Episode 83: Sexual Polarity In Marriage With Keith Witt [The Amiel Show]

I’ve finally done it.

I’ve recorded an interview that should not be played in the workplace.

It’s perfect for the car ride home or a weekend getaway with your partner.

But do not listen to this with your coworkers over lunch or in a leadership team retreat.

This episode is about sex, specifically in the context of a committed long-term relationship.

More specifically, it’s about sexual polarity between partners: what it is, why it matters, why so often it’s missing, and what you can do to restore or sustain it in your relationship.

Our guide is integral psychotherapist Keith Witt, author of the brand new book Loving Completely: A Five Star Practice For Creating Great Relationships. Keith joined me twice before to discuss the marital love affair and men’s sexual shadow at work.

In those earlier interviews, we discussed sex, but just a bit. And if there’s one thing you and I know about sex, a bit just isn’t enough.

So this time we give it our full attention—with candor, sensitivity, and humor.

If you’ve heard Keith discuss Loving Completely elsewhere, you’ll want to listen to this in its entirely. In no other interview does he discuss sexual polarity in as much depth. This Keith has assured me.

I thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the conversation.

Highlights

  • 5:00 You have many marriages with your spouse
  • 16:00 Five questions to ask yourself when selecting a partner
  • 28:00 Polarity creates the spark in a relationship
  • 36:00 Making love as feminine and masculine
  • 40:00 Having conversations about sex with your partner
  • 47:00 When a woman is nursing
  • 57:30 Moral codes affect your sexual relationship
  • 1:09:00 Partners who also work together
  • 1:16:00 Mad Men and why being clueless isn’t cool
  • 1:20:00 Talking with kids about sex
  • 1:25:00 Exit affairs, opportunistic affairs, and “please, can we love again” affairs
  • 1:34:00 Keith is not Ashley Madison

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Episode 81: How Couples Grow Together Into “First Love” With Tom Habib [The Amiel Show]

This episode is for people in relatively healthy relationships who are wondering: what else is possible for us?

Couples go through stages of growth. Over the past several decades, a new stage has broadly emerged that was barely visible before. Its features include:

  • Balance between giving and receiving
  • Successful patterns for managing tasks, sharing responsibilities, and practicing reciprocity
  • A shared narrative about the relationship
  • Reflection and introspection
  • Reasonable capacity to regulate nervous systems before and during conflict

Sounds pretty good, huh?

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It is. If your relationship looks like this, it means you’ve grown more as a couple than most couples alive today and 99.99% of couples in human history.

Millions of people are buying books and attending workshops to achieve what you experience.

This week’s guest, Tom Habib, calls this the “Relational Stage.”

It’s quite healthy.

However, once you’ve spent substantial time here, you realize that some important stuff is missing:

  • Your partner doesn’t fully appreciate what you do or who you are. When you’re honest with yourself, you realize that the inverse is true.
  • You miss the intensity and frequency of romance in your relationship’s past, and this distracts you from the love and person in front of you
  • On some level, you fear you have chosen the wrong partner. Otherwise, why aren’t things as great as they used to be?

This is an amazing opportunity: to grow, as a couple, into the next stage of relationship, which Dr. Habib calls “First Love.” It is the first time you are both present with each other to actually love the other person in their entirety. Rather than being distracted by the mirage of an ideal partner, you feel gratitude for the person you are with today.

In our conversation, Dr. Habib briefly walks through the five stages in his integral Couples Line of Development. Then we focus like a laser beam on the transition from the Relational stage to First Love.

Are you up for the challenge?

Highlights

  • 5:00 When Tom viewed marriage as a “bourgeois conspiracy by the Church”
  • 11:00 The five stages of the couples line
  • 13:00 Pre-trans fallacy
  • 26:30 What if you treated your partner like a great neighbor?
  • 39:00 A practice to do at home with your partner
  • 51:00 Most couples in therapy are trying to get to the Relational stage
  • 53:00 “Pixie dust” helps you wake up and grow up
  • 1:05:30 How your kids are affected
  • 1:08:30 Thanksgiving with your parents when you’re at First Love

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Episode 75: Stomping the Blues, Reimagining American Identity with Greg Thomas [The Amiel Show]

Fasten your seatbelts. This week, we’re going on a rollicking, rhythmic, high-minded, and heartfelt ride through the core of the American experience.

Greg Thomas, our guide through the True but Partial Challenge on race, joins me again to steer us through this week’s journey.

Or should I say: journeys?

That’s how much territory we cover. Greg even coaxes me to steer out of my “interviewer lane” and riff on my own experience stomping the blues.

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The focus of our conversation is Albert Murray, the great 20th century American writer and close colleague of Ralph Ellison.

Haven’t heard of him? Neither had I until a few months ago.

But since when did lack of fame mean anything about a person’s wisdom?

Like me, you will learn to take Albert Murray seriously. Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Toni Morrison does. She wrote, “Murray’s perceptions are firmly based in the blues idiom, and it is black music no less than literary criticism and historical analysis that gives his work its authenticity, its emotional vigor, and its tenacious hold on the intellect.”

Like me, you will get mesmerized by the ideas in Murray’s first book, The Omni-Americans. Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates wrote in his New Yorker profile of Murray (“The King of Cats”) that the book was “so pissed-off, jaw-jutting, and unapologetic that it demanded to be taken seriously.”

Highlights

  • 6:00 Albert Murray’s influence on American culture and art
  • 13:30 American identity synthesizes multiple roots
  • 20:00 Murray’s devastating critique of “ghettoologists” and “safari technicians”
  • 35:00 Decoding ancient fairy tales and applying them to life today
  • 39:00 The blues idiom as life compass
  • 43:00 The hero’s journey in American cultures, e.g. Harriet Tubman
  • 46:00 Hero’s journey is an alternative orientation from Ta-Nehisi Coates and James Baldwin
  • 55:30 We fear difference and are attracted to it. Can we integrate this into ourselves?
  • 59:00 The Jazz Leadership Project
  • 1:10:00 Apprentice, journeyman, and master

 

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Next Tuesday we’ll stomp the blues

Allow me to entice you.

