U Journaling

A few years ago I stumbled on the Presencing Institute and U Theory. I've been fascinated ever since and am even taking an intro course on the ideas via edx.org.

The practice I use most often is a guided journaling exercise that helps discern and work through moments of decision or desired change.

Check out all their work at presencing.org

The guided journal exercise is here: https://www.presencing.org/#/resource/tools/guided-journaling-desc

Self Awareness Quiz

For most of my life when I was experiencing distress I would fail at answering the most obvious question, "What's the matter?"

My co-workers, family, and friends would ask this question out of genuine concern only to receive the most unsatisfying of all answers....."I don't know."

The problem was multi-fold. Here are a few of the many...

1. Often my distress was tied to a root issue that I had been repressing, making the pain less immediate and more like a lingering achy-ness.

2. I wasn't actually looking for solutions, just pity. My mom use to say, "When you're a grump, you don't spare anyone."

3. My only strategies for dealing with my stuff were borrowed from people who didn't understand the world like me. Like the coach who said, "suck it up" or the friend who invited me to "be more committed to my causes." The projection of their favorite motivators only pissed me off.

The common theme? I was completely unaware of what was going on within me. 

Are you self aware? This is often the first hurtle of coaching relationships. Just naming the crap from within.  

Take this short quiz to get your self awareness score. Want improvement?  You can sign up for a coaching session today!

*The results of this quiz are 100% confidential. Nobody will look at them but you!

Name *



PCM is Magic!

How to win over the scariest person you know...

We were at kindergarten round up this week and a veteran parent said, "That's the office Secretary. She's pretty scary, so be sure to get on her good side." When it was her time to speak she exhibited clear behavior of the Thinker PCM type and immediately I knew what to do.

After the event my wife and I went up and said, "Thank you for all your work getting this organized. The information was clear and helpful. We are looking forward to attending such a well run school."  You could see her swell with achievement and pride.

While other parents fear her, I see her as a gift and PCM is the tool for unlocking that gift. That's why PCM is magic! If you want some of that magic register this week for two days of training and get some great discounts! Look for the June 14-15 combo option when registering and get 20% the regular cost!

Hope to see you soon!


Training BOGO

Currently offering an amazing deal! Sign up one of the courses below by Friday, March 24 and you can bring a friend, co-worker, or spouse for FREE!  IT'S BOGO BABY!

To register for the offer complete the form at the bottom of this post.

April 3-5: PCM Seminar 1 in Wichita, KS

PCM is an applied, practical methodology for appreciating the impact of personality differences and maximizing their contribution. In PCM: Core Topics you will learn how to identify personality preferences through behavioral observation, adapt your communication to connect, motivate, and resolve conflict with different personalities.  You will explore applications for a range of business challenges such as physical environments, incentive systems, leadership development, performance evaluation, marketing, and customer service.   This course is required to move toward PCM trainer certification.

April 6: LOD Core 2.0 in Wichita, KS

LOD Core Concepts introduces the theory and concepts of Next Element’s Cycle of Compassionate Change. This course will launch you on a journey of self-discovery, give you new insights for dealing with personal and professional drama, and set the stage for our advanced conflict-resolution courses. 

To complete the offer sign up below.

Participant 1 Name *
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Participant 2 Name *
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Discounts on December Training

When you sign up today for an December training there are discounts available! 

Use promo code Train to get 15% off. Expires Sept. 10

Methodist clergy or church staff get 50% off use promo code Methodist

December's Training Schedule

I guess this is my own version of cyber Monday. I am offering a discount on the December training courses for this week only.  If you'd like to get a taste of Process Communication Model or Leading Out of Drama this is your chance!  

Enter discount code: DECEMBER for 20% off the courses!

December 14: Process Communication Model Experiencing Excellence: PCM is an applied, practical methodology for appreciating the impact of personality differences and maximizing their contribution. In PCM: Experiencing Excellence you will learn about personality preferences through behavioral observation, adapt your communication to connect, motivate, and resolve conflict with different personalities.  Through extended learning you can also explore applications for a range of business challenges such as physical environments, incentive systems, leadership development, performance evaluation, marketing, and customer service. 

December 15: Leading Out of Drama Core Topics: LOD Core Concepts introduces the theory and concepts of Next Element’s Cycle of Compassionate Change. This course will launch you on a journey of self-discovery, give you new insights for dealing with personal and professional drama, and set the stage for our advanced conflict-resolution courses.


