Don’t Allow Yourself to Enable Irresponsible People

Uncategorized Nov 26, 2017

Christine was an administrative assistant in a small company that planned training sessions for different industries. She was responsible for booking the training sessions and managing the speakers’ schedules. Her coworker, Jack, was responsible for the training facilities. He took the materials to the site, set up the equipment, and ordered the food. Together, Christine and Jack made the events happen.

After a few months of really liking her work, though, Christine began to lose energy. Eventually, her friend and coworker, Lynda, asked her what was wrong. Christine couldn’t put her finger on the problem at first. Then she realized: The problem was Jack!

Jack had been asking Christine to “pick this up for me while you’re out,” or “please bring this box of materials to the workshop.” Slowly, Jack was shifting his responsibilities onto Christine.

“You have to stop doing Jack’s work,” Lynda told Christine. “Just do your...

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How to Say No as a Mom

Uncategorized Nov 26, 2017

I remember Elisa Morgan once describing a mom as one of those juice boxes with multiple straws coming out of it, with little ones sucking energy out all day long. Not a bad description of the kind of demands that moms find themselves under each and every day. Add to that being a working mom, or a single mom, and the straws just multiply, because there is a second set of straws as well: time.

In the lives of moms, those are the two great commodities: time and energy. And the reality is that there is usually less of each than there are those who want to take them. So, the trick is to make sure of one thing before everything else: mom must be in control of both.

In all kinds of coaching, one of the most important first steps is to help the person regain a realization that they are “ridiculously in charge.” That is a phrase I wrote about in, “Boundaries For Leaders” for CEO’s to wake up to in their leadership: the fact that they are ridiculously in charge...

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Passive-Aggressive Habit That’s Bad for Relationships

Uncategorized Nov 26, 2017

You have seen it happen, or maybe even had it directed at you. The digging or critical comment about someone, only to be followed up with, “bless her heart.” Or, a chuckle, or “ha ha” or “LOL.” I was recently asked why people do that, and why they feel it is OK to say something really negative about someone if they just add on a quick “bless his heart" at the end. There are several reasons for this, but one of the best terms for it is something called an “aggressive conflict." That's a fancy way to say that some people want to say something mean, angry or critical about someone, but are in some sort of internal conflict about feeling mean, or appearing mean, and try to make themselves look “nice” in the process. It always fails. “That's a beautiful dress … didn't they have it in your size?” Passive-aggressive never cleans up very well.

There is a reason it fails, and a lesson for all of us to learn in the...

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You Still Have Control When Your Child Throws a Tantrum

Uncategorized Nov 21, 2017

When a child is not on their best behavior, or perhaps having a melt-down, it’s easy to feel powerless. The first thing to get clear about, however, is that you are the one who is truly in charge. You do have control of the situation. If your child is refusing to do something, don’t let it be an option. Tell him that in the beginning and add these ingredients to the mix:

First, warn him about his behavior before he goes, such as, "Johhny, if you do that again, you have to go to time out for two minutes." This is important to build a cause and effect related to his behavior. Sometimes, kids get put in time out and have no idea why or did not have a chance to get in control of their choices. They just misbehave and find themselves there, which does not build self-control. I say “two minutes” in this instance as you have an initial problem to address that would be good to get a victory with, so make it short enough to win.

Second, when he misbehaves, tell him he...

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Recognize Toxic Patterns and Put and End to Them

Uncategorized Nov 20, 2017

Elle was a talent manager in the entertainment business, overseeing the careers of film and television actors. She and I became acquainted after a media interview I did while she happened to be in the studio. After hearing my interview on boundaries, she walked up and introduced herself and asked if we could have lunch. We walked over to the cafeteria, sat down to eat, and she began to tell me about her work.

She loved it, she said, but she had some clients who made her life miserable. The few were wrecking her otherwise happy and meaningful career. They would get angry at her for their mistakes, be far more demanding than anyone would see as normal, and be irresponsible with their money – not following her advice – and then be upset at her when they found themselves in trouble. They were ruining what she loved about her career, she said.

“So fire them,” I said.

“What? Fire my clients?” she asked.

