Why You Shouldn't Even Try to Please Everyone

Uncategorized May 16, 2020

To some extent, we’re all guilty of people-pleasing, some more than others. But there are so many reasons not to please everyone that it would be difficult to list them all here. Seeking others’ approval steals time, energy and focus, and even if you did make everyone happy, you’d be worse off.

If you are making everyone happy, you are also making some of the wrong people happy! You’re trying to please people who are judgmental, controlling or arrogant, people who require others to do what they want them to do before they extend approval. So, to keep hurtful people happy, you must do some things that are not good in the long run. You have to make some bad choices to keep these people smiling.

So, here’s what you do — You make decisions based on what is best, not on who is going to like it. Here are a few examples:

  • Choosing a profession that is right for you, even if your friends or family would like for you to do something different.
  • Standing up...
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No One Can Make You Feel Guilty — Guilt Trippers are Manipulators

Uncategorized May 16, 2020

When is the last time someone made you feel guilty even though you know you shouldn't have felt that way?

Guilt is a difficult emotion. It's not actually a feeling the way that sadness, anger or fear are. It's our conscience punishing us by saying "You are bad."

Guilt comes mainly from how we have been taught in our early socialization process. Because of this, sometimes we feel guilt when we shouldn't. Feelings of guilt can appear when we haven't done anything wrong, per se, but maybe we have violated some internal standard that we have been taught. We have to be careful about listening to guilt feelings to tell us when we are wrong, for often, the guilt feelings themselves are wrong.

Guilt distorts reality. Rather than feeling 'bad', we should consider the impact of our actions. Has my action actually hurt someone? Why do they feel hurt? Could I have done something differently? Should I have?

Sometimes we feel like we're doing something bad or something mean when we set ...

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Setting Boundaries at Work After COVID-19

Uncategorized May 15, 2020

What do boundaries for leaders look like at work? They are made up of two essential things: what you create and what you allow. A “boundary” is a property line. It defines where your property begins and ends. If you think about your home, on your property, you can define what is going to happen there, and what is not.

As a leader in the workplace, you are in charge of the vision, the people you invite in, what the goals and purposes are going to be, what behavior is going to be allowed and what isn’t. Leaders build and allow the culture. You set the agenda, and you make the rules. And what you find there, you own. It is your creation or your allowances that have made it be. Simply stated, the leaders’ boundaries define and shape what is going to be and what isn’t. In the end, as a leader, you are always going to get a combination of two things: what you create and what you allow.

I  was leading an offsite for a health care company,...

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How to Regain Positive Momentum after Crisis

Uncategorized May 14, 2020

About 10 years ago, I was addressing an organization in the aftermath of a financial meltdown. We discussed why so many people were feeling down, defeated, and unable to perform at the levels they were used to. (It is amazing how just knowing that there is a reason for why you feel the way you do can be helpful. I wanted them to know that they weren’t crazy.) But then, I heard the words that I never want to hear.

“So, what you are telling us is that we are basically screwed,” an attendee said. “We are just going to feel this way until the economy is different. This is just the new normal.”

“Yes, you are right,” I said. “This has become the new normal. And that is exactly your problem.”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Your creative drives, the energy that you summon to go out and win, have shut down,” I said. “You feel that since you can’t control the economy, you can’t control anything....

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You Can Set Limits on Manipulative or Narcissistic Behavior

Uncategorized May 12, 2020

In the alcoholic home, if a spouse chooses not to limit her drinking, this is their responsibility. However, other family members can set limits on how they will be affected by it. If an alcoholic continues to drink, the other spouse can only limit themselves, not the other person. They can say, “I will limit my exposure to your behavior. If you continue to drink, the children and I will move out until you get sober.” You can’t stop your spouse from drinking, but you can stop yourself from being affected by it.

I realize this is one example, and there are many different situations and outcomes that affect this situation, but I want you to know that you still have control of the decisions and choices that you make for yourself. And making those decisions involves myriad details. 

If we can’t set limits on ourselves, however, we need to enlist the aid of others. This is still taking responsibility. If we call the police and ask them to help limit our...

