Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Aikido”

Show all posts

  • October 24, 2017

    Conflict, Creativity, and Compassion

    Conflict, Creativity, and Compassion

    You have more power than you think.
    When you change, everything changes.

    Recently I gave a 30-minute presentation on Conflict, Creativity, and Compassion for Creative Mornings Portsmouth. It helps to add a little creativity and compassion to conflict, don't you agree?

    I get inspired by what I teach -- how to use the energy of conflict instead of fighting it. How to work with your opponents and turn them into partners for problem solving. How to think a little differently....

  • October 10, 2017

    Center As You Enter: Creating Centering Practices That Stick

    Center As You Enter: Creating Centering Practices That Stick

    I open my eyes. Morning.

    Quiet time. Meditation.

    I  relish this moment. Yes, there is much to do. The difficult conversation ahead. The pile of work sitting on my desk and on my mind. The emails to return. The seminar to design. Do I have time?

    Yes. I will make time. I will sit quietly and do nothing. Nothing except to notice the breath coming in and going out of my body. The thoughts, the physical awareness, the birds chirping outside my window. All coming and going, like the breath.

    Wendy Palmer, a teacher of aikido and leadership presence categorizes the many ways to practice centering into three areas: committed practice, ritual practice, and spontaneous practice.

  • September 26, 2017

    The Language of Centering

    The Language of Centering

    The driver cut me off without warning. We almost collided. My pulse accelerated, my adrenaline pumped, my anger went from 0 to 60 in less than a second.

    I breathe in, exhale, and choose to center. At first I'm only about 20 percent centered. I keep breathing. 30%. I think: what rational explanation would allow for that driver to do what he did? 40%. More breathing. 50%. Smile to myself--everything’s okay. No damage done. 75%. It’s over, without me doing anything I’ll regret later. Life is good. 100%.

    The language and practice of centering is one in which some people are fairly fluent. Yet even those who understand the concept are often unsure exactly how to get there on purpose.

  • September 12, 2017

    The Secret Ingredient in Difficult Conversations: Acknowledgment

    The Secret Ingredient in Difficult Conversations: Acknowledgment


    I'm writing a new book about how to manage and resolve employee confict. One of the key ingredients in working with conflict and possibly the most underutilized communication skill is acknowledgment. Acknowledgment is the secret to turning difficult conversations around.

    Because it demonstrates a willingness and ability to reflect back a view or thought process that is different and possibly in opposition to your own, acknowledgment makes a powerful statement. It says, “I heard you, I’m trying to understand, and this is the meaning I’m making out of what I heard.” It shows respect and a disposition toward resolution....

  • August 15, 2017

    Time Management is Self Management

    Time Management is Self Management


    When I think about time management I smile. Time is what it is. What we manage is ourselves. Time management is self-management, energy management. If I only have so much energy, where do I focus it? So this is really a conversation about Purpose.

    In Aikido, we have a free-style sparring practice called "randori," in which the student stands alone on the practice mat and as many as five opponents attack simultaneously. The term literally means "chaos taking." The workplace—and life—can feel like this. Which task, event, or relationship do I take on first? How do I manage the chaos?

    The first secret of randori is to handle one adversary at a time....

  • June 20, 2017

    Coming to Center: An Aikido Guidebook for Managers with Employees in Conflict

    Coming to Center: An Aikido Guidebook for Managers with Employees in Conflict


    When you have two individuals at odds, and each is valuable to the organization, knowledgeable, experienced, and compatible with everyone but each other, what do you do?

    I'm in the process of writing a new book: Coming To Center, An Aikido Guidebook for Managers with Employees in Conflict.

    The book illustrates a four-phase model I use when I'm invited to coach employees who are in conflict with each other and can't find their way out.

    If this has happened in your team or organization, you may have tried:

    • The pep talkCome on, now, you can do this. Rise above it.
    • The appeal to compassion and empathyTry not to take things so personally; see things from their perspective.
    • The common-sense approachYour work is suffering. Something has to change. You don't have to be best friends, but you do have to work together and get the job done.

    You may have also tried evading, ignoring, and hoping the situation will resolve itself. You’ve probably brought the topic up at performance reviews and talked to colleagues, coaches, and consultants. And yet the problem persists.

  • June 6, 2017

    What Aikido Can Teach Us About Learning Plateaus

    What Aikido Can Teach Us About Learning Plateaus

    The achievement of goals is important. But the real juice of life, whether it be sweet or bitter, is to be found not nearly so much in the products of our efforts as in the process of living itself, in how it feels to be alive.
    ~George Leonard

    I receive many thoughtful responses to my monthly posts. Recently an Aikidoist from Canberra Australia, James Samana, emailed me some late night reflections on his Aikido journey. 

    James is a black belt in Aikido and works for the Australian Public Service as an executive coach, course designer and facilitator. I couldn't help extending his Aikido experience to the way we practice, learn, and attain mastery in any endeavor, including the mastery of conflict and communication--if that indeed ever happens.

  • May 9, 2017

    Want Creative Conflict? Find Thought Partners Who Disagree

    Want Creative Conflict? Find Thought Partners Who Disagree


    I had a great idea for a new workshop. My colleague disagreed. I disliked his feedback and dismissed it. He just didn't get it! 

    Later, I revisited what he said and decided to call back and ask for specifics. Why didn't he think people would want to attend? What would he change to make it more inviting and useful? I asked him to push back more and used the feedback to create a more compelling program.

    In her TED Talk, Dare to Disagree, on creative conflict, author and CEO Margaret Heffernan offers a view of conflict so contrary to the typical TV images, Facebook rage, and Twitter rants of positional confrontation, that it is difficult to believe, unless you've tried it. She tells the story of Alice Stewart, a British scientist in the 1950s, who theorized that x-rays of pregnant women proved damaging to the fetus. But to be sure, she invited a colleague--statistician George Kneale--to poke holes in her theory; to, in fact, disprove it. She wanted to make sure she hadn't missed anything...

  • April 11, 2017

    How to Say No: Tips and Tools

    How to Say No: Tips and Tools

    Assertiveness has never been my strong point. Maybe that's why I watch people who are really good at it, read books and take courses on it, and practice whenever I can.

    The impetus for my current life's work teaching conflict and communication skills actually grew out of my inability to express myself. 

    I was a successful real estate agent and company owner back in 80's, and I often found myself in the middle of a heated contest between buyer and seller or with a banker, building inspector, or concerned family member. My default conflict style is to accommodate other people’s wishes, and that isn’t always useful in negotiated transactions.

  • February 28, 2017

    Coaching Corner: 4 Centering Practices to Increase Confidence and Focus

    Coaching Corner: 4 Centering Practices to Increase Confidence and Focus

    How do you practice centering?

    It's been a while since I've written about specific ways to get centered and to incorporate the practice of centering into your daily life, and it's best to start with the basics, like breathing in and out consciously. One of my personal favorite reminders to center is to notice when I'm holding my breath--it happens more often than you'd guess--and to open my throat and let the breath come in.

    We're usually not breathing when we’re upset or in conflict, but sometimes we stop for no real reason--opening a car door, for example, or sitting at your computer. You could be doing it now. Are you breathing? Just try to notice more often. It's a simple and powerful practice.

Page 1 of 6 Next