Finding the ease in life is the art of being human. For decades I had chased the productivity and credibility badge of honor. I enjoyed many accolades and success, but the harder I pushed myself, the less ease I found in life. In taking time off for self-disruption, to listen to my deepest longings, I discovered ease. Not to be confused with easy. Much of what I’ve taken on has not been easy. The pursuit of ease has caused me to make hard decisions, end friendships, and rail against imposter syndrome to keep moving forward on my path. I’ve come to recognize that as long as I am on my path, I find ease in even the hardest aspects of the human experience.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Edi Osborne, CEO and Founder of Of One Breath — a non-profit dedicated to enabling a shift of consciousness across the planet. Creator of the BELove app, bringing individuals into the collective with a top of the hour breath and built-in dashboard that displays how many people are synchronized in loving intention by volume and geo-location. Edi has received numerous acknowledgments as a one of the top 25 Thought Leaders and Most Powerful Women in the accounting profession.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
I’m not an accountant and yet, the first 25 years of my career were devoted to shifting the accounting profession from a focus on financial lagging indicators to non-financial leading indicators; identifying the lead (and leverageable) dominoes in the value chain. My efforts began during the height of the ‘90-’91 recession when the need for change of perspective was obvious. I discovered and honed a talent for building bridges from one level of perception to another. My efforts, then, were focused on creating a framework to transition the profession from “Compliance to Reliance.” Our Level 5 Continuous Improvement Model expanded the profession’s mind-set, skillset, and tool-set to create real-time feedback, a.k.a. business dashboards, tied to the strategic vision of organizations.
Building on what I learned with the accounting profession, today I find myself, once again, deep in the bridge-building effort between our crippling “curse of certainty” and the “field of pure potentiality.” In other words, the fulfillment of our human potential. The recent launch of the BELove app invites a world-wide top of the hour breath of loving intention combined with real-time feedback; a leading indicator for the expansion of consciousness across the planet.
In short, my expertise is creating pattern-interrupting tools and maps that enable paradigm shifts in behavior. I am a cartographer of shift.
Buckminster Fuller once said, “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”
Einstein said, ““We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
These perspectives have informed much of my work in helping people change the way they think about themselves, the world around them and how to engage more effectively. From accountants to human accountability, the blueprint is the same . . . look for the leading indicators of shift and create enabling tools. At the present time, our non-profit, Of One Breath is focused on launching a reboot of the human operating system back to its source code of love; leveraging high-tech into high-touch tools of shift.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I’m not sure I would call this funny, but it was a profound moment of divine comedy when I look back. After 25 years in the world of accounting, I knew I had come to the end of that chapter. It was time to let go of that body of work to make room for the next thing that wanted to be birthed.
I was coming to the end of three weeks of speaking engagements. I had one last keynote in Las Vegas before heading home. I had a weekend to kill and decided to just tuck into the hotel room and rest. But the rest never came. I was restless and weary, anxious and exhausted. And if I’m being really honest, I was not far from wanting to step off the merry-go-round of life all together. Suicide is a harsh word and I’m not claiming it, but I will admit to a level of grief that felt so overwhelming, I knew something had to change. I kept hearing the message, “you need two years to rest and re-set.” That very idea of this seemed impossible to imagine, until my own physical health gave me little choice.
I talked myself in and out of taking a sabbatical to ease my transition from the old life to a new one. I gave myself, what I thought, “was enough time” to rest. But my body wanted more than rest. I bought a little motorhome, named her Chrysalis (Sally for short) and set out on a walk-about. First stop: Burning Man. I’d never done anything like this before — it was a profound pattern interrupt that put even my marriage on the line. Sometimes we have to be willing to disrupt our old story to create a new one.
