We are now onto our second year of GUTSY WOMEN WEEKENDS (next one June 22-24, 2012) and we are making modifications due to a GUTSY woman in her 60’s, a social worker, mother, grandmother, and a woman who is thumbing her nose at MS and winning in her own way.

Her name is Vikki and she drove up to The Country Place in North East Pa., got out of her van equipped for someone who has limited ability to walk, called for assistance to get her scooter and walker from the vehicle and majestically entered the building by scooting up the ramp to find her room for the next few days.

Watching Vikki navigate from the Great Room to the dining area, to the gathering room and to the spa was a mixture of sadness and delight. “Not fair”, I said to myself, “she should be able to walk”. And yet, I watched a woman who took her disability in stride and was an explorer about how to find the best and most helpful ways to stay as healthy as possible.

In this process, she gave all of us at the retreat a taste of health and wellness that made us all feel GUTSIER, more alive.

The weekend was filled with the chef’s special muffins which were gluten-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free. The chocolate dessert cake, yup, the same.

There were vegetarian options and lots of fresh fruit and crunchy vegetables. Now, the food at our retreat center is always excellent. However, due to Vikki we have decided that from now on we will have all of our meals gluten-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free.

Vikki did not ask for this. In fact, she would have been willing to bring her own food. She has been experimenting with a special diet for three years to keep her as strong and active as possible. It seems to be working.

I know I feel great and will be eating more consciously and every time I want to stray to my hot fudge favorites I will picture Vikki zooming around on her scooter, living her life in bold, primary colors.


Sylvia Lafair

Sylvia Lafair, PhD, is President of CEO – Creative Energy Options, Inc., a global consulting company focused on optimizing workplace relationships through her exclusive PatternAware™ Leadership Model. Dr. Lafair is the author of Don’t Bring It to Work: Breaking the Family Patterns That Limit Success published by Jossey-Bass. As an executive coach and leadership educator, she has more than 30 years of experience with all levels of management from leading corporate officers of global companies to executives of non-profits and owners of leading family-owned businesses. She is now offering GUTSY Women Weekends, giving women the opportunity to dialogue and clarify next steps.

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