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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Choices that Set You Free

ChoicesIt’s a common scene on the playground: Johnny does something that annoys Billy, so Billy shouts, “Stop it!”  Johnny retorts, “You can’t make me. It’s a free country!” Thanks to history teachers, we all learn that Americans enjoy a level of freedom unknown in many parts of the world. I, for one, thank God for the opportunity to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. But apparently Johnny hasn’t caught on yet to the fact that freedom doesn’t mean he can do whatever he wants no matter how others are impacted, especially if he wants to grow up and have a good life and good relationships.

As we mature, we begin to learn some of the choices we make every day in order to live well and enjoy life.  Here are a few:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Understanding and Responding to Bullies

BullySticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Wrong! Hurtful words can leave emotional wounds long after the damage caused by a stick or stone has been healed. Cruel, harsh and threatening words often strike at the very core of a child’s sense of worth and value causing them to experience a sense of self-doubt, inadequacy and inferiority that can haunt them for a lifetime. This is often the consequence of bullying. In fact, it seems that the news reports more and more incidences in which children and teens have chosen to commit suicide rather than continue being subjected to the intense pain caused by a bully.

Although bullying has been around since biblical times, it is a growing concern among many parents. Despite the increased efforts of many caring and concerned school administrators and teachers, bullying, on and off school campuses, is on the rise.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sincere Encouragement Breeds Success

If you have the responsibility of managing employees, you are well aware that their performance has a huge impact on your job satisfaction and on the success of your business or department. Good leadership and management requires a number of significant skills, but today I want to review one in particular: encouragement.

You may have completed years of college and training, and you may have learned many impressive skills in order to rise to the position you are in today, but sincere encouragement is one of the most powerful tools you can use to motivate people to work hard and develop loyalty.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Do You a Have a Need to Be Right?

If we’re honest, we all have to admit that sometimes we can be driven by a need to be right. Whether you’re involved in a debate over politics, discussing the fuel efficiency of your favorite vehicle or arguing with your spouse about how to raise your children, there’s something satisfying about being proved right when the facts are revealed.

Need to be rightAt times, wanting to be right is simply an outgrowth of healthy, good-humored competition. For example, if you are playing a trivia game with a group of friends, whoever gets the right answer will probably tease other players, cheer for themselves and maybe indulge in some “trash talk” to rub it in that “I was right, you were wrong!” If everyone laughs along with the winner, it’s a good indication that the friends are confident in themselves and their relationship to one another. But if one of the players becomes angry or distressed, it may be an indication of an unhealthy emotional response to being wrong.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Riding the Waves of Change

ChangeIf you have ever gazed at the ocean for awhile, you saw it change with every wave that came to shore. Life is like that; waves of change come along, sometimes small and sometimes gigantic, and nothing is exactly the same after that.

There is a myth in our culture that promotes the notion that people hate change. The truth is – people love change! People change their clothes, hairstyle, and favorite restaurant. They rearrange their furniture, travel to new places and do things to add variety to their lives on a regular basis.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What Crying Babies and Strong Relationships Have in Common

Strong RelationshipsWhen a perfectly contented newborn baby hears another baby crying, it’s common for her to begin wailing as well. Now, most of us would just say, “Well, sure, I’d cry too if my ears were hurting and the noise nearby was TOO LOUD.” But studies indicate more is going on than “what just meets the ear” and that we can all learn something about EMPATHY that infants, it appears, learn very young.

When two babies begin crying in the same room, it’s not just the loud noise that causes the second baby to wail along with the first. Researchers have found it’s the sound of a fellow human in distress that triggers the baby’s crying. One New York University psychologist believes that this “reflexive” crying, as he calls it, may be a precursor to human empathy – the ability to observe the anguish or joy of another person and take it on as your own.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Game of Success: It’s Your Move

CareerIf you’re not experiencing the success you desire in your career, what moves do you need to make in order to advance? Like the game of chess, progress toward success requires focused attention, strategy and practice.

Pay Attention:

Evaluate where you are now… and why. Have you made good or bad choices to get where you are? Are you close to your goal, but not quite there yet or are you way behind?

Decide what is working and what’s not. Are you doing the best with what you have or are you sabotaging yourself with a negative attitude, poor life choices, fear, or a victim mindset? Answering these questions takes courage, but honest answers and a firm grasp of reality are empowering.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Raising Mature, Confident Adults (or How to Avoid Messing Up Your Kids)

Confident KidsWe all have “issues” of one kind or another. Many of them stem from fears, past experiences, misunderstanding, or lack of accurate information. Many people point to their upbringing as the source of their problems today.

The truth is, no parents are perfect, and there comes a time when we have to let go of blaming all of our problems on our childhood and choose to develop the confidence to make the best of our own lives. In some cases, this may involve forgiveness of everything from not getting the toy you always wanted, to being forced to take tuba lessons to traumatic abuse. It’s an important part of growing up to finally realize that your parents may have done the best they could with what they had and knew and to begin taking adult responsibility for your adult life.

That said, maybe you can learn a few things from your past experiences that will help you avoid some of the mistakes that can potentially have a long-term negative effect on your children.

Here are few general principles that might help your kids grow up to be mature, confident adults and possibly avoid some of the challenges you struggle with:

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What Does it Take to Be a Leader?

LeaderYou may have heard of The Peter Principle, which states that, “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” Laurence J. Peter, a Canadian scholar, author and lecturer (1910-1990) wrote a book with the same title expounding on his observations about how organizations work. In a nutshell he says if you are great at your job, you will likely be promoted to a management or leadership position with a different set of skills required and languish there with little chance for real success or job satisfaction.

Before you assume you are doomed to a lifetime of misery drowning in a job you’re not ready for, let’s look at how you can prepare for greater opportunity and success in a leadership role. Competent, respected leaders usually display the following qualities:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Do You Know What Really Makes You Attractive?

AttractiveIn his book, Be a People Person, Dr. John Maxwell identifies some of the personal characteristics that make people more attractive. He points out that it is the charismatic quality of an individual’s personality that makes them come across to others as warm, engaging and popular.

Dr. Maxwell uses the word CHARISMA as an acrostic to identify the specific traits he believes will draw the attention of others and help you improve your ability to relate well. Each of the traits in the acrostic below can be developed no matter who you are. I have added a few thoughts to Dr. Maxwell’s list to help you apply each concept to your own interactions with other people. I encourage you to commit these traits to memory and make the effort to consistently practice them in your relationships at home and work.