Master Trainer, Conscious Leader, Co-founder, Author
Withholding causes you to withdraw emotionally or physically from people and the work at hand.
If you do not clear directly with the person, you will vent with others and create gossip.
Look closely at your aversions to other’s behaviors—what is the conflict trying to teach you?
Lesson: Mastering Presence with Diana Chapman
Step #6 Clearing Model: Ending gossip
One of the real patterns that happens in companies is an issue of withholding from one another. To withhold means I've had a thought or a judgment or a story that I make up about you and I don't tell you. In order to withhold, it's a lot of energy to withhold. It's like taking one of those big tightly blown up beach balls and trying to keep it underwater all the time. It wants to keep popping up. So in order to withhold, I'm going to need to start to withdraw because if I can withdraw a little bit, it would relax me a little bit from all my withholding. So to withdraw, either physically I'll try to avoid you. If I have to sit next to you, I'll just withdraw mentally and "Hello. It's good to see you," or withdraw just emotionally altogether with feeling no heart connection at all to you.
And in that withdrawal, I'm going to start to see you a very specific way. I'm going to start only looking for evidence that validates my original story about you. My mind was really good at that. Our minds can do that. It will validate what we believe is right and we will ignore the rest. And so now I'm going to start to project onto you.
So I'll start to believe my story, and if I'm really good, I'll start to get other people to come around me and go "Oh, you've seen that about her too?" or "Oh, he's done that to you too?" and I'll get more and more evidence to project onto you, and that's where lots and lots of drama gets going in companies and in all of our personal relationships as well. It makes us feel disconnected from one another. And to withhold, we have to pull back. It's like a depression. You can start to feel depressed, withholding from people. We can even withhold from ourselves, our own thoughts and feelings.
So what we have is a tool called the clearing model. So the clearing model is I might come to you and I might say, "This relationship means a lot to me, our collaborative relationship here, our business relationship. And I have something I'd like to clear. Are you available?" So you might be available in this moment or you might say, "I'm right in the middle of something. I could talk to you in an hour." I say, "Great."
So first, I start out with "Here's the feeling I have. I feel some anger and I notice that you feel a little scared coming to you to talk about it. The facts are you agreed that you would have that report to me by last Friday at 5:00 and it's Tuesday now. That's the facts. That's what the camera would record."
"The story I make up is that you're overwhelmed and that you're not taking responsibility for prioritizing your work and that it's costing me and the team. That's the story I've got going on here. And what I want is I really want to be able to collaborate with you in a way which we keep our agreements, so that if you're not going to be able to keep the agreement to give me the report on Friday that you let me know earlier so that I can reorganize what's happening over on my end, or let you know how challenging that's going to be so that maybe you reprioritize. But what I want is for us to keep our agreements with each other. And so then you're going to listen back and tell me what you heard and then we're going to see if there's any action steps needed or not. Sometimes I just want to let you know that this is what's been happening for me because not telling you means I have to stay separate. Telling you allows me to come closer." And so that's what the clearing models looks like.
And then there are some separate parts of the clearing model which I really like a lot, which is starting to take a look at "What can I learn more directly about this dissonance that I've created with you?" So I might ask the question of the part in you that I have an aversion to is you being irresponsible and I can recognize, "Oh yeah. I really am harsh on myself about keeping agreements. I'm a slave driver in here and I never give myself a break. So the fact that you gave yourself a break I resent you for because I won't do that for myself, and so that's part of why I got this going is because you're a mirror for me of taking a look at some aspect of myself that needs to be more whole or healed."
So then I use clearing model not just to clear but to really become more self-aware. And that's juicy. I mean I think conscious leaders are really looking at, "Why did I co-create this with you? What is this really about for me that's allowing me to learn something more about myself?" And then also I might say the part of me that I see in you that I have an attraction toward is this kind of a freedom you have to follow your own drum and not be so tight around your being so uber responsible because it's not a part of me that I let out very much. So we start to take a look at what can we both learn and then as you as the listener would go, "Oh, here's what I'm learning from your clearing. Here's where I can take responsibility, and then we create a new relationship with one another."
One of the things that we do see is some groups use some kind of a clearing model, ours or somebody else's, from a place of venting, which is "I want to come clear with you so I can puke all over you and tell you how you're doing it wrong, so I get some room to be right." And so we have to really help teams learn how to clear not from a place of venting but from a real place of "I want to take responsibility here. It's not just all about you and I'm not just here to get publicly told how right I am and so that you can learn how wrong you are."
It's an art form to really clear well, and especially if you want to clear and really learn, because my experience is every conflict that I have co-created in my life has been there because something is trying to open up in me. Something is trying to evolve, and so if I stay curious, how is this of service to me? How is she my ally in not showing up on time? What is there for me to learn? Perhaps maybe it's just to learn to be more authentic with my anger and say I want to keep clear agreements, or perhaps it's for me to learn that I'm too tough on myself around driving myself and not giving myself a break to change an agreement when I need to.
Clearing model is a powerful practice to eliminate a lot of drama because outside of clearing, I'm going to go clear with somebody else and I'm going to gossip. The less trust there is, the more we're going to drop below the line, because being below the line in and of itself is about "I don't trust."