Post Burning Man, I drove and camped all over the Northwest for several weeks. Upon returning from my 5,000 mile adventure, the old thought patterns kicked in, “Well that’s enough, it’s time to get back to work.” But a couple months into failing miserably to re-engage, I fell and ruptured my achilles tendon. While I sat on the floor to assess the state of things, I got the message loud and clear, “This isn’t about rest anymore, it’s about stillness.” For a number of reasons, a surgical repair was not for me. The doctor warned, a non-surgical rehab was going to require being very STILL! The instant he said the word, I knew I was being given a gift.
Somehow I had convinced myself that “not doing” what I used to do was enough. I had yet to learn the true lesson of “stillness.” I laugh now, that it took me two years of avoiding the rest, then faking it for another year, before finally finding the stillness that created the conditions for the internal shift in me to effectuate what would come next. By rupturing my achilles tendon, I broke the habit of “doing” once and for all.
This was my Achilles moment of truth. Epic, divine, and yes, funny; at least for me.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I once had the opportunity to work with the Director of Innovation for Fortune 100. For a year we embarked on a journey to understand, at the deepest level, what goes into the calculus of risk for small business owners. My expertise was with small businesses, not corporate culture. I kept trying to re-work my expertise to fit into a corporate mindset to impress him. I brought it up one day that I felt intimidated by his position and experience. He was sensitive to my sense of lack and without fail, would challenge me to trust my experience — it was the reason he chose me to work with him on the project. It was a powerful exchange for me as a budding consultant. Not once did he make me feel my ideas weren’t worthy of exploration. He often deferred to me on matters of emotional and cultural dynamics when dealing with family-owned businesses.
He taught me a lesson that I carry with me every day. I learned that I didn’t have to play a game to win, I just had to be myself.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
Our very language is taking on new meaning as we are becoming wiser as to how language informs our reality. What is disruption anyway? Is it about the abandonment of the old in favor of the new? Or is it an altogether new perception, a field of pure potentiality, inserted in a construct of expression (status quo) that felt settled?
This question may have landed differently in the past, but as far as I observe, we have entered an age of constant and accelerating disruption. The very set and setting of this moment is disruptive across the board. We are experiencing the collapse of a construct based in scarcity. Thank you COVID, for revealing the structural failure in our systems of commerce, health, education, housing, racism, food, and, of course, the environment. Perhaps the way forward is not so much that we innovate in disruptive ways as this is too small and incremental to meet the promise of this moment.
When our motivations for disruption align with the pursuit of wealth, but at the cost of collective well-being, we are dwelling in an ego-system of unwellness. From my perspective, true disruption is in aligning our efforts with an ecosystem of well-being. In the past, we’ve lionized “disruptors” as leaders, but are they really? What are they leading us toward if what they create keeps us in the old construct of scarcity? What are the tradeoffs of always pursuing disruption if it goes against our long-term well-being?
The leaders of the new world we are birthing will not show up with product to sell, but stories to tell. Stories of a new world where abundance is the value proposition, not just shareholder value. Disrupt scarcity. Disrupt poverty. Disrupt the construct of separation. Bridge-Builders are the Disrupters turned Architects of NOW. They show up with blueprints, maps and frameworks that transcend scarcity to abundance. They weave the old with the new without defaulting to the ego-systems of old to get there.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
Trust — Jumping into the great unknown after leaving behind a prosperous and successful career was an exercise in total trust of my inner guidance system. I stopped going along, to get along and found, at first, a lot of lonely days as I recalibrated my outer world with my inner being. In time, I began to attract the people and resources to manifest a life far more appropriate for my truth to flourish. When I embarked on the creation of the BELove app, I had no idea how it was going to come together. In the stillness of recovering from my Achilles rupture, I kept hearing, “sit still and the resources will come.” Lo and behold they did. The funding and the people showed up with no effort on my part.
Consent — The curse of certainty is a heavy burden to carry. I stopped worrying about whether I was on the right path, saying the right things to the right people, looking the right way, doing the right things, etc. I discovered so much of my life was based on a coping strategy of “fitting in” and “doing” to survive; something many can relate to. I decided I no longer wanted to just survive the human experience, I wanted to thrive in it! I consciously consented to a life worth living. This informs my choices every day and is confirmed by my next favorite word . . . ease.
Ease — Finding the ease in life is the art of being human. For decades I had chased the productivity and credibility badge of honor. I enjoyed many accolades and success, but the harder I pushed myself, the less ease I found in life. In taking time off for self-disruption, to listen to my deepest longings, I discovered ease. Not to be confused with easy. Much of what I’ve taken on has not been easy. The pursuit of ease has caused me to make hard decisions, end friendships, and rail against imposter syndrome to keep moving forward on my path. I’ve come to recognize that as long as I am on my path, I find ease in even the hardest aspects of the human experience.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
While sitting very still, learning the lessons of not doing, I had a lot of time to observe the polarity of the human story. As someone who seeks to create harmony out of discordance, I kept watching for the next right way to plug in. While on walk-about, I tapped into something deep and profound, I call it The Healing Conversation. The Conversation consists of 5 pattern interrupting questions that take us from “the curse of certainty” to a “field of pure potentiality.” I drove to RV parks and asked total strangers “Do you believe we can live in harmony with one another?” Their responses informed a deeper level of inquiry that prompted the creation of the BELove app. BELove strips away all barbs of separation to one core belief that is baked into our biology. It is simply this . . . humans are wired for connection, for love. We don’t survive as a species without it. I knew that whatever I did next had to be in the service of bringing more love and connection in the world.
The BELove app has its own ecosystem of truth: Life begins and ends with breath and it is the intention with which we take each breath, that creates the heaven or hell of our existence.
During The Healing Conversation, I ask people to suspend their beliefs. I acknowledge that we will likely have to agree to disagree on nearly everything, but to survive as a species we must agree to agree on just one thing . . . that love is our source code. If they will meet me there, the rest of the conversation becomes a healing exploration of the source of our disagreements, the conditioning of our minds, and our biases that perpetuate our disconnection.
I don’t ask people to change the way they think about things. Instead I ask them to breathe more loving awareness and intention with me at the top of every hour. I ask them to trust their heart (not head) to show us the way to heal our differences, not by surrendering our beliefs, but by elevating them to the frequency of love.
The Healing Conversation and BELove app encompass the mind-set, skill-set, and tool-set necessary to re-set the human operating system from scarcity to abundance thinking.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
I will answer this more in terms of attributes of the feminine vs the masculine. Feminine qualities of collaboration and inclusion (abundance) are not well-met in a world of competition and gamesmanship (scarcity). We are learning in real-time, how fear-based models of leadership are failing as compared to leaders that seek inclusion and connection (Angela Merkel and Jacinda Ardern, come to mind)
For decades women had to play by the rules set by the male-dominated construct to get funding and support for their ideas. We are witnessing the end of this dysfunction as more and more women, armed with the tools of intuitive leadership, are yielding superior results in both economic and human terms.
I believe we are in the midst of a massive transformation to a more balanced approach to leadership, lending, and legislation. Feminine attributes are proving both bankable and buoyant in a world no longer served by a model of “winning at all costs.”
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
The Power of Grace by David Richo opened me up to the availability of grace in every aspect of my life. I learned to trust the synchronicities on my path in ways that fall outside of logic and reason. I’ve been blown away how this trust has attracted investors and support for launching the BELove app.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Life happens for us, not to us.” If you believe life is happening TO YOU, you are a victim. If life happens FOR YOU, you are a student and admirer. Even when things don’t go as planned, I view it as a curious adventure and proceed with open eyes and an open heart to see how life unfolds.
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. 🙂
On the same day I got the idea for the BELove app, I came across a TEDx talk on how it only takes 3.5% of a population to create a shift in consciousness. It became clear to me that getting 11M people to take a synchronized breath of loving intention was completely doable. To that end, I set my sights on launching a Breathtaking Movement of Love.
How can our readers follow you online?