why normal isn't healthy

Background: Increase your Relational Intelligence

Everything gets done through relationships.
     How we lead, serve, parent, teach,
     doctor, lawyer, Indian chief
all get done through relationships.  
     How we partner, sell
     and learn as well
all get done through relationships.
      How we problem solve
      improve, evolve
all get done through relationships.
And all YOUR relationships begin with YOU ! 

What’s “normal?”  Growing up here’s what we learned:

1) there’s only one way of doing things, that's the right way.(stress others when they do it wrong) 

2) the secret of success is hard work (fun is something that happens after work & balance issues result)

3) if you care about doing a good job you should be hard on yourself (stress yourself)

How did we learn the “right way” to do things?  Trial and error.  We did it wrong, wrong, wrong until we finally did it right!!  And when we did it wrong we were told, “If I’ve told you once I’ve told you 1000 times…) We heard we were bad and should be ashamed of ourselves.  So we all got more specific negative feedback that specific positive feedback on the road to learning how to do things well/right.  Also warmth was withheld until performance criteria were met.  "Your father and I are very proud to see you’ve finally learned how to do that the right way!”

Getting more specific negative feedback than specific positive feedback while learning the right way to do things means we all got our feelings of inadequacy reinforced

in the process.  And those feelings never go away.  Why?  The voice of the parent becomes the inner voice of the child. So when we make a mistake we don’t need anyone else to reinforce our feelings of inadequacy.  We do it to ourselves!  The result is that we all have a secret. That part of us that has those feelings of inadequacy is called the  scared one; scared guyscared gal inside who never goes away.   However, it is a secret we all share yet don’t talk about.  

The irony is that having those feelings of inadequacy doesn’t mean we’re inadequate.  In fact it’s a great driver of ambition to show the world our worth by doing things really well.  Better yet, perfectly.  That way no one will know our secret!  That’s the plus side if you will of the scared one.  

The down side is that how we operate in relationships is a function of how we learned to feel about ourselves.  It’s not a function of how well we do anything!  And everything gets done through relationships.  So we can be really good at implementing a product improvement process and not be very good at coaching someone to learn how.  "What’s your problem?  What’s wrong with you?  Well, that’s just how I was taught!  Now try it again and do it right this time!"

Just as people can learn how to do some process improvement in manufacturing they can also learn some process improvement in their relationships, both at work and at home.  That brings us to outcomes.  Participants will see:

     how to have a healthier relationship with themselves instead of being their own worst enemies

     how to have healthier relationships with others, without those "others" changing

     how to get better at what they do because we can all get better and help others do the same

     how can we have more fun getting better

communication and team building in a time of change

Given the above modis operendi of do it right or not at all, certain implications result.  For one, althought we were told that honesty is the best policy.  Is that what we learned?  Remember we all have a scared one inside whose motto is, safety and security at all costs.  So when we were asked if we did something that we weren’t supposed to do, it might not have felt safe to admit that we did.  The bubble above our head filled with awful images of what happened the last time we got into trouble.  “No, I did not!”  rolls off the tongue.  Honesty wasn’t the best policy.  

To be honest is to risk being vulnerable.  And the scared one is risk averse.  If I admit that I need help with a project or that I made a mistake, my image in your eyes may diminish.  And I risk you seeing me as inadequate.  Plus, being vulnerable is not a cultural value.  However, high team function cannot develop without high levels of trust amongst teammates.  And without honesty and the certain knowledge that no one will take advantage of our vulnerability, a trusting environment will be lacking.

Everything is always changing and with change comes stress.  Why?  One reason is that the scared one is driven by the fear that at any moment he could be exposed as inadequate.  Fear is the driver of the stress response.  And the stress response is a survival response.  So when we’re functioning at a survival frequency we act out the scared one’s motto, safety and security at all costs.  What is best for the common good of the team falls away and our own survival becomes paramount.

Outcomes:  Participants will get an understanding of what gets in the way of getting to where they want to be at work as well as at home and the value of working for the well being of others at some cost to themselves.  That cost is an investment and the return on investment is a much more positive, enjoyable worklife and homelife.

relational selling

We’ve all heard it said, people take their money very……..(fill in the blank) seriously.  Right.  When you’re talking about money it’s a very serious thing.  It’s like medicine.

People take their illnesses very seriously and very personally as well. It’s also true of their money.  People take their money very... personally.

And they give it very personally!  So, to what kind of person do you want to give your money.  Products and services are all similar.  Prices are too.  Then what is it that causes you to open your wallet and hand over your hard earned money? It’s the personal relationship that has developed with the person doing the selling.  

It’s not about the product.  Of course they have to know about the product and believe in the product.  That’s a given.  It’s about the person selling the product.  What are her values?  Does she really care about us and helping us solve a problem? Is he honest or is he just saying what he thinks I want to hear?  Is she pleasant to be around and responds quickly when we have a problem?  Are they in it for the long term?  Can I trust them like a friend?  Outcome: learn to be the kind of person to whom you want to give your money. 

managing change


Everything is always changing and with change comes stress.  Why?  One reason is that the scared one is driven by the fear that at any moment he could be exposed as inadequate.  Fear is the driver of the stress response.  And the stress response is a survival response.  So when we’re functioning at a survival frequency we act out the scared one’s motto, safety and security at all costs.  What is best for the common good of the organization falls away and our own survival becomes paramount.

