Glastonbury author seeing success with helpful book
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Sep. 27, 2013
Dr. Bridget Cooper has been a leadership trainer and consultant for years, including being a keynote speaker for several organizations. Recently, clients have been asking if she had some sort of flier or handout explaining some of her techniques for getting out of one's own way in order to better one's personal and professional relationships and attain goals.
Deciding that a simple tri-fold couldn't convey as much information as would be useful, she decided to write a book, “Feed the Need to Reduce Conflict and Multiply Joy,” which was published in June. The book uses easy-to-follow guidelines and hints (and in places, is more like a workbook) to help the reader understand their own unmet needs, and how they are affecting their relationships with, well, everyone else.
“It comes from a 'personal, take stock of yourself, own your own stuff, perspective,'” Cooper said.
Originally aiming the tome at businesspeople, Cooper said early drafts of her book netted reactions that her teachings were about more personal relationships, but she explained that they are one in the same. “The truth of the matter is, when people come into the board room or the executive conference room, they are bringing all of their 'crazy' with them,” Cooper said. “They bring all of their patterns, ways of interacting, all of their attitudes about themselves, conflict, and communication. If they have a deficit outside of the office, they may try to feed it inside the office.”
Unmet needs, Cooper said, are what she sees as the root of many problems, including the feelings of being disenfranchised and not getting successful outcomes. In interpersonal relationships, Cooper said, people fight because one or both people have a need that isn't met and is fighting to force the other person to meet that need.
The book aims to help people take stock of their own needs (which are grouped into four main categories – appreciation, control, connection and presence, and passion and purpose), and how they can recognize others' needs and cultivate a greater capacity for empathy, which will more-likely lead to conflict resolution.
Cooper said she had fun with the process of writing the book, but said she wished she had jotted down more notes for a longer period of time. “I spent a lot of time flushing out my head, writing notes down – things, experiences, ideas and quotes – until I could see the structure. Then, I could pull other things in, balance it, and see what it needed structurally,” she said, adding that some of the need to offer help for other people is because she met with some of the same challenges in her own life.
“All of these things have been on my path as challenges,” she said, “whether it be in professional or personal relationships, as well as the relationship with myself. I used to think that if people were fighting me, they were stronger. I had that perception that I needed to gain strength, like that's how conflicts should work. Then I realized that oftentimes when people are fighting me, it's because they feel cornered and actually feel much weaker than you do. So, in trying to get a sense of where someone else is coming from first, before you respond, has been immeasurably helpful.”
Cooper said she is already working on a second book, about how people's fears often come out as anger or depression.
"Feed the Need – To Reduce Conflict and Multiply Joy" is available on Amazon.com and on Kindle.