53% Level One Energy….that is what the report said. It’s enough to send a person…into Level One Energy. I didn’t know what that meant after I took the leadership assessment, but I knew it wasn’t where I wanted to be. I’ll admit to being a bit nervous about meeting with Sharlene to discuss the significance of the data…and I was pretty sure she would help me see that I wasn’t a great leader— certainly not the leader my organization needed.

What surprised me most during our first meeting together was how much Sharlene focused on all of the great leadership energy the data said I possessed. I began to see very clearly that, under stress, I tended to feel powerless and isolated. When in a supportive environment, however, my strengths had the opportunity to shine.

Each time we met, Sharlene helped me understand the dynamics of catabolic and anabolic energy. We worked through exercises that helped me understand the information behind each energy level – both in me – and in those around me. I learned that it is possible, every day and in every situation, to help bring elevated levels of energy that truly change how I view myself and the possibilities for collaboration, understanding, and growth. These levels are so helpful. They provide a clearly organized system of human behavior that has helped me understand

Before I started working with Sharlene, if someone harshly criticized me or “yelled” at me I would retreat behind my indignation and lick my wounds. I would avoid working with them as much as possible and make snarky passive-aggressive comments about them to others. What I came to understand was that I didn’t think I had any strength to change my circumstances.

I learned from Sharlene how to understand and identify the level I was experiencing and the level that others were operating out of. Most importantly, I have gained understanding about how to elevate someone else’s level through validation and empathy. Sharlene has helped me have practice conversations, add more “feeling” words to my vocabulary, and put together a tool-kit of strategies that help me move myself into a collaborative, positive space.

Many times now I have watched the person across from me move into a different space- just as I am also moving into a better place myself. These behaviors of mine have been mysteries for my whole professional life. To have a new understanding, coupled with new skills and strategies is a true gift. I will be forever grateful for Sharlene’s tremendous kindness and talent. Her high-level energy leadership is making a huge difference in me, those around me, and throughout my organization.

Director of Major Gifts and Donor Relations, Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization