Business Business and Life Patterns Communication Growth Leadership

Happy Holidays, Happy YOU

I just came home from shopping for the last minute gifts for my family. Was it fun? Well, some of it was and some of it was rather annoying.

I took time to observe my reactions to the good moments and the sour ones. Then I found some research that aligned with my feelings and I decided to share this now, while we are still in the throes of holiday fever. At least till after the New Year’s bells ring out at midnight on December 31.

Listen to what I learned and then pay attention to how you respond in the next week.

The research from The British Medical Journal indicates that people who celebrate at this time of year have increased oxygen flow to five parts of the brain. Celebrating whatever you call your special holiday is the good part. Just sharing with family and friends with no more of an agenda than being together is powerful.

In the research they had individuals look at yuletide images, could be Frosty the snowman, Rudolf the red nosed reindeer, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, jolly old Saint Nick, photos of candles and evergreen trees. You name it, it works to evoke feelings of joy and nostalgia.

Business Business and Life Patterns General Resolution Goals Growth

How To Help A Toxic Boss Become A Positive Leader

It is a basic fact that water rolls downhill. “So what” you say.

Well, that is an obvious truth. So is the fact that toxic leaders can cause their employees to act badly. However, there is another part to this equation. While people are blaming their bosses for blaming and shaming the same is true of employees who return the blame and point to the boss.

This is a pattern of victimization and bullying that lies deeper than just the way one or two individuals behave. This is a pattern of lack of accountability and everyone then plays “The Gotcha Game.”

Where does it stop? How about with YOU.

Business Business and Life Patterns Goals Growth

How We All Can Lead Cultural And Interpersonal Change Throughout The World

I have not been to China for over a decade and coming here now was a bit of a shock. Tall buildings everywhere, cars replacing the myriad of bicycles that clogged the streets of Beijing on my last trip. Young people laughing and flirting. Parents caring for their coveted only child. Children who are well behaved and curious.

I loved saying “ni hao” (pronounced “knee how”) for hello, as the little ones would stare at my blue eyes and curly blondish hair, hide behind parents and then peek out again to figure out what was the same and what was different about this stranger.

The city of Shanghai is clean and filled with restaurants, shops and the bustle of a prosperous large city. Mostly we were the only Caucasians in a sea of Asians. We were treated with courtesy and kindness. Very few spoke English and we had to make sure we had a card with our hotel in Chinese to get back to home base.

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 Conflict Resolutions General Resolution

When Patterns Of The Past Show Up In The Present

I just finished reading a speech Vice President Joe Biden gave at Yale University.

It brought tears to my eyes and I was compelled to read it again. This time I grabbed the tissue box, stopped what I was doing and sat wiping freely flowing tears away and sat looking out at the fully blossomed spring trees.

Thunder was in the air and I imagined all the preparations for Beau’s funeral, all the expected things that have to be done. I thought about the widow and the children.

The thunder intensified.

Losing his wife and daughter in a terrible car accident decades ago should be enough. Now his son Beau to brain cancer. And yet he is the model of a jovial, gentle natured man with such love for his wife Jill, children and grandchildren and the importance of family first.

I have often thought that he would be, as the Native Americans say “good medicine” for President Obama who did not have the presence of his own father in his life.

And as I sat thinking about tragedies I began to ruminate about the sudden death of my father from a heart attack when I was fourteen.


Business Business and Life Patterns Change Conflict Resolutions General Resolution

Toxic Woman At Work

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

The past few weeks have been like living in a super hot hell. There have been a ton of arguments and drama, mainly because one woman wants her way and is dividing our staff (we only have 20 people working on-site).

There is Team A (Suzie’s team) and Team B (my team). It is evenly split with 10 for Suzie and 10 for me, Samantha. No real work is getting done. The issues are so stupid I don’t even want to mention them. It is, so my friends at other organizations tell me, not that different from what they have experienced.

However, it is getting worse. Untrue comments are flying around (on both sides I might add) and the two of us are having a meeting with HR at the end of this week.


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.