Posts Tagged ‘conflict’

Are you secretly seething?

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

Just the thought of them is enough to get your hackles up. And you have to see them soon so you're already working out your strategy. You find them entering your thoughts at random times of the day, you imagine what you will say to them when you next see them - you long to put them in their place once and for all.

You fantasise about yelling at them and telling them in no uncertain terms all the things you've always wanted to say, but you don't want them to know they've got to you, so instead you work out how you can intellectually outwit them instead. Or perhaps, this time, you will be more subtle in how you show them your disappointment in them. These thoughts whir round and round in your head, and you find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about them.

Angry man: Are you secretly seething?You're secretly seething and you still don't know what you're going to do about it.

We suppress our emotions, yet they still disable us

For many of us, having grown up in an era of personal development and with the phrase ‘emotional intelligence’ being in common parlance since Daniel Goldman coined the term in the 90s, we have learned to contain our feelings about our obnoxious work colleague, family member or neighbour, or at least self-manage (often through gritted teeth) in their presence so we don’t appear to be the one with the problem.

So we may not be someone who is openly hostile, getting into heated arguments and forcing our opinion down someone else’s throat, but containing ourselves and keeping a lid on our emotions is still costing us. Instead of shouting and raging at them we may have managed to avoid having an outburst, but these kind of encounters leave us feeling drained, upset, vowing to avoid them or heading to the nearest bottle of wine to drown our sorrows.

It’s inevitable that, at times, we’ll come across other people whom we experience as unfair, incompetent, arrogant or simply downright annoying. And no matter how emotionally intelligent we are, the way some people behave would drive a saint to lose their cool.

Repressed emotion breeds conflict

You’re not alone. In almost every workshop we hold, it only takes one person to talk about their feelings of pent-up rage about someone they work with, or encounter in their personal life, for a unison of nods from the other participants. We know it's no longer acceptable to have an emotional outburst in the workplace or with our in-laws so when we find ourselves riled up by someone, we often feel doubly resentful that we've had to hold it all in - or we have an acute sense of disappointment about ourselves for letting them get under our skin in the first place. Regardless of how incompetent, annoying, unfair (add in your own descriptor) they are, we know that resenting them isn’t the best course of action, especially when it inevitably tips over into sniping or point scoring, either directly toward them, or to those closest to us.

And so you add another layer of conflict to the feelings you’re already experiencing, meaning a whole lot of mental energy is being wasted and results in you losing focus, reducing your capacity to shine, taking it out on other people, or beating yourself to a small pulp.

So if you’re secretly seething, what can you do?

  1. The first step is to be honest with yourself about what’s going on for you internally. We tend to think of conflict as being characterised by overt disagreements, or even forms of aggression, like raised voices or sarcasm. But even if you are not externalising your thoughts and feelings, the fact that you’re seething inside is costing you.
  2. The second thing to remember is that this conflict and what you're feeling about it isn’t who you are. It helps us to think about it as a place we visit from time to time - we refer to this as 'being in the Red' - which means it is also a place we can move away from once we learn how. No matter how intense your internal dialogue might be at times, the “monster” who’s seething inside is not who you are as a person.
  3. The true person you are is someone at ease, with a clear head who is able to respond to others, rather than react to them, even when they are behaving in ways that you don't like or agree with. We refer to this as being in the Green. This may not sound familiar to you right now, but you will have experienced this many times in your life when interacting with people you enjoy being with, when you are not policing yourself, and you are simply being you.

Moving forward

If you want to learn what secretly seething is costing you, and how to find your way back to your true self, join us for our next public workshop, which is in London on Friday this week. We have just two spaces left and you can book your place here.

Over to you

Can you relate to secretly seething? What impact did it have and what are your own tips for overcoming it?

We'd love to hear from you in the comments.

War to Peace® workshops

We run our award-winning War to Peace workshops a few times per year in London and these are open to anyone to attend. We also run in-house workshops and programmes for organisations all over the world, so if you want your people to thrive and work better together, click here to get in touch or call us on +44 (0) 20 8191 7072.

To be the first to hear about our new open-access workshop dates, and get free monthly tips and strategies for your relationship challenges, just leave your name and email address below.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know someone who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

Are you secretly seething? Do you struggle to keep your cool? Then this blog post is for you from @halcyonglobal

 

 

 

Photo by Kyle Glenn via Unsplash

How to break the cycle of frustration

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

As experts in conflict resolution and communication, you might think we notice conflict everywhere we go. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

The more we share this work and listen to the experience of our workshop participants, the more we understand that it’s really only a fraction of our interactions that cause us difficulties. The challenge is to stop those few difficult people from having a massive impact on our lives.

This scenario is one we’ve heard many times in different forms from participants in our workshops; see if you can relate.

Think of the most annoying person you know

Let’s call him John from the marketing department. He has a way of winding you up quickly and efficiently, and your colleagues agree that he is extremely annoying. This morning you had a run in with him that felt like the final straw.

But if you’re really honest, you have also have fallen into a pattern every time you encounter John. You anticipate his behaviour and, whatever he does, you heap your feelings and assumptions onto the already large pile that you have built up around John’s actions. It could be that he only has to look at you the ‘wrong way’ to start you off.

Take John’s actions today – at this morning's meeting – in isolation. Maybe he spoke a little loudly and interrupted you whilst you were speaking. If he had been a total stranger, would you have felt that tight, familiar knot of irritation so quickly in the pit of your stomach? Would you have cut off his conversation as swiftly as you did today?

What else might explain their actions?

What if you found out that John's annoying ways were driven by a misguided attempt to impress you because in fact he is intimidated by you?

Or that he has an anxiety disorder and acts the way he does to compensate for his panicky feelings?

If you can break down the ‘thing’ that you have created around John’s behaviour with your assumptions and shared history, you will find that you are able to be your normal, at ease, un-triggered self much faster.

The lens through which we view behaviour changes what we see

When we are in conflict with someone, whether at work or in our personal lives, it is very easy (and very common) to assume that all the unreasonable behaviour comes from them and we are the innocent victims of their irritating ways.

no-cycling-164123_640As we encounter the other person and their mannerisms again and again, we create mental threads of the things they do and say that wind us up. We weave stories and assumptions around these until we have made something quite substantial.

