Welcome to November's Ki Moments ...
And thank you for subscribing. "Ki" is Japanese for life energy.
My goal is to provide inspiration on ways to extend our "Ki" more purposefully, stay more present through life's challenges, and turn our "key" moments into "Ki" moments of opportunity and power.
I hope you enjoy this month's story: "Thank You Very Much," in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday. And, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Thank You Very Much
At the end of aikido practice, I express gratitude to each partner by bowing and saying: "Thank you very much." I've found over the years that sometimes I have obvious reasons to say thank you - working with that person was exhilarating and fun. And sometimes the reasons are not so obvious - my partner was stiff, rough, unconscious, or generally difficult to work with.
Still, I say thank you, because we're supposed to.
Over the years, I have learned to look for something to be grateful for. With my stiff partner, I learned to be more flexible. With the rough opponent, I learned to take care of myself by speaking up or falling more carefully. In each case, I look for the gift. It's become fun to do this, and fun to apply this learning off the mat as well.
Who are your attackers, and where are the unexpected gifts? After an encounter with the pokey driver ahead, if you had to say, "Thank you very much," what would you see as the gift? With a dismissive coworker or boss, if you had to look for the gift, what would it be? In each "difficult" relationship, where's the gift?
As you approach Thanksgiving this year, be grateful not only for the obvious gifts but for the unexpected ones. Wishing you many of both kinds . . .
This is the third in a series of brief articles on holding difficult conversations. In September's Ki Moments, I suggested ways to open communications that create mutual respect. In October, we talked about the importance of knowing your purpose for the conversation.
Today the topic is curiosity
Curiosity is one of the most useful tools in the communication toolbox. When you enter the conversation with "beginner's mind," you will necessarily adopt the attitude of a learner. You will not have to pretend to ask honest, open questions. They will come naturally. As you listen, you can reflect on what is being said (and not said). You will gain information and ease tension. If you can't think of a question, you can always acknowledge what you've heard, or you can say: "I see, tell me more about that."
One of the reasons we're not curious more often is that we mentally equate curiosity with agreement. We think that if we don't disagree immediately, our conversation partner will assume we're okay with whatever he is saying. This is not useful thinking. It prevents you from seeing the whole picture and from learning where your partner is coming from.
In the spirit of the season, give yourself and your difficult partners a gift by asking questions - questions to which you do not know the answer. Live, learn, and enjoy the moment.
Stay tuned for more conversation tips next month. Good luck and good communication!
Visit my website for more articles on Difficult Conversations
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Judy Ringer is Founder of Power & Presence Training, a Portsmouth, NH company specializing in unique workshops to help you and your organization manage conflict, communicate effectively, and co-create a more positive work environment. E-mail Judy at email@example.com for a free initial meeting to discuss your training needs.
Ki (from Ai-ki-do) is Japanese for life energy. Ki Moments is a complimentary monthly "e-zine" with tips and how-to articles to help you manage the key moments in your life.
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