Oak Communications
August 2011
In This Newsletter
Oak Communications

Oak Communications Blog

Past Newsletters 
Visit my blog
View my profile on LinkedIn
Find me on Facebook



Sometimes I read two very different books back to back and find unexpected connections.

In Mindset, Carol S. Dweck describes the fixed and growth mindsets and how these two different ways of approaching life can affect our success and happiness.

In the Growth Mindset, we believe that intelligence can be developed, leading to a desire to learn. In this mindset we embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see our efforts as a path to learning and mastery, and welcome feedback. We find lessons and inspiration from the success of others. In the growth mindset, we may reach ever-higher levels of achievement.


In the Fixed Mindset, the belief is that intelligence is static, leading to a desire to appear smart and prove oneself. In this mindset, one has a tendency to avoid challenges, get defensive or give up easily, see effort as fruitless, ignore useful feedback, and feel threatened by the success of others. As a result, people with a fixed mindset may plateau early and achieve less than their potential.


On my recent travels to Nova Scotia, I vividly witnessed the results of a growth mindset in the lives of Mabel and Alexander Graham Bell. I visited the Alexander Graham Bell Museum National Historic Site in Baddeck and also read a biography about Bell's wife, Mabel Bell: Alexander's Silent Partner by Lilias M. Toward.

Alexander Graham Bell vigorously pursued his many interests. Extremely curious, he often went off in many directions, much to the regret of his partners and investors. He also persevered even when he had setbacks and failure.  


Out of this curiosity came his many inventions and experiments - the telephone, hydrofoils, aeronautics, medical research and education systems for the deaf, to name just a few areas of his work.

Mabel Bell became deaf after contracting scarlet fever as a child. Her parents believed that she could and should be educated just like other children. This was a novel idea at that time. Not only did her parents provide her with an education and a growth mindset, they went on to develop educational opportunities for other deaf children that didn't have the financial resources that they had.

Dweck writes, "In one world, (the fixed mindset) effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you're not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn't need effort. In the other world, (growth mindset) effort is what makes you smart or talented. You have a choice. Mindsets are just beliefs. They're powerful beliefs, but they're just something in your mind, and you can change your mind."


Mabel Bell studied hard and exposed herself to many people, ideas, and opportunities over her lifetime. Her belief system allowed her to pursue her own many interests and talents and manage the business affairs and career of Alexander Graham Bell. It was through Bell's efforts and his diligence that he made his many discoveries.

To learn ways to develop and enhance a growth mindset, I encourage you to read and practice the ideas in Dweck's book, Mindset.


Joining you in lifelong learning, 


Sue Schleifer


Travels in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia  
Cabot Trail Coastline Cape Breton

Cabot Trail Coastline in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

One of the many things that I love about travel is how awake and alive I feel when I am exploring somewhere new. I am open to experiences, to wandering down new paths, to following people and ideas that I might not have otherwise been exposed.  


One night we left a restaurant and saw a young man carrying a music case. I asked him if he was going to play his instrument somewhere. He said yes and told us he was playing on George Street at one of the many clubs that line that street in St. John's, Newfoundland.  


So, we followed him and his girlfriend and were treated to a fun and rousing folk band with wonderful vocal harmonies. For more stories and photos from my recent travels to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, please visit the Oak Communications blog.



Mindfulness Workshop  
Lotus flowers

For those who live in Louisiana, please join me when I will be the  

guest presenter for a free  

Mindfulness Workshop.  


Sunday, September 25, 2 - 4 pm   

A Healing Arts Gathering  

1109 Old Spanish Trail, Scott, LA


Mindfulness is defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, as "paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally."


Mindfulness is a simple technique that will help you to reduce stress and promote well-being. Mindfulness practice helps you to develop awareness of thoughts, emotions, and the body. This awareness allows you to identify sources of stress before they intensify.


I will share some basic methods for practicing mindfulness in daily life. We will discuss some of the recent research on the benefits of mindfulness including contributing to a healthy brain and greater happiness.  


Together we will practice a few mindfulness exercises that you can use at home or at work.


I have been practicing mindfulness for ten years. I am writing a book entitled, Zen and Travel: A Beginner's Journey.



Coaching Services  

Headshot Sue

Have you been thinking about working with a life/career coach?   


Give me a call to schedule a complimentary coaching consultation.

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


"I was drawn to Sue based on her philosophy and background and knew I made the right decision when we 1st met.  She helped me work through ideas and thoughts and got me moving in the right direction.  

She even helped me re-connect with someone from my past that has now been instrumental in my current growth.  I am truly thankful!"   
Chief People Officer

"Sue truly cares about her clients' goals and brings that passion to her work as a life coach. With her fresh perspective and eye for possibility, she helps me find creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems.
Sue adds her wide array of skills and rich life experience to my own, expanding my box of problem-solving tools. She helps me set priorities, identify goals, and push toward fulfilling them---all while keeping me honest with myself.
Plenty of professional and creative people would benefit from working with Sue, and I particularly recommend her to anyone who needs to get 'unstuck'."
Medical Editor and Fabric Artist

"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 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 be a resource to you too! Let's talk.


Sue Schleifer, M.A.


510.316.3319 - cell
Oak Communications

Lafayette, LA and throughout the country

510.316.3319 - cell

Do you know someone who might enjoy this newsletter? Please forward it to them by clicking on Forward email below.

If you do not wish to receive future newsletters, please click the SafeUnsubscribe link below. Thank you.