Author Archives: Dr. Nancy Love

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As an Executive Coach, a Professional Speaker and an author, Dr. Love gives the gift of courage and confidence to her clients... courage to make a change and confidence to make a difference. Learn more »
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Way-Finding

I am in Hawaii and on the Island of Hawaii at one of my favourite places in the world.  It is a familiar place. The Aloha spirit surrounds me as dawn breaks and the darkness gives way to the crystal blue skies. I love it here. I am back at a resort I have been coming to since 2004. As I sit and contemplate the changes that have taken place here at the resort, I am also considering the changes that I have experienced over the years. I am continually surprised by what happens next in my life as I become an older version of myself.

Like the people who have traveled this path before me, my elders, I am becoming the way-finder, breaking trail and pointing the way or, at least one way, to live life in your 60’s. Spending time in this beautiful place, filling my soul with the warm sun and the sea breezes are highly recommended. Follow me here.

I have been inviting friends to come with me to this resort to experience this place for all of the 16 years that I have come. I have never come alone. Someone has always said yes to my invitation. This year I feel especially lucky. I have six friends who have joined me. They represent a wonderful grouping of like-minded individuals who do not all know each other well but who have committed to this trip, each for their own reason. Some are new friends that I have met over the past five years. Add to those two wonderful, dear friends that have been in my life since high school.

As navigator and guide, I now realize the awesome honor and responsibility this is for me. I will be using the way-finder tools from Chapter 3 of Mapping the Space to guide the group as we make decisions together that we would normally make on our own, in familiar surroundings.  Each person has a different expectation. One is experiencing her first taste of the magic that is Hawaii. Others have been here many times with others or with me so we are all starting from different perspectives on what is possible. That will allow us each to learn and grow and share as we build a shared experience of this fantastic place.

Yesterday, the forward guard, the four of us who arrived first, dealt with the disappointment of lost luggage and the disruption that can cause. AND we saw whales and rays and a beautiful green flash at sunset. What will today bring? 

Aloha…

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Connecting in Social Reality

If you were going to embark on a journey into the social space between you and another person, what preparation would you need to make? I would definitely pack my smile and both of my ears. Connecting with others is all about listening and learning about who they are and what kinds of things you might have in common.

If you are meeting someone who works in the same field as you do then you will likely be connecting through the jargon used, the TLA’s or Three Letter Acronyms commonly used in your line of business. You will have shared experiences and may talk about best practices and the road to share understanding could be easier than it might be with someone from a different industry.

This week I was fortunate to connect with fellow mediators as we explored together the world and work of coaching. Our shared understanding of micro-skills served as the glue that pulled the group together. It was a treat to meet them where they were comfortable and move them to where they could transfer many of those skills into a coaching practice. The time spent together was invigorating, enlightening and well spent. It is not always that way.

Sometimes we meet people who have little in common with us.  As we begin the journey, entering into a shared social space, we may share different purposes as well. The connection is not strong. Uncertainty, fear, distrust generate static on the line and moving forward becomes difficult. This is where you may find it useful to engage a WAY-FINDER.  

WAY-FINDERS in social space can help you position yourself for the best results, can help you map a safe route to your destination and point you in the right direction. With the help of a WAY-FINDER, you and your fellow traveler can build a stronger connection and move forward together.

Next week at this time I will be in Hawaii with six of my friends. Some of them know each other and some don’t. I will be watching closely as the journey of shared social space on vacation begins. I love the participant-observer role. I promise to keep notes and share the progress toward common ground that I am sure I will be witnessing daily.


Chapter 2 of the Mapping the Space between Us book is about Connecting in Social Space with the help of a WAY-FINDER.  Later this week you will find an excerpt on the Mapping the Space page. I hope you enjoy it and find it useful. Whether you are looking for new friendships or relationships at work or you are navigating existing relationships of any kind, the map shows you the way. Feedback would be welcomed.

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Love Gathers Here

Things are going well here in Love Land. I have a wall decoration that says “Love Gathers Here.” The double etendue is refreshing. The Love family does gather here from time to time and it is glorious when they do. This weekend however it was a different kind of gathering. 

I have been working with Paula Drouin to create a “Coaching thought Conflict” program for mediators, and we are holding our first session over these two weeks. We have six fantastic, dedicated and smart mediators looking to add coaching skills to their toolbox of interventions for conflict situations. A small group, who already know each other and were willing to come to Paula and me in St Albert. So, I have been hosting them here. We have spent our time talking about Conversational Intelligence, Neuroscience, NLP, the Enneagram, Appreciative Inquiry, and so many other tantalizing topics, that have occasionally taken us into “Deep Time.” Classroom learning is handled in the board room downstairs where there is no internet, so the videos are shown in my living room … where the sign hangs. People who Love Learning have been gathering here, too.

