"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?

A Magical Mystery April Fools

Cutting cakeIt's our second anniversary. Bob and I are excited about our work and our lives. It feels like spring inside.

Outside, the wind has stopped howling. It's brisk, but not agitated. We have some green grass in our yard. It feels like spring is springing outside.

Are we just April Fools? I hope so. I hope we stay that way, too. All this seriousness had its place. Now we're ready to dance on the foundations we built. 

It has been a challenging two years, but it has also been a magical mystery tour.

 

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Getting Nowhere Fast is Getting Us Somewhere Worth Being

recycling computers 300I tried to take a bath and and the knob came off in my hand. Bob tried to turn the oven on and it didn't work. I tried to vacuum and the wheels fell off the vacuum. All within a few hours of each other. All very trying.

This has been the norm, not the exception lately. By lately, I mean since we married April 1, 2012. Recent challenges aren't as severe as the fires and floods we weathered, but they do keep us from moving forward.

Our "digital dude" reset our computer network and went on vacation. Problems emerged like a whack-a-mole. We kept thinking we had solved the issue at least long enough to be able to operate until our tech guy returned, and we kept being proven wrong. I don't exaggerate when I tell you that running a business with computer issues like this is traumatic for Bob.

My health has been improving, and I felt wildly energetic at dance. I leaped into the air and landed on my hip and hand. I could barely use my left hand. Happily, that injury only took a handful of days to heal.

But hope springs eternal. Plus the lessons that are the gifts of the adversities are powerful and deep. We're working as a team better than ever. My health woes have caused me to embrace a huge discovery process in the kitchen and I am nourishing myself better than ever. I am getting my spirit back and have even gained a couple of pounds from my tiniest me. We found a new tech guy who knocked our socks off.

On one level, we're getting nowhere fast. On another level, we're getting somewhere worth being.

I will ease back into dance abandon, enjoying the subtleties as I rebuild. We will keep fixing what breaks, looking for new and better solutions to our challenges. We're rebuilding foundations from the ground up.

Bob just told me it's kind of like changing the course of a huge cruise ship. It can change, but it's a slow process. Nice simile.

We really are transforming our lives. And that takes time. And patience.

Bob is toasting his nuts in a skillet right now. You know, since the oven isn't working...yet.

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How My Handyman Can Tell I Have My Act Together

handyman 300Bob emptied and cleaned the inside of the composte canister and set it to dry. Not noticing, I emptied my tea leaves into the canister shell, and, of course, they landed on the counter. I laughed.

Our handyman witnessed the event and commented,

  • That's how you can tell someone has their act together. They laugh when they do stupid things.

Now, in a perfect world, I'd not refer to what I did as "dong stupid things." But I give him a pass on that. I think he has his act together to notice such things.

How about you? How together is your act? Thnk about it next time you "do a stupid thing"?

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All Busy-Ness and Nothing Personal

PowerPhrase 300Near the close of a webinar I gave a few weeks back, the host shared one of her favorite PowerPhrases. It's from the PowerPhrases "Quick Reference Guide." Her favorite phrase is:

  • Thanks for giving me your feedback. It's useful for me to know how you view it.

My response to that was:

  • Thanks for sharing your favorite PowerPhrase. It's useful for me to know how people use the tools I give.

I do appreciate personalized feedback, especially if it contains wisdom and insight. Feedback, and a thank-you if appropriate create a sense of completion.

Interestingly, I haven't received any feedback or a thank-you, from that webinar. Was the webinar all business and nothing personal?

Could be. My guess is it was all busy-ness, and the silence is nothing personal. 

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The Flavor Bible - A creative guide, not a rule book

Flavor Bible 300I found the cookbook I was looking for. I wanted something to give me ideas of what works with what. I have The Joy of Cooking - but it doesn't make the same food choices I do. I wanted something to support my creative cooking process, not give me static formulas. I wanted something to help me use what I have, not send me to the store for something I might not need, because there are other options with similar qualities on my shelf.

