Posts Tagged ‘radio’

GOOD L~U~C DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE

Last week, I spoke before a group of business professionals about dealing with difficult people. It seems that no matter where we are in life, whether at home with our families, in social settings, at work, or just out and about, we encounter challenging and obnoxious people. The first issue we must identify, however, is who the insufferable person is. Look in the mirror. Is the reflection one that others would label demanding, obstinate, stubborn, unmanageable or irritable? While it is not always easy to recognize our own imperfections, it is absolutely critical that we do so first. For if in fact, we are the one who is creating the difficulty, then a simple adjustment on our part can alleviate the problem and enable greater ease and cooperation with others. Remember Ghandi’s words: “I must first be the change I want to see in others.” If you are uncertain as to whether or not the issue is you, ask others for their assessment and input. Then listen open-mindedly to their response.

Having established that you are indeed the thoughtful and cooperative person, you realize that you seem to be a magnet for problematic people. Argumentative, stubborn, demanding, arrogant – whatever the nature of their behaviors – sometimes we are obliged to interact with them and do not have the option of disengaging. In such cases, is there a way we can collaborate with them that will make matters easier for all parties? Absolutely. It just takes a bit of Good L~U~C.

1. Listen. Very often, those who test our limits do so because they feel unimportant and are seeking recognition. Every human being desires to be heard, to have someone willing to listen to what they have to say. Whether it’s an opinion, feelings, sharing a dream or goal, discussing a regret from the past, or any other matter, genuine, undivided, from-the-heart listening sends a powerful message to the other party that they matter.

Time is one of our greatest commodities; it is one of the ways we measure what matters most to us. We make time for the people and activities that hold the greatest importance to us. Taking precious time away from a task, another person or even ourselves in order to hear what someone has to say lets them know that in that instant nothing matters more to us than they do. Being heard validates their worth. (Time is money; time is valuable. Therefore, if I give you my time it’s because you are important to me.) This simple act has unlimited benefits to all parties. It can boost a person’s self-esteem, bond both parties long after the experience is complete, offer an opportunity to practice selfless giving and concern, fosters mutual respect, alleviates stress, depression, anger, frustration, loneliness, feelings of isolation, and more. It hones our communication skills, promotes compassion and empathy, builds healthy relationships, and overall makes both parties feel good.
Listen with the intent to understand, not to respond.

2. Understand. In addition to being heard, all humans crave being understood. Listening to learn the facts about a person or issues is a far cry from fully understanding the nature of the matter or how it impacts the other party. Too often, we only listen half-heartedly. Our minds are divided between the person speaking and another interest. We hear their words and may understand intellectually what they are saying. But true understanding goes far beyond that – it also involves empathy, the ability to feel what the other person is experiencing.

In my “15 Minute Conflict Resolution Solution” training that I provide to corporations, I spend a significant amount of time on communication strategies. One of the most profound is something I call “Heart/Brain Communication”. It goes beyond the intellectual understanding of facts and figures and introduces the element of compassion, the ability to feel the feelings of the speaker along with a strong desire to alleviate any suffering they may be experiencing. This brings communication and understanding to a much deeper more personal level. This is what all of us seek.

Don’t misconstrue what I’m saying: understanding facts is critically important as well. So often, when people discuss an issue there is clearly a lack of knowing the specifics of what is being said. Misunderstandings, miscommunication, being vague or ambiguous leads to frustration, increased levels of stress, arguing, possible accusations and false judgments, aggravation, yelling, hurt feelings, and ultimately a breakdown in the relationship. Each of these elements leads to a distrust based not on a person’s deceitfulness but on a lack of clear communication masquerading as dishonesty or lies. Listen to understand on a factual level as well as an emotional one.

3. Cooperate and Compromise. When a lack of trust is not forthcoming in a relationship, whether warranted or imagined, people oftentimes become stubborn, arrogant, or difficult as a means of self-protection. Whether protecting their integrity, their feelings, needs, desires or wishes, their opinions or actions, people do so when they don’t feel safe in the other person’s company. By that I mean, they must know unequivocally and believe fully that they will not be ridiculed or criticized, that their well-being is of great importance to the other one, and that they will not be cheated or betrayed but rather treated fairly and with respect. Once a trust is established, they will naturally become more relaxed and cooperative.

One of the easiest and quickest ways of building trust is by being accommodating from the get go. Search for ways of working with them in a supportive role. Offer to be helpful whenever possible. Be willing to peacefully and respectfully negotiate whatever issue is before you agreeing to make whatever adjustments are possible in order to accommodate their needs and desires. Express your concern for their happiness and well-being verbally and follow through in your actions. Remember, too, that trust is built on integrity and promises kept. One indiscretion or broken promise can completely destroy that trust and it can take a long time to rebuild.

