About the Founder

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and then there are some who face reality; and then then there are those who turn one into the other.” - Douglas Everett

 

Hello!  I am Vanessa Burnett, the Founder and Chief Amplifier of “Counterfear.”  Here's how to find me:

Countering fear is about building the life we want, figuring out what that looks like, working through our fear, living resiliently, making change, and building connections and communities to help ourselves and each other.

I have on occasion been told that I have no fear.  I love that.  It isn’t exactly true, but I’ll take it.  I definitely have fear.  Some fear is useful; some I’m working on.

I live deeply.  I take big leaps.  I take some calculated risks.  Sometimes I rest and regroup.

I have made choices to chase a dream, follow a passion, or pursue a cause - often all at once.  I allow for the unknown; the unforeseen.  Sometimes following a vision leads to greater things than I would have imagined.  I set goals and boundaries… so that when I go off to do crazy things, I know what I’m going for - and where my lines are.  It’s easier to be audacious if you are clear on the vision, and how far you are willing to go.

After doing this sort of thing for many years, I heard the Zen saying, “leap, and the net will appear.” 

Nice.  That’s what I had been doing!  Leaping.  And nets had, in fact, appeared.  There’s definitely something to that.  In the movie The Incredibles, the character “E” (Edna Mode) says, “Luck favors the prepared.”  I’ve made it to this point through a strategic combination of both approaches:  leaping and preparing.

I am always pursuing a dream.  Sometimes I find that I am “living the dream,” usually during part of the journey to get there.  I love those moments; and I have also come to embrace the journey itself.  Life needs all of the parts of the wave, and I am getting better at flowing with them.  The dreams evolve.  As the world evolves; the only constant is change. 

Living a resilient life certainly helps with the change… sometimes more so than we want.  I’d like to think that I’m all set with the resilience bit, but I reckon what with all the changing… there is more evolution coming for me one way or the other.  The more resilient I am, the better prepared I’ll be to handle whatever’s next.  Dang it all, but it does work that way.  Getting resilient is not always the fun part, but it sure is handy later.

My life has taken me all over the country… to beautiful places, to wildfires, down long highways, up mountains, out to islands, into computer systems, into an epic oil spill, to remote locations, to operations centers, to stealth-help meetings, into highly-classified government facilities, to conferences, to gatherings, to meet good friends, to hatch exciting plans, and to many many many very long and/or inefficient government meetings.  There are some other Random Life Tidbits here, and The Counterfear Blog will be the home for more of the story.

I am an experienced consultant, with expertise at deep vision work and related planning and problem-solving.  I am a project manager, and a technical specialist in several areas.  I am a "Connector."  I am a speaker.  I have been a policy-influencer, and a liaison.  I’ve been deeply involved in working groups.  I have led and facilitated and coached.  I have had more team writing-and-editing experience than is reasonable for one career.  I’m good in a crisis.  I am trained as a life coach through the Martha Beck Institute.  I’m adaptable, persistent, and resilient.  These are the capabilities I bring to help you, your people, and your organization to anchor, strengthen, and flourish. 

I worked for a construction company once.  Every other Friday, all of the staff from many different worksites would come in first thing in the morning for an all-hands safety meeting.  Everyone would stand around after the meeting drinking coffee, and catch up a bit.  After about 15 minutes, the owner/president would call out and say, “Okay folks… we’ve got about $100,000-an-hour standing around here.  How about we get to it?”

That made an impression.  The company encouraged community and connection while meeting requirements and enhancing safety.  Regular meetings helped with internal cohesion and resilience, in an organization spread across dispersed job sites.  They respected their bottom line, recognizing the investment they were making - by the hour.  And - they kept to the vision:  operating a safe, successful construction company.  MAKING things.  Making change.

That’s what I’m about.  Identifying a vision, anchoring to it, and building out from there.

My family has watched for years as I’ve gone after one grand thing and another; a few have been surprised as I’ve hit most of my wild goals.  I’ve done it with my own persistence, doggedness, resilience, and thorough approach.  I’ve also always done everything in connection with others, and as part of some sort of community.  As part of many communities, in fact.  With lots of help.

We do it together.  In the words of Michonne, on The Walking Dead, “That’s how we get it done.”

 

UPDATED:  2016-0413

 

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