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How to C.H.I.L.L. O.U.T. Before You Boil Over

Posted by Becca Marcus at 23rd August, 2010

by Deborah Grayson Riegel, Woodhull Alumna

Originally posted to The Jewish Week on August 20th, 2010

Deborah Grayson Riegel

I’ve heard some great one-liners in my life that have driven me to the kind of laughter that makes my lungs ache. Brilliant observations by Chris Rock, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have made me burst into giggles that speed up, slow down, stop…and then pick right back up again, sometimes for days. But few lines made me giggle as long as the innocent observation made about me by a fellow Little League mom sitting next to me in the bleachers:

“With what you do for a living, I guess you never fight at home.”

Excuse me. I think I still need another minute to recover from that one.

Yes, I am a professional coach and facilitator who helps people and organizations communicate more effectively and improve their personal and professional relationships. So, one might assume that I am the Mistress of Interpersonal Communications and Queen of Human Relationships, keeping conflict at bay with my Superpowers: finely honed listening skills, profound curiosity, and genuine compassion for how people feel.

Yes, one might assume that. And one would be wrong. Dead wrong.

Sure, I know a thing or two about what makes people tick. I also know what makes the three other people who live in my house ticked off. And while I don’t actively try to stir up trouble, I can be as thoughtless, careless and reckless as the next gal. In my household of four people (plus an extended blended family both near and far) with diverse agendas, values, tastes, speeds, expectations, behaviors, concerns and desires, things get messy. Words get exchanged. Feelings get hurt. Desserts get denied.

In other words, it doesn’t matter how much I know about managing the mishegas. What matters is what I’m willing to actually do – especially when I’m feeling stressed or strained. A Jewish proverb coaches us: “Do not be wise in words, be wise in deeds.” Indeed, it is how we behave in times of anger, disappointment and frustration that show us – and those around us – our true colors.

Disputes, disagreements and differences of opinion are inevitable in any system. At the office, you might boil over at your colleague for filling the airspace in your cubical with his constant kvetching. At synagogue, you may get apoplectic with the parents who let their kids tear into the kiddush lunch before Shabbat services have let out. In your family, you might get irate with the sibling who never offers to host a meal or a holiday.

Continue reading the full article on The Jewish Week here!

Deborah Grayson Riegel is a certified coach, speaker and trainer who helps individuals, teams and organizations achieve personal and professional success through her high-energy workshops, presentations and one-on-one coaching. Visit her online at www.myjewishcoach.com or www.elevatedtraining.com.

About Becca Marcus

Becca Marcus has written 46 articles on this blog.

Becca is the Program Coordinator at the Woodhull Institute. She is a graduate of Vassar College with a BA in Media Studies and a correlate in Women's Studies. Becca is interested in Remix Video, collaborative technology, and Feminist community building.

Category : Community Member Projects and Updates / Living

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