Compromise is another important component of cooperation. Again, people can be difficult due to latent fears they harbor that dictate they will not be treated fairly, that somehow their needs will be considered less important than others or hold no value at all. Making sure that their needs are addressed and fulfilled early on alleviates their concerns and the need to resist or to be defensive. “It is in giving that you shall receive.” Give a little upfront and you will receive their respect, trust, and support in return.

Depending on the nature of the relationship and the issues at hand, on some occasions it is perfectly acceptable to simply walk away from the difficult party and let things work themselves out. In other circumstances one must address the individual and find a way of getting along as best as possible. Don’t necessarily take the easy way out but know when it’s best to stay and when it’s best to walk away.

Remember, “The only way to defeat your adversary is by making him your ally. And you can do so with a little Good L~U~C: Listen, Understand, Cooperate and Compromise.” So Good L~U~C to all of you!

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ROAD RAGE: A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH

Recently, I’ve been driving into NY City to do mediations for a large clothing manufacture on Madison Ave. I used to teach classes at the Learning Annex and some of my son’s doctor’s were in the city as well. However, it’s been awhile and as incomprehensible as it may sound, NY has become even more congested than I remember. Along with additional vehicles, bikers, pedestrians, city workers and delivery trucks comes added frustration, impatience, anger, and rage. Whether in the heart of Manhattan, one of its suburbs, or major highways or bridges, our roadways have become even more dangerous to traverse than in prior years. Along with excessive speed and distracted drivers, aggressive driving has become the norm. We have all witnessed or personally experienced road rage and some have even engaged in it. Regardless of your level of involvement, road rage poses a serious threat to everyone and has proven to be deadly as well.

Stats: According to AutoAdvantage.com the cities with the most number of aggressive drivers are Miami, NY City, Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. Statistically young men are the most prone to road rage. A whopping 56% of men surveyed said they feel more rage on a daily basis verses only 44% of women and are more likely to act it out. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94% of all accidents are caused by driver error and of those accidents, 33% are linked to behaviors assigned to road rage. In the1990’s AAA found that aggressive driving was linked to 218 deaths and shockingly that number has been rising by 7% each year. Half of all drivers subjected to another driver’s anger admitted to retaliating. Tragically, injury or death can occur even after the incident on the road is over. Drivers have been known to continue their anger even after the initial incident has concluded.

Triggers: the most frequent triggers of anger behind the wheel are being cut off, driving slow in the left lane, tailgating, flashing lights, rude gestures, stop and go traffic, failure to signal, careless/reckless driving such as speeding, weaving or frequent land changes, and excessive use of horn.
Be aware that if these incidences trigger anger in you, they will do the same to others drivers should you engage in them. Remember to be courteous to others as you would want them to be to you.

Causes: As with all anger or rage (intense anger), there are many triggers but only three root causes: hurt, fear, or frustration. Many who become enraged feel disrespected by those who engage in rude driving. This is actually an indication of being hurt. To disrespect means to devalue – one feels as though they are less important (in the eyes of the offender) than others are. Very often they feel targeted and personalize the other driver’s bad judgment. Keep in mind that their behaviors have nothing to do with you – behaviors are an expression of who the individual is and what their agenda is. Taking personal offense is the number one mistake people make that can convert any innocent incident into a more serious one.

Fear is another root cause of road rage: those drivers who cut us off or tailgate put us at risk for an accident and/or injury. Also, adults expect that those driving are mature and intelligent enough to know the rules of the road and obey them. When that is not forthcoming, people become frustrated that others haven’t or won’t learn responsible driving, are not capable, or that the system allows incompetent people to operate a motor vehicle.

Remember, too, that all emotions (anger and rage included) are not determined by the actual event but by how we choose to experience it (perception); what we say to ourselves about the situation; our thought process or internal voice. T~E~C~O Magic*: Thoughts, Emotion, Choice, Outcome. We choose our Thoughts which are the predecessors of our feelings or Emotions. Therefore, we choose how we feel about any given situation. Every Choice we make is determined by our Emotions: we act out what we feel. And every action (Choice) creates an Outcome or consequence. Therefore, in order to remain calm behind the wheel, one must continually monitor and choose their Thoughts. If someone is riding my bumper, I can say to myself, “This guy’s a jerk!” and instantly trigger rage. My rage then compels me to slow down my car to agitate him at which point he swerves to get around me, putting others and myself in jeopardy.

Or, I can say to myself, “Maybe he’s late for work and doesn’t want to lose his job.” In this instance, I’ll feel understanding and my reaction will be a compassionate one: I’ll move over to let him pass. Same incident but two drastically different outcomes, all determined by one thing only: my inner dialogue, or Thought process.

