The Hardest Boundaries You'll Set in Your Life

Uncategorized Nov 30, 2017

In each of our lives, there's one person who's always tearing us down, who recklessly spends our money and makes inexplicable decisions that cost us valuable time, and sometimes that person can let us down like no one else. Yep, I'm talking about myself. And you. And everyone who struggles to place boundaries that they can adhere to in their own lives.

Being mature about the boundaries we set for ourselves is tough.

How to begin:

Address your real need!

Out-of-control patterns often disguise themselves as something else. You need to address the underlying need before you can deal with the out-of-control behavior. For example, impulsive eaters may discover that food is a way to separate and stay safe from romantic and sexual intimacy. Their fear of being faced with those kinds of emotionally laden situations may cause them to use food as a boundary. As their internal boundaries with the opposite sex become firmer, they can give up their destructive food boundary. They learn to ask...

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When You're Expecting Perfection from Others, You're Asking to be Disappointed

Uncategorized Nov 30, 2017

Have you ever had one of those moments where everything just seemed perfect? It never seems to last, does it?

What are those perfect moments? How do we create more of them?

We all have a perfect nature, and in a perfect world, every one of us would succeed beyond our wildest dreams. However, we do not live in a perfect world, so we have to manage the imperfection that makes up our day-to-day reality. We have to pursue virtue and ideal outcomes despite living in a world that sometimes seems to reward people who act in bad faith.

We need to develop the character to face reality, to handle whatever challenges are put in front of us, and to overcome them. Part of developing that character is admitting your imperfections to yourself. There may be a lot of qualities that you really don't like in others, that you might give yourself a pass on because you haven't examined your own life the way you scrutinize others. We must do this because otherwise we will be continually disappointed, and...

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When You Set Boundaries, Your Consequences Will Maintain Them

Uncategorized Nov 30, 2017

Danielle had a problem with tardiness. She believed time was like an accordion; the more events you packed into it, the more it would simply stretch to accommodate the activities. As a result, she always planned too many things for a particular time period, thinking she had time to do them, and then ended up half an hour late for the last one. This not only kept her rushed and unable to relax and enjoy life but also inconvenienced her friends who had set aside time to be with her.

When she joined a support group, she immediately became an active and involved member. She was a caring person and so well liked that when her lateness trait emerged, the group quickly forgave it. In fact, they would wait until she rushed in before they'd start discussing issues. They finally saw that the problem wasn't getting better, so they told her, "Danielle, we care about you, but we're concerned about your tardiness. It's bad for you and for us. So from now on, we're starting on time, whether or not...

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How to Teach Your Child to Take Responsibility

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2017

I have a friend whose teenage sons are very relational, caring, and fun to be around. At the same time, they don’t know where the dishwasher is or how meals end up on the table, because my friend does it for them and doesn’t require them to learn those sorts of tasks. So while they are loving people, these kids’ lives are marred by a lack of self-control and responsibility.

Love needs structure and form. Just as the heart needs a skeleton, love requires another ingredient; it needs ownership, the ability to take upon one’s own shoulders the responsibilities, burdens, and problems of life.

I may seem odd to think of a child, especially a young one, learning ownership. Children certainly are too young, inexperienced, and frail to take full responsibility for their lives. Yet they can learn to do so gradually. Little by little, as your children mature, you can ask them to carry more and more responsibility, so that by the time they are ready to leave home, they,...

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Setting Boundaries with Toxic People at Work

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2017

When you’re dealing with difficult people, be prepared to encounter resistance, arguments, justifications, excuses, attacks and the like. Just learn to accept that as part of the territory and do not try to fix it. That’s not your job, and the less you get caught up in rabbit trails, the clearer things will be for you.

But when you’re confronting someone at work, especially a boss, what you know about addressing personal issues may not be to your benefit in a professional setting. Whenever I teach on this, I get questions about the workplace, because people often do not feel free to say anything out of fear of losing their jobs.

And I appreciate those questions, as there is a hierarchy of needs in life. It’s more critical that you have food and clothing than a boss who is kind to you. However, that doesn’t do away with the need to be treated in humane ways either. If you are in a toxic work environment, here are some thoughts to consider.

First, people...

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6 Things Needed for a Healthy Family

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2017

Believe it or not, there’s not a huge difference between leading at work and leading at home.

In fact, if we asked some of our colleagues who actually liked their statistics courses about the predictive validity of certain leadership traits in creating healthy families, my guess is that the number would be pretty high. And the good thing is that these are actual skills and abilities that people have and do every day at work. Our task is to get them to take those skills home!

So, if we think about it that way, what do leaders do that can be applied to creating healthy families? Here are just a few thoughts:

1. Cast a vision. One of the best fathers I know also leads an organization of thousands of people, and he takes this skill home. He gets out the white board and asks, “Ok, team, so what do we want this year to look like? At the end of the year, what do we want to have done that would make it a great year?” Or, “What does everyone want it to feel like to...

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Prevent Your Emotions From Clouding Your Judgment

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2017

When something significant happens, our emotional state can change. And when we keep our eyes on the "little picture" - the right now - our emotions can change in a negative way.

Take the stock market crash. Because it affected people's real lives - their retirement balances, college funds, savings, and other assets - they went into emotional overload. Their financial security was threatened.

When we go into overload, the part of the brain that kicks in to protect us puts us into a state of "flight or fight." We want to react, push against, or get away. We feel angry, fearful, aggressive, anxious, or consumed with self-loathing. When we or someone we know feels like this, we see that emotions overtake judgment, motivation, and every other aspect of functioning.

Besides feeling these reactive emotions, we can also lose hope. Everything begins to feel "bad" and like it won't ever get better. We experience the emotional reactions that researchers such as Martin Seligman have labeled...

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The Structure Your Child Needs Comes Down to Love

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2017

In today’s environment, we often question how much of a child’s time needs to be on a schedule. We don’t want to over-schedule a child so that they never have a childhood, so where do we find that balance? I get concerned, more so at older ages, that kids have way more activities than they can metabolize. Plus, I mourn for all of the “childhood” experiences that they are missing on their way to the Olympics. It is scary.

Having said that, the first thing we have to remember is that there is a difference between “scheduled” or “programmed” vs. “structured.” Let’s get that one straight first. To my mind, what scheduled or programmed means is that the tasks or activities that are going to be happened are decided and defined for the child. They are in dance, or art, or some activity that is set for them. These are very good for a few reasons.

First of all, they build skills in the child, developing their brains in a...

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Is Dating Only About Finding 'The One'?

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2017

What is the point of dating? Ask ten people and you may get ten different answers, but they generally fall into two camps. The first says that you should date people to find a potential partner for life. The second says that you should date people, basically, to have fun, and if something more serious evolves over time, wonderful.

The first approach can lead to a situation where you wind up putting a lot of pressure on yourself and the other person in order to determine whether they match all of the attributes and characteristics that you’ve envisioned in your lifelong partner. This presumes a lot. It presumes that you can get to know someone, really know them, right away. It also presumes that you know what you want in a partner.

Realistically, most people have a much better idea of what they don’t want, and what they do want is often a little bit more flexible. Getting to know someone, and getting to see how they fit in your life can take a lot of time, shared...

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Isolating, Toxic, Fake and True – 4 Relationships You Encounter in Your Life

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2017

You are always in one of four places of connection. No matter what life circumstances you are going through on the outside – victory or defeat, or somewhere in between – there are only four possibilities of connection that you can be in at any given time. This is the premise of The Power of the Other, and science and experience agree, that figuring out where you are is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.

While there are four different kinds of connectedness – four possible corners of our relational space – only one of them will help you thrive. The other three corners will always diminish your performance and your well being. They can even destroy your vision, your relationships, your performance and your health. The key is to get out of any of the other three and into the only one that works. Think of this dynamic as the geography of relationships, a map with four corners:

Corner 1: Disconnected, No Connection

Corner 2: The Bad...

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