Manifesto declaring the importance of Self-Directed Coaching

Just wanted to provide my readers with the philosophical and operating principles that make Self-Directed Coaching effective. They are:

  1. Belief in the other person’s ability to change and grow. Establish the connection and mindset that when people are believed in they begin to discover their strengths and believe in themselves.
  2. Trust others; they learn to trust you and then themselves.
  3. Human beings have a deep and unending need to be understood and connect with at least one other person.
  4. The ability to confront disappointments, pinches in expectations, untruths and fears provide the structure to help people think, feel and act more constructively in meeting their needs and changing their day-to-day lives.
  5. Encourage CLEAR AND AGREED TO EXPECTATIONS, accountability, participation and ownership for behavior and results.
  6. Encourage congruence in values, thinking and authentic action that leads to positive behavioral changes and concrete action.
  7.  Establish habit of Continuous improvement

Self-Directed Coaching Framework: Grounding Principles and Truths


Quote : “You cannot teach a person anything; you can only help him find it within himself.” – Galileo

1. It is not the circumstances, but our thoughts about the circumstances that create our experience.

2. We cannot control everything in the world. So decide if you control a situation and if you do and do not like what is happening chose to do something different to change the feeling or situation; if you can not control the situation or events choose to let go of the need for control and move on.

3. Nothing outside of us has the power to make us feel good or bad. It is our choices that determine how we feel and behave.

4. We are driven and motivated by what we choose to think about.

5. Emotions are triggers that lead to action.

6. We can’t permanently change our habits or results without changing our thinking

7. We don’t have to get anything in a material sense to feel better; we have the power to feel better right now.

8. Being conscious and choosing our thoughts is the most important component to feeling better.

Exploring and expanding on the Self-Directed Coaching (SDC) principles–Flushing-out  Principle #1

Change the way you think and you can change how you feel and act. So every time you think of something, you choose the feelings that are associated with it. If you have a negative thought you are guaranteed to have a negative feeling associated with that thought. So the question is, “How do you feel when you think that thought?” This approach will help you sort out that things happening in your world (a difficult situation  or a pressing problem or decision to be made) that they are supposedly causing your feelings. The truth is that the negative or positive thoughts you choose not circumstances or problems cause your attitude and feelings.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Seeing yourself as others see you.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Oh, what a great gift we would have if we could only see ourselves as others see us .” – Robert Burns

Reflection: How other people see us impacts our identity and sense of worth. Some people may see you as a “softie” because of your hypersensitivity to any comments that you perceive as criticism. This leads to less feedback and others avoiding being straight with you. Others may see you as impulsive and explosive, to quick to react in difficult or complex  situations and so you are left with little information when trying to resolve key personnel or investment issues.  Also, some withhold feedback because you are seen as to strong, rude or very opinionated; not getting feedback in these situations leaves you with many “blinspots” and an inaccurate picture of what your strengths are or how you might be overusing them.

This blind area is not an effective or productive space for individuals or groups. This blind area could also be referred to as ignorance about oneself, or an ineffective way to delude yourself . A blind area could also include issues that others are deliberately withholding from a person. We all know how difficult it is to work well when kept in the dark. No-one works well when being subject to ‘mushroom management’. People who are ‘thick-skinned’ tend to have a large ‘blindspots.

Self-Coaching Challenge:  To reduce the blind spots that may de-rail your career or interpersonal relationships you need to seek more input and information from others. To do this you need to model and support more listening and less judgmental feedback. Modeling openness and support for  more individual disclosure, reduces fear and therefore encourages honest feedback to flourish.  The extent to which an individual seeks feedback, and the issues on which feedback is sought, must always be at the individual’s own discretion. Some people are more resilient than others – care needs to be taken to avoid causing emotional upset. The process of soliciting serious and deep feedback relates to the process of ‘self-development and growth as a leader.

If you are committed to seek more feedback the question becomes– how do you go about getting it?  

