Words Create Worlds®
July 2016 Newsletter
Company of Experts Consulting Services
Staying Appreciative, Even When it's Hard... 


Do you find it hard to be appreciative during this time? Economy, politics, war, climate change, education, poverty - there is a lot of "stuff" in the way. And it is all serious "stuff". Staying open to see the possibilities is so important to our happiness, health and general well-being. What helps me is to spend time reflecting on what gave me joy during the day, and equally fulfilling is to give others joy. And that is so easy. Be open to those moments when someone helps you, goes out of their way - like the cashier at the grocery store, the receptionist at the Department of Motor Vehicles or the secretary at your child's school - and show their your appreciation. Ask them what was the best thing that happened today; what excites them most about their job, etc. You may hear something like "no one has ever asked me that question before", be genuine in your interest, listen with your heart and you may just find this one of those joyful moments.

Always remember, the seeds of change are implicit in the questions we ask. Robyn Stratton-Berkessel, an Ai Practitioner and friend, demonstrates the power of questions in this great TedTalk video. Robyn shares how a "simple, intentionally appreciative inquiry can result in a playful state that fosters creativity, openness and togetherness. Grounded in the science of positive psychology, this interactive talk demonstrates how appreciative inquiry opens us up to experience even greater positivity. The result: less fear and strong heartfelt connections and understanding between people, even strangers."

We invite each of you to join in the high energy and well-being that gratitude, compassion, and generosity brings to each of us. As always, we thank each of you for sharing your stories of success - seeking the high points to learn, adapt, and thrive - your stories always bring such light into our office and to our work.

Lastly, we are scheduling our 2017 event calendar. We seek out new training locations and opportunities - any thoughts, ideas and suggestions from you are always welcome. 

As always we appreciate the good work all of you do. May you all have a wonderful week.


Kathy Becker,
President and CEO,
The Center for Appreciative Inquiry
In This Issue:
Appreciative Resources:
Welcome to the Appreciative Inquiry Community
Company of Experts / Center for Appreciative Inquiry is pleased to introduce its newest Certified Appreciative Inquiry Facilitators and/or Coaches to its growing AI family. 

The individual(s) listed below participated in our 4-day Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) and/or our 5 day Appreciative Inquiry Coaching Training (AICT) program and submitted a practicum demonstrating their knowledge and application of Appreciative Inquiry. In reading their practicums, we are able to celebrate in their achievements and observe how Appreciative Inquiry has positively influenced their lives - personally and professionally.
  • Evodia Iswandi, "My Harmony: Family and Togetherness"
  • Marketer Ash, "WE are Safer"
  • Audrey Falk, "Providing Personal and Professional Growth by Intentionally Creating Opportunities to Foster Relationships within the CommUNITY"
  • Wendy Gain, "Palliative Care - In Collaboration We Walk This Journey Together."
  • Allen Balser, "With a deep commitment to service, our organization invites diverse partnerships and collaborations with those who share our goal of supporting single parent families."
  • George and Corina Leca, "With Optimism and Trust, We Are a Strong Team Free to Create Value"
New practicums are frequently posted to our website, so please visit often to see what new stories have been posted.
Understanding Others: What is Behind the Brain's Ability to Empathize?
By: Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D.
Some of the defining memories of my childhood revolve around the phrase tsaved tanem. This cumbersome little idiom doesn't exactly glide off the tongue (especially among non-Armenian speakers) and it has an equally weighty meaning: Let me take away your pain.

As far back as I can remember, people were eager to take away my pain, sometimes multiple times a day. Whether or not I was in actual pain was of no importance. Tsaved tanem was an all-weather term of endearment, and it was spoken with equal gusto when I came home with a scraped knee or when I earned a good grade. It still remains one of my favorite cultural slogans, because despite all of its theatrics, it's rooted in empathy.

Empathy is a complex, multifaceted construct that refers to the "emotional and/or intellectual identification with another person" (Guralnik, 1992, and Berrol, 2006). The human ability to empathize has been called the "building block of our sociality and morality" (Iacobini, 2009). According to Freud (1926), only through empathy are we able to understand another person's psychic life. Empathy reduces the distance between us and others, and facilitates social connectedness and coherence. As a measure of emotional intelligence, it is an ingredient that makes for better leaders, physicians, and conversation partners. Empathy fosters emotional bonding between parents and infants, between partners and friends, and between members of society as a whole.
Importance of Stories
By: Robyn Stratton-Berkessel, Positivity Strategist

Telling Stories and Constructing Narratives
We are all story tellers with our own stories to tell. We depend on a regular narrative to help us navigate through our days. We tell each other stories everyday: at home with our families, at work with our colleagues and clients, at play with our mates, and in romance with our lovers. Who you hang out with informs your narrative - your story. What TV shows you watch, what clothes you buy, the food you eat and all that you regularly do informs your world view and is your story. These are demonstrate the importance of stories.

