Relate Well! Blog

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

Draining the Last Drop of Joy

Nearly every day I talk with men and women who are suffering from worry, discouragement and despair. Their emotional pain can be triggered by many different sources, but one thing they often share in common is the absence of genuine joy in their lives.

This mindset is increasingly fueled by the flood of negative news and opinion stories and programs offered by media outlets. If you believe everything you hear, you may feel like giving up! But your circumstances and the news don’t have to diminish the gratitude and joy that comes from appreciating the good things in life.

Whether you are struggling with fears about the Covid-19 pandemic, political frustrations, financial problems, relationship conflict, career uncertainty or physical illness you don’t have to live in a state of gloom.

Life will always include circumstances we don’t like, so in order to help my clients manage emotional pain I encourage them to consciously make the effort to drain the joy from their...

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This Could Be Your Lucky Day!

When Irish immigrants came to America, some became wealthy as gold miners, so the phrase “luck of the Irish” became a phrase that some people used rather literally, meaning that it was very lucky that some struck gold and became rich. However, it was also a time when Irish immigrants experienced a lot of prejudice in America, so some people used the phrase to suggest that they weren’t smart enough to get rich by their own brainpower, so they must have been “lucky”.

Another view of Irish luck is that it’s bad luck. After all, the Irish have endured a lot of hardship from invasion, persecution and natural disasters affecting their agriculture. But the optimistic view is, “If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough!”

A lot of people have pondered the concept of luck, and here are some notable quotes to add to what we know about it:

“I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have...

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Solitude - A Hidden Fortress

Paula R. Starker, RN

You don’t need to go far from your front door to notice that people avoid it. The driver in the car next to you talks on his smart phone or sings along with music from his satellite radio. The shopper next to you talks on the phone (and you listen!). People work out at the gym or the park or take bike rides arrayed with a variety of earbuds and headphones entertained by their favorite music play list or podcast. We are swept away into the steady stream of communication, information and ideas that flow into our minds 24/7. Natural opportunities for solitude, which were once an integral part of life in generations past, are avoided and drowned out.

Did you know that your need for solitude is as basic to your well-being as your body’s need for food and sleep? Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception (Harper and Row, 1970) suggested that our sense organs, nervous systems, and brains are basically eliminative in nature. They keep us from being confused...

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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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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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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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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.


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?


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

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The Advantages of Teamwork

Times are changing in the world of work these days. Technology has made it easier, more efficient and more cost-effective for a lot of people to work remotely from home (or anywhere). There are tremendous benefits for people who require flexibility in their work schedule due to childcare, eldercare or their own physical or mental health concerns. Besides, it’s amazing to be able to do your job while lounging on the beach or sitting in a coffee shop!

But as helpful as it is for some people to telecommute, it can also lead to isolation and loss of focus if not managed well. Your success and satisfaction in your job may depend on making it a priority to spend time regularly with others in your workforce.

So, for those of you who are spending a lot of time away from the office and for everyone who is working in a company facility with co-workers, I want to share some of the advantages of teamwork.

Two (or more) heads are better than one

Have you ever noticed how one idea...

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Self-Talk: What Are You Saying?

Self-talk is what psychologists refer to as the continual mental dialog you have with yourself. It can serve many purposes. It helps to release stress, evaluate potential threats, solve problems, make decisions, form objective judgments, generate positive emotions and behaviors, and construct and reinforce realistic self-beliefs. Simply stated, sometimes talking to yourself (either silently or out loud) can help you work things out.

“The most influential and frequent voice you hear is your inner-voice. It can work in your favor or against you, depending on what you listen to and act upon.” –Maddy Malhotra

Unfortunately, for many people, their self-talk is fueled by the internal voice of a brutal critic or what psychologist Eugene Sagan calls the pathological critic – the negative inner voice that attacks and judges you. It might sound like your own voice or your mother, father or other influential person in your life. It’s a voice you are...

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Fear – The Great Impostor

Fear wears many masks. Some of these masks include procrastination, avoidance, perfectionism, anger, passivity and impatience. These behaviors and emotions often reflect fears of failure, rejection, abandonment, loss of security, looking foolish and being taken advantage of. The negative attitudes and actions we possess will only change when we begin challenging our fears.

Here’s how:

Understand your true worth.

Your value as a human being is not based on the opinions people have of you or what you accomplish or achieve. Therefore, the experiences of rejection, failure, criticism and abandonment, although painful, can never diminish your true worth because it is inherent!

“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.” Karl Menninger

Take positive action.

In other words, be willing to risk. Inaction or avoidance only breeds fear. Start off with small, relatively safe risks and then work your way towards the actions you...

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