Does Getting in the Middle Work?

Whether it’s in diplomacy or working things out in a family, being in the middle will rarely achieve more than a band-aid’s worth of value. Sometimes, our issues are no more than band-aids, but usually when we allow ourselves to be in the middle or look to others to get in the middle, there are significant expanses to traverse and inefficiencies to address that can be endemic. Creating a quick fix does not address the true impact of the gap. And that can mean that you are dealing with the same kind of issue again just weeks, days or hours later.

Sometimes we get in the middle because it is uncomfortable for us to deal with the friction of the conflict in our space. It’s truly more about us than it is about both parties moving on in the best possible way. If it stops, we are relieved. But like most fixes, it won’t stay that way for long, so even in a selfish way we are not doing much for ourselves, let alone the main parties involved. If we bring others into the middle regularly, then we probably have a great opportunity to expand ourselves and deal with conversations that we normally pull away from.

Encouraging people to do the hard things, to tell the truth, to work on their issues themselves without a go-between, to look deeply at their own responsibility for how things have gone instead of just helping them get over the hump of the problem, will always lead to a greater potential for growth. They may not choose to do that, but then they are left one step closer to addressing things head on, because one method of avoiding the consequences of working things out is now off the table.

If you are going to involve a third party and don’t want to wind up in the same place again, then be sure to be open to feedback, to look as carefully at what you are bringing to the issue that makes it go the way it is as you are looking at the other person and making it about them.

This isn’t easy, but facing the same thing over and over again without it changing fundamentally is a lot more difficult, we just are limited to only hindsight being 20/20. There’s no reliable way to tell the future and see that the issue you’re dealing with now is one you’ll be confronted by over and over again. If we knew, we’d see that the time to address things head on is right now.

The “You Can Do It” Crowd

I’m a coach and serve the empowerment of people. Being that I’m a representative of this movement to some degree, I want to address hyper-empowerment and the impact of “look at me” empowerment.The look at me stuff usually involves memes about everything you can accomplish, how wide open this oyster’s shell of life is, displays of physical beauty or wealth by societal standards, physical acts of determination and public displays of gym activities.

None of those things are bad. Plenty of them are lovely, for sure.

But there is also nothing bad about not being one of those people that feels this way about life…yet, or ever.

It’s ok if you never climbed a rock wall.

It’s ok if you feel like there is someone inside of you that you could be but haven’t been.

It’s ok if you’re not a tough mudder or cross-fitter.

It’s ok if you don’t feel you resonate with messages of how amazing life is and can be.

And it’s ok to love and appreciate those whose lives do seem to look like this without feeling pressure to be anything like them.

Peace with who you are and are not is truly the great gift of the empowerment game. It’s the starting spot (not line because there is no one direction to go in) and it can take plenty of valuable work just to get there.

Nothing authentically powerful is available without the clarity that leaves “shoulds” behind. This freedom makes real joy possible, the kind that connects to who you are and have always been before there were any pressures to “be somebody”.

If you struggle with any of this, the pull of needing to be somebody, to be impressive or just to keep going in the same direction every day in this life you set up for yourself by following rules and doing the right thing, doing what your younger self thought was a good idea. If you struggle to find or hear your inner voice amidst all the noise of life and our minds, don’t let the (seeming) clarity of others get under your skin or make you feel like you need to be more like them. Spend that time and energy looking, discovering who you are and letting those voices fade out, whether they be mom and dad, friends or the endless stream of messaging we see every day.

It’s not easy, but it is worth it to find that peaceful center. True empowerment, where nothing at all has to happen. Here, our choices start to come alive, because they become clear reflections of who we have always been.

These are truly my favorite conversations. The ones where we get to discover who you really are (who I am, too!). It’s a front row seat to the greatest show on earth…freedom.

And you don’t need to want that, either.

Love,

Gregg

Serve the Separation (between us)

Our heads and stomachs hurt from so much talking at.

Not with, barely even to.

We’re doing the talking and we’re on the other end, feeling dunned, bludgeoned.

So are “they”.

