Emotional Intelligence – An Awakening and an Arrival of the Individual

Dr. Relly Nadler:
In this interview, we are talking with Dr. Patricia Adson and her daughter, Jennifer Van Homer, who is a certified coach. Together they have put together this book called, A Princess and Her Garden Fable. It is really around an awakening and an arrival of individuals. We will actually have the opportunity to hear a little bit about the story and given that they are both working organizations, I think it will be very, very interesting for us and we will have a series of questions like we always do.

I’ll give you a little bit of input and background about both Pat and Jennifer and then bring Cathy on.

Dr. Adson is currently a certified Hudson Institute coach and she has a private practice, and she serves on the leadership team of the Hudson Institute, one of the renowned coach training institutes.

She has written two other books, Finding Your Own True North, I like that title, in helping others find direction in life. And also, Deft Coaching – Discovering Archetypes for Empowerment, Growth, and Balance, and we have a couple questions about that.

And then the collaboration with Jennifer, A Princess, and Her Garden Fable.

Jennifer is a master certified Strozzi Institute somatic coach and she also is a certified Hudson Institute coach. She, in her 30 years of experience in leadership and team development/strategic planning, has been enabled by individuals and corporations to uncover and articulate their intentions and form the right goals.

Jennifer is the past HR director and training and development manager at Patagonia, where she worked for over 10 years.

Pat, Dr. Adson, was a former school teacher, she taught in high school and while pursuing her master’s degree in education, she worded with children with emotional and behavioral disorders.

It was this experience that inspired her, at the age of 49, to enter a Ph.D. program in Educational Psychology. She received training and licensure as a psychologist and psychotherapist and began working with individuals, families and groups.

This Fable that she’ll tell us about is really where this has started.

A word further about Jennifer, she’s also the co-author of a very, very cool game called the Relating Game – 96 ways to sustain your passion over time, a deck of cards designed to stimulate conversation and emotional intimacy with your partner. I mentioned that she is a certified at Hudson Institute, she is also certified in several assessment tools like the DISC and Trimetrix and has extensive experience in all kinds of HR and training issues.

So, Pat and Jennifer, welcome to the show!

Dr. Patricia Adson: Thank you

Jennifer Van Homer: Thank you

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: You know ladies, we always start our show by asking a very simple question but the two of you on the show at the same time may not be as simple as we anticipate. So, we will give you each an opportunity to answer the question.

What or who are the biggest influences or have been some of the biggest influences on your lives and perhaps have influenced why you do exactly what you do now?

Dr. Patricia Adson: This is Pat, I’ll start.

You know, I could go on for about an hour with the answer to this question but in terms of my professional life and what I am doing now, my biggest influences have been Carol Pearson certainly, the author of The Hero Within, the work that she draws on from Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung. Carol and the poet, David Whyte and also Frederic Hudson and Pam McClain of the Hudson Institute. These are the greatest influences in my professional life.

Dr. Relly Nadler: And Jennifer, what about you?

Jennifer Van Homer: Certainly, it is the natural world, nature. My time at Patagonia was highly influential in terms of how I see what’s possible inside of organizations and how people can coordinate and move together. So, hugely influential on how I work now.

In terms of the who, I would say Frederic Hudson had a very large impact on my learning and how I see learning as adults and the continuous learning all the way through death, really. And then, of course, really the biggest influence in my life right now and recent history has really been Richard Stozzi-Heckler bringing forth the whole somatic element of learning. For me, that’s a key there, it was really a missing link in terms of being able to be in choice and just how we move in our lives.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: And Jennifer, and you just help the audience understand, when you talk about somatic learning.

Jennifer Van Homer: That’s really the working within the body or the system that we are living in.

A lot of ways that people might look at it now might be sort of looking at emotional intelligence and this is really requisite to that, I mean, really noticing what is the sensation that is a precursor to, maybe I might say I’m anxious.

One might ask, “Well, how do you know that?”

It is really entering into the wisdom of the body and what that has to inform us as we move through different experiences.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Thank you.

