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Why We "Circle Up"
Not that long ago, humans were more connected. We were more aware of how much we needed each other.
Humans have lived in “herds” for thousands of years — communities, big or small, that have provided us a safe haven for sharing resources and leaning on each other for support and fellowship. Even in these highly technological times when self-sufficiency is the norm, we still long to be connected. It’s how we truly thrive.
When we stray from our herd and stop practicing the basic elements of community-building and trust-growing, our groups and relationships suffer.
Through meaningful experiences and intentional conversation, we can reclaim and revive this simple but essential part of our human story.
Circle Up’s model of Natural Leadership and experiential learning with horses integrates human psychology, animal behavior, and natural systems to offer a unique approach to personal and professional development.
Resources for Crisis and Rapid Change During The Pandemic
Are you or your group needing extra support right now, but you aren’t quite sure where to start? Does it feel disorienting and nearly impossible to create a new daily routine or to find your balance point? Here are some ways Circle Up can offer support:
We come from diverse backgrounds with distinctive life stories, a wide range of expertise, and, at times, hilariously different leadership styles!
Yet, we share a common message and mission:
It’s time to wake up your Natural Leadership and more deeply experience your life.
We believe in the power of awareness, the gifts of authentic relationship, and the necessity of trusting community.
We call it Natural Leadership and we’ve walked every mile of this work ourselves.
Why We Work With Horses
See yourself through the eyes of a horse, and you see your true nature.
Our starting point with any group is with our horses. Simply put, horse work is our assessment tool. While more traditional approaches can be valuable to how we understand ourselves and each other, few are so immediately transformative.
Our equine-assisted activities (non-riding) allow the horses to teach you and show you parts of your leadership that need more room to play.
As prey animals, horses possess exquisitely attuned emotional systems and they are able to pick up on the ever-changing nuances of mammals’ internal workings as they assess for safety. The cohesion of the herd is at the heart of the group’s survival.
They rely on a radical commitment to awareness and to an ever-present feedback system flowing through their herd. This unique sensing system allows the horses to read each other and their environment so they can detect danger and look for opportunities to rest in safety.
It also allows them to read us and to notice the places where we are blocked. Because so much of our innate power is trapped in our thoughts and often self-defeating scripts, our truest desires are just out of our reach.
This is an opportunity to get honest AND gentle feedback from your equine teachers and coaching and support from your human facilitators.
You will leave a Circle Up experience with an open channel of your authentic power ready for you to bring into your world.
Head Cowgirl, Owner
Beth Andstandig is changing the way organizations, leaders, and individuals use their power. As a life-long cowgirl, writer, professor, and licensed psychotherapist, Beth has 25 years of experience developing, implementing, and training people in Natural Leadership—a model she pioneered. Natural leadership helps people awaken their innate awareness so they can live and work with more authentic relationships and connection.
Beth owns Take a Chance Ranch in Morgan Hill, CA providing leadership, culture, and well-being programs through The Circle Up Experience. Together with an ever-growing menagerie of animals, Beth works with human herds onsite and online. She’s trained thousands of leaders and teams from some of the most renowned corporations, universities, and nonprofits.
Beth’s fresh perspective and work integrating basic animal practices into everyday human life have been featured in global media including BBC World Service, PBS, and Forbes. She is a frequent podcast guest, contributing writer for MomsRising, and an advisor and content creator for Kahilla: A Basecamp for Women on the Rise.
Beth has an MA degree in Clinical Psychology from Santa Clara University and an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. Beth is the author of A Garden of Forking Paths (Pearson Longman, 2006) and upcoming The Human Herd: Awakening Our True Nature (Morgan James Publishing, 2021). She lives on her ranch with an expanding community of animal herds.
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Circle Up Austin Director and Operations Guru
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Your Guide to Radical Self-Care
Do you live with an underlying belief that your self-care comes last? Wake up to the empowering practice of listening to your needs. You will become more resilient, less stressed, more supported, and you will feel more ease in your life. Discover this and more in the free self-care guide: