What We Do

How It Works

About Us

Track Record







Jedi Training, "The Secret,"

and the Force


Conscious Communication: bringing communication up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above all, intentional.

Upcoming Events

Feature Article  No time? Listen to the

  podcast version (10:43 min.) in the background while you file, exercise, ride to work, etc.  (there are audio extras)

Quick Communication Tip

Resource Links






Jedi Training, "The Secret," and the Force

podcast version


The Star Wars Head Fake

I’ve had my coaching compared to Jedi Training pretty often.  After careful consideration, I’ve decided that I’m guilty as charged, and I’m not going to apologize for it.  Star Wars was successful for many reasons beyond great special effects.  It used what the late Dr. Randy Pausch called a “head fake” to teach us without us noticing or putting up defenses.  This is a remarkably effective way to teach, and I employ and advocate it whenever possible.  If you’re not one of the 10 million people who’ve watched Randy’s Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon, give yourself a treat and watch it.  The term “head fake” is primarily used in sports like football, to describe using misdirection to fool the opposing team.  The quarterback seems to be looking at one receiver, drawing the defense’s attention there, and then throws to someone else.  Misdirection “fakes out” our defenses, to get past them.


Star Wars used the “head fake,” to explore myths and archetypes, reaching us subliminally, bypassing conscious filters like skepticism and disbelief.  Without that bypass, our critical thinking would take us “out of the story,” and back into our detached audience member seats.  We need to be immersed to forget that dog-fights in the vacuum of space would be boringly silent.


Furthermore, as in all good storytelling, Lucas used metaphors to speak to us more individually.  Metaphors work with our own personal interpretations to create individual meaning.  Archetypes and myth speak to us about issues and obstacles we all face, and connect us with deeply shared core experiences.  If we pay attention, we can learn a lot from myths.  Just ask Joseph Campbell.


Looking at Jedi Training from our Conscious Communication perspective, we focus on language.  “The Empire Strikes Back” gives us perhaps the clearest illustrations.  Do you remember when Luke was having trouble mastering his use of the Force on Yoda’s swampy planet?  Along with the physical training, there was a fair amount of philosophy and coaching going on, and the latter was chock full of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming).



"The Secret" - Jedi Style

One aspect of the training was directed at intention and commitment (powerful entrepreneurial traits).  The obstacle of choice was raising Luke’s X-Wing Fighter out of the swamp.  Even though Luke had been successful using the Force to levitate rocks (metaphor – milestones) when it came to raising his ship (metaphor – Big Goal) suddenly a bunch of excuses came up.  It’s one thing to be successful at the steps leading up to your goal, but when it comes to taking on the Big One, self-sabotage often enters the picture.  “I can’t.”  “It’s too big.”  “Nobody’s done this before.”  Sound familiar?  This is why archetypes are so helpful; we recognize ourselves.


Yoda tried to verbally convince Luke of what was possible, but Luke’s defenses were too strong.  To know something, beyond feeling or thinking, we often need to have the physical experience, creating the criteria of precedence.  If it happened before, it can happen again.  So rather than convince Luke of what was possible through verbal argument, Yoda chose to raise the ship himself, and thus got Luke’s attention.


Luke’s verbal response “I don’t believe it,” was met with the lesson: “That is why you fail.”  When we put our intention into what we’re doing, and hold steady with the belief that we can do it, our odds of success skyrocket.  This is not to say we can flaunt the laws of physics and nature with our intention, but the outcome is far more likely to be successful when we aren’t shooting ourselves in the foot all along the way.  And this leads us to another very useful lesson.



Stop Trying; It's Useless.

Trying creates enormous conflict between people and even within individuals.  The word “try” is loaded with built-in failure.  When Luke says that he will try, Yoda corrects him, “No!  Do or do not.  There is no try.”  This is one of the most simple, straightforward, and yet powerful lessons we can take from a linguistic source.  In reality, as opposed to the conceptual world, there actually is no such thing as “try.”  The clash between the conceptual “try” and the real world “do or do not” is where the conflict is born. 


Here is an experiment I’ve done with clients to give them the physical experience of knowing the word “try” to be an impossible real world action.  Put a pen on a table in front of you.  Now, “try” to move the pen.  Don’t move it.  I am not saying to move the pen.  The instructions are specifically to try to move it.  What does that require of you?  How do you go about trying to do something, rather than go about doing it?  What is different?  Does this seem a little ridiculous?  Why doesn’t it always seem ridiculous?  Why do we even use the word try?  It’s what I call a “squirm” word; the back door is built-in and wide open for our escape.