Sometimes people describe blind spots as perception disconnects – when the people around us don’t perceive our words and behaviors in the way we intended. We might believe that our calm, composed demeanor is a serious advantage in a high-stress workplace. Unfortunately, our co-workers perceive us as robotic and uncaring. Our goal might be to appear decisive and candid, but others actually think we’re abrupt and insensitive. Are we energetic and driven? Or relentless and annoying?  Are we methodical and systematic? Or inflexible and overly cautious? Sometimes there’s a very fine line there. But, at the end of the day, perceptions trump intentions. Despite our goals and the impressions we intend to make, our business success is determined by our reputations and the perceptions of us held by others. 

Over the next three weeks take time to inform others that you want more feedback. Ask a close associate to observe and provide feedback on your blind spots– Be careful to be concrete in your request–by saying something like this– during the next few staffing meetings would you mind observing and documenting my ability and manner of listening or not  with team members and after the meeting we can talk about what worked, what didn’t work and how I might improve my listening skills. 

Remember in trying to get feedback and uncover your blind spots you need to be supportive when this person provides their feedback feedback on areas for improvement. Good Luck and be sure and share with us how it your personal development goes. 



Self-coaching Challenge: Say Yes…

Quote: “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor” Aristotle

Reflection: I have found that supporting someone else’s needs and wants takes a change of attitude and courage to let go of being right. The change of attitude is to assume that the other person’s request is reasonable and that you are not giving up something, and with this shift of perspective you are supporting and giving a gift of time.

Self Coaching Challenge: Start by clearing your mind of all the things you want to do this weekend. Pick a person, your spouse, child, friend or neighbor and make a commitment to be selfless with this person. Find something right about everything he or she says or does or wants you to do. Look for for every opportunity to offer support. Consider their convenience and time preferences ahead of your own. Give them unconditional support by putting their ideas first. Shine the spotlight on them. Anticipate what they want and practice active listening skills. Notice the results. Capture what you learned in your personal change journal.

Self-Coaching: Power of thinking, discovery, and choice for improving the Quality of your Life

“The quality of life that you have is determined to large extent by the effort you put into giving your life value, purpose and a reason.” Eric Hoffer

Self-coaching is a “structure and a process” for high performance levels.

When ever we begin to think about things we trigger a specific (structure) or mindset for our thinking. The mindset maybe based on a certain concept, feeling or experience stored in different areas of the brain. Once one of these areas is activated then we take action (process). Our appropriateness and effectiveness depends on how congruent our thinking is with the action. Thinking with one part of the brain which is not congruent with the right action leads to inconsistency and low performance. Self-coaching and monitoring through reflection provides you with a frame of reference or structure and necessary processes for taking right action at the right time. Together the “structure with process” work together to encourage consistent, patterned decisions and aligned behavior leading high level performance.  Self-Coaching is a proven and satisfying way to change bad habits and make more effective person to person connections based on self-awareness and cognitive decisions that allow you to discover and choose more productive ways to live your life.

Benefits of Self-Coaching:

– Recognize your strengths and areas needing improvement or change.

– Be more aware of interferences and barriers leading to unhappiness, lack of success, and interpersonal conflict.

– Identify ways to be more aware of bad decisions and habits that can be changed one step at a time.

– Coach, motivate, and true happiness and meaning comes through choices and ownership of our actions.

– Understand that discovering life as it comes at you is more beneficial than trying to control people and demanding certainty which causes disappointment, frustration and many other problems in life.

– Realize it’s never life circumstances and other people’s view of life that causes issues and problems –it’s your attitude, perception and interpretation of life events that leads to stress and other psychological and physical issues.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Zimmerman Case and Anger–What did Aristotle Say?

Daily Quote:

 “Anybody can be anger that is easy,

  but to be anger with the right person and to the right degree

  and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way

 is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”   

Your Reflection: 


Part 1: What does Research tell us about Mental Toughness (Hardiness) and Performance?

