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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Making Christmas Merry

Merry ChristmasHolidays have a way of magnifying everything – both negative and positive. Whatever is happy, beautiful and fun seems even more prominent when Christmas lights are twinkling and pretty packages are sitting under the tree just waiting to delight someone you love. But whatever is sad, ugly and painful can also be magnified because it doesn’t fit in to our idealized image of what Christmas should be like. As my friend, Dr. Randy Carlson of Intentional Living has often said, “Expectation minus reality equals disappointment.”

I am going out on a tinsel-covered limb and guessing that there is something about this Christmas you wish could be different. The good news is you don’t have to let your circumstances ruin your holidays. Studies have shown that circumstances only account for 10% of your happiness. That’s a surprisingly small number! But boosting your happiness quotient doesn’t just happen by itself. You must be intentional about how you THINK about your life and circumstances.

One exercise in overcoming circumstances and making Christmas merry is to maintain a Big Picture Mindset. Oftentimes it isn’t the big things that derail our happiness, but a hundred little things. Car trouble, a winter virus, failing to find the toy your child wants “more than anything” for Christmas, a fraudulent charge on your credit card, a fender bender. The list could go on forever, because life is full of those frustrating nuisances. If we keep our eyes on all the things that can – and do – go wrong, we will never be happy. But when we step back and put those things into perspective, they lose their grip on our attitudes. The Big Picture of your life probably also includes a lot of people (or even pets) who love you, having your basic needs (and many of

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Help, It’s December!

If you are like most people, the month of December typically ushers in a dramatic increase in activity, responsibilities, and irrational expectations. If you are able to maintain a positive and realistic perspective during this busy time of year you are much more likely to experience a very special time of connection, celebration, and joy. To help you with this task, my good friend and co-worker, Liz Bailey, offers some timeless truths for getting the most out of the holiday season.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

December StressSome of my neighbors have had their Christmas lights up since before Thanksgiving. I am not sure if I resent them or admire them for being so far ahead on preparing for the holiday season. My feelings on the subject vary, often depending on my current state of mind. I waffle between being joyful that the holidays bring our family together and overwhelmed at the thought of how much time, money and effort it takes to make all that celebration work smoothly. And this mix of happiness and angst happens every single year when December rolls in like an avalanche!

Many of us need to be reminded of what we know deep down in our hearts because the holidays have a way of drowning out the still, small voice of truth and common sense. Let’s review:

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Strong People Skills = Career Success

People SkillsHaving trouble getting ahead at work? Research reveals that the higher you go on the career ladder the greater the likelihood that obstacles standing in the way of your performance, productivity and advancement are your own problematic behaviors and bad habits. In fact, it is estimated that 80% of those fired from their jobs are let go because of an absence of strong interpersonal skill rather than a lack of technical skill. Therefore, the higher a person goes in an organization, the more significant it is that their people skills (or lack thereof) will ultimately determine how far they will go in their career.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Keys to a Life Well Lived

A Life Well LivedAs we approach the Thanksgiving holiday I want to encourage you to remember five critical keys to a life well lived. If you apply this advice daily to your life I’m confident that you will derive more joy and happiness this season than ever before. I challenge you to…

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How to Be Good and Angry Over Politics and Other Stuff

Angry

Man, have you seen the news lately? As if you could miss it…

It has been a brutal year, politically speaking. If there has ever been such a widely disputed campaign with such visceral reactions to the candidates, we’ve never seen it in our lifetimes. And no time in history has it been so easy to flood people’s lives with rhetoric, accusations, name-calling and polar-opposite viewpoints. If our earliest presidential candidates produced such hot controversy, the news didn’t travel so fast. We hear from multiple news outlets that Americans are responding to anger. Some were angry before the election; enough to vote for major change in the government. And now others are angry after the election because of the outcome. Government leaders are being met with a barrage of angry American citizens from both sides of the political spectrum.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

When You Don’t Get Your Way

Anger How do you respond when things don’t go your way or you don’t get what you want? The current news is filled with reports of people demonstrating their anger and rage about not getting what they want, and I am concerned that the methods too many have chosen to express their feelings are doing much more harm than good. The lack of ability to appropriately express anger and fear along with wants and needs is doing damage on a large scale in many cities, but it also impacts people on an individual level.

If it’s important to you to demonstrate maturity and self-control as well as communicate in a way that will give you credibility and reflect objectivity take the time and make the effort to be good and angry when you don’t get your way.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Do You Listen With Your Eyes?

It was a normal night in the Towne home. I came home from work tired, hungry, and needing a safe haven to sit and be quiet. Four rugrats had learned to give Dad a break those first minutes upon entering their world of play, adventure, questions, and innocent zeal of life.

ListeningAs I sat down, I put my legs up and began reading the newspaper to unwind. Checking out the headlines and moving to the sports page, I began to enter a zone, tuning everything out as I immersed myself in the world described in the printed page, hiding myself behind the opened newspaper print.

Kids were talking but I was in a comatose cubby. I would occasionally grunt a response, say a polite “Uh-Huh”, “Yep”, “Mmm”. It was then that my daughter did something that has stayed with me for the past 15 years. She pulled the paper down and said, “Daddy, I need to you to listen to me with your eyes when I am talking.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hi-Tech Communication – Use With Caution

Hi-Tech CommunicationTechnology can be great. It has made communication faster and easier and become an integral part of our everyday lives both personally and professionally. Many of us remember when business was done primarily through hard copy letters and memos, or old-fashioned telephone calls that sometimes required a written message to be taken if the party you called was unavailable at the time. And if you can imagine it, the telephone was tethered to the desk by a cord!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

1% vs. Perfection

Here are some more great thoughts from my friend and colleague, David Towne.

Goal SettingI’ve got a problem. Okay, I’ve got lots of issues as many of my friends and family know all too well. My singing hurts the ears of those too close to me in proximity. I don’t run anymore unless someone is chasing me. If I mistakenly eat a peanut, egg, carrot, any kind of fish, or watermelon (to name a few), my throat swells shut in seconds and I die.
Yet my most frustrating problem is how, in the past, I have attempted to tackle my life goals.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

WORDS: Key to Home Improvement

WordsWords are vital to the expression of who you are, what you think and feel and how you relate to others. They are truly one of the most powerful building blocks of our relationships. When we talk to people, the words we choose can build walls, pedestals, bridges or fortresses. The same tools can be used for demolition if we’re not careful, so use caution when speaking to others.

While this is true of all of our conversations with anyone, nowhere is it more evident than in our own homes. The way we talk to those closest to us will shape the design and structure of our family relationships. What type of structure are you building with your family? Let’s look at some of the ways our words affect our closest loved ones.