The Right Person in the Right Seat

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A simple tweak to your hiring process might make all the difference. If you hire people, you know that finding the right person for a position can be very challenging. Resumes can give you a general idea of skills, but not personality fit for a long-term placement. Face it–once a candidate is in place, nobody wants to spend the time and resources to rehire because of a bad fit. Poor placements are painful and time-consuming for both the organization and the employee. Am I singing to the choir here?

This is all pretty obvious. What might not be obvious is how your process impacts this. A simple change to your hiring process can help streamline the task and… Continue Reading

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Gardeners! Something to dig into…

Garden wisdom… I was picking asparagus and onions this morning. Picking these jewels involves a technique that allows the plant to keep producing without annihilating the plant long-term. The technique is all about “feel”. I keep repeating to myself the mantra, “If it doesn’t give, let it be.” Hard to do when you’re excited about your produce… but wise. Plants know when they are ready to “give”. And when they are, they let go easily. When they need to resist they do. So, let’s look at this from a couple perspectives: the plant and the picker…

From the picker’s perspective, we have a perceived crop that needs picking… In fact, if we don’t grab it all now, we won’t have enough later. This is coming from a “lack” mentality: I will never have enough. I do this in the grocery store when I fall into the trap of the sale… when something I consume frequently goes on sale, I buy it and hoard it. When we look at a plant, as a hoarder-human, we see food – energy. The plant in our garden we see as produce… and FEAR of waste. So, we pick it all and consume what we can. If you’re like me that means a fair amount of waste unless you are a canner… and that’s another time drain. What if we could look at the plant as a transitional being? What if we picked what we needed, shared what we can, and let the rest just dissolve and nourish the earth? That’s hard for me personally, but I’m learning that what dissolves renews…

From the plant perspective, we are either giving or resisting. What would happen if you really listened to those impulses? Resisting and giving… When is it important that you resist (so that you can grow)… When is it important that you give (to let go of unhealthy emotions, beliefs, attachments)?

Anyway, just a long garden rant…this could go on and on… Horse Hugs to you all!


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Spring – Summer Equine Events

Please stay tuned for our 2017 Spring/Summer Horse events. We are currently scheduling. Feel free to call for updates or to book private sessions or groups.

To inquire or book:  507-278-3553 or 319-329-7182.

Horse Camp Fusion Life and Leadership


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Is This all There Is?

The Three C’s:  All We Really Want…

shutterstock_173444003Through all my work with people over the past several years, I have come to the conclusion that beyond the basic needs of existing on the planet, three categories of desires help to bring us to what Maslow called “Self-Actualization”. It’s a big term for something we all crave, and it can cause a feeling of yearning when we don’t have it. People feel as though something’s missing; thoughts like, “Is this all there is?” can cause depression or cause non-productive or unhealthy behaviors and attitudes. When we don’t feel as though we have purpose, we can feel unfocused, confused, frustrated, and generally disengaged.

So, what are the three C’s? Simple. Connect, Count, Contribute. These are the three areas that we can focus on to make our time here more meaningful.

Connect:  Fist we must understand our basic need for connection to others. When we feel disconnected from the people and the planet, we are not likely to find value in anything, and more often than not, that lack of value attitude is turned inward. Being connected does not mean that you need to be a social butterfly, it means that you have the basic understanding and belief that we are all connected all the time. We have far more in common with each other than we often recognize. Feeling connected means acknowledging connection to our loved ones, our friends, our acquaintances, and even our enemies. In connection we find peace and productive attitudes. In disconnection we find hate and turmoil, which literally breaks our bodies down at a cellular level.


Count:  Second, we need to feel as though we count; we matter. Where do we get this feeling of value? It can come from our connection to others, but it can also come from our connection to nature, to spiritual beliefs, and most importantly to self. You have skills and strengths that matter. When we don’t feel valued by others, it is important to consider that this is an illusion—an interpretation that is not valid. Understanding and accepting personal strengths can overcome this. Think of some of our social norms that make this “C” difficult. For example, accepting a compliment can be brutally hard for women. Why? Another example might be self-deprecating humor. This can be helpful for us sometimes, but when used too often it belies an unhealthy and warped self-belief.


Contribute:  Last, when we don’t feel purpose, or that we can contribute, we do not feel fulfilled. Understanding mission in life is a noble, enduring quest that eludes many. It’s not something you can purchase; that is why so many wealthy people are still so empty and unhappy. We all want to win the lottery, but without a personal mission—a deep knowing of purpose—the void will never be filled.


Practical Practices

  1. Pay attention to when you feel connected or disconnected to someone. Try to just be the observer and practice non-judgment of yourself and others. Judgment separates us from each other. Hold even the most dis-likable person in a space of acceptance and see how it feels. When we judge and hate, we harm ourselves.
  2. Spend time with someone you value. When you see their strengths, you might start to appreciate your own. This has the dual purpose of also helping them to see their own value.
  3. Write your personal mission statement. There is no one correct way to do this, and there are no wrong answers.
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Spring/Summer 2016 Awesome Events!

We have been busy planning Spring and Summer for 2016! Yes… it IS coming!

The days are getting longer, and here in Minnesota, we can’t wait to see the snow melt and the temperatures rise. We have some very special seasonal programming planned starting in March. Please check out our summer programming for youth and adult leadership development, relationship enhancement, and other special events.

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The Problem with Youth…

The problem with youth is not youth. The problem is our belief that they need to be “fixed”–the true problem with youth is our own failure to provide life-success tools before this training becomes “intervention”. Educational trends will always follow funding. This is completely understandable, but currently misses the mark in terms of building self-awareness, self-confidence, and general coping skills in our next generation. These skills are often only addressed AFTER there has been pain and suffering for teens and their families. School funding is now supporting STEM-based programming. This is good and necessary for our technological advancement as a nation. However, if a child is distracted by emotional issues (which most youth are as a course of growing up), how can we expect them to focus and excel in ANY course of study?

So, what are our expectations in terms of life-skills development? We can expect a certain amount of parenting to develop these skills, right? Well… how many parents have a firm grasp on their own ability to cope in this economic environment? How many parents have the time or even the actual training and skills necessary to imbue their children with cognitive self-awareness, relational and coping skills?

The truth is, adults at this time who are raising children suffer from their own injured past and the crazy pace of the present. We live right now in an era of anxiety and fear. Think about popular media and advertising. Everything is fear-based information to cause the audience to “stay-tuned” or purchase something that will make it all better… gadgets and pills. This is what churns our economy.

We won’t get into the increases in diagnosis and treatment for adolescents and teens over the past few years. I think most would acknowledge that it is steadily increasing… More diagnosis, more medication, and more economic impact.( This means that the focus has clearly become reactionary, stop-gap intervention measures instead of the proactive nurturing of the emotional intelligence in our next generation of community contributors and parents.

What if part of standard school curricula included cognitive skills development for all students aimed at increasing self-awareness, other-awareness, compassion, confidence and general life-success?  What if parents had training available to them to foster and extend this learning at home — BEFORE it becomes an intervention situation?

I invite you to consider these issues and ask yourself how you can contribute to change. Can you voice your opinions to your local school district? Find funding for new programs? Develop additional parenting or mentoring skills for yourself? Participate in dialogue? Vote for candidates who get it?

There is no magic pill or gadget for this except care and concern for our youth and the generation for which they will ultimately be responsible.

If you are passionate about this issue, I invite you to join in the conversation. Attend the upcoming free webinar:  “Life Success for Girls

Sara Sinnard is the Founder of The Surge Youth Leadership Program, focused on building life-success for girls.

***Become a Certified Surge Facilitator or Bring programming to your community.*** Program Brochure

Program Certification Training Information, Dates & Rates  (Parents welcome)

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3 Tactical Tips to Build a Successful Youth Program

Youth Workers!

