Defensive Language Exposes Us

April 16th, 2016
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(Podcast Version)

Defensive language has less to do with specific words, and more to do with how we perceive threats. This changes from person to person, and event to event, so what can we learn?

First, we develop our defensive linguistic apparatus when we’re very young; generally by the time we’re about five years old, and then we just improve our vocabulary. This means that when we become defensive, we tend to regress; sometimes pretty drastically. This isn’t a resourceful state from which to operate. You don’t want to say “I know you are, but what am I?!” to your boss or spouse.

playground bullyingNext, it indicates the perception of a threat; emphasis on perception; regardless of a real threat’s existence. Once that trigger’s pulled, things can continue and escalate. It’s definitely preferable to recognize the trigger, and consciously defuse the scenario. Read the rest of this entry »

Clipping the Wire

March 11th, 2016
 
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Regardless of our best intentions, it seems that certain people or situations trigger a reaction. Either we have a kind of knee-jerk, unconscious reaction that creates a mess, or we freeze in our tracks, trying not to have a reaction at all. This freeze up is kind of like “not thinking about a pink elephant,” and you know how well that works.

The subject of being triggered or triggering others is too broad to take on in its entirety here, so for now let’s focus on how words and language affect triggers, or become triggers in themselves, and what we can do to minimize conflict and maximize effective communication. Those of you familiar with my work, whether through coaching, writing, or speaking, know that circumventing these triggers is a big part of what I help people do. In many ways, it’s like defusing a bomb. You need to either clip the wire, or re-wire the triggers themselves.
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Knowledge is Power: This Time It’s Personal (Power)

February 6th, 2016
 
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Before getting involved in personal development work, the question is always what am I going to get out of this, and how will it help me? The answer could fill a book, but boiling it down, what I see most people take away is a huge amount of confidence and personal power.

Think about it; when you really understand how something works, from changing a tire to an app on your phone, you feel more confident about it. Wouldn’t it follow that if you really understand how you work, you’d feel more confident about you? When you want to understand something complicated like a car’s fuel pump, you carefully take it apart, see how each component fits, then put it back together.

Exploded View Clutch

This kind of deconstruction, examination, and re-integration works with us too. If we examine things piecemeal; looking at an issue that’s bothering us here, another there, we’re putting out fires, rather than making ourselves fireproof. The former increases our stress level, as regardless of what we’re doing, there’s going to be another issue around the corner. An Integral understanding of how each component works together enables us to solve for root causes that solve multiple issues simultaneously.

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Integral What?

January 9th, 2016
 
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Changing the Game

You’re probably familiar with that definition of crazy; doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. It’s amazing how many of us know this, and yet find ourselves doing just that. This intersects nicely with a quote from Albert Einstein: “we cannot solve problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

So if we feel scattered and compartmentalized, why would we try scattered, compartmentalized solutions? If we want to feel more grounded and centered, why wouldn’t we look for a grounded, centering solution?

mindmap

Let’s look at a very common issue: the elusive work/life balance. In this context, balance is a myth. Read the rest of this entry »

Be the Eggshell or Be the Ball

December 7th, 2015
 
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We see and hear it all around us, and feel it ourselves; so much anxiety, so much stress. Where is it coming from? We can point to so many different  things, but in reality it’s far more ubiquitous and omnipresent. The more clients I work with and conversations with friends I have, a singular root cause becomes clearer. 

It starts with an absurdly unbalanced cultural focus, focus, focus on the surface, and how things look; the appearance. As we move away from reading and look at pictures, as we move away from dialog and move toward special effects, there’s less and less emphasis on substance, and more and more pressure around appearances.

facadeValues; the deepest part of who we are, don’t show on the surface, so they fall further and further down the priority list. Where once upon a time we were drawn to and identified ourselves with kindness, compassion, intelligence and humor, now it’s all about the fleeting, transience of what shows in a photo.

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Your Framework of Understanding

November 4th, 2015
 
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Right and Wrong
There seems to be one single causal factor behind virtually every conflict or misunderstanding clients and friends bring to me, regardless of how much personal development work they’ve done. We look at the world around us through very specific lenses and filters, and yet act as if what we’re perceiving and interpreting is objective reality. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Each of us has a Framework of Understanding that perceptions must filter through. This Framework is made up of everything from inherent operating system characteristics to experiential “lessons learned,” to simple peer, parental, and media influence.

Imagine going through life unable to turn your head or move your eyes from one fixed position. Pretty limiting, right? You’ve probably been frustrated by someone not being able to see things from your perspective, especially when your perspective seems so reasonable, and of course “right.” 
Is it possible that someone else had that experience with you? 
tunnel vision Read the rest of this entry »

Internal Prejudice (revisited)

October 7th, 2015
 
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Hierarchies
I’ve seen an odd conflict coming to the surface recently for a lot of people, and a little exploration might help. Our internal and external communication isn’t always very conscious, and as we’ve seen with the pebble and its ripples, there’s an unbreakable relationship between the two. An event is followed by its repercussions. This is why I love the image of the pebble hitting the water and ripples emanating outward. The way we talk to ourselves internally invariably affects the way we talk to others externally. Those ripples keep going as the way we talk to others then affects them, and they in turn affect others in their surroundings, and so on.

So let’s start with that first pebble. As an example, internally we often berate ourselves when we make mistakes or forget something. This becomes a kind of “normal” way for us to react, so we don’t think twice about doing this when others make mistakes or forget things.

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Be the Pebble

September 15th, 2015
 
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Identifying Identity
More and more, I’m seeing people realizing that they’ve been working their butts off, running as fast as they can down a road, and not really knowing where they’re going or why? Society, parents, bosses, peers all push checklists at us, filled with what we should do, but often pretty light on the why. This accounts for just as much conflict and identity crisis in the business world. The easy answers are the material ones; it’s all to acquire stuff, and/or the money for stuff. The problem there, is that this isn’t a long-term motivator. There’s always something missing, and just acquiring more stuff doesn’t fill the hole.

We often forget that we’re at the heart of everything we’re doing. We’re the pebble hitting the water, sending ripples outward in all directions. Somehow we get into patterns where we’re expecting the ripples we see all around us to shape who we are. That’s backwards. The pebble shapes the ripples, the ripples don’t shape the pebble. If we want specific ripples, we’d better know the size, weight, and shape of the pebble. 

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Willpower and Self-Discipline, part 2

July 6th, 2015
 
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Biochemistry and What You Eat
Did you know that willpower uses so much energy, that our blood glucose levels drop? We’ll need further study to prove that it’s the brain using it, but the connection opens some interesting doors.

Our brain monitors blood glucose levels, and most of our balanced systems seem to “prefer” a stable, steady supply. According to the research of Roy Baumeister and John Tierney, when we maintain a steady glucose level, our brain releases reserves, rather than holding back, and we have more available, enabling us to express more willpower. This is like how you might look at your bank account.  When you know you have a steady income stream, you budget and spend more comfortably.

When you have spikes and drops, you’re less inclined to spend, not knowing when the next influx is going to happen. Even when you have a spike, the lack of steadiness overrides any sense of surplus, and your brain still holds back on those reserves.

To help regulate a steady, stable glucose level that aids your willpower, keeps you feeling full and guilt free, Read the rest of this entry »

Willpower and Self-Discipline, part 1

June 8th, 2015
 
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Nothing to do with Weakness
Just as we need to learn to crawl before we walk, or walk before we run, for most of us, we need to learn willpower and self-discipline before we’ll do most of the things we have to do. For a long time, this is something that we’ve viewed  through a kind of moral lens, where we feel we’re a better person when we exercise willpower. The converse of course is that we’re somehow “bad,” when we give in to temptation.

Good news has come from the scientific community, as willpower has recently been the subject of many studies in psychology, neuroscience, and transpersonal neurobiology. Although all the findings aren’t in yet, we’ve learned enough to take willpower out of this “moral” domain, and put it into the scientific domain. All the judgement and internal criticism around willpower comes from the old view. It’s not about being “strong” or “weak,”

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