Tag Archives: Personal Power

How to Have a Caring Conversation with Someone who is Making You Miserable

WomenShakeHands3“My boss is a bully.”

“My co-worker constantly berates me for making even the smallest error, or asking what she deems a ‘stupid’ question.”

“My colleague’s voice tone is condescending and insulting toward me when we are in meetings.”

Do you work with someone whose behavior is challenging your energy and enthusiasm for work? Maybe it’s a family member, who you find yourself avoiding because he or she is a real ‘downer’ at family gatherings.

Having a caring conversation with someone who is making you miserable can be challenging. Like most conversations that are worth having, this one requires a little bit of planning and foresight. Also, like most conversations that are worth having, this is one that you will surely be glad you have had, after it is done.

Remember these simple tips as you prepare for your conversation:

Purpose prevails.

Think about your purpose in having this conversation with this person. Why is it important? What impact is the challenging behavior having on your relationship? What’s in it for you and for the other person, to change the course of your communication in the future?

What’s recent is remembered.

When you are preparing for the conversation, think about and address only the most recent example of challenging behavior. For example, you might say “Yesterday you yelled at me and called me ‘irresponsible’ when I made an error in the order.” That is more effective than saying “You always yell at me.” or “You are a bully”. or “Three weeks ago you yelled at me.” When your language is about a specific occasion that is fresh in the other person’s mind, you can more easily focus your conversation on that one example.

Anticipation beats aggravation.

Before you meet with the other person, think about how you imagine he or she will react to what you wish to discuss. What might he say? How might she behave? If you are able to anticipate his or her reaction, you can prepare yourself for it. Sometimes this helps you in thinking about how you will open your conversation. For example, you might start with “Sally, I know that you are struggling with some tough things in your life right now.” or “George, we have not spent a lot of quality time together at these family gatherings because there is often so much going on.”

Empathy enlightens.

Whatever happens during the conversation, choose to empathize, to look at the situation from the other person’s perspective. When you empathize, you naturally ask questions to help you understand (their position), rather than defend (your position). “Joe, it seems to be frustrating for you to have to keep training new staff, only to have them leave after only a few months.”

Openness leads to opportunity.

Choose, as you prepare for the conversation, to be open. Although you prepare ahead of time for what you want to say, you are also open to hearing new information that can help you to determine – together – how you can get along moving forward.  Sitting in silence, breathing deeply, and repeating the words ‘I am open’ before you meet with this person, can help you be in a positive place when you enter the meeting.

Hopeful helps.

End with a statement about how you are confident and hopeful about the future of your relationship with this person. In fact, start with this as your opening also!

Opening: “Jane, I value you as my leader, and I’d like to have a conversation about something that is getting in the way of our working relationship. I know that after we have this conversation, my performance will be enhanced and so will our department’s results.”

Closing: “I sincerely appreciate your time today, Jane, and I am confident that we will be able to continue to develop the kind of working relationship that will help us both to achieve our goals.”

Positive propels!

The next time you see something positive from that person, point it out! Even if the positive occasion is a rare one, take time to show your appreciation. The more you focus on ‘what’s good’, the more of that you will get!

Have you got any tips to share – something that has worked for you?

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), the international measure of excellence for professional competence, proven experience, and optimal client satisfaction. Deri combines a business degree in human resources management with 20 years of experience engaging audiences across every business sector. Deri provides inspiration and information to create psychologically healthy organizations for increased positivity, productivity, and profitability!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Piece of the Dalai Lama’s Mind

This blog post is a short one.  Arianna Huffington interviews the Dalai Lama and he references the importance of emotions in overall health.  And, more importantly, how the emerging research in neuroscience is helping us to discover how to ‘change our mind’ and our life.  I totally want to hang out with this guy!!  Enjoy!

Deri Latimer, B Mgt, CSP, is an expert in positive possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional. Deri combines a Business degree in Human Resources with experience from business sectors including health care, manufacturing, education, agriculture, government, mining, transportation, tourism, and professional services. Deri provides practical strategies for mental health ‘at work’; impacting individuals and organizations to increase resilience to change, energize engagement with the organization, and propel meaningful performance results that last!  www.derilatimer.com

Are You Looking Up or Falling Down?

I have been speaking with someone who is really feeling ‘down’ right now.  And, I have to admit…it’s kind of …well, ‘bringing me down’.

Partly it’s because this person has been ‘down’ for a very long time.  And partly it’s because I am having to ‘fight’ to stay ‘up’ – and I don’t like it one bit.

So, I have made a decision to limit my time with this person.  It may seem selfish, but I believe it’s what’s best for me – and for this person. 

It has got me thinking about how we ‘grow’ that which we focus on (and surround ourselves with).  If we only talk about what’s bad (difficult, unpleasant, frustrating, etc.), that’s what we notice.  And then we say ‘see, I was right!!’  And guess what (you already know this)…everyone else around us starts to feel the same way we do…and we all fall into the muddy pool of despair together (okay, maybe I am getting a little dramatic!!)

Well, no more.  I have never been a person who stayed ‘down’ for very long; and I have to admit, I have now reached my limit!

Do I sometimes feel ‘down’?  Absolutely!  I just refuse to choose to stay there.  Frankly, it’s way too exhausting!

I have been researching the brain for a client project lately.  You likely already know that we are actually hard-wired to notice danger (i.e. what’s bad).  So, we need to ‘work’ at noticing what’s right.  And, when we do…we release all sorts of wonderful neurotransmitters like dopamine that ‘open up’ our perspective and allow us to see more possibilities.  Focusing on what’s wrong acutally ‘closes’ our viewpoint, and limits our ability to see options and opportunities right in front of us (we sometimes ‘fall’ right past them). 

