In 2006, I formalized my workflows and created the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process for a presentation to the Southern California Mediation Association at its annual conference. It was so successful in helping people move forward in their lives, and I long wanted to turn it into a book. But you know how it is. Life gets in the way. There are long days at work that don’t leave much time or energy for writing. Things break. People we love get sick, injured, or die. We break. Then, we start to worry that we will never do what we want.
That’s essentially how I finally wrote DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master. After being violently assaulted in January 2014, I realized that if my head injury had been worse, the book could have been stuck inside me, and the people I wanted to help through it might not have access to the tools they need–for months, years, or lifetimes. So, I pushed through my post-traumatic stress diagnosis, crime victims’ counseling, and physical recovery to write, until it was done.
Now, the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process is available in a DIY format for those who have conflicts they think they “should” resolve on their own–the people who like to fix everything themselves and tell their loved ones about the struggles afterward, instead of asking for help.
I understand you because I have often been like you. There is so much more we can do together, but the book is a good way for you to see how far you can get on your own.
As a litigator for more than 13 years, I have watched parties struggle to resolve more than just their legal actions. Knowing that mediation and coaching could make huge differences in the parties’ cases and in their lives, I found it sad to see how infrequently Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) was used.
In some litigation circles, attorneys consider ADR an acronym for “already declining revenue”. They seem to think that if we teach too many people how to resolve conflict, they won’t need the courts anymore. I’m willing to take that chance.
Through my storytelling as lawyer, victim, and coach, DIYers will discover how to make simple choices in their approach to conflict so that not every issue has to become “a federal case”—or a court case at all.
Third Ear Conflict Resolution Program
The Third Ear Conflict Resolution Program is based upon transformative mediation techniques. First, I ask participants to make seven choices that help them understand what is going on internally. Then, we can more effectively take the five actions toward resolution.
- Forgive yourself for having conflict
- Acknowledge yourself for hiding out too long and hoping that the conflict will go away
- Forgive the world for having and creating conflicts
- Free the emotions
- Clear your mind
- Assume nothing, about anything
- Listen with your third ear
- Define the Conflict
- Identify the Intersects
- Play with the Possibilities
- Create the Future
- Stay on PARR (Plan, Act, Revise, Repeat)
DIY Conflict Resolution will coach you through each choice and action to lead you toward becoming a conflict resolution master. In this book, you will learn to:
- Build skill in creating solutions from a broad range of options
- Reconnect with your original and unmet expectations
- Free yourself from anger, disappointment and distraction
- Discover how to listen for the real obstacles to agreement
- Become the Chief Resolution Officer in your own life
I know that there will always be conflicts we cannot avoid. I speak about this in the ‘Introduction to Third Ear Conflict Resolution’ video on YouTube, and I was reminded of this fact last January while walking home from a professional development course.
Despite being in a crowded, well-lighted area, I was approached by a man who grabbed me by the wrist when I dismissed him and began to walk in another direction to further avoid him. I kicked, twisted, elbowed, and thrashed until he picked me up and threw me to the sidewalk, where I hit the back of my head. He then knelt on my left leg and tried to restrain me as I continued to struggle from the ground. For 17 minutes, I tried to get the man off me and escape—while no one helped.
Eventually, my assailant overpowered me, took my phone, and fled toward the train to New Jersey. Minutes later, I saw him on the ground in an arrest position. He lay on his stomach with his hands behind his back. My phone was between his shoulder blades and was still connected to the call I made to tell my boyfriend I was safely on my way home.
When I got to the police station, I saw that my attacker was not a man, but a 14-year-old boy. I was more confused than angry.
Forgiveness came within 24 hours, as I wondered what a boy his age was doing across the river, in another state, by himself, on a Sunday night, after 10 PM. My conflict with him was relatively easy to define (Action One). Using my Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, I speculated that we merely disagreed about who had rights to my phone and my wallet, if not also my dignity and well-being.
Trying to understand what had happened and why, I identified my interests in this conflict (Action Two). When I put myself in this situation, I thought it would be like the many other nights I had walked home late by myself from the same center. I was expecting to enjoy a chat with my boyfriend, get home safely, and have his voice be the last thing I heard before I went to sleep. I really wanted an uneventful night and to deepen our partnership. I could still have that and was getting it in an unforeseen way.
I was having difficulty speaking to my boyfriend after the attack, but I knew I could lessen the difficulty if I took advantage of the free counseling at the Crime Victims Treatment Center. There was nothing stopping me from having what I wanted, as long as I was unwilling to let the attack be the thing that ruined my life, and I was committed that it would not be.
I then tried to identify the likely interests of my young attacker (Action Two, continued). When he decided to approach me, he probably thought it would be a simple robbery. He was probably expecting to take my belongings and escape by subway. I suspect that he wanted a “quick hit” and quick cash that would make him look like a big shot. He could still have that—just not in the way that he thought. He would need to work hard, follow the law, and meet several goals. He could be a bigger person than he ever imagined possible, if he took responsibility for his actions—then and in the future. There was also little to nothing stopping him from having what he wanted, too, and I began to take a stand for him to have it.
Following the Third Ear Conflict Resolution Program allowed me to forgive my attacker, stand for him to get the support services he needed, and keep my life on track, despite her physical and mental injuries.
This is just a piece of one of the case studies I use to make the Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master come alive for my readers. Using placeholder names from several countries and intentionally varying the genders of my characters, I protect the privacy of some key clients, while sharing the tools and plans they used to create new futures for themselves.
It’s not that I want to eliminate the courts. They have a purpose in certain cases. Some people are unwilling to compromise and need an authority to decide for them how to best handle a dispute.
Yet most of us are very capable, with the right tools and leadership, of designing solutions everyone involved can live with. We want to be included in the resolution process and develop new skills that increase our effectiveness in all areas of our lives. We’re just not always sure where to begin.
Here is one place. Buy the book
Nance L. Schick, Esq. is a New York City attorney and mediator who focuses on keeping people out of court and building their conflict resolution skills, especially in business and employment disputes. Her holistic, integrative approach to conflict resolution draws from her experience as a crime victim, human resources supervisor, minor league sports agent, litigant, and trial attorney. She is a 2001 graduate of the State University of New York Buffalo Law School trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM). She is also creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master, and an award-winning entrepreneur, who has been acknowledged by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards), and Urban Rebound NY/Count Me In (Finalist, 2013 Pitch Competition).