Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Purposevision”

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  • 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?

  • Election Day

    Election Day

    I don't have much to say today, except that...

    I really hope the winners of today's U.S. elections devote as much energy toward uniting our polarized sides as they've put into winning votes, so that we can begin to solve the difficult problems facing us. I really hope the sides turn toward each other tomorrow respecting the outcome and showing our country and its people that we can move forward together instead of stagnating separately.

    I'm always surprised when those in leadership focus on talking points that increase divisiveness instead of inviting dialogue that strives to include all points of view. It just seems so harmful to drive wedges and so healthy to unite. Why can't we do it? ...

  • No Regrets: Mothers, Daughters and Families

    No Regrets: Mothers, Daughters and Families

    As I've written previously, I'm quite privileged at present to be part of a family support team for my mother, Lorna, who lives in Naperville, Illinois. At 91, she is an inspiration to her five children, her friends, caregivers, and the managers of the supportive living community in Naperville that she's about to make her new home.

    Since May, when she took a fall in her kitchen, we've all been growing more aware that, while she's completely able in mind, body and spirit, it might be a good idea for Mom to exchange condo living for community living. There have been decisions to make, family conferences, and open, honest dialogue along the way. There has been conflict, too--each one an opportunity to widen our perspectives about what is best for our mother. And I'm grateful for how we're figuring it out together.

    Back in the spring when Mom was recovering her strength after the fall, the situation was more difficult. At the time, I thought a great deal about what was most important when making decisions that affected Mom and all of us, financially and emotionally. And I came up with three directives that I continually refer to whenever a decision has to be made....

  • Big Papi: Unafraid to Fail

    Big Papi: Unafraid to Fail

    I love watching Big Papi, aka David Ortiz -- the Boston Red Sox designated hitter, clutch player, and hometown hero. It's his last season in baseball--he's retiring this year--and there have been numerous opportunities to watch him being interviewed. This past month, I've listened to two interviews on TV and read the special Sports Illustrated issue devoted to his career.

    His comments from a recent TV interview impressed me so much I wrote them down:

    They talk about tools in baseball, and they never talk about the mental tool. But to me it's the most important one, because that's the one that dictates what kind of player you want to be.

    This from a man who was born to poverty in the Dominican Republic and for whom English is a second language. He goes on ...

  • The Dance of Relationship

    The Dance of Relationship

    My last post, "Don't Tell Me To Relax!" drew quite a few email responses--readers grateful for the reminder to center and extend ki (energy) in more intentional ways. The line I quoted from E. E. Cummings--i am through you so I--reinforces the central theme of the post--who we are in any given moment creates that moment and has a huge influence on those around us.

    I'm currently reading, The Elephant in the Room: How Relationships Make or Break the Success of Leaders and Organizations, by Diana McLain Smith. The premise of the book is that the quality of your relationships ultimately determines the quality of your life. More than technical skill, our ability to understand how we "dance" with each other in the complex world of relationship is at the epicenter of social and business success. 

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