Like An Aspen Tree

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Together, We Connect and Grow

In a world that won’t stop talking, how many of us are truly connecting? Considering our plugged-in frenzy, are we sacrificing connection for self-promotion, swipe left’s, and likes?

Years ago, within the course of one week, my husband, our son, a valued client, and even my yoga teacher told me they felt shortchanged by me. It was hard to absorb that feedback. I wanted to vehemently defend myself by reminding everyone how hard I worked, how much I juggled. Didn’t anyone appreciate my efforts? My feisty indignation and self-righteousness kicked in; not my best side. Then, above my protests, I heard a small voice gaining power within me. They were right, and something needed to change.

So today, I rise very early in the morning, a practice which has become my anchor to strong connections. This solitude allows me to chase slow. It nourishes my connection with myself, thus enriching the time I have with others. It has taught me to be mindful and more intentional with each interaction, and shown me that miracles happen in the pause. My connections with others have grown more real, joyful, and inspirational. I am focused on being present, not perfect.

Connected Leaders know who they are. They work on themselves with a rigorous honesty and dig deep. They listen. They accept that chaos and messiness are a part of life, rising up from grief and mistakes with resilience. They navigate rough waters comfortably and are accountable. They are empathetic while setting clear boundaries. Connected Leaders are at the center of strong, rooted communities that create kick-ass results in the business world, and form honest, loving relationships on the home front.

Connected Leaders know who they are. They work on themselves with a rigorous honesty and dig deep. They listen.

After a purposeful hibernation during which I have gone deep within, 2018 is bringing amazing seasons of change.

I am thrilled to be back to my regular practice of writing. This newsletter is just one example; I am also posting content regularly to my Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and I hope you will join me by “liking,” “connecting,” reading, and sharing with others. I am perhaps most excited to announce the launch of a new look to my brand, influenced by the Aspen tree. Aspens are incredible because of both their resiliency (the only tree that is resilient to wildfires!) and their interconnectedness; Aspens tend to grow in groves and benefit from a shared root system.

I have found tremendous inspiration in the Aspen tree, and I hope you do, too. Like the Aspen, it is when we find the courage to strengthen our roots and connect with those around us that we are at our best.

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Karen Hardwick brings decades of expertise to her work as a trusted advisor and coach to C-level and senior executives, their teams, and organizations.

Karen is known for sharing her own life-stories with clients in order to role-model transparency, foster connection and empathy, and enhance success. She has created a unique model for deepening connection — The Connected Leader™ — which gets to the core of a company and its people with compassion, intuition, and business savvy. Her upcoming book, The Connected Leader, is filled with her powerful voice and inspires others to lead with emotional wholeness, spiritual strength, and mental well-being in order to become their best selves and help others do the same.

Karen lives in Atlanta with her husband, Greg, and their 17-year-old son, Matthew, where she can be found around the table with friends and family eating nourishing, home-cooked meals and sharing stories. She is the biggest contributor to the family ‘swear jar,’ despite her daily practice of meditation and prayer. And above all, Karen believes that living a life of connection is courageous; a sacred calling that requires all we’ve got.

Karen J. Hardwick, M.Div., MSW

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The Power of Connection

Karen is currently writing a book about how the power of connection can transform leaders into catalysts, groups into teams, and businesses into places where people lean in to courage, clarity, and compassion.

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