Are you having a hard time squeezing another drop of time out of your schedule to develop an effective youth program for your school, organization or community? Most people who work with youth are passionate about the hands-on work with the participants and not necessarily the details of program development. If you are one of these people, it is probably hard to find time to build a successful program from scratch, and you probably find that despite your best intentions it continues to slide down your list of priorities. Understandably so, because these two activities require different competencies and passions, and if you are good at what you do you are probably very busy.

Nevertheless, if your many responsibilities include working with youth in a counseling, therapeutic or mentoring capacity, you may find yourself faced with this dilemma: how can you a) find time to develop a solid program; and b) get motivated to move it up your list of priorities? I hope the tips below will help you get started.

My Story: For the past 6 years we have been building and refining a successful leadership program to build life success for girls ( The program started as a small community pilot and has become a published curriculum and certification training program ready for other communities or organizations to implement. It has been very rewarding to experience the benefits to the participants and the communities, but it took years of planning, design, development and testing. Here are three tips I have found useful to jump-start program development. I hope they help you with your own program development.

3 Tactical Tips:

  1. Brainstorm Big & Focus Small. When we’re passionate about doing something, we usually have so many great ideas it may seem overwhelming to get started. That’s when it can be really easy to watch it slide down the priority list. It’s great to have a multitude of ideas. Go ahead and brainstorm as big as you can imagine! If you’re passionate about it, you will probably find yourself very motivated once you capture all of those ideas on paper. After that, try to cut them up and group the ideas into themes. Then pick one theme to focus on and save the others for later development. This gives you a wealth of ideas to expand when it’s appropriate, and it makes for a more manageable and achievable project.
  2. Build an Alliance. Face it. You usually can’t do this alone. Understand who your stakeholders and supporters are. When we train on the SURGE program, we spend a little time on this to make sure that when you’re ready to engage you know who needs to be involved at what stage. There are specific categories that we use, but suffice it to say you will be far ahead if you think about these people before you get too far into your planning.
  3. Get to the W’s. Consider your reasons for developing a program. Answer these questions: Why is this important? Who will benefit? What is an effective time-frame; How fast should this program be available for your intended participants? How much time do I really have? Is it reasonable to develop and implement a solid program fast enough for the content to be relevant and effective? Where can I find help; Does it make more sense to develop something from scratch or to implement a researched and tested program? If you are passionate about the development, you will know based on your ability to move things forward within a reasonable time-frame.

I hope this helps you to evaluate your passion and motivation to embark on program development. If you would like more information on program development, please join us for a free 30 min. webinar “Building Life Success for Girls”.  We will have more information on building a successful program and also a quick overview of The SURGE Youth Leadership Program and Certification Training. Register for the free webinar right away: The first 20 registrants will also receive a free Core Values Assessment and 30 minute debrief. This assessment will help you assess your own strengths and passions, and might explain why some tasks seem hard to push up on your list of priorities. It is a valuable tool that is perfect to help students with career-planning and general self-awareness. Sign up for the webinar and you can sample this powerful tool for free and assess whether it would be a good fit for your program.

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. I love to connect with people who do good work and are passionate about building life success for youth.

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Leaders: What Does Extraordinary Mean?

What is “Extraordinary”?

Let’s begin our journey together by examining the concept of “extraordinary”. What does the word technically mean? To understand this, we can look at traditional definitions. Webster’s Dictionary tells us that extraordinary means:

“: very unusual : very different from what is normal or ordinary… extremely good or impressive”

This is a comparative concept. It means “something very different from something else – normal or ordinary”. Comparative concepts like these can make achieving extraordinary challenging; how do you know when you have achieved extraordinary? What is the measurement? What are the milestones?

If you are an achiever in life and career, you are probably a goal-setter; you probably relish the thought of checking of milestones, tasks and other objectives. In fact, if you’re like me you probably keep lists to track your progress in various aspects of life; and you might even add a completed task on an existing list just to have the distinct thrill of checking it off—evidence of success. Admit it! You do it, don’t you?

