How to DIY: The Passion Provokers Process

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By Ariel Minter + Jami Keller

As with most things, a simple approach works best. Life is complex and complicated, so over the past 14 years, Passion Provokers has developed a six-part strategy that encourages simplicity in your daily life.  Throughout the years, our process has been validated by the research that has been done by scientists like Brene Brown and Tara Bennett-Goleman 

The focus of their research is based on living a more-full life by harnessing forgiveness and vulnerability. Our team at Passion Provokers takes this one step further, in our directive coaching model. By implementing these six phases into your daily life, you can go solo (although, with our coaches the results are drastically more beneficial)  on taking charge of what we teach and be ahead of the game. 


1. FORGIVENESS 

One of the most difficult concepts we teach is that forgiveness is a choice. How you feel, no matter the circumstances surrounding you, is a choice. This idea is challenging, even for the most seasoned “forgiver”. If someone were to walk up to you and slap you across the face, and you were to become angry, that is your choice. People argue all the time about how illogical that seems. Of course you would get upset if that were to happen, but the truth is that only you are responsible for how you feel or react. And, even if you choose to feel peaceful and react accordingly, it does not make the slap in the face okay; it just means that you have made an active choice for it not to negatively impact you (any further than how out of control you are for it to happen in the first place). Dr. Fred Luskin is the director of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, CLICK HERE to watch his explanation if this. 

I often think about the Eleanor Roosevelt quote when I think of forgiveness as a choice: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” 

2. FOCUS

A new perspective naturally takes place once you accept and practice that Forgiveness is a choice, and that only you are responsible for your feelings. Because of this, you are able to harness your ability to focus (that is often out of touch because of all the distractions our modern way of life creates). 

When I was taking my driving education class years ago, the director always said “The best way to be a defensive driver is to be aware of what is going on around you.” There are many things that are out of your control, but if you can focus and be aware of what is going on around you, you are a lot less likely to be unpleasantly surprised. You will pick up on small social cues that you may not otherwise, and be more attentive to how people are responding around you. This will automatically allow you to be more present with your loved ones, and less bogged down by the small details that mostly don’t matter. 

3. GRATITUDE 

Expressing gratitude may be the secret for happiness. The biggest link of health was how gratitude journaling aided sleeplessness and blood pressure. When you focus on what gives you life, instead of all the things that take from it, you will literally sleep better, have lower blood pressure, and improve your functionality. 

A few tips on practicing gratitude: Keep a journal and jot down three to five things you are grateful for (as specific as “For the amazing sandwich I made myself for lunch,” or as broad as “The love and support from my partner”). You don’t need to make your list lengthly. Also, researchers noticed you get the most benefit when you treat this as a meditation as opposed to something you are checking off of your to-do list. AND you will get even better results if you do this daily, but starting by a couple times a week is a great place to start. 

4. VISION

Suddenly, with room to look around because of Forgiveness, Focus, and Gratitude, you are able to see a full horizon of options. Prior to this, you were unable to see these options because of the many distractions that (unbeknownst to you) previously clouded your vision. 

This new vision allows you to begin to see your true strengths and value them. Sounds simple, but is rare in practice, and while the steps are simple they require consistency. Practicing your vision means creating a detailed list of goals for yourself. There are many ways to go about this (i.e. creating a Vision Board or keeping a Vision List). It is important to keep this in a place where you can see it often. This way, you can continue to be accountable to yourself by honoring your goals. 

Beyond a vision board, we often recommend that you visualize what your goals are (i.e. if you dream of going on a tropical vacation, visualize the sand and the palm trees and who you would be with). 

5. MINDFULNESS

Throughout these steps, you will become more in-touch with your own feelings, as well as others. Some clients will come in and explain that they are feeling “an emotional hangover”. This is fantastic news, because it means that the tools we teach are being practiced. This “hangover” is caused because we all often grow up learning how we are supposed to respond, instead of allowing ourselves to express how we feel in a healthy way. Suddenly, you are doing the work, and all of these stuffed feelings begin to come out. 

Soon, you are no longer overwhelmed by being in tune with your feelings, but they are welcomed. You are Mindful of how to properly express your feelings, hold healthy boundaries, and remain in a place of confidence. You are now able to have freedom in your feelings. Remember when we talked about choosing to forgive, and being fully responsible for your own feelings? Now you are there! The benefit side of the cost-benefit ratio is overfull.  

6. COMMUNICATION 

Finally, now we are actively communicating as we learn what it means to have feelings but not be ruled by them. Boundaries are suddenly much easier to put in place. The awareness you have now offers you clarity, and provides confidence in handling whatever might come your way. 

True communication allows opportunities to grow where we have planted them.

We encourage you to practice these steps! If you have any questions or would like to schedule a free consultation with one of our coaches, you may do so giving us a call at 208.853.8888 or filling out the Contact Us form. 

How to Understand Domestic Violence 

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By Anonymous

It happened quickly. On our way home we started talking about a topic in which we had different perspectives. Actually, I don’t even remember if that was what we were talking about because it all escalated so quickly. Once home, we were name calling and screaming.

Nothing I was saying penetrated him. I wanted him to hurt as much as I did from the words that were being spoken. I’m sure he did. He just knew it would make me even more upset if it seemed like he didn’t care. I was shaking with anger. 

I slapped him as hard as I could across the face. Again and again. That wasn’t satisfying enough. In that moment, I wished I would have punched him instead. He grabbed me, pushed me as hard as he could away from him. Falling backwards took my breathe away. Of course, he was double my size and my attempts at physical pain didn’t even show a mark on his skin. I was already bruising from the grabs and the push.

Just a few hours earlier, we were laughing and telling each other how much we loved the other. Kissing, touching, loving. Now, we were brawling. Like toddlers throwing a temper tantrum, it began to subside as we both became physically, emotionally, and mentally drained. 

I was convinced it was over. That all the years spent together were wasted and thrown away. The hatred and shock I felt towards him remained. I was ashamed, heartbroken, and physically hurt. We both were. 

After several days of mutually ignoring each other, we talked. We both recognized how wrong the whole situation was. We loved each other. We wanted to make it work. 

I wish I could go on to explain how this was a one-time thing, and afterwards we “got better” and it never happened again. But it did. Three more times. Each time was less and less physical, but the words that were said left huge holes of decay on our hearts. How can you be in a committed and loving relationship with someone if you don’t respect them? 

We did not respect each other (or ourselves), and so, it continued.

There is nothing okay with violence. There is nothing okay with emotional or verbal abuse. I would never and could never justify it. This just happened to us. It struck us like an illness and hit us hard, and then it left. We both knew we were sick and we both knew it was wrong, so why did it keep happening?

It’s difficult to explain being a female who has been an abuser. I was involved in these interactions and always the first to strike. In the moment, I felt powerful, because I knew that if he were to respond to me with the same force I wished upon him, I could have ended up in the hospital. 

If I were to explain why I even became physical, I would have to say it was because it felt like nothing I could say or do meant anything. Every word I said was being rejected and shot down or spoken over. I felt completely unheard and completely ignored. Somehow, in some primal way, I felt heard and seen by physically touching as brutally as I was capable of. It felt like the only option I had left.

I love my partner very much. As I write this, I find myself not wanting to. I have already stopped and started a handful of times. But I need to tell my story. I was physically abusive to my husband. He didn’t sit there and let it happen. He pushed me away. He fought back. If the roles were switched, someone might seem more like the villain and the other the underdog hero. 

There is nothing heroic about how we treated each other. No one was right, and we both lost so much.

Our story is still being written, and we are by no means perfect in how we problem solve. We don’t physically hurt each other anymore. How did we stop? Well, we started respecting each other. We started our own types of therapy. We allowed ourselves to be ourselves. 

I have struggled with anger my entire life, but hurting someone physically was always something I thought I was incapable of doing. I had never experienced it before with anyone. Why was this happening now? What triggered this? I realized that we hurt each other for the same reasons we loved each other: my partner and I chose one another because of our ability to challenge each other. 

For a really long time, we were challenging each other without a foundation of love or respect, and this became a breeding ground for resentment and self-loathing. 

Although our relationship has been going on for years, just a few months ago I had the realization that I actually respected him. After months of discovering my own self-love, I could finally recognize his love for me. Through hours of therapy, conversations, and re-discovering who we were and striving to be who we wanted to be, we were able to heal from this ugly and dark time. 