However, this ‘thing’ that we create is more of our making than the other person’s and affects the way that we behave when around them, often making the problem worse.

It's a cycle of frustration that gets in the way of us feeling at ease.

Finding ease with conflict

One of the ways to break the cycle of frustration is to ask yourself 'what else could this mean?' (the 'this' being the thing they say or do that bothers you). When we find someone especially challenging, we often make the meaning very personal to us.

We often believe the other person is doing things deliberately to annoy or antagonise us and we have tons of evidence to prove ourselves right.

The question is - would you rather stay being 'right' and harbouring all this malaise, or would you rather take your power back and be in control of how you are feeling and behaving around this person, no matter what they do?

Taking a different perspective

Another way is to imagine that a person you really like did the thing that this person does that bothers you so much. Consider how you would handle them.

Oftentimes we find that we apply very different rules to different people - it would be okay if x did that thing but if y does it, we are all over them like a rash!

Each time we challenge our own perceptions about someone's behaviour and consider them through a new lens, we are weakening the hold this person has over us and this gives us the power to break the cycle, and get back to being at ease - in other words, being our normal, un-triggered self.

You'll be amazed at how much easier life is when you are living it at ease and not beholden to other people's behaviour.

Understanding why we get frustrated

On the War to Peace® workshop, we explore this cycle using a tool called the Spiral of Disempowerment™ (you can download it here) which illustrates this pattern well.

Person A acts or speaks in a certain way, which is then perceived by Person B as being annoying or rude, Person B then acts or speaks to Person A differently, causing Person B to perceive Person A in a negative light, affecting their thoughts and behaviour… and so it goes on in a cycle of disempowerment and discontentment.

The good news is that cycles like these can be broken. In this case, the very first step is to recognise the pattern and to focus on changing the part that's in our control.

Over to you

In what ways can you recognise your own role in the Spiral of Disempowerment™? What could you do to break the cycle?

Do you know someone who could benefit from War to Peace®?

If you would benefit from breaking the cycle, our next open-access War to Peace® workshop is on 13 July. Click here to find out more and book your place - only 4 spaces remain at the time of writing.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know someone who might find this article helpful, do let them know. You can share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

Feeling frustrated with someone's behaviour at work? Here's how to break the cycle and find peace, from @halcyonglobal

 

 

 

Photo via Pixabay

What dealing with difficult people is costing you

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Dealing with difficult people is a challenge for all of us at times. Take a moment to think about the most frustrating person in your life right now.

Dealing with difficult peopleMaybe there’s a recent hire in your office who’s been really getting on your nerves? You sense a blow up with them is probably on the horizon.

Does your oldest friend drive you up the wall with those passive-aggressive questions about how everything’s going? Or your sibling fail to hide his or her contempt for your chosen career path?

Today, I want to invite you to reflect on what this conflict is costing you, and suggest a new approach to your interactions.

What do we mean by 'conflict?'

It’s worth noting that when I speak about ‘conflict’ we may have a different understanding of what it means. When we think of conflict, we typically think about two or more people, organisations, parties or countries that have fallen out and are openly hostile to one another.

And when we think about the term in relation to ourselves, we would often say we don’t have any conflict because what we’re experiencing doesn’t align with our worldview of what ‘conflict’ is. To give you an example from my own life, even when I was estranged from my Dad for 17 years, I wouldn’t have said we were in conflict because I’d severed my ties with him, so there wasn’t any ongoing dispute - at least not externally.

But the reality is, if there’s someone in your life you find difficult, you’re experiencing conflict, even if you’re not visibly coming into dispute with them. Internally, they have an effect on you – at the cost of your own peace of mind.

The physical and emotional costs of conflict

Our response to the mere mention of those challenging individuals is a clue that there’s a lot going on under the surface. We’re constantly carrying (often subconsciously) our emotions about that person. And that takes some of our energy, each time we think about, interact with, or anticipate our next encounter with them.

Those challenging people take up space in our minds, and can actually create physical responses. When I asked you to think about who they were, you might have noticed some sensations. Did your jaw clench, your heart start to beat faster, or your stomach churn? Perhaps you simply experienced a sinking feeling or noticed a deep sigh?

On a physical level, then, we’re paying a price in terms of the stress response our bodies go into: raised cortisol levels can cause all kinds of effects, from slowed metabolism to raised blood pressure. But the costs of conflict don’t stop there.

Conflict has an impact on many areas of our lives

As well as the physical and emotional effects, being in conflict with someone also has an impact on how well we’re able to focus and concentrate. If an argument or difficult relationship leads us to lose sleep, that can go on to have a whole other chain of effects on our performance, cognitive processing and ability to make good decisions.

What’s especially frustrating is when you know you’ve done everything you can – you’ve tried being on your best behaviour; you’ve tried pointing out how the other person is making you feel; you’ve tried ignoring them, or avoiding them, or cutting them out of your life entirely. But the situation is still invading your thoughts. Whatever you have tried, however you have changed your behaviour, it doesn’t seem to have had any effect on theirs. It feels as though you are out of options.

These lingering conflict can show up in “echoes” in other, unrelated situations. We might find, for example, that coming into contact with someone who reminds us of someone we’re in conflict up suddenly triggers similar emotions.

(If someone you’re managing reminds you of your stubborn younger brother who you haven’t spoken to in years, it can be tough to treat them the same way you would someone else.)

The rewards of effectively interacting with those difficult people

It can be uncomfortable to realise just how big an impact difficult people have on our lives, and to see the conflict we’re experiencing for what it is. It’s also very normal! Our workshop participants often express surprise to find that the simmering anger or hurt they feel about neighbours, friends, family members or colleagues is shared by others in the room.

But recognising the effect they have also opens up the potential for incredible transformation that’s a lot easier than we think.

When we learn effective strategies to bring ease to interactions with difficult people, it releases the energy, focus and physical stress they would otherwise cost us.

That doesn’t mean that we’ll never have a challenging interaction again. There’s no magic wand we can wave to stop infuriating people from coming into our lives, or change the behaviours of the ones who are already there.

But there are simple techniques you will experience at our award-winning workshop that  you can put in place to bring a sense of freedom and ease to the way you experience those people.

And if the costs of staying stuck are great, the rewards of allowing that ease to come in feel even greater.

Over to you

Who's the most challenging person in your life, and what about their behaviour niggles you? Without naming names, can you share a few details in the comments? It can be so helpful to know we're not alone – and your experience might help someone else take steps towards resolving their own challenging relationship.

If you're ready to move on

If you're ready to bring ease and freedom into your life no matter how challenging the people in your world are, then do join us for one of our popular, award-winning, open-access workshops. The next one is on 13th July 2018, and we have just five spaces left at the time of writing. So if you’re looking for a first or next step on your journey of personal development, we’d love to welcome you. Click here to find out more and book your place.

Want to find out what the impact could be on your team sooner? We've been running in-house workshops using our award-winning methodology for over a decade; simply click here to get in touch or call us on +44 (0) 20 8191 7072 and let us know what you're looking for. To be the first to hear about our new open-access workshop dates, and get free monthly tips and strategies for your relationship challenges, just leave your name and email address below.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know someone who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

Who's the most frustrating person in your life right now? Have you considered the real impact they're having?

Here's what dealing with difficult people is costing you (and what to do about it), from @halcyonglobal

 

 

 

Photo via Pixabay

What do you need to know before coming to a War to Peace® workshop?

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

When you arrive at a War to Peace® workshop, what can you expect to find?

There’s usually a bubble of excitement in the air as coffee is sipped and introductions are made.

Some people have travelled a long way to get there, others have hopped across London on the Tube.

Who comes to a War to Peace® workshop?

One thing that people are often curious about when deciding whether or not to join a workshop is what kind of experience they need to have had before.

Woman reading: What do I need to know before attending a War to Peace® workshop?Will they find themselves at sea in a room of self-development gurus, who spend the best part of their day navel-gazing or searching for inner peace, and can’t wait to share their deepest feelings with a roomful of strangers?

Or are they going to arrive in a crowd of ruthlessly efficient corporate types, whose one aim is to apply the technique so they can negotiate more effectively and be more powerful leaders and managers?

The truth is, it’s a little more complex than that.

The one qualification we all need

The only qualification you need to attend one our award-winning workshops is this: to have had some previous experience of interacting with other human beings.

Really, that’s all it takes.

We’re here to help people experience a new - and more helpful - way of interacting with the people they find most difficult. These difficulties can range from the smallest issue (the person in the office who has a particular habit that particularly grates on you) to the bigger and more complex issues (your ex-partner, who betrayed you and who you’re now sharing childcare with; a parental relationship that is not working out; the dreaded in-law who is a permanent feature in your life - you’ll know only too well who’s the unwanted regular visitor occupying your head space).

You don’t need to have experience with any kind of therapy or self-help. You won’t be forced to share personal details or open up about anything you don’t want to. And there are invariably one or two people who arrive with a good dose of skepticism – like Gordon, for example – who leave with a completely life-altering experience.

What if I’ve done a lot of personal development work already?

When you’ve been exploring personal development for a while, it can sometimes be challenging to realise that there are still areas of your life where there’s room for change.
The good news is that War to Peace® is a wonderful complement to other practices. In our experience, those participants who come to one of our workshops with an existing understanding of self-development find they love the integration and application of the methodology we share.

The Hoffman process is one example of a profound experience that can help us transform by making us aware of and breaking unhelpful patterns of behaviour we adopted in childhood. (As a Hoffman graduate myself I know how life-changing it is). Others have explored The Work of Byron Katie, have been (or are) in therapy, or practise meditation.

Even after having experienced vast shifts in self-awareness, it is absolutely possible to find ourselves in relationships where conflict is present - I can vouch for that myself! As humans, we’re incredibly complex, ever-growing and changing people. There’s no one “answer” that will change everything about our behaviour forever – and War to Peace® is no exception!

What we can do is add to the range of tools and strategies we’re able to draw on, so that we’re even better resourced for the challenges that come up in our lives.

How is War to Peace® different?

Compared to a fully immersive, residential course like Hoffman, or a retreat that takes place over a number of days, War to Peace® is a swift but intense workshop.

Our focus is not on exploring the reasons behind conflict, but on the way that it manifests in our lives. For some people, it might be noticing that there are challenging interactions with a colleague which are hindering the results of an otherwise-successful team. For others, it’s looking at the impact an ex, a parent, an in-law or a sibling has on their lives.

Looking at the relationships in our life that we find most challenging is a great compliment to any process we’ve been through that involves exploring our own natures.

When we’re able to be honest about our feelings and have ways to release pent-up emotions, we find we’re better equipped to see clearly how our interactions are playing out.

That’s where the tools we get you to experience really come into their own.

Over to you

What’s been your journey when it comes to personal development? If you’ve got some experience in this area, have you found that one tool or process leads organically onto the next, or do you find yourself wondering what’s next?

Whether you’ve been to a War to Peace® workshop or not, we’d love to know what’s helped you to become happier and more authentic. Do share your experience and recommendations in the comments below.

Looking for your next step?

Our next open-access workshop is on 13th July 2018, and places are already booking up. So if you’re looking for a first or next step on your journey of personal development, we’d love to welcome you. Click here to find out more and book your place.

Ready to find out what the impact could be on your team sooner? We've been running in-house workshops using our award-winning methodology for over a decade; simply click here to get in touch or call us on +44 (0) 20 8191 7072 and let us know what you're looking for. To be the first to hear about our new open-access workshop dates, and get free monthly tips and strategies for your relationship challenges, just leave your name and email address below.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know someone who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

Looking for your next step after @hoffmanuk or @byronkatie? Or a total beginner to improving your communication and conflict resolution skills? On today's blog we share how War to Peace® fits in with other self-development work

 

 

 

Photo by Breather on Unsplash

The War to Peace® experience: Gill and the redundancy negotiation

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

The War to Peace® experience: real-life case studies from our workshop attendees. Here, Gill shares her experience of using War to Peace® in an emotional redundancy negotiation.

redundancy negotiations: an empty conference roomThe redundancy news came as a big surprise. All the roles in the team where I worked were going to go, and the initial communication wasn’t handled as smoothly as it could have been, so emotions were running high when negotiations about the settlement began.

