Chutes and Ladders

Once upon a time, the game was Chutes and Ladders. Now, as older kids, we cope with Funnels and Pipelines. When we were children, the original game was fun. The twisted version not so much.

In today’s marketplace, we are often the unwitting object of Sales Funnels and Leads Pipelines. To many companies, we’re nothing more than a target to tip into the Sales Funnel, to move through their Lead Pipeline, and to have our hard-earned money siphoned into coffers of the unscrupulous.

I speak passionately about the topic, because yes, I, too, have been tricked when I clicked — on the enticements lurking within the hucksters Landing Pages. So, what’s the answer to these modern-day snake-oil salesmen?

Up, or Down?

The answer — and protection against the scurrilous — is one question, “Am I assisted in my effort to create goodness in my life — or, am I being tempted to accept an easy way out, or through?”

Creation of value requires effort. Just like movement up a ladder — one rung at a time. One step at a time, one brick at a time, one board at a time, one swing of the hammer at a time, and one brush-stroke at a time is how all creative masterpieces take shape. There is no easy path to building a Legacy.

Here’s the comparative difference:

Up
Ladder
Lift
Hard
Outward
Light

Generous
Expansive

Valuable
Build

Focus

Down
Funnel
Vortex
Easy
Inward
Dark

Selfish
Limited

Cheap
Destroy

Fantasy

You get the idea. Everything on the left (Up) will be evident if YOU are making a creative choice. Everything on the right (Down) will be the feeling you experience if a predetermined outcome is planned for your resources.

I encourage each of us to customize a comparative list of our own — to be used in testing the propaganda messages broadcast 24/7 into our senses. We have a choice to readily accept the goodness and ruthlessly reject the trash.

“Love – Hate” Relationship

We hate to be Sold — yet, We love to Buy.

What is “Sales” anyway? Not the visibly corrupted process we experience at the auto Dealership nor the subtly disguised version implicit in Funnels and Pipelines . What’s your definition? What do you want the experience to be?

I believe, “The purpose of the Sales effort is to match YOU with something you want at a price you need.” That effort requires listening, understanding, and a professional CARE credential.

Value and Light

Mother Nature will not tolerate a vacuum. As a result, the Slick Willies of the world will not leave on their own. To remove them, they must be pushed out by their antithesis. In other words, light is required to extinguish darkness. The same is true of value, which brings to submission the worthless.

How are the two qualities of value and light similar?

  • People are attracted to them.
  • They encourage creative efforts.
  • Must be created — or help YOU create.
  • What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG)
  • Any amount calms emotions — of fear and despair.

Build It

There is truth to the expression, “Build it and they will come.” The things we enjoy in our advanced technology universe have never existed, before. Until someone had a thought, “I wonder what might happen if …”

And, that’s all it took for an adventure up the ladder into another realm.

I wish you well on the adventures of your choice.

Four Horsemen

Well Balanced

Silverado Heroes

All great thriller movies have this in common — there are four heroes, each with a different and extreme temperament type, who are brought together by the hand of fate to overcome impossible odds.

During the adventure, it becomes clear to us that all four of those different and extreme temperaments — combined into one powerful force — were absolutely necessary for good to triumph over evil.

For each of us, individually, the same principle holds true — we must incorporate the four temperaments into our hero persona to be well balanced and successful in our ventures.

Types of Thinkers

There are three dimensions to human Thought: Flatliners, 2-D, and 3-D.

Flatliners are just that — draw a line, from left to right, and that represents the Zombies of the world. They don’t think — they just exist. If we let that flat line represent the horizon, there is never anything on it. No ideas, no plans, and no sense of direction, or purpose.

2-D Thinkers have a horizontal and vertical axis — in addition to left and right, they have an up and a down. Now, we get a picture of who they are. Literally, as we view any work of canvas art, we have a sense of the creators’ style, taste, and intention.

3-D Thinkers have a depth to their thoughts. That flat picture image we admired for a moment, now extends backward and forward, to offer an exciting opportunity for us to engage with that individual.

