Posted by: Susan Ann Darley | August 22, 2016

Intuitive Leaders Capitalize on Opportunities

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Intuition is a response not a reaction.
It’s healing not harmful.
It’s the voice within, heard only
when judgment is silenced…

Leaders who have sharpened their intuitive ability can capitalize on opportunities that others are blind to. The risks they take are more calculated based on their inner radar. They can ride the wave of the future as they bring new ideas to life.

Intuition is developed by learning how to shift your attention away from the external world to within yourself. With the willingness to let go of the visible props of the material world, even though it’s challenging, a new door is opened that leads the way to self-knowledge and inner wisdom. Your inner awareness strengthens your intuitive nature, which powerfully affects your decision-making process in every single moment.

The inward path leading to self-awareness and intuition is not programmed with red and green lights telling you when to stop or go. The journey within becomes a trust issue and along the way you will begin to learn and understand your personal signs and symbols.

The path will ask that you have the courage to test the waters, the courage to share and the courage to fail. With practice you will develop the ability to listen to and trust your intuitive nature.

The first and foremost step toward developing your intuition is to let your feelings guide you. Ask yourself, “Does this feel right?” Then ask it again and again for every step forward you take. Let your feelings override your intellect. This does not mean your intellect is being kicked to the side, never to be use or valued again. It simply means that you are no longer placing it on a pedestal as the only source of valuable information.

Should you turn right or left? We seek the answer outside of ourselves, often frantically and fanatically – becoming lost in the noise and clutter of the external world. You can research, study history, charts, methodologies and formulas as you seek the “right answer.” Or call upon the experts for their professional opinion. But as a leader the ultimate decision is yours.

If your gut feeling goes against the grain of the common consensus, yet keeps nagging at you and feels like the right direction – what will you do?  Give in and lead based on what you feel is wrong?  Is that the type of leader you want to be?

Those around you – the influencers who mean well, can become cemented to a one-way solution that may or may not be effective. If your intuition is developed it will give you the ability to discern and see between the lines. You will know the direction to move in and will intuitively be able to express it and stand strong with conviction.

Practical Applications for Business

When meeting a prospective business client for the first time pay close attention to your feelings. Do you feel at ease? Do you get a sense of trust or an uncomfortable feeling – even if you can’t immediately identify it?  If so, then take time to think it through before you take on a potential problem client.

When interviewing future employees let your feelings impress you as much as an outstanding resume. Pay attention to your feelings and let them lead you to targeted questions that can give you more information and shed light on your concerns.

In negotiations, avoid signing the bottom line if you have even one uncomfortable feeling. Allow yourself and the other person more time to think. Your developed intuition will protect you and give you the insight to ask for what you need and hold your ground. It will also guide you in the development of a win-win contract.

Five simple steps for developing your intuition…

1) Quiet Your Mind:  Every day spend quiet time alone for 10-15 minutes. No iPads, iPhones, computer or electronic devices designed to connect you to others.

2) Unwind: Take pen to paper and spontaneously write whatever comes to mind without judgment.

3) Create White Space:  Put the pen down and see yourself in a calming and peaceful environment. You’re creating white space – clearing the path to the door of inner receptivity. Remain there for 5 minutes.

4) Ask for Guidance: For assistance, answers, direction – whatever you need.

5) Listen for Your Next Step: Write it down. Trust it. Commit to taking it.

Commit to doing this exercise daily and you will begin the journey of a lifetime that you will benefit from personally and professionally.

As we venture farther into the uncharted territory of the 21st century, the need for intuitive leaders is great. The demand for new ideas, innovation and creativity is staring us in the face and we are challenged as never before to solve humanitarian problems in every field on every continent. The vision for tomorrow needs to happen today.

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
… Everything else is secondary.”
Steve Jobs

Posted by: Susan Ann Darley | August 15, 2016

Champion Your Cause: Take a Risk

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Do you have a cause, a vision or a talent that keeps getting kicked to the back of your mind? Is it buried under the layers of stories you tell yourself about how you’ll act on it someday? Are you terrified of using your creativity?

