Wherever I Go, There I Am: Dealing With Violence

Random thoughts/rattlings from a place where a percentage of the population wants to kill you and has been killing and maiming people on the street almost daily for the past few months with knives, meat cleavers, screwdrivers, bullets, cars and scissors:

That split second in-between reaching for the door to go out of your apartment building, onto the street, and feeling the lovely, sunny autumn air on your face – a split second that would normally feel pleasant and hopeful for a person like me, who likes to be “out and about” – is now tainted by, “Wait. What shoes am I wearing? Can I run in these? Could I get away, or would I trip and fall down only to be bloodily devoured like a gazelle on the Serengeti Plain? OK, yeah, I’ve got the pepper spray handy, but what if that’s not enough? What if the blind hatred and rage behind a knife is even stronger?”

What if my choice of footwear today means the difference between life and being hacked into body parts like meat at the butcher?

The physical surroundings outside of my apartment are beautiful – lush, vibrant trees and flowers in an array of gorgeous colours.  The air smells fresh, but no longer welcoming. My brain finds it difficult to reconcile this beauty with what might be lurking behind it.

For an ENFP, who gets her energy from the outside world, these feelings are distressing particularly because the current outside world in my city seems surrealistically scary. Untrustworthy. Nonsensical. That the energy I’d love to soak in from “out there” is unhealthy at best and life-threateningly dangerous at worst.

Daily errands are accompanied by thoughts of, “Let me run out to take care of this quickly. Please let me get to where I’m going without being attacked. OK, I’ve done my task, now please let me get home without getting attacked.”

I need to go out to buy butter, sage and celery. A pleasant walk on a lovely day to collect some items for a holiday of gratitude instead becomes a cost-benefit analysis: “If I die today because I went out, would those items have been worth it? If it’s gonna happen, shouldn’t it be for more ‘important’ things? What would those literally ‘to-die-for’ grocery items actually be?”

If I got attacked and hurt or dead when I chose to go out for celery, sage and butter, would that make me a stupid, trivial ass who deserved it?

You can see how absurd the thought process becomes when one feels threatened. This internal commentary is the antithesis of my hard-wiring, which has always been to feel at ease in the world, with an openness that attracts all kinds of people in random settings wherever I go. Which has brought me beautiful, raw, gratifying human interactions the world over. For me, these human  interactions are the stuff of life.

Life in this place, at this moment, is a challenge to the essence and core of my being. This is what violence and fear can do. And I’m one of the lucky ones so far.

Do you have your own story about things falling apart and your plans going awry (and what you did after that)- personally or in business? Have you experienced living with violence at any level (domestic, professional, geographical)? If you’d like share your story on our blog because you think it could help others and build connection, please feel free to contact Jennifer (also our Blog Editor) at jennifer.rojas@aureliuspress.com

Suicide Survivors: Interview with Chris Pinkelman of TCN Behavioral Health Services, Inc.

TCN1We recently interviewed Chris Pinkelman, Associate Director of Clinical Services at TCN Behavioral Health Services, Inc., who works with colleges and universities to help at-risk students adapt and integrate into college life.

During this conversation – part of our suicide survivors podcast series – Chris explains that there are many stressors and risk factors for young adults who are leaving home to attend university, and who also live with mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety.

Green County, Ohio, has the most colleges and universities of any county in the state. Because of pharmaceutical advances, many at-risk young adults are now able to go away to university. However, these advances translate into more students coming onto campus without a support system. For instance, Chris highlights how some students may feel a sense of shame and not take their medication. Or they may have difficulty navigating the insurance procedures in order to fill their prescriptions.

As a community behavioural health organization, it was natural for TCN to make a connection with these universities. He describes how TCN would get calls for crisis interventions – e.g., students who stopped taking medications, a death by car accident, the death of a member of a sports team at home for vacation.

TCN knew it was important to be able to talk to staff and be available to students, but the organization didn’t initially have relationships with anyone on these campuses. They needed to connect with counseling and health centers in order to begin building relationships and increasing awareness.

