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Daryle Gibbs: “If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, it would be educating children about their own brains, emotions and feelings”

If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, it would be educating children about their own brains, emotions and feelings. I would develop programs focused on teaching kids how to sit with their feelings and emotions and how to feel them. These programs […]

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If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, it would be educating children about their own brains, emotions and feelings. I would develop programs focused on teaching kids how to sit with their feelings and emotions and how to feel them. These programs would focus on cultivating empathy, mindfulness, understanding and kindness at an early age. I would develop programs that offer a safe place where kids feel comfortable to be themselves and where they would get support for being different vs. being bullied.


Asa part of my series about leaders who integrate mindfulness and spiritual practices into their work culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Daryle Gibbs.

Daryle Gibbs is the founder and owner of Pathfindr Equus Coaching and a Master Certified Equus Coach Facilitator. He blends his 20-year corporate experience with effective experiential work with horses to help clients gain awareness and grow in the areas of authentic leadership, communication, culture-building, emotional intelligence, innovation and creativity. Pathfindr Equus Coaching is located in Dallas, TX at the Dallas Equestrian Center. Daryle offers workshops, private Equus Coaching sessions and retreats annually in Tuscany, Italy and Bali, Indonesia.

Daryle holds a BS in Psychology from Georgia State University and has completed numerous leadership-training programs, including workshops at The Center for Creative Leadership, Omega Institute, Esalen Institute and Brene Brown’s Dare to LeadTM leadership certification.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you please share your “backstory” with us?

Working in the corporate world of consumer products, licensing and manufacturing for the last 20 years has brought me to a new place where I feel called to share a new paradigm shift. Since 1997, I’ve held various director and vice president roles and have been traveling the world working with Fortune 500 retailers, manufacturers, designers and sales organizations across 20 + countries. I led design, product development and innovation teams, established sourcing offices internationally as well as personally developed 6 design patents. My experiences, travels and multicultural business relationships have given me a unique global perspective of the new emerging business world.

What stuck out for me in my experiences was how valuable authentic human relationships can be. I saw many companies fail to invest in their culture and lose out on helping their employees reach their full potential. After 20 years in the corporate world of consumer products, licensing and manufacturing, I decided I needed a change. I left my corporate life behind to pursue my passion for helping people. I discovered Equus Coaching® in the fall of 2016. I showed up on a secluded, foggy mountainside ranch in Arroyo Grande, California for a private session with Equus Coaching® founder, Koelle Simpson and her 6 horses.

My short time with Koelle was nothing short of transformative. Not only did our session bring me clarity and grounding in my own life, but it helped me realize how I can pursue my real passion. Since that day, I’ve earned my Equus Coaching Master Facilitator certification and helped countless individuals and businesses work towards success as they define it. Pathfindr Equus Coaching was created out of my desire to help serve others on their own paths of learning, transformation and healing. Throughout my life, horses have been a source of comfort and wisdom. My hope is to be able to share the wisdom and insights that I have learned from horses with others. Horses can be powerful healers and teachers if we simply allow ourselves to be open to hear their message.

I work in conjunction with horses and nature, offering personal development workshops and leadership programs to help individuals and teams learn valuable, hands-on authentic leadership, emotional intelligence and intuitive lessons. By tapping into the vast knowledge of nature, and using Biomimicry as a framework for learning, we find our best models for collaboration, connection, well-being, health, wellness and purpose.

What role did mindfulness or spiritual practice play in your life growing up? Do you have a funny or touching story about that?

Mindfulness did play a pretty big role in my life growing up; however, I didn’t see it at the time and didn’t really have a word for it. Growing up in a small, rural farm town in the north Georgia mountains, I attended church on Sundays and vacation bible school each summer. At the beginning of each prayer, our preacher would ask us to bow our heads to pray and would allow for a long pause for the congregation to gather ourselves, quiet our mind and become open and grounded so that we could receive the gift of prayer. At a very early age, I enjoyed this long pause. It was a time to go within and reconnect with myself and become aware of my thoughts, feelings and my body. Several years ago, when I started meditating and became certified in Transcendental Meditation, I felt this familiar feeling. It was that same feeling I had as a young boy pausing, becoming aware and gathering myself before prayer.

How do your mindfulness or spiritual practices affect your business and personal life today?

Today, mindfulness is such a big part of my personal life as well as my business. I have created and facilitate a workshop on mindfulness co-facilitated with horses. Horses can be amazing mindfulness teachers if we allow ourselves to be open to observing their behavior and learning from our observations.

We are all so tied to our cell phones, tablets and computers trying to schedule in, rearrange meetings, answer emails and work through our to do lists. We are so busy cranking out our daily tasks that we become almost robotic in our responses and behaviors. I get into a work mode that seems to be a little automatic in my behavior and responses. When I become aware of this and recognize that I’m in that “robotic response place” I know now to pause and take a few deep cleansing breaths and let my attention drift around me as I check in with myself. I allow myself to feel into my body, noticing any tension, soreness and tightness while also noting my thoughts. I do this from a non-judgmental place that simply allows me to become more aware without placing any labels on what I find — good or bad. This pause allows me to gather myself, get out of my head and the robotic response place and reset my awareness. As I enter into new tasks and work from a more mindful place, I am aware of being more present, giving clearer thought to the tasks at hand and doing work that is more authentic and true to who I am.

Do you find that you are more successful or less successful because of your integration of spiritual and mindful practices? Can you share an example or story about that with us?

I feel that practicing mindfulness has definitely made me a more successful, better person and leader.

