Conflict Without Casualties: A Neighborly Book Review

One of my friends and mentors, Dr. Nate Regier of Next Element, has a book that is being published this month called Conflict Without Casualties. (Pre-order here!) In it Nate describes the power of conflict to create positive change in the world and the epidemic of misused conflict which results in drama. As a trainer in this model I have embedded many of the principles of Conflict Without Casualties in the ways that I try to neighbor.

Here are 5 important learnings from Nate's work that I apply everyday at SoCe Life.

1. Avoid Drama Based Helping

 Our neighborhood has it's fair share of drama and unfortunately lots of it comes from folks who want to help. Some want to help so badly that they do so at the sake of their own well being. We have churches in our neighborhood who close their doors because they have helped themselves right out of business. Others want to help so badly they offer solutions the neighbors didn't ask for. I regularly have request from outside groups who would like to paint a garage, donate furniture, or give away food. All well meaning good things for which nobody requested and are not a high need within our community.

2. Struggle With People

We struggle with by first listening to our neighbors right where they are. Hearing their aches, pains and their desires.  

We struggle with by looking for our neighbors giftedness.  We don't assume our answer is always the best or most right and instead allow each neighbor to shape the direction of what happens next on their block.

We struggle with by holding to our commitments for joyful abundant community. We hold each other accountable to these norms and encourage these qualities in our volunteers. 

3. Ask for what I want

In my role at SoCe I have to ask people for money all the time and I am not a natural fundraiser. Conflict Without Casualties reminds me that asking for what I want and being rejected is not a reflection on my worth or the worth of my work. Being able to self differentiate in this way is what keeps me sane.

4. Conflict is Life

Everything we do at SoCe Life is conflict. Starting a business, convincing people to neighbor, fundraising, team meetings, and everything's all conflict. Conflict Without Casualties helped me re-frame conflict from something always bad; to the source and energy behind positive change. We don't shy away from conflict, we thrive in it's ability to create good!

5. I'm OK even if we fail

Finally working with Nate and Next Element over the last 7 years prepared me to take on a giant life defining project with confidence that even if it blows up in my face, I will be OK. One of our mottos at SoCe Life is, "Free to Fail". I often intentionally picture the whole nonprofit going under and imagine myself in that place. It would absolutely suck. And, because of the tools defined in Conflict Without Casualties, I know that I'd be OK and so would my relationships with my co-founders. That gift goes far beyond a monthly donation.

If you want to experience the joy of conflict working for you in life, instead of against you; I cannot recommend this book enough. It is available for pre-order today on Amazon and you can find it by following the link!

Get it here: