Tuesday, October 31, 2017
It’s that time again – time for little ghouls and goblins, superheroes and princesses to swarm into the neighborhood and charm you into giving them some candy. You may even see a miniature Count Dracula looking like he’s checking out your jugular vein.
Halloween and trick or treating is all in good fun, but I’m wondering if some time in your life you’ve known a warm-blooded vampire – an Emotional Vampire, that is. You might recognize them as someone you’re afraid to ask, “How are you?” because you suspect they’ll overflow with more gory details than you want to know.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone always got along and communication was always agreeable? That, of course, is a fantasy that will never happen as long as human beings co-exist on Earth. The reality is that there are times when discussions must take place that involve disagreement or confrontation of a behavior or situation that needs to change, whether you like it or not. You may know someone who enjoys a good argument or seems to relish stirring up discussion about difficult subjects, but that doesn’t describe most people. It is more likely that you would rather run the other direction – and you are not alone!
I would have to say that fear of confrontation is one of the most common issues many of my clients face. It’s not uncommon for people to literally become sick to their stomachs at the thought of having to confront for fear of having it turn into a conflict or facing the possibility of rejection. Consequently, these same people often experience low self-esteem, sub-par relationships and emotional turmoil. They live with constant nagging of unresolved issues, anger and frustration. Resentment often creeps into their relationships, and sometimes the other person doesn’t even realize there is a problem.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
In his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Dr. John Gottman introduces the concept of “repair attempts” to keep conflict from derailing your marriage. According to Gottman, the success or failure of a couple’s repair attempts is one of the primary factors in whether their marriage flourishes or flounders. Along with Dr. Gottman’s principles, I’ve included my own practical applications for your marriage. Practice these reparative strategies regularly and watch your friendship grow.
A repair attempt is defined as any statement or action—silly or otherwise—that prevents negativity from escalating. Here are a few examples of phrases that can be effective repair attempts. Keep in mind that the absence of repair attempts is a strong predictor of marital failure.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
We recently escaped the brutal Arizona desert heat with a road trip to San Diego. Paradise, right? Fog in the morning, beach temperatures hovering around 70 degrees, beautiful scenery and stunning colors, and an enormous number of vehicles displaying Arizona plates vying for parking spots! I expected peace and quiet, yet what I experienced nestled in this supposed utopia was… conflict. Conflict all around me.
A young family in the restaurant battling the cries of their kids. At the beach, young people were arguing what bathing suit was the sexiest (someone tell me when thongs became the norm on beaches!!!), and at the hotel swimming pool where a couple held hands coming in but stormed out 30 minutes later. As you know by now, in relationships, in families, at work, conflict is ever present. The goal is not to avoid conflict, but rather to embrace and grow through it.
Monday, August 21, 2017
I will be talking with Dr. Randy Carlson on the Intentional Living radio program Tuesday, August 22nd. He has asked me to spend a few minutes talking about the importance of counseling and how it can potentially save a person’s life.
As I consider how to describe the value of counseling, a few things come to mind.
At some time in everyone’s life, something unexpected and painful can occur. Death, divorce, injustice, rejection and serious accidents can bring about intense emotions or slow-burning resentment. Counseling can help you identify and manage the hurt or anger that could lead to destructive decisions and negative reactions. Lashing out in anger or holding on to resentment can have long-lasting devastating consequences and derail the healing and recovery process. Letting hurt and anger go unattended will steal the peace and joy from your life.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
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.
Thursday, March 23, 2017
One of the most powerful skills a leader should strive to master is communication. He or she may have brilliant ideas and the vision to solve problems and accomplish daunting missions, but if the ideas and direction can’t be communicated effectively to others, the mission may produce weak results and fall short of the goal. When that occurs, low morale among the ranks usually follows.
I recently came across a list in New Man Magazine of nine principles of communication every leader should adopt. To be the kind of leader that not only gets results, but also earns the respect and loyalty of those you work with, you will want to learn and consistently apply these principles.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
You’ve probably heard the saying, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” While that traditional wisdom is meant for weather trends, I think we can stretch it to apply to some relationships as well. Do you know anyone who “comes in like a lion” – roaring and ready to devour anyone who gets in their way? Would you like to be able to hold your own when talking with them and possibly calm the situation?
Here are some tips for dealing with “lions” in your life:
Begin with yourself – your attitude, your response. Look past the behavior and see the person as a whole and valuable human being who may be acting out feelings of fear, frustration, anger, hurt or insecurity. Understand that there may be valid reasons for those feelings and try to exercise empathy. This will help you control your response when someone is coming on strong. It’s more natural to retaliate if you feel you’re being attacked, but remaining calm is essential.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Empathy is simply defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. We can sometimes feel as though we already have too many feelings of our own, and that taking on the burden of feeling what others are going through will be overwhelming.
Interestingly, the opposite seems to be true. Let’s use an example most of us can relate to. You are driving to work when suddenly a car pulls out of a parking lot right in front of you, and you have to brake hard to avoid a collision. As your pulse races and you try to steady your breathing, how do you respond? Your answer to that depends largely on your ability and your desire to empathize with others.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Have you seen the movie Groundhog Day? It features Bill Murray as Phil, a weatherman with a bad attitude who finds himself reliving February 2nd, Groundhog Day, over and over again with all of its petty frustrations, seemingly pointless activity and irritation. Do you ever feel as though you’re like Phil?
We have all heard the folk wisdom that says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results. While that definition doesn’t quite cover the whole concept, it does capture a part of it. It is definitely not “sane” (rational, logical) to expect things to change if you don’t do something to interrupt an unhealthy pattern in order to improve your situation. In other words, if you want something to change, you have to take the initiative to change it.