Relate Well! Blog

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

Do You Worry About What People Think?

It’s been said that more people are held captive in the prison of their own minds than in all the jail cells in the world… and Worry is their warden. There are countless things that may weigh heavily on our minds, but I have worked with many people who significantly struggle with worrying about what people think about them, and they always pay a price.

Many of the decisions you make on a daily basis, like what to wear, the music to listen to, what to say in a conversation, or who to associate with are governed, in large part, by a goal-directed conscious or unconscious process that attempts to influence what people think about you. We call this process impression management.

As humans, we all have needs for belonging, significance and acceptance. To not think about how others perceive you to some extent is to deny these needs. Unfortunately, many people are trapped by a powerful impulse to over-engage in impression management. In other words, they are overly...

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The Power of Wise Decision-Making

One evening when my youngest daughter was five-years-old she asked me if she could go outside and play. I told her, “No, it’s too dark out.” She defiantly replied, “I’m going to go outside anyhow.” I then replied that she could choose to go outside without my permission, but if she did she would suffer the consequence of being sent to bed early. After giving her options some thought, she stated, “I’m not going outside because it’s just too dark.”

In that moment, I enjoyed watching Kathryn exercising good judgment and wisdom for someone so young. She had considered the facts – that her Dad had a habit of following through on what he said, and that going to bed early would make her miss her favorite TV show and her bedtime snack. Weighing these harsh realities against what would happen if she made the right choice brought her to the conclusion that it was in her best interest to do the right thing.

For most of us, once...

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Are You an Optimist?

What do you think? Is the glass half-empty or half-full? Do you usually anticipate the worst or more often think that things will turn out okay? The way you answer those simple questions can give you insight into whether you are more naturally a pessimist or optimist. Once you see what your natural tendency is, consider the impact it has on your life. In particular, which view of life do you think makes you more attractive and enjoyable to other people?

We all know certain types of people we prefer not to spend a lot of time with. For me, it’s the person who possesses a pessimistic attitude. You know the type; they look like they just ate a lemon and every time you come up with a new idea they give you five reasons for why it won’t work. If you say it’s a beautiful day, they say, “Yeah, but it won’t stay this way.”

I much prefer to be around positive, optimistic people – those individuals who tend to find the good in others and believe that...

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Do You Struggle with Difficult People?

Difficult people are everywhere. You can find them at work, in your neighborhood, at the local store, in government offices, in customer services and even in your own home. Now, to be honest, we can all be difficult at times, but today I’m talking about what I refer to as chronically difficult people – the people whose behavior is often obnoxious, rude, aggressive and just plain frustrating. In other words, their behavior is predictable… predictably difficult!

Difficult people come in a variety of styles with behavior patterns that fit some classic categories. The Tanks bully their way through every situation, steamrolling anyone who stands in their way without considering how others feel. The Exploders use “shock and awe” to get their way by blowing up so others learn to tiptoe around them or give in to prevent an angry outburst. The Know-it-All has to answer every comment and conversation with information designed to make themselves look...

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Communicating Affection Without Talking

I frequently hear women express concerns about their husbands not communicating affection or what they think and feel about many topics – especially about them, personally, and their marriage. The husband usually responds with comments like, “You know I’m not a talker” or “I can’t communicate as well as you can.”

Although most men do have the ability to effectively communicate with their wives they often don’t, and there are many different reasons that we won’t go into now.

Before we go farther, let me clarify that there are some couples in which it’s the wife who has the greater challenge with communication, but since the majority of “non-talkers” are men we will assume this in order to keep it simple. If you are/have a quiet wife, feel free to apply the information as it suits your situation.

When I’m working with couples who are frustrated about one-sided communication I often recommend a specific tool...

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Are You Addicted to Approval?

Did you know that the less compelled you are to prove yourself to others in order to gain their approval, the more peaceful you will feel inside? And the less you worry about whether people like you, the more they will enjoy being around you?

Those statements seem contradictory at first, don’t they? People who are unable to internalize these truths may actually be addicted to approval.  This addiction is characterized by the irrational belief that your worth, value and significance comes from the approval and acceptance of others.

If you make a conscious effort to inform people of what you have accomplished, shouldn’t they admire you? If you try hard to be likable, shouldn’t they like you a lot? The reason these behaviors fall short is because trying too hard comes across to others as desperate, needy, insincere and inadequate. Simply put, the harder you try to appear popular and successful, the more people will believe you’re hiding insecurity and a...

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Dump the Resolutions and Create SMART Goals

goals personal growth Feb 03, 2016

On January 1st many of us identified some big changes we want to make or a plan we want to accomplish during the new year. By February 1st we began wondering what we were thinking and why we paid for a whole year gym membership or committed to a seemingly impossible resolution to lose weight and get in shape.

Now that the month of January is behind us, don’t get discouraged because your resolutions have fallen by the way side. Instead, get excited because now is the time to get seriously focused on how you can identify and construct effective goals and action plans so 2016 can be your best year ever!

So where do you start? I recommend to my clients that they begin by learning and implementing the SMART approach to goal setting. By clicking here you can download instructions on how to begin identifying and creating SMART goals and action plans. You will also receive helpful worksheets for creating each of your goals and action plans.

The SMART approach begins with writing down...

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What Difference Will Your Life Make?

The entertainment industry has been shaken recently with the well-publicized deaths of musician/actor David Bowie, Eagles’ founder Glenn Frey, and actor Alan Rickman, who played Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. Each one has had a major impact on popular culture through their individual art forms, but none of them lived past the 70-year mark. By today’s standards, that’s not very old. The death of a high-profile person is a reminder that no one is exempt – there is a day coming for each of us that will be our last, and that makes us think deeply about life. What is important? What difference will I make? What will I be remembered for?

Here are some principles to help you think about how your life can make a difference in this world:

Clarify your values – This is the foundation you will ultimately build your life upon. If you have never put into words the things you believe are worth living for and worth dying for, today can be a good...

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It's a Boy!

Last week my daughter Kristen and son-in-law Kyle welcomed their first child, Clayton James, into the world, giving me the gift of becoming a grandfather for the first time. As a father of three children, I have been blessed to experience the indescribable joy of holding my newborn children in my arms and instantly falling in love with them. I have now learned that it is just as wonderful as a grandparent!

When I held Clayton for the first time I not only experienced a rush of emotion, but a strong sense of responsibility. Not the responsibility of providing for him materially – I trust those days are over – but rather the responsibility to love, instruct, and discipline him in an effort to help influence his development towards becoming all God desires and plans for him to be.

As I think of my role as grandfather and the tremendous opportunity I have to be an influence in Clayton’s life, I’m aware of some of the specific ways I hope to fulfill this very...

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The Platinum Rule

We have all heard the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In other words, think about how you would like to be treated and extend that same treatment to others. No one can argue with the effectiveness of that rule, but I’d like to encourage you to become familiar with and apply what is referred to as the Platinum Rule.

Here’s the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as you know they would have you do unto them. The difference between the two rules is subtle, but it could help you build stronger relationships because it customizes the way we treat others to their preferences, not ours.

Let’s look at an example. If you want others to treat you with respect, then it is only right and appropriate for you to be respectful to others. But what does that look like? To you, respect might be giving someone time and space after a heated argument to cool off and be left alone to process their thoughts and emotions before trying again to resolve the issue....

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