Health, Environment, Negotiation

Welcome to HEN - encouraging compassion -
for self (Health), our Environment, and each other (Negotiation).

HEN is published each month by Menard Coaching, Mediating & Training:
Helping Leaders Engage - One Tough Conversation at a Time!

HEN arrives at the full moon - the apex of the beauty of darkness in light.   
Full Moon: March 7, 2012 - Year 10, Issue 3
Table of Contents:

1. HEALTH: The Art of Selfishness

I had a conversation recently with one of my Executive Coaching Clients about “selfishness.” We share the same religious background, so are both familiar with how selfishness was generally viewed there: selfishness is “BAD.”
And, I must admit, I have often looked at someone who is “only looking out for Number 1” – as selfish. 
Yet in talking with my client, I saw her affirm that she needed to care for herself to be able to care for others well.
That makes sense, yet where is the distinction? I think we’ve all known people who seem caught up in getting their own needs met without thinking about others. Or people who seem to talk on and on about themselves without paying much attention to us. Or people who think their problems are so big, yet are really quite small in comparison to the “bigger picture.”
One distinction that comes to mind is the level of tolerance for “selfishness.” What I mean is, if I’m honest with myself, I can think of many times I’ve been caught up in getting my own needs met. Or been talking “too much” about myself. Or gotten lost in the “enormity” of problems in my own life.
What’s the difference? 
For one thing, when I judge someone else as “selfish”, I tend to see this as a permanent and all-pervasive state. They are basically bad!  Whereas, if I judge myself as “selfish”, I tend to see those instances as temporary and time-specific – I’m having a bad day, or not being my best self – because I am basically good.
Isn’t that interesting! It’s okay for me to be selfish – but not for someone else to be! Why can’t the other person also be having a bad day, or not be operating from their best self?
Does that seem familiar to you?
I think some of my reaction to the idea of others being selfish is my own need to be more clear with myself and others about what I’m really feeling and needing. If I can be clear about that, I don’t need to be as upset when I see another person being clear about what they are feeling and needing.
What about me being selfish though? I still don’t like the idea of it – as I write it off as a temporary and time-limited event. 
My greatest fear about being selfish is the fear that selfishness leads to self-centeredness – which leads to a callous disregard for others and a lack of compassion and empathy!
Yet, is that really true? By me paying more attention to what I’m really feeling and more deeply needing, will that necessarily lead to me losing empathy for others?

No!  In fact, if I increase my caring for myself – which is really increasing my love for myself – I increase my capacity to have empathic resonance with others as well. As is said in the Bible:

“Love your neighbour AS yourself.”
And then, Jane Austen sums it up:

“I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle.”
So, I’d like to be a lot more forgiving of myself and others in 2012. And a lot more accepting of people – myself included – being selfish. 

“I don't let go of concepts - I meet them with understanding. Then they let go of me."    … Byron Katie

2. ENVIRONMENT: Farm for the Future

I found this short 2 minute animated explanation of Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules brilliantly pithy: 

It is a helpful frame for watching the 48 minute BBC documentary which follows Rebecca Hosking as she investigates how to transform her family’s farm into a low energy farm for the future. 

"Much of our food system depends on our not knowing much about it, beyond the price disclosed by the checkout scanner; cheapness and ignorance are mutually reinforcing. And it's a short way from not knowing who's at the other end of your food chain to not caring. Of course, the global economy couldn't very well function without this wall of ignorance and the indifference it breeds. The more knowledge people have about the way their food is produced, the more likely it is that their values and not just "value" will inform their purchasing decisions."      ... Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

