Archive for the ‘Mind Maps’ Category

High Performing Business – Discernment – Negotiating

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

In my book Cheetah Negotiations, I created a process for negotiating every element of life.  If you think about it, we are negotiating day in and day out – in every relationship and in every situation.  It takes laser focus discernment to know the best way to negotiate in every situation.  In the 20 hour online Cheetah Negotiations class, Cheetah students master this level of discernment to improve every relationship and create better outcomes in every situation.

Every relationship and every situation improves when you learn the Cheetah Negotiations process.

Every relationship and every situation improves when you learn the Cheetah Negotiations process.


High Performing Business – Discernment – From Hatred to Peace

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Conversational Akido can help counter hatred and aggression to create more kind and loving connections.

Conversational Akido can help counter hatred and aggression to create more kind and loving connections.

It is darn near impossible to make good decisions when hatred is triggered and your limbic ( “fight or flight”) brain is engaged.  The ancillary feelings of disdain, disgust, and disappointment also activate the limbiic brain. In the Happiness Project class, Cheetah students learn how to temper what triggers them so they can take more time to deliberate on decisions with their executive functioning brain rather than reacting from their more impulsive limbic brain. This helps improve the way we can process information coming in and discern the appropriate level of attention required.

When you get triggered into a sense of hatred, your body responds with a flood of stress hormones that over time increases anxiety and can activate a chemical depression. Hatred hurts the one doing the hating most. Learning how to shift into a more empowered state is critical for overall well being – and to improve the ability to discern the impact of our choices.

Stimulated by my own increasing complaints a month or so ago regarding the election, I made a commitment to limit complaints to less than 12 per day – 3 for the election, 3 relating to my relationships; 3 regarding my business, and 3 relating to a house project.  For any complaint I required myself to develop three possible solutions. My complaints went way down and I found myself being less and less triggered by information relating to the election.

What though to do about someone else’s hatred – especially when something you have done or shared, or even who you are, triggers another’s ire?  Other people’s triggers have nothing to do with you.  Some people call this “pushing their buttons.”  But the reality is you were most probably not around when those buttons got installed. For example, I grew up with three older brothers so I have some strong triggers around any behavior I perceive as bullying. The person who is exhibiting behaviors I perceive as bullying has absolutely nothing to do with my triggers. The key to handling another’s anger is to keep yourself calm, and centered – not owning or excusing their behavior  and avoiding responding in kind.  By all means get yourself to a safe place if you feel their hatred may turn violent.  But do yourself a favor and with hold any need for an immediate response.  Think about it – why would you want to disable your brain by going to where they are?

In the Cheetah Mastermind class, Cheetah students learn a technique we call “conversational aikido.”  Cheetah students learn how to counter other people’s toxic triggered responses.  They learn how to connect with kindness and compassion rather than correcting with their own triggered hateful response. Learning how to disarm hostility – especially when it is directed at you, can make your life significantly more peaceful.  Practicing this technique in day to day exchanges can improve your brain, reduce being triggered, and improve discernment to make consistently better choices – especially regarding with whom you choose to associate.

High Performing Business – Discernment – Guiding Values

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Discernment comes from knowing yourself and aligning with your core values.

Discernment comes from knowing yourself and aligning with your core values.


Living in Alaska I am lucky to observe whales as they travel north to their summer feeding grounds. They have an internal compass that guides them to the best locations to sustain their life. Reflecting on this. I created a mind map of my guiding values that calibrates my internal compass. This helps me stay on the life path that best sustains me.

This months theme is on the role of discernment in creating a high performing business. Discernment comes from knowing yourself. Taking some time to reflect on your guiding values is a recurrent theme in many of our Cheetah Learning courses – especially the one we call “The Happiness Project.”  For me, when I live in alignment with my core values, I’m more at peace and happier – the formula is that simple.  Clarifying core values and then developing the internal fortitude to live in alignment with them is the prize for Cheetah students who complete the 30 hour online Happiness Project course.

Happiness Challenge – Integration

Saturday, December 12th, 2015


Spring Cleaning and Attachment

Monday, April 13th, 2015

by Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

Your Level of Attachment Drives Many Other Aspects of Your Life

Your Level of Attachment Drives Many Other Aspects of Your Life

Several years ago I was studying attachments. I realized the strength of my attachments actually were limiting new experiences in my life.  I liked Miquel Ruiz’s book on the Five Level’s of Attachments and looked at it through four different perspectives.

