Archive by Author | The Inside/Out with Mary Canty Merrill, PhD

“The Daughters and Spirit of Harriet” is Now Live!

Dear Friends,

I’m pleased to announce that our anthology, “The Daughters and Spirit of Harriet” is now live! After Monday, April 7, 2014, you can order a copy of the book for yourself or as a gift for someone special (Mother’s Day is just around the corner) directly from the publisher at http://www.authorhouse.com — ISBN: 978-1-4918-7085-3 (SC). The cost is $23.95, and 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Children’s Hospital of Oakland. A special thanks to Author, Mirthell Bayliss-Bazemore for inviting me to participate as a co-author in this wonderful book collaboration!

“The Daughters and Spirit of Harriet” is Live!

Dear Friends,

I’m pleased to announce that our anthology, “The Daughters and Spirit of Harriet” is now live (you can view the promotional video below)! After Monday, April 7, 2014, you can order a copy of the book for yourself or as a gift for someone special (Mother’s Day is just around the corner) directly from the publisher at http://www.authorhouse.com — ISBN: 978-1-4918-7085-3 (SC). The cost is $23.95, and 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Children’s Hospital of Oakland. A special thanks to Author, Mirthell Bayliss-Bazemore for inviting me to participate as a co-author in this wonderful book collaboration!

http://video214.com/play/UgovVUpdhq179TvU2eSH0Q/s/dark

Blog Tour: My Writing Process

Dear Friends,

I was invited to join this blog tour by Elizabeth Cassidy (www.elizabethcassidyart.com). I am to answer four questions about my writing process and introduce you to three new bloggers, who will do the same next week and on it goes.

1.  What am I working on?

I have written blogs and published newsletters and articles for several years, and I am excited to now be achieving a long-time aspiration of becoming a published book author.  I have just submitted two literary pieces for my first book in which I am a co-author. The Daughters and Spirit of Harriet, an anthology of accomplished women and men nationwide who are honored for their roles as entrepreneurs or for service in their organizations and communities, all in memory of the late Harriet Tubman, Nelson Mandela and Thomas Garrett. The book is scheduled to launch on April 1, 2014.  One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland, California.

I am in the process of working on a second collaborative book project, Miracles, Momentum and Manifestation: Unleash the Secret Powers to Having the Life You Desire.  Along with eight passionate, focused, high-consciousness and high-vibrational women, we share our stories and how-to’s on the secrets of manifesting the life you desire and deserve.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My writing is a reflection of my voice, personality, feelings and attitude about a particular subject.  My style remains the same, but is tailored in terms of context, purpose, audience and setting.  Other factors that contribute to my distinctive voice are my experiences, cultural perspective, world view and my message.  All are a reflection of my thinking and speaking habits and are aligned with my delivery technique.  Finally, I’m very meticulous about clarity, accuracy and precision.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

I have always enjoyed learning, growing, creating and writing, which make me come alive, draw me into the moment and extract meaning from ordinary experiences.  Writing provides me the opportunity to get still, sit with my thoughts and reflect. I was created to inspire transformation and serve as a catalyst for change.  Writing is one of the platforms that I enjoy using to honor my purpose and creativity and share my story while inspiring others to share theirs.

4.   How does my writing process work?

I believe that writing is a craft that needs to be continuously nurtured, so am always seeking new ways to improve my style and process.  I read and write – a LOT – and am acutely aware of inspiration and ideas.  My ideas mostly emerge from observation, personal experiences, reading, and problem solving.  I also engage in self-reflection by asking myself key questions, such as “Why am I writing this?” “Who am I writing this for?”  What do I want the reader to know, learn or do?”  “Where would I publish this, and in what form?”

My writing process varies, depending upon the context.  Sometimes I create and follow an outline.  Other times, I don’t because it stifles my thoughts and creativity.  Either way, I generally follow a five-step process : (1) Plan – choose a topic, brainstorm ideas, collect necessary information and organize my thoughts; (2) Compose – begin writing a first draft without focusing on perfection; (3) Evaluate & Revise – evaluate the initial draft, solicit feedback, rework organization and details, and make style changes and improvements, as needed; (4) Edit – review for grammar, spelling and punctuation; and (5) Publish – determine how I am going to present my work to an audience.

Well, that’s enough about my writing process!  Please allow me to introduce the next writers on our blog tour:

Image    Kerry Connelly

Kerry Connelly is a Certified Christian Life Coach, writer, and speaker.  She’s also the founder of She*s ELEVATED, a company whose mission is to elevate women to their higher purpose through visionary coaching.  As a coach, Kerry works with busy visionaries who struggle to fulfill their dreams.  She helps them to focus and prioritize so they can go out and live the life God dreams for them!  As a writer, Kerry works out her messy faith in her blog, www.vibrancylives.com, where she might also occasionally write about the exploits of her two children and her long-suffering husband. She lives in New Jersey and has the attitude to prove it.  Also, she has no idea how to pump her own gas.  You can learn about Kerry’s coaching at www.sheselevated.com and her blog at www.vibrancylives.com.

