Fixing Your Airplane Seat Partner’s Phobia in 90 seonds

The stewardess was standing slightly behind the passenger as he towered over me in my aisle seat on the airplane to Dallas from San Francisco. He looked straight into my face and asked, “Would you change seats with me? I have the window seat?”

“No,” I replied. I had asked for an aisle seat and wanted to stay in it.
I stood up so he could cross to his seat. Passengers were crowding the aisles, searching for their own narrow spaces for the almost four hour flight.

Once seated, he turned to me and said to me and the stewardess who was hovering nearby, “They promised me an aisle seat.”

She shrugged. I sat back until he said,”I have an extreem case of claustaphobia. I sweat buckets and shake all over when I am in a window seat.”

“O. K.” I said, “You may have my aisle seat.” The notion of three and one half hours of his dripping sweat off his body onto mine elicited this response. I re-entered the aisle for the third time, he moved to the aisle, I took his wndow seat and he sat back down. Then he again turned to me, even though I had opened my book,which is airplane language for “Don’t taolk to me”.
He said, “I was caught in an avalanche in Utah, thought I was going to die, and only narrowly escpaced. I’ve been claustaphobic ever since. The last flight I was in a window seat I thought again I lmight die.”

I closed my book,put in the seat pocket, turned in his direction and asked,”Want to fix it?”

“Fix what?” His astonished expression was sort of endearing. I surpressed my irritation at having to give up my isle seat.

“Fix the fear which is causing the claustaphobia?”

Long pause.

Incredulous expression. “Uh, you know how to do that?….How could you possibly know how to do that?”

“Well, I do. It only takes 90 seconds.”

“Let’s do it.” His voice said, I don’t believe you. Not his words. His tone of voice.

So I guided him through the Big toe Exercise.” He was silent at the end, after admitting it worked. Another long pause.

Then he begins to tell me about being a ski instructor in Utah (where I have skied a lot) and then he begins to thank me over and over. At last to shut him up, I say, “Myabe we should fix the memory of the avalanche as well. The fear is gone, but you still have the memory.”

“Could you do that? I dream about it most nights, then can’t go back to sleep.”

So then I do a quick 6 step re-frame, and his face gets all rosy, where before his complexion had been gray, and he says, “That is amazing. How do you know all this?”

“I had some great teachers, and once you know how, it’s easy. You are a quick learner, and its fun to work with someone who can change so fast. Thank you for allowing me to practice.”

We exchnged names and phone numbers and e mail addresses, and talked of our jobs the remainder of the time. He is a salesman for an engineering firm and is flying back to North Carolina after visiitng his Father in Tiburon, California.

Once we land in Dallas i have a two hour layover so I go off to find a restaurant. i have dinner and find my gate for my New Orleans connection. Entering the waiting area, there my seat partner is, waiting for me.

I ask him about his flight, and he says he has time before it leaves, and he wants to talk some more. He has already phoned his girl friend and his mother to tell them he is no long claustaphobic and he is so full of excitement that he can hardly speak. We talk until his light is called, and my good deed of the day disappears to North Carolina.

You never know when you can practice magic.

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Should Be a Fascinating Weekend!

Our List of Participants for this weekend’s Influencing with Integrity seminar is a real “Who’s Who”

• Jerry Brown, Founder and CEO of OveractDev Technology Partners / Win –Web Experts CUSTOM Social Media Campaign, I.D.E.A. Certified Trainer

• Jeff Black, Chief Executive, Chief Strategy Officer, Inventor, Programmer in the Information Technology Industry, Founder of,, Talk Plus, and others

• Marsha Carlson, LISW, MSW , Therapist, Actress, Screenwriter, Training Evaluation Specialist at UC Berkeley, Operations Manager, I.D.E.A.

• David Contreras, VP President, Corporate Marketing, Nominum; Mobile Entrepreneur; Formerly of Palm, Microsoft, Cable and Wireless, others

• Sheila Dubrow, MA, CPIM, OD Consultant, Paloras Consulting, Organizational Change and Strategy Alignment

• Dr. Earnest Hope, MD, PhD. Chairman, International Consortium of AmeReGen Philanthropy Corporations, CEO, Cells’ Force Inc., Thought leader & “father” of adult stem cell industry

• Dwalu Khasu, CEO, KDM Technology Solutions; Architect, Africa-centric Social/Commerce platforms, CTO Feykena: the Emerging Markets-Centric Social/Commerce Platform

• Kate Korolkevich, Partner at Galatea Capital LLC, US-Russian Financial Services partnerships

• Francisco Ramirez, Video Editor, Content Producer, Digital Auteur, Youth Content Specialist