1. How my behavior went from accepting to judging as my attachment levels increased.

2. How my strategies were impacted from go with the flow to more controlling for increasing levels of attachments.

3. How my ability to respond to situations went from flexible to rigid based on how attached I was.

4. How my actions went from spontaneous to predictable based on my level of attachment.

Since it was spring, I looked around at all the clutter in my life and realized – I was choking in the largesse of attachment.   Did I really need to build a new garage to hold all my treasures I was so deeply attached to?   Or, did it make more sense to liberate myself from all these attachments and right size my life with a cleaner and clutter free space?

Recently someone posted on the Cheetah Learning Facebook page, that instead of taking Cheetah’s PM of Spring Cleaning class, they could use the money just to hire someone to do the spring cleaning for them.   While on the surface, this might sound like a good idea, the reality is – when you do that, you allow a stranger to decide for you those things important for you to keep.  Spring Cleaning is an activity you have to do yourself as it is about freeing yourself from those attachments no longer serving you – and only you can decide that.   And this is a view I’ve grown rather attached to after living a life where I had no idea where much of my treasurers were anymore because I had so much stuff other people put away for me.  Doing my own spring cleaning got me back in touch with what was worthy of my attachment and what was not.

You can break your attachments to your stuff and live a more free and easy life.  Take Cheetah’s PM of Spring Cleaning – use the promotion code – notattached and get this 40 PDU course for $400.

21 Day Practice of Capitalism – Day 20 – Resistance

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

I’ve had ten days of continual company – first was a big family party for my Father for his 80th birthday then some good friends stopped by for two nights on their way from Denver to Portland.   In the first round of company – I got the pleasure of perpetually cleaning the kitchen as it seems the males in my family have developed an allergy to picking up after themselves.   I discovered the more I resisted cleaning the kitchen, the harder the job was.   But when I donned these “sexy” hot green rubber gloves, I became a white tornado and had the kitchen cleaned in no time.   Realizing that like a colicky baby, this too shall pass and my family would be back to their own homes, I decided to change my attitude and stop resisting cleaning the kitchen as it was not helping me at all – and it was hurting my ability to enjoy my family.   And wasn’t that the reason we all got together anyhow?

I started thinking, where else in life is resistance to whatever also hurting my enjoyment of life.   My friend visiting on her road trip with her family shared with me this book she was reading – called “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.” It is all about how resistance to anything sabotages creativity.

I recently completed reading The Untethered Soul – and in that book the author teaches you how to become more conscious of how you are resisting pain and how this hurts your ability to achieve long lasting happiness and fulfillment in life.   Whatever you resist in life persists.

I notice this resistance element is what stymies my creative efforts, ability to grow, and ultimately my happiness.   When I just get down to just doing it, everything flows.  A sense of all is right with the world prevails.    And I experience this in every element of my life.  I used to resist exercising – then I got this device called the Fitbit.   Once I saw how sedentary I actually was, it increased my awareness and stopped my resistance to exercising.  Now instead of resisting exercising, I look for opportunities to move more.

My perpetual question has become – what am I resisting and why?  Sales have doubled over the past ten days in comparison to the previous ten days.  Is this related to my letting go of the need to “resist” and just allowing things to flow?   Whatever the reason, the desire and the choice to resist anything is no longer serving me and I’m letting it go as it appears.

Initial Mind Map of the Untethered Soul Book

Initial Mind Map of the Untethered Soul Book

Zen and the Art of Eldercare

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

A few years back on a road trip through Alaska I listened to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance where the main character works through his serious neurosis by completely focusing on his motorcycle and how and where it takes him through life. As I figure out my way from the dark existence I find myself in with this sisyphean task of taking care of my Mom with brain cancer, I was reflecting on how my journey is similar to what the main character experiences in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Talking with my friend Zienna yesterday about the quagmire I’m in, she said, “You are only in a quagmire because you are living in your ego. “ She went on to explain a three phased egoic model based on either being a rescuer, a prosecutor or a victim. And I could tell which one I was being based on how I was feeling. If I was feeling over burdened, I was playing the role of rescuer. If I was feeling angry, I was playing the role of prosecutor and if I was feeling self-pity, I was playing the role of victim. WOW – I am living all three roles in this situation I find myself in. No wonder if feels so dark and yucky here for me.

