Sunday, December 14, 2008

Year End Review

Every year, since 1990, I have prepared a year end review. I find the practice very beneficial. What I do is simply create a written snap-shot of where I am - my impressions - of each area/aspect of my life and the major players in my immediate inner circle. This year I am going to add the following questions to my review. I cannot take credit for these questions. They came to me from my fellow MasterMinder, business coach Nanette Saylor, who credits them to coach, Milana Leshinsky.

- What's your biggest business objective in 2009?

- What's your biggest personal objective in 2009?

- Where are your biggest opportunities right now?

- Where do you see a gap in your market, what's not being offered?

- What do your customers and clients complain about?

- Where are you leaving money on the table?

- What new revenue streams can you easily add next year?

- What are your top 3 time eaters and energy drainers?

- What is your "Biggest Opportunity Project" for 2009?

- What are the top 5 marketing strategies you'll focus on?

- How will you know you've had a great year?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday Night 10pm

I am getting a ton of holiday cards this year. Most of them are so blah, so impersonal. Why bother if it doesn't express your true sentiments or your essence? What a waste of time, money, and paper. Bah humbug!

Tonight was the final episode of our AM radio show. Yes - I am so ready to give it up but still have mixed feelings. Oh well - onward and upward.

CME tomorrow and we have a big crowd coming. Better get to sleep. Nighty, night.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What is Mediation?

Behind almost every human conflict someone feels dismissed, discounted, disenfranchised, or disrespected. There are five basic strategies that we humans use in response to conflict and the emotions it triggers. The strategies are to avoid, accommodate, combat, compromise, or collaborate. Only compromising and collaborating provide both a benefit to the relationship and a focus on attaining an individual goal. However, when we are emotionally triggered it is often difficult to compromise or collaborate and instead we go into fight, flight or freeze mode and we avoid, accommodate, or combat. One of the mediator's jobs is to take parties in conflict away from avoid, accommodate, or combat and bring them to compromise and/or collaborate. The process is often not pretty. In fact, it can be downright ugly. However, an effective mediator will know how to lead the parties through the muck by setting the stage, gathering information, defining the issues, developing an agenda, facilitating the discussion, and generating movement using a variety of investigative and persuasive techniques that are geared towards opening the parties minds and hearts and removing their blinders.

As you know I am on a mission to change the way we look at conflict and divorce. Here is my most recent contribution to the cause -

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Conflict Expert.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino just said (Sunday 11/30/08 10:30am on CNN) that "the media is addicted to conflict and it keeps the ratings up." She is of course correct. And now is the perfect time for the media to bring depth to some of those conflicts by having a conflict expert provide commentary. And, yes, I am available. "Wait a minute" you say. "You are a mediator." True, but, I am NOT living on Mediator Island singing kumbaya. Some mediators choose this profession because they are uncomfortable with conflict and ultimately their goal is to ameliorate it. If you know me, you know that is not where I am coming from. I love being in the trenches, analyzing the nuances of a conflict and helping determine the best way to hold and frame a heated discussion. I never encourage pseudo-peace. Instead, I find the dynamics of conflict and honest, up-front dialogue that focuses on defining the past, present and future aspects of a conflict fascinating. So, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, PBS, ABC, CBS, one of you, please give me a call.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Change Again?

I love listening to Sirius Satellite radio in my car. And, I have my own show on terrestrial AM radio. Sadly, it seems both of these mediums are on their way out. I don't have an MP3 player - or any player for that matter. And, I don't know what the difference is between an iPod and an MP3 player. Anyway, even though Susan and I are pretty much techno-dummies it looks like we will be moving our radio show to internet radio in early 2009. Is this progress or just change for change sake?

And, speaking of change, this year for the first time my sister and I will not be cooking Thanksgiving dinner. We are both really tired; there is a lot on our plates. So, I am going to buy a ready made turkey and 10 of us will eat it in her house. Once, years ago, we ate in a restaurant on Thanksgiving. That was not for me. I eat out so much, Thanksgiving is the one day I don't want to be in a restaurant. And, there are no real leftovers when you eat in a restaurant. Where are you going for Thanksgiving? Why is this Thanksgiving different?

The following list comes from a somewhat shocking email I just received. The email carried a warning about buying gift cards from stores that will soon be out of business. Some of these stores have been around for as long as I can remember. Is this Darwinian - with just the strongest and best retailers surviving - or one more sign of impending doom?

Circuit City - filed Chapter 11
Ann Taylor - closing 117 stores nationwide
Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine's - closing 150 stores nationwide
Eddie Bauer - closing 27 stores, with more expected to close after January
Cache - will close all stores
Talbots - closing specialty stores
J. Jill and Pacific Sunwear (owned by Talbots) - closing all stores
The GAP - closing 85 stores
Footlocker - closing 140 stores, with more expected to close after January
Wickes Furniture - closing
Levitz Furniture - closing remaining stores
Bombay Furniture - closing remaining stores
Zales - closing 82 stores and another 105 after January
Whitehall - closing all stores
Piercing Pagoda - closing all stores
Disney - closing 98 stores, with expected to close after January
Home Depot - closing 15 stores
Macys - closing 9 stores after January
Linens and Things - closing all stores
Movie Galley - closing all stores
Pep Boys - closing 33 stores
Sprint/Nextel - closing 133 stores
JC Penney - planned closings after January
Ethan Allen - closing 12 stores
Wilson Leather - closing all stores
Sharper Image - closing all stores
K B Toys - closing 356 stores
Loews - closing some stores
Dillard's - closing some stores

Please pray for Barack Obama. He may be our only hope.

