Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

To go with your gut, you need the guts to truly get to your gut.

December 16, 2017

You are going to read the beginning of this post and probably not see how you would ever use it. It is too long and complicated – not really feasible to use. It is the opposite of making decisions using your gut – the more left brain part of the equation.  It is useful and necessary to lay it all out. You’ll see why. At the end of this post I will offer something feasible. Promise.

If you are feeling badly or worried about any activity, thing or situation, instead of focusing on that thing – take stock of any agreements with others that you have related to it.

This can apply to anything. Sex requires agreement, for example. Washing dishes also involves agreement, and everything in between.

How do you know you have a good agreement? An agreement always involves two or more parties, so you can’t really every full know how the other side is with it. Start by looking at your part in it.  You have to compare now to what it was like before the agreement. This may be some time ago.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself. Don’t over think the answers initially.  GO through it quickly and then review if you think your answers need more added.

Who are the parties to this agreement?

Who is impacted by the agreement?

What is the financial impact of the agreement?  Earnings. Savings. Insurance – present and future?

How does it impact your time? Does it save time you time or take up more time

How does it impact your energy  – does it add to it or detract from it

How does it impact you emotionally? Frequency, duration and intensity of those feelings.

How well are others adhering to the agreement? What are the incentives and obstacles to adhering. How easy is it to enforce the agreement? How does that adherence and enforcement impact you financially, time wise, energy wise, and emotionally.

An agreement can save you time, money and energy, but if you hate living under the terms of the agreement, what is it worth?

How does this agreement impact your ability to negotiate other agreements?

How does it impact your authority to be party to other agreements?

What related problems does this agreement leave out?

What problems does this agreement impact? negatively or positively.

What’s the worst that can happen if you stop adhering to the agreement? What’s the best that can happen? What’s the worst that can happen if you continue to adhere to the agreement? What’s the best that can happen? I got this question from Dr Ben Carson book and I call it the WBWB question. You can apply it to any decision.

Now try to go through all these questions with the other parties to the agreement.



The GUTS hack:

It is hard to do this analysis because we spend a lot of time trying not to feel bad or uncomfortable.  We distract ourselves. We have agreements to do things that help us not to feel so bad about the impact of our own bad or fuzzy agreements on ourselves. As an example, we may have people who agree to interact with us on social media with us, or not complain about our being on social media, and that’s how we cope.

As I write this post and try to think of something to evaluate, I am finding it hard. I feel pretty good right now. Since I am doing well, who cares? Nothing is coming to mind, and this is a lengthy and complicated set of questions.

How can I distill it down? A recent or current unpleasant situation. Here is one that just happened.

9 year old Clara lost the horseshoe that we use to keep the shed door closed. She doesn’t remember where she put it.  Shed door was open for about 24 hours. I want her to not do things like that generally.  Are there any agreements related to this? In my mind, yes. But in reality, no.  She asked to go in the shed to get snow shovels and I agreed.  She did exactly what she said she was going to do. I didn’t give her a condition before saying yes.  I didn’t think about what else I care about could be impacted.

I negotiated a crap agreement – AGAIN!  How can I alert myself to these situations where I am being too hasty in making agreements?

Any time you make a decision, you are potentially impacting all the agreements you have in your life. If I go to the gym now, for example, I can’t spend any time, etc on any other agreements.  We make these calculations all the time.

We generally just go with our gut, and that’s fine, but we need ways to go deeper into our guts quickly – a hack. I suggest you ask the WBWB question outlined above.  It is a great question because it helps us see further into the future than current distractions tend to allow. It also helps us tap into our gut.

If you go to your gut using WBWB and you are still unsure and really want more certainty, go to the methods laid out in the beginning of this post to analyze the decision and related agreements. Your gut will tell you its limits and take you to your intellect as needed. You may only need to answer one of the questions and you will get closer to the certainty, the gut feeling that you need to decide. I could go into the whole left and right brain thing, but my gut tells me not too. If I’ve lost you already, more intellectual explanation is not going to convince you.

If you your gut tells you not to use this method then don’t. Just make sure it’s really your gut deciding and not only just your distracted, unfocused, too clever mind rationalizing your choice.



















Communication Idolatry

December 31, 2015


Here is what I notice people do instead of converse:













I am sure you can think of more.

Conversation includes –



requests for a yes or no to go in a certain direction


I find that if a conversation does not set up any of the items on the first list via an agreement – then communication goes poorly. It is almost like communication idolatry to so. In an established healthy relationship or friendship, that ‘agreement’ can be a simple nod or gesture know only to the two parties. The main point is that the agreement must be there or you are throwing mud at the wall.

And a lot people enjoy doing that – making mud pies and throwing them. Nothing wrong with that in many contexts.

