'Tis the Season, Blog post, Christmas, SHIFT Happens, Social Exchange, Winter in Canada

Small Steps

It is that time of year again when we look back to examine what we have accomplished and set some goals for the New Year.  I always marvel at how much I have accomplished in just one year.  I have initiated my relationship with UVI.  I have travelled to The US Virgin Islands and the BVI by many long and circuitous routes.  I have danced and curled and spent time with family and friends.  I have read books and finished writing one.  I have visited Italy and Scotland.  I have spent time at Lac St Anne and in St Albert and I have written morning pages almost everyday.

There are of course many things I have promissed myself that I would do that I have not been able to add to a daily repertoire.  For Example… I always admired the way my mother went for a daily walk.  It kept her slim, and happier and healthy … or at least we thought she was healthy.  I really do want to add it to my routine.  There always seems to be a great reason to NOT walk today.  It’s too cold.  It’s too hot.  The wind is blowing.  The snow or rain is falling.  Its too dark.  There’s too much traffic.  Beyond weather there are the multitude of distractions in side … dishes, floors, dusting, books to read, garbage to take out, phone calls to make, emails to send … the list goes on … have a shower, get dressed, find warm clothes until there is suddenly not enough time left before work to walk for twenty minutes.  And after work… forget it.  The busy evening schedule which may or may not include favourite tv shows.

I am so good at avoiding it that I am starting to wonder what deep seated, psychological reasons are keeping me from walking.  When I do convince myself to go I usually enjoy the experience. But obviously not enough to do it again the next day.  Since I started thinking about establishing this routine in 1990… 25 years ago… I have NEVER gone two days in a row.  I have enrolled the help of partners… some willing and others indebted to me because I gave birth to them. Buddy or not I have not succeeded.

This is a dire circumstance that I want to change.  Enter the self coaching tools of the certified coach.  Remember Kaizen and one small step.  Remember mind sculpting.  Remember how thinking about doing something and enjoying it can help you want to ACTUALLY do it.  If I can commit to small steps I may be able to short circuit my brain’s built in resistance to the new behaviour. The trick is for me to imagine ENJOYING the walk and how it makes me feel.

I’ll let you know how it goes…..

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'Tis the Season, Christmas, Social Exchange

Christmas Lists … Don’t Forget to Wish Your Friends Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas everyone.  You are all on my nice list and I have been meaning to tell you so for a while now.  It has been a great year and on my list of to do’s in January is to review it for myself and for those who might be interested.

Today I want to talk about lists.  We all carry so many lists in our head, in our pockets, on our phones and computers.  It seems like everything we do we do so that we can tick off the box beside that thing on our list.  It could be physically or virtually.  It could be our “getting up in the morning routine” list. It could be our “grocery” list.  It could be our Christmas baking, shopping, wrapping, budgeting or dinner preparation list.

There is not just one list at Christmas.  There’s the naughty and nice lists, and the list of presents that need to be purchased and wrapped and tagged. And just when you think you have everything under control your second cousin on your father’s side invites her new beau to the family Christmas gathering and you are off to the pick up “some small thing” for him to open with us.

Christmas Day is like a wedding day.  You plan and plan and carefully make lists and arrange seating and buy groceries and wine and then cross your fingers.   The Day comes.  You all have a wonderful time.  You share time together, food and drink, laughter and conversation. You leave with great stories and a warm feeling and a full stomach and all will be well in the world.

Then it will be time to start making next year’s lists.  ENJOY.

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'Tis the Season, Winter in Canada


The calendar indicates that we are still in the fall season. HMMMM Out my window I see winter. This morning it was milder than usual for this time of year and it had rained last night so there was a layer of ice over everything that made my 300 step walk from my apartment to my office a little tricky.

I heard the other day on CBC radio that Canadians have the largest wardrobes, that is they own the most clothes. Our weather is such that we have to have clothes for four very different seasons. We have summer, fall, winter and spring clothes that we may need anytime of the year depending on the weather. So very true.