It is extremely hard to pull yourself out of self-destructive denial and any form of an abusive relationship. It often takes a lot of help (and time) from the people around you. It takes being undauntingly honest with yourself and with the person you love the most. 

We now challenge each other in a way that allows us to grow and thrive, and in this we are both validated by our decision to get help instead of leaving each other. 

There are so many resources for the abused, but what about the abuser? How can they get better and get help? Often time, the end result is jail. And nine times out of 10 that doesn’t help anyone or anything but the jails bank account. It is easy to let your guilt and shame control you, and convince you not to tell or to get help, but that only feeds the darkness. I encourage you to talk to someone you trust and make yourself an action plan on how you plan to heal. 

Because of the profound healing I was able to discover in the Forgiveness Process that Passion Provokers teaches, I was able to forgive myself for what happened and I learned how to be more aware of why I felt so compelled to react in such a brutal way, and to not continue that behavior. My partner was able to forgive me for the things I felt were not deserving of forgiveness. And I was able to forgive him for his part in it. 

Thank you for reading my story. To any and all who have ever felt like I did, or acted as I did, hear me when I say that you can get better. You can overcome this. 

Not many stories are like ours, and often times it is unsafe to try to salvage a relationship where physical abuse is taking place. I
f you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, you may contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. 


How to Understand the Way You Problem Solve

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By Jami Keller

In our culture, the old stereotypes for relationship roles do not serve us very well. Masculinity and Femininity are shifting and our old ideas are not working anymore. 

While there are significant differences in the brains and abilities of men and women, the correlation that is often drawn from these differences to sex roles contributes to much confusion. Expectations can be devastating if there is not a better conversation inside the relationship to promote healthy connection. 

Statistically, women actually have a superior ability to switch tasks (multitasking is a myth, but switching back and forth does happen easier for most women) by rapidly keeping several projects going. We believe that this style of thinking is purely based on early development, and not tied to societies gender-roles. In our practice, we refer to this brain-switching as the “Infinity Brain” because it is one of the two styles we see in committed relationships. We see this skill in men almost as often as we do in women. 

When you are an Infinity thinker, you identify a problem and it remains an open idea until the root of the issue is actually taken care of. This means that when the issue resurfaces, every issue relating to it previously connects to you. The same goes for a positive experience or feeling. It is all encompassing, and all connected like a web of thoughts in continuum. 

So, women are known to switch tasks better than men. Men’s strength is a strong ability to watch football. Just kidding, my wife Marla is actually more of a football fan than I am, and cheering together makes for some awesome Oxytocin. In all seriousness, men’s strength is taking a task from start to finish. Imagine each major topic and event of life having it’s own box in a storage shed: when the time comes to talk about that or to think about that, the task is opened up, completed, then put back in storage. We call this “linear” thinking. 


Like the “Infinity” thinking, it is not limited to or exclusive to a particular sex. Women who claim this style of processing often have  partners claim the linear style of thinking. There is usually one infinity thinker and one linear thinker in a relationship. This brings us to the three areas to test for a healthy person:

1. Sexual Satisfaction, 
2. Healthy Emotional Connection and 
3. Strength of Work and Family Boundaries. 

Rate your life in these three areas right now. Zero being no satisfaction and 10 being nearly ecstatic. This can tell you where you need to put some effort into improving your life. The challenge in relationships is allowing for the differences and meeting where they are complimentary. Two of these three are intimately linked. 

Turns out when a man is tough enough to think like a woman, well maybe he is just tough enough to consider his partners needs.

Now to improve that rating think about the conflicts in your relationship, money, in-laws, housework, kids, and sex are the most common but just think of the last conflict. What style did you take and what style did your partner take? Infinity style says “This is what happened that last three (to twenty) times that this problem occurred,” and linear says “Let’s just problem solve this issue.” 

The difficulty often comes when we sink into a “style fight” rather than healthy conflict resolution. Healthy resolution often requires that you recognize the style difference and focus in on what underlying issue(s) are driving the conflict. 

We have found that just by understanding (and if the conversation allows, identifying) the two different styles verbally limits the pain and improves the outcome. It turns out that self awareness is the key for long term relationships and learning how your partner hears (or doesn’t) you can change everything. 