3. NEGOTIATION: Joseph Kony

I first heard of Joseph Kony a few years ago when I met up with Ben Hoffman for an afternoon tea. Ben is an international mediator and author of several books, including one of my favourites: Peace Guerilla.
Peace Guerilla includes true stories of Hoffman’s dangerous meetings with the Lords Resistance Army’s (LRA’s) notorious leader Joseph Kony - to free thousands of child soldiers abducted into the LRA in Uganda. From 2000 to 2003, Ben was the Director of the Conflict Resolution Program at The Carter Center, where his job was to “wage peace” - and engage the LRA to release abducted child soldiers.
When we met, Ben also told me about an upcoming Hollywood movie being made involving his experiences. Anticipated to start filming this month, the movie is called Girl Soldier - and Ben is rumoured to be played by George Clooney (Ben is more handsome inside!).
So, when my daughter asked me to watch a 29 minute video recently about Joseph Kony (made by the founder of Invisible Children, Jason Russell) - it rang a bell.  
Russell’s video is an interesting experiment in how social media can impact social and international justice. 
Kony is the most sought after criminal according to the International Criminal Court at the Hague, the Netherlands. The job of this Court, started in 2002, is to find and demand the arrest of the world’s “worst criminals”. Kony is the first on the court’s list for: “crimes against humanity and war crimes committed against the civilian population, including murder, sexual slavery, rapes and abductions.”
Kony is alleged to have kidnapped over 30,000 children over the last 26 years, forcing them to do things like: kill their parents, siblings, friends, and mutilate other children. Yet, this is still going on to today. 
Jason Russell believes the problem is that 99% of the planet doesn’t know who Kony is. If we all knew, Russell thinks Kony would have been stopped long ago. So, he has set out to make Kony as “famous” as any celebrity to help raise awareness for this issue.
To that end, Russell created the video, posted it on youtube, and it’s gone viral. His goal now is to organize a mass publicity poster campaign to take place across North America on the evening of April 20 – so that on April 21st, we would all wake up to a visual social-media-fuelled awareness campaign. 
In the video, there is a scene where Russell goes to Washington D.C. to try to enlist support for this cause with politicians. Apparently, a lot of the “no’s” he got in Washington were because they could not get involved in a conflict where national security or financial interests were not at stake.
In some ways, I can see the wisdom – do I really want other countries running in when there are allegations of wrong-doing from one country’s point of view but is probably more complicated from the inside? But Russell’s video is thought-provoking – he interviews the head prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. 
If Kony has been deemed one of the world’s most wanted criminals by the International Criminal Court, do we personally care? And if we do, what is the right thing to do? 
I know enough about conflict to know the “facts” are always more complicated than they look from the outside and rash actions often lead to rash outcomes. And re-looking at Ben Hoffman’s book on his experiences with this issue, I do see it is complex.
Yet, we are in an information age – where many of us have more access to a vast array of information than any “average” citizen has EVER had in the history of the planet. 
Does that impact how we do democracy and who influences our politicians to take action?
Have a look at the video and see what you think!

“Peace I see is a work in progress.”     ... Ben Hoffman


4. SERVICES: Making Tough Conversations Great!

1) WORKSHOP:  Making Tough Conversations Great!
Victoria, B.C. - my home office space
Friday, March 30th, 2012 
9:30 - noon
Cost for the Workshop: $95/person (+HST)
This workshop offers a practical model to follow for how to start and sustain a collaborative conversation.  Incorporates interpersonal communication concepts from Interest-based Negotiation, Non-Violent Communication, and Clear Leadership. The workshop is limited to 6 participants, so if this is of interest, please register asap!

2) FOLLOW UP / PRACTICE GROUP:  Making Tough Conversations Great!
Like any skill, communicating with both empathy and assertion takes practice.  
And if you are in an environment that doesn't use many of these skills, 
all the more reason to pay attention to keeping yours sharp.
This Practice Group provides a structure to reflect on your present 
work relationships and give some attention to the areas that need it – 
whether it’s with your boss, a colleague, or your direct reports.
Bring your challenging situations and let's make breakthroughs together in 
a supportive community!
This 2 part Follow Up gives you a chance to practice the model in more depth:
  • Getting Out of Your Own Way
  • Separating Fact from Fiction
  • Linking Feelings to Needs
"An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching."     ... Mohandas Gandhi
The Follow Up group is also limited to 6 people.  To register just email me and let me know.

Cost for the 2 part Follow Up: $150/person (+HST)
NB: Attendance at the WORKSHOP (or a Justice Institute Course, or Clear Leadership or NVC training) is a pre-requisite to attending the Follow Up.
3) E-COURSE: Making Tough Conversations Great!
A unique self-guided coaching program designed to bring you more peace, less stress, and more ideas on how to engage tough conversations!
COST: $95 (+HST)

Like the face-to-face workshops, the topics in this e-course over the 10 weeks include topics such as:
  • Focusing on your Best Intentions for your Tough Conversation
  • Leading with Observations (Separating Fact from Fiction)
  • Linking feelings to Needs
  • Converting resistance (Winning Yourself a Hearing!)
  • Defering solutions to the end
Each week, you will receive a new lesson via email.  Each lesson is short and to the point  - with reflective questions and meaningful actions each week.
There is also a private online coaching group, where you can ask me questions, engage in discussions, share your struggles, and celebrate your successes!
To get going on this course, just email me and ask!
Some of my favourite clients are managers and other people-oriented leaders who value relationships highly and have figured out if they put attention into their
relationships, they will get big dividends out!
In fact, managers spend 25 percent to 40 percent of their time attempting to resolve conflict (Washington Business Journal) - yet most leaders receive minimal - or no - training on how to resolve conflicts collaboratively.
If you'd like to enrich some of your relationships at work - whether with peers, clients, or your own boss, consider coaching.  I would love to support you in strengthening your key relationships at work.

If you would like to set up a time to talk about your needs in this area, just email me with "Coaching" in the subject line.

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Julia Menard, B.A., Cert. Con. Res., P.C.C.
Leadership & Conflict Coaching, Mediating, & Training
"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”  … Alice Walker

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