Relate Well! Blog

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

Hi-Tech Communication – Use With Caution

Technology can be great. It has made communication faster and easier and become an integral part of our everyday lives both personally and professionally. Many of us remember when business was done primarily through hard copy letters and memos, or old-fashioned telephone calls that sometimes required a written message to be taken if the party you called was unavailable at the time. And if you can imagine it, the telephone was tethered to the desk by a cord!

In the last few years alone we have seen an explosion in the use of text and instant messaging with portable devices that work virtually anywhere in the world. Contracts can be signed electronically, documents can be transmitted instantly via e-mail and stored on the cloud and almost daily we are introduced to new technologies and tools designed to increase the speed and efficiency of social interaction, commerce and communication. All that is great, but let’s slow down for a few minutes to consider whether these fast and...

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1% vs. Perfection

Here are some more great thoughts from my friend and colleague, David Towne.

I’ve got a problem. Okay, I’ve got lots of issues as many of my friends and family know all too well. My singing hurts the ears of those too close to me in proximity. I don’t run anymore unless someone is chasing me. If I mistakenly eat a peanut, egg, carrot, any kind of fish, or watermelon (to name a few), my throat swells shut in seconds and I die. Yet my most frustrating problem is how, in the past, I have attempted to tackle my life goals.

Maybe you can relate. We get something in our mind and desire to make a change. It could be that we want to lose weight, eat better, spend more quality time with our loved ones, work smarter, curb our social media addiction, go to bed earlier, turn off the television and read more, get more involved at church, and the list goes on and on. The issue that has plagued me for most of my life is that I fail to effectively address the changes I want...

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WORDS: Key to Home Improvement

Words are vital to the expression of who you are, what you think and feel and how you relate to others. They are truly one of the most powerful building blocks of our relationships. When we talk to people, the words we choose can build walls, pedestals, bridges or fortresses. The same tools can be used for demolition if we’re not careful, so use caution when speaking to others.

While this is true of all of our conversations with anyone, nowhere is it more evident than in our own homes. The way we talk to those closest to us will shape the design and structure of our family relationships. What type of structure are you building with your family? Let’s look at some of the ways our words affect our closest loved ones.

If your words are harsh or critical, you are building a wall between you and the people placed in your life for you to love and nurture. Every time your words cut into someone you are, in effect, handing them a brick to add to the wall they must build to...

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I Just Don't Like Confrontation

While helping clients navigate the pain and frustration associated with some of their most important relationships I often hear a very familiar phrase, “I just don’t like confrontation.” The truth is, the vast majority of people fear confrontation.  The thought of confrontation often evokes fear of criticism, rejection, and/or conflict. There are multiple reasons associated with wanting to avoid confrontation, but I want to address just one of them today – fear of rejection.

Confrontation is taboo for many people because they want others to like them. Boy, don’t we all want that? It sure beats having them dislike or even hate us.  Wanting to be liked isn’t a bad goal unless you give it an unrealistic level of importance and link it to your self-worth.

When a person thinks they “measure up” only as long as people like them they set themselves up for a life of avoidance fueled by fear. If you believe that losing a...

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Attitude Is Everything

I am so pleased that my good friend and colleague, David Towne, accepted my invitation to write today's blog post on the incredibly important topic of Attitude.  In addition to being a highly gifted educator, communicator and professional development guru, David is also one of the most relational people I have ever met.  His ability to make genuine personal connections with people of all ages is remarkable, and I know you will enjoy his thoughts and insights.  Please take a moment to share your comments on the role attitude has played in your own life.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

Right after I completed my Masters in Teaching degree from Seattle University in 1991 my wife threw a surprise graduation party for me. Even though I am not a big surprise party type of guy, it was a joy to celebrate with family and friends. One of the gifts I received that day was a poster of a monkey on a bike with the caption saying “Attitude is Everything”....

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How Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others

The measure of a great leader is not how high up the ladder someone goes by stepping on others. A great leader lifts everyone around them up, and like a buoy on a rising tide, the leader rises with his or her followers. It may seem backwards, but if you want to be a successful leader, learn how to bring out the best in the people around you and help them thrive and achieve their best.

How do you get others to achieve? It’s a well-known principle that you can’t change another person; you can only change yourself. But if you are responsible for leading a family or a team, there are effective ways you can influence the way people respond to you.

I saw a sign in an office that read “The floggings will continue until morale improves.” The irony makes us laugh because it’s so obvious that it won’t work. You can’t get positive responses from people with negative strategies. Your teenager won’t wipe a scowl off his face if you yell...

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The Key to Excellent Health

People go to great lengths these days to get healthy. Americans spend billions of dollars on the latest workout equipment, health clubs, vitamin supplements and special diets (not to mention all the specialized clothing, shoes, and accessories). Don’t get me wrong; I am 100% in favor of people making the effort to take care of their physical health. No one would argue that we can all benefit from watching what we eat and getting plenty of exercise, but there is another key ingredient to staying healthy that many people overlook. One of the most important components of overall health is connection to people you love.

A well-respected health care expert stated that “Satisfying human relationships can be the most healing ‘medications’ of all. No amount of exercise, meditation, massage, stress reduction or broccoli is an adequate substitute for love and affection for promoting health.”

When a new patient comes to my office it isn’t uncommon for me to...

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Worry vs. Healthy Concern

It is highly likely that within the last few hours you have given in to the urge to worry about something. Worry comes as naturally to most of us as breathing, so it is important for all of us to consider some basic questions and principles whenever worry begins to creep in to our thinking.

As a psychologist, I have worked with hundreds of people who struggle with worry, and I have found that each person has their own unique triggers, reasons and methods of expressing worry, but they also have some things in common – they either worry too much, too little or just enough.

Excessive worry is always harmful. As it’s been said, worry doesn’t change the past or make things better tomorrow, but it steals all the joy from today. Not only that, but the effects of severe worry can include headaches, digestive illness, high blood pressure, irritability, sleep-deprivation, memory lapses, feelings of hopelessness and depression, and the list goes on. People who worry too much...

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Snap Judgments Will Break Relationships

Many of us are rather proud of ourselves when we are able to deliver a snappy come-back in a conversation. Someone makes a comment that triggers an immediate response, and it seems our retort pops out faster than our brains can fully process the thought. As witty, clever or amusing as it can be at times, speaking before thinking or before having all the facts can do serious harm to relationships.

We all speak too soon at times. We verbalize negative value judgments about others based on incomplete information and because of our own conscious and subconscious prejudices and biases. We have been seeing a lot of well-publicized incidents in the news lately in which an event occurs, and people with various viewpoints immediately and vehemently react – sometimes violently. And, at times, once more information becomes available we find that the reactions were inappropriate and overblown.

 

This dynamic has proven to be extremely destructive in our society at large, with people...

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Procrastination Is Hazardous to Your Health

It’s almost that time again… the start of the new school year!

Some students are eager to dig in and make the most of their educational opportunity, while others may be taking a somewhat more relaxed approach, like, “Why not put off today what I can do tomorrow?” After all, we’ve all heard the saying, “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done!” Doesn’t that mean it’s better to wait before tackling a project or assignment? No… and the reason is because your health and your success may suffer if you do. That’s what studies on the cost of procrastination reveal.

For example, a study that examined the tendency for some college students to procrastinate on assignments found that while procrastination provided some short-term benefits, like an initial period of lower stress, it had long-term costs – including poor health and lower grades.

Researchers studied 104 students by getting access...

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