Positive Behavior Support for Ourselves

Since our workshop locations repeat every two years, I recently taught the last instructor workshop that I taught before COVID restrictions began two years ago. For most, those restrictions went into place quickly and unexpectedly. When I talk to instructors in workshops, the topic often turns to all the changes that had to be made within their organizations to adapt to the situation. Much has been written and processed about those challenges already, and we have all learned a lot from the experience.

Truth is unexpected events both big and small are inevitable in our lives and often have significant impacts on our ability to function. I recently had one of those happen in my personal life that has had me kind of out of sorts for the past few weeks. Like we all have done with COVID, I have had to adjust and find coping skills to deal with the additional stress of my own situation. A couple of the concepts in The Mandt System have helped me in particular with that process.

The first and probably the most important is the idea of needing to affirm my feelings, and then choosing my behaviors. Being intentional about practicing this has helped me with conflict prevention with my wife and others in my personal life. Without it the stress would have likely caused me to end up engaging in interactions with others in more negative ways including interactions with instructors while teaching workshops that could have caused workplace conflict as well.

The second has been understanding how stress affects me physically and psychologically. Especially remembering that unmanaged stress can have significant effects on my ability to effectively communicate, reason, compromise, etc. I have to admit that there have been some instances during my last couple workshops where the stress was affecting me. I have found myself needing to engage in some positive behavior support strategies on myself to help keep myself feeling positive.

I’m confident that the situation I am experiencing will work itself out but am thankful for the skills I have gained through my learning and teaching of The Mandt System over the past 28 years.

Doug ZehrVogt, Mandt System Faculty

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