People often sense the bullshit even if they stay polite during the interaction where the idolatry has taken place, and if they don’t sense it, they are usually very easy to manipulate. The agreement needs to give some predictability to what is going to happen for involved parties. Even insults can work in that context and not disrupt progress.

So what I think what we can offer, and not even under the title of ‘coach’ or ‘therapist’, is an ability to identify what is happening when there is an interaction between two people. If someone shares an exchange they had with some with us, using the system we can know right away what is missing.

Listen in on social media and blog ‘conversations’, or just ordinary in-person ones.    See what you observe.


Stooping to Greatness – Reflections on Life and Business

August 7, 2014

The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health.

This is the first sentence from Chapter One of Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Advantage – Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. I believe it to be true,  and really think anyone who plays a leadership role anywhere, ought to seriously consider what he writes to begin the book. We all play leadership roles somewhere, even if it is just for ourselves as we run our own lives.

Regarding this single greatest advantage, he continues:

… it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants to do it…If it sound absurd, it should. After all, why in the world would intelligent human beings ignore something that is so powerful and accessible? 

The question was finally answered for me on July 28, 2010. 

I was attending a client’s leadership conference, sitting next to the CEO. This wasn’t just any company. It was, and still is, one of the healthiest organizations I have ever known and one of the most successful enterprises of the past fifty years. In an industry plagued with financial woes, customer fury, and labor strife, this amazing company has a long history of growth and economic success, not to mention financial customer loyalty. Moreover, its employees love their jobs, their customers, their leaders. When compared to others in the same industry, what this company has achieved is almost baffling. 

As I sat there at the conference listening to one presentation after another highlighting the remarkable and unorthodox activities that made this organization so healthy, I leaned over and quietly asked the CEO a semirhetorical question: ” Why in the world doesn’t your competition do any of this?”

After a few seconds, he whispered, almost sadly, ” You know, I honestly believe they think it’s beneath them.”

And there it was.

I have also seen this at the individual and family level in my work as a psychotherapist. The people who improve under my care and maintain their gains all have one thing in common – they establish their mental health or wellness as their top priority. They stop taking it for granted for the rest of their lives. This may seem like an obvious thing to do for someone who is suffering enough to  take  time and money to see a mental health practitioner, but it is not so easy for the many folks who think they are in therapy just to get back to who they used to be before mental health issues set in. They forget that the same person that seemed so strong because they weren’t  struggling with mental health issues also made the decisions that failed to prevent  their current mental health difficulties.

They idealize how they were before mental health challenges struck, and they just can’t bring themselves  to stoop down from their lofty view of their former self and do the new things it takes to achieve and maintain true wellness.

Even if they get better, and many do because they make a surge of effort for a limited time, they remain at high risk for relapse if they do not keep their mental health priority number one.

Sadly, this can reinforce their idealization of themselves before their first mental health episode, and the pattern continues.


I imagine organizational leaders fall into similar ruts for similar reasons.








Open eyes are not always enough – gotta open ’em ‘wider’

July 29, 2014

Antonio de Mairena

from Juan de Mairena


To see things as they are, the eyes must be opened; to see things as other than they are, they must be even wider; to see things as better than they are, they must be open to the full. 


At a recent family meeting my wife came up with the idea of each of us thinking of three positive things that happened that day or the previous day.  We started this morning when I sent an email with my three things to her, and my son (16) and daughter (18).  So far, my wife has replied with her three.

It felt weird, but it felt good. I had to open my eyes wider.

We are trying to get out of a rut.

Denying the existence of denial

February 23, 2014

Someone you are dealing with might be in pain. They may feel it. You may see that pain very clearly. But amazingly, they may not see it even though they are the ones going through it. This is often referred to as ‘denial’ by amateur and professional psychotherapists alike. Not seeing their problem and pain makes it hard for many of us to take constructive action. So what is the difference between experiencing pain and seeing it?

Maybe this analogy will help. A baby feels uncomfortable with a messy diaper. This does not stop them from messing in their diaper. They don’t even fuss right away about the discomfort often and let their parent know. But even a week or two after they are toilet trained, they see much more clearly the discomfort/pain of having a messy diaper. How does this change happen?

Take a look at how parents toilet train their kids. We turn toilet training into an instructive game. We sit them down on the toilet. Sometimes something happens, and when it does, we are very happy. They see it, and they are happy. They see us becoming more and more unhappy when they don’t use the toilet since we now know that they can go on their own. But they don’t see the problem with going in thier diaper quite yet. After awhile, going on the toilet becomes a habit. It feels weird not to do it on the toilet after awhile. Eventually, they become toilet trained. Then one day when they have an accident, they see how CRAZY it is to mess in your pants. We have to make a lot of effort to help them get to this point.