• Sara Mahdavi, Process Development and Manufacturing Process Engineer at Mahdavi Consulting, formerly of AMD

• David Mahama, Partner, TJKM Transportation Consultants, Global Specialists in Urban Transport

• Marna Schwartz, CEO Ecstatic Energetics, Aha Yoga; Health, Lifestyle, Anti-Stress, Corporate Wellness Coach; Cognitive Scientist

• Tina Michelle, National TV Talk Show Host (Punch Network’s, Broadcast Therapist, Facilitator of Change

• Nestor Perez, CEO, Somatic Therapist, Chi Nei and Meditation; Global Healer and Radio Personality (Earth Angels Radio)

• Nikhil Sen, Sports Management, Financial Services, Rep. for Major Indian Multinational Conglomerate

• Nicholas Tana, Award-winning Writer, Actor, Director, Musician; Show developer, director; Former Associate Director, ESPN Sports

• David Traub, Ed. M, Executive Producer (Movies, Music, Games), Entrepreneur, Global Mental Health Educator (VP Media and PR for IWI)

• Diane Wagner, Marketing, Production, Actress/Talent and TV Personality (Host of National Award-Winning TV Talk Show “Inside Out With Diane Wagner”)

• Dana Whitaker, Personal and Professional Coach, Opening Eyes Coaching, Photojournalist / Speaker

• Bart Yeary, Founder, Chief Product Officer at Real Deal Interactive, Game Designer/Director (Virtual Worlds, Social and Mobile Games)

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Overview Video – Influencing with Integrity

I am so fond of our 12 modules of video that I hate replacing them with new footage. Michalangelo’s paintings are still in the Sistine Chapel and it’s been over 400 years, yet my videos are only 20 years old and experts demand I abandon them. Doesn’t seem fair to me.
I’m not saying my videos are comparable to the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. I’m saying any creative endeavor should last longer than 20 years. Having people say “It’s dated,” really hurts.
However, I am shooting new footage. Here’s some of it.

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“Heroine” Makes Me Feel Embarrassed

April 17, 2013 –  The first thought is “Joan of Arc” and the burning piles of twigs at her feet.  To be honored as a “Heroine” for doing something that has been fun for 30 years has a certain, uncomfortable feeling of disconnect.  My feet are not hot, or even warm.

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 1.00.17 PM I happen to enjoy teaching people skills that they can use to improve their lives.  This makes me feel good.  Some of them argue with me about some of the concepts, and the challenge of answering these people with ideas I’ve adopted is a turn-on.  Also every class I teach is different, and this unknown quality makes each class an adventure. You can learn from people who disagree with you.  Each class is different.

And I am not referring just to the classes I’ve taught in Budapest, in Novasibirsk, in Stavanger.  I mean the classes in San Jose and

Atlanta and New Jersey.  People think differently from each other, so when you are stirring up their thinking processes, all sorts of new things turn up.  As an instructor of adults, you seldom, or never, receive the same question.  This keeps you on your toes.

This blog is about the experience of being honored as a “Heroine” along with four other entrepreneurs in an event coordinated with the Conscious Capitalism Conference in San Francisco.Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 12.53.39 PM

The males were designated “Heroes”, of course.

Tom Serres is CEO of  He is a leading thinker on social giving, digital fundraising, and has helped millions of supporters connect with nonprofits and charities.

Ben Rattray is CEO of, the world’s largest petition platform, which empowers 30 million people to create the change they want to see.

Saad Khan is a Partner at CMEA Capital where  he invests exclusively in bad-asses, such as people behind Zaarly, Blekko, Luminate, Jobvite, MediaSpike and Evolution Robotics.

The other Heroine, Margot Fraser, the Founder of Birkenstock USA, was comfortable in her role at the mic as she talked about giving company stock to her employees because it seemed to her to be the right thing to do.

While not officially designated a “Heroine”, Deb Nelson, Executive director of, fit the criteria as she spoke in her role as Master of Ceremonies.

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 2.05.14 PMIt surprised me greatly to see and hear Raj Sisoda at this evening gathering, as he had earlier given two separate speeches at the Conscious Capitalism  Conference.  Conscious Leaders must have reservoirs of energy.  All you ordinary leaders might take note of this.   Another good reason to become Conscious.   Raj is one of the Founders of, which spearheaded the Conference.

As Richard Sharp, another pioneer, pointed out “The honorees were pioneers in conscious business well before the 2008 meltdown when we started to notice  how vulnerable our economy is to too big to fail banks and a form of capitalism that only focuses on risk taking and bottom line profits, rather than a balanced business approach of higher purpose, contribution to people, planet and profits.  These heroes and heroines focused on enabling a more human view of business practice and decisions long before it became a hot topic of debate.“

My own experience:  I prefer arguing philosophy with dissenting adults to being honored as a heroine.

