Avoid-Dance

“I don’t want to go there; I don’t want to talk about that…”

I hear this quite a bit within the different aspects of my work. The frequency of this isn’t surprising, but the high price we pay for this choice often is. There’s a large, collective cost attached to avoidance and denial. It’s often not immediately apparent, but it’s definitely there. It’s called “avoid-dance” for a reason. Because that’s exactly what it is: a fucking dance… a death dance that slowly kills you from the inside out.

Anywhere you don’t want go (emotionally) is exactly where you need to be… (immediately). – @tomleu

It’s normal to want to avoid problems because problems = pain. Nobody wants more pain, we’ve got enough of that shit already right? Many psychologists suggest that the human drive to avoid pain is higher and tends to be more prevalent than our drive to seek pleasure. Read that again. It’s called “avoidance coping” or “escape coping” for a reason. But here’s the thing: side-stepping isn’t a solution; it’s a band-aid, and a weak one at that. The longer anyone avoids their own crap and refuses “to go there,” the bigger the problem becomes, and the less effective the band-aid becomes over time. Have the stones to rip that shit off.

We all have to “go there” sometimes because “there” is where the real solutions to the problems live. Believe it or not, the pain of dealing with the here and now is far less than enduring the pain accumulated by avoiding shit week-after-month-after-year-after-year. It’s called recovery (from whatever is ailing you). Going there is good. Go there so you don’t have to live there.

Face it, fix it, and move on. It’s a risk worth taking. Easier said than done, but no less possible…

Stay tuned-in…cPlease share and click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

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“Human Relations”… not-so-common-sense

For years, I taught a college course called “Human Relations.” It was always my favorite class to teach because the content blended principles of communication and psychology, and was the inspiration for many of my Communichology™ concepts going forward.

The course was often misunderstood at the outset by both students AND staff because the title is so obviously deceptive.

Many people zoomed right on by the significance of these two words, and therefore missed the power of the course and its many practical concepts and applications in day-to-day life. Further, this course and its content was often dismissed as “common sense.”

This stuff is easy to talk about, but difficult to do.

>> Human Relations = to relate (effectively) to other humans… pretty straight-forward right? Not necessarily…

Here’s where it gets tricky…

Effectively relating to others, and demonstrating empathy, requires us first to effectively relate to, and understand ourselves, honestly. Again, easy to say, hard to do… no small task for many, dare I say, MOST people.

This subject is as internal as it is external… just like looking in a mirror is both an internal and external exercise simultaneously. We first have to see ourselves, and then hopefully we will “see” ourselves. Without being truly in touch with ourselves first, we will be arguably less effective when dealing with others. Communication works if it’s worked.

The mirror has to reflect both ways. Many “get” this, but fail to really get into it fully.

It’s work. It’s often very difficult work. But it’s very necessary.

the shiFt: there are 3 steps in this journey:

  • Awareness – We first have to tune-in and begin to know > what we don’t know, or think we may know > but may be mistaken about our own psychology and communication skills.

To do: Admit that perception isn’t always reality, and begin owning both your good and not-so-good tendencies and habits.

  • Education – Next, we need to set about learning more about ourselves; about our blind spots… and about how our history, and our experiences shape the complex nuances of our interpersonal communications with others.

To do: Take a Human Relations-type course, workshop, or seminar >> or two, or three…

  • Application – Finally, we have to act on this awareness and education and begin an ongoing process of applying what we now know… now. Define and then refine and repeat.

To do: Practice at home and on the job; a lot. Strive to miss less than most.

Bottom Line:

Far more than just common sense, human relations is a critical skill set that can be developed provided the proper amounts of courage, honesty, and ongoing diligence are present. The importance of this discipline cannot be overstated.

Becoming a master of yourself affords you the opportunity to be masterful with others… in many kinds of situations, most of the time.

And who doesn’t stand to benefit from that?

Stay tuned-in…

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Eighty-Five (85)

Majoring in the minors; Minoring in the majors. It happens everywhere, much of the time. This is when people spend inordinate amounts of time focusing on stuff that matters least, at the expense of the stuff that matters most. This happens because it’s easier to avoid the bigger, harder issues at hand, and instead manage the smaller, softer things.

It’s faster. It’s common. And it’s the path of least resistance.

But it’s counter-intuitive because the easy way is actually the hard way. And it’s very destructive long-term. It’s destructive to the health of individuals and organizations. The solution? Become hyper-aware of it. Notice, sooner, when it’s happening. Especially if it’s coming from you. Begin talking about it with your trusted crew. Choose to shiFt your focus, time, and energy to the hard work at hand. Go inward. Take an inventory, and then take new and outward action, despite any apprehension.