Image   Leslie Lane Peabody

Leslie Lane Peabody is a single Mom with three teenage boys and a growing ‘family’ business.  She is the author of the forthcoming book “Lead Like a Muther – or is it Mother?” which shares practical advice on parenting —  in your business!   Leslie’s business is called Ninjas in High Heels and she coaches people just like us to make our business work – even when we aren’t!  Visit Leslie’s web page at http://leslielanepeabody.com, or her blog at http://www.ninja-mobile-money.com.  See you there!

Image Antoinette Sykes

Antoinette Sykes, MBA, Transformation Life & Success Coach, Author and Speaker. With her wit, passion and infectious personality, Antoinette is leading the way for women leaders to break barriers in life through claiming their voice and experiencing paradigm shifts in thinking for massive transformation in life and developing heart-centered business for purposeful profits. Antoinette coaches and consults under her flagship program and system entitled Leadership is H.O.T™ created for Corporate America, leaders and entrepreneurs. Additionally, Antoinette is spearheading a new coaching movement entitled #IDoLife for women who are ready to boldly live at a higher level of performance and consciousness.

Antoinette is also Dean & Founder of the Abundantly You! Life Coaching Academy™. A fan of positive psychology, self-empowerment and business marketing with a knack for living by faith for maximum success, Antoinette gives 100% of herself to you in each conversation and interaction. You can always find her offering a warm smile and even chuckling at her own jokes. Her high energy level can be attributed to her sheer love of life, fitness regimen, spiritual practice and always looking to serve someone else. Learn more at http://AntoinetteSykes.com.

Until Next Time,

Mary

The Daughters and Spirit of Harriet

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to be participating in my first collaborative book project, The Daughters and Spirit of Harriet, an anthology honoring the contributions of men and women around the country for their selfless service and notable contributions to humanity.

The book, in memory of the late Harriet Tubman, Nelson Mandela and Thomas Garrett, is scheduled to launch on April 3, 2014. All proceeds will go to the Children’s Hospital and Research Center of Oakland.  Stay tuned!

The Daughters and Spirit of Harriet

Career Development Facilitator Training & Certification Program

Dear Friends,

Merrill Consulting Associates, LLC is pleased to announce our Summer 2014 Career Development Facilitator (CDF) Training & Certification Program.

CDF training can enhance the skills and knowledge of individuals who work in any type of career development setting.  As a CDF participant, you will receive training in each of 12 career development competencies.  The training includes hands-on and interactive teaching methods and opportunities to interact with colleagues from a variety of work settings.  Since the course content covers 12 important competencies, there is plenty of opportunity to build skills and knowledge in areas that are new to you, as well as enhance and develop those that you use every day in your work.

Key Takeaways:

  • Career resources and labor market information
  • Career planning processes
  • Basic helping and facilitation skills
  • Career development models and theories
  • Informal and formal assessment approaches
  • Diversity and specific population needs
  • Development and maintenance of an effective career resource center
  • Training others and program promotion
  • Case management and referral skills
  • Ethical and scope-of-practice issues
  • Professional and resource portfolios
  • Cutting-edge job searching and more!

Please click on the following link for additional information: http://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sd/calendar/30961/_PARENT/layout_details/false.  Thanks for sharing with your network associates who have an interest in career services.

Miracles, Momentum and Manifestation

Dear Friends,

Friends, intention is the starting point of every dream, and I am pleased to announce my second book collaboration project of 2014: “Miracles, Momentum and Manifestation!” I am co-authoring along with life strategist and author Antoinette Sykes, other spiritual writers and transformation experts. We anticipate a summer 2014 launch, so stay tuned for updates!

Mary

Image

Black Women Empowered Talk Radio

Dear Friends,

A special shout-out to Jaqulyn Rene, CEO of Black Women Empowered, Inc. for this wonderful opportunity! We invite you to tune in and join us for a captivating dialogue for ALL women on Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 9:00PM ET. Hope to see you there!

BWE Flyer - Dec 3, 2013

Until Next Time,

Mary

The Gift of Dialogue

Dear Friends,

When approaching communications, we generally bring our hidden values, assumptions and intentions to bear. These covert elements influence our behaviors and lead to personality and cultural clashes before we’re aware what’s happening.  As a result, we miss golden opportunities for collective learning and shared understanding.

Dialogue is a powerful tool for understanding our thoughts, actions and interactions. By building bridges, instead of chasms, dialogue enhances our awareness of the world as we strive to make sense of our relationships, organizations, communities and our lives.