Tips if you’re the driver: ~Monitor your thoughts at all times. Remember that positive dialogue creates positive feelings such as understanding, calm, patience, etc. ~Before you react, ask yourself, “If I say/do _____, then _____ may happen. Is that smart, safe, logical, productive? Can I, as well as those I impact, live with the consequences of my actions for the remainder of their lives?” If the answer is uncertain or no, then refrain from proceeding. ~Choose an affirmative alternative. ~Change your perception (thoughts) about the other driver and/or the situation. ~Don’t personalize their behaviors. Remember, it’s never about you. Your actions are about you; theirs are about them. ~Always assume the best; give them the benefit of the doubt. “Maybe they didn’t see me when they cut in front of me.” ~Choose compassion, understanding, patience and forgiveness over rage. Ask yourself, “How many times have I been guilty of this same offense?” ~Always be courteous. ~Express gratitude “Thank God I was paying attention and didn’t hit him when he suddenly slammed on his brakes.” ~Avoid routes that trigger anger, such as high volume traffic, construction, etc. ~Practice deep breathing and/or sipping water while driving to maintain a sense of calm. ~Listen to motivational tapes or soothing music. ~Put post-it notes on your dashboard to serve as reminders to be a safe driver. ~View every driver, even those who are careless, as your mother, father, brother, sister, child or someone you deeply care about. You’ll be less inclined to disregard their safety.

Tips if you are the target: ~Don’t engage. ~Don’t make eye contact. ~Monitor your inner voice reminding yourself to keep calm and act responsibly. ~Remember your first priority is to keep yourself and your passengers safe (safety first). ~Remain focused on the road and driving safely. ~Take slow deep breaths. ~Recite a mantra or positive statement for focus. ~Do not return rude gestures. ~Do not stop your car, follow them, or cut them off. ~Do not roll down your window. ~Do not drive to or in a deserted area. ~Seek immediate help – dial 911 or drive to a well-lit/well-populated area, stay in your car and honk your horn to draw attention to yourself ~Drive to a police station or hospital for protection. ~Avoid! Avoid! Avoid! Immediately remove yourself from any potentially dangerous situation. Give angry drivers plenty of room. Let them pass if they want to. If someone cuts you off, slow down and let them. Do not speed up or obstruct their attempts. Never ever challenge them in any way shape or form. It could prove deadly.

R/D/C Method: Refuse, Diffuse, Choose
Refuse (to initiate or engage in dangerous driving); Diffuse (stop a bad situation from escalating using calming, responsible thoughts and actions); Choose safety over everything else. Make it your sole priority.

Final thoughts: Always choose safety first. Leave you ego locked in the trunk. This is neither the time nor place to become arrogant and self-righteous. As a responsible driver, we are all called upon to engage in safe, lawful driving habits, obey all laws, and extend courtesy to all those we encounter. It very well could be the deciding factor between life or death.

Remember: one bad choice can change your life forever! Smart actions save lives. DRIVE TO STAY ALIVE!

* TECO Magic, chapter 4 in The Secret Side of Anger

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ABCE: ANGER, BOUNDARIES, COMPASSION, ENABLING

No matter who we are or where we go in life, we encounter people who are struggling with personal issues and are not easy to engage with. They can prove challenging to deal for a variety of reasons. Often times, we feel ill-equipped to effectively deal with them. Some, feeling overwhelmed or unprepared, simply disengage and avoid any interaction at all. Others may become defensive or hostile toward them in an attempt to manage them or pressure them to change. Those who feel sympathetic, in an attempt to be supportive, can sometimes become enablers. Yet none of these fully resolves the situation.

Let’s take a moment and examine the differences between anger, boundaries, compassion, and enabling and which are productive choices and why:
Anger is a normal, healthy, useful emotion if understood and properly channeled. Anger, as are all emotions, is a messenger, a warning, that there is something in our lives that does not meet our standards. It could be a moral issue, personal or social one. Anger alerts us to the fact that something needs our attention in order to rectify it according to our beliefs and preferences. Once the message is received, there is no longer a need for anger. The entirety of our energy and efforts can be channeled into making positive changes.

Boundaries are the rules and guidelines we establish that create balance in our relationships and keep them healthy. Each party has a right to determine for themselves how they want to be treated, what they will not tolerate, and the consequences others will face should they disregard them. Boundaries can be interpreted as controlling, rigid, demanding or selfish. But in truth, if applied correctly, are an act of self-love as well as one of respect for the other party. All parties determine for themselves how they want to be treated and mature, caring adults will respect each side.
Compassion is the ability to feel another person’s pain and suffering. Similar to empathy, which also identifies and understands the person’s feelings and difficulties, compassion also encompasses a strong desire to alleviate their suffering. When we are able to put ourselves in the other person’s position and imagine how it would feel if we were experiencing it, we gain a deeper understanding of the seriousness of the incident from the other’s perspective and in that regard feel compelled to make matters better.