I cannot adequately explain the joy I receive from my dogs Stella and Roscoe - they are an amazing gift. And, so I am asking you to please consider adopting a dog or cat from a shelter. The economic crisis has forced many people to give up there pets and the shelters are at maximum capacity. Adopt a pet, I guarantee that your rewards will be much greater then any costs invovled.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Divorce Vultures

A former student emailed me asking about her friend's marathon mediation - it lasted from 10am until 1am.  Read what I had to say at

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Change, Hope and Doom

We had a big night last night. Hope is again on the horizon. And, while I am not convinced that it is still possible to stop the downward spiral, if it is, clearly Barack Obama is our best choice and our best hope.

My questions for this week:

1. There is a universal law that says that what is perceived as the worst almost always has the potential to become the best. Our current economic crisis is going to give each of us a chance to really assess what is important and what is just distracting fluff. Along these lines, this year the holiday season will be very different. Do you have any ideas on how we can turn our challenges into blessings and survive the holidays this year?

2. What do you know about internet radio? Susan and I are considering moving our show from WNN, which is a local AM station, to this format.

3. I feel an amazing connection to my dogs Stella and Roscoe. And, it seems I run into people all the time that share this passion for their pets. Do you have a dog? Do you have an explanation for the intense connection we share with these creatures?

4. What has changed? What is the change we need? What shifts are happening for you?

I have been asked to answer last weeks questions.

1. Yes, it appears to me that it harder for a single person to find a life partner today than in the past. You would think that the internet would be making the process easier. However, we live in complex times and mate selection is complicated by confusing messages about gender roles and individual fulfillment. The cultural factors and the dynamics that play out in the process of mate selection continue to fascinate me. As a divorce mediator I find that some of the couples who end up at my table were mismatched from the beginning. So I believe that arranged marriage and/or old style matchmaking are very viable options in the 21st century.

2. If it helps, I am all for it. I am not sure if spirit attachment and/or soul fragmentation are what keeps us stuck. However, I do believe that a spiritual remedy can be the path away from our addictions and towards emotional health. The spiritual remedy involves becoming comfortable with surrender, acceptance, conscious contact with a higher/deeper power, and trusting the process of life as it unfolds. I believe that finding that comfort level is a process that involves finding the right discipline and staying committed to its practice. If there is a one size fits all spiritual answer I have not found it. But, I do know that any spiritual practice can take us to The Answer and can also take us away from The Answer.

3. I am in the process of writing an article, for a legal education website, about how pro-se/pre-suit divorce mediation is an emerging trend. Certainly, I am on a mission to carry that message. I will keep you posted.

4. We are heading into even tougher times. Peak-oil, environmental and climate crisis, war, and financial ruin in the stock market, the real estate market, and the banks. Peter Schiff says that the buy-outs have only postponed the inevetable. The jury is still out on where the US is going and if we can remain a viable world force. And, beyond our backyard Thomas Friedman reminds us that the world is flat, crowded, and hot. So, someone better come up with a plan. (Actually, Friedman proposes one.) Obama has his work cut out for him.

5. David and I are making progress on our move to Gainesville. A landscaper has made our house more attractive for sale and we are purging alot fo the clutter. We are going to Gainesville for another one of our exploratory missions later this week.

All the best, Elinor

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Questions Of The Week

My Top 5 Questions For This Week.

1. Is it harder for a single person to find a life partner today than in the past? Who should consider an arranged marriage? How about my children?

2. Have you ever heard of a book called "Spirit Releasement Therapy" by William Baldwin? Is it possible that spirit attachment and/or soul fragmentation are what is keeping you (and me) stuck?

3. The traditional attorney driven divorce makes no sense. But, it still attracts lots of people. Why do you think that is? How can I best carry my A Friendly Divorce message?

4. Peter Schiff predicted our current financial crisis in 2006. How is the financial crisis effecting you? If Schiff is correct again, we are in for real problems. What is your plan for the future?

5. David and I would love to relocate to Gainesville. But, there are so many details involved. I am very open to your feedback. How can we make this move happen?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My World, Your World, Our World

I made a commitment to my Mastermind group that I would post a weekly report on my blog. So, here is my official state of the world message for Oct 19, 2008.

1. Have you seen Zeitgeist: Addendum? If not you can view it at The first Zietgeist film focused on "suppressed information about our current dominant social institutions, while also exploring what could be in store for humanity if the power structures at large continue their patterns of self-interest, corruption, and consolidation."

