Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

The one thing you can do when you have lied

“Did you see the email I sent you? I was wondering if you were back from the Netherlands?” My best friend invited me for lunch. We are enjoying a chia bowl.

I had seen it. Two days ago. But I felt too discombobulated to reply after my traveling. And I didn’t want to answer without offering a time-slot to get together.

Don’t ask me why. I could have just written: “Great hearing from you! Yes, I am back and I would love to get together.” But I didn’t.

Her question comes as a surprise. I feel ashamed that I had been unresponsive. In a split second, I hear myself say: “No, I haven’t.”

As soon as I do, I regret it. And I feel stuck. I want to be honest and I’m afraid that admitting my lie would spoil our delightful lunch.

Coming home, I realize that I want to tell her the truth to support my self-respect and integrity. I also dread doing it. It’s like eating a rotten sandwich and knowing you will feel horrible. The difference is that I trust that she will empathize.

Fortunately, I have enough practice with Nonviolent Communication to know that the dread is a messenger of precious, universal, human needs. I ask David, my husband, and Saskia, my sister, to help me find those needs.

Their empathy helps. I see how much I care for her and how much I want to be seen as a caring and responsive friend.

It takes some deep breathing to overcome the fear of being found out as a person with no integrity. When I call her, I tell her that I had read the email when she asked about it. She laughs: she has been in similar situations.

After I hang up, I have grown an inch. I choose my values over my fears. I feel super proud of myself.

I am not sure that I could have done it without my supportive community. They always help. They encourage me to grow into who I want to be and accept me even when I carry shame for my actions.

You might benefit from such a community too. Whether you want to be honest, be an advocate for racial justice, lose weight, apply for a new job, or work on your marriage.

A community helps you clarify your values and aspirations, encourage you to face your fears and act with integrity anyway, brainstorm to find strategies that help you live your purpose, and celebrate your success and oops as learning opportunities.

The October 5, 2021 I’m starting a new coaching group: Pledj. It’s an acronym of Peace, Love, Equanimity, Delight, and Joy. This is for you, if you want to live in integrity and work on your aspirations.

Some details:

  • Six bi-weekly group meetings on Zoom
  • You will be paired with an empathy buddy for the in-between weeks
  • Topics like failing and learning, feelings and needs, emotional liberation, shame and self-worth, autonomy, and purpose.
  • Max six participants, one spot left
  • $438 in full or monthly payments of $75

Bonus: you will have access to a virtual platform so you can stay in touch with each other.

Email me

We all want to blossom and bloom

20160405 From seed to plantDo you see my seedlings?

Aren’t they adorable, little plants growing up?

I am so happy with them. Every morning, as soon as I get up, I take a look at them. Very carefully. Did they sprout? Did they grow? Are they getting second leaves? I water them, measure them, write down their growth, and carry them around into the sun and back into the house. One night I wake up by an enormous thunderclap. I realize with a shock my seedlings are still outside. I run outside to rescue them, barefoot, no cover against the rain. Nothing seemed more important than to protect my seedlings from the gushes of wind and the pouring rain. The next morning, I felt relieved to see them as perky as before.

20160407_154101_picmonkeyedMy husband calls them my babies, as he listens to my excitement about taking care of them.

I never compared them with each other. When all the other plants were peeking out through the dirt, I didn’t tell the sunflower seeds to look at their neighbors, hoping the comparison would sprout their seeds faster. I accepted their own pace. I didn’t label the nasturtium seeds as “lazy”, when they came out last. I knew they would come out in their own time. I didn’t pull on the leaves of the cosmos, so they would develop a second set of leaves. I did none of that.

I nurtured and protected, and carefully observed them to understand the conditions of their happiness. Because I trust their self-actualizing energy.

I don’t need to tell them to grow up, because they want to. Every seed is born with an innate, natural drive to grow into the next step of their full potential. Their potential, their true self. Not into what they or others think they should be (at least, I hope so). The bachelor’s button doesn’t try to be a zinnias. They want to be themselves.

20160330 From seed to plantFor me, this gardening project is a magnificent lesson in how I want to treat myself.

I want to show myself as much acceptance and respect as I show my little plants. I want to offer myself as much nurturance and protection as I offer them. And I want to nourish self-empathy and self-compassion, so I can understand and nourish the conditions of my happiness.

I hope you do the same for yourself.

Contact me 512-589-0482 to understand and nourish the conditions of your happiness.

Thank you, David Nayer, for giving me feedback on the previous version of this blog. I enjoy your support.