Move With Not Against

Move With Not Against

We interact energetically with others. We either move towards (and with) others, or we move against them. When we believe others are our adversaries, we move against them. Action – reaction, tit-for-tat, can transform them into adversaries.
Anthropologists and biologists believe we have a tit-for-tat instinct hardwired into our DNA. In fact, this instinct is evolutionary and is found in all mammals. When someone comes at us 'mammals' in anger, this action fires fear signals in our Amygdala – a tiny organ found in the lower part of our Limbic Brain – and we move into our protection mode.
As soon as we see and feel the signals that someone is on the attack, we respond instinctively to protect ourselves. Some people fight back and match anger with anger, and a fight may ensue. Others may flee if they feel the anger and aggression will lead to danger, and they run away so they will not 'be eaten alive'. Others will freeze, and hope we change our minds and move on to more enticing prey.
This dance of engagement drives all of human behavior. Psychiatrist Stuart Brown gave an incredible presentation that puts these interaction dynamics in context for us. Brown describes a meeting between an enormous 1,200-pound male Polar Bear and a female Husky. The scene is the moment of contact between the two — the Polar Bear and Husky — on the Hudson Bay, North of Churchill, Manitoba.
In October and November, there is no ice on the bay, and the polar bear is in pursuit of food. On the other side of the polar bear's predatory gaze is the female Husky starring back.

Move With Not AgainstThen something unusual happens. Under normal circumstances, the Polar Bear's generally fixed, rigid and stereotypical behavior ends up with its making a meal of the Husky. However, this time the Husky returns the gaze with a bow and a wagging tail. The polar bear stands in front of the Husky, no claws and no fangs, and they begin an incredible ballet, a ballet of nature, with two animals in an altered state — a state of play.

This interaction was just as much part of nature as the usual battle to the death. All because of the way the Husky acted.
What trumps what in nature? We assume power-over others gets us our way. What is our way anyway? The dance in nature we witnessed in the story of the Husky and Polar Bear is a perfect example of how human beings and all other animals communicate. We send energetic signals all the time. We test each other – as the Husky did the Bear, and we see what comes back. Our signals work like radio signals saying: "where are you" and "what do you want?"
Our signaling system – what we send, and what we receive – alerts us to the nature of our relationship with others. We are either 'moving with others, moving against others or move away from others. Each signal generates a reaction that is hardwired in nature as the fight-or-flight syndrome.
In our brains, we are translating these signals into labels about our power relationship to others. We are either in a power-over or a power-with other's mode of interaction. The Husky's signals to play – power-with – trumped the Polar Bear's signals to dominate – power-over – a trump that is one of nature's big surprises.
The antidote to power-over behaviors at work is not to give back power. Rather than demanding others to step into a power-fight, instead we can request that others move into a power-with dance with us.
Reflections & Actions to Experiment With:

  • Remember you have the ability to trump an adversarial offer. You can be the game changer.
  • Make requests not demands.
  • By moving towards and with others, with the intention of creating something wonderful – our adult form of play – we do create something wonderful! Try it!
  • Our beliefs drive our intentions, our intentions drive our actions, and our actions drive the results that we achieve with others.

Judith E. Glaser is the Author of two best selling business books:

Creating WE: Change I-Thinking to We-Thinking & Build a Healthy Thriving Organization – winner of the Bronze Award in the Leadership Category of the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards, and The DNA of Leadership; and the DVD and Workshop titled The Leadership Secret of Gregory Goose

Contact: 212-307-4386
READ OUR PAST NEWSLETTERS
SIGN UP TO RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER

I Want Happy Back

I Want Happy Back

Emotions WE Share in Common

Even young children know what feelings are – maybe even better than adults do. They watch our faces; scan for acceptance, anger, and excitement and then they respond.

  • Happy means: getting things we want, need and like.
  • Sadness means: taking away things we want, need and like.

Happy and sad are universal emotional responses, which are instinctual – they are hardwired into our cells. I even believe many animals have these responses. I call these emotional responses Vital Instincts.

Both sad and happy are emotions everyone experiences. No one has to teach us these emotions. We may differ on what makes us happy or sad. However we both experience these emotions.

I Want Happy Back …

When my grandson, Gideon, was 3 and a half, he ran across the living room to get to a couch he wanted to play on. You could see the look on his face as he scooted across the room. He was in pure ecstasy envisioning how he was going to tumble into the huge fluffy cushions on the sofa and jump around on the fluffy pillows.

On the way he fell, and the look of joy and happiness disappeared and was replaced by tears and sadness. Becky, my daughter saw the fall and went to help him get up and wipe his tears. She was all prepared to hug him and kiss him and make him feel better.

"Are you okay"? She asked as she reached out to comfort him. Now whimpering a bit Gideon was looking like he was pulling himself together. Becky looked him in the eyes again and said, "Are you okay?" Gideon wiped his eyes and said, "I'm okay, I'm okay. I just want 'happy back."

I Want Happy Back

Happy Biochemistry

We all know when 'happy disappears' and we all know when happy is back. Happy makes us feel really good about the world, about ourselves, about the future. Happy is optimistic, while sad is pessimistic. Every culture has a happy and a sad.

Gideon reminded me of the simple yet so important nature of life. When we are happy we experience life as an unfolding, positive story in our life. Our biochemistry is 'happy' – our fear levels are down and our ability to reach out to others in our world an experiment goes up. Our interactions with others are positive and engaging – happy people can shift the chemistry in a room, lifting spirits and energy in seconds.

Heart Meter

At Benchmark, our Creating WE Institute has been researching 'happy and sad' as part of our study of the Neuroscience of WE and we are working with biofeedback tools that can measure 'happy' and 'sad' through the way our hearts beat.

Last week I visited my daughter and her family. Truth be told, my 'stress' was high, and I was having trouble finding 'happy.'

I got an idea. I thought, "What if I show Gideon how to use the tools – might we both have fun 'finding happy together.' Lo and behold something miraculous happened.

The first day, Gideon could move from 'red' to 'green' quite quickly – in fact, much faster than I did.

As we worked together he told me, "If you try too hard, you can't bring happy back!" Well, he was right. My stress and my trying too hard had become a hardwired pattern that I had not seen. The harder I tried, the redder the light became. The more I learned how to shift from my head to my heart, the more a green glow appeared.

Gideon fell in love with the process. The next morning he came into the room where I was working and sat next to me. He connected the clip to my ear and turned it on. He put his little arm around my shoulder and snuggled next to me every so sweetly and said, "Mama Judy, let's bring happy back!"

Wisdom from the Heart

Gideon taught me happy is something that I can use for the rest of my life… and luckily he's learning early. He also told me when you 'try too hard' and 'focus too much' you can't find Happy. He also reminded me the importance of snuggling and cuddling – happy is more than a solo event …

I Want Happy Back

Judith E. Glaser is the Author of two best selling business books:

Creating WE: Change I-Thinking to We-Thinking & Build a Healthy Thriving Organization – winner of the Bronze Award in the Leadership Category of the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards, and The DNA of Leadership; and the DVD and Workshop titled The Leadership Secret of Gregory Goose

Contact: 212-307-4386

READ OUR PAST NEWSLETTERS

SIGN UP TO RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER