Blog

Don’t Let Anger Ruin a Relationship

Anger is a natural human emotion. We all get angry from time to time, and we all have the right to express our emotions appropriately. Unfortunately, anger is often the emotion that ruins relationships. That’s because anger can sting—it can come across as irrational, aggressive, mean-spirited, or even manipulative. It’s an emotion that can quickly push others away.

Therefore, the key is to control your anger rather than have it control you. When you do that, you can express your emotions in a healthy way and not destroy relationships in the process. One of the best ways to take control of your emotions is to focus on some reflective questions. When you take a moment and engage in reflective questioning, … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Why We Should All Lead by Example

We’ve all heard the phrase “lead by example.” Basically, it means that if we want someone to do something, we need to be willing to model that activity, mindset, or behavior. This concept is especially important when it comes to promoting responsibility in youth.

When you lead by example, you are using a powerful tool to encourage, nurture, empower, and establish expectations. For example, see how modeling promotes integrity, as illustrated in the following:

The owner of a grocery store hired a teenager to watch the store on Saturday mornings. One Saturday, the owner returned unexpectedly and took some carrots to feed the rabbits outside of the store. Before leaving with the carrots, the owner placed money for the carrots … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Ask Questions to Solve Problems

One of the easiest ways to solve problems is to ask questions. Unfortunately, many people get so mired in the problem that they end up blaming others or trying to control the situation instead. This typically leads to more stress.

Think about your own life for a moment. How often do you blame others for your own negative experiences or challenges? How often do you try to use authority or force to solve problems? We all do it from time to time. While in some cases these tactics may appear to work (at least temporarily), more often than not you have the ability to positively influence the situation by simply asking questions.

Notice I said “influence” the situation, not “change” … >>>

READ MORE >>>

The Truth About Instilling Responsibility in Others

At the heart of the word responsibility lies the concept of the ability to respond: RESPONS-ABILITY.

Although we think we give responsibility, it is really only effective when it is taken. Therefore, by its very nature responsibility between people is mutual—as are all successful attachments.

Responsibility has a counterpart of accountability. One reason that people resist imposed accountability is that the people in superior positions tell others what they are accountable for but not what they, themselves, are accountable for.

If you expect someone to be responsible and would like optimal performance, then share how you will be accountable.

As long as you are positioning yourself to influence others, you are in a leadership role. An effective approach is to … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Want to Reduce Your Stress? Stop Controlling People

During times of stress, it’s natural to focus on controlling people—what they do and how they act. After all, stress makes you feel like you’ve lost control, so it’s human nature to try to regain that sense of control in some way. Many people accomplish this by controlling others, including their partners, children, and co-workers. But did you know that the more you focus on controlling people, the more stress you’ll ultimately experience?

How do you know if you’re being too controlling? If you experience much stress when interacting with others, chances are that you are aiming to control them. The fact is that people being controlled have low motivation to carry out decisions IMPOSED upon them. As scores of … >>>

READ MORE >>>

The Importance of Kindness

During times of increased stress, a little kindness goes a long way. It’s during these times that we often see people talking about doing “random acts of kindness” as a way to show strangers you care.

Random acts of kindness are certainly a great idea. Buying a cup of coffee for a stranger … leaving a tip greater than the total tab for a server … giving up your seat on the bus for another … these are all kind gestures that brighten people’s day and make their world a little better.

However, when it comes to your long-term relationships, such as your life partner, immediate family, friends, co-workers, and even neighbors, you need to focus on regular acts of … >>>

READ MORE >>>

How to Make a Positive First Impression

Whether meeting someone for the first time in person or via a video meeting, making a positive first impression will help you become more effective. We’ve all heard the old phrase “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That advice is still true today. But many people reveal that in today’s era of virtual meetings, it’s more difficult to make a positive first impression.

Here are some techniques to help you make a positive first impression.

  • Use a leading question to get the person to talk about something personal, such as a hobby, a recent vacation, their job, or even the city they are from. Most people enjoy talking about themselves or one of their
>>> READ MORE >>>

Eliminate “If Only” Thinking

Have you ever heard someone say, “If only I had put in more effort,” “If only I had more time,” “If only I could go back … yada, yada, yada”? Or, have you said these kinds of statements to yourself? We’ve all done it from time to time. Having these thoughts occasionally is perfectly normal and expected. The problem is when “if only” thinking becomes a habit.

“If only” is simply wishing that things were different. Wise and capable adults act with strength and the realization of what exists so they can positively influence outcomes. Growing is what life is all about. “If only” is the seed of a negative attitude that makes it less likely to overcome life’s challenges.… >>>

READ MORE >>>

10 Tips to Reduce Stress

Between politics, a pandemic, and the responsibilities of everyday life, most people are looking for ways to reduce stress. They are feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, and as if they are on an emotional roller coaster. Rather than turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as drinking, smoking, or overeating junk food, you can reduce stress by making some simple lifestyle changes.

Below is a list of 10 ways to start lessening the stress you feel. Before you read the list, realize that the goal is NOT to do all 10 things at once starting tomorrow. That would be unrealistic and would stress anyone out, myself included. Instead, pick one thing you could start weaving into your life right away. Once that … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Embrace Failure and Mistakes

Too many adults have a fear of failure. Unfortunately, they pass this fear onto their children. But what many people don’t realize is that failure and mistakes are a vital part of learning. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that no great success ever occurred without failure.

We’ve all heard about Edison’s 10,000 attempts to create the light bulb. He wasn’t alone! It took James Dyson 5,126 attempts to invent a bagless vacuum cleaner. And did you know that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos failed at many things? Ever hear of Amazon Destinations, Amazon Auctions, or the Fire Phone? Probably not, because they were all epic failures.

Whether we like it or not, failure is necessary to learn, … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Develop the Habit of Self-Reflection

Self-reflection is a vital success habit. When you develop your skill of asking reflective questions—those that foster self-evaluation—you can see problems in a new light, become more proactive, and ultimately reduce stress.

Even better is to foster this skill in others, including your children, teammates, and employees. You will empower others when you help them develop this skill. The dynamic behind asking reflective questions is that it encourages ownership because people don’t argue with their own viewpoints.

Here are some suggestions for asking effective reflective questions that encourage self-reflection:

  • Focus on the present or future—as opposed to the past. What’s done is done and dwelling on it won’t help anyone. Instead, keep focused on what you can do
>>> READ MORE >>>

Are You Sending Mixed Messages to Your Child or Teen?

We all want to raise responsible children, but many parents often send mixed messages to their child or teen. This creates confusion about what the expected behaviors and actions really are. The misunderstanding occurs because what the parent says to do and what the parent actually does are quite different.

One of the keys to effective parenting is to know the difference between implicit and explicit modeling and how you do both each day. The fact is that parents are the first teachers. Parents are always modeling how to behave. What are you modeling and are you sending mixed messages?

Examples of Mixed Messages

The following examples from the book Parenting Without Stress demonstrate the difference between explicit and implicit … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Don’t Worry About Grade-Level Expectations

With many schools around the country resuming classes—either in person or virtually—we are hearing a lot of talk about grade-level expectations and how today’s new reality may affect them. Parents, in particular, fear that their children may be “behind” since missing part of the previous school year.

The fact is that our current school systems are founded on a series of grade-level expectations that certain learning goals should be achieved by a certain age or year in school. Yet there is no reason to suspect that the brain pays attention to those grade level or age expectations. In reality, young people of the same age show a great deal of intellectual variability.

These differences can profoundly influence classroom performance. For … >>>

READ MORE >>>

How to Make Good Choices in any Situation

Do you consistently make good choices? In other words, are you in control of your actions? Or do you let others determine your actions for you? The fact is that most people are simply responding to stimuli. This limits their ability to make good choices regarding their next move. Without knowing why you are doing something, you set yourself up to make poor decisions in the heat of the moment.

Consider these three very simplistic examples to illustrate the difference between making a thoughtful choice (and thus being in control of your actions) versus reacting to stimuli.

  1. Assume for a moment that you are looking forward to watching a special program on television. You have had your dinner and are
>>> READ MORE >>>

The Most Important Question to Ask Yourself

If there were one key question to ask yourself to gauge your relationships and your effectiveness, what do you think it would be? How can you really know how others view you? How can you know that you’re being the best person you can possibly be?

Self-evaluation is critical for personal growth. After all, you can’t improve unless you know what to improve upon. This is true for all aspects of life, whether on the job or within your family. Of course, self-reflection and self-assessment can be difficult. Libraries are filled with hundreds of books on the topic, each offering their own version of how to do it effectively.

But what if there were a simpler way? A single question … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Understanding Personality Styles for Better Relationships

As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, personality styles vary from person to person, and no two people are the same. Each individual, young or old, views the world differently, interacts with others in a distinctive way, and processes information uniquely.

Differences in personality styles are good. It would be boring if everyone acted, behaved, and thought the same way. But sometimes, interacting with people who are vastly different from you can be stressful.

Noticing behavioral and personality styles among people is nothing new. The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung was the first to categorize behavioral styles. Jung postulated that every individual develops a primacy in one of four major behavioral functions: intuiting, thinking, feeling, and sensing. If you and others operate from >>>

READ MORE >>>

Influence versus Force: Which Works Better to Encourage Change?

How many times have you interacted with someone who you deemed difficult and wished you could somehow encourage change in the person? Maybe it was a co-worker, a family member, or even a child. It’s natural to want others to change and be more agreeable or friendly or even more like us. But is it possible to make people change?

Many people try to encourage change in others by using force. Depending on the relationship, they may use dominance to initiate the change (as in an employer/employee relationship). Or they may use nagging and criticizing (as in a family relationship). Or they may use coercion, bribing, or punishment (as in a parent/child relationship). However, they quickly learn that none of … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Why Everyone Should Know the Levels of Development

For years I’ve focused the teachings of my Levels of Development on students and schools. But in reality, the Levels of Development is a tool appropriate for every person of every age from every walk of life. In fact, when people become aware of the levels, they become conscious of their own behaviors, their decisions, and their relationships with others.

Here are the 4 main ways the Levels of Development helps all people.

 

1. Serves as a means of communication

The Levels of Development offers everyone—adults and youth—the same conceptual vocabulary. This helps bring clarity of understanding and assists communications between all people, whether it’s between a teacher and student, parent and child, or even two co-workers.

2. Empowers
>>> READ MORE >>>