Persistence Pays: REI's Black Friday Genius

Recently the outdoorsy retailer REI made a huge splash in the news.  Google REI Black Friday and you will get page after page of major news outlets going nuts over their announcement to close all their stores on Black Friday.  Not only are they closing the stores they are paying their employees to go outside instead of going shopping.  Clearly a bold move on the nations highest revenue day for retail companies.  

The Washington Post points out that a big factor in REI's decision is that they are a cooperative.  The Post explains...

REI is a consumer co-op, and the largest in the country. Like some credit unions and food co-ops, its membership base is composed of its customers. Yet, though REI has held that structure for 75 years, it's something the outdoor retailer is increasingly showcasing—due in part to growing desire among Americans to spend money at companies that share their values.

When you stick to your boundaries in the face of an entire culture heading in the opposite direction it is a sign of integrity and leadership that compels people to follow your lead.  REI has formed it's business on this model.  It is a collective of people who value persistence and when it states that publicly it re-engages its target market and unintentionally becomes the news darling for an entire month.

If you want to up your persistence skill you might consider exploring Leading Out of Drama or LOD.  LOD defines persistence as...

Persistence - sticking with it; dependability; perseverance; courage; and an undying optimism.

In the Leading Out of Drama training you learn strategies for being persistent and practice the skill until it is a natural rhythm of your communication.  Persistent people state their boundaries and commitments, aspire to quality, and accept responsibility and make it right.  If these are tough things for you naturally LOD can help!

As REI is finding out when you utilize persistence well the whole world pays attention and many will follow you to your destination.

Sign up for Leading Out of Drama today by checking out our public courses.  


3 Ways to Avoid the Drama Hook

Often people will ask me what makes PCM and/or LOD worthwhile.  I have several answers, of course, and lately one has been rising to the top.

Because of PCM and LOD I don't get hooked by other people's drama.

I am a sensitive guy, and I consider that one of my strengths.  I also know that because of my sensitivity it is natural for me to internalize the distress of others and find ways to make their stuff about me.  About 85% of the population tends to do the same.  We say things like...

Well, at least I tried to make it work. What more could I have done?
Only if I would have planned better I could have escaped this imperfection.
It seems like their upset by way things are going, but I don't know what the next step is.
I should have done more please them.

My personal favorites are avoiding responsibility by trying just hard enough to not get the job done followed by a creeping desire to please others even at the sake of my own happiness.  When I experience someone who is unhappy, critical, or angry (especially angry) I can spend days dwelling on what I did to make them so upset.

PCM and LOD filled me in on a secret.....IT ISN'T ABOUT ME!

I didn't "make" them anything.  Emotions are a deeply internal experience and we each are responsible for recognizing and expressing our own emotions and none others.  In the same way I can't "make" others feel good or bad; they can't "make" me feel good or bad.  These are choices that we get to make.  The ability to navigate these emotions is a skill set and tools like PCM and LOD help exercise that skill and grow it's ability.

So, if you want to avoid getting hooked by drama here are three skills PCM and LOD taught me that you can use too.

1. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

First I name for myself what emotions I am experiencing and then remind myself, "I can choose to feel this or not.  I cannot make others feel good or bad."  An internal check on where I am at keeps me from diving into the familiar drama habits I've formed.  In becoming open to self I chose my own potency moving forward.

2. Speak Your Truth.

For long periods of my life I chose to not speak my truth for fear of how it would "make" others feel.  Armed with PCM and LOD I now can frame my truth in a drama-free, distress-free way.  Because I can speak my truth in a healthy way I can be confident that drama or distress is not about me, and I have tools to respond with invitations to exit drama and move toward compassion.

3. Recovery takes Intention.

Finally, I have learned how to recover when I do get caught.  The beauty of our always on technology driven world is that there are endless mulligans when it comes to communication.  I've made a practice of sending emails that say things like, "Yesterday during our conversation I wish I would have said...."  Another key part of recovery is self care.  After experiencing negative conflict I am way more likely to recover if I can spend time playing guitar or banjo for an hour.  That "me" time is not selfish, it is self-full.

If you'd like to gain some tools to avoid the drama hooks in your life sign up for a class today.  There are public courses listed here and if you have 6 or more we can schedule a private course anytime.  

How to Argue with Kim Davis

Recently on Facebook I've seen this video about the Kentucky clerk Kim Davis posted with some frequency.  It is an incredibly thorough dismantling of her stance against issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.  In it Ben Swann calmly and rationally lays out definitions, history, facts, and hard evidence to help the viewer see the complete lack of logic in Kim Davis' choice.  

