Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ghosts from our past.

In Action, Resistance, Uncategorized on October 22, 2010 at 7:54 am

ghosts from your past blog

you do not have to be more transparent than your ghosts

It’s hard to move ahead in our work when our present is clouded by the past. In the last few weeks, several clients have come to me with just this issue.  Haggard and hurting they come with lumps in their throats and stomachs looking for resolve, searching for the keys that will unlock their internal gridlock.

The decisions we make, how we feel and what we think is influenced by what we have learned…simple enough…right?  Simple but maybe not so easy.

If we find ourselves dealing with a lot of resistance or we feel like we are slogging ahead with our work at a snail like pace, this is a signal for us to take a moment and really ask ourselves “What the heck is going on?”

It’s hard though because, I have found, that we actually do not always want to know or even think about the reasons for our resistance and angst. Especially if the reasons have to do with hurts and/or issues from our past and childhood.

Often our inclination is to scan the world around us to locate the source of our angst. This is problematic though, because so often the conflict is not coming from outside us, but from within us and, after 20 years of doing this work, I have come to understand that we usually know when this is the case. We have a sense in the familiarity of our experience of what is ours and what is not ours. (By the way, it is often at this point that we double down our efforts to reject this reality and firmly plant the cause of our turmoil on others)

Also confounding this work is that what we have learned about our self and the world growing up has become an integrated and near invisible part of our sense of self and how we view the world and our place in it. These core beliefs become a very comfortable pair of glasses that color our perception and shape our experience.

As children, the things we do to deal with our hurts, trauma and frustrations are shaped by those closet to us. What they tell us is OK to feel, we feel and move through. What we are told is unacceptable to feel we build defense mechanisms to distance ourselves from. And as children these defense mechanisms can work passable for us, but as we grow, our worlds become more complicated and so do our defense mechanisms, until we find ourselves backed into a small corner, spending more time managing our resistance then actually dealing with it.

And this is exactly the issue. Instead of feeling our feelings, instead of dealing with our issues- our amazing minds work to create new and ever evolving ways to insulate ourselves from the things we have been taught it is not acceptable to feel or think.

So what is the answer?

Deal with it. Not very helpful right? But wait…there is more.

The way we deal with it is key.

1.    Don’t try and deal with it all at once. Pick the most disruptive thing and just deal with this piece.

2.    Research it: We can only do what we know how to do. In order to do something different, we have to learn different things.

3.    Set a review or completion date.

4.    Figure out a budget and explore the resources you have available to you.

5.    Consult: Either with a friend or professional; this is NOT work we can do alone. On any given project, most all entrepreneurs know the value of getting a fresh perspective when moving ahead on a project.

6. Set some time aside to do this work. This is probably the most important piece that gets lost in the shuffle.This work takes time and the more focused you are about it the quicker it will shift.

7. Be gentle to yourself through this process.

This is challenging and difficult work. But the payoffs are huge AND it feels great!

Dena plotkin

therapist and collaborative strategist



David Sedaris, Washington DC and Collaboration

In Collaboration, Events, Uncategorized on September 6, 2010 at 9:49 pm


The Vision:  I love David Sedaris… I mean that guy can crack me up and I was so excited because he is coming to Los Angeles and I actually had the time and day to buy tickets set in my calendar… with a reminder alarm. I mean I was ready. Plan in place.

Plan in action: So my alarm goes off and I am like…Right on…David Sedaris… I am so jazzed man. So I log on and wait until the clock clicks over to 9:00am and buy my tickets… in Washington DC.

What is that saying? The best laid plans…

I am always telling my clients that often the way a plan shakes out is not always the way we had originally envisioned it to be. The task is to go with it. Surf the experience and ride the wave all the way through.

So now it is time to surf…

The Solution: I love, love, love collaboration…It’s my thing. Collaborative therapy,  collaborative parenting, collaborative community building- I use this stuff like salt. I believe it is a transformative process in that it adds definition and depth to self and other. When used correctly, the space that collaboration creates is powerful and an entity unto itself .

So here is my question to you. What is the role of a leader in a collaboration?

The most intriguing answer wins the tickets.

If you don’t live in Washington DC and would still like to answer, I would love to hear it.

So bring it on my brothers and sisters. You have until Monday September 20. This will allow me time to mail (yes actual mail) the tickets to you.


Dena Plotkin


Working Together

In Entrepreneurial Lifestyle, Success, Uncategorized on July 28, 2010 at 6:50 pm


I have witnessed and participated as individuals, communities and organizations have worked together on various projects- Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn’t.

I have a real relationship with work and working with others.

