This was first published on KSL.com
My spouse and I argue about the same things again and again. It is like we are always having the same fight; we just take breaks of agreeing to disagree in between rounds. We have been to marriage therapy and have learned communication skills, but here we are in the same boat. Can you give us anything different to try?
Many people experience a fight that’s always the same issue again and again. This happens when both of you have dug into your position and keep defending it, and neither of you is open to learning, understanding or changing because that would feel like losing the argument. In an argument, your egos are only interested in protecting, promoting and winning for your side. Ego also wants to be right and have the other person be wrong.
The truth is, until you learn to set ego aside, stop defending yourself and communicate with the purpose of understanding the other person and their perspective, learning something new, or creating new solutions you haven’t thought of before, you are going to be stuck here.
Here are some ways to become more open, more creative and more productive when you argue:
1. Know your value isn't in question
Remember this argument is just a perfect classroom experience and your value isn’t in question, so there is nothing to fear. When you choose to see the fight from the perspective that you are safe and have nothing to fear because your value can’t change and your journey is perfect no matter what happens, you won’t get so defensive. In this place you can actually focus on giving love, understanding and validation to the other person because you don’t need anything. This requires practice.
2. Listen to learn
Instead of trying to win, try to understand and learn something you didn’t know before. When ego takes over you only care about being right, being better or getting your way. You are basically selfish and defensive. Instead, try this: Thank your ego for trying to protect you, but tell it you are going to try something new and see if you can learn something about the other person you never knew before.
This will require asking lots of questions, without any agenda other than understanding. If you are sincere about this intention the other person will feel that, and they might actually feel safe enough to really talk to you. Make a commitment to listen for more than just planning what you will say next. Listen with the intention of learning and you will be amazed at how much you didn't know about the other person.
3. Fight as a team
Instead of fighting against each other, make it the two of you — on the same side, as a team — against the problem. Stop trying to convince the other person you are right and pull them to your side. Instead, ask them if the two of you, together, could try to find a new solution.
Get out some paper and brainstorm solutions to this problem. Allow yourselves to bring humor in and get creative. Get online and look for solutions others have recommended. Write down places you could go for help. Don’t stop until you have thought of 50 crazy, creative, new ideas — with none of them being the places you started from.
4. Identify your core fear
In my experience, it’s either fear of failure (not being good enough) or fear of loss (feeling threatened or unsafe in the world). If either you or your partner is fear-of-failure dominant, meaning there is a subconscious tendency toward people-pleasing and insecurity, that person will need a lot of validation around their worth, their performance and their thinking.
If you give a fear-of-failure dominant person a lot of positive feedback, they will feel safer and will be better able to communicate in a productive way. If they feel insulted, criticized or judged, they won’t feel safe with you and will probably stay very defensive.
If either of you is fear-of-loss dominant, meaning you have a subconscious tendency toward feeling mistreated and taken from, that person needs control, reassurance and help making things right, done or clean to feel safe in the world. If you can give a fear-of-loss dominant person these things, they will be better able to communicate in a productive way. This can be a game changer when you get it.
5. Cure the core fear
Become the cure to your partner's core fear every day. If you make sure they feel safe in the world every day — by constantly giving them the kind of validation, praise, help or control they need — they will feel safer with you, which means less defensive and less on edge. It will also mean when you argue, it likely won’t be as tense, scary or mean. If you do this right, your partner will be more likely to support you, too.
6. Learn their values
Figure out what your partner values most. Do they value:
The reason couples have the same fight over and over, is because that one issue is the one that triggers both of your core fears. When your core fears get triggered your very worst behavior comes out, and that usually perfectly triggers even more of your partner's fear. It quickly becomes a vicious cycle.
The couples I work with find the solution is very simple: Become the cure, not the cause, of their fear. Learn how to make them feel safe with you and you can talk through anything.
I also recommend a time-out rule that works like this: If either of you feels they are getting triggered and ego is showing up, you can call time out. You both agree to stop, not say another word, and walk away until you can get balanced and in trust and love again. Then you can continue the discussion. Give that a try.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
Most of the questions readers submit to me are about resolving conflict with other humans. The trick to resolving conflict lies in taking the problem apart, understanding the triggers each person experiences and the bad behavior those triggers might create. This process is what I call an emotional autopsy because it allows you to understand the motivation and emotions underneath the surface that may cause the problem. This also gives you the power to calm the emotions and deal with the actual problem.
Think about the last fight or argument you had with someone and follow my process by asking yourself the questions below. See if you can identify the underlying cause of the conflict and how to resolve it in the future.
1. What event or situation started this conflict or problem?
Can you follow it back to the original issue that may have triggered a negative emotion and made each party behave badly? This issue could stem from something that has been happening for a long time, or something they've experienced their whole life. We're going to call the person who was triggered by something that created the conflict Person A. We'll call the other party Person B.
2. What negative emotion showed up in Person A because of the triggering event?
Did they feel insulted, rejected, unwanted, unimportant, unappreciated, not good enough, controlled, pushed, defensive, protective, or mistreated? Do they have a story about how the situation has made them feel the emotions they've experienced in the past? What is that story?
3. How did Person A behave because of this emotion?
What kind of behavior or language showed up as a result? Did Person A pull back from Person B, try to control them or have walls up to protect themself? Did they get defensive, say something insulting or do something equally triggering to Person B? What does that behavior look like?
4. What negative emotions were triggered in Person B as a result of Person A’s behavior?
How exactly did Person B feel mistreated? Did Person B feel unappreciated, taken from, unwanted or rejected? It's important to identify these emotions and what might be triggering them. If they're ignored for too long, they may continue to cause conflict in Person B in other situations.