There was no doubt, it was going to be a challenging time in terms of exchange of views. However, the experiences I’ve had in that area – including War to Peace® – meant I felt confident putting myself forward to be one of the employees on the consultation group.

Then I was voted to be the Chair – the one who led the employee group.

All of a sudden, there was a lot riding on my ability to stay calm, negotiate effectively, and manage a highly volatile situation.

My experience of War to Peace®

I first discovered War to Peace® via my husband, who had been working on a separate project to link War to Peace® with the the powerful ‘7 Elements’ Negotiation Methodology, which came out of Harvard. The efficacy of War to Peace® is that it helps people to remain un-triggered and authentic (in other words, the best version of themselves), which is especially helpful during interactions that are likely to be highly-charged. This, coupled with the interest-based negotiation tools in the 7 Elements, is a powerful combination.

So I’d experienced War to Peace® as well as having the tools to draw on for the negotiating itself.
Now, it was time to put these into practice.

First things first

One of the first things I did was to acknowledge to myself that this could well be an extremely challenging process. On top of the current issues, there were long standing resentments about things that had previously happened in the company. Some people were really angry, really upset; others had completely checked out of the process and needed to re-engage.

I started by asking myself: “How can I make sure that whatever happens, I am able to be in the moment where we can get the most done?”

I knew that was what I had to be sure of, in order to handle whatever unexpected things came up. To know that if a decision, action or behaviour triggered me, I’d be able to return to a place of being at Peace so that I could continue to move things forward as effectively as I could.

And I certainly needed to draw on that during the process.

The redundancy negotiation in practice

To give you an idea of the tensions involved: the first meeting, which I was only able to attend remotely, was a five hour teleconference – and it quickly escalated into an intense interaction.

A lot of my role involved communicating difficult news to the other employees; things that simply weren’t going to be changed. At times there was conflict within the consultation group; we had some legal involvement that didn’t always feel constructive. There were plenty of instances when things other people did or said would previously have made me furious.

Using War to Peace®, I was able to step away, and understand the 'why' behind those actions: someone who’s unhappy and doesn’t feel heard, for example.

I really found I could look beyond whatever behaviours were there. It put me in the best place possible to focus on the outcome – which was, ultimately, so much more effective than feeling angry or upset about other people's behaviour.

I had a language I could use to explain this to people too, even if they weren’t in the same place. I was able to say "It’s not that I’m not cross, or I don’t understand. I’m simply trying to find a way for us all to express our feelings without jeopardising something that we might have had agreed."

The outcome...

When it was all over, a colleague was keen to acknowledge my role. They said that the way I’d been during the negotiations had really changed people's focus, in a way that had a huge impact on the outcome.

Certain things people quite rightly had a gripe about we couldn’t change. The only thing we could do was explain why they had happened and make sure nothing like that happened again.

What we could do was work on other things; like fair remuneration for past work. Because those decisions were made closer to home, we were able to get people some quite significant financial compensation, depending on their position in the company. If we'd only focused on the things that people were unhappy about, this simply wouldn’t have happened.

The things we could change we did change, and a couple of the other decisions were really softened. Not just what was happening, but in the way we were communicated to. There was a specific letter which apologised for previous errors in communication, and overall the langauge of the communications became much more helpful; understanding rather than dictatorial.

How War to Peace® helped

I think without using the War to Peace® methodology, the situation could have been a total disaster. Instead, we were able to keep things constructive.

I reminded people at times that industries are never as big as you think they are – in high-emotion situations, it’s vital not to burn your bridges. You never know when someone you’re in conflict with will end up being a colleague, or your boss, at a later date. To put the best foot forward for yourself, it’s really important to be aware of how you’re being. You won’t want to be in a place where you’re so angry, that it spills over into how you show up at future interviews.

I felt I was able to offer some kind of map that said “Remember to be the best that you can be, even while you're seeking the outcome that you want”.

Without War to Peace®, there’s no way I would have had the propensity to be able to do it. After all, I’m not a robot – I still have things that trigger me! But I also know I don’t have to take things personally - and I've learned, crucially, how to choose how I feel about things, rather than being hijacked by my emotions.

I have real solutions that mean I don’t get stuck in emotional ruts and instead have concrete ways of changing things. Even if you’ve been fabulous at identifying places you get stuck or triggered, and being aware of them, having ways of getting yourself out of that place and changing how you're being just transforms everything.

Over to you

  • Have you ever experienced redundancy, whether you were the one leaving the company, or having to convey the news to others? What was it like?
  • What tools and resources do you draw on in high-emotion scenarios like this one?
  • Do you feel confident in your ability to advocate effectively for what you want without letting emotion take over?

Leave a comment below letting us know your thoughts.

War to Peace® workshops 2017-8

Our next open access workshop is on 13 July 2018. We have just 9 spaces left! Click here to find out more and book your place.

Ready to find out what the impact could be on your team sooner? We've been running in-house workshops using our award-winning methodology for over a decade; simply click here to get in touch or call us on +44 (0) 20 8191 7072 and let us know what you're looking for. To be the first to hear about our new open-access workshop dates, and get free monthly tips and strategies for your relationship challenges, just leave your name and email address below.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know a leader who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

“The whole team I worked in were being made redundant" Gill shares her high-stakes War to Peace® experience on the blog today.

 

 

 

Photo by Breather on Unsplash

Can you change a habit of a lifetime?

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Can you change a habit when it comes to challenging people in your life? I’ve noticed something happen time and again in the War to Peace® workshops I’ve held over the past decade.