Taking a creative risk is not for sissies. It puts you in the driver’s seat yet demands that you let go of control. It seduces you to the edge of the unknown then asks you to jump. It tempts you with fame as you trip upon rejection.

It lures you out of your comfort zone over and over as a high level of fear accompanies you wherever you go. But fear does not have the power to stop you from taking creative risks.

Steven Pressfield, says in his book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, “Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

What do you need to do? Is your fear of the unknown stopping you? Then jump. Take a risk and feel your way through the dark. That simply means that you’re at the beginning — in the dark earth where the seed of your idea can begin to grow.

What’s the alternative – to wonder the rest of your life if you should have? The world right now is looking for risk-takers, entrepreneurs, innovators, inventors, boundary-bounders  – bold leaders who are willing to break down the walls of adversity and lead us into a better world.

Are you one?

Posted by: Susan Ann Darley | July 31, 2016

Hit a Few Wrong Notes and Breathe

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The fear of failure, making mistakes, hitting the wrong notes, can keep us in chains and stifle our creative exploration.

Creative genius emerges from experimenting, trial and error and the willingness to risk.

My perfectionism was once described to me as being trapped in a box. Ironic. Perhaps that’s where the saying “think outside of the box” came from.

Perfectionism is a by-product of harsh self-judgment and stems from insecurity.  It’s a badge worn by far too many adults.  If you suffer from it, please…jump now into the mud puddle of life and allow yourself to make messes.

Like a child, joyously immerse yourself in the moment.  Drop the rules and allow your sensibilities to guide you.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream
impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

   Paul Coelho, author

Posted by: Susan Ann Darley | July 8, 2016

Unscripted: Igniting Your Creative Gene

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Can I tell you how many people I know who do not believe that they have the creative gene?  Far too many. The truth is I’ve never met a person who wasn’t creative.  Unfortunately, the world has an over-abundance of “closet creatives.”

The crux of the problem is that many people feel that in order to be creative they must be able to paint, sing, compose, write or accomplish a number of other so-called artistic endeavors. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If you’re on the planet you’re creative.

Creativity is an expression of who you are as an individual. It’s not a skill. It’s the life force flowing through you out into the world through your thoughts, words, tone, feelings, attitude. An artist sits at an easel preparing to create a picture. You wake up each day with a blank canvas waiting for you to create your day. What will you fill it with?

Creativity does ask a lot. It asks that you be true to yourself. That you have the courage to risk. That you speak up when everyone else is silent. That you venture out into unscripted territory – alone.  Not once or twice but as many times as needed to realize you’re not alone.

The world desperately needs people who are bold enough to step apart from the herd. We need leaders from all professions who are not afraid to explore wide and deep the wells of creativity within. To discover and bring forth solutions that benefit all people regardless of race, religion or culture.

Are you one? Then don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is limiting. Thinking is too often scripted and the same script repeated over and over.

Instead allow creativity to open your heart and mind as it flows through every fiber of your being – ever reminding you that you are the receptacle, the channel that is needed to nurture and guide new ideas into life.

Joseph Campbell

Posted by: Susan Ann Darley | April 26, 2016

All Difficulties Begin and End with Your Mind

woman-meditating smallWhy Do We Have Difficulties?

Difficulties.  At one time or another we all seem to have them. Why is life so hard at times?  We make it difficult because we have not yet learned how to skillfully use our mind to make life easier.

There is a huge difference between a “difficulty” and a “challenge.”  A challenge stands before you so you can achieve higher levels of knowledge, understanding and insights. With those achievements, new levels of confidence, abilities and usefulness emerge.