Relationship Strategies

There are many variations of the Quadrant Philosophy. For the sake of this presentation, I’ll offer two — which I believe will enlighten, empower, and encourage you to invest time in your own discovery.

“Discovery of what,” you ask?

“Of you and how to connect with me,” I say.

Imagine a map of the United States. Now, draw the horizontal and vertical axis (big Plus sign) across the Map. Each of us lives in one of the four quadrants. Then, think about where your friends live. Do you, always, expect them to cross those axis lines to visit you? Or, is it more fun to go visit them?

The point: we study Relationship Strategies to understand how to get to where others are —because three-fourths of them do not live in our Quadrant.

DISC

One prominent personality profiling model is DISC — which is the acronym for these four profile types Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness.

Dominance Influence Conscientiousness Steadiness
(Click For Larger Image)

For a small fee, you too can discover your location in the Quadrants by testing here.

Please, remember, we go through this exercise not to obtain a “label” — but, instead, to increase our understanding of how to better connect with other people. I believe in leading the way to make the path easier for those who choose to follow — so, here are the results of my DISC Classic 2.0.

I’m an Objective Thinker.

DISC Simplification
DISC Circle
 (Click For Larger Image)

So, let’s simplify DISC by using the analogy of target practice with a rifle, the performance of which is best achieved by: Ready, Aim, Fire.

A “High C” sharpshooter (remember, that’s your favorite SageTalk author) will do this: Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim (while considering distance to target, weight of bullet, grain of powder, composition of target, wind velocity, barometric pressure, etc). Somewhere in this sequence, probably after about the third Aim, your head is about to explode! Our bad. We — me, a “High C” — need data, lots of data. Because we intend to be precise in the result — when we, eventually, commit to squeezing the trigger.

I have many “High D” friends. Their approach to our target practice is: Fire! ~ Ready, Aim. In fact, they’re probably using their semi-automatic to blast away. “No worries, mate! Knock ’em all down. We’ll sort out the pieces, later!” Their motto is, “Just get it done and get it done, now!”

Oh, look. Here comes an I, a “High I” at that. Dressed to the nines in his sporting jacket, puffy pants, fancy cap, high-top boots — and, he has a designer shootin’ iron draped over his arm. He’s ready for the party, drinks, and conversation — after we punch a few holes.

And, yes, that’s a “High S” standing off to the side making sure all the spent cartridges are gathered and wondering if we, really, need to make this much noise.

Bill Engvall has the right idea for the galactically stupid people of the world — and, expresses it in his comedic routine — Here’s Your Sign. Yet, by considering the insight, above, the question becomes, “Are they really stupid?” Or, are they just doing the best they can with what they know and the resources available to them? And, is it possible that because their DISC sign is different from ours, they’re thinking we’re the “stupid” ones?!

KWML

King Warrior Magician Lover
 (Click For Larger Image)

Now, let’s have even more fun with a different set of Quadrants — King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover.

Yes, once again, I have whacked a path through the thickets for us.

As much as I wanted to be a King — because, after all, the meaning of the name Kim is Chief. And, many of my friends, when we’re working together, affectionately use that term quite liberally.

So, my first time through the assessment was Thursday, April 19th — during that week after Tax Season, when I had time for me. As I surveyed my kingdom through the large windows of my Red Lodge home — of which, the 18th Fairway was an extension of the backyard — all was well in the Realm. Sure enough, at that moment, I was a King.

Then, the next week, it was back to work. After a few days off, evidently, the Forces-That-Be decided I was ready to be engaged in new adventures. It was a Wednesday, April 25th, when I made it back to the castle, after a busy day of slaying Dragons. I thought, “Let’s take that silly KWML test, again — because today was a typical day in my universe.” Hello Spartacus.

A force of nature, Warriors have the power and confidence to conquer any task.

