Seeking Sky


I am walking one of my favourite trails in Vancouver. It weaves along the bluffs of Spanish Banks, before either dipping down to the sea of veering south toward the university campus. On this particular day, in early September, I am strolling. When I walk, especially in nature, ideas come to me that would not ordinarily arrive, and I am always delighted when a certain breeze or vista offers up the gift of a metaphor and carries me away. Today it is a tree, an odd slender cedar with a tenacious urge to see the sun. The tree has bent itself over, growing parallel to the ground, before pushing itself upright again, some 8 feet later. The s-curve makes something of bench for those inclined to seize the moment and take a seat. Despite having walked by this particular tree many times, today it encourages me to think about how we are all seeking the light; literally, as a necessary life force, but also figuratively, in our lives, with our families, and in our organizations. I began to wonder about the ways I have contorted my own life, working my way around things, over things, and through things in search of my sky. I think all of us are searching for the sun light of our true nature and that search takes us and shapes us in all sorts of ways- good and bad.  I carried on along the trail, reflecting on the work I do as a coach, and how so much of it is about helping people determine and head for their own light. And I was comforted by the idea that, like the tree, even our most twisted turns, can be beautiful.

What is the light you seek?

What warms your heart and brightens your world?

What new and unexpected shapes are you willing to take on?

Who or what stands in your way?


New Website Launch!

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Creative Capacity

What are you doing to capitalize on the creativity around you? Creativity is the natural birthright of every person. And depending on whom you talk to (or read), it is considered the number one competitive advantage for success in business and life today. So what are you doing to unleash its potential? Buddhist teachings refer to something called Crazy Wisdom. It is

“an innocent state of mind that has the quality of early morning—fresh, sparkling, and completely awake.” (Chögyam Trungpa)

I am saddened by the dull, stale thinking that goes on in most of our organizations and institutions. People seem really bored and most brilliant ideas remain dormant due to the fact that no conditions exist to nurture people’s natural creative talents. To unleash even a little of that crazy wisdom in your organization, try the following:

  1. Assume responsibility for building your creative capacity.
  2. Be willing to set aside assumptions about your or other people’s lack of creativity.
  3. Ask people about how they think they could bring more creativity to their work.
  4. Create an environment that is conducive to good conversation, experimentation and idea sharing across departments and industries.
  5. Take a different approach when it comes to process and planning.
  6. Challenge people with good questions and stimulating opportunities.
  7. See mistakes as part of the necessary learning and feedback process.
  8. Provide a formal means for idea generation.
  9. Decide how you will capture good ideas.
  10. Don’t rush to evaluate.
  11. Utilize creativity building tools whenever you can.
  12. Develop your appreciation for and understanding of creativity.
  13. Get dirty, messy and a little crazy.
  14. Be willing to have fun and learn with others.

I invite you to leave a reply regarding your efforts to build the creative capacity in your life and work…Thank you. Yael


A probortunity is simultaneously the kernel of possibility and the problem. A probortunity is a different kind of conundrum, requiring the mental acts of investigating and solving, as well as a willingness and urge to germinate and grow something entirely new and inspiring.

We have all had experiences where we talk about the silver lining. You’ve probably heard people say things like, “well if it hadn’t been for that car accident I never would have met my future husband” and you probably know people who praise the challenges they’ve faced as cataclysmic  events when their lives took on new meaning,  purpose and direction. Mostly these comments are after-the-fact sentiments that help us to make sense of why bad things have happened to us in the first place. A probortunity however, is born from a proactive sensibility rather than a reactive one. I believe there is tremendous power in this small, cumbersome  and illegitimate word. These days, with the onslaught of problems a fresh and hopeful spark may help each of us grow a sweeter, juicier fruit right from the start.

For more on the inventors of this fine word click HERE.

random act of kindness

Do yourself a favour – Commit a random act of kindness!

I have been using random words to spark fresh perspectives and solutions. Last week, as part of a large HR retreat, I had each breakout team use a random word to kick off strategy discussions. My intention was to have people enter the dialogue from a completely different and unexpected place. Random words help you do that. So…how to:

  1. Determine the essence of your problem, challenge, issue, need. For example: How can I commit more random acts of kindness in the work place?
  2. Select a random word. I have a gigantic list that I use. Nouns are great. You might also try one of the many random word generating websites where you can also learn other ways of applying the exercise.
  3. Stick with the word you get. I got jetliner. Take some time to describe/highlight the qualities and principles of the word: Goes fast. Takes you where you need to go. Consumes too much fuel. Brings loved ones together. Seat sales. Above the crowd. Close to heaven… (you get the idea).
  4. Next apply the principles to your challenge. Look for creative ideas, associations and solutions. NOT ANSWERS. At least not yet.
  5. So in terms of my issue are there any links? How about creating opportunities for conversation corners where people can gather in a comfortable place. Or maybe I commit to decreasing wait times for delivery…You get the idea.
  6. Select another random word and do the same. Try about 5 or 6 words for the same challenge. Work with your team and really have some fun. Once you have come up with a bunch of associations and ideas you can turn your mind over to evaluation and finally implementation.

So where does the kindness piece enter this equation? People are bored. People want to be creative and explore territories and concepts not previously considered. Our insistence on coming up with the right answer has stifled the creative expression of countless teams and individuals. Next time you sit down with a problem delight your colleagues with a fresh approach, you will be amazed at the creative ideas such randomness generates.

Sir Ken Robinson

A while ago I tagged Sir Ken Robinson and put a link to his site which had not officially launched. Ken Robinson seems to be a buzz word these days. About a year and half ago I heard him speak in Vancouver. I had never heard of him before. These days he is talked about in many circles. My hope is that his popularity coincides with a tipping point on matters pertaining to education and creativity. Visit his site and don’t forget to check out the rather nifty music mixing feature he has on his website.

Right Brain vs Left Brain

The Art Institute of Vancouver has a nifty little right brain/left brain creativity assessment that you might find interesting. You can check it out here: