Acceptance_Tardiva Hydrangea

I’ve caught myself several days this past week wanting something other than what’s been showing up in my life. I expect one thing, and something different actually happens. I neatly plan my day, design it consciously with my intentions and calendar. Then, well, something unexpected happens, like events don’t go as planned or others’ priorities change. What I want or need to do in the moment is radically different from what I had envisioned. This dissonance between what I expected and ‘what is’ makes me uncomfortable, dissatisfied, empty, or mad – there are all kinds of feelings that I would categorize as ‘negative.’ I’ve been exploring how to be at peace in this chaotic and unpredictable world that I live in.


Try This!

I see acceptance is a choice. I can embrace or resist what’s happening. I like E. Tolle’s (Power of Now) definition of acceptance:


Here’s what I have been doing to help me move from a place of resistance to a place of acceptance with what shows up in the moment. Maybe you want to try it?

  1. Notice the thought.
  2. Breathe into the thought.
  3. Name the thought.
  4. Allow the thought. Grant it permission to be. Don’t judge it or evaluate it.
  5. Just picture the thought. Then imagine sitting next to it.
  6. Sit quietly with the thought, continuing to breathe.
  7. Notice if anything changes.

Often when I sit with my resistance – and I acknowledge my negative reactions, my wanting for something different, my dislike for the gap between my expectations and what is, my emotions often subside and eventually I reach a point where I begin to imagine another thought that feels more freeing or creates an opening. From there I can then imagine getting up and moving from the first thought and sitting next to the new thought. From this new place, I can often move gracefully forward and in the direction of empowered action.

Word Cloud

Here are two wordles I created to remind me of the contrast between resistance and acceptance. Maybe you want to create your own little cloud? You can at .

Acceptance Revised

Acceptance Contrast Revised

Quotes to Contemplate

  • My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. ~Michael J. Fox
  • The best way is not to fight it, just go. Don’t be trying all the time to fix things. What you run from only stays with you longer. When you fight something, you only make it stronger. ~Chuck Palahniuk
  • Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it. ~Ann Landers
  • I let it go. It’s like swimming against the current. It exhausts you. After a while, whoever you are, you just have to let go, and the river brings you home. ~Joanne Harris
  • Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. ~Lao Tzu
  • By taking a breath, we accept the invitation to linger in the restful sense of just being present.  Lingering in the moment – even for just a split second – can be very personal and touching.  ~Michael Carroll
  • Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings. ~Arthur Rubinstein
  • When you accept what is, Life Flows. ~Jackie Dumaine


Click on the link below to access the July calendar featuring highlights from this post.

July 2013 Acceptance Try This! Calendar

© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Leading With Intention, 2013

Photo of a Tardiva Hydrangea by Maureen Monte (


Tree Dalyan Kaunos

Last month I reached for flow, and at times I felt like a beautiful stream moving with slow easiness and gentle grace. Just as often, though, I found myself like water raging against boulders fallen into the center of a powerful river. I churned within myself and crashed against what felt like rocks jagged and rough. As a white splash thrown high in the air, I could see the turmoil below – and I glimpsed my fear.

I’m not sure why I am surprised when my growth expands from a place of tension, anxiety, and conflict, or why I don’t fully embrace feelings of discouragement or discontent. My mind knows that both gentle and hard, light and dark are essential to the rich tapestry of life, although my heart leans toward the gentle and light. That said, I notice that more often now, when I feel confused and vulnerable, I reach for courage to step into the hard and dark. I stretch my arms wide, open my heart to the unknown, and ask the universe for help. The reward for acting from this raw, naked and exposed place? I gain clarity about life’s deeper meaning and understanding of what’s possible when I’m strong.

Try This!

When I feel the quiet stream transforming to a raging river, I’ve decided to consider these questions to release my inner victim, let go of blame, and consciously take brave steps in a forward direction:

  • What is the source of my fear?
  • How am I protecting myself?
  • What is the deeper meaning of this experience?
  • What other perspectives could I gain to see what’s real?
  • What door might this experience be opening?
  • How might these feelings reveal new dimensions of myself?
  • What do I usually avoid that I might willingness invite in?


