Category Archives: Communication

Emotion IS

“Get over it.”
“Buck up.”
“Carry on.”
“Calm down.”

“Whatever you do, please, do not have an emotion I do not feel like having right now.”

I find this curious. About humans. What most of us yearn for is real moments with people we care about. Yet, we often shun, distance and turn people away at the moments that are perfect for deeper connection.

Grief. Anger. Bitterness. Imperfection. All those yucky feelings we all have.

One of the cruelest things we can do to another person is shun them. We do this in a fashion when we distance ourselves from people when they are in a feeling.

I watch my son be told (by people who love him) not to cry if something hurts. “Toughen up champ.”

I watch CEOs, who desperately need to confront reality sooner in their business, push the truth away because of the emotional package it is coming in.

I wonder sometimes if teenagers stop talking to their parents because their parents have taught them for years that when they are having an emotion they will be calmed down, repositioned and not listened to.

Perhaps if humans physiologically understood that emotions are temporary and they are often part of a process that gets people closer to their genius. When we disallow emotions we shortcut the beauty of being human. The best of us is often on the other side of some intense feelings.

The next time a kid, a co-worker, a spouse, a sibling, a friend is having an emotion you do not feel like having in the moment – sit in it with them. Be curious without trying to solve the issue. Get them talking more and feeling more.

I believe empathy shows love and personal strength. Empathy is simply the ability to feel the feelings of another person without becoming it. To be with someone. To allow imperfection so we move closer to perfection. (although perfect isn’t and doesn’t actually exist)

If what we really want is for someone to stop feeling bad, sometimes the fastest path is through it rather than around it.

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Does his ‘shut up’ trump the beauty of the lesson?

Hi.

I haven’t posted in a while. I found all of these saved drafts in my blog that I never made live.

Here is an imperfect unfinished post that is perfectly timed for me- based on something from over a year ago.

Here goes:

My sister sends me stuff all the time. She is brilliant. I use her brain way too much as I do what I do in the world.

There is this video of a coach in a press conference. He is having an emotional moment honoring the loss of a team member and his memory. Someone in the room answers a phone call, rudely, in the middle of the moment.

He handles it beautifully in my view. He didn’t coddle or gently tell the dude how offensive the action was. He DISRUPTED that guy pretty harshly.

My sister said today, “Sometimes the person being mean to you is trying to do what a true friend does: tell you when you are being an ass.” Okay, it shouldn’t be in quotes cuz that is the gist of what she said… I didn’t capture it perfectly.

Are we okay being caught in our behavior and hearing it? Can we then forgive ourselves for what we have done? Can we forgive others for maybe the yucky way they tried to bring it to our attention? Humans have ways of justifying our behavior and distancing ourselves from our true beauty.

We often can’t hear it. We grade how people tell us instead of just trying to hear what it is they are trying to say. Huge learning gets lost in our ease in getting offended.

Shut up. Message received. I doubt that person will ever disrespect a room that way again.

I’m not advocating for more people to be rude to each other. I do think we can listen to intent rather than actions.

Humans are way too focused these days on ‘HOW THE PERSON SAID IT TO ME” rather than “OH CRAP, I DID MESS UP?”

Perhaps the recoil we feel is just our inability to accept that we will just never be perfect…

I worry that all of our communicating classes are teaching us that emotions are bad. That we must coddle and calm each other instead of just telling someone they have spinach in their teeth.

Being nice means I won’t embarrass you by telling you that you have spinach in your teeth: KIND means I won’t let you walk around with it all day. Sometimes, I may say it in a way that does make you feel embarrassed. If we just accept that sometimes we will be OPEN and sometimes we will be CLOSED. Well, what happens then?

After watching that segment again, I wonder if that young man learned the lesson I got from the coach that day. We are not invisible. If we are in a room- BE IN IT.

 

 

 

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Buzzwords reduce understanding

This is such a good example of how humans often miscommunicate:

Colbert and Newsom

If folks do not understand what is being said: USE an example.

To increase understanding: help people FIND THEMSELVES in what you are trying to say.

Examples. Use them.

In case my link above gives you trouble:

http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/02/colbert-to-gavin-newsom-what-the-bleep-does-any-of-that-mean.html#storylink=cpy

 

 

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No one is coming

I see it like this:

If the world is a building. And the building is on fire.

And I am waiting for the fire department to come and help me.