Difficulties are a reflection of our perception, attitudes and frame of mind when faced with a challenge. When you have a challenge and label it a difficulty you’ve already begun the downhill slide. Don’t look at your challenges as obstacles and hardships, instead see them as opportunities for personal growth, inspiration and creativity.

A Good Reason to Change your Mind

When you find yourself locked in the “difficult” mode your energy is trapped. The more you complain, worry and stress; the more stagnant it becomes.

What is taking place is self-deprecation, which means you see yourself as flawed, diminished or inept.  Those three words and a host of other degrading words have nothing to do with who you are. What does that mean?

First, it means that if you carry the belief that you are flawed, diminished or inept then it’s time to uncover your truth.  Most likely the source of any negative description of yourself was given to you by others – be it someone close or perhaps cleverly disguised in media messages. But that doesn’t mean it’s true.

Would you assail a young child with such words?  When heard repeatedly, what will that do to their self-worth?  Eventually overtime, it will erode it and they will run the danger of growing up believing that difficulties are struggles that can take you down instead of challenges to rise up to.

Second, it means that your negative state of mind can affect your mental proficiency, emotional behavior and physical well-being. These factors undermine your ability to think, feel and act without regard for yourself or others. You are now dealing with low self-esteem issues, which not dealt with will affect your personal life and leadership ability.

Third, it means that it’s time to own the truth about yourself and every other person. Think of every species that has lived on this planet – every single plant, animal and person. Did any one species come in labeled good or bad, wrong or right, hateful or loving?  From the seed of life itself, which is miraculous, each new form of life comes in with intrinsic value and worth.

Unfortunately, it’s the highest form of life on this planet, the human species, who categorizes, labels and devalues life.  Often with vengeance, attempting to rip away the core of integrity within the life form, but that’s an impossible task. For no one can alter the miracle and mystery of life, which is pure, sound and incorruptible. That is your truth.

Let the judgments of the world fade away. No matter the color of your skin, your race, your religion and culture; or what you’ve done or haven’t done – you have worth and intrinsic value.

Therefore, own it, live it and share it. That is the most beautiful and powerful act you can do to help make it a better world.

Posted by: Susan Ann Darley | February 16, 2016

Are You Feeling Your Life? If Not, You’re Missing it.




Does your life sometimes resemble a stone that is lightly skimming the water. If so, you’re not alone.

Often the faster we move the less we are aware of our senses. We miss the feel of rain on our face. The taste of raindrops in our mouth. The scent of a summer rain. The sight of a single rain drop on a leaf. The sound of a slow drip after the rain has stopped.

I know at times I’m guilty of residing anywhere but the present moment. My head filled with “urgent” matters, many which fade away, although not before they effectively dull my senses.

Therefore, I am intentionally slowing down – my breathing, my thoughts, my words and my actions. I’m changing thedrop on leaf pace of my life in order to be present in each moment – in order to allow life to leave its imprint on my mind and heart.

I’m letting one single stone sink to the depths of the lake so I can experience its calm, unruffled waters. For I know it’s in the still quiet waters that everything I need to know is revealed.

The universe, the earth and our unique individual life has something to share with us in each moment.  Don’t miss these rich moments for they will show you your path, your purpose, your insight and guidance.

Being present in the moment is about practicing mindfulness.  I could shower you with many techniques in order to achieve it. However, I’ve found that using one simple statement and repeating it often, works wonders…

“Never run from the present moment,
simply attend to it with great care and love.”

Imagine. The mysteries of your life clarified in a single drop of rain. 


Posted by: Susan Ann Darley | February 9, 2016

The Powerful Healing Practice of Journaling



There is an incredible freedom that comes with emotional maturity.  The daily practice of journaling leads to it.

Journaling is the exercise of exploring your daily thoughts and feelings by writing them down.  It allows you to consciously connect with and sort out your emotions, experiences and perceptions of life.

Your feelings need to be acknowledged and identified for they reveal who you are in the present moment and how you care about all aspects of life.

