You want some inspiration?
The do’s and don’ts of living with empathy, compassion, and integrity
“Thanks!!! I enjoy reading all of them!!” Carol Jean L-Z, Austin, TX
“Oh wow, Elly! How many people have been in your shoes and decided to meet their needs for emotional and financial safety, instead of their needs for integrity????” Diane Emerson, Vashon, WA
NEW! The conflict translation app
In a stressful relationship, confusion easily leads into distrust and disconnect. You might need a mediator to create more understanding.
You can’t wipe a butt on Zoom
The best way to resolve conflict is to meet in person. Especially if you use Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Beginning Anew.” It is a sequence of sharing appreciation, regret, and then requests. The focus is on improving the relationship by nurturing honesty and empathy so that your requests are true requests, not camouflaged demands.
The ridiculous imposter
Sometimes our worst critics live in our own head. Those inner saboteurs can stop us from following our truest aspiration. There are tools to work with them constructively.
Cancelling my mindfulness subscription
We all have inner saboteurs, remnants of our responses to our environment when we were young.
As we grow older, we can send them for retirement and start living from our values and aspirations.
One sure way to harm your close relationships
We often confuse needs and strategies, which is a sure way to harm relationships. Learn how you can avoid this mistake.
What a prom dress has to do with mental decluttering
Physical and mental decluttering have similarities. But there are important differences.
Packing up is never easy, I know, but I have to go
Many things are easier when you do them together. Moving is one of them, being a nonprofit leader another.
Here’s one good reason to blame and bitch as much as you want
Empathy helps to transform enemy images into feelings and needs.
You would never make this mistake 15 times
As you might know, in September David and I moved to the Netherlands to be closer to my parents. To travel lightly, we sold and gave away most of our furniture. Now that our container has arrived with all our boxes, it’s time to replace some of that furniture. I find...
What you need to not get confused about the direction you’re taking
I am wandering around Houston airport looking for signs that I am at the right gate for my connecting flight to Amsterdam. I can’t find any. Nor anyone at the help desk. I feel confused and start to feel anxious. If I am at the wrong gate, I will miss my flight and be...
This is how hairspray in your armpit can help with your sense of community
Shared humanity and seeing that others struggle like us is the most important thing for community building.
What does a birdfeeder have to do with being a leader?
Feedback often is negative, judgmental, and pointing out your faults. It can also be observational, informative, and empowering.
“It’s okay to be white.” Really?!
Coming together won’t change your situation, but it can be so empowering and relieving to know you’re not alone.
How my toilet visit at La Palma can help you with conflict resolution
Habits are hard to break. And when they have been cultivated over the years, your body will execute those habits without your mind ever having to think about it. Driving our car is an example. Brushing our teeth. Chopping the veggies. And throwing toilet paper in the...
The one thing you can do when you have lied
What do you do if you hear yourself lying? Admitting it might be scary, but it does support your integrity and can strengthen the relationship.
Honor Culture and Conflict Coaching
On the day my neighbors move out, I hang out with the kids while they pack their car. At the end of their final check through the house, they turn off the air conditioner. A few days later, a handyman paints the kitchen cabinets and turns it back on. This makes sense,...
“Actually, this one”
Anger, blame, demands, and criticism are hard-to-hear messages. You can learn openhearted curiosity to create more connection.
Don’t worry, your unpleasant feelings are here to stay
Unpleasant feelings are like a check-engine light. Accept them as messengers of needs.
Do you keep pushing things to the backburner?
Our landlord is coming over to walk through the house and yard to see what needs repair after the winter storm. We haven’t had visitors for a year. The house has experienced a “Covid effect”. Items are scattered within easy reach, the living spaces are clean enough...
Zoom-parties are fun. And it’s even better to meet in person. Schedule a coaching walk with me to gt moving, physically and mentally.
A coaching community can help you connect to your values and aspirations, achieve your goals, and live in integrity.
Who is your rescue angel?
When I arrived in Austin in 2009, I signed up for an improv class. I had been part of an amateur theatre group In the Netherlands. I played Konstanze in Mozart, Ophelia in Hamlet, and roles in many commedia dell’arte...
Cockroach in a bookcase
A colleague who blames you for their mistake. A CEO who raises their voice at you. Team members who complain about each other. Small issues that can erode trust, understanding, collaboration. What do you do to resolve those issues before they get out of hand?
Conflict can feel like balancing on a tight rope
One front foot. Pause, maybe 1-2 seconds. A second foot. Pause, 1-2 seconds. Maybe even three. A third foot, an even longer pause. The tiny squirrel is now nine feet out on a narrow utility line, some 18 feet above the ground. He has to cross another 35 feet to get to...
Tragic Expressions of Unmet Needs
Why are you triggered when you receive someone’s tragic expression of unmet needs? Because your needs are unmet. What can you do to respond constructively? By empathizing.