Some people make the mistake of thinking that MT is all about extorting or putting pressure on themselves (efforting) to perform up to their potential no matter what the circumstances. So let’s start with clarifying the key concepts and definition of MT.

Definition: Mental toughness is having the natural or developed ability that enables you to:
ƒ to access your strengths and skills on demand. It is a learned ability that provides a person with coping and thinking skills to handle stressful and demanding situations. As a performer it is seen when a performer can be more consistent and better than an opponent in remaining calm, focused, determined, confident, resilient, and in control under pressure.

Key psychological characteristics associated with mentally tough elite athletes Jones et al (2002) are:
” Self-Belief and self-efficacy:  
• Having an unshakable belief in your ability to achieve competition goals
• Unique qualities that make you better than your opponents.
• Having an insatiable desire and internalized motivation to succeed (you really got to want it)
• Ability to bounce back from performance setbacks with increased determination to succeed.
• Remain fully focused on the task at hand in the face of competition-specific distractions
• Able to switch focus on and off as required
• Not being adversely affected by others performance or your own internal distractions (worry,
negative mind chatter)
• Composure/Handling Pressure:
• Able to regain psychological control following unexpected events or distractions
• Thriving on the pressure of competition (embracing pressure, stepping into the moment)
• Accept that anxiety is inevitable in competition and know you can cope with it
Key component of mental toughness is learning how to condition your mind to think confidently and be
able to overcome frustration/self-critical negativity (reframe self-talk into what it is you want to occur)”.

Lesson Learned created a new Wickism: Don’t allow frustration or being to self-critical undermine your confidence or mental toughness.”

Yet a recent study confirms that MT which is defined as being “hardy” is something different. The study results indicate that mental toughness is a key to success – and to getting through the ups and downs of  stressful events in life. The study results clearly confirm the old dictum that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Much like optimists vs. pessimists, hardy individuals, when compared to less hardy ones, perceive the world very differently. Where the less hardy see obstacles, the hardy see a challenge to be overcome. While the less hardy find themselves totally overwhelmed and unable to function when under stress, the hardy ones use stress as an adrenaline boost. Hardy people go where angels fear to tread; less hardy people are the types that play to lose by undermining their performance and wishing  they could just crawl into the nearest corner, roll up into a fetal position, and wait until it’s safe to come out again.

“Learning from experience helps build character and resilience, so it’s not surprising that mental toughness tends to increase with age,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of Psychtests AIM, company. “It’s not only a matter of developing better coping and problem solving skills. As we get older and have been knocked around in the school of life, we develop a stronger sense of perspective and self-efficacy; a greater belief that ‘I’ll get through this’. Think of  the pain of losing someone we love, for example. Regardless of age, everyone feels hurt after it happens. But with experience, we get to a point of acceptance more quickly, and move on more readily.”

Part I: Meaningful Life principle #2 –Learn to be a Great Communicator and Presenter

Author’s note: On this post I will flush out in more detail the number #2 principle from the Handbook for Creating and Living a Meaningful Life: 30+ Rules of the Road .

Meaningful Life Principle #2: Learn to become a “dynamic” communicator.   

Relevant thought trigger and quotes : Not only is there an art in knowing a thing, but also a certain art in communicating and teaching it. Cicero 

“The problem with communication… is the ILLUSION that it has been accomplished.”—George Bernard Shaw

A Presentation is a Performance Act. You are an Actor. Tom Peters

To be a great a communicator requires high performance (self3) behaviors  and takes “Truth Telling” which begins with clear thinking, courage and belief in yourself and the ideas you are trying to get across. Learn to be an active listener when preparing for the presentation, so you can identify your audience needs ( something you didn’t learn in school)–So if you want to come across to others as authentic and be perceived as “star presenter” practice the mental set, attitude, and actions listed in my “ten rules for excellence in communicating” they will speak volumes of who you really are and transform how you think about interpersonal communications and how you connect with others when presenting.

