"Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say Without Being Mean When You Say It" ~ Meryl Runion Rose                                ShoppingCart Plum NB 50

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Effective Communication Skill Blog

Alchemist in Meryl.150Communication skills are great in theory, but how are they in practice? This Effective Communication Skill Blog shows you how to walk the SpeakStrong talk. I'm Meryl Runion Rose. Join our conversation about Communication Alchemy, and saying what you mean and meaning what you say... without being mean when you say it.

The Communication Alchemist is IN. Are you IN too?

Informed and Inspired

Cathedral 400He's an architect and he loves cathedrals. Can you imagine how exciting it was to be invited to submit plans and a proposal for the world's largest cathedral?

The drawings filled me with awe. Words can't describe the grandeur his plans invoked: the grandness of God and of man, the depth of skill and brilliance required to even conceive of something so massive, let alone build it. I searched for the most impressive cathedral image I could find, but the one I'm posting doesn't compare to the scale of this project. 

His designs are amazing, but the way he designed it is even more amazing. He saw the cathedral in its entirety in a dream. When he woke, he transferred his dream images to paper exactly as he had experienced them.

And I think it's pretty cool that my dreams are giving me PowerPhrases!

 

His proposal made the short list. He almost got the job. But the project went to another firm which had more experience in this specific kind of project.

 

I asked him what he thought of the winning design. "It was informed," he replied.

Informed, but not inspired. 

 

I always thought it would be a kick to be an architect and to see your designs turn into buildings. At first I was disappointed that my architect friend's proposal wasn't picked and he won't get to see his design built.

But then I remembered - he saw it completed already. 

There are a lot of ways to be inspired. There also are a lot of ways to experience gratification. Right now, I'm feeling very gratified from standing so close to this man's informed and inspired dream.

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." Thoreaux

Or not. Not every dream castle or cathedral needs to be built to have value. 

And, not every dream castle or cathedral needs to be the biggest in the world. 

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The Intuitive Faces Facts

Food TrackingI shared my astonishment yesterday over my discovery of how much protein I was eating. My discovery thrilled me. When I shared my insight with Bob, his comment was: "Don't be so hard on yourself." Hard on myself? I'm beside myself with joy and you think I'm being hard on myself? I may have discovered a major key to help me be healthier than I've ever been, and you think I'm beating myself up? Huh?

One of my readers made a similar comment about yesterday's post. I read her words and again, thought, huh?

My perception wasn't closely aligned with reality. Acknowledging that isn't being hard on myself. My intuition serves me well in most things, and in this area, it's time to get a better sense of facts.

 

I bit the bullet yesterday and tracked my meals. My target for protein was 50 grams. I limited my protein consumption considerably, and still ended up at 60 grams. What would it have totaled if I had just eaten what had become a normal amount of protein for me? How much had I been eating?

I don't know, and I don't plan to eat more heavily to see. I feel much lighter today. The noble experiment continues, but early indications are that I really did find a key contributor to a challenge I've been wrestling with for years.

I'm facing facts. I don't intend to track my meals for long. I plan to track long enough to get a clear sense of what balance is for me. I plan to track long enough to establish a new habit - which I suspect will only take a few days, because what I'm learning is shifting everything. 

My main style is and will remain intuitive. That trait has served me well in many ways throughout my life. So does coming down from the rafters at times, and taking a clear look at the facts/numbers/data to align my sense of things with reality.

Facing facts can be uncomfortable. Not facing facts can be much worse. I feel great today.

Where could you face facts and deal more closely with reality? Or, if your style isn't intuitive, where could a little swing from the rafters give you perspective and joy? What is balance for you?

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Self-care Kindergarten

Kid Chicken Baloon Flower 300When I told Evan, he said, "I love the way you delight in acknowledging the obvious." 

When I told Angela, she laughed. It was a sweet laugh - the laugh of someone who cares and is happy when a dear friend discovers her own folly - and a key to moving forward.  

What will happen when I tell you?

From one angle, a logical, linear angle, many of my recent life discoveries seem so obvious that I'm tempted to stay silent about them. I'm sure some of my readers (or former readers) have written me off as being in life-kindergarten - which is, in fact true. From another angle, these discoveries are transformational. Maybe I "should have known" this before, but I'm delighted to know it now. My inner circle buddies share my delight. Angela considers it cause for celebration. Okay, here's the story. 

 

I had wondered from time to time if I might be overloading my system with too much protein. Just recently, I mentioned that concern to a friend. She said she thought I might be, and recommended I limit my daily intake to 50 grams.