5. What kind of bad behavior showed up when Person B reacted to their emotions?
What did Person B’s unbalanced behavior or language look like? Did they try to understand Person A, or did they react just as badly?
6. How might have Person B further triggered Person A?
What emotion might have showed up in Person A now as a result of Person B’s reaction? What might Person A and Person B be feeling at this point? Being clear on this will help you step back and see how the emotions might be driving the conflict more than the original issue.
7. What does each person need in this situation?
What could you give the other person that might help quiet the emotion that is causing the conflict? For example, if you know and understand that no one can diminish your value, you may feel less threatened by conflict and can create a safer space for those around you. Then, you may be able to better work through problems by giving the other person involved in the conflict what they need to feel safe and help them want to resolve the issue at hand.
8. Go back to the original emotions that showed up in steps No. 2 and No. 4. Are these emotions that Person A and Person B experience often?
Is it an emotion they've experienced throughout their life and in many different situations? Sometimes, people and situations can trigger certain emotions in people, but they're not the real cause. The real cause may be something that happened in that person's past and certain situations might stir up emotions and reactions in them.
9. What does someone who may carry these emotions around need?
Remember, bad behavior may be a request for love, validation or reassurance. You might not want to validate or love a person who is behaving badly, but if you can see that it isn’t really about you, conflict resolution can get easier. You can't fix another person and you aren't responsible for their behavior, but if you can quiet the negative emotions in them during conflict, then you can more easily deal with the problem at hand. You may also need to enforce boundaries to protect yourself from certain people, and that's OK, too.
If you choose to see life as a classroom, it means every conflict or emotion is part of your classroom journey and is meant to serve you. Knowing this might make some people problems less difficult and increase your capacity to resolve conflict with others. The more you practice this process, the easier it may become to see conflict accurately and resolve people problems more maturely.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a sought after master life coach who is provides coaching and help to anyone struggling with people problems or relationship conflicts. She also trains and certifies life coaches in her system with new classes starting soon.
First published on KSL.COM
In this edition of LIFEadvice I want to explain human behavior in a very simple way so I'm dividing all humans into two general categories: Fear of Failure Dominant people and Fear of Loss Dominant people.
You can decide which you are and what the others around you might be. Understanding their type and yours may help you better understand your relationship dynamics.
Fear of Failure Dominant people
You might be considered people pleasers. You might care too much what others think of you and you may be prone to being too selfless and even sacrificing your own needs to make others happy. You might not speak your truth or address problems often because you don't like conflict. You may also dislike being judged or criticized and might see yourself as less than others at times.
You feel safe in a relationship where you feel validated and aren't experiencing harsh criticism or judgment. If you want to have a successful relationship with a Fear of Failure dominant person, compliment them often and be careful about how you deliver negative feedback. Some of you are more unbalanced (in a fear state) and may have more of these qualities, while others are more balanced (less afraid) and only have minimal people-pleasing tendencies. However, you may still be more this type person than the other.
Fear of Loss Dominant people
You may be strong and opinionated people. You're great at boundaries and taking care of yourself and are more mindful about protecting yourself, your time, your preferences and your views from other people. You may not as much care what others think of you. In an unbalanced (triggered state) you may be selfish, critical or defensive. You're more likely to speak your truth and get what you want and dislike being taken from or mistreated. You may be more prone to notice faults in people or institutions and point them out. You might become arrogant or controlling in an unbalanced state and may accidentally talk down to others. Some of you may be more unbalanced (in a fear state) and possess these qualities to the extreme, while others could be more balanced (less afraid) and only have minimal tendencies. But again, you may still be more this type person than the other.
Can you tell which one you might lean toward? Can you tell which one your significant other, friends or family members might be?
The benefit of understanding these two types of human behaviors lies in knowing what your unbalanced, worst behavior could look like. Then, you can watch for that bad behavior, catch it in action and choose better behavior. Can you own some of the negative behavior tendencies in your type? Can you see they might show up when you feel unsafe, criticized, insulted or mistreated?
Understanding these two types may also help you not take other people’s behavior personally and helps you allow them to be who they are. Here are the three dynamics that might show up in relationships and how to navigate them:
One person is Fear of Failure dominant and the other is Fear of Loss dominant:
The Fear of Failure person might be slightly intimidated or even scared of the Fear of Loss person and their strengths. They might feel threatened by how opinionated and judgmental the Fear of Loss person is. Expect the Fear of Loss person to be critical and opinionated at times and try not to get offended when they disagree with you or say you're doing something wrong. Choose to see they are trying to help you and don’t mean to offend — even when they may seem like a "know-it-all" at times. When they disagree with you or insist on control over a situation, you get to decide how much it means to you to hold your ground. This gives the Fear of Failure person the chance to practice being stronger and having good boundaries. The Fear of Loss person can sometimes teach the Fear of Failure person a lot about strength, confidence and boundaries.
Generally, in these relationships, the Fear of Loss person might make more of the decisions. The Fear of Loss person might make the Fear of Failure person feel safe with validation. The Fear of Failure person might need more verbal validation than a Fear of Loss person would, so it may not occur to them to give that much. But the Fear of Failure person needs to know the good the other person sees in them and may need to hear it often. This will make the Fear of Failure person feel safer and may create more confidence in them.
The Fear of Failure person can make the Fear of Loss person feel safe in the relationship by giving them time and freedom to do the things they love to do. Also, when possible, the Fear of Failure person should let the Fear of Loss person have control over things they don’t care about. Choose your battles on the things that really matter.
