“When we went into the course, we were like, ‘What else are we going to learn about each other and about ourselves?’…and it was a lot. So never think that you know enough about yourself or others because there’s always more.” -Melanie Pomerville
In this episode, Adam J. Salgat sits down with Ryan and Melanie Pomerville, members of the Michigan Air National Guard, to discuss how the OCL skills have impacted their marriage. They share how the two of them try to find ways to connect, even if it is as simple as walking to the mailbox together. They discuss how the DISC assessment has put some quantifiable data in front of them to confirm some behavior tendencies they already saw in each other.
As parents of three kids, they discuss how using the five reflecting listening skills has helped them build better relationships with their kids. While at work, using F.B.I. (Feeling Behavior Impact) statements have helped Ryan open up doors he never thought imaginable.
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Adam Salgat 0:03
Do you remember the day you found the passion that fuels your life? Or maybe the first date you had with your partner? Or how about the day your child graduated college, there was love, joy and hopefulness of change. Over the years, many alumni have expressed that the our community listens course is life changing in a similar way. And we know it has been infectious for many, something we know you can’t just keep to yourself. So take a chance to share that experience with those in your circle by telling them about upcoming classes. Even if they live outside of a regional learning hub, we now offer a virtual OCL course. When we all learn to listen, empathetically, we can be part of a caring community. Visit our website at Chapman communities.org or follow the link in the description of this podcast.
Welcome to the listen first podcast brought to you by the Chapman foundation for caring communities. Our vision and mission is to strengthen relationships and build stronger communities through listening, leadership, care and service to create a truly human connection. Learn and partner with us as we imagine a society in which people care about each other. And listen first.
Adam Salgat 1:32
Welcome to the listen first podcast. My name is Adam Salgat. With me today I’m welcoming in Ryan and Melanie pomp Merville. They work for the Michigan Air National Guard. And they took the our community lessons class through the relationship course lens. Ryan and Melanie, welcome to the podcast. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 1:51
Adam Salgat 1:53
So let me ask you this. How did you first hear about the our community lessons course? Ryan, why don’t you touch on that.
Speaker 3 1:59
So one of the co workers of Melanie has been put in charge of basically being the logistics coordinator for it for the state. She obviously is in communication with Melanie on the regular and kind of came in and was super excited about the course and more or less said, Hey, you guys gotta go to this. It’s wonderful. And we’re going to bring the relationships course, to Battle Creek. And we were pretty much the first ones on the volunteer list.
Adam Salgat 2:27
Melanie told me a little bit about your expectations, you know, hearing from your coworker that, you know, this is a really great course I think you should do it. What were your expectations heading into class,
Speaker 4 2:37
of course, high expectations because Jen, the one who referred it she she’s very motivating person. And she had she said it was by far one of the best courses she’s ever been to as far as professional and personal development. I was intrigued, you know, you we go to these things all the time. So we’re wondering what, what more can we learn about ourselves and other people? And I would have to agree it is by far one of the best courses I’ve ever been to throughout my career.
Adam Salgat 3:06
Ryan, would you back that up to?
Speaker 3 3:08
Absolutely. And I briefed that pretty much every time, I’m now also helping Jin as the logistics coordinator for the state. And when I bring it up to the leadership throughout the Michigan Air National Guard that that is what I lead into 19 years in, and this is the best training I’ve ever had.
Adam Salgat 3:26
So I’m gonna ask the two of you to give me any example on why that is? Is there something that stands out or stood out when you finished the course as to why this one felt different?
Speaker 4 3:37
I mean, it’s it’s really you really dive into yourself, your people, and it’s a lot of the courses we go to it’s like, what one day? It’s a one day deal. It’s like, All right, good luck. And, you know, please be with you. For this. It’s you know, there’s learn a lot about the different characteristics, you apply it, and you have those tough conversations. So I think some of the acting, which was not my favorite part. I’m not a very good actor, but
Adam Salgat 4:06
the role playing role
Speaker 4 4:08
playing Yeah, I mean, those were the tough conversations, right? You know, not everybody has kids, but you know, we have family or friends that we can relate to. And it’s, I felt like my heart was beating real fast. During some of it. I’m like, oh, man, I’m getting mad about the scenario and how would I, I know how I wanted to respond in a certain situation. But all the things that we learned, trying to apply, like the reflective listening and whatnot, the FBI, we really got to apply it and see how it would, how it would work, and then carry that on to our home lives. I guess.
