Oak Communications
December 2010
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When I attend a dance or orchestra performance, I like to sit in the balcony where I have a view of the entire stage. I can see the patterns that the dancers make through space. I can see the flute and trumpet players in addition to the string section.

When I attend a performance of a smaller ensemble or a play, I like to be up close. I enjoy seeing the facial expressions of the actors and the communication between performers. Both perspectives are important to me.

I recently watched a TED talk by William Ury titled, The walk from no to yes. In it, he uses the phrase, "go to the balcony" as a way to describe getting perspective on a situation. He goes to the balcony frequently in his work as a negotiator for peace. I realize that I too, "go to the balcony" in my work with both consulting and coaching clients.

Many times my clients are lost in the details of their lives or work and lose perspective. They may lose the meaning of their work or forget to acknowledge themselves and others.

One of my clients works for a nonprofit that provides public health services in Africa. While in Africa recently, she had a conversation with an official. He made an offhand comment that she picked up on due to the research she had previously done on the issue. From the comment this man made, she realized that the Ugandan government was now letting community health workers carry and distribute antibiotics.

When she told me this story, she said that her organization would now be providing antibiotics to these health workers. She was pleased that she had discovered this piece of news by decoding what the official had said. I asked her what was the wider significance of this discovery? At first she looked at me puzzled. Then she realized her discovery meant they would be saving lives sooner versus later. We both felt our hearts swell as we realized the impact of her work.

Sometimes what is called for is getting a close-up view and "walking shoulder to shoulder". According to Ury, when negotiations get tense between leaders, they often walk in the woods, shoulder to shoulder. With this intimacy, it is easier to find commonality and to have a conversation that transforms conflict.

I too walk shoulder to shoulder with my clients, either metaphorically or in reality, to help them to solve the conflicts real and imagined that get in their way of creating a full life.

I hope you will view the Ted talk by Ury as he describes a process for bringing the world closer to peace, an important topic at any time, but especially in this holiday season.

Happy Holidays,

Sue Schleifer

(For the past 30 years, William Ury has served as a mediator, writer, speaker and educator. Ury co-founded Harvard's Program on Negotiation. He co-authored the book, Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In.)
Favorite Links
New Orleans balcony
A New Orleans balcony

Hallelujah Chorus performed in a most unlikely place.

William Kentridge: Anything Is Possible a wonderful PBS documentary about this amazing artist.

Alice Dancing Under the Gallows is a trailer for a documentary film about Alice a 106 year-old woman, the oldest holocaust survivor in the world, who talks about music. She still plays the piano every day.

Why Gratitude Is Good by Robert Emmons from Greater Good - The Science of a Meaningful Life website

Working with a Life and Career Coach

Headshot Sue
Have you been thinking about working with a life coach? Now may be the right time to contact me for a complimentary consultation. Learn how you can jump start your life in the new year.

Below are what some of my clients have said about the coaching experience.

"Doesn't everyone need a coach? From working with Sue, I'm convinced of it. I am spending more time on the activities that are most important to me and have set aside some old patterns (like worrying too much!) that got in my way. Sue is helping me achieve my interpersonal as well as career goals."
President, High Tech Management Consulting Firm

"Sue is the best!  Her insightful questions and analysis have been immensely helpful and enlightening.  I was admittedly skeptical at first, but the practical exercises and structure of the conversations helped me clarify my goals and made the individual steps significantly more manageable.  I am so grateful to Sue, and would strongly recommend working with her to anyone who is ready to take it to the next level."

Video Game Executive

"Working with Sue has helped me to clarify my goals and put energy into the most important aspects of my life. I feel there is a real working flow to my days, and I'm more confident and feel happier as a result. I wholeheartedly recommend her approach!"
Artist and Teacher

"Sue is an excellent listener and an astute observer. I sought her help at a time when I was dissatisfied with my business, had some vague idea that changes needed to be made, but couldn't see the way forward. In our coaching sessions, she provided tremendously useful feedback, helping me to uncover and understand the sources of my dissatisfaction, and guided me towards making many positive changes. If you want to make changes in your personal or professional life, and need coaching to help you find your way and follow through, then I would strongly recommend working with Sue.
Small Business Owner

"Whether in my work or private life, Sue has an uncanny ability to see situations from many different angles. Her attention is complete; she really makes you feel like you matter. If I circumvent an issue, she brings me back to what is important. Sue has become one of my most important teammates. I can tell her anything, never feel judged and always feel supported. It doesn't get better than this!"
Co-Founder, Co-Director, Non-Profit Organization

I would love to talk with you about how I can be your resource in building a satisfying life and career. Call me for a complimentary half hour telephone coaching consultation.

Whether via telephone or in person, Coaching is extremely effective in helping you to fulfill your goals. Let's talk.

Sue Schleifer
510.316.3319 - cell
Oak Communications

Lafayette, LA and throughout the country

510.316.3319 - cell

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