Personal Tidbits for Personal Growth – delivered to your inbox on alternate Wednesdays

I’ve recently started a newsletter that feels like a labour of love for me: on alternate Wednesdays, I send out Morsels of Change — personal tidbits for personal growth.

The people who sign up for this list — and you can sign up here — are, in my head and heart, MY people — the people that I am most wanting to speak to in my work and life. The people who are always reaching out for ways to grow, and who have found that my way of speaking about personal growth resonates with them.

Here’s the first issue of Morsels of Change. If you like what you read, perhaps you’ll join me by signing up here (click the “Morsels of Change” checkbox).

Morsels of Change #1

Underlying Approaches to Conflict, Mashed Up with the Enneagram

Morsels of Change question to ponder:

What’s your default position when faced with a problem? How does it clash with the default positions of those with whom you come into conflict?

This week I’m combining conflict, which I’m really bad at, with the Enneagram, which I love.

The Wisdom of the Enneagram book (Riso and Hudson) has this neat little table that outlines how the different Enneagram types are likely to react to a problem.

Here are the 9 different reactions (NOT in order of type), according to the book:

-“What problem? I don’t think there is a problem.”
-“You have a problem. I’m here to help you.”
-“There may be a problem, but I’m fine.”
-“There’s an efficient solution to this — we just need to get to work.”
-“I’m sure we can solve this like sensible, mature adults.”
-“There are a number of hidden issues here: let me think about this.”
-“I feel really pressured, and I’ve got to let off some steam!”
-“I feel really hurt, and I need to express myself.”
-“I’m angry about this and you’re going to hear about it!”

Which reaction sounds most like you?

Now, notice how these reactions will play out in relationships. For example, when my niece and I are facing a problem together (or engaging in conflict), our reactions go head-to-head.

Mine:
“There are a number of hidden issues here: let me think about this.”

Hers:
“I’m angry about this and you’re going to hear about it!”

If we both stay true to type, neither of us gets what we need. I don’t get to spend time thinking about all the different aspects of the problem if she’s going on about how angry she is. If I do get to go spend time thinking about the problem, she doesn’t have my attention to listen to her talk about how angry she is.

For the two of us to engage in conflict together, or face a problem together, we’ve both got to be accommodating to the other’s needs. (Or, more accurately, I need to accommodate her needs, as I’m the adult, but you get the idea.)

 

Morsels of Change question to ponder:

What’s your default position when faced with a problem? How does it clash with the default positions of those with whom you come into conflict?


If you ever want to reach out for a conversation about something you’ve read in this newsletter, or something in your life that you are wanting to explore more deeply in conversation, please be in touch. We are all on a journey of learning and discovery together.

Warmly,
Laura

The Overwhelm Ladder and the Deep Dark Hole

I’ve been asked to revisit the March 24 post on overwhelm, When It’s All Too Much. In that post, I focused on how to explore your tendencies and then experiment with new approaches to overwhelm. This week, another tool I’ve found useful: the overwhelm spectrum.

The Overwhelm Spectrum

Imagine one end of the overwhelm spectrum: thinking about the day to come, and feeling complete overwhelm.

Here’s what that might look like for me: the dishes are piled up, the laundry isn’t done, I haven’t been able to focus at work in a week, I’m still getting over a cold, my niece/spouse/housemate/colleague is angry at me, exercise is but a dim memory, and the gremlins (“What do you know, anyway?”; “You’ll never succeed at x,”; “No one cares what you have to say!”) show up.

Now imagine the opposite end of the spectrum:

Ahhhhhhh…

I see a sunny day, a light breeze, popsicles, relaxation, ease, all the time in the world.

Now, back to the first end of the spectrum and… ack! Even thinking about the warm sunny day is overwhelming to me right now, because it feels so far away and impossible!

And that, I think, is where we often get stuck.

The Overwhelm Ladder and the Deep Dark Hole

From the place of complete overwhelm, getting to the warm sunny day feels like a gruelling climb out from the bottom of a deep, dark hole, and I’ve got no energy for it.

So, the trick is to map out my overwhelm spectrum, with attention to all the points in between both ends.

If I’m too overwhelmed to climb all the way out of the deep dark hole to the warm sunny day, okay. But what if I could climb just one rung up the ladder?

What’s one rung up from complete overwhelm?

For me, it might be exactly the same scenario as overwhelm, except I feel less exhausted. (What would it be for you?)

So instead of trying to get myself entirely out of the overwhelm hole, I’ll do what I need to do to get one rung up – I’ll take a nap.

Maybe the next day I’ll think: What’s one more rung up the ladder? 

My next rung might be: completely overwhelmed, but I’m less exhausted, and I was able to focus for one hour. (What would it be for you?)

And so on… you get the picture.

When you’re completely overwhelmed, thinking about how to get out of overwhelm is… overwhelming. But thinking about how to feel one small ladder step less overwhelmed is manageable.

Start there, and see where it takes you.

Warmly,

Laura