Mindset Mondays

Monday, 11 December 2017
Civility is NOT Inaction

"Civility is NOT inaction. In fact, civility might be the hardest action you can take."
- Ashley Virtue, Dir. of External Relations #MindsetMonday

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Hi everyone, welcome to Mindset Monday. Hope you had a great weekend. Today I want to talk about something that's been coming up a lot with us here at the National Conflict Resolution Center and I think it's a pretty interesting topic. There have been some people who have come to us and said, “You know, this idea of civility is great, but now is not the time for civility. There are injustices going on in the world and we need to stand up and push back against them.” And we just wanted to address that really quickly, because I think there's a big misconception about what civility is. Civility is NOT inaction. In fact, civility might be the hardest action you can take. Let me explain that for a second. When you're acting with civility, essentially when you're acting with respect and taking the time to dialogue with others, you're not telling them that what they're doing is fine, you're not telling them that they can just go on and do their way because you're rolling over and handing over your opinion. But you're engaging with them in a way where they might actually hear you. So the point is kind of this, if there are injustices going on in the world and if there are things that you really feel passionate about that need to change, isn't acting in a strategic way that has a shot at changing people's minds the best way to approach the situation? I know for myself when someone approaches me and tells me that I am wrong in my thinking, all it does is entrench me in my ideas. And so that's probably what's happening if you're out there telling people they are wrong about the way they're thinking. Instead if you can approach them in a way where you let them know you disagree with them and why, but come to that conversation from a place of understanding and really wanting to hear from them, they might feel like they could let their guard down a little bit and share with you some of their thoughts and reasoning. Then you might be in a place, for the first time, where you can talk to them about why they feel that way and see if there are ways that they might move from their position. All I'm saying is that if these things are so important, we should all be doing a much harder thing, which is sit down and invest in these conversations, not just stand up and wag our fingers in people's faces and tell them they're wrong. Now, there are always times where something is very wrong. If a crime is happening or someone is being hurt and you have to step in, you have to get authority involved, you need to do something right then in that moment - we get that. But the reality is that most of the time we're just engaged in conversations that feel uncomfortable that we don't like. And if we're really really caring about this, we should be taking the time to try to engage with one another in a way that is civil and is respectful. It's probably the only way that we're gonna move forward. Let us know what you think about that, we're excited to hear your feedback and, you know, at National Conflict Resolution Center this is what we do. We have lots of tools and techniques to help you if you don't know how you could do that. Give us a call or visit our website, check it out! All right, thanks everyone. Hope you have a great week and we'll see you next Monday.

Monday, 4 December 2017
Conflict Resolution: Protect Yourself from High-Conflict Personalities

You don't have to attend every argument that you're invited to. In today's #MindsetMonday video, Ashley Virtue shares tips on how you can avoid conflict by not taking the bait and how silence can sometimes be your friend.

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Hi and welcome to Mindset Monday. Today we are going to talk about taking the bait and when not to. Sometimes I know we can really surprise ourselves when it comes to handling disagreements and we can act in ways that really don't help the situation when it comes to escalating. And so this happens a lot of time because there's usually that one person in our lives that knows exactly when and where to push our buttons and kind of send us over the edge. So, maybe that is a colleague of yours or like an ex of yours, or even a family member, but when it comes to them you can have the slightest disagreement with this person and they just drop one line and it will send you steaming. Even when you know it's coming, right? And you recognize that they know how to push your buttons, they still know exactly what to do to get you to lose your composure. And a lot of times these people will use your lack of control against you in these situations, and suddenly make you feel like you are in the wrong even when maybe you weren't initially. For example, they might have done something that was clearly wrong, but when you confront them about it and you lose control, you maybe say something mean or inappropriate, suddenly it's a leveled playing field - now you've both done something wrong. And instead of them needing to apologize to you for the initial grievance, you now kind of have to apologize for what they provoked you to do. So, it's really important to recognize that this is bait and just to try to divert yourself the other way. Realize that not every insult or passive-aggressive remark needs an answer. Silence can sometimes be your friend. When you ignore taking this bait, you give this other person no ammo to really use against you. And then they only have to look at themselves and things that could escalate into a huge argument and end in other frustration just kind of fizzle out. I know it's hard not to let these people's words get to you, but it's important to remember that staying calm and keeping your composure is a lot easier than letting this person get to you over and over again and ultimately having to apologize yourself for something you might not have wanted to do in the first place. So, keep that in mind this week, good luck with it, and we'll see you next Monday. Thanks!