If you are keeping up with things, and I know some of you are, you may be going to the website www.drnancylove.com to read this blog. You will notice at the top, that a new web page has been added.  www.mappingthespace.com. I purchased that address a few years ago in an effort to move the book, that I have been working on FOREVER now, to the finish line. The book is called Mapping the Space between Us: Wayfinding to Common Ground. With the aid of my trusty sidekick and granddaughter, Kass, things are indeed moving. You can now find us by going to the www.mappingthespace.com address. If you click on the tab of the same name, it will take you to the introduction of the book, or at least to excerpts from the introduction.

My next job today will be to send Chapter 1: Here be Dragons, to Kass so that she can also post an excerpt from it. I have found the courage to read through and edit it again. I want to thank my friend Sue for helping me find that courage by reading it with fresh eyes and motivating me to get it out there. My hope is that you will also enjoy reading pieces of it enough to share it with others. Eventually, it would be great to see it published by a wonderful publishing house but for now, I am content to have you read it and comment on it as the nine chapters appear on the new site over the next few months.

Feedback is always welcomed and encouraged.

Take care everyone. Stay safe and warm.

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Untethered: The Sequel

In August I wrote a blog called Untethered describing a thought I had to spend time over the next couple of years in Halifax where I was born and spent my childhood. Control your thoughts. Thoughts become ideas. Ideas become actions and actions eventually become habits. I read that once on a Chinese tea label.

Well, you know how things go when you set an intention and then lean into it? Thanksgiving Day I looked at a condo in downtown Halifax and February 19th I take possession. Just like that.

It sounds so easy and as if no thought or planning has gone into this move. Sometimes life is like that. You have an idea and it becomes reality. It is like the curio cabinet I ordered from Wayfair that now houses my good glasses in my living room in St Albert. I knew I was going to have to move the stuff I valued to my home condo and rent out my second apartment. Intent on consolidating valuables and keepsakes I saw a need for extra storage/ display space. I figured out where there was a space that could accept another piece of furniture and measured it. Then I spent time online looking for just the right piece. When it arrived in pieces, I put it together and then filled it with my precious hand-painted Romanian stemware. Just like that problem solved.

The decision to purchase and fill the new space with furniture now occupying the downstairs apartment took some time. A million little decisions have influenced the thought that became the idea that is now becoming action. A renter appeared who wanted to rent my downstairs apartment for two years. Check. The condo in Halifax appeared. Check. My casual employment supported the move. Check. My program at Kings University College … walking distance from the new condo … accept me as a deferred student from last year’s program. Check. Other thoughts on financing and travel and real estate and furnishing and and and …. and POOF, just like that, I have a plan.

So, with the help of good friends, and with the support of my family, I will be in Halifax on April 1st to start yet another adventure, returning to be a part-time Haligonian after 50 years away.

Stay tuned as the adventure continues.

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PULSE Conversations, SHIFT Happens, Social Exchange
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It’s Saturday …

Weekends are not much different from weekdays at the lake.  The one exception is that there are more people around.  Lots of families are out this weekend to enjoy the new swimming pool in our little neighbourhood that opens tomorrow.  I hope to do that later in the week when there are fewer people around.

I just watched a TED Talk with psychologist Brian Little.  There were a number of things that caught my attention.  Dr, Little talked about the fact the there are ways in which we are like most other people.  Those he refers to as our biogenetic nature.  There are also ways that we are like some other people.  Those he calls our sociogenetic nature. And there are ways in which we are like no other person. Those he refers to as our idiogenetic nature, a term I think that might be uniquely his.  His basic premise is that we can be categorized with others on certain dimensions and we may be hard wired ( my term not his) to act in a particular way in a particular situation, but there is one other variable that allows us to move away from our usual MO and that is our “core project.”  In other words if we need to change the usual introversion to extraversion to protect our family then we will.  If we need to become disagreeable when we are normally agreeable then we can. .. for a purpose.  If we are normally open to new experience but our core project requires us to be safe then we may become guarded. So we do what we need to do to further our core project even if it is out of character. Cool.

DR. Little warns us thought that protracted out-of-character-ness can be harmful.  If we push our introverted self into extraversion for too long we can snap back like an elastic band and cause ourselves some difficulty, but generally speaking what he is saying is that we are not merely a collection of traits.  With that caveat in mind it is still nice to know that we need not worry about exhibiting this trait or that trait because we now know we can get over ourselves and BE what we need to be when required.

What difference does this make?  For me, for example … the penultimate balanced extravert/introvert personality type … I see now the significance of the balance for me.  I  need the balance between being out there and being in here.  I think most people do and that they manage themselves to find their own point of balance or fulcrum on the continuum.  I also think most people generally understand when they are off balance and need to make corrections.  Each of us has a range on the continuum … not just a point.  Movement within the range has been limited to a more introverted, even isolated position of late for me personally.  I have a core project that makes it necessary to behave differently than I may have in the past.  AND that’s okay.  I will heed Dr Little’s warning about protractedly wandering out of character and make the adjustments I need to keep sane and healthy.  Dr. Little has helped me understand that stepping out of character is a choice we make to achieve an end, a worthy core project and our ability to do that is part of who we are as a person … our idiogenetic nature … or should I say MY idiogenetic nature.  I also know that it is what many women my age do so that it is also in my sociogenetic nature. And it is a choice for me.

Dr Little sites five dimensions of personality that I found interesting maybe because their first letters spell something … OCEAN.  Open to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.  He talked about degrees of each but I wonder if he has considered the developmental nature of these dimensions.  I know for example that I have become more introverted than extraverted over the past three years.  It could be a function of age or situation.  I also feel that I have become less open to new experience and more conscientious.  I have become less agreeable on many fronts and possibly more neurotic. I was beginning to feel confused when the next TED Talk video started.  In it Philosopher, Julian Baggini explained that we are a collection of experiences, a process and not a permanent truth.  He used the metaphor of a waterfall that appears the same but is constantly changing.

Combining the ideas presented by the psychologist and the philosopher gave me comfort.  I hope it will also give you comfort.  You are the sum of your experiences which are changing constantly and you choose how to behave based on your core project.  RELAX, RELATE, RELEASE and ENJOY. Become the waterfall.  I certainly will later in the week when my core project will be to experience the new pool.

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PULSE Conversations, SHIFT Happens
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The Healing Lake… a Father’s Day Tribute

I know that I have written about Lac St Anne before.  It is an amazing place with a summer pilgrimage each year to bathe in the healing waters.  The pilgrimage has been going on for centuries if not millennia. Where else would you take your father if he were recovering from near death experiences, a couple of surgeries and a foot that refuses to heal?

Dad and I have been here for only two weeks.  It has taken time to get him into the lake house and settled.  The son-in-laws have been marvelous.  Between them they have constructed a ramp in the garage and delivered a hospital bed and his motorized chair and put the hand held shower in place for him to feel at home, safe and at least somewhat independent.  The recovery, from my perspective, has been remarkable.  For sure he has good days and bad days.  But he walks down the hall to his room on his own.  He takes a shower on his own.  He watches his TV in his room or joins me for a couple of episodes of MASH each evening. There are challenges that come from being out of town but Dad has been out scouting out the neighbourhood in his chair and has spent hours in the sun on the deck, listening to the birds and looking longingly at the lake wondering out loud how we could get a boat. ( Once a sailor …. ) His appetite is  his coming back  and his colour is good.  He can be quite social.  He seems to be doing quite well.

There are side effects … good ones for me.  I have settled into a routine that involves preparing three meals a day, dressing wounds,sorting and administering medication,  gardening (I am learning) and WRITING.  The writing has been particularly surprising and may have happened anyway but I really feel that having Dad here with me has helped me settle enough to actually write everyday.  It has been a tough couple of years for me and it has often been  difficult to focus on what I know needs doing on the projects that I have underway.  I think I have moved at least two projects ahead leaps and bounds since Dad first got really sick in early April.  I think the page served as a distraction from the reality of his state of well being.  I was able to lose myself in the writing if only for an hour or so each day. AND that has made all of the difference.  The ideas are not just formulating in my head.  They are appearing in my penciled note books and then, with a little help from my daughter, Julia, they appear on the screen and are spewed from the printer to come back to me for penciling in edits and so it goes….

Manuscripts of the Mapping book have been distributed and gathered again.  Many thanks to those who took the time to read it and comment.  It means a great deal to me to have the feedback.  Now I can move forward with a greater degree of confidence to the next step.  The next version – Manuscript 2.0 – is percolating and should be available for publishers to read soon. ( mid summer??? she says hopefully)  If any of you know a publisher who might be interested in a book about mapping the space between people, please do not hesitate to pass on their information so that we can pester them with Manuscript 2.0 when it is ready.  So far the reviews are good from people who know the Enneagram and PULSE and Appreciative Inquiry and from those who do not.  There is polishing to do for sure.  I am on it.