Managing change then is much more about managing yourself and your own ego.  Sure when change happens it can be stressful.  However, it can also be a stimulus for growth.  The fact is you cannot reach peak performance without being stressed.  The challenge may be just what we need to mobilize more of our own potential

and put it into action.  Instead of complaining, the goal becomes to use the energy that adrenalin provides in a positive way, to stretch as a person.  Staying flexibleand open to change is a positive health habit.  Plus, flexibility is a sign of emotional maturity.  

using stress to power peak performance

Two things: (1) You cannot reach peak performance without being stressed.  (2)  You cannot live at the peak.  Hence, we need to be able to access and express our latent potential to reach past where we’ve been before to a new personal best.  Then we have to know how to restore and replentish ourselves to prepare for the next challenge.  

That new challenge may be a promotion and just what we need to grow our career.  We were doing really well in our old job, distinguished ourselves and then we’re asked to move up the ladder.  inside we go, “ya baby!” at the same time the scared one may go, “holy shit!”  What we now have to do is distinguish ourselves at a new level with a boss that’s impossible to please!!  Now we get to be a buffer between our new boss and those we lead and serve.  At the same time we need them to help us figure out how to do our new job.  And the scared one may have trouble asking them for help driven by the fear of being seen as inadequate.  In short, one not only gets to lead others but has to manage the scared one so that the new job can be done well.

Turning off the stress response and turning on the relaxation response is a great way to restore ourselves.  And it’s something everyone can learn if given a tool which provides feedback as we learn.  We use biofeedback as a way to measure that learning.  Everyone gets a temperature training device during the session and it goes home with them to practice there. 

Back to the top.  We need the challenges that life provides to stretch us past where we have been into new territory, new heights.  But you cannot stay in that rarefied air.

We all need to come back down where there’s more oxygen to destress and rejuvenate in preparation for our next stressful adventure.

humor in the workplace

I’m a MD and both a founding board member and member of the scientific advisory board of the National Institute For Play. Hearing that, some folks say, “I know, laughter is the best medicine, right?!”  Wrong.  Laughter is not the best medicine. However, a playful sense of humor is a wonderful social lubricant to better connect with others at work and at home.  Don’t you think people who have fun working together do better work than people who just grind through each day?  And, as a family doc, I‘ve found that families where members have fun together are healthier than families where everyone is busy keeping their nose to the grindstone.  

The problem is that we grow up learning that hard work is the secret to success.  And play is something that happens after work.  We separate the two which is a big mistake and our lives can become out of balance.  We give much more weight to the value of work and relegate play back to the world of the child.  Then we go watch them play adult supervised, competitive sports.  The days of, “can Jimmy come out to play today,” are gone.  In those days children got together without adults, made up games  where they had to collaborate and played together for hours.

We also may have heard the proverb "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,”  However, when children play organized, zero sum sports with winners and losers we have turned play into work. “Well, it’s a dog eat dog world out there and our kids need to know how to compete.”  Right,,,,ever seen a dog eating another dog?  

The result is that we grow up being much better at competing with each other than collaborating together.  

So let’s put the two back together.  As adults it’s much more fun to play with a problem than work on a problem.  And often the solution that results represents a new innovation to an old way of doing things.  Putting the fun factor into our work lives helps lighten the load, decreases stress and combats burnout.  It’s OK to have fun at work.  In fact, most folks that are the best at what they do don’t think about their jobs as work.  

the juggling act:

managing multiple priories

First, this is not a time management program.  It’s an interactive 3 hour session about
learning how to get your own needs met at the same time you help others get their needs met.
So learning is required and juggling is a great metaphor for learning.  Sure there are different
learning styles which are unique to each of us.  But what do we share in common regardless
of those differences.  What is the final common pathway of learning?   And what secret do we share
in common that keeps us from following that path to manage all the important grownup stuff we have to do?

Take aways:
 Understand that doing the best job with your life with the information you got
   about how to do grown up is a set up to be neglectful of your needs.

 Learn the six words that you can use to help others understand what you need
   in the way of help to manage the balls in the air.

Understand the difference between doing what is important and what is urgent.

Understand the wisdom of all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (having a dull life)

creating a healthy workplace

Rank without Rankism:  Everything gets done through relationships.  How people are treated determines the health of the organization, collectively and individually.   Rankism occurs when someone takes away the dignity of another person by pulling rank. In other words, a somebody makes someone else feel like a nobody.  

Everyone is a SOMEBODY and nobody a Nobody.  Cultivating a dignitarian workplace makes for a suspiciously healthy place to work where collaboration amongst equals creates the best solutions for those being served.


We heard honesty is the best policy growing up.  Was it?  And what was the model we saw around us even in our own families.   What is selective honesty?  Is the best moral decision the best business decision, period? And if so, the greatest good for all will be served.

How do we get off the path? How do we get back on?  What is the risk?