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Holiday Politics 101

2017 is coming to a close and the holiday season is upon us.

For many of us, the holidays mean “family time” ….  And those words can have the power to fill us with excitement and joy — or perhaps, a bit of apprehension.

I come from a large family, full of different personalities, points of view,  attitudes and plenty of competitive spirit!  Conventional wisdom says the family table is no place for certain discussions. However, I’ve never agreed with that sentiment.  If we don’t speak our truth, how do we gain insight and move towards a better understanding of each other and our relative views? How do we begin to reshape our thinking? As a family, we may not always agree — but we do understand the origin of our shared values.

For me and many of my friends, it seems as if  2017 has put the spotlight on situations that have done more to divide us than unite us. It’s clear the world is struggling with conflicting views —  and that this is a time for patience, kindness and compassion.

With that, here are some tips to help you to express your views while still keeping the conversation light and conflict free.

Know your audience.  Stay aware of your words, who you are speaking to and how you approach your topic.  Be gentle, use tact — and pick your moments. Be mindful that our differences and views will not always be aligned- we can seemingly experience the same situation but our perspective is never the same. Having a realistic expectation that the person you’re engaging with is not going to share the same views as you is the best way to avoid disappointment and stay positive.

Be curious! We can all learn from each other.  Ask questions so you can fully understand you friend or family member’s perspective. This will help you find areas of commonality, agreement, and even feeling and expressing empathy. Listen and speak with compassion. The best way to truly understand someone is to listen first. The willingness to listen intently for the sake of growth and not for winning the argument will be appreciated by all parties.

Always remember,  you have a choice not to engage in conversation that is offensive and may lead to escalation. You are not obligated to provide a counter argument and with consideration you can take the conversation elsewhere to avoid pitfalls. And if all else fails, simply draw a boundary and say “I’d prefer not to engage in this topic tonight. Let’s keep it light and just enjoy each other”

Keep in mind, whether you’re spending time with friends, family, or strangers,  always remember we are blessed to have each other.  Stay focused on the love that brings us all together.

Happy Holidays from all of us at GetZENd!


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Ronda is a Peak Performance Coach focusing on Life Coaching and the Mental Wellbeing of Athletes in her practice. She is also contracted through a large Division 1 University program to work with their athletes as a mental coach. She specializes in fear, pressure, adversity, uncertainty, removing obstacles, anxiety, doubt, recovering from injuries or setbacks, and identity beyond a sport or a role. She provides a proactive approach to the mental health of athletes and teams on wellbeing and the mental side of the game. Ronda is also an accomplished athlete herself and spent five seasons as a head coach for a Professional Women’s Hockey team in the Premier Hockey Federation, and is a scout for the Nashville Predators of the NHL.

Ronda’s education includes undergraduate studies in Psychology, a Masters in School Counseling and post graduate certifications in Applied Positive Psychology, The R.E.W.I.R.E. Mindset Systemᵀᴹ, and is certified as an Applied Positive Psychology coach, specializing in Leadership, Mentoring and Coaching, Teamwork and Collaboration. While Ronda has specialized in the athletic mindset, she is passionate about helping any person wanting to uncover what is possible and learn to use their mind as an asset for reaching their full potential.


Sylvia Halligan is a mind-body mental agility and change management coach. She helps organizations successfully lead and navigate change, make it stick, and empower individuals to transform into flourishing, thriving beings. Her personal coaching practice incorporates a blend of eastern philosophy practices backed by western science. Interventions include guided visualization, hypnosis, breath work, embodiment, energy psychology, positive psychology, and neuroscience.

Sylvia is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), holds certifications in Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) and Applied Positive Psychology Coaching (CAPP), and is an ICF credentialed Associate Certified Coach (ACC). She is also a Prosci-Certified Change Management Practitioner and certified in The R.E.W.I.R.E. Mindset Systemᵀᴹ. Specialties: Leading organizations through change and making it stick. Guiding individual change journeys through holistic mind-body coaching. Teaching people to thrive, not just survive.


Anjali is a Holistic Health & Positive Psychology Pracitioner. As a naturally intuitive, compassionate, and deeply empathetic coach, Anjali creates an environment for her clients that allows them to truly understand the connection of how the mind and body coexist and relate to one another. Assisting clients in understanding the mind & body connection, how blocked emotions can reappear in emotional patterning or physical alignments in the body, and aids in healing through the use of various techniques, including The R.E.W.I.R.E. Mindset Systemᵀᴹ.

Anjali holds degrees in Communications and an MBA, along with post graduate degrees and certifications in Applied Positive Psychology, Integrative Holistic Health Coaching and Breathwork.ᵀᴹ


Marjolein is a trainer, facilitator and coach, specializing in Emotional Intelligence and Leadership. In her individual coaching practice, Marjolein works with people to educate and empower them with the tools from Positive Psychology, Self Compassion and Emotional Intelligence. Her work with corporations includes embedding innovative, human-centric mindset coaching, training and facilitation. She’s a Senior Leadership Facilitator for THNK, The School of Creative Leadership in Amsterdam, Netherlands where she develops global leaders in international corporations to unlock their full potential in leading themselves, and others, for greater impact.

Marjolein holds certifications in Emotional Intelligence and Leadership, Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) and is an Applied Positive Psychology coach. She is also trained in Self Compassion, through the thought leader in this space, Kristen Neff, and is certified in The R.E.W.I.R.E. Mindset Systemᵀᴹ. Marjolein holds a Masters degree in Biomedical Sciences and Post Graduate degrees in Management and Positive Psychology.