If you had just one word for this year that could change your life what would it be?

Take a minute and think about this. Watch the video and then write down that one word that you would like to most reflect your life this year. So far, we’ve had words like happy, bold, courageous, kind, engaged, hopeful, listening, disciplined, intentional to name just a few.

My friends from around the world are joining me in this adventure. I invite you to join us. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Identify the word and write it down.
  2. Go to my Facebook Fan Page and “like” it. Then join our discussion there around the One Word feed.
  3. Keep an eye for updates on my blog and Facebook page where we’ll share together insights on how to maximize internalizing and utilizing our One Word this year in such a way that it DOES CHANGE OUR LIFE.

The journey begins.

Do you set goals for the New Year? Do you achieve them? OUCH.

I set goals every year (17 last year because I incorporate all 7 vital areas of my life – faith, fitness, family, friends, finances, firm and fun). But, having just evaluated my goals for 2014 I found that I hit some part way, fully reached other and missed some too.

The reality is that 50% of people fail on their yearly goals by the end of January and also 90% fail during the year.

So why is this? Well, I believe that many including me try to do too much and often too fast. So this year I am focusing on 1 WORD. That’s it. Oh, I’ll still have goals but I will focus on that 1 WORD.

In this video I’m going to sharing my 1 WORD challenge with you and I would like to invite you to write in your word in the comments area below.

Then, in the days to come I will give you more tools on how to live out that 1 WORD here in my blog.

Let’s see if we can see measurable and meaningful life change this year by focusing on that 1 attribute we would like to best reflect our lives this next year.

So, what is YOUR 1 WORD?

Conflict - 1Do you have anyone in your life who drives you nuts? Maybe it is a child, a spouse, a friend, a co-worker or a vendor. Well, if you are like most people you do have one or more people like that in your life. I want you to get a picture of that person’s face in your mind as we begin this blog because I want you to think about how you apply these principles of conflict resolution to your relationship.

These principles have worked wherever I’ve taught them in dozens of countries around the world. So, think about how you can put them to work and see broken or damaged relationships become whole!  Also, use these principles to keep your personal and professional relationships and teams healthy, productive and enjoyable.

And, I know that your personal and professional success will be greatly determined by your ability to master and help others master these principles 

George Bernard Shaw said it well, “In the right key one can say anything. In the wrong key, nothing; the only delicate part is the establishment of the key.”

In other words, if you are out of sort with people and living with unresolved conflicts you simply can’t maximize your productivity, profitability and success. You must be in the right key of harmonious and unifying relationships.

In this blog (part 1 of 4) I want to begin to coach you on 12 steps to resolving conflict. First, let me give you the 12 steps in summary form and then I’ll unpack them start now and in my next two blogs. 12 Steps to Resolving Conflict

  1. Learn to embrace and resolve conflict.
  2. Address your anger appropriately.
  3. Seek understanding, not victory.
  4. Assume the best.
  5. Learn to share your feelings appropriately.
  6. Watch your tongue. Ask, is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?
  7. Speak the truth respectfully.
  8. Attack the problem, not the person. Don’t use “You” statements; use “I” statements.
  9. Deal with specific areas, not generalizations.
  10. Seek and grant forgiveness.
  11. Deal with conflict personally. Go to that person. Don’t reprimand anyone in front of others.
  12. Be gentle. People are fragile.

 Now, that you have an overview of the principles, let me give you a little more practical application of these.

1. Learn to embrace and resolve conflict. How was conflict handled in your life growing up? Did your family deal with it in a healthy way or didn’t they? It’s important to think about this because most of us tend to respond to conflict the way our families did, or we overreact and go to the other extreme.

The tendency is for us to react by “Fight” or “Flight.” We can get abusive on the one hand or run away, deny and hide on the other. Both of these processes are unhealthy and never resolve conflict.

Remember, the goal is to embrace conflict and resolve it. So, what do you do? You commit to resolve conflict routinely. You embrace it the way one fighter embraces another who is beating him to a pulp. You try to get your arms around the conflict, evaluate it, not wasting emotional energy but letting your energy be used for positive problem solving.

The next 11 principles will tell you how to do this.

