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[00:00:00]

When we first start working with leaders years ago, we did a little bit of measurement around this and we saw that most people in organizations keep somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of their agreements.

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Hello and welcome. I'm Shane Parrish and this is the Knowledge Project, a podcast exploring the ideas, methods and mental models that help you learn from the best of what other people have already figured out. You can learn more and stay up to date. At DOT Blogs podcast, we have a newsletter. It comes out every Sunday called Brainfeeder. It's free and packed with all the best content we've come across this week. That's worth reading and thinking about. It contains quotes, book recommendations, articles and so much more.

[00:00:48]

You can learn more at F-stop Blogs newsletter. On the show today is Jim Detmer. Jim is the founding partner at the Conscious Leadership Group and has worked as coach and advisor to over 150 CEOs and their teams on conscious leadership. He's also the co-author of the 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership. I was first introduced to Jim at the recommendation of my friend Graham Duncan and I was hooked right away. As you'll discover, Jim is full of practical advice on what you can do to be better versions of yourself, better partners to the ones you love.

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But our colleagues, to those you work with and better parents, your kids, we're going to deep dive on cultivating self-awareness through pausing and reflecting, as well as understanding the role of feedback. We discuss how awareness needs to lead to acceptance and not self-criticism in order to change behavior. We talked about the victim mindset and how to get out of it, getting out of fear driven motivations like anger, guilt and shame, and moving to a more powerful and sustainable motivations like love and play.

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I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Time to listen and learn.

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Before we get started, here's a quick word from our sponsor. This episode is sponsored by Mud Mudder's, Masala Chai based coffee alternative that improves your focus that for medicinal mushrooms that are in mud, give you the benefits of coffee. But avoid the dreaded caffeine crash if you have trouble sleeping at night or can't remember the last time you dreamt TriMet as your new morning ritual instead of coffee. We had it here at the office and everyone loves it. If you're wondering, it tastes like chai and chocolate.

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If you want to try, go to midwater dotcom and enter Furnham at the checkout for ten dollars off.

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That's Muda WCR Dotcom and enter the code furnham for ten dollars of. Jim, I'm so excited to talk with you today about leadership to shame. It's my favorite subject and I love to have a conversation about what it was like for a place to start.

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I think the best place to start is about the line, a single black line and why that's the most important model for leadership. Can you explain that to us? Sure.

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So when we work with individuals and teams and organizations, we're looking to start the conversation with a simple model, kind of a simple on ramp that can be immediately applicable, like within 15 minutes of the conversation. So like any simple model or simple on ramp, it's open to being oversimplified and I totally get that. But the model itself is just this. There's a line and at any moment in time and we can talk about that, but at any moment in time, you're either above the line or below the line.

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So when you're above the line, you're open, curious and committed to learning you're in. You're actually, in a sense of trust, able to trust yourself, able to trust the environment, able to trust who you're ever in relationship with, able to trust the universe wherever you're placing your trust and when you're below the line, your contract, that you're in a state of threat. So now you're close to could be closed minded. Your literal body posture could be closed.

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Very often. Your heart is closed, you're defensive. And the big idea is you're attached to proving you're right. So what we're simply saying is that the first key skill of conscious leaders is self-awareness that leads the pack. And the first act of self awareness is can I locate myself in this now moment? Am I open or closed? Am I in a state of trust or a state of threat? Because we believe that ability to locate yourself really does start a powerful conversation inside of yourself and with anybody else you're doing this work with.

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Let's dive into that for a second. When you're talking about above the line being open and curious and below being defensive, the natural translation in my head was sort of like, oh, come over, ego.

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Great. Yes, beautiful translation. What does it mean to be self-aware?

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Well, in its most simple terms, it's the ability to accurately and that needs to be in air quotes accurately or as accurately as possible. See yourself. Now, of course, this has been, in the parlance of leadership for a long time, the Center for Creative Leadership, when they first brought out their sixty seven core competency, self awareness, along with learning, agility and communication and influence, were the top four competencies that trumped all other. So in the world of leadership, we've been talking about self-awareness, the ability to see oneself.

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So we're making it specific and not just can I see my strengths, can I see my weaknesses? Can I see my style? Can I see my thinking patterns? But in this moment, can I see the state of my consciousness and I see whether to your I like your word. Can I see whether I'm totally in service and outcomes or am I contracted in ego defensiveness? Can I see that and growing in self awareness? In our experience, there are three ways you can grow in self awareness.

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One is to become more self reflective, actually pause and bring almost like the lens of attention back at yourself as though there was something outside of you looking back at you and there practices around how to do that. The other way to grow in self awareness is to use some instrument. You could use a technical instrument like the MMPI or a personality instrument. We love a tool called the Enneagram because it's like a CAT scan in terms of self awareness. And the third way to grow in self awareness is to create an incredibly feedback rich environment where the people around you, the most direct form of feedback, are giving you feedback.

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So we talk to leaders all the time about are they creating a feedback rich environment? And of course, once you get that feedback is not just what people are saying to you that you decide you're going to live in an open system mentality where you're constantly getting feedback. Now you're on a rocket ship ride of self awareness.

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Those things work in concert as well as individually, I would imagine.

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Absolutely. Yeah, very much so. So. So can you walk me through a little bit of it? I think I'm most interested in one in three. So one being because those are things you can sort of do without a tool or sort of like somebody else. You need feedback. You need people to give you feedback. But I mean, in terms of pause and reflection, what does it mean to actually, like, pause and reflect?

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So in my experience, most people live most of the time. In kind of an automatic pilot there, just in a trance, sleepwalking through life at the effect of their personality and at the effect of their ego structure, we can talk about what ego is. Is there really such a thing? How does it show up? So let's just keep it simple at the effect that their personality so the ability to become self reflective is the cultivated skill to pause, quiet the mind a bit and then turn attention back on itself.

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And this can be done. So the quieting part, let's get there first. So all the leaders that I work with, I don't work with anybody who won't have some sort of mindfulness practice. I think the research is pretty compelling about the efficacy of it at multiple levels. But to our point right now, the ability to still mind just slow it down a little bit so that I can create a bit of empty space. The mind's not going to get totally quiet unless you do you practice six hours a day for 20 years.

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But at least I can slow it down to where I can get quiet enough to ask a question like could be to be a self reflective question. I might ask a leader to ponder over the course of a week as she's or he is in their self reflective time. Get still and then ask yourself this question, what do I want? And then just notice what comes up. I notice what comes up. And then as that begins to populate your consciousness, ask the question, what do I really want?

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So this is getting still noticing and populating the moment with a question or an inquiry. There are other ways to do it other than a question. But when people start I like to start with something like that.

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That makes a lot of sense. I'm curious as to other examples of sort of self reflective questions you give people and also, are there context specific ones, like I made a decision or I had an interaction with a person? What sort of prompts would you offer to reflect on?

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Sure. Let's go with I had an interaction with a person, so I have an interaction with a person. You and I could do this. We finish our interaction and before we run off to our next thing, just get still for a minute. And then a question I might ask would be something like this in stillness. I might ask, was there any place where I got reactive in that conversation? Was there any place where I got self protective?

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Was there any place where I got more interested in control and approval and survival, the three core wants of any ego structure? So is there any place where I got more interested in control and approval and safety and security than I was in learning? If if we have a deep, authentic conversation and you go wherever you want to go and you ask questions, there might be moments where fear will come up. It'll be the natural, normal response. And so in reflection, I might go back and say, where did fear come up?

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So I worked with an investment team outside of London last week. And you know at all they've kept most of the great boxes. They're really clear about their vision and their values, and they've got a very clear investment philosophy and even an investment process. We are working on how to have world class conversations, though. In the midst of conversations, we would just pause at times, just literally pompous, too much sound, too much fury in most conversations.

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Pause. It's still I'm just talking about one breath and ask the question in this moment, am I genuinely open to creating a win for all outcome in this conversation? Or have have I literally constructed such that the most important thing right now for me is defending my ego? And in my experience saying this, if you're willing to just practice, cultivate some self awareness, this information becomes obvious fairly quickly. It shows up first in your body. You'll know in your body they'll be certain somatic signatures.

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And then it shows up in your thinking structures and it shows up in your emotional state. So that would be you brought up the bucket up in relationships or in conversations. What would be some of the questions? Those would be some. There'd be many others that I might ask to help people grow in self awareness.

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OK, well, what would I want to actually, before we go into the next sort of question and decision making, which sort of prompts you could reflect on, what do you do with that information when you find it before we opt on this call? I was you know, I was just reflecting as you were talking about my interaction with somebody over email and how it was more curt than I would have liked. And do I reach out and apologize now or do I just let it go and acknowledge that it happened and sort of like move on and do something differently next time?

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Like, what do I do with that information once I have it?

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OK, great question. So we say that the first act of consciousness is awareness. So we're in that big bucket right now. The second. Act of consciousness and the first question is, where am I am I above or below the line? The second question is an odd one that needs a little bit of exploration. The second question is, can I accept myself for being where I am? So you finish that email, you pause and you say, where am I?

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And in our language, you might notice, wow, I'm a little curt. I'm probably a little contract that a little below the line. And you can explore what that's about for you. Now, the second question we'd ask you to pause and consider for just a moment is, can I accept myself for being reactive? So what we've discovered is that awareness needs to be followed by acceptance. Most of the most of the people that I work with, most of the people that you talk to and you and me tend to be really driven.

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People who want to optimize for success want to be the best we can possibly be. So when we start to really grow in self-awareness, what often follows a burst of insight, a burst of awareness is self-criticism kind of crap. I shouldn't a contract that I should be about that I was a little too curt. I shouldn't be curt. And in our experience, when you're already contracted, curtness comes from contraction as opposed to openness. And then you pile on with self-criticism or self judgment.

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You actually contract further. Now, here's the deal. If in a more contracted space you wrote an email talking about your curt response, the probability is very high that the outcome that you want wouldn't be achieved because there's a context, a bigger thing than the words on the in the email. There's a context you're speaking from, which is still somewhat contracted or fear based. But if you pause and you say, OK, today's Friday, and when I fired off that email, I was a little contract a little below the line.

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So you could just we just say there's some fear running in your system. You could explore that. And then you just say, could I just accept myself for being scared right now? Scared, natural, normal human response. And we teach all of our clients to actually pause and take one conscious breath, the deep breath down into the belly, which begins the process of changing your blood and brain chemistry, because when you're below the line, there's a certain chemical cocktail that's working that has upside but also has real downside.

