Having the Difficult Conversation to Request Change

Uncategorized Jan 06, 2019

My friend was struggling over what to do with her boyfriend of over a year. She was very attached to him, and “loved him deeply,” as she said over and over in our conversations.

“Then why the struggle?” I asked.

“He is not the kind of man I want to start a family with. I love him and love to be with him. He has the purest heart I have ever seen, and I love that about him. He is the smartest person I have ever known, and I love that about him. But he has no drive in life. He just gets by on his smarts and has no real initiative or plans for the future. He is a lot like a college student, not thinking much past the weekend,” she said. “I need someone who will take charge and who will be a strong hus­band and father. I don’t need a little boy that I ‘mother’ all the time.”

“Give me some examples.”

“Well, he is so talented that he gets freelance work and makes enough to live working about...

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The Power of Healthy Connections in Your Life

Uncategorized Dec 13, 2018

Your flight lands, and the flight attendant says “It is now safe to use your mobile phones.” You turn yours on, and what is the first thing that happens? There is a little message at the top that says “Searching ...” Or “Searching for connection ...” Or “Searching for network ...”

Until the phone connects with the network, nothing happens. But, when it connects, miracles occur, in the invisible world. The phones capabilities are now empowered to be all they were created to be. Not only that, they can even get better. They can download updates to make them better than they were, or fix bugs in the software. Or they can download apps to be able to do things they couldn’t do before. And beyond that, they can connect to the entire world, all of its information and knowledge, help and skill, to enable better performance. And from this connection, it goes on and on.

But ... without that connection to the right network, they will never...

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What to do When Someone Gets Defensive

Uncategorized Dec 10, 2018

Let’s talk about people who are defensive instead of open to feedback...

I was organizing a conference with a colleague I'll call Jay. We each had different responsibilities. Jay was responsible for securing the site, making sure an overhead projector and flip chart were available and shipping books to the workshop.

The night before the event, Jay called me. "Do you have any extra copies of your books you can bring along?"

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I thought it would be good to sell your books at the workshop."

"But you were supposed to take care of that!" I replied.

"I had too many things to do," he said.

Trying with all my might to hang on to my patience, I said, "But we agreed that shipping books to the conference was your responsibility."

"You always concentrate on things that go wrong," he said angrily. "You never tell me about the things that I do right. Who are you to say that you always do things right?"

Jay is an example of an unsafe person. When I confronted him...

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The Effects of Being Disconnected from Others

Uncategorized Dec 10, 2018

If you want to find out if you’re disconnected from others, just ask the ones who depend on you. Ask them if they feel needed, valued, listened to, taken into your confidence. If so, that is not you.

But, while you might be someone who is not totally cut off from your own connection chip, it is possible that you are disconnected from others from your own needs. This is very common for high performers, leaders, and people who accomplish things. Circumstances or life for whatever reason has taught you that you have to do life or leadership on your own. You, in very practical ways, do not allow yourself to need anyone. And although you care about others and give to them, you are doing that from a disconnected place in relation to your own needs. You are giving out, but not taking much in.

Sometimes this is the natural path by which someone even gets into leadership: A kid is a doer. He or she might even be the sibling who is the family hero or star. The one that kind of takes...

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How to Guard Yourself Against Unsafe Family Members

Uncategorized Dec 09, 2018

When I was still doing my radio show, a woman called into our program and said that she was going to visit her family for Christmas. She was depressed because she knew her grandfather would make things miserable, just as he always did. She dreaded hearing his criticism of her and her lifestyle. We asked her why she had to listen to that, and she responded, “I just have to, that’s all. I have no choice. That is what he does.” 

This woman lost her freedom the minute she walked in the door of that family gathering. She didn’t realize that no one can take away your freedom: she chose to give it up. She was letting her grandfather have power over her, but what she didn’t realize is that she didn’t have to give him permission. She felt that the pressure from her family to just “take it” was so strong, that this is the place where she lost her choices.

As we kept talking, we quickly thought of several choices she could make: 

She...