If you have someone who is headed for pain, or is even in pain, and you want them to just see what you see and be logical and fix it, then you are about as silly looking as a parent who wants their toddler to spontaneously toilet train.

Invite them to sit on whatever proverbial toilet is in play and see what happens. Make it part of a regular pattern. Have fun with it and them. If they refuse, don’t be angry. They are just being a baby. Just let them know they may have to find someone else to change their proverbial diaper if the won’t play the game with you.

If you ‘can’t’ stop rescuing them from their problem and pain, and you are unhappy with it, then complain. Maybe someone will listen and know how to help you.

Not all kids are easy to toilet train, for sure, but you at least want to make sure the problem is not you.

Foolproof Family Initiative – App promotional offer

October 29, 2013

“You will never know what you have done for the family. The system changed our lives.” Bob I Am Personally 

Going To Coach 20 families!

Founder and CEO at Negotiator-Pro, #1 Negotiation Training and Execution Platform

Ever since I wrote “Start With No” I have received thank you notes and calls from parents who have given the book to their children in high school and college.. I have been pleased the young have attained so much success with the system. But, I just didn’t see the unexpected success. Drucker taught in his book “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” to pay attention to the unexpected success but I didn’t and then Friday night the light came on.

I went to a gathering of friends high school 50 years ago. One of my greatest friends came up to me, and said he had to talk to me alone. He said, “you gave me a copy of your book “Start With No” ten years ago and I read it and was dazzled. But now I can’t thank you enough. You saved my daughters family. About a year ago she called in tears. Her husband was threatening divorce, the kids where failing in school, her life was coming apart. I listened and my heart was aching. The more she talked the more pain I felt. I struggled and the only thought I had that I could come up with to help her, I swear Jimmy this is the truth, was to tell her to read your book. I made her promise to read it and to call me back after she did. Well she read your book. She gave a copy to her husband and to my grandson and granddaughter in high school. Now they sit down and build plans based on what you teach in the book. She called me to tell me that their family life has completely turned around. They have a whole new lease on life and they know where the family is going because of your book.“ 

I was humbled to say the least. Then as I was driving home last night, bingo it hit me. I overlooked all my IP. You see I built within Negotiator-Pro a library. I call it the deep dive library. Over the last 28 years I have written, recorded and worked to provide the materials that will help you master our system. I want every Negotiator-Pro user to have free access to those materials. Everything in there is downloadable. Every recording I have ever made is in there discussing every rule, principle, and aspect of our system. Each recording is broken down into bites, 15 to 35 minutes. Plain talk, easy to listen to, and more important easily applied. Also in the library is every written work I have done. Both books are there, as well as every mastery lesson with exercises and out side reading lists to provide even more support. There are more than 2000 pages of my work in PDF download format. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. You can download all of it for free and give it to your loved ones.

I want you to enroll in Negotiator-Pro. I want you to send me an email personally and tell me you want to take me up on this effort for the ones you love. 

OK Camp, how much will this cost me? Well, how about we make the price be the same as one large cappuccino coffee at your favorite coffee shop per day for the whole family? I want to say that again. One large cappuccino per day pays the whole bill for the entire family. Cash flow by the month important, you can empower the entire family for $98 a month on a credit card or you can save $200 and pay $950 for a one year license. To enroll, just reach out to me and drop me an email.

Also, for the first 20 families that enroll “I will personally coach you and the family free for a month” in how to use the materials to build a great thought process and mindset. If this is for you and your family just let me know at or call me on my private line 614 764 0213 and I will get you going.

All the best

Jim Camp

Just found out my RI ancestors owned slaves

September 17, 2013

Troubling to find this out,  to say the least, but I have long suspected that my family did not avoid owning slaves. I held out this silly hope that they were enlightened Quakers. Quakers – yes, enlightened – no. My sister went to and found the will of Nathan Chase,  written in 1792, son of Benjamin Chase who was the orginal person who settled in Portsmouth, RI. He was the grandson of William Chase who came from England in the 1600s and was an original founder of Yarmouth MA.

