How many of us consider conflict to be negative? Nothing good ever comes out of it, right? I used to think so too…
Younger I used to think that conflicts were best avoided, and if unavoidable, they required a whole lot of energy that I often did not have on hand. I would typically give in to resolve the issue rapidly and avoid the other being upset or disappointed. Older I learned that conflicts were sometimes necessary but my body often betrayed me and revealed my nervousness through the likes of sweaty palms, a raised heart rate, and a tremble in my tone of voice. These signs sabotaged my position more often than not and I found myself looking for an escape route and often giving in again!
And then I came across an incredible tool – Leading Out of Drama’s compassion cycle.
And I felt empowered for the first time.
I learned that conflict in itself is simply energy and that this energy can be harnessed to be the author of positive change. I began to see things quite differently… I chose to follow the core concept training and become certified in this new tool to gain deeper understanding of the mechanisms of healthy positive conflict resolution.
And then I had the opportunity to help a very close friend through an intense conflict with one of their colleagues using this tool. We discussed at length the right words to use to not give in but rather disclose wants and needs; the right questions to ask to not give unsolicited advice but to remain curious, let go and move on; and, the right framework to not give ultimatums but to focus on goals and to stop and listen. We worked out a couple different scenarios and, using the compassion cycle, the skeleton of a “formula” to address the conflict in a positive manner.
And it worked!!
The colleague was heard and felt understood. My friend was relieved the conversation had gone well and that the outcome was productive and positive. Both parties had an understanding of the other’s perspective and intention and this time the conflict resolution brought about really positive change on both sides.
If you are interested to know more about this powerful tool, watch this space – www.bbco.be. We will be offering a free teaser very soon…
15 years ago, I became acquainted with an incredibly powerful tool. This tool called the Process Communication Model® (PCM) opened my eyes to many truths about myself, my behavior, and especially how, practically, I could feed my psychological battery with common everyday activities. I learned that not everyone gets energized by the same type of activities. Some get a positive rush from sitting on a parc bench, alone, watching passers-by, and letting their imagination gallop away. Some get this same rush from hearing the sound of the pen scratch an item on their to-do list to mark it completed. Yet others get it from sitting in their favorite cozy seat, curled up with their treasured soft blanket, a hot cup of tea, and sharing some deep intimate conversation on Facetime with their best friend.
What is amazing is that once I gained awareness of this truth, it really revolutionized my life.
I have now incorporated activities in my routines that boost my battery. I find myself better equipped to handle life stressors, difficult circumstances, and conflicts. When I take the time to draw myself a warm bath with nice smelling bubbles and savor the feel of the warm water on my skin before getting under the soft covers of my cozy bed, I sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed the next day. When I congratulate myself for my contribution to my business and receive feedback on the positive impact my coaching sessions have had, I experience a real energy boost. I now take time to allow myself to savor these activities by being present in the moment.
What activities do you find really nourish your person? Do you give yourself permission to do them? And if you do, how much do you savor doing them?
PCM defines 8 different psychological needs. The model teaches that every individual has all 8 needs within them and that satisfying these needs positively brings balance to one’s psyche. Learning about this aspect of the model was a key moment for me and implementing its suggestions made a difference both in my personal and professional life.
Want to know more? www.bbco.be
As I write this short paragraph, it has now been two full months since Belgium went into confinement. The days run into each other. New ways of living have taken on the scent of routines as I stuff my freshly washed mask into my purse next to my wallet and keys. Reading the news is no longer a haphazard event, I now read it as part of my morning routine. As Belgium, and the rest of Europe slowly tries to emerge from stricter confinement measures, we watch the numbers and percentages with batted breath and hope there is no resurgence or, God forbid, spike so we do not need to backtrack and return to lockdown!
On the business side of things, when my dad (my business partner) and I entered confinement and our business, essentially, screeched to a halt, we were propelled into the world of virtual meetings and online learning. Once a distant “futuristic” option that we had been considering and thought we had plenty of time to work on now became a necessity for survival. We started working on it right away and Zoom became our closest ally. Our coaching clients braved the wave with us and all our sessions were moved to the virtual world we now call home. We are grateful for their flexibility. We developed an online seminar which we now have added to our services. The first one we ran counted two participants and their feedback proved invaluable.
We have learned as we went along and, as the weeks and months go by, I am no longer thinking that “This too shall pass!” but rather “This is here to stay!”.