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And when I take a conscious breath that starts to change, so you realize you're kirt, you take a breath of acceptance.

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And by the way, self-awareness is easier to train in world class leaders than self acceptance. Most of them have a superstitious belief that if they granted themselves a moment of self acceptance, they'd lose their edge. That absent being constantly self-critical, self evaluating with a slightly negative spin. Absent that, I'll lose my edge and we find the opposite to be true that the more I can do whatever it is I'm doing from presence rather than reactivity. So send that email from presence rather than reactivity.

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The more is available to me to be my highest and best self in the moment. So first question, where am I? Second question. Can I accept myself for being where I am now? Excuse me? You come back into presence and now you ask yourself, what do I really want to communicate when I respond to this email? Am I willing to be with this email from above the line? Now, what that might look like is being authentically vulnerable, transparent.

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It might look like revealing what it was you were contracted about in the first place. You know, we say that candor is one of the key indicators that I'm above the line. When I'm above the line, I reveal and I don't conceal which. So you write this email and you say, I noticed that the last email, I said I was curt. And when I tune into what that's about, I think it's because I was attached to an outcome and I didn't think we're getting the outcome.

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So I just want to tell you that and I want to see if we could have another conversation and see if we can create something that might be more of a win for all of us. You don't know yet how you're going to communicate from above the line. You're just willing to shift the context of the conversation before you start dealing with the content.

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I like that a lot. I think that's a powerful sort of means to walk through it. I want to come to one thing where, like four layers deep, we're going to come back, I promise.

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But you keep track. I want to talk about acceptance. And one of the comments that you made that was interesting to me is that a lot of.

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World class leaders have problems with self acceptance because somehow they feel like they're driven by this. Is it a chip on their shoulder? My understanding that correctly, like what is what is sort of driving? What do they feel or perceived is driving them? And then what's actually driving them when you change the the self acceptance lens?

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Great question. So what's driving so many of them is down deep, way down deep. There is a belief that says it's not OK just the way it is. I'm not OK just the way I am now. There can be many variations of how that shows up in a leader based on their personality structure. But down deep, there's this sense that I'm not OK. It's not OK. Something needs to be different now with some people, the age old story might be something needs to be different in order for me to get the approval that I want from fill in the blank primary caregiver, my siblings, my family of origin, my original community, my first coach, whoever it is or myself, something has to be different.

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That's the way I am isn't OK. That would be one form of this. Another would be it's not OK just the way it is. And I'm not OK just the way I am because I've got to even the score. Something was done to me, something happened and there's a fuel in my belly that says I am going to overcome this. And if I paused for a moment and take a break, I'll lose that fire in the belly that is driving me to overcome.

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And we could just keep exploring and keep exploring and finding these core beliefs that I believe that were developed before we were six years old that have driven us. And by the way, I say to all the leaders that we work with, they've produced Wonderful Upside's, you know, they've produced fantastic capacities for achievement and accomplishment and mastery. But whenever we've been driven primarily by the belief in the experience that something at the core is missing, that belief leaves a toxic residue.

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And when you get close to these leaders and they talk openly and honestly, when you're in a circle with six or eight or ten of them, which is where I spend most of my time, and we create an environment where people can feel safe and they start talking, they might say, this fire in my belly has driven me to this incredible sense of accomplishment, which has been wonderful. But that same fire keeps me from being intimate and close with my significant other with my children or I can't sleep at night or what I would give, you know, when people get late later in their development, what I would give I would give all of my fame and all of my money to have peace.

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So this is what I mean. The very thing that has created the consciousness that has made this great contribution to themselves, to the world is the very thing that keeps them from saying, could I give myself a moment of acceptance?

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Now, you ask a question that I talk about people all the time, which is, if that doesn't motivate me, what's going to motivate me is if that goes away, then what that is fire, fire that I feel like is driving me exactly this half to energy, this core fire.

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And I say I really do it simply. I say there are five things that can motivate us. The first thing that can motivate us is fear, guilt and shame. And by the way, fitting in there as well as anger and rage. And the question is, does fear, guilt, shame, anger and rage motivate? Absolutely. You don't have to look very far to see that it motivates the deal is that if you're self aware at all, you know, that eventually fear, guilt and shame and anger and rage leave a toxic residue.

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Many of us have motivated our children with fear, guilt and shame. I thought I would have thought better of you for what's happened to be scared of. I'll give you something to be scared of. I'm disappointed in you.

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I'm disappointed in you. And, you know, as a parent, you pause and you say, does it work?

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Well, yeah, sure, especially to your kids personality and temperament, it's going to work a little bit, you'll get a short term return, but eventually that's going to leave a toxic residue, which is going to look like broken trust between you and your child. So once I start to move to another level of motivation, the next level is extrinsic reward. So does money, fame, perks, does it reward? Does it motivate? Sure, absolutely.

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Does it leave a toxic residue? Yeah. You know, if you're motivating your team solely by extrinsic reward, one of the things you know is you've got to keep increasing the capacity to keep feeding the consciousness that you've created. And it also creates people playing a zero sum game, which creates tremendous would lose consciousness and all this kind of stuff. Then the next level up is intrinsic or more. Now, this is when I start to live from a sense of purpose or calling, when all of a sudden I start to discover what we call our zone of genius or what it is that lights me up to do in the world.

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And this is when I start motivating people in my world with authentic appreciation. So these are intrinsic rewards and they actually are the first level of motivation that doesn't leave a toxic resonance. And then the next level above that, this is fascinating. The next one above that is play. All mammals are motivated by food, play and learning. So I say to leaders all the time, when you when work can start to feel like play. And this was misunderstood because there was a period when people would look at some of the classic startups of old like Google, you know, they'd go to their office in New York and they'd see a slide or they'd see foosball tables or whatever, and people would go, they'd misunderstand.

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They go, OK, I need to have play in the workplace and play means at all. It's it's a million miles from that. What it means is that when I'm coding, it's like a child at play and I love it when I'm dealmaking. I'm a child at play, which means there's a low level of self-consciousness, there's a high level of learning, there's sustainable rechargeable energy with my children and I have seven grandchildren. When they're playing you, you don't have to reinforce Motiva.

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They are in the game. But when we can start to live life as play, which I think we started playing children, then we got really serious someplace along the line, largely because of that fire in the belly.

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And then we're going to return to play at some point. And I said, leaders, the sooner you return to play, the better. And then the highest form of motivation is love. And I don't mean by that some touchy feely thing. I mean the love of the thing, the love of the thing. I love landscape. I love playing chess. I love I love doing analysis before investing. I love the thing itself. So here's the deal.

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As you decrease, you'll never take it all away. But as you decrease being motivated by fear, guilt, shame, anger, rage and by extrinsic reward, people need to find a new motivation source, whether it's by motivating myself or you and I are a team. But the organizations, the teams of the future, they are motivated by intrinsic reward play. And you watch great professional sports teams. It looks to me now what comes first winning or what I'm about to say.

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But there seems to be a deep, profound alignment of purpose that's intrinsic, a commitment to have everybody on the team playing in their zone of genius. What are they best at? We're going to figure that out and release and empower you to do that. Then we're having fun. This is fun. You hear great contributors, athletes all the time say it's not fun anymore. Well, then what's going to motivate you if it's not fun and they love the thing itself and they love each other now, again, not in a touchy feely way, but in the way the Marines love each other.

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I think when people start to get motivated by that, an entire different sustainability and impact starts to occur. Does that make sense?

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Yeah, I think it makes a lot of sense. How do we how do we shift? Like, is it an awareness issue to shift from something like fear or guilt? Maybe you're staying in a friendship or relationship out of fear or guilt. Is it an awareness alone or is it a replacement with sort of something higher up on the list that you mentioned, like even extrinsic or intrinsic and then play and love? Is are we shifting it or are we just acknowledging it?

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Like, how do you walk me through that? Thinking a little.

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Yeah, great. So again, it's always going to start at. Awareness is one of the things I'd ask a leader is I'd give them like just these five options as a starting point. And I would say this get still practice stillness and then take whatever it is you're doing and what you're doing right now. And just get curious, what's motivating you right now? Is it this and shame? Is it extrinsic intrinsic play?

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So a lot of us are so motivated by wanting approval to be like value to Steeg, were motivated by wanting control. We want control of our world and we're motivated by wanting safety and security because all we've seen in those first to fear, guilt, shame and extrinsic reward. So what's motivating you? Get aware, self awareness now and those early two motivations, the most extrinsic and fear, guilt, shame, anger, rage, those are coming from a core of fear.

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Now, again, when I work with leaders and I say, can you feel the fear underneath at all when I start coaching people? Twenty five, thirty years ago, that was a totally inane question. I might be able to feel my passion or I could feel my anger that was acceptable. Once in a while, I could feel happiness or joy, but fear and sadness. Why in the world would I want to feel those are a complete waste of time, but underneath these incredibly driven, successful people, this is a funny way to say it is a scared little five year old kid or a nine year old little girl in there who is terrified.

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So this is why I come back to after awareness. Can you give acceptance? The antidote to fear is not courage. The antidote to fear is acceptance. I have these little grandchildren and it's so fun having a second bite of the apple around, caring for little ones. Head to two girls of my own and then five, four stepsons when I was in their life, when they were very young. And, you know, my parents did the best I could, just like everybody who's listening.

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That's doing the best we can. But to do it again 30, 40 years later is such a treat.

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So, you know, like when my kids would get trapped in their ego structure, know, I parent in a certain way and now and I have these grandkids, it's so different because I'm not invested in my identity, isn't tied to how they turn out. You know, if they have a tantrum in the frozen peas section of the supermarket, I don't think it is a reflection on me. If they're standing on the soccer field looking at daisies and not kicking the ball, I don't have to yell kick the ball, because I'm afraid that people are going to think I'm a bad parent or I'm not going to get them a scholarship to play D1 soccer.

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Know, I'm just a guy standing there loving my grandchildren. So when they get triggered, I'm in such a different place. When they get scared, I can say to them, Oh, God, you're scared, grandfather. Get scared, too. Let's just sit together for a minute and just read this are which of course is what Dan Siegel, who I think is fabulous about brain research and children and parenting and the whole brain child and all of his work.

