The Grace of Shifting Our Thinking

The Grace of Shifting Our Thinking
Rome May 2018

Happy New Year, Everybody! 2019 already! Grace (my Mom) always said time went faster as she got older, and at that time I did not understand her perspective. Now, I do.

And speaking of perspectives deepening with time, I promised you mine in the last post when I alluded to my house hunting escapades in North Carolina. Let me try to summarize the last two plus months of frantic house hunting activity.

Why frantic? Because my thought process drove me into looking at over 120 homes online and about 40 in person, all in the space of about four weeks. My Realtor and I actually physically looked at 18 in person one Sunday–absolutely exhausting. I made two offers, lost money on one, and that’s what finally drove me to pause and call a good friend and great coach.

What kind of thought process would make me do that frantic searching? Well, I gleaned some insight from the book Mastering Leadership which explains a body of research and an assessment instrument that you can take free online at

The book describes a group of leadership competencies that are positively correlated with leadership effectiveness. When you score high in those competencies, you are typically operating at a later stage of adult development and from a creative place which springs from your purpose and passion. When you score lower on those competencies and higher on the reactive tendencies of complying, protecting, and/or controlling you tend to be operating out of a place of fear–looking at an issue like a problem rather than an opportunity to advance your purpose.

Hmmm. Well, that sounded awfully familiar. When I was offered my opportunity here, I was provided three months of temporary housing and one month of storage for my household goods. After that, the cost would be on me. My apartment is conveniently located to the office, and I could bring my little fur buddies (a.k.a. the cats) with me–so that was good. But, the cats weren’t quite as enamored with the move. Gracie spent the first two days behind the clothes dryer and the next 10 days under my bed. Quatchie was more curious but would still cower and hide every time the big German Shepherd upstairs decided to bellow its deep and passionate bark. So, I found myself feeling pressure to find us more permanent housing–quickly.

I was looking at the house hunting as a problem and my fear of running out of time was driving me. I was projecting my dismay by being convinced the cats were scared and unhappy (gee, wonder who might have been feeling that way?) I was using a list of mostly aesthetics to try to find my ideal place–you know things like hardwood floors, open floor plan, stained kitchen cabinets and all the things I had back in my condo in Lancaster.

I told my friend/coach–who had been through the Leadership Circle assessment certification–that I felt like I needed to shift to a more creative way of approaching this process and asked for some guidance. Her advice…”Sit with it for a bit and see what happens.” Grrrrr. Not being a patient person and not liking to feel discomfort, that wasn’t my idea of a good time. Later that same day, I found myself grabbing for my laptop at least a half dozen times determined to look online for a house, only to slap it back down on the table unopened. I sat with my discomfort.

A funny thing happened the next morning. I thought about the purpose I had written when I went through the BB&T Leadership Institute Mastering Leadership Dynamics class in 2015 and later honed at Georgetown. That purpose is as follows: “Synthesize and share my learnings to help others grow and develop.” Now, I asked myself, “How should that influence my search for a house?” Then it dawned on me, and I wrote the following:

“I need energy to fulfill my purpose. My home environment has to be energy enhancing, not energy draining. That includes things like aesthetics; care required; financial pieces not draining me; the ability to still take my vacations; the way the home is situated and the type of light it gets; is there a peaceful place to meditate; what type of commute does it have–is it interesting or stressful; will I be in or close to nature; how easy or difficult is it do do certain desired or necessary daily routines;” and so on.

My whole mindset shifted. I felt a renewed energy and actually went back to revisit a house that I initially disregarded as too far a commute (it is only 25 minutes and passes through beautiful country). A screened-in porch facing woods provides both the kitties and me some peaceful opportunities. Gas heat, a gas fireplace and a gas range lend warmth and convenience. New construction gives me some peace of mind that the builder is available for fixing things at least during the first year. The energy feels restorative versus the other homes I came close to buying. Fingers crossed, I’m supposed to settle on it in two weeks from New Year’s Day.

Early in my blogging career I wrote a quote from a Don Henley song, The Heart of the Matter. “The more I know, the less I understand. All the things I thought I’d figured out I have to learn again.” I am continually reminded that learning never ends, and just when I settle in on a story or an explanation, I realize I’m full of baloney. Or maybe said more kindly, I get the nudge to challenge the story I’m telling and the conclusion I reached.

So, here I am…synthesizing and sharing my learnings as they exist in this moment. Please know what an honor it is to share them with you, and how much I appreciate your comments, emails and questions. Wishing you peace, joy and rich blessings in the year and years to come.


  1. Betsy Hohlfelder

    Love your renewed, creative approach to house hunting! Hope it works out for you 🙂

    • Beverly

      Thanks Bets! So far so good. Less than 2 weeks now and we'll know for sure!

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