Speaker 3 4:39
I think first it just starts off with like how successful you guys have been in developing facilitators that training is only as good as the people that are providing it and the facilitators and I’ve met a few not all of them. I know there’s a lot but they’ve been outstanding. They build that connection quick. It’s long standing from some But the stories that I’ve gotten to hear, and then through their, their personal stories, the role playing and and how it how it’s supposed to look, all of those things are what we typically don’t get. It’s like, Hey, you’re supposed to do this, okay, but I don’t know how that looks, or what that looks like assuming they provide you with that. And then being able to bring that here, there’s a lack of development with being able to listen to listen to understand and listening to respond. And I think that was one of the big takeaways that this course was really able to provide pretty much all the members.
Adam Salgat 5:39
Thanks so much. Yes, I think that is something that has always stuck out with me too. And my wife and I have talked about that the idea of listening to understand and not just wait for your turn to talk, right. But at times, we have a tendency to just wait to tell our story, once someone finishes their story. So So let’s talk a little bit about how the skills have made an impact in your relationship. One of the things I often say about taking this course and my wife also going through the course is that we’ve never been in a position to save our marriage. So I never felt like these skills saved our marriage or anything as dramatic as that. But what I do feel like is it has helped maintain our marriage, it has helped us have a common language. Talk to me a little bit about how the skills have made an impact with the two of you.
Speaker 4 6:26
I think your example is like spot on. Because I know for us it was we’ve been married 16 years, what else is there to learn about each other? You know, but I would have to say, more self awareness. You know, like when one is a little stretched thin? It’s like, All right, so one of the things that you guys said, or they said in class was every behavior there is a need. Yep. So, you know, some I know, when I’m overwhelmed, he’ll come up and like, Give me a hug and say, like, hey, you need a moment or you know, like, take some time yourself, like, go to the grocery store by yourself, you know, whatever. But I guess I don’t know. For me, it’s more self awareness.
Speaker 3 7:04
Yeah, I’m. So you alluded to, and one of the questions here, like, you know, how did it work out? Did you guys know your disc profiles, and we have always claimed to be the yin and yang, okay, like polar opposites? Introvert extrovert, right, you can go down the list of all those things. And then to have like, quantifiable data that backs all of that up, and then immediately go into like, hey, let’s let’s build a vacation. And let’s look at what are some of those things that you guys would have to do. And then we quickly realize, like, holy crap, you know, all these family vacations that we’ve done. And we could have potentially squandered a great relationship by simply like, never even acknowledging that. And then now that we kind of know where we are, as you said, you know, when you’re stretched thin, that we were providing that grace and little bit of that space, whatever that looks like, in order to not sabotage that relationship and to keep it in a maintenance mode, and not in a in a salvage mode.
Adam Salgat 8:10
That I love both of those two words, their maintenance and salvage. That’s such a good reminder to keep in mind that we don’t want to get into salvage mode, right? I mean, that’s never where we want to be in our in our deep relationships. Tell me a little bit about your disc profiles, if either of you remember your exact profiles, and how that ying and yang may actually show it face when it comes to getting that DISC assessment done.
Speaker 4 8:36
Oh, we spell the word disc for sure. Between the two of us,
Speaker 3 8:40
okay. I am, I am 50%, D and 50%. I, okay.
Speaker 4 8:46
I know I’m C S, I and a turn remember the exact percentages? I think my eye is like, like 10% or something like that. But my my, I have a high see for sure.
Adam Salgat 8:59
So you guys do kind of balance each other out in that space. And I’m guessing you you knew that before the assessment, but what was it like after kind of seeing the assessment together? And then saying, Oh, well, like you mentioned there is about a little bit of quantifiable information here. So
Speaker 3 9:18
Well, I mean, you know, it’s crazy how, you know, the OCL. And bob chapman Foundation has affectionately labeled me as a D. Right. And then I get reminded that I’m a D, all a lot. It’s just the directness that I typically will take. I mean, we knew we knew how we reacted to certain things. So getting that the three pages of of what the and I looked for, what, what things were good at what things were not good at, in full moments. What does it look like? Yeah, that part was kind of crucial because as soon as I If, whenever we had the break, I think I gave you my piece of paper. And I was like, Look, I was like, so these are the things that I may not be. I don’t want to say man enough. That’s, that’s, that’s not exactly the right word verbiage. But you know, maybe I’m not strong enough to self identify, like, Hey, these are the areas of weakness that I have, because I just want to believe that I’m strong enough to get through everything. But if you see going off in, you know, in any of these areas, like please rein me back in and you know how to do it. So helped me out. And I think that’s something that I’ve used for famillies. Like, she has to have her space, right? Yep, she needs her space, I need people. I like to I get I get energy from from having others around and feed off of that. And it’s, you know, a long four day weekend at work. And she’s like, Hey, I need a break. So like, Okay, now that’s, that’s time to give the breaks.