No one is coming.

There isn’t some person who is going to rally all the humans required to make it happen.

I will.

And not with the kind of action that brings news cameras, gets a magazine to write about me or deserves a street to be named after me.

Small actions chip away at the big issues.

There is a lot of talking going on. More than I think I have ever seen. People often come to my company because they want to “INFLUENCE” and learn to talk so people will listen. I have developed all this Intellectual Property around NO ONE IS COMING. Because they aren’t.

The most effective influence is DOING, not talking. Doing the small pieces of the puzzle that change the picture.

We try to DO too much though. I do. We do. Our sights get a little too high and we work on the WHOLE thing instead of small actions that can change everything.

We try to change the whole world… our entire organization.. our whole family.. community.. marriage… we try to change the whole thing instead of just deciding to do little actions that start turning the ‘barge’ in the direction we’d like. Little small actions that rarely get applauded, noticed… there will be no award or recognition for this type of doing.

Example:

If the meetings in your company suck you don’t have to start a global initiative that gets board approval to change the meetings. Just make a little list about what you do not like and decide, “In the next meeting I will do this…”   and keep trying. Little things.

Example:

“If we knew these 5 things before we started an initiative in this company, we’d perform better.” So this person does a PowerPoint presentation to convince the executive committee to make this a requirement. Why? This takes WAY too long.  Instead, in the next ramp up meeting for the initiative, just ASK those 5 questions. Write them down. Give them to everyone. If it is a good idea it will take off. It may take a while. We don’t have to WAIT for someone to come. Start doing.

No one is coming.

IN the year 2000 less than 50% of adults were on line. Think about our world now? We are buried in information. We know the big problems. Can we own the little TINY things that will make it change in the right direction?

We must ACT.

DO.

Something. The small things.

If our ideas sound like complaints… no one is really listening anyway. Not only is there no one to save us.. the ones who could are sick of listening.

I live in a small town filled with people who care A LOT about the community. A few weeks ago there was a post discussing dog poop. Passionate people get frustrated by dog owners who do not clean up after their pet in the soccer field. Our kids play there. Stepping in dog crap sucks.

I didn’t respond to the post reminding everyone that raccoon poop looks very similar to dog poop. That sure, some of it is a careless pet owner. Some of it is just nature.

Instead, I made a commitment to small action. My son and I pick up poop now when we go for our walks.

So today, instead of being frustrated by the poop in my community,(or starting an initiative to hire someone to fix the problem)  I am going to just pick some up. That is all I have to do. I may not be big enough to change the whole world, I can improve a sidewalk. I can also use all this crap (nice metaphor eh?) to teach my son what citizenship is. Not the kind of citizenship I’ve done most of my life. Not the kind where I get a gold plaque on the side of a building with my name on it or a wooden engraved thing for my wall. True citizenship.

I live in a town of moms who are like that. The person who wrote the post wasn’t complaining – she was RALLYING a team of moms that she knew would DO something. This is what the moms in this town do. I must admit, I often feel small around all of their power and doing. Small things that create big lives for the kids in this town.

My small actions dedicate me to the community I live in. Somewhere there is a person in my town that I do now know that has clean shoes because of my little action.

No one is coming! It is me. Christina the dog poop collector. (careful shaking hands with me)

My new rule for me: if I complain about it, I own it. I will DO something small to start changing it. My conversations from here on will be about what I CAN DO instead of what is wrong.

I dedicate this post to my sister. She is a woman who has lived her life doing the quiet small moments. A street should be named after people like her.

**No One is Coming is a product of my company. Yes. In all transparency,  I make all this stuff to drive my behavior too. So that at the end of the day I can ask myself one question, “Did I act in a way that makes me proud today.”  If not, I need to get out and change the answer to that question. 🙂

NOTE: There are humans who dedicate their lives to change the BIG things. My heart and adoration to you. I’m not saying what you do isn’t valuable. It is just rare. I’m here dedicating myself to the small things that will help you in your big quest.

 

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Power outages

Power outages

Hard day. The other day. What I do for a living can be hard. Sad and frustrated by the beauty and fallacy of the human spaceship.

Then.

Shoe broke. Left backpack at a hotel. Sitter forgot to pick up my son. Scrambling to have someone go get him while in traffic on the Bay Bridge. Hearing him sob on the phone.