Monday, 27 November 2017
Conflict Resolution: Moving Forward Together

In this week's #MindsetMonday, Ashley Virtue explains why agreeing in an argument when you don't really mean it can backfire.

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Hi and welcome to Mindset Monday! Okay everyone, I wore these cute little earrings for you today, I don't know if you can see them, just to inspire us for our week here today. Hope you liked that! All right, today I want to talk about something that might seem a little counterintuitive, because we're always talking about conflict resolution and how you get to communicate more effectively with people. But what I'm going to talk about today is what if you're working on a solution with someone, you've had a conflict with them, and you're kind of at a point where you're getting tired, maybe you just want the conflict to end, and so you get to that point where you're just agreeing to the solution, whatever it is. We've all been there, I know I've been there, I just kind of wanted it to be over and I figured if I say yes, fine we can put this behind us, I'm sure I can suck it up and deal with it, whatever it is. Here's the problem with that. If you agree to something that you're not truly happy with, even if it makes the conflict end, you're probably going to still feel some underlying tension with that person or that situation. So, I highly encourage you, when you're talking with someone, you're coming up with solutions, thinking about how to move forward - be honest with yourself about what you need from this situation. It doesn't mean that you're prolonging the conflict or being extra difficult, it just means that you're being really real about how you need this situation to move forward. And here's what happens when you do that. You're able to actually have a long-term solution to the issue. If you say you're fine with something and turns out you're really not, maybe you put that issue to the side, but if you have some underlying tension it might come up in another way. So really to lay the issue to rest, be true to yourself, be true to the other person. Watch out for them doing this too, check them on it if you think it's happening. Make sure the solution works for both of you, that way you can move forward together in a way that's really real and really effective long-term. I hope that helps you this week, keep it in mind, and we'll see you next week. Thanks!

Monday, 20 November 2017
Holiday Family Gathering Survival Guide

If you think you need to bring your helmet to the Thanksgiving table, then here are a few tips from Dir. of External Relations, Ashley Virtue on how you can avoid stressful conversations and enjoy your time with family and friends. #MindsetMonday

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Happy Mindset Monday and Happy Thanksgiving week! Now, when we think of Thanksgiving one thing that is very synonymous with Thanksgiving is football, right? We all like to watch the Thursday game, Thanksgiving game, and so that's a big part of Thanksgiving celebrations around the country. But another thing that often happens is that mentally we are kind of preparing ourselves at the dinner table for this. A lot of the times we feel like we need to go into Thanksgiving dinner with our helmets on because, let's be honest, we're seeing maybe some friends and family that we don't always spend the most time with. And sometimes those dinner table conversations can become a little bit heated, and, unfortunately, it means that for some people they really avoid the holidays or don't enjoy them. So, this Thanksgiving what do you do if you have a family member or someone at the dinner table who brings up topics that you don't want to talk about that tend to instigate arguing or fighting in your family? Here's what we recommend. Share in the joys, if someone takes the conversation in that direction do your part to redirect it. Share in your commonalities, the things that make you happy, because in every family there are always some things that can be shared, whether they're a past travel experience, how fast the kids are growing up, what's happening with someone's job. Go back to those things that you know are happy memories, happy conversations to look forward to. And, as much as you can, redirect the conversation, so that you're doing a little bit less of this and a little bit more enjoying each other's company. We wish you the very best, there's lots to be thankful for. We hope you have a wonderful holiday and we'll see you next week. Thanks!

Monday, 13 November 2017
Talking Politics: How to Talk Politics And Stay Civil

Today we're going to cover talking about politics... Chances are, you may have been involved in a situation where you were talking about politics with someone and the conversation didn't end well. Ashley Virtue, Dir. of External Relations at National Conflict Resolution Center - NCRC shares a few tips on how you can stay civil while talking politics. #MindsetMonday

