Wednesday, March 6, 2019

How to Respond to a Complainer

ComplainerAsk some folks how they’re doing, and they’ll tell you they’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. This can be a completely reasonable answer because we all have times when we feel the same way. However, some have a pattern of going on and on about their problems every time you see them.

We’ve all met people who complain constantly about physical problems or other things going wrong in their lives. They seem to believe they’re magnets for misfortune and nothing is ever positive. How should you handle it when someone has a habit of complaining to you?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Free Yourself from Anger

AngerDid you know that, on average, a man will lose his temper six times a week, and a woman will lose her temper three times per week? That’s a lot of conflict! But within certain boundaries, it is not always a bad thing. While it is never good to resort to violence or deliberately hurtful words, expressing strong feelings can be a healthy outlet for emotions.

Even though many people seem to freely express their anger, others are so averse to conflict that they drive their anger underground, resulting in serious problems.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

How Do You Say “I Love You”?

Love LanguagesWalk into any variety store and it will be obvious that Valentine’s Day has become a commercial extravaganza. Red cards, boxes and candies are everywhere! Love is in the air, along with high expectations and, to be candid, a real possibility of disappointment if the message of love isn’t sent effectively.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Dealing with Disagreement

Dealing with DisagreementDo you ever wish we could all agree on everything? Wouldn’t that stop all the arguing and fighting? Maybe, but it would also stop a lot of progress and prevent important changes from being made. While disagreement can be uncomfortable, it can also be beneficial if it’s handled the right way. Here are some keys to making it work for everyone involved.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Holiday Traditions Can Strengthen Your Family Ties

Holiday TraditionsHave you heard this one? During a discussion of holiday traditions, the teenager complains, “We don’t have any traditions. We just do the same old things every year!” While we smile at the kid’s perception, we recognize the value of giving the family a sense of continuity that ties them together through the years.

I am reminded of a holiday a couple of years ago. The host of the family gathering that year was dropping hints that they planned a surprise “non-traditional” dinner, and the person most distraught about the prospect was a 17 year old boy! Just when you feel as though a child wants nothing to do with the “old-fashioned ways” it becomes apparent that it actually matters to them – a lot!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

How to Have a Perfect Holiday

Perfect HolidayThe most surefire way to have a perfect holiday is… just kidding… you can’t. It would be more accurate to say that the way to virtually guarantee that your holiday is disappointing is to set your mind on having everything perfect. While there is often a long list of details to attend to prepare for the holiday celebration, there is one item that should be #1 on your list: Be flexible.

If your idea of a perfect holiday doesn’t involve any other people, you may be able to come close to achieving it. But as soon as you begin to add your spouse, children, relatives, friends, co-workers – basically anyone – to the festivities, you will need to become willing to bend, stretch and flex to accommodate their schedules, quirks and needs.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

How to Respond to Challenging Customers

challenging customers

As the holiday season swings in to high gear, retail businesses and service organizations are likely to see a rise in the number of customers they serve each day – as well as stress levels associated with challenging customers.

The importance of excellent Customer Service cannot be overstated in today’s competitive markets. The reality is that people have many vendors, providers and merchants to choose from when making purchases, and if you want to keep them coming back to yours, you and your staff need to understand why it’s important and how to achieve it.

Let’s begin with the “Why”. Excellent customer service…

• Builds trust – According to business mogul Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

• Is more important than price – 9 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. (Harris Interactive/RightNow)

• Builds positive brand awareness

• Reduces problems for the company

• Appeals to the customer – 7 in 10 Americans said they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service. (American Express)

As you train your staff to respond to challenging customers, here are 10 principles they need to put into practice:

1. Remain Calm and Listen – You cannot intelligently or effectively respond to someone’s problem without first hearing and accurately understanding it.

2. Empathize and Sympathize – Empathy is the ability to understand and mentally share the feelings of another. Sympathy is the ability to express compassion and sorrow for someone’s misfortune.

3. Agree when possible – Agreement on an issue, no matter how small, puts you in less of an adversarial role and helps to diffuse negative emotions.

4. Remember that others may be watching – Albert Einstein

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Digging in to Gratitude

GratitudeThis time of year we are bombarded with messages about gratitude. Thanksgiving reminds us to literally “give thanks” for the blessings we enjoy. But I wonder how many of us really “dig in” and go beyond a quick list of people, possessions and experiences we have in our lives.

How much more grateful would you feel if you went deeper into your list? Here’s an exercise to try:

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Costly Effects of Low Self-Confidence

low self-confidenceEveryone struggles with a lack of confidence at times. It is estimated that 85% of the world’s population experiences low self-esteem and consequently, low self-confidence at some point in their life.

We all know the feeling of inadequacy and incompetence. It can happen when you face a new job, new relationship, or an unknown situation. There is some comfort in knowing that you are not alone, but you don’t want to get stuck in low self-confidence because it can impact every aspect of your life. It can be at the root of disappointing friendships and love relationships, lower long-term earning potential and missed opportunities for high quality jobs and promotions. There is also strong correlation between low self-confidence and substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and other destructive conditions and behaviors.

How Low Self-Confidence Affects Relationships

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Are You “Spooked” About Getting Married? (Maybe you should be!)

Spooked about marriageFor most people, getting married and establishing a life with that special someone is one of our greatest desires. And it’s not surprising, considering that we are social beings with a need for secure attachment. Being securely attached to someone in a committed relationship is a vital source of stability, safety and contentment – or at least that’s what we want!

Unfortunately, we can be blinded by those desires and overlook some important red flags. I recently created this list that will help you understand when you should get “spooked” about getting married and slow down… or even run!

Before You Say, “I Do”… Consider These Cautions

Marriage, in its original design, is a sacred commitment that promises fulfillment, stability, partnership and purpose. But it only works well if it is based on a firm foundation. Be very cautious, or avoid the altar altogether if…

1. Your partner doesn’t share your strongly held faith and spiritual beliefs.
2. You have a high conflict relationship and issues rarely get resolved.
3. You feel compelled to rescue or fix your partner and you believe marriage will change them for the better.
4. You are afraid that no one else will ever love you or that you are getting too old to have better options.
5. You want to escape your current living arrangements.
6. Your primary motivation is to have children.
7. You want a father or mother for your child.
8. You want to “make it right in God’s eyes” because you’ve been sexually intimate.
9. Your only real connection is that you became pregnant together.
10. Your primary motivation is financial security.
11. Your family and friends are not supportive of your relationship.
12. You are in a relationship that began as an affair.
13. Your partner has a history