Category : Social Exchange

Blog post, SHIFT Happens, Social Exchange

A Happy Heart

“Happy, happy, happy, happy”  What makes you happy?

Research is showing the our thoughts control our moods.  In other words, if you think happy you feel happy.  That is cool.  I have always felt more in control of how I think so this research is suggesting to me that if I can control my thoughts I can also control my feelings.

I like to feel happy.  I believe that most people do.  I also think that it can be a lot of work sometimes to maintain a level of thinking that keeps us happy.  Reframing our lives, even our past childhoods into positive experiences is always a choice.  We can accept what we see, hear and experience as happy or sad, good or bad, heaven or hell.  It really is up to us.

That’s a lot of responsibility.  If live gives you lemons you are EXPECTED to make lemon aid…AND DRINK IT.

Here’s the thing…We only know what happiness is because we have experienced sad.  Choice comes from understanding the contrast. I believe it is good for us to sit in the negative emotion for a while until we truly understand the source.  What thoughts or familiar thought patterns have taken us to the dark side.  It’s okay to wallow in it every now and then.  Chronic wallowing is not encouraged but sometimes it can be cathartic.  So go ahead and be sad, feel bad and live in the hell you are creating for your self.  Just know that happiness, goodness and heaven are just a choice, a thought away.  Your call.

Heart and head influence each other so much.  Give yourself a break and generate the happy heart you deserve.  Find the positive in the situation or the humourous and enjoy a good laugh.  It’s good for the heart.  So is a good cry.  Be Gentle and Honest with yourself and watch for the contrasts that can teach you how to be happy.


Take good care.

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Blog post, SHIFT Happens, Social Exchange

Nouveau Plan

One of the things that kind of drives me crazy is the number of identities we have these days.  What I mean is that we have multiple email addresses and multiple phone numbers and multiple addresses that we send things to and live in from time to time.  We carry multiple devices and identification cards and have multiple passwords for multiple favourite webistes.  We have become multiples.

Do you wake up each morning wondering where you are and who you have to be that day?  Are you asked for a password or a PIN number more than twice a day. Do you feel like your being is consumed by the multiple  interactions with machinery that guide you through the day?  It is weird isn’t it? Mind numbing actually.

Maybe its the fact that I have just returned from Hawaii and the Aloha spirit is still in my soul.  I have been fighting the multiple aspect of my identity for almost a year now try to consoldate who I am and what it means to be me.  No easy task.

Is it even possible to have one address, one email address, one credit card, one password and unity of purpose in our day and age? I am struggling. It is especially important as I research happiness. Me and thousands of others have been doing that for a long time. I saw Hector and the Search for happiness in the theater the other day. It’s a great movie with a great message.

Happiness is experiencing all of your emotions and understanding the contrast. Happiness is a choice. Circumstances are not the cause of happiness because different people experience the same circumstance as happy or sad. It is all relative. So can you be happy in a world that only knows you through machines and numbers and passwords? It seems you can. All you need is one person to know you and love you anyway.

I am still going to work toward a single identity. I am going to find a password that meets ALL the criteria ANYONE has set for passwords and use it. I am going to wean my self to one email address and change the address on my drivers license to reflect where I live most of the time. I am working on integrating myself and my identities. It is my Plan Nouveau. How else can you be one with the universe if you are not first one with yourself.

Have a great day.

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PULSE Enneagram, Social Exchange

Keep Moving – The secret to youthfulness

I attended a concert last night.  Cyndi Lauper opened for Cher.  Cyndi is 60 and still having fun and entertaining others.  Cher is an icon.  She looks Fabulous at 68.  These ladies love what they do.  Cyndi had a lot to say to the old folks who remembered the things she was talking about and to the young ones in the crowd she said “Look it up.”  in her delightful Queens’ NY accent.  It was a great evening.

What keeps them so youthful?  I think it has a lot to do with attitude.  They are very different people.  If I were to observe for direction and orientation, and I did, I would identify Cher’s orientation as past.  She talked about her past accomplishments and much of her show was spent reminiscing with video of her from the past. Rather than move toward the crowd, she moved away.  I know that sounds strange but she didn’t engage that much.  Between songs she disappeared to change costumes.  She looked fabulous and reminded us that that was what she was there to do. Cher has always been a differentiator.  She works at adding beauty to the world … her own. And there is a melancholy about her that she hides with costumes and fabulous acts on stage with her.

