PULSE Enneagram

I attended a concert last night.  Cyndi Lauper opened for Cher.  Cyndi is 60 and still having fun and entertaining others.  Cher is an icon.  She looks Fabulous at 68.  These ladies love what they do.  Cyndi had a lot to say to the old folks who remembered the things she was talking about and to the young ones in the crowd she said “Look it up.”  in her delightful Queens’ NY accent.  It was a great evening.

What keeps them so youthful?  I think it has a lot to do with attitude.  They are very different people.  If I were to observe for direction and orientation, and I did, I would identify Cher’s orientation as past.  She talked about her past accomplishments and much of her show was spent reminiscing with video of her from the past. Rather than move toward the crowd, she moved away.  I know that sounds strange but she didn’t engage that much.  Between songs she disappeared to change costumes.  She looked fabulous and reminded us that that was what she was there to do. Cher has always been a differentiator.  She works at adding beauty to the world … her own. And there is a melancholy about her that she hides with costumes and fabulous acts on stage with her.

Cyndi on the other hand, is present oriented. Her album is remastered and rereleased to freshen it up.  Although she talked briefly about the past, she responded to the audience in a very present kind of approach and she sang from her heart for us, songs we knew and songs we were less familiar with. She was sharing in the here and now.  She knew where she was.  She entered through the crowd wearing a red serge jacket and a tan hat as a tribute to the Mounties.  She also did one or two songs in a Calgary Flames jersey. She moved TOWARD the audience.  We could not escape her. She was in our faces and we all loved it.  Cyndi is a take charge kind of girl who is going to make sure that girls and everyone else have fun.

In both cases the youthfulness comes from a strong sense of self and a willingness to keep moving, to keep doing what you did when you were young so that you can maintain that feeling.  When it stops being fun I know they will stop.  Cyndi does it because she can.  She is doing musicals and taking shows on the road because she loves it.  I think Cher does it for others … her fans … who adore her and remind her how fabulous she really is.

Thanks to both of you for crushing the ‘granny’ stereotype.

I am not sure why but this morning I have been thinking about the movie “The Wizard of Oz.”  I think at the Academy Awards they recognized the 75 th of anniversary of the film.  I remember P!nk singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  Maybe that is why it is with me.

The characters …Scarecrow, Tin-man and Lion … were all searching for something.  Even Dorothy was looking for a way home.  These characters represent our Head, Heart and Body.  Scarecrow was looking for a brain. What the Wizard gave him was evidence of his already being smart with a diploma.  The diploma gave him the confidence to move forward.  The Tin-man was looking for a Heart, ways to connect with other people.  The Wizard again gave him evidence that he already demonstrated the compassion he was seeking. The Lion was looking for courage.  He wanted to be brave in the face of present danger.  The Wizard gave him a medal as evidence that he had already demonstrated courage and bravery. Confidence, compassion and courage.   Head, heart and body.

Dorothy, too, discovered that she had had the power to return home all along.  All she had to do was click her heels together three times and say …”There is no place like home.”  Like Dorothy we all  have  the power we need within us to make a change and make a difference.  We can demonstrate confidence, compassion and courage under certain circumstances but we may not be very good at recognizing our own strengths.  Think about a time when you had the confidence to make a change and the compassion and courage to make a difference.

BE the Wizard today.  Give someone else evidence that they already possess confidence, compassion and courage.  Do it by noticing for them what they may not recognize in themselves.  Tell them their own story from a different perspective.  They will smile.

So let’s continue the SHIFT approach to evaluating and perhaps adjusting your life to meet your needs with a discussion of what Independent Spirit means.   The middle finger represents relational intelligence.  I have chosen to use independence as a scale for measuring relational intelligence because having a sense of independence is so important to be able to manage yourself in any relationship.  An independent spirit means that you are fully aware that you deserve to be treated well, to have respect and consideration as well as to give it to others.  It means that you make decisions based on your own AND the others best interests. That way you are better prepared to manage the space between you and the other person.

It is less likely that you will become lost or stuck in a relationship that is toxic if you have a great measure of self-esteem to work with.  No doubt that self-esteem will come from high scores on all of the scales.  It is important to know who you are and that you can stand on your own two feet. Know, too, what you have to offer in the relationship whether it is a work environment or not as well as what you can gain from being in the relationship.

Learning about yourself in relation to others is important.  There are many psychological tests and self-help books that can help you with that.  I love the Enneagram for helping me understand the space between me and others and how I can manipulate my responses to get the responses that serve us both. Manipulate might be a strong word but it really means that you can adjust what you are doing to improve the interaction and make it healthy for both of you.

Some might argue that interdependence should be the top of the scale for relational intelligence.  Maybe …. But a measure of  independence is a prerequisite for healthy interdependence.  Let’s start there.  Are my needs being met in the relationship?  If not renegotiate the relationship or leave it all together.  This may sound a little one-sided.  The other question of course is are THEIR needs being met?  If not what can I do to meet those needs and maintain the relationship?