Significantly, the stories we tell ourselves get lived out daily. They guide our beliefs and choices, thereby impacting our actions. As we become more conscious of our own stories and the stories of others, we begin to notice different perspectives and potentially reach new levels of understanding. We begin to make sense of complex issues, and together we can create new stories.

A beautiful quote of Meg Wheatley says it all: "Remember, you don't fear people whose stories you know, real listening always brings people closer together."
Language as Action: Managing Progress & Accountability
By: Luke Younge, Certified Ai Trainer & Coach, The Center for Appreciative Inquiry
In a previous post I wrote about the concept of Destiny in Appreciative Coaching. For many, the 'radical' approach outlined in that article made sense and breathed new life into their coaching practice; however, many people are curious - how do we evaluate or monitor our client's progress as they live out their Destiny? The International Coaching Federation (ICF) requires its members to adhere to eleven core competencies. The purpose of these competencies is to help coaches support and maximize their client's personal and professional potential. One core competency involves managing a client's process and accountability. This article intends to suggest some methods to: measure, track and evaluate the progress of one's coaching, assess progress and accountability, and reinventing what these terms can mean for us as appreciative coaches.

Progress and Movement
There is a paradigm of progress that says that to progress we must close the gap between where we are and where we want to be. We start here and move to there. In this paradigm milestones, markers, progress indicators all make sense and are very helpful in making good progress. Let's call this the traditional paradigm of progress. There's another paradigm that says that progress is really only seen in hindsight.
Prioritise Positivity: Swap your To-Do List for a Ta-Da List!
By: Sue Langley

Positive emotions are valuable for helping refuel our brains. If we are looking to try something new or create some healthy habits, positive emotions help us achieve our goals. Research shows that positive emotions boost the neurochemical dopamine. This enables the brain to perform at its best and gets us in the right state of mind to create healthy habits.

When we do something we enjoy and feel good doing it, we're more likely to think positively about it later. This in turn inspires us to do it again, setting up an upward spiral of positive behaviour that helps us adopt a life-style change. Barbara Fredrickson, a researcher and author of the Positivity Ratio, observed this effect, linking it with her Broaden and Build Theory. Positive emotions expand our thinking and the breadth of strategies we try, building our resources over time. They also counter the downward spiral of negative emotion if we are feel stressed or lacking willpower.

Inspired by Barbara's latest research I have created a "Ta-Da!! List"-a list of daily actions I love and want to practice to make ongoing positive changes in my life.

Your regular To-Do List may already be full of things you know you should do. Some of these may feel motivating, some may not. Too often our lists get clogged with things we never seem to get done and we wonder why. Try incorporating activities you feel positive and enthused by and want to integrate in your everyday life. Focus on things that will boost positive emotions and wellbeing along side your regular list of tasks. Aim to tick off one or more each day. My aim is three every day!

Here are my personal five top strategies for boosting positive emotions and keeping your brain healthy and well. You may have different ones. I hope to inspire you to add some to your Ta-Da List!
10 Positive Psychology Studies to Change Your View of Happiness
By: Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist

"People wait all week for Friday, all year for summer, all life for happiness."  In An Introduction to Positive Psychology, Dr. William Compton describes positive psychology as seeking "to make normal life more fulfilling." It utilizes the scientific method (hypothesis, prediction, study, research, analysis) to understand the positive and emotionally fulfilling aspects of human behavior. It is the study of what actions, pursuits, and motivations best contribute to the good life.

I enjoy reading positive psychology. The more I discover, the more I am reminded that happiness is rarely found in material possessions or worldly pursuits. Our most fulfilled lives are discovered living for greater causes.

