Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

  • 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.

    Mindfulness.

    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.

  • Groundhog Day Revisited: The Power of Purpose

    Groundhog Day Revisited: The Power of Purpose

    “Tell me, what is it you plan to do 
    with your one wild and precious life?” 
    ― Mary Oliver

    Five years ago, I wrote a post on the movie Groundhog Day and the metaphor so beautifully expressed in that film starring Bill Murray. I'm one of many who love the movie and its attention to how we can live the same day over and over again without noticing the beauty and possibility it holds.

    An animated film I watched recently--Shaun the Sheep Movie--had a parallel theme. Although  created in a very different style, the story tells us about Shaun the Sheep who, like Bill Murray's Phil in Groundhog Day, lives a life of sameness.

    After a variety of misadventures, however, Shaun sees and understands his life from a new perspective....

  • Centering Help from Harvard: Calming Your Brain

    Centering Help from Harvard: Calming Your Brain

    Practicing mindfulness in the middle of a conflict demands a willingness to stay present, to feel intensely, to override our negative thoughts, and to engage our breath to maintain presence with the body. Like any skill, it takes practice.

    ~ Diana Musho Hamilton

    Emotional triggers--they get me everytime. Values tread upon, injustices overlooked, or just plain wrongheadedness! It takes continual awarenss to notice myself being hijacked and to choose a different path. 

    I do practice what I teach, however, and over the years, I've  become more centered in times like this. Or let me say, I've traveled the path from uncentered to centered more quickly and, generally, lead a calmer and more focused life. But ask my husband, sisters, brother and mom--I hope they'll say the same. 

    Recently, I read an article in the Harvard Business Review by Diane Musho Hamilton, internationally recognized mediator, facilitator and the author of Everything is Workable. The article opens with one of the easiest-to-understand descriptions I've seen of just how and why we get triggered and the consequences that follow from being unconsciously reactive....

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