Why Complicate Your Life?

I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become

Jung

 

I recently received an email from Ida (name changed). She’d heard me speak at a luncheon and was hoping I might be able to help her because she hasn’t dated in ten years! Here’s a slice of what she wrote:

 

“I dated a guy for four years during college. We dreamed of getting married and growing old together. There was just one problem: Communication! He could never understand me. I’d try to communicate how I was feeling but it never ended well. It left me feeling inept and him frustrated. His family loved me, my family loved him, we had the same morals, the same religion, and the same aspirations in life, but in the end we just fought too much. It would take us days to resolve a fight because we wouldn’t be able to see eye to eye. I haven’t dated anyone for ten years because I honestly thought that if it didn’t work out with him it wouldn’t work out with anyone.”

 

I’m not a dating coach, but I think I can help Ida – at least help her see her situation from a new perspective.

 

Relationship is ALL about communication. 

 

The quality of our life is in direct proportion to the quality of the communication in our life.

 

I’m not able (at this point) to analyze where and how the communication broke down in her relationship BUT I can pinpoint where the communication broke down in terms of how she communicated with her own self.

 

Ida decided that because her relationship with her college beau didn’t work out, then, she had no chance with any other man on the face of the earth! This arbitrary decision was based on a sampling of just one man!

 

She convinced herself it was true and because she believed it to be true, she cut herself off from the possibility of romantic love. For ten years she has allowed herself to be held hostage by a lie.

 

If she wants to date again, then she can. The only thing holding her back is the lie she bought into ten years ago.

 

But here’s the thing – most of us, at one time or another in our lives, buy into a self-imposed lie that ends up sabotaging us.

 

Typical lies include:

I have to be “perfect” for people to appreciate me; I have to have everyone “love” me in order to be worthwhile, etc., etc.

 

Are you feeling constrained, trapped, or demotivated?

Chances are it’s because you’re believing a lie that you’ve convinced yourself is true.

 

Put the spotlight on the lie, bravely expose it for the nonsense it is and then do something that gives you life and doesn’t keep you locked away.

 

Oh, and Ida’s joining Match.com this week!

 

Do you complicate your life with lies that hold you hostage?

Do you want to have the confidence that will allow you

to engage others without crippling self-consciousness?

 

To explore how one-on-one communication skills coaching can help you present you with enhanced confidence,

please contact me

  [email protected]

818-415-8115

About Those Voices in Your Head?!

 

Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets – and this is one of my favorite Mary Oliver poems.

 

I often turn to this poem when I need a shot of encouragement. . .

 

The Journey

Mary Oliver

    One day you finally knew

    what you had to do, and began,

    though the voices around you

    kept shouting

    their bad advice–

    though the whole house

    began to tremble

    and you felt the old tug

    at your ankles.

    “Mend my life!”

    each voice cried.

    But you didn’t stop.

    You knew what you had to do,

    though the wind pried

    with its stiff fingers

    at the very foundations,

    though their melancholy

    was terrible.

    It was already late

    enough, and a wild night,

    and the road full of fallen

    branches and stones.

    But little by little,

    as you left their voices behind,

    the stars began to burn

    through the sheets of clouds,

    and there was a new voice

    which you slowly

    recognized as your own,

    that kept you company

    as you strode deeper and deeper

    into the world,

    determined to do

    the only thing you could do–

    determined to save

    the only life you could save.

 

 

I especially like the lines,

You knew what you had to do. . .

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own

 

As with so many of us, there are “voices” that cause us to doubt our abilities and ourselves.

 

Voices that paralyze us.

 

Voices that “sound” real and yet, the fears they instill in us are remote possibilities at best, illusory at worst.

 

And, still, we give them power.

 

What is something you know you have to do, yet, haven’t mustered the courage because you’ve paid too much attention to the “voices” that say: “Don’t!” and “Why bother? What’s the use?”

 

Why do you give those lying voices power?

 

Are there voices you’re ignoring? Voices that speak of work that excites you and generates curiosity?