Don’t be afraid of your emotions. The reason people often repress them is because they feel guilty or ashamed for having them.  Anger, depression, fear, hate are often buried for that reason.  In order to detach from fear surrounding your emotional state, simply see your emotions as “valuable information.”


Try this for about 10-20 minutes a day. Find a quiet place to write in a notebook specifically designated for your private thoughts.  Forget spelling, punctuation and rules. Write spontaneously. How do you feel about particularly troubling spots in your life? You will find that you choose words that intuitively express your honest feelings.

Benefits of the daily practice of journaling:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Results in clarity and improved focus
  • Improves decision-making process
  • Provides personal and private insights
  • Identifies negative thoughts and behaviors
  • Heals relationships
  • Solves problems
  • Builds self-confidence

…and other incredible perks to enhance your overall well-being.

The daily exercise of journaling can help you to acknowledge and release disruptive thoughts and emotions. It can help you to detach from the past – to free yourself from troublesome beliefs, memories and patterns.

Journaling is a powerful tool, which requires just a single pen and piece of paper, along with your willingness to practice it.

“Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation,
it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re
having a relationship with your mind.”
~ Natalie Goldberg

Posted by: Susan Ann Darley | February 2, 2016

Building a Business Foundation to Weather all Storms

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As much as we like to believe that intelligence is the crucial characteristic of an effective leader – it means nothing without the foundation of emotional maturity underneath it. The blending of both is the ideal that facilitates the implementation and achievement of goals and visions.

Stress costs U.S. businesses an estimated $300 billion annually, according to the World Health Organization. “The lack of attention to employee needs, helps explain why the United States spends more on health care than other countries but gets worse outcomes,” says Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

         When leaders are emotionally secure they can effectively connect and initiate meaningful dialogues with their employees. They realize that employees are happier and more productive when they feel cared for. These are the leaders that work hard to create an atmosphere that provides encouragement and support.

           Leaders who operate with a high-caliber of emotional intelligence not only bring forth the talents and capabilities of the people around them, they create an environment of trust, openness and collaboration. They excel at reducing stress for themselves and others which, results in loyalty from their employees, enthusiasm for their work and heightened productivity.

          An emotionally sound leader creates a non-judgmental environment that respects all individuals and opens the door for employees to perform at higher levels. When this takes place healthcare costs and absenteeism is reduced. Work becomes meaningful along with the desire to become a more dedicated worker.

         Next week I will share with you an exercise that raises your emotional intelligence. When practiced consistently it will positively affect your business environment and powerfully influence all your business undertakings.

“We are dangerous when we are not conscious of our
responsibility for how we behave, think, and feel.”
 Marshall B. Rosenberg

Posted by: Susan Ann Darley | January 25, 2016

How Your Beliefs Influence Your Life

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Have you ever gone food shopping and spent half your time reading the labels?
Most health conscious individuals do. They discern the number of calories and wade through the list of ingredients in order to make the right choice.

After all, if you’ve just worked hard to lose those extra 20 lbs you want to make sure you don’t pack them back on.

What if you had to make a decision between choosing a 620 calorie milkshake filled with enough sugar and fat to make it delectably yummy or a non-fat, sugar-free milkshake offering just 140 calories? Which one would you choose?

Dr. Alia Crum, a professor and psychologist at Stanford University researches how mindsets affect our health and behavior.  She and her colleagues devised an experiment called the “Shake Tasting Study” to see if the reading of food labels are influenced by one’s mindset (thoughts, beliefs and expectations).

They offered their subjects a choice of the “Indulgence” milkshake with the label reading 620 calories or the Sensishake with the label showing 140 calories.  The truth be known – the milkshakes were identical with each having 300 calories.

They found that the body of the person who chose the Indulgence shake responded as if they had consumed much more than a mere 300 calories. Their hunger hormone (ghrelin) levels dropped.  That is what normally would happen if they had just eaten a full meal.

