“Don’t you EVER think before you speak”?

business people conflict working problem, angry boss argue scream to colleague businessmen and women serious argument negative emotion discussing report meeting at outdoors cafe during the lunch breakAll of my life my mother has always asked me this question.  It was only after I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) training at OKA that I realized why I was programed to speak with out “thinking”.  Actually, I speak to think – I am an extrovert.  My sister, Kelly, it the opposite.  She thinks to speak.  Learning about the differences in how people think to communicate has helped me with my coaching and training throughout the years.  It has also helped me in my relationships that are one-to-one.

Kelly, my sister, has been called shy, quiet and a loner.  She once tried to go through an entire week of high school without talking to anyone.  She succeeded.  I could not get through my first hour class in high school not talking, even with strep throat and laryngitis.  We have been so different in our communication styles since birth.  This is just how we were made.  Now, as adults we are more blended.  I do think more before I speak and she is more of a talker in her small group of friends (that she has had for ten years).

Introverts need to think about what they are going to say, how they are going to say it and how it will resonate with their audience; they think then talk.  Like Kelly, they are not what I call sharers.  Kelly would not share anything about herself without being asked by someone close to her.  If asked she may need to think about the answer…pause… wait… then maybe offer something.  Maybe not offer anything, or say, “I’m not sure”.  This was frustrating to me growing up.  But, the more she and I talked, the more she trusted me and the more she would open up to me.  I just thought that she did not think as quickly as I thought.  That she was slower – not as smart.  But, I knew that I was wrong.  I knew Kelly was very smart and knew the answers.  She just would not share her answer until she felt comfortable in her head, in her thoughts.

My first advisor for my dissertation committee was an introvert.  I would go into his office full of ideas and plans.  As he sat behind his Mac I would talk and talk about my latest theory or ask question after question.  I would answer most of them myself because he just sat there.  I would get so frustrated because when I really NEEDED an answer I would wait.  He would tap some keys on his keyboard, look to the ceiling, and take a deep breath.  I would wait. I would get impatient and ask another question.  I am sure that I frustrated him.  Later, I learned that if I waited long enough he would come up with an excellent answer.  I had to switch my advisor because I was not patient enough or educated enough in MBTI to realize that he was an introvert.  Finally, I figured out that if I emailed him a question he would email back an awesome response in a day or two (sometimes a week later).  I learned how to be more patient and how to work with this introvert.

Extroverts talk to think.  I had never heard that saying before I took the MBTI class.  It resonated with me.  I brainstorm with friends, on the telephone, in person, whenever I can talk to people.  When no one is available, I talk to myself.  Yes.  I do.  I always joked that at least I knew I was talking to an intelligent person.  Ha!  I love to take a concept or thought or idea and ping pong it around with someone.  My best friend, Carol, is also an extrovert.  She and I can play with an idea for hours.  The idea is like a shuttlecock being swooshed from racquet to racquet.  We bat the idea around and it morphs into a ping pong ball, then a baseball then… you name it!  We can play with an idea until it forms something that we are both satisfied with…the outcome of the conversation.

I am sure that Kelly and my advisor would be so frustrated with me during our conversations.  I know I had been frustrated with them.  I have been told on many occasions to just “shut up”, that I talk too much, and ask too many questions.  Talking to them was like “pulling teeth”; painful and bloody awful.  But, after years, I finally learned how to communicate with my introvert friends and colleagues.

Knowing these difference is so important in business, training and coaching.  I have learned some techniques to work with both groups at the same time.  During meetings, I ask people a question and have them write it down then give 5 minutes of quiet so we can individually work on it.  Or I prepare an agenda with roles assigned so everyone knows what is expected of them, and they can be prepared.  Then, I do some brainstorming.  I find that the extroverts jump in and ping pong the ideas around.  When the introverts are asked, they usually read what they have written.  I think that is just fine and all can participate that way.  During training, I have journaling, individual exercises, or reflection.  I also create discussion activities but give time for the introverts to respond.  Coaching introverts is more difficult for me but I have learned through practice to wait…wait…wait for the answer.  Or send pre-work and be ready to discuss it during our sessions.