 

What would your daily life look like, if you quieted the voices that sabotage you and instead welcomed the voices that encourage you to risk?

 

Why not begin to do today what you know you have to do and let that be your legacy for this day. . .

 

and then, take it up again tomorrow. . .and tomorrow. . .

 

 

Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from

doing the work you know in your heart you want to do?

To explore how life coaching can help you gain clarity + emotional courage,

please contact me:

[email protected]

818-415-8115

Thank You!!

 

THANK YOU!

To all of you who subscribe to my monthly newsletter –

I’m grateful for our connection

and promise to continue to find ways for us to connect and grow!

Onward and upward –

Always!

~JP

How Good Are YOU at Spotting Opportunity?

My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon.

Mizuta Masahide

My friend Sue is Director of College Counseling at a private high school here in LA. Way before the college application had hit the news, she arranged for me to speak with the Junior class on “how to prepare for college.” While I presume most of you have put your college years behind you, I think the advice I offered the juniors might still be helpful. Here’s the gist of what I told them:

 

When I was seven I landed in the hospital for four months with a heart ailment. The day after I returned home, an elderly neighbor dropped off two shopping bags filled with National Geographic magazines. I soon was devouring the stash, dreaming of a day when I’d have my own exotic adventure.

 

That opportunity came when I was a senior at Fordham University in NYC. Bill McGary, director of Xavier High School in Chuuk, Micronesia (island grouping 700 miles south of Guam) came to my service organization looking for volunteer teachers. I had no idea where Chuuk was located. I only knew it was in the South Pacific, home to many of my National Geographic fantasies.

 

Turns out, the three years I spent teaching at XHS were the happiest of my life. They shaped me into the man I’ve become.

 

Life is funny – had I not gone to Fordham I wouldn’t have met Bill McGary and if I hadn’t met Bill I wouldn’t have gone to Chuuk and if I hadn’t gone to Chuuk, my life would have been the poorer for it.

But here’s the kicker – I hated Fordham U!  Yes, it’s a wonderful school, but I’d gone to Fordham Prep and so had already spent four years on the campus. I wanted to get away from my overly protective parents, but they’d have none of it. Fordham was the only school they were willing to pay for.

 

What I have learned and re-learned in my life is that opportunity is everywhere –

if only we have the eyes and ears and heart to recognize opportunity when it bumps into us. 

 

I told the juniors that the best way to prepare for college is by learning how to recognize opportunity in unlikely places. 

 

Isn’t that the best preparation for life?

 

In recent years my friend Ava (name changed) has developed an interest in wines. Last Thanksgiving we went wine tasting in Los Olivos. At one winery Ava shared with the woman serving us how she wished she had her job. Turns out, the woman was in charge of staffing and she was looking for people to add to the roster.

 

While Ava isn’t going to be quitting her full time job, she is spending weekends working at the winery – and having an utter blast!

 

Opportunity – it’s everywhere.  Hidden – waiting – unexpected.

What about you – are you ready for when opportunity knocks you over the head?!

 

Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from recognizing all the ways opportunity is manifesting in your life?

To explore how life coaching can help you “see” more clearly, please contact me:

  [email protected]

818-415-8115

 

How to SHOW UP to Your Life!

 

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Last week, while mulling over this newsletter, I received an email from a former student, a fellow for whom I’d written a letter of recommendation to med school. Since he reads the newsletter, I’ll respect his privacy and call him Peter.

 

Peter reported that he did not get into med school this round AND he was not giving-up. If anything, he has a new-found sense of determination and hope. His note was truly heartening. Two years ago he would have caved in to feelings of guilt and hopelessness, this time was different.

 

What happened?

 

He was different.

Certain experiences of the past year altered his attitude + perception about himself and his desires and his abilities.

 

Another way of saying this is that this time around Peter is – SHOWING UP to his life.

 

Confident people Show Up to their lives.

 

They are present, being self and “other” aware in the moment.