I love this video.....and it won't mean anything to Kim Davis.

I imagine if Kim Davis watched this video she would miss nearly the entire argument.  It is not lack of intelligence, but because Kim Davis' preferred lens for understanding the world is opinions and not thoughts.

People who view the world through opinions are looking for moral backbone.  They want to know what you believe in and that you will be firm in those beliefs.  Agreement is not always required, conviction is!  (look at Bill O'Riley and John Stewarts strange mutual respect).  So when Kim Davis hears Ben Swanns logic and reasoning she may leave still wondering...."What do you believe?"

My guess is that Mr. Swann wasn't actually trying to change her mind, but rather show with certainty from his own perceptual framework that this was a poor choice.  People who see the world through thoughts like Mr. Swann prize logic, research, and well defined arguments.  For Mr. Swann the idea that someone would believe just because they believe is bankrupt.  

Ben Swan and Kim Davis get to make a choice.  They can choose to be justified and continue to talk past eachother, which is great for publicity and ratings.  Or they can choose to shift their energy to match the language of the people they are trying to convince.  

This decision is played out daily in your home, work, school, clubs, or anywhere else people exist together.  The content may be your child's homework, the best presentation tool, a health tip or any other endless topic that make up our lives.  While it doesn't go viral in the same way we can choose to remain justified in our miscommunication.  

"Don't they see how logical this all is?  How stupid can you be?"

"I don't care about the research I know I'm right, if you were more committed you'd see that too."

Or we can choose to shift our energy to become effective.

"Your opinions matter to me.  Will you share what you believe?"

"You seem well informed on this issue.  Do you have any research that might help us make a decision?"

What choice will you make?  

Sign up for PCM and LOD today to help assess, connect, motivate, and avoid distress!

Bluegrass Discount on PCM and LOD Courses

Special Discount on Classes This Week Only

This is my favorite week of the year.  IT'S BLUEGRASS WEEK!!!  The third week of September is the annual Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival which is basically my slice of heaven on earth.  In honor of it's awesomeness.  I am offering a discount on all my 2015 classes for this week only.  Just enter promo code: bluegrass.  Ends Sunday, Sept. 20.  

Nov. 2 Process Communication Model Experiencing Excellence

Regular $300.....Now $250

Nov. 3 Leading Out of Drama Core Topics

Regular $300.....Now $250

Dec. 14 Process Communication Model Experiencing Exellence

Regular $300.....Now $250

Dec. 15 Leading Out of Drama Core Topics

Regular $300.....Now $250

Not sure which class to take?  Read up on my FAQ post from last week.  

All the answers to all the questions

Since launching SoCe Leads I've had lots of questions about my life, PCM, LOD, and many more things.  I decided to answer them all here and hope people actually read it!  Here we go...

What is SoCe Leads?

SoCe Leads is a side business that I started so I could share Process Communication Model and Leading Out of Drama with as many people as possible.

But wait, I thought you were a pastor?

Yes.  I am.  I still am a full time pastor at Woodlawn UMC in Derby.  This is just an official offering of work I've been doing for awhile.  It does not have anything to do with my work as a pastor.  

Didn't you just start a non-profit too?

Yes.  2015 is the year of starting business' didn't you hear?  I am apart of a community of people who started a non-profit called SoCe Life.  SoCe Life helps people work through vocational discernment for ministry and practices community organizing.  Check it out here: www.socelife.org.

What's with the name?

SoCe is short for SOuth CEntral.  Our intentional community started in South Central neighborhood of Wichita, KS.  We are hoping to change the narrative of a neighborhood that has been defined by violence, drugs, and prostitution.  One small part of that is a fancy hip new name....SoCe.

Who can use PCM and/or LOD?

Both of these models are context neutral.  They focus on the process of communication not the content.  This means they work for every individual, every relationship,  every profession, and in every place imaginable. 

Which tool is the best for me?  PCM or LOD?

Both!  Of course the best option is to have both tools at your disposal.  And if you are going to pick one here is how I like to differentiate them. 

PCM's greatest strength is its ability to create an environment of diversity, respect, community, and mutual understanding.  It will help you finally understand the person you connected with the least.  Using PCM you can alter your environment to motivate your team or community in a way that is positive and avoids distress.

LOD's greatest strength is its ability to address negative conflict head on.  With LOD you will learn how to use conflict to create positive change.  It will create a shared language and expectation for how your team or community navigates conflict and give you the skills to harness conflicts power for good.

How do I sign up for a class?

I am trying to offer public classes with some regularity.  The upcoming courses are found here!

What questions do you have about SoCe Leads that I haven't answered yet?  Let me know!  

PCM for Missional Effectiveness

With the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Great Plains Clergy Excellence Team I will be facilitating a retreat style continuing education opportunity for UMC clergy in Kansas and Nebraska.  If you'd like to participate in Process Communication Model Core Topics and Leading Out of Drama Core Topics this program will be an in depth approach to learn and apply new tools for your ministry setting.  Learn more about the program at  www.greatplains.org/pcm.

PCM and LOD are just tools.  Like all tools they can sit idle, be used incorrectly, or offer the right leverage for the right job.  In my own experience the more I learned about the tool the better I have become at applying it and gaining the fruit of that labor.  Here are some of the ways it has been helpful.

Staff Meetings: By increasing effective communication and decreasing negative conflict we were able to cut staff meetings in half saving time for our staff and money for our church.  Even with less face to face time our staff raised the level of trust and accountability within our team.

Clergy Morale: A pastor is under constant and inconsistent scrutiny from their congregation.  The PCM and LOD tools help you determine when criticism is healthy and informative; and gives you practical minute by minute strategies for responding when criticism is given from a person in distress.   PCM will also give options for staying emotionally healthy in difficult settings.

Pastoral Care: PCM gives pastors a tool for understanding the diversity of care that our congregation members require.  With PCM pastors will be able to assess behaviors, offer appropriate responses, and build trust which can lead to transformation relationships.  This tool will allow you to approach each person with confidence that you can care for them in an authentic way.  

Compassionate Conflict: The tools within LOD will allow pastors to enter into conflict with Christ-like compassion.  Negative conflict, or drama, is when we struggle against self and others.  LOD gives step by step approach to use conflict as energy for creating a better workplace, church, and relationships.  

These are only a few of the applications that you will gain by participating in PCM for Missional Effectiveness.  Sign up today at www.greatplains.org/pcm


A Parents Guide...Take the Myths and Drama out of Relating to Your Kids

Ashley and I are partnering with Next Element to write a book applying the tools of PCM and LOD to parenting.  

In April of this year we had the pleasure of attending the Next Element PCM trainer summit.  Part of the two day event was face time with Taibi Kahler Ph.D, who discovered PCM, and Gerard Collignon, current owner of Kahler Communication.  It was inspiring to hear of their vision for PCM as we move forward.  As we drove home after we felt as if we'd been given a new permission to share the usefulness of this tool in  ways that have been meaningful for us.  

When asked of PCM's greatest potential Dr. Kahler mentioned his desire for the model to infiltrate homes so that families could connect in deeper ways.  As two good harmonizers Ashley and I both swooned!  Without question PCM's application within our family has been the most important use of the tool.  The result of Dr. Kahler's encouragement and Gerard Collignon's permission giving has inspired Ashley and I to begin writing a book that will help parents relate to their kids by applying the tools of PCM and LOD.

We'd like your help!  We are looking for stories from people who have used the model with success in their homes.  If you'd like to share your story use the google form found here:  http://goo.gl/forms/MjU13F4adK

Motivation for the Rebel's Within

You know those people who just seem so irresponsible, lazy, and down right rude about their work?  Every office has them.  They are the ones who find ways to duck out of a project before the heat gets going.  Or the ones who would rather tell a joke than schedule a due date.  When things go bad they are the ones who take zero responsibility and end up out right blaming others for the projects demise.  Do you know someone like this?

Here is the crazy thing about these people; when motivated they can be the most creative, rut busting, innovative, and energetic people on your team.  So how do we get from whiny responsibility dodger to creative genius?  Well I think it is time for me to make a confession.....I am this person.

That's right I can be the laziest, grumpiest, not-gonna-help-no-one-because-I-don't-wanna kind of teammate in the whole organization.  For instance; I am not a morning person.  Yet, my wife wants us to get up at 7am everyday and on top of the ungodly hour she also wants us to spend the first half hour of being awake CLEANING THE HOUSE!!!  God have mercy on us all.

Her motivation is to have a clean house that feels comfortable and that she can come home to without feeling the burden of more work at the end of the day.  As you might imagine, this motivation doesn't really carry the same weight for me.  

