In the “Present” to Connect and to “Witness”

Often lacking in our culture is the deeper connections which allow for growth of consciousness and spirit. (“Often” is a judgement which, in this case, means “Most of the time.”) We are all here, in the present incarnation, to learn and to grow. Most importantly, we are here to support our fellow spiritual pilgrims on their (“our”) path toward “Enlightenment.”

One factor that gets in the way of connecting is our weakness in a key area of communication. We are resistant to using our ears and our intuition to fully “Hear” the person/soul who has “bumped” into us. Our culture teaches us to interrupt the “story” being shared with our own thoughts or past experience so we can “control” the conversation. We are rarely using questioning to assist our conversation partner to be more clear with “their” storytelling. We are lacking in the skills as a “witness” to the story, and possible wisdom, which is being shared. If we were fully “Present” in the interaction, we might invest fully in soaking up the story/lesson with all of our senses including our intuition. We are ALL “Masters” with much to share. Mastery includes being fully present and being aware as a “Student” to the experience. Appreciation and respect is often neglected due the lack of “Time” or energy or interest… What if God, yes the God we have heard about, was standing in front of us, perhaps as a “burning bush,” and sharing some wisdom with us? Would we/you/I listen fully and with respect? Or, would we discount this message because we are lacking focus? Would we interrupt God to share our story?

An individual soul who has awakened and begun to “remember” their connection to the Divine might be “Serious” about consciousness and spiritual development. Curiosity and openness would be a common thread in all interactions, with people or with nature. If you ever get “serious” about your practice of spiritual consciousness, you may wish to participate by “listening,” “watching,” “being fully aware,” and “Taking it all in.” Do this not just to support the next pilgrim with a story which needs to be “heard” but for yourself! This is YOUR learning and by raising your consciousness, you raise ALL consciousness (because we are ALL connected and “One!”)

You may find yourself in conversation with questions like:
What is a human being?
Who is this person in front of me and what am I to learn from them?
What are we to learn together?
They are equal to me and they have their “lessons” and challenges but their “pains” are the same as mine (perhaps experienced slightly differently.)

Listening and “Witnessing” are challenging skills which are worth developing. In our lives, we experience many “relationship challenges” which are often associated with OUR lack of listening skills. We might find ourselves interrupting or getting defensive when perhaps we could be asking questions and exploring the pain or blocks to intimacy.

We are not “perfect” and we come into this life to take the next steps toward higher consciousness and more fully remembering our Divine source. Do not give up! The challenge is our lesson! Even if you were “Perfect,” You want the experience of being human with the intense emotions and the difficulties with our limited abilities to communicate. This is part of the cosmic fun! Celebrate and take responsibility for the challenge before you. We are ALL in this together and, at some higher level, we are participating for the “greater good.”

You are a blessing! You are a Master! Your purpose is to learn, to grow, and to assist every soul you bump into to!

Be Present! Share your story! And, be a Master of Witnessing the story of the person in front of you!

If you would like more conscious connections with people who are actively “remembering their Divinity” and moving forward to higher consciousness consider participating in the non-religious community, Masters of the Journey.

You are never alone! You are loved, unconditionally! Enjoy the pilgrimage or, at the very least, appreciate the value.

LifeSaving: Pay Attention!

What if you treated every lesson, every interaction, as if YOU were responsible for learning a “LifeSaving” procedure or technique! You would pay attention! You would learn as if you were supposed to be the teacher, and a life might depend upon it, and you are here to share your wisdom or your learning. Your teaching can save a life! Your sharing can be used to reduce the pain and anxiety which may be suffered by a friend, or a family member, or even by a stranger who hears your information.

Do not underestimate the power of what you are here in this life to learn and to share! You are a Master and you learning and sharing your lessons is important, perhaps critical! Even lifesaving! So you must pay attention to those moments and experiences in life where you are confronted by the “challenge” and the struggle to find an answer. Sharing your struggle and your answer is an act of service to humanity. Making the effort to articulate your learning can benefit both your audience AND yourself. By reviewing and speaking about your lesson, you will gain perspective and so insight into your learned challenge. It takes work to reach deep within and to find the words that will resonate with the your communication partner. Consider whether you are telling your story for “You” or are feeling the benefit more for your partner. Knowing your audience’s needs is good and will help you to be clear.

You do not always know how your story will be “LifeSaving” or where in the world it will find its way to work this magic. Your story may rise to the surface because you feel the “Need” to share this with your friend, perhaps, for their sake or perhaps because you are still processing your learning. As an example, your story may be related to an experience where you reduced your anger by forgiving a difficult interaction rather than stubbornly fighting for your position while sacrificing a relationship. You were able to let go of your stubborn willfulness after realizing that there are other ways to look at a situation and your partner in this argument has come at their opinion from surviving a very different set of personal challenges. Their perspective may not be in agreement with your beliefs but your strength and awareness helps you to understand their differing point of view. You have bumped up against their belief as a lesson. You might not “know” their idea of truth but you fighting with their ego reminds you that important, though difficult, learning can occur for the person who is willing and open to appreciate the other opinion, even if you can not agree.

Do not be lazy. Be meticulous. Be vigilant. Even the smallest interactions can be a blessing. If you walk through your life experience in a cloud of distraction or unconcern then you may be missing the point of a critical learning and life changing moment. Reach out to connect with people, even the people who you may be “triggered” by, for this is the only way to gain perspective on living. Wearing blinders or avoiding contact by watching TV may slow down your experiencing life in the ways that can enhance your understanding leading to your finding joy in life or maybe even your enlightenment.

Your stories based on your experience have great value, especially when you are willing to share them. Your developing the skills to communicate your experiences clearly and when they “fit” the interaction will elevate your level of service. This takes practice. This will require you to develop your confidence and your intuition, as you read the specific demands of your partner in communication. If your “gut” tells you that you must tell a certain story, at a certain time, to a certain person, YOU may be sharing wisdom that will save a life!

Do not mumble or speak too softly. Your story must be clear and loud enough to hear! Project your wisdom and own it. Whether you “know” it or not, you are a Master!

Blessings to you for experiencing life’s challenges and your willingness to share your story. Just the act of caring enough to take time to share may serve a need that you may not fully realize. A very important consideration is to allow your communication partner to tell THEIR story. You give a great gift by receiving their communicated lesson.

For resources on communication, connecting, and other lifesaving techniques, consider the supportive community, Masters of the Journey.

Connections: Reaching Out

In this blog I am drawn to writing about our innate need for connections. We are NOT solitary beings. Often times in our modern world, our connections are lacking. Lacking in depth, in emotional value, in the support which is required, and in the basic instinctual desire to know that we are all “one” and part of a much greater Divine. So two perspectives.

First, we were born into this world as helpless, dependent beings. There is no chance to survive without basic nurturing care. We can not feed ourselves. We can not bathe ourselves. We have parents who love us and take good care of us, if we are lucky, or we survive an existence with emotional and maybe physical scars. We learn from the people around us and the environment that we are born into. We do better when we are loved and we do not thrive when love is lacking. (I have read research conducted on children raised in an Eastern European, sterile, orphanage where the babies/children were fed and changed but not held or loved. These children grew up deprived and with serious physical and emotional challenges, different from children who were held and loved.)

We can not thrive without love and connection as an infant. This does NOT disappear as we age. Most people require human interaction, to varying degrees, and the “connections” that go along with these relationships. We continue to learn and gain perspective by communicating with other people and lifeforms (pets, plants, nature.) People often strive for “Deeper Connections” and more intimate relationships. We do not thrive when we feel alone or lonely or separated from the nurturing of friends and family, our “tribe.”

But in our culture, in our modern world, we are often separated by technology and “Judgements” from the people we live around and work around. Have you ever seen people out to dinner with both people on their smart phones, texting, or checking social media, or posting pictures of their meal?… What is this really about? We are not encouraged to put down our technology and be truly “present” with our partner. Many of us have lost the basic skills of verbal and non-verbal communication that were so essential when we were in tribes (and family groups) where our survival was based on interaction and support from the group. Do not get me wrong, I do not want to go back to live in a primitive, life and death struggle to survive but we have lost some of our fundamental skills (and are paying the price.)