I recently had a very simple and profound experience that demonstrates the power of being mindful and the effects my behavior has on other beings. I have been working with a horse for the last 3 months, training with him three times a week. I usually like to spend time grooming and handling the horse I will be working with for about 30 minutes prior to our training lesson. I enjoy the process of grooming a horse as it really calms me and gives me time to observe and understand their energy. On this particular day, I had been stuck in traffic and was running late. I found myself trying to compensate for the lack of time by quickly approaching Commodore in his stall and walking him to the tack bay to be saddled up. I was tense and robotic in my movements, tossing the blanket on his back and then the saddle, quickly reaching under his belly to grab the girth strap and pulling tight. I noticed Commodore was stepping forward then back, then pawing the concrete floor and raising his head, shifting his weight from side to side as he tossed his tail from one side to another. This was all unusual behavior to me since he would normally stand completely still and be very respectful of me as I would groom and put his tack on him. What was making him irritated? What was causing all of his twitching, anxiety and stress? It as ME! I had become robotic and was in my head thinking about 3–4 steps ahead of what I needed to do next. I was not present with Commodore like I had been during all of our previous interactions and he could sense this disconnect.

My anxiety about running late and my demeanor was causing him distress and anxiety. As I realized this, I stopped what I was doing and slowly walked to his left shoulder and stood quietly, focusing on my breathing. I let myself become aware of the light in the barn, the soreness in my left shoulder and the tightness in my right calf muscle. I took several more deep breaths and slowly placed my hand on Commodore’s neck and slowly petted his long neck, then his back. I allowed myself to just stand and be with him. By this time, Commodore had settled and was now standing perfectly still with his head lowered and eyes softened. My shift into a more mindful mode had in turn shifted him back into a mindful mode. I was so struck by this interaction.

I asked myself how my anxiety filtered into and influenced my relationships with others over the years. How has my anxiety influenced the way that I’ve led? This one simple, yet powerful interaction opened me to a new awareness and understanding of how we influence others — even with our body language. Mindfulness can be a very powerful tool if we can begin to make it a daily practice.

What would you say is the foundational principle for one to “lead a good life”? Can you share a story that illustrates that?

The foundational principles for one to “lead a good life” are deeply personal and unique to each person, but there are probably a lot of commonalities.

For me, creativity, self-awareness, self-care and living in alignment with my core values are key foundations for me to “lead a good life.” I think it starts with how we treat ourselves and this creates a ripple effect that is then reflected back to us through our relationships and interactions with others. When we take the time to understand ourselves, get in touch with our own needs and nurture our intuition, we are able to work from a place that says “I’m enough” and we can then fully show up and support to others.

Can you share a story about one of the most impactful moments in your spiritual/mindful life?

For me the recent interaction with Commodore that I spoke about earlier has been one of the most impactful and memorable learning experiences by far. While simple in its nature, this interaction and the learning that took place was impactful for me since I felt it in my body. I was able to experience a shift in my body and then witness first-hand how that shift affected another being.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I’ve been fortunate to have many people in my life that have helped me along the way and for that I am very grateful. I am especially grateful for Koelle Simpson who was my coach and mentor for several years. After seeing the article about her in O Magazine several years ago, I contacted Koelle and went out to visit her and booked a private all day Equus Coaching session. That day was very transformative and pivotal for me. The interaction with the horses and the coaching revealed so much to me. I became more aware of patterns in my behavior, were I was on autopilot and why I was so unhappy even though from the outside looking in, I should have been very happy.

The lessons I learned and the awareness that was created that day was so powerful that it changed the trajectory of my life. One of the biggest shifts took place when I realized that I was the one putting so much pressure on myself to perform and climb the corporate ladder, to make more money, to have more …more what? It wasn’t my boss, a family member or my spouse making me do any of this miserable climbing, it was me and the outdated stories I was telling myself about how my job, career and financial status would prove my self worth. That was a huge lesson to understand and digest and it is still to this day one of the biggest gifts of learning and self-awareness that I have ever received.

It’s not about what your title is, how much money you make or how successful you are in your career. What matters is how you feel about yourself. I’ve had to re-evaluate my definition of success, self-worth and what my career looks like. It was time to get rid of those old stories and all of the unnecessary pressure I was putting on myself. I now get to create a new definition of what success looks like, but now I get to do it without the pressure and work from a place where I feel that I’m enough.

Can you share 3 or 4 pieces of advice about how leaders can create a very “healthy and uplifting” work culture?

Yes, I think the first piece is to start with establishing Integrity between the company and the associates. This should be a two-way path in which the company does what it promises for the employee and the employee does what he/she has promised for the company.

Next, I suggest creating a forum for the employee to be heard. Does the employee feel valued? Does the employee feel like they are contributing?

The third point would be to understand what motivates the employee and align their personal/professional goals with the goals of the position/company. Does the associate want to be promoted? Does the associate have the right talent/skill set? If not, what plans are in place to help develop those skills? Ensure that the associate and company on the same page and have the same understanding of expectations. There should be a clear career path for the employee that is supported by the company.

Fourth, I think knowledge and training are critical for an employee to fully understand what they do and why they do it. Onboarding is critical for a new employee. The company should check in periodically to see if the employee is challenged and allowed to grow their knowledge base that would allow for advancement.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, it would be educating children about their own brains, emotions and feelings. I would develop programs focused on teaching kids how to sit with their feelings and emotions and how to feel them. These programs would focus on cultivating empathy, mindfulness, understanding and kindness at an early age. I would develop programs that offer a safe place where kids feel comfortable to be themselves and where they would get support for being different vs. being bullied.

How can people follow you and find out more about you?

www.pathfindrcoaching.com

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