Word Cloud

Here’s a wordle I created to connect me with the invitation of courage. Maybe you want to create your own little cloud? You can at .

Courage eecummings

Quotes to Contemplate

  • Courage comes from a reserve of mind more powerful than outside circumstances. ~Jessica Max Stein
  • All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. ~Walt Disney
  • Who bravely dares must sometimes risk a fall. ~Tobias Smollett
  • Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point. ~C. S. Lewis
  • Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says ‘I will try again tomorrow’. ~Mary Ann Radmacher
  • Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. ~Winston Churchhill
  • Any fool can run towards the light. It takes a master with courage to turn and face the darkness and shine his own light there. ~Leslie Fieger
  • Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. ~Albert Einstein
  • Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. ~Andre Gide
  • Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed. ~Dale Carnegie
  • The world lies in the hands of those who have the courage to dream and who take the risk of living out their dreams – each according to his or her own talent. ~Paulo Coelho



Click on the link below to access the June calendar featuring highlights from this post.

June 2013 Courage Try This! Calendar

© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Leading With Intention, 2013

Photo by Vicki Flaherty, taken at the Kaunos ruins in Dalyan, Turkey, Summer 2011


Meandering Stream1Rachel Flow Quote

In so many moments during the day, I want my experience to be different. Somewhere in the back of my mind I harbor this idea that there is a better place to be or better way for things to happen. I keep moving and checking things off my list as if there is solid ground or some steady state on the other side of just a few more actions. I seek order and control.

Yet, I know things are always changing. I can never be fully certain. There is never really closure. Nothing is ever complete. Perfection is illusory.

My heart tells me that I have a choice. Instead of resisting, maybe I could accept? Instead of wishing for something else, maybe I could be content with what is? Instead of thinking the ideal place is somewhere out ahead of where I am, maybe the perfect place is right here, right now, in the moment?

A friend recently described my life as a meandering stream, moving with what shows up, adapting and fluid, yet steady and always moving forward, toward some great unknown possibility. I saw the truth in it. From 10,000 feet, yes, I flow, I adapt, I meander, I move toward possibility. I wondered, what if I saw my life up close as a flowing meandering stream? Can visualizing myself like water, fluid and graceful, help me move out of resistance and into acceptance as I go through a busy work day?

Try This!

I thought I would try these questions to experiment:

  • What would it look like if I moved through my day like water?
  • What does it look like when I am going with the flow?
  • How do I feel when I move fluidly in response to what shows up?
  • In what ways can I seize opportunities to open to the unexpected?
  • How do I want to be when situations bring something unplanned?
  • When am I inquisitive, curious, accepting of not knowing?
  • How can I let go of control to embrace the potential of the moment?

Pema Flow Quote

Word Cloud

Here’s a wordle I created to bring me that sense of flow.  Maybe you want to create your own little cloud? You can at .


Quotes to Contemplate

  • Life becomes joyful when we can open to the constant flow and ride freely with it. ~Higher Awareness
  • The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies making them glide and sing. ~John Muir
  • When you accept what is, Life Flows. ~Jackie Dumaine
  • The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. ~Rumi


Click on the link below to access the May calendar featuring highlights from this post.

May 2013 Flow Try This! Calendar

© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Leading With Intention, 2013

Photo by Kristie.


Banner Image - Try This - April2013I think it’s fair to say that I am an achievement-oriented person. While that quality has served me well, sometimes it gets in my way. I have a tendency to get wrapped up in the task at hand.

For example, in my early days at IBM I managed certification programs, and I trained SMEs to write and review test questions. Back in those days, we had in-person meetings, 3 meetings per test, with roughly 1 dozen SMEs per meeting, and different SMEs at each meeting. I was developing 10-12 tests a year and I did this for nearly 7 years. You can do the math. That’s a lot of people. I was so focused on following the test development methodology and getting the tests created that I did not really get to know these amazing, brilliant people. That missed opportunity is the biggest regret I have about my early career.

Today, I recognize that ‘getting the work’ done is just as much about building relationships and experiencing what I’m learning, as it is delivering the actual product or solution. The missed opportunities serve to remind me to be curious about everyone I meet. I am learning to reach out, to make connections, to see myself as part of a larger community. Being curious seems to help me with this.

What I am discovering is that curiosity requires a genuine interest in the other person, and that it’s hard to be genuinely interested in someone else when I am absorbed in myself. Getting out of myself requires slowing down, focusing, and to be intentional about what I want to create when I am with the other person.

Try This!

Below are some questions I’ve been pondering to keep me focused on the relationship side of the equation:

  • What opportunities do I have to connect with others?
  • How can I strengthen those connections?
  • What does it feel like when I make a meaningful connection?
  • What do I create for myself when I make a connection?
  • What do I create for the other person when I make a connection?
  • How does connecting with others change my experience of a situation?
  • How can curiosity help me make stronger connections?

I’ve challenged myself to be curious about everyone I meet, to see every relationship as a possibility, and to meet each one with good will.  Want to join the challenge?



Quotes to Contemplate

  • Getting to know someone else involves curiosity about where they have come from, who they are. ~Penelope Lively
  • Genuine listening means suspending memory, desire, and judgment — and, for a moment at least, existing for the other person.  ~Michael P. Nichols
  • Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention. ~Jim Rohn
  • So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it. ~Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • People may not remember what you say, people may not remember what you do, but they will always remember how you made them feel.  ~Maya Angelou
  • It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. …I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.  ~Oriah Mountain Dreamer
  • If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others.”  ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships.  The pattern of relationships and the capabilities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles and positions. ~Margaret Wheatley
  • Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me. ~Albert Schweitzer


Click on the link below to access the April calendar featuring highlights from this post.

April 2013 Connection Try This! Calendar

Credit to Hector Bird for this month’s featured photo compilation of flowers, taken at the Franklin Park and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, OH.

© Vicki L. Flaherty, Leading With Intention, 2013

I am

Mallorca Spain from Hotel Costa D'Or

Creating what I want in my life requires understanding who I am. Reflection is key to self-insight, and it is hard work. I make time to look inside, slow down, and explore. It’s easy to busily move through my day, making lists and checking things off. There’s little space in all the hurrying and scurrying to consciously create life.

Try This!

Questions are the engine that drives powerful reflection. I love questions because they make me pause and think and they are about what’s true now. The right ones connect me with what’s important. I am using the questions below to bring the life I want into greater focus. I discover where I am in the present moment and use wisdom from this place to guide me. Clear answers enable me to move toward a place where I thrive and feel alive.

  • What do I want?
  • What matters to me?
  • What would I like more of in my life?
  • What makes me happy?
  • When do I lose all sense of time?
  • How do I like to feel?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • When do I get into a state of flow?
  • What do people say I am good at?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What would I like to accomplish?
  • What do I value?
  • What gives my life meaning?
  • What choices do I have?
  • What behaviors do I want to cultivate?

I read a quote recently that got me exploring all the different ways I might finish the statement: “I AM…”  As I’ve played with it, I’ve discovered all sorts of ways to complete the phrase. I can use verbs: I am making thoughtful choices. I can use nouns: I am a writer. I can use adjectives: I am courageous. Each statement is like the stroke of a brush, painting a picture of the life I want to live into.


I Am Wordle

Quotes to Contemplate

  • Our vision of where and who we are is the greatest asset we have. ~Royale Scuderi
  • I AM. Two of the most powerful words; for what you put after them shapes your reality. ~Positive Inspirational Quotes
  • There is no limitation to the self except those you believe in. ~Seth
  • Self-knowledge is the great power by which we comprehend and control our lives ~Vernon Howard
  • A man’s true state of power and riches is to be himself. ~Henry Ward Beecher
  • To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • An original is always worth more than a copy. ~Unknown
  • It takes courage to grow up and become who you are. ~e e cummings
  • Your future depends on many things, but mostly yourself. ~Frank Tyger


Click on the link below to access the March calendar featuring highlights from this post.

March 2013 I am Try This! Calendar

Thanks to Hector Bird for his enhancements to the featured photo, which was taken from the Hotel Costa D’Or, Mallorca, Spain in September 2012.

© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Leading With Intention, 2013


Cala Boix, Mallorca, Spain (photo enhancements by Hector Bird, H&M Bird Photography)
Cala Boix, Mallorca, Spain (photo enhancements by Hector Bird, H&M Bird Photography)

I find myself looking for it. But, really, what the heck is it that I am looking for anyway? It if were right in front of me, would I see it?

At work, frequently I hear my colleagues talk about opportunity. They are usually talking about a project or a job or a promotion.  Just how do you find those kinds of opportunities anyway?  Sure, you can look for them on job posting boards. And, you might see one that you like. However, it seems to me that in order for the opportunity to become yours depends on seizing a lot of opportunities prior to reaching that point – opportunities that show up every single day…the opportunity to connect with the person you sit next to or talk to on the phone, the opportunity to collaborate with your team and really be curious about the solution, the opportunity to engage in the task that needs to be done right now, the opportunity to ask for help when you don’t have an answer, the opportunity to be vulnerable and share what you are really thinking or feeling, the opportunity to bring your unique talents to the table and contribute, the opportunity to choose love or grace or joy…

I believe opportunities are everywhere.  They are available every day, in every moment.  They just might not be packaged in the way we expect.

Try This!

Opportunity Reflection

  • How do I define opportunity?
  • How might I expand my definition of opportunity?
  • What kinds of opportunities do I want to embrace?
  • Where do I see opportunities in my work and life?
  • What if I believed opportunities were everywhere?
  • What can I do to see more opportunities in my life?
  • What enables me to see opportunities?
  • How can I open to opportunities?
  • What can I do to support taking action when I see opportunity?
  • How do I grow from the opportunities that I seize?

Opportunity Thinking  

  • Pick a day, and for that entire day, or the morning, or the afternoon, or for one hour – whatever works for you – try to see as many opportunities as you can.
  • Open your mind, look for the smallest things that you can call opportunities. An opportunity might be to have a second cup of coffee. It might be to say no to that meeting you don’t think you need to attend. It might be to ask your colleague how she’s doing. It might be to take the dog for a walk to clear your head. It might be to hug your child just because you can.
  • Write down the opportunities you identified. Look at them. Consider all of the opportunities you identified. Explore what they mean to you.
  • Ask yourself if there is anything you can do to appreciate the opportunities that show up in your life every day. Make a commitment to yourself to take the action.

Word Cloud

Opportunity Wordle

For me, the secret to seeing opportunities, in all their different forms, is slowing down. When I slow down, I feel more alive, I engage more, and I actually get more done and feel good about it.



By Vicki L. Flaherty

Slowing down.

I see with clarity.

Slowing down.

I hear what people are saying.

Slowing down.

I feel the energy around me.

Slowing down.

I speak in the direction of truth.

Slowing down.

I find power within me.

Slowing down.

I breathe into the world.

And, I awaken

Quotes to Contemplate

  • If your eyes and ears are open, you will see the windows of opportunity around you. ~Cherie Carter-Scott
  • Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more. ~Tony Robbins
  • Change brings opportunity. ~Nido Qubein
  • A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. ~Winston Churchill
  • We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. ~Charles R. Swindoll
  • Life’s up and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals – Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want. ~Marsh Sinetar


Click on the link below to access a February calendar that features highlights from this post, which is available as a downloadable pdf. 

February 2013 Opportunity Calendar

© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Leading With Intention, 2013


Sunrise (3 of 3)I’m just back from a holiday on the coast of Mexico (photo is at San Agustinillo, Oaxaca). Seventh year in a row of going there with my husband Jim. It is a place where I sink into a sense of calm, peace, and openness. I connect with spaciousness and possibility when I am there. It’s the perfect location to spend the last days of a year as I reflect on my abundantly delicious life and set intentions for how I want to be with whatever my future holds.

One of the books I carried with me was When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. Something she wrote resonated with me: “We can use everything that happens to us as the means for waking up.” and that “Everything that occurs is not only usable and workable but is actually the path itself.” resonated with me.

Try This!

