Creating Healthy Harmonious Work Teams

Help your team get an A+ by creating a harmonious work team.

Is your team poised for productive and profitable results? How about healthy and harmonious team work?

Maybe you already have a great team, working in harmony, productive and profitable. If so, congratulations. If there’s room for improvement, plan for it and make it happen.

For HR managers leading teams, plan for their success with good relationships training or support to help people play nice in the sandbox.

Plan to give them the tools when things get tough.

Plan to build bridges not silos.

Plan to work together, not separate.

Plan to create an inclusive workplace environment where everyone is contributing their best and feeling valued. None of us is as smart as all of us.

If there is even a slight chance for improvement of your team’s performance, jump on it, and help them get an ‘A’ at being top performers.  There are training grants to help Ontario employers build soft skills like those taught in Play Nice in the Sandbox workshops and keynotes.

For employees, plan to give your absolute best to the commitments you’ve made to your role. We’re in an economy where employers can’t afford anything but your best efforts. Your full engagement is critical to their success. We need employees who are willing and able to give their absolute best, everyday they’re scheduled to work, on-time, focused, clear and clean… and there is a global market competing for those jobs. Plan to follow your leaders with consensus and support, and there’s a good chance you’ll be one of those leaders of an organization in the not too distant future.

Together you can create a healthy and harmonious work team, be competitive and be profitable with good planning.

Best wishes for an incredible new year ahead and remember, your greatest leadership day starts here!

inspirational speaker, self help author

Attract Rich Relationships

I think everyone wants to be more attractive—in other words, to attract more of what we want. Perhaps it’s a partner; maybe it’s the desire to attract more wealth, opportunity, success, love, or respect.

What I know about attraction is that it is vibrational. We attract things similar to the vibrations that we are putting out. So if you want to attract good things, you have to put out good vibes.

Here’s an example: one afternoon, while I was shopping downtown in my beautiful home town, I asked some shop owners how their businesses were doing. The answers that I received were less than positive. There was a sense of doom, gloom, and fear in the shop owners’ responses. Ultimately, this way of thinking will attract more of the same kinds of vibrations. When fear and panic drives our responses, we need to work in the opposite direction of what comes naturally to us.

Check out the great new video on this topic.

Recently, I listened to a conversation at a local coffee meet-up between Mike Campigotto, Ian Kilgour, and other wise community members. The topic was about dealing with negative gossip, and the consensus was to not buy into it. “Keep conversations positive and upbeat,” they agreed, “and for heaven’s sake, don’t be one of those energy vampires that suck the life out of conversations by always complaining about how things aren’t, when there are so many other, greater things to discuss or get involved in.”

Chronic complainers and gossips are often lonely, or they have a few in their circle that like to maintain those same low vibrations. You’ve heard the saying “You become who you have coffee with”. Choose your pack wisely. Rub shoulders with winners, and before long, you’ll be winning too.

Before we can truly speak highly of our business, we need to feel good about it, and that has a lot to do with how we believe we are doing. Sometimes, in order to have good vibrations, we have to believe in what is unseen. A lot of that lies in vision and faith. Faith is being able to go beyond what the eyes can see.

Success starts at the root level of what we believe and how we’re feeling. We emit a vibration of that belief. I refer to this as ‘posture’. People are sensitive to the vibration we put out. If it’s high and positive, they want a piece of it.

Here are some tips to maintain those high vibrations:

Speak positively. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, negative circumstances, cynicism, or judgment, talk about ideas, possibility, and potential. Ask good questions that will lead you to a better understanding of what you can do to improve your business or relationships. Where attention goes, energy finds a match, and the results will come.

You’ll know you’re in a state of high vibration when you feel good. Circumstances beyond your control are going to challenge you, but your job is to feel good (naturally). I don’t mean taking drugs or alcohol, or excessively using any crutch to get you feeling high. I mean really feeling good about who you are, how you are, and where you are. This takes work, but I guarantee that it is the absolute best investment you can make in yourself. People like happy people.

When people ask you how you’re doing, tell them you’re fantastic, happy, or excited for life. Emit an authentic, high-vibrational answer with matching words. Don’t lie. If you can’t honestly say something great about yourself and where you’re at, call me. We’ll get you on track.