When a confident person Shows Up they take responsibility for engaging with their life in all its unpredicatableness and messiness.

 

Michael, a newish client, shared in our latest session his frustration dealing with a couple of direct reports who consistently give push-back.

 

He is so focused on his frustration that he’s allowed himself to feel trapped like a hostage. He believes the lie he has no options.

 

But – Michael does have options – just as Peter has options.

 

Michael needs to do what Peter did. He needs to – Show Up.

 

He has to snap out of his self-hypnosis and develop a plan.

He has to decide what he wants his direct reports to:

Know

Do

Feel

 

For Michael – and for most of us – the Challenge is to go from the book / pod / video / class notes to the real experience of life in all its communication messiness and wackadoness!

 

And I’m now convinced it is ALL about – “working out.”

 

You go to the gym, park, beach or mountains to exercise. You do yoga, bike or lift weights with commitment.

 

Most of us commit because we want to see something happen – whether it’s to run a marathon or fit into a particular size of clothing.

 

Most of us exercise wanting and visualizing ourselves being different.

 

Why don’t we apply this technique to how we “exercise” the way we communicate?

 

I’m suggesting you –

Visualize

  • What do you want to look like as someone who SHOWS UP?
  • How do you want to feel being a confident communicator?
  • How do you want to sound?

 

I will admit, I’m feeling like a hypocrite as I write all this BECAUSE two weeks ago I was handed a last-minute gig. A speaker had backed out of a workshop for seventy beauty professionals from South America who were expecting a three-hour workshop on “managing high-performing teams.”

I had 72 hours to prepare and I wasn’t sure I could deliver the value, worth and good memory they were expecting.

 

My default setting is to worry with self-doubt – and not Show Up.

My default setting is to believe it is wrong not to self-doubt!

 

The challenge –

To Show Up trusting myself and my ability.

How do that?

  1. Show Up aware of what I’m feeling + how I could sabotage myself with a self-defeating story about self and others
  2. Show Up knowing what I want
  3. Show Up believing I’m capable of pursuing what I want
  4. Show Up ready to do the strategy I’ve devised
  5. Show Up committed to practicing + then reflecting on how I’ve practiced

 

Business coach Dane Sanders likes to ask the question:

If there was a story that was truer than the story you tell yourself now – about you – would you want to know it?

 

In order to Show Up you have to be willing to tell a truer story of who you are.

 

My workshop turned out different than I had anticipated. I gave them something they weren’t expecting and something they could build upon.

 

I Showed Up.

 

I Showed Up because I told myself a different story about myself. A story where I wasn’t doomed to make a fool out of myself.

 

I was like Peter who is reapplying to med school because he’s told himself a truer story about himself. Peter has decided to trust himself, trust his desire and trust his new strategy. That trust – that truer story – is what’s allowing him to reapply to med school.

 

The “Business” of Confidence is about telling yourself the right story about yourself – and then showing up!

 

Want help creating a strategy for Showing-Up to YOUR life?

Have you been thinking about Life-Skills Coaching?

Let’s explore how I can help you gain massive traction on your goals!

 

[email protected]

818-415-8115

Above ALL Else, Confidence = Gratitude!

 

2018 was the year my friend Anne came face-to-face with cancer.

 

As is often the case, her diagnosis came after a routine check-up and it came as a shock.

 

She lives in Northern California and I’m down SoCal way along with many of her family and oldest friends. Throughout the year, along every step of the grueling treatment process, Anne and her husband Rob have sent out detailed updates.

 

Towards the end of last year, Anne sent an update that cheered and moved me. It was a love letter of sorts to several of the medical professionals who have been carefully and lovingly (not too strong a word) tending to her.

 

I’m sharing the letter here because I’m proud to be Anne’s friend – and if you read her update, you’ll quickly understand why!

 

And I’m sharing her letter here, on this blog, because this blog is devoted to “the business of confidence.” I’m now at a place in my life where I’m convinced the most confident person is a grateful person. Anne has reminded me of this truth.