Adam Salgat 10:55
So yeah, it sounds like I was gonna ask for any type of specific examples you’ve had in your life. But it sounds like that long four day weekend network with potentially a lot of people. You might come out of that reenergized Ryan where Melanie’s saying, hey, I need that little break. Is that that? Is that about? Correct?
Unknown Speaker 11:13
That is hitting the nail on the head.
Speaker 4 11:15
I mean, I love I love seeing people because you know, they’re not here every single day. So I love seeing them. So I use a lot of energy. And then also balancing that with home life, three kids sports, maintaining a household. You know, I walk out on Sunday, and I’m just I think I’m sleepwalking.
Adam Salgat 11:38
And that’s completely understandable. And I think the great benefit now, it not saying that you guys didn’t have some understanding prior to the class? Because I’m sure you did. But now you have this common language to kind of talk about these things and build to say to each other, hey, this is how I’m feeling like this is my natural behavioral behavior tendency is telling me, I need to take a step back. Do you guys talk about the OCL? Training it all together? Like do you use some of the terms do you discuss things of like my wife and I have, for lack of a better term called each other out when needed to say hey, you’re you’re you’re listening, but you’re not listening. So your reflective listening skills while you think you’re, you’re doing it, you’re really not. And I need you to set down what your you’re looking at on your phone, or whatever you might be doing to take time to listen to me, have you guys use those terminology or use certain terminology in that common language to be able to connect with each other that way?
Unknown Speaker 12:38
Yeah, so positive and negative?
Speaker 3 12:40
Yeah, we’re, you know, there are times where you need to just a gentle reminder, off the back of the head, like, hey, we went through three days of training, like I need you to listen, I don’t need you to fix or right, just just listen, then let me get to where I need to go. And that’s kind of on the negative side. And then the positive side. So we took romantic comedy wise to the to the bid, like the word bid, or somebody had brought it up like, hey, is this a bid? You know, if I say, Hey, I’m gonna go walk to the mailbox, the other person will, you know, kind of joke it up, like, Oh, is that a bit big? Do
Unknown Speaker 13:20
you want me to walk with you? Yeah.
Speaker 3 13:23
Let’s, you know, we got a long walk to the mailbox and hold hands, we can talk about whatever we need to do, like find our center again. Okay. Yeah, we’re like, okay, now have fun. Okay.
Adam Salgat 13:34
Great. So you recognize these opportunities now, knowing that you have opportunity to connect, and I think that’s awesome. You mentioned three kids, you mind sharing their ages?
Speaker 3 13:44
So 1210 in almost seven, almost, I’m
Adam Salgat 13:49
guessing there’s a birthday coming up?
Unknown Speaker 13:51
Yeah, like 11 days.
Adam Salgat 13:56
So how has your relationship with your kids changed the way that you listen to your kids or the way you communicate? Any specific examples come to mind?
Speaker 4 14:05
Everything I feel well, they’re ever changing, right? So we have our girls are hitting adolescence. So they’re trying to figure themselves out and practicing a lot of patience. A lot of patience. That reflective listening, I think was huge that that first after we finished or maybe it was like day two or something. And our middle daughter, we just listened. Let her talk and you know, she’s She kind of gets wound up tight sometimes. And she ended up I think she ended up crying because she was just happy somebody listened. And so that you know, I know I’m, I have to, I know for myself, I have to be better and practice a lot of patience and just listen instead of getting wrapped up around tasks, you know, because I’m very task oriented. Gotta we gotta go these sports. We got to do this thing. We got to clean the house, but sometimes they just need to Hit the pause button and listen to them. Because eventually, they will do the same, the same things that they see. Right. So if you don’t have enough time to listen to them, they won’t have enough time to listen to you. So, yeah,
Speaker 3 15:12
I mean, yeah, that’s absolutely right. And we’re there, we have enormous success, you know, on one aspect, and then the next day, we can, we can botch it, you know, entirely. And I think that’s just a part of the growing pain of hey, like, I know this material. But I’m so wrapped around like, hey, there’s just things that just need to happen. And I think one of the facilitators talked about their, you know, asking one of their teenage kids like, you know, what would you do at school today? Nothing. No, I did work, right. And then that’s it, you know, we’re in response, or how was school? Yep, that was great. So I know that what we have tried to do is, let’s lead off with a question. You know, let’s give them a softball automated out of the park, right? Like, hey, what was something fun that you did today? And then once you open up with a question like that, then typically you’ll get, you’ll get more, you’ll get more success out of out of listening to them. And then we’ve kind of had to develop that for the 10 year old and a 12 year old who school is typically just another social media event, if you will. So it’s like you ask the wrong question, you might go down a rabbit Vankleek rabbit hole. So
Adam Salgat 16:30
Right. But so you mentioned you both kind of alluded to it in there. Something that I like to remind myself is the whiteboard concept, you know, you’ve got this whiteboard, in your mind of all the things that you need to do and all these tasks that we have to take care of. But when we sit down to maybe ask about our kids today, and if they’re giving us anything, make sure that whiteboard is cleared off. So that way, we can easily just jump past the little thing that they might have shared, that, you know, we’re actually giving them as much attention as we possibly can. Right? Have you seen an improvement in the relationship with your kids? I don’t want to ask that question in the idea that there was any type of poor relationship, but I’m, because I certainly I don’t want to lose.
