Ability to Dream Influences your Destiny

When it comes to bringing positive change into your life, it might start as a wish, or an aspiration, or a dream.  We know from history, some of the biggest dreamers have created the most lasting positive social changes. The ability to dream allows for anything to be possible.  Imagining a desirable future is what keeps us going,

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

– Eleanor Roosevelt

In the work I do as a change agent, whether as a coach with individuals or a consultant in a community or an organization, early in the process I seek to inspire every individual to see themselves in a new dream.

Ability to Dream

Ability to Dream Accepting we have the ability to dream big and bold, how to act on your dream is what comes next. Appreciative Inquiry, the transformation change method I teach and practice provides a beautiful framework to bring dreams to life – not only individual dreams, but also collective dreams.

Collective Dreams

Some of my most personally rewarding, professional experiences are in designing and facilitating teams or community groups to dream their future.  They may not be aware that's what they are doing at the start of an project, but as they follow the process, that's what they discover – they all have dreams of how they want their work to be, their communities to be, their worlds to be.  From a place of deep listening to one another, people discover a sense of union with each other and that there is also something larger.

Appreciative Questions

David Cooperrider is creator of the transformational change methodology, Appreciative Inquiry. Professor Cooperrider has worked with the Dalai Lama, Heads of States from all over the world and with top business leaders. He explains:

Appreciative Inquiry is a way of designing questions that allows us to dream and devise big ideas together, instead of focusing on problems.  It can quickly bring out the best in people and has been adopted by businesses worldwide.

Dream is in fact the 3rd step in the Appreciative Inquiry methodology.

As an example, in a planning session, here are some of the questions, I might invite participants to engage in:

  • What is important to you about being here today? 
  • What does this project means to you and the community?
  • How might you bring your strengths and talents to this project?
  • What opportunities exist and who will benefit?
  • What most excites you about this project?
  • What three wishes do you have for this project?

Inner Work happens before the Outer Work

These questions tap into peoples' values, their gifts and talents, their aspirations, their emotions, and their dreams (wishes).  In these conversations, people listen and learn.   As they find interdependencies, they tap into their creativity. The possibilities of being able to share a dream is more likely than they may have at first considered.  In fact, they are doing inner work while they are also committing to outer work.

 If you are interested to learn more about how I do this work, please take a look at my Services Page.

Search 2014 for the Best in Humanity

Search 2014

Search 2014


The video below affirms my choice to be a positivity strategist!

I encourage you to invest 1.32 minutes to watch this video put out by Google, entitled “Year in Search 2014” focusing on the most searched for terms for 2014.

Hold your judgement 🙂

Pictures speak a thousand words

The medium is the message.  Pictures speak a thousand words.  Pick your favorite idiom or quote.  For me it's “words create worlds” and “what you focus on grows.” What we search for, we will find.  Where we put our attention, our energy follows.  These searched for words in this video shine the light on the best of our human story:  Hope, Science, Love, Greatness, Sense-making, Remembrance, Inspiration, Discovery, Imagination.

If you scroll through some of the comments under this video, you'll see also another side of the human condition: the cynicism.  Many are saying this message of hope is hokey-pokey.  These comments reveal a different reality when they claim that  the most searched for words are search for “porn”, “sex” etc.   No doubt, that's real, too.

Search for the best

There are multiple realities.  There's the good and the bad and everything in between.

I value the wholeness of the entire human experience.  This video demonstrates to me that hope, and love, and inspiration, discovery and imagination are what get me out of bed everyday.  Searching for the best in humanity.  Couldn't live without it.

Appreciative Inquiry – Unintended Consequence of App Development

It's been 1.5 years now since Juergen Berkessel and I co-founded Polymash, a creative agency with a focus on strategy development, app design and marketing for the mobile world.  Juergen is an artist and a technologist.  He comes from a professional photography background, graphic design and a long stint in IT and product development.  My career has been in human and organization development.

In combining our talents, I am noticing the impact we are having on our clients as we work with them to help them make the shift to mobile devices.

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What Excites You?

shutterstock_30659077-199x300 “What are you excited about?”

I love the question.  In my practice of Appreciative Inquiry, we say  it's the question that starts the change process.  A powerfully affirmative question inspires us to share stories about the successes and strengths I already know about and can celebrate.  Moreover, the question leads me to focus on what I want more of.

It is no effort to list what I am excited about.

I am excited that the conversation is widening and we are becoming more conscious of what is importance to us and what we value – more people becoming engaged and more voices are being heard.

I am excited that we are changing policies and introducing reforms to bring greater equity and justice into the world, especially in the financial sector.