 

And the professionals who are part of her medical team remind me that confident people are so good at what they do that they make what they do look “simple” – even when it isn’t.

 

Confident people know that life is all about relationships – and relationships are all about the details – a look, a smile, a touch. Thinking ahead. Speaking up when we can’t. Saying nothing when silence is more powerful.

 

Read this – and then go write a few thank-you notes of your own!

 

I want to take a minute to tell you about the people whom I believed saved my life (at least up to this point). The people who we came into contact with who work at Stanford are the kindest, most compassionate people. From the doctors and nurses to the parking attendant and shop keepers. ALL of them! I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to receive treatment there.

 

There are 5 people who come into my mind automatically, just to give you an example.

 

Becky – an RN who could not have been more helpful, kind, compassionate, honest and funny. She made my original biopsy confirmation happen faster than we thought possible because she could see how desperate I was to get started.

 

She explained what chemo would bring with kindness, honesty and humor and made it not seem quite so bad. She was sort of the first person who we met and she has continuously gone out of her way to help make every step of this as easy as possible.

 

She schedules my appointments so that they fall together and we have to make fewer trips (even when I know there isn’t really a time open and she makes one open up magically).

 

She calls me and really sounds sad when my platelets aren’t high enough for chemo. She gets it. She goes over what everything means as many times as I need it. And she is a fellow See’s Candy Milk Chocolate California brittle lover.

 

Arati – My nurse practitioner who really is my everyday doctor. She’s the one I see each appointment before chemo. Her intelligence and experience are so apparent in everything she says and yet she explains it all in a way that makes sense and asks if I have any other questions even when I have already asked a million.

 

She does not hesitate to answer and she does not sugar coat her answers when I ask the hard (or sometimes impossible) questions. 

She is truly excited for us when the news is good and she shows real empathy when it is not so good. Her eyes are filled with her feelings and it is very real. I have a trust in her that is very comforting.

 

Dr Dorigo – My gynecological oncologist/surgeon. My favorite people to be around have always been really smart people. (It’s one of the reasons I love Rob (her husband) so much!) Let me just say that I know one when I see one and Oliver Dorigo is one smart cookie. Exactly who you want leading your cancer team.

 

We don’t see him too often but he is filled with optimism and hope and kindness whenever we do.

 

Besides being smart he is open about options and asks us questions that include us in the plan. He patiently answers questions, is honest and up to date on new treatments and anything that may be the next thing coming. I love that. And he left me with an awesome scar!

 

John – My nurse from chemo #1 at Stanford’s Redwood City facility. John was the person who administered my first chemo infusion and he was so patient and informative and gave us great info, lots of details and made our first foray into chemo not scary at all.

 

We talked chemo but we also talked sports and family and fun stuff like that. All the nurses that followed were wonderful too but John was special. And I am so happy that he was first. His words of instruction and encouragement came back to me often during the days and weeks that followed each chemo treatment.

 

Finally – John – my nephew. John is a doctor at Stanford (and now Facebook) and he is the one who got us into Stanford and got us an impossibly quick appointment with Dr. Dorigo the minute he heard. If not for him, none of these people would be in my life. The life they saved.

I know he will be very embarrassed by this but I just have to say it. Not only did he do the first introductions but he pushed me to be more assertive and when I couldn’t push myself to do it, he made the calls for me. To get me on the VIP list for my surgery, to get in to see the palliative care Doctor and even to talk to me about alternative treatments as Rob and I were sitting outside the marijuana dispensary not knowing what the heck might work for my out of control nausea.

 

He calls and talks to me as long as I want and always has a solution for everything and he has already acted on it before I can even think about it. His love and constant positive encouragement has meant everything to me. He has saved my life as well. And I love him endlessly.

 

I know that this is not over. The next step is a CT scan in a few weeks to confirm the results of the chemo treatments. Then I will see the radiation oncologist to discuss radiation therapy and then back to Dr. Dorigo to put all of the next steps together and make a plan for future treatments.

