Stop Relationship Drama: Get Clear

April 29, 2010

So much of the time, we use our energy trying to convince someone else, or get someone else’s agreement,  instead of getting clear on who we are and what we want.

For example, when someone crosses a boundary and you keep trying to convince them that you have a right to be angry, you are spending more energy convincing them, than you are about clarifying a boundary.

When you say “no” and it upsets someone else, do you keep trying to get them to understand and agree with your decision, or are you clear that you have a good reason and a right to say “no” with no complaints, no excuses and no regrets?

Do you spend hours in self-refection just tying to be more understanding, trying to figure someone out, and trying to be more worthy? Or are you clear that you have worth, and you expect authenticity and respect in your relationships?

Do you have temper tantrums, and use drama to tell someone off, hoping this time they will learn from their mistake and treat you better? Or are you so clear that you know how to draw a line in the sand?

All you really need is clarity.

Quit going to the island called “Getting their approval.”

You may be angry for good reason.
You do have the right to say “no.”
You may not be the one who needs to change or reflect.

If you are being manipulated, or sucked into games, it’s time to leave that drama behind. You can clean it up by getting clear about who you are and what you stand for. 

Of course the problem is, your clarity will not make everyone else happy.
You have two choices. Keep betraying yourself so you can get approval, or let go of the need to make everyone else understand.

If you can deal with that, you can stop your drama.


Stop Holiday Drama

November 11, 2009

I used to dread the holidays, and I also felt guilty because it was my secret. I thought I was the only one who felt this way.

Most people have mixed feelings during the holiday season. That’s because relationship challenges always come to the surface and magnify. This drama can be avoided if you know how to access the power of clarity.

Join me for this special edition of Attitude Builders absolutely free. The Attitude Builders membership is usually for members only, however this is my holiday gift to my friends, and subscribers.

In this  teleseminar I will share the very first step in the Stop Your Drama Methodology.  We’ll talk about how to get crystal clear, specific communication techniques to keep you in control, and I’ll even give you some tools to create the right mind set when dealing with difficult people or situations.

Join me by registering here.


Three Ways to Avoid Relationship Drama

September 1, 2009

Before you know it you get sucked in. You were misunderstood. It wasn’t even your issue and now because you got involved, you are the bad guy. If you want to avoid getting sucked into workplace drama here are three easy tips to keep you drama free.

1. Stand on the Bridge
2. Keep your two cents
3. Get curious

Stand on the bridge
This is one of my favorite exercises to help clients to detach from the heat of the moment. I wish I could claim it as my own, but it comes from author Gary Zukav.  Gary says that when you are pulled in by your emotions it is as if you are in the midst of a raging river. The water (representing your emotions) slap at your face and you feel as though you might get swept away. The next time you are aware enough to feel the heavy emotion threatening to suck you into the current, say to yourself,  “Stand on the bridge…stand on the bridge.”

Keep your two cents
You’ve heard the saying, “a penny saved is a penny earned.”  Earn your peace by saving your two cents. The next time someone invites you to give your opinion about some drama they are involved in, simply say, “I’m keeping my two cents to myself.”  It takes wisdom to realize that 90 percent of the time anyone who is venting and asking for your advice really just wants your support. You can lend support by acknowledging their feelings without offering council or playing referee.

Get curious
Instead of getting drawn into an argument, keep these questions in your back pocket:
1. What are your choices?
2. What if that wasn’t the case?
When you ask, “what are your choices,” the victim response is, “I don’t have any choices.”
If this is what you hear, just nod sympathetically. No advice and no getting sucked into a heavy current of emotion.
If you ask, “what if that wasn’t the case,” and they start an argument,  you know the drill. No advising or getting sucked in.

The reality is this: Awareness is the first step. Without awareness, a person cannot really choose, because responsibility is the RECOGNITION of choice. Until one recognizes his choices he is stuck into patterned responses driven by the subconscious mind.  If you continue to be drawn into any dysfunction including workplace or relationship drama, use these three methods to increase your own awareness and a more healthy relationships.


Three Times to Avoid Giving Advice

August 29, 2009

Nothing creates more drama than giving advice to someone who doesn’t want it or isn’t ready.  More drama happens when you feel such an urge to give advice that is not accepted or respected.  Before giving advice, consider your intentions and look at these three instances where it is best to avoid advice-giving altogether.

1. Never give advice to someone who is visibly angry.
Most of the time people just want agreement or social proof that they are right. Wait until they cool down and make sure they ask for your advice.