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Holistic Leadership

The call of our time now is for a holistic leadership vision that will guide us into the future, a vision based on equity, justice, prosperity, compassion, and the recognition of our interdependence. The role businesses and professions can play is critical and essential. There are increasing numbers of organizations that are proactively positioning themselves through their visions and strategies as key players in the world willing to demonstrate that the business bottom line and humanity’s bottom line are not mutually exclusive. Anecdotally, research findings show that responsible business leaders are responsible community leaders.

The majority of leadership development and change models and methods emphasize the cognitive dimensions and linear approaches to development. A cognitive shift is important, but an intuitive leap or a heartfelt shift is transformational. So one single heartfelt experience, when you intuit an idea, discover a latent talent, a potential strength, a gesture of caring, those can be transformative. In fact, the very first question we ask, and the way in which we ask it, begins the change process.

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The New Paradigm Life

shutterstock_13468741-300x200The response to the following question Michelle James put to Annalie Killian, resonates loudly.

(Link to the full interview below)

Q: What do you see as the New Paradigm of Work?

Killian: The new paradigm is about Life. One life, and work is part of that life and increasingly these two blend like fluids. Much of this is driven by the exponential rate of technological advances, automation by machines of routine tasks and the unstable and unpredictable business climate (and in part, planetary climate conditions!) The technologies we use for work and for socializing blend; the devices we use at home and at work blend; our networks blend; our hours of work and home-time blend in a ubiquitously connected global economy; our work spaces blend and even the boundaries between our professional personas and our personal reputations blend. Increasingly, our employers blend as many people become self-employed or work on contract terms for multiple organizations, over time our careers will blend from one life stage to another, much like seasonal workers or the way in which actors work.

In this new paradigm of work, where work and life are inseparable, happiness will only be possible if work blends with play, if passion blends with purpose, and if creativity is as vigorously cultivated as profitability.

What about this interview so resonated with me? Annalie offers stories and insights for creating environments where people show up fully so their radiance shines.

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Embracing Change as a 7 Year-old

800px-SS_Normandie_at_sea_view-300x175When I was 7 so much change happened.  I traveled by ship from Sydney Australia to Genoa in Italy, because of my father’s work.  He had been posted to Athens, Greece for a 5-year term.  I only remember parts of that long 6-week journey.

It was the “old days”, when life aboard a luxury liner in first class was still akin to what you read about in novels at the beginning of the last century and what we see in movies, such as the Titanic:  opulence, elegance, indulgence, style and sophistication.

A Princess in my own Mind

I was 7 going on 37 – full of romance and imagination.  I was a princess in my own mind afloat this luxury liner setting out in the Pacific Ocean, crossing the Southern Ocean,  the Indian Ocean, up the Suez Canal into the glistening Mediterranean Sea.  I was 7, which I have since learned is a significant age in human development.  It sets the psychological thermostat for how you internalize beliefs about yourself and your relationship to others and the world.

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Stunning Examples of Appreciative Inquiry Principles

Examples of Appreciative Inquiry Principles

Aimee Mullens gives such a powerful and moving TED talk.

Her examples of Appreciative Inquiry Principles are evident in her story.  She opens with examples of the Constructionist Principle: how words create worlds and the role we all play in co-creating our realities and defining each other.

She advocates the need to honor the wholeness, possibility and potency of ourselves and each other.  She asks us to open ourselves up to and embrace our adversities, rather than sweep them under the carpet.

She reminds us from her own story that we live up OR down to others' image of us, and how positive imagery leads to positive outcomes.  She is such an example of nurturing the human spirit, keeping hope, seeing the beauty, valuing curiosity … and so much more.

I highly recommend this video.

Forever Changed by New Perspectives

Savor this exquisite view of the “ultra deep field” through Hubble's eye of 3000 galaxies in OUR universe of 100 billion galaxies.

New Perspectives

There is always more than the eye sees: a splendid metaphor to shift our perspective on what seems to be “nothingness, emptiness, wastefulness, blackness” in order to gain new perspectives for our lives.

Peter Drucker Leadership: Aligning Strengths

Last updated May 2017


The Task of Leadership

I've been thinking a lot about leadership.  Thinking about what it means in today's context.  I’m making a distinction between leadership and a leader.  Leadership as a process is larger than the individual leader.  That seems important because leadership happens in relationship with others and within a context.  There are many kinds of leadership; thought leadership; market leadership; political leadership, spiritual leadership.  Leadership as a process brings a vision into reality by harnessing all the organization’s assets: its products, services, technologies, customers, processes, systems, reputation, individual talents, knowledge, and skills and so.  These collective assets are the strengths of the organization – the positive core.

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