Transcript for "Acceptance - with Sam Ardery"

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00:00.00
podcomm
Hello I’m Craig Constantine my guest today is Sam Ardery welcome Sam oh thank you for taking the time. Um I know that you do a ton of mediation quite literally you said to me hey I had a cancellation. Can you do I’m like yes, please.

00:04.98
Sam Ardery
Hi Craig, nice to be here. Thank you for having me.

00:19.50
podcomm
Ah, so thanks for taking the time. Um, there are so many things that we could talk about so we do a conversation beforehand and we started talking about for me I’m I’m all about conversation is like that’s a thing I’m really into and I see a lot of podcasters who maybe their thing isn’t. Interviews or conversation but they try it because it’s often part of some of the workshops and I see them sort of recoil in terror from it sometimes and I I think I don’t want to say that conversation is like mediation because I think that’s a lot harder but I’m wondering what your thoughts are about How people can look at conversation when there really isn’t any danger of it becoming you know, kind of ah confrontery. That’s not a word Craig Confrontational so what are your thoughts on on like how we do ourselves in when we approach conversation like from the wrong mindset or with the wrong goals or outsized beliefs or.

01:16.97
Sam Ardery
Um I I find that that people really like the idea of control and I think a lot of things we do in our lives are to live under the illusion of control I mean what? what? what? I mean my job.

01:29.25
podcomm
Hi.

01:34.43
Sam Ardery
And I’ve done somewhere between 9000 mediations one hundred percent of the people that show up have had something happen that they didn’t expect to happen not 99% 100 and and then those conversations because they self-help didn’t work the hire lawyers lawyers file lawsuits and and it and it proceeds from there.

01:42.42
podcomm
Right? right? All of them. Yeah.

01:54.20
Sam Ardery
But I think with with a lot of the conversations that people have if they thought about it more as if they’re having a cup of coffee with a friend in a local coffee shop or in their kitchen then they don’t have to worry about it as much. They’re not usually worried about where those conversations go and even the confrontational. Piece that one of the things that that I’ve started I find a lot of people get it a little bit of a knot in their stomach when they think a conversation might be conversational or even if they just don’t know what? yeah or or they just don’t even know what the conversation will be and and I like acronyms because they help me remember things so one I’ve started using most recently is the acronym of.

02:19.56
podcomm
Yeah, the hard ones.

02:32.74
Sam Ardery
PARC P-A-R-C …which is pause assess reflect and choose um and and it the the assess the pause is just to take a break so I don’t if I get nervous I don’t have that immediately fight flight freeze response to what somebody else might say.

02:33.87
podcomm
And.

02:51.59
Sam Ardery
Um, and we can live with a little silence I’m a talker so I tend to fill silence I have to sometimes dig my fingernails into my thighs to get myself to be quiet. Um, but the assess is okay. What do I think the facts are we may disagree what I think the facts are and I can reflect say do I Want to engageuge this or not.

03:07.70
podcomm
Um.

03:07.37
Sam Ardery
And then I get to choose so I’m um, choose and all that can happen in about 5 seconds and if I choose then I don’t have to necessarily react I can respond the other thing is if the other side is stirred up. That’s usually some discomfort on their part. They’re usually afraid of something and they feel compelled that they’ve got to get you to agree with something. If I can and this is not easy if I’m really aggressively disagreeing with somebody but it’s a great place to have some compassion to think okay that person’s uncomfortable. They’re so uncomfortable that they need they think they need me to agree with them. Can I have a little compassion for their suffering even if they’re irritating me right now and it just it frames it differently. In terms of how my body’s affected how my brain chemistrym is affected and that doesn’t mean that I love them want to give them a big hug if they’re poking me in the eye but it helps.

03:50.52
podcomm
Yeah, compassion is about understanding, not not about trying to change anything. Um, thank you so much for bringing up compassion. My personal mission is creating better conversations to spread understanding and compassion that means literally my having you know, have conversations try to get better having conversations. But it also means. Teaching people. You don’t need any help clearly but teaching people around the world like how to do it better and I think that it took me a long time to realize I wonder what your thoughts are on this It took me long time to realize that before one can really be good at having compassion for others you have to have compassion for yourself like. Never really thought of self-compassion as the thing until I realized that sometimes I’m going to say my inability to just like figure out what I’m trying to accomplish like why am I in a conversation I’m going to know why I’m in this one. But why am I in a conversation sometimes I have to just pause and think about. Yeah, I’m weaked out about this or I’m actually trying to control that or’m making all these other mistakes and I think that maybe people try too hard to be compassionate when they haven’t first conquered you know, conquer thyself first or physician heal thyself. Um, do you find that. Your role as a mediator do you are? do you feel like you’re trying to show other people. How to how to converse or do you feel like your your role is to like remove enough things from the picture so that they can find resolution or how do you see yourself in that triangle.