Both people are Fear of Loss dominant:
These relationships can sometimes be confrontational because both parties may have strong opinions and preferences, and neither is quick to back down. There can be a lot of conflict and you both must learn to divide your world up and let each person be in control of some things. You will have to choose your battles carefully and learn to compromise. You also need to be aware of the mistreatment triggers each of you may have and avoid them. If both parties are balanced (and have fewer triggers), these relationships can be productive, cooperative and positive. But if one or both parties are unbalanced and easily triggered, then conflict can rule the day, every day.
These people need to work on trusting the journey and seeing every situation as one meant to teach them something. This will help them step back from conflict and figure out how to behave at their best.
Both people are Fear of Failure dominant:
These relationships are usually easy. Both parties tend toward pleasing the other and the only real problem may come up when both are unbalanced and trying to get validation from the other. Because both may have empty buckets and might be focused on getting validation and not giving it, there could be times when no one gets what they need. Both need to work on their own self-esteem and choose to see all humans as having the same exact value if they want this relationship to thrive.
I hope this helps you understand the dynamics in some of your relationships and how you may improve them. If you understand the other person’s fear triggers and how to make them feel safe, then any relationship can thrive.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a human behavior expert and speaker. You can find your dominant fear on the Clarity Assessment or the 12 Shapes Survey.
This was first published on KSL.COM
Hi Coach Kim. I have some family members who love to make fun of others, especially people who are less fortunate, those who are overweight, and those who have disabilities (either mental or physical). They say it is all in fun, but many times, it is cruel. When I talk with them about this, they say I am too sensitive, and now they say that they can't be themselves around me because I judge them. I don’t really like to be around them. It causes me anxiety, but I truly feel family relations are so important for me and my children. I know I can't change other people, but what should I do?
The first thing I want you to understand is why people may judge, gossip or put other people down. They might do this because they're suffering from fear that they aren’t good enough themselves. In order to feel better, they might look for anything negative to point out in other people. If they can stay focused on what is "bad" about others, it might make them feel superior.
When you're around people who are doing this, remember, they may just be insecure about their own value and might act this way to make their egos feel better. That doesn’t excuse it at all, but it helps you understand them and see their behavior accurately.
It's even more important to understand this principle if you have a tendency to judge, gossip about or criticize others. Your subconscious may start judging the people around you before you consciously even realize you're doing it. But when you think about this, it probably isn’t the kind of person you want to be.
If you have this tendency to judge others, watch for it. When you catch yourself doing it, stop and remember that your own insecurity may be driving that behavior. Take a moment to remind yourself that all humans have the same worth and choose to look for some good in the people you're judging instead. Choose to be someone who sees all human beings as having the same value, no matter their appearance or performance.
If you have to be around people that have this tendency and it drives you crazy, as it does our reader, remember that this behavior may come from their insecurities and what they need. They may need validation that they're valuable, appreciated and good enough. This may be the last thing you feel like giving them; you might actually feel like tearing them down. Instead, try just sitting with your feelings toward these people for a minute. Feel your own sense of disgust or disapproval, and be honest with yourself about your negative feelings about them.
Are you seeing these people as bad, less or worse than you? Are you standing in judgment of them or them being judgmental? Are you doing the same thing they're doing? The fact is, we all do it because we may all be insecure about our own value.
Take a minute and ask yourself who are all the people you tend to judge.
There's a reason you judge the people you do. They may trigger some fear in you and judging them as the bad guy may help you resolve that. Here are some examples:
Your family members may be seeing the bad in other people to make themselves feel better. This might anger you because the people who are being judged in this case deserve to be seen accurately and have their value honored. You may not like to hear this, but you, too, are being judgmental. You're judging your family members for judging and criticizing others (which might make you feel a bit superior to them on the subconscious level). Your family members also deserve to be seen accurately and have their value honored. Think of them as works in progress with much more to learn, just like the rest of us.
Remember, we're all students in the classroom of life. We all want to be good people but we all have faults and weaknesses. You may not have this issue exactly like they have, but surely you have others faults — we all do.
The best thing you can do is focus on being the strongest, most wise and loving person you can be today. Put all of your effort into trusting that we all have the same intrinsic worth, though we each have a very unique classroom journey.
We shouldn't judge anyone else as better or worse than us because they aren’t on our same journey. Instead of getting bothered by their bad behavior, focus on making sure you are seeing people accurately and showing up with love and compassion yourself.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
I get along with everyone, but there is this one person at work, who doesn’t like me at all, and I literally can’t stand being around her now. Everything I say or do brings a look or comment from her. She is rude, arrogant and tacky. She insults me and makes it very clear she doesn’t like me, and this situation is making work miserable. What do you do when there is one person who doesn’t like you at all, but you have to deal with them every day?
The short answer to this question is don’t let it bug you. Whatever their problem is, it is probably not really about you and it doesn’t mean much that this one human doesn’t like you. You are still the same you with the same infinite value, no matter what one person thinks, but I would like to give you eight suggestions that might help you be less bothered.
1. We are all different and won’t click with everyone
Throughout your life, there will be people who immediately like you and your personalities just click, and also people with whom you don’t click. This is true for all of us all the time, so it’s OK if someone doesn't like you. It’s just a fact of life.
2. Don’t let this person see they are getting to you — by not letting them get to you
They may enjoy this game more if they know it’s bothering you. The most important thing is don’t make the game fun for them. Treat them the same way you treat everyone else and don’t avoid them or antagonize them in any way. Remember, all humans have the exact same value and nothing anyone thinks about you can change yours. If we all have the same value and it can’t change, there is nothing to fear from anyone.