Enabling is characterized by making excuses for one’s poor behavior as well as engaging in ways that allow the other party to continue their self-destructive behaviors. Enablers sense the other person’s pain but are at a loss to alleviate it. They need to make themselves feel some sense of relief by not imposing further hardships on the individual and therefore don’t hold them accountable for their actions. Additionally, the troubled person is not challenged to find solutions on their own nor change their behaviors. The enabler takes full ownership for protecting that person, covering up the truth, and being fully responsible for their safety, care, and well-being. They believe that without their efforts the offender would not survive. This is certainly a grandiose way of thinking as they see themselves as saviors and martyrs and the only one capable of helping this person.

Having said that, people often have difficulty determining which approach to apply when dealing with someone who exhibits disturbing behaviors, particularly those struggling with an unforeseen hardship. Here are some common examples and how each of the ABCE apply.

Scenario 1:
Many parents find themselves with adult children who have moved back home after completing their schooling. Unable to find a job or perhaps unmotivated to do so, they become users, living off the generosity of their parents. The parents absorb all of their expenses while the child fails to pay rent or even help with household chores. “The job market is bad. Bob is searching for a really great job and doesn’t want to settle for just anything. He’s trying to figure out who he is.”

Clarification /Solution:
The parent may become angry with their child yet feel a continued sense of responsibility for their well-being. Others may feel guilty should they allow themselves to become irate. And still others may bypass anger altogether going directly to compassion instead. It is nearly impossible to seperate our child’s emotional pain from becoming ours. From this point, it’s easy to progress to making excuses: “The job market is weak – it’s not my child’s fault that he can’t find a good job as an art critic.” It’s easy to then proceed from compassion to enabling. But in doing so we prevent the child from being challenged to find his way in the world and determine for himself how he must survive on his own. Enabling cripples the child’s emotional growth and maturity, keeping them locked into the role of a dependent child.
However, by imposing limits, guidelines, and boundaries, the parent challenges the child to find their own solutions, thus forcing him to take full ownership of his life, tap into his creative genius, and push himself into maturity and independence.

Scenario 2:
You’ve been dating your boyfriend for nearly six months and realize that he is very controlling and oftentimes verbally unkind, maybe even abusive. You know his history of having grown up without his father. Being the oldest of four children and having a mother who worked two jobs to support them, he took on a lot of adult responsibilities at a very early age. He had to discipline his younger siblings, telling them what to do and not do. The pressure of raising them left him with little patience so it’s not uncommon for him to become irritated, fly off the handle, and say hurtful things.

Clarification /Solution:
Being mistreated by anyone should send up red flags and needs to trigger our anger, warning us that we are in some kind of danger. Our moral code of behavior is being violated and requires immediate attention. While it’s perfectly normal and admirable to feel compassion for any person forced to grow up under such unfortunate circumstances, one must take extreme caution not to become an enabler and make excuses for their pain and frustration. Who among us has not had to deal with hurt in our own past? Adults must take ownership and address these issues so as not to perpetrate them on others or continue to suffering themselves.
In this case, setting strong boundaries expressing how you expect to be treated and the consequences for ignoring them, is critical to the safety and well-being of the observer. Failure to do so could have deadly consequences.

Compassion is a healthy and vital attribute in all of our relationships. It shows our humanity towards one another, binds us together emotionally, and strengthens and fosters healthy caring relationships.

Enabling is fear-based (that the other party will not be ok without our intervention and protection) and satisfies our own need for grandeur and importance. Viewing oneself as a selfless savior and humanitarian is self-serving and egotistical. The dynamics of the relationship shows a predominant concern for the so-called savior’s own emotional peace of mind over the actual welfare of the other party. The offender remains emotionally crippled and dependent on their benefactor, thereby continually reinforcing the guardian’s illusion and unhealthy need of being their redeemer.

Boundaries are a healthy act of self-love (making certain one is treated with dignity and respect at all times) and respect for the other person as well, adhering to their preferences as to how they expect to be treated. While not always easy to create or enforce, boundaries are essential to the well-being and longevity of any relationship. Both parties learn to make the necessary sacrifices and accommodations to maintain the relationship (aka compromise), communicate more clearly and honestly, and ultimately value one another more as a result.

Anger, boundaries, and compassion all play a vital role in our long standing relationships. Enabling is a selfish, self-destructive behavior that ultimately wears down the enabler on an emotional, psychological, physical, and sometimes financial level. This is the only behavior of those we’ve discussed that is always destructive. So whether you’re dealing with an alcoholic, drug addict, a family member deep in debt, or a pleasant coworker who is undeniably incompetent, allow the anger (as a messenger only), set and enforce reasonable and fair boundaries, add an healthy dose of compassion, and eliminate enabling completely. And in doing so, you can have healthy, happy, respectful, and mutually satisfying relationships for a lifetime.

Love is caring more about the other person’s well-being than your own discomfort. Sometimes love means saying “no”.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
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