A few months ago I found myself in a volunteer position, enthused, excited, eager to put my skills and energies into something concrete. Part of a terrific team of people, this effort looked like it would be as much fun as it was work.

Except for one stumbling block. A bully.

You’d think that bullies were reserved for the schoolyard, but they exist in boardrooms, in charities, in business associations, in fundraising campaigns. And I came face to face with a real live one. As I watched meetings disintegrate and people’s efforts get trampled on, I found myself moving towards the exit. I mean, what else can you do with a bully? Fight, or flight. Right?

I learned a long time ago to pick my fights scrupulously, so this looked like the time to just quietly depart. I sure didn’t have the energy (or will) to spend much time in the company of one so incapable of seeing the damage of actions.

And then I ran into Bob Palmer. We’d actually made a coffee appointment, just to catch up on his business and my business. When the conversation turned to my current dilemma, Bob pointed out that I had another choice. Another choice? Fight. Flight. What else?

Well... I could change the way I reacted, alter the impact, as it were.

Enter Bob, black belt karate instructor, neuro linguistic programmer (NLP, for short), confidante, believer, friend. Bob Palmer’s work has historically been with sports folks. He’s the coach for coaches. He’s the guy who can make a team a consistent winner. But his fabulous ability is finding its way into business, and I for one am really happy about this.

In a few sessions, Bob and Sport Excel took my mind in entirely new directions. In a way, Bob led me through my own reality, and using effective techniques, he helped me develop my own ability to massage my reaction to an outcome. Once I felt comfortable enough to truly experience his philosophy, I began to progress quickly.

Again and again Bob brought me back to my central challenge... understanding that I have a third choice. Again and again he taught me how to select the choice and make it real. And then I felt safe enough to look back on my working and volunteer life and see other bullies. How often had I robbed a volunteer team of my enthusiastic skill by simply, quietly going to the exit? Lots, it turns out. One by one, Bob introduced me to a different way of handling a problem that had remarkable similarities.

With his guidance I learned that everything I do can be viewed from three different vantage points. And I can choose which one I want to stay in... We settled on my definitions of goals and outcomes, what I consider to be my peak performance and conversely, what I consider as personal failures. He helped me actually experience the feelings around peak and valley. And then how to choose peak.

From this one incident, Bob and Sport Excel moved into my business activity, discussing choice points and sharing techniques that allow me to set and meet goals without compromising my values and integrity. And without running from the bullies.

Bob’s business tag line is Bringing Your Mind Into Play.

I think he does way more than that. He’s helped me look at all the positions I play in my lifesport and understand what’s functional in each of them. What a gift! As I apply what I’ve learned in my business endeavours, I look back at my parenting-of-teens years and think about how useful this could be on the home front as well.

How often can we learn how to befriend our problems? Not often enough, I think.

Thanks, Bob. And bully for you!

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