UVI-PULSE is also moving forward with an ambitious project to put an on line UVI-PULSE “Leadership in Nine Dimensions Program” together.  That provides another chance to get creative as I freshen up some of the PULSE programming from a decade ago and breath fresh life into a classic program on how to do leadership in a changing world. Meanwhile I continue to provide webinars on a monthly basis and starting in July there will also be coaching sessions and office hours set up on line for those who are interested in learning more about UVI-PULSE and leading Conversations for Change.

Writing is like putting together the puzzle in the dining room at the lake.  We have completed one puzzle in the last couple of weeks and today we started a new one. Today I sorted another 1000 piece box of pieces into piles of colours and starting working on the edges.  By ‘we’ I mean my daughters when they are here, my brother who has come on weekends from Calgary, my dear friend Monde who has been sooo helpful with this transition and with many of the other transitions I have been through in our 40 plus years of friendship.  Who ever comes in contributes at least one piece to the puzzle. It is the perfect refuge from the strain or tension of everyday life.  When your mind is full or overwhelmed you can solve the mystery and create the picture.  It is so satisfying to find a piece and place it in to build a more complete picture.  There is always a puzzle you can go to to switch gears and allow the brain to move to present action and clear the thoughts and feelings that may have created stress.

Little do the people who stop by know that their presence also contributes to my writing in subtle ways I’m not sure I can articulate. The company that Dad and I get here is important to him and  his healing for sure and to me.  It has been busy but in a very good way.  It has been tough for sure but the opportunity to care for my dad while I also get to do what I love to do has been good for me …. and for him.  I would like to thank him for this unforeseen opportunity.  I would also like to thank St Anne wherever she is and whatever role she has played in not only healing Dad but in healing me as well.  AND to all of you who have sent prayers and good wishes for his recovery, thank you.  Whatever happens next I am satisfied that this last three months has been time well spent.

With Love from Love and Love….  Happy Father’s Day this weekend.

 

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Sigh! What’s the Point?

It has been too long again since I wrote a blog post. I just haven’t been sure what to write about.  There are so many thoughts and emotions associated with this last month that I don’t think I have sorted them out yet.

This morning I presented a webinar on questions and the purpose, process, protocol of asking questions in a deliberate way to build understanding.  I talked about how important curiousity is to building shared knowledge and relationship.  It is so true.  Sometimes it is hard to “get over yourself”and work on being curious.  Sometimes you just want someone to be curious about you and your life.

I think that it is particularly true for those of us who live alone.  We don’t have a Witness to our lives.  We don’t have a SOMEONE who knows how we spend our days and what relationships we juggle. Maybe that is where the difficulty lies.  As the song says “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen.”  Friends are so important when you don’t have a SOMEONE who lives in your house and shares their life with you.  I am grateful for my friends.

Back to the topic of aging … Sixty is a turning point.  I’ll list some of the reasons here..

  1. Your future is shorter than your past.
  2. Your body is telling you to slow down and letting you know your new limitations
  3. Your status in the world of work changes because you may not be around for the medium term let alone the long term.
  4. Ambition shifts and is often given a harsh reality check when you realize people may no longer be interested in what you have to offer.
  5. Even though you have kept up with technological changes you begin to see how futile that work is because it is always changing.
  6. As Grace says on the Grace and Frankie show on Netflix …”Why would I want to make new friends when by the time we make a history together we will be history.”(I’m paraphrasing)

Aging is not for sissies.  It takes courage and stamina to stay with it.  My Dad has had a very hard time lately.  Yesterday when the nurse suggested going outside in the wheel chair and checking out his surroundings he asked “What’s the point?”  It’s a great question.  It deserves a very considered answer and I think it is different for every one.  Dad’s nurse suggested because it would make him feel better.  That was enough for him.  We did go for the roll outside and I think he did feel better.

As our parents age we get a pretty good look at what we have to look forward to and it isn’t always pretty.  It seems that in your fifties you are still moving up and away.  Once you turn sixty it’s different somehow.  It levels out and you see the steep roll down the other side.  I don’t think it is OVER or anything… I just think we readjust our expectations.  We move toward retirement to find new adventures and new challenges … or NOT.  We work hard to maintain physical, mental, emotional and relational prowess … or not.  We have choices … or not.

The key is to set goals and attain them and then set new goals.  My mother taught me that.  “You need something to look forward to” she would say “Otherwise, what’s the point.”