3. Remember what people think of you doesn’t mean anything
Their opinions are just thoughts they created in their heads. They are not necessarily the truth and they have no power unless you give them the power to bother you.
4. Look for projection
Projection happens when someone projects how they feel about themselves onto you. Ask yourself, does this person really not like me, or do they not like themselves and are just projecting those feelings onto me? Is there any chance this person has some fear of failure in play and are afraid they aren’t good enough that they have to subconsciously look for (and focus on) negative feelings toward me to make themselves feel better? People who really like themselves and have healthy self-esteem generally get along with most people. If this person doesn’t get along with everyone, they may not like themselves.
5. Are you triggering their fear of failure?
Is this person afraid they aren’t good enough on some level and is there something about you that triggers this fear in them? Do they struggle with their weight, while you don’t? Do they struggle with writing, while you find it easy and are recognized for it? Is there something about you that makes them feel unsafe or less than? I am not suggesting you play this down or quit being who you are, but if you can see what’s happening accurately you might understand this problem is about their fears about themselves and not about you.
6. Show them you like them
People generally like people who like them and dislike people they think dislike them. So, make an extra effort to show this person you appreciate who they are and what they do. Pay compliments and show them you see their value. Often, this kind, reassuring behavior could turn their reaction to you around fast.
7. Read about the three types of relationships from this article (even though it’s about marriage it applies to all relationships).
See if you can identify the fear issue in play with you and this person. Are they fear of failure or loss dominant and which are you? This can help you to see the relationship in a whole new light.
8. Read this article about the four different value systems and see if you can tell which you have and which they have
Understanding what they value most might help you understand their behavior and why they may react negatively to yours. For example, if they value ideas and principles most while you value people most, then they might think you are too social or too talkative and that might bother them. Or maybe they value tasks most and you value things most. This could mean they don’t like how much you care about something like fashion because they don’t think it’s important at all. Again, you shouldn’t change who you are but you should be aware of what they think is important and honor their right to think that way.
Our values and our fears highly influence who we like and connect with. Understanding another person’s value system and dominant fear will really help you understand their behavior. In my opinion, fears and value are the main drivers of human behavior, and when we get another person at this level we will have more compassion and tolerance for their quirkiness.
Try to appreciate the good in this person and love them despite their quirks. Remember, their ideas and thoughts don’t mean anything or change your value, so there is nothing to fear here.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of www.app.12shapes.com and is a human behavior expert, author and speaker. She provides corporate training on her 12 shapes relationship system and solves your people problems.
SALT LAKE CITY — Relationships and getting along with others is complicated and messy. It’s messy because we are all so different, and our differences create uncomfortable, unsafe and threatened feelings, which can lead to bad relationship behavior, based in fear, not love.
When you are in a fear-based relationship where no one feels safe, this fear creates bad behavior and people problems.
Over the last 15 years, as a master executive life coach, I have found that human behavior can actually be very simple to understand. And when you get it, you can get along with almost anyone (yes, there are some people you may never get along with, but they are rare).
I have found most human behavior is driven by two factors: what you value and what you fear. These two factors are the keys to understanding why you and other people behave the way you do and why you struggle to get along with certain people, especially those who value and fear different things than you do.
My business partner Nicole Cunningham did 8 years of research in Australia and Asia that have led us to believe there are four value systems that drive most human behavior. These four systems of value, along with the two core fears (I talk about in most of my KSL.com articles) divide us into 12 different types of people, which we call the 12 shapes. These four value systems influence the kind of career you go into, the way you dress, the kind of worker you are, who you judge, who you respect and who you struggle to get along with.
MAKE SURE YOU TAKE THE 12 SHAPES RELATIONSHIP SURVEY AND FIND OUT YOUR SHAPE - AND INVITE FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO DO THE SAME!
CLICK HERE FOR THE APP
See if you can tell which sounds the most like you. Here they are:
For example, I am a person, who highly values tasks and I often see other people, who don’t work as hard or as fast as I do, as lazy. I see people who talk too much as time wasters and I struggle to be friends with people who are too opinionated. I also don’t care much about my appearance and I can judge people who spend a lot of time and energy on theirs.
Can you see why you might not get along with people who value different things?
Think of some people in your life, who you do not get along with. See if you can figure out what that person values most. Is their value system different from yours? Does it threaten what you value? Does their value system mean they might see yours as wrong?
When you don’t get along with someone, it is generally because you don’t feel safe with them. The way they think or behave probably threatens you, who you are, or what you value. Because you don’t feel safe, you will subconsciously see them as wrong, less, bad or worse than you. You might also subconsciously look for bad in them and focus on it. There will be good in them too, but you won’t see that, because your ego needs to see anyone who is different as the bad guy. Seeing them as bad or wrong makes you feel a little safer and better.
This is behavior you must watch for. If you aren’t getting along with someone, take the time to look at why you might feel threatened or not good enough around them. What about them makes you feel this way? How is their value system a threat to yours?
Could you, instead, trust that all human beings have the same intrinsic worth and no one is more or less valuable than anyone else? Could you trust that each of us is having a completely unique, custom, classroom journey and see any comparing as pointless? Could you set aside better and worse, and just see them as different?
