Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Purposevision”

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  • 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....

  • Centered in Center Field

    Centered in Center Field


    When Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the pioneer of positive psychology, writes about the "flow" state, he describes it as a quality of being, with certain traits:

    • Challenges are higher than average.
    • Skills are higher than average.
    • You're doing what you really like to do and are completely involved.
    • You have clarity; you know what needs to be done and how well you're doing.
    • A feeling of serenity; going beyond the bounds of the ego.
    • Timelessness; totally focused on the present; time disappears.

    This pretty much describes how it was on July 31, New Hampshire Day at Fenway Park, when I was invited to sing the National Anthem at a Boston Red Sox game. I was honored to be in this position. And I knew it was going to be a test of sorts and an opportunity to practice what I teach....

  • 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....

  • Practice Deep Breathing

    Practice Deep Breathing


    I saw an article recently titled "Rise Above Your Awful Commute" about how to stay calm in the midst of traffic jams, rapid transit delays, commuter rail breakdowns and other similar challenges of getting where you want to go on time. The article encouraged strategies to be productive, lower tension in crowded places, and calm yourself during the commute as well as ways to shake off the effects once you arrive at your destination, such as:

    • Download and listen to calming music, audio or e-book.
    • Take a walk around the block before going to your desk.
    • Think about an inspiring person, story, or value you hold.
    • Spend a few minutes in a setting with natural light, vegetation or similar calming attributes.

    What stuck with me most: practice deep breathing...

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • Naive Realism: Cornering the Market on Truth

    Naive Realism: Cornering the Market on Truth

    It's been a crowded few weeks since our new year began. I've been busy working on my second book designed to help managers, supervisors and leaders work with coworkers in conflict. I'm really enjoying the process and learning a lot.

    It's also been a turbulent and dramatic time in the U.S. and the world. As citizens of a great nation, we continue to take positions rather than work together to solve our differences. People ask me what they should do. I tell them to work their side of the street. Don't expect to change people--their beliefs, values, or politics--with physical or verbal force.

    The majority of the work in any successful conflict conversation is work you do on yourself. No matter how well (or poorly) the conversation goes, you need to stay in charge of yourself, your purpose and your emotional energy. Breathe, center, and notice when you lose center--and choose to return again. This is Aikido.

    To that end, this post offers some insight into a concept called naive realismNaive realism makes conflict conversations difficult, because we think we've cornered the market on truth...

  • Power & Love: What Would MLK Do?

    Power & Love: What Would MLK Do?

    Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political, and economic change.... And one of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites, polar opposites, so that love is identified with the resignation of power, and power with the denial of love.... Now we've got to get this thing right. What [we need to realize is] that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.... It is precisely this collision of immoral power with powerless morality which constitutes the major crisis of our times.
    ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
    "Where do We Go From Here?"

    The next time you find yourself choosing between power and love, see it as a false choice. You can be powerful and loving, assertive and understanding. Like courageous leaders everywhere, you can have strong opinions and be open to influence. It's a practice worth cultivating....

  • What We Do Matters: Thoughts for a New Year

    What We Do Matters: Thoughts for a New Year

    Look at this window: it is nothing but a hole in the wall, but because of it the whole room is full of light.  Being full of light it becomes an influence by which others are secretly transformed.

    – Chuang Tsu

    What we do matters. Our lives matter. Some days it may not seem so. Some days nothing makes sense, obstacles abound, and life is hard. Especially on those days, it matters. How we live our lives, the way we walk into a room, smile and continue moving forward with--and toward--purpose makes all the difference--to us and everyone we touch.

    In this early part of 2017, recommit to creating your life each moment. Know that you make a difference every day, whether for good or ill. I know the choice isn't always easy. It's easy to pretend the choices we make don't matter. They do. What you do, what you say, matters.

  • It's All So Simple

    It's All So Simple

    In his thoughtful and thought provoking song "Anyone Can Whistle," Stephen Sondheim writes:

    It's all so simple,
    Relax, let go, let fly.
    So someone tell me, why can't I?

    In this month of giving and gathering, when we all do more and push harder, we don't have much time for relaxing and letting go. In our bustling and striving, we barely remember what we're bustling and striving for. In our rush to find the perfect turkey or bottle of wine, we forget why we're looking. Mindful of the next task, we miss being present to this one.

    Sondheim's words make me stop and think about simplicity. As the song says, we can dance tangos, slay dragons, and read Greek. What's hard is simple. But to be simple is hard. I don't know about you, but my growing up was about working harder not easier. Case in point ... this article was originally twice as long and said less.

    I'm just thinking out loud, but what if this holiday season I drafted a new blueprint for success?

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