3 tips to Make Light Work from Kate Sutherland

Kate Sutherland kindly sent me a copy of her book Make Light Work – 10 Tools for Inner KnowingIt’s an easy read and even easier to apply.  Here are three tips I took away for “tools that can help you live and work in ways that are more effective, more in harmony with your trust self, and more fun:”

1. Unpacking Flirts – yes, that’s flirts.  The name caught my attention.  It was coined by Arnold Mindell, founder of Process Oriented Psychology.

Kate says to pick up (pun intended) flirts simply notice what you notice.  If you are open and attentive, answers and information can be right under your nose.  In other words what we need to know and do can be apparent if we’re open.  Period.

I like the sense of ease that accompanies flirts.  No blood, sweat and tears, simply an openess, a receptivity, an awareness.


  • have a question or intention in mind
  • notice what catches your attention
  • invite answers
  • seek insight

How can you use a flirt within the training and development field?  Look for flirts related to intriguing content matter, new ways to offer previous content and/or new places to teach.

2. Guiding Images – a trainer and facilitator herself, years ago Kate started to look for guiding images at the beginning of a new project.

She says the images are a way to orient yourself as you begin a new project and serve as a touchstone once you’re underway.

A guiding image is a symbol or picture that comes from our inner world.  Because the image comes from within it is ‘worth a thousand words’, often encoding deep meaning and insight in a single flash.

How can you use guiding images in training and development?

  • see what image comes up for each workshop you teach
  • find a guiding image for your overall subject matter
  • intuit a guiding image for your overall company
  • and perhaps most interesting, find an image that describes you as a trainer and get your participants to do the same


3. Burning Your Wood – perhaps it’s because I’ve camped since I was in a baby but this tool caught my eye. You don’t even need any matches (or wood for that matter).

Kate describes Burning Your Wood as an inner work tool for dealing with challenging people and situations.  It involves identifying what triggers us, and reflecting on whether the triggers are something we do or need to be doing.  The final step is to act on the insights, so that the ‘wood’ (the part of us that got triggered) gets all burned up and there is none of it left to catch fire.

You don’t necessarily need to speak to the ‘triggeree.’  It’s not about changing them but rather changing how you’re framing the situation.

How can you use burning your wood in training and development?

  • notice when you are triggered (e.g. by a challenging participant)
  • get curious, dig deep and figure out what’s triggering you
  • being aware will start to change things
  • figure out if being aware is enough or if action is called for
  • act on the insights.  The wood is only truly burned when we take the new insights into new behaviour.

To find out more about Kate and her work, simply click on her website.

P.S. Stay tuned for a pretty darn exciting announcement from Lee-Anne!


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