In the end, there is always a separation, whether it is your parent, friend, child, peer, boss, “opponent” or with the divine. We can’t be inside each other’s experience. We can’t fully empathize without some self-protection being present. At least most of us, most of the time. Being truly connected really is the promise, the great opportunity of being alive, whether that’s with a mountain range, a blue sky, a song or with each other.

And if someone doesn’t serve that separation, if someone doesn’t own it as their territory and address it with either their words, their listening, their surrender of protection or defense, in a way that really connects us to each other, the separation remains or grows. This may be one definition of love. We really need to receive someone fully, as they are, to cross that divide between us. It breaks the spell. We stop fearing each other, overtly and in that way that’s always there, at least for a moment and that magic is present.

The greater concern than who wins is this gulf growing between us, whether that’s your wife or husband, or your fellow citizens. If we really touch it, we sense that the distance is heartbreaking.

I hope we turn towards healing, listening and serving that separation. It’s there in all our relationships, at least some separation exists. Be the one who owns it as your loving responsibility. We may truly hear each other and care for one another if we can do it. We may come back together, closer than ever.

I remember the extraordinary family members of the people lost at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, who forgave Dylann Roof and shook us all. They know how to serve that separation. They listened as deeply as they could to who Dylann Roof might be and how he might have wound up there and wished him all of god’s grace, the most precious thing they value, which flowed through those they lost. They gave him that love for any pain he may face. They gave him their wish for his pain to subside in the light of Christ. And just to say it, no religion or faith is required, but it can certainly be employed.

Our fellow Americans face pain, we sense great separation, don’t we? If that gulf is not crossed, how do you think this will go?

I promise you that serving separation, before making our point, before needing anything to change, is a worthy practice. It plants seeds. It can bring any two (or more) people together. It can open up everything.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/06/19/i-forgive-you-relatives-of-charleston-church-victims-address-dylann-roof/

Podcast Interview with Gregg DeMammos of Empower and Emerge

gregg-902x1024It’s really nice for a guy who deals with social anxiety to get as much positive feedback as my friends and the listeners of this podcast have given to this conversation I had with Bob Schwenkler.

Case in point, I’ve written and rewritten a sentence here about five times. The gist of it was…I hope you listen to it HERE.

And like my friend said, “It’s a very touching and educational interview, especially for parents. But anyone who works with or interacts with other people will benefit. Listen in the car, at the gym, while folding clothes. Just listen it will change the way you think about your relationships.”

Thanks!

via http://reclaimingmalerolemodels.com:

This episode should be required listening for anyone who has (or wants to have) children.

I have never heard another person speak so articulately and with so much heart about what it takes to be an extraordinary parent who raises loving, emotionally intelligent children.

Gregg DeMammos reveals some powerful wisdom in this interview. Even as a non-parent it was a powerful and fascinating interview for me to listen to.

In this episode we talk about:

• How Gregg respects his childrens’ temper tantrums and anger, and transforms them into life lessons and deep love.
• Gregg’s journey of learning to use his emotions in ways that worked FOR him.
• How, despite growing up with no father as a role model during some of the most formative years of his life, Gregg later chose to be an extraordinary father who raised extraordinary children.

http://reclaimingmalerolemodels.com/rmrm020-how-to-be-an-extraordinary-parent-who-raises-extraordinary-children-gregg-demammos/

 

Becoming People Together

One of the most valuable things we can do is to disengage with the roles we play in our lives – child, boss, parent, spouse, co-worker, etc. – and practice seeing ourselves and others as just people.

Get out of the haze of the morning rush, of what has to get done, of the reactions to what’s not getting done and see these human beings in our lives as complex, vulnerable, sensitive, less than sure people who are trying to figure this all out, too. Just like us.

I’ve never gotten more hugs and kisses in my house since I started practicing this. Being seen as a person is a relief (no matter how little or how big we are).

Becoming!

I don’t know about you, for me, the word “becoming” hits me in the gut. It references who I am today, that I got myself here, for good and for bad and that who I become is up to me. It’s a choice who I become and it may mean I need to be ready to let go of some things about me. I get emotional thinking about that.

I started with a client just before the new year and at the time she was in a challenging place. Wanting to divorce, wanting some new experiences in her life. By the time we were finished with six months of work together, she had a new, exciting man in her life, they were living together in a penthouse apartment, completed the divorce and decided what she really wanted her already successful career to look like going forward while taking some steps to get there.