"The second film, Zeitgeist: Addendum, attempts to locate the root causes our pervasive social corruption, while offering a solution. The solution is not based on politics, morality, laws, or any similar notions of human affairs, but rather on a modern, non-superstitious based understanding of what we are and how we align with nature." The film advocates "a new social system which is influenced by the life long work of Jacque Fresco, a futurist, who proposes creating solutions that maximally benefit the greatest number of people."

2. A
ccording to the British newspaper "The Sun" Guy Ritchie and Madonna have reached a divorce settlement. While the rich and famous sometimes have to show that they can have the biggest and most expensive divorce (to go along with the biggest and most expensive house and car) it is refreshing that this pair was smart enough to know that only a couple of dolts would pay lawyers a portion of what they have to argue over how the remaining percentage should be divided. And, that's only the money. The family restructuring brought on by divorce is so traumatic for children that it might be considered child abuse for parents to extend the process while they argue over nonsense. OK, I am jaded, but the more divorce horror stories I hear, the more I am convinced that we need to change the status quo and find better ways to move families through the transition and process of divorce.

3. We are only 16 days away from the election. The Dems take offense when the Republicans use Obama's full name - Barack Hussein Obama - saying that use of the H word is an attempt to bolster the Muslim rumors and frighten would-be voters. But, actually, in this world climate we probably need a Hussein on our side. During the next four years we are going to need to negotiate with people who hate us. I have to believe that BHO is a lot better equipped (and will be better received) than McCain the 3rd.

As to the Bill Ayers-Obama relationship. I dont know to what extent the two know each other but I do know that most of us dont know who Ayers was/is. Ayers was an anti-war activist during the Vietnam era. His activism was radical but those were insane times. (With hindsight, the Vietnam years, which marked my generation, were bad, but still less damaging to us as a nation than the Bush-Cheney atrocities.) Ayers knew we were going in the wrong direction and he was patriotic enough to want to stop it. History has proven Ayers views on Vietnam correct. According to Ayers "you could not be a moral person with the means to act, and stand still. To stand still was to choose indifference. Indifference was the opposite of moral." Too bad Ayers (or anyone else) did not step in and get our attention when we allowed ourselves to be led off, half-cocked, into Iraq. I personally hope that Obama will take counsel from Ayers and any one else who have the vision to see the larger global picture.

4. Tomorrow, my son Seth will be 33 years old. How did that happen? Where does time go? It was only yesterday (or last week) that he was a little boy with blond curls. And, I was young and strong. Today, my feet hurt. But, I did go to yoga this morning because exercise may be the only way to fight off a painful and miserable old age. I better do more.

5. Enough, I am going back to my own little world and The Bride's Guide To Starting Your Marriage Off Right.

Have a great week. Elinor

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Just saw Bill Maher's "Religulous." Very upsetting and scary. The question is - are the religious fanatics (of all of the persuasions) so devoted to their dogmas and predictions of destruction that destroying our world has become a self-fulfilling phophecy? Once upon a time, only God could bring down the world. But now man has that power. And, the people currently in power many not be the most clear thinking.

Susan and I will be talking about the movie on our radio show this Thursday - 6-7pmEST - 1470am in South Florida or If you've seen the movie call in and give us your opinion - 888-565-1470.

On a different note. Do you twitter? If not its time. OK, maybe its not time but its fun. Go to and sign up. And, follow me. I am better about tweeting than blogging.

Best, Elinor

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Still Crazy After All This Time

Holy Cow!! Its seven months since I last posted to this blog. Its not like I have posted elsewhere, I am just very, very busy. Lots going on - all of the time.

Shortly after my last post I moved my radio show to WBZT. Actually, there were two shows - a morning show that I did with two colleagues and an evening show, sponsored by a local treatment center, which focused on addiction and recovery. This went on for six months. But, for a variety of logistical reasons I decided to go back to WWNN and on June 20 my newest (and I think best) show - Robin and Dubow On The Radio - debuted. Dubow is of course my friend and colleague (my co-trainer at Mediation Training Group) Mediator Susan Dubow. Susan is a political pundit and my focus is (as always) relationship dynamics. So, we talk about conflict and everything from the presidential race to celebrity divorce. We would love to get more callers - especially those seeking advice - and to encourage that we have secured some great rewards. (Fantastic restaurant and personal service gift certificates.) So listen on Thursday evenings from 6-7pm - or 1470am if you are in South Florida - and call in.

David and I remain busy with A Friendly Divorce. And, we are constantly learning more about the complex process and effects of divorce. Sadly, we are finding that the terrible economy is acting as the final straw for many of our clients. These are couples who probably could have held their marriages together were it not for the added stress brought on by the current real estate crash, business crisis, and financial fiasco. In spite of the sadness we often witness, we find our work very gratifying, knowing that we are helping our clients conserve their resources, protect their children and save their sanity. In April we moved into a bigger and much nicer office, on June 24 we celebrated our AFD one year anniversary, and this month we contracted for office space so that we can now meet with clients in satellite offices in Plantation, Orlando, Palm Beach Gardens, Jacksonville, Tampa and Gainesville.

This week I begin another Family Mediation training program. At the same time my son Seth is moving to NY for his dream job while my daughter Sari is in active pursuit of hers. More to follow.