I found it in The Flavor Bible. The quotes below show exactly why it's a fit for me.

"Cooking at its most basic level is a creative act, one of transforming food through the application of heat and the incorporation of other ingredients. But there are different orders of creativity, and merely following a recipe is a creative act of the most basic order like painting by numbers.

"When accomplished cooks grow restless, they start to analyze instructions before following them to see if they can improve upon the results, thus raising the act of cooking to a creative act of a higher order. As their experience grows, cooks are able to bring greater intuition and even inspiration to their cooking. Traditional cookbooks are aimed at first-order cooks...

"When a recipe is rigidly scripted and blindly followed, it negates the cook's own creative instincts and good judgment - not to mention much of the pleasure of truly 'being' in the moment...

We believe cooking will continue to evolve and not only as a means of 'doing' ... Over time, we believe more people will have discovered it as a way of 'being' in the world."

This is how I intend my PowerPhrases to be used  - as a prompt for creativity. I'm excited to see this principle so beautifully explained in a different area of life. I'm even more excited at the author's beliefs that the trend is moving from "doing" to "being" - to experiencing the pleasure of truly "being" in the moment. And of bringing more of ourselves into our lives.

The bottom line for me is: don

t give me answers. Help me find my own. 

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One Step at a Time in the Direction of Realistic Goals

I woke up this morning feeling a bit of overwhelm. Yesterday was a very busy day, and I didn't get to tie all the lose ends up. 

I reminded myself of some 12-step wisdom. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other.

It's great to have long term visions. The main value I find in them is they keep you moving in a coherent direction and help to prioritize the next step. As long as they don't impose an incompatible preconceived plan of an on-the-ground reality, they keep you focused - and help you avoid trying to do everything at once.

This weekend, my friend and and assistant Angela shared her new structure for her nutritional consulting business. She emphasizes each step. It starts with neuroendocrine (communication system of the body) support, and digestive support. She reminds clients where they are in the process and doesn't try to fix everything at once. Like that, in my own program, I'm focused on developing flora now. The diet for that caused me to lose a bit too much weight - but I'll worry about that later. Adding weight is part of the long term vision, but not the stage I'm at now. 

That clear focus makes the process manageable.

I woke up today feeling a bit of overwhelm. I feel like a juggler who is capable of juggling four balls and suddenly tried to juggle six. That's okay. I will do today's work today and leave tomorrow's work for tomorrow. 

That's not slacking. It's simplicity. It's also effectiveness. What isn't effective is trying to get it all done at once.

Love Sally Forth today. See it below. They have a realistic goal - but it seems they could hit their target more quickly if they could develop a better process to acheive it.

Sally Forth Tetis

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Trees, Tapestries and Truth

If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

If you weave a tapestry that is lovely on the front, but people only see and judge the knots and ties on the back, is it still beautiful?

If you give a gift and no one says "Thank-you," is it still a tender offering from your heart?

If you speak a powerful truth and no one hears the wisdom, is it still true?

The answer, of course, is yes.

Keep on Speaking Strong.

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My Closet Comes "Out of the Closet"

closet 300"I want my closet to look like yours!" Sharon exclaimed. Those are words I never expected to hear from anyone. My closets were a source of shame. Not anymore.

"There's breathing room! It flows!" Angela exclaimed. Angela was particularly excited because she was there when I stared my Lean2Life adventure. Now she made specific observations about how the items in my closet flow/transition from one item to the next.

The first post I ever did about the need to de-clutter and organize my home according to lean principles was titled "our house if full." Even a Christmas card felt like an imposition because there was no place to put it where it added to the overall flow of our home.

Things are different now. Last week my friend Sherry sold and emptied her second home and that meant lots of great gifts for me. I came home with a car full of goodies from clothes in my colors to brass lamps to teas. Even an ironing board.

None of it became clutter. It all found its place because there is Space for Grace - which means there is room to receive. 

I love my closet. I love having everything where I can see it. I love just looking at it. I love getting dressed in the morning.