We can develop a habit of noticing what’s good (right, beautiful, pleasant, joyful, etc.), though.  Begin by making it your intention every day to look for what’s right – for what’s good.  Have your discussions be mostly about what’s going well.  When someone shares good news with you – pass it on!  Spend just a little time on the difficulties in your life.  Share them, yes.  Label them, for sure.  Then reappraise or reframe, and carry on.  The more you stay focused on the difficulties, the more they ‘grow’ (and the downward spiral continues).

I read a couple of articles recently that struck me and support this message.  In ‘Can watching a move about Happiness make us Happier?’    The author, Ryan Niemiec, says ‘The renowned observational learning theorist, Albert Bandura, observed that most of what we learn in life comes from what we observe and that this information is encoded within us for future use. Thus, it makes perfect sense that watching a movie about happiness would help us learn more about happiness and actions we might take to become happy, as we observe the positive role models in a given film.” 

And he goes on to say ” The idea is to expand and widen these moments of happiness. Along these lines, science guides us to reminisce about the positive (in this case, the positive aspects of the movie), to savor and relish in the positive state, and to share the positive feelings with others. When you see a movie that leads you to feel happy, what do you do with that positive emotion? Do you mindlessly leave the theater while the credits are rolling looking to be the first person in the parking lot? Do you turn to your mobile device while walking out of the theater, curious about who might have e-mailed or sent you a text message during the film?

Or do you take time to reflect on the work of art you just witnessed? Do you discuss the film with others? Do you examine the strengths and behaviors the characters in the film exhibited and how they might serve as models for you? Do you consider the ways in which the characters impacted you and what subsequent changes you might make?

Taking the time to be mindful of these questions might help you expand your happiness.”

A second article I read was meaningful to me more than one way.  Mostly, because I have a daughter about to graduate from high school.  And I, like all parents, have spent my life working to prepare her to be a resilient, productive, positive, happy person. 

The article in HR Magazine called ‘Graduate Recruitment:  You need a good attitude, not a good degree says Ernst & Young’  written by David Young states that “with over 22% of 16-24 year olds out of work, graduates will need to build resilience and get out of their comfort zones if they are going to realise their potential, according to the findings of a survey by Ernst & Young…(the survey) showed that while graduates have many core strengths, they aren’t always willing to take risks and can struggle to recover from setbacks.”

In other words, you have to be able to look up or you’ll fall down.  And when your perspective is ‘down’ it really is just like falling…you are taken away, easily, down a vortex of negativity.

Looking up might take a little more work at first, but the ‘up’ view trump the other one – hands down!!

Deri Latimer, B Mgt, CSP, is an expert in possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional. Deri combines a Business degree in Human Resources with experience from business sectors including health care, manufacturing, education, agriculture, government, mining, transportation, tourism, and professional services. Deri helps individuals and organizations optimize their performance by managing their energy; applying the latest research and practice in positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, neuroleadership, and employee engagement.  www.derilatimer.com

 

 

Poems about Personal Power

I’m certainly not one to reflect on poetry very often.  In fact, my siblings would laugh out loud if they knew I were including some poems in my blog post.  You see, their memories of me are the silly poems I would write to each of them when we were younger.  They went something like ‘Dene, Dene, the washing machine; you’re twenty one and another load’s done’ (no, I am not sure of what that means…all I thought is that it had to rhyme to be a poem!).   Others were ‘Desi is a beautiful gal; I sure am glad that she’s my pal’, and ‘There once was a boy named Devin; who looked like he came from heaven; a big bright smile; nice teeth like a crocodile; and girlfriends I think he has seven!

So, you can see, this is not my forte.  Although I do think Miss Bill, my grade 12 English teacher, would be proud!

I have, however, come across some poems in my life that I really love.  I’d like to share a few with you.

Here’s the first – it reminds me that I am owed nothing for this wonderful life.  It reminds me that when we operate from the stance of expecting nothing in return, and just ‘doing’ because it’s the right thing to do, that’s personal power - that’s personal responsibility – that’s love – and that’s what we need more of in our workplaces, our homes, and our schools today.

The Sun Never Says – by Hafiz
 
Even
after
all this time
the sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look
what happens
with a love like that -
It lights the whole world.

 Here is a lovely video of the poem, with images and music.
 

The next is by Virginia Satir.  I became familiar with her and her work when I became a Certified Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming in the early 1990′s.  This is a poem I gave to both my children – and it reflects how I feel about each and every relationship in my life.  I want to be connected to you – not owe or own you – and have you feel the same.
 
I want to love you without clutching
appreciate you without judging
join you without invading
invite you without demanding
leave you without guilt
criticize you without blaming
and help you without insulting
if I can have the same from you, then we can truly meet and enrich each other
 
I love this quotation by Virginia Satir.  It reminds me that I am in charge of ‘me’.  A pretty empowering message, I think!  And, isn’t it exactly the message I think we want to deliver to our children, to our workplace teams, and to our friends.
 
I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.
 
Have you got a favourite poem or quotation that really resonates with you?  Share it here and I’ll pass it along.
 
Deri Latimer, B Mgt, CSP, is an expert in possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional. Deri combines a Business degree in Human Resources with experience from business sectors including health care, manufacturing, education, agriculture, government, mining, transportation, tourism, and professional services. Deri helps individuals and organizations optimize their performance by managing their energy; applying the latest research and practice in positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, neuroleadership, and employee engagement.  www.derilatimer.com