A man's hands: Can you change a habit of a lifetime?Here’s what goes on: We break for lunch, and the participants head out to grab some food and headspace from the deep work we’ve been doing, becoming aware of how we’re being in the relationships in our life.

Some people decide to lunch together; others take a sandwich across the road to the park and recharge amid the ancient oaks, or explore the neighbourhood cafés.

We regroup for the afternoon session, and that’s when I notice it.

There’s almost always one participant whose face has changed entirely, almost beyond recognition.

Maybe they started the day with a worn, tired expression, and suddenly they look relaxed and awake. Often before I’ve asked them, they’re bubbling over to tell me what’s happened.

The reason is always the same: an internal shift when they’ve suddenly realised that a relationship in their life that they’d thought could never change suddenly feels different.

Can we really change the habit of a lifetime?

This kind of shift in perspective might seem far fetched until you’ve experienced it. And it’s definitely not “magic”, even though it can look like that from the outside.

The fact is, most participants don’t come to the workshop thinking about the really big relationships in their lives.

(Usually, the goal is to resolve something far closer to home: a dispute with a colleague, a neighbour, or a boss.)

But the tools we share are both practical and powerful, and once you become aware of what they can do, all sorts of new possibilities open up. You can read about Gordon's experience of exactly this here.

When we experience what it really feels like to be at ease with someone whose behaviour is challenging to us, without letting them off the hook, it’s inevitable that we begin to look at some of the bigger stuff.

That’s the change I notice on the faces of the people who come back from lunch with a totally different way of thinking about their dad, or their daughter, or their ex. Nothing about the other person has altered at all. What has shifted is how they’ve been able to move their focus from what the other person is doing, to what they themselves can do.

A real shift in what’s possible

There’s a huge freedom that comes when we are no longer waiting for someone to change or make amends in order for us to feel better.

Instead, we start to take ownership of our interactions. We’re not giving our power to the other person and so we’re able to be our calm, creative, resourceful selves.

We have more energy, more compassion, and greater capacity to focus on the things and people that matter to us (instead of the ones who drive us crazy).

What I love about sharing this methodology is that it can apply to any relationship we need it to. Big and small, from the people who’ve known us our entire lives to the new maddening hire in the office.

In the decade that War to Peace® has been around, thousands of people have come away from our workshops with a method that will help them navigate challenging and sensitive interactions in every area of their lives.

Curious? Find out for yourself

Our first public workshop of 2018 is on 2nd March and we have just 4 places left, so if you’re wavering, now’s the time to book! Click here to get your ticket and find out if you can change the habit of a lifetime. (And you have nothing to lose with our Wise Investment Guarantee, which offers you a full refund if you’re not satisfied*)

And to be the first to hear about our new workshop dates, sign up for our monthly blog posts containing tips and strategies for your relationship challenges.

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Can you change a habit when it comes to how you experience the most challenging people in your life? We're sharing the unusual experience we've noticed in several workshop participants

 

 

 

*Our Wise Investment Guarantee

If you leave one of our workshops and don’t feel better equipped to deal with the people you find difficult we will willingly refund your money. We believe wholeheartedly in what we do, we know it works and if it doesn’t work for you, we wouldn’t want you to pay us. If you are not satisfied with your experience, just return your course materials to us, give us some feedback on how we could have made it better for you and we will give you a full refund.

When one person lets down the team

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

I loved my team - we were dedicated, high performing, go-getting and made up of the most intelligent, action-taking, committed individuals I could have wished for.

Except for Martin. Team meeting - what to do when one person lets down the team?

Martin was the exact opposite. Every annoying habit you could conceive, he had. From turning up late, to repeatedly promising he’d do things and then not delivering, he was the one bad egg in the team of my dreams.

As his line manager, the stress of trying to shift his behavior was keeping me up at night. I felt like I’d tried everything: I’d check his understanding of his tasks and ask him to set his own deadlines, I’d ask him why he hadn’t delivered to his own deadline and what support he needed, I even tried to show an interest in him and his home life to see if there was something at home that was troubling him. Then I tried being tough, setting non-negotiable deadlines and threatening disciplinary action, which eventually was the process that was entered into. Martin was impossible, and in the end I asked my boss to remove him from my team and give us his entire workload, as I concluded that it would be easier to take on all of his responsibilities than the amount of time, effort and frustration managing him was costing me.

We breathed a collective sigh of relief when Martin exited our team and moved into another department. Finally, we could be high-performing once more, albeit feeling somewhat resentful of all the extra work we had to do under already pressurised conditions.

The unexpected twist

Several months later, I met someone who was now working with Martin. I was ready to commiserate when they told me he’d been promoted! I was floored. This incompetent, irritating, un-manageable person... promoted... how had he fooled them? My team were incredulous when I told them, it’s not as though we’d forgotten about Martin - his name had become a euphemism for non-delivery. But it bothered me nonetheless...

Several years later, I had changed roles a good few times in the organisation and was again fortunate enough to be heading a high performing team. Once more, we had uncompromising deadlines and pulled regular all-nighters to meet them. This time it was Amy who was the thorn in our side. Clearly intelligent, her role was essential to our success, as she was responsible for updating our ever changing project plans and PowerPoint presentations to the board. However, she made it known to us on a daily basis that she felt this task was way beneath her capabilities and frequently suggested that she had much better ways of doing things. I’d brace myself before every encounter with Amy, knowing that she was going to roll her eyes, highlight the inadequacies of our approach, complain and would input the data through deep sighs, tutting and a slowly shaking head.

Was this going to be Martingate all over again…?

A new approach to conflict

Amy bothered me. On the one hand, I’d feel perfectly justified in telling her to get on with it - it was her job after all and we were all under immense pressure, often not agreeing with the decisions made above our heads and having to do work that didn’t exactly satisfy us either a lot of the time. On the other hand, how many times in my career had I been shut down and told to JFDI (just do it) when I had great ideas about doing things differently? It wasn’t exactly motivating and it would be easy to see how this could escalate into full blown war if I wasn’t careful. But then she did have a poor attitude that was in real danger of bringing down the team, so it wasn’t as though I could leave things as they were, so what could I do?

