LEAP Case Stories

LEAP Case Stories

DS and ES came to the first U.S. LEAP couples' workshop in 1997.They characterized their situation as unhappy, uncertain and fearful, capturing their core problem as "we are not having fun." They stated that not only was their work not meaningful, but it did not reflect their values and personal beliefs. The husband's life was over-focused on his work, the wife was impatient to manifest what she already knew, to express herself poetically, they were not aligned as a team, they were distrustful and feared being hurt physically, emotionally and financially. The purpose of their personal plan was to experience more joy and exhilaration in their lives. To get to this point however, they decided they had to achieve three key objectives: they wanted to (1) become aligned as a functional partnership; (2) identify their right livelihood; and (3) create work that reflected their values and beliefsone that sustained their lifestyle. And it is exciting to report that, almost ten years later, they more than achieved what they set out to do.

DS, the wife, also did an individual LEAP workshop to specifically address her own work and focus her direction. She is now a performance artist with a show she can (and does) take on the road. Her work is highly regarded and her performances sought after. Her poetry portfolio continues to expand as she adds new perspective. Since her work is not location specific, she has joined her husband in a sunny State on the west coast, because ES now has his own, highly successful business. He left the job he did not enjoy, helped start a chain of businesses with another employer and then took a leap of faith and bought his own business--a business which reflected his values. He has slimmed down (one of his objectives), exercises, and has indeed gained greater power/control over the factors that relate to work. His business is flourishing. Her work is flourishing. There is trust, joy and reduced financial anxiety in their lives. They have created work that reflects their values and beliefs and sustains their lifestyle. And in their own works, they are pursuing activities that lead to trust in the natural rhythm of life.

DL wanted to divorce her husband of 20 years and leave him in his country and return with her four children home to the US. Our workshop with her took place almost fifteen years ago.It took her a year before she was able to separate from her husband, but she did so, moving into an apartment of her own. She involved the children in the process. When she moved out, they spent time with both parents, and after a four-year period, she was able to move to the US, get a job, find a home and bring them over. It was not easy. From an educational perspective, her children were not challenged in US schools.

The eldest son returned overseas to complete college. The others took time adjusting to life here. However, six years after her arrival in the US, it could be said that all of her children (then young adults) are doing well academically and emotionally. And finally, after two rented homes and several jobs, DL was successful in her own terms. She had savings, a fulfilling job, her own condo and a soul mate of a partner with whom she looks forward to spending the rest of her life.  Most recently, we have discovered that DL and her mate were married two years ago, one daughter graduated from college and got a good job, the other is working and planning to go to graduate school and the other son returned to his country to continue his educcation.

CC, a woman in her mid thirties, was pursuing a career in international training. She was living in Europe, working as a consultant and working on her advanced degree. She was interested in LEAP both as a methodology and as a way to steer herself through the difficult and demanding labyrinth of work and study and host country challenges. Her overall goal was to be emotionally, intellectually fulfilled and financially stable. Her four main objectives specified owning her own home in northern Europe, being supported by a thriving business, being recognized in her field, and being in a fulfilling relationship.

Sub objectives of the main thriving business objective, specified: (1) having her advanced degree; and (2) marketing herself successfully in the European setting. One year later CC, who was at a standstill vis a vis her courses, is hard at work completing them and is studying hard at the moment as she wants to finish the degree by the end of the year. She has "stopped making excuses and is just going to work"...one assignment after the other. She spends the rest of her time making enough money to live and her workflow is actually going better this year than last. And as a result she states she is under much less stress! Most recently she has moved from southern to Northern Europe and has begun teaching and holding courses in prestigeous schools.  She states, that even though she hasn't finished her Masters degree, her work is expanding and her life is now focused in a place she wants to be.

KU is a woman who looks 15 years younger than her birth certificate shows. She is elegant and fastidious in her dress, manner and style. She has worked at high levels in administrative jobs all of her life, using her truly bi-lingual talents and organizational skills. Her sons are grown and her husband, a professor, is about to retire. When asked to write her achievements over the last two years, she finally did so, and they were considerable. She sets high standards for herself and attains them! During the LEAP exercise, she decided that she had three main objectives(1) to live the rest of her life without migraines; (2) to become a grandmother; and (3) to agree on a place to retire with her husband. Involved in the LOOP exercise, she eliminated activities over which she had no control and so eliminated the "Nomore headaches" objective and the grandmother objective and decided to concentrate on the Retirement home objective. 

