Oak Communications
May 2012
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Barbara Sher, in her book Refuse to Choose: Use All Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams describes scanners as talented people interested in and curious about many things. They have little desire to pursue one interest or one career as that might be limiting or boring.


Scanners may think: "I can never stick to anything. I keep going off on tangents." Or, "I keep changing my mind about what I want to do and end up doing nothing."


This can be a frustrating situation for scanners until they understand that they actually have an incredible gift if understood and harnessed.


Sher suggests that scanners not limit themselves, but go after all of their interests and appreciate their multi-talented brains.


This weekend, as I listened on my computer to Trombone Shorty perform at Jazz Fest in New Orleans, I did an exercise from Sher's book. Her instructions say to make a quick list of one's experiences, accomplishments and projects, large and small.  


Here is my list in no particular order: 

  • Trekked in Nepal  
  • Researched new bicycle and hiking trips for Backroads, Inc. in Patagonia, Japan, France, England, South Africa, Utah, Vermont and Virginia
  • Learned to play by ear some Irish and Cajun fiddle tunes
  • Practiced yoga, Pilates, meditation
  • Grew a vegetable garden with yummy tomatoes, jack-in-the beanstalk beans, and fragrant lemon verbena
  • Trained as an Integral Coach with New Ventures West
  • Bicycled in Bali, France, Thailand, Baja, Spain and Portugal, Canada, California, Utah, New Mexico, Hawaii
  • Sat an eight day silent retreat and am writing a book about it 
  • Took care of my mom for two years when she was in the early to mid-stages of Alzheimer's disease
  • Received an M. A. in Counseling Psychology
  • Took ballet, modern, improvisation, jazz, tap, salsa, Israeli and Balkan folk, Cajun, Brazilian, flamenco, contra and West Coast swing dance classes
  • Shot lots of photographs
  • Started a coaching and consulting business
  • Performed as a "Jet" dancer in West Side Story
  • Served as Executive Director of Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center
  • Made by hand (not all at the same time) bagels, scones, and whole wheat breads that were delicious  

This list took me about 10 minutes and was fun to put together. I encourage you to begin a list too.


This exercise is designed to help scanners and others see that they have indeed accomplished many things, even though it may not feel that way. You may not be a scanner, but you undoubtedly know some. Or, like me may have some characteristics of scanners and not others. 

I heartily recommend this book for the descriptions of scanners and the tools, like the list above, for helping scanners to understand and appreciate their unique talents and to act on their interests. 


Warm regards,


Sue Schleifer

Ginger plant in flower
Ginger growing in my garden

To read more on this topic, check out The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine.

The Passion Series
presents short videos of individuals sharing their passions.
I am guessing that at least one of the featured artists is a "Scanner" who for the time being has chosen one passion to pursue.

Congressman Tim Ryan has written the book A Mindful Nation. I haven't read it yet, but I am excited just by the idea of a congressman suggesting the benefits of mindfulness.



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.

Check out what a few 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."


"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.
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

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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