The mindset (thoughts, beliefs and expectations) of the person consciously choosing what they thought was the calorie loaded milkshake, affected their physical being as if it was.

How are Beliefs Formed? A belief is generally defined as an acceptance of something that factually exists or is felt to be true. We develop our beliefs through our subjective experiences and the influences of family, friends, media, education, religions, cultures and the world at large.

Beliefs are formed by what we read or are told…If we read or hear something repeated often enough, it can go from a single thought into a belief that we hold true with steady conviction until it’s proved incorrect and we make a conscious decision to let it go.

Beliefs are formed internally… I was told the story of a young man who spent the night in an old farmhouse.  He awakened in the middle of the night gasping for air. In the dark he made his way to a window but it wouldn’t open. In desperation he sailed his fist through it, shattering the glass and then took gulps of fresh air. He went back to bed and slept soundly.
Early the next morning he saw that all the windows were intact. As he surveyed the room, a solitary bookcase with glass doors came into view. He saw the pane of one door was shattered. His belief in the moment became his reality.

Beliefs are formed in childhood…We carry personal beliefs about ourselves of which many were formed in childhood. Parents, teachers and other authority figures influence and shape many of our beliefs. If you were told over and over you are not smart that can easily be carried into adulthood. Even if you graduated with honors from Harvard with honors, you can doubt your intelligence and feel like an imposter. The effects of an old belief are still running the show.

If you find yourself making poor decisions that are negatively affecting your life, there’s a good chance that you are carrying beliefs that need to be uprooted and replaced with healthy ones that support positive personal growth.

Like the label on the side of the milkshake, we drag around many labels that are false. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing them. It’s easy to believe that the negative labels are your truth. Yet any label that does not express your talent, your compassion or your kindness is false. The good news is you can change your label anytime you choose to. 

Why not begin today?


“I don’t think we’ve given enough credit to the role of our
beliefs in determining our physiology, our reality.”
~ Dr. Alia Crum

Posted by: Susan Ann Darley | January 17, 2016

Exercise: Free Yourself From Obligation

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“Drop the word obligation from your vocabulary and you will be free of resentment.” ~Author Unknown

The purpose of the following exercise is to help you let go of guilt-motivated obligations.

Cut the clutter from your personal & professional agenda…

It’s not always easy to give yourself permission to say “no.” The deep-rooted feeling of obligation can make you feel chained to others and filled with frustration.  It’s not the “doing” that will harm you – it’s the negative feelings that you carry that will.

The word “obligation” is defined as: a binding agreement, a duty, a burdensome task, a demand, just to name a few.  People are often raised to believe that the right thing to do is to always help someone – “it’s your moral obligation.”  However, we’re rarely taught how to discern what is truly helpful or when to say yes and when to say no.

As you develop the skill of turning within and listening to your internal guidance, your ability to discern will grow.  With that it will become easier to say “no.”  And you will begin to understand your motives behind the habitual and reactive “yes.”

Ask yourself these 3 questions:

1)  Are you saying yes in order to be liked or a part of the group?

2)  Are you doing it because everyone else is?

3)  Are you doing it because you were programmed many years ago to be a nice person?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then it’s time to break free of the old pattern. To continue it will disturb your well-being and peace of mind. If you continue to repress your feelings and needs for the sake of others you will be doing it at the expense of harming yourself.  Not wise.

Every single day for the next week commit to slowing your response when asked to do something.

  • If possible, say “let me get back to you.”  Take time to think it through by addressing how you feel about it.
  •  Ask yourself the three questions above before saying yes.
  •  If you choose to say no, how does that feel?

With practice you will begin to move out from under the pressure to always say yes. Best of all, you will begin to enjoy a personal freedom from guilt and resentment. You will no longer be caught in the mindset that keeps you obligated to say yes to everything and everyone.

To drop the need to always say “yes” is not selfish. It’s self-care and that’s where our compassion and caring for others begins.  

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