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     When Good Words Go Bad

The Integram: an Integral Enneagram of Consciousness;  a model of consciousness, including all aspects, for designing practical paths of personal development and evolution.

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Why Cognitive Linguistics?
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Recently I was asked why I emphasize linguistics and communication so much in my work as a coach, and I was struck by how that question hadn’t really occurred to me. When we’ve been at something for decades, we often take certain things for granted and move on. One of the most valuable things about teaching is that it yanks us back to “Beginner’s Mind,” and we’re forced to re-examine our assumptions and ways of explaining things.

This is especially true when we’re working with very different kinds of people with different backgrounds. What both connects and divides us becomes how we say what we say. So why do I emphasize communication? The first thing that comes to me is that language and words are the mortar between the bricks of every interaction we have. This includes the thousands of interactions you have every day with yourself.  Have you ever thought about how much you talk to yourself in your own head?  Have you ever thought about how you talk to yourself?  This incredibly important activity we’re engaged in 24/7 (yes even in our dreams) is described by the study of Cognitive Linguistics.

A simple way of looking at Cognitive Linguistics is that it’s the two-way dynamic where how we think about something determines the language we use, and our language determines how we think about things. It’s kind of amazing that we rarely spend much time thinking about something that’s practically the basis of who we are, and how we function in the world. This is another one of those things we take for granted, and don’t take the time to examine, unless of course we have to explain it to someone. When unconscious, it’s as dangerous to our psyches and those around us as operating heavy machinery unconsciously would be to our physical surroundings. We step on a lot of toes, including our own.

Before I ask you to get introspective about this, let’s look at a simple example of the power of Cognitive Linguistics. Think about how others talk to you and how they treat you. Do you see a connection? When they talk to you in a supportive way, how do you feel?  How do you do whatever tasks are in front of you? How about when they’re harsh or critical with you? How do you feel? How do you do whatever tasks are in front of you now?

Maybe it’s not surprising that we tend to internalize the voices around us especially when we’re young. If we heard criticism a lot, we took on that communication style in our heads, and tend to criticize ourselves, without anyone even being around. If we’re really sensitive to criticism, and aren’t paying attention, we might project this on others, and hear them criticizing us, even when they’re not. That kind of projection is more common than you might think.

Another common dynamic is what I call “narration.” People talk to themselves as if they’re doing the “voice over” for their lives all day long using language they absorbed from another time and place. What they’re not noticing is how this is often not a very nice voice, and might be beating them up a bit. Some people even have a kind of “inner drill sergeant” barking at them all day long. They’re not taking into account how this makes them feel, do work, or interact with others, but I bet you can guess.

If we’re criticizing on the inside, we’re criticizing on the outside, and vice versa, regardless of how aware of this we might think we are. The more we bring it into conscious awareness, the more we can intentionally change the nature of that communication. We can speak to ourselves in a more loving, supportive tone, and observe how much more we get done, and without mistakes. We might also notice others responding more positively toward us as well.

The Words Themselves
The place we can probably have the most impact on ourselves and those around us is in the actual word choices we use. My friend Peter and I did a workshop a while back where we looked specifically at words as metaphorical bars on self-made prisons. There are so many ways that we limit ourselves and discourage ourselves merely by unconsciously using certain words.  We talked about how when we repeat a kind of story long enough, we start to believe it, and this can be incredibly restricting.

Those stories tend to have the familiar, “I can’t, I never, I wouldn’t,” limiters, and of course mask the deeper “I’m not enough” type stories. Merely by taking the pre-decided endings off these unfinished stories of our lives, we open the gates to new ways of approaching everything. Maybe I never was able to “get math” before, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn math in my future, anymore than what you see in your rear-view mirror is exactly what’s going to be in your windshield. This is especially true when you really take the reins on going where you intentionally want to go.

By changing our language and how we describe reality to ourselves, we can literally change how we think. I’ll give you another example, and yes, this will be all too familiar with those of you who know me or have worked with me.  We’ve all heard that “try” is a limp noodle of a word, and we need to think “do or do not” according to Yoda among others. Here’s the Cognitive Linguistic reason that you’ll literally feel the difference in your body.

hift the words “I’ll try” to the words, “I will do the best I can.” The replacement phrase contains three strong cognitive messages: a commitment (I will) a goal of quality and action (do the best) finished with an affirmation (I can.) You’ll truly feel a physical difference. Virtually everyone’s posture improves. If that tiny shift can make you feel that differently, imagine the hundreds of shifts you could experience, and how good you could feel. Our internal language works like instructions; we’re always building who we are from within. When we can identify our internal language, we can correct the “bugs” in the program, and consciously re-write to align with our positive intentions and desires.

Want to learn more about how to become the best you possible?
 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.

     - Ian J. Blei


Summer Hot Offer:

Summertime and the living is... well getting better. It's been a while, but this month I'm giving away another three complimentary Dynamic Exploration Sessions to the first 3 people (who haven't already worked with me) who email me this month's secret word: "Kaizen"

Re-engineering to create a continuous improvement model has always been a passion of mine, and doing this with humans can be even more fun than doing it with businesses. Just put "Kaizen" in the Subject Line of your email, along with your contact info, and we'll schedule your session.

“Ian Blei is exceptionally talented at helping people get the utmost out of life. He has an incredible ability to quickly discover key patterns and issues that can either drive or inhibit breakthroughs. Ian is the ultimate bundle of experience, skill, smarts, passion and professionalism." - M.M., - m biz dev

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Resource Links:

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Kind Ambition - 2nd Edition



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Welcome to the Integram, where consciousness meets intentional design.   Enjoy!



The Optimizer
Ian Blei,
Director of the
Institute for Integral Enneagram Studies and
President of
Optimized Results



Kind Ambition

Click HERE





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



Kind Ambition
Fan Page
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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 , Senior Partner/Channel Marketing Manager - Skype





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