Recognize the world needs all different kinds of people and no value system is inherently better or worse than another. Seeing people and their behavior accurately will create more tolerance and acceptance. The more you practice seeing human behavior this way, the more compassionate and easy to get along with you will become.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles and Nicole Cunningham are the authors of the 12 Shapes Relationship System - get the app today, take the quiz, invite friends and learn about your shape at - app.12shapes.com
This was first published on KSL.COM
SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice, Coach Kim shares a fresh perspective on why we disagree and how to resolve it.
I live in a small planned unit development with four families. This is the second year we have lived in the community, as it is a new development. The control box for the sprinkler system is in my backyard. The park-strip grass we all share is watered by a valve in that control box. Every summer, I consult the water conservation website for irrigation frequency, and follow that guideline. This means that the grass is not lush and green, but rather, closer to yellow in color.
My retired neighbor is extremely unhappy about this and badgers me relentlessly to increase the watering for that area. He has become hostile and abusive. When I called a meeting with the other families to discuss what to do, he went into victim mode, saying that he is the only one trying to save the grass and maintain the appearance of the grounds. He does do a lot of work around the planned unit development, such as repairing sprinklers, fertilizing, etc. He is home and able to do it, and is compensated by the HOA.
How can we find a happy medium? Is it even possible?
Most disagreements like this happen because of differences in values. It has been my observation, as a life coach and human behavior expert for 15 years, that there are four value systems that drive most human behavior. When you understand what someone values most, you will then understand their thinking, behavior, and why they make the choices they do.
We all value all four of these, but we usually have one that is more dominant than the others. Understanding this is the trick to resolving conflicts and disagreements.
Here are the four value systems that create most disagreements:
1. Some of us value people most. These people don’t like to be alone and highly value relationships, connection and feeling wanted and included. They would sacrifice getting things done for time to visit with friends, and they care more about people than things, tasks or opinions.
2. Some of us value tasks most. These people are driven by their “to-do” lists and are constant workers and doers. They care most about getting things done and would rather work alone and be productive than visit with others.
3. Some of us value things most. These people care about how things look, taking care of things and creating things. They can be artists, inventors or good stewards, who carefully manage what they have or are in charge of.
4. Some of us value ideas most. These people care about causes, opinions, rules, politics and the environment most. They are rule keepers and system followers. They are often advocates, teachers and well-educated. They also believe in fairness, loyalty and are community minded.
It sounds like you are someone who values ideas and principles most. This is why you follow recommended guidelines and believe in doing what is right for the community, city and state, not just for yourself. You highly value doing the right thing, even if it means sacrificing some of your quality of life.
Your neighbor appears to value things. He spends a great deal of time making his yard look good. Having a nice yard feels important to him because it creates his quality of life and he hopes others will benefit from it too. I am sure he cares about the community and environment, but it sounds like he cares about things looking nice a little more. He also values hard work and wants to see the fruits of his labor.
The most important thing you need to know in this situation is there is no right or wrong— there is just different. Your value system isn’t better than his, and you both have the right to be who you are and see the world the way you see it. You both have the right to have your value system honored and respected, and you have the same intrinsic value as every other human being. Neither of you can resolve this problem if you continue to see yourself as right or better and the other as wrong.
Whenever you find yourself in a disagreement, the solution lies in having a mutually validating conversation with the other person, a conversation where both people feel respected and honored. There are five steps to doing these conversations right, and if you follow them, you can usually create a compromise.
Steps for a mutually validating conversation:
1. Make sure you see the other person as having the same intrinsic worth as you. Make sure you aren't talking down from a position of better, smarter or more right.
2. Set all your opinions aside up front. Don’t start the conversation expressing your view. Start the conversation ready to listen to them.
3. Ask questions about what they think, how they feel, what their concerns and opinions are. Actively listen and validate, honor and respect their right to see the world the way they see it. This comes from how they are wired, and they cannot see anything else at this time. Make sure at this step you are not agreeing or disagreeing (those are about you). This is the time to make them feel heard and understood. The longer you spend here the better. This kind of listening helps to lessen defensiveness and create a safe space for you to share your views too.
4. Ask permission to share your views. Ask your neighbor if he would be willing to let you explain why you think it’s important to follow recommended guidelines and do what you feel is right for the whole community. Ask if he would be willing to be open-minded and at least consider your view. If he is, then go to step five. If he isn’t willing to hear you, say you respect that and thank him for his time. (You must do this if you want to build trust where further conversations could go better.)
5. Speak your mind using “I” statements, not “you” statements. Tell him about your values and why you see the situation the way you do. Ask him if he would be open to a compromise and suggest something that honors both your values. Maybe you could water more, but do it at night or water a little longer, while still conserving, to some degree.
The trick lies in being willing to let go of the “I’m right and you are wrong” mindset, and being truly open to seeing the right in the other person's perspective.
Remember, they aren’t wrong, they are just different. The world would be a boring place if were all the same, and we need social connectors, get-it-done workers, artists, stewards, advocates and rule keepers to make the world work. There is a place for everyone.
Make sure you validate your neighbor's strengths and talents, and appreciate the work he does on the property. He will really appreciate some praise and validation. If you start the conversation with that, you can resolve most problems.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a human behavior expert and master coach. Visit www.12shapes.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com to learn more.
This was first published on KSl.COM
I work in an office with all women and there is so much cattiness, fighting, gossiping and judging that it is a pretty unpleasant place to work. I realize you might say I should leave and find another job, but jobs that work with my schedule and pay this well are hard to find. Is there anything I can do to be an agent of change or influence others to be kinder and more compassionate to each other? Or is there a way I can at least stay above it all and not let it bother me so much?