Rising Above the Insanity of Eldercare

Rising Above the Insanity of Eldercare

Last year based on David Hawkin’s book, Power vs. Force, I assembled an energy of emotions matrix. In Hawkin’s book, he shows how our emotions carry energy. And the more positive your emotion, the more energy and positive influence you have in your life. I created a summary that showed a return on investment based on emotional energy. The more positive emotion, the more of a return you got back living in that emotion. According to Hawkin’s this impact is logarithmic. The lowest level positive emotion is courage (which is the absence of fear) and Hawkins placed that at a 200 level. Anything below that level, and whatever emotion you are experiencing is giving you a fractional return on the energy you are investing. In my company we coined this “living above the line or living below the line.” The line being the demarcation of positive vs. negative emotional energy. I naturally live at a fairly high level of emotions – the your success is my success level. So for every moment I spend living at this emotional level, I get a 10,000 times return on investment. I am learning more how to live at higher levels, and I get glimpses of how to do that here and there – especially in meditation.

So creating a mind map of Zienna’s egoic model, I thought, hmmmm this feels a lot like a below the line existence. No wonder if feels so dark to me here. I decided to create an above the line mirror of the egoic model. I call this the love triangle (ooooh – that doesn’t sound so good). In the love triangle, you have partner, advocate and victor. In the partner role, you feel energized, in the advocate role you feel hopeful and in the victor role you feel you are winning. In this model, you feel that you are one with others that you are all in this together and that we will prevail.

In the Buddha Brain book, the authors talk about one of the causes of suffering is hatred. Hatred breeds in an environment where you feel it is us vs. them – a divisive situation. This is what exists in the below the line existence of the egoic model. In the love triangle, it is an inclusive existence that increases individual capacity to love others. The way I can tell the difference – when I’m living below the line in my eldercare responsibilities I feel burned out. When I’m living above the line, I feel inspired. (Inspired enough to share my experiences with others).  The main way I am going to stay above the line in this situation is to make taking care of myself the priority over taking care of others.   The only way I can be there for others is to be there for myself, first.

Finding Deep Joy In Life’s Toughest Challenges

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

In August, I attended a cancer support group to better be there for my Mom as she works on recovering from brain cancer.  The group was led by Bernie Siegel (author of Love, Medicine, and Miracles) .   At that meeting, Bernie read a passage from the book “Patience – A Little Book of Inner Strength” by Eknath Easwaran.   The story he read was about the Joy of St. Francis.   In the story, St. Francis shares that when you can be happy no matter what other people are doing or what is going on in your life, then you have found deep joy.   I downloaded that book that night and learned the joy in patience.   I also learned that any goal was attainable if one was patient enough.   I was sharing this book with a friend a few weeks later who told me about the book “Buddha’s Brain – The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom.”   This is a book written by Rick Hanson, PhD – a neuropsychologist and Richard Mendius, MD – a neurologist.   The book is an amazing treasure at how to use your mind to develop your brain to create enduring happiness.   I mind mapped the book for my own later review.   I wanted to share it with others through this blog.

Use Your Mind To Develop Your Brain for Enduring Happiness

Use Your Mind To Develop Your Brain for Enduring Happiness

Irrational Behavior and How to Use it to Your Advantage

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

It’s the start of a new year, and like every new year, I set goals for the year. These are different than “resolutions” as I fully intend on meeting them. Some of these goals are the same from year to year: get in better shape, spend more time with my family, work smarter (not necessarily harder), decrease expenses, increase revenue, be the change I want to see in the world, end world hunger, get a super power… This year I set a new goal. I will walk 1,000 miles before the end of the year. Instead of approaching this goal rationally, like I’m prone to do for any project, I wanted to apply the ideas in the book “Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior”, by Ori and Rom Brafum. If I behave irrationally naturally as the authors point out, I may as well behave irrationally in a way that helps achieve my objectives.