Next Tuesday at 10am PST, the second to last day of Black History Month, check your email inbox.

I’ll give you an interview about the most important American writer on culture you’ve probably never heard of.

Unless your name is Henry Louis Gates, Jr. of Harvard, who called this writer “The King of Cats.”

Or Toni Morrison, who said, “Murray’s perceptions are firmly based in the blues idiom, and it is black music no less than literary criticism and historical analysis that gives his work its authenticity, its emotional vigor, and its tenacious hold on the intellect.”

  • Name: Albert Murray
  • Focus: Hero’s journey, stomping the blues, critiquing “ghettologists,” appreciating that black culture is central to American culture
  • Quote: “The blues idiom is an attitude of affirmation in the face of difficulty, of improvisation in the face of challenge. It means that you acknowledge life is a low down dirty shame yet confront that fact with perseverance, with humor, and above all, with elegance.”
  • Our guide: Greg Thomas, former jazz columnist for the New York Daily News

Tuesday at 10am. It will lift you up.

Episode 74: Whites’ Self-Interest In Opposing Racism With Diane Woods [The Amiel Show]

You support Black Lives Matter and oppose racial discrimination because you want to help black people. If you have light skin, you can’t get much more noble than that, right?

Not quite. According to this week’s guest, leadership coach and retired executive Diane Woods, the idea that white people need to be altruistic toward blacks is itself a racist idea.

Huh?

Yes, you read that correctly.

In fact, as Diane explains, white folks have an intelligent self-interest in opposing racist ideas and embracing all of us as equally capable and worthy human beings.

I’ve known Diane for almost two decades. She hosted a book club I joined. Back then, I saw her as a fountain of wisdom and curiosity, and over time, those qualities have only grown.

Please join me in this second episode in my new series on the American experience with race. If you enjoyed my conversation last week with Greg Thomas—or, heck, even if you haven’t yet—you’ll want to tune into this one.

Please share with friends and colleagues so we can carry Diane’s voice far into the conversation around race and culture.

Highlights

  • 5:00 Why Ta-Nehisi Coates and Diane weren’t surprised by white supremacists marching
  • 9:00 Diane’s spiritual teacher’s blind spot around race
  • 15:00 Evolution of race work over 50 years
  • 20:00 Crafting herself to look good for white corporate America
  • 31:00 Despite injustice, my inner life is mine and I will defend it
  • 35:00 “They just don’t want us here”
  • 41:00 “I may say racist things but I’m pure on the inside”
  • 49:00 Racism is corrosive for white people
  • 1:02:00 Whites freeing themselves from the burden of racism
  • 1:05:00 Countering racism is in whites’ intelligent self-interest

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The Year Ahead [New Post]

Thank you all for listening to my podcast, reading my posts, and sending kudos, queries, and quirky questions. As we close out 2017 and step into 2018, I want to share a few words about what you can expect from staying in conversation with me.

  • Growing as a leader and human being in organizations. This remains the primary focus of my podcast, blog, and client work. What can we learn about this process from different teachers, studies, experts, traditions, and organizations?
  • In-depth interviews. I’m committed to providing high-quality, in-depth interviews that make you think. I pick guests whose work I admire and ask them to dive deeply. These folks have a lot to say, so I give them the spotlight and challenge them to stretch their own thinking an extra inch.
  • Accomplishing work together by managing promises. My clients are reporting a great deal of benefit from an approach to collaborative work that I call “managing promises.” I’m using it with teams and individuals to produce better results with fewer headaches. (If you’d like to talk about using this with your team, send me a note). You may recognize this theme from past interviews with Elizabeth Doty about making only promises you can keep, Bob Dunham on listening for commitment and executives’ new promises, and Chris Chittenden on real accountability. Why do so many handoffs between people go awry? Why is it frustrating when people don’t give you what you ask for and yet so challenging to talk with them about this in a way that improves future results? What happens when you make more powerful offers in your organization, and what specific steps are needed to do this? How can you raise the performance of your entire team by learning the real anatomy of action? I’ve taken many of these ideas (originally from Fernando Flores’s “conversation for action”) and fleshed them out into a comprehensive model called the “promise cycle”. I’ve written a short yet fairly technical playbook about this called Reliable Results. In the coming year, I’ll be doing more interviews and Jedi Leadership Tricks on this topic, posting more diagrams like Fuzzy Promises, Fuzzy Mittens, and continuing to share it with teams. I think there is great potential to do for managing promises with others what David Allen has done with managing agreements with yourself.
  • The American experience with race—a new series. Most conversation about race in the United States is simplistic, polemical, and poorly grounded in history. We are arguing past each other rather than listening to each other, focusing only on the latest outrages, and not sufficiently integrating different perspectives. To me, it’s a huge leadership topic, something that can inform how we understand ourselves and the people we work with even when the topic at hand is not about race. That’s because to talk with wisdom about race is to talk about what it means to be human beings in all our beautiful complexity. I’ll be asking podcast guests to explore this topic with me in an integral way. We’ll delve into individual beliefs and behaviors, culture, and societal structures.
  • Synthesizing key concepts. Several listeners have recently challenged me to share my own understanding on the many ideas I explore with guests. To synthesize and illuminate what I’ve been learning. Expect to see at least a couple forays in this direction in the coming year.

Once again, thank you for walking with me on this journey. Anything in this note strike you as particularly important? Have any other suggestions for me. I welcome your emails!