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“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” ~ Maya Angelou ~

Sometimes, in order to move into new life, we have to let go of the old. This became painfully real for me when my husband had a significant health event that required open heart surgery last year. Together we navigated the immediate crisis, but when the crisis was over, we were left with many new questions. What is important now? What values do we hold? What changes might be required? These questions were like new green shoots, peaking out of the ground. They provided the opening for curiosity and for new insights about our relationship. They helped to create the motivation for me to experiment and try new things.

I realized that although I still love my work, I want to infuse it with the wisdom that comes from knowing that everything changes and that I am not in control. Knowing this brings new appreciation for the way things are, including the losses, and the way things could be if I allow myself to open up to them. I find that I have more courage and more willingness to take risks. I want to continue to learn and grow and to offer these perspectives to others. I want to be vulnerable, to love and to live fully in the moments that matter . . . to show my confusion as well as my wisdom, to grieve as well as to celebrate life.

Spring is a time of contrast and uncertainty. This morning as I wake up, the colorful vitality of yesterday is covered by a grey blanket of fog. The mountains are obscured and temperatures are dropping. This is where mindfulness practice comes in handy. Instead of longing for what was or what might have been, I can enter the day by appreciating what is right in front of me now. What is my weather (both inside and out)? If it is Spring, I know it will change and that is my opportunity for a fresh start.

Over the last 25 years Susan has worked with thousands of leaders in the US, Canada and Europe to cultivate mindfulness and authenticity, strengthen relational skills, and effectively lead the changes they want to see in their organizations and in the world. Formerly a Vice President and Chief Learning Officer and an international consultant, Susan is currently the director of the Authentic Leadership Center at Naropa University which trains and empowers current and next generation leaders to act as catalysts for positive organizational and social change.​

Susan Skjei PH.D.

Director, Naropa University’s Authentic Leadership Center


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