If you’re feeling stuck, stagnant, and full of low-vibrational energy, you can always give. Get out there in your community and get involved. Start giving a little more of your beautiful self away. Make a difference. Everyone has the ability to change this world and make it a better place and that, my friends, is very attractive. Not only will you inspire and influence others with your actions of kindness, but you’ll increase your own self-worth and sense of value.

Being attractive has very little to do with how we look and lots to do with our ‘posture’—what we believe, feel, think, and speak.

My purpose and my passion is to foster rich relationships between businesses, employees, and clients so that the world can vibrate at a higher level and be more efficient, harmonious, and abundant. For that to happen, we need to be vibrating at our absolute highest. I’m committed to helping your entire team raise their vibrations and attract rich relationships in business and in life.

Call me, and remember…your greatest leadership day is with Penny Tremblay!


Assumptions Cause Unnecessary Conflict

Have you noticed the word play when you break down the word “assume”?  When you assume, you make an *SS out of U and ME.

Of course, sometimes we need to assume because it’s a logical decision-making process. For instance, I assume the roads may be slippery on a frosty morning, so I’ll give myself extra time to get where I’m going.

However, I can think of a few lessons I’ve learned about assumptions: how they cause us so much unnecessary conflict, where they stem from, and how to think them through before they make an *SS out of U and ME.

Here are a couple of examples.

Early this September, I ramped up my marketing efforts and made contact with people on my prospect list. There was a period of about two weeks during which I was persistent and consistently planting seeds, but no one was getting back to me. I began to assume no one was interested. Rather than letting that assumption get me down, I just kept persisting and, in time, the seeds began to sprout.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you can relate to this feeling; if you’re not, I’m certain you can relate it to other areas of your life.

How often do we let others’ lack of engagement with us bring forward assumptions which are deeply rooted in our own fears and insecurities?

  • Maybe when someone doesn’t like or comment on a social media post, we assume they’re miffed or disinterested.
  • Maybe when we need some help and people aren’t responding, we assume no one cares.
  • Maybe when we are going through a change, we assume it’s not going to work out for the better.

The list goes on. But before we get to the next example, let’s define a few terms:

Fact: A thing that is known or proved to be true, including a statement about one’s own feelings or thoughts.

Observation: The action or process of closely observing something or someone.

Assumption: A thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen without proof.

How can we apply these terms in a real-world scenario?

Fact: In the workplace, Susie competed for an internal job, and lost to Paul.

Fact: Susie felt defeated and was angry.

Observation: Over time, Susie continued to find flaws in Paul’s performance and results.

Assumption: Susie accused Paul of being less than capable.

To be closest to the truth, we need to be aware of the differences between facts and assumptions. If we can ask questions about the things we assume and play detective on our own selves to uncover the truth, we’d make less inaccurate assumptions and create less conflict in our lives and the lives of others.

Pay attention to your assumptions. Are they facts or fears? Are you letting them take you out? Are you making them mean something that doesn’t serve your best interests? Don’t be afraid to ask questions to clarify motives—both yours and others’.  Asking questions is an excellent communication skill.

I’d like to assume this was helpful 🙂 But I won’t, so please message me to confirm and I may share your stories on my Facebook page.

Preparing Your Elevator Speech

You’re at a networking event—or the grocery store or a conference—and you bump into a prospect.  After you exchange pleasant greetings and business cards, your prospect asks you about your business.  You open your mouth to answer, but your mind races, thinking “If I’ve only got seconds to respond, where on earth do I start?”

These circumstances call for a crafty ‘elevator speech’: a brief, prepared speech that rolls effortlessly off your tongue, succinctly explains what your business does, and leaves the other person wanting to know more.  It should last no longer than 20-30 seconds, like an elevator ride, which is how this kind of pitch got its name.

Follow these steps to create a compelling elevator speech of your own.  Use the exercise file for more help.

Determine the goal of your speech – If you want to get to the point, you must have a point to get to.  You must pick one thing that you’d like to accomplish with the elevator pitch.  Do you have an exciting new product you want to hone in on?  Do you want to tell your prospect what you do for a living, or tell them about the company itself?

