Tag Archives: conflict resolution


I’m pleased to share the cover design and editorial summary for my upcoming publication. Please feel free to let me know what you think!

The Tell Me More Gesture: How & Why to Welcome Conflict
Editorial Summary 

Author Janet Rowles begins her work with a surprising yet profound perspective on interpersonal conflict: “Conflict is an essential and unavoidable part of experiencing life to its fullest.” With this sentiment, she has created an indispensable guide to navigating conflict in a new way, one that does not urge readers to suppress or minimize their emotions—or the emotions of others in conflict with them— even when those emotions are perceived to be negative or messy.

Rowles taps into her own experiences of both conflict mediator (professionally) and instigator (personally) to take an empathetic approach toward helping others self-manage—and even welcome— their own conflicts. She encourages the reader to lean into conflict by saying three simple words: “Tell me more.” Throughout every chapter, Rowles’ belief that embracing conflict rather than stifling it is essential for fulfilling the fundamental desires for deeper and more meaningful relationships.

Throughout the book, Rowles utilizes a rich assortment of tools, tips, quotes, examples, and outside resources to aid the reader. Many of the pages contain pertinent quotations in the sidebar, drawing on the wisdom of great thinkers to speak to the conflict we all experience in life. Exercise boxes invite the reader into personal reflection throughout the chapters in addition to the journal entry spaces that appear at the end of each chapter. This helpful dual-reflection format gets readers to engage in analysis while reading as well as after they’ve finished the chapter, giving them more time for absorption of the content. Together, these complementary parts create an invaluable resource for readers of all backgrounds.

The author also injects her own personality into the work, using case studies from her professional and personal life. This gives the book a deeper level of authenticity and relatability. The integration of Rowles’ personal voice alongside research and insights from the field makes for the perfect marriage of logos and pathos. By the end of the book, I truly felt as if I had reached a new understanding of conflict engagement in a healthy way, while also feeling as if I’d had the author as my personal guide and companion through this journey. Readers are sure to feel the same.

A Buddhist Parable

2008 July Fishing-078

I have been writing and working on my book on how (and why) to welcome conflict, and I have been negligent about making blog posts! And I have much to say!  Today I am noting in particular that, as I am writing the book, I find interesting tidbits to add in for illustration or inspiration. Here is a Buddhist parable that I am finding particularly inspiring. This version is adapted from the book, Triggers, by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter.

A farmer was covered with sweat as he paddled his boat up the river. He was going upstream to deliver his produce to the village, trying to make the round trip before dark. As he looked ahead he spied another vessel, heading rapidly downstream toward his boat. He rowed furiously to get out of the way but it didn’t seem to help.

     He shouted, “Change direction! You are going to hit me! To no avail. The vessel hit his boat with a violent thud. He cried out, “You idiot! How could you manage to hit my boat in the middle of this wide river?” As he glared into the boat , seeking out the individual responsible for the accident, he realized no one was there. He had been screaming at an empty boat that had broken free of its moorings and was floating downstream with the current.

The moral of the story is: it’s always an empty boat. The parent who never acknowledged you, the driver who suddenly cut you off, the boss who promoted the slacker – they are all empty boats. They were acting based on their own unexamined or unresolved psychological suffering. It had nothing to do with you.

What about HIGH conflict?

Thursday, February 18, 2016 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Conflict Resolution Center, 2101 Hennepin Ave. #100, Minneapolis
Janet Collins, Mediation Unlimited, trainer

Go beyond basic mediation skills and learn what to do about the CONFLICT. This workshop is for mediators who want to improve their skills by learning how to deal with high conflict and emotionally-difficult situations including anger, hostility, sadness, repetitiveness, and bullying tactics.  Learn practical skills to help you become more comfortable around and more helpful to people who are really upset.

Attorneys, social workers, and other professionals will also benefit from learning how best to work with clients who are in conflict.

$55 – 3 hours of continuing education credits



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It is also like being held in your own prison. Prison or poison, how do you get rid of resentment and anger if that is what you are feeling? Easy to say – very hard to do. We know intellectually that anger adds stress to our lives and that stress is hard on us emotionally and physically. But doing something about resentment takes a lot of work.

A first step might be to notice any physical symptoms that you have. Are you suffering with stomach aches, indigestion, headaches, losing sleep, or ?? If so, the idea of living symptom-free can be a good motivator to help us accept other people’s humanness in exchange for better health and productivity. This is merely a first step, of course.

The next step might be to ask yourself why this person’s behavior affects you so greatly. How can you make the behavior matter less? How can you appreciate the person as a whole person and not just see him/her as that one behavior?

Oh! And have you ever tried talking directly to the person? It’s surprising how much relief one can feel from having a good talk and it’s shocking how many resentments go undiscussed.

Anybody have other ideas about how to get rid of resentments?

The above quote has been attributed to many people, most notably Nelson Mandela, Carrie Fisher, and Malachy McCourt.