Learning the differences between speaking before thinking and speaking to think has helped me with my communication in my work.  I hope that this blog post has given you some techniques and insight about the differences in communication styles.  Let me know if you have techniques to share for coaching, training or meetings.


#MBTI #extrovert #introvert #communication  #training


Open Heart Breathing – a great exercise to bring joy and healing

open heart breathingThey say that what does not kill you makes you stronger.  After time has passed, I am now inclined to agree.  When my heart was broken years ago I felt so vulnerable.  I was crying in the bathroom at work.  Sobbing from a broken heart.  It took me a few months to heal my broken heart.  Now, I can look back on that time and realize what I did to make myself feel better and how I healed.  One very important technique that I just started doing, I call open heart breathing.  I share this little secret with my coaching clients and it seems to help.

He broke up with me and would not even talk to me.  I was devastated.  We had been in a relationship for five years and I thought it would end on good terms.  I guess it did for him but not for me.  I thought I would see him when I was visiting Florida but he said “NO!”.  My soul sister and fellow race car driver, Kay Rongely invited me to visit her house in Lake Placid, Florida.  While she went to the grocery store, I took a walk near water and a park-like area in her neighborhood.  As I was walking, I felt the crying coming on again so I let it rip.  I cried as I walked; so glad that her neighbors seemed not to be outside at that time.  Tears streamed down my face and I felt so alone and so sad.  I did feel “weight” on my shoulders even though I was in the best shape of my life.  I felt heavy and burdened with my sorrow and my pain.  I felt empty or whatever was inside of me was not “good”.  Usually, I have an good disposition; positive and happy.  I usually smile and share my joy with other people.  Not now.  It seemed not any longer.

I looked up to the sky and put my arms over my head.  “God”, I thought, “Please give me some good feeling – some goodness inside of me”.  I pulled my arms in toward my heart as if capturing the goodness from the heavens and pouring it into my body.  I felt a little better.  Next, I breathed out what I imagined to be “bad stuff”; my pain, my sorrow, my tears.  As I breathed out I took my hands from my heart and pushed them down, my hands palms down to the ground.  Again, I reached my arms up and breathed in all of the goodness, love and joy and pulled it to my heart.  And breathed out all of the bad moving my arms down.  I actually felt physically and emotionally better.  I felt like the good was coming back into me if only for that moment.

Then, I made a deal with God.  I promised that I would take this joy and this love that I was feeling from “taking” and I would use it to heal.  Then when I was healed, I would give my joy and love back into the world/heaven.  I would breathe it back into the air so other people can take it to heal.  That was over 10 years ago.

I have since healed and now during my walks through the forests/woods or walks on the beach you will see me with my arms out stretched up to the sky.  I am giving joy, love and peace to the world as I breathe it out of my soul.  It is a different method than when I was so sad and needed the good for my own healing.  Now, I breathe in all of my joy and love into my heart; I feel the energy fill up my lungs with joy and love.  Then, I raise my arms to the sky and breathe it out into the world.  I imagine all of the good that I feel in my heart shoot out into the world.  You see, I have healed.  I feel love.  I feel loved.  I love myself and all that is.  I want to share that love with those who need it, just as I needed it on my walk in Lake Placid.

I call it open heart breathing because I feel that I am opening my heart and sharing all of my good feelings, joy and love.  I take my hands from my heart and fling them out over my head “shooting” all of the goodness into the air.  As I touch my heart with both hands and breathe in I imagine all of my joy and goodness ballooning in my lungs and heart.  I “open” my heart as I throw all of my goodness into the world in the hopes that someone will use this good energy for their healing as I did years ago.

So, please use this tool, exercise, whatever you wish to call it to help yourself, your clients or your friends.  If they need open heart breathing for healing or if they wish to share their goodness with the world.  Both types work.  Many of my client say it works to make them happier.  When we finish coaching and I ask what helped you, what do you remember that worked?  Many of them say the Open-heart breathing.  It seems to have a very quick, immediate effect and it lasts for a while because you can do it anywhere.

Do you have techniques that you use similar to open heart breathing?  Please comment so that we can continue to share the good energy and help those who need to heal.

#coaching  #love #joy #emotionalintelligence  #healing