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The Power to Become

I'm doing this for me pic

I believe each and every one of us has the power to be/come.  Regardless of the challenge and in spite of adversity, human beings long for and fight against dependence and domination.   We want to feel within us that we are powerful and in control of our own lives.  Steven Stosny wrote in The Powerful Self, “We simply cannot do well in life or come anywhere near achieving our fullest potential when feeling powerless over our own emotions and reactive to everyone else’s.

Where we lack power in our lives we will be overly dependent on others in that we are unable to regulate our thoughts, emotions, and behavior unless they do something or stop doing something so we can feel better.   We needlessly suffer, not knowing what we can do because “we have tried everything and nothing ever changes” so we are angry, sad, resentful, and even depressed because internally we feel powerless to change what is happening to us.  The age of the issue and our inability to regulate our internal experience can be evidence of the “fatal error of looking outside the self for regulation of internal experience” a.k.a., our dependency on others.  To find out where there is a sense of helplessness, look in your life right now for an area(s) of conflict, drama, struggle, and strained relationships.  Look for your use of controlling and coercive behaviors such as griping, complaining, criticizing, blaming, look for depression and even self-destructive behaviors.  These are the language of the powerless William Glasser posits in Choice Theory and Reality Therapy.   If you do not want dysfunction in your life, stop acting dysfunctional. 

KEY

EXAMPLE:  You are married with children and after years of marriage you want a Will to make provision for your children in the event both you and your spouse are deceased. After years of talking about it (this is a dysfunctional behavior as well) you meet with an attorney and agree on all the details.  Weeks and months go by and you continue to ask where the draft paperwork is and at some point, you confront what you suspect is dishonesty.  Once confirmed, your initial reaction is shock, hurt, pain, and withdraw from the relationship.  The dysfunction lies in the fact when faced with a threat to an area of great importance to you, press in, move toward the relationship, not away.  Allowing the failure to make provision for your children is irresponsible and reckless.  The powerful response is, “I do not know why you did that and why you were dishonest, but you fix that right now.  This is too important and it must be done. Let me know when you have made the appointment.”

The reason this is the powerful response is that it draws out the truth and responds appropriately to the relationship.  If the offending spouse refuses to move forward with making financial provision for your children, then that is a different discussion. In that case, the marriage relationship has other issues other than a delay in getting things done.  We have been given the power to be/come. Within us, we have the power to take care of our selves and to protect those we love. Remember always that you have the right to be! Today, if you are feeling disappointed, harried, frustrated, or hurt, decide what matters most to you. “Compassion relieves blame and increases responsibility at the same time,” Stosny writes. It is responsibility that produces power, and blame that produces powerlessness.  What is it you value?  William Ury, author of The Power of a Powerful No, writes, “Needs drive, values motivate,” and the challenge we face first is internal. What do you need and what do you want to happen and what is non-negotiable?  Ask yourself, what are you doing that you do not want to do? What are you doing you do not have to do?  What are you doing someone else can do? What can you do today that will meet your needs? Decide today what you can do and will do to feel better inside. and press forward and in. Don’t back up or back down.  Square your shoulders and strengthen your resolve. Conflict does you a favor; it lets you know there is a need not being met.  Thank those who are upset with you.  Let them know you are working on things.  Then look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself today- you got this!  

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Copyright 2018, All rights reserved, The Winning Way

Invalidation

In the book, Nasty People, by Jay Carter, he brilliantly describes the methods of the invalidator.  The many methods they use, “uncertainty; projection; generalization; judgment; manipulation; sneak attack; double message; cutting communication; building you up, cutting you down; and the double bind” are examined and the mechanics of the conflict they cause are examined.

It is the state of uncertainty that I attack here in this moment we have together. It is in this state that most of us will suffer and pine for an answer. Get yourself a friend or be your best friend. Ask them to help you remember, IT IS WHAT IT IS. Don’t over think it. Don’t introvert or get in your head. If you think it- it is so! If it feels bad, it is. If it looks suspect, it is. If you don’t like it, you don’t. Trust yourself until you know differently. Self doubt, lack of confidence, and being unsure are symptoms of one thing – it is not that you do not trust others or the world, you do not trust yourself my friend.

Been there. Done that. Let’s do this. What if? What if you trusted in what you think, feel, see, and believe? What if? I may be wrong, but I will go down trying. I am true, I am real, I am alive, and I exist. My presence exists. My power exists. I am. Why be defensive? Why degrade or defile yourself? Don’t be ridiculous. It is what it is. Stand by it. Stand by what you see and believe. Take action and be very careful to understand outside threats.

To as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become.

John 1:12

Become. Be. Trust and become. You cannot advance without the “power to become” and this comes from within, not from permission from someone or something outside you

                                          To thine own self be true  -William Shakespeare

 

-The Winning Way, 2017

 

Consequences

If Plan Does Not Work Change Method Not Goal

He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never, therefore, make any progress.      -Anwar Sadat

It is not what happens to us; it is how we respond. The difference between reacting and responding is choice. Knowing we have choices is the first step to being responsible and accountable for them. Getting real allows us to understand 1) Things happen (activating event) 2) We think or believe something about what happened or is happening 3) Our thinking/beliefs causes us to feel a certain way 4) We take action and engage in behavior based on our feelings. So in the end, it is not what happened, but what we think and believe about what happened/happens that causes us to make certain decisions and to take certain actions.  Dale Carnegie said it is not that things are good or bad, but our thinking makes it so.

