WIN/WIN At Home
Last week I introduced the topic of how to win in the game of life. By moving from the prevailing pattern which is Win/Lose to choosing to practice generating your life from thinking and acting WIN/WIN, you will experience more success in your life both personally and professionally.
This is a very easy topic to understand intellectually, however, I have found that it takes a great deal of conscious and committed work to choose and to act from Win/Win on a daily basis. This is my work, work that I commit to every single day. It is one of the reasons this blog has 3 parts. I am hoping that for those of you who are inspired to connect with this content, I can offer you some useful practices, techniques and tips that will support you to move out of the prevailing pattern of Win/Lose into the sacred practice of Win/Win.
This week my focus is on Win/Win at home and as a parent let me start by saying, I feel that it is essential that we start to talk to our children overtly about what it means to operate from the Win/Win mindset. Many times we can be covert in our parenting. We hope that our kids will catch the meaning. While I feel extremely blessed with the parents I was raised by, I will say that much of what they shared with me was covert instead of overt. My parents expertly led by example. I hope in many ways to follow in their footsteps but I am realizing that now that I have children, we are living in a time that requires parents to be more overt when it comes to shaping and supporting their thoughts, feelings and minds.
Think about it! Thanks to the internet our children have overt access to most anything they want or may not want to experience. Marketing is more aggressive than when I was a child. The amount of exposure to TV and external influences is greater than when I was growing up. Today, things seem to be louder, faster and more in your face than in years past. While I am not judging this, I am owning that my responsibility to my children is to parent them according to these times. My commitment is that I parent more overtly so that they can choose for themselves with greater intention the type of life they are generating and creating. The video that I have shared in this blog is an example of just how smart our kids are at understanding these concepts. At just 5 years old, my son Connor is making the distinction between Win/Lose and Win/Win. The most powerful part of the video for me is at the very end where he adds his own emphasis that Win/Win is not just fun but, "MUCH MORE FUN!" Yes he was parroting back a lot of what I had shared but even at 5 years old he is understanding and can see the difference between Win/Lose and Win/Win.
Talk to your children about Win/Win Overtly.
- Do you know the difference between Win/Lose or Win/Win?
- How should we play as a family? Do you want us to play Win/Lose or Win/Win?
- Why is Win/Win important to building a strong family?
- Are we playing Win/Lose or are we playing Win/Win right now?
Children are exposed to the prevailing pattern of Win/Lose almost everywhere. This pattern effects their mindset and their view on how they interact in the world. Children see Win/Lose played out in school, in after school clubs and classes, on TV in the programs they watch and in the music they listen to. How your kids handle sibling rivalry is a great indicator of the mindset they are operating in. Siblings are going to experience conflict but you can encourage your children to interact in the conflict from the perspective of Win/Win. Yes, this is challenging and believe me it is even more challenging when you do not overtly discuss Win/Win while your children are fighting. When siblings fight most parents are concerned with solving the fight. When my children are in a fight, I start to ask them questions about their mindset.
When handling sibling rivalry, talk at the level of CONTEXT. Do not get stuck in CONTENT.
- Connor you deserve to feel good and your sister deserves to feel good. Can you think of how to talk about what you are feeling in a way that will support both you and your sister to feel good?
Children handle conflict by acting out the patterns they see all around them. The problem with this is that most of the patterns are grounded in the Win/Lose mindset so you end up getting caught up in the dreaded 'He said...She said' cycle. They get caught in defending the content of what happened rather than dealing with the context of what they want to think, feel or create. When kids are stuck in the Win/Lose mindset they feel the need to re-cycle every detail of the situation; they need to list out all the wrong doings of the other person in order to justify themselves and their position. As parents we have all been stuck in this pattern and a certain amount of this can be expected but what we do overtly as parents will either cement our children into a never-ending pattern of this self-destructive behavior or it will give them the freedom of choice. The consequence of the Win/Lose conversation never ends. Conversations and feelings are just shelved and catalogued ready to be used as ammunition for the next scuffle or disagreement. Participants pick up and build on where they left off. Each time they choose Win/Lose, they come from and add to their list of previous grievances. The past dictates their reaction. What does this create? It creates an eternal war, an unceasing struggle. However, we can free our children from this cycle (a cycle too many adults are way too familiar with), by teaching them and talking to them about thinking and acting out of a Win/Win mindset.
Here are 2 examples of daily practices that I have created and use in my family on a daily basis which anchor us all into playing WIN/WIN.
COMMITTED DAILY PRACTICE
Thank your family members!
I start and end my day by thanking my family members. My mom did this with us and it was such a loving, simple and powerful practice. Here is how it looks in our home. In the car every morning I ask my kids to give each other a high five and to thank each other for being a part of the family. I then make it a point to end each day by leaning over my kids and saying. "Thank you for being my daughter." or "Thank you for being my son."
Struggle Towards Feeling Good
Win/Win is the ability to stay connected to the needs, wants and desires of the other even when it is difficult. One way to do this is to use a statement like, "You deserve to feel good. I deserve to feel good and this doesn't feel good. So what are we going to do so we can feel good?" This is a language kids (and adults) can readily understand. These are concepts that they can easily apply especially when conflict arises. Next time they get caught up, ask them: 'Does this feel good?'
If you have made it this far in my blog I am showering you with a thousand blessings. You are a powerful creator and you see the value in the Win/Win conversation. Thank you for spending a bit of your time and your life to expand the collective conversation. I believe that the world will shift if we bring this conversation to the forefront more overtly. Talk about Win/Win. Ask questions about Win/Win. Enroll and encourage others to think and act Win/Win. Our children are going to change this world and that world is effected by the work that we are doing today. There is no more powerful work then giving your children the freedom to choose how they are going to create their life. Their ultimate freedom will emerge from their ability to think Win/Win. My goal is to practice this mindset as much as possible during the brief and amazing time I have with them!
Susan Leahy MA CSP is a powerful leadership, team building and keynote speaker, trainer, and coach. Susan gives live presentations, interactive online webinars, and private personal coaching.
Susan is the creator of The Confident Woman Program and Robert's Rules Made Simple. She is also the co-founder of Group To TEAM Leadership Solutions a global coaching and consulting organization providing leadership and TEAM building training that builds a culture of TEAM by empowering the individual to choose TEAM.
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