Today, we may want to join a community to find human contact. Maybe we wear jerseys of our favorite sports franchise and root for them on Sunday with other fans. Or, we think about going to a “MeetUp” group to hang out with people of similar interests. Or, we go on a “dating” website to find a perfect partner. (Though we still have to meet and do the “Mating Dance” which includes communication and hopefully honesty…) This pursuit is desperate, often unfulfilling, and generally superficial. If so, then it does not satisfy the need to connect deeply. (Our egos and our judgements of the mind are constantly comparing and keeping us separate from other people who are searching for the emotional and spiritual exchanges which form the best connections.)

Secondly, our most important purpose is to support and assist the people we meet on our path through life. Most people floating around unhappily, or at least unsatisfied, are people thinking that their success is defined by how much money they have, or how many toys they have acquired, or how many trips they have taken, or how many MeetUp groups they have joined (but not attended.) People, today, feel that the number of friends they have and how many people respond to their social media posts (about themselves) are important and valued as levels of success. Maybe, it is NOT about “me.”

Think back when you did something “good” for someone else. It probably allowed you to feel good and connected. Get out of your head and back into your heart. Feel good by doing good things for other people! If you want to be loved, you have to go out and give love, unconditionally. If you are giving anything with an expectation that it comes back, then you will be disappointed.

Connections with value are based upon people caring, truly caring, about others and finding the best ways (you can) to support and assist these other souls on their journey. Even the simplest smile or kind word can show the love and respect for the person in front of you who “showed up” to have a place in your world (and your journey.) Yes, you need to work and support yourself, but you can do so with the feeling of loving acceptance for the other pilgrims in life whom you meet along the way. (Easier said than done, but work on this.) Your happiness and joy will come more frequently when you realize that we are “ONE” with all lifeforms and in this life together to grow, to learn from our challenges, and to love the connections which we can create.

Connections, healthy connections, are the most important thing to work on. Your success in life comes not from how much money is in the bank but how many people call you a friend.

Namaste. Your are a Master and it is a great blessing to find these few moments to connect with you. Your sharing of your time and attention as a “witness” is a blessing… Know that you have done good in our world just by being you, even with imperfections and flaws…

Masters of the Journey is a community that supports everyone who are on their path through life and would like to find supportive, hopefully, non-judgemental connections.

New Beginnings? Yup, Happy New Year!

We are a week into the New Year. 2017 is going to be a “Barn Burner” of a year. It is a start to a new 9 year cycle. The arbitrary date on the calendar says a new cycle – a new year – begins. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere we have made it through the shortest day of the yearly cycle and are now, slowly, heading back into the “light.” The ritual of the New Year can be a time of reflection, to take stock of our lives and of our lessons to determine how far along we are. How far have we come and how far we must still travel in this pilgrimage through this life?

Some of us make “New Years Resolutions” which, by their nature, are designed to be disregarded almost as quickly as they are declared. However, the awareness of your progress and the affirmation of what still needs to be done (or experienced) has great relevance! What still needs to be done can become the “focus” and the direction which points the way to your travels through this life. Running in Circles does not serve us, in the long run. Steering out into the current, to move us down stream through the rapids and experiencing the eddies we must encounter, and transcend, is our life’s path. (In case you are unclear, we are all souls traveling in the “River of Life” and we are all “One” with our fellow souls….)

It is worth remembering… You are NOT alone! You have support. You are a blessing! You are an important part of the whole of divinity!

Your purpose is to Grow in Wisdom & Joy! As a Master, your purpose includes sharing and connecting with other pilgrims because we must all work to get THERE (higher consciousness, Heaven, Grace, the Divine) Together! (We are in Human Form to “Communicate” our lessons and to Serve!)

Blessings to You on the journey… Take one step at a time and focus upward on the path before you.

Namaste… (The Perfect Divine Spirit in me Sees, Knows, and Loves the Perfect Divine Spirit in YOU!)
(And, this is MY lesson in this life… Not an uncommon one, we share.)

Consider sharing your Mastery and wisdom with the community: Masters of the Journey!

Sharing Wisdom and an Act of Service

In our spiritual community, Masters of the Journey, we practice a “Triad” process. This is a small group sharing of experience and the wisdom gleaned from living through the challenges of life. The purpose of the Triad is to gather three people into a conversation based around the “story” of one participant known as the “storyteller.” We are all “Masters” and have wisdom to share. If you have lived your life and survived to this age, you have learned from experiences and are moving along your “path” on your pilgrimage through this life.

As an example, the “storyteller” may share a story regarding a treasured experience with a personal mentor. It may have been a special college professor or a wise uncle/aunt or supportive coach who offered you some life changing information that set you on an important direction at one of the cross roads of your life. The lesson was a personal one yet it holds wisdom that can be used by other fellow travelers. The willingness of the “storyteller” to share and the active listening by the two other members of the Triad can make this a moment of “service” for all involved.

In the Triad process, the “storyteller” offers an experience which is heard by a focused “witness.” The second member of the Triad quietly and with focused intent, listens to the story. Using strong listening skills including good eye contact and “open” body language seeks to fully experience the story. Little or no verbal feedback is offered unless a clarifying question is required. The “witness” offers appreciation at the end of the 3-5 minute story. It may be appropriate to communicate what the value of this story has been for the witness. (A key is for the “Witness” to not interrupt or offer their own story but to allow the speaker to share their perspective until offered feedback at he completion of their story.)

The third member of the Triad is the “Observer” who focuses on watching both the “Storyteller” and the “Witness.” The “Observer” feels for the connection and rapport between the “Storyteller” and the “Witness.” When the “Observer” offers feedback, she/he may share information regarding the skills of the “Storyteller” to communicate their story and also may give feedback regarding the skills of the “Witness” to fully serve by observing the story. These are skills that carry over into relationships in life beyond the “Triad” process.

The act of witnessing is a powerful act of service. Focused listening and demonstrated “caring” can be therapeutic for the storyteller. In my training as a counselor for children, the theory of psychotherapeutic counseling was often less important that the act of “connecting” with the child. When these children were fully heard, respected, and Loved (Cared about) by the counselor the positive bond was created and the therapy could be effective. Outside of counseling, each of us can be of service by developing our skills to listen more fully, connect with the speaker, and then to share the wisdom of the experience of this sharing. The simple but powerful act of sharing a story and having it fully appreciated by the witness creates moments of learning for both sides of this experience. If you believe that we are actually “one” with all other living beings, then the respect and appreciation for another person’s story is a deep respect for yourself and the Divine Spirit within you (and every other soul.)

Do not take it lightly. Your witnessing of the lesson learned raises the consciousness of all the souls which are participating. Raising consciousness in all is the purpose which we all share. This common bond brings us closer and we can find the connections which offer positive learnings. Treat others with the respect of knowing that they are part of a much larger consciousness and though it may be difficult to see, every person has God within them. We may benefit from the raising of consciousness so we may better “remember” that we are all one and that each one of us is a Master with the wisdom of the Divine Spirit within our souls.

Blessings to you and all the fellow pilgrims you, and serve, along your path.

Namaste.

Masters of the Journey’s website and connections are found at: www.mastersofthejourney.com

Connection and Community

Have you ever lived in a family or a community? Most of us have had this experience, for better or worse. Some of us have been blessed with an ideal situation where we have found people who we really love and care about, who have functioned well in a loving, caring way toward each other. This experience is more rare. I remember growing up in a neighborhood with decent people who did not deeply care about each other. For the most part, they did better than tolerate their neighbors but, by and large, remained independent and superficial (or aloof) from their nearest neighbors. In primitive communities, neighbors worked together to survive and looked out for each other because they realized that it was too difficult to live comfortably completely on their own. But growing up in Southern California suburbs meant barely putting up with your immediate family, let alone the neighbors. At least, that is what it seemed to me.

