A proven, exciting Retirement planning process for individuals and couples, The Best-Half is a combination of workshops, coaching and personal reflection. It was developed by experienced coaches and educators. For organizations, The Best-Half is a process to be used in succession management especially for transitions and to establish common goals and objectives in the senior phases of a career.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Dirt is a good thing especially at harvest time

September is a wonderful month full of promise of the future and a reaffirmation of the risk taken in Spring by farmers and growers of fruits and vegetables. There is a terrific sign close to our cottage in Prince Edward County that says; “If you ate today, thank a farmer.” When I am at the grocery store I often feel far away from the actual growing process regardless of how many pictures are hung or attractive displays surround me. This summer we sought out alternative ways of purchasing our fresh foods. With a healthier mandate for eating more salads and vegetables we patronized the road side stands of the County. Specifically we like to shop at Laundry’s outside of Picton. Watching the corn, carrots, tomatoes and apples coming right from the fields feeds your soul as well as your stomach. We don’t stock up except when we are heading back to the city; preferring to go every day or so to get the freshest product possible. Who knew lettuce lasts 5 days!

Back in the city, I try to shop at the smaller stores for vegetables eschewing the big chains except when convenience is paramount. I don’t have any thing against them, its just not the experience I crave.

 I also go to the extreme and shop at Costco occasionally. I don’t think it is convenient to shop there - anyone lining up at 7pm at night will surely agree. It is an experience that is polar opposite to the road side stand. I am not buying a 10 pound bag of French fries or a giant vat of ball park mustard. But for all you small business people their Xerox copy paper beats anyone’s price and quality.

Costco and a road-side stand do however have their similarities as unique communities. The sense of community is strong in both. Costco regulars, many small business, variety store or restaurants owners congregate at the snack counter with their shopping carts full of goods to grab a quick lunch or a coffee before heading out to their vehicles. The roadside stand produces a mix of “locals” and tourists where the conversation centres around the quality of the corn and its freshness and the effect of the weather.

Shopping is an example of choice being a good thing. Not every store can offer every type of experience we desire. The farmer’s market will never do the volume of a small grocery store but it plays an important role in satisfying our curiosity for new and unique experiences. I like to think that the big stores have learned a lot from the road-side stand. If the competition were not present would there be such an emphasis on supermarkets tying to emulate the look and feel of the farmer’s market? The rustic looking displays, focus lighting and well polished apples present a “faux experience” or “mock market” approach that can almost serve as a substitute if you don’t look too close. The seductive use of colour and mood in today’s supermarket serves to entice us in with the promise of quality, choice and convenience. The farmer’s stand offers us quality and something else…. Authenticity. The authentic experience is the added dimension that draws us in seeing real over fake and fresh over fresh frozen. I will put my carrots from the County over any bag of the peeled and washed variety you can find everywhere and there is no charge for the dirt. 

Authentic leaders carry the trait of being true to themselves by demonstrating their competence and confidence in their role. Authentic leaders attract followers because of who they are and not what they represent.  Authenticity is being the “author” of your own self, creating the future that is important enriching and fulfilling to you as a giving and contributing person. As an authentic leader you know who you are, you speak clearly about what you believe and you act in a direct and compassionate way. Authentic Leadership involves taking action based on a plan.

As conscious leaders we use all of our strengths to be present in each moment. We use our minds, our hearts, our bodies (taking action), our instincts and our spirit.  We are a role model of leadership; influencing others to deepen meaningful relationships by encouraging, motivating and coaching and by inspiring others to take collective action.

All of us are leaders in every part of our life, by choosing to be who we truly are and believing that we can make a difference, in our own lives and the lives of others.


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