Confident, competitive, and analytical, you are a fierce and steady protector of your friends, family, and all things you hold dear. You’re extremely ambitious, targeted, and determined—almost to a fault of being self-centered—and are an undeniable force of industriousness.

While you’re logical, orderly, and respect the rules like the King and Queen, you’re much more assertive and always ready to dive into action or conflict. Because you prefer to be somewhat isolated, you tend to have few very good friends, but these friends definitely count on you whenever there’s a task to be done with precision.

Location on the cognitive-emotional spectrum: Located in the lower left quadrant of this spectrum, your personality reflects your strong emotional sense of confidence. Your style of thinking tends to be more left-brained — logical, sequential, rational, and objective.

“Give up the battle to win the war:” Dare to be occasionally weak to be seen as “real” to others and find that enemies can become friends if you let them have a bit of the power.

Again, the only reason I share this with you is to encourage YOU to understand where you are in relationship to other People.

SILVERADO

Released to theaters in 1985 (same year as the birth of my daughter, Lindsey), the movie Silverado is a family favorite. The heroes are Emmett, Mal, Jake, and Paden.

In thinking about sharing this Story with you, I practiced the outline with my son, Ryan, a few days ago. He helped me identify the King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover from the cast of Silverado.

• King – Emmett (Scott Glenn)
• Warrior – Mal (Danny Glover)
• Magician – Jake (Kevin Costner)
• Lover – Paden (Kevin Kline)

Now, even as I type that out for us, do you see the pattern in the types of roles each of these four actors choose and for which they are best known?!

I rest my case.

There is something special about the KWML quadrants.

Four In One (CCPT)

Often, I’m asked, “What’s the difference between a Coach and a Consultant?! The simple answer is, “One asks all the questions and the other has all the answers.”

My mom offered daily prayers that I would go to Ambassador College and be trained as a Preacher. I have always wanted, though, to follow more in the footsteps of my dad and became a Teacher.

Coach
They ask questions with the belief that eventually you’ll tap into your inner child and find the wisdom to deal with your own dang problems.

Consultant
They show up on the scene to fix what is broken and bring with them the solutions to all of your problems.

Preacher
They are passionate in the crusade to persuade you to believe you can enjoy heaven on earth, now – if you are willing to sacrifice your ego.

Teacher
They will share with you all of the tricks and tips from their vast libraries of education and experience to assist in your journey of learning how to fish.

Cowboy Poet & Philadelphia Lawyer (CPPL)

The self-proclaimed label of Cowboy Poet is to honor the importance of heroes and the power of words. As a kid, I wore a fancy, tied-down, two-gun rig, with which to dispatch the bad guys. Now, I rely on the proverb, “Truly, the pen is mightier than the sword.”

Jim Foard

I received the title of Philadelphia Lawyer from my dad when I was about ten years old. We were unloading sacks of cow salt out of the pickup into the granary one evening — and, I was doing my twenty questions routine.

Evidently, I lost track of the number — and, it must have been a long day for Dad. In exasperation and with a smile, he declared, “Kim, you ask so many questions that I’m sure you’re going to grow up to be a Philadelphia lawyer!”

He didn’t miss the mark by much. When it comes to putting together the conference room deals of our society, attorneys and CPAs are usually sitting side by side.

Fifty years after Dad’s observation, that natural curiosity has grown exponentially. The questions have become more focused and the intent is pure. I want to help YOU build something – special.

The mental image of a Cowboy Poet & Philadelphia Lawyer is one of ostensible contradiction. Yet, these four words remind me that life is best experienced on a spectrum. So, think of a sphere. Then, imagine the axis lines holding it symmetrical from the inside, out.

Like the four points of a compass — as far as the East is from the West — opposite ends of the axis lines are required for balance.

Growth occurs when we push the artificial limit of where the internal axis lines end — which, are at the edge of who we currently are. As we stretch the boundaries, the result is a greater sphere of influence for the benefit of many.

These spectrum’s of life stretch to infinity — if we have the courage to let our minds become open to the vastness of the universe and the unlimited potential of each individual.

