Relate Well! Blog

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

Spring is a Great Time for a Fresh Start

I can only imagine how desperately the residents of the eastern states are longing for the snow to melt and the air to warm up. I grew up with “real” winters, but have been in Arizona long enough to forget just how stuffy and stifling it feels to live in a house that’s been shut up tight for months. Here in Tucson, we didn’t have to struggle through massive snowstorms or debilitating cold, but there is still something about Spring that energizes us to say, “Out with the old; in with the new!”

What are some of the things in your life that need a fresh start, a do-over or just a one-way trip to the trash can?  Here are some things we all need to clean out from time to time.

Resentments – No one benefits from a grudge.  You hold on to the anger and pain hoping it will somehow make the other person miserable, and it just doesn’t work that way.  If the resentment is against someone you know – or even love – step...

Continue Reading...

Values: Why Passing on a Life Compass Matters

In my last blog, I wrote about the importance of values, especially related to how we can influence our children and other important people in our lives.  Today I want to get a little more specific about why having values and imparting them to others is so helpful and also suggest some practical ways you can do it.

First, here is a breakdown of the benefits: 

1.  Helps you make better decision

Life is a constant stream of decisions. Should you accept the new job offer?  Should you begin or end a relationship? Should you move your family to another state? These can be tough decisions that, in and of themselves, may not have a clear right or wrong answer, but considering what you value will help guide your choices.

2.  Identifies circumstances and people that do and don’t support your values

If you’re values-focused, you want to associate with people who will add to your life in positive ways.  As they say, it is better to soar with eagles...

Continue Reading...

Values: Your Compass for Life

A lot of people live life by default. They just take things as they come, often assuming they do not have any control over what happens anyway. Unfortunately, many of them will one day look back and regret some missed opportunities.

Ponder this for a minute: Whatever you choose in life, you are not only making decisions for yourself, but for the generations that follow you and the people you impact along the way.  One of my favorite quotes is:  An inheritance is what you leave for your loved ones.  A legacy is what you leave in your loved ones. 

As important as this is, it’s not always easy to pinpoint what’s most important to you.  Here’s an exercise to help:  Picture 10, 20, 50 years down the road, and you slip quietly into the back row of a funeral.  As you listen to the people sharing memories about the “dearly departed” you discover that they are talking about… you!

If you could eavesdrop on your own...

Continue Reading...

Help! My Child is a Bully

As a parent, you want to help your child if he’s being harassed at school, but what if it’s your child who’s pushing others around? First, understand that even good parents who do many things right can have a child who’s a bully. If you do, it’s important to learn what influences are at work.

Researchers at the University of Arizona surveyed 6th to 8th graders. Those who reported bullying most had experienced more forceful, physical discipline from their parents, viewed more TV violence and misbehaved more at home. In that group, 32% lived with a stepparent and 36% were in single-parent households. They generally had fewer adult role models, more exposure to gang activity and easier access to guns. Researchers concluded that bullies learn much of their behavior by example, and consequently need as much help as their victims.

Other predisposing factors include a strong desire for attention, immaturity, a lack of popularity among peers and a dislike for...

Continue Reading...

How to Sabotage Your Relationships

Send mixed signals – What a great way to get off to a bad start in a relationship! If you want people to be confused and angry, be sure to keep them guessing about what you are thinking or what you really mean.  It can also drive people crazy if you’re unwilling to express your honest opinion, or if you make them wonder if you’re telling the truth.  Mixed signals will keep others off guard and frustrated.

Assume the worst – Convince yourself that the friend who let you down did it on purpose; don’t even consider the possibility that it was an honest mistake or simple misunderstanding.  If something doesn’t go your way, you can effectively sabotage your relationship if you begin by assuming that it’s never going to be okay, and then respond accordingly. Rehearse the belief that you have to look out for Number One because others are out to get you.

Blow off Commitments – Don’t say “no” to anything –...

Continue Reading...

Don't Take Your Anger Home!

