Relate Well! Blog

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

What is the Content of Your Character?

The speech that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King made on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial never fails to inspire me as he fought for equal rights during a difficult time. He eloquently expressed some deep truths and values for every precious member of the human race. One sentence that always stands out is, “I have a dream that one day my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Regardless of the color of your skin, your physical traits, your education level, your income bracket or any accomplishment you may have to your credit, the one thing that will help you sleep at night – or keep you tossing and turning – is the content of your character.

Have you thought about the character traits that are shown in your life? Would people describe you as mostly honest or dishonest? Hardworking or lazy? Generous or stingy? Brave or cowardly? Positive or negative?...

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Finding the Courage to Trust Again

When it comes to relationships, let’s be clear – the last thing you want to do is trust someone who is not trustworthy.  In fact, it’s foolish to trust a person whose behavior is characterized by lies and broken promises.

But one of the biggest challenges in many relationships is the difficulty some people have with being able or willing to trust someone who is truly trustworthy.  These are often men or women who have been hurt or taken advantage of by important people in their lives, resulting in a conditioned response of suspicion and fear.  Sadly, this virtually guarantees that intimacy will suffer significantly.  The absence of both trust and intimacy can often give way to a vicious cycle of conflict, abuse and isolation.

If your capacity to trust others is limited because of the insecurity and vulnerability created by abuse, keep in mind that there is hope.  The trauma of abuse frequently triggers the development of irrational beliefs...

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10 Tips to Help You Stop Interrupting

In a recent coaching session, a client asked if I could help him break the habit of interrupting. He told me that several team members had confronted him about frequently talking over them – interrupting. They were honest enough to tell him just how much it had become a consistent source of frustration for them.  In collaboration with my client, we came up with several strategies that ultimately helped him to virtually eliminate his “communication destroyer” habit.

One of the quickest ways to shut down communication is to interrupt.  When someone repeatedly interrupts others it not only derails communication, but it also diminishes the trust and respect people have for them.

If your relationships are compromised due to a habit of interrupting I encourage you to read and practice the 10 Tips to Help You Stop Interrupting below.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

1.  Write your thoughts down so you...

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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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When Your Fears Are Real

As Halloween approaches, we are surrounded by scary images. Giant spiders, grinning skeletons, ugly witches and flickering jack-o-lanterns can give you the creeps as they seem to pop up everywhere you look. You may be brave enough to venture into a haunted house and allow the ghouls and ghosts to scare you out of your wits, but deep down, you know it’s not real. Before long, you come out into the light and tease your friends about how loudly they screamed.

If only every scary thing in life were so simple! The incidence of anxiety is increasing in the US, thanks in part to the speed with which we can hear or read a barrage of bad news all day, every day. Many people are afraid to let their children play because they’re sure they will get hurt or a stranger will kidnap them. They worry constantly about the state of the nation and are convinced the world will end soon. Some people are panicking over every minor ache or pain because it could be some new disease that was just...

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Relationships Under Construction

For many of us, few things are as irritating as having a road you frequently travel come under construction. You often have to deal with dust, delays, bumps and detours for many months. The upside to having to endure the challenges of construction is that if the job is well done it will make your future travel much easier and enjoyable – the same is true for relationships under construction.

Like roadwork, successful relationships, whether at home or work, require a process of assessment, planning, and construction. Whether you are building a new relationship or attempting to improve an existing one, if you fail to adequately prepare and build you will not be able to effectively meet the demands that come your way.

Assessment

Building or improving a relationship begins where you are right now. What values need to be in place? Is your foundation set on honesty and trust?

Planning

Talking about shared interests and things you have in common can draw you closer to someone....

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Growing Through Change

The beginning of Autumn signals a welcome relief from blistering summer heat in some parts of the country. In others, it is the harbinger of dark, cold winter coming. Regardless of where you live, seasonal change is inevitable, but growing through change in your own life involves a choice.

Seasonal changes almost always require adjustments – to the thermostat, to your choices about what to wear, to your favorite warm or cold meals and drinks, and to your activities. But whether you’re reaching for an ice cold water bottle or a pumpkin spice latte, it’s time to say, “See you later” to the passing season and “Hello” to the new one!

Seasons of life aren’t always about the weather, of course. They’re about natural progressions and cycles that occur in our lives that include birth and death, youth and maturity, practice and mastery, needing and giving, sickness and health, gain and loss. Changes are inevitable, and yet they can still...

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Recovering from a Broken Friendship

Relationships… we were created to desire, seek and be enriched by them. When they thrive, the joy is intense. When they break, the pain is devastating.  But as difficult as it is, there are steps you can take to get over – and get through – a broken friendship.

Let me introduce you to Cindy and Lisa, who met each other at work and soon began developing a very close friendship. They spent time together on the telephone, hiking, taking their children on outings, and playing tennis. They encouraged, advised and comforted each other and trusted one another with their greatest hopes, dreams and fears.  

Five years into the friendship, Cindy sensed that Lisa was beginning to pull away. The telephone calls decreased, invitations to dinner became infrequent and the usual warm greeting exchanged in the office began to feel awkward and forced.

At first, Cindy shrugged it off by telling herself that Lisa was just busy with her family and other commitments....

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