Action  seems to follow feeling,  but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will,  we can indirectly    regulate   the   feeling   which   is    not    – William James, Philosopher

Do not rescue people from the natural consequences of their behavior. Help them or require they take responsibility for their actions because their decisions/actions are a product of their thinking and beliefs and not a natural result of what happened. When you rescue people from the natural consequences of their behavior, you render them powerless (Henry Cloud & John Townsend). Consequences are the appropriate response to inappropriate behavior.  Adaptability, flexibility, problem solving, communication: the list goes on and on for the skills that can be developed when one is held responsible for one’s actions. Great leaders were, and are, identifiable before they moved/move into their positions of authority because when they were/are held responsible for results, those results improved/improve! In the May 2015 Fortune Magazine article “Why CEOs Fail” they predict 70% of failures aren’t bad strategy, it is bad execution. Bad execution (a.k.a conflict) is not the problem . . . it is the solution. It is critical to look for disconnects, between strategies, functions, processes, and people required to execute. When you look at the costs of poor execution and hold leaders responsible, evaluate whether there is enough pain (value) and money to pay for it.

In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill wrote, what a person accepts or believes they have no control over, they are creators of their own misfortune. He went on to say that knowledge is not power- it is potential power. “Knowledge becomes power only when it is organized into definite plans of action and directed to a definite end”.  Integrity is a state of being whole and undivided. When leaders pass on unpopular decisions by transferring ownership of a decision to someone else—– they rob themselves of their own influence and diminish their own team’s respect for them. As human beings, regardless of our age, consequences are important with respect to our power to produce and effect. Marianne Williamson said, we are powerful beyond measure, and it is this, not our fear of being inadequate, that is our greatest fear as human beings.

I leave you with a most beautiful quote by Dale Carnegie: Everybody in the world is seeking happiness, and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions. It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.

– The Winning Way™

It is What It is

Stay strong

I believe with all my heart and soul, conflict is a solution, not a problem. I have loved the statement it is what it is for years now. I have a sign with the words prominently displayed in our office, and every day I look for and find opportunities to help someone arrive at, “It is what it is.” These moments, precious and profound, occur quite naturally following protest, pressure, and consternation. These moments bring a feeling of relief following rationalization, explanation, and blame. It is what it is can feel like the impact of a brick wall after a racing car has impacted it or the end of a bungee jump after it has reached its limit. These moments free you. They allow you to pause. They allow you to consider options. These are aha learning moments, not due to more knowledge, but because of awareness.

I found a small jewelry stand at Orlando International Airport this past Monday and low and behold, I saw an It is What It is bracelet.  Of course, I bought it, and got the website to buy more for every smart girl I know (hit me up if you want one). The bracelet made by Wind & Fire found the spirit of these simple words:

IT IS WHAT IT IS

Acceptance ~ Fortitude ~ Persistence

“It is what it is” conveys a sense of acceptance in an uncontrollable situation. The phrase reminds you to move on when things may not have gone the way you expected . . . keep moving forward in times of adversity.

I have found we seldom move forward when we are 1) shocked this is happening to us 2) in a state of disbelief we could be seeing/hearing/perceiving this 3) angry it is happening 4) depressed it is happening 5) in denial it is happening. In fact, the five stages of grief describe very well what I have seen as the process we go through when our life, relationships, career and current circumstances do not look like we thought they would look at this point in time. The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Acceptance, it is what it is, is the part of conflict that is uncontrollable, unchangeable, impervious, and immovable. Once you come to this part of conflict and accept, you can get out of your head, take a step back, look at what is happening, get inquisitive, become creative, and realize where you do have power and choices.  It is not what happens to you, it is how you respond that makes all the difference. 

Once you accept what is, you can move forward to what can be. This brings reality therapy to the workplace  -The Winning Way™

 

Responsibility

Clip Art Alright Let's Do This

People do not act irresponsibly because they are ill; they are ill because they act irresponsibly.

-Dr. William Glasser, 1965

A leader holding others accountable, including themselves, by taking responsibility for their actions, is the single most important factor for high performance teams. Consequences provide opportunity for skill building. The people you work with arrive with varying degrees of life skills. In Reality Therapy by Dr. William Glasser, he points out life skills help us meet our needs and lack of skills drives us to try unrealistic means to fulfill our needs. It is my ever increasing desire to bring “reality therapy” to the workplace. It is universal, because while diverse, everyone within your organization has the same needs, but vary in their ability to fulfill them. The needs we all have are:

1) Relatedness- the need to love and be loved 

2) Respect- the need to feel we are worthwhile both to ourselves and to others

Responsibility is defined in reality therapy as the ability to fulfill one’s needs. So a fulfilling life and successful career pursuits require we take responsibility each and every one of us for meeting our needs. In a culture of accountability, a leader is involved with those they serve so that whatever the deficit in performance (results), the relationship between them establishes relatedness. Without relatedness, it is not likely advice alone could cause an individual to act to improve  one’s conduct. It must be noted however, whether our need for relatedness is satisfied or not, to meet our need to be worthwhile, we must maintain a satisfactory standard of behavior . . . and to do so we must learn to correct ourselves when we do wrong and to credit ourselves when we do right (Glasser, 1975).

A responsible man does that which gives him a feeling of self-worth and a feeling that he is worthwhile to others. He’s motivated to strive and perhaps endure privation to attain self-worth. When a responsible person says that he will perform a job for us, he will try to accomplish what was asked, both for us and so that he may gain a measure of self-worth for himself. An irresponsible person may or may not do what he says, depending upon how he feels, the effort he has to make, and what is in it for him. He gains neither our respect or his own, and in time he will suffer or cause others to suffer.

-William Glasser, Reality Therapy

Life changes and it takes resiliency and courage to continue to meet challenges. Hold yourself responsible and create an environment where you help people take responsibility for their behavior and their conduct. A great leader will have high functioning teams possessing skills to self-correct when they are aware they are seeking to meet their needs  in a way that deprives others of the ability to fulfill their needs  -The Winning Way

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Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved, The Winning Way

Clarity

Key in door

The day I deserved more was the day after I knew I could not accept less.
-Unknown

 

I do not know where I found this statement, but I wrote it down on August 18, 2014. The day I deserved more was the day after I knew I could not accept less. Been there? Done that? Me too, thank God. I had the distinct privilege of working with a leader who was struggling with the many employment laws, regulations, policies, procedures, state laws, federal laws, work rules, etc. and the belief that too many times these rules create opportunity for abuse, misuse, and protections for poor performance if the individual knows how to use absence and/or injury to “work the system”. The leader went on to say it felt like they were being taken advantage of and that the rest of the team was bearing the burden and carrying the weight of an employee out and/or returning from protected leave (e.g., Workers’ Comp, FMLA, etc) again with the belief of being “taken advantage of”.

After discussion of the truth, in that there are policies, procedures, rules and regulations, laws, both state and federal, I stopped it right then and there. Hey, I said, this is your job. You are paid to understand and to bear up under all the pressure, rules, and regulations, and commit that you will not only uphold them, you will become skilled at navigating the land mines around such regulation, and you will ensure that the rights of the employees and the interests of the employer are protected. I reminded them that they must take an oath of sorts to embrace all the laws and to understand there are competing needs, every day, in every situation. This calls on a level of skill, character, integrity, and a willingness to understand how to apply the law to this messy wonderful thing we call life.

What a joy after I remind them of what I know to be their higher goals, and the absolute necessity they accept there are always competing needs, I further press them by stating they must embrace the law and all it provides. It is what it is. Stop struggling. Stop arguing. It is what it is. When you will embrace what is . . . it opens you to what can be. Additionally, I reminded this strong leader, you cannot be taken advantage of. No one has the power to take advantage of you or your team, not as long as you are sitting in that chair! The further you advance, the more competing needs, rules, regulations, etc. exist. This takes clarity. Be clear about your goals. Be clear about your responsibilities. The day you deserve more is the day after you know you can not accept less -The Winning Way™

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Copyright 2017, All rights Reserved, The Winning Way

Roads Less Traveled

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I believe managing conflict is a road less traveled. Conflict can be and must be managed, and it takes skill, diplomacy, and a level of respect for boundaries, that preserves the integrity of the relationship. It has been said, the age of issues can reveal the effectiveness of a management team. Lengths organizations go to as they attempt to get work done around varying levels of incompetency, carelessness, and negligence in performance of duty is staggering. It makes you wonder who in the world would willingly do this! When asked, some will tell you, they just saw the situation as drama and nonsense. The problem? Courts see the organization “knew or should have known” and people got hurt, claims were filed and litigation followed. Safety, productivity, values, and work product, are temporarily and sometimes permanently destroyed (i.e., Fox News 2017, the spin did not stop here).

Do better

Getting past objections, generally you will see good people without a level of awareness. Awareness that helps them turn toward conflict in an effort to understand the issue(s), identify the need(s) not currently being met, and look for creative solutions. Skilled conflict managers are respected because they build trust by setting expectations. They resolve conflict and provide consequences for continued poor performance because they see and hear conflict as a grinding of gears. Dealing with conflict quickly and with skill is not only possible, it must be developed as a critical skill for those set in leadership positions. If you are at a gun range, you do not get ready, shoot, then aim if you want to hit the target. You get ready, aim, and then you shoot at the target. For leaders, the aim is solving problems. Leaders carefully look and taking aim at high transaction costs in human relations. They know this happens where conflict is unresolved and incompetence is sanctioned.

Skilled conflict managers will create through their leadership, a culture of accountability and by and through their actions, they reduce risk and lead high performing teams. They speak and act with purpose and with vision. Their goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic/relevant, and time-bound (SMART) and so are they!  -The Winning Way

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Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved, The Winning Way

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