All five of us have been demonstrating the qualities that this group hopes to instill in business people so they become Conscious Leaders.  The key concept, in my opinion, that connects my work to   Conscious Capitalism is the concept of win-win + creativity.  I had been teaching this to large audiences long before I heard of Conscious Capitalism.


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How The CEO Lost His Job

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According to the NY Times, “His pedigree seemed impeccable.”  Yet, after 17 months, Ronald B. Johnson, is out of his job at J.C. Penny

Reading the Times account of the 17 months he spent in his new position, from my viewpoint, it is obvious that  he neither knew nor practiced the skills  of a Conscious Leader.  If he had, he would not be reading the Want Ads today.

The easiest and most important Conscious Leader skill is named Win-Win for all stakeholders.  What this means is that a Conscious Leader must be aware of and include in all business  decisions, each group involved.  He must be aware of and seek out the opinions of the investors, the vendors, the customers, and the board.

It looks as if  Mr. Johnson neglected to ask the Chief Financial Officer about the fake snow, light show and flowing liquor at his welcoming party a year ago.  He may have ignored the Fashion Manager when he ordered the European style men’s suits, and he overlooked asking anyone if his swagger was offensive.

Silicon Valley and Texas have different atmospheres. If you move from one to the other, you need awareness, questions, flexibility, and people skills to establish rapport.

It would seem that at Stanford University, Harvard, Target, and Apple, Mr. Johnson would have picked up the absolutely necessary skills for business today. Here are the key ones his behavior did not include.

Rapport:  How to create enough trust for the shared tasks the two of you must complete together.

Outcome  Setting:  How to know what you want and hope to accomplish in see, hear, and feel terms.

Outcome Elicitation:  How to create enough rapport for the other person to let you know their outcome.

Win-Win:  Finding an outcome big enough for both of you to obtain what you want.

Awareness:  Using your eyes, ears, and  subtle body feelings to gather enough information to know what the score is.  Fake snow in  Plano, Texas means something different than fake snow in San Jose.

Creative Thinking: Be adept at “ Enlarging the Pie” and use the 13 new ways to problem solve with your brain,* until they are intuitive.

Listening:  This cannot be taught, only practiced.

Lawsuits:    AVOID  (Especially with Martha Stewart.)

*“Influencing with Integrity,” the book, explains 13 ways to find a solution with your brain.

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An Essential Skill for a Conscious Culture

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The seminar I was overseeing was to certify a Trainer to teach the “Excellence” seminar I had designed on Communication.  The location is Poughkeepsie, New York, and spring is beginning.  Our classroom could have used more heat.  Our students could have used more “Buy In”.

The seminar was proceeding fairly well, except for a few skeptical engineers who thought they already knew everything worth knowing. These two engineers already knew how to communicate with their computers, and people skills didn’t really have much to contribute to their work day.  At least this is the message their facial expressions were sending to me and to the novice trainer.

Kay, the Provisional Trainer, was feeling their resistance more than I was. I had experienced this attitude from engineers before and knew there was a good chance they would turn around before the three days were over.

At noon break on the second day, one of the two resistance experts stopped me and asked, “Do you think this stuff would help me with a problem I’ve been having for months …er..and… months with a colleague in Japan?

“I don’t know.  Tell me the problem and we’ll see what we can do.”  The questioner was a Visual, so I used a word, “see”, from his native language.  “Tell” is an Auditory word, but sometimes useful when you are not positive of the key perceptual system of a new acquaintance.

“I’ve seen lots of  world wide web messages from this person, but never met him. I have no idea if he is Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic.”

“Good” I thought.  “You have been listening, even while discounting the importance of these skills.”

I needed more information.  “Why do you need to know what he is – VA or K.?”

“Because for ten months we’ve been trying to see eye to eye on which company to select to beta test a new product.   We see this differently.  We cannot agree on a company.  He is difficult. This has been going on so long that IBM is losing money over the delay.”

“Do you have copies of his written messages?”

“Of course.”

“Bring me copies.”

He did, and in two minutes it was obvious the Japanese IBMer was Auditory. His messages were sprinkled with “hear”, “tell”, “talk”, “noisy”, “loud,” “tone”, “discordant” and similar Auditory words. We counted 15 Auditory words.   I marked these out in a red pen, and the answer to the situation  was instantaneous. My questioner was Visual, of course.  Visuals and Auditories  not only speak different languages, but also live in different worlds.  These different worlds are created from data of the preferred system of each  person.  To seek agreements, translating is necessary.