Looking for Leaders who want to be EXTRAORDINARY in Life & Career. Join us today — “There is no perfect time for self-development except NOW.”

Free Workshop/Discussion (use the big red button while it is there for one free pass*)—><—

However, adding “Be Extraordinary” to a list such as this is fruitless, because the phrase cannot be measured or simply checked off as finished. To do this, we will have to dig deeper and define what the term means in concrete terms. What does “Being Extraordinary” mean to you, in your life?

Before we dive too deep into this personal definition of extraordinary, a closer examination of “ordinary or normal” might be in order. Webster’s dictionary has two definitions that are related to our subject matter:

  1. “of a kind to be expected in the normal order of events :  routine, usual <an ordinary day>”
  2. “a :  of common quality, rank, or ability <an ordinary teenager>  b :  deficient in quality :  poor, inferior <ordinary wine> “

Isn’t it interesting that the second definition uses the phrase, “deficient in quality”? This feels very much like a cultural assignment—a judgment on what is good enough to most on most days. This definition gives me pause to wonder how this cultural judgment impacts self-worth when internalized by a society.

On most days, in many situations, “good enough” is simply good enough. Wisdom indicates that there are times when “good enough” is the best balance of time, attention and energy in something that does not rank high on a well-prioritized list. If we were to be dissatisfied with ordinary 100% of the time, we could arguably be labeled “perfectionist”.  Perfectionism has its’ own litany of issues and negative connotations, most of which to not cultivate an extraordinary life experience.

“Wisdom indicates that there are times when “good enough” is the best balance of time, attention and energy in something that does not rank high on a well-prioritized, values-based list.”

 Perfectionism is a continual unrest, dissatisfaction, and tormenting judgment. This is not a state of being that contributes to being extraordinary. Indeed, our productivity and effectiveness in all aspects of life can be greatly diminished through a constant focus on perfect. Key relationships often suffer because the inner-turmoil and constant judgment builds impenetrable castle walls and motes around us, disconnecting us from others and our ability to succeed.

This disconnected state deteriorates our ability to influence others. In terms of leadership, perfectionism can be effective in the short-term, but is not the stuff of great leaders who others want to follow and emulate.

In families, perfectionism equals tremendous stress and dysfunction. It erodes trust and builds resentment when it is the primary focus for communication and living together. Chronic perfectionism and the continual dissatisfaction communicated can create long-term relational riffs and eat away self-respect in all involved.

So, being extraordinary is not being perfect. We will examine personality types another time as they relate to states of being, but for now let’s decide that our goal is not to become super humans, perfect in all things; and it’s certainly not to harbor judgment and/or resentment as a regular practice. These states simply do not serve us well in terms of life/career experience.

Join in on the conversation about being extraordinary:  Free Online Workshop – use the red button to get a free ticket to the first in the series of 3 workshops on Extraordinary Living & Working. Smarty’s Guide to Being Extraordinary in Life & Work: The Leaders’ Bible.

 Looking for Leaders who want to be EXTRAORDINARY in Life & Career. Join us today — “There is no perfect time for self-development except NOW.” Use the Reb Button for One Free Pass*—><—

*Limited free pass for first-time Smarty – available only if the Big Red Button is visible!

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Thank you for my MESSY HOUSE!

I am SO grateful to look at my chaotic house right now. Why? What would normally make me want to run screaming out the front door now feels like evidence of a productive and meaningful week. Yes. My HOUSE could be taped off as a disaster area… but.. Imagine this: My HEART is open and engaged!

Yes, it was a stressful week with lots of hours. Yes, I’ve had confrontations, haters, nay-sayers, and doubters… I’ve been beaten up with “You should have’s…” even worse— “I should have’s”… but sometimes you just have to push through all of that to make one very slow, and small step towards your vision. My vision is healthy and prosperous life for all girls, all women. One by one… One girl at a time… One woman at a time.

