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  • Writer's pictureStober

New Years & Unexepected Affirmations

January reminded me that we can do anything, but not everything, at anytime.

The New Year came in like a Yeti, and when I say Yeti, I mean multiple feet of snow, temperatures reaching twenty-five below zero, and a 4.1 magnitude earthquake originating just a few miles from the house.

Golden hour on the way home from Helena.

Montana is nothing if not interesting.

My running joke has been that all my “let’s circle back on that after the New Year” chickens have come to roost, and the first several weeks of the year were a flurry of calls, proposals, contracts, and scheduling. It’s shaping up to be another banner year, and while I dig abundance, I don't dig busy, and I’ve got an assistant coming aboard soon to help settle it down.

There was still plenty of time to Jump Start the good people & the good work.

Brining some energy to my friends in Hawaii.

I kicked 2023 off with the project team from Adventure Scientists, where we spent the day talking theory of change, logic models, and volunteer strategy.

Next up was orientation for the Big Sky Watershed Corps, where I had the pleasure of providing 75 AmeriCorps members and site supervisors with some shared language to support them in working in alliance over the coming year.

This was followed by a half-day virtual training with the Kupu Hawaii Conservation Leader Program. We had four groups, from four islands, who all patched in to explore their personal-leadership practices more deeply.

I won’t lie, I wouldn’t have minded delivering that last one in-person.

Later in the month I headed over to Eagle Mount Bozeman, where I led the staff team through a volunteer program assessment with the hopes of making their elite volunteer offerings even more exceptional. I also had the opportunity to connect with my Montana Conservation Corps family for an afternoon of training on effective facilitation. Those folks will always feel like home to me.

Big hearts and end of day hair with the 2023 Big Sky Watershed Corps.

I wrapped the month delivering the winter retreat for the Red Ants Pants Foundation Girls Leadership Program. We had hoped to meet in-person, but mother nature had other plans and hit us with the worst storm of the season. We opted to go virtual to keep everyone safe, and I continue to be thankful for our ability to do so.

The girls and their mentors did great work in our cozy little Zoom Room, talking about assertive communication, boundary setting, time management, and self-care. I often wonder how I might have benefited from knowing more about these topics at sixteen years of age, and am grateful for the opportunity to continue exploring them alongside these young women.

Coaching was firing on all cylinders.

I logged close to 25 hours of both individual and group coaching activities in January. I was excited to open three slots to new clients, while staying in relationship with several long-standing clients that I can’t seem to get rid of…and would never want to.

The themes that emerged this month revolved around burnout and perfectionism, and I prescribed Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection and Nedra Glover Tawwab's Set Boundaries Find Peace quite a few times. That last book was recommended to me by one of my clients, and represents the kind of co-creation that makes me love the work.

Music to My Ears.

The guitarist Mount Hayes has been at the top of my playlist, and if you’d like to enjoy their instrumental pop covers, check out the album New and Old. It’s a phenomenal and familiar vibe that strikes the perfect chords for the season.

My February Challenge to You: The Power of Unexpected Affirmation

I’ll wrap up by sharing a note I received from a client in Arizona that I had the privilege of training last fall. It was unexpected, and my heart swelled when I received it. I was reminded of not just how impactful positive feedback is, but also of the power of delivering it without warning . Never assume people just "know", and never underestimate the value of encouraging people along their paths.

Hi, Shannon,

I’m in a training right now that’s making me appreciate your skillset even more. This woman’s a true expert in her subject area and a smooth and prepared presenter. It’s a skill, though, to understand what it is you know and which parts of it might be valuable to learners. 

I think that’s probably a pretty difficult skill to acquire, and that’s well above and beyond the more general skill at training and education.

All that’s to say – thanks! Keep doing what you’re doing.

My challenge to you this February is to identify three people in your world whom you admire and appreciate and tell them why. Be specific, and make sure you articulate how they have positively impacted you. Do this in writing, so they have something to look back on when needed.




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