Like any good "stream-leaning" process, "completing" the set-up is only the beginning. Living with the system will lead to all kinds of adaptations. I'll see what I actually wear, what doesn't work like I thought and what I might still need. I'll weed and pair and play with it until I die, most likely.

But now my closet is ready to "come out of the closet." No way I would have posted pictures of the "before" version. This closet reflects both who I am and who I aspire to be. Nice, huh!

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PowerPhrase: Push is Push

Push Pressure NB 300"I'll take my walk this afternoon," Bob told me. "I could get it in this morning, but it would be a push."

"Yes," I responded. "That's our motto these days. Don't push - even when it's good stuff."

  • Push is push

...he noted.

Bob's walks are important to his balance and well-being, but when he pushes to get them in, it has an imbalancing effect.

We're both learning to live a push-free life. That's why his reminder is important for me to remember. Push IS push, even when we like what we push, squeeze in or power through.

That's one reason I don't post every day. I don't want to push it right now. 

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Extreme Healing? Or Essential?

Earth hand healing 300My friend and subscriber Becky acknowledged me for taking the time to do "extreme healing." 

I liked the word. But it didn't seem like the perfect fit. Happily, Becky is one of those people who also loves words and isn't offended if I search for a better match.

I told her what I'm doing only seems extreme in a Band-Aid culture. In fact, the healing I'm doing seems more like essential healing.

A friend told me about someone she knew who worked in depth to heal his digestion. He discovered what I'm discovering - the effects are far reaching. His comment was, "Six months might sound like a lot, but in light of the benefits, it's no time at all."

I've healed a lot of maladies in my life. Last year I healed trigger thumb. The PT told me if it didn't heal in two weeks, I should see a surgeon. My right hand took three months to heal. My left took nine. My friend who got surgery regretted it.

I consider my root cause approach essential. Surgery sounded extreme to me.

Thanks to Becky for working with the words with me.

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PowerPhrase: I'd rather not risk it

PowerPhrase 300I woke up feeling great. I might not have, had I not Spoken Strong the day before.

I needed new calcium, so I asked Bob to get me some. The bottle looked similiar to what I was used to, but my first teaspoonful was way sweeter than normal. I read the ingredients - it contained xylitol, which irritates my digestion. I mentioned it to Bob who noted that it in fact did, but assured me that the amounts were so small there shouldn't be a problem.

This is the point where in the past, I would habitually defer. But I thought about it, and decided not to take my second teaspoon. When Bob came back up I told him,

  • I'd rather not risk the xylitol, even in small amounts.

I anticipated push-back from him, but got none. He replied, "I agree with you," and got me a bottle of what I was used to.

Bob lives in a Mac truck body, and I can't make him responsible for the care and feeding of my Ferrari body. He's a great ally, and he lives pretty intimately with my sensitivities, but I live with them even more intimately. That's why I need to speak up a first, second and third time when I have a concern.

I suspect his initial response was habitual and by questioning it, he had a moment to think about it. Perhaps he remembered what happened the last time we didn't respect my sensitivities. I was so irritable that, as hard as I tried not to spread it around, I saw fear that I might explode any moment when I looked in his eyes. 

The key learning here is that it isn't just xylitol or some other irritant that causes problems. It the communication habit of going unconscious and silent at key points where we need to keep talking, exploring, and making decisions based on due consideration. 

Where do you back off when you need to stay the course and go forward?

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PowerPhrase: Is there anything I can do for you before i...?

Do Not Disturb 300The research is clear. We get more done and do it better without interruptions. We can't control all interruptions, but we can minimize them.

I was considering how to ask someone not to interrupt me while I was working, and decided it was more graceful to say:

  • Is there anything you need from me before I start this?

He asked a question and let me work uninterrupted.

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Article Use

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

©2015 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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I blog daily when I have a lot to say. When I don't have much to say, I stay silent. Kind of how it outta be, don't you think? Lots of great communication tips.

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