Speaker 4 17:17
No, I mean, I know what you’re saying. Um, no, I mean, things have, I think we have a better understanding of each other, if that makes sense. We’re not, we’ve definitely learned to not this is more me, I’m not gonna speak for you. But like, overreact. I mean, I can overreact for sure. But when they tell us stuff about school, or about situations or whatever, just like, again, listening, being open minded to what they have to say, and everything. I don’t know, I just feel like there’s more of a flow of information between one another when we have those types of conversations, but Gotcha. Not saying it’s like that all the time. Sometimes you really have to pry for it, but,
Adam Salgat 17:59
and Ryan even mentioned that he’s like, one day, you might knock it out of the park, and the next day, you may completely botch it up. But I think that’s just human nature. I mean, it’s, it’s, we’re gonna make mistakes, it’s the ability to have that self reflection to go back and say, Okay, tomorrow can be better. Or, or even do I need to go back and do any repair from what happened today? You know, so finding that balance between two I think is important. And it sounds like this class, and in general, you two are both reflective on those kinds of things and trying to find the right way.
Speaker 3 18:30
Yeah. And, and obviously, when you talk about like relationships, and where we are with the kids, it, it even goes with like, just Kid to Kid, you know, so it’s hard for a six year old to talk about his day to a 10 year old to a 12 year old. And the thing that we try to do is like, okay, it’s a family dinner, everybody gets their time to talk. And we reflectively listen to each other. And then sometimes you can get the questions that those open door questions like, Oh, tell me more? Or what did it look like? Right? So they’re learning they’re trying to learn. They obviously have a very small attention span. So always work out. But you can tell that, like, they know why we’re asking questions, even when we do botch it, you know, and I’m just like, it’s just a yes or no question. You can tell that like, hey, the, the light is on, they understand that what we’re trying to get them to open up, we’re trying to have a conversation, we want them to talk. And we just want to listen, we don’t need to need to react so that that part is been kind of fun.
Adam Salgat 19:36
Awesome. Do you find yourself utilizing any particular skill more often than any other, whether that’s with each other, or with your family?
Speaker 4 19:46
I felt I always felt like I was a really good listener. And I learned during this class, I am not a very good listener. I try to try to find the words to to explain what I’m trying to say like, I’ll try to relate with somebody on whatever they’re telling me about and like all We’re going to connect. And it just, it’s kind of discounting everything that they’re saying. So, when listening, I try to remind myself like, alright, full attention, not that I’m not listening to them. But you know, like full attention, don’t give examples or anything unless, you know, they asked like, Hey, have you ever ran into something like this or you know, that I could relate? And you were, he reminds me of FBI all the time, feelings, behavior impact. Get the kids to understand how I’m feeling about certain things. When I’m at my peak, and it’s like, hey, remember FBI? Like, I know, right? But,
Adam Salgat 20:36
Ryan, is that something that you’ve utilized, or at least had in your mind? Maybe it’s not a perfectly formed statement all the time, but at least you’re thinking, okay, these my feelings because of this behavior. And this the impact it’s having on us as a family or yourself?