2. Never give advice to someone who is extremely happy
If someone is extremely happy with their new book, their new idea, or a new decision, now is not the time to give advice. Most likely they just want your admiration, respect or approval and they are not really open to your critique or suggestions.  Unless you are a paid coach, or are extremely good at asking questions wait until their energy is a little more even keel, otherwise you’ll just be known as the one who popped their bubble.

3. Never give fashion advice unless someone asks for it.
Fashion is a matter of opinion. What business is it of yours if someone wants to wear bleached blonde hair? Unless they bring it up, or unless you are their boss and their job is at stake, keep your opinions to yourself.

Much of the time people just want agreement or support, when they say they want your opinion or feedback. Understand the difference between opinions and advice. Most of the time we pass off our opinions as if it was sacred advice. When people need advice, they will ask for it or pay for it.  If you feel that you must give your unsolicited advice, at least warn the person by asking for permission, then they won’t be blindsided.

Most of the time advice-giving is nothing more than rescuing and manipulation. A good way to know if you have been rescuing is when someone has not taken  your advice and you get angry. It means you are more attached to the other person changing than they are.


Four Ways To Stop the Drama at Work

June 18, 2009

Have you ever felt taken advantage of in the workplace? Your co-workers manipulate situations, do underhanded petty things, gossip and leave you out of conversations?  How do you get them to stop? There are four areas where you have a measure of control. To illustrate, read this true story about Miriam.

For several years Miriam, 52, has worked for a large corporation that has gone from a word processing department to a desktop publishing unit.  Although her coworkers are younger and have more seniority, Miriam has a degree in art and extensive graphic experience.  Miriam wants to retire with the company in six years but lately she feels like an outsider at work and she perceives this as a threat to her career.In her view, three of her coworkers are competitive and do underhanded things to get the “fun” jobs or the jobs that make them noticeable to management.  They withhold information, manipulate situations, steal ideas, or act helpless so that others will come to their aid and give them extra help. Miriam resents their skills at self-promotion and she finds it hard to sell herself, or to be taken seriously. She wants recognition for her work yet she finds it difficult to accept a compliment for fear of being perceived as haughty or ‘too proud.’ Miriam has tried on occasion to fit in with her coworkers by joking around but they act disgusted and make Miriam feel as though she has been inappropriate. When Miriam has tried to participate in the conversation she gets ignored and interrupted even to the point to where she has had to ask them to let her finish.  Miriam came to me for advice. She wanted to know how she could take charge of this situation.

There are four areas where Miriam has a measure of control: By exercising her choices, taking responsibility for her own career, changing her communication and becoming aware of the message she is sending.

CHOICES

None of us can control how coworkers act, but we can choose our reaction. Miriam must decide who she is (in the context of this situation) and continue to choose reactions that reflect confidence and centeredness.  When coworkers brag on themselves, rather than being envious or discounting them, she can agree with what is true and follow up with a question, “How did you do that?”   When we put ourselves in the position of believing we have all the confidence in the world, we’re not so hungry for the approval of others.  With this attitude and belief system in place, Miriam has more choices: to be come interested rather than envious, to become curious instead of competitive. With new choices comes the freedom to compliment her coworkers without discounting herself.

RESPONSIBILITY

It is your responsibility to take charge of your own promotion at work. Waiting for others to notice our attributes and talents is a poor way to gain personal power.  You can be ‘good’ in a closet and no one will ever know it.   Miriam can emphasize her background in graphic design and art by going to the library and brushing up on trends, and reporting the findings to her boss in an attitude of sharing knowledge. Instead of trying to compete with her coworkers and continue the cycle, Miriam can take credit for her ideas by telling the boss she would be glad to hold a session to teach some of her techniques and skills to her coworkers.  She might offer to train new hires or those that lag behind. She will be communicating that she is a team player and a leader.

COMMUNICATION

Communication is tricky-it’s more than mere words. Since Miriam feels rejected and distant it is most likely her communication is reflecting these emotions and perceptions, if not in her words or her tone, then perhaps in her body language.  One reason Miriam doesn’t receive support is because she communicates to her coworkers that she is uncomfortable with praise and doesn’t know how to react.  It’s best to acknowledge appreciation with a smile and a “thank you,” instead of arguing the point.  Rather than begging coworkers to let her finish her sentences, she can show her interest by asking open-ended questions. Miriam can monitor her communication to insure that the message received was the message intended.

