Your Perception or My Reality?

We all know that our perception is our reality.  We also know that the same perception isn’t shared by everyone.  When it comes to a shared experience, we can easily, and emphatically, feel that a person who describes the experience differently than we do to be Lying.  It often becomes a block of sorts in our mind once we determine someone to have lied about us or something we were involved in.  We experience anger regarding it.

When two (or more) persons perceptions are to be taken into consideration for purposes of decision making, we increase the risks of disagreement on the decision to be made.  And as I said, once one person feels there to be dishonesty, things can unravel quickly.

My job as Your Mediator is to facilitate communication between you.  Chances are, you have already communicated what you don’t agree on.  So my job is really to facilitate communication of what you do agree on.  Sometimes that is much like finding a needle in a haystack (or as one colleague called it- pulling a rabbit out of a hat).  The good news is that its in there somewhere.

It is not my job to tell you every word that was said when I speak privately with each party.  It is not my job to point out discrepancies you hadn’t stumbled upon yet.  I’m not here to even the score for the wrongs imposed on you by the other person.  I’m here to help you Move On.  It is my job to listen, and listen well.  When you’re the person in the dispute every thing usually sounds offensive.  Because you know intimate details about the other person, you know what their motive is and you don’t want them to get away with anything.  I don’t usually have to ask, “what do you think they’re really saying?” its usually offered immediately by the person who’s worried I missed something.  And its important.  I want you to tell me the details of why they’re saying what they’re saying.  I need all the info you can give me because I don’t know either of you at all.  I don’t have the answers- You Do.  They’re just scattered, shattered, and all but forgotten.

My office is the place to think out loud.  Let the accusations, complaints, and oh so bias perceptions fly like the wind.  These are the exact ingredients which comprise your Reality.  You come to see me because you want that reality to look different tomorrow than it does today- but we can only work with what you bring to the table.

So let it out.  Tell me the whole story.  Because within that story is the keys necessary to unlock the next chapter for you. I don’t have any of the pieces to your puzzle, but I can help you turn them to make them fit.

When you’re Ready to Move On, I’ll be here.

Sometimes all you need is Someone to Turn the Puzzle Piece.

Sometimes all you need is Someone to Turn the Puzzle Piece.

Call Today.  The rest of your life begins Here. (509) 795-6888 Or email me with questions BelindaJ.empire@gmail.com TrueNorthEmpire.com has links to my other social media sights as well as a direct link to email me.

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You Selfish Resolver!

I’ve seen it in many cases throughout the years that once a couple separates; they become parent of the year, a fitness guru, or a financial planning genius.   It is often perceived by the other person to be all for show or even for spite.  I hear frequently that a parent is only attending the child’s sporting events, or volunteering at the school to make every one think they are this really great parent.  I also have clients tell me that the other person only hit the gym to make them jealous, or exclaim disgust because the spending habits that were a huge problem in the marriage are under control now that the marriage is over.  My clients feel it to be a direct jab at them for the other person to be finally doing what they had wanted for so long.  Let’s be honest- Sometimes it absolutely is.

I must ask however, why does that matter?  I realize its irritating. I understand why it’s irritating.  I’m pointing out that it’s not bad.  If a person betters them-self, whether for a moment or a lifetime, it’s not bad.  There is good available there.

When I drove by the courthouse last week there was a lot of snow on the sidewalk and the man with the hot dog stand was shoveling the walk.  Obviously he wants to keep access to his hot dog stand available.  So is he selfish?  His motive may be, or maybe not.  Maybe even if he didn’t have a hot dog stand he would have been out there shoveling the sidewalk in front of the courthouse, but I doubt it.  Many people benefited from his act of selfish kindness.   We also see it when there’s a national tragedy.  I sure hugged my kids tighter in the days before Christmas this year, and I know most every parent did.  Did we love our children less on December 13, 2012 than we did in the days after? I doubt it.  But I am certain that many families loved stronger the remaining days in 2012 and that was a positive reaction.