Here is how you can take action:
1.) Identify the styles present in your relationship.
2) Rate the emotional, sexual, and boundary health in your relationship.
3) Be aware of how you each use your style in conflict.

We think you might find some extra time to have some fun, instead of repeating old arguing habits and behaviors. 

Do you identify with linear thinking, or infinity? Does your partner seem opposite your way of thinking? Has this impacted the way you handle conflict?

How to Create Meaning in Your Workplace 

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By Ariel Minter

It isn’t new news. The business world is drastically changing as millennials  (aged 18-33) are quickly joining, and becoming, the main workforce.

Travis Scott, a professional employment strategist, spoke with a group I attend weekly about the fact that millennials are going to likely have between 15-20 jobs before they retire, which is commonly referred to as “job-hopping”. He explained that this is for several reasons, and focused on how millennials are more concerned about working on a project basis instead of working on an all-inclusive job-description (+benefits) basis. 

This perked my interest. If millennials are happy to forego job security for the sake of specialization, then what does that mean? After reading some of the perspectives on the topic, I concluded that the core “why?” behind millennials abandoning security was because millennials want a  job that has meaning and flexible hours

Remember the cost:benefit ratio? The same logic applies here. Millennials are willing to sacrifice a higher income and security for a job that gives them meaning and flexibility. 

It is hard to find a job that has meaning, and even harder to find one with flexible hours. Being a millennial myself, I have gone from a bed-cleaner at a tanning salon to a salon manager, to working for a non-profit company, to finally spending a little over a year at a call center (lasting that long was a surprise to many, including myself).  All of these jobs were slightly above minimum wage and I worked odd hours so I could attend college at the same time. 

Although all of these jobs were very different, I quit them all because of the same problem.

It was this bizarre conundrum: work hard and brown nose a little to make sure you get approved on most of your request off forms, or clock-in and clock-out with little perks. If you didn’t work hard and brown nose, you were treated extremely replaceable and not given many hours, frequently denied time off, and given no grace if you happened to clock-in a minute or two late. If you did work hard, they praised you with “promotions” equivalent to a 10-20 cent raise and piled on triple the responsibilities. 

I was always shocked at how replaceable all the employees were. It seemed to me “The Man” didn’t care about the workers. This didn’t make sense. During my weekly meeting, I asked Travis what the cost is to hire and train an employee (even in those jobs that pay just a little more than minimum wage). 


“You know, I get this question a lot and it’s a hard one to answer. I believe it is because of state laws. In my experience, it typically costs an employer somewhere between $2000-$2500 to hire and train an employee. So, not having retention is extremely costly.” 

I was floored by that number. 

Of course, it is more or less depending on the industry, but I couldn’t believe it! The experience I had at the jobs I quit does not differ much from my friends and family (who all have very different jobs, but have experienced the same problems). This is an issue many workers and companies face. So, why does it seem like “The Man” doesn’t care? 

I like to believe that most business owners and managers have a grand vision for their work. I believe they want to have the best team, to be successful, to be a job that is left only because their employees have been given an exceptional offer to grow elsewhere. I am not so naive to believe that is all companies, owners, or managers, but like I said…most. 

Running a business is costly and presents many challenges, and I am not going to pretend as though I am an expert on the topic (although, our coaches offer comprehensive trainings on team building and conflict management in the workplace). It takes the right personality to fit most jobs. It takes a great mentor to teach and train them. It takes a great leader to make those things happen.

As a business owner, how do you create a job that has meaning for your employees? 

There are many right and wrong answers to that question. I believe that a good place to start is with morale. If you can have a strong professional relationship that is built on trust, you can have the tough conversations without someone feeling hurt (for more on this topic, I highly recommend reading “Crucial Conversations” by Joseph Grenny). 

In order to be a good leader, there must be a practice of setting the ego aside and being able to take feedback from the people you have a trusting relationship with. If you can’t do that, you will not be able to keep an employee for long (especially a millennial).

In order to create a job that gives meaning, it has to mean something to you first. 

If you are seeking a job placement company that will help you find a great fit, you may contact my friend Travis at [email protected]. If you are interested in the Passion Provokers team coming in and hosting a Workplace Workshop focused on enhancing your employees meaning, please contact me at [email protected] or call us at 208.853.8888