Why Bother with Yellow Flowers When You Really Want a Turtle?

“Would you take me to go look at the yellow flowers?” It seems like a simple request, but it was, in fact, perfectly tailored to meet both my nephew’s needs and his in the moment. I was visiting my family.  My mother had suggested that I go look at the yellow flowers in her garden […]

Have you tried Dynamic Facilitation?

You’ve probably been in at least one meeting with a facilitator who used one white board to capture ideas. I use 3! Dynamic Facilitation provides the framework to have a difficult conversation successfully. In Dynamic Facilitation, the facilitator uses three charts at once:  Perspectives, Solutions, and Concerns.  Each person who speaks provides his/her Perspective on […]

When in conflict, ask yourself, “What are the unmet needs?”

When you are in conflict, what are your unmet needs?  What are the unmet needs of the person with whom you are in conflict? You may think that when you are arguing with your spouse about the dishes not getting done, that it is all about the dishes getting done. It isn’t. There are probably […]

Are you trying to defy the laws of gravity in your conflict?

In their book, “Designing Your Life,” authors Burnett and Evans talk about “gravity problems,” things like gravity that you cannot change no matter how hard you try.  If you trip and fall, you fall down, not up.  That is just the way it is.  You can waste a lot of time and energy railing against […]

Moving workplace conflict from dysfunctional to functional

When I get a call about workplace conflict, I often find that: The situation has been brewing for a long time. There have been repeated violations of social norms. The person monitoring the situation tends to want to avoid conflict. A quick fix is most desired. It is unlikely that there is a quick fix […]

How to Give Your Spouse the Best Christmas Present Ever

When things are going well in a marriage, when you’ve been together for years and years, you can take your spouse for granted.  Of course we made it this far.  We are going to make it forever. Or, in the alternative, you can be good about giving gifts when things are good and bad about […]

Post-Election Conflict

We have been through the most divisive election I have seen in my lifetime.  I am still trying to make sense of all of it — the lead up, election night, and the country as it stands now, still sharply divided. I have seen posts from people across the nation whose families are sharply divided […]

Parenting Across the Miles

When people with young children divorce, they create a schedule of parenting time for each parent with the children.  They typically look at what their parenting schedule has looked like while the family was intact and what they want it to look like once they are living in two separate households. In many instances, at […]

What to do with an annoying person at work

Let’s be honest.  Even if we like our jobs and we like the majority of our co-workers, we all have at least one person we have to be in contact with at work that we would rather do without. If we are lucky, that person is external, rather than internal — clients, customers, other business […]

9 tips for divorcing mindfully

Divorce is never painless, but there are ways to make it less painful. Do not demonize the other person. Demonizing the other person is a short-term gain with long-term consequences. You loved your spouse at one point.  You loved your spouse so much that you got dressed up and said to a room full of […]

When Your Game Face Makes You Out of Touch With Your Emotions

Our game face, or our poker face, is the face we put on for the outside world that masks what is happening for us internally.  We develop it over time, some better than others, some better at certain situations than others.  When we have our game face on, we can go out into the world […]