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How to Care for Yourself After a Divorce 

Uncategorized Nov 07, 2018

Divorce is, by definition, a loss. In fact, one of the Hebrew words for divorce speaks of “cutting or severing a bond.” Something has been lost. The loss is real, genuine, and deep, and it must be grieved. 

Grief is accepting the reality of what is. It is internalizing the reality of the severing of the marriage bond on both the intellectual and emotional levels of the heart. That is grief’s job and purpose – to allow us to come to terms with the way things really are, so that we can move on. Grief is a gift. Without it, we would all be condemned to a life of continually denying reality, arguing or protesting against reality, and never growing from the realities we experience. 

When you allow yourself to embrace the sadness and shed the tears for what you have truly lost through divorce, then you can move on to a new phase of life when grief tells you it is time. It is important to note that those who have not fully grieved the losses of...

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Here's Why You Feel Stuck, So Let's Change That

Uncategorized Nov 01, 2018

Do you ever feel like you're stuck on a path that's not leading you where you feel you ought to be going? Sometimes we can get stuck in these comfortable grooves, which because they are familiar, feel safe, but maybe aren't actually all that good for us.

Change is hard. Often, change carries a fair amount of risk, and risk is something many of us avoid like the plague. However, it's important to consider when taking a risk might be worth it. Likewise, ponder whether what you need to gain a fresh perspective on your life, goals or relationships is just the right kind of change.

Part of recognizing this opportunity to improve your circumstances is just seeing the needs you have. You have to regularly undertake a self-evaluation and question whether your needs are being met, and whether you're going the direction you want to be going. If you're not, it may be time for a change.

Be vulnerable, be open. Other people often cannot see that you need emotional support, or that you're...

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Don’t Keep Going Back to Failed Relationships

Uncategorized Oct 29, 2018

Have you ever had a relationship where you weren’t getting what you needed or wanted? Or one where you were getting things that you didn’t want? Certainly you have. The question is, what did you do? Did you try to continually figure out what to do right, so you would get what you need? Did that work? We’ll explore the common human dynamic of trying harder with people when it isn’t going to work and talk about a better way to get what you need.

This is the story of the Coke machine. I want you to think about a vending machine for a moment. What do you do with a vending machine? You approach the machine, and there’s a little slot where you put your money, and there are all these choices...Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, etc. You need something from the machine! You need something to drink! So you think, “AH! Finally. I found the Coke.”

So you approach the machine. You reach inside your pocket (note: this inside is important, because I’m...

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How Living in Misery Can Actually Be Good For You

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2018

Your brain doesn’t move you toward pain, and yet pain is one of your biggest and best motivators. If you are afraid of the dentist, even though you want healthy teeth, you avoid going as long as you can chomp on food without wincing. But when it starts to hurt at 3 a.m., you go the next day. Endings are like that. We tend to execute them when we get a tummy full of the misery. To the degree that we can stay distant from it, we don’t get moving.

I once worked with a CEO who had a significant need for an ending to an ongoing quality problem in his company. It was so significant that he had prioritized it as the number-one issue for their next five years’ growth and competitive position. When I came on the scene, it had been a “focus” for about three years, yet no progress had been made. It had to do with some disconnects between manufacturing side of the business and the service-delivery and customer-facing side, with the usual rock throwing that happens...

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Empower Someone by Letting Them Take Responsibility

Uncategorized Oct 23, 2018

Some people struggle with the fact that they are not always the cause of their problems. This often hinders them from taking full ownership.

No one would disagree that we aren’t the cause of all our problems. It is one of the truly tragic realities of living in a fallen world. The innocent are wounded. However, ultimately, in terms of solving the issue, fault is irrelevant. So here’s a much more helpful way to look at it: The person who cares about the problem owns the problem.

When we take responsibility for our lives in this way, we’re empowered to make changes. Ownership empowers us to act — to use our various skills to make plans, tackle a hurtful situation, or right a wrong. People who “own” their problems are people who can take initiative.

Ownership also gives us freedom. You are no longer a slave to the past, to false hope, to wishing someone would change, or to discouragement and passivity. You are free to try out answers, take risks, and...

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