Courageous Conversations~

” The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

I have heard this quote numerous times, I find it incredibly profound every time.  It is never easy to have a difficult conversation.   No one ever wakes up in the morning eager to jump into a discussion that could have an uncertain outcome. No one naturally wants to feel uncomfortable or to create possible conflict. If they do, frankly, then may have other personal issues that need to be dealt with. No~ no one really enjoys a “Crucial Conversation”.

In the Book “Crucial Conversations” the term in the title of the book would be defined as a discussion between two or more people where the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong.

In order to navigate relationships in your family, workplace, community, or place of worship there will be times when the need to have a direct conversation will be clearly evident, left unaddressed gaps in relationships, teamwork, or productivity will be the result.

Have you ever gotten a phone call or email that you simply ignored because in order to move forward there would need to be a conversation? Have you ever walked “around” a teammates office so that you could avoid a tough conversation? Have you ever abandoned a friendship because having a hard conversation seemed too challenging?

I have to say YES to all of these situations. In trying to asses “WHY” I would have avoided challenging conversations I would have to discern that it was because I assumed I wouldn’t fare well; that I would cause more trouble.  But often these types of conversations can bring fresh understanding, resolve conflict, and relational rebuilding.

 In considering a crucial conversation we have 3 possibilities:

1.  We can simply avoid them.

2.  We can face them and handle them poorly.

3. We can face them and handle them well.

I feel that most of us would choose either #1 or #3.  Assuming  you have picked #3, I would l like to offer a few suggestions that I have learned in my years of being a Leadership Coach. (I am not an authority by any means; I continue to be a learner!)

Prepare yourself for  the conversation.  What is the end result you desire?  What is the temperament of the individual you need to address? Are you angry? Have you already indited this person?  Can you see your part in the challenge? What words will you use to clearly communicate? Are you prepared to listen?

Set a quality time/place for the conversation. Timing is key when addressing a challenging topic.  I always tell young brides that it is NEVER wise to address challenging topic with their spouse after 8:30-9:00!! Two tired people addressing conflict will rarely provide a positive result!  Does this conversation need to be in private? Do you need a 3rd party present for accountability?

Follow up within 24 hours. It is important be sure that your crucial conversation truly created the clarity needed between every individual involved. Do an understanding check as well as a relational check. Your conversation may not result in complete agreement but see if it has cleared away the intensity of emotion or misunderstanding.

Difficult conversations are necessary as we grow in every area of our lives and the results of having them successfully will empower us to be brave enough, kind enough, and wise enough to address them well.

Are there conversations you’ve been avoiding? Situations that need to be addressed? Relationships that need reconciling? Gaps on your team at work?  Instead of focusing on how negative a crucial conversation could be, consider how much fruitfulness is to be gained. 🙂

Find a Quiet Place~

A few weeks ago Greg and I took advantage of the many beautiful places within the area that we live. We got up extra early on a Saturday morning to beat the crowd.   As we drove into the “launching area” we were thrilled to only see 3 cars. 

I looked out at the serene view in front of me as the mist lightly lifted off the water; such a peaceful and beautiful sight…..I could feel my heart rush with an emotion I often long for……peace.   After pulling my famous yellow kayak out of the truck, I pushed into the water and began to paddle.   

I saw two mama ducks with 9 babies each and I slowly snuck towards them as to enjoy them and not to cause them fear.  Once I paddled close by I just sat still……very still.   I felt such needed peace. I observed the way the mama loved and protected her littles and God whispered “this is how I love you.” 

As Greg and I meandered further out to a big open area behind beautiful Mt Bachelor we just sat in silence, taking in the beauty surrounding us.  We are both talkers but in this place silence was needed; and we heeded the call.  We felt God whisper; “ I bring you this peace.” 

I was again reminded of the need within us all to “turn off the noise”.  I know I am fortunate to live where others vacation yet I believe for all of us we need to get away, to be quiet, to breathe, to hear God. 

The past two years have been interesting—lots of noise, conflict, and confusing rhetoric.   So many voices. So many opinions.  I beg you…….find your place to breathe…to rest…..to hear God speak peace to you…to recalibrate.  God has not lost sight of you in all the noise and He wants to bring you peace. 

Sitting here this morning, I am thinking of the many people I love and the challenges many have faced.  Certainly, I don’t have all the answers for your challenges and yet, I know, that in nature, in a quite space He will speak.  He always does.  Find your place and breathe……….. 

Abundantly Grateful~

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Today when I awoke from my soft, comfy bed I made my way to the kitchen for a cup of good, warm coffee.  I sat down in a quiet space and picked up my Bible, which I am free to leave sitting on my coffee table~ I read and prayed freely.

Later in the day I drove on safe roads while I made my way to a grocery store with an incredible assortment of groceries; never once did I have to fight anyone for the “last” of any item.  So many choices, so many options!

Today I didn’t wake up in a worn-torn area where bedding and warmth are impossible to find.  I did not have to drink dirty water out of an old plastic container because there is nothing else available.

Today I didn’t have to rummage for a few pages I had found from an old bible; hiding away in a dark corner just to read their words of life; praying not to get caught.

Today I did not have to walk to the old dump to rummage for bits and pieces of edible food along with many others without viable ways to feed their families.

This is why I am thankful to be an American,  even with our problems and strife.

We are not a perfect nation and we are continually challenged with ongoing issues; yet we are still enjoying so many freedoms that others around the world would never dare to dream for!

This 4th of July~ I am abundantly grateful for those who fought tirelessly for my freedom.

Aw Spring~ I love you!

Today was epic.  Today was 68 degrees after a long winter season, But it was more than that …it has been an inside season, a mask season, a non-gathering season.  Today…the warm sun, the blooming flowers lifted my spirits to a fresh place…..a place of hope!

My tulips and daffodils have cheered me up more than ever before.  I even broke the cardinal flower rule in Bend and potted strawberries and blackberries with the belief that we are actually more in Summer than Spring!  Everyone says “wait until June”.  I could not.

I have noticed my need for hope more than ever before in my life; to see the future with vision, dreams, and creativity.  To be honest, even as a seasoned Life Coach I have been challenged by my own sense of loss and hopelessness.  

I have been hearing the whispers of the Spirit calling me to dream again; you too?  I have been hearing a call to hope, joy, and trust in a fresh way! You too??

I think God in His goodness is up to something fresh, something good, something new and I want to partner with Him.  You  too??

How about we enter this Spring season with renewed joy, strength, vision and resilience!  Just like that crazy bulb that pushes through the volcanic rock to show it’s glorious face even so we should fight to shine Joy and Hope in a fresh and new way. You too?

Galatians 5:22-23 – Joy Is A Fruit Of The Spirit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joypeace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Lessons from Yosemite.

We can achieve our goals one step at a time!

Dianna Salciccioli

We had the  joy of going to Yosemite years ago and used that time to do some quality hiking! Some hikes were easier than others and some had views you just didn’t want to miss!

One trail promised a view to die for so we got to the trail early in the morning.  When we starting out, we walked on a paved surface, on that path we passed people of all ages and languages. We enjoyed views of the valley below as we meandered along at a leisurely pace. Eventually the pavement ended and the surface became a little more rocky, and a little steeper. By the time we had reached this point we were growing in our excitement to see the falls; we were committed to going all the way!!

Within a quarter mile the hike changed dramatically as the path led us up a path that caused us…

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Ugly Oranges~

I still learn more every single day!!

Dianna Salciccioli

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My local grocery story was bought out and within 3 days had been unveiled as a new, more “northwest” store. I actually approve of the changes but when I re-entered the store for the first time after the grand unveiling my eyes were drawn to the front display case with piles of shrivelled up oranges. These oranges were really ugly; I remember thinking ” what are those things, they do not look appetizing!!”

As I made my way to the store register I overheard a conversation between the Checker and the woman in front of me. ” Checker~ “Wow, you are getting a big bag of Oranges today but have you tried those ugly oranges in the front of the store?” “No” said the shopper “those oranges look really awful!” The Checker replied ” OH!! I will never eat another normal orange again!! Those ugly oranges are the best things…

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Slippery Slope~

These thoughts still ring true~

Dianna Salciccioli

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Climbing down the slippery cliff toward our favorite beach, we held on for dear life. Rain the night before had made the already treacherous path even more dangerous. Yet, beach goers like ourselves knew that the snorkeling and swimming below was worth the effort so we forged ahead!

In our little group we had two toddlers to be mindful of so it was truly amazing to watch how thoughtful and kind other “path climbers” were to allow us to pass making sure those kids got to the bottom or the top safely. Mind you, stepping out-of-the-way or making room was as challenging as actually making the trek!

Feet full of red clay, a few scratches here and there and a fresh bruise on the bottom of my foot; I and my family made it to the bottom to enjoy this spectacular beach; not once but 4 times during our stay…

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I always wanted 2 things~

There are two things I always wanted as a kid (well, other than marrying David Cassidy or Davy Jones) was to be skinny and to be a great singer.  To me, anyone I admired was both of these.  Unfortunately, I was born as a tall girl with skinny legs and wider hips.  I also have a lower voice which works really well for creating harmony to other great singers, but I was never going to win any awards.

This may sound a bit shallow but as a middle child in a family of 6 girls I just wanted to stand out. I wanted my identity to be connected with my two “wants”.  I had so many friends in elementary school and even High school who wore between a size 6-8….I wore a size 10 and in a beach community where a bathing suit was a regular clothing requirement; I really struggled. 