Example: To entice people to contact me for information on how they can increase sales and lower expenses by learning about my rich relationship techniques for business and in the workplace.

Define What You Do – Start your pitch by describing what your organization does, the problems that it solves, and how this benefits your clients.  If you can, include a statistic to assist with the value of your product, service or business.

Example: The Tremblay Leadership Center specializes in leadership training and relationship management.   It costs one and a half times an annual salary to replace a good employee, and it’s far more cost-effective to maintain existing customers than to find new ones, so rich relationships mean more money.

Before you begin drafting your speech, ask yourself how you want people to remember you.  You don’t have much time to hook into someone’s mind in order for your pitch to stick, so if there’s just one thing that you’d like to be remembered by, it’s likely that your audience will remember it.  If there are too many things, your signal may become lost in the noise.

Also, make sure that what you’re creating excites you first.  If you’re not lit up with enthusiasm by your idea and your speech, then your audience won’t be either.

Convey Your Uniqueness – What makes you better than the competition?  What makes your product or service unique, and how does that benefit people?  You’re going to want to stand out above the crowd of other people that could be offering similar products and services.

Example: I customize programs to assist people with taking responsibility for making critical relationships work, and I provide tools to help them maintain positive, productive and profitable allies.

End With A Question – When all is said and done, more is said than done … unless you’ve got an opportunity to enroll the person into your conversation.  Therefore, end with a leading question that encourages your audience to discuss and inquire about your business.

Example: How can I help you create rich relationships?

Now that you’ve created each section of your elevator speech, put it all together and use a timer to see if it fits into a 20-30 second timeframe.  If not, pare it down.  As the ancient Chinese proverb says, “Less is more.”  People will remember small, memorable bits.  Long, run-on information is just too overwhelming.  Practice, practice, and practice your pitch some more, and see how it works.  If your elevator speech isn’t leaving people wanting more, then you need to change it up.

Here’s a complete example of an elevator speech that I’ve drafted:

The Tremblay Leadership Center specializes in leadership training and relationship management.  I customize programs to assist people with taking responsibility for making critical relationships work and I provide tools to help them maintain positive, productive and profitable allies.  It costs one and a half times an annual salary to replace a good employee, and it’s far more cost-effective to maintain existing customers than to find new ones, so rich relationships mean more money. How can I help you create rich relationships?

If it’s too long, or too boring, you’ll want to spice it up.  See how this version compares to the one previous:

I help people learn to play nice in the sandbox.  Within a workplace, or in any business, relationships are the glue that holds people together.  I meet with people and businesses of all types and help them achieve more sales and fewer expenses.  Did you know it costs one and a half times a good employee’s salary to replace them?  And what’s a customer worth to business?  Lots!  So rich relationships mean more money.  How can I help you make more money?

There you have it!  A compelling elevator speech that’s just 27 seconds long, and I’m smiling when I say it because I think it’s fit, fun, funny, and fabulous … just like me!  If you need some help, contact me.

leadership training

Use our Elevator Speech exercise file to create one for your business.

Consider Speaking With Confidence – Deliver Powerful, Productive and Profitable Presentations, by Penny Tremblay

Join a Toastmaster Club in your area to learn effective ways to have structured speeches that deliver greater impact in fewer words.


I recently encountered a metaphor for agitation and its effect on relationships.

I was hand washing some delicate garments the other day.  As the warm water soaked my fine clothing, I added some mild detergent and began to agitate the water with my hand to begin the cleaning process.

I started thinking about the act of agitation, and how—in relationships with ourselves and others—agitated feelings and conversations are uncomfortable.  Yet, similar to doing laundry, we won’t get the same clean result without the agitation.

The word ‘agitate’ comes from a Latin derivative agitare, which means “to set into motion”.  Today’s definition is “to disturb or excite emotionally, arouse, or perturb”.