AWARENESS

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Without making assumptions it’s likely that there is a reason Miriam is being received the ways she is.  Let’s look at the reactions from her joking:  My question to Miriam:  “Are you interjecting sarcastic comments or trying to be subtle in letting them know you feel like an outsider? Are you rolling your eyes when you disagree with your coworkers?”  Miriam admitted she was a big eye-roller and it was an ah-ha moment. We can’t cure or change what we are unaware of.  Without self-awareness it’s difficult to choose differently, or change our communication. Self-awareness is the key that unlocks the door to taking charge.

To get more information about how to identify the drama, sign up for The Drama Stops Here.


Restaurant Drama? It’s Not About the Cook.

May 10, 2009

Apparently there are a lot of chefs and cooks out there who simply must get their way no matter how their temper tantrums create drama in the workplace and negatively impact customer service.

Apparently cooks and chefs “throwing a fit”  is a commonly accepted occurrence  in catering, fancy restaurants and even in family owned cafes.

Several years ago while visiting a new cafe,  I requested romaine lettuce instead of iceberg and the waitress said, “I would make the request but it would make the chef mad.”

Just last week I asked a catering company to switch a food item and the response by the person in charge was, “Chef will throw a fit.”

I just read a blog by Seth Godin where he says, and I quote, ” Don’t try to talk a vegan into eating the chicken-fried steak just because the chef will yell at you if you ask for one more plate of steamed vegetables.” (Now, mind you this wasn’t the main point of his blog,) but I can’t help but ask the question: When did restaurant service become more about the cook and less about the customer? Aren’t we missing the point?

Here’s are some leadership lessons that work for any business but especially for food service and restaurants.

1. Don’t make your cook’s personality flaws your customers problem. Even if it’s part of your “back stage” employees should NEVER gossip about the drama behind the curtain.

2. If your number one commitment is to keeping cook happy then you need to communicate the rules and set expectations with your customers in advance. (For example we do not substitute, or, we do not allow sharing portions.)

3. Relationship drama always hampers productivity. Understand that drama on the inside filters down to customer service and eventually to your bottom line.

4. Fire any employee or cook who creates drama, even if you think they are the top performer. Their negativity and pompous attitude will eventually ruin your business, no matter how good they are at sales, at production or at cooking a meal.

4. Train, Tain, Train your staff how to communicate and put on a good “show.”

For example, at the the last minute I had to change my menu because the cook was freaking out. (The good news is the food was actually better than what I had ordered, but the problem from a customers point of view is the way the issue was presented.) Instead of this being a surprise and a benefit, it was presented to me as if I had to adjust to keep the cook happy. Bad communication skills. Good training would have given the catering staff the tools to make me feel special and let me know what a good deal I’m getting.  Instead what I heard was excuses as to why I could not get what I wanted.

The first step in improving customer service is to clear the fog and get in alignment. You can’t go to the island called “exceptional customer service” when you are rowing to the island called keeping cook happy.  What is your mission? Why are you in business? What keeps you going?  Is your company dedicated to giving the customer what she wants or is there a bigger commitment to keeping the cook happy?


Gifts to Give in a Down Economy

February 13, 2009

HeartGary Zukav, author of Heart of the Soul, says,  “if you aren’t aware of your intentions before an interaction, you will be aware of them afterward.” I’m paraphrasing, but think I got the essence.

I can think of no better time to talk about awareness of intention than right now on Valentine’s day.

Sometimes when we give a gift, we do so to get something in return.

We get approval.
we get a surprise.
We get a smile.
We get love.
We get a gift in return.

Sometimes we are unaware of our hidden motives for giving gifts.
A friend of mine (a young at heart grandmother) learned this lesson the hard way.

Grandma always showered her granddaughter Britney with gifts on her birthday. On Brittney’s sixth she opened a gift from Grandma only to exclaim, “I already have that!”

This caused DRAMA for Grandma.  Grandma was

  • Hurt because her gift was not appreciated
  • Angry because she was not acknowledged
  • Disappointed because she did not get the reaction she wanted

In addition Grandma adopted a judgmental stance: “Britney should be taught to appreciate what ever is given to her.”

Can you see how hidden agendas eventually surface?
When we give a gift and are disappointed at the response it means there was a “need” attached to the gift.

This Valentines day  why not give priceless gifts with no attachment?

  • The gift of attention
  • The gift of listening
  • The gift of appreciation

Most of the time those you love want your presence, not your presents.

When we feel unworthy we often use gifts as a way to manipulate and control instead of honoring the person with the greatest gifts that are priceless.