Volume 6, Issue 6 | April 3, 2010
www.shift-it-coach.com | [email protected]



  1. A Note From Christina
  2. Events Calendar
  3. Article: The Art of Being ‘Generative’
  4. Recent Blog Entries
  5. More Links & Resources



Dear %$firstname$%,

Last year I kept a Visual Positive Aspects collection … photos of things I encountered throughout my days that were positive to me – left me with a good feeling.

Had a bunch of changes with my technology the last few months … and am now back to having a digital camera handy (don’t like the one on my iphone).

The little things in life can make such a big difference. Being a ‘positive sifter’ and looking for those things that do make us FEEL GOOD (they are everywhere when we look) really helps to slow down and spot them --- builds up our ‘focus muscles’ which Law of Attraction work is all about (as what we focus on is what we get … like attracts like!).

Positive Aspects (and art!) Are Everywhere!

The Starbucks dude loved that I took a picture of his happy face and made such a big deal of it (was very cute … as was he!) and well, the blooms are continuing to run riotously here in Victoria, BC … so I just had to take a moment to really take in these white beauties - spectacular!

For more on Positive Aspects see blog post Visual Positive Aspects 1 and full Flickr Photo Set.

Luscious Blooms Abound
Luscious Blooms Abound

Ezine reader (and SHIFT-IT Certification mentee) Gina Lynette has been going strong on Facebook with her own Positive Aspects collection too – love seeing your posts Gina!).

Continuing a bit with this issue’s ‘focus theme’ I’ve written today’s article on The Art of Being ‘Generative’ … which is all about taking a certain kind of focus and curiosity with your interactions and communications with others.

See you next issue!

Christina Merkley,
The SHIFT-IT Coach

ChristinaMerk on:
Twitter @christinamerk

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SHIFT-IT SCHOOL (Upcoming Events):

F.R.E.E. Info Webinar:
Fundamentals of Interactive-Graphics
Tuesday, April 8: noon-1:30pm Pacific

Not sure what this ‘Interactive-Graphics’ stuff is that you seen in my e-zine and blog posts? Curious to learn more about the visual way of working with groups and individuals?

Laptop Lifestyle Freedom Summit

Join me this Thursday for a F.r.e.e. Information Webinar on the Fundamentals of Interactive-Graphics. I’ll define the four main ways of working visually with your clients (custom chart work, graphic recording, graphic facilitation and graphic coaching) and show examples, tips and tricks from my over 17+ years experience in this niche field.

Register Here for F.r.e.e. Webinar


THE FUNDAMENTALS OF INTERACTIVE-GRAPHICS 3-Day Professional Skills Training  May 20-22nd, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Learn Fundamental Visual Skills to Work with Groups and/or Individuals: Graphic Recording, Graphic Facilitation & Graphic Coaching Just 8 Spots Left!

Add the power of working visually to your own consulting, facilitation or coaching practice! Strategically build your foundational skills – no matter where on the visual spectrum you want to play. Apprentice-type training draws keen attendees from across the globe (our graphic tribe) Learn easy, doable tricks to immediately improve the efficiency and range of your work with groups and/or individuals. Treat yourself to this extremely productive (and fun) skills building workshop in a beautiful location. No previous art experience necessary. Full Details and Easy Online Registration


Online Training: Tuesdays, April 20 – June 22nd (10-11:30 am Pacific)
28 Pioneers Already Registered from Across the Globe!

One of the ways that I personally have applied my fundamental visual skills is into the realm of Graphic Coaching (a new niche I’ve helped pioneer) and more specifically into my custom SHIFT-IT System and suite of 17 visual maps. After years of being asked – I now teach and license other helping professionals in my custom process and tools. Import this client-pleasing, step-by-step, proven system easily into your own practice for instant visual suave and marketability. Results in more range, options, confidence, clients, prosperity and FUN for you! The Fundamentals of Interactive-Graphics course (see above) is a pre-requisite (or equivalent experience). Special ‘Combo’ package of both trainings available: Full Details and Online Application Process

FEATURE ARTICLE: Feature Article: The Art of Being ‘Generative’

(Now Recorded!) To Listen to My Audio of This Article, Click Here)

I had a personality test done a few years ago – back when I was in a coaching group with some other online entrepreneurs. It gave me some really revealing results about myself and my style of relating. Or, should I say, my styles (plural) of relating.

The test showed that I am a split personality of sorts --- I have a very nurturing and supportive side (hence being a great coach, friend and overall cheerleader) and I also have a very driven and results oriented side (hence being a strong strategist and businesswoman). These two types are almost polar opposites --- the test I took described this as a classic ‘creative personality’ (hmmmm, guess I’m a textbook case on that one given what I do and all!).

Common Temperament and Style Tests:
You might have taken different typologies yourself over the years in coming to understand yourself. Maybe Myers-Briggs, or the Kersey-Type Indicator … or the Enneagram (Sandra Maitri and Don Riso are my favorite Enneagram sources). All of these are pretty commonly personality tests and things I often recommend to my clients. Gives them (and I as their coach) an idea of how they are wired and what their usual habits and modes of being are. What your strengths are and your weaknesses or trouble spots.

Communication and Conflict Skills:
One of my own weaknesses is communication. As an introvert I am great at writing, email and social media. And as a facilitator, tele-class leader and occasional radio show host – I do just fine with public speaking and formal venues. And as a coach, I am great with guiding and working with clients on the subject matters I have expertise in. But there is one area of communication that I pretty much suck at --- and that is inter-personal communications that involve conflict. And I know I’m not alone in this.