Dr. Mark’s 10 Tips Becoming a passionate communicator and public speaker:                                               1. Be clear and concise, confident and compelling about your purpose and goals for the interaction or presentation. Don’t present anything you would not want to hear if you were on the other side of the desk or in the meeting room.

2. Learn that “Connecting with Others” is the most important factor to consider when communicating and delivering you message. Do you believe in what you are talking or spouting off about? How comfortable are you in presenting ideas and information to others? Are you open to other points of view? Can you communicate in conversational tones and gestures? Can you manage your nervous energy?

3. Believe in your self—Know your strengths and become a high performer by using them when communicating 1 to 1 or to an audience of 1000 people. This will allow you the freedom to overcome nervousness and self-doubts.

4. You must become a serious and formal student of communication and listening. Yes, the likes of presenting, conversing,  talking and listening can be studied and practiced with the same thoroughness with which you studied mathematics or science that is the bedrock for becoming a physicist or medical doctor.  There’s no more need to be casual about developing these soft skills of interpersonal communication than there is concerning mastering the job of doctor or lawyer. Granted formal schooling for the hard stuff is more available to aspiring professional presenters and students. Yet it can be done—and as I said before, the benefits of undertaking professional study in the art of communicating and presenting and listening is critical to your success in business and life.

5. Give as many speeches as you can—of all shapes and sizes. “Hey, Coach Mark, how did you get to where you are with your presentation skills?” “I’m a lot better after 2500 speeches than I was after 2 or 3.” Meetings are a great training ground for both watching and learning about performing; for example, observe how people react to this or that approach taken by a speaker.

6. The One Big Secret I have learned over and over again in my 40+ years in public speaking and giving presentations is that they are personal and open conversation whether it is a 1 to 1, face 2 face conversation, small staff meeting, conference key-note to 500 people. Make it personal and create closeness by being self-disclosing and truthful–tell stories… Remember an effective speech to 1,000 people is an intimate, 1-on-1 conversation so engage them and surprise them so they are interested and curious about what you have to say.

7. Speak with passion–be energized and excited that you get the privilege of presenting  what you know that can help the audience members live a more fulfilling life.

8. Stay focused but flexible on interests and needs of the other person. Be ready to change topis or re-focus speech if you get feedback or body language that the audience is not with you. Don’t be bound or married to your agenda, always remain audience-centered.

9. Don’t worry about what is going to happen next or be preparing to respond stay in the moment observe, respond and focus on the process of conveying your message and connecting.

10. Close with a bang. Let the audience tell you what they learned. Check for audience AHA’s,  discoveries and learning. Check on commitment for action and personal change.

Bonus Idea for getting ready to speak– Use “relaxation and release” tools to start in a great state of mind and energy…   be open to whatever arises, and be confident you can handle whatever comes-up.

Remember as JFK said,“The only reason to give a speech is to change the world.”

Daily Quote and Challenge–STOP Irrational Thoughts that Block Your Personal Happiness.

 Quote : ” You can’t talk yourself out of what you think is right and rational and yet you can challenge irrational thoughts and choose not to operate or behave like they are true”. Changing behavior can change your thinking”. Coach Mark 

Irrational Ideas that Block Your Growth and Development  

  1. Need to be loved or approved by everyone–Give credit away and recognition will come
  2. Differences make people bad, evil or stupid–Not stupid just different. Differences widen your perspective and help update your mental maps.
  3. Life is awful when things are not like we want them to be. Not awful just inconvenient.
  4. It’s easier to avoid difficulties and self-responsibilities. Face difficulties or they get worst
  5. Happiness is caused externally–Happiness is determined internally by living our values
  6. The past is the all important determiner of the present and future. No, it is just on factor.
  7. One can’t admit mistakes or ask for help–Asking shows your strength for growing. Keep your focus on goals and honestly accept responsibility for mistakes and move on.
  8. One needs someone stronger to rely upon–Better to be interdependent. I depend on you and much as you depend on me. We don’t accomplishes anything important by just relying on others.
  9. One needs to control and protect others. Focus on others needs and respect their abilities to accomplish things. Be supportive by listening not controlling.
  10. Need to be competent in all aspects of life —Can’t be perfect. Do the best you can.