We quickly composed an answer to his latest message, with al the reasons the Japanese IBMer  should go  with the company that my new “convert ” wanted. The reasons were  expressed in Auditory words.

We had an answer back before the end of the day, agreeing to our proposal. I had the winner recount all this to the class.  We passed around the winning message. The remaining  Resistant Engineer capitulated as soon as he heard the tale.  We suddenly had two verbal advocates for the third day of the training.  And a class full of engineers who wanted to learn this magic in sensory language. Communicating with people is harder than communicating with machines.

If you are working on building a Conscious Culture, you need skills for creating rapport and understanding between people  with different perceptual preferences. Such as, all of  us.

In order to create a culture of cooperation, you must learn to speak the others’ languages, whether Visual, Auditory, or Kinesthetic (feelings and actions). Otherwise, they can hear you, but they will never agree with your world view because their perspective and the data they’ve collected over a life time  is so different.   The cultures of Japan and America were not the problem.  The problem was all in the perceptual preferences and the differences in viewpoint that these preferences create.

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Why The Principles Of Conscious Capitalism Lead To Success

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I was training corporations in the principles of conscious capitalism long before I had heard of it. That’s because I knew these  ideas worked in my life, and had found they worked in other people’s lives as well.  Also, because many corporations were willing to pay me and Certified Trainers of my seminars  handsomely to teach this to their employees.

One of my more interesting clients, a giant telephone company, trained more than 1,000 employees in our “Influencing with Integrity” skills because they discovered their sales increased as their people learned our conversation/sales  skills.  What did we teach them?

One of the key ideas was to listen to the customer and find out the customer’s needs before offering a product.  When we began we heard admiring stories of telephone sales people who sold a two person business a system that would handle 20 employees.  The commission was larger for the bigger system of course.  Since many telephone sales people’s wages are based on commission, this seemed like a smart move.  Except the customer couldn’t have been too happy when they eventually discovered they had been “snookered”.

Once our trainers introduced “dovetailing”, lots of sales pitches changed.   “Dovetailing”  has three steps:

1. You know your outcome: to make a sale

2. You find out your client’s outcome: to purchase something they need

3. You find a solution that perfectly matches both of your outcomes.
This sometimes requires creative thinking skills which pay off  in increased business, trust, and referrals in the long run.  Pretty obvious, once you think about this.

The extra dividends from dovetailing are:

1. Retention rates go up because people feel good about their jobs

2. Job satisfaction is increased

3. More humor is seen/heard in the workplace

4. Sales call/close ratio increased by 25%.

Conscious Capitalism’s  focus on  Purpose, Stakeholders, Leadership and Culture is another way of implementing “Dovetailing”.  Comforting to have other people agree with us.

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Setting Shared Outcomes for Conscious Business

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As John Mackey and Raj Sisodia point out in their recent book; ‘Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business’, “Win-win relationships between all stakeholders correlate to better customer experiences, less employee turnover, higher engagement, lower overhead, higher profits and sustained growth.”

Simply pointing out the benefit to the other side, if they join you in your outcome, can determine the result. Sometimes win-wins are not obvious.

Here is an example from a participant in our “Negotiation Excellence” seminar that I taught at the United Nations. A representative from a small African country asked me to have a drink after class. He wanted to ask me how to ask his boss for a raise.

“Do you need more money to live on in New York?” I replied, looking for more information.

“No. No. I have plenty of money. I need a raise in my designated level. I am a 3, and I need to be a 5 to negotiate with key people in other countries.”

“3’s cannot negotiate with 5’s?”

“That’s right. We can say, “Hello”, but we cannot negotiate a contract or agreement.”

“Why wouldn’t your boss raise you a level?”

“ I have only been here a few months. Takes time to earn a new level. Traditionally, you only get raised one level at a time. He may think I am after his job.”

“Are you?”

“Of course not. He is a 6, and all I want is to be able to represent my country in negotiations with 5’s. That’s where the important agreements are finalized.”

“Would it be helpful to him if you could negotiate with these other delegates?”

“Of course, yes.”

“Then open your request with this, the advantages to him of your being a 5.”

“Good idea. He knows, deep down, I do not want his job. It’s a hard job.”

“Then do it.” He paid for the drinks.

The next morning in class, his voice reflected his excitement and enthusiasm as he told the class about his early meeting with his boss in which he showed his boss how moving him up two levels would benefit his country and his boss. He got the new designation, and I got a class of non-resisters to our modules on outcome setting and dove-tailing (win-win outcomes).

