Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

Dealing with The Critic

Every time Steve turned in a project, his boss consistently found something to criticize about it. Despite Steve’s many attempts at trying to please his boss, he couldn’t find a way to make it happen. After several months, Steve became so discouraged he gave up and quit his job.

Laura could never seem to please her mother. She studied late into the night and made straight A’s in school. She was Student Body President and showing great promise with her leadership skills. Yet her mom would say, “I am so proud of you, but why can’t you use some of your talent to clean your room?”

One of the most challenging people in life is the Critic – the person with the “gift” of spotting a flaw a mile away. Whether it’s your spouse, your boss or your parent, here are some tips for getting along with the critical person in your life.

1. Work at not taking the criticism personally. Remember that the Critic’s remark reveals more about...

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Can You Guess What The Foundation of a Happy Marriage Is?

With Valentine’s Day upon us, our minds turn to love and romantic relationships. What do you think is the foundation of a happy marriage? Many people would guess that it is good communication, the ability to resolve conflicts, mutual respect, or martial commitment. Although these things are very important recent research shows that the best predictor of marital happiness is friendship.

Think about it. If you are friends with someone, you make the effort to maintain good communication, spend time together when possible and laugh at each other’s jokes even if you have heard them before. If you are really close friends, you should have enough confidence in the relationship to tell them when you see something in their life that concerns you, or to accept negative feedback from them. You share a connection that grows from appreciation of how much that person is like you, or how interesting they are because they are different from you – or a combination of the two.

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Job Stress Can Interfere with Being a Father

According to a Pennsylvania State University study, when you combine a highly demanding job together with marital problems the result is a father who is out of the loop related to his school-age child’s daily life. There is no question that both mothers and fathers can face extremely challenging circumstances as they balance work life and home life, but today we will focus on the fathers.

Many men are deeply work-oriented – instinctively trying to conquer the two-headed beast of achievement and competition. In a job market that creates higher demands on each employee many dads are working longer hours and even bringing more work home, making them less available to their wives and children. This creates a great deal of strain on marriages. I hear in counseling from women who feel their husbands are “missing in action” and not tending to their emotional needs and leaving them to shoulder all of the physical and emotional responsibility for the children, and it...

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You Can Learn to Trust Again

When it comes to relationships, let’s be clear – the last thing you want to do is trust someone who is not trustworthy.  In fact, it’s foolish to trust a person whose behavior is characterized by lies and broken promises.

But one of the biggest challenges in many relationships is the difficulty some people have with being able or willing to trust someone who is truly trustworthy.  These are often men or women who have been hurt or taken advantage of by important people in their lives, resulting in a conditioned response of suspicion and fear.  Sadly, this virtually guarantees that intimacy will suffer significantly.  The absence of both trust and intimacy can often give way to a vicious cycle of conflict, abuse and isolation.

If your capacity to trust others is limited because of the insecurity and vulnerability created by abuse, keep in mind that there is hope.  The trauma of abuse frequently triggers the development of...

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Authentic Self-Disclosure Makes You a People Magnet

Everyone wants to be liked and accepted, although you wouldn’t always know it. Some people give the impression that they couldn’t care less about what people think about them, but that is rarely true. Their cool, standoffish style is more often a wall they have built to protect themselves from possible criticism and rejection. This wall may succeed at deflecting emotional pain, but it also prevents you from experiencing the meaningful, satisfying connections that close relationships provide.

People erect emotional walls in order to defend insecurities, weaknesses and vulnerabilities. After all, there is no need to defend areas of strength. For example, if you have a strong sense of confidence, there is no need to hide behind the wall because you are comfortable and open to interaction with others. The irony associated with wall building is that you think it will ensure that you stay in your comfort zone and protect you from negative judgments and rejection; however, in...

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Get It Done! 10 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination - Part 3

This is the third installment of a 3-part series on overcoming procrastination.  I admit to feeling the pressure of finishing on time, considering the topic!  So, here are the final three Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination.

Get it done early 

You’ve probably heard, “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.”  We see this played out every April 15th as cars line up at the post office so taxpayers can get their returns posted by midnight and in jam-packed retailers on December 24th. If you put things off to the last minute, you not only increase the stress associated with the looming deadline, but you add the stress of knowing that there is no margin for error.  Think of how much more calmly you would be able to approach a project if you gave yourself an earlier “soft” deadline, worked consistently to meet it, and had confidence in one of two likely outcomes – either the satisfaction...

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Get It Done! 10 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination - Part 2

In my previous blog I shared some of the reasons we procrastinate and the first three strategies for overcoming it. Today we’ll work on the next four strategies for Overcoming Procrastination.

Procrastination – You Snooze, You Lose

Get realistic 

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time, of course!  When you have a big project, be realistic about how much you can accomplish each day or you risk becoming overwhelmed and discouraged.  Identify different elements of the project and list them separately.  For example, if your project is to arrange a meeting of your company’s national sales team, your break-out list might include elements such as Facility, Transportation, Agenda, Food, etc. and each of these can be broken into even smaller bites including tasks, calls, reservations, etc.  As you check these manageable chunks off your list, you’ll gain momentum and enthusiasm.  In order to avoid boredom, fatigue and...

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Get it Done! 10 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination - Part 1

Do you want to save time and lower stress? That’s exactly what you will do if you learn and consistently apply the strategies to overcoming procrastination outlined below.

Like most people, I have struggled with wasting time and creating self-induced stress by waiting until the last minute to get things done.  I can often remember telling myself, “This is the last time I’m going to put something off until the last minute,” only to do the same thing a short time later.

Sometimes when we’re stressed because of everything we have to do, it’s because we’re not actually doing it.  Procrastination often triggers worry and anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, frustration, poor eating habits and many other unpleasant outcomes.  Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, studied 374 undergraduate students and discovered that subjects who put off completing homework...

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Top Performers Use Executive Coaching

Behind every world-class athlete is a dedicated and committed coach. The same can be said for many of the top performing leaders, executives, professionals, directors, managers, pastors and entrepreneurs. If you are serious about achieving and accomplishing greater results and embracing all you are capable of becoming you will want to experience the proven power of executive coaching.

Generally speaking, those who take advantage of executive coaching are success minded, goal directed and performance driven. They may have already experienced an impressive amount of professional success in their life, but desire to maximize their potential even further by creating greater balance, clearer focus and a fresh perspective.

Clearly, when executives and other professionals experience the benefits of coaching it often has a ripple effect throughout the organization, improving morale, retention, efficiency, and productivity.  According to a Manchester, Inc. survey of 100 executives,...

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10 Ways to Practice Gratitude

As Thanksgiving approaches, we begin hearing more and more about the importance of gratitude and counting our blessings. To be honest, there are times that we can be more wrapped up in what’s going wrong in our lives or what we are missing, so feeling grateful doesn’t come easily. But gratitude is so beneficial in every area of life – health, well-being, relationships and success – that it is worthwhile to learn how to develop this important quality. The good news is, there are practical ways you can do it!

Here are 10 ideas you can use right now:

The Gratitude Journal. This is simply a notebook or diary to list the things in your life you are grateful for. Start with a basic list, then write one new entry a day identifying what you are grateful for that day and why. Review your list each day while being mindful of your deep sense of gratefulness.

Giving Grace. Giving Grace involves thinking in your mind or verbally expressing thanks to God for any...

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