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Life is what you make it…

It’s been more than a month since I sat down at the computer to write.  A few things have happened.  My car … dear Scarlette … is still in the shop after a very weird turn of events on a highway near here.  My dad is still in hospital after almost three weeks of roller coaster life and death experiences.  My very talented and dedicated daughter injured her leg just before dance competition season.  Life is like that sometimes…

I am confident that we will all turn a corner this week.  My daughter will get the rest her body needs to heal.  Dad is scheduled to be transferred to a rehab hospital after his miraculous recovery, one a lot closer to home.  Scarlette is getting the care and attention she needs to be as good as new. And I will be back at the key board writing…

Sometimes it is difficult to understand the patterns in your life.  We hear that things happen in threes.  Do we believe that because it happens? or does it happen because we believe it?  I have never quite figured that out.  If I change my beliefs can I change my life?  Some people thing so.  The power of positive thinking has become a field of study and the evidence suggests that we can change the course of our lives by changing our thinking.  I like the concepts but I really dislike the implication that our present thinking is creating our present circumstance.  Sometimes stuff just happens.

I have noticed a pattern in my own thinking that I would like to change.  Excitement- anticipation – expectations – disappointment.  Too often I get to disappointment.  It’s become a pattern for me .. one I desperately want to change.  I want to generate excitement, anticipation, hard work and success.  I want to feel the joy of a job well done. I want to allow myself to experience the thrill of accomplishment without the self doubt of how much better it could have been if only …  I want to stop letting myself down and punishing myself for NOT contributing enough, not being good enough or smart enough or …. fill in the blank. i want to be sure that my thoughts, sometimes gloomy and dark, are not the sabotaging culprit getting in my way.

It has been a difficult month.  Did I somehow contribute to that?  Am I losing my mind or my perspective?  I think I am.

I have lots of tools that I can use to self correct.  I am the author of more than 100 blogs on how to deal with life.  I am well educated and usually confident.  I know what to do. I’m just not doing it right now…  Maybe tomorrow.

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SHIFT Happens
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Winter is back in Alberta….

This morning it is snowing in Gunn, Alberta.                                  Winter is back

Here we all thought we were on our way to SPRING.  Surprise.  Here is the winter we didn’t really experience …just at a new time.  Some people are calling climate change climate shift and they might be right.

It is beautiful though.  I always love snow falling on trees.  It is so quiet and calming.  Like anything else your experience of a thing is all in your attitude toward it.

Further to my “Tides not Waves” post, the equinox is an important signal in our lives and even though this one change … this slack water for the earth if you will … has been delivered to my part of the world in a snowy blanket there is still the promise of spring and regrowth and starting over.  Soon love and flowers will be in bloom and we know that because it happens every year.

Happy SPRING everyone.

 

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Blog post, SHIFT Happens
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Tides … not Waves

Ebb and Flow… I grew up on the ocean in Halifax.  The rhythm of the tides was something you took for granted.  Sometimes here on the prairie I forget that life is full of ebbing and flowing everyday, every week and every month.  I talk about changes in mood, intention, work etc in terms of waves but today I am rethinking that.  These feelings I experience to be lazy or productive, happy or sad, enthusiastic or depressed are more like tides.  They change but it takes longer than a wave.  Waves follow each other in rapid succession while tides move the water up and down in imperceptible increments, at least in some parts of the world.  That is how I am experiencing change right now.  There are slow incremental changes in my energy levels as my tide begins to change. I am experiencing ebb tide.  The water has receded. The sea bottom is exposed.  It feels like every mistake I have ever made, every flaw is on display and I have lost a lot of energy and enthusiasm over the past few months.  I am at low tide.

At the turning of the tide there is a place called slack water.  What a great description of how it feels to be at the bottom waiting for the tide to change.  I am so looking forward to the tide filling my being and flooding me with energy and excitement again.  It can’t come too soon.  BUT the lesson of course is patience.  No amount of force can turn the tide.  It must turn on its own when conditions are right. The flood tide will come.  I feel the stirrings now, a slow comfortable movement in the atmosphere that warns of a change, a new kind of commitment to live life to the fullest, to finish unfinished business AND set new goals for this anticipated flood tide which will bring back the waters of enthusiasm and motivation.

In Nova Scotia you will find the tides are the highest in the world.  Over 160 billion tonnes of water move in and out of the Bay of Fundy, every day, twice a day.  That’s more than the combined flow of all the freshwater rivers on our planet. The result is a tidal bore .. a kind of wave that washes over the surface as the water begins to come back in.  Maybe because I am from Nova Scotia my highs and lows are more distinct like the tides of my birthplace.  Or maybe not.  I think everyone experiences highs and lows in motivation.  The trick is to recognize when the ebb tide has hit slack water and welcome the turn to the flood tide that follows.  Swim with the tide.  It is so much easier than swimming against it.  Become a part of the natural way of things.  Ebb and flow.. up and down … like the ocean.

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