You have heard me talk about the five As before.  Relational well-being really needs all five.  Appreciation, affection, approval, acceptance and allowing for both parties to gain a level of independent well-being within your relationships.

What I mean by independent spirit is better understood if you consider life as a talk show. You would be Oprah.  You are in charge of who the guests are on the show.  You control the conversation and when appropriate you give them the stage but you always maintain that independent decision-making about what’s good for the show.

It is the middle finger.  Use it if you need to to get what you need to maintain your relational well-being.



The first scale for measuring well-being on the SHIFT hand from the last blog, SHIFT Happens, is the scale for mental or intellectual well-being. It can be found on your pinky finger. How sharp are you today? That is the first question. Are you feeling on top of things mentally or are things a little foggy and dull today? On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your mental well-being today?
Scales are personal. Only you can determine what they mean for you. Generally speaking you have an average day that ranks around a 5 on your scale, a day where nothing gets missed and things go well. Nothing too exciting happens.  You answer questions that are asked of you and you accomplish routine tasks in routine ways.
Then there are days where a spark of curiousity illuminates the ideas in your head and you can hardly stand how brilliant you feel. Usually someone notices that you are ON and that lights you up again and away you go. The ignition is usually based in curiousity and the fuel is satisfaction of the curiousity, a new idea or a synthesis of thoughts that create new packaging for old ideas. A 10 day on the scale from 1 to 10, where your ideas are at your fingertips … literally.  You have a sense of feeling encouraged and motivated and in the groove.
And then there are days where you can’t even string a sentence together. On those days you tend to rely on your other modalities or intelligences to get you through. Some days all of the scales are close to the palm of your hand, at a 1 on the scale. On those days it might take the igniting of one intelligence to pull the scales up for all of them. Mentally it is curiousity. If you can find something to be curious about you can improve the scale almost immediately. Sometimes I just get curious about why I am feeling so dull minded. That can be enough of a spark. I write about it because words and language serve our mental wellness. Or I read something that might provide a spark.
Rest is important. We are dullest when we have had little rest. Energy is important and we can take energy from that spark of curiousity. Nutrition is important. There are many studies about brain food. Exercise is important. Sudoku or cross words or brain teasers give us a work out. Water is important. Hydrate you r brain. That three o’clock drop in mental capacity is best served by a tall glass of water. My First Nations friends always remind me that water is the first medicine. To improve on our sharpness scale it is important to keep hydrated.  Rest, Energy, Nutrition, Exercise, Water = RENEW for brain health and wellness.

Keep the mind Sharp so that we can SHIFT our integrated scales toward greater personal well-being.

A Sharp Mind – Pinky

A Happy Heart – Ring

An Independent Spirit – Middle

A Fit Body – Index and

A Trusting Soul – Thumb

Use your fingers to do your own check in now.

Watch for the next blog on ideas for improving your Heart well-being on the Happy Heart Scale.

If you are familiar with PULSE conversations you know that they provide you with tools to move people from the RED Zone of retaliation and anger to the GREEN Zone of connection and collaboration. I have often written about it when I talk to mediators and negotiators because in those circumstances people enter the conversation ready for a fight, in the Red Zone.

Recently I was working with a coaching client on his approach to an up coming difficult conversation. What I realized that we were doing together was creating a strategy for STAYING in the GREEN zone from the beginning. So we talked about how to avoid triggers and word choices that would make it impossible for the other person to take offense and move to red. It was an enlightening exercise for both of us.

We took turns playing the roles. I read to him what he had prepared and he could hear immediately what words might trigger an unfavourable reaction. Then we talked about remaining curious rather than accusatory, asking questions rather than giving opinions, listening for tense orientation and matching it for best opportunity to connect, matching and mismatching to move them to the purpose of the meeting, being clear about that purpose from the beginning and in fact following closely the PULSE structure to insure a positive outcome.

This is a very different purpose for the PULSE frame and associated skills but a very useful one for anyone in leadership who needs to deliver news in a way that won’t incite riots. How do you work with someone to have them come to understand some hard to hear news without triggering emotional responses that can negatively impact the working relationship? There are deliberate steps to follow and effective tools at your disposal. GHOST, POWER and HEART to name 15…..

I am hosting 40 hour PULSE Course in October and November. The first 16 hours are on line at your leisure, at your own computer with me providing feedback as you finis the modules. You receive a link and a password the first week in October. Then November 14, 15, 16 I have room for three more people to work with me on the practice part of the program in St Albert at the office. If you are interested or would like to recommend the program to someone else, let me know.

I am leaving for Europe today. I will blog when I can. Europe always inspires me. France and Italy this time. Au revoir ….

