Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

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  • May 5, 2020

    How Is Aikido Relevant Today?

    How Is Aikido Relevant Today?

    by Brian Maguire

    I’m sitting at my desk, practicing the social distancing advised by the CDC. The kids are off in cyberspace and I’m awaiting news about a friend who is getting tested for Covid-19 exposure. Like many, I’m anxious about this situation. I’ve never lived through a pandemic and I’m trying to cope. Aikido has been helping with that.

    Aikido training does much for a person. It teaches that through practice with scary situations, you can learn to control your emotional response. In aikido, this starts with the initial attack. You cannot stop the attack, just respond to it. You cannot control your attacker, just yourself. The attacker doesn’t have to be a smiling partner that says "onegai shimasu".* It can just as easily be a faceless virus. Maintain your center and calmly meet the attack....

  • July 17, 2018

    Questions in Service of the Asked

    Questions in Service of the Asked

    I first heard the phrase--"questions in service of the asked"--as a participant in a workshop with Essential Partners, originally the Public Conversations Project, in Boston. It took me some time--and a lot of practice--to figure out what it meant and how to do it.

    I've written previously about the power of inquiry, curiosity and discovery, of asking useful questions, and of acknowledging what you hear to make sure the "asked" knows you're listening. After almost 25 years of teaching, coaching, and my own experience in conflict situations (yes, I have them, too), I can still get stuck on what questions to ask. What would help unravel this conflict knot? How can I better see where this person is coming from? What needs to happen here to find resolution?

  • July 7, 2015

    Be More: Turn Gossip Into Direct Communication

    Be More: Turn Gossip Into Direct Communication

    It's always great to hear from past and current clients about how they utilize my work and writing personally and within their organizations. And sometimes I get a surprise, as I did last week when I received an email from someone I'd never met--an employee in a major global financial institution. The financial institution included my Checklist for Managing Difficult Conversations in a regional communication program encouraging staff to "Be More." 

    In the 9-day program, there were a number of challenges participants had to complete that helped them "Be More" in important aspects of their leadership and communication.

    Under the heading of "Be More Honest," the company explored the topic of gossip and encouraged staff to take the challenge to reach out to talk to someone directly if they felt the urge to "gossip" about someone. They then reported their experiences, which the employee gave me permission to share...

  • March 31, 2015

    5 Tips for Introverts on Tackling Difficult Conversations

    5 Tips for Introverts on Tackling Difficult Conversations

    Do tentative conversation skills get in the way of your work? Does lack of confidence stop you from offering a different opinion, saying no, or asking for what you want? As a conflict coach and introvert who engages in difficult conversations, I know we’re not born with these skills. It's all about understanding how to use your natural abilities and have the conversations you want to have with ease and true connection.

  • February 3, 2015

    A Difficult Conversation with My Husband Turns Into an Unexpected Gift

    A Difficult Conversation with My Husband Turns Into an Unexpected Gift

    It was a difficult conversation with my husband, one of many on a theme that had followed us over the course of our 40-year marriage. I had made a statement that I thought reflected appreciation. However, he interpreted it as criticism and became upset. I could immediately see how the statement was misinterpreted and wanted to interrupt and tell him the real meaning and the mistake he'd made in thinking I meant something else.

  • November 13, 2012

    Respect Is Like Air: Finding the Hidden Gift

    Respect Is Like Air: Finding the Hidden Gift

    Respect is like air, I’ve heard it said. When it’s plentiful, you never think about it. But when it’s missing, you can’t think about anything else.

    I was swimming at the Portsmouth Indoor Pool early one morning. My lane partner was taking up more of the lane than I thought necessary, more than his share. I was grouchy, shrinking and trying not to be run over as he swam by in the other direction…

  • August 22, 2011

    3 Communication Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

    Do you have a hard time handling even minor conflicts at work? You’re not alone. And… You can change your reactive habits to more conscious responsive ones.

  • August 1, 2011

    Ki Moments August 2011

    Way before we take action, there is an energy that’s present in the body. When you recognize that energy, you have the freedom to surface it, work with it, and change it.

  • January 1, 2011

    Ki Moments January 2011

    What is your dream? What gives you energy just thinking about it?

  • June 1, 2010

    Ki Moments June 2010

    With awareness, I discover what causes me to act and what holds me back; I clarify choices, and I practice purposeful action.

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