05:20.86
Sam Ardery
Ah, kind of all of the above and and I’m careful about using the word resolution because I find resolution is usually temporary if it’s really a big dispute. We continue to process it after we leave a lawyer’s office or or think about a conversation a conversation you have with someone.

05:32.73
podcomm
On.

05:38.63
Sam Ardery
Ah, a loved 1 or a business partner or something where you both get heated. You might reach a point where you both decide. We’re gonna let this be but you’re still processing it as you you’ve decided we haven’t come to blows. We’re not gonna leave the marriage. We’re not going to blow up the company and and this is where we are right now.

05:44.25
podcomm
Um, yeah.

05:55.76
Sam Ardery
I gonna leave it but your brain’s processing it after you leave that I mean it’s It’s even when you’re think you’re not thinking about it. You got why do I have this free floatating anxiety. So what? what? I guess one of the things that’s helpful for me is um and this is just my worldview I think everybody gets up in the morning trying to give life their best shot and sometimes their best shot just sucks. Um.

05:59.76
podcomm
Right.

06:13.25
podcomm
Near.

06:15.75
Sam Ardery
And and if I can think that way then I can realize well golly it’s Craig who’s who’s best effort and very good today instead of mine or some days boy it really is mine I want I want to own my part of it part of the way I I frame a response to conflict because since I mean I have I live in a university town and so.

06:24.66
podcomm
M.

06:34.15
Sam Ardery
There are lots of people that are that are really really smart way smarter than me and they’re part of an academic community and they know they’re smart but they still I’ll talk to them and they’ll say boy every time there’s conflict in the hall I Want to run back to my office shut the door and and put on my headphones I don’t want to have anything to do with it and so here are 3 things that I find if people do this but but it’s a choice Again. It’s not easy. It’s. To embrace the discomfort say. Okay I’m not going to run away from this I’m not going to try to talk them out of it. I’m not even going to try to get rid of my discomfort I’m going to sit with this discomfort for a little bit and and the second one is to radically listen and I think of radically listening different than the active Listeninging. We learned in intro to psychology.

06:59.21
podcomm
Sit with them.

07:10.97
Sam Ardery
It’s setting aside my agenda and listening while being open to the possibility that I might be wrong. Um, even if I think it’s only 1% I want I want to really listen. So so you look at the political discourse that goes on now or other things that happen. It’s like everybody is so busy preparing their response and demonizing the other side.

07:17.46
podcomm
Um, yes.

07:29.66
Sam Ardery
There’s not let alone active listening there certainly isn’t radical listing going on and unless I can be open to that then it becomes really difficult to do anything meaningful and the final one is what I call accepting your 5% and I’ll tell you a story about this I I went.

07:31.16
podcomm
Yeah.

07:44.75
Sam Ardery
My my wife and I were really struggling about twenty five years ago in our marriage and a friend called me and he and he said he said Sam let me take you out for a sandwich and we went out for a sandwich. He said how are things going and I said boy things are horrible and then I launched my wife and I have now been married for thirty nine years but I launched into a diatribe about. Things really stink right now and let me tell you all the things patty’s doing wrong I just went on and on and on and finally he let me run out of steam and people that know us both tend to think Patty is more reasonable than me anyway. But but he let me run out of steam and he said he said samy had done I said yeah but he wasn’t like Pat me on the back or telling me I’m right he said.

08:06.49
podcomm
Um, right.

08:21.69
Sam Ardery
Sam for purposes of our conversation I’m going to assume patty is 95% of the problem from this point forward. We’re only going to talk about your 5 % and he just owned me I mean that that that was kind of one of those seminal moments in my life that anytime i’m. I’m upset about something part of it has something to do with me I could surrender I could give it up I could do whatever or I could engage in the conflict and he certainly wasn’t saying that that my wife was 95% of the fault he was saying you can’t do anything about her 95%. So let’s talk about your 5.