Cyndi on the other hand, is present oriented. Her album is remastered and rereleased to freshen it up.  Although she talked briefly about the past, she responded to the audience in a very present kind of approach and she sang from her heart for us, songs we knew and songs we were less familiar with. She was sharing in the here and now.  She knew where she was.  She entered through the crowd wearing a red serge jacket and a tan hat as a tribute to the Mounties.  She also did one or two songs in a Calgary Flames jersey. She moved TOWARD the audience.  We could not escape her. She was in our faces and we all loved it.  Cyndi is a take charge kind of girl who is going to make sure that girls and everyone else have fun.

In both cases the youthfulness comes from a strong sense of self and a willingness to keep moving, to keep doing what you did when you were young so that you can maintain that feeling.  When it stops being fun I know they will stop.  Cyndi does it because she can.  She is doing musicals and taking shows on the road because she loves it.  I think Cher does it for others … her fans … who adore her and remind her how fabulous she really is.

Thanks to both of you for crushing the ‘granny’ stereotype.

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PULSE Conversations, SHIFT Happens, Social Exchange

Listening to, for, with and on behalf of ….

Listening is a skill.  You need to practice a skill if you hope to improve it.  That was the premise behind the POWER listening webinar I delivered yesterday.  You can watch the unedited version by following the link.

Listening is so important as one of the main ways that we gather information from our world.  We use all of our senses for sure. In listening though we seem to be part of all of the aspects.  What I mean is that we are sender, medium and receiver.  What we pay attention to while we are listening changes the other person’s story even when we are silent.   they are watching for our responses and it will help them decide what to say next. When we receive a message we filter it through our own static.  Quieting that static is a large part of the skill of listening deeply.

There are different ways to listening.  You can listen to something.  You can listen for something which is more deliberate and can be very effective in promoting good conversation. You can listen on behalf of someone else which is often what a mediator does as they help parties build understanding.  You can also listen with others.  Doing that is what I call deep listening.  If you are with a group and listening together it is wonderful to share and hear their interpretation.  Nothing demonstrates how we use our filters like a group listen.

In the webinar I talk about listening with HEART which is the more passive skill of giving others a space to speak into, one that is safe and caring.  then I talk about POWER listening which is more about providing evidence of listening.  i think both are necessary.  If you listen politely and never provide evidence of what you hear the other person will not have the same sense of freedom from having been hear, acknowledged and understood.

Some days it is easier to listen than others.  Distractions are everywhere in our world and they are the enemy of good listening.  Listening intently and with purpose requires that we use our listening muscles to cut through the distraction and focus our attention on what is being said … and not said.  Listening occurs with eyes and ears and body and it takes practice.

What kind of listening workout do you have  planned today?

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BEACHs, Blog post, PULSE Conversations, PULSE Revival, SHIFT Happens, Social Exchange

I Write Everyday. Why can’t I finish a book???

So what shows up in my life lately are movies and invitations about story telling and writing.  I am always fascinated about how what we focus on appears.  I believe it is likely always there but we don’t necessarily see it until our attention is drawn by some inner need to complete something.

This weekend I watched a movie called Sunshine and Shadows.  It is set in England and Tuscany.  It is about a publisher who is also a fledgling writer who is assigned to find a writer who hasn’t written a book in more than 20 years and convince his to write again.  I loved the story.  It was funny and compassionate and well written.  I also am a fan of Tuscany and the people there.  the other movie I watched this weekend was Under the Tuscan Sun.  I had seen that one before and just needed to watch a good story with a happy ending again to bolster my faith in humanity.

The line from the Sunshine and Shadows movie that has stayed with me is “Writing is hard work.”  Why that is news to me I can’t really figure out.  I know that writing is hard work.  I also know that GETTING TO THE WRITING is harder for me.  The two books that are in my head are heavy.  I feel as if I am nine and a half months pregnant with twins. I can block time and set deadlines until the cows come home but it doesn’t really move the book along.  I need help.


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BEACHs, PULSE Conversations, Social Exchange

Alberta and Cowboys

Today I drove from Edmonton to Canmore.  That’s nothing new.  I do it all the time .  Today was different.  It was a bright , crisp blue sky and the snow covered mountains were calling so I turned off Highway 2 and drove to Rocky Mountain House so that I could wander back through the foothills to Cochrane and take 1A into Canmore.

If you have ever done that drive you know the vistas are beyond spectacular. The Rockies are majestic and today you can see Mount Lougheed from Sundre.   The road is mostly straight through the rolling hills and the small towns are so typically small town-ish.  I saw one sign that offered hand crafted gun racks and sewing alterations in the same facility.  It was a great day for a drive.

I was on what is known as the Cowboy Trail.  I love cowboys and the idea of cowboys.  The quiet confidence and humility that comes from working with animals on the land tells me that they learn something out there.  There is a rugged individualism with a sense of down home manners and sensitivity that is likely a stereo type.  It could also be a myth.  Who cares.  This is fantasy.  What is for sure is that there is a mystique in those mountains, on those ranches and in those fields that you can’t really find anywhere else.

Today I was reminded of a question I was once asked by a teacher from Hong Kong.  We were at a teachers of gifted children conference ( Not to be confused with a Gifted Teachers Conference) when the subject of attraction to the opposite sex came up.  I walked into a conversation and was asked rather suddenly.  “What kind of man do you find sexy?”  I was a little taken aback because I hadn’t really thought about it but there it was just falling out of my mouth….”There is just SOMETHING about a cowboy…”   I smiled in reply. The debate raged.  Suits were sexier.  Doctors in Lab coats.  Fighter pilots. Sailors on the high seas. Oilmen.  Academics.  Everyone had an answer that worked for them.  It was another example of the individual nature of humans in cultures.

Not sure why that conversation stayed with me but there was a raw emotion attached to it that has lingered.  Driving through the beautiful Alberta Foothills today with the Rockies shining in the background, I thought of cowboys today and it made me smile.  It always does.

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Blog post, PULSE Conversations, Social Exchange

A Bio I Like


Dr. Nancy Love

Dr. Love is the founder of the PULSE Institute and the author of PULSE Conversations for Change and The Complex PULSE. She is passionate about giving people the courage and confidence they need to make a change in their lives and a difference in the world.

As Executive Coach, a Consultant and Teacher with the PULSE Institute for the past twelve years, Dr. Nancy Love provides her clients with structures and skills for managing social exchanges.  She believes in PULSE as a core competency for leaders or anyone who does their work in conversation.  If you are vicariously responsible for the work of others, she can help with her quick and proven methods.

Nancy came to this work after she was a principal of a high school she affectionately calls “The Crucible”.  Her story of struggle as she overcame resistance from ALL parties to the running of the school is compelling.  She quickly became a student and then a master of how to have difficult conversations, how to help others get along, how to create a shared purpose and process, how to create a peaceful productive workplace for staff in service of the client. Her experiences have led her to a life dedicated to improving the quality of social exchanges in organizations and in the world.


Nancy Love PhD

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Blog post, PULSE Conversations, Social Exchange

Checklists – For People Who Do Their Work in Social Exchanges

When I first starting thinking about Checklists I associated them with routine and ritual.  Now I know that the reason you have a checklist is because something is NOT routine and you do not have a ritual that matches it.  Checklists are for those things that are not natural.  They are best used to guide you through processes that are counterintuitive like the PULSE Frame.

This week on Friday I will be presenting a free webinar on Checklists and the different applications for PULSE.  I have been thinking a lot about the way that I use PULSE and how often I can use it to analyze what went wrong in a social exchange.  What did I forget to say or do that I might have got had I been deliberately using my checklist?  It is always there.  Someone tells someone something from a conversation that I believed to be confidential.  Not having spelled that out ( “I would like to keep this confidential until I talk to so and so.”),  the other person shared the information with so and so who then made assumptions which he acted on and the inevitable confusion around miscommunication and interpreted intentions ensued.

With something as simple as the PULSE Frame, something I am sooo familiar with, I thought I could wing it.  I wasn’t even consciously using my mental checklist.  The thing to remember is that although PULSE is simple and easy to use, it is also complex and deliberate.  If you  miss something you are in danger of creating more conflict rather than avoiding or mitigating it.  If you want to keep people in the Green Zone, the friendly zone where relationships are enhanced then take my advice and USE THE CHECKLIST.