Looking for Smarties — People who want to be EXTRAORDINARY in Life & Career. Join us today — “There is no perfect time for self-development except NOW.” —><—

What is your vision? Your mission? What if it interferes with your facade–your perfection fantasy? Don’t we all have this illusion–especially as women: the fantasy that we can be passionate and engaged in life and and STILL MAINTAIN the 1950’s version of spotless, cookie-cut homes?  I hope you agree, that no longer fits reality.

When I was in the advertising business in the 80’s and 90’s, my first council to doe-eyed, eager-to-make-money clients was always this:  Do you want a) quality work, b) quantity of work, c) cheap work?  Pick two!  You cannot have all three.

Now apply that concept to life and personal extraordinary living… you can usually have 2 of these three choices. Those of us who have the perfectionist gene will want all three, which can ultimately prevent us from making progress–from moving forward boldly. Our perfectionism can be a barrier to achieving our desires. Which 2 of these are most meaningful for you? (hint: there is no right or wrong answer, just your answer)
1. Abundance of time
2. Abundance of money and cool stuff under control
3. Abundance of personal fulfillment

… more below…

Limited Time Offer! FREE Webinar… Click on the BIG RED BUTTON while it lasts! Join us today — “There is no perfect time for self-development except NOW.”


… continued …

Which two would you choose? Or more importantly, which one are you willing to RELEASE in able to achieve the other two?

I’m not saying that you can’t have all three. I am simply pointing out that unless we can release one of these, we can become “stuck” in the muck of indecision.

So, what does a messy house mean in all of this? It means letting go of the appearance of having the stuff under control… it means letting go of the “time” I need to keep the house “perfect” and using that time to focus on things that bring personal fulfillment… it means embracing the mess that comes with consciously choosing to live in the space of personal fulfillment as a number one priority.

Why does this matter? It matters to me because I’ve found that the most chaotic weeks have opened space for the most profound connections and experiences. I could not have achieved those connections if I had been worried about keeping the house in order, or even financial gain. Those weeks when I felt embarrassed about letting people into my HOUSE, I now know I have been GRACED with people pouring into my SOUL.

We all need to survive, make money, plan for the future… these are indeed important things to do. However, what if we could release some of our beliefs around what this really means versus what we have been told–rules we have been given… What if we could make our own rules? Rules that suit our passions and genuine, true selves… this is living. This is being genuine.

So, if you have a messy house.. BLESS YOU! You must be on the right track. 🙂

Coach Sara

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Extraordinary Living & Working

How do you wake up in the morning? What is your mood like? What are your thoughts? Do you wake up with dread and anxiety; or is it peace and anticipation? What if every morning could be greeted with excitement and high energy?

It is my belief that everyone deserves to wake up happy and ready to get on with an extraordinary life and work experience. If this is not the case for you, take this quick quiz:

  1. How many days out of the week do I wake up energized and expecting to have a positive life/work experience?
  2. On the positive mornings, to what am I looking forward?
  3. On the other days what thoughts of dread, fear, or anxiety am I experiencing at awakening?
  4. What are all the reasons for the negative thoughts and emotions?

Once you have given this some observation and thought, try to select one item in number four and commit to do something about it. Even if you feel stuck in a situation that is causing you unhealthy emotions, you can start to diffuse the charge of the emotions surrounding the situation simply by becoming more aware of how it is impacting you, and changing how you think about it, or changing the amount of time and energy you give it.

I hope you join me for the April & May workshops in Mankato, MN designed to build your own set of tools and treasures to increase the number of days you feel like leaping out of bed and getting on with an extraordinary day!  MORE INFORMATION

We sill soon be launching an online and telephone version of these workshops for those that do not live in this area or who just want to attend from the privacy and comfort of home. Stay tuned and sign up for our Fusion newsletter to stay abreast of upcoming opportunities and more articles.

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