I remember starving myself, drinking vinegar, or making myself sick simply to reach the goal of being a skinny girl.  I look back at that now and it makes me sad.

Now, I am a Mimi to some incredible world changers and I would never want them to be fixated on goals that clearly don’t represent their value at all!! I want them to clearly know that they are special, amazing, and full of promise.

Recently I have been taking my grandchildren through a gratitude Journal and as I ask them key questions the little girl in me is taking notes……I wish I would have been more comfortable with the person that I was and even more appreciative of the healthy, strong  body I’d been given!

In this journal there are good questions that have led me into nostalgic and meaningful thinking:

  1.  What do you appreciate about yourself?
  2. What’s your favorite feature?
  3. Where do you exel?
  4. What do you want to thank your body for?
  5. What do you think others love about you?

                            Wow!

As I ask myself these questions – ponder them as you assess yourself!  Are you content with who you are?  Do you love you? Can you appreciate the view others have of you??

Sadly, we tend to speak to ourselves with critical comments; I know I sure do.

Maybe this year we can break that chain of criticism and move to love and appreciate how special and unique we are. 

Because – we are amazing and unique and special– Every one of us!!

Looking forward with hope~

This is the season when so many of us take some time to look back over the closing year and look toward the year ahead.  This year will be an especially interesting time of reflection for me and I can only imagine, for many of you as well.

A big part of my time of reflection is to ask God to help me to see the past year with fresh eyes and I also ask Him to give me a guiding “word” for the coming year.  Last January the word was “relinquish” and I didn’t necessarily find that word to be very inspiring at the time. Now, as I reflect on the past year I see how profoundly that word served as a reminder to me that 2020 was not a year I would be able to control.

2020 has taught me many interesting things; though there are elements that I have sincerely not enjoyed.  However, I have seen myself “grow up” in some areas realizing that the inconveniences of 2020 have revealed how much I have simply taken for granted in my life: going to church, travel, eating out, gathering with friends and family, shopping, exercising in a gym, coffee dates, trainings and events, and living a mask free life.  

2020 has been a catalyst for revealing to me my need to be grateful, flexible, creative, and patient in finding ways to still keep activities and relationships fresh in my life. Whether birthdays, meetings, or holidays – it has all looked different.

Certainly it is my hope, and yours, that this is not our new normal but that we are learning to combat our present challenges and can go back to life as normal. This year took us all by surprise and between Covid and the election all of us got a bit churned up; worry, challenged relationships, inability to dream about the future, and even anger.  It is my hope that as we take time to reflect and move forward into 2021 we will be able to address those negatives and find a way to see all the good that we may have missed by being distracted by them.

As I’ve reflected and prayed over the past week I received my word for the year, another interesting one.  God gave me the word “Guard”.  The verse that came to mind to support its meaning is “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

After 2020 I can understand why this word is necessary and I look to see where it applies to my life in 2021.

It’s time to lift our heads and dream again, replace good life practices where we’ve gotten discouraged or lazy, and set good goals for 2021.  As we know, a lot can change in a year; be on the side of good change for you and for those you love.

Happy New Year. Be blessed.

Sometimes we don’t see the whole picture~

This past week my husband and I have been in Scottsdale, Arizona to get some time together and to make some memories.  I’ve learned a lesson or two while being here.

We went to beautiful Sedona, Arizona for a couple of days!! So beautiful.  One day we went on a hike at a state park. High above our trail was an incredible adobe house overlooking the entire park! I imagined how lucky the owners knew they were to be able to live in such a place! I imagined they loved their home!

As we hiked higher and higher up the trail we noticed that there was a chain link fence all around the property and the grass was way overgrown; it didn’t really look as lovely as I had hoped and it didn’t look like the owners valued it as much as I assumed they did…..sometimes things aren’t as perfect as they seem.

On our trip I have posted so many lovely pictures of our trip; Greg and I look so happy and energetic!! Those seeing these posts on Facebook must have thought- Boy! Those two are so lucky….I wish I could have a trip like that!! Yet, to be completely honest; I spent 4 of those days really sick! Really sick.  I still did stuff but…whew, I didn’t feel well!

Why do I share these two examples??? Sometimes, especially on Facebook or Instagram we see posts that appear to express a perfect person, a perfect life, etc. YET, you may only be seeing a tiny part of the real story!!

We can all tend to compare ourselves to what appears perfect until we get really close or until we get the whole picture!  There’s always a backstory so be thankful for who you are, what you have, and the life you live!! The grass is not always greener! 🙂

Social media is fun until we compare our life to another! Remember……..we always project our best selves…..but it may not be the whole story! Love your life and your story!