Category : PULSE Conversations

PULSE Conversations, SHIFT Happens, Social Exchange

It’s Saturday …

Weekends are not much different from weekdays at the lake.  The one exception is that there are more people around.  Lots of families are out this weekend to enjoy the new swimming pool in our little neighbourhood that opens tomorrow.  I hope to do that later in the week when there are fewer people around.

I just watched a TED Talk with psychologist Brian Little.  There were a number of things that caught my attention.  Dr, Little talked about the fact the there are ways in which we are like most other people.  Those he refers to as our biogenetic nature.  There are also ways that we are like some other people.  Those he calls our sociogenetic nature. And there are ways in which we are like no other person. Those he refers to as our idiogenetic nature, a term I think that might be uniquely his.  His basic premise is that we can be categorized with others on certain dimensions and we may be hard wired ( my term not his) to act in a particular way in a particular situation, but there is one other variable that allows us to move away from our usual MO and that is our “core project.”  In other words if we need to change the usual introversion to extraversion to protect our family then we will.  If we need to become disagreeable when we are normally agreeable then we can. .. for a purpose.  If we are normally open to new experience but our core project requires us to be safe then we may become guarded. So we do what we need to do to further our core project even if it is out of character. Cool.

DR. Little warns us thought that protracted out-of-character-ness can be harmful.  If we push our introverted self into extraversion for too long we can snap back like an elastic band and cause ourselves some difficulty, but generally speaking what he is saying is that we are not merely a collection of traits.  With that caveat in mind it is still nice to know that we need not worry about exhibiting this trait or that trait because we now know we can get over ourselves and BE what we need to be when required.

What difference does this make?  For me, for example … the penultimate balanced extravert/introvert personality type … I see now the significance of the balance for me.  I  need the balance between being out there and being in here.  I think most people do and that they manage themselves to find their own point of balance or fulcrum on the continuum.  I also think most people generally understand when they are off balance and need to make corrections.  Each of us has a range on the continuum … not just a point.  Movement within the range has been limited to a more introverted, even isolated position of late for me personally.  I have a core project that makes it necessary to behave differently than I may have in the past.  AND that’s okay.  I will heed Dr Little’s warning about protractedly wandering out of character and make the adjustments I need to keep sane and healthy.  Dr. Little has helped me understand that stepping out of character is a choice we make to achieve an end, a worthy core project and our ability to do that is part of who we are as a person … our idiogenetic nature … or should I say MY idiogenetic nature.  I also know that it is what many women my age do so that it is also in my sociogenetic nature. And it is a choice for me.

Dr Little sites five dimensions of personality that I found interesting maybe because their first letters spell something … OCEAN.  Open to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.  He talked about degrees of each but I wonder if he has considered the developmental nature of these dimensions.  I know for example that I have become more introverted than extraverted over the past three years.  It could be a function of age or situation.  I also feel that I have become less open to new experience and more conscientious.  I have become less agreeable on many fronts and possibly more neurotic. I was beginning to feel confused when the next TED Talk video started.  In it Philosopher, Julian Baggini explained that we are a collection of experiences, a process and not a permanent truth.  He used the metaphor of a waterfall that appears the same but is constantly changing.

Combining the ideas presented by the psychologist and the philosopher gave me comfort.  I hope it will also give you comfort.  You are the sum of your experiences which are changing constantly and you choose how to behave based on your core project.  RELAX, RELATE, RELEASE and ENJOY. Become the waterfall.  I certainly will later in the week when my core project will be to experience the new pool.

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PULSE Conversations, SHIFT Happens

The Healing Lake… a Father’s Day Tribute

I know that I have written about Lac St Anne before.  It is an amazing place with a summer pilgrimage each year to bathe in the healing waters.  The pilgrimage has been going on for centuries if not millennia. Where else would you take your father if he were recovering from near death experiences, a couple of surgeries and a foot that refuses to heal?