Unfortunately, businesses who have a lot of female employees often have more office drama and gossip than offices with more male employees, but we also get calls from human resources directors whose companies are going through a merger, have high stress environments or are in fast growth, because stress and change always create people problems.
This happens because change and stress cause fear of failure and loss issues to rise to the surface, and these two fears are the hidden cause behind most bad behavior and relationship clashes. If the issues can’t be resolved by HR, they often bring us in for executive coaching and performance evaluations to figure out and solve these people problems fast.
Every single employee brings some pain, stress and fear around their families, money or relationships to work with them every day. These pressures in their personal lives mean they come to work almost every day in a fear state.
People functioning in a fear state will be easy to offend and quick to feel criticized, taken from, threatened or unsafe. These employees may be subconsciously looking for mistreatment and they could have a short fuse and a rather selfish viewpoint. Understanding the fear behind the behavior is the key to gaining compassion for them and seeing their gossip and bad behavior accurately.
Every person in your office is fighting a battle at home you know nothing about.
They are very likely in pain and fear, at some level, almost every day, and this is the real cause of their bad behavior. If you want to change how you feel at work, you must get a more accurate perspective about bad behavior and you must not take it personally.
People behave badly because of their fears about themselves. It is rarely about you.
Also remember — it is only hurt or hurting people that hurt people. This means the people whose behavior is bothering you most are the people in the most pain about their value and their journey. Bad behavior is always a sign of inner suffering.
We talk a lot in our articles about the two core fears (the fear of failure and the fear of loss) and how they drive human behavior. The truth is, whenever people are in a fear state they are completely focused on one thing: getting anything or doing anything they can to quiet the fear.
In this state they are incapable of thinking about what others may need or want. All they can focus on is "What would make this fear or pain stop?"
If someone functions in fear of failure, they are deeply afraid they might not be good enough. When the fear is bad and they experience shame or feel insecure, one of the most common ways they react (subconsciously respond) is they focus on any bad in the people around them.
The more they focus on other people's bad behavior, they don’t have to think about their own. We call this the Shame and Blame Game and we all play it at times. The more shame we feel, the more we blame others, criticize and gossip. I suspect many of the gossipers in your office are doing so, because they’re covering their deep insecurities or shame.
If any of you are prone to gossip yourself, ask yourself if your fear of not being good enough might be in play. Be aware of the safety you might feel if you put others down or focus on their bad. The first step to changing any bad behavior is being conscious of why you do it.
If someone functions from a fear of loss, they are deeply afraid of being taken from, mistreated or losing control. These people may be territorial, defensive, protective or controlling and they will be quick to be offended and see mistreatment everywhere, even when it’s not there.
We want you to understand the real cause of bad behavior so you will have more compassion for yourself and the people you work with. We recommend you don’t try to "stay above it" though, as that can be a place of judgment looking down at the "bad" people involved and that isn’t accurate as we all have the same intrinsic value.
Just see bad, immature gossip or dramatic behavior accurately, as fear-driven behavior that happens when people are afraid they aren’t good enough and need to look for the bad in others to distract them from their own.
If you see bad behavior accurately you may also see what these people need, which is to quiet their fear, so they can stop criticizing others to feel better. What they need is validation and reassurance about their worth. This is often the last thing you feel like giving someone who is acting haughty, arrogant or better than others, but it is what they need.
Look for opportunities to point out kindness, compassion and good behavior in your gossiping co-workers. Tell them often how grateful you are to work with such kind, encouraging and non-judgmental people.
You may even say that when you first came to work there you heard a lot of gossip and backbiting, and you are so grateful that doesn’t happen as much anymore. Tell the people who do it the most how positive they are and you admire the way they never say an unkind word about anyone.
I know this may seem like lying, but it’s really helping them see who they have the potential to be before they even show up that way. This positive encouragement literally encourages better behavior, because people always want to live up to your highest opinion of them.
When you point out their good qualities you literally push them in that direction. This is the most compassionate way to encourage better behavior. When you help them to see their light, instead of their darkness, you push them toward being their best.
It may also help you to remember that all unloving behavior is a request for love. Every unkind word or fearful reaction is a request for validation and reassurance they are good enough.
This is true for the people in your home, too. We have seen one person completely change the culture at work or home by just giving more compliments and validation to the team. When people start to feel safer, more appreciated and even admired at work, they are happier and show up with more respect and kindness.
Go get them with your positive uplifting attitude and help them rise into better behavior. Don't criticize or point out their bad behavior because that will increase their fear and will only make it worse.
If you do all this and they still remain in negativity and drama, see this as your perfect classroom, take nothing personally and work on being a source of light and love in your office anyway.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles and Nicole Cunningham are the founders of claritypointcoaching.com and Identiology.com. They are human behavior experts who help companies and individuals to be their best.
I have had some pretty negative feedback in my last review at work and I’m totally at a loss on how to fix it. They say I lack soft skills, communication and people skills, but how do I suddenly start to do better there? What’s the best way to change or improve on those levels? I admit that I don’t always show up great at work because I have a lot of difficult stuff going on at home. I probably bring those feelings to work and they make me harder to deal with. What do I do about that?
Did you know that 85 percent of your career success depends on your people skills? New research has shown that many employers believe interpersonal and emotional intelligence skills are even more important than your hard skills or education.
Mark Murphy, who wrote the book "Hire for Attitude," says 46 percent of new-hire employees are let go within 18 months because their soft skills are inadequate or they have bad attitudes. Much has been written recently about millennials and their severe lack of people skills in the workplace, but the reality is we could all improve in this area. People skills are a definite must if you want career success.