No man is an island was a line in a 1624 poem by English poet, John Donne. Suggesting to me that we are all connected and the world is less if anyone goes missing. Also included in this poem, “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.” “Any man’s death diminishes me, Because I am involved in Mankind.” So some people reach out to deeply connect and care for others, and this serves all of us to do so. Caring and connecting makes us happier and healthier. Perhaps we can remember this and make connecting a higher priority. Some of us may need to be reminded that life experiences are better when these are shared experiences.

Whether people are conscious or not, most of us strive to be included in communities. We feel better in a “Tribe.” In this day and age, a tribe may be with other people who share a common interest or even passion. In the United States you can see the tribes gathering on weekends in the Fall of the year. People in the tribe dress up in colors and costumes to be included in the celebration of the religion of their favorite football team. A very tribal community with elaborate clothes (Jerseys), hats, and even War paint. There is competition to be the most devoted and fanatic among the tribe’s fans. This may be our primitive need to join and to be part of a tribe.

Consider that this need for community exists and many of us do not feel a part of a “Healthy” and supportive group of people. We have been too isolated by our cultural behavior where independence is worshiped and lack of trust runs strong. For many of us, the need for connection and community has begun to surface, especially, as we begin to face aging or our mortality. Being “alone” during these transitions is often scary and less conducive for healthy transitions and the learning we gain during these major transitional periods. At the very least, it is better to have mentors or role models to help cope with these difficult life lessons. Connection and community can be very useful in these times.

So I ask you, what are YOU doing to build and maintain a HEALTHY connection and community? Not just with fellow sport fans, co-workers, or folks you see in class, church, or club, but real deep connections with caring, supportive people who can “count on you” and you on them…. It takes time and effort, but for most people, it is worth the “trouble.”

Another perspective comes from metaphysical philosophy which tells us that we are all in this together, spiritually. We are all pilgrims and benefit from reaching around and assisting the fellow pilgrims we meet in life. If nothing else, know the value you can offer by allowing another person to share their story with you. You can even show respect by not interrupting, except for clarification, as your partner finds the depth of their experience to share with you. I know that YOU would love to be respected and “heard” as you attempt to share your truth. Blessings and patience. Learn to judge less and accept more, for this offers the deepest love you can give your fellow pilgrim.

The skills of “witnessing” and listening are taught and practiced by members of the spiritual support community, the Masters of the Journey. The Masters of the Journey is a supportive community who believes that we are each masters (of our lives) having lived through many life experiences. There are lessons learned and wisdom to share. Find your supportive connections and community!

Find out more about Masters of the Journey: A Transformational Community at: www.mastersofthejourney.com or Facebook page www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney

The Art of Being Present

What is the advantage in being Present? How do you achieve the state of Presence? In moving along your path in life, when should you strive for “being fully in the Moment?”

Have you ever had the telephone conversation or the face to face meeting with another person who was clearly “somewhere else” and not tracking your communication? In our busy world, this happens all the time. You have to repeat yourself or you feel insecure that you were not fully heard or understood. You have to question your communication partner to “check in” and to know that they were not so distracted that they did not receive your important communication. People clearly have a great deal on their mind and they are being torn away by the invasion of of text messages or other manifestations of interrupting technology. We are so “plugged in” that it is difficult to invest fully in the conversation with the person in front of you or on the other end of the telephone. A client may not feel fully connected with you if you are lost in another thought and this may cause a transaction to go poorly. Your friend or family member may get frustrated with your lack of focus and may lash out at you in frustration. These situations happen all to frequently. Many people do not have the awareness, and then the control, to be able to quiet the distractions and really focus on the present moment and this is sad.

Missing the moment that will never come again is a loss that you can not ever recover!  There are times when you can multi-task but human interaction is very important and should not be short changed by your distracted and disrespectful pursuit of multiple thoughts or activities. Remember when this happened to you and how you felt this lack of respect and consideration! If for no other reason, you will miss out on the most joyful and satisfying moments in life if you are not present!

Achieving the state of “Presence” requires that you reduce internal and, if possible, external distractions. Begin by NOT thinking of your answer or response before your communication partner finishes their statement. Listen! Listen with ALL of your senses. If you require clarification, ask supportive “open ended questions.” Make eye contact. It is rude to not focus your vision upon the person who is speaking. If possible, feel the emotion of what is being said. Use your intuition to read “between the lines.” There are many times when you may need to clear your mind and relax your body to reduce internal distractions and this may benefit from learning how to meditate and to find yourself in the present moment. If you can be present, you will be happier and healthier. Your relationships can improve. You can find interpersonal success more easily.

Being fully present can become more a positive habit if you practice and learn more about what is distracting to you, AND, learn to let this go. Remember, that the respect you show in listening and interacting can be beneficial for personal learning and will improve your relationships. It will even SAVE YOU TIME in the long run. Try it and see for yourself.

If you manage other people or want positive outcomes with your family, learning to be fully present is a mandatory skill and life enhancing experience.

Blessings to you on your path and watch most carefully each foot step on your journey toward consciousness.

More information and support can be found at: www.mastersofthejourney.com and our Facebook page www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney

Art of Listening

Is Communication Important?
Is Connection important?
Is Listening important to relationships?

Is there an art to effective communication?

At the core of good communication are two essential skills:
The art of offering a clear communication
The art of Receiving a communication

In this Blog, we focus of the Art of Listening:

Good Listening can involve:
Hearing what is being communicated but also of importance to receiving an interpersonal communication is the use of other primary senses. I will explain why, seeing helps hearing. Also why, feeling helps hearing. Even smelling and tasting can play a role in experiencing a communication.

There is a philosophy which believes that we have two ears and one mouth because we are supposed to listen twice as much.

Hearing is much more than just registering the speaker’s words. It can also include: tone of voice, volume, choice of wording, pace of speaking, pauses and silences, and the unspoken content or what is left out of the communication.

Seeing: Non-verbal cues: gestures, body language, facial expressions, breathing patterns, the speakers presentation are things which we “see” consciously or unconsciously. Very essential to good communication is encouraging eye contact and attention. Being focused and “present” without distracting thoughts in the witness/listner will allow for better connection and comprehension of the communication.

Feeling: Will include listening between the words and feeling the impact of the words which are used. Interpreting the hearing and the visuals that are presented. If physical contact is a part of the communication, feeling your partner’s intent through pressure or movement can be a feeling which communicates volumes.

Humans use less of the sensations of smell and taste in communication but these subtle cues can also add to the experience of the communication. Consider how perfume or body oder add to the experience. Or, how the smells of the environment can enhance or detract from communication like baking bread or the pungent smell of antiseptic in a hospital room. And, what does the taste of a shared meal do to add to a communication.

Perhaps the most important skill in the Art of Listening is to be “Present.” This is easier said than done. Being “Present” involves using your focus to minimize your internal distractions. Avoid extraneous thoughts or the habit of finding an answer to what you hear until it is your turn to add to the conversation. Even if you get defensive, it is better to hear the speaker out and ask clarifying question to make sure you fully understand what is being said so you can answer most effectively. Emotions can cause “knee-jerk” reactions which often cause more harm than good in a possibly tense conversation. It would be better, in most situations, if you treat your communication partners as if they were a very important figure like: the Pope, or the President, or even God. With this intended reverence in listening to your speaker, you have the best chance of “Hearing” at all levels to get the very most from the communication. In other words, listen to your communication partner as well or better than you would want to be heard.

To sum up, the Art of Listening is more than registering the words you may hear. Read between the lines and feel what is really being communicated. Use every one of your 5 physical senses and your intuition (or gut feelings) to take in the full communication. And finally, in the Art of Listening give the greatest gift of respect which one person can offer another by being fully focused and present with the love and appreciation that comes from the deepest honor the “Sharing” that you are being gifted to receive.

Coaching and training are available at the Stress Education Center, www.dstress.com.

Key to Communication: Really Listening!

Successful communication in interpersonal relationships can be very important in business and in one’s personal life. This is not difficult to realize as a concept but it can be difficult to achieve. There are many variables that help a communication or make communication go terribly wrong. Some of these variables you can control and some you can not. An example, you may be very focus and clear regarding an important topic of conversation you may have with a client but you can not control the client’s focus or state of mind. They may be busy on “other” things and can not “engage” or focus on what you are saying.

So let’s discuss some of the variables that you can understand and control. Two of the most important ones in interpersonal communication are Timing and Listening. There are many other variables which we will discuss in other articles but let’s start with these two variables.

Timing is key in every aspect of relationships. If one side is distracted or unavailable, it is not fortuitous for the success of a communication. Scheduling the time and getting an agreement regarding this appointment are essential when your communication is critical. If you can not create an environment that is relatively undistracted and conducive to an appropriate exchange then your important message may be missed. Find the best time and space for you to communicate. At the beginning of the conversation, it may be best to ask again if this is a “good time” to talk, knowing that just because your partner has shown up at the appointment it does not mean that they are ready and undistracted. So, checkin. Make sure the table is clear and they are ready to participate. If not, and your communication is of critical value, you may have to reschedule or risk the failure of the process.

Perhaps even more importantly, is the skill to listen! It is easier said than done, but an essential key to great communication is not speaking but listening to your partner. If you interrupt, or think ahead, or find an emotional tangent to distract you, or simply lose your focus, your partner will sense your lack of “presence” and be distracted in a way which may make the meeting destined to failure. Use all of your senses to focus and to listen to what your communication partner is saying. Make eye contact. Relax your breathing to encourage your partner to relax. Respect your partners words and their opinion even if you may disagree. Do not interrupt! Keep your mouth closed until you can assist your partner by asking and “open ended question” to help clarify what they are communicating. Restate what you have heard to make sure you are very clear about what they are attempting to convey to you. Only after restatement and permission to response, is it a good time to find your appropriate answer. Show some gratitude to your partner. As a reminder, shouting someone else down does show intelligence, maturity or respect for a positive outcome.

Hint, for the best possible communication: Listen to your communication partner as if you respected this relationship so much it would be as if you were listening to the most honored elder or even, as if you were sitting in the presence of God. (Some people believe that you can find the perfect spirit of the divine in everyone, if you look for it.)

It has been said that we were given two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much. This is critical in personal relationships, friendships, family, and in business. Timing and listening. You are going to be more successful if you remember these keys to better communication.

We will have more to share regarding communication. This is a start. Please respond and try these two concepts in your next “important” communication.

Coaching and training are available at the Stress Education Center, www.dstress.com.

Getting Out Your Own Way: Find Success

World class athletes are using sports psychology to improve their performance. The stress of high level competitions can create situations where an equally matched opponent may win an event because the stress may block the best performance by his closest competition. A small amount of muscle tension may reduce the speed of a track sprinter by 1 hundredth of a second and make this person come in second. 70% of the training time of these high level athletes is spent in the mental preparation of preparing for the stress of competition. The combination of controlling the impact of stress and practicing positive mental visualization has been proven to enhance performance for athletes, musicians, and people in business.

In my Executive Coaching practice, I am often asked to use tools from sports psychology to help develop the skills that lead to success. For example, I was working with an Executive Vice President of a large financial organization and he found that the tools help him to relax and focus better so he could could get his 8 hours of work done in 6.5 hours so he could accomplish more in less time. He found his productivity went way up. Then he found that his ability to communicate, and to delegate, was enhanced. This lead him to be acknowledged as a better leader for his division. Profits were up. Mistakes/accidents were down. His people’s morale was elevated. All of these good results and success were attributed, in his view, by the coaching and use of sports psychology. It required about 20 minutes a day of his time and it saved him time, energy, and increased profits.

This is not a secret but it does require motivation. It is not difficult, but it does require a new way of thinking and behaving. Business leaders are using these techniques more now than ever before and showing the cost benefits, not only for themselves, but for their organizations.

The secret is learning how to “Get Out of Your Own Way.” There are articles related to this at the Stress Education Center’s website at www.dstress.com (on the “articles” page and within earlier postings of this blog.) You can also go to the website for more information on Executive Coaching and Organization Development.