Personal book reflection …

Book review of the month: June 2020

12 Rules for Life

An antidote to chaos
by Jordan B Peterson

“The best way to fix the world is to fix yourself”  reflects the overall invitation that I took from this book. The ideas, analogies and novel forms of sharing concepts made me think, reflect and write down points to ponder. It served to stimulate dinner conversations on several evenings. It inspired me to listen to a number of Peterson’s podcasts and his YouTube interviews. It left me wondering what his faith really is? Is he a Christian, believing that Jesus Christ as the son of God?  This is, in my own paraphrasing,  “a complicated question for him to answer”. Either way, I am left with wanting to hear more and recognising I need to have time to read and listen as the ideas unfold through stories that flow in an unfamiliar structure.   The book closes with a touching and poignant message that is worth waiting for. This chapter in itself is recommended for someone who is contemplating the legacy they want to leave or are trying to create.

Book review of the month: May 2020

Ethical loneliness

The injustice of not being heard
by Jill Stauffer

This book is rich with multiple insights for us as human beings, especially when someone is sharing their pain and suffering. In my view it is a particularly powerful read for those where listening is critical to your career such as personal human development,  community care and the creation of systems that enable deep hurt to be recognised and acknowledged.  The reflections on South Africa and our ability as individuals to listen to the vulnerable and powerful sharing in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) really invite us to develop our ability to “hear people on their own terms”. It is a “bitter sweet” reminder to listen to hear and not be tempted to interpret a message in a way that  meets our own needs. The invitation to consider that resentment holds wisdom and that forgiveness is not something to be dictated is aligned with the principle of listening to the “NO / different / unpopular view” practiced in Lewis Deep Democracy (LDD). This principle is and inherent part of the CoResolve leadership and Deep Democracy training offered by licensed practitioners such as myself. I needed to complete this book over several sittings to provide time to absorb and process the messages.

Speak Peace
In a World of Conflict
Marshall B. Rosenberg

Marshall Rosenberg started sharing his work in non-violent communication (NVC) some forty years ago and I had the good fortune to attend an incredible nine day program in October 2018 in Port Aransas, Texas. Each participant had their own style of applying the tools you will be gifted with in this book. The experiential and integrated nature of the NVC training program is demonstrated in the way this book is written. Its impact on me was so exciting that I’ve included the principles and skills in coaching programs at an individual and group level.

Speak Peace helped open my heart and mind to a new vocabulary with practical guidance on how to apply these skills in my everyday life, starting with how I speak to myself. Be prepared to be challenged and yet to question the simplicity of what you will practice and apply.

The two questions asked at the beginning of the book were: what is alive in you and how can you make life more wonderful? It starts with recognising my own needs and expressing them clearly as opposed to judging others for not meeting my needs – these are different lens to view the world.

Understanding my own needs first and then challenging  myself to listen with an open heart to what someone else is saying based on their needs and their feelings :  listening PAST evaluation or judgment takes “being present in discussions” to  a new level.

For high achievers and “outcomes” driven humans / businesses/ communities, actively listening to needs and feelings sounds time consuming. However, when I reflect on my own behaviours when caught up in “a moment of delivery”, I recognise how many hours have been spent sorting out the impact of judgmental communication which is a welcomed reminder to slow down to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Surprisingly the techniques enable clear and concise communication.

My personal best with this book is recognising how much power I give to self-judgment and how often this comes up with clients in relation to their self-talk.

This quote on self-empathy is worth bearing in mind as you explore an alternative way to listening to different views in your conversations – including your own.

“Let us be glad of the dignity of our privilege to make mistakes,
glad of the wisdom   that enables us to recognise them,
glad of the power that permits us to turn their light as a glowing illumination along the pathway of our future.
Mistakes are the growing pains of wisdom.
Without them there would be no individual growth, no progress, no conquest.
William Jordan

End