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That's, of course, what he is saying children most need in those moments. Now, I say all that to say inside of each of us is a scared little kid. I get these leaders in circles and after a day and a half of trusting each other, they're willing to start talking about that kid. And then the question is, can they give that one a little bit of acceptance? And that is not easy to do. So until I can give a little bit of loving kindness, a little bit of acceptance to the scared, terrified parts of me, then it's not going to stop because my mind is going to believe the only way to succeed is to keep scaring the shit out of myself.

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Unconsciously, this is mostly unconscious. Keep scaring the shit out of myself. Keep believing that I don't have enough approval yet, even though I have got any of the following things, including adulation, adoration, no followers on Twitter trophy's. I still don't have enough Proval approval. I don't have enough control over my world and I'm still not safe and secure enough. So until that little one who's driving the show can experience some acceptance, they won't calm down.

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By the way, that's two of my grandchildren. When they're throwing temper tantrums, in my experience, I can all the big adults can always overpower them. Your ego structure can always overpower the scared part of you. But I can get the kids to sit down, but they don't get still on the inside. And until they do that, they can't let go of their belief that they need to be motivated by that.

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So that's why awareness comes first. What's motivating the acceptance comes second. And we do tons of work on how to cultivate a little bit of acceptance. This is not ours. I'm talking about a couple of rats and then from there I can start to shift. This is one of our words. I can. They start to shift this, starting to motivate myself with intrinsic reward, play and love, but until I can cultivate awareness and acceptance, the shift moves required to be motivated by intrinsic rewards play in love, aren't there?

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I won't trust them. And I'll go back to what made me successful up to this point was really insightful.

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I do want to come back to kids. I just don't want to lose track of the thread and where we're at. So we're talking about sort of self awareness. And we had three sort of concepts, one of which was pause and reflect to its instruments through its feedback. Just want to go back to pause and reflect for one second because we we went down a rabbit hole in terms of talking, but a conversation with a person and how to reflect on that.

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I want to also super important to our audience is how do we reflect on a decision that we made within an organization. Maybe that decision worked so well and maybe it didn't. But what are the prompts that we can sort of do for almost a guided reflection to go back and get better at making decisions?

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Yeah, great question. So I've listened to a couple of your podcasts where I my story was I love the podcast. And you had people who are expert at asking that question in a way that I think most of your listeners are going to be served by it. I'm not expert at that. So I want to be clear. My expertise is how to become self-aware around the state of your consciousness.

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So, again, I listen to a couple of podcasts where people had fabulous input about that. I was wondering here are the kinds of questions I want to ask is from where did I make the decision? Did I make it from below the line or above the line? Another question. Did I make the decision from I'm going to introduce a new model here from victim, villain or hero? Victim is did I make the decision from feeling like I was at the effect of a person's circumstance or condition?

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Was I in a victim consciousness? Did I make it from villain where I was making the decision from blam judgment criticism that I make the decision from Hero, which is did I make it to rescue people? Did I make it to relieve temporarily their difficulty? They're upset. This is the famous Karpman triangle. It's not new to us that almost all life is lived from a drama triangle of victim, villain and hero. So in a when we're thinking about our decisions, did I make it from above or below?

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Did I make it from a consciousness of victimhood, villain or hero? Another question we would ask is, did I allow all of my emotional intelligence to totally inform this decision? So we do a lot with leaders around the difference between IQ, IQ and VQ IQ being the grey matter, the thinking capacities on that IQ being emotional intelligence and BQ, this new field. I think that's coming online around body intelligence, the wisdom of the body. So one of the things we see when people make decisions or have real conversations is, of course, most of the people we're working with have a bias towards IQ data analysis, which is fabulous.

[00:35:13]

We're not in any way diminishing that. That needs to be developed, honed, beautiful. But we've discovered that unless people are equally valuing IQ, the best decisions don't get made. And there's tremendous wisdom that comes from emotional intelligence. We teach that there are five core emotions that are healthy, Life-Giving natural, and those are anger, fear, sadness, joy and creative energy. By the way, that creative energy is actually sexual energy.

[00:35:48]

We don't call it that because of all the obvious reasons, all these all these emotions actually occur in and on the body.

[00:35:57]

Emotions are not thoughts. They are literally sensations in and on the body. Now, that doesn't mean I don't have a thought. So I live in Chicago. I'm driving down the Kennedy Expressway. Somebody cuts me off. I have a thought you shouldn't do that. That thought charges and emotion, anger. But that emotion doesn't show up in my thinking pattern, shows up as a set of sensations on my body heat in my face, the tension in the back of my neck radiating on my shoulders down to my fists, pulsing in my.

[00:36:33]

That's anger. Sadness is in the chest and the neck and the face, fears in the belly. All these things locate in the body. And creative energy, which is an incredibly powerful tool, actually started out as sexual energy that starts in the body, in the erogenous zones and then circulates all throughout the body. And quite frankly, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with sex. A lot of people have sex without sexual energy to have sex with an.

[00:37:01]

They have sex and fear, they have sex with sadness, but sexual energy is part of the key to being creative. It flows through the same pipe. So one of the questions we would ask going back to your original question is, were all of the emotions welcomed in the decision process and did we get the wisdom of them? The wisdom of anger is that something isn't a service and it's a boundary energy. You need to be able to say stop.

[00:37:26]

The wisdom of sadness is that there's a loss here and we're not fully facing and feeling the loss. The wisdom of fear is that something's not being paid attention to. So I'm going a little deep on emotional intelligence, but that would be a category. Another question I would ask is, did we reveal everything we had to say about this? So we have these 15 commitments in. The fourth commitment is about candor and we find horrible decisions get made when people don't reveal their thoughts, their judgments, their opinions, relevant data, facts, information, their feelings, their deepest wants and desires.

[00:38:05]

So what we find is that when trust is low in relationships, teams and organizations, people start withholding. And when people withhold, decisions become far less effective and they get muddied up. We call them sludge and so they get slower and wrong decisions get made so happy. Another one. Did I say everything I had to say? We call it Blatty. When we're teaching people how to have world class conversations and make decisions, we want to get all the relevant facts out on the table and then we want to create a few minutes.

[00:38:39]

Depends on the depth of its decision, how long we have to make the decision for everybody in the room to blurt and to say everything they have to say. And there's a particular way we teach people to do that. To another question, another question we would ask is, are there any integrity breaches that are touching or affecting this decision? So does that mean. Yeah, great. So integrity is many things, but one of it is its integrity is about my agreements and my impeccable around my agreements.

[00:39:10]

So an agreement is anything I've said I will do or anything I've said I won't do. Being impeccable is being clear about my agreements, keeping my agreements. And we see the people who really have high states of integrity keep about 90 percent of their agreements, renegotiating agreements I've made before they get broken and when I break agreements, cleaning them up. So here's what we discover. A lot of decisions get made where people don't acknowledge that they're making this decision on top of a broken agreement.

[00:39:43]

Wait a minute. If we if we go back under here, we actually have an agreement here that we didn't keep or somebody made an agreement with us they didn't keep. So if I don't get back into integrity around my broken agreements or my my unclear agreements, this investment team I work with, one of the things we worked on was how to make clear agreements.

[00:40:03]

Teams waste so much time not making clear agreements.

[00:40:09]

You know, it's like we make an agreement and you and I are having a conversation. Well, I thought we were going to talk at 8:00 in the morning, so I thought, we're talking to seven forty five. I thought you were called me. I thought I was calling you. I thought I was supposed to get to that report by five o'clock. No, it was two o'clock. And the scope was this. And absent these incredibly clear, what we call impeccable agreements, teams waste unbelievable amounts of time.

[00:40:29]

So I'd want to bring that question up. And then I would just keep going with these kinds of questions that are about the state of consciousness in which the decision was made. Will there be a whole set of questions here? I, I don't know whether that's useful to you and what you're thinking around this compared to the other people I listen to on your podcast. But that's the way we teach teams to. Oh, yeah.

[00:40:52]

This passive, it's like so happy to get it on this stuff. There's a couple of rabbit holes here. Before we go back up to the top, I want to talk about how do we make clear commitments to each other? Like what is it you you encourage people to do beyond sort of like basics and specifics? Like what does it mean to make it clear commitment? How what are examples of ways that we unconsciously make unclear commitments and what is the a clear commitment look like in those situations?

[00:41:22]

OK, great. So first, I want to use a different word because commitment is a technical term for us. I want to use with you the term agreement and an agreement is between two or more people, although, by the way, you can make agreements with yourself. When we start working with leaders, we discovered they're not making clear agreements with themselves and they're out of integrity with themselves. Right. So one of the agreements that I have with myself in the month of March is that I'm going to do a certain number of high intensity interval training per week and I'm going to do a certain amount of strength and balance and training and I'm going to meditate a certain amount each day and so on and so forth.

[00:41:59]

These are all the. Agreements that I've made with myself so we can make agreements for ourselves, we can make with each other. You and I had an agreement. We're going to have a conversation at 8:00 a.m. Central Time. We had an agreement, an agreement, first and foremost, to be clear about your agreement. It's between people and it's anything I say I will do or anything I say I want to see. An agreement could be we're going to talk at 8:00 in the morning.

[00:42:22]

You asked me at the beginning of this, are there anything that off limits? And I said, no, but let's imagine I said, yeah, you know, me as a grandfather is off limits. We would have made an agreement and been clear. You couldn't ask me about that. So an agreement between two or more people, anything I've said I will do or won't do. Now, I'll give you one big idea. One of the keys to agreements is they need to be incredibly clear.

[00:42:45]

Every agreement needs to have a who is going to do what by when and agreements that don't have a who and what anyone are sloppy. And we all have a million of these.

[00:42:57]

You know, it can be as simple as you walk in the door and your partner, your significant other says, I thought we made an agreement to leave for that party at seven o'clock. And you go, oh, golly, I didn't think we're going to leave for the party at seven o'clock. I thought we're going to meet here at the house and get ready for the party at seven o'clock or or, you know, I don't think it really matters whether we leave at 7:00.

[00:43:17]

You know, they don't care about that. And all of a sudden you're in drama with your intimate partner because you don't have a clear agreement about who's going to do what by when. I think.

[00:43:26]

Yeah, another good example that we've all probably experience is the meeting we've been at where something is decided but nobody knows who's doing what. We just sort of like leave the room.