Dear friends rescued him. He is okay. Shaken. Okay. Cries a bit. We talk about people letting us down sometimes. What CAN we do. That we can do everything right and still, stuff happens. What did he learn from it? Etc. That stuff.

Get home. JAMMIES. Yay… then the day was not through with me.

Electricity kept shutting off at my house. Heater broken. Son very upset over being left at school. Tears. Freezing. IPhone broken. Broke my favorite glass. My son decides to play a plastic flute causing my nerves to fray…

Sit down for dinner. Slowly open a bubbly water. You know the kind of slow- so the air gets let out to keep it from exploding. The air comes out. Then…

It Explodes. Everywhere. Cold + wet equals freezing.

I stop. I look at Sebastian.

Sebastian and I laugh. For about 5 minutes.

He grabs a piece of paper and says, “Let me draw a metaphor mom.”
He draws the bubbly water going everywhere. Asks me how to spell:

“Sometimes you do all the right things and still things go wrong.”

My bad day just became my best day. The human I live with is just profound.

My day WAS all about that. I did all the right things and still…. things went South.

Life is like that.

The sad part is as humans our brain is in a habit to see it another way. When we do all the right things and it still goes wrong we:

BLAME: find someone to blame OR

SELF WHIP: use the moment to beat the hell out of ourselves

This habit is crippling.

What if there was no one to blame? Not THEM and not ourselves? What if stuff just happens and it is our job to stay resourceful and future focused? I feel at times that I get upset with life in such silly ways. Sort of like this: I’m playing in the waves and having a blast. Then a rogue wave crashes over my head, sends me spinning, gasping for air and swallowing a cup of sand. I do not know that I have ever stood at the shore and cursed the ocean for being what it is. I have a choice to stand on that shore or not.

I have a choice most of the time.

Yesterday Sebastian let me know what bad things happen so good things can happen. He got hurt at a friend’s house yesterday and about 10 minutes later my friend gave him Nutella. His 6 year old mind has decided that the two things are related. He kept talking in the car about how he notices if he loses a toy he loves – something good happens after.  I started to explain that maybe the two aren’t related. Maybe things just happen. There there is no bad news or good news… there is just news.

He told me I was wrong. That good things always follow bad things.

I suppose they do. If I spend enough time splashing cold bubbly water in my face when I’m in blame mode I’m sure I’d see the good.

 

 

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Choosing

Choosing

I have a habit of taking on too much and agreeing to do things I don’t want to.

Unsure why. A habit. Can be annoying at times.

Over the past 6 years, I’ve started using my life as a laboratory to teach my son things I hope he will understand by habit. Things that will lead him to the happiness that comes from good choices.

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Matt in 3C

I’m on an airplane a week ago
With my new boyfriend IPad
Working away
Completely focused on a little screen.

“Are you on your way home?”
Started a long deep conversation.
Matt, the kid in 3C, was on his way home from New York.
Within 2 minutes he shared something very personal
and it directed out conversation to the deep end.
We teared up a few times. We laughed out loud.

He said, to change our thoughts we need to change what we believe.

He  believes he is connected.  In his view, we are often driven by our ego and feel disconnected. The key to it all, he says, is giving. It is our selfishness that reduces our happiness.

All things I know. and that you know. The words sound so lovely when they come from a surprise place. With our bag of peanuts and the perpetual sunset.

A friend of mine once stood in the middle of my living room (10 years ago), arms open wide and said the key to life is to forgive. It is true isn’t it? To within in our hearts love people for all the ways they are human and feel disconnected. To just embrace humanity for the mess we make of it and just love.

Yum.

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Telling the truth

If something bad happens

because we tell the truth

it

isn’t

bad.

It may be sooner than we wanted

it may make our suffering a little sharper

for a shorter period of time

It is still good.

(Being hurtful and disguising it as ‘being honest’ respectfully omitted from this theory.)

The past few weeks

I have watched some truly brave humans

Get shut down

Slapped

Ignored

Fired

For the truth.

If it still feels bad, I promise, it is not over.

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The Genome of Leader: Steve Jobs

8 calls so far.
Asking me, for my thoughts on Steve Jobs.
As a leader.
So many, wanting to replicate who he is.
My blatant answer, 2-fold:

Fold1: I have no idea
Fold2: If you figure it out, it won’t work for you.

