In the spirit of appreciation, we’re offering a deep bow of appreciation to our teachers Gay and Katie Hendricks.
If you’ve experienced 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, you’ve experienced Gay and Katie’s work. Their teachings form the bedrock of much of what we now share with leaders and teams.
Several of the 15 Commitments—and the idea of “commitments” in general—derive from commitments Gay and Katie first created. Commitments 1 and 2— 100% Responsibility and Curiosity—mirror Gay and Katie’s work nearly word-for-word. Commitment 8, Zone of Genius, draws on Gay’s seminal book, “The Big Leap.” They also taught us many other concepts, such as the Four Pillars of Integrity; shift moves; Fact vs Story; and Masterful Appreciation. We could go on.
Jim and Diana (plus their respective spouses, Debbie and Matt) were first drawn to the Hendricks’ courses more than 20 years ago because they were interested in conscious marriage, a possibility Gay and Katie role model beautifully.
Jim, a conservative midwesterner, arrived early to California for his first course with the Hendricks. He wandered into the room where the class would be. Everyone wore silly costumes, exaggerating and playing with different aspects of themselves. Diana was wearing a pig nose. It turns out a group of advanced students in the Hendricks’ apprenticeship program were having a Persona Party. Jim left wondering, “What the hell have we gotten ourselves into?”
But it wasn’t long before both Jim and Diana were in devotion to the Hendricks’ work. “I got a real picture of what a drama-free intimate partnership could be like,” says Jim. “From the first time I saw it, it became the vision of what I wanted to create with Debbie. Twenty years later, it’s what we’ve created.”
Eventually, Jim and Diana teamed up with the goal of bringing the Hendricks’ teachings into the business world.
“Gay and Katie gave us their blessing to spread and use their material the moment we graduated,” says Diana. “They are ridiculously generous in how they give their content away, in service of their vision of a more conscious world. That’s part of why we’ve been so open with our content.”
“In the second half of my life, I can’t think of anybody who’s had a greater impact on me than Gay and Katie,” says Jim. “They changed my life. I’m a different human for having basked in the glow of their principles for decades now.”
Jim and Diana were both seekers; we studied with everybody we could find. (“We were a little crazy,” Diana says.)
So why, of all the teachers we each met, did we follow most in the Hendricks’ footsteps?
“Everything with them, and everything that I do now as a result of them, is rooted in play,” says Jim. “They are just so darned playful.”
“People learn best through play,” agrees Diana, “and Gay and Katie role model that more than anyone else. Let’s have fun, let’s poke at it, let’s make it bigger, let’s not get serious!”
Gay and Katie—especially Katie—were among the first to bring the somatic experience of the body to the work of personal development.
“They are such master facilitators,” says Diana. “They would deliver a concept, then give a good exercise to embody it. They make sure you’ve got it anchored so it becomes something practical you can use in your life.”
For more than 40 years, Gay and Katie have been master teachers and leaders. We bow to the gifts they’ve given. And while they're in their late 70s, they’re still committed to the movement, with new content coming out all the time.