Liberating Yourself and Others from the Need to Agree ~ Entering the Dance of Connection

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Liberating Yourself and Others from the Need to Agree ~ Entering the Dance of Connection

One of the most beautiful things we can experience is a connection with another person. Being able to connect is a gift in that it gives each person the opportunity to safely open and share their authentic feelings, desires and concerns. However, often when one person meets another with an agenda, the connection is broken because he is no longer open to what the other has to say. He is not meeting her in her reality, but rather attempting to align her with his own. To align without agreement is to communicate, “I don’t agree with you, and I am still with you.” I am here for you and with you, and I am willing to open to your world even if I am not […]

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 […]

4 Reasons Not to Fix or Solve People’s Problems

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4 Reasons Not to Fix or Solve People’s Problems

We are well conditioned to believe that it is our job to fix others and solve their problems for them. If we see someone struggling or uncertain, we are quick to race in and save them from their challenges. We have been trained to see this as an act of care, a gift to another. But is it really?  What is it that we may be assuming and impeding by jumping in and acting as the savior? Perhaps it is more about our thoughts, needs and feelings than theirs. Reason #1: People are more capable and resourceful than you think We are born with much more inherent capacity and resourcefulness than we know. Unfortunately, we don’t realize this because we have been treated otherwise our […]

How to Turn a Snake into a Sword ~ From Reasoning to Playing Along

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How to Turn a Snake into a Sword ~ From Reasoning to Playing Along

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” ~Angela Schwindt A three-year-old girl was attempting to play with her older brothers who were messing around with swords. The mother didn’t know why she was bothering her brothers’ boyish fun, and was tempted to redirect her to something more suitable. In that moment, however, she caught herself. She went on to say, “Instead of reasoning, I met her in her world.” The daughter had a toy snake in her hand, and the mother moved next to her and suggested that maybe she could use it as a sword. She played along with her daughter’s imaginative impulses, and validated her in the process. Mom parked her […]

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 […]

Owning Your 50% ~ Transforming Conflict into Growth

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Owning Your 50% ~ Transforming Conflict into Growth

In the heat of conflict it is much easier to react than to stay grounded and open. We default to defending our position rather than taking responsibility for our part. We are always playing a role in conflict, whether it is on an overt or subtle level. Owning our 50% takes self-awareness and humility – we must surrender our position and explore how we have contributed to the situation. Recently a friend was upset that I didn’t get back to her sooner. I told her that from my point of view I didn’t feel a need to rush a response. However, from her point of view it only made sense that I would get back within a day. Instead of looking to strengthen my position […]

5 Assumptions for Non-Judgmental Living ~ A Personal Challenge

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5 Assumptions for Non-Judgmental Living ~ A Personal Challenge

“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer We hear it all the time – don’t judge others. Yet living a non-judgmental life is not easy. We are judging machines, conditioned from birth to see through the lens of limitation. Here are two specific reasons why we judge: 1. When we judge others, we judge ourselves: The essence of judgment arises from a place of judging ourselves. When we are told at a young age that it is inappropriate to be __________ (such as angry), or not to be ____________ (such as silly), on some level we make these aspects bad or wrong. We then grow up projecting this idea onto others. If we see someone being angry […]

Finding Middle Ground ~ 3 Steps to Creating Consensus & Connection

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Finding Middle Ground ~ 3 Steps to Creating Consensus & Connection

To find middle ground, we must be willing to accommodate another perspective, and leave the ground we stand on. Finding middle ground is not always easy because needs are often so diametrically opposed. And yet when we realize that people, more than anything, want to feel heard and understood, finding middle ground can become a simpler process. Here are three steps you can take to find middle ground: 1. Be Calm This is essential. Your calm state creates a sense of openness, and a feeling of safety for others to express fully without fear of judgement or reaction. 2. Acknowledge the Other’s Position People are more likely to loosen their stance if they feel heard and valued. People want to feel that their position is […]

From Victim to Leader

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From Victim to Leader

Think back to a time when you felt someone had done you wrong, a time you felt victimized in some way. Perhaps it was at work – someone was always late, or speaking to you with disrespect. Or maybe it was at home – you were the one always doing the household duties; the responsibilities were not equally shared. While it is easy to point at others and blame, it is more empowering to point within. We move from victim to leader when we own our role in any conflict. Instead of blaming the other, we look for what we can do differently to change things. Maybe you: Let someone know what your expectations are Tell someone how you feel about the way they speak […]