My nurturing side just wants to stay friendly, nice and take all the blame on myself – until I get fed up with that. While my driver side wants to blame, lash out and make someone else wrong. Neither of them works well in a conflict situation and to make matters worse, I can ping pong back and forth between the two (utterly confusing (and sometime hilarious) for the poor person I am going at it with).

As my business grows and my team expands (and as I actually go about creating a personal life for myself too) I’m having to ‘grow myself’ in this really important area. Perhaps you are finding this too as you emerge into your Next Self!?

The Art of ‘Generative Conversations’:
Thankfully I have a very patient coach (who is also a skilled therapist – bless her heart) who is helping me with this growth edge. Judy and her colleagues are teaching me a way of being in ‘generative conversations’ with others … instead of habitual reacting. I don’t know about you, but I certainly never learnt this stuff growing up. Instead I saw a bunch of withdrawing and/or acting out. So, as an adult, I’ve got to grow myself up a bit more and figure out how to do these things more maturely.

So, what is a ‘Generative Conversation’ anyways? You can plunk ‘Generative Conversation’ into any search engine and you’ll find a ton of stuff on it. Basically a Generative Conversation is one that you approach with the intent of OPENING the conversation, rather than shutting it down. It’s about owning your assumptions and projections rather than just splattering them onto the person you are engaging with. What a concept eh! (I know, sarcasm doesn’t translate well).

Instead of assuming what someone is thinking or feeling – you instead check out your assumption/projection and see if it is true. You may be right or, you may find you are wrong, at least to a certain degree. Then, you can use the information you have just learned to build greater rapport and understanding.

An Example:
I used this a few months ago with a long time friend when he and I tried changing the nature of our relationship to a romantic one. We ran into some blocks and came to an impasse. I really valued his friendship so instead of letting the silence continue, I took a risk and shared how I was feeling and expressed a genuine curiosity about what was going on for him. Genuine is the key word.

I basically shared my assumptions about what I thought was going on and asked if I was correct. I was right on some of them – but significantly off on others. We ended up having the most honest and in-depth communication we had ever had. Instead of feeling frustrated and muzzled I was able to walk away feeling relieved, heard and understood – sooooo much better. And, I understood and respected where he was coming from too … even though the answers weren’t exactly what I wanted to hear and our flirtation ended, decently.

Ways to Phrase:
There are some phrases you can use to evoke a more generative conversation with someone, no matter what the challenge you are dealing with. Here are a few to get you started:

“When ‘x’ (insert situation or fact) happens, I tell myself it means ‘x’ …and then I feel ‘x’ (insert emotion). What are you telling yourself about it?”

“The story that I’m telling myself about this is …. (insert your story). And the feelings that this leaves me with are (define your feelings). I’m curious what is going on over on your side … what are you telling yourself and what are you feeling?”

“I notice that I’m feeling … (insert your feeling) and I’m really curious about what might be going on for me … my guess about it is …. (share your guess). Would you be willing to share what is going on for you – I’d really like to know”

You’ll notice that these three phrases take the onus and pressure off of the other person. They require you to get self aware and curious about yourself and your own reactions and share them in a safe and respectful way. There are many, many ways to look at and consider a situation. Different people, given their backgrounds and natures see and feel things in different ways.

Just because you give a generative conversation a try doesn’t mean it will be well received. Not everyone cares to hear your stories or feelings about things. And not everyone is capable of identifying and sharing their own stories and feelings – it does require a certain level of self-awareness and vulnerability. However, some people will be able to meet you there – sometimes the people who you assume can’t. And that can be a lovely experience and a real eye-opener and label breaker. It’s worth taking the chance to find out.

Generating Our World:
A deeper concept running under this that is compatible to Law of Attraction studies is that we are creating or ‘generating’ our world … according to how we are habitually engaging with it. Our habits sometimes are so ingrained and familiar to us that we don’t see what we are doing. Hence, we don’t see how we are in fact CREATING our world by the knee-jerk and often unconscious decisions and actions that we make all the time.

Having the intent to have a Generative Conversation can shift your world. When you act differently from your norm, there is a chance that the world will respond differently to you … sometimes showing you an alternative reality that was pulsating there all along, just waiting for you to take a different stance. As individuals, when we act different, we shift our personal world … enough people do that then our cultural world shifts too. Here’s to evolving one person at a time! We all add up and can affect the collective too!

Hopefully I’ve given you some food for thought … and I wish you well in engaging in a few Generative Conversations of your own.

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© 2010 Christina L. Merkley

You can, as long as you include this blurb and a functional link to my site:

Christina Merkley, "The SHIFT-IT Coach" and creator of the SHIFT-IT System®, is a Visioning and Strategic Planning Expert specializing in Visual Thinking and Law of Attraction techniques. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she works deeply with individuals, partners and conscious businesses to define and manifest what they truly want. And, trains other helping professionals in her innovative ways of working. For more www.shift-it-coach.com


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Christina Merkley
The SHIFT-IT Coach

Christina Merkley is The SHIFT-IT Coach. Creator of the SHIFT-IT System®, she guides individuals, partners and conscious companies in defining and getting what they really, really want.

A teacher of Law of Attraction, she is also an expert in visual meeting techniques, strategic planning and visioning: having worked for such notable companies as BBC, Readers Digest Funds, eBay and Stanford University. After a move from San Francisco, she now lives in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada - where she maintains a vibrant coaching, facilitation and training practice.

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Copyright © 2004-2010 Christina L. Merkley. All rights reserved.
60 Dallas Road, Victoria, British Columbia, V8V 1A2, Canada