Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0328, January 22, 2008


Dear friends,

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We want to thank you for welcoming us with kind words of encouragement pouring through our email from all over the world.

It is an honor to be a part of FacilitatorU! Steve has taken us under his wings and is patiently guiding us through his web based master piece creation.This week’s article A closer look at recurring patterns is an excerpt from my new book, Bliss is in Knowing the Self. It sheds light on how recurring patterns stand in the way of our success.

We hope you find value in the article and look forward to your comments and feedback. We would also like to hear from you and find out what are some of the work related challenges you are experiencing. Your input will sharpen our focus to provide forth coming articles. Please send your valued thoughts to

Random Acts of Facilitation. Also note that we're offering our popular Random Acts of Facilitation 5-day teleclass starting next Monday, January 28th. This is a great class for those just starting out in facilitation and offers great validation and insights for intermediate and advanced facilitators as well. See details at the bottom of this issue.


Neerja & Deepak
Site Managers of

FacilitatorU membership

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This Meeting Sux
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Random Acts of Facilitation

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The Point

How recurring patterns stand in the way of our success
A closer look at Mental Models

Intervention Skill

As leaders it’s imperative that we understand how mental models dictate the way we view reality. Mental models, also known as patterns, are formed by our experiences, upbringing, culture, society and education. They are impressions that restrict our ability to see situations with clarity. Patterns are the perceptions we see our world through. By and large the ideal way to break patterns is to challenge the underlying assumptions until the conflicting reality dissolves.

A break through requires the practice of self awareness and presence. Being fully present without a trace of denial disrupts patterns. Over time the understanding begins to shift to a deeper level and creates resolutions. For instance, our distorted perceptions follow certain rules of mental models which are best explained through the "The Ladder of Inference," a concept from Peter Senge's book The Fifth Discipline. He writes that the brain processes information according to the following steps:

1. I observe the conflict.
2. I select the data from the conflict (similar to selective hearing – we will call it selective data gathering).
3. I add meaning to the selected data.
4. I make assumptions based on the meaning I added.
5. I draw conclusion based on the assumptions.
6. I adopt beliefs based on the conclusion.
7. I take action based on the beliefs.


Let me explain how this works: One of my colleagues I provide contract work for is a highly sophisticated, top-notch facilitator and has been in the training industry for over thirty years. A few years ago she co-facilitated a training program with me. The thought that such an experienced person would be co-facilitating with me made me extremely nervous. Even though I am a natural facilitator and inspire the audience, when I am under the spell of my mental model, I am pulled into a fear-based roller coaster.

Let me walk through the ladder of inference so you will see what took place in my mind during the roller coaster ride.

Ladder Of Inference
My Reality
I observe the inner conflict I observe my super sophisticated colleague sitting in the back of the room taking notes and observing me.
I select the data My attention selects the data that she is looking at me with a critical eye.
I add meaning The meaning I add after selecting the data is that I am not as sophisticated or seasoned as she is, so she must be looking at my shortcomings.
I add assumptions based on the meaning I add She must not like my presentation.
I draw conclusions She will never want to work with me again.
I adopt beliefs I am not as good as she is and I need years of experience to catch up to what she is capable of. I will never be like her.
I take action based on the belief. I tell my colleague that perhaps I am not quite ready to co-facilitate with her.

When I sat down to confirm my ladder of inference with my colleague, she laughed as she explained that her reality was the opposite of mine. She was taking notes for the added value and perspective I was providing to the course. She immediately recognized that I was being too hard on myself and continued to hire me to facilitate workshops. Based on this experience I had obviously assumed and jumped to the wrong conclusion.  The unconscious false fears create a compelling sense of reality in the mind that overrides facts. The key is not to beat ourselves up but to walk through the inner thinking process using the ladder of inference.  It is important to stay aware of how we follow a pattern climbing the ladder of inference; however, when we have the courage to share distorted unconscious false beliefs, we free ourselves of the assumptions. Since I was willing to share my assumptions with my colleague, we were able to laugh it out, and today we have moved to a new level of friendship. 


Where in your life are you feeling uneasy or upset? Look at this situation using the ladder of inference above and identify any assumptions operating around the issue. How might you verify these assumptions? Do it now!

When you notice your mind blindly following the mental model, use the light of awareness to check in, question and clarify through the ladder of inference.