And, it led me to wonder what can I do to stay awake and to use my unique path?  Here are some things I’m going to try as I ease into 2013. Maybe you want to try some of them, too? What intentions are you setting on this first day of the new year to create what you want in your life?

  • Cultivate curiosity.
  • Be open.
  • Let go of judgment.
  • Detach.
  • Relax with what is.
  • Look at what feels heavy and burdensome.
  • Invite what scares me.
  • Step toward difficulty.
  • Breathe in whatever is in the moment.
  • Stop struggling.

Word Cloud

My hope is to create in my life more of what’s shown in the Word Cloud below. Do any of the words capture what you want to create for yourself?  Maybe you want to create your own little cloud? You can at .



I wrote this poem while sitting where the above photo was taken on the sands of Playa Rinconcito in San Agustinillo, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Waking Up

Dreams like waves in the night push their way to the shore,echoing promises for the day.
Slumber like a hazy mist lifts off the morning sea, easing gracefully toward the sky.
Possibility like a salty haze moves through the morning air, glowing orange rising from the horizon.
Ideas like golden flecks shimmer and sparkle in the sand, dancing as music in the wind.
Joy like golden light ascends into the blue, awakening a new day.

Quotes to Contemplate

  • When one realizes one is asleep, at that moment one is already half-awake. ~P.D. Ouspensky
  • Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.  ~Frank Herbert
  • A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • The difficulties which I meet with in order to realize my existence are precisely what awaken and mobilize my activities, my capacities. ~Jose Ortega y Gasset
  • My appointed work is to awaken the divine nature that is within. ~Peace Pilgrim
  • When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. ~ Rumi
  • Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. ~Edgar Allan Poe

Calendar – new!

Try This! Awakening_Jan2013 Calendar2 click the link on the left to download the pdf file (note that the link will take you to a new page and you’ll have to click on another link to open the file.)

Special thanks to Hector Bird for enhancing the photo I took!

© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Leading With Intention, 2013

2012 in a capsule

2012 Capsule

Try This!

After tossing all of the 2012 Try This! ideas into the mix, I shook things up and came up with 15 ideas for moving with change and making 2013 the greatest work you ever loved.

Be an explorer in a new land.

  • Celebrate wonder, curiosity, and excitement.
  • Embrace adventure and discovery.
  • Open to opportunities and possibilities.

Be an editor and story writer.

  • Choose the stories you tell yourself.
  • Choose powerful, positive words.
  • Revise your goals and dreams often.

 Practice your yoga.

  • Find your sanctuary.
  • Make time for reflection.
  • Pay attention; be aware, conscious, and mindful.
  • Be open to the unexpected.
  • Notice your feelings.

 Be good to yourself.

  • Connect with your true self and full potential.
  • Identify what’s important to you.
  • Explore your strengths.
  • Follow your heart.

Questions to Ponder 

I love questions so I am throwing in 10 that I shaped from the 2012 messages in the hope they will support you in stretching, finding your passion, and embracing your power.

  1. Who am I?
  2. What inspires me?
  3. What do I want to create?
  4. What stories am I telling myself?
  5. What needs my attention?
  6. What if I leaned into my feelings?
  7. How can I open myself up?
  8. How can I embrace the unexpected?
  9. What is possible when I am flying?
  10. Where is my sanctuary?

Quotes to Contemplate

No post would be complete with quotes so I picked one from each message to share with you again.

  1. The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
  2. Your imagination is your preview to life’s coming attractions. ~Albert Einstein
  3. A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man perfected without trials. ~Chinese Proverb
  4. The best way to predict your future is to create it.  ~Peter Drucker
  5. The reason angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly. ~G.K. Chesterton
  6. The shorter way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time. ~Mozart
  7. We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. ~Anais Nin
  8. The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. ~Henry Miller
  9. Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change. Their articulation represents a complete, lived experience. ~Ingrid Bengis
  10. The world would have you agree with its dismal dream of limitation. But the light would have you soar like the eagle of your sacred visions. ~Alan Cohen
  11. Sanctuary, on a personal level, is where we perform the job of taking care of our soul. ~Christopher Forrest McDowell
  12. Only in quiet waters things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world. ~Hans Margolius

© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Leading With Intention, 2012