Resolving Conflict

In a word, the reason for conflict is differences. Differences attract. Differences compliment.
Differences help retain identity. Differences lead to disagreement. Conflict is to “strike together” from the Latin words con (together) plus fliere (to strike). Some matches are “strike anywhere” and others strike only on a certain surface. Use these thoughts to narrow your strike zone.

Determine your real objective. Is it domination or win/win. Ask yourself, “Am I willing to not win?” When winning does not mean that someone has to lose, life becomes a co-creative process of “you and me” rather than “you or me”; it is both/and rather than either/or.

Ascertain what may be clouding your vision? We cannot see clearly when controlled by preconceptions and emotions. The greater the emotion in the disagreement over differences, the wider the difference gap becomes. When focused intently on your needs, not only is the other’s needs dismissed but also his humanity is diminished.

There is a difference in an answer and a come back. It is not so much the words as the delivery. As the giver, adjust your attitude. Evaluate if you are responding or reacting? Chose your words carefully, watch your facial expressions, tone of voice and body language. As the receiver, adjust your attitude. Listen to the words only and filter out attitudes and perceived hidden agendas.

Be willing to accept compromise for the good of the whole. What is more important, being right or relationship? Do not be offensive or defensive. Recognize there are multiple nuances and develop options.

Evaluate outcomes of winning, losing and compromising. What is at stake? For you? For him? What have you really won? What have you really lost? You can win a battle and still lose the war. You can win the issue and still lose a relationship. Is it really worth it? Will it matter next week? Next year?

Clarify communications. Have I effectively communicated? Have I painted understandable word pictures? Has my position been received? Have I listened to his/her side with an open mind? Have I acknowledged his/her input? If you think communication is all talking, you haven’t been listening.

Explore commitment. What else do I need to do to work out this situation? How much do you appreciate his work to resolve the issue? How much do you value the individual? How deeply do you appreciate her job? Is this issue totally incompatible?

There are two constants in life: change and conflict. I suggest the more adept we are at changing the less we will engage in conflict.

Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer and Personal Success Coach of Solution Principles, specializes in maximum people development. Contact Mona at mdunkin@flash.net Read past articles at www.monadunkin.blogspot.com


Steps to Change: How to Self-Evaluate

The plea is often “I want to change but I don’t know how.” You change your life by changing your behavior. It is that simple, and that profound.
Your behavior consists of four elements:
1) the thoughts you think
2) the feelings you feel
3) the actions you take
4) and the response your body gives.
Here are five keys for success.

1. Become aware of your behavior. Stress, anger or emotional pain of any kind leads to physical problems. Rather than just react, stop, step back and purposely become aware of the situation and how your behavior may be exacerbating the dilemma. Catch yourself in the act. Once you become aware of your automatic responses, you are in a position to make better choices.

What are you feelings doing? Excusing? Blaming? Justifying? Guilting? Angering? Stressing? Depressing?

What is your mind thinking? What pictures are you seeing? What voices are you hearing? Is it relevant or irrelevant?

What actions are you choosing? Fighting? Fussing? Cursing? Eating? Medicating? Drinking? Sleeping? Fatiguing? Withdrawing? Anxieting? Depressing?

How is your body responding? Tensing? Headaching? Sicking? Clinching? Sighing? Stressing?

Note that all of these words are in present tense. Your four behavior elements are always active; you just need to become aware of it so you can choose to stop the negative ones.

2. Take personal responsibility for your behavior. The only person you can control is you. No matter how difficult the individual is your response is more about you than him.

Continually ask yourself:
“What I am thinking, is it helping or hurting?”
“Are the actions I am taking helping or hurting? The words I am speaking, are
they relationship building or destroying? The expression on my face, is it
pleasant or scowling? My tone of voice, is it kind or demeaning?”
“The emotions I am feeling, are they positive or negative? Helpful or hurtful?”
“Will I permit this exchange to give me a headache? Or an upset stomach?”

Are the behaviors you are exerting getting you want you want? If not, what are your options? You have more control over the thoughts you think and the actions you take than you do over the emotions you feel or your body’s physical response. As you purposely change your thoughts and actions, your feelings and physical will follow suit.

3. Self-Evaluate. Have a dialogue with you regarding this situation and your interaction with this person. Deal with the present. Do not bring up past garbage.

What do you want to accomplish through this encounter? What are you doing to bring it to pass? Are you behaving responsibly or irresponsibly? Are you acting maturely or immaturely? What are your top priorities? What calling is on your life? Does your lifestyle match your values?

When you become more interested in relationship building than winning, it becomes a win-win situation for all concerned.

4. Make a plan. Once you determine that the aforementioned behavior is not getting you what you really want, decide on a plan of action to learn new ways to behave. Take effective control of your life by considering: Who do you need to counsel with? What books do you need to read? What classes to you need to take? Who is a good mentor for you to emulate?

Making the plan is only a small part. The key is when will you begin? If not today, then what day? If not now, then when? If not you, then who? Make a firm commitment and honor your plan.

5. Get bottom line honest. Throughout this process it is imperative that you get honest with yourself. It is a hurt that heals. I am not discounting there may be factors outside you that weigh into the problem. I am not suggesting the other person is not a royal pain. You may have legitimate reasons to be angry or unforgiving. The bottom line is, it is more about you than her. Respond to the need, do not react to his/her rotten personality. Choose the thoughts you think. It is difficult, if not impossible, to have healthy interactions if you are mentally or verbally calling the person a “Jerk”.

Purposely put these five action steps into practice again and again until they become a natural part of your character. I had a client who told me, “I have changed, but I don’t know when it happened.” May that happen to you too. And let me know about it.
Share your comments. I would love to hear from you and your success or frustrations.

Mona Dunkin is a Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer and Personal Success Coach. Read past articles at http://www.monadunkin.blogspot.com/. Contact her at mdunkin@flash.net.

Discovering Who You Are

Nothing shapes relationships and success like the picture you have of yourself. The trouble is we often assume our identity based on hearsay, and therefore, give too much weight to what others say. Although you are a product of your environment you can choose to not be victimized by it. Here are thoughts for self-discovery.

Learn to love you. Get to know the wonderful being you are. Listen to your own heartbeat and be willing to follow your dreams. Make friends with your conscience and heed its guidance. Experiment with your talents and creativity. Fine tune your unique personality and sense of humor.

Process of elimination. Figure out who you are by figuring out who you are not. When you know who you do not want to be or what you do not want to do, you are ready to chart your own course. Focus on who you want to become and it is easier to relinquish the thought habits that are keeping you bound.

Send fear packing. When fear of becoming who you are knocks on your door, allow faith to answer. Instead of inviting him in, put your hand up as if to block entrance while firmly saying “Stop” aloud. Embrace the seed of hope that plants.

Live in integrity and within your unique calling, personality and style. Be the best you possible, not a makeover of someone else, not the embodiment of another’s ideal of you, but the you that you were created and gifted to become. Grooming has its place, but you are more than your hair, or your grades, or your job, or whatever limited label you have ascribed to you.

Decrease harmful materialism. Do not using stuff as proof of your self-worth. Putting material things in their proper place increases personal satisfaction, contentment, creativity and community. It also improved psychological health.

Foster a healthy selfishness. It is okay to take care of you. What you want matters. Follow the airlines suggestion and “put on your oxygen mask first” before helping another. As you take care of you, it becomes easier to be selfless.

Discover the foundation of happiness. It is more internal qualities than external beauty. Happy people are less self-centered and more loving, helpful, forgiving, trusting social, involved, decisive and energetic.

People overcome negative influences every day and you can too. You are a product of your environment, but can choose to not be victimized by it. Enjoy the exciting adventure of discovery – a journey that never ends.

I would love to hear from you. Ask a question to be discussed in a future blog or make a comment. And have a great day discovering who you are.

Mona Dunkin is a Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer and Personal Success Coach. Read past articles at http://www.monadunkin.blogspot.com/. Contact her at mdunkin@flash.net.

Getting Control of Your Time

Do you feel guilty about not fulfilling requests made of you? All of us have demands on our time and energy. If you are not in effective control of your time, someone else will rule it for you. Following are some simple techniques to prioritize and organize daily routines.

Reverse the “tomorrow” syndrome. Tomorrow is the busiest day of the week because one puts off what you have time, resources and ability to do today. Instead of pushing current tasks into the mythical “someday”, become a member of the DIN-DIN Club – “Do It Now, Do It Now, Do It Now!”

Quit stewing, start doing. Dread can keep you mired in inertia. Remember the physics principle of “an object in motion remains in motion.” Energy produces energy, so get moving and allow the creative juices to flow.

Understand time management. Everyone is given the same amount of hours each day. Time management is really personal management by knowing that life is about choices and taking control over what you will do next. The ability to choose between the important and the unimportant is a major factor in success and relationships.

Understand the unspoken message of clutter. The English Thesaurus definition of clutter as: (n) mess, litter, disorder, confusion, untidiness and muddle; (v) encumber, strew, cover; with antonyms being space and free. The surplus of litter binds one to a poverty mentality. Unfinished projects haunt of past failures. Clutter keeps you entangled in yesterday and hampers moving into the future. How can anything new come in when there is no space? Tame your time by having less stuff to muddle through.

Set Clutter Boundaries. Decide in advance how long something will be kept, such as: magazines will be recycled after six months and newspapers after three days. Establish a one-in-one-out rule; when something new comes in, an older, like object has to go. This applies to activities as well as tangible items. Determine, “Do I absolutely love it?” If so, make room; if not, it’s a goner.

Get Emotionally Honest.
Yes, you have gifts and talents to bless the universe, and, yes, there are certain things needed for success. However, how much is reality and how much is addictive? How much is helpful and how much is ego-boosting? How many shoes can you wear? How many committees can you chair? How much money do you need? How are you spending frivolously? Do you know the difference in idle time and leisure time? How often do you play with your kids? How frequently do you listen to your spouse? How much do you need to do vs. want to do? How many of your obligations are self-imposed?

A helpful tool in getting control of your time is to develop a personal mantra such as “Not helpful”, “Not needed”, or “Just say ‘No’”. Use this rhythm as needed when scheduling or shopping. My personal one is, “I’m tired of cute.” It works.
Let's start a dialogue. Give me input on how these ideas are helping you and/or share your favorite way to get control of your time.