08:41.58
podcomm
Right.

08:48.75
podcomm
Right.

08:53.15
Sam Ardery
Because you’re just deflecting all that and and it’s giving you no responsibility. It can’t help the problem. So let’s have that conversation and that’s it. That’s a difficult conversation but it was it was huge for me that that lunch at schlot or that dinner at Schlotsky’s delhi over my bad turkey sandwich was a really important evening.

09:09.90
podcomm
Oh there are so many things in there. Um I think that sometimes I have trouble dude we talk about I always call it the dichotomy of control like what things does 1 actually have control over. Um. You are temporarily able-bodied you are temporarily temporarily irrational creature. You are temporarily able to you know all those things. Um, and I think we talked about that before you’re recording and I just love how that um the 5% idea your 5% idea I say forces but it it just instantly makes me go right? Like what is whatever, whatever’s going on I’m having an interview a conversation. Ah, whatever what what is it that I actually can attempt to change just within myself before I even try and change anything in the world I think that’s a. Terrific thing to draw people’s attention to and now I’m thinking so for podcasters who are listening I can think of 2 places where all this stuff could really be helpful and one would be in outreach. And I’m kind of tempted to let’s say let’s talk about guest outreach because that’s a really That’s the thing it doesn’t get talked out a lot a lot and the other one would obviously be conversations which most people would call interviews and well let’s do something I’m just gonna like go over my brain says and I know you don’t have a podcast so you haven’t done a lot of this. But. Outreach is a big deal people who do podcasts who are trying to find guests. There’s a whole market out there. A marketplace of people trying to sell their guests to the but I’m talking about Craig has a show needs to reach out to Sam um, and to me it’s easy I do hundreds of them I just i. You know and it’s not like I spray everybody but I’m thinking like oh I’d actually like talk to Sam which is followed closely by hey Sam I don’t know if you remember, but you know like I I just do the thing but I’m wondering a lot of people struggle with that and are there are there any things that we can that we can highlight about what you’ve learned. Ah. About conversation that would help people understand how to better approach doing outreach.

11:16.80
Sam Ardery
Um, well first of all I remember an old prayer somebody told me that God helped me avoid the procrastination that leads to self-hatred um ah God save me from the procrastination that leads to self-hatred.

11:25.38
podcomm
Um, whoa. That’s say that again while I write it down.

11:35.59
Sam Ardery
Um, and and I find that and we were talking a little bit about earlier and and I tend to think most things are are feard driven I want to know an outcome before I try it and what we talk about and people have lots of ideas about the 3 or 4 or 5 biggest fears. So ah, but but among the fears people have is rejection loss of self-esteem.

11:44.90
podcomm
And.

11:52.33
podcomm
Protection.

11:55.10
Sam Ardery
Ah, loss of self-control is another one or loss of control and even as you were talking about control the things I can control I mean if you look at at kind of how people live We can’t even completely control ourselves right? I mean look how many people are signing up for various weight loss or programs and you look at the.

12:05.34
podcomm
And rang.

12:13.64
Sam Ardery
Things and I and I spent some time writing on my blog about New Year’s resolutions. You know I don’t make them and people do and I wish them the best but most of them don’t get kept so we want these things for ourselves we can say I know this is better for me, but my behavior is still different than what I would tell you I wish it to be because I mean early in the day.

12:15.18
podcomm
Who.

12:32.34
Sam Ardery
I can tell you I want to lose £5 but when there’s chocolate cake in front of me at six o’clock at night I’m eating the damn chocolate cake I just am um and and that moment that 30 seconds of of inhaling that chocolate cake is worth it to me and then I go sam you idiot so you know those so I talk to myself much more harshly that I would talk to you or anybody else.

12:34.18
podcomm
Um, yeah.

12:51.42
Sam Ardery
But so I guess in reaching out I would say that’s the first thing and the the other part of it is sometimes I will when I’m when I’m teaching law students. Um I’ll put up a quote on the board and I’ll say even if blank is not okay. Blank can be. And fill in those two blanks. It’s harder to do when. It’s not visual, anything come to mind for you and how you might fill in those blanks. Yeah eat. Well even she wrote it down even if blank is not okay. Blank can be.