If you have had a terrible day at work and you are angry or grouchy, what does your family see and feel when you get home?  Do you walk in with a scowl on your face and a hot temper?  Or are you able to make the emotional transition from anger to calm?

The reality is, there are days that push your buttons and test your patience.  I hope these days are few and far between for you, but in my work with both coaching and counseling clients, it seems that some people are frustrated almost all the time by their job or people in the workplace.  In other blogs and articles we have talked about some of the ways you can make your situation better at work, but even before the problems are resolved, it is important for you to take a cue from Las Vegas and say, “What happens at work, stays at work.”

It is critically important that you get your emotions under control before you walk in the door.  Don’t bring the negative emotions home with you. ...

Continue Reading...

Ask the Right Questions, Receive Better Answers - Part II

Last week we started talking about how asking good questions in the right way could improve communication and cooperation with your staff and coworkers.  The first three recommendations were to listen carefully, control your emotions, and start with something positive.  Today we will discuss a few more strategies.

Build on agreement. If your question is likely to reflect disagreement or an alternative point of view, attempt to find something you can agree on first and preface your question with it. For example, “I agree with you that we need a policy governing this issue. My question concerning your recommendation for the policy is this…” Agreement on an issue, no matter how small, puts you in less of an adversarial role.

Avoid “why” questions. The word “why” can come across as accusatory, and communicates disappointment or disapproval. This one little word has the power to trigger a defensive reaction. See if you can...

Continue Reading...

Ask the Right Questions, Receive Better Answers - Part I

Here’s the scenario: It has just come to your attention that a customer filed a complaint about Mr. Smith, one of your employees. While your gut tells you that the customer may have overreacted a bit, there’s enough information to warrant a meeting with Mr. Smith. You know from past experience that he’s somewhat sensitive to criticism, but you have several legitimate concerns. How can you get the information you need without triggering a negative response from Mr. Smith?

Here’s another common office dilemma: You are meeting with a vendor who’s behind schedule and over budget on a project. You don’t want to jeopardize the job and you don’t want to burn a bridge with this company. However, you’re not at all satisfied with the way things are going and you need to take some answers back to your VP of Operations. What is your best approach?

It takes cooperation between every person involved to ensure the smooth operation of a company or...

Continue Reading...

Overcoming the Fear of Change

Change is inevitable – everybody knows that.  Some of you reading this today don’t even know it used to be common for a person to start a job in their teens and work their way up the ladder, eventually retiring at age 65 from the same company!  Today, employment is much more fluid, and many people experience job change frequently, sometimes by moving on to better opportunities, but sometimes because their current job is changing due to new ownership, new strategies, new methods and new technology.

Still, in spite of the new normal trends, most people struggle with change even if it’s positive. In today’s business environment, since nothing stays the same for very long, those who are unable to effectively “ride the waves” will likely find themselves drowning.  Here are ten tips to help you navigate in a changing world.

“To change is to be vulnerable. And to be vulnerable is to be alive.” Alexis DeVeaux

1. Jump in and stay...

Continue Reading...

Fear and Cockroaches

I meet with people nearly every day who are controlled by their fears or victimized by the fears of their spouse, parent or other influential person in their life.  They often miss out on the joy of life because they are consumed with worry about financial ruin, illness, rejection, criticism and the list goes on and on.

The emotional, physical and psychological symptoms that accompany the anxiety brought on by these fears often greatly diminish a person’s quality of life and ability to relate well at home and work.  People experiencing fear and anxiety often tell me they live with a constant sense of panic or dread that something bad is going to happen.  Or they suffer with physical symptoms like headaches, stomach cramps, chest pain, tension and fatigue.  Of course, it’s always important to check with your physician to rule out health problems, but it’s equally important to learn how your body tends to react to fear and anxiety, because long...

Continue Reading...
Close

Relate Well! Blog - Sign Up Today!

Receive weekly posts to enhance your personal growth and professional development.