Speaker 3 20:50
Yes, there are a lot of the things that I try to utilize in my specific career field. Now we’re not, I don’t want to say we’re empathy blockers. But in reality, we typically have a harder time providing the empathy, we can sympathize, we’ve all been through a lot of things in our lives. So giving that empathy, listening, not not interrupting with things that I’ve done, or my advice that has paid off really well. And then I just talked to one of the great facilitators, about written a few recommend for recognition letters in the past week, and then just simply sent text messages out in there, they’re kind of like, they’re like blind rewards, right? They’re like white, what does it white elephant is that the Christmas thing where you don’t know you give something away to somebody and you don’t know what you’re gonna get back? Right. And those the responses that I’ve gotten from from doing those have been like overwhelming. The cup with run over, as Melanie would like to say, sometimes. I found great filming, in probably doing I should have been doing a long time ago. But just like, setting aside time to accurately recognize the people in my life that I care about, they’re doing great. And they just they need to know. So feel like those are things that we just take for
Unknown Speaker 22:21
granted, we knew it. But yeah. Gently reminded,
Adam Salgat 22:28
I’ve, I’ve kind of always thought this about the world in general is that sometimes it’s very easy for us to tell people when we’re being bothered, or when they do something wrong, as opposed to taking the time to tell them when they’re doing something right, or when they’re doing something that we appreciate or enjoy. So that’s one reason why I really enjoy the FBI statements. And Ryan, I’m very happy to hear that you’re using it on both ends, whether it’s confrontation or a compliment. And so it that’s, that’s awesome to hear that it’s making an impact on you. It sounds like you’re using that in your career field a little bit more, as you mentioned, I want to give the two of you an opportunity to touch on, you know, we’ve we’ve gone through this as a relationship lens and a family lens. But if this is something that has also made a difference that at work, I want to give you the opportunity to mention any stories there how you’re communicating better with your staff or your fellow employees. So either one of you, I’ll let you jump in.
Speaker 3 23:28
I think we suffer from a lot of passive aggressive communication efforts. So yep, I’m not happy. But I’m not going to tell you exactly why I’m unhappy. I’m just going to allude to like something that you did in generalized, and never actually address what is happening. FBI the confrontation message, the idea that and I read what you don’t know, and what isn’t really understood until after you go to the classes, that FBI message opens up a lot of things. When we talk about like, in the military, progressive punishment, you know, hey, we’re going to have, we’re going to talk to you verbally, and then we’re going to go through the list of pieces of paper that Mohnish you until, you know, you either change your ways to conform, or we take out each providing that that feelings behavior and impact it, it allows that member to address or it could provide that that moment for the members to address like why they’re making those decisions. And I don’t have to ask, I just simply state Hey, this is what I this is the way I’m feeling, what impact it has. And so you know, I get to listen and now I start to either develop that relationship further or get a better understanding of what is going on in that person’s life. Where typically I’m not ever doing
Speaker 4 24:56
I would have to say there are a couple of things you know, of course I like to sit in analyze people, whether I’m right or not, you know, like, Oh, I wonder, you know, some of these behavior tendencies, this person tends to be more analytical or whatever. So that kind of helps play into. Like, if there are certain things that need to get done certain job descriptions that we need to assign to someone if that’s great at work, I will have to say, I know he touched on FBI, but um, I guess as we go up the ranks, people come to you for advice. Or if they have a problem with the three A’s you can ask, adjust, or ask adjust,
Speaker 3 25:35
you can accept that you can adjust. Are you going to ask for
Speaker 4 25:39
a change? Yeah, so I try to I have a problem of fixing problems. So if somebody comes to me with something, you know, like, Oh, listen, I’m like, Alright, so and then I’ll, you know, like, propose those, the AAA. It kind of like, what are you getting out of this? What do you you know, so that way, the person doesn’t feel like I’m taking something away from them, that I’m trying to solve a problem for them, and that they put more thought into whatever situation is bothering me.
Adam Salgat 26:14
That’s awesome. Yeah, I’m thankful that you guys you know, if taking the opportunity, even though you went through it in the relationship lens to start that it’s, it’s something that you think about at work, and, and obviously, it sounds like, at the time, though, work had kind of brought it to you as an opportunity. So it’s really great just to know that you’re taking the time to kind of round out yourself, make yourself a better person on on the whole to see where you can improve your relationships. Well, Ryan, and Melanie, as we wrap up today’s podcast, I always like to ask our guests to give us a little key takeaways. Ryan, why don’t you go first?
Speaker 3 26:49
It is it is a simp. Simply, a statement that you have to and that you have to answer for yourself is if you care about those in your span of care, truly care about the people in your span of care. This course will allow you to do things that you either may think that you’re really good at already, it’ll make you do them better. And the things that you may not be good at, they’re going to show you ways to just make, you know, small steps towards finding that to be a new comfort zone.
Speaker 4 27:21
When we went into the course we’re like, what else are we going to learn about each other, and about ourselves, and it was a lot, so never think that you know, enough about yourself for others, because there’s always more.
Adam Salgat 27:35
Such a great reminder. Thank you both Ryan and Melanie, for spending some time with me today. Very thankful that the two of you are utilizing these skills and that you’re both looking at ways to improve yourself and strengthen relationships that you care about. So thank you both. Thank you, Adam. Thank you