When I really think about it, I got started at a very early age by establishing the peace in my high conflict family dynamics. I didn’t know it then, but I was destined to be a peace builder, a mediator, and a conflict management coach. I knew when I grew up I wanted to help people. In 1993, I attended a presentation on student conflict and peer mediation. It was at that very moment I had an overwhelming feeling, a strong presence that told me this is what I needed to do…help people who were hurting and distressed from their conflict. I was absolutely certain that I now knew my path forward and my life’s passion for what I do has covered 18 years of my life.
What interests you most about what you’re doing now?
I have been working more diligently as a conflict management coach with a focus on coaching abrasive leaders who use their bullying behaviors in the workplace. The bullying causes distress, pain and long-term damage to the coworkers and the organization. As a coach, I help the abrasive leader to “see,” as they often lack insight into their own behaviors and how they impact others around them. They are often brilliant and technically very smart in what they do, but lack the emotional intelligence it requires to be a great leader. They motivate others through negative and often demeaning ways, and through using the Boss Whispering® coaching method it gives them an opportunity to no longer be as blind as a bat. They truly don’t realize the pain they cause others. Coaching them gives them an opportunity to see, change and become competent in how they manage conflict and effectively lead others.
What’s been your biggest accomplishment? Biggest challenge?
I am blessed to have been presented with many opportunities in my life to take risks, be vulnerable and accomplish wonderful things. My biggest accomplishment is my 20 year marriage to my husband who I love dearly. I have had ample opportunities to practice my peace and conflict resolution principles and skills in this relationship. Robert, who is a great partner, supports my work. We have learned so much from each other about the false assumptions we make, the high expectations we place on ourselves, and learning to listen at a deeper level.
My proudest accomplishment in my career is my online radio show called The Texas Conflict Coach®. I started the show in April 2009 with the purpose of giving back to the global community by educating consumers and the general public about the everyday conflict we encounter in our lives, and how we can best manage it or resolve it. We have produced 138 recorded shows, free and available to the public. The show brings in guest experts from various disciplines to talk about conflict, strategies and resources. One of my most memorable guests was Dr. Abuelaish, also known as the Gaza Strip doctor, who spoke about “I Shall Not Hate.” He shares his tragedy regarding the unexpected death of his three daughters when his house was bombed, and then he shares his message of peace. It was heartbreaking and inspirational.
My biggest challenge has been to educate people and shift their attitudes about conflict and peace. Conflict is important to growth, understanding, and communication; and yet, so many people are resistant to dealing with it or dismiss it entirely.
Who or what inspires you?
I have a strong faith in my higher power and yet, I am not religious. However, this prayer from Saint Francis inspires me and my passion for peace and conflict resolution.Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair; hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not as much seek to be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we are pardoned; It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
The other individual who has left an imprint in my work is the Nobel Peace prize nominee, Dr. Dudley Weeks and his work in global peace. His poem, So Far to Go When They Get There is one of my favorites. I had the opportunity to learn from him a number of years ago.
Why is peace sexy to you? What does “Peace is Sexy” evoke for you?
When I think about this alluring question, I think of peace as being tempting, intriguing, and provocative. The ability to connect to people’s deep desire to be loved, heard and understood and that I can help them achieve this as a peacebuilder is very sexy to me. When I first heard of Peace is Sexy it evoked for me excitement of the possibilities to change how people interpret and view peace, peaceful moments, and peaceful principles.
What is a simple thing you do to create peace? What is something you do everyday?
One of the simplest things I do every day is to practice reflecting in silence, breathing to center myself and writing my gratitudes. This really sets the foundation for my day to be fully present, listen and engage in the conflict resolution and peace work I do daily. It must begin with me.
How would you like Peace is Sexy to make a difference in what you are up to?
I am trying to make a difference in people’s lives by educating them through the radio show. Peace is Sexy could help me make this difference by letting people know of this free, educational and community resource available to them through www.texasconflictcoach.com or to subscribe through iTunes.
Where would you like to see your passion go in the next 10 years? 20 years? 100 years?
My life is about creating peace and helping people deal with conflict confidently, competently, and constructively. I would like to see my passion drive me to a visually creative side using visual thinking, sketchnoting, graphics and photographs as tools to connect to people and teams. People learn and communicate through visual learning and I would like to develop and bring this aspect to my work.
Is there anything else you want to tell us?