The cornerstones of my heritage are Spurs and Books. What rowels are to spurs, vowels are to words. They are the jingle of rhythm and points of meaning.

A Cowboy (Warrior) is a man of action and defender of principle. The thoughtful approach of a Poet (Lover) casts a soft and gentle hue. Philadelphia (King) is symbolic of friendship and brotherly love. When those attributes are absent in a relationship, a Lawyer (Magician) intends to discover the facts, and just the facts, ma’am!

Compass Bearings

As we begin to summarize these different Quadrant Philosophy variations, I want the KWML to be our true North. Therefore, I’ll restate the order of DISC, CCPT, and CPPL to match King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover.

The bold words are the primary strengths I will bring to any relationship.

» King (30.7%) — Dominant — Coach — Philadelphia
» Warrior (46.2%) — Conscientious — Consultant — Cowboy
» Magician (7.7%) — Influence — Preacher — Lawyer
» Lover (15.4%) — Steadiness — Teacher — Poet

Choose Wisely

I hope these stories about the study of Relationship Strategies and the application of Quadrant Philosophy have inspired you to think about your role in meeting others where they are.

To push the boundaries of who we are and to better serve those in our sphere of influence, we must be relentless in applying all four temperaments.

Ask, seek, and knock on doors of opportunity, until you discover a Master to offer their version of the Three-E’s | Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage. Otherwise, you will be left in the dark, with no tools, and a feeling of hopelessness.

Many people are simply trudging through life — enduring each day. Because they are waiting for someone to save them from their earthly troubles. They have been led astray, by wolves in sheep’s clothing, to believe they must wait for the Kingdom of Heaven.

And, that dear Friends, is the importance of little words. There is a world of difference between of and in. Think about it — of denotes “belonging to” and in specifies “location.”

It is impossible for any of the scholarly ministers in their whited sepulchers to show me even one scripture reference to the exact phrase Kingdom in Heaven.

Let’s move around those in our way and claim the treasures promised to us.

A Better Way

Saddle up and ride with me.

The four horsemen of Silverado have shown us what is possible:

A misfit bunch of friends come together to right the injustices which exist in a small town.

The only difference between them and us is scope:

We intend to make a difference in the Universe.

YOU can enjoy heaven on earth, now.

Let’s ride!

Four Horsemen

Pet Dragon

The Stuff of Fairy Tales

Well, I did it again.

After listening to the fears, concerns, and apprehensions of a woman whining about the dangers before her, I rode in on my white horse – with sword in hand – and stuck that fire-breathing beast. He tipped right over into a heap of problem solved.

And, then, oh, wow! — the ship hit the sand.

Come to find out, that was her Pet Dragon.

Once upon a time…

My Proposal

I’ve been thinking.

Rather than I charge you a Price for Value — how ’bout we just exchange Value.

On the horizon, I can see opportunities requiring more of a Process focus: QuickBooks, Bill.com, TSheets, Applications (etc.) — worthy Projects for which I do not want the responsibility.

And, if you have opportunities for People coaching, consulting, etc. for whom you might want help — I am interested in assisting YOU. (Because my new focus and purpose is: POP)

So, as Time marches forward, maybe, we can be available Resources — for each other.

In the interim, we can connect remotely and set the parameters for a mutually beneficial professional relationship.

What are your Thoughts?

Her Response (Word-for-Word, I Kid You Not)

Hey Kim

I think I would like to pay you for your services – at least initially until we get better acquainted with our skill sets and what we desire to do. I am just getting my feet back under me this week – having been out all week last week. But I’ve been thinking about our conversation and how we might work together. I feel like I don’t have many answers in that regard. Would a standing Thursday 9 a.m., 1-2 hour meeting work for you? I’m thinking every other week as opposed to every week and if that were the case, probably 2 hours would be better than one. That being said, I could do this Thursday but not next. Then if I just get it on the calendar, I should be able to make that work.

Do you think you could guide me through working on value pricing/niche development within my business and learning to focus on the types of things you focus on, i.e., helping people get what they want, POP, value as opposed to compliance work? I’m asking if you feel this is skill set you have an could help me work on modeling my business more appropriately. If you feel this is a conflict – as we’re trying to “work in the same space” – I totally can understand that. However, I think there is enough work to go around – but appreciate your thoughts as well.

I have expertise on the QuickBooks side and integrations, etc., for sure and don’t know that I want to give that up. Maybe that’s where my niche is to focus. Maybe Carla Caldwell – gal I told you about who does what I’m asking you to do – is my coach, but you help guide me through organizing all this. I’m sort of lost when I think about all of it.

You asked me to price the service you’d provide. I will be brave and throw out a number. I was thinking $200 for a 2 hour session is too low and $400 seems to high. Maybe we’re in the middle at $300 for each 1-2 hour session? Not committing to 2 full hours – just what we need that time to get our work done?

Thanks Kim. Talk to you soon!

Silly Me

Excellent!

Yes — I accept your Proposal.

This is my Understanding:
• You will pay for my Coaching and Consulting Services.
• We will connect every-other Thursday, at 9:00 AM, for no more than 2 Hours.
• We will begin each remote Coaching and Consulting Session with your Thoughts and Questions.
• My focus will be on sharing concepts relative to Value Pricing, Psychology of Coaching, and Practical Application to Your Niche.
• We are not Competitors — We will Complement one another.
• After all, it is impossible to be competitors — because, we are unique Artists and one-of-a-kind Value Creators.
• For those individuals seeking QuickBooks type processes, with accompanying App integrations, I will provide an introduction to You.
• I will establish a Google Drive portal for the sharing of Resources — which will assist in keeping us Organized.
• I will prepare — and, submit for your approval — a Contract for Coaching and Consulting Services.
• Acceptance of the Coaching and Consulting Contract will be accomplished by the payment of a $100 ‘Commitment’ Fee.
• The fee for my Coaching and Consulting Services will be $300 per Session.

To prepare for our first remote Session, tomorrow, Thursday, August 9th, at 9:00 AM, I suggest the following:
• Read the article: I AM — do the exercise of finishing the I am… Statement — and, be ready to Share with me.
• From your Thoughts and Questions list, pick one item of greatest importance to You — and, be ready to Share with me.
• To select that first item, You might find it beneficial to choose an issue, which you know will ‘feel good’ — as you take the First Step toward your desired Goals.

Acceptance of the Coaching and Consulting Contract will be accomplished by making an Online Payment from the QBO Invoice that I will transmit to You.

If any questions, or concerns, please, contact me immediately.

Seen One — Seen ’em All

We’ve all seen a Contract. Every professional has their boilerplate version. I had to revamp my four pages to fit the parameters of a $300 Coaching Session. I will confess, this whole episode was beginning to feel odd. I was going along to get along. Yet, the intent was pure — this was a ‘friend’ whom I wanted to help.

As the reader of this comedic drama, all of your warning bells, sirens, and whistles are probably going off right about now. Me, at this point, I’m still clueless.

Except, I took great care to make the money part of the Contact crystal clear.

YOU are committing to pay SAGETALK

a one time non-refundable sum of $100 + payments of $300
per 2-Hour Sessions for access to – and use of – the SAGETALK Program.
The first $300 payment will be due upon receipt by YOU of a QBO Invoice.

Yes, I know, “Communication is what the listener does.” But, I had given this my best effort.

Session Number 1

We had fun!

Two hours of non-stop banter, questions, stories, teasing — and, otherwise good-natured fun. Or, anyways, as much FUN as two CPAs can muster.

And, yes, we did a LOT of great work, too.

Confusion

Prior to our first session, the Contract and Invoice for $100 (the Commitment fee) had been emailed and Payment received. As promised, after the Session, I emailed a QuickBooks Online invoice for $300.