Often at the times when urgent action seems necessary, it’s a good indicator for us to pause and reflect. With the Martin experience still ringing in my ears years later - and all the time and stress that it had cost me - I decided to invest some time in contemplating Amy’s situation and how I’d want to be viewing this in years to come. I concluded very quickly that whilst she clearly wasn’t a good fit for our team and it would be easy to make her wrong (just as I had with Martin), this wasn’t going to solve our issue, any more than imploring her to just do her job would.

When I looked at the situation from Amy’s point of view, I could see why she was frustrated and that some aspects of the role were beneath her razor-sharp intellect. I could also see that there were other departments in the organisation that could use someone with her desire for process improvement. That said, with my experience of her attitude, I didn’t feel I could wholly recommend her, but that was part of a conversation I could now have with her.

Speaking honestly

Instead of wasting weeks in conflict, trying to get her to change her behavior and venting to anyone who’d listen about how she was making life a misery, a much more honest conversation ensued with her than ever it did with Martin. I was able to tell her frankly why she wasn’t a fit for our team – and the kind of position I thought she’d be better suited to. I also explained that even though I understood her frustration, her attitude didn’t leave me feeling able to fully recommend her, but I did want her to succeed and shared the potential I saw in her.

Key to this dialogue was getting into a frame of mind that was empathetic to Amy’s situation. Imagine how she might have experienced being on the receiving end of the same words from someone who felt angry and aggrieved? Instead, together we were able to mutually agree a plan for her to move on and, funnily enough, her attitude in her remaining weeks with us was considerably better, and she even helped source her replacement!

Moving out of the vicious circle

What is less important in the War to Peace® methodology is the action we take. What’s far more important is the way in which we take the action, in other words, how we are being. So, in this case, the action taken was to remove an under-performer from the team. In the first case, it cost dearly and there was bad feeling for everyone involved. It could have been exactly the same in the second case had it not been for a change of attitude - mine not theirs.

I can only imagine how Martin feels about his time with and exiting our team. And I know how Amy feels about hers, because it turns out it was the first time she had experienced such frank feedback and she later shared the positive impact it had on her.

I am sure you’ll be able to think back to similar examples in your life. Times when you’ve managed to have what seemed like difficult conversations – in work or at home – with grace and aplomb. And others when you wish you could turn back time and do it all differently. I’m willing to bet it was your own attitude that made the difference.

Next time you find yourself facing a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario ask yourself what viewing the situation from your own narrow perspective is costing you (I know you feel justified because it’s affecting other people too, but it’s still costing you dearly to focus on this). You may be surprised at how imagining yourself on the receiving end of you may lead you to a change of heart - and a solution that you couldn’t otherwise see.

Healthy boundaries, easy change

If you ever find yourself frustrated by colleagues, team or family members, or just want to be able to handle challenging conversations without being a pushover or sacrificing your boundaries, then War to Peace® is for you. In our one-day, practical workshop you’ll experience our award-winning methodology for yourself and apply it to a real-life challenge that’s coming up for you right now.

Our first open access workshop with spaces available is on March 2nd. Click here to get your spot, and move into Spring with your biggest time-suck taken care of. (Because if you have a Martin or Amy on in your life right now, or find yourself landed with one in future, all the productivity hacks in the world won’t give you back your time or your sanity).

And to be the first to hear about our new workshop dates, sign up for our monthly blog posts containing tips and strategies for your relationship challenges.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know someone who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

What to do when one person lets down the team – and doing nothing's not an option. A true story from @halcyconglobal

 

 

 

Photo via Unsplash

How to move forward when you can’t forgive what they did

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

In our last blog we talked about our individual “Christmas movies” – the scripts or patterns it’s easy to find ourselves falling back into when we’re around people who push our buttons.

a shot of espresso: how to cut through conflict when you can't forgiveIf you’ve been to one of our workshops you’ll know how easy it is to get entrenched in the same old warring positions. "How on earth can they still be so selfish?" we ask ourselves when that one family member shows their true colours once more.

It's one thing to let go of little slights or lapses of judgment. But when we've experienced the same behaviour for years or even decades, it can feel impossible to forgive them and move forward.

If, despite your best intentions, you’re looking back on some of your interactions in the past weeks and feeling unhappy with what occurred, read on. Like a shot of espresso, it's time to bring clarity to the emotional hangover and find out how we can shift the conflicts that linger, once and for all.

When you can't forgive

At War to Peace® we believe in looking at the underlying way we’re being; considering our “operating system,” which determines how the things we say and do come across.

And when we look back on interactions that we’ve felt disappointed with, something curious emerges. The operating system that we use to look back on what went wrong can be oddly similar to the conflict we’re wishing was different.

For example, the operating system of “I wish you were different” applies to the other people who have riled us up, but it also comes out when we criticize ourselves for the things we didn’t say, or the way we behaved.

However badly someone else has behaved, the person I’m usually equally struggling with is me: either for what I did do (got triggered, flew off the handle, gave into their demands) or what I didn’t (tell them what I really thought, stood up for myself, apologised…)

This is how we manage to continue to be at War long after a challenging interaction with someone. Our sense of injustice and annoyance continues into the way we remember them, talk to ourselves and others about what happened, and create the perfect conditions to continue that conflict when we next spend time with them.

Changing the system

So how can we move past this mindset? Are certain deep-rooted conflicts destined to be in our lives forever?

When we're not ready to forgive and forget, it can seem as though there's no way out of the situation. And if we believe that the only way to feel better is for the other person to do something – like apologise, change their actions, or admit they've behaved abysmally – that might well be true. Try as we might, there's nothing we can do to change other people. This is what lays at the heart of our difficulty with the people we find so challenging - the amount of time and energy we have dedicated to this, either in practical terms or with the amount of space we let them occupy in our minds.

What we can do to shift things is to start with what is within our control. And, whilst we typically allow ourselves to cling on to the thoughts we're having about them, our own mindset is something we do have control over. And if we can begin to move that, even by a tiny notch, we open up space for things to be different.