We create stories for ourselves based on our past experiences with feelings such as fear, guilt, shame, resentment, and anger.  Our attachment to these stories blocks us from seeing what we really need to see, and from the real truth and wisdom of being ourselves in every moment.  To become free and clear, we need a driving force to set ourselves into motion.  We need issues of the past to be shaken up, rattled around, and detached from who we really are.  We need agitation to set into motion the dirt we carry and clean it off, providing us with a fresh start.  And we need it more often than many are willing to endure.

We don’t just add water and soap to our dirty laundry, though.  There’s always some scrubbing required to achieve the squeakiest clean.  Sounds simple enough, but it’s not always so easy.  Not everyone is willing to handle the discomfort of the agitation process.  We need to be able to move past such discomfort and allow the cleansing process to rid us of the unclean, impure, or unnecessary.

Give yourself permission to be discomforted by agitation from time to time.  Don’t be afraid to agitate your situation to shake free anything that holds you back.

leadership training

Declutter Your Inner Emotional Baggage

Two weeks ago, a very special couple asked me to help them prepare for a yard sale by sorting through the contents of two storage units they had filled after downsizing from their large urban home to a smaller pad in beautiful Prince Edward County.  My daughter was working in the area, at a Bakery and Café in Picton, so I accepted the couple’s challenge and spent a few days going through boxes and boxes of stuff.

All this ‘stuff’ got me thinking about inner ‘stuff’ and emotional ‘stuff’ we hold on to which creates clutter in our lives, workplaces, bodies and relationships.  So I’ve dedicated this month’s article to decluttering the emotional baggage that most people have stored—some for decades—preventing us from really connecting with ourselves, and creating conflict with the people that matter to us, and those we have to work with.

Imagine you’re taking a look inside your mind.  It’s dark, so you lift an imaginary lid on the top of your head and shine a flashlight inside.  “OMG! Where did all this stuff come from?” you ask yourself.  It’s like Grandma’s attic, with cobwebs and dust, trunks locked up tight, boxes stacked high, and suitcases filled with stuff.

Now that you’ve seen the clutter inside your own head, turning off the flashlight won’t make you any less aware of it, so leave the light of awareness turned on to this emotional baggage from your past.  You actually bring this baggage with you where ever you go and it creates a degree of disconnect in relationships with your colleagues, your family, and yourself.  But what’s in those boxes, trunks and suitcases?  Past resentments, things unsaid, conflicts unresolved, lack of integrity and authenticity, untruths, and other awful things.  Yikes!  Isn’t that terrifying?

The good news is that these things all belong to you, which means that you can start cleaning them up immediately.

Emotional baggage can be unpacked, sorted, organized and cleared out just like material items in your home.  Things given to you by your parents that don’t seem to be yielding great relationships can be grouped together to be dealt with. Burdens that aren’t yours but you carry them as if they were, can be given back to their rightful owners.  The things you thought you had dealt with but keep coming between you and others can be put into the “deal with once and for all” pile, and the missing parts of you that you gave to someone else can be noted for a time in the near future when you can take your pieces back, and become whole again.

Decluttering requires an awareness of how this stuff is showing up in our lives, a willingness to reflect on where it comes from, and the courage to stand up and deal with it.  If all you can do is become aware of how your emotional clutter is affecting your relationships, that’s a great start.  Our professional services can get you and your work team to a clearing that even seems impossible.

If you prefer to leave the clutter alone and display it publicly—like at a yard sale—don’t be surprised when people buy into your junk.  If you’re wondering how to manage the people that get caught up in your stuff at work or in your personal life, just clean up your clutter and there won’t be much for them to get entangled with.


The Cost of Authenticity

Authenticity is one of the highest-rated leadership skills, along with integrity, responsibility and commitment. Today we know that to be authentic is to be genuine, but the origin of the word ‘authentic’ dates back to the Greek word authtentes, which means “acting on one’s own authority”.

To be acting on one’s own authority, we need to know our genuine selves, including our values, morals and principles; what excites us; the boundaries we set around our behavior; and how we allow the behavior of others to affect us. Discovering the answers to these essential questions allows us to further discover our authentic selves.

I’ve often pondered the difference between authenticity and integrity. They both seem to go hand-in-hand, so my mind confuses the two. Integrity can be defined as an honesty and soundness of morals and character. We describe a weak building as having its structural integrity compromised; likewise, when we have integrity, we are strong and sound in what we say, feel and know we are. Integrity requires honesty, yet to be honest we need to know our authentic, genuine selves first.