Adapted from Albert Ellis—Rational Emotive Therapy

Self-Coaching Exercise: Identify which Irrational Idea is true for you. Keep track daily through this weekend how this irrational belief and thinking affects your life. Develop a plan for changing your approach by identifying what you can do differently. Be more reflective by instituting a feedback loop by enlisting a trusted friend to check your thinking.

Self-Directed Learning and Discovery Principles for Personal Change

Daily Quote: “The crux of leadership development that works is self-directed learning: intentionally developing or strengthening an aspect of who you are or who you want to be, or both.” Daniel Goleman, Author of Emotional Intelligence

Reflection: In my ongoing search for the essence of leadership and identifying what works and doesn’t is that leaders arise out of experiences, knowledge of how people work together in teams to accomplish more than they can alone, feedback from others on their success and failures and the willingness and openness to change.

We really don’t know how the world works either as leaders or followers. We only perceive how  organizations, teams and individuals work or don’t work from our unique perception; and our perceptual viewpoint , core values and beliefs our are based upon life experiences, who we are, what we are aware of and how we integrate all these things into our daily behaviors in the world around us. 

Here are the principles of  a self-discovery mental model that lead to changes and learning: 

1. Values and Beliefs influence our view of the world

2.  Perception of present and past experiences color our self- awareness. Thus awareness becomes our reality.

3. Reality sets our mental maps and suggests possibilities for the future. Possiblities open us to opportunities and away from problems. This mental set of possibilities generate alternatives for action.

4. Our choices determine our behavior and build habits and determine our impact and results.


Outcomes impact beliefs and facilitates openness to personal change. 

Daily Quote, Reflection and Challenge: Understanding Reality

Daily Quote: “The only reality I can possibly know is the world as I perceive and experience it at this moment. The only reality you can possibly know is the world as you perceive and experience it at this moment. And the only certainty is that those perceived realities are different”. –Carl Rogers, A way of Being

Reflection: Being in touch with reality requires clarity on what is possible and realistic in a given situation in life.   In my experience one of the best psychological models to live by is Reality Therapy and Choice Theory developed by Dr. William Glasser. 

Dr. Glasser theory is based the idea that all people are born with specific basic needs that if left unmet, lead to disappointment, disharmony or disturbance. Reality Therapy classifies these five needs in this manner:

1) Power – A sense of winning, or achieving, or a sense of self-worth

2) Love and Belonging – To a family, to a community, or to other loved ones

3) Freedom – To be independent, maintain your own personal space, autonomy

4) Fun – To achieve satisfaction, enjoyment and a sense of pleasure

5) Survival – Basic needs of shelter, survival, food, sexual fulfillment

The fact that everyone is at all times striving to meet these basic needs is at the heart of Reality Therapy and are the root cause of disappointments.

Self-Coaching Challenge:

Examine and reflect on the above needs and rate your perception and feeling about them on a 1-10 scale. 1 need is block or unmet to 10 Fully being met. This week pick one need that is blocked and identify how you can take small steps to meet this need. Good Luck and keep me post on your progress.

Daily quote: Creating Your Legacy–Are You More Optimistic or Pessimistic?

Daily :Quote: “You can add up your blessings or add up your troubles. Either way, you’ll find you have an abundance.”  ― Richelle E. Goodrich

Reflection: Which are you more like?  Why?

Action Challenge:

Start today to be more observant of whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. Stop and at 9:00 am. 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm and record on a 1-10 scale what yo have experienced in the last three hours. 1-very pessimistic.  5.-so-so and 10 very optimistic and counting your “blessings and happiness.  This exercise will break your cycle of just coasting or sleep walking through life.

