Relate Well! Blog

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

Too Much of a Good Thing

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...

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Leadership vs. Management

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...

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Are You the Genuine Article?

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...

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Three Simple Tips to Help Balance Your Life

“There just isn’t enough of me to go around! It’s our busy season at work and it’s impossible to keep up with my job demands on top of my family responsibilities. It feels like I am headed for a break-down!”

When your life seems out of control and you’ve got endless demands tugging at you from all directions, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, fatigued and just plain stressed! You know you need to do something to preserve your health and your sanity, but what can you do?

Believe it or not, balancing your life does not require massive changes. You don’t have to quit your job, abandon your family and escape to a remote retreat in order to feel peaceful and happy. In fact, true balance is something that starts WITHIN YOU first and foremost, no matter what else is happening in your outer life circumstances. Attitudes, habits and choices will determine the balance you achieve.

Below you’ll find three simple ways to begin building a...

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Do You Have a Need to be Right?

At times, wanting to be right is simply an outgrowth of healthy, good-humored competition. For example, if you are playing a trivia game with a group of friends, whoever gets the right answer will probably tease other players, cheer for themselves and maybe indulge in some “trash talk” to rub it in that “I was right, you were wrong!” If everyone laughs along with the winner, it’s a good indication that the friends are confident in themselves and their relationship to one another. But if one of the players becomes angry or distressed, it may be an indication of an unhealthy emotional response to being wrong.

An unhealthy need to be right may grow out of a pervasive fear that they are not good enough or smart enough, or that their value is based on performance. This dynamic shows up at times in counseling with people who have been subjected to highly critical parents or spouses. If someone perceives that they must be perfect in order to be accepted,...

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Sincere Encouragement Breeds Success

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.

Encouraging your employees and teammates is a significant part of your leadership responsibility and success, whether they are digging ditches, writing complex computer code, responding to emergencies, teaching, helping, driving, selling a product or assembling parts. No matter what kind of work is being done, an employee will do a better job if they receive encouragement from their...

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Riding the Waves of Change

If you have ever gazed at the ocean for awhile, you saw it change with every wave that came to shore. Life is like that; waves of change come along, sometimes small and sometimes gigantic, and nothing is exactly the same after that.

There is a myth in our culture that promotes the notion that people hate change. The truth is – people love change! People change their clothes, hairstyle, and favorite restaurant. They rearrange their furniture, travel to new places and do things to add variety to their lives on a regular basis.

There is, however, a type of change that people don’t like: that is any change they have little to no control over. In today’s world, we no longer have a guarantee of lifetime employment and technology has revolutionized the workplace. Many of us have heard the dreaded words, “Our company is switching to a new computer system,” and all of a sudden you are fearful that you’re going to feel frustrated and confused for a long...

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The Game of Success: It's Your Move

If you’re not experiencing the success you desire in your career, what moves do you need to make in order to advance? Like the game of chess, progress toward success requires focused attention, strategy, and practice. 

Pay Attention:

Evaluate where you are now… and why. Have you made good or bad choices to get where you are? Are you close to your goal, but not quite there yet or are you way behind?

Decide what is working and what’s not. Are you doing the best with what you have or are you sabotaging yourself with a negative attitude, poor life choices, fear, or a victim mindset? Answering these questions takes courage, but honest answers and a firm grasp of reality are empowering.

Strategy:

Find out what you can do about what’s not working well. Be brave enough to ask people who know you if they see behaviors that might be slowing your success. Ask trusted advisers at work what they would recommend to overcome challenges in your job. A professional...

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Raising Mature, Confident Adults (or How to Avoid Messing Up Your Kids)

We all have “issues” of one kind or another. Many of them stem from fears, past experiences, misunderstanding, or lack of accurate information. Many people point to their upbringing as the source of their problems today.

The truth is, no parents are perfect, and there comes a time when we have to let go of blaming all of our problems on our childhood and choose to develop the confidence to make the best of our own lives. In some cases, this may involve forgiveness of everything from not getting the toy you always wanted, to being forced to take tuba lessons to traumatic abuse. It’s an important part of growing up to finally realize that your parents may have done the best they could with what they had and knew and to begin taking adult responsibility for your adult life.

That said, maybe you can learn a few things from your past experiences that will help you avoid some of the mistakes that can potentially have a long-term negative effect on your children.

Here are...

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What Does it Take to Be a Leader?

You may have heard of The Peter Principle, which states that, “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” Laurence J. Peter, a Canadian scholar, author and lecturer (1910-1990) wrote a book with the same title expounding on his observations about how organizations work. In a nutshell he says if you are great at your job, you will likely be promoted to a management or leadership position with a different set of skills required and languish there with little chance for real success or job satisfaction.

Before you assume you are doomed to a lifetime of misery drowning in a job you’re not ready for, let’s look at how you can prepare for greater opportunity and success in a leadership role. Competent, respected leaders usually display the following qualities:

Integrity – Inspiring leaders put this quality first, because they know that their employees or volunteers will follow their example. No business, ministry,...

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