Archive for July, 2009
I’m a huge fan of The Moth’s podcasts. They release a free story every week. The stories are told in front of a live audience with no notes. I enjoy the moth for two reasons. The stories are great examples of the human condition. They also teach me about storytelling technique, very important to me as an editor.
Years ago, when people were shorter and lived near the water, I was a newscast director at WFIE in Evansville, Indiana. Among other things, live television taught me the power of timely choice. If I waited too long to choose, things could spiral out of control and I’d risk failure. On the other hand, if I chose incorrectly, it was usually a mistake that I could correct later. And don’t forget the possibility of choosing correctly, that DOES happen from time to time! The flow chart would look like this:
Corporate america spends gazillions of dollars annually on consultants who teach their employees how to avoid stagnation by the power of timely choice. What the consultants WON’T tell you is to check in with your body. For me, there’s usually a ‘go’ or ‘no go’ feeling for any decision located somewhere in my body. If a decision needs to be made, find out the data then check in with your body, it knows what needs to be done.
7. Ask for what you want.
Asking for what I want is my ‘anti-resentment’ tool and here’s how it works: If I ask for what I want, everything is out in the open and I’ll have no hidden agendas or covert contracts. With everything out in the open, I’m not expecting the people in my world to fulfill my unexpressed wants, thus avoiding my resentment when they’re not granted.
It’s important to note that if I ask for what I want, the answer I receive could be ‘no’, ‘not now’, or even ‘not ever.’ Asking for what I want is a request to another person for something, it’s not a demand. The difference between a request and a demand is that with a request ‘no’ is a perfectly acceptable answer.
6. If it comes from the heart, speak the words.
Most of have an internal censor that serves us well. It keeps us out of trouble at work and sometimes in relationships by filtering what passes through our minds and keeping it from coming out of our mouths! The trouble with the censor is when it starts to trap the heart’s messages. These messages are always good and mostly affirming… things like: I love you, you’re a gift, you’re doing a great job here, and I enjoy your company. Sometimes it’s a message that’s good and hurts, like ‘I need to leave this relationship, or this isn’t working for me.’ The story here is that messages from the heart need to be let out so they can do their work. If it’s in your heart, say it.
Here’s rule 5:
5. If there’s an ‘elephant in the room‘ talk about it.
How many times have you had a conversation with someone while being really careful not to mention the elephant in the room? Think of all the energy it takes to walk that mine field. Really it’s energy that could be used for something else… Like having an honest, open relationship with someone maybe? The next time this happens, try saying the words: The ‘elephant in the room is…’ then talk about whatever awkward subject needs to be spoken about.