Oak Communications
October 2013
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Which of the following do you excel at?


  • Expresses wants and needs
  • Tries new things
  • Follows directions, simple rules and routines
  • Takes turns and shares with others
  • Controls impulses


These are just some of the skills and behaviors that are expected of children entering kindergarten. When I read this list in an article entitled, "Before the First Bell" in the October 2013 IND Monthly, I was surprised. I know adults who could use a refresher course in these skills. 


I have forgotten a lot that I learned in school, mainly from lack of use. My memory for historical facts and dates, mathematical equations, and the plot line of A Tale of Two Cities are fuzzy. However, I do know how to look up this information should I need it.  


But what about the important social and emotional skills outlined above? These skills take practice and attention and can't just be researched on the internet. In fact, Daniel Goleman wrote bestselling books about social and emotional intelligence or EQ. Social intelligence refers to both social awareness or what we sense about others and social facility, what we then do with our awareness. Emotional intelligence includes our self-awareness, self-regulation and motivation. 


When was the last time that you thought about your EQ? It may be time to refocus on these important competencies for professional success and personal well-being.  


In the book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, authors Bradberry & Greaves give readers the opportunity to "test" their emotional intelligence in an online instrument. You are then given scores in four areas of EQ: Personal Competence (Self-Awareness and Self-Management) and Social Competence (Social Awareness and Relationship Management). The authors outline strategies for personal development in each of the four areas.


In my coaching practice, I have used this book and the EQ "test" with some of my clients. One executive decided to focus on his Relationship Management Skills. He chose two of the strategies outlined in the book: "Explain Your Decisions, Don't Just Make Them" and "When You Care, Show It".  


He discovered that by consciously focusing on these two strategies, he was able to notice his normal way of being with his staff and colleagues and to make subtle shifts in his behavior. He began to feel more connection, understanding and clearer communication with others in the workplace. That inspired him to then focus on another strategy and to apply these at home too. He was excited and so was I.

Another developmental milestone for kindergarten children is:


  • Runs, jumps and hops.


Let's remember to get our bodies moving too.  


Happy Fall,  



I recommend the article, "Zen and the art of management" by John Paul Rathbone published recently in Financial Times.

Inspired thinking

The Key to the Castle Book News
Key to the Castle: Zen and Travel Stories of Trust




Louisiana Book Festival
Saturday, November 2, 10 - 11 am
Senate Committee Room E
Independently Published Authors Panel
Book Signing, 11:15 - noon, Book Tent
Downtown Baton Rouge, LA

Please "Like" The Key to the Castle Facebook page to learn about future events.

Have you read the book? If so, please consider writing a review on Amazon or Smashwords, where you may also purchase the book in either print or digital formats.

Thank you!


Buzz on The Key to the Castle 

"With The Key to the Castle, Sue Schleifer takes us on parallel journeys - to the outer world of exotic adventures around the globe, juxtaposed with the inner world of meditation and reflection. In the process she shows us the rewards of deep engagement and openness to the moment in both realms. She is honest about the bumps in the road, and full of questions and doubts (and good humor), all of which make her story very accessible. Her prose is spare, elegant and lucid, and the balance of adventure and reflection make for a sustaining and engaging read." 
Patty Warren

"I just finished reading your terrific book. I bought it a few weeks ago and just knew it would be a great reflective read for my family trip to Spain. The way you have shared and blended both internal and external travels and your personal growth in your life was very moving. The crazy thing for me to understand is how well you listened in our coaching sessions when you have so much to share. Thanks for helping me with my own internal travels and growth."
Lee Smith

 "The Key to the Castle: Zen and Travel Stories of Trust is not a book about miracles, or about the cathartic purgings that come with tragic engagement; not about hopeless romance or romance finally found. But it is a book about the quiet miraculous found in paying attention to our lives, about what travel does to the nerve endings. This book brings us to the vast landscape of the journey and how the well-traveled soul is the soul that trusts the intelligence of spirit, or psyche, or mind, or heart---whatever you choose as the dominant guide in your own life."  
Darrell Bourque, author of Megan's Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie, and other books, Louisiana Poet Laureate, 2007-09 and 2009-11 

"Zen at its essence is about finding freedom and spontaneity in our lives. Travel is one way many of us get a taste of this experience. In her new book, Sue Schleifer brings together her experiences of Zen and travel to reveal the wonders of a life lived freshly in the moment."  

Zen Master Bon Soeng, Empty Gate Zen Center


"With some trepidation, I read Sue's chapters that describe the early days of Backroads and was immediately transported back in time by her thoughtful prose. It also gave me a chance to reflect on how much Backroads has changed, for the better. Her insider's look at active travel will give both armchair travelers and adventure seekers an appreciation for how experiencing new places encourages us to ask life's big questions."  

Tom Hale, Founder and President, Backroads, the active travel company

Writing Down Dementia Tele-Workshop 


Lotus flower 


Writing Down Dementia is a writing workshop

for people who have or have had a loved one with dementia. It is also designed for caregivers and professionals working in the field of aging services. The workshop offers participants a rich experience of creative expression and emotional support.


Kim Fowler and I will be starting a new four-week tele-workshop in early 2014. If you are interested in learning more about this writing workshop, please contact me.

Coaching Services  

Photo of Sue Schleifer
Photo by Robin May


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


Give me a call to schedule a complimentary coaching consultation.   


Check out what a few of my clients have said about the coaching experience. 


"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


"A year ago I met Sue for our first session. Through her probing and listening we pinpointed areas that, with specific attention to my thinking and choices, help me:


  • be personally more effective
  • move towards a more balanced life

My spouse and employees have noticed a positive change, as have I."

Sales Manager-Fortune 500 Company


"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 would love to be a resource for 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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