Legacy Project: In your 20’s Learn to Play the Game of Life “winning from within”

The Game of Life—“Winning from Within”

“All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine”.  Jim Rohn

 In this Legacy Project my goal is to enlighten valued people from where they are now to where they want to go by increasing self-awareness and developing more relationship power. A core tool for the Legacy Project is using the process of self-coaching . Self-coaching will focus on life principles shared by older and wiser folks structured activities, skill development and commitment to positive actions to do what they need to do to create meaning in their lives.  

Mission of Perspective: Dedicated to sharing lessons learned for people to learn from in creating and discovery their own path in life. We are out to change the world one person at a time. 

We all know that at some point we are going to die. So the question becomes what are we going to do with our time here?  What is our purpose for living? How do we make a difference and create meaning in our lives.

 Purpose Focus. 

Purpose helps us understand what is important to do with our life. Knowing your purpose provides a roadmap for living a more meaningful life. Our hectic and fast paced life suddenly begins to make sense to us. We begin to slow down, identify our priorities and stop just doing meaningless stuff to fill our days.

Winning from Within Moments

There are many Winning from Within moments (“WFW”) in our lives that we miss because we are not paying attention, don’t show-up or lack the awareness to focus on the “here and now . To use a sports analogy, it is like stalling with 3 minutes to go in a basketball game to avoid letting the other team score; this sometimes is called “taking air out of the ball”. This is a risky strategy for winning because the team leading losses their momentum, rhythm, focus and energy. The same goes on in football when teams play the so-called   prevent defense. But in life “slowing down” can be benefit you because it gives you time to block emotional outbursts and let’s the rational part of your brain drive more constructive thinking and behavior.

1. Our first step in “starting the game” is to be more observant and aware of what is going on around us in life. Just by stopping to make an observant about what is happening rather than rushing-in provides time to make a more informed decision. This “Stop, Think and Act” structure with process technique provides insight for creating more self-awareness and positive action in our daily lives. Another way to slow down is checking out our thinking with close colleagues and trusted friends who can provide feedback or information to help clarify our problem solving and decision-making process.

Here’s how the game is played. Look around, wherever you happen to be, and see what is really going on…stop, observe, think, reflect and then choose your response. Who needs to be thanked for a kind deed, or a helping hand? For example, while driving, maybe you could let other cars in front of you while driving. Another possibility is to tell your wife or significant other a new reason why he or she is important to you. Or you could buy lunch for a friend for no reason; create an end-of-day celebration because you affirming their importance to the team, get up early to write an e-mail or handwritten note of gratitude to someone. Who was there at your moment of need?

The important idea is to play consciously in life, applying your strengths to any and all situations by giving 110% effort.

Launch of Legacy Project–On Lessons Learned to Share with people in their 20’s

Legacy Project –May .13.2013 Learning from Hindsight–Seeing the Past with new eyes…

I have often wonder why younger people or for that why organizations or the government ( Viet Nam lessons not learned , so we plunged into Irag on false pretenses and little understanding of the differences of the Mid-East  culture or ideology and religions of the region) This approach to living seems to be set in stone. So we repeat mistakes that older generations have already experienced. I know the old saw that if you don’t study and understand history you are bound to repeat it. But that explanation is not enough. Maybe the younger folks just are not listen, or better yet maybe the older folks are not trying hard enough to share the lessons we have learned.  I would change the direction from external problems of health, Social Security prisons, politics and food to a more personal conversation. I have always been interested in reading and collecting the wisdom, stories and quotes of the ages. These would be reflections and principles that have guided your life and can be passed on to the next generation. As we all approach the “next act” of our life I wanted us to stop and take an inventory of lessons learned. These ideas, lessons, and thoughts will focus on how to enjoy a rich and fulfilling life.

These life lessons are made of experiences, stories, and teachings that you and I carry forward from our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, teachers, and mentors in life. These are the things we learned through our personal development and life experiences. These are the messages you might want to share with your grandkids or other younger people that might guide them through the ups and downs of life. I sense, in my discussions with people, a desire to pass on something more than material wealth. Many people have shared with me that they want to pass on something of themselves –something of the meaning and the spirit of living a fulfilling and good life. I think there is a yearning in all of us to share who we are and what life has meant and taught us.