Dad and I have been here for only two weeks.  It has taken time to get him into the lake house and settled.  The son-in-laws have been marvelous.  Between them they have constructed a ramp in the garage and delivered a hospital bed and his motorized chair and put the hand held shower in place for him to feel at home, safe and at least somewhat independent.  The recovery, from my perspective, has been remarkable.  For sure he has good days and bad days.  But he walks down the hall to his room on his own.  He takes a shower on his own.  He watches his TV in his room or joins me for a couple of episodes of MASH each evening. There are challenges that come from being out of town but Dad has been out scouting out the neighbourhood in his chair and has spent hours in the sun on the deck, listening to the birds and looking longingly at the lake wondering out loud how we could get a boat. ( Once a sailor …. ) His appetite is  his coming back  and his colour is good.  He can be quite social.  He seems to be doing quite well.

There are side effects … good ones for me.  I have settled into a routine that involves preparing three meals a day, dressing wounds,sorting and administering medication,  gardening (I am learning) and WRITING.  The writing has been particularly surprising and may have happened anyway but I really feel that having Dad here with me has helped me settle enough to actually write everyday.  It has been a tough couple of years for me and it has often been  difficult to focus on what I know needs doing on the projects that I have underway.  I think I have moved at least two projects ahead leaps and bounds since Dad first got really sick in early April.  I think the page served as a distraction from the reality of his state of well being.  I was able to lose myself in the writing if only for an hour or so each day. AND that has made all of the difference.  The ideas are not just formulating in my head.  They are appearing in my penciled note books and then, with a little help from my daughter, Julia, they appear on the screen and are spewed from the printer to come back to me for penciling in edits and so it goes….

Manuscripts of the Mapping book have been distributed and gathered again.  Many thanks to those who took the time to read it and comment.  It means a great deal to me to have the feedback.  Now I can move forward with a greater degree of confidence to the next step.  The next version – Manuscript 2.0 – is percolating and should be available for publishers to read soon. ( mid summer??? she says hopefully)  If any of you know a publisher who might be interested in a book about mapping the space between people, please do not hesitate to pass on their information so that we can pester them with Manuscript 2.0 when it is ready.  So far the reviews are good from people who know the Enneagram and PULSE and Appreciative Inquiry and from those who do not.  There is polishing to do for sure.  I am on it.

UVI-PULSE is also moving forward with an ambitious project to put an on line UVI-PULSE “Leadership in Nine Dimensions Program” together.  That provides another chance to get creative as I freshen up some of the PULSE programming from a decade ago and breath fresh life into a classic program on how to do leadership in a changing world. Meanwhile I continue to provide webinars on a monthly basis and starting in July there will also be coaching sessions and office hours set up on line for those who are interested in learning more about UVI-PULSE and leading Conversations for Change.

Writing is like putting together the puzzle in the dining room at the lake.  We have completed one puzzle in the last couple of weeks and today we started a new one. Today I sorted another 1000 piece box of pieces into piles of colours and starting working on the edges.  By ‘we’ I mean my daughters when they are here, my brother who has come on weekends from Calgary, my dear friend Monde who has been sooo helpful with this transition and with many of the other transitions I have been through in our 40 plus years of friendship.  Who ever comes in contributes at least one piece to the puzzle. It is the perfect refuge from the strain or tension of everyday life.  When your mind is full or overwhelmed you can solve the mystery and create the picture.  It is so satisfying to find a piece and place it in to build a more complete picture.  There is always a puzzle you can go to to switch gears and allow the brain to move to present action and clear the thoughts and feelings that may have created stress.

Little do the people who stop by know that their presence also contributes to my writing in subtle ways I’m not sure I can articulate. The company that Dad and I get here is important to him and  his healing for sure and to me.  It has been busy but in a very good way.  It has been tough for sure but the opportunity to care for my dad while I also get to do what I love to do has been good for me …. and for him.  I would like to thank him for this unforeseen opportunity.  I would also like to thank St Anne wherever she is and whatever role she has played in not only healing Dad but in healing me as well.  AND to all of you who have sent prayers and good wishes for his recovery, thank you.  Whatever happens next I am satisfied that this last three months has been time well spent.