So if there's a sticky scenario leftover from Christmas that's been playing on your mind, we can start by focusing our attention back to us:

I invite you to the possibility that you behaved the best way you could, given the situation, all the circumstances and in light of the history or any emotional baggage you carried in to the interaction.

Might it be possible to let yourself off the hook, just a little? After all, you did your best in that moment. In a perfect situation, things might have been different, but this is real life and one thing our relationships never are is perfect. It's also worth noting that you probably hadn't eaten as healthily as you would typically, you may not have had as much good quality sleep and you may have had more alcohol than you would typically - all of which tend to result in us having less emotional resilience and tolerance. It's also the time of year where we typically feel we should be with our family members and close friends, and all our made up 'shoulds' about how it's meant to be are playing out, which can pile on the pressure. So perhaps it's time to let yourself off the hook if you are feeling in any way self-critical.

If, on the other hand, you truly believe you were perfectly behaved and it really is all them, perhaps you could spend some time imagining what might be going on for them that led them to leave behind their best self over the holiday period. Perhaps you don't know their whole life circumstances at the moment, perhaps they are burdened by some unimaginable stress that you know nothing of and they don't feel able to share it with anyone yet. It perfectly okay if you are not ready to forgive them yet, but perhaps you could consider that even though it feels really personal and you have all the evidence in the world that it is, it's only about you if you allow it to be.

We can never know exactly what another person is going through, what triggers they are experiencing or how hard they are trying to overcome their own inner battles. So, without any knowledge to the contrary and even though they fell short of your expectations, perhaps they did the best they could under the circumstances, too.

Looking at what's ours to change

If this feels like you're letting someone off the hook, it actually isn't - it doesn't mean you're condoning anything they've said or done, it just means you're freeing yourself from the burden of resentment. This isn’t about condoning poor choices, or letting people get away with things.

Rather, it is an invitation to focus on the things that are within our control, to take back our own power, and to maintain our integrity (by our own definition of what this is for ourself) with whomever we find ourselves interacting.

This is the starting point of the simple strategy we cover in the War to Peace® workshop. If you haven’t yet participated, we’d love to welcome you to one of our open access sessions so that you can dive deeper into the power of this approach to transform relationships at work and at home.

Having the tools to change our operating system means we can set ourselves up to succeed rather than fail. Relationships with even the most difficult people – like family members who we know are never going to change, or colleagues who really push our buttons – can shift drastically with this change in mindset.

It allows us to access resources that just aren’t available when we’re stuck on the same old script – and can result in utterly unexpected turnarounds.

A simple way to change

War to Peace® is a very simple process, but it’s award winning for a reason. If you’re ready to experience how to move past challenging relationships once and for all, the first open access workshop of 2018 is on 2 March.

Our workshops sell out fast so we suggest you book now if you know this is something you’d like to achieve this year! Click here to find out more and book your place.

And to be the first to hear about our new workshop dates, sign up for our monthly blog posts containing tips and strategies for your relationship challenges.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know someone who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

Tricky interaction over the festive period still playing on your mind? You're not alone. @halcyonglobal shares a simple way to move things forward when you're struggling to forgive.

 

 

 

Photo via Unsplash

Are you writing your own Christmas movie?

Friday, December 15th, 2017

Picture the scene, as though it was the start of a film.

Christmas tree: Are you dreading the family christmas?Christmas music rings out as the camera swoops down snow-covered streets, decorated with bright colours. And as the opening credits fade, we peer in through one of the well-lit windows and into a familiar scene. The family round the table, with everyone there: parents, grown up children, teenagers and maybe even little ones running around.

There’s no mistaking the time of year – it’s holiday season once again, and all around, families gather for their annual get together. You’ll most probably be attending a social occasion of some kind yourself during the coming weeks, and how do you feel about it?

Be honest. Are you excited? Happy?

Or is it more like dread at the thought of yet another family fiasco replaying itself once more?

Holidays can be hard

Taking time off to spend with family sounds like it should be so idyllic. But as the holidays approach, we often find ourselves cranking up a gear, just when our bodies are feeling the need to slow down.

So we often arrive at the big events with our families tired and run down, maybe a little bit stressed, and almost always anticipating what’s about to unfold. After all, the collision of family is what tends to make the day so memorable.

Most of us could probably rattle off an account of the past five or so Christmasses – maybe there was an argument, an unexpected disaster, or a memorably wonderful time.

There’s not many other days of the year that are repeatedly so memorable.

All in all, it’s the perfect recipe for a whole lot of conflict – spoken or suppressed – to unfold. And the truth is, we can’t change anything about how other people show up to it. What we can look at is our own reaction to what takes place.

We create our reality

A great place to start is by examining the assumptions and expectations we bring before things start.

One of the ways we can be at War with the people around us involves us gathering evidence to support our take on things, and this is something that often comes up at Christmas. It’s almost as though we have a script already written – a movie of What Christmas is Like that we’re running in our heads.

Within this framework, we can actively see those around us behaving exactly as we knew they would. Sure enough, you start to accumulate evidence: there’s your bossy aunt, your selfish father, your tactless brother-in-law. All showing up and playing their roles, exactly as you expect them to.

But if this were a movie, where would we place ourselves? Quite often it’s not as a character in the film, or at least not one causing any of the issues. We think of ourselves as being the neutral party. Or, if pushed, we find justifiable reasons for why we revert to certain behaviours. When your mother’s being her usual controlling self, it’s only natural that you slip back into defensive teenager mode.

We just can’t help it when we’re around them!

Flipping the script around

Now, it’s absolutely possible that your family might be composed of people who are difficult to be around. We’re not saying that your reading of the situation is wrong.

But choose one person you find especially challenging, and try for a moment imagining that you’re in their shoes.

How might they be feeling about the coming season? What ruts do they wish they could escape from? And how might you be unconsciously feeding into them?

Perhaps being around a mum who stifles you has you feeling sullen and resentful. You know that you end up speaking less and feeling less enthusiastic when she’s around.

But from her side, your reticence makes you seem quiet. She goes into full-on cajoling mode, to try to encourage you to take part. And so the cycle repeats itself.