This week I have been sorting and selecting pieces from my own wardrobe that I am hoping refugees might appreciate … things I no longer wear in that overstuffed wardrobe. To be honest I like the change of seasons and the need for lots of different kinds of clothes. I also love my winter forays to the south which have taught me that it is always summer somewhere. I keep my sundresses and shorts handy at all times in case I need to head south but I had really never thought about the need for more pieces in a wardrobe here as opposed to other places in the world. In fact it is hard to imagine only needing summer clothes.

We Canadians also talk about the weather more than other people in other places do. There is obviously more to discuss. Weather changes rapidly here and sometimes our lives depend on how prepared we are for the changing conditions we face. We are also better prepared physically and emotionally to help others in need. People call us NICE and we are in part I am sure because we know that if we don’t stop for someone freezing by the side of the road that they could actually die.

The other cool (as in interesting) part is that we have fewer weather related deaths than many other countries. Good work CANADIANS. Stay prepared and be cautious out there and look after each other. Keep that extra layer of clothing from your abundant wardrobe in your car. It’s WINTER again and although it is supposed to be milder than most we still need to be ready for anything.

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BEACHs, PULSE Conversations, PULSE Enneagram, Social Exchange, UVI PULSE webinars

Wednesday’s UVI-PULSE Webinar

This week on Wednesday I will be doing a webinar for the University of the Virgin Islands. You can register on their website.  UVI-PULSE.  This week I am going to talk more about the nine different approaches to the world that can be learned by studying the Enneagram.

I think it will be of interest to anyone who wants to develop their understanding of the nine positions on the Enneagram circle and how you can use the PULSE grid to find out where someone is at the moment.  I will also talk about how you can predict where they might go and how you can help people move when they get stuck.

It should be fun.  There will also be a short ebook available to people who register.

Any exposure to the cultures of the nine points is help full.  It can take only an hour to know how they work and a life time to fully understand.  I always say start anywhere and go everywhere when you are learning a complex concept like the BEACHs.  I hope you join us to expand your knowledge and add to the conversation.

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BEACHs, SHIFT Happens, Social Exchange

10 Seconds

At my dad’s retirement home there is an elevator.  Once you step in, the door waits 10 seconds before it closes.  somedays that 10 seconds feels like an anxious eternity.  Other days it is a quiet vacation from the hectic world.  I always find it is interesting how time is relative to your state of mind.  Most of the residence push the ‘close door’ button immediately unwilling to wait for the doors to close on their own.  I always wonder why.  Is it because they are anxious to get back to their rooms?  Is it the seemingly natural impatience that I have noticed comes with age … or at least for my dad?  Or is it that time has become precious and waiting for an elevator door is not how they want to spend any of the 10 second timeframes they have left on this earth?

I like to wait for the door to close on its own.  I like to notice my own state during that time.  Where does my head go?  I take the time to examine my own state of anxiety or calm.  I find it helpful.  Where am I?  Not physically, although it is a good reminder of that.  Where am I emotionally?  How connected am I to my surroundings and the people there?  And what has transpired since I was last waiting in the elevator for the door to close?

Life is always about time and place.  Take time in what ever place you find yourself.  You will see that the next time you find yourself in that exact place, it will be like the time between visits has disappeared.

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Blog post, Loss and Recovery, SHIFT Happens

I think I finally figured it out…. or maybe not….

Life, the universe and everything ….. I haven’t quite figured that out yet but I am getting a handle on my new identity.  I have been SHIFTing from Calgary to Edmonton for two years now.  The SHIFT includes residence and business model as I move away from PULSE and toward Dr Nancy Love Inc.  PULSE continues with the University of the Virgin Islands and I am happy to be working with them to renew that intellectual property and train trainers to continue the work.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I am creating a new identity for myself as Dr. Nancy Love.

The new website www.drnancylove.com  was created over a year ago but I haven’t paid it the kind of attention it truly needs.  I do want to continue to promote work other than PULSE that I have generated and continue to generate.  I also want to use it to maintain my connections with colleagues in the field as we collaborate.

I am finding that separating from your history is not as easy as you think.  There are so many pieces, so many moving parts that even after two years I am still sorting and selecting and searching to eliminate what I don’t need and create the new and improved version of my life.  I think we all do that everyday of our lives.