2. Address your anger appropriately.  Learn how to handle anger. First, realize that anger is not bad. It isn’t. In fact, anger is an emotion built within you in order to help you deal with impending danger the right way.

Let me illustrate. You are driving on the freeway and a car pulls right in front of you. What do you do? Well, you may be tempted to do all sorts of juvenile things. I sure get tempted to. But, hopefully, I let the anger I’m feeling lead me to step on the brakes, swerve and avert a fatal accident. You see, anger is a tool to help you.

So, anger isn’t bad. A response of flight or fight, however, is NOT the right way to respond. Instead, admit your anger and ask yourself what is causing it. Again, don’t waste your emotions by moping or screaming or being resentful. Instead, let all the emotional energy go toward completing the next 10 steps.

3. Seek understanding, not victory. Learn to listen! That’s a killer for most of us. But, you’ll never be a pro at resolving conflict unless you let go of trying to always win and focus on truly understanding. So, keep your mouth shut and ask questions.

If you are feeling hurt by someone due to what they may have said or done, don’t attack the person but ask questions to determine what was said and why it was said. Again, don’t get in an attack mode.

Instead, try to understand the other person’s perspective.

Remember, your goal is to get and stay in the right key of unity.

So, take a minute now to review the 12 steps summarized above and rate how well you do. And, this week focus daily on these first three steps.

And, let me know how you are doing and how I can help you process these as we work our way through them.

Stressed Over MoneyAre we facing MOSTLY an economic crisis or a character crisis right now? I wonder!

Undoubtedly the economy is a mess. But wasn’t it the greed, arrogance and self-absorption on wall street along with the get-rich-quick mindset, greed and selfishness on main street that got us here.

And, as people are responding now, don’t we see fundamentally a response that flows from character or lack of it?

Think about it… fear, blaming others, denial, worry, dishonesty, inappropriate anger (I think there is plenty of good anger needed right now)?

And the biggest issue to me.. how do we start to make adjustments based on good character.. taking responsibility, kicking in the work ethic, caring for others in need, being generous, providing positive solutions, etc.

What do you think?

Are you focusing on what is really important to YOU?

It’s easy to get off course here. One CEO said it this way – “life is all about juggling balls…. the key is to know the difference between the rubber balls and the crystal balls. The rubber balls will bounce; the crystal balls will break.”

So what are the crystal balls in your life? For me it is faith, family, friends and fitness overall. I spoke to a two large business conventions in Russia in the past couple of weeks and talked these 20,000 leaders about how to work on life balance and gave them this exercise.

I used this video of pictures to show them how I did this exercise myself.

These are the core priority areas of my life – faith, fitness, family, friends, finances, firm (work/professional) and fun (re-creation). I’ve sought to take these in this order and show snapshops of my life that reflect these.

Take pictures or find some that best describe what is most important to you. Then, think about these areas, set long term goals and then weekly proactively build activities and build them into your schedule.

Now develop your own pictures of those things important to you – your crystal balls. Then, comment below and upload your snapshots or movie (mine is a simple movie through iPhoto) to youtube, vimeo, facebook, etc. and put in your URL below.

I’ll send a free ebook of mine on Life Balance to the best entry.

How is the harmony in your relationships – your family, colleagues, clients, others?

Well, most of us struggle with that.

My wife, Mary and I spent an incredible evening at the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow hosted by a client who had us speaking at a large convention of about 12,000 business owners.

The night was magical, even though I’ve never been a ballet kind of guy.

The dancing was stunning, the artists impeccable, the venue supreme and the music breath taking.

It reminded me of George Bernard Shaws comment, “in the right key you can say anything; in the wrong key nothing. The only delicate part of life is establishing the key.”

So listening to the orchestra even while tuning up here’s what I learned. Take a look and see what you think.

  • You must listen to the people/instruments around you.
  • You need to constantly make adjustments.
  • It’s OK to get out of key but you need to quickly get back in.
  • You need to master your instrument – you listening and communication skills.
  • You need to submit to the maestro.
  • You need to practice, listen, adjust until you get in key and then work to stay in key.
  • We’re all different with differing gifts and abilities so celebrate your role and gifts and join the team in making beautiful music.

That’s my take on this. How about you?

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