Bliss is in Knowing the Self
is a guide for discovering human greatness. The experience with the Self transcends humans from ordinary to extraordinary beings. We are born impeccably astonishing; however, the restrictions and fears we adopt while growing up makes us ordinary. Once we from a relationship with the Self, it demystifies the essence of life, uncovering the wisdom and power of being human. This book is not an information resource; however, a tool to experience the Self by drawing out the essence of the subject. Do not take everything at face value; draw out the meaning as it relates to your own life experience. Until we are willing to be with a subject and obtain our own truth, we are not educating ourselves; we are merely being informed. Through reading we become informed, through relating we become knowledgeable; however, through fully experiencing we become wise.
Click here to purchase the ebook for $19.95
Click here to purchase the paperback for $19.95 + $4 s&h

Note to Publishers
Would you like to republish this or other articles from the journal? You are f$ree to do so providing you follow these guidelines.

We grow by recommendation only when you find our material of use! If you enjoyed this issue, we'd love it if you'd spread the word. Click here to use our interactive form to tell your friends about MFJ, and as a thank you, you will receive our f$ree Facilitator's Self Assessment.

In the Spotlight

5-day Teleclass
for new facilitators and change agents.

Skills and attitudes for the new facilitator or group member who wants to get their group into serious motion.

25 Actions You Can Take to Empower Any Group

This class will meet for five consecutive weekdays January 28th - February 1st, 2008 to cover 25+ facilitative actions you can take to empower and move groups forward. This course is for beginning facilitators or group members that simply want to know more about facilitation so that they can make the groups they are a part of more effective.

How the 5-Day Format/Training works...
1. You dial into your class every day for 5 days (Mon-Fri) for a 60-minute focused training segment using a conferencing bridge.
2. You work a 25-point checklist during the 5 days (about an hour a day of study and field work) which you complete by Friday afternoon, or sooner if you wish.
3. During the week, you may access the instructor via email for help or situational questions.

5-Day Random Acts of Facilitation Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the 5-Day course...

Introduction to the Facilitation and Self Facilitation Skills.

1. Create the Ambience.
2. Share the Dream.
3. Get Facilitation
4. Juggling.
5. Me First.

Relating with compassion and understanding.

6. Be Ignorant.
7. Make Smiles Happen.
8. Hold 'em High.
9. Acknowledge the Elephant.
10. Turn on Your Crap-Detector.

Group Dynamics and Facilitation

11. Build the Container.
12. Build trust.
13. Mine the Unexpected.
14. Evolve Your Team.
15. Honor the Process.
16. Facilitate Full Participation

Organizing and Presenting yourself confidently, professionally, and authentically. 

17. Prepare for Success.
18. Get Real.
19. Make Experiences, Not Speeches
20. Watch the Body Talk.
21. Be your message

Intervening to shift group energy

22. Tame the Tormentors.
23. CareFront.
24. Use the Struggle.
25. Break through barriers.
26. Facilitate from Within.
27. Embrace Facilitation as a Master's Path

Benefits to you of participating from the 5-Day Random Acts of Facilitation Training...
1. Get a great introduction to the concept and practice of facilitation skills if you are contemplating becoming a facilitator, team leader, board member, manager, mediator, etc.
2. Never waste another minute in an ineffective meeting again.
3. Learn how to challenge and empower every group you come in contact with.
4. Learn skills to help groups make quantum leaps in their effectiveness.
5. Be a catalyst for positive change in your community.

Also included with your training...
In addition to the 5-Day training described above, you also receive:
1. Access to the participant-only website (lots of resources, forms, etc.).
2. Access to the RealAudio version of the 5-Day training.
3. F$ree copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value).

Pricing and Dates...
The full cost of training/access is only $99, which includes a free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value). Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee. Class meets at 1:00-2:00pm Eastern daily, January 28 - February 1, 2008.

Please click here and you'll be taken to the teleclass registration page. Register there and you'll see your discount computed and applied as you check out. Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the course and free article bank. This course is limited to 20 individuals, first come, first served.

Self-Guided Versions of the course...

The Real Audio version
comes with all of the self-guided features listed above, together with real audio links you'll receive by mail that you can listen to at your leisure.


Click here to purchase the
Real Audio Version for $79

The Compact Disk (CD) version comes with all of the self-guided features listed above, together with 5 CD's you'll receive by mail that you can listen to anywhere you have access to a CD player.


Click here to purchase the CD Version for $89
plus $4 Shipping and Handling Membership Option

Become a member of premium member and receive this self-guided teleclass at half price in addition to a host of other items and benefits. An exceptional value. Click here for details.

About the satisfaction guarantee

If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with this package, simply email us with a request to refund/credit your credit card in the full amount and we will do so immediately. It's our policy to do this and we honor this in every single case.

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