The word “warrior” typically calls to mind a burly gladiator covered in dust, waving a sword. Or a burly Schwarzeneggar type kicking ass and taking names. The warrior I want to tell you about doesn’t look a thing like that. She’s 4’9-1/2” inches tall with a keen mind and a thick Boston accent.
We met many years ago on an excruciatingly cold night in Minnesota. She was interviewing me to manage the office at her small consulting firm. The only time we could get together was in the deep dark, cold evening hours. She invited me on a “walking interview,” so I arrived at her house bundled up in multiple layers of warm clothes. She leashed her elderly pooch and we set off for a three-mile walk through her neighborhood.
We walked and talked our way through the interview, our frozen breath clouding around our heads. Now at 6’2”, I am nearly a foot and a half taller than Susan. My legs reach nearly to her shoulders. So a nice, brisk pace for her was snail slow for me. By the time we returned to her home, I had the job — and a chill so deep in my bones that it took a hot bath to thaw them out.
In the years I worked with Susan, I witnessed her warrior spirit as she pioneered organizational development consulting in the Twin Cities. She’d bravely walk into a new situation, full of curiosity, good questions, strong instincts, and a zany sense of humor. As a friend, I saw her take on healing her body, mind, and spirit from the considerable challenges of her growing up years.
I wrote the song “Heart of a Warrior” for her as a birthday gift one year. (You can hear it at the link below.) Here are some of the essential warrior qualities the song illustrates:
Moving forward in the face of fear
Fearlessness is a great idea. Warriors know that waiting for the fear to go before doing what you’re called to do will ensure that you’ll never do a thing.
Bringing humor into challenging places
Unlike the macho warriors, we know the gift of lightening up when things get heavy.
Saying yes to life’s invitations
Warriors practice the art of “yes,” even when the “how” isn’t clear.
Using love to fuel your relationships and work
Love is willing to keep going when everything else is exhausted.
Bringing curiosity to every challenge
Warriors are well versed in the art of a good question and an inquiring mind
Knowing when to rest and receive loving care from others
Giving is much easier than receiving for us warriors. If we don’t rest and receive, we are headed for serious burnout and crippling egomania.
Most important of all – and Susan knows this well – warriors do best when they dance! So crank up the song, get up on your feet, and do your full-hearted warrior dance!
Click here to listen to the song