Relate Well! Blog

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

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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Never Give Up!

I often smile when I see the cartoon of the frog about to be swallowed by a pelican. All you can see are the frog’s hind feet sticking out of the pelican’s mouth and his hands wrapped tightly around the pelican’s throat. The caption reads: “Never give up!”

I often counsel people who want to give up because they think their problems are insurmountable and their heartache will never subside. They are exhausted and discouraged, often for good reason. Their spouse may have just left them, they received a poor prognosis from their doctor, their children are in trouble or for some other reason, their hope and optimism have all but disappeared. During times like these, we can all be tempted to just give up. After all, wouldn’t it be better – or at least easier – if we could just go to sleep and wake up in Heaven with no problems? While many people look forward to that day to come eventually, if you’re reading this blog, chances are...

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Bright Spots: A Simple Way to Navigate Challenges

We all encounter challenges of one size or another on a daily basis. Many are somewhat insignificant while others can seem confusing, dark and insurmountable.

Regardless of how big your challenge may be today, here’s one practical strategy that can increase your chances of successfully navigating it: Simply take a few moments to reflect back on a time when you faced a similar challenge and overcame it successfully. Those times are what I refer to as “bright spots”.

Perhaps it was a time when you weren’t getting along with your children or spouse. Maybe it was a time you managed to get through a financial crisis or physical illness. Think for a moment about the things you did or thought about that helped to make the former challenge a bright spot in your life. Was it at a time when your faith was stronger? Was it when you made a more consistent effort to stay connected to friends? Perhaps you were in better physical condition due to regular exercise and a...

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Have You Mastered These Leadership Practices?

How do you know if you are a leader? If someone is following you, you are a leader! It may be an official part of your job, or it may be a volunteer endeavor, or maybe you’re a parent, with children following in your footsteps. In my study of leadership, I found some of the best information in the research conducted by James Kouzes and Barry Posner and documented in their book, The Leadership Challenge.

According to the authors, no matter what areas of life you lead in, there are five practices that strong and effective leaders consistently engage in.  And in order to incorporate these practices you’ll need to make some key commitments associated with each. Here are the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership:

1. Model the Way – Modeling the way is the most fundamental way in which leaders earn credibility and trust. You will never be an effective leader if you are unwilling or unable to walk your talk. If this first competency is not mastered,...

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