So for weeks we've been bickering about the morning routine.  Then last night she took a new technique.  She started laughing and when I asked why she said, "I am just thinking about how grumpy the mornings make you."  Chuckling all the way, she was cracking up at how much of a bummer the mornings are at our house.  Her laughter was contagious and soon we were both cracking up about the absurdity of our mornings.  

As we were sitting there laughing I suddenly was super motivated to get up and be as chipper as possible.  It wasn't something I thought about.....it was guttural.  After all people like this are gut people  that is how they make their decisions, and the best way to connect to the gut is to laugh.....really laugh.  

So next time you are dealing with that good for nothing slacker remember the potential that this person holds and find a reason to laugh.  Laughter is their cryptonite and armed with it a supervisor could end up with a force to be reckoned with.  

Don't be "Church Nice" - Choose Conflict

My wife and I often talk about what it means to be "church nice".  Church Nice is when you decide to sacrifice your own wants and desires for the sake of others.  It is an ingrained choice that church culture has morphed from the sacrifices of Jesus and it is 100% drama.  When we continually choose to over adapt for others we are externally perceived as wishy-washy in decision making, lacking in consistent vision, and passively weak as leaders.  Internally this habit begins to justify a position that I can never be enough for my church, family, and others.  If not careful "church nice" will lead to pastors who lack assertiveness and willingness to make tough choices and congregations who are quick to attack and blame instead of own their own potency.

 Drama is created when we find ourselves believing the myth of conditional "OK'ness".  The alternative is Compassionate Conflict.....and it is the way of Jesus.  Through Jesus God chose to be open with humanity expressing God's character fully incarnate.  Through Jesus God met people as they were, honored each individuals power, and offered grace for life made new.  Through Jesus God fulfilled the commitment to love us even when our love fails all the way to the very end.  The result of God's compassionate conflict through Jesus Christ offers a creative and life giving alternative to drama.

The reality of ministry is that every conversation, committee meeting, and sermon is an opportunity to choose conflict or choose drama.  Choosing conflict is the compassionate choice.  The intuitive choice is to be "Church Nice"  and over adapt so feelings aren't hurt, and "Church Nice" creates win/lose problems that lead to long term resentment and lack of creativity.  The skills taught in Process Communication Model (PCM) and Leading Out of Drama (LOD) give you the confidence to ask for what you want, offer your resources, honor others ideas, and follow through with appropriate accountability.  

With PCM and LOD you can form a long term self care plan that will make you aware of your own triggers and psychological needs.  You will gain real minute by minute techniques to stay in compassion and finally put an end to "Church Nice".

Join me on a crusade to end "Church Nice" and sign up for a class today.

Learning to be Persistent

I will never forget the first time I actually decided to be persistent.  I spent most of my life equating persistence with "being mean".  Turns out people actually like it when you are persistent and experience not as "mean" but as a sign of respect.  

This has been confirmed as I have grown the skill of persistence over the last several years.  Using tools I acquired from Leading Out of Drama by Next Element I have learned ways to authentically set boundaries, hold people accountable, and disagree with grace.  

Recently I was in a committee meeting where a person stated that the problem was that "Young people weren't contributing."  As I looked around the room I counted four people under 40 with small children at home and I knew that it was time to say something.  Previous versions of myself would have allowed the comment to pass and only to bring it up in the parking lot latter with people who I knew would agree with me.  Instead I was able to do the following:

1. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.  This was the self talk that happened before opening my mouth.  The comment made me angry, and I wanted this person to know that.  I wanted to recognize the young people in the room with me and I wasn't comfortable moving on until it was addressed.

2. Speak Up.  Once touching base internally you actually have to say something.  Here is a paraphrase of my statement: I find that comment offensive.  There are young people in this room, myself included, that work very hard to help our team.  I am interested doing more research on this problem and finding helpful solutions.  Let's stick to our mission of including all people and not single out groups anecdotally.  

3. Don't freak out.  As soon as I said it I wanted to take it back and crawl back to my comfortable silence.  Not only did I hold this person responsible I was holding myself responsible and that is uncomfortable for both of us.  

4. Reap the rewards of a drama free life.  The next day the same person came into my office and told me that he thought it was the best meeting we have ever had.  He told me that it was the first time in years of working together that he really felt like I was present in the meeting.  My mind was blown.

If you are use to giving in when the pressure is on imagining speaking up in this way may be incredibly difficult.  Before Leading Out of Drama I could never have dreamed of the kind of courage it takes to stand up for myself and others in this way.  

If you want to gain these skills check out our upcoming courses and sign up today.