My first co-worker was my brother.  He and I spent endless hours as kids working on assigned projects around the house.  The summer camp I was blessed to go to as a child was all about cooperation and working together.

I grew up with the concept that we HAVE to depend on those around us if we want to survive.  This idea has held up for me over the years.

For the past 9 years I have lived with 12 other people in a house that needs a lot of work. Although I work alone, I share a multi-use workspace with about 20 others.

From jobs that necessitated working with large bureaucratic agencies like immigration, the legal system, social security and community agencies, to my personal journey through the red tape of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and community politics, I have been patching together avenues of communication and collaborative work.

Some collaborations have been successful and some have fallen short.

The main trick to working with others is to listen. I mean really listen and understand what the others in your group are saying.

Sounds simple right?  Well not always.  Sometimes we are so anxious to be heard, so ready to be understood that we lose sight of the opinions and thinking of others.

I have come out of meetings in which not once did I do anything but ask questions and clarify the point of what the others in the room were saying. And in the end I have gotten what I needed.

Information is our friend and the more information we have, the better off we are at understanding exactly how we have to work in order to achieve our goals.

But whatever it is we learn, it will ultimately make the possibility of our success more realistic; because we are just that much closer to understanding the logistics of any given situation. And this allows us the vision too see exactly what we are working with and what we need to do in order to accomplish our goals.

Sometimes we have the urge to charge ahead of ourselves. Pushing the work forward with a sheer act of will. But this process creates a huge amount of resistance. And the energy we have to exert is massive and often beyond what we have the capacity to generate. Either through lack of  internal or external resources, utilizing brute force to move through a given situation just gets us sore muscles and if we are lucky and inch closer to our goals.

The first thing I do is try and get a sense of why others I am working with do not think what I want to achieve can be successful.  This gives me a real sense of how I have to work in order to succeed.

Working with others is not easy but it is very simple.

Here are some steps to working with others effectively:

1.     Listen.  Even if you think you do not like the information that is being shared take it in.

2.     Ask a lot of questions. Make sure that when you leave, you know what those you were talking to are saying.

3.     WAIT for the answers.

4.     Do not be overly concerned with being understood.

5.     Even if you have the opportunity to correct someone or point out the paradox of what they are saying…hold your tongue.

6.     If there are more than a few people in the room, look at the people who are not talking.

7.     Before you leave, have a real sense of what your personal action items are.


MFT, Life-Strategist, Co-Creator theWork101

To go deeper: A reflection of collaboration and resistance and growth

In Resistance, Uncategorized on June 1, 2010 at 5:09 pm

I just finished the post on our collective individual bout with resistance. After reading it I had to wonder. Looking back at my co-workers, I realized that the group has changed the way I experience resistance. It has afforded me a container to experience resistance in.

What I mean by this is that instead of just acting out in order to resist, I now have the option to resist resistance…which is excruciating work.  Necessary but excruciating all the same.

Resistance. Resistance is a natural, predictable, emotional response to change. So where is the change?

Most notable is that all of us were busy. We were not loosing any ground. We weren’t losing clients, work was not going undone. Although we did have to take ourselves aside and have some stern talks with our slacking work selves, for the most part all of us were getting things done.


SO then, What was the problem?

It was time to step up our game…AGAIN. Man sometimes the stairs are steep and it can be a bit disheartening to find that once you pull yourself up and over there is yet again another stair to climb.

Time to grow and the only way to do that is to do something different. And to do something different means learning something different. Learning something different means challenging old ideas, finding out what our holes are. What are we not doing. What are we un-doing? What do we need to do? What can we do differently to gain some ground?

Excruciating, I tell you.

So to resist resistance means being able to go deeper into it. To question it. To experience. To not resist resistance is to resist it? It can all get very confusing really fast.

It all boils down to one of my favorite quotes by Winston Churchill, “When you find yourself walking through hell, don’t stop”

I’ll tell you what though, it is easier to keep going when you are walking with others.


MFT, Life-Strategist, Co-Creator theWork101

What Workspace?

In Uncategorized on August 22, 2009 at 12:53 am


What Workspace? When we decided this week to do blog posts on workspace vs. workplace, I wasn’t thrilled. Maybe it’s been because lately, I’ve felt a significant lack of space as a whole. Work, combined with relationship, combined with commitments, combined with upcoming Burning Man has meant that I don’t feel like I have any space at all!

But I guess that’s exactly what we’re getting at, when we talk about workspace vs. workplace. Depending on where I was in the ranks of an organization, if I were working in the corporate world, I’d have a workspace carved out for me. I’d have my desk/cube/gopher hole, I’d go, I’d sit down, and have a set list to accomplish by due dates. My boss might try to micromanage me, or my objectives might change, but I’d still have that work space carved out with tasks handed to me.

As an entrepreneur, I don’t have that. In order to make progress I need to carve out that space to accomplish things in and have strategies to do it with. I need to create that office space in my home, or in a shared work environment. I need to know how much time I’m dedicating to objectives, and have an idea of what I’m accomplishing. Also, I need to switch up my tasks, so I don’t get bogged down by details that aren’t helping me move forward. I don’t have a boss telling me what I need to do, so I need to find a way to make it work for me.

Tips for helping carve out a supportive workspace:
• Set out some time to decide what you want to accomplish in the day and the amount of time you want to dedicate to each project.
• Decide what tasks can be grouped: are these creative tasks? administrative tasks? Emails or Phone calls? (I find the these take very different parts of the brain)
• Decide if there are resources you need to accomplish those tasks (like a clean desk!)
• Have a strategy to help you overcome frustration or overwhelm (i.e. putting your tasks on index cards and pulling them one at a time, break large tasks down into smaller tasks)
• Have a comfortable environment to work in
• Find ways to break out of isolation and get other perspectives when you come up against blocks,
• Take regular breaks and have fun, to help keep balance and perspective.

Much of workspace is mental. It is the the way you let yourself know now is the time to get stuff done. While it helps to have a great office, if you can get your work done on the beach? Go for it! I do.

Kaye Porter
Professional Speaker & Educator, Co-Creator of THE WORK 101

TODAY’S coffeeWork101

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2009 at 12:37 am

It’s always such a pleasure to sit and talk with people who share in this journey of the SELF-employed.  I feel like our mantra should be, “We’re not alone!”  Thanks to everyone who is a part of my amazing collaborative community.  Today made me realize even moreso the amazing value and fortune I have because I have you.

I look forward to meeting more people and to the expansion of our collaborative workspace.




Filmmaker, Co-Creator, The Work 101

“Without vision, I would wander around lost. Without action, I’d simply keep living half a life. . .”

In Uncategorized on July 10, 2009 at 9:54 pm


In January 2008, I was in a car accident that changed my life. Everyone knew I wanted to work with people and help them find happiness, help them live full lives.  But until that moment when the car spun out of
control, all it was, was talk.

Interestingly, I suffered (emotionally) far more by doing nothing, just waiting to start living my life and vision. Before the accident, it was like I was just waiting for my break, waiting to be discovered.
But I forgot it is hard to be discovered if you never show up. Laying
there in my bed afterwards, I realized the truth in the Chinese
proverb: “Talk does not cook rice.”

Without vision, I would wander around lost. Without action, I’d simply
keep living half a life. Neither was going to allow me to be what I
really wanted to be, and neither was going to help me come alive.
Until I left my safe vacuum and started taking action, started finding
the people who would support me and my vision, I’d simply keep hurting
with a pile of uncooked rice.

“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply
passing the time. Action with vision is making a positive difference.”
Joel Barker.

Ask any guru… whether they’re a success guru like Tony Robbins or
spiritual guru like Amma. Without action we live in a world of fantasy
and “what-if.”  There would never be any Empire State building, Eiffel
, or Taj Mahal. Also, I’d learned the hard way what inaction
meant; if you’re waiting for your life to happen; you’re going to be
waiting a long time and wondering why it isn’t.


Professional Speaker & Educator, Co-Creator of THE WORK 101

Have you ever gotten lost in your to-do list?

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2009 at 6:30 pm


If you have ever had a to-do list like mine, it seems to be endless. No matter how many things I cross off, it seems like another five more get added. A proverbial Greek Hydra. Sitting down in the morning and going over the list helps me focus, but some mornings it seems like an overwhelming mountain before me, and I can’t really see the progress I’ve made.

There are lots of tips and tricks to get things moving: tackle the easiest tasks first, break large overwhelming tasks into smaller, easier tasks, tackle the task that will feel most satisfying, put your to-do list on index cards and just focus on the top card, etc.  But in a state of detail paralysis, I forget why I’m even checking off these detailed lists. That is when I’ve turned to my group, or my mind-map – to remind me of the future I want to see.

By re-focusing, not on the tasks, but on my objectives I can get moving forward again. Rather than beating my head against something that isn’t working for me, I can remember what the objective is: a successful practice, adventures with my wonderful partner, and learning new tools & skills.

Then, when I’m trapped and unable to see the forest for the trees, I can get support to remind me why I’m on the path through the woods.



Professional Speaker & Educator, Co-Creator of THE WORK 101