I had never paid attention to nutritional numbers, so 50 grams meant nothing to me. After my friend and I spoke, I resolved to eat less protein, but it took a few days for me to make the effort to get a more clear sense of how much 50 grams of protein really is.

Tuesday, as I pulled out a chicken breast to cook, I checked the protein content. It said 24 grams per serving. I was stunned to think that one serving was half my daily protein recommended maximum.

Then it occurred to me to check serving size. 4 ounces. I had assumed the whole piece of chicken was a single serving. I had concluded the whole piece of chicken was 24 grams. Was I ever wrong! The chicken breast was over a pound. The chicken breast was over four servings.  I had planned to eat the whole thing. That would have been more than twice my daily allotment. And it would have only been one of three meals containing protein.

There are lots of ways to respond to discoveries like this one. My response was excitement. I could have beaten myself up to think of how I have been perpetuating my digestive issues. Instead, I felt joy because I believed (and believe) I found an essential key to health. I called Angela immediately so we could talk about it while I was still flying high. She delayed her dinner a few minutes to be able to share that joy with me. 

Angela knows, as do I, that this isn't just about food (although it would still be significant even if it were.) It's also about:

  • a hundred ways I overload myself and am learning to moderate my choices
  • being aware of what is right in front of me
  • declining when Bob puts too much protein on my plate - or recommends anything that would overload me
  • relating to numbers and measurements
  • paying attention to intuition and to inner questions like: am I eating too much protein?
  • reading my body's signals

I'm sure I'll discover many more implications from this awareness. 

 

I had a BFO yesterday. A Blinding Flash of the Obvious. Was I being an idiot not to figure this out sooner? I'll gladly cop to that. Is this self-care kindergarten? I think so. It's also a breakthrough awareness with implications that will ripple throughout my life. It's a huge stream of learning from looking at the label on a package of chicken.  That's pretty exciting, don't you think?

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A Fertile Pause: Let Me Think About That

PowerPhrase 300Yesterday was a noble experiment in food portions that led to a Blinding Flash of the Obvious. I am tempted to post about it now, but I'll let it percolate a bit more before I do that. The realization is so obvious that many of you will think (or know) that I can be clueless sometimes. I'll take a "fertile pause" before I disclose. 

Fertile pauses are useful in the middle of conversations as well as in blog postings. The simple words:

  • Let me think about that

...reset a conversation. Try it today. When you're tempted to be forthcoming, but suspect it might be better to wait or alter the conversational trajectory a bit, try that phrase. My fertile pause will be a day or more, but the phrase works well mid-conversation as well.

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A Bigger YES

devi pitchfork badI posted yesterday about how I ate more fat and protein than my system could handle, and I wanted to get at the root of why. I mentioned that cheap and easy answers won't change anything. 

Of course, it's important to be fair to myself about the circumstance. The same meal that sits well with me one day might not sit well at all on another. Hindsight is 20-20, and there can be plenty of days where I eat the same way with impunity. It won't occur to me that I had the same warning voice that day as I did the day I paid a price for my meal.

I want to be fair, but my goal isn't to let myself off the hook - nor is it to chastise myself unfairly. My goal is to figure out why I overload my system so I can remove the obstacles that prevent me from eating in ways that promote health and healing. That requires me to understand what happens and what I want to have happen. It requires that I help myself stay completely conscious at the decision points of eating. 

This principle applies to any way we overload our systems and for any decision that is less than optimal. 

Angela made an important point. She says she'll make a less nurturing choice when her "yes" isn't big enough. To make it easier to make the most optimal choice, she cultivates a bigger "YES."

Yesterday, when I tasted my lunch, I noticed it tasted like it had more fat than usual. I had the thought that I should probably just eat half of what was on my plate. That would have been a good time to put half in the fridge. 

Instead, I ate it all.

What did I trade off for the pleasure of eating the whole thing? I traded a Sunday of enjoyment for a Sunday of discomfort. Sounds like a devil's bargain to me.  

Seems obvious to me now. Why didn't it seem obvious at the choice point? How can I make it more obvious next time? How can I make my YES to eating without overloading my system big enough that it will be bigger than my desire to keep eating?

I'm still working with that one. I mentioned yesterday, cheap and easy answers won't change life-long patterns. I'm aiming at root cause here.