Chris shared that one of the keys to success in providing a support system was the health care provider getting in with the schools and working with the residence assistance programs. Students working in the Health Care Coalition were tapped for creating videos, brochures, etc.

TCN, in conjunction with college and university assistance programs and staff, along with city, county and state services, was able to create a series of recommendations that can help parents and students prepare ahead of time to facilitate integration and lower risks.

TCN, as a suicide prevention coalition, feels it can make a big difference if campus professionals and students know that there is a resource as part of residence life, and included in orientation for freshman – e.g., the kinds of warning signs that could present themselves to indicate that a fellow classmate, dorm mate or roommate might need help.

Students and parents working ahead of time can help reduce the sense of shame that can occur with mental illness and addiction. This is especially important if the community lacks an understanding of the difficulties.

To hear more about this important program, listen to the full podcast here.

If you are feeling suicidal or need help for yourself or someone you know, please consult IASP’s Suicide Prevention Resources to find a crisis center anywhere in the world. In the US, call toll-free 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a free suicide prevention service or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

Are you a survivor of suicide or a professional who works in the suicide prevention field? If you’d like share your story on our blog because you think it could help others or build connection and awareness, please feel free to contact Jennifer Rojas (our Blog Editor and General Manager) at jennifer.rojas@aureliuspress.com

Character and Personality: Time

characterpersonalityTIMEWould you like to be able to quickly determine where synergies and problems exist in an organization? Come along to see how knowing individuals’ temperaments can help predict possible outcomes in team situations.


Temperament refers to preferred ways of thinking. Traits refer to preferred behaviors. They correlate well. Let’s look at a mythical company with the following temperament mix:

  • CEO – NT (intuitive thinker)
  • Senior staff member – NF (intuitive feeler)
  • Operations manager – SJ (sensing judger)
  • Programmer – SP (sensing perceiver)

Of course, none of them want their time wasted. The problem is with their perception of time. Here is the order in which they each prioritize past, present, and future. Also, their nicknames have been included to give a hint as to where their priorities lie.

TRAIT       Nickname            Past    Present   Future
NT               Field Marshal           2              3              1
NF               Organizer                   3              1              2
SJ                Enforcer                      —             1              —
SP               Doer                               1              2              3

So how does this play out in the work place? Take a look at each of their POSITIVE traits…

NT (Field Marshal)

  • Sees where the company can be in the future
  • Sets standards and holds to them
  • Delegates today’s activities to others
  • Strategic thinker
  • Holds on to the vision throughout difficulties
  • Leads the way and doesn’t waver
  • Main interest is achieving dreams and accomplishments
  • The past informs the future. Incorporates lessons-learned into future plans

NF (Organizer)

  • Takes interest in others and how they are brought together to get things done
  • Pays attention to the overall-balance among key factors
  • Puts “teeth” into the NT’s strategic plans
  • Will look towards the future by focusing on generating cooperation today
  • Works as a shock absorber between the NT and lower ranks

SJ (Enforcer)

  • Focuses on NOW
  • Stays on task and gets things done
  • Knows the limits of available resources
  • Tactically-oriented
  • Supports the strategies that come down from above

SP (Doer)

  • Prefers a structure be presented within which work can be performed
  • Wants to know what the orders are for getting work done
  • Prefers others develop strategies
  • Wants involved when tasks are defined

As you have probably guessed by now, there can be a dark side to all this. Now, let’s take a peek at some of their more… ahem… challenging aspects…

NT (Field Marshal)

  • Doesn’t hesitate to change on-going work in order to leverage the future
  • Believes the project is complete at the moment of delegation
  • Does not want to be distracted by problems from the present
  • Risk management is for nay-sayers. It can distract from the future
  • Positive criticism downplayed or ignored
  • Negative criticism emphasized
  • Little interest in people and their requirements
  • Can ride roughshod over others and have a short memory regarding those behaviors

NF (Organizer)

  • Can lose sight of the need to mend problems from the past since there is push for today and the future.

