Freedom from Ambivalence

I used to be tortured by ambivalence. One part of me wanted to take action. Another part stopped me, concerned that someone would not like it, that I would make a mistake, that it wouldn't work, or the like. It was horrible.

The tipping point, or at least the beginning of a new trajectory, started when I was 18 years old in a four week course called 'Artistic Decision and Self-Development' with AA Leath. This example sounds so over-the-top crazy that you'll see just how pervasive this issue of ambivalence was for me then.

We were given an assignment to get a piece of colored construction paper and a piece of colored chalk. I could not decide between light blue paper and yellow chalk or yellow paper and blue chalk. I know that sounds utterly ridiculous. But at the time, I was in my typical internal struggle. I was locked in and stuck in my ambivalence.

Finally, I got up to choose paper and chalk. AA (as he is called) came over to me and said, “I want you to put the paper down and go back to where you were sitting and appreciate your indecision.” I thought he was nuts. No one in my life had ever said such a crazy thing. How could anyone APPRECIATE indecision!!! But, a good student, I went back to my place and contemplated this nutty directive.

Finally, in a spacious moment, the clarity of what I wanted emerged. Calmly, I got up and chose my paper and chalk, returned to my space, and completed the assignment.

It was an epiphany. To stop all the effort and to go inside myself for the answer was novel.

I would love to say that I was changed completely and forever from that experience at 18 years old. But that is not true. I was, however, affected deeply. That experience put me onto a positive, new trajectory that included creating the spaciousness to look inward and find out what I wanted from my depths.

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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