[00:43:35]

It's so true. So when we watch world class teams, not only do they make clear agreements, who's going to do what by when they capture all their agreements? We're huge fans of a technology like, you know, I love the Sonic because first of all, they built their entire technology, I think, in a commitment to a certain kind of consciousness. And then they, in my experience, developed an elegant, simple way for individuals, teams and organizations to track all their agreements.

[00:44:03]

So if it's done masterfully, drama minimizes. We're not wasting time on these agreements.

[00:44:12]

So now so clear agreements. Who's going to do what I want now? Here's the next one and I'll give you this one. This one is huge in organizations. We say only make agreements that you have a whole body. Yes, that's a funny term. It basically means check out your whole body, check your head, check your heart, check your gut check, check your whole system. Do you really have a yes to making this agreement? So what happens in most organizations is we don't create an environment where when people are asked to make an agreement, they get to really check or and instead of checking, people don't go.

[00:44:48]

I didn't really check. I just kind of gave a corporate not like somebody asked. So I said, OK. And then they actually think underneath. I think, don't worry, they don't write down. They're going to check anyway. I just want to get out of the damn meeting, go do something. So now I'm making agreements I don't really want to make. What when you make agreements you don't really want to make, a couple of things are going to happen.

[00:45:10]

One, you won't do it or you'll really struggle to do it because you didn't want to do it in the first place, or you'll do a crummy job, you'll be passive aggressive, it'll show up late, it'll be done a half assed. So in our world, we want to teach teams to make agreements where everybody gets to check and see who I really have a yes to this. Now, if I don't have a yes to it, then I might say to you, Shane, I don't have a yes to have an hour call at eight o'clock in the morning.

[00:45:36]

I might want to renegotiate the who the what are the winner. I might say, you know, wow, if we could do it at seven thirty, that would be a lot better for me instead of just nodding my head. Or I might say I don't like the what we're recording this on Zoom Zoom sketchy for me. Can we just do a phone call once I get clear? So I trust you can trust that if I make an agreement with you, I'm in.

[00:46:00]

I'm in. Now, we teach leaders that they also need to know how to use command and control as a viable style. They need to know when to issue edicts instead of agreements. That's true. But when you're really asking for a bilateral agreement, you want people to totally buy it. And the next write it down is write down your agreements and then keep your agreements. We say to people all the time, it's unbelievable how many leaders I work with and I say, show me the agreement you're currently working with in life.

[00:46:29]

And then I say, are you lined up? Are you in integrity with yourself to keep the agreements?

[00:46:34]

And when we first start working with leaders, years ago, we did a little bit of measurement around this and we saw that most people in organizations keep somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of their agreements. Well, can you see where that would be?

[00:46:49]

Oh, yeah. That's going to cause a whole bunch of like you're going to be problem solving all day. There's a lot of friction involved in that. A lot of drama, I would imagine.

[00:46:58]

Yes. So. I get really serious with myself around town, Peter said a long time ago. There's no such thing as a small breach of integrity. To me, broken agreements are a breach of integrity. By the way, it doesn't matter if I say to my partner, I say, I'll pick up a gallon of milk on the way home. And if I don't pick up a gallon of milk on the way home, that's an integrity breach.

[00:47:21]

It's worse. Which leads me to the next piece, which is whenever I break agreements, I go to the person with whom I broke the agreement and I say, let's imagine that I was late for this call. I show up 15 minutes late. I would begin by saying change before we get going. I want to cover that. I'm out of integrity with you. I made an agreement to be on the call at eight o'clock and I wasn't there.

[00:47:45]

So I want to take responsibility for that. And I want to see if I need to do anything to clean that up with you. By the way, notice in doing that, I'm not making excuses or justifying. I'm not explaining. I'm just taking responsibility because that act of taking responsibility is the commodity of trust. So that to be some of the stuff I'd say about agreements. By the way, I want to speak just for a minute that my mentor in this was gay Hendricks, Dr Gay Hendricks and his wife, partner and co-facilitator of life, Katie Hendricks.

[00:48:16]

And he's the one who taught me about being impeccable around agreements and it transformed my life.

[00:48:24]

What sort of agreements do people have that are maybe unstated in their direct personal relationships with their partner spouse? That because friction in that relationship that are maybe like unserviced and you're unaware of.

[00:48:41]

Yeah, right. Well, here's the deal. Most people in their intimate relationship haven't gotten conscious around this, have all kinds of unstated agreements. So, you know, you're coming home from a party that you went to and all of a sudden it gets icy cold in the car. Right. And then one partner turns and said, what's wrong? Well, you talked a long time to so-and-so and it looked like you were flirting and it looked like you were touching the person inappropriately on their arm.

[00:49:11]

Boom. Now we're off to the races, right? Well, we say all the time that all drama in relationships, personal or professional, is caused by unaligned commitments. That's that word commitment. We're not headed in the same direction or unclear and unkept agreements. So like in couples, one of the things we say is you ought to get really clear about what your agreements are, about how you're going to be involved with people outside of your companies.

[00:49:37]

It could be as simple as are we going to be monogamous or are we going to be polyamorous? Are we going to have an open relationship or are we going to have a close relationship? Is it OK for me to have to flirt? Is flirting OK or is flirting not OK unless we get clear about all these agreements, they're just going to keep me circulating in drama. We say that unless you get aligned on your commitments, a commitment would be I commit to be candid in our relationship so that notice that doesn't have a who what and by when a commitment is more a moon launch, my north star is that I'm going to reveal and not conceal in this relationship.

[00:50:20]

I'm not going to hide and manipulate information. My thoughts, feelings are judgments. I'm going to be transparent, authentic and reveal what can you see that in an intimate relationship, if one partner holds that view and the other partner goes now, not so much, I'm going to reveal as much as I to be ordered to maintain what I want to maintain, only say that that unaligned commitment will cause constant recurring drama because it'll show up around money, it'll show up around sex, it'll show up around the in-laws, it'll show up around the children.

[00:50:51]

It'll show up around free time. It'll show up around the credit card. It'll show up every place. And people will think that the issue is the in-laws. You didn't tell me that your parents were coming, but the issue is not the in-laws. The issue is that we are not aligned in how transparent and candid we want to be with each other. So unaligned commitments and then unclear and unkept agreements are the source of most drama in most intimate relationships.

[00:51:19]

So and by the way, this is you brought it up in a personal life. It's absolutely true in the workplace as well. People aren't aligned in what their commitments are. What are we really up to here and how are we going to behave, leave with each other? And then we have sloppy agreements. So sometimes people say, what do I do? What is our company, the conscious leadership group? In the most simplest terms, we help leaders, teams and organizations minimize drama because drama is deeply entertaining, by the way, it's addictive, but it's a massive waste of time.

[00:51:52]

Just one question that came up as we're talking about relationships, since you deal with a number of people that are sort of like learning to. Become self aware. I would imagine my hypothesis would be part of that would be I'm in an unhealthy relationship with my partner or spouse.

[00:52:09]

Absolutely. So what do you what do you do if you realize that?

[00:52:15]

OK, so again, I'm going to say let's say I conclude that I'm in an unhealthy relationship again. After awareness comes acceptance, a breath of like the Buddhists say. That's just the suddenness of it. Today is Friday and my experience of my relationship, it's unhealthy. OK, so now I'm present to that reality. And I say that because most people are unwilling to fully face what's going on in much of their life, fully face it, they turn away from it.

[00:52:52]

They partially glance at it. And one thing they're not willing to fully face is the condition of their intimate relationship. And they don't fully face it for lots of reasons. One, they think if I fully face it, that's going to create a ton of mess. And right now my prioritization is my work or my prioritization is my friends or my prioritization is taking care of my sick mother.

[00:53:16]

I do not want to open a Pandora's box about the health of our relationship or I don't want to hurt the other person that was going to be the next.

[00:53:26]

I don't want to fully face what's going on because I don't want to hurt my partner. Now, I'll just pause there for a second. If we were really talking honestly here, I would say let's just say that that's true. You really do care about this person. You don't want to hurt them. Job grant that. Let's be with that for a minute. But for many, many people, especially who are in what you said is an unhealthy relationship, what they really don't want to do is live with the effect and the consequences of when their partner gets hurt.

[00:53:59]

Hmm. So typical thing would be, you know, some person in the relationship is unfaithful and let's say they broke an agreement. Not all relationships have fidelity as part of an agreement, but let's say they did. So somebody is unfaithful and now they realize this is a problem because now I've got a secret and like they say in the recovery groups, only as sick as your secrets. And that's true about a relationship as well. If I'm really committed to closeness and now I've got a major secret, it's probably going to be a barrier to closeness.

[00:54:28]

So then when we start coaching and I say, got any secrets in your relationship? I got this one. And then we start talking about what do you want to do with that and start laying out the options. And one option is to become authentic and reveal I don't necessarily always say that's the solution, that I'd want to have a whole lot of conversation. But when we get down to having that very short conversation, it's not a long conversation.

[00:54:51]

It's pretty short. I made an agreement with you to only be intimate with you, and I broke that agreement and I take responsibility for that. Most people don't want to see the look on the other person's face, because if you don't care about them at all, if they haven't hardened their heart, which, by the way, often they've already hardened their hearts so they actually don't care that much. But if they still care, they don't want to see that hurt, that pain.

[00:55:16]

They don't want to see that anguish. But they even more don't want to live with what's coming back their way. How dare you? You know, I knew you weren't trustworthy. This explains everything. So oftentimes when we say it's because we care. And by the way, that's totally legitimate. Often what's really true is we want to keep controlling the other person and we don't want them to see us for who we are because we don't trust that we're going to be OK if they have their reaction.

[00:55:49]

I've sat with countless couples, for example, when they've had that conversation. I've been the third party in the room and I say to the person who broke the agreement, who's who wants to return to a genuinely close relationship that they believe they cannot get to as long as they have a secret. I've sat there when they've said that 30 second thing, it's never longer than that. There might be more details that come out later. And then when I say to him, now you have to stay here in presence and be with your partner while they feel all their feelings, while they express all that they have to express, while they experience their hurt, their betrayal, their mistrust, because there's no possibility for rebuilding a relationship unless you can be authentic and you can be present to your partner while they have their experience.

[00:56:37]

So, I mean, I went kind of deep with here. That's not true of everybody. But that's the kind of thing that needs to happen in an intimate relationship when agreements have been broken.

[00:56:47]

And a really difficult conversation for both, obviously, both people to have.