The word dialogue derives from two Greek roots: dia logos, which means “through meaning.” Dialogue is about creating meaning that connects us all at the core level of humanity through mutual respect, shared destiny, constructive action and goodwill.

Unlike discussion and debate, dialogue is non-confrontational and emphasizes deep listening to promote understanding. Our usual communication processes emphasize individualism and winning, whereas dialogue emphasizes learning and connectedness. Dialogue encourages discovery and mutual understanding by inviting us to share our personal stories, express our interests and perspectives, and clarify our viewpoints. Having insight into another’s fears, challenges, limitations and successes creates a deeper sense of common ground and belonging than our usual interactions will allow.

The art of dialogue teaches us what it means to create together and enhances relational bonds.  It is a fundamentally deeper form of communication that builds mutual trust and respect. Through dialogue, we can surface underlying assumptions that hinder our progress. Without mutual knowledge, there is no mutual understanding.

The Process of Dialogue

Dialogue is not just about communication, but action.  Being able to make clear distinctions between what we say and do is the basis of true solution-based dialogue.  While most conversations integrate both discussion and dialogue, you want to be clear about the context and intended outcomes before engaging either form.  For example, if your goal is to immediately solve a problem, it will likely require discussion to examine the various sides of that problem before taking action.  However, if your goal is to understand the nature of that problem, you would engage in dialogue to amass diverse perspectives and broaden your perceptions.  When the latter is deemed appropriate, here are some ways to create a dramatic shift in communications through the gift of dialogue:

1. Create space.  Clearly establish your purpose and objectives for the dialogue session. Define the problem or issue that you want to explore. Create a welcoming space and safe environment and communicate to everyone what it means to participate. To expand awareness, create community and reach shared understanding, participants should maintain a spirit of openness, integrity, curiosity and empathy. Participation is shared, so there is no leader, but a facilitator. Maintain a flexible agenda by being responsive to emerging needs. Define key questions. Do not rush to action, but “sit” with the process to allow hidden conflicts to surface, as well as any creative alternatives that may not be readily apparent.  Two things to keep in mind: (1) dialogue requires group introspection, which can be exhausting, so know when it’s time to bring closure; and (2) every situation is different, so your process for dialogue should be adapted accordingly.

2. Listen actively. Trust is built when we take the time to listen to others. As we become more skillful listeners, we are better able to understand how we perceive our environment. To listen actively is to listen with all of your senses — not just your ears — for deeper meaning and understanding. Active listening means intentionally focusing on the speaker by empathizing and giving them space to express their views; setting aside your opinions and prejudices and suspending judgment to gain a different perspective; being aware of non-verbal and verbal messages; and checking for understanding by restating, summarizing and asking questions about what you think you heard.

3. Communicate your assumptions.  Our beliefs influence the selected data that we pay attention to. Therefore, it’s important to share with others our internal frames of reference, so they know what we envision as truth or reality. Take ownership for your thoughts, beliefs and assumptions by letting others know what you think and feel and how you arrived at certain conclusions. Sharing your mental models and reasoning process not only enhances self-awareness, but promotes accountability, authenticity and mutual understanding.

4. Appreciate diverse perspectives.  None of us holds the whole truth. We all hold a piece of the collective puzzle we are trying to solve.  Dialogue assumes that there is not one but many right answers, so it frees us from our own social conditioning and exposes us to new experiences.  Embrace and leverage multiple perspectives to expand your access to a wider variety of experiences and improve your ability to gain diverse insights, reach consensus and achieve more extraordinary results.

5. Be curious.  There is transformative power in questions.  Asking the right questions at the right time can change the direction of our lives. So engage in collective inquiry to surface new information and new realities.  Ask a series of questions such as, What do we want to do, have, be or get that is different? What would it mean for us to create change on this issue? What is stopping us from obtaining what we want? What can we do together to achieve a different outcome? When faced with problems or issues, asking questions helps us to compare points of view, uncover relevant themes and patterns and gain deeper insights. Questioning also helps us to identify more creative strategies for addressing those problems or issues.

Dialogue expands our capacity to learn from and with one another. While the process takes time, its powerful effects can lead to personal and social transformation.  In its deepest sense, dialogue inspires hope and confidence by restoring us back to our shared humanity. Commit to a higher level of growth and evolution by harnessing collective intelligence to chart new direction, uncover new opportunities and surface new meaning and understanding.

Until Next Time,

Mary

5 Principles for Navigating Conflict

Dear Friends,

The path to reconciliation is never straightforward, as human relationships are complex and ever-changing. Creative engagement generates positive change, learning and growth. The next time you find yourself embroiled in conflict, recall these principles to help defuse the situation and facilitate your connectedness with others.

