that may seem like the most ordinary thing in the world for many, some of you may know that I am a proud Indigenous woman, whose journey has included opening her mind to the possibility that "ordinary" events like a hawk staring her straight in the eyes might sometimes be about a spiritual awakening. Native teaching says that important wisdom and direction sometimes come to us through animal behaviour that is somehow unordinary. And so, I allowed myself the luxury of arriving -suddenly and without struggle- in a moment of total mindfulness. I watched the hawk sit, preen, and even look at me for a good three minutes or so. In over 15 years, I had never seen a hawk perch in that exact tree, so close to the street traffic. I suspect I never will again. And then, once it left, I looked up the meaning of a hawk appearance as it is understood in native spirituality
"A hawk sighting is a reminder to open your awareness wider, and become deeply discerning. The precision of the hawk reflects to us that not only are we on the exact right path, but that we must use laser focus to see what needs seeing, expand our vision, and be undeterred."
Not all animal sightings matter, of course. But on that day, in that moment, it did. I was encouraged. What was I encouraged by? Well, let's just say it hit all the important themes for me that day. But more specifically, as you may know, Red Maple has been banging the tireless drum of the Great Imperative of businesses to build a healthy organizational culture. Workplaces must answer the call to become spaces of deeper meaning, depth and community, rather than the lesser purposes that they have often been reduced to. Very often, that message falls on deaf ears...but we bang it anyway. That's what we do with our visions. But I found myself darting between the hawk, the social distancing, my struggle, everyone's struggle, and wondering..."Wouldn't it be ironic if the coronavirus IS the lever needed to cause us to stop, pause and reset our values in the workplace?" Wouldn't it be an incredible plot twist if it was, in fact, the imposed collapse of our usual routines that leads us to the culture leaps that organizations and businesses have needed for so long? Well, I have decided to stay laser focused on good organizational health. Widen my awareness. Expand my vision. Be undeterred. My friend the hawk reminded me to stay the course, and so we are listening, and tilting some products and services to do so in relevant ways. You can learn more about those below.
Update #1: Leadership Catalysts (Small Group Coaching)
A derivative of Leadership Circles™
4 Saturdays: May 2, 9, 16 and 23
10:00 am - 11:30 am
3-5 people + Raechel / Kara
We are beginning to recognize that this moment in history will change us all permanently in some way or other. Will that change be a positive, intelligent one? In this gathering of friends, we will have an opportunity to learn about adaptive leadership. Leadership catalysts are small but mighty individuals (or very small groups of individuals) who compel their organizations upwards, toward higher sets of values, outcomes and ethics than what the dominant cultures is striving for. Leadership catalysts often experience instincts of wanting to develop other people and to turn tides of dysfunction around in their organizations...even if they can't quite articulate how, or why. And as you might guess, these individuals hold great potential for their organizations...if only they can figure out how to swim upstream. In this group, we invite you to learn with us on topics that are critical to the "new normal" we will find on the other side of COVID. We'll look at the following themes together:
-Becoming a trusted leader
-Adopting growth mindsets for learning
-Coaching others in volatile times
Update #2: Naked Leadership (Small Group Coaching)
4 Wednesday evenings: May 6, 13, 20, 27
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
3-5 people + Raechel
$250 (covered by the "RSW" for most)
Workplaces are starving for leaders that are willing to be vulnerable and human, rather than armoured or emotionally impenetrable. Many of us hold high internal value for this deep sense of human leadership...but struggle to get there ourselves. Years of being socialized to keep our exteriors well crafted makes vulnerable, human leadership elusive. In this small group coaching experience, we will challenge ourselves to grow stronger abilities to show up unguarded with our teams, friends, colleagues and others. We'll look to the thinking of thought leaders on this topic (Brené Brown and others), and we will use the group as a way to get more comfortable with with the incredible gifts that come when our relationships are characterized by authenticity and transparency. We'll look at:
-what authenticity means...and what it doesn't
-the gaps between what we want to be, and how we behave
-the gifts that are unlocked in groups of people, and how to do it
Update #3: Learning Snippets
The teams at Red Maple Professional Coaching and Dialectic have partnered to launch Coping with COVID-19 Learning Snippets for FREE.
This program consists of five short, scenario-based lessons based on some of the common challenges we’re facing in our work and personal lives because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each snippet takes two minutes to complete and provides a takeaway to help us navigate our new realities. We hope that you’ll share them with your team and whomever else you think could benefit! Anyone can sign up. Here's how:
Click “Sign up for free.”
Enter your email address and create a password.
That's it! One snippet per day for the next 5 days will be sent to the email address provided.