[00:56:53]

It's incredibly difficult, painful, messy. It's why people avoid it. But what's true is if I really want to have an authentic relationship where we practice being revealed and can and by the way, in my judgment, you can't have a truly intimate relationship. And I don't just mean sexually intimate, close relationship without being authentic. You just can't it's not possible. You can have a buddy, you can have some fun. You can have a playmate, you can have somebody you know who to call a parent with.

[00:57:28]

You can have somebody to have a social representation in your community with. But if what you really want is closeness, candor and closeness go hand in hand. So I can only be as close as I'm willing to be revealed. The thing here is, unless you really, really know me and I have the guts to reveal myself, I can never trust that you really love me. Because if you in my mind, I'm thinking if you knew this about me, then you wouldn't love me.

[00:57:56]

So how can I ever experience full love and acceptance unless I'm fully revealed it's always going to be in question. Now, this is the message. That's why when I start working with couples at the very beginning and they're thinking about couples even getting together in relationship, well, the things I do is I just go through what are you really committed to? What do you what let's make sure you're aligned and committed on that. Again, this is a lot of the stuff that I learned from Gay and Katie Anderson.

[00:58:21]

We apprenticed with them. They wrote a fabulous book called Conscious Loving that is all about this stuff that transformed my relationship with Debbie. And it's transformed countless relationships. By the way, the same stuff is true on a team or in the business environment. What are we committed to? How real and authentic do we want to be? We're going to have to check out that book.

[00:58:41]

I want to go one level up in the rabbit hole that we had gone down here. You talked to a victim, victim, villain and hero. And I want to explore the victim mindset just a little bit. Is that akin to like a passive mindset where, like, you feel like life is happening to you and you're out of control of it and these things keep you don't take responsibility for anything. You sort of don't see your role and things.

[00:59:09]

That's exactly what it is. It is living from the belief. It's not always a conscious belief that life is happening to me. So I'm at the effect of people, circumstances and conditions. So I'm in Chicago. It's sunny today, but it's thirty five degrees or so in March. So there are people when I walk around the city and talk to people who say the weather is so cold, when is spring coming? I know it's officially spring, but when it's really going to be spring.

[00:59:40]

Well, in that moment they're reflecting victim consciousness, their act, the effect of the weather.

[00:59:46]

What I'm saying is my happiness, my effectiveness, my joy is contingent upon people. Circumstances are conditions. So if the weather's nice, I'm happy. If the weather's bad, I'm unhappy. If my intimate partner treats me kindly, remembers that it's my birthday, gives me the gift, kisses me appropriately, appreciates me deeply. I'm happy. If they don't, I'm unhappy if the deal goes through. If the investment pans out, if we win the game, I'm happy.

[01:00:16]

So now in psychological terms, we've moved the locus of control outside of ourselves and we're living in victim consciousness. By the way, we say that this is where the vast majority of people live, the vast majority of time. Because I want to say something, Jane, when I'm living in victim consciousness, it doesn't necessarily mean that I'm having a bad day. In other words, imagine that it's eighty degrees and sunny in Chicago in late March.

[01:00:41]

Now you walk around town and people go, I'm having a fantastic day. It's gorgeous. It's sunny. And I played 18 holes of golf and shot to overpower to the best score I've had in the springtime in my lifetime. And my kid got into an Ivy League school. Well, they're happy, but causation is still outside of them. Right? So now it's just going to be I'm a victim of people, circumstances and conditions. When I move from victim consciousness, which happens below the line to above the line, I move into what we call creator consciousness and creator consciousness is basically this.

[01:01:18]

I choose and it's an active, conscious choice. I choose to be responsible for my experience. In other words, the weather doesn't upset me. I upset myself because I'm attached to beliefs about the weather, like I believe it should be sunny and 80, not thirty four and cloudy. I'm the source of my belief. I'm attached to being right about my belief. And when the world doesn't cooperate with my constructs about how it ought to be, I upset myself.

[01:01:59]

So. When this really gets going, you start to see that nobody upsets you, you upset yourself, nobody angers you said happies. You you do that to yourself because it's literally because of the cognitive, mental and emotive emotional structure. Your thoughts about the world are creating your experience of the world. So when people move from victim to creator, they start taking 100 percent responsibility for having their experience.

[01:02:28]

So do that like intellectually. I think I understand everything you just said. And if you ask me, like a question, I could sort of like repeat that. But putting that into a day to day practice where you're giving up the sort of desire for an outcome or you're letting these things sort of dictate your happiness is much harder. It requires a ton of consciousness, maybe more energy than what we have.

[01:02:52]

Yeah, I actually don't my experience it doesn't take more energy because I think living in a victim consciousness requires massive amounts of energy and we start to live and create our consciousness. It actually is energy replantation in cooperation with life. I'm no longer resisting what life is bringing. It takes an unbelievable amount of energy to resist reality.

[01:03:23]

Yeah, so the energy, I guess in the context I was bringing it up is like you need the energy in the moment to sort of like within that split, say it might save you a ton of energy later, but you need to find it in that moment to be conscious of your thinking. Yeah. Set your thinking and then to shift your thinking.

[01:03:42]

Yes, I agree with you actually. When you're in victim consciousness, we now know that there's a chemical cocktail, adrenaline or epinephrine and cortisol which is running through your body. And that cocktail gives an energy surge. So many people are unwilling to move from victim consciousness to create or consciousness because they're addicted to the chemical cocktail and its results. So at that level of energy, I totally agree with you. If I start to live as creator, I'm going to give up my attachment to living in a constantly adrenalized state.

[01:04:18]

That's a big deal. So in my experience, it's not that people even don't know how to change from victim to creator. It's usually that they're unwilling. But having said that, let's say that you and I are talking we're out in our bodies around having a beer together. You're telling me about some issue in your life. You're talking about something that you're complaining about in life, let's say in the person that you're complaining about a personal relationship, you know, something that's happening in your personal relationship.

[01:04:46]

You're not getting the amount of appreciation and respect that you want. OK, so I take great super. Tell me about you. Tell me about it. And at the end, I would say to you, let me just ask you, are you in victim consciousness? Do feel like this is happening to you or you and create or do you feel like this is happening by you? And if you're like most of us, you know, you take a sip of your beer and then say, this is happening to me.

[01:05:09]

My intimate partner doesn't get it.

[01:05:11]

They don't get what a great job I'm doing, how hard I'm trying, all the contribution I'm making, all the things I gave up to be in this relationship. I think they don't get it. So it's happening to me.

[01:05:22]

Right.

[01:05:23]

Then you start keeping score and now you're in the downward death spiral of a relationship. It's two people below the line in victim filling in hero, by the way. They move all over that triangle. One day you're the victim and your partner is the villain. In the next day, you're trying to rescue your partner from their bad feelings. You're on hero.

[01:05:42]

And we're just running around on the victim triangle and we're keeping score. OK, now, if I were talking, it's just you and me. It's not your partner, but I'm talking to you and I say, I get it, man. You make sense to me, your trigger and react. That makes total sense to me. Are you willing to shift are you willing to stop blaming your partner for being the cause of your experience? And are you willing to start taking responsibility for being the creator of your experience?

[01:06:08]

Now, that is not a small question. That is a radical question. And many people will say, well, I'll shift if she'll shift or something like that or or what? What if I shift and it gets messy, all that kind of stuff. But let's say we're having that beer and you're willing to shift. OK, then here's what we'd say. We would ask you to create a recipe. And we do this with teams, organizations, individuals all of time.

[01:06:37]

We would say create a recipe for us. And I would say to you, Shane, if I wanted to have the exact same relationship with my intimate partner that you do with yours, like where your underappreciated, undervalued, not respected, how would I need to show up to create that?

[01:06:52]

What would I need to do? What would I need to not do? What would I need to say and not say? What I would I would I have to believe and not. How would I have to see them, how would I have to see me and in a matter of moments, if you're willing to start taking responsibility and seeing that you're the creator of your experience, you would be able to write out the recipe for me for how to create that experience.

[01:07:16]

I was working with a team in a company the other day, and like so many teams, they were in complete overwhelm and they were in the victim villain hero triangle and they were overwhelmed because of scarcity of resources. They were overwhelmed because of the competitive advantage they were losing. They were overwhelmed because they had some product design flaws. They were overwhelmed. And of course, they'd been doing this work for a while. So I said, are you above or below the line?

[01:07:39]

I said, great. Would you be willing to take responsibility for overwhelming yourselves? Noticed a change in language? We're not being overwhelmed by something out there. We are overwhelming ourselves. So it's great. We're in a room with big whiteboards. And I said, teach, imagine there's a new startup that's coming in. The world may come to you and they say, we want to live in constant overwhelm, too. If you could teach us, what do you have to do to live in overwhelmed?

[01:08:06]

And they laughed. They got up and they started writing all over the walls how you'd have to see reality to live in constant overwhelm, because in my experience, being overwhelmed is actually optional and it's useful in the short run, but very destructive in the long run. It gives initial energy bursts, but not long term sustainability. So they were starting to take responsibility for being the creator of their experience. You ask practically, what do you do? Well, first you locate yourself as in victimhood, then you take responsibility for putting yourself there.

[01:08:40]

Then you check and see, am I willing to shift? Then you create the recipe for how you've created the situation just the way it is. And lastly, in the very creation of the recipe, you've given the prescription for how to change it. Let's go back to my illustration. With an intimate relationship, you're complaining about not being appreciated and respected enough. And when I say teach the recipe, teach me the class how to do this, one of the questions I'd ask is I'd say, let me ask you this.

[01:09:10]

Do you give a lot of articulate an appreciation to your significant other are you giving as much appreciated as you like to give back? And you look at me and you go, no, I'm not going to appreciate her till she appreciates me. OK, then you'd write that down you go. Here's a formula for having a relationship where we don't have enough appreciation and respect. Don't give appreciation to my partner. So it's a great really willing to change this.

[01:09:32]

Just go home and do the opposite. Next, I'd say to you, you're still committed to thinking that you're valuable if your partner likes you. I want you to move the locus of control inside yourself and generate your own sense of value from the inside. Here are three things to do that.

[01:09:48]

So now you start to change. And I guarantee you as you start to change, you create a totally different context in your intimate relationship with a much greater possibility of having appreciation and respect the cornerstone of your relationship because you chose to shift from victim consciousness to creator consciousness. Does that make sense?

