“Relationships are everything,” I said, holding back the tears that had snuck up on me as I spoke my truth across the lunch table to my friend. I’ve learned that emotion is a sign that my heart is speaking to me so I didn’t fight the tears, instead, I took a few deep breaths and really let this insight sink in. It was so powerful saying it out loud, and with conviction.

I had been sharing a story with Blair about how I felt conflicted as a result of an experience the previous day. I had responded to a situation in an uncharacteristic way – a way that did not feel right to me. I had responded from a place of fear, a place where I felt pressure to act. The result was that I was terse and curt with some extended team members that I barely knew.

I want to be present with each individual I engage with, to see the world from their perspective, and to learn from them.

By pausing and sharing with my friend, I gained greater clarity about what had been nagging at me and about what really matters to me. To me it matters not just that I get things done at the office – it matters to me how I get things done and why I am doing them. I reconnected with something I’ve said dozens of times to myself and others: “Every interaction is an opportunity” – and I want to seize those opportunities for something else that is fundamentally important to me, connection. I want to be present with each individual I engage with, to see the world from their perspective, and to learn from them. Running around with a crisis-mode mentality doesn’t honor that…being calm, focused, and caring does.

Try This!

Notice when something does not feel right, and ask:

  • Did someone do something that bothered me?
  • Did I do something I didn’t really want to do?
  • Did I fail to do something that I really wanted to do?

Then ask:

  • Is there a disconnect between what I want and what I am creating?
  • How can I move toward greater alignment with my values and what’s important to me?

And explore:

  • What do I value?
  • Why is it important to me?
  • What actions are consistent with my values?
  • Who do I need to be to live my values?

 Quotes to Contemplate

  • Learning to be aware of feelings, how they arise, and how to use them creatively so they guide us to happiness, is an essential lifetime skill. ~Joan Borysenko
  • Powerful people decide where, how and what they are going to use their precious energy for. Whatever you’re giving your attention becomes your intention.  ~Therese Kienast, Radical Leadership
  • Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; to the every day things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon. ~Booker T. Washington
  • To be authentic is literally to be your own author…, to discover your own nature energies and desires, and then to find your own way of acting on them. ~Warren G. Bennis
  • The body has its own way of knowing, a knowing that has little to do with logic, and much to do with truth, little to do with control, and much to do with acceptance, little to do with division and analysis, and much to do with union. ~Marilyn Sewell
  • Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.  ~Buddha
  • 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


Vicki Flaherty
Vicki Flaherty
VICKI FLAHERTY creates and spreads joy in the world through one-on-one coaching to support individuals being their best, facilitating mindfulness and resilience-related experiences, blogging about leadership and life, and capturing moments of joy through her photography and poetry. She believes in being present in the moment, focusing on what really matters, honoring every individual, listening from a place of openness and caring, examining issues from different perspectives, and acting with passion, courage, and creativity. The common thread of her career is that every step involves helping people succeed. As an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, she designed a variety of people-focused experiences such as onboarding, mentoring, career development, and talent management programs for organizations. She’s created leadership, mindfulness and resilience programs for a Fortune 50 company, and is most fulfilled when facilitating experiences that help people lead their lives with clarity, intention, and authenticity, and that encourage health and wellbeing. She loves taking long walks along the Iowa River, cooking delicious food, and traveling with her husband, and she enjoys yoga, gardening, writing, and photography. Follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter, and subscribe to her blogs: Leading with Intention, And Then Opens Possibility, Where Possibility Awaits, the joyfull eye, and the small things.

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