This was her response (Word-for-Word, I Kid You Not):

Hi Kim
I paid this. I didn’t realize that the $100 was over and above the $300 per session. I thought the $100 was just an I’m serious about this and want to get started. I thought this invoice might be for $200. Thoughts are appreciated. Thank you. (Maybe I didn’t read well enough!)

Maybe

Those people, who refuse to make a decision, end up high-centering on the fork-in-the-road. Look at the word closer: ma-Y-be.

See the fork-in-the-road? The people who are fond of maybe are reluctant to choose — left, or right, at Oak Street.

To encourage us, always, to make a decision, look at ma-Y-be, again.

Ma = Cry Baby
Be = A Creator
Y = Choose to Be

Lesson Learned

My original mistake was giving up on my sincere premise of giving to a Friend. At the moment money was involved — Price for Services — there was a business transaction and professional relationship.

Because of my first mistake, clearly defined expectations were impossible. As a result, there was no possibility, or probability, of success.

What begins twisted ends twisted.

I wanted to share with a Friend —and, a Client simply wanted a business transaction and professional relationship.

So, thank goodness for the Termination Clause:

SAGETALK may terminate this Agreement at any time in its discretion, upon notice to YOU. Paragraph 3.1. below shall survive termination of this Agreement, binding YOU to Confidentiality in perpetuity.

I immediately initiated an online transaction with Wells Fargo for the $400 to be refunded by Paper Check. I had failed to meet her expectations.

Our two hour Tango high-centered on the fork-in-the-road with my acquiescence to follow the lead of someone who does not understand Value Pricing. That’s why she suggested a relationship at the very beginning.

Value Pricing

She asked for an understanding of Value Pricing. For two hours I told her about the concept — yet, I have a process to show, anyone, how it’s done.

• I will deliver Results to exceed your Expectations by (at least) a factor of 3.
• Because I offer a money-back Guarantee, price negotiation is irrelevant.
• I will provide Value (x 3) far beyond whatever Price you decide upon.
• You choose the Price, clearly define Objectives, & set Expectations.
• I will choose the Time, during which we will work Together.

Silly me, I more than bent my own rules — I broke them. There is a better way. I have designed three Steps to prequalify anyone wanting to do Business with me.

Pet Dragon Resolution

There are Questions in each of the three Steps (each more intense than the preceding) testing for Commitment (the exact opposite of her Pet Dragon: NO Commitment.

Why didn’t I lead her through these Steps?

Come to find out, I had a rascally Pet Dragon hiding in my own dang forest: People PLEASER.

He has been dispatched to Dragon heaven.

… and, everyone else lived happily forever, after.

80/20 Rule

Recently, I was teasing a colleague about the lack of a Waiting Room when he connects with Scholars using Zoom.

His reply, “Well, I’m a believer in the 80/20 Rule — focus on the 80% that matters and get to the other 20% someday.”

Since I have teased him quite a bit in the past, I heard, “Kim, I’m getting tired of your nit-picking. But – to humor you, I’ll be polite and quote the 80/20 Rule.”

There was something about his tone that immediately had me agreeing with him.

Yet, you – who know me well – know there’s more to this Story.

With A Little Thinking

In the shower, the next morning, it dawned on me (pardon the pun) that the 80/20 Rule does not work with People. Because — we never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

And — if a Person chooses to walk with us through this Journey of Life, then, they deserve 100% of the best we have to offer. In my opinion, it’s ALL — or, NOTHING. To know I’m only worth 80% of someone’s attention and effort is hard on the psyche and soul.

People Over Process (POP)

Where does the 80/20 Rule apply – and, work just fine? Answer: Process. Yes, we People are more effective and efficient with the structure of Process. Every system from minute to massive has processes. And – that’s a good thing.

Yet – People change and grow on a daily basis.

So – Does the same old Process still work (well) if the People have changed?

Yes, it’s a Rhetorical Question. The answer is: NO.

