The ABC’s of Building Relationships

For me, writing helps me reflect on what’s going on NOW in my life. It also helps me reflect on what I’ve learned RECENTLY in my life. The reflection helps me be a part of the change that is happening; it helps me re-connect with my authentic inner-self and my inter-connectedness with all that is going on around me; and (in this blog) it helps me document my “Learning from Living…Living by Learning” vision.

I’ve been writing in this blog for about 2 years now. Looking back and reading many of the posts, I am reminded of the change, the learning, and the desire to live my “vision” in whatever I do. I am reminded of my path… and my way of being.

A year ago, I was working to bring my values-based vision for success to the place I worked. I tried to create a systematic approach to implementing a new vision for a “mountain sports” school at a large ski resort here in Vermont. As I look back on my notes, and as I look back on my blog articles, I am reminded again of a set of personal values that seem to be consistent…

For kicks, here is an outline of the “systematic approach” I started to work on last year. I think the ABC’s listed at the bottom of the outline may provide a good foundation for any relationship-building process. What do you think?

Lately, I have been focusing on acceptance. I find that a person’s tendency to compare their own personal experience (and perspective) when listening to another person often forms the basis of judgment, a roadblock to authentic acceptance of the other person’s uniqueness and a potential barrier for heartfelt, trusting and empowering relationships. Do supportive relationships and communities start with feelings of authentic acceptance of others (in addition to ourselves)?

As I look to enhance my coaching and teaching careers and enhance the relationships I build with others, I remind myself that practicing these ABC’s are a good place to start. Accepting each person for who they are, with their own special uniqueness and talents, and having an understanding of their perspective, personal experience and vision, forms the basis any supportive relationship… especially if it’s as a coach, teacher, or mentor. Yes?

The New Way: A Systematic Program Approach to Creating Enriching Educational Experiences

(March 2013 notes: Goal- To create a vision for a program identity, to create program consistency; to provide a basis for program training, success, and measurable improvement.)


People come to our resort to find health and happiness in a Vermont mountain setting;

Reducing the stresses of day-to-day living, and finding peace in the moment, is fundamental to health and happiness;

Having an attitude of learning, being open to trying new experiences (change happens), is fundamental to health and happiness;

Being in nature enhances feelings of health, happiness, and present-moment awareness;

Learning happens naturally when people feel safe, have fun, and are motivated to try new experiences;

Active experiential learning in non-judgmental setting facilitates present-moment awareness.

Key Components of Outdoor Educational Experiences:

Adventure-based: Create sense of excitement and fun, promoting mountain sports environment;

Strengths-based: Focus on positive attributes of individuals and group dynamics promoting positive learning environment;

Skills-based: Reflect on learning of specific skills that are relevant, practical, and transferable to everyday lives;

Stress-reducing: Create awareness of, and teach, mindfulness-based, stress-reducing skills and practices;

Relationship-building: Facilitate supportive atmosphere; develop sense of community & connections between people;

Experiential: Continuous learning cycles of brief (foreshadow); experience (do activity); debrief (reflection). Learning is facilitated and guided, not judged, and is based on group goals, relevancy, and activity outcomes;

Outdoors in Nature: Take advantage of natural beauty and Vermont mountain setting;

Holistic: Recognize connections of total body and mind and integrate programs accordingly;

Life-changing: Strive for health and happiness experiences that change perspectives, build knowledge and abilities, develop sense of purpose and achievement, and encourage on-going learning, transferable skills, and loyal guests.

Relationship-Building Process:

A-           Acceptance: Have friendly attitude of authentic acceptance- all are welcome without judgment or comparison!

B-           Belonging: Make guests feel like they belong there- get to know them; make them feel safe and welcome;

C-           Community: Facilitate guests getting to know one another, building a trusting and supportive atmosphere;

D-           Dignity: Create community of mutual respect and understanding, inter-dependence and accountability, and recognize with praise (and a sense of gratitude) the strengths and contributions of each individual;

E-            Empowerment: Empower guests to improve their lives (health and happiness), to learn, to achieve, to just be!