It seems all too common to sacrifice growth and community to be ‘right’. Relationships, businesses, and governments falter as people defend STRONG positions by talking over each other, leaving the room or refusing to consider other opinions.  Innovation stops. People withdraw.

My heroes:  those who enter the fray, setting aside emotions to listen, connect and innovate.

But, what if the differences are an extreme challenge to your core beliefs and values?  Spiral Impact requires being the calm eye of the storm, centering. How on earth do you center and stay calm in these situations?

Recently, Sensei Howard Popkins introduced me to the idea of aggressive neutrality.

Aggressive neutrality is ‘centering’ on steroids.

In this context, aggressive neutrality is aggressively adjusting your internal state to neutralize emotion before you slip into an attack or retreat mode. In this state you can choose to become curious and interested in the opposing position as a starting point for dialogue.

When you do this ‘the enemy’ becomes just another point of input.   As you seek to understand him or her through questions, magically, one of two things often happens:

1.  You learn something you didn’t know
2.  You open a door for you to be heard as well

It isn’t easy – but it is worth it.

For those of you who have studied Spiral Impact you know how to center.  I’d like to ask you:  how do you reach the point of aggressive neutrality when things are really intense?

Warm regards, Karen


Develop Power with Grace. 
Asking thoughtful questions is one aspect.
The best questions foster understanding, spark innovation, diffuse negative conflict, and build influence –
Spiral Question poses a question semiweekly, Monday and Wednesday.
 If you’d like to receive this in e-mail register here.