Relate Well! Blog

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

Honesty Builds Strong Relationships

When my youngest daughter, Kathryn, was four-years-old I asked her why she wrote her name on our front door with a pencil. She responded by saying, “Because I couldn’t find my marker.” Although her behavior was unacceptable, I found her honesty to be quite refreshing. It was one of many times I had to bite my lip so I could maintain a serious expression while disciplining one of our kids.

Unfortunately, there are many people today who don’t value the virtue of honesty. Every day we witness the dishonesty of public officials, high profile athletes and many others who are role models to our children. Many people don’t think twice about telling a lie if it will keep them out of trouble or from having to experience a painful consequence. Too often, people are unwilling to stand up and take responsibility for their actions.

People often justify dishonesty by rationalization, or inventing a reason why doing something wrong is actually right or at least...

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How to Be Your Daughter's Hero

Heroes are often people who face seemingly impossible odds, set personal wants and needs aside, and run to the rescue of someone who isn’t strong enough to help themselves. That’s also a pretty accurate description of a good father, don’t you think?

Dad, do you want your daughter to make smart choices when it comes to drugs and alcohol, sexual intimacy, boyfriends, academic performance, how she dresses and developing a strong faith? If so, I want to encourage you to read the four tips from Dr. Meg Meeker’s book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters below.

  1. Make a plan.

Your aspirations for your daughter will be clearest when she is young. When she’s an infant, you know with crystal clarity what you will expect from her: everything from what she will be allowed to say and do to whom she can date. Write it down now, and keep it clear in your mind and in hers. Teens love to tangle with your thinking. So have your rules inscribed like the Ten...

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Balance Your Life

Just like a tightrope walker, you need to know how to maintain balance in your life so you don’t fall into trouble. When even one area of your life is overloaded, it is time to ask, “Why?”

For many of us, the culprit is over-commitment. You may say, “Yes” to everything because you are afraid to say, “No.” Some people feel guilty when they disappoint someone with a refusal. In other cases, people who over-commit are insecure and trying to win approval. Some people have what appears to be a vibrant zest for life that they want to experience every single opportunity that comes along – but forget that some time must be saved for rest and self-care. Letting everyone else’s ideas and agendas control your time and energy will quickly throw you off balance.

An off-kilter life can also lead to discouragement because too much time and effort spent in one area of life will usually cause a deficit in another area. I understand...

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Your Greatest Investment

I will never forget attending the funeral of a man I had known for over 25 years. One by one, people shared stories of how he had touched their lives. His 75 years on this earth were well recorded with memories of his generosity, kindness, loyalty and love. As I glanced over to see how his wife was holding up I could see that she was filled with joy to hear how her husband’s greatest investments in life were paying off.

When we hear the word “investment” we automatically think in terms of money. However, there are other things in life we can invest with the hope of experiencing a significant return. Far too many people find themselves at the end of their life realizing that those things they invested their time, talents and resources in had little, if any, meaningful impact.

Maybe the simplest way to put it is this: If you spend your life only investing in your own pleasure and pursuits your legacy will die with you. None of us want to get to the end of life and...

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Are You Together or Unified?

You can certainly notice when a sports or business team is unified because they tend to experience a great deal of success. Each player focuses on their role in creating a well-coordinated effort to win as a team.

The same is true for marriages. In my work with couples I find that one of the major contributing factors to relationship dissatisfaction has to do with the fact that they are together but not truly unified.

Many couples are together in that they live in the same home, share the same financial resources, sleep in the same bed, attend their kids’ Saturday soccer games and go out on an occasional date. These things are good, but they don’t necessarily reflect unity. Let me explain.

Unity is defined as the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole. This definition applies so perfectly to marriage! It goes deeper than simply being in proximity to one another. Unity in marriage is characterized by several...

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How to Write a Personal Mission Statement

For years, I have been assisting men and women in their effort to clarify the purpose and direction they want for their lives. One of the tools I have encouraged them to use in this process is the Personal Mission Statement.

You have likely heard the widely-quoted statement that if you write down your goals you significantly improve your chances of accomplishing them.  This principle reinforces the value of creating a written personal mission statement to help you become who you want to be and accomplish what you want to do.

Over the years, I have gathered information from many sources on creating a personal mission statement and want to share some of that information with you.

The challenge is to write your mission statement in such a way that it will be effective, so while there is no required format or formula, the following guidelines may be helpful:

Keep it simple, clear and brief. The best mission statements tend to be three to five sentences long. Identify the area...

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9 Ways You May Be Holding Your Business Back

I want to thank Brad Mishlove, CEO and founder of Catapult Groups, for providing our guest blog post for today. I’m confident you will find his insights to be very valuable in helping you move your business forward.

Live, Work, and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

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If you own a business, it’s time to take your blinders off so you can identify any problems that may be holding you and your business back.

As a business owner, one of the costliest mistakes you can make is not knowing your blind spots. You worked hard to grow your business, and you have faith in your product.

Surveys have shown that 75% of small business owners have an optimistic outlook toward their company’s future, but the numbers don’t bear out this enthusiasm. The truth is, 70% of small businesses will fail by the tenth year, with a full 20% failing within the first year.

What’s holding your business back?

Despite feeling optimistic in the beginning, these...

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A Dad's Greatest Influence Is His Example

When I was a child there wasn’t anyone more important to me than my dad. The influence he had on my life was profound and the love he demonstrated was genuine and unconditional.

Although my dad was often busy working two jobs, keeping up with house and car repairs and helping to raise seven kids, he was able to consistently instill important values into my life.

It was my father who helped teach me about honesty, the importance of a strong work ethic, making good on promises and the difference between right and wrong. As I reflect back on the lessons learned from my dad I realize that most of them were taught through his example – not by lectures.

My dad was far from perfect, but he knew what he believed and how to demonstrate those beliefs through his actions. Dads, how are you instructing your children? Remember that the training and instruction you give through your example will have a much greater impact on your children than just your words alone!

Live, Work and...

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What to Do When a Family Member is Out of Control

For some people, family is the greatest source of joy in life. For others, it may be the greatest source of pain. For most, it’s often a combination of the two. In my practice as a psychologist and in my own arenas of life I have known people who were struggling with a family member – child, sibling, parent, etc. – who was out of control. Many of the situations these people face involve a loved one who is struggling with addiction, spending money unwisely, refusing to control their anger or selfishness, or who is living with a mental illness.

The almost universal question is, “What can I do?” Situations and resources vary from family to family, but here are some general principles that may help you when you have to make a decision about what to do.

1. Don’t do harm by becoming part of the problem. Harm can take the form of enabling unhealthy behaviors by lying to employers about absences, paying debts, or making excuses. It may also take the...

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Is Your Opposite-Sex Friendship a Threat to Your Marriage?

Marriage isn’t easy. If you’re married, that is not news to you. While being committed and bonded to someone can be the most satisfying human relationship, sometimes it takes grit and determination to get past the challenges brought on by stressors like money, sex, conflict, parenting, illness, exhaustion and even an opposite-sex friendship.

Sometimes the challenges are beyond your control or happen in spite of your best effort to maintain your marital satisfaction. But at other times, they are avoidable. One issue that troubles a lot of marriages is one partner having a close friend of the opposite sex. While many such friendships are positive, I have created a list of 20 questions you should ask yourself to make sure you haven’t crossed a line.

Opposite-Sex Friendship Questionnaire

Answer honestly…

1. Is your spouse unaware of your opposite-sex friendship? Y N
2. Would you ever behave differently around your friend if your spouse were present? Y N
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