Initiate or You Could Wait for a Long Time

When our son was 4 years old, one of the children's songs we played for him had lyrics that my husband and I loved, “When you want something, you have to ask for it.” It is amazing how many adults don't live their lives using that simple idea.

The million dollar question has to do with what gets in our way. Since we're hardwired for survival and most of us prefer to avoid pain, many of us simply don't ask. If we don't say anything, at least we maintain the status quo. Right? Yes, if that is the most important thing for you. However, if you want to change something, it helps to develop your capacity to initiate important conversations. This approach can help you.

To that end, when you have done your preparatory work and you have decided to have the conversation, using the AEIOU format is quite helpful. In the preparatory phase, AEIOU (Y) is used as a way to help you get ready. In this phase, it is used as a way to start the conversation.

Before going into any of the content of the conversation, AEIOU creates an environment in which you are more likely to have a productive and satisfying conversation. It provides the 'how' to get you and the other person primed for a great conversation.

AEIOU makes the how a bit easier. If you go through the AEIOU process, you can do it rather quickly. Here is an example:

“I'd like to talk to you about something that's on my mind. Is this a good time?” - Agreement

“My hope is that at the end of this conversation, we will both understand each other better.” - End in mind

“This is really important to me in that we can't make a decision to move forward until we understand each other. And I'm eager to move forward.” - Importance

“I'm a bit concerned that I'll get off track if you have strong feelings about what I say. I really want to get it all out since I think it's important for each of us to hear the other.” - Obstacles

“So, if you are willing, please hear me out all the way and then respond. Then I'll do the same for you.” - Us—what I want from you and what I'll do for you

“I think this will be a big step in our relationship, so I'm really eager to have this conversation, even though I'm nervous.” - Yes to us working out issues in our relationship. (The Y was added while I was working in France since they use Y as a vowel. Use it or not, as you like.)

When using AEIOU, you'll notice that I didn't get into the content of the conversation at all. It is the initiation of the conversation that sets the stage for a great conversation.

If you change the order, no worries. Use it so that it works for you.

Next week, we'll go into the many skills that are required to keep your conversation on a positive trajectory and get where you want to go.

When you use AEIOU, let us know how it goes for you. It works in personal relationships and in professional ones, with children and adults. Enjoy the process.

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith is the founder and president of Rewire Leadership Institute®. A master facilitator, consultant, teacher, and coach, she has created and facilitated personal growth, team development and organizational change seminars, coached executives and teams, facilitated strategic planning and high visibility meetings, and supported culture change for over four decades. Judith works with a diverse range of companies from government agencies, non-profit, Fortune Global 500, to small and mid-sized family owned businesses including such organizations as NASA, Seaflow, Total Oil, Restoration Hardware, San Antonio Water System, and Culver Company.

Superb at supporting individuals, pairs, and teams in developing the skills necessary to realize their full potential, Judith helps executives, managers, and staff gain the ability to respond flexibly and rapidly to their changing environment. Through extensive experience and research, she utilizes a number of different approaches including the FIRO theory, systems theory, cybernetics, neuroscience, cognitive, positive, and success psychology.

As one of the world’s leading experts on the FIRO theory, she trains consultants internationally. A consultant’s consultant, Judith mentors facilitators, coaches, therapists and other professionals in the integration of the FIRO theory in their work. From 1981 until 2004, she worked closely with Dr. Will Schutz, the creator of FIRO theory. Independently, Judith developed FIRO Theory Profiling, which has been lauded as the first innovation in the FIRO theory instruments aside from Dr. Schutz’ own developments. She continues to develop courses that synthesize her studies and experience and are based in FIRO theory.

Starting in her teenage years, Judith has been a pioneer in her passion for authenticity, clear communication, and positive change. She is lauded for her ability to see others’ potential and help them realize it—be they individuals, pairs, teams, or organizations. Judith’s zest for life, appreciation for others, and generosity of spirit inspires those with whom she works.

An honor’s student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Judith’s desire and passion to learn about authenticity motivated her to move her studies to The Institute for Creative and Artistic Development (ICAD) in Oakland, California. As the youngest student in their teacher training program, she created and graduated with an undergraduate degree that focused on authenticity through California State University, Sonoma. Continuing on her quest to study authenticity and creativity, Judith began taking courses at California State University, Hayward where she also created and graduated with a unique Master’s degree that focused on communication, transformation, and the creative arts.

Interested in systems and change, Judith began experimenting with her innovative action-oriented approach to assess and intervene with families, groups, and organizations. Through this work, she became a much sought-after instructor, training masters and doctoral students in her seminal work. As chair of a psychology program focused on Creative Arts Therapies at Antioch University, San Francisco, she developed curriculum and continued to serve as guest faculty and lecturer at universities nationwide.

In addition to leading Rewire Leadership, Judith and her husband, Daniel Ellenberg, co-founded Relationships That Work®, where she serves as Vice President. She and Daniel co-authored Lovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True Partnership, which applies the principles of Rewire Leadership Institute® to romantic relationships. Recently, they co-authored a chapter in Mastering the Art of Success: Volume 8. With Matt White, Judith recently co-authored Leading with Courage.

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