1. Give up blame. Blaming others exacerbates, rather than solves problems. Recognize and appreciate at all times that you alone are responsible for your interpretations and reactions to external situations.

2. Embrace choice. The truth is messy, raw and uncomfortable, but you always have a choice regarding your reactions to any situation. Alternatives are before you, so choose wisely.

3. Try a different approach. If your coping strategies prove ineffective, don’t be afraid to try different approaches. Then take a step back, and note their impact.

4. Seek to understand. Ask probing questions, and in addition to your five senses, listen with your heart. Slow down and be fully present to promote deeper understanding. You do not have to agree with another’s perspective, but it is important that you understand it.

5. Change yourself. You can’t change other people, but you can change yourself. Look inward and modify your own beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.

Relationship and interdependence lie at the heart of successfully bridging conflict. Your reactions can mean the difference between perpetuating strife or constructing more peaceful outcomes.

Until Next Time,

Mary

Conflict Transformation: A Path to Inner and Outer Peace

Dear Friends,

How many times have you been involved in a conflict situation and said something that you later regretted? Or attempted to avoid the situation altogether, or adopted a passive-aggressive approach only to find yourself plagued by a lingering feeling of unfinished business? While we each deal with conflict in our own way, this highly charged word presents an opportunity for growth, development and social change.

Conflict is not inherently bad, but a natural outcome of multiple realities, diverse frames of reference and contrasting stories. We often assume that we share a single reality with others. When that doesn’t happen, we are suddenly suspended in confusion which prompts us to search for shared meaning and understanding.

At a surface level, conflict stems from a threat to our fundamental needs such as a sense of meaning, self-efficacy, safety, control and recognition. But at a microscopic level, we find conflict deeply rooted in the perception of limited power, recognition and resources whereby the aim is to neutralize or eliminate opposing forces.

The Transformative Approach to Conflict

Conflict transformation is a holistic process of engaging with conflict. It differs from conflict management and conflict resolution approaches in that its goal is to use the potential destructive energy of a disagreement (competitiveness, aggressiveness or violence) to transform it into a more constructive process. Rather than perceiving conflict as a threat to be resisted, the transformative approach views it as a natural part of the human experience to be embraced. Instead of focusing on the surface levels of disputes, conflict transformation encourages us to develop creative change processes through less visible aspects of volatile situations.

To transform conflict, you must reframe your perceptions and approaches to disharmony. This means choosing what the event means to you, actively deciding how you will be impacted by it and where you will focus your attention to see things in a more positive light.

Reframing Your Perceptions

The following strategies can help you reframe your thoughts about and approaches to conflict.

Address issues early. Confront issues before they spiral out of control. Avoiding an issue doesn’t make it disappear, but induces stress, increases miscommunication, reduces collaboration and problem solving capacity and leads to mistrust. Once you’ve sat with your feelings and determined what you want, assert yourself by expressing your sentiment. Perfection is not necessary, since your intention is not to manipulate, take down or even the score with the other party. Your goal is to share your needs and desires in a way that does not undermine the relationship or your self-respect.

Engage at a deeper level. Engaging with others is a first step in understanding diverse values, beliefs and perspectives. Deeply listening to other perspectives through thoughtful dialogue is a humbling experience in that it forces you out of your self-justifications with an openness to the possibility of discovery and reconciliation. Dialogue differs from discussion and debate which both involve — to some extent — advancing a position, making a point or striving to win.

Honest dialogue involves the heart, mind and body. The mind produces creative ideas that can be generated through thoughtful discourse; the heart contains emotional memories and deeply held attitudes and core values that need to be addressed; and the body stores unpleasant experiences in its cells. In order for reconciliation to be complete, there must be a positive effect resulting from engagement at each of these three levels.

Separate people from problems.  Making people the problem keeps you stuck and increases the risk of destroying relationships, which can lead to deeper problems. Focus your attention on the issue and not the person. Demonstrate curiosity by asking probing questions: “What are the reasons behind this person’s position?” “What are their real intentions?” “What might I learn from their position?” “How might we work together to produce more creative solutions to meet both our needs?” This deepens your understanding of what the conflict is really about, helps you gain perspective by focusing on interests (win/win) instead of positions (win/lose), and allows you to better discern the other party’s intentions. This strengthens relationships and facilitates forward movement.

Assume self-responsibility. While you may think you’re an ‘expert’ in uncovering the faults of others, blaming and judging is a double-edge sword. It puts others on the defensive and exacerbates the situation. Assuming full responsibility for self allows you to stop and acknowledge how your own feelings of fear and powerlessness may be contributing to the situation. Self-responsibility paves the way to grasp how you might be limiting your effectiveness by getting in your own way. It helps you face the realities about yourself and places you in an empowering position to make more thoughtful decisions and choose more constructive approaches.

Until Next Time,

Mary

 

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