Safe conversations in an unsafe world

Troubled by what’s going on in our world? Wondering what you can do in response to all the social and political turmoil? 

Safe Conversations skills that have changed your marriage can also change your world.

Even if you feel like there is nothing you can do about where our country is headed, Safe Conversations can greatly impact your world and ultimately impact the world.  

How did we get to this place? How is it possible that we find ourselves able to dish out such emotional abuse toward fellow members of the human race? 

On the surface it makes no sense. But when we see what’s happening to us unconsciously as a nation, it makes perfect sense.

Our democracy is based on the fact that we all bring different views to the table. That’s a given.

So what happened? 


The wonderful process of co-creation and mutual purpose has broken  down and has resulted in the polarization that we are experiencing today.

When we can’t resolve normal conflicts, we get stuck in a self-absorbed state so that whenever we encounter someone who holds a different view, we are literally traumatized. That’s when we become reactive and go further into that self-absorbed state. 

Soon it no longer feels safe to engage with that person on the other side of the aisle.

What happens if we let this polarization continue? 


We lose empathy for each other. We are no longer in touch with what the other person is experiencing or feeling.

Objectification means that the other person has effectively been degraded to the status of a mere object. And here’s the tragedy of that:

When people become objects, we can treat them any way we want.

We can criticize them, we can label them, we can berate them, we can walk out of the room when they are talking it us. 

We can dish out this kind of abuse, because to us they are no longer human. They are just things that serve us. And they become objects of our frustration.

Tragically this is what seems to have happened in our nation today. And the whole world is watching us.

So what can we do? 


The Safe Conversations Dialogue is a tool that can help you restore empathy and begin to come back together with people who see things differently.

Here’s how the three steps of the Safe Conversations Dialogue can help.

When you MIRROR another person’s thoughts and  feelings, you begin to see who that person really is. That person feels honored that you would listen and see them. As a result they will tend to feel more open to you and your perspective.


When you VALIDATE this person’s thoughts and feelings, you begin to see how they make sense from their perspective. Validation is not agreeing with this person, but it’s seeing how their perspective makes sense according to their own inner logic. Validation results in differentiation and neutralizes the trauma so that polarization does not have to occur. Again when you validate someone they will tend to feel more open to you and your perspective.


When you EMPATHIZE with another person’s feelings, healing occurs and safety is restored. You can then see that person as human and not as an object, and connection, and dialogue, and even mutual purpose is possible. We now know it’s impossible to criticize someone you are empathetic with.

Go one way with one person talking and the other person listening. Then reverse roles and do it again….and again…and again!

I know you can’t stop and have a deep dialogue with every person you engage with. But you can apply these principles in every conversation you have. And if you do, I’m convinced that you’ll see dramatic results in terms of safety, connection, creative solutions, and ultimately healing in your relational world. 

If you’d like more help click here for more information and to enroll in an upcoming Safe Conversations Workshop.

Let’s be courageous and do our part to bring peace to our troubled and polarized world!

Heal your marriage and you heal the world!

Brent and Jewels Niccum went from being employees in a large corporation to being owners of a multinational company overnight!

But despite their success in business, they had trouble keeping their marriage on track.

Through the Imago Relationship counseling process, they discovered that the reactivity toward each other that was wrecking their relationship was based in their unconscious defenses that had been in place since childhood.

It didn’t take them long to figure it out, dismantle those defenses, and reconnect.

Like everything else they did in life, they worked hard on their marriage.

Soon they had a breakthrough, and now they are on a solid path toward, not only a healing and growth partnership, but a partnership to change the world through their life work together.

Brent and Jewels Niccum

When a couple in conflict learns to reconnect, they recover all the time and energy previously wasted in that conflict.

That’s when they look for some way to work together to make the world a better place.

Brent and Jewels are living in what I call the World Impact Stage of marriage. Having moved through the Power Struggle Stage into a Mature Love, they now have a great foundation in place to be effective co-creators in their life work.

A Couple's Journey

How did they get there?

By learning to consistently talk without criticism, listen without judgement, and connect beyond their differences.

Soon both of their sons, Lew and Cole, along with their families, began to join them on this journey toward healing and wholeness.

Niccum Family

One day Jewels asked me, ‘Can you help us do for our company what we’ve done for our marriage and family?’

That’s when we introduced Crucial Conversations® Training to NCCM Company.

This ongoing training and coaching has become a foundational piece in developing a healthy corporate culture that is having an impact on their employees, their customers, and their community.

NCCM Company Facility
NCCM Company, River Falls, WI USA

What Brent and Jewels realized was this:

“When we are dysfunctional in our marriage, everything under our charge will be dysfunctional in the same way. When we heal our marriage we can heal our family and our company.

“That’s because the same principles we’ve learned in our marriage apply in all our relationships. So our task is to teach everyone in our charge how to do what we are trying to do, not only at work, but everywhere in their personal relationships.”

After almost two years of training…

Overly aggressive employees have learned to listen and let others add to the collective wisdom of the team. This is resulting in better decisions and greater motivation.

Passive employees who would previously withdraw rather than confront a difficult situation are now bravely engaging in tough conversations with skills that help them to be both candid and respectful at the same time. This is preventing costly log jams in the production process.

Needless to say productivity, profits, job satisfaction, and customer loyalty have all risen substantially.

And a whole new generation of young leaders are being developed to expand this global enterprise.

Brent’s and Jewels’ impact is spilling over into their community.

NCCM Transformation Foundation
NCCM Transformation Foundation

Through the NCCM Transformation Foundation they are joining hands with the community to do many things including care for the homeless in Minneapolis, to mentor children in Wisconsin, and train and coach a new generation of social entrepreneurs.

Here’s what inspires me about the Niccum’s story.

What if thousands of leaders in companies, government agencies, and educational institutions worldwide were to follow this example?

What if these leaders started with their marriages, learning to talk without criticism, to listen without judgement, and to connect beyond their differences.

And then, what if these leaders led their families and organizations to do the same? We could see a revolution of remedies for our world’s ills!

Healing our world starts with us as couples.

What about you? Will you join with us in this revolution?

Heal your marriage and you heal the world!

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