Welcome to August's Ki Moments.
I was in Texas and New Mexico last month and worked with a terrific group of professionals on holding critical conversations. The vastness of the western landscape broadened my perspective. You can't help but expand your ki out there!
How is your ki? Breathe in and exhale slowly a few times. Feel your ki expanding and flowing. Relax your forehead. Drop your shoulders. Center. This is a ki moment.
Working with Difficult People: Turning Tormentors into Teachers
Kurt Vonnegut talks about "wrang-wrangs" in our lives, great teachers who are placed in our path. The lessons they teach us are vastly important, and they are taught through struggle, pain, trial, and tribulation. Still, they are important teachers.
The next time a "wrang-wrang" drops into my life, I have the option of recognizing that person as a teacher.
—Anne Wilson Schaef, Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much
It's hard to like everyone. Some of our colleagues are great partners; we know their style and blend easily with their energy. We "dance well together." With others we are always out of step. We wonder, "How can they be that way?" or "What makes them tick?" This is your opportunity to find out.
Consider this an exercise in "self-love" because when you begin to understand the opponent, you're able to return to a more balanced place in yourself. You regain power over your emotions and thoughts, and you can turn your tormentor into a teacher. You'll improve the quality of your work or family life and in time you and your opponent may become partners in problem solving. It's happened before.
When a "wrang-wrang" is placed in your path, try something different:
- Use the difficult person as an opportunity to practice self-reflection. Become curious about why you are triggered in their presence.
- Try to see each "wrang-wrang" as they are, not as you judge them to be. Where might you learn? How is this a ki moment?
- Imagine this teacher's positive intention, hopes, and dreams.
- Expand your "zone of acceptance." Center yourself. Notice how centering changes your relationship to the problem.
- Shift your perspective. Imagine they are someone you don't know but admire, or that they are from a different culture or time period. Listen for something different from them.
When we are in conflict with another, we often see only that part of the person we don't like. When we continue to engage that difficult part, it is hard for them to be anything else. Search for other parts - the person who is someone's longtime friend, proud grandparent, or hopeful son or daughter. Engage the part that can be present with you in a new way.
Let me know how it goes!
If you'd like to read more on this topic, read my article, "Difficult People: 3 Questions to Help You Turn Your Tormentors into Teachers."
This summer, I am highlighting useful resources for managing conflict, communicating with purpose and living life with more energy, power, and joy.
- Interested in increasing your ability to handle the unexpected with more power and grace? Visit the Web site of my friend Sandy Davis, aka The Resilience Guy, and learn some simple and elegant practices to increase your "resilience-readiness."
- Colleague Tony Wilden also combines Aikido practice with more healthful living. His Web site offers tons of free health tips, Aikido tips, articles and book suggestions.
19th Annual Pegasus Conference – Nov. 2-4
Since 1989, Pegasus Communications has offered resources on systems thinking to help individuals, teams, and organizations connect in new ways about persistent challenges.
As a featured speaker at their upcoming fall conference in Seattle, I will be offering a 90-minute workshop, on "Applied Aikido: The Power of Purpose." Keynote speakers include Juana Bordas, John Seely Brown, Peter Senge, Linda Booth Sweeney, and David Whyte. It's a wonderful conference for you and your organization.
Register by August 31 and receive a $200.00 discount.
Learn more at Pegasus.com