Transition or Transformation?

Big news! I started a company called The Tortoise Institute. More about that later.

You may not know that after 14 years, CohnReznick and I parted ways last year. Truth be told, I had an amazing run. My time working with the Firm’s marketing and HR departments allowed me to find purpose and meaning in my work. In exchange I developed legacy programs that engaged our employees and clients, and elevated the Firm’s brand in many ways, especially in women’s leadership. It was an equal exchange of energy.

The idea that I could follow my curiosity without being identified with a company was scary and liberating at the same time 

Someone recently described me as “highly credentialed,” with an MBA, certifications, respectable work experience, an extensive network and prestigious awards. Even with all that, this time has forced me to become reacquainted with a part of myself that I haven’t seen in a while. You see, my personal brand was closely aligned with a corporation for so long that I didn’t know that I could stand alone. The idea that I could follow my curiosity without being identified with a company was scary and liberating at the same time.

I called in the big guns – my support system. A small, tight group of family, colleagues, friends, and animals have accompanied me on this journey of crazy highs of excitement and optimism and lowly lows of self-doubt, rejection, insecurity and helplessness. What I’ve learned is that we can’t go it alone. This “board of directors” has given me the strength and courage to be vulnerable. I also had to do the inner work that accompanies change. Having a regular meditation practice helped enormously in facing an unplanned situation with compassion, grit and confidence. The basis of my practice, and now the workshops I teach, is an acceptance practice of being with the present moment with self-compassion and resiliency. I understand first-hand that setbacks are temporary and everyone struggles at some point in their professional lives. By connecting to this common humanity, I have been kind to myself and have bounced back quickly, which is what resilience is all about. My head and my heart are in total alignment for the first time in a long time. It is extraordinary.

Emotional intelligence bridges the gap between leadership and well-being 

Now to The Tortoise Institute…The Tortoise Institute offers secular, science-based workshops and individual coaching that focus on building emotional intelligence (EI) for individuals and organizations. Beginning with self-awareness, EI bridges the gap between leadership development and well-being.

Why Tortoise? Our philosophy closely aligns with the version of Aesop’s Fables that focuses on perseverance and ingenuity. “Slow and steady” describes the process and practice of creating a growth mindset. It is deliberate and there are no shortcuts. The work is simple yet not easy. However, with a commitment to change, along with an attitude of kindness and curiosity, as well as confidence in the outcome, we can learn to skillfully notice, navigate and handle our emotions (as well as those in others) and achieve our goals. Some of the benefits my clients have reported include:

  • stress reduction
  • agility
  • creativity
  • emotional control
  • increased focus
  • empathy and compassion
  • resiliency

Another aspect of the tortoise that resonates with me comes from a book title, “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” from renowned mindfulness teacher and researcher, Jon Kabat-Zinn. Like the tortoise, we carry our shell with us, flaws and all. We can’t escape it so we had better learn to work with it. I teach how to do it without denying or suppressing what is. “It’s like this now.” I say that. A lot.

The website is live today! Am open and appreciative of your constructive comments. Don’t be shy; I need feedback to be better. We all do. If you have any questions or are curious what EI is, how it is learned, or how it shows up at work, give me a shout. I love talking about it.

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