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  • Randi Brosterman Hutchens

My Dream House

Leadership scholars challenge us to look at our experiences in new ways. Bernie Roth @bernie_roth, in his book, The Achievement Habit, discusses the use of an exercise that he has incorporated into his teaching. Professor Roth employs a technique of “your turn”, as he asks the reader to do the exercise he is describing. In this exercise, the participant is asked to imagine a fantasy house, to take a bus trip to the house, to examine the house, inside and out, and, after a short intermission, to return to the classroom in the same imaginary bus. Roth then asks the students to describe their fantasy house using all of the senses – sight, sounds, smells, taste, touch. I prefer to use the term “dream house”, as the exercise for me felt more like a dream than a fantasy. In this blog post, I will share with you my dream house.

My dream house sits on a smooth sandy beach extending and dissolving into gently breaking aquamarine salt water. The house is contemporary in design, a horizontal ranch with large glass windows overlooking the waterfront. The furniture is high quality modern, with low deep sofas and well-appointed clean lines. The layout is simple, but not Spartan, elegant yet warm. The cool leather of the seating contrasts with the softness of the tightly woven sheep’s wool rugs. Windows in the rear of the house overlook a colorful English garden and a lap swimming pool. The gentle sound of a Japanese fountain offers soothing relaxation for those out of reach of the sound of the sea. The kitchen is warm and cozy, yet spacious. Delicious smells and tastes of fresh fruit, vegetables, and grilled meats entice the senses. The house says softly, “Come in and sit down”. Make yourself at home and stay a while. Take your shoes off and just be yourself.

The house sits somewhat isolated, apart from the rest of the world, but she is easily accessible for those who want to come by and visit. The house is beautiful, welcoming and wears a smile that is contagious. The house’s engaging energy emanates from within. This house doesn’t try to be anything more than it is. She doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. She is a place where one can work and play at one’s own pace. The house is a place where you can rest your head or think deep thoughts. There is a library that offers views into other worlds. Good conversation flows comfortably. Silence is met with a warm gummy grin. Walks on the long soft sandy beach offer time for reflection. Side by side conversation enables discussion of topics too intimate to discuss face to face, like driving with my dad in the car on the way to a friend’s house in another town. At night, the house is quiet, with only the fresh breath of the cool night breezes and the melodic sound of the lapping sea collectively serenading guests through the open windows. This house is a place you want to be, leave energized and look forward to returning. Professor Roth, in wrapping up the exercise, points out that the attributes of the house are actually your own personal attributes. Through the inanimate object, the house, the student has revealed herself. Today, I introduce myself to you. I am my dream house. Welcome to my home. Welcome to our blog.

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