Any time you are helping the other person attain their goals at the same time you attain your own goals, you are setting up a win-win, and taking responsibility for yourself and for them. This works to make the agreement hold up, every time.

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My Introduction to Conscious Capitalism

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When I first designed and began teaching “Influencing with Integrity” over 30 years ago, I had never heard of the idea that business had any other goal except to make profits. I had been a salesperson, an airline stewardess, an accountant’s assistant, a retail store owner, an advertising artist, a Yoga teacher, and the owner of a small shopping center.  All of these endeavors  (except for Yoga) had as their goal a pay check or rent check.

Oddly enough the seminar I created, taught, and promoted during those years was focused on training people to be conscious in their interactions with others, and to take responsibility for their actions.   It was such fun to show people the skills they need to get along with others, to achieve positive results and to enjoy their lives.  People skills.  How to understand one’s own motivations better, and how to set up rapport, even with people they maybe didn’t like but with whom they had to work.  Teaching this was satisfying.

Yes, my audience was primarily business, though our participants took the skills home and found they worked very well with teen-agers, angry spouses, difficult mother-in-laws, the butcher, the baker and the computer repair person.  Early on I was happy at the success of our programs, but I thought that undertaking research to measure and scientifically prove that we actually did change people in three days would improve our sales.  I administered a pre- and post-test to our participants that would indicate an increase in awareness of personal responsibility.  The test has only 16 questions so it is quick, but it is incredibly sensitive to a philosophical shift on the part of the participants.

My professor (I was an Education Ph.D candidate at the time) had found a sociology instrument for me, and it proved to be so useful for my dissertation research that I tried it on the first 11 classes of my new seminar.  The instrument is named “Internal/External Locus of Control” and has many studies proving its effectiveness.  Through my research I discovered that Externally Controlled personalities blame luck, chance or powerful other people for the events of their lives.  On the other hand, Internally Controlled people tend to take responsibility.

Internally Controlled people are also more successful, make better grades, gather more information, get well quicker, have a better sense of humor and are simply more fun to be around. Blaming others and bad luck for your situation is a downer for all.

Through our research we discovered that the people in our seminars showed a statistically significant shift toward Internal Locus of Control; in other words, they became more personally responsible.

Recently, three attendees showed up together for one of my seminars, and at the end, announced to me: “You are teaching Conscious Capitalism.”

“No”, I replied, “I am teaching “Influencing with Integrity.”

“Same thing,” one of them replied. They then explained the four principles of Conscious Capitalism: Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Leadership, and Conscious Culture.

“There is quite a degree of similarity.” I had to agree.  For example, our Module 3 is focused on “Outcome Setting and Elicitation.”  This means that, to be successful in interactions such as a negotiation, we recommend you: (1) set your outcome in sensory based terms, then (2) elicit the other’s outcome in their own sensory based terms, then finally (3) use creative thinking to find a way for both or all of you to reach your outcomes.

The goal of a conscious business approach is to create value for all stakeholders: employees customers, suppliers, investors, and the community at large.  I learned we’ve been training the skills and strategies needed for a conscious business approach decades before I knew about the Conscious Capitalism movement.  Rapport, awareness, dovetailing, diversity acceptance and creative thinking strategies are key skills needed to build a conscious organization from the inside out.

With over 50,000 graduates of “Influencing with Integrity” across 17 countries I have seen many examples and situations of people creating more positive outcomes after learning these skills, changing their businesses and their lives for the better.  Over the coming weeks we will post some of these stories in the hope that together we can build a more conscious business community.

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Grow Your Brain with New Skills

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If you prefer Pleasure over Pain – as Freud said, all “normals” do. There are two books you should read this month. The first is, “Super Brain”, which posits that the old info about the brain cells dying off as we age is not necessarily true. We can sharpen our brain (and add dendrites for new synapses) at any age. Adventures of new experiences does this growing beautifully.

Book number two is, “Proof of Heaven” by a neuro-surgeon who , through a near death experience, changed his beliefs and erased his death fears. Since fears of all sorts are the cause of most of the world’s ills, this is a powerful message for all of us.

“Super Brain” inspired us to change the title of our landmark seminar, “Influence with Integrity”. We’ve been using that title for 28 years, even though we’ve added a lot of new insights, strategies and skills as the research on the brain unfolded. All the concepts of the seminar are not new, but all are relatively unknown outside the 50,000 plus who have attended the 3-day trainings.

If you haven’t signed up, you are missing out on some brain commutations that your competitors may have already learned. They will assist you in gaining what you want out of life – today. If not we refund your tuition.


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