“Sure, what’s wrong with that? Not all...

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7 Ways to Reclaim Your Power

Uncategorized Nov 20, 2017

In some senses, I hate to even use the word "power." It seems hackneyed, like we are going back to the eighties. Power ties, power lunches, power suits. The last thing I want to sound like it one of those motivational speaker types telling you to find the power within. So accept my disclaimer. But pop psychology apologies notwithstanding, power is an important topic in work and in life. You can’t live without it. You are designed to have it, as we have said, in the form of self-control. When you lose that and are controlled by others, you are rendered powerless. And that is when the slippery slope that disintegrates life and causes you to lose your boundaries appears.

What we know about the human experience of powerlessness is that it erodes functioning in all the areas that are important to having whole life integration: your emotions, your relationships, and your performance. Decades of research have shown that the degree of powerlessness that people feel directly correlates...

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Revenge is the Worst Response to Pain

Uncategorized Nov 20, 2017

No one wants to suffer, and it’s natural to want to avoid pain and discomfort. Yet, if you’re seeking to grow, normalizing suffering will facilitate the growth process in your personal development.

Let’s start by understanding how suffering actually helps with growth. Although it presents a negative experience, we recognize that it’s part of life – especially the growth part of life. No one grows to maturity who doesn’t understand what it means to endure pain.

So, when we think about pain, what is one of the worst types that comes to mind? In many cases, it includes a painful experience that is inflicted upon us by someone else. We already bring a great deal of pain to our lives by our own transgressions, and at the same time, others can inflict just as much injury on us. It adds salt to our wounds.

We have natural responses to being hurt that are part of our imperfections. We do not always respond well to stresses in our lives. These responses...

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Perfectionism is Ruining Your Life

Uncategorized Nov 20, 2017

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is to become preoccupied with perfection. That’s different from envisioning perfection as a goal. It’s about whether perfection is a goal, or something that you demand. Believing that you can realistically attain perfection is no different than wandering through the desert, ever-thirsty, toward a mirage that only recedes toward the horizon. A lot of people obsess over perfection. This obsession is a massive waste of time and energy.

Perfectionism is a distraction, a justification for procrastination, an excuse for never getting anything done. When perfectionism is about one’s own striving, it is hostility aimed inward. When it is aimed at others, it is a cold and compassionless hostility toward the world. Perfectionism is a refusal to accept reality, and it is rooted in fear. To the perfectionist, nothing will ever be good enough.

For many people, perfectionism originates in childhood, with parental pressure to achieve....

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Use Boundaries to Help Someone in Need Without Codependent Habits

Uncategorized Nov 20, 2017

People on the go often have dependent relationships that they don’t know what to do with. These are individuals who, for any number of reasons, have tremendous life struggles and challenges and often deal with grave problems. They are needy and ask for a great deal of time, energy, and support. You may find yourself functioning as someone’s life support system. For example, you may have a friend who is going through a divorce and calls often for advice and a listening ear. Or you could have someone who has lost a job and is trying to pick up the pieces. Sometimes a needy person has a long history of failure and crisis and has for years been dependent on others to take care of him.

A needy person is often a very good person who is not truly toxic at heart. He may simply be going through his own dark night of the soul, as do all of us at some point in life. Or he may have a dependent character issue that prevents him from being autonomous and in charge. Though a needy...

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How to Stop Feeling so Exhausted

Uncategorized Nov 20, 2017

Talk to enough people and you will find that exhaustion is widespread, especially during this time of year. Managing a fulfilling life at home, a successful career, maintaining friendships, staying on top of your health and physical fitness, and getting enough sleep — it can seem as though there simply isn’t enough time for all of these things. Trying and failing to find balance leads to feelings of exhaustion.

Humans have always combatted exhaustion. Previous generations had much more demanding, physical labor-oriented jobs. Earlier still, humans had to hunt and gather to survive. Of course these strenuous physical demands have been attenuated by modern conveniences that allow us to live in comparative luxury. And yet, exhaustion persists. In fact, it may be more widespread than ever before.

Exhaustion is the result of a confluence of factors, some that originate within you and your developed capacities, physically and mentally, but also environmental stressors and...

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