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Mastering Difficult Conflict

Posted December 14, 2016 • Change,Conflict Mastery,Emotional Intelligence,Leadership • by Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler, Ph.D.

Over the past few months, I’ve been hard at work to define how people can master very difficult conflicts.  It’s for a book proposal that I’m writing.  While I’ve been teaching these ideas at Columbia for close to a decade and coaching dozens of clients using this approach for just as long, writing out the ideas in book form has been an exciting new challenge all its own.  Here is my first public attempt to explain in writing what I’ve been teaching and coaching all along.

Conflict Mastery involves a profound shift of perspective about how to deal with difficult conflicts. It enables you to stop trying so hard to solve conflict, and become open to the possibility that shifting your perspective is all you really need to do in order to become conflict-free. The Conflict Mastery approach empowers us by showing us how to change the things we can — including our own perceptions of the causes of the conflict, and our own behavior going forward — rather than continuing to hit our heads against a wall, trying to change the things we can’t, like the deeply held views of other people. It helps us understand and sort out our own emotions and strongly held values. It involves an open-minded, creative envisioning of new optimal outcomes, and the courage to take action toward them. It requires us to stop fantasizing about what might have been or what could be, and start making real choices to create the future the way we want it to be. The Conflict Mastery approach provides a powerful yet simple set of practices for living at your highest potential and becoming conflict-free. It has allowed my clients and students to break through the logjam of difficult conflicts in all walks of life, from work situations with colleagues to issues with neighbors and community groups; from international disputes to the most intimate of family relationships.

I’ve also started speaking to audiences about these ideas.  I invite you to stay connected and join us on an ongoing inquiry into Conflict Mastery, so that you too can live at your highest potential and become conflict-free.