Q & A With Terri Crosby
Terri: It came about gradually. Getting a partner was never a problem for me. Keeping a partner was a problem. So early in my life, I went through men like Kleenex, and always thought the issues were about choosing the right partner, or finding the right circumstances, but nothing could be further from the truth.
So when I finally hit the wall (and it wasn’t pretty) I decided to figure out how to get along with another human in an intimate relationship. I knew how to have great friends. I didn’t know how to get along with a lover.
In 2005, I got help. I gave myself over to someone who was smarter than me at the time. I’m so glad I did!
And by the way, issues in intimate relationships translate to family, friends, and business as well. So I work with individuals, partners and couples in any of those situations.
Question: Where are you from? Where did you grow up?
Terri: I grew up on a farm in northwestern Iowa, land of blue skies and tall corn. My family was Quaker, and I had five brothers and sisters. We grew a huge and sprawling garden of everything edible, and did canning and freezing all summer long. After graduating from High School, I went to Iowa State University and got a Bachelor of Science in Child Development.
Question: What do your clients consistently say about you?
Terri: Clients say I’m really good at simplifying. They often bring a long laundry list of issues or describe a complicated and multi-faceted situation. Then they throw up their hands and say something like, “It’s all too much and I can’t see what to do.”
For some reason, I see threads or connections. And when five or ten situations can be taken care of with one shift in perspective, now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. That’s worth a person’s time and energy. I’m good at “threading” and my clients appreciate it very much. It’s a relief to them.
Another common remark is that I am fair, meaning that I don’t take sides when I’m working with a couple, with male/female business partners, or with parent(s) and children. Everyone appreciates this, because there is nothing worse than going to a relationship coach or mentor and feeling like you don’t have a fair chance — you’ve got the disadvantage — especially if you’ve already got your sword out and you’re fighting for your life, your sanity and your dignity.
And on top of that, it doesn’t feel good to have to alter yourself to please others. It feels yucky and it’s not sustainable. That’s not what life is about. There is no need to bend like a pretzel to get along with a partner — or in general. Nothing good comes from you not being who you are and a whole lot of good comes from you being the person you were born to be.
One aspect of this “being fair” idea is that when the couple (or partner of any kind) is ready, I do something that I call my “mouse in the corner” technique. I work with one partner while the other is observing. So I work with one of the two people as if no one is watching. But someone is watching, and the rule is the watcher has to be quiet as a mouse. No reactions, no comments, no protests, no sounds.
If you have a partner who is participating in sessions with you, you’ll have the opportunity to see me work with the person you know really well (your partner) and you’ll see me holding them accountable and facilitating a result that you would never imagine. It’s really illuminating – that’s what people say about it.
Sometimes the best way to learn is to watch someone else learn. It’s a thrilling thing to witness, with zero risk for you. When you aren’t in the hot seat, you can learn more comfortably and shift things you might not otherwise be able to shift.
Terri: Changing the course of a relationship takes time. Realistically, it takes nine months to a year to change the landscape of an intimate relationship. I know that from my own experience. You can initiate a change immediately, but it takes time to get used to it and make new habits. There is a flow to learning — you learn something new, you try it, fall down, get up, and try again. You might do that over and over — it’s OK. This is how we all learned to walk when we were babies, and how as an adult, we learn to walk in a new way.
Improving business relationships often moves a little faster than intimate relationships, by the way, ‘cause the participants aren’t having sex.
If you do consulting with me about an intimate relationship, you’ll most likely at some point experience an “out of the blue” relationship meltdown moment or two or five, but we’ll talk about those moments, and realize these moments aren’t “out of the blue” at all. You’ll see why it happened and what to do about it. Instead of duct taping things back together, that big-deal-awful-thing can actually bring you closer. Disasters or meltdowns are love in disguise — love that doesn’t know how to be love. It’s love that fell over and can’t get up. But it’s all love. All of it.
Typically, I work with people for a minimum of 3 -4 months. It seems like a magic amount of time. In three months, your awareness is heightened, your eyes are more open, and you begin to see how and why you relate as you do. You begin to see that you’re totally running the show, and that the quality of your relationship with your partner (child, mother, family member) is totally up to you. It’s not up to the other person. It’s up to you. But I don’t expect anyone to really know that when they start work with me. I certainly didn’t know it when I was getting divorced for the third time. I had no clue. I am the poster child for “there is hope for everyone.”
When a client decides to go further, the next three months stabilize the new path, new patterns, and new awareness. It’s usually about practicing new perspectives, which effortlessly creates new outcomes. It’s an amazing process. Sessions can be less frequent, because you’ve got new skills and awareness under your belt, and the blessing of positive momentum.
After 6 months, you’ve got your feet under you, and you can begin creating outcomes in a powerful and exponential kinds of way.
In general, you might say the first 6 months is basically “wake up, try new things, learn how to pay attention to what works and do more of that.” The second six months is about taking yourself where you’ve always wanted to go. You can do that because you have the foundation and the tools.
Question: Who do you work with? Who do you not work with?
Terri: I work with people who are committed to their personal happiness and authentic self-expression. I love working with smart, open, heart-centered folks who are already on a good personal track, and want to create an even smoother ride.
I often work with individuals who experience success in certain areas of their life, and can’t figure out why they aren’t successful in other areas. So I help them translate success in one area to other areas.
I don’t work with serious depression, mental illness, or addiction. I don’t deliberately choose to work with domestic abuse cases, but if it comes upI can be of assistance.
I don’t work with people who are totally committed to complaining or blaming, or people who are looking for a quick fix to cover up the mounting pile of obvious and un-addressed issues. I am all for relationship tweaks and tips with the basic foundational perspectives and practice time under your belt. Then tweaks work like a charm.
Question: Is your approach religious at all?
Terri: No, this information is not limited to those with a certain background or upbringing. If you’re ready to explore, discover and learn “outside the box”, we will probably work well together.
Question: Anything else you’d like us to know?
Terri: I find great joy in what I do. It may sound strange to say that people bring me problems and it makes me happy. To be accurate, the problems don’t make me happy, but I don’t see them as problems. What if that “problem” is there to help you clarify who you are and where you’re going? What if there is nothing wrong?
Working with smart and creative people is thrilling, fun, satisfying and even humorous. It’s also endlessly entertaining, and totally heartwarming. If we can’t be entertained by our own humanness, then what’s the point? Life is too short for drudgery. I’m a believer in “lighter is better” when it comes to a point of view or easy outcome.
I think human beings are brave beyond measure, full of positive possibility, and capable. Totally capable. I believe in my clients right down to my toes. When you’re going through a wobbly or difficult time, it’s a very good thing for someone to hold you in love, with confidence in your ability to express and evolve. It can make all the difference.
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