…19 Relational Skills that revolutionize your life, revitalize your marriage and reshape the world.
The process of learning the nineteen skills takes human interaction and time. When learned, the nineteen skills keep you engaged so your problems do not outgrow your relationships. You remain flexible during stress. You regulate your emotions while interacting in personal, meaningful ways. You tell stories that share your thoughts and feelings. People feel seen and valued. When learned, the nineteen form a resilient identity that gracefully endures under stress, fatigue and pain. You begin to see joyful character that shines and suffers well during strain and distress. Without these essential skills, something is missing in life.
I met a man in an airport who was missing something. The problem for him was he lacked the answer. His escalating emotions were spilling out, and spreading toxic material on bystanders. I share this story in the new book, Joy Starts Here: The Transformation Zone:
We were standing in line to board an airplane when the announcement was made that our plane was full. Because this was the last flight, I knew we faced an overnight stay. One passenger in line suddenly lost it. In a rage he threw his bags and spewed profanities. His raging voice echoed in the terminal. Passengers scattered. This guy was no longer in relational mode. As I made my way over to the ticket desk, he walked around the terminal screaming at anyone in uniform. I could see his red face and his intense emotions were scaring people. By this time his eyes were bulging and he was sweating profusely. As he neared the ticket desk, I felt compelled to reach out to him. I knew this man was drowning. He needed some serious help returning to joy so I took a deep breath and walked up to him. For a moment I wondered if he would knock me out.
“You are really having a bad day, aren’t you?” I asked affirmingly. “You are __ __ right I am having a bad day!” he fired back. We locked eyes for a few moments then I said, “Well, I am a pastor, a follower of Jesus and I would be honored if I could pray with you.” I was pleasantly relieved when he muttered, “Ok, yeah, sure.” Standing in the middle of the terminal we bowed our heads. I put my hand on his shoulder, we took a moment of quiet (skill two). Then, I invited Immanuel to share our distress and bring some vision (skill thirteen).
I noticed tears running down his face. “You see,” he explained, “I have been traveling for medical help because I was recently diagnosed with serious cancer. This flight cancellation takes away my precious, limited time with my wife and daughters.” For a few moments we shared sadness then he said, “Wait! I have to do something.” He retraced his steps and apologized to every single airline employee he offended. After several minutes he returned. “I have been feeling like I need to get right with God,” he told me. “I wonder if this whole ordeal is God speaking?” A sparkle of joy appeared in his eyes as his face muscles relaxed. The next morning I saw him boarding the flight with a smile and a brand new Bible under his arm.
Because of my learned relational skills I stayed anchored long enough to toss him a life preserver. He needed a lifeboat in the form of a trained brain that could stay connected with him even in the midst of intense emotions. His right hemisphere required another person, a mirror, to show him the way to Skill 2, “Simple Quiet”. All of us are taking in water. Some are used to the water while others are ready for change. Which one are you?
In an ideal world you would have the nineteen character skills because your environment had people who used the skills. Sadly, this doesn’t always happen.
Joy is fundamental to the formation and expression of your character. Character is molded through ongoing interactions with people who either have or lack the nineteen relational skills. Joy is the foundation to learn new brain skills that transform relationships. Joy even puts a smile on your face. Joy refers to being glad to be together, being the sparkle in someone’s eyes. Joy is the wind in your relational sails. Learning new skills begins with joy.
Those who have the nineteen skills do not realize or remember how they gained the skills. Simply, the skills are used much like driving a car—you don’t think about it. For this reason it is easy to misunderstand why everyone else does not simply respond like you do when upset or overwhelmed. You may even assume people lack motivation, faith, and will-power or should stop making poor choices. You might think, “Get it together!” not realizing missing skills are at work.
Thanks to brain plasticity, you can learn the nineteen skills. Experience reorganizes neural pathways in the brain. Experiences, particularly joyful interactions with people who have the skills, propel you in mastering skills. Just think of someone you know who handles upset in a way that inspires you. What about a person who loses their cool at the drop of a hat? For too long, the nineteen skills have flown under the radar. There was no language, much less a training format to learn new skills. At Life Model Works we now have the language. We have the training structure. All we need is you.
Will we see you in Peoria, Ill in July? This will be the last opportunity in 2014 to pick up these skills in the 5-day format.
May your joy be full,
Chris & Carol
Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org
Twitter – @coursey_chris