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  • Beauty is but a lease from nature (Weekly blog, 13 May)

    Posted on May 13, 2018
    A blog by Catherine Leonard, Secretary-General

    Reclaiming beauty

    In my latest coaching session we reviewed values and went on to talk about strengths.  We also considered emotional intelligence ahead of a 360⁰ questionnaire. If you read my earlier blog on values, you’ll know a bit about where I come from on this.  However, during the discussion I discovered I needed to tweak my original selection.

    To begin with, I focussed on the following as my top five values: Making a difference; humanity; growth; resourcefulness and belonging.   Beauty was in the mix but didn’t make the final cut.   In talking to my coach though, I realised that it was absolutely central.  The sentence I removed from the first blog read:

    “My next value is beauty.  This didn’t make my original list but a week here in the mountains has underlined how much I value beauty.  For me in my life, beauty is the wonderful, overwhelming feeling of being in a stunning natural landscape.   It’s about the little things too – the first flowers of spring, a river running white over rocks, a brilliant clear blue sky.  These make my heart soar and are worth fighting for.   Beauty also means music, art and architecture, films and books that have the power to move.”

    My beautiful family

    From values into strengths

    There are many reasons I may have played beauty down.  Perhaps it was just too obvious. Or maybe I didn’t want to copy Fiona (whose first book is called ‘The Fight for Beauty’).

    My coach asked me to describe three recent occasions when my work really energised me.   I didn’t notice it but subconsciously I referred to them all as beautiful.  A beautiful building, beautiful ladies and a beautiful walk.

    So beauty has to go at the top of my new list.  Followed by making a difference and harmony (instead of humanity, although very similar).  Then growth and resourcefulness.

    Apart from beauty the other connection between these three examples was achievement and autonomy.  They were all occasions when I had achieved something without deference to others.   But not without the involvement of others.  The coming together of different strands was very important too.

    My strengths seem to be around storytelling, connecting to the outside world and beauty.  Bringing things together like in a tapestry or around a maypole.  I still have more work to do on this, including a pack of cards to peruse before our next coaching session.   They are called ‘My Energising Strengths’.  Expect a blog about those shortly!

    Our beautiful INTO family

    Emotional intelligence

    As part of the coaching process, we are also looking at emotional intelligence.   That’s all about self regard; emotional expression; interpersonal relationships; problem solving approaches and stress tolerance.   And I have had to seek feedback from 50 people: colleagues, peers, family and friends. Gulp. It will be fascinating to see how everyone sees me.  Moreover how I see myself.

    I might decide to keep that quiet rather than publicise in a blog – we’ll see!

    Thanks for reading

    “Beauty is but a lease from nature” is a quote from Edward Counsel’s Maxims, published in 1892

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