Will, Portsmouth, RI town Council and Probate, Volume 8 1794-1805, FHL #946,797, pp 103-6
… I Nathan Chase of Portsmouth in the county of Newport and State of Rhode Island … I give unto Elisabeth Brownell, Amy Hunt & Hannah Tallman my three grand=children Daughters of my son Borden Chase Deceased the sum of thirty pounds Lawful Silver money at the rate of six shillings for a spanish Milled Silver Dollar or in other spacie equivolent thereto to be divided equally between them, Elisabeth’s and Amy’s part to be paid them in one year after my decease, and Hannah’s part in 18 months after my decease by my Executer. … I give unto my son Holder Chase the sum of ninety pounds … I give unto Gideon Slocum and Ann Kerby my two Grand-children the son and Daughter of my Daughter Amy Slocum Deceased the sum of Nine pounds … O give unto my Daughter Ann McCorridy my Low Case of draw[er]s and six pounds .. Also I give unto my Daughter Hannah Almy my high case of Draw[er]s and 12 pounds … I also give unto my son Clarke Chase … my new Dwelling house and all my land situate … in said Portsmouth with all the other buildings thereon … he paying all my just Debts funeral Expenses and also all the Legacies by me herein given … . Also my mind and will further is that my son Clarke Chase shall have the car and Service of my Negro Girl called Vilot untill she arrive to the age of 21 years old, then she shall be a free agent for her self if she be capable to get her living. And my mind further is that my son Clarke shall giver her a bed and bed cloths suitable for her to Lodge on. … I also give unto my Grandson Nathan Chase son of my son Holder Chase 3 pounds .. when he shall arrive to the age of 21. … I also give unto my son Benjamin Chase the sum of 300 pounds … paid unto him by my Executor within 6 months after my Decease: … my said son Benjamin shall the care and Service of my Negro Gairl [sic] called Jenny untill she shall arrive at the age of 21 … then she shall be a free agent for her self … . I also give unto my son Clarke Chase all the rest … of my Estate … to further enable him to pay my said Debts and legacies … I also Nominate [Clarke] … executor of this my Last Will and Testament … [If Clarke should die before his father, then Benjamin was to be executor and receive Clarke’s legacies.] … 26th day of the fifth month 1792 … Nathan Chase
Wit: John Borden, Stephen Borden, Robt Dennis.
Will prove 10 Nov 1800. 

We are decended from Nathan’s son, Holder.  Oddly enough, he made out better than the widow and grandchildren of his deceased son Borden, but not so well as Clarke or Benjamin.

The laws changed in RI in 1780 and you could no longer  be born a slave, though you could opt to  keep your slaves until they died. Vilot and Jenny must have been born shortly before 1780

So my success, which was built on their success, which was built on the backs of slaves, feels different to me today,

William Chase





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What really happens when you make a bad decision

April 20, 2013

Take responsibility for the bad decision, learn from it, embrace the failure, and soldier on without fear because you are only one decision away from getting back on track. But this attitude and approach takes a lot of discipline and self-confidence, because being right is  very  important to most of us. It is a powerful need, it must be overcome.


Start with No

by Jim Camp

The revenge of the mirror

February 9, 2013

Ever look in a mirror and feel insulted by what you see. I generally don’t, probably because I don’t expect much. I am a 45 year old man and being attractive is not really a priority. I’ve seen photos of myself though, or heard recordings of myself, that were pretty insulting to my ego. I couldn’t really fight back and blame the mirror or photo to recording. It is what it is. Or is it?

Reflections of ourselves carry much more weight than observations or comments  from someone else. You can blame them and their faulty personality or perceptions if you don’t like what they say. But who do you blame when you are looking int he mirror? It is your expectation that makes it insulting or embarrassing, your perception or view of yourself.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We assign beauty to various elements of the world, as well as ugliness. What is the point of it all? Lately there has been this movement where women are fighting back against the super thin super model. They want to reclaim the definition of beauty. It is hard on my daughter who is thin. When she complains about being thin, no one takes her seriously. She is told she is lucky.

None of us are lucky. We are in the world and subject to its definitions and limiting ideas.

But what about the mirror? It just keeps reflecting us back to ourselves. What can we learn from it? I’d like to incorporate ‘mirrorness’ into myself to provide an opportunity to myself and others to look longer, to look at what is looking, and to learn how to see how to see.





A broken man

February 7, 2013

I came across the book Better to be Broken.  It looks like a great read. It is very inexpensive, only $1.99 on Kindle. The writer,  Rick Huntress,  broke his spine in an accident and is nowconfined to a wheelchair. I read one of his blog posts on his website and was impressed with his insights.

Rick is a Christian, and so am I.  His words got me thinking about the emphasis of my religion on sin and forgiveness. I don’t always feel like a sinner, any more than I feel like a saint,  and it can seem phony and even self-absorbed to keep asking for forgiveness. I know I sin in lots of little ways but how good an approach is it to being a better person to constantly confess sins to acquire forgiveness. It seems to be too focused on me getting something for myself for my effort. Selfish.

Instead of sinner, I like the word broken, and seeing myself as broken. Maybe it just makes it more concrete for me than the word sinner, yet it means the same thing. Seeing myself as broken I have certainty in the knowledge that I am just not completely together and on target ever, and I should not expect to be, nor should I expect others to be. It takes pressure off, and reminds me to slow down and lean into God.  And being broken, I don’t know exactly how to do that, but that’s ok. That’s the point, actually.

Broken, I remind myself in prayer and confession,  but keeping it moving, focusing on what’s important, getting done what ought to be done.

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