Amazingly, however, within the next two weeks, her doctor gave her a new drug, and the headaches which had been plaguing her since she was 13 disappeared.  Also,  her son announced that he and his wife were expecting! On her sixtieth birthday she spent the day looking at her LEAP chart in amazement.I Now that it has been fice years, she has not had one headache, she is the grandmother of two, she is working a 60% week, and the retirement home hunt is progressing, notwistanding her husband's illness.

MU's husband had just retired and she wanted to spend more time with him. Although engaged in the journalism work she loved, her current place of employment was not at all satisfactory, and gave her very little time off. A good citizen to the core, MU had been a community activist all her life. She had raised her children, been involved as a school board member, in her church, local politics and clubs.

MU was at a transition point in her life. She did not relish a future without writing or income, but would need to leave her job. It was time for new priorities. When she completed her objective tree, it had three root systems which, when realized, would provide her with a more meaningful, balanced life. They were writing, spirituality and family. She made short work of her TO DO list. MU quit her job and immediately began to do freelance writing, and for good pay, thanks to the connections she had made in journalism.

I'm not earning as much as when I worked full time, says MU, but I love the freedom to determine my own work load, based on what activities I'm involved in at the time. I feel like I'm in charge of my life now, instead of everyone else. In the two and a half years since her LEAP workshop MU has been free to travel with her husband, has joined a daily online Bible study group, while remaining active in her church. She continues to be  employed as a campaign manager with the same successful candidate. She is still engaged in community service, but to a lesser degree. Looking at her own priorities, she has learned when to say no to maintain the balance she had sought. She has expanded her journalistic scope to a number of publications, including those of her faith. "Life isn't always as balanced as I like, she concludes, but I do aim at being in charge and keeping my activities predominantly in my goal areas. "

QJ was a 46- year-old American man working as a successful counselor for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. He was managing two rural offices for the counseling center for which he worked, and this involved a considerable commute between his old center and the one he had started up recently. Because he was committed to providing the same level of service to the newly opened office, it was soon overflowing, his caseload was overloaded and his calendar was brimming with professional commitments. Often his work involved evenings, late nights, and long drives home. He had experienced several tragedies in his family in the previous year and found himself reclusive and increasingly less social.

His first report on his progress came eighteen months since his LEAP. One of his objectives was to be happier and less stressed and he seems to have accomplished this.  Since the workshop he says he is indeed happier and calmer.  He: (1) is better at accepting what he cannot change; (2) set some boundaries at work with regard to workload which have been respected; (3) changed his medication; (4) refinanced, rather than sold his house to pay some bills and give him some liquidity; (6) has been improving his life in small ways - projects, and is happy for small successes; (7) has been getting into the big city for workshops which provided great intellectual stimulation and increased social contact; (8) has increased contact with old friends and is cutting to 80% workload to free up some evenings for more social stimulation, outreach and time to play.

He had planned a vacation in Florida but after 911 - decided to stick closer to home. He also realized that that people come to vacation where he lives and that he needs to look at what's around him. In general, he is being patient about selling his house, is more accepting of what is and is exploring his potential through a series of courses involving love, capability and positive discipline.  
CN was a 45 year old European businessman who had been quite successful in a highly competitive business. He and his partner had ended a long-term relationship on a friendly basis. They had never married and never had children, although he was actively involved in raising her son and daughter. Over the several years before their breakup he had begun to explore Eastern philosophy, had become a vegetarian and saw meditation and Buddhist principles not only as a way to simplify his life, but as the true path to spiritual peace and fulfillment. He began to see his business and the red tape and expense of living his life in Europe as insignificant, pointless and non-fulfilling. After selling his business he took a trip to the far east to visit India, Thailand, Vietnam and there he found peace and tranquility. So, when he returned to Europe it was with the desire to figure out a way to extricate himself from most of his possessions, while coming up a way to generate enough income to sustain himself. His desire was to live in the Far East for part of the year and live in Europe for the other part of the year and thus maintain homes on both continents.