Today I had a nice chat with a school administrator interested in what we do at PULSE.  I decided to reprint the email I sent to him because it provides  information that others may like to have.  Comments welcomed…..
“It was nice to chat with you today.  I just wanted to follow-up with a few items as promised.  The dates of the 2 day workshop that is an open enrolment opportunity is April 12 and 13 at the Petroleum Club in Calgary.  That particular workshop is focused on collaborative teams and the attitudes, skills and knowledge that you will receive from the presentation seem to me to be a good fit for the situation you find yourself in.  There may be a mix of industry and government people in attendance.  As discussed we will charge you our government rate.
Alternatively we could offer a separate, education focused seminar to you and three or more other colleagues at your campus.  You would have greater input into the content of this type of seminar as we would be free to customize the program.  As I mentioned on the phone I taught G&T and have grand-son at Janis Academy who is Autistic spectrum.  With my experience as a teacher, vice principal and principal before I became a mediator, in the court system and with government agencies and now as a trainer and author on conflict resolution along with your knowledge of the situation on the ground,  you and I should be able to find the right combination of questions and answers and opportunities for experiential learning to meet the needs of all of those involved.
Our training always involves using the tools to teach the tools so everyone comes away with applicable and timely tools to put to immediate use.  they come away with an understanding of what to do, how to do and why to do it.  They come away with a protocol, and a process for effective and meaningful conversation … no matter the purpose or the participants.  Students, parents, staff will all respond differently when you put these simple principles to work. AND we include 30 minutes of follow on coaching after the program.
I also want to mention the webinar series that begins in February as an alternative or a supplement to the two-day face to face seminar in April.
February and March we are also offering Mediation Certification with the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society.  The first 4 sessions are webinars that provide the basic Concepts that support mediation and why it works.  Than the Concepts course is followed by three days of Practice, where you would practice the skills of a mediator with the guidance of qualified mediator coaches.  As I mentioned, these courses lead to certification with the ADRIC.
The Sociology in the Workplace seminars I spoke about are being given to sociology classes at Mount Royal University Monday and Tuesday of next week.  The same presentation has been given to the Calgary Change Management Think Tank where it was entitled … “What gets you up in the morning?”  I think this could provide your staff with a nice introduction to another way to consider or filter the behaviours they see in the building.  I would offer you that one hour presentation for free for your staff.  We only need to find a time that works.  As I mentioned it provides a sociological construct based on a three by three matrix of people and how they relate to others and the world.  People are moving with you, away from you or towards you.  They are also oriented to the past, the present or the future.  put these 3×3 on a grid and you have the nine sets of Beliefs, Expectations, Assumptions, Concerns and Hopes, the BEACHs of the human experience in society.
Finally I want to mention our Principals; Faces of Change book.  I will drop a copy by your office Monday or Tuesday.  There is also a five-day seminar that we have developed to accompany the book but it doesn’t sound like a perfect fit for your situation at the moment.  I would appreciate though, if you could read it through and provide feed back as to the value it has for school administrators and ways the you could see us distributing it to other principals.
I am excited by the possibility of working with people who are on the ground in education.  Over the past number of years I have worked with government departments here and in the US but my heart is still in education.  If there is a way that I can help make that path easier for you, your colleagues, the students and parents at your school I would be honoured to be invited to do so.
Thanks again for the call ….

PictureDr. Nancy Love

Calgary, St Albert, Vancouver

Next week I am heading to Hawaii for three glorious weeks of writing.  I want to thank all of you for responding to the writing on the blog and providing valuable feedback for what will be the BEACHs book.  Any further comments you have on the BEACHs would be welcome and timely right now.  I am working hard to complete this two-year project.  There have been distractions and set backs and …well you know what its like when a project is not your first priority… it just doesn’t happen.  I guess I have been waiting for the book to finish itself…. That is not happening so I am off to commit my time in the sun and on the BEACH to the completion of the book.

It is not a hardship to write in Hawaii.  It is such a beautiful place.  This year getting away from Canadian winter isn’t as compelling as it usually is.  It has been mild. But there are no BEACHs here in Alberta.  NONE.

2012 will be a great year.  Leap years often are for me.  It is a purple year.  A year of peaceful productivity.  I am so looking forward to spending more time with you on the blog, in our new Red Team – Green Team webinar series and in person when I can.  This first month is about organizing and setting goals, which is critical, and about planning the year using the PULSE Frame so that the goals are achievable and the plans are sustainable.

Evaluating the ongoing projects and setting milestones for them is important for me.  Also important is the addition of a new project or two that will add value to what we already do.  I have made lists of things I want to know more about, things for completion and things to begin.  I need a new five-year plan this year, too.  Not sure what that will look like yet but it will definitely include more time here in the office in St Albert.  I really like it here.

Hope everyone had a great holiday season.  Happy 2012.

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