These pursuits are available to us regardless of our heritage, background, or socioeconomic standing. They are freely available to anyone who chooses to dedicate their lives to them.
Learning to Be Kind To Yourself Has Remarkable Benefits
By: Mark Leary, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University in North Carolina

Human beings are the only creatures who can make themselves miserable. Other animals certainly suffer when they experience negative events, but only humans can induce negative emotions through self-views, judgments, expectations, regrets and comparisons with others. Because self-thought plays such a central role in human happiness and wellbeing, psychologists have devoted a good deal of attention to understanding how people think about themselves.

For many years, the experts have focused on self-esteem. Research has consistently shown that self-esteem is related to psychological wellbeing, suggesting that a positive self-image is an important ingredient in the recipe for a happy and successful life. Seeing this link between self-esteem and an array of desirable life outcomes, many parents bent over backwards to ensure that their children had positive views of themselves, teachers tried to provide feedback in ways that protected students' self-esteem, and many people became convinced that self-esteem should be widely promoted as a remedy for personal problems and social ills. The high-water mark of the self-esteem movement occurred in the 1980s when the California State Assembly authorised funds to raise the self-esteem of its citizens, with the lofty goal of solving problems such as child abuse, crime, addiction, unwanted pregnancy and welfare dependence. Some legislators even hoped that, as a side benefit, boosting self-esteem would enhance the state's economy.
Leadership Leads You To Be Overwhelmed
By: Amy Anderson, Success Magazine

Contrary to what most people might think, the biggest obstacle to maintaining focus isn't distractions. Interruptions, overscheduling, smartphones and the like are not solely to blame for a leader's wandering attention and lack of effectiveness, says John Addison.

No, the real problem is that leaders tend to focus on what interests them rather than on those things they can directly control, says the author, speaker and former co-CEO of Primerica. This simple distinction can make all the difference in both productivity and profit, Addison says.

"The reality is almost no one reading this article has any control over what the government's going to do or what the weather's going to be like," Addison says. "But people spend all their time focused on things they can't control. In truth, there are only two things you can control: your attitude and your work ethic."
Appreciative Inquiry Certification Trainings

For nearly two decades, The Center for Appreciative Inquiry (CAI) has been a leader in Appreciative Inquiry Trainings and Certification. Thousands of individuals, teams, organizations and communities have participated in one of The Center for Appreciative Inquiry's workshops, gaining Ai expertise as well as personal and professional fulfillment. With a CAI Certification, you can demonstrate not only knowledge and skill-set, but also a commitment to high professional standards and a strong code of ethics.

Individuals who have participated in Appreciative Inquiry (or strength-based) workshops/trainings from other Ai providers are eligible to receive Appreciative Inquiry certification from The Center for Appreciative Inquiry. Learn how you can earn your Appreciative Inquiry Certification and join our growing network of Ai Professionals.
Appreciative Inquiry Directory: Join Our Growing Network

The Center for Appreciative Inquiry's Directory was created to allow clients to find Certified Appreciative Inquiry professionals worldwide, provide expert support and peer collaboration for independent consultants, and build a growing network of individuals who want to increase their impact for making a positive difference in the World - inspiring success and connections of people, community and organizations.

Who is listed on the Appreciative Inquiry Directory?
  1. Individuals certified through the Center for Appreciative Inquiry (CAI) from 2005 to present are eligible to be included in the Center for Appreciative Inquiry Directory Listing for FREE for the duration for their certification.
  2. Individuals who have participated in Appreciative Inquiry workshops by other Ai providers are also eligible for certification and a directory listing - please contact us directly to learn how.
Directory profiles are easy to create and update and will make you locatable by our worldwide audience. All Directory profiles will remain visible on our website for FREE for the duration of your certification. Create your Free Ai Directory listing today! Our Directory Profile creation process is easy and takes only a few minutes. Once approved, you can begin enjoying all the benefits of your Free Appreciative Inquiry Directory Listing.
We Are Looking for Appreciative Inquiry Trainers

The Center for Appreciative Inquiry is seeking experienced trainers, coaches, consultants and facilitators to become certified to teach its Appreciative Inquiry Trainings and Workshops. Trainers will be certified to deliver our various workshops (to business, community, non-profit, education, etc.) to support the growth and interest in Appreciative Inquiry focusing on dialogue, collaboration and how the human systems thrive.

We are looking for high energy people with a commitment to helping others develop and grow as internal facilitators and to be part of creating a better World Community.  If you are grounded in humans systems flourishing demonstrated by your views of social change and by participating in the AI Community, you may be a good match for this program.