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
It's Tough to Know the Players
Without a Scorecard
I've addressed the concept of
Internal Prejudice previously, and how we unconsciously (or
consciously) look down our nose at our own natural processing styles.
This concept is juicy enough for more than one look, so I'm not going to
aim for covering every aspect here. This time out, let's just shine a
light on what this struggle is about, and how we can best manage it.
The term “Internal tug-of-war” is something we can all relate to,
especially when we're trying to make decisions. Have you ever tried to
identify exactly who’s pulling in which direction? There are many
players and many sides and we're literally getting pulled in all
directions. Each is a perspective, with its own agenda, communication
style, survival strategies, and defense mechanisms. Beyond the choir of
our own perspectives, we have the voices of our parents, teachers,
peers, and more, all contributing their diverse perspectives.
Our own natural ways of processing the world around us are often quite
different than those of others, and rather than be told, “my, how
creative and interesting!” we're usually told, “No. You should see it
like this, do it like this, be like this.” When we hear this, some of us
rebel, while others question and doubt the value of our own perceptions.
All of these multiple voices with multiple agendas create an awful lot
of communication going on inside of us that isn’t conveying much beyond
chaos, confusion, and anxiety. Because this isn't much fun, the most
common defense is to detach from, or anesthetize this over-abundance of
input. Unfortunately, this defense works against our best interests. The
input is valuable; we just need to take it in, without the sheer volume
scaring us into shutting down.
Our brains take in some information, our emotions take in other
information, and our body-sense or intuition takes in still other
information (as if in different bandwidths, if you’re familiar with
light or sound frequencies). None of it is superior, anymore than red is
superior to green or blue. The more sides of a story you have - the more
dots per inch - the clearer and more accurate the picture. When we
belittle our own thoughts, emotions or intuition, we're participating in
Internal Prejudice, which doesn’t serve us. Let yourself recognize this,
and set an alarm for yourself. Awareness is a great first step; change
There are natural reasons for us to be drawn or repelled by processing
styles. This doesn’t mean they’re right or wrong. Our perspectives and
worldviews are dynamic; always in a dance of reaction to life. When
you’re totally stressed, you see life differently. When everything is
going wonderfully, and you’re on top of the world – well, the expression
itself speaks to that perspective shift. The world didn’t change, yet
the way you take it in changed; including a different way of processing.
If we’re generally more in our feelings, we might get more
thinking-oriented in stress or security. If we’re more
thinking-oriented, we could become more emotional. And of course, if
we’re more naturally intuitive, we’ll be pulled toward our brains or
heart as life changes.
It’s very important for you to understand that this flow is neither good
nor bad, and is nothing to correct or fix. The flow itself is part of
what defines you. We do however, put positive or negative associations
on this movement, and that’s where the gremlin lives.
Without a truly conscious decision being made, we’re drawn to the
processing center where we have our historical experience of security
and confidence. Conversely, we are subconsciously repelled by that
processing center we associate with stress.
This couldn’t be more natural or normal. So where’s the catch? Each
way of processing has its own set of filters, problems, and resources.
Crazy as it may seem, there’s a downside to the way we process in
confidence, and an upside to the way we process in stress. Those states
are within us for a reason. They’re part of the package, and when we
exclude or diminish the value of one or the other, we lose a bigger,
more inclusive, informed perspective.
Let’s look at how two different people were affected by this, and how we
helped maximize their performance. Joe is a successful, busy guy. When
he’s under stress, his normally fast, focused way of being seems to hit
mush. He loses direction, priorities, and his “go get ’em” attitude.
Now he’s processing the world more from his gut or body, and he
associates that as a negative thing. When Joe’s feeling confident, his
competitiveness melts into a more “focused on others” team orientation,
with all kinds of thinking, strategizing, and planning. What's also
happening is Joe associating his “better self” as a thinker.
An underlying prejudice toward thinking and away from what his body is
telling him forms. As with most prejudice, this is due to incomplete
information. Joe’s gut has a lot of important data to bring to the
table, but because he associates it with being stressed, he discounts
it. Furthermore, he builds his life around the premise that thinking is
the “Holy Grail,” preferable to intuition or even more damaging, his
natural processing center: his feelings.
Thus, other premises fall into place, like “Stay in your head (not your
heart).” These premises are self-deception at its finest. In fact, Joe
found his happiness when we re-connected him with the valuable
information his heart and intuition had been trying to share. His brain
kept connecting him to things. Things weren’t satisfying or making him
happy. The information from his heart and intuition connected him to
dreams and people. This is where he found his life; his satisfied,
happy, even more successful than before - life.
Mary is organized, grounded, and pragmatic. When she’s under great
stress, a wave of emotion can overtake her, leaving her feeling moody
and depressed. When she’s confident, her brain is a wonderland of
ideation and planning. Can you guess how she feels about thinking vs.
feeling? The problem is that it’s not her feelings that are at fault,
although they’re getting the blame. They’re suffering guilt by
association with stress. And just like Joe, although her brain is
certainly more active when she feels confident, her brain doesn’t offer
superior data. In fact her feeling side, although more active in
stress, infuses her with a connectedness to art, music, and people.
learning exactly what our different parts are contributing, we can get
out from under the yoke of compulsions and the limitations of internal
prejudice. We can know and accept ourselves for who we really are;
celebrating the variety and breadth of our processing styles. We can
use resources we never knew we had, and not waste time pursuing ways of
being that won’t ever fit. We can integrate the varied and diverse
perspectives within us, and recognize them in others. We can make life
work for us in a way that nourishes and supports us.
When people speak of “balance,” this is what they want: everything
clicking in harmony. It can be done. First, get to know each of your
perspectives. Then knowing what they’re each about, integrate them as
your team. When you’re in command of your team, you’re in the driver
seat. The rewards that follow are infinite. Your benefits will be
smarter, more complete decisions, better relationships, and real
fulfillment in your life.
Quick Communication Tip
Use All Three Processing Centers
Each of your processing centers: Brain, Heart, and Gut take in a
different kind of information, and each kind has its own value. We’ve
all recognized when we “should’ve listened to our gut” and because we
didn’t were sorry. Likewise, we’ve all experienced closing off our
feelings, and going with our logic, which usually stopped us from
aspiring to something big. It’s not that any of them are superior or
inferior; it’s just that we need to use the right tool for the right
Our brains are fantastic threat model analysts, and will logically weigh
out rational, linear data. Our feelings are empathic and enable us to
“read” one another, thus connecting on a deeper and more fulfilling
level. Our intuition or “gut” has an unexplainable way of just
“knowing” when someone is “hinky,” or not to be trusted.
By trusting each part of ourselves to do what it does best, we can take
in far more information on far more levels, and always be in a better
position when decision-making.
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.
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Communication results in success, and how you can
Institute for Integral Enneagram
Without Losing Your Soul
about you having
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The chapters hold to a formula of
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finally some things to notice when you do.
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good news is: they can be overcome. The techniques and processes found in this book will help you on your way."
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