[01:10:08]

Totally makes sense. I think that's great advice. Shifting gears just a little bit here, going back to you had brought up IQ and BQ, and I'm curious as to how we develop, hone, augment, accelerate our sort of IQ and tell me a little bit of a bit more in terms of like IQ, what is it that we can do to consciously improve or be aware of where we're at? And what is it we can do to develop in a way that's going to bring us closer to other people to have more meaningful relationships, to be more empathetic towards them and more sensitive to maybe the context in which they're operating?

[01:10:47]

OK, beautiful. So I'll just give you some step. Step number one, decide if you're willing to develop your emotional intelligence. That's not a trick question.

[01:10:58]

Most people that we're interfacing with and you're interfacing with have a serious question about the validity of feelings and emotions. And that's for now. Say that's the same thing. So the first question I ask you, do you want to and let's say you've lived enough life that you go or you've read enough of the research that says that IQ trumps IQ long term. So you go, yes, I'm really, really great. And the first thing I'd say is before you can become emotionally intelligent, you have to be emotionally literate.

[01:11:27]

And emotionally literate is just the ability to know what you're feeling in any moment and make it sound so simple. It's something we should be teaching our kids, you know, when they're three, four or five, six years old, because actually our kids come hard wired to know how to do this and then we have to teach them not to do it. They come with tremendous emotional intelligence and then in order to socialize them, we teach them not to do that.

[01:11:54]

But the first thing is, can at any moment, can I just pause and ask myself why? My feeling right now, right? Good. So if I pause right now and I go, what feeling is here right now? I go, there's joy and excitement, there's peace and there's fear. That's what I'm feeling. And if I say to you, what are you feeling? I'm not sure you want to play this game with me here, but is there a feeling here right now for you and what is it?

[01:12:21]

Overwhelmed, happy and sad to those even go together and do their beautiful.

[01:12:30]

Well, here's what you find out about feelings is it's never a question of whether they go together.

[01:12:35]

They just occur or have feelings.

[01:12:38]

Now, if I were coaching, I'd say overwhelm is actually not an emotional it's an intellectual state appointed, energetic state. Happy. And was the other one sad, happy and sad? Almost. It's not.

[01:12:52]

I learned this years ago when I first got in marital therapy many, many, many years ago in marital therapy. And the therapist said, Jim, what are you feeling?

[01:13:01]

And I said something like, I feel that she's wrong.

[01:13:06]

You know, I've said this to people in the business.

[01:13:08]

What do you feel? And I feel like he's an asshole. It's not a feeling. Any time I feel isn't followed by an emotional state like the five we use sad, angry, scared joy or creative energy. If it's feeling if it's followed by a thought, it's not a feeling. This is why I say the first thing you have to learn is emotional literacy. So can I pause at any moment, take a breath and name my feelings right then.

[01:13:35]

Next, can I feel my feelings? Naming a feeling is different than feeling your feelings. Feelings are actually energy. That's all they are. They're a set of sensations that are coming on and in the body and research. I first read this from Jumbled Detailer in stroke of insight, that great TED talk and then the follow on book, the Harvard Brain researcher who said that feelings lasts less than 90 seconds. And that's true in my experience. They actually often less passed, far less than that.

[01:14:08]

If I don't feed the feeling with more thoughts, if I just tune into the body, the energy will go out of the body in less than 90 seconds.

[01:14:19]

Is that is that why you sort of advise to just take a deep breath and feel like in that moment, just be there with that feeling?

[01:14:26]

That's exactly right.

[01:14:29]

So am I willing to just feel the feeling, even big feelings like my older brother just died, just transitioned out of this reality a couple of weeks ago. And so as I'm letting grief move through my body, there'll be times when I'll be sitting and a wave of sadness will show up. And what that feels like is kind of a wait in the center of my chest. I wait in the center of my chest and I can feel pressure coming to the front of my face.

[01:14:56]

And it's not long before some wetness starts to fall out of my eyes. Some tears. Now, I could deny that. Shove it down. Real men don't feel sad. I could do any of that. But all I do is I just first of all, I have gratitude for that, because to me, that just is my love for my brother. It's just our connection. So if I don't do anything with it, if I just let my heart feel heavy, if I just let tears fall out of my eyes, it goes through in less than 90 seconds.

[01:15:27]

Now, a big case like that where you're grieving the loss of a loved one, there might be waves of feelings that will come through. But each of those waves, if you let me do this, will last less than 90 seconds. Then there'll be a trough where there's peace, equanimity, and then the next wave will come through. And that's true with anger and it's true fear. So emotional intelligence is the ability to know what I'm feeling in any moment and have a receptive relationship with the feelings.

[01:15:57]

And so it goes through my body. It doesn't get sexy because if the feeling gets stuck, which is what happens with most people, it ultimately calcifies and turns into a mood. So anger that isn't felt and released in less than 90 seconds that calcifies in the body and turns into bitterness and resentment and hatred.

[01:16:18]

So over the years, I've coached a few professional athletes and golfers are a great place to experience this. So let's say that the golfer gets a shot and it doesn't go where he had visualized it going. And one of the first things I teach them, if they want to play conscious golf and I'm not arguing that this is the best way to create peak performance, but it's something to be considered. If they want to do this, the first thing they would do is they would notice the flight of the ball.

[01:16:42]

You know, it's headed out of bounds. And then they would notice that a feeling comes into their body, let's say, and it comes like a white hot flash into their body. Now, there are many views in this in sports psychology.

[01:16:53]

One of the things that I see as a possibility is I don't resist the anger I. Let it come into my body now, I learn to express it, to let it flow out of my body in ways that are friendly to me and friendly to the environment. I'm on national TV and I won't let that anger move out of my body in one way, if it's me and my buddies playing, I might move out another way. But I don't resist it, right.

[01:17:18]

The first thing I do is let it all flow out of my body again in less than 10 seconds. Then I come back to presence and what I teach is having done that, I begin to walk and part of my walking is to come back into presence. It's my pre shot routine begins to move it. I put my club in the bag and start walking to the next shot. My pre shot routine begins then because I'm coming back into presence, I'm centering myself.

[01:17:43]

By the way, this equally needs to be done. If I stick at 18 inches from the hole, I need to let that joy, that excitement go through my body. Because if I don't learn how to let those vibrations of energy move through my body with breath, movement and sound, they'll affect my next shot. By the way, the same thing is true. If I'm investing, if I get too high, if I get too low, if I don't let the emotions flow, then I will be open to all sorts of cognitive biases.

[01:18:11]

So emotional intelligence can I know what I'm doing? And I move it through my body. And then last, can I pause and get the wisdom of the emotion? In other words, we're mammals. We have these limbic brains. These emotions have incredible intelligence. So once the emotion is moved through my body, one of the things we teach people to do is pause and ask, what is that emotion here to show me to invite me to face, to become aware, to learn from now, that whole process is individual emotional intelligence, greatly skinny down emotional empathy, which you brought up is I can only be as empathic or compassionate with another as I can be with myself.

[01:18:57]

I say this to parents all the time. If you're not comfortable feeling your sadness, your broken heartedness, you're not going to allow your children to feel theirs.

[01:19:06]

So when they don't get invited to the dance, when they miss the game winning field goal, when they get shunned by their peer group and they come home and they're sad instead of being with them in their sadness, which again, all the best work on conscious parenting has to be with them first in their sadness.

[01:19:24]

Instead of doing that, you're going to say stuff like this, oh, honey, that happens to everybody. You'll get over it. You'll make the next shot. There's a better group of friends anyway. And because you're not comfortable just being with your sadness, you have no capacity to be with your child sadness or their anger or their sexual energy.

[01:19:44]

A lot of people are uncomfortable, their sexual energy. So they start denying and repressing and suppressing their sexual energy and it starts to show up in their kids. They shut it down in a heartbeat. So it's the same in the workplace. I can only experience emotional empathy and emotional compassion and emotion being emotionally connected to people to the degree that I can be with my own emotions. Now, once I can do that, then the next part of emotional intelligence is I can feel what you're feeling.

[01:20:13]

I tune into it and emotions are just another data set. This is what I tell you, like hard edged investors who are interested in data says it's just another data set. And if you want to make the best decision, do you want all of the data available?

[01:20:27]

So when you're with your analysts, you want to know what they're feeling. And one of the big problems, I think, that's existing so many times in the investment world, we want people to have conviction. But so much this conviction is occurring at any Gulik state from below the line. Now, what I mean by that is in order to get the PM to believe that my research is viable and to pull the trigger, I've been told I have to have conviction.

[01:20:56]

But what I end up doing is denying contrary opinions. I deny my instinct, my gut. I don't bring forward all relevant information. I think that conviction below the line looks very different than conviction above the line. Conviction above the line says, wow, you know, I say to people, I had to tell you all the reasons I want to make this investment and I to be able to tell you all the reasons. I think it's a bad idea.

[01:21:24]

I had to tell you all the reasons I'm excited. I'll be able to tell you all the things I get a little nervous, apprehensive about. And given all of that and by the way, we haven't talked about you, I'd want to bring my body intelligence after we've talked about all that. I want to be able to look you in the eye and say, I want to make the investment.

[01:21:40]

Now, that is not some stopping my feet, pounding my hand conviction. It is a quiet, grounded conviction that comes because I have faced, felt and dealt with all the data sets. That's what I want. So that's what emotional intelligence is to me. A basic primer on. Does that give you what you want around that? Yeah, that's amazing. I really appreciate you going into such detail on that.

[01:22:06]

I want to come back to support us and get into we were talking about the three things positive instrument. I want to talk about the feedback a little bit, and then I want to sort of get into parenting a little bit in terms of what we can do as parents. So walk me through feedback in terms of self-awareness. How can I use feedback, helping set feedback? How can I get people to give me feedback so I can become more self-aware?

[01:22:28]

Great question. So one of the questions I work with leaders and we work with teams on all the time is how feedback reaches the environment.

[01:22:36]

And again, a lot of times I'll talk to leaders. You know, the higher up they go in their trajectory, it's not uncommon. All that they tell me they're getting less and less feedback makes sense based on power dynamics and structures and fear and all that makes total sense. But when they first start talking to me, they want to talk from them. They want to say that they're at the effect of the environment. That's giving them less feedback.

[01:22:57]

And I say, would you be willing to take responsibility for being the creator of your reality? In other words, you're getting as much feedback as you're committed to getting. So stop anybody around you. And then I say, would you be willing to create a feedback rate? And that's a real serious exploration we really want to play with. And let's say the person says, yes, I want to create a feedback which are good. Then the next thing I would say to him is, let's identify your feedback filters.

