Monday, November 11, 2013

Relationship Rescue: Get Your Head Outta the Sand!

For the four Mondays in November, we’ll be attempting a relationship rescue. Even if you aren’t in a relationship, this can help you for the next time you are.

Like the ostrich, many times it is easier to bury our heads in the sand and not confront the sometimes ugly truth. It isn’t that we don’t see the signs that a relationship is in trouble. Most often, we choose a different interpretation.

Yet, on a certain level, a deeper level, we know that something is seriously wrong. Not only is it wrong, but it is probably also complicated, messy and unpleasant to deal with. So we ignore it or make excuses for it.
Of course, I’m talking about infidelity but I’m also talking about more than that. Cheating isn’t the only problem that relationships encounter. There are a myriad of things from abuse to addiction and even indifference or feelings of overwhelm to contend with.

Whatever the issue, ignoring it won’t make it better. You have to deal with it in all its ugly, complicated and messy glory. This requires both honesty and openness. You need to be honest about what you are feeling and what you are experiencing. However, you need to be open to the other person’s feelings and experiences. My Aunt Linda told me a long time ago not to ask a question if you weren’t ready for the answer … especially because it might not be the one you want.

Yet, you have to get down and dirty if you want to get to the bottom of things … and you have to get to the bottom before you can start your rise to the top again.

Relationships, be they romantic, professional or personal, go from bad to worse when issues are allowed to fester and worsen. An wound needs to be treated and bandaged so that it can heal. It won’t get better on it’s own. The antiseptic you use to clean the wound will hurt and the bandage to protect it might be uncomfortable but in the end, it is a pain and discomfort that is necessary to cleanse the wound and let the healing begin.Re

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Finish Strong

It's November and we're in the final stretch of 2013. However, the year ain't over yet. There is still time to finish strong. Those goals you set at the beginning of the year are still within your reach. Even if it's not possible to complete your goal in two months, you can at least get a good start and gain some momentum.
  • You might not be able to lose 50 pounds but you can lose 10.
  • You can start that workout routine.
  • You can begin putting a little money aside every paycheck.
  • You can order a few college catalogs.
  • You can try again to quit smoking or stop another bad habit.
It's not to late. You can still finish strong!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Relationship Rescue: Speaking the Same Language

For the four Mondays in November, we’ll be attempting a relationship rescue. Even if you aren’t in a relationship, this can help you for the next time you are.

A relationship is always difficult. It will always be work … hopefully, mostly fun and rewarding work, but work just the same. When you think about it, it’s a miracle that two people ever come together. There are so many factors to consider: attraction, chemistry, values, location, baggage, issues, finding the person for you is hard!

But even when you have found that person, The One, the road isn’t always sunny and smooth. It’s possible, after everything, that you are The One aren’t even speaking the same language! In his best-selling book, The Five Love Languages, author Gary Chapman determines five ways people want to be loved. Of course, we give love the way we want to receive love. The problem occurs when the way we want to be loved isn’t the same way the person we love want to be loved.

For instance, for many people gifts and receiving things is a sign of love. This person will naturally give gifts. However, the spouse may not place a high value on gifts, what they want is time. So frustration ensues. The person who wants gifts gets time and the person who wants time gets a lot of stuff. See the problem?

Here are the Five Love Languages
  1. Words of Affirmation: This person wants to hear “I love you.” Thanking them for something they’ve done and telling them how you feel is what really matters.
  2. Receiving Gifts: Whether it’s wrapped in a box or given in a bouquet, this person wants to see and receiving the tokens of your affection.
  3. Acts of Service: This person wants their actions to speak for them. Cooking a meal for someone, taking the car for an oil change, these things are not just done out of necessity, they are done out of love.
  4. Physical Touch: This is more than just the sex act. A touch on the shoulder, cuddling on the couch, holding hands, these are the signs that show this person they are loved.
  5. Quality Time: This person doesn’t want things they want time spent together: on a drive, at the movies, over dinner, it’s the amount of time and quality of that time that matters.

Knowing your Love Language is only half the battle. You need to know your partner’s Love Language so that both of you can receive love in your own way.

Visit Chapman’s site at Click Discover Your Love Language across the time to find out what your Love Language is. (Mine is Acts of Service!)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

At-Work Balance: Relationships Matter

As I mentioned last week, we spend more time at work than we do with our families. It stands to reason that, just like your family, there will be people that you like and 'just click' with and then there will be others you'd rather not see sitting across from you at the Thanksgiving table. Plus, there are a boatload of people in the middle that don't elicit strong reactions of any kind.

Your Work Bestie
You eat lunch together. You exchange emails all day. You hang out after work. They know your family. Most importantly, they know all of your business. This is your friend and if one of you left the job the friendship will continue. Yet, this relationship looks different to outsiders who might see that kind of closeness as unprofessional. If one of you gets promoted, people will be looking for favoritism.

While breaks and lunches are your time, in other areas and at other times (during meetings, training sessions) try to keep the camaraderie to a minimum. These are not the time to share inside jokes and tales of your weekend escapades. Keep those between the two of you and off of the clock.

Your Work Frenemy
This person rubs you the wrong way. You dread even passing them in the hall. Yet, there will be times when you have to work with them. Keep it professional and respectful. Don't complain about them to other co-workers (including your bestie). Watch your body language in this person's presence. Other people notice the frown, the sighs and the eye-rolling.

This is work, so let's keep it about the work. This one could be difficult though depending on why this person is a frenemy. If the person is a work-avoider and constantly pushes their work on you and others, make their role clear and get their buy-in in writing (email) so their responsibilities are clearly defined. If this person is condescending or a hot-head, do not back down. State your position but do it without getting emotional or frustrated (that is often the reaction that person is looking for)

The Middlers
These people are not the Bestie or the Frenemy and these are the majority of the people you deal with everyday. They watch your relationships with your Frenemy and Bestie. They are there for small talk and chit-chat. While they might not even be a blip on your radar, these are the people who determine what your work reputation is like. They take note of your frustration with your frenemy. They overhear the personal conversations between you and your bestie. They are a silent majority.

Be courteous and professional and focus on doing your work and doing it well. Don't give them any reason to question your work ethic, your integrity or your professionalism.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Peace through The Serenity Prayer

In the month of October, each Monday, I will be writing a post on gaining peace of mind.

A cornerstone of the 12 Step program, the Serenity Prayer is simple and straight-forward; but like a lot of things that are simple to understand, it is often very difficult to apply.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

You cannot change anything but yourself. You are not responsible for or capable of changing someone else’s thought, moods, behaviors, perceptions, desires, motivations, beliefs or ideas. Yet, think about how much time we waste and how much frustration we create because we cannot accept someone else as they are. They don’t do what they think they should do so it becomes a problem.  If someone is grumpy in the morning, why get upset at their surliness? Why waste time trying to get them to change, especially if you know they’ll come around in about an hour and after they’ve had their coffee.

Most things about yourself you can change, but some things need to be accepted. You won’t be getting taller. You can’t change your race or ethnicity. You cannot change the family you were born into or the circumstances you grew up in. In fact, you can’t change the events of the past. It’s done. You can change how you perceive those events but that would take …

The courage to change the things I can

Yet, there are things you can change. Those begin with things within your control, things within yourself. You don’t have to do what you’ve always done. You can do something different. However, something different could very well mean something that opens you up to criticism or failure and that takes courage. Something different might mean stepping outside of your comfort zone and feeling awkward or making mistakes. This takes a significant level of personal bravery.

You cannot change others but you can speak up for yourself and you can offer solutions to situations that are within your control. However, your suggestions and your outspokenness might be met with hostility or even ridicule. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say anything. It does mean that you’ll have to summon the courage to do so.

The wisdom to know the difference

This is the hard part. This is the part that makes something simple in explanation, difficult in practice. What is within your control to change and what isn’t? When do you need to accept or let go and when do you need to be brave and show the determination necessary to change?

I think some of this comes with age. Because we’ve grown in different areas and in different ways, I have lost some friendships over the years. When I was younger, I tried in vain to hold on to those friendships, eventually, I had to let them go.

A lot of this wisdom comes from being open to learning from your mistakes and the events in your life. I don’t believe that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger or wiser or better than you were before. For some, what doesn’t kill you just doesn’t kill you. However, for someone who is willing to learn and grow from there experiences, struggle can bring those qualities of strength, wisdom and betterment.