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All right, welcome to Mindset Monday. Thanks for tuning in! Today we're going to talk about talking politics. Chances are if you live in the United States and you've been alive and breathing for the last 12 months, you've had an opportunity to talk politics with someone, and maybe those conversations haven't always gone as civilly as you would have hoped. So, today we're going to talk about how you can deal with those without being too afraid to broach the topic. Because the truth is, we have to be able to talk about how we differ in opinion when it comes to our country and do it in a healthy way. It's the only way that we're going to be able to make change and create solutions. So, how do you engage in a conversation with somebody politically that you don't agree with? Well, tool number one that we would say is don't make assumptions about them, just like you don't want them to make assumptions about you. Go ahead and identify what you want to say to them, but then when you're listening to them, don't assume what you're hearing, don't assume why they're saying it. In fact, maybe ask some deeper questions. Get to the root of why they believe what they believe. You might find that you have some common ground and from there you can build off that to maybe talk about some positive solutions or have civil dialogue. Also remember, you don't have to change everyone's mind. Really, this is about sharing ideas. So, don't go into every conversation thinking, “How can I change this person's mind? I have a duty to do that.” Just go in with an open heart and open mind and be ready to listen to them. Chances are you're going to leave that conversation still disagreeing about some things, but what if you come together on even just one issue, aren't you closer than you were before to maybe making some change in the world? So, think about that next time you get into a political conversation. Good luck, let us know how it goes! Take care.

Monday, 30 October 2017
Halloween: Avoiding Coworker Conflicts

Halloween can be a great deal of fun at the office with activities happening throughout the day but what do you do when a coworker keeps interrupting your to-do list? Here are a few tips from Ashley Virtue our Dir. of External Relations on how to keep all the ghouls and goblins in good spirits.

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Hi everyone, happy Mindset Monday and happy Halloween tomorrow! If you are in one of the millions of offices around the country who are having a little bit of fun with Halloween, like clearly we are, then you're probably doing a little bit of dressing up and maybe having a lunch all together, so enjoy that. But what you do if you have a colleague, someone you work with, who you feel like takes things a little bit too far? Maybe they use Halloween as an excuse to play pranks or dress up really scary, and you're not totally comfortable with it. How do you approach them in a way when you don't seem like you're really being a downer? What we recommend that you do is just have an honest conversation with them. A lot of the time what happens is people go to others after the fact and they say, “I hate when you do that!” or “Oh my gosh, that is so unprofessional.” But when you do that, it seems like you're attacking the other person. So if you know that this is coming up and there's a prankster in your office, maybe just have a conversation with them ahead of time and express to them what you need to have happen from the situation. Say, “I genuinely don't like scary things, so if you don't mind leaving me out of that I would really appreciate it” or “I have a big client meeting and I kind of need to look really client-centered tomorrow, so I can't really be as into the festivities for that part of the day.” Keep that in mind as you talk to these other colleagues of yours and, as much as you can, try to have fun with the day while also expressing what your needs are from this situation. We hope that you have a wonderful Halloween! We hope that you have a great week and that you stay safe out there. And we really look forward to if you want to leave some comments with us and let us know what you dressed up as, we'd like to hear about that too. Have a great one, you guys! Thanks. Ah, Steven!

Monday, 23 October 2017
Active Listening And Why It's Important

Active Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.

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Hi everyone, happy Mindset Monday! Thanks for tuning in. Today we're going to talk about a phrase that may have made you roll your eyes at some point in your life, but it's really important. What I'm talking about is active listening. All right, so if you're one of those people that just rolled your eyes you're probably thinking, “Active listening, yeah, I get it, I get it. It's important to listen to other people.” But here's why. The reason that you want to listen to someone else is because you want them to listen to you, right? So, you have to demonstrate it first. When you're having a conversation with someone, if the only thing the two of you are doing is simply being quiet and waiting for the other person to stop talking so that you can say your point, you're really not having a conversation. And you're really probably not influencing each other very much. But, if you are listening to what they're saying and, just bear with me here, try this, actually repeat back a little bit of what you've heard them say, you're gonna see that they start doing that back to you. Now here's the thing, when you're repeating back what you're hearing them say it doesn't mean that you're agreeing with what they said. It just demonstrates to them that, “Look, I heard you.” And then you can say your point. Hopefully then they start repeating back a little bit about what you heard them say. Try it, I promise you you're gonna see how your conversations change. All of the sudden instead of just escalating and talking back and forth, and conversations turning into arguments, you're gonna see that you actually start having constructive dialogue and, I don't know, maybe even find some common ground. We live in a world today where there is plenty to argue about, so what if we started doing it in a way that was actually constructive instead of destructive? Give it a try, let us know how it works out for you. Thanks for tuning in, we'll see you next week.

Monday, 16 October 2017
Understanding Another Person's Perspective: Why It's Important

When we take a moment to see another person's perspective, it gives us an opportunity to broaden our own.