Most of us are really good at identifying family dynamics and how they play out. We’re not always so gifted at seeing how we too play our part in creating those dynamics.

This year, instead of expecting a certain script to play out, why not see if you can remain open to what “film” is about to be shown. Who are the characters going to be? What are they like, and how do they show that? How are you "being" and what character are you playing, in turn?

You might find something you weren’t expecting opens up.

Time for a real change?

Our workshops are really effective in the workplace; the feedback that we get from leaders and managers tells us War to Peace® has a huge impact on their results. And the reality is, what holds us back most in our lives is very often our longstanding relationships with those around us. It’s interacting with our parents, siblings and children that can be the sources of our deepest pain and anger, and finding a way to navigate them can be what makes the difference to every other aspect of our worlds.

If you’re interested in learning the tools you need to resolve conflicts with ease in any area of your life, the first open access workshop of 2018 is on 2 March 2018, and we currently have just 10 spaces left. Click here to find out more and book your place.

And to be the first to hear about our new workshop dates, sign up for our monthly blog posts containing tips and strategies for your relationship challenges.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know someone who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

One Christmas movie to avoid in 2017, from @halcyonglobal (Dreading the family Christmas? This is for you)

 

 

 

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

The hidden block to effective teams

Monday, September 25th, 2017

A team of cyclists - but how can you build effective teams?As a team leader, there are lots of things you can do to increase the performance of the people you manage. For example, if you want to improve your results you might start with making sure that everyone is 100% clear on your shared goals and objectives, so their energy is being directed to the same place.

You could look at how your team interact with each other. Boost connection, maybe by adding in informal meetings or group activities, to see if you can develop stronger bonds.

A third approach would be to focus on the individual skill levels of your team, with an aim of increasing each person's competence so that collectively, they perform better.

Ideas like this tend to be the focus of a lot of advice around building effective teams, and for good reason: All of these are great strategies.

But even when you've looked at each of these behaviours, it's common to feel like your team’s missing its “edge”.

Effective teams aren't built by behaviour alone

If you’ve managed people for any length of time you’ll almost certainly have come across this issue, even though it’s something that’s rarely discussed in leadership literature. Teams that look like they're doing everything 'right', and yet still aren't able to get past a certain level of performance.

  • It’s the team member who's irritable and impatient – because his marriage is breaking up, and he doesn’t know where to turn.
  • The individual who’s distracted and barely able to concentrate, because their intractable issues with their noisy neighbours are keeping them up at night.
  • The high flier who hasn't got their "mojo" back since a family bereavement brought conflict between their siblings that doesn't seem like it'll ever get resolved.

These scenarios can be difficult to tackle, because they're not really about how our people behave at work. We might not have the full picture about what's going on, and it's certainly not our place to ask. And even when we do have some of the facts, as leaders, these “personal issues” can feel as though they fall outside our remit. We might decide they're matters for HR, or facts of life that can’t be changed.

But the truth is, all the strategy in the world won’t help shift your results when your team members are not showing up in a way that's helpful to work.

Conflict makes most of us miserable, and miserable employees are uniquely ineffective.

How to address issues that go beyond the working day

In a competitive and complex marketplace, keeping home and work separate isn’t as simple as taking off your jacket at the end of the day. Getting great results means bringing your whole self to the table; being able to be flexible, adaptable and empathetic to others. Holding firm boundaries, and knowing how to negotiate and say no without sacrificing important relationships.

So often, the “unrelated” personal issues of our teams point to deeper challenges in how they’re able to show up. (The Spiral of Disempowerment™ shows how our trickiest relationships can become our greatest teachers). However well-hidden they might seem, these issues will almost certainly impact their performance.

So what’s the solution when it comes to building an effective team?

Let’s be clear: You’re certainly not expected to solve all of your team’s problems. If you’re thinking that their marriages, family relationships and community conflicts are none of your business, you’d be right. And it's also important to remember that these issues are a completely normal part of all of our lives. Everyone experiences conflict from time to time, and there's nothing we can do to stop that from happening.

What it might be helpful to consider is how you can support your team to react differently to those issues, in a way that can help them with any relationship they're in, whether at work or in their personal lives.

This is where War to Peace® comes in. It’s an experience that isn't so much about changing what you do (the way that a new communication technique or a different goal setting strategy might have an impact) as looking at the underlying way we show up. The behaviour changes flow from the deeper shift in whether we're living in a way that's at War or at Peace.

When we’re at Peace, we’re naturally more interested and helpful towards others, which invites the same behaviour to come back in return. And it's not about learning how to say certain things, or 'acting' a certain way  - you can’t fake being at Peace! One of the key differences about the approach is that we’re not doing it for other people. Instead, it allows us to be (effortlessly) the best version of ourselves no matter how someone else is behaving. That means we’re able to stop giving our power away and waiting for others to change, and start taking control of how we're being.

Can you see how this could have a more lasting impact on your team's results than trying to change their 'surface' activities and behaviours? How once you have a competent team in place, what they're doing at work might become less important than how they're doing it.

Over to you

    • Have you experienced this hidden block come up with people you manage?
    • How might your current team see better results with a whole-person focus on their communication styles?

Leave a comment below letting us know your thoughts.

War to Peace® workshops 2017-8

Our upcoming open-access October 2017 workshop is now fully booked (though if you’re keen for a place, feel free to join the waiting list in case of any last-minute changes).

Our recent War to Peace® workshops have all sold out well in advance, and so we're delighted to let you know that we we will now be running 4 open access workshops in 2018. The first of these will fall on on 2 March 2018, and you can click here to find out more and book your place.

If you don’t want to wait that long, it's possible to organise an in-house workshop for you and your team; simply click here to get in touch or call us on +44 (0) 20 8191 7072 and let us know what you're looking for. To be the first to hear about our new workshop dates, sign up for our once per month blogs posts containing tips and strategies for your relationship challenges.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know a leader who might find this article helpful, please share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

Manage teams? You might not have considered this hidden block to improving results, from @halcyonglobal

 

 

 

Photo by James Thomas on Unsplash