SJ (Enforcer)

  • Rules are to be enforced, not questioned
  • The past can’t be fixed and the future is out of reach so don’t waste time on either of them
  • Finds strategizing, planning, and spending time on what-ifs boring
  • Wonders if strategies are sane

SP (Doer)

  • Wonders if the plan is sane
  • Can be rebellious yet wants no risk
  • Can go in own direction without informing others
  • Gauges work and others based on how the SP was treated in the past
  • Change is viewed with suspicion. The past needs to be resolved

The Leadership Challenge

You can see that avoiding wasting time can quickly turn into a multi-dimensional problem! Making the effort to understand others can pay huge dividends by providing clear vision as to strengths and limits in various situations with your team. With that understanding as a base, planning and execution can proceed realistically.

Are any of these traits familiar to you from team projects you’ve worked on? How about in your family?

Gary Monti has over 30 years experience providing change- and project management services internationally. He works at the nexus between strategy, business case, project-, process-, and people management. Service modalities include consulting, teaching, mentoring, and speaking. Credentials include PMP number 14 (Project Management Institute®), Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certification, and accreditation in the Cynefin methodology. Gary can be reached at gary.monti@aureliuspress.com.

If you’d like to submit a Jungian-focused blog on working with different personality types (in professional or personal settings), please contact Jennifer Rojas, our Blog Editor, at jennifer.rojas@aureliuspress.com.

Suicide Survivors: Interview with Josh Rivedal, Jack-of-Many-Trades

iampossibleprojectcoverOne of the recent interviews in our suicide survivors podcast series features Josh Rivedal – author, actor, arts entrepreneur, and global speaker on suicide prevention, mental health, and diversity.

The conversation begins with Josh discussing how people want to avoid the topic of suicide like the plague. He lost both his paternal grandfather and then his father to suicide – and no one was allowed to talk about it in the house. He discusses the sense of shame that his father had about his grandfather’s suicide and how his father took his own life on the day his divorce from Josh’s mother was to be finalized.

In turn, as with other survivors, this increased the odds of Josh considering and completing suicide. Josh feels that knowledge of the facts would have helped him avoid his own eventual suicidal crisis.

Josh describes how he used work hard to avoid his problems, which resulted in a slow slide into clinical depression. This led to him considering suicide. His mother thankfully had the courage to ask him if he was considering suicide, and encouraged and helped him to find professional help.

Josh’s recovery process led him to the decision to speak out and help others get their stories out to the public, as part of a movement to prevent and recover from suicide.

After his father’s suicide, Josh created a one-man show entitled, “Kicking My Blue Genes In the Butt,” centering on his relationship with his father.  He shares the impact that the interaction with the audience has had – not only on attendees of the show, but on himself. He now speaks between 35-40 times a year to survival groups, colleges and high schools, and juvenile detention centers.

In 2014, Josh launched The i’Mpossible Project, designed to encourage others to tell their stories.

He is also now working with venture capital firms and entrepreneurs on learning how to re-frame failure, along with his work with LOSSTeams and postvention.

Josh advises that coming out of the isolation by helping others can give purpose to one’s life. He describes the significance of each of us telling our story, and the fact that we don’t have to be a professional writer or actor to do so. Here are just a few of the projects that Josh has worked on to help reduce the stigma of suicide and help others in their healing processes:

You can listen to the interview with Josh here.

If you are feeling suicidal or need help for yourself or someone you know, please consult IASP’s Suicide Prevention Resources to find a crisis center anywhere in the world. In the US, call toll-free 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a free suicide prevention service or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

Are you a survivor of suicide or a professional who works in the suicide prevention field? If you’d like share your story on our blog because you think it could help others or build connection and awareness, please feel free to contact Jennifer Rojas (our Blog Editor and General Manager) at jennifer.rojas@aureliuspress.com