Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

  • Would it Help?

    Would it Help?

    James Donovan:  Aren't you worried?
    Rudolf Abel:  Would that help?

    At least three times during the movie Bridge of Spies, Tom Hanks asks Mark Rylance... 

    "Aren't you worried? You don't seem to be concerned."

    In this movie based on real-life events, Tom Hanks plays the American lawyer James B. Donovan who represented Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (played by Mark Rylance) during the U-2 spy-swap incident in the 1960's.

    There are several scenes in the movie where the potential dire consequences of his actions are laid out for Rylance. Each time, Rylance seems to merely accept what he's told with little change of facial expression or demeanor. He doesn't get angry, depressed, or reactive in any way. Tom Hanks can't make him out and keeps asking "Aren't you concerned/worried/anxious?" 

    Each time, Rylance makes the same reply...

    "Would it help?" 

    He seems honestly curious. If being anxious or manifesting concern would improve the situation in any way, he's prepared to try it. His presence of mind and connection to deeply held values (in the movie, at least) is beautiful to behold--Mark Rylance won the Oscar for best supporting actor for his portrayal.

    Rylance's reply reminded me of a family crisis a few years ago...

  • Single Most Important Thing To Manage Stress

    Single Most Important Thing To Manage Stress

    "The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another."
    --William James, American psychologist

    A good friend sent me a great YouTube link recently -- a visual lecture titled: The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do To Manage Stress, by Dr. Mike Evans.

    Any guesses as to what the single most important thing might be?

  • Your Rival is An Asset: Engage Your "Enemy" and Win

    Your Rival is An Asset: Engage Your

    In a recent family conversation about how to support my mother after a fall in her kitchen, my sisters and brother and I had different ideas about how best to help her. We ended up putting five possible options on the table, options generated by our conversations with each other and with her caregivers.

    The eventual solution, which turned out to be the perfect one for her (and us), was a combination of three of the five options we looked at. I was fascinated with how the process unfolded.

  • Centering Tip: Exhale!

    Centering Tip: Exhale!

    Several things happened recently to remind me how we forget to breathe.

    In yoga class, our instructor emphasized the importance of the exhale. She said that in order to breathe deeply, we have to exhale first. That our lungs contain a lot of stale air (as much as 7 years worth!) and exhaling fully helps us get rid of the old stuff and take in the new.

    At breakfast with my goddaughter, we got to talking about her college life, friends, and studies. She and her friends are studious high achievers, and I was surprised and disheartened to learn that stress and busyness are badges of honor among her mates...

  • Discovering Your Immunity to Change

    Discovering Your Immunity to Change

    Have you ever really wanted to change something about yourself and found it was harder than you expected?

    I used to believe that if you really wanted to change, you could. But since reading Immunity to Change, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, and taking their facilitator training, I'm not so sure. Why are some behaviors so resistant to change? Like New Year's resolutions, why are some well-intentioned plans forgotten by April?

    According to Kegan and Lahey, when change is unsuccessful or unsustainable, there may be unconscious mental and emotional systems at work--hopes, fears, and competing commitments that keep us from making the desired change....

  • The Art of Listening: Presence and Mindfulness

    The Art of Listening: Presence and Mindfulness

    Listening--really listening--takes practice.

    And presence.


    You can even practice it alone.  

    Set a stopwatch. For 15 seconds, stay quiet and listen.

    What do you hear? Try it again and see if you can hear more this time. What new sounds were there?

  • When to Speak Up in a Group: A 5-Step Model

    When to Speak Up in a Group: A 5-Step Model


    • Should I say something?
    • I disagree, but let's see if someone else speaks up.
    • That was a clueless remark! Why doesn't somebody say so?
    • They're not seeing the bigger picture in all the back and forth debate!

    Have you ever had similar thoughts at a board or staff meeting, PTA or church group, or family conference? Did you have something to add but held back because you weren't sure how your comment would be received? Did you wish later that you'd spoken or wonder why someone else hadn't?

    I've had embarrassing moments speaking up in groups and seen others experience eye-rolling or harsh remarks for bringing up taboo topics. I've also seen questions, suggestions, and comments received gratefully--questions that clarified, suggestions that transformed a group debate into collaborative dialogue, and comments that summarized and helped the group see its progress and understand where it needed to go next.

    Naturally, I'd rather be offering helpful, clarifying, and cogent comments. And that's where the doubt creeps in.

  • Good Will Hunting

    Not just a movie title. While Matt Damon's character's name was Will Hunting - let's try on an alternate meaning.

    What if the next time you notice that you are negatively judging the person you are listening to - you try -"Good Will Hunting."

  • Email Aikido

    Email Aikido

    In the business world, we practice acts of respect, such as shaking hands, using professional language and paying attention to other people's time. But what about when it comes to email? Conflict and communication tools apply to email, too! 

  • Being Heard in Difficult Conversations

    Being Heard in Difficult Conversations

    I've written extensively on how to hold difficult conversations and manage conflict in the workplace-- which you can find in my blog posts and on the Resources/Articles page of my website.

    I recently read another great post on being heard in difficult conversations on the Harvard Business Review blog, called: "How to Make Sure You’re Heard in a Difficult Conversation," by Amy Gallo.

    Amy writes in skill-building, practical language, offering her own awareness tips and strategic phrases on managing various workplace conflicts. I hope you'll also check out her post on "How to Deal with a Passive-Aggressive Colleague" -- a common question in my workshops. I found her thoughts on how to get help and protect yourself in extreme situations particularly useful.

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