Catalyst

Interview with Mama Says Namaste


I interviewed Ashley, from Mama Says Namaste, a little while back and I wanted to post the full conversation. She's delightful and I'm sure you can get a real sense of what she's like from her answers.

1. Tell me about how/when you became interested in personality types?

I have always been fascinated by behavior - why we think, act and respond the way we do, and how much our natural tendencies show the variety of personality styles out there. In high school I dug deep into learning more about DISC as a simple tool to open the door to awareness and start digging deeper into why, for example, I'm quick to jump to the end result while my mother needs to talk and process through.

I got a degree in Psychology to get a greater understanding, and pulled all these resources together to develop an introspective process - not to label - but to have a quick and easy tangible in front of people [their personality "snapshot"] to open the door of introspection. Then we simply discuss what resonates, what doesn't, and how to apply their strengths in relationships for deeper connection.

2. What's a great first step to building a formal set of family values?

Discussing your dreams! We write stories in our minds on how things are supposed to go, how our family looks like, etc. We can't come together on a family vision when everyone has their own unspoken expectations on what family is.

So first and foremost, dream together. Speak out loud what your desires for family are, and write it all down. Make a "dream sheet" that has all the words, feelings, and imagery of what your "perfect home life" looks like, and use this as the rudder to write out your vision/mission/values.

3. Why are identifying family values important?

When you lay out guidelines everyone has agreed on, you create a unified front, and an unbiased reminder. What I mean is, when you create this together and someone in the family strays from these, instead of saying "you did/didn't do this!" and pointing a finger, you can simply go back to your family values and ask if what they did lines up. It places them in the position of discernment and responsibility instead of simply finger-pointing what you believe lines up with the "right" way to do things.

4. How have you seen them practically help your family?

Our family vision is simple: explore, respect, listen, connect, learn and love. Six simple words that everyone understands, and it helps them make the right decision. For example, it's not us begging a child to not step on toys - it's giving them ownership of their actions. Now, I would just ask, "is what you're doing what our family believes in?" They recite the six words and can point out that stepping on toys is not respecting [being a good steward of] their things, and they make their own choice to shift their play.

These six words have become the rudder for our daily life and every interaction, and my five-year-old can attest to this as much as we can.

5. When there's conflict, how does knowing that person's personality help bridge the gap of understanding when real emotions are all around?

Wow, it can help so much! A perfect example of this is what I call a "steadfast" personality. They are loyal, thoughtful, and even-tempered. Predictability is a biggie for them, and their greatest fear is loss of security. So you take a situation like a young teen girl- she was sweet, compassionate and eager to help in her tweens. And then, once the hormones hit, she started to withdraw and seem to become apathetic to life. This girl who was so eager to please before, now has this "I don't care" attitude, her room is a mess, and you aren't sure what's come over her. You can get mad at her for being an "angsty, lazy teen", or you can look deeper than the surface.

That's what my Namaste Personality Snapshots do - it gives you a picture of what is going on below the surface. In this situation, you have a child who has a lot of change going on - puberty and body changes, going from middle to high school, raging hormones...for a personality style that craves security, predictability and comfort, this can be a scary time. The triggered reaction is apathy, indifference, and procrastination as they hate confrontation and conflict.

So now, understanding this, you can come to your daughter and address what IS stable in her life and how to help her navigate the changes going on in her life that are perfectly normal. Now, it's not about yelling at your kid to clean up her room, but it's addressing the root issue and assuring her of your support through this. You end up with deeper connection, and the dirty room and apathy may become a moot point.

6. Tell me about what it means to have "healthy" communication.

Healthy communication comes from owning your emotions - saying "I feel" instead of "you did". It comes from asking "what is my goal" before you talk, so you assure you are communicating in a way that meets your goal of connection, love, etc.

Healthy communication involves silencing your mind and truly listening without forming your rebuttal while another talks. And it's finding that place of empathy where you can mirror the place someone else is at to better understand how to connect.

7. Give an example in your marriage when knowing each other's types helped in real life.

The month before we left for Costa Rica on our first big adventure as a family, my husband's parents announced they were getting a divorce after 37 years of marriage. It shook the family to the core, and resulted in some pretty intense trauma from this close-knit family who just had their whole reality flipped upside down.

On top of that, my husband was trying to wrap up his real estate deals so we could be gone for a month, I was setting our home up for AirBnB, and we had to navigate all the logistics of boarding our dog, holding mail, etc for a month of being gone. There was upheaval everywhere - the house was a mess, our emotions were a mess, our work was insane, and everything "predictable" went out the window as we were hit with one curve ball after another. In a time of complete upheaval, understanding, like the example I stated earlier, the steadfast personality helped me to navigate how to best support Nathan. He didn't need to be "fixed" or be pushed to drive harder and keep on trucking. He needed security and consistency in a crazy time.

So every night, we'd sit on the back porch after the girls were in bed and simply defrag. We'd spend about 30 minutes to an hour just hashing out the day - the good, the bad, the ugly. And then we'd shift to connection and the present moment - what we were grateful for in our lives, and our love that remained the constant through it all.

We left all the negativity, tension and heavy emotion of the day outside, and walked into our home as our true sanctuary. These nightly check-ins got us through a very chaotic time, and brought us even closer together.

8. What do family decisions look like in your home? How involved are the kids (if at all)?

We voice what the choices are, and any expectations/desires we have around it. If needed, we go back to our family vision to see if it lines up with that. And yes, we involve the children, even if it's not necessarily asking them their opinion, but letting them listen and ask questions around our conversation. We don't hide things from our children, so they can listen to us discuss and hash out options and explain the why behind them. And if we're completely stuck, there is always the quick decision-maker of playing "rock, scissors, paper." :-)

9. What's one thing you wish every family could experience together?

Peace in the present moment. Everyone relaxed and enjoying the NOW vs. worrying about the future, obsessing over the past, or wishing for something different. Simply being together and soaking in the moment, the connection, and the love.

10. What's one question you wish every family would ask regarding their life decisions?

What is your "why"? Why do you need/want money? What do you dream of? If your "one day" looks extremely different than your present day, why is that, and what can you do now to start bringing in those "one day" feelings you dream of?

Don't wait and hope that you can eventually find peace, happiness, adventure, etc. You have to make a choice and make it happen.


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Lana Leigh Wilkens is an author and speaker who helps women discover their authentic family values and challenges them to ask the right questions so they can decide with confidence and conviction.