People who know me well know that I start getting restless if too much stays the same for too long. My husband fears leaving on a trip alone, knowing that the house could be completely rearranged upon his return. My hair stylist never knows if I’m going to say cut it all off or let’s grow it out really long again.
Almost 17 years ago I walked away from a perfectly good and fulfilling job as a college VP and began the process of building a private practice doing conflict resolution work full-time. I’d gotten restless.
I have spent my time since then mediating, coaching, consulting, teaching, training, writing, and speaking about conflict and resolution. I have worked primarily with organizations, but also quite a bit with couples, family members in business together, and fellow conflict resolution professionals who want to master their craft and build successful private practices. My work has always centered on conflict and tension between people who want to or need to stay in relationship with one another…colleagues and co-workers, board members, couples, siblings, best (or formerly best) friends.
For the past few years, I’ve known that I’m ready for a change. I’ve had that old restless feeling again.
As I discussed my restlessness with friends in the conflict resolution world, I often struggled to put words to what was going on for me. Initially, it was just a sense that there was something more or different calling me. A sense that something was missing. The sense did not go away. Instead, it kept eating at me, waking me at night. I found myself staring at my website at 2:00 a.m., asking, Who are you in there? Are you still doing work you most want to do?
I am ready for the next chapter in my conflict resolution work. There are some things I will do less or not at all and some things I will emphasize far more. Here’s my vision for the next chapter.
I will be teaching more
I will be offering more in-person and teleseminar conflict resolution training and am developing online conflict resolution courses. Since I was an educator before I was a mediator, I care deeply about pedagogy and have taught online courses for universities since 1999. I know the limitations and the promise of online platforms and will not be offering online conflict resolution courses that I believe technology can not yet support as well as in-person learning.
I will be coaching more
I will be doing more one-on-one executive coaching and couples coaching in conflict resolution, more group coaching by phone and Skype, more mediator coaching individually and in small groups. Coaching and teaching are inextricably linked for me and doing more of one means the joy of doing more of the other.
I will be mediating far less
I have struggled massively with the question of whether or not I should continue to mediate at all, in the “big M” mediator sense of the word. Mediator, after all, has been a significant part of my professional identity for 17 years and the label many people most associate with me. But the truth is that I am much more interested these days in helping people get conflict unstuck through my teaching, training, coaching, public speaking, and writing. There. I said it.
I will write mainly on these topics
- Bringing your “A” game to conflict resolution. This is about fine-tuning your reactions, keeping calm in the storm, and keeping your presence of mind. Think of it as peak performance meets conflict resolution.
- Creative problem solving. This is about boosting creative solutions to conflict and nurturing your own creative problem solving abilities. Think of it as creativity meets conflict and falls in love.
- Navigating the emotional dimensions of conflict, on your own or as a mediator or manager. Think of it as the third leg of the three-legged conflict resolution stool, balancing out the tendency in the conflict resolution field to focus on the other two legs (behavior and cognition).
- Simplifying conflict resolution. This is about chunking down how we respond and increasing the odds we can access our good conflict resolution skills when we need them most. Think of it as conflict resolution meets the zen garden.
- More stories of individuals and organizations who have done a good job of addressing a conflict. This is about bringing good conflict resolution strategies alive by seeing them in action. Think of it as profiles in courage and grace.
I hope you will join me as I re-weave the tapestry of my work to offer content and services that feed both my soul and yours.
I’m interested in your reaction. I’d appreciate you leaving a comment to share your thoughts, your reaction, your support, your challenge, your story about keeping your own conflict resolution work fresh.