What I am trying to remind us all of is that positive outcomes can be derived from quite selfish motives.  If we begin acting like a more loving parent, a healthy eater, and a better financial planner- some of it will accidentally stick. While your likely to wish this desirable behavior was occurring already; not much is gained by being angry that is exists now.  What’s worse, your spending energy in the opposite direction of moving on.

Its okay to be unimpressed.   You don’t need to give bonus points for someone finally doing what they should have been doing all ready, or for helping others with a self serving motive.  But let them do it.  You don’t benefit enough from disliking the positive behavior to make it worth your time.

Want to learn more about mediation and what True North Empire can do to help you?  Call Today (509) 795-6888

The rest of your life begins Here.

Check out my Facebook page for inspirational quotes and occasional sarcasm, as well as more information on what True North Empire has to offer.

Dissolution- Don’t let the Resolve Dissolve

I have another great example of how Mediation is the the best way to Move On in a conflict situation.  Disclaimer: I’m changing all the nouns, and substituting the details that have any chance at being identifiable so if you think for one sentence that you know who I’m talking about- give it up.  This exact example never actually happened.

Another Disclaimer: When you start to think I made this up and two educated, sober people could not possibly recall the same incident with such impossible discrepancy- I assure you they do.

I was helping this couple, Jane and John of course, sort out the details of their divorce.  The item that was the most difficult to “separate” was the china cabinet.  They had invested time, and money, and both had an attachment to it.  We were on our 3rd session and they had been able to remain in the same room every time.  When we discussed the cabinet they got real snippy so it was time to visit with them separately.

John let me know they had paid about $1,500 for the cabinet and the drive to Canada to get it took up a day and a half (fuel, day off work, etc.).  He had been the one to purchase all the dishes in it, and they were collectibles for display, not for use.  It was John who had wanted the cabinet in the first place and he’d done all the research to find just the perfect one for Jane knowing she would convert to loving it, and he was right.  Since he put so much effort into finding the perfect cabinet for Jane’s preference, he wasn’t nearly as attached to it as her but he sure as heck wasn’t going to just give it to her, plus he had put so much research into the collector dishes only to have her actually use them and negate their value that he was fed up and wanted to buy his own new cabinet.  The price that met “half way” to him was $1,000.  He let me know how much he was displeased with the monetary, as well as non-monetary loss he was taking here but chalked it up to another cost of picking the wrong wife.  If she would compensate him in the amount of $1,000; she could have the cabinet and the expensive dishes she devalued in it.

Jane let me know they had paid about $750 for the cabinet and let me know they’d had it shipped.  She was pretty sure shipping was in the $200 range.  (YES, two people can literally recall the same situation that differently) As for the dishes in the cabinet, she did not feel she had devalued them in any way, and in fact had added to it with her own favorite brand which was usable in the freezer, oven, and looked nice on the table.  She was of the opinion that she certainly used it more, and it should go to her but would give it up if it meant being done for good.  If John was willing to let her keep the cabinet she was willing to offer him $1,000 for it, since it really belonged to both of them.

Hopefully you can see what we have here.  They are coming from polar opposite places of experience, opinion, and input; all the way to the part that matters.   If this couple tried to have a conversation to decide who should get the cabinet and how much the other person should have to compensate for it they would have never got past arguing about the day they bought it.  If they would have been paying attorneys to have the conversations for them it would have resulted in a court proceeding where they would have produced receipts, records, pictures, appraisals, and possibly statements from professionals or supportive friends.  Of course producing such “proof” would have solved some of the discrepancy.  The couple would have likely invested a substantial amount of time and money into the fight, and exploited each other’s vulnerable points on the subject to gain a better grip on their own position.  Their anger for each other would increase substantially, and a minimum of weeks (since it takes 10 days minimum to get into hearing anyway) would be wasted on boring their co-workers, friends, and family over the details of this wretched cabinet that they both wind up wondering if they even want it in their home anymore for all the trouble it’s caused them.  Depending on what the receipts and appraisals showed, there may or may not have been a transfer payment ordered, the dishes may have been separated from the cabinet, or some other solution may have been imposed.

