The ABC’s of Undoing Negativity

Defensiveness, reactivity, close mindedness - all these words are synonyms for negativity. Everyone has experienced negativity when faced with an unpleasant situation such as imposed change, or conflict. Undoing negativity requires us to recognize we are in an altered state in the back of our brain and need to use the frontal area of our brain to generate tactical strategies to respond instead of being reactive.  

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Our Shifting Perspectives

Shifting perspective is always top of mind in my coaching practice. My business card reads New Perspectives on Old Predicaments and my logo is a Necker Cube (seen in the upper right hand corner of this website). The Necker Cube is an optical phenomenon which appears to flip its orientation when you stare at the cube’s Y-junctions (top right and bottom left).  This shift in perspective reminds me of the coaching process.  The encouragement provided to clients to shift from taking things just personally to considering the role, goal and the context of their situation.

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5 Easy Steps to Common Sense

Have you ever been so anxious you just can’t calm down? In fact, when someone suggests calming down you may even get annoyed and your anxiety turns into anger. My 22 year old daughter taught me a technique she learned in college that uses the five senses to clear your head quickly to get you back to thinking straight. A very useful technique during final exams...

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UnTeachable Moments

Most people have only heard about the teachable moments – spontaneous opportunities to gain insight and learn something new.  Yet when other people give us unsolicited feedback, want us to see the consequences of our actions, or teach us a lesson – these are called unteachable moments.  Not knowing the difference between a teachable and an unteachable moment results in frustration, annoyance, and resentment.  

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What Did You Expect?

The New Year is a time that many people make resolutions to improve their lives.  It is also a time when people experience sadness and regret over what wasn’t accomplished or even started in the past year.  “What did you expect?” is the simple question that connects the optimism of improvement and the pessimism of procrastination.  Expectations are baked into everything we think and do, which is why they are often unexamined.  

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Tantrums – A Holiday Tradition

Tantrums are associated with being childish.  Phrases like “Don’t act like a child” or “Are you taking all your marbles and going home?” make it difficult for adults to admit that they tantrum.  It is an immature reaction to frustration or disappointment and yet it is also a common reaction for many adults.

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How "Golden" Are Your Rules?

Relational Intelligence has evolved out of research on Emotional Intelligence. Developmentally, we appear to learn how to take care of others first (social-awareness/relational management), and then apply that learning to how we take care of ourselves (self-awareness/self-management)...

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The Right Role At The Right Time

How do you manage your roles at work and at home? Most of us have many different roles that we play throughout the day. The important thing to remember is to match the appropriate role with the situation - use the right tool for the job. A three-part approach is to identify your favorite role, then assess the situation, and finally, if your favorite role isn't a good match, choose a more appropriate role to play. Many unproductive conflicts you have with others are actually about misinterpreting the situation rather than an interpersonal problem...

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Getting Unstuck

There is a folk saying about how to get out of a hole – put down the shovel and stop digging. Getting stuck in no win behavior is called commitment bias. Economists, marketers, and psychologists study its causes and effects...

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Annoyance - Do This, Not That

Perception is a funny thing. Look at something one way and you feel threatened. Turn your head and suddenly the same thing seems familiar. The mystery novel version of this phenomenon is the main character walking down a dark hallway and seeing a monster at the top of the stairs. He shines his flashlight at the monster and he suddenly realizes that it is just his own reflection in the mirror...

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Communication Shortcuts

When a situation triggers stressful feelings, it may seem counterintuitive to intentionally speak up. If giving and getting feedback is uncomfortable for you remember that those feelings are short term but a misunderstanding can fester for years or spontaneously combust into conflict. Feedback is actually a positive communication shortcut that creates clarity...

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Use Strengths To See Blind Spots

What is a blind spot? It is data that your mind doesn't take in, just like a blind spot in your car's rearview mirror - something outside of your field of vision. How do we identify blind spots? One quick way is to make a list of your strengths because blind spots and strengths have a ying/yang relationship...

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Healthy Narcissism

Narcissism or self-centeredness has been on the mind of great thinkers since antiquity. Unfortunately, in today's popular culture it is the very skewed tabloid, reality show, and clinically pathological kind of narcissism that is most prominent. But in fact, narcissism is a normal part of human development and it is important to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy narcissism...

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Sharpen Your Focus

The word resolution has many definitions. Finding a resolution is most commonly thought of as determining a course of action in order to accomplish and complete a task. Your definition may also relate to establishing the resolve to make a positive change (think New Year's Resolution). While these definitions are all valid, my favorite definition involves bringing things into focus with greater clarity, similar to how greater resolution of a photograph sharpens the image...

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Checking Vital Signs

An accurate read of your organization's health is critical in assessing its current and future viability. However, getting an accurate read requires careful listening and observation. Here are some vital signs to look for to help make an objective assessment...

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Are You A Good Friend?

This may be the most important social intelligence question anyone can ask himself or herself. Friendship requires paying attention to the other person's interests, needs, and communication style. It often begins based on things you have in common such as a love of sports, dislike of the color magenta, or shared beliefs about religion, politics, or second hand smoke...

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