As I reflect on this, I believe it is for the better. We were forced by circumstances to stretch and grow and learn and we have added more ways to connect and learn to our business. I remember the prayer of serenity …
At the start of this year, I enrolled in the LOD® certification program and was looking forward to learning something new. I love learning!!
LOD® – Leading Out of Drama® – is a really useful tool. “It is the vehicle for building compassionate accountability. It equips you with skills to transform the energy of conflict into meaningful contribution: every day, in every interaction, for powerful personal and professional development.” “Compassionate accountability engages the best in yourself and others for effective and lasting change. [It] helps to shift the framework for leadership, communication, and conflict.”
LOD® provider manual
On top of that, the training was going to take place in Belgrade and I was excited at the prospect of visiting Serbia for the first time! I had started researching some of the cool sites to check out during my time there.
Then the lockdown took effect in Belgium on March 15, 2020! Of course, with the lockdown came the cancellation of my trip to Serbia. Such a shame!
Thankfully, Next Element, the company providing my certification program, was willing to be flexible and offered to do the whole process remotely.
It was a different but not unpleasant experience. I was the only one on the program, so I got a trainer all to myself and customized training. At first, finding the ideal location within our 3-bedroom apartment was a challenge. My husband, who is a teacher and the head of the High School drama department of an international school, was now working from home and teaching his classes online. My youngest daughter was forced to travel home from the UK as the lockdown became a certainty. Needless to say, our comfortably spacious living space seemed to get considerably smaller once all 3 of us needed to be online at the same time! But the training went well, and my bedroom became an unexpected office. (I did manage to arrange the camera angle so only the white wall behind me was visible…)
What my trainer saw vs. where I actually was!
This training opened my eyes to behaviors in my own life that needed looking into. Defining the different drama roles we play, often unconsciously, and what they look like in everyday conversations is mind-boggling. I found out that I naturally tend towards “victim helping”, which I thought was “rescuer”. But shedding light on my own behavior helped me to make some healthy decisions and choices for growth and change. This tool has also shed some much-needed light on my everyday interactions and honed in my ability to detect the drama roles being played by people around me. I now have a practical solution to practice and use when I want to handle conflict in a healthy way. I am far from getting it right every time, but I know that practice is key.
I really enjoyed the experience of online training, being able to do the interactive exercises easily even if through a screen. It is a program I am excited to be able to share with my clients as I accompany them on their own journey of discovery.
COVID-19, am I right??
When we went into lockdown (#hibernation), I did the typical stuff:
– signed up for a newspaper app so I could follow the evolution of this thing, whatever this thing was…
– watched tutorials on how to use Zoom for family and business calls
– discussed strategies with my business partner on how to keep “doing” our business but differently
– went into “frantic” mode to try to hold on to what I knew and considered normal…
At the beginning of this lockdown back on March 15th, in an effort to keep to my optimistic make-up, I tried to maximize the potential of this unprecedented time. I suppose I believed that I could, somehow, “ride the wave” and come out the other end for the most part unscathed. I still believed, in those first couple weeks of bewilderment, that things would go back to normal. I guess I might not be the only one.
It was not to be the case…
It has now been 6 weeks! And in the last weeks, I have heard a phrase – “the new normal” – mentioned over and over again and I am not sure what it means. I am not sure anyone really knows what it means. Can’t we go back to the way things were?
Can’t we go back to the way things were?
It seems the answer to that question might be a resounding no. And I do see some positive (#optimistic) things have come out of this strange time, but, when reading the news a lot of negative has been experienced also. So how do we move on? Maybe, one way to do that is to take stock of what we learned at this moment in time…
I think the most important thing I have learned is that busy-ness is not the answer. Instead, when after the first two weeks I realized it was going to last a whole lot longer, I decided to take some time for me. I asked myself when was the last time I had truly given myself permission to focus on me… And I couldn’t really remember.
I have made exercise a part of my daily routine. I have enjoyed walks, quick 15-minute workout routines in the safety of my apartment, and creative ways of moving (#sillydancing).
I am taking time to start my time with reflection, meditation, spiritual connection, and quiet.
I am carving out time to get back in touch with my creative side and have pulled out my colored pencils, drawing books, and watercolors from storage.
The business is still very much there but in its rightful place, as a part of my life and less in the driver’s seat.
I don’t claim to have it figured out but I do feel energized, more at peace, and hopeful about what the future holds.