In the first six months after completing his LEAP, he has: (1) been again to the Far East; (2) has identified a product he has begun to import; (3)begun the process of selling one home in Europe; (4) received the permits to start on a renovation project; (5) identified a piece of land on which to build a home near the ocean in an Asian country; and (6) identified a resort near the beach in this foreign land to lease as his own business. He was energetic and enthusiastic.  After four years he has reached his goal and now lives full time in the Far East.  He is married, owns land in South East Asia, is building a resort, and has sold his renovated home and European antiques to finance his dream.  Over the four years, he and his wife traveled back and forth from Europe and Asia to renovate the house.  Finally his hard work paid off!

HD & NTlived together over a two year period in which HD finished her law degree and passed the bar and NT got his post-graduate degree in educational counseling and passed a difficult qualifying professional exam. Because their positive feelings for each other  survived the stress of these educational achievements, the raising of several pets, the maintenance of a happy home, and moving home and hearth, acquiring new jobs (and their ability to be warm, kind and forgiving and their value for the environment and love of recreation (and other things as well stayed intact)  they decided to get married!

Although he was five years younger than she and they were from diverse backgrounds they felt that their relationship was strong and loving and enduring. She is a first generation Asian immigrant with a Catholic background whose parents are both doctors, and he is a third generation Austrian Jewish immigrant whose father is also in a medical profession. For months, the bride planned every detail of the joint religious and ethnic wedding to incorporate customs and traditions and celebrate their union as a joining not only the couple but of families and cultures. Friends and family members came from across oceans to celebrate this marriage and it was a grand, festive, success of a day. Then, when it was all over and the guests had left, a post-wedding "Now what?" ennui syndrome set in.

During the couple's LEAP workshop it emerged that the wife wanted to move in some different proactive direction. It also became clear that the husband was unhappy in his job. There was also tension between the husband's family and the newlyweds because, during the wedding planning which was accomplished almost exclusively by the bride some feathers (between the bride-to-be and various female members of the groom's family) were ruffled.

The couple's vision of their future foresaw each other, together,a close extended family, a big immediate family and a host of troubled foster children (they didn't think they could have any biological ones) and lots of animals. They saw working from home on social issues, in a beautiful environment with lots of traveling and exploring nature. This work involved law, a 501 c3 foundation for troubled kids, writing, gardening.

Their objectives involved each individual's growth, success and professional satisfaction. They also wanted to get hold of their expenditures through a financial plan and have enough money to buy a house. Another major objective was to be content with the relationships between family and friends and to have an aesthetically pleasing home a home with visual harmony (lack of clutter and stuff).

There was a difference of opinion between the husband and wife on how the tension between the bride and her new mother-in-law should be handled. He suggested a confrontational approach.This was culturally offensive to the bride and her inability to do it herself went against the American and psychological orientation of the husband. Other issues involved: staying in the same town as the parents, or moving away where the wife had been offered a good job; the husband's moving toward a career that was more positive emotionally; and a way of life in which he had more time outdoors.These were some of their challenges and their plan in a nutshell.

Nine months after their LEAP workshop, immediately after moving to a new city and getting new jobs, HD, much to her surprise, found herself pregnant! HD and NT were delighted. Some of those children in their future vision would actually be biological! Eighteen months later the couple became the proud parents of a very cute, completely healthy little boy. They have also moved to a town two hours from the husband's parents not too close and not too far. The wife has a good job she loves at a non-profit organization which deals with abandoned children. The husband has a better job than he had, although in the same professional sphere. He is also working toward obtaining his state license.They have bought a house (with a huge garden for the husband) and the wife's relationship with the husband's parents, even before the baby was born, had been resolved and is now quite good.   (Five years later, in a recent conversation, the lawyer/wife/mother of the couple who is thinking seriously about entering politics also stated, "Well, we have completed all our LOOP objectives, it's time for another LOOP!)

TAP (Training Associates Pacific, LLC) is a human resource development organization registered in the U.S. in Washington State. TAP associates form a global network of professionals who advise on, design, and facilitate state-of-the-art participatory live- and on-line learning events, customized courses, and training materials in the United States, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and Europe.