With Love from Love and Love….  Happy Father’s Day this weekend.


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

Letter to the Participants at the First Annual Alumni Conference on ADR in Ghana


Welcome past participants of the Executive ADR programme to your first alumni conference.

First let me say thank you to Austin Gamey for all the work he has done in your beautiful country of Ghana and for Africa as a whole.  His efforts have not gone unnoticed. It is by his good graces that I have this opportunity to share some of my own thoughts on ADR as you gather to affirm your knowledge, skills and attributes as the conflict resolution specialists you are becoming.

We are agents of change.  As mediators we guide people through the PULSE Frame to a new understanding, not only of the situation but of themselves and each other. We open them to reinterpreting past events. We invite them to a safe and structured conversation in the present.  We expand the field of the future to include positive, mutually beneficial outcomes that are sustainable by virtue of their voluntary nature … outcomes that neither would have considered possible at the beginning of their deliberations.

People may ask how we accomplish such things.  We do this through skillful questioning whish changes how people think, feel and experience their circumstances.  We do it by taking a positive stance ourselves and believing in the possibility of such outcomes and holding the space for them to choose, to act, to dream, to be known, to be heard and to be positive.  We do it by acknowledging that every person is unique and each approaches the world from their own perspective.  Unique does not mean wrong and so we teach people to value what they are not.  Often it is not necessary for them to agree with the other person but if they can acknowledge and understand each other than the cycle of conciliation and reconciliation can begin.

And as we become skillful mediators we can the courage to make changes in our own lives and the confidence to make a difference in the world around us.  We begin to apply these skills, this stance and this appreciation for the uniqueness of individuals to all our conversations even those that are not high conflict or high emotions.  When we do we ensure that conversation have sustainable, positive outcomes in every instance.  And as more and more people learn the skills, the world becomes a better place in which to live.

If everyone could learn to speak gently so that the other person could keep listening; if everyone could learn to be honest in a gentle way and be open to hearing the other person’s story; if everyone would speak in specific terms using bahvioural examples rather than terms such as ‘always’ or ‘never’; if everyone could find the courage to talk, to bring up difficult topics and ask difficult questions in a gentle, honest way that clears the air; then wouldn’t that increase the likelihood of us all having peaceful, healthy, happy, productive lives at work and at home?  I believe it would.

The trick, I have learned, is in finding common ground.  My new book “Mapping the Space between Us” is about finding common ground.  In it you will discover paths that we can take in conversation, a compass and a map to help guide you and help you guide others.  We become wayfinders for our tribes, our families and our coworkers.  You will learn to identify the Direction and Orientation of people in conversation and how to plot those.  Once you have that information guiding questions lead to common ground and a firm foundation for strong relationships.

I look forward to sharing this new book with you soon.  I also look forward to working with you through webinars and on site courses moving forward as the PULSE Institute sets up its new home at the University of the Virgin Islands, on the Island of St Thomas, USVI.  Meanwhile be Sharp of mind, Happy of heart, Independent of spirit, Fit of body and cultivate a Trusting soul.  SHIFT to a place where you can guide others to common ground and sustainable resolutions.  I wish you luck and learning as you enjoy your first alumni conference together.

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Blog post, PULSE Conversations, PULSE Enneagram, PULSE Revival, Social Exchange

Looking for PULSE Stories

If you are familiar with the PULSe Frame and have used it to resolve an issue I would love to hear from you. In my new book we wanted to include some stories from other users of the PULSE approach.

The book is called “Mapping the Space Between Us” and has seven chapters.

1. Here be Dragons  – Moving into the unknown
2. The Travelers’ Creed – GHOST and other protocols
3. A Guide for Travelers – Ethnographies of the nine positions
4. EPS – Enneagram Positioning System
5. Plotting the Course to Common Ground with PULSE
6. Internal Guidance with SHIFT
7. The Map is not the Territory.
The book reflects the work I have done with PULSE but my editor is looking for more stories to explain how, when, where and with who(m) the PULSE Conversation frame has worked around the world.
If you have a story that you could share for inclusion in the book please send it along.
Also, please watch for an announcement about the future of PULSE.  Rumours of its demise may have been premature.  More to follow….