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Hi, welcome to Mindset Monday! Hope you had a great weekend. Let's address one very obvious thing - today is Monday and, if you're like me, sometimes Monday's don't go the best for you. In fact, maybe this morning you woke up a little bit late, maybe you were really rushed getting to work, maybe you've had a slew of emails coming in that don't have the best tone to them, maybe you're already frustrated with the week. If that's the case, we want to take a second right now to just stop and pause, and think about taking “maybe” into account. Maybe when you were coming into work and the person that you were driving behind, who was going so slowly, maybe they have something going on? And as frustrating as it was for you to have to be stuck behind their car when you were already late, maybe they have anxiety driving? Maybe that rude email that you got that set you off and you thought, “Why does my whole week have to start this way?” Maybe it came from someone who really needs to talk and go a little deeper on some issues with you? Maybe when you go to the grocery store later, if there's an old guy in line fumbling with his coupons and it's taking you a long time to check out, maybe he's trying to save every penny he has because he has a family member in the hospital and he's paying for medical bills? The reason we bring these things up is because when we go into conflict, we make a lot of assumptions about people and why they're doing the things that they're doing. But if we can take into account this idea of maybe, it might open our minds to thinking about them in a different way. And hey look, if it's just some jerk on the freeway, it's not going to waste any of your energy to give him a pass. In fact, it might make your day better. So, take “maybe” into account and maybe someone will do that for you some day. Thanks and have a great week!

Monday, 2 October 2017
Conflict Resolution: Tips to Help Your Child Resolve Conflict

Ashley Virtue, Dir. of External Relations for National Conflict Resolution Center, shares one more tip on how you can help your kids resolve conflict constructively. The key? Taking a step back in the heat of the moment.

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All right, well welcome back to Mindset Monday! Thanks for tuning in. If you'll remember, last week we were talking about how to speak with kids about the issue of conflict and what tools they have to help manage it. Now that kids are going back to school, we know that this is something that's bound to come up. So what are some tips that we can share with them, that you can share with them, about how they manage some of these issues? Well, one that we like to talk about is taking time before you respond to a conflict. Talk to your kids about taking that moment when they're in the heat of the moment to take a step back. Now, if they're young kids, maybe this is a little bit of a breathing exercise that they can do. If they're older kids, maybe it's asking the other kid for a moment or kind of taking some time and saying, “We'll talk about this later.” But we really believe in the value of not reacting in the heat of the moment, if at all possible. We also want to talk to kids about listening, really listening. And that means, for kids, that you don't necessarily say that you're agreeing with someone when you're listening, but all it means is that you're giving respect to the other person. And so, this is an important tool for them, because they're going to run into people throughout their life that they don't agree with. Listening doesn't mean that you're saying, “Yeah, you're absolutely right.” But it's just demonstrating respect, which is something they're going to need to do throughout the rest of their lives. So, if they can do those two things when they're engaged in a confrontation, it's going to help them not only in their current situation, but throughout the course of their entire life. Good luck!

Monday, 25 September 2017
Conflict Resolution: How to Teach Kids to Manage Conflict

Managing conflict can be hard, especially if you're a kid. Back to school can mean back to conflict. In this episode of Mindset Monday, Dir. of External Relations, Ashley Virtue, shares how parents can teach their children on how to resolve conflict.

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Happy Mindset Monday, everyone! All right, so chances are that either you or someone you know has a child who's going back to school the next couple of weeks. So we wanted to talk to you a little bit today about how you can talk with kids about conflict and how to resolve conflict. So, the first thing that we want to share with you is make sure that your kids know that conflict is inevitable. It's going to happen and it doesn't have to be scary. Conflict on the playground when you're sharing resources or toys is bound to happen. In fact, if your kids have siblings you probably already experienced some of that at home. So, let them know that it's natural to have conflict, but there are good tools that you can use to help manage it a little bit. In fact, if you have an opportunity, maybe around the dinner table, to share with them some of your conflicts that you're dealing with, it might give them a good example of how they can deal with their own. So, make sure that you talk to your kids about it. Don't always jump in and try to solve every problem for them, but help them strategize a little bit about their issues and how they're gonna deal with them. It's all about empowering our kids to feel like they have the tools to deal with conflict on their own. Now, check back in next week, because we're going to talk more about this topic as we have all of our kids going back to school. Thanks and see you later!