[01:23:25]

So a feedback filter is anything that completes the sentence. In order for me to value your feedback, I would need you to blank. So when I asked, they just they might say, well, in order for me to value your feedback, I need you to be a subject matter expert. In order for me to value your feedback, I need you to give it to me in a certain way at a certain time. I need factual data supporting it.

[01:23:49]

I'd like feedback early in the mornings before noon in order for me to be open to your feedback. I know that you have my best interests in mind in order for me to be open to your feedback.

[01:23:59]

And they just start identifying all their feedback filters, um, and making them conscious.

[01:24:05]

And basically I always want to make sure they have one in there that they often skip over. Wait to the last. It's this.

[01:24:11]

I would be open to your feedback if I agreed with it because there are really a cover for that.

[01:24:18]

And the deal is the more feedback filters unconscious ones that we have in life, the less feedback we're open to.

[01:24:27]

So what I want to work with leaders in around is becoming conscious of their feedback filters and deciding thoughtfully which ones they want to have. Now, this is a deep and meaningful conversation. It creates a very, very powerful sense of self awareness. So I'll stop there on that. Let me keep moving. So let's say I decide, OK, what do I really want my commitment to be? Now we're back to that word around camp. Well, I've worked with leaders, especially some young people at the beginning of their career who've gotten to the point where they say this.

[01:24:58]

I want feedback given any way, any time by anybody. I want feedback, rich environment. Now, I always help them differentiate between receiving feedback and agreeing with feedback. I just want to get a feedback rich environment. Now, for most people, that's to open of an aperture. But I want them to clarify what is their aperture about how much feedback they want and like, OK, so I want to be clear about that. Then a real simple thing is ask for feedback.

[01:25:33]

So, you know, a real simple thing is you get a presentation to the investment committee at the end of it, just if you have time and be great. If not, got everybody afterwards and say, I just gave a presentation, would you give me a number between one and ten. Ten being I actually killed it, hit it out of the park. It was exquisite. One being, it was torturous, a complete bust.

[01:25:52]

You know, with most investment professionals, you're not going to get any tens of rare nine. Hardly ever. Do you get a one or two. So you might say take seven out of the mix. You just now give me a number. Any number less than ten. I don't just say give me a number. I say tell me one thing I could do to improve it. Now, here's a real key to creating a feedback rich environment. I would say this, Jane, give me a number between one and ten.

[01:26:17]

Anything less than a ten. So let's say you give me an eight. I say anything less than a ten. Tell me one thing. I could do it. And don't worry about being right about your feedback. Don't worry about being constructive. Don't worry even about it being actionable. In fact, I say this at the beginning of creating feedback rich environment. If you don't have anything, make something up, because I want to get the pipeline flowing and anything greater than a one.

[01:26:45]

Tell me one thing I did. Well, I should keep doing well. Golly, if I want feedback, there you go. Go home to your partner and say, hey, when we have a glass of wine tonight, could you tell me three things I could do better as a. And one thing you think I'm doing well, send an email to your siblings or get your siblings on a phone call and say, hey, this is going to sound really funny and I'd like you to think about it and maybe see if you give me feedback.

[01:27:11]

What's one thing I could do to be a better brother? So create a feedback rich environment and I'll give you one more thing loads on this one and I'll give you one more thing when you get feedback. Now, this is advanced, OK? But people who really want to be high speed transformational learners, Fred, when they get feedback, they do not ask the question, is it true?

[01:27:36]

They ask the question, how is it true? Like what?

[01:27:40]

What has to exist in that person's mind for this feedback to be true? Nope.

[01:27:45]

How is their feedback about me? True about me.

[01:27:49]

OK. Right. Right. Obviously we could talk about their projections because all feedback is projection. This is what we teach teens. Which parentheses. Any time I give you feedback, let's say I say to you, you know, I find you quite self-absorbed and self-centered in the world of psychology. That's projection. And the one thing we can know is that I probably am self-centered, self-absorbed. It's 12 steps. They have such a great way of saying the stuff.

[01:28:17]

They just say if you spot it, you got it right, which is a fabulous learning tool.

[01:28:22]

If everything you're complaining about, really complaining about and people in your world, if you were willing to eat the projection and see how the things you're complaining about, about other people are true about you, you would increase your learning agility exponentially. But most people want to keep making it about the other person. Just pause for a second. So you give me feedback and you say, Jim, and I don't think throughout the podcast you really got present enough.

[01:28:50]

Let's say that was your feedback. And I go, first of all, I say thank you. And then I go, how is it true about me that I wasn't present? And I go, Well, one thing I can see is I notice the rate of my speech. It was very fast. I noticed that I've been sitting forward almost the whole time. I notice that I've been excited and playful. I like doing this with you. And so throughout this time, I haven't gotten still very often and backed up and taken a breath and dropped it.

[01:29:16]

Thank you. Your wife says to you, you know, I don't think you're spending enough time with the kids instead of going, well, you spend enough time in them or you don't know how busy I am or you appreciate me. What are you going to learn from that zero, right. That you might say thank you. You also, by the way, might say ouch. And then you say, I'm going to grab a cup of coffee with myself and I'm going to look at how it's true.

[01:29:40]

Well, what you'll often discover is you can't find a way that how it's true about you. By the way, if you want to be a really high speed learner, you can either go back to that person or you can go to three other people. And you can expect that I wasn't spending quality time with my kids. And every time I was with them, I was looking at my device drivers distracted and I get defensive and filter all the reasons that wasn't true.

[01:30:01]

So you go to two of your buddies and you say you've been with me, with my kids. Can you tell me how it's true that I'm not spend quality time with my kids? I'm not looking for you to defend me and tell me why my life. So I'm asking you to tell me how it's true. Right.

[01:30:13]

Well, can you just see if you wanted to do so much more powerful, rich learning environment? Goodness gracious. Let alone this gets this gets supercharged when we do it in a relationship, in your intimate relationship, if you decide we're both going to be open to feedback and we're both going to ask how it's true or not, is it true? And we're both going to be curious from above the line, we hold the possibility of creating an unbelievable relationship and then the organizational world.

[01:30:42]

I say to people all the time, if you create feedback rich environments like we're talking about here, you can let go of most formal feedback tools. You don't need to do a semiannual or annual feedback thing, which, you know, still gets right is one of the things most people hate the most because you've created such a feedback rich environment. Right. So that's that's something I really want to stand for in this world of becoming a high speed curious learner is what does it look like to create a feedback rich environment?

[01:31:12]

Yeah, I think that's super important and I think it's something we don't consciously think of it a lot, like how do we get better feedback? How do we acquire better information about ourselves and our impact on other people and our our knowledge of ourselves?

[01:31:24]

Yes, absolutely.

[01:31:25]

So get more incoming feedback. And then I would come back to if you want to really, really grow in self awareness, eat your projections, which means anything you're complaining about out there. Take it in and see how it's true about you. Now, that's graduate school stuff, but when people do that, their whole life changes. Yeah, OK.

[01:31:46]

I don't think we have enough time to dive into that part of it. We'll have to do part two maybe next year to to get that for sure, because I definitely do want to have that conversation with you. I want to get to parenting before we sort of. Wrap up your idea of a time, stop soon. Tell me how we can use the stuff we talked about today to be better parents. You had six kids that just went crazy.

[01:32:11]

Well, it actually wasn't that crazy because I have two daughters. They're 10 years apart. So think about that. And then I ended the marriage and started a new relationship. And Debbie, my wife, had four sons. So if she were here, you could talk to her about the craziness of raising four boys, all within five years of each other.

[01:32:31]

But when I joined that constellation, the youngest of the kids was probably 10 or 11 or 12. Now, you could still say it's a little crazy because we're blending a family, which is a master skill in consciousness or not talk about drama.

[01:32:46]

And, you know, I'm deeply committed to my son. So, yes, but not as crazy as it sounds. OK, so all of this every bit of this applies to parenting.

[01:32:58]

So just go back to where we started the line.

[01:33:00]

So one of the questions I ask parents all the time, you know, that interchange you just had with your 16 year old, were you above the line or below the line?

[01:33:07]

Because if you're below the line, the possibility of having a meaningful conversation that produces tangible, lasting results is very slim. Furthermore, if you're below the line when you're interacting with your 16 year old because they just got a traffic ticket or got busted for marijuana or whatever, there's a real probability your kid is going to go below the line, too. So now it's got to reactive, contracted, scared people trying to prove they're right. Right. Well, that's where most parenting occurs from when we're triggered.

[01:33:42]

And by the way, it's the same thing. Are you your when you're working with your 18 month old who only eats two dietary things and you're not willing to give them that in the restaurant and they're throwing a temper tantrum, are you interacting with your child from below the line or above the line? And again, I'll circle back to it. Let's say I'm in a restaurant and my kid's throwing a temper tantrum and I'm interacting with my kid. Most parents, this is natural and normal, are not really interacting with their child, with their child at the center of their consciousness.

[01:34:14]

They're interacting with their child, with themselves at the center of their consciousness and their embarrassment. So my anger at my child is largely fueled by my embarrassment that I'm outsourcing my sense of approval and openness to strangers surrounding me. At Chuck E. Cheese, I would have met Chucky Cheese.

[01:34:36]

But, you know, at a restaurant, this goes back to your grandparent comment earlier where it's almost easier to be a grandparent than it is to be a parent. Absolutely.

[01:34:45]

So, you know, if you think about conscious parenting, one of the primers that I give parents is, you know, most parents think that their children came here to learn for the parent to teach them how to be a human. Well, there's a lot of truth to that, and that's a lot of what our job is. But I'd say it's equally, if not more true, that our children came here to teach us. So, for example, these little children in my life, all of them are under seven years old and some babies and stuff whenever they show up in the world.

[01:35:12]

I have a talk with them when they're with an adult that says, thank you for coming here to teach me. Thank you for coming here to remind me who I am that I've forgotten. And I believe that if we make that contract with our children, they will teach us all the way along. So these kids come hard wired to know emotional intelligence. They feel feelings. They're in their bodies. They express the feelings. Their anger comes out of their diapers, where their anger comes out of their tummies.

[01:35:43]

If you if they start to feel the following sensation, their fear comes out, their sadness comes out. And every time they do that, if you said, would you teach me again how to reconnect with my body and have an authentic experience of the life force of emotion, would you teach me that or let's go back?

