Career Ecology

Wolf : Authentic Relating

Authentic Relating - Like a Wolf

Let's evolve. So, what's authentic relating, wolf style? It's quite simply rituals that test and reinforce healthy boundaries – which are vital for keeping the pack functioning together as a whole. Without clear communication, wolf packs are vulnerable to unexpected threats in the wild. And so are we!

Non-Violent Communication

To begin, let's turn for a moment to Marshall Rosenberg's system of Non-Violent Communication (NVC), also knows as Compassionate Communication. Mr. Rosenberg founded NVC to support partnerships and help resolve conflicts between people and in society. NVC was born out of a childhood trauma. Mr. Rosenberg was ten years old when his family moved to Detroit, Michigan and within a week fell witness to the Detroit Race Riots of 1943. Mr. Rosenberg observed people full of rage and incapable of communicating their needs, and so decades later he would extend conflict resolution to include compassionate inquiry into peoples' needs. While evolutionary, I've found it doesn't quite go far enough.

Authentic Relating

What's missing is authenticity and ritual – as in nature. Authentic Relating in nature is a conscious ritual for testing and reinforcing safe boundaries for the purpose of bridging safe connection and informed action. NVC misses the almost primal barrier of boundaries and how one must signal safety, among other things, before advancing.

Below is a system for Authentic Relating that celebrates diversity and promotes adaptability as inspired by the natrual world and applied to the human world:

  • Signal Safety >> Affirm shared interest, appreciations

  • Gather Permission >> Check in for permission to share, connect

  • Share Thoughts >> Share perspective, idea, need

  • Gather Feedback >> Genuinely inquire in to the other's perspective

  • Adapt >> Based on what is true and necessary for everyone, choose the best path forward

Let's play with this a little . . .

First, A Look at Triggers

We ALL have them. Here is a short list of all sorts of ways humans inadvertently trigger one another thereby sapping energy and inhibiting healthy collaboration. Does any of this look familiar?

Boundary Bridges

Take a look below at how each trigger scenario could be transformed if boundaries were lifted up as bridges to connection.

The Practice of Authentic Relating

Boundaries ARE bridges to healthy and loving collaboration when we take the time and care to mindfully (naturally) connect. When we communicate like wolves.


Below is a sample scenario for how Authentic Relating respects boundaries and invites collaboration.