Okay, this isn’t entirely fair.  There are times when we’re not sure if we can do something.  What then?  Well this is where you can actually have some impact on the outcome, through the wonders of Conscious Communication.  We know that we can’t just say don’t use the word try, as that creates a void, which is as useless as “don’t think of a pink elephant.”  We need a replacement phrase, like “do think of a blue elephant.”  Without changing the meaning, we can choose words that will shift our consciousness toward successful achievement.  Rather than, “I’ll try,” we can say, “I’ll do the best I can.”


Too simple?  There’s the beauty of it.  Give this exercise some practice.  There are several built-in motivators within this phrase, and you’ll be surprised by the impact it has on you and others.  First there is the statement “I’ll do,” setting up a promise/commitment, and a foregone conclusion of success.  Then you add the quality of the effort you are going to bring to this commitment: “the best.”  “I’ll do the best.”  This gets followed by another affirmation of foregone success and belief in oneself: “I can.”  Put all three pieces together, and you have “I’ll do the best I can.”  This may not sound all that different from “I’ll try,” but stick with this practice for even a few days, and you’ll notice a distinct difference in your level of success.





Quick Communication Tip


Where Are You Pointing

There’s an old expression that says, “when you point at someone, remember that you have three fingers pointing back at yourself.”   This has a linguistic component with far-reaching ripples.


We’re often so quick with our defensiveness that we barely recognize doing it.  Person A treats person B badly, and person B turns around and does it to person C, and so on (transference).  Nobody notices that it didn’t help or solve anything, or make anyone feel better.  Pretty much a grand lose/lose proposition, just spreading the negativity around.


Unfortunately this is an omni-directional mud puddle that splashes back on us.  There’s no way you can say something hurtful or yell at someone and come out looking good; just petty, mean, or crazy.  Even worse, cutting words spoken in haste, (even when not meant) can have a long lasting impact.  The bell can’t be un-rung.  Our memories hold on to the hurt, and barbed words anchor in our hearts.  


So this is a “catch yourself before you pull the trigger” tip, that will reflect positively on you in every situation or circumstance; a win/win proposition.  When you feel yourself about to offload angst, shame, bad treatment, or just a nasty comment to someone (passing the buck) catch yourself and take a breath.  Visualize yourself pointing a finger, and look at the ones pointing back at you.  Take another breath, let the mean-spiritedness evaporate with your exhale, and take care of the business at hand with grace and class.


Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or catapult you forward?  Come visit the web site, or better yet, contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.





Resource Links:


Conscious Communication - the podcast series

Personal Life Media - "Coaching the Life Coach:"

Communication Excellence (Podcast Snippets)

Communication Excellence (full interview)

Interview for Entrepreneur Magazine Radio w/ Romanus Wolter

Interview Podcast for Evolutionary Radio w/ Jason McClain

Kind Ambition - 2nd Edition now available

Got Blog? come visit the Blog.

Character Driven - Ever want to create characters that were so believable, that people forgot they were characters?



Subscribe to the Conscious Communication Chronicle



Welcome to the Conscious Communication Chronicle, sharing how Conscious Communication results in success, and how you can achieve yours.   Enjoy!



Ian Blei,
Director of the
Integral Enneagram Institute and
President of
Optimized Results










Kind Ambition:
Practical Steps
to Achieve Success
 Without Losing Your Soul


also available at:

Browser Books
 2195 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA


Cover to Cover
 1307 Castro St.
San Francisco, CA


Phoenix Books
 3850 24th St.
San Francisco, CA


and of course the 800 lb.



Kind Ambition is about you having the tools to slide over to the driver’s seat of your own life.  Circumstances will always be changing, seemingly thwarting our plans, but we don’t have to be  thrown around by them. You can be in charge of your choices and actions more than you might imagine - yet.

Kind Ambition is written for you, as a practical guide you can use 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 “Kind Ambition”



"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 achieve real
 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 Company Magazine






“A 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 straightforward and inspirational book.”

                       -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, Director Pacific Development Partners




© 2001- 2011 Optimized Results. All Rights Reserved     205 Chattanooga St.   San Francisco, CA 94114     415.826.0478