The problem is they don’t teach these skills in school, and if you came from a family with low emotional intelligence, you probably picked up a lot of immature, fear-based, emotional and reactive tendencies. You may not be naturally good at getting along with, motivating or negotiating with others. You may not know how to be emotionally resilient, handle conflict or keep a positive attitude when things get rough. These skills are so important, if your company doesn’t provide training or personal development, you might have to go get some on your own.
Here is a list of some of the most important people skills employers are looking for and ways to improve yours:
The art of not making everything about you:This is really about social-awareness and understanding human behavior. Social-awareness means having empathy, being able to give presentations that are focused on the needs of the audience, not your desire to impress, and being able to anticipate how others might feel in any situation. It means knowing when a comment is appropriate and when your input really contributes and when it isn’t necessary. It means being a good listener, not interrupting others and not taking things personally.Many employers say the majority of their office drama comes from a few people who lack this skill and tend to make everything about them. They seem to lack a social filter and can’t see how their behavior comes across to other people. If you have this tendency in your subconscious programming, a good executive coach can guide you through this and help you understand human behavior at a deeper level. There are also many personal development seminars that facilitate this kind of work. You will have to become open to some serious feedback though, even if it hurts.
Just remember we all have the same intrinsic worth no matter what, and your need for some people skills doesn’t diminish your worth as a person.
Situational awareness and problem solving:This is the ability to see situations accurately and find solutions. It includes being able to prioritize and see what needs to be done first and who the right person is to do each task.Situational awareness is a hard soft skill to learn, but some experts think that doing puzzles, problem-solving games and even video games that include teamwork and strategic thinking may help. Many of these games require you to scan a situation and respond quickly and accurately. Millennials, who employers find lack many people skills, are often strong in this area. Maybe you need to start playing some strategy games and, even better, get your co-workers to do it with you.
Self-awareness and the ability to control your emotions:Can you process situations and how they make you feel clearly and accurately? Can you step back and calm yourself before reacting? Can you recognize what are facts and what are stories or meaning you have inaccurately applied?Self-awareness also includes the ability to know how much personal information is appropriate to share, clarity about your own strengths and weaknesses and the ability to own your mistakes, apologize and learn from them. If you can tell you aren’t self-aware enough, you may need to find an expert who can teach you mindfulness and show you how to process emotions in a healthy way and help you to see your strengths and weaknesses more accurately. We have a free assessment on our website that shows your subconscious tendencies on paper you may want to try. It’s a good start to understanding which areas you need work on.
Resilience:This is your ability to bounce back from challenges or failures, have flexibility with change and remain calm under pressure. This also includes your ability to manage stress, stay cool in a negative situation, and reduce your negative emotions when they show up.We believe a lack of resilience is a fear problem (because you fear failure and loss). We work specifically on reducing your subconscious fears in our coaching program because when those go down, your ability to be resilient goes up. Find an executive coach that specializes in eliminating the fear of change, rejection, setbacks, failure and loss. When you become resilient you will become bulletproof and in high demand at work.
Being proactive, not reactive:To reach your highest career potential, learning to be proactive is a must. You must learn to be responsible for your emotions, thoughts and reactions and gain the ability to self-monitor and regulate them.This is really about emotional maturity and the ability to respond to situations appropriately and at the right time. It means having long-range plans and not just putting out fires, and the ability to prioritize what is urgent and what is really important. It requires self-awareness and the ability to manage your impulses and prevent distractions. If you struggle with these, download our free paper on 14 ways to reach your potential at work. This gives you practical suggestions for rising above average.
Treating people with respect and showing up happy:There is a strong correlation between how happy you are (with yourself and your life) and the way you treat others. If you are dealing with a lot of negative thoughts and feelings of inadequacy, failure or disappointment in life, or if you have personal problems at home, you may subconsciously look for people to criticize or disrespect at work. When you find negatives in other people to focus on, it often distracts you from your own fear or pain.If you show up at work grouchy and treat people with disrespect, it is going to negatively affect your career. If you are discouraged or depressed with yourself or your life — do something about it. Again, I recommend working with an executive coach who can help you gain the skills to improve your mindset and learn to handle conflict with kindness.
If your personal relationship issues are causing problems with your behavior at work, own that and do something. Most people let negative situations go on way too long, mostly because they don’t know how to solve them. But there are answers and people who can help you … you just have to ask around to find them.
Don’t let any negative situation, feeling or pattern stay in your life. If you don’t know how to fix it, ask 10 people what they would recommend and find an option that works for you. The first thing you need is a change in perspective or mindset. Albert Einstein said, “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them."
You must gain a different perspective and look at the problem in a new way if you want to create change. We find most of our coaching clients experience major shifts in thinking with only one session and they feel better fast. But you can’t do better until you know better — so get out there and learn.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
This was first published on KSL.COM
I am seriously overwhelmed and burned out, and I admit I complain about it more than I should. My spouse says she is tired of my childish drama about my problems and my discouragement. But is it drama if I really feel down and discouraged, and my life really is hard? She says I have a victim story that I’m stuck in, but this isn’t a story, my life really has been hard. That is truth, so I don’t think it’s a story. I’m not stuck either, I’m just going through a really rough time and I want people to cut me some slack. How can I handle my feelings about my life in a more mature way, though that won’t incite criticism or be seen as drama?
I have no doubt your journey has been a rough one, and in some ways your trials justify a pity party and some complaining. The problem is you can't live there. Too much complaining about your troubles tends to make people lose respect for you and not like your company. They might feel sorry for you and give you sympathy love, but it won’t be the kind of love you are really after. Pity isn’t love.