To be genuine, honest and expressive can create tumultuous times. This is the cost that we sometimes must pay for speaking and living our own truths, and compared to the alternative—withholding or avoiding the truth, living a false identity and creating self-resentment—this cost is more than worth paying.

The cost of authenticity can be unknown when we make authentic decisions and hold authentic conversations, and it can be very substantial. Take, for example, a woman I know who chose to leave a disconnected marriage. Of her three children whom her decision affected, two chose to side with the woman’s ex-husband and break off their relationships with her. Was the huge cost of her decision worth it? Ultimately, that’s up to the woman to decide and weigh against the other outcome of a life lived dishonestly—the feigning of happiness, disconnection, and misalignment of her married life and the life that her soul knows, needs and wants.

In the relationship training, mediation and workplace restoration business, my partner and I have seen that a lack of authenticity create so much conflict. People are unaware of their own falseness. They lack authenticity and often are not even aware of it. It’s unconscious and often unintentional. People don’t know what they don’t know, so it takes some unraveling of the issue from a third party to help them see how their own truth has been clouded.

Bob, for example, is unhappy with his manager. Bob assumes that his concern or complaint is directly related to his manager because the cost of taking responsibility for himself is higher than passing the buck to someone else. Rather than paying the price of discomfort to have an authentic conversation with his manager, Bob instead shares his unhappiness with his other colleagues. Once he has enlisted a few like-minded people, Bob takes his complaints above his manager and requests that something be done on his behalf. This is a common scenario, and one that I’m sure every workplace, family and circle of friends can relate to.

We avoid the cost of authentic and real conversations because we don’t want to pay the price of discomfort, fear, vulnerability and self-awareness. To make things worse, there are many systems in place which support and enable this type of behavior in the workplace. To use systems like grievances, incident reports and formal complaints to protect us from our own dishonesty and unresolved internal conflicts is like spending excessively when we’re already in debt.

Is it less costly to hide? To pass the buck? Not in the long run. Hiding our own falseness or lack of authenticity is a short road that rears its ugly head over and over again until we are ready to face the truth and pay the price of being who we really are. Living an authentic life won’t always be easy for you and those that really matter to you, but as you create conversations about your authenticity and decide to stay true to who you really are, the freedom you’ll feel from your soul is priceless.

Let’s Dig into Gossip

Gossip is something I’ve been dealing with from all sides these past few weeks.
Workplace gossip is rampant. So let’s take a moment to dig into gossip and see what it’s made of.

Gossip is always negative. If you’re talking trash about someone behind their back to someone else, you’re gossiping. On the other hand, if you’re speaking positively or highly of someone and they’re not present, you’re praising. However, in all honesty, praise is likely not occurring in environments that are rampant with gossip. There’s a connection here, but I will address that in another article.

Is there a difference between gossip and venting? In my opinion, no. The term ‘venting’ is generally used to describe blowing off steam when difficult emotions are running high. The problem is that most people ‘vent’ about someone to someone else. That’s gossip. Now your issue is off your chest but onto someone else’s, and the person that you gossiped about is still unaware of the specific issue they caused you to vent about in the first place. Venting to the wrong person is just blowing hot air. Why not tackle the issue itself? Vent to the person you’re upset with. Hit it straight on and put it to rest immediately.

If we can break it down into a few simple points, gossip is always negative and discussed in absence of the person that it concerns; venting, while temporarily gratifying, is no more efficient. Addressing the person responsible for the issue at hand is ideal. That’s what I call challenging conversation or feedback.

Through our work as conflict resolution facilitators, we often have conversations about gossip which have made me realize that sometimes people even gossip about others who have caused no issue or negativity at all. Sometimes gossipers are just envious. Don’t get hooked into it.

If you gossip, the people you’re speaking to will wonder what you’re going to say about them when they’re not around. In effect, you set yourself up to be mistrusted.

One quick way to ensure that you’re not gossiping is to always speak about people as if they were in the room or included in the conversation.

