from the


from the Top of the Mind


from the
Top of the Mind

“Dr. Crawford’s presentation was the highlight of the conference and a much needed reminder for all of us (especially nurses) to keep it all balanced. Bill’s psychology background surely protruded through his messages and I know it was well-received by all!”

Nancy Perovic, RN, BSN
University Of Chicago Hospitals, Chicago, IL

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“Dealing successfully with difficult people initially requires us being aware of two things… what we want to bring to the conversation… and what we want to bring out in others.”
~ Bill Crawford

6 Steps to Dealing with Difficult People – Step Two

In this second step on dealing with difficult people, I want to point out a problem and suggest a solution that most people never consider. For example, would it be fair say that, when dealing with others, we are often very clear about their negative behavior and/or attitude? This is understandable, because this is generally what they are showing us. However, I suggest that this limited perspective isn’t serving us because it has us focused on the problem and potentially blind to the solution.

In other words, when all we see in another is the “difficult” part of who they are, we naturally try to convince them to change. However, rather than hearing our suggestions as good information, most interpret what we are saying as criticism and become more defensive. This then further triggers our stress, frustration, and/or resentment, and a cycle of conflict is born and exacerbated.

Neuroscience tells us that this is because both of us are stuck in the lower, reactive brain, and as long as we stay in this limited and limiting mindset, we will continue to be a part of the problem. However, if we are able to shift to the purposeful, proactive, intelligent part of the brain (the neocortex, or what I call “The Top of the Mind”), we can actually break the cycle of conflict and become more influential…that is, if we are willing to engage the more purposeful, solution-focused part of who they are, as well.

This is what Part III of my Life from the Top of the Mind is all about. However, in order to accomplish this, we must be willing to see their difficult behavior as coming from the lower 20% of their brain, and ask the question, “Who are they when they are in the upper 80%?” If they are part of your organization, do they do anything well? If so, this is who they are when they are coming from their “Top of the Mind.” If they are part of your family, or a close friend, who are they when they are doing what they love?

This expanded perspective is important for two reasons: First, as mentioned, if all we see is their difficult behavior, this will trigger alarms in our limbic system and trap us in the reactive brain. Second, it is this more receptive, logical part of them that we will want to partner with later in the model.

I call this “reaching for their neocortex,” and I’m suggesting that it is a critical step in being successful with others for all of the reasons above. Next week, I will give you Step Three and Step Four in being effective with others. However, for the moment, I suggest we think back to a few conversations in the past that didn’t go well. Was it possible that we went into those conversations worried or concerned about “them,” or did we get triggered in the middle of the interaction?

Plus, is it possible that we were seeing their difficult behavior as “who they are,” painting their entire being with a “difficult person brush,” versus being able to hold a vision of them at their best? If so, we now have a deeper understanding of two of the six blocks to effective communication and influence…and an antidote for each.

In the coming weeks, I will uncover four more blocks (and their antidotes) and teach you how to engage others in such a way that they shift from their resistant brain to their receptive brain so that they can truly hear and understand what we are wanting them to know. In the meantime, however, I suggest you keep this quote from Neale Walsh in mind.”
“True vision is the ability to see in others more than what they are showing you.”

~ All the best, Dr. Bill

Dr. Crawford's Info Packet

Download Information on Dr. Crawford and his presentations