 

This list of people who have helped make this journey easier is far from comprehensive. But I felt like giving Stanford and its people the credit they deserve was long overdue.

 

We head to Palm Desert tomorrow to rest, visit, swim (I hope), roast, eat and drink (I also hope!). We will also be celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary. . .

A Scary New Year’s Resolution!

 

The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life.

C.S. Lewis

 

Late last October I landed in the hospital for a couple of days with A-Fib + fluid on the lungs + congestive heart failure thrown in for good measure. Ask my friends and they’ll tell you that when I do something big, I go all out!

 

My friends might also tell you that I’m thick-headed – and I won’t argue with them (for a host of reasons). Here’s the thing. . .

 

I had not been feeling well for quite some time (am embarrassed to say how long was “quite some time”).  I was aware that something was “off” BUT I continually came up with myriad reasons for why there was absolutely no need for me to see a doctor.

 

Looking back, I realize I engaged in what can only be called “magical thinking.”

 

When I became increasingly short of breath, I thought, “Gotta get back to the gym.” Racing heartbeat? “I should eat better and get to bed earlier.” Go to the doctor? “Why make something out of nothing? (In case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t go to medical school and so I’m not qualified to make a diagnosis of “it’s nothing.”)

 

I told no one. I asked no one for advice or help. When I finally told friends the saga, they were uniformly annoyed (to put it mildly) I hadn’t reached out.

 

So, here it is a new year. I’m fine (really) BUT I am chastened as I feel “a bit” like a hypocrite. This is a blog focused on Confidence and Communication and Relationships. And here I was – arrogant and silent and self-sufficient!

 

As I’ve written here many times – old habits die hard!

 

In reflecting on my experience I’m amazed at the sheer force of my “magical thinking.” At a deep level I knew I was sick. I knew I should see a doctor. Yet, I chose to ignore the symptoms and declared that my gut was wrong – that all those symptoms were “nothing.”

 

I lied to myself. And my lie almost killed me.

 

Why did I engage in Magical Thinking?

There were several reasons and they can all be reduced to one word – FEAR.

 

I was afraid of what might be causing those symptoms and it was easier (in some respects) to make reality conform to how I wanted it to be.

 

Crazy? Oh, yeah!

I also know, though, that I’m not the only person who practices Magical Thinking.

 

My client Clint (name changed) has a boss who is toxic and has caused him untold stress. Clint knows he needs to make some significant decisions about his job but has convinced himself that the situation is “not that bad.” When I ask him why he has high blood pressure if the situation is not that bad he just smiles. Clint’s situation at work is bad – and much worse – based on the stories he’s told me.

 

In the face of having to make decisions we don’t want to deal with we can come up with an array of magical phrases to transform the issue into “nothing.” Phrases such as, “It’s really not that bad.” “It’s really getting better.” Sure, it’s bad, but it’s not affecting me.” “I can compartmentilize, so I don’t bring any of it home.” “Others have it so much worse, I can’t complain.”

 

As we set out on this new year, I encourage, challenge YOU to consider:

Is there any part of your life where you engage in Magical thinking?

 

In your gut do you know some truth about your job – your career – your self – your relationships – and you are choosing to ignore that truth and to label the situation, the problem as “nothing”?

 

I don’t want to get corny or glib. I do, though, want to suggest that if you’re looking for a healthy New Year’s resolution, then consider making 2019 a year free of Magical Thinking.

 

A year of honoring what you know is the truth and acting on behalf of that truth.

 

Here’s to a healthy 2019!

 

Want help breaking through YOUR patterns of Magical Thinking?

Have you been thinking about Life-Skills Coaching?

Let’s explore how I can help you gain massive traction on your goals!

 

[email protected]

818-415-8115

To Become More Confident – Ask Yourself the Right Questions!

 

Often, all that stands between you and what you want

is a better set of questions.

