Start With Empathy ~ The Gift of Being With Others in Their World

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Start With Empathy ~ The Gift of Being With Others in Their World

Many years ago, when I was naïve and not exactly socially intelligent, I left an indelible mark on a relationship with one sentence. It began when a colleague shared with me that she had cancer. My response was something like this: “Well, you know it is all meant to be. There is something you are meant to learn from it.” Yes, I can hear you cringing from here. I don’t blame you. Fortunately I have learned since then—a lot—and am now teaching what I have learned. Here’s where I missed the mark. Resting in the receptive One of the core principles that I teach, as many of you now know, is the Spirit of Yes And. The “Yes” of Yes And is the receptive—it is […]

One Simple Question to Help You Avoid Misunderstandings

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One Simple Question to Help You Avoid Misunderstandings

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci Assumptions and misunderstandings are a natural part of relationships. Communication is, after all, complex. Like relationships, it is not straightforward. There are plenty of reasons why we would mishear or misinterpret what the other person is saying, and veer off our desired course of discourse. Here are a few… 6 reasons we misunderstand “Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” ~ Bob Talbert Skill deficiency – Few of us have ever received communication training. We have been taught how to spell, count to 10, and to know who shot whom in 1910; we have been trained to run a database, create a business plan and file a […]

“Up Until Now…” ~ Redesigning Needs and Expectations in Relationships

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“Up Until Now…” ~ Redesigning Needs and Expectations in Relationships

My client Sandy recently shared how she was tired of listening to and solving her friend Andrew’s problems. A pattern had been created in the friendship where Andrew would regularly vent to Sandy, and she would go into fixing mode. Sandy knew her part in the ongoing scenario—she took responsibility for her need to care-take Andrew; she understood that she was creating expectations in the relationship that she would solve his problems, and that it was okay for him to keep acting like a victim with her. Sandy and I spoke about how helping through fixing and advising was generally futile. It so often served to enable rather than empower. For Andrew to create lasting positive change in his life, the solutions to his problems had to […]

The Courage to Speak Your Truth ~ 5 Steps to Reclaiming Your Voice

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The Courage to Speak Your Truth ~ 5 Steps to Reclaiming Your Voice

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.” ~ Barbara De Angelis This may be you… At some point in your life you made the decision that it was no longer safe to speak your truth. In your early years, speaking up led to a scolding from your parents, or worse. Their censure caused pain and engendered a belief in you that speaking up would create even more pain. This belief compelled you […]

20 Questions to Enhance Conversations ~ Moving from Yes to Yes And

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20 Questions to Enhance Conversations ~ Moving from Yes to Yes And

There are some people who Yes, and some who Yes And. When we share something about ourselves with others, some people respond just by saying, “Cool”, or “Great”, or “That’s interesting.” They offer some form of acknowledgement. That’s the Yes of Yes And. And then there are those who offer an acknowledgment, AND then ask a question that further explores what we shared. They say, for instance, “Wow, that’s fascinating (Yes). What was that like for you? (And)” We love it when people show genuine interest in us. Whether it is simply a check in to see how our doctor’s appointment went, or a series of questions, it feels good when people are genuinely interested in us. It feels like the person cares about us and our […]

Your Presence is Enough ~ Giving the Gift of Your Self in Conversation

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Your Presence is Enough ~ Giving the Gift of Your Self in Conversation

When I teach listening skills, my participants struggle with simply being still and present when someone else is sharing something personal with them. It is not enough, in their mind, just to be with them. They must at least nod, or verbally acknowledge the other person in some way, and make them feel that they are being attended to. We must do in conversation, not just be in conversation! This need stems from a deep and old belief that who we are being is not enough. Our presence, and the gift of our spirit, is simply not enough! When we realize how powerful we are, we don’t doubt the gift of our presence. By resting more fully into our deeper Self, we can rest more fully in the conversation. Spaciousness is created […]

Boundaries versus Speaking Your Truth ~ Own Your Voice. Own Your Worth.

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Boundaries versus Speaking Your Truth ~ Own Your Voice. Own Your Worth.

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.” ~ Barbara De Angelis  A friend of mine recently told me how he doesn’t create strong enough boundaries. People take advantage of him and disregard his needs. After listening to him for a while, I realized that the problem wasn’t so much about boundaries, but rather speaking his truth. When I mentioned this to him, a light bulb went off. When I think about setting […]

Speaking on Behalf of the Relationship ~ Creating Safety & Openness in Conversation

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Speaking on Behalf of the Relationship ~ Creating Safety & Openness in Conversation

Beware! Saying “You” in conversations can be dangerous! We all know what it is like when someone says to us, “You need to…”, or “Why are you always…?” It immediately puts us on the defensive. Speaking on behalf of ourselves is effective. Saying I, Me, My, and Mine helps people stay open to what we are saying. But so does speaking on behalf of the relationship. Recently I had a conversation with someone that left me feeling confused. Instead of saying, “You confused me,” I said, “Our conversation confused me.” By using the word “Our” I point to the relationship. I, of course, could also have said, “I feel confused,” and that would have been fine as well. Other examples of speaking on behalf of […]

Nobody Gets to Be Wrong ~ Designing a Safe Space for Creativity and Expression

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Nobody Gets to Be Wrong ~ Designing a Safe Space for Creativity and Expression

“It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something.” ~ Ornette Coleman Two things that block our self-expression and creativity is the fear of judgement, and the weight of expectations to do things the “right” way. We hold back in team meetings and other kinds of relationships, fearful that we will receive a disparaging response. A guiding principle for communication that can help mitigate negativity and fear, and create safety for creative self-expression is Nobody Gets to Be Wrong. Imagine conducting all future meetings and general dialogue with this principle in place. What would the implications be? All ideas are welcome Freedom to playfully experiment and get messy Less thinking and more spontaneity More ideas shared […]

I wonder…

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I wonder…

“I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” ~Gerry Spence It is very easy to share our opinion with attachment, or even righteousness. We believe our perspective is the truth, and we deliver it as such. However, it is a real skill to share a point of view while still remaining open to others. We can do this by changing the tone of our voice to be warm or light. We can also use the child’s language of I wonder. “Wisdom is in not knowing.” ~ Deepak Chopra To be in wonder means to be open. It is an attitude of curiosity whereby we state our interest, and at the same time are open to not knowing the answer […]