I am proud of my history and the opportunities it has afforded me.  I am also proud of how that history has created new opportunities for me now at this later stage of my career.  2016 is on the horizon and I am already creating my list of expectations for myself and the WORK I love to do.

Okay …maybe I don’t have it all figured out yet but believe me I do continue to work on who I want to be when I grow up.  Younger people may chuckle at that but those of you over fifty will know by now that this journey, this search, never ends no matter how many years you put behind you.

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Blog post


This morning I watched a Ted Talk by Daniel Levitin, a neurologist talking about the impact of stress on our ability tothink.  It was another reminder of why it is so important to have a plan of action so that when I high emotion takes over your body and your brain you have an automatic practiced response to keep you out of trouble.  He called it a pre-mortem … like a post mortem but BEFORE the event.  Pre-mortems give you the opportunity to generate a chain of reasoning before you are in a situation with lowered brain capacity unable to think about what to do next.  The best example I can think of for pre-mortem is the CPR training I took when I was teaching high school.  Repeat the steps until they come naturally.  BE PREPARED so that panic does not have a chance to set in.

PULSE is a pre-mortem for high conflict and difficult conversations.  With PULSE training you have a set of tried and true questions to guide you through a conflict situation.  Even if your brain has moved to fight, flight or freeze because you are feeling threatened, you will have an automoatic system, a structured conversation to use as a guide to get you to a calmer place.  AND you will also have practiced skills for defusing the other persons perception of threat.  This kind of preparation allows you to get to a place where clearer heads prevail, where the corisol caused by the stress has disappated.

Step one: Prepare for the Conversation … ask How will the conversation proceed?

Step two: Uncover the Circumstance … ask What is this about?

Step three: Learn the Signficiance … ask Why is it important?

Step four: Search the Possibilities … ask What could you do?

Step five: Explain a Plan of Action … ask What will you do?

And don’t forget to breath ….

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Blog post

All Change is About Adjusting Expectations

Whenever my life has taken a turn for better or worse I have had to adjust my expectations.  As human beings I think we do that on a daily basis and if we maintain our previous expectations in the face of a changing environment we are always headed for conflict.  Ever day is a new opportunity to RESPOND to life rather than to react to it.  When circumstances shift and change we have choices to make.  We can become recalcitrant and refuse to acknowledge the need for us to change our way of looking at the world or we can embrace change with open arms.

Both are valid choices.  There are circumstances where accepting a new way of doing things is NOT OKAY. It may be in some way harmful to you or to your organization or family.  Its okay to become positional and to protect what you know to be a better way.  In those instances we move into fight mode and get ready to battle the forces of negative change.  We defend.  We protect.  We resist.  Or we move into freeze mode and ignore the changes, carrying on as if nothing has really changed.  Or we move into flight mode and run away to a different place where there is no change, where everything is as it should be.

If a change threatens us we are likely to fight, freeze or flee.  It is a natural reaction and is healthy where change is harmful. Where we are experiencing a positive change in our circumstances  we may still resist because there is someting about changing what we do or the way we do it that insinuates that how we used to do it was wrong.  No one wants to be wrong.  That’s why we question any change that we are asked to make or endure.

Over the years I have experienced major changes in circumstances more than once.  New jobs in different places with different people have been part of my history.  I welcome change when it is positive and means an improvement in some aspect of my life … better opportunities or a chance to be closer to family for example.  When I understand the change and the reason for it I can begin to release any resistance, relax into the new situation and relate to the new expectations.

Change has become the norm for me but now I find myself  in a place where change is not as necessary or as easy as it once was.  No matter what change in circumstance you are experiencing it is the adjusting of expectations that takes time and energy.  There are new expectations coming for me to be settled and still instead of uncertain and moving all of the time.  So here I am, the queen of adjusting expectations, setting expectaions for myself around my life circumstances that are contrary and different from how I have lived my life so far.  Can I embrace this change or will I resist?

This should be interesting……

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Blog post

HEART – Hush, Empathise, Attend, Reflect and Trust

Tomorrow UVI-PULSE presents another Webinar in the monthly series.  This one is about listening … actively.  It is about the state of being we need to have as human beings to involve ourselves in listening to others.  It is not about just showing up and being within earshot.  Listening with HEART is much, much more. It is about deliberately setting yourself the task of truly understanding the other persons position.  It asks you to understand their physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual well being.