Tim Ferris

 

Years ago, I taught high school on the remote Pacific Island of Chuuk. At the beginning of my second year, a new science teacher arrived. Sue (names changed) had a cute smile, a sharp wit, and she was 6 feet, 350 lbs. She came from Los Angeles. In a town of starlets and models, she couldn’t get a guy to give her the time of day. Disgusted with men, she decided to go far from the maddening crowd.

 

Chuukians prize big women. The heavier a woman, the more beautiful she is thought to be. Within 48 hours of her arrival, word spread that “Venus” had landed. Sue had “suitors” from all over the island. She was pinched while walking through the village; men serenaded her at night.

 

She endured three months of this passionate attention – and then practically ran back to Los Angeles.

 

In LA Sue felt ugly. She gave up on finding love; she gave up on her self. She fled so as not to have to see the competition. Once on Chuuk, though, she became the “competition.”  Still, she was not happy. For her there was only one standard of beauty – the LA standard – and she didn’t match up.

 

From pre-school through to that business meeting you had last week, each of us is constantly comparing ourselves to others.

Are we smarter, wealthier, more clever than__?

Consciously and unconsciously, we engage in this game of comparing – convincing ourselves that “the other” is the true and only standard of what and how we “should” be.

 

In working with clients, the refrain I often hear is, “I’m not as confident as___”  “I’m not as experienced as___”  “I’m not as outgoing as___”

 

While these comparisons might give you some sense of what and who you are “not”  –

do they really give you a fair sense of who you are?

 

You need to challenge your thinking by asking:

Against whom are you comparing yourself?

How fair is it to compare yourself against that person(s)?

 

What would happen if you did genuinely recognize and respect you?

Consider these questions:

  • in the past 3 months what are 3 accomplishments of which you feel proud?
  • what do these accomplishments tell you about who you are?
  • is there a personality trait(s) that runs through each of these accomplishments?
  • how comfortable are you in recognizing and respecting who you are?

 

Comparisons are inevitable – it’s just part of being human –

BUT

Do these comparisons give you a true and healthy sense of who you are and

what you have accomplished?

OR

Do these comparisons allow you to wallow in a sense of helplessness?

 

 

Want help discovering the questions you need to be asking yourself?

Have you been thinking about Life-Skills Coaching?

Let’s explore how I can help you gain massive traction on your goals!

 

[email protected]

818-415-8115

 

 

 

Are You Selling Yourself Short?

 

The story of the human race is the story of people selling themselves short. People have a tendency to settle for far less from life than they are truly capable of.

Many people are spinning their wheels in careers

where they should be moving rapidly onward and upward.

Abraham Maslow

 

In addition to my communication skills coaching and teaching here in Los Angeles, I officiate non-denominational wedding ceremonies (check out my bio for this part of my story). I belong to several national wedding associations, including one named WIPA.

 

At a recent networking event, I looked around the ballroom at my fellow wedding vendors and realized what a lucky guy I am – because in this sphere of my life I get to work with some of the most deep-down good people you will find anywhere. While the wedding industry is not all fairy tale dreams, it is an arena that attracts some remarkable people.

 

In reflecting on what allows my colleagues to shine, it occurred to me that wedding professionals work from a place of heightened awareness of the client. Because it is a people-centric industry, the world of weddings is demanding and challenging, but so much of it is creative and innovative.

 

The folks I admire take pride in their “brand” and relish being part of a larger endeavor.  They respect their colleagues’ brands and admire each other’s handiwork and skill wanting to know, “how did you get to be so good at what you do?”

 

A wedding pro knows that without the satisfaction of the couple their work means nothing. And this truth guides them in the joy they take in their work.

 

Critics of weddings say that it’s all a whole lot of nonsense for just one day. I think a real wedding pro knows that it’s a whole lot of something for the purpose of celebrating life.

 

While I enjoy officiating weddings for many reasons, the chief reason is that I’m part of something bigger than me – something that is life-affirming.

