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What is Conflict Freedom, Anyway? An Excerpt from Optimal Outcomes

Posted February 25, 2020 • Change,Conflict Mastery,Emotional Intelligence,Leadership • by Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler, Ph.D.


After a decade of teaching and using the Optimal Outcomes practices in Columbia classrooms and client boardrooms, today, I am thrilled to announce that my new book, Optimal Outcomes: Free Yourself from Conflict at Work, at Home, and in Life, is officially available—for everyone!

I’m also delighted that the book has already been selected as a Financial Times Book of the Month and that translations are already underway in China and Korea with more to come.

I wrote Optimal Outcomes after I saw too many people struggle, and fail, to successfully use “win-win” conflict resolution techniques. It’s not that those methods don’t work; it’s just that they don’t work all the time, or in every situation.

When situations resist resolution, the Optimal Outcomes practices teach us conflict freedom.

Below is a brief excerpt from my book that will, hopefully, offer you some inspiration and a sense of the results that the method I’ve developed can help you achieve at work, at home, and in life.

With all this talk about freeing yourself from conflict, I need to be clear about something: The goal of this book is not to help you rid yourself of all conflict. Instead, when your repeated attempts to resolve conflict fail, the practices in this book will help you notice and free yourself from the habitual ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that have held you captive in the past. This will help you free yourself from the conflict loop in any given situation.

The beauty of having conflict freedom as your goal is that you already have the ability to become free within yourself. You don’t need to wait for anyone else to change or to agree with you. You can free yourself even without anyone else’s cooperation. 

Similarly, though help from skilled people can be useful if you have access to it, in most cases, you don’t need a coach, talent management professional, or mediator in order to become free. You can achieve an Optimal Outcome on your own. The practices in this book will show you how.

When you break free from a conflict loop that’s had a hold on you, there’s a moment when you’ll suddenly feel free—physically lighter, exhaling a huge sigh of relief, and free from the sense of powerlessness that kept you stuck before.

When I’ve experienced that magical moment myself, I’ve felt the release of physical tension in my body—the sudden lightness in my step, the unclenching of my jaw. I’ve witnessed these changes with my students and clients as well. Their shoulders broaden and relax; their mouths turn from frowning to smiling; their scrunched-up brows become smooth. There’s a physical and emotional freedom that accompanies conflict freedom.

I know this is possible for you, too.

Adapted and reprinted with permission from Optimal Outcomes: Free Yourself from Conflict at Work, at Home, and in Life by Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler, Ph.D., copyright ©2020. Published by Harper Business Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers LLC.

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