Several years ago, when I first read the Brafum’s book, I created a summary mind map to better harness my own irrational behavior.

Leveraging Irrational Forces For Your Advantage

Leveraging Irrational Forces For Your Advantage

Here is how I will use Sway to help me walk 1,000 miles this year:

1. Commitment – The Brafum’s state that people will stick with a course of action even if it is clearly not the way to go. Doing the math, walking 1,000 miles in a year will require me to walk at least 85 miles every month. If I am only able to walk 80% of the time (setback by the thousands of excuses I can generate) that means I have to walk 3.2 miles every day I manage to get off my computer. If I publicize these figures, I am likely to be more committed to it (what I’m doing here). I am less committed to updating progress, but will be doing so from time to time on my blog – It will be filed under the category “Thousand Mile Walk”.

2. Value Attribution – High tech shoes, pedometer apps on my iPhone, Nordic walking sticks, that posh walking clinic to learn how to do Chi walking (see blog post) – these all make me want to walk MORE. Admittedly, I am a gadget, gizmo, techno head. I am inspired by this personality characteristic.

3. Diagnostic Bias – People live up to how others label them. Proactively, I label myself as a Chi Walker. Chi Walking is a fascinating technique. You focus on your posture with all types of ways to align your body to get a great workout while reducing the chance of overuse injuries. I am a chi walker who is on a 1,000 mile journey.

4. Perception of Fairness –When I was a new, young bride, my husband, who was almost a foot taller than me, would walk at a leisurely pace and I had to jog just to keep up with him. It felt so unfair and demoralizing. What I learned in Chi walking is you walk based on the pace and gait that is right for you. It doesn’t matter if the pace is right for anyone else. I am short, and therefore my gait is shorter than other people. Chi walking uses a core rotational technique that helps me move faster while maintaining my shorter gait. I can keep pace comfortably when walking with my taller (actually, average height) friends. It now feels “fair”.

5. Motivation – Different pleasure centers are activated in your brain based on your source of motivation. Materialistic rewards of achieving a goal don’t cut it for me as much as the intrinsic feeling of accomplishment I get for reaching that goal. According to Barfum’s book, this is pretty much the same for all people. Pushing myself past my 3.2 mile per walk goal gets me excited. Having somewhere fun to walk to with my family or friends gets me motivated to go out and walk.

6. Value of Dissenting Opinions – My parents raised me to challenge current authority, a trait I have passed down to my children. They all feel free to openly challenge the way I walk, where I’m walking, when I’m walking, how fast I’m walking, who else is walking with us, why we’re walking, the current weather conditions, our shoes, the brand of moleskin for blisters, pedometers, how much water to bring, and who will be our support vehicle if something goes awry. This creates a tremendous amount of focus and energy around the very act of going for these daily walks.

7. Aversion to Losses – A couple years ago, my mom and I were taking a water aerobics class from this character we nicknamed “Boot Camp Bob”. In his flag baseball cap over his shaved head, he barked exercise instructions at us while John Phillip Sousa music blared from pool’s sound system. He used to shout – “Get moving you pansies so you don’t end up in the nursing home.” This inspired my walking mantra – get moving, stay young. According to Newton’s first law of motion, a body in motion stays in motion

I’m now inspired to act irrationally and achieve my 1,000 mile walking goal. How can you harness the power of irrational forces to achieve your goals?

A. What commitments drive your current behavior? How can you change your commitments?
B. What value do you place on achieving your goals? How can you increase the value for you?
C. What labels can you use on yourself that will help you achieve your goal?
D. How can you make it a “fair” game to achieve your goal?
E. What intrinsic motivators get you fired up to go for your goal?
F. Who challenges you? How can you get them to do it more so you get a fire in your belly to go for it?
G. What will you lose if you fail to reach your goal? How can you avoid experiencing that loss?

Be irrational. It might just help you go for it!

Safe Sunscreen?

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

It now appears that using some suncreens, instead of helping to reduce your chances of getting skin cancer actually increase it. ARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH. Visit the Cosmetic Safety Database site to see what toxins are in your skin care products.

I created a summary mind map for sunscreens.

The Skinny On Safe Sunscreen

The Skinny On Safe Sunscreen