Disclaimer. I did not plan for this to be a self-help post, but it is. I cringe at the endless offerings of guides, methods, and steps for improving your life and your business (my email inbox is full of advice), but I must admit during this difficult time I’ve found a lot of good in the work being done by Stephanie Freeth owner of Adaptive Alternatives LLC. 

I first met Stephanie at the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation when we worked with the foundation on their 50th year celebration. Then again at the 2019 Women’s Exchange of Washtenaw (WXW) conference. She was one of the presenters and I was impressed with her down to earth manner and the soundness of the content she presented based on the work by the Conscious Leadership Group. At the event I won a free coaching session! Hooray. I was intrigued.

My initial reasons for coaching were to help me figure out next steps for our business and explore my thinking and feelings as I move into the latter part of my design career.

Stephanie also did an in-person brown bag with our Q team and introduced the ideas of Conscious Leadership specifically centered around the concept of being above or below the line – are we functioning from a state of openness, curiosity, and committed to learning; or are we closed, defensive, and committed to being right. Spoiler alert! Each of us functions above and below the line all the time. We are normal human beings. The trick is to be awake and conscious of how we show up at each moment in our lives. That is hard.

Then the pandemic hit and the 2020 election mania was gearing up. Stephanie put together a small group summer session that I participated in. I met with Stephanie and six other professionals virtually on a weekly basis to share and explore how we were all coping and to better understand how we were showing up for our co-workers, friends, and families. We used the 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership as our text and Stephanie led us through a number of activities that put us in touch with each other and ourselves. We explored the concepts of hero, villain, and victim and (spoiler alert!) learned how to uncover, accept, and learn from all those aspects of our personality. We did not necessarily explore “content” in our sessions, rather how we were reacting and responding to the issues that demanded our attention.

These sessions really did help me get through what I call the “this isn’t going away any time soon phase” of the pandemic – six months into the shutdown when it starts dawning on all of us that we are in it for the long haul. The work also helped me process the dizzying set of emotions before, during, and after the U.S. election (in addition to meditation, yoga, wine, dancing, gardening, talking with friends, endless news scrolling, screaming, and covering my head with a pillow and wishing it would all go away).

I also participated in two brief sessions with a student internship cohort that Stephanie convened – an inspiring, diverse group of young Princeton students willing to learn about conscious leadership at this early stage in their careers. Tomorrow’s leaders who will be the change.

Thank you Stephanie for your work. I like this line “Stephanie loves to work with purpose-driven teams who mobilize their creative talents in service of others and the planet.” Yes! Service to others and the planet. Without a deeper understanding of ourselves and our relationship to others and this finite world we inhabit we are simply not going to make it.

Stephanie has offered to host an introductory session for Q LTD clients, partners, and associates who are interested in learning more. Please contact Adaptive Alternatives.

– Christine