HEART stands for Hush, Empathise, Attend, Reflect and Trust.  It is a neural address for a set of skills that demonstrate and strengthen Compassion.  HEART is about caring about the other person, about honouring them as a following human being with their own unique perspective on the world.  There is no judgement in this kind of listening.  Its purpose is to get over to the other person’s side and have a look at the world from there,  It is about creating understanding but not necessarily agreement.

Hush. Stop doing what ever you are doing.  Stop the chatter in your brain. Stop moving.  Stop talking.  Stop judging.  Stop editing the story.  Just stop.  Listen to what is being said NOW.  Watch what is happening NOW.  Turn off your own stuff.  Suspend what ever is going on for you so that you can feel and experience the other person’s world. Hush.

Empathise.  Imagine how it is to be in that person’s world.  Step in.  It is pretty much impossible for you to really completely understand how it is for them but if you can begin to see how or why they are thinking, talking and behaving the way they are that is a good first step.  Feel what they are feeling if you can. Sense the state they are in and emulate it as much as you can. Empathise.

Attend.  Listen with both ears.  Sit up straight.  Watch with both eyes.  Attend to the facial expressions, the body language, the tone and pace, the changes in intensity, the pauses and the words.  Put all of your attention with that person. Learn how it is for them.  Attend.

Reflect.  Let the emotional state that you see and experience reflect in your own face and body without saying anything.  This allows the speaker to continue to speak.  It also encourages expression of the emotional reality they are experiencing.  If your reflection is not true for them, they will adjust their communication to explain more clearly what is true for them until they get the right reflection back. Reflect.

Trust.  Everyone is doing the best they can with what they know.  We are social beings searching for connection with each other.  We want to believe in something bigger than ourselves.  We believe what we believe because of our own experiences.  We act the way we do because of our beliefs, expectations, assumptions, concerns and hopes.  All of this is informed by what we know to be true.  AND we can change what we know.  Trust.

Listening with HEART looks like any other kind of listening.  It is the deliberateness and purposefulness of it that makes the difference.  Put your HEART into it and listening will improve, conversations will improve and relationships will improve.

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Blog post

Tomorrow I Head Back Home- an update from UVI-PULSE

My stay at UVI this month has been enlightening for me.  I have had great opportunities to connect with people and to assess the role I will be playing here over the next few years.  I have had time to consider my own growth potential here and to examine how I can contribute in this environment.  

Although I have spent time here in the past, I realize now that I have been more of a tourist  … a guest invited to provide a service or some entertainment and then return from wence I had come.  Now I am looking to become part of the family. Now I have to find my own way around campus, do my own cooking and cleaning and fulfill the duties assigned to me.  I am expected to win support and influence people who are unfamiliar with the program.  It can be challenging.

That’s a good thing.  Although I was a little disappointed when some classes had to be canceled here, I am encouraged by the fact that we have regrouped and reorganized the learning experiences to better meet the needs of the local and international community served by UVI.  With great feedback from those who could not make it and our African Friends I believe we have come up with a plan that will bring us future success as we work to have Virgin Islanders “Check your PULSE.” (T-shirts to follow).

The month started out with challenges to overcome as power and internet connections wreaked havoc with our broadcast of the POWER webinar.  Ironic?  And later connections with UVI ST Croix created an echo on the radio program that went live and was recorded.  I had a chance to outline our UVI-PULSE plan of action and to give examples of the kinds of skills that could make a difference for people and their relationships here on the Islands.  It should be availabe on the ILOE.UVI.EDU website sometime soon.

With those issues behind us and an MOU with PULSE Africa and my friend Austin Gamey in place, we are well on our way to contributing in a meaningful way to  this “Historically American, Uniquely Caribbean, Globally Interactive” University.  Watch for news of exciting courses and an upcoming UVI-PULSE Conference planned for May 2016.  The plans include tours of St Thomas along with some Island Hospitality as well as guest speakers.  All PULSE Professionals and Practitioners will be invited to attend.

We are on our way….

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