It is not always important in every social exchange to state the purpose, protocol and process. BUT you should at least think about why or why not you are doing those things.  It is not always important to STATE the five guiding questions but you should have answers for all of them before you complete your exchange.  Follow the formula to get sustainable results.  When you don’t get sustainable results you can usually trace it back to a missed piece of information or question.  Press rewind and try again.  This time USE the Checklist.

Here are two versions.  One for a two-way conversation and one for a three-way with an intervener guiding the exchange.  Make them work for you.  They represent a fast and proven method to get sustainable outcomes form any social exchange.

© 2008 Dr. Nancy Love of the PULSE Institute
PULSE Two-Way Conversation Checklist
PREPARE FOR THE PROCESS: “How will the conversation proceed?”
(10 minutes)

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PULSE Conversations, PULSE Revival, Social Exchange

PULSE Change – Saving lives with PULSE

How can you change your PULSE?  Pulse rates are usually pretty stable and predictable but once in a while your pulse rate changes. What are the triggers for that?  Could be physical exertion or it could be emotional response or it could be your brain creating threats for you … real or imagined.  What can you do to lower the impact of perceived threat and normalize your physiological response?

One of the most important outcomes of using PULSE to structure your conversations is that you rarely get so excited by words that your PULSE changes.  Because you have a clearer understanding about what to do or say and how and why to do it you are less likely to trigger the physiological responses of fight, flight or freeze.  You might be curious about what is being said and why.  You might find the courage to ask the question in your head and test that assumption you  might be making.  You might feel confident enough to feel compassion and a real connection with the other party which moves your body to relax, release and relate, thus lowering your pulse rate.

Learning PULSE definitely keeps your blood pressure and your heart rate healthy.

How can I say that?  That is a pretty wild claim.  How can a Frame for Social Exchanges change your life?

I know that getting excited  rather than curious can change your physical state.  I also know that remaining calm and in control is a lot easier if you have a plan and a structure for the difficult conversation you are in.  When you have confidence in a peaceful sustainable outcome because you know what to do you are less likely to feel threatened by any situation.  You are more likely to use your training to de-escalate and resolve thus lowering everyone’s heart rate.

Like the CPR training you took to help people having heart failure, your PULSE training takes you into situations to calm emotional responses so that people can get the blood back into their brains.  CPR gets the heart going again.   PULSE slows it down.

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PULSE Conversations, PULSE Revival, Social Exchange

Fast and Proven Results with PULSE

I am working through Cd’s from Experts’ Academy with Brendon Burchard.  He is dynamic and  interesting.  I like him.  Some of the points he makes are insightful and informative and I would like to publically thank him even though I am not finished with my instruction on how to be an expert.

Brendon makes a point about what I would call operationalizing your expertise.  He suggests using frameworks and checklists.  Hmmm.  We do that.  He says that one mistake that experts make is to offer conceptual approaches to solving people’s problems rather than the “fast and proven” step by step method.  That got me thinking.  When I talk about what PULSE is I know I stay at the conceptual level.  Rarely do I say ” PULSE is five easy steps for managing any social exchange.”  That is what PULSE is… Five easy steps

1. Prepare by setting Purpose and Protocol for the exchange

2. Uncover the Topic

3. Learn the Criteria for a wider future

4. Search the possibilities that meet the criteria

5.  Explain a plan of action

You can do this by using five easy and proven questions to guide each stage of the exchange:

1. What is the purpose of this exchange?

2. What do we need to address today?

3. What about that is important?

4. What could be done in a perfect world?

5. What are we/you committed to doing next?

Collecting the answers to these questions gives you a sustainable outcome.  The process can be applied in any situation.

Using the PULSE Frame gets FAST and PROVEN results.  It improves the quality of conversations, relationships and organizations.  It gives individuals the courage to make a change and the confidence to make a difference.  It contributes to peace and harmony in the workplace or  in the family with a deliberate five stage approach to any social exchange.

Thanks, Brendon, for helping me think through what expertise we have at PULSE and forcing me to identify the operational advantage, not just the conceptual one that the PULSE Frame offers to those who use it.

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