ABOUT Values & The Goose Story

What’s with the Geese?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

An early logo for my first company, The Optimal Functioning Institute™ - with the company name inside a "V" formed by geese flying in formation

The graphic above these words is a very early logo put together by WebValence webmaster Marty Crouch for a coach curriculum I had spent several years developing and was about to debut: the first ADD-specific coach training program in the world (and the only one for many years.)

I founded The Optimal Functioning Institute™ on the principles that Dr. Harry Clarke Noyes articulates in The Goose Story, a free-verse poem about the importance of community.  In The Goose Story, Noyes compares and contrasts human behaviors to those of a flock of geese, starting with an impressive explanation as to why you always see them flying in V-formation.

The reason I was so taken with this story is a story of its own: how I became aware of the importance of a strong personal foundation and of values-based goals. This post attempts to give you a little bit of background.

My history with The Goose Story

My first exposure to The Goose Story was during one of the many personal development seminars I have taken throughout my life. As the seminar leader read it aloud, it hit me in the solar plexus and brought tears to my eyes.

I embraced it immediately as a template for aligning the actions of each of our lives with the higher instincts of human nature rather than the competitive, dog-eat-dog, as-long-as-I-get-mine, it’s “just” business manner in which much of the world seems to proceed on FAR too many days.

Over the years, The Goose Story has become a touchstone and a talisman.

Keeping on Keeping ON

As the ADD Poster Girl, I promise you there are many days when “I don’t wanna” and “It’s just too hard” and (especially!) “How come people STILL know  practically nothing about ADD/EFD?” threaten to engulf me.

Some days I cast my eyes heavenward with as much of a scowl as my face will assume in that position and proclaim, “You’ve got the wrong girl!!  I’m the one who wanted to be an actor and director — not some Norma Rae of the ADD/
EFD universe!!

If you don’t make this easier I’m going to QUIT on you, because I don’t have one drop of Mother Theresa IN me!”

Far from “easier,” in many ways it has gotten more difficult to do what I do and walk my talk.  More than a few days it seems as if I’m always “robbing Peter to pay Paul” in almost every area of my life, and that, even though there’s precious little “me” time in my life, there are so many who call for “just a minute” of my attention, because they are floundering.

I wonder sometimes if there will always be those who opine that what I do isn’t good enough in areas where I believe its a bloody miracle I’m able to come through at all.  Sigh!

My closest friends can attest to the fact that, at times when I am confronted by what seems to me the sheer meanness of the comments of people I might expect to darn well know better, I can rant, rave and sob with the best of them!

They could also tell you that I have my down days without any presenting incident at all (but they won’t, because they ARE, after all, my closest friends!)

Yet I’m still here.  And most days I’m pretty upbeat. And I continue to put “my shoulder to the wheel” of those who are struggling, even when it’s not overtly in my best interest to do so — because I understand why I’m here and what I’m here to do.

My Goose Story talisman helps me to stay in touch with my Core Values.

Building a Strong Personal Foundation

In my early training with a fledgling Coach University (now CoachU, part of CoachInc and huge!), one of the exercises
 we were exposed to was an exploration of twelve different areas of concentration – with homework! These were areas that Thomas J. Leonard (my mentor and founder of the “Life” Coaching field), believed must be understood and internalized if one truly desired to experience a life of power, beauty and fulfillment, all goals of coaching.

Four of those areas included needs, values, standards
 and boundaries. We worked with these concepts in their excellent 
Personal Foundation Program™, which Thomas developed, encouraged to examine 
our values to come up with a list of Ten Core Values.

From among those ten
 we were tasked with identifying ONE key value — that value which, when expressed
 fully in our lives, really encompassed all of the others.

 an assignment!

Kindness, lifelong learning, fun, balance, ease, inspirational
 modeling, self-awareness, loyalty, clear communication, honesty,
 ongoing accomplishment, spirituality, preeminence through excellence,
 creative self-expression, and empathy were part of a l-o-n-g list
 of values that vied for a place on my Core Values list.  It seemed practically impossible, at first, to narrow it down to ten — much less to come up with ONE value that encompassed
 them all.

The whole point of Coaching is to develop a framework where
 becomes possible to live a life one loves.

It is simply not possible
 to live that kind of life when one is out of integrity with one’s

The intention of the assignment was to come up with a principle
 around which to organize our lives and our goals. The identification of a key 
value served as an cognitive anchor to our highest Selves — a quick litmus test whenever we wondered whether a particular
 activity was on purpose with the lives we were developing.

As I worked with myself and explored my values, it suddenly became
 crystal clear to me that my key value was one of profound relating.
 As I examined all of the things in my life that really expressed 
the part of myself I love best and am proudest of, the element
 of profound relating was a part of every single one of them.

Almost from the moment that I got in touch with my soul connection to profound relating,  it has
 been a difficult concept to put into words in a way that others
 could fully understand what I mean by the term.

I think The Goose
 Story comes close to explaining it for me.

The Goose Story articulates the principles upon which I founded
 The Optimal Functioning Institute™.  You may hear OFI graduates affectionately
 refer to our community as “the geese,” and to OFI’s TeleClass Leaders and administrators as “their Point Geese.”  The community chat-list was “Goose-Chat,”  and the [infrequently e-published] newsletter was “In-formation.”

Every student at OFI received
 a copy of The Goose Story as part of the curriculum materials, and I encouraged them to use it as a guide through the years
 they spent with OFI and with me.

I would like for you to have a copy as well.

Although, since inception, it has been available to my students on my original ADDCoach.com site, I would like to make it easy for you to go get it NOW – so if you will CLICK HERE you will be taken to a copy right here at ADD-and-So-Much-More.

Keep your eyes open for more on values, by the way — as well as for the announcement of a TeleClass that will help you explore your own Personal Foundation in an ADD-specific manner.

As always, if you want notification of new articles in the Transitions Series – or any new posts on this blog – give your email address to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right. (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too). STRICT No Spam Policy

IN ANY CASE, stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some one-on-one (couples or group) coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series, click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end, or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page. Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

Related articles right here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com

A bit more about Core Values

OTHER Related Articles from ’round the ‘net

BY THE WAY: I revisit all my content periodically to update links — when you link back, like, follow or comment, you STAY on the page. When you do not, you run a high risk of getting replaced by a site with a more generous come-from.


About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

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