FOCUS: Shifts of Heart

DISCIPLINES: Mental Models, Personal Mastery

The most powerful agent of growth and transformation is a change of heart...
—John Welwood

A shift of heart changes everything. When your heart shifts, it changes the way you see the world.


1) A man boarded a bus with his two unruly children. The children couldn’t sit still, nor could they keep their hands off each other. They were loud and many riders were annoyed, even outraged at the children and their father’s seeming acceptance of their bad behavior. Then the father turned to the woman sitting next to him and said sadly, “They don’t seem to know what to do since their mother died last week.” Imagine how the hearts of those on the bus shifted as they learned the inside story of this man and his children.

2) Robert sends a message to all the people he knows every year on his birthday. For years it was a sad message. Everything went wrong. He and his wife divorced; their special needs child suffered; he lost his job. Robert made attempts to improve things, but nothing helped. It was hard to know how to relate to his black hole. Then one year came a very different birthday message. Robert explained that he had kept a gratitude journal that whole year, writing 5 things he was grateful for every day. During that year he had met and was engaged to a wonderful woman; his son was doing well and he had a new job. He attached his journal, and I read it with delight. As he focused on things he was grateful for, they grew…and grew and grew. It was as if his heart opened up, and made space for possibility.

3) I was once given this wise counsel about how to soften a tension you’re feeling toward someone: Imagine a small thing you could do for this person, then do something even smaller…something the other will not even notice. The value is that this very small kindness opens your own heart, which is what is stuck.

Coaching Questions that may help your heart shift

  • What am I grateful for right now? (consider keeping a gratitude journal)
  • What would love do in this situation?
  • What if I’m wrong?
  • What small kindness can I do for someone with whom I feel tension?
  • What burden/hope/dream might that person be carrying?


Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore more deeply shifts of heart. Call Tuesday, April 14 at noon Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific) 1-641-678-3404 PIN 968#. No need to register…just call at that time! (Big apologies to anyone who called and could not get into the telegathering this month. There were technical difficulties with the bridge line.)

Each year I attend the Systems Thinking in Action Conference, this year with the theme Now More than Ever: Critical Skills for Courageous Organizations, November 2-4 in Seattle, Washington. This is by far the best conference I’ve ever attended. I come home energized, stimulated, inspired, and full of practical tools for seeing the world and my work more systemically. With the global interdependence of people and economies becoming clearer by the day, a systems thinking approach becomes more and more important and helpful. If you’d like to come as part of a Fresh Views Group, we can qualify for a discount on the registration. E-mail me if you’re interested! Check it out at

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

Fresh Views E-zine Index

720 Maple Lane, Sewickley, PA 15143
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