Why do people gossip? People are just not courageous enough to have the right conversations with the right people to make sure that they aren’t gossiping.

The solution is to practice. Practice on me. Practice on big people—that is, people who are mature enough to have an adult conversation. Practice your skills by asking the other person permission to have a real, honest conversation with them. You’ll make mistakes, but you’ll learn from them too. You can always tell someone that you’re not sure how to talk about the subject in the best way possible, but that you didn’t want to gossip about them by telling someone else.

Another, faster solution is to reach out for help. In my new affiliation with M.Thorpe & Associates, we help workplaces, families, couples and individuals through conflict.  Our process —“Stand Up, Speak Up and Master Your World”—will help you rid yourself of fear so you can stand up with integrity and have challenging conversations in a good way. You may have some cleaning up to do, but there’s no better way than to have a process facilitated for you so that you and those you’re tempted to gossip or vent about, can create something healthy and new!

workplace conflict resolution

Say NO and Be Rich

Would you like to say no and be rich?  Rich in self-worth, relationships, health, time, spirit and wealth?  If you answered yes, read on.

I am going to give you many things to say YES to when it comes to saying no.

Are you willing to free yourself from the burden of saying yes?  (You can say yes here; it’s okay to say yes to free yourself!)  Burdens are created for us when we say yes to people, places or things that we really don’t want.  Our spirit is not in alignment with our choice of ‘yes’, and therefore it’s a burden.  For example, adopting two foster children for life is not a burden for some people who want to do it, whereas agreeing to babysit a friend’s kid for an hour when you would rather not is a burden.

Learn to say no to people, places and things that you don’t want to take on.  Simple, but not easy.  Why?  Because most people fear conflict and dealing with the potential hurt feelings or tension that may arise in someone else, only because we are being true to ourselves.

Do you want to be rich in time, so that you can have more of it for yourself?  Time is a limited resource; for everything you say yes to, you must say no to something else.  So many people I talk to exhibit the symptoms of busyness: “I would love to ______, but I’m just so busy.”  We are all busy doing something most of the time, but what we are choosing to do isn’t necessarily a choice based on what we want to do; more often, it is what we feel obligated to do for others because we won’t say no.

Women in particular have a harder time saying no because we were taught to please others, be pleasant, not cause trouble, and nurture others’ needs.  For some women, saying yes makes us feel valued; in essence, we’ve been conditioned to believe that saying yes equals being valuable.  Saying no, therefore, makes some women feel selfish, lazy or guilty.  Do you recognize this behavior in yourself? (Hope you’re not saying YES, but if you are, you really need to try on a powerful two letter word: one that starts with ‘n’ and ends with ‘o’.  Practice saying it out loud right now: “NO!”)

Do you want to be rich in self-worth?  Of course you do!  Learning to say no puts YOU before others.  Take care of yourself first.  You can still be amazing to serve most of the demands of others.  The problem with saying no to ourselves and yes to others’ demands is that we build up anger, resentment, anxiety, stress, and a feeling of being powerless.   Symptoms of these five emotional buildups can manifest themselves physically as pain, lack of energy, or illness.  If we direct the buildup outward, we show that cranky side of ourselves, which is – well, you know – not our best side.  We take it out on others if we tend to be aggressive, or go into ‘ignore mode’ if we’re more passive-aggressive.  Either way, we think others are paying the price, but really, we are.  The cost of suffering is huge considering that our choices and decisions have lead us down a path that we thought in the beginning was easier to say yes to.  Make sense? (You can say yes here; again, it’s okay to say yes and admit your mistakes, but if you’d simply have said no in the first place, you might not have as many admissions.)

The good news is that saying no is an art form, one of of self-expression. Saying no properly is a learned skill, and mastering this art will bring you riches in confidence, health, and money.  Do you want more money? (I know you are saying YES to that!)

Money is just paper and ink, but it has value.  If you want others to value you, you must be willing to increase the value of yourself.  Invest in yourself by practicing saying no.  Learn more about why you fear conflict, and say yes when you’d rather not.  Practice.  Say NO to yourself the next time you are looking in a mirror.  Say NO to the next request that isn’t in alignment with your spirit.  Practice being fully expressed, and accept that saying no is a part of that.