Much of our behavior is automatic. We can use simple steps to create automatic habits of self-care.
Who needs conflict resolution skills? I do! [especially with squirrels]
When you want to resolve conflict, it helps to understand the needs underneath the strategy. And then to share language and find solutions. There are 5 secrets to it.
1 Communication lesson from a kitty
Instead of turning away or against tragic expressions of unmet needs, we can learn how to turn toward them and resolve conflicts.
The toilet is constipated
I just cleaned the bathroom, when my toilet gets constipated. Before I know it, the bowl with all of its contents is overflowing. I am too late to grab the plunger. I can only stand there and see the spotless floor turn into a yukky mess. I have no choice but to grab...
The man with the hat
Empathy needs honesty. That means leaving your team leader hat on the hook and listening as a human to a fellow human.
Empathy with Confederalists
Of course, he reacts to my Facebook post about restitution for descendants of slaves with: “You are free to give all of your money to the descendants of slaves if you wish. But ordering me to do it at the point of a gun is morally wrong. That’s no different than...
Your coworker is yelling at you. Now what?
“Elly, Elly!” Layla jumps up and down when she sees me. Then she starts running around her mom in circles. Her older sister Lily tells me with a serious look on her face: “We had a good talk yesterday.” I agree. I had never realized the importance of streamers on your...
Empathy without compassion
George Floyd Breonna Taylor Ahmaud Arbery Mike Ramos Justin Howell Brad Levi Ayala Empathy without compassion can be cruel. It would be like sitting next to a choking man, listening to his pain, reflecting back his words “I can’t breathe”, and then not helping, or...
Protests, grackles, and ways of renewal
There are protests in Austin. A car is set on fire, nine shops are vandalized. The police use tear gas and I can hear helicopters all night long. The highway is blocked off by protesters, I can hear voices through a megaphone. probably less than three miles away. And...
Vic is the newbie on Seal Team Bravo, a character in a TV show I watch with my husband. Vic has had a challenging childhood, missing love, acceptance, safety, a sense of family. When Vic is accepted into Bravo Team, he experiences brotherhood for the first time in his...
My foster daughter invites me to start an exercise discipline. We use the 7-Minutes app to do 13 exercises, each morning. We both do it at home and inspire each other to stick to the routine. I say ‘yes’ to support her in her ambitions for a fit, strong body. And I...
Man’s Search for Meaning
We are not determined by our conditions, by our conditioning, by our childhood. We determine ourselves by our search for meaning.
The squirrel and Superman
We don’t have a lot of songbirds here in Hyde Park, Austin. We have Carolina wren, American robin, mockingbird, northern cardinal. And occasionally a tufted titmouse. That’s about it. The rest are grackles, blue jays, doves. To attract more singing birds, I hang up a...
The professor is howling at the nurse
Every night at eight p.m. my neighbor across the street, a university professor, goes outside and howls. So does the real estate broker from his backyard, And the owner of a radio station three doors away. Even my neighbor, the nurse, goes outside to howl. And...
Bumping your head against the communication ceiling
A few months ago I did a little market research. I wanted to know: Who are my best clients? I could do this very scientifically. And I could do it quick and not-so-dirty. My favorite research method is: Follow the results. Which clients come back, year after year?...
Are you making these five mistakes when asking for what you want?
Last week I was in an online marketing training. One of the participants shared that she saw me peeing while on Zoom. Ouch. Of course I felt embarrassed about it. But that feeling passed pretty quickly, as there were only eight or nine participants on the call and I...
Peeing on Zoom
I am on a video call with my business marketing training group. The trainer presents his material. Above the main screen are the initials of the participants. I feel disappointed that I am the only one with a camera on. Seeing the faces of the others would bring me...
You don’t have a negativity bias, do you?
This pandemic triggers all kinds of feelings in me: anger, sadness, fear, panic, shame, guilt, and a lot of “shoulds” about how I should help more. These are feelings and thoughts that I am not such a fan of, especially when they come in huge quantities. I know from...
I fall from a wobbly chair and twist my ankle
It can be hard to ask for what you need. Even more so, when you are in a shame storm. And, you can still learn it!
A bee is waking me up
What is the difference between empathy and sympathy? And why do we even care? I believe empathy helps us to respectfully understand what others are experiencing. This helps with supporting them most constructively. Read what bees have to do with all of that.
Big pitbull rolling over my shoes
It’s early in the morning and I’m out on my daily walk. A big pitbull walks up to me, then crouches down on the ground as if she’s ready to attack me. Her jaws look incredibly big and I imagine her biggest aspiration is to grind her teeth in my juicy calves. But the...
Books & Publications
Explorations into the Being and Doing of Coaching
17 Chapters written by 17 wonderful coaches. One of them is me.
Free Webinar “Effective Communication”
What is Nonviolent Communication?
Making Irresistible Requests
These Are Not Feelings
Terms and Conditions