vacation cartoonIn the spirit of summer vacations, consider conflict as a journey to regain something we feel has been lost or taken from us. In the final chapter of The Joy of Conflict Resolution, entitled “Tips for the Traveler”, I asked a number of valued and respected colleagues to share tips on how they integrated conflict resolution skills in their lives. Here are a few:

Writing yourself a scriptperson writing

One of most helpful things I did was to create a self-talk script to replace my gremlins. I picked a particular situation in which I found myself triggered by my supervisor’s constant use of the word “but” in conversations with me. To avoid reacting, I told myself “Breathe. She’s trying to tell me her needs. Listen for them. Be curious. This will pass.” I repeated this mantra chant over and over until I was able to genuinely respond productively to her in conversation. Although she didn’t change, our working relationship did.

Raj Dhasi, mediator/trainer/coach


Don’t be afraid to make a mess

muddy peopleAfter over fifteen years of professional conflict resolution, I would advise people new to this approach to “ignore perfection.” It’s annoying and unrealistic. Conflict is supposed to be messy. If the clashing of opposing interests is too neat and tidy, there’s something that hasn’t surfaced yet. Let yourself get dirty. Then help each other clean it up.

Roy Johnson, mediator/psychotherapist

Taking risks and trusting your gutcliff jumpers

Learning conflict resolution skills does not elevate us to sainthood or perfection. I give myself permission to be a human being instead of a human doing‑to feel, get angry, and take risks. To be courageous for me. This gives me permission to escape “doing it perfectly by the book” and supports me to try something different. More and more I find myself trusting my instinct and intuition and bringing more creativity to conflict resolution.

Jory Faibish, certified mediator/trainer/architect


About Gary Harper, The Joy of Conflict Resolution

Gary Harper is the principal of Harper and Associates. He is a trainer, writer and facilitator who specializes in conflict resolution. Through his unique blend of experience as a personal injury lawyer, general manager, insurance regulator and retail store owner, he learned the value of clear communication and conflict resolution skills. Since 1991 he has trained and mediated in a wide variety of organizations - from health care to the film industry to many levels of government. He is a member of the instructional team of the Centre for Conflict Resolution at the Justice Institute of B. C. and recently authored The Joy of Conflict Resolution: Transforming Victims, Villains and Heroes in the Workplace and at Home.
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