Posts

Keep hitting 'reset'

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 If you're like me, you're frustrated. There's too much work and too little laughter in your days. There are never enough hugs. Times are tough, and you suspect they will stay that way for the foreseeable future. So what will you do? I know. Hibernation is a great idea, but it doesn't work for human beings. Pretending you're fine works for a while, but eventually even you realize that faking it isn't helping you make it. And you've tried wallowing, but it's not really you. So hit the reset button. That's frustrating, too. I know. For one thing, often the reset button is actually a hole into which you have to insert a push pin or paper clip. And then you have to wait. And isn't that just so very 2020? Photo by    Linus Strandholm   on   Scopio And yet, over and over again, you'll hit a moment when you are sad or angry or distracted. And the right answer is to push reset. Don't try to get better yet. Try to get back to neutral. Get up and m

3 Ways to Improve Your Mindset as COVID Winter Approaches

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  Fall is a little magical. We notice the light, and forget a little that it is easier to see the sky because there are fewer leaves every day. At the end of this lovely path is winter. In Canada, even bright winter days are short. Overall, the winter is dark and often damp and sometimes very cold. Patios are less attractive after Christmas and even walking is harder in wind and ice. So we all know what is coming, and we know that COVID will make it worse. What we need to know is what will make the coming season better? Stretching a little now will set you up for more of what you need in the months to come. Here are three practices to get you started: You might not have run an actual marathon, but you have had projects and experiences that seemed like marathons. These are your foundation: the evidence that you CAN keep going and the models of strategies that work for you. Lean into them. Be curious about how you managed to stay focused and keep moving. How does that help now? People yo

Are the walls closing in? It's time to create some space

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Welcome to Canadian Thanksgiving, 2020 edition. Do you feel like the walls are closing in?  We're experiencing the last few weeks when reasonable people expect to sit outside and enjoy it. And we're facing our first COVID winter, a time when gathering outside is probably unpleasant and gathering inside is either forbidden or risky. Our kids are still in school, but they are confined to their desks for most of the day, their worlds reduced to a few square feet of not-very-comfortable territory. It's tough in here. It's tight and getting tighter. So what can you do? You have access to three powerful tools for creating space.  The first is movement. If you can, get outside and walk. The weather doesn't matter so much when your muscles are warm and working. The skies are always higher than the ceilings, and you'll see people or animals that are sharing your world and moving with you.  The second is connection. I know that a phone call or video call is not as good as

It takes willpower to use the language of agreement

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When I am training NLP workshops and courses, I ask people to do two simple exercises to build agreement. In one exercise, I ask that they have a conversations where they start everything they say with a form of Yes. No matter what their partner just said, they have to say yes before they reply. In the second exercise, they have to begin by repeating exactly a few words that their partner has just said. It's hard to imagine a simpler language pattern. When you want to build agreement, show that by saying a form of yes every time you speak. When you want to build connection, show that you are connecting by repeating something you heard before you change or add to it. These two language patterns have the power to change how people respond to you. They are 100% reliable. So what happens? People forget. They can either say yes or they can have a meaningful conversation, but they find it hard to do both. They can repeat back words or they can have their own thoughts, but they struggle

There are no true stories.

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Why would you read a novel? It's not even true. Do you believe that non-fiction books are "better" because they are "true?"  NLP (neurolinguistic programming) offers an interesting perspective on how language works. It uses words to anchor experience, so that every communication with language is completed by the receiver. The words are not the point: the connection is the point. In the meta-model, it is understood that language necessarily distorts experience because it cannot create a one-to-one correspondence between what the words say and the experience represented by the words. This isn't because people are trying to be misleading. It's the way language works. There is no evolutionary advantage to being able to predict the past or to being so accurate that no one else can connect with what you are saying. Stories are never true (even if they really happened) because they are all experiences that are communicated through language. Language necessarily

Are you waiting or are you growing?

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Have you been stuck in a waiting room for the past three months, or have you been building something? The lockdown has changed a lot of things, but it hasn't change this basic choice. We are always either circling or growing. Usually when we are circling, we are running from one thing we know to another in a cycle. Other people look and see busy. We see busy. But that doesn't always mean growth. It can mean wearing a rut in our thinking. The lockdown grabbed us by the shoulders and said "sit still." It felt like being plunked into a room and being told "wait here." Wait for the news that will change your life. Wait for the principal. Wait for the dentist's drill. Kill time until you get back to your real life. Many people were already living in the waiting room. They were hoping something would change around them, that something would  open up new possibilities. But their minds kept running in the same patterns, so they kept seeing and doing the same thi

Growing stronger is more satisfying than just hanging in

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Photo by Ivan Babiy at scop.io Are you hanging in? There's a sense these days of life suspended - I mean both that it feels like we have been left hanging and that we have been shut out of our real lives for an unspecified amount of time (probably much longer than you hope as your fingertips begin to bleed). Some people have lost their work and some are overwhelmed by work. Some are trying to be full time parent/teachers/caregivers while also doing their day jobs. As if. They are quickly becoming their evening into night-time jobs too. They don't have a choice about their circumstances. They do have a choice about how to respond, and so do you. You can hang in there and hope that you will adapt (or that life will go back to normal before you have to adapt). Or you can recognize that many, many changes are coming, and you can start developing the strength and flexibility to build a life that satisfies you, no matter what happens. If you've read this blog befor