13:12.76
podcomm
Right? Say it again because I was listening I wasn’t trying to fill it.

13:26.47
podcomm
Um, that’s that’s a great analysis. Let’s see even if who even if oh I’m gonna say even if so I have a favorite podcast project I don’t be mean to the world. But. This show is not my favorite I’m sorry. Um, even if my favorite podcast project which is Mover’s Mindset. Most people would know even if my favorite podcast project ceased to exist in the world. Um, it would still be okay if I had a chance to talk to all those people.

13:45.29
Sam Ardery
Ah.

14:01.13
podcomm
So I’m at 120 episodes in that other show and they’re they’re all long-form interviews I’ve haven’t traveled all over the world. But I’ve been to other countries and done recordings of people that are famous and it’s all in like the paror space and other names for that. So I think even if that project ceased to exist like just completely disappeared off the internet nobody could ever hear it again. Think it would still be okay because I got to have a chance to have those conversations which is and go ahead. Yeah.

14:23.22
Sam Ardery
Well I I would now go ahead. I was gonna say even here here’s what I and I’m not claiming. There’s a right or wrong answer. But the way I think about it because it it really I really am going to come back to reaching out to guests even if circumstances are not okay. I can be. Even if my circumstances are not okay I So there’s no contingency in there about I can be okay if it’s just I can be okay and and the reason I say that is when I when I’m talking to students who are doing negotiation most of them have some anxiety about it. They’re concerned about Outcomes. They’re concerned about being evaluated. You know if we talk about you know, security and survival I mean all all those things you know they get anot in their stomach even though they’re hypotheticals Sometimes we’re not even even grading and I think it’s It’s if someone can internalize that then there’s less fear when somebody rejects you and you’re not putting a condition on.

15:01.82
podcomm
Um.

15:15.28
Sam Ardery
Reach out and my world crumbles or my podcast crumbles or my life crumbles and and that might be a little bit easier once once someone has more tread on their tires at you know, twenty five or forty five or 50 or 60 or whatever else because you you can remember times where.

15:26.60
podcomm
Ray.

15:31.44
Sam Ardery
Nothing has gone right and I’ll be darned if you you weren’t still standing and living and breathing and but but if you can internalize that it makes it easier to reach out to those unknowns because I think what keeps people from doing that is the the fear that they’re going to get rejected or somebody’s going to say no and and say okay what if I just did that and sometimes I encourage people to.

15:33.76
podcomm
Right.

15:50.97
Sam Ardery
To really envision what if the worst case scenario happens I call Craig and he says not only do I want to be on your not want to be on your cat podcast I think you’re such a miserable son of a bitch. You shouldn’t be on this earth I mean so let’s say it really goes really badly. Okay, so go deep with how badly it goes can I still be okay, so yeah I think I can I’ve still got.

15:58.88
podcomm
Man.

16:08.54
Sam Ardery
Friends I’ve got a roof over my head I ate last night you know those and I know that sounds really general but people that talk about gratitude practices and other things that it really matters it. It can affect you so and then you get practice. You get a little um you know some scars on your back from some people telling you to say oh I’ll be darn I get I guess I need to ask 10 to have 1

16:26.50
podcomm
Right.

16:27.53
Sam Ardery
1 say yes, that’s okay I think about people I’ve got a daughter who’s a poet and I don’t know how many times and she’s got her Mfa poetry and she still writes. But I don’t know how many times she sent her book transcript out and it’s been rejected. Rejected and rejected I said what are you gonna do said I’m gonna send it out again tomorrow.

16:37.81
podcomm
Um, making send it out tomorrow right now I think that’s great insight. Um, the hard part is people think that it’s people think I’m really good at asking questions I’m like what actually happens is I forget that I’m supposed to talk next. I get so interested I’m like oh right, this is the part where I’m supposed to continue. Um I love there’s ah, an idea that’s stuck in my head and I don’t quite have the words for it about. Not letting your judgment of something so I’m thinking about goal setting not letting my judgment about did you succeed at the goal Craig not letting my judgment about the thing be a judgment of myself which is either right next to what you’re talking about or it’s the exact same thing and I’m thinking. Yeah that’s that’s always going to be the right. That’s the right. Ah, aspirin to be taken Craig like don’t confuse my assessment of you know performance or what happened with my assessment of myself self self worth.