Learning to say no in a good way is priceless.  Invest and be rich in self-worth, relationships, health, time, spirit and wealth.

leadership training

P.S.  Click to learn more about how to say NO by bringing this seminar Assertiveness and Confrontational Skills (for Managers or Staff )  to your workplace.



Entangled Chains

While I was settling into my new home and organizing my jewellery, I was faced with the daunting task of detangling two of my favourite gold chains that were knotted together in a complex mess.

I sat focused on solving the problem for what seemed like an hour, then found some brighter lights to stand beneath with a pin to help pick and pull the chains apart.  I began to see how the bond between these chains was similar to relationships between people, and how conflict and entanglement between two or more can create dysfunction.

How many of us go through life feeling useless or dysfunctional in some way because we’re tangled up in knots of unresolved conflict with the people that really matter in our personal or professional lives?

Resolving this dysfunction is only possible when we admit that there are knots, and that some of them are our own doing, while others belong to those with whom we have become entangled.

Although both chains are quite fragile—similar to the relationships in our lives—the thinner chain’s knots were the most challenging to unravel because they were so tiny and hard to see. To me, this symbolizes issues we have experienced in the past: while they may not seem important today because they happened so long ago, these issues tend to hold us back from stretching out as far as we can and, in a sense, tie us up in knots of our own.  Sometimes these knots are not even wrapped around others, but are formed from completely independent issues; sometimes they’re just a by-product of our own issues.  Either way, they limit us.

To untie one chain from the other, I needed to sort out the different strands.  This was just like sorting through different behaviours and personality styles to really understand that each individual, or ‘chain’, has its own unique qualities.  There’s definitely a parallel to be found between my knotted chains and human relations, too.  We need to seek to understand and accept others’ differences.  Strong and healthy relationships are very possible between two people who accept that one may not be entirely like the other, whether in personality styles, opinion, social preferences or otherwise.  The key is that we need to really want our relationships to work—to be able to talk about things that need resolution, and to bring up what bothers us and give our thoughts and feelings a voice.

Once I had spent some time focusing on the entanglement, I realized I needed some brighter lights to work beneath.  What a difference it made by doing so!  I could finally see how some of the material was positioned and could therefore untie some of the more complicated knots that had eluded me before.  In relationship conflicts, a brighter source of light could take the form of looking deeper into how your own ‘story’—or past experiences—are still playing out today.

An example of one such story belongs to Alison.  A receptionist and member of an office team that I had worked with in conflict resolution, Alison recently admitted that she was feeling edgy toward her organization’s director.  Alison had previously witnessed a conversation in the community where its members had shared their cynical comments about some of the choices and decisions made by the director.  Alison believed the ‘story of doubt’ about her director based on some comments made by people who didn’t even work in her organization and didn’t fully understand the facts surrounding the choices and decisions which they were criticizing.  Once Alison realized that her own story was knotting up her ability to show up to work in a powerful and productive manner, she was able to let go of the doubt, stretch out to her full potential in her role, and do so without an edge.

Conflict is more often than not a layered subject, and the layers often take the shape of old stories from our pasts that remain unresolved.  Peeling back those layers allows us to shine brilliant, natural light on the things that we need to see in ourselves that repeatedly create conflict in our lives.

After considerable effort and several extra tools and lights, I was almost able to free my two beautiful chains from their debilitating entanglement.  There is, however, still one knot which I can’t seem to loosen on my own.  It’s too tight; I can’t see it properly and don’t want to put too much pressure on something so fragile that could break apart permanently.   Sometimes, in these situations, you’ve got to call in an expert to help with the challenges that you can’t unravel yourself, and so off I went to the jeweller for assistance.

In relationships, those last few knots can somehow prove to be the toughest ones as well.  They’re tight, sometimes hidden under the layers of our past, and can be fragile to press down upon for fear of permanent damage.  Reach out to an expert to fully and completely resolve your entanglements in these times.  Give yourself the freedom that you or your team needs to move forward with all of your energies moving in the same direction.

Golden blessings,

leadership training