Oak Communications
November 2011
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"Creative work requires pushing apart the answer from the question," according to Greg Watson, Associate Professor of Architecture at Mississippi State University. In a talk at the UL Lafayette Architectural Speculations Symposium, he described the work we do between questions and answers as the place where discoveries are made.


As I listened, I thought about the creative work of architects and the work of discovery by my coaching clients. Watson said, "Uncertainty, ambiguity and fear are inherent in this work. One needs to do the flopping around."

Coaching clients who get the most out of the process are willing to stick with that "in between" period. When we open up possibilities and before we hone in on a clear direction, we often feel fear or uncertainty. A client may ask, "Do I really want to make a change? Do I have what it takes? How do I do this? How do I know this is the right direction?" One month he thinks about one direction and the next month another idea surfaces.

Changes begin with conjecture and speculation. As we reflect, mull over possibilities and assess risks, we may feel we're flopping around like a fish on a dock or swimming in the murk amongst lotus flowers. We may feel a loss of control. We may also feel heightened creativity and openness to new ideas and experiences. We realize we will never know with certainty what a change might bring no matter how much research we do.

After a while, if we allow ourselves the time to explore, get curious and flop around, something shifts. An amazing discovery unfolds until a sense of clarity and direction emerges. Sometimes the unfolding is a small yet significant change, perhaps a slightly different way of thinking. Other times, we experience a larger "aha" and a clear path opens up before us.  We may be surprised by how long it took to get there.

By exploring, asking questions, sitting with uncertainty, we arrive at the path before us. We take a leap of faith and continue our journey of discovery with new insights and confidence.

What are you speculating about?

All my best,


Sue Schleifer


Inspired thinking
Iain McGilchrist, in an animated talk on The divided brain, updates our understanding of the brain.

To keep your creative juices flowing, I recommend checking out a local theatre group, gallery, or live music performance or trying something new.

In New Orleans, I recommend Prospect.2 and The Music Box, A Shantytown Sound Laboratory, and New Orleans Fringe Fest.




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.


"Since I first hired a coach I have been a happier person and a more successful businessman. My company has become much more successful, our employees have had the opportunity to grow to the fullest of their capabilities and everyone seems to enjoy each day of life much more than in the past."


"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

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