The net result and continued productivity probably is about 80% – if, we’re lucky, on a good day. Yet, management is relatively happy — because, they have the wheels turning and tend to ignore any opportunity for improvement. The 80/20 Rule has been applied and acts as a governor (used on machinery) to keep everything and everybody between the ditches.

You know, I just can’t help myself. The definition of a ‘governor‘ is quite fitting in the scenario, above, “a device for maintaining uniform speed regardless of changes of load, as by regulating the supply of fuel or working fluid.”

Really?

Do we, really, want to be regulated and held back from our true potential? I can only speak for myself — and, again, the answer is a resounding, “No! Heck, No! What part of NO don’t you understand!”

In Summary

A picture is, always, worth at least a 1,000 Words.

No 80/20 Rule In Relationships

Heard and Understood

Communication Is What The Listener Does

Upon calling Support and hearing, Press 1 for English, 2 for @#$%, we select the language of greatest comprehension. We want to hear and understand the solution to our situation.

Do we offer the same in our interpersonal communications?

Or, do we launch off into a discourse that is foreign to the ears of our partner? When they seem puzzled, do we simply ‘turn up the volume’ and give them another dose of @#$%?

Imago Relationships

When discovering the concept of Imago Relationships, my first thought was, “That’s cute. ‘I’m-A-Go’ sounds just like what the Captain of a space shuttle might say immediately before launch.”   Many of our relationships are desirous of (or, maybe, in desperate need of) going to a higher level.

These quotes from the article are a few of my favorites:

Partners cross a bridge into each other’s worlds, motivated not only by the Receiver’s desire to ‘hear and understand’ but also to meet the Sender’s need to be ‘heard and understood’ — with a commitment to slow down our lives and devote specific uninterrupted time to our relationships. Ultimately saying to the other, “I respect your otherness — I want to learn from it. And I want to share mine with you.”

Discovering two distinct worlds — whenever two people are involved, there are always two realities. These realities will always be different in small and large ways, no matter what. And, the reality of the other person can be understood, accepted, valued, and even loved — but, not made to be identical to our own.

Your conflict can be the very fuel for the fulfillment you seek.

Being aware of ourselves is the key — it changes everything.

What we need to understand and accept is that conflict is supposed to happen. This is as nature intended it. Everything in nature is in conflict. Conflict is a sign that the psyche is trying to survive, to get its needs met, and become whole. It’s only without this knowledge that conflict is destructive.

Regardless of what we may believe, relationships are not born of love — but of need. Real love is born in relationships, as a result of understanding what they are about — and doing what is necessary to have them.

A ‘conscious’ Relationship itself is the practice you need to restore your sense of aliveness.

Clear communication is a window into the world of your partner — truly being heard and understood is a powerful aphrodisiac.

Without change, there is no growth — we are confined to the fate of remaining stuck in our unhappiness.

Change is the catalyst for healing.

I call the process by which we alter our entrenched behaviors to give our partners what they need: ‘stretching’ — for it requires that we conquer our fears and do what comes unnaturally.

Finally, we learn to see our partners for themselves, with their own private world of personal meaning, their own ideas and dreams, and not merely as extensions of ourselves — or, as we wish they were. Our approach becomes, “I want to know how you think.”

A conscious relationship is a spiritual path which leads us home again — to joy and aliveness, to the feeling of oneness we started out with. We learn to express love as a behavior daily — in large and small ways. In other words, in stretching to give our partner what they need, we learn to love. The transformation of our relationships may not be accomplished easily or quickly — we are setting off on a lifelong journey.

In The Game

In the game of Football, team members ‘huddle up’ to have the opportunity to ‘hear and understand’ the next play. If it’s a passing play, it is only successful if the receiver catches the ball.

Next time we have the opportunity to quarterback a conversation, let’s call plays in a language our receiver understands. Then, as they run the route, let’s give them the opportunity to catch what is thrown.

After all, the only goal that, really, matters — to be Heard and Understood.