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Jim Kleiber

has been involved with youth work, training, and consulting for the last 10 years. Since 2014, he has created martial art called Emotional Self-Defense (ESD). In ESD, he runs participants through exercises on how to express their own emotions, imagine and listen to the emotions of others, and communicate with care. He has been a trainer in a variety of subjects with groups such as youth leaders in East Africa, youth workers in Europe, and Fortune 500 companies. He speaks English, Spanish, Swahili, French and Portuguese, and studied inter-cultural communications at university.
  • Why did I choose this tool? I had disliked the popularized version of Emotional Intelligence; something about it seemed as if it were missing the point, putting too much emphasis on “positive” emotions. When I came across an article for Salon magazine by Annie Murphy Paul talking about how Goleman’s version differed from the original put forth by Salovey and…

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  • Step Two Exercise

    Why did I choose this tool? This is one of the foundational exercises in my personal work. It has helped me realize what people might be struggling with and within seconds, helps me have a better emotional connection to them. It has helped me reframe relationships with my ex-girlfriend, my mother, my best friend, my ex-boss, and many others. It…

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  • T-groups

    Why did I choose this tool? I have found t-groups to be some of the most challenging emotional experiences, where many of my and other people’s boundaries are tested, which have led me to deep personal growth and an ability to see the impact that I have on other people. I experienced them while living in Boulder, Colorado, and also…

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  • Emotional Micro-Journaling

    Why did I choose this tool? I built an app called iFeelio, based on this emotional micro-journaling format, to help me get better at expressing emotions and it has helped me tremendously in my life. Over a period of four years, I entered over 4,000 entries, which is an average of almost three per day. I have seen how it…

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  • Sympathy vs. Empathy

    Why did I choose this tool? As a trainer, I believe we often avoid feeling and expressing our emotions. We recognize other people’s emotional states and know what they’re feeling, and yet we avoid feeling those emotions ourselves. I chose this video by Brené Brown because for me it clearly describes the difference between identifying how someone feels and feeling…

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  • Permission to Feel

    Why did I choose this tool? I believe that one of the most important parts of creating a safe space is to let people know that they have the permission to feel whatever it is that they’re feeling. I chose this tool because I love simple tools that are easy to remember and yet sometimes difficult to put into practice.…

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  • Why did I choose this tool? I like to take the approach where I reduce the number of variables in an activity so that I can better see which variables are causing the problems and can therefore change the outcome by changing the variables. It may come from my engineering background, where I like to solve a problem at its…

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  • Competing Values Framework

    Why did I choose this tool? Having worked under Jeff DeGraff, one of the original creators of the framework, I personally saw the power of this model of thinking. It helped teams through innovation and change management and provided a simple and clear way to differentiate team behaviors and how those created tension and complementarity. It is a framework that…

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  • Timed Sharing

    Why did I choose this tool? Often what happens in a training is that the loudest, most quick voice gets the attention. This means that the people who process information a little more slowly or have a little more fear of speaking don’t get a chance to contribute. The conversation then becomes unbalanced, with only a few people actively participating…

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  • Semantic Primes

    Why did I choose this tool? Semantic primes have helped me in most aspects of my life since discovering them in 2012. I studied intercultural communication for my bachelor’s degree and I had been looking for a simple way to find common language across cultures and this has been one of the most impactful tools. I built iFeelio, a reflection…

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