The point here is that they were both happy with the exact same end result.  They had very, VERY different reasons and paths to that resolve but were both comfortable with a payment of $1,000 from Jane to John, and Jane keeps the cabinet with the dishes all still in it.

When I brought them back together, I started slowly, but introduced the pieces of information they agreed on and you could literally see the tension leave the room as they both were hearing they were going to get what they wanted.  Did the cabinet cost $1500 or $750? Did they drive to Canada, or was it shipped? What brand of dishes are in it? The answer to all of it- WHO CARES.  She agreed to cut him a check for 1Large within 10 days and he was already shopping for the cabinet he really wanted which he would fill with dishes no one would use.

Only Mediation offers this type of process where a neutral 3rd party can hear what the issues are, and help the people reach an answer.  The Fight Is Not The Answer.  That’s not to say the fight won’t ever produce an answer, or even the same answer, but is it necessary? More importantly, is it worth it?  Only in Mediation can you really tell your story, in your words, and choose weather or not the other person should be in the room to hear it.  Judicial economy does not, and should not, provide for this kind of detail.  But it’s your life.  You deserve to be heard and have a say in the decision.  Mediation offers you that.

Sometimes all you need is Someone to Turn the Puzzle Piece.

Sometimes all you need is Someone to Turn the Puzzle Piece.

Looking for a Neutral Ear

When we are in conversation with someone, what we hear is affected by what we know (or ahem… perceive…. see my note A Chosen Perception for more on that topic).  You’ve seen it all the time when you overhear a conversation between strangers.  It’s easy to hear where they are mis-communicating.  Sometimes you might even wish you could break in the conversation and say, “no he said this not that” just to clear it up for them. 

It’s even more prominent when we have an existing relationship with the person we are in conversation with.  Be it a business or interpersonal relationship; the longer we’ve known them the more we hear out of what they say.  All the additional information is really helpful when communications are running smooth. You can communicate quicker and convey a larger amount of info when you know someone better.  

It works in the reverse as well. When you disagree, someone could tell you the sky is blue and you know what they really mean.  With that in mind it’s a wonder how every dispute doesn’t require mediation.

What mediation offers is a neutral ear.  I don’t have an agenda with the issue at hand, and I don’t hear the undertone of how things are postured.  I just hear information.  As a mediator I can help extract the necessary information from the loaded statements of what the clients are saying they want. Even if I hear the “ulterior motive” loud and clear; I’m not personally invested in it so I can translate it more easily into useful statements of position, and we can move on.   

The most important part if it, of course, is that you get to be part of the decision making process.  

Mediation.  Your Decisions. Your Way.

True North Empire

Isn’t Mediation Really Just Giving In?

After all, if you could come to an agreement, you would have, right? So now it’s time to let a judge tell the other side that you’ve been right all along.

Think again.  Not only does the judge not have the opportunity to know the details that got you to the decisions you’re making; common sense isn’t always allowed.  Unless there’s a trail of police records **and you’re not part of them**….You may not want an authoritative stranger making life decisions for you.

Remember that in a court setting each party has the opportunity to tell their side of the story- and each story is given equal weight in  importance.

“Fair and Equitable” isn’t up to you.  It’s up to you to convince a stranger what “fair” in your life should look like.  Hey, maybe that’s what you want.  Maybe you want someone to tell you what you’re allowed to do; and what the consequence will be if you violate that Order.

But on the off chance that you want to make enforceable life decisions for yourself- Choose Mediation.

Here you can bring your WHOLE STORY and have more than 10 minutes to tell it.  Better yet, bring your attorney and let them help you say it right.  But in the end- YOU DECIDED.

The best part? You can change your mind…..What??? Life may change in ways you didn’t expect???  That’s right.  Change your mind as your needs change and have a say in what you’re obligations should be based on just that.

I’m not a Judge, Commissioner, or Attorney.  I’m just one of you.  What do I know? Only how it feels to really be there, and have to live with the decisions that were made.  When you need an authoritative stranger to let the other side know what’s best- its also being decided for YOU, and you’re just as put in your place as they are. So is Mediation really just giving in? Sure.  Giving in to the fact that you are capable of making your own decisions.  Maybe that’s not for you.

TrueNorthEmpire – I’m here to help.

I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in any state.  Nothing I have said or ever will say is ever legal advice. Ever.

Dissolution Illusion

If you’ve been through a divorce, or known some one who has; you know it’s not an easy time in life.  Whether “breaking up” was a well planned life step orchestrated amicably, or an unexpected and life shatter-er; it’s complex and overwhelming.  No one can figure it out for you, and you won’t get it figured out in one day.  The fact is- Only You Know What You Want and Why.

It’s difficult to sort through your thoughts, needs, and options.  Many of us have friends and family members that offer support, advice, and just an ear to listen.  Some of us keep the whole thing to ourselves.  Regardless of your support system, there are decisions that should not be made by a stranger.

To further that thought; the decisions can easily be diluted by the illusion of needing to stand our ground.  It’s human nature to want our voice heard, and protect what’s rightfully ours. We will go to great lengths to ensure we don’t have things taken from us.  We have locks on our doors, security systems, insurance policies, law enforcement, and even neighborhood block-watch to ensure our belongings are safe from being removed without our permission.

So where’s the line between protecting your interests and wasting the resources available to replace them?  Only you can know where that boundary is.  Until you see it, you’re looking through the “Dissolution Illusion”.  It’s the naturally protective place where we won’t allow specific things to be taken from us, and we are therefore at risk of everything else being unprotected.

A perfect example is this: A couple in the midst of divorce have a recently purchased a 60″ 3D Plazma HDTV. They both worked overtime to afford it, and both have favorite movies and programs they now enjoy more because of it.  The cost of the spectacular TV was $2,000 and their homeowners policy would cover it if it were stolen from the home.  These people are proud of this hard earned luxury and both feel deserving of keeping it.  It’s quite common for there to be lawyers representing their side of the story at a cost of about $250 per hour, so together it’s $500 per hour going out to protect their interest in this TV.

Of course there’s more to it, (other things being argued and what not) but it’s too easy to get caught up in standing your ground.  Only you know how much protecting your interest is worth as a dollar value.

Only you know when you could have replaced what you were fighting to keep had you not continued fighting about it.

As I’ve stated in other articles, there are some decisions that should be made by an authority.  But is who gets the TV one of them?  Granted, this is an expensive, spectacular TV, and who gets to keep it is not an easy thing to figure out fairly.  So would you rather have some one else decide?  And if so, how much are you willing to pay to get to that decision?

Only you know these answers but it sure is worth thinking about. Clarity is available through your divorce, but you must actively seek it.  I’ve been there, and I know it’s not easy.  And even when you feel you’ve overcome one hurdle, your standing in front of another one, but you gain wisdom and experience along the way. You’ll make some decisions you later rejoice, and some you regret; just like in all areas of life.  An important thought to keep reoccurring in your mind is to avoid the Dissolution Illusion.  Try to remember that this is a transition phase.  What’s going on right now is not what will always be.  Try to remember that when you do get your new routine with your new and old belongings and habits; you want to have as many resources still in tact as possible.  So don’t be wasteful with time, money and energy because the fight is already happening.

How and why you got here isn’t as important as how and where you’re going.

Avoid the Dissolution Illusion.  Actively seek clarity.  Remember to ask yourself if the item your hanging onto is worth cost of what else slips through your grip.

Dissolution Illusion

When the Emotions Clear; What Will You See?

To find out more you can visit my website at www.TrueNorthEmpire.com for when the fight is not the answer.  We know you want to communicate.  All you need is someone to listen.

Litigation vs Resolve

Many of our disputes are headed toward litigation. Many are already in the middle of it.  Unfortunately, “lawsuit”, and “court action” are likely words you are familiar with.  The reason this is unfortunate is that there are other options available.

Many people feel that the only way to get a conflict resolved is to have a Judge tell the other person what to do.  It’s not uncommon to feel that a Judge or authority is the only way to “get through” to the person you are in conflict with.  My experience however, has been that no one likes to be told what to do.  It has also been my observation that the results of a dispute settled by a Court rarely makes anyone happy.  Even when people feel that they “won” in court, it is not a good feeling they leave with.  The cost alone of the litigation usually dampens any good feelings available.

What I’m describing here is that it’s more pleasant to choose to do something you don’t want to do (ie: compromise) than it is to be told to do something you were going to do anyway.   That’s simple human nature.  We want a choice, and we want to feel like the decision made was ours.

www.TrueNorthEmpire.com

Why Resolve It?

Sounds like a funny question, but we want the answer.  Sometimes (okay lots of times) what people are really seeking is validation of their perception.  When the focus of our energy is to accomplish having our perception validated;  we tend to find someone trying to resolve the actual problem to be quite a nuisance.

People in general need an individual amount of proof that they are legit in their discrepancy before they are ready to settle the discrepancy.  And that’s okay.  I can offer that, and it can be healthy for all parties involved.

Limiting negative ripple effect is the real challenge.

Agencies designed to handle the conflicts we find ourselves in can sometimes start to appear as though they advocate the conflict instead of helping resolve it.  That of course is not the intention, but that’s the result.  As I stated in previous blogs; some decisions do require judicial assistance to find equitable balance.  The majority of our disputes however, Do Not.

So it comes down to you.  Do you want to make sure everyone knows how you were done wrong? That is certainly available.  You can even drag it out for as long as you want, and you will never run out of professionals who accept payment in exchange for explaining to an audience just exactly what your rights are.  Continued conflict is available for purchase until you’re ready to move on.

When you are ready to move on, I’ll be here.

www.TrueNorthEmpire.com

Why Belinda J?

For over a dozen years I helped people’s lives become cases in files at the Courthouse.  I’ve been a supporter, a boy cotter, an advocate, and an op-poser to the judicial system that we all turn to when we need something in our life officiated, licensed, enforced; protected, denied, or dissolved.  That system is necessary, helpful, and overwhelmed

We need a Judge or Commissioner to help us be fair about intricate retirement plans, complex insurance settlements, or which Forensic Therapist was the most thorough.  We do not need someone to decide for us where the kids should spend Christmas; If eviction commences the 1st or 15th; And whether the ping-pong table was broken when we rented it.

I could go on about the educational certificates on the wall behind my desk; and why you should be impressed by them. I’ve been a Registered/Certified Paralegal, Certified Notary Public, Certified Mediator (several Certifications over), Transcriptionist, Contract Creator, Expert Witness, Digital/Video Authenticator, Coach, Speaker, Teacher, Leader, Outcast, and Mentor.

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What I am mostly is one of You- With experience in the areas that frustrate us most; and the ability to put in our words the actions that will bring to us the resolve that we really need.

Yes.

Belinda J.

Your Mediator.

Your Solution.

Your Way.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is communication. We need communication. Not a newsflash right? If we know this then why do we have disputes? We know we can’t read each others mind, so we have the tools right in our hands. Why don’t we just communicate? The answer is perception. We can picture in our head exactly what we want, but it’s difficult sometimes to explain it to someone else. Add that they already have a different picture in their head and the explanation is even more challenging. Toss in any element of emotion, and it’s a wonder we can communicate at all. This is where mediation is useful. It is much easier to convey your thought to a neutral third party (me!) and much more effective than the typical results of a dispute. Not that yelling, anger, and court action can be completely eliminated by mediation; but it sure can be a further away part of your history.

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