The Tony Robbins suggestion “Find the person doing what you want and replicate what they do,” sounds good in theory.

And might help someone eke out a living.

It dampens something. Impossible in my view. Tiresome.

So. Tonight, with Daffy Duck in the background (after 14 straight minutes of my son asking in many different ways for my favorite cartoon as a kid) I am going to make an attempt to capture an idea around they guy who brought me the IPad.
and
I will get it wrong.

Because, I have had one conversation with the dude. What I read about him, what his team experiences of him, is all a fabrication. Don’t listen to me or anyone else…

and

Because I really can’t type on this freaking thing Steve, your IPAD.  Sigh

So with that giant hedge, here goes:

Why you can’t be him Steve Jobs no matter how many consultants tell you that you can if you just…:

1) Steve Jobs doesn’t really care if you like him. Most of us, okay maybe I’ll dampen that down, many of us, have a competing commitment to be liked. We are really good at what we do and beneath the waterline many of us need to be liked. We need to have a posse. This desire trumps excellence.

2) He doesn’t care what you think. Or what everyone thinks. If the world says RETAIL IS DEAD he invests in creating a space where people can be drunken with technology and make babies. http://mashable.com/2010/02/19/apple-store-wedding/
And, really, he could give a crap over the nuptials. He just knows people spend where their heart is. A religion requires a chapel.

3) He doesn’t try to attract people to him. Most people in hiring paint a rosy picture of the company. Jobs sets very very low expectations and only wants people who care about the end result: elegant simple game changing design.

4) If you need a coach or mentor, you are barking up the wrong tree. Come fully formed….

5) Steve doesn’t believe his people are fragile. If you let your petty human bullshit get in the way, he will replace you. With out apology. And not behind closed doors. There will be no funeral, no regrets – you will just be gone.

6) The word bullshit above doesn’t scare him. None of it does. You can completely FREAK OUT in one minute and be embraced in the moment. He has a good hold on his cognitive illusions. He forgives but not in a yummy way. It is just over and now what… most of us forever change our opinion of people after witnessing a temporary rampage. He doesn’t. Because he rampages. Understands it as part of the process.

7) Thus, he doesn’t hire people, or surround himself with people, who have thin skin. He invites people to have a robust ridiculous inappropriate interaction and forgive all impropriety immediately. Most of us remember what our spouse was wearing when the commented on our new haircut by saying it showed more of our ears… Steve forgot you gave him shit over the weight loss and listened to your opinion now without filter. Well, listened to you and did what he thought anyway.  See 2 above.

7) The man knows when to say when. With grace. He doesn’t have to control it to know it will be what it is. And, it is he way of keeping control. You’ll see.

8)   (I HATE the emoticon with the sunglass smiley guy.. i’m trying to do an EIGHT ) UGH  …..He sucks as a public speaker. There are books about his public speaking ability and still, he sucks. He knows his reputation and name is why people listen. His ego never trumps this. Watch his graduation speech http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA

(Sorry Steve, you weren’t that great. I mean, I like your product and all, I wanna be like you and still, ho hum.)

If he was just some guy name Barry Smith – 4 million people would not have watched this. Watch the crowd – they are thrilled it is Steve Jobs, it isn’t a great speech. Jobs knew this. I don’t know that his fame every distracted him. He had a filter or a distance to the adoration of others. Surrounded himself with people who simply didn’t want the autograph. Not many of us have that sort of ego control. We want to be adored past what is true.

9) He has limited ability. He is unbelievable at very very few things. Big things. He fails at a lot of sh*t. He doesn’t want to be perfect in many things. Just one or two.

10) The man is able to IGNORE a lot. Ignore. Not care. Dismiss. Not worry. Let it go. That is what makes a game changing CEO. All the things to ignore, without lament.

11) He is like a pit bull with other things. Won’t let some things go. Gnaws those few things to the point of insanity. Well past what makes sense. Just a couple of things.

11) If Steve Jobs was a charm on a charm bracelet he’d be tarnished. He would have slipped unnoticed into the gutter already. He will be the charm we miss the most… our hand on the space where he used to be.. wishing he would have left for some other reason than health…

So

You might think my list above is a bad thing. It isn’t. Most of us need to be these things if we want to change the world. The coddling and cuddling and complaining and lack of individual resourcefulness in companies has just got to stop.

He is that and

That isn’t (most) of us.

(Nice shirt.)

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