About

Imagine a world where your heart sings as you express your highest and truest self, love bravely, and serve with your whole heart – in your work, life, and relationships.  A world where what you do springs from who you are; not the prison of external pressure or expectations.

A world where you don’t have to do just one thing forever.  A world where you can keep growing and changing as you go.

That’s the world I’ve imagined since I was a little girl.  A world I’m creating for myself with those who are dear to me.  A world I invite you create along with me.

The world of a Groovemaker.

When I was little, I believed I could do anything.  Be anything.

  • I wrote a book called “Tip Goes to School” and believed it would get published
  • I spun around in the living room, imagining I was Julie Andrews at the beginning of “The Sound of Music”
  • I went to church, and planned to become the Pope one day
  • I sat at the piano and wrote songs, dreaming of being a singer-songwriter

Yes, I believed I could do anything.

Me learning the piano from Dad

Me learning the piano from Dad

Then life taught me otherwise.  I didn’t end up with the music career I thought I’d have.  I struggled with money.  I experienced health challenges.

Even with those challenges, I’ve had an incredible life and career.  Some highlights:

  • I married a man with whom I performed, led worship, and toured the United States and Canada on a motorcycle
  • I nurtured a community of family and friends who supported and encouraged one another
  • I designed and deployed software that solved business problems, reduced costs and risk, and streamlined processes in the financial services industry
  • I led teams through 7 mergers and acquisitions – transforming culture, process, and technology each time
  • I conducted webinars to train employees for peak performance
  • I coached and mentored 1:1 and in groups to help people achieve peak performance
  • I performed Gilbert & Sullivan operettas – Victorian-era satirical comedy

 

KathleenJerryCanadaTour

Jerry and me – Alberta, Canada Motorcycle Tour

Girls at Second Beach (Kathleen in the middle)

My sisters and me at Second Beach – Middletown, RI (Me in the middle)

KathleenIolantheCompressed

A Favorite Performance

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yet, every so often my heart would whisper.  I’d feel a longing in my soul that I couldn’t identify.  There was something missing.  That something was ME.

You see, I’d gotten so caught up in what I was doing that I forgot who I was.  I loved the creativity of software development, and the adrenalin rush of deploying it.  I loved the image of a successful corporate executive striding into work with my power suit on, breaking barriers (back to the Pope idea, maybe?).  I became what I did, rather than who I was.  And though I rarely recognized it, there were important parts of me I’d lost along the way.

And then in 2004, a few days before Christmas, life as I knew it ended.  Jerry Palmer, my husband of 20 years, died suddenly while I was at work.

I can’t even begin to describe what that was like.  The best part of my life, the man with whom I could be most fully myself, was dead.  In an instant I went from wife to widow.  My identity gone.  Just like that.  And all that stuff I thought was so important…wasn’t.

I grieved profoundly.  There’s no other way to put it.  And somewhere along the way, I tried to stop the grief by working to the point of exhaustion.  Tried to hide from what I couldn’t bear to feel any longer.

Eventually, years of not sleeping, overwork, and grief took their toll.  Late in 2011 I crashed.  I couldn’t take care of myself.  Friends and family stepped up to help cook, clean, drive me to doctors, and encourage me to keep fighting.

I felt heavy.  Like the living dead.  I could barely sing or play the piano.  I was hanging on by a thread at work.  Another part of my identity was blown to smithereens – the part that believed I was strong.  I was so weak I couldn’t survive without the help of others.  I was of no use to anyone, let alone God.

And yet still my heart whispered a love song.  Gently whispered, “Come home.”  Not to the me I had been before, but the me God created me to be.  The one who had gotten a bit lost along the way.

I realized I had been living the image of who I thought I had to be, playing a character and wearing the costume.  I saw how much I had disconnected from my own body.  My own soul.

I worked to reconnect to myself and to God.  Undoing years of inattention doesn’t happen overnight.  (In fact, as I write this I’m still very much a work in progress.)  And as I did, I saw that even as I’ve wandered there’ve been themes running throughout my life.

  1. I am a Catalyst – I light a spark and help people and projects break through barriers.
  2. I celebrate Constraints – as they stimulate creative solutions.
  3. I create a Culture of inclusivity, caring, and can-do wherever I go.
  4. I Communicate Creatively – with music, dance, writing, podcasting, and speaking.
  5. I have Compassion – for those who bravely show up, even as they struggle with loss and discouragement.

As I reflected back on my experience, I realize it’s:

  1. Easier to live life as you truly are, instead of trying to be like someone else.
  2. More fruitful to develop your strengths than try to compensate for your weaknesses.
  3. Less difficult to embrace pain than to avoid it.
  4. Beneficial to make a decision with less certainty and change it, rather than try and get all the answers in advance.
  5. Possible to resurrect, reinvent, and re-create your life more than once. Iteration isn’t just for software design…or mergers and acquisitions.  It also works for life.

I also found that love and trust matter – even in business.  Little things make a big difference.  There’s strength in weakness.

As I healed, I renewed my commitment to create a world where our hearts sing.  Where you can dance to your rhythm and live out your calling just as I’m doing.

(c) Ann Thompson Life is worth celebrating.

(c) Ann Thompson              Life is worth celebrating!

If you’d like to be uplifted and encouraged as you listen for your heart-song, I’m here to help.  I have several resources, many of which are free.

  1. Weekly blog and podcast that can be sent straight to your inbox
  2. Free give-away – “How to Fall in Love With Your Life: 5 Simple Practices for Right-Now Joy”.
  3. Online Find Beauty in EVERYday Experience to help you connect to yourself and the here-and-now.
  4. Talks and workshops to develop your group, team, and culture.
  5. Groovemaker Coaching to level-up your life or business.

Are you a Groovemaker?  Do you want to create a world where you express your truest self, love bravely, and serve with your whole heart?  Yes?  Then welcome home.

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Family Birthday Celebration

Family Birthday Celebration

With Seth Godin at Ruckusmakers

With Seth Godin at Ruckusmakers

Ken Davis & my SCORRE teammates

Ken Davis & my SCORRE teammates

 Contact Information

Get in touch with me on my Contact Page, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

Click here to see more photos of me performing and speaking.