Business Business and Life Patterns Communication Goals Growth

Honoring Our Veterans: Each In Our Own Way

I sat in silence listening to the stories of battered trucks driving down dirt roads and blowing up just a hairs breath from soldiers on duty. I heard about the pain, angst and often guilt that is part of physically fighting someone into submission or fear being killed.

The vets all said, in their own way, “war is hell.”

While I know our soldiers have risked life and limb to keep us safe, I was sitting in a room and listening to the war stories that brought the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Gulf War, and Viet Nam, more deeply into my own safe and simple world.

Here is how it happened: Our retreat center in Northeast Pennsylvania is set way back in the woods and no one just shows up to walk around. Except, one sunny day a tall, muscular man was there, checking out the grounds. He heard a rumor the retreat center may be for sale and he was looking for a home for the veterans who needed to heal from the wounds of war.

The man, Mark Baylis has become a dear friend and rather than talk about selling we ended up talking about helping.

Business Business and Life Patterns Change Coaching Communication Goals Growth Leadership

How To Get Heard After You’ve Been Whacked Upside The Head

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

I know you think that we can all transform our negative patterns. I have my doubts. You see, I read your book…twice! And I still have a serious problem.

I took the Pattern Aware Quiz and know I am considered a persecutor/bully. I have worked hard to change my style from being sharp and caustic with my team members. The transformation from persecutor to visionary just ain’t working!

Right now my job as team leader is on the line. My supervisor has put me on a performance improvement plan since three team members said I am negative and judgmental.



Sweet and Kind Underneath


Dear S and K,

Always remember, the menu is not the meal! While you have read my book…twice…it takes more than reading and agreeing. It takes ACTION. And for many of us, it often takes a wake-up call to begin the hardest part of pattern transformation.

Knowing the patterns is not enough. Even understanding where they developed (hint: most likely in your original organization, the family) is not enough. It is the strength training of daily decisions to redo your communication with others that is the key to success.

Your supervisor has given you the gift, a whack on the side of your head which may get you going.

Business Business and Life Patterns Communication Growth

Stuck Plumbing?

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

I am a newly named director in a major tech company. We have been around for many years and have so many systems in place. However, what cannot be programmed (wish it could be!) are the human beings who surround me.

Here is my dilemma: my boss is a mixture of a micro-manager and a hands off do-it-yourself type. The combination is crazy making. She is, in your pattern terms, a persecutor always looking over my shoulder to see what is not being done right, and an avoider who hates conflict.

Now I have studied your patterns and I am a bona-fide avoider, especially of speaking up to power. And my boss is very powerful. They even say she could be the next CEO. I am working at transforming my avoider pattern and becoming an initiator and it works with many. However, with her I tread lightly.

Example: If I ask her for help when I have been at a meeting and I need to report back and I am not sure what to do she always says “I was not there so I can’t help you.” And with that she waves her hand and dismisses me. I do not think she has my back and I am fuming inside.

It makes me nervous to say something to her and I feel all my upset at her and at myself, backing up inside. Suggestions?

Business Business and Life Patterns Communication General Resolution Growth


When your technical skills are great and you really care about your constituents you should be getting lots of kudos for your work.

Right? Well…not so fast.

Number one is, you MUST prioritize your RELATIONSHIPS.

So often people skills are what creates a limiting career path. Now, what exactly do I mean? I mean YOUR personality may be the limiting factor.

Here is an example: Jim, the head of client services in a large company was in charge of buying and placing new furniture for the open space casual meeting area. There was a team meeting and the team decided what they wanted. Hear me…the TEAM DECIDED. They even picked the fabric colors and decided how to have the furniture lend in a soothing way with the colors of the walls.

All well and good. Almost!

Business Business and Life Patterns Communication Growth

True Leaders Know How To Deal With The Office Jerk

How many times have we been on our way to work dreading that we might bump into the office jerk? You know, that one person that makes you cringe every time you have to walk by their cubicle or office, knowing if they spot you they’re going to invade your space or act offensively. We’ve all had to deal with that person!

This type of personality is in every office across the world. Every office has one. Sometimes they get under our skin so bad that we let stress and our emotions get the best of us. Until now…..

Download How Leaders Defuse that Toxic Jerk at Work.

Business Business and Life Patterns Change Communication Goals Growth Human Capital Management Leadership

What To Do When You’ve Said Too Much

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

I read your post yesterday in about anger and by the time I was finished I was sad and depressed.

You see, I have come to realize I have a problem with saying way more than is necessary when I get upset. At work, they even sent me to an anger management class after I slammed my computer shut and stormed out saying I would probably never come back.


I am a highly paid VP and I am super good at my job as a market analyst and I love my job. I even love the company I work for.

Funny that I don’t show anger at home, only at work. What is that about?

I almost ruined my career and in the process almost ruined some deep and important friendships at work. I am usually a mild-tempered really good guy.

Any suggestions on how to get the ‘egg off my face’ and how to clean up the mess I left behind?

Business Business and Life Patterns Communication Conflict Resolutions Goals

Who Handles ANGER Better, Males Or Females?

Did you ever stop long enough to think about anger rather than just react with anger? The big questions are:

  1. What is anger?
  2. Where does it come from inside us?
  3. What does it feel like?
  4. Why does it last so long in some situations and leaves so fast in others?
  5. Is it worse when it has been stuffed and then comes out all at once?
  6. What is flooding?
  7. How can anger be transformed?
  8. What does anger transform to?
  9. What does anger do to our physiology?
  10. How does anger hurt or help our relationships?
  11. Who has more anger issues, men or women?
  12. Some of us need to be angry less, and others angry more. When does anger show up most? When we feel threatened. Most often it is about survival and security.
Business Business and Life Patterns Communication Growth Leadership

Leadership Training: The 5 Second Breath

Troy is one of the most energetic, funny and charismatic leaders in the company. When someone needs help it is there immediately. When someone has an idea Troy is there with suggestions. When someone feels frustrated, well, you guessed it, Troy has the words that work.


Troy was not always a hero. Everyone used to steer clear of Troy. And Troy had no idea why.

You see, Troy was trigger happy; with his mouth, that is.

You know the type. Male or female most co-workers wanted to say “ZIP IT!”

Read more of Leadership Training: The 5 Second Breath

Casual workers communicating and planning in the office

Business Business and Life Patterns Change Communication General Resolution

Naughty Can Become NICE

The road was slick from the rain. I did not want to complain because the Bay Area needs to fill up its rivers and reservoirs as fast as possible. None the less, when a car swerved just a bit too close for comfort I shouted out from that place inside that activates stress “Watch out you jerk.”

My nine year old granddaughter said simply, “Grand-mom that was not very mindful. When we get home I’ll do some of the mindful meditations we learn in school with you.”

And we did.

We began by showing compassion for all things great and small. We studied an orange and appreciated its beauty and smell and the good health it brings us. We looked at a flower, we ran our fingers over a book and on and on.

Business Communication Conflict Resolutions Leadership

Safe Spaces, Hot Spots And What If

Waiting in Ferguson Missouri. Waiting for the judge to hand down the decision. Waiting to see if there will be violence or calm. Waiting to see how justice is served.

Waiting to see if there can be anything new and helpful that will come out of how the people of Ferguson handle a tense and difficult situation.

The issues here go beyond the shooting of one young man and the power of the police. The issues are about how we, as human beings get along, work together, and make change happen.

What an important time to do some leadership development training. What a perfect venue to get past the “us” versus “them.”