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Living and collaborating from a place of Self-Awareness and Wholeness

Life is a sequence of countless events and experiences, one pursuing the other. In our lifetime, we are all likely to experience trillions of moments and encounters with a variety of people - starting from our very close family and loved ones, on to neighbors, friends, colleagues, community members and one-time “visitors” we will never meet again. Each such moment will have its own unique story, quality, and degree of significance in each person’s life. We are all “made of” and shaped by our experiences, our interpretation of them and their impact and results on our lives. This shapes how we perceive life and what happens to us and around us, how we feel and how we respond to future experiences we will undergo. Understanding this, I find it extremely important and valuable to have a system which helps me to look deeply into daily experiences and evolve from them. A practice to take me out of “auto-pilot”, so that I gain an objective perspective into what’s going on in me, in every moment. In doing so, I gain the beautiful gift of self-connection and the ultimate freedom to choose how to act and respond to everything that happens to me. I am then truly omnipotent in my life, queen of my own manor and master of death! (well no, not really ;) just the part about the self-connection, ultimate freedom and being omnipotent :) )

The most valuable tool or system that I have encountered for achieving this is Non-Violent Communication (NVC). NVC offers a clear model to connect to the experiences I encounter in my life and gain clarity into what I feel and need at every moment. Once I have this clarity, NVC offers me guidelines on how to meet my needs, in a way which hopes to be in harmony with other people’s needs and aims to increase connection between us and compassion. It is my firsthand experience over the past 5 years that NVC helps me tremendously express myself with the highest level of clarity, helps me understand how I can move forward when something happens and helps me see other people and care about what is important to them. NVC helped me mature and become a better leader to myself and others, leading out of a place of self-awareness and wholeness. Now, those of you who know me, know that I have a significant career behind me. I’ve worked in key positions in the Israeli hi-tech industry, in a few companies, in and with many teams and people. I mention this to say that this meaningful gift is relevant to everyone. This is how. I am part of a team handling the marketing aspects for a certain project. A few weeks ago, I had an idea to create a catalog for the project. When I expressed my idea to my teammates, they reacted in a way that I interpreted as somewhat of a resistance. An expression of this resistance was that the conversation was vague and cumbersome, some of the energy and natural flow of co-creation was missing, and it was filled with a lot of thoughts and opinions. Sensing that, I felt uncomfortable and that was my queue to realize that I’m feeling a tension and then to slow down and work with the NVC model. NVC teaches us that every time we feel something (any feeling), it is because a need of ours is either being met (then we will feel a feeling of expansion) or isn’t being met (a feeling of contraction). Our feelings are like lights on a dashboard, they signal that something significant is going on. So, first NVC invites me to identify the Observation. The Observation is: a clean description of the facts (related to whatI am feeling of course) as they happened, as if a video camera was recording it. What happened, without any interpretations or judgments. In this case the observation in this case was: - I have an idea for a marketing catalog for our project - It is my interpretation that my colleagues are showing signs of discomfort. Then, the second step is to name my Feelings: I felt confused and I felt discomfort. And then the third step would be to identify my Needs. Needs are the most basic elements of our being. They are at our core. Every action we take in life is in order to meet a need of ours. Gaining clarity as to which needs of mine (and other people) are being or not being met - is the key for wholeness and successful collaboration. So,I felt confused because I didn’t know if we were in agreement about the idea. So this indicated that my need for Clarity wasn’t met. I also felt uncomfortable, because I thought my colleagues were displeased (thoughts represent our evaluation of every situation and are also a reflection of our needs) and I wanted to understand if they are sensing something that I didn’t that could impact us. This means that my need for Connection wasn’t met and also my need for Success. Understanding all of that within me, I used NVC to make a clear, doable, present Request, that was connected to my needs. This makes it more likely that my needs will get met.I decided to stop and ask them if there was something they wanted to share with me regarding the idea I put forward. They said yes, and that led to a quick conversation about what they were feeling and needing. I switched to listening mode. One was uncomfortable because of the amount of work required. He wasn’t sure if we had the capacity. That meant his need for Success wasn’t met when he thought about my idea. The other was uncomfortable because he wasn’t familiar with this type of work, and so he didn’t know how to move forward and how he could contribute. This means that his need for clarity wasn’t met and also his need for Contribution and Meaning (to be meaningful). Having all of this information to work with, we found a way forward that met everyone’s needs. In this particular case - I offered to take on this initiative on my own. I felt confident that I have most of what I needed in order for this to succeed and that I was so well trained in this, that it wasn't a lot of work for me. My other colleagues took on another task of their own and so the tension eased and we found a way to move forward - integrating collective wisdom and working out of clarity and wholeness. Now, I didn’t tell them anything such as “let’s slow down and use NVC”. I didn’t have to. All I needed to do is have the tools that NVC offers me in order to gain clarity within me as to what is going on inside of me (Observation → Feelings → Needs), formulate a present Request that i thinks can meet my needs, Connect with their needs (Empathic Listening) and find a solution that meets as many needs as possible. Simple and beautiful :) It could have played completely differently. I could have stayed alone with my feelings, needs and thoughts. I could have thought “oh, they are not excited about my idea. It sucks”. Which of course was not true, they didn;t think it sucked, they had other reservations. I couldn’t have thought - “they didn’t like my previous idea as well. They don’t like me. It’s personnel…”. And so on and so on… lonely in my own head. Attributing thoughts and intentions, which could have led me to give up on my idea or could have created an even bigger tension between us… all leading to disengagement and maybe over time even resentment and dysfunction. This happens with colleagues, with managers, with people all around us, and each time this process will yield different information and different results, depending also on the structure of the organization. The principles stay the same. Such wonderful and immediate access to wisdom and wholeness using NVC happens to me every day and in all the places I participate and take part. Of course to be able to do this “online” and in real time, I had to practice quite a bit :) And it works! When it does, it’s beautiful and for me it feels whole and connected to the people I interact with. I grow from being more and more in-touch with my feelings and needs, being able to name them, and express myself in a way that is accurate for me and is more likely to get as many needs met. It also increases my self-awareness and awareness to others which makes it easier to cooperate. For all of that and more, I am grateful, and I invite you to join this meaningful journey :)


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