Please email your stories to me


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Coffee and lake view
PULSE Conversations

Thanks, everyone.

It has been a blast.  I have enjoyed the ride and hope you all have too.

Remember to prepare for the conversation, uncover the circumstance of the past, learn the significance in the present and search the possibilities for the future before you write your plan of action.

Prepare. Uncover, Learn, Search, Explain

People Using Language Skills Effectively.

Keep in touch…..

If you are reading this on please visit or  Blogs will continue to be shared on facebook and Linked in as well.  The Institute will fade away but its good works will not be forgotten.

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PULSE Conversations, PULSE Revival

The End of PULSE

PULSE has flat lined.  We will slowly be moving the PULSE intellectual property and website into mothballs.  It is sad but necessary.  All things must end.  PULSE is no different.  It has run its course, training people around the world how to speak and listen to each other in ways that make peaceful productive workplaces and relationships possible.  It has been a great run.

I have had opportunities to work with people in Europe, Africa, the USA, the Caribbean and sometimes even in Canada.  I have learned how difficult it can be to be a profit in your own land.  PULSE has really gained more attention away from Alberta and Canada than it has here.

PULSE is more than a conversation Frame.  It was an Institute that studied People Using Language Skills Effectively.  The client list is impressive and the number of PULSE professionals created over the 13 years of operation gives me hope that PULSE and its teachings will continue.

As a business it has failed.  I take responsibility for that and that is why I have signed the “do not resuscitate” order.  This could turn into confessions of a reluctant entrepreneur but most of you who know me have heard those confessions and don’t really need a recap.

It has been fun and interesting and the BEST part is the people that I have been privileged to meet along the way. We made videos.  We wrote books.  We created learning opportunities in person and on line.  We gave people tools like GHOST and HEART and POWER and more recently BEACHes and SHIFT AND we brought people to resolution … again, and again , and again using the specific techniques embedded in the frame.

I want to thank everyone who has ever participated in any kind of PULSE event and invite you to continue to use any of the tools you learned to resolve issues for yourself and others.  The world needs skilled communicators like you.

I will ask Andrew to send this out as a newsletter to our list on the weekend.  There is a webinar scheduled for December 4th. It would be great if you could join us.  A champagne toast to end a fantastic journey.  Any one can join. A Wake for an old friend, a acceleration of the life of an idea.  Hope you can make it.

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PULSE Conversations, SHIFT Happens, Social Exchange

An Independent Spirit

I have always thought of myself as independent.  Even when I was totally financial dependent on others, I imagined that I still had decision making power and control over how things would turn out.  I acted as if my voice still counted and I took responsibility for those decision that I helped to make.

An independent spirit requires that you maintain a certain level of competence and distance from others.  It is not that you loose any sense of compassion or caring.  It is just that you take the observe role and see the situation from a perspective that allows you to observe the good and the bad in any and all possible outcomes.  You do not become lost in the needs of others nor do you ignore their needs to gain your own advantage.  It is this level of autonomy that keeps us sane and healthy in difficult situations and it is that level of autonomy that we lose when we slip into dependence – emotional, financial, physical, spiritual, intellectual or relational.

How do we guard ourselves against that kind of dependence?  First we must recognize the signs of waning self confidence and waxing loss of identity. Knowing your own mind, heart and body is the first step and being tuned into changes or SHIFTS is key.  When you begin to set aside your own needs on a regular basis is it is time to take stock.  When you are blaming others for your situation it is time to take stock and when you are making decisions for others it is also time to take stock.  It is a balancing act and you will know when you are in the GROOVE

Take good care this week. Keep in touch with yourself and your relational well-being.  Maintain a healthy distance from those you are not ready to trust.  Rely on yourself and on those with whom you have developed a healthy INTERdependence.

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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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