[01:36:00]

You know, you're sitting with your 16 year old who just got busted for marijuana and you say, you know, before I get over there in your business, which I'm going to do, because that's part of what I think my responsibility is. I just want you to know that this whole situation is a gift for me because I really stake my reputation on being a good parent and having you being a student and star athlete not do anything. And you've cooperated fantastically for these first 16 years.

[01:36:25]

And now you're giving me a test. You're giving me a test of whether or not I'm going to see you as an extension of me and whether I'm going to get my validation from how you perform or whether I'm going to source that inside myself.

[01:36:38]

So thank you. Furthermore, you give me a chance to face what I went through when I was 16 years old because I was breaking all kinds of rules and I didn't have a parent who loved me enough to step in. So I'm going to face that and I'm going to step in with you. Or, you know, I had a parent who was so damn controlling, they smothered me. So I'm I to face all that. So premise number one, your kids have come here to teach you as much as you're supposed to teach them, and by the way, if you buy into that, that changes the whole game and then ask yourself in my parenting from above or below the line, am I am I treating my kids as victims?

[01:37:13]

This happens all the time. I can't tell you how many parents see their kids as victims. The villain is the coach who isn't giving their kid enough playing time. Oh, yeah, your aunt steps into the role of hero or the kid is a victim at the effect of their teacher who doesn't understand their learning differences.

[01:37:33]

So the parent steps into the role of hero. And every time we do that, we're treating kids as disempowered victims and they'll learn that. So again, you can parent from that victim villain, hero triangle and it creates all kinds of backlash. So all of this applies to parenting. How candid are you with your parent, with your kids? How much do you reveal? How authentic are you or do you just put up a shield? There's all kinds of stuff here.

[01:37:58]

Do you live in a state of appreciation with your children? Do you give them that all coaching thing? You give them five to one appreciation to constructive criticism. There's so much here about that. That's one of the next books we're going to write is conscious parenting and conscious partnering.

[01:38:13]

I think there's a whole world. I mean, this applies it applies to all aspects of your life. Right. And it's so important to those are the most important things often we don't realize are the most important until it's too late. Right. Whether that's true, 70 or 80 and all of a sudden we want more time with our kids. We wanted to invest more in our relationship. And letting that hindsight of other people be your foresight is super powerful.

[01:38:37]

But then it's a matter of like, what do we do with that information? How can it be a better spouse? Like what inspires me to do that? How can I be a better spouse in a way that our partner in a way that my partner recognizes and appreciates, not necessarily in a way that I necessarily want to give so that we're communicating in sort of the same language. And it's the same for kids, right? If you have multiple kids, the way that you communicate with each kid might be different.

[01:39:02]

And the way that they receive that information has to be sort of optimal for them in order to to get the message across or to learn from them or to sort of have that dynamic with them. And I think that we're just we're so busy in day to day lives that we rarely step outside of ourselves and understand that, no, now is the time that we need to be investing in this because there's no metaphorical window when we're 80 that we can just go up to and solve these relationship problems that we're creating right now.

[01:39:34]

I'm saying yes to everything you're saying.

[01:39:37]

Just before we get off, you mentioned sort of the blended family thing, and then we have quite a few listeners out there with blended families. What are some of the lessons that you learned as a parent in a blended family situation? Yeah, great.

[01:39:52]

A couple a couple simple ones that helped us.

[01:39:55]

We've got a fabulous blended family, and it really is. It's fabulous. A couple of things. Number one, we made the decision to prioritize our relationship over our relationship with our children. What does that mean?

[01:40:08]

Well, the deal in a blended family is, you know, Debbie has a biological connection with her boys. That is her offspring. That is her life force.

[01:40:21]

And when the shit hits the fan, when it gets conflictual, when our kids are in conflict with my kids, when I'm in conflict with her kids, the natural tendency and I totally get this. And by the way, it's a legitimate choice. I'm just telling you what we did. The natural tendency is to prioritize the the parents connection with the child. Right. In our experience, that creates long term problems because those kids in a blended family are going to want to know.

[01:40:49]

My daughters are going to want to know that Debbie hasn't taken primacy over them. They're going to be terrified of that. But if I give them primacy over her, it's going to create a whole downstream set of consequences. So we decided we were going to prioritize our closeness first. And we did all kinds of things around that, around the amount of time we spent together and being each other's allies and and things like that. And that was a game changer.

[01:41:19]

And I've seen lots of other couples do this and they didn't do that. And it might be one of the reasons that the statistics on marriage divorces are so much higher than first marriage divorces, because now there's not the primacy of that relationship and all the stress of blended families close the marriage apart or blows the intimate relationship. So that was one thing we did. And then the other thing we did, and this is fairly common.

[01:41:45]

But we we really we're good about this is Debbie has primary relationship and decision making rights with her children. I serve as support to that. System. Now, if there's something that kids are doing that's affecting me, I'm going to talk to Debbie about that first doesn't mean I'm not going to talk to the kids, her kids, but I'm going to talk to Debbie first to make sure we're aligned and then we'll talk to the kids together. Now, there's a whole lot more around this, but that's another one.

[01:42:15]

She has primary decision making responsibility with her children. My job is to support her.

[01:42:23]

How does that not end up in a situation where different kids have different rules, different kids have different rules? Yeah, well, I wish we had time because I would say. What's wrong with that?

[01:42:33]

Oh, no. Look, that's a great sort of question. Isn't OK if your daughter came up and said, you know, one of her kids did the same thing as I did and the punishments were completely different or the consequences. I don't want to use her punishment, but the consequences were different.

[01:42:49]

This would be a whole conversation on parenting. One of my views would be that part of being a parent is to be so present and so tuned in that you know, that your six year old needs an earlier bedtime than his five year old sister. Right now, the thing she was going to say, and you can react to that from below the line or you can come from above the line, you can say, listen, I know that pisses you off.

[01:43:17]

I know you hate that. So if you want to beat a bag for a minute, let your anger out.

[01:43:21]

That's great. I'll just sit here and witness and be with you. That's perfect. And at the end of the day, when I tune into you, I think your sleep needs are different. So we're going to have different bedtimes. And by the way, that's just one tiny illustration, I think that can be illustrated over and over and over again. By the way, that doesn't mean that there aren't family rules and that we could have a family rule, that you can have your room be a pigsty if you want, but everybody cleans up the common space, you know.

[01:43:47]

So I would question the belief that we need to have the same consequences and expected agreements. By the way, parenting is all about making clean agreements with your children. Most parents don't make agreements with their kids. They give edicts and that creates a rebellion. I talk about how to make clean agreements with your kids around things like room clean at bedtime and homework and stuff like that. We're going to make clear agreements with our children and those agreements can be different.

[01:44:12]

Keep going with the other sort of lessons from blended families and we'll follow up in part two of this.

[01:44:17]

So lesson number one, we prioritize our relationship. Lesson number two, the primary parent had decision right in the secondary parent was an adviser consultant and stood as a unified field in the decision making. And another one, I would say is have a long time horizon, because when families when depending on how you blend, there's so many different ways to plan.

[01:44:42]

Now, there's almost always a tumultuous adjustment period. I tell parents, count on it. Here's what's going to happen here.

[01:44:53]

You can just your kids job and your step children's job is to test you. It's going to get messy. So you have a long time horizon and understand that when you decide to end your first marriage and take your kids into a second marriage or a second in a relationship, part of what you're choosing is a tumultuous period of time. So that's a.. And then another big one, which, again, we can go into intensely is how we as me as an individual mean Debbie and me as a system choose to relate to the former spouses.

[01:45:28]

And the co parents out there is critically important because there's a whole energy field here and they're all part of the energy field and the degree to which we can. And it's not totally up to us because there are other people involved, the degree to which we can relate to the parents and the former partners from above the line, which is not easy to do because usually we're ending the relationship for a reason which usually carries some toxic residue. But the degree to which we can relate to them from above the line is a great, great enhancement to our blended family.

[01:46:06]

You know, what's her name? It'll come to me. Who did? Conscious uncoupling Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop and all that came back up.

[01:46:14]

Can I just saw something, I think The New York Times about Esther Perel, wasn't it? Was it Esther Perel who came up with the idea of conscious uncoupling?

[01:46:22]

I don't know. I know she's talked about it before. And was it like I remember reading an article a few weeks ago that she wrote on? Yeah. Sort of a couple that was breaking up. And one of them was feeling guilty because he had had an affair, but he didn't want to be in the marriage anymore and he had moved on, but he was really feeling guilty about his spouse. And so part of the conscious uncoupling was like he was acknowledging that he was feeling guilty and then that was OK.

[01:46:48]

That's fabulous. Yeah. I love Esther's work. It's unbelievable. And Gwyneth came up with this idea of conscious uncoupling. I think she got it from somebody back in the seventies. And she got a ton of crap for it, and this was years ago, and not because I want to say you fast forward to this weird thing that, you know, in social media don't really do, but I hear she gets a lot of crap for that. Her ex-husband comes on her honeymoon with her and her new husband and the kids.

[01:47:16]

Now, we can all see why that we can make up story, why that's absurd. But it's the ultimate experience. If you want to minimize the drama in the lives of those children, be conscious about your relationship with your ex partner and their parent. And that's about that is prioritize your kids well-being. So prioritize your relationship with your spouse, prioritize your kids well-being. So it's so easy to want to trash the other person, so on and so forth.

[01:47:47]

And all it does is leave a destructive wasteland in your kid's consciousness. And so those are some of the lessons we learned.

[01:47:54]

I think there are lots more those amazing. This whole conversation was mind blowing. So we will follow up for part two. I really appreciate you taking the time today. And I think we heard a lot of ground and there is a lot of detail. So pleased with how this turned out.

[01:48:09]

Oh, you're so welcome. It's great fun for me. I really enjoyed the collaboration of playing together. Great fun. Hey, guys, this is Shane again, just a few more things before we wrap up. You can find show notes at Farnam Street blog, dot com slash podcast. That's fair. And S-T, our P.E.T. blog, dot com slash podcast. You can also find information there on how to get a transcript.

[01:48:39]

And if you'd like to receive a weekly email from me filled with all sorts of brain food, go to Furnham Street blog, dotcom slash newsletter. This is all the good stuff I've found on the Web that week that I've read and shared with close friends, books I'm reading and so much more.

[01:48:52]

Thank you for listening.