Interesting Times

These are interesting times, indeed. We, as a country, arguably have suffered the worst recession since the great depression of 1929. Times are tough, as many of the banks and financial institutions in our country have been bailed out, and to top it all off, the United States came dangerously close to a default on our sovereign debt.

As we look back on the recent drama that the president and our congress had to deal with on the debt issues, I am proud to say that the final deal to resolve the issue was brokered by my U.S. Senator, Mitch McConnell.

Whether you like Senator McConnell or not, you have to give him credit for understanding the principles of counseling (one of the three pillars of our organization the SEC). Senator McConnell used his position as minority leader of the Senate to bring together the House, Senate, and White House on a deal that no one completely liked, but everyone needed to make happen.

We, as a nation, faced a monumental risk that politics would get in the way of common sense and the national well-being. The country is divided into groups that all have the same overall goals, but drastically different approaches to resolving those issues. We have a president who has pushed through a controversial health care plan that has been a long-term goal of his party. Dating back to the days of the great depression, we have a Democratic Party that believes that increased taxes on the wealthier Americans is the correct solution to the deficit problem, and we have a Republican party that believes that the answer to our issues should be resolved by cutting costs. Throw into that mix a loud and vocal faction of the Republican Party known as the Tea Party that believes they were elected on the mandate to not raise any taxes, and you have what seems to be an impossible impasse.

Senator McConnell used his position to cajole, threaten, compromise, and ultimately bring everyone necessary to the table for a resolution. Although no one was completely happy with the outcome, I believe that the greater good was served and our politicians can live to fight amongst themselves another day.

The point of all of this is that the counseling process is not a negotiation to get one party “what it wants,” it is a process that brings together different parties with different objectives and leads them to a mutually agreeable result. Effective counseling demands that the counselor try to understand what a party wants and what a party needs, and then balance those goals against the wants and needs of the other party. Sometimes the counselor must push or prod the parties to accept less than the hoped for outcome in order to meet the needs of all parties.

Counseling requires that the counselor understand the different needs and wants and separate which is which. An effective counselor keeps the process moving and tries to avoid any “lines in the sand” negotiation. Real estate transactions may not have the same press coverage as our national debt ceiling; however, they can have many big egos and varying objectives that an effective counselor can help to bring together for a mutually beneficial transaction.

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