I invite you to work one of your own challenges through in a similar way. Bob and I just now explored his overloading his day yesterday, leading to restless sleep. Oh, and the extra handful of sunflower seeds didn't help. He has made remarkable strides thanks to his big YES to creating Space for Grace. He is one step closer to creating that reality. 

When will we ever learn? Now. It's just that it's a process to go deep into the root cause. 

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Why Do I Eat Too Much?

mistake 300Why do I eat too much? Not a question you would expect a 105-pound woman with a total of five pounds of body fat to be asking. But I do.

Why did I push the limits and eat more fat and protein than my system could handle yesterday? Why did I set myself up for the agony of The Gall Bladder Blues? I don't ask this question disparagingly. It's a real question. I don't assume the answers are all negative. We do what we do for a reason. 

Or for many reasons.

We learn more from mistakes than from our successes. When I keep making the same mistake over and over, I figure I'm setting myself up for a big learning.

But what?

Quick, cheap answers won't work with this kind of inner conversation. It takes deep listening, careful noticing and reflection to get anything likely to unravel a long-standing habit. 

Why do you do what you do?

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I'm Glad I Asked

Sansa ClipPurple Sansa Clip MP3 Players are $20 more than the black ones, but I wanted purple, so I bought one used. "Works perfectly," the ad said. $19 instead of $47. Seemed like a deal. Except it doesn't work perfectly. It only turns on when it is plugged in.

The vendor was happy to accept a return. I hesitated, but then said,

  • I can still use this plugged in. If you would consider a partial refund, that would work for me.

He refunded $13 and we both consider it a win. 

I'm glad I asked, and so is he!

What are you not asking for?

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How to Defend Your Joy AND Your Process

Arrows Road Sign Direction Choices 300Betty defended her joy. When her husband told her they couldn't afford massage right now, she told him with her new job,

  • We can't afford for me to not receive massage now, with all I'm doing.

He got right on board with her and has been supportive ever since.

Betty spoke with certainty. That probably played a strong role in winning her husband's support. But what if you're not certain? What if you're looking for support in coming to certainty? Often, people who are more results-oriented will tend to push a decision on people who are processing options and seeking input but not premature answers.

Being pretty much of a verbal processor myself, I find it helps to speak with certainty about my need to be in process until the path is clear enough for a decision. I will say:

  • I'm getting perspective and processing my options right now. I'd love your input into my decision (that process.)

Now that I write this, I realize my husband defended he process last night. He had a confusing exchange with a client. He asked for my input, but clearly told me he was aware that he would see it differently in the morning. 

He does see it differently this morning. He shared today's perspective, and told me he intends to let it settle over the weekend. He let me know he might ask my input again once he's had more time to process it. 

He intends to call the client Monday. If we discuss it Sunday, I expect the conversation to be more concrete and more focused on action. 

Defend your joy with as much certainty as you can authentically muster. If you're not certain, defend your right not to know for sure yet, and defend your right to process options. 

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The True Inside Story

read stories story 300"Why are your dreams so clear, but you are so fuzzy to talk with?"

I had an immediate and clear answer to that question, which was posed to me by a therapist thirty years ago. But I was fuzzy to talk to, so of course, I gave a fuzzy answer.

My quick answer was: dreams are unconscious. There's no need to justify my dreams. I just report them as experienced. Conversations are different. I need to jump through hoops to say the right thing.

I have other insights to that question now. Dreams speak a symbolic language. Back then, I didn't speak that language. My dreams were clear to a therapist who worked with imagery and symbols - but not to me.

The other insight is that my inner world and outer world were so many miles apart. In my experience, one only spoke of the externals. These days, when someone asks me what I'm up to, I'm likely to share insights, dreams and inner experiences. Those days, in conversations, only the externals mattered. It was as if the internals didn't exist.

I have residuals from those days. Recently, ladies in a new group asked me to tell them about myself. I spoke of my career. The fact is, for this group, the internals are much more relevant. How do I think, feel, and operate? What matters to me? Where is my heart?

It is becoming much easier to talk about the internals. It's also exciting to experience the connections and the sharing that the "inside story" inspires. Last night, a longtime family friend dropped by. I asked him questions about his life that got him sharing about his vision, his values and his interests. We discovered all kinds of things he had not shared before. Much of the detail was over our heads, but it didn't matter. We didn't need to understand the particulars to get a sense of the depth of his life quest. We learned a lot about how this dear friend thinks, feels and operates, what matters to him and where his heart is. 

I love exchanging true inside stories. 