17:37.54
Sam Ardery
Well yeah, a thing and I’ll probably be wrong I don’ whether it’s Brene brown or somebody else a lot of people have talked about this but just the difference between guilt and shame and guilt I did something bad and shame I’m a bad person and I and I think that kind of goes along a little bit with what you’re saying I mean.

17:49.76
podcomm
Oh.

17:55.51
Sam Ardery
This project failed and I didn’t meet my goal. Um I’m disappointed in that and I might even not think I gave it my best effort. However, that does not make me a bad but I don’t want to internalize that to say oh it’s part of my whole it. It is it. It is part of me. It is not all of me but I find those things.

18:06.37
podcomm
Um.

18:13.44
Sam Ardery
And those moments where you’re where you’re afraid and and you’re disappointed and maybe you even are shaming yourself I wouldn’t encourage anybody to do that. But but but that you are it. It gives you a a moment to back to to reflecting a little and say okay I mean this is part of life and nobody gets everything they want but at the same time. If. You don’t put yourself out there. You don’t have a chance to find out and finding out I mean my one of the examples I write about him in my Book. Positively conflicted is is leaving law school and I just quit in the middle of the fourth semester which is which is not a path most people would suggest and.

18:43.78
podcomm
Ah.

18:46.74
Sam Ardery
And and I bought a bus ticket and and I was a bar back at Harvey’s casino out in North Lake tahoe for a while and I and I made no no plans in terms of withdrawing from I just left left the dena long melodramatic notes and I’m out of here and while I was at at Harvey’s casino living in the back room of this old guy’s house and working the the graveyard shift. He sends me a letter and said I’m going to give you a 1 year leave of absence from law school no questions asked I’ve withdrawn you from your classes so you didn’t fail and he finished with the unexamined life is not worth living but kind of back to that what you were talking about what I found is I was just too afraid to find out and I didn’t realize that for years. But. I thought rather than really putting my best effort in I’d I’d hang out and I’d drink and I would not go to class and I’d play my trumpet or do whatever instead of doing those things because then I had an excuse if I failed that would make sense. But if I passed that wow, what might this guy do if he really gave it his best effort. Well I didn’t want to give it my best effort and then find out I’m still a mediocre law student.

19:33.22
podcomm
Right.

19:43.41
Sam Ardery
That might have been that might have we’re never gonna know that but but the narrative I played well goy if I worked as hard as all my friends at the top of the class I do as well too we don’t know that that might be that’s just a fantasy in my head. Um, so and I’m sorry for for talking so much. But but a story that so I do that when I’m 24 years old um and

19:52.51
podcomm
Um.

20:02.10
Sam Ardery
And then when I’m 37 some guy tells me this story about about a saxophone player in South Bend he said this guy is a saxophone player in South Bend and every time a band came through they wanted to play with him in Chicago because he was the best saxphone player they all wanted him to play with him so one of these bands gets a big gig in New Orleans longer period of time paying and more money place to stay and they call the guy and they say come down leave South Bend come play with us in New Orleans um and the guy said no they sent somebody to see him. He says no and they said well why won’t you do this and he said as long as I’m in my little apartment in South Bend I can believe that I’m the greatest sax phone player in the world. If I go to New Orleans I got to find out and his comfort was staying there and not having to find out he could live with that the idea that he might go and fail was too much form him to contemplate and that this that was the first time twelve years later thirteen years later that I really started to understand. What I was really afraid of and why I quit law school but took a long time.

21:03.58
podcomm
Terrific I got nothing to add because anything I add will detract. Um. Yeah sam on ah in there you said sorry for talking so much I’m like oh know what you’re talking about that’s great. We need to talk more I think your ideas need to be heard wider and further afield. So thank you so much for taking the time today. It’s been a pleasure. I’m glad that what you got I’m like ooh are we going to get to say positively conflicted but we got to the title of the book. And final hours. So terrific Thanks Sam thanks for taking the time.

21:31.93
Sam Ardery
And I would say well thank you I would say my I’ve got a website http://samartery.com if anybody wants to look at it. You can join me on Linkedin the same place where I talk about some of these things and I love hearing other people’s ideas I’ve I’ve realized I’m not original and so other people spark a lot of great things. So thanks for the opportunity craig.

21:49.51
podcomm
Um, bye.

21:52.31
Sam Ardery
Bye.