Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development
Back in the “olden days” when my children were still living at home and our main source of communication was a house phone that we all had to share, most of the calls received in our home were either for my daughters or my wife. If it hadn’t been for solicitors calling during the dinner hour, I would rarely talk to anyone on the telephone. One of the reasons they received more calls was because they highly value conversation and close friendships and go out of their way to cultivate them. It’s not that I (or other men) don’t value relationships, but we don’t tend to need as many relationships or as much contact in order to feel emotionally and relationally satisfied. In general, women rely upon and desire close friendships to a greater degree than men.
Even though it is a healthy, normal difference between many men and women, it can sometimes create tension for a couple. I hear it in marriage counseling sessions sometimes: the woman can become...
As a psychologist, I work with people every day who want to improve their relationships with friends, co-workers and family members. Here are ten things I recommend to everyone desiring healthy, more satisfying relationships:
1. LOVE WHO YOU ARE FROM THE INSIDE OUT. Remember Stuart Smalley of SNL fame? Stuart was famous for his sappy daily affirmation, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” You may not want to fall into that shallow facade of self-worth, but the truth is that many of the things people do to sabotage or undermine their relationships are fueled by low self-esteem and insecurity.
When you can honestly identify and genuinely appreciate your gifts, talents and abilities as well as acknowledge and work on your weaknesses you will be less inclined to compensate for your insecurities by finding fault in others, being self-absorbed and/or overly guarded and defensive. When you love and accept yourself it’s a...
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.
“I over reacted, I’m sorry.”
“I can see my part in all this.”
“I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”
We have heard it countless times: “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got.” The reason this phrase is so applicable to life is that it speaks to the fact that the habits we develop will drive the direction of every area of our lives. Good habits lead up toward success and satisfaction. Bad habits lead to problems and frustration.
My work with clients often involves helping them understand and apply the power of habit. The ability to develop desirable behavior patterns such as eating a healthy diet, exercising, managing finances, using good communication, etc., all require the knowledge associated with building solid habits.
I have posted this “poem” before, but we all need to be reminded of the power we can harness to improve our lives, so let’s take another look:
I am your constant companion,
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at...
We live in unsettling times in many ways. We are constantly reminded of the need to protect ourselves from identity thieves, credit card scammers, people laying in wait in parking lots to hi-jack vehicles and sociopaths tampering with packaging in the grocery store. We are bombarded with headlines that scream about lies from politicians, fraud by financiers and broken trust in celebrity marriages. Almost everywhere you turn, you are warned not to trust anyone. We are conditioned to withhold trust.
This conditioning impacts every area of life, and the workplace is no exception. In my work with organizations I often discover that there is a common problem for leaders – employees who don’t trust them. The challenge for leaders and managers today is breaking down the barriers of suspicion and self-protection and learn how to earn the trust of their employees.
I came across an article in Forbes Magazine by Glenn Llopis that listed seven characteristics that undermine the...
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.
In his book Take the Stairs, Rory Vaden shares how cows and buffalo react differently when storms roll off the...
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.
Statistics tell us that 40 million Americans over 18 suffer from anxiety disorders. Almost all of us have...
The other night as we were finishing a particularly great meal, I said, “I could eat that every day.” At that time, I meant it. The taste lingering in my mouth, the feeling of being full and the fun of sharing a meal with people I love had created a wonderful sense of satisfaction. But then I began thinking about what I had just said. When we step back and consider a statement like that, we realize that even good things, in excess, eventually lose their appeal.
You know the old saying, “Variety is the spice of life.” The reason steak or lobster is such a treat is that most of us don’t have such rich and expensive food that often. I know a family who raises their own beef so at their house, steak is “the usual.” Since they eat steak so regularly they consider it special to have macaroni and cheese or take-out chicken!
Let’s face it – there’s such a thing as having too much of a good thing. If we create a standard of...
If an organization of any kind is going to function successfully, it needs both leadership and management. While some people use those terms interchangeably, they are, in fact, distinctly different and valuable functions in order to create an environment of productivity and performance.
Leaders, in the simplest terms, are people that other people follow. Think about someone who inspires you to want to participate in a cause, goal or vision. Who do you know that makes you say, “I want to be part of what he or she is doing?” Leaders cast the vision and move things and people forward.
While great leaders may motivate you to be part of something by stirring your desire to participate, they don’t always possess the organizational skills or attention to detail required to make the vision happen. A successful organization needs someone who can provide structure and efficient processes in order to accomplish the goal. Even lofty ideals need to be upheld by someone...
Have you ever been tricked into buying something you thought was authentic only to find out later that you received a counterfeit? With the explosion of online shopping comes greater opportunity for unscrupulous sellers to fool buyers into investing in products that aren’t worth the price.
On the surface, it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between a fake and the real thing. However, upon closer examination it becomes evident that the counterfeit lacks authenticity, quality and reliability. What a disappointment to realize that an expensive item like a Rolex watch, a Louis Vuitton handbag or a pair of high-tech Nike sneakers isn’t the real thing!
This is not only true for jewelry or clothing, but for people as well. It is not uncommon to find people wearing masks that portray a false image they think others want to see.
The difference between a fake brand name and a person trying to project themselves a certain way is that one is motivated by greed and the...