It sounds to me like you haven’t had an opportunity to learn how to process emotions and consciously choose your mindset in a healthy way. Most people haven’t learned these skills, because they didn’t have parents who knew them and they don’t teach this stuff in school or church. The bottom line is, you can’t do better until you know better. So you just need some new skills.
You are also fighting your subconscious programming, which you adopted accidentally when you were just a small child. Many of your subconscious beliefs are fear-based and inaccurate, and they drive very immature behavior. Neuroscientists tell us 95 percent of our choices we make subconsciously. This means you are on autopilot most of the time and just reacting to life, not consciously choosing your behavior, which is why it might not be good.
Let me show you the difference between mature adult responses to life and emotions, and the childish reactions that are probably in your subconscious programming. You can test yourself on these and see how mature you show up:
1) Do you take things personally that really aren’t about you?
When a family member is unhappy, children assumes it’s their fault. When someone doesn’t like the food they made, they assume it’s personal and they aren’t good enough themselves. If someone disagrees with their opinion, they assume they aren’t valued.
If a family member is unhappy, mature adults care, but they also know it’s not their responsibility to fix it, because it’s out of their control. If someone doesn’t like the food they made, they realize it’s about the food, not about them. Adults don’t attach their value to their opinions, so they don’t take it personally if you disagree with them.
2) Do you feel jealous or threatened by other people’s successes?
A child sees a win for others as a loss for them. If mom says she is proud of a sibling, they assume she isn’t proud of them. A child is always watching to make sure things are fair and they aren’t getting less than anyone else.
Mature adults aren't jealous of others, because they see the universe as abundant, and a win for someone else doesn’t mean a loss for them. Adults aren't keeping score or expecting the universe to be fair. They understand they will always get their perfect classroom, and others will get theirs. They know life isn’t fair, but it is a wise teacher who knows what it’s doing.
3) Are you personally responsible for your emotions?
Children blame their emotions on events or other people. They think they can’t help feeling overwhelmed, angry or jealous. They think other people can make them sad. They also let emotions take over and become bigger and bigger. They can’t see that focusing on them and expressing them can make them worse. They haven't learned how to own responsiblity for any emotion. They don't get that every feeling is something you are choosing to feel.
Mature adults know they are responsible for how they choose to feel in every situation. They may get triggered and feel overwhelmed, angry or jealous, but they quickly realize being overwhelmed, angry or jealous is a choice. They can see when expressing emotion would just make it bigger and more painful. They don’t stuff emotions or suppress them either. They process through them, seeing the situation accurately and consciously choose how they want to feel and deal with this moment. Mature adults know that no one can make them feel anything. They can see that choosing suffering or misery doesn’t do any good.
4) Are you trusting the journey and being responsible for your part in a problem?
Children have temper tantrums when they don’t get what they want. They cry and yell and blame. They want things to be fair. They want to be in control of a situation and they feel “hard done by” when they don’t get the experience they wanted. They also like to blame others when things go wrong. (Well, he started it and I only hit back.) They don’t take responsibility for their part.
Mature adults don't resist “what is” but instead understand this exact situation is the right one to serve them and educate them in some way. They understand yelling and cursing (though it might feel good for a minute) doesn’t change anything and only makes them look immature. They let go of trying to control things they can’t control. They trust God and the universe know what they are doing. They know a victim mentality and feeling “hard done by” does no good and isn’t accurate. They embrace "what is" and look for the lessons in everything. They take personal responsibility for their part in every problem. They know they co-create their journey with the universe. They also understand if they are responsible, then they have power to change it. This might mean choosing to leave an abusive relationship, stepping up and changing their habits, or getting some professional help.
5) When you get offended, can you see being offended is a choice?
Children think being upset, hurt or offended by another is out of their control. They think having hurt feelings is a real wound. A child also thinks forgiving is hard and takes a long time.
Mature adults understand that offenses are just lessons and opportunities to stretch, love bigger and trust God (or the universe) at a deeper level. They know an offense doesn’t actually wound them, change their value or mean anything. It’s just a lesson and an opportunity to grow. They know forgiving is easy, as soon as you trust the classroom and see the experience as here to serve you.
6) Do you look for solutions to problems or just complain about them?
Children just like to complain to get sympathy. If they actually fixed the problem they wouldn’t have this great victim story and the pity love that comes with it. They would have to give that up and be strong and fine, which would mean less attention.
A mature adult knows that being respected is the foundation of real love. It’s hard to respect someone who has chosen weakness as a way to get validation. An adult would rather be strong and whole and focus on serving other people than be seen as weak and sad.
Now let's get real:
The reality is that we all behave like a child at times (myself included) because we are all functioning from our subconscious programming that was set in place when we were a child (most before we were 7 years old).
We all have to work to grow up every day. We must be committed to stepping back and looking at emotions, reactions and behavior honestly. Was that behavior childish? Was that who I really want to be? How could I trust the journey more and let go of anger, disappointment, self-pity, grudges and offenses? How could I take responsiblty for that behavior?
Make a commitment to upskill yourself this year and find a coach, counselor, class or seminar to help you break through the subconscious programming that is driving your bad behavior. There are lots of resources out there to help you, but the first (most important) step is owning that you need some better skills and tools. Drop the ego and the fear around asking for help. Asking for help is not weakness. Not asking for help because you are afraid of looking bad is weakness.
We are hosting a two-day Be Fearless seminar in January to help you break through the fears and problems that have held you back. We also offer private life coaching that might really help. Visit our website.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.