Relate Well! Blog

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

Little Things Count

We’ve all heard the phrase “it’s the little things in life that count.” There’s a lot of truth in that, since most of life is made up of a series of little things. 

Everyday life consists of innumerable moments, in which we work, play, interact with other people, and just exist. The things we do in those moments are the things that put a positive or negative spin on each day we live. If you pass a stranger on the street, do you choose to smile or to look away? If an old friend comes to mind, do you take a moment to write a note or pick up the phone to call, or do you let the thought slip away? If you find yourself with an hour of quiet time, do you spend it constructively, or just passively watch another television program? 

Little things make a difference in the big picture of life. You don’t have to solve all of your problems at once or fill every minute of your day with important activities, but moment by moment, you can make little...

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The Power of Expectation

I want to share a truth that was first revealed to me by my mother when I was a child, then later reinforced through my own life experiences:

“What you expect has phenomenal power over the quality and course of your life.”

Your expectations about your relationships, work, finances and every other area of life are almost always either positive or negative; they are rarely neutral. 

Good and positive expectations trigger excitement, optimistic anticipation, encouragement and hope. In fact, the absence of good expectations is a definition of hopelessness. Negative expectations such as, "People won't like me," "It's going to be one of those bad days," "My kids are headed for failure," or "I will never be out of debt" often lead to discouragement, unhappiness and poor choices. 

Of course in real life, bad things do happen. No one is immune from disappointment, rejection, and bad news at times, but if you expect these themes to be a regular part of...

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10 Resolutions for Building a Strong Family

Building and maintaining a strong and loving family in today's culture takes a determined will and a conscious and sustained effort on the part of every family member. With so many things competing for our time and attention it is easy to lose sight of the value and significance of the close, loving relationships our families can provide. 

It's often been said that when a person comes to the end of their life they realize that the only things that really matter are the loving relationships that were established and cultivated throughout the years - especially those with family. 

If you want to build a firm foundation of love and support for your family that will stand the test of time and weather the storms of difficult life circumstances, we encourage you to embrace these ten resolutions for building a strong family. 

As a family, we commit to...

  1. Live our lives according to what we value and believe - 
    even when it isn't popular!
  2. Respond to each other with...
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The Best Gifts

Some people have the “gift” of gift-giving. They have a knack for knowing what will make someone happy and finding it. They never get tired of hearing, “It’s perfect! How did you know I wanted that?” Most of us aren’t quite that gifted, so we turn to other people or even the Internet for ideas.

A recent browse on the GiftAdvisor.com website revealed hundreds of ideas. For example, the plant-lovers in your life might like the Avocado Tree Starter Kit or the Redwood Bonsai Forest. Campers would appreciate the Jerky of the Month Club and your favorite thrill-seekers would be ecstatic to receive the Shotgun Ride-Along in a Stock Car. Your Irish friends might like to own a tiny plot in their homeland for only $29.99 and for those who appreciate the finer things in life you can buy a membership to the Lobster of the Month Club – but be aware that you can buy 11 acres of land on Mars for about the same price!

At this highly consumer-driven time of...

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Keys to Talking with Your Teen

Knowing how to engage in constructive dialogue with your teenager is one of the most important skills a parent can possess, but it is also one of the most challenging things to pull off well. Generally speaking, teens are not always eager to participate in a “serious” conversation with their parent(s). Nevertheless, by understanding how to effectively talk with your kids you can decrease the occurrence of destructive conflict and increase the likelihood of sending the message to your child that they have been heard and that they are valued and respected.

Your teens face important issues every day. Their ability to make good decisions about drugs and alcohol, sex, friendships and school performance is significantly enhanced by open, honest and direct communication about these issues with you. The stakes are high – one bad decision can literally affect a teenager for the rest of his or her life. When you have constructive dialogue with your teen you are also modeling...

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Disciplined Parents, Disciplined Kids

oday we will hear from my assistant Liz Bailey, who has some insights on how disciplined parents influence their children to become more confident, disciplined, likeable adults.

When my children were growing up I used to tell them, “I love you unconditionally… but I want other people to like you, too!” I wanted to raise them to be adults who worked hard, got along well with others, showed respect and behaved with courtesy to everyone. The question was, what does a parent need to do to instill those qualities in their children?

Here are a few things that come to mind as I think back over raising my smart, strong-willed, hilarious and, at times, exasperating children:

First and foremost, be the example!

When you are in the throes of parenting – whether you’re in the toddler or teen stages – it can seem at times as though your children don’t hear a word you say, and if they do, they disagree passionately. But don’t be discouraged; they...

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How to Be Your Daughter's Hero

parenting relationships Aug 14, 2018

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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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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A Dad's Greatest Influence Is His Example

parenting relationships Jun 13, 2018

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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How to Be a Person of Influence - Part II

Last week I shared the first 5 tips for how to be a person of influence, so here are the 5 remaining tips. I encourage and challenge you to review all 10 tips frequently so that you will become a person of influence who makes a positive difference in the lives of those around you.

6. Accept people for who they are, where they are. All people long to be accepted and to experience a sense of belonging. Accepting and respecting people regardless of their position or station in life is a gift for them and for you. You don’t have to accept someone’s negative behavior, but recognizing their value as a human being will help you find ways to be a positive influence. We know that it is easy to love those who love us, but we are challenged to love the unlovable. Unconditional love is often a catalyst for positive change in someone’s life.

7. Take a stand for what is right. Have a back bone! Don’t assume someone else is going to do it. One of our great...

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