Conscious Communication: bringing communication
up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above
in the background while you file, exercise, ride to work, etc.
Quick Communication Tip
Yourself of Self-Limiting Language
Either/Or - Limiting Choices
I received a response to last month’s newsletter, sparking a chain
reaction of questions for me, eventually leading to this month’s topic.
Addressing the Conscious Communication Chronicle’s communication-centric
“mission statement,” the observation was made that [rather than
communication] there was a strong focus on psychology.
The wording of the observation establishes a kind of context or rules of
the game by putting communication on one side and psychology on another.
What’s interesting is that knowing what a creative guy this was coming
from, it probably wasn’t intended as an either/or form at all. The
wording of the observation more reflected our common cultural slant for
simplifying our choices; often to an either/or perspective. If I may
quote myself, this is directly in line with simplification by reduction,
rather than getting to the core essence.
The thing about simplifying our choices this way is that it also limits
our choices, and that’s rarely what we want. Limiting other people’s
choices may be helpful on the retail end, (ever wait tables?) but you
probably want to have your options as open as possible. This is one of
those unconscious ways we block ourselves, so the slightest awareness
around this habit can make a big difference in your sense of emotional
and mental “elbow room.”
The old maxim regarding using “yes, and” rather than “yes, but” actually
speaks to the heart of this widening of our choices. We go from the
digital, two possible answers of on or off to a more natural, organic
spectrum. How many times have you been frustrated by multiple choice
tests that wouldn’t allow you to choose more than one answer, or people
who insist on yes or no answers to questions that have much more depth
and texture to them? Is this about communication or is this about our
psychology? Can either really exist without the other?
Another place I often hear a digital choice being offered, is when
people ask if I am a business coach or a life coach. I usually annoy
them by answering “yes.” In fact, the reason that I so focus on
communication, is because it is the very mortar between the stones of
everything connecting our lives to each other, the world, and even our
own thoughts and feelings. How often when you think about something, do
you do it without any internal dialogue? How can we share what’s inside
(psychology) with who’s outside, without communication? Whether that
communication is using words to convey an internal experience to
someone, to give direction, or even to mull something over in your head,
those words control the nature of the outcome.
Our words and our psychology are very much like the chicken and the egg.
It is almost impossible to establish a singular origin; they each create
each other. Your self-talk is both the result of your psychology, and a
creating element. The more we try to understand how everything fits
together, the more we look at systems and relationships, the more
communication becomes a factor.
Just as our way of seeing the world, sorting things out, and processing,
creates a kind of language specific to that perspective, listening to
that language from others gives you clues to their perspective. This is
another example of the inextricable flow between psychology and
communication. How do you work with a given person? How do you convey
things to them? Just using our own styles and hoping others will get it
isn’t terribly effective, so this “conscious communication” thing
becomes very useful.
Let’s take a common element that shows up in our behavior, as well as
our language: self-esteem. People constantly tell you how they feel
about themselves (and thus you and others) through their language.
Digging into our self-talk, there are numerous “reasons” our ego gives
us for why we can’t, don’t, aren’t ___________[fill in the blank].
If we follow the ripples of these “reasons,” they take us to different
behaviors or ways of being in the world. “I’m not enough” is actually
quite different than “I’m not good enough,” which is again quite
different than “there’s something wrong with me.” Each will manifest in
the world as a completely different kind of person, with different
perspectives, and speaking these slightly different versions of the same
language. We need to understand this to motivate them, to sell to them,
to convey our own thoughts or feelings to them, and to understand them
We can also use language and our communication to shift our own way of
being in the world; to motivate and understand ourselves. Psychologist
Martin Seligman’s work with “Learned Optimism” at Penn State relies
heavily on our internal communication. Our psychology (our mind and
behavior) is fluid and changeable. Just as our perspectives affect our
language, our language can have a remarkable impact on our outlook (that
chicken or the egg thing.)
“Everybody always does this to me” becomes a recipe for depression,
whereas addressing the pervasiveness, [everybody] the permanence,
[always] and the personalization, [to me] could completely reverse the
affect a circumstance would have on you. Communication gives us a way in
to our own insides, and a way in to others. As long as we’re going
there, it couldn’t hurt to do it consciously. Doing so gives us far more
options and choices, as well as much better results. You might even say
it gives us Optimized Results.
Quick Communication Tip
Your Inner Limiters
There are all kinds of ways that we hold ourselves back linguistically,
so let's take a look at our communication with ourselves. Antithetical
to our sense of optimism and drive, the three Ps of negative limits are:
pervasiveness, permanence, and personalization. When you think about it,
each of these words limits your experience of something.
Listen to your inner dialogue, and see if you can catch yourself using
any of these limiting descriptors. When you do, rather than beating
yourself up about it, enjoy the moment, as your awareness opens the
Here's the process: when you say, “I’ll never______,” catch yourself,
(come on, never?!) and offer yourself the other possibilities for
outcome. Do this for each limiter, giving yourself options instead. This
replaces furrowed brows with smiles, motivates us, and increases
problem-solving creativity every time.
Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or
catapult you forward? Come visit the
or better yet,
contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.
- the podcast series
KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
Personal Life Media -
"Coaching the Life Coach:"
Communication Excellence (full interview)
for Evolutionary Radio w/ J. McClain
2nd Edition now available
visit the Blog.
Ever want to create
characters that were so believable, that people forgot they were
Subscribe to the Conscious Communication Chronicle
Welcome to the Conscious Communication Chronicle, sharing how Conscious
Communication results in success, and how you can
Institute for Integral Enneagram
Without Losing Your Soul
about you having
the tools to slide over to the
driver’s seat of your
Circumstances will always be
changing, seemingly thwarting
our plans, but we don’t have to be
thrown around by them. You can
charge of your choices and actions more than you might imagine - yet.
is written for you,
as a practical guide you can
right now. It is a collection of
insights and actions designed to help
you move forward and get more out
of your life at home and at work.
The chapters hold to a formula of
first giving you a new way to look at
things, then offering you tangible
Action Steps to try them out, and
finally some things to notice when you do.
Kind words for
"If you are interested in success, whether it is in running a large
organization, a small business, or leading a satisfying life, you will
find a right blend of rules, wisdom and wit in a digestible fashion that
will serve to accomplish your objectives. The notion that kindness can
be blended with ambition and made to work and serve the "bottom line" is
enlightening, uplifting and satisfying."
-Steven Kiefel – CEO, Red Pill Media
“An easy to use guide for anyone who wants to
growth and success. His sensible and practical tactics
solve age-old challenges with real, how-to solutions. Best of all, Ian
lives his work!”
-Romanus Wolter -
Author: Kick Start Your Dream Business
Success Coach Columnist: Entrepreneur Magazine
Radio Host: Syndicated Kick Start Guy Segment
We all face obstacles in our lives and careers. Some of these come from within, subverting our conscious intentions. The
good news is: they can be overcome. The techniques and processes found in this book will help you on your way."
-Margaret Heffernan – Author: The Naked Truth: A Working Woman's
Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters
Syndicated Columnist: Fast
scientifically-based, spiritually-awake, (and smart and funny) guide to
making the most of your life. Ian Blei provides the know-how, the
inspiration, the structure and all the tools you need in this
-Lisa Betts-LaCroix, Past
President of SF Coaches
Star of Unapix film,
“Dance Me Outside”
Ian Blei shares his deep insights in simple and straightforward
ways. His work continues to inspire me whenever I feel I'm getting stuck in some area of my life."
-Roy King, III