When you’re stuck in conflict, how do you step outside of the situation enough to identify ways to break the patterns that are keeping you stuck? Especially in ongoing conflict, just doing more of the same isn’t going to change your outcome. Our guest is Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler, author of Optimal Outcomes: Free Yourself from Conflict at Work, at Home, and in Life. We’ll talk about practical, effective strategies you can use to escape the conflict loop – and, thus, get different results!
And as always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!
Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.
Check out Jen Goldman-Wetzler’s website, where you can take the assessments we talk about in today’s conversation.
Grab Jen Goldman-Wetzler’s book Optimal Outcomes on Amazon or from your local bookseller.
FREE Relationship Communication Secrets Guide – perfect help for handling conflict and shifting the codependent patterns in your relationship
Or…check out the Secrets of Relationship Communication complete course!
Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Your Relationship (ALSO FREE)
Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of: The Railsplitters – Check them Out
Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host Neil Sattin. Now, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t managed to live a conflict-free life. In fact, it seems like it can be pretty easy to experience conflict with people in the world around us. And it comes up in our relationships, it comes up at work, it comes up with family, it comes up with your kids, and so I was tantalized when a former guest, Erica Fox, reached out to tell me about a colleague and friend of hers who had just come out with a new book called Optimal Outcomes: Free Yourself From Conflict at Work, at Home and in Life. And I thought, “Conflict-free, that sounds pretty good.” ‘Cause conflict adds a lot of stress. And you know I went through a divorce about a year ago, and that process wasn’t conflict-free, and my divorce before that wasn’t conflict-free. And in fact, there are all kinds of opportunities to experience rocky relationships. And this is particularly vexing for me because I put so much energy into trying to get it right and trying to master communication skills and bring openness and understanding to all of these conversations with people that, not all the time, I don’t want you to think that my life is just riddled with conflict, but occasionally blow up in my face.
Neil Sattin: So I’m excited to have today’s guest here with us to talk about this process of totally reframing the way that you see conflict, how you handle conflict, and how to escape from those perpetual conflicts that seem to be unresolvable. We’ll see how we can go from unresolvable to conflict-free in today’s episode. Our guest’s name is Dr. Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler. She’s the author of Optimal Outcomes as I just mentioned, and she is also the Founder and CEO of Alignment Strategies Group, which is an organization that is focused on creating health in other organizations and corporations. And on top of that, she teaches a popular course on conflict resolution at Columbia University. So let’s dive right in. Before we do, if you want a transcript of today’s episode, just visit neilsattin.com/optimal. Or as always, you can text the word “Passion” to the number 33444 and follow the instructions. Okay, that’s it. Jen Goldman-Wetzler, it’s such a pleasure to have you here with us today on Relationship Alive.
Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler: It’s great to be with you today, Neil.
Neil Sattin: Let’s just dive in with… I’m curious to know how you… How would you define the way that you look at conflict? How is that different from typical conflict resolution? Why is this not your grandmother’s conflict resolution, or maybe your Harvard negotiation program’s conflict resolution?
Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler: Right. It definitely isn’t. It is built on that though. My work in conflict freedom comes out of doing the work of conflict resolution with people on the ground in the Middle East, Israelis and Palestinians, with corporate leaders in pharmaceutical companies and healthcare companies and financial services, professional services. And at some point, about five years into doing that work, I noticed that conflict didn’t always get resolved. The methods that we’ve been teaching for the last 40 years around resolving conflict work well in many situations, but in some situations, they just don’t work. And when I came to that realization, I realized I wanted to dig in and try to understand, “Why not?” And most importantly, “What could we do to free ourselves from those conflict loops?” Those situations that just seem to go around and around and around and never get resolved, no matter what we do, no matter how well we apply the latest conflict resolution methodology. And so it took me about 13 years to get this book written, and it’s based on five years of deep research in the realm of emotions like humiliation and conflict.
Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler: So the main difference really is…
Interested in reading a transcript of the rest of this episode?