So how shall we start the conversation? I have crafted the following thought starter questions to get us started. Please reflect and jot down your responses to the questions before the meeting and come prepared to share your insights and wisdom.

1. Let’s begin by sharing our most favorite quote in how to live life– I love this one–

“Satisfaction in life lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”  Mahatma Gandhi: non-violent activist who helped lead India to independence. He was assassinated in 1948.

Your favorite quote:


What meaning does this quote have for you and why is it a favorite?


What is the lesson  underlining this quote that you would want to pass on to the next generation?


Please pass this post on to all your friends and have then pass-on their ideas by emailing me at mwhardwick44@gmail .com or my face book page. Thanks for contributing you maybe providing a 20 something an idea or experience that will save them from pain or harm in the future. Or better yet with an opportunity to create a more meaningful life.

Caring Confrontation: 7 Steps for Resolving Conflicts with Difficult People

Maybe you feel insulted, ignored, angry at inappropriate behavior or just feed-up at the lack concern and respect shown toward you.

So what can we do be more constructive with this other person? We can’t keep shutting it out or ignoring it by but if this asshole behavior is such a powerful trigger, what are we supposed to do about it

One answer is to develop “thicker skin” which is okay in the short-term and yet does nothing to change the behavior or mollify your feelings. Over the long haul your frustration and anger just build up to a boiling point so that these pinches turn into a “crunch” or blow-up with this person and cause worse consequences. Another method is to develop “emotional resilience “, and it is based on cognitive and emotional assertiveness and a simple communication tool I call “caring confrontation”. What does this approach look like in action? It means developing the skill to share in a “matter of fact” way your feelings and make a request to the other person which is both leveling (your truth about the situation) and confronting ( clearly stating the problem form your point of view). It focuses on how this person impacts you and why it is important to find a mutually agreeable way to solve this relationship problem. ‘If we can share our feelings and make a non-emotional request with a person we have an opportunity to reframe the interaction and move forward.

Here is the Caring Confrontation tool that might work for you. Thr basis of this Smart-Step tool is to share your reality and understand the other person’s reality, so as to begin a creative problem solving conversation:

Caring Confrontation: Leveling and Support through Smart-Steps:

1. Get a blank piece of paper and  complete these 4 sentence stems to get clear on your feelings and needs in a difficult interpersonal situation…

I need…

I want…

I resent…

I demand…

2. After your completion and before you meet with the other person ask them to do the same activity of completing the incomplete stems.

3. Exchange your answers and discuss your different viewpoints

4. Identify where you have agreement or disagreement and what the problem is.

5.  Take the problem and create possible solutions.

6. Agree on the solution which works best works for both of you.

7. Create an Action Plan for Moving Forward–

  • Does the solution option interest the person enough to take positive action to change?
  • How will they go about executing actions to reach their goal of change?
  • What obstacles might get in their way and block the resolution of this issue?
  • How might they overcome these obstacles?
  • What support do they from you?
  • When are they going to check-in on their progress?

Daily Quote and Reflection: The Game of Winning from Within

Daily Quote: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look FEAR in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt


Reflection: Game of Life—“Winning from Within”

 Rule # 1 : Allow Yourself to face fears and use that energy to fuel positive action 

Some people become afraid or anxious, and they find it overwhelming. When that happens, reach out to family, friends, or colleagues. for support. Do not run away from problems they only get bigger and more complicated. Fear can be a real or made-up so be clear on the reality and source of your fear. Take a deep breath and think of past times when you have overcome fear and realize it is okay to be afraid because it is the first step to overcoming it. Learn to push through the fear with positive self-talk.

 Self-Coaching Challenge: Identify a fear you have like public speaking and over the next week find ways to overcome this fear. You might want to investigate new research on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that has proven to be very effective with reducing anxiety and fears for many people.