By doing the tough stuff first, much of the soft stuff begins to take care of itself. Efficiencies are improved. Time is saved. Sanity is preserved. Win-win-win.

Stay tuned-in…

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Tom Leu on the The Journey Podcast

Tom’s appearance on The Journey podcast with host, Kevin Polky from May 2020:

The Man Who Makes Sound Matter Pt. 1

“I have known Tom the majority of my life, close to 40 years. We played football together since middle school, lived together in college, were in each other’s wedding and now have had the opportunity to work together. He has an amazing story. This episode gives a glimpse into the earlier years of the good, bad and the ugly of the rocker lifestyle.” – Kevin Polky


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Eighty-Four (84)

There’s a lot of talk out there. A lot of noise. A lot of non-sensical bullshit being spewed by pseudo-intellects (or worse) attempting to disguise their opinions as facts. If that’s you, knock that shit off.

Don’t confuse your strong feelings or personal certainty about some things as facts. Have the balls to admit that YOUR opinions (of course) aren’t everyone else’s facts. What’s worse is many-a-slanted diatribe are often offered up with little style, and full of equally little substance.

Having a compelling point-of-view, combined with quality writing AND speaking, is seemingly a lost art in our text/technology and self-centered/social media-driven world. You must have substantive reasons for people to pay attention to you other than just getting your attention in the first place. You must offer value. Value in the eye of the beholder. We all must.

So, have your opinions, state them often, but understand the difference between what you want to be true, what you wish to be true, with what IS truly fucking true. Not everyone will love you, and that’s actually a good thing. But instead of just being a tool for sport, offer up your valid and valuable idea-toolbox for others to pick and choose, and choose to use positively in their lives.

Stay tuned-in…

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Eighty-Three (83)

From a social psychological perspective, group participation is an interesting thing to watch, or not watch in many cases.

I say not watch, because most people DON’T actually participate in group settings (or participate very little). They don’t engage, or even so much as display appropriate non-verbal communication letting the speaker know they’re with them; that they’re present; that they’re connected and tracking with what the presenter is saying. Even smart, talented, and confident people seem to struggle with this at times. They just do not throw in despite a leader’s urgings while creating an inviting, safe, and comfortable environment to do so.

I’ve never fully understood it because I always participate. Even when I don’t feel like it, I contribute to the conversation in some capacity. I do so because I believe it’s an appropriate and professional obligation to assist the group facilitator to FACILITATE the group. For the betterment of the group as a whole. I feel it’s a common courtesy, and I feel bad if I don’t. I feel like I’m letting the leader and the group down by being a fucking stick in the mud and not helping to move things forward. I’m a professional speaker and presenter myself, so this is likely why and how I frame this sort of thing.

People get weird about “participating” when others are “watching” them. Why? Fear… That’s the answer. It’s fear and ego that drives most human behavior and that drives me nuts. But, I get it. People are fearful of so many things, but the biggest and most pervasive fear is the fear looking bad in front of others… i.e. not being liked. Though many claim they don’t care about being liked, they do. We all do to some extent. The loudest opponents of this psychological phenomenon are those who REQUIRE others’ approval the most, to quiet the voices in their neurotic little heads. Not a judgement; not a personal indictment; just an observation. And an observation with consequences. Negative consequences very often.

A-players participate proactively and lead or co-lead, even in the midst of their own insecurities. It’s truly what separates them from everyone else. The big take-away: either side is highly recognizable to other leaders, players, and movers and shakers. And getting recognized for being an A-player is the most difficult thing of all in today’s attention-deficit society.

Stay tuned-in…

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Eighty-Two (82)

In an impressive and heartfelt TED-Talk given on the price of shame and public humiliation, the notorious Monica Lewinsky says “the internet is the super highway for the Id” (as in Freud’s Id, Ego, & Superego personality structures). A very astute observation from arguably the most well-known, unknown of all time.

The internet and social media has become a place where restraint is the exception, and rancor with little regard for others is the rule. She goes on to challenge us to “… acknowledge the difference between speaking up with intention, and speaking up for attention.” Many have lots to say (often with little substance), but their primary intention is to get attention by defaming others. Compassion and empathy in our technology-driven society are often sorely lacking, and not just on the internet, but everywhere.

It’s time to shift our output of compassion and empathy toward others UP. It’s too easy to be a loud mouth online or in line at the local market. It’s much more difficult to be a person who brings solutions. A person who adds value to others rather than take it. A person who recognizes their own fallibility, and extends a hand to others in need. Yes, it’s much more difficult and noble to be a person of character and decorum… which is why it’s needed now more than ever before.

Stay tuned-in…

Please share and click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

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