It’s time to come clean: I can count at least two epic fails in the year. Interest in another’s perspective? Nope. Full on blame? Yep. I didn’t do anything wrong! Negative, sarcastic emotion was practically dripping off the tips of my fingers. My words were laced with venom. The depth of my anger surprised me. Skills? I had none. Emotional intelligence? What!? I hardly had control.
These two epic fails rocked my sense of professional competence. For the last twenty-five years, I have been a mediator, communication skills trainer, educator and coach. My passion is helping others constructively put tough issues on the table, to speak their truth, and hear what others are trying to say. I am committed to practicing what I preach. It’s important both personally and professionally to walk the walk and talk the talk with clients and family alike. Could I fail this big AND still be good at what I do? It only got worse when I reviewed all those other times over the years when my skills completely evaporated. What good are communication skills if they skip town when you need them most?
Every experience is an opportunity for growth and learning – and here’s what I started to notice: a pattern. On the surface, they looked like discrete events. Different people. Different topics. Pull back the curtain, and the basic DNA was the same. When I looked back over the years, it was like I was walking through a mine field. If I was not near a mine I had full access to my skills, my head and heart were balanced, and I managed many difficult situations with diplomacy and compassion. But the closer I got to a mine, the more skill leached out of my body. I would be mute where normally I have words. I would fall on my sword when the conversation needed to be about mutual contribution. Occasionally I would hit a mine so directly there was a big explosion and shrapnel. And the same seemed to be true for many clients.
What happens? What are these mines? And what can we do? Here’s where we need to move out of our heads and into our energy. Conflict, difficult conversations and negotiation all raise our stress levels and thus shift our energy. Eden Energy Medicine gives us simple, easy-to-use tools to bring our energy back into balance. Even if my stress is “manageable,” my skills improve by doing the Eden Energy Medicine Five Minute Routine. I have one on-going negotiation where I always lose my zip-up. When a sense of vulnerability sinks in, it’s time to zip-up in the restroom. When I need to speak my truth, grounding and doing Wayne Cook enables me to articulate clear thoughts. For most of my day-to-day communication challenges, the five-minute routine keeps things humming well.
However, sometimes a conflict or conversation touches on a deeper issue. The emotions associated with it are deeper, my sense of identity is threatened, and it feels like my values are on the line. I’m triggered – and I might not even know why. When this happens, energy psychology has changed the game. Also known as tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), energy psychology allows the practitioner to release old emotional patterns, thoughts and behaviors (AKA mines!) that are no longer beneficial. By stimulating acupressure points, energy psychology re-wires the brain so old patterns recede, creating capacity for working with what is in this moment with openness, compassion and creativity.
I would love to wrap this up in a little bow and tell you a simple daily energy medicine routine followed by a few rounds of tapping has cleared away all my mines and that I am completely skilled all the time. I’m not sure that’s possible. Some mines remain and, I suspect, will require a lifetime of work. However, I spot the mines more clearly, I have tools to make a pre-emptive pivot to avoid them, and I have lessened the impact of stepping on them. My ability to recover and re-engage is greatly improved giving me greater depth and flexibility to talk about the hard stuff.
My clients and Rachel’s are seeing similar results. In fact, we’re so excited that we have created a day-long Communicating with Impact Training that combines the basic Difficult Conversations framework (by Stone, Patton and Heen) with energy management and energy psychology techniques. Curious to learn more? Rachel and I can’t stop talking about it. Give us a call.
Amy Rebecca Gay is a mediator, coach and consultant whose passion is to help people speak their truth. Amy brings an active awareness of the mind/body connection, a warm and welcoming style and a deep dedication to using one’s mind for powerful transformation. She has a PhD from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and is trained by the Coaches Training Institute. You can reach Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.