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How Hard Can it Be? Spelling Woes

  • mistake 300How hard can it be to dial a phone number correctly the first time?
  • How hard can it be to put things back where they came from?
  • How hard can it be to get places on time?
  • How hard can it be to back out of a short, straight driveway?
  • How hard can it be to get the spelling right on a blog?

 

If you're me, the answer is:  pretty darn hard.

I do have redeeming qualities. 

Your "how hard can it be?" list won't be the same as mine, but I bet you do have one. And you do have a "redeeming qualities" list, too. 

We're working on it, one "how hard can it be" at a time. Many things have become easy.

Now that Angela is back in town, maybe the spelling errors won't be as blatant as they were when she was unavailable. Plus I am planning for us to work out a way to "mistake-proof" the blog moving forward. It needs to be a simple, user-friendly system that honors my nature and doesn't crush the joy of my writing. 

Now, how hard can it be for us to find the time to get such a system in place?

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The Tender Gift of Letting Yourself Be Coached

north starWhen someone does you the honor of letting you coach them - either formally or casually - resist the temptation to over-advise. Yesterday, my husband told me, "I should listen to you more often." I had told him his focus on troubleshooting the blinking modem light right before bed felt like an intrusion on our evening. He realized how much of an intrusion it was when he woke in the wee hours of the morning obsessing on what might have caused it.

His admission was music to my ears. I honor those words by resisting the temptation to go into detail about other things he "should" listen to me about. He's a grown man and very wise. He doesn't need me to tell him how to live his life. Honoring his sovereignty protects the power of my words. It helps him hear me when he invites my input or when I feel some input is needed.

This morning I considered nudging him in a direction I want him to go. I believe it will be good for him and he has agreed to do it - when the timing feels right to him.  I reflected on a dream and concluded his direction for himself is working just fine. He knows his own process better than I do. Plus, even if he would benefit now from doing what I would like him to, he would probably benefit far more when he makes the choice. 

 

I consult my dreams regularly for communication guidance. My dreams guided me to tell you how I consult my dreams. The timing feels right on that now.

Thanks to the readers who expressed interest in a dream group. I'm letting that idea incubate, and it helps to know of your interest.

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Dream Inspired, Relationship-Transforming PowerPhrases

Kitten 400"I learned two things last night." Bob told me. "That I should listen to you more, and that I shouldn't eat Kimchi and beans together."

Bob has a wonderful way of weaving humor with heartfelt sharing.

I had consulted two dream memories before I spoke last night. Just as Bob is learning to listen to me, I am learning to listen to my dreams. Here's what happened last night.

We returned from playing with our neighbor's kittens when Bob noticed a flashing light on the internet modem. He immediately went from kitten consciousness to problem-solving mode. He enlisted my support and I helped for a few minutes. Then I remembered a dream where I had been helping him with something after hours and decided it could wait. I told him in the dream,

  • This can wait. I don't want to focus on this now.

That's what I told him in the waking state last night. Everything was working and there was no emergency. I shifted my attention. Bob continued to research the issue. He joined me for some pre-bedtime bonding, but went back to trouble-shooting when I went to bed. I got up and told him,

  • This feels like an intrusion on our evening.

In speaking up, I was guided by the first dream, but also by a dream I had earlier this week. In that dream, I threw a workman out the window at 5:30 in the afternoon. It was a very decisive gesture that allowed Bob and me to settle in to our evening. The workman could finish in the morning. When the morning came (in the dream), I snuggled with Bob before I checked to see if the workman came back. 

It felt like the right thing to do in the dream. It feels like the right thing to do in life as well. Not literally, of course, but figuratively. Throw out the striving and the fixing and the focus on results when the day wanes and the evening begins. The image is very powerful for me.

I listened to my dreams. In reflection, Bob listened to me. He decided his quest had been an intrusion on the evening. He also decided he needs to listen to me more. Yay!

Tonight, we will play with the kittens again, and will enjoy kitten consciousness as we settle in to embrace the night - and as the night embraces us. 

 

I am considering starting a SpeakStrong dream group where we will explore how our dreams ask us to speak up, and what images they offer that can guide empowered self-expression. Let me know if this interests you. 

 

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Article Use

Please copy, quote, distribute, share and publish these articles with the following credits.

©2014 Meryl Runion Rose. Meryl is a Certified Speaking Professional and the Creator of the SpeakStrong Method of Dynamically Effective Communication. Find her at www.SpeakStrong.com

Let me know how you use them. Thanks!  

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