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Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and…

Are you at home on the "range?" Do you seldom hear a discouraging word at work? That would be the ideal.

Because I did not just crawl out from under a rock, I know that workplaces can be filled with frustration, and frustration breeds discontent. It’s no surprise a recent survey found that, aside from more money or higher position, most folks leave their jobs (by choice) because of expressed or unexpressed interpersonal conflict. Maybe you have considered moving your little doggie along to a new range for that very a place where you can experience and sow peace?

Conflict management, sometimes optimistically called ‘conflict resolution’, is not at the top of most folks skills set. There is much that can be learned about the five necessary approaches to conflict and the time for each. I write much about that in my book, Wrestling Rhinos: Conquering Conflict in the Wilds of Work, (now in its 2nd edition). There are things we can do to reduce the likelihood of conflict arising on the cattle drive we call work:


Do a quick self-check:

  • Do I look for faults first?
  • Am I more likely to criticize than praise?
  • Do I move things forward or backward?
  • Where is my focus: what’s right or what’s wrong?

If there is even a tiny tendency in you to look for what’s not working first, you can make a huge shift in your own daily joy by turning that around.

Look for what’s working. Notice what you like. Focus on contributions. And, comment only on these things for the next week. You’ll feel better.

Ok, you’re thinking that your job is to make things work and, therefore, you have to notice what isn’t working. I’m not suggesting you become blind or brain-dead to things that could be improved. You will simply save your entire organization time, energy and, likely, money by turning your focus to what IS working, and what could be done to move things further forward. It really isn't necessary to regale anyone with what's not working, so, just make a suggestion that could move the herd forward, faster.

If you do not want to believe it can be that simple, learn about the process of appreciative inquiry. David Cooperrider, author the book, Appreciative Inquiry, wrote

“Appreciative enquiry is the cooperative search for the best in people, their organizations, and the world around them. It involves systematic discovery of what gives a system 'life' when it is most effective and capable in economic, ecological and human terms.”

Are you involved in finding the best in people? Just making that decision can add huge impact to your day. Even the look on your face will change.


It’s not enough to change your focus. You must let people know the good things that you see. You do not need to gush or become all touchy-feely. Liberal sprinklings of these types of phrases will do:

Thank you.

I appreciated your input on _________.

I like your approach to ___________.

Thanks for speaking up on that.

When you did ________, it made my job/life/decision easier.

… and, of course, a genuine compliment seldom goes amiss.


Simple facts:

  • When your shoulders are not at your earlobes, you save valuable energy.
  • When you smile rather than frown, you use fewer muscles.
  • When you think or say something positive, you use less energy understanding and being understood. The brain is said to use 48% less energy to understand a positive statement than a negative one.
  • When you stay in the current moment, you use your energy more wisely than dwelling on the past or daydreaming about the future.

So, stay positive, express your appreciate, save energy and be happier at work.

It’s simple. Give it a try.

Remember, you can always make the conscious choice to Sow Peace™ in every relationship, every situation and every circumstance. Choose to do that now!

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  1. Lee Ryan - Reply

    Dear Rhoberta, I started reading your book this morning and find it delightfully written. Your charm and wit is so helpful in learning how to see the positive and do the positive in relationships. My heart is with you for Charles’ complete and rapid manifestation of his perfect health. Namaste. Love Always, Lee

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      DrShaler - Reply

      Hello, Lee,

      I’m so glad that you are enjoying Wrestling Rhinos: Conquering Conflict in the Wilds of Work. What I set out to do in the book was to give folks the essential skills we all need to create respectful relationships through improving communication, conflict management, negotiation and anger management. And, to do it in a conversational way. You’re right, too. We need to do things in positive ways. No one gets anywhere good being as Spiro Agnew said: “a nattering Nabob of negativity!”

      Charles is fine. All went well and he is his brilliant, humorous, insightful self this morning.


  2. Seonaid - Reply

    By looking for the best in every situation,I am more focused on the positive. I was raised with the idea that “the least said is the easiest mended” and “if you haven’t anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” and then I was in my adult years I was also introduced to “What for might this be good?”. It takes two to make a quarrel. One can always end it by choosing not to participate from a spirit of antagonism.

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      DrShaler - Reply

      Hello, Seonaid,

      Well said! Thanks for sharing those adages that many of us were raised with. It’s whether or not we took them and made them our own in that makes all the difference, isn’t it? …lol. And, sometimes, there were subtexts added to those adages that we took in subconsciously and now we don’t speak up, know our boundaries or know how to express and maintain them. Some people are almost paralyzed by not wanting anyone else–and I mean, anyone–to not like them. So, it’s a delicate balance.

      That’s why I started Sow Peace™, because what I have learned through life is that we need to:
      >> know who we are
      >> align ourselves with our values, vision, beliefs and purpose in every moment, relationship and interaction
      >> clarify, set, express and maintain strong boundaries
      >> have the communication, conflict management skills and negotiation abilities well-developed to be totally honest AND totally kind at the same time!

      Thanks for adding your voice, Seonaid. You are always welcome here!


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