When I review our early emails, what stands out to me was that in our first session she gave herself permission to have, to grab a “hot, sexy life”. Those were her own words. She knew who she wanted to become and it was so real even without the evidence showing up yet. It was juicy and easy to want that for her and to partner with her to make it so.

Her request of life reminds me of Rumi’s words – “Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.”

Life still happened for her, daily life, ups and downs, but who she decided to become was a form of letting go. Letting go of the idea of who she thought she had to be, from years of lessons from family, society and religion. Letting go of that peculiar inertia that exists tempting us to make today and tomorrow so similar to yesterday. Letting go to herself, the spirit inside and the games she wanted to play with this precious time on earth.

Being a coach in this playground is like surfing and trusting the next wave will always come. A mishap in dating, some emotions, some trepidation, but we return to who you are becoming. Some setbacks in the divorce process, again emotions and other impact and she gets support to get back on the board and paddle out. The next wave comes, a better ride but still bailing because it and we weren’t just right.

Becoming has grown stronger in her, though, more of a part of her. She truly is becoming now. Then someone enters her life, is drawn to who she has become and continues to become. Now that wave and the rider are one. There is intention there, sure, but the letting go is complete, the dance is truly happening and beauty is made that could come about no other way. Not only did these results come, but now she was a different person. Still much like herself, but  now this new life was just a part of her. Fully integrated. She became.

Having an audience to your becoming, someone who is a big, fat “YES!” to it can be very helpful. Especially if they are willing to come along on the ride with you. Sometimes there is fear and trepidation about who we want to become. Oftentimes, it’s a secret (shhh!) and we’re barely comfortable thinking of it, let alone saying it out loud and creating plans and taking actions to bring it about. The more we feel it in our bodies, feel this acceptance of what we want our life to look like, an excitement for it with an ability to taste it no matter how far it seems from here, the more likely you are to take ground and get there and the better a tool a coaching relationship will be for you. If you’re not there yet, I know the feeling. It can be built, too.

The best part for me as a coach (other than the joy of seeing my client transform and succeed) is that I’m expanding, too. I’m becoming right along with my client. The wave is so real and pungent and you need to be able to ride it too to grow that energy and have it lead to actions. It’s a trip that is so great to be on with my clients.

Who are you ready to become? An even better leader? A woman who has it all? A mother and a lover? A success on your terms? Truly happy with yourself? I’d love to hear. Just telling me (or anyone ready to be that big, fat yes! for you) will be the start of it coming true. Let’s make it real.

We Need Permission

REALLY wanting someone to understand something, especially when you think it’s for their own benefit, has nothing to do with them getting it. In the end, how much you want them to get it is what may impact them the most and usually puts our (work, family, friend, romantic) partners in defense, reaction and protection.

The willingness of your conversation partner is the most valuable currency there is in relating to each other. Cultivate it wisely and know when it hasn’t been offered to you.

Sometimes there is no in door. Knowing how to love and take care of ourselves when the door we want to be open is closed can be the most valuable currency for our own well-being and finally takes the pressure off the other person to take care of you by letting you in.

Stuck In Our Own Creations

This is an amazing part of life. We create something, a relationship, an organization, a partnership, a commitment and eventually it can start looking like a trap, a situation we don’t know how to get out of or something we see is taking over our lives.

This usually comes down to one thing, or two related things, bad planning and the gift of learning.

Bad planning usually comes down to naivete. It’s not on purpose. Learning is usually a good thing, but not so much when we’re unwilling to make the changes our learning asks of us or to see the learning available in the first place.

When the picture changes, when our marriage or our business requires more than we thought it would, more time, more resources, more attention, a more evolved version of ourselves, this is GOOD NEWS. The key is making sure we don’t respond by increasing our own suffering. There is always a win, we just may need more help than we think, there may be more foundation-building to do, we may need to grow or let go of our grip, our image of what it’s supposed to be.

If we can do this humbly and let go of our ego and get to work of learning and incorporating that learning, then we can really start to make life and our commitments work, and everyone has a chance to win.