Dr. Relly Nadler: And then, Jennifer and Pat, maybe you could just say a word about some of the different organizations/industries that you have been applying because you both have a little different focus. But then we will get into, actually, the book and some of the aspects about that.

Dr. Patricia Adson: Sure.

I’ve spent a lot of time in health care, places like; Kaiser, Pfizer, the entertainment industry, government, anywhere from Nasa, Nasa First programs to Sandia National Labs, outdoor industry, legal. So, it is all relevant in any kind of industry.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Well, we are going to take a quick break, so, just hold that thought. Don’t go away, you’re listening to Leadership Development News!

Dr. Relly Nadler:  Pat, maybe you can tell a little bit about how does this idea for a book come about?

Dr. Patricia Adson: The idea for the book came about many years ago when I was working with a group of women, actually a group of women who had been sexually abused as children, and I learned so much about them because they were very, very good at taking care of their own children, and taking care of other people, very other-directed, and very poor at taking care of themselves.

So, I started to think about how we really learn as we grow up, how to take care of other people and how little we learn about caring for ourselves and I wanted to put this in a language that didn’t have pathological overtones to it. So, I thought about this story and wrote it and gave it to my group as a Christmas present.

I’ll briefly tell you the story and then tell you how it worked for them.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Okay, okay great.

Dr. Patricia Adson: The story is that on her birth the princess was given a beautiful garden that contained the potential of everything she would ever need, but she could not care for this garden. She had to get the king and the queen to care for it, instead. As she grew, what she learned to do with it, she realized that there were ways that she had to take care of their garden in order to get them to take care of hers. She learned what pleased the queen and she learned what kept the king from being upset or angry with her and she learned a lot about their gardens, and how to care for them. Ultimately, they had the most beautiful gardens in the world and as she grew, people came from miles around to see their gardens.

A Prince came by and saw their gardens, and said, “I would like the person that cares for their gardens to care for mine.”

And, ultimately, he and the princess were married and the princess was very sure of herself in her role as the princess of other people. She realized if she cared for the prince, he would care for her garden and therefore that worked for a while but after while she noticed that he wasn’t taking very good care of her garden. She asked him what was wrong, and couldn’t figure it out.

Ultimately, she found him in the garden of someone else. She went to her ladies in waiting and asked them what to do and they told her that she had to make him understand that he was supposed to take care of her garden. When this failed, she became very angry and lashed out and destroyed his garden, and kind of took a whack at the king and queen’s garden as well.

She realized that she had failed as being the princess of other people, but when she got back to her own garden, she was devastated, because she had no idea how to take care of it.

A wizard came along and offered to help her. The wizard gave her some tools, to take care of her garden. And the wizard helped her build a fence around it and, ultimately, the wizard gave her the key to the gate and left.

The princess felt that she has failed once more, because she was never able to take care of the wizard and the wizard had not, ultimately, taken care of her. So, she looked around in her garden and saw that there was nothing that she could do except care for this little child that she found, huddled in the bottom of the garden. She began to pay attention to the child and what the child needed, started using some of the tools that the wizard had given her. Experimented with what grew there and what didn’t.

Ultimately, learned to keep other people out, and to stay out of other people’s gardens. Her garden flourished. The child ultimately became indistinguishable from the princess and she once again had a beautiful garden and was very happy.

A king came by, and saw her garden, and said, “I wonder if you would like to share my kingdom with me.”

And she said, “No. I would not like to take care of anybody else’s garden. It has taken me a long time to take care of my own.”

And he said, “That’s fine because I don’t want someone to take care of my garden, I want someone who knows how to take care of her own.”

So, it’s possible that she lived happily ever after.

That is the story in a nutshell and what happened was the group started to use this vocabulary and had a great deal more freedom in terms of what they were thinking about in terms of caring for themselves. They began to talk to each other in terms of understanding that they didn’t need to keep, they didn’t need to make other people understand, they needed to understand themselves.

I used this for many years and ultimately the journal came about and Jennifer inspired me, and worked with me, to make this journal happen. So that the reader can use the questions in the journal and the analogies and metaphors to help her become the queen of herself, instead of the princess of other people.

Listen to the entire interview above.


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