Our past but not our future

Our Past But Not Our Future by Robert Fogarty

Roseann Sdoia is a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing. That's her, in the center of the above photo, surrounded by supporters. What you can see in the photo is her powerful message for us. What you can't see is her prosthetic leg. When you realize she lost her leg in the bombing, her message resonates with greater credibility, greater clarity, and even greater power. Our past but not our future. We can choose. My gratitude to photographer Robert X. Fogarty and his Dear World: … [Read more...]

The truth is a rabbit in a bramble patch


"The truth is a rabbit in a bramble patch. And you can’t lay your hand on it. All you do is circle around and point, and say, ‘It’s in there somewhere.’” I love this comment from Pete Seeger, relaying a simile his father often used. Because for all the times I've said that arguing about the truth during conflict is a waste of time, for all the times I've mentioned that your perspective and the truth are not the same, and for all the times I've written about the ways we create our own truths … [Read more...]

A conflict pivot prize drawing for you

I want my new book, The Conflict Pivot: Turning Conflict into Peace of Mind, to reach a lot of people and make a difference in a lot of lives. Ten years of working on a book will do that to a person. So, it means a lot to me when you buy a copy of the book -- or several copies for your friends, family, colleagues, or clients. It means so much to me that I've lined up a whole series of thank you gifts from me to you and I'm going to give them away to four lucky winners on July 11. The … [Read more...]

The conflict pivot is here

This blog post has been ten years in the making. That's how long I've been developing and fine-tuning conflict pivots, then working on the book. I'm here to tell you The Conflict Pivot went live on Amazon yesterday. My virtual book tour begins today, complete with gifts and prizes...read on for details. Editions The print edition of The Conflict Pivot is now available on Amazon and Amazon Europe. The Kindle version will be available at the end of June. Print editions will be available … [Read more...]

The conflict pivot: Official book trailer

The Conflict Pivot will be out soon. So the time seemed right to share the official book trailer, which has been in the works for a few of months. I hope you'll take a look and share it far and wide. I'm so very grateful to the smart, talented folks at Goodlookin' (you may have seen their work for Microsoft, Nordstrom and the flickr app) for creating the trailer. And a big thanks and hug to my nephew, director Matt Lenski (can't resist mentioning his 2005 MTV Video Music Award, his Sears … [Read more...]

A conflict coaching teleseminar

On Thursday I'll be teaching a conflict coaching teleseminar for the Association for Conflict Resolution. Here is what's on tap: What: Coaching the Conflict Pivot: Three Steps to Help Free Clients from Conflict When: Thursday, June 5, 1-2pm EDT For whom: The Workplace Section members and my invited guests (that's you!) Continuing education credits? Yes, for ACR Advanced Practitioners How to attend: I've gotten permission for you to be my invited guest Description: A pivot is a change … [Read more...]

This little light of mine

Vincent Harding on SoundCloud

When someone does something that upsets you, do you get sidetracked and allow their actions or words to be the focal point of your response? Or do you stay your course, focused on the longer view of what you're committed to? Civil rights veteran Vincent Harding, who passed away last week, had some thoughts about this very question, and he shared them on the public radio show, On Being. His words are transcendent and are just as applicable to everyday conflict resolution as they are to civil … [Read more...]

When you inadvertently magnify a conflict

resolve conflict

Conflict doesn't necessarily mean something fundamental has shifted in your business or personal relationship. It's possible the relationship is as sound and strong as it ever was. It's just hard to see that when the conflict is crowding out your wider view. I was reminded of this recently in an experience with a certain company whose services I use to manage a small digital aspect of my conflict resolution business. I've been using the company for years and have felt consistently well … [Read more...]

Sneak peak: My new book’s introduction

conflict pivot

Jen, a mediation graduate student in my Interpersonal Conflict course, pointed to an excellent conflict resolution book we’d just read and said, “I love this book. And I hate it, too. It’s got so much to teach me, but I won’t remember it all. I just can’t keep track of that much advice.” She’d just summarized my own experience with favorite conflict resolution books and a protest I’d heard before: the sense that the best conflict resolution books help us understand our conflicts in fresh … [Read more...]

Sneak peak at the book cover

Hundreds of you gave your input on the first round of book cover designs for my forthcoming book, The Conflict Pivot. I thought I'd thank you by sharing a sneak peak at the final cover. The book should be out in June (fingers crossed); once I have the release date I'll post it far and wide. … [Read more...]

Anxiety about a difficult conversation? Try this.

Writing may be a very effective way to boost your performance in pressure-filled situations such as difficult conversations, suggests research out of The University of Chicago's Human Performance Lab. Even ten minutes of expressive writing (writing about your thoughts and feelings) immediately before a high-stress event can have a big impact on your anxiety level and on your performance says Psychology professor Sian Beilock, author of Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About … [Read more...]

On retaliation


"There were times in my own life when I’ve been so hurt that I was sure retaliation would make me feel better. But inevitably, when I can’t harm the people who harmed me I just end up harming the people who love me. So maybe retaliation or holding onto anger about the harm done to me doesn’t actually combat evil. Maybe it feeds it." — Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint … [Read more...]

Vote for my book’s cover design

book input, please!

My latest book, The Conflict Pivot: Turning Conflict into Peace of Mind, is sitting on the editor's desk (well, in her computer). That means I've finally got my nose out of the writing app on my MacBook Air and am turning my attention to the many final details...including the all-important cover design. I've decided to crowdsource the cover design in order to make some really good suggestions to the publisher. Out of 86 entries received by designers from around the world, I've narrowed … [Read more...]

A conflict resolution playlist…or two

Thanks to everyone who suggested conflict resolution songs, I've put together not one but two conflict resolution playlists. You can stream the playlists with an Rdio account (it's free) or scroll down to see the list of songs on each playlist. Just in time for a little Friday afternoon listening... Conflict resolution playlist (lively) Conflict resolution playlist (mellow) Conflict resolution songs (lively) Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - The Animals Let's Work Together - Canned … [Read more...]

The dance of criticism


Muhammad wrote me with the question, "What amounts to criticizing?" He told me about a difficult situation with his son, with whom he's presently living. He wrote, I came across your “Conflict Habits” information on my computer from when I don't recall, and after reading it (excellent information) I have a question...[personal information redacted]...he puts up the "criticizing me" defense, the "you are so self-righteous defense," the "you are so ungrateful for our helping you defense," and … [Read more...]