“Making a World of Difference: Personal Leadership” by Barbara Schaetti, Sheila Ramsey, Gordon Watanabe

Subtitle: A Methodology of Two Principles and Six Practices

Recommended to me by: a client

The goal of Personal Leadership is to improve intercultural relations in business and personal settings.

The two principles are mindfulness and creativity.

The six practices are:

  • attending to judgment
  • attending to emotion
  • attending to physical sensation
  • cultivating stillness
  • engaging ambiguity
  • aligning with vision

In a difficult situation, when we notice that “Something’s up!” a “Critical Moment Dialogue” can help apply the six practices and reach greater clarity about what action to take, if any. The goal is to respond mindfully and creatively to the unique situation rather than continuing on automatic pilot.

On one hand, a lot of what the authors describe aligns with what I practice and aspire to. On the other hand, the book leaves me feeling defensive. Even as it addresses complex multicultural situations, the assertion that we always create our (internal) reality seems too simplistic to me. The proposed techniques look powerfully effective, and at the same time they would be powerful fuel for an Inner Critic at the first hint of failure.

I have witnessed an abuser use similar principles to maintain control over a victim. “You create your reality, so if you’re upset, it’s just your stuff [rather than a valid response to abuse].” A book like this feels incomplete when the downsides of the proposed techniques are not addressed.

Available at Powell’s Books.

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