 

That is also the reason why I love being a communication skills coach and trainer.

I help people “find their voice” – and what could be more life-affirming?

 

I think that at some point you need to look around where you work and ask:

 Am I happy sharing my energy with these people?

 

What’s more, I think eventually each of us has to answer this question:

Why do I do what I do?

 

If you’re unhappy in your work, then I’ll tack on the follow-up question:

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?

 

And, hey, I’ll tack on this follow-up to the above follow-up:

Why aren’t you doing it?

 

I know you need a job.

Each of us, though, needs something else – we need “meaning.” 

 

Mark Twain said ~

The two most important days in your life are

the day you are born and the day you find out why.

 

Let that sink in – and let me leave you with two final questions ~

Have you found out YOUR “why?”

What are the sources of meaning in your life?

 

Want help discovering YOUR “Why?”

Have you been thinking about Life-Skills Coaching?

Let’s explore how I can help you gain massive traction on your goals!

 

[email protected]

818-415-8115

How To Train People To Treat You With Respect

Clare’s the owner of a sportswear design firm (names changed). In her late twenties, she’s bright, driven, has accomplished much and yet she doubts herself. That’s why she hired Madge as her assistant. Madge has been in the biz for almost thirty years and knows all the players.

 

As it turns out, Madge sees Clare as inexperienced and privileged (she told her so to her face). Madge jabs at Clare’s insecurities with surgical precision.

 

Clare believes she can’t run the business without this woman’s know-how and is afraid to upset Madge – what if she quits?

 

Whenever Clare has tried to speak with Madge so as to make needed adjustments in their relationship, Madge inevitably breaks down and cries. Clare panics and caves in.

 

Knowingly and unknowingly, we give people permission to treat us in certain ways.  Over time those ways become a routine. If we don’t like the way a person is treating us, then it’s our responsibility to “re-train” them. 

 

Although Madge is in her fifties, she reminds me of my niece Gracie when she was four years old.  I adore Gracie – she’s bright, beautiful and what I call a “phony-baloney.”

 

At four, Gracie knew how to flash that cute smile of hers so as to get what she wanted. On one visit, her mother had an emergency and asked if I could watch Gracie.

 

As soon as her mom left, Gracie asked me for ice cream. Usually I was a sucker for this kind of request, but her mother had given me strict orders – no sweets! And so I said “no.”

 

Gracie pleaded until she finally burst into tears that looked a tad “rehearsed!”  The girl wouldn’t stop, blackmailing me with, “if you loved me. . .”

 

Her crying was killing me.

 

And so, I lifted her up, carried her out to the deck and gently put her down. With a big smile and gentle tone, I said, “Gracie, I love you, but your crying is driving me bonkers. So, I’m going to let you cry out here and when you’re done, just come back inside. Okay?”

 

She looked at me like I was nuts!

 

I went back into the house and within moments, Gracie ran inside.  She was laughing and wanted to watch a video. Not a peep about ice cream.

 

What happened?

 

I did something she wasn’t expecting and hadn’t prepared for.

I changed the dance step. I retrained her.

 

Clare needed to treat Madge like a four-year old. I urged Clare to say something along these lines when Madge next cried: “Madge, clearly you’re upset. I know you want what’s best for the company and me as I do for you. This conversation is important to both of us, so why don’t you take some time to compose yourself and we can talk later.”

 

When Clare tried out this new script, Madge resisted as the tears kept pouring.  Clare repeated the script three times before Madge stopped crying. She became Gracie! Later that same day they had a conversation without the special effects of tears.

 

Is everything “fine” with Clare and Madge?  No. However, they’re now having conversations that they didn’t have before. Madge is learning that her old ploys no longer work.

 

We train people how to treat us.

Is there someone in your life who needs retraining?

 

I help people find their voice, showing professionals how to communicate in smart, healthy ways so as to develop successful relationships. 

To explore how I can help you find the strategy

that will let you present you with enhanced confidence,

please contact me at: 

[email protected]