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When Someone Tries to Blame You, Respond Like This

Uncategorized May 10, 2020

You may have heard me talk about this before — blame is the parking brake for improvement. So what happens when someone tries to place blame on you? The reality is, you need to embrace the idea of staying separate when someone is defensive or in denial. This is very important. Their strategy is to not have to take ownership of whatever it is that you are trying to get them to own. So, they will deflect, excuse, minimize, blame or throw out a whole host of responses to keep from being responsible. When they do, staying separate from all of that noise is important. Staying separate from all of their attempts to avoid responsibility means that you will not get sidetracked and lose the focus of what you are trying to communicate.

Stay in touch with what you want and what you think. Do not lose that and get talked out of it, unless you are truly being shown the light. And with a defensive blamer, that is unlikely. So, hold on to yourself and remember this formula: ...

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What it Means to be Independent from Your Mom

Uncategorized May 09, 2020

If you had a controlling mom, you’ve most likely experienced problems in separation, autonomy, and individualization — becoming your own person. We’ll go through the necessary steps to repair yourself, but first, let’s clarify the real problem.

A controlling mom may be the hardest mother type to perceive accurately and realistically. The bottom-line issues and dynamics are often difficult to identify. This is because of the following two tendencies:

1.) To see mom as the solution. While the controlling mom may be controlling and enmeshing, she can also be loving and supportive. Her care and concern are often genuine. She can be very involved in her child’s life in positive ways. Because of this, the symptoms — depression, relational conflicts, and independence failures — don’t necessarily lead you to wonder about mom issues. In fact, you may even return to mother over and over again for support in the very problems that began with her....

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Moving Forward After Your Spouse Has an Affair

Uncategorized May 08, 2020

When we take responsibility for ourselves, we’re saying that we no longer want to feel “stuck” or burdened by the people and situations that have caused hurt in our lives. As I talk to individuals in different capacities, I’ve found that many people don’t want to take responsibility for their lives. People often remain stuck because they want other people to change. They want others to make it better, and often those people won’t. As a result, they are in bondage to others. I had a client who had four small children. Her husband left her abruptly for another woman. What he did to her was horrible; she had every reason in the world to feel betrayed, angry, abandoned, depressed and over-whelmed. And as long as she expressed those feelings of “look what he’s done to me,” there was no movement. These are natural feelings to have when someone has been done wrong, but they should gradually lead to a sense of ownership of the...

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6 Ways to Have a Better Relationship with Your Adult Children

Uncategorized May 06, 2020

Very few parent-child relationships make it out of the teenage and young adult years without some battle scars. We all have them! This being said, there's often some work that can be done to strengthen and/or repair even the strongest relationships between grown-up kids and their parents. Other than giving love, moral support and being an ally, one of the best things parents can do is to allow their adult kids to set up their own boundaries within the relationship. This is a time of profound emotional, spiritual and overall life development for young people, and finding your 'sea-legs' in the rocky waters of adulthood can mean temporarily pushing away from those closest to you. I've mentioned it before, as a parent you can say the same things to your kids over and over yet they never listen, but the minute an aunt, uncle or family friend mentions it to them all of a sudden they think it's genius advice.

We just have to be there, waiting, respectful of our adult child's autonomy,...

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Boundaries Teach Your Teens to Become Responsible Adults

Uncategorized May 05, 2020

It was a normal day, but one that would forever change my friend’s parenting. We had finished dinner, and I was visiting with my friend, Allison, and her husband, Bruce, when she left the dinner table to do some chores. Bruce and I continued to talk until a phone call took him away as well, so I went to see if I could lend Allison a hand.

I could hear her in their 14-year-old son Cameron’s room. I walked into a scene that jolted me. She was cheerfully putting away clothes and sports equipment and making the bed. She struck up a conversation as if things were normal: “I can’t wait for you to see the pictures from our trip. It was so much—” “What are you doing?” I asked. “I’m cleaning up Cameron’s room,” she said. “What does it look like I’m doing?” “You are what?” “I told you. I’m cleaning up his room. Why are you looking at me like that?” All I could do was to...

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