This is something coaches and other people we empower to put a mirror up to us can help us make a huge difference around. They support us creating the humility to see what our traps are teaching us and the courage, conversations and accountability to grow into who we need to be to take necessary action and succeed.

Success Has Failed – Osho

Osho was a controversial seer. He stirred the pot and gave people a lot to look at and consider. I pulled this quote from listening to one of his talks, probably from the 80s. It provides an excellent example of how insight is born. Insight is the opportunity for freedom.

Much like the scene in War Games where the computer discovers the futility of global thermonuclear war by playing the game over and over and over again, leaving no “winner”, the futility in this statement – Success has failed – gives us a chance to truly examine what we are up to. Living inside of a futility, of a pattern in our lives that exists without true satisfaction, is like a death, a small death, an abdication of the possibility of our lives. Our life examined may sometimes look like a collection of these small deaths, which is why this investigation can be so freeing and perhaps even necessary. For a moment, we can put how we live our lives aside to investigate what else may exist outside of how we are defining success, happiness, the purpose of our individual and collective existence, even.

Is the outcome of our 401Ks truly success? Is the promotion? Is consumption, the next gadget, the next day meeting your fitbit goal? Is the down payment, the next client? Is it the next win over whomever you feel is in the wrong? Is the next escapist binge the thing?

We get caught up in the day to day. If we let our definition of success drop for the sake of discovering our own definition, testing each new thought for futility as well so we keep ourselves from the next trap we can fall in, we give ourselves a chance to redefine and reframe our lives. To get off the hamster wheel. Is the life we are working towards or even admiring truly what we want?

I think the Kardashian thing (not sure what else to call it) is our own creation designed to help us get the message that some of what we have been idolizing, like fame, celebrity, obsession with ourselves and wealth for it’s own sake is absolutely futile, is not an attractive destination.

This is just a nudge to look for ourselves and drop out of our collective trance born from societal conditioning, media, our own reactionary ways (wanting something better than what we have or have had to deal with in the past), etc. A chance to investigate what truly moves us and how we would create our lives straight from our hearts.

I just want success, on your terms, from your own experience, for you.

Slap Some Truth on ‘Em

proverb

I told the truth yesterday to a former client who is six weeks away from her wedding and called me for some support around her fears and concerns.

I asked her how many great marriages she sees around her.

I told her that being married may be the most challenging thing that most people do in their lifetimes. You’re signing up to partner with someone on EVERYTHING in life, where each of you are far from expert in most things you will deal with.

I told her that love is wonderful, it helps, but it is not enough on it’s own to ensure a happy marriage.

I told her that trying to make everyone happy will jeopardize her happiness on her wedding day.

I asked her to share with me what she sees in the two of them that convinces her that they have a chance to make this work.

I told her she may wind up letting some people down and not be perfect and instead need to be human, for her own happiness.

I asked her why she was doing this at all.

These are the things we are often afraid of saying, of hearing, of dealing with. We cross our fingers, we let love leave us in an ambiguous state, we deny reality sometimes, we get caught up in belief. Love is wonderful, I encourage its growth all the time, but do we really need to be blinded by it and not look more closely? The only harm we are protecting ourselves from is that we may see we’ve built a house of cards and that can just be a starting point if you’re willing to look at it, a place to build from.

By the end of the call, with no prompting from me, she was reborn in her commitment, felt clear and more sure that she was with the right man, more trusting of herself than she was when she called me in a near panic and in breakdown. She felt the impact of her fears, shed some tears, saw that she could handle all of this and knew why the man she chose is the man that can take this on with her (and she thinks he’s cute as heck, too). Before we even finished the call, she texted her fiance to apologize to him, explain her recent behavior and let him know how ready she was. Of course he needed no explanation.

She was ready to lead her way into marriage. I had no idea how this conversation would go and no attachment either, but this is the way it went.

It’s not the truth that hurts us so much, it’s the not dealing with it. We are much more courageous and able than we give ourselves credit for. We create longstanding patterns where we let our fears run away with us. When we see more clearly, we give love an even greater chance to find it’s way deeper into our relationships and into ourselves.

Gotta love that Russian ethos… Slapped, huh?