Once you know who you are as an individual and you know what your unique contribution is to the team, family and group, you have the foundation to SpeakStrong from The Synergy Center. 

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PowerPhrase: Something I CAN Do

When Dad and I finished speaking of his latest frustration trying to use the computer with his impaired vision, I told him what my two action steps were to get him going again. (One involved a numpad for his keyboard and the other, sorting his files.)

He warned me that it might amount to nothing – that even if I got him going again, he might not complete anything.

I replied:

  • This is something I CAN do. I can’t come see you every day like Kris does, and I can’t take you to appointments when you need someone to. But this is something I CAN do. If it amounts to nothing, I won’t consider it wasted effort.

He got it. Any way I spell it out, the real message is: I L O V E you.

PowerPhrase Segue: In Other Realms…

Bob shared a vibrant description of his experience after someone had said some potentially inflamatory things to him. Bob said, “I saw potential negative emotions swirling around me like dementors (Harry Potter reference), but they didn’t have anywhere to land. I wasn’t detached – I was serene.” He went on to mention how he could see exactly where the other person was coming from. 

What a fabulous image. In terms of the styles, I would say his inner Harmonizer and his inner Visionary were working together to language his experience. 

Then Bob switched topics. We’ve learned that when we make a big switch in topics like that, some kind of segue is helpful. We both like the phrase: “In other news.” 

However, because his new topic was very mundane, concrete and practical, we opted for:

  • In other realms…

It’s a great segue for those of us who have a clear delineation of styles/realms. You might want to stick to: 

  • In other news

or some other segue for those not in the “know.”

Please comment 600

A PowerPhrase to Set Boundaries for Business Friendships

PowerPhrase 300It’s tricky to mix business and pleasure – but it can be done. Joe developed a friendship with his clients Carl and Deb and was delighted when they called to sing “Happy Birthday.”

It did take a little away when they followed the song by asking for some free advice.

Joe felt the genuineness in the birthday greeting and didn’t mind too much, but he decided to set a boundary. He’s going to their home Sunday to watch football, and intends to notify them:

  • If you have any clinical questions for me, please ask them now, because once the game starts, Joe the Clinician is leaving the building so Joe the Guy can enjoy the game.

Good call, don’t you think?


 Please comment 600



PowerPhrase: When Did You Quit De Facto?

It was the employee’s final day. The manager saw it as her last chance to find out how such a good manager/(contract)employee relationship had gone so sour. She approached the young woman as she packed up her things and asked:

  • You gave notice two weeks ago. When did you quit de facto?

The employee froze. Her hands, holding pens she was packing, were suspended in mid-air. The manager wondered if her departing employee was searching her mind for some new defense or if she was searching her heart for the truth. The employee took a breath and replied, “I quit de facto the day you questioned my invoice.”

“Thank you for telling me,” the manager replied. She had suspected as much. The employee had acted like questioning her invoice was a criminal accusation. The manager had seen it as an opportunity to get clear about what was billable and what wasn’t. The employee became so defensive that the conversation never reached a satisfying resolution. The questions were over minor amounts so the manager let it go, but communication felt strained and weird after that day. 

The manager was sad to see someone who had shown such promise leave, but she was also relieved. If the employee hadn’t quit she would have let her go. It wasn’t the first time she had questioned someone’s accounting and it wouldn’t be the last. It could have been an easy conversation. But it wasn’t. And this manager knew she needed to work with people who were willing to address issues as they arose and move on. She found another person for the job who was willing to do that. 

She also found satisfaction in having her perceptions validated. 


There’s Nothing to Forgive

Forgiveness Hug 200“Will you give me a forgiveness hug?” I asked Bob.

“What for?” he asked.

“For leaving the tea on the burner and smoking up the house.”

“I’ll give you a good-morning hug, but there is nothing to forgive.”

Such loving words.

Forgiveness is sweet. Not taking offence in the first place is sweeter still.

The house had a bad smell today, but our good morning hug was like a fragrant perfume.  


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.


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?


Talking About the Gall Bladder Blues

Medusa 300Bob says the perfect thing when I get mired in the Gall Bladder Blues. He asks:

  • What can I do for you?  

Those words offer support without inflaming me further.

The Gall Bladder Blues make the world a dark and dreary place. I remember the sun, but don’t see it. I try not to spread my gloom around, but it’s tangible. Bob feels it the minute he walks in the room. Like Perseus relating to Medusa, Bob knows not to look me in the eye lest he be turned to stone.

But also like Perseus, he does look through a mirror. Perseus used his shield to see Medula’s reflection. Bob’s mirror is in his own heart. That shields him. 

Normally I don’t explain my perceptions when I’m at a low. Recently I did. I told Bob, “You’re sitting across the table from a woman for whom everything seems wrong right now.” He said he’d lay low. I continued, “It’s important to understand that there’s no way you can make me happy right now, but you’re obligated to try.”

Instead of speaking from my toxic mindset, I spoke about it. It’s a fine line. I know I’m toxic, and I don’t want to infect anyone. I also don’t want to be completely isolated, either.

I sipped a new herbal tea. The tea I had switched to in the more recent stage of my recovery triggered my Gall Bladder Blues. I hoped this would ease my malaise.

By the end of the conversation, my cup was empty and my Gall Bladder Blues were gone. I saw the sun again. I still had some physical symptoms, but peace was restored inside of me.

Happily, peace was never lost between Bob and myself. 

Bob gets most of the credit for that. He stayed present without drinking the poison himself. He looked at me through the best possible of mirrors and waited. We had a lovely evening together.


PowerPhrase: This Can Wait Until Tomorrow

PowerPhrase 300Yesterday I posted about a dream experience where I used a PowerPhrase to keep from being hijacked by an artificial crisis. Here’s another one.

It was hours past quitting time. At first I unthinkingly did everything he asked of me. I started to wonder why. I stopped working and told him,

  • This can wait until tomorrow. It’s time for me to take off for the day.

I joyfully sank into an evening of deep relaxation.


Like many of you, I work with high-powered alpha-leader types. Too often, they live life as an emergency, and they can turn my life into an emergency too—if I don’t set and honor my boundaries. These dreams modeled ways to have a calm, centered perspective and clear communication with someone who lacks perspective.

Dreams can show us what conversations we need to have. These dreams also showed me how to have them. They provided me with much more than words. I particularly like the way they model confidence. I had no trepidation in these dreams about speaking up clearly. I spoke from peace and my words invoked clarity and composure.

Trust me – these dream-enhanced skills serve me well in waking. 


PowerPhrase: I’ll Get to You When I’m Ready

PowerPhrase 300He sounded frantic. His voice was demanding as he exclaimed, “I need help with my computer, now!”
I continued seasoning my food. I considered his exclamation as a request and replied,

  • I’ll help you when I finish my lunch.

“I should come first,” he retorted. He had a habit of going in to crisis mode, and of using his sense of crisis to pressure me. I knew it could wait. I countered,

  • Don’t do this to me. I’ll get to you when I’m ready. Pressure won’t help. 

I calmly took a bite of my chicken and looked at the clock. I assessed how this new event would affect my work day. He left me to savor my well-prepared lunch. It was delicious.

This PowerPhrase protected my priorities, kept me out of crisis mode and helped me maintain my balance. By the way – the conversation took place in my dreams.

I practice Speaking Strong day and night! More on dreams tomorrow.